Newspaper Page Text
By I. Marion Crawford
AUTHOR or "JARACIHteCA ILLUJTmT/om^ 1 tf-WE/Li SYNOPSIS. Har ikii. ;i T.n l ir girl. breamr orifimorffl u gulihn :U ranger who wa • i in tho vhlnlly ol In i home in f -nlriil Asia, and rrv ;il*'fl !<• him Iho location of a min* Of rubies ! .llthat the Htrnng*T would love her iii reinrn for her disclosure. They Wei. followed to live cave by I lie girl's nhili • . who blocked up tie en fron<e, no drew off Hie wafer supply, leaving I) ■ couple to die. Bnruka'n cousin Hand, Ini (•etioilied, aUeinohd to cllmh down a • liii ovi looking tin mine*: hut the traveler , hot him. The Htranger was rrviv and fi-an a water gourd Haad car ried. dug lilh way out of the tunned, and departed, deserting tin* girl and carrying ;• fiag nf rubles. Ilarakn gathered all thn gems site ■ mid carry, and atarled In pur suit Margaret Donne (Margarita da Oordevai, a farnmiH priina donna, became •engaged hi London to Konstantin Lo goil etl. a wealthy (Jreek financier. Her intimate friend was Countem* Lcven, known as Lady Maud, whoso husband had been killed by a bomb In Si. Peters burg, and Lady Maud's most Intimate friend was Unfits Van Torp. an Ameri can, wlm luol become one of the richest men in the world. Van Torp was In love with Margaret, and rushed t# London ns soon an he heard of her betrothal. He Offered Lady Maud 1a.000.000 for her pot charity if . he would aid him In winning tho singer from Logotheti. Baraka ap proached Logothetl at Versailles with ruble* to sell, lie presented n ruby to Margaret. Van Torp bought a yacht and sriit It to Venice. lie was visited by Barakn in male attire. She gave him a ruby after tho American had told her of having seen In the United States a man answering Hie description of the one slie leva and The American followed Margaret to the Bayreuth •Uarslfal” festival. Mar gan t took a liking to Van Torp. who pre sented her with the ruby Baraka had given him CHAPTER VI. Margaret took Van Torp with her In the performance the next day. after impressing upon him that he was not to speak, not to whisper, not to ap plaud, not to make any sound, from the moment he entered the theater till he left it for the dinner interval. He was far too happy with her to question anything she said, and obeyed her most scrupulously. Twen ty-four hours earlier she would have laughed at the idea that his presence beside her at such a time could be not only bearable, but sympathetic, yet (hat seemed natural now. The diva and the ex-cowboy, tho accomplished musician and the Californian miner, the sensitive, gifted, capricious wom an and the Iron-Jawed money-wolf had fcmnd that they had something in common. Wagner's last music affected them In the same way. Such things are not to he explained, and could not be believed If they did not happen again and again before the eyes of those who know how to see, which is quite a different thing from merely seeing. Margaret's sud den liking for the man she had once so thoroughly disliked had begun when he had whistled to her. It grow while he sal beside her in the dark ened theater. She was absorbed by the music, tho action, and the scene, and at this second hearing she could follow the uoble poem Itself; hut she was subconscious of what her neigh bor felt. He was not so motionless merely because she had told him that he must sit still; ho was not so In tent on what he heard and saw, mere ly to please her; It was not mere in f m W: iAi ii & v ipjni She Wee Aware of Hia Slight Cheng* of Position Without Turning Her Eyes. terost that hold him, still less was It curiosity. Tho spell was upon him; he was entranced, and Margaret knew it. Even when they left the theater and drove back to the hotel, he was silent, and she was the first to speak. Mar garet hated the noise and contusion of the restaurant near the Festival theater, “You have enjoyed it," she said. "I’m glad I brought you.” "I've felt something I don't under stand.” Van Torp answered gravely. She liked the reply for Its simplici ty. She had perhaps expected that he would summon up his most pic turesque language to tell her how much pleasure the music had given him, or that he would perhaps laugh at himself for having been moved; but instead, he only told her that he did not understand what he had felt; and they walked on without another word. "Go and get something to eat," she said when they reached the hotel, "and I’ll meet you here in half an hour. I don't care to talk either.” He only nodded, and lifted his hat as she went up the steps; but instead of going to eat, he sat down on a bench outside, and waited for her there, reflecting on the nature of his new experience. Like most successful men, he looked on all theories as trash, good enough to amuse clover idlers, but never to be taken into consideration in real life. He never asked about the prin ciple on which any invention was founded; his first and only question was: "Will it work?" Considering himself ns tho raw ma terial. and the theater he had Just left as the mill, he was forced to ad mit that "Parsifal” “worked." Presently Margaret came out of the hotel, expecting to And him waiting for her within the hall, and prepared to be annoyed with him for taking so