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"What did Hopwood say to you?" ""Oggle-agoggle!' I think he said. Did the esquire have an observation to make?"
"No; I put his hat over his mouth and cautioned him not to talk through it, as I would not believe a word he said. What are you going to do now?"
"I have an appointment with the camera-man, who is, at this very unwitching hour, in waiting at Hopwood's home. If he doesn't keep his word to capture the very form and likeness of the old gentleman, I shall myself hie me and request the good man's panel, saving that he recognized me not as his assailant and hurls back my request with an oath. It is about half after ten-so it is."
Lysander Mulverhill sat in his living room, quite forlornly at ease. His environment was fairly harmonious, from ticking of the clock to the uttermost constellation swinging in the skies of night; that is, Lysander's night, but doubtless making considerable day in their own orbits.
Lysander puffed smoke at the ceiling, and watched the play of tints. Yes; everything was working well with him. He had about him the very costliest examples of civilization. He was a fine specimen of the evolution of man; more particularly, at the end of a very superb stock of ancestry. He represented the whole scheme handsomely. In subconscious proof of all this, he looked at his watch. It was accurate with the clock. The watch and the clock had been manufactured thousands of miles apart. Yet they told the same minute in parallel with the solar system. The midnight of the sun might not be the exact midnight of standard time; but the world arranges those little matters to suit itself. Liberally speaking, watch and clock and solar system were working geometrically in the same exactitude.
Verily, all was going well, except Lysander's heart. Had his heart been a watch or a clock, it would have gained an hour or two whenever his mind received the impression of this name, "Honora." Had his heart been the earth, it would have budged fifty degrees across the merid
It seemed that he had been a skulker. He was in love, but not a lover. This was wrong, for the soul should go on its fancied way even though its destination be destined as merely the end of all. Doing is doing, though failure squat in the path.
Engrossing his attention on the table was the flint sword. To look upon it filled its owner with savage devotion. It lay there, a barbaric denunciation of the frivolous, modern love. It bespoke passion as against sentiment, great heart against hollow tongue, man against manner. The love that tousled the hair now
appealed to this man. His eyes hovered over that flint thing reflected in the polished table; its crudity seemed to arraign the table's polish as falsehood.
Lysander gripped the knife. His hand glowed red and white with the clenching. His jaws were tight as his hand. brows glowered. With inspired valor, he bounded from the chair. The sword had its effect.
In the man's eyes was an ancient fire; behind those eyes could be no conventional intent. His next act would be sudden. Etiquette is the art of not surprising. In the world of good form, matters are arranged as neatly as duties aboard a ship of war. Every word has its function; every phrase its instant. Flattery goes on duty at such and such a time; silence has its time. The well-groomed one must even say "Damn" at the proper occasion, when every one else knows that the only proper word is "damn" as aforesaid. Thus even when the debutante used the word, at a spirited crisis, nobody was shocked. All expected it.
Lysander was bent upon the improper. Improper, untrue, incorrect, wrong, faulty and many other synonyms all mean the same, and all have equal guilt when good. form is violated. Lysander was bent on the improper. He had been told by Honora that she would attend a certain theatrical performance that night. The play was now about over. She was supping
somewhere. He would speak to her. He would go to the vicinity of her home, like a romantic loafer, a country swain, an amorous wight of any century or backwoods.
The idea, once conceived, all that remained was to don his hat and coat. He was now all idea transfigured. It was as if the idea were putting on its hat and coat. Would its fortitude still bear up? It was at that moment strong enough to be tranquil-a rage powerful enough to be calm.
It was late when he went out of the house into the streets.
There is a certain bit of scenery widely admired by all romanticists. It is the most romantic spot about us. That spot is the moon. It was quite round and symbolic in the sky when Lysander saw it. When he came to the corner of the street whereby dwelled the object of his stroll, he stood beside a lamp-post. The act was inwardly as refreshing as outwardly picturesque. He might have been aware of one as much of the other. Lamp-posts, the heavens of the intoxicated with liquor, shed their light over one who strained for a port in the storm of love. He was sure he had missed something in not having indulged nocturnally and so negligently ere this.
With one blow of the flint sword, he had struck beribboned niceties from his universe. Gone were the rigid houses; they were merely homes. Gone were the streets; they were but ways. Gone were the street lamps; they were but lights. Gone was Honora Faraday; in her place was Honora.
