by Stephen Crane
MARJORY walked pensively along the hall. In the cool shadows made by
the palms on the window ledge, her face wore the expression of
thoughtful melancholy expected on the faces of the devotees who pace in
cloistered gloom. She halted before a door at the end of the hall and
laid her hand on the knob. She stood hesitating, her head bowed. It was
evident that this mission was to require great fortitude.
At last she opened the door. “Father,” she began at once. There was
disclosed an elderly, narrow-faced man seated at a large table and
surrounded by manuscripts and books. The sunlight flowing through
curtains of Turkey red fell sanguinely upon the bust of dead-eyed
Pericles on the mantle. A little clock was ticking, hidden somewhere
among the countless leaves of writing, the maps and broad heavy tomes
that swarmed upon the table.
Her father looked up quickly with an ogreish scowl.
Go away!” he cried in a rage. “Go away. Go away. Get out ” “He
seemed on the point of arising to eject the visitor. It was plain to
her that he had been interrupted in the writing of one of his
sentences, ponderous, solemn and endless, in which wandered multitudes
of homeless and friendless prepositions, adjectives looking for a
parent, and quarrelling nouns, sentences which no longer symbolised the
languageform of thought but which had about them a quaint aroma from
the dens of long-dead scholars. “Get out,” snarled the professor.
Father,” faltered the girl. Either because his formulated thought
was now completely knocked out of his mind by his own emphasis in
defending it, or because he detected something of portent in her
expression, his manner suddenly changed, and with a petulant glance at
his writing he laid down his pen and sank back in his chair to listen.
“Well, what is it, my child?”
The girl took a chair near the window and gazed out upon the
snow-stricken campus, where at the moment a group of students returning
from a class room were festively hurling snow-balls. “I've got
something important to tell you, father,” said she, but i don't quite
know how to say it.”
“Something important?” repeated the professor. He was not habitually
interested in the affairs of his family, but this proclamation that
something important could be connected with them, filled his mind with
a capricious interest. “Well, what is it, Marjory?”
She replied calmly: “Rufus Coleman wants to marry me.”
“What?” demanded the professor loudly. “Rufus Coleman. What do you
The girl glanced furtively at him. She did not seem to be able to
frame a suitable sentence.
As for the professor, he had, like all men both thoughtless and
thoughtful, told himself that one day his daughter would come to him
with a tale of this kind. He had never forgotten that the little girl
was to be a woman, and he had never forgotten that this tall, lithe
creature, the present Marjory, was a woman. He had been entranced and
confident or entranced and apprehensive according' to the time. A man
focussed upon astronomy, the pig market or social progression, may
nevertheless have a secondary mind which hovers like a spirit over his
dahlia tubers and dreams upon the mystery of their slow and tender
revelations. The professor's secondary mind had dwelt always with his
daughter and watched with a faith and delight the changing to a woman
of a certain fat and mumbling babe. However, he now saw this machine,
this self- sustaining, self-operative love, which had run with the ease
of a clock, suddenly crumble to ashes and leave the mind of a great
scholar staring at a calamity. “Rufus Coleman,” he repeated, stunned.
Here was his daughter, very obviously desirous of marrying Rufus
Coleman. “Marjory,” he cried in amazement and fear, “what possesses,
you? Marry Rufus Colman?”
The girl seemed to feel a strong sense of relief at his prompt
recognition of a fact. Being freed from the necessity of making a flat
declaration, she simply hung her head and blushed impressively. A hush
fell upon them. The professor stared long at his daugh. ter. The shadow
of unhappiness deepened upon his face. “Marjory, Marjory,” he murmured
at last. He had tramped heroically upon his panic and devoted his
strength to bringing thought into some kind of attitude toward this
terrible fact. “I am-I am surprised,” he began. Fixing her then with a
stern eye, he asked: “Why do you wish to marry this man? You, with your
opportunities of meeting persons of intelligence. And you want to
marry-” His voice grew tragic. “You want to marry the Sunday editor of
the New York Eclipse.”
“It is not so very terrible, is it?” said Marjory sullenly.
“Wait a moment; don't talk,” cried the professor. He arose and
walked nervously to and fro, his hands flying in the air. He was very
red behind the ears as when in the Classroom some student offended him.
“A gambler, a sporter of fine clothes, an expert on champagne, a polite
loafer, a witness knave who edits the Sunday edition of a great outrage
upon our sensibilities. You want to marry him, this man? Marjory, you
are insane. This fraud who asserts that his work is intelligent, this
fool comes here to my house and-”
He became aware that his daughter was regarding him coldly. “I
thought we had best have all this part of it over at once,” she
He confronted her in a new kind of surprise. The little keen- eyed
professor was at this time imperial, on the verge of a majestic
outburst. “Be still,” he said. “Don't be clever with your father. Don't
be a dodger. Or, if you are, don't speak of it to me. I suppose this
fine young man expects to see me personally?”
“He was coming to-morrow,” replied Marjory. She began to weep. “He
was coming to-morrow.”
“Um,” said the professor. He continued his pacing while Marjory wept
with her head bowed to the arm of the chair. His brow made the three
dark vertical crevices well known to his students. Some. times he
glowered murderously at the photographs of ancient temples which
adorned the walls. “My poor child,” he said once, as he paused near
her, “to think I never knew you were a fool. I have been deluding
myself. It has been my fault as much as it has been yours. I will not
readily forgive myself.”
The girl raised her face and looked at him. Finally, resolved to
disregard the dishevelment wrought by tears, she presented a desperate
front with her wet eyes and flushed cheeks. Her hair was disarrayed. “I
don't see why you can call me a fool,” she said. The pause before this
sentence had been so portentous of a wild and rebellious speech that
the professor almost laughed now. But still the father for the first
time knew that he was being un-dauntedly faced by his child in his own
library, in the presence Of 372 pages of the book that was to be his
masterpiece. At the back of his mind he felt a great awe as if his own
youthful spirit had come from the past and challenged him with a
glance. For a moment he was almost a defeated man. He dropped into a
chair. “Does your mother know of this ” ” he asked mournfully.
“Yes,” replied the girl. “She knows. She has been trying to make me
give up Rufus.”
“Rufus,” cried the professor rejuvenated by anger.
“Well, his name is Rufus,” said the girl.
“But please don't call him so before me,” said the father with icy
dignity. “I do not recognise him as being named Rufus. That is a
contention of yours which does not arouse my interest. I know him very
well as a gambler and a drunkard, and if incidentally, he is named
Rufus, I fail to see any importance to it.”
“He is not a gambler and he is not a drunkard,” she said.
“Um. He drinks heavily-that is well known. He gambles. He plays
cards for money—more than he possesses-at least he did when he was in
“You said you liked him when he was in college.”
“So I did. So I did,” answered the professor sharply. “I often find
myself liking that kind of a boy in college. Don't I know them-those
lads with their beer and their poker games in the dead of the night
with a towel hung over the keyhole. Their habits are often vicious
enough, but something remains in them through it all and they may go
away and do great things. This happens. We know it. It happens with
confusing insistence. It destroys theo-ries. There-there isn't much to
say about it. And sometimes we like this kind of a boy better than we
do the-the others. For my part I know of many a pure, pious and fine-minded student that I have positively loathed from a personal
point-of-view. But,” he added, “this Rufus Coleman, his life in college
and his life since, go to prove how often we get off the track. There
is no gauge of collegiate conduct whatever, until we can get evidence
of the man's work in the world. Your precious scoundrel's evidence is
now all in and he is a failure, or worse.”
“You are not habitually so fierce in judging people,” said the girl.
“I would be if they all wanted to marry my daughter,” rejoined the
professor. “Rather than let that man make love to you-or even be within
a short railway journey of you, I'll cart you off to Europe this winter
and keep you there until you forget. If you persist in this silly
fancy, I shall at once become medieval.”
Marjory had evidently recovered much of her composure. “Yes, father,
new climates are alway's supposed to cure one,” she remarked with a
kind of lightness.
“It isn't so much the old expedient,” said the professor musingly,
“as it is that I would be afraid to leave you herewith no protection
against that drinking gambler and gambling drunkard.”
“Father, I have to ask you not to use such terms in speaking of the
man that I shall marry.”
There was a silence. To all intents, the professor remained unmoved.
He smote the tips of his fingers thoughtfully together. “Ye-es,” he
observed. “That sounds reasonable from your standpoint.” His eyes
studied her face in a long and steady glance. He arose and went into
the hall. When he returned he wore his hat and great coat. He took a
book and some papers from the table and went away.
Marjory walked slowly through the halls and up to her room. From a
window she could see her father making his way across the campus
labouriously against the wind and whirling snow. She watched it, this
little black figure, bent forward, patient, steadfast. It was an
inferior fact that her father was one of the famous scholars of the
generation. To her, he was now a little old man facing the wintry
winds. Recollect. ing herself and Rufus Coleman she began to weep
again, wailing amid the ruins of her tumbled hopes. Her skies had
turned to paper and her trees were mere bits of green sponge. But amid
all this woe appeared the little black image of her father making its
way against the storm.
IN a high-walled corrider of one of the college buildings, a crowd
of students waited amid jostlings and a loud buzz of talk. Suddenly a
huge pair of doors flew open and a wedge of young men inserted itself
boisterously and deeply into the throng. There was a great scuffle
attended by a general banging of books upon heads. The two lower
classes engaged in herculean play while members of the two higher
classes, standing aloof, devoted themselves strictly to the
encouragement of whichever party for a moment lost ground or heart.
This was in order to prolong the conflict.
The combat, waged in the desperation of proudest youth, waxed hot
and hotter. The wedge had been instantly smitten into a kind of block
of men. It had crumpled into an irregular square and on three sides it
was now assailed with remarkable ferocity.
It was a matter of wall meet wall in terrific rushes, during which
lads could feel their very hearts leaving them in the compress of
friends and foes. They on the outskirts upheld the honour of their
classes by squeezing into paper thickness the lungs of those of their
fellows who formed the centre of the melee
In some way it resembled a panic at a theatre.
The first lance-like attack of the Sophomores had been formidable,
but the Freshmen outnumbering their enemies and smarting from continual
Sophomoric oppression, had swarmed to the front like drilled collegians
and given the arrogant foe the first serious check of the year.
Therefore the tall Gothic windows which lined one side of the corridor
looked down upon as incomprehensible and enjoyable a tumult as could
mark the steps of advanced education. The Seniors and juniors cheered
themselves ill. Long freed from the joy of such meetings, their only
means for this kind of recreation was to involve the lower classes, and
they had never seen the victims fall to with such vigour and courage.
Bits of printed leaves, torn note-books, dismantled collars and
cravats, all floated to the floor beneath the feet of the warring
hordes. There were no blows; it was a battle of pressure. It was a
deadly pushing where the leaders on either side often suffered the most
cruel and sickening agony caught thus between phalanxes of shoulders
with friend as well as foe contributing to the pain.
Charge after charge of Freshmen beat upon the now compact and
organised Sophomores. Then, finally, the rock began to give slow way. A
roar came from the Freshmen and they hurled themselves in a frenzy upon
To be under the gaze of the juniors and Seniors is to be in sight of
all men, and so the Sophomores at this important moment laboured with
the desperation of the half- doomed to stem the terrible Freshmen.
In the kind of game, it was the time when bad tempers came strongly
to the front, and in many Sophomores' minds a thought arose of the
incomparable insolence of the Freshmen. A blow was struck; an
infuriated Sophomore had swung an arm high and smote a Freshman.
Although it had seemed that no greater noise could be made by the
given numbers, the din that succeeded this manifestation surpassed
everything. The juniors and Seniors immediately set up an angry howl.
These veteran classes projected themselves into the middle of the
fight, buffeting everybody with small thought as to merit. This method
of bringing peace was as militant as a landslide, but they had much
trouble before they could separate the central clump of antagonists
into its parts. A score of Freshmen had cried out: “It was Coke. Coke
punched him. Coke.” A dozen of them were tempestuously endeavouring to
register their protest against fisticuffs by means of an introduction
of more fisticuffs.
The upper classmen were swift, harsh and hard. “Come, now, Freshies,
quit it. Get back, get back, d'y'hear?” With a wrench of muscles they
forced themselves in front of Coke, who was being blindly defended by
his classmates from intensely earnest attacks by outraged Freshmen.
These meetings between the lower classes at the door of a recitation
room were accounted quite comfortable and idle affairs, and a blow
delivered openly and in hatred fractured a sharply defined rule of
conduct. The corridor was in a hubbub. Many Seniors and Juniors,
bursting from old and iron discipline, wildly clamoured that some
Freshman should be given the privilege of a single encounter with Coke.
The Freshmen themselves were frantic. They besieged the tight and
dauntless circle of men that encompassed Coke. None dared confront the
Seniors openly, but by headlong rushes at auspicious moments they tried
to come to quarters with the rings of dark-browed Sophomores. It was no
longer a festival, a game; it was a riot. Coke, wild-eyed, pallid with
fury, a ribbon of blood on his chin, swayed in the middle of the mob of
his classmates, comrades who waived the ethics of the blow under the
circumstance of being obliged as a corps to stand against the scorn of
the whole college, as well as against the tremendous assaults of the
Freshmen. Shamed by their own man, but knowing full well the right time
and the wrong time for a palaver of regret and disavowal, this
battalion struggled in the desperation of despair. Once they were upon
the verge of making unholy campaign against the interfering Seniors.
This fiery impertinence was the measure of their state.
It was a critical moment in the play of the college. Four or five
defeats from the Sophomores during the fall had taught the Freshmen
much. They had learned the comparative measurements, and they knew now
that their prowess was ripe to enable them to amply revenge what was,
according to their standards, an execrable deed by a man who had not
the virtue to play the rough game, but was obliged to resort to
uncommon methods. In short, the Freshmen were almost out of control,
and the Sophomores debased but defiant, were quite out of control. The
Senior and junior classes which, in American colleges dictate in these
affrays, found their dignity toppling, and in consequence there was a
sudden oncome of the entire force of upper classmen football players
naturally in advance. All distinctions were dissolved at once in a
general fracas. The stiff and still Gothic windows surveyed a scene of
Suddenly a voice rang brazenly through the tumult. It was not loud,
but it was different. “Gentlemen! Gentlemen!'“ Instantly there was a
remarkable number of haltings, abrupt replacements, quick changes.
Prof. Wainwright stood at the door of his recitation room, looking into
the eyes of each member of the mob of three hundred. “Ssh!” said the
mob. “ Ssh! Quit! Stop! It's the Embassador! Stop!” He had once been
minister to Austro-Hungary, and forever now to the students of the
college his name was Embassador. He stepped into the corridor, and they
cleared for him a little respectful zone of floor. He looked about him
coldly. “It seems quite a general dishevelment. The Sophomores display
an energy in the halls which I do not detect in the class room.” A
feeble murmur of appreciation arose from the outskirts of the throng.
While he had been speaking several remote groups of battling men had
been violently signaled and suppressed by other students. The professor
gazed into terraces of faces that were still inflamed. “I needn't say
that I am surprised,” he remarked in the accepted rhetoric of his kind.
He added musingly: “There seems to be a great deal of torn linen. Who
is the young gentleman with blood on his chin?”
The throng moved restlessly. A manful silence, such as might be in
the tombs of stern and honourable knights, fell upon the shadowed
corridor. The subdued rustling had fainted to nothing. Then out of the
crowd Coke, pale and desperate, delivered himself.
“Oh, Mr. Coke,” said the professor, “I would be glad if you would
tell the gentlemen they may retire to their dormitories.” He waited
while the students passed out to the campus.
The professor returned to his room for some books, and then began
his own march across the snowy campus. The wind twisted his coat-tails
fantastically, and he was obliged to keep one hand firmly on the top of
his hat. When he arrived home he met his wife in the hall. “Look here,
Mary,” he cried. She followed him into the library. “Look here,” he
said. “What is this all about? Marjory tells me she wants to marry
Mrs. Wainwright was a fat woman who was said to pride herself upon
being very wise and if necessary, sly. In addition she laughed
continually in an inexplicably personal way, which apparently made
everybody who heard her feel offended. Mrs. Wainwright laughed.
“Well,” said the professor, bristling, “what do you mean by that?”
“Oh, Harris,” she replied. “Oh, Harris.”
The professor straightened in his chair. “I do not see any
illumination in those remarks, Mary. I understand from Marjory's manner
that she is bent upon marrying Rufus Coleman. She said you knew of it.”
“Why, of course I knew. It was as plain—-”
“Plain!” scoffed the professor. “Plain!”
Why, of course,” she cried. “I knew it all along.”
There was nothing in her tone which proved that she admired the
event itself. She was evidently carried away by the triumph of her
penetration. “I knew it all along,” she added, nodding.
The professor looked at her affectionately. “You knew it all along,
then, Mary? Why didn't you tell me, dear?”
“Because you ought to have known it,” she answered blatantly.
The professor was glaring. Finally he spoke in tones of grim
reproach. “Mary, whenever you happen to know anything, dear, it seems
only a matter of partial recompense that you should tell me.”
The wife had been taught in a terrible school that she should never
invent any inexpensive retorts concerning bookworms and so she yawed at
once. “Really, Harris. Really, I didn't suppose the affair was serious.
You could have knocked me down with a feather. Of course he has been
here very often, but then Marjory gets a great deal of attention. A
great deal of attention.” The professor had been thinking. “Rather than
let my girl marry that scalawag, I'll take you and her to Greece this
winter with the class. Separation. It is a sure cure that has the
sanction of antiquity.”
“Well,” said Mrs. Wainwright, “you know best, Harris. You know
best.” It was a common remark with her, and it probably meant either
approbation or disapprobation if it did not mean simple discretion.
THERE had been a babe with no arms born in one of the western
counties of Massachusetts. In place of upper limbs the child had
growing from its chest a pair of fin-like hands, mere bits of
skin-covered bone. Furthermore, it had only one eye. This phenomenon
lived four days, but the news of the birth had travelled up this
country road and through that village until it reached the ears of the
editor of the Michaelstown Tribune. He was also a correspondent of the
New York Eclipse. On the third day he appeared at the home of the
parents accompanied by a photographer. While the latter arranged his,
instrument, the correspondent talked to the father and mother, two
coweyed and yellow-faced people who seemed to suffer a primitive fright
of the strangers. Afterwards as the correspondent and the photographer
were climbing into their buggy, the mother crept furtively down to the
gate and asked, in a foreigner's dialect, if they would send her a copy
of the photograph. The correspondent carelessly indulgent, promised it.
As the buggy swung away, the father came from behind an apple tree, and
the two semi-humans watched it with its burden of glorious strangers
until it rumbled across the bridge and disappeared. The correspondent
was elate; he told the photographer that the Eclipse would probably pay
fifty dollars for the article and the photograph.
The office of the New York Eclipse was at the top of the immense
building on Broadway. It was a sheer mountain to the heights of which
the interminable thunder of the streets arose faintly. The Hudson was a
broad path of silver in the distance. Its edge was marked by the
tracery of sailing ships' rigging and by the huge and many-coloured
stacks of ocean liners. At the foot of the cliff lay City Hall Park. It
seemed no larger than a quilt. The grey walks patterned the
snow-covering into triangles and ovals and upon them many tiny people
scurried here and there, without sound, like a fish at the bottom of a
pool. It was only the vehicles that sent high, unmistakable, the deep
bass of their movement. And yet after listening one seemed to hear a
singular murmurous note, a pulsation, as if the crowd made noise by its
mere living, a mellow hum of the eternal strife. Then suddenly out of
the deeps might ring a human voice, a newsboy shout perhaps, the cry of
a faraway jackal at night.
From the level of the ordinary roofs, combined in many plateaus,
dotted with short iron chimneys from which curled wisps of steam, arose
other mountains like the Eclipse Building. They were great peaks,
ornate, glittering with paint or polish. Northward they subsided to
From some of the windows of the Eclipse office dropped the walls of
a terrible chasm in the darkness of which could be seen vague
struggling figures. Looking down into this appalling crevice one
discovered only the tops of hats and knees which in spasmodic jerks
seemed to touch the rims of the hats. The scene represented some weird
fight or dance or carouse. It was not an exhibition of men hurrying
along a narrow street.
It was good to turn one's eyes from that place to the vista of the
city's splendid reaches, with spire and spar shining in the clear
atmosphere and the marvel of the Jersey shore, pearl- misted or
brilliant with detail. From this height the sweep of a snow-storm was
defined and majestic. Even a slight summer shower, with swords of lurid
yellow sunlight piercing its edges as if warriors were contesting every
foot of its advance, was from the Eclipse office something so inspiring
that the chance pilgrim felt a sense of exultation as if from this peak
he was surveying the worldwide war of the elements and life. The staff
of the Eclipse usually worked without coats and amid the smoke from
To one of the editorial chambers came a photograph and an article
from Michaelstown, Massachusetts. A boy placed the packet and many
others upon the desk of a young man who was standing before a window
and thoughtfully drumming upon the pane. He turned at the thudding of
the packets upon his desk. “Blast you,” he remarked amiably. “Oh, I
guess it won't hurt you to work,” answered the boy, grinning with a
comrade's Insolence. Baker, an assistant editor for the Sunday paper,
took scat at his desk and began the task of examining the packets. His
face could not display any particular interest because he had been at
the same work for nearly a fortnight.
The first long envelope he opened was from a woman. There was a neat
little manuscript accompanied by a letter which explained that the
writer was a widow who was trying to make her living by her pen and
who, further, hoped that the generosity of the editor of the Eclipse
would lead him to give her article the opportunity which she was sure
it deserved. She hoped that the editor would pay her as well as
possible for it, as she needed the money greatly. She added that her
brother was a reporter on the Little Rock Sentinel and he had declared
that her literary style was excellent. Baker really did not read this
note. His vast experience of a fortnight had enabled him to detect its
kind in two glances. He unfolded the manuscript, looked at it woodenly
and then tossed it with the letter to the top of his desk, where it lay
with the other corpses. None could think of widows in Arkansas,
ambitious from the praise of the reporter on the Little Rock Sentinel,
waiting for a crown of literary glory and money. In the next envelope a
man using the note-paper of a Boston journal begged to know if the
accompanying article would be acceptable; if not it was to be kindly
returned in the enclosed stamped envelope. It was a humourous essay on
trolley cars. Adventuring through the odd scraps that were come to the
great mill, Baker paused occasionally to relight his pipe.
As he went through envelope after envelope, the desks about him
gradually were occupied by young men who entered from the hall with
their faces still red from the cold of the streets. For the most part
they bore the unmistakable stamp of the American college. They had that
confident poise which is easily brought from the athletic field.
Moreover, their clothes were quite in the way of being of the newest
fashion. There was an air of precision about their cravats and linen.
But on the other hand there might be with them some indifferent
westerner who was obliged to resort to irregular means and harangue
startled shop-keepers in order to provide himself with collars of a
strange kind. He was usually very quick and brave of eye and noted for
his inability to perceive a distinction between his own habit and the
habit of others, his western character preserving itself inviolate amid
a confusion of manners.
The men, coming one and one, or two and two, flung badinage to all
corners of the room. Afterward, as they wheeled from time to time in
their chairs, they bitterly insulted each other with the utmost
good-nature, taking unerring aim at faults and riddling personalities
with the quaint and cynical humour of a newspaper office. Throughout
this banter, it was strange to note how infrequently the men smiled,
particularly when directly engaged in an encounter.
A wide door opened into another apartment where were many little
slanted tables, each under an electric globe with a green shade. Here a
curly-headed scoundrel with a corncob pipe was hurling paper balls the
size of apples at the head of an industrious man who, under these
difficulties, was trying to draw a picture of an awful wreck with
ghastly-faced sailors frozen in the rigging. Near this pair a lady was
challenging a German artist who resembled Napoleon III. with having
been publicly drunk at a music hall on the previous night. Next to the
great gloomy corridor of this sixteenth floor was a little office
presided over by an austere boy, and here waited in enforced patience a
little dismal band of people who wanted to see the Sunday editor.
Baker took a manuscript and after glancing about the room, walked
over to a man at another desk, Here is something that. I think might
do,” he said. The man at the desk read the first two pages. “But where
is the photogragh ” ” he asked then. “There should be a photograph with
“Oh, I forgot,” said Baker. He brought from his desk a photograph of
the babe that had been born lacking arms and one eye. Baker's superior
braced a knee against his desk and settled back to a judicial attitude.
He took the photograph and looked at it impassively. “Yes,” he said,
after a time, “that's a pretty good thing. You better show that to
Coleman when he comes in.”
In the little office where the dismal band waited, there had been a
sharp hopeful stir when Rufus Coleman, the Sunday editor, passed
rapidly from door to door and vanished within the holy precincts. It
had evidently been in the minds of some to accost him then, but his
eyes did not turn once in their direction. It was as if he had not seen
them. Many experiences had taught him that the proper manner of passing
through this office was at a blind gallop.
The dismal band turned then upon the austere office boy. Some
demanded with terrible dignity that he should take in their cards at
once. Others sought to ingratiate themselves by smiles of tender
friendliness. He for his part employed what we would have called his
knowledge of men and women upon the group, and in consequence blundered
and bungled vividly, freezing with a glance an annoyed and importunate
Arctic explorer who was come to talk of illustrations for an article
that had been lavishly paid for in advance. The hero might have thought
he was again in the northern seas. At the next moment the boy was
treating almost courteously a German from the cast side who wanted the
Eclipse to print a grand full page advertising description of his
invention, a gun which was supposed to have a range of forty miles and
to be able to penetrate anything with equanimity and joy. The gun, as a
matter of fact, had once been induced to go off when it had hurled
itself passionately upon its back, incidentally breaking its inventor's
leg. The projectile had wandered some four hundred yards seaward, where
it dug a hole in the water which was really a menace to navigation.
Since then there had been nothing tangible save the inventor, in
splints and out of splints, as the fortunes of science decreed. In
short, this office boy mixed his business in the perfect manner of an
underdone lad dealing with matters too large for him, and throughout he
displayed the pride and assurance of a god.
As Coleman crossed the large office his face still wore the stern
expression which he invariably used to carry him unmolested through the
ranks of the dismal band. As he was removing his London overcoat he
addressed the imperturbable back of one of his staff, who had a desk
against the opposite wall. “Has Hasskins sent in that drawing of the
mine accident yet?” The man did not lift his head from his work-, but
he answered at once: “No; not yet.” Coleman was laying his hat on a
chair. “Well, why hasn't he?” he demanded. He glanced toward the door
of the room in which the curly-headed scoundrel with the corncob pipe
was still hurling paper balls at the man who was trying to invent the
postures of dead mariners frozen in the rigging. The office boy came
timidly from his post and informed Coleman of the waiting people. “All
right,” said the editor. He dropped into his chair and began to finger
his letters, which had been neatly opened and placed in a little stack
by a boy. Baker came in with the photograph of the miserable babe.
It was publicly believed that the Sunday staff of the Eclipse must
have a kind of aesthetic delight in pictures of this kind, but
Coleman's face betrayed no emotion as he looked at this specimen. He
lit a fresh cigar, tilted his chair and surveyed it with a cold and
stony stare. “Yes, that's all right,” he said slowly. There seemed to
be no affectionate relation between him and this picture. Evidently he
was weighing its value as a morsel to be flung to a ravenous public,
whose wolf-like appetite, could only satisfy itself upon mental
entrails, abominations. As for himself, he seemed to be remote,
exterior. It was a matter of the Eclipse business.
Suddenly Coleman became executive. “Better give it to Schooner and
tell him to make a half-page—-or, no, send him in here and I'll tell
him my idea. How's the article? Any good? Well, give it to Smith to
An artist came from the other room and presented for inspection his
drawing of the seamen dead in the rigging of the wreck, a company of
grizzly and horrible figures, bony-fingered, shrunken and with awful
eyes. “Hum,” said Coleman, after a prolonged study, “that's all right.
That's good, Jimmie. But you'd better work 'em up around the eyes a
little more.” The office boy was deploying in the distance, waiting for
the correct moment to present some cards and names.
The artist was cheerfully taking away his corpses when Coleman
hailed him. “Oh, Jim, let me see that thing again, will you? Now, how
about this spar? This don't look right to me.”
“It looks right to me,” replied the artist, sulkily.
“But, see. It's going to take up half a page. Can't you change it
How am I going to change it?” said the other, glowering at Coleman.
“That's the way it ought to be. How am I going to change it? That's the
way it ought to be.”
“No, it isn't at all,” said Coleman. “You've got a spar sticking out
of the main body of the drawing in a way that will spoil the look of
the whole page.”
The artist was a man of remarkable popular reputation and he was
very stubborn and conceited of it, constantly making himself unbearable
with covert, threats that if he was not delicately placated at all
points, he would freight his genius over to the office of the great
“That's the way it ought to be,” he repeated, in a tone at once
sullen and superior. “The spar is all right. I can't rig spars on ships
just to suit you.”
“And I can't give up the whole paper to your accursed spars,
either,” said Coleman, with animation. “Don't you see you use about a
third of a page with this spar sticking off into space? Now, you were
always so clever, Jimmie, in adapting yourself to the page. Can't you
shorten it, or cut it off, or something? Or, break it-that's the thing.
Make it a broken spar dangling down. See?”
“Yes, I s'pose I could do that,” said the artist, mollified by a
thought of the ease with which he could make the change, and mollified,
too, by the brazen tribute to a part of his cleverness.
“Well, do it, then,” said the Sunday editor, turning abruptly away.
The artist, with head high, walked majestically back to the other room.
Whereat the curly-headed one immediately resumed the rain of paper
balls upon him. The office boy came timidly to Coleman and suggested
the presence of the people in the outer office. “Let them wait until I
read my mail,” said Coleman. He shuffled the pack of letters
indifferently through his hands. Suddenly he came upon a little grey
envelope. He opened it at once and scanned its contents with the speed
of his craft. Afterward he laid it down before him on the desk and
surveyed it with a cool and musing smile. “So?” he remarked. “That's
the case, is it?”
He presently swung around in his chair, and for a time held the
entire attention of the men at the various desks. He outlined to them
again their various parts in the composition of the next great Sunday
edition. In a few brisk sentences he set a complex machine in proper
motion. His men no longer thrilled with admiration at the precision
with which he grasped each obligation of the campaign toward a
successful edition. They had grown to accept it as they accepted his
hat or his London clothes. At this time his face was lit with something
of the self-contained enthusiasm of a general. Immediately afterward he
arose and reached for his coat and hat.
The office boy, coming circuitously forward, presented him with some
cards and also with a scrap of paper upon which was scrawled a long and
semicoherent word. “What are these?” grumbled Coleman.
“They are waiting outside,” answered the boy, with trepidation. It
was part of the law that the lion of the ante-room should cringe like a
cold monkey, more or less, as soon as he was out of his private jungle.
“Oh, Tallerman,” cried the Sunday editor, “here's this Arctic man come
to arrange about his illustration. I wish you'd go and talk it over
with him.” By chance he picked up the scrap of paper with its cryptic
word. “Oh,” he said, scowling at the office boy. “Pity you can't
remember that fellow. If you can't remember faces any better than that
you should be a detective. Get out now and tell him to go to the
devil.” The wilted slave turned at once, but Coleman hailed him. “Hold
on. Come to think of it, I will see this idiot. Send him in,” he
Coleman lapsed into a dream over the sheet of grey note paper.
Presently, a middle-aged man, a palpable German, came hesitatingly into
the room and bunted among the desks as unmanageably as a tempest-tossed
scow. Finally he was impatiently towed in the right direction. He came
and stood at Coleman's elbow and waited nervously for the engrossed man
to raise his eyes. It was plain that this interview meant important
things to him. Somehow on his commonplace countenance was to be found
the expression of a dreamer, a fashioner of great and absurd projects,
a fine, tender fool. He cast hopeful and reverent glances at the man
who was deeply contemplative of the grey note. He evidently believed
himself on the threshold of a triumph of some kind, and he awaited his
fruition with a joy that was only made sharper by the usual human
suspicion of coming events.
Coleman glanced up at last and saw his visitor.
“Oh, it's you, is it?” he remarked icily, bending upon the German
the stare of a tyrant. “So you've come again, have you?” He wheeled in
his chair until he could fully display a contemptuous, merciless smile.
“Now, Mr. What's-your-name, you've called here to see me about twenty
times already and at last I am going to say something definite about
your invention.” His listener's face, which had worn for a moment a
look of fright and bewilderment, gladdened swiftly to a gratitude that
seemed the edge of an outburst of tears. “Yes,” continued Coleman, “I
am going to say something definite. I am going to say that it is the
most imbecile bit of nonsense that has come within the range of my
large newspaper experience. It is simply the aberration of a rather
remarkable lunatic. It is no good; it is not worth the price of a
cheese sandwich. I understand that its one feat has been to break your
leg; if it ever goes off again, persuade it to break your neck. And now
I want you to take this nursery rhyme of yours and get out. And don't
ever come here again. Do You understand? You understand, do you?” He
arose and bowed in courteous dismissal.
The German was regarding him with the surprise and horror of a youth
shot mortally. He could not find his tongue for a moment. Ultimately he
gasped: “But, Mister Editor ”—Coleman interrupted him tigerishly. “You
heard what I said? Get out.” The man bowed his head and went slowly
toward the door.
Coleman placed the little grey note in his breast pocket. He took
his hat and top coat, and evading the dismal band by a shameless
manoeuvre, passed through the halls to the entrance to the elevator
shaft. He heard a movement behind him and saw that the German was also
waiting for the elevator. Standing in the gloom of the corridor,
Coleman felt the mournful owlish eyes of the German resting upon him.
He took a case from his pocket and elaborately lit a cigarette.
Suddenly there was a flash of light and a cage of bronze, gilt and
steel dropped, magically from above. Coleman yelled: “Down!” A door
flew open. Coleman, followed by the German, stepped upon the elevator.
“Well, Johnnie,” he said cheerfully to the lad who operated this
machine, “is business good?” “Yes, sir, pretty good,” answered the boy,
grinning. The little cage sank swiftly; floor after floor seemed to be
rising with marvellous speed; the whole building was winging straight
into the sky. There were soaring lights, figures and the opalescent
glow of ground glass doors marked with black inscriptions. Other lifts
were springing heavenward. All the lofty corridors rang with cries.
“Up!” Down!” ” Down!” ” Up!” The boy's hand grasped a lever and his
machine obeyed his lightest movement with sometimes an unbalancing
Coleman discoursed briskly to the youthful attendant. Once he turned
and regarded with a quick stare of insolent annoyance the despairing
countenance of the German whose eyes had never left him. When the
elevator arrived at the ground floor, Coleman departed with the
outraged air of a man who for a time had been compelled to occupy a
cell in company with a harmless spectre.
He walked quickly away. Opposite a corner of the City Hall he was
impelled to look behind him. Through the hordes of people with cable
cars marching like panoplied elephants, he was able to distinguish the
German, motionless and gazing after him. Coleman laughed. “That's a
comic old boy,” he said, to himself.
In the grill-room of a Broadway hotel he was obliged to wait some
minutes for the fulfillment of his orders and he spent the time in
reading and studying the little grey note. When his luncheon was served
he ate with an expression of morose dignity.
MARJORY paused again at her father's door. After hesitating in the
original way she entered the library. Her father almost represented an
emblematic figure, seated upon a column of books. “Well,” he cried.
Then, seeing it was Marjory, he changed his tone. “Ah, under the
circumstances, my dear, I admit your privilege of interrupting me at
any hour of the day. You have important business with me.” His manner
was satanically indulgent.
The girl fingered a book. She turned the leaves in absolute
semblance of a person reading. “Rufus Coleman called.”
“Indeed,” said the professor.
“And I've come to you, father, before seeing him.”
The professor was silent for a time. “Well, Marjory,” he said at
last, “what do you want me to say?” He spoke very deliberately. “I am
sure this is a singular situation. Here appears the man I formally
forbid you to marry. I am sure I do not know what I am to say.”
“I wish to see him,” said the girl.
“You wish to see him?” enquired the professor. “You wish to see him
” Marjory, I may as well tell you now that with all the books and plays
I've read, I really don't know how the obdurate father should conduct
himself. He is always pictured as an exceedingly dense gentleman with
white whiskers, who does all the unintelligent things in the plot. You
and I are going to play no drama, are we, Marjory? I admit that I have
white whiskers, and I am an obdurate father. I am, as you well may say,
a very obdurate father. You are not to marry Rufus Coleman. You
understand the rest of the matter. He is here; you want to see him.
What will you say to him when you see him?”
“I will say that you refuse to let me marry him, father and-” She
hesitated a moment before she lifted her eyes fully and formidably to
her father's face. “And that I shall marry him anyhow.”
The professor did not cavort when this statement came from his
daughter. He nodded and then passed into a period of reflection.
Finally he asked: “But when? That is the point. When?”
The girl made a sad gesture. “I don't know. I don't know. Perhaps
when you come to know Rufus better-”
“Know him better. Know that rapscallion better? Why, I know him much
better than he knows himself. I know him too well. Do you think I am
talking offhand about this affair? Do you think I am talking without
Marjory made no reply.
“Well,” said the professor, “you may see Coleman on condition that
you inform him at once that I forbid your marriage to him. I don't
understand at all how to manage these situations. I don't know what to
do. I suppose I should go myself and-No, you can't see him, Majory.”
Still the girl made no reply. Her head sank forward and she breathed
a trifle heavily. “Marjory,” cried the professor, it is impossible that
you should think so much of this man.” He arose and went to his
daughter. “Marjory, many wise children have been guided by foolish
fathers, but we both suspect that no foolish child has ever been guided
by a wise father. Let us change it. I present myself to you as a wise
father. Follow my wishes in this affair and you will be at least
happier than if you marry this wretched Coleman.”
She answered: “He is waiting for me.”
The professor turned abruptly from her and dropped into his chair at
the table. He resumed a grip on his pen. “Go,” he said, wearily. “Go.
But if you have a remnant of sense, remember what I have said to you.
Go.” He waved his hand in a dismissal that was slightly scornful. “I
hoped you would have a minor conception of what you were doing. It
seems a pity.” Drooping in tears, the girl slowly left the room.
Coleman had an idea that he had occupied the chair for several
months. He gazed about at the pictures and the odds and ends of a
drawing-room in an attempt to take an interest in them. The great
garlanded paper shade over the piano lamp consoled his impatience in a
mild degree because he knew that Marjory had made it. He noted the
clusters of cloth violets which she had pinned upon the yellow paper
and he dreamed over the fact. He was able to endow this shade with
certain qualities of sentiment that caused his stare to become almost a
part of an intimacy, a communion. He looked as if he could have
unburdened his soul to this shade over the piano lamp.
Upon the appearance of Marjory he sprang up and came forward
rapidly. “Dearest,” he murmured, stretching out both hands. She gave
him one set of fingers with chilling convention. She said something
which he understood to be ” Good-afternoon.” He started as if the woman
before him had suddenly drawn a knife. “Marjory,” he cried, “what is
the matter?.” They walked together toward a window. The girl looked at
him in polite enquiry. “Why?” she said. “Do I seem strange?” There was
a moment's silence while he gazed into her eyes, eyes full of innocence
and tranquillity. At last she tapped her foot upon the floor in
expression of mild impatience. “People do not like to be asked what is
the matter when there is nothing the matter. What do you mean?”
Coleman's face had gradually hardened. “Well, what is wrong?” he
demanded, abruptly. “What has happened? What is it, Marjory?”
She raised her glance in a perfect reality of wonder. “What is
wrong? What has happened? How absurd! Why nothing, of course.” She
gazed out of the window. “Look,” she added, brightly, the students are
rolling somebody in a drift. Oh, the poor Man!”
Coleman, now wearing a bewildered air, made some pretense of being
occupied with the scene. “Yes,” he said, ironically. “Very interesting,
“Oh,” said Marjory, suddenly, “I forgot to tell you. Father is going
to take mother and me to Greece this winter with him and the class.”
Coleman replied at once. “Ah, indeed? That will be jolly.”
“Yes. Won't it be charming?”
“I don't doubt it,” he replied. His composure May have displeased
her, for she glanced at him furtively and in a way that denoted
“Oh, of course,” she said, in a glad voice. “It will be more fun. We
expect to nave a fine time. There is such a n ice lot of boys going
Sometimes father chooses these dreadfully studious ones. But this time
he acts as if he knew precisely how to make up a party.”
He reached for her hand and grasped it vise-like. “Marjory,” he
breathed, passionately, “don't treat me so. Don't treat me-”
She wrenched her hand from him in regal indignation. “One or two
rings make it uncomfortable for the hand that is grasped by an angry
gentleman.” She held her fingers and gazed as if she expected to find
them mere debris. “I am sorry that you are not interested in the
students rolling that man in the snow. It is the greatest scene our
quiet life can afford.”
He was regarding her as a judge faces a lying culprit. “I know,” he
said, after a pause. “Somebody has been telling you some stories. You
have been hearing something about me.”
“Some stories?” she enquired. “Some stories about you? What do you
mean? Do you mean that I remember stories I may happen to hear about
There was another pause and then Coleman's face flared red. He beat
his hand violently upon a table. “Good God, Marjory! Don't make a fool
of me. Don't make this kind of a fool of me, at any rate. Tell me what
you mean. Explain-”
She laughed at him. “Explain? Really, your vocabulary is getting
extensive, but it is dreadfully awkward to ask people to explain when
there is nothing to explain.”
He glanced at her, “I know as well as you do that your father is
taking you to Greece in order to get rid of me.”
“And do people have to go to Greece in order to get rid of you?” she
asked, civilly. “I think you are getting excited.”
“Marjory,” he began, stormily. She raised her hand. “Hush,” she
said, “there is somebody coming.” A bell had rung. A maid entered the
room. “Mr. Coke,” she said. Marjory nodded. In the interval of waiting,
Coleman gave the girl a glance that mingled despair with rage and
pride. Then Coke burst with half-tamed rapture into the room. “Oh, Miss
Wainwright,” he almost shouted, “I can't tell you how glad I am. I just
heard to-day you were going. Imagine it. It will be more—oh, how are
you Coleman, how are you ” “
Marjory welcomed the new-comer with a cordiality that might not have
thrilled Coleman with pleasure. They took chairs that formed a triangle
and one side of it vibrated with talk. Coke and Marjory engaged in a
tumultuous conversation concerning the prospective trip to Greece. The
Sunday editor, as remote as if the apex of his angle was the top of a
hill, could only study the girl's clear profile. The youthful voices of
the two others rang like bells. He did not scowl at Coke; he merely
looked at him as if be gently disdained his mental calibre. In fact all
the talk seemed to tire him; it was childish; as for him, he apparently
found this babble almost insupportable.
“And, just think of the camel rides we'll have,” cried Coke.
“Camel rides,” repeated Coleman, dejectedly. “My dear Coke.”
Finally he arose like an old man climbing from a sick bed. “Well, I
am afraid I must go, Miss Wainwright.” Then he said affectionately to
Coke: “Good-bye, old boy. I hope you will have a good time.”
Marjory walked with him to the door. He shook her hand in a friendly
fashion. “Good-bye, Marjory,' he said. “Perhaps it may happen that I
shan't see you again before you start for Greece and so I had best bid
you God-speed—-or whatever the term is now. You will have a charming
time; Greece must be a delightful place. Really, I envy you, Marjory.
And now my dear child “-his voice grew brotherly, filled with the
patronage of generous fraternal love, “although I may never see you
again let me wish you fifty as happy years as this last one has been
for me.” He smiled frankly into her eyes; then dropping her hand, he
Coke renewed his tempest of talk as Marjory turned toward him. But
after a series of splendid eruptions, whose red fire illumined all of
ancient and modem Greece, he too went away.
The professor was in his. library apparently absorbed in a book when
a tottering pale-faced woman appeared to him and, in her course toward
a couch in a corner of the room, described almost a semi-circle. She
flung herself face downward. A thick strand of hair swept over her
shoulder. “Oh, my heart is broken! My heart is broken!”
The professor arose, grizzled and thrice-old with pain. He went to
the couch, but he found himself a handless, fetless man. “My poor
child,” he said. “My poor child.” He remained listening stupidly to her
convulsive sobbing. A ghastly kind of solemnity came upon the room.
Suddenly the girl lifted herself and swept the strand of hair away
from her face. She looked at the professor with the wide- open dilated
eyes of one who still sleeps. “Father,” she said in a hollow voice, “he
don't love me. He don't love me. He don't love me. at all. You were
right, father.” She began to laugh.
“Marjory,” said the professor, trembling. “Be quiet, child. Be
“But,” she said, “I thought he loved me—I was sure of it. But it
don't-don't matter. I—I can't get over it. Women-women, the- but it
“Marjory,” said the professor. “Marjory, my poor daughter.”
She did not heed his appeal, but continued in a dull whisper. “He
was playing with me. He was—was-was flirting with me. He didn't care
when I told him—I told him— I was going-going away.” She turned her
face wildly to the cushions again. Her young shoulders shook as if they
might break. “Wo-men-women-they always——”
By a strange mishap of management the train which bore Coleman back
toward New York was fetched into an obscure side-track of some lonely
region and there compelled to bide a change of fate. The engine wheezed
and sneezed like a paused fat man. The lamps in the cars pervaded a
stuffy odor of smoke and oil. Coleman examined his case and found only
one cigar. Important brakemen proceeded rapidly along the aisles, and
when they swung open the doors, a polar wind circled the legs of the
passengers. “Well, now, what is all this for?” demanded Coleman,
furiously. “I want to get back to New York.”
