Infomotions, Inc.The Song Of The Lark / Cather, Willa



Author: Cather, Willa
Title: The Song Of The Lark
Publisher: Wiretap Electronic Text Archive
Tag(s): thea; kronborg; archie; fred; miss kronborg; thea kronborg; american literature
Contributor(s): Eric Lease Morgan (Infomotions, Inc.)
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 151,911 words (average) Grade range: 6-9 (grade school) Readability score: 74 (easy)
Identifier: cather-song-367
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[pg/etext92/song10.txt]

This edition was prepared by at University of Nebraska at Omaha,
by Professors Judith Boss and Marvin Peterson; two versions were
preprared, one by typing the other by scanning and reconciled to
create the following edition.  Notes on the original edition and
on the corrections and changes made have been placed at the end.

                       THE SONG OF THE LARK
                          (1915 edition)
                                by
                           WILLA CATHER

                             CONTENTS

PART     I.  FRIENDS OF CHILDHOOD . . . . . . . . . . . . .    1
        II.  THE SONG OF THE LARK . . . . . . . . . . . . .  159
       III.  STUPID FACES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  247
        IV.  THE ANCIENT PEOPLE . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  293
         V.  DOCTOR ARCHIE'S VENTURE  . . . . . . . . . . .  343
        VI.  KRONBORG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  383
             EPILOGUE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  481

<p 3>

                       THE SONG OF THE LARK

                              PART I

                       FRIENDS OF CHILDHOOD

                                 I

     Dr. Howard Archie had just come up from a
game of pool with the Jewish clothier and two travel-
ing men who happened to be staying overnight in Moon-
stone.  His offices were in the Duke Block, over the drug
store.  Larry, the doctor's man, had lit the overhead light
in the waiting-room and the double student's lamp on the
desk in the study.  The isinglass sides of the hard-coal
burner were aglow, and the air in the study was so hot that
as he came in the doctor opened the door into his little
operating-room, where there was no stove.  The waiting-
room was carpeted and stiffly furnished, something like a
country parlor.  The study had worn, unpainted floors, but
there was a look of winter comfort about it.  The doctor's
flat-top desk was large and well made; the papers were in
orderly piles, under glass weights.  Behind the stove a wide
bookcase, with double glass doors, reached from the floor
to the ceiling.  It was filled with medical books of every
thickness and color.  On the top shelf stood a long row of
thirty or forty volumes, bound all alike in dark mottled
board covers, with imitation leather backs.

     As the doctor in New England villages is proverbially
old, so the doctor in small Colorado towns twenty-five
years ago was generally young.  Dr. Archie was barely
thirty.  He was tall, with massive shoulders which he held
stiffly, and a large, well-shaped head.  He was a distin-
guished-looking man, for that part of the world, at least.

<p 4>

There was something individual in the way in which his
reddish-brown hair, parted cleanly at the side, bushed over
his high forehead.  His nose was straight and thick, and his
eyes were intelligent.  He wore a curly, reddish mustache
and an imperial, cut trimly, which made him look a little
like the pictures of Napoleon III.  His hands were large and
well kept, but ruggedly formed, and the backs were shaded
with crinkly reddish hair.  He wore a blue suit of woolly,
wide-waled serge; the traveling men had known at a glance
that it was made by a Denver tailor.  The doctor was al-
ways well dressed.

     Dr. Archie turned up the student's lamp and sat down in
the swivel chair before his desk.  He sat uneasily, beating
a tattoo on his knees with his fingers, and looked about him
as if he were bored.  He glanced at his watch, then absently
took from his pocket a bunch of small keys, selected one
and looked at it.  A contemptuous smile, barely percepti-
ble, played on his lips, but his eyes remained meditative.
Behind the door that led into the hall, under his buffalo-
skin driving-coat, was a locked cupboard.  This the doctor
opened mechanically, kicking aside a pile of muddy over-
shoes.  Inside, on the shelves, were whiskey glasses and
decanters, lemons, sugar, and bitters.  Hearing a step in
the empty, echoing hall without, the doctor closed the cup-
board again, snapping the Yale lock.  The door of the
waiting-room opened, a man entered and came on into
the consulting-room.

     "Good-evening, Mr. Kronborg," said the doctor care-
lessly.  "Sit down."

     His visitor was a tall, loosely built man, with a thin
brown beard, streaked with gray.  He wore a frock coat, a
broad-brimmed black hat, a white lawn necktie, and steel-
rimmed spectacles.  Altogether there was a pretentious and
important air about him, as he lifted the skirts of his coat
and sat down.

     "Good-evening, doctor.  Can you step around to the

<p 5>

house with me?  I think Mrs. Kronborg will need you this
evening."  This was said with profound gravity and, curi-
ously enough, with a slight embarrassment.

     "Any hurry?" the doctor asked over his shoulder as he
went into his operating-room.

     Mr. Kronborg coughed behind his hand, and contracted
his brows.  His face threatened at every moment to break
into a smile of foolish excitement.  He controlled it only by
calling upon his habitual pulpit manner.  "Well, I think it
would be as well to go immediately.  Mrs. Kronborg will be
more comfortable if you are there.  She has been suffering
for some time."

     The doctor came back and threw a black bag upon his
desk.  He wrote some instructions for his man on a pre-
scription pad and then drew on his overcoat.  "All ready,"
he announced, putting out his lamp.  Mr. Kronborg rose
and they tramped through the empty hall and down the
stairway to the street.  The drug store below was dark, and
the saloon next door was just closing.  Every other light on
Main Street was out.

     On either side of the road and at the outer edge of the
board sidewalk, the snow had been shoveled into breast-
works.  The town looked small and black, flattened down
in the snow, muffled and all but extinguished.  Overhead
the stars shone gloriously.  It was impossible not to notice
them.  The air was so clear that the white sand hills to the
east of Moonstone gleamed softly.  Following the Reverend
Mr. Kronborg along the narrow walk, past the little dark,
sleeping houses, the doctor looked up at the flashing night
and whistled softly.  It did seem that people were stupider
than they need be; as if on a night like this there ought to
be something better to do than to sleep nine hours, or to
assist Mrs. Kronborg in functions which she could have
performed so admirably unaided.  He wished he had gone
down to Denver to hear Fay Templeton sing "See-Saw."
Then he remembered that he had a personal interest in this

<p 6>

family, after all.  They turned into another street and saw
before them lighted windows; a low story-and-a-half house,
with a wing built on at the right and a kitchen addition at
the back, everything a little on the slant--roofs, windows,
and doors.  As they approached the gate, Peter Kron-
borg's pace grew brisker.  His nervous, ministerial cough
annoyed the doctor.  "Exactly as if he were going to give
out a text," he thought.  He drew off his glove and felt
in his vest pocket.  "Have a troche, Kronborg," he said,
producing some.  "Sent me for samples.  Very good for a
rough throat."

     "Ah, thank you, thank you.  I was in something of a
hurry.  I neglected to put on my overshoes.  Here we are,
doctor."  Kronborg opened his front door--seemed de-
lighted to be at home again.

     The front hall was dark and cold; the hatrack was hung
with an astonishing number of children's hats and caps and
cloaks.  They were even piled on the table beneath the
hatrack.  Under the table was a heap of rubbers and over-
shoes.  While the doctor hung up his coat and hat, Peter
Kronborg opened the door into the living-room.  A glare of
light greeted them, and a rush of hot, stale air, smelling of
warming flannels.

     At three o'clock in the morning Dr. Archie was in the
parlor putting on his cuffs and coat--there was no spare
bedroom in that house.  Peter Kronborg's seventh child,
a boy, was being soothed and cosseted by his aunt, Mrs.
Kronborg was asleep, and the doctor was going home.  But
he wanted first to speak to Kronborg, who, coatless and
fluttery, was pouring coal into the kitchen stove.  As the
doctor crossed the dining-room he paused and listened.
From one of the wing rooms, off to the left, he heard rapid,
distressed breathing.  He went to the kitchen door.

     "One of the children sick in there?" he asked, nodding
toward the partition.

<p 7>

     Kronborg hung up the stove-lifter and dusted his fingers.
"It must be Thea.  I meant to ask you to look at her.  She
has a croupy cold.  But in my excitement--Mrs. Kronborg
is doing finely, eh, doctor?  Not many of your patients with
such a constitution, I expect."

     "Oh, yes.  She's a fine mother."  The doctor took up the
lamp from the kitchen table and unceremoniously went
into the wing room.  Two chubby little boys were asleep
in a double bed, with the coverlids over their noses and
their feet drawn up.  In a single bed, next to theirs, lay a
little girl of eleven, wide awake, two yellow braids sticking
up on the pillow behind her.  Her face was scarlet and her
eyes were blazing.

     The doctor shut the door behind him.  "Feel pretty sick,
Thea?" he asked as he took out his thermometer.  "Why
didn't you call somebody?"

     She looked at him with greedy affection.  "I thought you
were here," she spoke between quick breaths.  "There is a
new baby, isn't there?  Which?"

     "Which?" repeated the doctor.

     "Brother or sister?"

     He smiled and sat down on the edge of the bed.  "Bro-
ther," he said, taking her hand.  "Open."

     "Good.  Brothers are better," she murmured as he put
the glass tube under her tongue.

     "Now, be still, I want to count."  Dr. Archie reached
for her hand and took out his watch.  When he put her
hand back under the quilt he went over to one of the win-
dows--they were both tight shut--and lifted it a little
way.  He reached up and ran his hand along the cold, un-
papered wall.  "Keep under the covers; I'll come back to
you in a moment," he said, bending over the glass lamp
with his thermometer.  He winked at her from the door
before he shut it.

     Peter Kronborg was sitting in his wife's room, holding
the bundle which contained his son.  His air of cheerful

<p 8>

importance, his beard and glasses, even his shirt-sleeves,
annoyed the doctor.  He beckoned Kronborg into the liv-
ing-room and said sternly:--

     "You've got a very sick child in there.  Why didn't you
call me before?  It's pneumonia, and she must have been
sick for several days.  Put the baby down somewhere,
please, and help me make up the bed-lounge here in the
parlor.  She's got to be in a warm room, and she's got to
be quiet.  You must keep the other children out.  Here, this
thing opens up, I see," swinging back the top of the car-
pet lounge.  "We can lift her mattress and carry her in
just as she is.  I don't want to disturb her more than is
necessary."

     Kronborg was all concern immediately.  The two men
took up the mattress and carried the sick child into the parlor.
"I'll have to go down to my office to get some medicine,
Kronborg.  The drug store won't be open.  Keep the covers
on her.  I won't be gone long.  Shake down the stove and
put on a little coal, but not too much; so it'll catch quickly,
I mean.  Find an old sheet for me, and put it there to warm."

