Infomotions, Inc.The Vision Splendid / Raine, William MacLeod, 1871-1954



Author: Raine, William MacLeod, 1871-1954
Title: The Vision Splendid
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): jeff; farnum; frome; james; alice; captain chunn; miss frome; alice frome; big tim; ned merrill; cousin
Contributor(s): Bright, Mynors, 1818-1883 [Translator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 72,625 words (short) Grade range: 5-8 (grade school) Readability score: 75 (easy)
Identifier: etext1846
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The Vision Splendid
The Vision Spendid

by William MacLeod Raine

August, 1999  [Etext #1846]


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THE VISION SPLENDID

by William MacLeod Raine




CHAPTER 1

Of all the remote streams of influence that pour both before and
after birth into the channel of our being, what an insignificant
few--and these only the more obvious--are traceable at all. We
swim in a sea of environment and heredity, are tossed hither and
thither by we know not what cross currents of Fate, are tugged at
by a thousand eddies of which we never dream. The sum of it all
makes Life, of which we know so little and guess so much, into
which we dive so surely in those buoyant days before time and tide
have shaken confidence in our power to snatch success and
happiness from its mysterious depths.
--From the Note Book of a Dreamer.


A REBEL IN THE MAKING

Part 1

The air was mellow with the warmth of the young spring sun.
Locusts whirred in rhapsody. Bluebirds throbbed their love songs
joyously. The drone of insects, the shimmer of hear, were in the
atmosphere. One could almost see green things grow. To confine
youth within four walls on such a day was an outrage against human
nature.

A lean, wiry boy, hatchet-faced, stared with dreamy eyes out of
the window of his prison. By raising himself in his seat while the
teacher was not looking he could catch a silvery gleam of the
river through the great firs. His thoughts were far afield. They
were not concerned with the capitals of the States he was supposed
to be learning, but had fared forth to the reborn earth, to the
stir and movement of creeping things. The call of nature awakening
from its long winter sleep drummed in his heart. He could
sympathize with the bluebottle buzzing against the sunny
windowpane in its efforts to reach the free world outside.

Recess! With the sound of the gong his heart leaped, but he kept
his place in the line with perfect decorum. It would never do to
be called back now for a momentary indiscretion. From the school
yard he slipped the back way and dived into a bank of great ferns.
In the heart of this he lay until the bell had called his
classmates back to work. Cautiously he crept from his hiding place
and ran down to the river.

Flinging himself on Big Rock, with his chin over the edge, he
looked into the deep holes under the bank where the trout lay
close to the strings of shiny moss, their noses to the current,
motionless save for the fanning tails.

Idly he enjoyed himself for a happy hour, letting thoughts happen
as they would. Not till the school bell rang for dismissal did he
drag himself back with a sigh to the workaday world that called.
He had a lawn to mow and a back yard to clean up for Mr. Rawson.

With his cap stuck on the back of his head and his hands in the
pockets of his patched trousers, the boy went whistling townward
on his barefoot way. At Adams Street he met the schoolchildren
bound for home. A dozen boys from his own room closed in on him
with shouts of joyous malice.

"Played hookey! Played hookey! Jeff Farnum played hookey!" they
shrilled at him.

Ned Merrill assumed leadership of the young Apaches. "You're goin'
to catch it. Old Webber was down askin' for you. Wasn't he, Tom?
Wasn't he, Dick?"

Tom and Dick lied cheerfully to increase Jeff's dread. They added
graphic details to help the story.

The victim looked around with stoicism. He remembered the
philosophy of the optimist that a licking does not last long.

"Don't care if he was down," the boy bluffed.

"Huh! Mr. Don't Care! Mr. Don't Care!" shrieked Merrill gleefully.

They made a circle around Jeff and mocked him. Once or twice a
bolder tormentor snatched at his cap or pushed a neighbor against
him. Then, with the inconstancy of youth, they suddenly deserted
him for more diverting game.

A forlorn little Italian girl was trying to slip past on the other
side of the street. Someone caught sight of her and with a whoop
the Apaches were upon her pell-mell. She began to run, but they
hemmed her in. One tugged at her braided hair. Another flipped mud
at her dress from the end of a stick. Merrill snatched her slate
and made off with it.

Jeff cut swiftly across the street. Merrill was coming directly
toward him, his head turned to the girl. Triumphant whoops broke
from his throat. He bumped into Jeff, stumbled, and went down in
the mud.

Young Merrill was up in an instant, clamorous for battle. His
hands and clothes were plastered with filth.

"I'm goin' to lick the stuffin' out of you," he bellowed.

Jeff said nothing. He was very white. His fingers worked
nervously.

"Yah! Yah! He's scared," the mob jeered.

Jeff was. In that circle of hostile faces he found no sympathy. He
had to stand up to the bully of the class, a boy who could have
given him fifteen pounds. Looking around for help, he saw that
none was at hand. The thin legs of the rescued Italian girl were
flashing down the street. On the steps of the big house of P. C.
Frome a six-year-old little one was standing with her nurse.
Nobody else was in sight except his cousin, James, and the
Apaches.

"You're goin' to get the maulin' of your life," Ned Merrill
promised as he slipped out of his coat. "Webber'll lick you if he
finds out you been fightin'," James Farnum prophesied cheerfully
to his cousin. He intended to do his duty in the way of protest
and then watch the fight.

Ned worked his wiry little foe to the fence and pummeled him. Jeff
ducked and backed out of danger. Keeping to the defensive, he was
being badly punished. Once he slipped in the mud and went down,
but he was up again before his slower antagonist could close with
him. Blood streamed from his nose. His lip was gashed. Under the
buffeting he was getting his head began to sing.

"Punch him good, Ned," one of the champion's friends advised.

"You bet he is," another chortled.

Their jeers had an unexpected effect. Jeff's fears were blotted
out by his desperate need. Some spark of the fighting edge,
inherited from his father, was fanned to a flame in the heart of
the bruised little warrior. Like a tiger cat he leaped for Ned's
throat, twisted his slim legs round the sturdy ones of his enemy,
and went down with him in a heap.

Jeff landed on the bottom, but like an eel he squirmed to the top
before the other had time to get set. The champion's patrician
head was thumped down into the mud and a knobby little fist played
a painful tattoo on his mouth and cheek.

"Take him off! Take him off!" Merrill shrieked after he had tried
in vain to roll away the incubus clamped like a vise to his body.

His henchmen ran forward to obey. An unexpected intervention
stopped them. A one-armed little man who had drifted down the
street in time to see part of the fracas pushed forward.

"I reckon not just yet. Goliath's had a turn. Now David gets his."

"Lemme up," sobbed Goliath furiously.

"Say you're whopped." Jeff's fist emphasized the suggestion.

"Doggone you!"

This kind of one-sided warfare did not suit Jeff. He made as if to
get up, but his backer stopped him.

"Hold on, son. You're not through yet. When you do a job do it
thorough." To the former champion he spoke. "Had plenty yet?"

"I--I'll have him skinned," came from the tearful champion with a
burst of profanity.

"That ain't the point. Have you had enough so you'll be good? Or
do you need some more?"

"I'm goin' to tell Webber."

"Needs just a leetle more, son," the one-armed man told Jeff,
dragging at his goatee.

But young Farnum had made up his mind. With a little twist of his
body he got to his feet.

Merrill rose, tearful and sullen. "I--I'll fix you for this," he
gulped, and went sobbing toward the schoolhouse.

"Better duck," James whispered to his cousin.

Jeff shook his head.

The little man looked at the boy sharply. The eyes under his
shaggy brows were like gimlets.

"Come up to the school with me. I'll see your teacher, son."

Jeff walked beside him. He knew by the sound of the voice that his
rescuer was a Southerner and his heart warmed to him. He wanted
greatly to ask a question. Presently it plumped out.

"Was it in the war, sir?"

"I reckon I don't catch your meaning."

"That you lost your arm?" The boy added quickly, "My father was a
soldier under General Early."

The steel-gray eyes shot at him again. "I was under Early myself."

"My father was a captain--Captain Farnum," the young warrior
announced proudly.

"Not Phil Farnum!"

"Yes, sir. Did you know him?" Jeff trembled with eagerness. His
dead soldier-father was the idol of his heart.

"Did I?" He swung Jeff round and looked at him. "You're like him,
in a way, and, by Gad! you fight like him. What's your name?"

"Jefferson Davis Farnum."

"Shake hands, Jefferson Davis Farnum, you dashed little rebel. My
name is Lucius Chunn. I was a lieutenant in your father's company
before I was promoted to one of my own."

Jeff forgot his troubles instantly. "I wish I'd been alive to go
with father to the war," he cried.

Captain Chunn was delighted. "You doggoned little rebel!"

"I didn't know we used that word in the South' sir."

Chunn tugged at his goatee and laughed. "We're not in the South,
David."

The former Confederate asked questions to piece out his patchwork
information. He knew that Philip Farnum had come out of the war
with a constitution weakened by the hardships of the service.
Rumors had drifted to him that the taste for liquor acquired in
camp as an antidote for sickness had grown upon his comrade and
finally overcome him. From Jeff he learned that after his father's
death the widow had sold her mortgaged place and moved to the
Pacific Coast. She had invested the few hundreds left her in some
river-bottom lots at Verden and had later discovered that an
unscrupulous real estate dealer had unloaded upon her worthless
property. The patched and threadbare clothes of the boy told him
that from a worldly point of view the affairs of the Farnums were
at ebb tide.

"Did . . . did you know father very well?" Jeff asked tremulously.

Chunn looked down at the thin dark face of the boy walking beside
him and was moved to lay a hand on his shoulder. He understood the
ache in that little heart to hear about the father who was a hero
to him. Jeff was of no importance in the alien world about him.
The Captain guessed from the little scene he had witnessed that
the lad trod a friendless, stormy path. He divined, too, that the
hungry soul was fed from within by dreams and memories.

So Lucius Chunn talked. He told about the slender, soldierly
officer in gray who had given himself so freely to serve his men,
of the time he had caught pneumonia by lending his blanket to a
sick boy, of the day he had led the charge at Battle Creek and
received the wound which pained him so greatly to the hour of his
death. And Jeff drank his words in like a charmed thing. He
visualized it all, the bitter nights in camp, the long wet
marches, the trumpet call to battle. It was this last that his
imagination seized upon most eagerly. He saw the silent massing of
troops, the stealthy advance through the woods; and he heard the
blood-curdling rebel yell as the line swept forward from cover
like a tidal wave, with his father at its head.

Captain Chunn was puzzled at the coldness with which Mr. Webber
listened to his explanation of what had taken place. The school
principal fell back doggedly upon one fact. It would not have
happened if Jeff had not been playing truant. Therefore he was to
blame for what had occurred.

Nothing would be done, of course, without a thorough
investigation.

The Captain was not satisfied, but he did not quite see what more
he could do.

"The boy is a son of an old comrade of mine. We were in the war
together. So of course I have to stand by Jeff," he pleaded with a
smile.

"You were in the rebel army?" The words slipped out before the
schoolmaster could stop them.

"In the Confederate army," Chunn corrected quietly.

Webber flushed at the rebuke. "That is what I meant to say."

"I leave to-morrow for Alaska. It would be pleasant to know before
I go that Jeff is out of his trouble."

"I'm afraid Jeff always will be in trouble. He is a most
insubordinate boy," the principal answered coldly.

"Are you sure you quite understand him?"

"He is not difficult to understand." Webber, resenting the
interference of the Southerner as an intrusion, disposed of the
matter in a sentence. "I'll look into this matter carefully, Mr.
Chunn."

Webber called immediately at the office of Edward B. Merrill,
president of the tramway company and of the First National Bank.
It happened that the vice-president of the bank was a school
director; also that the funds of the district were kept in the
First National. The schoolteacher did not admit that he had come
to ingratiate himself with the powers that ruled his future, but
he was naturally pleased to come in direct touch with such a man
as Merrill.

The financier was urbane and spent nearly half an hour of his
valuable time with the principal. When the latter rose to go they
shook hands. The two understood each other thoroughly.

"You may depend upon me to do my duty, Mr. Merrill, painful though
such a course may be to me."

"I am very glad to have met you, Mr. Webber. It is a source of
satisfaction to me that our educational system is in the care of
men of your stamp. I leave this matter with confidence entirely in
your hands. Do what you think best."

His confidence was justified. After school opened next morning
Jeff was called up and publicly thrashed for playing truant. As a
prelude to the corporal punishment the principal delivered a
lecture. He alluded to the details of the fight gravely, with
selective discrimination, giving young Farnum to understand that
he had reached the end of his rope. If any more such brutal
affairs were reported to him he would be punished severely.

The boy took the flogging in silence. He had learned to set his
teeth and take punishment without whimpering. From the hardest
whipping Webber had ever given he went to his seat with a white,
set face that stared straight in front of him. Young as he was, he
knew it had not been fair and his outraged soul cried out at the
injustice of it. The principal had seized upon the truancy as an
excuse to let him escape from an investigation of the cause of the
fight. Ned Merrill got off because his father was a rich man and
powerful in the city. He, Jeff, was whipped because he was an
outcast and had dared lift his hand against one of his betters.

And there was no redress. It was simply the way of the world.

Jeff and his mother were down that afternoon to see their new
friend off in the _City of Skook._ Captain Chunn found a chance to
draw the boy aside for a question.

"Is it all right with Mr. Webber? What did he do?"

"Oh, he gave me a jawing," the boy answered.

The little man nodded. "I reckoned that was what he would do. Be a
good boy, Jeff. I never knew a man more honorable than your
father. Run straight, son."

"Yes, sir," the lad promised, a lump in his throat.

It was more than ten years before he saw Captain Chunn again.


Part 2

As an urchin Jeff had taken things as they came without
understanding causes. Thoughts had come to him in flashes, without
any orderly sequence, often illogically. As a gangling boy he
still took for granted the hard knocks of a world he did not
attempt to synthesize.

Even his mother looked upon him as "queer." She worried
plaintively because he was so careless about his clothes and
because his fondness for the outdoors sometimes led him to play
truant. Constantly she set before him as a model his cousin,
James, who was a good-looking boy, polite, always well dressed,
with a shrewd idea of how to get along easily.

"Why can't you be like Cousin James? He isn't always in trouble,"
she would urge in her tired way.

It was quite true that the younger cousin was more of a general
favorite than harum-scarum Jeff, but the mother might as well have
asked her boy to be like Socrates. It was not that he could not
learn or that he did not want to study. He simply did not fit into
the school groove. Its routine of work and discipline, its
tendency to stifle individuality, to run all children through the
same hopper like grist through a mill, put a clamp upon his
spirits and his imagination. Even thus early he was a rebel.

Jeff scrambled up through the grades in haphazard fashion until he
reached the seventh. Here his teacher made a discovery. She was a
faded little woman of fifty, but she had that loving insight to
which all children respond. Under her guidance for one year the
boy blossomed. His odd literary fancy for Don Quixote, for Scott's
poems and romances she encouraged, quietly eliminating the dime
novels he had read indiscriminately with these. She broke through
the shell of his shyness to find out that his diffidence was not
sulkiness nor his independence impudence.

The boy was a dreamer. He lived largely in a world of his own,
where Quentin Durward and Philip Farnum and Robert E. Lee were
enshrined as heroes. From it he would emerge all hot for action,
for adventure. Into his games then he would throw a poetic
imagination that transfigured them. Outwardly he lived merely in
that boys' world made to his hand. He adopted its shibboleths,
fought when he must, went through the annual routine of marbles,
tops, kites, hop scotch, and baseball. From his fellows he guarded
jealously the knowledge of even the existence of his secret world
of fancy.

His progress through the grades and the high school was
intermittent. Often he had to stop for months at a time to earn
money for their living. In turn he was newsboy, bootblack, and
messenger boy. He drove a delivery wagon for a grocer, ushered at
a theater, was even a copyholder in the proofroom of a newspaper.
Hard work kept him thin, but he was like a lath for toughness.

Seven weeks after he was graduated from the high school his mother
died. The day of the funeral a real estate dealer called to offer
three, hundred dollars for the lots in the river bottom bought
some years earlier by Mrs. Farnum.

Jeff put the man off. It was too late now to do his mother any
good. She had had to struggle to the last for the bread she ate.
He wondered why the good things in life were so unevenly
distributed.

Twice during the next week Jeff was approached with offers for his
lots. The boy was no fool.

He found out that the land was wanted by a new railroad pushing
into Verden. Within three days he had sold direct to the agent of
the company for nine hundred dollars. With what he could earn on
the side and in his summers he thought that sum would take him
through college.



CHAPTER 2

I wonder if Morgan, the Pirate,
  When plunder had glutted his heart,
Gave part of the junk from the ships he had sunk
  To help some Museum of Art;
If he gave up the role of "collector of toll"
  And became a Collector of Art?

I wonder if Genghis, the Butcher,
  When he'd trampled down nations like grass,
Retired with his share when he'd lost all his hair
  And started a Sunday-school class;
If he turned his past under and used half his plunder
  In running a Sunday-school class?

I wonder if Roger, the Rover,
  When millions in looting he'd made,
Built libraries grand on the jolly mainland
  To honor success and "free trade";
If he founded a college of nautical knowledge
  Where Pirates could study their trade?

I wonder, I wonder, I wonder,
  If Pirates were ever the same,
Ever trying to lend a respectable trend
  To the jaunty old buccaneer game
Or is it because of our Piracy Laws
  That philanthropists enter the game?
--Wallace Irwin, in Life.


THE REBEL IS INSTRUCTED IN THE WORSHIP OF THE GOD-OF-THINGS-AS-
THEY-ARE


Part 1

Jeff was digging out a passage in the "Apology" when there came a
knock at the door of his room. The visitor was his cousin, James,
and he radiated such an air of prosperity that the plain little
bedroom shrank to shabbiness.

James nodded in offhand fashion as he took off his overcoat.
"Hello, Jeff! Thought I'd look you up. Got settled in your
diggings, eh?" Before his host could answer he rattled on: "Just
ran in for a moment. Had the devil of a time to find you. What's
the object in getting clear off the earth?"

"Cheaper," Jeff explained.

"Should think it would be," James agreed after he had let his eyes
wander critically around the room. "But you can't afford to save
that way. Get a good suite. And for heaven's sake see a tailor, my
boy. In college a man is judged by the company he keeps."

"What have my room and my clothes to do with that?" Jeff wanted to
know, with a smile.

"Everything. You've got to put up a good front. The best fellows
won't go around with a longhaired guy who doesn't know how to
dress. No offense, Jeff."

His cousin laughed. "I'll see a barber to-morrow."

"And you must have a room where the fellows can come to see you."

"What's the matter with this one?"

A hint of friendly patronage crept into the manner of the junior.
"My dear chap, college isn't worth doing at all unless you do it
right. You're here to get in with the best fellows and to make
connections that will help you later. That sort of thing, you
know."

Into Jeff's face came the light that always transfigured its
plainness when he was in the grip of an idea. "Hold on, J. K.
Let's get at this right. Is that what I'm here for? I didn't know
it. There's a hazy notion in my noodle that I'm here to develop
myself."

"That's what I'm telling you. Go in for the things that count.
Make a good frat. Win out at football or debating. I don't give a
hang what you go after, but follow the ball and keep on the jump.
I'm strong with the crowd that runs things and I'll see they take
you in and make you a cog of the machine. But you'll have to
measure up to specifications."

"But, hang it, I don't want to be a cog in any machine. I'm here
to give myself a chance to grow--sit out in the sun and hatch an
individuality--give myself lots of free play."

"Then you've come to the wrong shop," James informed him dryly.
"If you want to succeed at college you've got to do the things the
other fellows do and you've got to do them the same way."

"You mean I've got to travel in a rut?"

"Oh, well! That's a way of putting it. I mean that you have to
accept customs and traditions. You have to work like the devil
doing things that count. If you make the team you've got to think
football, talk it, eat it, dream it."

"But is it worth while?"

James waved his protest aside. "Of course it's worth while.
Success always is. Get this in your head. Four-fifths of the
fellows at college don't count. They're also-rans. To get in with
the right bunch you've got to make a good showing. Look at me. I'm
no John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Athletics bore me. I can't sing. I
don't grind. But I'm in everything. Best frat. Won the oratorical
contest. Manager of the football team next season. President of
the Dramatic Club. Why?"

He did not wait for Jeff to guess the reason. "Because our set
runs things and I go after the honors."

"But a college ought to be a democracy," Jeff protested.

"Tommyrot! It's an aristocracy, that's what it is, just like the
little old world outside, an aristocracy of the survival of the
fittest. You get there if you're strong. You go to the wall if
you're weak. That's the law of life."

The freshman came to this squint of pragmatism with surprise. He
had thought of Verden University as a splendid democracy of
intellectual brotherhood that was to leaven the world with which
it came in touch.

"Do you mean that a fellow has to have money enough to make a good
showing before he can win any of the prizes?"

James K. nodded with the sage wisdom of a man of the world. "The
long green is a big help, but you've got to have the stuff in you.
Success comes to the fellow who goes after it in the right way."

"And suppose a fellow doesn't care to go after it?"

"He stays a nobody."

James was in evening dress, immaculate from clean-shaven cheek to
patent leather shoes. He had a well-filled figure and a handsome
face with a square, clean-cut jaw. His cousin admired the young
fellow's virile competency. It was his opinion that James K.
Farnum was the last person he knew likely to remain a nobody. He
knew how to conform, to take the color of his thinking from the
dominant note of his environment, but he had, too, a capacity for
leadership.

"I'm not going to believe you if I can help it," Jeff answered
with a smile.

The upper classman shrugged. "You'd better take my advice, just
the same.
At college you don't get a chance to make two starts. You're sized
up from the crack of the pistol."

"I haven't the money to make a splurge even if I wanted to."

"Borrow."

"Who from?" asked Jeff ungrammatically.

"You can rustle it somewhere. I'm borrowing right now."

"It's different with you. I'm used to doing without things. Don't
worry about me. I'll get along."

James came with a touch of embarrassment to the real object of his
visit. "I say, Jeff. I've had a tough time to win out. You won't--
you'll not say anything--let anything slip, you know--something
that might set the fellows guessing."

His cousin was puzzled. "About what?"

"About the reason why Mother and I left Shelby and came out to the
coast."

"What do you take me for?"

"I knew you wouldn't. Thought I'd mention it for fear you might
make a slip."

"I don't chatter about the private affairs of my people."

"Course not. I knew you didn't." The junior's hand rested
caressingly on the shoulder of the other. "Don't get sore, Jeff. I
didn't doubt you. But that thing haunts me. Some day it will come
out and ruin me when I'm near the top of the ladder."

The freshman shook his head. "Don't worry about it, James. Just
tell the plain truth if it comes out. A thing like that can't hurt
you permanently. Nothing can really injure you that does not come
from your own weakness."

"That's all poppycock," James interrupted fretfully. "Just that
sort of thing has put many a man on the skids. I tell you a young
fellow needs to start unhampered. If the fellows got onto it that
my father had been in the pen because he was a defaulting bank
cashier they would drop me like a hot potato."

"None but the snobs would. Your friends would stick the closer."

"Oh' friends!" The young man's voice had a note of angry derision.

Jeff's affectionate grin comforted him. "Don't let it get on your
nerves, J. K. Things never are as bad as we expect at their
worst."

The junior set his teeth savagely. "I tell you, sometimes I hate
him for it. That's a fine heritage for a father to give his son,
isn't it? Nothing but trouble and disgrace."

His cousin spoke softly. "He's paid a hundred times for it, old
man."

"He ought to pay. Why shouldn't he? I've got to pay. Mother had to
as long as she lived." His voice was hard and bitter.

"Better not judge him. You're his only son, you know."

"I'm the one he's injured most. Why shouldn't I judge him? I've
been a pauper all these years, living off money given us by my
mother's people. I had to leave our home because of what he did.
I'd like to know why I shouldn't judge him."

Jeff was silent.

Presently James rose. "But there's no use talking about it. I've
got to be going. We have an eat to-night at Tucker's."


Part 2

Jeff came to his new life on the full tide of an enthusiasm that
did not begin to ebb till near the close of his first semester. He
lived in a new world, one removed a million miles from the sordid
one through which he had fought his way so many years. All the
idealism of his nature went out in awe and veneration for his
college. It stood for something he could not phrase, something
spiritually fine and intellectually strong. When he thought of the
noble motto of the university, "To Serve," it was always with a
lifted emotion that was half a prayer. His professors went clothed
in majesty. The chancellor was of godlike dimensions. Even the
seniors carried with them an impalpable aura of learning.

The illusion was helped by reason of the very contrast between the
jostling competition of the street and the academic air of harmony
in which he now found himself. For the first time was lifted the
sense of struggle that had always been with him.

The outstanding notes of his boyhood had been poverty and
meagerness. It was as if he and his neighbors had been flung into
a lake where they must keep swimming to escape drowning. There had
been no rest from labor. Sometimes the tragedy of disaster had
swept over a family. But on the campus of the university he found
the sheltered life. The echo of that battling world came to him
only faintly.

He began to make tentative friendships, but in spite of the advice
of his cousin they were with the men who did not count. Samuel
Miller was an example. He was a big, stodgy fellow with a slow
mind which arrived at its convictions deliberately. But when he
had made sure of them he hung to his beliefs like a bulldog to a
bone.

It was this quality that one day brought them together in the
classroom. An instructor tried to drive Miller into admitting he
was wrong in an opinion. The boy refused to budge, and the teacher
became nettled.

"Mr. Miller will know more when he doesn't know so much," the
instructor snapped out.

Jeff's instinct for fair play was roused at once, all the more
because of the ripple of laughter that came from the class. He
spoke up quietly.

"I can't see yet but that Mr. Miller is right, sir."

"The discussion is closed," was the tart retort.

After class the dissenters walked across to chapel together.

"Poke the animal up with a stick and hear him growl," Jeff laughed
airily.

"Page always thinks a fellow ought to take his say-so as gospel,"
Miller commented.

Most of the students saw in Jeff Farnum only a tallish young man,
thin as a rail, not particularly well dressed, negligent as to
collar and tie. But Miller observed in the tanned face a tender,
humorous mouth and eager, friendly eyes that looked out upon the
world with a suggestion of inner mirth. In course of time he found
out that his friend was an unconquerable idealist.

Jeff made discoveries. One of them was a quality of brutal
indifference in some of his classmates to those less fortunate.
These classy young gentlemen could ignore him as easily as a
hurrying business man can a newsboy trying to sell him a paper. If
he was forced upon their notice they were perfectly courteous;
otherwise he was not on the map for them.

Another point that did not escape his attention was the way in
which the institution catered to Merrill and Frome, because they
were large donors to the university. He had once heard Peter C.
Frome say in a speech to the students that he contributed to the
support of Verden University because it was a "safe and
conservative citadel which never had yielded to demagogic
assaults." At the time he had wondered just what the president of
the Verden Union Water Company had meant. He was slowly puzzling
his way to an answer.

Chancellor Bland referred often to the "largehearted Christian
gentlemen who gave of their substance to promote the moral and
educational life of the state." But Jeff knew that many believed
Frome and Merrill to be no better than robbers on a large scale.
He knew the methods by which they had gained their franchises and
that they ruled the politics of the city by graft and corruption.
Yet the chancellor was always ready to speak or write against
municipal ownership. It was common talk on the streets that
Professor Perkins, of the chair of political science, had had his
expenses paid to England by Merrill to study the street railway
system of Great Britain, and that Perkins had duly written several
bread-and-butter articles to show that public ownership was
unsuccessful there.

The college was a denominational one and the atmosphere wholly
orthodox. Doubt and skepticism were spoken of only with horror. At
first it was of himself that Jeff was critical. The spirit of the
place was opposed to all his convictions, but he felt that perhaps
his reaction upon life had been affected too much by his
experiences.

He asked questions, and was suppressed with severity or kindly
paternal advice. It came to him one night while he was walking
bareheaded under the stars that there was in the place no
intellectual stimulus, though there was an elaborate presence of
it. The classrooms were arid. Everywhere fences were up beyond
which the mind was not expected to travel. A thing was right,
because it had come to be accepted. That was the gospel of his
fellows, of his teachers. Later he learned that it is also the
creed of the world.

What Jeff could not understand was a mind which refused to accept
the inevitable conclusions to which its own processes pushed it.
Verden University lacked the courage which comes from intellectual
honesty. Wherefore its economics were devitalized and its theology
an anachronism.

But Jeff had been given a mind unable to lie to itself. He was in
very essence a non-conformist. To him age alone did not lend
sanctity to the ghosts of dead yesterdays that rule to-day.


CHAPTER 3

"Whoso would be a man must be a non-conformist. He who would
gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of
goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last
sacred but the integrity of your own mind,"
--Emerson.


CONVERSING ON RELIGION AND PHILOSOPHY, THE REBEL LEARNS THAT IT IS
SOMETIMES WISE TO SOFT PEDAL IDEAS UNLESS THEY ARE ACCEPTED ONES


During his freshman year Jeff saw little of his cousin beyond the
usual campus greetings, except for a period of six weeks when the
junior happened to need him. But the career of James K. tickled
immensely the under classman's sense of humor. He was becoming the
most dazzling success ever developed by the college. Even with the
faculty he stood high, for if he lacked scholarship he had the
more showy gifts that went farther. He knew when to defer and when
to ride roughshod to his end. It was felt that his brilliancy had
a solidity back of it, a quality of flintiness that would endure.

James was inordinately ambitious and loved the spotlight like an
actor. The flamboyant oratory at which he excelled had won for him
the interstate contest. He was editor-in-chief of the "Verdenian,"
manager of the varsity football team, and president of the college
senate.

With the beginning of his senior year James entered another phase
of his development. He offered to the college a new, or at least
an enlarged, interpretation of himself. Some of his smiling
good-fellowship had been sloughed to make way for the benignity of
a budding statesman. He still held a tolerant attitude to the
antics of his friends, but it was easy to see that he had put away
childish things. To his many young women admirers he talked
confidentially of his aims and aspirations. The future of James
K. Farnum was a topic he never exhausted.

It was, too, a subject which greatly interested Jeff and Sam
Miller. His cousin might smile at his poses, and often did, but he
never denied James qualities likely to carry him far.

"His one best bet is his belief in himself," Sam announced one
night.

"It's a great thing to believe in yourself."

"He's so dead sure he's cast for a big part. The egoism just oozes
out of him. He doesn't know himself that he's a faker."

"He is a long way from that," Jeff protested warmly.

"Take his oratory," Miller went on irritably. "It's all bunk. He
throws a chest and makes you feel he's a big man, but what he says
won't stand analysis--just a lot of platitudes."

"Don't forget he's young yet. James K. hasn't found himself."

"Sure there's anything to find?"

"There's a lot in him. He's the biggest man in the university
to-day."

"You practically wrote the oration that won the interstate
contest. Think I don't know that?" Miller snorted.

Jeff's mouth took on a humorous twist. "I gave him some
suggestions. How did you know?"

"Knew he wasn't hanging around last term for nothing. He's selfish
as the devil."

"You're all wrong about him, Sam. He isn't selfish at all at
bottom."

"Shoot the brains out of that oration and what's left would be the
part he supplied. The fellow's got a gift of absorbing new ideas
superficially and dressing them up smartly."

"Then he's got us beat there," Jeff laughed goodnaturedly. He had
not in his make-up a grain of envy. Even his laughter was
generally genial, though often irreverent to the God-of-things-
as-they-are.

"When he won the interstate he lapped up flattery like a thirsty
pup, but his bluff was that it was only for the college he cared
to win."

"Most of us have mixed motives."

"Not J. K. Reminds me of old Johnson's 'Patriotism is the last
refuge of a scoundrel.'"

Jeff straightened. "That won't do, Sam. I believe in J. K. You've
got nothing against him except that you don't like him."

"Forgot you were his cousin, Jeff," Miller grumbled. "But it's a
fact that he works everybody to shove him along."

"He's only a kid. Give him time. He'll be a big help to any
community."

"James K.'s biggest achievement will always be James K."

Jeff chuckled at the apothegm even while he protested. Sam capped
it with another.

"He's always sitting to himself for his own portrait."

"He'll get over that when he brushes up against the world." Jeff
added his own criticism thoughtfully. "The weak spot in him is a
sort of flatness of mind. This makes him afraid of new ideas. He
wants to be respectable, and respectability is the most damning
thing on earth."

After Miller had left Jeff buckled down to Ely's "Political
Economy." He had not been at it long when James surprised him by
dropping in. His host offered the easiest chair and shoved tobacco
toward him.

"Been pretty busy with the team, I suppose?" Jeff suggested.

"It's taken a lot of my time, but I think I've put the athletic
association on a paying basis at last."

"I see by your report in the 'Verdenian' that you made good."

"A fellow ought to do well whatever he undertakes to do."

Jeff grinned across at him from where he lay on the bed with his
fingers laced beneath his head. "That's what the copybooks used to
say."

"I want to have a serious talk with you, Jeff."

"Aren't you having it? What can be more important than the
successes of James K. Farnum?"

The senior looked at him suspiciously. He was not strongly
fortified with a sense of humor. "Just now I want to talk about
the failures of Jefferson D. Farnum," he answered gravely.

Jeff's eyes twinkled. "Is it worth while? I am unworthy of this
boon, O great Cesar."

"Now that's the sort of thing that stands in your way," James told
him impatiently. "People never know when you're laughing at them.
There is no reason why you shouldn't succeed. Your abilities are
up to the average, but you fritter them away."

"Thank you." Jeff wore an air of being immensely pleased.

"The truth is that you're your own worst enemy. Now that you have
taken to dressing better you are not bad looking. I find a good
many of the fellows like you--or they would if you'd let them."

"Because I'm so well connected," Jeff laughed.

"I suppose it does help, your being my cousin. But the thing
depends on you. Unless you make a decided change you'll never get
on."

"What change do you suggest? Item one, please?"

James looked straight at him. "You lack bedrock principles, Jeff."

"Do I?"

"Take your habits. Two or three times you've been seen coming out
of saloons."

"Expect I went in to get a drink."

"It's not generally known, of course, but if it reached Prexy he'd
fire you so quick your head would swim."

"I dare say."

The senior looked at him significantly. "You're the last man that
ought to go to such places. There's such a thing as an inherited
tendency."

The jaw muscles stood out like ropes under the flesh of Jeff's
lean face. "We'll not discuss that."

"Very well. Cut it out. A drinking man is handicapped too heavily
to win."

"Much obliged. Second count in the indictment, please."

"You've got strange, unsettling notions. The profs don't like
them."

"Don't they?"

"You know what I mean. We didn't make this world. We've got to
take it as it is. You can't make it over. There are always going
to be rich people and poor ones. Just because you've fed
indigestibly on Ibsen and Shaw you can't change facts."

"So you advise?"

"Soft pedal your ideas if you must have them."

"Hasn't a man got to see things as straight as he can?"

"That's no reason for calling in the neighbors to rejoice with him
because he has astigmatism."

Jeff came back with a tag of Emerson, whose phrases James was fond
of quoting in his speeches. "Whoso would be a man must be a
non-conformist. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of
your own mind."

"You can push that too far. It isn't practical. We've got to make
compromises, especially with established things."

Jeff sat up on the bed. Points of light were dancing in his big
eyes. "That's what the Pharisees said to Jesus when he wouldn't
stand for lies because they were deep rooted and for injustice
because it had become respectable."

"Oh, if you're going to compare yourself to Christ--"

"Verden University is supposed to stand for Christianity, isn't
it? It was because Jesus whanged away at social and industrial
freedom, at fraternity, at love on earth, that he had to endure
the Cross. He got under the upper class skin when he attacked the
traditional lies of vested interests. Now why doesn't Bland preach
the things that Jesus taught?"

"He does."

"Yes, he does," Jeff scoffed. "He preaches good form,
respectability, a narrow personal righteousness, a salvation
canned and petrified three hundred years ago."

"Do you want him to preach socialism?"

"I want him to preach the square deal in our social life,
intellectual honesty, and a vital spiritual life. Think of what
this college might mean, how it might stand for democracy It ought
to pour out into the state hundreds of specialists on the problems
of the country. Instead, it is only a reflection of the caste
system that is growing up in America."

James shrugged his broad shoulders. "I've been through all that.
It's a phase we pass. You'll get over it. You've got to if you are
going to succeed."

A quizzical grin wrinkled Jeff's lean face. "What is success?"

"It's setting a high goal and reaching it. It's taking the world
by the throat and shaking from it whatever you want." James leaned
across the table, his eyes shining. "It's the journey's end for
the strong, that's what it is. I don't care whether a man is
gathering gilt or fame, he's got to pound away with his eye right
on it. And he's got to trample down the things that get in his
way."

Jeff's eye fell upon a book on the table. "Ever hear of a chap
called Goldsmith?"

"Of course. He wrote 'The School for Scandal.' What's he got to do
with it?"

Jeff smiled, without correcting his cousin. "I've been reading
about him. Seems to have been a poor hack writer 'who threw away
his life in handfuls.' He wrote the finest poem, the best novel,
the most charming comedy of his day. He knew how to give, but he
didn't know how to take. So he died alone in a garret. He was a
failure."

"Probably his own fault."

"And on the day of his funeral the stairway was crowded with poor
people he had helped. All of them were in tears."

"What good did that do him? He was inefficient. He might have
saved his money and helped them then."

"Perhaps. I don't know. It might have been too late then. He chose
to give his life as he was living it."

"Another reason for his poverty, wasn't there?"

Jeff flushed. "He drank."

"Thought so." James rose triumphantly and put on his overcoat.
"Well, think over what I've said."

"I will. And tell the chancellor I'm much obliged to him for
sending you."

For once the Senior was taken aback. "Eh, what--what?"

"You may tell him it won't be your fault that I'll never be a
credit to Verden University."

As he walked across the campus to his fraternity house James did
not feel that his call had been wholly successful. With him he
carried a picture of his cousin's thin satiric face in which big
expressive eyes mocked his arguments. But he let none of this
sense of futility get into the report given next day to the
Chancellor.

"Jeff's rather light-minded, I'm afraid, sir. He wanted to branch
off to side lines. But I insisted on a serious talk. Before I left
him he promised to think over what I had said."

"Let us hope he may."

"He said it wouldn't be my fault if he wasn't a credit to the
University."

"We can all agree with him there, Farnum."

"Thank you, sir. I'm not very hopeful about him. He has other
things to contend with."

"I'm not sure I quite know what you mean."

"I can't explain more fully without violating a confidence."

"Well, we'll hope for the best, and remember him in our prayers."

"Yes, sir," James agreed.


CHAPTER 4

"I met a hundred men on the road to Delhi, and they were all my
brothers."--Old Proverb.


THE REBEL FLUNKS IN A COURSE ON HOW TO GET ON IN LIFE


Part 1

It would be easy to overemphasize Jeff's intellectual difficulties
at the expense of the deep delight he found in many phases of his
student life. The daily routine of the library, the tennis courts,
and the jolly table talk brought out the boy in him that had been
submerged.

There developed in him a vagabond streak that took him into the
woods and the hills for days at a time. About the middle of his
Sophomore year he discovered Whitman. While camping alone at night
under the stars he used to shout out,

"Strong and content, I travel the open road," or

"Allons! The road is before us!

"It is safe--I have tried it--my own feet have tried it well."

Through Stevenson's essay on Whitman Jeff came to know the Scotch
writer, and from the first paragraph of him was a sealed follower
of R. L. S. In different ways both of these poets ministered to a
certain love of freedom, of beauty, of outdoor spaces that was
ineradicably a part of his nature. The essence of vagabondage is
the spirit of romance. One may tour every corner of the earth and
still be a respectable Pharisee. One may never move a dozen miles
from the village of his birth and yet be of the happy company of
romantics. Jeff could find in a sunset, in a stretch of windswept
plain,
in the sight of water through leafless trees, something that
filled his heart with emotion.

Perhaps the very freedom of these vacation excursions helped to
feed his growing discontent. The yeast of rebellion was forever
stirring in him. He wanted to come to life with open mind. He was
possessed of an insatiable curiosity about it. This took him to
the slums of Verden, to the redlight district, to Socialist
meetings, to a striking coal camp near the city where he narrowly
escaped being killed as a scab. He knew that something was wrong
with our social life. Inextricably blended with success and
happiness he saw everywhere pain, defeat, and confusion. Why must
such things be? Why poverty at all?

But when he flung his questions at Pearson, who had charge of the
work in sociology, the explanations of the professor seemed to him
pitifully weak.

In the ethics class he met the same experience. A chance reference
to Drummond's "Natural Law in the Spiritual world" introduced him
to that stimulating book. All one night he sat up and read it--
drank it in with every fiber of his thirsty being.

The fire in his stove went out. He slipped into his overcoat. Gray
morning found him still reading. He walked out with dazed eyes
into a world that had been baptized anew during the night to a
miraculous rebirth.

But when he took his discovery to the lecture room Dawson was not
only cold but hostile. Drummond was not sound. There was about him
a specious charm very likely to attract young minds. Better let
such books alone for the present. In the meantime the class would
take up with him the discussion of predeterminism as outlined in
Tuesday's work.

There were members of the faculty big enough to have understood
the boy and tolerant enough to have sympathized with his crude
revolt, but Jeff was diffident and never came in touch with them.

His connection with the college ended abruptly during the Spring
term of his Sophomore year.

A celebrated revivalist was imported to quicken the spiritual life
of the University. Under his exhortations the institution
underwent a religious ferment. An extraordinary excitement was
astir on the campus. Class prayer meetings were held every
afternoon, and at midday smaller groups met for devotional
exercises. At these latter those who had made no profession of
religion were petitioned for by name. James Farnum was swept into
the movement and distinguished himself by his zeal. It was
understood that he desired the prayers of friends for that
relative who had not yet cast away the burden of his sins.

It became a point of honor with his cousin's circle to win Jeff
for the cause. There was no difficulty in getting him to attend
the meetings of the revivalist. But he sat motionless through the
emotional climax that brought to an end each meeting. To him it
seemed that this was not in any vital sense religion, but he was
careful not to suggest his feeling by so much as a word.