The conductor replied with sarcasm, “Maybe you think I'm stuck on it
” I ain't running the road. I'm running this train, and I run it
according to orders.” Amid the dismal comforts of the waiting cars,
Coleman felt all the profound misery of the rebuffed true lover. He had
been sentenced, he thought, to a penal servitude of the heart, as he
watched the dusky, vague ribbons of smoke come from the lamps and felt
to his knees the cold winds from the brakemen's busy flights. When the
train started with a whistle and a jolt, he was elate as if in his
abjection his beloved's hand had reached to him from the clouds.
When he had arrived in New York, a cab rattled him to an uptown
hotel with speed. In the restaurant he first ordered a large bottle of
champagne. The last of the wine he finished in sombre mood like an
unbroken and defiant man who chews the straw that litters his prison
house. During his dinner he was continually sending out messenger boys.
He was arranging a poker party. Through a window he watched the
beautiful moving life of upper Broadway at night, with its crowds and
clanging cable cars and its electric signs, mammoth and glittering,
like the jewels of a giantess.
Word was brought to him that the poker players were arriving. He
arose joyfully, leaving his cheese. In the broad hall, occupied mainly
by miscellaneous people and actors, all deep in leather chairs, he
found some of his friends waiting. They trooped up stairs to Coleman's
rooms, where as a preliminary, Coleman began to hurl books and papers
from the table to the floor. A boy came with drinks. Most of the men,
in order to prepare for the game, removed their coats and cuffs and
drew up the sleeves of their shirts. The electric globes shed a
blinding light upon the table. The sound of clinking chips arose; the
elected banker spun the cards, careless and dexterous.
Later, during a pause of dealing, Coleman said: “Billie, what kind
of a lad is that young Coke up at Washurst?” He addressed an old
“Oh, you mean the Sophomore Coke?” asked the friend. “Seems a decent
sort of a fellow. I don't know. Why?”
“Well, who is he? Where does he come from? What do you know about
“He's one of those Ohio Cokes-regular thing—father millionaire-used
to be a barber-good old boy—why?”
“Nothin',” said Coleman, looking at his cards. “I know the lad. I
thought he was a good deal of an ass. I wondered who his people were.”
“Oh, his people are all right-in one way. Father owns rolling mills.
Do you raise it, Henry? Well, in order to make vice abhorrent to the
young, I'm obliged to raise back.”
“I'll see it,” observed Coleman, slowly pushing forward two blue
chips. Afterward he reached behind him and took another glass of wine.
To the others Coleman seemed to have something bitter upon his mind.
He played poker quietly, steadfastly, and, without change of eye,
following the mathematical religion of the game. Outside of the play he
was savage, almost insupportable. “What's the matter with you, Rufus?”
said his old college friend. “Lost your job? Girl gone back on you?
You're a hell of—a host. We don't get any. thing but insults and
Late at night Coleman began to lose steadily. In the meantime he
drank glass after glass of wine. Finally he made reckless bets on a
mediocre hand and an opponent followed him thoughtfully bet by bet,
undaunted, calm, absolutely without emotion. Coleman lost; he hurled
down his cards. “ Nobody but a damned fool would have seen that last
raise on anything less than a full hand.”
“Steady. Come off. What's wrong with you, Rufus?” cried his guests.
“You're not drunk, are you?” said his old college friend,
“'Drunk'?” repeated Coleman.
“Oh, say,” cried a man, “let's play cards. What's all this
It was when a grey, dirty light of dawn evaded the thick curtains
and fought on the floor with the feebled electric glow that Coleman, in
the midst of play, lurched his chest heavily upon the table. Some chips
rattled to the floor. “I'll call you,” he murmured, sleepily.
“Well,” replied a man, sternly, “three kings.”
The other players with difficulty extracted five cards from beneath
Coleman's pillowed head. “Not a pair! Come, come, this won't do. Oh,
let's stop playing. This is the rottenest game I ever sat in. Let's go
home. Why don't you put him. to bed, Billie?”
When Coleman awoke next morning, he looked back upon the poker game
as something that had transpired in previous years. He dressed and went
down to the grill-room. For his breakfast he ordered some eggs on toast
and a pint of champagne. A privilege of liberty belonged to a certain
Irish waiter, and this waiter looked at him, grinning. “Maybe you had a
pretty lively time last night, Mr Coleman?”
“Yes, Pat,” answered Coleman, “I did. It was all because of an
unrequited affection, Patrick.” The man stood near, a napkin over his
arm. Coleman went on impressively. “The ways of the modern lover are
strange. Now, I, Patrick, am a modern lover, and when, yesterday, the
dagger of disappointment was driven deep into my heart, I immediately
played poker as hard as I could and incidentally got loaded. This is
the modern point of view. I understand on good authority that in old
times lovers used to. languish. That is probably a lie, but at any rate
we do not, in these times, languish to any great extent. We get drunk.
Do you understand, Patrick?” The waiter was used to a harangue at
Coleman's breakfast time. He placed his hand over his mouth and
“Of course,” continued Coleman, thoughtfully. “It might be pointed
out by uneducated persons that it is difficult to maintain a high
standard of drunkenness for the adequate length of time, but in the
series of experiments which I am about to make I am sure I can easily
prove them to be in the wrong.”
“I am sure, sir,” said the waiter, “the young ladies would not like
to be hearing you talk this way.”
“Yes; no doubt, no doubt. The young ladies have still quite medieval
ideas. They don't understand. They still prefer lovers to languish.”
“At any rate, sir, I don't see that your heart is sure enough
broken. You seem to take it very easy. “
“Broken!” cried Coleman. “Easy? Man, my heart is in fragments. Bring
me another small bottle.”
Six weeks later, Coleman went to the office of the proprietor of the
Eclipse. Coleman was one of those smooth-shaven old-young men who wear
upon some occasions a singular air of temperance and purity. At these
times, his features lost their quality of worldly shrewdness and
endless suspicion and bloomed as the face of some innocent boy. It then
would be hard to tell that he had ever encountered even such a crime as
a lie or a cigarette. As he walked into the proprietor's office he was
a perfect semblance of a fine, inexperienced youth. People usually
concluded this change was due to a Turkish bath or some other expedient
of recuperation, but it was due probably to the power of a physical
“Boss in?” said Coleman.
“Yeh,” said the secretary, jerking his thumb toward an inner door.
In his private office, Sturgeon sat on the edge of the table dangling
one leg and dreamily surveying the wall. As Coleman entered he looked
up quickly. “Rufus,” he cried, “you're just the man I wanted to see.
I've got a scheme. A great scheme.” He slid from the table and began to
pace briskly to and fro, his hands deep in his trousers' pockets, his
chin sunk in his collar, his light blue eyes afire with interest. “Now
listen. This is immense. The Eclipse enlists a battalion of men to go
to Cuba and fight the Spaniards under its own flag-the Eclipse flag.
Collect trained officers from here and there-enlist every young devil
we see-drill 'em—best rifles-loads of ammunition- provisions-staff of
doctors and nurses—a couple of dynamite guns-everything complete best
in the world. Now, isn't that great? What's the matter with that now?
Eh? Eh? Isn't that great? It's great, isn't it? Eh? Why, my boy, we'll
Coleman did not seem to ignite. “I have been arrested four or five
times already on fool matters connected with the newspaper business,”
he observed, gloomily, “but I've never yet been hung. I think your
scheme is a beauty.”
Sturgeon paused in astonishment. “Why, what happens to be the matter
with you? What are you kicking about?”
Coleman made a slow gesture. “I'm tired,” he answered. “I need a
“Vacation!” cried Sturgeon. “Why don't you take one then?”
“That's what I've come to see you about. I've had a pretty heavy
strain on me for three years now, and I want to get a little rest.”
“Well, who in thunder has been keeping you from it? It hasn't been
“I know it hasn't been you, but, of course, I wanted the paper to go
and I wanted to have my share in its success, but now that everything
is all right I think I might go away for a time if you don't mind.”
“Mind!” exclaimed Sturgeon falling into his chair and reaching for
his check book. “Where do you want to go? How long do you want to be
gone? How much money do you want?”
“I don't want very much. And as for where I want to go, I thought I
might like to go to Greece for a while.”
Sturgeon had been writing a check. He poised his pen in the air and
began to laugh. “That's a queer place to go for a rest. Why, the
biggest war of modern times—a war that may involve all Europe-is
likely to start there at any moment. You are not likely to get any rest
“I know that,” answered Coleman. “I know there is likely to be a war
there. But I think that is exactly what would rest me. I would like to
report the war.”
“You are a queer bird,” answered Sturgeon deeply fascinated with
this new idea. He had apparently forgotten his vision of a Cuban
volunteer battalion. “War correspondence is about the most original
medium for a rest I ever heard of.”
“Oh, it may seem funny, but really, any change will be good for me
now. I've been whacking at this old Sunday edition until I'm sick of
it, and some,. times I wish the Eclipse was in hell.”
That's all right,” laughed the proprietor of the Eclipse. “But I
still don't see how you 'are going to get any vacation out of a war
that will upset the whole of Europe. But that's your affair. If you
want to become the chief correspondent in the field in case of any such
war, why, of course, I would be glad to have you. I couldn't get
anybody better. But I don't see where your vacation comes in.”
“I'll take care of that,” answered Coleman. “When I take a vacation
I want to take it my own way, and I think this will be a vacation
because it will be different—don't you see-different?”
“No, I don't see any sense in it, but if you think that is the way
that suits you, why, go ahead. How much money do you want?”
“I don't want much. just enough to see me through nicely.”
Sturgeon scribbled on his check book and then ripped a check from
it. “Here's a thousand dollars. Will that do you to start with?”
“When do you want to start?”
“Oh,” said Sturgeon. “You're in a hurry.” This impetuous manner of
exit from business seemed to appeal to him. “To-morrow,” he repeated
smiling. In reality he was some kind of a poet using his millions
romantically, spending wildly on a sentiment that might be with beauty
or without beauty, according to the momentary vacillation. The
vaguely-defined desperation in Coleman's last announcement appeared to
delight him. He grinned and placed the points of his fingers together
stretching out his legs in a careful attitude of indifference which
might even mean disapproval. “To-morrow,” he murmured teasingly.
“By jiminy,” exclaimed Coleman, ignoring the other man's mood, “I'm
sick of the whole business. I've got out a Sunday paper once a week for
three years and I feel absolutely incapable of getting out another
edition. It would be all right if we were running on ordinary lines,
but when each issue is more or less of an attempt to beat the previous
issue, it becomes rather wearing, you know. If I can't get a vacation
now I take one later in a lunatic asylum.”
“Why, I'm not objecting to your having a vacation. I'm simply
marvelling at the kind of vacation you want to take. And 'to-morrow,'
too, eh?” “Well, it suits me,” muttered Coleman, sulkily.
“Well, if it suits you, that's enough. Here's your check. Clear out
now and don't let me see you again until you are thoroughly rested,
even if it takes a year.” He arose and stood smiling. He was mightily
pleased with himself. He liked to perform in this way. He was almost
seraphic as he thrust the check for a thousand dollars toward Coleman.
Then his manner changed abruptly. “Hold on a minute. I must think a
little about this thing if you are going to manage the correspondence.
Of course it will be a long and bloody war.”
“The big chance is that all Europe will be dragged into it. Of
course then you would have to come out of Greece and take up abetter
“No, I wouldn't care to do that,” said Coleman positively. “I just
want to take care of the Greek end of it.”
“It will be an idiotic way to take a vacation,” observed Sturgeon.
“Well, it suits me,” muttered Coleman again. “I tell you what it
is-” he added suddenly. “I've got some private reasons- see?”
Sturgeon was radiant with joy. “Private reasons.” He was charmed by
the sombre pain in Coleman's eyes and his own ability to eject it.
“Good. Go now and be blowed. I will cable final instruction to meet you
in London. As soon as you get to Greece, cable me an account of the
situation there and we will arrange our plans.” He began to laugh.
“Private reasons. Come out to dinner with me.”
“I can't very well,” said Coleman. “If I go tomorrow, I've got to
But here the real tyrant appeared, emerging suddenly from behind the
curtain of sentiment, appearing like a red devil in a pantomine. “You
can't?” snapped Sturgeon. “Nonsense——”
SWEEPING out from between two remote, half-submerged dunes on which
stood slender sentry light. houses, the steamer began to roll with a
gentle insinuating motion. Passengers in their staterooms saw at
rhythmical intervals the spray racing fleetly past the portholes. The
waves grappled hurriedly at the sides of the great flying steamer and
boiled discomfited astern in a turmoil of green and white. From the
tops of the enormous funnels streamed level masses of smoke which were
immediately torn to nothing by the headlong wind. Meanwhile as the
steamer rushed into the northeast, men in caps and ulsters comfortably
paraded the decks and stewards arranged deck chairs for the reception
of various women who were coming from their cabins with rugs.
In the smoking room, old voyagers were settling down comfortably
while new voyagers were regarding them with a diffident respect. Among
the passengers Coleman found a number of people whom he knew, including
a wholesale wine merchant, a Chicago railway magnate and a New York
millionaire. They lived practically in the smoking room. Necessity
drove them from time to time to the salon, or to their berths. Once
indeed the millionaire was absent, from the group while penning a short
note to his wife.
When the Irish coast was sighted Coleman came on deck to look at it.
A tall young woman immediately halted in her walk until he had stepped
up to her. “Well, of all ungallant men, Rufus Coleman, you are the
star,” she cried laughing and held out her hand.
“Awfully sorry, I'm sure,” he murmured. “Been playing poker in the
smoking room all voyage. Didn't have a look at the passenger list until
just now. Why didn't you send me word?” These lies were told so
modestly and sincerely that when the girl flashed her, brilliant eyes
full upon their author there was a mixt of admiration in the
“Send you a card ” I don't believe you can read, else you would have
known I was to sail on this steamer. If I hadn't been ill until to-day
you would have seen me in the salon. I open at the Folly Theatre next
week. Dear ol' Lunnon, y' know.”
“Of course, I knew you were going,” said Coleman. “But I thought you
were to go later. What do you open in?”
“Fly by Night. Come walk along with me. See those two old ladies “
They've been watching for me like hawks ever since we left New York.
They expected me to flirt with every man on board. But I've fooled
them. I've been just as g-o-o-d. I had to be.”
As the pair moved toward the stern, enormous and radiant green waves
were crashing futilely after the steamer. Ireland showed a dreary coast
line to the north. A wretched man who had crossed the Atlantic
eighty-four times was declaiming to a group of novices. A venerable
banker, bundled in rugs, was asleep in his deck chair.
“Well, Nora,” said Coleman, “I hope you make a hit in London. You
deserve it if anybody does. You've worked hard.”
“Worked hard,” cried the girl. “I should think so. Eight years ago I
was in the rear row. Now I have the centre of the stage whenever I want
it. I made Chalmers cut out that great scene in the second act between
the queen and Rodolfo. The idea! Did he think I would stand that? And
just because he was in love with Clara Trotwood, too.”
Coleman was dreamy. “Remember when I was dramatic man for the
Gazette and wrote the first notice?”
“Indeed, I do,” answered the girl affectionately. “Indeed, I do,
Rufus. Ah, that was a great lift. I believe that was the first thing
that had an effect on old Oliver. Before that, he never would believe
that I was any good. Give me your arm, Rufus. Let's parade before the
two old women.” Coleman glanced at her keenly. Her voice had trembled
slightly. Her eyes were lustrous as if she were about to weep.
“Good heavens,” he said. “You are the same old Nora Black. I thought
you would be proud and 'aughty by this time.”
“Not to my friends,” she murmured., “Not to my friends. I'm always
the same and I never forget. Rufus.”
“Never forget what?” asked Coleman.
“If anybody does me a favour I never forget it as long as I live,”
she answered fervently.
“Oh, you mustn't be so sentimental, Nora. You remember that play you
bought from little Ben Whipple, just because he had once sent you some
flowers in the old days when you were poor and happened to bed sick. A
sense of gratitude cost you over eight thousand dollars that time,
didn't it?” Coleman laughed heartily.
“Oh, it wasn't the flowers at all,” she interrupted seriously. “ Of
course Ben was always a nice boy, but then his play was worth a
thousand dollars. That's all I gave him. I lost some more in trying to
make it go. But it was too good. That was what was the matter. It was
altogether too good for the public. I felt awfully sorry for poor
“Too good?” sneered Coleman. “Too good? Too indifferently bad, you
mean. My dear girl, you mustn't imagine that you know a good play. You
don't, at all.”
She paused abruptly and faced him. This regal, creature was looking
at him so sternly that Coleman felt awed for a moment as if he, were in
the presence of a great mind. “Do you mean to say that I'm not an
artist?” she asked.
Coleman remained cool. “I've never been decorated for informing
people of their own affairs,” he observed, “but I should say that you
were about as much of an artist as I am.”
Frowning slightly, she reflected upon this reply. Then, of a sudden,
she laughed. “There is no use in being angry with you, Rufus. You
always were a hopeless scamp. But,” she added, childishly wistful,
“have you ever seen Fly by Night? Don't you think my dance in the
second act is artistic?”
“No,” said Coleman, “I haven't seen Fly by Night yet, but of course
I know that you are the most beautiful dancer on the stage. Everybody
It seemed that her hand tightened on his arm. Her face was radiant.
“There,” she exclaimed. “Now you are forgiven. You are a nice boy,
When Miss Black went to her cabin, Coleman strolled into the smoking
room. Every man there covertly or openly surveyed him. He dropped
lazily into a chair at a table where the wine merchant, the Chicago
railway king and the New York millionaire were playing cards. They made
a noble pretense of not being aware of him. On the oil cloth top of the
table the cards were snapped down, turn by turn.
Finally the wine merchant, without lifting his head to- address a
particular person, said: “New conquest.”
Hailing a steward Coleman asked for a brandy and soda.
The millionaire said: “He's a sly cuss, anyhow.” The railway man
grinned. After an elaborate silence the wine merchant asked: “Know Miss
Black long, Rufus?” Coleman looked scornfully at his friends. “What's
wrong with you there, fellows, anyhow?” The Chicago man answered
airily. “Oh, nothin'. Nothin', whatever.”
At dinner in the crowded salon, Coleman was aware that more than one
passenger glanced first at Nora Black and then at him, as if connecting
them in some train of thought, moved to it by the narrow horizon of
shipboard and by a sense of the mystery that surrounds the lives of the
beauties of the stage. Near the captain's right hand sat the glowing
and splendid Nora, exhibiting under the gaze of the persistent eyes of
many meanings, a practiced and profound composure that to the populace
was terrfying dignity.
Strolling toward the smoking room after dinner, Coleman met the New
York millionaire, who seemed agitated. He took Coleman fraternally by
the arm. “Say, old man, introduce me, won't you? I'm crazy to know
“Do you mean Miss Black?” asked Coleman.
“Why, I don't know that I have a right. Of course, you know, she
hasn't been meeting anybody aboard. I'll ask her, though- certainly.”
“Thanks, old man, thanks. I'd be tickled to death. Come along and
have a drink. When will you ask her?” “Why, I don't know when I'll see
her. To-morrow, I suppose-”
They had not been long in the smoking room, however, when the deck
steward came with a card to Coleman. Upon it was written: “Come for' a
stroll?” Everybody, saw Coleman read this card and then look up and
whisper to the deck steward. The deck steward bent his head and
whispered discreetly in reply. There was an abrupt pause in the hum of
conversation. The interest was acute.
Coleman leaned carelessly back in his chair, puffing at his cigar.
He mingled calmly in a discussion of the comparative merits of certain
trans-Atlantic lines. After a time he threw away his cigar and arose.
Men nodded. “Didn't I tell you?” His studiously languid exit was made
dramatic by the eagle-eyed attention of the smoking room.
On deck he found Nora pacing to and fro. “You didn't hurry
yourself,” she said, as he joined her. The lights of Queenstown were
twinkling. A warm wind, wet with the moisture of rain- stricken sod,
was coming from the land.
“Why,” said Coleman, “we've got all these duffers very much
“Well what do you care?” asked hte girl. “You don't, care do you?”
“No, I don't care. Only it's rather absurd to be watched all the
time.” He said this precisely as if he abhorred being watched in this
case. “Oh by the way,” he added. Then he paused for a moment. “Aw—a
friend of mine—not a bad fellow— he asked me for an introduction. Of
course, I told him I'd ask you.”
She made a contemptuous gesture. “Oh, another Willie. Tell him no.
Tell him to go home to his family. Tell him to run away.”
“He isn't a bad fellow. He—” said Coleman diffidently, “he would
probably be at the theatre every night in a box.”
“yes, and get drunk and throw a wine bottle on the stage instead of
a bouquet. No,” she declared positively, “I won't see him.”
Coleman did not seem to be oppressed by this ultimatum. “Oh, all
right. I promised him—that was all.”
“Besides, are you in a great hurry to get rid of me?”
“Rid of you? Nonsense.”
They walked in the shadow. “How long are you going to be in London,
Rufus?” asked Nora softly.
“Who? I? Oh, I'm going right off to Greece. First train. There's
going to be a war, you know.”
“A war? Why, who is going to fight? The Greeks and the—the—the
“The Turks. I'm going right over there.”
“Why, that's dreadful, Rufus,” said the girl, mournfull and shocked.
“You might get hurt or something.” Presently she asked: “And aren't you
going to be in London any time at all?”
“Oh,” he answered, puffing out his lips, “I may stop in Londom for
three or four days on my way home. I'm not sure of it.”
“And when will that be?”
“Oh, I can't tell. It may be in three or four months, or it may be a
year from now. When the war stops.”
There was a long silence as the walked up and down the swaying deck.
“Do you know,” said Nora at last, “I like you, Rufus Coleman. I
don't know any good reason for it either, unless it is because you are
such a brute. Now, when I was asking you if you were to be in London
you were perfectly detestable. You know I was anxious.”
“I—detestable?” cried Coleman, feigning amazement. “Why, what did I
“It isn't so much what you said—” began Nora slowlly. Then she
suddenly changed her manner. “Oh, well, don't let's talk about it any
more. It's too foolish. Only-you are a disagreeable person sometimes.”
In the morning, as the vessel steamed up the Irish channel, Coleman
was on deck, keeping furtive watch on the cabin stairs. After two hours
of waiting, he scribbled a message on a card and sent it below. He
received an answer that Miss Black had a headache, and felt too ill to
come on deck. He went to the smoking room. The three card-players
glanced up, grinning. “What's the matter?” asked the wine merchant.
“You look angry.” As a matter of fact, Coleman had purposely wreathed
his features in a pleasant and satisfied expression, so he was for a
moment furious at the wine merchant.
“Confound the girl,” he thought to himself. “She has succeeded in
making all these beggars laugh at me.” He mused that if he had another
chance he would show her how disagreeable or detestable or scampish he
was under some circumstances. He reflected ruefully that the
complacence with which he had accepted the comradeship of the belle of
the voyage might have been somewhat overdone. Perhaps he had got a
little out of proportion. He was annoyed at the stares of the other men
in the smoking room, who seemed now to be reading his discomfiture. As
for Nora Black he thought of her wistfully and angrily as a superb
woman whose company was honour and joy, a payment for any sacrifices.
“What's the matter?” persisted the wine merchant. “You look grumpy.”
Coleman laughed. “Do I?”
At Liverpool, as the steamer was being slowly warped to the landing
stage by some tugs, the passengers crowded the deck with their
hand-bags. Adieus were falling as dead leaves fall from a great tree.
The stewards were handling small hills of luggage marked with flaming
red labels. The ship was firmly against the dock before Miss Black came
from her cabin. Coleman was at the time gazing shoreward, but his three
particular friends instantly nudged him. “What?” “There she is?” “Oh,
Miss Black?” He composedly walked toward her. It was impossible to tell
whether she saw him coming or whether it was accident, but at any rate
she suddenly turned and moved toward the stern of the ship. Ten
watchful gossips had noted Coleman's travel in her direction and more
than half the passengers noted his defeat. He wheeled casually and
returned to his three friends. They were colic-stricken with a coarse
and yet silent merriment. Coleman was glad that the voyage was over.
After the polite business of an English custom house, the travellers
passed out to the waiting train. A nimble little theatrical agent of
some kind, sent from London, dashed forward to receive Miss Black. He
had a first-class compartment engaged for her and he bundled her and
her maid into it in an exuberance of enthusiasm and admiration..
Coleman passing moodily along the line of coaches heard Nora's voice
“Rufus.” There she was, framed in a carriage window, beautiful and
smiling brightly. Every near. by person turned to contemplate this
“Oh,” said Coleman advancing, “I thought I was not going to get a
chance to say good-bye to you.” He held out his hand. “Good-bye.”
She pouted. “Why, there's plenty of room in this compartment.”
Seeing that some forty people were transfixed in observation of her,
she moved a short way back. “Come on in this compartment, Rufus,” she
“Thanks. I prefer to smoke,” said Coleman. He went off abruptly.
On the way to London, he brooded in his corner on the two divergent
emotions he had experienced when refusing her invitation. At Euston
Station in London, he was directing a porter, who had his luggage, when
he heard Nora speak at his shoulder. “Well, Rufus, you sulky boy,” she
said, “I shall be at the Cecil. If you have time, come and see me.”
“Thanks, I'm sure, my dear Nora,” answered Coleman effusively. “But
honestly, I'm off for Greece.”
A brougham was drawn up near them and the nimble little agent was
waiting. The maid was directing the establishment of a mass of luggage
on and in a four-wheeler cab. “Well, put me into my carriage, anyhow,”
said Nora. “You will have time for that.”
Afterward she addressed him from the dark interior. Now, Rufus, you
must come to see me the minute you strike London again-of She hesitated
a moment and then smiling gorgeously upon him, she said: “Brute!”
As soon as Coleman had planted his belongings in a hotel he was
bowled in a hansom briskly along the smoky Strand, through a dark city
whose walls dripped like the walls of a cave and whose passages were
only illuminated by flaring yellow and red signs.
Walkley the London correspondent of the Eclipse, whirled from his
chair with a shout of joy and relief—at sight of Coleman. “Cables,” he
cried. “Nothin' but cables! All the people in New York are writing
cables to you. The wires groan with them. And we groan with them too.
They come in here in bales. However, there is no reason why you should
read them all. Many are similar in words and many more are similar in
spirit. The sense of the whole thing is that you get to Greece quickly,
taking with you immense sums of money and enormous powers over
“Well, when does the row begin?”
“The most astute journalists in Europe have been predicting a
general European smash-up every year since 1878,” said Walkley, “and
the prophets weep. The English are the only people who can pull off
wars on schedule time, and they have to do it in odd corners of the
globe. I fear the war business is getting tuckered. There is sorrow in
the lodges of the lone wolves, the war correspondents. However, my boy,
don't bury your face in your blanket. This Greek business looks very
promising, very promising.” He then began to proclaim trains and
connections. “Dover, Calais, Paris, Brindisi, Corfu, Patras, Athens.
That is your game. You are supposed to sky-rocket yourself over that
route in the shortest possible time, but you would gain no time by
starting before to-morrow, so you can cool your heels here in London
until then. I wish I was going along.”
Coleman returned to his hotel, a knight impatient and savage at
being kept for a time out of the saddle. He went for a late supper to
the grill room and as he was seated there alone, a party of four or
five people came to occupy the table directly behind him. They talked a
great deal even before they arrayed them. selves at the table, and he
at once recognised the voice of Nora Black. She was queening it,
apparently, over a little band of awed masculine worshippers.
Either by accident or for some curious reason, she took a chair back
to back with Coleman's chair. Her sleeve of fragrant stuff almost
touched his shoulder and he felt appealing to him seductively a perfume
of orris root and violet. He was drinking bottled stout with his chop;
be sat with a face of wood.
“Oh, the little lord?” Nora was crying to some slave. “Now, do you
know, he won't do at all. He is too awfully charming. He sits and
ruminates for fifteen minutes and then he pays me a lovely compliment.
Then he ruminates for another fifteen minutes and cooks up another fine
thing. It is too tiresome. Do you know what kind of man. I like?” she
asked softly and confidentially. And here she sank back in her chair
until. Coleman knew from the tingle that her head was but a few inches
from his head. Her, sleeve touched him. He turned more wooden under the
spell of the orris root and violet. Her courtiers thought it all a
graceful pose, but Coleman believed otherwise. Her voice sank to the
liquid, siren note of a succubus. “Do you know what kind of a man I
like? Really like? I like a man that a woman can't bend in a thousand
different ways in five minutes. He must have some steel in him. He
obliges me to admire him the most when he remains stolid; stolid to me
lures. Ah, that is the only kind of a man who cap ever break a heart
among us women of the world. His stolidity is not real; no; it is mere
art, but it is a highly finished art and often enough we can't cut
through it. Really we can't. And, then we may actually come
to—er—care for the man. Really we may. Isn't it funny?”
Alt the end Coleman arose and strolled out of the. room, smoking a
cigarette. He did not betray, a sign. Before. the door clashed softly
behind him, Nora laughed a little defiantly, perhaps a little loudly.
It made every man in the grill-room perk up his ears. As for her
courtiers, they were entranced. In her description of the conquering
man, she had easily contrived that each one of them wondered if she
might not mean him. Each man was perfectly sure that he had plenty of
steel in his composition and that seemed to be a main point.
Coleman delayed for a time in the smoking room and then went to his
own quarters. In reality he was Somewhat puzzled in his mind by a
projection of the beauties of Nora Black upon his desire for Greece and
Marjory, His thoughts formed a duality. Once he was on the point of
sending his card to Nora Black's parlour, inasmuch as Greece was very
distant and he could not start until the morrow. But he suspected that
he was holding the interest of the actress because of his recent
appearance of impregnable serenity in the presence of her fascinations.
If he now sent his card, it was a form of surrender and he knew her to
be one to take a merciless advantage. He would not make this tactical
mistake. On the contrary he would go to bed and think of war,
In reality he found it easy to fasten his mind upon the prospective
war. He regarded himself cynically in most affairs, but he could not be
cynical of war, because had he—seen none of it. His rejuvenated
imagination began to thrill to the roll of battle, through his thought
passing all the lightning in the pictures of Detaille, de Neuville and
Morot; lashed battery horse roaring over bridges; grand cuirassiers
dashing headlong against stolid invincible red-faced lines of German
infantry; furious and bloody grapplings in the streets of little
villages of northeastern France. There was one thing at least of which
he could still feel the spirit of a debutante. In this matter of war he
was not, too, unlike a young girl embarking upon her first season of
opera. Walkely, the next morning, saw this mood sitting quaintly upon
Coleman and cackled with astonishment and glee. Coleman's usual manner
did not return until he detected Walkely's appreciation of his state
and then he snubbed him according to the ritual of the Sunday editor of
the New York Eclipse. Parenthetically, it might be said that if Coleman
now recalled Nora Black to his mind at all, it was only to think of her
for a moment with ironical complacence. He had beaten her.
When the train drew out of the station, Coleman felt himself thrill.
Was ever fate less perverse? War and love-war and Marjory-were in
conjunction both in Greece-and he could tilt with one lance at both
gods. It was a great fine game to play and no man was ever so blessed
in vacations. He was smiling continually to himself and sometimes
actually on the point of talking aloud. This was despite the presence
in the compartment of two fellow passengers who preserved in their
uncomfortably rigid, icy and uncompromising manners many of the more or
less ridiculous traditions of the English first class carriage.
Coleman's fine humour betrayed him once into addressing one of these
passengers and the man responded simply with a wide look of
incredulity, as if he discovered that he was travelling in the same
compartment with a zebu. It turned Coleman suddenly to evil temper and
he wanted to ask the man questions concerning his education and his
present mental condition: and so until the train arrived at Dover, his
ballooning soul was in danger of collapsing. On the packet crossing the
channel, too, he almost returned to the usual Rufus Coleman since all
the world was seasick and he could not get a cabin in which to hide
himself from it. However he reaped much consolation by ordering a
bottle of champagne and drinking it in sight of the people, which made
them still more seasick. From Calais to Brindisi really nothing met his
disapproval save the speed of the train, the conduct of some of the
passengers, the quality of the food served, the manners of the guards,
the temperature of the carriages, the prices charged and the length of
In time he passed as in a vision from wretched Brindisi to charming
Corfu, from Corfu to the little war-bitten city of Patras and from
Patras by rail at the speed of an ox-cart to Athens.
With a smile of grim content and surrounded in his carriage with all
his beautiful brown luggage, he swept through the dusty streets of the
Greek capital. Even as the vehicle arrived in a great terraced square
in front of the yellow palace, Greek recruits in garments representing
many trades and many characters were marching up cheering for Greece
and the king. Officers stood upon the little iron chairs in front of
the cafes; all the urchins came running and shouting; ladies waved
their handkerchiefs from the balconies; the whole city was vivified
with a leaping and joyous enthusiasm. The Athenians—as dragomen or
otherwise-had preserved an ardor for their glorious traditions, and it
was as if that in the white dust which lifted from the plaza and
floated across the old-ivory face of the palace, there were the souls
of the capable soldiers of the past. Coleman was almost intoxicated
with it. It seemed to celebrate his own reasons, his reasons of love
and ambition to conquer in love.
When the carriage arrived in front of the Hotel D'Angleterre,
Coleman found the servants of the place with more than one eye upon the
scene in the plaza, but they soon paid heed to the arrival of a
gentleman with such an amount of beautiful leather luggage, all marked
boldly with the initials “R. C.” Coleman let them lead him and follow
him and conduct him and use bad English upon him without noting either
their words, their salaams or their work. His mind had quickly fixed
upon the fact that here was the probable headquarters of the Wainwright
party and, with the rush of his western race fleeting through his
veins, he felt that he would choke and die if he did not learn of the
Wainwrights in the first two minutes. It was a tragic venture to
attempt to make the Levantine mind understand something off the course,
that the new arrival's first thought was to establish a knowlege of the
whereabouts of some of his friends rather than to swarm helter-skelter
into that part of the hotel for which he was willing to pay rent. In
fact he failed to thus impress them; failed in dark wrath, but,
nevertheless, failed. At last he was simply forced to concede the
travel of files of men up the broad, redcarpeted stair-case, each man
being loaded with Coleman's luggage. The men in the hotel-bureau were
then able to comprehend that the foreign gentleman might have something
else on his mind. They raised their eye-brows languidly when he spoke
of the Wainwright party in gentle surprise that he had not yet learned
that they were gone some time. They were departed on some excursion.
Where? Oh, really-it was almost laughable, indeed-they didn't know.
Were they sure? Why, yes-it was almost laughable, indeed—they were
quite sure. Where could the gentleman find out about them? Well,
they-as they had explained-did not know, but-it was possible-the
American minister might know. Where was he to be found? Oh, that was
very simple. It was well known that the American minister had
apartments in the hotel. Was he in? Ah, that they could not say. So
Coleman, rejoicing at his final emancipation and with the grime of
travel still upon him, burst in somewhat violently upon the secretary
of the Hon. Thomas M. Gordner of Nebraska, the United States minister
to Greece. From his desk the secretary arose from behind an accidental
bulwark of books and govermental pamphets. “Yes, certainly. Mr. Gordner
is in. If you would give me your card-”
Directly. Coleman was introduced into another room where a quiet man
who was rolling a cigarette looked him frankly but carefully in the
eye. “The Wainwrights ” said the minister immediately after the
question. “Why, I myself am immensely concerned about them at present.
I'm afraid they've gotten themselves into trouble.'
“Really?” said Coleman.
“Yes. That little professor is ratherer—stubborn; Isn't he? He
wanted to make an expedition to Nikopolis and I explained to him all
the possibilities of war and begged him to at least not take his wife
and daughter with him.”
“Daughter,” murmured Coleman, as if in his sleep.
“But that little old man had a head like a stone and only laughed at
me. Of course those villainous young students were only too delighted
at a prospect of war, but it was a stupid and absurd. thing for the man
to take his wife and daughter there. They are up there now. I can't get
a word from them or get a word to them.”
Coleman had been choking. “Where is Nikopolis?” he asked.
The minister gazed suddenly in comprehension of the man before him.
“Nikopolis is in Turkey,” he answered gently.
Turkey at that time was believed to be a country of delay,
corruption, turbulence and massacre. It meant everything. More than a
half of the Christians of the world shuddered at the name of Turkey.
Coleman's lips tightened and perhaps blanched, and his chin moved out
strangely, once, twice, thrice. “How can I get to Nikopolis?” he said.
The minister smiled. “It would take you the better part of four days
if you could get there, but as a matter of fact you can't get there at
the present time. A Greek army and a Turkish army are looking at each
other from the sides of the river at Arta-the river is there the
frontier-and Nikopolis happens to be on the wrong side. You can't reach
them. The forces at Arta will fight within three days. I know it. Of
course I've notified our legation at Constantinople, but, with Turkish
methods of communication, Nikopolis is about as far from Constantinople
as New York is from Pekin.”
Coleman arose. “They've run themselves into a nice mess,” he said
crossly. “Well, I'm a thousand times obliged to you, I'm sure.”
The minister opened his eyes a trifle. You are not going to try to
reach them, are you?”
“Yes,” answered Coleman, abstractedly. “I'm going to have a try at
it. Friends of mine, you know-”
At the bureau of the hotel, the correspondent found several cables
awaiting him from the alert office of the New York Eclipse. One of them
read: “State Department gives out bad plight of Wainwright party lost
somewhere; find them. Eclipse.” When Coleman perused the message he
began to smile with seraphic bliss. Could fate have ever been less
Whereupon he whirled himself in Athens. And it was to the
considerable astonishment of some Athenians. He discovered and
instantly subsidised a young Englishman who, during his absence at the
front, would act as correspondent for the Eclipse at the capital. He
took unto himself a dragoman and then bought three horses and hired a
groom at a speed that caused a little crowd at the horse dealer's place
to come out upon the pavement and watch this surprising young man ride
back toward his hotel. He had already driven his dragoman into a
curious state of Oriental bewilderment and panic in which he could only
lumber hastily and helplessly here and there, with his face in the
meantime marked with agony. Coleman's own field equipment had been
ordered by cable from New York to London, but it was necessary to buy
much tinned meats, chocolate, coffee, candles, patent food, brandy,
tobaccos, medicine and other things.
He went to bed that night feeling more placid. The train back to
Patras was to start in the early morning, and he felt the satisfaction
of a man who is at last about to start on his own great quest. Before
he dropped off to slumber, he heard crowds cheering exultantly in the
streets, and the cheering moved him as it had done in the morning. He
felt that the celebration of the people was really an accompaniment to
his primal reason, a reason of love and ambition to conquer in
love-even as in the theatre, the music accompanies the heroin his
progress. He arose once during the night to study a map of the Balkan
peninsula and get nailed into his mind the exact position of Nikopolis.
It was important.
COLEMAN'S dragoman aroused him in the blue before dawn. The
correspondent arrayed himself in one of his new khaki suits- riding
breeches and a tunic well marked with buttoned pockets- and accompanied
by some of his beautiful brown luggage, they departed for the station.
The ride to Patras is a terror under ordinary circumstances. It
begins in the early morning and ends in the twilight. To Coleman,
having just come from Patras to Athens, this journey from Athens to
Patras had all the exasperating elements of a forced recantation.
Moreover, he had not come prepared to view with awe the ancient city of
Corinth nor to view with admiration the limpid beauties of the gulf of
that name with its olive grove shore. He was not stirred by Parnassus,
a far-away snow-field high on the black shoulders of the mountains
across the gulf. No; he wished to go to Nikopolis. He passed over the
graves of an ancient race the gleam of whose mighty minds shot, hardly
dimmed, through the clouding ages. No; he wished to go to Nikopolis.
The train went at a snail's pace, and if Coleman bad an interest it was
in the people who lined the route and cheered the soldiers on the
train. In Coleman s compartment there was a greasy person who spoke a
little English. He explained that he was a poet, a poet who now wrote
of nothing but war. When a man is in pursuit of his love and success is
known to be at least remote, it often relieves his strain if he is
deeply bored from time to time.
The train was really obliged to arrive finally at Patras even if it
was a tortoise, and when this happened, a hotel runner appeared, who
lied for the benefit of the hotel in saying that there was no boat over
to Mesalonghi that night. When, all too late, Coleman discovered the
truth of the matter his wretched dragoman came in for a period of
infamy and suffering. However, while strolling in the plaza at Patras,
amid newsboys from every side, by rumour and truth, Coleman learned
things to his advantage. A Greek fleet was bombarding Prevasa. Prevasa
was near Nikopolis. The opposing armies at Arta were engaged,
principally in an artillery duel. Arta was on the road from Nikopolis
into Greece. Hearing this news in the sunlit square made him betray no
weakness, but in the darkness of his room at the hotel, he seemed to
behold Marjory encircled by insurmountable walls of flame. He could
look out of his window into the black night of the north and feel every
ounce of a hideous circumstance. It appalled him; here was no power of
calling up a score of reporters and sending them scampering to
accomplish everything. He even might as well have been without a tongue
as far as it could serve him in goodly speech. He was alone,
confronting the black ominous Turkish north behind which were the
deadly flames; behind the flames was Marjory. It worked upon him until
he felt obliged to call in his dragoman, and then, seated upon the edge
of his bed and waving his pipe eloquently, he described the plight of
some very dear friends who were cut off at Nikopolis in Epirus. Some of
his talk was almost wistful in its wish for sympathy from his servant,
but at the end he bade the dragoman understand that be, Coleman, was
going to their rescue, and he defiantly asked the hireling if he was
prepared to go with him. But he did not know the Greek nature. In two
minutes the dragoman was weeping tears of enthusiasm, and, for these
tears, Coleman was over-grateful, because he had not been told that any
of the more crude forms of sentiment arouse the common Greek to the
highest pitch, but sometimes, when it comes to what the Americans call
a “show down,” when he gets backed toward his last corner with a
solitary privilege of dying for these sentiments, perhaps he does not
always exhibit those talents which are supposed to be possessed by the
bulldog. He often then, goes into the cafes and take's it out in
oration, like any common Parisian.
In the morning A steamer carried them across the strait and landed
them near Mesalonghi at the foot of the railroad that leads to
Agrinion. At Agrinion Coleman at last began to feel that he was nearing
his goal. There were plenty of soldiers in the town, who received with
delight and applause this gentleman in the distinguished-looking khaki
clothes with his revolver and his field glasses and his canteen and;
his dragoman. The dragoman lied, of course, and vocifcrated that the
gentleman in the distinguished-looking khaki clothes was an English
soldier of reputation, who had, naturally, come to help the cross in
its fight against, the crescent. He also said that his master had three
superb horses coming from Athens in charge of a groom, and was
undoubtedly going to join the cavalry. Whereupon the soldiers wished to
embrace and kiss the gentleman in the distinguished-looking khaki
There was more or less of a scuffle. Coleman would have taken to
kicking and punching, but he found that by a-series of elusive
movements he could dodge the demonstrations of affection without losing
his popularity. Escorted by the soldiers, citizens, children and dogs,
he went to the diligence which was to take him and others the next
stage of the journey. As the diligence proceeded, Coleman's mind
suffered another little inroad of ill-fate as to the success of his
expedition. In the first place it appeared foolish to expect that this
diligence would ever arrive anywhere. Moreover, the accommodations were
about equal to what one would endure if one undertook to sleep for a
night in a tree. Then there was a devil-dog, a little black-and-tan
terrier in a blanket gorgeous and belled, whose duty it was to stand on
the top of the coach and bark incessantly to keep the driver fully
aroused to the enormity of his occupation. To have this cur silenced
either by strangulation or ordinary clubbing, Coleman struggled with
his dragoman as Jacob struggled with the angel, but in the first place,
the dragoman was a Greek whose tongue could go quite drunk, a Greek who
became a slave to the heralding and establishment of one certain fact,
or lie, and now he was engaged in describing to every village and to
all the country side the prowess of the gentleman in the
distinguished-looking khaki clothes. It was the general absurdity of
this advance to the frontier and the fighting, to the crucial place
where he was resolved to make an attempt to rescue his sweetheart; it
was this ridiculous aspect that caused to come to Coleman a premonition
of failure. No knight ever went out to recover a lost love in such a
diligence and with such a devil-dog, tinkling his little bells and
yelping insanely to keep the driver awake. After night-fall they
arrived at a town on the southern coast of the Gulf of Arta and the
goaded dragoman was-thrust forth from the little inn into the street to
find the first possible means of getting on to Arta. He returned at
last to tremulously say that there was no single chance of starting for
Arta that night. Where upon he was again thrust into the street with
orders, strict orders. In due time, Coleman spread his rugs upon the
floor of his little room and thought himself almost asleep,. when the
dragoman entered with a really intelligent man who, for some reason,
had agreed to consort with him in the business of getting the stranger
off to Arta. They announced that there was a brigantine about to sail
with a load of soldiers for a little port near Arta, and if Coleman
hurried he could catch it, permission from an officer having already
been obtained. He was up at once, and the dragoman and the
unaccountably intelligent person hastily gathered his chattels.