long over a meal. She stood on the step and looked about, and saw him sitting on the bench at a little dis tance. He raised his eyes as she came towards him and then rose quickly. “Is it time?” he asked. "Yes,"she said. "Did you get any thing decent to eat?" “Yes,” he answered vaguely. "That is, now I think of it, I forgot about dinner. It doesn't matter.” She looked at his hard face curious ly and saw a dead blank, the blank that had sometimes frightened her by its possibilities, when the eyes alone came suddenly to life. "Won’t you go in and get a biscuit, or a sandwich?" she asked after a moment. "Oh, no. thanks. I'm used to skip ping meals when I'm interested in things, bet's go, if you're ready." "1 believe you are one of nature's Wagnerites," Margaret said, as ‘they drove up the hill again, and she smiled at the idea. “Well,” he answered slowly, "there’s one thing, if you don't mind my telling you. It's rather personal. Perhaps I’d better not." The prlma donna was silent for a few moments, and did not look at him. "Tell me,” she said suddenly. "It a this. I don't know how long the performance lasted, but while It was going on I forgot you were close beside me. You might just as well not have been there. It's the first time since I ever knew you that I've been near you without thinking about you all the time, and I hadn't realized It till I was sitting there by myself. I hope you don't mind my telling you?" “It only makes me more glad that I brought you." Margaret said quietly. “Thank you," he answered; but he was quite sure that the same thing could not happen again during the second part. Nevertheless, it happened. For a little while, they were man and wom an. sitting aide by side and very near, two in a silent multitude of other men and women; but before long he w'as quite motionless, his eyes were fixed again and he had forgotten her. She saw it and wondered, for she knew how her presence moved him, and as his hands lay folded on his knee, a mischievous girlish Impulse almost made her. the great artist, for get that she was listening to the greatest music in the world and near ly made her lay her hand on his, just to see what he would do. She was ashamed of it, and a little disgusted with herself. The part of her that was Margaret Donne felt the disgust: the part that was Cordova felt the shame, and each side of her nature was restrained at a critical moment, when the "Good Friday” music began, she was thinking of Van Torp and he was unconscious of her pres ence. It could not last, and soon she, too, was taken up into the artificial para dise of the master-musician and borne along In the gale of golden wings, and there was no passing of time till the very end; and the people rose In si lence and went out under the summer stars; and all those whom nature had gifted to hear rightly, took with them memories that years would scarcely dim. The two walked slowly back to the town as the crowd scattered on foot and in carriages. It was warm, and there was no moon, and one could smell the dust, for many people were moving In the same direction, though some stopped at almost every house and went It, and most of them were beginning to talk In quiet tones. Margaret stepped aside from the road and entered a narrow lane, and Van Torp followed her In silence. "This leads out to the fields," she said. "I must breath the fresh air. Do you mind?” “On the contrary.” He said nothing more, and she did not speak, but walked on without haste, dilating her nostrils to the sweet smell of grass that reached her already. In a little while they had left the houses behind them, and they came to a gate that led Into a field. Van Torp was going to undo the fastening, for there was no lock. No, she said, "we won't go through. I love to lean on a gate." She rested her crossed arms on the upper rail and Van Torp did the same, careful that his elbow should not touch hers, ad they both stared into the dim, sweet-scented meadow. He felt her presence now and it al most hurt him; he could hear his slow pulse in his ears, hard and regu lar, She did not speak, but the night was so still that he could hear her breathing, and at last he could not bear the warm silence any longer. “What were you thinking about?” he asked, trying to speak lightly. She waited, or hesitated, before she answered him. "You." she said, after a time. He moved Involuntarily, and then drew a little further away from her, as he might have withdrawn a foot from the edge of a precipice, out of common caution. She was aware of his slight change of position without turning her eyes. "What made you say what you did to Mrs. Rushmore yesterday after noon?" she asked. “About you?" "Yes.” "She asked me, point-blank, what 1 thought of Logothetl,” Van Torp an swered. "I told her that I couldn't give her an unbiased opinion of the man you meant to marry, because I had always hoped to marry you my self.” “Oh—was that the way It hap pened ?" "Mrs. Rushmore could hardly have misunderstood me." said Van Torp. gathering the reins of himself, so to say, for anything that might happen. “No. But it sounds differently when you say It yourself." "That was just what I said, any how," answered Van Torp. “I didn’t think she'd go and tell you right away, but since she has, I don’t regret hav ing said that much.” "It was straightforward, at all events—lf It was all true!" There was the faintest laugh In her tone as she spoke the last words. “It’s true, right enough, though I didn’t expect that I should be talking to you about this sort of thing to night." "The effect on Mrs. Rushmore was extraordinary, positively fulminating," . Margaret said more lightly. "She says I ought to break off my engage ment at once, and marry you! Fancy!" "That’s very kind of her, I’m sure,” observed Mr. Van Torp. “I don't think so. 1 like it less and less, the more I think of It,” "Well. I'm sorry, but 1 suppose It's natural, since you've concluded to marry him, and It can't be helped. 