A carriage drew up and stopped at her curb. He hastened to meet it. Coachman opened the door of the cab. Mr. Faraday emerged first; then wife, and then Hon
It was a time when the affairs of day were completed. There was nothing left to do save enter gracefully upon a period of sleep. It was one's right as against the world.
Lysander had no extemporaneous excuse for impaling the night scene with his presence. So he merely hoisted his hat with unusual honor and exclaimed: "In the nick of time!"
right. It paves the way for a possible wrong. When one is customarily auspicious, he may, at an exceptional whim, enter with all the presumption of innocence. "I came to see Miss Faraday," he declared.
The two were soon in a music room at the foot of a stairs. Leading from the stairs, along two of the walls, was a narrow balcony. The stairways angled upward into the darkness. The balconies were well lighted. Beneath one of them was the entrance to a dim library.
"A mysterious room," Lysander muttered. But it just suits my fancy. I suppose you consider me a quite mysterious visitor!"
"Honora," he proceeded, "I came here to tell you an improper tale, and what is so seemly but that I should choose an improper hour? Look at me. Do not look away. By heaven, Honora, I love you! I loved you when, with three roomsful of people between us, I beheld your form pass through a shadow and into the sunlight at a window. Across the carpets and between the hangings and above the heads of the assembly, I saw you at the end of the long perspective, and the first consciousness that came into my mind was love.
"I have repressed that. We know why. At first I felt the slow, ponderous approach with which must move everything that is large as the largeness of love. Then came the horrible news that another had anticipated me. I kept my place. A quieting of the voice, an aversion of the eyes, a faltering of the hand, and expression was thwarted.
"But the tricks of hypocrisy grew old, and there came a time when they would no longer dike the master-tides of the soul. Here I am. Here is that Lysander that could not wait until the day to tell his passion. O woman, say something, however indefinite. Be not so still. Say one word that will give me an excuse to clasp that head and take the tribute kiss.
"You do not speak. You think I am mad! Oh! But I feel so grave I cannot even laugh like a lunatic. What of this? What do I mean by love? I mean that you are the one woman. You are the one woman of all time and all place. Rov
There is an advantage in always doing ing through the centuries, I would find no
equal to you. Traveling the earth, I would see the other women as denizens of the sea and land. Were I given choice of all the women of the world I would find among its honors no one more famous in my heart than are you. "You woman of women, day and night are nothing to me. There is only the day and night of love. And mine up to this has been all night. This interview to me is dawn. 'Love' is the word that is the sun. Look at me, Honora. I love. I love you!"
For a moment, returning to the primal condition, these two creatures confronted each other as two beasts, strangers
to each; as two gods poised in enmity or division of the universe.
"I love you," the woman said, and steadied herself as if to receive his stalwart spring.
Not all in maiden hesitation, but half in physical fear of an unknown force, she crouched beneath his giant kiss.
Anon she withdrew to a corner of the room and sat silently watching him.
He glared at her from time to time, in expression more of the fury than the gentleness of love.
After a while he arose and said: "Goodnight."
"Good night," said she.
THE SHERIFF OF GREENWATER
A Story of the Death Valley Slope
BY ELLIOTT J. CLAWSON
ONE, however, possessed sufficient courage to take up the delicate gift of fortune, so precipitately fallen in their midst. "So yer skeered, are ye," leered the halfbreed Cherokee, as he clutched an arm, about to get a firm hold with both skinny hands under her armpits. Albeit, something in the innocent curve of the neck, as the head dropped backward, caused Slim to delay. He laid her gently down again; sank his hands deep into his pockets, and spat upon the ground.
"Why, wot ye skeered of, Slim?" inquired Gypsy Ryan, with a semi-serious flickering around the eyes.
Possibly Slim had some very appropriate remark on the tip of his tongue, which would have presently rended the air, had not Madison been thinking.
"This is terrible, boys. She can't lie there in the dirt. Let's all take her in ?"
Slim and Madison each took an arm, Gypsy and Bill Reyes managed the feet. The skirts dragged. In the rear of the procession followed the little white-faced, white-aproned bartender.
No one knew just where they intended depositing their burden. Slim pulled his arm toward the Greenwater Club, and what resistance there may have been was not strong enough to change the course. She was dropped over the faro table, and Madison placed his folded coat under her head.
"Now, what are we a-goin' to do? I say, give her a drink," said Slim.
