Newspaper Page Text
By ROBERT W. CHAMBERS,
Author .of "The Fiihiini Chance." Etc
Copyright, 1907, by
niAursiiiur fHM.r.iii.u uiAi-iftiin,
Chap. J Itctunilns (rum Manila. Cmitnlii
Selwyn. fm inerly of the army. I welcomed
home by his sister. Sinn Gerard. her wealthy
UBbaiul Austin, anil their numerous child
ren. "I Infer," observed Selwyn blandly,
"that your father and mother arc not
at home. Perhaps I'd better stop in
"But you are going to stay here,
aren't you?" exclaimed Drlna In dis
may. "Don't you expect to tell us sto
ries? Don't you expect to stay here
and live with us and put on your uni
form for us and show us your swords
and pistols? Don't you?"
"We have waited such a very long
time for you to do this," added Billy.
"If you'll come up to the nursery
we'll have a drag hunt for you," plead
ed Drlna. "Everybody Is out of the
house, and we can make as much
noise as we please! Will you?"
"Haven't you any governesses or
nurses or something?" asked Selwyn,
finding himself already on the stair
way and still being dragged upward.
"Our governess is away," said Billy
triumphantly, "and our nurses can do
nothing with us."
"I don't doubt It," murmured Sel
wyn, "but where are they?"
"Somebody must have locked them
In the schoolroom," observed Billy
carelessly. "Come on, Uncle Philip.
We'll have a first class drag hunt be
fore wo unlock the schoolroom and let
Before Selwyn understood precisely
what was happening he found hlm
Belf the center of a circle of madly
racing children and dogs.
When there was no more breath left
In the children and when the iloga lay
about, grinning and lolling, Drina ap
proached him, bland and disheveled.
"That circus," she explained, "was
for your entertainment. Now will yon
please do something for ours?"
"What nni I to tell you about our
missionaries in Sulu?" said Selwyn.
"In the first place," began Drina,
"you aro to lie down flat on the floor
and creep about and show us bow the
Moros wriggle through the grass to
bolo our sentinels."
"I don't want to get down on the
floor," he said feebly. "Is It neces
sary?" But they had discovered that he
could be bullied, and they had It
their own way, and presently Selwyn
lay prone upon the nursery floor Im
personating a ladrone while pleasant
shivers chased themselves over Drlnn,
whom he was stalking.
And it was while all were passion
ately Intent upon the pleasing and
snakelike progress of their uncle that
a young girl In furs, ascending the
stairs two at a time, peeped perfunc
torily into the nursery as she passed
the hallway and halted amazed.
Selwyn, sitting up rumpled and cross
legged on the floor, after having bo
locd Drina to everybody's exquisite
satisfaction, looked around at the sud
den rustle of skirts to catch a glimpse
of a vanishing figure, a glimmer of
ruddy hair and the white curve of a
youthful 'face half hurled In n muff.
Mortified, lie got to his feet, glanced
out Into the hallway and began adjust
ing his attire.
"So, you don't!" he said mildly. "I
decline to perform again. If you want
any more wriggling you must accom
plish It yourselves. Drina, has your
governess by any unfortunate ehanco
er red hair?"
j "No," said the child, "and won't you
please crawl across the Hoor and bolo
me Just ouco more?"'
"Bolo me!" insisted Billy. "I haven't
been mangled yet!"
"Let Billy assassinate somebody
himself. And, by the way, Drlna, are
there any maids or nurses or servants
Looked uround ut the rustle of tklrts.
n this remarkable house who occa-1
wnnuy wear copper tinted hair andi
jbci iox lursr
Robert W. Chambers
"No. Eileen does. Won't you please
"Who is Eileen?"
"Eileen? Why don't you know who
"No, I don't," began Captain Selwyn,
when a delighted shout from the chil
dren swung bim toward the door
again. His sister, Mrs. Gerard, stood
there lu carriage gown and sables, ra
diant with surprise.
