Thursday, November 8, 2007


The Conflict by David Graham Phillips

The Conflict
by David Graham Phillips
Four years at Wellesley; two years about equally divided among
Paris, Dresden and Florence. And now Jane Hastings was at home
again. At home in the unchanged house--spacious,
old-fashioned--looking down from its steeply sloping lawns and
terraced gardens upon the sooty, smoky activities of Remsen City,
looking out upon a charming panorama of hills and valleys in the
heart of South Central Indiana. Six years of striving in the
East and abroad to satisfy the restless energy she inherited from
her father; and here she was, as restless as ever--yet with
everything done that a woman could do in the way of an active
career. She looked back upon her years of elaborate preparation;
she looked forward upon--nothing. That is, nothing but
marriage--dropping her name, dropping her personality,
disappearing in the personality of another. She had never seen a
man for whom she would make such a sacrifice; she did not believe
that such a man existed.
She meditated bitterly upon that cruel arrangement of Nature's
whereby the father transmits his vigorous qualities in twofold
measure to the daughter, not in order that she may be a somebody,
but solely in order that she may transmit them to sons. ``I
don't believe it,'' she decided. ``There's something for ME to
do.'' But what? She gazed down at Remsen City, connected by
factories and pierced from east, west and south by railways. She
gazed out over the fields and woods. Yes, there must be
something for her besides merely marrying and breeding--just as
much for her as for a man. But what? If she should marry a man
who would let her rule him, she would despise him. If she should
marry a man she could respect--a man who was of the master class
like her father--how she would hate him for ignoring her and
putting her in her ordained inferior feminine place. She glanced
down at her skirts with an angry sense of enforced masquerade.
And then she laughed --for she had a keen sense of humor that
always came to her rescue when she was in danger of taking
herself too seriously.
Through the foliage between her and the last of the stretches of
highroad winding up from Remsen City she spied a man climbing in
her direction--a long, slim figure in cap, Norfolk jacket and
knickerbockers. Instantly--and long before he saw her--there was
a grotesque whisking out of sight of the serious personality upon
which we have been intruding. In its stead there stood ready to
receive the young man a woman of the type that possesses physical
charm and knows how to use it--and does not scruple to use it.
For a woman to conquer man by physical charm is far and away the
easiest, the most fleeting and the emptiest of victories. But
for woman thus to conquer without herself yielding anything
whatsoever, even so little as an alluring glance of the eye--that
is quite another matter. It was this sort of conquest that Jane
Hastings delighted in--and sought to gain with any man who came
within range. If the men had known what she was about, they
would have denounced her conduct as contemptible and herself as
immoral, even brazen. But in their innocence they accused only
their sophisticated and superbly masculine selves and regarded
her as the soul of innocence. This was the more absurd in them
because she obviously excelled in the feminine art of inviting
display of charm. To glance at her was to realize at once the
beauty of her figure, the exceeding grace of her long back and
waist. A keen observer would have seen the mockery lurking in
her light-brown eyes, and about the corners of her full red lips.
She arranged her thick dark hair to make a secret, half- revealed
charm of her fascinating pink ears and to reveal in dazzling
unexpectedness the soft, round whiteness of the nape of her neck.
Because you are thus let into Miss Hastings' naughty secret, so
well veiled behind an air of earnest and almost cold dignity, you
must not do her the injustice of thinking her unusually artful.
Such artfulness is common enough; it secures husbands by the
thousand and by the tens of thousands. No, only in the skill of
artfulness was Miss Hastings unusual.
As the long strides of the tall, slender man brought him rapidly
nearer, his face came into plain view. A refined, handsome face,
dark and serious. He had dark-brown eyes--and Miss Hastings did
not like brown eyes in a man. She thought that men should have
gray or blue or greenish eyes, and if they were cruel in their
love of power she liked it the better.
``Hello, Dave,'' she cried in a pleasant, friendly voice. She
was posed--in the most unconscious of attitudes-- upon a rustic
bench so that her extraordinary figure was revealed at its most
The young man halted before her, his breath coming quickly--not
altogether from the exertion of his steep and rapid climb.
``Jen, I'm mad about you,'' he said, his brown eyes soft and
luminous with passion. ``I've done nothing but think about you
in the week you've been back. I didn't sleep last night, and
I've come up here as early as I dared to tell you--to ask you to
marry me.''
He did not see the triumph she felt, the joy in having subdued
another of these insolently superior males. Her eyes were
discreetly veiled; her delightful mouth was arranged to express
``I thought I was an ambition incarnate,'' continued the young
man, unwittingly adding to her delight by detailing how brilliant
her conquest was. ``I've never cared a rap about women--until I
saw you. I was all for politics--for trying to do something to
make my fellow men the better for my having lived. Now--it's all
gone. I want you, Jen. Nothing else matters.''
As he paused, gazing at her in speechless longing, she lifted her
eyes--simply a glance. With a stifled cry he darted forward,
dropped beside her on the bench and tried to enfold her in his
arms. The veins stood out in his forehead; the expression of his
eyes was terrifying.
She shrank, sprang up. His baffled hands had not even touched
her. ``David Hull!'' she cried, and the indignation and the
repulsion in her tone and in her manner were not simulated,
though her artfulness hastened to make real use of them. She
loved to rouse men to frenzy. She knew that the sight of their
frenzy would chill her--would fill her with an emotion that would
enable her to remain mistress of the situation.
At sight of her aversion his eyes sank. ``Forgive me,'' he
muttered. ``You make me--CRAZY.''
``I!'' she cried, laughing in angry derision. ``What have I ever
done to encourage you to be--impertinent?''
``Nothing,'' he admitted. ``That is, nothing but just being
``I can't help that, can I?''
``No,'' said he, adding doggedly: ``But neither can men help
going crazy about you.''
She looked at him sitting there at once penitent and impenitent;
and her mind went back to the thoughts that had engaged it before
he came into view. Marriage-- to marry one of these men, with
their coarse physical ideas of women, with their pitiful weakness
before an emotion that seemed to her to have no charm whatever.
And these were the creatures who ruled the world and compelled
women to be their playthings and mere appendages! Well--no doubt
it was the women's own fault, for were they not a poor,
spiritless lot, trembling with fright lest they should not find a
man to lean on and then, having found the man, settling down into
fat and stupid vacuity or playing the cat at the silly game of
social position? But not Jane Hastings! Her bosom heaved and
her eyes blazed scorn as she looked at this person who had dared
think the touch of his coarse hands would be welcome. Welcome!
``And I have been thinking what a delightful friendship ours
was,'' said she, disgustedly. ``And all the time, your talk
about your ambition--the speeches you were going to make--the
offices you were going to hold-- the good you were going to do in
purifying politics-- it was all a blind!''
``All a blind,'' admitted he. ``From the first night that you
came to our house to dinner--Jen, I'll never forget that dress
you wore--or the way you looked in it.''
Miss Jane had thought extremely well of that toilet herself. She
had heard how impervious this David Hull, the best catch in the
town, was to feminine charm; and she had gone prepared to give
battle. But she said dejectedly, ``You don't know what a shock
you've given me.''
``Yes, I do,'' cried he. ``I'm ashamed of myself. But --I love
you, Jen! Can't you learn to love me?''
``I hadn't even thought of you in that way,'' said she. ``I
haven't bothered my head about marriage. Of course, most girls
have to think about it, because they must get some one to support
``I wish to God you were one of that sort,'' interrupted he.
``Then I could have some hope.''
``Hope of what,'' said she disdainfully. ``You don't mean that
you'd marry a girl who was marrying you because she had to have
food, clothing and shelter?''
``I'd marry the woman I loved. Then--I'd MAKE her love me. She
simply couldn't help it.''
Jane Hastings shuddered. ``Thank heaven, I don't have to
marry!'' Her eyes flashed. ``But I wouldn't, even if I were
poor. I'd rather go to work. Why shouldn't a woman work,
``At what?'' inquired Hull. ``Except the men who do manual
labor, there are precious few men who can make a living honestly
and self-respectingly. It's fortunate the women can hold aloof
and remain pure.''
Jane laughed unpleasantly. ``I'm not so sure that the women who
live with men just for shelter are pure,'' said she.
``Jen,'' the young man burst out, ``you're ambitious-- aren't
``Rather,'' replied she.
``And you like the sort of thing I'm trying to do-- like it and
approve of it?''
``I believe a man ought to succeed--get to the top.''
``So do I--if he can do it honorably.''
Jane hesitated--dared. ``To be quite frank,'' said she, ``I
worship success and I despise failure. Success means strength.
Failure means weakness--and I abominate weakness.''
He looked quietly disapproving. ``You don't mean that. You
don't understand what you're saying.''
``Perfectly,'' she assured him. ``I'm not a bit good. Education
has taken all the namby-pamby nonsense out of me.''
But he was not really hearing; besides, what had women to do with
the realities of life? They were made to be the property of
men--that was the truth, though he would never have confessed it
to any woman. They were made to be possessed. ``And I must
possess this woman,'' he thought, his blood running hot. He
``Why not help me to make a career? I can do it, Jen, with you
to help.''
She had thought of this before--of making a career for herself,
of doing the ``something'' her intense energy craved, through a
man. The ``something'' must be big if it were to satisfy her;
and what that was big could a woman do except through a man?
But--this man. Her eyes turned thoughtfully upon him--a look
that encouraged him to go on:
``Politics interest you, Jen. I've seen that in the way you
listen and in the questions you ask.''
She smiled--but not at the surface. In fact, his political talk
had bored her. She knew nothing about the subject, and, so, had
been as one listening to an unknown language. But, like all
women, having only the narrowest range of interests herself and
the things that would enable her to show off to advantage, she
was used to being bored by the conversational efforts of men and
to concealing her boredom. She had listened patiently and had
led the conversation by slow, imperceptible stages round to the
interesting personal-- to the struggle for dominion over this
difficult male.
``Anyhow,'' he went on, ``no intelligent person could fail to be
interested in politics, once he or she appreciated what it meant.
And people of our class owe it to society to take part in
politics. Victor Dorn is a crank, but he's right about some
things--and he's right in saying that we of the upper class are
parasites upon the masses. They earn all the wealth, and we take
a large part of it away from them. And it's plain stealing
unless we give some service in return. For instance, you and
I--what have we done, what are we doing that entitles us to draw
so much? Somebody must earn by hard labor all that is produced.
We are not earning. So''--he was looking handsome now in his
manly earnestness--``Jen, it's up to us to do our share--to stop
stealing--isn't it?''
She was genuinely interested. ``I hadn't thought of these
things,'' said she.
``Victor Dorn says we ought to go to work like laborers,''
pursued David. ``But that's where he's a crank. The truth is,
we ought to give the service of leadership--especially in
politics. And I'm going to do it, Jane Hastings!''
For the first time she had an interest in him other than that of
conquest. ``Just what are you going to do?'' she asked.
``Not upset everything and tear everything to pieces, as Victor
Dorn wants to do,'' replied he. ``But reform the abuses and
wrongs--make it so that every one shall have a fair chance--make
politics straight and honest.''
This sounded hazy to her. ``And what will you get out of it?''
asked she.
He colored and was a little uneasy as he thus faced a direct
demand for his innermost secret--the secret of selfishness he
tried to hide even from himself. But there was no evading; if he
would interest her he must show her the practical advantages of
his proposal. ``If I'm to do any good,'' said he, putting the
best face, and really not a bad face, upon a difficult and
delicate matter--``if I'm to do any good I must win a commanding
position--must get to be a popular leader--must hold high
offices--and--and--all that.''
``I understand,'' said she. ``That sounds attractive. Yes,
David, you ought to make a career. If I were a man that's the
career I'd choose.''
``You can choose it, though you're a woman,'' rejoined he.
``Marry me, and we'll go up together. You've no idea how
exciting campaigns and elections are. A little while, and you'll
be crazy about it all. The women are taking part, more and
``Who's Victor Dorn?'' she suddenly asked.
``You must remember him. It was his father that was killed by
the railway the day we all went on that excursion to
``Dorn the carpenter,'' said Jane. ``Yes--I remember.'' Her
face grew dreamy with the effort of memory. ``I see it all
again. And there was a boy with a very white face who knelt and
held his head.''
``That was Victor,'' said Hull.
``Yes--I remember him. He was a bad boy--always fighting and
robbing orchards and getting kept after school.''
``And he's still a bad boy--but in a different way. He's out
against everything civilized and everybody that's got money.''
``What does he do? Keep a saloon?''
``No, but he spends a lot of time at them. I must say for him
that he doesn't drink--and professes not to believe in drink.
When I pointed out to him what a bad example he set, loafing
round saloons, he laughed at me and said he was spending his
spare time exactly as Jesus Christ did. `You'll find, Davy, old
man,' he said, `if you'll take the trouble to read your Bible,
that Jesus traveled with publicans and sinners--and a publican is
in plain English a saloonkeeper.' ''
``That was very original--wasn't it?'' said Jane. ``I'm
interested in this man. He's--different. I like people who are
``I don't think you'd like him, Victor Dorn,'' said David.
``Don't you?''
``Oh, yes--in a way. I admire him,'' graciously. ``He's really
a remarkable fellow, considering his opportunities.''
``He calls you `Davy, old man,' '' suggested Jane.
Hull flushed. ``That's his way. He's free and easy with every
one. He thinks conventionality is a joke.''
``And it is,'' cried Miss Hastings.
``You'd not think so,'' laughed Hull, ``if he called you Jane or
Jenny or my dear Jenny half an hour after he met you.''
``He wouldn't,'' said Miss Hastings in a peculiar tone.
``He would if he felt like it,'' replied Hull. ``And if you
resented it, he'd laugh at you and walk away. I suspect him of
being a good deal of a poseur and a fakir. All those
revolutionary chaps are. But I honestly think that he really
doesn't care a rap for classes --or for money--or for any of the
substantial things.''
``He sounds common,'' said Miss Hastings. ``I've lost interest
in him.'' Then in the same breath: ``How does he live? Is he a
``He was--for several years. You see, he and his mother together
brought up the Dorn family after the father was killed. They
didn't get a cent of damages from the railroad. It was an
``But my father was the largest owner of the railroad.''
Hull colored violently. ``You don't understand about business,
Jen. The railroad is a corporation. It fought the case--and the
Dorns had no money--and the railway owned the judge and bribed
several jurors at each trial. Dorn says that was what started
him to thinking --to being a revolutionist--though he doesn't
call himself that.''
``I should think it would!'' cried Miss Hastings. ``If my father
had known----'' She caught her breath. ``But he MUST have
known! He was on the train that day.''
``You don't understand business, Jen. Your father wouldn't
interfere with the management of the corporation .''
``He makes money out of it--doesn't he?''
``So do we all get money out of corporations that are compelled
to do all sorts of queer things. But we can't abolish the
system--we've got to reform it. That's why I'm in politics--and
want you----''
``Something must be done about that,'' interrupted Jane. ``I
shall talk to father----''
``For heaven's sake, Jen,'' cried David in alarm, ``don't tell
your father I'VE been stirring you up. He's one of the powers in
politics in this State, and----''
``I'll not give you away, Davy,'' said Miss Hastings a little
contemptuously. ``I want to hear more about this Victor Dorn.
I'll get that money for him and his mother. Is he very poor?''
``Well--you'd call him poor. But he says he has plenty. He runs
a small paper. I think he makes about twenty-five dollars a week
out of it--and a little more out of lecturing. Then--every once
in a while he goes back to his trade--to keep his hand in and
enjoy the luxury of earning honest money, as he puts it.''
``How queer!'' exclaimed Miss Hastings. ``I would like to meet
him. Is he--very ignorant?''
``Oh, no--no, indeed. He's worked his way through college--and
law school afterward. Supported the family all the time.''
``He must be tremendously clever.''
``I've given you an exaggerated idea of him,'' Davy hastened to
say. ``He's really an ordinary sort of chap.''
``I should think he'd get rich,'' said Miss Hastings. ``Most of
the men that do--so far as I've met them-- seem ordinary
``He says he could get rich, but that he wouldn't waste time that
way. But he's fond of boasting.''
``You don't think he could make money--after all he did--going to
college and everything?''
``Yes--I guess he could,'' reluctantly admitted Davy. Then in a
burst of candor: ``Perhaps I'm a little jealous of him. If _I_
were thrown on my own resources, I'm afraid I'd make a pretty
wretched showing. But--don't get an exaggerated idea of him.
The things I've told you sound romantic and unusual. If you met
him--saw him every day--you'd realize he's not at all--at least,
not much--out of the ordinary.''
``Perhaps,'' said Miss Hastings shrewdly, ``perhaps I'm getting a
better idea of him than you who see him so often.''
``Oh, you'll run across him sometime,'' said Davy, who was
bearing up no better than would the next man under the strain of
a woman's interest in and excitement about another man. ``When
you do, you'll get enough in about five minutes. You see, he's
not a gentleman .''
``I'm not sure that I'm wildly crazy about gentlemen-- AS
gentlemen,'' replied the girl. ``Very few of the interesting
people I've read about in history and biography have been
``And very few of them would have been pleasant to associate
with,'' rejoined Hull. ``You'll admire Victor as I do. But
you'll feel--as I do--that there's small excuse for a man who has
been educated, who has associated with upper class people,
turning round and inciting the lower classes against everything
that's fine and improving.''
It was now apparent to the girl that David Hull was irritatedly
jealous of this queer Victor Dorn-- was jealous of her interest
in him. Her obvious cue was to fan this flame. In no other way
could she get any amusement out of Davy's society; for his
tendency was to be heavily serious--and she wanted no more of the
too strenuous love making, yet wanted to keep him ``on the
string.'' This jealousy was just the means for her end. Said
she innocently: ``If it irritates you, Davy, we won't talk about
``Not at all--not at all,'' cried Hull. ``I simply thought you'd
be getting tired of hearing so much about a man you'd never
``But I feel as if I did know him,'' replied she. ``Your account
of him was so vivid. I thought of asking you to bring him to
Hull laughed heartily. ``Victor Dorn--calling!''
``Why not?''
``He doesn't do that sort of thing. And if he did, how could I
bring him here?''
``Why not?''
``Well--in the first place, you are a lady--and he is not in your
class. Of course, men can associate with each other in politics
and business. But the social side of life--that's different.''
``But a while ago you were talking about my going in for
politics,'' said Miss Hastings demurely.
``Still, you'd not have to meet SOCIALLY queer and rough
``Is Victor Dorn very rough?''
The interrupting question was like the bite of a big fly to a
sweating horse. ``I'm getting sick of hearing about him from
you,'' cried Hull with the pettishness of the spoiled children of
the upper class.
``In what way is he rough?'' persisted Miss Hastings. ``If you
didn't wish to talk about Victor Dorn, why did you bring the
subject up?''
``Oh--all right,'' cried Hull, restraining himself. ``Victor
isn't exactly rough. He can act like a gentleman-- when he
happens to want to. But you never can tell what he'll do next.''
``You MUST bring him to call!'' exclaimed Miss Hastings.
``Impossible,'' said Hull angrily.
``But he's the only man I've heard about since I've been home
that I've taken the least interest in.''
``If he did come, your father would have the servants throw him
off the place.''
``Oh, no,'' said Hiss Hastings haughtily. ``My father wouldn't
insult a guest of mine.''
``But you don't know, Jen,'' cried David. ``Why, Victor Dorn
attacks your father in the most outrageous way in his miserable
little anarchist paper--calls him a thief, a briber, a
blood-sucker--a--I'd not venture to repeat to you the things he
``No doubt he got a false impression of father because of that
damage suit,'' said Miss Hastings mildly. ``That was a frightful
thing. I can't be so unjust as to blame him, Davy--can you?''
Hull was silent.
``And I guess father does have to do a lot of things in the
course of business---- Don't all the big men --the leaders?''
``Yes--unfortunately they do,'' said Hull. ``That's what gives
plausibility to the shrieks of demagogues like Victor
Dorn--though Victor is too well educated not to know better than
to stir up the ignorant classes.''
``I wonder why he does it,'' said Miss Hastings, reflectively.
``I must ask him. I want to hear what he says to excuse
himself.'' In fact, she had not the faintest interest in the
views of this queer unknown; her chief reason for saying she had
was to enjoy David Hull's jealousy.
``Before you try to meet Victor,'' said Hull, in a constrained,
desperate way, ``please speak to your father about it.''
``I certainly shall,'' replied the girl. ``As soon as he comes
home this afternoon, I'm going to talk to him about that damage
suit. That has got to be straightened out.'' An expression of
resolution, of gentleness and justice abruptly transformed her
face. ``You may not believe it, but I have a conscience.''
Absently, ``A curious sort of a conscience--one that might become
very troublesome, I'm afraid--in some circumstances.''
Instantly the fine side of David Hull's nature was to the
fore--the dominant side, for at the first appeal it always
responded. ``So have I, Jen,'' said he. ``I think our
similarity in that respect is what draws me so strongly to you.
And it's that that makes me hope I can win you. Oh, Jen--there's
so much to be done in the world--and you and I could have such a
splendid happy life doing our share of it.''
She was once more looking at him with an encouraging interest.
But she said, gently: ``Let's not talk about that any more
to-day, Davy.''
``But you'll think about it?'' urged he.
``Yes,'' said she. ``Let's be friends--and--and see what
Hull strolled up to the house with her, but refused to stop for
lunch. He pleaded an engagement; but it was one that could--and
in other circumstances would --have been broken by telephone.
His real reason for hurrying away was fear lest Jane should open
out on the subject of Victor Dorn with her father, and, in her
ignorance of the truth as to the situation, should implicate him.
She found her father already at home and having a bowl of
crackers and milk in a shady corner of the west veranda. He was
chewing in the manner of those whose teeth are few and not too
secure. His brows were knitted and he looked as if not merely
joy but everything except disagreeable sensation had long since
fled his life beyond hope of return--an air not uncommon among
the world's successful men. However, at sight of his lovely
young daughter his face cleared somewhat and he shot at her from
under his wildly and savagely narrowed eyebrows a glance of
admiration and tenderness--a quaint expression for those cold,
hard features.
Everyone spoke of him behind his back as ``Old Morton Hastings.''
In fact, he was barely past sixty, was at an age at which city
men of the modern style count themselves young and even
entertain--not without reason-- hope of being desired of women
for other than purely practical reasons. He was born on a farm--
was born with an aversion to physical exertion as profound as was
his passion for mental exertion. We never shall know how much of
its progress the world owes to the physically lazy, mentally
tireless men. Those are they who, to save themselves physical
exertion, have devised all manner of schemes and machines to save
labor. And, at bottom, what is progress but man's success in his
effort to free himself from manual labor --to get everything for
himself by the labor of other men and animals and of machines?
Naturally his boyhood of toil on the farm did not lessen Martin
Hastings' innate horror of ``real work.'' He was not twenty when
he dropped tools never to take them up again. He was shoeing a
horse in the heat of the cool side of the barn on a frightful
August day. Suddenly he threw down the hammer and said loudly:
``A man that works is a damn fool. I'll never work again.'' And
he never did.
As soon as he could get together the money--and it was not long
after he set about making others work for him--he bought a buggy,
a kind of phaeton, and a safe horse. Thenceforth he never walked
a step that could be driven. The result of thirty-five years of
this life, so unnatural to an animal that is designed by Nature
for walking and is punished for not doing so-- the result of a
lifetime of this folly was a body shrivelled to a lean brown
husk, legs incredibly meagre and so tottery that they scarcely
could bear him about. His head--large and finely shaped--seemed
so out of proportion that he looked at a glance senile. But no
one who had business dealings with him suspected him of senility
or any degree of weakness. He spoke in a thin dry voice,
shrouded in sardonic humor.
``I don't care for lunch,'' said Jane, dropping to a chair near
the side of the table opposite her father. ``I had breakfast too
late. Besides, I've got to look out for my figure. There's a
tendency to fat in our family.''
The old man chuckled. ``Me, for instance,'' said he.
``Martha, for instance,'' replied Jane. Martha was her one
sister--married and ten years older than she and spaciously
``Wasn't that Davy Hull you were talking to, down in the woods?''
inquired her father.
Jane laughed. ``You see everything,'' said she.
``I didn't see much when I saw him,'' said her father.
Jane was hugely amused. Her father watched her laughter--the
dazzling display of fine teeth--with delighted eyes. ``You've
got mighty good teeth, Jenny,'' observed he. ``Take care of 'em.
You'll never know what misery is till you've got no teeth--or
next to none.'' He looked disgustedly into his bowl. ``Crackers
and milk!'' grunted he. ``No teeth and no digestion. The only
pleasure a man of my age can have left is eating, and I'm cheated
out of that.''
``So, you wouldn't approve of my marrying Davy?'' said the girl.
Her father grunted--chuckled. ``I didn't say that. Does he want
to marry you?''
``I didn't say that,'' retorted Jane. ``He's an unattached young
man--and I, being merely a woman, have got to look out for a
Martin looked gloomy. ``There's no hurry,'' said he. ``You've
been away six years. Seems to me you might stay at home a
``Oh, I'd bring him here, popsy I've no intention of leaving you.
You were in an awful state, when I came home. That mustn't ever
happen again. And as you won't live with Martha and Hugo--why,
I've got to be the victim.''
``Yes--it's up to you, Miss, to take care of me in my declining
years. . . . You can marry Davy--if you want to. Davy--or
anybody. I trust to your good sense.''
``If I don't like him, I can get rid of him,'' said the girl.
Her father smiled indulgently. ``That's A LEETLE too up-to-date
for an old man like me,'' observed he. ``The world's moving fast
nowadays. It's got a long ways from where it was when your ma
and I were young.''
``Do you think Davy Hull will make a career?'' asked Jane. She
had heard from time to time as much as she cared to hear about
the world of a generation before --of its bareness and
discomfort, its primness, its repulsive piety, its ignorance of
all that made life bright and attractive--how it quite overlooked
this life in its agitation about the extremely problematic life
to come. ``I mean a career in politics,'' she explained.
The old man munched and smacked for full a minute before he said,
``Well, he can make a pretty good speech. Yes--I reckon he could
be taken in hand and pushed. He's got a lot of fool college-bred
ideas about reforming things. But he'd soon drop them, if he got
into the practical swing. As soon as he had a taste of success,
he'd stop being finicky. Just now, he's one of those nice, pure
chaps who stand off and tell how things ought to be done. But
he'd get over that.''
Jane smiled peculiarly--half to herself. ``Yes--I think he
would. In fact, I'm sure he would.'' She looked at her father.
``Do you think he amounts to as much as Victor Dorn?'' she asked,
The old man dropped a half raised spoonful of milk and crackers
into the bowl with a splash. ``Dorn-- he's a scoundrel!'' he
exclaimed, shaking with passion. ``I'm going to have that dirty
little paper of his stopped and him put out of town. Impudent
puppy!--foul- mouthed demagogue! I'll SHOW him!''
``Why, he doesn't amount to anything, father,'' remonstrated the
girl. ``He's nothing but a common working man--isn't he?''
``That's all he is--the hound!'' replied Martin Hastings. A
look of cruelty, of tenacious cruelty, had come into his face.
It would have startled a stranger. But his daughter had often
seen it; and it did not disturb her, as it had never appeared for
anything that in any way touched her life. ``I've let him hang
on here too long,'' went on the old man, to himself rather than
to her. ``First thing I know he'll be dangerous.''
``If he's worth while I should think you'd hire him,'' remarked
Jane shrewdly.
``I wouldn't have such a scoundrel in my employ,'' cried her
``Oh, maybe,'' pursued the daughter, ``maybe you couldn't hire
``Of course I could,'' scoffed Hastings. ``Anybody can be
``I don't believe it,'' said the girl bluntly.
``One way or another,'' declared the old man. ``That Dorn boy
isn't worth the price he'd want.''
``What price would he want?'' asked Jane.
``How should I know?'' retorted her father angrily.
``You've tried to hire him--haven't you?'' persisted she.
The father concentrated on his crackers and milk. Presently he
said: ``What did that fool Hull boy say about Dorn to you?''
``He doesn't like him,'' replied Jane. ``He seems to be jealous
of him--and opposed to his political views.''
``Dorn's views ain't politics. They're--theft and murder and
highfalutin nonsense,'' said Hastings, not unconscious of his
feeble anti-climax.
``All the same, he--or rather, his mother--ought to have got
damages from the railway,'' said the girl. And there was a
sudden and startling shift in her expression --to a tenacity as
formidable as her father's own, but a quiet and secret tenacity.
Old Hastings wiped his mouth and began fussing uncomfortably with
a cigar.
``I don't blame him for getting bitter and turning against
society,'' continued she. ``I'd have done the same thing--and so
would you.''
Hastings lit the cigar. ``They wanted ten thousand dollars,'' he
said, almost apologetically. ``Why, they never saw ten thousand
cents they could call their own.''
``But they lost their bread-winner, father,'' pleaded the girl.
``And there were young children to bring up and educate. Oh, I
hate to think that--that we had anything to do with such a
``It wasn't a wrong, Jen--as I used to tell your ma,'' said the
old man, much agitated and shrill of voice. ``It was just the
course of business. The law was with our company.''
Jane said nothing. She simply gazed steadily at her father. He
avoided her glance.
``I don't want to hear no more about it,'' he burst out with
abrupt violence. ``Not another word!''
``Father, I want it settled--and settled right,'' said the girl.
``I ask it as a favor. Don't do it as a matter of business, but
as a matter of sentiment.''
He shifted uneasily, debating. When he spoke he was even more
explosive than before. ``Not a cent! Not a red! Give that
whelp money to run his crazy paper on? Not your father, while he
keeps his mind.''
``But--mightn't that quiet him?'' pleaded she. ``What's the use
of having war when you can have peace? You've always laughed at
people who let their prejudices stand in the way of their
interests. You've always laughed at how silly and stupid and
costly enmities and revenges are. Now's your chance to
illustrate, popsy.'' And she smiled charmingly at him.
He was greatly softened by her manner--and by the wisdom of what
she said--a wisdom in which, as in a mirror, he recognized with
pleasure her strong resemblance to himself. ``That wouldn't be a
bad idea, Jen,'' said he after reflection, ``IF I could get a
``But why not do it generously?'' urged the girl. ``Generosity
inspires generosity. You'll make him ashamed of himself.''
With a cynical smile on his shrivelled face the old man slowly
shook his big head that made him look as top-heavy as a newborn
baby. ``That isn't as smart, child, as what you said before.
It's in them things that the difference between theory and
practice shows. He'd take the money and laugh at me. No, I'll
try to get a guarantee.'' He nodded and chuckled. ``Yes, that
was a good idea of yours, Jen.''
``But--isn't it just possible that he is a man with-- with
principles of a certain kind?'' suggested she.
``Of course, he THINKS so,'' said Hastings. ``They all do. But
you don't suppose a man of any sense at all could really care
about and respect working class people?--ignorant, ungrateful
fools. _I_ know 'em. Didn't I come from among 'em? Ain't I
dealt with 'em all my life? No, that there guy Dorn's simply
trying to get up, and is using them to step up on. I did the
same thing, only I did it in a decent, law-abiding way. I didn't
want to tear down those that was up. I wanted to go up and join
'em. And I did.''
And his eyes glistened fondly and proudly as he gazed at his
daughter. She represented the climax of his rising--she, the
lady born and bred, in her beautiful clothes, with her lovely,
delicate charms. Yes, he had indeed ``come up,'' and there
before him was the superb tangible evidence of it.
Jane had the strongest belief in her father's worldly wisdom. At
the same time, from what David Hull said she had got an
impression of a something different from the ordinary human being
in this queer Victor Dorn. ``You'd better move slowly,'' she
said to her father. ``There's no hurry, and you might be
mistaken in him.''
``Plenty of time,'' asserted her father. ``There's never any
need to hurry about giving up money.'' Then, with one of those
uncanny flashes of intuition for which he, who was never caught
napping, was famous, he said to her sharply: ``You keep your
hands off, miss.''
She was thrown into confusion--and her embarrassment enraged her
against herself. ``What could _I_ do?'' she retorted with a
brave attempt at indifference.
``Well--keep your hands off, miss,'' said the old man. ``No
female meddling in business. I'll stand for most anything, but
not for that.''
Jane was now all eagerness for dropping the subject. She wished
no further prying of that shrewd mind into her secret thoughts.
``It's hardly likely I'd meddle where I know nothing about the
circumstances,'' said she. ``Will you drive me down to
This request was made solely to change the subject, to shift her
father to his favorite topic for family conversation--his
daughter Martha, Mrs. Hugo Galland, her weakness for fashionable
pastimes, her incessant hints and naggings at her father about
his dowdy dress, his vulgar mannerisms of speech and of conduct,
especially at table. Jane had not the remotest intention of
letting her father drive her to Mrs. Galland's, or anywhere, in
the melancholy old phaeton-buggy, behind the fat old nag whose
coat was as shabby as the coat of the master or as the top and
the side curtains of the sorrowful vehicle it drew along at
caterpillar pace.
When her father was ready to depart for his office in the
Hastings Block--the most imposing office building in Remsen City,
Jane announced a change of mind.
``I'll ride, instead,'' said she. ``I need the exercise, and the
day isn't too warm.''
``All right,'' said Martin Hastings grumpily. He soon got enough
of anyone's company, even of his favorite daughter's. Through
years of habit he liked to jog about alone, revolving in his mind
his business affairs--counting in fancy his big bundles of
securities, one by one, calculating their returns past, present
and prospective--reviewing the various enterprises in which he
was dominant factor, working out schemes for getting more profit
here, for paying less wages there, for tightening his grip upon
this enterprise, for dumping his associates in that, for escaping
with all the valuable assets from another. His appearance, as he
and his nag dozed along the highroad, was as deceptive as that of
a hive of bees on a hot day--no signs of life except a few sleepy
workers crawling languidly in and out at the low, broad
crack-door, yet within myriads toiling like mad.
Jane went up to dress. She had brought an Italian maid with her
from Florence, and a mass of baggage that had given the station
loungers at Remsen City something to talk about, when there was a
dearth of new subjects, for the rest of their lives. She had
transformed her own suite in the second story of the big old
house into an appearance of the quarters of a twentieth century
woman of wealth and leisure. In the sitting room were books in
four languages; on the walls were tasteful reproductions of her
favorite old masters. The excellence of her education was
attested not by the books and pictures but by the absence of
those fussy, commonplace draperies and bits of bric-a-brac
where-- with people of no taste and no imagination furnish their
houses because they can think of nothing else to fill in the
Many of Jane's ways made Sister Martha uneasy. For Martha, while
admitting that Jane through superior opportunity ought to know,
could not believe that the ``right sort'' of people on the other
side had thrown over all her beloved formalities and were
conducting themselves distressingly like tenement-house people.
For instance, Martha could not approve Jane's habit of smoking
cigarettes--a habit which, by one of those curious freaks of
character, enormously pleased her father. But--except in one
matter--Martha entirely approved Jane's style of dress. She
hastened to pronounce it ``just too elegant'' and repeated that
phrase until Jane, tried beyond endurance, warned her that the
word elegant was not used seriously by people of the ``right
sort'' and that its use was regarded as one of those small but
subtle signs of the loathsome ``middle class.''
The one thing in Jane's dress that Martha disapproved-- or,
rather, shied at--was her riding suit. This was an extremely
noisy plaid man's suit--for Jane rode astride. Martha could not
deny that Jane looked ``simply stunning'' when seated on her
horse and dressed in that garb with her long slim feet and
graceful calves encased in a pair of riding boots that looked as
if they must have cost ``something fierce.'' But was it really
``ladylike''? Hadn't Jane made a mistake and adopted a costume
worn only by the fashionables among the demi-mondaines of whom
Martha had read and had heard such dreadful, delightful stories?
It was the lively plaid that Miss Hastings now clad herself in.
She loved that suit. Not only did it give her figure a superb
opportunity but also it brought out new beauties in her contour
and coloring. And her head was so well shaped and her hair grew
so thickly about brow and ears and nape of neck that it looked
full as well plaited and done close as when it was framing her
face and half concealing, half revealing her charming ears in
waves of changeable auburn. After a lingering--and pardonably
pleased--look at herself in a long mirror, she descended, mounted
and rode slowly down toward town.
The old Galland homestead was at the western end of town--in a
quarter that had become almost poor. But it was so dignified and
its grounds were so extensive that it suggested a manor house
with the humble homes of the lord's dependents clustering about
it for shelter. To reach it Jane had to ride through two filthy
streets lined with factories. As she rode she glanced at the
windows, where could be seen in dusty air girls and boys busy at
furiously driven machines-- machines that compelled their human
slaves to strain every nerve in the monotonous task of keeping
them occupied. Many of the girls and boys paused long enough for
a glance at the figure of the man-clad girl on the big horse.
Jane, happy in the pleasant sunshine, in her beauty and health
and fine raiment and secure and luxurious position in the world,
gave a thought of pity to these imprisoned young people. ``How
lucky I am,'' she thought, ``not to have been born like that. Of
course, we all have our falls now and then. But while they
always strike on the hard ground, I've got a feather bed to fall
When she reached Martha's and was ushered into the cool upstairs
sitting room, in somehow ghastly contrast to the hot rooms where
the young working people sweated and strained, the subject
persisted in its hold on her thoughts. There was Martha, in
comfortable, corsetless expansiveness--an ideal illustration of
the worthless idler fattening in purposelessness. She was
engaged with all her energies in preparing for the ball Hugo
Galland's sister, Mrs. Bertrand, was giving at the assembly rooms
that night.
``I've been hard at it for several days now,'' said she. ``I
think at last I see daylight. But I want your opinion.''
Jane gazed absently at the dress and accompanying articles that
had been assembled with so much labor. ``All right,'' said she.
``You'll look fine and dandy.''
Martha twitched. ``Jane, dear--don't say that-- don't use such
an expression. I know it's your way of joking. But lots of
people would think you didn't know any better.''
``Let 'em think,'' said Jane. ``I say and do as I please.''
Martha sighed. Here was one member of her family who could be a
credit, who could make people forget the unquestionably common
origin of the Hastingses and of the Morleys. Yet this member was
always breaking out into something mortifying, something
reminiscent of the farm and of the livery stable--for the
deceased Mrs. Hastings had been daughter of a livery stable
keeper--in fact, had caught Martin Hastings by the way she rode
her father's horses at a sale at a county fair. Said Martha:
``You haven't really looked at my clothes, Jane. Why DID you go
back to calling yourself Jane?''
``Because it's my name,'' replied her sister.
``I know that. But you hated it and changed it to Jeanne, which
is so much prettier.''
``I don't think so any more,'' replied Miss Hastings. ``My taste
has improved. Don't be so horribly middle class, Martha--ashamed
of everything simple and natural.''
``You think you know it all--don't you?--just because you've
lived abroad,'' said Martha peevishly.
``On the contrary, I don't know one-tenth as much as I thought I
did, when I came back from Wellesley with a diploma.''
``Do you like my costume?'' inquired Martha, eying her finery
with the fond yet dubious expression of the woman who likes her
own taste but is not sure about its being good taste.
``What a lazy, worthless pair we are!'' exclaimed Jane, hitting
her boot leg a tremendous rap with her little cane.
Martha startled. ``Good God--Jane--what is it?'' she cried.
``On the way here I passed a lot of factories,'' pursued Jane.
``Why should those people have to work like--like the devil,
while we sit about planning ball dresses?''
Martha settled back comfortably. ``I feel so sorry for those
poor people,'' said she, absently sympathetic.
``But why?'' demanded Jane. ``WHY? Why should we be allowed to
idle while they have to slave? What have we done--what are we
doing--to entitle us to ease? What have they done to condemn
them to pain and toil?''
``You know very well, Jane, that we represent the finer side of
``Slop!'' ejaculated Jane.
``For pity's sake, don't let's talk politics,'' wailed Martha.
``I know nothing about politics. I haven't any brains for that
sort of thing.''
``Is that politics?'' inquired Jane. ``I thought politics meant
whether the Democrats or the Republicans or the reformers were to
get the offices and the chance to steal.''
``Everything's politics, nowadays,'' said Martha, comparing the
color of the material of her dress with the color of her fat
white arm. ``As Hugo says, that Victor Dorn is dragging
everything into politics--even our private business of how we
make and spend our own money.''
Jane sat down abruptly. ``Victor Dorn,'' she said in a strange
voice. ``WHO is Victor Dorn? WHAT is Victor Dorn? It seems
that I can hear of nothing but Victor Dorn to-day.''
``He's too low to talk about,'' said Martha, amiable and absent.
``Politics,'' replied Martha. ``Really, he is horrid, Jane.''
``To look at?''
``No--not to look at. He's handsome in a way. Not at all common
looking. You might take him for a gentleman, if you didn't know.
Still--he always dresses peculiarly--always wears soft hats. I
think soft hats are SO vulgar--don't you?''
``How hopelessly middle-class you are, Martha,'' mocked Jane.
``Hugo would as soon think of going in the street in a--in a--I
don't know what.''
``Hugo is the finest flower of American gentleman. That is, he's
the quintessence of everything that's nice --and `nasty.' I wish
I were married to him for a week. I love Hugo, but he gives me
the creeps.'' She rose and tramped restlessly about the room.
``You both give me the creeps. Everything conventional gives me
the creeps. If I'm not careful I'll dress myself in a long
shirt, let down my hair and run wild.''
``What nonsense you do talk,'' said Martha composedly.
Jane sat down abruptly. ``So I do!'' she said. ``I'm as poor a
creature as you at bottom. I simply like to beat against the
bars of my cage to make myself think I'm a wild, free bird by
nature. If you opened the door, I'd not fly out, but would hop
meekly back to my perch and fall to smoothing my feathers. . . .
Tell me some more about Victor Dorn.''
``I told you he isn't fit to talk about,'' said Martha. ``Do you
know, they say now that he is carrying on with that shameless,
brazen thing who writes for his paper, that Selma Gordon?''
``Selma Gordon,'' echoed Jane. Her brows came down in a gesture
reminiscent of her father, and there was a disagreeable
expression about her mouth and in her light brown eyes. ``Who's
Selma Gordon?''
``She makes speeches--and writes articles against rich
people--and--oh, she's horrid.''
``No--a scrawny, black thing. The men--some of them--say she's
got a kind of uncanny fascination. Some even insist that she's
beautiful.'' Martha laughed. ``Beautiful! How could a woman
with black hair and a dark skin and no flesh on her bones be
``It has been known to happen,'' said Jane curtly. ``Is she one
of THE Gordons?''
``Mercy, no!'' cried Martha Galland. ``She simply took the name
of Gordon--that is, her father did. He was a Russian peasant--a
Jew. And he fell in love with a girl who was of noble family--a
princess, I think.''
``Princess doesn't mean much in Russia,'' said Jane sourly.
``Anyhow, they ran away to this country. And he worked in the
rolling mill here--and they both died-- and Selma became a
factory girl--and then took to writing for the New Day--that's
Victor Dorn's paper, you know.''
``How romantic,'' said Jane sarcastically. ``And now Victor
Dorn's in love with her?''
``I didn't say that,'' replied Martha, with a scandalsmile.
Jane Hastings went to the window and gazed out into the garden.
Martha resumed her habitual warm day existence--sat rocking
gently and fanning herself and looking leisurely about the room.
Presently she said:
``Jane, why don't you marry Davy Hull?''
No answer.
``He's got an independent income--so there's no question of his
marrying for money. And there isn't any family anywhere that's
better than his--mighty few as good. And he's DEAD in love with
you, Jen.''
With her back still turned Jane snapped, ``I'd rather marry
Victor Dorn.''
``What OUTRAGEOUS things you do say!'' cried Martha.
``I envy that black Jewess--that--what's her name? --that Selma
``You don't even know them,'' said Martha.
Jane wheeled round with a strange laugh. ``Don't I?'' cried she.
``I don't know anyone else.''
She strode to her sister and tapped her lightly on the shoulder
with the riding stick.
``Be careful,'' cautioned Martha. ``You know how easily my flesh
mars--and I'm going to wear my low neck to-night.''
Jane did not heed. ``David Hull is a bore--and a fraud,'' she
said. ``I tell you I'd rather marry Victor Dorn.''
``Do be careful about my skin, dear,'' pleaded Martha. ``Hugo'll
be SO put out if there's a mark on it. He's very proud of my
Jane looked at her quizzically. ``What a dear, fat old rotter of
a respectability it is, to be sure,'' said she --and strode from
the room, and from the house.
Her mood of perversity and defiance did not yield to a ten mile
gallop over the gentle hills of that lovely part of Indiana, but
held on through the afternoon and controlled her toilet for the
ball. She knew that every girl in town would appear at that most
fashionable party of the summer season in the best clothing she
could get together. As she had several dresses from Paris which
she not without reason regarded as notable works of art, the
opportunity to outshine was hers-- the sort of opportunity she
took pleasure in using to the uttermost, as a rule. But to be
the best dressed woman at Mrs. Bertram's party was too easy and
too commonplace. To be the worst dressed would call for courage
--of just the sort she prided herself on having. Also, it would
look original, would cause talk--would give her the coveted sense
of achievement.
When she descended to show herself to her father and say good
night to him, she was certainly dressed by the same pattern that
caused him to be talked about throughout that region. Her gown
was mussed, had been mended obviously in several places, had not
been in its best day becoming. But this was not all. Her hair
looked stringy and dishevelled. She was delighted with herself.
Except during an illness two years before never had she come so
near to being downright homely. ``Martha will die of shame,''
said she to herself. ``And Mrs. Bertram will spend the evening
explaining me to everybody.'' She did not definitely formulate
the thought, ``And I shall be the most talked about person of the
evening''; but it was in her mind none the less.
Her father always smoked his after-dinner cigar in a little room
just off the library. It was filled up with the plain cheap
furniture and the chromos and mottoes which he and his wife had
bought when they first went to housekeeping--in their early days
of poverty and struggle. On the south wall was a crude and
cheap, but startlingly large enlargement of an old daguerreotype
of Letitia Hastings at twenty-four--the year after her marriage
and the year before the birth of the oldest child, Robert, called
Dock, now piling up a fortune as an insider in the Chicago
``brave'' game of wheat and pork, which it is absurd to call
gambling because gambling involves chance. To smoke the one
cigar the doctor allowed him, old Martin Hastings always seated
himself before this picture. He found it and his thoughts the
best company in the world, just as he had found her silent self
and her thoughts the best company in their twenty-one years of
married life. As he sat there, sometimes he thought of her--of
what they had been through together, of the various advances in
his fortune--how this one had been made near such and such
anniversary, and that one between two other anniversaries--and
what he had said to her and what she had said to him.
Again--perhaps oftener--he did not think of her directly, any
more than he had thought of her when they sat together evening
after evening, year in and year out, through those twenty-one
years of contented and prosperous life.
As Jane entered he, seated back to the door, said:
``About that there Dorn damage suit----''
Jane started, caught her breath. Really, it was uncanny, this
continual thrusting of Victor Dorn at her.
``It wasn't so bad as it looked,'' continued her father. He was
speaking in the quiet voice--quiet and old and sad--he always
used when seated before the picture.
``You see, Jenny, in them days''--also, in presence of the
picture he lapsed completely into the dialect of his youth--``in
them days the railroad was teetering and I couldn't tell which
way things'd jump. Every cent counted.''
``I understand perfectly, father,'' said Jane, her hands on his
shoulders from behind. She felt immensely relieved. She did not
realize that every doer of a mean act always has an excellent
excuse for it.
``Then afterwards,'' the old man went on, ``the family was
getting along so well--the boy was working steady and making good
money and pushing ahead--and I was afeared I'd do harm instead of
good. It's mighty dangerous, Jen, to give money sudden to folks
that ain't used to it. I've seen many a smash-up come that way.
And your ma--she thought so, too--kind of.''
The ``kind of'' was advanced hesitatingly, with an apologetic
side glance at the big crayon portrait. But Jane was entirely
convinced. She was average human; therefore, she believed what
she wished to believe.
``You were quite right, father,'' said she. ``I knew you
couldn't do a bad thing--wouldn't deliberately strike at weak,
helpless people. And now, it can be straightened out and the
Dorns will be all the better for not having been tempted in the
days when it might have ruined them.''
She had walked round where her father could see her, as she
delivered herself of this speech so redolent of the fumes of
collegiate smugness. He proceeded to examine her--with an
expression of growing dissatisfaction. Said he fretfully:
``You don't calculate to go out, looking like that?''
``Out to the swellest blow-out of the year, popsy,'' said she.
The big heavy looking head wobbled about uneasily. ``You look
too much like your old pappy's daughter,'' said he.
``I can afford to,'' replied she.
The head shook positively. ``You ma wouldn't 'a liked it. She
was mighty partic'lar how she dressed.''
Jane laughed gayly. ``Why, when did you become a critic of
women's dress?'' cried she.
``I always used to buy yer ma dresses and hats when I went to the
city,'' said he. ``And she looked as good as the best--not for
these days, but for them times.'' He looked critically at the
portrait. ``I bought them clothes and awful dear they seemed to
me.'' His glance returned to his daughter. ``Go get yourself up
proper,'' said he, between request and command. ``SHE wouldn't
'a liked it.''
Jane gazed at the common old crayon, suddenly flung her arms
round the old man's neck. ``Yes-- father,'' she murmured. ``To
please HER.''
She fled; the old man wiped his eyes, blew his nose and resumed
the careful smoking of the cheap, smelly cigar. He said he
preferred that brand of his days of poverty; and it was probably
true, as he would refuse better cigars offered him by fastidious
men who hoped to save themselves from the horrors of his. He
waited restlessly, though it was long past his bedtime; he yawned
and pretended to listen while Davy Hull, who had called for Jane
in the Hull brougham, tried to make a favorable impression upon
him. At last Jane reappeared-- and certainly Letitia Hastings
would have been more than satisfied.
``Sorry to keep you waiting,'' said she to Hull, who was
speechless and tremulous before her voluptuous radiance. ``But
father didn't like the way I was rigged out. Maybe I'll have to
change again.''
``Take her along, Davy,'' said Hastings, his big head wagging
with delight. ``She's a caution--SHE is!''
Hull could not control himself to speak. As they sat in the
carriage, she finishing the pulling on of her gloves, he stared
out into the heavy rain that was deluging the earth and bending
low the boughs. Said she, half way down the hill:
``Well--can't you talk about anything but Victor Dorn?''
``I saw him this afternoon,'' said Hull, glad that the tension of
the silence was broken.
``Then you've got something to talk about.''
``The big street car strike is on.''
``So father said at dinner. I suppose Victor Dorn caused it.''
``No--he's opposed to it. He's queer. I don't exactly
understand his ideas. He says strikes are ridiculous-- that it's
like trying to cure smallpox by healing up one single sore.''
Jane gave a shiver of lady-like disgust. ``How-- nasty,'' said
``I'm telling you what he said. But he says that the only way
human beings learn how to do things right is by doing them
wrong--so while he's opposed to strikes he's also in favor of
``Even _I_ understand that,'' said Jane. ``I don't think it's
``Doesn't it strike you as--as inconsistent?''
``Oh--bother consistency!'' scoffed the girl. ``That's another
middle class virtue that sensible people loathe as a vice.''
Anyhow, he's helping the strikers all he can--and fighting US.
You know, your father and my father's estate are the two biggest
owners of the street railways.''
``I must get his paper,'' said Jane. ``I'll have a lot of fun
reading the truth about us.''
But David wasn't listening. He was deep in thought. After a
while he said: ``It's amazing--and splendid-- and terrible, what
power he's getting in our town. Victor Dorn, I mean.''
``Always Victor Dorn,'' mocked Jane.
``When he started--twelve years ago as a boy of twenty, just out
of college and working as a carpenter --when he started, he was
alone and poor, and without friends or anything. He built up
little by little, winning one man at a time--the fellow working
next him on his right, then the chap working on his left--in the
shop--and so on, one man after another. And whenever he got a
man he held him--made him as devoted-- as--as fanatical as he is
himself. Now he's got a band of nearly a thousand. There are
ten thousand voters in this town. So, he's got only one in ten.
But what a thousand!''
Jane was gazing out into the rain, her eyes bright, her lips
``Are you listening?'' asked Hull. ``Or, am I boring you?''
``Go on,'' said she.
``They're a thousand missionaries--apostles--yes, apostle is the
name for them. They live and breathe and think and talk only the
ideas Victor Dorn believes and fights for. And whenever he wants
anything done --anything for the cause--why, there are a thousand
men ready to do it.''
``Why?'' said Jane.
``Victor Dorn,'' said Hull. ``Do you wonder that he interests
me? For instance, to-night: you see how it's raining. Well,
Victor Dorn had them print to-day fifty thousand leaflets about
this strike--what it means to his cause. And he has asked five
hundred of his men to stand on the corners and patrol the streets
and distribute those dodgers. I'll bet not a man will be
``But why?'' repeated Jane. ``What for?''
``He wants to conquer this town. He says the world has to be
conquered--and that the way to begin is to begin--and that he has
``Conquer it for what?''
``For himself, I guess,'' said Hull. ``Of course, he professes
that it's for the public good. They all do. But what's the
``If I saw him I could tell you,'' said Jane in the full pride of
her belief in her woman's power of divination in character.
``However, he can't succeed,'' observed Hull.
``Oh, yes, he can,'' replied Jane. ``And will. Even if every
idea he had were foolish and wrong. And it isn't--is it?''
David laughed peculiarly. ``He's infernally uncomfortably right
in most of the things he charges and proposes. I don't like to
think about it.'' He shut his teeth together. ``I WON'T think
about it,'' he muttered.
``No--you'd better stick to your own road, Davy,'' said Jane with
irritating mockery. ``You were born to be thoroughly
conventional and respectable. As a reformer you're ideal. As
a--an imitator of Victor Dorn, you'd be a joke.''
``There's one of his men now,'' exclaimed Hull, leaning forward
Jane looked. A working man, a commonplace enough object, was
standing under the corner street lamp, the water running off his
hat, his shoulders, his coat tail. His package of dodgers was
carefully shielded by an oilcloth from the wet which had full
swing at the man. To every passer-by he presented a dodger,
accompanying the polite gesture with some phrase which seemed to
move the man or woman to take what was offered and to put it away
instead of dropping it.
Jane sank back in the carriage, disappointed. ``Is that all?''
said she disdainfully.
``ALL?'' cried Hull. ``Use your imagination, Jen. But I
forgot--you're a woman. They see only surfaces.''
``And are snared into marrying by complexions and pretty features
and dresses and silly flirting tricks,'' retorted the girl
Hull laughed. ``I spoke too quick that time,'' said he. ``I
suppose you expected to see something out of a fifteenth century
Italian old master! Well--it was there, all right.''
Jane shrugged her shoulders. ``And your Victor Dorn,'' said she,
``no doubt he's seated in some dry, comfortable place enjoying
the thought of his men making fools of themselves for him.''
They were drawing up to the curb before the Opera House where
were the assembly rooms. ``There he is now,'' cried Hull.
Jane, startled, leaned eagerly forward. In the rain beyond the
edge of the awning stood a dripping figure not unlike that other
which had so disappointed her. Underneath the brim of the hat
she could see a smooth- shaven youngish face--almost boyish. But
the rain streaming from the brim made satisfactory scrutiny
Jane again sank back. ``How many carriages before us?'' she
``You're disappointed in him, too, I suppose,'' said Hull. ``I
knew you would be.''
``I thought he was tall,'' said Jane.
``Only middling,'' replied Hull, curiously delighted.
``I thought he was serious,'' said Jane.
``On the contrary, he's always laughing. He's the best natured
man I know.''
As they descended and started along the carpet under the middle
of the awning, Jane halted. She glanced toward the dripping
figure whom the police would not permit under the shelter. Said
she: ``I want one of those papers.''
Davy moved toward the drenched distributor of strike literature.
``Give me one, Dorn,'' he said in his most elegant manner.
``Sure, Davy,'' said Dorn in a tone that was a subtle commentary
on Hull's aristocratic tone and manner. As he spoke he glanced
at Jane; she was looking at him. Both smiled--at Davy's expense.
Davy and Jane passed on in, Jane folding the dodger to tuck it
away for future reading. She said to him: ``But you didn't tell
me about his eyes.''
``What's the matter with them?''
``Everything,'' replied she--and said no more.
The dance was even more tiresome than Jane had anticipated.