Stepping out into a black street and moving to the edge of black water
and embarking in a black boat filled with soldiers whose rifles dimly
shone, was as impressive to Coleman as if, really, it had been the
first start. He had endured many starts, it was true, but the latest
one always touched him as being conclusive.
There were no lights on the brigantine and the men swung
precariously up her sides to the deck which was already occupied by a
babbling multitude. The dragoman judiciously found a place for his
master where during the night the latter had to move quickly everytime
the tiller was shifted to starboard.
The craft raised her shadowy sails and swung slowly off into the
deep gloom. Forward, some of the soldiers began to sing weird minor
melodies. Coleman, enveloped in his rugs,—smoked three or four cigars.
He was content and miserable, lying there, hearing these melodies which
defined to him his own affairs.
At dawn they were at the little port. First, in the carmine and grey
tints from a sleepy sun, they could see little mobs of soldiers working
amid boxes of stores. And then from the back in some dun and green
hills sounded a deep-throated thunder of artillery An officer gave
Coleman and his dragoman positions in one of the first boats, but of
course it could not be done without an almost endless amount of
palaver. Eventually they landed with their traps. Coleman felt through
the sole of his boot his foot upon the shore. He was within striking
But here it was smitten into the head of Coleman's servant to turn
into the most inefficient dragoman, probably in the entire East.
Coleman discerned it immediately, before any blunder could tell him. He
at first thought that it was the voices of the guns which had made a
chilly inside for the man, but when he reflected upon the incompetency,
or childish courier's falsity, at Patras and his discernible lack of
sense from Agrinion onward, he felt that the fault was elemental in his
nature. It was a mere basic inability to front novel situations which
was somehow in the dragoman; he retreated from everything difficult in
a smoke of gibberish and gesticulation. Coleman glared at him with the
hatred that sometimes ensues when breed meets breed, but he saw that
this man was indeed a golden link in his possible success. This man
connected him with Greece and its language. If he destroyed him he
delayed what was now his main desire in life. However, this truth did
not prevent him from addressing the man in elegant speech.
The two little men who were induced to carry Coleman's luggage as
far as the Greek camp were really procured by the correspondent
himself, who pantomined vigourously and with unmistakable vividness.
Followed by his dragoman and the two little men, he strode off along a
road which led straight as a stick to where the guns were at intervals
booming. Meanwhile the dragoman and the two little men talked, talked,
talked.- Coleman was silent, puffing his cigar and reflecting upon the
odd things which happen to chivalry in the modern age.
He knew of many men who would have been astonished if they could
have seen into his mind at that time, and he knew of many more men who
would have laughed if they had the same privilege of sight. He made no
attempt to conceal from himself that the whole thing was romantic,
romantic despite the little tinkling dog, the decrepit diligence, the
palavering natives, the super-idiotic dragoman. It was fine, It was
from another age and even the actors could not deface the purity of the
picture. However it was true that upon the brigantine the previous
night he had unaccountably wetted all his available matches. This was
momentous, important, cruel truth, but Coleman, after all, was
taking-as well as he could forgeta solemn and knightly joy of this
adventure and there were as many portraits of his lady envisioning.
before him as ever held the heart of an armour-encased young gentleman
of medieval poetry. If he had been travelling in this region as an
ordinary tourist, he would have been apparent mainly for his lofty
impatience over trifles, but now there was in him a positive assertion
of direction which was undoubtedly one of the reasons for the despair
of the accomplished dragoman.
Before them the country slowly opened and opened, the straight white
road always piercing it like a lanceshaft. Soon they could see black
masses of men marking the green knolls. The artillery thundered loudly
and now vibrated augustly through the air. Coleman quickened his pace,
to the despair of the little men carrying the traps. They finally came
up with one of these black bodies of men and found it to be composed of
a considerable number of soldiers who were idly watching some hospital
people bury a dead Turk. The dragoman at once dashed forward to peer
through the throng and see the face of the corpse. Then he came and
supplicated Coleman as if he were hawking him to look at a relic and
Coleman moved by a strong, mysterious impulse, went forward to look at
the poor little clay-coloured body. At that moment a snake ran out from
a tuft of grass at his feet and wriggled wildly over the sod. The
dragoman shrieked, of course, but one of the soldiers put his heel upon
the head of the reptile and it flung itself into the agonising knot of
death. Then the whole crowd powwowed, turning from the dead man to the
dead snake. Coleman signaled his contingent and proceeded along the
This incident, this paragraph, had seemed a strange introduction to
war. The snake, the dead man, the entire sketch, made him shudder of
itself, but more than anything he felt an uncanny symbolism. It was no
doubt a mere occurrence; nothing but an occurrence; but inasmuch as all
the detail of this daily life associated itself with Marjory, he felt a
different horror. He had thought of the little devil-dog and Marjory in
an interwoven way. Supposing Marjory had been riding in the diligence
with the devil-dog-a-top? What would she have said? Of her fund of
expressions, a fund uncountable, which would she have innocently
projected against the background of the Greek hills? Would it have
smitten her nerves badly or would she have laughed? And supposing
Marjory could have seen him in his new khaki clothes cursing his
dragoman as he listened to the devil-dog?
And now he interwove his memory of Marjory with a dead man and with
a snake in the throes of the end of life. They crossed, intersected,
tangled, these two thoughts. He perceived it clearly; the incongruity
of it. He academically reflected upon the mysteries of the human mind,
this homeless machine which lives here and then there and often lives
in two or three opposing places at the same instant. He decided that
the incident of the snake and the dead man had no more meaning than the
greater number of the things which happen to us in our daily lives.
Nevertheless it bore upon him.
On a spread of plain they saw a force drawn up in a long line. It
was a flagrant inky streak on the verdant prairie. From somewhere near
it sounded the timed reverberations of guns. The brisk walk of the next
ten minutes was actually exciting to Coleman. He could not but reflect
that those guns were being fired with serious purpose at certain human
bodies much like his own.
As they drew nearer they saw that the inky streak was composed of
cavalry, the troopers standing at their bridles. The sunlight flicked,
upon their bright weapons. Now the dragoman developed in one of his
extraordinary directions. He announced forsooth that an intimate friend
was a captain of cavalry in this command. Coleman at first thought.
that this was some kind of mysterious lie, but when he arrived where
they could hear the stamping of hoofs, the clank of weapons, and the
murmur of men, behold, a most dashing young officer gave a shout of joy
and he and the dragoman hurled themselves into a mad embrace. After
this first ecstacy was over, the dragoman bethought him of his
employer, and looking toward Coleman hastily explained him to the
officer. The latter, it appeared, was very affable indeed. Much had
happened. The Greeks and the Turks had been fighting over a shallow
part of the river nearly opposite this point and the Greeks had driven
back the Turks and succeeded in throwing a bridge of casks and planking
across the stream. It was now the duty and the delight of this force of
cavalry to cross the bridge and, passing, the little force of covering
Greek infantry, to proceed into Turkey until they came in touch with
Coleman's eyes dilated. Was ever fate less perverse? Partly in
wretched French to the officer and partly in idiomatic English to the
dragoman, he proclaimed his fiery desire to accompany the expedition.
The officer immediately beamed upon him. In fact, he was delighted. The
dragoman had naturally told him many falsehoods concerning Coleman,
incidentally referring to himself more as a philanthropic guardian and,
valuable friend of the correspondent than as, a plain, unvarnished.
dragoman with an exceedingly good eye for the financial possibilities
of his position.
Coleman wanted to ask his servant if there was any chance of the
scout taking them near Nikopolis, but he delayed being informed upon
this point until such time as he could find out, secretly, for himself.
To ask the dragoman would be mere stupid questioning which would surely
make the animal shy. He tried to be content that fate had given him
this early opportunity of dealing with a Medieval situation with some
show of proper form; that is to say, armed, a-horse-back, and in
danger. Then he could feel that to the gods of the game he was not
laughable, as when he rode to rescue his love in a diligence with a
devil- dog yelping a-top.
With some flourish, the young captain presented him to the major who
commanded the cavalry. This officer stood with his legs wide apart,
eating the rind of a fresh lemon and talking betimes to some of his
officers. The major also beamed upon Coleman when the captain explained
that the gentleman in the distinguished-looking khaki clothes wished to
accompany the expedition. He at once said that he would provide two
troop horses for Coleman and the dragoman. Coleman thanked fate for his
behaviour and his satisfaction was not without a vestige of surprise.
At that time he judged it to be a remarkable amiability of individuals,
but in later years he came to believe in certain laws which he deemed
existent solely for the benefit of war correspondents. In the minds of
governments, war offices and generals they have no function save one of
disturbance, but Coleman deemed it proven that the common men, and many
uncommon men, when they go away to the fighting ground, out of the
sight, out of the hearing of the world known to them, and are eager to
perform feats of war in this new place, they feel an absolute longing
for a spectator. It is indeed the veritable coronation of this world.
There is not too much vanity of the street in this desire of men to
have some disinterested fellows perceive their deeds. It is merely that
a man doing his best in the middle of a sea of war, longs to have
people see him doing his best. This feeling is often notably serious
if, in peace, a man has done his worst, or part of his worst. Coleman
believed that, above everybody, young, proud and brave subalterns had
this itch, but it existed, truly enough, from lieutenants to colonels.
None wanted to conceal from his left hand that his right hand was
performing a manly and valiant thing, although there might be times
when an application of the principle would be immensely convenient. The
war correspondent arises, then, to become a sort of a cheap telescope
for the people at home; further still, there have been fights where the
eyes of a solitary man were the eyes of the world; one spectator, whose
business it was to transfer, according to his ability, his visual
impressions to other minds.
Coleman and his servant were conducted to two saddled troop horses,
and beside them, waited decently in the rear of the ranks. The uniform
of the troopers was of plain, dark green cloth and they were well and
sensibly equipped. The mounts, however, had in no way been picked;
there were little horses and big horses, fat horses and thin horses.
They looked the result of a wild conscription. Coleman noted the faces
of the troopers, and they were calm enough save when a man betrayed
himself by perhaps a disproportionate angry jerk at the bridle of his
The major, artistically drooping his cloak from his left shoulder
and tenderly and musingly fingering his long yellow moustache, rode
slowly to the middle of the line and wheeled his horse to face his men.
A bugle called attention, and then he addressed them in a loud and
rapid speech, which did not seem to have an end. Coleman imagined that
the major was paying tribute to the Greek tradition of the power of
oratory. Again the trumpet rang out, and this parade front swung off
into column formation. Then Coleman and the dragoman trotted at the
tail of the squadron, restraining with difficulty their horses, who
could not understand their new places in the procession, and worked
feverishly to regain what they considered their positions in life.
The column jangled musically over the sod, passing between two hills
on one of which a Greek light battery was posted. Its men climbed to
the tops of their interenchments to witness the going of the cavalry.
Then the column curved along over ditch and through hedge to the
shallows of the river. Across this narrow stream was Turkey. Turkey,
however, presented nothing to the eye but a muddy bank with fringes of
trees back of it. It seemed to be a great plain with sparse collections
of foliage marking it, whereas the Greek side, presented in the main a
vista of high, gaunt rocks. Perhaps one of the first effects of war
upon the mind, is a. new recognition and fear of the circumscribed
ability of the eye, making all landscape seem inscrutable. The cavalry
drew up in platoon formation on their own. bank of the stream and
waited. If Coleman had known anything of war, he would have known, from
appearances, that there was nothing in the immediate vicinity to, cause
heart- jumping, but as a matter of truth he was deeply moved and
wondered what was hidden, what was veiled by those trees. Moreover, the
squadrons resembled art old picture of a body of horse awaiting
Napoleon's order to charge. In the, meantime his mount fumed at the
bit, plunging to get back to the ranks. The sky was, without a cloud,
and the sun rays swept down upon them. Sometimes Coleman was on the
verge of addressing the dragoman, according to his anxiety, but in the
end he simply told him to go to the river and fill the can-teens.
At last an order came, and the first troop moved with muffled tumult
across the bridge. Coleman and his dragoman followed the last troop.
The horses scrambled up the muddy bank much as if they were merely
breaking out of a pasture, but probably all the men felt a sudden
tightening of their muscles. Coleman, in his excitement, felt, more
than he saw, glossy horse flanks, green-clothed men chumping in their
saddles, banging sabres and canteens, and carbines slanted in line.
There were some Greek infantry in a trench. They were heavily
overcoated, despite the heat, and some were engaged in eating loaves of
round, thick bread. They called out lustily as the cavalry passed them.
The troopers smiled slowly, somewhat proudly in response.
Presently there was another halt and Coleman saw the major trotting
busily here and there, while troop commanders rode out to meet him.
Spreading groups of scouts and flankers moved off and disappeared.
Their dashing young officer friend cantered past them with his troop at
his heels. He waved a joyful good- bye. It was the doings of cavalry in
actual service, horsemen fanning out in all forward directions. There
were two troops held in reserve, and as they jangled ahead at a foot
pace, Coleman and his dragoman followed them.
The dragoman was now moved to erect many reasons for an immediate
return. It was plain that he had no stomach at all for this business,
and that he wished himself safely back on the other side of the river.
Coleman looked at him askance. When these men talked together Coleman
might as well have been a polar bear for all he understood of it. When
he saw the trepidation of his dragoman, he did not know what it
foreboded. In this situation it was not for him to say that the
dragoman's fears were founded on nothing. And ever the dragoman raised
his reasons for a retreat. Coleman spoke to himself. “I am just a
trifle rattled,” he said to his heart, and after he had communed for a
time upon the duty of steadiness, he addressed the dragoman in cool
language. “Now, my persuasive friend, just quit all that, because
business is business, and it may be rather annoying business, but you
will have to go through with it.” Long afterward, when ruminating over
the feelings of that morning, he saw with some astonishment that there
was not a single thing within sound or sight to cause a rational being
any quaking. He was simply riding with some soldiers over a vast
Presently the commanding officer turned in his saddle and told the
dragoman that he was going to ride forward with his orderly to where he
could see the flanking parties and the scouts, and courteously, with
the manner of a gentleman entertaining two guests, he asked if the
civilians cared to accompany him. The dragoman would not have passed
this question correctly on to Coleman if he had thought he could have
avoided it, but, with both men regarding him, he considered that a lie
probably meant instant detection. He spoke almost the truth, contenting
himself with merely communicating to Coleman in a subtle way his sense
that a ride forward with the commanding officer and his orderly would
be depressing and dangerous occupation. But Coleman immediately
accepted the invitation mainly because it was the invitation of the
major, and in war it is a brave man who can refuse the invitation of a
commanding officer. The little party of four trotted away from the
reserves, curving in single file about the water-holes. In time they
arrived at where the plain lacked trees and was one great green lake of
grass; grass and scrubs. On this expanse they could see the Greek
horsemen riding, mainly appearing as little black dots. Far to the left
there was a squad said to be composed of only twenty troopers, but in
the distance their black mass seemed to be a regiment.
As the officer and his guests advanced they came in view of what one
may call the shore of the plain. The rise of ground was heavily clad
with trees, and over the tops of them appeared the cupola and part of
the walls of a large white house, and there were glimpses of huts near
it as if a village was marked. The black specks seemed to be almost to
it. The major galloped forward and the others followed at his pace. The
house grew larger and larger and they came nearly to the advance scouts
who they could now see were not quite close to the village. There had
been a deception of the eye precisely as occurs at sea. Herds of
unguarded sheep drifted over the plain and little ownerless horses,
still cruelly hobbled, leaped painfully away, frightened, as if they
understood that an anarchy had come upon them. The party rode until
they were very nearly up with the scouts, and then from low down at the
very edge of the plain there came a long rattling noise which endured
as if some kind of grinding machine had been put in motion. Smoke
arose, faintly marking the position of an intrenchment. Sometimes a
swift spitting could be heard from the air over the party.
It was Coleman's fortune to think at first that the Turks were not
firing in his direction, but as soon as he heard the weird voices in
the air he knew that war was upon him. But it was plain that the range
was almost excessive, plain even to his ignorance. The major looked at
him and laughed; he found no difficulty in smiling in response. If this
was war, it could be withstood somehow. He could not at this time
understand what a mere trifle was the present incident. He felt upon
his cheek a little breeze which was moving the grass-blades. He had
tied his canteen in a wrong place on the saddle and every time the
horse moved quickly the canteen banged the correspondent, to his
annoyance and distress, forcibly on the knee. He had forgotten about
his dragoman, but happening to look upon that faithful servitor, he saw
him gone white with horror. A bullet at that moment twanged near his
head and the slave to fear ducked in a spasm. Coleman called the
orderly's attention and they both laughed discreetly. They made no
pretension of being heroes, but they saw plainly that they were better
than this man. Coleman said to him: “How far is it now to Nikopolis?”
The dragoman replied only, with a look of agonized impatience.
But of course there was no going to Nikopolis that day. The officer
had advanced his men as far as was intended by his superiors, and
presently they were all recalled and trotted back to the bridge. They
crossed it to their old camp.
An important part of Coleman's traps was back with his Athenian
horses and their groom, but with his present equipment he could at
least lie smoking on his blankets and watch the dragoman prepare food.
But he reflected that for that day he had only attained the simple
discovery that the approach to Nikopolis was surrounded with
The same afternoon Coleman and the dragoman rode up to Arta on their
borrowed troop horses. The correspondent first went to the telegraph
office and found there the usual number of despairing clerks. They were
outraged when they found he was going to send messages and thought it
preposterous that he insisted upon learning if there were any in the
office for him. They had trouble enough with endless official
communications without being hounded about private affairs by a
confident young man in khaki. But Coleman at last unearthed six
cablegrams which collective said that the Eclipse wondered why they did
not hear from him, that Walkley had been relieved from duty in London
and sent to join the army of the crown prince, that young Point, the
artist, had been shipped to Greece, that if he, Coleman, succeeded in
finding the Wainwright party the paper was prepared to make a
tremendous uproar of a celebration over it and, finally, the paper
wondered twice more why they did not hear from him.
When Coleman went forth to enquire if anybody knew of the
whereabouts of the Wainwright party he thought first of his fellow
correspondents. He found most of them in a cafe where was to be had
about the only food in the soldier-laden town. It was a slothful den
where even an ordinary boiled egg could be made unpalatable. Such a
common matter as the salt men watched with greed and suspicion as if
they were always about to grab it from each other. The proprietor, in a
dirty shirt, could always be heard whining, evidently telling the world
that he was being abused, but he had spirit enough remaining to charge
three prices for everything with an almost Jewish fluency.
The correspondents consoled themselves largely upon black—bread
and the native wines. Also there were certain little oiled fishes, and
some green odds and ends for salads. The correspondents were
practically all Englishmen. Some of them were veterans of journalism in
the Sudan, in India, in South Africa; and there were others who knew as
much of war as they could learn by sitting at a desk and editing the
London stock reports. Some were on their own hook; some had horses and
dragomen and some had neither the one nor the other; many knew how to
write and a few had it yet to learn. The thing in common was a spirit
of adventure which found pleasure in the extraordinary business of
seeing how men kill each other.
They were talking of an artillery duel which had been fought the
previous day between the Greek batteries above the town and the Turkish
batteries across the river. Coleman took seat at one of the long
tables, and the astute dragoman got somebody in the street to hold the
horses in order that he might be present at any feasting.
One of the experienced correspondents was remarking that the fire of
the Greek batteries in the engagement had been the finest artillery
practice of the century. He spoke a little loudly, perhaps, in the
wistful hope that some of the Greek officers would understand enough
English to follow his meaning, for it is always good for a
correspondent to admire the prowess on his own side of the battlefield.
After a time Coleman spoke in a lull, and describing the supposed
misfortunes of the Wainwright party, asked if anyone had news of them.
The correspondents were surprised; they had none of them heard even of
the existence of a Wainwright party. Also none of them seemed to care
exceedingly. The conversation soon changed to a discussion of the
probable result of the general Greek advance announced for the morrow.
Coleman silently commented that this remarkable appearance of
indifference to the mishap of the Wainwrights, a little party, a single
group, was a better definition of a real condition of war than that bit
of long-range musketry of the morning. He took a certain despatch out
of his pocket and again read it. “Find Wainwright party at all hazards;
much talk here; success means red fire by ton. Eclipse.” It was an
important matter. He could imagine how the American people, vibrating
for years to stories of the cruelty of the Turk, would tremble-indeed,
was now trembling-while the newspapers howled out the dire
possibilities. He saw all the kinds of people, from those who would
read the Wainwright chapters from day to day as a sort of sensational
novel, to those who would work up a gentle sympathy for the woe of
others around the table in the evenings. He saw bar keepers and
policemen taking a high gallery thrill out of this kind of romance. He
saw even the emotion among American colleges over the tragedy of a
professor and some students. It certainly was a big affair. Marjory of
course was everything in one way, but that, to the world, was not a big
affair. It was the romance of the Wainwright party in its simplicity
that to the American world was arousing great sensation; one that in
the old days would have made his heart leap like a colt.
Still, when batteries had fought each other savagely, and horse,
foot and guns were now about to make a general advance, it was
difficult, he could see, to stir men to think and feel out of the
present zone of action; to adopt for a time in fact the thoughts and
feelings of the other side of the world. It made Coleman dejected as he
saw clearly that the task was wholly on his own shoulders.
Of course they were men who when at home manifested the most gentle
and wide-reaching feelings; most of them could not by any possibility
have slapped a kitten merely for the prank and yet all of them who had
seen an unknown man shot through the head in battle had little more to
think of it than if the man had been a rag-baby. Tender they might be;
poets they might be; but they were all horned with a provisional,
temporary, but absolutely essential callouse which was formed by their
existence amid war with its quality of making them always think of the
sights and sounds concealed in their own direct future.
They had been simply polite. “Yes?” said one to Coleman. “How many
people in the party? Are they all Americans? Oh, I suppose it will be
quite right. Your minister in Constantinople will arrange that easily.
Where did you say? At Nikopolis? Well, we conclude that the Turks will
make no stand between here and Pentepigadia. In that case your
Nikopolis will be uncovered unless the garrison at Prevasa intervenes.
That garrison at Prevasa, by the way, may make a deal of trouble.
“Exactly how far is it to Nikopolis?” asked Coleman.
“Oh, I think it is about thirty kilometers,” replied the others.
“There is a good miltary road as soon as you cross the Louros river.
I've got the map of the Austrian general staff. Would you like to look
Coleman studied the map, speeding with his eye rapidly to and fro
between Arta and Nikopolis. To him it was merely a brown lithograph of
mystery, but he could study the distances.
He had received a cordial invitation from the com- mander of the
cavalry to go with him for another ride into Turkey, and he inclined to
believe that his project would be furthered if he stuck close to the
cavalry. So he rode back to the cavalry camp and went peacefully to
sleep on the sod. He awoke in the morning with chattering teeth to find
his dragoman saying that the major had unaccountably withdrawn his loan
of the two troop horses. Coleman of course immediately said to himself
that the dragoman was lying a-gain in order to prevent another
expedition into ominous Turkey, but after all if the commander, of the
cavalry had suddenly turned the light of his favour from the
correspondent it was only a proceeding consistent with the nature which
Coleman now thought he was beginning to discern, a nature which can
never think twice in the same place, a gageous mind which drifts,
dissolves, combines, vanishes with the ability of an aerial thing until
the man of the north feels that when he clutches it with full knowledge
of his senses he is only the victim of his ardent imagination. It is
the difference in standards, in creeds, which is the more luminous when
men call out that they are all alike.
So Coleman and his dragoman loaded their traps and moved out to
again invade Turkey. It was not yet clear daylight, but they felt that
they might well start early since they were no longer mounted men.
On the way to the bridge, the dragoman, although he was curiously in
love with his forty francs a day and his opportunities, ventured a
stout protest, based apparently upon the fact that after all this
foreigner, four days out from Athens was somewhat at his mercy.
“Meester Coleman,” he said, stopping suddenly, “I think we make no good
if we go there. Much better we wait Arta for our horse. Much better. I
think this no good. There is coming one big fight and I think much
better we go stay Arta. Much better.”
“Oh, come off,” said Coleman. And in clear language he began to
labour with the man. “Look here, now, if you think you are engaged in
steering a bunch of wooden-headed guys about the Acropolis, my dear
partner of my joys and sorrows, you are extremely mistaken. As a matter
of fact you are now the dragoman of a war correspondent and you were
engaged and are paid to be one. It becomes necessary that you make
good. Make good, do you understand? I'm not out here to be buncoed by
this sort of game.” He continued indefinitely in this strain and at
intervals he asked sharply Do you understand?
Perhaps the dragoman was dumbfounded that the laconic Coleman could
on occasion talk so much, or perhaps he understood everything and was
impressed by the argumentative power. At any rate he suddenly wilted.
He made a gesture which was a protestation of martyrdom and picking up
his burden proceeded on his way.
When they reached the bridge, they saw strong columns of Greek
infantry, dead black in the dim light, crossing the stream and slowly
deploying on the other shore. It was a bracing sight to the dragoman,
who then went into one of his absurd babbling moods, in which he would
have talked the head off any man who was not born in a country laved by
the childish Mediterranean. Coleman could not understand what he said
to the soldiers as they passed, but it was evidently all grandiose
Two light batteries had precariously crossed the rickety bridge
during the night, and now this force of several thousand infantry, with
the two batteries, was moving out over the territory which the cavalry
had reconnoitered on the previous day. The ground being familiar to
Coleman, he no longer knew a tremour, and, regarding his dragoman, he
saw that that invaluable servitor was also in better form. They marched
until they found one of the light batteries unlimbered and aligned on
the lake of grass about a mile from where parts of the white house
appeared above the tree-tops. Here the dragoman talked with the captain
of artillery, a tiny man on an immense horse, who for some unknown
reason told him that this force was going to raid into Turkey and try
to swing around the opposing army's right flank. He announced, as he
showed his teeth in a smile, that it would be very, very dangerous
work. The dragoman precipitated himself upon Coleman.
“This is much danger. The copten he tell me the trups go now in back
of the Turks. It will be much danger. I think much better we go Arta
wait for horse. Much better.” Coleman, although be believed he despised
the dragoman, could not help but be influenced by his fears. They were,
so to speak, in a room with one window, and only the dragoman looked
forth from the window, so if he said that what he saw outside
frightened him, Coleman was perforce frightened also in a measure. But
when the correspondent raised his eyes he saw the captain of the
battery looking at him, his teeth still showing in a smile, as if his
information, whether true or false, had been given to convince the
foreigner that the Greeks were a very superior and brave people,
notably one little officer of artillery. He had apparently assumed that
Coleman would balk from venturing with such a force upon an excursion
to trifle with the rear of a hard fighting Ottoman army. He exceedingly
disliked that man, sitting up there on his tall horse and grinning like
a cruel little ape with a secret. In truth, Coleman was taken back at
the outlook, but he could no more refrain from instantly accepting this
half-concealed challenge than he could have refrained from resenting an
ordinary form of insult. His mind was not at peace, but the small
vanities are very large. He was perfectly aware that he was, being
misled into the thing by an odd pride, but anyhow, it easily might turn
out to be a stroke upon the doors of Nikopolis. He nodded and smiled at
the officer in grateful acknowledgment of his service.
The infantry was moving steadily a-field. Black blocks of men were
trailing in column slowly over the plain. They were not unlike the
backs of dominoes on a green baize table; they were so vivid, so
startling. The correspondent and his servant followed them. Eventually
they overtook two companies in command of a captain, who seemed
immensely glad to have the strangers with him. As they marched, the
captain spoke through the dragoman upon the virtues of his men,
announcing with other news the fact that his first sergeant was the
bravest man in the world.
A number of columns were moving across the plain parallel to their
line of march, and the whole force seemed to have orders to halt when
they reached a long ditch about four hundred yards from where the shore
of the plain arose to the luxuriant groves with the cupola of the big
white house sticking above them. The soldiers lay along the ditch, and
the bravest man in the world spread his blanket on the ground for the
captain, Coleman and himself. During a long pause Coleman tried to
elucidate the question of why the Greek soldiers wore heavy overcoats,
even in the bitter heat of midday, but he could only learn that the
dews, when they came, were very destructive to the lungs, Further, he
convinced himself anew that talking through an interpreter to the minds
of other men was as satisfactory as looking at landscape through a
stained glass window.
After a time there was, in front, a stir near where a curious hedge
of dry brambles seemed to outline some sort of a garden patch. Many of
the soldiers exclaimed and raised their guns. But there seemed to come
a general understanding to the line that it was wrong to fire. Then
presently into the open came a dirty brown figure, and Coleman could
see through his glasses that its head was crowned with a dirty fez
which had once been white. This indicated that the figure was that of
one of the Christian peasants of Epirus. Obedient to the captain, the
sergeant arose and waved invitation. The peasant wavered, changed his
mind, was obviously terror-stricken, regained confidence and then began
to advance circuitously toward the Greek lines. When he arrived within
hailing dis-tance, the captain, the sergeant, Coleman's dragoman and
many of the soldiers yelled human messages, and a moment later he was
seen to be a poor, yellow-faced stripling with a body which seemed to
have been first twisted by an ill-birth and afterward maimed by either
labour or oppression, these being often identical in their effects.
His reception of the Greek soldiery was no less fervid than their
welcome of him to their protection. He threw his grimy fez in the air
and croaked out cheers, while tears wet his cheeks. When he had come
upon the right side of the ditch he ran capering among them and the
captain, the sergeant, the dragoman and a number of soldiers received
wild embraces and kisses. He made a dash at Coleman, but Coleman was
now wary in the game, and retired dexterously behind different groups
with a finished appearance of not noting that the young man wished to
Behind the hedge of dry brambles there were more indications of
life, and the peasant stood up and made beseeching gestures. Soon a
whole flock of miserable people had come out to the Greeks, men, women
and children, in crude and comic smocks, prancing here and there,
uproariously embracing and kissing their deliverers. An old, tearful,
toothless hag flung herself rapturously into the arms of the captain,
and Coleman's brick-and-iron soul was moved to admiration at the way in
which the officer administered a chaste salute upon the furrowed cheek.
The dragoman told the correspondent that the Turks had run away from
the village on up a valley toward Jannina. Everybody was proud and
happy. A major of infantry came from the rear at this time and asked
the captain in sharp tones who were the two strangers in civilian
attire. When the captain had answered correctly the major was
immediately mollified, and had it announced to the correspondent that
his battalion was going to move immediately into the village, and that
he would be delighted to have his company.
The major strode at the head of his men with the group of villagers
singing and dancing about him and looking upon him as if he were a god.
Coleman and the dragoman, at the officer's request, marched one on
either side of him, and in this manner they entered the village. From
all sorts of hedges and thickets, people came creeping out to pass into
a delirium of joy. The major borrowed three little pack horses with
rope-bridles, and thus mounted and followed by the clanking column,
they rode on in triumph.
It was probably more of a true festival than most men experience
even in the longest life time. The major with his Greek instinct of
drama was a splendid personification of poetic quality; in fact he was
himself almost a lyric. From time to time he glanced back at Coleman
with eyes half dimmed with appreciation. The people gathered flowers,
great blossoms of purple and corn colour. They sprinkled them over the
three horsemen and flung them deliriously under the feet of the little
nags. Being now mounted Coleman had no difficulty in avoiding the
embraces of the peasants, but he felt to the tips of his toes an
abandonment to a kind of pleasure with which he was not at all
familiar. Riding thus amid cries of thanksgiving addressed at him
equally with the others, he felt a burning virtue and quite lost his
old self in an illusion of noble be. nignity. And there continued the
fragrant hail of blossoms.
Miserable little huts straggled along the sides of the village
street as if they were following at the heels of the great white house
of the bey. The column proceeded northward, announcing laughingly to
the glad villagers that they would never see another Turk. Before them
on the road was here and there a fez from the head of a fled Turkish
soldier and they lay like drops of blood from some wounded leviathan.
Ultimately it grew cloudy. It even rained slightly. In the misty
downfall the column of soldiers in blue was dim as if it were merely a
long trail of low-hung smoke.
They came to the ruins of a church and there the major halted his
battalion. Coleman worried at his dragoman to learn if the halt was
only temporary. It was a long time before there was answer from the
major, for he had drawn up his men in platoons and was addressing them
in a speech as interminable as any that Coleman had heard in Greece.
The officer waved his arms and roared out evidently the glories of
patriotism and soldierly honour, the glories of their ancient people,
and he may have included any subject in this wonderful speech, for the
reason that he had plenty of time in which to do it. It was impossible
to tell whether the oration was a good one or bad one, because the men
stood in their loose platoons without discernible feelings as if to
them this appeared merely as one of the inevitable consequences of a
campaign, an established rule of warfare. Coleman ate black bread and
chocolate tablets while the dragoman hovered near the major with the
intention of pouncing upon him for information as soon as his lungs
yielded to the strain upon them.
The dragoman at last returned with a very long verbal treatise from
the major, who apparently had not been as exhausted after his speech to
the men as one would think. The major had said that he had been ordered
to halt here to form a junction with some of the troops coming direct
from Arta, and that he expected that in the morning the army would be
divided and one wing would chase the retreating Turks on toward
Jannina, while the other wing would advance upon Prevasa because the
enemy had a garrison there which had not retreated an inch, and,
although it was cut off, it was necessary to send either a force to
hold it in its place or a larger force to go through with the business
of capturing it. Else there would be left in the rear of the left flank
of a Greek advance upon Jannina a body of the enemy which at any moment
might become active. The major said that his battalion would probably
form part of the force to advance upon Prevasa. Nikopolis was on the
road to Prevasa and only three miles away from it.
Coleman spent a long afternoon in the drizzle Enveloped in his
macintosh he sat on a boulder in the lee of one of the old walls and
moodily smoked cigars and listened to the ceaseless clatter of tongues.
A ray of light penetrated the mind of the dragoman and he laboured
assiduously with wet fuel until he had accomplished a tin mug of
coffee. Bits of cinder floated in it, but Coleman rejoiced and was kind
to the dragoman.
The night was of cruel monotony. Afflicted by the wind and the
darkness, the correspondent sat with nerves keyed high waiting to hear
the pickets open fire on a night attack. He was so unaccountably sure
that there would be a tumult and panic of this kind at some time of the
night that he prevented himself from getting a reasonable amount of
rest. He could hear the soldiers breathing in sleep all about him. He
wished to arouse them from this slumber which, to his ignorance, seemed
stupid. The quality of mysterious menace in the great gloom and the
silence would have caused him to pray if prayer would have transported
him magically to New York and made him a young man with no coat playing
billiards at his club.
The chill dawn came at last and with a fine elation which ever
follows a dismal night in war; an elation which bounds in the bosom as
soon as day has knocked the shackles from a trembling mind. Although
Coleman had slept but a short time he was now as fresh as a total
abstainer coming from the bath. He heard the creak of battery wheels;
he saw crawling bodies of infantry moving in the dim light like ghostly
processions. He felt a tremendous virility come with this new hope in
the daylight. He again took satis. faction in his sentimental journey.
It was a shining affair. He was on active service, an active service of
the heart, and he' felt that he was a strong man ready to conquer
difficulty even as the olden heroes conquered difficulty. He imagined
himself in a way like them. He, too, had come out to fight for love
with giants, dragons and witches. He had never known that he could be
so pleased with that kind of a parallel.
The dragoman announced that the major had suddenly lent their horses
to some other people, and after cursing this versatility of interest,
he summoned his henchmen and they moved out on foot, following the
sound of the creaking wheels. They came in time to a bridge, and on the
side of this bridge was a hard military road which sprang away in two
directions, north and west. Some troops were creeping out the westward
way and the dragoman pointing at them said: “They going Prevasa. That
is road to Nikopolis.” Coleman grinned from ear to car and slapped his
dragoman violently on the shoulder. For a moment he intended to hand
the man a louis of reward, but he changed his mind.
Their traps were in the way of being heavy, but they minded little
since the dragoman was now a victim of the influence of Coleman's
enthusiasm. The road wound along the base of the mountain range,
sheering around the abutments in wide white curves and then circling
into glens where immense trees spread their shade over it. Some of the
great trunks were oppressed with vines green as garlands, and these
vines even ran like verdant foam over the rocks. Streams of translucent
water showered down from the hills, and made pools in which every
pebble, every eaf of a water plant shone with magic lustre, and if the
bottom of a pool was only of clay, the clay glowed with sapphire light.
The day was fair. The country was part of that land which turned the
minds of its ancient poets toward a more tender dreaming, so that
indeed their nymphs would die, one is sure, in the cold mythology of
the north with its storms amid the gloom of pine forests. It was all
wine to Coleman's spirit. It enlivened him to think of success with
absolute surety. To be sure one of his boots began soon to rasp his
toes, but he gave it no share of his attention. They passed at a much
faster pace than the troops, and everywhere they met laughter and
confidence and the cry. “On to Prevasa!”
At midday they were at the heels of the advance battalion, among its
stragglers, taking its white dust into their throats and eyes. The
dragoman was waning and he made a number of attempts to stay Coleman,
but no one could have had influence upon Coleman's steady rush with his
eyes always straight to the front as if thus to symbolize his
steadiness of purpose. Rivulets of sweat marked the dust on his face,
and two of his toes were now paining as if they were being burned off.
He was obliged to concede a privilege of limping, but he would not
At nightfall they halted with the outpost batallion of the infantry.
All the cavalry had in the meantirne come up and they saw their old
friends. There was a village from which the Christian peasants came and
cheered like a trained chorus. Soldiers were driving a great flock of
fat sheep into a corral. They had belonged to a Turkish bey and they
bleated as if they knew that they were now mere spoils of war. Coleman
lay on the steps of the bey's house smoking with his head on his
blanket roll. Camp fires glowed off in the fields. He was now about
four miles from Nikopolis.
Within the house, the commander of the cavalry was writing
dispatches. Officers clanked up and down the stairs. The dashing young
captain came and said that there would be a general assault on Prevasa
at the dawn of the next day. Afterward the dragoman descended upon the
village and in some way wrenched a little grey horse from an
inhabitant. Its pack saddle was on its back and it would very handily
carry the traps. In this matter the dragoman did not consider his
master; he considered his own sore back.
Coleman ate more bread and chocolate tablets and also some tinned
sardines. He was content with the day's work. He did not see how he
could have improved it. There was only one route by which the
Wainwright party could avoid him, and that was by going to Prevasa and
thence taking ship. But since Prevasa was blockaded by a Greek fleet,
he conceived that event to be impossible. Hence, he had them hedged on
this peninsula and they must be either at Nikopolis or Prevasa. He
would probably know all early in the morning. He reflected that he was
too tired to care if there might be a night attack and then wrapped in
his blankets he went peacefully to sleep in the grass under a big tree
with the crooning of some soldiers around their fire blending into his
And now, although the dragoman had performed a number of feats of
incapacity, he achieved during the one hour of Coleman's sleeping a
blunder which for real finish was simply a perfection of art. When
Coleman, much later, extracted the full story, it appeared that
ringing. events happened during that single hour of sleep. Ten minutes
after he had lain down for a night of oblivion, the battalion of
infantry, which had advanced a little beyond the village, was recalled
and began a hurried night march back on the way it had so festively
come. It was significant enough to appeal to almost any mind, but the
dragoman was able to not understand it. He remained jabbering to some
acquaintances among the troopers. Coleman had been asleep his hour when
the dashing young captain perceived the dragoman, and completely
horrified by his presence at that place, ran to him and whispered to
him swiftly that the game was to flee, flee, flee. The wing of the army
which had advanced northward upon Jannina had already been tumbled back
by the Turks and all the other wing had been recalled to the Louros
river and there was now nothing practically between him and his
sleeping master and the enemy but a cavalry picket. The cavalry was
immediately going to make a forced march to the rear. The stricken
dragoman could even then see troopers getting into their saddles. He,
rushed to, the, tree, and in. a panic simply bundled Coleman upon his
feet before he was awake. He stuttered out his tale, and the dazed,
correspondent heard it punctuated by the steady trample of the retiring
cavalry. The dragoman saw a man's face then turn in a flash from an
expression of luxurious drowsiness to an expression of utter
malignancy. However, he was in too much of a hurry to be afraid of it;
he ran off to the little grey horse and frenziedly but skilfully began
to bind the traps upon the packsaddle. He appeared in a moment tugging
at the halter. He could only say: “Come! Come! Come! Queek! Queek!”
They slid hurriedly down a bank to the road and started to do again
that which they had accomplished with considerable expenditure of
physical power during the day. The hoof beats of the cavalry had
already died away and the mountains shadowed them in lonely silence.
They were the rear guard after the rear guard.
The dragoman muttered hastily his last dire rumours. Five hundred
Circassian cavalry were coming. The mountains were now infested with
the dread Albanian irregulars, Coleman had thought in his daylight
tramp that he had appreciated the noble distances, but he found that he
knew nothing of their nobility until he tried this night stumbling. And
the hoofs of the little horse made on the hard road more noise than
could be made by men beating with hammers upon brazen cylinders. The
correspondent glanced continually up at the crags. From the other side
he could sometimes hear the metallic clink of water deep down in a
glen. For the first time in his life he seriously opened the flap of
his holster and let his fingers remain on the handle of his revolver.
From just in front of him he could hear the chattering of the
dragoman's teeth which no attempt at more coolness could seem to
prevent. In the meantime the casual manner of the little grey horse
struck Coleman with maddening vividness. If the blank darkness was
simply filled with ferocious Albanians, the horse did not care a
button; he leisurely put his feet down with a resounding ring. Coleman
whispered hastily to the dragoman. “If they rush us, jump down the
bank, no matter how deep it is. That's our only chance. And try to keep
All they saw of the universe was, in front of them, a place faintly
luminous near their feet, but fading in six yards to the darkness of a
dungeon. This repre- sented the bright white road of the day time. It
had no end. Coleman had thought that he could tell from the very feel
of the air some of the landmarks of his daytime journey, but he had now
no sense of location at all. He would not have denied that he was
squirming on his belly like a worm through black mud. They went on and
on. Visions of his past were sweeping through Coleman's mind precisely
as they are said to sweep through the mind of a drowning person. But he
had no regret for any bad deeds; he regretted merely distant hours of
peace and protection. He was no longer a hero going to rescue his love.
He was a slave making a gasping attempt to escape from the most
incredible tyranny of circumstances. He half vowed to himself that if
the God whom he had in no wise heeded, would permit him to crawl out of
this slavery he would never again venture a yard toward a danger any
greater than may be incurred from the police of a most proper
metropolis. If his juvenile and uplifting thoughts of other days had
reproached him he would simply have repeated and repeated: “Adventure
It became known to them that the horse had to be led. The debased
creature was asserting its right to do as it had been trained, to
follow its customs; it was asserting this right during a situation
which required conduct superior to all training and custom. It was so
grossly conventional that Coleman would have understood that demoniac
form of anger which sometimes leads men to jab knives into warm bodies.
Coleman from cowardice tried to induce the dragoman to go ahead leading
the horse, and the dragoman from cowardice tried to induce Coleman to
go ahead leading the horse. Coleman of course had to succumb. The
dragoman was only good to walk behind and tearfully whisper
maledictions as he prodded the flanks of their tranquil beast.
In the absolute black of the frequent forests, Coleman could not see
his feet and he often felt like a man walking forward to fall at any
moment down a thousand yards of chasm. He heard whispers; he saw
skulking figures, and these frights turned out to be the voice of a
little trickle of water or the effects of wind among the leaves, but
they were replaced by the same terrors in slightly different forms.
Then the poignant thing interpolated. A volley crashed ahead of them
some half of a mile away and another volley answered from a still
nearer point. Swishing noises which the correspondent had heard in the
air he now know to have been from the passing of bullets. He and the
dragoman came stock still. They heard three other volleys sounding with
the abrupt clamour of a hail of little stones upon a hollow surface.
Coleman and the dragoman came close together and looked into the whites
of each other's eyes. The ghastly horse at that moment stretched down
his neck and began placidly to pluck the grass at the roadside. The two
men were equally blank with fear and each seemed to seek in the other
some newly rampant manhood upon which he could lean at this time.
Behind them were the Turks. In front of them was a fight in the
darkness. In front it was mathematic to suppose in fact were also the
Turks. They were barred; enclosed; cut off. The end was come.
Even at that moment they heard from behind them the sound of slow,
stealthy footsteps. They both wheeled instantly, choking with this
additional terror. Coleman saw the dragoman move swiftly to the side of
the road, ready to jump into whatever abyss happened to be there.
Coleman still gripped the halter as if it were in truth a straw. The
stealthy footsteps were much nearer. Then it was that an insanity came
upon him as if fear had flamed up within him until it gave him all the
magnificent desperation of a madman. He jerked the grey horse broadside
to the approaching mystery, and grabbing out his revolver aimed it from
the top of his improvised bulwark. He hailed the darkness.
“Halt. Who's there?” He had expected his voice to sound like a
groan, but instead it happened to sound clear, stern, commanding, like
the voice of a young sentry at an encampment of volunteers. He did not
seem to have any privilege of selection as to the words. They were born
He waited then, blanched and hopeless, for death to wing out of the
darkness and strike him down. He heard a voice. The voice said: “Do you
speak English?” For one or two seconds he could not even understand
English, and then the great fact swelled up and within him. This voice
with all its new quavers was still undoubtedly the voice of Prof.