"Phil! You! Exactly like you. Phil
lp, to come strolling In from the antip
odesdear fellow!" recovering from
the fraternal embrace and holding
both lapels of his coat In her gloved
hands. "Six years!" she said again
nnd again, tenderly reproachful. "Al
exandrine was a baby of six Drlna,
i child, do you remember ray brother
I do you remember your Uncle Philip?
i She doesn't remember. You can't ex
pect her to recollect. She Is only
' twelve, Phil"
"1 remember one thing," observed
Brother and sister turned toward her
In pride and delight, nnd the child
went on: "My Aunt Allxc; I remember
her. She was so pretty," concluded
Drlna, nodding thoughtfully In the ef
fort to remember more. "Uncle Phil
ip, where Is she now?"
But her uncle seemed to have lost
his voice as well as his color, und Mrs.
Gerard's glftved fingers tightened on
the lapels of his coat.
"I never dreamed," she began "the
child bas never spoken of of her
from that time to this! I never dream
ed she could remember"
"I don't understand what you are
talking about, mother," said Drina,
but her pretty mother caught her by
the shoulders, striving to speak light
ly. "Where in the world Is Bridget,
child? Where Is Katie? And what is
all this I bear from Dawson?- It can't
bo possible that you have been fox
hunting all over the house again!
Your nurses know perfectly well that
you are not to hunt anywhere except
In your own nursery. Such a house
hold, Phil! Everybody Incompetent,
including me; everything topsy turvy,
and all five dogs perfectly possessed to
He on that pink rug intho music room.
Have they been there today, Drlna,
while you were practicing?"
"Yes, and there are some new spots,
mother. I'm very sorry."
"Take the children away!" said Mrs.
Gerard to the nurses. She bent over,
kWslug each culprit as the file passed
out. "What do you think of them?
You never before saw the three young
est. You saw Drina when you went
east, and Billy was a few months old.
What do you thing of them? Honestly,
"All to the good, Ninette; very orna
mental. Drina nnd that Josephine
Uld are real beauties. I er take to
Billy tremendously. He told mo that
he'd locked up his nurses. I ought to
have Interfered. It was really my
fault, you see."
"And you didn't make him let them
out? You are not going to be very
good morally for my young. Tell me,
rhil, have you seen Austin?"
"I went to the trust company, hut
he was attending a directors' confab.
How Is he? He's prosperous anyhow.
I observe," with a humorous glance
around the elaborate hallway which
they were traversing.
"Don't dare laugh at us!" smiled his
sister. "I wish we were back in Tenth
street. But so' many children came
Billy, Josephine. Wluthrop and Tina
and the Tenth street house wasn't half
big enough, and n dreadful specula
tive builder built this house and per
suaded Austin to buy It. You're going
to stay here?"
"No; I'm at the Holland."
"Of course you're to live with us.
You've resigned from the service,
He looked nt her sharply, but did not
A curious flash of telepathy passed
between them. She hesitated; then:
"You once promised Austin and mo
that you would stay with us."
"No, no, no! Walt," pressing an elec
tric button. "Watson, Captain Selwyn's
luggage Is to he brought hero Immedi
ately from the Holland! Immediate
ly!" And to Selwyn: "Austin will not
ho at homo before half past 0. Come
up with me now nnd seo your quar
ters, a perfectly charming place for
you, with your own smoking room nnd
dressing closet and hath. Walt, we'll
take tho elevator as long as we have
cm..,.. - L . .
I ouimiii; luoicBiiug, yei toucuca uy
tho undisguised sincerity of his wel-
i tnracTTSo-Buffered himself" to bo led
Into tho elevator a dainty whlto and
rose rococo affair,. His sister adjusted
a tiny lever; the car moved smoothly
, upward and presently stopped, and
they emerged upon a wldo landing.