One or two of his companions invited him to come to Jesus. He
disconcerted them by showing an unexpected familiarity with the
Scriptures as a weapon of offense against them.

James invited him to his rooms and labored with him. Jeff resorted
to the Socratic method. From what sins was he to be saved? And
when would he know he had found salvation?

His cousin uneasily explained the formula. "You must believe in
Christ and Him crucified. You must surrender your will to His.
Shall we pray together?"

"I'd rather not, J. K. First, I want to get some points clear. Do
you mean that I'm to believe in what Jesus said and to try to live
as he suggested?"

"Yes."

Jeff picked up his cousin's Bible and read a passage. " 'We know
that we have passed from death unto life, BECAUSE WE LOVE THE
BRETHREN. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.' That's
the test, isn't it?"

"Well, you have to be converted," James said dubiously.

"Isn't that conversion--loving your brother? And if a man is
willing to live in plenty while his brother is in poverty, if he
exploits those weaker than himself to help him get along, then he
can't be really converted, can he?"

"Now see here, Jeff, you've got the wrong idea. Christ didn't come
into the world to reform it, but to save it from its sins. He
wasn't merely a man, but the Divine Son of God."

"I don't understand the dual nature of Jesus. But when one reads
His life it is easy to believe in His divinity." After a moment
the young man added: "In one way we're all divine sons of God,
aren't we?"

James was shocked. "Where do you get such notions? None of our
people were infidels."

"Am I one?"

"You ought to take advantage of this chance. It's not right to set
your opinion up against those that know better."

"And that's what I'm doing, isn't it?" Jeff smiled. "Can't help
it. I reckon I can't be saved by my emotions. It's going to be a
life job."

James gave him up, but he sent another Senior to make a last
attempt. The young man was Thurston Thomas and he had never
exchanged six sentences with Jeff in his life. The unrepentant
sinner sent him to the right about sharply.

"What the devil do you mean by running about officiously and
bothering about other people's souls? Better look out for your
own."

Thomas, a scion of one of the best families in Verden, looked as
if he had been slapped in the face.

"Why Farnum, I--I spoke for your good."

"No, you didn't," contradicted Jeff flatly. "You don't care a hang
about me. You've never noticed me before. We're not friends.
You've always disliked me. But you want the credit of bringing me
into the fold. It's damned impertinent of you."

The Senior retired with a white face. He was furious, but he
thought it due himself to turn the other cheek by saying nothing.
He reported his version to a circle of friends, and from them it
spread like grass seed in the wind. Soon it was generally known
that Jeff Farnum had grossly insulted with blasphemy a man who had
tried to save his soul.

Two days later Miller met Jeff at the door of Frome 15.

"You're in bad! Jeff. What the deuce did you do to Sissy Thomas?"

"Gave him some good advice."

Miller grinned. "I'll bet you did. The little cad has been
poisoning the wells against you. Look there."

A young woman of their class had passed into the room. Her glance
had fallen upon Farnum and been quickly averted.

"That's the first time Bessie Vroom ever cut you," Sam continued
angrily. "Thomas is responsible. I've heard the story a dozen
times already."

"I only told him to mind his own business."

"He can't. He's a born meddler. Now he's queered you with the
whole place."

"Can't help it. I wasn't going to let him get away with his
impudence. Why should I?"

Miller shrugged. "Policy, my boy. Better take the advice of Cousin
James and crawl into your shell till the storm has pelted past."

Half an hour later Jeff met his cousin near the chapel and was
taken to task.

"What's this I hear about your insulting Thomas?"

"You have it wrong. He insulted me," Jeff corrected with a smile.

"Tommyrot! Why couldn't you treat him right?"

"Didn't like to throw him through the window on account of
littering up the lawn with broken glass. "

James K.'s handsome square-cut face did not relax to a smile. "You
may think this a joke, but I don't. I've heard the Chancellor is
going to call you on the carpet."

"If he does he'll learn what I think."

The upper classman's anger boiled over. "You might think of me a
little."

"Didn't know you were in this, J. K."

"They know I'm your cousin. It's hurting my reputation."

A faint ironic smile touched Jeff's face. "No, James, I'm helping
it. Ever notice how blondes and brunettes chum together. Value of
contrasts, you see. I'm a moral brunette. You're a shining example
of all a man should be. I simply emphasize your greatness."

"That's not the way it works," his cousin grumbled.

"That's just how it works. Best thing that could happen to you
would be for me to get expelled. Shall I?"

Jeff offered his suggestion debonairly.

"Of course not."

"It would give you just the touch of halo you need to finish the
picture. Think of it: your noble head bowed in grief because of
the unworthy relative you had labored so hard to save; the
sympathy of the faculty, the respect of the fellows, the shy
adoration of the co-eds. Great Brutus bowed by the sorrow of a
strong man's unrepining emotion. By Jove, I ought to give you the
chance. You'd look the part to admiration."

For a moment James saw himself in the role and coveted it. Jeff
read his thought, and his laughter brought his cousin back to
earth. He had the irritated sense of having been caught.

"It's not an occasion for talking nonsense," he said coldly.

Jeff sensed his disgrace in the stiff politeness of the professors
and in the embarrassed aloofness of his classmates. Some of the
men frankly gave him a wide berth as if he had been a moral
pervert.

His temperament was sensitive to slights and he fell into one of
his rare depressions. One afternoon he took the car for the city.
He wanted to get away from himself and from his environment.

A chill mist was in the air. Drawn by the bright lights, Jeff
entered a saloon and sat down in an alcove with his arms on the
table. Why did they hammer him so because he told the truth as he
saw it? Why must he toady to the ideas of Bland as everybody else
at the University seemed to do? He was not respectable enough for
them. That was the trouble. They were pushing him back into the
gutter whence he had emerged. Wild fragmentary thoughts chased
themselves across the record of his brain.

Almost before he knew it he had ordered and drunk a highball.
Immediately his horizon lightened. With the second glass his
depression vanished. He felt equal to anything.

It was past nine o'clock when he took the University car. As
chance had it Professor Perkins and he were the only passengers.
The teacher of Economics bowed to the flushed youth and buried
himself in a book. It was not till they both rose to leave at the
University station that he noticed the condition of Farnum. Even
then he stood in momentary doubt.

With a maudlin laugh Jeff quieted any possible explanation of
sickness.

"Been havin' little spree down town, Profeshor. Good deal like one
ev'body been havin' out here. Yours shpiritual; mine shpirituous.
Joke, see! Play on wor'd. Shpiritual--shpirituous."

"You're intoxicated, sir," Perkin,s told him sternly.

"Betcherlife I am, old cock! Ever get shp--shp--shpiflicated
yourself?"

"Go home and go to bed, sir!"

"Whaffor? 'S early yet. 'S reasonable man I ask whaffor?"

The professor turned away, but Jeff caught at his sleeve.

"Lesh not go to bed. Lesh talk economicsh."

"Release me at once, sir."

"Jush's you shay. Shancellor wants see me. I'll go now."

He did. What occurred at that interview had better be omitted.
Jeff was very cordial and friendly, ready to make up any
differences there might be between them. An ice statue would have
been warm compared to the Chancellor.

Next day Jeff was publicly expelled. At the time it did not
trouble him in the least. He had brought a bottle home with him
from town, and when the notice was posted he lay among the bushes
in a sodden sleep half a mile from the campus.


Part 2

From a great distance there seemed to come to Jeff vaguely the
sound of young rippling laughter and eager girlish voices. Drawn
from heavy sleep, he was not yet fully awake. This merriment might
be the music of fairy bells, such stuff as dreams are made of. He
lay incurious, drowsiness still heavy on his eyelids.

"Oh, Virgie, here's another bunch! Oh, girls, fields of them!"

There was a little rush to the place, and with it a rustle of
skirts that sounded authentic. Jeff began to believe that his
nymphs were not born of fancy. He opened his eyes languidly to
examine a strange world upon which he had not yet focused his
mind.

Out of the ferns a dryad was coming toward him, lance straight,
slender, buoyantly youthful in the light tread and in the poise of
the golden head.

At sight of him she paused, held in her tracks, eyes grown big
with solicitude.

"You are ill."

Before he could answer she had dropped the anemones she carried,
was on her knees beside him, and had his head cushioned against
her arm.

"Tell me! What can I do for you? What is the matter?"

Jeff groaned. His head was aching as if it would blow up, but that
was not the cause of the wave of pain which had swept over him. A
realization had come to him of what was the matter with him. His
eyes fell from hers. He made as if to get up, but her hand
restrained him with a gentle firmness.

"Don't! You mustn't." Then aloud, she cried: "Girls--girls--
there's a sick man here. Run and get help. Quick."

"No--no! I--I'm not sick."

A flood of shame and embarrassment drenched him. He could not
escape her tender hands without actual force and his poignant
shyness made that impossible. She was like a fairy tale, a
creature of dreams. He dared not meet her frank pitiful eyes,
though he was intensely aware of them. The odor of violets brings
to him even to this day a vision of girlish charm and daintiness,
together with a memory of the abased reverence that filled him.

They came running, her companions, eager with question and
suggestion. And hard upon their heels a teamster from the road
broke through the thicket, summoned by their calls for help. He
stooped to pick up something that his foot had struck. It was a
bottle. He looked at it and then at Jeff.

"Nothing the matter with him, Miss, but just plain drunk," the man
said with a grin. "He's been sleeping it off."

Jeff felt the quiver run through her. She rose, trembling, and
with one frightened sidelong look at him walked quickly away. He
had seen a wound in her eyes he would not soon forget. It was as
if he had struck her down while she was holding out hands to help
him.


CHAPTER 5

Lies need only age to make them respectable. Given that, they
become traditions and are put upon a pedestal. Then the gentlest
word for him who attacks them is traitor.
--From the Note Book of a Dreamer.


THE REBEL FOLLOWS THE RAMIFICATIONS OF BIG BUSINESS AND FINDS THAT
THE PILLARS OF SOCIETY ARE NOT IN POLITICS FOR THEIR HEALTH


Part 1

"Hmp! Want to be a reporter, do you?"

Warren, city editor on the Advocate, leaned back in his chair and
looked Jeff over sharply.

"Yes."

"It's a hell of a life. Better keep out."

"I'd like to try it."

"Any experience?"

"Only correspondence. I've had two years at college."

The city editor snorted. He had the unreasoning contempt for
college men so often found in the old-time newspaper hack.

"Then you don't want to be a reporter. You want to be a
journalist," he jeered.

"They kicked me out," Jeff went on quietly.

"Sounds better. Why?"

Jeff hesitated. "I got drunk."

"Can't use you," Warren cut in hastily.

"I've quit--sworn off."

The city editor was back on the job, his eyes devouring copy.
"Heard that before. Nothing to it," he grunted.

"Give me a trial. I'll show you."

"Don't want a man that drinks. Office crowded with 'em already."

Jeff held his ground. For five minutes the attention of Warren was
focused on his work.

Suddenly he snapped out, "Well?"

He met Farnum's ingratiating smile. "You haven't told me yet what
to start doing."

"I told you I didn't want you."

"But you do. I'm on the wagon."

"For how long?" jeered the city editor.

"For good."

Warren sized him up again. He saw a cleareyed young fellow without
a superfluous ounce of flesh on him, not rugged but with a look of
strength in the slender figure and the thin face. This young man
somehow inspired confidence.

"Sent in that Colby story to us, didn't you?"

"Yes."

"Rotten story. Not half played up. Report to Jenkins at the City
Hall."

"Now?"

"Now. Think I meant next year?"

The city editor was already lost in the reading of more copy.

Inside of half an hour Jeff was at work on his first assignment.
Some derelict had committed suicide under the very shadow of the
City Hall. Upon the body was a note scrawled on the bask of a
dirty envelope.

Sick and out of work. Notify Henry Simmons, 237 River Street, San
Francisco.

Jenkins, his hands in his pockets, looked at the body
indifferently and turned the story over to the cub with a nod of
his head.

"Go to it. Half a stick," he said.

From another reporter Jeff learned how much half a stick is. He
wrote the account. When he had read it Jenkins glanced sharply at
him. Though only the barest facts were told there was a sob in the
story.

"That ain't just how we handle vag suicides, but we'll let 'er go
this time," he commented.

It did not take Jeff long to learn how to cover a story to the
satisfaction of the city editor. He had only to be conventional,
sensational, and in general accurate as to his facts. He
fraternized with his fellow reporters at the City Hall, shared
stories with them, listened to the cheerful lies they told of
their exploits, and lent them money they generally forgot to
return. They were a happy-go-lucky lot, full of careless
generosities and Bohemian tendencies. Often a week's salary went
at a single poker sitting. Most of them drank a good deal.

After a few months' experience Jeff discovered that while the
gathering of news tends to sharpen the wits it makes also for the
superficial. Alertness, cleverness, persistence, a nose for news,
and a surface accuracy were the chief qualities demanded of him by
the office. He had only to look around him to see that the
profession was full of keen-eyed, nimble-witted old-young men who
had never attempted to synthesize the life they were supposed to
be recording and interpreting. While at work they were always
in a hurry, for to-day's news is dead to-morrow. They wrote on the
run, without time for thought or reflection. Knowing beyond their
years, the fruit of their wisdom was cynicism. Their knowledge
withered for lack of roots.

The tendency of the city desk and of copy readers is to reduce all
reporters to a dead level, but in spite of this Jeff managed to
get himself into his work. He brought to many stories a freshness,
a point of view, an optimism that began to be noticed. From the
police run Jeff drifted to other departments. He covered hotels,
the court house, the state house and general assignments.

At the end of a couple of years he was promoted to a desk
position. This did not suit him, and he went back to the more
active work of the street. In time he became known as a star man.
From dramatics he went to politics, special stories and feature
work. The big assignments were given him.

It was his duty to meet famous people and interview them. The
chance to get behind the scenes at the real inside story was given
him. Because of this many reputations were pricked like bubbles so
far as he was concerned. The mask of greatness was like the false
faces children wear to conceal their own. In the one or two really
big men he met Jeff discovered a humility and simplicity that came
from self-forgetfulness. They were too busy with their vision of
truth to pose for the public admiration.


Part 2

It was while Jeff was doing the City Hall run that there came to
him one night at his rooms a man he had known in the old days when
he had lived in the river bottom district. If he was surprised to
see him the reporter did not show it.

"Hello, Burke! Come in. Glad to see you."

Farnum took the hat of his guest and relieved his awkwardness by
guiding him to a chair and helping him get his pipe alight.

"How's everything? Little Mike must be growing into a big boy
these days. Let's see. It's three years since I've seen him."

A momentary flicker lit the gloomy eyes of the Irishman. "He's a
great boy, Mike is. He often speaks of you, Mr. Farnum.

"Glad to know it. And Mrs. Burke?"

"Fine."

"That leaves only Patrick Burke. I suppose he hasn't fallen off
the water wagon yet."

The occupation of Burke had been a threadbare joke between them in
the old days. He drove a street sprinkler for the city.

"That's what he has. McGuire threw the hooks into me this mor-
rning. I've drove me last day."

"What's the matter?"

"I'm too damned honest. . . . or too big a coward. Take your
choice."

"All right. I've taken it," smiled the reporter.

Pat brought his big fist down on the table so forcefully that the
books shook. "I'll not go to the penitentiary for an-ny man. . . .
He wanted me to let him put two other teams on the rolls in my
 name. I wouldn't stand for it. That was six weeks ago. To-day he
lets me out."

Jeff began to see dimly the trail of the serpent graft. He lit his
pipe before he spoke.

"Don't quite get the idea, Pat. Why wouldn't you?"

"Because I'm on the level. I'll have no wan tellin' little Mike
his father is a dirty thief. . . .It's this way. The rolls were to
be padded, understand."

"I see. You were to draw pay for three teams when you've got only
one."

"McGuire was to draw it, all but a few dollars a month." The
Irishman leaned forward, his eyes blazing. "And because I wouldn't
stand for it I'm fired for neglecting my duty. I missed a street
yesterday. If he'd been frientlly to me I might have missed forty.
. . . But he can't throw me down like that. I've got the goods to
show he's a dirty grafter. Right now he's drawing pay for seven
teams that don't exist."

"And he doesn't know you know it?"

"You bet he don't. I've guessed it for a month. To-day I went
round and made sure."

Jeff asked questions, learned all that Burke had to tell him. In
the days that followed he ran down the whole story of the graft so
secretly that not even the city editor knew what he was about.
Then he had a talk with the "old man" and wrote his story.

It was a red-hot exposure of one of the most flagrant of the City
Hall gang. There was no question of the proof. He had it in black
and white. Moreover, there was always the chance that in the row
which must follow McGuire might peach on Big Tim himself, the boss
of all the little bosses.

Within twenty-four hours Jeff was summoned to a conference at
which were present the city editor and Warren, now managing
editor.

"We've killed your story, Farnum," announced the latter as soon as
the door was closed.

"Why? I can prove every word of it."

"That was what we were afraid of."

"It's a peach of a story. With the spring elections coming on we
need some dynamite to blow up Big Tim. I tell you McGuire would
tell all he knows to save his own skin."

"My opinion, too," agreed Warren dryly. "My boy, it's too big a
story. That's the whole trouble. If we were sure it would stop at
McGuire we'd run it. But it won't. The corporations are backing
Big Tim to win this spring. It won't do to get him tied up in a
graft scandal."

"But the _Advocate_ has been out after his scalp for years."

"Well, we're not after it any more. Of course, we're against him
on the surface still."

Jeff did some rapid thinking. "Then the program will be for us to
nominate a weak ticket and elect Big Tim's by default. Is that
it?"

"That's about it. The big fellows have to make sure of a Mayor who
will be all right about the Gas and Electric franchise. So we're
going to have four more years of Big Tim."

"Will Brownell stand for it?"

Brownell was the principal owner of the _Advocate._

"Will he?" Warren let his eyelash rest for a second upon the
cheek nearest Jeff. "He's been seen. My orders come direct from
the old man."

The story was suppressed. No more was heard about the McGuire
graft scandal exposure. It had run counter to the projects of big
business.

Burke had to be satisfied without his revenge.

He got a job with a brewery and charged the McGuire matter to
profit and loss.

As for Jeff the incident only served to make clearer what he
already knew. More and more he began to understand the forces that
dominate our cities, the alliance between large vested interests
and the powers that prey. These great corporations were seekers of
special privileges. To secure this they financed the machines and
permitted vice and corruption. He saw that ultimately most of the
shame for the bad government of American cities rests upon the
Fromes and the Merrills.

As for the newspapers, he was learning that between the people and
an independent press stand the big advertisers. These make for
conservatism, for an unfair point of view, for a slant in both
news recording and news interpretation. Yet he saw that the press
is in spite of this a power for good. The evil that it does is
local and temporary, the good general and permanent.


Part 3

The spirit of commercialism that dominated America during the
nineties and the first years of the new century never got hold of
Jeff. The air and the light of his land were often the creation of
a poet's dream. The delight of life stabbed him, so, too, did its
tragedy. Not anchored to conventions, his mind was forever asking
questions, seeking answers.

He would come out from a theater into a night that was a flood of
illumination. Electric signs poured a glare of light over the
streets. Motor cars and electrics whirled up to take away
beautifully gowned women and correctly dressed men. The windows of
the department stores were filled with imported luxuries. And he
would sometimes wonder how much of misery and trouble was being
driven back by that gay blare of wealth, how many men and women
and children were giving their lives to maintain a civilization
that existed by trampling over their broken hearts and bodies.

Preventable poverty stared at him from all sides. He saw that our
social fabric is thrown together in the most haphazard fashion,
without scientific organization, with the greatest waste, in such
a way that non-producers win all the prizes while the toilers do
without. Yet out of this system that sows hate and discontent,
that is a practical denial of brotherhood, of God, springs here
and there love like a flower in a dunghill.

He felt that art and learning, as well as beauty and truth, ought
to walk hand in hand with our daily lives. But this is impossible
so long as disorder and cruelty and disease are in the world
unnecessarily. He heard good people, busy with effects instead of
causes, talk about the way out, as if there could be any way out
which did not offer an equality of opportunity refused by the
whole cruel system of to-day.

But Jeff could be in revolt without losing his temper. The men who
profited by present conditions were not monsters. They were as
kind of heart as he was, effects of the system just as much as the
little bootblack on the corner. No possible good could come of a
blind hatred of individuals.

His Bohemian instinct sent Jeff ranging far in those days. He made
friends out of the most unlikely material. Some of the most
radical of these were in the habit of gathering informally in his
rooms about once a week. Sometimes the talk was good and pungent.
Much of it was merely wild.

His college friend, Sam Miller, now assistant city librarian, was
one of this little circle. Another was Oscar Marchant, a fragile
little Socialist poet upon whom consumption had laid its grip. He
was not much of a poet, but there burnt in him a passion for
humanity that disease and poverty could not extinguish.

One night James Farnum dropped in to borrow some money from his
cousin and for ten minutes listened to such talk as he had never
heard before. His mind moved among a group of orthodox and
accepted ideas. A new one he always viewed as if it were a
dynamite bomb timed to go off shortly. He was not only suspicious
of it; he was afraid of it.

James was, it happened, in evening dress. He took gingerly the
chair his cousin offered him between the hectic Marchant and a
little Polish Jew.

The air was blue with the smoke from cheap tobacco. More than one
of those present carried the marks of poverty. But the note of the
assembly was a cheerful at-homeness. James wondered what the devil
his cousin meant by giving this heterogeneous gathering the
freedom of his rooms.

Dickinson, the single-taxer, was talking bitterly. He was a big
man with a voice like a foghorn. His idea of emphasis appeared to
be pounding the table with his blacksmith fist.

"I tell you society doesn't want to hear about such things," he
was declaiming. "It wants to go along comfortably without being
disturbed. Ignore everything that's not pleasant, that's liable to
harrow the feelings. The sins of our neighbors make spicy reading.
Fill the papers with 'em. But their distresses and their poverty!
That's different. Let's hear as little about them as possible.
Let's keep it a well-regulated world."

Nearly everybody began to talk at once. James caught phrases here
and there out of the melee.

". . . Democratic institutions must either decay or become
revitalized. . . .To hell with such courts. They're no better than
anarchy. . . .In Verden there are only two classes: those who
don't get as much as they earn and those who get more. . . . Tell
you we've got to get back to the land, got to make it free as air.
You can't be saved from economic slavery till you have socialism.
. . ."

Suddenly the hubbub subsided and Marchant had the floor. "All of
life's a compromise, a horrible unholy giving up as unpractical
all the best things. It's a denial of love, of Christ, of God."

A young preacher who was conducting a mission for sailors on the
water front cut in. "Exactly. The church is radically wrong
because--"

"Because it hasn't been converted to Christianity yet. Mr.
Moneybags in the front pew has got a strangle hold on the parson.
Begging your pardon, Mifflin. We know you're not that kind."

Marchant won the floor again. "Here's the nub of it. A man's a
slave so long as his means of livelihood is dependent on some
other man. I don't care whether it's lands or railroads or mines.
Abolish private property and you abolish poverty."

They were all at it again, like dogs at a bone. Across the Babel
James caught Jeff's gay grin at him.

By sheer weight Dickinson's voice boomed out of the medley.

". . . just as Henry George says: 'Private ownership of land is
the nether mill-stone. Material progress is the upper mill-stone.
Between them, with an increasing pressure, the working classes are
being ground.' We're just beginning to see the effect of private
property in land. Within a few years. . . ."

"What we need is to get back to Democracy. Individualism has run
wild. . . ."

"Trouble is we can't get anywhere under the Constitution. Every
time we make a move--check. It was adopted by aristocrats to hold
back the people and that's what it's done. Law--"

Apparently nobody got a chance to finish his argument. The Polish
Jew broke in sharply. "Law! There iss no law."

"Plenty of it, Sobieski, Go out on the streets and preach your
philosophic anarchy if you don't believe it. See what it will do
to you. Law's a device to bolster up the strong and to hammer down
the weak."

James had given a polite cynical indulgence to views so lost to
reason and propriety. But he couldn't quite stand any more. He
made a sign to Jeff and they adjourned to the next room.

"Your friends always so--so enthusiastic?" he asked with the
slightest lift of his upper lip.

"Not always. They're a little excited to-night because Harshaw
imprisoned those fourteen striking miners for contempt of court."

"Don't manufacture bombs here, do you?"

Jeff laughed. "We're warranted harmless."

James offered him good advice. "That sort of talk doesn't lead to
anything--except trouble. Men who get on don't question the
fundamentals of our social system. It doesn't do, you know. Take
the constitution. Now I've studied it. A wonderful document.
Gladstone said."

"Yes, I know what Gladstone said. I don't agree with him. The
constitution was devised by men with property as a protection
against those who had none."

"Why shouldn't it have been?"

"It should, if vested interests are the first thing to consider.
In there"--with a smiling wave of his hand--"they think people are
more important than things. A most unsettling notion!"

"Mean to say you believe all that rant they talk?"

"Not quite," Jeff laughed.

"Well, I'd cut that bunch of anarchists if I were you," his cousin
suggested. "Say, Jeff, can you let me have fifty dollars?"

Jeff considered. He had been thinking of a new spring overcoat,
but his winter one would do well enough. From the office he could
get an advance of the balance he needed to make up the fifty.

"Sure. I'll bring it to your rooms to-morrow night."

"Much obliged. Hate to trouble you," James said lightly. "Well, I
won't keep you longer from your anarchist friends. Good-night."


CHAPTER 6

"The cure for the evils of Democracy is more Democracy."
--De Tocqueville. 


THE REBEL HUMBLY ASSISTS AT THE UNVEILING OF A HERO'S STATUE 


Part 1

On the occasion when his cousin was graduated with the highest
honors from the law school of Verden University Jeff sat
inconspicuously near the rear of the chapel. James, as class
orator, rose to his hour. From the moment that he moved slowly to
the front of the platform, handsome and impassive, his calm gaze
sweeping over the audience while he waited for the little bustle
of expectancy to subside, Jeff knew that the name of Farnum was
going to be covered with glory.

The orator began in a low clear voice that reached to the last
seat in the gallery. Jeff knew that before he finished its echoes
would be ringing through the hall like a trumpet call to the
emotions of those present.

It was not destined that Jeff should hear a word of that stirring
peroration. His eye fell by chance upon a young woman seated in a
box beside an elderly man whom he recognized as Peter C. Frome.
From that instant he was lost to all sense perception that did not
focus upon her. For he was looking at the dryad who had come upon
him out of the ferns three years before. She would never know it,
but Alice Frome had saved him from the weakness that might have
destroyed him.
From that day he had been a total abstainer. Now as he looked at
her the vivid irregular beauty of the girl flowed through him like
music. Her charm for him lay deeper than the golden gleams of
imprisoned sunlight woven in her hair, than the gallant poise of
the little head above the slender figure. Though these set his
heart beating wildly, a sure instinct told him of the fine and
exquisite spirit that found its home in her body.

She was leaning forward in her chair, her eyes fixed on James
almost as if she were fascinated by his oratory. Her father
watched her, a trifle amused at her eagerness. In her admiration
she was frank as a boy. When Farnum's last period was rounded out
and he made to leave the stage her gloved hands beat together in
excited applause.

After the ceremonies were over James came straight to her. Jeff
missed no detail of their meeting. The young lawyer was swimming
on a tide of triumph, but it was easy to see that Alice Frome's
approval was the thing he most desired. His cousin had never seen
him so gay, so handsome, so altogether irresistible. For the first
time a little spasm of envy shot through Jeff, That the girl liked
James was plain enough. How could any girl help liking him?

The orator was so much the center of attention that Jeff postponed
his congratulations till evening. He called on his cousin after
midnight at his rooms. James had just returned from a class
banquet where he had been the toastmaster. He was still riding the
big wave.

"It's been a great day for me, Jeff," he broke out after his
cousin had congratulated him. "I've earned it, too. For seven
years I've worked toward this day as a climax. Did you see me
talking to P. C. Frome and his daughter? I'm going to be accepted
socially in the best houses of the city. I'll make them all open
to me."

"I don't doubt it."

"And the best of it is that I've made my own success."

"Yes, you've worked hard," Jeff admitted with a little gleam of
humor in his eyes. He would not remind his cousin that he had
lent him most of the money to see him through law school.

"Oh, worked!" James was striding up and down the room to get rid
of some of his nervous energy. "I've done more than work. I've
made opportunities . . . grabbed them coming and going. Young as I
am Verden expects big things of me. And I'll deliver the goods,
too."

"What's the program?" Jeff asked, much amused.

"Don't know yet. I'm going into politics and I mean to get ahead.
I'll make a big splash and keep in the public eye."

His cousin could not help laughing. "You always were a pretty good
press agent for J. K. Farnum."

"Why shouldn't I be?"

"I don't know why you shouldn't. A man who gets ahead puts himself
in a position where he can bring about reforms."

"That's it exactly. I mean to make myself a power."

"Get hold of one good practical reform and back it. Pound away on
it until the people identify you with it. Take direct legislation
as your text, say. There's going to be a strong drift that way in
the next ten years. Machines and bosses are going to be swept to
the junk heap."

"How do you know?"

Jeff could give no adequate justification for the faith that was
in him. It would be no answer to tell James that he knew the plain
people of the state better than the politicians did. However, he
mentioned a few facts. 

"It's all very well for you to be a radical, but I have to
conserve my influence," James objected. "I've got to be practical.
If I were just going to be a reporter it would be different."

"Don't be too practical, James. You've got to have some vision if
you're going to lead the people. Nobody is so blind to the future
as practical politicians and business men." He stopped, smiling
quizzically. "But you're the orator of the family. I don't want to
infringe on your copyright. Only you have the personality to be a
real leader. Get started right. Remember that America faces
forward, and that we're going to move with seven league boots to
better conditions."

James mused out loud. "If a man could be a Lincoln to save the
people from industrial slavery it would be worth while."

Jeff did not laugh at his conceit. "Go to it. I'll promise you the
backing of the _World_."

"What have you to do with the _World_?"

"Beginning with next Monday I'm to be managing editor."

"You!"

"Even so. Captain Chunn has bought the paper."

"Chunn, the man who made millions in a lucky strike in Alaska?"

"Same man."

James was still incredulous. "How did Chunn happen to pick you for
the editor?"

"He's an old friend of mine. 'Member the day I had the fight with
Ned Merrill. Captain Chunn was the man who stood up for me."

"And you've known him ever since?"

"I've always corresponded with him."

"Well, I'll be hanged. Talk about luck." James looked his cousin
over with increased respect. He always took off his hat to
success, but he had been so long accustomed to thinking of Jeff as
a failure that he could not adjust his mind to the situation.
"Why, you can't run a paper. Can you?"

Jeff smiled. "I told Captain Chunn he was taking a big chance."

"If he's as rich as they say he is he can afford to lose some
money."

James took the news of his cousin's good fortune a little
peevishly. He did not grudge Jeff's advancement, but he resented
that it had befallen him to-day of all days. The promotion of the
reporter took the edge off his own achievements.



Part 2

As James understood his own genius, it was as a statesman that he
was fitted preeminently to shine. He had the urbanity, the large
impassive manner, and the magnetic eloquence of the old-style
congressman. All he needed was the chance.

With the passing months he grew more restless at the delay. There
were moments in the night when he trembled lest some stroke of
evil fate might fall upon him before he had carved his name in the
niche of fame. To sit in an empty law office and wait for clients
took more patience than he could summon. He wanted an opportunity
to make speeches in the campaign that was soon to open. That he
finally went to Big Tim himself about it instead of to his ward
committeeman was characteristic of James K.

After he sent his card in the young lawyer was kept waiting for
thirty-five minutes in an outer office along with a Jew peddler, a
pugilist ward heeler, an Irish saloonkeeper, and a brick
contractor. Naturally he was exceedingly annoyed. O'Brien ought to
know that James K. Farnum did not rank with this riff-raff.

When at last James got into the holy of holies he found Big Tim
lolling back in his swivel chair with a fat cigar in his mouth.
The boss did not take the trouble to rise as he waved his visitor
to a chair.

Farnum explained that he was interested in the political situation
and that he was prepared to take an active part in the campaign
about to open. The big man listened, watching him out of half shut
attentive eyes. He had never yet seen a kid glove politician that
was worth the powder to blow him up. Moreover, he had special
reasons for disliking this one. His cousin was editor of the
_World_, and that paper was becoming a thorn in his side.

O'Brien took the cigar from his mouth. "Did youse go to the
primary last night?' he asked.

James did not even know there had been one. He had in point of
fact been at a Country Club dance.

"Can youse tell me what the vote of your precinct was at the last
city election?"

The budding statesman could not.

"What precinct do youse live in?"

Farnum was not quite sure. He explained that he had moved
recently.

Big Tim grunted scornfully. He was pleased to have a chance to
take down the cheek of any Farnum.

"What do youse think you can do?"

"I can make speeches. I'm the best orator that ever came out of
Verden University."

"Tommyrot! How do youse stand in your precinct? Can youse get the
vote out to go down the line for us? That's what counts. Oratory
be damned!"

James was pale with rage. The manner of the boss was nothing less
than insulting.

"Then you decline to give me a chance, Mr. O'Brien?"

"I do not. In politics a man makes his own chance. He gets along
by being so useful we can't get along without him. See? He learns
the game. You don't know the A B C of it. It's my opinion youse
never will."

O'Brien's hard cold eye triumphed over him as a principal does
over a delinquent schoolboy.

His vanity stung, the lawyer sprang to his feet. "Very well, Mr.
O'Brien. I'll show you a thing or two about what I can and can't
do."

For just an instant a notion flitted across Big Tim's mind that he
might be making a mistake. He was indulging an ugly temper, and he
knew it. This was a luxury he rarely permitted himself. Now he
decided to "go the whole hog," as he phrased it to himself later.
His lips set to an ugly snarl.

"It's like the nerve of ye to come to me. Want to begin at the top
instid of at the bottom. Go to Billie Gray if youse want to have
some wan learn youse the game. If you're any good he'll find it
out."

James got himself out of the office with all the dignity of which
he was capable. Go to Billie Gray, the notorious ballot box
stuffer! Take orders from the little rascal who had shaved the
penitentiary only because of his pull! James saw himself doing it.
He was sore in every outraged nerve of him. Never before in his
life had anybody sat and sneered at him openly before his eyes. He
would show the big boss that he had been a fool to treat him so.
And he would show P. C. Frome and Ned Merrill that he was a very
valuable man.

How? Why, by fighting the corporations! Wasn't that the way that
all the big men got their start nowadays as lawyers? As soon as
they discovered his value Frome and his friends would be after his
services fast enough. James was no radical, but he believed Jeff
knew what he was talking about when he predicted an impending
political change, one that would carry power back from the machine
bosses to the people. The young lawyer decided to ride that wave
as far as it would take him. He would be a tribune of the people,
and they in turn would make of him their hero. With the promised
backing of the _World_ he would go a long way. He knew that Jeff
would fling him at once into the limelight. And he would make
good. He would be the big speaker for the reform movement. Nobody
in the state could sway a crowd as he could. James had not the
least doubt about that. It was glory and applause he wanted, not
the drudgery of dirty ward politics.


Part 3

Under Jeff's management the _World_ had at once taken the
leadership in the fight for political reform in the state. He made
it the policy of the paper to tell the truth as to corruption both
in and out of his own party. Nor would he allow the business
office, as influenced by the advertisers, to dictate the policy of
the paper. The result was that at the end of the first year he
went to the owner with a report of a deficit of one hundred and
twenty-five thousand dollars for the twelve months just ended.

Captain Chunn only laughed. "Keep it up, son. I've had lots of fun
out of it. You've given this town one grand good shaking up. The
whole state is getting its fighting clothes on. We've got Merrill
and Frome scared stiff about their supreme court judges. Looks to
me as if we were going to lick them."

The political campaign was already in progress. Hitherto the
public utility corporations of Verden had controlled and
practically owned the machinery of both parties. The _World_ had
revolted, rallied the better sentiment in the party to which it
belonged, and forced the convention to declare for a reform
platform and to nominate a clean ticket composed of men of
character.

Jeff agreed. "I think we're going to win. The people are with us.
The _World_ is booming." It's the advertising troubles me. Frome
and Merrill have got at the big stores and they won't come in with
any space worth mentioning."

"Damn the big advertisers," exploded Chunn. "I've got two million
cold and I'm going to see this thing out, son. That's what I told
Frome last week when he had the nerve to have me nominated to the
Verden Club. Wanted to muzzle me. Be a good fellow and quit
agitating. That was the idea. I sent back word I'd stuck by Lee to
Appomattox and I reckoned I was too old a dog to learn the new
trick of deserting my flag."

"If you're satisfied I ought to be," Jeff laughed. "As for the
advertising, the stores will come back soon. The managers all want
to take space, but they are afraid of spoiling their credit at the
banks while conditions are so unsettled."

"Oh, well. We'll stick to our guns. You fire'em and I'll supply
the ammunition." The little man put his hand on Jeff's shoulder
with a chuckle. "We're both rebels--both irreconcilables, son. I
reckon we're going to be well hated before we get through with
this fight."

"Yes. They're going about making people believe we're cranks and
agitators who are hurting business for our own selfish ends." 

"I reckon we can stand it, David." Chunn had no children of his
own and he always called Jeff son or David. "By the way, how's
that good looking cousin of yours coming out? I see you're giving
his speeches lots of space."

A light leaped to the eyes of the younger man. "He's doing fine.
James is a born orator. Wherever he goes he gets a big ovation."

Chunn grunted. "Humph! That'll please him. He's as selfish as the
devil, always looking out for James Farnum."

"He wins the people, Captain."

"You talk every evening yourself, but I don't see reports of any
of your speeches."

"I don't talk like James. There's not a man in the state to equal
him, young as he is."

"Humph!"

Captain Chunn grumbled a good deal about the way Jeff was always
pushing his cousin forward and keeping in the background himself.
In his opinion "David" was worth a hundred of the other.


CHAPTER 7

"Spirits of old that bore me,
 And set me, meek of mind,
Between great deeds before me,
 And deeds as great behind,

Knowing Humanity my star
 As forth of old I ride,
0 help me wear with every scar
 Honor at eventide."


THE REBEL DISCOVERS THAT ADHESION IS A PROPERTY OF MUD; ALSO THAT
A SOLDIER MUST SOMETIMES TURN HIS BACK AND BURN THE BRIDGES BEHIND
HIM


Part 1

The fight for the control of the state developed unprecedented
bitterness. The big financial interests back of the political
machines poured out money like water to elect a ticket that would
be friendly to capital. An eight-hour-day bill to apply to miners
and underground workers had been passed by the last legislature
and a supreme court must be elected to declare this law
unconstitutional. Moreover, a United States senator was to be
chosen, so that the personnel of the assembly was a matter of
great importance.

Through the subsidized columns of the _Advocate_ and the _Herald_
all the venom of outraged public plunder was emptied on the heads
of Jeff Farnum and Captain Chunn. They were rebels, blackmailers,
and anarchists. Jeff's life was held up to public scorn as
dissolute and licentious. He had been expelled from college and
consorted only with companions of the lowest sort. A free thinker
and an atheist, he wanted to tear down the pillars which upheld
society. Unless Verden and the state repudiated him and his gang
of trouble breeders the poison of their opinions would infect the
healthy fabric of the community.

There was about Jeff a humility, a sort of careless generosity,
that could take with a laugh a hit at himself. But in the days
that followed he was often made to wince when good men drew away
from him as from a moral pervert. Twice he was hissed from the
stage when he attempted to talk, or would have been, if he had not
quietly waited until the indignant protesters were exhausted. It
amused him to see that his old college acquaintance "Sissie"
Thomas and Billy Gray, the ballot box stuffer of the Second Ward,
were among the most vehement of those who thus scorned him. So do
the extremes of virtue and vice find common ground when the
blasphemer raises his voice against intrenched capital.

The personal calumny of the enemy showed how hard hit the big
bosses were, how beneath their feet they felt the ground of public
opinion shift. It had been only a year since Big Tim O'Brien, boss
of the city by permission of the public utility corporations, had
read Jeff's first editorial against ballot box stuffing. In it the
editor of the _World_ had pledged that paper never to give up the
fight for the people until such crookedness was stamped out. Big
Tim had laughed until his paunch shook at the confidence of this
young upstart and in impudent defiance had sent him a check for
fifty dollars for the Honest Election League.

Neither Big Tim nor the respectable buccaneers back of him were
laughing now. They were fighting with every ounce in them to sweep
back the wave of civic indignation the _World_ had gathered into a
compact aggressive organization.

Young Ned Merrill, who represented the interests of the allied
corporations, had Big Tim on the carpet. The young man had not
been out of Harvard more than three years, but he did not let any
nonsense about fair play stand in his way. In spite of the clean-
cut look of him--he was broadshouldered and tall, with an effect
of decision in the square cleft chin that would some day
degenerate into fatness--Ned Merrill played the game of business
without any compunctions.

"You're making a bad fight of it, O'Brien. Old style methods won't
win for us. These crank reformers have got the people stirred up.
Keep your ward workers busy, but don't expect them to win." He
leaned forward and brought his fist down heavily on the desk.
"We've got to smash Farnum--discredit him with the bunch of sheep
who are following him."

"What more do youse want? We're callin' him ivery black name under
Hiven."

Merrill shook his head decisively. "Not enough. Prove something.
Catch him with the goods."

"If youse'll show me how?"

"I don't care how, You've got detectives, haven't you? Find out
all about him, where he comes from, who his people were. Rake his
life with a fine tooth comb from the day he was born. He's a bad
egg. We all know that. Dig up facts to prove it."

Within the hour detectives were set to work. One of them left next
day for Shelby. Another covered the neighborhoods where Jeff had
lived in Verden. Henceforth wherever he went he was shadowed.