Harrison B.Wainwright of Washurst College
A CHANGE flashed over Coleman as if it had come from an electric
storage. He had known the professor long, but he had never before heard
a quaver in his voice, and it was this little quaver that seemed to
impel him to supreme disregard of the dangers which he looked upon as
being the final dangers. His own voice had not quavered.
When he spoke, he spoke in a low tone, it was the voice of the
master of the situation. He could hear his dupes fluttering there in
the darkness. “Yes,” he said, “I speak English. There is some danger.
Stay where you are and make no noise.” He was as cool as an iced drink.
To be sure the circumstances had in no wise changed as to his personal
danger, but beyond the important fact that there were now others to
endure it with him, he seemed able to forget it in a strange,
unauthorized sense of victory. It came from the professor's quavers.
Meanwhile he had forgotten the dragoman, but he recalled him in time
to bid him wait. Then, as well concealed as a monk hiding in his cowl,
he tip-toed back into a group of people who knew him intimately.
He discerned two women mounted on little horses and about them were
dim men. He could hear them breathing hard. “It is all right” he began
smoothly. “You only need to be very careful—-”
Suddenly out of the blackness projected a half phosphorescent face.
It was the face of the little professor. He stammered. “We-we-do you
really speak English?” Coleman in his feeling of superb triumph could
almost have laughed. His nerves were as steady as hemp, but he was in
haste and his haste allowed him to administer rebuke to his old
“Didn't you hear me?” he hissed through his tightening lips. “They
are fighting just ahead of us on the road and if you want to save
yourselves don't waste time.”
Another face loomed faintly like a mask painted in dark grey. It
belonged to Coke, and it was a mask figured in profound stupefaction.
The lips opened and tensely breathed out the name: “Coleman.” Instantly
the correspondent felt about him that kind of a tumult which tries to
suppress itself. He knew that it was the most theatric moment of his
life. He glanced quickly toward the two figures on horseback. He
believed that one was making foolish gesticulation while the other sat
rigid and silent. This latter one he knew to be Marjory. He was content
that she did not move. Only a woman who was glad he had come but did
not care for him would have moved. This applied directly to what he
thought he knew of Marjory's nature.
There was confusion among the students, but Coleman suppressed it as
in such situation might a centurion. “S-s-steady!” He seized the arm of
the professor and drew him forcibly close. “The condition is this,” he
whispered rapidly. “We are in a fix with this fight on up the road. I
was sent after you, but I can't get you into the Greek lines to-night.
Mrs.Wainwright and Marjory must dismount and I and my man will take the
horses on and hide them. All the rest of you must go up about a hundred
feet into the woods and hide. When I come back, I'll hail you and you
answer low.” The professor was like pulp in his grasp. He choked out
the word “Coleman” in agony and wonder, but he obeyed with a palpable
gratitude. Coleman sprang to the side of the shadowy figure of Marjory.
“Come,” he said authoritatively. She laid in his palm a little icy cold
hand and dropped from her horse. He had an impulse to cling to the
small fingers, but he loosened them immediately, im- parting to his
manner, as well as the darkness per- mitted him, a kind of casual
politeness as if he were too intent upon the business in hand. He
bunched the crowd and pushed them into the wood. Then he and the
dragoman took the horses a hundred yards onward and tethered them. No
one would care if they were stolen; the great point was to get them
where their noise would have no power of revealing the whole party.
There had been no further firing.
After he had tied the little grey horse to a tree he unroped his
luggage and carried the most of it back to the point where the others
had left the road. He called out cautiously and received a sibilant
answer. He and the dragoman bunted among the trees until they came to
where a forlorn company was seated awaiting them lifting their faces
like frogs out of a pond. His first question did not give them any
assurance. He said at once: “Are any of you armed?” Unanimously they
lowly breathed: “No.” He searched them out one by one and finally sank
down by the professor. He kept sort of a hypnotic handcuff upon the
dragoman, because he foresaw that this man was really going to be the
key to the best means of escape. To a large neutral party wandering
between hostile lines there was technically no danger, but actually
there was a great deal. Both armies had too many irregulars, lawless
hillsmen come out to fight in their own way, and if they were
encountered in the dead of night on such hazardous ground the Greek
hillsmen with their white cross on a blue field would be precisely as
dangerous as the blood-hungry Albanians. Coleman knew that the rational
way was to reach the Greek lines, and he had no intention of reaching
the Greek lines without a tongue, and the only tongue was in the mouth
of the dragoman. He was correct in thinking that the professor's deep
knowledge of the ancient language would give him small clue to the
speech of the modern Greek.
As he settled himself by the professor the band of students, eight
in number pushed their faces close.
He did not see any reason for speaking. There were thirty seconds of
deep silence in which he felt that all were bending to hearken to his
words of counsel The professor huskily broke the stillness. Well * * *
what are we to do now?”
Coleman was decisive, indeed absolute. “We'll stay here until
daylight unless you care to get shot.”
“All right,” answered the professor. He turned and made a useless
remark to his flock. “Stay here.”
Coleman asked civilly, “Have you had anything to eat? Have you got
anything to wrap around you?”
“We have absolutely nothing,” answered the professor. “ Our servants
ran away and * * and then we left everything behind us * * and I've
never been in such a position in my life.”
Coleman moved softly in the darkness and unbuckled some of his
traps. On his knee he broke the hard cakes of bread and with his
fingers he broke the little tablets of chocolate. These he distributed
to his people. And at this time he felt fully the appreciation of the
conduct of the eight American college students They had not yet said a
word-with the exception of the bewildered exclamation from Coke. They
all knew him well. In any circumstance of life which as far as he truly
believed, they had yet encountered, they would have been privileged to
accost him in every form of their remarkable vocabulary. They were as
new to this game as, would have been eight newly-caught Apache Indians
if such were set to run the elevators in the Tract Society Building. He
could see their eyes gazing at him anxiously and he could hear their
deep- drawn breaths. But they said no word. He knew that they were
looking upon him as their leader, almost as their saviour, and he knew
also that they were going to follow him without a murmur in the
conviction that he knew ten-fold more than they knew. It occurred to
him that his position was ludicrously false, but, anyhow, he was glad.
Surely it would be a very easy thing to lead them to safety in the
morning and he foresaw the credit which would come to him. He concluded
that it was beneath his dignity as preserver to vouchsafe them many
words. His business was to be the cold, masterful, enigmatic man. It
might be said that these reflections were only half-thoughts in his
mind. Meanwhile a section of his intellect was flying hither and
thither, speculating upon the Circassian cavalry and the Albanian
guerillas and even the Greek outposts.
He unbuckled his blanket roll and taking one blanket placed it about
the shoulders of the shadow which was Mrs.Wainwright. The shadow
protested incoherently,. hut he muttered “Oh that's all right.” Then he
took his other blanket and went to the shadow which was Marjory. It was
something like putting a wrap about the shoulders of a statue. He was
base enough to linger in the hopes that he could detect some slight
trembling but as far as lie knew she was of stone. His macintosh he
folded around the body of the professor amid quite senile protest, so
senile that the professor seemed suddenly proven to him as an old, old
man, a fact which had never occurred to Washurst or her children. Then
he went to the dragoman and pre-empted half of his blankets, The
dragoman grunted but Coleman It would not do to have this dragoman
develop a luxurious temperament when eight American college students
were, without speech, shivering in the cold night.
Coleman really begun to ruminate upon his glory, but he found that
he could not do this well without Smoking, so he crept away some
distance from this fireless, encampment, and bending his face to the
ground at the foot of a tree he struck a match and lit a cigar. His
retun to the others would have been somewhat in the manner of coolness
as displayed on the stage if he had not been prevented by the necessity
of making no noise. He saw regarding him as before the dimly visible
eyes of the eight students and Marjory and her father and mother. Then
he whispered the conventional words. “Go to sleep if you can. You'll
need your strength in the morning. I and this man here will keep
watch.” Three of the college students of course crawled up to him and
each said: “I'll keep watch, old man.” “No. We'll keep watch. You
people try to sleep.”
He deemed that it might be better to yield the dragoman his blanket,
and So he got up and leaned against a tree, holding his hand to cover
the brilliant point of his cigar. He knew perfectly well that none of
them could sleep. But he stood there somewhat like a sentry without the
attitude, but with all the effect of responsibility.
He had no doubt but what escape to civilisation would be easy, but
anyhow his heroism should be preserved. He was the rescuer. His
thoughts of Marjory were somewhat in a puzzle. The meeting had placed
him in such a position that he had expected a lot of condescension on
his own part. Instead she had exhibited about as much recognition of
him as would a stone fountain on his grandfather's place in
Connecticut. This in his opinion was not the way to greet the knight
who had come to the rescue of his lady. He had not expected it so to
happen. In fact from Athens to this place he had engaged himself with
imagery of possible meetings. He was vexed, certainly, but, far beyond
that, he knew a deeper adminiration for this girl. To him she
represented the sex, and so the sex as embodied in her seemed a mystery
to be feared. He wondered if safety came on the morrow he would not
surrender to this feminine invulnerability. She had not done anything
that he had expected of her and so inasmuch as he loved her he loved
her more. It was bewitching. He half considered himself a fool. But at
any rate he thought resentfully she should be thankful to him for
having rendered her a great service. However, when he came to consider
this proposition he knew that on a basis of absolute manly endeavour he
had rendered her little or no service.
The night was long.
COLEMAN suddenly found himself looking upon his pallid dragoman. He
saw that he had been asleep crouched at the foot of the tree. Without
any exchange of speech at all he knew there had been alarming noises.
Then shots sounded from nearby. Some were from rifles aimed in that
direction and some were from rifles opposed to them. This was
distinguishable to the experienced man, but all that Coleman knew was
that the conditions of danger were now triplicated. Unconsciously he
stretched his hands in supplication over his charges. “Don't move!
Don't move! And keep close to the ground!” All heeded him but Marjory.
She still sat straight. He himself was on his feet, but he now knew the
sound of bullets, and he knew that no bullets had spun through the
trees. He could not see her distinctly, but it was known to him in some
way that she was mutinous. He leaned toward her and spoke as harshly as
possible. “Marjory, get down!” She wavered for a moment as if resolved
to defy him. As he turned again to peer in the direction of the firing
it went through his mind that she must love him very much indeed. He
was assured of it. It must have been some small outpour between nervous
pickets and eager hillsmen, for it ended in a moment. The party waited
in abasement for what seemed to them a time, and the blue dawn began,
to laggardly shift the night as they waited. The dawn itself seemed
prodigiously long in arriving at anything like discernible landscape.
When this was consummated, Coleman, in somewhat the manner of the
father of a church, dealt bits of chocolate out to the others. He had
already taken the precaution to confer with the dragoman, so he said:
“Well, come ahead. We'll make a try for it.” They arose at his bidding
and followed him to the road. It was the same broad, white road, only
that the white was in the dawning something like the grey of a veil. It
took some courage to venture upon this thoroughfare, but Coleman
stepped out-after looking quickly in both directions. The party tramped
to where the horses had been left, and there they were found without
change of a rope. Coleman rejoiced to see that his dragoman now
followed him in the way of a good lieutenant. They both dashed in among
the trees and had the horses out into the road in a twinkle. When
Coleman turned to direct that utterly subservient, group he knew that
his face was drawn from hardship and anxiety, but he saw everywhere the
same style of face with the exception of the face of Marjory, who
looked simply of lovely marble. He noted with a curious satisfaction,
as if the thing was a tribute to himself, that his macintosh was over
the professor's shoulder, that Marjory and her mother were each
carrying a blanket, and that, the corps of students had dutifully
brought all the traps which his dragoman had forgotten. It was grand.
He addressed them to say: “Now, approaching outposts is very
dangerous business at this time in the morning. So my man, who can talk
both Greek and Turkish, will go ahead forty yards, and I will follow
somewhere between him and you. Try not to crowd forward.”
He directed the ladies upon their horses and placed the professor
upon the little grey nag. Then they took up their line of march. The
dragoman had looked somewhat dubiously upon this plan of having him go
forty yards in advance, but he had the utmost confidence in this new
Coleman, whom yesterday he had not known. Besides, he himself was a
very gallant man indeed, and it befitted him to take the post of danger
before the eyes of all these foreigners. In his new position he was as
proud and unreasonable as a rooster. He was continually turning his
head to scowl back at them, when only the clank of hoofs was sounding.
An impenetrable mist lay on the valley and the hill-tops were shrouded.
As for the people, they were like mice. Coleman paid no attention to
the Wainwright party, but walked steadily along near the dragoman.
Perhaps the whole thing was a trifle absurd, but to a great
percentage, of the party it was terrible. For instance, those eight
boys, fresh from a school, could in no wise gauge the dimensions. And
if this was true of the students, it was more distinctly true of
Marjory and her mother. As for the professor, he seemed Weighted to the
earth by his love and his responsibility.
Suddenly the dragoman wheeled and made demoniac signs. Coleman
half-turned to survey the main body, and then paid his attention
swiftly to the front. The white road sped to the top of a hill where it
seemed to make a rotund swing into oblivion. The top of the curve was
framed in foliage, and therein was a horseman. He had his carbine
slanted on his thigh, and his bridle-reins taut. Upon sight of them he
immediately wheeled and galloped down the other slope and vanished.
The dragoman was throwing wild gestures into the air. As Coleman
looked back at the Wainwright party he saw plainly that to an ordinary
eye they might easily appear as a strong advance of troops. The
peculiar light would emphasize such theory. The dragoman ran to him
jubilantly, but he contained now a form of intelligence which caused
him to whisper; ” That was one Greek. That was one Greek-what do you
Coleman addressed the others. He said: “It's all right. Come ahead.
That was a Greek picket. There is only one trouble now, and that is to
approach them easy-do you see-easy.”
His obedient charges came forward at his word. When they arrived at
the top of this rise they saw nothing. Coleman was very uncertain. He
was not sure that this picket had not carried with him a general alarm,
and in that case there would soon occur a certain amount of shooting.
However, as far as he understood the business, there was no way but
forward. Inasmuch as he did not indicate to the Wainwright party that
he wished them to do differently, they followed on doggedly after him
and the dragoman. He knew now that the dragoman's heart had for the
tenth time turned to dog-biscuit, so he kept abreast of him. And soon
together they walked into a cavalry outpost, commanded by no less a
person than the dashing young captain, who came laughing out to meet
Suddenly losing all colour of war, the condition was now such as
might occur in a drawing room. Coleman felt the importance of
establishing highly conventional relations between the captain and the
Wainwright party. To compass this he first seized his dragoman, and the
dragoman, enlightened immediately, spun a series of lies which must
have led the captain to believe that the entire heart of the American
republic had been taken out of that western continent and transported
to Greece. Coleman was proud of the captain, The latter immediately
went and bowed in the manner of the French school and asked everybody
to have a cup of coffee, although acceptation would have proved his
ruin and disgrace. Coleman refused in the name of courtesy. He called
his party forward, and now they proceeded merely as one crowd. Marjory
had dismounted in the meantime.
The moment was come. Coleman felt it. The first rush was from the
students. Immediately he was buried in a thrashing mob of them. “Good
boy! Good boy! Great man! Oh, isn't he a peach? How did he do it? He
came in strong at the finish! Good boy, Coleman!” Through this mist of
glowing youthful congratulatioin he saw the professor standing at the
outskirts with direct formal thanks already moving on his lips, while
near him his wife wept joyfully. Marjory was evidently enduring some
After all, it did penetrate his mind that it was indecent to accept
all this wild gratitude, but there was built within him no intention of
positively declaring himself lacking in all credit, or at least,
lacking in all credit in the way their praises defined it. In truth he
had assisted them, but he had been at the time largely engaged in
assisting himself, and their coming had been more of a boon to his
loneliness than an addition to his care. However, he soon had no
difficulty in making his conscience appropriate every line in these
hymns sung in his honour. The students, curiously wise of men, thought
his conduct quite perfect. “Oh, say, come off!” he protested. “Why, I
didn't do anything. You fellows are crazy. You would have gotten in all
right by yourselves. Don't act like asses-”
As soon as the professor had opportunity he came to Coleman. He was
a changed little man, and his extraordinary bewilderment showed in his
face. It was the disillusion and amazement of a stubborn mind that had
gone implacably in its one direction and found in the end that the
direction was all wrong, and that really a certain mental machine had
not been infallible. Coleman remembered what the American minister in
Athens had described of his protests against the starting of the
professor's party on this journey, and of the complete refusal of the
professor to recognise any value in the advice. And here now was the
consequent defeat. It was mirrored in the professor's astonished eyes.
Coleman went directly to his dazed old teacher. “Well, you're out of it
now, professor,” he said warmly. “I congratulate you on your escape,
sir.” The professor looked at him, helpless to express himself, but the
correspondent was at that time suddenly enveloped in the hysterical
gratitude of Mrs. Wainwright, who hurled herself upon him with
extravagant manifestations. Coleman played his part with skill. To both
the professor and Mrs. Wainwright his manner was a combination of
modestly filial affection and a pretentious disavowal of his having
done anything at all. It seemed to charm everybody but Marjory. It
irritated him to see that she was apparently incapable of acknowledging
that he was a grand man.
He was actually compelled to go to her and offer congratulations
upon her escape, as he had congratulated the professor. If his manner
to her parents had been filial, his manner to her was parental. “Well,
Marjory,” he said kindly, “you have been in considerable danger. I
suppose you're glad to be through with it.” She at that time made no
reply, but by her casual turn he knew that he was expected to walk
along by her side. The others knew it, too, and the rest of the party
left them free to walk side by side in the rear.
“This is a beautiful country here-abouts if one gets a good chance
to see it,” he remarked. Then he added: “But I suppose you had a view
of it when you were going out to Nikopolis?”
She answered in muffled tones. “Yes, we thought it very beautiful.”
Did you note those streams from the mountains ” That seemed to me
the purest water I'd ever seen, but I bet it would make one ill to
drink it. There is, you know, a prominent German chemist who has almost
proven that really pure water is practical poison to the human
“Yes?” she said.
There was a period of silence, during which he was perfectly
comfortable because he knew that she was ill at ease. If the silence
was awkward, she was suffering from it. As for himself, he had no
inclination to break it. His position was, as far as the entire
Wainwright party was concerned, a place where he could afford to wait.
She turned to him at last. “Of course, I know how much you have done
for us, and I want you to feel that we all appreciate it
deeply-deeply.” There was discernible to the ear a certain note of
“Oh, not at all,” he said generously. “Not at all. I didn't do
anything. It was quite an accident. Don't let that trouble you for a
“Well, of course you would say that,” she said more steadily. “But
I-we-we know how good and how-brave it was in you to come for us, and
I—we must never forget it.”
As a matter of fact,” replied Coleman, with an appearance of
ingenuous candor, “I was sent out here by the Eclipse to find you
people, and of course I worked rather hard to reach you, but the final
meeting was purely accidental and does not redound to my credit in the
As he had anticipated, Marjory shot him a little glance of
disbelief. “Of course you would say that,” she repeated with gloomy but
“Oh, if I had been a great hero,” he said smiling, “no doubt I would
have kept up this same manner which now sets so well upon me, but I am
telling you the truth when I say that I had no part in your rescue at
She became slightly indignant. “Oh, if you care to tell us
constantly that you were of no service to us, I don't see what we can
do but continue to declare that you were.”
Suddenly he felt vulgar. He spoke to her this time with real
meaning. “I beg of 'you never to mention it again. That will be the
But to this she would not accede. “No, we will often want to speak
He replied “How do you like Greece? Don't you think that some of
these ruins are rather out of shape in the popular mind? Now, for my
part, I would rather look at a good strong finish at a horserace than
to see ten thousand Parthenons in a bunch.”
She was immediately in the position of defending him from himself.
“You would rather see no such thing. You shouldn't talk in that utterly
trivial way. I like the Parthenon, of course, but I can't think of it
now because my head. is too full of my escape from where I was so-so
Coleman grinned. “Were you really frightened?”
“Naturally,” she answered. “I suppose I was more frightened for
mother and father, but I was frightened enough for myself. It was
not-not a nice thing.”
“No, it wasn't,” said Coleman. “I could hardly believe my senses,
when the minister at Athens told me that, you all had ventured into
such a trap, and there is no doubt but what you can be glad that you
are well out of it.”
She seemed to have some struggle with herself and then she
deliberately said: “Thanks to you.”
Coleman embarked on what he intended to make a series of high-minded
protests. “Not at all-” but at that moment the dragoman whirled back
from the van-guard with a great collection of the difficulties which
had been gathering upon him. Coleman was obliged to resign Marjory and
again take up the active leadership. He disposed of the dragoman's
difficulties mainly by declaring that they were not difficulties at
all. He had learned that this was the way to deal with dragomen. The
fog had already lifted from the valley and, as they passed along the
wooded mountain-side the fragrance of leaves and earth came to them.
Ahead, along the hooded road, they could see the blue clad figures of
Greek infantrymen. Finally they passed an encampment of a battalion
whose line was at a right angle to the highway. A hundred yards in
advance was the bridge across the Louros river. And there a battery of
artillery was encamped. The dragoman became involved in all sorts of
discussions with other Greeks, but Coleman stuck to his elbow and
stifled all aimless oration. The Wainwright party waited for them in
the rear in an observant but patient group.
Across a plain, the hills directly behind Arta loomed up showing the
straight yellow scar of a modern entrenchment. To the north of Arta
were some grey mountains with a dimly marked road winding to the
summit. On one side of this road were two shadows. It took a moment for
the eye to find these shadows, but when this was accomplished it was
plain that they were men. The captain of the battery explained to the
dragoman that he did not know that they were not also Turks. In which
case the road to Arta was a dangerous path. It was no good news to
Coleman. He waited a moment in order to gain composure and then walked
back to the Wainwright party. They must have known at once from his
peculiar gravity that all was not well. Five of the students and the
professor immediately asked: “What is it?”
He had at first some old-fashioned idea of concealing the ill
tidings from the ladies, but he perceived what flagrant nonsense this
would be in circumstances in which all were fairly likely to incur
equal dangers, and at any rate he did not see his way clear to allow
their imagination to run riot over a situation which might not turn out
to be too bad. He said slowly: “You see those mountains over there?
Well, troops have been seen there and the captain of this battery
thinks they are Turks. If they are Turks the road to Arta is
This new blow first affected the Wainwright party as being too much
to endure. “They thought they had gone through enough. This was a
general sentiment. Afterward the emotion took colour according to the
individual character. One student laughed and said: “Well, I see our
Another student piped out: “How do they know they are Turks? What
makes them think they are Turks “
Another student expressed himself with a sigh. “This is a long way
from the Bowery.”
The professor said nothing but looked annihilated; Mrs. Wainwright
wept profoundly; Marjory looked expectantly toward Coleman.
As for the correspondent he was adamantine and reliable and stern,
for he had not the slightest idea that those men on the distant hill
were Turks at all.
“OH,” said a student, “this game ought to quit. I feel like thirty
cents. We didn't come out here to be pursued about the country by these
Turks. Why don't they stop it?”
Coleman was remarking: “Really, the only sensible thing to do now is
to have breakfast. There is no use in worrying ourselves silly over
this thing until we've got to.”
They spread the blankets on the ground and sat about a feast of
bread, water cress and tinned beef. Coleman was the real host, but he
contrived to make the professor appear as that honourable person. They
ate, casting their eyes from time to time at the distant mountain with
its two shadows. People began to fly down the road from Jannina,
peasants hurriedly driving little flocks, women and children on donkeys
and little horses which they clubbed unceasingly. One man rode at a
gallop, shrieking and flailing his arms in the air. They were all
Christian peasants of Turkey, but they were in flight now because they
did not wish to be at home if the Turk was going to return and reap
revenge for his mortification. The Wainwright party looked at Coleman
in abrupt questioning.
“Oh, it's all right,” he said, easily. “They are always taking on
Suddenly the dragoman gave a shout and dashed up the road to the
scene of a melee where a little ratfaced groom was vociferously
defending three horses from some Greek officers, who as vociferously
were stating their right to requisition them. Coleman ran after his
dragoman. There was a sickening pow-wow, but in the end Coleman,
straight and easy in the saddle, came cantering back on a superb
open-mouthed snorting bay horse. He did not mind if the half-wild
animal plunged crazily. It was part of his role. “They were trying to
steal my horses,” he explained. He leaped to the ground, and holding
the horse by the bridle, he addressed his admiring companions. “The
groom- the man who has charge of the horses—says that he thinks that
the people on the mountain-side are Turks, but I don't see how that is
possible. You see-” he pointed wisely-” that road leads directly south
to Arta, and it is hardly possible that the Greek army would come over
here and leave that approach to Arta utterly unguarded. It would be too
foolish. They must have left some men to cover it, and that is
certainly what those troops are. If you are all ready and willing, I
don't see anything to do but make a good, stout-hearted dash for Arta.
It would be no more dangerous than to sit here.” The professor was at
last able to make his formal speech. “Mr. Coleman,” he said distinctly,
“we place ourselves entirely in your hands.” It was some. how pitiful.
This man who, for years and years had reigned in a little college town
almost as a monarch, passing judgment with the air of one who words the
law, dealing criticism upon the universe as one to whom all things are
plain, publicly disdaining defeat as one to whom all things are
easy-this man was now veritably appealing to Coleman to save his wife,
his daughter and himself, and really declared himself de. pendent for
safety upon the ingenuity and courage of the correspondent.
The attitude of the students was utterly indifferent. They did not
consider themselves helpless at all. they were evidently quite ready to
withstand anything but they looked frankly up to Coleman as their
intelligent leader. If they suffered any, their only expression of it
was in the simple grim slang of their period.
“I wish I was at Coney Island.”
“This is not so bad as trigonometry, but it's worse than playing
billiards for the beers.”
And Coke said privately to Coleman: “Say, what in hell are these two
damn peoples fighting for, anyhow?”
When he saw that all opinions were in favour of following him
loyally, Coleman was impelled to feel a responsibility. He was now no
errant rescuer, but a properly elected leader of fellow beings in
distress. While one of the students held his horse, he took the
dragoman for another consultation with the captain of the battery. The
officer was sitting on a large stone, with his eyes fixed into his
field glasses. When again questioned he could give no satisfaction as
to the identity of the troops on the distant mountain. He merely
shrugged his shoulders and said that if they were Greeks it was very
good, but if they were Turks it was very bad. He seemed more occupied
in trying to impress the correspondent that it was a matter of
soldierly indifference to himself. Coleman, after loathing him
sufficiently in silence, returned to the others and said: “Well, we'll
They looked to him to arrange the caravan. Speaking to the men of
the party he said: “Of course, any one of you is welcome to my horse if
you can ride it, but-if you're not too tired-I think I had myself
better ride, so that I can go ahead at times.”
His manner was so fine as he said this that the students seemed
fairly to worship him. Of course it had been most improbable that any
of them could have ridden that volcanic animal even if one of them had
He saw Mrs. Wainwright and Marjory upon the backs of their two
little natives, and hoisted the professor into the saddle of the
groom's horse, leaving instructions with the servant to lead the animal
always and carefully. He and the dragoman then mounted at the head of
the procession, and amid curious questionings from the soldiery they
crossed the bridge and started on the trail to Arta. The rear was
brought up by the little grey horse with the luggage, led by one
student and flogged by another.
Coleman, checking with difficulty the battling disposition of his
horse, was very uneasy in his mind because the last words of the
captain of the battery had made him feel that perhaps on this ride he
would be placed in a position where only the best courage would count,
and he did not see his way clear to feeling very confident about his
conduct in such a case. Looking back upon the caravan, he saw it as a
most unwieldy thing, not even capable of running away. He hurried it
with sudden, sharp contemptuous phrases.
On the. march there incidentally flashed upon him a new truth. More
than half of that student band were deeply in love with Marjory. Of
course, when he had been distant from her he had had an eternal jealous
reflection to that effect. It was natural that he should have thought
of the intimate camping relations between Marjory and these young
students with a great deal of bitterness, grinding his teeth when
picturing their opportunities to make Marjory fall in love with some
one of them. He had raged particularly about Coke, whose father had
millions of dollars. But he had forgotten all these jealousies in the
general splendour of his exploits. Now, when he saw the truth, it
seemed. to bring him back to his common life and he saw himself
suddenly as not being frantically superior in any way to those other
young men. The more closely he looked at this last fact, the more
convinced he was of its truth. He seemed to see that he had been
impropererly elated over his services to the Wainwrights, and that, in
the end, the girl might fancy a man because the man had done her no
service at all. He saw his proud position lower itself to be a pawn in
the game. Looking back over the students, he wondered which one Marjory
might love. This hideous Nikopolis had given eight men chance to win
her. His scorn and his malice quite centered upon Coke, for he could
never forget that the man's father had millions of dollars. The
unfortunate Coke chose that moment to address him querulously: “Look
here, Coleman, can't you tell us how far it is to Arta?”
“Coke,” said Coleman, “I don't suppose you take me for a tourist
agency, but if you can only try to distinguish between me and a map
with the scale of miles printed in the lower left- hand corner, you
will not contribute so much to the sufferings of the party which you
The students within hearing guffawed and Coke retired, in confusion.
The march was not rapid. Coleman almost wore out his arms holding in
check his impetuous horse. Often the caravan floundered through mud,
while at the same time a hot, yellow dust came from the north.
They were perhaps half way to Arta when Coleman decided that a rest
and luncheon were the things to be considered. He halted his troop then
in the shade of some great trees, and privately he bade his dragoman
prepare the best feast which could come out of those saddle-bags fresh
from Athens. The result was rather gorgeous in the eyes of the poor
wanderers. First of all there were three knives, three forks, three
spoons, three tin cups and three tin plaies, which the entire party of
twelve used on a most amiable socialistic principle. There were crisp,
salty biscuits and olives, for which they speared in the bottle. There
was potted turkey, and potted ham, and potted tongue, all tasting
precisely alike. There were sardines and the ordinary tinned beef,
disguised sometimes with onions, carrots and potatoes. Out of the
saddle-bags came pepper and salt and even mustard. The dragoman made
coffee over a little fire of sticks that blazed with a white light. The
whole thing was prodigal, but any philanthropist would have approved of
it if he could have seen the way in which the eight students laid into
the spread. When there came a polite remonstrance-notably from Mrs.
Wainwright-Coleman merely pointed to a large bundle strapped back of
the groom's saddle. During the coffee he was considering how best to
get the students one by one out of the sight of the Wainwrights where
he could give them good drinks of whisky.
There was an agitation on the road toward Arta. Some people were
coming on horses. He paid small heed until he heard a thump of pausing
hoofs near him, and a musical voice say: “Rufus!”
He looked up quickly, and then all present saw his eyes really
bulge. There on a fat and glossy horse sat Nora Black, dressed in
probably one of the most correct riding habits which had ever been seen
in the East. She was smiling a radiant smile, which held the eight
students simpty spell-bound. They would have recognised her if it had
not been for this apparitional coming in the wilds of southeastern
Europe. Behind her were her people-some servants and an old lady on a
very little pony. “Well, Rufus?” she said.
Coleman made the mistake of hesitating. For a fraction of a moment
he had acted as if he were embarrassed, and was only going to nod and
say: “How d'do?”
He arose and came forward too late. She was looking at him with a
menacing glance which meant difficulties for him if he was not skilful.
Keen as an eagle, she swept her glance over the face and figure of
Marjory. Without. further introduction, the girls seemed to understand
that they were enemies.
Despite his feeling of awkwardness, Coleman's mind was mainly
occupied by pure astonishment. “Nora Black?” he said, as if even then
he could not believe his senses. “How in the world did you get down
She was not too amiable, evidently, over his reception, and she
seemed to know perfectly that it was in her power to make him feel
extremely unpleasant. “Oh, it's not so far,” she answered. “I don't see
where you come in to ask me what I'm doing here. What are you doing
here?” She lifted her eyes and shot the half of a glance at Marjory.
Into her last question she had interjected a spirit of ownership in
which he saw future woe. It turned him cowardly. “Why, you know I was
sent up here by the paper to rescue the Wainwright party, and I've got
them. I'm taking them to Arta. But why are you here?”
“I am here,” she said, giving him the most defiant of glances,
“principally to look for you.”
Even the horse she rode betrayed an intention of abiding upon that
spot forever. She had made her communication with Coleman appear to the
Wainwright party as a sort of tender reunion.
Coleman looked at her with a steely eye. “Nora, you can certainly be
a devil when you choose.”
“Why don't you present me to your friends? Mis,; Nora Black, special
correspondent of the New York Daylighi, if you please. I belong to your
opposition. I am your rival, Rufus, and I draw a bigger salary-see?
Funny looking gang, that. Who is the old Johnnie in the white wig?”
“Er-where you goin'-you can't “-blundered Coleman miserably “Aw-the
army is in retreat and you must go back to- don't you see?”
“Is it?” she agked. After a pause she added coolly: “Then I shall go
back to Arta with you and your precious Wainwrights.”
GIVING Coleman another glance of subtle menace Nora repeated: “Why
don't you present me to your friends?” Coleman had been swiftly
searching the whole world for a way clear of this unhappiness, but he
knew at last that he could only die at his guns. “Why, certainly,” he
said quickly, “if you wish it.” He sauntered easily back to the
luncheon blanket. “This is Miss Black of the New York Daylight and she
says that those people on the mountain are Greeks.” The students were
gaping at him, and Marjory and her father sat in the same silence. But
to the relief of Coleman and to the high edification of the students,
Mrs. Wainwright cried out: “Why, is she an American woman?” And seeing
Coleman's nod of assent she rustled to her feet and advanced hastily
upon the complacent horsewoman. “I'm delighted to see you. Who would
think of seeing an American woman way over here. Have you been here
long? Are you going on further? Oh, we've had such a dreadful time.”
Coleman remained long enough to hear Nora say: “ Thank you very much,
but I shan't dismount. I am going to ride back to Arta presently.”
Then he heard Mrs. Wainwright cry: “Oh, are you indeed? Why we, too,
are going at once to Arta. We can all go together.” Coleman fled then
to the bosom of the students, who all looked at him with eyes of
cynical penetration. He cast a glance at Marjory more than fearing a
glare which denoted an implacable resolution never to forgive this
thing. On the contrary he had never seen her so content and serene.
“You have allowed your coffee to get chilled,” she said considerately.
“Won't you have the man warm you some more?”
“Thanks, no,” he answered with gratitude.
Nora, changing her mind, had dismounted and was coming with Mrs.
Wainwright. That worthy lady had long had a fund of information and
anecdote the sound of which neither her husband nor her daughter would
endure for a moment. Of course the rascally students were out of the
question. Here, then, was really the first ear amiably and cheerfully
open, and she was talking at what the students called her “thirty knot
“Lost everything. Absolutely everything. Neither of us have even a
brush and comb, or a cake of soap, or enough hairpins to hold up our
hair. I'm going to take Marjory's away from her and let her braid her
hair down her back. You can imagine how dreadful it is—-”
From time to time the cool voice of Nora sounded without effort
through this clamour. “Oh, it will be no trouble at all. I have more
than enough of everything. We can divide very nicely.”
Coleman broke somewhat imperiously into this feminine chat. “Well,
we must be moving, you know, “and his voice started the men into
activity. When the traps were all packed again on the horse Coleman
looked back surprised to see the three women engaged in the most
friendly discussion. The combined parties now made a very respectable
squadron. Coleman rode off at its head without glancing behind at all.
He knew that they were following from the soft pounding of the horses
hoofs on the sod and from the mellow hum of human voices.
For a long time he did not think to look upon himself as anything
but a man much injured by circumstances. Among his friends he could
count numbers who had lived long lives without having this peculiar
class of misfortune come to them. In fact it was so unusual a
misfortune that men of the world had not found it necessary to pass
from mind to mind a perfec t formula for dealing with it. But he soon
began to consider himself an extraordinarily lucky person inasmuch as
Nora Black had come upon him with her saddle bags packed with
inflammable substances, so to speak, and there had been as yet only
enough fire to boil coffee for luncheon. He laughed tenderly when he
thought of the innocence of Mrs. Wainwright, but his face and back
flushed with heat when lie thought of the canniness of the eight
American college students.
He heard a horse cantering up on his left side and looking he saw
Nora Black. She was beaming with satisfaction and good nature. “Well,
Rufus,” she cried flippantly, “how goes it with the gallant rescuer?
You've made a hit, my boy. You are the success of the season.”
Coleman reflected upon the probable result of a direct appeal to
Nora. He knew of course that such appeals were usually idle, but he did
not consider Nora an ordinary person. His decision was to venture it.
He drew his horse close to hers. “Nora,” he said, “do you know that you
are raising the very devil?”
She lifted her finely penciled eyebrows and looked at him with the
baby-stare. “How?” she enquired.
“You know well enough,” he gritted out wrathfully.
“Raising the very devil?” she asked. “How do you mean?” She was
palpably interested for his answer. She waited for his reply for an
interval, and then she asked him outright. “Rufus Coleman do you mean
that I am not a respectable woman?”
In reality he had meant nothing of the kind, but this direct
throttling of a great question stupefied him utterly, for he saw now
that she' would probably never understand him in the least and that she
would at any rate always pretend not to understand him and that the
more he said the more harm he manufactured. She studied him over
carefully and then wheeled her horse towards the rear with some parting
remarks. “I suppose you should attend more strictly to your own
affairs, Rufus. Instead of raising the devil I am lending hairpins. I
have seen you insult people, but I have never seen you insult anyone
quite for the whim of the thing. Go soak your head.”
Not considering it advisable to then indulge in such immersion
Coleman rode moodily onward. The hot dust continued to sting the cheeks
of the travellers and in some places great clouds of dead leaves roared
in circles about them. All of the Wainwright party were utterly fagged.
Coleman felt his skin crackle and his throat seemed to be coated with
the white dust. He worried his dragoman as to the distance to Arta
until the dragoman lied to the point where he always declared that Arta
was only off some hundreds of yards.
At their places in the procession Mrs. Wainwright and Marjory were
animatedly talking to Nora and the old lady on the little pony. They
had at first suffered great amazement at the voluntary presence of the
old lady, but she was there really because she knew no better. Her
colossal ignorance took the form, mainly, of a most obstreperous
patriotism, and indeed she always acted in a foreign country as if she
were the special commissioner of the President, or perhaps as a special
commissioner could not act at all. She was very aggressive, and when
any of the travelling arrangements in Europe did not suit her ideas she
was won't to shrilly exclaim: “Well! New York is good enough for me.”
Nora, morbidly afraid that her ex- pense bill to the Daylight would not
be large enough, had dragged her bodily off to Greece as her companion,
friend and protection. At Arta they had heard of the grand success of
the Greek army. The Turks had not stood for a moment before that
gallant and terrible advance; no; they had scampered howling with fear
into the north. Jannina would fall-well, Jannina would fall as soon as
the Greeks arrived. There was no doubt of it. The correspondent and her
friend, deluded and hurried by the light-hearted confidence of the
Greeks in Arta, had hastened out then on a regular tourist's excursion
to see Jannina after its capture. Nora concealed from her friend the
fact that the editor of the Daylight particularly wished her to see a
battle so that she might write an article on actual warfare from a
woman's point of view. With her name as a queen of comic opera, such an
article from her pen would be a burning, sensation.
Coleman had been the first to point out to Nora that instead of
going on a picnic to Jannina, she had better run back to Arta. When the
old lady heard that they had not been entirely safe, she was furious
with Nora. “The idea!” she exclaimed to Mrs. Wainwright. “They might
have caught us! They might have caught us!”
“Well,” said Mrs. Wainwright. “I verily believe they would have
caught us if it had not been for Mr. Coleman.”
“Is he the gentleman on the fine horse?”
“Yes; that's him. Oh, he has been sim-plee splendid. I confess I was
a little bit-er-surprised. He was in college under my husband. I don't
know that we thought very great things of him, but if ever a man won
golden opinions he has done so from us.”
“Oh, that must be the Coleman who is such a great friend of Nora's.”
“Yes?” said Mrs. Wainwright insidiously. “Is he? I didn't know. Of
course he knows so many people.” Her mind had been suddenly illumined
by the old lady and she thought extravagantly of the arrival of Nora
upon the scene. She remained all sweetness to the old lady. “Did you
know he was here? Did you expect to meet him? I seemed such a
delightful coincidence.” In truth she was being subterraneously clever.
“Oh, no; I don't think so. I didn't hear Nora mention it. Of course
she would have told me. You know, our coming to Greece was such a
surprise. Nora had an engagement in London at the Folly Theatre in Fly
by Night, but the manager was insufferable, oh, insufferable. So, of
course, Nora wouldn't stand it a minute, and then these newspaper
people came along and asked her to go to Greece for them and she
accepted. I am sure I never expected to find us-aw-fleeing from the
Turks or I shouldn't have Come.”
“Mrs. Wainwright was gasping. “You don't mean that she is— she is
Nora Black, the actress.”
“Of course she is,” said the old lady jubilantly.
“Why, how strange,” choked Mrs. Wainwrignt. Nothing she knew of Nora
could account for her stupefaction and grief. What happened glaringly
to her was the duplicity of man. Coleman was a ribald deceiver. He must
have known and yet he had pretended throughout that the meeting was a
pure accident She turned with a nervous impulse to sympathist with her
daughter, but despite the lovely tranquillity of the girl's face there
was something about her which forbade the mother to meddle. Anyhow Mrs.
Wainwright was sorry that she had told nice things of Coleman's
behaviour, so she said to the old lady: “Young men of these times get a
false age so quickly. We have always thought it a great pity, about Mr.
“Why, how so?” asked the old lady.
“Oh, really nothing. Only, to us he seemed rather —er- prematurely
experienced or something of that kind. The old lady did not catch the
meaning of the phrase. She seemed surprised. “Why, I've never seen any
full-grown person in this world who got experience any too quick for
his own good.”
At the tail of the procession there was talk between the two
students who had in charge the little grey horse-one to lead and one to
flog. “Billie,” said one, “it now becomes necessary to lose this hobby
into the hands of some of the other fellows. Whereby we will gain
opportunity to pay homage to the great Nora. Why, you egregious
thick-head, this is the chance of a life-time. I'm damned if I'm going
to tow this beast of burden much further.”
“You wouldn't stand a show,” said Billie pessimistically. “Look at
“That's all right. Do you mean to say that you prefer to continue
towing pack horses in the presence of this queen of song and the dance
just because you think Coleman can throw out his chest a little more
than you. Not so. Think of your bright and sparkling youth. There's
Coke and Pete Tounley near Marjory. We'll call 'em.” Whereupon he set
up a cry. “Say, you people, we're not getting a, salary for this.
Supposin' you try for a time. It'll do you good.” When the two
addressed bad halted to await the arrival of the little grey horse,
they took on glum expressions. “You look like poisoned pups,” said the
student who led the horse. “Too strong for light work. Grab onto the
halter, now, Peter, and tow. We are going ahead to talk to Nora Black.”
“Good time you'll have,” answered Peter Tounley.
“Coleman is cuttin' up scandalous. You won't stand a show.”
“What do you think of him?” said Coke. “Seems curious, all 'round.
Do you suppose he knew she would show up? It was nervy to—”
“Nervy to what?” asked Billie.
“Well,” said Coke, “seems to me he is playing both ends against the
middle. I don't know anything about Nora Black, but-”
The three other students expressed themselves with conviction and in
chorus. “Coleman's all right.”
“Well, anyhow,” continued Coke, “I don't see my way free to admiring
him introducing Nora Black to the Wainwrights.”
“He didn't,” said the others, still in chorus.
“Queer game,” said Peter Tounley. “He seems to know her pretty
“Pretty damn well,” said Billie.
“Anyhow he's a brick,” said Peter Tounley. “We mustn't forget that.
Lo, I begin to feel that our Rufus is a fly guy of many different
kinds. Any play that he is in commands my respect. He won't be hit by a
chimney in the daytime, for unto him has come much wisdom, I don't
think I'll worry.”
“Is he stuck on Nora Black, do you know?” asked Billie.
“One thing is plain,” replied Coke. “She has got him somehow by the
short hair and she intends him to holler murder. Anybody can see that.”
“Well, he won't holler murder,” said one of them with conviction.
“I'll bet you he won't. He'll hammer the war-post and beat the tom-tom
until he drops, but he won't holler murder.”
“Old Mother Wainwright will be in his wool presently,” quoth Peter
Tounley musingly, “I could see it coming in her eye. Somebody has given
his snap away, or something.” “Aw, he had no snap,” said Billie.
“Couldn't you see how rattled he was? He would have given a lac if dear
Nora hadn't turned up.”
“Of course,” the others assented. “He was rattled.”
“Looks queer. And nasty,” said Coke.
“Nora herself had an axe ready for him.”
They began to laugh. “If she had had an umbrella she would have
basted him over the head with it. Oh, my! He was green.”
“Nevertheless,” said Peter Tounley, “I refuse to worry over our
Rufus. When he can't take care of himself the rest of us want to hunt
cover. He is a fly guy-”
Coleman in the meantime had become aware that the light of Mrs.