"Here," said Nina, throwing open a
j door. "Isn't this comfortable? Is thero
' anything you don't fancy about It? If
! thero Is, tell mo frankly."
"Llttlo 6lster," he said, Imprisoning
both her hands, "it Is a paradise, but
, I don't Intend to cotno here and squat
eu my relatives, and I won'tl"
"PulllpI You aro common!"
' "Oh, 1 know you and Austin think
you want mo."
-All right, dear. I'll It's awfully
generous of you so PH. pay. you a visit
for a little while. You aro very, kind,
Ninette." He sat partly turned from
her, staring at the sunny window.
Presently he slid his hand back along
the bed covers until It touched and
tightened over hers. And In silence
she raised It to her Hps.
They remained so for awhile, be stIB
partly turned from her, his perplexed
and narrowing gaze fixed on the win
dow, she pressing his clinched hand
to her Hps, thoughtful und silent.
"Before Austin comes," he said at
length, "let's get the thing over and
burled as long as It will stay burled."
"Allxc Is here," she said gently. "Did
you know It?"
"Yon know, of course, that she's
married Jack Buthvcn?"
He nodded again.
"Arc you on leave, Phil, or have you
"I knew It," she sighed.
He said: "As 1 did not defend the
suit I couldn't remain In the service.
There's too much said about us any
wayabout us who ore appointed from
civil life. And then to have that hap
pen!" "Pbll. do you still care for her?"
"1 urn sorry for her."
After n painful silence his sister
said, "Could you tell me how It began,
"now It began? 1 don't know that
either. When Bannard's command
took the field I went with the Bcouts.
Allxc remained In Manila. Kuthven
was there for Fane, Harmon & Co.
Thafs how It began, I suppose, and
It's a rotten climate for morals, and
that's how it began."
"We had had differences. Ifs been
one misunderstanding after another.
If you mean was I mixed op with
another woman no! She knew that"
"She was very young, Phil."
He nodded. "I don't blame her."
"Couldn't anything have been done?"
"If it could, neither she nor I did it
or knew how to do It, I suppose. It
went wrong from the beginning. It
was founded on froth. She had been
engaged to Harmon, and she threw
him over for Boots Lansing. Then I
came along. Boots behaved like a
thoroughbred. That is all there Is to
it inexperience, romance, trouble. She
couldn't stand me, she couldn't stand
the life, the climate, the Inconven
iences, the absence of what she was
accustomed to. She was dead tired of
it all. I can understand that And
wo went under, that's all fighting
each other heart and soul to the end.
Is she happy with Ruthven? I never
knew him and never cared to. I sup
pose they go about in town among
the yellow set Do they?"
"Yes. I've met Allxe once or twice.
She was perfectly composed, formal,
but unembarrassed. She bas shifted
her milieu somewhat It began with
the influx of Buthvcn's friends from
the 'yellow' section of the younger
married set the Orchils, Fanes, Min
sters and Dclmour-Carnes. By the
way, I'm dipping into the younger set
myself tonight on Eileen's account I
brought her out Thursday, and I'm
giving a dinner for ber tonight"
"Who's Etfeen?" he asked.
"Eileen? Why, don't you why, of
course you don't know yet that I've
taken Eileen for my own. Eileen is
Molly Erroll's daughter, and the courts
appointed Austin and me guardians
for her and for her brother Gerald."
"Now Is It clear to you?"
"Yes," he said, thinking of the trag
edy which had left the child so utter
ly alone in the world save for her
brother and a distant kinship by mar
riage with the Gcrards.
For awhilo he sat brooding, arms
loosely folded, immersed once more in
his own troubles.
"It seems a shame," he said, "that a
family like ours, whose name has al
ways spelled decency, should find them
selves entangled in the very things
their race has always bated and
managed to avoid. And through me
"But no disgrace touches you, dear,"
she said tremulously.
"1'vo been all over that, too," he said,
with quiet bitterness. "You are part
ly right; nobody cares in this town.