It was about this time that Samuel Miller lost his place in the
city library on account of his political opinions. For more than a
year he and Jeff had roomed together at a private boarding house
kept by a Mrs. Anderson. Within twentyfour hours of his dismissal
Miller was on the road, sent out by the campaign committee of his
party to make speeches throughout the state.

Jeff himself was speaking nearly every night now that the day of
election was drawing near. This, together with the work of editing
the paper and the strain of the battle, told heavily on a vitality
never too much above par. He would come back to his rooms fagged
out, often dejected because some friend had deserted to the enemy.

One cold rainy evening he met Nellie Anderson in the hall. She had
been saying good-bye to some friends who had been in to call on
her.

"You're wet, Mr. Farnum," the young woman said.

"A little."

She stood hesitating in the doorway leading to the apartment of
herself and her mother, then yielded shyly to a kindly impulse.

"We've been making chocolate. Won't you come in and have some? You
look cold."

Jeff glimpsed beyond her the warm grate fire in the room. He, too,
yielded to an impulse. "Since you're so good as to ask me, Miss
Nellie."

She took charge of his hat and overcoat, making him sit down in a
big armchair before the fire. He watched her curiously as she
moved lightly about waiting on him. Nellie was a soft round little
person with constant intimations of a childhood not long outgrown.
Jeff judged she must be nineteen or twenty, but she had moments of
being charmingly unsure of herself. The warm color came and went
in her clear cheeks at the least provocation.

"Mother's gone to bed. She always goes early. You don't mind," she
asked naively.

Jeff smiled. She was, he thought, about as worldly wise as a
fluffy kitten. "No, I don't mind at all," he assured her.

Nor did he in the least. His weariness was of the spirit rather
than the body, and he found her grace, her shy sweetness, grateful
to the jaded senses. It counted in her favor that she was not
clever or ultra-modern. The dimpling smiles, the quick sympathy of
this innocent, sensuous young creature, drew him out of his
depression. When he left the pleasant warmth of the room half an
hour later it was with a little glow at the heart. He had found
comfort and refreshment.

How it came to pass Jeff never quite understood, but it soon was
almost a custom for him to drop into the living room to get a cup
of chocolate when he came home. He found himself looking forward
to that half hour alone with Nellie Anderson. Whoever else
criticized him, she did not. The manner in which she made herself
necessary to his material comfort was masterly. She would be
waiting, eager to help him off with his overcoat, hot chocolate
and sandwiches ready for him in the cozy living-room. To him, who
for years had lived a hand-to-mouth boarding house existence, her
shy wholesome laughter made that room sing of home, one which her
personality fitted to a dot. She was always in good humor, always
trim and neat, always alluring to the eye. And she had the pretty
little domestic ways that go to the head of a bachelor when he
eats alone with an attractive girl.

Their intimacy was not exactly a secret. Mrs. Anderson, who was
rather deaf and admitted to being a heavy sleeper, knew that Jeff
dropped in occasionally. He suspected she did not know how
regularly, but she was one of that large class of American mothers
who let their daughters arrange their own love affairs and would
not have interfered had she known.

Once or twice it flashed upon Jeff that this ought not to go on.
Since he had no intention of marrying Nell he must not let their
relationship reach the emotional climax toward which he guessed it
was racing. But his experience in such matters was limited. He did
not know how to break off their friendship without hurting her,
and he was eager to minimize the possibility of danger. His
modesty made this last easy. Out of her kindness she was good to
him, but it was not to be expected that so pretty a girl would
fall in love with a man like him.

The most potent argument for letting things drift was his own
craving for her. She was becoming necessary to him. Whenever he
thought of her it was with a tender glow. Her soft long-lashed
eyes would come between him and the editorial he was writing. A
dozen times a day he could see a picture of the tilted little
coaxing mouth. The gurgle of her laughter called to him for hours
before he left the office.

He got into the habit of talking to her about the things that were
troubling him--the tactics of the enemy, the desertion of friends,
the dubious issue of the campaign. Curled up in a big chair, her
whole attention absorbed in what he was saying Nellie made a good
listener. If she did not show a full understanding of the
situation, he could always sense her ready sympathy. Her naive,
indignant loyalty was touching.

"I read what the _Advocate_ said about you today," she told him
one night, a tide of color in her cheeks. "It was horrid. As if
anybody would believe it."

"I'm afraid a good many people do," he said gravely.

"Nobody who knows you," she protested stoutly.

"Yes, some who know me."

He let his eyes dwell on her. It was easy to see how undisciplined
of life she was, save where its material aspects had come into
impact with her on the economic side.

"None of your real friends."

"How many real friends has a man--friends who will stand by him no
matter how unpopular he is?"

"I don't know. I should think you'd have lots of them."

He shook his head, a hint of a smile in his eyes. "Not many. They
keep their chocolate and sandwiches for folks whose trolley
do'esn't fly the wire."

"What wire?" she asked, her forehead knitted to a question.

"Oh, the wire that's over the tracks of respectability and vested
interests and special privilege."

She had been looking at him, but now her gaze went to the fire
with that slow tilt of the chin he liked. Another color wave swept
the oval of the soft cheeks.

"You've got more friends than you think," she said in a low voice.

"I've got one little friend I wouldn't like to lose."

She did not speak and his hand moved forward to cover hers.
Instantly a wild and insurgent emotion tingled through him. He
felt himself trembling and could not steady his nerves.

Without a word Nellie looked up and their eyes met. Something
electric flashed from one to another. Her shy fear of him was
adorable.

"Oh, don't, don't!" she murmured. "What will you think of me now?"

He had leaned forward and kissed her on the lips.

Jeff sprang to his feet, the muscles in his lean cheeks standing
out. Some bell of warning was ringing in him. He was a man, young
and desirous, subject to all the frailties of his sex, holding
experiences in his past that had left him far from a puritan. And
she was a woman, of unschooled impulses, with unsuspected banked
passions, an innocent creature in whom primeval physical life
rioted.

He moved toward the door, his left fist beating into the palm of
his right hand. He must protect her, against himself--and against
her innocent affection for him.

She fluttered past him, barring the way. Her cheeks were flaming
with shame.

"You despise me. Why did I let you?" A sob swelled up into her
soft round throat.

"You blessed lamb," he groaned.

"You're going to leave me. You--you don't want me for a friend any
longer."

Her lips trembled--the red little lips that always reminded him of
a baby's with its Cupid's bow. She was on the verge of breaking
down. Jeff could not stand that. He held out his hands, intending
to take hers and explain that he was not angry or disappointed at
her. But somehow he found her in his arms instead, supple and
warm, vital youth flowing in the soft cheeks' rich coloring and in
the eyes quick and passionate with the tender abandon of her sex.

He set his teeth against the rush of desire that flooded him as
her soft body clung to his. The emotional climax he had vaguely
feared had leaped upon them like an uncaged tiger. He fought to
stamp down the fires that blazed up in him. Time to think--he must
have time to think.

"You don't despise me then," she cried softly, a little catch in
her breath.

"No," he protested, and again "No."

"But you think I've done wrong."

"No. I've been to blame. You're a dear girl--and I've abused your
kindness. I must go away--now."

"Then you--you do hate me," she accused with a quivering lip.

"No . . . no. I'm very fond of you."

"But you're going to leave me. It's because I've done wrong."

"Don't blame yourself, dear. It has been all my fault. I ought to
have known."

Her hands fell from him. The life seemed to die out of her whole
figure. "You do despise me."

Desire of her throbbed through him, but he spoke very quietly.
"Listen, dear. There is nobody I respect more . . . and none I
like so much. I can't tell you how. . . fond of you I am. But I
must go now. You don't understand."

She bit her lip to repress the sobs that would come and turned
away to hide her shame. Jeff caught her in his arms, kissed her
passionately on the lips, the eyes, the soft round throat.

"You do . . . like me," she purred happily.

Abruptly he pushed her from him. Where were they drifting? He must
get his anchors down before it was too late.

Somehow he broke away, leaving her there hurt and bewildered at
his apparent fickleness, at the stiffness with which he had beaten
back the sweet delight inviting them.

Jeff went to his rooms, his mind in a blind chaotic surge. He sat
before the table for hours, fighting grimly to persuade himself he
need not put away this joy that had come to him. Surely friendship
was a good thing . . . and love. A man ought not to turn his back
on them.

It was long past midnight when he rose, took his father's sword
from the wall where it hung, and unsheathed it. A vision of an
open fireplace in a log house rose before him, his father in the
foreground looking like a picture of Stonewall Jackson. The kind
brave eyes that were the soul of honor gazed at him.

"You damned scoundrel! You damned scoundrel!" Jeff accused himself
in a low voice.

He knew his little friend was good and innocent, but he knew too
she had inherited a temperament that made her very innocence a

anger to her. Every instinct of chivalry called upon him to
protect her from the weakness she did not even guess. She had
given him her kindness and her friendship, the dear child! It was
up to him to be worthy of them. If he failed her he would be a
creature forever lost to decency.

There was a sob in his throat as Jeff pushed the blade back into
the worn scabbard and rehung the sword upon the wall. But the eyes
in his lifted face were very bright. He too would keep his sword
unstained and the flag of honor flying.

All through the next day and the next his resolution held. He took
pains not to see her alone, though there was not an hour of the
day when he could get away from the thought of her. The uneasy
consciousness was with him that the issue was after all only
postponed, that decisions of this kind must be made again and
again so long as opportunity and desire go together. And there
were moments of reaction when his will was like a rope of sand,
when the longing for her swept over him like a great wave.

As Jeff slipped quietly into the hall the door of her room opened.
Their eyes met, and presently hers fell. She was troubled and
ashamed at what she had done, but plainly eager in her innocence
to be forgiven.

Jeff spoke gently. "Nellie."

Her eyes suddenly filled with tears. "Aren't we ever going to be
friends again?"

Through the open door he could see the fire glowing in the grate
and the chocolate set on the little table. He knew she had
prepared for his coming and how greatly she would be hurt if he
rejected her advances.

"Of course we're friends."

"Then you'll come in, just for a few minutes."

He hesitated.

"Please," she whispered. "Or I'll know you don't like me any
more."

Jeff followed her into the room and closed the door behind him.


Part 2

Two days before the election Big Tim's detective wired from
Shelby, Tennessee, the outline of a story that got two front page
columns in both the _Advocate_ and the _Herald._ Jefferson Davis
Farnum was the son of a thief, of a rebel soldier who had spent
seven years in the penitentiary for looting the bank of which he
was cashier. In addition to featuring the news story both papers
handled the subject at length in their editorial columns. They
wanted to know whether the people of this beautiful state were
willing to hand over the Commonwealth to be plundered by the
reckless gang of which this son of a criminal was the head.

The paper reached Jeff at his rooms in the morning. He had lately
taken the apartments formerly occupied by his cousin, James moving
to Mrs. Anderson's until after the election. The exchange had been
made at the suggestion of the editor, who gave as a reason that he
wanted to be close to his work until the winter was past. It
happened that James was just now very glad to get a cheaper place.
He was very short of funds and until after the election had no
time for social functions. All he needed with a room was to sleep
in it.

Jeff was still reading the story from Shelby when his cousin came
in hurriedly. James was excited and very white.

"My God, Jeff! It's come at last. I knew it would ruin me some
day," the lawyer cried, after he had carefully closed the door of
the bedroom.

"It won't ruin you, James. Your name isn't mentioned yet. Perhaps
it may not be. It can't hurt you, even if it is."

"I tell you it will ruin me both socially and politically. Once it
gets out nobody will trust me. I'll be the son of a thief," James
insisted wildly.

"You're the son of a man who made a slip and has paid for it,"
answered Jeff steadily. "Don't let your ideas get warped. This
town is full of men who have done wrong and haven't paid for it."

"That's one of your fool socialist theories." James spoke sharply
and irritably. "No man's guilty till the law says so. They haven't
been in the penitentiary. He has. That's what damns me if it gets
out."

Jeff laid a hand affectionately on his cousin's shoulder. "Don't
you believe it for a moment. There's no moral distinction between
the man who has paid and the man who hasn't paid for his sins
toward society. There is good and there is bad in all of us,
closely intertwined, knit together into the very warp and woof of
our lives. We're all good and we're all bad."

It was with James a purely personal equation. He could not forget
its relation to himself.

"My name is to be voted on at the University Club next month. I'll
be blackballed to a dead certainty," he said miserably.

"Probably, if the story gets out. It's tough, I know." Jeff's eyes
gleamed angrily. "And why should they? You're just as good a man
to-day as you were yesterday. But there's nothing so fettering, so
despicable as good form. It blights. Let a man bow down to the
dead hand of custom and he can never again be true to what he
thinks and knows. His judgment gets warped. Soon Madame Grundy
does his thinking for him, along well-grooved lines."

"Oh, well! That's just talk. What am I to do?" James broke out
nervously.

"I know what I would do in your case."

"What?"

"Come out with a short statement telling the exact facts. I'd make
no apologies or long explanation. Just the plain story as simply
as you can."

"Well, I'll not," the lawyer broke out. "Easy enough for you to
say what I ought to do. Look at who my friends are--the Fromes
and the Merrills and the Gilmans. Best set in town. I strained a
point when I broke loose from them to take up this progressive
fight. They'd cut me dead if a story like this came out."

"I daresay. Communities are loaded to the guards with respectable
cowards. But if you stand on your own feet like a man they'll
think more of you for it. Most of them will be glad to know you
again inside of five years. For you're going to be successful, and
people like the Merrills and the Gilmans bow down to success."

The lawyer shook his head doggedly. "I'm not going to tell a thing
I don't have to tell. That's settled." He hesitated a moment
before he went on. "I've got a reason why I want to stand well
with the Fromes, Jeff. I'm not in a position to risk anything."

Jeff waited. He thought he knew that reason.

"I'm going to marry Alice Frome if I can."

"You've asked her." Jeff's voice sounded to himself as if it
belonged to another man.

"No. Not yet. Ned Merrill's in the running. Strong, too. He's
being backed by his father and old P. C. Frome. The idea is to
consolidate interests by this marriage. But I've got a fighting
chance. She likes me. Since I went into this political fight
against her father she's taken pains to show me how friendly she
feels. But if this story gets out--I'm smashed. That's all."

"Go to her. Tell her the truth. She'll stand by you," his cousin
urged.

"You don't understand these people, Jeff. I do. Even if she wanted
to stand by me she couldn't. They wouldn't let her. Right now I'm
carrying all the handicap I can."

Jeff walked to the window and stood looking out with his hands in
his pockets. The hum of the busy street rose to his ears, but he
did not hear it. Nor did he see the motor cars whizzing past, the
drays lumbering along, the thronged sidewalks of Powers Avenue. A
door that had for years been ajar in his heart had swung to with a
crash. The incredible folly of his dream was laid bare to him.
Despised, distrusted and disgraced, there was no chance that he
might be even a friend to her. She moved in another world, one he
could not reach if he would and would not if he could. All that he
believed in she had been brought up to disregard. Much that was
dear to her he must hammer down so long as there was life in him.

But James--he had fought his way up to her. Why shouldn't he have
his chance? Better--far better James than Ned Merrill. He had
heard the echoes of a disgraceful story about that young man in
his college days, the story of how he had trampled down a working
girl for his pleasure. James was clean and honorable . . . and she
loved him. Jeff's mind fastened on that last as a thing assured.
Had he not seen her with starry eyes fixed on her hero, held fast
as a limed bird? She too was entitled to her chance, and there was
a way he could give it to her.

He turned back to James, who was sitting despondently at the
managing editor's desk, jabbing at the blotting sheet with a
pencil.

Jeff touched the _Advocate_ he still held in his hand. "Did you
read this story carefully?"

"No. I just ran my eye down it. Why?"

"Whoever dug it up has made a mistake. He has jumped to the
conclusion that I'm Uncle Robert's son. Why not let it go at
that?"

His cousin looked up with a flash of eager hope. "You mean--"

"I might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb. Let it go the
way they have it."

The lawyer's heart leaped, but he could not let this go without a
protest. "No, I--I couldn't do that. It's awfully good of you,
Jeff."

The managing editor smiled in his whimsical way. "My reputation
has long been in tatters. A little more can't hurt it."

James conceded a reflective assent with a manner of impartiality.
"Of course your friends wouldn't think any the less of you.
They're not so--so--"

"respectable as yours," Jeff finished for him.

"I was going to say so hidebound."

"All the same, isn't it?"

"But it would be a sacrifice for you. I recognize that. And I'm
not sure that I could accept it. I will have to think that over,"
the lawyer concluded magnanimously.

"You'll find it is best. But I think I would tell Miss Frome, even
if I didn't tell anybody else. She has a right to know."

"You may depend upon me to do whatever is best about that."

James was hardly out of the office before Captain Chunn blew in
like a small tornado. He was boiling with rage.

"What's this infernal lie about you being the son of a convict,
David?" he demanded, waving a copy of the Herald.

"Sit down, Captain. I'll tell you the story because you're
entitled to it. But I shall have to speak in confidence."

"Confidence! Dad burn it, what are you talking about? Are you
trying to tell me that Phil Farnum was a thief and a convict?"

Jeff's steel-blue eyes looked straight into his. "Nothing so
impossible as that, Captain. I'm going to tell you the story of
his brother."

Jeff told it, but he and the owner of the _World_ disagreed
radically about the best way to answer the attack.

"Why must you always stand between that kid glove cousin of yours
and trouble? Let him stand the gaff himself. It will do him good,"
Chunn stormed.

But Jeff had his way. The _World_ made no denial of the facts
charged. In a statement on the front page that covered less than
three sticks he told the simple story of the defalcation of Robert
Farnum. One thing only he added to the account given in the
opposition papers. This was that during the past two years the
shortage of the bank cashier had been paid in full to the
Planters' First National at Shelby.

There were many forecasts as to what the effect of the Farnum
story would be on the election returns. It is enough to say that
the ticket supported by the _World_ was chosen by a small
majority. James was elected to the legislature by a plurality of
fifteen hundred votes over his antagonist, a majority unheard of
in the Eleventh District.


CHAPTER 8 

Is not this the trouble with our whole man-made world, that the
game is played with loaded dice? Against the poor, the weak and
the unfortunate have the cards been stacked. A tremendous
percentage is in favor of the crook, the scoundrel, the smug
robber of industry by whom the hands are dealt.

Wealth, created by the many, is more and more flowing into the
vaults of the few. Legislatures, Congress, the courts, all the
machinery of government, answer to the crack of the whip wielded
by Big Business. The creed of the allied plunderers is that he
should take who has the power and he should keep who can.

Until we mutiny against the timidity of our times Democracy and
Prosperity will be dreams. The poor and the parasite we shall have
always with us.

In that new world which is to be MEN and not THINGS will be
supreme, property a means and not an end. The heart of the world
will be born anew under an economic reconstruction that will give
freedom for individual development. For our social and industrial
life will be founded not on a denial of God but on an affirmation
of Brotherhood.--From the Note Book of a Dreamer.


THE HERO MEETS AND ADMIRES A MONA LISA SMILE. HE IS TENDERED AN
APOLOGY FOR A PAST DISCOURTESY


Part 1

Came James Farnum down Powers Avenue carrying with buoyant dignity
the manner of greatness that sat so well on him. His smile was
warm for a world that just now was treating him handsomely. There
could be no doubt that for a first term he was making an
extraordinary success of his work in the legislature. He had
worked hard on committees and his speeches had made a tremendous
hit. Jeff had played him up strong in the world too, so that he
was becoming well known over the state. That he had risen to
leadership of the progressives in the House during his first term
showed his quality. His ambition vaulted. Now that his feet were
on the first rungs of the ladder it would be his own fault if he
did not reach the top.

His progress down the busy street was in the nature of an ovation.
Everywhere he met answering smiles that told of the people's pride
in their young champion. Already James had discovered that
Americans are eager for hero worship. He meant to be the hero of
his state, the favorite son it would delight to honor. This was
what he loved: the cheers for the victor, not the clash of the
battle.

"Good morning, Farnum. What are the prospects?" It was Clinton
Rogers, of the big shipbuilding firm Harvey & Rogers, that stopped
him now.

"Still anybody's fight, Mr. Rogers." The young lawyer's voice fell
a note to take on a frankly confidential tone, an accent of
friendliness that missed the fatal buttonholing familiarity of the
professional politician. "If we can hold our fellows together
we'll win. But the Transcontinental is bidding high for votes--and
there's always a quitter somewhere."

"Does Frome stand any chance?"

"It will be Hardy or Frome. The least break in our ranks will be
the signal for a stampede to P. C. The Republicans will support
him when they get the signal. It's all a question of our fellows
standing pat."

"From what I can learn it won't be your fault if Hardy isn't
elected. I congratulate you on the best record ever made by a

ember in his first term."

"Oh, we all do our best," James answered lightly. "But I'm
grateful for your good opinion. I hope I deserve it."

James could afford to be modest about his achievements so long as
Jeff was shouting his praises through the columns of the _World_
to a hundred thousand readers of that paper. What the shipbuilder
had said pleased him mightily. For Clinton Rogers was one of the
few substantial moneyed men of Verden who had joined the reform
movement. Not a single member of the Verden Club, with the
exception of Rogers, was lined up with those making the fight for
direct legislation. Even those who had no financial interest in
the Transcontinental or the public utility corporations supported
that side from principle.

James himself had thought a long time before casting in his lot
with the insurgents led by his cousin. He had made tentative
approaches both to Frome and to Edward B. Merrill. Both of these
gentlemen had been friendly enough, but James had made up his mind
they undervalued his worth. The way to convince them of this was
to take the field against them.

He smiled now as he swung along the avenue. Both Frome and Merrill
--yes, and Big Tim too, for that matter!--knew by this time
whether they had made a mistake in sizing him up as a raw college
boy with his eye teeth not cut.

A passing electric containing two young women brought his gloved
hand to his hat. The long slant eyes of the lady on the farther
side swept him indolently. In answer to her murmured suggestion
the girl who was driving brought the machine round in a half
circle which ended at the edge of the curb in front of Farnum.

The lawyer's hat came off again with easy grace. The slim young
driver leaned back against the cushions and merely smiled a
greeting, tacitly yielding command of the situation to her cousin,
an opulent young widow adorned demurely with that artistic touch
of mourning that suggests a grief not inconsolable.

"Good morning, Miss Frome--Mrs. Van Tyle," James distributed
impartially before turning to the latter lady. "Isn't this a day
to be alive in? Who says it always rains in Verden?"

"I do--or nearly always. At least it finds no difficulty in giving
a good imitation," returned the young woman addressed.

"A libel--I vow a libel," Farnum retorted gaily. "I was just going
to hope you might be tempted to forget New York and Vienna and
Paris to pay us a long visit. We're all hoping it. I'm merely the
spokesman." He waved a hand to indicate the busy street black with
humanity.

A hint of pleasant adventure quickened the eyes of the young widow
who surveyed lazily his wellgroomed good looks. She judged him a
twentieth century American emerging from straightened
circumstances and eager to trample even the memory of it under
foot.

"Did the Chamber of Commerce appoint you a committee to hope that
I would impose on my relatives longer? Or was it resoluted at a
mass meeting?" she asked with her Mona Lisa smile.

He laughed. "Well, no! I'm a self-appointed committee voicing a
personal desire that has universal application. But if it would
have more weight with you I'll have the Chamber take it up and get
myself an accredited representative."

"So kind of you. But do you think the committee could do itself
justice on the street curb?"

She had among other sensuous charms a voice attuned to convey
slightest shades of meaning. James caught her half-shuttered
smoldering glance and divined her a woman subtle and complex,
capable of playing the world-old game of the sexes with unusual
dexterity. The hint of challenging mystery in the tawny depths of
the mocking eyes fired his imagination. She was to him a new find
in women, one altogether different from those he had known. He had
a curiosity to meet at close range this cosmopolitan heiress of
such cultivation as Joe Powers' millions could purchase.

What Verden said of her he knew: that she was too free, too
scornful, too independent of conventions. All the tabby cats
whispered it to each other with lifted eyebrows that suggested
volumes, the while they courted her eager and unashamed. But he
had a feeling that perhaps Verden was not competent to judge. The
standards of this town and of New York were probably vastly
different. James welcomed the chance to enlarge his social
experience. Promptly he accepted the lead offered.

"I'm sure it can't. To present the evidence cogently will take at
least two hours. May I make the argument this evening, if it
please the court, during a call?"

"But I understood you were too busy saving the state--from my
father and my uncle by the way--to have time for a mere woman,"
she parried.

The good humor of her irony flattered him because it implied that
she offered him a chance to cultivate her--he was not at all sure
how much or how little that might mean--regardless of his
political affiliations. Not many women were logical enough to
accept so impersonally his opposition to the candidacy of an uncle
and the plans of a father. "I AM busy," he admitted, "but I need a
few hours' relaxation. It will help me to work more effectively
to-morrow--against your father and your uncle," he came back with
a smile that included them both.

Alice Frome took up the challenge gaily. "We're going to beat you.
Father will be elected."

"Then I'll be the first to congratulate him," he promised. Turning
to Mrs. Van Tyle, "Shall we say this evening?" he added.

"You're not afraid to venture yourself into the hands of the
enemy," drawled that young woman, her indolent eyes daring him.

Again he studiously included them both in his answer. "I'm afraid
all right, but I'm not going to let you know it. Did I hear you
set a time?"

"If you are really willing to take the risk we shall be glad to
see you this afternoon."

James observed that Alice Frome did not second her cousin's
invitation. He temporized.

"Oh, this afternoon! I have an engagement, but I am tempted to
forget it in remembering a subsequent one."

His smiling gaze passed to Alice and gave her another chance.
Still she did not speak.

"The way to treat a temptation is to yield to it," the older
cousin sparkled.

"In order to be done with it, I suppose. Very well. I yield to
mine. This afternoon I will have the pleasure of calling at The
Brakes."

Alice nodded a curt good-bye, but her cousin offered him a
beautifully gloved hand to shake. A delightful tingle of triumph
warmed him. The daughter of Big Joe Powers, the grim gray pirate
who worked the levers of the great Transcontinental Railroad
system, had taken pains to be nice to him. The only fly in the
ointment of his self-satisfaction had been Alice Frome's
reticence.

Why had she not shown any desire to have him call? He could guess
at one reason. The campaign for the legislature and the subsequent
battle for the senatorship had been bitter. Charges of corruption
had been flung broadcast. A dozen detectives had been hired to get
evidence on one side or the other. If he were seen going to The
Brakes just now fifty rumors might be flying inside of the hour.

His guess was a good one. Alice drove the car forward several
blocks without speaking, Valencia Van Tyle watching with good-
humored contempt the little frown that rested on her cousin's
candid face.

"I perceive that my uncompromising cousin is moved to protest,"
she suggested placidly.

"You ought not to have asked him, Val. It isn't fair to him or to
father," answered Alice promptly. "People will talk. They will say
father is trying to influence him unfairly. I wish you hadn't
asked him till this fight is over."

"My dear Nora, does it matter in the least what people say?"
yawned Valencia behind her hand.

"Not to you because you consider yourself above criticism. But it
matters to me that two honest men should be brought into unjust
obloquy without cause."

"My dear Hothead, they are big enough to look out for themselves."

"Nobody is big enough to kill slander."

"Nonsense, child. You make a mountain out of a mole hill. People
WILL gossip. It really isn't of the least importance what they
gabble about."

"Especially when you want to amuse yourself by making a fool of
Mr. Farnum," retorted the downright Alice with a touch of
asperity.

Valencia already half regretted having asked him. The chances were
that he would prove a bore. But she did not choose to say so. "If
I'm treading on your preserves, dear," she ventured sweetly.

"That's ridiculous," flushed Alice. "I only suggested that you
wait till after the election before chaining him to your chariot
wheels."

"You're certainly an _enfant terrible_, my dear," murmured the
widow, with the little rippling laugh of cynicism her cousin found
so annoying. "But that young man does need a lesson. He's eaten up
with conceit of himself. Somebody ought to take him in hand."

"So you're going to sacrifice yourself to duty," scoffed Alice as
she brought the electric to a stop under the porte-cochere of the
Frome residence.

Mrs. Van Tyle folded her hands demurely. "It's sweet of you to see
it that way, Alice."


Part 2

James turned in at the Century Building. In the elevator he met
his cousin. Both of them were bound for the office of the
candidate being supported by the progressives for the Senate.

"Anything new?" Jeff asked.

"A rumor that Killen has fallen by the wayside. Big Tim was with
him for an hour last night at the Pacific."

"I've not been sure of Killen for quite a while. He's a weak
sister."

"He'd better not go wrong if he expects to keep on living in this
state," James imparted, a hard light in his eyes.

At the third floor they left the elevator and turned to the right
under an arch bearing the sign Hardy, Elliott & Carson. Without
knocking they passed into Hardy's private office.

Of the three men they found there it was plain that one was being
pushed doggedly to bay. He was small and insignificant, with weak
blinking eyes. Standing with his back to the wall, he moistened
his lips with the tip of his tongue.

"Who says it?" he whined shrilly. "Who says I sold out?"

An apoplectic, bull-necked ruffian stood directly in front of him
and sawed the air violently with a fat forefinger.

"I ain't sayin' it, Killen--I'm askin' if you have. What I say is
that you'd better make your will before you vote for Frome. Make
'em pay fat, for by thunder! you'll be political junk, Mr. Sam
Killen."

Killen, sweating agony, turned appealingly to Jeff. "I haven't
said I was going to vote for Frome. Mr. Rawson's got no right to
bulldoze me and I'm not going to stand it."

"The hell you ain't," roared Rawson, shaking his fist at the
unhappy legislator. "I guess you'll stand the gaff till you
explain."

"Just a moment, Bob," interrupted Jeff. "Let's get at the facts.
Don't convict the prisoner till the evidence is in."

Rawson hobbled his wrath for the moment. "That's all right, Jeff.
You ask Hardy. I'm giving you straight goods."

The keen-eyed, smooth-shaven man in a gray business suit who had
been listening silently to the gathering storm contributed
information briefly and impartially.

"Mr. Killen spent an hour last night with Big Tim at the Pacific
Hotel."

"Sneaked in by the side entrance and took the elevator to the
seventh floor. The deal was arranged in Room 743," added Rawson.

"You spied on me," burst from Killen's lips.

"Sure thing. And we caught you with the goods," sneered the red-
faced politician.

"I'll not stand it. I'll not support a man that won't trust me."

"You won't, eh?" Rawson was across the floor in two jumps,
worrying his victim as a terrier does a rat. "Forget it. You were
elected to support R. K. Hardy, sewed up with a pledge tight and
fast. We're not in the primer class, Killen. Don't get a notion
you're going to do as you damn please. You'll--vote--for--R.--K.--
Hardy. Get that?"

"I refuse to be moved by threats, and I decline to discuss the
matter further," retorted Killen with a pitiable attempt at
dignity.

Rawson laughed with insulting menace. "That's a good one. I've
sold out, but it's none of your business what I got. That what you
mean?"

"You surely must recognize our right to an explanation, Killen,"
Jeff said gently.

"No, sir, I don't," flushed the little man with sullen bravado. "I
ain't got a thing against you, but Rawson goes too far."

"I think he does," Jeff agreed. "Killen is all right. Gentlemen,
suppose you let him and me talk it over alone. We can reach an
agreement that is satisfactory."

Hardy's face cleared. This was not the first waverer Jeff had
brought back into line, not the first by several. There was
something compelling in his friendly smile and affectionate
manner.

"I'm sure Mr. Killen intends only what is right. I'm content to
leave the matter entirely with you and him," Hardy said.

Jeff turned to Rawson. "And you, old warhorse?"

"Have it your own way, but don't forget there's a nigger in the
woodpile."

Jeff and Killen walked to the office of the latter, which was on
the next floor of the Century Building, the legislator stiffening
his will to resist the assaults he felt would be made upon it. But
as soon as the door was shut Jeff surprised him by laying a hand
on his shoulder.

"Tell me all about it, Sam."

Killen gasped. He got an impossible vision of young Farnum as his
brother in trouble. "About what? I didn't say--"

"I've known for a week something was wrong. I couldn't very well
ask you, but since I've blundered in you'd better let me help you
if I can."

Killen was touched. His lip trembled. "It don't do any good to
talk about things. I guess a fellow has to carry his own griefs.
Nobody else is hunting for a chance to invest in them."

"What's a friend for?" Jeff wanted to know gently.

The little man gulped. "I guess I've got no friends. Anyhow they
don't count when a fellow's in hard luck. It's every man for
himself."

The younger man's smile was warm as summer sunshine. "Wrong guess,
Sam. We're in this little old world to help each other when we
can."

The wretched man drew the back of a trembling hand across his
moist eyes. He inhaled a long sobbing breath and broke into
apology for his weakness. "Haven't slept for a week except from
trional. The back of my head pricks day and night. Can't think of
anything but my troubles."

"Unload them on me," Jeff said lightly.

"It's that mortgage on my mill," Killen blurted out. "It falls due
this month and I can't meet it. Things haven't been going well
with me."

"Can't you get it renewed?"

"Through a dummy Big Tim has bought it up. He won't renew, unless
--" Killen broke off, to continue in a moment: "And that ain't
all. My little girl needs an operation awful badly. The doctor
says she had ought to go to Chicago. I just can't raise the
price."

"How much is the mortgage?"

"Three thousand," replied the man; and he added with a gust of
weak despair, "My God, man! That mill's all I've got to keep bread
in the mouths of my motherless children."

"I reckon Big Tim has offered to cancel the mortgage notes and
give you about a thousand to go on," Jeff suggested casually.

Killen nodded. "It would put me on my feet again and give the
kiddie her chance." The answer had slipped out naturally, but now
the fear chilled him that he had been lured into making a
confession. "I didn't say I was going to take it," he added
hastily.

"You're quite safe with me, Killen," Jeff told him. He was
wondering whether he could not get Captain Chunn to take over the
mortgage.

"I'm not so much struck on Hardy myself," grumbled the legislator.
"He's a rich man, just as Frome is. Six of one and half a dozen of
the other, looks like to me."

"No, Killen. Frome represents the Transcontinental and the utility
corporations. Hardy stands for the people. And you're pledged to
support Hardy. You mustn't forget that."

"I ain't likely to forget that mortgage either," Killen came back
drearily.

"I think I can arrange about having the mortgage renewed. Will
that do?"

"Yes. We're going to have a good year in the lumber business.
Probably in twelve months I could clear it off."

"Good! And about the little girl--she'll have her chance. I
promise you that."

The mill man wrung his hand, tears in his eyes. "You're a white
man, Jeff, and a dashed good friend. I tell you I'd hate like
poison to go back on Hardy. A fellow can't afford to do a thing
like that. But what else could I do? A fellow's got to stand by
the children he brings into the world, ain't he?"

Farnum evaded with a smile this discussion of moral issues. "Well,
you can stand by them and us, too, if I can fix up this mortgage
proposition for you."

"When will you let me know?" asked Killen anxiously.

"Will to-morrow morning do? In James' office, say."

"I'll have to know before noon," Killen reminded him, flushing
with embarrassment.

"If I can arrange to get the money--and I think I can--I'll let
you know at eleven. Don't worry, Sam. It will be all right."

The legislator shook hands again. "I ain't going to forget what
you're doing for me. No, sir!"

Jeff laughed his thanks easily. "That's all right. I reckon you
would have done as much for me. Sam Killen isn't the man to throw
his friends down."

"That's right," returned the other with a sudden valiant infusion
of courage. "I stand pat. I'm not going to lie down before the
Transcontinental. Not on your life, I ain't."

They were walking toward the outer door as Killen's speech
overflowed. "The Transcontinental doesn't own this state yet. No,
sir! Nor Frome and Merrill either. We'll show 'em--"

The valor of the big voice collapsed like a rent balloon. For the
office door had opened to let in Big Tim O'Brien. His shrewd eyes
passed with whimsical disgust over Killen and rested on Farnum.

The situation made for amusement, since Jeff knew that Big Tim had
heard over the transom enough to show that Killen's vote had been
recaptured for Hardy.

"You've stumbled on a red hot Hardy ratification meeting. Did you
come to get into the bandwagon while there is time, Tim?" Jeff
asked with twinkling eyes.

"No sinking ship for mine. I guess I wouldn't ratify yet a while
if I were youse, Farnum."

He stood aside to let the editor of the _World_ pass. Jeff
laughed. "Go to it, Tim."

"I haven't got anything to say to you, Mr. O'Brien," the mill man
announced with heightened color.

"Maybe I've got something to say to youse, Mr. Killen."

Jeff passed out smiling. "Well, I'll not interrupt you. See you
to-morrow, Sam."

Big Tim sat down heavily in a chair and pulled from his vest
pocket a fat black cigar.

"Smoke, Killen?"

"No, thanks." The legislator spoke with stiff dignity.

Big Tim looked at the other man and his paunch shook with the
merriment that appeared to convulse him.

"What's the matter?" snapped the mill man.

"I'm laughin' at the things I see, Killen. Man, but you're an easy
mar-rk."

"How?"

"Can't you see they're stringin' youse for a sucker?"

"No, I can't see it. I've made up my mind. I'm going to stand by
Hardy."

"Fine! Now I'll tell youse one thing. We're goin' to elect Frome
to-morrow." O'Brien rose as one who has no time for unprofitable
talk. "Your friends have sold youse out. I'm going to call on one
of thim right now."

"I don't believe it."

"Of course you don't." Tim's projecting balcony shook with the
humor of it. "But you'll be convinced when they take your mill
from youse, me boy. It's a frame-up--and you're the goat."

With which shot he took his departure, too shrewd to attempt any
argument. He had left behind him a doubt. That was all he could do
just now.

Before Tim was out of the building Killen was gumshoeing after
him. He meant to find out whether O'Brien had been lying when he
said he was going to call on one of his friends. Fifty yards
behind him Killen followed, along Powers Avenue, down Pacific
Street, to the Equitable Building. From the pilot of one of the
elevators he learned that the big boss had got off at the seventh
floor and gone straight into James Farnum's office.

His mind was instantly alive with suspicions tumbling over each
other in chaotic incoherency. There was a deal of some kind on
foot. Jeff's cousin was in it. Then Jeff must be playing him for a
sucker. His teeth set with a snap.

Meanwhile Big Tim was having a heart to heart talk with James K.
Farnum.

The young lawyer had risen in surprise at the entrance of O'Brien.
The big fellow, laughing easily, had helped himself to a chair.

"Make yourself at home, Tim," he said jauntily.

"Anything I can do for you, Mr. O'Brien?" James asked with stiff
dignity.

"Sure. Or I wouldn't be here. Sit down. I'll not bite ye."

The lawyer continued to stand.

"I've come to tell you that I'm a dammed fool, Mr. Farnum," the
boss grinned.

James bowed slightly. He did not know what was coming, but he had
no intention of committing himself to anything as yet.

"In ever lettin' youse get away from me. I mistook yez for a kid
glove."

Big Tim gazed with palpable admiration at the cleancut figure, at
the square cleft chin in the strong handsome face. It was his
opinion this young man would go far, and that every step of the
way would be in the interests of James K. Farnum. Shrewdly he
guessed that the way to pierce that impassive front was through an
appeal to vanity and to selfinterest.

James waited, alert and expressionless, but O'Brien, having made
his apology, puffed in silence.

"I think you suggested some business that brought you," James
reminded him.

"You've got in you the makings of a big man. Nothing on the coast
to touch youse, Mr. Farnum. And I didn't see it. I was sore on
your name. That was what was bitin' me. It's sure on Big Tim this
time."

None of the triumph that flooded Farnum reached the surface.

"I think I don't quite understand," he said quietly.

"I'm eatin' humble pie because youse slipped wan over on me.
You're the best campaign speaker in the state, bar none, boy as
you are."

James could not keep his gratified smile down. "This heart-felt
testimonial comes free, I take it," he pretended to mock.

"Come off with youse," O'Brien flung back good humoredly. "I'm not
here to hand you booquets, but to talk business. Here's the nub of
it, me boy. You need me, and I need you."

"I don't quite see how I need you, Mr. O'Brien."

"That's because you're young yet and don't know the game. Let me
tell you this." The boss leaned forward, his hard eyes focused on
Farnum. "You'll never get anywhere so long as youse trail with
that reform bunch. It's all hot air and tomfool theory. Populism
and socialism! Take my wor-rd for it, there's nothin' to 'em."

"I'm neither a populist nor a socialist, Mr. O'Brien."

"Coorse you're not. I can see that with wan eye shut. That's why I
hate to see youse ruin yourself with them that are. I've no need
to tell you that this country's run by business men and not
cranks. Me, I'm a business man, and I run the city. P. C. Frome's
a business man; so's Merrill. That's why they're on top. Old Joe
Powers is a business man from first to last. You'll never get
anywhere, me boy, until youse look at things from a business point
of view."

If James was impressed he gave no sign of it. "Which means you
want me to support P. C. for the Senate. Is that it?"

"I don't care whether you do or don't. We've got this fight won.
But this is only the beginning. I can see that. Agitators and
trouble breeders are busy iverywhere. Line up right and you've got
a big future before you. Joe Powers himself has noticed your
speeches. P. C. told me that last night."

For a moment the lawyer felt an exultant paeon of victory beat in
his blood. His imagination saw the primrose path of the future
stretch before him in a golden glow. The surge of triumph passed
and he was himself again, cool and wary. His eyes met Big Tim's
full and straight. "I was elected to support Hardy. I expect to
stay with him."

The political boss waved aside this declaration. "Sure. Of course
you've got to VOTE for him. I've got too much horse sense to try
to buy YOU. But after this election? Your whole future's not tied
up with fool reformers, is it? Say, what's the matter with you
havin' a talk with P. C.?"

"Oh, I'll talk with him. P. C. and I are good friends."

"When can you see him? Why not to-night?"

"No hurry, is there?" James paused an instant before he added:
"I'm going to The Brakes this afternoon on a social call. If
Frome happens to be at home we might talk then. So far as making a
direct appointment with him, I wouldn't care to do that until the
senatorial election is decided. You understand that I pledge
myself to nothing."