There had been little pleasure in outshining the easily outshone
belles of Remsen City. She had felt humiliated by having to
divide the honors with a brilliantly beautiful and scandalously
audacious Chicago girl, a Yvonne Hereford--whose style, in looks,
in dress and in wit, was more comfortable to the standard of the
best young men of Remsen City--a standard which Miss Hastings,
cultivated by foreign travel and social adventure, regarded as
distinctly poor, not to say low. Miss Hereford's audacities were
especially offensive to Jane. Jane was audacious herself, but
she flattered herself that she had a delicate sense of that
baffling distinction between the audacity that is the hall mark
of the lady and the audacity that proclaims the not-lady. For
example, in such apparently trifling matters as the way of
smoking a cigarette, the way of crossing the legs or putting the
elbows on the table or using slang, Jane found a difference,
abysmal though narrow, between herself and Yvonne Hereford.
``But then, her very name gives her away,'' reflected Jane.
``There'd surely be a frightfully cheap streak in a mother who in
this country would name her daughter Yvonne--or in a girl who
would name herself that.''
However, Jane Hastings was not deeply annoyed either by the
shortcomings of Remsen City young men or by the rivalry of Miss
Hereford. Her dissatisfaction was personal--the feeling of
futility, of cheapness, in having dressed herself in her best and
spent a whole evening at such unworthy business. ``Whatever I am
or am not fit for,'' said she to herself, ``I'm not for
society--any kind of society. At least I'm too much grown-up
mentally for that.'' Her disdainful thoughts about others were,
on this occasion as almost always, merely a mode of expressing
her self-scorn.
As she was undressing she found in her party bag the dodger Hull
had got for her from Victor Dorn. She, sitting at her dressing
table, started to read it at once. But her attention soon
wandered. ``I'm not in the mood,'' she said. ``To-morrow.''
And she tossed it into the top drawer. The fact was, the subject
of politics interested her only when some man in whom she was
interested was talking it to her. In a general way she
understood things political, but like almost all women and all
but a few men she could fasten her attention only on things
directly and clearly and nearly related to her own interests.
Politics seemed to her to be not at all related to her--or,
indeed, to anybody but the men running for office. This dodger
was politics, pure and simple. A plea to workingmen to awaken to
the fact that their STRIKES were stupid and wasteful, that the
way to get better pay and decent hours of labor was by uniting,
taking possession of the power that was rightfully theirs and
regulating their own affairs.
She resumed fixing her hair for the night. Her glance bent
steadily downward at one stage of this performance, rested
unseeingly upon the handbill folded printed side out and on top
of the contents of the open drawer. She happened to see two
capital letters-- S. G.--in a line by themselves at the end of
the print. She repeated them mechanically several times--``S. G.
--S. G.--S. G.''--then her hands fell from her hair upon the
handbill. She settled herself to read in earnest.
``Selma Gordon,'' she said. ``That's different.''
She would have had some difficulty in explaining to herself why
it was ``different.'' She read closely, concentratedly now. She
tried to read in an attitude of unfriendly criticism, but she
could not. A dozen lines, and the clear, earnest, honest
sentences had taken hold of her. How sensible the statements
were, and how obviously true. Why, it wasn't the writing of an
``anarchistic crank'' at all--on the contrary, the writer was if
anything more excusing toward the men who were giving the drivers
and motormen a dollar and ten cents a day for fourteen hours'
work--``fourteen hours!'' cried Jane, her cheeks burning--yes,
Selma Gordon was more tolerant of the owners of the street car
line than Jane herself would have been.
When Jane had read, she gazed at the print with sad envy in her
eyes. ``Selma Gordon can think--and she can write, too,'' said
she half aloud. ``I want to know her--too.''
That ``too'' was the first admission to herself of a curiously
intense desire to meet Victor Dorn.
``Oh, to be in earnest about something! To have a real interest!
To find something to do besides the nursery games disguised under
new forms for the grown-up yet never to be grown-up infants of
the world. ``And THAT kind of politics doesn't sound shallow and
dull. There's heart in it--and brains--real brains--not merely
nasty little self-seeking cunning.'' She took up the handbill
again and read a paragraph set in bolder type:
``The reason we of the working class are slaves is because we
haven't intelligence enough to be our own masters, let alone
masters of anybody else. The talk of equality, workingmen, is
nonsense to flatter your silly, ignorant vanity. We are not the
equals of our masters. They know more than we do, and naturally
they use that knowledge to make us work for them. So, even if
you win in this strike or in all your strikes, you will not much
better yourselves. Because you are ignorant and foolish, your
masters will scheme around and take from you in some other way
what you have wrenched from them in the strike.
``Organize! Think! Learn! Then you will rise out of the dirt
where you wallow with your wives and your children. Don't blame
your masters; they don't enslave you. They don't keep you in
slavery. Your chains are of your own forging and only you can
strike them off!''
Certainly no tenement house woman could be lazier, emptier of
head, more inane of life than her sister Martha. ``She wouldn't
even keep clean if it wasn't the easiest thing in the world for
her to do, and a help at filling in her long idle day.''
Yet--Martha Galland had every comfort and most of the luxuries,
was as sheltered from all the hardships as a hot-house flower.
Then there was Hugo--to go no further afield than the family.
Had he ever done an honest hour's work in his life? Could anyone
have less brains than he? Yet Hugo was rich and respected, was a
director in big corporations, was a member of a first-class law
firm. ``It isn't fair,'' thought the girl. ``I've always felt
it. I see now why. It's a bad system of taking from the many
for the benefit of us few. And it's kept going by a few clever,
strong men like father. They work for themselves and their
families and relatives and for their class--and the rest of the
people have to suffer.''
She did not fall asleep for several hours, such was the tumult in
her aroused brain. The first thing the next morning she went
down town, bought copies of the New Day--for that week and for a
few preceding weeks--and retreated to her favorite nook in her
father's grounds to read and to think--and to plan. She searched
the New Day in vain for any of the wild, wandering things Davy
and her father had told her Victor Dorn was putting forth. The
four pages of each number were given over either to philosophical
articles no more ``anarchistic'' than Emerson's essays, not so
much so as Carlyle's, or to plain accounts of the current
stealing by the politicians of Remsen City, of the squalor and
disease--danger in the tenements, of the outrages by the gas and
water and street car companies. There was much that was
terrible, much that was sad, much that was calculated to make an
honest heart burn with indignation against those who were
cheerily sacrificing the whole community to their desire for
profits and dividends and graft, public and private. But there
was also a great deal of humor--of rather a sardonic kind, but
still seeing the fantastic side of this grand game of swindle.
Two paragraphs made an especial impression on her:
``Remsen City is no worse--and no better--than other American
cities. It's typical. But we who live here needn't worry about
the rest of the country. The thing for us to do is to CLEAN UP
``We are more careful than any paper in this town about verifying
every statement we make, before we make it. If we should publish
a single statement about anyone that was false even in part we
would be suppressed. The judges, the bosses, the owners of the
big blood-sucking public service corporations, the whole ruling
class, are eager to put us out of existence. Don't forget this
fact when you hear the New Day called a lying, demagogical
With the paper beside her on the rustic bench, she fell to
dreaming--not of a brighter and better world, of a wiser and
freer race, but of Victor Dorn, the personality that had unaided
become such a power in Remsen City, the personality that sparkled
and glowed in the interesting pages of the New Day, that made its
sentences read as if they were spoken into your very ears by an
earnest, honest voice issuing from a fascinating, humor-loving,
intensely human and natural person before your very eyes. But it
was not round Victor Dorn's brain that her imagination played.
``After all,'' thought she, ``Napoleon wasn't much over five
feet. Most of the big men have been little men. Of course,
there were Alexander--and Washington-- and Lincoln, but--how
silly to bother about a few inches of height, more or less! And
he wasn't really SHORT. Let me see--how high did he come on Davy
when Davy was standing near him? Above his shoulder --and Davy's
six feet two or three. He's at least as tall as I am--anyhow, in
my ordinary heels.''
She was attracted by both the personalities she discovered in the
little journal. She believed she could tell them apart. About
some of the articles, the shorter ones, she was doubtful. But in
those of any length she could feel that difference which enables
one to distinguish the piano touch of a player in another room--
whether it is male or female. Presently she was searching for an
excuse for scraping acquaintance with this pair of
pariahs--pariahs so far as her world was concerned. And soon she
found it. The New Day was taking subscriptions for a fund to
send sick children and their mothers to the country for a
vacation from the dirt and heat of the tenements--for Remsen
City, proud though it was and boastful of its prosperity, housed
most of its inhabitants in slums--though of course that low sort
of people oughtn't really to be counted--except for purposes of
swelling census figures-- and to do all the rough and dirty work
necessary to keep civilization going.
She would subscribe to this worthy charity--and would take her
subscription, herself. Settled--easily and well settled. She
did not involve herself, or commit herself in any way. Besides,
those who might find out and might think she had overstepped the
bounds would excuse her on the ground that she had not been back
at home long and did not realize what she was doing.
What should she wear?
Her instinct was for an elaborate toilet--a descent in state--or
such state as the extremely limited resources of Martin Hastings'
stables would permit. The traps he had ordered for her had not
yet come; she had been glad to accept David Hull's offer of a
lift the night before. Still, without a carriage or a motor she
could make quite an impression with a Paris walking dress and
hat, properly supported by fashionable accessories of the toilet.
Good sense and good taste forbade these promptings of nature.
No, she would dress most simply--in her very plainest
things--taking care to maintain all her advantages of face and
figure. If she overwhelmed Dorn and Miss Gordon, she would
defeat her own purpose--would not become acquainted with them.
In the end she rejected both courses and decided for the riding
costume. The reason she gave for this decision-- the reason she
gave herself--was that the riding costume would invest the call
with an air of accident, of impulse. The real reason.
It may be that some feminine reader can guess why she chose the
most startling, the most gracefully becoming, the most artlessly
physical apparel in her wardrobe.
She said nothing to her father at lunch about her plans. Why
should she speak of them? He might oppose; also, she might
change her mind. After lunch she set out on her usual ride,
galloping away into the hills--but she had put twenty-five
dollars in bills in her trousers pocket. She rode until she felt
that her color was at its best, and then she made for town--a
swift, direct ride, her heart beating high as if she were upon a
most daring and fateful adventure. And, as a matter of fact,
never in her life had she done anything that so intensely
interested her. She felt that she was for the first time
slackening rein upon those unconventional instincts, of unknown
strength and purpose, which had been making her restless with
their vague stirrings.
``How silly of me!'' she thought. ``I'm doing a commonplace,
rather common thing--and I'm trying to make it seem a daring,
romantic adventure. I MUST be hard up for excitement!''
Toward the middle of the afternoon she dropped from her horse
before the office of the New Day and gave a boy the bridle.
``I'll be back in a minute,'' she explained. It was a two-story
frame building, dingy and in disrepair. On the street floor was
a grocery. Access to the New Day was by a rickety stairway. As
she ascended this, making a great noise on its unsteady boards
with her boots, she began to feel cheap and foolish. She
recalled what Hull had said in the carriage. ``No doubt,''
replied she, ``I'd feel much the same way if I were going to see
Jesus Christ--a carpenter's son, sitting in some hovel, talking
with his friends the fishermen and camel drivers--not to speak of
the women.''
The New Day occupied two small rooms--an editorial work room, and
a printing work room behind it. Jane Hastings, in the doorway at
the head of the stairs, was seeing all there was to see. In the
editorial room were two tables--kitchen tables, littered with
papers and journals, as was the floor, also. At the table
directly opposite the door no one was sitting-- ``Victor Dorn's
desk,'' Jane decided. At the table by the open window sat a
girl, bent over her writing. Jane saw that the figure was below,
probably much below, the medium height for woman, that it was
slight and strong, that it was clad in a simple, clean gray linen
dress. The girl's black hair, drawn into a plain but distinctly
graceful knot, was of that dense and wavy thickness which is a
characteristic and a beauty of the Hebrew race. The skin at the
nape of her neck, on her hands, on her arms bare to the elbows
was of a beautiful dead-white--the skin that so admirably
compliments dead-black hair.
Before disturbing this busy writer Jane glanced round. There was
nothing to detain her in the view of the busy printing plant in
the room beyond. But on the walls of the room before her were
four pictures --lithographs, cheap, not framed, held in place by
a tack at each corner. There was Washington--then Lincoln--then
a copy of Leonardo's Jesus in the Last Supper fresco--and a
fourth face, bearded, powerful, imperious, yet wonderfully kind
and good humored-- a face she did not know. Pointing her riding
stick at it she said:
``And who is that?''
With a quick but not in the least a startled movement the girl at
the table straightened her form, turned in her chair, saying, as
she did so, without having seen the pointing stick:
``That is Marx--Karl Marx.''
Jane was so astonished by the face she was now seeing--the face
of the girl--that she did not hear the reply. The girl's hair
and skin had reminded her of what Martha had told her about the
Jewish, or half-Jewish, origin of Selma Gordon. Thus, she
assumed that she would see a frankly Jewish face. Instead, the
face looking at her from beneath the wealth of thick black hair,
carelessly parted near the centre, was Russian--was
Cossack--strange and primeval, intense, dark, as superbly alive
as one of those exuberant tropical flowers that seem to cry out
the mad joy of life. Only, those flowers suggest the evanescent,
the flame burning so fiercely that it must soon burn out, while
this Russian girl declared that life was eternal. You could not
think of her as sick, as old, as anything but young and vigorous
and vivid, as full of energy as a healthy baby that kicks its
dresses into rags and wears out the strength of its strapping
nurse. Her nose was as straight as Jane's own particularly fine
example of nose. Her dark gray eyes, beneath long, slender, coal
black lines of brow, were brimming with life and with fun. She
had a wide, frank, scarlet mouth; her teeth were small and sharp
and regular, and of the strong and healthy shade of white. She
had a very small, but a very resolute chin. With another quick,
free movement she stood up. She was indeed small, but formed in
proportion. She seemed out of harmony with her linen dress. She
looked as if she ought to be careening on the steppes in some
romantic, half-savage costume. Jane's first and instant thought
was, ``There's not another like her in the whole world. She's
the only living specimen of her kind.''
``Gracious!'' exclaimed Jane. ``But you ARE healthy.''
The smile took full advantage of the opportunity to broaden into
a laugh. A most flattering expression of frank, childlike
admiration came into the dark gray eyes. ``You're not sickly,
yourself,'' replied Selma. Jane was disappointed that the voice
was not untamed Cossack, but was musically civilized.
``Yes, but I don't flaunt it as you do,'' rejoined Jane. ``You'd
make anyone who was the least bit off, furious.''
Selma, still with the child-like expression, but now one of
curiosity, was examining Jane's masculine riding dress. ``What a
sensible suit!'' she cried, delightedly. ``I'd wear something
like that all the time, if I dared.''
``Dared?'' said Jane. ``You don't look like the frightened
``Not on account of myself,'' explained Selma. ``On account of
the cause. You see, we are fighting for a new idea. So, we have
to be careful not to offend people's prejudices about ideas not
so important. If we went in for everything that's sensible, we'd
be regarded as cranks. One thing at a time.''
Jane's glance shifted to the fourth picture. ``Didn't you say
that was--Karl Marx?''
``He wrote a book on political economy. I tried to read it at
college. But I couldn't. It was too heavy for me. He was a
Socialist--wasn't he?--the founder of Socialism?''
``A great deal more than that,'' replied Selma. ``He was the
most important man for human liberty that ever lived--except
perhaps one.'' And she looked at Leonardo's ``man of sorrows and
acquainted with grief.''
``Marx was a--a Hebrew--wasn't he?''
Selma's eyes danced, and Jane felt that she was laughing at her
hesitation and choice of the softer word. Selma said:
``Yes--he was a Jew. Both were Jews.''
``Both?'' inquired Jane, puzzled.
``Marx and Jesus,'' explained Selma.
Jane was startled. ``So HE was a Jew--wasn't He?''
``And they were both labor leaders--labor agitators. The first
one proclaimed the brotherhood of man. But he regarded this
world as hopeless and called on the weary and heavy laden masses
to look to the next world for the righting of their wrongs.
Then--eighteen centuries after--came that second Jew''--Selma
looked passionate, reverent admiration at the powerful, bearded
face, so masterful, yet so kind--``and he said: `No! not in the
hereafter, but in the here. Here and now, my brothers. Let us
make this world a heaven. Let us redeem ourselves and destroy
the devil of ignorance who is holding us in this hell.' It was
three hundred years before that first Jew began to triumph. It
won't be so long before there are monuments to Marx in clean and
beautiful and free cities all over the earth.''
Jane listened intensely. There was admiring envy in her eyes as
she cried: ``How splendid!--to believe in something--and work
for it and live for it--as you do!''
Selma laughed, with a charming little gesture of the shoulders
and the hands that reminded Jane of her foreign parentage.
``Nothing else seems worth while,'' said she. ``Nothing else is
worth while. There are only two entirely great careers--to be a
teacher of the right kind and work to ease men's minds--as those
four did--or to be a doctor of the right kind and work to make
mankind healthy. All the suffering, all the crime, all the
wickedness, comes from ignorance or bad health--or both. Usually
it's simply bad health.''
Jane felt as if she were devoured of thirst and drinking at a
fresh, sparkling spring. ``I never thought of that before,''
said she.
``If you find out all about any criminal, big or little, you'll
discover that he had bad health--poisons in his blood that goaded
him on.''
Jane nodded. ``Whenever I'm difficult to get on with, I'm always
not quite well.''
``I can see that your disposition is perfect, when you are
well,'' said Selma.
``And yours,'' said Jane.
``Oh, I'm never out of humor,'' said Selma. ``You see, I'm never
sick--not the least bit.''
``You are Miss Gordon, aren't you?''
``Yes--I'm Selma Gordon.''
``My name is Jane Hastings.'' Then as this seemed to convey
nothing to Selma, Jane added: ``I'm not like you. I haven't an
individuality of my own--that anybody knows about. So, I'll have
to identify myself by saying that I'm Martin Hastings'
Jane confidently expected that this announcement would cause some
sort of emotion--perhaps of awe, perhaps of horror, certainly of
interest. She was disappointed. If Selma felt anything she did
not show it--and Jane was of the opinion that it would be well
nigh impossible for so direct and natural a person to conceal.
Jane went on:
``I read in your paper about your fund for sick children. I was
riding past your office--saw the sign --and I've come in to give
what I happen to have about me.'' She drew out the small roll of
bills and handed it to Selma.
The Russian girl--if it is fair thus to characterize one so
intensely American in manner, in accent and in speech--took the
money and said:
``We'll acknowledge it in the paper next week.''
Jane flushed and a thrill of alarm ran through her.
``Oh--please--no,'' she urged. ``I'd not like to have my name
mentioned. That would look as if I had done it to seem
charitable. Besides, it's such a trifle.''
Selma was calm and apparently unsuspicious. ``Very well,'' said
she. ``We'll write, telling what we did with the money, so that
you can investigate.''
``But I trust you entirely,'' cried Jane.
Selma shook her head. ``But we don't wish to be trusted,'' said
she. ``Only dishonest people wish to be trusted when it's
possible to avoid trusting. And we all need watching. It helps
us to keep straight.''
``Oh, I don't agree with you,'' protested Miss Hastings. ``Lots
of the time I'd hate to be watched. I don't want everybody to
know all I do.''
Selma's eyes opened. ``Why not?'' she said.
Jane cast about for a way to explain what seemed to her a
self-evident truth. ``I mean--privacy,'' she said. ``For
instance, if you were in love, you'd not want everybody to know
about it?''
``Yes, indeed,'' declared Selma. ``I'd be tremendously proud of
it. It must be wonderful to be in love.''
In one of those curious twists of feminine nature, Miss Hastings
suddenly felt the glow of a strong, unreserved liking for this
strange, candid girl.
Selma went on: ``But I'm afraid I never shall be. I get no time
to think about myself. From rising till bed time my work pushes
at me.'' She glanced uneasily at her desk, apologetically at
Miss Hastings. ``I ought to be writing this minute. The strike
is occupying Victor, and I'm helping out with his work.''
``I'm interrupting,'' said Jane. ``I'll go.'' She put out her
hand with her best, her sweetest smile. ``We're going to be
friends--aren't we?''
Selma clasped her hand heartily and said: ``We ARE friends. I
like everybody. There's always something to like in
everyone--and the bad part isn't their fault. But it isn't often
that I like anyone so much as I do you. You are so direct and
honest--quite different from the other women of your class that
I've met.''
Jane felt unaccountably grateful and humble. ``I'm afraid you're
too generous. I guess you're not a very good judge of people,''
she said.
``So Victor--Victor Dorn--says,'' laughed Selma. ``He says I'm
too confiding. Well--why not? And really, he trusts everybody,
too--except with the cause. Then he's--he's''--she glanced from
face to face of the four pictures--``he's like those men.''
Jane's glance followed Selma's. She said: ``Yes--I should
imagine so--from what I've heard.'' She startled, flushed, hid
behind a somewhat constrained manner. ``Will you come up to my
house to lunch?''
``If I can find time,'' said Selma. ``But I'd rather come and
take you for a walk. I have to walk two hours every day. It's
the only thing that'll keep my head clear.''
``When will you come?--to-morrow?''
``Is nine o'clock too early?''
Jane reflected that her father left for business at half-past
eight. ``Nine to-morrow,'' she said. ``Good- by again.''
As she was mounting her horse, she saw ``the Cossack girl,'' as
she was calling her, writing away at the window hardly three feet
above the level of Jane's head when she was mounted, so low was
the first story of the battered old frame house. But Selma did
not see her; she was all intent upon the writing. ``She's
forgotten me already,'' thought Jane with a pang of jealous
vanity. She added: ``But SHE has SOMETHING to think about-- she
and Victor Dorn.''
She was so preoccupied that she rode away with only an absent
thank you for the small boy, in an older and much larger and
wider brother's cast-off shirt, suspenders and trousers. At the
corner of the avenue she remembered and turned her horse. There
stood the boy gazing after her with a hypnotic intensity that
made her smile. She rode back fumbling in her pockets. ``I beg
your pardon,'' said she to the boy. Then she called up to Selma
``Miss Gordon--please--will you lend me a quarter until
Selma looked up, stared dazedly at her, smiled absently at Miss
Hastings--and Miss Hastings had the strongest confirmation of her
suspicion that Selma had forgotten her and her visit the instant
she vanished from the threshold of the office. Said Selma: ``A
quarter?--oh, yes--certainly.'' She seemed to be searching a
drawer or a purse out of sight. ``I haven't anything but a five
dollar bill. I'm so sorry'' --this in an absent manner, with
most of her thoughts evidently still upon her work. She rose,
leaned from the window, glanced up the street, then down. She
went on:
``There comes Victor Dorn. He'll lend it to you.''
Along the ragged brick walk at a quick pace the man who had in
such abrupt fashion stormed Jane Hasting's fancy and taken
possession of her curiosity was advancing with a basket on his
arm. He was indeed a man of small stature--about the medium
height for a woman--about the height of Jane Hastings. But his
figure was so well put together and his walk so easy and free
from self-consciousness that the question of stature no sooner
arose than it was dismissed. His head commanded all the
attention--its poise and the remarkable face that fronted it.
The features were bold, the skin was clear and healthy and rather
fair. His eyes--gray or green blue and set neither prominently
nor retreatedly--seemed to be seeing and understanding all that
was going on about him. He had a strong, rather relentless
mouth-- the mouth of men who make and compel sacrifices for their
``Victor,'' cried Selma as soon as he was within easy range of
her voice, ``please lend Miss Hastings a quarter.'' And she
immediately sat down and went to work again, with the incident
dismissed from mind.
The young man--for he was plainly not far beyond thirty--halted
and regarded the young woman on the horse.
``I wish to give this young gentleman here a quarter,'' said
Jane. ``He was very good about holding my horse.''
The words were not spoken before the young gentleman darted
across the narrow street and into a yard hidden by masses of
clematis, morning glory and sweet peas. And Jane realized that
she had wholly mistaken the meaning of that hypnotic stare.
Victor laughed--the small figure, the vast clothes, the bare feet
with voluminous trousers about them made a ludicrous sight. ``He
doesn't want it,'' said Victor. ``Thank you just the same.''
``But I want him to have it,'' said Jane.
With a significant unconscious glance at her costume Dorn said:
``Those costumes haven't reached our town yet.''
``He did some work for me. I owe it to him.''
``He's my sister's little boy,'' said Dorn, with his amiable,
friendly smile. ``We mustn't start him in the bad way of
expecting pay for politeness.''
Jane colored as if she had been rebuked, when in fact his tone
forbade the suggestion of rebuke. There was an unpleasant
sparkle in her eyes as she regarded the young man in the baggy
suit, with the basket on his arm. ``I beg your pardon,'' said
she coldly. ``I naturally didn't know your peculiar point of
``That's all right,'' said Dorn carelessly. ``Thank you, and
good day.'' And with a polite raising of the hat and a manner of
good humored friendliness that showed how utterly unconscious he
was of her being offended at him, he hastened across the street
and went in at the gate where the boy had vanished. And Jane had
the sense that he had forgotten her. She glanced nervously up at
the window to see whether Selma Gordon was witnessing her
humiliation--for so she regarded it. But Selma was evidently
lost in a world of her own. ``She doesn't love him,'' Jane
decided. ``For, even though she is a strange kind of person,
she's a woman--and if she had loved him she couldn't have helped
watching while he talked with another woman-- especially with one
of my appearance and class.''
Jane rode slowly away. At the corner--it was a long block--she
glanced toward the scene she had just quitted. Involuntarily she
drew rein. Victor and the boy had come out into the street and
were playing catches. The game did not last long. Dorn let the
boy corner him and seize him, then gave him a great toss into the
air, catching him as he came down and giving him a hug and a
kiss. The boy ran shouting merrily into the yard; Victor
disappeared in the entrance to the offices of the New Day.
That evening, as she pretended to listen to Hull on national
politics, and while dressing the following morning Jane reflected
upon her adventure. She decided that Dorn and the ``wild girl''
were a low, ill-mannered pair with whom she had nothing in
common, that her fantastic, impulsive interest in them had been
killed, that for the future she would avoid ``all that sort of
cattle.'' She would receive Selma Gordon politely, of
course--would plead headache as an excuse for not walking, would
get rid of her as soon as possible. ``No doubt,'' thought Jane,
with the familiar, though indignantly denied, complacence of her
class, ``as soon as she gets in here she'll want to hang on. She
played it very well, but she must have been crazy with delight at
my noticing her and offering to take her up.''
The postman came as Jane was finishing breakfast. He brought a
note from Selma--a hasty pencil scrawl on a sheet of printer's
copy paper:
``Dear Miss Hastings: For the present I'm too busy to take my
walks. So, I'll not be there to-morrow. With best regards, S.
Such a fury rose up in Jane that the undigested breakfast went
wrong and put her in condition to give such exhibition as chance
might tempt of that ugliness of disposition which appears from
time to time in all of us not of the meek and worm-like class,
and which we usually attribute to any cause under the sun but the
vulgar right one. ``The impertinence!'' muttered Jane, with a
second glance at the note which conveyed; among other humiliating
things, an impression of her own absolute lack of importance to
Selma Gordon. ``Serves me right for lowering myself to such
people. If I wanted to try to do anything for the working class
I'd have to keep away from them. They're so unattractive to look
at and to associate with--not like those shrewd, respectful,
interesting peasants one finds on the other side. They're better
in the East. They know their place in a way. But out here
they're insufferable.''
And she spent the morning quarrelling with her maid and the other
servants, issuing orders right and left, working herself into a
horrible mood dominated by a headache that was anything but a
pretense. As she wandered about the house and gardens, she
trailed a beautiful negligee with that carelessness which in a
woman of clean and orderly habits invariably indicates the
possession of many clothes and of a maid who can be counted on to
freshen things up before they shall be used again. Her father
came home to lunch in high good humor.
``I'll not go down town again for a few days,'' said he. ``I
reckon I'd best keep out of the way. That scoundrelly Victor
Dorn has done so much lying and inciting these last four or five
years that it ain't safe for a man like me to go about when
there's trouble with the hands.''
``Isn't it outrageous!'' exclaimed Jane. ``He ought to be
Hastings chuckled and nodded. ``And he will be,'' said he.
``Wait till this strike's over.''
``When will that be?'' asked Jane.
``Mighty soon,'' replied her father. ``I was ready for 'em this
time--good and ready. I've sent word to the governor that I want
the militia down here tomorrow----''
``Has there been a riot?'' cried Jane anxiously.
``Not yet,'' said Hastings. He was laughing to himself. ``But
there will be to-night. Then the governor'll send the troops in
to-morrow afternoon.''
``But maybe the men'll be quiet, and then----'' began Jane, sick
inside and trembling.
``When I say a thing'll happen, it'll happen,'' interrupted her
father. ``We've made up our minds it's time to give these
fellows a lesson. It's got to be done. A milder lesson'll serve
now, where later on it'd have to be hard. I tell you these
things because I want you to remember 'em. They'll come in
handy--when you'll have to look after your own property.''
She knew how her father hated the thought of his own death; this
was the nearest he had ever come to speaking of it. ``Of course,
there's your brother William,'' he went on. ``William's a good
boy--and a mighty good business man--though he does take risks
I'd never 'a took--not even when I was young and had nothing to
lose. Yes--and Billy's honest. BUT''--the big head shook
impressively--``William's human, Jenny --don't ever forget that.
The love of money's an awful thing.'' A lustful glitter like the
shine of an inextinguishable fire made his eyes fascinating and
terrible. ``It takes hold of a man and never lets go. To see
the money pile up--and up--and up.''
The girl turned away her gaze. She did not wish to see so far
into her father's soul. It seemed a hideous indecency.
``So, Jenny--don't trust William, but look after your own
``Oh, I don't care anything about it, popsy,'' she cried,
fighting to think of him and to speak to him as simply the living
father she had always insisted on seeing.
``Yes--you do care,'' said Hastings sharply. ``You've got to
have your money, because that's your foundation-- what you're
built on. And I'm going to train you. This here strike's a good
time to begin.''
After a long silence she said: ``Yes, money's what I'm built on.
I might as well recognize the truth and act accordingly. I want
you to teach me, father.''
``I've got to educate you so as, when you get control, you won't
go and do fool sentimental things like some women--and some men
that warn't trained practically-- men like that Davy Hull you
think so well of. Things that'd do no good and 'd make you
smaller and weaker.''
``I understand,'' said the girl. ``About this strike-- WHY won't
you give the men shorter hours and better pay?''
``Because the company can't afford it. As things are now,
there's only enough left for a three per cent dividend after the
interest on the bonds is paid.''
She had read in the New Day that by a series of tricks the
``traction ring'' had quadrupled the bonded indebtedness of the
roads and multiplied the stock by six, and had pocketed the
proceeds of the steal; that three per cent on the enormously
inflated capital was in fact eighteen per cent on the actual
stock value; that seven per cent on the bonds was in fact twentyeight
per cent on the actual bonded indebtedness; that this
traction steal was a fair illustration of how in a score of ways
in Remsen City, in a thousand and one ways in all parts of the
country, the upper class was draining away the substance of the
masses, was swindling them out of their just wages, was forcing
them to pay many times the just prices for every article of
civilized use. She had read these things--she had thought about
them--she had realized that they were true.
She did not put to her father the question that was on her
lips--the next logical question after his answer that the company
could not afford to cut the hours lower than fourteen or to raise
wages to what was necessary for a man to have if he and his
family were to live, not in decency and comfort, but in something
less than squalor. She did not put the question because she
wished to spare her father--to spare herself the shame of hearing
his tricky answer--to spare herself the discomfort of squarely
facing a nasty truth.
Instead she said: ``I understand. And you have got to look out
for the rights of the people who have invested their money.''
``If I didn't I'd be cheating them,'' said Hastings. ``And if
the men don't like their jobs, why, they can quit and get jobs
they do like.'' He added, in absolute unconsciousness of his
inconsistency, in absolute belief in his own honesty and
goodness, ``The truth is our company pays as high wages as can be
got anywhere. As for them hours--when _I_ was working my way up,
_I_ used to put in sixteen and eighteen hours a day, and was
mighty glad to do it. This lazy talk of cutting down hours makes
me sick. And these fellows that're always kicking on their jobs,
I'd like to know what'd become of them and their families if I
and men like me didn't provide work for 'em.''
``Yes, indeed!'' cried Jane, eagerly seizing upon this attractive
view of the situation--and resolutely accepting it without
In came one of the maids, saying: ``There's a man wants to see
you, Mr. Hastings.''
``What's his name? What does he want?'' inquired Hastings, while
Jane made a mental note that she must try to inject at least a
little order and form into the manners of announcing visitors.
``He didn't give a name. He just said, `Tell the old man I want
to see him.' I ain't sure, but I think it's Dick Kelly.''
As Lizzie was an ardent Democrat, she spoke the name
contemptuously--for Dick Kelly was the Republican boss. If it
had been House, the Democratic boss and Kelly's secret dependent
and henchman, she would have said ``Mr. Joseph House'' in a tone
of deep respect.
``Kelly,'' said Hastings. ``Must be something important or he'd
'a telephoned or asked me to see him at my office or at the
Lincoln Club. He never came out here before. Bring him in,
A moment and there appeared in the doorway a man of perhaps forty
years who looked like a prosperous contractor who had risen from
the ranks. His figure was notable for its solidity and for the
power of the shoulders; but already there were indications that
the solidity, come of hard manual labor in early life, was soon
to soften into fat under the melting influence of prosperity and
the dissipation it put within too easy reach. The striking
features of his face were a pair of keen, hard, greenish eyes and
a jaw that protruded uglily--the jaw of aggressiveness, not the
too prominent jaw of weakness. At sight of Jane he halted
``How're you, Mr. Hastings?'' said he.
``Hello, Dick,'' said the old man. ``This is my daughter Jane.''
Jane smiled a pleasant recognition of the introduction. Kelly
said stiffly, ``How're you, ma'am?''
``Want to see me alone, I suppose?'' Hastings went on. ``You go
out on the porch, Jenny.''
As soon as Jane disappeared Kelly's stiffness and clumsiness
vanished. To head off Hastings' coming offer of a cigar, he drew
one from his pocket and lighted it. ``There's hell to pay, Mr.
Hastings,'' he began, seating himself near the old man, tilting
back in his chair and crossing his legs.
``Well, I reckon you can take care of it,'' said Hastings calmly.
``Oh, yes, we kin take care of it, all right. Only, I don't want
to do nothing without consulting you.''
In these two statements Mr. Kelly summed up the whole of politics
in Remsen City, in any city anywhere, in the country at large.
Kelly had started life as a blacksmith. But he soon tired of the
dullness and toil and started forth to find some path up to where
men live by making others work for them instead of plodding along
at the hand-to- mouth existence that is the lot of those who live
by their own labors alone. He was a safe blower for a while, but
wisely soon abandoned that fascinating but precarious and
unremunerative career. From card sharp following the circus and
sheet-writer to a bookmaker he graduated into bartender, into
proprietor of a doggery. As every saloon is a political club,
every saloon- keeper is of necessity a politician. Kelly's
woodbox happened to be a convenient place for directing the
floaters and the repeaters. Kelly's political importance grew
apace. His respectability grew more slowly. But it had grown
and was growing.
If you had asked Lizzie, the maid, why she was a Democrat, she
would have given no such foolish reason as the average man gives.
She would not have twaddled about principles--when everyone with
eyeteeth cut ought to know that principles have departed from
politics, now that both parties have been harmonized and
organized into agencies of the plutocracy. She would not have
said she was a Democrat because her father was, or because all
her friends and associates were. She would have replied--in
pleasantly Americanized Irish:
``I'm a Democrat because when my father got too old to work, Mr.
House, the Democrat leader, gave him a job on the elevator at the
Court House--though that dirty thief and scoundrel, Kelly, the
Republican boss, owned all the judges and county officers. And
when my brother lost his place as porter because he took a drink
too many, Mr. House gave him a card to the foreman of the gas
company, and he went to work at eight a week and is there yet.''
Mr. Kelly and Mr. House belong to a maligned and much
misunderstood class. Whenever you find anywhere in nature an
activity of any kind, however pestiferous its activity may seem
to you--or however good --you may be sure that if you look deep
enough you will find that that activity has a use, arises from a
need. The ``robber trusts'' and the political bosses are
interesting examples of this basic truth. They have arisen
because science, revolutionizing human society, has compelled it
to organize. The organization is crude and clumsy and stupid, as
yet, because men are ignorant, are experimenting, are working in
the dark. So, the organizing forces are necessarily crude and
clumsy and stupid.
Mr. Hastings was--all unconsciously--organizing society
industrially. Mr. Kelly--equally unconscious of the true nature
of his activities--was organizing society politically. And as
industry and politics are--and ever have been--at bottom two
names for identically the same thing, Mr. Hastings and Mr. Kelly
were bound sooner or later to get together.
Remsen City was organized like every other large or largish
community. There were two clubs--the Lincoln and the
Jefferson--which well enough represented the ``respectable
elements''--that is, those citizens who were of the upper class.
There were two other clubs--the Blaine and the Tilden--which were
similarly representative of the ``rank and file'' and, rather, of
the petty officers who managed the rank and file and voted it and
told it what to think and what not to think, in exchange taking
care of the needy sick, of the aged, of those out of work and so
on. Martin Hastings--the leading Republican citizen of Remsen
City, though for obvious reasons his political activities were
wholly secret and stealthy--was the leading spirit in the Lincoln
Club. Jared Olds-- Remsen City's richest and most influential
Democrat, the head of the gas company and the water company-- was
foremost in the Jefferson Club. At the Lincoln and the Jefferson
you rarely saw any but ``gentlemen'' --men of established
position and fortune, deacons and vestrymen, judges, corporation
lawyers and the like. The Blaine and the Tilden housed a
livelier and a far less select class--the ``boys''--the active
politicians, the big saloon keepers, the criminal lawyers, the
gamblers, the chaps who knew how to round up floaters and to
handle gangs of repeaters, the active young sports working for
political position, by pitching and carrying for the political
leaders, by doing their errands of charity or crookedness or what
not. Joe House was the ``big shout'' at the Tilden; Dick Kelly
could be found every evening on the third --or ``wine,'' or
plotting--floor of the Blaine-- found holding court. And very
respectful indeed were even the most eminent of Lincoln, or
Jefferson, respectabilities who sought him out there to ask
favors of him.
The bosses tend more and more to become mere flunkeys of the
plutocrats. Kelly belonged to the old school of boss, dating
from the days when social organization was in the early stages,
when the political organizer was feared and even served by the
industrial organizer, the embryo plutocrats. He realized how
necessary he was to his plutocratic master, and he made that
master treat him almost as an equal. He was exacting ever larger
pay for taking care of the voters and keeping them fooled; he was
getting rich, and had as yet vague aspirations to respectability
and fashion. He had stopped drinking, had ``cut out the women,''
had made a beginning toward a less inelegant way of speaking the
language. His view of life was what is called cynical. That is,
he regarded himself as morally the equal of the respectable
rulers of society--or of the preachers who attended to the
religious part of the grand industry of ``keeping the cow quiet
while it was being milked.''
But Mr. Kelly was explaining to Martin Hastings what he meant
when he said that there was ``hell to pay'':
``That infernal little cuss, Victor Dorn,'' said he ``made a
speech in the Court House Square to-day. Of course, none of the
decent papers--and they're all decent except his'n--will publish
any of it. Still, there was about a thousand people there before
he got through--and the thing'll spread.''
``Speech?--what about?'' said Hastings. ``He's always shooting
off his mouth. He'd better stop talking and go to work at some
honest business.''
``He's got on to the fact that this strike is a put-up job--that
the company hired labor detectives in Chicago last winter to come
down here and get hold of the union. He gave names--amounts
paid--the whole damn thing.''
``Um,'' said Hastings, rubbing his skinny hands along the shiny
pantaloons over his meagre legs. ``Um.''
``But that ain't all,'' pursued Kelly. ``He read out a list of
the men told off to pretend to set fire to the car barns and
start the riot--those Chicago chaps, you know.''
``I don't know anything about it,'' said Hastings sharply.
Kelly smiled slightly--amused scorn. It seemed absurd to him for
the old man to keep up the pretense of ignorance. In fact,
Hastings was ignorant--of the details. He was not quite the
aloof plutocrat of the modern school, who permits himself to know
nothing of details beyond the dividend rate and similar innocent
looking results of causes at which sometimes hell itself would
shudder. But, while he was more active than the
conscience-easing devices now working smoothly made necessary, he
never permitted himself to know any unnecessary criminal or
wicked fact about his enterprises.
``I don't know,'' he repeated. ``And I don't want to know.''
``Anyhow, Dorn gave away the whole thing. He even read a copy of
your letter of introduction to the governor--the one
you--according to Dorn--gave Fillmore when you sent him up to the
Capitol to arrange for the invitation to come after the riot.''
Hastings knew that the boss was deliberately ``rubbing it in''
because Hastings--that is, Hastings' agents had not invited Kelly
to assist in the project for ``teaching the labor element a much
needed lesson.'' But knowledge of Kelly's motive did not make
the truth he was telling any less true--the absurd mismanagement
of the whole affair, with the result that Dorn seemed in the way
to change it from a lesson to labor on the folly of revolt
against their kind and generous but firm employers into a
provoker of fresh and fiercer revolt --effective
revolt--political revolt. So, as Kelly ``rubbed,'' Hastings
visibly winced and writhed.
Kelly ended his recital with: ``The speech created a hell of a
sensation, Mr. Hastings. That young chap can talk.''
``Yes,'' snapped Hastings. ``But he can't do anything else.''
``I'm not so sure of that,'' replied Kelly, who was wise enough
to realize the value of a bogey like Dorn --its usefulness for
purposes of ``throwing a scare into the silk-stocking crowd.''
``Dorn's getting mighty strong with the people.''
``Stuff and nonsense!'' retorted Hastings. ``They'll listen to
any slick tongued rascal that roasts those that are more
prosperous than they are. But when it comes to doing anything,
they know better. They envy and hate those that give them jobs,
but they need the jobs.''
``There's a good deal of truth in that, Mr. Hastings,'' said
Kelly, who was nothing if not judicial. ``But Dorn's mighty
plausible. I hear sensible men saying there's something more'n
hot air in his facts and figgures.'' Kelly paused, and made the
pause significant.
``About that last block of traction stock, Mr. Hastings. I
thought you were going to let me in on the ground floor. But I
ain't heard nothing.''
``You ARE in,'' said Hastings, who knew when to yield. ``Hasn't
Barker been to see you? I'll attend to it, myself.''
``Thank you, Mr. Hastings,'' said Kelly--dry and brief as always
when receipting with a polite phrase for pay for services
rendered. ``I've been a good friend to your people.''
``Yes, you have, Dick,'' said the old man heartily. ``And I want
you to jump in and take charge.''
Hastings more than suspected that Kelly, to bring him to terms
and to force him to employ directly the high-priced Kelly or
Republico-Democratic machine as well as the State
Republico-Democratic machine, which was cheaper, had got together
the inside information and had ordered one of his henchmen to
convey it to Dorn. But of what use to quarrel with Kelly? Of
course, he could depose him; but that would simply mean putting
another boss in his place--perhaps one more expensive and less
efficient. The time had been when he--and the plutocracy
generally--were compelled to come to the political bosses almost
hat in hand. That time was past, never to return. But still a
competent political agent was even harder to find than a
competent business manager--and was far more necessary; for,
while a big business might stagger along under poor financial or
organizing management within, it could not live at all without
political favors, immunities, and licenses. A band of
pickpockets might as well try to work a town without having first
``squared'' the police. Not that Mr. Hastings and his friends
THEMSELVES compared themselves to a band of pickpockets. No,
indeed. It was simply legitimate business to blackjack your
competitors, corner a supply, create a monopoly and fix prices
and wages to suit your own notions of what was your due for
taking the ``hazardous risks of business enterprise.''
``Leave everything to me,'' said Kelly briskly. ``I can put the
thing through. Just tell your lawyer to apply late this
afternoon to Judge Lansing for an injunction forbidding the
strikers to assemble anywhere within the county. We don't want
no more of this speechifying. This is a peaceable community, and
it won't stand for no agitators.''
``Hadn't the lawyers better go to Judge Freilig?'' said Hastings.
``He's shown himself to be a man of sound ideas.''
``No--Lansing,'' said Kelly. ``He don't come up for re-election
for five years. Freilig comes up next fall, and we'll have hard
work to pull him through, though House is going to put him on the
ticket, too. Dorn's going to make a hot campaign--concentrate on
``There's nothing in that Dorn talk,'' said Hastings. ``You
can't scare me again, Dick, as you did with that Populist mare's
nest ten years ago.''
That had been Kelly's first ``big killing'' by working on the
fears of the plutocracy. Its success had put him in a position
to buy a carriage and a diamond necklace for Mrs. Kelly and to
make first payments on a large block of real estate. ``It was no
mare's nest, Mr. Hastings,'' gravely declared the boss. ``If I
hadn't 'a knowed just how to use the money we collected, there'd
'a been a crowd in office for four years that wouldn't 'a been
easy to manage, I can tell you. But they was nothing to this
here Dorn crowd. Dorn is----''
``We must get rid of him, Dick,'' interrupted Hastings.
The two men looked at each other--a curious glance --telegraphy.
No method was suggested, no price was offered or accepted. But
in the circumstances those matters became details that would
settle themselves; the bargain was struck.
``He certainly ought to be stopped,'' said Kelly carelessly.
``He's the worst enemy the labor element has had in my time.''
He rose. ``Well, Mr. Hastings, I must be going.'' He extended
his heavy, strong hand, which Hastings rose to grasp. ``I'm glad
we're working together again without any hitches. You won't
forget about that there stock?''
``I'll telephone about it right away, Dick--and about Judge
Lansing. You're sure Lansing's all right? I didn't like those
decisions of his last year--the railway cases, I mean.''
``That was all right, Mr. Hastings,'' said Kelly with a wave of
the hand. ``I had to have 'em in the interests of the party. I
knowed the upper court'd reverse. No, Lansing's a good party
man--a good, sound man in every way.''
``I'm glad to hear it,'' said Hastings.
Before going into his private room to think and plan and
telephone, he looked out on the west veranda. There sat his
daughter; and a few feet away was David Hull, his long form
stretched in a hammock while he discoursed of his projects for a
career as a political reformer. The sight immensely pleased the
old man. When he was a boy David Hull's grandfather, Brainerd
Hull, had been the great man of that region; and Martin Hastings,
a farm hand and the son of a farm hand, had looked up at him as
the embodiment of all that was grand and aristocratic. As
Hastings had never travelled, his notions of rank and position
all centred about Remsen City. Had he realized the extent of the
world, he would have regarded his ambition for a match between
the daughter and granddaughter of a farm hand and the son and
grandson of a Remsen City aristocrat as small and ridiculous.
But he did not realize.
Davy saw him and sprang to his feet.
``No--no--don't disturb yourselves,'' cried the old man. ``I've
got some things to 'tend to. You and Jenny go right ahead.''
And he was off to his own little room where he conducted his own
business in his own primitive but highly efficacious way. A
corps of expert accountants could not have disentangled those
crabbed, criss-crossed figures; no solver of puzzles could have
unravelled the mystery of those strange hieroglyphics. But to
the old man there wasn't a difficult--or a dull--mark in that
entire set of dirty, dog-eared little account books. He spent
hours in poring over them. Just to turn the pages gave him keen
pleasure; to read, and to reconstruct from those hints the whole
story of some agitating and profitable operation, made in
comparison the delight of an imaginative boy in Monte Cristo or
Crusoe seem a cold and tame emotion.
David talked on and on, fancying that Jane was listening and
admiring, when in fact she was busy with her own entirely
different train of thought. She kept the young man going because
she did not wish to be bored with her own solitude, because a man
about always made life at least a little more interesting than if
she were alone or with a woman, and because Davy was good to look
at and had an agreeable voice.
``Why, who's that?'' she suddenly exclaimed, gazing off to the
Davy turned and looked. ``I don't know her,'' he said. ``Isn't
she queer looking--yet I don't know just why.''
``It's Selma Gordon,'' said Jane, who had recognized Selma the
instant her eyes caught a figure moving across the lawn.
``The girl that helps Victor Dorn?'' said Davy, astonished.
``What's SHE coming HERE for? You don't know her--do you?''
``Don't you?'' evaded Jane. ``I thought you and Mr. Dorn were
such pals.''
``Pals?'' laughed Hull. ``Hardly that. We meet now and then at
a workingman's club I'm interested in--and at a cafe' where I
go to get in touch with the people occasionally--and in the
street. But I never go to his office. I couldn't afford to do
that. And I've never seen Miss Gordon.''
``Well, she's worth seeing,'' said Jane. ``You'll never see
another like her.''
They rose and watched her advancing. To the usual person,
acutely conscious of self, walking is not easy in such
circumstances. But Selma, who never bothered about herself, came
on with that matchless steady grace which peasant girls often get
through carrying burdens on the head. Jane called out:
``So, you've come, after all.''
Selma smiled gravely. Not until she was within a few feet of the
steps did she answer: ``Yes--but on business.'' She was wearing
the same linen dress. On her head was a sailor hat, beneath the
brim of which her amazingly thick hair stood out in a kind of
defiance. This hat, this further article of Western
civilization's dress, added to the suggestion of the absurdity of
such a person in such clothing. But in her strange Cossack way
she certainly was beautiful--and as healthy and hardy as if she
had never before been away from the high, wind-swept plateaus
where disease is unknown and where nothing is thought of living
to be a hundred or a hundred and twenty-five. Both before and
after the introduction Davy Hull gazed at her with fascinated
curiosity too plainly written upon his long, sallow, serious
face. She, intent upon her mission, ignored him as the arrow
ignores the other birds of the flock in its flight to the one at
which it is aimed.
``You'll give me a minute or two alone?'' she said to Jane. ``We
can walk on the lawn here.''
Hull caught up his hat. ``I was just going,'' said he. Then he
hesitated, looked at Selma, stammered: ``I'll go to the edge of
the lawn and inspect the view.''
Neither girl noted this abrupt and absurd change of plan. He
departed. As soon as he had gone half a dozen steps, Selma said
in her quick, direct fashion:
``I've come to see you about the strike.''
Jane tried to look cool and reserved. But that sort of
expression seemed foolish in face of the simplicity and candor of
Selma Gordon. Also, Jane was not now so well pleased with her
father's ideas and those of her own interest as she had been
while she was talking with him. The most exasperating thing
about the truth is that, once one has begun to see it--has begun
to see what is for him the truth--the honest truth--he can not
hide from it ever again. So, instead of looking cold and
repellant, Jane looked uneasy and guilty. ``Oh, yes--the
strike,'' she murmured.
``It is over,'' said Selma. ``The union met a half hour ago and
revoked its action--on Victor Dorn's advice. He showed the men
that they had been trapped into striking by the company--that a
riot was to be started and blamed upon them--that the militia was
to be called in and they were to be shot down.''
``Oh, no--not that!'' cried Jane eagerly. ``It wouldn't have
gone as far as that.''
``Yes--as far as that,'' said Selma calmly. ``That sort of thing
is an old story. It's been done so often --and worse. You see,
the respectable gentlemen who run things hire disreputable
creatures. They don't tell them what to do. They don't need to.
The poor wretches understand what's expected of them-- and they
do it. So, the respectable gentlemen can hold up white hands and
say quite truthfully, 'No blood-no filth on these--see!''' Selma
was laughing drearily. Her superb, primitive eyes, set ever so
little aslant, were flashing with an intensity of emotion that
gave Jane Hastings a sensation of terror-much as if a man who has
always lived where there were no storms, but such gentle little
rains with restrained and refined thunder as usually visit the
British Isles, were to find himself in the midst of one of those
awful convulsions that come crashing down the gorges of the
Rockies. She marveled that one so small of body could contain
such big emotions.
``You mustn't be unjust,'' she pleaded. ``WE aren't THAT wicked,
my dear.''
Selma looked at her. ``No matter,'' she said. ``I am not trying
to convert you--or to denounce your friends to you. I'll explain
what I've come for. In his speech to-day and in inducing the
union to change, Victor has shown how much power he has. The men
whose plans he has upset will be hating him as men hate only
those whom they fear.''
``Yes--I believe that,'' said Jane. ``So, you see, I'm not
blindly prejudiced.''
``For a long time there have been rumors that they might kill
``Absurd!'' cried Jane angrily. ``Miss Gordon, no matter how
prejudiced you may be--and I'll admit there are many things to
justify you in feeling strongly --but no matter how you may feel,
your good sense must tell you that men like my father don't
commit murder.''
``I understand perfectly,'' replied Selma. ``They don't commit
murder, and they don't order murder. I'll even say that I don't
think they would tolerate murder, even for their benefit. But
you don't know how things are done in business nowadays. The men
like your father have to use men of the Kelly and the House
sort--you know who they are?''
``Yes,'' said Jane.
``The Kellys and the Houses give general orders to their
lieutenants. The lieutenants pass the orders along --and down.
And so on, until all sorts of men are engaged in doing all sorts
of work. Dirty, clean, criminal--all sorts. Some of these men,
baffled in what they are trying to do to earn their pay--baffled
by Victor Dorn--plot against him.'' Again that sad, bitter
laugh. ``My dear Miss Hastings, to kill a cat there are a
thousand ways besides skinning it alive.''
``You are prejudiced,'' said Jane, in the manner of one who could
not be convinced.
Selma made an impatient gesture. ``Again I say, no matter.
Victor laughs at our fears----''
``I knew it,'' said Jane triumphantly. ``He is less foolish than
his followers.''
``He simply does not think about himself,'' replied Selma. ``And
he is right. But it is our business to think about him, because
we need him. Where could we find another like him?''
"Yes, I suppose your movement WOULD die out, if he were not
behind it.''
Selma smiled peculiarly. ``I think you don't quite understand
what we are about,'' said she. ``You've accepted the ignorant
notion of your class that we are a lot of silly roosters trying
to crow one sun out of the heavens and another into it. The
facts are somewhat different. Your class is saying, `To-day will
last forever,' while we are saying, `No, to-day will run its
course--will be succeeded by to-morrow. Let us not live like the
fool who thinks only of the day. Let us be sensible,
intelligent, let us realize that there will be to-morrow and that
it, too, must be lived. Let us get ready to live it sensibly.
Let us build our social system so that it will stand the wear and
tear of another day and will not fall in ruins about our heads.'
``I am terribly ignorant about all these things,'' said Jane.
``What a ridiculous thing my education has been!''
``But it hasn't spoiled your heart,'' cried Selma. And all at
once her eyes were wonderfully soft and tender, and into her
voice came a tone so sweet that Jane's eyes filled with tears.
``It was to your heart that I came to appeal,'' she went on.
``Oh, Miss Hastings--we will do all we can to protect Victor Dorn
--and we guard him day and night without his knowing it. But I
am afraid--afraid! And I want you to help. Will you?''
``I'll do anything I can,'' said Jane--a Jane very different from
the various Janes Miss Hastings knew --a Jane who seemed to be
conjuring of Selma Gordon's enchantments.
``I want you to ask your father to give him a fair show. We
don't ask any favors--for ourselves--for him. But we don't want
to see him--'' Selma shuddered and covered her eyes with her
hands ``--lying dead in some alley, shot or stabbed by some
unknown thug!''
Selma made it so vivid that Jane saw the whole tragedy before her
very eyes.
``The real reason why they hate him,'' Selma went on, ``is
because he preaches up education and preaches down violence--and
is building his party on intelligence instead of on force. The
masters want the workingman who burns and kills and riots. They
can shoot him down. They can make people accept any tyranny in
preference to the danger of fire and murder let loose. But
Victor is teaching the workingmen to stop playing the masters'
game for them. No wonder they hate him! He makes them afraid of
the day when the united workingmen will have their way by
organizing and voting. And they know that if Victor Dorn lives,
that day will come in this city very, very soon.'' Selma saw
Davy Hull, impatient at his long wait, advancing toward them.
She said: ``You will talk to your father?''
``Yes,'' said Jane. ``And I assure you he will do what he can.
You don't know him, Miss Gordon.''
``I know he loves you--I know he MUST love you,'' said Selma.
``Now, I must go. Good-by. I knew you would be glad of the
chance to do something worth while.''