     The doctor caught his coat and hurried out into the dark
street.  Nobody was stirring yet, and the cold was bitter.
He was tired and hungry and in no mild humor.  "The
idea!" he muttered; "to be such an ass at his age, about the
seventh!  And to feel no responsibility about the little girl.
Silly old goat!  The baby would have got into the world
somehow; they always do.  But a nice little girl like that
--she's worth the whole litter.  Where she ever got it
from--"  He turned into the Duke Block and ran up the
stairs to his office.

     Thea Kronborg, meanwhile, was wondering why she
happened to be in the parlor, where nobody but company
--usually visiting preachers--ever slept.  She had mo-
ments of stupor when she did not see anything, and mo-
ments of excitement when she felt that something unusual
and pleasant was about to happen, when she saw every-

<p 9>

thing clearly in the red light from the isinglass sides of the
hard-coal burner--the nickel trimmings on the stove
itself, the pictures on the wall, which she thought very
beautiful, the flowers on the Brussels carpet, Czerny's
"Daily Studies" which stood open on the upright piano.
She forgot, for the time being, all about the new baby.

     When she heard the front door open, it occurred to her
that the pleasant thing which was going to happen was
Dr. Archie himself.  He came in and warmed his hands at
the stove.  As he turned to her, she threw herself wearily
toward him, half out of her bed.  She would have tumbled
to the floor had he not caught her.  He gave her some medi-
cine and went to the kitchen for something he needed.  She
drowsed and lost the sense of his being there.  When she
opened her eyes again, he was kneeling before the stove,
spreading something dark and sticky on a white cloth, with
a big spoon; batter, perhaps.  Presently she felt him taking
off her nightgown.  He wrapped the hot plaster about her
chest.  There seemed to be straps which he pinned over her
shoulders.  Then he took out a thread and needle and be-
gan to sew her up in it.  That, she felt, was too strange;
she must be dreaming anyhow, so she succumbed to her
drowsiness.

     Thea had been moaning with every breath since the
doctor came back, but she did not know it.  She did not
realize that she was suffering pain.  When she was con-
scious at all, she seemed to be separated from her body; to
be perched on top of the piano, or on the hanging lamp,
watching the doctor sew her up.  It was perplexing and
unsatisfactory, like dreaming.  She wished she could waken
up and see what was going on.

     The doctor thanked God that he had persuaded Peter
Kronborg to keep out of the way.  He could do better by
the child if he had her to himself.  He had no children of his
own.  His marriage was a very unhappy one.  As he lifted
and undressed Thea, he thought to himself what a beauti-

<p 10>

ful thing a little girl's body was,--like a flower.  It was
so neatly and delicately fashioned, so soft, and so milky
white.  Thea must have got her hair and her silky skin from
her mother.  She was a little Swede, through and through.
Dr. Archie could not help thinking how he would cherish
a little creature like this if she were his.  Her hands, so lit-
tle and hot, so clever, too,--he glanced at the open exer-
cise book on the piano.  When he had stitched up the flax-
seed jacket, he wiped it neatly about the edges, where the
paste had worked out on the skin.  He put on her the clean
nightgown he had warmed before the fire, and tucked the
blankets about her.  As he pushed back the hair that had
fuzzed down over her eyebrows, he felt her head thought-
fully with the tips of his fingers.  No, he couldn't say
that it was different from any other child's head, though
he believed that there was something very different about
her.  He looked intently at her wide, flushed face, freckled
nose, fierce little mouth, and her delicate, tender chin--the
one soft touch in her hard little Scandinavian face, as if
some fairy godmother had caressed her there and left a
cryptic promise.  Her brows were usually drawn together
defiantly, but never when she was with Dr. Archie.  Her
affection for him was prettier than most of the things that
went to make up the doctor's life in Moonstone.

     The windows grew gray.  He heard a tramping on the
attic floor, on the back stairs, then cries: "Give me my
shirt!"  "Where's my other stocking?"

     "I'll have to stay till they get off to school," he reflected,
"or they'll be in here tormenting her, the whole lot of
them."

<p 11>

                                II

     For the next four days it seemed to Dr. Archie that
his patient might slip through his hands, do what he
might.  But she did not.  On the contrary, after that she
recovered very rapidly.  As her father remarked, she must
have inherited the "constitution" which he was never tired
of admiring in her mother.

     One afternoon, when her new brother was a week old, the
doctor found Thea very comfortable and happy in her bed
in the parlor.  The sunlight was pouring in over her shoulders,
the baby was asleep on a pillow in a big rocking-chair beside
her.  Whenever he stirred, she put out her hand and rocked
him.  Nothing of him was visible but a flushed, puffy fore-
head and an uncompromisingly big, bald cranium.  The
door into her mother's room stood open, and Mrs. Kronborg
was sitting up in bed darning stockings.  She was a short,
stalwart woman, with a short neck and a determined-looking
head.  Her skin was very fair, her face calm and unwrinkled,
and her yellow hair, braided down her back as she lay in
bed, still looked like a girl's.  She was a woman whom
Dr. Archie respected; active, practical, unruffled; good-
humored, but determined.  Exactly the sort of woman to
take care of a flighty preacher.  She had brought her hus-
band some property, too,--one fourth of her father's broad
acres in Nebraska,--but this she kept in her own name.
She had profound respect for her husband's erudition and
eloquence.  She sat under his preaching with deep humility,
and was as much taken in by his stiff shirt and white neck-
ties as if she had not ironed them herself by lamplight the
night before they appeared correct and spotless in the pul-
pit.  But for all this, she had no confidence in his adminis-
tration of worldly affairs.  She looked to him for morning

<p 12>

prayers and grace at table; she expected him to name the
babies and to supply whatever parental sentiment there
was in the house, to remember birthdays and anniver-
saries, to point the children to moral and patriotic ideals.
It was her work to keep their bodies, their clothes, and
their conduct in some sort of order, and this she accom-
plished with a success that was a source of wonder to her
neighbors.  As she used to remark, and her husband ad-
miringly to echo, she "had never lost one."  With all his
flightiness, Peter Kronborg appreciated the matter-of-fact,
punctual way in which his wife got her children into the
world and along in it.  He believed, and he was right in
believing, that the sovereign State of Colorado was much
indebted to Mrs. Kronborg and women like her.

     Mrs. Kronborg believed that the size of every family was
decided in heaven.  More modern views would not have
startled her; they would simply have seemed foolish--
thin chatter, like the boasts of the men who built the tower
of Babel, or like Axel's plan to breed ostriches in the chicken
yard.  From what evidence Mrs. Kronborg formed her
opinions on this and other matters, it would have been
difficult to say, but once formed, they were unchangeable.
She would no more have questioned her convictions than
she would have questioned revelation.  Calm and even-
tempered, naturally kind, she was capable of strong pre-
judices, and she never forgave.

     When the doctor came in to see Thea, Mrs. Kronborg
was reflecting that the washing was a week behind, and de-
ciding what she had better do about it.  The arrival of a
new baby meant a revision of her entire domestic schedule,
and as she drove her needle along she had been working out
new sleeping arrangements and cleaning days.  The doctor
had entered the house without knocking, after making
noise enough in the hall to prepare his patients.  Thea
was reading, her book propped up before her in the sun-
light.

<p 13>

     "Mustn't do that; bad for your eyes," he said, as Thea
shut the book quickly and slipped it under the covers.

     Mrs. Kronborg called from her bed: "Bring the baby
here, doctor, and have that chair.  She wanted him in there
for company."

     Before the doctor picked up the baby, he put a yellow
paper bag down on Thea's coverlid and winked at her.
They had a code of winks and grimaces.  When he went in
to chat with her mother, Thea opened the bag cautiously,
trying to keep it from crackling.  She drew out a long bunch
of white grapes, with a little of the sawdust in which they
had been packed still clinging to them.  They were called
Malaga grapes in Moonstone, and once or twice during the
winter the leading grocer got a keg of them.  They were
used mainly for table decoration, about Christmas-time.
Thea had never had more than one grape at a time before.
When the doctor came back she was holding the almost
transparent fruit up in the sunlight, feeling the pale-green
skins softly with the tips of her fingers.  She did not thank
him; she only snapped her eyes at him in a special way
which he understood, and, when he gave her his hand,
put it quickly and shyly under her cheek, as if she were
trying to do so without knowing it--and without his
knowing it.

     Dr. Archie sat down in the rocking-chair.  "And how's
Thea feeling to-day?"

     He was quite as shy as his patient, especially when a
third person overheard his conversation.  Big and hand-
some and superior to his fellow townsmen as Dr. Archie
was, he was seldom at his ease, and like Peter Kronborg
he often dodged behind a professional manner.  There
was sometimes a contraction of embarrassment and self-
consciousness all over his big body, which made him awk-
ward--likely to stumble, to kick up rugs, or to knock over
chairs.  If any one was very sick, he forgot himself, but he
had a clumsy touch in convalescent gossip.

<p 14>

     Thea curled up on her side and looked at him with
pleasure.  "All right.  I like to be sick.  I have more fun then
than other times."

     "How's that?"

     "I don't have to go to school, and I don't have to prac-
tice.  I can read all I want to, and have good things,"--
she patted the grapes.  "I had lots of fun that time I
mashed my finger and you wouldn't let Professor Wunsch
make me practice.  Only I had to do left hand, even then.
I think that was mean."

     The doctor took her hand and examined the forefinger,
where the nail had grown back a little crooked.  "You
mustn't trim it down close at the corner there, and then it
will grow straight.  You won't want it crooked when you're
a big girl and wear rings and have sweethearts."

     She made a mocking little face at him and looked at his
new scarf-pin.  "That's the prettiest one you ev-ER had.
I wish you'd stay a long while and let me look at it.  What
is it?"

     Dr. Archie laughed.  "It's an opal.  Spanish Johnny
brought it up for me from Chihuahua in his shoe.  I had it
set in Denver, and I wore it to-day for your benefit."

     Thea had a curious passion for jewelry.  She wanted
every shining stone she saw, and in summer she was always
going off into the sand hills to hunt for crystals and agates
and bits of pink chalcedony.  She had two cigar boxes full
of stones that she had found or traded for, and she imagined
that they were of enormous value.  She was always plan-
ning how she would have them set.

     "What are you reading?"  The doctor reached under the
covers and pulled out a book of Byron's poems.  "Do you
like this?"

     She looked confused, turned over a few pages rapidly,
and pointed to "My native land, good-night."  "That,"
she said sheepishly.

     "How about `Maid of Athens'?"

<p 15>

     She blushed and looked at him suspiciously.  "I like
'There was a sound of revelry,'" she muttered.

     The doctor laughed and closed the book.  It was clumsily
bound in padded leather and had been presented to the
Reverend Peter Kronborg by his Sunday-School class as
an ornament for his parlor table.

     "Come into the office some day, and I'll lend you a nice
book.  You can skip the parts you don't understand.  You
can read it in vacation.  Perhaps you'll be able to under-
stand all of it by then."