Even though I did not defend the suit,
nobody cares. And there's no'disgraee.
I suppose. If nobody cares enough even
to condone. Divorce Is no longer no
ticed; it is a matter of ordinary occur
rence, a matter of routine in some
sets. Who cares except decent folk?
And they only think it's a pity and
wouldn't do It themselves. If Allxe
found that she cared for Ruthven I
don't blame her. Laws and statutes
can't govern such matters. If she
found sho no longer cared for me, I
could not blame her. But two peoplo
mismated have only one chance in this
world to live their tragedy through
with dignity. That Is absolutely all
llfo holds for them; beyond that, out
side of that dead line, treachery to
self and race and civilization! That Is
my conclusion nfter a year's experi
ence In bcl!." He rose and began to
paco the floor, Angers worrying bis
mustache. "Law? Can a law which
I"db not accept let mo looae'to risk It
all again with another woman?"
She said slowly, her hands folded in
her lap: "It is well you've como to
mo at last. You've been turning round
and round in that wheeled cage until
you think you'vo made enormous prog
ress, nnd you haven't. Dear, listen
to me. What you honestly believe to
bo unselfish and high minded adher
ence to principle is nothing but tho
circling reasoning of a hurt mind an
intelligence still numbed from shock, a
mental and physical llfo forced by
sheer courage Into mechanical routine.
I tell you your llfo Is not finished. It
is not yet begun! You need now du
ties, new faces, nov scenes, new prob
lems. You nhall have them. Dear, be
lieve me, few men as young as you, m
attractive, as human, as lovable, as
affectionate as you, willfully ruin their
lives because of a hurt pride which
they mistake for conscience. Yon will
understand that when you become con
valescent Now kiss me and tell me
you're much obliged, for 1 hear Aus-
tln'n vnlon on fhn ntnlra."
"Well, we've burled ltnow," breath
ed Selwyn. "You're nil right. Nino,
from your own standpoint and I'm
not going to make a stalking nuisance
of myself. No fear, little sister. Hel
lo" turning swiftly "here's that pre
posterous husband of yours."
They exchanged a firm hand clasp,
Austin Gerard, big, smooth shaven, hu
morously Inclined toward the ruddy
heaviness of successful middle age;
Selwyn, lean, bronzed, erect and direct
in all the powerful symmetry and per
fect health of a man within sight of
"Nina's good enough to want me for
a few days" began Selwyn, but his
big brother-in-law laughed scornfully:
"A few days! We've got you nowl"
And to his wife: "Nina, I suppose I'm
duo to lean over those Infernal kids be
fore I can have a minute with your
brother. Are they in bed yet? All
right rhil. We'll be down In a min
ute. There's tea and things In the li
brary. Moke Eileen give you some."
ANDS clasped behind his
back, Selwyn stood In
the center of the library,
considering bis environ
ment with the grave, ab
sent air habitual to him
when brooding. And ua be stood there
a sound at the door aroused him, and
he turned to confront a young girl In
bat, veil and furs, who was leisurely
advancing toward him, stripping the
gloves from a pair of very white hands.
"How do you do. Captain Selwyn?"
she sold. "I am Eileen Erroll, and I
am commissioned to give you some tea.
Nina and Austin are in the nursery
telling bedtime stories and hearing as
sorted prayers. The children seem to
be quite crazy about you. I congratu
late you on your
"Did you see
me In the nurs
ery on all
bronze red hair.
laughter was his
a n s w-e r. He
laughed, too. not
glimpse of our
ery warrior was
ishlng," she said, I
at him with
A youny jiri In hat "But you don't i
and furs. mind. do you?
It's all in the family, of course."