Jane had been rather expecting to be thanked for her generosity
and goodness. Selma's remark seemed at first blush an irritating
attempt to shift a favor asked into a favor given. But it was
impossible for her to fail to see Selma's sensible statement of
the actual truth. So, she said honestly:
``Thank you for coming, Miss Gordon. I am glad of the chance.''
They shook hands. Selma, holding her hand, looked up at her,
suddenly kissed her. Jane returned the kiss. David Hull,
advancing with his gaze upon them, stopped short. Selma, without
a glance--because without a thought--in his direction, hastened
When David rejoined Jane, she was gazing tenderly after the
small, graceful figure moving toward the distant entrance gates.
Said David:
``I think that girl has got you hypnotized.''
Jane laughed and sent him home. ``I'm busy,'' she said. ``I've
got something to do, at last.''
Jane knocked at the door of her father's little office. ``Are
you there, father?'' said she.
``Yes--come in, Jinny.'' As she entered, he went on, ``But you
must go right away again. I've got to 'tend to this strike.''
He took on an injured, melancholy tone. ``Those fool workingmen!
They're certain to lose. And what'll come of it all? Why,
they'll be out their wages and their jobs, and the company lose
so much money that it can't put on the new cars the public's
clamorin' for. The old cars'll have to do for another year,
anyhow--maybe two.''
Jane had heard that lugubrious tone from time to time, and she
knew what it meant--an air of sorrow concealing secret joy. So,
here was another benefit the company--she preferred to think of
it as the company rather than as her father--expected to gain
from the strike. It could put off replacing the miserable old
cars in which it was compelling people to ride. Instead of
losing money by the strike, it would make money by it. This was
Jane's first glimpse of one of the most interesting and important
truths of modern life--how it is often to the advantage of
business men to have their own business crippled, hampered,
stopped altogether.
``You needn't worry, father,'' said she cheerfully. ``The
strike's been declared off.''
``What's that?'' cried her father.
``A girl from down town just called. She says the union has
called the strike off and the men have accepted the company's
``But them terms is withdrawn!'' cried Hastings, as if his
daughter were the union. He seized the telephone. ``I'll call
up the office and order 'em withdrawn.''
``It's too late,'' said she.
Just then the telephone bell rang, and Hastings was soon hearing
confirmation of the news his daughter had brought him. She could
not bear watching his face as he listened. She turned her back,
stood gazing out at the window. Her father, beside himself, was
shrieking into the telephone curses, denunciations, impossible
orders. The one emergency against which he had not provided was
the union's ending the strike. When you have struck the line of
battle of a general, however able and self-controlled, in the one
spot where he has not arranged a defense, you have thrown him--
and his army--into a panic. Some of the greatest tactitians in
history have given way in those circumstances; so, Martin
Hastings' utter loss of self-control and of control of the
situation only proves that he had his share of human nature. He
had provided against the unexpected; he had not provided against
the impossible.
Jane let her father rave on into the telephone until his voice
grew hoarse and squeaky. Then she turned and said: ``Now,
father--what's the use of making yourself sick? You can't do any
good--can you?'' She laid one hand on his arm, with the other
hand caressed his head. ``Hang up the receiver and think of your
``I don't care to live, with such goings-on,'' declared he. But
he hung up the receiver and sank back in his chair, exhausted.
``Come out on the porch,'' she went on, tugging gently at him.
``The air's stuffy in here.''
He rose obediently. She led him to the veranda and seated him
comfortably, with a cushion in his back at the exact spot at
which it was most comfortable. She patted his shrunken cheeks,
stood off and looked at him.
``Where's your sense of humor?'' she cried. ``You used to be
able to laugh when things went against you. You're getting to be
as solemn and to take yourself as seriously as Davy Hull.''
The old man made a not unsuccessful attempt to smile. ``That
there Victor Dorn!'' said he. ``He'll be the death of me, yet.''
``What has he done now?'' said Jane, innocently.
Hastings rubbed his big bald forehead with his scrawny hand.
``He's tryin' to run this town--to run it to the devil,'' replied
he, by way of evasion.
``Something's got to be done about him--eh?'' observed she, in a
fine imitation of a business-like voice.
``Something WILL be done,'' retorted he.
Jane winced--hid her distress--returned to the course she had
mapped out for herself. ``I hope it won't be something stupid,''
said she. Then she seated herself and went on. ``Father--did
you ever stop to wonder whether it is Victor Dorn or the changed
The old man looked up abruptly and sharply--the expression of a
shrewd man when he catches a hint of a new idea that sounds as if
it might have something in it.
``You blame Victor Dorn,'' she went on to explain. ``But if
there were no Victor Dorn, wouldn't you be having just the same
trouble? Aren't men of affairs having them everywhere--in Europe
as well as on this side--nowadays?''
The old man rubbed his brow--his nose--his chin-- pulled at the
tufts of hair in his ears--fumbled with his cuffs. All of these
gestures indicated interest and attention.
``Isn't the real truth not Victor Dorn or Victor Dorns but a
changed and changing world?'' pursued the girl. ``And if that's
so, haven't you either got to adopt new methods or fall back?
That's the way it looks to me--and we women have got intuitions
if we haven't got sense.''
``_I_ never said women hadn't got sense,'' replied the old man.
``I've sometimes said MEN ain't got no sense, but not women. Not
to go no further, the women make the men work for 'em--don't
they? THAT'S a pretty good quality of sense, _I_ guess.''
But she knew he was busily thinking all the time about what she
had said. So she did not hesitate to go on: ``Instead of
helping Victor Dorn by giving him things to talk about, it seems
to me I'd USE him, father.''
``Can't do anything with him. He's crazy,'' declared Hastings.
``I don't believe it,'' replied Jane. ``I don't believe he's
crazy. And I don't believe you can't manage him. A man like
that--a man as clever as he is--doesn't belong with a lot of
ignorant tenement-house people. He's out of place. And when
anything or anybody is out of place, they can be put in their
right place. Isn't that sense?''
The old man shook his head--not in negation, but in uncertainty.
``These men are always edging you on against Victor Dorn--what's
the matter with them?'' pursued Jane. ``_I_ saw, when Davy Hull
talked about him. They're envious and jealous of him, father.
They're afraid he'll distance them. And they don't want you to
realize what a useful man he could be--how he could help you if
you helped him--made friends with him-- roused the right kind of
ambition in him.''
``When a man's ambitious,'' observed Hastings, out of the
fullness of his own personal experience, ``it means he's got
something inside him, teasing and nagging at him--something that
won't let him rest, but keeps pushing and pulling--and he's got
to keep fighting, trying to satisfy it--and he can't wait to pick
his ground or his weapons.''
``And Victor Dorn,'' said Jane, to make it clearer to her father
by putting his implied thought into words, ``Victor Dorn is doing
the best he can--fighting on the only ground that offers and with
the only weapons he can lay hands on.''
The old man nodded. ``I never have blamed him-- not really,''
declared he. ``A practical man--a man that's been through
things--he understands how these things are,'' in the tone of a
philosopher. ``Yes, I reckon Victor's doing the best he
can--getting up by the only ladder he's got a chance at.''
``The way to get him off that ladder is to give him another,''
said Jane.
A long silence, the girl letting her father thresh the matter out
in his slow, thorough way. Finally her young impatience
conquered her restraint. ``Well-- what do you think, popsy?''
inquired she.
``That I've got about as smart a gel as there is in Remsen
City,'' replied he.
``Don't lay it on too thick,'' laughed she.
He understood why she was laughing, though he did not show it.
He knew what his much-traveled daughter thought of Remsen City,
but he held to his own provincial opinion, nevertheless. Nor,
perhaps, was he so far wrong as she believed. A cross section of
human society, taken almost anywhere, will reveal about the same
quantity of brain, and the quality of the mill is the thing, not
of the material it may happen to be grinding.
She understood that his remark was his way of letting her know
that he had taken her suggestion under advisement. This meant
that she had said enough. And Jane Hastings had made herself an
adept in the art of handling her father--an accomplishment she
could by no means have achieved had she not loved him; it is only
when a woman deeply and strongly loves a man that she can learn
to influence him, for only love can put the necessary
sensitiveness into the nerves with which moods and prejudices and
whims and such subtle uncertainties can be felt out.
The next day but one, coming out on the front veranda a few
minutes before lunch time she was startled rather than surprised
to see Victor Dorn seated on a wicker sofa, hat off and gaze
wandering delightedly over the extensive view of the beautiful
farming country round Remsen City. She paused in the doorway to
take advantage of the chance to look at him when he was off his
guard. Certainly that profile view of the young man was
impressive. It is only in the profile that we get a chance to
measure the will or propelling force behind a character. In each
of the two main curves of Dorn's head--that from the top of the
brow downward over the nose, the lips, the chin and under, and
that from the back of the head round under the ear and forward
along the lower jaw--in each of these curves Dorn excelled.
She was about to draw back and make a formal entry, when he said,
without looking toward her:
``Well--don't you think it would be safe to draw near?''
The tone was so easy and natural and so sympathetic --the tone of
Selma Gordon--the tone of all natural persons not disturbed about
themselves or about others --that Jane felt no embarrassment
whatever. ``I've heard you were very clever,'' said she,
advancing. ``So, I wanted to have the advantage of knowing you a
little better at the outset than you would know me.''
``But Selma Gordon has told me all about you,'' said he--he had
risen as she advanced and was shaking hands with her as if they
were old friends. ``Besides, I saw you the other day--in spite
of your effort to prevent yourself from being seen.''
``What do you mean?'' she asked, completely mystified.
``I mean your clothes,'' explained he. ``They were unusual for
this part of the world. And when anyone wears unusual clothes,
they act as a disguise. Everyone neglects the person to center
on the clothes.''
``I wore them to be comfortable,'' protested Jane, wondering why
she was not angry at this young man whose manner ought to be
regarded as presuming and whose speech ought to be rebuked as
``Altogether?'' said Dorn, his intensely blue eyes dancing.
In spite of herself she smiled. ``No--not altogether,'' she
``Well, it may please you to learn that you scored tremendously
as far as one person is concerned. My small nephew talks of you
all the time--the `lady in the lovely pants.' ''
Jane colored deeply and angrily. She bent upon Victor a glance
that ought to have put him in his place --well down in his place.
But he continued to look at her with unchanged, laughing,
friendly blue eyes, and went on: ``By the way, his mother asked
me to apologize for HIS extraordinary appearance. I suppose
neither of you would recognize the other in any dress but the one
each had on that day. He doesn't always dress that way. His
mother has been ill. He wore out his play-clothes. If you've
had experience of children you'll know how suddenly they demolish
clothes. She wasn't well enough to do any tailoring, so there
was nothing to do but send Leonard forth in his big brother's
unchanged cast-offs.''
Jane's anger had quite passed away before Dorn finished this
simple, ingenuous recital of poverty unashamed, this somehow fine
laying open of the inmost family secrets. ``What a splendid
person your sister must be!'' exclaimed she.
She more than liked the look that now came into his face. He
said: ``Indeed she is!--more so than anyone except us of the
family can realize. Mother's getting old and almost helpless.
My brother-in-law was paralyzed by an accident at the rolling
mill where he worked. My sister takes care of both of them--and
her two boys--and of me--keeps the house in band-box order,
manages a big garden that gives us most of what we eat--and has
time to listen to the woes of all the neighbors and to give them
the best advice I ever heard.''
``How CAN she?'' cried Jane. ``Why, the day isn't long enough.''
Dorn laughed. ``You'll never realize how much time there is in a
day, Miss Jane Hastings, until you try to make use of it all.
It's very interesting--how much there is in a minute and in a
dollar if you're intelligent about them.''
Jane looked at him in undisguised wonder and admiration. ``You
don't know what a pleasure it is,'' she said, ``to meet anyone
whose sentences you couldn't finish for him before he's a quarter
the way through them.''
Victor threw back his head and laughed--a boyish outburst that
would have seemed boorish in another, but came as naturally from
him as song from a bird. ``You mean Davy Hull,'' said he.
Jane felt herself coloring even more. ``I didn't mean him
especially,'' replied she. ``But he's a good example.''
``The best I know,'' declared Victor. ``You see, the trouble
with Davy is that he is one kind of a person, wants to be another
kind, thinks he ought to be a third kind, and believes he fools
people into thinking he is still a fourth kind.''
Jane reflected on this, smiled understandingly. ``That sounds
like a description of ME,'' said she.
``Probably,'' said Victor. ``It's a very usual type in the
second generation in your class.''
``My class?'' said Jane, somewhat affectedly. ``What do you
``The upper class,'' explained Victor.
Jane felt that this was an opportunity for a fine exhibition of
her democracy. ``I don't like that,'' said she. ``I'm a good
American, and I don't believe in classes. I don't feel--at least
I try not to feel--any sense of inequality between myself and
those--those less--less--fortunately off. I'm not expressing
myself well, but you know what I mean.''
``Yes, I know what you mean,'' rejoined Victor. ``But that
wasn't what I meant, at all. You are talking about social
classes in the narrow sense. That sort of thing isn't important.
One associates with the kind of people that pleases one--and one
has a perfect right to do so. If I choose to have my leisure
time with people who dress a certain way, or with those who have
more than a certain amount of money, or more than a certain
number of servants or what not--why, that's my own lookout.''
``I'm SO glad to hear you say that,'' cried Jane. ``That's SO
``Snobbishness may be amusing,'' continued Dorn, ``or it may be
repulsive--or pitiful. But it isn't either interesting or
important. The classes I had in mind were the economic
classes--upper, middle, lower. The upper class includes all
those who live without work-- aristocrats, gamblers, thieves,
preachers, women living off men in or out of marriage, grown
children living off their parents or off inheritances. All the
Jane looked almost as uncomfortable as she felt. She had long
taken a secret delight in being regarded and spoken of as an
``upper class'' person. Henceforth this delight would be at
least alloyed.
``The middle class,'' pursued Victor, ``is those who are in part
parasites and in part workers. The lower class is those who live
by what they earn only. For example, you are upper class, your
father is middle class and I am lower class.''
``Thank you,'' said Jane demurely, ``for an interesting lesson in
political economy.''
``You invited it,'' laughed Victor. ``And I guess it wasn't much
more tiresome to you than talk about the weather would have been.
The weather's probably about the only other subject you and I
have in common.''
``That's rude,'' said Jane.
``Not as I meant it,'' said he. ``I wasn't exalting my subjects
or sneering at yours. It's obvious that you and I lead wholly
different lives.''
``I'd much rather lead your life than my own,'' said Jane.
``But--you are impatient to see father. You came to see him?''
``He telephoned asking me to come to dinner--that is, lunch. I
believe it's called lunch when it's second in this sort of
``Father calls it dinner, and I call it lunch, and the servants
call it IT. They simply say, `It's ready.' ''
Jane went in search of her father, found him asleep in his chair
in the little office, one of his dirty little account books
clasped in his long, thin fingers with their rheumatic side
curve. The maid had seen him there and had held back dinner
until he should awaken. Perhaps Jane's entrance roused him; or,
perhaps it was the odor of the sachet powder wherewith her
garments were liberally scented, for he had a singularly delicate
sense of smell. He lifted his head and, after the manner of aged
and confirmed cat-nappers, was instantly wide awake.
``Why didn't you tell me Victor Dorn was coming for dinner?''
said she.
``Oh--he's here, is he?'' said Hastings, chuckling. ``You see I
took your advice. Tell Lizzie to lay an extra plate.''
Hastings regarded this invitation as evidence of his breadth of
mind, his freedom from prejudice, his disposition to do the
generous and the helpful thing. In fact, it was evidence of
little more than his dominant and most valuable trait--his
shrewdness. After one careful glance over the ruins of his plan,
he appreciated that Victor Dorn was at last a force to be
reckoned with. He had been growing, growing--somewhat above the
surface, a great deal more beneath the surface. His astonishing
victory demonstrated his power over Remsen City labor--in a
single afternoon he had persuaded the street car union to give up
without hesitation a strike it had been planning--at least, it
thought it had been doing the planning--for months. The Remsen
City plutocracy was by no means dependent upon the city
government of Remsen City. It had the county courts--the
district courts--the State courts even, except where favoring the
plutocracy would be too obviously outrageous for judges who still
considered themselves men of honest and just mind to decide that
way. The plutocracy, further, controlled all the legislative and
executive machinery. To dislodge it from these fortresses would
mean a campaign of years upon years, conducted by men of the
highest ability, and enlisting a majority of the voters of the
State. Still, possession of the Remsen City government was a
most valuable asset. A hostile government could ``upset
business,'' could ``hamper the profitable investment of
capital,'' in other words could establish justice to a highly
uncomfortable degree. This victory of Dorn's made it clear to
Hastings that at last Dorn was about to unite the labor vote
under his banner--which meant that he was about to conquer the
city government. It was high time to stop him and, if possible,
to give his talents better employment.
However, Hastings, after the familiar human fashion, honestly
thought he was showing generosity, was going out of his way to
``give a likely young fellow a chance.'' When he came out on the
veranda he stretched forth a graciously friendly hand and,
looking shrewdly into Victor's boyishly candid eyes, said:
``Glad to see you, young man. I want to thank you for ending
that strike. I was born a working man, and I've been one all my
life and, when I can't work any more, I want to quit the earth.
So, being a working man, I hate to see working men make fools of
Jane was watching the young man anxiously. She instinctively
knew that this speech must be rousing his passion for plain and
direct speaking. Before he had time to answer she said:
``Dinner's waiting. Let's go in.''
And on the way she made an opportunity to say to him in an
undertone: ``I do hope you'll be careful not to say anything
that'll upset father. I have to warn every one who comes here.
His digestion's bad, and the least thing makes him ill, and--''
she smiled charmingly at him-- ``I HATE nursing. It's too much
like work to suit an upper-class person.''
There was no resisting such an appeal as that. Victor sat silent
and ate, and let the old man talk on and on. Jane saw that it
was a severe trial to him to seem to be assenting to her father's
views. Whenever he showed signs of casting off his restraint,
she gave him a pleading glance. And the old man, so weazened, so
bent and shaky, with his bowl of crackers and milk, was--or
seemed to be--proof that the girl was asking of him only what was
humane. Jane relieved the situation by talking volubly about
herself--her college experiences, what she had seen and done in
After dinner Hastings said:
``I'll drive you back to town, young man. I'm going in to work,
as usual. I never took a vacation in my life. Can you beat that
``Oh, I knock off every once in a while for a month or so,'' said
``The young fellows growing up nowadays ain't equal to us of the
old stock,'' said Martin. ``They can't stand the strain. Well,
if you're ready, we'll pull out.''
``Mr. Dorn's going to stop a while with me, father,'' interposed
Jane with a significant glance at Victor. ``I want to show him
the grounds and the views.''
``All right--all right,'' said her father. He never liked
company in his drives; company interfered with his thinking out
what he was going to do at the office. ``I'm mighty glad to know
you, young man. I hope we'll know each other better. I think
you'll find out that for a devil I'm not half bad--eh?''
Victor bowed, murmured something inarticulate, shook his host's
hand, and when the ceremony of parting was over drew a stealthy
breath of relief--which Jane observed. She excused herself to
accompany her father to his trap. As he was climbing in she
``Didn't you rather like him, father?''
Old Hastings gathered the reins in his lean, distorted hands.
``So so,'' said he.
``He's got brains, hasn't he?''
``Yes; he's smart; mighty smart.'' The old man's face relaxed in
a shrewd grin. ``Too damn smart. Giddap, Bet.''
And he was gone. Jane stood looking after the ancient phaeton
with an expression half of amusement, half of discomfiture. ``I
might have known,'' reflected she, ``that popsy would see through
it all.''
When she reappeared in the front doorway Victor Dorn was at the
edge of the veranda, ready to depart. As soon as he saw her he
said gravely: ``I must be off, Miss Hastings. Thank you for the
very interesting dinner.'' He extended his hand. ``Good day.''
She put her hands behind her back, and stood smiling gently at
him. ``You mustn't go--not just yet. I'm about to show you the
trees and the grass, the bees, the chickens and the cows. Also,
I've something important to say to you.''
He shook his head. ``I'm sorry, but I must go.''
She stiffened slightly; her smile changed from friendly to cold.
``Oh--pardon me,'' she said. ``Good-by.''
He bowed, and was on the walk, and running rapidly toward the
entrance gates.
``Mr. Dorn!'' she called.
He turned.
She was afraid to risk asking him to come back for a moment. He
might refuse. Standing there, looking so resolute, so completely
master of himself, so devoid of all suggestion of need for any
one or anything, he seemed just the man to turn on his heel and
depart. She descended to the walk and went to him. She said:
``Why are you acting so peculiarly? Why did you come?''
``Because I understood that your father wished to propose some
changes in the way of better hours and better wages for the
men,'' replied he. ``I find that the purpose was--not that.''
``What was it?''
``I do not care to go into that.''
He was about to go on--on out of her life forever, she felt.
``Wait,'' she cried. ``The men will get better hours and wages.
You don't understand father's ways. He was really discussing
that very thing--in his own mind. You'll see. He has a great
admiration for you. You can do a lot with him. You owe it to
the men to make use of his liking.''
He looked at her in silence for a moment. Then he said: ``I'll
have to be at least partly frank with you. In all his life no
one has ever gotten anything out of your father. He uses men.
They do not use him.''
``Believe me, that is unjust,'' cried Jane. ``I'll tell you
another thing that was on his mind. He wants to --to make
reparation for--that accident to your father. He wants to pay
your mother and you the money the road didn't pay you when it
Dorn's candid face showed how much he was impressed. This
beautiful, earnest girl, sweet and frank, seemed herself to be
another view of Martin Hastings' character--one more in accord
with her strong belief in the essential goodness of human nature.
Said he: ``Your father owes us nothing. As for the road--its
debt never existed legally--only morally. And it has been
outlawed long ago--for there's a moral statute of limitations,
too. The best thing that ever happened to us was our not getting
that money. It put us on our mettle. It might have crushed us.
It happened to be just the thing that was needed to make us.''
Jane marveled at this view of his family, at the verge of
poverty, as successful. But she could not doubt his sincerity.
Said she sadly, ``But it's not to the credit of the road--or of
father. He must pay--and he knows he must.''
``We can't accept,'' said Dorn--a finality.
``But you could use it to build up the paper,'' urged Jane, to
detain him.
``The paper was started without money. It lives without
money--and it will go on living without money, or it ought to
``I don't understand,'' said Jane. ``But I want to understand.
I want to help. Won't you let me?''
He shook his head laughingly. ``Help what?'' inquired he.
``Help raise the sun? It doesn't need help.''
Jane began to see. ``I mean, I want to be helped,'' she cried.
``Oh, that's another matter,'' said he. ``And very simple.''
``Will YOU help me?''
``I can't. No one can. You've got to help yourself. Each one
of us is working for himself--working not to be rich or to be
famous or to be envied, but to be free.''
``Working for himself--that sounds selfish, doesn't it?''
``If you are wise, Jane Hastings,'' said Dorn, ``you will
distrust--disbelieve in--anything that is not selfish.''
Jane reflected. ``Yes--I see,'' she cried. ``I never thought of
``A friend of mine, Wentworth,'' Victor went on, ``has put it
wonderfully clearly. He said, `Some day we shall realize that no
man can be free until all men are free.' ''
``You HAVE helped me--in spite of your fierce refusal,'' laughed
Jane. ``You are very impatient to go, aren't you? Well, since
you won't stay I'll walk with you--as far as the end of the
She was slightly uneasy lest her overtures should be
misunderstood. By the time they reached the first long, sunny
stretch of the road down to town she was so afraid that those
overtures would not be ``misunderstood'' that she marched on
beside him in the hot sun. She did not leave him until they
reached the corner of Pike avenue--and then it was he that left
her, for she could cudgel out no excuse for going further in his
direction. The only hold she had got upon him for a future
attempt was slight indeed--he had vaguely agreed to lend her some
People who have nothing to do get rid of a great deal of time in
trying to make impressions and in speculating as to what
impressions they have made. Jane--hastening toward Martha's to
get out of the sun which could not but injure a complexion so
delicately fine as hers--gave herself up to this form of
occupation. What did he think of her? Did he really have as
little sense of her physical charm as he seemed? No woman could
hope to be attractive to every man. Still--this man surely must
be at least not altogether insensible. ``If he sends me those
books to-day--or tomorrow-- or even next day,'' thought Jane,
``it will be a pretty sure sign that he was impressed--whether he
knows it or not.''
She had now definitely passed beyond the stage where she wondered
at herself--and reproached herself--for wishing to win a man of
such common origin and surroundings. She could not doubt Victor
Dorn's superiority. Such a man as that didn't need birth or
wealth or even fame. He simply WAS the man worth while-- worth
any woman's while. How could Selma be associated so intimately
with him without trying to get him in love with her? Perhaps she
had tried and had given up? No--Selma was as strange in her way
as he was in his way. What a strange--original--INDIVIDUAL pair
they were!
``But,'' concluded Jane, ``he belongs with US. I must take him
away from all that. It will be interesting to do it--so
interesting that I'll be sorry when it's done, and I'll be
looking about for something else to do.''
She was not without hope that the books would come that same
evening. But they did not. The next day passed, and the next,
and still no books. Apparently he had meant nothing by his
remark, ``I've some books you'd be interested to read.'' Was his
silence indifference, or was it shyness? Probably she could only
faintly appreciate the effect her position, her surroundings
produced in this man whose physical surroundings had always been
as poor as her mental surroundings-- those created by that
marvelous mind of his--had been splendid.
She tried to draw out her father on the subject of the young man,
with a view to getting a hint as to whether he purposed doing
anything further. But old Hastings would not talk about it; he
was still debating, was looking at the matter from a standpoint
where his daughter's purely theoretical acumen could not help him
to a decision. Jane rather feared that where her father was
evidently so doubtful he would follow his invariable rule in
doubtful cases.
On the fourth day, being still unable to think of anything but
her project for showing her prowess by conquering this man with
no time for women, she donned a severely plain walking costume
and went to his office.
At the threshold of the ``Sanctum'' she stopped short. Selma,
pencil poised over her block of copy paper and every indication
of impatience, albeit polite impatience, in her fascinating
Cossack face, was talking to--or, rather, listening to--David
Hull. Like not a few young men--and young women--brought up in
circumstances that surround them with people deferential for the
sake of what there is, or may possibly be, in it--Davy Hull had
the habit of assuming that all the world was as fond of listening
to him as he was of listening to himself. So it did not often
occur to him to observe his audience for signs of a willingness
to end the conversation.
Selma, turning a little further in her nervousness, saw Jane and
sprang up with a radiant smile of welcome.
``I'm SO glad!'' she cried, rushing toward her and kissing her.
``I've thought about you often, and wished I could find time to
come to see you.''
Jane was suddenly as delighted as Selma. For Selma's burst of
friendliness, so genuine, so unaffected, in this life of
blackness and cold always had the effect of sun suddenly making
summer out of a chill autumnal day. Nor, curiously enough, was
her delight lessened by Davy Hull's blundering betrayal of
himself. His color, his eccentric twitchings of the lips and the
hands would have let a far less astute young woman than Jane
Hastings into the secret of the reason for his presence in that
office when he had said he couldn't ``afford'' to go. So guilty
did he feel that he stammered out:
``I dropped in to see Dorn.''
``You wished to see Victor?'' exclaimed the guileless Selma.
``Why didn't you say so? I'd have told you at once that he was
in Indianapolis and wouldn't be back for two or three days.''
Jane straightway felt still better. The disgusting mystery of
the books that did not come was now cleared up. Secure in the
certainty of Selma's indifference to Davy she proceeded to punish
him. ``What a stupid you are, Davy!'' she cried mockingly.
``The instant I saw your face I knew you were here to flirt with
Miss Gordon.''
``Oh, no, Miss Hastings,'' protested Selma with quaint intensity
of seriousness, ``I assure you he was not flirting. He was
telling me about the reform movement he and his friends are
``That is his way of flirting,'' said Jane. ``Every animal has
its own way--and an elephant's way is different from a
Selma was eyeing Hull dubiously. It was bad enough for him to
have taken her time in a well-meaning attempt to enlighten her as
to a new phase of local politics; to take her time, to waste it,
in flirting--that was too exasperating!
``Miss Hastings has a sense of humor that runs riot at times,''
said Hull.
``You can't save yourself, Davy,'' mocked Jane. ``Come along.
Miss Gordon has no time for either of us.''
``I do want YOU to stay,'' she said to Jane. ``But,
unfortunately, with Victor away----'' She looked disconsolately
at the half-finished page of copy.
``I came only to snatch Davy away,'' said Jane.
``Next thing we know, he'll be one of Mr. Dorn's lieutenants.''
Thus Jane escaped without having to betray why she had come. In
the street she kept up her raillery. ``And a WORKING girl, Davy!
What would our friends say! And you who are always boasting of
your fastidiousness! Flirting with a girl who--I've seen her
three times, and each time she has had on exactly the same plain,
cheap little dress.''
There was a nastiness, a vulgarity in this that was as unworthy
of Jane as are all the unlovely emotions of us who are always
sweet and refined when we are our true selves--but have a bad
habit of only too often not being what we flatter ourselves is
our true selves. Jane was growing angry as she, away from Selma,
resumed her normal place in the world and her normal point of
view. Davy Hull belonged to her; he had no right to be hanging
about another, anyway--especially an attractive woman. Her anger
was not lessened by Davy's retort. Said he:
``Her dress may have been the same. But her face wasn't--and her
mind wasn't. Those things are more difficult to change than a
She was so angry that she did not take warning from this reminder
that Davy was by no means merely a tedious retailer of stale
commonplaces. She said with fine irony--and with no show of
anger: ``It is always a shock to a lady to realize how coarse
men are--how they don't discriminate.''
Davy laughed. ``Women get their rank from men,'' said he coolly.
``In themselves they have none. That's the philosophy of the
peculiarity you've noted.''
This truth, so galling to a lady, silenced Jane, made her bite
her lips with rage. ``I beg your pardon,'' she finally said.
``I didn't realize that you were in love with Selma.''
``Yes, I am in love with her,'' was Davy's astounding reply.
``She's the noblest and simplest creature I've ever met.''
``You don't mean you want to marry her!'' exclaimed Jane, so
amazed that she for the moment lost sight of her own personal
interest in this affair.
Davy looked at her sadly, and a little contemptuously.
``What a poor opinion at bottom you women--your sort of
women--have of woman,'' said he.
``What a poor opinion of men you mean,'' retorted she. ``After a
little experience of them a girl--even a girl--learns that they
are incapable of any emotion that isn't gross.''
``Don't be so ladylike, Jane,'' said Hull.
Miss Hastings was recovering control of herself. She took a new
tack. ``You haven't asked her yet?''
``Hardly. This is the second time I've seen her. I suspected
that she was the woman for me the moment I saw her. To-day I
confirmed my idea. She is all that I thought--and more. And,
Jane, I know that you appreciate her, too.''
Jane now saw that Davy was being thus abruptly and speedily
confiding because he had decided it was the best way out of his
entanglement with her. Behind his coolness she could see an
uneasy watchfulness--the fear that she might try to hold him. Up
boiled her rage--the higher because she knew that if there were
any possible way of holding Davy, she would take it-- not because
she wished to, or would, marry him, but because she had put her
mark upon him. But this new rage was of the kind a clever woman
has small difficulty in dissembling.
``Indeed I do appreciate her, Davy,'' said she sweetly. ``And I
hope you will be happy with her.''
``You think I can get her?'' said he, fatuously eager. ``You
think she likes me? I've been rather hoping that because it
seized me so suddenly and so powerfully it must have seized her,
too. I think often things occur that way.''
``In novels,'' said Jane, pleasantly judicial. ``But in real
life about the hardest thing to do is for a man to make a woman
care for him--really care for him.''
``Well, no matter how hard I have to try----''
``Of course,'' pursued Miss Hastings, ignoring his interruption,
``when a man who has wealth and position asks a woman who hasn't
to marry him, she usually accepts--unless he happens to be
downright repulsive, or she happens to be deeply and hopefully in
love with another man.''
Davy winced satisfactorily. ``Do you suspect,'' he presently
asked, ``that she's in love with Victor Dorn?''
``Perhaps,'' said Jane reflectively. ``Probably. But I'd not
feel discouraged by that if I were you.''
``Dorn's a rather attractive chap in some ways.''
Davy's manner was so superior that Jane almost laughed in his
face. What fools men were. If Victor Dorn had position, weren't
surrounded by his unquestionably, hopelessly common family,
weren't deliberately keeping himself common--was there a woman in
the world who wouldn't choose him without a second thought being
necessary, in preference to a Davy Hull? How few men there were
who could reasonably hope to hold their women against all comers.
Victor Dorn might possibly be of those few. But Davy Hull--the
idea was ridiculous. All his advantages--height, looks, money,
position--were excellent qualities in a show piece; but they
weren't the qualities that make a woman want to live her life
with a man, that make her hope he will be able to give her the
emotions woman-nature craves beyond anything.
``He is very attractive,'' said Jane, ``and I've small doubt that
Selma Gordon is infatuated with him. But --I shouldn't let that
worry me if I were you.'' She paused to enjoy his anxiety, then
proceeded: ``She is a level-headed girl. The girls of the
working class-- the intelligent ones--have had the silly
sentimentalities knocked out of them by experience. So, when you
ask her to marry you, she will accept.''
``What a low opinion you have of her!'' exclaimed Davy. ``What a
low view you take of life!''--most inconsistent of him, since he
was himself more than half convinced that Jane's observations
were not far from the truth.
``Women are sensible,'' said Jane tranquilly. ``They appreciate
that they've got to get a man to support them. Don't forget, my
dear Davy, that marriage is a woman's career.''
``You lived abroad too long,'' said Hull bitterly.
``I've lived at home and abroad long enough and intelligently
enough not to think stupid hypocrisies, even if I do sometimes
imitate other people and SAY them.''
``I am sure that Selma Gordon would no more think of marrying me
for any other reason but love--would no more think of it
than--than YOU would!''
``No more,'' was Jane's unruffled reply. ``But just as much. I
didn't absolutely refuse you, when you asked me the other day,
partly because I saw no other way of stopping your tiresome
talk--and your unattractive way of trying to lay hands on me. I
DETEST being handled.''
Davy was looking so uncomfortable that he attracted the attention
of the people they were passing in wide, shady Lincoln Avenue.
``But my principal reason,'' continued Jane, mercilessly amiable
and candid, ``was that I didn't know but that you might prove to
be about the best I could get, as a means to realizing my
ambition.'' She looked laughingly at the unhappy young man.
``You didn't think I was in love with you, did you, Davy dear?''
Then, while the confusion following this blow was at its height,
she added: ``You'll remember one of your chief arguments for my
accepting you was ambition. You didn't think it low then--did
Hull was one of the dry-skinned people. But if he had been
sweating profusely he would have looked and would have been less
wretched than burning up in the smothered heat of his misery.
They were nearing Martha's gates. Jane said: ``Yes, Davy,
you've got a good chance. And as soon as she gets used to our
way of living, she'll make you a good wife.'' She laughed gayly.
``She'll not be quite so pretty when she settles down and takes
on flesh. I wonder how she'll look in fine clothes and jewels.''
She measured Hull's stature with a critical eye. ``She's only
about half as tall as you. How funny you'll look together!''
With sudden soberness and sweetness, ``But, seriously, David, I'm
proud of your courage in taking a girl for herself regardless of
her surroundings. So few men would be willing to face the
ridicule and the criticism, and all the social difficulties.''
She nodded encouragingly. ``Go in and win! You can count on my
friendship--for I'm in love with her myself.''
She left him standing dazedly, looking up and down the street as
if it were some strange and pine-beset highway in a foreign land.
After taking a few steps she returned to the gates and called
him: ``I forgot to ask do you want me to regard what you've told
me as confidential? I was thinking of telling Martha and Hugo,
and it occurred to me that you might not like it.''
``Please don't say anything about it,'' said he with panicky
eagerness. ``You see--nothing's settled yet.''
``Oh, she'll accept you.''
``But I haven't even asked her,'' pleaded Hull.
``Oh--all right--as you please.''
When she was safely within doors she dropped to a chair and burst
out laughing. It was part of Jane's passion for the sense of
triumph over the male sex to felt that she had made a ``perfect
jumping jack of a fool'' of David Hull. ``And I rather think,''
said she to herself, ``that he'll soon be back where he
belongs.'' This with a glance at the tall heels of the slippers
on the good-looking feet she was thrusting out for her own
inspection. ``How absurd for him to imagine he could do anything
unconventional. Is there any coward anywhere so cowardly as an
American conventional man? No wonder I hate to think of marrying
one of them. But--I suppose I'll have to do it some day. What's
a woman to do? She's GOT to marry.''
So pleased with herself was she that she behaved with unusual
forbearance toward Martha whose conduct of late had been most
trying. Not Martha's sometimes peevish, sometimes plaintive
criticisms of her; these she did not mind. But Martha's way of
ordering her own life. Jane, moving about in the world with a
good mind eager to improve, had got a horror of a woman's going
to pieces--and that was what Martha was doing.
``I'm losing my looks rapidly,'' was her constant complaint. As
she had just passed thirty there was, in Jane's opinion, not the
smallest excuse for this. The remedy, the preventive, was
obvious--diet and exercise. But Martha, being lazy and
self-indulgent and not imaginative enough to foresee to what a
pass a few years more of lounging and stuffing would bring her,
regarded exercise as unladylike and dieting as unhealthful. She
would not weaken her system by taking less than was demanded by
``nature's infallible guide, the healthy appetite.'' She would
not give up the venerable and aristocratic tradition that a lady
should ever be reposeful.
``Another year or so,'' warned Jane, ``and you'll be as
steatopygous as the bride of a Hottentot chief.''
``What does steat--that word mean?'' said Martha suspiciously.
``Look in the dictionary,'' said Jane. ``Its synonyms aren't
used by refined people.''
``I knew it was something insulting,'' said Martha with an
injured sniff.
The only concessions Martha would make to the latter-day craze of
women for youthfulness were buying a foolish chin-strap of a
beauty quack and consulting him as to whether, if her hair
continued to gray, she would better take to peroxide or to henna.
Jane had come down that day with a severe lecture on fat and
wrinkles laid out in her mind for energetic delivery to the
fast-seeding Martha. She put off the lecture and allowed the
time to be used by Martha in telling Jane what were her (Jane's)
strongest and less strong--not weaker but less strong, points of
physical charm.
It was cool and beautiful in the shade of the big gardens behind
the old Galland house. Jane, listening to Martha's honest and
just compliments and to the faint murmurs of the city's dusty,
sweaty toil, had a delicious sense of the superiority of her
lot--a feeling that somehow there must be something in the theory
of rightfully superior and inferior classes--that in taking what
she had not earned she was not robbing those who had earned it,
as her reason so often asserted, but was being supported by the
toil of others for high purposes of aesthetic beauty. Anyhow,
why heat one's self wrestling with these problems?
When she was sure that Victor Dorn must have returned she called
him on the telephone. ``Can't you come out to see me to-night?''
said she. ``I've something important--something YOU'LL think
important-- to consult you about.'' She felt a refusal forming
at the other end of the wire and hastened to add: ``You must
know I'd not ask this if I weren't certain you would be glad you
``Why not drop in here when you're down town?'' suggested Victor.
She wondered why she did not hang up the receiver and forget him.
But she did not. She murmured, ``In due time I'll punish you for
this, sir,'' and said to him: ``There are reasons why it's
impossible for me to go there just now. And you know I can't
meet you in a saloon or on a street corner.''
``I'm not so sure of that,'' laughed he. ``Let me see. I'm very
busy. But I could come for half an hour this afternoon.''
She had planned an evening session, being well aware of the
favorable qualities of air and light after the matter-of-fact sun
has withdrawn his last rays. But she promptly decided to accept
what offered. ``At three?''
``At four,'' replied he.
``You haven't forgotten those books?''
``Books? Oh, yes--yes, I remember. I'll bring them.''
``Thank you so much,'' said she sweetly. ``Good-by.''
And at four she was waiting for him on the front veranda in a
house dress that was--well, it was not quite the proper costume
for such an occasion, but no one else was to see, and he didn't
know about that sort of thing--and the gown gave her charms their
best possible exposure except evening dress, which was out of the
question. She had not long to wait. One of the clocks within
hearing had struck and another was just beginning to strike when
she saw him coming toward the house. She furtively watched him,
admiring his walk without quite knowing why. You may perhaps
know the walk that was Victor's--a steady forward advance of the
whole body held firmly, almost rigidly --the walk of a man
leading another to the scaffold, or of a man being led there in
conscious innocence, or of a man ready to go wherever his
purposes may order--ready to go without any heroics or fuss of
any kind, but simply in the course of the day's business. When a
man walks like that, he is worth observing-- and it is well to
think twice before obstructing his way.
That steady, inevitable advance gave Jane Hastings an absurd
feeling of nervousness. She had an impulse to fly, as from some
oncoming danger. Yet what was coming, in fact? A clever young
man of the working class, dressed in garments of the kind his
class dressed in on Sunday, and plebeianly carrying a bundle
under his arm.
``Our clock says you are three seconds late,'' cried she,
laughing and extending her hand in a friendly, equal way that
would have immensely flattered almost any man of her own class.
``But another protests that you are one second early.''
``I'm one of those fools who waste their time and their nerves by
being punctual,'' said he.
He laid the books on the wicker sofa. But instead of sitting
Jane said: ``We might be interrupted here. Come to the west
There she had him in a leafy solitude--he facing her as she posed
in fascinating grace in a big chair. He looked at her--not the
look of a man at a woman, but the look of a busy person at one
who is about to show cause for having asked for a portion of his
valuable time. She laughed--and laughter was her best gesture.
``I can never talk to you if you pose like that,'' said she.
``Honestly now, is your time so pricelessly precious?''
He echoed her laugh and settled himself more at his ease. ``What
did you want of me?'' he asked.
``I intend to try to get better hours and better wages for the
street car men,'' said she. ``To do it, I must know just what is
right--what I can hope to get. General talk is foolish. If I go
at father I must have definite proposals to make, with reasons
for them. I don't want him to evade. I would have gotten my
information elsewhere, but I could think of no one but you who
might not mislead me.''
She had confidently expected that this carefully thought out
scheme would do the trick. He would admire her, would be
interested, would be drawn into a position where she could enlist
him as a constant adviser. He moved toward the edge of his chair
as if about to rise. He said, pleasantly enough but without a
spark of enthusiasm:
``That's very nice of you, Miss Hastings. But I can't advise
you--beyond saying that if I were you, I shouldn't meddle.''
She--that is, her vanity--was cut to the quick. ``Oh!'' said she
with irony, ``I fancied you wished the laboring men to have a
better sort of life.''
``Yes,'' said he. ``But I'm not in favor of running hysterically
about with a foolish little atomizer in the great stable. You
are talking charity. I am working for justice. It will not
really benefit the working man for the company, at the urging of
a sweet and lovely young Lady Bountiful, to deign graciously to
grant a little less slavery to them. In fact, a well fed, well
cared for slave is worse off than one who's badly treated --worse
off because farther from his freedom. The only things that do
our class any good, Miss Hastings, are the things they
COMPEL--compel by their increased intelligence and increased
unity and power. They get what they deserve. They won't deserve
more until they compel more. Gifts won't help--not even gifts
from--'' His intensely blue eyes danced--``from such charming
white hands so beautifully manicured.''
She rose with an angry toss of the head. ``I didn't ask you here
to annoy me with impertinences about my finger nails.''
He rose, at his ease, good-humored, ready to go. ``Then you
should have worn gloves,'' said he carelessly, ``for I've been
able to think only of your finger nails--and to wonder WHAT can
be done with hands like that. Thank you for a pleasant talk.''
He bowed and smiled. ``Good-by. Oh--Miss Gordon sent you her
``What IS the matter, Mr. Dorn?'' cried the girl desperately.
``I want your friendship--your respect. CAN'T I get it? Am I
utterly hopeless in your eyes?''
A curious kind of color rose in his cheeks. His eyes regarded
her with a mysterious steadiness. ``You want neither my respect
nor my friendship,'' said he. ``You want to amuse yourself.''
He pointed at her hands. ``Those nails betray you.'' He
shrugged his shoulders, laughed, said as if to a child: ``You
are a nice girl, Jane Hastings. It's a pity you weren't brought
up to be of some use. But you weren't--and it's too late.''
Her eyes flashed, her bosom heaved. ``WHY do I take these things
from you? WHY do I invite them?''
``Because you inherit your father's magnificent persistence--and
you've set your heart on the whim of making a fool of me--and you
hate to give up.''
``You wrong me--indeed you do,'' cried she. ``I want to learn--I
want to be of use in the world. I want to have some kind of a
real life.''
``Really?'' mocked he good-humoredly.
``Really,'' said she with all her power of sweet earnestness.
``Then--cut your nails and go to work. And when you have become
a genuine laborer, you'll begin to try to improve not the
condition of others, but your own. The way to help workers is to
abolish the idlers who hang like a millstone about their necks.
You can help only by abolishing the one idler under your
She stood nearer him, very near him. She threw out her lovely
arms in a gesture of humility. ``I will do whatever you say,''
she said.
They looked each into the other's eyes. The color fled from her
face, the blood poured into his--wave upon wave, until he was
like a man who has been set on fire by the furious heat of long
years of equatorial sun. He muttered, wheeled about and strode
away-- in resolute and relentless flight. She dropped down where
he had been sitting and hid her face in her perfumed hands.
``I care for him,'' she moaned, ``and he saw and he despises me!
How COULD I--how COULD I!''
Nevertheless, within a quarter of an hour she was in her dressing
room, standing at the table, eyes carefully avoiding her mirrored
eyes--as she cut her finger nails.
Jane was mistaken in her guess at the cause of Victor Dorn's
agitation and abrupt flight. If he had any sense whatever of the
secret she had betrayed to him and to herself at the same instant
it was wholly unconscious. He had become panic-stricken and had
fled because he, faced with her exuberance and tempting wealth of
physical charm, had become suddenly conscious of her and of
himself in a way as new to him as if he had been fresh from a
monkery where no woman had ever been seen. Thus far the world
had been peopled for him with human beings without any reference
to sex. The phenomena of sex had not interested him because his
mind had been entirely taken up with the other aspects of life;
and he had not yet reached the stage of development where a
thinker grasps the truth that all questions are at bottom
questions of the sex relation, and that, therefore, no question
can be settled right until the sex relations are settled right.
Jane Hastings was the first girl he had met in his whole life who
was in a position to awaken that side of his nature. And when
his brain suddenly filled with a torrent of mad longings and of
sensuous appreciations of her laces and silk, of her perfume and
smoothness and roundness, of the ecstasy that would come from
contact with those warm, rosy lips--when Victor Dorn found
himself all in a flash eager impetuosity to seize this woman whom
he did not approve of, whom he did not even like, he felt bowed
with shame. He would not have believed himself capable of such a
thing. He fled.
He fled, but she pursued. And when he sat down in the garden
behind his mother's cottage, to work at a table where bees and
butterflies had been his only disturbers, there was this SHE
before him--her soft, shining gaze fascinating his gaze, her
useless but lovely white hands extended tantalizingly toward him.
As he continued to look at her, his disapproval and dislike
melted. ``I was brutally harsh to her,'' he thought repentantly.
``She was honestly trying to do the decent thing. How was she to
know? And wasn't I as much wrong as right in advising her not to
help the men?''
Beyond question, it was theoretically best for the two opposing
forces, capital and labor, to fight their battle to its
inevitable end without interference, without truce, with quarter
neither given nor taken on either side. But practically--wasn't
there something to be said for such humane proposals of that of
Jane Hastings? They would put off the day of right conditions
rightly and therefore permanently founded--conditions in which
master and slave or serf or wage-taker would be no more; but, on
the other hand, slaves with shorter hours of toil and better
surroundings could be enlightened more easily. Perhaps. He was
by no means sure; he could not but fear that anything that tended
to make the slave comfortable in his degradation must of
necessity weaken his aversion to degradation. Just as the worst
kings were the best kings because they hastened the fall of
monarchy, so the worst capitalists, the most rapacious, the most
rigid enforcers of the economic laws of a capitalistic society
were the best capitalists, were helping to hasten the day when
men would work for what they earned and would earn what they
worked for--when every man's pay envelope would contain his
wages, his full wages, and nothing but his wages.
Still, where judgment was uncertain, he certainly had been unjust
to that well meaning girl. And was she really so worthless as he
had on first sight adjudged her? There might be exceptions to
the rule that a parasite born and bred can have no other
instructor or idea but those of parasitism. She was honest and
earnest, was eager to learn the truth. She might be put to some
use. At any rate he had been unworthy of his own ideals when he,
assuming without question that she was the usual capitalistic
snob with the itch for gratifying vanity by patronizing the
``poor dear lower classes,'' had been almost insultingly curt and
``What was the matter with me?'' he asked himself. ``I never
acted in that way before.'' And then he saw that his brusqueness
had been the cover for fear of of her--fear of the allure of her
luxury and her beauty. In love with her? He knew that he was
not. No, his feeling toward her was merely the crudest form of
the tribute of man to woman--though apparently woman as a rule
preferred this form to any other.
``I owe her an apology,'' he said to himself. And so it came to
pass that at three the following afternoon he was once more
facing her in that creeper-walled seclusion whose soft lights
were almost equal to light of gloaming or moon or stars in
romantic charm.
Said he--always direct and simple, whether dealing with man or
woman, with devious person or straight:
``I've come to beg your pardon for what I said yesterday.''
``You certainly were wild and strange,'' laughed she.
``I was supercilious,'' said he. ``And worse than that there is
not. However, as I have apologized, and you have accepted my
apology, we need waste no more time about that. You wished to
persuade your father to----''
``Just a moment!'' interrupted she. ``I've a question to ask.
WHY did you treat me--why have you been treating me so--so
``Because I was afraid of you,'' replied he. ``I did not realize
it, but that was the reason.''
``Afraid of ME,'' said she. ``That's very flattering.''
``No,'' said he, coloring. ``In some mysterious way I had been
betrayed into thinking of you as no man ought to think of a woman
unless he is in love with her and she with him. I am ashamed of
myself. But I shall conquer that feeling--or keep away from you.
. . . Do you understand what the street car situation is?''
But she was not to be deflected from the main question, now that
it had been brought to the front so unexpectedly and in exactly
the way most favorable to her purposes. ``You've made me
uneasy,'' said she. ``I don't in the least understand what you
mean. I have wanted, and I still want, to be friends with
you--good friends--just as you and Selma Gordon are--though of
course I couldn't hope to be as close a friend as she is. I'm
too ignorant--too useless.''
He shook his head--with him, a gesture that conveyed the full
strength of negation. ``We are on opposite sides of a line
across which friendship is impossible. I could not be your
friend without being false to myself. You couldn't be mine
unless you were by some accident flung into the working class and
forced to adopt it as your own. Even then you'd probably remain
what you are. Only a small part of the working class as yet is
at heart of the working class. Most of us secretly--almost
openly--despise the life of work, and dream and hope a time of
fortune that will put us up among the masters and the idlers.''
His expressive eyes became eloquent. ``The false and shallow
ideas that have been educated into us for ages can't be uprooted
in a few brief years.''
She felt the admiration she did not try to conceal. She saw the
proud and splendid conception of the dignity of labor--of labor
as a blessing, not a curse, as a badge of aristocracy and not of
slavery and shame. ``You really believe that, don't you?'' she
said. ``I know it's true. I say I believe it--who doesn't SAY
so? But I don't FEEL it.''
``That's honest,'' said he heartily. ``That's some thing to
build on.''
``And I'm going to build!'' cried she. ``You'll help me--won't
you? I know, it's a great deal to ask. Why should you take the
time and the trouble to bother with one single unimportant
``That's the way I spend my life--in adding one man or one woman
to our party--one at a time. It's slow building, but it's the
only kind that endures. There are twelve hundred of us
now--twelve hundred voters, I mean. Ten years ago there were
only three hundred. We'd expand much more rapidly if it weren't
for the constant shifts of population. Our men are forced to go
elsewhere as the pressure of capitalism gets too strong. And in
place of them come raw emigrants, ignorant, full of dreams of
becoming capitalists and exploiters of their fellow men and
idlers. Ambition they call it. Ambition!'' He laughed. ``What
a vulgar, what a cruel notion of rising in the world! To cease
to be useful, to become a burden to others! . . . Did you ever
think how many poor creatures have to toil longer hours, how many
children have to go to the factory instead of to school, in order
that there may be two hundred and seven automobiles privately
kept in this town and seventy-four chauffeurs doing nothing but
wait upon their masters? Money doesn't grow on bushes, you know.
Every cent of it has to be earned by somebody--and earned by
MANUAL labor.''
``I must think about that,'' she said--for the first time as much
interested in what he was saying as in the man himself. No small
triumph for Victor over the mind of a woman dominated, as was
Jane Hastings, by the sex instinct that determines the thoughts
and actions of practically the entire female sex.
``Yes--think about it,'' he urged. ``You will never see it--or
anything--until you see it for yourself.''
``That's the way your party is built--isn't it?'' inquired she.
``Of those who see it for themselves.''
``Only those,'' replied he. ``We want no others.''
``Not even their votes?'' said she shrewdly.
``Not even their votes,'' he answered. ``We've no desire to get
the offices until we get them to keep. And when we shall have
conquered the city, we'll move on to the conquest of the
county--then of the district--then of the state. Our kind of
movement is building in every city now, and in most of the towns
and many of the villages. The old parties are falling to pieces
because they stand for the old politics of the two factions of
the upper class quarreling over which of them should superintend
the exploiting of the people. Very few of us realize what is
going on before our very eyes-- that we're seeing the death
agonies of one form of civilization and the birth-throes of a
newer form.''
``And what will it be?'' asked the girl.
She had been waiting for some sign of the ``crank,'' the
impractical dreamer. She was confident that this question would
reveal the man she had been warned against--that in answering it
he would betray his true self. But he disappointed and surprised
``How can I tell what it will be?'' said he. ``I'm not a
prophet. All I can say is I am sure it will be human, full of
imperfections, full of opportunities for improvements--and that I
hope it will be better than what we have now. Probably not much
better, but a little--and that little, however small it may be,
will be a gain. Doesn't history show a slow but steady advance
of the idea that the world is for the people who live in it, a
slow retreat of the idea that the world and the people and all
its and their resources are for a favored few of some kind of an
upper class? Yes--I think it is reasonable to hope that out of
the throes will come a freer and a happier and a more intelligent
Suddenly she burst out, apparently irrelevantly: ``But I
can't--I really can't agree with you that everyone ought to do
physical labor. That would drag the world down--yes, I'm sure it
``I guess you haven't thought about that,'' said he. ``Painters
do physical labor--and sculptors--and writers-- and all the
scientific men--and the inventors-- and--'' He laughed at
her--``Who doesn't do physical labor that does anything really
useful? Why, you yourself--at tennis and riding and such
things--do heavy physical labor. I've only to look at your body
to see that. But it's of a foolish kind--foolish and narrowly
``I see I'd better not try to argue with you,'' said she.
``No--don't argue--with me or with anybody,'' rejoined he. ``Sit
down quietly and think about life-- about your life. Think how
it is best to live so that you may get the most out of life--the
most substantial happiness. Don't go on doing the silly
customary things simply because a silly customary world says they
are amusing and worth while. Think--and do--for yourself, Jane
She nodded slowly and thoughtfully. ``I'll try to,'' she said.
She looked at him with the expression of the mind aroused. It
was an expression that often rewarded him after a long straight
talk with a fellow being. She went on: ``I probably shan't do
what you'd approve. You see, I've got to be myself--got to live
to a certain extent the kind of a life fate has made for me.''
``You couldn't successfully live any other,'' said he.
``But, while it won't be at all what you'd regard as a model
life--or even perhaps useful--it'll be very different--very much
better--than it would have been, if I hadn't met you--Victor
``Oh, I've done nothing,'' said he. ``All I try to do is to
encourage my fellow beings to be themselves. So --live your own
life--the life you can live best--just as you wear the clothes
that fit and become you. . . . And now--about the street car
question. What do you want of me?''
``Tell me what to say to father.''
He shook his head. ``Can't do it,'' said he. ``There's a good
place for you to make a beginning. Put on an old dress and go
down town and get acquainted with the family life of the
street-car men. Talk to their wives and their children. Look
into the whole business yourself.''