Wainwright's countenance was turned from him. The party stopped at a
well, and when he offered her a drink from his cup he thought she
accepted it with scant thanks. Marjory was still gracious, always
gracious, but this did not reassure him, because he felt there was much
unfathomable deception in it. When he turned to seek consolation in the
manner of the professor he found him as before, stunned with surprise,
and the only idea he had was to be as tractable as a child.
When he returned to the head of the column, Nora again cantered
forward to join him. “Well, me gay Lochinvar,” she cried, “and has your
“You are very fresh,” he said.
She laughed loud enough to be heard the full length of the caravan.
It was a beautiful laugh, but full of insolence and confidence. He
flashed his eyes malignantly upon her, but then she only laughed more.
She could see that he wished to strangle her. “What a disposition!” she
said. “What a disposition! You are not. nearly so nice as your friends.
Now, they are charming, but you-Rufus, I wish you would get that temper
mended. Dear Rufus, do it to please me. You know you like to please me.
Don't you now, dear?” He finally laughed. “Confound you, Nora. I would
like to kill you.”
But at his laugh she was all sunshine. It was as if she. had been
trying to taunt him into good humour with her. “Aw, now, Rufus, don't
be angry. I'll be good, Rufus. Really, I will. Listen. I want to tell
you something. Do you know what I did? Well, you know, I never was cut
out for this business, and, back there, when you told me about the
Turks being near and all that sort of thing, I was frightened almost to
death. Really, I was. So, when nobody was looking, I sneaked two or
three little drinks out of my flask. Two or three little drinks-”
“GOOD God!” said Coleman. “You don't Mean-”
Nora smiled rosily at him. “Oh, I'm all right,” she answered. “Don't
worry about your Aunt Nora, my precious boy. Not for a minute.”
Coleman was horrified. “But you are not going to-you are not going
“Not at all, me son. Not at all,” she answered.
I'm not going to prance. I'm going to be as nice as pie, and just
ride quietly along here with dear little Rufus. Only * * you know what
I can do when I get started, so you had better be a very good boy. I
might take it into my head to say some things, you know.”
Bound hand and foot at his stake, he could not even chant his
defiant torture song. It might precipitate—in fact, he was sure it
would precipitate the grand smash. But to the very core of his soul, he
for the time hated Nora Black. He did not dare to remind her that he
would revenge himself; he dared only to dream of this revenge, but it
fairly made his thoughts flame, and deep in his throat he was swearing
an inflexible persecution of Nora Black. The old expression of his sex
came to him, “Oh, if she were only a man!” she had been a man, he would
have fallen upon her tooth and nail. Her motives for all this impressed
him not at all; she was simply a witch who bound him helpless with the
pwer of her femininity, and made him eat cinders. He was so sure that
his face betrayed him that he did not dare let her see it. “Well, what
are you going to do about it?” he asked, over his shoulder.
“0-o-oh,” she drawled, impudently. “Nothing.” He could see that she
was determined not to be confessed. “I may do this or I may do that. It
all depends upon your behaviour, my dear Rufus.”
As they rode on, he deliberated as to the best means of dealing with
this condition. Suddenly he resolved to go with the whole tale direct
to Marjory, and to this end he half wheeled his horse. He would
reiterate that he loved her and then explain- explain! He groaned when
he came to the word, and ceased formulation.
The cavalcade reached at last the bank of the Aracthus river, with
its lemon groves and lush grass. A battery wheeled before them over the
ancient bridge—a flight of short, broad cobbled steps up as far as the
centre of the stream and a similar flight down to the other bank. The
returning aplomb of the travellers was well illustrated by the
professor, who, upon sighting this bridge, murmured: “Byzantine.”
This was the first indication that he had still within him a power
to resume the normal.
The steep and narrow street was crowded with soldiers; the smoky
little coffee shops were a-babble with people discussing the news from
the front. None seemed to heed the remarkable procession that wended
its way to the cable office. Here Coleman resolutely took precedence.
He knew that there was no good in expecting intelligence out of the
chaotic clerks, but he managed to get upon the wires this message:
“Eclipse, New York: Got Wainwright party; all well. Coleman.” The
students had struggled to send messages to their people in America, but
they had only succeeded in deepening the tragic boredom of the clerks.
When Coleman returned to the street he thought that he had seldom
looked upon a more moving spectacle than the Wainwright party presented
at that moment. Most of the students were seated in a row, dejectedly,
upon the kerb. The professor and Mrs. Wainwright looked like two old
pictures, which, after an existence in a considerate gloom, had been
brought out in their tawdriness to the clear light. Hot white dust
covered everybody, and from out the grimy faces the eyes blinked,
red-fringed with sleeplessness. Desolation sat upon all, save Marjory.
She possessed some marvellous power of looking always fresh. This
quality had indeed impressed the old lady on the little pony until she
had said to Nora Black: “That girl would look well anywhere.” Nora
Black had not been amiable in her reply.
Coleman called the professor and the dragoman for a durbar. The
dragoman said: “Well, I can get one carriage, and we can go
“Carriage be blowed!” said Coleman. “What these people need is rest,
sleep. You must find a place at once. These people can't remain in the
street.” He spoke in anger, as if he had previously told the dragoman
and the latter had been inattentive. The man immediately departed.
Coleman remarked that there was no course but to remain in the
street until his dragoman had found them a habitation. It was a
mournful waiting. The students sat on the kerb. Once they whispered to
Coleman, suggesting a drink, but he told them that he knew only one
cafe, the entrance of which would be in plain sight of the rest of the
party. The ladies talked together in a group of four. Nora Black was
bursting with the fact that her servant had hired rooms in Arta on
their outcoming journey, and she wished Mrs. Wainwright and Marjory to
come to them, at least for a time, but she dared not risk a refusal,
and she felt something in Mrs. Wainwright's manner which led her to be
certain that such would be the answer to her invitation. Coleman and
the professor strolled slowly up and down the walk.
“Well, my work is over, sir,” said Coleman. “My paper told me to
find you, and, through no virtue of my own, I found you. I am very glad
of it. I don't know of anything in my life that has given me greater
The professor was himself again in so far as he had lost all manner
of dependence. But still he could not yet be bumptious. “Mr. Coleman,”
he said, “I am placed under life-long obligation to you. * * * I am not
thinking of myself so much. * * * My wife and daughter—-” His
gratitude was so genuine that he could not finish its expression.
“Oh, don't speak of it,” said Coleman. “I really didn't do anything
The dragoman finally returned and led them all to a house which he
had rented for gold. In the great, bare, upper chamber the students
dropped wearily to the floor, while the woman of the house took the
Wainwrights to a more secluded apartment., As the door closed on them,
Coleman turned like a flash.
“Have a drink,” he said. The students arose around him like the wave
of a flood. “You bet.” In the absence of changes of clothing, ordinary
food, the possibility of a bath, and in the presence of great weariness
and dust, Coleman's whisky seemed to them a glistening luxury.
Afterward they laid down as if to sleep, but in reality they were too
dirty and too fagged to sleep. They simply lay murmuring Peter Tounley
even developed a small fever.
It was at this time that Coleman. suddenly discovered his acute
interest in the progressive troubles of his affair of the heart had
placed the business of his newspaper in the rear of his mind. The
greater part of the next hour he spent in getting off to New York that
dispatch which created so much excitement for him later. Afterward he
was free to reflect moodily upon the ability of Nora Black to distress
him. She, with her retinue, had disappeared toward her own rooms. At
dusk he went into the street, and was edified to see Nora's dragoman
dodging along in his wake. He thought that this was simply another
manifestation of Nora's interest in his movements, and so he turned a
corner, and there pausing, waited until the dragoman spun around
directly into his arms. But it seemed that the man had a note to
deliver, and this was only his Oriental way of doing it.
The note read: “Come and dine with me to-night.” It was, not a
request. It was peremptory. “All right,” he said, scowling at the man.
He did not go at once, for he wished to reflect for a time and find
if he could not evolve some weapons of his own. It seemed to him that
all the others were liberally supplied with weapons.
A clear, cold night had come upon the earth when he signified to the
lurking dragoman that he was in readiness to depart with him to Nora's
abode. They passed finally into a dark court-yard, up a winding
staircase, across an embowered balcony, and Coleman entered alone a
room where there were lights.
His, feet were scarcely over the threshold before he had concluded
that the tigress was now going to try some velvet purring. He noted
that the arts of the stage had not been thought too cheaply obvious for
use. Nora sat facing the door. A bit of yellow silk had been twisted
about the crude shape of the lamp, and it made the play of light,
amber-like, shadowy and yet perfectly clear, the light which women
love. She was arrayed in a puzzling gown of that kind of Gre- cian silk
which is so docile that one can pull yards of it through a ring. It was
of the colour of new straw. Her chin was leaned pensively upon her palm
and the light fell on a pearly rounded forearm. She was looking at him
with a pair of famous eyes, azure, per- haps-certainly purple at
times-and it may be, black at odd moments-a pair of eyes that had made
many an honest man's heart jump if he thought they were looking at him.
It was a vision, yes, but Coleman's cynical knowledge of drama
overpowered his sense of its beauty. He broke out brutally, in the
phrases of the American street. “Your dragoman is a rubber-neck. If he
keeps darking me I will simply have to kick the stuffing out of him.”
She was alone in the room. Her old lady had been instructed to have
a headache and send apologies. She was not disturbed by Coleman's
words. “Sit down, Rufus, and have a cigarette, and don't be cross,
because I won't stand it.”
He obeyed her glumly. She had placed his chair where not a charm of
her could be lost upon an observant man. Evidently she did not purpose
to allow him to irritate her away from her original plan. Purring was
now her method, and none of his insolence could achieve a growl from
the tigress. She arose, saying softly: “You look tired, almost ill,
poor boy. I will give you some brandy. I have almost everything that I
could think to make those Daylight people buy.” With a sweep of her
hand she indicated the astonishing opulence of the possessions in
different parts of the room.
As she stood over him with the brandy there came through the smoke
of his cigarette the perfume of orris-root and violet.
A servant began to arrange the little cold dinner on a camp table,
and Coleman saw with an enthusiasm which he could not fully master,
four quart bottles of a notable brand of champagne placed in a rank on
At dinner Nora was sisterly. She watched him, waited upon him,
treated him to an affectionate inti. macy for which he knew a thousand
men who would have hated him. The champagne was cold.
Slowly he melted. By the time that the boy came with little cups of
Turkish coffee he was at least amiable. Nora talked dreamily. “The
dragoman says this room used to be part of the harem long ago.” She
shot him a watchful glance, as if she had expected the fact to affect
him. “Seems curious, doesn't it? A harem. Fancy that.” He smoked one
cigar and then discarded tobacco, for the perfume of orris-root and
violet was making him meditate. Nora talked on in a low voice. She knew
that, through half-closed lids, he was looking at her in steady
speculation. She knew that she was conquering, but no movement of hers
betrayed an elation. With the most exquisite art she aided his
contemplation, baring to him, for instance, the glories of a statuesque
neck, doing it all with the manner of a splendid and fabulous virgin
who knew not that there was such a thing as shame. Her stockings were
of black silk.
Coleman presently answered her only in monosyllable, making small
distinction between yes and no. He simply sat watching her with eyes in
which there were two little covetous steel-coloured flames.
He was thinking, “To go to the devil-to go to the devil-to go to the
devil with this girl is not a bad fate-not a bad fate-not a bad fate.”
“Come out on the balcony,” cooed Nora. “There are some funny old
storks on top of some chimneys near here and they clatter like mad all
day and night.”
They moved together out to the balcony, but Nora retreated with a
little cry when she felt the coldness of the night. She said that she
would get a cloak. Coleman was not unlike a man in a dream. He walked
to the rail of the balcony where a great vine climbed toward the roof.
He noted that it was dotted with. blossoms, which in the deep purple of
the Oriental night were coloured in strange shades of maroon. This
truth penetrated his abstraction until when Nora came she found him
staring at them as if their colour was a revelation which affected him
vitally. She moved to his side without sound and he first knew of her
presence from the damning fragrance. She spoke just above her breath.
“It's a beautiful evening.” “Yes,” he answered. She was at his
shoulder. If he moved two inches he must come in contact. They remained
in silence leaning upon the rail. Finally he began to mutter some
commonplaces which meant nothing particularly, but into his tone as he
mouthed them was the note of a forlorn and passionate lover. Then as if
by accident he traversed the two inches and his shoulder was against
the soft and yet firm shoulder of Nora Black. There was something in
his throat at this time which changed his voice into a mere choking
noise. She did not move. He could see her eyes glowing innocently out
of the pallour which the darkness gave to her face. If he was touching
her, she did not seem to know it.
“I am awfully tired,” said Coleman, thickly. “I think I will go home
and turn in.”
“You must be, poor boy,” said Nora tenderly.
“Wouldn't you like a little more of that champagne?”
“Well, I don't mind another glass.”
She left him again and his galloping thought pounded to the old
refrain. “To go to the devil-to go to the devil-to go to the devil with
this girl is not a bad fate-not a bad fate- not a bad fate.” When she
returned he drank his glass of champagne. Then he mumbled: “You must be
cold. Let me put your cape around you better. It won't do to catch cold
here, you know.”
She made a sweet pretence of rendering herself to his care. “Oh,
thanks * * * I am not really cold * * * There that's better.”
Of course all his manipulation of the cloak had been a fervid
caress, and although her acting up to this point had remained in the
role of the splendid and fabulous virgin she now turned her liquid eyes
to his with a look that expressed knowledge, triumph and delight. She
was sure of her victory. And she said: “Sweetheart * * * don't you
think I am as nice as Marjory?” The impulse had been airily confident.
It was as if the silken cords had been parted by the sweep of a sword.
Coleman's face had instantly stiffened and he looked like a man
suddenly recalled to the ways of light. It may easily have been that in
a moment he would have lapsed again to his luxurious dreaming. But in
his face the girl had read a fatal character to her blunder and her
resentment against him took precedence of any other emotion. She
wheeled abruptly from him and said with great contempt: “Rufus, you had
better go home. You're tired and sleepy, and more or less drunk.”
He knew that the grand tumble of all their little embowered incident
could be neither stayed or mended. “Yes,” he answered, sulkily, “I
think so too.” They shook hands huffily and he went away.
When he arrived among the students he found that they had
appropriated everything of his which would conduce to their comfort. He
was furious over it. But to his bitter speeches they replied in jibes.
“Rufus is himself again. Admire his angelic disposition. See him
smile. Gentle soul.”
A sleepy voice said from a comer: “I know what pinches him.”
“What?” asked several.
“He's been to see Nora and she flung him out bodily.”
“Yes?” sneered Coleman. “At times I seem to see in you, Coke, the
fermentation of some primeval form of sensation, as if it were possible
for you to de- velop a mind in two or three thousand years, and then at
other times you appear * * * much as you are now.”
As soon as they had well measured Coleman's temper all of the
students save Coke kept their mouths tightly closed. Coke either did
not understand or his mood was too vindictive for silence. “Well, I
know you got a throw-down all right,” he muttered.
“And how would you know when I got a throw down? You pimply,
The others perked up their ears in mirthful appreciation of this
“Of course,” continued Coleman, “no one would protest against your
continued existence, Coke, unless you insist on recalling yourself
violently to people's attention in this way. The mere fact of your
living would not usually be offensive to people if you weren't
eternally turning a sort of calcium light on your prehensile
attributes.” Coke was suddenly angry, angry much like a peasant, and
his anger first evinced itself in a mere sputtering and spluttering.
Finally he got out a rather long speech, full of grumbling noises, but
he was understood by all to declare that his prehensile attributes had
not led him to cart a notorious woman about the world with him. When
they quickly looked at Coleman they saw that he was livid. “You-”
But, of course, there immediately arose all sorts of protesting
cries from the seven non-combatants. Coleman, as he took two strides
toward Coke's corner, looked fully able to break him across his knee,
but for this Coke did not seem to care at all. He was on his feet with
a challenge in his eye. Upon each cheek burned a sudden hectic spot.
The others were clamouring, “Oh, say, this won't do. Quit it. Oh, we
mustn't have a fight. He didn't mean it, Coleman.” Peter Tounley
pressed Coke to the wall saying: “You damned young jackass, be quiet.”
They were in the midst of these. festivities when a door opened and
disclosed the professor. He might. have been coming into the middle of
a row in one of the corridors of the college at home only this time he
carried a candle. His speech, however, was a Washurst speech:
“Gentlemen, gentlemen, what does this mean?” All seemed to expect
Coleman to make the answer. He was suddenly very cool. “Nothing,
professor,” he said, “only that this-only that Coke has insulted me. I
suppose that it was only the irresponsibility of a boy, and I beg that
you will not trouble over it.”
“Mr. Coke,” said the professor, indignantly, “what have you to say
to this?” Evidently he could not clearly see Coke, and he peered around
his candle at where the virtuous Peter Tounley was expostulating with
the young man. The figures of all the excited group moving in the
candle light caused vast and uncouth shadows to have conflicts in the
end of the room.
Peter Tounley's task was not light, and beyond that he had the
conviction that his struggle with Coke was making him also to appear as
a rowdy. This conviction was proven to be true by a sudden thunder from
the old professor, “Mr. Tounley, desist!”
In wrath he desisted and Coke flung himself forward. He paid less
attention to the professor than if the latter had been a jack-rabbit.
“You say I insulted you? he shouted crazily in Coleman's face.
“Well * * * I meant to, do you see?”
Coleman was glacial and lofty beyond everything. “I am glad to have
you admit the truth of what I have said.”
Coke was, still suffocating with his peasant rage, which would not
allow him to meet the clear, calm expressions of Coleman. “Yes * * * I
insulted you * * * I insulted you because what I said was correct * *
my prehensile attributes * * yes but I have never——”
He was interrupted by a chorus from the other students. “Oh, no,
that won't do. Don't say that. Don't repeat that, Coke.”
Coleman remembered the weak bewilderment of the little professor in
hours that had not long passed, and it was with something of an
impersonal satisfac- tion that he said to himself: “The old boy's got
his war-paint on again.” The professor had stepped sharply up to Coke
and looked at him with eyes that seemed to throw out flame and heat.
There was a moment's pause, and then the old scholar spoke, bit- ing
his words as if they were each a short section of steel wire. “Mr.
Coke, your behaviour will end your college career abruptly and in
gloom, I promise you. You have been drinking.”
Coke, his head simply floating in a sea of universal defiance, at
once blurted out: “Yes, sir.”
“You have been drinking?” cried the professor, ferociously. “Retire
to your-retire to your——retire—-” And then in a voice of thunder he
Whereupon seven hoodlum students waited a decent moment, then
shrieked with laughter. But the old professor would have none of their
nonsense. He quelled them all with force and finish.
Coleman now spoke a few words.” Professor, I can't tell you how
sorry I am that I should be concerned in any such riot as this, and
since we are doomed to be bound so closely into each other's society I
offer myself without reservation as being willing to repair the damage
as well as may be, done. I don t see how I can forget at once that
Coke's conduct was insolently unwarranted, but * * * if he has anything
to sayof a nature that might heal the breach I would be willing to to
meet him in the openest manner.” As he made these re- marks Coleman's
dignity was something grand, and, Morever, there was now upon his face
that curious look of temperance and purity which had been noted in New
York as a singular physical characteristic. If he. was guilty of
anything in this affair at all-in fact, if he had ever at any time been
guilty of anything- no mark had come to stain that bloom of innocence.
The professor nodded in the fullest appreciation and sympathy. “Of
course * * * really there is no other sleeping placeI suppose it would
be better-” Then he again attacked Coke. “Young man, you have chosen an
unfortunate moment to fill us with a suspicion that you may not be a
gentleman. For the time there is nothing to be done with you.” He
addressed the other students. “There is nothing for me to do, young
gentleman, but to leave Mr. Coke in your care. Good-night, sirs.
Good-night, Coleman.” He left the room with his candle.
When Coke was bade to ” Retire ” he had, of course, simply retreated
fuming to a corner of the room where he remained looking with yellow
eyes like an animal from a cave. When the others were able to see
through the haze of mental confusion they found that Coleman was with
deliberation taking off his boots. “Afterward, when he removed his
waist-coat, he took great care to wind his large gold watch.
The students, much subdued, lay again in their places, and when
there was any talking it was of an extremely local nature, referring
principally to the floor As being unsuitable for beds and also
referring from time to time to a real or an alleged selfishness on the
part of some one of the recumbent men. Soon there was only the sound of
When the professor had returned to what he called the Wainwright
part of the house he was greeted instantly with the question: “What was
it?” His wife and daughter were up in alarm. “What was it ” they
He was peevish. “Oh, nothing, nothing. But that young Coke is a
regular ruffian. He had gotten him. self into some tremendous uproar
with Coleman. When I arrived he seemed actually trying to assault him.
Revolting! He had been drinking. Coleman's behaviour, I must say, was
splendid. Recognised at once the delicacy of my position-he not being a
student. If I had found him in the wrong it would have been simpler
than finding him in the right. Confound that rascal of a Coke.” Then,
as he began a partial disrobing, he treated them to grunted scrap of
information. “Coke was quite insane * * * I feared that I couldn't
control him * * * Coleman was like ice * * * and as much as I have seen
to admire in him during the last few days, this quiet beat it all. If
he had not recognised my helplessness as far as he was concerned the
whole thing might have been a most miserable business. He is a very
fine young man.” The dissenting voice to this last tribute was the
voice of Mrs. Wainwright. She said: “Well, Coleman drinks,
too-everybody knows that.”
“I know,” responded the professor, rather bashfully, but I am
confident that he had not touched a drop.” Marjory said nothing.
The earlier artillery battles had frightened most of the furniture
out of the houses of Arta, and there was left in this room only a few
old red cushions, and the Wainwrights were camping upon the floor.
Marjory was enwrapped in Coleman's macintosh, and while the professor
and his wife maintained some low talk of the recent incident she in
silence had turned her cheek into the yellow velvet collar of the coat.
She felt something against her bosom, and putting her hand carefully
into the top pocket of the coat she found three cigars. These she took
in the darkness and laid aside, telling herself to remember their
position in the morning. She had no doubt that Coleman: would rejoice
over them, before he could get back to, Athens where there were other
THE ladies of the Wainwright party had not complained at all when
deprived of even such civilised advantages as a shelter and a knife and
fork and soap and water, but Mrs. Wainwright complained bitterly amid
the half-civilisation of Arta. She could see here no excuse for the
absence of several hundred things which she had always regarded as
essential to life. She began at 8.30 A. M. to make both the professor
and Marjory woeful with an endless dissertation upon the beds in the
hotel at Athens. Of course she had not regarded them at the time as
being exceptional beds * * * that was quite true, * * * but then one
really never knew what one was really missing until one really missed
it * * * She would never have thought that she would come to consider
those Athenian beds as excellent * * * but experience is a great
teacher * * * makes- one reflect upon the people who year in and year
out have no beds at all, poor things. * * * Well, it made one glad if
one did have a good bed, even if it was at the time on the other side
of the world. If she ever reached it she did not know what could ever
induce her to leave it again. * * * She would never be induced—-
“'Induced!'“ snarled the professor. The word represented to him a
practiced feminine misusage of truth, and at such his white warlock
always arose. “” Induced!' Out of four American women I have seen
lately, you seem to be the only one who would say that you had endured
this thing because you had been 'induced' by others to come over here.
Mrs. Wainwright fixed her husband with a steely eye. She saw
opportunity for a shattering retort. “You don't mean, Harrison, to
include Marjory and I in the same breath with those two women?”
The professor saw no danger ahead for himself. He merely answered:
“I had no thought either way. It did not seem important.”
“Well, it is important,” snapped Mrs. Wainwright.
“Do you know that you are speaking in the same breath of Marjory and
Nora Black, the actress?”
“No,” said the professor. “Is that so?” He was astonished, but he
was not aghast at all. “Do you mean to say that is Nora Black, the
comic opera star?”
“That's exactly who she is,” said Mrs. Wainwright, dramatically.
“And I consider that-I consider that Rufus Coleman has done no less
This last declaration seemed to have no effect upon the professor's
pure astonishment, but Marjory looked at her mother suddenly. However,
she said no word, exhibiting again that strange and, inscrutable
countenance which masked even the tiniest of her maidenly emotions.
Mrs. Wainwright was triumphant, and she immediately set about
celebrating her victory. “Men never see those things,” she said to her
husband. “Men never see those things. You would have gone on forever
without finding out that your-your- hospitality was, being abused by
that Rufus Coleman.”
The professor woke up.” Hospitality?” he said, indignantly.
“Hospitality? I have not had any hospitality to be abused. Why don't
you talk sense? It is not that, but-it might-” He hesitated and then
spoke slowly. “It might be very awkward. Of course one never knows
anything definite about such people, but I suppose * * * Anyhow, it was
strange in Coleman to allow her to meet us. “
“It Was all a pre-arranged plan,” announced the triumphant Mrs.
Wainwright. “She came here on putpose to meet Rufus Coleman, and he
knew it, and I should not wonder if they had not the exact spot picked
out where they were going to meet.”
“I can hardly believe that,” said the professor, in distress. “I
can, hardly believe that. It does, not seem to me that Coleman—”
“Oh yes. Your dear Rufus Coleman,” cried Mrs. Wainwright. “You think
he is very fine now. But I can remember when you didn't think—-”
And the parents turned together an abashed look at their daughter.
The professor actually flushed with shame. It seemed to him that he had
just committed an atrocity upon the heart of his child. The instinct of
each of them was to go to her and console her in their arms. She noted
it immediately, and seemed to fear it. She spoke in a clear and even
voice. “ I don't think, father, that you should distress me by
supposing that I am concerned at all if Mr. Coleman cares to get Nora
Black over here.”
“Not at all,” stuttered the professor. “I—-”
Mrs. Wainwright's consternation turned suddenly to, anger. “He is a
scapegrace. A rascal. A—a—”
“Oh,” said Marjory, coolly, “I don't see why it isn't his own
affair. He didn't really present her to you, mother, you remember? She
seemed quite to force her way at first, and then you-you did the rest.
It should be very easy to avoid her, now that we are out of the
wilderness. And then it becomes a private matter of Mr. Coleman's. For
my part, I rather liked her. I don't see such a dreadful calamity.”
“Marjory!” screamed her mother. “How dreadful. Liked her! Don't let
me hear you say such shocking things.”
“I fail to see anything shocking,” answered Marjory, stolidly.
The professor was looking helplessly from his daughter to his wife,
and from his wife to his daughter, like a man who was convinced that
his troubles would never end. This new catastrophe created a different
kind of difficulty, but he considered that the difficulties were as
robust as had been the preceding ones. He put on his hat and went out
of the room. He felt an impossibility of saying anything to Coleman,
but he felt that he must look upon him. He must look upon this man and
try to know from his manner the measure of guilt. And incidentally he
longed for the machinery of a finished society which prevents its parts
from clashing, prevents it with its great series of I law upon law,
easily operative but relentless. Here he felt as a man flung into the
jungle with his wife and daughter, where they could become the victims
of any sort of savagery. His thought referred once more to what he
considered the invaluable services of Coleman, and as he observed them
in conjunction with the present accusation, he was simply dazed. It was
then possible that one man could play two such divergent parts. He had
not learned this at Washurst. But no; the world was not such a bed of
putrefaction. He would not believe it; he would not believe it.
After adventures which require great nervous en. durance, it is only
upon the second or third night that the common man sleeps hard. The
students had expected to slumber like dogs on the first night after
their trials. but none slept long, And few slept.
Coleman was the first man to arise. When he left the room the
students were just beginning to blink. He took his dragoman among the
shops and he bought there all the little odds and ends which might go
to make up the best breakfast in Arta. If he had had news of certain
talk he probably would not have been buying breakfast for eleven
people. Instead, he would have been buying breakfast for one. During
his absence the students arose and performed their frugal toilets.
Considerable attention was paid to Coke by the others. “He made a
monkey of you,” said Peter Tounley with unction. “He twisted you until
you looked like a wet, grey rag. You had better leave this wise guy
It was not the night nor was it meditation that had taught Coke
anything, but he seemed to have learned something from the mere lapse
of time. In appearance he was subdued, but he managed to make a
temporary jauntiness as he said: “Oh, I don't know.”
“Well, you ought to know,” said he who was called Billie. “You ought
to know. You made an egregious snark of yourself. Indeed, you sometimes
resembled a boojum. Anyhow, you were a plain chump. You exploded your
face about something of which you knew nothing, and I'm damned if I
believe you'd make even a good retriever.”
“You're a half-bred water-spaniel,” blurted Peter Tounley. “And,” he
added, musingly, “that is a pretty low animal.”
Coke was argumentative. “Why am I?” he asked, turning his head from
side to side. “I don't see where I was so wrong.”
“Oh, dances, balloons, picnics, parades and ascensions,” they
retorted, profanely. “You swam voluntarily into water that was too deep
for you. Swim out. Get dry. Here's a towel.”
Coke, smitten in the face with a wet cloth rolled into a ball,
grabbed it and flung it futilely at a well-dodging companion ” No,” he
cried, “I don't see it. Now look here. I don't see why we shouldn't all
resent this Nora Black business.”
One student said: “Well, what's the matter with Nora B lack,
Another student said “I don't see how you've been issued any license
to say things about Nora Black.”
Another student said dubiously: “Well, he knows her well.”
And then three or four spoke at once. “He was very badly rattled
when she appeared upon the scene.”
Peter Tounley asked: “Well, which of you people know anything wrong
about Nora Black?”
There was a pause, and then Coke said: “Oh, of course-I don't
He who was called Billie then addressed his com-panions. “It
wouldn't be right to repeat any old lie about Nora Black, and by the
same token it wouldn't be right to see old Mother Wainwright chummin'
with her. There is no wisdom in going further than that. Old Mother
Wainwright don't know that her fair companion of yesterday is the
famous comic opera star. For my part, I believe that Coleman is simply
afraid to tell her. I don't think he wished to see Nora Black yesterday
any more than he wished to see the devil. The discussion, as I
understand itconcerned itself only with what Coleman had to do with the
thing, and yesterday anybody could see that he was in a panic.”
They heard a step on the stair, and directly Coleman entered,
followed by his dragoman. They were laden with the raw material for
breakfast. The correspondent looked keenly among the students, for it
was plain that they had been talking of him. It, filled him with rage,
and for a stifling moment he could not think why he failed to
immediately decamp in chagrin and leave eleven orphans to whatever
fate. their general incompetence might lead them. It struck him as a
deep shame that even then he and his paid man were carrying in the
breakfast. He wanted to fling it all on the floor and walk out. Then he
remembered Marjory. She was the reason. She was the reason for
But he could not repress certain, of his thoughts. “Say, you
people,” he said, icily, “ you had better soon learn to hustle for
yourselves. I may be a dragoman, and a butler, and a cook, and a
housemaid, but I'm blowed if I'm a wet nurse.” In reality, he had taken
the most generous pleasure in working for the others before their eyes
had even been opened from sleep, but it was now all turned to wormwood.
It is certain that even this could not have deviated this executive man
from labour and management. because these were his life. But he felt
that he was about to walk out of the room, consigning them all to
Hades. His glance of angry, reproach fastened itself mainly upon Peter
Tounley, because he knew that of all, Peter was the most innocent.
Peter, Tounley was abashed by this glance. So you've brought us
something to eat, old man. That is tremendously nice of
you-we-appreciate it like everything.”
Coleman was mollified by Peter's tone. Peter had had that emotion
which is equivalent to a sense of guilt, although in reality he was
speckless. Two or three of the other students bobbed up to a sense of
the situation. They ran to Coleman, and with polite cries took his
provisions from him. One dropped a bunch of lettuce on the floor, and
others reproached him with scholastic curses. Coke was seated near the
window, half militant, half conciliatory. It was impossible for him to
keep up a manner of deadly enmity while Coleman was bringing in his
breakfast. He would have much preferred that Coleman had not brought in
his breakfast. He would have much preferred to have foregone breakfast
altogether. He would have much preferred anything. There seemed to be a
conspiracy of circumstance to put him in the wrong and make him appear
as a ridiculous young peasant. He was the victim of a benefaction, and
he hated Coleman harder now than at any previous time. He saw that if
he stalked out and took his breakfast alone in a cafe, the others would
consider him still more of an outsider. Coleman had expressed himself
like a man of the world and a gentleman, and Coke was convinced that he
was a superior man of the world and a superior gentleman, but that he
simply had not had words to express his position at the proper time.
Coleman was glib. Therefore, Coke had been the victim of an attitude as
well as of a benefaction. And so he deeply hated Coleman.
The others were talking cheerfully. “What the deuce are these,
Coleman? Sausages? Oh, my. And look at these burlesque fishes. Say,
these Greeks don't care what they eat. Them thar things am sardines in
the crude state. No? Great God, look at those things. Look. What? Yes,
they are. Radishes. Greek synonym for radishes.”
The professor entered. “Oh,” he said apologetically, as if he were
intruding in a boudoir. All his serious desire to probe Coleman to the
bottom ended in embarrassment. Mayhap it was not a law of feeling, but
it happened at any rate. “He had come in a puzzled frame of mind, even
an accusative frame of mind, and almost immediately he found himself
suffer. ing like a culprit before his judge. It is a phenomenon of what
we call guilt and innocence.
“Coleman welcomed him cordially. “Well, professor, good-morning.
I've rounded up some things that at least may be eaten.”
“You are very good ” very considerate, Mr. Coleman,” answered the
professor, hastily. “I'am sure we are much indebted to you.” He had
scanned the correspondent's face, land it had been so devoid of guile
that he was fearful that his suspicion, a base suspicion, of this noble
soul would be detected. “No, no, we can never thank you enough.”
Some of the students began to caper with a sort of decorous hilarity
before their teacher. “Look at the sausage, professor. Did you ever see
such sausage ” Isn't it salubrious ” And see these other things, sir.
Aren't they curious ” I shouldn't wonder if they were alive. Turnips,
sir? No, sir. I think they are Pharisees. I have seen a Pharisee look
like a pelican, but I have never seen a Pharisee look like a turnip, so
I think these turnips must be Pharisees, sir, Yes, they may be walrus.
We're not sure. Anyhow, their angles are geometrically all wrong.
Peter, look out.” Some green stuff was flung across the room. The
professor laughed; Coleman laughed. Despite Coke, dark-browed, sulking.
and yet desirous of reinstating himself, the room had waxed warm with
the old college feeling, the feeling of lads who seemed never to treat
anything respectfully and yet at the same time managed to treat the
real things with respect. The professor himself contributed to their
wild carouse over the strange Greek viands. It was a vivacious moment
common to this class in times of relaxation, and it was understood
Coke arose. “I don't see that I have any friends here,” he said,
hoarsely, “and in consequence I don't see why I should remain here.”
All looked at him. At the same moment Mrs. Wainwright and Marjory
entered the room.
“Good-morning,” said Mrs. Wainwright jovially to the students and
then she stared at Coleman as if he were a sweep at a wedding.
“Good-morning,” said Marjory.
Coleman and the students made reply. “Good-morning. Good-morning.
It was curious to see this greeting, this common phrase, this bit of
old ware, this antique, come upon a dramatic scene and pulverise it.
Nothing remained but a ridiculous dust. Coke, glowering, with his lips
still trembling from heroic speech, was an angry clown, a pantaloon in
rage. Nothing was to be done to keep him from looking like an ass. He,
strode toward the door mumbling about a walk before breakfast.
Mrs. Wainwright beamed upon him. “Why, Mr. Coke, not before
breakfast? You surely won't have time.” It was grim punishment. He
appeared to go blind, and he fairly staggered out of the door mumbling
again, mumbling thanks or apologies or explanations. About the mouth of
Coleman played a sinister smile. The professor cast. upon his wife a
glance expressing weariness. It was as if he said ” There you go again.
You can't keep your foot out of it.” She understood the glance, and so
she asked blankly: “Why, What's the matter? Oh.” Her belated mind
grasped that it waw an aftermath of the quarrel of Coleman and Coke.
Marjory looked as if she was distressed in the belief that her mother
had been stupid. Coleman was outwardly serene. It was Peter Tounley who
finally laughed a cheery, healthy laugh and they all looked at him with
gratitude as if his sudden mirth had been a real statement or
recon-ciliation and consequent peace.
The dragoman and others disported themselves until a breakfast was
laid upon the floor. The adventurers squatted upon the floor. They made
a large company. The professor and Coleman discussed the means of
getting to Athens. Peter Tounley sat next to Marjory. “Peter,” she
said, privately, “what was all this trouble between Coleman and Coke?”
Peter answered blandly: “Oh, nothing at Nothing at all.”
“Well, but—” she persisted, “what was the cause of it?”
He looked at her quaintly. He was not one of those in love with her,
but be was interested in the affair. “Don't you know ?” he asked.
She understood from his manner that she had been some kind of an
issue in the quarrel. “No,” she answered, hastily. “I don't.”
“Oh, I don't mean that,” said Peter. “I only meant —I only
meant—oh, well, it was nothing-really.”
“It must have been about something,” continued Marjory. She
continued, because Peter had denied that she was concerned in it.
“I really don't know. It was all rather confusing,” lied Peter,
Coleman and the professor decided to accept a plan of the
correspondent's dragoman to start soon on the first stage of the
journey to Athens. The dragoman had said that he had found two large
Coke, the outcast, walked alone in the narrow streets. The flight of
the crown prince's army from Larissa had just been announced in Arta,
but Coke was probably the most woebegone object on the Greek peninsula.
He encountered a strange sight on the streets. A woman garbed in the
style for walking of an afternoon on upper Broadway was approaching him
through a mass of kilted mountaineers and soldiers in soiled overcoats.
Of course he recognised Nora Black.
In his conviction that everybody in the world was at this time
considering him a mere worm, he was sure that she would not heed him.
Beyond that he had been presented to her notice in but a transient and
cursory fashion. But contrary to his conviction, she turned a radiant
smile upon him. “Oh,” she said, brusquely, “you are one of the
students. Good morning.” In her manner was all the confidence of an old
warrior, a veteran, who addresses the universe with assurance because
of his past battles.
Coke grinned at this strange greeting. “Yes, Miss Black,” he
answered, “I am one of the students.”
She did not seem to quite know how to formulate her next speech.
“Er-I suppose you're going to Athens at once ” You must be glad after
your horrid experiences.”
“I believe they are going to start for Athens today,” said Coke.
Nora was all attention. “'They?'“ she repeated. “Aren't you going
“Well,” he said, “* * Well—-”
She saw of course that there had been some kind of trouble. She
laughed. “You look as if somebody had kicked you down stairs,” she
said, candidly. She at once assumed an intimate manner toward him which
was like a temporary motherhood. “ Come, walk with me and tell me all
about it.” There was in her tone a most artistic suggestion that
whatever had happened she was on his side. He was not loath. The street
was full of soldiers whose tongues clattered so loudly that the two
foreigners might have been wandering in a great cave of the winds.
“Well, what was the row about?” asked Nora. “And who was in it?”
It would have been no solace to Coke to pour out his tale even if it
had been a story that he could have told Nora. He was not stopped by
the fact that he had gotten himself in the quarrel because he had
insulted the name of the girt at his side. He did not think of it at
that time. The whole thing was now extremely vague in outline to him
and he only had a dull feeling of misery and loneliness. He wanted her
to cheer him.
Nora laughed again. “Why, you're a regular little kid. Do you mean
to say you've come out here sulking alone because of some nursery
quarrel?” He was ruffled by her manner. It did not contain the cheering
he required. “Oh, I don't know that I'm such a regular little kid,” he
said, sullenly. “The quarrel was not a nursery quarrel.”
“Why don't you challenge him to a duel?” asked Nora, suddenly. She
was watching him closely.
“Who?” said Coke.
“Coleman, you stupid,” answered Nora.
They stared at each other, Coke paying her first the tribute of
astonishment and then the tribute of admiration. “Why, how did you
guess that?” he demanded.
“Oh,” said Nora., “I've known Rufus Coleman for years, and he is
always rowing with people.”
“That is just it,” cried Coke eagerly. “That is just it. I fairly
hate the man. Almost all of the other fellows will stand his abuse, but
it riles me, I tell you. I think he is a beast. And, of course, if you
seriously meant what you said about challenging him to a duel—I mean
if there is any sense in that sort of thing-I would challenge Coleman.
I swear I would. I think he's a great bluffer, anyhow. Shouldn't wonder
if he would back out. Really, I shouldn't.
Nora smiled humourously at a house on her side of the narrow way. “I
wouldn't wonder if he did either ” she answered. After a time she said
” Well, do you mean to say that you have definitely shaken them? Aren't
you going back to Athens with them or anything?”
“I-I don't see how I can,” he said, morosely.
“Oh,” she said. She reflected for a time. At last she turned to him
archly and asked: “Some words over a lady?”
Coke looked at her blankly. He suddenly remembered the horrible
facts. “No-no-not over a lady.”
“My dear boy, you are a liar,” said Nora, freely. “You are a little
unskilful liar. It was some words over a lady, and the lady's name is
Coke felt as though he had suddenly been let out of a cell, but he
continued a mechanical denial. “No, no * * It wasn't truly * * upon my
word * * “
“Nonsense,” said Nora. “I know better. Don't you think you can fool
me, you little cub. I know you're in love with Marjory Wainwright, and
you think Coleman is your rival. What a blockhead you are. Can't you
understand that people see these things?”
“Well-” stammered Coke.
“Nonsense,” said Nora again. “Don't try to fool me, you may as well
understand that it's useless. I am too wise.”
“Well-” stammered Coke.
“Go ahead,” urged Nora. “Tell me about it. Have it out.”
He began with great importance and solemnity. “Now, to tell you the
truth * * that is why I hate him * * I hate him like anything. * * I
can't see why everybody admires him so. I don't see anything to him
myself. I don't believe he's got any more principle than a wolf. I
wouldn't trust him with two dollars. Why, I know stories about him that
would make your hair curl. When I think of a girl like Marjory—”
His speech had become a torrent. But here Nora raised her hand. “Oh!
Oh! Oh! That will do. That will do. Don't lose your senses. I don't see
why this girl Marjory is any too good. She is no chicken, I'll bet.
Don't let yourself get fooled with that sort of thing.”
Coke was unaware of his incautious expressions. He floundered on.
while Nora looked at him as if she wanted to wring his neck. “No-she's
too fine and too good-for him or anybody like him-she's too fine and
“Aw, rats,” interrupted Nora, furiously. “You make me tired.”
Coke had a wooden-headed conviction that he must make Nora
understand Marjory's infinite superiority to all others of her sex, and
so he passed into a pariegyric, each word of which was a hot coal to
the girl addressed. Nothing would stop him, apparently. He even made
the most stupid repetitions. Nora finally stamped her foot formidably.
“Will you stop? Will you stop?” she said through her clenched teeth.
“Do you think I want to listen to your everlasting twaddle about her?
Why, she's-she's no better than other people, you ignorant little
mamma's boy. She's no better than other people, you swab!”
Coke looked at her with the eyes of a fish. He did not understand.
“But she is better than other people,” he persisted.
Nora seemed to decide suddenly that there would be no accomplishment
in flying desperately against this rock-walled conviction. “Oh, well,”
she said, with marvellous good nature, “perhaps you are right,
numbskull. But, look here; do you think she cares for him?”
In his heart, his jealous heart, he believed that Marjory loved
Coleman, but he reiterated eternally to himself that it was not true.
As for speaking it to, another, that was out of the question. “No,” he
said, stoutly, “she doesn't care a snap for him.” If he had admitted
it, it would have seemed to him that. he was somehow advancing
“'Oh, she doesn't, eh?” said Nora enigmatically.
“She doesn't?” He studied her face with an abrupt, miserable
suspicion, but he repeated doggedly: “No, she doesn't.”
“Ahem,” replied Nora. “Why, she's set her cap for him all right.
She's after him for certain. It's as plain as day. Can't you see that,
“No,” he said hoarsely.
“You are a fool,” said Nora. “It isn't Coleman that's after her. It
is she that is after Coleman.”
Coke was mulish. “No such thing. Coleman's crazy about her.
Everybody has known it ever since he was in college. You ask any of the
Nora was now very serious, almost doleful. She remained still for a
time, casting at Coke little glances of hatred. “I don't see my way
clear to ask any of the other fellows,” she said at last, with
considerable bitterness. “I'm not in the habit of conducting such
Coke felt now that he disliked her, and he read plainly her dislike
of him. If they were the two villains of the play, they were not having
fun together at all. Each had some kind of a deep knowledge that their
aspirations, far from colliding, were of such character that the
success of one would mean at least assistance to the other, but neither
could see how to confess if. Pethapt it was from shame, perhaps it was
because Nora thought Coke to have little wit; perhaps it was because
Coke thought Nora to have little conscience. Their talk was mainly
rudderless. From time to time Nora had an inspiration to come boldly at
the point, but this inspiration was commonly defeated by, some
extraordinary manifestation of Coke's incapacity. To her mind, then, it
seemed like a proposition to ally herself to a butcher-boy in a matter
purely sentimental. She Wondered indignantly how she was going to
conspire With this lad, who puffed out his infantile cheeks in order to
conceitedly demonstrate that he did not understand the game at all. She
hated Marjory for it. Evidently it was only the weaklings who fell in
love with that girl. Coleman was an exception, but then, Coleman was
misled, by extraordinary artifices. She meditatecf for a moment if she
should tell Coke to go home and not bother her. What at last decided
the question was his unhappiness. Shd clung to this unhappiness for its
value as it stood alone, and because its reason for existence was
related to her own unhappiness. “You Say you are not going back
toAthens with your party. I don't suppose you're going to stay here.