     Thea frowned and looked fretfully toward the piano.
"In vacation I have to practice four hours every day, and
then there'll be Thor to take care of."  She pronounced it
"Tor."

     "Thor?  Oh, you've named the baby Thor?" exclaimed
the doctor.

     Thea frowned again, still more fiercely, and said quickly,
"That's a nice name, only maybe it's a little--old-
fashioned."  She was very sensitive about being thought a
foreigner, and was proud of the fact that, in town, her
father always preached in English; very bookish English,
at that, one might add.

     Born in an old Scandinavian colony in Minnesota, Peter
Kronborg had been sent to a small divinity school in
Indiana by the women of a Swedish evangelical mission,
who were convinced of his gifts and who skimped and
begged and gave church suppers to get the long, lazy youth
through the seminary.  He could still speak enough Swed-
ish to exhort and to bury the members of his country
church out at Copper Hole, and he wielded in his Moon-
stone pulpit a somewhat pompous English vocabulary he
had learned out of books at college.  He always spoke
of "the infant Saviour," "our Heavenly Father," etc.  The
poor man had no natural, spontaneous human speech.  If
he had his sincere moments, they were perforce inarticu-
late.  Probably a good deal of his pretentiousness was due

<p 16>

to the fact that he habitually expressed himself in a book-
learned language, wholly remote from anything personal,
native, or homely.  Mrs. Kronborg spoke Swedish to her
own sisters and to her sister-in-law Tillie, and colloquial
English to her neighbors.  Thea, who had a rather sensitive
ear, until she went to school never spoke at all, except in
monosyllables, and her mother was convinced that she was
tongue-tied.  She was still inept in speech for a child so
intelligent.  Her ideas were usually clear, but she seldom
attempted to explain them, even at school, where she
excelled in "written work" and never did more than mutter
a reply.

     "Your music professor stopped me on the street to-day
and asked me how you were," said the doctor, rising.
"He'll be sick himself, trotting around in this slush with
no overcoat or overshoes."

     "He's poor," said Thea simply.

     The doctor sighed.  "I'm afraid he's worse than that.
Is he always all right when you take your lessons?  Never
acts as if he'd been drinking?"

     Thea looked angry and spoke excitedly.  "He knows a
lot.  More than anybody.  I don't care if he does drink;
he's old and poor."  Her voice shook a little.

     Mrs. Kronborg spoke up from the next room.  "He's a
good teacher, doctor.  It's good for us he does drink.  He'd
never be in a little place like this if he didn't have some
weakness.  These women that teach music around here
don't know nothing.  I wouldn't have my child wasting
time with them.  If Professor Wunsch goes away, Thea'll
have nobody to take from.  He's careful with his scholars;
he don't use bad language.  Mrs. Kohler is always present
when Thea takes her lesson.  It's all right."  Mrs. Kronborg
spoke calmly and judicially.  One could see that she had
thought the matter out before.

     "I'm glad to hear that, Mrs. Kronborg.  I wish we could
get the old man off his bottle and keep him tidy.  Do you

<p 17>

suppose if I gave you an old overcoat you could get him to
wear it?"  The doctor went to the bedroom door and Mrs.
Kronborg looked up from her darning.

     "Why, yes, I guess he'd be glad of it.  He'll take most
anything from me.  He won't buy clothes, but I guess he'd
wear 'em if he had 'em.  I've never had any clothes to give
him, having so many to make over for."

     "I'll have Larry bring the coat around to-night.  You
aren't cross with me, Thea?" taking her hand.

     Thea grinned warmly.  "Not if you give Professor
Wunsch a coat--and things," she tapped the grapes sig-
nificantly.  The doctor bent over and kissed her.

                                III

     Being sick was all very well, but Thea knew from
experience that starting back to school again was
attended by depressing difficulties.  One Monday morning
she got up early with Axel and Gunner, who shared her
wing room, and hurried into the back living-room, between
the dining-room and the kitchen.  There, beside a soft-coal
stove, the younger children of the family undressed at night
and dressed in the morning.  The older daughter, Anna,
and the two big boys slept upstairs, where the rooms were
theoretically warmed by stovepipes from below.  The first
(and the worst!) thing that confronted Thea was a suit of
clean, prickly red flannel, fresh from the wash.  Usually
the torment of breaking in a clean suit of flannel came on
Sunday, but yesterday, as she was staying in the house,
she had begged off.  Their winter underwear was a trial to
all the children, but it was bitterest to Thea because she
happened to have the most sensitive skin.  While she was
tugging it on, her Aunt Tillie brought in warm water from
the boiler and filled the tin pitcher.  Thea washed her face,
brushed and braided her hair, and got into her blue cash-
mere dress.  Over this she buttoned a long apron, with
sleeves, which would not be removed until she put on her
cloak to go to school.  Gunner and Axel, on the soap box
behind the stove, had their usual quarrel about which
should wear the tightest stockings, but they exchanged
reproaches in low tones, for they were wholesomely afraid
of Mrs. Kronborg's rawhide whip.  She did not chastise
her children often, but she did it thoroughly.  Only a some-
what stern system of discipline could have kept any degree
of order and quiet in that overcrowded house.

     Mrs. Kronborg's children were all trained to dress them-

<p 19>

selves at the earliest possible age, to make their own beds,
--the boys as well as the girls,--to take care of their
clothes, to eat what was given them, and to keep out of
the way.  Mrs. Kronborg would have made a good chess-
player; she had a head for moves and positions.

     Anna, the elder daughter, was her mother's lieutenant.
All the children knew that they must obey Anna, who was
an obstinate contender for proprieties and not always fair-
minded.  To see the young Kronborgs headed for Sunday-
School was like watching a military drill.  Mrs. Kronborg
let her children's minds alone.  She did not pry into their
thoughts or nag them.  She respected them as individuals,
and outside of the house they had a great deal of liberty.
But their communal life was definitely ordered.

     In the winter the children breakfasted in the kitchen;
Gus and Charley and Anna first, while the younger chil-
dren were dressing.  Gus was nineteen and was a clerk in
a dry-goods store.  Charley, eighteen months younger,
worked in a feed store.  They left the house by the kitchen
door at seven o'clock, and then Anna helped her Aunt
Tillie get the breakfast for the younger ones.  Without the
help of this sister-in-law, Tillie Kronborg, Mrs. Kronborg's
life would have been a hard one.  Mrs. Kronborg often
reminded Anna that "no hired help would ever have taken
the same interest."

     Mr. Kronborg came of a poorer stock than his wife; from
a lowly, ignorant family that had lived in a poor part of
Sweden.  His great-grandfather had gone to Norway to
work as a farm laborer and had married a Norwegian girl.
This strain of Norwegian blood came out somewhere in
each generation of the Kronborgs.  The intemperance of
one of Peter Kronborg's uncles, and the religious mania
of another, had been alike charged to the Norwegian
grandmother.  Both Peter Kronborg and his sister Tillie
were more like the Norwegian root of the family than
like the Swedish, and this same Norwegian strain was

<p 20>

strong in Thea, though in her it took a very different
character.

     Tillie was a queer, addle-pated thing, as flighty as a girl
at thirty-five, and overweeningly fond of gay clothes--
which taste, as Mrs. Kronborg philosophically said, did
nobody any harm.  Tillie was always cheerful, and her
tongue was still for scarcely a minute during the day.  She
had been cruelly overworked on her father's Minnesota
farm when she was a young girl, and she had never been
so happy as she was now; had never before, as she said,
had such social advantages.  She thought her brother the
most important man in Moonstone.  She never missed a
church service, and, much to the embarrassment of the
children, she always "spoke a piece" at the Sunday-School
concerts.  She had a complete set of "Standard Recita-
tions," which she conned on Sundays.  This morning, when
Thea and her two younger brothers sat down to breakfast,
Tillie was remonstrating with Gunner because he had not
learned a recitation assigned to him for George Washington
Day at school.  The unmemorized text lay heavily on
Gunner's conscience as he attacked his buckwheat cakes
and sausage.  He knew that Tillie was in the right, and
that "when the day came he would be ashamed of himself."

     "I don't care," he muttered, stirring his coffee; "they
oughtn't to make boys speak.  It's all right for girls.  They
like to show off."

     "No showing off about it.  Boys ought to like to speak
up for their country.  And what was the use of your father
buying you a new suit, if you're not going to take part in
anything?"

     "That was for Sunday-School.  I'd rather wear my old
one, anyhow.  Why didn't they give the piece to Thea?"
Gunner grumbled.

     Tillie was turning buckwheat cakes at the griddle.
"Thea can play and sing, she don't need to speak.  But
you've got to know how to do something, Gunner, that

<p 21>

you have.  What are you going to do when you git big and
want to git into society, if you can't do nothing?  Every-
body'll say, `Can you sing?  Can you play?  Can you
speak?  Then git right out of society.'  An' that's what
they'll say to you, Mr. Gunner."

     Gunner and Alex grinned at Anna, who was preparing
her mother's breakfast.  They never made fun of Tillie, but
they understood well enough that there were subjects upon
which her ideas were rather foolish.  When Tillie struck
the shallows, Thea was usually prompt in turning the
conversation.

     "Will you and Axel let me have your sled at recess?"
she asked.

     "All the time?" asked Gunner dubiously.

     "I'll work your examples for you to-night, if you do."

     "Oh, all right.  There'll be a lot of 'em."

     "I don't mind, I can work 'em fast.  How about yours,
Axel?"

     Axel was a fat little boy of seven, with pretty, lazy blue
eyes.  "I don't care," he murmured, buttering his last
buckwheat cake without ambition; "too much trouble to
copy 'em down.  Jenny Smiley'll let me have hers."

     The boys were to pull Thea to school on their sled, as
the snow was deep.  The three set off together.  Anna was
now in the high school, and she no longer went with the
family party, but walked to school with some of the older
girls who were her friends, and wore a hat, not a hood like
Thea.

<p 22>

                                IV

     And it was Summer, beautiful Summer!"  Those were
the closing words of Thea's favorite fairy tale, and
she thought of them as she ran out into the world one
Saturday morning in May, her music book under her arm.
She was going to the Kohlers' to take her lesson, but she
was in no hurry.

     It was in the summer that one really lived.  Then all
the little overcrowded houses were opened wide, and the
wind blew through them with sweet, earthy smells of
garden-planting.  The town looked as if it had just been
washed.  People were out painting their fences.  The cotton-
wood trees were a-flicker with sticky, yellow little leaves,
and the feathery tamarisks were in pink bud.  With the
warm weather came freedom for everybody.  People were
dug up, as it were.  The very old people, whom one had not
seen all winter, came out and sunned themselves in the
yard.  The double windows were taken off the houses, the
tormenting flannels in which children had been encased all
winter were put away in boxes, and the youngsters felt a
pleasure in the cool cotton things next their skin.