``But I'm not--not competent to judge,'' objected she.
``Well, make yourself competent,'' advised he.
``I might get Miss Gordon to go with me,'' suggested she.
``You'll learn more thoroughly if you go alone,'' declared he.
She hesitated--ventured with a winning smile: ``You won't go
with me--just to get me started right?''
``No,'' said he. ``You've got to learn for yourself-- or not at
all. If I go with you, you'll get my point of view, and it will
take you so much the longer to get your own.''
``Perhaps you'd prefer I didn't go.''
``It's not a matter of much importance, one way or the
other--except perhaps to yourself,'' replied he.
``Any one individual can do the human race little good by
learning the truth about life. The only benefit is to himself.
Don't forget that in your sweet enthusiasm for doing something
noble and generous and helpful. Don't become a Davy Hull. You
know, Davy is on earth for the benefit of the human race. Ever
since he was born he has been taken care of--supplied with food,
clothing, shelter, everything. Yet he imagines that he is
somehow a God-appointed guardian of the people who have gathered
and cooked his food, made his clothing, served him in every way.
It's very funny, that attitude of your class toward mine.''
``They look up to us,'' said Jane. ``You can't blame us for
allowing it--for becoming pleased with ourselves.''
``That's the worst of it--we do look up to you,'' admitted he.
``But--we're learning better.''
``YOU'VE already learned better--you personally, I mean. I think
that when you compare me, for instance, with a girl like Selma
Gordon, you look down on me.''
``Don't you, yourself, feel that any woman who is self-supporting
and free is your superior?''
``In some moods, I do,'' replied Jane. ``In other moods, I feel
as I was brought up to feel.''
They talked on and on, she detaining him without seeming to do
so. She felt proud of her adroitness. But the truth was that
his stopping on for nearly two hours was almost altogether a
tribute to her physical charm--though Victor was unconscious of
it. When the afternoon was drawing on toward the time for her
father to come, she reluctantly let him go. She said:
``But you'll come again?''
``I can't do that,'' replied he regretfully. ``I could not come
to your father's house and continue free. I must be able to say
what I honestly think, without any restraint.''
``I understand,'' said she. ``And I want you to say and to write
what you believe to be true and right. But--we'll see each other
again. I'm sure we are going to be friends.''
His expression as he bade her good-by told her that she had won
his respect and his liking. She had a suspicion that she did not
deserve either; but she was full of good resolutions, and assured
herself she soon would be what she had pretended--that her
pretenses were not exactly false, only somewhat premature.
At dinner that evening she said to her father:
``I think I ought to do something beside enjoy myself. I've
decided to go down among the poor people and see whether I can't
help them in some way.''
``You'd better keep away from that part of town,'' advised her
father. ``They live awful dirty, and you might catch some
disease. If you want to do anything for the poor, send a check
to our minister or to the charity society. There's two kinds of
poor--those that are working hard and saving their money and
getting up out of the dirt, and those that haven't got no spunk
or get-up. The first kind don't need help, and the second don't
deserve it.''
``But there are the children, popsy,'' urged Jane. ``The
children of the no-account poor ought to have a chance.''
``I don't reckon there ever was a more shiftless, do-easy pair
than my father and mother,'' rejoined Martin Hastings. ``They
were what set me to jumping.''
She saw that his view was hopelessly narrow--that, while he
regarded himself justly as an extraordinary man, he also, for
purposes of prejudice and selfishness, regarded his own
achievements in overcoming what would have been hopeless
handicaps to any but a giant in character and in physical
endurance as an instance of what any one could do if he would but
work. She never argued with him when she wished to carry her
point. She now said:
``It seems to me that, in our own interest, we ought to do what
we can to make the poor live better. As you say, it's positively
dangerous to go about in the tenement part of town--and those
people are always coming among us. For instance, our servants
have relatives living in Cooper Street, where there's a pest of
Old Hastings nodded. ``That's part of Davy Hull's reform
programme,'' said he. ``And I'm in favor of it. The city
government ought to make them people clean up.''
``Victor Dorn wants that done, too--doesn't he?'' said Jane.
``No,'' replied the old man sourly. ``He says it's no use to
clean up the slums unless you raise wages--and that then the slum
people'd clean themselves up. The idea of giving those worthless
trash more money to spend for beer and whisky and finery for
their fool daughters. Why, they don't earn what we give 'em
Jane couldn't resist the temptation to say, ``I guess the laziest
of them earn more than Davy Hull or I.''
``Because some gets more than they earn ain't a reason why others
should.'' He grinned. ``Maybe you and Davy ought to have less,
but Victor Dorn and his riff-raff oughtn't to be pampered. . . .
Do you want me to cut your allowance down?''
She was ready for him. ``If you can get as satisfactory a
housekeeper for less, you're a fool to overpay the one you
The old man was delighted. ``I've been cheating you,'' said he.
``I'll double your pay.''
``You're doing it just in time to stop a strike,'' laughed the
After a not unknown fashion she was most obedient to her father
when his commands happened to coincide with her own inclinations.
Her ardor for an excursion into the slums and the tenements died
almost with Victor Dorn's departure. Her father's reasons for
forbidding her to go did not impress her as convincing, but she
felt that she owed it to him to respect his wishes. Anyhow, what
could she find out that she did not know already? Yes, Dorn and
her father were right in the conclusion each reached by a
different road. She would do well not to meddle where she could
not possibly accomplish any good. She could question the
servants and could get from them all the facts she needed for
urging her father at least to cut down the hours of labor.
The more she thought about Victor Dorn the more uneasy she
became. She had made more progress with him than she had hoped
to make in so short a time. But she had made it at an unexpected
cost. If she had softened him, he had established a disquieting
influence over her. She was not sure, but she was afraid, that
he was stronger than she--that, if she persisted in her whim, she
would soon be liking him entirely too well for her own comfort.
Except as a pastime, Victor Dorn did not fit into her scheme of
life. If she continued to see him, to yield to the delight of
his magnetic voice, of his fresh and original mind, of his
energetic and dominating personality, might he not become
aroused--begin to assert power over her, compel her to--to--she
could not imagine what; only, it was foolish to deny that he was
a dangerous man. ``If I've got good sense,'' decided she, ``I'll
let him alone. I've nothing to gain and everything to lose.''
Her motor--the one her father had ordered as a birthday
present--came the next day; and on the following day two girl
friends from Cincinnati arrived for a long visit. So, Jane
Hastings had the help she felt she perhaps needed in resisting
the temptings of her whim.
To aid her in giving her friends a good time she impressed Davy
Hull, in spite of his protests that his political work made
social fooling about impossible. The truth was that the reform
movement, of which he was one of the figureheads, was being
organized by far more skillful and expert hands than his--and for
purposes of which he had no notion. So, he really had all the
time in the world to look after Ellen Clearwater and Josie
Arthur, and to pose as a serious man bent upon doing his duty as
an upper class person of leisure. All that the reform machine
wished of him was to talk and to pose--and to ride on the show
seat of the pretty, new political wagon.
The new movement had not yet been ``sprung'' upon the public. It
was still an open secret among the young men of the ``better
element'' in the Lincoln, the Jefferson and the University clubs.
Money was being subscribed liberally by persons of good family
who hoped for political preferment and could not get it from the
old parties, and by corporations tired of being ``blackmailed''
by Kelly and House, and desirous of getting into office men who
would give them what they wanted because it was for the public
good that they should not be hampered in any way. With plenty of
money an excellent machine could be built and set to running.
Also, there was talk of a fusion with the Democratic machine,
House to order the wholesale indorsement of the reform ticket in
exchange for a few minor places.
When the excitement among the young gentlemen over the
approaching moral regeneration of Remsen City politics was at the
boiling point Victor Dorn sent for David Hull--asked him to come
to the Baker Avenue cafe', which was the social headquarters of
Dorn's Workingmen's League. As Hull was rather counting on
Dorn's support, or at least neutrality, in the approaching
contest, he accepted promptly. As he entered the cafe' he saw
Dorn seated at a table in a far corner listening calmly to a man
who was obviously angrily in earnest. At second glance he
recognized Tony Rivers, one of Dick Kelly's shrewdest lieutenants
and a labor leader of great influence in the unions of factory
workers. Among those in ``the know'' it was understood that
Rivers could come nearer to delivering the labor vote than any
man in Remsen City. He knew whom to corrupt with bribes and whom
to entrap by subtle appeals to ignorant prejudice. As a large
part of his herd was intensely Catholic, Rivers was a devout
Catholic. To quote his own phrase, used in a company on whose
discretion he could count, ``Many's the pair of pants I've worn
out doing the stations of the Cross.'' In fact, Rivers had been
brought up a Presbyterian, and under the name of Blake--his
correct name--had ``done a stretch'' in Joliet for picking
Dorn caught sight of Davy Hull, hanging uncertainly in the
offing. He rose at once, said a few words in a quiet, emphatic
way to Rivers--words of conclusion and dismissal--and advanced to
meet Hull.
``I don't want to interrupt. I can wait,'' said Hull, who saw
Rivers' angry scowl at him. He did not wish to offend the great
labor leader.
``That fellow pushed himself on me,'' said Dorn. ``I've nothing
to say to him.''
``Tony Rivers--wasn't it?'' said Davy as they seated themselves
at another table.
``I'm going to expose him in next week's New Day,'' replied
Victor. ``When I sent him a copy of the article for his
corrections, if he could make any, he came threatening.''
``I've heard he's a dangerous man,'' said Davy.
``He'll not be so dangerous after Saturday,'' replied Victor.
``One by one I'm putting the labor agents of your friends out of
business. The best ones--the chaps like Rivers--are hard to
catch. And if I should attack one of them before I had him dead
to rights, I'd only strengthen him.''
``You think you can destroy Rivers' influence?'' said Davy
``If I were not sure of it I'd not publish a line,'' said Victor.
``But to get to the subject I wish to talk to you about. You are
to be the reform candidate for Mayor in the fall?''
Davy looked important and self-conscious. ``There has been some
talk of----'' he began.
``I've sent for you to ask you to withdraw from the movement,
Hull,'' interrupted Victor.
Hull smiled. ``And I've come to ask you to support it,'' said
Hull. ``We'll win, anyhow. But I'd like to see all the forces
against corruption united in this campaign. I am even urging my
people to put one or two of your men on the ticket.''
``None of us would accept,'' said Victor. ``That isn't our kind
of politics. We'll take nothing until we get everything. . . .
What do you know about this movement you're lending your name
``I organized it,'' said Hull proudly.
``Pardon me--Dick Kelly organized it,'' replied Victor.
``They're simply using you, Davy, to play their rotten game.
Kelly knew he was certain to be beaten this fall. He doesn't
care especially for that, because House and his gang are just as
much Kelly as Kelly himself. But he's alarmed about the
Davy Hull reddened, though he tried hard to look indifferent.
``He's given up hope of pulling through the scoundrel who's on
the bench now. He knows that our man would be elected, though
his tool had the support of the Republicans, the Democrats and
the new reform crowd.''
Dorn had been watching Hull's embarrassed face keenly. He now
said: ``You understand, I see, why Judge Freilig changed his
mind and decided that he must stop devoting himself to the public
and think of the welfare of his family and resume the practice of
the law?''
``Judge Freilig is an honorable gentleman,'' said Davy with much
dignity. ``I'm sorry, Dorn, that you listen to the lies of
``If Freilig had persisted in running,'' said Victor, ``I should
have published the list of stocks and bonds of corporations
benefiting by his decisions that his brother and his father have
come into possession of during his two terms on the bench. Many
of our judges are simply mentally crooked. But Freilig is a
bribe taker. He probably believes his decisions are just. All
you fellows believe that upper-class rule is really best for the
``And so it is,'' said Davy. ``And you, an educated man, know
``I'll not argue that now,'' said Victor. ``As I was saying,
while Freilig decides for what he honestly thinks is right, he
also feels he is entitled to a share of the substantial benefits.
Most of the judges, after serving the upper class faithfully for
years, retire to an old age of comparative poverty. Freilig
thinks that is foolish.''
``I suppose you agree with him,'' said Hull sarcastically.
``I sympathize with him,'' said Victor. ``He retires with
reputation unstained and with plenty of money. If I should
publish the truth about him, would he lose a single one of his
friends? You know he wouldn't. That isn't the way the world is
run at present.''
``No doubt it would be run much better if your crowd were in
charge,'' sneered Hull.
``On the contrary, much worse,'' replied Victor unruffled. ``But
we're educating ourselves so that, when our time comes, we'll not
do so badly.''
``You'll have plenty of time for education,'' said Davy.
``Plenty,'' said Victor. ``But why are you angry? Because you
realize now that your reform candidate for judge is of Dick
Kelly's selecting?''
``Kelly didn't propose Hugo Galland,'' cried Davy hotly. ``I
proposed him myself.''
``Was his the first name you proposed?''
Something in Dorn's tone made Davy feel that it would be unwise
to yield to the impulse to tell a lie-- for the highly moral
purpose of silencing this agitator and demagogue.
``You will remember,'' pursued Victor, ``that Galland was the
sixth or seventh name you proposed--and that Joe House rejected
the others. He did it, after consulting with Kelly. You
recall--don't you?--that every time you brought him a name he
took time to consider?''
``How do you know so much about all this?'' cried Davy, his tone
suggesting that Victor was wholly mistaken, but his manner
betraying that he knew Victor was right.
``Oh, politicians are human,'' replied Dorn. ``And the human
race is loose-mouthed. I saw years ago that if I was to build my
party I must have full and accurate information as to all that
was going on. I made my plans accordingly.''
``Galland is an honest man--rich--above suspicion --above
corruption--an ideal candidate,'' said Davy.
``He is a corporation owner, a corporation lawyer-- and a fool,''
said Victor. ``As I've told you, all Dick Kelly's interest in
this fall's local election is that judgeship.''
``Galland is my man. I want to see him elected. If Kelly's for
Galland, so much the better. Then we're sure of electing him--of
getting the right sort of a man on the bench.''
``I'm not here to argue with you about politics, Davy,'' said
Victor. ``I brought you here because I like you--believe in your
honesty--and don't want to see you humiliated. I'm giving you a
chance to save yourself .''
``From what?'' inquired Hull, not so valiant as he pretended to
``From the ridicule and disgrace that will cover this reform
movement, if you persist in it.''
Hull burst out laughing. ``Of all the damned impudence!'' he
exclaimed. ``Dorn, I think you've gone crazy .''
``You can't irritate me, Hull. I've been giving you the benefit
of the doubt. I think you are falling into the commonest kind of
error--doing evil and winking at evil in order that a good end
may be gained. Now, listen. What are the things you reformers
are counting on to get you votes this fall''
Davy maintained a haughty silence.
``The traction scandals, the gas scandals and the paving
scandals--isn't that it?''
``Of course,'' said Davy.
``Then--why have the gas crowd, the traction crowd and the paving
crowd each contributed twenty-five thousand dollars to your
campaign fund?''
Hull stared at Victor Dorn in amazement. ``Who told you that
lie?'' he blustered.
Dorn looked at him sadly. ``Then you knew? I hoped you didn't,
Hull. But--now that you're facing the situation squarely, don't
you see that you're being made a fool of? Would those people put
up for your election if they weren't SURE you and your crowd were
THEIR crowd?''
``They'll find out!'' cried Hull.
``You'll find out, you mean,'' replied Victor. ``I see your
whole programme, Davy. They'll put you in, and they'll say, `Let
us alone and we'll make you governor of the State. Annoy us, and
you'll have no political future.' And you'll say to yourself,
`The wise thing for me to do is to wait until I'm governor before
I begin to serve the people. THEN I can really do something.'
And so, you'll be THEIR mayor--and afterward THEIR
governor--because they'll hold out another inducement. Anyhow,
by that time you'll be so completely theirs that you'll have no
hope of a career except through them.''
After reading how some famous oration wrought upon its audience
we turn to it and wonder that such tempests of emotion could have
been produced by such simple, perhaps almost commonplace words.
The key to the mystery is usually a magic quality in the tone of
the orator, evoking before its hypnotized hearers a series of
vivid pictures, just as the notes of a violin, with no aid from
words or even from musical form seem to materialize into visions.
This uncommon yet by no means rare power was in Victor Dorn's
voice, and explained his extraordinary influence over people of
all kinds and classes; it wove a spell that enmeshed even those
who disliked him for his detestable views. Davy Hull, listening
to Victor's simple recital of his prospective career, was so
wrought upon that he sat staring before him in a kind of terror.
``Davy,'' said Victor gently, ``you're at the parting of the
ways. The time for honest halfway reformers-- for political
amateurs has passed. `Under which king, Bezonian? Speak or
die!'--that's the situation today.''
And Hull knew that it was so. ``What do you propose, Dorn?'' he
said. ``I want to do what's right-- what's best for the
``Don't worry about the people, Hull,'' said Victor.
``Upper classes come and pass, but the people remain-- bigger and
stronger and more aggressive with every century. And they
dictate language and art, and politics and religion--what we
shall all eat and wear and think and do. Only what they approve,
only that yoke even which they themselves accept, has any chance
of enduring. Don't worry about the people, Davy. Worry about
``I admit,'' said Hull, ``that I don't like a lot of things about
the--the forces I find I've got to use in order to carry through
my plans. I admit that even the sincere young fellows I've
grouped together to head this movement are
narrow--supercilious--self-satisfied --that they irritate me and
are not trustworthy. But I feel that, if I once get the office,
I'll be strong enough to put my plans through.'' Nervously,
``I'm giving you my full confidence--as I've given it to no one
``You've told me nothing I didn't know already,'' said Victor.
``I've got to choose between this reform party and your party,''
continued Hull. ``That is, I've got no choice. For, candidly,
I've no confidence in the working class. It's too ignorant to do
the ruling. It's too credulous to build on--for its credulity
makes it fickle. And I believe in the better class, too. It may
be sordid and greedy and tyrannical, but by appealing to its good
instincts--and to its fear of the money kings and the
monopolists, something good can be got through it.''
``If you want to get office,'' said Dorn, ``you're right. But if
you want to BE somebody, if you want to develop yourself, to have
the joy of being utterly unafraid in speech and in action--why,
come with us.''
After a pause Hull said, ``I'd like to do it. I'd like to help
Victor laid his hand on Davy's arm. ``Get it straight, Davy,''
he said. ``You can't help us. We don't need you. It's you that
needs us. We'll make an honest man of you--instead of a trimming
politician, trying to say or to do something more or less honest
once in a while and winking at or abetting crookedness most of
the time.''
``I've done nothing, and I'll do nothing, to be ashamed of,''
protested Hull.
``You are not ashamed of the way your movement is financed?''
Davy moved uncomfortably. ``The money's ours now,'' said he.
``They gave it unconditionally.''
But he could not meet Victor's eyes. Victor said: ``They paid a
hundred thousand dollars for a judgeship and for a blanket
mortgage on your party. And if you should win, you'd find you
could do little showy things that were of no value, but nothing
that would seriously disturb a single leech sucking the blood of
this community.''
``I don't agree with you,'' said Davy. He roused himself into
anger--his only remaining refuge. ``Your prejudices blind you to
all the means--the PRACTICAL means--of doing good, Dorn. I've
listened patiently to you because I respect your sincerity. But
I'm not going to waste my life in mere criticism. I'm going to
DO something.''
An expression of profound sadness came into Victor's face.
``Don't decide now,'' he said. ``Think it over. Remember what
I've told you about what we'll be compelled to do if you launch
this party.''
Hull was tempted to burst out violently. Was not this
swollen-headed upstart trying to intimidate him by threats? But
his strong instinct for prudence persuaded him to conceal his
resentment. ``Why the devil should you attack US?'' he demanded.
``Surely we're nearer your kind of thing than the old
parties--and we, too, are against them--their rotten machines.''
``We purpose to keep the issue clear in this town,'' replied
Victor. ``So, we can't allow a party to grow up that PRETENDS to
be just as good as ours but is really a cover behind which the
old parties we've been battering to pieces can reorganize.''
``That is, you'll tolerate in this market no brand of honest
politics but your own?''
``If you wish to put it that way,'' replied Victor coolly.
``I suppose you'd rather see Kelly or House win?''
``We'll see that House does win,'' replied Victor. ``When we
have shot your movement full of holes and sunk it, House will put
up a straight Democratic ticket, and it will win.''
``And House means Kelly--and Kelly means corruption rampant.''
``And corruption rampant means further and much needed education
in the school of hard experience for the voters,'' said Dorn.
``And the more education, the larger our party and the quicker
its triumph.''
Hull laughed angrily. ``Talk about low self-seeking! Talk about
rotten practical politics!''
But Dorn held his good humor of the man who has the power and
knows it. ``Think it over, Davy,'' counseled he. ``You'll see
you've got to come with us or join Kelly. For your own sake I'd
like to see you with us. For the party's sake you'd better be
with Kelly, for you're not really a workingman, and our fellows
would be uneasy about you for a long time. You see, we've had
experience of rich young men whose hearts beat for the wrongs of
the working class--and that experience has not been fortunate.''
``Before you definitely decide to break with the decent element
of the better class, Victor, I want YOU to think it over,'' said
Davy. ``We--I, myself--have befriended you more than once. But
for a few of us who still have hope that demagoguery will die of
itself, your paper would have been suppressed long ago.''
Victor laughed. ``I wish they would suppress it,'' said he.
``The result would give the `better element' in this town a very
bad quarter of an hour, at least.'' He rose. ``We've both said
all we've got to say to each other. I see I've done no good. I
feared it would be so.'' He was looking into Hull's eyes--into
his very soul. ``When we meet again, you will probably be my
open and bitter enemy. It's a pity. It makes me sad. Good-by,
and--do think it over, Davy.''
Dorn moved rapidly away. Hull looked after him in surprise. At
first blush he was astonished that Dorn should care so much about
him as this curious interview and his emotion at its end
indicated. But on reflecting his astonishment disappeared, and
he took the view that Dorn was simply impressed by his
personality and by his ability--was perhaps craftily trying to
disarm him and to destroy his political movement which was
threatening to destroy the Workingmen's League. ``A very shrewd
chap is Dorn,'' thought Davy--why do we always generously concede
at least acumen to those we suspect of having a good opinion of
us?--``A VERY shrewd chap. It's unfortunate he's cursed with
that miserable envy of those better born and better off than he
Davy spent the early evening at the University Club, where he was
an important figure. Later on he went to a dance at Mrs.
Venable's--and there he was indeed a lion, as an unmarried man
with money cannot but be in a company of ladies--for money to a
lady is what soil and sun and rain are to a flower--is that
without which she must cease to exist. But still later, when he
was alone in bed--perhaps with the supper he ate at Mrs.
Venable's not sitting as lightly as comfort required--the things
Victor Dorn had said came trailing drearily through his mind.
What kind of an article would Dorn print? Those facts about the
campaign fund certainly would look badly in cold type--especially
if Dorn had the proofs. And Hugo Galland-- Beyond question the
mere list of the corporations in which Hugo was director or large
stockholder would make him absurd as a judge, sitting in that
district. And Hugo the son-in-law of the most offensive
capitalist in that section of the State! And the deal with
House, endorsed by Kelly--how nasty that would look, IF Victor
had the proofs. IF Victor had the proofs. But had he?
``I MUST have a talk with Kelly,'' said Davy, aloud.
The words startled him--not his voice suddenly sounding in the
profound stillness of his bedroom, but the words themselves. It
was his first admission to himself of the vicious truth he had
known from the outset and had been pretending to himself that he
did not know--the truth that his reform movement was a fraud
contrived by Dick Kelly to further the interests of the company
of financiers and the gang of politico- criminal thugs who owned
the party machinery. It is a nice question whether a man is ever
allowed to go in HONEST self-deception decisively far along a
wrong road. However this may be, certain it is that David Hull,
reformer, was not so allowed. And he was glad of the darkness
that hid him at least physically from himself as he strove to
convince himself that, if he was doing wrong, it was from the
highest motives and for the noblest purposes and would result in
the public good-- and not merely in fame and office for David
The struggle ended as struggles usually end in the famous arena
of moral sham battles called conscience; and toward the middle of
the following morning Davy, at peace with himself and prepared to
make any sacrifice of personal squeamishness or moral idealism
for the sake of the public good, sought out Dick Kelly.
Kelly's original headquarters had, of course, been the doggery in
and through which he had established himself as a political
power. As his power grew and his relations with more respectable
elements of society extended he shifted to a saloon and beer
garden kept by a reputable German and frequented by all kinds of
people--a place where his friends of the avowedly criminal class
and his newer friends of the class that does nothing legally
criminal, except in emergencies, would feel equally at ease. He
retained ownership of the doggery, but took his name down and put
up that of his barkeeper. When he won his first big political
fight and took charge of the public affairs of Remsen City and
made an arrangement with Joe House where-- under Remsen City,
whenever it wearied or sickened of Kelly, could take instead
Kelly disguised as Joe House --when he thus became a full blown
boss he established a secondary headquarters in addition to that
at Herrmann's Garden. Every morning at ten o'clock he took his
stand in the main corridor of the City Hall, really a
thoroughfare and short cut for the busiest part of town. With a
cigar in his mouth he stood there for an hour or so, holding
court, making appointments, attending to all sorts of political
Presently his importance and his ideas of etiquette expanded to
such an extent that he had to establish the Blaine Club. Joe
House's Tilden Club was established two years later, in imitation
of Kelly. If you had very private and important business with
Kelly-- business of the kind of which the public must get no
inkling, you made--preferably by telephone--an appointment to
meet him in his real estate offices in the Hastings Building--a
suite with entrances and exits into three separated corridors.
If you wished to see him about ordinary matters and were a person
who could ``confer'' with Kelly without its causing talk you met
him at the Blaine Club. If you wished to cultivate him, to pay
court to him, you saw him at Herrmann's--or in the general rooms
of the club. If you were a busy man and had time only to
exchange greetings with him--to ``keep in touch''--you passed
through the City Hall now and then at his hour. Some bosses soon
grow too proud for the vulgar democracy of such a public stand;
but Kelly, partly through shrewdness, partly through inclination,
clung to the City Hall stand and encouraged the humblest citizens
to seek him there and tell him the news or ask his aid or his
It was at the City Hall that Davy Hull sought him, and found him.
Twice he walked briskly to the boss; the third time he went by
slowly. Kelly, who saw everything, had known from the first
glance at Hull's grave, anxious face, that the young leader of
the ``holy boys'' was there to see him. But he ignored Davy
until Davy addressed him directly.
``Howdy, Mr. Hull!'' said he, observing the young man with eyes
that twinkled cynically. ``What's the good word?''
``I want to have a little talk with you,'' Davy blurted out.
``Where could I see you?''
``Here I am,'' said Kelly. ``Talk away.''
``Couldn't I see you at some--some place where we'd not be
interrupted? I saw Victor Dorn yesterday, and he said some
things that I think you ought to know about.''
``I do know about 'em,'' replied Kelly.
``Are you sure? I mean his threats to--to----''
As Davy paused in an embarrassed search for a word that would not
hurt his own but recently soothed conscience, Kelly laughed.
``To expose you holy boys?'' inquired he. ``To upset the nice
moral campaign you and Joe House have laid out? Yes, I know all
about Mr. Victor Dorn. But--Joe House is the man you want to
see. You boys are trying to do me up--trying to break up the
party. You can't expect ME to help you. I've got great respect
for you personally, Mr. Hull. Your father--he was a fine old
Republican wheel-horse. He stood by the party through thick and
thin--and the party stood by him. So, I respect his
son--personally. But politically-- that's another matter.
Politically I respect straight organization men of either party,
but I've got no use for amateurs and reformers. So--go to Joe
House.'' All this in perfect good humor, and in a tone of banter
that might have ruffled a man with a keener sense of humor than
Davy was red to his eyes, not because Kelly was laughing at him,
but because he stood convicted of such a stupid political blunder
as coming direct to Kelly when obviously he should have gone to
Kelly's secret partner. ``Dorn means to attack us
all--Republicans, Democrats and Citizens' Alliance,'' stammered
Davy, trying to justify himself.
Kelly shifted his cigar and shrugged his shoulders.
``Don't worry about his attacks on me--on US,'' said he. ``We're
used to being attacked. We haven't got no reputation for
superior virtue to lose.''
``But he says he can prove that our whole campaign is simply a
deal between you and House and me to fool the people and elect a
bad judge.''
``So I've heard,'' said Kelly. ``But what of it? You know it
ain't so.''
``No, I don't, Mr. Kelly,'' replied Hull, desperately. ``On the
contrary, I think it is so. And I may add I think we are
justified in making such a deal, when that's the only way to save
the community from Victor Dorn and his crowd of--of anarchists.''
Kelly looked at him silently with amused eyes.
``House can't do anything,'' pursued Davy. ``Maybe YOU can. So
I came straight to you.''
``I'm glad you're getting a little political sense, my boy,''
said Kelly. ``Perhaps you're beginning to see that a politician
has got to be practical--that it's the organizations that keeps
this city from being the prey to Victor Dorns.''
``I see that,'' said Davy. ``I'm willing to admit that I've
misjudged you, Mr. Kelly--that the better classes owe you a heavy
debt--and that you are one of the men we've got to rely on
chiefly to stem the tide of anarchy that's rising--the attack on
the propertied classes--the intelligent classes.''
``I see your eyes are being opened, my boy,'' said Kelly in a
kindly tone that showed how deeply he appreciated this unexpected
recognition of his own notion of his mission. ``You young silk
stocking fellows up at the University Club, and the Lincoln and
the Jefferson, have been indulging in a lot of loose talk against
the fellows that do the hard work in politics--the fellows that
helped your fathers to make fortunes and that are helping you
boys to keep 'em. If I didn't have a pretty level head on me,
I'd take my hands off and give Dorn and his gang a chance at you.
I tell you, when you fool with that reform nonsense, you play
with fire in a powder mill.''
``But I--I had an idea that you wanted me to go ahead,'' said
``Not the way you started last spring,'' replied Kelly. ``Not the
way you'd 'a gone if I hadn't taken hold. I've been saving you
in spite of yourselves. Thanks to me, your party's on a sound,
conservative basis and won't do any harm and may do some good in
teaching a lesson to those of our boys that've been going a
little too far. It ain't good for an organization to win
``Victor Dorn seemed to be sure--absolutely sure,'' said Hull.
``And he's pretty shrewd at politics-- isn't he?''
``Don't worry about him, I tell you,'' replied Kelly.
The sudden hardening of his voice and of his never notably soft
face was tribute stronger than any words to Dorn's ability as a
politician, to his power as an antagonist. Davy felt a sinister
intent--and he knew that Dick Kelly had risen because he would
stop at nothing. He was as eager to get away from the boss as
the boss was to be rid of him. The intrusion of a henchman, to
whom Kelly had no doubt signaled, gave him the excuse. As soon
as he had turned from the City Hall into Morton Street he
slackened to as slow a walk as his length of leg would permit.
Moving along, absorbed in uncomfortable thoughts, he startled
violently when he heard Selma Gordon's voice:
``How d'you do, Mr. Hull? I was hoping I'd see you to-day.''
She was standing before him--the same fascinating embodiment of
life and health and untamed energy; the direct, honest glance.
``I want to talk to you,'' she went on, ``and I can't, walking
beside you. You're far too tall. Come into the park and we'll
sit on that bench under the big maple.''
He had mechanically lifted his hat, but he had not spoken. He
did not find words until they were seated side by side, and then
all he could say was:
``I'm very glad to see you again--very glad, indeed.''
In fact, he was the reverse of glad, for he was afraid of her,
afraid of himself when under the spell of her presence. He who
prided himself on his self-control, he could not account for the
effect this girl had upon him. As he sat there beside her the
impulse Jane Hastings had so adroitly checked came surging back.
He had believed, had hoped it was gone for good and all. He
found that in its mysterious hiding place it had been gaining
strength. Quite clearly he saw how absurd was the idea of making
this girl his wife--he tall and she not much above the bend of
his elbow; he conventional, and she the incarnation of passionate
revolt against the restraints of class and form and custom which
he not only conformed to but religiously believed in. And she
set stirring in him all kinds of vague, wild longings to run
amuck socially and politically--longings that, if indulged, would
ruin him for any career worthy of the name.
He stood up. ``I must go--I really must,'' he said, confusedly.
She laid her small, strong hand on his arm--a natural, friendly
gesture with her, and giving no suggestion of familiarity. Even
as she was saying, ``Please--only a moment,'' he dropped back to
the seat.
``Well--what is it?'' he said abruptly, his gaze resolutely away
from her face.
``Victor was telling me this morning about his talk with you,''
she said in her rapid, energetic way. ``He was depressed because
he had failed. But I felt sure-- I feel sure--that he hasn't.
In our talk the other day, Mr. Hull, I got a clear idea of your
character. A woman understands better. And I know that, after
Victor told you the plain truth about the situation, you couldn't
go on.''
David looked round rather wildly, swallowed hard several times,
said hoarsely: ``I won't, if you'll marry me.''
But for a slight change of expression or of color Davy would have
thought she had not heard--or perhaps that he had imagined he was
uttering the words that forced themselves to his lips in spite of
his efforts to suppress them. For she went on in the same
impetuous, friendly way:
``It seemed to me that you have an instinct for the right that's
unusual in men of your class. At least, I think it's unusual. I
confess I've not known any man of your class except you--and I
know you very slightly. It was I that persuaded Victor to go to
you. He believes that a man's class feeling controls him-- makes
his moral sense--compels his actions. But I thought you were an
exception--and he yielded after I urged him a while.''
``I don't know WHAT I am,'' said Hull gloomily. ``I think I want
to do right. But--what is right? Not theoretical right, but the
practical, workable thing?''
``That's true,'' conceded Selma. ``We can't always be certain
what's right. But can't we always know what's wrong? And, Mr.
Hull, it is wrong--altogether wrong--and YOU know it's wrong--to
lend your name and your influence and your reputation to that
crowd. They'd let you do a little good--why? To make their
professions of reform seem plausible. To fool the people into
trusting them again. And under cover of the little good you were
showily doing, how much mischief they'd do! If you'll go back
over the history of this town--of any town--of any
country--you'll find that most of the wicked things--the things
that pile the burdens on the shoulders of the poor--the masses--
most of the wicked things have been done under cover of just such
men as you, used as figureheads.''
``But I want to build up a new party--a party of honest men,
honestly led,'' said Davy.
``Led by your sort of young men? I mean young men of your class.
Led by young lawyers and merchants and young fellows living on
inherited incomes? Don't you see that's impossible,'' cried
Selma. ``They are all living off the labor of others. Their
whole idea of life is exploiting the masses--is reaping where
they have not sown or reaping not only what they've sown but also
what others have sown--for they couldn't buy luxury and all the
so-called refinements of life for themselves and their idle
families merely with what they themselves could earn. How can
you build up a really HONEST party with such men? They may mean
well. They no doubt are honest, up to a certain point. But they
will side with their class, in every crisis. And their class is
the exploiting class.''
``I don't agree with you,'' said Davy. ``You are not fair to
``How!'' demanded Selma.
``I couldn't argue with you,'' replied Hull. ``All I'll say is
that you've seen only the one side--only the side of the working
``That toils without ceasing--its men, its women, its
children--'' said the girl with heaving bosom and flashing
eyes--``only to have most of what it earns filched away from it
by your class to waste in foolish luxury!''
``And whose fault is that?'' pleaded Hull.
``The fault of my class,'' replied she. ``Their ignorance, their
stupidity--yes, and their foolish cunning that overreaches
itself. For they tolerate the abuses of the present system
because each man--at least, each man of the ones who think
themselves `smart'--imagines that the day is coming when he can
escape from the working class and gain the ranks of the
``And you ask ME to come into the party of those people!''
scoffed Davy.
``Yes, Mr. Hull,'' said she--and until then he had not
appreciated how lovely her voice was. ``Yes--that is the party
for you--for all honest, sincere men who want to have their own
respect through and through. To teach those people--to lead them
right--to be truthful and just with them--that is the life worth
``But they won't learn. They won't be led right. They are as
ungrateful as they are foolish. If they weren't, men like me
trying to make a decent career wouldn't have to compromise with
the Kellys and the Houses and their masters. What are Kelly and
House but leaders of your class? And they lead ten to Victor
Dorn's one. Why, any day Dorn's followers may turn on him--and
you know it.''
``And what of that?'' cried Selma. ``He's not working to be
their leader, but to do what he thinks is right, regardless of
consequences. Why is he a happy man, as happiness goes? Why has
he gone on his way steadily all these years, never minding
setbacks and failures and defeats and dangers? I needn't tell
you why.''
``No,'' said Hull, powerfully moved by her earnestness. ``I
``The finest sentence that ever fell from human lips,'' Selma
went on, ``was `Father, forgive them; they know not what they
do.' Forgive them--forgive us all-- for when we go astray it is
because we are in the dark. And I want you to come with us, Mr.
Hull, and help to make it a little less dark. At least, you will
then be looking toward the light--and every one turned in that
direction counts.''
After a long pause, Hull said:
``Miss Gordon, may I ask you a very personal question?''
``Yes,'' said she.
``Are you in love with Victor Dorn?''
Selma laughed merrily. ``Jane Hastings had that same
curiosity,'' said she. ``I'll answer you as I answered
her--though she didn't ask me quite so directly. No, I am not in
love with him. We are too busy to bother about those things. We
have too much to do to think about ourselves.''
``Then--there is no reason why I should not ask you to be my
wife--why I should not hope--and try?''
She looked at him with a peculiar smile. ``Yes, there is a very
good reason. I do not love you, and I shall not love you. I
shall not have time for that sort of thing.''
``Don't you believe in love?''
``I don't believe in much else,'' said she. ``But--not the kind
of love you offer me.''
``How do you know?'' cried he. ``I have not told you yet how I
feel toward you. I have not----''
``Oh, yes, you have,'' interrupted she. ``This is the
second--no, the third time you have seen me. So, the love you
offer me can only be of a kind it is not in the least flattering
to a woman to inspire. You needn't apologize,'' she went on,
laughingly. ``I've no doubt you mean well. You simply don't
understand me--my sort of woman.''
``It's you that don't understand, Selma,'' cried he. ``You don't
realize how wonderful you are--how much you reveal of yourself at
once. I was all but engaged to another woman when I saw you.
I've been fighting against my love for you--fighting against the
truth that suddenly came to me that you were the only woman I had
ever seen who appealed to and aroused and made strong all that is
brave and honest in me. Selma, I need you. I am not infatuated.
I am clearer- headed than I ever was in my life. I need you.
You can make a man of me.''
She was regarding him with a friendly and even tender sympathy.
``I understand now,'' she said. ``I thought it was simply the
ordinary outburst of passion. But I see that it was the result
of your struggle with yourself about which road to take in making
a career.''
If she had not been absorbed in developing her theory she might
have seen that Davy was not altogether satisfied with this
analysis of his feelings. But he deemed it wise to hold his
``You do need some one--some woman,'' she went on. ``And I am
anxious to help you all I can. I couldn't help you by marrying
you. To me marriage means----'' She checked herself abruptly.
``No matter. I can help you, I think, as a friend. But if you
wish to marry, you should take some one in your own class-- some
one who's in sympathy with you. Then you and she could work it
out together--could help each other. You see, I don't need
you--and there's nothing in one- sided marriages. . . . No, you
couldn't give me anything I need, so far as I can see.''
``I believe that's true,'' said Davy miserably.
She reflected, then continued: ``But there's Jane Hastings. Why
not marry her? She is having the same sort of struggle with
herself. You and she could help each other. And you're, both of
you, fine characters. I like each of you for exactly the same
reasons. . . . Yes--Jane needs you, and you need her.'' She
looked at him with her sweet, frank smile like a breeze straight
from the sweep of a vast plateau. ``Why, it's so obvious that I
wonder you and she haven't become engaged long ago. You ARE fond
of her, aren't you?''
``Oh, Selma,'' cried Davy, ``I LOVE you. I want YOU.''
She shook her head with a quaint, fascinating expression of
positiveness. ``Now, my friend,'' said she, ``drop that fancy.
It isn't sensible. And it threatens to become silly.'' Her
smile suddenly expanded into a laugh. ``The idea of you and me
married--of ME married to YOU! I'd drive you crazy. No, I
shouldn't stay long enough for that. I'd be of on the wings of
the wind to the other end of the earth as soon as you tried to
put a halter on me.''
He did not join in her laugh. She rose. ``You will think again
before you go in with those people--won't you, David?'' she said,
sober and earnest.
``I don't care what becomes of me,'' he said boyishly.
``But _I_ do,'' she said. ``I want to see you the man you can
``Then--marry me,'' he cried.
Her eyes looked gentle friendship; her passionate lips curled in
scorn. ``I might marry the sort of man you could be,'' she said,
``but I never could marry a man so weak that, without me to
bolster him up, he'd become a stool-pigeon.''
And she turned and walked away.
A few days later, after she had taken her daily two hours' walk,
Selma went into the secluded part of Washington Park and spent
the rest of the morning writing. Her walk was her habitual time
for thinking out her plans for the day. And when it was writing
that she had to do, and the weather was fine, that particular
hillside with its splendid shade so restful for the eyes and so
stimulating to the mind became her work-shop. She thought that
she was helped as much by the colors of grass and foliage as by
the softened light and the tranquil view out over hills and
When she had finished her article she consulted the little nickel
watch she carried in her bag and discovered that it was only one
o'clock. She had counted on getting through at three or half
past. Two hours gained. How could she best use them. The part
of the Park where she was sitting was separated from the Hastings
grounds only by the winding highroad making its last reach for
the top of the hill. She decided that she would go to see Jane
Hastings--would try to make tactful progress in her project of
helping Jane and David Hull by marrying them to each other. Once
she had hit upon this project her interest in both of them had
equally increased. Yes, these gained two hours was an
opportunity not to be neglected.
She put her papers into her shopping bag and went straight up the
steep hill. She arrived at the top, at the edge of the lawn
before Jane's house, with somewhat heightened color and
brightened eyes, but with no quickening of the breath. Her slim,
solid little body had all the qualities of endurance of those
wiry ponies that come from the regions her face and walk and the
careless grace of her hair so delightfully suggested. As she
advanced toward the house she saw a gay company assembled on the
wide veranda. Jane was giving a farewell luncheon for her
visitors, had asked almost a dozen of the most presentable girls
in the town. It was a very fashionable affair, and everyone had
dressed for it in the best she had to wear at that time of day.
Selma saw the company while there was still time for her to draw
back and descend into the woods. But she knew little about
conventionalities, and she cared not at all about them. She had
come to see Jane; she conducted herself precisely as she would
have expected any one to act who came to see her at any time.
She marched straight across the lawn. The hostess, the
fashionable visitors, the fashionable guests soon centered upon
the extraordinary figure moving toward them under that blazing
sun. The figure was extraordinary not for dress--the dress was
plain and unconspicuous--but for that expression of the free and
the untamed, the lack of self-consciousness so rarely seen except
in children and animals. Jane rushed to the steps to welcome
her, seized her extended hands and kissed her with as much
enthusiasm as she kissed Jane. There was sincerity in this
greeting of Jane's; but there was pose, also. Here was one of
those chances to do the unconventional, the democratic thing.
``What a glorious surprise!'' cried Jane. ``You'll stop for
lunch, of course?'' Then to the girls nearest them: ``This is
Selma Gordon, who writes for the New Day.''
Pronouncing of names--smiles--bows--veiled glances of
curiosity--several young women exchanging whispered comments of
amusement. And to be sure, Selma, in that simple costume,
gloveless, with dusty shoes and blown hair, did look very much
out of place. But then Selma would have looked, in a sense, out
of place anywhere but in a wilderness with perhaps a few tents
and a half-tamed herd as background. In another sense, she
seemed in place anywhere as any natural object must.
``I don't eat lunch,'' said Selma. ``But I'll stay if you'll put
me next to you and let me talk to you.''
She did not realize what an upsetting of order and precedence
this request, which seemed so simple to her, involved. Jane
hesitated, but only for a fraction of a second. ``Why,
certainly,'' said she. ``Now that I've got you I'd not let you
go in any circumstances.''
Selma was gazing around at the other girls with the frank and
pleased curiosity of a child. ``Gracious, what pretty clothes!''
she cried--she was addressing Miss Clearwater, of Cincinnati.
``I've read about this sort of thing in novels and in society
columns of newspapers. But I never saw it before. ISN'T it
Miss Clearwater, whose father was a United States Senator--by
purchase--had had experience of many oddities, male and female.
She also was attracted by Selma's sparkling delight, and by the
magnetic charm which she irradiated as a rose its perfume.
``Pretty clothes are attractive, aren't they?'' said she, to be
saying something.
``I don't know a thing about clothes,'' confessed Selma. ``I've
never owned at the same time more than two dresses fit to
wear--usually only one. And quite enough for me. I'd only be
fretted by a lot of things of that kind. But I like to see them
on other people. If I had my way the whole world would be well
``Except you?'' said Ellen Clearwater with a smile.
``I couldn't be well dressed if I tried,'' replied Selma. ``When
I was a child I was the despair of my mother. Most of the people
in the tenement where we lived were very dirty and
disorderly--naturally enough, as they had no knowledge and no
money and no time. But mother had ideas of neatness and
cleanliness, and she used to try to keep me looking decent. But
it was of no use. Ten minutes after she had smoothed me down I
was flying every which way again.''
``You were brought up in a tenement?'' said Miss Clearwater.
Several of the girls within hearing were blushing for Selma and
were feeling how distressed Jane Hastings must be.
``I had a wonderfully happy childhood,'' replied Selma. ``Until
I was old enough to understand and to suffer. I've lived in
tenements all my life--among very poor people. I'd not feel at
home anywhere else.''
``When I was born,'' said Miss Clearwater, ``we lived in a log
cabin up in the mining district of Michigan.''
Selma showed the astonishment the other girls were feeling. But
while their astonishment was in part at a girl of Ellen
Clearwater's position making such a degrading confession, hers
had none of that element in it. ``You don't in the least suggest
a log cabin or poverty of any kind,'' said she. ``I supposed you
had always been rich and beautifully dressed.''
``No, indeed,'' replied Ellen. She gazed calmly round at the
other girls who were listening. ``I doubt if any of us here was
born to what you see. Of course we-- some of us--make
pretenses--all sorts of silly pretenses. But as a matter of fact
there isn't one of us who hasn't near relatives in the cabins or
the tenements at this very moment.''
There was a hasty turning away from this dangerous conversation.
Jane came back from ordering the rearrangement of her luncheon
table. Said Selma:
``I'd like to wash my hands, and smooth my hair a little.''
``You take her up, Ellen,'' said Jane. ``And hurry. We'll be in
the dining-room when you come down.''
Selma's eyes were wide and roving as she and Ellen went through
the drawing-room, the hall, up stairs and into the very prettily
furnished suite which Ellen was occupying. ``I never saw
anything like this before!'' exclaimed Selma. ``It's the first
time I was ever in a grand house. This is a grand house, isn't
``No--it's only comfortable,'' replied Ellen. ``Mr.
Hastings--and Jane, too, don't go in for grandeur.''
``How beautiful everything is--and how convenient!'' exclaimed
Selma. ``I haven't felt this way since the first time I went to
the circus.'' She pointed to a rack from which were suspended
thin silk dressing gowns of various rather gay patterns. ``What
are those?'' she inquired.
``Dressing gowns,'' said Ellen. ``Just to wear round while one
is dressing or undressing.''
Selma advanced and felt and examined them. ``But why so many?''
she inquired.
``Oh, foolishness,'' said Ellen. ``Indulgence! To suit
different moods.''
``Lovely,'' murmured Selma. ``Lovely!''
``I suspect you of a secret fondness for luxury,'' said Ellen
Selma laughed. ``What would I do with such things?'' she
inquired. ``Why, I'd have no time to wear them. I'd never dare
put on anything so delicate.''
She roamed through dressing-room, bedroom, bath- room, marveling,
inquiring, admiring. ``I'm so glad I came,'' said she. ``This
will give me a fresh point of view. I can understand the people
of your class better, and be more tolerant about them. I
understand now why they are so hard and so indifferent. They're
quite removed from the common lot. They don't realize; they
can't. How narrow it must make one to have one's life filled
with these pretty little things for luxury and show. Why, if I
lived this life, I'd cease to be human after a short time.''
Ellen was silent.
``I didn't mean to say anything rude or offensive,'' said Selma,
sensitive to the faintest impressions. ``I was speaking my
thoughts aloud. . . . Do you know David Hull?''
``The young reformer?'' said Ellen with a queer little smile.
``Yes--quite well.''
``Does he live like this?''
``Rather more grandly,'' said Ellen.
Selma shook her head. A depressed expression settled upon her
features. ``It's useless,'' she said. ``He couldn't possibly
become a man.''
Ellen laughed. ``You must hurry,'' she said. ``We're keeping
everyone waiting.''
As Selma was making a few passes at her rebellious thick
hair--passes the like of which Miss Clearwater had never before
seen--she explained:
``I've been somewhat interested in David Hull of late--have been
hoping he could graduate from a fake reformer into a useful
citizen. But--'' She looked round expressively at the luxury
surrounding them-- ``one might as well try to grow wheat in
``Davy is a fine fraud,'' said Ellen. ``Fine--because he doesn't
in the least realize that he's a fraud.''
``I'm afraid he is a fraud,'' said Selma setting on her hat
again. ``What a pity? He might have been a man, if he'd been
brought up properly.'' She gazed at Ellen with sad, shining
eyes. ``How many men and women luxury blights!'' she cried.
``It certainly has done for Davy,'' said Ellen lightly. ``He'll
never be anything but a respectable fraud.''
``Why do YOU think so?'' Selma inquired.
``My father is a public man,'' Miss Clearwater explained. ``And
I've seen a great deal of these reformers. They're the ordinary
human variety of politician plus a more or less conscious
hypocrisy. Usually they're men who fancy themselves superior to
the common run in birth and breeding. My father has taught me to
size them up.''
They went down, and Selma, seated between Jane and Miss
Clearwater, amused both with her frank comments on the scene so
strange to her--the beautiful table, the costly service, the
variety and profusion of elaborate food. In fact, Jane, reaching
out after the effects got easily in Europe and almost as easily
in the East, but overtaxed the resources of the household which
she was only beginning to get into what she regarded as
satisfactory order. The luncheon, therefore, was a creditable
and promising attempt rather than a success, from the standpoint
of fashion. Jane was a little ashamed, and at times extremely
nervous-- this when she saw signs of her staff falling into
disorder that might end in rout. But Selma saw none of the
defects. She was delighted with the dazzling spectacle--for two
or three courses. Then she lapsed into quiet and could not be
roused to speak.
Jane and Ellen thought she was overwhelmed and had been seized of
shyness in this company so superior to any in which she had ever
found herself. Ellen tried to induce her to eat, and, failing,
decided that her refraining was not so much firmness in the two
meals-a-day system as fear of making a ``break.'' She felt
genuinely sorry for the silent girl growing moment by moment more
ill-at-ease. When the luncheon was about half over Selma said
abruptly to Jane:
``I must go now. I've stayed longer than I should.''
``Go?'' cried Jane. ``Why, we haven't begun to talk yet.''
``Another time,'' said Selma, pushing back her chair. ``No,
don't rise.'' And up she darted, smiling gayly round at the
company. ``Don't anybody disturb herself,'' she pleaded.
``It'll be useless, for I'll be gone.''
And she was as good as her word. Before any one quite realized
what she was about, she had escaped from the dining-room and from
the house. She almost ran across the lawn and into the woods.
There she drew a long breath noisily.
``Free!'' she cried, flinging out her arms. ``Oh--but it was
Miss Hastings and Miss Clearwater had not been so penetrating as
they fancied. Embarrassment had nothing to do with the silence
that had taken possession of the associate editor of the New Day.
She was never self-conscious enough to be really shy. She
hastened to the office, meeting Victor Dorn in the street
doorway. She cried:
``Such an experience!''
``What now?'' said Victor. He was used to that phrase from the
ardent and impressionable Selma. For her, with her wide-open
eyes and ears, her vivid imagination and her thirsty mind, life
was one closely packed series of adventures.
``I had an hour to spare,'' she proceeded to explain. ``I
thought it was a chance to further a little scheme I've got for
marrying Jane Hastings and David Hull.''
``Um!'' said Victor with a quick change of expression --which,
however, Selma happened not to observe.
``And,'' she went on, ``I blundered into a luncheon party Jane
was giving. You never saw--you never dreamed of such style--such
dresses and dishes and flowers and hats! And I was sitting there
with them, enjoying it all as if it were a circus or a ballet,
when-- Oh, Victor, what a silly, what a pitiful waste of time and
money! So much to do in the world--so much that is thrillingly
interesting and useful--and those intelligent young people
dawdling there at nonsense a child would weary of! I had to run
away. If I had stayed another minute I should have burst out
crying-- or denouncing them--or pleading with them to behave
``What else can they do?'' said Victor. ``They don't know any
better. They've never been taught. How's the article?''
And he led the way up to the editorial room and held her to the
subject of the article he had asked her to write. At the first
opportunity she went back to the subject uppermost in her mind.
Said she:
``I guess you're right--as usual. There's no hope for any people
of that class. The busy ones are thinking only of making money
for themselves, and the idle ones are too enfeebled by luxury to
think at all. No, I'm afraid there's no hope for Hull--or for
Jane either.''
``I'm not sure about Miss Hastings,'' said Victor.
``You would have been if you'd seen her to-day,'' replied Selma.
``Oh, she was lovely, Victor--really wonderful to look at. But
so obviously the idler. And-- body and soul she belongs to the
upper class. She understands charity, but she doesn't understand
justice, and never could understand it. I shall let her alone
``How harsh you women are in your judgments of each other,''
laughed Dorn, busy at his desk.
``We are just,'' replied Selma. ``We are not fooled by each
other's pretenses.''
Dorn apparently had not heard. Selma saw that to speak would be
to interrupt. She sat at her own table and set to work on the
editorial paragraphs. After perhaps an hour she happened to
glance at Victor. He was leaning back in his chair, gazing past
her out into the open; in his face was an expression she had
never seen--a look in the eyes, a relaxing of the muscles round
the mouth that made her think of him as a man instead of as a
leader. She was saying to herself. ``What a fascinating man he
would have been, if he had not been an incarnate cause.''
She felt that he was not thinking of his work. She longed to
talk to him, but she did not venture to interrupt. Never in all
the years she had known him had he spoken to her--or to any
one--a severe or even an impatient word. His tolerance, his good
humor were infinite. Yet--she, and all who came into contact
with him, were afraid of him. There could come, and on occasion
there did come--into those extraordinary blue eyes an expression
beside which the fiercest flash of wrath would be easy to face.
When she glanced at him again, his normal expression had
returned--the face of the leader who aroused in those he
converted into fellow-workers a fanatical devotion that was the
more formidable because it was not infatuated. He caught her eye
and said:
``Things are in such good shape for us that it frightens me. I
spend most of my time in studying the horizon in the hope that I
can foresee which way the storm's coming from and what it will
``What a pessimist you are!'' laughed Selma.
``That's why the Workingmen's League has a thick- and-thin
membership of thirteen hundred and fifty,'' replied Victor.
``That's why the New Day has twenty- two hundred paying
subscribers. That's why we grow faster than the employers can
weed our men out and replace them with immigrants and force them
to go to other towns for work.''
``Well, anyhow,'' said the girl, ``no matter what happens we
can't be weeded out.''
Victor shook his head. ``Our danger period has just begun,'' he
replied. ``The bosses realize our power. In the past we've been
annoyed a little from time to time. But they thought us hardly
worth bothering with. In the future we will have to fight.''
``I hope they will prosecute us,'' said Selma. ``Then, we'll
grow the faster.''
``Not if they do it intelligently,'' replied Victor. ``An
intelligent persecution--if it's relentless enough --always
succeeds. You forget that this isn't a world of moral ideas but
of force. . . . I am afraid of Dick Kelly. He is something more
than a vulgar boss. He SEES. My hope is that he won't be able
to make the others see. I saw him a while ago. He was extremely
polite to me--more so than he ever has been before. He is up to
something. I suspect----''
Victor paused, reflecting. ``What?'' asked Selma eagerly.
``I suspect that he thinks he has us.'' He rose, preparing to go
out. ``Well--if he has--why, he has. And we shall have to begin
all over again.''