I'm going back to Athens to-day. I came up here to see a battle, but it
doesn't seem that there are to be any more battles., The fighting will
now all be on the other side of'the mountains.” Apparent she had
learned in some haphazard way that the Greek peninsula was divided by a
spine of almost inaccessible mountains, and the war was thus split into
two simultaneous campaigns. The Arta campaign was known to be ended.
“If you want to go back to Athens without consorting with your friends,
you had better go back with me. I can take you in my carriage as far as
the beginning of the railroad. Don't you worry. You've got money
enough, haven't you? The pro- fessor isn't keeping your money?”
“Yes,” he said slowly, “I've got money enough.” He was apparently
dubious over the proposal. In their abstracted walk they had arrived in
front of the house occupied by Coleman and the Wainwright party. Two
carriages, forlorn in dusty age, stood be- fore the door. Men were
carrying out new leather luggage and flinging it into the traps amid a
great deal of talk which seemed to refer to nothing. Nora and Coke
stood looking at the scene without either thinking of the importance of
running away, when out tumbled seven students, followed immediately but
in more decorous fashion by the Wainwrights and Coleman.
Some student set up a whoop. “Oh, there he is. There's Coke. Hey,
Coke, where you been? Here he is, professor.” For a moment after the
hoodlum had subsided, the two camps stared at each other in silence.
NORA and Coke were an odd looking pair at the time. They stood
indeed as if rooted to the spot, staring vacuously, like two villagers,
at the surprising travellers. It was not an eternity before the
practiced girl of the stage recovered her poise, but to the end of the
incident the green youth looked like a culprit and a fool. Mrs.
Wainwright's glower of offensive incredulity was a masterpiece. Marjory
nodded pleasantly; the professor nodded. The seven students clambered
boisterously into the forward carriage making it clang with noise like
a rook's nest. They shouted to Coke. “Come on; all aboard; come on,
Coke;—we're off. Hey, there, Cokey, hurry up.” The professor, as soon
as he had seated himself on the forward seat of' the second carriage,
turned in Coke's general direction and asked formally: “Mr. Coke, you
are coming with us?” He felt seemingly much in doubt as to the
propriety of abandoning the headstrong young man, and this doubt was
not at all decreased by Coke's appearance with Nora Black. As far as he
could tell, any assertion of authority on his part would end only in a
scene in which Coke would probably insult him with some gross violation
of collegiate conduct. As at first the young man made no reply, the
professor after waiting spoke again. “You understand, Mr. Coke, that if
you separate yourself from the party you encounter my strongest
disapproval, and if I did not feel responsible to the college and your
father for your safe journey to New York I-I don't know but what I
would have you ex- pelled by cable if that were possible.”
Although Coke had been silent, and Nora Black had had the appearance
of being silent, in reality she had lowered her chin and whispered
sideways and swiftly. She had said: “Now, here's your time. Decide
quickly, and don't look such a wooden Indian.” Coke pulled himself
together with a visible effort, and spoke to the professor from an
inspiration in which he had no faith. “I understand my duties to you,
sir, perfectly. I also understand my duty to the college. But I fail to
see where either of these obligations require me to accept the
introduction of objectionable people into the party. If I owe a duty to
the college and to you, I don't owe any to Coleman, and, as I
understand it, Coleman was not in the original plan of this expedition.
If such had been the case, I would not have been here. I can't tell
what the college may see fit to do, but as for my father I I have no
doubt of how he will view it.”
The first one to be electrified by the speech was Coke himself. He
saw with a kind of sub-conscious amazement this volley of bird-shot
take effect upon the face of the old professor. The face of Marjory
flushed crimson as if her mind had sprung to a fear that if Coke could
develop ability in this singular fashion he might succeed in
humiliating her father in the street in the presence of the seven
students, her mother, Coleman and-herself. She had felt the bird- shot
sting her father.
When Coke had launched forth, Coleman with his legs stretched far
apart had just struck a match on the wall of the house and was about to
light a cigar. His groom was leading up his horse. He saw the value of
Coke's argument more appreciatively and sooner perhaps than did Coke.
The match dropped from his fingers, and in the white sunshine and still
air it burnt on the pavement orange coloured and with langour. Coleman
held his cigar with all five fingers-in a manner out of all the laws of
smoking. He turned toward Coke. There was danger in the moment, but
then in a flash it came upon him that his role was not of squabbling
with Coke, far less of punching him. On the contrary, he was to act the
part of a cool and instructed man who refused to be waylaid into
foolishness by the outcries of this pouting youngster and who placed
himself in complete deference to the wishes of the professor. Before
the professor had time to embark upon any reply to Coke, Coleman was at
the side of the carriage and, with a fine assumption of distress, was
saying: “Professor, I could very easily ride back to Agrinion alone. It
would be all right. I don't want to-”
To his surprise the professor waved at him to be silent as if he
were a mere child. The old man's face was set with the resolution of
exactly what hewas going to say to Coke. He began in measured tone,
speaking with feeling, but with no trace of anger.
“Mr. Coke, it has probably escaped your attention that Mr. Coleman,
at what I consider a great deal of peril to himself, came out to rescue
this party-you and others-and although he studiously disclaims all
merit in his finding us and bringing us in, I do not regard it in that
way, and I am surprised that any member of this party should conduct
himself in this manner toward a man who has been most devotedly and
generously at our service.” It was at this time that the professor
raised himself and shook his finger at Coke, his voice now ringing with
scorn. In such moments words came to him and formed themselves into
sentences almost too rapidly for him to speak them. “You are one of the
most remarkable products of our civilisation which I have yet come
upon. What do you mean, sir? Where are your senses? Do you think that
all this pulling and pucking is manhood? I will tell you what I will do
with you. I thought I brought out eight students to Greece, but when I
find that I brought out, seven students
and—er—an—ourang-outang—don't get angry, sir—I don't care for your
anger—I say when I discover this I am naturally puzzled for a moment.
I will leave you to the judgment of your peers. Young gentlemen!” Of
the seven heads of the forward carriage none had to be turned. All had
been turned since the beginning of the talk. If the professor's speech
had been delivered in one of the class-rooms of Washurst they would
have glowed with delight over the butchery of Coke, but they felt its
portentous aspect. Butchery here in Greece thousands of miles from home
presented to them more of the emphasis of downright death and
destruction. The professor called out ” Young gentlemen, I have done
all that I can do without using force, which, much to my regret, is
impracticable. If you will persuade your fellow student to accompany
you I think our consciences will be the better for not having left a
weak minded brother alone among the by-paths.” The valuable aggregation
of intelligence and refine- ment which decorated the interior of the
first carriage did not hesitate over answering this appeal. In fact,
his fellow students had worried among themselves over Coke, and their
desire to see him come out of his troubles in fair condition was
intensified by the fact that they had lately concentrated much thought
upon him. There was a somewhat comic pretense of speaking so that only
Coke could hear. Their chorus was law sung. “Oh, cheese it, Coke. Let
up on your-self, you blind ass. Wait till you get to Athens and then go
and act like a monkey. All this is no good-”
The advice which came from the carriage was all in one direction,
and there was so much of it that the hum of voices sounded like a wind
blowing through a forest.
Coke spun suddenly and said something to Nora Black. Nora laughed
rather loudly, and then the two turned squarely and the Wainwright
party contemplated what were surely at that time the two most insolent
backs in the world.
The professor looked as if he might be going to have a fit. Mrs.
Wainwright lifted her eyes toward heaven, and flinging out her
trembling hands, cried: “Oh, what an outrage. What an outrage! That
minx-” The concensus of opinion in the first carriage was perfectly
expressed by Peter Tounley, who with a deep drawn breath, said: “Well,
I'm damned!” Marjory had moaned and lowered her head as from a sense of
complete personal shame. Coleman lit his cigar and mounted his horse.
“Well, I suppose there is nothing for it but to be off, professor?” His
tone was full of regret, with sort of poetic regret. For a moment the
professor looked at him blankly, and then gradually recovered part of
his usual manner. “Yes,” he said sadly, “there is nothing for it but to
go on.” At a word from the dragoman, the two impatient drivers spoke
gutturally to their horses and the car- riages whirled out of Arta.
Coleman, his dragoman and the groom trotted in the dust from the wheels
of the Wainwright carriage. The correspondent always found his
reflective faculties improved by the constant pounding of a horse on
the trot, and he was not sorry to have now a period for reflection, as
well as this artificial stimulant. As he viewed the game he had in his
hand about all the cards that were valuable. In fact, he considered
that the only ace against him was Mrs. Wainwright. He had always
regarded her as a stupid person, concealing herself behind a mass of
trivialities which were all conventional, but he thought now that the
more stupid she was and the more conventional in her triviality the
more she approached to being the very ace of trumps itself. She was
just the sort of a card that would come upon the table mid the neat
play of experts and by some inexplicable arrangement of circumstance,
lose a whole game for the wrong man. After Mrs. Wainwright he worried
over the students. He believed them to be reasonable enough; in fact,
he honoured them distinctly in regard to their powers of reason, but he
knew that people generally hated a row. It, put them off their balance,
made them sweat over a lot of pros and cons, and prevented them from
thinking for a time at least only of themselves. Then they came to
resent the principals in a row. Of course the principal, who was
thought to be in the wrong, was the most rescnted, but Coleman be-lieved that, after all, people always came to resent the other
principal, or at least be impatient and suspicious of him. If he was a
correct person, why was he in a row at all? The principal who had been
in the right often brought this impatience and suspicion upon himself,
no doubt, by never letting the matter end, continuing to yawp about his
virtuous suffering, and not allowing people to return to the steady
contemplation of their own affairs. As a precautionary measure he
decided to say nothing at all about the late trouble, unless some one
addressed him upon it. Even then he would be serenely laconic. He felt
that he must be popular with the seven students. In the first place, it
was nice that in the presence of Marjory they should like him, and in
the second place he feared to displease them as a body because he
believed that he had some dignity. Hoodlums are seldom dangerous to
other hoodlums, but if they catch pomposity alone in the field,
pomposity is their prey. They tear him to mere bloody ribbons, amid
heartless shrieks. When Coleman put himself on the same basis with the
students, he could cope with them easily, but he did not want the wild
pack after him when Marjory could see the chase. And so be rea- soned
that his best attitude was to be one of rather taciturn serenity.
On the hard military road the hoofs of the horses made such clatter
that it was practically impossible to hold talk between the carriages
and the horsemen without all parties bellowing. The professor, how-ever, strove to overcome the difficulties. He was apparently undergoing
a great amiability toward Coleman. Frequently he turned with a bright
face, and pointing to some object in the landscape, obviously tried to
convey something entertaining to Coleman's mind. Coleman could see his
lips mouth the words. He always nodded cheerily in answer and yelled.
The road ultimately became that straight lance-handle which
Coleman-it seemed as if many years had passed-had traversed with his
dragoman and the funny little carriers. He was fixing in his mind a
possible story to the Wainwrights about the snake and his first dead
Turk. But suddenly the carriages left this road and began a circuit of
the Gulf of Arta, winding about an endless series of promontories. The
journey developed into an excess of dust whirling from a road, which
half circled the waist of cape after cape. All dramatics were lost in
the rumble of wheels and in the click of hoofs. They passed a little
soldier leading a prisoner by a string. They passed more frightened
peasants, who seemed resolved to flee down into the very boots of
Greece. And people looked at them with scowls, envying them their
speed. At the little town from which Coleman embarked at one stage of
the upward journey, they found crowds in the streets. There was no
longer any laughter, any confidence, any vim. All the spirit of the
visible Greek nation seemed to have been knocked out of it in two
blows. But still they talked and never ceased talking. Coleman noticed
that the most curious changes had come upon them since his journey to
the frontier. They no longer approved of foreigners. They seemed to
blame the travellers for something which had transpired in the past few
days. It was not that they really blamed the travellers for the
nation's calamity: It was simply that their minds were half stunned by
the news of defeats, and, not thinking for a moment to blame
themselves, or even not thinking to attribute the defeats to mere
numbers and skill, they were savagely eager to fasten it upon something
near enough at hand for the operation of vengeance.
Coleman perceived that the dragoman, all his former plumage gone,
was whining and snivelling as he argued to a dark-browed crowd that was
running beside the cavalcade. The groom, who always had been a
miraculously laconic man, was suddenly launched forth garrulously. The,
drivers, from their high seats, palavered like mad men, driving with
oat hand and gesturing with the other, explaining evidently their own
Coleman saw that there was trouble, but he only sat more stiffly in
his saddle. The eternal gabble moved him to despise the situation. At
any rate, the travellers would soon be out of this town and on to a
more sensible region.
However he saw the driver of the first carriage sud- denly pull up
boforg a little blackened coffee shop and inn. The dragman spurred
forward and began wild expostulation. The second carriage pulled close
behind the other. The crowd, murmuring like a Roman mob in Nero's time,
closed around them.
COLEMAN pushed his horse coolly through to the dragoman;s side.
“What is it?” he demanded. The dragoman was broken-voiced. “These
peoples, they say you are Germans, all Germans, and they are angry,” he
wailed. “I can do nossing-nossing.”
“Well, tell these men to drive on,” said Coleman, “tell them
theymust drive on.”
“They will not drive on,” wailed the dragoman, still more loudly. “I
can do nossing. They say here is place for feed the horse. It is the
custom and they will note drive on.”
“Make them drive on.”
“They will note,” shrieked the agonised servitor. Coleman looked
from the men waving their arms and chattering on the box-seats to the
men of the crowd who also waved their arms and chattered. In this
throng far to the rear of the fighting armies there did not seem to be
a single man who was not ablebodied, who had not been free to enlist as
a soldier. They were of that scurvy behind-the-rear-guard which every
nation has in degree proportionate to its worth. The manhood of Greece
had gone to the frontier, leaving at home this rabble of talkers, most
of whom were armed with rifles for mere pretention. Coleman loathed
them to the end of his soul. He thought them a lot of infants who would
like to prove their courage upon eleven innocent travellers, all but
unarmed, and in this fact he was quick to see a great danger to the
Wainwright party. One could deal with soldiers; soldiers would have
been ashamed to bait helpless people; but this rabble-
The fighting blood of the correspondent began to boil, and he really
longed for the privilege to run amuck through the multitude. But a look
at the Wainwrights kept him in his senses. The professor had turned
pale as a dead man. He sat very stiff and still while his wife clung to
him, hysterically beseeching him to do something, do something,
although what he was to do she could not have even imagined.
Coleman took the dilemma by its beard. He dismounted from his horse
into the depths of the crowd and addressed the Wainwrights. “I suppose
we had better go into this place and have some coffee while the men
feed their horses. There is no use in trying to make them go on.” His
manner was fairly casual, but they looked at him in glazed horror. “It
is the only thing to do. This crowd is not nearly so bad as they think
they are. But we've got to look as if we felt confident.” He himself
had no confidence with this angry buzz in his ears, but be felt certain
that the only correct move was to get everybody as quickly as possible
within the shelter of the inn. It might not be much of a shelter for
them, but it was better than the carriages in the street.
The professor and Mrs. Wainwright seemed to be considering their
carriage as a castle, and they looked as if their terror had made them
physically incapable of leaving it. Coleman stood waiting. Behind him
the clapper-tongued crowd was moving ominously. Marjory arose and
stepped calmly down to him. He thrilled to the end of every nerve. It
was as if she had said: “I don't think there is great danger, but if
there is great danger, why * * here I am * ready * with you.” It
conceded everything, admitted everything. It was a surrender without a
blush, and it was only possible in the shadow of the crisis when they
did not know what the next moments might contain for them. As he took
her hand and she stepped past him he whispered swiftly and fiercely in
her ear, “I love you.” She did not look up, but he felt that in this
quick incident they had claimed each other, accepted each other with a
far deeper meaning and understanding than could be possible in a mere
drawing-room. She laid her hand on his arm, and with the strength of
four men he twisted his horse into the making of furious prancing
side-steps toward the door of the inn, clanking side- steps which mowed
a wide lane through the crowd for Marjory, his Marjory. He was as
haughty as a new German lieutenant, and although he held the fuming
horse with only his left hand, he seemed perfectly capable of hurling
the animal over a house without calling into service the arm which was
devoted to Marjory.
It was not an exhibition of coolness such as wins applause on the
stage when the hero placidly lights a cigarette before the mob which is
clamouring for his death. It was, on the contrary, an exhibition of
downright classic disdain, a disdain which with the highest arrogance
declared itself in every glance of his eye into the faces about him.
“Very good * * attack me if you like * * there is nothing to prevent it
* * you mongrels.” Every step of his progress was made a renewed insult
to them. The very air was charged with what this lone man was thinking
of this threatening crowd.
His audacity was invincible. They actually made way for it as
quickly as children would flee from a ghost. The horse, dancing; with
ringing steps, with his glistening neck arched toward the iron hand at
his bit, this powerful, quivering animal was a regular engine of
destruction, and they gave room until Coleman halted him—at an
exclamation from Marjory.
“My mother and father.” But they were coming close behind and
Coleman resumed this contemptuous journey to the door of the inn. The
groom, with his new-born tongue, was clattering there to the populace.
Coleman gave him the horse and passed after the Wainwrights into the
public room of the inn. He was smiling. What simpletons!
A new actor suddenly appeared in the person of the keeper of the
inn. He too had a rifle and a prodigious belt of cartridges, but it was
plain at once that he had elected to be a friend of the worried
travellers. A large part of the crowd were thinking it necessary to
enter the inn and pow-wow more. But the innkeeper stayed at the door
with the dragoman, and together they vociferously held back the tide.
The spirit of the mob had subsided to a more reasonable feeling. They
no longer wished to tear the strangers limb from limb on the suspicion
that they were Germans. They now were frantic to talk as if some
inexorable law had kept them silent for ten years and this was the very
moment of their release. Whereas, their simul- taneous and
interpolating orations had throughout made noise much like a
coal-breaker. Coleman led the Wainwrights to a table in a far part of
the room. They took chairs as if he had com- manded them. “What an
outrage,” he said jubilantly. “The apes.” He was keeping more than half
an eye upon the door, because he knew that the quick coming of the
students was important.
Then suddenly the storm broke in wrath. Something had happened in
the street. The jabbering crowd at the door had turned and were
hurrying upon some central tumult. The dragoman screamed to Coleman.
Coleman jumped and grabbed the dragoman. “Tell this man to take them
somewhere up stairs,” he cried, indicating the Wainwrights with a sweep
of his arm. The innkeeper seemed to understand sooner than the
dragoman, and he nodded eagerly. The professor was crying: “What is it,
Mr. Coleman? What is it?” An instant later, the correspondent was out
in the street, buffeting toward a scuffle. Of course it was the
students. It appeared, afterward, that those seven young men, with
their feelings much ruffled, had been making the best of their way
toward the door of the inn, when a large man in the crowd, during a
speech which was surely most offensive, had laid an arresting hand on
the shoulder of Peter Tounley. Whereupon the excellent Peter Tounley
had hit the large man on the jaw in such a swift and skilful manner
that the large man had gone spinning through a group of his countrymen
to the hard earth, where he lay holding his face together and howling.
Instantly, of course, there had been a riot. It might well be said that
even then the affair could have ended in a lot of talking, but in the
first place the students did not talk modern Greek, and in the second
place they were now past all thought of talking. They regarded this
affair seriously as a fight, and now that they at last were in it, they
were in it for every pint of blood in their bodies. Such a pack of
famished wolves had never before been let loose upon men armed with
They all had been expecting the row, and when Peter Tounley had
found it expedient to knock over the man, they had counted it a signal:
their arms immediately begun to swing out as if they had been wound up.
It was at this time that Coleman swam brutally through the Greeks and
joined his countrymen. He was more frightened than any of those
novices. When he saw Peter Tounley overthrow a dreadful looking brigand
whose belt was full of knives, and who—crashed to the ground amid a
clang of cartridges, he was appalled by the utter simplicity with which
the lads were treating the crisis. It was to them no com- mon scrimmage
at Washurst, of course, but it flashed through Coleman's mind that they
had not the slightegt sense of the size of the thing. He expected every
instant to see the flash of knives or to hear the deafening intonation
of a rifle fired against hst ear. It seemed to him miraculous that the
tragedy was so long delayed.
In the meantirne he was in the affray. He jilted one man under the
chin with his elbow in a way that reeled him off from Peter Tounley's
back; a little person in thecked clothes he smote between the eyes; he
recieved a gun-butt emphatically on the aide of the neck; he felt hands
tearing at him; he kicked the pins out from under three men in rapid
succession. He was always yelling. “Try to get to the inn, boys, try to
get to the inn. Look out, Peter. Take care for his knife, Peter—“
Suddenly he whipped a rifle out of the hands of a man and swung it,
whistling. He had gone stark mad with the others.
The boy Billy, drunk from some blows and bleeding, was already.
staggering toward the inn over the clearage which the wild Coleman made
with the clubbed rifle. Tho others follewed as well as they might while
beating off a discouraged enemy. The remarkable innkeeper had barred
his windows with strong wood shutters. He held the door by the crack
for them, and they stumbled one by on through the portal. Coleman did
not know why they were not all dead, nor did he understand the intrepid
and generous behaviour of the innkeeper, but at any rate he felt that
the fighting was suspended, and he wanted to see Marjory. The innkeeper
was, doing a great pantomime in the middle of the darkened room,
pointing to the outer door and then aiming his rifle at it to explain
his intention of defending them at all costs. Some of the students
moved to a billiard table and spread them- selves wearily upon it.
Others sank down where they stood. Outside the crowd was beginning to
roar. Coleman's groom crept out from under the little Coffee bar and
comically saluted his master. The dragoman was not present. Coleman
felt that he must see Marjory, and he made signs to the innkeeper. The
latter understood quickly, and motioned that Coleman should follow him.
They passed together through a dark hall and up a darker stairway,
where after Coleman stepped out into a sun-lit room, saying loudly:
“Oh, it's all right. It's all over. Don't worry.”
Three wild people were instantly upon him. “Oh, what was it? What
did happen? Is anybody hurt? Oh, tell us, quick!” It seemed at the time
that it was an avalanche of three of them, and it was not until later
that he recognised that Mrs. Wainwright had tumbled the largest number
of questions upon him. As for Marjory, she had said nothing until the
time when she cried: “Oh-he is bleeding-he is bleeding. Oh, come,
quick!” She fairly dragged him out of one room into another room, where
there was a jug of water. She wet her handkerchief and softly smote his
wounds. “Bruises,” she said, piteously, tearfully. “Bruises. Oh, dear!
How they must hurt you.' The handkerchief was soon stained crimson.
When Coleman spoke his voice quavered. “It isn't anything. Really,
it isn't anything.” He had not known of these wonderful wounds, but he
almost choked in the joy of Marjory's ministry and her half coherent
exclamations. This proud and beautiful girl, this superlative creature,
was reddening her handkerchief with his blood, and no word of his could
have prevented her from thus attending him. He could hear the professor
and Mrs. Wainwright fussing near him, trying to be of use. He would
have liked to have been able to order them out of the room. Marjory's
cool fingers on his face and neck had conjured within him a vision at
an intimacy tnat was even sweeter than anything which he had imagined,
and he longed to pour out to her the bubbling, impassioned speech which
came to his lips. But, always doddering behind him, were the two old
people, strenuous to be of help to him.
Suddenly a door opened and a youth appeared, simply red with blood.
It was Peter Tounley. His first remark was cheerful. “Well, I don't
suppose those people will be any too quick to look for more trouble.”
Coleman felt a swift pang because he had forgotten to announce the
dilapidated state of all the students. He had been so submerged by
Marjory's tenderness that all else had been drowned from his mind. His
heart beat quickly as he waited for Marjory to leave him and rush to
But she did nothing of the sort. “Oh, Peter,” she cried in distress,
and then she turned back to Coleman. It was the professor and Mrs.
Wainwright who, at last finding a field for their kindly ambitions,
flung them. selves upon Tounley and carried him off to another place.
Peter was removed, crying: “Oh, now, look
here, professor, I'm not dying or anything of the sort Coleman and
Marjory were left alone. He suddenly and forcibly took one of her hands
and the blood stained hankerchief dropped to the floor.
From below they could hear the thunder of weapons and fits upon the
door of the inn amid a great clamour of. tongues. Sometimes there arose
the argumtntative howl of the innkeeper. Above this roar, Coleman's
quick words sounded in Marjory's ear.
“I've got to go. I've got to go back to the boys, but—I love you.”
“Yes go, go,” she whispered hastily. “You should be there, but-come
He held her close to him. “But you are mine, remember,” he said
fiercely and sternly. “You are mine-forever-As I am yours-remember.”
Her eyes half closed. She made intensely solemn answer. “Yes.” He
released her and vphs gone. In the glooming coffee room of the inn he
found the students, the dragoman, the groom and the innkeeper armed
with a motley collection of weapons which ranged from the rifle of the
innkeeper to the table leg in the hands of PeterTounley. The last named
young student of archeology was in a position of temporary leadefship
and holding a great pow-bow with the innkeeper through the medium of
peircing outcries by the dragoman. Coleman had not yet undestood why
none of them had been either stabbed or shot in the fight in the
steeet, but it seemed to him now that affairs were leading toward a
crisis of tragedy. He thought of the possibilities of having the
dragoman go to an upper window and harangue the people, but he saw no
chance of success in such a plan. He saw that the crowd would merely
howl at the dragoman while the dragoman howled at the crowd. He then
asked if there was any other exit from the inn by which they could
secretly escape. He learned that the door into the coffee room was the
only door which pierced the four great walls. All he could then do was
to find out from the innkeeper how much of a siege the place could
stand, and to this the innkeeper answered volubly and with smiles that
this hostelry would easily endure until the mercurial temper of the
crowd had darted off in a new direction. It may be curious to note here
that all of Peter Tounley's impassioned communication with the
innkeeper had been devoted to an endeavour to learn what in the devil
was the matter with these people, as a man about to be bitten by
poisonous snakes should, first of all, furiously insist upon learning
their exact species before deciding upon either his route, if he
intended to run away, or his weapon if he intended to fight them.
The innkeeper was evidently convinced that this house would
withstand the rage of the populace, and he was such an unaccountably
gallant little chap that Coleman trusted entirely to his word. His only
fear or suspicion was an occasional one as to the purity of the
Suddenly there was half a silence on the mob without the door. It is
inconceivable that it could become altogether silent, but it was as
near to a rational stillness of tongues as it was able. Then there was
a loud knocking by a single fist and a new voice began to spin Greek, a
voice that was somewhat like the rattle of pebbles in a tin box. Then a
startling voice called out in English. “Are you in there, Rufus?”
Answers came from every English speaking person in the room in one
great outburst. “Yes.”
“Well, let us in,” called Nora Black. “It is all right. We've got an
officer with us.”
“Open the door,” said Coleman with speed. The little innkeeper
labouriously unfastened the great bars, and when the door finally
opened there appeared on the threshold Nora Black with Coke and an
officer of infantry, Nora's little old companion, and Nora's dragoman.
“We saw your carriage in the street,” cried the queen of comic opera
as she swept into the room. She was beaming with delight. “What is all
the row, anyway? O-o-oh, look at that student's nose. Who hit him? And
look at Rufus. What have you boys been doing?”
Her little Greek officer of infantry had stopped the mob from
flowing into the room. Coleman looked toward the door at times with
some anxiety. Nora, noting it, waved her hand in careless reassurance;
“Oh, it's, all right. Don't worry about them any more. He is perfectly
devoted to me. He would die there on the threshold if I told him it
would please me. Speaks splendid French. I found him limping along the
road and gave him a lift. And now do hurry up and tell me exactly what
happened.” They all told what had happened, while Nora and Coke
listened agape. Coke, by the way, had quite floated back to his old
position with the students. It had been easy in the stress of
excitement and wonder. Nobody had any titne to think of the excessively
remote incidents of the early morning. All minor interests were lost in
the marvel of the present situation.
“Who landed you in the eye, Billie?” asked the awed Coke. “That was
a bad one.” “Oh, I don't know,” said Billie. “You really couldn't tell
who hit you, you know. It was a football rush. They had guns and
knives, but they didn't use 'em. I don't know why Jinks! I'm getting
pretty stiff. My face feels as if it were made of tin. Did they give
you people a row, too?”
“No; only talk. That little officer managed them. Out-talked them, I
suppose. Hear him buzz, now.” The Wainwrights came down stairs. Nora
Black went confidently forward to meet them. “You've added one more to
your list of rescuers,” She cried, with her glowing, triumphant smile.
“Miss Black of the New York Daylight-at your service. How in the world
do you manage to get yourselves into such dreadful Scrapes? You are the
most remarkable people. You need a guardian. Why, you might have all
been killed. How exciting it must seem to be regularly of your party.”
She had shaken cordiaily one of Mrs. Wainwright's hands without that
lady indicating assent to the proceeding but Mrs. Wainwright had not
felt repulsion. In fact she had had no emotion springing directly from
it. Here again the marvel of the situation came to deny Mrs. Wainwright
the right to resume a state of mind which had been so painfully
interesting to her a few hours earlier.
The professor, Coleman and all the students were talking together.
Coke had addressed Coleman civilly and Coleman had made a civil reply.
Peace was upon them.
Nora slipped her arm lovingly through Marjbry's arm. “That Rufus!
Oh, that Rufus,” she cried joyously. “I'll give him a good scolding as
soon as I see him alone. I might have foreseen that he would get you
all into trouble. The old stupid!”
Marjory did not appear to resent anything. “Oh, I don't think it was
Mr. Coleman's fault at ail,” she an- swered calmly. “I think it was
more the fault of Peter Tounley, poor boy.”
“Well, I'd be glad to believe it, I'd be glad to believe it,” said
Nora. “I want Rufus to keep out of that sort of thing, but he is so
hot-headed and foolish.” If she had pointed out her proprietary stamp
on Coleman's cheek she could not have conveyed what she wanted with
“Oh,” said the impassive Marjory, “I don't think you need have any
doubt as to whose fault it was, if there were any of our boys at fault.
Mr. Coleman was inside when the fighting commenced, and only ran out to
help the boys. He had just brought us safely through the mob, and, far
from being hot-headed and foolish, he was utterly cool in manner,
impressively cool, I thought. I am glad to be able to reassure you on
these points, for I see that they worry you.”
“.Yes, they do worry me,” said Nora, densely. They worry me night
and day when he is away from me.”
“Oh,” responded Marjory, “I have never thought of Mr. Coleman as a
man that one would worry about much. We consider him very self-reliant,
able to take care of himself under almost any conditions, but then, of
course, we do not know him at all in the way that you know him. I
should think that you would find that he came off rather better than
you expected from most of his difficulties. But then, of course, as. I
said, you know him so much better than we do.” Her easy indifference
was a tacit dismissal of Coleman as a topic.
Nora, now thoroughly alert, glanced keenly into the other girl's
face, but it was inscrutable. The actress had intended to go careering
through a whole circle of daring illusions to an intimacy with,Coleman,
but here, before she had really developed her attack, Marjory, with a
few conventional and indifferent sentences, almost expressive of
boredom, had made the subject of Coleman impossible. An effect was left
upon Nora's mind that Marjory had been extremely polite in listening to
much nervous talk about a person in whom she had no interest.
The actress was dazed. She did not know how it had all been done.
Where was the head of this thing? And where Was the tail? A fog had
mysteriously come upon all her brilliant prospects of seeing Marjory
Wainwright suffer, and this fog was the product of a kind of magic with
which she was not familiar. She could not think how to fight it. After
being simply dubious throughout a long pause, she in the end went into
a great rage. She glared furiously at Marjory, dropped her arm as if it
had burned her and moved down upon Coleman. She must have reflected
that at any rate she could make him wriggle. When she was come near to
him, she called out: “Rufus!” In her tone was all the old insolent
statement of ownership. Coleman might have been a poodle. She knew how
to call his same in a way that was anything less than a public scandal.
On this occasion everybody looked at him and then went silent, as
people awaiting the startling denouement of a drama. “Rufus!” She was
baring his shoulder to show the fieur-de-lis of the criminal. The
Coleman's temper was, if one may be allowed to speak in that way,
broken loose inside of him. He could hardly beeathe; he felt that his
body was about to explode into a thousand fragments. He simply snarled
out ” What?” Almost at once he saw that she had at last goaded him into
making a serious tactical mistake. It must be admitted that it is only
when the relations between a man and a woman are the relations of
wedlock, or at least an intimate resemblance to it, that the man snarls
out ” What?” to the woman. Mere lovers say ” I beg your pardon?” It is
only Cupid's finished product that spits like a cat. Nora Black had
called him like a wife, and he had answered like a husband. For his
cause, his manner could not possibly have been worse. He saw the
professor stare at him in surprise and alarm, and felt the excitement
of the eight students. These latter were diabolic in the celerity with
which they picked out meanings. It was as plain to them as if Nora
Black had said: “He is my property.”
Coleman would have given his nose to have been able to recall that
single reverberating word. But he saw that the scene was spelling
downfall for him, and he went still more blind and desperate of it. His
despair made him burn to make matters Worse. He did not want to improve
anything at all. “What?” he demanded. “What do ye' want?”
Nora was sweetly reproachful. “I left my jacket in the carriage, and
I want you to get it for me.”
“Well, get it for yourself, do you see? Get it for yourself.”
Now it is plainly to be seen that no one of the people listening
there had ever heard a man speak thus to a woman who was not his wife.
Whenever they had heard that form of spirited repartee it had come from
the lips of a husband. Coleman's rude speech was to their ears a flat
announcement of an extraordinary intimacy between Nora Black and the
correspondent. Any other interpretation would not have occurred to
them. It was so palpable that it greatly distressed them with its
arrogance and boldness. The professor had blushed. The very milkiest
word in his mind at the time was the word vulgarity.
Nora Black had won a great battle. It was her Agincourt. She had
beaten the clever Coleman in a way that had left little of him but
rags. However, she could have lost it all again if she had shown her
feeling of elation. At Coleman's rudeness her manner indicated a
mixture of sadness and embarrassment. Her suffering was so plain to the
eye that Peter Tounley was instantly moved. “Can't I get your jacket
for you, Miss Black?” he asked hastily, and at her grateful nod he was
off at once.
Coleman was resolved to improve nothing. His overthrow seemed to him
to be so complete that he could not in any way mend it without a
sacrifice of his dearest prides. He turned away from them all and
walked to an isolated corner of the room. He would abide no longer with
them. He had been made an outcast by Nora Black, and he intended to be
an outcast. Therc was no sense in attempting to stem this extraordinary
deluge. It was better to acquiesce. Then suddenly he was angry with
Marjory. He did not exactly see why he was angry at Marjory, but he was
angry at her nevertheless. He thought of how he could revenge himself
upon her. He decided to take horse with his groom and dragoman and
proceed forthwith on the road, leaving the jumble as it stood. This
would pain Marjory, anyhow, he hoped. She would feel it deeply, he
hoped. Acting upon this plan, he went to the professor. Well, of course
you are all right now, professor, and if you don't mind, I would like
to leave you-go on ahead. I've got a considerable pressure of business
on my mind, and I think I should hurry on to Athens, if you don't
The professor did not seem to know what to say. “Of course, if you
wish it-sorry, I'm sure-of course it is as you please-but you have been
such a power in our favour-it seems too bad to lose you-but-if you wish
it-if you insist-”
“Oh, yes, I quite insist,” said Coleman, calmly. “I quite insist.
Make your mind easy on that score, professor. I insist.”
“Well, Mr. Coleman,” stammered the old man. “Well, it seems a great
pity to lose you-you have been such a power in our favour-”
“Oh, you are now only eight hours from the rail- way. It is very
easy. You would not need my as- sistance, even if it were a benefit!
“But-” said the professor.
Coleman's dragoman came to him then and said: “There is one man here
who says you made to take one rifle in the fight and was break his
head. He was say he wants sunthing for you was break his head. He says
“How much does he want?” asked Coleman, im- patiently.
The dragoman wrestled then evidently with a desire to protect this
mine from outside fingers. “I-I think two gold piece plenty.” “Take
them,” said Coleman. It seemed to him preposterous that this idiot with
a broken head should interpolate upon his tragedy. “Afterward you and
the groom get the three horses and we will start for Athens at once.”
“For Athens? At once?” said Marjory's voice in his ear.
“Om,” said Coleman, “I was thinking of starting.”
“Why?” asked Marjory, unconcernedly.
Coleman shot her a quick glance. “I believe my period of usefulness
is quite ended,” he said. with just a small betrayal of bitter feeling.
“It is certainly true that you have had a remark- able period of
usefulness to us,” said Marjory with a slow smile, “but if it is ended,
you should not run away from us.”
Coleman looked at her to see what she could mean. From many women,
these words would have been equal, under the circumstances, to a
command to stay, but he felt that none might know what impulses moved
the mind behind that beautiful mask. In his misery he thought to hurt
her into an expression of feeling by a rough speech. “I'm so in love
with Nora Black, you know, that I have to be very careful of myself.”
“Oh,” said Marjory, never thought of that. I should think you would
have to be careful of yourself.” She did not seem moved in any way.
Coleman despaired of finding her weak spot. She was a'damantine, this
girl. He searched his mind for something to say which would be still
more gross than his last outbreak, but when he felt that he was about
to hit upon it, the professor interrupted with an agitated speech to
Marjory. “You had better go to your mother, my child, and see that you
are all ready to leave here as soon as the carriages come up.”
“We have absolutely nothing to make ready,” said Marjory, laughing.
“But I'll go and see if mother needs anything before we start that I
can get for her.” She went away without bidding good-bye to Coleman.
The sole maddening impression to him was that the matter of his going
had not been of sufficient importance to remain longer than a moment
upon her mind. At the same time he decided that he would go,
Even then the dragoman entered the room. “We will pack everything
—upon the horse?”
Peter Tounley came afterward. “You are not going to bolt?”
“Yes, I'm off,” answered Coleman recovering him- self for Peter's
benefit. “See you in Athens, probably.”
Presently the dragoman announced the readiness of the horses.
Coleman shook hands with the students and the Professor amid cries of
surprise and polite regret. “What? Going, oldman? Really? What for? Oh,
wait for us. We're off in a few minutes. Sorry as the devil, old boy,
to' see you go.” He accepted their protestations with a somewhat sour
face. He knew perfectly well that they were thinking of his departure
as something that related to Nora Black. At the last, he bowed to the
ladies as a collection. Marjory's answering bow was affable; the bow of
Mrs. Wainwright spoke a resentment for some- thing; and Nora's bow was
triumphant mockery. As he swung into the saddle an idea struck him with
over whelming force. The idea was that he was a fool. He was a colossal
imbecile. He touched the spur to his horse and the animal leaped
superbly, making the Greeks hasten for safety in all directions. He was
off; he could no more return to retract his devious idiocy than he
could make his horse fly to Athens. What was done was done. He could
not mend it. And he felt like a man that had broken his own heart;
perversely, childishly, stupidly broken his own heart. He was sure that
Marjory was lost to him. No man could be degraded so publicly and
resent it so crudely and still retain a Marjory. In his abasement from
his defeat at the hands of Nora Black he had performed every imaginable
block-headish act and had finally climaxed it all by a departure which
left the tongue of Nora to speak unmolested into the ear of Marjory.
Nora's victory had been a serious blow to his fortunes, but it had not
been so serious as his own subsequent folly. He had generously muddled
his own affairs until he could read nothing out of them but despair.
He was in the mood for hatred. He hated many people. Nora Black was
the principal item, but he did not hesitate to detest the professor,
Mrs. Wain- wright, Coke and all the students. As for Marjory, he would
revenge himself upon her. She had done nothing that he defined clearly
but, at any rate, he would take revenge for it. As much as was
possible, he would make her suffer. He would convince her that he was a
tremendous and inexorable person. But it came upon his mind that he was
powerless in all ways. If he hated many people they probably would not
be even interested in his emotion and, as for his revenge upon Marjory,
it was beyond his strength. He was nothing but the complaining victim
of Nora Black and himself.
He felt that he would never again see Marjory, and while feeling it
he began to plan his attitude when next they met. He would be very cold
and reserved. At Agrinion he found that there would be no train until
the next daybreak. The dragoman was excessively annoyed over it, but
Coleman did not scold at all. As a matter of fact his heart had given a
great joyus bound. He could not now prevent his being overtaken. They
were only a few leagues away, and while he was waiting for the train
they would easily cover the distance. If anybody expressed surprise at
seeing him he could exhibit the logical reasons. If there had been a
train starting at once he would have taken it. His pride would have put
up with no subterfuge. If the Wainwrights overtook him it was because
he could not help it. But he was delighted that he could not help it.
There had been an inter- position by some specially beneficent fate. He
felt like whistling. He spent the early half of the night in blissful
smoke, striding the room which the dragoman had found for him. His head
was full of plans and detached impressive scenes in which he figured
before Marjory. The simple fact that there was no train away from
Agrinion until the next daybreak had wrought a stupendous change in his
outlook. He unhesitatingly considered it an omen of a good future. He
was up before the darkness even contained presage of coming light, but
near the railway station was a little hut where coffee was being served
to several prospective travellers who had come even earlier to the
rendezvous. There was no evidence of the Wainwrights.
Coleman sat in the hut and listened for the rumble of wheels. He was
suddenly appalled that the Wainwrights were going to miss the train.
Perhaps they had decided against travelling during the night. Perbaps
this thing, and perhaps that thing. The morning was very cold. Closely
muffled in his cloak, he went to the door and stared at where the road
was whiten- ing out of night. At the station stood a little spectral
train, and the engine at intervals emitted a long, piercing scream
which informed the echoing land that, in all probability, it was going
to start after a time for the south. The Greeks in the coffee room
were, of course, talking.
At last Coleman did hear the sound of hoofs and wheels. The three
carriages swept up in grand procession. The first was laden with
students; in the second was the professor, the Greek officer, Nora
Black's old lady and other persons, all looking marvellously
unimportant and shelved. It was the third carriage at which Coleman
stared. At first be thought the dim light deceived his vision, but in a
moment he knew that his first leaping conception of the arrangement of
the people in this vehicle had been perfectly correct. Nora Black and
Mrs. Wainwright sat side by side on the back seat, while facing them
were Coke and Marjory.
They looked cold but intimate.
The oddity of the grouping stupefied Coleman. It was anarchy, naked
and unashamed. He could not imagine how such changes could have been
consummated in the short time he had been away from them, but he laid
it all to some startling necromancy on the part of Nora Black, some
wondrous play which had captured them all because of its surpassing
skill and because they were, in the main, rather gullible people. He
was wrong. The magic had been wrought by the unaided foolishness of
Mrs. Wainwfight. As soon as Nora Black had succeeded in creating an
effect of intimacy and dependence between herself and Coleman, the
professor had flatly stated to his wife that the presence of Nora Black
in the party, in the inn, in the world, was a thiag that did not meet
his approval in any way. She should be abolished. As for Coleman, he
would not defend him. He preferred not to talk to him. It made him sad.
Coleman at least had been very indiscreet, very indiscreet. It was a
great pity. But as for this blatant woman, the sooner they rid
themselves of her, the sooner he would feel that all the world was not
Whereupon Mrs. Wainwright had changed front with the speed of light
and attacked with horse, foot and guns. She failed to see, she had
declared, where this poor, lone girt was in great fault. Of course it
was probable that she had listened to this snaky. tongued Rufus
Coleman, but that was ever the mistake that women made. Oh, certainly;
the professor would like to let Rufus Coleman off scot-free. That was
the way with men. They defended each other in all cases. If wrong were
done it was the woman who suffered. Now, since this poor girl was alone
far off here in Greece, Mrs. Wainwright announced that she had such
full sense of her duty to her sex that her conscience would not allow
her to scorn and desert a sister, even if that sister was,
approximately, the victim of a creature like Rufus Coleman. Perhaps the
poor thing loved this wretched man, although it was hard to imagine any
woman giving her heart to such. a monster.
The professor had then asked with considerable spirit for the proofs
upon which Mrs. Wainwright named Coleman a monster, and had made a wry
face over her completely conventional reply. He had told her
categorically his opinion of her erudition in such matters.
But Mrs. Wainwright was not to be deterred from an exciting espousal
of the cause of her sex. Upon the instant that the professor
strenuously opposed her she becamean apostle, an enlightened, uplifted
apostle to the world on the wrongs of her sex. She had come down with
this thing as if it were a disease. Nothing could stop her. Her
husband, her daughter, all influences in other directions, had been
overturned with a roar, and the first thing fully clear to the
professor's mind had been that his wife was riding affably in the
carriage with Nora Black. Coleman aroused when he heard one of the
students cry out: “Why, there is Rufus Coleman's dragoman. He must be
here.” A moment later they thronged upon him. “Hi, old man, caught you
again! Where did you break to? Glad to catch you, old boy. How are you
making it? Where's your horse?”