     Thea had to walk more than a mile to reach the Kohlers'
house, a very pleasant mile out of town toward the glitter-
ing sand hills,--yellow this morning, with lines of deep
violet where the clefts and valleys were.  She followed the
sidewalk to the depot at the south end of the town; then
took the road east to the little group of adobe houses where
the Mexicans lived, then dropped into a deep ravine; a dry
sand creek, across which the railroad track ran on a trestle.
Beyond that gulch, on a little rise of ground that faced the
open sandy plain, was the Kohlers' house, where Professor
Wunsch lived.  Fritz Kohler was the town tailor, one of the

<p 23>

first settlers.  He had moved there, built a little house and
made a garden, when Moonstone was first marked down on
the map.  He had three sons, but they now worked on the
railroad and were stationed in distant cities.  One of them
had gone to work for the Santa Fe, and lived in New
Mexico.

     Mrs. Kohler seldom crossed the ravine and went into the
town except at Christmas-time, when she had to buy pres-
ents and Christmas cards to send to her old friends in
Freeport, Illinois.  As she did not go to church, she did not
possess such a thing as a hat.  Year after year she wore the
same red hood in winter and a black sunbonnet in summer.
She made her own dresses; the skirts came barely to her
shoe-tops, and were gathered as full as they could possibly
be to the waistband.  She preferred men's shoes, and usu-
ally wore the cast-offs of one of her sons.  She had never
learned much English, and her plants and shrubs were her
companions.  She lived for her men and her garden.  Beside
that sand gulch, she had tried to reproduce a bit of her own
village in the Rhine Valley.  She hid herself behind the
growth she had fostered, lived under the shade of what she
had planted and watered and pruned.  In the blaze of the
open plain she was stupid and blind like an owl.  Shade,
shade; that was what she was always planning and making.
Behind the high tamarisk hedge, her garden was a jungle
of verdure in summer.  Above the cherry trees and peach
trees and golden plums stood the windmill, with its tank
on stilts, which kept all this verdure alive.  Outside, the
sage-brush grew up to the very edge of the garden, and the
sand was always drifting up to the tamarisks.

     Every one in Moonstone was astonished when the
Kohlers took the wandering music-teacher to live with
them.  In seventeen years old Fritz had never had a crony,
except the harness-maker and Spanish Johnny.  This
Wunsch came from God knew where,--followed Spanish
Johnny into town when that wanderer came back from one

<p 24>

of his tramps.  Wunsch played in the dance orchestra,
tuned pianos, and gave lessons.  When Mrs. Kohler rescued
him, he was sleeping in a dirty, unfurnished room over one
of the saloons, and he had only two shirts in the world.
Once he was under her roof, the old woman went at him as
she did at her garden.  She sewed and washed and mended
for him, and made him so clean and respectable that he was
able to get a large class of pupils and to rent a piano.  As
soon as he had money ahead, he sent to the Narrow Gauge
lodging-house, in Denver, for a trunkful of music which
had been held there for unpaid board.  With tears in his
eyes the old man--he was not over fifty, but sadly bat-
tered--told Mrs. Kohler that he asked nothing better of
God than to end his days with her, and to be buried in the
garden, under her linden trees.  They were not American
basswood, but the European linden, which has honey-
colored blooms in summer, with a fragrance that sur-
passes all trees and flowers and drives young people wild
with joy.

     Thea was reflecting as she walked along that had it not
been for Professor Wunsch she might have lived on for
years in Moonstone without ever knowing the Kohlers,
without ever seeing their garden or the inside of their
house.  Besides the cuckoo clock,--which was wonderful
enough, and which Mrs. Kohler said she kept for "company
when she was lonesome,"--the Kohlers had in their house
the most wonderful thing Thea had ever seen--but of that
later.

     Professor Wunsch went to the houses of his other pupils
to give them their lessons, but one morning he told Mrs.
Kronborg that Thea had talent, and that if she came to
him he could teach her in his slippers, and that would
be better.  Mrs. Kronborg was a strange woman.  That
word "talent," which no one else in Moonstone, not even
Dr. Archie, would have understood, she comprehended
perfectly.  To any other woman there, it would have meant

<p 25>

that a child must have her hair curled every day and must
play in public.  Mrs. Kronborg knew it meant that Thea
must practice four hours a day.  A child with talent must
be kept at the piano, just as a child with measles must be
kept under the blankets.  Mrs. Kronborg and her three
sisters had all studied piano, and all sang well, but none of
them had talent.  Their father had played the oboe in an
orchestra in Sweden, before he came to America to better
his fortunes.  He had even known Jenny Lind.  A child with
talent had to be kept at the piano; so twice a week in sum-
mer and once a week in winter Thea went over the gulch to
the Kohlers', though the Ladies' Aid Society thought it
was not proper for their preacher's daughter to go "where
there was so much drinking."  Not that the Kohler sons
ever so much as looked at a glass of beer.  They were
ashamed of their old folks and got out into the world as
fast as possible; had their clothes made by a Denver tailor
and their necks shaved up under their hair and forgot
the past.  Old Fritz and Wunsch, however, indulged in a
friendly bottle pretty often.  The two men were like com-
rades; perhaps the bond between them was the glass wherein
lost hopes are found; perhaps it was common memories of
another country; perhaps it was the grapevine in the gar-
den--knotty, fibrous shrub, full of homesickness and senti-
ment, which the Germans have carried around the world
with them.

     As Thea approached the house she peeped between the
pink sprays of the tamarisk hedge and saw the Professor
and Mrs. Kohler in the garden, spading and raking.  The
garden looked like a relief-map now, and gave no indication
of what it would be in August; such a jungle!  Pole beans
and potatoes and corn and leeks and kale and red cabbage
--there would even be vegetables for which there is no
American name.  Mrs. Kohler was always getting by mail
packages of seeds from Freeport and from the old country.
Then the flowers!  There were big sunflowers for the canary

<p 26>

bird, tiger lilies and phlox and zinnias and lady's-slippers
and portulaca and hollyhocks,--giant hollyhocks.  Beside
the fruit trees there was a great umbrella-shaped catalpa,
and a balm-of-Gilead, two lindens, and even a ginka,--a
rigid, pointed tree with leaves shaped like butterflies, which
shivered, but never bent to the wind.

     This morning Thea saw to her delight that the two ole-
ander trees, one white and one red, had been brought up
from their winter quarters in the cellar.  There is hardly a
German family in the most arid parts of Utah, New Mex-
ico, Arizona, but has its oleander trees.  However loutish
the American-born sons of the family may be, there was
never one who refused to give his muscle to the back-break-
ing task of getting those tubbed trees down into the cellar in
the fall and up into the sunlight in the spring.  They may
strive to avert the day, but they grapple with the tub at
last.

     When Thea entered the gate, her professor leaned his
spade against the white post that supported the turreted
dove-house, and wiped his face with his shirt-sleeve; some-
way he never managed to have a handkerchief about him.
Wunsch was short and stocky, with something rough and
bear-like about his shoulders.  His face was a dark, bricky
red, deeply creased rather than wrinkled, and the skin was
like loose leather over his neck band--he wore a brass
collar button but no collar.  His hair was cropped close;
iron-gray bristles on a bullet-like head.  His eyes were
always suffused and bloodshot.  He had a coarse, scornful
mouth, and irregular, yellow teeth, much worn at the edges.
His hands were square and red, seldom clean, but always
alive, impatient, even sympathetic.

     "MORGEN," he greeted his pupil in a businesslike way,
put on a black alpaca coat, and conducted her at once to
the piano in Mrs. Kohler's sitting-room.  He twirled the
stool to the proper height, pointed to it, and sat down in a
wooden chair beside Thea.

<p 27>

     "The scale of B flat major," he directed, and then fell
into an attitude of deep attention.  Without a word his
pupil set to work.

     To Mrs. Kohler, in the garden, came the cheerful sound
of effort, of vigorous striving.  Unconsciously she wielded
her rake more lightly.  Occasionally she heard the teacher's
voice.  "Scale of E minor. . . .  WEITER, WEITER! . . . IMMER
I hear the thumb, like a lame foot.  WEITER . . . WEITER, once;
. . . SCHON!  The chords, quick!"

     The pupil did not open her mouth until they began the
second movement of the Clementi sonata, when she remon-
strated in low tones about the way he had marked the
fingering of a passage.

     "It makes no matter what you think," replied her
teacher coldly.  "There is only one right way.  The thumb
there.  EIN, ZWEI, DREI, VIER," etc.  Then for an hour there
was no further interruption.

     At the end of the lesson Thea turned on her stool and
leaned her arm on the keyboard.  They usually had a little
talk after the lesson.

     Herr Wunsch grinned.  "How soon is it you are free from
school?  Then we make ahead faster, eh?"

     "First week in June.  Then will you give me the `Invi-
tation to the Dance'?"

     He shrugged his shoulders.  "It makes no matter.  If
you want him, you play him out of lesson hours."

     "All right."  Thea fumbled in her pocket and brought
out a crumpled slip of paper.  "What does this mean, please?
I guess it's Latin."

     Wunsch blinked at the line penciled on the paper.
"Wherefrom you get this?" he asked gruffly.

     "Out of a book Dr. Archie gave me to read.  It's all Eng-
lish but that.  Did you ever see it before?" she asked,
watching his face.

     "Yes.  A long time ago," he muttered, scowling.
"Ovidius!"  He took a stub of lead pencil from his vest

<p 28>

pocket, steadied his hand by a visible effort, and under
the words

     "LENTE CURRITE, LENTE CURRITE, NOCTIS EQUI,"
he wrote in a clear, elegant Gothic hand,--

     "GO SLOWLY, GO SLOWLY, YE STEEDS OF THE NIGHT."
He put the pencil back in his pocket and continued to stare
at the Latin.  It recalled the poem, which he had read as a
student, and thought very fine.  There were treasures of
memory which no lodging-house keeper could attach.  One
carried things about in one's head, long after one's linen
could be smuggled out in a tuning-bag.  He handed the
paper back to Thea.  "There is the English, quite elegant,"
he said, rising.

     Mrs. Kohler stuck her head in at the door, and Thea slid
off the stool.  "Come in, Mrs. Kohler," she called, "and
show me the piece-picture."