This very brilliant idea met with general enthusiasm. Slim was a man of action. He possessed a long head. The boyish bartender appeared with the panacea for all the ailments of the desert. Madison alone had a scruple.
"For," said he, "not knowing just what brand she is accustomed to, this might kill her."
Notwithstanding the gentler advice of the sheriff, this was completely ignored, and Slim poured out a half tumblerful of this boiler-plate rot-gut. Now they were confronted by a great obstacle; the pretty lips, now pale, were closed, and the teeth tight shut.
Slim turned his head and spat across the tent and out of the door. Reyes found a wicked delight in this new dilemma:
"Open her mouth. Pry it open."
During this wrangling, Madison had moved to the door to keep out the crowd. He was sorely perplexed.
"God, boys, she's a woman-almost a girl. Can't we get a woman; any kind— just a woman to look after her? Nellie'll do-any one, only a woman."
"You've got a long head, though. Here is my hand. My name's Slim, and when you want anything-here, Scotty!" This worthy was in the street explaining what he knew of the intruder. "Damn you, Scotty, find Nellie, and say Slim wants her to come here, like a shot out of hell."
Low foreheads, short hair and long hair, unshaven, red-bloated noses, ugly faces, peered in at the door at this helpless little woman still unconscious on the faro table, and a painful lump rose in Madison's throat.
Nellie was coming. She pushed her way through the crowd of vagabonds. Men do not move for such as Nellie. She slouched across the tent to the other woman.
Nellie had diamonds in her teeth; a quantity of hair, of two or three colors, which was wound carelessly around her head. Her face was pale and sickly; it
was day. She wore a loose calico motherhubbard.
As usual, Slim was about to begin on this woman with a volley of curses, which were always returned, and never gentler for the exchange, but Madison took hold of Nellie's arm.
"Be gentle with her; she's fainted, or sunstroke, or something of the sort; but she's down and out, and you must do something for her.”
"You idiots-undo her belt and corsets; she's fainted-here, I will.”
Nellie's voice was not soft, nor was it harsh. It was unnatural-she had laughed too often-too falsely.
The crowd in the doorway stretched their necks.
A feeling of decency, never experienced before by Slim and Gypsy, moved them in the direction of the door with Madison.
"Yes, it means you, too, Reyes; get out from behind that counter." And Reyes shambled out from behind Madison. His soft, treacherous eyes shone evilly.
Madison closed the door and turned to the crowd of prospectors, desert rats and riff-raff. They wanted an explanation. In some way, they believed Madison responsible. He was before a jury.
"What we want to know," questioned Slim, "is, who is she, and what she wants ?"
Every one listened. The gasoline lamps flared. Some smiled in expectation.
"Don't blame me-you know as much as I do about this business. Her name is Lucinda Kingsley, and she is expecting to meet her brother here-hell knows where he is, though. It seems that the old man, her father, when he died, left them the title to some borax claims on the Slope; her brother's there now-or supposed to be. We took the stage at Amargosa and walked in from the hill. That's about all."
"Then she's not goin' to stay? That's good-why, it might ruin the camp to have anything like that around. where's she goin' to stay ?"
"Didn't I say 'at the hotel!" "
"It seems to me, you and Slim are rather earnest? Don't suppose you're goin' to adopt her-are ye? or anything like that?" pointedly.
"Look 'ee here, Alkali Bill, you close your mouth-quick-we don't need any suggestions specially from you?" Everyone grinned except Alkali Bill..
Madison turned to Slim: "We shouldn't have brought Nellie here, Slim-that was wrong."
"Well, it's just about as decent a resort as any in the town. If you got anything against my saloon, spit it out."
"You don't understand, Slim; the resort's all O. K., but not for a lady. They ain't used to it. Couldn't we get her over to the hotel, after she comes to? And another thing: she mustn't see Nellie. Oh, Nellie's all right, too, but you know how these folks look at such things."
"I guess you're all right," Slim understood, "and the house can't stand to have her here long. We'll scout around a bit and see how the land lays inside."
As yet the land lay smooth inside. The girl had not regained consciousness. Nellie sat at a near-by table with an empty tumbler before her, the one brought to revive the girl. She held a cigar, poached from the bar between her bediamonded teeth. Nellie was an optimist-she had no troubles.
Slim lifted the corner of the tent flap near the door frame, and peered in. Nellie took no notice. After a momentary