``How stupid they are!'' exclaimed the girl. ``To fight us who
are simply trying to bring about peaceably and sensibly what's
bound to come about anyhow.''
``Yes--the rain is bound to come,'' said Victor. ``And we say,
`Here's an umbrella and there's the way to shelter.' And they
laugh at OUR umbrella and, with the first drops plashing on their
foolish faces, deny that it's going to rain.''
The Workingmen's League, always first in the field with its
ticket, had been unusually early that year. Although it was only
the first week in August and the election would not be until the
third of October, the League had nominated. It was a ticket made
up entirely of skilled workers who had lived all their lives in
Remsen City and who had acquired an independence-- Victor Dorn
was careful not to expose to the falling fire of the opposition
any of his men who could be ruined by the loss of a job or could
be compelled to leave town in search of work. The League always
went early into campaign because it pursued a much slower and
less expensive method of electioneering than either of the old
parties--or than any of the ``upper class'' reform parties that
sprang up from time to time and died away as they accomplished or
failed of their purpose--securing recognition for certain
personal ambitions not agreeable to the old established bosses.
Besides, the League was, like the bosses and their henchmen, in
politics every day in every year. The League theory was that
politics was as much a part of a citizen's daily routine as his
other work or his meals.
It was the night of the League's great ratification meeting. The
next day the first campaign number-- containing the biographical
sketch of Tony Rivers, Kelly's right-hand man . . . would go upon
the press, and on the following day it would reach the public.
Market Square in Remsen City was on the edge of the power
quarter, was surrounded by cheap hotels, boarding houses and
saloons. A few years before, the most notable citizens, market
basket on arm, could have been seen three mornings in the week,
making the rounds of the stalls and stands, both those in the
open and those within the Market House. But customs had rapidly
changed in Remsen City, and with the exception of a few old
fogies only the poorer classes went to market. The masters of
houses were becoming gentlemen, and the housewives were elevating
into ladies--and it goes without saying that no gentleman and no
lady would descend to a menial task even in private, much less in
Market Square had even become too common for any but the inferior
meetings of the two leading political parties. Only the
Workingmen's League held to the old tradition that a political
meeting of the first rank could be properly held nowhere but in
the natural assembling place of the people--their market. So,
their first great rally of the campaign was billed for Market
Square. And at eight o'clock, headed by a large and vigorous
drum corps, the Victor Dorn cohorts at their full strength
marched into the centre of the Square, where one of the stands
had been transformed with flags, bunting and torches into a
speaker's platform. A crowd of many thousands accompanied and
followed the procession. Workingmen's League meetings were
popular, even among those who believed their interests lay
elsewhere. At League meetings one heard the plain truth,
sometimes extremely startling plain truth. The League had no
favors to ask of anybody, had nothing to conceal, was strongly
opposed to any and all political concealments. Thus, its
speakers enjoyed a freedom not usual in political speaking--and
Dorn and his fellow-leaders were careful that no router, no
exaggerator or well intentioned wild man of any kind should open
his mouth under a league banner. THAT was what made the League
so dangerous--and so steadily prosperous.
The chairman, Thomas Colman, the cooper, was opening the meeting
in a speech which was an instance of how well a man of no
platform talent can acquit himself when he believes something and
believes it is his duty to convey it to his fellow-men. Victor
Dorn, to be the fourth speaker and the orator of the evening, was
standing at the rear of the platform partially concealed by the
crowd of men and women leaders of the party grouped behind
Colman. As always at the big formal demonstrations of the
League, Victor was watching every move. This evening his anxiety
was deeper than ever before. His trained political sagacity
warned him that, as he had suggested to Selma, the time of his
party's first great crisis was at hand. No movement could become
formidable with out a life and death struggle, when its aim
frankly was to snatch power from the dominant class and to place
it where that class could not hope to prevail either by direct
means of force or by its favorite indirect means of bribery.
What would Kelly do? What would be his stroke at the very life
of the League?-- for Victor had measured Kelly and knew he was
not one to strike until he could destroy.
Like every competent man of action, Victor had measured his own
abilities, and had found that they were to be relied upon. But
the contest between him and Kelly-- the contest in the last
ditch--was so appallingly unequal. Kelly had the courts and the
police, the moneyed class, the employers of labor, had the clergy
and well-dressed respectability, the newspapers, all the
customary arbiters of public sentiment. Also, he had the
criminal and the semi-criminal classes. And what had the League?
The letter of the law, guaranteeing freedom of innocent speech
and action, guaranteeing the purity of the ballot--no, not
guaranteeing, but simply asserting those rights, and leaving the
upholding of them to--Kelly's allies and henchmen! Also, the
League had the power of between a thousand and fifteen hundred
intelligent and devoted men and about the same number of women--a
solid phalanx of great might, of might far beyond its numbers.
Finally, it had Victor Dorn. He had no mean opinion of his value
to the movement; but he far and most modestly underestimated it.
The human way of rallying to an abstract principle is by way of a
standard bearer--a man-- personality--a real or fancied
incarnation of the ideal to be struggled for. And to the
Workingmen's League, to the movement for conquering Remsen City
for the mass of its citizens, Victor Dorn was that incarnation.
Kelly could use violence--violence disguised as law, violence
candidly and brutally lawless. Victor Dorn could only use lawful
means--clearly and cautiously lawful means. He must at all costs
prevent the use of force against him and his party--must give
Kelly no pretext for using the law lawlessly. If Kelly used
force against him, whether the perverted law of the courts or
open lawlessness, he must meet it with peace. If Kelly smote him
on the right cheek he must give him the left to be smitten.
When the League could outvote Kelly, then--another policy, still
of calmness and peace and civilization, but not so meek. But
until the League could outvote Kelly, nothing but patient
Every man in the League had been drilled in this strategy. Every
man understood--and to be a member of the League meant that one
was politically educated. Victor believed in his associates as
he believed in himself. Still, human nature was human nature.
If Kelly should suddenly offer some adroit outrageous
provocation-- would the League be able to resist?
Victor, on guard, studied the crowd spreading out from the
platform in a gigantic fan. Nothing there to arouse suspicion;
ten or twelve thousand of working class men and women. His
glance pushed on out toward the edges of the crowd--toward the
saloons and alleys of the disreputable south side of Market
Square. His glance traveled slowly along, pausing upon each
place where these loungers, too far away to hear, were gathered
into larger groups. Why he did not know, but suddenly his glance
wheeled to the right, and then as suddenly to the left--the west
and the east ends of the square. There, on either side he
recognized, in the farthest rim of the crowd, several of the men
who did Kelly's lowest kinds of dirty work--the brawlers, the
repeaters, the leaders of gangs, the false witnesses for petty
corporation damage cases. A second glance, and he saw or,
perhaps, divined--purpose in those sinister presences. He looked
for the police--the detail of a dozen bluecoats always assigned
to large open-air meetings. Not a policeman was to be seen.
Victor pushed through the crowd on the platform, advanced to the
side of Colman. ``Just a minute, Tom,'' he said. ``I've got to
say a word--at once.''
Colman had fallen back; Victor Dorn was facing the crowd--HIS
crowd--the men and women who loved him. In the clear, friendly,
natural voice that marked him for the leader born, the honest
leader of an honest cause, he said:
``My friends, if there is an attempt to disturb this meeting,
remember what we of the League stand for. No violence. Draw
away from every disturber, and wait for the police to act. If
the police stop our meeting, let them--and be ready to go to
court and testify to the exact words of the speaker on which the
meeting was stopped. Remember, we must be more lawful than the
law itself!''
He was turning away. A cheer was rising--a belated cheer,
because his words had set them all to thinking and to observing.
From the left of the crowd, a dozen yards away from the platform,
came a stone heavily rather than swiftly flung, as from an
impeded hand. In full view of all it curved across the front of
the platform and struck Victor Dorn full in the side of the head.
He threw up his hands.
``Boys--remember!'' he shouted with a terrible energy-- then, he
staggered forward and fell from the platform into the crowd.
The stone was a signal. As it flew, into the crowd from every
direction the Beech Hollow gangs tore their way, yelling and
cursing and striking out right and left --trampling children,
knocking down women, pouring out the foulest insults. The street
lamps all round Market Square went out, the torches on the
platform were torn down and extinguished. And in a dimness
almost pitch dark a riot that involved that whole mass of people
raged hideously. Yells and screams and groans, the shrieks of
women, the piteous appeals of children--benches torn up for
weapons--mad slashing about--snarls and singings of pain-stricken
groups-- then police whistles, revolvers fired in the air, and
the quick, regular tramp of disciplined forces. The police
--strangely ready, strangely inactive until the mischief had all
been done entered the square from the north and, forming a double
line across it from east to west, swept it slowly clean. The
fighting ended as abruptly as it had begun. Twenty minutes after
the flight of that stone, the square was empty save a group of
perhaps fifty men and women formed about Victor Dorn's body in
the shelter of the platform.
Selma Gordon was holding his head. Jane Hastings and Ellen
Clearwater were kneeling beside him, and Jane was wiping his face
with a handkerchief wet with whisky from the flask of the man who
had escorted them there.
``He is only stunned,'' said Selma. ``I can feel the beat of his
blood. He is only stunned.''
A doctor came, got down on his knees, made a rapid examination
with expert hands. As he felt, one of the relighted torches
suddenly lit up Victor's face and the faces of those bending over
``He is only stunned, Doctor,'' said Selma.
``I think so,'' replied the doctor.
``We left our carriage in the side street just over there,'' said
Jane Hastings. ``It will take him to the hospital.''
``No--home,'' said Selma, who was calm. ``He must be taken
``The hospital is the place for him,'' said the doctor.
``No--home,'' repeated Selma. She glanced at the men standing
round. ``Tom--Henry--and you, Ed-- help me lift him.''
``Please, Selma,'' whispered Jane. ``Let him be taken to the
``Among our enemies?'' said Selma with a strange and terrible
little laugh. ``Oh, no. After this, we trust no one. They may
have arranged to finish this night's work there. He goes
home--doesn't he, boys?''
``That's right, Miss Gordon,'' replied one of them.
The doctor shrugged his shoulders. ``Here's where I drop the
case,'' said he.
``Nothing of the kind,'' cried Jane imperiously. ``I am Jane
Hastings--Martin Hastings' daughter. You will come with us,
please--or I shall see to it that you are not let off easily for
such a shameful neglect of duty.''
``Let him go, Jane,'' said Selma. ``There will be a doctor
waiting. And he is only stunned. Come, boys-- lift him up.''
They laid him on a bench top, softened with the coats of his
followers. At the carriage, standing in Farwell Street, they
laid him across the two seats. Selma got in with him. Tom
Colman climbed to the box beside the coachman. Jane and Miss
Clearwater, their escorts and about a score of the Leaguers
followed on foot. As the little procession turned into Warner
Street it was stopped by a policeman.
``Can't go down this way,'' he said.
``It's Mr. Dorn. We're taking him home. He was hurt,''
explained Colman.
``Fire lines. Street's closed,'' said the policeman gruffly.
Selma thrust her head out. ``We must get him home----''
``House across the street burning--and probably his house, too,''
cut in the policeman. ``He's been raising hell--he has. But
it's coming home to him at last. Take him to the hospital.''
``Jane,'' cried Selma, ``make this man pass us!''
Jane faced the policeman, explained who she was. He became
humbly civil at once. ``I've just told her, ma'am,'' said he,
``that his house is burning. The mob's gutting the New Day
office and setting fire to everything.''
``My house is in the next street,'' said Colman. ``Drive there.
Some of you people get Dr. Charlton-- and everything. Get busy.
Whip up, driver. Here, give me the lines!''
Thus, within five minutes, Victor was lying upon a couch in the
parlor of Colman's cottage, and within ten minutes Dr. Charlton
was beside him and was at work. Selma and Jane and Mrs. Colman
were in the room. The others--a steadily increasing crowd--were
on the steps outside, in the front yard, were filling the narrow
street. Colman had organized fifty Leaguers into a guard, to be
ready for any emergencies. Over the tops of the low houses could
be seen the vast cloud of smoke from the fire; the air was heavy
with the odors of burning wood; faintly came sounds of engines,
of jubilant drunken shouts.
``A fracture of the skull and of the jaw-bone. Not necessarily
serious,'' was Dr. Charlton's verdict.
The young man, unconscious, ghastly pale, with his thick hair
mussed about his brow and on the right side clotted with blood,
lay breathing heavily. Ellen Clearwater came in and Mrs. Colman
whispered to her the doctor's cheering statement. She went to
Jane and said in an undertone:
``We can go now, Jane. Come on.''
Jane seemed not to hear. She was regarding the face of the young
man on the couch.
Ellen touched her arm. ``We're intruding on these people,'' she
whispered. ``Let's go. We've done all we can.''
Selma did not hear, but she saw and understood.
``Yes--you'd better go, Jane,'' she said. ``Mrs. Colman and I
will do everything that's necessary.''
Jane did not heed. She advanced a step nearer the couch. ``You
are sure, doctor?'' she said, and her voice sounded unnatural.
``Yes, miss----'' He glanced at her face. ``Yes, Miss Hastings.
He'll be out in less than ten days, as good as ever. It's a very
simple affair.''
Jane glanced round. ``Is there a telephone? I wish to send for
Dr. Alban.''
``I'd be glad to see him,'' said Dr. Charlton. ``But I assure
you it's unnecessary.''
``We don't want Dr. Alban,'' said Selma curtly. ``Go home, Jane,
and let us alone.''
``I shall go bring Dr. Alban,'' said Jane.
Selma took her by the arm and compelled her into the hall, and
closed the door into the room where Victor lay. ``You must go
home, Jane,'' she said quietly. ``We know what to do with our
leader. And we could not allow Dr. Alban here.''
``Victor must have the best,'' said Jane.
She and Selma looked at each other, and Selma understood.
``He HAS the best,'' said she, gentle with an effort.
``Dr. Alban is the best,'' said Jane.
``The most fashionable,'' said Selma. ``Not the best.'' With
restraint, ``Go home. Let us alone. This is no place for
you--for Martin Hastings' daughter.''
Jane, looking and acting like one in a trance, tried to push
past her and reenter the room. Selma stood firm. She said:
``If you do not go I shall have these men take you to your
carriage. You do not know what you are doing.''
Jane looked at her. ``I love him,'' she said.
``So do we,'' said Selma. ``And he belongs to US. You must go.
Come!'' She seized her by the arm, and beckoning one of the
waiting Leaguers to her assistance she pushed her quietly but
relentlessly along the hall, out of the house, out of the yard
and into the carriage. Then she closed the door, while Jane sank
back against the cushions.
``Yes, he belongs to you,'' said Jane; ``but I love him. Oh,
Selma suddenly burst into tears. ``Go, Jane, dear. You MUST
go,'' she cried.
``At least I'll wait here until--until they are sure,'' said
Jane. ``You can't refuse me that, Selma.''
``But they are sure,'' said Selma. ``You must go with your
friends. Here they come.''
When Ellen Clearwater and Joe Wetherbe--the second son of the
chief owner of the First National-- reached the curb, Selma said
to Wetherbe:
``Please stand aside. I've something to say to this lady.''
When Wetherbe had withdrawn, she said: ``Miss Hastings is--not
quite herself. You had better take her home alone.''
Jane leaned from the open carriage window. ``Ellen,'' said she,
``I am going to stay here until Victor recovers consciousness,
and I am SURE.''
``He has just come around,'' said Ellen. ``He is certain to get
well. His mind is clear.''
``I must see for myself,'' cried Jane.
Selma was preventing her leaving the carriage when Ellen quietly
interfered with a significant look for Selma. ``Jane,'' she
said, ``you can't go in. The doctor has just put every one out
but his assistant and a nurse that has come.''
Jane hesitated, drew back into the corner of the carriage.
``Tell Mr. Wetherbe to go his own way,'' said Ellen aside to
Selma, and she got in beside Jane.
``To Mr. Hastings','' said Selma to the driver. The carriage
drove away.
She gave Ellen's message to Wetherbe and returned to the house.
Victor was still unconscious; he did not come to himself until
toward daylight. And then it was clear to them all that Dr.
Charlton's encouraging diagnosis was correct.
Public opinion in Remsen City was publicly articulate by means of
three daily newspapers--the Pioneer, the Star, and the Free
Press. The Star and the Free Press were owned by the same group
of capitalists who controlled the gas company and the water
works. The Pioneer was owned by the traction interests. Both
groups of capitalists were jointly interested in the railways,
the banks and in the principal factories. The Pioneer was
Republican, was regarded as the organ of Dick Kelly. The Star
was Democratic, spoke less cordially of Kelly and always called
for House, Mr. House, or Joseph House, Esquire. The Free Press
posed as independent with Democratic leanings. It indulged in
admirable essays against corruption, gang rule and bossism. But
it was never specific and during campaigns was meek and mild.
For nearly a dozen years there had not been a word of truth upon
any subject important to the people of Remsen City in the columns
of any of the three. During wars between rival groups of
capitalists a half-truth was now and then timidly uttered, but
never a word of ``loose talk,'' of ``anarchy,'' of anything but
the entirely ``safe, sane and conservative.''
Thus, any one who might have witnessed the scenes in Market
Square on Thursday evening would have been not a little
astonished to read the accounts presented the next day by the
three newspapers. According to all three the Workingmen's
League, long a menace to the public peace, had at last brought
upon Remsen City the shame of a riot in which two men, a woman
and four children had lost their lives and more than a hundred,
``including the notorious Victor Dorn,'' had been injured. And
after the riot the part of the mob that was hostile to ``the Dorn
gang'' had swept down upon the office of the New Day, had wrecked
it, and had set fire to the building, with the result that five
houses were burned before the flames could be put out. The Free
Press published, as a mere rumor, that the immediate cause of
the outbreak had been an impending ``scurrilous attack'' in the
New Day upon one of the political gangs of the slums and its
leader. The Associated Press, sending forth an account of the
riot to the entire country, represented it as a fight between
rival gangs of workmen precipitated by the insults and menaces of
a ``socialistic party led by a young operator named Dorn.''
Dorn's faction had aroused in the mass of the workingmen a fear
that this spread of ``socialistic and anarchistic ideas'' would
cause a general shut down of factories and a flight of the
capital that was ``giving employment to labor.''
A version of the causes and the events, somewhat nearer the
truth, was talked about Remsen City. But all the respectable
classes were well content with what their newspapers printed.
And, while some broad- minded respectabilities spoke of the
affair as an outrage, none of them was disposed to think that any
real wrong had been done. Victor Dorn and his crowd of
revolutionists had got, after all, only their deserts.
After forty-eight hours of careful study of public opinion, Dick
Kelly decided that Remsen City was taking the dose as he had
anticipated. He felt emboldened to proceed to his final move in
the campaign against ``anarchy'' in his beloved city. On the
second morning after the riot, all three newspapers published
double- headed editorials calling upon the authorities to
safeguard the community against another such degrading and
dangerous upheaval. ``It is time that the distinction between
liberty and license be sharply drawn.'' After editorials in this
vein had been repeated for several days, after sundry bodies of
eminently respectable citizens--the Merchants' Association, the
Taxpayers' League, the Chamber of Commerce--had passed indignant
and appealing resolutions, after two priests, a clergyman and
four preachers had sermonized against ``the leniency of
constituted authority with criminal anarchy,'' Mr. Kelly had the
City Attorney go before Judge Lansing and ask for an injunction.
Judge Lansing promptly granted the injunction. The New Day was
enjoined from appearing. The Workingmen's League was enjoined
from holding meetings.
Then the County Prosecutor, also a henchman of Kelly's, secured
from the Grand Jury--composed of farmers, merchants and owners of
factories--indictments against Thomas Colman and Victor Dorn for
inciting a riot.
Meanwhile Victor Dorn was rapidly recovering. With rare
restraint young Dr. Charlton did not fuss and fret and meddle,
did not hamper nature with his blundering efforts to assist, did
not stuff ``nourishment'' into his patient to decay and to
produce poisonous blood. He let the young man's superb vitality
work the inevitable and speedy cure. Thus, wounds and shocks,
that have often been mistreated by doctors into mortal, passed so
quickly that only Selma Gordon and the doctor himself realized
how grave Victor's case had been. The day he was indicted--just
a week from the riot--he was sitting up and was talking freely.
``Won't it set him back if I tell him all that has occurred?''
said Selma.
``Talk to him as you would to me,'' replied Charlton. ``He is a
sensible man. I've already told him pretty much everything. It
has kept him from fretting, to be able to lie there quietly and
make his plans.''
Had you looked in upon Victor and Selma, in Colman's little
transformed parlor, you would rather have thought Selma the
invalid. The man in the bed was pale and thin of face, but his
eyes had the expression of health and of hope. Selma had great
circles under her eyes and her expression was despair struggling
to conceal itself. Those indictments, those injunctions-- how
powerful the enemy were! How could such an enemy, aroused new
and inflexibly resolved, be combatted?--especially when one had
no money, no way of reaching the people, no chance to organize.
``Dr. Charlton has told you?'' said Selma.
``Day before yesterday,'' replied Victor. ``Why do you look so
down-in-the-mouth, Selma?''
``It isn't easy to be cheerful, with you ill and the paper
destroyed,'' replied she.
``But I'm not ill, and the paper isn't destroyed,'' said Victor.
``Never were either I or it doing such good work as now.'' His
eyes were dancing. ``What more could one ask than to have such
stupid enemies as we've got?''
Selma did not lift her eyes. To her those enemies seemed
anything but stupid. Had they not ruined the League?
``I see you don't understand,'' pursued Victor. ``No matter.
You'll wear a very different face two weeks from now.''
``But,'' said Selma, ``exactly what you said you were afraid of
has occurred. And now you say you're glad of it.''
``I told you I was afraid Dick Kelly would make the one move that
could destroy us.''
``But he has!'' cried Selma.
Victor smiled. ``No, indeed!'' replied he.
``What worse could he have done?''
``I'll not tell you,'' said Victor. ``I'd not venture to say
aloud such a dangerous thing as what I'd have done if I had been
in his place. Instead of doing that, he made us. We shall win
this fall's election.''
Selma lifted her head with a sudden gesture of hope. She had
unbounded confidence in Victor Dorn, and his tone was the tone of
absolute confidence.
``I had calculated on winning in five years. I had left the
brutal stupidity of our friend Kelly out of account.''
``Then you see how you can hold meetings and start up the
``I don't want to do either,'' said Victor. ``I want those
injunctions to stand. Those fools have done at a stroke what we
couldn't have done in years. They have united the working class.
They--the few--have forbidden us, the many, to unite or to speak.
If those injunctions hold for a month, nothing could stop our
winning this fall. . . . I can't understand how Dick Kelly could
be so stupid. Five years ago these moves of his would have been
bad for us--yes, even three years ago. But we've got too
strong--and he doesn't realize! Selma, when you want to win,
always pray that your opponent will underestimate you.''
``I still don't understand,'' said Selma. ``None of us does.
You must explain to me, so that I'll know what to do.''
``Do nothing,'' said Victor. ``I shall be out a week from
to-day. I shall not go into the streets until I not only am well
but look well.''
``They arrested Tom Colman to-day,'' said Selma. ``But they put
the case over until you'd be able to plead at the same time.''
``That's right,'' said Victor. ``They are playing into our
hands!'' And he laughed as heartily as his bandages would
``Oh, I don't understand--I don't understand at all!'' cried
Selma. ``Maybe you are all wrong about it.''
``I was never more certain in my life,'' replied Victor. ``Stop
worrying about it, my dear.'' And he patted her hands gently as
they lay folded in her lap. ``I want you--all our people--to go
round looking sad these next few days. I want Dick Kelly to feel
that he is on the right track.''
There came a knock at the door, and Mrs. Colman entered. She had
been a school teacher, and of all the occupations there is no
other that leaves such plain, such indelible traces upon manner,
mind and soul. Said she:
``Miss Jane Hastings is outside in her carriage--and wants to
know if she can see you.''
Selma frowned. Victor said with alacrity: ``Certainly. Bring
her in, Mrs. Colman.''
Selma rose. ``Wait until I can get out of the way,'' she cried.
``Sit down, and sit still,'' commanded Victor.
Selma continued to move toward the door. ``No--I don't wish to
see her,'' she said.
Victor chagrined her by acquiescing without another word.
``You'll look in after supper?'' he asked.
``If you want me,'' said the girl.
``Come back here,'' said Victor. ``Wait, Mrs. Colman.'' When
Selma was standing by the bed he took her hand. ``Selma,'' he
said, ``don't let these things upset you. Believe me, I'm right.
Can't you trust me?''
Selma had the look of a wild creature detained against its will.
``I'm not worried about the party--and the paper,'' she burst
out. ``I'm worried about you.''
``But I'm all right. Can't you see I'm almost well?''
Selma drew her hand away. ``I'll be back about half- past
seven,'' she said, and bolted from the room.
Victor's good-natured, merry smile followed her to the door.
When the sound of her retreat by way of the rear of the house was
dying away he said to Mrs. Colman:
``Now--bring in the young lady. And please warn her that she
must stay at most only half an hour by that clock over there on
the mantel.''
Every day Jane had been coming to inquire, had been bringing or
sending flowers and fruit--which, by Dr. Charlton's orders, were
not supposed to enter the invalid's presence. Latterly she had
been asking to see Victor; she was surprised when Mrs. Colman
returned with leave for her to enter. Said Mrs. Colman:
``He's alone. Miss Gordon has just gone. You will see a clock
on the mantel in his room. You must not stay longer than half an
``I shall be very careful what I say,'' said Jane.
``Oh, you needn't bother,'' said the ex-school teacher. ``Dr.
Charlton doesn't believe in sick-room atmosphere. You must treat
Mr. Dorn exactly as you would a well person. If you're going to
take on, or put on, you'd better not go in at all.''
``I'll do my best,'' said Jane, rather haughtily, for she did not
like Mrs. Colman's simple and direct manner. She was used to
being treated with deference, especially by the women of Mrs.
Colman's class; and while she disapproved of deference in theory,
in practice she craved it, and expected it, and was irritated if
she did not get it. But, as she realized how unattractive this
weakness was, she usually took perhaps more pains than does the
average person to conceal it. That day her nerves were too tense
for petty precautions. However, Mrs. Colman was too busy
inspecting the details of Miss Hastings' toilet to note Miss
Hastings' manners.
Jane's nervousness vanished the instant she was in the doorway of
the parlor with Victor Dorn looking at her in that splendidly
simple and natural way of his. ``So glad to see you,'' he said.
``What a delightful perfume you bring with you. I've noticed it
before. I know it isn't flowers, but it smells like flowers.
With most perfumes you can smell through the perfume to something
that's the very reverse of sweet.''
They were shaking hands. She said: ``That nice woman who let me
in cautioned me not to put on a sick- room manner or indulge in
sick-room talk. It was quite unnecessary. You're looking
``Ain't I, though?'' exclaimed Victor. ``I've never been so
comfortable. Just weak enough to like being waited on. You were
very good to me the night that stone knocked me over. I want to
thank you, but I don't know how. And the flowers, and the
fruit-- You have been so kind.''
``I could do very little,'' said Jane, blushing and faltering.
``And I wanted to do--everything.'' Suddenly all energy, ``Oh,
Mr. Dorn, I heard and saw it all. It was--INFAMOUS! And the
lying newspapers--and all the people I meet socially. They keep
me in a constant rage.''
Victor was smiling gayly. ``The fortunes of war,'' said he. ``I
expect nothing else. If they fought fair they couldn't fight at
all. We, on this side of the struggle, can afford to be generous
and tolerant. They are fighting the losing battle; they're
trying to hold on to the past, and of course it's slipping from
them inch by inch. But we--we are in step with the march of
When she was with him Jane felt that his cause was hers,
also--was the only cause. ``When do you begin publishing your
paper again?'' she asked. ``As soon as you are sitting up?''
``Not for a month or so,'' replied he. ``Not until after the
``Oh, I forgot about that injunction. You think that as soon as
Davy Hull's crowd is in they will let you begin again?''
He hesitated. ``Not exactly that,'' he said. ``But after the
election there will be a change.''
Her eyes flashed. ``And they have indicted you! I heard the
newsboys crying it and stopped and bought a paper. But I shall
do something about that. I am going straight from here to
father. Ellen Clearwater and I and Joe Wetherbe SAW. And Ellen
and I will testify if it's necessary--and will make Joe tell the
truth. Do you know, he actually had the impudence to try to
persuade Ellen and me the next day that we saw what the papers
``I believe it,'' said Victor. ``So I believe that Joe convinced
``You are too charitable,'' replied Jane. ``He's afraid of his
``Miss Hastings,'' said Victor, ``you suggested a moment ago that
you would influence your father to interfere in this matter of
the indictment.''
``I'll promise you now that he will have it stopped,'' said Jane.
``You want to help the cause, don't you?''
Jane's eyes shifted, a little color came into her cheeks. ``The
cause--and you,'' she said.
``Very well,'' said Victor. ``Then you will not interfere. And
if your father talks of helping me you will discourage him all
you can.''
``You are saying that out of consideration for me. You're afraid
I will quarrel with my father.''
``I hadn't thought of that,'' said Victor. ``I can't tell you
what I have in mind. But I'll have to say this much--that if you
did anything to hinder those fellows from carrying out their
plans against me and against the League to the uttermost you'd be
doing harm instead of good.''
``But they may send you to jail. . . . No, I forgot. You can
give bail.''
Victor's eyes had a quizzical expression. ``Yes, I could give
bail. But even if I don't give bail, Miss Hastings --even if I
am sent to jail--Colman and I--still you must not interfere. You
promise me?''
Jane hesitated. ``I can't promise,'' she finally said.
``You must,'' said Victor. ``You'll make a mess of my plans, if
you don't.''
``You mean that?''
``I mean that. Your intentions are good. But you would only do
mischief--serious mischief.''
They looked at each other. Said Jane: ``I promise-- on one
``That if you should change your mind and should want my help,
you'd promptly and freely ask for it.''
``I agree to that,'' said Victor. ``Now, let's get it clearly in
mind. No matter what is done about me or the League, you promise
not to interfere in any way, unless I ask you to.''
Again Jane hesitated. ``No matter what they do?'' she pleaded.
``No matter what they do,'' insisted he.
Something in his expression gave her a great thrill of confidence
in him, of enthusiasm. ``I promise,'' she said. ``You know
``Indeed I do,'' said he. ``Thank you.''
A moment's silence, then she exclaimed: ``That was why you let
me in to-day--because you wanted to get that promise from me.''
``That was one of the reasons,'' confessed he. ``In fact, it was
the chief reason.'' He smiled at her. ``There's nothing I'm so
afraid of as of enthusiasm. I'm going to be still more cautious
and exact another promise from you. You must not tell any one
that you have promised not to interfere.''
``I can easily promise that,'' said Jane.
``Be careful,'' warned Victor. ``A promise easily made is a
promise easily forgotten.''
``I begin to understand,'' said Jane. ``You want them to attack
you as savagely as possible. And you don't want them to get the
slightest hint of your plan.''
``A good guess,'' admitted Victor. He looked at her gravely.
``Circumstances have let you farther into my confidence than any
one else is. I hope you will not abuse it.''
``You can rely upon me,'' said Jane. ``I want your friendship
and your respect as I never wanted anything in my life before.
I'm not afraid to say these things to you, for I know I'll not be
Victor's smile thrilled her again. ``You were born one of us,''
he said. ``I felt it the first time we talked together.''
``Yes. I do want to be somebody,'' replied the girl. ``I can't
content myself in a life of silly routine . . . can't do things
that have no purpose, no result. And if it wasn't for my father
I'd come out openly for the things I believe in. But I've got to
think of him. It may be a weakness, but I couldn't overcome it.
As long as my father lives I'll do nothing that would grieve him.
Do you despise me for that?''
``I don't despise anybody for anything,'' said Victor. ``In your
place I should put my father first.'' He laughed. ``In your
place I'd probably be a Davy Hull or worse. I try never to
forget that I owe everything to the circumstances in which I was
born and brought up. I've simply got the ideas of my class, and
it's an accident that I am of the class to which the future
belongs--the working class that will possess the earth as soon as
it has intelligence enough to enter into its kingdom.''
``But,'' pursued Jane, returning to herself, ``I don't intend to
be altogether useless. I can do something and he--my father, I
mean--needn't know. Do you think that is dreadful?''
``I don't like it,'' said Victor. But he said it in such a way
that she did not feel rebuked or even judged.
``Nor do I,'' said she. ``I'd rather lead the life I wish to
lead--say the things I believe--do the things I believe in--all
openly. But I can't. And all I can do is to spend the income of
my money my mother left me-- spend it as I please.'' With a
quick embarrassed gesture she took an envelope from a small bag
in which she was carrying it. ``There's some of it,'' she said.
``I want to give that to your campaign fund. You are free to use
it in any way you please--any way, for everything you are and do
is your cause.''
Victor was lying motionless, his eyes closed.
``Don't refuse,'' she begged. ``You've no right to refuse.''
A long silence, she watching him uneasily. At last he said,
``No--I've no right to refuse. If I did, it would be from a
personal motive. You understand that when you give the League
this money you are doing what your father would regard as an act
of personal treachery to him?''
``You don't think so, do you?'' cried she.
``Yes, I do,'' said he deliberately.
Her face became deathly pale, then crimson. She thrust the
envelope into the bag, closed it hastily. ``Then I can't give
it,'' she murmured. ``Oh--but you are hard!''
``If you broke with your father and came with us-- and it killed
him, as it probably would,'' Victor Dorn went on, ``I should
respect you--should regard you as a wonderful, terrible woman. I
should envy you having a heart strong enough to do a thing so
supremely right and so supremely relentless. And I should be
glad you were not of my blood--should think you hardly human.
Yet that is what you ought to do.''
``I am not up to it,'' said Jane.
``Then you mustn't do the other,'' said Victor. ``We need the
money. I am false to the cause in urging you not to give it.
But--I'm human.''
He was looking away, an expression in his eyes and about his
mouth that made him handsomer than she would have believed a man
could be. She was looking at him longingly, her beautiful eyes
swimming. Her lips were saying inaudibly, ``I love you--I love
``What did you say?'' he asked, his thoughts returning from their
far journey.
``My time is up,'' she exclaimed, rising.
``There are better ways of helping than money,'' said he, taking
her hand. ``And already you've helped in those ways.''
``May I come again?''
``Whenever you like. But--what would your father say?''
``Then you don't want me to come again?''
``It's best not,'' said he. ``I wish fate had thrown us on the
same side. But it has put us in opposite camps-- and we owe it
to ourselves to submit.''
Their hands were still clasped. ``You are content to have it
so?'' she said sadly.
``No, I'm not,'' cried he, dropping her hand. ``But we are
``We can always hope,'' said she softly.
On impulse she laid her hand in light caress upon his brow, then
swiftly departed. As she stood in Mrs. Colman's flowery little
front yard and looked dazedly about, it seemed to her that she
had been away from the world--away from herself--and was
reluctantly but inevitably returning.
As Jane drove into the grounds of the house on the hilltop she
saw her father and David Hull in an obviously intimate and
agitated conversation on the front veranda. She made all haste
to join them; nor was she deterred by the reception she got--the
reception given to the unwelcome interrupter. Said she:
``You are talking about those indictments, aren't you? Everyone
else is. There's a group on every corner down town, and people
are calling their views to each other from windows across the
Davy glanced triumphantly at her father. ``I told you so,'' said
Old Hastings was rubbing his hand over his large, bony, wizened
face in the manner that indicates extreme perplexity.
Davy turned to Jane. ``I've been trying to show your father what
a stupid, dangerous thing Dick Kelly has done. I want him to
help me undo it. It MUST be undone or Victor Dorn will sweep the
town on election day.''
Jane's heart was beating wildly. She continued to say
carelessly, ``You think so?''
``Davy's got a bad attack of big red eye to-day,'' said her
father. ``It's a habit young men have.''
``I'm right, Mr. Hastings,'' cried Hull. ``And, furthermore, you
know I'm right, Jane; you saw that riot the other night. Joe
Wetherbe told me so. You said that it was an absolutely
unprovoked assault of the gangs of Kelly and House. Everyone in
town knows it was. The middle and the upper class people are
pretending to believe what the papers printed-- what they'd like
to believe. But they KNOW better. The working people are
apparently silent. They usually are apparently silent. But they
know the truth --they are talking it among themselves. And these
indictments will make Victor Dorn a hero.''
``What of it? What of it?'' said Hastings impatiently. ``The
working people don't count.''
``Not as long as we can keep them divided,'' retorted Davy.
``But if they unite----''
And he went on to explain what he had in mind. He gave them an
analysis of Remsen City. About fifty thousand inhabitants, of
whom about ten thousand were voters. These voters were divided
into three classes--upper class, with not more than three or four
hundred votes, and therefore politically of no importance AT THE
POLLS, though overwhelmingly the most influential in any other
way; the middle class, the big and little merchants, the lawyers
and doctors, the agents and firemen and so on, mustering in all
about two thousand votes; finally, the working class with no less
than eight thousand votes out of a total of ten thousand.
``By bribery and cajolery and browbeating and appeal to religious
prejudice and to fear of losing jobs--by all sorts of chicane,''
said Davy, ``about seven of these eight thousand votes are kept
divided between the Republican or Kelly party and the Democratic
or House party. The other ten or twelve hundred belong to Victor
Dorn's League. Now, the seven thousand workingmen voters who
follow Kelly and House like Victor Dorn, like his ideas, are with
him at heart. But they are afraid of him. They don't trust each
other. Workingmen despise the workingman as an ignorant fool.''
``So he is,'' said Hastings.
``So he is,'' agreed Davy. ``But Victor Dorn has about got the
workingmen in this town persuaded that they'd fare better with
Dorn and the League as their leaders than with Kelly and House as
their leaders. And if Kelly goes on to persecute Victor Dorn,
the workingmen will be frightened for their rights to free speech
and free assembly. And they'll unite. I appeal to you,
Jane--isn't that common sense?''
``I don't know anything about politics,'' said Jane, looking
bored. ``You must go in and lie down before dinner, father. You
look tired.''
Hastings got ready to rise.
``Just a minute, Mr. Hastings,'' pleaded Hull. ``This must be
settled now--at once. I must be in a position not only to
denounce this thing, but also to stop it. Not to-morrow, but
to-day . . . so that the morning papers will have the news.''
Jane's thoughts were flying--but in circles. Everybody
habitually judges everybody else as both more and less acute than
he really is. Jane had great respect for Davy as a man of
college education. But because he had no sense of humor and
because he abounded in lengthy platitudes she had thought poorly
indeed of his abilities. She had been realizing her mistake in
these last few minutes. The man who had made that analysis of
politics--an analysis which suddenly enlighted her as to what
political power meant and how it was wielded everywhere on earth
as well as in Remsen City--the man was no mere dreamer and
theorist. He had seen the point no less clearly than had Victor
Dorn. But what concerned her, what set her to fluttering, was
that he was about to checkmate Victor Dorn. What should she say
and do to help Victor?
She must get her father away. She took him gently by the arm,
kissed the top of his head. ``Come on, father,'' she cried.
``I'll let Davy work his excitement off on me. You must take
care of your health.''
But Hastings resisted. ``Wait a minute, Jenny,'' said he. ``I
must think.''
``You can think lying down,'' insisted his daughter Davy was
about to interpose again, but she frowned him into silence.
``There's something in what Davy says,'' persisted her father.
``If that there Victor Dorn should carry the election, there'd be
no living in the same town with him. It'd put him away up out of
Jane abruptly released her father's arm. She had not thought of
that--of how much more difficult Victor would be if he won now.
She wanted him to win ultimately--yes, she was sure she did.
But--now? Wouldn't that put him beyond her reach--beyond need of
She said: ``Please come, father!'' But it was perfunctory
loyalty to Victor. Her father settled back; Davy Hull began
afresh, pressing home his point, making his contention so clear
that even Martin Hastings' prejudice could not blind him to the
truth. And Jane sat on the arm of a big veranda chair and
listened and made no further effort to interfere.
``I don't agree with you, Hull,'' said the old man at last.
``Victor Dorn's run up agin the law at last, and he ought to get
the consequences good and hard. But----''
``Mr. Hastings,'' interrupted Davy eagerly--too fond of talking
to realize that the old man was agreeing with him, ``Your
daughter saw----''
``Fiddle-fiddle,'' cried the old man. ``Don't bring sentimental
women into this, Davy. As I was saying, Victor ought to be
punished for the way he's been stirring up idle, lazy, ignorant
people against the men that runs the community and gives 'em jobs
and food for their children. But maybe it ain't wise to give him
his deserts--just now. Anyhow, while you've been talking away
like a sewing machine I've been thinking. I don't see as how it
can do any serious HARM to stop them there indictments.''
``That's it, Mr. Hastings,'' cried Hull. ``Even if I do
exaggerate, as you seem to think, still where's the harm in doing
``It looks as if the respectable people were afraid of the lower
classes,'' said Hastings doubtfully. ``And that's always bad.''
``But it won't look that way,'' replied Davy, ``if my plan is
``And what might be your plan?'' inquired Hastings.
``I'm to be the reform candidate for Mayor. Your son-in-law,
Hugo, is to be the reform candidate for judge. The way to handle
this is for me to come out in a strong statement denouncing the
indictments, and the injunction against the League and the New
Day, too. And I'll announce that Hugo Galland is trying to join
in the fight against them and that he is indignant and as
determined as I am. Then early to-morrow morning we can go
before Judge Lansing and can present arguments, and he will
denounce the other side for misleading him as to the facts, and
will quash the indictments and vacate the injunctions.''
Hastings nodded reflectively. ``Pretty good,'' said he with a
sly grin. ``And Davy Hull and my son-in- law will be popular
Davy reddened. ``Of course. I want to get all the advantage I
can for our party,'' said he. ``I don't represent myself. I
represent the party.''
Martin grinned more broadly. He who had been representing
``honest taxpayers'' and ``innocent owners'' of corrupt stock and
bonds all his life understood perfectly. ``It's hardly human to
be as unselfish as you and I are, Davy,'' said he. ``Well, I'll
go in and do a little telephoning. You go ahead and draw up your
statement and get it to the papers--and see Hugo.'' He rose,
stood leaning on his cane, all bent and shrivelled and dry. ``I
reckon Judge Lansing'll be expecting you to-morrow morning.'' He
turned to enter the house, halted, crooked his head round for a
piercing look at young Hull. ``Don't go talking round among your
friends about what you're going to do,'' said he sharply.
``Don't let NOBODY know until it's done.''
``Certainly, sir,'' said Davy.
``I could see you hurrying down to that there University Club to
sit there and tell it all to those smarties that are always
blowing about what they're going to do. You'll be right smart of
a man some day, Davy, if you'll learn to keep your mouth shut.''
Davy looked abashed. He did not know which of his many
indiscretions of self-glorifying talkativeness Mr. Hastings had
immediately in mind. But he could recall several, any one of
which was justification for the rather savage rebuke--the more
humiliating that Jane was listening. He glanced covertly at her.
Perhaps she had not heard; she was gazing into the distance with
a strange expression upon her beautiful face, an expression that
fastened his attention, absorbed though he was in his project for
his own ambitions. As her father disappeared, he said:
``What are you thinking about, Jane?''
Jane startled guiltily. ``I? Oh--I don't know--a lot of
``Your look suggested that you were having a--a severe attack of
conscience,'' said he, laughingly. He was in soaring good humor
now, for he saw his way clear to election.
``I was,'' said Jane, suddenly stern. A pause, then she
laughed--rather hollowly. ``Davy, I guess I'm almost as big a
fraud as you are. What fakirs we human beings are?--always
posing as doing for others and always doing for our selfish
Davy's face took on its finest expression. ``Do you think it's
altogether selfishness for me to fight for Victor Dorn and give
him a chance to get out his paper again--when he has warned me
that he is going to print things that may defeat me?''
``You know he'll not print them now,'' retorted Jane.
``Indeed I don't. He's not so forbearing.''
``You know he'll not print them now,'' repeated Jane. ``He'd not
be so foolish. Every one would forget to ask whether what he
said about you was true or false. They'd think only of how
ungenerous and ungrateful he was. He wouldn't be either. But
he'd seem to be--and that comes to the same thing.'' She glanced
mockingly at Hull. ``Isn't that your calculation?''
``You are too cynical for a woman, Jane,'' said Davy. ``It's not
``To your vanity?'' retorted Jane. ``I should think not.''
``Well--good-by,'' said Davy, taking his hat from the rail.
``I've got a hard evening's work before me. No time for
``Another terrible sacrifice for public duty,'' mocked Jane.
``You must be frightfully out of humor with yourself, to be
girding at me so savagely,'' said Davy.
``Good-by, Mr. Mayor.''
``I shall be--in six weeks.''
Jane's face grew sombre. ``Yes--I suppose so,'' said she. ``The
people would rather have one of us than one of their own kind.
They do look up to us, don't they? It's ridiculous of them, but
they do. The idea of choosing you, when they might have Victor
``He isn't running for Mayor,'' objected Hull. ``The League's
candidate is Harbinger, the builder.''
``No, it's Victor Dorn,'' said Jane. ``The best man in a
party--the strongest man--is always the candidate for all the
offices. I don't know much about politics, but I've learned that
much. . . . It's Victor Dorn against--Dick Kelly--or Kelly and
Hull reddened. She had cut into quick. ``You will see who is
Mayor when I'm elected,'' said he with all his dignity.
Jane laughed in the disagreeably mocking way that was the climax
of her ability to be nasty when she was thoroughly out of humor.
``That's right, Davy. Deceive yourself. It's far more
comfortable. So long!''
And she went into the house.
Davy's conduct of the affair was masterly. He showed those rare
qualities of judgment and diplomacy that all but insure a man a
distinguished career. His statement for the press was a model of
dignity, of restrained indignation, of good common sense. The
most difficult part of his task was getting Hugo Galland into
condition for a creditable appearance in court. In so far as
Hugo's meagre intellect, atrophied by education and by luxury,
permitted him to be a lawyer at all, he was of that now common
type called the corporation lawyer. That is, for him human
beings had ceased to exist, and of course human rights, also; the
world as viewed from the standpoint of law contained only
corporations, only interests. Thus, a man like Victor Dorn was
in his view the modern form of the devil--was a combination of
knave and lunatic who had no right to live except in the
restraint of an asylum or a jail.
Fortunately, while Hugo despised the ``hoi polloi'' as only a
stupid, miseducated snob can despise, he appreciated that they
had votes and so must be conciliated; and he yearned with the
snob's famished yearning for the title and dignity of judge.
Davy found it impossible to convince him that the injunctions and
indictments ought to be attacked until he had convinced him that
in no other way could he become Judge Galland. As Hugo was
fiercely prejudiced and densely stupid and reverent of the powers
of his own intellect, to convince him was not easy. In fact,
Davy did not begin to succeed until he began to suggest that
whoever appeared before Judge Lansing the next morning in defense
of free speech would be the Alliance and Democratic and
Republican candidate for judge, and that if Hugo couldn't see his
way clear to appearing he might as well give up for the present
his political ambitions.
Hugo came round. Davy left him at one o'clock in the morning and
went gloomily home. He had known what a prejudiced ass Galland
was, how unfit he was for the office of judge; but he had up to
that time hidden the full truth from himself. Now, to hide it
was impossible. Hugo had fully exposed himself in all his
unfitness of the man of narrow upper class prejudices, the man of
no instinct or enthusiasm for right, justice and liberty.
``Really, it's a crime to nominate such a chap as that,'' he
muttered. ``Yet we've got to do it. How Selma Gordon's eyes
would shame me, if she could see me now!''
Davy had the familiar fondness for laying on the secret
penitential scourge--wherewith we buy from our complacent
consciences license to indulge in the sins our appetites or
ambitions crave.
Judge Lansing--you have never seen a man who LOOKED the judge
more ideally than did gray haired, gray bearded, open browed
Robert Lansing--Judge Lansing was all ready for his part in the
farce. He knew Hugo and helped him over the difficult places and
cut him short as soon as he had made enough of his speech to give
an inkling of what he was demanding. The Judge was persuaded to
deliver himself of a high-minded and eloquent denunciation of
those who had misled the court and the county prosecutor. He
pointed out--in weighty judicial language--that Victor Dorn had
by his conduct during several years invited just such a series of
calamities as had beset him. But he went on to say that Dorn's
reputation and fondness for speech and action bordering on the
lawless did not withdraw from him the protection of the law. In
spite of himself the law would protect him. The injunctions were
dissolved and the indictments were quashed.
The news of the impending application, published in the morning
papers, had crowded the court room. When the Judge finished a
tremendous cheer went up. The cheer passed on to the throng
outside, and when Davy and Hugo appeared in the corridor they
were borne upon the shoulders of workingmen and were not released
until they had made speeches. Davy's manly simplicity and
clearness covered the stammering vagueness of hero Galland.
As Davy was gradually clearing himself of the eager handshakers
and back-slappers, Selma suddenly appeared before him. Her eyes
were shining and her whole body seemed to be irradiating emotion
of admiration and gratitude. ``Thank you--oh, thank you!'' she
said, pressing his hand. ``How I have misjudged you!''
Davy did not wince. He had now quite forgotten the part selfish
ambition had played in his gallant rush to the defense of
imperilled freedom--had forgotten it as completely as the now
ecstatic Hugo had forgotten his prejudices against the ``low,
smelly working people.'' He looked as exalted as he felt. ``I
only did my plain duty,'' replied he. ``How could any decent
American have done less?''
``I haven't seen Victor since yesterday afternoon,'' pursued
Selma. ``But I know how grateful he'll be-- not so much for what
you did as that YOU did it.''
The instinct of the crowd--the universal human instinct--against
intruding upon a young man and young woman talking together soon
cleared them of neighbors. An awkward silence fell. Said he
``Are you ready to give your answer?--to that question I asked
you the other day.''
``I gave you my answer then,'' replied she, her glance seeking a
way of escape.
``No,'' said he. ``For you said then that you would not marry
me. And I shall never take no for an answer until you have
married some one else.''
She looked up at him with eyes large and grave and puzzled.
``I'm sure you don't want to marry me,'' she said. ``I wonder
why you keep asking me.''
``I have to be honest with you,'' said Davy. ``Somehow you bring
out all the good there is in me. So, I can't conceal anything
from you. In a way I don't want to marry you. You're not at all
the woman I have always pictured as the sort I ought to marry and
would marry. But--Selma, I love you. I'd give up anything--even
my career--to get you. When I'm away from you I seem to regain
control of myself. But just as soon as I see you, I'm as bad as
ever again.''
``Then we mustn't see each other,'' said she.
Suddenly she nodded, laughed up at him and darted away --and Hugo
Galland, long since abandoned by the crowd, had seized him by the
Selma debated whether to take Victor the news or to continue her
walk. She decided for the walk. She had been feeling peculiarly
toward Victor since the previous afternoon. She had not gone
back in the evening, but had sent an excuse by one of the
Leaguers. It was plain to her that Jane Hastings was up to
mischief, and she had begun to fear--sacrilegious though she felt
it to be to harbor such a suspicion-- that there was man enough,
weak, vain, susceptible man enough, in Victor Dorn to make Jane a
danger. The more she had thought about Jane and her environment,
the clearer it had become that there could be no permanent and
deep sincerity in Jane's aspirations after emancipation from her
class. It was simply the old, old story of a woman of the upper
class becoming infatuated with a man of a genuine kind of manhood
rarely found in the languor-producing surroundings of her own
class. Would Victor yield? No! her loyalty indignantly
answered. But he might allow this useless idler to hamper him,
to weaken his energies for the time--and during a critical
She did not wish to see Victor again until she should have
decided what course to take. To think at her ease she walked out
Monroe Avenue on her way to the country. It was a hot day, but
walking along in the beautiful shade Selma felt no discomfort,
except a slight burning of the eyes from the fierce glare of the
white highway. In the distance she heard the sound of an engine.
A few seconds, and past her at high speed swept an automobile.
Its heavy flying wheels tore up the roadway, raised an enormous
cloud of dust. The charm of the walk was gone; the usefulness of
roadway and footpaths was destroyed for everybody for the fifteen
or twenty minutes that it would take for the mass of dust to
settle--on the foliage, in the grass, on the bodies and clothing
of passers-by and in their lungs. Selma halted and gazed after
the auto. Who was tearing along at this mad speed? Who was
destroying the comfort of all using that road, and annoying them
and making the air unfit to breathe! Why, an idle, luxuriously
dressed woman, not on an errand of life or death, but going down
town to amuse herself shopping or calling.
The dust had not settled before a second auto, having a young man
and young woman apparently on the way to play tennis, rushed by,
swirling up even vaster clouds of dust and all but colliding with
a baby carriage a woman was trying to push across the street.
Selma's blood was boiling! The infamy of it! These worthless
idlers! What utter lack of manners, of consideration for their
fellow beings. A GENTLEMAN and a LADY insulting and bullying
everyone who happened not to have an automobile. Then--she
laughed. The ignorant, stupid masses! They deserved to be
treated thus contemptuously, for they could stop it if they
would. ``Some day we shall learn,'' philosophized she. ``Then
these brutalities of men toward each other, these brutalities big
and little, will cease.'' This matter of the insulting
automobiles, with insolent horns and criminal folly of speed and
hurling dust at passers-by, worse than if the occupants had spat
upon them in passing--this matter was a trifle beside the hideous
brutalities of men compelling masses of their fellow beings,
children no less than grown people, to toil at things killing
soul, mind and body simply in order that fortunes might be made!
THERE was lack of consideration worth thinking about.
Three more autos passed--three more clouds of dust, reducing
Selma to extreme physical discomfort. Her philosophy was
severely strained. She was in the country now; but even there
she was pursued by these insolent and insulting hunters of
pleasure utterly indifferent to the comfort of their fellows.
And when a fourth auto passed, bearing Jane Hastings in a
charming new dress and big, becoming hat--Selma, eyes and throat
full of dust and face and neck and hands streaked and dirty,
quite lost her temper. Jane spoke; she turned her head away,
pretending not to see!
Presently she heard an auto coming at a less menacing pace from
the opposite direction. It drew up to the edge of the road
abreast of her. ``Selma,'' called Jane.
Selma paused, bent a frowning and angry countenance upon Jane.
Jane opened the door of the limousine, descended, said to her
chauffeur: ``Follow us, please.'' She advanced to Selma with a
timid and deprecating smile. ``You'll let me walk with you?''
she said.
``I am thinking out a very important matter,'' replied Selma,
with frank hostility. ``I prefer not to be interrupted.''
``Selma!'' pleaded Jane. ``What have I done to turn you against
Selma stood, silent, incarnation of freedom and will. She looked
steadily at Jane. ``You haven't done anything,'' she replied.
``On impulse I liked you. On sober second thought I don't.
That's all.''
``You gave me your friendship,'' said Jane. ``You've no right to
withdraw it without telling me why.''
``You are not of my class. You are of the class that is at war
with mine--at war upon it. When you talk of friendship to me,
you are either false to your own people or false in your
professions to me.''
Selma's manner was rudely offensive--as rude as Jane's dust, to
which it was perhaps a retort. Jane showed marvelous restraint.
She told herself that she felt compassionate toward this
attractive, honest, really nice girl. It is possible, however,
that an instinct of prudence may have had something to do with
her ultra- conciliatory attitude toward the dusty little woman in
the cheap linen dress. The enmity of one so near to Victor Dorn
was certainly not an advantage. Instead of flaring up, Jane
``Now, Selma--do be human--do be your sweet, natural self. It
isn't my fault that I am what I am. And you know that I really
belong heart and soul with you.''
``Then come with us,'' said Selma. ``If you think the life you
lead is foolish--why, stop leading it.''
``You know I can't,'' said Jane mournfully.
``I know you could,'' retorted Selma. ``Don't be a hypocrite,
``Selma--how harsh you are!'' cried Jane.
``Either come with us or keep away from us,'' said the girl
inflexibly. ``You may deceive yourself--and men--with that talk
of broad views and high aspirations. But you can't deceive
another woman.''
``I'm not trying to deceive anybody,'' exclaimed Jane angrily.
``Permit me to say, Selma, that your methods won't make many
converts to your cause.''