     The old woman laughed, pulled off her big gardening-
gloves, and pushed Thea to the lounge before the object of
her delight.  The "piece-picture," which hung on the wall
and nearly covered one whole end of the room, was the
handiwork of Fritz Kohler.  He had learned his trade under
an old-fashioned tailor in Magdeburg who required from
each of his apprentices a thesis: that is, before they left his
shop, each apprentice had to copy in cloth some well-
known German painting, stitching bits of colored stuff
together on a linen background; a kind of mosaic.  The
pupil was allowed to select his subject, and Fritz Kohler
had chosen a popular painting of Napoleon's retreat from
Moscow.  The gloomy Emperor and his staff were repre-
sented as crossing a stone bridge, and behind them was the
blazing city, the walls and fortresses done in gray cloth
with orange tongues of flame darting about the domes and
minarets.  Napoleon rode his white horse; Murat, in Ori-
ental dress, a bay charger.  Thea was never tired of exam-
ining this work, of hearing how long it had taken Fritz to

<p 29>

make it, how much it had been admired, and what narrow
escapes it had had from moths and fire.  Silk, Mrs. Kohler
explained, would have been much easier to manage than
woolen cloth, in which it was often hard to get the right
shades.  The reins of the horses, the wheels of the spurs,
the brooding eyebrows of the Emperor, Murat's fierce
mustaches, the great shakos of the Guard, were all worked
out with the minutest fidelity.  Thea's admiration for this
picture had endeared her to Mrs. Kohler.  It was now many
years since she used to point out its wonders to her own
little boys.  As Mrs. Kohler did not go to church, she never
heard any singing, except the songs that floated over from
Mexican Town, and Thea often sang for her after the lesson
was over.  This morning Wunsch pointed to the piano.

     "On Sunday, when I go by the church, I hear you sing
something."

     Thea obediently sat down on the stool again and began,
"COME, YE DISCONSOLATE."  Wunsch listened thoughtfully,
his hands on his knees.  Such a beautiful child's voice!
Old Mrs. Kohler's face relaxed in a smile of happiness;
she half closed her eyes.  A big fly was darting in and out
of the window; the sunlight made a golden pool on the
rag carpet and bathed the faded cretonne pillows on the
lounge, under the piece-picture.  "EARTH HAS NO SORROW
THAT HEAVEN CANNOT HEAL," the song died away.

     "That is a good thing to remember," Wunsch shook him-
self.  "You believe that?" looking quizzically at Thea.

     She became confused and pecked nervously at a black
key with her middle finger.  "I don't know.  I guess so,"
she murmured.

     Her teacher rose abruptly.  "Remember, for next time,
thirds.  You ought to get up earlier."

     That night the air was so warm that Fritz and Herr
Wunsch had their after-supper pipe in the grape arbor,
smoking in silence while the sound of fiddles and guitars
came across the ravine from Mexican Town.  Long after

<p 30>

Fritz and his old Paulina had gone to bed, Wunsch sat
motionless in the arbor, looking up through the woolly
vine leaves at the glittering machinery of heaven.

          "LENTE CURRITE, NOCTIS EQUI."

That line awoke many memories.  He was thinking of
youth; of his own, so long gone by, and of his pupil's, just
beginning.  He would even have cherished hopes for her,
except that he had become superstitious.  He believed that
whatever he hoped for was destined not to be; that his
affection brought ill-fortune, especially to the young; that
if he held anything in his thoughts, he harmed it.  He had
taught in music schools in St. Louis and Kansas City, where
the shallowness and complacency of the young misses had
maddened him.  He had encountered bad manners and bad
faith, had been the victim of sharpers of all kinds, was
dogged by bad luck.  He had played in orchestras that were
never paid and wandering opera troupes which disbanded
penniless.  And there was always the old enemy, more
relentless than the others.  It was long since he had wished
anything or desired anything beyond the necessities of the
body.  Now that he was tempted to hope for another, he
felt alarmed and shook his head.

     It was his pupil's power of application, her rugged will,
that interested him.  He had lived for so long among people
whose sole ambition was to get something for nothing that
he had learned not to look for seriousness in anything.  Now
that he by chance encountered it, it recalled standards, am-
bitions, a society long forgot.  What was it she reminded
him of?  A yellow flower, full of sunlight, perhaps.  No; a
thin glass full of sweet-smelling, sparkling Moselle wine.  He
seemed to see such a glass before him in the arbor, to watch
the bubbles rising and breaking, like the silent discharge
of energy in the nerves and brain, the rapid florescence in
young blood--Wunsch felt ashamed and dragged his slip-
pers along the path to the kitchen, his eyes on the ground.

<p 31>

                                 V

     The children in the primary grades were sometimes
required to make relief maps of Moonstone in sand.
Had they used colored sands, as the Navajo medicine men
do in their sand mosaics, they could easily have indicated
the social classifications of Moonstone, since these con-
formed to certain topographical boundaries, and every
child understood them perfectly.

     The main business street ran, of course, through the
center of the town.  To the west of this street lived all the
people who were, as Tillie Kronborg said, "in society."
Sylvester Street, the third parallel with Main Street on the
west, was the longest in town, and the best dwellings were
built along it.  Far out at the north end, nearly a mile from
the court-house and its cottonwood grove, was Dr. Archie's
house, its big yard and garden surrounded by a white paling
fence.  The Methodist Church was in the center of the
town, facing the court-house square.  The Kronborgs lived
half a mile south of the church, on the long street that
stretched out like an arm to the depot settlement.  This
was the first street west of Main, and was built up only on
one side.  The preacher's house faced the backs of the brick
and frame store buildings and a draw full of sunflowers
and scraps of old iron.  The sidewalk which ran in front
of the Kronborgs' house was the one continuous sidewalk
to the depot, and all the train men and roundhouse em-
ployees passed the front gate every time they came up-
town.  Thea and Mrs. Kronborg had many friends among
the railroad men, who often paused to chat across the fence,
and of one of these we shall have more to say.

     In the part of Moonstone that lay east of Main Street,
toward the deep ravine which, farther south, wound by

<p 32>

Mexican Town, lived all the humbler citizens, the people
who voted but did not run for office.  The houses were little
story-and-a-half cottages, with none of the fussy archi-
tectural efforts that marked those on Sylvester Street.
They nestled modestly behind their cottonwoods and Vir-
ginia creeper; their occupants had no social pretensions to
keep up.  There were no half-glass front doors with door-
bells, or formidable parlors behind closed shutters.  Here
the old women washed in the back yard, and the men sat
in the front doorway and smoked their pipes.  The people
on Sylvester Street scarcely knew that this part of the
town existed.  Thea liked to take Thor and her express
wagon and explore these quiet, shady streets, where the
people never tried to have lawns or to grow elms and pine
trees, but let the native timber have its way and spread in
luxuriance.  She had many friends there, old women who
gave her a yellow rose or a spray of trumpet vine and
appeased Thor with a cooky or a doughnut.  They called
Thea "that preacher's girl," but the demonstrative was
misplaced, for when they spoke of Mr. Kronborg they
called him "the Methodist preacher."

     Dr. Archie was very proud of his yard and garden, which
he worked himself.  He was the only man in Moonstone
who was successful at growing rambler roses, and his
strawberries were famous.  One morning when Thea was
downtown on an errand, the doctor stopped her, took her
hand and went over her with a quizzical eye, as he nearly
always did when they met.

     "You haven't been up to my place to get any straw-
berries yet, Thea.  They're at their best just now.  Mrs.
Archie doesn't know what to do with them all.  Come up
this afternoon.  Just tell Mrs. Archie I sent you.  Bring a
big basket and pick till you are tired."

     When she got home Thea told her mother that she didn't
want to go, because she didn't like Mrs. Archie.

     "She is certainly one queer woman," Mrs. Kronborg

<p 33>

assented, "but he's asked you so often, I guess you'll have
to go this time.  She won't bite you."

     After dinner Thea took a basket, put Thor in his baby-
buggy, and set out for Dr. Archie's house at the other end
of town.  As soon as she came within sight of the house,
she slackened her pace.  She approached it very slowly,
stopping often to pick dandelions and sand-peas for Thor
to crush up in his fist.

     It was his wife's custom, as soon as Dr. Archie left the
house in the morning, to shut all the doors and windows
to keep the dust out, and to pull down the shades to keep
the sun from fading the carpets.  She thought, too, that
neighbors were less likely to drop in if the house was closed
up.  She was one of those people who are stingy without
motive or reason, even when they can gain nothing by it.
She must have known that skimping the doctor in heat
and food made him more extravagant than he would have
been had she made him comfortable.  He never came home
for lunch, because she gave him such miserable scraps and
shreds of food.  No matter how much milk he bought, he
could never get thick cream for his strawberries.  Even
when he watched his wife lift it from the milk in smooth,
ivory-colored blankets, she managed, by some sleight-of-
hand, to dilute it before it got to the breakfast table.  The
butcher's favorite joke was about the kind of meat he sold
Mrs. Archie.  She felt no interest in food herself, and she
hated to prepare it.  She liked nothing better than to have
Dr. Archie go to Denver for a few days--he often went
chiefly because he was hungry--and to be left alone to
eat canned salmon and to keep the house shut up from
morning until night.

     Mrs. Archie would not have a servant because, she said,
"they ate too much and broke too much"; she even said
they knew too much.  She used what mind she had in
devising shifts to minimize her housework.  She used to
tell her neighbors that if there were no men, there would

<p 34>

be no housework.  When Mrs. Archie was first married,
she had been always in a panic for fear she would have
children.  Now that her apprehensions on that score had
grown paler, she was almost as much afraid of having dust
in the house as she had once been of having children in it.
If dust did not get in, it did not have to be got out, she said.
She would take any amount of trouble to avoid trouble.
Why, nobody knew.  Certainly her husband had never
been able to make her out.  Such little, mean natures are
among the darkest and most baffling of created things.
There is no law by which they can be explained.  The or-
dinary incentives of pain and pleasure do not account for
their behavior.  They live like insects, absorbed in petty
activities that seem to have nothing to do with any genial
aspect of human life.

     Mrs. Archie, as Mrs. Kronborg said, "liked to gad."
She liked to have her house clean, empty, dark, locked, and
to be out of it--anywhere.  A church social, a prayer
meeting, a ten-cent show; she seemed to have no prefer-
ence.  When there was nowhere else to go, she used to sit
for hours in Mrs. Smiley's millinery and notion store, lis-
tening to the talk of the women who came in, watching
them while they tried on hats, blinking at them from her
corner with her sharp, restless little eyes.  She never talked
much herself, but she knew all the gossip of the town and
she had a sharp ear for racy anecdotes--"traveling men's
stories," they used to be called in Moonstone.  Her clicking
laugh sounded like a typewriting machine in action, and,
for very pointed stories, she had a little screech.

     Mrs. Archie had been Mrs. Archie for only six years,
and when she was Belle White she was one of the "pretty"
girls in Lansing, Michigan.  She had then a train of suitors.
She could truly remind Archie that "the boys hung around
her."  They did.  They thought her very spirited and were
always saying, "Oh, that Belle White, she's a case!"  She
used to play heavy practical jokes which the young men

<p 35>

thought very clever.  Archie was considered the most
promising young man in "the young crowd," so Belle
selected him.  She let him see, made him fully aware, that
she had selected him, and Archie was the sort of boy who
could not withstand such enlightenment.  Belle's family
were sorry for him.  On his wedding day her sisters looked
at the big, handsome boy--he was twenty-four--as he
walked down the aisle with his bride, and then they looked
at each other.  His besotted confidence, his sober, radiant
face, his gentle, protecting arm, made them uncomfort-
able.  Well, they were glad that he was going West at once,
to fulfill his doom where they would not be onlookers.  Any-
how, they consoled themselves, they had got Belle off their
hands.