"Of course," he agreed with good
grace; "no use to pretend dignity here; '
you all sec through me in a few mo-1
She bad given him his tea. Now' she 1
sat upright in her chair, smiling, dis
trait, her bat casting a luminous i
Bhadow across her eyes; the fluffy furs, i
fallen from throat and shoulder, settled i
loosely around her waist
Glancing up from her short reverie I
sho encountered his curious gaze. .
"Tonight is to be my first dinner
dance, you know," she said. Faint
tints of excitement stained her white
skin; the vivid scarlet contrast of her
mouth was almost startling. "On
Thursday I was introduced." she ex
plained, "and now I'm to have the gay- !
est winter I ever dreamed of. ,And ;
I'm going to leave you in a moment If
Nina doesn't hurry and come. Do you
"Of course I mind," he protested
amiably, "but I suppose you wish to
devote several hours to dressing."
She nodded. "Such a dream of a
gown! Nina's presentl You'll see It I
hope Gerald will be hero to see it He
promised. I hope you'll liko my broth- ,
er Gerald when you meet him. Now
I must go."
Then, rising and partly turning to
collect her furs:
"It's quite exciting to have you here.
We will bo good friends, won't we?
And I think I bad better stop my chat- I
ter and go, because my cunning little 1
Alsatian maid is not very clever yet '
She stretched out one of ber amaz
ingly white hands across the table, giv
ing hlra n friendly leave taking nnd
welcome all in ono frank handshake,
and left him standing there, tho fresh '
contact still cool In his palm.
Nina camo In presently to find bint
seated before tho fire, ono hand shad- '
Ing his eyes, and as ho prepared to i
rise sho rested both arms on his shoul
ders, 'forcing him Info hlschalr agalnl
"So you have bewitched Eileen, too, i
havo you?" sho said tenderly. "Isn't
sho tho sweetest llttio thing?"
"She's ah as tall as I am," ho said,
blinking at tho fire.
"Sho's only nineteen; pathetically un
spoiled a perfect dear. Men aro go-1
lng to rave over her and not spoil her.
Did you over sco such hair that ,
thick, ruddy, lustrous copper tint? And
sometimes It's like gold nflro! And
a skin llko snow and peaches! Sho's 1
sound to tho core. I'vo had her exor- i
clscd and groomed and hardened and
trained from tho very beginning overy
Inch of her minutely cared for exactly
like my own babies. I'vo done my
i r .-
"Sow I mutt go."
best" she concluded, with n satisfied
sigh, and dropped Into a chair besldi
"1 should say," observed Selwyn,
"that she's equipped for the slaughter
"Yes. but I am selecting the vic
tim," replied his sister demurely.
"Oh! Are you? Already?"
"Sudhury Gray, I think, with Scott
Innls lor uu understudy, perhaps the
Draymore man us alternate I don't
know; there's time."
"Plenty," be said vaguely, staring
Into the fire, where a log had collapsed
Into Incandescent ashes.
Bhe continued to talk about Eileen
until she uotleed that hit mind was on
other matters. His preoccupied stare
enlightened ber. She said nothing for
But he woke up when Austin came In
and settled his big body in a chair.
"Drlna. the little minx, called me
back on some flimsy pretext," be said,
relighting his cigar. "I forgot that
time was going, and she was wily
enough to keep me talking until Miss
Palsely caught me at It and showed
me out I tell you," turning on Sel
wyn. "children are what make life
worth wh"- He ceased abruptly at a
gentle tap from his wife's foot and
Selwyn looked up.
Whether or not he divined the Inter
ference, he said very quietly: "I'd rath
er have bad children than anything In
the world. They're about the best
there Is In life. I agree with you.
His sister, watching him askance,
was relieved to see his troubled face
become serene, though she divined the
"Kids are the best." he repeated,
smiling at her. "Falling them, for
second choice I've taken to the labora
tory. Some day I'll Invent something
and astouish you, Nina."