"That's right," agreed Big Tim. "It don't do any harm to hear both
sides of a proposition. I guess that cousin o' yours kind of
hypnotized you. He's got more fool schemes for redeemin' this
state. Far as I can see it don't need any redeemin'. It's loaded
to the rails with prosperity and clippin' off its sixty miles an
hour. I say, let well enough alone. Where youse keep your matches,
Mr. Farnum? Thanks! Well, talk it over with P. C. I reckon you can
get together. So long, me boy."

Not until he was safe in the street did the big boss of Verden
allow his satisfaction expression.

"We've got him! We've got the boob hooked!" he told himself
exultantly.

A little man standing behind a showcase was watching him tensely.


CHAPTER 9 

"Man is for woman made,
  And woman made for man
As the spur is for the jade,
As the scabbard for the blade,
  As for liquor is the can,
So man's for woman made,
  And woman made for man."


THE HERO STUDIES THE MONA LISA SMILE IN ITS PROPER SETTING.
INCIDENTALLY, HE MEETS AN EMPIRE BUILDER 


Since James was not courting observation he took as inconspicuous
a way as possible to The Brakes. He was irritably conscious of the
incongruity of his elaborate afternoon dress with the habits of
democratic Verden, which had been too busy "boosting" itself into
a great city, or at least one in the making, to have found time to
establish as yet a leisure class.

Leaving the car at the entrance to Lakeview Park, he cut across it
by sinuous byways where madronas and alders isolated him from the
twilit green of the open lawn. Though it was still early the soft
winter dusk of the Pacific Northwest was beginning to render
objects indistinct. This perhaps may have been the reason he
failed to notice the skulking figure among the trees that dogged
him to his destination.

James laughed at himself for the exaggerated precaution he took to
cover a perfectly defensible action. Why shouldn't he visit at the
house of P. C. Frome? Entirely clear as to his right, he yet
preferred his call not to become a matter of public gossip. For he
did not need to be told that there would be ugly rumors if it
should get out that Big Tim had called at his office for a
conference and he had subsequently been seen going to The Brakes.
Dunderheads not broad enough to separate social from political
intercourse would be quick to talk unpleasantly about it.

Deflecting from the path into a carriage driveway, he came through
a woody hollow to the rear of The Brakes. The grounds were
spacious, rolling toward the road beyond in a falling sweep of
wellkept lawn. He skirted the green till he came to a "raveled
walk that zig-zagged up through the grass, leaving to the left the
rough fern-clad bluff that gave the place its name.

The man who let him in had apparently received his instructions,
for he led Farnum to a rather small room in the rear of the big
house. Its single occupant was reclining luxuriantly among a
number of pillows on a lounge. From her lips a tiny spiral of
smoke rose like incense to the ceiling. James was conscious of a
little ripple of surprise as he looked down upon the copper crown
of splendid hair above which rested the thin nimbus of smoke. He
had expected a less intimate reception.

But the astonishment had been sponged from his face before
Valencia Van Tyle rose and came forward, cigarette in hand.

"You did find time."

"Was it likely I wouldn't?"

"How should I know?" her little shrug seemed to say with an
indifference that bordered on insolence.

James was piqued. After all then she had not opened to him the
door to her friendship. She was merely amusing herself with him as
a provincial _pis aller._ 

Perhaps she saw his disappointment, for she added with a touch of
warmth: "I'm glad you came. Truth is, I'm bored to death of
myself."

"Then I ought to be welcome, for if I don't exorcise the devils of
ennui you can now blame me."

"I shall. Try that big chair, and one of these Egyptians."

He helped himself to a cigarette and lit up as casually as if he
had been in the habit of smoking in the lounging rooms of the
ladies he knew. She watched him sink lazily into the chair and let
his glance go wandering over the room. In his face she read the
indolent sense of pleasure he found in sharing so intimately this
sanctum of her more personal life.

The room was a bit barbaric in its warmth of color, as barbaric as
was the young woman herself in spite of her super-civilization.
The walls, done in an old rose, were gilded and festooned to meet
a ceiling almost Venetian in its scheme of decoration. Pink
predominated in the brocaded tapestries and in the rugs, and the
furniture was a luxurious modern compromise with the Louis Quinze.
There were flowers in profusion--his gaze fell upon the American
Beauties he had sent an hour or two ago--and a disorder of popular
magazines and French novels. Farnum did not need to be told that
the room was as much an exotic as its mistress.

"You think?" her amused voice demanded when his eyes came back to
her. "that the room seems made especially for you."

She volunteered information. "My uncle gave me a free hand to
arrange and decorate it."

As he looked at her, smoking daintily in the fling of the fire
glow, every inch the pampered heiress of the ages, his blood
quickened to an appreciation of the sensuous charm of sex she
breathed forth so indifferently. The clinging crepe-de-chine--
except in public she did not pretend even to a conventional
mourning for the scamp whose name she bore lent accent to her
soft, rounded curves, and the slow, regular rise and fall of her
breathing beneath the filmy lace promised a perfect fullness of
bust and throat. He was keenly responsive to the physical allure
of sex, and Valencia Van Tyle was endowed with more than her share
of magnetic aura.

"You have expressed yourself. It's like you," he said with
finality.

Her tawny eyes met his confident appraisal ironically. "Indeed!
You know then what I am like?"

"One uses his eyes, and such brains as heaven has granted him," he
ventured lightly.

"And what am I like?" she asked indolently.

"I'm hoping to know that better soon--I merely guess now."

"They say all women are egoists--and some men." She breathed her
soft inscrutable ripple of laughter. "Let me hasten to confess,
and crave a picture of myself."

"But the subject deserves an artist," he parried.

"He's afraid," she murmured to the fire. "He makes and unmakes
senators--this Warwick; but he's afraid of a girl."

James lit a fresh cigarette in smiling silence.

"He has met me once--twice--no, three times," she meditated aloud.
"But he knows what I'm like. He boasts of his divination and when
one puts him to the test he repudiates."

"All I should have claimed is that I know I don't know what you
are like."

"Which is something," she conceded.

"It's a good deal," he claimed for himself. "It shows a beginning
of understanding. And--given the opportunity--I hope to know
more." He questioned of her eyes how far he might go. "It's the
incomprehensible that lures. It piques interest and lends magic.
Behind those eyelids a little weary all the subtle hidden meaning
of the ages shadows. The gods forbid that I should claim to hold
the answer to the eternal mystery of woman."

"Dear me! I ask for a photograph and he gives me a poem," she
mocked, touching an electric button.

"I try merely to interpret the poem."

She looked at him under lowered lids with a growing interest. Her
experience had not warranted her in hoping that he would prove
worth while. It would be clear gain if he were to disappoint her
agreeably.

"I think I have read somewhere that the function of present-day
criticism is to befog the mind and blur the object criticised."

He considered an answer, but gave it up when a maid appeared with
a tray, and after a minute of deft arrangement disappeared to
return with the added paraphernalia that goes to the making and
consuming of afternoon tea.

James watched in a pleasant content the easy grace with which the
flashing hands of his hostess manipulated the brew. Presently she
flung open a wing of the elaborate cellaret that stood near and
disclosed a gleaming array of cut-glass decanters. Her fingers
hovered over them.

"Cognac?"

"Think I'll take my tea straight just as you make it."

"Most Western men don't care for afternoon tea. You should hear my
father on the subject."

"I can imagine him." He smiled. "But if he has tried it with you I
should think he'd be converted."

She laughed at him in the slow tantalizing way that might mean
anything or nothing. "I absolve you of the necessity of saying
pretty things. Instead, you may continue that portrait you were
drawing when the maid interrupted."

"It's a subject I can't do justice."

She laughed disdainfully. "I thought it was time for the flattery.
As if I couldn't extort that from any man. It's the A B C of our
education. But the truth about one's self--the unpalatable, bitter
truth--there's a sting of unexpected pleasure in hearing that
judicially."

"And do you get that pleasure often?"

"Not often. Men are dreadful cowards, you know. My father is about
the only man who dares tell it to me."

Farnum put down his cup and studied her. She was leaning back with
her fingers laced behind her head. He wondered whether she knew
with what effectiveness the posture set off her ripe charms--the
fine modeling of the full white throat, the perfect curves of the
dainty arms bare to the elbows, the daring set of the tawny,
tilted head. A spark glowed in his eyes. 

"Far be it from me to deny you an accessible pleasure, though I
sacrifice myself to give it. But my sketch must be merely
subjective. I draw the picture as I see it."

She sipped her tea with an air of considering the matter. "You
promise at least a family likeness, with not an ugly wrinkle of
character smoothed away." 

"I don't even promise that. For how am I to know what meaning
lurks behind that subtle, shadowy smile? There's irony in it--and
scorn--and sensuous charm--but back of them all is the great
enigma."

"He's off," she derided slangily.

"And that enigma is the complex YOU I want to learn. Of course
you're a specialized type, a product of artistic hothouse
propagation. You're so exquisite in your fastidiousness that to be
near you is a luxury. Simplicity and you have not a bowing
acquaintance. One looks to see your most casual act freighted with
intentions not obvious."

"The poor man thinks I invited him here to propose to him," she
told the fire gravely, stretching out her little slippered feet
toward it.

He laughed. "I'm not so presumptuous. You wouldn't aim at such
small game. You would be quite capable of it if you wanted to, but
you don't. But I'm devoured with curiosity to know why you asked
me, though of course I shan't find out."

Her narrowed eyes swept him with amusement. "If I knew myself!
Alice says it was to make a fool of you. I don't think she is
right. But if she is I'm in to score a failure. You're too
coolheaded and--" She stopped, her eyes sparkling with the daring
of her unvoiced suggestion.

"Say it," he nodded.

"--and selfish to be anybody's fool. Perhaps I asked you just in
the hope you might prove interesting."

He got up and stood with his arm on the mantel. From his superior
height he looked down on her dainty insolent perfection, answering
not too seriously the challenge of her eyes. No matter what she
meant--how much or how little she was wonderfully attractive. The
provocation of the mocking little face lured mightily.

"I am going to prove interested at any rate. Let's hope it may be
a preliminary to being interesting."

"But it never does. Symptoms of too great interest bore one. I
enjoy more the men who are impervious to me. Now there's my
father. He comes nearer understanding me than anybody else, but
he's quite adamantine to my wiles."

"I shall order a suit of chain armor at once."

"An unnecessary expense. Your emotions are quite under control,"
she told him saucily.

"I wish I were as sure."

"I thought you promised to be interesting," she complained.

"Now you're afraid I'm going to make love to you. Let me relieve
your mind. I'm not."

"I knew you wouldn't be so stupid," she assured him.

"No objection to my admiring your artistic effect at a distance,
as a spectator in a gallery?"

"I shall expect that," she rippled.

"Just as one does a picture too expensive to own."

"I suppose I AM expensive."

"Not a doubt of it. But if you don't mind I'll come occasionally
to the gallery to study the masterpiece."

"I'll mind if you don't."

Voices were heard approaching along the hall. The portieres
parted. The immediate effect on Farnum of the great figure that
filled the doorway was one of masterful authority. A massive head
crested a figure of extraordinary power. Gray as a mediaeval
castle, age had not yet touched his gnarled strength. The keen
steady eyes, the close straight lips, the shaggy eyebrows heavy
and overhanging, gave accent to the rugged force of this grim
freebooter who had reversed the law of nature which decrees that
railroads shall follow civilization. Scorning the established rule
of progress, he had spiked his rails through untrodden forests and
unexplored canons to watch the pioneer come after by the road he
had blazed. Chief among the makers of the Northwest, he yearly
conceived and executed with amazing audacity enterprises that
would have marked as monumental the life work of lesser men.

Farnum, rising from his seat unconsciously as a tribute of
respect, acknowledged thus tacitly the presence of greatness in
the person of Joe Powers.

The straight lips of the empire builder tightened as his eyes
gleamed over the soft luxury of his daughter's boudoir. James
would have been hard put to it to conceive any contrast greater
than the one between this modern berserk and the pampered daughter
of his wealth. A Hun or a Vandal gazing down with barbaric scorn
on some decadent paramour of captured Rome was the most analogous
simile Farnum's brain could summon. What freak of nature, he
wondered, had been responsible for so alien an offspring to this
ruthless builder? And what under heaven had the two in common
except the blood that ran in both their veins?

Peter C. Frome, who had followed his brother-in-law into the room,
introduced the young man to the railroad king.

The great man's grip drove the blood from Farnum's hand.

"I've heard about you, young man. What do you mean by getting in
my way?"

The young man's veins glowed. He had made Joe Powers notice him.
Not for worlds would he have winked an eyelash, though the bones
of his hand felt as if they were being ground to powder.

"Do I get in your way, sir?" he asked innocently.

"Do you?" boomed the deep bass of the railroader. "You and that
mad brother of yours."

"He's my cousin," James explained.

"Brother or cousin, he's got to get off the track or be run over.
And you, too, with that smooth tongue of yours."

Farnum laughed. "Jeff's pretty solid. He may ditch the train,
sir."

"No!" roared Powers. "He'll be flung into the ditch." He turned
abruptly to Frome. "Peter, take me to a room where I can talk to
this young man. I need him."

"'Come into my little parlor,' said the spider to the fly."

They wheeled as at a common rein to the sound of the young mocking
voice. Alice Frome had come in unnoticed and was standing in the
doorway smiling at them. The effect she produced was demurely
daring. The long lines of her slender sylph-like body, the
girlishness of her golden charm, were vigorously contradicted in
their suggestion of shyness by the square tilted chin and the
challenge in the dancing eyes.

"Alice," admonished her father with a deprecatory apology in his
voice to his brother-in-law.

Powers knit his shaggy brows in a frown not at all grim. The young
woman smiled back confidently. She could go farther with him than
anybody else in the world could, and she knew it. For he
recognized in her vigorous strength of fiber a kinship of the
spirit closer than that between him and his own daughter. An
autocrat to the marrow, it pleased him to recognize her an
exception to his rule. Valencia was also an exception, but in a
different way.

"Have you any remarks to make, Miss Frome?" he asked.

"Oh, I've made it," returned the girl unabashed. She turned to
James and shook hands with him. "How do you do, Mr. Farnum? I see
you are going to be tied to Uncle Joe's kite, too."

Was there in her voice just a hint of scorn? James did not know.
He laughed a little uneasily.

"Shall I be swallowed up alive, Miss Frome?"

"You think you won't, but you will. He always gets what he wants."

For all the warmth and energy of youth in her there was a vivid
spiritual quality that had always made a deep appeal to James. He
sensed the something fine and exquisite she breathed forth and did
reverence to it.

"And what does he want now?" the young man parried.

"He wants YOU."

"Unless you would like him yourself, Alice," her uncle countered.

The color washed into her cheeks. "Not just now, thank you. I was
merely giving him a friendly warning."

"I'm awfully obliged to you. I'll be on my guard," laughed James.

He stepped across to the lounge to make his farewell to Mrs. Van
Tyle.

"You'll come again," she said in a low voice.

"Whenever the gallery is open--if I am sent a ticket of
admission."

"Wouldn't it be better to apply for a ticket and not wait for it
to be sent?"

"I think it would--and to apply for one often."

"I am waiting, Mr. Farnum," interrupted Powers impatiently.

To the young man the suggestion sounded like a command. He bowed
to Alice and followed the great man out of the room.


CHAPTER 10

Many business men of every community are respectable cowards. The
sense of property fills them with a cramping timidity.
--From the Note Book of a Dreamer. 


SAFE AND SOUND BUSINESS RALLIES TO THE DEFENSE OF THE COUNTRY. THE
REBEL, FRUSTRATED, PLANS FURTHER VILLAINIES 


Part 1

When James reached his office next morning he found Killen waiting
for him. One glance at the weak defiant face told him that the
legislator was again in revolt. The lawyer felt a surge of disgust
sweep over him. All through the session he had cajoled and argued
the weak-kneed back into line. Why didn't Hardy do his own dirty
work instead of leaving it to him to soil his hands with these
cheap grafters?"

No longer ago than yesterday it had been a keen pleasure to feel
himself so important a factor in the struggle, to know that his
power and his personality were of increasing value to his side.

But to-day--somehow the salt had gone out of it. The value of the
issue had dwindled, his enthusiasm gone stale. After all, what did
it matter who was elected? Why should not the corporate wealth
that was developing the country see that men were chosen to
office who would safeguard vested interests? It was all very well
for Jeff to talk about democracy and the rights of the people. But
Jeff was an impracticable idealist. He, James, stood for success.
Within the past twenty-four hours there had been something of a
shift of standards for him.

His visit to The Brakes had done that for him. He craved luxury
just as he did power, and the house on the hill had said the final
word of both to him in the personalities of Joe Powers and his
daughter. It had come home to him that the only way to satisfy his
ambition was by making money and a lot of it. This morning, with
the sharpness of his hunger rendering him irritable, he was in no
mood to conciliate disaffectants to the cause of which he was
himself beginning to weary.

"Well?" he demanded sharply of Killen.

"I've been looking for your cousin, but I can't find him. He was
to have met me here later."

"Then I presume he'll be here when he said he would." The eyes of
the lawyer were cold and hard as jade.

"You can tell him it won't be necessary for me to see him. I've
made other arrangements," Killen said uneasily.

"You mean that you repudiate your agreement with him. Is that it?"
Farnum's voice was like a whiplash.

"I've decided to support Frome. Fact is--"

"Oh, damn the facts! You made an agreement. You're going to sell
out. That's all there is to it."

The young man's face was dark with furious disgust.

Killen flared up. "You better be careful how you talk to me, Mr.
Farnum. I might want to know what Big Tim was doing in your office
yesterday. I might want to know what business took you up to The
Brakes by a mighty roundabout way."

James strode forward in a rage. "Get out of here before I throw
you out, you little spying blackguard."

"You bet I'll get out," screamed the mill man. "Get clear out and
have nothing more to do with your outfit. But I want to tell you
that folks will talk a lot when they know how you and Big Tim
fixed up a deal--" Killen, backing toward the door as he spoke,
broke off to hasten his exit before the lawyer's threatening
advance.

James slammed the door shut on him and paced up and down in an
impotent fury of passion. "The dirty little blackleg! He'd like to
bracket me in the same class as himself. He'd like to imply that
I--By Heaven, if he opens his lying mouth to a hint of such a
thing I'll horsewhip the little cad."

But running uneasily through his mind was an undercurrent of
disgust--with himself, with Jeff, with the whole situation. Why
had he ever let himself get mixed up with such an outfit?
Government by the people! The thing was idiotic, mere demagogic
cant. Power was to the strong. He had always known it. But
yesterday that old giant at The Brakes had hammered it home to
him. He did not like to admit even to himself that his folly had
betrayed Hardy's cause, but at bottom he knew he should not have
gone to The Brakes until after the election and that he ought
never to have let Killen out of the office without an explanation.
Yesterday he would have won back the man somehow by an appeal to
his loyalty and his self-interest.

He must send word at once to Jeff and let him try to remedy the
mischief.

His cousin, coming into the office with Rawson just as James took
down the receiver of the telephone, noticed at once the
disturbance of the latter.

James told his story. It was clear to him that he must anticipate
Killen's disclosure of his visit to The Brakes and so draw the
sting from it as far as possible. But his natural reluctance to
shoulder blame made him begin with Killen's defection.

"I told you to let me deal with the little traitor," Rawson
exploded.

"He was quite satisfied when I left him yesterday. They must have
got at him again," Jeff suggested. "I left O'Brien with him. But I
was dead sure of him."

James cleared his throat and began casually. "I expect the little
beggar got suspicious when he saw Big Tim coming to my office."

"To your office?" Rawson cut in sharply.

The lawyer flushed, but his eyes met and quelled the incipient
doubt in those of the politician. "Yes, he came to feel the
ground. Of course I told him flatly where I stood. But Killen must
have thought something was doing he wasn't in on. It seems he
followed me to The Brakes yesterday afternoon when I called on
Mrs. Van Tyle."

"Followed you to The Brakes. Good Lord!" groaned Rawson. "What in
Mexico were you doing there?"

"Thought I mentioned that I was calling on Mrs. Van-Tyle,"
returned James stiffly.

"Wasn't that call a little injudicious under the circumstances,
James?" contributed Jeff with his whimsical smile.

"I suppose I may call wherever I please."

"It was a piece of dashed foolishness, that's what it was. You say
Killen saw you. The thing will fly like dust in the wind. It will
be buzzed all over the House by this time and every man that wants
to sell out will find a reason right there," stormed Rawson.

"Are you implying that I sold out?" demanded James icily.

Jeff put a conciliatory hand on his cousin's shoulder. "Of course
he doesn't. He isn't a fool, James. But there's a good deal in
what Rawson says. It was a mistake. The waverers will find in it
their excuse for deserting. Of course Big Tim has been at them all
night. We'll go right up to the House in your machine, Rawson. We
haven't a moment to lose."

Rawson nodded. "It's dollars to doughnuts the thing is past
mending, but it's up to us to see. If I can only get at Killen in
time I'll choke the story in his throat. You wait here at the
'phone, Jeff, and I'll call you up if you're needed at this end of
the line. Better have a taxi waiting below in case you need one.
Come along, James."

If he did not get to Killen in time it was not Rawson's fault, for
he made his car flash up and down Verden's hills with no regard to
the speed limit. He swept it along Powers Avenue, dodging in and
out among the traffic of the busy city like a halfback through a
broken field after a kick. With a twist of the wheel he put the
machine at the steep hill of Yarnell Way, climbed the brow of it,
and plunged with a flying leap down the long incline to the State
House.

James clung to the swaying side of the car as it raced down. It
was raining hard, and the drops stung their faces like bird shot.
Two hundred yards in front appeared a farm wagon, leaped toward
them, and disappeared in the gulf behind. A dog barking at them
from the roadside was for an instant and then was not. In their
wake they left cursing teamsters, frightened horses, women and
children scurrying for safety; and in the driver's seat Rawson sat
goggle-eyed and rigid, swallowing the miles that lay in front of
him.

The car took the last incline superbly and swung up the asphalt
carriage way to a Yale finish at the marble stairway of the State
House. Rawson was running up the steps almost before the machine
had stopped. Farnum caught him at the elevator and a minute later
they entered together the assembly room of the House.

One swift glance told Rawson that Killen was not in his seat, and
as his eyes swept the room he noted also the absence of Pitts,
Bentley, and Miller. Of the doubtful votes only Ashton and Reilly
were present.

He flung a question anything of Bentley, Akers?"

"Mr. Bentley! Why, yes, sir. He was called to the telephone a few
minutes ago and he left at once. Mr. Miller went with him, and Mr.
Pitts."

"Were Ashton and Reilly here then?"

"No, sir. They came in a moment before you did."

Rawson drew Farnum to one side and whispered.

"Killen must have gone right from your room to Big Tim. They got
the others on the phone. They must have been on that street car we
met a mile back. There's just a chance to head 'em off. I'll chase
back in my machine while you call up Jeff and have him meet the
car as it comes in. Tell him not to let them out of his sight if
he has to hold them with a gun. You keep an eye on Reilly and
Ashton. Don't let anyone talk to them or get them on the phone.
Better take them up to the library."

James nodded sulkily. He did not like Rawson's peremptory manner
any the better because he knew his indiscretion had called it down
upon him. What he had been unable to forget for the past hour was
that if this break to Frome had happened yesterday it would have
been he that gave the orders and Rawson who jumped to execute
them. Now he had slipped back to second place.

He caught Jeff on the line and repeated Rawson's orders without
comment of his own, after which he went back from the committee
room, gathered up Reilly and Ashton, and took them on a pretext to
the library.

It must have been nearly an hour later that a messenger boy handed
James a note. It was a hasty scribble from Rawson.

Euchred, by thunder! Both Jeff and I missed them. Big Tim butted
in with a car at Grover Street before we could make connections.
Am waiting at the House for them. Don't bring A. & R. in till time
to vote. FROME CAN'T WIN IF YOU MAKE THEM BOTH STICK.

James stuck the note in his pocket and flung himself with
artificial animation into the story he was telling. Once or twice
the others suggested a return to the House, but he always had just
one more good story they must hear. Since only routine business
was under way there was no urgency, and when at length they
returned to the House chamber the clock pointed to five minutes to
twelve.

Rawson and two or three of the staunchest Hardy men relieved
Farnum of his charge in the cloak room and took care of the two
doubtfuls. The seats of Bentley, Miller, Pitts and Killen were
still vacant, and there was a tense watchfulness in the room that
showed rumors were flying of a break in the deadlock.

Already the state senators were drifting in for the noon joint
sessions, and along with them came presently the missing
assemblymen flanked by O'Brien and Frome adherents.

The President of the Senate called the session to order and
announced that the eleventh general assembly would now proceed to
take the sixty-fourth ballot for the election of a United States
Senator.

In an oppressive silence the clerk began to call the roll.

"Allan."

A raw-boned farmer from one of the coast counties rose and
answered "Hardy."

"Anderson."

In broken English a fat Swede shouted, "Harty."

"Ashton."

"Hardy." The word fell hesitantly from dry lips. The man would
have voted for the Transcontinental candidate had he dared, but he
was not sure enough that the crucial moment was at hand and the
pressure of his environment was too great.

"Bentley."

Three hundred eyes focused expectantly on the gaunt white-faced
legislator who rose nervously at the sound of his name and almost
inaudibly gulped the word "Frome."

A fierce tumult of rage and triumph rose and fell and swelled
again. Bentley became the center of a struggling vortex of roaring
humanity and found himself tossed hither and thither like a chip
in a choppy sea.

It was many minutes before the clerk could proceed with the roll-
call. When his name was reached James said "Hardy" in a clear
distinct voice that brought from the gallery a round of applause
sharply checked by the presiding officer. Killen gave his vote for
Frome tremulously and shrank from the storm he had evoked. Rawson
could be seen standing on his seat, one foot on the top of his
desk, shaking his fist at him in purple apoplectic rage, the while
his voice rose above the tumult, "You damned Judas! You damned
little traitor!"

The presiding officer beat in vain with his gavel for quiet. Not
until they had worn themselves to momentary exhaustion could the
roll-call be continued.

Miller and Pitts voted for Frome and stirred renewed shouts of
support and execration.

"Takes one more change to elect Frome. All depends on Reilly now,"
Rawson whispered hoarsely to Jeff. "If he sticks we're safe for
another twenty-four hours."

But Reilly, knowing the decisive moment had come, voted for Frome
and gave him the one more needed to elect. Pandemonium was loose
at once. The Transcontinental forces surrounded him and fought off
the excited men he had betrayed who tried to get at him to make
him change his vote. The culminating moment of months of battle
had come and mature men gave themselves to the abandon of the
moment like college boys after a football game.

When at last the storm had subsided Ashton, who had seen several
thousand dollars go glimmering because his initial came at the
beginning of the alphabet instead of at the close, in the hope of
still getting into the bandwagon in time moved to make the
election unanimous. His suggestion was rejected with hoots of
derision, and Frome made the conventional speech of acceptance to
a House divided against itself.

Jeff joined his cousin as he was descending the steps to the lower
hall. "Don't blame yourself, old man. It would have happened
anyhow in a day or two. They were looking for a chance to desert.
We couldn't have held them. Better luck next time."

James found cold comfort in such consolation. He was dissatisfied
with the part he had played in the final drama. Instead of being
the hero of the hour, he was the unfortunate whose blunder had
started the avalanche. Yet he was gratified when Rawson said in
effect the same thing as Jeff.

"And I'm going to have the pleasure of telling that damned little
Killen what I think of him," the politician added with savage
satisfaction.

"Don't blame him. He's only a victim. What we must do is to change
the system that makes it possible to defeat the will of the people
through money," Jeff said.

"How are you going about it?" Rawson demanded incredulously.

"We'll go after the initiative and referendum right now while the
people are stirred up about this treachery. The very men who threw
us down will support us to try and square themselves. The bill
will slip through as if it were oiled," Jeff prophesied.

"Oh, hang your initiative and referendum. I'm a politician, not a
socialist reformer," grinned Rawson.

James said nothing.


Part 2

If the years were bringing Jeff a sharper realization of the
forces that control so much of life they were giving him too the
mellowness that can be in revolt without any surrender of faith in
men. He could for instance now look back on his college days and
appreciate the kindness and the patience of the teachers whom he
had then condemned. They had been conformists. No doubt they had
compromised to the pressure of their environment. But somehow he
felt much less like judging men than he used to in the first flush
of his intellectual awakening. It was perhaps this habit of making
allowance for weakness, together with his call to the idealism in
them, that made him so effective a worker with men.

He was as easy as an old shoe, but people sensed the steel in him
instinctively. In his quiet way he was coming to be a power. For
one thing he was possessed of the political divination that
understands how far a leader may go without losing his following.
He knew too how to get practical results. It was these qualities
that enabled him out of the wreckage of the senatorial defeat to
build a foundation of victory for House Bill 77.

To bring into effect Jeff's pet measure of the initiative and
referendum necessitated an amendment to the state constitution,
which must be passed by two successive legislative assemblies and
ratified by a vote of the people in order to become effective. The
bill had been slumbering in committee, but immediately after the
senatorial election Jeff insisted on having it brought squarely to
the attention of the House.

His feeling for the psychological moment was a true one and he
succeeded by a skillful newspaper campaign in rallying the people
to his support. The sense of outrage felt at this shameless
purchase of a seat in the Senate, accented by a knowledge of its
helplessness to avenge the wrong done it, counted mightily in
favor of H. B. No. 77 just now. It promised a restoration of power
to the people, and the clamor for its passage became insistent.

A good deal of quiet lobbying had been done for the bill, and the
legislators who had sold themselves, having received all they
could reasonably expect from the allied corporations, were anxious
to make a show of standing for their constituents. Politicians in
general considered the bill a "freak" one. Some who voted for it
explained that they did not believe in it, but felt the people
should have a chance to vote on it themselves. By a large majority
it passed the House. Two days later it squeezed through the
Senate.

Rawson, who had been persuaded half against his judgment to
support the bill, lunched with Jeff that day.

"Now watch the corporations dig a grave for your little pet at the
next legislature," he chuckled, helping himself to bread while he
waited for the soup.

"They may. Then again they may not," Farnum answered. "We are
ruled by political machines and corporations only as long as we
let them. I've a notion the people are going to assert themselves
at the next election."

"How are you going to make the will of the dear people effective
with the assembly?" asked Rawson, amused.

"Make the initiative and referendum the issue of the campaign.
Pledge the legislators to vote for it before nominating them."

"Pledge them?" grinned Rawson cynically. "Weren't they pledged to
support Hardy? And did they?"

"No, but they'll stick next time, I think."

"You're an incurable optimist, my boy."

"It isn't optimism this time. It's our big stick."

"Didn't know we had one."

"Do you remember House Bill 19?"

"No. What's that got to do with it?"

"It slipped through early in the session. Anderson introduced it.
Nobody paid any attention to it because he's a back country Swede
and his bill was very wordy. The governor signed it to-day. That
bill provides for the recall of any public official, alderman or
legislator if the people are not satisfied with his conduct."

The big man stared. "I thought it only applied to district road
supervisors. Were you back of that bill, Jeff?"

"I had it drawn up and helped steer it through the committee,
though I was careful not to appear interested."

"You sly old fox! And nobody guessed it had general application.
None of us read the blamed thing through. You're going to use it
as a club to make the legislators stand pat on their pledges."

"Yes."

"But don't you see how revolutionary your big stick is?" Rawson's
smile was expansive. "Why, hang it, man, you're destroying the
fundamental value of representative government. It's a deliberate
attack on graft."

"Looks like it, doesn't it?"

It was while Rawson was waiting for his mince pie piled with ice
cream that he ventured a delicate question.

"Say, Jeff! What about James? Is he getting ready to flop over to
the enemy?"

"No. Why do you ask that?"

"I notice he explained when he voted for House Bill 77 that he
reserved the right to oppose it later. Said he hadn't made up his
mind, but felt the people should be given a chance to express
themselves on it."

Upon Farnum's face rested a momentary gravity. "I can't make James
out lately. He's lost his enthusiasm. Half the time he's irritable
and moody. I think perhaps he's been blaming himself too much for
Hardy's defeat."

Rawson laughed with cynical incredulity. "That's it, is it?"


CHAPTER 11 

"Faustina hath the fairest face,
And Phillida the better grace;
  Both have mine eye enriched:
This sings full sweetly with her voice;
Her fingers make so sweet a noise;
  Both have mine ear bewitched.
Ah me! sith Fates have so provided,
My heart, alas! must be divided."


THE HERO, ASSISTED BY THE MONA LISA SMILE, DEPLORES THE
DEBILITATING EFFECTS OF MODERN CIVILIZATION


Part 1 

With the adjournment of the legislature politics became a less
absorbing topic of interest. James at least was frankly glad of
this, for his position had begun to be embarrassing. He could not
always stand with a foot in either camp. As yet he had made no
break with the progressives. Joe Powers had given him a hint that
he might be more useful where he was. But as much as possible he
was avoiding the little luncheons at which Jeff and his political
friends were wont to foregather. He gave as an excuse the rush of
business that was swamping him. His excuse at least had the
justification of truth. His speeches had brought him a good many
clients and Frome was quietly throwing cases his way.

It was at one of these informal little noonday gatherings that
Rawson gave his opinion of the legal ability of James.

"He isn't any great lawyer, but he never gives it away. He knows
how to wear an air of profound learning with a large and
impressive silence. Roll up the whole Supreme Court into one and
it can't look any wiser than James K. Farnum."

Miller laughed. "Reminds me of what I heard last week. Jeff was
walking down Powers Avenue with James and an old fellow stopped me
to point them out. There go the best citizen and the worst citizen
in this town, he said. I told him that was rather hard on James.
You ought to have heard him. For him James is the hero of the
piece and Jeff the villain."

"Half the people in this town have got that damn fool notion,"
Captain Chunn interrupted violently.

"More than half, I should say."

"Every day or two I hear about how dissipated Jeff used to be and
how if it were not for his good and noble cousin he would have
gone to the deuce long ago," Rawson contributed.

Chunn pounded on the table with his fist. "Jeff's own fault. Talk
about durn fools! That boy's got them all beat clear off the map.
And I'm dashed if I don't like him better for it."

"Move we change the subject," suggested Rawson. "Here comes
Verden's worst citizen."

With a casual nod of greeting round the table Jeff sat down.

"Any of you hear James' speech before the Chamber of Commerce
yesterday? It was bully. One of his best," he said as he reached
for the menu card.

Captain Chunn groaned. The rest laughed. Jeff looked round in
surprise. "What's the joke?"


Part 2

It was a great relief to James, in these days when the complacency
of his self-satisfaction was a little ruffled, to call often on
Valencia Van Tyle and let himself drift pleasantly with her along
primrose paths where moral obligations never obtruded. Under the
near-Venetian ceiling of her den, with its pink Cupids and plump
dimpled cherubs smiling down, he was never troubled about his
relation to Hardy's defeat. Here he got at life from another slant
and could always find justification to himself for his course.

She had a silent divination of his moods and knew how to minister
indolently to them. The subtle incense of luxury that she diffused
banished responsibility. In her soft sensuous blood the lusty beat
of duty had small play.

But even while he yielded to the allure of Valencia Van Tyle,
admitting a finish of beauty to which mere youth could not aspire,
all that was idealistic in him went out to the younger cousin
whose admiration and shy swift friendship he was losing. His
vanity refused to accept this at first. She was a little piqued at
him because of the growing intimacy with Valencia. That was all.
Why, it had been only a month or two ago that her gaze had been
warm for him, that her playful irony had mocked sweetly his
ambition for service to the community. Their spirits had touched
in comradeship. Almost he had caught in her eyes the look they
would hold for only one man on earth. The best in him had
responded to the call. But now he did not often meet her at The
Brakes. When he did a cool little nod and an indifferent word
sufficed for him. How much this hurt only James himself knew.

One of the visible signs of his increasing prosperity was a motor
car, in which he might frequently be seen driving with the
daughter of Joe Powers, to the gratification of its owner and the
envy of Verden. The cool indifference with which Mrs. Van Tyle
ignored the city's social elite had aroused bitter criticism.
Since she did not care a rap for this her escapades were frankly
indiscreet. James could not really afford a machine, but he
justified it on the ground that it was an investment. A man who
appears to be prosperous becomes prosperous. A good front is a
part of the bluff of twentieth century success. He did not follow
his argument so far as to admit that the purchase of the car was
an item in the expenses of a campaign by which he meant to make
capital out of a woman's favor to him, even though his imagination
toyed with the possibilities it might offer to build a sure
foundation of fortune.

"You should go to New York," she told him once after he had
sketched, with the touch of eloquence so native to him, a plan for
a line of steamers between Verden and the Orient.

"To be submerged in the huddle of humanity. No, thank you."

"But the opportunities are so much greater there for a man of
ability."

"Oh, ability!" he derided. "New York is loaded to the water line
with ability in garrets living on crusts. To win out there a man
must have a pull, or he must have the instinct for making money
breed, for taking what other men earn."

She studied him, a good-looking, alert American, sheet-armored in
the twentieth century polish of selfishness, with an inordinate
appetite for success. Certainly he looked every inch a winner.

"I believe you could do it. You're not too scrupulous to look out
for yourself." Her daring impudence mocked him lightly.

"I'm not so sure about that." James liked to look his conscience
in the face occasionally. "I respect the rights of my fellows. In
the money centers you can't do that and win. And you've got to
win. It doesn't matter how. Make good-- make good! Get money--any
way you can. People will soon forget how you got it, if you have
it."

"Dear me! I didn't know you were so given to moral reflections."
To Alice, who had just come into the room to settle where they
should spend their Sunday, Valencia explained with mock demureness
the subject of their talk. "Mr. Farnum and I are deploring the
immoral money madness of New York and the debilitating effects of
modern civilization. Will you deplore with us, my dear?"

The younger woman's glance included the cigarette James had thrown
away and the one her cousin was still smoking. "Why go as far as
New York?" she asked quietly.

Farnum flushed. She was right, he silently agreed. He had no
business futtering away his time in a pink boudoir. Nor could he
explain that he hoped his time was not being wasted.

"I must be going," he said as casually as he could.

"Don't let me drive you away, Mr. Farnum. I dropped in only for a
moment."

"Not at all. I have an appointment with my cousin."

"With Mr. Jefferson Farnum?" Alice asked in awakened interest.
"I've just been reading a magazine article about him. Is he really
a remarkable man?"

"I don't think you would call him remarkable. He gets things done,
in spite of being an idealist."

"Why, in spite of it?"

"Aren't reformers usually unpractical?"

"Are they? I don't know. I have never met one." She looked
straight at Farnum with the directness characteristic of her. "Is
the article in Stetson's Magazine true?"

"Substantially, I think."

Alice hesitated. She would have liked to pursue the subject, but
she could not very well do that with his cousin. For years she had
been hearing of this man as a crank agitator who had set himself
in opposition to her father and his friends for selfish reasons.
Her father had dropped vague hints about his unsavory life. The
Stetson write-up had given a very different story. If it told the
truth, many things she had been brought up to accept without
question would bear study.

James suavely explained. "The facts are true, but not the
inferences from the facts. Jeff takes rather a one-sided view of a
very complex situation. But he's perfectly honest in it, so far as
that goes."

"You voted for his bill, didn't you?" Alice asked.

"Yes, I voted for it. But I said on the floor I didn't believe in
it. My feeling was that the people ought to have a chance to
express an opinion in regard to it."

"Why don't you believe in it?"

Valencia lifted her perfect eyebrows. "Really, my dear, I didn't
know you were so interested in politics."

Alice waited for the young man's answer.

"It would take me some time to give my reasons in full. But I can
give you the text of them in a sentence. Our government is a
representative one by deliberate choice of its founders. This bill
would tend to make it a pure democracy, which would be far too
cumbersome for so large a country."

"So you'll vote against it next time to save the country," Alice
suggested lightly. "Thank you for explaining it." She turned to
her cousin with an air of dismissing the subject. "Well, Val. What
about the yacht trip to Kloochet Island for Sunday? Shall we go? I
have to 'phone the captain to let him know at once."

"If you'll promise not to have it rain all the time," the young
widow shrugged with a little move. "Perhaps Mr. Farnum could join
us? I'm sure uncle would be pleased."

Alice seconded her cousin's invitation tepidly, without any
enthusiasm. James, with a face which did not reflect his
disappointment, took his cue promptly. "Awfully sorry, but I'll be
out of the city. Otherwise I should be delighted."

Valencia showed a row of dainty teeth in a low ripple of
amusement. Alice flashed her cousin one look of resentment and
with a sentence of conventional regret left the room to telephone
the sailing master.

Farnum, seeking permission to leave, waited for his hostess to
rise from the divan where she nestled.

But Valencia, her fingers laced in characteristic fashion back of
her neck, leaned back and mocked his defeat with indolent amused
eyes.

"My engagement," he suggested as a reminder.

"Poor boy! Are you hard hit?"

"Your flights of fancy leave me behind. I can't follow," he evaded
with an angry flush.

"No, but you wish you could follow," she laughed, glancing at the
door through which her cousin had departed. Then, with a demure
impudent little cast of her head, she let him have it straight
from the shoulder. "How long have you been in love with Alice? And
how will you like to see Ned Merrill win?"

"Am I in love with Miss Frome?"

"Aren't you?"

"If you say so. It happens to be news to me."

"As if I believed that, as if you believed it yourself," she
scoffed.

Her pretty pouting lips, the long supple unbroken lines of the
soft sinuous body, were an invitation to forget all charms but
hers. He understood that she was throwing out her wiles,
consciously or unconsciously, to strike out from him a denial that
would convince her. His mounting vanity drove away his anger. He
forgot everything but her sheathed loveliness, the enticement of
this lovely creature whose smoldering eyes invited. Crossing the
room, he stood behind her divan and looked down at her with his
hands on the back of it.