     More than that, Belle seemed to have got herself off her
hands.  Her reputed prettiness must have been entirely
the result of determination, of a fierce little ambition.  Once
she had married, fastened herself on some one, come to
port,--it vanished like the ornamental plumage which
drops away from some birds after the mating season.  The
one aggressive action of her life was over.  She began to
shrink in face and stature.  Of her harum-scarum spirit
there was nothing left but the little screech.  Within a few
years she looked as small and mean as she was.

     Thor's chariot crept along.  Thea approached the house
unwillingly.  She didn't care about the strawberries, any-
how.  She had come only because she did not want to hurt
Dr. Archie's feelings.  She not only disliked Mrs. Archie,
she was a little afraid of her.  While Thea was getting the
heavy baby-buggy through the iron gate she heard some
one call, "Wait a minute!" and Mrs. Archie came running
around the house from the back door, her apron over her
head.  She came to help with the buggy, because she was
afraid the wheels might scratch the paint off the gate-
posts.  She was a skinny little woman with a great pile of
frizzy light hair on a small head.

<p 36>

     "Dr. Archie told me to come up and pick some straw-
berries," Thea muttered, wishing she had stayed at home.

     Mrs. Archie led the way to the back door, squinting and
shading her eyes with her hand.  "Wait a minute," she said
again, when Thea explained why she had come.

     She went into her kitchen and Thea sat down on the
porch step.  When Mrs. Archie reappeared she carried in
her hand a little wooden butter-basket trimmed with
fringed tissue paper, which she must have brought home
from some church supper.  "You'll have to have something
to put them in," she said, ignoring the yawning willow
basket which stood empty on Thor's feet.  "You can have
this, and you needn't mind about returning it.  You know
about not trampling the vines, don't you?"

     Mrs. Archie went back into the house and Thea leaned
over in the sand and picked a few strawberries.  As soon as
she was sure that she was not going to cry, she tossed the
little basket into the big one and ran Thor's buggy along
the gravel walk and out of the gate as fast as she could push
it.  She was angry, and she was ashamed for Dr. Archie.  She
could not help thinking how uncomfortable he would be if
he ever found out about it.  Little things like that were the
ones that cut him most.  She slunk home by the back way,
and again almost cried when she told her mother about it.

     Mrs. Kronborg was frying doughnuts for her husband's
supper.  She laughed as she dropped a new lot into the hot
grease.  "It's wonderful, the way some people are made,"
she declared.  "But I wouldn't let that upset me if I was
you.  Think what it would be to live with it all the time.
You look in the black pocketbook inside my handbag and
take a dime and go downtown and get an ice-cream soda.
That'll make you feel better.  Thor can have a little of the
ice-cream if you feed it to him with a spoon.  He likes it,
don't you, son?"  She stooped to wipe his chin.  Thor was
only six months old and inarticulate, but it was quite true
that he liked ice-cream.

<p 37>

                                VI

     Seen from a balloon, Moonstone would have looked
like a Noah's ark town set out in the sand and lightly
shaded by gray-green tamarisks and cottonwoods.  A few
people were trying to make soft maples grow in their
turfed lawns, but the fashion of planting incongruous
trees from the North Atlantic States had not become gen-
eral then, and the frail, brightly painted desert town was
shaded by the light-reflecting, wind-loving trees of the
desert, whose roots are always seeking water and whose
leaves are always talking about it, making the sound of
rain.  The long porous roots of the cottonwood are irre-
pressible.  They break into the wells as rats do into grana-
ries, and thieve the water.

     The long street which connected Moonstone with the
depot settlement traversed in its course a considerable
stretch of rough open country, staked out in lots but not
built up at all, a weedy hiatus between the town and the
railroad.  When you set out along this street to go to the
station, you noticed that the houses became smaller and
farther apart, until they ceased altogether, and the board
sidewalk continued its uneven course through sunflower
patches, until you reached the solitary, new brick Catholic
Church.  The church stood there because the land was
given to the parish by the man who owned the adjoining
waste lots, in the hope of making them more salable--
"Farrier's Addition," this patch of prairie was called in the
clerk's office.  An eighth of a mile beyond the church was
a washout, a deep sand-gully, where the board sidewalk
became a bridge for perhaps fifty feet.  Just beyond the
gully was old Uncle Billy Beemer's grove,--twelve town
lots set out in fine, well-grown cottonwood trees, delightful

<p 38>

to look upon, or to listen to, as they swayed and rippled in
the wind.  Uncle Billy had been one of the most worthless
old drunkards who ever sat on a store box and told filthy
stories.  One night he played hide-and-seek with a switch
engine and got his sodden brains knocked out.  But his
grove, the one creditable thing he had ever done in his life,
rustled on.  Beyond this grove the houses of the depot
settlement began, and the naked board walk, that had run
in out of the sunflowers, again became a link between
human dwellings.

     One afternoon, late in the summer, Dr. Howard Archie
was fighting his way back to town along this walk through
a blinding sandstorm, a silk handkerchief tied over his
mouth.  He had been to see a sick woman down in the depot
settlement, and he was walking because his ponies had
been out for a hard drive that morning.

     As he passed the Catholic Church he came upon Thea
and Thor.  Thea was sitting in a child's express wagon, her
feet out behind, kicking the wagon along and steering by
the tongue.  Thor was on her lap and she held him with one
arm.  He had grown to be a big cub of a baby, with a con-
stitutional grievance, and he had to be continually amused.
Thea took him philosophically, and tugged and pulled
him about, getting as much fun as she could under her
encumbrance.  Her hair was blowing about her face, and
her eyes were squinting so intently at the uneven board
sidewalk in front of her that she did not see the doctor
until he spoke to her.

     "Look out, Thea.  You'll steer that youngster into the
ditch."

     The wagon stopped.  Thea released the tongue, wiped
her hot, sandy face, and pushed back her hair.  "Oh, no,
I won't!  I never ran off but once, and then he didn't get
anything but a bump.  He likes this better than a baby-
buggy, and so do I."

     "Are you going to kick that cart all the way home?"

<p 39>

     "Of course.  We take long trips; wherever there is a side-
walk.  It's no good on the road."

     "Looks to me like working pretty hard for your fun.
Are you going to be busy to-night?  Want to make a call
with me?  Spanish Johnny's come home again, all used up.
His wife sent me word this morning, and I said I'd go over
to see him to-night.  He's an old chum of yours, isn't
he?"

     "Oh, I'm glad.  She's been crying her eyes out.  When
did he come?"

     "Last night, on Number Six.  Paid his fare, they tell me.
Too sick to beat it.  There'll come a time when that boy
won't get back, I'm afraid.  Come around to my office about
eight o'clock,--and you needn't bring that!"

     Thor seemed to understand that he had been insulted,
for he scowled and began to kick the side of the wagon,
shouting, "Go-go, go-go!"  Thea leaned forward and
grabbed the wagon tongue.  Dr. Archie stepped in front of
her and blocked the way.  "Why don't you make him wait?
What do you let him boss you like that for?"

     "If he gets mad he throws himself, and then I can't do
anything with him.  When he's mad he's lots stronger than
me, aren't you, Thor?"  Thea spoke with pride, and the
idol was appeased.  He grunted approvingly as his sister
began to kick rapidly behind her, and the wagon rattled off
and soon disappeared in the flying currents of sand.

     That evening Dr. Archie was seated in his office, his desk
chair tilted back, reading by the light of a hot coal-oil lamp.
All the windows were open, but the night was breathless
after the sandstorm, and his hair was moist where it hung
over his forehead.  He was deeply engrossed in his book
and sometimes smiled thoughtfully as he read.  When
Thea Kronborg entered quietly and slipped into a seat, he
nodded, finished his paragraph, inserted a bookmark, and
rose to put the book back into the case.  It was one out of
the long row of uniform volumes on the top shelf.

<p 40>

     "Nearly every time I come in, when you're alone, you're
reading one of those books," Thea remarked thoughtfully.
"They must be very nice."

     The doctor dropped back into his swivel chair, the mot-
tled volume still in his hand.  "They aren't exactly books,
Thea," he said seriously.  "They're a city."

     "A history, you mean?"

     "Yes, and no.  They're a history of a live city, not a
dead one.  A Frenchman undertook to write about a whole
cityful of people, all the kinds he knew.  And he got them
nearly all in, I guess.  Yes, it's very interesting.  You'll
like to read it some day, when you're grown up."

     Thea leaned forward and made out the title on the back,
"A Distinguished Provincial in Paris."

     "It doesn't sound very interesting."

     "Perhaps not, but it is."  The doctor scrutinized her
broad face, low enough to be in the direct light from under
the green lamp shade.  "Yes," he went on with some sat-
isfaction, "I think you'll like them some day.  You're
always curious about people, and I expect this man knew
more about people than anybody that ever lived."

     "City people or country people?"

     "Both.  People are pretty much the same everywhere."

     "Oh, no, they're not.  The people who go through in the
dining-car aren't like us."

     "What makes you think they aren't, my girl?  Their
clothes?"

     Thea shook her head.  "No, it's something else.  I don't
know."  Her eyes shifted under the doctor's searching gaze
and she glanced up at the row of books.  "How soon will
I be old enough to read them?"

     "Soon enough, soon enough, little girl."  The doctor
patted her hand and looked at her index finger.  "The
nail's coming all right, isn't it?  But I think that man
makes you practice too much.  You have it on your mind
all the time."  He had noticed that when she talked to him

<p 41>

she was always opening and shutting her hands.  "It makes
you nervous."

     "No, he don't," Thea replied stubbornly, watching Dr.
Archie return the book to its niche.

     He took up a black leather case, put on his hat, and they
went down the dark stairs into the street.  The summer
moon hung full in the sky.  For the time being, it was the
great fact in the world.  Beyond the edge of the town the
plain was so white that every clump of sage stood out dis-
tinct from the sand, and the dunes looked like a shining
lake.  The doctor took off his straw hat and carried it in his
hand as they walked toward Mexican Town, across the
sand.

     North of Pueblo, Mexican settlements were rare in
Colorado then.  This one had come about accidentally.
Spanish Johnny was the first Mexican who came to Moon-
stone.  He was a painter and decorator, and had been
working in Trinidad, when Ray Kennedy told him there
was a "boom" on in Moonstone, and a good many new
buildings were going up.  A year after Johnny settled in
Moonstone, his cousin, Famos Serrenos, came to work in
the brickyard; then Serrenos' cousins came to help him.
During the strike, the master mechanic put a gang of
Mexicans to work in the roundhouse.  The Mexicans had
arrived so quietly, with their blankets and musical instru-
ments, that before Moonstone was awake to the fact, there
was a Mexican quarter; a dozen families or more.