``Who ever gave you the idea that we were seeking converts in
your class?'' inquired Selma. ``Our whole object is to abolish
your class--and end its drain upon us--and its bad example--and
make its members useful members of our class, and more contented
and happier than they are now.'' She laughed--a free and merry
laugh, but not pleasant in Jane's ears. ``The idea of US trying
to induce young ladies and young gentlemen with polished finger
nails to sit round in drawing-rooms talking patronizingly of
doing something for the masses! You've got a very queer notion
of us, my dear Miss Hastings.''
Jane's eyes were flashing. ``Selma, there's a devil in you
to-day. What is it?'' she demanded.
``There's a great deal of dust from your automobile in me and on
me,'' said Selma. ``I congratulate you on your good manners in
rushing about spattering and befouling your fellow beings and
threatening their lives.''
Jane colored and lowered her head. ``I--I never thought of that
before,'' she said humbly.
Selma's anger suddenly dissolved. ``I'm ashamed of myself,'' she
cried. ``Forgive me.''
What she had said about the automobile had made an instant deep
impression upon Jane, who was honestly trying to live up to her
aspirations--when she wasn't giving up the effort as hopelessly
beyond her powers and trying to content herself with just
aspiring. She was not hypocritical in her contrition. The dust
disfiguring the foliage, streaking Selma's face and hair, was
forcing the lesson in manners vigorously home. ``I'm much
obliged to you for teaching me what I ought to have learned for
myself,'' she said. ``I don't blame you for scorning me. I am a
pretty poor excuse. But''--with her most charming smile-- ``I'll
do better--all the faster if you'll help me.''
Selma looked at her with a frank, dismayed contrition, like a
child that realizes it has done something very foolish. ``Oh,
I'm so horribly impulsive!'' she cried. ``It's always getting me
into trouble. You don't know how I try Victor Dorn's
patience--though he never makes the least sign.'' She laughed up
at Jane. ``I wish you'd give me a whipping. I'd feel lots
``It'd take some of my dust off you,'' said Jane. ``Let me take
you to the house in the auto--you'll never see it going at that
speed again, I promise. Come to the house and I'll dust you
off--and we'll go for a walk in the woods.''
Selma felt that she owed it to Jane to accept. As they were
climbing the hill in the auto, Selma said:
``My, how comfortable this is! No wonder the people that have
autos stop exercising and get fat and sick and die. I couldn't
trust myself with one.''
``It's a daily fight,'' confessed Jane. ``If I were married and
didn't have to think about my looks and my figure I'm afraid I'd
give up.''
``Victor says the only time one ought ever to ride in a carriage
is to his own funeral.''
``He's down on show and luxury of every kind-- isn't he?'' said
``No, indeed,'' replied Selma. ``Victor isn't `down on'
anything. He thinks show and luxury are silly. He could be rich
if he wished, for he has wonderful talent for managing things and
for making money. He has refused some of the most wonderful
offers--wonderful in that way. But he thinks money-making a
waste of time. He has all he wants, and he says he'd as soon
think of eating a second dinner when he'd just had one as of
exchanging time that could be LIVED for a lot of foolish
``And he meant it, too,'' said Jane. ``In some men that would
sound like pretense. But not in him. What a mind he has--and
what a character!''
Selma was abruptly overcast and ominously silent. She wished she
had not been turned so far by her impulse of penitence--wished
she had held to the calm and deliberate part of her resolve about
Jane--the part that involved keeping aloof from her. However,
Jane, the tactful--hastened to shift the conversation to
generalities of the softest kinds--talked about her college
life--about the inane and useless education they had given
her--drew Selma out to talk about her own education--in the
tenement--in the public school, at night school, in factory and
shop. Not until they had been walking in the woods nearly two
hours and Selma was about to go home, did Victor, about whom both
were thinking all the time, come into the conversation again. It
was Jane who could no longer keep away from the subject--the one
subject that wholly interested her nowadays. Said she:
``Victor Dorn is REALLY almost well, you think?''
After a significant pause Selma said in a tone that was certainly
not encouraging, ``Obviously.''
``I was altogether wrong about Doctor Charlton,'' said Jane.
``I'm convinced now that he's the only really intelligent doctor
in town. I'm trying to persuade father to change to him.''
``Well, good-by,'' said Selma. She was eager to get away, for
she suddenly felt that Jane was determined to talk about Victor
before letting her go.
``You altered toward me when I made that confession--the night of
the riot,'' said Jane abruptly. ``Are you in love with him,
``No,'' said Selma.
``I don't see how you could help being,'' cried Jane.
``That's because you don't know what it is to be busy,'' retorted
Selma. ``Love--what you call love-- is one of the pastimes with
your sort of people. It's a lazy, easy way of occupying the
``You don't know me as well as you think you do,'' said Jane.
Her expression fascinated Selma--and made her more afraid than
Impulsively Selma took Jane by the arm. ``Keep away from us,''
she said. ``You will do no good. You can only cause
unhappiness--perhaps most of all to yourself.''
``Don't I know that!'' exclaimed Jane. ``I'm fighting it as hard
as I can. But how little control one has over oneself when one
has always been indulged and self-indulgent.''
``The man for you is David Hull,'' said Selma.
``You could help him--could make a great deal of a person out of
``I know it,'' replied Jane. ``But I don't want him, and
he--perhaps you didn't know that he is in love with you?''
``No more than you are with Victor Dorn,'' said Selma. ``I'm
different from the women he has known, just as Victor is
different from the men you meet in your class. But this is a
waste of time.''
``You don't believe in me at all,'' cried Jane. ``In some ways
you are very unjust and narrow, Selma.''
Selma looked at her in that grave way which seemed to compel
frankness. ``Do YOU believe in yourself?'' she asked.
Jane's glance shifted.
``You know you do not,'' proceeded Selma. ``The women of your
class rarely have sincere emotions because they do not lead
sincere lives. Part of your imaginary love for Victor Dorn is
desire to fill up idle hours. The rest of it is vanity--the
desire to show your power over a man who seems to be
woman-proof.'' She laughed a little, turned away, paused. ``My
mother used to quote a French proverb--`One cannot trifle with
love.' Be careful, Jane--for your own sake. I don't know
whether you could conquer Victor Dorn or not. But I do know IF
you could conquer him it would be only at the usual price of
those conquests to a woman.''
``And what is that?'' said Jane.
``Your own complete surrender,'' said Selma.
``How wise you are!'' laughed Jane. ``Who would have suspected
you of knowing so much!''
``How could I--a woman--and not unattractive to men--grow up to
be twenty-one years old, in the free life of a working woman,
without learning all there is to know about sex relations?''
Jane looked at her with a new interest.
``And,'' she went on, ``I've learned--not by experience, I'm glad
to say, but by observation--that my mother's proverb is true. I
shall not think about love until I am compelled to. That is a
peril a sensible person does not seek.''
``I did not seek it,'' cried Jane--and then she halted and
``Good-by, Jane,'' said Selma, waving her hand and moving away
rapidly. She called back--``On ne badine pas avec l'amour!''
She went straight to Colman's cottage--to Victor, lying very pale
with his eyes shut, and big Tom Colman sitting by his bed. There
was a stillness in the room that Selma felt was ominous.
Victor's hand--strong, well-shaped, useful-looking,
used-looking--not ABUSED- looking, but USED-looking-was outside
the covers upon the white counterpane. The fingers were drumming
softly; Selma knew that gesture--a certain sign that Victor was
troubled in mind.
``You've told him,'' said Selma to Colman as she paused in the
Victor turned his head quickly, opened his eyes, gave her a look
of welcome that made her thrill with pride. ``Oh--there you
are!'' he exclaimed. ``I was hoping you'd come.''
``I saw David Hull just after it was done,'' said Selma. ``And I
thanked him for you.''
Victor's eyes had a look of amusement, of mockery. ``Thank
you,'' he said.
She, the sensitive, was on the alert at once. ``Didn't you want
me to thank him?''
Victor did not answer. In the same amused way he went on: ``So
they carried him on their shoulders --him and that other defender
of the rights of the people, Hugo Galland? I should like to have
seen. It was a memorable spectacle.''
``You are laughing at it,'' exclaimed the girl. ``Why?''
``You certainly are taking the news very queer, Victor,'' said
Colman. Then to Selma, ``When I told him he got white and I
thought I'd have to send for Doctor Charlton.''
``Well--joy never kills,'' said Victor mockingly. ``I don't want
to keep you, Tom--Selma'll sit with me.''
When they were alone, Victor again closed his eyes and resumed
that silent drumming upon the counterpane. Selma watched the
restless fingers as if she hoped they would disclose to her the
puzzling secret of Victor's thoughts. But she did not interrupt.
That was one lesson in restraint that Victor had succeeded in
teaching her--never to interrupt. At last he heaved a great sigh
and said:
``Well, Selma, old girl--we've probably lost again. I was glad
you came because I wanted to talk--and I can't say what's in my
mind before dear old Tom--or any of them but my sister and you.''
``You didn't want those injunctions and indictments out of the
way?'' said Selma.
``If they had stood, we'd have won--in a walk,'' replied Victor.
``As the cards lie now, David Hull will win. And he'll make a
pretty good show mayor, probably-- good enough to fool a large
majority of our fellow citizens, who are politically as shallow
and credulous as nursery children. And so--our work of educating
them will be the harder and slower. Oh, these David
Hulls!--these good men who keep their mantles spotless in order
to make them the more useful as covers for the dirty work of
others!'' Suddenly his merry smile burst out. ``And they carried
Hugo Galland on their shoulders?''
``Then you don't think Hull's motives were honorable?'' inquired
Selma, perplexed and anxious.
``How could I know his motives?--any man's motives?'' replied
Victor. ``No one can read men's hearts. All I ever consider is
actions. And the result of his actions is probably the defeat of
the League and the election of Dick Kelly.''
``I begin to understand,'' said Selma thoughtfully. ``But--I do
believe his motive was altogether good.''
``My dear girl,'' said Victor, ``the primer lesson in the life of
action is: `Never--NEVER look at motives. Action--only
actions--always actions.' The chief reason the human race is led
patiently round by the nose is its fondness for fussing about
motives. We are interested only in men's actions and the results
to our cause. Davy Hull's motives concern only himself-- and
those who care for him.'' Victor's eyes, twinkling
mischievously, shot a shrewd glance at Selma. ``You're not by
any chance in love with Davy?''
Selma colored high. ``Certainly not!'' she exclaimed
``Why not? Why not?'' teased Victor. ``He's tall and
handsome--and superbly solemn--and women always fancy a solemn
man has intellect and character. Not that Davy is a fool--by no
means. I'd be the last man to say that--I whom he has just
cleverly checkmated in one move.''
``You intended not to give bail! You intended to go to jail!''
exclaimed Selma abruptly. ``I see it all! How stupid I was!
Oh, I could cry, Victor! What a chance.''
``Spilt milk,'' said Victor. ``We must forget it, and plan to
meet the new conditions. We'll start the paper at once. We
can't attack him. Very clever of him-- very clever! If he were
as brave as he is shrewd, I'd almost give up hope of winning this
town while he was in politics here. But he lacks courage. And
he daren't think and speak honestly. How that does cripple a
``He'll be one of us before very long,'' said Selma. ``You
misjudge him, Victor.''
Dorn smiled. ``Not so long as his own class gratifies his
ambitions,'' replied Victor. ``If he came with us it'd be
because his own class had failed him and he hoped to rise through
and upon--ours.''
Selma did not agree with him. But as she always felt
presumptuous and even foolish in disagreeing with Victor, she
kept silent. And presently Victor began to lay out her share in
the task of starting up the New Day. ``I shall be all right
within a week,'' said he, ``and we must get the first number out
the week following.'' She was realizing now that Hull's move had
completely upset an elaborate plan of campaign into which Victor
had put all his intelligence and upon which he had staked all his
hopes. She marvelled as he talked, unfolding rapidly an entirely
new campaign, different in every respect from what the other
would have been. How swiftly his mind had worked, and how well!
How little time he had wasted in vain regrets! How quickly he
had recovered from a reverse that would have halted many a strong
And then she remembered how they all, his associates, were like
him, proof against the evil effects of set-back and defeat. And
why were they so? Because Victor Dorn had trained them to fight
for the cause, and not for victory. ``Our cause is the right,
and in the end right is bound to win because the right is only
another name for the sensible''--that had been his teaching. And
a hardy army he had trained. The armies trained by victory are
strong; but the armies schooled by defeat--they are invincible.
When he had explained his new campaign--as much of it as he
deemed it wise at that time to withdraw from the security of his
own brain--she said:
``But it seems to me we've got a good chance to win, anyhow.''
``A chance, perhaps,'' replied he. ``But we'll not bother about
that. All we've got to do is to keep on strengthening
``Yes, that's it!'' she cried. ``One added here--five there--ten
yonder. Every new stone fitted solidly against the ones already
in place.''
``We must never forget that we aren't merely building a new
party,'' said Dorn. ``We're building a new civilization--one to
fit the new conditions of life. Let the Davy Hulls patch and
tinker away at trying to keep the old structure from falling in.
We know it's bound to fall and that it isn't fit for decent
civilized human beings to live in. And we're getting the new
house ready. So--to us, election day is no more important than
any of the three hundred and sixty-five.''
It was into the presence of a Victor Dorn restored in mind as
well as in body that Jane Hastings was shown by his sister, Mrs.
Sherrill, one afternoon a week or so later.
All that time Jane had been searching for an excuse for going to
see him. She had haunted the roads and the woods where he and
Selma habitually walked. She had seen neither of them. When the
pretext for a call finally came to her, as usual, the most
obvious thing in the world. He must be suspecting her of having
betrayed his confidence and brought about the vacating of those
injunctions and the quashing of the indictments. She must go to
him and clear herself of suspicion.
She felt that the question of how she should dress for this
crucial interview, this attempt to establish some sort of
friendly relations with him, was of the very highest importance.
Should she wear something plain, something that would make her
look as nearly as might be like one of his own class? HIS class!
No --no, indeed. The class in which he was accidentally born and
bred, but to which he did not belong. Or, should she go dressed
frankly as of her own class-- wearing the sort of things that
made her look her finest and most superior and most beautiful?
Having nothing else to do, she spent several hours in trying
various toilets. She was not long in deciding against disguising
herself as a working woman. That garb might win his mental and
moral approval; but not by mental and moral ways did women and
men prevail with each other. In plain garb--so Jane decided, as
she inspected herself--she was no match for Selma Gordon; she
looked awkward, out of her element. So much being settled, there
remained to choose among her various toilets. She decided for an
embroidered white summer dress, extremely simple, but in the way
that costs beyond the power of any but the very rich to afford.
When she was ready to set forth, she had never looked so well in
her life. Her toilet SEEMED a mere detail. In fact, it was some
such subtlety as those arrangements of lines and colors in great
pictures, whereby the glance of the beholder is unconsciously
compelled toward the central figure, just as water in a funnel
must go toward the aperture at the bottom. Jane felt, not
without reason, that she had executed a stroke of genius. She
was wearing nothing that could awaken Victor Dorn's prejudices
about fine clothes, for he must have those prejudices. Yet she
was dressed in conformity with all that centuries, ages of
experience, have taught the dressmaking art on the subject of
feminine allure. And, when a woman feels that she is so dressed,
her natural allure becomes greatly enhanced.
She drove down to a point in Monroe Avenue not far from the house
where Victor and his family lived. The day was hot; boss-ridden
Remsen City had dusty and ragged streets and sidewalks. It,
therefore, would not do to endanger the freshness of the toilet.
But she would arrive as if she had come all the way on foot.
Arrival in a motor at so humble a house would look like
ostentation; also, if she were seen going through that street
afoot, people would think she was merely strolling a little out
of her way to view the ruins of the buildings set on fire by the
mob. She did pause to look at these ruins; the air of the
neighborhood still had a taint of burnt wood and paper.
Presently, when she was sure the street was clear of people of
the sort who might talk--she hastily entered the tiny front yard
of Victor's house, and was pleased to find herself immediately
screened from the street by the luxuriant bushes and creepers.
There was nothing in the least pretentious about the appearance
of the little house. It was simply a well built cottage--but of
brick, instead of the usual wood, and the slate roof descended at
attractive angles. The door she was facing was superior to the
usual flimsy-looking door. Indeed, she at once became conscious
of a highly attractive and most unexpected air of substantiality
and good taste. The people who lived here seemed to be permanent
people--long resident, and looking forward to long residence.
She had never seen such beautiful or such tastefully grouped sun
flowers, and the dahlias and marigolds were far above the
familiar commonplace kitchen garden flowers.
The door opened, and a handsome, extremely intelligent looking
woman, obviously Victor's sister, was looking pleasantly at her.
Said she: ``I'm sorry to have kept you waiting. But I was busy
in the kitchen. This is Miss Hastings, isn't it?''
``Yes,'' said Jane, smiling friendlily.
``I've heard my brother and Selma talk of you.'' (Jane wondered
WHAT they had said.) ``You wish to see Victor?''
``If I'd not be interrupting,'' said Jane.
``Come right in. He's used to being interrupted. They don't
give him five minutes to himself all day long--especially now
that the campaign's on. He always does his serious work very
early in the morning.''
They went through a hall, pleasantly odorous of baking in which
good flour and good butter and good eggs were being manufactured
into something probably appetizing, certainly wholesome. Jane
caught a glimpse through open doors on either side of a neat and
reposeful little library-sitting room, a plain delightfully
simple little bedroom, a kitchen where everything shone. She
arrived at the rear door somehow depressed, bereft of the feeling
of upper-class superiority which had, perhaps unconsciously,
possessed her as she came toward the house. At the far end of an
arbor on which the grape vines were so trellised that their broad
leaves cast a perfect shade, sat Victor writing at a table under
a tree. He was in his shirt sleeves, and his shirt was open at
the throat. His skin was smooth and healthily white below the
collar line. The forearms exposed by his rolled up sleeves were
strong but slender, and the faint fair hair upon them suggested a
man, but not an animal.
Never had she seen his face and head so fine. He was writing
rapidly, his body easily erect, his head and neck in a poise of
grace and strength. Jane grew pale and trembled--so much so that
she was afraid the keen, friendly eyes of Alice Sherrill were
seeing. Said Mrs. Sherrill, raising her voice:
``Victor--here's Miss Hastings come to see you.'' Then to Jane:
``Excuse me, please. I don't dare leave that kitchen long.''
She departed. Jane waited while Victor, his pencil reluctantly
slackening and his glance lingeringly rising from the paper, came
back to sense of his surroundings. He stared at her blankly,
then colored a little. He rose--stiff, for him formal. Said he:
``How d'you do, Miss Hastings?''
She came down the arbor, recovering her assurance as she again
became conscious of herself, so charmingly dressed and no doubt
beautiful in his eyes. ``I know you're not glad to see me,''
said she. ``But I'm only stopping a very little minute.''
His eyes had softened--softened under the influence of the
emotion no man can ever fail to feel at least in some degree at
sight of a lovely woman. ``Won't you sit?'' said he, with a
glance at the wooden chair near the other side of the table.
She seated herself, resting one gloved hand on the prettily
carved end of her white-sunshade. She was wearing a big hat of
rough black straw, with a few very gorgeous white plumes. ``What
a delightful place to work,'' exclaimed she, looking round,
admiring the flowers, the slow ripening grapes, the delicious
shade. ``And you--how WELL you look!''
``I've forgotten I was ever anything but well,'' said he.
``You're impatient for me to go,'' she cried laughing. ``It's
very rude to show it so plainly.''
``No,'' replied he. ``I am not impatient for you to go. But I
ought to be, for I'm very busy.''
``Well, I shall be gone in a moment. I came only to tell you
that you are suspecting me wrongly.''
``Suspecting you?--of what?''
``Of having broken my word. I know you must think I got father
to set Davy Hull on to upsetting your plans.''
``The idea never entered my head,'' said he. ``You had
promised--and I know you are honest.''
Jane colored violently and lowered her eyes. ``I'm not--not up
to what you say,'' she protested. ``But at least I didn't break
my promise. Davy thought of that himself.''
``I have been assuming so.''
``And you didn't suspect me?''
``Not for an instant,'' Victor assured her. ``Davy simply made
the move that was obviously best for him.''
``And now he will be elected,'' said Jane regretfully.
``It looks that way,'' replied Victor. And he had the air of one
who has nothing more to say.
Suddenly Jane looked at him with eyes shining and full of appeal.
``Don't send me away so quickly,'' she pleaded. ``I've not been
telling the exact truth. I came only partly because I feared you
were suspecting me. The real reason was that--that I couldn't
stay away any longer. I know you're not in the least interested
in me----''
She was watching him narrowly for signs of contradiction. She
hoped she had not watched in vain.
``Why should you be?'' she went on. ``But ever since you opened
my eyes and set me to thinking, I can do nothing but think about
the things you have said to me, and long to come to you and ask
you questions and hear more.''
Victor was staring hard into the wall of foliage. His face was
set. She thought she had never seen anything so resolute, so
repelling as the curve of his long jaw bone.
``I'll go now,'' she said, making a pretended move toward rising.
``I've no right to annoy you.''
He stood up abruptly, without looking at her. ``Yes, you'd
better go,'' he said curtly.
She quivered--and it was with a pang of genuine pain.
His gaze was not so far from her as it seemed. For he must have
noted her expression, since he said hurriedly: ``I beg your
pardon. It isn't that I mean to be rude. I--I--it is best that
I do not see you.''
She sank back in the chair with a sigh. ``And I--I know that I
ought to keep away from you. But--I can't. It's too strong for
He looked at her slowly. ``I have made up my mind to put you out
of my head,'' he said. ``And I shall.''
``Don't!'' she cried. ``Victor--don't!''
He sat again, rested his forearms upon the table, leaned toward
her. ``Look at me,'' he said.
She slowly lifted her gaze to his, met it steadily. ``I thought
so, Victor,'' she said tenderly. ``I knew I couldn't care so
much unless you cared at least a little .''
``Do I?'' said he. ``I don't know. I doubt if either of us is
in love with the other. Certainly, you are not the sort of woman
I could love--deeply love. What I feel for you is the sort of
thing that passes. It is violent while it lasts, but it
``I don't care!'' cried she recklessly. ``Whatever it is I want
He shook his head resolutely. ``No,'' he said. ``You don't want
it, and I don't want it. I know the kind of life you've mapped
out for yourself--as far as women of your class map out anything.
It's the only kind of life possible to you. And it's of a kind
with which I could, and would, have nothing to do.''
``Why do you say that?'' protested she. ``You could make of me
what you pleased.''
``No,'' said he. ``I couldn't make a suit of overalls out of a
length of silk. Anyhow, I have made up my life with love and
marriage left out. They are excellent things for some people,
for most people. But not for me. I must be free, absolutely
free. Free to think only of the cause I've enlisted in, free to
do what it commands.''
``And I?'' she said with tremendous life. ``What is to become of
me, Victor?''
He laughed quietly. ``You are going to keep away from me--find
some one else to amuse your leisure. That's what's going to
become of you, Jane Hastings.''
She winced and quivered again. ``That--hurts,'' she said.
``Your vanity? Yes. I suppose it does. But those wounds are
healthful--when the person is as sensible as you are.''
``You think I am not capable of caring! You think I am vain and
shallow and idle. You refuse me all right to live, simply
because I happen to live in surroundings you don't approve of.''
``I'm not such an egotistical ass as to imagine a woman of your
sort could be genuinely in love with a man of my sort,'' replied
he. ``So, I'll see to it that we keep away from each other. I
don't wish to be tempted to do you mischief.''
She looked at him inquiringly.
But he did not explain. He said: ``And you are going now. And
we shall not meet again except by accident.''
She gave a sigh of hopelessness. ``I suppose I have lowered
myself in your eyes by being so frank--by showing and speaking
what I felt,'' she said mournfully.
``Not in the least,'' rejoined he. ``A man who is anybody or has
anything soon gets used to frankness in women. I could hardly
have gotten past thirty, in a more or less conspicuous position,
without having had some experience. . . . and without learning
not to attach too much importance to--to frankness in women.''
She winced again. ``You wouldn't say those things if you knew
how they hurt,'' she said. ``If I didn't care for you, could I
sit here and let you laugh at me?''
``Yes, you could,'' answered he. ``Hoping somehow or other to
turn the laugh upon me later on. But really I was not laughing
at you. And you can spare yourself the effort of convincing me
that you're sincere.'' He was frankly laughing at her now.
``You don't understand the situation--not at all. You fancy that
I am hanging back because I am overwhelmed or shy or timid. I
assure you I've never been shy or timid about anything I wanted.
If I wanted you-- I'd--TAKE you.''
She caught her breath and shrank. Looking at him as he said
that, calmly and confidently, she, for the first time, was in
love--and was afraid. Back to her came Selma's warnings: ``One
may not trifle with love. A woman conquers only by surrender.''
``But, as I said to you a while ago,'' he went on, ``I don't want
you--or any woman. I've no time for marriage-- no time for a
flirtation. And though you tempt me strongly, I like you too
well to--to treat you as you invite.''
Jane sat motionless, stunned by the sudden turning of the tables.
She who had come to conquer--to amuse herself, to evoke a strong,
hopeless passion that would give her a delightful sense of warmth
as she stood safely by its bright flames--she had been conquered.
She belonged to this man; all he had to do was to claim her.
In a low voice, sweet and sincere beyond any that had ever come
from her lips before, she said:
``Anything, Victor--anything--but don't send me away.''
And he, seeing and hearing, lost his boasted self- control.
``Go--go,'' he cried harshly. ``If you don't go----'' He came
round the table, seizing her as she rose, kissed her upon the
lips, upon the eyes. ``You are lovely--lovely!'' he murmured.
``And I who can't have flowers on my table or in sight when I've
got anything serious to do--I love your perfume and your color
and the wonderful softness of you----''
He pushed her away. ``Now--will you go?'' he cried.
His eyes were flashing. And she was trembling from head to foot.
She was gazing at him with a fascinated expression. ``I
understand what you meant when you warned me to go,'' she said.
``I didn't believe it, but it was so.''
``Go--I tell you!'' he ordered.
``It's too late,'' said she. ``You can't send me away now--for
you have kissed me. If I'm in your power, you're in my power,
Moved by the same impulse both looked up the arbor toward the
rear door of the house. There stood Selma Gordon, regarding them
with an expression of anger as wild as the blood of the steppes
that flowed in her veins. Victor, with what composure he could
master, put out his hand in farewell to Jane. He had been too
absorbed in the emotions raging between him and her to note
Selma's expression. But Jane, the woman, had seen. As she shook
hands with Victor, she said neither high nor low:
``Selma knows that I care. I told her the night of the riot.''
``Good-by,'' said Victor in a tone she thought it wise not to
``I'll be in the woods above the park at ten tomorrow,'' she
said in an undertone. Then to Selma, unsmilingly: ``You're not
interrupting. I'm going.'' Selma advanced. The two girls
looked frank hostility into each other's eyes. Jane did not try
to shake hands with her. With a nod and a forced smile of
conventional friendliness upon her lips, she passed her and went
through the house and into the street.
She lingered at the gate, opening and closing it in a most
leisurely fashion--a significantly different exit from her
furtive and ashamed entrance. Love and revolt were running high
and hot in her veins. She longed openly to defy the world--her
Impulse was the dominant strain in Selma Gordon's
character--impulse and frankness. But she was afraid of Victor
Dorn as we all are afraid of those we deeply respect--those whose
respect is the mainstay of our self-confidence. She was moving
toward him to pour out the violence that was raging in her on the
subject of this flirtation of Jane Hastings. The spectacle of a
useless and insincere creature like that trifling with her deity,
and being permitted to trifle, was more than she could endure.
But Victor, dropping listlessly to his chair and reaching for his
pencil, was somehow a check upon her impetuousness. She paused
long enough to think the sobering second thought. To speak would
be both an impertinence and a folly. She owed it to the cause
and to her friend Victor to speak; but to speak at the wrong time
and in the wrong way would be worse than silence.
Said he: ``I was finishing this when she came. I'll be done in
a minute. Please read what I've written and tell me what you
Selma took up the loose sheets of manuscript and stood reading
his inaugural of the new New Day. As she read she forgot the
petty matter that had so agitated her a moment before. This
salutatory--this address to the working class--this plan of a
campaign to take Remsen City out of the hands of its exploiters
and despoilers and make it a city fit for civilized residence and
worthy of its population of intelligent, progressive
workingmen--this leading editorial for the first number was
Victor Dorn at his greatest and best. The man of action with all
the enthusiasm of a dreamer. The shrewd, practical politician
with the outlook of a statesman. How honest and impassioned he
was; yet how free from folly and cant. Several times as she read
Selma lifted her eyes to look at him in generous, worshipful
admiration. She would not have dared let him see; she would not
have dared speak the phrases of adoration of his genius that
crowded to her lips. How he would have laughed at her--he who
thought about himself as a personality not at all, but only as an
``Here's the rest of it,'' said he, throwing himself back in his
chair and relighting his pipe.
She finished a moment later, said as she laid the manuscript on
the table: ``That's the best you've ever done.''
``I think so,'' agreed he. ``It seems to me I've got a new grip
on things. I needed a turn such as your friend Davy Hull gave
me. Nothing like rivalry to spur a man on. The old crowd was so
stupid--cunning, but stupid. But Hull injects a new element into
the struggle. To beat him we've got to use our best brains.''
``We've got to attack him,'' said Selma. ``After all, he is the
enemy. We can't let him disarm us by an act of justice.''
``No, indeed,'' said Victor. ``But we'll have to be careful.
Here's what I'm going to carry on the first page.''
He held up a sheet of paper on which he had written with a view
to effective display the names of the four most offensive local
corporations with their contribution--$25,000 each--to the
campaign fund of the Citizens' Alliance. ``Under it, in big
type,'' proceeded he, ``we'll carry a line asking, `Is the
Citizens' Alliance fooling these four corporations or is it
fooling the people?' I think that will be more effective than
columns of attack.''
``We ought to get that out on wall-bills and dodgers,'' suggested
Selma, ``and deluge the town with it once or twice a week until
``Splendid!'' exclaimed Victor. ``I'll make a practical
politician of you yet.''
Colman and Harbinger and Jocelyn and several others of the League
leaders came in one at a time, and the plan of campaign was
developed in detail. But the force they chiefly relied upon was
the influence of their twelve hundred men, their four or five
thousand women and young men and girls, talking every day and
evening, each man or woman or youth with those with whom he came
into contact. This ``army of education'' was disciplined, was
educated, knew just what arguments to use, had been cautioned
against disputes, against arousing foolish antagonisms. The
League had nothing to conceal, no object to gain but the
government of Remsen City by and for its citizens--well paved,
well lighted, clean streets, sanitary houses, good and clean
street car service, honest gas, pure water, plenty of good
schools--that first of all. The ``reform crowd''--the Citizens'
Alliance--like every reform party of the past, proposed to do
practically the same things. But the League met this with:
``Why should we elect an upper class government to do for us what
we ought to do for ourselves? And how can they redeem their
promises when they are tied up in a hundred ways to the very
people who have been robbing and cheating us?''
There were to be issues of the New Day; there were to be posters
and dodgers, public meetings in halls, in squares, on street
corners. But the main reliance now as always was this educated
``army of education''-- these six thousand missionaries, each one
of them in resolute earnest and bent upon converting his
neighbors on either side, and across the street as well. A large
part of the time the leaders could spare from making a living was
spent in working at this army, in teaching it new arguments or
better ways of presenting old arguments, in giving the
enthusiasm, in talking with each individual soldier of it and
raising his standard of efficiency. Nor could the employers of
these soldiers of Victor Dorn's complain that they shirked their
work for politics. It was a fact that could not be denied that
the members of the Workingmen's League were far and away the best
workers in Remsen City, got the best pay, and earned it, drank
less, took fewer days off on account of sickness. One of the
sneers of the Kelly-House gang was that ``those Dorn cranks think
they are aristocrats, a little better than us common, ordinary
laboring men.'' And the sneer was not without effect. The truth
was, Dorn and his associates had not picked out the best of the
working class and drawn it into the League, but had made those
who joined the League better workers, better family men, better
``We are saying that the working class ought to run things,''
Dorn said again and again in his talks, public and private.
``Then, we've got to show the community that we're fit to run
things. That is why the League expels any man who shirks or is a
drunkard or a crook or a bad husband and father.''
The great fight of the League--the fight that was keeping it from
power--was with the trades unions, which were run by secret
agents of the Kelly-House oligarchy. Kelly and the Republican
party rather favored ``open shop'' or ``scab'' labor--the right
of an American to let his labor to whom he pleased on what terms
he pleased. The Kelly orators waxed almost tearful as they
contemplated the outrage of any interference with the ancient
liberty of the American citizen. Kelly disguised as House was a
hot union man. He loathed the ``scab.'' He jeered at the idea
that a laborer ought to be at the mercy of the powerful employer
who could dictate his own terms, which the laborers might not
refuse under stress of hunger. Thus the larger part of the
``free'' labor in Remsen City voted with Kelly--was bought by him
at so much a head. The only organization it had was under the
Kelly district captains. Union labor was almost solidly
Democratic--except in Presidential elections, when it usually
divided on the tariff question.
Although almost all the Leaguers were members of the unions,
Kelly and House saw to it that they had no influence in union
councils. That is, until recently Kelly-House had been able to
accomplish this. But they were seeing the approaching end of
their domination. The ``army of education'' was proving too
powerful for them. And they felt that at the coming election the
decline of their power would be apparent --unless something
drastic were done.
They had attempted it in the riot. The riot had been a
fizzle--thanks to the interposition of the personal ambition of
the until then despised ``holy boy,'' David Hull. Kelly, the
shrewd, at once saw the mark of the man of force. He resolved
that Hull should be elected. He had intended simply to use him
to elect Hugo Galland judge and to split up the rest of the
tickets in such a way that some Leaguers and some reformers would
get in, would be powerless, would bring discredit and ridicule
upon their parties. But Hull was a man who could be useful; his
cleverness in upsetting the plot against Dorn and turning all to
his advantage demonstrated that. Therefore, Hull should be
elected and passed up higher. It did not enter his calculations
that Hull might prove refractory, might really be all that he
professed; he had talked with Davy, and while he had
underestimated his intelligence, he knew he had not misjudged his
character. He knew that it was as easy to ``deal'' with the Hull
stripe of honest, high minded men as it was difficult to ``deal''
with the Victor Dorn stripe. Hull he called a ``sensible
fellow''; Victor Dorn he called a crank. But--he respected Dorn,
while Hull he held in much such esteem as he held his
cigar-holder and pocket knife, or Tony Rivers and Joe House.
When Victor Dorn had first begun to educate and organize the
people of Remsen City, the boss industry was in its early form.
That is, Kelly and House were really rivals in the collecting of
big campaign funds by various forms of blackmail, in struggling
for offices for themselves and their followers, in levying upon
vice and crime through the police. In these ways they made the
money, the lion's share of which naturally fell to them as
leaders, as organizers of plunder. But that stage had now passed
in Remsen City as it had passed elsewhere, and the boss industry
had taken a form far more difficult to combat. Kelly and House
no longer especially cared whether Republican party or Democratic
won. Their business--their source of revenue--had ceased to be
through carrying elections, had become a matter of skill in
keeping the people more or less evenly divided between the two
``regular'' parties, with an occasional fake third party to
discourage and bring into contempt reform movers and to make the
people say, ``Well, bad as they are, at least the regulars aren't
addle-headed, damn fools doing nothing except to make business
bad.'' Both Kelly and House were supported and enriched by the
corporations and by big public contracting companies and by real
estate deals. Kelly still appropriated a large part of the
``campaign fund.'' House, in addition, took a share of the money
raised by the police from dives. But these sums were but a small
part of their income, were merely pin money for their wives and
Yet--at heart and in all sincerity Kelly was an ardent Republican
and House was a ferocious Democrat. If you had asked either what
Republican and Democrat meant he would have been as vague and
unsatisfactory in his reply as would have been any of his
followers bearing torch and oilcloth cape in political
processions, with no hope of gain--beyond the exquisite pleasure
of making a shouting ass of himself in the most public manner.
But for all that, Kelly was a Republican and House a Democrat.
It is not a strange, though it is a profoundly mysterious,
phenomenon, that of the priest who arranges the trick mechanism
of the god, yet being a devout believer, ready to die for his
Difficult though the task was of showing the average Remsen City
man that Republican and Democrat, Kelly and House, were one and
the same thing, and that thing a blood-sucking, blood-heavy leech
upon his veins--difficult though this task was, Victor Dorn knew
that he had about accomplished it, when David Hull appeared. A
new personality; a plausible personality, deceptive because
self-deceiving--yet not so thoroughly self-deceived that it was
in danger of hindering its own ambition. David Hull--just the
kind of respectable, popular figurehead and cloak the desperate
Kelly- House conspiracy needed.
How far had the ``army of education'' prepared the people for
seeing through this clever new fraud upon them? Victor Dorn
could not judge. He hoped for the best; he was prepared for the
The better to think out the various problems of the new
situation, complicated by his apparent debt of gratitude to Davy,
Victor went forth into the woods very early the next morning. He
wandered far, but ten o'clock found him walking in the path in
the strip of woods near the high road along the upper side of the
park. And when Jane Hastings appeared, he was standing looking
in the direction from which she would have to come. It was
significant of her state of mind that she had given small
attention to her dress that morning. Nor was she looking her
best in expression or in color. Her eyes and her skin suggested
an almost sleepless night.
He did not advance. She came rapidly as if eager to get over
that embarrassing space in which each could see the other, yet
neither could speak without raising the voice. When she was near
she said:
``You think you owe something to Davy Hull for what he did?''
``The people think so,'' said he. ``And that's the important
``Well--you owe him nothing,'' pursued she.
``Nothing that would interfere with the cause,'' replied he.
``And that would be true, no matter what he had done.''
``I mean he did nothing for you,'' she explained. ``I forgot to
tell you yesterday. The whole thing was simply a move to further
his ambition. I happened to be there when he talked with father
and enlisted him.''
Victor laughed. ``It was your father who put it through. I
might have known!''
``At first I tried to interpose. Then--I stopped.'' She stood
before him with eyes down. ``It came to me that for my own sake
it would be better that you should lose this fall. It seemed to
me that if you won you would be farther out of my reach.'' She
paused, went steadily on: ``It was a bad feeling I had that you
must not get anything except with my help. Do you understand?''
``Perfectly,'' said he cheerfully. ``You are your father's own
``I love power,'' said she. ``And so do you. Only, being a
woman, I'd stoop to things to get it, that a man--at least your
sort of man--would scorn. Do you despise me for that? You
oughtn't to. And you will teach me better. You can make of me
what you please, as I told you yesterday. I only half meant it
then. Now--it's true, through and through.''
Victor glanced round, saw near at hand the bench he was seeking.
``Let's sit down here,'' said he. ``I'm rather tired. I slept
little and I've been walking all morning. And you look tired,
``After yesterday afternoon I couldn't sleep,'' said she.
When they were seated he looked at her with an expression that
seemed to say: ``I have thrown open the windows of my soul.
Throw open yours; and let us look at each other as we are, and
speak of things as they are.'' She suddenly flung herself
against his breast and as he clasped her she said:
``No--no! Let's not reason coldly about things, Victor. Let's
feel--let's LIVE!''
It was several minutes--and not until they had kissed many
times--before he regained enough self- control to say: ``This
simply will not do, Jane. How can we discuss things calmly? You
sit there''--he pushed her gently to one end of the bench--``and
I'll sit at this end. Now!''
``I love you, Victor! With your arms round me I am happy--and SO
``With my arms round you I'm happy, I'll admit,'' said he.
``But--oh, so weak! I have the sense that I am doing wrong--that
we are both doing wrong.''
``Why? Aren't you free?''
``No, I am not free. As I've told you, I belong to a cause--to a
``But I won't hinder you there. I'll help you.''
``Why go over that again? You know better--I know better.''
Abruptly, ``Your father--what time does he get home for dinner?''
``He didn't go down town to-day,'' replied Jane. ``He's not
well--not at all well.''
Victor looked baffled. ``I was about to propose that we go
straight to him.''
If he had been looking at Jane, he might have seen the fleeting
flash of an expression that betrayed that she had suspected the
object of his inquiry.
``You will not go with me to your father?''
``Not when he is ill,'' said she. ``If we told him, it might
kill him. He has ambitions--what he regards as ambitions--for
me. He admires you, but--he doesn't admire your ideas.''
``Then,'' said Victor, following his own train of thought, ``we
must fight this out between ourselves. I was hoping I'd have
your father to help me. I'm sure, as soon as you faced him with
me, you'd realize that your feeling about me is largely a
``And you?'' said Jane softly. ``Your feeling about me--the
feeling that made you kiss me--was that delusion?''
``It was--just what you saw,'' replied he, ``and nothing more.
The idea of marrying you--of living my life with you doesn't
attract me in the least. I can't see you as my wife.'' He
looked at her impatiently. ``Have you no imagination? Can't you
see that you could not change, and become what you'd have to be
if you lived with me?''
``You can make of me what you please,'' repeated she with loving
``That is not sincere!'' cried he. ``You may think it is, but it
isn't. Look at me, Jane.''
``I haven't been doing anything else since we met,'' laughed she.
``That's better,'' said he. ``Let's not be solemn. Solemnity is
pose, and when people are posing they get nowhere. You say I can
make of you what I please. Do you mean that you are willing to
become a woman of my class--to be that all your life--to bring up
your children in that way--to give up your fashionable
friends--and maid--and carriages--and Paris clothes--to be a
woman who would not make my associates and their families
uncomfortable and shy?''
She was silent. She tried to speak, but lifting her eyes before
she began her glance encountered his and her words died upon her
``You know you did not mean that,'' pursued he. ``Now, I'll tell
you what you did mean. You meant that after you and I were
married--or engaged--perhaps you did not intend to go quite so
far as marriage just yet.''
The color crept into her averted face.
``Look at me!'' he commanded laughingly.
With an effort she forced her eyes to meet his.
``Now--smile, Jane!''
His smile was contagious. The curve of her lips changed; her
eyes gleamed.
``Am I not reading your thoughts?'' said he.
``You are very clever, Victor,'' admitted she.
``Good. We are getting on. You believed that, once we were
engaged, I would gradually begin to yield, to come round to your
way of thinking. You had planned for me a career something like
Davy Hull's--only freer and bolder. I would become a member of
your class, but would pose as a representative of the class I had
personally abandoned. Am I right?''
``Go on, Victor,'' she said.
``That's about all. Now, there are just two objections to your
plan. The first is, it wouldn't work. My associates would be
`on to' me in a very short time. They are shrewd, practical,
practically educated men --not at all the sort that follow Davy
Hull or are wearing Kelly's and House's nose rings. In a few
months I'd find myself a leader without a following-- and what is
more futile and ridiculous than that?''
``They worship you,'' said Jane. ``They trust you implicitly.
They know that whatever you did would be for their good.''
He laughed heartily. ``How little you know my friends,'' said
he. ``I am their leader only because I am working with them,
doing what we all see must be done, doing it in the way in which
we all see it must be done.''
``But THAT is not power!'' cried Jane.
``No,'' replied Victor. ``But it is the career I wish-- the only
one I'd have. Power means that one's followers are weak or
misled or ignorant. To be first among equals--that's worth
while. The other thing is the poor tawdriness that kings and
bosses crave and that shallow, snobbish people admire.''
``I see that,'' said Jane. ``At least, I begin to see it. How
wonderful you are!''
Victor laughed. ``Is it that I know so much, or is it that you
know so little?''
``You don't like for me to tell you that I admire you?'' said
Jane, subtle and ostentatiously timid.
``I don't care much about it one way or the other,'' replied
Victor, who had, when he chose, a rare ability to be blunt
without being rude. ``Years ago, for my own safety, I began to
train myself to care little for any praise or blame but my own,
and to make myself a very searching critic of myself. So, I am
really flattered only when I win my own praise--and I don't often
have that pleasure.''
``Really, I don't see why you bother with me,'' said she with sly
innocence--which was as far as she dared let her resentments go.
``For two reasons,'' replied he promptly. ``It flatters me that
you are interested in me. The second reason is that, when I lost
control of myself yesterday, I involved myself in certain
responsibilities to you. It has seemed to me that I owe it to
myself and to you to make you see that there is neither present
nor future in any relations between us.''
She put out her hand, and before he knew what he was doing he had
clasped it. With a gentle, triumphant smile she said: ``THERE'S
the answer to all your reasoning, Victor.''
He released her hand. ``AN answer,'' he said, ``but not the
correct answer.'' He eyed her thoughtfully. ``You have done me
a great service,'' he went on. ``You have shown me an
unsuspected, a dangerous weakness in myself. At another
time--and coming in another way, I might have made a mess of my
career--and of the things that have been entrusted to me.'' A
long pause, then he added, to himself rather than to her, ``I
must look out for that. I must do something about it.''
Jane turned toward him and settled herself in a resolute attitude
and with a resolute expression. ``Victor,'' she said, ``I've
listened to you very patiently. Now I want you to listen to me.
What is the truth about us? Why, that we are as if we had been
made for each other. I don't know as much as you do. I've led a
much narrower life. I've been absurdly mis- educated. But as
soon as I saw you I felt that I had found the man I was looking
for. And I believe--I feel--I KNOW you were drawn to me in the
same way. Isn't that so?''
``You--fascinated me,'' confessed he. ``You--or your clothes--or
your perfume.''
``Explain it as you like,'' said she. ``The fact remains that we
were drawn together. Well--Victor, _I_ am not afraid to face the
future, as fate maps it out for us. Are you?''
He did not answer.
``You--AFRAID,'' she went on. ``No--you couldn't be afraid.''
A long silence. Then he said abruptly: ``IF we loved each
other. But I know that we don't. I know that you would hate me
when you realized that you couldn't move me. And I know that I
should soon get over the infatuation for you. As soon as it
became a question of sympathies--common tastes--congeniality--I'd
find you hopelessly lacking.''
She felt that he was contrasting her with some one else--with a
certain some one. And she veiled her eyes to hide their blazing
jealousy. A movement on his part made her raise them in sudden
alarm. He had risen. His expression told her that the battle
was lost--for the day. Never had she loved him as at that
moment, and never had longing to possess him so dominated her
willful, self-indulgent, spoiled nature. Yet she hated him, too;
she longed to crush him, to make him suffer--to repay him with
interest for the suffering he was inflicting upon her--the
humiliation. But she dared not show her feelings. It would be
idle to try upon this man any of the coquetries indicated for
such cases--to dismiss him coldly, or to make an appeal through
an exhibition of weakness or reckless passion.
``You will see the truth, for yourself, as you think things
over,'' said he.
She rose, stood before him with downcast eyes, with mouth sad and
sweet. ``No,'' she said, ``It's you who are hiding the truth
from yourself. I hope--for both our sakes--that you'll see it
before long. Good-by-- dear.'' She stretched out her hand.
Hesitatingly he took it. As their hands met, her pulse beating
against his, she lifted her eyes. And once more he was holding
her close, was kissing her. And she was lying in his arms
unresisting, with two large tears shining in the long lashes of
her closed eyes.
``Oh, Jane--forgive me!'' he cried, releasing her. ``I must keep
away from you. I will--I WILL!'' And he was rushing down the
steep slope--direct, swift, relentless. But she, looking after
him with a tender, dreamy smile, murmured: ``He loves me. He
will come again. If not--I'll go and get him!''
To Jane Victor Dorn's analysis of his feeling toward her and of
the reasons against yielding to it seemed of no importance
whatever. Side by side with Selma's
``One may not trifle with love'' she would have put ``In matters
of love one does not reason,'' as equally axiomatic. Victor was
simply talking; love would conquer him as it had conquered every
man and every woman it had ever entered. Love--blind,
unreasoning, irresistible-- would have its will and its way.
And about most men she would have been right-- about any man
practically, of the preceding generation. But Victor represented
a new type of human being-- the type into whose life reason
enters not merely as a theoretical force, to be consulted and
disregarded, but as an authority, a powerful influence, dominant
in all crucial matters. Only in our own time has science begun
to make a notable impression upon the fog which formerly lay over
the whole human mind, thicker here, thinner there, a mere haze
yonder, but present everywhere. This fog made clear vision
impossible, usually made seeing of any kind difficult; there was
no such thing as finding a distinct line between truth and error
as to any subject. And reason seemed almost as faulty a guide as
feeling--was by many regarded as more faulty, not without
But nowadays for some of us there are clear or almost clear
horizons, and such fog banks as there are conceal from them
nothing that is of importance in shaping a rational course of
life. Victor Dorn was one of these emancipated few. All
successful men form their lives upon a system of some kind. Even
those who seem to live at haphazard, like the multitude, prove to
have chart and compass and definite port in objective when their
conduct is more attentively examined. Victor Dorn's system was
as perfect as it was simple, and he held himself to it as rigidly
as the father superior of a Trappist monastery holds his monks to
their routine. Also, Victor had learned to know and to be on
guard against those two arch-enemies of the man who wishes to
``get somewhere''--self-excuse and optimism. He had got a good
strong leash upon his vanity --and a muzzle, too. When things
went wrong he instantly blamed HIMSELF, and did not rest until he
had ferreted out the stupidity or folly of which HE had been
guilty. He did not grieve over his failures; he held severely
scientific post mortems upon them to discover the reason why--in
order that there should not again be that particular kind of
failure at least. Then, as to the other arch-enemy, optimism, he
simply cut himself off from indulgence in it. He worked for
success; he assumed failure. He taught himself to care nothing
about success, but only about doing as intelligently and as
thoroughly as he could the thing next at hand.
What has all this to do with his infatuation for Jane? It serves
to show not only why the Workingmen's League was growing like a
plague of gypsy moth, but also why Victor Dorn was not the man to
be conquered by passion. Naturally, Jane, who had only the
vaguest conception of the size and power of Victor Dorn's mind,
could not comprehend wherein lay the difference between him and
the men she read about in novels or met in her wanderings among
the people of her own class in various parts of the earth. It is
possible for even the humblest of us to understand genius, just
as it is possible to view a mountain from all sides and get a
clear idea of it bulk and its dominion. But the hasty traveler
contents himself with a glance, a ``How superb,'' and a quick
passing on; and most of us are hasty travelers in the scenic land
of intellectuality. Jane saw that he was a great man. But she
was deceived by his frankness and his simplicity. She evoked in
him only the emotional side of his nature, only one part of that.
Because it--the only phase of him she attentively examined--was
so impressive, she assumed that it was the chief feature of the
Also, young and inexperienced women--and women not so young, and
with opportunity to become less inexperienced but without the
ability to learn by experience--always exaggerate the importance
of passion. Almost without exception, it is by way of passion
that a man and a woman approach each other. It is, of necessity,
the exterior that first comes into view. Thus, all that youth
and inexperience can know about love is its aspect of passion.
Because Jane had again and again in her five grown-up years
experienced men falling passionately in love with her, she
fancied she was an expert in matters of love. In fact, she had
still everything to learn.
On the way home she, assuming that the affair was as good as
settled, that she and Victor Dorn were lovers, was busy with
plans for the future. Victor Dorn had made a shrewd guess at the
state of her mind. She had no intention of allowing him to
pursue his present career. That was merely foundation. With the
aid of her love and council, and of her father's money and
influence, he--he and she--would mount to something really worth
while--something more than the petty politics of a third rate
city in the West. Washington was the proper arena for his
talents; they would take the shortest route to Washington. No
trouble about bringing him around; a man so able and so sensible
as he would not refuse the opportunity to do good on a grand
scale. Besides--he must be got away from his family, from these
doubtless good and kind but certainly not very high class
associates of his, and from Selma Gordon. The idea of his
comparing HER with Selma Gordon! He had not done so aloud, but
she knew what was in his mind. Yes, he must be taken far away
from all these provincial and narrowing associations.
But all this was mere detail. The big problem was how to bring
her father round. He couldn't realize what Victor Dorn would be
after she had taken him in hand. He would see only Victor Dorn,
the labor agitator of Remsen City, the nuisance who put
mischievous motives into the heads of ``the hands''--the man who
made them think they had heads when they were intended by the
Almighty to be simply hands. How reconcile him to the idea of
accepting this nuisance, this poor, common member of the working
class as a son-in-law, as the husband of the daughter he wished
to see married to some one of the ``best'' families?
On the face of it, the thing was impossible. Why, then, did not
Jane despair? For two reasons. In the first place, she was in
love, and that made her an optimist. Somehow love would find the
way. But the second reason--the one she hid from herself deep in
the darkest sub-cellar of her mind, was the real reason. It is
one matter to wish for a person's death. Only a villainous
nature can harbor such a wish, can admit it except as a hastily
and slyly in-crawling impulse, to be flung out the instant it is
discovered. It is another matter to calculate--very secretly,
very unconsciously--upon a death that seems inevitable anyhow.
Jane had only to look at her father to feel that he would not be
spared to her long. The mystery was how he had kept alive so
long, how he continued to live from day to day. His stomach was
gone; his whole digestive apparatus was in utter disorder. His
body had shriveled until he weighed no more than a baby. His
pulse was so feeble that even in the hot weather he complained of
the cold and had to be wrapped in the heaviest winter garments.
Yet he lived on, and his mind worked with undiminished vigor.
When Jane reached home, the old man was sitting on the veranda in
the full sun. On his huge head was a fur cap pulled well down
over his ears and intensifying the mortuary, skull-like
appearance of his face. Over his ulster was an old-fashioned
Scotch shawl such as men used to wear in the days before
overcoats came into fashion. About his wasted legs was wrapped a
carriage robe, and she knew that there was a hot-water bag under
his feet. Beside him sat young Doctor Charlton, whom Jane had at
last succeeded in inducing her father to try. Charlton did not
look or smell like a doctor. He rather suggested a professional
athlete, perhaps a better class prize fighter. The weazened old
financier was gazing at him with a fascinated
expression--admiring, envious, amused.
Charlton was saying:
``Yes, you do look like a dead one. But that's only another of
your tricks for fooling people. You'll live a dozen years unless
you commit suicide. A dozen years? Probably twenty.''
``You ought to be ashamed to make sport of a poor old invalid,''
said Hastings with a grin.
``Any man who could stand a lunch of crackers and milk for ten
years could outlive anything,'' retorted Charlton. ``No, you
belong to the old stock. You used to see 'em around when you
were a boy. They usually coughed and wheezed, and every time
they did it, the family used to get ready to send for the
undertaker. But they lived on and on. When did your mother
``Couple of years ago,'' said Hastings.
``And your father?''
``He was killed by a colt he was breaking at sixty- seven.''
Charlton laughed uproariously. ``If you took walks and rides
instead of always sitting round, you never would die,'' said he.
``But you're like lots of women I know. You'd rather die than
take exercise. Still, I've got you to stop that eating that was
keeping you on the verge all the time.''
``You're trying to starve me to death,'' grumbled Hastings.
``Don't you feel better, now that you've got used to it and don't
feel hungry?''
``But I'm not getting any nourishment.''
``How would eating help you? You can't digest any more than what
I'm allowing you. Do you think you were better off when you were
full of rotting food? I guess not.''
``Well--I'm doing as you say,'' said the old man resignedly.
``And if you keep it up for a year, I'll put you on a horse. If
you don't keep it up, you'll find yourself in a hearse.''
Jane stood silently by, listening with a feeling of depression
which she could not have accounted for, if she would--and would
not if she could. Not that she wished her father to die; simply
that Charlton's confidence in his long life forced her to face
the only alternative--bringing him round to accept Victor Dorn.
At her father's next remark she began to listen with a high
beating heart. He said to Charlton:
``How about that there friend of yours--that young Dorn? You
ain't talked about him to-day as much as usual.''
``The last time we talked about him we quarreled,'' said
Charlton. ``It's irritating to see a man of your intelligence a
slave to silly prejudices.''
``I like Victor Dorn,'' replied Hastings in a most conciliatory
tone. ``I think he's a fine young man. Didn't I have him up
here at my house not long ago? Jane'll tell you that I like him.
She likes him, too. But the trouble with him--and with you,
too--is that you're dreaming all the time. You don't recognize
facts. And, so, you make a lot of trouble for us conservative
``Please don't use that word conservative,'' said Charlton. ``It
gags me to hear it. YOU'RE not a conservative. If you had been
you'd still be a farm hand. You've been a radical all your
life--changing things round and round, always according to your
idea of what was to your advantage. The only difference between
radicals like you robber financiers and radicals like Victor and
me is that our ideas of what's to our advantage differ. To you
life means money; to us it means health and comfort and
happiness. You want the world changed--laws upset, liberty
destroyed, wages lowered, and so on--so that you can get all the
money. We want the world changed so that we can be healthy and
comfortable and happy--securely so--which we can't be unless
everybody is, or is in the way to being.''