"Can a man care much for two women at the same time?" he asked in
a low voice.

She laughed with slow mockery.

Her faint perfume was wafted to his brain. He knew a besieging of
the blood. Slowly he leaned forward, holding her eyes till the
mockery faded from them. Then, very deliberately, he kissed her.

"How dare you!" she voiced softly in a kind of wonder not free
from resentment. For with all her sensuous appeal the daughter of
Joe Powers was not a woman with whom men took liberties.

"By the gods, why shouldn't I dare? We played a game and both of
us have lost. You were to beckon and coolly flit, while I followed
safely at a distance. Do you think me a marble statue? Do you
think me too wooden for the strings of my heart to pulsate? By
heaven, my royal Hebe, you have blown the fire in me to life. You
must pay forfeit."

"Pay forfeit?"

"Yes. I'm your servant no longer, but your lover and your master--
and I intend to marry you."

"How ridiculous," she derided. "Have you forgotten Alice?"

"I have forgotten everything but you--and that I'm going to marry
you."

She laughed a little tremulously. "You had better forget that too.
I'm like Alice. My answer is, 'No, thank you, kind sir.'"

"And my answer, royal Hebe, is this." His hot lips met hers again
in abandonment to the racing passion in him.

"You--barbarian," she gasped, pushing him away.

"Perhaps. But the man who is going to marry you."

She looked at him with a flash of almost shy curiosity that had
the charm of an untasted sensation. "Would you beat me?"

"I don't know." He still breathed unevenly. "I'd teach you how to
live."

"And love?" She was beginning to recover her lightness of tone,
though the warm color still dabbed her cheeks.

"Why not?" His eyes were diamond bright. "Why not? You have never
known the great moments, the buoyant zest of living in the land
that belongs only to the Heirs o Life."

"And can you guide me there?" The irony in her voice was not
untouched with wistfulness.

"Try me."

She laughed softly, stepped to the table, and chose a cigarette.
"My friend, you promise impossibilities. I was not born to that
incomparable company. To be frank, neither were you. Alice, grant
you, belongs there. And that mad cousin of yours. But not we two
earth creepers. We're neither of us star dwellers. In the
meantime"--she lit her Egyptian and stopped to make sure of her
light every moment escaping more definitely from the glamor of his
passion--"you mentioned an engagement that was imperative. Don't
let me keep you from it."


CHAPTER 12

From The New Catechism

Question: What is the whole duty of man?

Answer: To succeed.

Q. What is success?

A. Success is being a Captain of Industry.

Q. How may one become a Captain of Industry?

A. By stacking in his barns the hay made by others
while the sun shines.

Q. But is this not theft?

A. Not if done legally and respectably on a large scale.
It is high finance.


THE REBEL AND THE UNDESIRABLE CITIZEN TALK TREASON. THE
HERO HAS PRIVATE CONVERSE WITH A GREAT PIONEER OF CIVILIZATION


Part 1 

Jeff never for a day desisted from his fight to win back for the
people the self rule that had been wrested from them for selfish
purposes by corporate greed. "Government by the people" was the
watchword he kept at the head of his editorial column. Better a
bad government that is representative than a good one emanating
from the privileged few, he maintained with conviction.

To his office came one day Oscar Marchant, the little, half-
educated Socialist poet, coughing from the exertion of the stairs
he had just climbed. He had come begging, the consumptive
presently explained.

"Remember Sobieski, the Polish Jew?"

Jeff smiled. "Of course. Philosophical anarchy used to be his
remedy."

"Starvation is the one he's trying now," returned Marchant grimly.
"He's had typhoid and lost his job. The rent's due and they'll be
turned out tomorrow. He's got a wife and two kids."

Farnum asked questions briefly and pulled out his check book.
"Tell Sobieski not to worry," he said as he handed over a check.
"I'll send a reporter out there and we'll make an appeal through
the _World_. Of course his own name won't be used. No one will
know who it really is. We'll look out for him till he's on his
feet again."

Marchant gave him the best he had. "You're a pretty good
Socialist, even though you don't know it."

"Am I?"

"But you're blind as a bat. The things you fight for in the
_World_ don't get to the bottom of what ails us."

"We've got to forge the tools of freedom before we can use them,
haven't we?"

"You're all for patching up the rotten system we've got. It will
never do."

"Great changes are most easily brought about under the old forms.
Men's minds in the mass move slowly. They can see only a little
truth at a time."

"Because they are blinded by ignorance and selfishness. Get at
bottom facts, Farnum. What's the one great crime?"

Without a moment's hesitation Jeff answered. "Poverty. All other
crimes are paltry beside that."

Marchant cocked himself up on the window seat with his legs
doubled under him tailor fashion. "Why?"

"Because it stamps out hope and love and aspiration, all that is
fine and true in life."

"Exactly. Men ought to love their work. But how can they

ove that which is always associated in their minds with a denial
of justice? Is it likely that men will work better under a system
whereby they are condemned in advance to failure than under one
standing rationally for a just and fair division of the fruits of
labor? I tell you, Farnum, under present conditions the Juggernaut
of progress is forever wasting humanity."

"I've always thought it a pity that the mainsprings of work should
be fear and greed instead of hope and love," Jeff agreed.

"Why is it that poverty coexists with wealth increasing so
rapidly? Why is it that productive power has been so enormously
developed without lightening the burdens of labor?"

Marchant's eyes were starlike in their earnestness. He had a
passion for humanity that neither want nor disease could quench,
and with it a certain gift of expression street oratory had
brought out. Even in private conversation he had got into the way
of declaiming. But Jeff knew he was no empty talker. All that he
had he literally gave to the poor.

"Because the whole spirit of business life is wrong," Farnum
responded.

"Of course it's wrong. It's a survival of the law of the jungle,
of tooth and fang. Its motto is dog eat dog. We all work under the
rule of get and grab. What's the result of this higgledypiggledy
system? One man starves and another has indigestion. That's the
trouble with Verden to-day. Some of us haven't enough and others
have too much. They take from us what we earn. That's the whole
cause of poverty. The Malthusian theory is all wrong. It's not
nature, but man that is to blame."

Farnum knew the little Socialist was right so far. Here in Verden,
under the forms of freedom, was the very essence of slavery. All
the product of labor was taken from it except enough to sustain a
mere animal existence. Something was wrong in a world where a man
begs in vain for work to support his family. Given proper
conditions, men would not rise by trampling each other down, but
by lending a hand to the unfortunate. The effect of efficiency
would be to make things easier for the weak. The reward of service
would be more service.

"The principle of the old order is dead," Marchant went on,
wagging his thin forefinger at Jeff. "The whole social fabric is
made up of lies, compromises, injustice. The only reason it has
hung together so long is that people have been trained to think
along certain lines like show animals. But they're waking up. Look
at Germany. Look at England. What the plutocrats call the menace
of Socialism is everywhere. Now that every worker knows he is
being robbed of what he earns, how long do you think he will carry
the capitalistic system on his back? From the beginning of the
world we have tried it. With what result? An injustice that is
staggering, a waste that is appalling, an inhumanity that is
deadening."

Jeff let a hand fall lightly on his shoulder. "Of course it's all
wrong. We know that. But can you show me how to make it right,
except out of the hearts of men growing slowly wiser and better?"

"Why slowly?" demanded Marchant. "Why not to-day while we're still
alive to see the smiles of men and women and children made glad?
You always want to begin at the wrong end. I tell you that you
can't change men's hearts until you change the conditions under
which they live."

"And I tell you that you can't change the conditions until you
change men's hearts," Jeff answered with his wistful smile.

"Rubbish! The only way to change the hearts of most plutocrats is
to hit them over the head with a two-by-four. Smug respectability
is in the saddle, and it knows it's right. We'll get nowhere until
we smash this iniquitous system to smithereens."

"So you want to substitute one system for another. You think you
can eliminate by legal enactment all this fatty degeneration of
greed and selfishness that has incased our souls. I'm afraid it
will be a slower process. We must free ourselves from within. I
believe we are moving toward some sort of a socialistic state. No
man with eyes in his head can help seeing that. But we'll move a
step at a time, and only so fast as the love and altruism inside
us can be organized into external law."

"No. You'll wake up some morning and find that this whole
capitalistic organization has crumbled in the night, fallen to
pieces from dry rot."

Jeff might not agree with him, but he knew that Marchant, dreamer
and incoherent poet, his heart aflame with zeal for humanity, was
far nearer the truth of life than the smug complacent Pharisees
that fattened from the toil of the helpless many who could do
nothing but suffer in dumb silence.


Part 2

As the months passed Jeff grew in stature with the people of the
state. In spite of his energy he was always fair. The plain truth
he felt to be a better argument than the tricks of a demagogue.

A rational common sense was to be found in all his advice. Add to
this that he had no personal profit to seek, no political axe to
grind, and was always transparent as a child. More and more Verden
recognized him as the one most conspicuous figure in the state
dedicated to uncompromising war against the foes of the Republic.

Those who knew him best liked his humility, his good humor, the
gentleness that made him tolerant of the men he must fight. His
poise lifted him above petty animosities, and the daily sand-
stings of life did not disturb his serenity.

Everywhere his propaganda gained ground. People's Power Leagues
were formed with a central steering committee at Verden.
Politicians with their ears close to the ground heard rumbles of
the coming storm. They began to notice that reputable business
men, prominent lawyers not affiliated with corporations, and even
a few educators who had shaken away the timidity of their class
were lining up to support Jeff's freak legislation. It began to
look as if one of those periodical uprisings of the people was
about to sweep the state.

Big Tim found his ward workers met persistently by the same
questions from their ordinarily docile following. "Why shouldn't
we tie strings to our representatives so as to keep them from
betraying us? . . . Why can't we make laws ourselves in emergency
and kill bad laws the legislature makes? . . . What's the matter
with taking away some of the power from our representatives who
have abused it?"

In the city election O'Brien went down to defeat. Only fragments
of his ticket were saved from the general wreckage. Next day Joe
Powers wired James Farnum to join him immediately at Chicago.

"I'm going to put you in charge of the political field out there,"
the great man announced, his gray granite eyes fastened on the
young lawyer. "Ned Merrill won't do. Neither will O'Brien. Between
them they've made a mess of things."

"I don't know that it is their fault, except indirectly. One of
those populistic waves swept over the city."

"Why didn't they know what was going to happen? Why didn't they
let me know? That's what I pay them for."

"A child could have foreseen it, but O'Brien wouldn't believe his
eyes. He's been giving Verden an administration with too much
graft. The people got tired of it."

"What were Merrill and Frome up to? Why did they permit it?"
demanded Powers impatiently.

"They were looking out for their franchises. To get the machine's
support they had to give O'Brien a free hand."

"If necessary you had better eliminate Big Tim. Or at least put
him and his gang in the background. Make the machine respectable
so that good citizens can indorse it."

James nodded agreement. "I've been thinking about that. The thing
can be done. A business men's movement from inside the party to
purify it. A reorganization with new men in charge. That sort of
thing."

"Exactly. And how about the state?"

"Things don't look good to me."

"Why not?"

"This initiative and referendum idea is spreading."

Powers drove his fist into a pile of papers on the desk. "Stop it.
I give you carte blanche. Spend as much as you like. But win. What
good is a lobby to me if those hare-brained farmers can kill every
bill we pass through their grafting legislature?"

The possibilities grew on Farnum. "I'll send Professor Perkins of
Verden University to New Zealand to prepare a paper showing the
thing is a failure there. I'll have every town in the state
thoroughly canvassed by lecturers and speakers against the bill.
I'll bombard the farmers with literature."

"What about the newspapers?"

"We control most of them. At Verden only the _World_ is against
us."

"Buy it."

"Can't be bought. Its editorial columns are not for sale."

"Anything can be bought if you've got the price. Who owns it?"

"A Captain Chunn. He made his money in Alaska. My cousin is the
editor. He is the real force back of it."

"Does the paper have any influence?"

"A great deal."

"I've heard of your cousin. A crack-brained Socialist, I
understand."

"You'll find he's a long way from that," James denied.

"Whatever he is, buy him," ordered Powers curtly.

The young man shook his head. "Can't be done. He doesn't want the
things you have to offer."

"Every man has his price. Find his, and buy him."

James shook his head decisively. "Absolutely impossible. He's an
idealist and an altruist."

Powers snorted impatiently. "Talk English, young man, and I'll
understand you."

Farnum had heard Joe Powers was a man who would stand plain talk
from those who had the courage to give it him. His cool eyes
hardened. Why not? For once the old gray pirate, chief of the
robber buccaneers who rode on their predatory way superior to law,
should see himself as Jeff Farnum saw him.

"What I mean is that the things he holds most important can't be
bought with dollars and cents. He believes in justice and fair
play. He thinks the strong ought to bear the burdens of the weak.

He has a passion to uplift humanity. You can't understand him
because it isn't possible for you to conceive of a man whose first
thought is always for what is equitable."

"Just as I thought, a Socialist dreamer and demagogue," pronounced
Powers scornfully.

"Merrill and Frome have been thinking of him just as you do."
James waved his hand toward the newspaper in front of the railroad
king. "With what result our election shows."

"Well, where does his power lie? How can you break it?" the old
man asked.

"He is a kind of brother to the lame and the halt all over the
state. Among the poor and the working classes he has friends
without number. They believe in him as a patriot fighting for them
against the foes of the country."

"Do you call me a foe of the country, young man?" Powers wanted to
know grimly.

"Not I," laughed James. "Why should I quarrel with my bread and
jam? If you had ever done me the honor to read any of my speeches
you would see that I refer to you as a Pioneer of Civilization and
a Builder for the Future. But my view doesn't happen to be
universal. I was trying to show you how the man with the dinner
pail feels."

"Who fills his dinner pails?"

James met his frown with a genial eye. "There's a difference of
opinion about that, sir. According to the economics of Verden
University you fill them. According to the _World_ editorials it's
the other way. They fill yours."

"Hmp! And what's your personal opinion? Am I a robber of labor?"

"I think that the price of any success worth while is paid for in
the failure of others. You win because you're strong, sir. That's
the law of the game. It's according to the survival of the fittest
that you're where you are. If you had hesitated some other man
would have trampled you down. It's a case of wolf eat wolf."

The old railroad builder laughed harshly. This was the first time
in his experience that a subordinate had so analyzed him to his
face.

"So I'm a wolf, am I?"

"In one sense of the word you're not that at all, sir. You're a
great builder. You've done more for the Northwest than any man
living. You couldn't have done it if you had been squeamish. I
hold the end justifies the means. What you've got is yours because
you've won it. Men who do a great work for the public are entitled
to great rewards."

"Glad to know you've got more sense than that fool cousin of
yours. Now go home and beat him. I don't care how you do it, just
so that you get results. Spend what money you need. but make good,
young man--make good."

"I'll do my best," James promised.

"All I demand is that you win. I'm not interested in the method
you use. But put that cousin of yours out of the demagogue
business if you have to shanghai him."

James laughed. "That might not be a bad way to get rid of him till
after the election. The word would leak out that he had been
bought off."

The old buccaneer's eyes gleamed. He was as daring a lawbreaker as
ever built or wrecked a railroad. "Have you the nerve, young man?"

"When I'm working for you, sir," retorted James coolly.

"What do you mean by that?"

"If I've studied your career to any purpose, sir, one thing stands
out pretty clear. You haven't the slightest respect for law merely
as law. When it's on your side you're a stickler for it; when it
isn't you say nothing, but brush it aside as if it did not exist.
In either case you get what you want."

"I'm glad you've noticed that last point. Now we'll have
luncheon." He smiled grimly. "I daresay you'll enjoy it no less
because I stole it from the horny hand of labor, by your mad
cousin's way of it."

"Not a bit," answered James cheerfully.


CHAPTER 13

"Must it be? Must we then
Render back to God again
This, His broken work, this thing
For His man that once did sing?"
--Josephine Prestor Peabody.

"And listen! I declare to you that if all is as you say--and I do
not doubt it--you have never ceased to be virtuous in the sight of
God!"
--Victor Hugo.


THE REBEL PROVES THAT HE IS LOST TO GOOD FORM AND RESPECTABILITY
BY STEPPING BETWEEN A SINNER AND THE WAGES OF SIN, THUS EVIDENCING
TO THE PILLARS OF SOCIETY HIS COMPLETE DEGENERATION


Part 1

Sam Miller came into Jeff's office one night as he was looking
over the editorials. Farnum nodded abstractedly to him.

"Take a chair, Sam. Be through in a minute."

Presently Jeff pushed the galley proof to one side and looked at
his friend. "Well, Sam?" Almost at once he added: "What's the
matter?"

There were queer white patches on Miller's fat face. He looked
like a man in hell. A lump rose in his throat. Two or three times
he swallowed hard.

"It's--it's Nellie."

"Nellie Anderson?"

He nodded.

Jeff felt as if his heart had been drenched in icy water. "What
about her?"

"She's--gone."

"Gone where?"

"We don't know. She left Friday. There was a note for her mother.
It said to forget her, because she was a disgrace to her name."

"You mean--" Jeff did not finish his question. He knew what the
answer was, and in his soul lay a reflection of the mortal
sickness he saw in his friend's face.

Miller nodded, unable to speak. Presently his words came brokenly.
"She's been acting strangely for a long time. Her mother noticed
it. . . . So did I. Like as if she wasn't happy. We've been
worried. I . . .I . . ." He buried his face in his arm on the
table. "My God, I love her, Jeff. I have for years. If I'd only
known . . . if she'd only told me."

Jeff was white as the galley proof that lay before him with the
unprinted side up. "Tell me all about it, Sam."

Miller looked up. "That's all. We don't know where she's gone. She
had no money to speak of."

"And the man?" Jeff almost whispered.

"We don't know who he is. Might be any one of the clerks at the
Verden Dry Goods Company.

Maybe it's none of them. If I knew I'd cut his heart out."

The clock on the wall ticked ten times before Jeff spoke. "Did she
go alone?"

"We don't know. None of the clerks are missing from the store
where she worked. I checked up with the manager yesterday."

Another long silence. "They may have rooms in town here."

"Not likely." Presently Miller added miserably: "She's--going to
be a mother soon. We found the doctor she went to see."

"You're sure she hasn't been married? Of course you've looked over
the marriage licenses for the past year."

"Yes. Her name isn't on the list."

"Did she have money?"

"About fifteen dollars, we figure."

"That wouldn't take her far--unless the man gave her some. Have
you been to a detective agency?"

"Yes."

"We'll put blind ads in all the papers telling her to come home.
We'll rake the city and the state with a fine tooth comb. We're
bound to hear of her."

"She's desperate, Jeff. If she's alone she'll think she has no
friends. We've got to find her in time or--"

Jeff guessed the alternative. She might take the easy way out, the
one which offered an escape from all her earthly troubles. Girls
of her type often did. Nellie was made for laughter and for
happiness. He had known her innocent as a sunbeam and as glad. Now
that she was in the pit, facing disgrace and disillusionment and
despair, the horror and the dread of existence to her would be a
millstone round her neck.

The damnable unfairness of it took. Jeff by the throat. Was it her
fault that she had inherited a temperament where passions lurked
unsuspected like a banked fire? Was she to blame because her
mother had brought her up without warning, because she had
believed in the love and the honor of a villain? Her very faith
and trust had betrayed her. Every honest instinct in him cried out
against the world's verdict, that she must pay with salt tears to
the end of her life while the scoundrel who had led her into
trouble walked gaily to fresh conquests.

Cogged dice! She had gone forth smiling to play the game of life
with them, never dreaming that the cubes were loaded. He
remembered how once her every motion sang softly to him like
music, with what dear abandon she had given herself to his kisses.
Her fondness had been a thing to cherish, her innocence had called
for protection. And her chivalrous lover had struck the lightness
forever from her soul.

For long he never thought of her without an icy sinking of the
heart.


Part 2

Weeks passed. Sam Miller gave his whole time to the search for the
missing girl. Jeff supplied the means; in every way he could he
encouraged him and the broken mother. For a thousand miles south
and east the police had her description and her photograph. But no
trace of her could be found. False clews there were aplenty. A
dozen haggard streetwalkers were arrested in mistake for her.
Patiently Sam ran down every story, followed every possibility to
its hopeless end.

The weeks ran into months. Mrs. Anderson still hoped drearily.
Every night the light in the hall burned now till daybreak. And
every night she wept herself to sleep for that her one ewe lamb
was lost in a ravenous world.

Tears were for the night. Wan smiles for the day, when she and
Sam, drawn close by a common grief, met to understand each other
with few words. He was back again at his work as curator of the
museum at the State House, a place Jeff had secured for him after
the election.

Outside of Nellie's mother the one friend to whom Sam turned now
was Jeff. He came for comfort, to sit long hours in the office
while Farnum did his night work. Sometimes he would read; more
often sit brooding with his chin in his hands. When the midnight
rush was past and Jeff was free they would go together to a
restaurant.

Afterwards they would separate at the door of the block where Jeff
had his rooms.


Part 3

Yet when Jeff found her it was not Sam who was with him, but
Marchant. They had been to see Sobieski about a place Captain
Chunn had secured for him as a night watchman of the shipbuilding
plant of which Clinton Rogers was part owner. The Pole had mounted
his hobby and it had been late when they got away from his cabin
under the viaduct.

Just before they turned into lower Powers Avenue from the deadline
below Yarnell Way, Marchant clutched at the sleeve of his friend.

"See that woman's face?" he asked sharply.

"No."

Jeff was interested at once. For during the past months he had
fallen into a habit of scanning the countenance of any woman who
might be the one they sought.

"She knew you. I could see fear jump to her eyes."

"We'll go back," Jeff decided instantly.

"She's in deep water. Death is written on her face."

Already Jeff was swinging back, almost on the run. But she had
gone swallowed up in the darkness of the night. They listened, but
could hear only the steady splashing of the rain. While they stood
hesitating the figure of a woman showed at the other end of the
alley and was lost at once down Pacific Avenue.

Jeff ran toward the lights of the other avenue, but before he
reached it she had again disappeared. Marchant joined him a few
moments later. The little socialist leaned against the wall to
steady himself against the fit of coughing that racked him.

"Nuisance . . . this . . . being a lunger. . . What's it all . . .
about, Jeff?"

"I know her. We'll cover the waterfront. Take from Coffee Street
up. Don't miss a wharf or a boathouse. And if you find the girl
don't let her get away."

The editor crossed to the Pacific & Alaska dock, his glance
sweeping every dark nook and cranny that might conceal a huddled
form. Out of a sodden sky rain pelted in a black night.

He was turning away when an empty banana crate behind him crashed
down from a pyramid of them. Jeff whirled, was upon her in an
instant before she could escape.

She was shrinking against the wall of the warehouse, her face a
tragic mask in its haggard pallor, a white outline clenched hard
against the driving rain. One hand was at her heart, the other
beat against the air to hold him back.

"Nellie!" he cried.

"What do you want? Let me alone! Let me alone!" She was panting
like a spent deer, and in her wild eyes he saw the hunted look of
a forest creature at bay.

"We've looked everywhere for you. I've come to take you home."

"Home!" Her strange laughter mocked the word. "There's no home for
folks like me in this world."

"Your mother is breaking her heart for you. She thinks of nothing
else. All night she keeps a light burning to let you know."

She broke into a sob. "I've seen it. To-night I saw it--for the
last time."

"It is pitiful how she waits and waits," he went on quietly. "She
takes out your dresses and airs them. All the playthings you used
when you were a little girl she keeps near her. She--"

"Don't! Don't!" she begged.

"Your place is set at the table every day, so that when you come
in it may be ready."

At that she leaned against the crates and broke down utterly. Jeff
knew that for the moment the battle was won. He slipped out of his
rain coat and made her put it on, coaxing her gently while the
sobs shook her. He led her by the hand back to Pacific Avenue,
talking cheerfully as if it were a matter of course. 

Here Marchant met them.

"I want a cab, Oscar," Jeff told him.

While he was gone they waited in the entrance to a store that
sheltered them from the rain.

Suddenly the girl turned to Jeff. "I--I was going to do it to-
night," she whispered.

He nodded. "That's all past now. Don't think of it. There are good
days ahead--happy days. It will be new life to your mother to see
you. We've all been frightfully anxious."

She shivered, beginning to sob once more. Not for an instant had
he withdrawn the hand to which she clung so desperately.

"It's all right, Nellie. . .All right at last. You're going home
to those that love you."

"Not to-night--not while I'm looking like this. Don't take me home
to-night," she begged. "I can't stand it yet. Give me to-night,
please. I . . ."

She trembled like an aspen. Jeff could see she was exhausted, in
deadly fear, ready to give way to any wild impulse that might
seize her. To reason with her would do no good and might do much
harm. He must humor her fancy about not going home at once. But he
could not take her to a rooming house and leave her alone while
her mind was in this condition. She must be watched, protected
against herself. Otherwise in the morning she might be gone.

"All right. You may have my rooms. Here's the cab."

Jeff helped her in, thanked Marchant with a word, got in himself,
and shut the door. They were driven through streets shining with
rain beneath the light clusters. Nellie crouched in a corner and
wept. As they swung down Powers Avenue they passed motor car after
motor car filled with gay parties returning from the theaters. He
glimpsed young women in furs, wrapped from the cruelty of life by
the caste system in which wealth had incased them. Once a ripple
of merry laughter floated to him across the gulf that separated
this girl from them.

A year ago her laughter had been light as theirs. Life had been a
thing beautiful, full of color. She had come to it eagerly, like a
lover, glad because it was so good.

But it had not been good to her. By the cluster lights he could
see how fearfully it had mauled her, how cruelly its irony had
kissed hollows in her young cheeks. All the bloom of her was gone,
all the brave pride and joy of youth--gone beyond hope of
resurrection. Why must such things be? Why so much to the few, so
little to the many? And why should that little be taken away? He
saw as in a vision the infinite procession of her hopeless sisters
who had traveled the same road, saw them first as sweet and
carefree children bubbling with joy, and again, after the _World_ 
had misused them for its pleasure, haggard, tawdry, with dragging
steps trailing toward the oblivion that awaited them. Good God,
how long must life be so terribly wasted? How long a bruised and
broken thing instead of the fine, brave adventure for which it was
meant?

Across his mind flashed Realf's words:

"Amen!" I have cried in battle-time,
  When my beautiful heroes perished;
The earth of the Lord shall bloom sublime
  By the blood of his martyrs nourished.
"Amen!" I have said, when limbs were hewn
  And our wounds were blue and ghastly
The flesh of a man may fail and swoon
  But God shall conquer lastly.


Part 4

As Jeff helped her from the cab in front of the block where he
lived a limousine flashed past. It caught his glance for an
instant, long enough for him to recognize his Cousin James, Mrs.
Van Tyle and Alice Frome. The arm which supported Nellie did not
loosen from her waist, though he knew they had seen him and would
probably draw conclusions.

The young woman was trembling violently.

"My rooms are in the second story. Can you walk? Or shall I carry
you?" Farnum asked.

"I can walk," she told him almost in a whisper.

He got her upstairs and into the big armchair in front of the gas
log. Now that she had slipped out of his rain coat he saw that she
was wet to the skin. From his bedroom he brought a bathrobe,
pajamas, woolen slippers, anything he could find that was warm and
soft. In front of her he dumped them all.

"I'm going down to the drug store to get you something that will
warm you, Nellie. While I'm away change your clothes and get into
these things," he told her.

She looked up at him with tears in her eyes. "You're good."

A lump rose in his heart. He thought of those evenings before the
grate alone with her and of the desperate fight he had had with
his passions. Good! He accused himself bitterly for the harm that
he had done her. But before her his smile was bright and cheerful.

"We're all going to be so good to you that you'll not know us.
Haven't we been waiting two months for a chance to spoil you?"

"Do you . . . know?" she whispered, color for an instant in her
wan face.

"I know things aren't half so bad as they seem to you. Dear girl,
we are your friends. We've not done right by you. Even your mother
has been careless and let you get hurt. But we're going to make it
up to you now."

A man on the other side of the street watched Jeff come down and
cross to the drug store. Billie Gray, ballot box stuffer,
detective, and general handy man for Big Tim O'Brien, had been
lurking in that entry when Jeff came home. He had sneaked up the
stairs after them and had seen the editor disappear into his rooms
with one whom he took to be a woman of the street. Already a
second plain clothes man was doing sentry duty. The policeman
whose beat it was sat in the drug store and kept an eye open from
that quarter.

To the officer Jeff nodded casually. "Bad weather to be out all
night in, Nolan."

"Right you are, Mr. Farnum."

The editor ordered a bottle of whiskey and while it was being put
up passed into the telephone booth and closed the door behind him.
He called up Olive 43I.

Central rang again and again.

"Can't get your party," she told him at last.

"You'll waken him presently. Keep at it, please. It's very
important."

At last Sam Miller's voice answered. "Hello! Hello! What is it?"

"I've found Nellie. . . . Just in time. thank God. . .She's at my
rooms. . . . Have Mrs. Anderson bring an entire change of clothing
for her. . . . Yes, she's very much exhausted. I'll tell you all
about it later.... Come quietly. She may be asleep when you get
here."

Jeff hung up the receiver, paid for the whiskey, and returned to
his rooms. He did not know that he had left three good and
competent witnesses who were ready to take oath that he had
brought to his rooms at midnight a woman of the half world and
that he had later bought liquor and returned with it to his
apartment.

Billie Gray thumped his fist into his open palm. "We've got him.
We've got him right. He can't get away from it. By Gad, we've got
him at last!"

Jeff found Nellie wrapped in his bathrobe in the big chair before
the gas log. Her own wet clothes were out of sight behind a
screen.

"You locked the door when you went out," she charged.

"Some of my friends might have dropped in to see me," he explained
with his disarming smile.

But he could see in her eyes the unreasoning fear of a child that
has been badly hurt. He had locked the door on the outside. She
was going to be dragged home whether she wanted to go or not.
Dread of that hour was heavy on her soul. Jeff knew the choice
must be hers, not his. He spoke quietly.

"You're not a prisoner, of course. You may go whenever you like. I
would have no right to keep you. But you will hurt me very much if
you go before morning."

"Where will you stay?" she asked.

"I'll sleep on the lounge in this room," he answered in his most
matter of fact voice.

While he busied himself preparing a toddy for her she began to
tell brokenly, by snatches, the story of her wanderings. She had
gone to Portland and had found work in a department store at the
notion counter. After three weeks she had lost her place. Days of
tramping the streets looking for a job brought her at last to an
overall factory where she found employment. The foreman had
discharged her at the end of the third day. Once she had been
engaged at an agency as a servant by a man, but as soon as his
wife saw her Nellie was told she would not do. Bitter humiliating
experiences had befallen her. Twice she had been turned out of
rooming houses. Jeff read between the lines that as her time drew
near some overmastering impulse had drawn her back to Verden.
Already she was harboring the thought of death, but she could not
die in a strange place so far from home. Only that morning she had
reached town.

After she had retired to the bedroom Jeff sat down in the chair
she had vacated. He heard her moving about for a short time.
Presently came silence.

It must have been an hour and a half later that Sam and Mrs.
Anderson knocked gently on the door.

"Cars stopped running. Had to 'phone for a taxi," Miller
whispered.

The agitation of the mother was affecting. Her fingers twitched
with nervousness. Her eyes strayed twenty times in five minutes
toward the door behind which her daughter slept. Every little
while she would tip-toe to it and listen breathlessly. In whispers
Jeff told them the story, answering a hundred eager trembling
questions.

Slowly the clock ticked out the seconds of the endless night. Gray
day began to sift into the room. Mrs. Anderson's excursions to the
bedroom door grew more frequent. Sometimes she opened it an inch
or two. On one of these occasions she went in quickly and shut the
door behind her.

"Good enough. They don't need us here, Sam. We'll go out and have
some breakfast," Jeff proposed.

On the street they met Billie Gray. He greeted the editor with a
knowing grin. "Good morning, Mr. Farnum. How's everything? Fine
and dandy, eh?"

Jeff looked at him sharply. "What the mischief is he doing here?" 
he asked Miller by way of comment.

All through breakfast that sinister little figure shadowed his
thoughts. Gray was like a stormy petrel. He was surely there for
no good, barring the chance of its being an accident. Both of them
kept their eyes open on their way back, but they met nobody except
a policeman swinging his club as he leaned against a lamp post and

whistled the Merry Widow waltz.

But Farnum was not satisfied. He cautioned both Sam and Mrs.
Anderson to say nothing, above all to give no names or explanation
to anybody. A whisper of the truth would bring reporters down on
them in shoals.

"You had better stay here quietly to-day," their host advised.
"I'll see you're not disturbed by the help. Sam will bring your
meals in from a restaurant. I'd say stay here as long as you like,
but it can't be done without arousing curiosity, the one thing we
don't want."

"No, better leave late to-night in a taxi," Sam proposed.

"Better still, I'll bring around Captain Chunn's car and Sam can
drive you home. We can't be too careful."

So it was arranged. Mrs. Anderson left it to them and went back
into the bedroom where her wounded lamb lay.

About midnight Jeff stopped a car in front of the stairway. The
two veiled women emerged, accompanied by Sam. They were helped
into the tonneau and Miller took the driver's seat. Just as the
machine began to move a little man ran across the street toward
them.

Jeff's forearm went up suddenly and caught him under the chin.
Billie Gray's head went back and his heels came up. Farnum was on
him in an instant, ostensibly to help him up, but really to see he
did not get up too quickly. As soon as the automobile swung round
the corner Jeff lifted him to his feet.

"Sorry. Hope I didn't hurt you," he smiled.

"Smart trick, wasn't it?" snarled the detective. "Never mind, Mr.
Farnum. We've got your goat right."

"Again?" Jeff asked with pleasant impudence.

"Got you dead to rights this trip." Gray fired another shot as he
turned away. "And we'll find out yet who your lady friends are.
Don't you forget it."

But Billie had overlooked a bet. He had been in the back of the
drug store getting a drink when Sam and Mrs. Anderson arrived. The
policeman on guard had not connected the coming of these with
Jeff. None of the watchers knew that Jeff had not been alone with
the girl all night.


Part 5

Sam called on Jeff two days later.

"I want you to come round to-night at seven-fifteen. We're going
to be married," he explained.

The newspaper man's eye met his in a swift surprise. "You and
Nellie?"

"Yes." Miller's jaw set. "Why not? YOU'RE not going to spring that
damned cant about--"

"I thought you knew me better," his friend interrupted.

Miller's face worked. "I'll ask your pardon for that, Jeff. You've
been the best friend she has. Well, we've thrashed it all out. She
fought her mother and me two days; didn't think it right to let me
give my name to her, even though she admits she has come to care
for me. You can see how she would be torn two ways. It's the only
road out for her and the baby that is on the way, but she couldn't
bring herself to sacrifice me, as she calls it. I've hammered and
hammered at her that it's no sacrifice. She can't see it; just
cries and cries."

"Of course she would be unusually sensitive; Her nerves must be
all bare so that she shrinks as one does when a wound is touched."

"That's it. She keeps speaking of herself as if she were a lost
soul. At last we fairly wore her out. After we are married her
mother and she will take the eight o'clock for Kenton. Nobody
there knows them, and she'll have a chance to forget."

"You're a white man, Sam," Jeff nodded lightly. But his eyes were
shining.

"I'm the man that loves her. I couldn't do less, could I?"

"Some men would do a good deal less."

"Not if they looked at it the way I do. She's the same Nellie I've
always known. What difference does it make to me that she stumbled
in the dark and hurt herself--except that my heart is so much more
tender to her it aches?"

"If you hold to that belief she'll live to see the day when she is
a happy woman again," the journalist prophesied.

"I'm going to teach her to think of it all as only a bad nightmare
she's been through." His jaw clinched again so that the muscles
stood out on his cheeks. "Do you know she won't say a word--not
even to her mother--about who the villain is that betrayed her?
I'd wring his coward neck off for him," he finished with a savage
oath.

"Better the way it is, Sam. Let her keep her secret.. The least
said and thought about it the better."

Miller looked at his watch. "Perhaps you're right. I've got to go
to work. Remember, seven-fifteen sharp. We need you as a witness.
Just your business suit, you understand. No present, of course."

The wedding took place in the room where Jeff had been used to
drinking chocolate with his little friend only a year before. It
was the first time he had been here since that night when the
danger signal had flashed so suddenly before his eyes. The whole
thing came back to him poignantly.

It was a pitiful little wedding, with the bride and her mother in
tears from the start. The ceremony was performed by their friend
Mifflin, the young clergyman who had a mission for sailors on the
waterfront. Nobody else was present except Marchant, the second
witness.

As soon as the ceremony was finished Sam put Nellie and her mother
into a cab to take them to their train. The other three walked
back down town.

As Jeff sat before his desk four hours later, busy with a tax levy
story, Miller came in and took a seat. Jeff waved a hand at him
and promptly forgot he was on earth until he rose and put on his
coat an hour later.

"Well! Did they get off all right?" he asked.

Miller nodded absently. Ten minutes later he let out what he was
thinking about.

"I wish to God I knew the man," he exploded.

Jeff looked at him quietly. "I'm glad you don't. Adding murder to
it wouldn't help the situation one little bit, my friend."


CHAPTER 14

Only the man who is sheet-armored in a triple plate of selfishness
can be sure that weak hands won't clutch at him and delay his
march to success.--From the Note Book of a Dreamer.


THE HERO, CONFRONTED WITH AN UNPLEASANT POSSIBILITY, PROVES HIS
GREATNESS BY RISING SUPERIOR TO SENTIMENT


Part 1

James came down to the office one morning in his car with a smile
of contentment on his handsome face. It had been decided that he
was to be made speaker of the House after the next election,
assuming that he and his party were returned to power. Jeff and
the progressives were to stand back of him, and he felt sure that
after a nominal existence the standpatters would accept him. He
intended by scrupulous fair play to win golden opinions for
himself. From the speakership to the governor's chair would not be
a large step. After that--well, there were many possibilities.

He did not for a moment admit to himself that there was anything
of duplicity in the course he was following. His intention was to
line up with the progressives during the campaign, to win his
reelection on that platform, and to support a rational liberal
program during the session. He would favor an initiative and
referendum amendment not so radical as the one Jeff offered, a
bill that would not cripple business or alarm capital. As he
looked at it life was a compromise. The fusion of many minds to a
practical result always demanded this. And results were more
important than any number of theories.

As James passed into his office the stenographer stopped him with
a remark.

"A man has been in twice to see you this morning, Mr. Farnum."

"Did he leave his name?"

"No. He said he would call again."

James passed into his private office and closed the door.

A quarter of an hour later his stenographer knocked. "He's here
again, Mr. Farnum."

"Who?"

"The man I told you of."

"Oh!" James put down the brief he was reading. "Show him in."

A figure presently stood hesitating in the doorway. James saw an
oldish man, gray and stooped with a rather wistful lost-dog
expression on his face.

"What can I do for you, sir?" he questioned.

"Don't you know me?" the stranger asked with a quaver in his
voice.

The lawyer did not, but some premonition of disaster clutched at
his heart. He rose swiftly and closed the door behind his caller.

A faint smile doubtful of its right touched the weak face of the
little old man. "So you don't know your own father--boy!"

A sudden sickness ran through the lawyer and sapped his strength.
He leaned against the desk uncertainly. It had come at last. The
whole world would learn the truth about him. The Merrills, the
Fromes, Valencia Van Tyle--all of them would know it and scorn
him.

"What are you doing here?" James heard himself say hoarsely.

"Why, I--I--I came to see my son."

"What for?"

Before so harsh and abrupt a reception the weak smile went out
like a blown candle.

"I thought you'd be glad to see me--after so many years."

"Why should I be glad to see you? What have you ever done for me
but disgrace me?"

Tears showed in the watery eyes. "That's right. It's gospel truth,
I reckon."

"And now, when I've risen above it, so that all men respect me,
you come back to drag me down."

"No--no, I wouldn't do that, son."

"That's what you'll do. Do you think my friends will want to know
a man who is the son of a convict? I've got a future before me.
Already I've been mentioned for governor. What chance would I have
when people know my father is a thief?"

"Son," winced the old man.

"Oh, well! I'm not picking my words," James went on with angry
impatience. "I'm telling you the facts. I've got enemies. Every
strong man has. They'll smash me like an empty eggshell."

"They don't need to know about me. I'll not do any talking."

"That's all very well. Things leak out," James grumbled a little
more graciously. "Well, you better sit down now you're here. I
thought you were living in Arkansas."

"So I am. I've done right well there. And I thought I'd take a
little run out to see you. I didn't know but what you might need a
little help." He glanced aimlessly around the well-furnished
office. "But I expect you don't, from the looks of things."

"If you think I've got money you're wrong," James explained. "I'm
just starting in my profession, and of course I owe a good deal
here and there. I've been hard pressed ever since I left college."

His father brightened up timidly. "I owe you money. We can fix
that up. I've got a little mill down there and I've done well,
though it was hard sledding at first."

James caught at a phrase. What do you mean?"

"Owe me money!

"I knew it must be you paid off the shortage at the Planters'
National. When I sent the money it was returned. You'd got ahead
of me. I was THAT grateful to you, son."

The lawyer found himself flushing. "Oh, Jeff paid that. He was
earning money at the time and I wasn't. Of course I intended to
pay him back some day."

"Did Jeff do that? Then you and he must be friends. Tell me about
him."

"There's not much to tell. He's managing editor of a paper here
that has a lot of influence. Yes. Jeff has been a staunch friend
to me always. He recognizes that I'm a rising man and ought to be
kept before the public."

"I wonder if he's like his father."

"Can't tell you that," his son replied carelessly. "I don't
remember Uncle Phil much. Jeff's a queer fellow, full of Utopian
notions about brotherhood and that sort of thing. But he's
practical in a way. He gets things done in spite of his
softheadedness."

There was a knock at the door. "Mr. Jefferson Farnum, sir."

James considered for a second. "Tell him to come in, Miss Brooks."