     As Thea and the doctor approached the 'dobe houses,
they heard a guitar, and a rich barytone voice--that of
Famos Serrenos--singing "La Golandrina."  All the
Mexican houses had neat little yards, with tamarisk hedges
and flowers, and walks bordered with shells or white-
washed stones.  Johnny's house was dark.  His wife, Mrs.
Tellamantez, was sitting on the doorstep, combing her
long, blue-black hair.  (Mexican women are like the Spar-
tans; when they are in trouble, in love, under stress of any

<p 42>

kind, they comb and comb their hair.)  She rose without
embarrassment or apology, comb in hand, and greeted the
doctor.

     "Good-evening; will you go in?" she asked in a low,
musical voice.  "He is in the back room.  I will make a
light."  She followed them indoors, lit a candle and handed
it to the doctor, pointing toward the bedroom.  Then she
went back and sat down on her doorstep.

     Dr. Archie and Thea went into the bedroom, which was
dark and quiet.  There was a bed in the corner, and a man
was lying on the clean sheets.  On the table beside him was
a glass pitcher, half-full of water.  Spanish Johnny looked
younger than his wife, and when he was in health he was
very handsome: slender, gold-colored, with wavy black
hair, a round, smooth throat, white teeth, and burning
black eyes.  His profile was strong and severe, like an
Indian's.  What was termed his "wildness" showed itself
only in his feverish eyes and in the color that burned on his
tawny cheeks.  That night he was a coppery green, and his
eyes were like black holes.  He opened them when the doc-
tor held the candle before his face.

     "MI TESTA!" he muttered, "MI TESTA, doctor.  "LA
FIEBRE!"  Seeing the doctor's companion at the foot of the bed, he
attempted a smile.  "MUCHACHA!" he exclaimed deprecat-
ingly.

     Dr. Archie stuck a thermometer into his mouth.  "Now,
Thea, you can run outside and wait for me."

     Thea slipped noiselessly through the dark house and
joined Mrs. Tellamantez.  The somber Mexican woman
did not seem inclined to talk, but her nod was friendly.
Thea sat down on the warm sand, her back to the moon,
facing Mrs. Tellamantez on her doorstep, and began to
count the moonflowers on the vine that ran over the house.
Mrs. Tellamantez was always considered a very homely
woman.  Her face was of a strongly marked type not sym-
pathetic to Americans.  Such long, oval faces, with a full

<p 43>

chin, a large, mobile mouth, a high nose, are not uncom-
mon in Spain.  Mrs. Tellamantez could not write her name,
and could read but little.  Her strong nature lived upon
itself.  She was chiefly known in Moonstone for her forbear-
ance with her incorrigible husband.

     Nobody knew exactly what was the matter with Johnny,
and everybody liked him.  His popularity would have been
unusual for a white man, for a Mexican it was unprece-
dented.  His talents were his undoing.  He had a high,
uncertain tenor voice, and he played the mandolin with
exceptional skill.  Periodically he went crazy.  There was
no other way to explain his behavior.  He was a clever
workman, and, when he worked, as regular and faithful
as a burro.  Then some night he would fall in with a crowd
at the saloon and begin to sing.  He would go on until
he had no voice left, until he wheezed and rasped.  Then
he would play his mandolin furiously, and drink until his
eyes sank back into his head.  At last, when he was put
out of the saloon at closing time, and could get nobody
to listen to him, he would run away--along the railroad
track, straight across the desert.  He always managed to
get aboard a freight somewhere.  Once beyond Denver,
he played his way southward from saloon to saloon until
he got across the border.  He never wrote to his wife; but
she would soon begin to get newspapers from La Junta,
Albuquerque, Chihuahua, with marked paragraphs an-
nouncing that Juan Tellamantez and his wonderful man-
dolin could be heard at the Jack Rabbit Grill, or the Pearl
of Cadiz Saloon.  Mrs. Tellamantez waited and wept and
combed her hair.  When he was completely wrung out and
burned up,--all but destroyed,--her Juan always came
back to her to be taken care of,--once with an ugly knife
wound in the neck, once with a finger missing from his
right hand,--but he played just as well with three fingers
as he had with four.

     Public sentiment was lenient toward Johnny, but every-

<p 44>

body was disgusted with Mrs. Tellamantez for putting up
with him.  She ought to discipline him, people said; she
ought to leave him; she had no self-respect.  In short, Mrs.
Tellamantez got all the blame.  Even Thea thought she
was much too humble.  To-night, as she sat with her back
to the moon, looking at the moonflowers and Mrs. Tella-
mantez's somber face, she was thinking that there is noth-
ing so sad in the world as that kind of patience and resigna-
tion.  It was much worse than Johnny's craziness.  She even
wondered whether it did not help to make Johnny crazy.
People had no right to be so passive and resigned.  She
would like to roll over and over in the sand and screech at
Mrs. Tellamantez.  She was glad when the doctor came out.

     The Mexican woman rose and stood respectful and ex-
pectant.  The doctor held his hat in his hand and looked
kindly at her.

     "Same old thing, Mrs. Tellamantez.  He's no worse than
he's been before.  I've left some medicine.  Don't give him
anything but toast water until I see him again.  You're a
good nurse; you'll get him out."  Dr. Archie smiled en-
couragingly.  He glanced about the little garden and
wrinkled his brows.  "I can't see what makes him behave
so.  He's killing himself, and he's not a rowdy sort of fel-
low.  Can't you tie him up someway?  Can't you tell when
these fits are coming on?"

     Mrs. Tellamantez put her hand to her forehead.  "The
saloon, doctor, the excitement; that is what makes him.
People listen to him, and it excites him."

     The doctor shook his head.  "Maybe.  He's too much for
my calculations.  I don't see what he gets out of it."

     "He is always fooled,"--the Mexican woman spoke
rapidly and tremulously, her long under lip quivering.

     "He is good at heart, but he has no head.  He fools himself.
You do not understand in this country, you are progressive.
But he has no judgment, and he is fooled."  She stooped
quickly, took up one of the white conch-shells that bordered

<p 45>

the walk, and, with an apologetic inclination of her head,
held it to Dr. Archie's ear.  "Listen, doctor.  You hear
something in there?  You hear the sea; and yet the sea is
very far from here.  You have judgment, and you know
that.  But he is fooled.  To him, it is the sea itself.  A
little thing is big to him."  She bent and placed the shell
in the white row, with its fellows.  Thea took it up softly
and pressed it to her own ear.  The sound in it startled
her; it was like something calling one.  So that was why
Johnny ran away.  There was something awe-inspiring
about Mrs. Tellamantez and her shell.

     Thea caught Dr. Archie's hand and squeezed it hard
as she skipped along beside him back toward Moonstone.
She went home, and the doctor went back to his lamp
and his book.  He never left his office until after midnight.
If he did not play whist or pool in the evening, he read.
It had become a habit with him to lose himself.

<p 46>

                                VII

     Thea's twelfth birthday had passed a few weeks
before her memorable call upon Mrs. Tellamantez.
There was a worthy man in Moonstone who was already
planning to marry Thea as soon as she should be old enough.
His name was Ray Kennedy, his age was thirty, and he was
conductor on a freight train, his run being from Moonstone
to Denver.  Ray was a big fellow, with a square, open
American face, a rock chin, and features that one would
never happen to remember.  He was an aggressive idealist,
a freethinker, and, like most railroad men, deeply senti-
mental.  Thea liked him for reasons that had to do with
the adventurous life he had led in Mexico and the South-
west, rather than for anything very personal.  She liked
him, too, because he was the only one of her friends who
ever took her to the sand hills.  The sand hills were a con-
stant tantalization; she loved them better than anything
near Moonstone, and yet she could so seldom get to them.
The first dunes were accessible enough; they were only a
few miles beyond the Kohlers', and she could run out there
any day when she could do her practicing in the morning
and get Thor off her hands for an afternoon.  But the real
hills--the Turquoise Hills, the Mexicans called them--
were ten good miles away, and one reached them by a
heavy, sandy road.  Dr. Archie sometimes took Thea on
his long drives, but as nobody lived in the sand hills, he
never had calls to make in that direction.  Ray Kennedy
was her only hope of getting there.

     This summer Thea had not been to the hills once, though
Ray had planned several Sunday expeditions.  Once Thor
was sick, and once the organist in her father's church was
away and Thea had to play the organ for the three Sunday

<p 47>

services.  But on the first Sunday in September, Ray drove
up to the Kronborgs' front gate at nine o'clock in the morn-
ing and the party actually set off.  Gunner and Axel went
with Thea, and Ray had asked Spanish Johnny to come
and to bring Mrs. Tellamantez and his mandolin.  Ray was
artlessly fond of music, especially of Mexican music.  He
and Mrs. Tellamantez had got up the lunch between them,
and they were to make coffee in the desert.

     When they left Mexican Town, Thea was on the front
seat with Ray and Johnny, and Gunner and Axel sat be-
hind with Mrs. Tellamantez.  They objected to this, of
course, but there were some things about which Thea would
have her own way.  "As stubborn as a Finn," Mrs. Kron-
borg sometimes said of her, quoting an old Swedish saying.
When they passed the Kohlers', old Fritz and Wunsch
were cutting grapes at the arbor.  Thea gave them a busi-
nesslike nod.  Wunsch came to the gate and looked after
them.  He divined Ray Kennedy's hopes, and he dis-
trusted every expedition that led away from the piano.
Unconsciously he made Thea pay for frivolousness of this
sort.

     As Ray Kennedy's party followed the faint road across
the sagebrush, they heard behind them the sound of church
bells, which gave them a sense of escape and boundless
freedom.  Every rabbit that shot across the path, every
sage hen that flew up by the trail, was like a runaway
thought, a message that one sent into the desert.  As they
went farther, the illusion of the mirage became more in-
stead of less convincing; a shallow silver lake that spread
for many miles, a little misty in the sunlight.  Here and
there one saw reflected the image of a heifer, turned loose
to live upon the sparse sand-grass.  They were magnified
to a preposterous height and looked like mammoths, pre-
historic beasts standing solitary in the waters that for
many thousands of years actually washed over that desert;
--the mirage itself may be the ghost of that long-vanished

<p 48>

sea.  Beyond the phantom lake lay the line of many-colored
hills; rich, sun-baked yellow, glowing turquoise, lavender,
purple; all the open, pastel colors of the desert.