Jane was surprised to see that her father, instead of being
offended, was amused and pleased. He liked his new doctor so
well that he liked everything he said and did. Jane looked at
Charlton in her friendliest way. Here might be an ally, and a
valuable ally.
``Human nature doesn't change,'' said Hastings in the tone of a
man who is stating that which cannot be disputed.
``The mischief it doesn't,'' said Charlton in prompt and vigorous
dissent. ``When conditions change, human nature has to change,
has to adapt itself. What you mean is that human nature doesn't
change itself. But conditions change it. They've been changing
it very rapidly these last few years. Science--steam,
electricity, a thousand inventions and discoveries, crowding one
upon another--science has brought about entirely new and
unprecedented conditions so rapidly that the changes in human
nature now making and that must be made in the next few years are
resulting in a series of convulsions. You old-fashioned
fellows--and the political parties and the politicians--are in
danger of being stranded. Leaders like Victor Dorn--movements
like our Workingmen's League--they seem new and radical to-day.
By to-morrow they'll be the commonplace thing, found
everywhere--and administering the public affairs.''
Jane was not surprised to see an expression of at least partial
admission upon her father's face. Charlton's words were of the
kind that set the imagination to work, that remind those who hear
of a thousand and one familiar related facts bearing upon the
same points. ``Well,'' said Hastings, ``I don't expect to see
any radical changes in my time.''
``Then you'll not live as long as I think,'' said Charlton. ``We
Americans advance very slowly because this is a big country and
undeveloped, and because we shift about so much that no one stays
in one place long enough to build up a citizenship and get an
education in politics--which is nothing more or less than an
education in the art of living. But slow though we are, we do
advance. You'll soon see the last of Boss Kelly and Boss
House--and of such gentle, amiable frauds as our friend Davy
Jane laughed merrily. ``Why do you call him a fraud?'' she
``Because he is a fraud,'' said Charlton. ``He is trying to
confuse the issue. He says the whole trouble is petty dishonesty
in public life. Bosh! The trouble is that the upper and middle
classes are milking the lower class--both with and without the
aid of the various governments, local, state and national.
THAT'S the issue. And the reason it is being forced is because
the lower class, the working class, is slowly awakening to the
truth. When it completely awakens----'' Charlton made a large
gesture and laughed.
``What then?'' said Hastings.
``The end of the upper and the middle classes. Everybody will
have to work for a living.''
``Who's going to be elected this fall?'' asked Jane. ``Your
``Yes,'' said Doctor Charlton. ``Victor Dorn thinks not. But he
always takes the gloomy view. And he doesn't meet and talk with
the fellows on the other side, as I do.''
Hastings was looking out from under the vizor of his cap with a
peculiar grin. It changed to a look of startled inquiry as
Charlton went on to say:
``Yes, we'll win. But the Davy Hull gang will get the offices.''
``Why do you think that?'' asked old Hastings sharply.
Charlton eyed his patient with a mocking smile. ``You didn't
think any one knew but you and Kelly-- did you?'' laughed he.
``Knew what?'' demanded Hastings, with a blank stare.
``No matter,'' said Charlton. ``I know what you intend to do.
Well, you'll get away with the goods. But you'll wish you
hadn't. You old-fashioned fellows, as I've been telling you,
don't realize that times have changed.''
``Do you mean, Doctor, that the election is to be stolen away
from you?'' inquired Jane.
``Was that what I meant, Mr. Hastings?'' said Charlton.
``The side that loses always shouts thief at the side that
wins,'' said the old man indifferently. ``I don't take any
interest in politics.''
``Why should you?'' said the Doctor audaciously. ``You own both
sides. So, it's heads you win, tails I lose.''
Hastings laughed heartily. ``Them political fellows are a lot of
blackmailers,'' said he.
``That's ungrateful,'' said Charlton. ``Still, I don't blame you
for liking the Davy Hull crowd better. From them you can get
what you want just the same, only you don't have to pay for it.''
He rose and stretched his big frame, with a disregard of
conventional good manners so unconscious that it was inoffensive.
But Charlton had a code of manners of his own, and somehow it
seemed to suit him where the conventional code would have made
him seem cheap. ``I didn't mean to look after your political
welfare, too,'' said he. ``But I'll make no charge for that.''
``Oh, I like to hear you young fellows talk,'' said Martin.
``You'll sing a different song when you're as old as I am and
have found out what a lot of damn fools the human race is.''
``As I told you before,'' said Charlton, ``it's conditions that
make the human animal whatever it is. It's in the harness of
conditions--the treadmill of conditions-- the straight jacket of
conditions. Change the conditions and you change the animal.''
When he was swinging his big powerful form across the lawns
toward the fringe of woods, Jane and her father looking after
him, Jane said:
``He's wonderfully clever, isn't he?''
``A dreamer--a crank,'' replied the old man.
``But what he says sounds reasonable,'' suggested the daughter.
``It SOUNDS sensible,'' admitted the old man peevishly. ``But it
ain't what _I_ was brought up to call sensible. Don't you get
none of those fool ideas into your head. They're all very well
for men that haven't got any property or any
responsibilities--for flighty fellows like Charlton and that
there Victor Dorn. But as soon as anybody gets property and has
interests to look after, he drops that kind of talk.''
``Do you mean that property makes a man too blind or too cowardly
to speak the truth?'' asked Jane with an air of great innocence.
The old man either did not hear or had no answer ready. He said:
``You heard him say that Davy Hull was going to win?''
``Why, he said Victor Dorn was going to win,'' said Jane, still
simple and guileless.
Hastings frowned impatiently. ``That was just loose talk. He
admitted Davy was to be the next mayor. If he is--and I expect
Charlton was about right--if Davy is elected, I shouldn't be
surprised to see him nominated for governor next year. He's a
sensible, knowing fellow. He'll make a good mayor, and he'll be
elected governor on his record.''
``And on what you and the other men who run things will do for
him,'' suggested Jane slyly.
Her father grinned expressively. ``I like to see a sensible,
ambitious young fellow from my town get on,'' said he. ``And I'd
like to see my girl married to a fellow of that sort, and
``I think more could be done with a man like Victor Dorn,'' said
Jane. ``It seems to me the Davy Hull sort of politics is--is
about played out. Don't you think so?''
Jane felt that her remark was a piece of wild audacity. But she
was desperate. To her amazement her father did not flare up but
kept silent, wearing the look she knew meant profound reflection.
After a moment he said:
``Davy's a knowing boy. He showed that the other day when he
jumped in and made himself a popular hero. He'd never 'a' been
able to come anywheres near election but for that. Dorn'd 'a'
won by a vote so big that Dick Kelly wouldn't 'a' dared even try
to count him out. . . . Dorn's a better man than Davy. But
Dorn's got a foolish streak in him. He believes the foolishness
he talks, instead of simply talking it to gain his end. I've
been looking him over and thinking him over. He won't do,
Was her father discussing the matter abstractly, impersonally, as
he seemed? Or, had he with that uncanny shrewdness of his
somehow penetrated to her secret--or to a suspicion of it? Jane
was so agitated that she sat silent and rigid, trying to look
``I had a strong notion to try to do something for him,''
continued the old man. ``But it'd be no use. He'd not rise to a
chance that was offered him. He's set on going his own way.''
Jane trembled--dared. ``I believe _I_ could do something with
him,'' said she--and she was pleased with the coolness of her
voice, the complete absence of agitation or of false note.
``Try if you like,'' said her father. ``But I'm sure you'll find
I'm right. Be careful not to commit yourself in any way. But I
needn't warn you. You know how to take care of yourself. Still,
maybe you don't realize how set up he'd be over being noticed by
a girl in your position. And if you gave him the notion that
there was a chance for him to marry you, he'd be after you hammer
and tongs. The idea of getting hold of so much money'd set him
``I doubt if he cares very much--or at all--about money,'' said
Jane, judicially.
Hastings grinned satirically. ``There ain't nobody that don't
care about money,'' said he, ``any more than there's anybody that
don't care about air to breathe. Put a pin right there, Jinny.''
``I hate to think that,'' she said, reluctantly, ``but I'm
As she was taking her ride one morning she met David Hull also on
horseback and out for his health. He turned and they rode
together, for several miles, neither breaking the silence except
with an occasional remark about weather or scenery. Finally Davy
``You seem to be down about something, too?''
``Not exactly down,'' replied Jane. ``Simply--I've been doing a
lot of thinking--and planning--or attempt at planning--lately.''
``I, too,'' said Davy.
``Naturally. How's politics?''
``Of course I don't hear anything but that I'm going to be
elected. If you want to become convinced that the whole world is
on the graft, take part in a reform campaign. We've attracted
every broken-down political crook in this region. It's hard to
say which crowd is the more worthless, the college amateurs at
politics or these rotten old in-goods who can't get employment
with either Kelly or House and, so, have joined us. By Jove, I'd
rather be in with the out and out grafters --the regulars that
make no bones of being in politics for the spoils. There's slimy
hypocrisy over our crowd that revolts me. Not a particle of
sincerity or conviction. Nothing but high moral guff.''
``Oh, but YOU'RE sincere, Davy,'' said Jane with twinkling eyes.
``Am I?'' said Davy angrily. ``I'm not so damn sure of it.''
Hastily, ``I don't mean that. Of course, I'm sincere--as sincere
as a man can be and get anywhere in this world. You've got to
humbug the people, because they haven't sense enough to want the
``I guess, Davy,'' said Jane shrewdly, ``if you told them the
whole truth about yourself and your party they'd have sense
enough--to vote for Victor Dorn.''
``He's a demagogue,'' said Davy with an angry jerk at his rein.
``He knows the people aren't fit to rule.''
``Who is?'' said Jane. ``I've yet to see any human creature who
could run anything without making more or less of a mess of it.
And--well, personally, I'd prefer incompetent honest servants to
competent ones who were liars or thieves.''
``Sometimes I think,'' said Davy, ``that the only thing to do is
to burn the world up and start another one.''
``You don't talk like a man who expected to be elected,'' said
``Oh--I'm worrying about myself--not about the election,'' said
Hull, lapsing into sullen silence. And certainly he had no
reason to worry about the election. He had the Citizen's
Alliance and the Democratic nominations. And, as a further aid
to him, Dick Kelly had given the Republican nomination to Alfred
Sawyer, about the most unpopular manufacturer in that region.
Sawyer, a shrewd money maker, was an ass in other ways, was
strongly seized of the itch for public office. Kelly, seeking
the man who would be the weakest, combined business with good
politics; he forced Sawyer to pay fifty thousand dollars into the
``campaign fund'' in a lump sum, and was counting confidently
upon ``milking'' him for another fifty thousand in installments
during the campaign. Thus, in the natural order of things, Davy
could safely assume that he would be the next mayor of Remsen
City by a gratifyingly large majority. The last vote of the
Workingmen's League had been made fifteen hundred. Though it
should quadruple its strength at the coming election --which was
most improbable--it would still be a badly beaten second.
Politically, Davy was at ease.
Jane waited ten minutes, then asked abruptly:
``What's become of Selma Gordon?''
``Did you see this week's New Day?''
``Is it out? I've seen no one, and haven't been down town.''
``There was a lot of stuff in it against me. Most of it
demagoguing, of course, but more or less hysterical campaigning.
The only nasty article about me--a downright personal attack on
my sincerity-- was signed `S. G.' ''
``Oh--to be sure,'' said Jane, with smiling insincerity. ``I had
almost forgotten what you told me. Well, it's easy enough to
bribe her to silence. Go offer yourself to her.''
A long silence, then Davy said: ``I don't believe she'd accept
``Try it,'' said Jane.
Again a long pause. David said sullenly: ``I did.''
Selma Gordon had refused David Hull! Half a dozen explanations
of this astounding occurrence rapidly suggested themselves. Jane
rejected each in turn at a glance. ``You're sure she understood
``I made myself as clear as I did when I proposed to you,''
replied Davy with a lack of tact which a woman of Jane's kind
would never forget or forgive.
Jane winced, ignored. Said she: ``You must have insisted on
some conditions she hesitated to accept.''
``On her own terms,'' said Davy.
Jane gave up trying to get the real reason from him, sought it in
Selma's own words and actions. She inquired: ``What did she
say? What reason did she give?''
``That she owed it to the cause of her class not to marry a man
of my class,'' answered Hull, believing that he was giving the
exact and the only reason she assigned or had.
Jane gave a faint smile of disdain. ``Women don't act from a
sense of duty,'' she said.
``She's not the ordinary woman,'' said Hull. ``You must remember
she wasn't brought up as you and I were--hasn't our ideas of
life. The things that appeal to us most strongly don't touch
her. She knows nothing about them.'' He added, ``And that's her
great charm for me.''
Jane nodded sympathetically. Her own case exactly. After a
brief hesitation she suggested:
``Perhaps Selma's in love with--some one else.'' The pause
before the vague ``some one else'' was almost unnoticeable.
``With Victor Dorn, you mean?'' said Davy. ``I asked her about
that. No, she's not in love with him.''
``As if she'd tell you!''
Davy looked at her a little scornfully. ``Don't insinuate,'' he
said. ``You know she would. There's nothing of the ordinary
tricky, evasive, faking woman about her. And although she's got
plenty of excuse for being conceited, she isn't a bit so. She
isn't always thinking about herself, like the girls of our
``I don't in the least wonder at your being in love with her,
Davy,'' said Jane sweetly. ``Didn't I tell you I admired your
taste--and your courage?''
``You're sneering at me,'' said Davy. ``All the same, it did
take courage--for I'm a snob at bottom--like you--like all of us
who've been brought up so foolishly --so rottenly. But I'm proud
that I had the courage. I've had a better opinion of myself ever
since. And if you have any unspoiled womanhood in you, you agree
with me.''
``I do agree with you,'' said Jane softly. She reached out and
laid her hand on his arm for an instant. ``That's honest,
He gave her a grateful look. ``I know it,'' said he. ``The
reason I confide things to you is because I know you're a real
woman at bottom, Jane--the only real person I've ever happened
across in our class.''
``It took more courage for you to do that sort of thing than it
would for a woman,'' said Jane. ``It's more natural, easier for
a woman to stake everything in love. If she hasn't the man she
wants she hasn't anything, while a man's wife can be a mere
detail in his life. He can forget he's married, most of the
``That isn't the way I intend to be married,'' said Davy. ``I
want a wife who'll be half, full half, of the whole. And I'll
get her.''
``You mean you haven't given up?''
``Why should I? She doesn't love another man. So, there's hope.
Don't you think so?''
Jane was silent. She hastily debated whether it would be wiser
to say yes or to say no.
``Don't you think so?'' repeated he.
``How can I tell?'' replied Jane, diplomatically. ``I'd have to
see her with you--see how she feels toward you.''
``I think she likes me,'' said Davy, ``likes me a good deal.''
Jane kept her smile from the surface. What a man always thought,
no matter how plainly a woman showed that she detested him. ``No
doubt she does,'' said Jane. She had decided upon a course of
action. ``If I were you, Davy, I'd keep away from her for the
present-- give her time to think it over, to see all the
advantages. If a man forces himself on a queer, wild sort of
girl such as Selma is, he's likely to drive her further away.''
Davy reflected. ``Guess you're right,'' said he finally. ``My
instinct is always to act--to keep on acting until I get results.
But it's dangerous to do that with Selma. At least, I think so.
I don't know. I don't understand her. I've got nothing to offer
her--nothing that she wants--as she frankly told me. Even if she
loved me, I doubt if she'd marry me--on account of her sense of
duty. What you said awhile ago-- about women never doing things
from a sense of duty-- that shows how hard it is for a woman to
understand what's perfectly simple to a man. Selma isn't the
sheltered woman sort--the sort whose moral obligations are all
looked after by the men of her family. The old-fashioned woman
always belonged to some man-- or else was an outcast. This new
style of woman looks at life as a man does.''
Jane listened with a somewhat cynical expression. No doubt, in
theory, there was a new style of woman. But practically, the new
style of woman merely TALKED differently; at least, she was still
the old-fashioned woman, longing for dependence upon some man and
indifferent to the obligations men made such a fuss
about--probably not so sincerely as they fancied. But her
expression changed when Davy went on to say:
``She'd look at a thing of that sort much as I-- or Victor Dorn
Jane's heart suddenly sank. Because the unconscious blow had
hurt she struck out, struck back with the first weapon she could
lay hold of. ``But you said a minute ago that Victor was a
hypocritical demagogue.''
Davy flushed with confusion. He was in a franker mood now,
however. ``I'd like to think that,'' he replied. ``But I don't
honestly believe it.''
``You think that if Victor Dorn loved a woman of our class he'd
put her out of his life?''
``That's hardly worth discussing,'' said Davy. ``No woman of our
class--no woman he'd be likely to look at--would encourage him to
the point where he'd presume upon it.''
``How narrow you are!'' cried Jane, derisive but even more angry.
``It's different--entirely different--with a man, even in our
class. But a woman of our class--she's a lady or she's nothing
at all. And a lady couldn't be so lacking in refinement as to
descend to a man socially beneath her.''
``I can see how ANY woman might fall in love with Victor Dorn.''
``You're just saying that to be argumentative,'' said Davy with
conviction. ``Take yourself, for example.''
``I confess I don't see any such contrast between Victor and
you--except where the comparison's altogether in his favor,''
said Jane pleasantly. ``You don't know as much as he does. You
haven't the independence of character--or the courage--or the
sincerity. You couldn't be a real leader, as he is. You have to
depend on influence, and on trickery.''
A covert glance at the tall, solemn-looking young man riding
silently beside her convinced her that he was as uncomfortable as
she had hoped to make him.
``As for manners--and the things that go to make a gentleman,''
she went on, ``I'm not sure but that there, too, the comparison
is against you. You always suggest to me that if you hadn't the
pattern set for men of our class and didn't follow it, you'd be
absolutely lost, Davy, dear. While Victor--he's a fine, natural
person, with the manners that grow as naturally out of his
personality as oak leaves grow out of an oak.''
Jane was astonished and delighted by this eloquence of hers about
the man she loved--an eloquence far above her usual rather
commonplace mode of speech and thought. Love was indeed an
inspirer! What a person she would become when she had Victor
always stimulating her. She went on:
``A woman would never grow tired of Victor. He doesn't talk
stale stuff such as all of us get from the stale little
professors and stale, dreary text-books at our colleges.''
``Why don't you fall in love with him?'' said Davy sourly.
``I do believe you're envious of Victor Dorn,'' retorted Jane.
``What a disagreeable mood you're in to-day,'' said Davy.
``So a man always thinks when a woman speaks well of another man
in his presence.''
``I didn't suspect you of being envious of Selma. Why should you
suspect me of feeling ungenerously about Victor? Fall in love
with him if you like. Heaven knows, I'd do nothing to stop it.''
``Perhaps I shall,'' said Jane, with unruffled amiability.
``You're setting a dangerous example of breaking down class
``Now, Jane, you know perfectly well that while, if I married
Selma she'd belong to my class, a woman of our class marrying
Victor Dorn would sink to his class. Why quarrel about anything
so obviously true?''
``Victor Dorn belongs to a class by himself,'' replied Jane.
``You forget that men of genius are not regarded like you poor
ordinary mortals.''
Davy was relieved that they had reached the turning at which they
had to separate. ``I believe you are in love with him,'' said he
as a parting shot.
Jane, riding into her lane, laughed gayly, mockingly. She
arrived at home in fine humor. It pleased her that Davy, for all
his love for Selma, could yet be jealous of Victor Dorn on her
account. And more than ever, after this talk with him--the part
of it that preceded the quarrel--she felt that she was doing a
fine, brave, haughtily aristocratic thing in loving Victor Dorn.
Only a woman with a royal soul would venture to be thus
Should she encourage or discourage the affair between Davy and
Selma? There was much to be said for this way of removing Selma
from her path; also, if a man of Davy Hull's position married
beneath him, less would be thought of her doing the same thing.
On the other hand, she felt that she had a certain property right
in David Hull, and that Selma was taking what belonged to her.
This, she admitted to herself, was mean and small, was unworthy
of the woman who was trying to be worthy of Victor Dorn, of such
love as she professed for him. Yes, mean and small. She must
try to conquer it.
But--when she met Selma in the woods a few mornings later, her
dominant emotions were anything but high-minded and generous.
Selma was looking her most fascinating--wild and strange and
unique. They caught sight of each other at the same instant.
Jane came composedly on--Selma made a darting movement toward a
by-path opening near her, hesitated, stood like some shy, lovely
bird of the deep wilderness ready to fly away into hiding.
``Hello, Selma!'' said Jane carelessly.
Selma looked at her with wide, serious eyes.
``Where have you been keeping yourself of late? Busy with the
writing, I suppose?''
``I owe you an apology,'' said Selma, in a queer, suppressed
voice. ``I have been hating you, and trying to think of some way
to keep you and Victor Dorn apart. I thought it was from my duty
to the cause. I've found out that it was a low, mean personal
Jane had stopped short, was regarding her with eyes that glowed
in a pallid face. ``Because you are in love with him?'' she
Selma gave a quick, shamed nod. ``Yes,'' she said-- the sound
was scarcely audible.
Selma's frank and generous--and confiding--self- sacrifice
aroused no response in Jane Hastings. For the first time in her
life she was knowing what it meant to hate.
``And I've got to warn you,'' Selma went on, ``that I am going to
do whatever I can to keep you from hindering him. Not because I
love him, but because I owe it to the cause. He belongs to it,
and I must help him be single-hearted for it. You could only be
a bad influence in his life. I think you would like to be a
sincere woman; but you can't. Your class is too strong for you.
So--it would be wrong for Victor Dorn to love and to marry you.
I think he realizes it and is struggling to be true to himself.
I intend to help him, if I can.''
Jane smiled cruelly. ``What hypocrisy!'' she said, and turned
and walked away.
In America we have been bringing up our women like men, and
treating them like children. They have active minds with nothing
to act upon. Thus they are driven to think chiefly about
themselves. With Jane Hastings, self-centering took the form of
self-analysis most of the time. She was intensely interested in
what she regarded as the new development of her character. This
definite and apparently final decision for the narrow and the
ungenerous. In fact, it was no new development, but simply a
revelation to herself of her own real character. She was seeing
at last the genuine Jane Hastings, inevitable product of a
certain heredity in a certain environment. The high thinking and
talking, the idealistic aspiration were pose and pretense. Jane
Hastings was a selfish, self-absorbed person, ready to do almost
any base thing to gain her ends, ready to hate to the uttermost
any one who stood between her and her object.
``I'm certainly not a lovely person--not a lovable person,''
thought she, with that gentle tolerance wherewith we regard our
ownselves, whether in the dress of pretense or in the undress of
deformed humanness. ``Still--I am what I am, and I've got to
make the best of it.''
As she thought of Selma's declaration of war she became less and
less disturbed about it. Selma neither would nor could do
anything sly. Whatever she attempted in the open would only turn
Victor Dorn more strongly toward herself. However, she must
continue to try to see him, must go to see him in a few days if
she did not happen upon him in her rides or walks. How poorly he
would think of her if he knew the truth about her! But then, how
poor most women--and men, too--would look in a strong and just
light. Few indeed could stand idealizing; except Victor, no one
she knew. And he was human enough not to make her uncomfortable
in his presence.
But it so happened that before she could see Victor Dorn her
father disobeyed Dr. Charlton and gave way to the appetite that
was the chief cause of his physical woes. He felt so well that
he ate the family dinner, including a peach cobbler with whipped
cream, which even the robust Jane adventured warily. Martha was
dining with them. She abetted her father. ``It's light,'' said
she. ``It couldn't harm anybody.''
``You mustn't touch it, popsy,'' said Jane.
She unthinkingly spoke a little too commandingly. Her father, in
a perverse and reckless mood, took Martha's advice. An hour
later Dr. Charlton was summoned, and had he not arrived
``Another fifteen or twenty minutes,'' said he to the old man
when he had him out of immediate danger, ``and I'd have had
nothing to do but sign a certificate of natural death.''
``Murder would have been nearer the truth,'' said Martin feebly.
``That there fool Martha!''
``Come out from behind that petticoat!'' cried Charlton.
``Didn't I spend the best part of three days in giving you the
correct ideas as to health and disease --in showing you that ALL
disease comes from indigestion-- ALL disease, from falling hair
and sore eyes to weak ankles and corns? And didn't I convince
you that you could eat only the things I told you about?''
``Don't hit a man when he's down,'' groaned Hastings.
``If I don't, you'll do the same idiotic trick again when I get
you up--if I get you up.''
Hastings looked quickly at him. This was the first time Charlton
had ever expressed a doubt about his living. ``Do you mean
that?'' he said hoarsely. ``Or are you just trying to scare
``Both,'' said Charlton. ``I'll do my best, but I can't promise.
I've lost confidence in you. No wonder doctors, after they've
been in practice a few years, stop talking food and digestion to
their patients. I've never been able to convince a single human
being that appetite is not the sign of health, and yielding to it
the way to health. But I've made lots of people angry and have
lost their trade. I had hopes of you. You were such a hopeless
wreck. But no. And you call yourself an intelligent man!''
``I'll never do it again,'' said Hastings, pleading, but smiling,
too--Charlton's way of talking delighted him.
``You think this is a joke,'' said Charlton, shaking his bullet
head. ``Have you any affairs to settle? If you have, send for
your lawyer in the morning.''
Fear--the Great Fear--suddenly laid its icy long fingers upon the
throat of the old man. He gasped and his eyes rolled. ``Don't
trifle with me, Charlton,'' he muttered. ``You know you will
pull me through.''
``I'll do my best,'' said Charlton. ``I promise nothing. I'm
serious about the lawyer.''
``I don't want no lawyer hanging round my bed,'' growled the old
man. ``It'd kill me. I've got nothing to settle. I don't run
things with loose ends. And there's Jinny and Marthy and the
boy--share and share alike.''
``Well--you're in no immediate danger. I'll come early
``Wait till I get to sleep.''
``You'll be asleep as soon as the light's down. But I'll stop a
few minutes and talk to your daughter.''
Charlton found Jane at the window in the dressing room next her
father's bedroom. He said loudly enough for the old man to
``Your father's all right for the present, so you needn't worry.
Come downstairs with me. He's to go to sleep now.''
Jane went in and kissed the bulging bony forehead. ``Good night,
``Good night, Jinny dear,'' he said in a softer voice than she
had ever heard from him. ``I'm feeling very comfortable now, and
sleepy. If anything should happen, don't forget what I said
about not temptin' your brother by trustin' him too fur. Look
after your own affairs. Take Mr. Haswell's advice. He's stupid,
but he's honest and careful and safe. You might talk to Dr.
Charlton about things, too. He's straight, and knows what's
what. He's one of them people that gives everybody good advice
but themselves. If anything should happen----''
``But nothing's going to happen, popsy.''
``It might. I don't seem to care as much as I did. I'm so
tarnation tired. I reckon the goin' ain't as bad as I always
calculated. I didn't know how tired they felt and anxious to
``I'll turn down the light. The nurse is right in there.''
``Yes--turn the light. If anything should happen, there's an
envelope in the top drawer in my desk for Dr. Charlton. But
don't tell him till I'm gone. I don't trust nobody, and if he
knowed there was something waiting, why, there's no telling----''
The old man had drowsed off. Jane lowered the light and went
down to join Charlton on the front veranda, where he was smoking
a cigarette. She said:
``He's asleep.''
``He's all right for the next few days,'' said Charlton. ``After
that--I don't know. I'm very doubtful.''
Jane was depressed, but not so depressed as she would have been
had not her father so long looked like death and so often been
near dying.
``Stay at home until I see how this is going to turn out.
Telephone your sister to be within easy call. But don't let her
come here. She's not fit to be about an ill person. The sight
of her pulling a long, sad face might carry him off in a fit of
Jane observed him with curiosity in the light streaming from the
front hall. ``You're a very practical person aren't you?'' she
``No romance, no idealism, you mean?''
He laughed in his plain, healthy way. ``Not a frill,'' said he.
``I'm interested only in facts. They keep me busy enough.''
``You're not married, are you?''
``Not yet. But I shall be as soon as I find a woman I want.''
``IF you can get her.''
``I'll get her, all right,'' replied he. ``No trouble about
that. The woman I want'll want me.''
``I'm eager to see her,'' said Jane. ``She'll be a queer one.''
``Not necessarily,'' said he. ``But I'll make her a queer one
before I get through with her--queer, in my sense, meaning
sensible and useful.''
``You remind me so often of Victor Dorn, yet you're not at all
like him.''
``We're in the same business--trying to make the human race fit
to associate with. He looks after the minds; I look after the
bodies. Mine's the humbler branch of the business, perhaps--but
it's equally necessary, and it comes first. The chief thing
that's wrong with human nature is bad health. I'm getting the
world ready for Victor.''
``You like him?''
``I worship him,'' said Charlton in his most matter-of- fact way.
``Yet he's just the opposite of you. He's an idealist.''
``Who told you that?'' laughed Charlton. ``He's the most
practical, sensible man in this town. You people think he's a
crank because he isn't crazy about money or about stepping round
on the necks of his fellow beings. The truth is, he's got a
sense of proportion-- and a sense of humor--and an idea of a
rational happy life. You're still barbarians, while he's a
civilized man. Ever seen an ignorant yap jeer when a neat,
clean, well- dressed person passed by? Well, you people jeering
at Victor Dorn are like that yap.''
``I agree with you,'' said Jane hastily and earnestly.
``No, you don't,'' replied Charlton, tossing away the end of his
cigarette. ``And so much the worse for you. Good-night, lady.''
And away he strode into the darkness, leaving her amused, yet
with a peculiar sense of her own insignificance.
Charlton was back again early the next morning and spent that
day--and a large part of many days there- after--in working at
the wreck, Martin Hastings, inspecting known weak spots,
searching for unknown ones, patching here and there, trying all
the schemes teeming in his ingenious and supremely sensible mind
in the hope of setting the wreck afloat again. He could not
comprehend why the old man remained alive. He had seen many a
human being go who was in health, in comparison with this
conglomerate of diseases and frailties; yet life there was, and a
most tenacious life. He worked and watched, and from day to day
put off suggesting that they telegraph for the son. The coming
of his son might shake Martin's conviction that he would get
well; it seemed to Charlton that that conviction was the one
thread holding his patient from the abyss where darkness and
silence reign supreme.
Jane could not leave the grounds. If she had she would have seen
Victor Dorn either not at all or at a distance. For the campaign
was now approaching its climax.
The public man is always two wholly different personalities.
There is the man the public sees--and fancies it knows. There is
the man known only to his intimates, known imperfectly to them,
perhaps an unknown quantity even to himself until the necessity
for decisive action reveals him to himself and to those in a
position to see what he really did. Unfortunately, it is not the
man the public sees but the hidden man who is elected to the
office. Nothing could be falser than the old saw that sooner or
later a man stands revealed. Sometimes, as we well know, history
has not found out a man after a thousand years of studying him.
And the most familiar, the most constantly observed men in public
life often round out a long career without ever having aroused in
the public more than a faint and formless suspicion as to the
truth about them.
The chief reason for this is that, in studying a character, no
one is content with the plain and easy way of reaching an
understanding of it--the way of looking only at its ACTS. We all
love to dabble in the metaphysical, to examine and weigh motives
and intentions, to compare ourselves and make wildly erroneous
judgment inevitable by listening to the man's WORDS--his
professions, always more or less dishonest, though perhaps not
always deliberately so.
In that Remsen City campaign the one party that could profit by
the full and clear truth, and therefore was eager for the truth
as to everything and everybody, was the Workingmen's League. The
Kelly crowd, the House gang, the Citizens' Alliance, all had
their ugly secrets, their secret intentions different from their
public professions. All these were seeking office and power with
a view to increasing or perpetuating or protecting various
abuses, however ardently they might attack, might perhaps
honestly intend to end, certain other and much smaller abuses.
The Workingmen's League said that it would end every abuse
existing law did not securely protect, and it meant what it said.
Its campaign fund was the dues paid in by its members and the
profits from the New Day. Its financial books were open for free
inspection. Not so the others--and that in itself was proof
enough of sinister intentions.
Under Victor Dorn's shrewd direction, the League candidates
published, each man in a sworn statement, a complete description
of all the property owned by himself and by his wife. ``The
character of a man's property,'' said the New Day, ``is an
indication of how that man will act in public affairs.
Therefore, every candidate for public trust owes it to the people
to tell them just what his property interests are. The League
candidates do this--and an effective answer the schedules make to
the charge that the League's candidates are men who have `no
stake in the community.' Now, let Mr. Sawyer, Mr. Hull, Mr.
Galland and the rest of the League's opponents do likewise. Let
us read how many shares of water and ice stock Mr. Sawyer owns.
Let us hear from Mr. Hull about his traction holdings--those of
the Hull estate from which he draws his entire income. As for
Mr. Galland, it would be easier for him to give the list of
public and semi-public corporations in which he is not largely
interested. But let him be specific, since he asks the people to
trust him as judge between them and those corporations of which
he is almost as large an owner as is his father-in-law.''
This line of attack--and the publication of the largest
contributors to the Republican and Democratic- Reform campaign
fund--caused a great deal of public and private discussion.
Large crowds cheered Hull when he, without doing the charges the
honor of repeating them, denounced the ``undignified and
demagogic methods of our desperate opponents.'' The smaller
Sawyer crowds applauded Sawyer when he waxed indignant over the
attempts of those ``socialists and anarchists, haters of this
free country and spitters upon its glorious flag, to set poor
against rich, to destroy our splendid American tradition of a
free field and no favors, and let the best man win!''
Sawyer, and Davy, all the candidates of the machines and the
reformers for that matter, made excellent public appearances.
They discoursed eloquently about popular rights and wrongs. They
denounced corruption; they stood strongly for the right and
renounced and denounced the devil and all his works. They
promised to do far more for the people than did the Leaguers; for
Victor Dorn had trained his men to tell the exact truth --the
difficulty of doing anything for the people at any near time or
in any brief period because at a single election but a small part
of the effective offices could be changed, and sweeping changes
must be made before there could be sweeping benefits. ``We'll do
all we can,'' was their promise. ``Their county government and
their state government and their courts won't let us do much.
But a beginning has to be made. Let's make it!''
David Hull's public appearance was especially good. Not so
effective as it has now become, because he was only a novice at
campaigning in that year. But he looked, well--handsome, yet not
too handsome, upper class, but not arrogant, serious, frank and
kindly. And he talked in a plain, honest way--you felt that no
interest, however greedy, desperate and powerful, would dare
approach that man with an improper proposal-- and you quite
forgot in real affairs the crude improper proposal is never the
method of approach. When Davy, with grave emotion, referred to
the ``pitiful efforts to smirch the personal character of
candidates,'' you could not but burn with scorn of the Victor
Dorn tactics. What if Hull did own gas and water and ice and
traction and railway stocks? Mustn't a rich man invest his money
somehow? And how could he more creditably invest it than in
local enterprises and in enterprises that opened up the country
and gave employment to labor? What if the dividends were
improperly, even criminally, earned? Must he therefore throw the
dividends paid him into the street? As for a man of such
associations and financial interests being unfit fairly to
administer public affairs, what balderdash! Who could be more
fit than this educated, high minded man, of large private means,
willing to devote himself to the public service instead of
drinking himself to death or doing nothing at all. You would
have felt, as you looked at Davy and listened to him, that it was
little short of marvelous that a man could be so selfsacrificing
as to consent to run the gauntlet of low mudslingers
for no reward but an office with a salary of three thousand a
year. And you would have been afraid that, if something was not
done to stop these mudslingers, such men as David Hull would
abandon their patriotic efforts to save their country--and then
WHAT would become of the country?
But Victor and his associates--on the platform, in the paper, in
posters and dodgers and leaflets-- continued to press home the
ugly questions--and continued to call attention to the fact that,
while there had been ample opportunity, none of the candidates
had answered any of the questions. And presently--keeping up
this line of attack--Victor opened out in another. He had
Falconer, the League candidate for judge, draw up a careful
statement of exactly what each public officer could do under
existing law to end or to check the most flagrant of the abuses
from which the people of Remsen City were suffering. With this
statement as a basis, he formulated a series of questions--``Yes
or no? If you are elected, will you or will you not?'' The
League candidates promptly gave the specific pledges. Sawyer
dodged. David Hull was more adroit. He held up a copy of the
list of questions at a big meeting in Odd Fellows' Hall.
``Our opponents have resorted to a familiar trick-- the question
and the pledge.'' (Applause. Sensation. Fear lest ``our
candidate'' was about to ``put his foot in it.'') ``We need
resort to no tricks. I promptly and frankly, for our whole
ticket, answer their questions. I say, `We will lay hold of ANY
and EVERY abuse, as soon as it presents itself, and WILL SMASH
Applause, cheers, whistlings--a demonstration lasting nearly five
minutes by a watch held by Gamaliel Tooker, who had a mania for
gathering records of all kinds and who had voted for every
Republican candidate for President since the party was founded.
Davy did not again refer to Victor Dorn's questions. But Victor
continued to press them and to ask whether a public officer ought
not to go and present himself to abuses, instead of waiting for
them to hunt him out and present themselves to him.
Such was the campaign as the public saw it. And such was in
reality the campaign of the Leaguers. But the real campaign--the
one conducted by Kelly and House--was entirely different. They
were not talking; they were working.
They were working on a plan based somewhat after this fashion:
In former and happier days, when people left politics to
politicians and minded their own business, about ninety-five per
cent. of the voters voted their straight party tickets like good
soldiers. Then politics was a high-class business, and
politicians devoted themselves to getting out the full party vote
and to buying or cajoling to one side or the other the doubtful
ten per cent that held the balance of power. That golden age,
however, had passed. People had gotten into the habit of
fancying that, because certain men had grown very, very rich
through their own genius for money-making, supplemented perhaps
by accidental favors from law and public officials, therefore
politics in some way might possibly concern the private citizen,
might account for the curious discrepancy between his labor and
its reward. The impression was growing that, while the energy of
the citizen determined the PRODUCTION of wealth, it was politics
that determined the distribution of wealth. And under the
influence of this impression, the percentage of sober, steady,
reliable voters who ``stood by the grand old party'' had shrunk
to about seventy, while the percentage of voters who had to be
worried about had grown to about thirty.
The Kelly-House problem was, what shall we do as to that annoying
thirty per cent?
Kelly--for he was THE brain of the bi-partisan machine, proposed
to throw the election to the House- Reform ``combine.'' His
henchmen and House's made a careful poll, and he sat up all night
growing haggard and puffy-eyed over the result. According to
this poll, not only was the League's entire ticket to be elected,
but also Galland, despite his having the Republican, the
Democratic and the Reform nominations, was to be beaten by the
League's Falconer. He couldn't understand it. The Sawyer
meetings were quite up to his expectations and indicated that the
Republican rank and file was preparing to swallow the Sawyer dose
without blinking. The Alliance and the Democratic meetings were
equally satisfactory. Hull was ``making a hit.'' Everywhere he
had big crowds and enthusiasm. The League meetings were only
slightly better attended than during the last campaign; no
indication there of the League ``landslide.''
Yet Kelly could not, dared not, doubt that poll. It was his only
safe guide. And it assured him that the long-dreaded disaster
was at hand. In vain was the clever trick of nominating a
popular, ``clean'' young reformer and opposing him with an
unpopular regular of the most offensive type--more offensive even
than a professional politician of unsavory record. At last
victory was to reward the tactics of Victor Dorn, the slow,
patient building which for several years now had been rasping the
nerves of Boss Kelly.
What should he do?
It was clear to him that the doom of the old system was settled.
The plutocrats, the upper-class crowd--the ``silk stockings,'' as
they had been called from the days when men wore
knee-breeches--they fancied that this nation-wide movement was
sporadic, would work out in a few years, and that the people
would return to their allegiance. Kelly had no such delusions.
Issuing from the depths of the people, he understood. They were
learning a little something at last. They were discovering that
the ever higher prices for everything and stationary or falling
wages and salaries had some intimate relation with politics; that
at the national capitol, at the state capitol, in the county
courthouse, in the city hall their share of the nation's vast
annual production of wealth was being determined--and that the
persons doing the dividing, though elected by them, were in the
employ of the plutocracy. Kelly, seeing and comprehending, felt
that it behooved him to get for his masters--and for himself--all
that could be got in the brief remaining time. Not that he was
thinking of giving up the game; nothing so foolish as that. It
would be many a year before the plutocracy could be routed out,
before the people would have the intelligence and the persistence
to claim and to hold their own. In the meantime, they could be
fooled and robbed by a hundred tricks. He was not a
constitutional lawyer, but he had practical good sense, and could
enjoy the joke upon the people in their entanglement in the toils
of their own making. Through fear of governmental tyranny they
had divided authority among legislators, executives and judges,
national, state, local. And, behold, outside of the government,
out where they had never dreamed of looking, had grown up a
tyranny that was perpetuating itself by dodging from one of these
divided authorities to another, eluding capture, wearing out the
not too strong perseverance of popular pursuit.
But, thanks to Victor Dorn, the local graft was about to be taken
away from the politicians and the plutocracy. How put off that
unpleasant event? Obviously, in the only way left unclosed. The
election must be stolen.
It is a very human state of mind to feel that what one wants
somehow has already become in a sense one's property. It is even
more profoundly human to feel that what one has had, however
wrongfully, cannot justly be taken away. So Mr. Kelly did not
regard himself as a thief, taking what did not belong to him; no,
he was holding on to and defending his own.
Victor Dorn had not been in politics since early boyhood without
learning how the political game is conducted in all its branches.
Because there had never been the remotest chance of victory,
Victor had never made preelection polls of his party. So the
first hint that he got of there being a real foundation for the
belief of some of his associates in an impending victory was when
he found out that Kelly and House were ``colonizing'' voters, and
were selecting election officers with an eye to ``dirty work.''
These preparations, he knew, could not be making for the same
reason as in the years before the ``gentlemen's agreement''
between the Republican and the Democratic machines. Kelly, he
knew, wanted House and the Alliance to win. Therefore, the
colonizations in the slums and the appointing of notorious buckos
to positions where they would control the ballot boxes could be
directed only against the Workingmen's League. Kelly must have
accurate information that the League was likely, or at least not
unlikely, to win.
Victor had thought he had so schooled himself that victory and
defeat were mere words to him. He soon realized how he had
overestimated the power of philosophy over human nature. During
that campaign he had been imagining that he was putting all his
ability, all his energy, all his resourcefulness into the fight.
He now discovered his mistake. Hope--definite hope--of victory
had hardly entered his mind before he was organizing and leading
on such a campaign as Remsen City had never known in all its
history--and Remsen City was in a state where politics is the
chief distraction of the people. Sleep left him; he had no need
of sleep. Day and night his brain worked, pouring out a steady
stream of ideas. He became like a gigantic electric storage
battery to which a hundred, a thousand small batteries come for
renewal. He charged his associates afresh each day. And they in
turn became amazingly more powerful forces for acting upon the
minds of the people.
In the last week of the campaign it became common talk throughout
the city that the ``Dorn crowd'' would probably carry the
election. Kelly was the only one of the opposition leaders who
could maintain a calm front. Kelly was too seasoned a gambler
even to show his feelings in his countenance, but, had he been
showing them, his following would not have been depressed, for he
had made preparations to meet and overcome any majority short of
unanimity which the people might roll up against him. The
discouragement in the House-Alliance camps became so apparent
that Kelly sent his chief lieutenant, Wellman, successor to the
fugitive Rivers, to House and to David Hull with a message. It
was delivered to Hull in this form:
``The old man says he wants you to stop going round with your
chin knocking against your knees. He says everybody is saying
you have given up the fight.''
``Our meetings these last few days are very discouraging,'' said
Davy gloomily.
``What's meetin's?'' retorted Wellman. ``You fellows that shoot
off your mouths think you're doing the campaigning. But the real
stuff is being doped up by us fellows who ain't seen or heard.
The old man says you are going to win. That's straight. He
knows. It's only a question of the size of your majority. So
pull yourself together, Mr. Hull, and put the ginger back into
your speeches, and stir up that there gang of dudes. What a gang
of Johnnies and quitters they are!''
Hull was looking directly and keenly at the secret messenger.
Upon his lips was a question he dared not ask. Seeing the
impudent, disdainful smile in Wellman's eyes, he hastily shifted
his glance. It was most uncomfortable, this suspicion of the
hidden meaning of the Kelly message--a suspicion ALMOST confirmed
by that mocking smile of the messenger. Hull said with
``Tell Mr. Kelly I'm much obliged.''
``And you'll begin to make a fight again?''
``Certainly,'' said Davy impatiently.
When he was alone he became once more involved in one of those
internal struggles to prevent himself from seeing--and
smelling--a hideous and malodorous truth. These struggles were
painfully frequent. The only consolation the young reformer
found was that they were increasingly less difficult to end in
the way such struggles must be ended if a high-minded young man
is to make a career in ``practical'' life.
On election day after he had voted he went for a long walk in the
woods to the south of the town, leaving word at his headquarters
what direction he had taken. After walking two hours he sat down
on a log in the shade near where the highroad crossed Foaming
Creek. He became so absorbed in his thoughts that he sprang to
his feet with a wild look when Selma's voice said, close by:
``May I interrupt a moment, Mr. Hull?''
He recovered slowly. His cheeks were pale and his voice
uncertain as he replied:
``You? I beg your pardon. This campaign has played smash with
my nerves.''
He now noted that she was regarding him with a glance so intense
that it seemed to concentrate all the passion and energy in that
slim, nervous body of hers. He said uncomfortably:
``You wished to see me?''
``I wonder what you were thinking about,'' she said in her
impetuous, direct way. ``It makes me almost afraid to ask what I
came to ask.''
``Won't you sit?'' said he.
``No, thanks,'' replied she.
``Then you'll compel me to stand. And I'm horribly tired.''
She seated herself upon the log. He made himself comfortable at
its other end.
``I've just come from Victor Dorn's house,'' said she. ``There
was a consultation among the leaders of our party. We have
learned that your people--Kelly and House--are going to steal the
election on the count this evening. They are committing
wholesale frauds now-- sending round gangs of repeaters,
intimidating our voters, openly buying votes at the polling
places-- paying men as much not to vote as they usually pay for
Davy, though latterly he had grown so much older and graver that
no one now thought of him as Davy, contrived to muster a smile of
amusement. ``You oughtn't to let them deceive you with that
silly talk, Miss Gordon. The losers always indulge in it. Your
good sense must tell you how foolish it is. The police are on
guard, and the courts of justice are open.''
``Yes--the police are on guard--to protect fraud and to drive us
away from the polls. And the courts are open--but not for us.''
David was gentle with her. ``I know how sincere you are,
Selma,'' said he. ``No doubt you believe those things. Perhaps
Dorn believes them, also--from repeating them so often. But all
the same I'm sorry to hear you say them.''
He tried to look at her. He found that his eyes were more
comfortable when his glance was elsewhere.
``This has been a sad campaign to me,'' he went on. ``I did not
appreciate before what demagogery meant --how dangerous it
is--how wicked, how criminally wicked it is for men to stir up
the lower classes against the educated leadership of the
Selma laughed contemptuously. ``What nonsense, David Hull--and
from YOU!'' she cried. ``By educated leadership do you mean the
traction and gas and water and coal and iron and produce thieves?
Or do you mean the officials and the judges who protect them and
license them to rob?'' Her eyes flashed. ``At this very moment,
in our town, those thieves and their agents, the police and the
courts, are committing the most frightful crime known to a free
people. Yet the masses are submitting peaceably. How long the
upper class has to indulge in violence, and how savagely cruel it
has to be, before the people even murmur. But I didn't come here
to remind you of what you already know. I came to ask you, as a
man whom I have respected, to assert his manhood--if there is any
of it left after this campaign of falsehood and shifting.''
``Selma!'' he protested energetically, but still avoiding her
``Those wretches are stealing that election for you, David Hull.
Are you going to stand for it? Or, will you go into town and
force Kelly to stop?''
``If anything wrong is being done by Kelly,'' said David, ``it
must be for Sawyer.''
Selma rose. ``At our consultation,'' said she quietly and even
with no suggestion of repressed emotion, ``they debated coming to
you and laying the facts before you. They decided against it.
They were right; I was wrong. I pity you, David Hull.
She walked away. He hesitated, observing her. His eyes lighted
up with the passion he believed his good sense had conquered.
``Selma, don't misjudge me!'' he cried, following her. ``I am
not the scoundrel they're making you believe me. I love you!''
She wheeled upon him so fiercely that he started back. ``How
dare you!'' she said, her voice choking with anger. ``You
miserable fraud! You bellwether for the plutocracy, to lead
reform movements off on a false scent, off into the marshes where
they'll be suffocated.'' She looked at him from head to foot
with a withering glance. ``No doubt, you'll have what's called a
successful career. You'll be their traitor leader for the
radicals they want to bring to confusion. When the people cry
for a reform you'll shout louder than anybody else--and you'll be
made leader--and you'll lead--into the marshes. Your followers
will perish, but you'll come back, ready for the next treachery
for which the plutocracy needs you. And you'll look honest and
respectable--and you'll talk virtue and reform and justice. But
you'll know what you are yourself. David Hull, I despise you as
much as you despise yourself.''
He did not follow as she walked away. He returned to the log,
and slowly reseated himself. He was glad of the violent headache
that made thought impossible.
Remsen City, boss-ridden since the Civil War, had experienced
many a turbulent election day and night. The rivalries of the
two bosses, contending for the spoils where the electorate was
evenly divided, had made the polling places in the poorer
quarters dangerous all day and scenes of rioting at night. But
latterly there had been a notable improvement. People who
entertained the pleasant and widespread delusion that statute
laws offset the habits and customs of men, restrain the strong
and protect the weak, attributed the improvement to sundry
vigorously worded enactments of the legislature on the subject of
election frauds. In fact, the real bottom cause of the change
was the ``gentlemen's agreement'' between the two party machines
whereunder both entered the service of the same master, the
Never in Remsen City history had there been grosser frauds than
those of this famous election day, and never had the frauds been
so open. A day of scandal was followed by an evening of shame;
for to overcome the League the henchmen of Kelly and House had to
do a great deal of counting out and counting in, of mutilating
ballots, of destroying boxes with their contents. Yet never had
Remsen City seen so peaceful an election. Representatives of the
League were at every polling place. They protested; they took
names of principals and witnesses in each case of real or
suspected fraud. They appealed to the courts from time to time
and got rulings--always against them, even where the letter of
the decision was in their favor. They did all this in the
quietest manner conceivable, without so much as an expression of
indignation. And when the results were announced--a sweeping
victory for Hull and the fusion ticket, Hugo Galland elected by
five hundred over Falconer--the Leaguers made no counter
demonstration as the drunken gangs of machine heelers paraded in
the streets with bands and torches.
Kelly observed and was uneasy. What could be the meaning of this
meek acceptance of a theft so flagrant that the whole town was
talking about it? What was Victor Dorn's ``game''?
He discovered the next day. The executive committee of the
League worked all night; the League's printers and presses worked
from six o'clock in the morning until ten. At half-past ten
Remsen City was flooded with a special edition of the New Day,
given away by Leaguers and their wives and sons and daughters--a
monster special edition paid for with the last money in the
League's small campaign chest. This special was a full account
of the frauds that had been committed. No indictment could have
been more complete, could have carried within itself more
convincing proofs of the truth of its charges. The New Day
declared that the frauds were far more extensive than it was able
to prove; but it insisted upon, and took into account, only those
frauds that could be proved in a ``court of justice --if Remsen
City had a court of justice, which the treatment of the League's
protectors at the Courthouse yesterday shows that it has not.''
The results of the League's investigations were tabulated. The
New Day showed:
First, that while Harbinger, the League candidate for Mayor, had
actually polled 5,280 votes at least, and David Hull had polled
less than 3,950, the election had been so manipulated that in the
official count 4,827 votes were given to Hull and 3,980 votes to
Second, that in the actual vote Falconer had beaten Hugo Galland
by 1,230 at least; that in the official count Galland was
declared elected by a majority of 672.
Third, that these results were brought about by wholesale
fraudulent voting, one gang of twenty-two repeaters casting
upwards of a thousand votes at the various polling places; also
by false counting, the number of votes reported exceeding the
number cast by between two and three thousand.
As a piece of workmanship the document was an amazing
illustration of the genius of Victor Dorn. Instead of violence
against violence, instead of vague accusation, here was a calm,
orderly proof of the League's case, of the outrage that had been
done the city and its citizens. Before night fell the day after
the election there was no one in Remsen City who did not know the
The three daily newspapers ignored the special. They continued
to congratulate Remsen City upon the ``vindication of the city's
fame for sound political sense,'' as if there had been no protest
against the official version of the election returns. Nor did
the press of the state or the country contain any reference to
the happenings at Remsen City. But Remsen City knew, and that
was the main point sought by Victor Dorn.
A committee of the League with copies of the special edition and
transcripts of the proofs in the possession of the League went in
search of David Hull and Hugo Galland. Both were out of town,
``resting in retirement from the fatigue of the campaign.'' The
prosecuting attorney of the county was seen, took the documents,
said he would look into the matter, bowed the committee out--and
did as Kelly counted on his doing. The grand jury heard, but
could not see its way clear to returning indictments; no one was
upon a grand jury in that county unless he had been passed by
Kelly or House. Judge Freilig and Judge Lansing referred the
committee to the grand jury and to the county prosecutor.
When the League had tried the last avenue to official justice and
had found the way barred, House meeting Kelly in the Palace Hotel
cafe', said:
``Well, Richard, I guess it's all over.'' Kelly nodded. ``You've
got away with the goods.''
``I'm surprised at Dorn's taking it so quietly,'' said House.
``I rather expected he'd make trouble.''
Kelly vented a short, grunting laugh. ``Trouble-- hell!''
ejaculated he. ``If he'd 'a' kicked up a fight we'd 'a' had him.
But he was too 'cute for that, damn him. So next time he wins.''
``Oh, folks ain't got no memories--especially for politics,''
said House easily.
``You'll see,'' retorted Kelly. ``The next mayor of this town'll
be a Leaguer, and by a majority that can't be trifled with. So
make hay while the sun shines, Joe. After this administration
there'll be a long stretch of bad weather for haying.''
``I'm trying to get hold of Hull,'' said House, and it was not
difficult to read his train of thought. ``I was a LEETLE afraid
he was going to be scared by that document of Dorn's--and was
going to do something crazy.''
Again Kelly emitted his queer grunting laugh. ``I guess he was a
LEETLE afraid he would, too, and ran away and hid to get back his
``Oh, he's all right. He's a pushing, level-headed fellow, and
won't make no trouble. Don't you think so?''
``Trouble? I should say not. How can he--if he takes the job?''
To which obvious logic no assent was necessary.
Davy's abrupt departure was for the exact reason Mr. Kelly
ascribed. And he had taken Hugo with him because he feared that
he would say or do something to keep the scandal from dying the
quick death of all scandals. There was the less difficulty in
dissuading him from staying to sun himself in the glories of his
new rank and title because his wife had cast him adrift for the
time and was stopping at the house of her father, whose death was
hourly expected.
Old Hastings had been in a stupor for several weeks. He
astonished everybody, except Dr. Charlton, by rousing on election
night and asking how the battle had gone.
``And he seemed to understand what I told him,'' said Jane.
``Certainly he understood,'' replied Charlton. ``The only part
of him that's in any sort of condition is his mind, because it's
the only part of him that's been properly exercised. Most people
die at the top first because they've never in all their lives
used their minds when they could possibly avoid it.''
In the week following the election he came out of his stupor
again. He said to the nurse:
``It's about supper time, ain't it?''
``Yes,'' answered she. ``They're all down at din-- supper.
Shall I call them?''
``No,'' said he. ``I want to go down to her room.''
``To Miss Jane's room?'' asked the puzzled nurse.
``To my wife's room,'' said Hastings crossly.
The nurse, a stranger, thought his mind was wandering.
``Certainly,'' said she soothingly. ``In a few minutes--as soon
as you've rested a while.''
``You're a fool!'' mumbled Hastings. ``Call Jinny.''