“Sent the horses on to, Athens,” said Coleman. He had not yet
recovered his composure, and he was glad to find available this
commonplace return to their exuberant greetings and questions. “Sent
them on to Athens with the groom.”
In the mean time the engine of the little train was screaming to
heaven that its intention of starting was most serious. The diligencia
careered to the station platform and unburdened. Coleman had had his
dragoman place his luggage in a little first-class carriage and he
defiantly entered it and closed the door. He had a sudden return to the
old sense of downfall, and with it came the original rebellious
desires. However, he hoped that somebody would intrude upon him. It was
Peter Tounley. The student flung open the door and then yelled to the
distance: “Here's an empty one.” He clattered into the compartment.
“Hello, Coleman! Didn't know you were in here!” At his heels came Nora
Black, Coke and Marjory. “Oh!” they said, when they saw the occupant of
the carriage. “Oh!” Coleman was furious. He could have distributed some
of his traps in a way to create more room, but he did not move.
THERE was a demonstration of the unequalled facilities of a European
railway carriage for rendering unpleasant things almost intolerable.
These people could find no way to alleviate the poignancy of their
position. Coleman did not know where to look. Every personal mannerism
becomes accentuated in a European railway carriage. If you glance at a
man, your glance defines itself as a stare. If you carefully look at
nothing, you create for yourself a resemblance to all wooden-headed
things. A newspaper is, then, in the nature of a preservative, and
Coleman longed for a newspaper.
It was this abominable railway carriage which exacted the first
display of agitation from Marjory. She flushed rosily, and her eyes
wavered over the cornpartment. Nora Black laughed in a way that was a
shock to the nerves. Coke seemed very angry, indeed, and Peter Tounley
was in pitiful distress. Everything was acutely, painfully vivid, bald,
painted as glaringly as a grocer's new wagon. It fulfilled those
traditions which the artists deplore when they use their pet phrase on
a picture, “It hurts.” The damnable power of accentuation of the
European railway carriage seemed, to Coleman's amazed mind, to be
redoubled and redoubled.
It was Peter Tounley who seemed to be in the greatest agony. He
looked at the correspondent beseechingly and said: “It's a very cold
morning, Coleman.” This was an actual appeal in the name of humanity.
Coleman came squarely. to the front and even grinned a little at
poor Peter Tounley's misery. “Yes, it is a cold morning, Peter. I
should say it to one of the coldest mornings in my recollection.”
Peter Tounley had not intended a typical American emphasis on the
polar conditions which obtained in the compartment at this time, but
Coleman had given the word this meaning. Spontaneously every body
smiled, and at once the tension was relieved. But of course the satanic
powers of the railway carriage could not be altogether set at naught.
Of course it fell to the lot of Coke to get the seat directly in front
of Coleman, and thus, face to face, they were doomed to stare at each
Peter Tounley was inspired to begin conventional babble, in which he
took great care to make an appear. ance of talking to all in the
carriage. “Funny thing I never knew these mornings in Greece were so
cold. I thought the climate here was quite tropical. It must have been
inconvenient in the ancient times, when, I am told, people didn't wear
near so many- er-clothes. Really, I don't see how they stood it. For my
part, I would like nothing so much as a buffalo robe. I suppose when
those great sculptors were doing their masterpieces, they had to wear
gloves. Ever think of that? Funny, isn't it? Aren't you cold, Marjory?
I am. jingo! Imagine the Spartans in ulsters, going out to meet an
enemy in cape-overcoats, and being desired by their mothers to return
with their ulsters or wrapped in them.”
It was rather hard work for Peter Tounley. Both Marjory and Coleman
tried to display an interest in his labours, and they laughed not at
what he said, but because they believed it assisted him. The little
train, meanwhile, wandered up a great green slope, and the day rapidly
coloured the land.
At first Nora Black did not display a militant mood, but as time
passed Coleman saw clearly that she was considering the advisability of
a new attack. She had Coleman and Marjory in conjunction and where they
were unable to escape from her. The opportunities were great. To
Coleman, she seemed to be gloating over the possibilities of making
more mischief. She was looking at him speculatively, as if considering
the best place to hit him first. Presently she drawled: “Rufus, I wish
you would fix my rug about me a little better.” Coleman saw that this
was a beginning. Peter Tounley sprang to his feet with speed and en-thusiasm. “Oh, let me do it for you.” He had her well muffled in the
rug before she could protest, even if a protest had been rational. The
young man had no idea of defending Coleman. He had no knowledge of the
necessity for it. It had been merely the exercise of his habit of
amiability, his chronic desire to see everybody comfortable. His
passion in this direction was well known in Washurst, where the
students had borrowed a phrase from the photographers in order to
describe him fully in a nickname. They called him ” Look-pleasant
Tounley.” This did not in any way antagonise his perfect willingness to
fight on occasions with a singular desperation, which usually has a
small stool in every mind where good nature has a throne.
“Oh, thank you very much, Mr. Tounley,” said Nora Black, without
gratitude. “Rufus is always so lax in these matters.”
“I don't know how you know it,” said Coleman boldly, and he looked
her fearlessly in the eye. The battle had begun.
“Oh,” responded Nora, airily, “I have had opportunity enough to know
it, I should think, by this time.”
“No,” said Coleman, “since I have never paid you particular and
direct attention, you cannot possibly know what I am lax in and what I
am not lax in. I would be obliged to be of service at any time, Nora,
but surely you do not consider that you have a right to my services
superior to any other right.”
Nora Black simply went mad, but fortunately part of her madness was
in the form of speechlessness. Otherwise there might have been heard
something approaching to billingsgate.
Marjory and Peter Tounley turned first hot and then cold, and looked
as if they wanted to fly away; and even Coke, penned helplessly in with
this unpleasant incident, seemed to have a sudden attack of distress.
The only frigid person was Coleman. He had made his declaration of
independence, and he saw with glee that the victory was complete. Nora
Black might storm and rage, but he had announced his position in an
unconventional blunt way which nobody in the carriage could fail to
understand. He felt somewhat like smiling with confidence and defiance
in Nora's face, but he still had the fear for Marjory.
Unexpectedly, the fight was all out of Nora Black. She had the fury
of a woman scorned, but evidently she had perceived that all was over
and lost. The remainder of her wrath dispensed itself in glares which
Coleman withstood with great composure.
A strained silence fell upon the group which lasted until they
arrived at the little port of Mesalonghi, whence they were to take ship
for Patras. Coleman found himself wondering why he had not gone flatly
at the great question at a much earlier period, indeed at the first
moment when the great question began to make life exciting for him. He
thought that if he had charged Nora's guns in the beginning they would
have turned out to be the same incapable artillery. Instead of that he
had run away and continued to run away until he was actually cornered
and made to fight, and his easy victory had defined him as a person who
had, earlier, indulged in much stupidity and cowardice. Everything had
worked out so simply, his terrors had been dispelled so easily, that he
probably was led to overestimate his success. And it occurred suddenly
to him. He foresaw a fine occasion to talk privately to Marjory when
all had boarded the steamer for Patras and he resolved to make use of
it. This he believed would end the strife and conclusively laurel him.
The train finally drew up on a little stone pier and some boatmen
began to scream like gulls. The steamer lay at anchor in the placid
blue cove. The embarkation was chaotic in the Oriental fashion and
there was the customary misery which was only relieved when the
travellers had set foot on the deck of the steamer. Coleman did not
devote any premature attention to finding Marjory, but when the steamer
was fairly out on the calm waters of the Gulf of Corinth, he saw her
pacing to and fro with Peter Tounley. At first he lurked in the
distance waiting for an opportunity, but ultimately he decided to make
his own opportunity. He approached them. “Marjory,would you let me
speak to you alone for a few moments? You won't mind, will you, Peter?”
“Oh, no, certainly not,” said Peter Tounley.
“Of course. It is not some dreadful revelation, is it?” said
Marjory, bantering him coolly.
“No,” answered Coleman, abstractedly. He was thinking of what he was
going to say. Peter Tounley vanished around the corner of a deck-house
and Marjory and Coleman began to pace to and fro even as Marjory and
Peter Tounley had done. Coleman had thought to speak his mind frankly
and once for all, and on the train he had invented many clear
expressions of his feeling. It did not appear that he had forgotten
them. It seemed, more, that they had become entangled in his mind in
such a way that he could not unravel the end of his discourse.
In the pause, Marjory began to speak in admiration of the scenery.
“I never imagined that Greece was so full of mountains. One reads so
much of the Attic Plains, but aren't these mountains royal? They look
so rugged and cold, whereas the bay is absolutely as blue as the old
descriptions of a summer sea.”
“I wanted to speak to you about Nora Black,” said Coleman.
“Nora Black? Why?” said Marjory, lifting her eye- brows.
You know well enough,” said Coleman, in a head. long fashion. “You
must know, you must have seen it. She knows I care for you and she
wants to stop it. And she has no right to-to interfere. She is a fiend,
a perfect fiend. She is trying to make you feel that I care for her.”
“And don't you care for her?” asked Marjory.
“No,” said Coleman, vehemently. “I don't care for her at all.”
“Very well,” answered Marjory, simply. “I believe you.” She managed
to give the words the effect of a mere announcement that she believed
him and it was in no way plain that she was glad or that she esteemed
the matter as being of consequence.
He scowled at her in dark resentment. “You mean by that, I suppose,
that you don't believe me?”
“Oh,” answered Marjory, wearily, “I believe you. I said so. Don't
talk about it any more.”
“Then,” said Coleman, slowly, “you mean that you do not care whether
I'm telling the truth or not?”
“Why, of course I care,” she said. “Lying is not nice.”
He did not know, apparently, exactly how to deal with her manner,
which was actually so pliable that-it was marble, if one may speak in
that way. He looked ruefully at the sea. He had expected a far easier
time. “Well-” he began.
“Really,” interrupted Marjory, “this is something which I do not
care to discuss. I would rather you would not speak to me at all about
it. It seems too—too-bad. I can readily give you my word that I
believe you, but I would prefer you not to try to talk to me about it
or-anything of that sort. Mother!”
Mrs. Wainwright was hovering anxiously in the vicinity, and she now
bore down rapidly upon the pair. “You are very nearly to Patras,” she
said reproachfully to her daughter, as if the fact had some fault of
Marjory's concealed in it. She in no way ac- knowledged the presence of
“Oh, are we?” cried Marjory.
“Yes,” said Mrs. Wainwright. “We are.”
She stood waiting as if she expected Marjory to in- stantly quit
Coleman. The girl wavered a moment and then followed her mother.
“Good-bye.” she said. “I hope we may see you again in Athens.” It was a
command to him to travel alone with his servant on the long railway
journey from Patras to Athens. It was a dismissal of a casual
acquaintance given so graciously that it stung him to the depths of his
pride. He bowed his adieu and his thanks. When the yelling boatmen came
again, he and his man proceeded to the shore in an early boat without
looking in any way after the welfare of the others.
At the train, the party split into three sections. Coleman and his
man had one compartment, Nora Black and her squad had another, and the
Wainwrights and students occupied two more.
The little officer was still in tow of Nora Black. He was very
enthusiastic. In French she directed him to remain silent, but he did
not appear to understand. “You tell him,” she then said to her
dragoman, “to sit in a corner and not to speak until I tell him to, or
I won't have him in here.” She seemed anxious to unburden herself to
the old lady companion. “Do you know,” she said, “that girl has a nerve
like steel. I tried to break it there in that inn, but I couldn't budge
her. If I am going to have her beaten I must prove myself to be a very,
very artful person.”
“Why did you try to break her nerve?” asked the old lady, yawning.
“Why do you want to have her beaten?”
“Because I do, old stupid,” answered Nora. “You should have heard
the things I said to her.”
“About Coleman. Can't you understand anything at all?”
“And why should you say anything about Coleman to her?” queried the
old lady, still hopelessly befogged.
“Because,” cried Nora, darting a look of wrath at her companion, “I
want to prevent that marriage.” She had been betrayed into this avowal
by the singularly opaque mind of the old lady. The latter at once sat
erect.—” Oh, ho,” she said, as if a ray of light had been let into her
head. “Oh, ho. So that's it, is it?”
“Yes, that's it, rejoined Nora, shortly.
The old lady was amazed into a long period of meditation. At last
she spoke depressingly. “Well, how are you going to prevent it? Those
things can't be done in these days at all. If they care for each
Nora burst out furiously. “Don't venture opinions until you know
what you are talking about, please. They don't care for each other, do
you see? She cares for him, but he don't give a snap of his fingers for
“But,” cried the bewildered lady, “if he don't care for her, there
will be nothing to prevent. If he don't care for her, he won't ask her
to marry him, and so there won't be anything to prevent.”
Nora made a broad gesture of impatience. “Oh, can't you get anything
through your head? Haven't you seen that the girl has been the only
young woman in that whole party lost up there in the mountains, and
that naturally more than half of the men still think they are in love
with her? That's what it is. Can't you see? It always happens that way.
Then Coleman comes along and makes a fool of himself with the others.”
The old lady spoke up brightly as if at last feeling able to
contribute something intelligent to the talk. “Oh, then, he does care
Nora's eyes looked as if their glance might shrivel the old lady's
hair. “Don't I keep telling you that it is no such thing? Can't you
understand? It is all glamour! Fascination! Way up there in the
wilderness! Only one even passable woman in sight.”
“I don't say that I am so very keen,” said the old lady, somewhat
offended, “but I fail to see where I could improve when first you tell
me he don't care for her, and then you tell me that he does care for
“Glamour,' ' Fascination,'“ quoted Nora. “Don't you understand the
meaning of the words?”
“Well,” asked the other, didn't he know her, then, before he came
Nora was silent for a time, while a gloom upon her face deepened. It
had struck her that the theories for which she protested so
energetically might not be of such great value. Spoken aloud, they had
a sudden new flimsiness. Perhaps she had reiterated to herself that
Coleman was the victim of glamour only because she wished it to be
true. One theory, however, re- mained unshaken. Marjory was an artful
rninx, with no truth in her.
She presently felt the necessity of replying to the question of her
companion. “Oh,” she said, care- lessly, “I suppose they were
acquainted-in a way.”
The old lady was giving the best of her mind to the subject. “If
that's the case-” she observed, musingly, “if that's the case, you
can't tell what is between 'em.”
The talk had so slackened that Nora's unfortunate Greek admirer felt
that here was a good opportunity to present himself again to the notice
of the actress. The means was a smile and a French sentence, but his
reception would have frightened a man in armour. His face blanched with
horror at the storm, he had invoked, and he dropped limply back as if
some one had shot him. “You tell this little snipe to let me alone!”
cried Nora, to the dragoman. “If he dares to come around me with any
more of those Parisian dude speeches, I-I don't know what I'll do! I
won't have it, I say.” The impression upon the dragoman was hardly less
in effect. He looked with bulging eyes at Nora, and then began to
stammer at the officer. The latter's voice could sometimes be heard in
awed whispers for the more elaborate explanation of some detail of the
tragedy. Afterward, he remained meek and silent in his corner, barely
more than a shadow, like the proverbial husband of imperious beauty.
“Well,” said the old lady, after a long and thoughtful pause, “I
don't know, I'm sure, but it seems to me that if Rufus Coleman really
cares for that girl, there isn't much use in trying to stop him from
getting her. He isn't that kind of a man.”
“For heaven's sake, will you stop assuming that he does care for
her?” demanded Nora, breathlessly.
“And I don't see,” continued the old lady, “what you want to prevent
him for, anyhow.”
“I FEEL in this radiant atmosphere that there could be no such thing
as war-men striving together in black and passionate hatred.” The
professor's words were for the benefit of his wife and daughter. ,He
was viewing the sky-blue waters of the Gulf of Corinth with its
background of mountains that in the sunshine were touched here and
there with a copperish glare. The train was slowly sweeping along the
southern shore. “It is strange to think of those men fighting up there
in the north. And it is strange to think that we ourselves are but just
returning from it.”
“I cannot begin to realise it yet,” said Mrs. Wain- wright, in a
“Quite so,” responded the professor, reflectively.
“I do not suppose any of us will realise it fully for some time. It
is altogether too odd, too very odd.”
“To think of it!” cried Mrs. WainWright. “To think of it! Supposing
those dreadful Albanians or those awful men from the Greek mountains
had caught us! Why, years from now I'll wake up in the night and think
The professor mused. “Strange that we cannot feel it strongly now.
My logic tells me to be aghast that we ever got into such a place, but
my nerves at present refuse to thrill. I am very much afraid that this
singular apathy of ours has led us to be unjust to poor Coleman.” Here
Mrs. Wainwright objected. “Poor Coleman! I don't see why you call him
“Well,” answered the professor, slowly, “I am in doubt about our
“Oh,” cried the wife, gleefully,” in doubt about our behaviour! I'm
in doubt about his behaviour.”
“So, then, you do have a doubt. of his behaviour?” “Oh, no,”
responded Mrs. Wainwright, hastily, “not about its badness. What I
meant to say was that in the face of his outrageous conduct with that-that woman, it is curious that you should worry about our behaviour. It
surprises me, Harrison.”
The professor was wagging his head sadly. “I don't know I don't know
It seems hard to judge * * I hesitate to-”
Mrs. Wainwright treated this attitude with disdain. “It is not hard
to judge,” she scoffed, “and I fail to see why you have any reason for
hesitation at all. Here he brings this woman—”
The professor got angry. “Nonsense! Nonsense! I do not believe that
he brought her. If I ever saw a spectacle of a woman bringing herself,
it was then. You keep chanting that thing like an outright parrot.”
“Well,” retorted Mrs. Wainwright, bridling, “I suppose you imagine
that you understand such things, Men usually think that, but I want to
tell you that you seem to me utterly blind.”
“Blind or not, do stop the everlasting reiteration of that
Mrs. Wainwright passed into an offended silence, and the professor,
also silent, looked with a gradually dwindling indignation at the
Night was suggested in the sky before the train was near to Athens.
“My trunks,” sighed Mrs. Wainwright. “How glad I will be to get back to
my trunks! Oh, the dust! Oh, the misery! Do find out when we will get
there, Harrison. Maybe the train is late.”
But, at last, they arrived in Athens, amid a darkness which was
confusing, and, after no more than the common amount of trouble, they
procured carriages and were taken to the hotel. Mrs. Wainwright's
impulses now dominated the others in the family. She had one passion
after another. The majority of the servants in the hotel pretended that
they spoke English, but, in three minutes, she drove them distracted
with the abundance and violence of her requests. It came to pass that
in the excitement the old couple quite forgot Marjory. It was not until
Mrs. Wainwright, then feeling splendidly, was dressed for dinner, that
she thought to open Marjory's door and go to render a usual motherly
supervision of the girl's toilet.
There was no light: there did not seem to be any- body in the room.
“Marjory!” called the mother, in alarm. She listened for a moment and
then ran hastily out again. “Harrison!” she cried. “I can't find
Marjory!” The professor had been tying his cravat. He let the loose
ends fly. “What?” he ejaculated, opening his mouth wide. Then they both
rushed into Marjory's room. “Marjory!” beseeched the old man in a voice
which would have invoked the grave.
The answer was from the bed. “Yes?” It was low, weary, tearful. It
was not like Marjory. It was dangerously the voice of a hcart-broken
woman. They hurried forward with outcries. “Why, Marjory! Are you ill,
child? How long have you been lying in the dark? Why didn't you call
us? Are you ill?”
“No,” answered this changed voice, “I am not ill. I only thought I'd
rest for a time. Don't bother.”
The professor hastily lit the gas and then father and mother turned
hurriedly to the bed. In the first of the illumination they saw that
tears were flowing unchecked down Marjory's face.
The effect.of this grief upon the professor was, in part, an effect
of fear. He seemed afraid to touch it, to go near it. He could,
evidently, only remain in the outskirts, a horrified spectator. The
mother, how. ever, flung her arms about her daughter. “Oh, Marjory!”
She, too, was weeping.
The girl turned her face to the pillow and held out a hand of
protest. “Don't, mother! Don't!”
“Oh, Marjory! Oh, Marjory!”
“Don't, mother. Please go away. Please go away. Don't speak at all,
I beg of you.”
“Oh, Marjory! Oh, Marjory!”
“Don't.” The girl lifted a face which appalled them. It had
something entirely new in it. “Please go away, mother. I will speak to
father, but I won't—I can't-I can't be pitied.”
Mrs. Wainwright looked at her husband. “Yes,” said the old man,
trembling. “Go!” She threw up her hands in a sorrowing gesture that was
not without its suggestion that her exclusion would be a mistake. She
left the room.
The professor dropped on his knees at the bedside and took one of
Marjory's hands. His voice dropped to its tenderest note. “Well, my
She had turned her face again to the pillow. At last she answered in
muffled tones, “You know.” Thereafter came a long silence full of
sharpened pain. It was Marjory who spoke first. “I have saved my pride,
daddy, but-I have-lost-everything —else.” Even her sudden resumption
of the old epithet of her childhood was an additional misery to the old
man. He still said no word. He knelt, gripping her fingers and staring
at the wall.
“Yes, I have lost~everything-else.”
The father gave a low groan. He was thinking deeply, bitterly. Since
one was only a human being, how was one going to protect beloved hearts
assailed with sinister fury from the inexplicable zenith? In this
tragedy he felt as helpless as an old grey ape. He did not see a
possible weapon with which he could defend his child from the calamity
which was upon her. There was no wall, no shield which could turn this
sorrow from the heart of his child. If one of his hands loss could have
spared her, there would have been a sacrifice of his hand, but he was
potent for nothing. He could only groan and stare at the wall. He
reviewed the past half in fear that he would suddenly come upon his
error which was now the cause of Marjory's tears. He dwelt long upon
the fact that in Washurst he had refused his consent to Marjory's
marriage with Coleman, but even now he could not say that his judgment
was not correct. It was simply that the doom of woman's woe was upon
Marjory, this ancient woe of the silent tongue and the governed will,
and he could only kneel at the bedside and stare at the wall.
Marjory raised her voice in a laugh. “Did I betray myself? Did I
become the maiden all forlorn? Did I giggle to show people that I did
not care? No-I did not-I did not. And it was such a long time, daddy!
Oh, such a long time! I thought we would never get here. I thought I
would never get where I could be alone like this, where I could-cry-if
I wanted to. I am not much of—a crier, am I, daddy? But this
She suddenly drew herself over near to her father and looked at him.
“Oh, daddy, I want to tell you one thing. just one simple little
thing.” She waited then, and while she waited her father's head went
lower and lower. “Of course, you know-I told you once. I love him! I
love him! Yes, probably he is a rascal, but, do you know, I don't think
I would mind if he was a-an assassin. This morning I sent him away,
but, daddy, he didn't want to go at all. I know he didn't. This Nora
Black is nothing to him. I know she is not. I am sure of it. Yes-I am
sure of it. * * * I never expected to talk this way to any living
creature, but-you are so good, daddy. Dear old daddy—-”
She ceased, for she saw that her father was praying.
The sight brought to her a new outburst of sobbing, for her sorrow
now had dignity and solemnity from thebowed white head of her old
father, and she felt that her heart was dying amid the pomp of the
church. It was the last rites being performed at the death-bed. Into
her ears came some imagining of the low melan. choly chant of monks in
Finally her father arose. He kissed her on the brow. “Try to sleep,
dear,” he said. He turned out the gas and left the room. His thought
was full of chastened emotion.
But if his thought was full of chastened emotion, it received some
degree of shock when he arrived in the presence of Mrs. Wainwright.
“Well, what is all this about?” she demanded, irascibly. “Do you mean
to say that Marjory is breaking her heart over that man Coleman? It is
all your fault-” She was apparently still ruffled over her exclusion.
When the professor interrupted her he did not speak with his
accustomed spirit, but from something novel in his manner she
recognised a danger signal. “Please do not burst out at it in that
“Then it Is true?” she asked. Her voice was a mere awed whisper.
“It is true,” answered the professor.
“Well,” she said, after reflection, “I knew it. I alway's knew it.
If you hadn't been so blind! You turned like a weather-cock in your
opinions of Coleman. You never could keep your opinion about him for
more than an hour. Nobody could imagine what you might think next. And
now you see the result of it! I warned you! I told you what this
Coleman was, and if Marjory is suffering now, you have only yourself to
blame for it. I warned you!”
“If it is my fault,” said the professor, drearily, “I hope God may
forgive me, for here is a great wrong to my daughter.”
Well, if you had done as I told you-” she began.
Here the professor revolted. “Oh, now, do not be- gin on that,” he
snarled, peevishly. Do not begin on that.”
“Anyhow,” said Mrs. Wainwright, it is time that we should be going
down to dinner. Is Marjory com- ing?”
“No, she is not,” answered the professor, “and I do not know as I
shall go myself.”
“But you must go. Think how it would look! All the students down
there dining without us, and cutting up capers! You must come.”
“Yes,” he said, dubiously, “but who will look after Marjory?”
“She wants to be left alone,” announced Mrs. Wainwright, as if she
was the particular herald of this news. “She wants to be left alone.”
“Well, I suppose we may as well go down.” Before they went, the
professor tiptoed into his daughter's room. In the darkness he could
only see her waxen face on the pillow, and her two eyes gazing fixedly
at the ceiling. He did not speak, but immedi. ately withdrew, closing
the door noiselessly behind him.
IF the professor and Mrs. Wainwright had descended sooner to a lower
floor of the hotel, they would have found reigning there a form of
anarchy. The students were in a smoking room which was also an entrance
hall to the dining room, and because there was in the middle of this
apartment a fountain containing gold fish, they had been moved to
license and sin. They had all been tubbed and polished and brushed and
dressed until they were exuberantly beyond themselves. The proprietor
of the hotel brought in his dignity and showed it to them, but they
minded it no more than if he had been only a common man. He drew
himself to his height and looked gravely at them and they jovially
said: “Hello, Whiskers.” American college students are notorious in
their country for their inclination to scoff at robed and crowned
authority, and, far from being awed by the dignity of the hotel-keeper,
they were delighted with it. It was something with which to sport. With
immeasurable impudence, they copied his attitude, and, standing before
him, made comic speeches, always alluding with blinding vividness to
his beard. His exit disappointed them. He had not remained long under
fire. They felt that they could have interested themselves with him an
entire evening. “Come back, Whiskers! Oh, come back!” Out in the main
hall he made a ges. ture of despair to some of his gaping minions and
then fled to seclusion.
A formidable majority then decided that Coke was a gold fish, and
that therefore his proper place was in the fountain. They carried him
to it while he strug. gled madly. This quiet room with its crimson rugs
and gilded mirrors seemed suddenly to have become an important
apartment in hell. There being as yet no traffic in the dining room,
the waiters were all at liberty to come to the open doors, where they
stood as men turned to stone. To them, it was no less than
Coke, standing with one foot on the floor and the other on the
bottom of the shallow fountain, blas- phemed his comrades in a low
tone, but with inten- tion. He was certainly desirous of lifting his
foot out of the water, but it seemed that all movement to that end
would have to wait until he had successfully ex- pressed his opinions.
In the meantime, there was heard slow footsteps and the rustle of
skirts, and then some people entered the smoking room on their way to
dine. Coke took his foot hastily out of the fountain.
The faces of the men of the arriving party went blank, and they
turned their cold and pebbly eyes straight to the front, while the
ladies, after little ex. pressions of alarm, looked As if they wanted
to run. In fact, the whole crowd rather bolted from this ex-traordinary scene.
“There, now,” said Coke bitterly to his companions. “You see? We
looked like little schoolboys-”
“Oh, never mind, old man,” said Peter Tounley. “We'll forgive you,
although you did embarrass us. But, above everything, don't drip.
Whatever you do, don't drip.”
The students took this question of dripping and played upon it until
they would have made quite insane anybody but another student. They
worked it into all manner of forms, and hacked and haggled at Coke
until he was driven to his room to seek other apparel. “Be sure and
change both legs,” they told him. “Remember you can't change one leg
without changing both legs.”
After Coke's departure, the United States minister entered the room,
and instantly they were subdued. It was not his lofty station-that
affected them. There are probably few stations that would have at all
af- fectedthem. They became subdued because they un- feignedly liked
the United States minister. They, were suddenly a group of well-bred,
correctly attired young men who had not put Coke's foot in the
fountain. Nor had they desecrated the majesty of the hotelkeeper.
“Well, I am delighted,” said the minister, laughing as he shook
hands with them all. “I was not sure I would ever see you again. You
are not to be trusted, and, good boys as you are, I'll be glad to see
you once and forever over the boundary of my jurisdiction. Leave
Greece, you vagabonds. However, I am truly delighted to see you all
“Thank you, sir,” they said.
“How in the world did you get out of it? You must be remarkable
chaps. I thought you were in a hopeless position. I wired and cabled
everywhere I could, but I could find out nothing.”
“A correspondent,” said Peter Tounley. “I don't know if you have met
him. His name is Coleman. He found us.”
“Coleman?” asked the minister, quickly.
“Yes, sir. He found us and brought us out safely.”
“Well, glory be to Coleman,” exclaimed the min- ister, after a long
sigh of surprise. “Glory be to Cole- man! I never thought he could do
The students were alert immediately. “Why, did you know about it,
sir? Did he tell you he was coming after us?”
“Of course. He came tome here in Athens. and asked where you were. I
told him you were in a peck of trouble. He acted quietly and somewhat
queerly,. and said that he would try to look you up. He said you were
friends of his. I warned him against trying it. Yes, I said it was
impossible, I had no idea that he would really carry the thing out. But
didn't he tell you anything about this himself?”
“No, sir ' ” answered Peter Tounley. “He never said much about it. I
think he usually contended that it was mainly an accident.”
“It was no accident,” said the minister, sharply. “When a man starts
out to do a thing and does it, you can't say it is an accident.”
“I didn't say so, sir,” said Peter Tounley diffidently.
“Quite true, quite true! You didn't, but-this Coleman must be a
“We think so, sir,” said be who was called Billie. “He certainly
brought us through in style.”
“But how did he manage it?” cried the minister, keenly interested.
“How did he do it?”
“It is hard to say, sir. But he did it. He met us in the dead of
night out near Nikopolis-”
“Yes, sir. And he hid us in a forest while a fight was going on, and
then in the morning he brought us inside the Greek lines. Oh, there is
a lot to tell-”
Whereupon they told it, or as much as they could of it. In the end,
the minister said: “Well, where are the professor and Mrs. Wainwright?
I want you all to dine with me to-night. I am dining in the public
room, but you won't mind that after Epirus.” “They should be down now,
sir,” answered a Student.
People were now coming rapidly to dinner and presently the professor
and Mrs. Wainwright appeared. The old man looked haggard and white. He
accepted the minister's warm greeting with a strained pathetic smile.
“Thank you. We are glad to return safely.”
Once at dinner the minister launched immediately into the subject of
Coleman. “He must be altogether a most remarkable man. When he told me,
very quietly, that he was going to try to rescue you, I frankly warned
him against any such attempt. I thought he would merely add one more to
a party of suffering people. But the. boys tell-me that he did actually
“Yes, he did,” said the professor. “It was a very gallant
performance, and we are very grateful.”
“Of course,” spoke Mrs. Wainwright, “we might have rescued
ourselves. We were on the right road, and all we had to do was to keep
“Yes, but I understand-” said the minister. “I understand he took
you into a wood to protect you from that fight, and generally protected
you from all, kinds of trouble. It seems wonderful to me, not so much
because it was done as because it was done by the man who, some time
ago, calmy announced to me that he was going to do it. Extraordinary.”
“Of course,” said Mrs. Wainwright. “Oh, of course.”
“And where is he now?” asked the minister suddenly. “Has he now left
you to the mercies of civilisation?”
There was a moment's curious stillness, and then Mrs. Wainwright
used that high voice which-the students believed-could only come to her
when she was about to say something peculiarly destructive to the
sensibilities. “Oh, of course, Mr. Coleman rendered us a great service,
but in his private character he is not a man whom we exactly care to
“Indeed” said the minister staring. Then he hastily addressed the
students. “Well, isn't this a comic war? Did you ever imagine war could
be like this?” The professor remained looking at his wife with an air
of stupefaction, as if she had opened up to him visions of imbecility
of which he had not even dreamed. The students loyally began to chatter
at the minister. “Yes, sir, it is a queer war. After all their
bragging, it is funny to hear that they are running away with such
agility. We thought, of course, of the old Greek wars.”
Later, the minister asked them all to his rooms for coffee and
cigarettes, but the professor and Mrs. Wainwright apologetically
retired to their own quarters. The minister and the students made
clouds of smoke, through which sang the eloquent descriptions of late
The minister had spent days of listening to questions from the State
Department at Washington as to the whereabouts of the Wainwright party.
“I suppose you know that you,are very prominent people in, the United
States just now? Your pictures must have been in all the papers, and
there must have been columns printed about you. My life here was made
almost insupportable by your friends, who consist, I should think, of
about half the population of the country. Of course they laid regular
siege to the de. partment. I am angry at Coleman for only one thing.
When he cabled the news of your rescue to his news. paper from Arta, he
should have also wired me, if only to relieve my failing mind. My first
news of your escape was from Washington-think of that.”
“Coleman had us all on his hands at Arta,” said Peter Tounley. “He
was a fairly busy man.”
“I suppose so,” said the minister. “By the way,” he asked bluntly,
“what is wrong with him? What did Mrs. Wainwright mean?”
They were silent for a time, but it seemed plain to him that it was
not evidence that his question had demoralised them. They seemed to be
deliberating upon the form of answer. Ultimately Peter Tounley coughed
behind his hand. “You see, sir,” he began, “there is-well, there is a
woman in the case. Not that anybody would care to speak of it excepting
to you. But that is what is the cause of things, and then, you see,
Mrs. Wainwright is-well-” He hesitated a moment and then completed his
sentence in the ingenuous profanity of his age and condition. “She is
rather an extraordinary old bird.”
“But who is the woman?
“Why, it is Nora Blaick, the actress.” “Oh,” cried the minister,
enlightened. “Her Why, I saw her here. She was very beautiful, but she
seemed harmless enough. She was somewhat-er- confident, perhaps, but
she did not alarm me. She called upon me, and I confess I-why, she
seemed charming.” “She's sweet on little Rufus. That's the point,” said
an oracular voice.
“Oh,” cried the host, suddenly. “I remember. She asked me where he
was. She said she had heard he was in Greece, and I told her he had
gone knight- erranting off after you people. I remember now. I suppose
she posted after him up to Arta, eh?”
“That's it. And so she asked you where he was?
“Why, that old flamingo-Mrs. Wainwright insists that it was a
Every one exchanged glances and laughed a little. “And did you see
any actual fighting?” asked the minister.
“No. We only beard it-”
Afterward, as they were trooping up to their rooms, Peter Tounley
spoke musingly. “Well, it looks to me now as if Old Mother Wainwright
was just a bad-minded old hen.”
“Oh, I don't know. How is one going to tell what the truth is?”
“At any rate, we are sure now that Coleman had nothing to do with
Nora's debut in Epirus.”
They had talked much of Coleman, but in their tones there always had
been a note of indifference or carelessness. This matter, which to some
people was as vital and fundamental as existence, remained to others
who knew of it only a harmless detail of life, with no terrible powers,
and its significance had faded greatly when had ended the close
associat.ions of the late adventure.
After dinner the professor had gone directly to his daughter's room.
Apparently she had not moved. He knelt by the bedside again and took
one of her hands. She was not weeping. She looked at him and smiled
through the darkness. “Daddy, I would like to die,” she said. “I
think-yes-I would like to die.”
For a long time the old man was silent, but he arose at last with a
definite abruptness and said hoarsely “Wait!”
Mrs. Wainwright was standing before her mirror with her elbows
thrust out at angles above her head, while her fingers moved in a
disarrangement of 'her hair. In the glass she saw a reflection of her
husband coming from Marjory's room, and his face was set with some kind
of alarming purpose. She turned to watch him actually, but he walked
toward the door into the corridor and did not in any wise heed her.
“Harrison!” she called. “Where are you going?”
He turned a troubled face upon her, and, as if she had hailed him in
his sleep, he vacantly said: “What?”
“Where are you going?” she demanded with increasing trepidation.
He dropped heavily into a chair. “Going?” he repeated.
She was angry. “Yes! Going? Where are you going?”
“I am going-” he answered, “I am going to see Rufus Coleman.”
Mrs. Wainwright gave voice to a muffled scream. “Not about Marjory?”
“Yes,” he said, “about Marjory.”
It was now Mrs. Wainwright's turn to look at her husband with an air
of stupefaction as if he had opened up to her visions of imbecility of
which she had not even dreamed. “About Marjory!” she gurgled. Then
suddenly her wrath flamed out. “Well, upon my word, Harrison
Wainwright, you are, of all men in the world, the most silly and
stupid. You are absolutely beyond belief. Of all projects! And what do
you think Marjory would have to say of it if she knew it? I suppose you
think she would like it? Why, I tell you she would keep her right hand
in the fire until it was burned off before she would allow you to do
such a thing.”
“She must never know it,” responded the professor, in dull misery.
“Then think of yourself! Think of the shame of it! The shame of it!”
The professor raised his eyes for an ironical glance at his wife.
“Oh I have thought of the shame of it!”
“And you'll accomplish nothing,” cried Mrs. Wain- wright. “You'll
accomplish nothing. He'll only laugh at you.”
“If he laughs at me, he will laugh at nothing but a poor, weak,
unworldly old man. It is my duty to go.”
Mrs. Wainwright opened her mouth as if she was about to shriek.
After choking a moment she said: “Your duty? Your duty to go and bend
the knee to that man? Yourduty?”
“'It is my duty to go,”' he repeated humbly. “If I can find even one
chance for my daughter's happi- ness in a personal sacrifice. He can do
no more than he can do no more than make me a little sadder.”
His wife evidently understood his humility as a tribute to her
arguments and a clear indication that she had fatally undermined his
original intention. “Oh, he would have made you sadder,” she quoth
grimly. “No fear! Why, it was the most insane idea I ever heard of.”
The professor arose wearily. “Well, I must be going to this work. It
is a thing to have ended quickly.” There was something almost biblical
in his manner.
“Harrison!” burst out his wife in amazed lamenta- tion. You are not
really going to do it? Not really!”
“I am going to do it,” he answered.
“Well, there!” ejaculated Mrs. Wainwright to the heavens. She was,
so to speak, prostrate. “Well, there!”
As the professor passed out of the door she cried beseechingly but
futilely after him. “Harrison.” In a mechanical way she turned then
back to the mirror and resumed the disarrangement of her hair. She ad-dressed her image. “Well, of all stupid creatures under the sun, men
are the very worst!” And her image said this to her even as she
informed it, and afterward they stared at each other in a profound and
tragic reception and acceptance of this great truth. Presently she
began to consider the advisability of going to Marjdry with the whole
story. Really, Harrison must not be allowed to go on blundering until
the whole world heard that Marjory was trying to break her heart over
that common scamp of a Coleman. It seemed to be about time for her,
Mrs. Wainwright, to come into the situation and mend matters.
WHEN the professor arrived before Coleman's door, he paused a moment
and looked at it. Previously, he could not have imagined that a simple
door would ever so affect him. Every line of it seemed to express cold
superiority and disdain. It was only the door of a former student, one
of his old boys, whom, as the need arrived, he had whipped with his
satire in the class rooms at Washurst until the mental blood had come,
and all without a conception of his ultimately arriving before the door
of this boy in the attitude of a supplicant. Hewould not say it;
Coleman probably would not say it; but-they would both know it. A
single thought of it, made him feel like running away. He would never
dare to knock on that door. It would be too monstrous. And even as he
decided that he was afraid to knock, he knocked.
Coleman's voice said; “Come in.” The professor opened the door. The
correspondent, without a coat, was seated at a paper-littered table.
Near his elbow, upon another table, was a tray from which he had
evidently dined and also a brandy bottle with several recumbent bottles
of soda. Although he had so lately arrived at the hotel he had
contrived to diffuse his traps over the room in an organised disarray
which represented a long and careless occupation if it did not
represent t'le scene of a scuffle. His pipe was in his mouth.
After a first murmur of surprise, he arose and reached in some haste
for his coat. “Come in, professor, come in,” he cried, wriggling deeper
into his jacket as he held out his hand. He had laid aside his pipe and
had also been very successful in flinging a newspaper so that it hid
the brandy and soda. This act was a feat of deference to the
professor's well known principles.
“Won't you sit down, sir?” said Coleman cordially. His quick glance
of surprise had been immediately suppressed and his manner was now as
if the pro- fessor's call was a common matter.
“Thank you, Mr. Coleman, I-yes, I will sit down,”. replied the old
man. His hand shook as he laid it on the back of the chair and steadied
himself down into it. “Thank you!”—
Coleman looked at him with a great deal of ex- pectation.
He halted then and passed his hand over his face. His eyes did not
seem to rest once upon Coleman, but they occupied themselves in furtive
and frightened glances over the room. Coleman could make neither head
nor tail of the affair. He would not have believed any man's statement
that the professor could act in such an extraordinary fashion. “Yes,
sir,” he said again suggestively. The simple strategy resulted in a
silence that was actually awkward. Coleman, despite his bewilderment,
hastened into a preserving gossip. “I've had a great many cables
waiting for me for heaven knows-how long and others have been arriving
in flocks to-night. You have no idea of the row in America, professor.
Why, everybody must have gone wild over the lost sheep. My paper has
cabled some things that are evidently for you. For instance, here is
one that says a new puzzle-game called Find the Wainwright Party has
had a big success. Think of that, would you.” Coleman grinned at the
professor. “Find the Wainwright Party, a new puzzle-game.”
The professor had seemed grateful for Coleman's tangent off into
matters of a light vein. “Yes?” he said, almost eagerly. “Are they
selling a game really called that?”
“Yes, really,” replied Coleman. “And of course you know
that-er-well, all the Sunday papers would of course have big
illustrated articles-full pages- with your photographs and general
private histories pertaining mostly to things which are none of their
business.” “Yes, I suppose they would do that,” admitted the professor.
“But I dare say it may not be as bad as you suggest.”
“Very like not,” said Coleman. “I put it to you forcibly so that in
the future the blow will not be too cruel. They are often a weird lot.”
“Perhaps they can't find anything very bad about us.”
“Oh, no. And besides the whole episode will probably be forgotten by
the time you return to the United States.”
They talked onin this way slowly, strainedly, until they each found
that the situation would soon become insupportable. The professor had
come for a distinct purpose and Coleman knew it; they could not sit
there lying at each other forever. Yet when he saw the pain deepening
in the professor's eyes, the correspondent again ordered up his
trivialities. “Funny thing. My paper has been congratulating me, you
know, sir, in a wholesale fashion, and I think-I feel sure-that they
have been exploiting my name all over the country as the Heroic
Rescuer. There is no sense in trying to stop them, because they don't
care whether it is true or not true. All they want is the privilege of
howling out that their correspondent rescued you, and they would take
that privilege without in any ways worrying if I refused my consent.
You see, sir? I wouldn't like you to feel that I was such a strident
idiot as I doubtless am appearing now before the public.”
“No,” said the professor absently. It was plain that he had been a
very slack listener. “I-Mr. Coleman-” he began.
“Yes, sir,” answered Coleman promptly and gently.
It was obviously only a recognition of the futility of further
dallying that was driving the old man on- ward. He knew, of course,
that if he was resolved to take this step, a longer delay would simply
make it harder for him. The correspondent, leaning forward, was
watching him almost breathlessly.
“Mr. Coleman, I understand-or at least I am led to believe-that
you-at one time, proposed marriage to my daughter?”
The faltering words did not sound as if either man had aught to do
with them. They were an expression by the tragic muse herself.
Coleman's jaw fell and he looked glassily at the professor. He said:
“Yes!” But already his blood was leaping as his mind flashed everywhere
“I refused my consent to that marriage,” said the old man more
easily. “I do not know if the matter has remained important to you, but
at any rate, I-I retract my refusal.”
Suddenly the blank expression left Coleman's face and he smiled with
sudden intelligence, as if informa- tion of what the professor had been
saying had just reached him. In this smile there was a sudden be.
trayal, too, of something keen and bitter which had lain hidden in the
man's mind. He arose and made a step towards the professor and held out
his hand. “Sir, I thank yod from the bottom of my heart!” And they both
seemed to note with surprise that Coleman's voice had broken.
The professor had arisen to receive Coleman's hand. His nerve was
now of iron and he was very formal. “I judge from your tone that I have
not made a mis- take-somcthing which I feared.”
Coleman did not seem to mind the professor's formality. “Don't fear
anything. Won't you sit down again? Will you have a cigar. * * No, I
couldn't tell you how glad I am. How glad I am. I feel like a fool.
But the professor fixed him with an Arctic eye and bluntly said:
“You love her?”
The question steadied Coleman at once. He looked undauntedly
straight into the professor's face. He simply said: “I love her!”
“You love her?” repeated the professor.
“I love her,” repeated Coleman.