"We'll fit you up a corking labora
tory," began Austin cordially. "There
"You're very good. Perhaps you'll
all be civil enough to move out of the
house if I lived more room for bottles
"Of course Phil roust havo his labora
tory," insisted Nina. "There's" loads
of unused room in tbla big barn, only
you don't mind being at the top of the
house, do you. Phil?"
"Yes, I do. 1 want to be in the
drawing room or somewhere so that
you all may enjoy the odors and get
the benefit of premature explosions.
Oh. come now, Austin, if you think
I'm going to plant myself here on
"Don't notice him, Austin," said
Nina; "he only wishes to be implored.
And by the same token you'd both
better let me implore you to dress!"
She rose and bent forward In the fire
light to peer at the clock. "Goodness!
Do you creatures think I'm going to
give Eileen half an hour's start wltb
ber maid and 1 carrying my twelve
years' handicap too? No, Indeed! I'm
decrepit but I'm going to die fighting.
Austin, get upl You're horribly slow
anyhow. Phil. Austin's man such as
he Is will be at your disposal, and
your luggage Is unpacked."
In the hallway Selwyn and Austin
encountered a radiant and bewildering
vision awaiting them Eileen in all her
"Wonderful!" said Gerard, patting
the vision's rounded bare arm as he
hurried past. "Fine gown, fine girl!
But I've got to dress, and so has Phil
ip." He meaut well.
"Do you like it. Captain Selwyn?"
asked the girl, turning to confront
hlra where ho had baited. "Gerard
Isn't coming, and 1 thought perhaps
you'd be Interested."
The formal, half patronizing compli
ment on his tongue's tip remained
there unsaid, no stood silent touched
by the faint underrlnglng wlstfulncss
in the laughing voice that challenged
his opinion, and something within him
responded In time:
"Your gown Is a beauty; such won
derful lace. Of course anybody would
know It came straight from Paris or
from somo other celestial region."
She colored cncbantlngly and, with
pretty, frank Impulse, held out both
ber bands to him.
"You aro a dear. Captain Selwyn! It
Is ray first real dinner gown, and I'm
quite mad about It, and somehow I
wanted tho family, to sharo my mad
ness with nie. Nina will. She gave It
to me, tho darling. Austin admires It
too, of course, but ho doesn't notice
such things very closely, and Gerald
Isn't here. Thank you for letting me
show It to you before I go down."
Sho gave both his hands a friendly
little shako and, glancing down at her
skirt In blissful consciousness of Its
perfection, stepped backward into her
Later, while ho stood at bis dresser
constructing nu Immaculate knot In bis
white tie, Nina knocked,
"Hurry, Phil! Oh, may I come in?
You ought to bo downstairs with us,
you know. And It was very sweet of
you to bo so nice to Eileen. Tho child
had tears In ber eyes when I went in.
Oh, Just a single diamond drop In each.
Your sympathy and Interest am tt i
think the child misses her father on an
occasion such as this the beginning of
life, the first step out Into' the world.
Men do not understand what tt means
to us. Gerald doesn't I'm sure. I've
been watching her, and I know the
shadow of that dreadful tragedy falls
on her more often than Austin and I
are aware of. You ore among your
own people, anyhowl"
His own people! The Impatient ten
derness of his 8181610 words had been
sounding In his cars all through the
evening. They rang out clear and In
sistent amid the tumult of the dinner.
He heard them In tho laughing confu
sion of youthful voices. They stole
into the delicate undertones of tho mu
sic to mock blm. The rustling of silk
and lace repeated them. The high
heels of satin slippers echoed them In
His own people!
The scent of overheated flowers, the
sudden warm breeze eddying from a
capricious fan, tho mourning thrill of
the violins, emphasized tho emphasis of
And they sounded sadder and more
meaningless now to him. here In his
own room, until the monotony of their
recurrent mockery began to unnerve
He turned on the electricity, shrank
from It extinguished it And for a
long time be sat there in the dark
ness of early morning, his unfilled pipe '
clutched In hjs nerveless hand. v
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