The lawyer saw that the door was closed before he introduced Jeff
to his father. It gave him a momentary twinge of conscience to see
his cousin take the old man quickly by both hands. It was of
course a mere detail, but James had not yet shaken hands with his
father.

"I'm glad to see you, Uncle Robert," Jeff said.

His voice shook a little. There was in his manner that hint of
affection which made him so many friends, the warmth that
suggested a woman's sympathy, but not effeminacy.

The ready tears brimmed into his uncle's eyes. "You're like your
father, boy. I believe I would have known you by him," he said
impulsively.

"You couldn't please me better, sir. And what about James--would
you have known him?"

The old man looked humbly at his handsome, distinguished son. "No,
I would never have known him."

"He's becoming one of our leading citizens, James is. You ought to
hear him make a speech. Demosthenes and Daniel Webster hide their
heads when the Honorable James K. Farnum spellbinds," Jeff joked.

"I've read his speeches," the father said unexpectedly. "For more
than a year I've taken the _World_ so as to hear of him."

"Then you know that James is headed straight for the Hall of Fame.
Aren't you, James?"

"Nonsense! You've as much influence in the state as I have, or you
would have if you would drop your fight on wealth."

"Bless you, I'm not making a fight on wealth," Jeff answered with
good humor. "It's illicit wealth we're hammering at. But when you
compare me to James K. I'll have to remind you that I'm not a
silver-tongued orator or Verden's favorite son."

The father's wistful smile grew bolder. Somehow Jeff's arrival had
cleared the atmosphere. A Scriptural phrase flashed into his mind
as applicable to this young man. Thinketh no evil. His nephew did
not regard him with suspicion or curiosity. To him he was not a
sinner or an outcast, but a brother. His manner had just the right
touch of easy deference youth ought to give age.

"Of course you're going to make us a long visit, Uncle Robert."

The old man's propitiating gaze went to his son. "Not long, I
reckon. I've got to get back to my business."

"Nonsense! We'll not let you go so easily. Eh, James?"

"No, of course not," the lawyer mumbled. He was both annoyed and
embarrassed.

"I don't want to be selfish about it, but I do think you had
better put up with me, Uncle. James is at the University Club, and
only members have rooms there. We'll let him come and see you if
he's good," Jeff went on breezily.

James breathed freer. "That might be the best way, if it wouldn't
put you out, Jeff."

"I wouldn't want to be any trouble," the old man explained.

"And you won't be. I want you. James wants you, too, but he can't
very well arrange it. I can. So that's settled."

In his rooms that evening Jeff very gently made clear to his uncle
that Verden believed him to be his son.

"If you don't mind, sir, we'll let it go that way in public. We
don't want to hurt the political chances of James just now. And
there are other things, too. He'll tell you about them himself
probably."

"That's all right. Just as you say. I don't want to disturb
things."

"I adopted you as a father about a year ago without your
permission. It won't do for you to give me away now," the nephew
laughed.

Robert Farnum nodded without speaking. A lump choked his throat.
He had found a son after all, but not the one he had come to meet.


Part 2

At the ensuing election the progressives swept the state in spite
of all that the allied corporations could do. James was returned
to the legislature with an increased majority and was elected
speaker of the House according to program. His speech of
acceptance was the most eloquent that had ever been heard in the
assembly hall. The most radical of his party felt that the
committees appointed by him were in their personnel a little too
friendly to the vested interests of Verden, but the _World_ took
the high ground that he could render his party no higher service
than absolute fair play, that the bills for the rights of the
people ought to pass on their merits and not by tricky politics.

Never before had there been seen at the State House a lobby like
the one that filled it now. The barrel was tapped so that the
glint of gold flowed through the corridors, into committee rooms,
and to out of the way corners where legislators fought for their
honor against an attack that never ceased. Sometimes the
corruption was bold. More often it was insidious. To see how one
by one men hitherto honest surrendered to bribery was a sight
pathetic and tragic.

The Farnum cousins were the centers around whom the reformers
rallied. James directed their counsels in the House and Jeff
pounded away in the _World_ with vital trenchant editorials and
news stories. Every day that paper carried to the farthest corner
of the state bulletins of the battle. Farmers and miners and
laboring men watched its roll of honor to see if the local
representatives were standing firm. As the weeks passed the fight
grew more bitter. Now and again men fell by the wayside disgraced.
But the pressure from their constituents was so strong that Jeff
believed his bill would go through.

His friends forced it through the committee and pushed it to a
vote. House Bill 33, as the initiative and referendum amendment
was called, passed the lower legislative body with a small
majority. The pool rooms offered five to four that it would carry
in the senate.

It was on the night of the twenty-first of December that the
amendment passed the House. On the morning of the twenty-third the
_Herald_ sprang a front page sensation. It charged that the editor
of the _World_ had ruined a girl named Nellie Anderson at a house
where he had boarded and that she had subsequently disappeared. It
featured also a story of how he had been seen to enter his rooms
at midnight with a woman of the street, who remained there until
morning reveling with him. Attached to this were the affidavits of
two detectives, a police officer, and the druggist who had
furnished the liquor.

The story exploded like a bomb shell in the camp of the
progressives. Rawson tried at once without success to get Jeff on
the telephone. He was not at the office, nor had he reached his
rooms at all after leaving the _World_ building on the previous
night. None of his friends had seen or heard of him.

The afternoon papers had a sensation of their own. Jefferson
Farnum had left Verden secretly without leaving an address.
Evidently he had been given a hint of the exposure that was to be
made of his life and had decamped rather than face the charges.

Rumor had a hundred tales to tell. The waverers at the State House
chose to believe that Jeff had sold them out and fled with his
price. It was impossible to deny the stories of his immorality,
since it happened that Sam Miller, the only man who knew the whole
story, was far up in the mountains arranging for a shipment of
Rocky Mountain sheep to the state museum. Farnum's friends could
only affirm their faith in him or surrender. Some gave way, some
stood firm. The lobbyists and the opposition went about with
confident, "I-told-you-so" smiles writ large on their faces.
Within a few days it became apparent that the reform bill would be
defeated in the senate. Its fate had been so long tied up with the
people's belief in Jeff that with his collapse the general opinion
condemned it to defeat. Its friends hung back, unwilling to risk a
vote as yet.

The situation called for a leader and developed one. James Farnum
stepped into the breach and took command. In a ringing speech he
called for a new alignment. He would yield to none in the devotion
he had given to House Bill Number 33. But it needed no prophet to
see that now this amendment was doomed. Better half a loaf than no
bread. He was a practical man and wanted to see practical results.
Rather than see the will of the people frustrated he felt that
House Bill I7 should be passed. While not an ideal bill it was far
better than none. The principle of direct legislation at least
would be established.

H. B. No. I7 was brought hurriedly out of committee. It had been
introduced as a substitute measure to defeat the real reform.
According to its provision legislation could be initiated by the
people, but to make it valid as a law the legislature had to
approve any bill so passed. The people could advise. They could
not compel.

The speech of the speaker of the House precipitated a bitter
fight. The more eager friends of H. B. No. 33 accused him of
treachery, but many felt that it was the best possible practical
politics under the circumstances. For weeks the issue hung in
doubt, but gradually James gathered adherents among both
progressives and conservatives. It became almost a foregone
conclusion that H. B. No. I7 would pass.


CHAPTER 15 

"Old Capting Pink of the Peppermint,
  Though kindly at heart and good,
Had a blunt, bluff way of a-gittin' 'is say
  That we all of us understood.

When he brained a man with a pingle spike
  Or plastered a seaman flat,
We should 'a' been blowed but we all of us knowed
  That he didn't mean nothin' by that.

I was wonderful fond of old Capting Pink,
  And Pink he was fond o' me,
As he frequently said when he battered me head
  Or sousled me into the sea."
--Wallace Irwin. 


BULLY GREEN PRESERVES DISCIPLINE AND THE REBEL LEARNS TO SAY "SIR"


Part 1

On the night of the twenty-second of December Jeff left the
_World_ building and moved down Powers Avenue to the all night
restaurant he usually frequented. The man who was both cook and
waiter remembered afterwards that Farnum called for coffee,
sausage, and a waffle.

Before the editor left the waffle house it was the morning of the
twenty-third. He had never felt less sleepy. Nor did a book and a
pipe before his gas log seem quite what he wanted. The vagabond
streak in him was awake, the same potent wanderlust that as a boy
had driven him to the solitude of the forests and the hills. This
morning it sent him questing down Powers Avenue to that lower town
where the derelicts of the city floated without a rudder.

A cold damp mist had crept up from the water front and enwrapped
the city so that its lights showed like blurred moons. Some
instinct took him toward the wharves. He could hear the distant
cough of a tug as it fussed across the bay, and as he drew near
the big Transcontinental wharves of Joe Powers the black hulk of a
Japanese liner rose black out of the gray fog shadow. But the
freighters, the coasters, tramps that went hither and thither over
the earth wherever fat cargoes lured them--they were either
swallowed in the mist or shadowed to a ghost-like wraith of
themselves so tenuous that all detail was lost in the haze.

Jeff leaned on a pile and let his imagination people the harbor
with the wandering children of the earth who had been drawn from
all its seafaring corners to this Mecca of trade. He knew that
here were swarthy little Japanese with teas and silks, dusky
Kanakas with copra, and Alaskan liners carrying gold and returning
miners. There would be brigs from Buenos Ayres and schooners that
had nosed into Robert Louis Stevenson's magic South Sea islands.
Puffy London steamers, Nome and Skagway liners condemned long
since on the Atlantic Coast, queer rigged hybrids from Rio and
other South American ports, were gorging themselves with lumber or
wheat or provisions according to their needs. Here truly lay
before him the romance of the nations.

The sound of a stealthy footfall warned him of impending danger.
He whirled, and faced three men who were advancing on him. A vague
suspicion that had oppressed him more than once in the past week
leaped to definite conviction in his brain. He was the victim of a
plot to waylay--perhaps to murder him. One of these men was a huge
Swede, another a swarthy Italian with rings in his ears. He had
seen them before, lurking in the shadows of an alley outside the
_World_ building. Last night he had come out from the office with
Jenkins, which no doubt had saved him for the time. This morning
he had played into the hands of these men, had obligingly wandered
down to the waterfront where they could so easily conceal murder
in a tide running out fast.

Strangely enough he felt no fear; rather a fierce exultant
drumming of the blood that braced him for the struggle. His eyes
swept the wharf for a weapon and found none.

"What do you want?" he demanded sharply.

The man in command ignored his question. "Stand by and down him."

The Italian crouched and leaped. Jeff's fist caught him fairly
between the eyes. He went down like a log, rolled over once and
lay still. The others closed instantly with Farnum and the three
swayed in a fierce silent struggle.

Both of his attackers were more powerful than Jeff, but he was far
more active. The darkness, too, aided him and hampered them. The
Swede he could have managed, for the fellow was awkward as a bear.
But the leader stuck to him like a burr. They went down together
over a cleat in the flooring, rolling over and over each other as
they fought.

Somehow Jeff emerged out of the tangle. He dragged himself to his
knees and hammered with his fist at an upturned face beside him.
Battered, bleeding, and winded, he got to his feet and shook off
the hands that reached for him. Dodging past, he lurched along the
wharf like a drunken man. The Italian had gathered himself to his
knees. When Jeff came opposite him he dived like a football tackle
and threw his arms around the moving legs. The newspaper man
crashed heavily down to unconsciousness.

When Farnum opened his eyes upon a world strangely hazy he found
himself lying in a row boat, his head bolstered by a man's knees.

"Drink this, mate," ordered a voice that seemed very far away.

The neck of a bottle was thrust between his lips and tilted so
that he could not escape drinking.

"That dope'll hold him for a while, Say, Johnny Dago, put your
back into them oars," he heard indistinctly.

Faintly there came to him the slap of the waves against the side
of the boat. These presently died rhythmically away.

It was daylight when he awakened again. His throbbing head slowly
definitized the vile hole in which he lay as the forecastle of a
ship. Gradually the facts sifted back to him. He recalled the
fight on the wharf and the drink in the boat. In this last he
suspected knockout drops. That he had been shanghaied was beyond
suspicion.

Laboriously he sat up on the side of his bunk and in doing so
became aware of a sailor asleep in the crib opposite. His
stertorous breathing stirred a doubt in Jeff's mind. Perhaps the
crimps had taken him too.

The ship was rolling a good deal, but by a succession of tacks
Jeff staggered to the scuttle and climbed the hatchway to the
deck. A wintry sun was shining, and for a few moments he stood
blinking in the light.

She was a three-masted schooner and was plunging forward into the
choppy seas outside the jaws of the harbor. He whiffed the salt
tang of the air and tasted the flying spray. An ebb tide was
lifting the vessel forward on a freshening wind, and trim as a
greyhound she slipped through the cat's-paws. 

A thickset, powerful figure paced to and fro on the quarter-deck,
occasionally bellowing an order in a tremendous voice like the
roar of a bull. He was getting canvas set for the fresh breeze of
the open seas that was catching him astern, and the sailors were
jumping to obey his orders. The pounding sails and the singing
cordage, the rattling blocks and the whipping ropes, would have
told Jeff they were scudding along fast, even if the heeling of
the schooner and its swift forward leaps had not made it plain.

"By God, Jones, she's walking," he heard the captain boom across
to the mate.

Just then a figure cut past him and made straight for the captain.
Farnum recognized in it the sailor whom he had left asleep in the
forecastle and even in that fleeting glance was aware of the man's
livid fury. Up the steps he went like a wild beast.

"What kind of a boat is this?" he panted hoarsely.

The captain turned toward him. His eyes were shining wickedly, but
his voice was ominously suave and honeyed. "This boat, son, is a
threemasted schooner, name of _Nancy Hanks_ , Master Joshua Green,
bound for the Solomon Islands with a cargo of Oregon fir."

"I've been shanghaied. This is a nest of crimps," the man
screamed.

Joshua Green's salient jaw came forward. "Been shanghaied, have
you? And we're a nest of crimps, are we? Son, the less I hear of
that line of talk the better. Put that in your pipe and smoke it."

The man turned loose a flood of profanity and swore he would rot
in hell before he would touch a rope on that ship.

Out went Green's great gnarled fist. The seaman shot back from the
quarterdeck and struck a pile of rope below. He was up again and
down again almost quicker than it takes to tell. Three times he
hit the planks before he lay still.

The captain stood over him, his eyes blazing. He looked the
savage, barbaric slavedriver he was.

"Me, I'm Bully Green, and don't you forget it. Been shanghaied,
have you? Not going to touch a rope? Then, by thunder, you
white-livered beachcomber, a rope will touch you till you're
flayed. Get this in your coconut. You'll walk chalk, you lazy son
of a sea cook, or I'll haze you till you wish you'd never been
born." He punctuated his remarks with vigorous kicks. "Bully Green
runs this tub, strike me dead if he don't. Now you hump for'ard
and clap a hand to them sheets. Walk, you shanghaied Dutchman!"

The sailor crawled away, completely cowed. For one day he had had
more than enough. The captain watched him for a moment, his great
jaw thrust grimly out. Then, as on a pivot, he whirled toward
Jeff.

"Come here, you! Step lively, Sport!"

Farnum wondered whether he was about to undergo an experience
similar to that of the sailor. "Do you want to know what kind of a
ship this is?"

"No, sir. I'm perfectly satisfied about that," smiled his victim.

"Got no opinions you want to hand out free, son?"

"Think I'll keep them bottled."

"Say 'sir,' Sport!"

"Yes, sir," answered Farnum, his quiet eyes steady and unafraid.

"When I give an order you expect to jump?"

"Jump isn't the word."

"Sir!" thundered Green, and "Sir" the newspaper man corrected
himself.

"Got no story to spiel about being shanghaied, son?"

"Would it do any good, sir?"

"Not unless you're aching to get what that son of a Dutchman got.
See here, sport! You walk the chalk line, and Bully Green and
you'll get along fine. I'm a lamb, I am, when I'm not riled. But
get gay--and you'll have a hectic time. I'll rough you till you're
shark-food. Get that through your teeth?"

"Yes, sir."

"Now you trot down to the fo'c'sle and dive into them slops you
find there. You got just three minutes to do the dress-suit act."

Jeff, as he passed below, could hear the great bull voice roaring
orders to the men. "Set y'r topsails! Jam 'er down hard, Johnnie
Dago! Stand by, you lubbers! . . . Now then, easy does it . . .
easy!"

Within the allotted three minutes Farnum had climbed into the foul
oilskin coat and tarry breeches he found below and was ready for
orders.

"Clap on to that windlass, sport! No loafing here. . . . Hump
y'rself. D'ye hear me? Hump?"

Jeff threw his one hundred and fifty pounds of bone and muscle
against the crank of the windlass. Some men would have fought
first as long as they could stand and see. Others would have
begged, argued, or threatened. But Jeff had schooled himself to
master impulses of rage. He knew when to fight and when to yield.
Nor did he give way sullenly or passionately. It was an outrage--
highhanded tyranny--but at the worst it was a magnificent
adventure. As he flung his weight into the crank he smiled.


Part 2

Before the trade winds the _Nancy Hanks_ foamed along day after
day, all sails set, making excellent time. But for his anxiety as
to the effect his disappearance would have upon the political
situation, Jeff would have enjoyed immensely the wild rough life
aboard the schooner. But he could not conceal from himself the
interpretation of his absence the machine agents would scatter
broadcast. He foresaw a reaction against his bill and its probable
defeat.

The issue was on the knees of chance. The fact that could not be
obliterated was that he had been wiped from the slate until after
the legislature would adjourn. For every hour was carrying him
farther from the scene of action.

His only hope was that the _Nancy Hanks_ might put in at the
Hawaiian Islands, from which place he might get a chance to write,
or, better still, to cable the reason of his absence. Captain
Green himself wiped out this expectation. He jocosely intimated to
Farnum one afternoon that he had no intention of calling the
Islands.

"When we get through this six months' cruise you'll be a first-
rate sailorman, son, and you'll get a sailorman's wages," he added
genially.

The shanghaied man met his eye squarely. "I think I could arrange
to draw on Verden for a thousand dollars if you would drop me at
the Islands."

"Not for twenty thousand. You're going to stay with us till we get
to the Solomon Islands, and don't you forget it."

Bully Green had taken rather a fancy to this amiable young man who
had taken so sensible a view of the little misadventure that had
befallen him, but of course business was business. He had been
paid to keep him out of the way and he intended to fulfil the
contract.

"Here I'm educatin' you, makin' an able-bodied seaman out of you,
son. You had ought to be grateful," he grinned.

"Oh, I am," Jeff agreed with a twinkle.

But Captain Green had reckoned without the weather. The _Nancy
Hanks_ drifted into three days of calm and sultry heat. At the
end of the third day she began to rock gently beneath a murky sky. 

"Dirty weather," predicted the mate, the same who had assisted at
the shanghaing. "When you see a satin sea turn indigo and that
peculiar shade in the sky you want to look out for squalls," he
explained to Jeff.

It came on them in a rush. The sun went out of a black sky like a
blown candle and the sea began to whip itself to a froth. The wind
quickened, boomed to a roar, and sent the schooner heeling to a
squall across the leaden waters. The open sea closed in on them.
Before they could get in sail and make secure the sheets ripped
with a scream, braces parted and the topmasts snapped off. The
_Nancy_ went pitching forward into the yawning deeps with drunken
plunges from which it seemed she would never emerge. Great combing
seas toppled down and pounded the decks, while the sailors clung
to stays or whatever would give them a hold.

The squall lasted scarce an hour, but it left the schooner
dismantled. Her sheets were in ribbons, her topmasts and bowsprit
gone. There was nothing for it but a crippled beat toward the
Islands.

Four days later she made an offing in the harbor at Honolulu just
as a liner was nosing her way out.

Bully Green ranged up beside Farnum and cast a speculative eye on
him.

"Sport, I had ought to iron you and keep you in the fo'c'sle until
we leave here. It's the only square thing to do."

Jeff's gaze was on the advancing steamer. She was scarce two
hundred yards away now and he could plainly read the name painted
on her side. She was the _Bellingham_ of Verden.

"I don't see the necessity, sir," he answered.

"I reckon you do, son. Samuel Green stands by his word to a
finish. Now I've promised to keep you safe, and you can bet your
last dollar I'm a-going to do it."

His prisoner turned from the rail against which he was leaning to
the captain. Pinpoints of light were gleaming in the big eyes.

"How much safer do you want me than this?"

Green expectorated at a chip in the water and shifted his quid.
"You've got brains, son. No telling what you might try to do. But
see here. You're no drunken beachcomber. I know a gentleman when I
see one. Gimme your word you'll not try to skip out or send a
message back to the States and I'll go easy on you. I'm so dashed
kindhearted, I am, that--"

Jeff leaped to the rail, stood poised an instant, and dived into
the blue Pacific.

"Well, I'll be " Bully Green interrupted himself to roar an order
to lower a boat.


CHAPTER 16

A young man left his father's house to see the world. Everywhere
he found busy human beings. Cities were rising toward the skies,
seas and plains were being lined with traffic, school, mill and
office hummed with life. He wondered why men were so busy and what
they were trying to do.

He went to a railroad director and asked: "Why are you building
railroads?" "For profits," was the answer. But a laborer beckoned
him aside and whispered: "No--we are making the _World_ one
neighborhood. East is now next door to West, and all peoples dwell
in one continuing city."

The young man went to the boss of a labor union. "Why," he asked,
"do you spend your days breeding discontent and leading strikes?"
"Why?" repeated the leader fiercely, "that the workers receive
more pay for shorter hours." "No," whispered a laborer, "we are
teaching the _World_ the sacred value of human beings. We are
learning how to be brotherly--how to stand up for each other.
--James Oppenheim.


UNDER STRANGE CIRCUMSTANCES THE REBEL MAKES HIS BOW TO POLITE
SOCIETY. TAKING AN APPLE AS A TEXT, HE PREACHES ON THE RISE OF
ADAM


Part 1

"Man overboard!"

Somebody on the liner sang it out. Instantly there was a rush of
passengers to the side. From the schooner a boat was being
lowered and manned.

"I see him. He's swimming this way. I believe he's trying to
escape," one slender young woman cried.

"Nonsense, Alice! He fell overboard and he's probably so
frightened he doesn't know which way he is swimming." This
suggestion was from the beautiful blonde with bronze hair who
stood beside her under a tan parasol held by a fresh-faced
globetrotter.

"Don't you believe it, Val. Look how he's cutting through the
water. He's trying to reach us. Oh, I hope they won't get him.
Somebody get a rope to throw out."

"By Jove, you're right, Miss Alice," cried the Englishman. "It's a
race, and it's going to be a near thing." He disappeared and was
presently back with a rope.

"Come on! Come on!" screamed the passengers to the swimmer.

"He's ripping strong with that overhead stroke. Ye gods, it's
close!" exclaimed the Britisher.

It was. The swimmer reached the side of the ship not four yards in
front of the pursuing boat. He caught at the trailing rope and
began to clamber up hand over hand, while the Englishman, a man
standing near, and Alice Frome dragged him up.

The mate of the Nancy Hanks, standing up in the boat, caught at
his foot and pulled. The man's hold loosened on the rope. He slid
down a foot, steadied himself. Suddenly the left leg shot out and
caught the grinning mate in the mouth. He went over backward into
the bottom of the boat. Before he could extricate himself from the
tangle his fall had precipitated, the dripping figure of the
swimmer stood safely on the deck of the _Bellingham._

In his wet foul slops the man was a sight to draw stares. The
cabin passengers moved back to give him a wide circle, as men do
with a wet retriever.

"What does this mean, my man?" demanded the captain of the
_Bellingham,_ pushing forward. He was a big red-faced figure with
a heavy roll of fat over his collar.

"I have been shanghaied, sir. From Verden. I'm the editor of the
_World_ of that city."

"That's a lie," proclaimed the mate of the _Nancy Hanks_ , who by
this time had reached the deck. "He's a nutty deckswabber we
picked up at 'Frisco."

"Why, it's Mr. Farnum," cried a fresh young voice from the circle.

The rescued man turned. His eyes joined those of a slim golden
girl and he was struck dumb.

"You know this man, Miss Frome?" the captain asked.

"I know him by sight." She stepped to the front. "There can't be
any doubt about it. He's Mr. Farnum of Verden, the editor of the
_World._"

"You're quite sure?"

"Quite sure, Captain Barclay. My cousin knows him, too."

The captain turned to Mrs. Van Tyle. She nodded languidly.

Barclay swung back to the mate of the _Nancy Hanks_ . "I know your
kind, my man, and I can tell you that I think the penitentiary
would be the proper place for you and your captain, with my
compliments to him."

"Better come and pay 'em yourself, sir," sneered the mate.

"Get off my deck, you dirty crimp," roared the captain. "Slide
now, or I'll have you thrown off."

Mr. Jones made a hurried departure. Once in the boat, he shook his
fist at Barclay and cursed him fluently.

The captain turned away promptly. "Mr. Farwell, if you'll step
this way the steward will outfit you with some clothes. If they
don't fit they'll do better than those togs you're wearing."

The English youth came forward with a suggestion. "Really, I think
I can do better than that for Mr. Far--" He hesitated for the
name.

"Farnum," supplied the owner of it.

"Ah! You're about my size, Mr. Farnum. If you don't mind, you
know, you're quite welcome to anything I have."

"Thank you very much."

"Very well. Mr. Farwell--Farnum, I mean--shake hands with
Lieutenant Beauchamp," and with the sense of duty done the worthy
captain dismissed the new arrival from his mind.

Jeff bowed to Miss Frome and followed his broad-shouldered guide
to a cabin. He was conscious of an odd elation that had not
entirely to do with a brave adventure happily ended. The impelling
cause of it was rather the hope of a braver adventure happily
begun.


Part 2

"By Jove, I envy you, Mr. Farnum. Didn't know people bucked into
adventures like that these tame days. Think of actually being
shanghaied. It's like a novel. My word, the ladies will make a
lion of you!"

The Englishman was dragging a steamer trunk from under his bed. It
needed no second glance at his frank boyish face to divine him a
friend worth having. Fresh-colored and blue-eyed, he looked very
much the country gentleman Jeff had read about but never seen. It
was perhaps by the gift of race that he carried himself with
distinction, though the flat straight back and the good shoulders
of the cricketer contributed somewhat, too. Jeff sized him up as a
resolute, clean-cut fellow, happily endowed with many gifts of
fortune to make him the likable chap he was.

Beauchamp threw out some clothes from a steamer trunk and left the
rescued man alone to dress. Ten minutes later he returned.

"Expect you'd like an interview with the barber. I'll take you
round. By the way, you'll let me be your banker till you reach
Verden?"

"Thank you. Since I must."

From the barber shop the Englishman took him to the dining saloon.
"Awfully sorry you can't sit at our table, Mr. Farnum. It's full
up. You're to be at the purser's."

Jeff let a smile escape into his eyes. "Suits me. I've been at the
bos'n's for several weeks."

"Beastly outrage. We'll want to hear all about it. Miss Frome's
tremendously excited. Odd you and she hadn't met before. Didn't
know Verden was such a big town."

"I'm not a society man," explained Jeff. "And it happens I've been
fighting her father politically for years. Miss Frome and Mrs. Van
Tyle are about the last people I would be likely to meet."

From his seat Jeff could see the cousins at the other end of the
room. They were seated near the head of the captain's table, and
that officer was paying particular attention to them, perhaps
because the _Bellingham_ happened to be one of a line of boats
owned by Joe Powers, perhaps because both of them were very
attractive young women. They were types entirely outside Farnum's
very limited experience. The indolence, the sheathed perfection,
the soft sensuous allure of the young widow seemed to Jeff a
product largely of her father's wealth. But the charm of her
cousin, with its sweet and mocking smile, its note of youthful
austerity, was born of the fine and gallant spirit in her.

Beauchamp sat beside Miss Frome and the editor observed that they
were having a delightful time. He wondered what they could be
talking about. What did a man say to bring such a glow and sparkle
of life into a girl's face? It came to him with a wistful regret
for his stolen youth that never yet had he sat beside a young
woman at dinner and entertained her in the gay adequate manner of
Lieutenant Beauchamp. James could do it, had done it a hundred
times. But he had been sold too long to an urgent world of battle
ever to know such delights.


Part 3

After dinner Jeff lost no time in waiting upon Miss Frome to thank
her for her assistance. It was already dark. When he found her it
was not in one of the saloons, but on deck. She was leaning
against the deck railing in animated talk with Beauchamp, the
while Mrs. Van Tyle listened lazily from a deck chair.

"I like the way that red head of his came bobbing through the
water," Beauchamp was saying. "Looks to me as if he would take a
lot of beating. He's no quitter. Since I haven't the pleasure of
knowing Mr. Powers or Senator Frome, I think I'll back Farnum to
win."

"It's very plain you don't know Joe Powers. He always wins,"
contributed his daughter blandly.

"But Mr. Farnum is a remarkable man just the same," Alice added.
Then, with a little cry to cover her flushed embarrassment: "Here
he is. We do hope you're a little deaf, Mr. Farnum. We've been
talking about you."

"You may say anything you like about me, Miss Frome, except that
I'm not grateful for the lift aboard you gave me this afternoon,"
Jeff answered.

He found himself presently giving the story of his adventure. He
did not look at Alice, but he told the tale to her alone and was
aware of the eagerness with which she listened.

"But why should they want to kidnap you? I don't see any reason
for it," Alice protested.

A shadowy smile lay in the eyes of Mrs. Van Tyle. "Mr. Farnum is
in politics, my dear."

A fat pork packer from Chicago joined the group. "I've been
thinking about the sharks, Mr. Farnum. You played in great luck to
escape them."

"Sharks!" Jeff heard the young woman beside him give a gasp. In
the moonlight her face showed white.

"These waters are fairly infested with them," the Chicagoan
explained. "We saw two this morning in the harbor. It was when the
stewards threw out the scraps. They turned over on their--"

"Don't!" cried Alice Frome sharply.

The petrified horror on the vivid mobile face remained long as a
sweet memory to Jeff. It had been for him that she had known the
swift heart clutch of terror.


Part 4

Farnum, pacing the deck as he munched at an apple, heard himself
hailed from the bridge above. He looked up, to see Alice Frome,
caught gloriously in the wind like a winged Victory. Her hair was
parted in the middle with a touch of Greek simplicity and fell in
wavy ripples over her temples beneath the jaunty cap. She put her
arms on the railing and leaned forward, her chin tilted to an
oddly taking boyish piquancy.

"I say, give a fellow a bite."

By no catalogue of summarized details could this young woman have
laid claim to beauty, but in the flashing play of her expression,
the exquisite golden coloring, one could not evade the charm of a
certain warm witchery, of the passionate beat of innocent life.
The wonder of her lay in the sparkle of her inner self. Every
gleam of the deep true eyes, every impulsive motion of the slight
supple body, expressed some phase of her infinite variety. Her
flying moods swept her from demure to daring, from warm to cool.
And for all her sweet derision her friends knew a heart full of
pure, brave enthusiasms that would endure.

"I don't believe in indiscriminate charity," Jeff explained, and
he took another bite.

"Have you no sympathy for the deserving poor?" she pleaded.
"Besides, since you're a socialist, it isn't your apple any more
than it is mine. Bring my half up to me, sir."

"Your half is the half I've already eaten. And if you knew as much
as you pretend to about socialism you'd know it isn't yours until
you've earned it."

Her eyes danced. He noticed that beneath each of them was a
sprinkle of tiny powdered freckles. "But haven't I earned it?
Didn't I blister my hands pulling you aboard?"

He promptly shifted ground. "We're living under the capitalistic
system. You earn it and I eat it," he argued. "The rest of this
apple is my reward for having appropriated what didn't belong to
me."

"But that's not fair. It's no better than stealing."

"Sh--h! It's high finance. Don't use that other word," he
whispered. "And what's fair hasn't a thing to do with it. It's my
apple because I've got it."

"But--"

He waved her protest aside blandly. "Now try to be content with
the lot a wise Providence has awarded you. I eat the apple. You
see me eat it.

That's the usual division of profits. Don't be an agitator, or an
anarchist."

"Don't I get even the core?" she begged.

"I'd like to give it to you, but it wouldn't be best. You see I
don't want to make you discontented with your position in life."
He flung what was left of the apple into the sea and came up the
steps to join her.

Laughter was in the eyes of both, but it died out of hers first.

"Mr. Farnum, is it really as bad as that?" Before he could find an
answer she spoke again. "I've wanted for a long time to talk with
some one who didn't look at things as we do. I mean as my father
does and my uncle does and most of my friends. Tell me what you
think of it--you and your friends."

"That's a large order, Miss Frome. I hardly know where to begin."

"Wait! Here comes Lieutenant Beauchamp to take me away. I promised
to play ring toss with him, but I don't want to go now." She led a
swift retreat to a spot on the upper deck shielded from the wind
and warmed by the two huge smokestacks. Dropping breathless into a
chair, she invited him with a gesture to take another. Little imps
of mischief flashed out at him from her eyes. In the adventure of
the escape she had made him partner. A rush of warm blood danced
through his veins.

"Now, sir, we're safe. Begin the propaganda. Isn't that the word
you use? Tell me all about everything. You're the first real live
socialist I ever caught, and I mean to make the most of you."

"But I'm unfortunately not exactly a socialist."

"An anarchist will do just as well."

"Nor an anarchist. Sorry."

"Oh, well, you're something that's dreadful. You haven't the
proper bump of respect for father and for Uncle Joe. Now why
haven't you?"

And before he knew it this young woman had drawn from him glimpses
of what life meant to him. He talked to her of the pressure of the
struggle for existence, of the poverty that lies like a blight
over whole sections of cities, spreading disease and cruelty and
disorder, crushing the souls of its victims, poisoning their
hearts and bodies. He showed her a world at odds and ends, in
which it was accepted as the natural thing that some should starve
while others were waited upon by servants.

He made her see how the tendency of environment is to reduce all
things to a question of selfinterest, and how the great triumphant
fact of life is that love and kindness persist. Her interest was
insatiable. She poured questions upon him, made him tell her
stories of the things he had seen in that strange underworld that
was farther from her than Asia. So she learned of Oscar Marchant,
coughing all day over the shoes he half-soled and going out at
night to give his waning life to the service of those who needed
him. He told her--without giving names--the story of Sam Miller
and his wife, of shop girls forced by grinding poverty to that
easier way which leads to death, of little children driven by want
into factories which crushed the youth out of them.

Her eyes with the star flash in them never left his face. She was
absorbed, filled with a strange emotion that made her lashes
moist. She saw not only the tragedy and waste of life, but a
glorious glimpse of the way out. This man and his friends set the
common good above their private gain. For them a new heart was
being born into the world. They were no longer consumed with blind
greed, with love of their petty selves. They were no longer full
of cowardice and distrust and enmity. Life was a thing beautiful
to them. It was flushed with the color of hope, of fine
enthusiasms. They might suffer. They might be defeated. But
nothing could extinguish the joy in their souls. They walked like
gods, immortals, these brothers to the spent and the maimed. For
they had found spiritual values in it that made any material
profit of small importance. Alice got a vision of the great truth
that is back of all true reforms, all improvement, all progress.

"Love," she said almost in a whisper, "is forgetting self."

Jeff lost his stride and pulled up. He thought he could not have
heard aright. "I beg your pardon?"

"Nothing. I was just thinking out loud. Go on please."

But she had broken the thread of his talk. He attempted to take it
up again, but he was still trying for a lead when Alice saw Mrs.
Van Tyle and Beauchamp coming toward them.

She rose. Her eyes were the brightest Jeff had ever seen. They
were filled with an ardent tenderness. It was as if she were
wrapped in a spiritual exaltation.

"Thank you. Thank you. I can't tell you what you've done for me."

She turned and walked quickly away. To be dragged back to the
commonplace at once was more than she could bear. First she must
get alone with herself, must take stock of this new emotion that
ran like wine through her blood. A pulse throbbed in her throat,
for she was in a passionate glow of altruism.

"I'm glad of life--glad of it--glad of it!" she murmured through
the veil she had lowered to screen her face from observation.

It had come to her as a revelation straight from Heaven that there
can be no salvation without service. And the motive back of
service must be love. Love! That was what Jesus had come to teach
the world, and all these years it had warped and mystified his
message.

She felt that life could never again be gray or colorless. For
there was work waiting that she could do, service that she could
give. And surely there could be no greater happiness than to find
her work and do it gladly.


CHAPTER 17

All sorts of absurd assumptions pass current as fixed and non-
debatable standards. We might be free, and we tie ourselves to the
slavery of rutted convention. Afraid of ideas, we come to no
definite philosophy of life that is the result of clear and
pellucid thinking.

We must get rid of our bonds, but only in order to take on new
ones. For our convictions will shackle us. The difference is that
then we shall be servants of Truth and not of dead Tradition.
--From the Note Book of a Dreamer.


THE CHAPERONE EXPLAINS THAT THE REBEL IS IMPOSSIBLE AND THE
CHAPERONED BEGS LEAVE TO DIFFER


Part 1

"And why mustn't I?" Alice demanded vigorously.

Her cousin regarded her with indolent amusement. "My dear, you are
positively the most energetic person I know. It is refreshing to
see with what interest you enter into a discussion."

Miss Frome, very erect and ready for argument, watched her
steadily from the piano stool of their joint sitting room. "Well?"

"I didn't say you mustn't, my dear. I know better than to deal in
imperatives with Miss Alice. What I did was mildly to suggest that
you are going rather far. It's all very well to be civil, but--"
Mrs. Van Tyle shrugged her shoulders and let it go at that. She
was leaning back in an easychair and across its arm her wrist
hung. Between the fingers, polished like old ivory to the tapering
pink nails, was a lighted cigarette.

"Why shouldn't I be--pleasant to him? I like him." Her color
deepened, but the eyes of the girl did not give way. There was in
them a little flare of defiance.

"Be pleasant to him if you like, and if it amuses you. But--"
Again Valencia stopped, but after a puff or two at her cigarette
she added presently: "Don't get too interested in him."

"I'm not likely to," Alice returned with a touch of scorn. "Can't
I like a man and admire him without wanting to marry him? I think
that's a hateful way to look at it."

"It's your interpretation, not mine," Mrs. Van Tyle answered with
perfect good humor. "Of course you couldn't want to marry him
under any circumstances. His station in life--his anarchistic
ideas--his reputation as a confirmed libertine--all of them make
the thought of such a thing impossible."

Miss Frome's mind seized on only one of the charges. "I don't
believe it. I don't believe a word of it. Anybody can throw
mud--and some of it is bound to stick. He's a good man. You can
see that in his face."

"You can perhaps. I can't." Valencia studied her beneath a droop
of eyelids behind which she was very alert. "Those things aren't
said about a man unless they are true. Moreover, it happens we
don't have to depend on hearsay."

"What do you mean?"

"Do you remember that night we saw the Russian dancers?"

"Yes."

"On the way home our car passed him. He was helping a woman out of
a cab in front of the building where he rooms. She was
intoxicated, and--his arm was round her waist."

"I don't believe it. It was somebody else," the young woman
flamed.

"His cousin recognized him. So did I."

"There must be some explanation. I'll ask him."

"Ask him!" Valencia's level eyebrows lifted "Really, I don't think
that will do. Better quietly eliminate him."

"You mean treat him as if he were guilty when, I am sure he is
not."

Mrs. Van Tyle's little laugh rippled out. "You're quite dramatic
about it, my dear. The man's of no importance. He's a _poseur_, a
demagogue, and one with a vicious streak in him. I understand, of
course, that you're interested only because he different from the
other men you know. That merely a part of his pose."

"I'm sure it isn't."

"You're romantic, my dear. I'll admit his arrival on this ship was
dramatic. No doubt you're imagining him a knight going back to
save gallantly a day that is lost. He's only a politician, and so
far as I can understand they are almost all a bad lot."

"Including Father and Uncle Joe and Ned Merrill?" Alice asked
acidly.

"They are not politicians, but business men. They are in politics
merely to protect their interests. But I didn't intend to start a
discussion about Mr. Farnum. I ask you to remember that as your
chaperone I'm here to represent your father. Would he wish you to
be friendly with this man?"

Alice was silent. What her father would think was not a matter of
doubt.

"The man's impossible," Mrs. Van Tyle went on pleasantly. "And
it's just as well to be careful. Not that I'm very prudish myself.
But if you're going to marry Ned Merrill--"

She had struck the wrong note. Like a flash Alice answered.

"I'm not. That's definitely decided."

"Really! I thought it was rather arranged," Valencia smiled
blandly.

It was all very well for Alice to protest, but in the end she
would be a good girl and do as she was told. Not that her cousin
objected to her having a little fling before the fatal day. But
why couldn't the girl do her flirting with Beauchamp instead of
with this wild socialist?

Valencia reflected that at any rate she had done her duty.


Part 2

Jeff was tramping the deck, his hands in his coat pockets, waiting
for the trumpeter to fling out the two bars of music that would
summon him to breakfast. He walked vigorously? drawing in deep
breaths of the salt sea air. His thoughts were of Alice Frome. He
was a lover, and in his imagination she embodied all things
beautiful. Her charm flowed through him, pierced him with delight.
When he heard music his mind flew to her. It voiced the rhythm of
her motions and the sound of her warm laughter. The sunshine but
reflected the golden gleams of light in her wavy hair.

As he swung round the smoking saloon Jeff came face to face with
Alice. He turned and caught step with her. The coat she wore came
to her ankles, but it could not conceal her light, strong tread
nor the long lines of the figure that gave her the grace of a
captured wood nymph.

"Only five hundred miles from Verden. By night we ought to be in
wireless communication," he suggested.

Her glance flashed at him. "You'll be glad to get home."

"I will and I won't. There's work for me to do there. But it's the
first real vacation I ever had in my life that lasted over a week.
You can't think how I've enjoyed it."