1 wasn't going to say anything against him. and I wouldn't say anything for him. so there was nothing to do but to explain, which I did. I’m sorry you think I did wrong, but I should give the same answer again." "Mrs. Rushmore thinks that Konstan tin is a designing foreigner because he s a Greek man of business, and that you are perfection because you are an American business man." "It I'm perfection, that’s not the real reason," said Van Torp, snatch ing at his first chance to steer out of the serious current; but Margaret did not laugh, Vou are not perfection, nor I eith er." she answered gravely. "You are famous In your way, and people call me celebrated in mine; but so far as the rest is concerned we are just two ordinary human beings, and if we are going to be friends we must under stand each other from the first, as far as we can.” “I’ll try to do my share," said Van Torp, taking her tone. “Very well. I’ll do mine. I began by thinking you were amusing, when I first met you. Then you frightened me last winter, and I hated you. Not only that, I loathed you—there’s no word strong enough for what 1 felt. When 1 saw you in the audience, you almost paralyzed my voice.” “I didn't know it had been as bad as that," said Mr. Van Torp quietly. “Yes. It was worse than I can make you understand. And last spring, when you were In so much trouble, I believed every word that was said against you, even that you had mur dered your partner's daughter in cold blood to get rid of her, though that looked as incredible to sensible peo ple as it really was. It was only when 1 saw how Lady Maud believed in you that I began to waver, and then I understood.” "I'm glad you did.” "So am I. But she is such a good woman herself that nobody can be really bad in whom she believes. And now I'm changed still more. I like you, and I'm sure that we shall be friends, it you will make me one promise and keep It." "What Is It?” “That you will give up all Idea of ever marrying me, no matter what happens, even if I broke— ’’ “It’s no use to go on,” interrupted Van Torp, “for I can’t promise any thing like that. Maybe you don't realize what you're asking, but it’s the impossible. That's all.” "Oh, nonsense!” Margaret tried to laugh lightly, but It was a failure. "No, It's very far from nonsense," he replied, almost sternly. "Since you’ve spoken first, I’m going to tell you several things. One Is, that I ac cepted the syndicate’s offer for the Nickel Trust so as to be free to take any chance that might turn up. It had been open some time, but I ac cepted it on the day 1 heard of your engagement. That's a big thing. An other is, that I played a regular trick on Logothetl so as to come and see you here. I deliberately asked him to dine with me last night In London. 1 went right home, wrote a note to him, antedated for yesterday after noon, to put him off, and I left It to be sent at the right hour. Then I drove to the station, and here I am. You may call that pretty sharp practice, but I believe all’s fair In love and war, and I want you to understand that I think so. There’s one thing more. I won’t give up the hope of making you marry me while you’re alive and I am, not If you’re an old woman, and I’ll put up all I have in the game, includ ing my own life and other people’s. If It comes to that. Amen.” Margaret bent her head a little and was silent. "Now you know why I won't prom ise what you asked.” said Van Torp in conclusion. “You have no right to speak like that," she said rather weakly, after a moment. not. I don’t know. But 1 consider that you have a right to know the truth, and that’s enough for me. It’s not as If I'd made up my mind to steal your ewe-lamb from you and put myself In Its place. Logo thetl is not any sort of a ewe-lamb. He's a man, he’s got plenty of strength and determination, he's got plenty of money—even what I choose to call plenty. He says he cares for you. All right. So do I. He says he'll marry you. I say that I will. All right again. You’re the prize put up for the best of two fighting men. You’re not the first woman In history who’s been fought for, but, by all that’s holy, there never was one better worth, not Helen of Troy herself!” The last few words came with a sort of stormy rush, and he turned round suddenly, and stood with his back against the gate, thrusting his hands deep into his coat-pockets, per haps with the Idea of keeping them quiet; but he did not come any near er to her, and she