The nurse obeyed. When he repeated his request to Jane, she
hesitated. The tears rolled down his cheeks. ``I know what I'm
about,'' he pleaded. ``Send for Charlton. He'll tell you to let
me have my way.''
Jane decided that it was best to yield. The shrunken figure,
weighing so little that it was terrifying to lift it, was wrapped
warmly, and put in an invalid chair. With much difficulty the
chair was got out into the hall and down the stairs. Then they
wheeled it into the room where he was in the habit of sitting
after supper. When he was opposite the atrocious crayon
enlargement of his wife an expression of supreme content settled
upon his features. Said he:
``Go back to your supper, Jinny. Take the nurse woman with you.
I want to be by myself.''
The nurse glanced stealthily in from time to time during the next
hour. She saw that his eyes were open, were fixed upon the
picture. When Jane came she ventured to enter. She said:
``Do you mind my sitting with you, father?''
He did not answer. She went to him, touched him. He was dead.
As a rule death is not without mitigations, consolations even.
Where it is preceded by a long and troublesome illness,
disrupting the routine of the family and keeping everybody from
doing the things he or she wishes, it comes as a relief. In this
particular case not only was the death a relief, but also the
estate of the dead man provided all the chief mourners with
instant and absorbing occupation. If he had left a will, the
acrimony of the heirs would have been caused by dissatisfaction
with his way of distributing the property. Leaving no will, he
plunged the three heirs--or, rather, the five heirs, for the
husband of Martha and the wife of the son were most important
factors--he plunged the five heirs into a ferment of furious
dispute as to who was to have what. Martha and her husband and
the daughter-in-law were people of exceedingly small mind.
Trifles, therefore, agitated them to the exclusion of larger
matters. The three fell to quarreling violently over the
division of silverware, jewelry and furniture. Jane was so
enraged by the ``disgusting spectacle'' that she proceeded to
take part in it and to demand everything which she thought it
would irritate Martha Galland or Irene Hastings to have to give
The three women and Hugo--for Hugo loved petty wrangling--spent
day after day in the bitterest quarrels. Each morning Jane,
ashamed overnight, would issue from her room resolved to have no
part in the vulgar rowdyism. Before an hour had passed she would
be the angriest of the disputants. Except her own unquestioned
belongings there wasn't a thing in the house or stables about
which she cared in the least. But there was a principle at
stake--and for principle she would fight in the last ditch.
None of them wished to call in arbitrators or executors; why go
to that expense? So, the bickering and wrangling, the insults
and tears and sneers went on from day to day. At last they
settled the whole matter by lot--and by a series of easily
arranged exchanges where the results of the drawings were
unsatisfactory. Peace was restored, but not liking. Each of the
three groups--Hugo and Martha, Will and Irene, Jane in a group by
herself--detested the other two. They felt that they had found
each other out. As Martha said to Hugo, ``It takes a thing of
this kind to show people up in their true colors.'' Or, as Jane
said to Doctor Charlton, ``What beasts human beings are!''
Said he: ``What beasts circumstance makes of some o them
``You are charitable,'' said Jane.
``I am scientific,'' replied he. ``It's very intelligent to go
about distributing praise and blame. To do that is to obey a
slightly higher development of the instinct that leads one to
scowl at and curse the stone he stumps his toe on. The sensible
thing to do is to look at the causes of things--of brutishness in
human beings, for example--and to remove those causes.''
``It was wonderful, the way you dragged father back to life and
almost saved him. That reminds me. Wait a second, please.''
She went up to her room and got the envelope addressed to
Charlton which she had found in the drawer, as her father
directed. Charlton opened it, took out five bank notes each of a
thousand dollars. She glanced at the money, then at his face.
It did not express the emotion she was expecting. On the
contrary, its look was of pleased curiosity.
``Five thousand dollars,'' he said, reflectively. ``Your father
certainly was a queer mixture of surprises and contradictions.
Now, who would have suspected him of a piece of sentiment like
this? Pure sentiment. He must have felt that I'd not be able to
save him, and he knew my bill wouldn't be one-tenth this sum.''
``He liked you, and admired you,'' said Jane.
``He was very generous where he liked and admired.''
Charlton put the money back in the envelope, put the envelope in
his pocket. ``I'll give the money to the Children's Hospital,''
said he. ``About six months ago I completed the sum I had fixed
on as necessary to my independence; so, I've no further use for
money--except to use it up as it comes in.''
``You may marry some day,'' suggested Jane.
``Not a woman who wishes to be left richer than independent,''
replied he. ``As for the children, they'll be brought up to earn
their own independence. I'll leave only incubators and keepsakes
when I die. But no estate. I'm not that foolish and
``What a queer idea!'' exclaimed Jane.
``On the contrary, it's simplest common sense. The idea of
giving people something they haven't earned-- that's the queer
``You are SO like Victor Dorn!''
``That reminds me!'' exclaimed Charlton. ``It was very negligent
of me to forget. The day your father died I dropped in on Victor
and told him--him and Selma Gordon--about it. And both asked me
to take you their sympathy. They said a great deal about your
love for your father, and how sad it was to lose him. They were
really distressed.''
Jane's face almost brightened. ``I've been rather hurt because I
hadn't received a word of sympathy from-- them,'' she said.
``They'd have come, themselves, except that politics has made a
very ugly feeling against them--and Galland's your
``I understand,'' said Jane. ``But I'm not Galland-- and not of
that party.''
``Oh, yes, you are of that party,'' replied Charlton. ``You draw
your income from it, and one belongs to whatever he draws his
income from. Civilization means property--as yet. And it
doesn't mean men and women --as yet. So, to know the man or the
woman we look at the property.''
``That's hideously unjust,'' cried Jane.
``Don't be utterly egotistical,'' said Charlton. ``Don't attach
so much importance to your little, mortal, WEAK personality. Try
to realize that you're a mere chip in the great game of chance.
You're a chip with the letter P on it--which stands for
Plutocracy. And you'll be played as you're labeled.''
``You make it very hard for any one to like you.''
``Well--good-by, then.''
And ignoring her hasty, half-laughing, half-serious protests he
took himself away. She was intensely irritated. A rapid change
in her outward character had been going forward since her
father's death--a change in the direction of intensifying the
traits that had always been really dominant, but had been less
apparent because softened by other traits now rapidly whithering.
The cause of the change was her inheritance.
Martin Hastings, remaining all his life in utter ignorance of the
showy uses of wealth and looking on it with the eyes of a farm
hand, had remained the enriched man of the lower classes, at
heart a member of his original class to the end. The effect of
this upon Jane had been to keep in check all the showy and
arrogant, all the upper class, tendencies which education and
travel among the upper classes of the East and of Europe had
implanted in her. So long as plain old Martin lived, she could
not FEEL the position she had--or, rather, would some day
have--in the modern social system. But just as soon as he passed
away, just as soon as she became a great heiress, actually in
possession of that which made the world adore, that which would
buy servility, flattery, awe--just so soon did she begin to be an
upper-class lady.
She had acquired a superficial knowledge of business --enough to
enable her to understand what the various items in the long, long
schedule of her holdings meant. Symbols of her importance, of
her power. She had studied the ``great ladies'' she had met in
her travels and visitings. She had been impressed by the charm
of the artistic, carefully cultivated air of simplicity and
equality affected by the greatest of these great ladies as those
born to wealth and position. To be gentle and natural, to be
gracious--that was the ``proper thing.'' So, she now adopted a
manner that was if anything too kindly. Her pose, her mask,
behind which she was concealing her swollen and still swelling
pride and sense of superiority, as yet fitted badly. She
``overacted,'' as youth is apt to do. She would have given a
shrewd observer--one not dazzled by her wealth beyond the power
of clear sight--the impression that she was pitying the rest of
mankind, much as we all pity and forbear with a hopeless cripple.
But the average observer would simply have said: ``What a sweet,
natural girl, so unspoiled by her wealth!''--just as the hopeless
cripple says, ``What a polite person,'' as he gets the benefit of
effusive good manners that would, if he were shrewd, painfully
remind him that he was an unfortunate creature.
Of all the weeds that infest the human garden snobbishness, the
commonest, is the most prolific, and it is a mighty cross
breeder, too--modifying every flower in the garden, changing
colors from rich to glaring, changing odors from perfumes to
sickening-sweet or to stenches. The dead hands of Martin
Hastings scattered showers of shining gold upon his daughter's
garden; and from these seeds was springing a heavy crop of that
most prolific of weeds.
She was beginning to resent Charlton's manner-- bluff,
unceremonious, candid, at times rude. He treated women exactly
as he treated men, and he treated all men as intimates, free and
easy fellow travelers afoot upon a dusty, vulgar highway. She
had found charm in that manner, so natural to the man of no
pretense, of splendid physical proportions, of the health of a
fine tree. She was beginning to get into the state of mind at
which practically all very rich people in a civilized society
sooner or later arrive--a state of mind that makes it impossible
for any to live with or near them except hirelings and
dependents. The habit of power of any kind breeds intolerance of
equality of level intercourse. This is held in check, often held
entirely in check, where the power is based upon mental
superiority; for the very superiority of the mind keeps alive the
sense of humor and the sense of proportion. Not so the habit of
money power. For money power is brutal, mindless. And as it is
the only real power in any and all aristocracies, aristocracies
are inevitably brutal and brutalizing.
If Jane had been poor, or had remained a few years longer--until
her character was better set--under the restraining influence of
her unfrilled and unfrillable father, her passion for power, for
superiority would probably have impelled her to develop her mind
into a source of power and position. Fate abruptly gave her the
speediest and easiest means to power known in our plutocratic
civilization. She would have had to be superhuman in beauty of
character or a genius in mind to have rejected the short and easy
way to her goal and struggled on in the long and hard--and
She did not herself appreciate the change within herself. She
fancied she was still what she had been two weeks before. For as
yet nothing had occurred to enable her to realize her changed
direction, her changed view of life. Thus, she was still
thinking of Victor Dorn as she had thought of him; and she was
impatient to see him. She was now free FREE! She could, without
consulting anybody, have what she wanted. And she wanted Victor
She had dropped from her horse and with her arm through the
bridle was strolling along one of the quieter roads which Victor
often took in his rambles. It was a tonic October day, with
floods of sunshine upon the gorgeous autumnal foliage, never more
gorgeous than in that fall of the happiest alternations of frost
and warmth. She heard the pleasant rustle of quick steps in the
fallen leaves that carpeted the byroad. She knew it was he
before she glanced; and his first view of her face was of its
beauty enhanced by a color as delicate and charming as that in
the leaves about them.
She looked at his hands in which he was holding something half
concealed. ``What is it?'' she said, to cover her agitation.
He opened his hands a little wider. ``A bird,'' said he. ``Some
hunter has broken its wing. I'm taking it to Charlton for
repairs and a fair start for its winter down South.''
His eyes noted for an instant significantly her sombre riding
costume, then sought her eyes with an expression of simple and
friendly sympathy. The tears came to her eyes, and she turned
her face away. She for the first time had a sense of loss, a
moving memory of her father's goodness to her, of an element of
tenderness that had passed out of her life forever. And she felt
abjectly ashamed--ashamed of her relief at the lifting of the
burden of his long struggle against death, ashamed of her
miserable wranglings with Martha and Billy's wife, ashamed of her
forgetfulness of her father in the exultation over her wealth,
ashamed of the elaborately fashionable mourning she was
wearing--and of the black horse she had bought to match. She
hoped he would not observe these last flauntings of the purely
formal character of a grief that was being utilized to make a
display of fashionableness.
``You always bring out the best there is in me,'' said she.
He stood silently before her--not in embarrassment, for he was
rarely self-conscious enough to be embarrassed, but refraining
from speech simply because there was nothing to say.
``I haven't heard any of the details of the election,'' she went
on. ``Did you come out as well as you hoped?''
``Better,'' said he. ``As a result of the election the
membership of the League has already a little more than doubled.
We could have quadrupled it, but we are somewhat strict in our
requirements. We want only those who will stay members as long
as they stay citizens of Remsen City. But I must go on to
Charlton or he'll be out on his rounds.''
She caught his glance, which was inclined to avoid hers. She
gave him a pleading look. ``I'll walk with you part of the
way,'' she said.
He seemed to be searching for an excuse to get away. Whether
because he failed to find it or because he changed his mind, he
said: ``You'll not mind going at a good gait?''
``I'll ride,'' said she. ``It's not comfortable, walking fast in
these boots.''
He stood by to help her, but let her get into the saddle alone.
She smiled down at him with a little coquetry. ``Are you afraid
to touch me--to-day?'' she asked.
He laughed: ``The bird IS merely an excuse,'' he admitted.
``I've got back my self-control, and I purpose to keep it.''
She flushed angrily. His frankness now seemed to her to be
flavored with impertinent assurance. ``That's amusing,'' said
she, with an unpleasant smile. ``You have an extraordinary
opinion of yourself, haven't you?''
He shrugged his shoulders as if the subject did not interest him
and set off at a gait that compelled her horse to a rapid walk.
She said presently:
``I'm going to live at the old place alone for the present.
You'll come to see me?''
He looked at her. ``No,'' he said. ``As I told you a moment
ago, that's over. You'll have to find some one else to amuse
you--for, I understand perfectly, Jane, that you were only doing
what's called flirting. That sort of thing is a waste of
time--for me. I'm not competent to judge whether it's a waste
for you.''
She looked coldly down at him. ``You have changed since I last
saw you,'' she said. ``I don't mean the change in your manner
toward me. I mean something deeper. I've often heard that
politics makes a man deteriorate. You must be careful, Victor.''
``I must think about that,'' said he. ``Thank you for warning
His prompt acceptance of her insincere criticism made her
straightway repentant. ``No, it's I that have changed,'' she
said. ``Oh, I'm horrid!--simply horrid. I'm in despair about
``Any one who thinks about himself is bound to be,'' said he
philosophically. ``That's why one has to keep busy in order to
keep contented.'' He halted. ``I can save a mile and half an
hour by crossing these fields.'' He held the wounded bird in one
hand very carefully while he lifted his hat.
She colored deeply. ``Victor,'' she said, ``isn't there any way
that you and I can be friends?''
``Yes,'' replied he. ``As I told you before, by becoming one of
us. Those are impossible terms, of course. But that's the only
way by which we could be of use to each other. Jane, if I,
professing what I do profess, offered to be friends with you on
any other terms, you'd be very foolish not to reject my offer.
For, it would mean that I was a fraud. Don't you see that?''
``Yes,'' she admitted. ``But when I am with you I see everything
exactly as you represent it.''
``It's fortunate for you that I'm not disposed to take advantage
of that--isn't it?'' said he, with good-humored irony.
``You don't believe me!''
``Not altogether,'' he confessed. ``To be quite candid, I think
that for some reason or other I rouse in you an irresistible
desire to pose. I doubt if you realize it-- wholly. But you'd
be hard pressed just where to draw the line between the sincere
and the insincere, wouldn't you--honestly?''
She sat moodily combing at her horse's mane.
``I know it's cruel,'' he went on lightly, ``to deny anything,
however small, to a young lady who has always had her own way.
But in self-defense I must do it.''
``Why DO I take these things from you?'' she cried, in sudden
exasperation. And touching her horse with her stick, she was off
at a gallop.
From anger against Victor Dorn, Jane passed to anger against
herself. This was soon followed by a mood of self-denunciation,
by astonishment at the follies of which she had been guilty, by
shame for them. She could not scoff or scorn herself out of the
infatuation. But at least she could control herself against
yielding to it. Recalling and reviewing all he had said,
she--that is, her vanity--decided that the most important remark,
the only really important remark, was his declaration of
disbelief in her sincerity. ``The reason he has repulsed me--and
a very good reason it is--is that he thinks I am simply amusing
myself. If he thought I was in earnest, he would act very
differently. Very shrewd of him!''
Did she believe this? Certainly not. But she convinced herself
that she believed it, and so saved her pride. From this point
she proceeded by easy stages to doubting whether, if Victor had
taken her at her word, she would have married him. And soon she
had convinced herself that she had gone so far only through her
passion for conquest, that at the first sign of his yielding her
good sense would have asserted itself and she could have
``He knew me better than I knew myself,'' said she-- not so
thoroughly convinced as her pride would have liked, but far
better content with herself than in those unhappy hours of
humiliation after her last talk with him.
From the beginning of her infatuation there had been only a few
days, hardly more than a few hours, when the voice of prudence
and good sense had been silenced. Yes, he was right; they were
not suited to each other, and a marriage between them would have
been absurd. He did belong to a different, to a lower class, and
he could never have understood her. Refinement, taste, the
things of the life of luxury and leisure were incomprehensible to
him. It might be unjust that the many had to toil in squalor and
sordidness while the few were privileged to cultivate and to
enjoy the graces and the beauties; but, unjust or in some
mysterious way just, there was the fact. Her life was marked out
for her; she was of the elect. She would do well to accept her
good fortune and live as the gods had ordained for her.
If Victor had been different in that one respect! . . . The
infatuation, too, was a fact. The wise course was flight--and
she fled.
That winter, in Chicago and in New York, Jane amused herself--in
the ways devised by latter day impatience with the folly of
wasting a precious part of the one brief life in useless grief or
pretense of grief. In Remsen City she would have had to be very
quiet indeed, under penalty of horrifying public sentiment. But
Chicago and New York knew nothing of her grief, cared nothing
about grief of any kind. People in deep mourning were found in
the theaters, in the gay restaurants, wherever any enjoyment was
to be had; and very sensible it was of them, and proof of the
sincerity of their sorrow--for sincere sorrow seeks consolation
lest it go mad and commit suicide--does it not?
Jane, young, beautiful, rich, clever, had a very good time
indeed--so good that in the spring, instead of going back to
Remsen City to rest, she went abroad. More enjoyment--or, at
least, more of the things that fill in the time and spare one the
necessity of thinking.
In August she suddenly left her friends at St. Moritz and
journeyed back to Remsen City as fast as train and boat and train
could take her. And on the front veranda of the old house she
sat herself down and looked out over the familiar landscape and
listened to the katydids lulling the woods and the fields, and
was bored and wondered why she had come.
In a reckless mood she went down to see Victor Dorn. ``I am
cured,'' she said to herself. ``I must be cured. I simply can't
be small and silly enough to care for a country town labor
agitator after all I've been through --after the attentions I've
had and the men of the world I've met. I'm cured, and I must
prove it to myself .''
In the side yard Alice Sherrill and her children and several
neighbor girls were putting up pears and peaches, blackberries
and plums. The air was heavy with delicious odors of ripe and
perfect fruit, and the laughter, the bright healthy faces, the
strong graceful bodies in all manner of poses at the work
required made a scene that brought tears to Jane's eyes. Why
tears she could not have explained, but there they were. At far
end of the arbor, looking exactly as he had in the same place the
year before, sat Victor Dorn, writing. He glanced up, saw her!
Into his face came a look of welcome that warmed her chilled
``Hel-LO!'' he cried, starting up. ``I AM glad to see you.''
``I'm mighty glad to be back,'' said she, lapsing with keen
pleasure into her native dialect.
He took both her hands and shook them cordially, then looked at
her from head to foot admiringly. ``The latest from the Rue de
la Paix, I suppose?'' said he.
They seated themselves with the table between them. She, under
cover of commonplaces about her travels, examined him with the
utmost calmness. She saw every point wherein he fell short of
the men of her class-- the sort of men she ought to like and
admire. But, oh, how dull and stale and narrow and petty they
were, beside this man. She knew now why she had fled. She
didn't want to love Victor Dorn, or to marry him--or his sort of
man. But he, his intense aliveness, his keen, supple mind, had
spoiled her for those others. One of them she could not marry.
``I should go mad with boredom. One can no more live intimately
with fashion than one can eat gold and drink diamonds. And, oh,
but I am hungry and thirsty!''
``So you've had a good time?'' he was saying.
Superb,'' replied she. ``Such scenery--such variety of people.
I love Europe. But--I'm glad to be home again.''
``I don't see how you can stand it,'' said Victor.
``Why?'' inquired she in surprise.
``Unless I had an intense personal interest in the most active
kind of life in a place like this, I should either fly or take to
drink,'' replied he. ``In this world you've either got to invent
occupation for yourself or else keep where amusements and
distractions are thrust at you from rising till bed-time. And no
amusements are thrust at you in Remsen City.''
``But I've been trying the life of being amused,'' said Jane,
``and I've got enough.''
``For the moment,'' said Victor, laughing. ``You'll go back.
You've got to. What else is there for you?''
Her eyes abruptly became serious. ``That's what I've come home
to find out,'' said she. Hesitatingly, ``That's why I've come
here to-day.''
He became curiously quiet--stared at the writing before him on
the table. After a while he said:
``Jane, I was entirely too glad to see you to-day. I had----''
``Don't say that,'' she pleaded. ``Victor, it isn't a
His hand resting upon the table clenched into a fist and his
brows drew down. ``There can be no question but that it is a
weakness and a folly,'' he pushed on. ``I will not spoil your
life and mine. You are not for me, and I am not for you. The
reason we hang on to this is because each of us has a streak of
tenacity. We don't want each other, but we are so made that we
can't let go of an idea once it has gotten into our heads.''
``There is another reason,'' she said gently. ``We are, both of
us, alone--and lonesome, Victor.''
``But I'm not alone. I'm not lonesome----'' And there he
abruptly halted, to gaze at her with the expression of awakening
and astonishment. ``I believe I'm wrong. I believe you're
right,'' he exclaimed. ``I had never thought of that before.''
``You've been imagining your work, your cause was enough,'' she
went on in a quiet rational way that was a revelation--and a
self-revelation--of the real Jane Hastings. ``But it isn't.
There's a whole other side of your nature--the--the--the private
side--that's the expression--the private side. And you've been
denying to it its rights.''
He reflected, nodded slowly. ``I believe that's the truth,'' he
said. ``It explains a curious feeling I've had --a sort of
shriveling sensation.'' He gazed thoughtfully at her, his face
gradually relaxing into a merry smile.
``What is it?'' asked she, smiling in turn.
``We've both got to fall in love and marry,'' said he. ``Not
with each other, of course--for we're not in any way mated. But
love and marriage and the rest of it-- that's the solution. I
don't need it quite as much as you do, for I've got my work. But
I need it. Now that I see things in the right light I wonder
that I've been so stupidly blind. Why do we human beings always
overlook the obvious?''
``It isn't easy to marry,'' said Jane, rather drearily. ``It
isn't easy to find some one with whom one would be willing to
pass one's life. I've had several chances-- one or two of them
not entirely mercenary, I think. But not one that I could bring
myself to accept.''
``Vanity--vanity,'' said Victor. ``Almost any human being is
interesting and attractive if one will stop thinking about
oneself and concentrate on him or her.''
She smiled. ``It's evident you've never tried to fall in love.''
``The nearest I ever came to it was with you,'' replied he.
``But that was, of course, out of the question.''
``I don't admit that,'' said she, with an amusing kind of timid
``Let's be honest and natural with each other,'' urged he.
``Now, Jane, admit that in your heart of hearts you feel you
ought not to marry me.''
Her glance avoided his.
``Come--own up!'' cried he.
``I have thought of that side of it,'' she conceded.
``And if I hadn't piqued you by thinking of it, too, you'd never
have lingered on any other side of it,'' said he. ``Well! Now
that we've cleared the ground-- there's Davy. He's to be
nominated by the Republicans for Governor next week.''
``Davy? I had almost forgotten him. I'll think of Davy--and let
you know . . . And you? Who is there for you?''
``Oh--no one you know. My sister has recommended several girls
from time to time. I'll see.''
Jane gave the freest and heartiest laugh that had passed her lips
in more than a year. It was thus free and unrestrained because
he had not said what she was fearing he would say--had not
suggested the woman nearest him, the obvious woman. So eager was
she to discover what he thought of Selma, that she could hardly
restrain herself from suggesting her. Before they could say
anything more, two men came to talk with him. Jane could not but
She dined that night at Mrs. Sherlock's--Mrs. Sherlock was Davy's
oldest sister. Davy took her in, they talked--about his
career--through dinner, and he walked home with her in the
moonlight. He was full of his approaching nomination. He had
been making what is known as a good record, as mayor. That is,
he had struck out boldly at sundry petty abuses practised by a
low and comparatively uninfluential class of exploiters of the
people. He had been so busy with these showy trifles that there
had been no time for the large abuses. True, he had publicly
warned the gas company about its poor gas, and the water company
about its unwholesome water for the low-lying tenement districts,
and the traction company about the fewness and filthiness of its
cars. The gas company had talked of putting in improved
machinery; the water company had invited estimates on a
filtration plant; the traction company had said a vague something
about new cars as soon as car manufacturers could make definite
promises as to delivery. But nothing had been done--as yet.
Obviously a corporation, a large investment of capital, must be
treated with consideration. It would not do for a conservative,
fair minded mayor to rush into demagogery. So, Davy was content
to point proudly to his record of having ``made the big
corporations awaken to a sense of their duty.'' An excellent
record, as good as a reform politician, with a larger career in
prospect, could be expected to make. People spoke well of Mayor
Hull and the three daily papers eulogized him. Davy no longer
had qualms of conscience. He read the eulogies, he listened to
the flatteries of the conservative leading citizens he met at the
Lincoln and at the University, and he felt that he was all that
he in young enthusiasm had set out to be.
When he went to other cities and towns and to county fairs to
make addresses he was introduced as the man who had redeemed
Remsen City, as a shining example of the honest SANE man in
politics, as a man the bosses were afraid of, yet dared not try
to down. ``You can't fool the people.'' And were not the
people, notably those who didn't live in Remsen City and had only
read in their newspapers about the reform Republican mayor
--weren't they clamorous for Mayor Hull for governor! Thus, Davy
was high in his own esteem, was in that mood of profound
responsibility to righteousness and to the people wherein a man
can get the enthusiastic endorsement of his conscience for any
act he deems it expedient to commit in safeguarding and advancing
his career. His person had become valuable to his country. His
opponents were therefore anathema maranatha.
As he and Jane walked side by side in the tender moonlight, Jane
``What's become of Selma Gordon?''
A painful pause; then Davy, in a tone that secretly amused Jane:
``Selma? I see her occasionally--at a distance. She still
writes for Victor Dorn's sheet, I believe. I never see it.''
Jane felt she could easily guess why. ``Yes--it is irritating to
read criticisms of oneself,'' said she sweetly. Davy's
self-complacence had been most trying to her nerves.
Another long silence, then he said: ``About--Miss Gordon. I
suppose you were thinking of the things I confided to you last
``Yes, I was,'' confessed Jane.
``That's all over,'' said Mayor and prospective Governor Hull.
``I found I was mistaken in her.''
``Didn't you tell me that she refused you?'' pressed Jane, most
``We met again after that,'' said Davy--by way of proving that
even the most devoted apostle of civic righteousness is yet not
without his share of the common humanity, ``and from that time I
felt differently toward her. . . . I've never been able to
understand my folly. . . . I wonder if you could forgive me for
Davy was a good deal of a bore, she felt. At least, he seemed so
in this first renewing of old acquaintance. But he was a man of
purpose, a man who was doing much and would do more. And she
liked him, and had for him that feeling of sympathy and
comprehension which exists among people of the same region,
brought up in much the same way. Instead of cutting him off, she
temporized. Said she with a serenely careless laugh that might
have let a man more expert in the ways of women into the secret
of how little she cared about him: ``You mean forgive you for
dropping me so abruptly and running after her?''
``That's not exactly the way to put it,'' objected he.
``Put it any way you like,'' said Jane. ``I forgive you. I
didn't care at the time, and I don't care now.''
Jane was looking entrancing in that delicate light. Davy was
noting--was feeling--this. Also, he was reflecting--in a
high-minded way--upon the many material, mental and spiritual
advantages of a marriage with her. Just the woman to be a
governor's wife-- a senator's wife--a president's wife. Said he:
``Jane, my feeling for you has never changed.''
``Really?'' said Jane. ``Why, I thought you told me at one time
that you were in love with me?''
``And I always have been, dear--and am,'' said Davy, in his
deepest, tenderest tones. ``And now that I am winning a position
worthy of you----''
``I'll see,'' cut in Jane. ``Let's not talk about it tonight.''
She felt that if he kept on she might yield to the temptation to
say something mocking, something she would regret if it drove him
away finally.
He was content. The ice had been broken. The Selma Gordon
business had been disposed of. The way was clear for
straight-away love-making the next time they met. Meanwhile he
would think about her, would get steam up, would have his heart
blazing and his words and phrases all in readiness.
Every human being has his or her fundamental vanity that must be
kept alive, if life is to be or to seem to be worth living. In
man this vanity is usually some form of belief in his mental
ability, in woman some form of belief in her physical charm.
Fortunately-- or, rather, necessarily--not much is required to
keep this vanity alive--or to restore it after a shock, however
severe. Victor Dorn had been compelled to give Jane Hastings'
vanity no slight shock. But it recovered at once. Jane saw that
his failure to yield was due not to lack of potency in her
charms, but to extraordinary strength of purpose in his
character. Thus, not only was she able to save herself from any
sense of humiliation, but also she was without any feeling of
resentment against him. She liked him and admired him more than
ever. She saw his point of view; she admitted that he was
right--IF it were granted that a life such as he had mapped for
himself was better for him than the career he could have made
with her help.
Her heart, however, was hastily, even rudely thrust to the
background when she discovered that her brother had been gambling
in wheat with practically her entire fortune. With an adroitness
that irritated her against herself, as she looked back, he had
continued to induce her to disregard their father's cautionings
and to ask him to take full charge of her affairs. He had not
lost her fortune, but he had almost lost it. But for an
accidental stroke, a week of weather destructive to crops all
over the country, she would have been reduced to an income of not
more than ten or fifteen thousand a year--twenty times the income
of the average American family of five, but for Miss Hastings
straitened subsistence and a miserable state of shornness of all
the radiance of life. And, pushing her inquiries a little
farther, she learned that her brother would still have been rich,
because he had taken care to settle a large sum on his wife--in
such a way that if she divorced him it would pass back to him.
In the course of her arrangings to meet this situation and to
prevent its recurrence she saw much of Doctor Charlton. He gave
her excellent advice and found for her a man to take charge of
her affairs so far as it was wise for her to trust any one. The
man was a bank cashier, Robert Headley by name--one of those rare
beings who care nothing for riches for themselves and cannot
invest their own money wisely, but have a genius for fidelity and
wise counsel.
``It's a pity he's married,'' said Charlton. ``If he weren't I'd
urge you to take him as a husband.''
Jane laughed. A plainer, duller man than Headley it would have
been hard to find, even among the respectabilities of Remsen
``Why do you laugh?'' said Charlton. ``What is there absurd in a
sensible marriage?''
``Would you marry a woman because she was a good housekeeper?''
``That would be one of the requirements,'' said Charlton. ``I've
sense enough to know that, no matter how much I liked a woman
before marriage, it couldn't last long if she were incompetent.
She'd irritate me every moment in the day. I'd lie awake of
nights despising her. And how she would hate me!''
``I can't imagine you a husband,'' laughed Jane.
``That doesn't speak well for your imagination,' rejoined
Charlton. ``I have perfect health--which means that I have a
perfect disposition, for only people with deranged interiors are
sour and snappy and moody. And I am sympathetic and
understanding. I appreciate that women are rottenly brought up
and have everything to learn--everything that's worth while if
one is to live comfortably and growingly. So, I shouldn't expect
much at the outset beyond a desire to improve and a capacity to
improve. Yes, I've about all the virtues for a model husband--a
companionable, helpful mate for a woman who wants to be more of a
person every day she lives.''
``No, thanks,'' said Jane, mockingly. ``The advertisement reads
well, but I don't care to invest.''
``Oh, I looked you over long ago,'' said Charlton with a coolness
that both amused and exasperated her. ``You wouldn't do at all.
You are very attractive to look at and to talk with. Your money
would be useful to some plans I've got for some big sanatoriums
along the line of Schulze's up at Saint Christopher. But---''
He shook his head, smiling at her through a cloud of cigarette
``Go on,'' urged Jane. ``What's wrong with me?''
``You've been miseducated too far and too deeply. You KNOW too
much that isn't so. You've got the upper class American woman
habit of thinking about yourself all the time. You are an
indifferent housekeeper, and you think you are good at it. You
don't know the practical side of life--cooking, sewing, house
furnishing, marketing. You're ambitious for a show career--the
sort Davy Hull--excuse me, Governor David Hull--is making so
noisily. There's just the man for you. You ought to marry.
Marry Hull.''
Jane was furiously angry. She did not dare show it; Charlton
would merely laugh and walk away, and perhaps refuse to be
friends with her. It exasperated her to the core, the narrow
limitations of the power of money. She could, through the power
of her money, do exactly as she pleased to and with everybody
except the only kind of people she cared about dominating; these
she was apparently the less potent with because of her money.
It seemed to put them on their mettle and on their guard.
She swallowed her anger. ``Yes, I've got to get married,'' said
she. ``And I don't know what to do about it.''
``Hull,'' said Charlton.
``Is that the best advice you can give?'' said she disdainfully.
``He needs you, and you need him. You like him-- don't you?''
``Very much.''
``Then--the thing's done. Davy isn't the man to fail to seize an
opportunity so obviously to his advantage. Not that he hasn't a
heart. He has a big one--does all sorts of gracious,
patronizing, kind things--does no end of harm. But he'd no more
let his emotions rule his life than--than--Victor Dorn--or I, for
that matter.''
Jane colored; a pathetic sadness tinged the far-away expression
of her eyes.
``No doubt he's half in love with you already. Most men are who
know you. A kindly smile and he'll be kneeling.''
``I don't want David Hull,'' cried Jane. ``Ever since I can
remember they've been at me to marry him. He bores me. He
doesn't make me respect him. He never could control me--or teach
me--or make me look up to him in any way. I don't want him, and
I won't have him.''
``I'm afraid you've got to do it,'' said Charlton. ``You act as
if you realized it and were struggling and screaming against
manifest destiny like a child against a determined mother.''
Jane's eyes had a look of terror. ``You are joking,'' said she.
``But it frightens me, just the same.''
``I am not joking,'' replied he. ``I can hear the wedding
bells--and so can you.''
``Don't!'' pleaded Jane. ``I've so much confidence in your
insight that I can't bear to hear you saying such things even to
tease me. . . . Why haven't you told me about these sanatoriums
you want?''
``Because I've been hoping I could devise some way of getting
them without the use of money. Did it ever occur to you that
almost nothing that's been of real and permanent value to the
world was built with money? The things that money has done have
always been badly done.''
``Let me help you,'' said Jane earnestly. ``Give me something to
do. Teach me how to do something. I am SO bored!--and so eager
to have an occupation. I simply can't lead the life of my class.
``You want to be a lady patroness--a lady philanthropist,'' said
Charlton, not greatly impressed by her despair. ``That's only
another form of the life of your class--and a most offensive
``Your own terms--your own terms, absolutely,'' cried Jane in
``No--marry Hull and go into upper and middle class politics.
You'll be a lady senator or a lady ambassador or cabinet officer,
at least.''
``I will not marry David Hull--or anybody, just yet,'' cried
Jane. ``Why should I? I've still got ten years where there's a
chance of my being able to attract some man who--attracts me.
And after that I can buy as good a husband as any that offers
now. Doctor Charlton, I'm in desperate, deadly earnest. And I
ask you to help me.''
``My own terms?''
``I give you my word.''
``You'll have to give your money outright. No strings attached.
No chance to be a philanthropist. Also, you'll have to
work--have to educate yourself as I instruct you.''
``Yes--yes. Whatever you say.''
Charlton looked at her dubiously. ``I'm a fool to have anything
to do with this,'' he said. ``You aren't in any way a suitable
person--any more than I'm the sort of man you want to assist you
in your schemes. You don't realize what tests you're to be put
``I don't care,'' said Jane.
``It's a chance to try my theory,'' mused he. ``You know, I
insist we are all absolutely the creatures of circumstance--that
character adapts itself to circumstance--that to change a man or
a town or a nation --or a world--you have only to change their
fundamental circumstances.''
``You'll try me?''
``I'll think about it,'' said Charlton. ``I'll talk with Victor
Dorn about it.''
``Whatever you do, don't talk to him,'' cried Jane, in terror.
``He has no faith in me--'' She checked herself, hastily
added--``in anybody outside his own class.''
``I never do anything serious without consulting Victor,'' said
Charlton firmly. ``He's got the best mind of any one I know, and
it is foolish to act without taking counsel of the best.''
``He'll advise against it,'' said Jane bitterly.
``But I may not take his advice literally,'' said Charlton.
``I'm not in mental slavery to him. I often adapt his advice to
my needs instead of adopting it outright.''
And with that she had to be content.
She passed a day and night of restlessness, and called him on the
telephone early the following morning. As she heard his voice
she said:
``Did you see Victor Dorn last night?''
``Where are you?'' asked Charlton.
``In my room,'' was her impatient answer.
``In bed?''
``I haven't gotten up yet,'' said she. ``What IS the matter?''
``Had your breakfast?''
``No. I've rung for it. It'll be here in a few minutes.''
``I thought so,'' said Charlton.
``This is very mysterious--or very absurd,'' said Jane.
``Please ring off and call your kitchen and tell them to put your
breakfast on the dining-room table for you in three-quarters of
an hour. Then get up, take your bath and your exercises--dress
yourself for the day--and go down and eat your breakfast. How
can you hope to amount to anything unless you live by a rational
system? And how can you have a rational system unless you begin
the day right?''
``DID you see Victor Dorn?'' said Jane--furious at his
impertinence but restraining herself.
``And after you have breakfasted,'' continued Charlton, ``call me
up again, and I'll answer your questions.''
With that he hung up his receiver. Jane threw herself angrily
back against her pillow. She would lie there for an hour, then
call him again. But--if he should ask her whether she had obeyed
his orders? True, she might lie to him; but wouldn't that be too
petty? She debated with herself for a few minutes, then obeyed
him to the letter. As she was coming through the front hall
after breakfast, he appeared in the doorway.
``You didn't trust me!'' she cried reproachfully.
``Oh, yes,'' replied he. ``But I preferred to talk with you face
to face.''
``DID you see Mr. Dorn?''
Charlton nodded. ``He refused to advise me. He said he had a
personal prejudice in your favor that would make his advice
Jane glowed--but not quite so thrillingly as she would have
glowed in the same circumstances a year before.
``Besides, he's in no state of mind to advise anybody about
anything just now,'' said Charlton.
Jane glanced sharply at him. ``What do you mean?'' she said.
``It's not my secret,'' replied Charlton.
``You mean he has fallen in love?''
``That's shrewd,'' said Charlton. ``But women always assume a
love affair.''
``With whom?'' persisted Jane.
``Oh, a very nice girl. No matter. I'm not here to talk about
anybody's affairs but yours--and mine.''
``Answer just one question,'' said Jane, impulsively. ``Did he
tell you anything about--me?''
Charlton stared--then whistled. ``Are YOU in love with him,
too?'' he cried.
Jane flushed--hesitated--then met his glance frankly. ``I WAS,''
said she.
``I mean that I'm over it,'' said she. ``What have you decided
to do about me?''
Charlton did not answer immediately. He eyed her narrowly--an
examination which she withstood well. Then he glanced away and
seemed to be reflecting. Finally he came back to her question.
Said he:
``To give you a trial. To find out whether you'll do.''
She drew a long sigh of relief.
``Didn't you guess?'' he went on, smilingly, nodding his round,
prize-fighter head at her. ``Those suggestions about bed and
breakfast--they were by way of a beginning.''
``You must give me a lot to do,'' urged she. ``I mustn't have a
minute of idle time.''
He laughed. ``Trust me,'' he said.
While Jane was rescuing her property from her brother and was
safeguarding it against future attempts by him, or by any of that
numerous company whose eyes are ever roving in search of the most
inviting of prey, the lone women with baggage--while Jane was
thus occupied, David Hull was, if possible, even busier and more
absorbed. He was being elected governor. His State was being
got ready to say to the mayor of Remsen City, ``Well done, good
and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over a few things;
I will make thee ruler over many.''
The nomination was not obtained for him without difficulty. The
Republican party--like the Democratic --had just been brought
back under ``safe and sane and conservative'' leadership after a
prolonged debauch under the influence of that once famous and
revered reformer, Aaron Whitman, who had not sobered up or
released the party for its sobering until his wife's extravagant
entertaining at Washington had forced him to accept large
``retainers'' from the plutocracy. The machine leaders had in
the beginning forwarded the ambitions of Whitman under the
impression that his talk of a ``square deal'' was ``just the
usual dope'' and that Aaron was a ``level-headed fellow at
bottom.'' It had developed--after they had let Aaron become a
popular idol, not to be trifled with--it had developed that he
was almost sincere--as sincere as can be expected of an
ambitious, pushing fellow. Now came David Hull, looking
suspiciously like Whitman at his worst-and a more hopeless case,
because he had money a plenty, while Whitman was luckily poor and
blessed with an extravagant wife. True, Hull had the backing of
Dick Kelly-- and Kelly was not the man ``to hand the boys a
lemon.'' Still Hull looked like a ``holy boy,'' talked like one,
had the popular reputation of having acted like one as mayor--and
the ``reform game'' was certainly one to attract a man who could
afford it and was in politics for position only. Perhaps Dick
wanted to be rid of Hull for the rest of his term, and was
``kicking him upstairs.'' It would be a shabby trick upon his
fellow leaders, but justifiable if there should be some big
``job'' at Remsen City that could be ``pulled off'' only if Hull
were out of the way.
The leaders were cold until Dick got his masters in the Remsen
City branch of the plutocracy to pass the word to the
plutocracy's general agents at Indianapolis-- a certain
well-known firm of political bankers. Until that certification
came the leaders, having no candidate who stood a chance of
winning, were ready to make a losing campaign and throw the
election to the Democrats--not a serious misfortune at a time
when the machines of the two parties had become simply friendly
rival agents for the same rich master.
There was a sharp fight in the convention. The anti-machine
element, repudiating Whitman under the leadership of a shrewd and
honest young man named Joe Bannister, had attacked Hull in the
most shocking way. Bannister had been reading Victor Dorn's New
Day and had got a notion of David Hull as man and mayor different
from the one made current by the newspapers. He made a speech on
the floor of the convention which almost caused a riot and nearly
cost Davy the nomination. That catastrophe was averted by
adjournment. Davy gave Dick Kelly's second lieutenant, Osterman,
ten thousand in cash, of which Osterman said there was pressing
need ``for perfectly legitimate purposes, I assure you, Mr.
Mayor.'' Next day the Bannister faction lost forty and odd
sturdy yeomen from districts where the crops had been painfully
short, and Davy was nominated.
In due time the election was held, and Mayor Hull became Governor
Hull by a satisfactory majority for so evenly divided a State.
He had spent--in contributions to the machine campaign
fund--upwards of one hundred thousand dollars. But that seemed a
trifling sacrifice to make for reform principles and for keeping
the voice of the people the voice of God. He would have been
elected if he had not spent a cent, for the Democratic machine,
bent on reorganizing back to a sound basis with all real
reformers or reformers tainted with sincerity eliminated, had
nominated a straight machine man--and even the politicians know
that the people who decide elections will not elect a machine man
if they have a chance to vote for any one else. It saddened
David Hull, in the midst of victory, that his own town and county
went against him, preferring the Democrat, whom it did not know,
as he lived at the other end of the State. Locally the offices
at stake were all captured by the ``Dorn crowd.'' At last the
Workingmen's League had a judge; at last it could have a day in
court. There would not be a repetition of the great frauds of
the Hull-Harbinger campaign.
By the time David had sufficient leisure to reopen the heart
department of his ambition, Jane was deep in the effort to show
Doctor Charlton how much intelligence and character she had. She
was serving an apprenticeship as trained nurse in the Children's
Hospital, where he was chief of the staff, and was taking several
extra courses with his young assistants. It was nearly two weeks
after David's first attempt to see her when her engagements and
his at last permitted this meeting. Said he:
``What's this new freak?''
``I can't tell you yet,'' replied she. ``I'm not sure, myself.''
``I don't see how you can endure that fellow Charlton. They say
he's as big a crank in medicine as he is in politics.''
``It's all of a piece,'' said Jane, tranquilly. ``He says he
gets his political views from his medicine and his medical ideas
from his politics.''
``Don't you think he's a frightful bounder?''
``Frightful,'' said Jane.
``Fresh, impudent--conceited. And he looks like a prize
``At some angles--yes,'' conceded Jane. ``At others, he's almost
``The other day, when I called at the hospital and they wouldn't
take my name in to you--'' David broke off to vent his
indignation--``Did you ever hear of such impertinence!''
``And you the governor-elect,'' laughed Jane. ``Shall I tell you
what Doctor Charlton said? He said that a governor was simply a
public servant, and anything but a public representative--usually
a public disgrace. He said that a servant's business was
attending to his own job and not hanging round preventing his
fellow servants from attending to their jobs.''
``I knew he had low and vulgar views of public affairs,'' said
David. ``What I started to say was that I saw him talking to you
that day, across the court, and you seemed to be enjoying his
``ENJOYING it? I love it,'' cried Jane. ``He makes me laugh, he
makes me cold with rage, he gives me a different sensation every
time I see him.''
``You LIKE--him?''
``Immensely. And I've never been so interested or so happy in my
life.'' She looked steadily at him. ``Nothing could induce me
to give it up. I've put everything else out of my mind.''
Since the dismal end of his adventure with Selma Gordon, David
had become extremely wary in his dealings with the female sex.
He never again would invite a refusal; he never again would put
himself in a position where a woman might feel free to tell him
her private opinion of him. He reflected upon Jane's words.
They could have but the one meaning. Not so calmly as he would
have liked, but without any embarrassing constraint, he said:
``I'm glad you've found what suits you, at last. It isn't
exactly the line I'd have thought a girl such as you would
choose. You're sure you are not making a mistake?''
``Quite,'' said Jane.
``I should think you'd prefer marriage--and a home --and a social
circle--and all that,'' ventured David.
``I'll probably not marry.''
``No. You'd hardly take a doctor.''
``The only one I'd want I can't get,'' said Jane.
She wished to shock David, and she saw with pleasure that she had
succeeded. Indeed so shocked was he that in a few minutes he
took leave. And as he passed from her sight he passed from her
Victor Dorn described Davy Hull's inaugural address as ``an
uninteresting sample of the standard reform brand of artificial
milk for political infants.'' The press, however, was
enthusiastic, and substantial people everywhere spoke of it as
having the ``right ring,'' as being the utterance of a ``safe,
clean man whom the politicians can't frighten or fool.'' In this
famous speech David urged everybody who was doing right to keep
on doing so, warned everybody who was doing wrong that they would
better look out for themselves, praised those who were trying to
better conditions in the right way, condemned those who were
trying to do so in the wrong way. It was all most eloquent, most
earnest. Some few people were disappointed that he had not
explained exactly what and whom he meant by right and by wrong;
but these carping murmurs were drowned in the general acclaim. A
man whose fists clenched and whose eyes flashed as did David
Hull's must ``mean business''--and if no results came of these
words, it wouldn't be his fault, but the machinations of wicked
plutocrats and their political agents.
``Isn't it disgusting!'' exclaimed Selma, reading an impassioned
paragraph aloud to Victor Dorn. ``It almost makes me despair
when I see how people--our sort of people, too--are taken in by
such guff. And they stand with their empty picked pockets and
cheer this man, who's nothing but a stool pigeon for
``It's something gained,'' observed Victor tranquilly, ``when
politicians have to denounce the plutocracy in order to get
audiences and offices. The people are beginning to know what's
wrong. They read into our friend Hull's generalities what they
think he ought to mean--what they believe he does mean. The next
step is--he'll have to do something or they'll find him out.''
``He do anything?'' Selma laughed derisively. ``He hasn't the
courage--or the honesty.''
``Well--`patience and shuffle the cards,' as Sancho Panza says.
We're winning Remsen City. And our friends are winning a little
ground here, and a little there and a little yonder--and
soon--only too soon-- this crumbling false politics will collapse
and disappear. Too soon, I fear. Before the new politics of a
work-compelling world for the working class only is ready to be
Selma had been only half attending. She now said abruptly, with
a fluttering movement that suggested wind blowing strongly across
open prairies under a bright sky:
``I've decided to go away.''
``Yes, you must take a vacation,'' said Victor. ``I've been
telling you that for several years. And you must go away to the
sea or the mountains where you'll not be harassed by the fate of
the human race that you so take to heart.''
``I didn't mean a vacation,'' said Selma. ``I meant to
Chicago--to work there.''
``You've had a good offer?'' said Victor. ``I knew it would
come. You've got to take it. You need the wider experience--the
chance to have a paper of your own--or a work of your own of some
kind. It's been selfishness, my keeping you all this time.''
Selma had turned away. With her face hidden from him she said,
``Yes, I must go.''
``When?'' said Victor.
``As soon as you can arrange for some one else.''
``All right. I'll look round. I've no hope of finding any one
to take your place, but I can get some one who will do.''
``You can train any one,'' said Selma. ``Just as you trained
``I'll see what's to be done,'' was all he said.
A week passed--two weeks. She waited; he did not bring up the
subject. But she knew he was thinking of it; for there had been
a change in his manner toward her--a constraint, a
self-consciousness theretofore utterly foreign to him in his
relations with any one. Selma was wretched, and began to show it
first in her appearance, then in her work. At last she burst
``Give that article back to me,'' she cried. ``It's rotten. I
can't write any more. Why don't you tell me so frankly? Why
don't you send me away?''
``You're doing better work than I am,'' said he. ``You're eager
to be off--aren't you? Will you stay a few days longer? I must
get away to the country-- alone--to get a fresh grip on myself.
I'll come back as soon as I can, and you'll be free. There'll be
no chance for vacations after you're gone.''
``Very well,'' said she. She felt that he would think this
curtness ungracious, but more she could not say.
He was gone four days. When he reappeared at the office he was
bronzed, but under the bronze showed fatigue--in a man of his
youth and strength sure sign of much worry and loss of sleep. He
greeted her almost awkwardly, his eyes avoiding hers, and sat
down to opening his accumulated mail. Although she was furtively
observing him she started when he abruptly said:
``You know you are free to go--at any time.''
``I'll wait until you catch up with your work,'' she suggested.
``No--never mind. I'll get along. I've kept you out of all
reason. . . . The sooner you go the better. I've got to get
used to it, and--I hate suspense.''
``Then I'll go in the morning,'' said Selma. ``I've no
arrangements to make--except a little packing that'll take less
than an hour. Will you say good-by for me to any one who asks?
I hate fusses, and I'll be back here from time to time.''
He looked at her curiously, started to speak, changed his mind
and resumed reading the letter in his hand. She turned to her
work, sat pretending to write. In fact she was simply
scribbling. Her eyes were burning and she was fighting against
the sobs that came surging. He rose and began to walk up and
down the room. She hastily crumpled and flung away the sheet on
which she had be scrawling; he might happen to glance at her desk
and see. She bent closer to the paper and began to
write--anything that came into her head. Presently the sound of
his step ceased. An uncontrollable impulse to fly seized her.
She would get up--would not put on her hat--would act as if she
were simply going to the street door for a moment. And she would
not return--would escape the danger of a silly breakdown. She
summoned all her courage, suddenly rose and moved swiftly toward
the door. At the threshold she had to pause; she could not
control her heart from a last look at him.
He was seated at his table, was staring at its litter of letters,
papers and manuscripts with an expression so sad that it
completely transformed him. She forgot herself. She said
He did not hear.
``Victor,'' she repeated a little more loudly.
He roused himself, glanced at her with an attempt at his usual
friendly smile of the eyes.
``Is there something wrong that you haven't told me about?'' she
``It'll pass,'' said he. ``I'll get used to it.'' With an
attempt at the manner of the humorous philosopher, ``Man is the
most adaptable of all the animals. That's why he has distanced
all his relations. I didn't realize how much our association
meant to me until you set me to thinking about it by telling me
you were going. I had been taking you for granted--a habit we
easily fall into with those who simply work with and for us and
don't insist upon themselves.''
She was leaning against the frame of the open door into the hall,
her hands behind her back. She was gazing out of the window
across the room.
``You,'' he went on, ``are as I'd like to be--as I imagined I
was. Your sense of duty to the cause orders you elsewhere, and
you go--like a good soldier, with never a backward glance.''
She shook her head, but did not speak.
``With never a backward glance,'' he repeated. ``While I--'' He
shut his lips together firmly and settled himself with fierce
resolution to his work. ``I beg your pardon,'' he said. ``This
is--cowardly. As I said before, I shall get myself in hand
again, and go on.''
She did not move. The breeze of the unseasonably warm and
brilliant day fluttered her thick, loosely gathered hair about
her brow. Her strange, barbaric little face suggested that the
wind was blowing across it a throng of emotions like the clouds
of a driven storm.
A long silence. He suddenly flung out his arms in a despairing
gesture and let them fall to the table. At the crash she
startled, gazed wildly about.
``Selma!'' he cried. ``I must say it. I love you.''
A profound silence fell. After a while she went softly across
the room and sat down at her desk.
``I think I've loved you from the first months of your coming
here to work--to the old office, I mean. But we were always
together--every day--all day long-- working together--I thinking
and doing nothing without your sharing in it. So, I never
realized. Don't misunderstand. I'm not trying to keep you here.
It's simply that I've got the habit of telling you everything--
of holding back nothing from you.''
``I was going,'' she said, ``because I loved you.''
He looked at her in amazement.
``That day you told me you had decided to get married-- and asked
my advice about the girls among our friends--that was the day I
began to feel I'd have to go. It's been getting worse ever
Once more silence, both looking uneasily about, their glances
avoiding each other. The door of the printing room opened, and
Holman, the printer, came in, his case in his grimy hand. Said
``Where's the rest of that street car article?''
``I beg your pardon,'' said Selma, starting up and taking some
manuscript from her desk and handing it to him.
``Louis,'' said Victor, as Holmes was retreating, ``Selma and I
are going to be married.''
Louis paused, but did not look round. ``That ain't what'd be
called news,'' said he. ``I've known it for more than three
He moved on toward his room. ``I'll be ready for that leading
article in half an hour. So, you'd better get busy.''
He went out, closing the door behind him. Selma and Victor
looked at each other and burst out laughing. Then--still
laughing--they took hold of hands like two children. And the
next thing they knew they were tight in each other's arms, and
Selma was sobbing wildly.
When Jane had finished her apprenticeship, Doctor Charlton asked
her to marry him. Said Jane:
``I never knew you to be commonplace before. I've felt this
coming for some time, but I expected it would be in the form of
an offer to marry me.''
She promptly accepted him--and she has not, and will not regret
it. So far as a single case can prove a theory, Jane's case has
proved Charlton's theory that environment determines character.
His alternations of tenderness and brusqueness, of devotion to
her and devotion to his work, his constant offering of something
new and his unremitting insistence upon something new from her
each day make it impossible for her to develop the slightest
tendency toward that sleeping sickness wherewith the germ of
conventionality inflicts any mind it seizes upon.
David Hull, now temporarily in eclipse through over caution in
radical utterance, is gathering himself for a fresh spurt that
will doubtless place him at the front in politics again. He has
never married. The belief in Remsen City is that he is a victim
of disappointed love for Jane Hastings. But the truth is that he
is unable to take his mind off himself long enough to be come
sufficiently interested in another human being. There is no
especial reason why he has thus far escaped the many snares that
have been set for him because of his wealth and position. Who
can account for the vagaries of chance?
The Workingmen's League now controls the government of Remsen
City. It gives an honest and efficient administration, and keeps
the public service corporations as respectful of the people as
the laws will permit. But, as Victor Dorn always warned the
people, little can be done until the State government is
conquered--and even then there will be the national government to
see that all the wrongs of vested rights are respected and that
the people shall have little to say, in the management of their
own affairs. As all sensible people know, any corrupt
politician, or any greedy plutocrat, or any agent of either is a
safer and better administrator of the people's affairs than the
people themselves.
The New Day is a daily with a circulation for its weekly edition
that is national. And Victor and Selma are still its editors,
though they have two little boys to bring up.
Jane and Selma see a great deal of each other, and are friendly,
and try hard to like each other. But they are not friends.
Dick Kelly's oldest son, graduated from Harvard, is the leader of
the Remsen City fashionable set. Joe House's only son is a
professional gambler and sets the pace among the sports.

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