"So have I. More than anything I can remember." They stopped to
look at a steamer which lay low on the distant horizon line. After
they had fallen into step again she continued at the point where
they had been interrupted: "And after we reach home? Are you going
to come and see me? Are you going to let me meet your friends,
those dear people who are giving themselves to make life less
hideous and harsh for the weak? Shall I meet Mr. Mifflin . . . and
Mr. Miller and your little Socialist poet? Or are you going to
desert me?"

He smiled a little at her way of putting it, but he was troubled
none the less. "Are you sure that your way is our way? One can
give service on the Hill just as much as down in the bottoms.
There's no moral grandeur in rags or in dirt. Isn't your place
with your friends?"

"Haven't I a right to take hold of life for myself at first hand?
Haven't I a right to know the truth? What have I done that I
should be walled off from all these people who earn the bread I
eat?"

"But your friends . . . your father. . ."

Her ironic smile derided him. "So after all you haven't the
courage of your convictions. Because I'm Peter C. Frome's daughter
I'm not to have the right to live."

"No, it's your right to take hold of life with both hands. But
surely you must live it among your own people."

"I've got to learn how to live it first, haven't I?

Most of my friends are not even aware there a problem of poverty.
They thrust the thought of it from them. Our wealthy class has no
social consciousness. Take my father. He thinks the submerged are
lost because they are thriftless and that all would be right if
they wouldn't drink. To him they are just a waste product of
civilization.

"But can you study the life of the people without growing
discontented with the life you must lead?"

"There is a divine discontent, you know. I've got to see things
for myself. Why should all my opinions, my faith, be given to me
ready-made. Why must I live by a formula I have never examined? If
it isn't true I want to know it. And if it is true I want to know
it." She had been looking straight before them toward the rising
sun but now her gaze swept round on him. "Don't blame yourself for
giving me new thoughts. I suppose all new ideas are likely to make
trouble. But I've been working in this direction for years. Ever
since I've been a little girl my heresies have puzzled my father.
Meeting you has shown me a short cut. That's all."

Something she had said recalled to him a fugitive memory.

"Do you know, I think I saw you once when you were a little bit of
a thing?"

"Where?"

"On the doorstep of your old place. I was rather busy at the time
fighting Edward Merrill."

She stopped, looking at him in surprise. "Were you that boy?"

"I was that boy."

"You fought him to help a little ragged girl. She was a
foreigner."

"I've forgotten why I fought him. The reason I remember the
occasion is that I met then for the first time two of my friends."

She claimed a place immediately. "Who was the other one?"

"Captain Chunn."

Presently she bubbled into a little laugh. "How did the fight come
out? My nurse dragged me into the house."

"Don't remember. I know the school principal licked me next day. I
had been playing hookey."

They made another turn of the deck before she spoke again.

"So we're old acquaintances, and I didn't know it. That was nearly
eighteen years ago. Isn't it strange that after so long we should
meet again only last week?"

Jeff felt the blood creep into his face. "We met once before, Miss
Frome."

"Oh, on the street. I meant to speak."

"So did I."

"When?"

With his eyes meeting hers steadily Jeff told her of the time she
had found him in the bushes and mistaken him for a sick man. He
could see that he had struck her dumb. She looked at him and
looked away again.

"Why do you tell me this?" she asked at last in a low voice.

"It's only fair you should know the truth about me."

They tramped the circuit once more. Neither of them spoke. The
trumpeter's bugle call to breakfast rang out.

At the bow she stopped and looked down at the waters they were
furrowing. It was a long time before she raised her head and met
his eyes. The color had whipped into her cheeks, but she put her
question steadily.

"Are you telling me. . . that I must lose my friend?"

"Isn't that for you to say?"

"I don't know." She faltered for words, but not the least in her
intention. "Are you--what I have always heard you are?"

"Can you be a little more definite?" he asked gently.

"Well--dissipated! You're not that?"

"No. I've trodden down the appetite. I'm a total abstainer."

"And you're not. . . those worse things that the papers say?"

"No."

"I knew it." Triumph rang in her voice. She breathed a generous
trust. To know him for a true man it was necessary only to look
into his fearless eyes set deep in the thin tanned face. It was
impossible for anything unclean to survive with his humorous
humility and his pervading sympathy and his love of truth. "I
didn't care what they said. I knew it all the time."

Her sweet faith was a thing to see with emotion. He felt tears
scorch the back of his eyes.

"The thing you know is bad enough."

"Oh, that! That is nothing . . . now. It doesn't matter."

Lieutenant Beauchamp emerged from a saloon and bore down upon
them.

"Mrs. Van Tyle has sent me to bring you to breakfast, Miss Frome.
Mornin', Mr. Farnum."

"And I'm ready for it, We've been round the deck ever so many
times. Haven't we, Mr. Farnum?"

She nodded lightly to Jeff and walked away with the Englishman.
The sunshine of her warm vitality was like quicksilver in Farnum's
veins. What a gallant spirit, at once delicate and daring, dwelt
in that vivid slender form! A snatch of Chesterton came to his
mind:

Her face was like an open word
  When brave men speak and choose,
The very colors of her coat
  Were better than good news.

"It is the hour of man: new purposes,
  Broad shouldered, press against the world's slow gate;
And voices from the vast eternities
  Publish the soul's austere apostolate.

Man bursts the chains that his own hands have made;
  Hurls down the blind, fierce gods that in blind years
He fashioned, and a power upon them laid
  To bruise his heart and shake his soul with fears."
--Edwin Markham. 


CHAPTER 18


THE PILLARS OF SOCIETY ARE GIVEN AN ILLUSTRATION OF A ROORBACK


Part 1

Rawson sat in the rotunda of the Pacific Hotel in desultory
conversation with Captain Chunn, Hardy and Rogers. He brought his
clenched hand down on the padded leather arm of the big chair.

"They'll jam it through to-morrow. That's what they'll do. James
K. Farnum's been playing mighty pretty politics and he has got the
votes to deliver the goods."

Hardy nodded as he knocked the ash from his cigar. "Now that it's
all over we can see James K.'s trail easily enough. He meant to
defeat the initiative and referendum amendment, and he meant to do
it without losing his popularity. He's done it too. Jeff's
disappearance made it certain our bill wouldn't go through. James
jumps in with a hurrah and passes one that isn't worth the powder
to blow it up. But he's going to claim it as a great victory for
the people--and if I know that young man he'll get away with his
bluff. Yet it's certain as taxes that he's been working for Joe
Powers all the time."

"I wouldn't put it past him to have engineered some deal to get
rid of his cousin," Chunn suggested.

Rawson shook his head. "No. Not respectable enough for James. And
he's not fool enough to run his head into a trap. But I'd bet my
head Big Tim gave him a tip it was to be pulled off. J. K. had to
know. Otherwise he wouldn't have been in a position to play the
game for them. But he didn't know any details--just a suggestion.
Enough to wise him without making him responsible."

"And the play he's been making in the papers. Offering a reward
for information about Jeff, insisting publicly that he has
absolute confidence in his cousin's integrity while he shakes his
head in private. If you want my opinion, that young man is a
whited sepulchre. I never did believe in him."

Rogers turned to Captain Chunn with an incredulous smile. "But you
still believe in Jeff. Frankly, it looks to me like a double sell
out."

The old Confederate's eyes gleamed. "Sir, I've known that boy
since he was a little tad. He's never told me a lie. He's square
as they make them."

"I used to believe in his cousin James, too," Rogers commented.

"Oh, James! He's another proposition." Rawson's voice was sour
with disgust. "He just naturally looked to see where his bread was
buttered. He's as selfish as the devil for all that suave, cordial
way of his. Right from the first his idea has been to make a big
personal hit. And he figured out he could do it easier with Joe
Powers back of him than against him. James K. is the smoothest
fraud on the Pacific Coast. But Jeff--why, every hair of his head
is straight. He's one out of a million, believe me."

"You've said it," Chunn agreed.

Rogers smiled across at them. "He's left a lot of good friends
behind him anyhow. But it's strange he could drop off the earth
without a soul knowing about it."

"The men who murdered him know about it," Rawson answered
significantly.

Captain Chunn shook his head. "No, that boy will turn up yet."

"But not in time to save us. We're licked. There's not one chance
in a million for us. That's the discouraging feature of it, to be
sold out after we had won our fight."

Rawson agreed with Hardy. "Yes, we're licked. Even if Jeff were to
show up, with all these stories against him, we wouldn't be able
to stem the tide now."

"Mister Raw-w-son--Mister Raw-w-son." The singsong voice of a
bellhop echoed through the rotunda.

Captain Chunn's walking stick flagged the lad and brought him
sliding across the polished floor.

"Telegram for Mr. Rawson."

The big politician ripped it open and ran his eyes rapidly over
the yellow slip. From his lips burst a sudden oath of surprise.

"By Jupiter, the miracle's happened. Jeff is alive and on his way
here. He's sent me a wireless from out at sea somewhere."

"What!" Captain Chunn let out a whoop of joy.

"Listen here." Rawson read aloud his message. "'Shanghaied on
schooner _Nancy Hanks_ . Escaped at Honolulu. Back in Verden
to-night. Keep up the fight.'"

"Didn't I say Jeff was alive? Didn't I say he would come back and
beat those robbers yet?" the owner of the _World_ demanded.

"Don't get excited. It may be a fake." This from Hardy, who was
almost as much moved himself.

"Fake nothing! We'll go down to the telegraph office and make sure
it's 0. K. Won't this make a bully story for the _World_
'Shanghaied' in big letters across the top, and underneath a red
hot roast of the old city hall gang's methods of trying to defeat
the will of the people." Rawson laughed aloud as his imagination
pictured the story.

The old soldier's eyes gleamed. "I'll run twice as many copies as
usual. We'll plaster the state with them, calling for mass
meetings everywhere to insist on the legislature passing our
bill."

"Go easy, gentlemen," advised Rogers. "If it's true we hold a
trump card, but we want to play it mighty carefully so as to make
it carry as much dynamite as possible."

The company could give no information more definite than that the
message had come from the _Bellingham,_ which was still a couple
of hundred miles out at sea.

In view of the value of the news from a strategic slant his
friends succeeded in keeping the lid on Captain Chunn's enthusiasm
until the party was safe aboard a fast yacht steaming out of the
harbor to meet the _Bellingham._ The old Confederate's first
impulse had been to run an extra immediately, but he was argued
out of it.

"We don't want to go off half cocked. We've got a beautiful
comeback if we play it right. That is, if Jeff's got any proof.
But we better wait and let Jeff run the newspaper end of it,
Captain."

This was Hardy's view, and it was indorsed by the others.

"Another thing. This story has got to come just like an explosion
on James K. Farnum's supporters. We've got to sweep them right
back to our bill. Now if we break the force of it by giving them
warning that swarm of lobbyists will get busy and stay busy all
night," Rawson added.

Jim Dunn, the star reporter of the _World,_ was hurriedly summoned
by telephone. Chunn explained to the city editor that Dunn and the
staff photographer were needed to cover a big story, but of what
the story was no mention was made to the office. As soon as Dunn
and Quillen reached the wharf the _Fly by Night_ shot out of the
dock.


Part 2

In the wintry afternoon sunlight Beauchamp and Alice were playing
a match of shuffleboard against Jeff and the daughter of a
Honolulu missionary. The game had reached an exciting and critical
stage when they noticed that the ship was no longer quivering from
the throb of the engines.

"A steam yacht, probably from Verden," the ship purser remarked to
the first mate as they passed.

The players gave up their game to watch the boat that was being
lowered from the deck of a yacht close at hand. Into it stepped
five men in addition to the crew. Presently Jeff, leaning against
the rail, borrowed the glasses of a man near. After Alice had
looked she handed them to Farnum.

He gave a little exclamation of surprise.

"I beg your pardon?" the girl beside him murmured.

"They are my friends, Miss Frome. Come to meet me, I expect. The
little man in gray with one arm is Captain Chunn."

She was all excitement at once. "Then they must have received your
message?"

"Probably."

Jeff was the first man to meet Captain Chunn as he walked up the
steps. The gray little man gave a whoop of joy.

"David!"

Their hands gripped.

Rawson fell on Farnum from behind and pounded him jubilantly.
Instantly the editor was the center of a group of eager, urgent
wellwishers.

Alice explained to Captain Barclay what it was all about and stood
back smiling while questions and answers flew back and forth.

"What about our bill?" Jeff inquired as soon as the first hubbub
had quieted.

"Dead as a door nail. Your cousin has substituted H. B. I7. They
will pass it to-morrow or the next day."

A swift sickness ran through Farnum. "James gone back on us?"

"That's what. He's double-crossed us." Rawson snapped the words
out bitterly.

"Why--why--surely not James." Jeff's mind groped for some possible

explanation.

"Says our bill was lost anyhow and it was a question of getting
through Garman's bill or none."

"But Garman's bill was framed by Ned Merrill. It doesn't give us
anything."

Rawson nodded grimly. "That's the idea. We're to get nothing, but
it's to be wrapped up like a Christmas present so as to fool us."

"And isn't there any chance at all for our bill?"

"Just this one chance." Rawson leaned forward and spoke in a low
voice, driving his hand down on the deck railing. "That you've got
a charge of dynamite up your sleeve to throw into their camp. If
you can't stampede them we're down and out."

Jeff and his allies presently moved away together to hold a
conference of ways and means. The boat crew pulled back to the
yacht. The engines began to throb once more. The _Bellingham_
gathered momentum and was soon plunging forward at full speed.


Part 3

With a queer little surge of pride in him Alice watched Jeff and
his friends move away. They depended on him. Unless he could save
it their fight was lost. To her he was a prophet of the better
civilization that would some day rise on the ruins of an
Individualism grown topheavy. But he was neither a dreamer nor
a weakling. His idealism was sane and practical, and he would
fight to the last ditch when he must.

And this was another strange thing about him, that though his
democracy was a faith, vital and ardent, it was tempered with the
liberal spirit. He could make allowances; held no grudges, would
laugh away insults at which another man would have raged. Out of
her very limited experience Alice decided that he was a great man.
That he was so warm and human with it all was one of his seizing
charms. No boy could have been more interested in winning the
shuffleboard game than he.

The fat pork packer from Chicago came wheezing toward her. He took
the steamer chair beside Alice and jerked his head toward the spot
where Jeff had disappeared.

"Now if you want my notion, Miss Frome, that's the kind of a man
that breeds anarchy. I've seen his paper. He fills it full of
stuff that makes the workingman discontented with his lot. A
trouble maker, that's what he is. Stops the wheels of industry.
Gets in the road of the boosters to croak hard times."

Alice observed the thick rolls of purple fat that bulged over his
collar.

"Progress now," he went on. "I'm for progress. Develop the
country. That gives work to the laborers and keeps them contented.
But men like Farnum are always hampering development by annoying
capital. Now that's foolish because capital employs labor."

The young woman suggested another possibility. "Or else labor
employs capital."

"What!" The fat little man sat bolt upright in surprise. "I guess
you never heard your Uncle Joe Powers talk any such foolishness."
He snorted indignantly. "Hmp! The best friend labor has got is
capital. If I had the say so I'd crush every labor union--for the
good of the working people themselves."

Alice decided that the mental indigestion of the rich sat heavily
upon him. She felt her temper rising and took advantage of the
approach of Beauchamp to leave quickly.

"Oh, Lieutenant! Have you seen Valencia?"

The Englishman showed surprise. It happened that Alice had at that
moment a view of Mrs. Van Tyle stretched on a deck chair some
thirty feet away.

Miss Frome hurried him along. Presently, with a low laugh, she
explained. "I wanted to get away from him. Carelessly, I dropped a
new idea there. It's likely to go off. You know how dangerous they
are."

"To people who haven't many. Had it anything to do with making
money?"

"Not directly."

"Then you needn't be alarmed on our stout friend's account. He's
immune to all ideas not connected with that subject."

The double blast of a trumpet invited them to dinner down stairs.


Part 4

Dunn was sitting in the smoking room writing his story of the
kidnapping when a ruddy young Englishman stopped opposite him.

"You're Mr. Dunn, are you not? Reporter for the _World?_"

"Yes." The newspaper man looked him over with a swift, trained
attention.

"A young lady would like to see you for a few minutes. She is
interested in this shanghaing of Mr. Farnum."

Dunn's black gimlet eyes searched Beauchamp's face.

"All right. Glad to see her." Dunn's story was being transferred
to his pocket as he rose.

He followed his guide to the ladies' writing room. A slender young
woman was standing in front of the bookcase. She turned as they
entered. Beauchamp introduced the reporter to her, but Dunn failed
to catch the name of this rather remarkable looking young lady.

"You are to write the story of Mr. Farnum's adventure?" she asked.

The reporter's eyes narrowed very slightly. "What story?"

"The account of the shanghaing. Oh, I know all about it. Have you
all the facts?"

"I'll be glad to hear what you know, Miss--"

She answered his hesitation by mentioning her name.

Dunn grew more wary. "Miss Alice Frome, daughter of Senator
Frome?"

"Yes."

"Anything you have to say I'll be pleased to hear, Miss Frome."

To his surprise she broke through the hedge of reserve he had
withdrawn behind.

"You distrust me. You think because I'm Senator Frome's daughter
that I must be against Mr. Farnum. Is that it?"

"I didn't say that," he sparred.

"I'm not against him. It's because I'm anxious to see him win that
I want to be sure he has given you the whole story."

"Why shouldn't he give me the whole story?"

"Because he isn't the kind to boast. Did he tell you about the
sharks?"

"Or how Miss Frome helped pull him aboard just in time to save him
from the crimps?"

The reporter's eyes gleamed. "What's that?" he snapped quickly.

"And all about the race from the schooner to the _Bellingham,_ It
was the most exciting thing I ever saw."

"Great guns! What's the matter with Jeff Farnum? He didn't say a
word about that--missed the cream of the story."

Alice smiled. "I thought perhaps he might have."

"He said he saw a chance to swim across to the _Bellingham._ That
made a pretty good story. But sharks--and the shanghaiers chasing
him--and a young lady helping to haul him aboard to safety--and
that young lady Miss Alice Frome! Say, this is the biggest story
that ever broke in Verden. If I fall down on it I'm a dead one
sure enough."

"You think it will help Mr. Farnum's fight for his bill?"

"Help it. Say, I'd give fifty dollars to see James K. Farnum's
face when he reads the _World_ tomorrow morning. The town will go
right up in the air. Hundreds of telegrams are going to pour in to
members of the assembly from their constituents. We'll make a Yale
finish of this yet."

"It's lucky Miss Frome recognized Mr. Farnum. Otherwise I suppose
he would have been sent back to the _Nancy Hanks_ ."

"Oh, Miss Frome recognized him? Jeff said one of the passengers
did. He couldn't remember who."

"I don't suppose my name is necessary to the story. Just say a
young woman on board," Alice suggested.

Dunn's black eyes questioned her. "Are you for us, Miss Frome?"

She smiled. "I'm for you."

"Against Senator Frome and Mr. Powers?"

"I think the bill ought to be passed. I'm not against anybody."

"Well, I'll tell you this. It will help the story a lot to have
you in it. Some people might say we framed the whole thing up. But
with Senator Frome's daughter starring in it."

"Oh, no, Mr. Farnum's the star."

"Well, you're the leading lady. Don't you see how it helps?
Clinches the whole thing as genuine. It's as good as putting the
Senator himself on the stand as a witness for us. We've just got
to have you."

"It will really help, you think?"

"No question."

"Very well."

"And photographs. You'll stand for one, of course."

"Now really I don't see "

"They can't get back of a photograph. It carries conviction. Of
course we've got pictures of you at the office, Miss Frome. But I
want to play fair with you. Besides, I want them to show the ship
setting."

She laughed. "Don't worry. Your enterprising photographer caught
me twice before I knew it. And he got one of my cousin, Mrs. Van
Tyle. She doesn't know it, though."

"Good boy, Quillen. Now, if you'll begin at the beginning, Miss
Frome, I'll listen to your story.

When she had finished his eyes were gleaming. "It's the biggest
scoop I ever got in on. Sounds too good to be true."


Part 5

At Gillam's Point Jeff and his friends, with Dunn and Quillen,
left the _Bellingham_ on the launch which brought the pilot. They
caught the fast express a half hour later and reached Verden
shortly after midnight. His hat drawn down over his eyes and
muffied to the ears in an ulster so that he might not be
recognized, Farnum took a cab with Captain Chunn, Dunn and
Quillen for the office of the World. He slipped into the building
and his private room unnoticed by any member of the staff.

Dunn presently brought to him Jenkins, the make-up man.

"Rip your front page to pieces. We've got the story of a life
time," Captain Chunn exploded.

Jenkins opened his eyes and grinned at Jeff. "That's what Jim
tells me. Have you got the proof to hang the thing on Big Tim?"

"I've got a letter he wrote to Captain Green of the_Nancy
Hanks_ . It's on city hall stationery of the last administration."

"Funny he used that paper."

"Someone usually makes a slip in putting a deal of this kind
through."

"And the letter?"

"Just a line, signed with O'Brien's initials. 'The terms agreed on
are satisfactory.' I found the letter in Green's cabin. As I
thought I might make use of it I helped myself."

"Bully! We'll run a fac-simile of it on the front page."

"Dunn's story covers the whole affair. I don't like some features
of it, but our friends say it ought to be run as it stands. I've
written three columns of editorial stuff dealing with the
situation. And here's a story calling for a mass meeting in front
of the State House to-morrow morning."

"You'll speak to the people?"

"I'll say a few words. Hardy and Rawson will be the speakers."

"Pity we've lost your cousin. He'd stir them up."

The muscles stood out on Jeff's lean jaw. James was a subject he
could not yet discuss. "We're nailing the No Compromise flag to
our masthead, Jenkins. We've got to prevent them from forcing
through Garman's bill to-morrow. After that every day will be in
our favor. Unless I'm mistaken the state will waken up as it never
has before. The people will see how nearly they've been euchred
out of what they want."

Jenkins came bluntly to another point. "This story would carry a
lot more weight if those charges made against your character by
the other papers had been answered."

"Then we'll answer them."

The night editor looked at him dubiously. "They've got four
affidavits to back their story."

"Only four?" A gay smile was dancing in Jeff's eyes.

"Both the _Herald_ and the _Advocate_ have been playing it strong.
Every day they rehash the story and challenge a denial."

"It will all be free advertising for us if we can make them eat
crow."

"If we can!" Jenkins did not see how any effective answer was
possible and he knew that in the present state of public opinion
an unsupported bluff would be fatal.

"How would this do for a starter?"

Jeff handed him two typewritten sheets. The night editor read them
through. He looked straight at Jeff.

"Can you back this up?"

"I can."

"But--what about those affidavits?"

Farnum grinned. "We'll take care of them when we come to them."

"It's your funeral," Jenkins admitted.

The whole front page of the _World_ next morning was filled with
the Farnum story. As part of it there were interviews with Alice
Frome, with Captain Barclay, and with other passengers. The deadly
note from O'Brien to Green of the _Nancy Hanks_ occupied the
place usually held by the cartoon. Beneath it, exactly in the
center of the page, was a leaded box with the caption "A
Challenge." It ran as follows:

The editor of the _World_ does not think his reputation important
enough to protect it at the expense of a woman. Yet he denies
absolutely the import of the charges made by the _Herald_ and the
_Advocate._ That the matter may be forever set at rest the _World_
challenges the papers named to a searching investigation. It
proposes:

(1) That the names of five representative citizens of Verden be
submitted to Governor Hawley by each of the three papers, and that
from this number be select a committee of five to sift thoroughly
the allegations;

(2) That the meetings of the committee be held in secret, no
members of the press being admitted, and that those composing it
pledge themselves never to divulge the names of any witnesses who
may appear to give evidence;

(3) That the _Herald,_ the _Advocate,_ and the _World_ severally
agree to print on the front page for a week the findings of the
committee as soon as received and exactly as received, without any
editorial or other comment whatsoever.

By the decision of this committee Jefferson Farnum pledges himself
to abide. If found guilty, he will at once resign from the
editorial charge of the _World_ and will leave Verden forever.


CHAPTER 19

The practical man is the man who knows what can't be done. When he
begins to let hope take the place of information in this regard,
he becomes a conservative. When prejudice takes the place of hope,
the mere conservative graduates into a tory, or a justice of the
supreme court. It's all a matter of the chemistry of substitution.
--Dr.G.L. Knapp.


THE SAFE MAN FURNISHES DIVERSION


Part 1

For once the machine had overplayed its hand. Caught unexpectedly
by Jeff's return, no effective counter attack was possible. Dunn's
story in the _World_ swept the city and the state like wildfire.
It was a crouched dramatic narrative and its effect was telling.
From it only one inference could be drawn. The big corporations,
driven to the wall, had attempted a desperate coup to save the
day. It was all very well for Big Tim to file a libel suit. The
mind of the public was made up.

The mass meeting at the State House drew an enormous crowd, one so
great that overflow meetings had to be held. Every corridor in the
building was full of excited jostling people. They poured into the
gallery of the Senate room and packed the rear of the floor
itself. Against such a demonstration the upper house did not dare
pass the Garman bill immediately. It was held over for a few days
to give the public emotion a chance to die. Instead, the
resentment against machine and corporate domination grew more
bitter. Stinging resolutions from the back counties were wired to
members who had backslidden. Committees of prominent citizens from
up state and across the mountains arrived at Verden for heart-to-
heart talks with the assemblymen from their districts.

At a hurried meeting of the managers of the public utilities
companies it was decided that the challenge of the _World_ must
be accepted. For many who had believed in the total depravity of
Jefferson Farnum were beginning to doubt. Unless the man's
character could be impeached successfully the day was lost. And
with four witnesses against him how could the trouble maker
escape?

The committee of investigation consisted of Senator Frome; Clinton
Rogers, the shipbuilder; Thomas Elliott, a law partner of Hardy;
James Moran, a wholesale wheat shipper, and the leading clergyman
of Verden. It sat behind locked doors, adjourning from one office
to another to obtain secrecy.

For the defense appeared as witnesses Marchant, Miller, Mrs.
Anderson and Nellie. To doubt the truth of the young wife's story
was impossible. The agony of shyness and shame that flushed her,
the simple broken words of her little tragedy, bore the stamp of
minted gold. It was plain to see that she was a victim of
betrayal, being slowly won back to love of life by her husband and
her child.

The committee in its report told the facts briefly without giving
names. Even P. C. Frome could find no excuse for not signing it.

The effect was instantaneous. On this one throw the machine had
staked everything. That it had lost was now plain. In a day Jeff
was the hero of Verden, of the state at large. His long fight for
reform, the dramatic features of the shanghaing and his return,
the collapse of the charges against his character, all contributed
to lift him to dizzy popularity. He was the very much embarrassed
man of the hour.

All the power of the Transcontinental, of the old city hall gang,
of the money that had been spent to corrupt the legislature, was
unable to roll back the tide of public determination. White-faced
assemblymen sneaked into offices at midnight to return the bribe
money for which they dared not deliver the goods. Two days after
the report of the investigating committee Jeff's bill passed the
Senate. Within three hours it was signed by Governor Hawley. That
it would be ratified by a vote of the people and so become a part
of the state constitution was a foregone conclusion.

Jeff and his friends had forged the first of the tools they needed
to rescue the government of the state from the control of the
allied plunderers.


Part 2

In the days following her return to Verden Alice Frome devoured
the newspapers as she never had before. They were full of the
dramatic struggle between Jeff Farnum and the forces which
hitherto had controlled the city and state. To her the battle was
personal. It centered on the attacks made upon the character of
her friend and his pledge to refute them.

When she read in the _Advocate_ the report of the committee Alice
wept. It was like her friend, she thought, to risk his reputation
for some poor lost wanderer of the streets. Another man might have
done it for the girl he loved or for the woman he had married. But
with Jeff it would be for one of the least of these. There flashed
into her mind an old Indian proverb she had read. "I met a hundred
men on the road to Delhi, and they were all my brothers." Yes!
None were too deep sunk in the mire to be brothers and sisters to
Jeff Farnum.

Ever since her return Alice had known herself in disgrace with her
father and that small set in which she moved. Her part in the big
_World_ story had been "most regrettable." It was felt that in
letting her name be mentioned beside that of one who was a
thoroughly disreputable vagabond she had compromised her
exclusiveness and betrayed the cause of her class. Her friends
recalled that Alice had always been a queer girl.

Her father and Ned Merrill agreed over a little luncheon at the
Verden Club that girls were likely to lose themselves in
sentimental foolishness and that the best way to stop such
nonsense was for one to get married to a safe man. Pending this
desirable issue she ought to be diverted by pleasant amusements.

The safe man offered to supply these.


Part 3

The farthest thing from Merrill's thoughts had been to discuss
with her the confounded notions she had somehow absorbed. The
thing to do, of course, was to ignore them and assume everything
was all right. After all, of what importance were the opinions of
a girl about practical things?

How the thing cropped up he did not afterward remember, but at the
thirteenth green he found himself mentioning that all reformers
were out of touch with facts. They were not practical.

The smug finality of his verdict nettled her. This may or may not
have been the reason she sliced her ball, quite unnecessarily. But
it was probably due to her exasperation at the wasted stroke that
she let him have it.

"I'm tired of that word. It means to be suicidally selfish.
There's not another word in the language so abused."

"Didn't catch the word that annoys you," the young man smiled.

"Practical! You used it yourself. It means to tear down and not
build up, to be so near-sighted you can't see beyond your reach.
Your practical man is the least hopeful member of the community.
He stands only for material progress. His own, of course!"

"You sound like a Farnum editorial, Alice."

"Do I?" she flashed. "Then I'll give you the rest of it. He--your
practical man--is rutted to class traditions. This would not be
good form or respectable. That would disturb the existing order.
So let's all do nothing and agree that all's well with the world."

Merrill greeted this outburst with a complacent smile. "It's a
pretty good world. I haven't any fault to find with it--not this
afternoon anyhow."

But Alice, serious with young care and weighted with the problems
of a universe, would have none of his compliments.

"Can't you see that there's a--a " She groped and found a fugitive
phrase Jeff had once used--"a want of adjustment that is
appalling?"

"It doesn't appall me. I believe in the survival of the fittest."

Her eyes looked at him with scornful penetration. They went
through the well-dressed, broad-shouldered exterior of him, to see
a suave, gracious Pharisee of the modern world. He believed in the
God-of-things-as-they-are because he was the man on horseback. He
was a formalist because it paid him to be one. That was why he and
his class looked on any questioning of conditions as almost
atheistic. They were born to the good things of life. Why should
they doubt the ethics of a system that had dealt so kindly with
them?

She gave him up. What was the use of talking about such things to
him? He had the sense of property ingrained in him. The last thing
he would be likely to do was to let any altruistic ideas into his
head. He would play safe. Wasn't he a practical man?

She devoted herself to the game. To see her play was a pleasure to
the eye. The long lines and graceful curves of her supple young
body never appeared to better advantage than at golf. Her motions
showed the sylvan freedom of the woods. Ned Merrill appreciated
the long, light tread of her, the harmony of movement as of a
perfect young animal, together with the fine spiritual quality
that escaped her personality so unconsciously.

At the fifteenth hole he continued her education. "This country is
founded upon individualism. It stands for the best chance of
development possible to all its citizens. When you hamper
enterprise you stop that development."

She took him up dryly. "I see. So you and father and Uncle Joe
have developed your individualism at the expense of a million
other people's. You have gobbled up franchises, forests, ore
lands, coal mines, and every other opportunity worth having. As a
result you're making them your slaves and crushing out all
individuality."

"Not at all. We're really custodians for the people. We administer
these things for their benefit because we are more fit to do it."

"How do you know you are?"

"The very fact that we have succeeded in getting what we have is
evidence of it."

"All I can see is that our getting it and keeping it--you and I
and Uncle Joe and a thousand like us--is responsible for all the
poverty in the world. We're helping to make it every time we eat a
dinner we didn't work to get."

Alice made a beautiful approach that landed her ball within four
feet of the hole. Presently Merrill joined her.

"That was a dandy shot," he told her, and watched Alice hole out.
"I don't agree with you. For instance, I work as hard as other
men."

"But you're not working for the common good."

His impatience reached words. "That sort of talk is nonsense,
Alice. I don't know what has come over you of late."

She smiled provokingly and changed the subject. Why argue with
him? The slant with which they got at things was different. Like
her father, he had the mental rigidity that is death to open-
mindedness.

Briskly she returned to small talk. "You're only three up."


Part 4

On their way back to the club house the safe man recurred to one
phase of their talk.

"You ought not to need any telling as to why I work, Alice."

She shot one swift annoyed glance at him. When Ned Merrill tried
the sentimental she liked him least.

"Oh, all men like to work, I suppose. Uncle Joe says it's half the
fun of life."

"Most men work for some woman. I'm working for you," he told her
solenmly.

A little giggle of laughter floated across to him.

"What are you laughing about?" he demanded.

"Oh, the things I notice. Just now it's you, Ned."

"If you'll explain the joke."

"You wouldn't understand it. Dear me, what are you so stiff
about?"

Merrill brought things to an issue. "Look here, Alice! What's the
use of playing fast and loose? I'd like to know where we're at."

"Would you?"

"Yes, I would. You know all about the arrangement just as well as
I do. I haven't pushed you. I've stood back and let you have your
good times. Don't you think it's about time for us to talk
business?"

"Just as soon as you like, Ned."

"Well, then, let's announce it."

"That we're not engaged to be married and never will be! Is that
what you want to announce?"

He flushed angrily. "What's the use of talking that way? You know
it has been arranged for years."

"I'm not going through with it. I told Father so. The thing is
outrageous," she flamed.

"I don't see why. Our people want it. We are fond of each other. I
never cared for any girl but you."

"Let's stick to the business reasons, Ned."

"Hang it, you're so acid about it! I do care for you "

Her dry anger spurted out. "That's unfortunate, since I don't care
for you."

"I know you do. Just now you're vexed at me."

"Yes, I am," she admitted, nodding her head swiftly. "But it
doesn't make any difference whether I am or not. I've made up my
mind. I'm not going through with it."

"You promised."

"I didn't, not in so many words. And I was pushed into it. None of
you gave me a fair chance. But I'll not go on with it."

"But, why?"

"Because I'm an American girl, and here we don't have to marry to
amalgamate business interests. I won't do it. I'd rather be " She
gave a little shrug of her shoulders. The passion died out of her
voice. "Oh, well! No need getting melodramatic about it. Just the
same, I won't do it. My mind's made up."

"A pretty figure I'll cut, after all these years," he complained
sulkily. "Everyone will know you jilted me."

Alice turned to him, mischief sparkling in her eyes. "I wouldn't
stand it if I were you. Show your spunk."

He stared. "What do you mean?"

"Why don't you jilt ME?"

"Jilt you?"

Her head went up and down in a dozen little nods of affirmation.
"Yes. Marry Pauline Gillam. You know you'd like to, but you
haven't had the courage to give me up. Now that you've got to give
me up anyhow--"

"I'm very much obliged, Miss Frome. But I don't think it will be
necessary for you to select another wife for me."

"Have you been married once. I didn't know it."

"You know what I mean?" He was stiff as a poker.

"I believe I do." She was in a perfectly good humor again now.
"But you better take my advice, Ned. Think what a joke it will be
on me. Everybody will say you could have had me."

"We'll not discuss the subject if you please."

Nevertheless Alice knew that she had dropped a seed on good
ground.


CHAPTER 20

Now poor Tom Dunstan's cold,
  Our shop is duller;
Scarce a tale is told,
  And our talk has lost the old
Red-republican color!

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

'She's coming, she's coming!' said he;
'Courage, boys I wait and see!
  'FREEDOM'S AHEAD!'
--Robert Buchanan.


THE HERO IS LURED TO AN ADVENTURE INTO THE UNCONVENTIONAL AND
HEARS MUCH THAT IS PAINFUL TO A WELL-REGULATED MIND


Near the close of a fine spring afternoon James Farnum and Alice
Frome were walking at the lower end of Powers Avenue. In the
conventional garb he affected since he had become a man of
substance the lawyer might have served as a model of fashion to
any aspiring youth. His silk hat, his light trousers, the double-
breasted coat which enfolded his manly form, were all of the
latest design. The weather, for a change, was behaving itself so
as not to soil the chaste glory of Solomon thus displayed. There
had been rain and would be more, but just now they passed through
a dripping world shot full of sunlight.

"Of course I'm no end flattered at being allowed to go with you.
But I'm dying of curiosity to know where we are going."

The young woman gave James her beguiling smile. "We're going to
call on a sick man. I'm taking you along as chaperon. You needn't
be flattered at all. You're merely a convenience, like a hat pin
or an umbrella."

"But I'm not sure this is proper. Now as your chaperone--"

"You're not that kind of a chaperon, Mr. Farnum. You haven't any
privileges. Nothing but duties. Unless it's a privilege to be
chosen. That gives you a chance to say something pretty."

They crossed Yarnell Way. James, looking around upon the wrecks of
humanity they began to meet, was very sure that he did not enjoy
this excursion. An adventure with Miss Frome outside of the
conventions was the very thing he did not want. What in the world
did the girl mean anyhow? Her vagaries were beginning to disturb
her relatives. So much he had gathered from Valencia.

Before he had got as far as a protest Alice turned in to the
entrance of a building and climbed a flight of stairs. She pushed
a button. A woman of rather slatternly appearance came to the
door.

"Good afternoon, Mrs. Maloney. I've come to see how Mr. Marchant
is."

The landlady brushed into place some flying strands of hair.
"Well, now, Miss Frome, he's better to-day. The nurse is with him.
If you'll jist knock at the door 'twill be all right."

While they were in the passage James interposed an objection. "My
dear Miss Frome, I really don't think--"

She interrupted brightly. "I'm glad you don't. You're not expected
to, you know. I'm commanding this expedition. Yours not to answer
why. Yours but to do and die." And she knocked on the door of the
room at which they had stopped.

It was opened by a nurse in uniform. James observed that she, too,
like Mrs. Maloney, brightened at sight of the visitor.

"Mr. Marchant will be pleased to see you, Miss Frome."

He was. His gladness illuminated the white face through the skin
of which the cheek bones appeared about to emerge. A thin blue-
veined hand shot forward to meet hers.

"Oh, comrade, but I'm glad to meet you."

"I think you know Mr. Farnum."

The man propped up in bed nodded a little grin at the lawyer.
"We've met. It was years ago in Jeff's rooms."

"Oh--er--yes. Yes, I remember."

Presently Jeff and Sam Miller dropped in to see the invalid. From
chance remarks the lawyer gathered that the little cobbler had
brought himself so low by giving his overcoat one bitter night to
a poor girl he had found shivering in the streets.

The frankness with which they discussed before Alice Frome things
never referred to in good society shocked James.

It appeared that the story of this little factory girl who had
been led astray was still urgent in Marchant's mind. At the time
of their arrival he had just finished scribbling some verses hot
from his heart. Jeff read them aloud, in spite of the poet's
modest insistence that they were only a first draft.

        "This is a story that two may tell,
        I am the one, the other's in hell;
        A story of passionate amorous fire,
        With the glamor of love to attune the lyre.

        She traveled the road at breakneck speed,
        I opened the gates and saddled the steed;
        "Ride free!" I cried as we dashed along.
        Her sweet voice echoed a mocking song."

"'Fraid it doesn't always scan. They seldom do," apologized the
author of the verses.

Jeff rapped for order. "The sense of the meeting is that the
blushing poet will please not interrupt."

        "Nights of the wildest revel and mirth,
        Days of sorrow, remorse, and dearth,
        A heaven of love and a hell of regret--
        But there's always the woman to pay my debt.

        'Sin,' says the preacher, 'shall be washed free,
        The blood of the Lamb was shed for thee.'
        Smugly I pass the sacred wine,
        The woman in hell pays toll for mine.

        'I am a pillar of Church and State,
        She but the broken sport of Fate;
        This is a story that two may tell,
        I am the one, the other's in hell.'"

There was a moment's silence after Jeff had finished.

"What are you going to call your verses?" the nurse asked.

"I'll call them, 'She Pays.' That's the idea of it."

James was distinctly uneasy. There was positively something
indecent about this. He had an aversion to thinking about
unpleasant things. Every well-regulated mind ought to have. He
would like to make a protest, but he could not very well do that
here. He promised himself to let Alice Frome know as soon as they
were alone what he thought about her escapades into this world
below the dead line.

He moved uncomfortably in his chair, and in doing so his gaze fell
full into the eyes of Sam Miller. The fat librarian was staring at
him out of a very white face. Before James could break the spell
an unvoiced question had been asked and answered.

Marchant was already riding the hobby that was religion to him.
"Four dollars a week. That's what she was getting. And her
employer is worth two millions. Think of it. All her youth to be
sold for four dollars a week. Just enough to keep body and soul
together. And when she went to the head of her department to ask
for a raise he leered at her and said a good looking girl like her
could always find someone to take care of her. Eight months she
stuck it out, getting more ragged every day. Then enter the man,
offering her some comfort and pleasure and love. Do you blame
her?"

"You must give me her address," Alice said softly.

Oscar nodded. "Good enough, comrade. Jeff has looked out for her,
but she needs a woman friend." With a sweep of the hand he went
back to the impersonal. "Her trouble was economic, just as ours
is. Look at it. We've got a perfect self-regulating system that
adjusts itself automatically to bring hard times when we're most
prosperous. Give us big crops and boom times, and we head straight
for a depression. Why?" He interrupted himself with a fit of
coughing, but presently began again, talking also with his swift
supple hands. "Because then the foreign market will be glutted.
Surplus goods won't sell abroad. The manufacturer, unable to
dispose of his produce, will cut down his force or close his
plant. Labor, out of work, cannot buy. So every branch of industry
suffers because we're too well off. It's a vicious absurd circle
born of the system under which we live. Under socialism the remedy
would be merely to work less for a time until the surplus was
used. It would affect nobody injuriously. The whole thing's as
simple as A B C."