felt she was per fectly safe, and that a much deeper and more lasting power had hold of him than any mere passionate longing to take her in his arms and press his Iron lips on hers against her will. Margaret was not angry; she was hardly displeased, but she was really at a loss what to say, and she said | the first sensible thing that suggested .itself and that was approximately true. "I'm sorry you have told me all this. We might have spent these next two days very pleasantly together. Oh, I'm not pretending what 1 don’t feel! It's impossible for a woman like me. who can still be free, not to be flattered when such a mart as you cares for her in earnest, and says the things you have. But, on the oth er hand, I’m engaged to be married to another man, and It would not be loyal of me to let you make love to me.” "I don't mean to,” said Van Torp stoutly. “It won’t be necessary. If I never spoke again you wouldn’t for get what I've told you—ever! Why should I say It again? 1 don't want to, until you can say as much to me. If it’s time to go, hitch the lead to my collar an-’ lake me home! I’ll follow you as quietly as a spaniel any where!” “And what would happen If I told you not to follow me, but to go home and lie down In your kennel?” She laughed low as she moved away from the gate. “I’m not sure,” answered Van Torp. “Don't.” The last word was not spoken at all with an accent of warning, but It was not said In a begging tone either. Margaret’s short laugh followed In stantly. “You said just now that you would not say over again any of those things you have told me to-night. ,Do you mean that?” “Yes. I mean It.” "Then please promise that you won’t. That’s all I ask If you are go ing to spend the next two days here, and if I am to let you see me." “I promise,’.’ Van Torp answered, without hesitation. She allowed herself the illusion that she had both done the right thing and also taken the position of com mand; and he, standing beside her, allowed himself to smile at the futili ty of what she was requiring of him with so much earnestness, for little as he knew of women’s ways he was more than sure that the words he had spoken that night would come back to her again and again; and more than that he could not hope at pres ent. But she could not see his face clearly. “Thank you,” she said. “That shall be our compact.” To his surprise, she held out her hand. He took it with wonderful calm ness, considering what the touch meant to him, and he returned dis creetly what was meant for a friendly pressure. She was so well satisfled now that she did not think it neces sary to telegraph to Logothetl that he might start at once, though even if she had done sc immediately he could hardly have reached Bayreuth till the afternoon of the next day but one, when the last performance of “Parsifal" would be already going on; and she herself intended to leave on the morning after that. IS A1 Margaret Bant H.r Ha. d , Ltttl , , nd Wa( B||tnt> She walked forward In silence a few moments, and the light, „* town grew quickly brighter, "You will come in and have t supper with us, of course," she presently. "Why, certainly, since y ou kind,” answered Van Torp. T feel responsible for your ha forgotten to dine,” she laughed must make It up to you. By this I Mrs. Rushmore is probably wonde where I am.** Well, said the American **|f thinks I’m perfection, she knijw. you’re safe with me, I suppose t If you do come home a little late' “I shall say that we walked h very slowly, in order to breathe air.” "Yes. We’ve walked home , slowly.” „' 1 mean,” said Margaret qulc “that I shall not, say we have h out towards the fields, as far as gate.” “I don't see any harm If we ha observed Mr. Van Torp indifferet “Harm? No! Don't you un stand? Mrs. Rushmore is quite i able of thinking that I have alre —how shall I say?"—she stopped Taken note of her good advl he said, completing the sentence her. “Exactly! Whereas nothing co be further from my intention, as know. I’m very fond of Mrs. ft more.” Margaret continued quickly order to get away from the dam ous subject she had felt obliged approach: “she has been a mothei me, and heaven knows I needed ( and she has the best and klm heart In the world. But she is so a lous for my happiness that, whene she thinks it is at stake, she rus at conclusions without the sligk reason, and then It’s very hard to them out of her dear old head!” “I see. If that's why she thinks perfection, I'll try not to disanw her.” They reached the hotel, went stairs and separated on the landlm get ready for supper. On hla side of the landing, Mr. 1 Torp found Stemp waiting to df him, and the valet handed him a t gram. It was from Capt. Brown, had been retelegraphed from Lorn “Anchored oft Saint Mark's squ to-day, 3:30 p. m. Quick passage., atop. Coaling to-morrow. Ready sea next morning.” (TO BE CONTINUED.) '! Drew the Line. Mrs. Crawford-—Did you manage coax your doctor to recommend a i to that mountain resort you wishel visit? Mrs. Crabshaw —Yes; but I a go, for I couldn’t get him to add t a few new dresses would do nu world of good.—Puck. A Paradoxical Explanation. "Why did Jokem issue that circa to his customers?" “He sent out the circular to squi himself."