After some seconds of pregnant silence, the professor arose. “Well,
if she cares to give her life to you I will allow it, but I must say
that I do not consider you nearly good enough. Good-night.” He smiled
faintly as he held out his hand.
“Good-night, sir,” said Coleman. “And I can't tell, you, now-”
Mrs. Wainwright, in her room was languishing in a chair and applying
to her brow a handkerch-ief wet with cologne water. She, kept her
feverish glarice upon the door. Remembering well the manner of her
husband when he went out she could hardly identify him when he came in.
Serenity, composure, even self-satisfaction, was written upon him. He,
paid no attention to her, but going to a chair sat down with a groan of
“Well?” cried Mrs. Wainwright, starting up. “Well?”
“Well-what?” he asked.
She waved her hand impatiently. “Harrison, don't be absurd. You know
perfectly well what I mean. It is a pity you couldn't think of the
anxiety I have been in.” She was going to weep.
“Oh, I'll tell you after awhile,” he said stretching out his legs
with the complacency of a rich merchant after a successful day.
“No! Tell me now,” she implored him. “Can't you see I've worried
myself nearly to death?” She was not going to weep, she was going to
“Well, to tell the truth,” said the professor with considerable
pomposity, “I've arranged it. Didn't think I could do it at first, but
it turned out “
“I Arranged it,”' wailed Mrs. Wainwright. “Arranged what?”
It here seemed to strike the professor suddenly that he was not such
a flaming example for diplomatists as he might have imagined.
“Arranged,” he stammered. “Arranged .”
“Why, I fixed-I fixed it up.”
“Fixed what up?”
“It-it-” began the professor. Then he swelled with indignation.
“Why, can't you understand anything at all? I-I fixed it.”
“Fixed it. Fixed it with Coleman.”
“Fixed what with Coleman?
The professor's wrath now took control of him. “Thunder and
lightenin'! You seem to jump at the conclusion that I've made some
horrible mistake. For goodness' sake, give me credit for a particle of
“What did you do?” she asked in a sepulchral voice.
“Well,” said the professor, in a burning defiance, “I'll tell you
what I did. I went to Coleman and told him that once-as he of course
knew-I had re- fused his marriage with my daughter, but that now—-”
“Grrr,” said Mrs. Wainwright.
“But that now-” continued the professor, “I retracted that refusal.”
“Mercy on us!” cried Mrs. Wainwright, throwing herself back in the
chair. “Mercy on us! What fools men are!”
“Now, wait a minute-” But Mrs. Wainwright began to croon: “Oh, if
Marjory should hear of this! Oh, if she should hear of it! just let
“But she must not,” cried the professor, tigerishly. just you dare!”
And the woman saw before her a man whose eyes were lit with a flame
which almost expressed a temporary hatred.
The professor had left Coleman so abruptly that the correspondent
found himself murmuring half. coherent gratitude to the closed door of
his room. Amazement soon began to be mastered by exultation. He flung
himself upon the brandy and soda and nego- tiated a strong glass.
Pacing. the room with nervous steps, he caught a vision of himself in a
tall mirror. He halted before it. “Well, well,” he said. “Rufus, you're
a grand man. There is not your equal anywhere. You are a great, bold,
strong player, fit to sit down to a game with the—best.”
A moment later it struck him that he had appropriated too much. If
the professor had paid him a visit and made a wonderful announcement,
he, Coleman, had not been the engine of it. And then he enunciated
clearly something in his mind which, even in a vague form, had been
responsible for much of his early elation. Marjory herself had
compassed this thing. With shame he rejected a first wild and
preposterous idea that she had sent her father to him. He reflected
that a man who for an instant could conceive such a thing was a
natural-born idiot. With an equal feeling, he rejected also an idea
that she could have known anything of her father's purpose. If she had
known of his purpose, there would have been no visit.
What, then, was the cause? Coleman soon decided that the professor
had witnessed some demonstration of Marjory's emotion which had been
sufficiently severe in its character to force him to the extraordinary
visit. But then this also was wild and preposterous. That coldly
beautiful goddess would not have given a demonstration of emotion over
Rufus Coleman sufficiently alarming to have forced her father on such
an errand. That was impossible. No, he was wrong; Marjory even
indirectly, could not be connected with the visit. As he arrived at
this decision, the enthusiasm passed out of him and he wore a doleful,
“Well, what, then, was the cause?” After eliminating Marjory from
the discussion waging in his mind, he found it hard to hit upon
anything rational. The only remaining theory was to the effect that the
professor, having a very high sense of the correspond. ent's help in
the escape of the Wainwright party, had decided that the only way to
express his gratitude was to revoke a certain decision which he now
could see had been unfair. The retort to this theory seemed to be that
if the professor had had such a fine conception of the services
rendered by Coleman, he had had ample time to display his appreciation
on the road to Arta and on the road down from Arta. There was no
necessity for his waiting until their arrival in Athens. It was
impossible to concede that the professor's emotion could be anew one;
if he had it now, he must have had it in far stronger measure directly
after he had been hauled out of danger.
So, it may be seen that after Coleman had eliminated Marjory from
the discussion that was waging in his mind, he had practically
succeeded in eliminating the professor as well. This, he thought,
mournfully, was eliminating with a vengeance. If he dissolved all the
factors he could hardly proceed.
The mind of a lover moves in a circle, or at least on a more
circular course than other minds, some of which at times even seem to
move almost in a straight line. Presently, Coleman was at the point
where he bad started, and he did not pause until he reached that theory
which asserted that the professor had been inspired to his visit by
some sight or knowledge of Marjory in distress. Of course, Coleman was
wistfully desirous of proving to himself the truth of this theory.
The palpable agitation of the professor during the interview seemed
to support it. If he had come on a mere journey of conscience, he would
have hardly appeared as a white and trembling old, man. But then, said
Coleman, he himself probably exaggerated this idea of the professor's
appearance. It might have been that he was only sour and distressed
over the performance of a very disagreeable duty.
The correspondent paced his room and smoked. Sometimes he halted at
the little table where was the brandy and soda. He thought so hard that
sometimes it seemed that Marjory had been to him to propose marriage,
and at other times it seemed that there had been no visit from any one
A desire to talk to somebody was upon him. He strolled down stairs
and into the smoking and reading rooms, hoping to see a man he knew,
even if it were Coke. But the only occupants were two strangers,
furiously debating the war. Passing the minister's room, Coleman saw
that there was a light within, and he could not forbear knocking. He
was bidden to enter, and opened the door upon the minister, care- fully
reading his Spectator fresh from London. He looked up and seemed very
glad. “How are you?” he cried. “I was tremendously anxious to see you,
do you know! I looked for you to dine with me to-night, but you were
not down?” “No; I had a great deal of work.”
“Over the Wainwright affair? By the way, I want you to accept my
personal thanks for that work. In a week more I would have gone
demented and spent the rest of my life in some kind of a cage, shaking
the bars and howling out State Department messages about the
Wainwrights. You see, in my territory there are no missionaries to get
into trouble, and I was living a life of undisturbed and innocent calm,
ridiculing the sentiments of men from Smyrna and other interesting
towns who maintained that the diplomatic service was exciting. However,
when the Wainwright party got lost, my life at once became active. I
was all but helpless, too; which was the worst of it. I suppose Terry
at Constantinople must have got grandly stirred up, also. Pity he can't
see you to thank you for saving him from probably going mad. By the
way,” he added, while looking keenly at Coleman, “the Wainwrights don't
seem to be smothering you with gratitude?”
“Oh, as much as I deserve-sometimes more,” answered Coleman. “My
exploit was more or less of a fake, you know. I was between the lines
by accident, or through the efforts of that blockhead of a dragoman. I
didn't intend it. And then, in the night, when we were waiting in the
road because of a fight, they almost bunked into us. That's all.”
“They tell it better,” said the minister, severely. “Especially the
“Those kids got into a high old fight at a town up there beyond
Agrinion. Tell you about that, did they? I thought not. Clever kids.
You have noted that there are signs of a few bruises and scratches?”
“Yes, but I didn't ask-” “Well, they are from the fight. It seems the
people took us for Germans, and there was an awful palaver, which ended
in a proper and handsome shindig. It raised the town, I tell you.”
The minister sighed in mock despair. “Take these people home, will
you? Or at any rate, conduct them out of the field of my
responsibility. Now, they would like Italy immensely, I am sure.”
Coleman laughed, and they smoked for a time.
“That's a charming girl-Miss Wainwright,” said the minister,
musingly. “And what a beauty! It does my exiled eyes good to see her. I
suppose all those youngsters are madly in love with her? I don't see
how they could help it.”
“Yes,” said Coleman, glumly. “More than half of them.”
The minister seemed struck with a sudden thought. “You ought to try
to win that splendid prize yourself. The rescuer! Perseus! What more
Coleman answered calmly: “Well * * * I think I'll take your advice.”
THE next morning Coleman awoke with a sign of a resolute decision on
his face, as if it had been a development of his sleep. He would see
Marjory as soon as possible, see her despite any barbed-wire
entanglements which might be placed in the way by her mother, whom he
regarded as his strenuous enemy. And he would ask Marjory's hand in the
presence of all Athens if it became necessary.
He sat a long time at his breakfast in order to see the Wainwrights
enter the dining room, and as he was about to surrender to the will of
time, they came in, the professor placid and self-satisfied, Mrs.
Wainwright worried and injured and Marjory cool, beautiful, serene. If
there had been any kind of a storm there was no trace of it on the
white brow of the girl. Coleman studied her closely but furtively while
his mind spun around his circle of speculation. Finally he noted the
waiter who was observing him with a pained air as if it was on the tip
of his tongue to ask this guest if he was going to remain at breakfast
forever. Coleman passed out to the reading room where upon the table a
multitude of great red guide books were crushing the fragile magazines
of London and Paris. On the walls were various depressing maps with the
name of a tourist agency luridly upon them, and there were also some
pictures of hotels with their rates-in francs-printed beneath. The room
was cold, dark, empty, with the trail of the tourist upon it.
Coleman went to the picture of a hotel in Corfu and stared at it
precisely as if he was interested. He was standing before it when he
heard Marjory's voice just without the door. “All right! I'll wait.” He
did not move for the reason that the hunter moves not when the
unsuspecting deer approaches his hiding place. She entered rather
quickly and was well toward the centre of the room before she perceived
Coleman. “Oh,” she said and stopped. Then she spoke the immortal
sentence, a sentence which, curiously enough is common to the drama, to
the novel, and to life. “I thought no one was here.” She looked as if
she was going to retreat, but it would have been hard to make such
retreat graceful, and probably for this reason she stood her ground.
Coleman immediately moved to a point between her and the door. “You
are not going to run away from me, Marjory Wainwright,” he cried,
angrily. “You at least owe it to me to tell me definitely that you
don't love me-that you can't love me-”
She did not face him with all of her old spirit, but she faced him,
and in her answer there was the old Marjory. “A most common question.
Do you ask all your feminine acquaintances that?”
“I mean-” he said. “I mean that I love you and-”
“Yesterday-no. To-day-yes. To-morrow-who knows. Really, you ought to
take some steps to know your own mind.”
“Know my own mind,” he retorted in a burst of in- dignation. “You
mean you ought to take steps to know your own mind.”
“My own mind! You-” Then she halted in acute confusion and all her
face went pink. She had been far quicker than the man to define the
scene. She lowered her head. Let me past, please-”
But Coleman sturdily blocked the way and even took one of her
struggling hands. “Marjory-” And then his brain must have roared with a
thousand quick sentences for they came tumbling out, one over the
other. * * Her resistance to the grip of his fingers grew somewhat
feeble. Once she raised her eyes in a quick glance at him. * * Then
suddenly she wilted. She surrendered, she confessed without words. “Oh,
Marjory, thank God, thank God-” Peter Tounley made a dramatic entrance
on the gallop. He stopped, petrified. “Whoo!” he cried. “My stars!” He
turned and fled. But Coleman called after him in a low voice, intense
“Come back here, you young scoundrel! Come baok here I “
Peter returned, looking very sheepish. “I hadn't the slightest idea
“Never mind that now. But look here, if you tell a single
soul-particularly those other young scoundrels-I'll break-”
“I won't, Coleman. Honest, I won't.” He was far more embarrassed
than Coleman and almost equally so with Marjory. He was like a horse
tugging at a tether. “I won't, Coleman! Honest!”
“Well, all right, then.” Peter escaped.
The professor and his wife were in their sitting room writing
letters. The cablegrams had all been answered, but as the professor
intended to prolong his journey homeward into a month of Paris and
London, there remained the arduous duty of telling their friends at
length exactly what had happened. There was considerable of the lore of
olden Greece in the professor's descriptions of their escape, and in
those of Mrs. Wainwright there was much about the lack of hair-pins and
Their heads were lowered over their writing when the door into the
corridor opened and shut quickly, and upon looking up they saw in the
room a radiant girl, a new Marjory. She dropped to her knees by her
father's chair and reached her arms to his neck. “Oh, daddy! I'm happy
I I'm so happy!”
“Why-what-” began the professor stupidly.
“Oh, I am so happy, daddy!
Of course he could not be long in making his conclusion. The one who
could give such joy to Marjory was the one who, last night, gave her
such grief. The professor was only a moment in understanding. He laid
his hand tenderly upon her head ” Bless my soul,” he murmured. “And
At the personal pronoun, Mrs. Wainwright lum- bered frantically to
her feet. “What?” she shouted. Coleman?”
“Yes,” answered Marjory. “Coleman.” As she spoke the name her eyes
were shot with soft yet tropic flashes of light.
Mrs. Wainwright dropped suddenly back into her chair.
“Well-of-all-things!” The professor was stroking his daughter's hair
and although for a time after Mrs. Wainwright's outbreak there was
little said, the old man and the girl seemed in gentle communion, she
making him feel her happiness, he making her feel his appreciation.
Providentially Mrs. Wainwright had been so stunned by the first blow
that she was evidently rendered incapable of speech.
“And are you sure you will be happy with him? asked her father
“All my life long,” she answered.
“I am glad! I am glad!” said the father, but even as he spoke a
great sadness came to blend with his joy. The hour when he was to give
this beautiful and beloved life into the keeping of another had been
heralded by the god of the sexes, the ruthless god that devotes itself
to the tearing of children from the parental arms and casting them amid
the mysteries of an irretrievable wedlock. The thought filled him with
But in the dewy eyes of the girl there was no question. The world to
her was a land of glowing promise.
“I am glad,” repeated the professor.
The girl arose from her knees. “I must go away and-think all about
it,” she said, smiling. When the door of her room closed upon her, the
mother arose in majesty.
“Harrison Wainwright,” she declaimed, “you are not going to allow
this monstrous thing!”
The professor was aroused from a reverie by these words. “What
monstrous thing?” he growled.
“Why, this between Coleman and Marjory.”
“Yes,” he answered boldly.
“Harrison! That man who-”
The professor crashed his hand down on the table. “Mary! I will not
hear another word of it!”
“Well,” said Mrs. Wainwright, sullen and ominous, “time will tell!
Time will tell!”
When Coleman bad turned from the fleeing Peter Tounley again to
Marjory, he found her making the preliminary movements of a flight.
“What's the matter?” he demanded anxiously.
“Oh, it's too dreadful”
“Nonsense,” lie retorted stoutly. “Only Peter Tounley! He don't
count. What of that?”
' Oh, dear!” She pressed her palm to a burning cheek. She gave him a
star-like, beseeching glance. Let me go now-please.”
“Well,” he answered, somewhat affronted, “if you like—”
At the door she turned to look at him, and this glance expressed in
its elusive way a score of things which she had not yet been able to
speak. It explained that she was loth to leave him, that she asked
forgiveness for leaving him, that even for a short absence she wished
to take his image in her eyes, that he must not bully her, that there
was something now in her heart which frightened her, that she loved
him, that she was happy—-
When she had gone, Coleman went to the rooms of the American
minister. A Greek was there who talked wildly as he waved his
cigarette. Coleman waited in well-concealed impatience for the dvapora-tion of this man. Once the minister, regarding the correspondent
hurriedly, interpolated a comment. “You look very cheerful?”
“Yes,” answered Coleman, “I've been taking your advice.”
“Oh, ho!” said the minister.
The Greek with the cigarette jawed endlessly. Coleman began to
marvel at the enduring good man- ners of the minister, who continued to
nod and nod in polite appreciation of the Greek's harangue, which,
Coleman firmly believed, had no point of interest whatever. But at last
the man, after an effusive farewell, went his way.
“Now,” said the minister, wheeling in his chair tell me all about
Coleman arose, and thrusting his hands deep in his trousers'
pockets, began to pace the room with long strides. He, said nothing,
but kept his eyes on the floor.
“Can I have a drink?” he asked, abruptly pausing.
“What would you like?” asked the minister, benevolently, as he
touched the bell.
“A brandy and soda. I'd like it very much. You see,” he said, as he
resumed his walk, “I have no kind of right to burden you with my
affairs, but, to tell the truth, if I don't get this news off my mind
and into somebody's ear, I'll die. It's this-I asked Marjory Wainwright
to marry me, and-she accepted, and- that's all.”
“Well, I am very glad,” cried the minister, arising and giving his
hand. “And as for burdening me with your affairs, no one has a better
right, you know, since you released me from the persecution of
Washington and the friends of the Wainwrights. May good luck follow you
both forever. You, in my opinion, are a very, very fortunate man. And,
for her part she has not done too badly.”
Seeing that it was important that Coleman should have his spirits
pacified in part, the minister continued: “Now, I have got to write an
official letter, so you just walk up and down here and use up this
surplus steam. Else you'll explode.”
But Coleman was not to be detained. Now that he had informed the
minister, he must rush off some. where, anywhere, and do-he knew not
All right,” said the minister, laughing. “You have a wilder head
than I thought. But look here,” he called, as Coleman was making for
the door. “Am I to keep this news a secret?”
Coleman with his hand on the knob, turned im. pressively. He spoke
with deliberation. “As far as I am concerned, I would be glad to see a
man paint it in red letters, eight feet high, on the front of the
The minister, left alone, wrote steadily and did not even look up
when Peter Tounley and two others entered, in response to his cry of
permission. How ever, he presently found time to speak over his
shoulder to them. “Hear the news?”
“No, sir,” they answered.
“Well, be good boys, now, and read the papers and look at pictures
until I finish this letter. Then I will tell you.”
They surveyed him keenly. They evidently judged that the news was
worth hearing, but, obediently, they said nothing. Ultimately the
minister affixed a rapid signature to the letter, and turning, looked
at the students with a smile. “Haven't heard the news, eh?”
“Well, Marjory Wainwright is engaged to marry Coleman.”
The minister was amazed to see the effect of this announcement upon
the three students. He had expected the crows and cackles of rather
absurd merriment with which unbearded youth often greets, such news.
But there was no crow or cackle. One young man blushed scarlet and
looked guiltily at the floor. With a great effort he muttered: “Shes
too good for him.” Another student had turned ghastly pate and was
staring. It was Peter Tounley who relieved the minister's mind, for
upon that young man's face was a broad jack-o-lantern grin, and the
minister saw that, at any rate, he had not made a complete massacre.
Peter Tounley said triumphantly: “I knew it!”
The minister was anxious over the havoc he had wrought with the two
other students, but slowly the colour abated in one face and grew in
the other. To give them opportunity, the minister talked busily to
Peter Tounley. “And how did you know it, you young scamp?”
Peter was jubilant. “Oh,—I knew it! I knew it I I am very clever.”
The student who had blushed now addressed the minister in a slightly
strained voice. “Are you positive that it is true, Mr. Gordner?,”
“I had it on the best authority,” replied the minister gravely.
The student who had turned pale said: “Oh, it's true, of course.”
“Well,” said crudely the one who had blushed, she's a great sight
too good for Coleman or anybody like him. That's all I've got to say.”
“Oh, Coleman is a good fellow,” said Peter Tounley, reproachfully.
“You've no right to say that-exactly. You don't know where you'd. be
now if it were not for Coleman.”
The, response was, first, an angry gesture. “Oh, don't keep
everlasting rubbing that in. For heaven's sake, let up.—Supposing I
don't. know where I'd be now if,it were not for Rufus Coleman? What of
it? For the rest of my life have I got to—”
The minister saw. that this was the embittered speech of a really
defeated youth, so, to save scenes, he gently ejected the trio. “There,
there, now! Run along home like good boys. I'll be busy until luncheon.
And I—dare say you won't find Coleman such a bad chap.”'
In the corridor, one of the students said offensively to Peter
Tounley: “Say, how in hell did you find out all this so early?”
Peter's reply was amiable in tone. “You are a damned bleating little
kid and you made a holy show of yourself before Mr. Gordner. There's
where you stand. Didn't you see that he turned us out because he didn't
know but what you were going to blubber or something.—you are a
sucking pig, and if you want to know how I find out things go ask the
Delphic Oracle, you blind ass.”
“You better look out or you may get a punch in the eye!,”
“You take one punch in the general direction of my eye, me son,”
said—Peter cheerfully, “and I'll distribute your remains, over this
hotel in a way that will cause your, friends years of trouble to
collect you. Instead of anticipating an attack upon my eye, you had
much better be engaged in improving your mind, which is at present not
a fit machine to cope with exciting situations. There's Coke! Hello,
Coke, hear the news? Well, Marjory Wainwright and Rufus Coleman , are
engaged.. Straight? Certainly! Go ask the minister.”
Coke did not take Peter's word. “Is that so?” he asked the others.
“So the minister told us,” they answered, and then these two, who
seemed so unhappy, watched Coke's face to see if they could not find
surprised misery there. But Coke coolly said: “Well, then, I suppose
It soon became evident that the students did not care for each
other's society. Peter Tounley was probably an exception, but the
others seemed to long for quiet corners. They were distrusting each
other, and, in a boyish way, they were even capable of maligant things.
Their excuses for separation were badly made.
“I-I think I'll go for a walk.” “I'm going up stairs to read.”
“Well, so long, old man.' ” So long.” There was no heart to it.
Peter Tounley went to Coleman's door, where he knocked with noisy
hilarity. “Come in I ” The correspondent apparently had just come from
the street, for his hat was on his head and a light top-coat was on his
back. He was searching hurriedly through some, papers. “Hello, you
young devil What are you doing here?
Peter's entrance was a somewhat elaborate comedy which Coleman
watched in icy silence. Peter after a long,and impudent pantomime
halted abruptly and fixing Coleman with his eye demanded: “Well?”
“Well-what?.” said Coleman, bristling a trifle.
“Is it true?”
“Is what true?”
“Is it true?” Peter was extremely solemn. “Say, me bucko,” said
Coleman suddenly, “if you've. come up here to twist the beard of the
patriarch, don't you think you are running a chance?”
“All right. I'll be good,” said Peter, and he sat on the bed.
“But-is it true?
“Is what true?”
“What the whole hotel is saying.”
] “I haven't heard the hotel making any remarks lately. Been talking
to the other buildings, I sup- pose.”
“Well, I want to tell you that everybody knows that you and Marjory
have done gone and got yourselves engaged,” said Peter bluntly.
“And well?” asked Coleman imperturbably.
“Oh, nothing,” replied Peter, waving his hand. “Only-I thought it
might interest you.”
Coleman was silent for some time. He fingered his papers. At last he
burst out joyously. “And so they know it already, do they? Well-damn
them- let them know it. But you didn't tell them yourself?”
“I!” quoth Peter wrathfully. “No! The minister told us.”
Then Coleman was again silent for a time and Peter Tounley sat on
the. bed reflectively looking at the ceiling. “Funny thing, Marjory
'way over here in Greece, and then you happening over here the way you
“It isn't funny at all.”
“Why isn't it?”
“Because,” said Coleman impressively,, “that is why I came to
Greece. It was all planned. See?”
“Whirroo,” exclaimed Peter. “This here is magic.”
“No magic at all.” Coleman displayed some complacence. “No magic at
all. just pure, plain— whatever you choose to call it.”
“Holy smoke,” said Peter, admiring the situation. “Why, this is plum
romance, Coleman. I'm blowed if it isn't.”
Coleman was grinning with delight. He took a fresh cigar and his
bright eyes looked at Peter through the smoke., “Seems like it, don't
it? Yes. Regular romance. Have a drink, my boy, just to celebrate my
good luck. And be patient if I talk a great deal of my-my-future. My
head spins with it.” He arose to pace the room flinging out bis arms in
a great gesture. “God! When I think yesterday was not like to-day I
wonder how I stood it.” There was a knock at the door and a waiter left
a note in Coleman's hand
“Dear Ruf us:-We are going for a drive this afternoon at three, and
mother wishes you to come, if you. care to. I too wish it, if you care
to. Yours, “MARJORY.”
With a radiant face, Coleman gave the note a little crackling
flourish in the air. “Oh, you don't know what life is, kid.”
“S-steady the Blues,” said Peter Tounley seriously. You'll lose your
head if you don't watch out.”
“Not I” cried Coleman with irritation. “But a man must turn loose
some times, mustn't he?”
When the four, students had separated in the corri- dor, Coke had
posted at once to Nora Black's sitting room. His entrance was somewhat
precipitate, but he cooled down almost at once, for he reflected that
he was not bearing good news. He ended by perching in awkward fashion
on the brink of his chair and fumbling his hat uneasily. Nora floated
to him in a cloud of a white dressing gown. She gave him a plump hand.
“Well, youngman?”she said, with a glowing smile. She took a chair, and
the stuff of her gown fell in curves over the arms of it.,
Coke looked hot and bothered, as if he could have more than half
wanted to retract his visit. “I-aw- we haven't seen much of you
lately,” he began, sparing. He had expected to tell his news at once.
No,” said Nora, languidly. “I have been resting after that horrible
journey-that horrible journey. Dear, dear! Nothing,will ever induce me
to leave London, New York and Paris. I am at home there. But here I
Why, it is worse than living in Brooklyn. And that journey into the
wilds! No. no; not for me!”
“I suppose we'll all be glad to get home,” said Coke, aimlessly.
At the moment a waiter entered the room and began to lay the table
for luncheon. He kept open the door to the corridor, and he had the
luncheon at a point just outside the door. His excursions to the trays
were flying ones, so that, as far as Coke's purpose was concerned, the
waiter was always in the room. Moreover, Coke was obliged, naturally,
to depart at once. He had bungled everything.
As he arose he whispered hastily: “Does this waiter understand
“Yes,” answered Nora. “Why?”
“Because I have something to tell you-important.”
“What is it?” whispered Nora, eagerly.
He leaned toward her and replied: “Marjory Wainwright and Coleman
To his unfeigned astonishment, Nora Black burst into peals of
silvery laughter, “Oh, indeed? And so this is your tragic story, poor,
innocent lambkin? And what did you expect? That I would faint?”—
“I thought-I don't know-” murmured Coke in confusion.
Nora became suddenly business-like. “But how do you know? Are you
sure? Who told you? Anyhow, stay to luncheon. Do-like a good boy. Oh,
Coke dropped again into his chair. He studied her in some wonder. “I
thought you'd be surprised,” he said, ingenuously.
“Oh, you did, did you? Well, you see I'm not. And now tell me all
“There's really nothing to tell but the plain fact. Some of the boys
dropped in at the minister's rooms a little while ago, and, he told
them of it. That's all.”
Well, how did he know?
“I am sure I can't tell you. Got it first hand, I suppose. He likes
Coleman, and Coleman is always hanging up there.”
“Oh, perhaps Coleman was lying,” said Nora easily. Then suddenly her
face brightened and she spoke with animation. “Oh, I haven't told you
how my little Greek officer has turned out. Have I? No? Well, it is
simply lovely. Do you know, he belongs to one of the best families in
Athens? Hedoes. And they're rich-rich as can be. My courier tells me
that the marble palace where they live is enough to blind you, and that
if titles hadn't gone out of style-or something-here in Greece, my
little officer would be a prince! Think of that! The courier didn't
know it until we got to Athens, and the little officer-the prince-gave
me his card, of course. One of the oldest, noblest and richest families
in Greece. Think of that! There I thought he was only a bothersome
little officer who came in handy at times, and there he turns out to be
a prince. I could hardly keep myself from rushing right off to find him
and apologise to him for the way I treated him. It was awful! And-"
added the fair Nora, pensively, “if he does meet me in Paris, I'll make
him wear that title down to a shred, you can bet. What's the good of
having a title unless you make it work?”
COKE did not stay to luncheon with Nora Black. He went away saying
to himself either that girl don't care a straw for Coleman or she has
got a heart absolutely of flint, or she is the greatest actress on
earth or-there is some other reason.”
At his departure, Nora turned and called into an adjoining room.
“Maude I ” The voice of her companion and friend answered her
“Don't bother me. I'm reading.”
“Well, anyhow, luncheon is ready, so you will have to stir your
precious self,” responded Nora. “You're lazy.”
“I don't want any luncheon. Don't bother me. I've got a headache.”
“Well, if you don't come out, you'll miss the news. That's all I've
got to say.”
There was a rustle in the adjoining room, and immediately the
companion appeared, seeming much annoyed but curious. “Well, what is
“Rufus Coleman is engaged to be married to that Wainwright girl,
“Well I declare!” ejaculated the little old lady. “Well I declare.”
She meditated for a moment, and then continued in a tone of
satisfaction. “I told you that you couldn't stop that man Coleman if he
had feally made up his mind to-”
“You're a fool,” said Nora, pleasantly. “Why?” said the old lady.
Because you are. Don't talk to me about it. I want to think of Marco.”
“'Marco,'“ quoted the old lady startled.
“The prince. The prince. Can't you understand? I mean the prince.”
“' Marco!'“ again quoted the old lady, under her breath.
“Yes, 'Marco,'“ cried Nora, belligerently. “'Marco,' Do you object
to the name? What's the matter with you, anyhow?”
“Well,” rejoined the other, nodding her head wisely, “he may be a
prince, but I've always heard that these continental titles are no good
in comparison to the English titles.”
“Yes, but who told you so, eh?” demanded Nora, noisily. She herself
answered the question. “The English!”
“Anyhow, that little marquis who tagged after you in London is a
much bigger man in every way, I'll bet, than this little prince of
“But-good heavens-he didn't mean it. Why, he was only one of the
regular rounders. But Marco, he is serious I He means it. He'd go
through fire and water for me and be glad of the chance.”
“Well,” proclaimed the old lady, “if you are not the strangest woman
in the world, I'd like to know! Here I thought-”
“What did you think?” demanded Nora, suspisciously. “I thought that
“Bosh!” interrupted, the graceful Nora. “I tell you what, Maude;
you'd better try to think as little as possible. It will suit your
style of beauty better. And above all, don't think of my affairs. I
myself am taking pains not to think of them. It's easier.”
Mrs. Wainwright, with no spirit of intention what. ever, had sit
about readjusting her opinions. It is certain that she was unconscious
of any evolution. If some one had said to her that she was surrendering
to the inevitable, she would have been immediately on her guard, and
would have opposed forever all suggestions of a match between Marjory
and Coleman. On the other hand, if some one had said to her that her
daughter was going to marry a human serpent, and that there were people
in Athens who would be glad to explain his treacherous character, she
would have haughtily scorned the tale-bearing and would have gone with
more haste into the professor's way of thinking. In fact, she was in
process of undermining herself., and the work could have been. retarded
or advanced by any irresponsible, gossipy tongue.
The professor, from the depths of his experience with her, arranged
a course of conduct. “If I just leave her to herself she will come
around all right, but if I go 'striking while the iron is hot,' or any
of those things, I'll bungle it surely.”
As they were making ready to go down to luncheon, Mrs. Wainwright
made her speech which first indicated a changing mind. “Well, what will
be, will be,” she murmured with a prolonged sigh of resignation. “What
will be, will be. Girls are very headstrong in these days, and there is
nothing much to be done with them. They go their own roads. It wasn't
so in my girlhood.—We were obliged to pay attention to our mothers
“I did not notice that you paid much attention to your mother's
wishes when you married me,” remarked the professor. “In fact, I
“That was another thing,” retorted Mrs. Wainwright with severity.
“You were a steady young man who had taken the highest honours all
through your college course, and my mother's sole objection was that we
were too hasty. She thought we—ought to wait until you had a penny to
bless yourself with, and I can see now where she was quite right.”
“Well, you married me, anyhow,” said the professor, victoriously.
Mrs. Wainwright allowed her husband's retort to pass over her
thoughtful mood. “They say * * they say Rufus Coleman makes as much as
fifteen thousand dollars a year. That's more than three times your
income * * I don't know. * * It all depends on whether they try to save
or not. His manner of life is, no doubt, very luxurious. I don't
suppose he knows how to economise at all. That kind of a man usually
doesn't. And then, in the newspaper world positions are so very
precarious. Men may have valuable positions one minute and be penniless
in the street the next minute. It isn't as if he had any real income,
and of course he has no real ability. If he was suddenly thrown out of
his position, goodness knows what would become of him. Still
stillfifteen thousand dollars a year is a big incomewhile it lasts. I
suppose he is very extravagant. That kind of a man usually is. And I
wouldn't be surprised if he was heavily in debt; very heavily in debt.
Still * * if Marjory has set her heart there is nothing to be done, I
suppose. It wouldn't have happened if you had been as wise as you
thought you were. * * I suppose he thinks I have been very rude to him.
Well, some times I wasn't nearly so rude as I felt like being. Feeling
as I did, I could hardly be very amiable. * * Of course this drive this
afternoon was all your affair and Marjory's. But, of course, I shall be
nice to him.”
“And what of all this Nora Black business?” asked the professor,
with, a display of valour, but really with much trepidation.
“She is a hussy,” responded Mrs. Wainwright with energy. “Her
conversation in the carriage on the way down to Agrinion sickened me!”
“I really believe that her plan was simply to break everything off
between Marjory and Coleman,” said the professor, “and I don't believe
she had any-grounds for all that appearance of owning Coleman and the
rest of it.”
“Of course she didn't” assented Mrs. Wainwright. The vicious thing!”
“On the other hand,” said the professor, “there might be some truth
in it.” “I don't think so,” said Mrs. Wainwright seriously. I don't
believe a word of it.”
“You do not mean to say that you think Coleman a model man?”
demanded the professor.
“Not at all! Not at all!” she hastily answered. “But * * one doesn't
look for model men these days.”
“'Who told you he made fifteen thousand a year? asked the professor.
“It was Peter Tounley this morning. We were talking upstairs after
breakfast, and he remarked that he if could make fifteen thousand, a
year: like Coleman, he'd-I've forgotten what-some fanciful thing.”
“I doubt if it is true,” muttered the old man wagging his head.
“Of course it's true,” said his wife emphatically. “Peter Tounley
says everybody knows it.”
Well * anyhow * money is not everything.”
But it's a. great deal, you know well enough. You know you are
always speaking of poverty as an evil, as a grand resultant, a
collaboration of many lesser evils. Well, then?
“But,” began the professor meekly, when I say that I mean-”
“Well, money is money and poverty is poverty,” interrupted his wife.
“You don't have to be very learned to know that.”
“I do not say that Coleman has not a very nice thing of it, but I
must say it is hard to think of his getting any such sum, as you
“Isn't he known as the most brilliant journalist in New York?” she
“Y-yes, as long as it lasts, but then one never knows when he will
be out in the street penniless. Of course he has no particular ability
which would be marketable if he suddenly lost his present employment.
Of course it is not as if he was a really talented young man. He might
not be able to make his way at all in any new direction.”
“I don't know about that,” said Mrs. Wainwright in reflective
protestation. “I don't know about that. I think he would.”
“I thought you said a moment ago-” The professor spoke with an air
of puzzled hesitancy. “I thought you said a moment ago that he wouldn't
succeed in anything but journalism.”
Mrs. Wainwright swam over the situation with a fine tranquility.
“Well-I-I,” she answered musingly, “if I did say that, I didn't mean it
“No, I suppose not,” spoke the professor, and de- spite the
necessity for caution he could not keep out of his voice a faint note
“Of course,” continued the wife, “Rufus Coleman is known everywhere
as a brilliant man, a very brilliant man, and he even might do well
in-in politics or something of that sort.”
“I have a very poor opinion of that kind of a mind which does well
in American politics,” said the pro- fessor, speaking as a collegian,
“but I suppose there may be something in it.”
“Well, at any rate,” decided Mrs. Wainwright. “At any rate-”
At that moment, Marjory attired for luncheon and the drive entered
from her room, and Mrs. Wainwright checked the expression of her
important conclusion. Neither father or mother had ever seen her so
glowing with triumphant beauty, a beauty which would carry the mind of
a spectator far above physical appreciation into that realm of poetry
where creatures of light move and are beautiful because they cannot
know pain or a burden. It carried tears to the old father's eyes. He
took her hands. “Don't be too happy, my child, don't be too happy,” he
admonished her tremulously. “It makes me afraid-it makes me afraid.”
IT seems strange that the one who was the most hilarious over the
engagement of Marjory and Cole- man should be Coleman's dragoman who
was indeed in a state bordering on transport. It is not known how he
learned the glad tidings, but it is certain that he learned them before
luncheon. He told all the visible employes of the hotel and allowed
them to know that the betrothal really had been his handi-work He had
arranged it. He did not make quite clear how he had performed this
feat, but at least he was perfectly frank in acknowledging it.
When some of the students came down to luncheon, they saw him but
could not decide what ailed him. He was in the main corridor of the
hotel, grinning from ear to ear, and when he perceived the students he
made signs to intimate that they possessed in com- mon a joyous secret.
“What's the matter with that idiot?” asked Coke morosely. “Looks as if
his wheels were going around too fast.” Peter Tounley walked close to
him and scanned him imperturbably, but with care. “What's up, Phidias?”
The man made no articulate reply. He continued to grin and gesture.
“Pain in oo tummy? Mother dead? Caught the cholera? Found out that
you've swallowed a pair of hammered brass and irons in your beer? Say,
who are you, anyhow?” But he could not shake this invincible glee, so
he went away.
The dragoman's rapture reached its zenith when Coleman lent him to
the professor and he was commissioned to bring a carriage for four
people to the door at three o'clock. He himself was to sit on the box
and tell the driver what was required of him. He dashed off, his hat in
his hand, his hair flying, puffing, important beyond everything, and
apparently babbling his mission to half the people he met on the
street. In most countries he would have landed speedily in jail, but
among a people who exist on a basis of'jibbering, his violent gabble
aroused no suspicions as to his sanity. However, he stirred several
livery stables to their depths and set men running here and there
wildly and for the most part futiltiy.
At fifteen minutes to three o'clock, a carriage with its horses on a
gallop tore around the corner and up to the . front of the hotel, where
it halted with the pomp and excitement of a fire engine. The dragoman
jumped down from his seat beside the driver and scrambled hurriedly
into the hoiel, in the gloom of which hemet a serene stillness which
was punctuated only by the leisurely tinkle of silver and glass in the
dining room. For a moment the dragoman seemed really astounded out of
specch. Then he plunged into the manager's room. Was it conceivable
that Monsieur Coleman was still at luncheon? Yes; in fact, it was true.
But the carriage, was at the door! The carriage was at the door! The
manager, undisturbed, asked for what hour Monsieur Coleman had been
pleased to order a carriage. Three o'clock! Three o'clock? The manager
pointed calmly at the clock. Very well. It was now only thirteen
minutes of three o'clock. Monsieur Coleman doubtless would appear at
three. Until that hour the manager would not disturb Monsieur Coleman.
The dragoman clutched both his hands in his hair and cast a look of
agony to the ceiling. Great God! Had he accomplished the herculean task
of getting a carriage for four people to the door of the hotel in time
for a drive at three o'clock, only to meet with this stoniness, this
inhumanity? Ah, it was unendurable? He begged the manager; he implored
him. But at every word. the manager seemed to grow more indifferent,
more callous. He pointed with a wooden finger at the clock-face. In
reality, it is thus, that Greek meets Greek.
Professor Wainwright and Coleman strolled together out of the dining
room. The dragoman rushed ecstatically upon the correspondent. “Oh,
Meester Coleman! The carge is ready!”
“Well, all right,” said Coleman, knocking ashes from his cigar.
“Don't be in a hurry. I suppose we'll be ready, presently.” The man was
The departure of the Wainwrights and Coleman on this ordinary drive
was of a somewhat dramatic and public nature, No one seemed to know how
to prevent its being so. In the first place, the attendants thronged
out en masse for a reason which was plain at the time only to Coleman's
dragoman. And, rather in the background, lurked the interested
students. The professor was surprised and nervous. Coleman was rigid
and angry. Marjory was flushed and some what hurried, and Mrs.
Wainwright was as proud as an old turkey-hen.
As the carriage rolled away, Peter Tounley turned to his companions
and said: “Now, that's official! That is the official announcement! Did
you see Old Mother Wainwright? Oh, my eye, wasn't she puffed up! Say,
what in hell do you suppose all these jay hawking bell-boys poured out
to the kerb for? Go back to your cages, my good people-”
As soon as the carriage wheeled into another street, its occupants
exchanged easier smiles, and they must have confessed in some subtle
way of glances that now at last they were upon their own mission, a
mission undefined but earnest to them all. Coleman had a glad feeling
of being let into the family, or becoming one of them
The professor looked sideways at him and smiled gently. “You know, I
thought of driving you to some ruins, but Marjory would not have it.
She flatly objected to any more ruins. So I thought we would drive down
to New Phalerum.” Coleman nodded and smiled as if he were immensely
pleased, but of course New Phalerum was to him no more nor-less than
Vladivostok or Khartoum. Neither place nor distance had interest for
him. They swept along a shaded avenue where the dust lay thick on the
leaves; they passed cafes where crowds were angrily shouting over the
news in the little papers; they passed a hospital before which wounded
men, white with bandages, were taking the sun; then came soon to the
and valley flanked by gaunt naked mountains, which would lead them to
the sea. Sometimes to accentuate the dry nakedness of this valley,
there would be a patch of grass upon which poppies burned crimson
spots. The dust writhed out from under the wheels of the carriage; in
the distance the sea appeared, a blue half-disc set between shoulders
of barren land. It would be common to say that Coleman was oblivious to
all about him but Marjory. On the contrary, the parched land, the
isolated flame of poppies, the cool air from the sea, all were keenly
known to him, and they had developed an extraordinary power of blending
sympathetically into his mood. Meanwhile the professor talked a great
deal. And as a somewhat exhilarating detail, Coleman perceived that Ms.
Wainwright was beaming upon him.
At New Phalerum-a small collection of pale square villas-they left
the carriage and strolled, by the sea. The waves were snarling together
like wolves amid the honeycomb rocks and from where the blue plane
sprang level to the horizon, came a strong cold breeze, the kind of a
breeze which moves an exulting man or a parson to take off his hat and
let his locks flutter and tug back from his brow.
The professor and Mrs. Wainwright were left to themselves.
Marjory and Coleman did not speak for a time. It might have been
that they did not quite know where to make a beginning. At last Marjory
asked: “What has become of your splendid horse?”
“Oh, I've told the dragoman to have him sold as soon as he arrives,”
said Coleman absently.
“Oh. I'm sorry * * I liked that horse.”
“Well, he was a fine-” Then he, too, interrupted himself, for he saw
plainly that they had not come to this place to talk about a horse.
Thereat he made speech of matters which at least did not afford as many
opportunities for coherency as would the horse. Marjory, it can't be
true * * * Is it true, dearest * * I can hardly believe it.—I-”
“Oh, I know I'm not nearly good enough for you.”
“Good enough for me, dear?
“They all told me so, and they were right! Why, even the American
minister said it. Everybody thinks it.”
“Why, aren 't they wretches To think of them saying such a thing! As
if-as if anybody could be too—”
“Do you know-” She paused and looked at him with a certain timid
challenge. “I don't know why I feel it, but-sometimes I feel that I've
been I've been flung at your head.”
He opened his mouth in astonishment. “Flung at my head!
She held up her finger. “And if I thought you could ever believe
“Is a girl flung at a man's head when her father carries her
thousands of miles away and the man follows her all these miles, and at
“Her eyes were shining. “And you really came to Greece-on purpose
“Confess you knew it all the time! Confess!” The answer was muffled.
“Well, sometimes I thought you did, and at other times I thought you-didn't.”
In a secluded cove, in which the sea-maids once had played, no
doubt, Marjory and Coleman sat in silence. He was below her, and if he
looked at her he had to turn his glance obliquely upward. She was
staring at the sea with woman's mystic gaze, a gaze which men at once
reverence and fear since it seems to look into the deep, simple heart
of nature, and men begin to feel that their petty wisdoms are futile to
control these strange spirits, as wayward as nature and as pure as
nature, wild as the play of waves, sometimes as unalterable as the
mountain amid the winds; and to measure them, man must perforce use a
He wished that she would lay her hand upon his hair. He would be
happy then. If she would only, of her own will, touch his hair lightly
with her fingers-if she would do it with an unconscious air it would be
even better. It would show him that she was thinking of him, even when
she did not know she was thinking of him.
Perhaps he dared lay his head softly against her knee. Did he dare?
As his head touched her knee, she did not move. She seemed to be
still gazing at the sea. Presently idly caressing fingers played in his
hair near the forehead. He looked up suddenly lifting his arms. He
breathed out a cry which was laden with a kind of diffident ferocity.
“I haven't kissed you yet-”