It had been plain to the first casual glance of James that the
little Socialist was far gone. The amazing thing was the eagerness
with which his spirit dominated the body in such ill case. He was
alive to the fingertips, though he was already in the Valley of
the Shadow. To the lawyer there was something eerie about it all.
Marchant was done with the business of living. Why didn't he lie
down and accept the verdict?

But to Alice it was God-like, a thing to stand uncovered before.
His remedies might be all wrong. Probably they were. None the less
his vital courage for life took her by the throat.

Jeff nodded at the invalid cheerfully. "We're going to change all
that, Oscar. Into this little old world a new soul is being born.
Or perhaps the old soul is being born again."

The Socialist caught at this swiftly. "Yes, we're going to change
this terrible waste of human lives. I see a new world, where men
will live like brothers and not like wolves rending each other.
There poverty will be blotted out . . . and disease and all mean
and cruel things that hamper and destroy life. Law and justice
will walk hand in hand through a land of peace and plenty. Our
cities, the expression of our social life, will be clean and sunny
and beautiful because the lives of the common people are so. There
strong men and deep-breasted women will work for the joy of
working, since all is for the common good. Their children will be
free and happy and well fed . . . yes, and equal to each other.
From that highly socialized state, because it is tied together by
love, will come that restrained freedom which is the most perfect
individualism."

The nurse forced him gently back upon the pillows. "There! You've
talked enough to-day."

He lay coughing, a hectic flush above the high cheek bones.
Presently, at a look from the nurse, his guests departed.

Outside the building Miller left the rest abruptly. Flanked by the
two cousins, Alice crossed Yarnell Way back to that world to which
she had always belonged.

James laid down the law to her concerning the folly of such
excursions into the unconventional. Alice listened. She discovered
that his viewpoint was exactly like that of Ned Merrill. Any
deviation from the conventional was a mistake. Any attempt to
escape from existing conditions was a form of treason. Trade,
property, business, respectability, good form; these were the
shibboleth they worshipped. It was just because she did not want
to believe this of James Farnum that she had taken him with her to
call on Marchant. It was in a sense a test, and he was answering
it by showing himself complacently callous and hidebound.

Surely he had not always been like this, a smug and well-clad
Pharisee, afraid to look at the truth. In those early days, when
they had been friends, with the possibility of being a good deal
more, there had been an impetuous touch of ardor she could no
longer find. Her cool glance ran down his figure. The man was
taking on flesh, the plump well-fed look of one who has escaped
moral conduct by giving up the fight. Fat cushioned the square jaw
and detracted from its strength. For the first time she observed a

hardening of the eye. The visible deterioration of an inner
collapse was being writ on him.

Alice sighed. After all she might have spared herself the trouble.
He had chosen his path and he must follow it.

At the corner of Powers Avenue and Van Ault Street James left
them. It was natural that the talk should revert to Marchant.

"Oscar finds your visits a very great pleasure," Jeff told her.

"The dear madman!" Her eyes were shining softly. "Isn't he brave
and optimistic?"

"Yes."

Both of them were thinking how soon the arm of that unseen God of
love and law he worshipped would enfold him.

Alice smiled tenderly, and for the moment the street in front of
her danced in a mist. "And his perfect state! Shall we ever
realize it?"

"We must hope so. Perhaps not in the form he sees it, but in the
way we work it out through a species of evolution. Think of the
progress we have made in the last five years. How many dark
corners in the long disused houses of our minds have been flooded
with light!"

"Yes. Why have we made more progress in the past few years?"

Jeff's eyes held a gleam of humor. "This is a big country with
enormous resources. There used to be room for all the most active
plunderers to grab something. But lately the grabbing hasn't been
so good. We have discoveredthat the most powerful robbers are
doing their snatching from us. So we've suffered a moral
awakening."

"You don't believe that," she said quickly.

"There's a good deal in the bread and butter interpretation of
history. The push of life, its pressure, drives us to think. Out
of thought grow new hopes and a broader vision."

"And then?"

"Pretty soon the thought will flood the world that we make our own
poverty, that God and nature have nothing to do with it. After
that we'll proceed to eliminate it."

"By means of Mr. Marchant's perfect state?"

"Not by any revolution of an hour probably. Society cannot change
its nature in a day. We'll pass gradually from our present state
to a better one, the new growing out of the old by generations of
progress. But I think we will pass into a form of socialism. It
will be necessary to repress the predatory instinct in us that has
grown strong under the present system. I don't much care whether
you call it democracy or socialism. We must recognize how
interdependent we are and work together for the common good."

They had come to the car line that would take her home. Up the
hill a trolley car was coming.

"May I not see you home?" Jeff dared to ask.

"You may."

They left the car at Lakeview Park and crossed it to The Brakes.
Every step of that walk led Jeff deeper into an excursion of
endearment. It was amazingly true that he trod beside her an
acknowledged friend, a secret lover. The turn of her head, the
shadowy smile bubbling into laughter, the gracious undulations of
the body, indeed the whole dear delight of her presence, belonged
for that hour to him alone.


CHAPTER 21

Many a man has kept his self-respect through a long lifetime of
decalog breaking, only to go to smash like a crushed eggshell when
he commits the crime of being found out.
--From the Note Book of a Dreamer.


THE HERO IS PAINED TO FIND THAT EVEN IN A WELL-REGULATED WORLD THE
GODS ARE JUST, AND OF OUR PLEASANT VICES MAKE INSTRUMENTS TO
PLAGUE US


Going back across the park Jeff trod the hilltops. He was not
thinking about society, except that small unit of it represented
by a slender, golden girl who had just bidden him good-bye. And
because his heart sang within him his footsteps turned toward the
office of his cousin. There had been between them of late an
estrangement. Since the lawyer had been appointed general attorney
for the Transcontinental and had formed a partnership with Scott,
thus bringing to the firm the business of the public utility
corporations, James had not found much time for Jeff. He was a
member of the most important law firm on the Pacific Coast, judged
by the business it was doing, and he had definitely cut loose
politically from his former associates. His cousin blamed himself
for the change in their personal relations, and he meant to bring
things back to the old basis if he could.

It was past office hours, but a light in the window of the junior
member's private office gave promise that James might be in.
Leaving the elevator at the fourth floor, he walked down the
corridor toward the suite occupied by the firm.

Before he reached the door Jeff stopped. Something unusual was
happening within. There came to him the sounds of shuffling feet,
of furniture being smashed, of an angry oath. Almost at once there
was a thud, as if something heavy had fallen. The listener judged
that a live body was thrashing around actively. The impact of
blows, a heavy grunt, a second stifled curse, decided Farnum.
Pushing through the outer office, he entered the one usually
occupied by James.

Two men were on the floor, one astride of the other. The man on
top was driving home heavy jarring blows against his opponent's
face and head. Jeff ran forward and dragged him away.

"Good heavens, Sam! What's the matter?" his friend demanded in
surprise.

Miller waited panting, his fists still doubled, the lust of battle
in his eyes.

"The damned cad! The damned cad!" was all he could get out.

From the floor James Farnum was rising. His forehead, his cheek,
and his lips were bleeding from cuts. One of his eyes was closing
rapidly. There was a dogged look of fear in the battered face.

"I tripped over a chair, he explained, glaring at his foe.

"Damn you then, stand up and fight!"

Disgust and annoyance were pictured on the damaged countenance of
the lawyer. "I don't fight with riff raff from the streets."

With a lurch Miller was free from Jeff and at him again. James
lashed straight out and cut open his lip without stopping him.
Jeff wrenched the furious man back again. A moment later he made a
discovery. The fear of his cousin was not physical.

"Here! Stop it, man! What's the row about?" Jeff hung on with a
strangle hold while he fired his questions.

Sam turned a distorted face toward him. "Nellie."

The truth crashed home like a bolt of lightning. James was the man
who had betrayed Nellie Anderson. The thing was incredible, but
Jeff knew instantly it was so.

Except where the blood streamed down it the face of the lawyer was
colorless. His lips twitched.

"Is this true, James?"

The sullen eyes of the detected man fell. "It will ruin me. It
will ruin my career. And all because in a moment of fearful
temptation I yielded, God help me."

"God help you!" The angry scorn in Miller's voice burned like
vitriol. "God help you! you selfish villain and coward! You
pursued her! You hounded her. You made your own temptation--and
hers. And afterward you left her to bear a lifetime of shame--to
kill herself if she couldn't stand it. When I think of you, smug
liar and hell hound, I know that killing isn't good enough for
you."

"Steady, old man," counseled Jeff.

Miller began to tremble violently. Tears gathered in his eyes and
coursed down his fat cheeks. "And I can't stamp him out. I can't
expose him without hurting her worse. I've got to stand it without
touching him."

Faintly Jeff smiled. James did not look quite untouched. He was a
much battered statue of virtue, his large dignity for once torn to
shreds.

Miller flung himself down heavily in a chair and buried his face
in his hands. James began to talk, and as he talked his fluency
came back to him.

"It's the only stain on my life record . . . the only one. My life
has been an open book but for that. I was only a boy--and I made a
slip. Ought that to spoil my whole life, a splendid career of
usefulness for the city and the state? Ought I to be branded for
that one error?"

Miller looked up whitely. "Shut up, you liar! If it had been a
slip you would have stood by her, you would have married the girl
you had ruined. But you left her--to death or worse. She was loyal
to you. She kept your secret, you damned villain. I wrung it out
of her to-day when I went home only by pretending that I knew....
And you let Jeff bear the blame of it without saying a word. I
know now why her name wasn't unearthed by the reporters. You
killed the story because you were afraid the truth would leak out.
You haven't a straight hair in your head. You sold out Jeff's
bill. You're for yourself first and last, no matter who pays the
price."

"That's your interpretation of my career. But what does Verden
think of me? No man stands higher among the best people of the
community."

"To hell with you and your best people. I say you're nothing but a
whited sepulchre," snarled Miller.

Suddenly he reached for his hat and left the office. He was
stifling.

He knew that if he stayed he could not keep his hands from his
enemy's throat.

James wrung his hands. "My God, Jeff, it's awful! To think that a
little fault should come out now to ruin me. After I've gone so
far and am on the way to bigger things. It's ghastly luck. Can't
you do something? Can't you keep the fellow quiet? I'll pay
anything in reason."

Jeff looked at him steadily. "I wouldn't say that to him if I were
you."

"Oh, I don't know what I'm saying." He mopped the blood from his
face with a handkerchief. "I'm half crazy. Did he mark me up
badly?" James examined himself anxiously in the glass. "He's just
chopped my face to pieces. I'll have to get out of the city
to-night and stay away till the marks are gone. But the main point
is to keep him from talking. Can you do it?"

For once Jeff's toleration failed him. "He's right. You are a
selfish beggar. Don't you ever think of anyone except yourself?"

"I'm not thinking of myself at all, but of--of someone else.
You're wronging me, Jeff. This is not the time to go back on me,
now that I'm in trouble. You've got to help me out. You've got to
keep Miller quiet. If he talks I'm done for."

His cousin looked at him with contemptuous eyes. "Can't you see--
haven't you fineness enough to see that Sam Miller would cut an
arm off before he would expose his wife to more talk? Your
precious secret's safe."

"It's all very well for you to talk that way," James complained.
"I don't suppose you ever were put into temptation by a woman.
You're not a lady's man. I'm the kind they take a shine to for
some reason. Now this Anderson woman--"

Sharply Jeff cut in. "That's enough. When you speak of her it
won't be in that tone of voice. You'll speak respectfully of her.
She's the wife of my friend; and before she met you was innocent
as a child."

"What do you know of her? I tell you, Jeff, there's a type of
woman that's always smiling round the corner at you. I don't say I
did right to yield to her. Of course I didn't. But, hang it, I'm
not a block of wood. I've got red blood in my veins. The whip of
youth drove me on. You've probably never noticed it, but she was a
devilish pretty girl."

He was swimming into his phrases so fluently that Jeff knew he
would soon persuade himself that he had been the victim of her
wiles. So, no doubt, in one sense, he had. She had laid her
innocent bait to win his friendship, with never a thought of what
was to come of it.

"It happened of course while you were rooming there," the editor
shot at him.

James nodded sullenly.

His cousin knew now that more than once he had put away doubts of
James. When Sam Miller told him of her disappearance he had
thought of the lawyer and had dismissed his suspicions as
unworthy. He had always believed James to be a more moral man than
himself, and he had turned his own back on the temptation lest it
might prove too great for him. It would have been better for
Nellie if he had stayed and fought it out to a finish.

James began further explanations. "Look at it the way it is. She
put herself in my way."

Two steps carried Jeff to him. Without touching James he stood
close to him, arms rigid and eyes blazing. "Don't say that again,
you liar. You ruined her life. You let her suffer. She might have
died for all of you. She nursed your child and never whispered the
name of its father. Sam Miller is charging himself with the keep
of your daughter. Do you think she hasn't paid a hundred times for
her mistake? Now, by God, keep your mouth shut! Be decent enough
not to fling mud at her, you of all men."

James shrugged his shoulders and turned away in petulant disgust.
"I see. You've heard her side of it and you've made up your mind.
All right. I've nothing more to say."

"I've never heard her side of it. Her own mother doesn't know the
truth. Sam didn't know not till to-day. But I know her--and now I
know you."

"That's no way to talk, Jeff. I admit I did wrong. Can a man say
more than that? Do you want me to crawl on my hands and knees?"

"It's easy for you to forgive yourself."

"Maybe you think I haven't suffered too. I've lain awake nights
worrying over this."

"Yes. For fear you might be found out."

"I intended to look out for the girl, but she disappeared without
letting me know where she was going. What could I do?" The lawyer
was studying his face very carefully in the glass. "My face is a
sight. It will be weeks before that eye is fit to be seen."

Jeff turned away and left him. He walked to his rooms and found
his uncle waiting for him. Robert Farnum had sold out his
interests in Arkansas and returned to Verden with the intention of
buying a small mill in the vicinity. Meanwhile he had the
apartment next to the one used by his nephew.

"Seen anything of James lately?" he inquired as they started down
the street to dinner.

"Yes. I saw him to-day. He's leaving town for a week or so."

"On business, I suppose. He didn't mention it when I saw him
Wednesday."

"It's a matter that came up suddenly, I understand."

The father agreed proudly. There were moments when he had doubts
of James, but he always stifled them by remembering what a
splendid success he was. "Probably something nobody else could
attend to but him."

"Exactly."

"It's amazing how that boy gets along. His firm has the cream of
the corporation business of Verden. I never saw anything like it."

The younger man assented, rather wearily. Somehow to-night he did
not feel like sounding the praises of James.

His uncle's kindly gaze rested on him. "Tired, boy?"

"I think I am a little. I'll be all right after we've had
something to eat."


CHAPTER 22

But when your arms are full of girl and fluff
You hide your nerve behind a yard of grin;
You'd spit into a bulldog's face, or bluff
A flock of dragons with a safety pin.
Life's a slow skate, but love's the dopey glim
That puts a brewery horse in racing trim.
--Wallace Irwin.


CANARIES SING FOR THE HERO


Part 1

James Farnum had been back in Verden twenty-four hours. A few
little scars still decorated his handsome visage, but he explained
them away with the story of a motor car accident. Just now he was
walking to the bank, and he had spoken his piece five times in a
distance of three blocks. From experience he was getting letter
perfect as to the details. Even the idiotic joke about the clutch
seemed now a necessary part of the recital.

It was just as he was crossing Powers that a motor car whirled
around the corner and down upon a man descending from a street
car. The chauffeur honked wildly and rammed the brakes home.
Simultaneously James leaped, flinging his weight upon the man
standing dazed in the path of the automobile. The two went down
together, and for a moment Farnum knew only a crash of the senses.

He was helped to his feet. Voices, distant and detached, asked
whether he was hurt. Blood trickled into his eyes from a cut in
the head. It came to him oddly enough that his story about the
motor car accident would now be true.

A slender figure in gray slipped swiftly past him and knelt beside
the still shape lying on the asphalt.

"Bring water, Roberts!"

James knew that clear, sweet voice. It could belong only to Alice
Frome.

"Are you much hurt, Mr. Farnum?"

"No, I think not--a cut over my eye and a few bruises."

"I'm so glad. But this poor old man--I'm afraid he's badly hurt."

"Was he run over?"

"No. You saved him from that. You don't know him, do you?"

The lawyer looked at the unconscious man and could not repress a
start. It was his father. For just an eyebeat he hesitated before
he said, "I've seen him before somewhere."

"We must take him to the hospital. Isn't there a doctor here?
Someone run for a doctor." The young woman's glance swept the
crowd in appeal.

"I'll take care of him. Better get away before the crowd is too
large, Miss Frome."

"No. It was our machine did it. Oh, here's a doctor."

A pair of lean, muscular shoulders pushed through the press after
the doctor. "Much hurt, James?" inquired their owner.

"No. For heaven's sake, get Miss Frome away, Jeff," implored his
cousin.

"Miss Frome!" Jeff stepped forward with an exclamation.

The young woman looked up. She was kneeling in the street and
supporting the head of the wounded man. Her face was almost as
bloodless as his.

"We almost ran him down. Your cousin jumped to save him. He isn't
dead, doctor, is he?"

Jeff turned swiftly to his cousin and spoke in a low voice. "It's
your father."

The lawyer pushed forward with a manner of authority.

"This won't do, doctor. The crowd's growing and we're delaying the
traffic. Let us lift him into the machine and take him to the
hospital."

"Very good, Mr. Farnum."

"Doctor, will you go with him to the hospital? And Jeff . . . you,
too, if you please."

A minute later the car pushed its way slowly through the crush of
people and disappeared. James was left standing on the curb with
Alice.

He spoke brusquely. "Someone call a cab, please....I'll send you
home, Miss Frome."

"No, to the hospital," she corrected. "I couldn't go home now
without knowing how he is."

"Very well. Anything to get away from here."

"And you can have your cut attended to there."

"Oh, that's nothing. A basin of cold water is all I need. Here's
the cab, thank heaven."

The girl's gaze followed the automobile up the hill as she waited
for the taxicab to stop. "I do hope he isn't hurt badly," she
murmured piteously.

"Probably he isn't. Just stunned, the doctor seemed to think.
Anyhow it was an unavoidable accident."

The eyes of the young woman kindled. "I'll never forget the way
you jumped to save him. It was splendid."

James flushed with pleasure. "Nonsense. I merely pushed him
aside."

"You merely risked your life for his. A bagatelle--don't mention
it," the girl mocked.

Farnum nodded, the old warmth for her in his eyes. "All right,
I'll take all the praise you want to give me. It's been a good
while since you have thought I deserved any."

Alice looked out of the window in a silence that appeared to
accuse him.

"Yet once"--She felt in his fine voice the vibration of feeling--
"once we were friends. We met on the common ground of--of the
spirit," he risked.

Her eyes came round to meet his. "Is it my fault that we are not
still friends?"

"I don't know. Something has come between us. What is it?"

"If you don't know I can't tell you."

"I think I know." He folded his handkerchief again to find a spot
unstained. "You wanted me to fit into some ideal of me you had
formed. Am I to blame because I can't do it? Isn't the fault with
your austerity? I've got to follow my own convictions--not Jeff's,
not even yours. Life's a fight, and it's every man for himself. He
has to work out his own salvation in his own way. Nobody can do it
for him. The final test is his success or failure. I'm going to
succeed."

"Are you?" The compassion of her look he could not understand.
"But how shall we define success?"

"It's getting power and wielding it."

"But doesn't it depend on how one wields it?"

"Yes. It must be made to produce big results. Now my idea of a
successful man is your uncle, Joe Powers."

"And my idea of one is your cousin, Jefferson Farnum."

The young man sat up. "You're not seriously telling me that you
think Jeff is successful as compared with Joe Powers?"

"Yes. In my opinion he is the most successful man I ever met."

James was annoyed. "I expect you have a monopoly in that opinion,
Miss Frome--unless Jeff shares it."

"He doesn't."

The lawyer laughed irritably. "No, I shouldn't think he would." He
added a moment later: "I don't suppose Jeff is worth a hundred
dollars."

"Probably not."

"And Joe Powers is worth a hundred millions."

"That settles it. I must have been wrong." Alice looked at him
with a flash of demure daring. "Valencia said something to me the
other day I didn't quite understand. Ought I to congratulate you?"

"What did she say?" he asked eagerly.

"Oh, I'll not tell you what she said. My question was in first."

"You may as well, though it's still a secret. Nobody knows it but
you and me."

"And Valencia."

"I didn't know she knew it yet."

Alice stared. "Not know that she is going to marry you? Then it
isn't really arranged?"

"It is and it isn't."

"Oh!"

"I know it and she suspects it."

"Is this a riddle?"

"Riddle is a good word when we speak of your cousin," he admitted
judicially.

"Perhaps I asked a question I ought not to have."

"Not at all. I'm trying to answer you as well as I can. Last time
I mentioned the subject she laughed at me."

"So you've asked her?"

"No, I told her."

"And she said?"

"Regretted that other plans would not permit her to fall in with
mine."

"Then I don't quite see how you are so sure."

"That's just what she says, but I've a notion she is planning the
trousseau."

Alice flashed a sidelong look at him. Was he playing with her? Or
did he mean it?

"You'll let me know when I may safely congratulate you," she
retorted ironically.

"Now is the best time. I may not see you this evening."

"Oh, it's to be this evening, is it?"

"To the best of my belief and hope."

His complacency struck a spark from her. "You needn't be so cock
sure. I daresay she won't have you."

His smile took her into his confidence. "That's what I'm afraid of
myself, but I daren't let her see it."

"That sounds better."

"I think she wants to eat her cake and have it, too."

"Meaning, please?"

"That she likes me, but would rather hold me off a while."

Alice nodded. "Yes, that would be like Val."

"Meanwhile I don't know whether I'm to be a happy man or not."

Her fine eyes looked in their direct fashion right into his. "I
must say you appear greatly worried."

"Yes," he smiled.

"You must be tremendously in love with her."

"Ye-es, thank you."

"Why are you going to marry her then--if she'll let you?"

"Now I'm having Joe Powers' railroads and his steamboats and his
mines thrown at me, am I not?" he asked lightly.

"No, I don't think that meanly of you. I know you're a victim of
ambition, but I don't suppose it would take you that far."

He gave her an ironical bow. "Thanks for this testimonial of
respect. You're right. It wouldn't. I'm going to marry Joe Power's
daughter, _Deo volente_ because she is the most interesting woman
I know and the most beautiful one."

"Oh! That's the reason."

"These, plus a sentimental one which I can't uncover to the
cynical eyes of my young cousin that is to be, are my motives;
though, mind you, I'm not fool enough to be impervious to the
railroads and the ocean liners and the mines you didn't mention. I
hope my reasons satisfy you," he added coolly.

"If they satisfy Val they do me, but very likely you'll find they
won't."

"The doubt adds a fillip to the situation."

Her eyes had gone from time to time out of the window. Now she
gave a sigh of relief. "Here we are at the hospital. Oh, I do hope
that poor man is all right!"

"I'm sure he is. He was recovering consciousness when they left.

James helped her out of the cab and they went together up the
steps. In the hall they met Jeff. He had just come down stairs.

"Everything's all right. His head must have struck the asphalt,
but there seems to be no danger."

Alice noticed that the newspaper man spoke to his cousin and not
to her.


Part 2

Though Valencia Van Tyle had not made up her mind to get married,
James hit the mark when he guessed that she was interesting
herself in the accessories that would go with such an event. The
position she took in the matter was characteristic. She had gone
the length of taking expert counsel with her New York modiste
concerning gowns for the occasion, without having at all decided
that she would exchange her present independence for another
venture into stormy matrimonial seas.

"Perhaps I shatn't have to make up my mind at all," she found
amusement in chuckling to herself. "What a saving of trouble it
would be if he would abduct me in his car. I could always blame
him then if it did not turn out well."

Something of this she expressed to James the evening of the day of
the accident, watching him through half-shuttered eyes to see how
he would take her first concession that she was considering him.

He took without external disturbance her gay, embarrassed
suggestion, the manner of which might mean either shyness or the
highest expression of her art.

"I'd kidnap you fast enough except that I don't want to rob you of
the fun of getting ready. How long will it take you? Would my
birthday be too soon? It's on the fourth of June."

"Too soon for what?" she asked innocently.

"For my birthday present--Valencia Powers."

She liked it that he used her maiden surname instead of her
married one. It seemed to imply that he loved her in the swift,
ardent way of youth.

"Are you sure you want it?"

The lawyer appreciated her soft, warm allurement, the appeal of
sex with which she was so prodigally endowed. His breath came a
little faster.

"He won't be happy till he gets it."

Her faint laughter rippled out. "That's just the point, my friend.
Will he be happy then? And, which is more important to her, will
she?"

"That's what I'm here to see. I'm going to make you happy."

She laced her fingers behind her tawny head, not quite unaware
perhaps that the attitude set off the perfect modeling of her
soft, supple body.

"I don't doubt your good intentions, but it takes more than that
to make marriage happy when the contracting parties are not
Heaven-sent."

"But we are--we are."

Valencia shook her head. "Oh, no! There will be no rapturous song
of birds for us, none of that fine wantonness that doesn't stop to
count the cost. If we marry no doubt we'll have good reasons, but
not the very best one--that we can't help it."

He would not consent to that. "You're not speaking for me. The
birds sing, Valencia."

"Canaries in a cage," she mocked.

"You've forgotten two things."

"Yes?"

"That you are the most beautiful woman on earth, and that I'm a
man, with red blood in my veins."

Under lowered lids she studied him. This very confident, alert
American, modern from head to heel, attracted her more than any
other man. There was a dynamic quality in him that stirred her
blood. He was efficient, selfish enough to win, and yet
considerate in the small things that go to make up the sum of
existence. Why not then? She must marry some time and she was as
nearly in love as she would ever be.

"What ARE your reasons for wanting me?"

"We smoke the same Egyptians," he mocked.

"That's a good reason, so far as it goes."

"And you're such a charming puzzle that I would like to
domesticate it and study the eternal mystery at my leisure."

"Then it's as a diversion that you want me."

"A thing of beauty and a joy forever, the poet puts it. But
diversion if you like. What greater test of charming versatility
for a woman than that she remain a diversion to her husband,
unstaled by custom and undulled by familiarity?"

After all her father would be pleased to have her marry an
American business man. The Powers' millions could easily buy for
her a fine old dukedom if she wanted one. At present there was
more than one available title-holder on her horizon. But Valencia
did not care to take up the responsibilities that go with such a
position. She was too indolent to adapt her life to the standards
of others--and perhaps too proud. Moreover, it happened that she
had had enough of the club man type in the late lamented Van Tyle.
This man was a worker. He would not annoy her or interfere with
her careless pleasures. Again she asked herself, Why not?

"I suppose you really do like me." Her face was tilted in gay
little appeal.

"I'm not going to tell you how much. It wouldn't be good for
discipline in the house."

Her soft little laugh bubbled over. "We seem to have quite settled
it. And I hadn't the slightest notion of agreeing to anything so
ridiculous when I ventured that indiscreet remark about an
abduction." She looked up at him with smiling insolence. "You're
only an adventurer, you know. I daresay you haven't even paid for
the car in which you were going to kidnap me."

"No," he admitted cheerfully.

"I wonder what Dad will think of it,"

"He'll thank Heaven you didn't present him with a French or
Italian count to support."

"I believe he will. His objection to Gus was that he looked like a
foreigner and never had done a day's work in his life. Poor Gus!
He didn't measure up to Dad's idea of a man. Now I suppose you
could earn a living for us."

"I'm not expecting you to take in sewing."

"Are you going to do the independent if Dad cuts up rough?" she
asked saucily.

"Independent is the word." He smiled with a sudden appreciation of
the situation. "And I take it he means to cut up rough. I wired
him to-day I was going to ask you to marry me."

"You didn't."

"Yes."

"But wasn't that a little premature? Perhaps it wouldn't have been
necessary. Or did you take me for granted"

"There was always the car for a kidnapping in case of necessity,"
he joked.

"Why did you do it?"

"I wanted to be above board about it even if I am an adventurer."

"What did he say? How could you put it in a telegram?"

"Red consoles marooned sweet post delayed."

"Dear me! What gibberish is that?"

"It's from our private code. It means, 'Going to marry your
daughter if she is willing. With your consent, I hope.'"

"And he answered? I'll take the English version, please."

"'Consent refused. No fortune hunters need apply.' That is not a
direct quotation, but it conveys his meaning accurately enough."

"So I'm to be cut off with a shilling." Her eyes bubbled with
delight.

"I reckon so. Of course I had to come back at him."

"How, may I ask?" She was vastly amused at this novel
correspondence.

"Oh, I merely said in substance that I was glad to hear it because
you couldn't think now I wanted to marry you for your money. I
added that if things came my way we would send him cards later.
One doesn't like to slang one's wife's father, so I drew it mild."

"I don't believe a word of it. You wouldn't dare."

That she admired and at the same time distrusted was so apparent
that he drew a yellow envelope from his pocket and handed it to
her.

"This is his latest contribution to the literature of frankness.
You see his feelings overflowed so promptly he had to turn loose
in good American talk right off the bat. Couldn't wait for the
code."

She read aloud. "Your resignation as General Counsel
Transcontinental will be accepted immediately. Turn over papers to
Walker and go to the devil." It was signed "Powers."

"That's all, is it? No further exchange of compliments," she
wanted to know.

"That's all, except that he is reading my resignation by this
time. I sent it two hours ago. In it I tried to convey to him my
sense of regret at being obliged to sever business relations owing
to the fact that I was about to contract family ties with him. I
hoped that he would command me in any way he saw fit and was sorry
we couldn't come to an agreement in the present instance."

"I don't believe you're a bit sorry. Don't you realize what an
expensive luxury you're getting in me and how serious a thing it
is to cast off heaven knows how many millions?"

"Oh, I realize it!"

"But you expect him to come round when he has had time to think it
over?"

"It's hard for me to conceive of anybody not wanting me for a
son-in-law," he admitted cheerfully.

Valencia nodded. "He'll like you all the better for standing up to
him. He's fond of Alice because she's impudent to him."

"I didn't mean to be impudent, but I couldn't lie down and let him
prove me what he called me."

"If you're that kind of a man I'm almost glad you're going to make
me marry you," she confided.

He leaned over her chair, his eyes shining. "I'll make you more
than almost glad, Valencia. You're going to learn what it is to--
oh, damn it!"

He was impersonally admiring her Whistler when the maid brushed
aside the portieres. She had come to bring Mrs. Van Tyle a
telegram.

"No answer, Pratt."

After the maid had retired her mistress called James to her side.
Over her shoulder he read it.

"Glad he is an American and not living on his father. Didn't think
you had so much sense. Tell that young man I want to see him in
New York immediately."

The message was signed with the name of her father.

"What do you suppose he wants with you in New York?"

James was radiant. He kissed the perfect lips turned toward him
before he answered. "Oh, to make me president of the
Transcontinental maybe. How should I know? It's an olive branch.
Isn't that enough?"

"When shall you go?"

He looked at his watch. "The limited leaves at nine-thirty. That
gives me nearly an hour."

"You're not going to-night?"

"I'm going to-night. I must, dear. Those are the orders and I've
got to obey them."

"But suppose I give you different orders. Surely I have some
rights, to-night of all nights. Why, we haven't been engaged ten
minutes. Business doesn't always come first."

James hesitated. "It's the last thing I want to do, but when Joe
Powers says 'Come!' I know enough to jump."

"But when I say stay?" she pleaded.

"Then I stop the prettiest mouth in the world with kisses and run
away before I hear the order." Gaily he suited the action to the
word.

But, for once swift, she reached the door before him.

"Wait. Don't go, dear."

The last word came faintly, unexpectedly. The enticement of the
appeal went to his head. He had shaken her out of the indifference
that was her pride. One arm slipped round her waist. His other
hand tilted back her head until he could look into the eyes in
which a new fire had been kindled.

"What about that almost glad? If I stay will you forget all
qualifying words and be just glad?"

She nodded quickly, laughing ever so softly. "Yes, I'll help you
listen to the birds sing. Do you know I can almost hear them?"

James drew a deep breath and caught her swiftly to him. "New York
will have to wait till to-morrow. The birds will sing to-night and
we will not count the cost."

"Yes, my lord," she answered demurely.

For to-night she wanted to forget that their birds were only caged
canaries.


CHAPTER 23

"And what are the names of the Fortunate Isles,
  Lo! duty and love and a large content;
And these are the Isles of the watery miles
  That God let down from the firmament.

Lo! duty and love and a true man's trust,
  Your forehead to God and your feet in the dust:
Lo! duty and love and a sweet babe's smiles,
  And these, O friends, are the Fortunate Isles."


AND LARKS FOR THE REBEL


Beneath a sky faintly pink with the warning of the coming sunrise
Jeff walked an old logging trail that would take him back to camp
from his morning dip. Ferns and blackberry bushes, heavy with dew,
reached across the road and grappled with each other. At every
step, as he pushed through the tangle, a shower of drops went
flying.

His was the incomparable buoyant humor of a lover treading a
newborn world. A smile was in his eyes, tender, luminous,
cheerful. He thought of the woman whom he had not seen for many
months, and he was buoyed up by the fine spiritual edge which does
not know defeat. Win or lose, it was clear gain to have loved her.

With him he carried a vision of her, young, ardent, all fire and
flame. One spoke of things beautiful and her face lit from within.
Her words, motions, came from the depths, half revealed and half
concealed dear hidden secrets. He recalled the grace of the
delicate throat curve, little tricks of expression, the sweetness
of her energy.

The forest broke, opening into a clearing. He stood to drink in
its beauty, for the sun, peeping over a saddle in the hills, had
painted the place a valley of gold and russet. And while he waited
there came out of the woods beyond, into that splendid setting,
the vision that was in his mind.

He was not surprised that his eyes were playing him tricks. This
was after all the proper frame for the picture of his golden
sweetheart. Lance-straight and slender, his wood nymph waded knee
deep through the ferns. Straight toward him she came, and his
temples began to throb. A sylph of the woods should be
diaphanous. The one he saw was a creature of color and warmth and
definiteness. Life, sweet and mocking, flowed through her
radiantly. His heart sang within him, for the woman he loved out
of a world of beautiful women was coming to him, light-footed as
Daphne, the rhythm of the morning in her step.

She spoke, commonplace words enough. "Last night I heard you were
here."

"And I didn't know you were within a thousand miles."

"We came back to Verden Thursday and are up over Sunday," she
explained.

He was lost in the witchery of the spell she cast over him. Not
the drooping maidenhair ferns through which she trailed were more
delicate or graceful than she. But some instinct in him played
surface commonplaces against the insurgent emotion of his heart.

"You like Washington?"

"I like home better."

"But you were popular at the capital. I read a great deal in the
papers about your triumphs."

The dye in her cheeks ran a little stronger. There had been much
gossip about a certain Italian nobleman who had wooed her openly
and madly. "They told a lot of nonsense."

"And some that wasn't nonsense."

"Not much." She changed the subject lightly. "You read all about
the wedding, of course."

He quoted. "Miss Alice Frome as maid of honor preceded the bride,
appearing in a handsome gown of very delicate old rose satin with
an overdress of--"

"Very good. You may go to the head of the class, sir. Valencia was
beautiful and your cousin never looked more handsome."

"Which is saying a good deal."

"And we're all hoping they will live happy ever after."

"You know he is being talked of for United States Senator
already."

"You will oppose him?" she asked quickly.

"I shall have to."

"Still an irreconcilable." Her smile could be vivid, and just now
it was.

"Still a demagogue and a trouble maker," he admitted.

"You've won the recall and the direct primary since I left."

"Yes. We've been busy."

"And our friends--how are they?"

"You should see Jefferson Davis Farnum Miller. He's two months old
and as fat as a dumpling."

"I've seen him. He's a credit to his godfather."

"Isn't he? That's one happy family."

"I wonder who's to blame for that," she said, the star flash in
her eyes.

"Nellie told you?"

"She told me."

"They exaggerate. Nobody could have done less than I."

"Or more." She did not dwell upon the subject. "Tell me about Mr.
Marchant."

He went over for her the story of the little poet's gentle death.
She listened till he made an end.

"Then it was not hard for him?"

"No. He had one of his good, eager days, then guietly fell
asleep."

"And passed to where, beyond these voices, there is rest and
peace," she quoted, ever so softly.

"Yes."

"Perhaps he knows now all about his Perfect State." Her wistful
smile was very tender.

"Perhaps."

They walked together slowly across the valley.

"It is nearly six months since I have seen you."

"Five months and twenty-seven days." The words had slipped out
almost without her volition. She hurried on, ashamed, the color
flying in her cheeks, "I remember because it was the day we ran
down your cousin and that old gentleman. It has always been a
great comfort to me to know that he was not seriously injured."

"No. It was only the shock of his fall."

"What was his name? I don't think I heard it."

There was just an instant's silence before he pronounced,
"Farnum--Mr. Robert Farnum."

"A relative of yours?"

"Yes."

Across her brain there flashed a fugitive memory of three words
Jeff had spoken to his cousin the day of the accident. "It's your
father."

But how could that be? She had always understood that both the
parents of James were dead. The lawyer had denied knowing the man
whose life he had saved. And yet she had been sure of the words
and of a furtive, frightened look on the face of James. According
to the story of the _Herald_ the father of Jefferson, a former
convict, was named Robert. But once, when she had made some
allusion to it Captain Chunn had exploded into vigorous denial. It
was a puzzle the meaning of which she could not guess.

"He has several times mentioned his wish to thank you for your
kindness," Jeff mentioned.

"I'll be glad to meet him." Swiftly she flashed a question at him.
"Is he James Farnum's father?"

"Haven't you read the papers? He is said to be mine."

"But he isn't. He isn't. I see it now. James was ashamed to
acknowledge a father who had been in prison. Your enemies made a
mistake and you let it go."

"It's all long since past. I wouldn't say anything about it to
anybody."

"Of course you wouldn't," she scoffed. Her eyes were very bright.
She wanted to laugh and to weep at her discovery.

"You see it didn't matter with my friends. And my reputation was
beyond hope anyhow. It was different with James."

She nodded. "Yes. It wouldn't have improved his chances with
Valencia," her cousin admitted.

Jeff permitted himself a smile. "My impression was that he did not
have Mrs. Van Tyle in mind at the time."

They had waded through the wet ferns to the edge of the woods. As
her eyes swept the russet valley through which they had passed
Alice drew a deep breath of pleasure. How good it was to be alive
in such a world of beauty! A meadow lark throbbed its three notes
at her joyfully to emphasize their kinship. An English pheasant
strutted across the path and disappeared into the ferns. Neither
the man nor the woman spoke. All the glad day called them to the
emotional climax toward which they were racing.

Womanlike, Alice attempted to evade what she most desired. He was
to be her mate. She knew it now. But the fear of him was in her
heart.

"Were you so fond of him? Is that why you did it for him?" she
asked.

"I didn't do it for him."

"For whom then?"

He did not answer. Nor did his eyes meet hers. They were fixed on
the moving ferns where the pheasant had disappeared.

Alice guessed. He had done it for the girl because he thought her
in love with his cousin. A warm glow suffused her. No man made
such a sacrifice for a woman unless he cared for her.

The meadow lark flung out another carefree ecstasy. The theme of
it was the triumphant certainty that love is the greatest thing in
the world. Jeff felt that it was now or never.

"I love you. It's been hidden in my heart more than eight years,
but I find I must tell you. All the arguments against it I've
rehearsed a thousand times. The world is at your feet. You could
never love a man like me. To your friends I'm a bad lot. They
never would consider me a moment."

Gently she interrupted. "Is it my friends you want to marry?"

The surprise of it took him by the throat. His astonished eyes
questioned for a denial. In that moment a wonderful secret was
born into the world. She held out both hands with a divine
frankness, a sweetness of surrender beyond words.

"But your father--your people!"

"'Where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my
people."' She murmured it with a broken little laugh that was a
sob.

Even then he did not take her in his arms. The habit of reverence
for her was of many years' growth and not to be broken in an
instant.

"You are sure, dear--quite sure?"

"I've been sure ever since the day of our first talk on the
_Bellingham._"

Still he fought the joy that flooded him. "I must tell you the
truth so that you won't idealize me . . . and the situation. I am
enlisted in this fight for life. Where it will lead me I don't
know. But I must follow the road I see. You will lose your
friends. They will think me a crank, an enemy to society; and they
will think you demented. But even for you I can't turn back."

A tender glow was in her deep eyes. "If I did not know that do you
think I would marry you?"

"But you've always had the best things. You've never known what it
is to be poor."

"No, I've never had the best things, never till I knew you, dear.
I've starved for them and did not know how to escape the prison I
was in. Then you came . . . and you showed me. The world is at my
feet now. Not the world you meant, of idleness and luxury and
ennui . . . but that better one of the spirit where you and I
shall walk together as comrades of all who work and laugh and
weep."

"If I could be sure!"

"Of me, Jeff?"

"That I can make you happy. After all it's a chance."

"We all live on a chance. I'll take mine beside the man I love.
There is one way under heaven by which men may be saved. I'm going
to walk that way with you, dear."

Jeff threw away the reins of a worldly wise prudence.

"For ever and ever, Alice," he cried softly, shaken to his soul.

As their lips met the lark throbbed a betrothal song.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

They went slowly through the wet ferns, hand in hand. It was
amazingly true that he had won her, but Jeff could scarce believe
the miracle. More than once he recurred to it.

"You saw what no other young woman of your set in Verden did, the
human in me through my vagabondage. But why? There's nothing in my
appearance to attract."

"Valiant in velvet, light in ragged luck," she laughed. "And I
won't have you questioning my taste, sir. I've always thought you
very good-looking, if you must have it."

"If you're as far gone as that!" His low laughter rang out to meet
hers, for no reason except the best of reasons--that they walked
alone with love through a world wonderful.





End of Project Gutenberg Etext The Vision Splendid, by William M. Raine
End of Project Gutenberg Etext The Vision Spendid, by William M. Raine


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