     After the first five miles the road grew heavier.  The
horses had to slow down to a walk and the wheels sank
deep into the sand, which now lay in long ridges, like waves,
where the last high wind had drifted it.  Two hours brought
the party to Pedro's Cup, named for a Mexican desperado
who had once held the sheriff at bay there.  The Cup was a
great amphitheater, cut out in the hills, its floor smooth
and packed hard, dotted with sagebrush and greasewood.

     On either side of the Cup the yellow hills ran north and
south, with winding ravines between them, full of soft sand
which drained down from the crumbling banks.  On the
surface of this fluid sand, one could find bits of brilliant
stone, crystals and agates and onyx, and petrified wood as
red as blood.  Dried toads and lizards were to be found
there, too.  Birds, decomposing more rapidly, left only
feathered skeletons.

     After a little reconnoitering, Mrs. Tellamantez declared
that it was time for lunch, and Ray took his hatchet and
began to cut greasewood, which burns fiercely in its green
state.  The little boys dragged the bushes to the spot that
Mrs. Tellamantez had chosen for her fire.  Mexican women
like to cook out of doors.

     After lunch Thea sent Gunner and Axel to hunt for
agates.  "If you see a rattlesnake, run.  Don't try to kill
it," she enjoined.

     Gunner hesitated.  "If Ray would let me take the
hatchet, I could kill one all right."

     Mrs. Tellamantez smiled and said something to Johnny
in Spanish.

     "Yes," her husband replied, translating, "they say in
Mexico, kill a snake but never hurt his feelings.  Down in
the hot country, MUCHACHA," turning to Thea, "people
keep a pet snake in the house to kill rats and mice.  They

<p 49>

call him the house snake.  They keep a little mat for him
by the fire, and at night he curl up there and sit with the
family, just as friendly!"

     Gunner sniffed with disgust.  "Well, I think that's a
dirty Mexican way to keep house; so there!"

     Johnny shrugged his shoulders.  "Perhaps," he muttered.
A Mexican learns to dive below insults or soar above them,
after he crosses the border.

     By this time the south wall of the amphitheater cast a
narrow shelf of shadow, and the party withdrew to this
refuge.  Ray and Johnny began to talk about the Grand
Canyon and Death Valley, two places much shrouded in
mystery in those days, and Thea listened intently.  Mrs.
Tellamantez took out her drawn-work and pinned it to her
knee.  Ray could talk well about the large part of the conti-
nent over which he had been knocked about, and Johnny
was appreciative.

     "You been all over, pretty near.  Like a Spanish boy,"
he commented respectfully.

     Ray, who had taken off his coat, whetted his pocket-
knife thoughtfully on the sole of his shoe.  "I began to
browse around early.  I had a mind to see something of this
world, and I ran away from home before I was twelve.
Rustled for myself ever since."

     "Ran away?"  Johnny looked hopeful.  "What for?"

     "Couldn't make it go with my old man, and didn't take
to farming.  There were plenty of boys at home.  I wasn't
missed."

     Thea wriggled down in the hot sand and rested her chin
on her arm.  "Tell Johnny about the melons, Ray, please
do!"

     Ray's solid, sunburned cheeks grew a shade redder, and
he looked reproachfully at Thea.  "You're stuck on that
story, kid.  You like to get the laugh on me, don't you?
That was the finishing split I had with my old man, John.
He had a claim along the creek, not far from Denver, and

<p 50>

raised a little garden stuff for market.  One day he had a
load of melons and he decided to take 'em to town and sell
'em along the street, and he made me go along and drive
for him.  Denver wasn't the queen city it is now, by any
means, but it seemed a terrible big place to me; and when
we got there, if he didn't make me drive right up Capitol
Hill!  Pap got out and stopped at folkses houses to ask if
they didn't want to buy any melons, and I was to drive
along slow.  The farther I went the madder I got, but I was
trying to look unconscious, when the end-gate came loose
and one of the melons fell out and squashed.  Just then a
swell girl, all dressed up, comes out of one of the big houses
and calls out, `Hello, boy, you're losing your melons!'
Some dudes on the other side of the street took their hats
off to her and began to laugh.  I couldn't stand it any
longer.  I grabbed the whip and lit into that team, and they
tore up the hill like jack-rabbits, them damned melons
bouncing out the back every jump, the old man cussin' an'
yellin' behind and everybody laughin'.  I never looked be-
hind, but the whole of Capitol Hill must have been a mess
with them squashed melons.  I didn't stop the team till I
got out of sight of town.  Then I pulled up an' left 'em with
a rancher I was acquainted with, and I never went home to
get the lickin' that was waitin' for me.  I expect it's waitin'
for me yet."

     Thea rolled over in the sand.  "Oh, I wish I could have
seen those melons fly, Ray!  I'll never see anything as
funny as that.  Now, tell Johnny about your first job."

     Ray had a collection of good stories.  He was observant,
truthful, and kindly--perhaps the chief requisites in a
good story-teller. Occasionally he used newspaper phrases,
conscientiously learned in his efforts at self-instruction, but
when he talked naturally he was always worth listening to.
Never having had any schooling to speak of, he had, almost
from the time he first ran away, tried to make good his loss.
As a sheep-herder he had worried an old grammar to tatters,

<p 51>

and read instructive books with the help of a pocket dic-
tionary.  By the light of many camp-fires he had pondered
upon Prescott's histories, and the works of Washington
Irving, which he bought at a high price from a book-agent.
Mathematics and physics were easy for him, but general
culture came hard, and he was determined to get it.  Ray
was a freethinker, and inconsistently believed himself
damned for being one.  When he was braking, down on the
Santa Fe, at the end of his run he used to climb into the
upper bunk of the caboose, while a noisy gang played poker
about the stove below him, and by the roof-lamp read
Robert Ingersoll's speeches and "The Age of Reason."

     Ray was a loyal-hearted fellow, and it had cost him a
great deal to give up his God.  He was one of the step-
children of Fortune, and he had very little to show for all
his hard work; the other fellow always got the best of it.
He had come in too late, or too early, on several schemes
that had made money.  He brought with him from all his
wanderings a good deal of information (more or less correct
in itself, but unrelated, and therefore misleading), a high
standard of personal honor, a sentimental veneration for
all women, bad as well as good, and a bitter hatred of
Englishmen.  Thea often thought that the nicest thing
about Ray was his love for Mexico and the Mexicans, who
had been kind to him when he drifted, a homeless boy, over
the border.  In Mexico, Ray was Senor Ken-ay-dy, and
when he answered to that name he was somehow a different
fellow.  He spoke Spanish fluently, and the sunny warmth
of that tongue kept him from being quite as hard as his
chin, or as narrow as his popular science.

     While Ray was smoking his cigar, he and Johnny fell to
talking about the great fortunes that had been made in
the Southwest, and about fellows they knew who had
"struck it rich."

     "I guess you been in on some big deals down there?"
Johnny asked trustfully.

<p 52>

     Ray smiled and shook his head.  "I've been out on some,
John.  I've never been exactly in on any.  So far, I've either
held on too long or let go too soon.  But mine's coming to
me, all right."  Ray looked reflective.  He leaned back in
the shadow and dug out a rest for his elbow in the sand.
"The narrowest escape I ever had, was in the Bridal Cham-
ber.  If I hadn't let go there, it would have made me rich.
That was a close call."

     Johnny looked delighted.  "You don' say!  She was silver
mine, I guess?"

     "I guess she was!  Down at Lake Valley.  I put up a few
hundred for the prospector, and he gave me a bunch of
stock.  Before we'd got anything out of it, my brother-in-
law died of the fever in Cuba.  My sister was beside herself
to get his body back to Colorado to bury him.  Seemed
foolish to me, but she's the only sister I got.  It's expensive
for dead folks to travel, and I had to sell my stock in the
mine to raise the money to get Elmer on the move.  Two
months afterward, the boys struck that big pocket in the
rock, full of virgin silver.  They named her the Bridal
Chamber.  It wasn't ore, you remember.  It was pure, soft
metal you could have melted right down into dollars.  The
boys cut it out with chisels.  If old Elmer hadn't played
that trick on me, I'd have been in for about fifty thousand.
That was a close call, Spanish."

     "I recollec'.  When the pocket gone, the town go bust."

     "You bet.  Higher'n a kite.  There was no vein, just a
pocket in the rock that had sometime or another got filled
up with molten silver.  You'd think there would be more
somewhere about, but NADA.  There's fools digging holes in
that mountain yet."

     When Ray had finished his cigar, Johnny took his man-
dolin and began Kennedy's favorite, "Ultimo Amor."  It
was now three o'clock in the afternoon, the hottest hour
in the day.  The narrow shelf of shadow had widened until
the floor of the amphitheater was marked off in two halves,

<p 53>

one glittering yellow, and one purple.  The little boys had
come back and were making a robbers' cave to enact the
bold deeds of Pedro the bandit.  Johnny, stretched grace-
fully on the sand, passed from "Ultimo Amor" to "Fluvia
de Oro," and then to "Noches de Algeria," playing lan-
guidly.

     Every one was busy with his own thoughts.  Mrs.
Tellamantez was thinking of the square in the little town
in which she was born; of the white churchsteps, with
people genuflecting as they passed, and the round-topped
acacia trees, and the band playing in the plaza.  Ray Ken-
nedy was thinking of the future, dreaming the large Western
dream of easy money, of a fortune kicked up somewhere in
the hills,--an oil well, a gold mine, a ledge of copper.  He
always told himself, when he accepted a cigar from a newly
married railroad man, that he knew enough not to marry
until he had found his ideal, and could keep her like a queen.
He believed that in the yellow head over there in the sand
he had found his ideal, and that by the time she was old
enough to marry, he would be able to keep her like a queen.
He would kick it up from somewhere, when he got loose
from the railroad.

     Thea, stirred by tales of adventure, of the Grand Canyon
and Death Valley, was recalling a great adventure of her
own.  Early in the summer her father had been invited to
conduct a reunion of old frontiersmen, up in Wyoming,
near Laramie, and he took Thea along with him to play
the organ and sing patriotic songs.  There they stayed
at the house of an old ranchman who told them about
a ridge up in the hills called Laramie Plain, where the
wagon-trails of the Forty-niners and the Mormons were
still visible.  The old man even volunteered to take Mr.
Kronborg up into the hills to see this place, though it was
a very long drive to make in one day.  Thea had begged
frantically to go along, and the old rancher, flattered by
her rapt attention to his stories, had interceded for her.

<p 54>

     They set out from Laramie before daylight, behind a strong
team of mules.  All the way there was much talk of the
Forty-niners.  The old rancher had been a teamster in a
freight train that used to crawl back and forth across the
plains between Omaha and Cherry Creek, as Denver was
then called, and he had met many a wagon train bound for
California.  He told of Indians and buffalo, thirst and
slaughter, wanderings in snowstorms, and lonely graves
in the desert.

     The road they followed was a wild and beautiful one.  It
led up and up, by granite rocks and stunted pines, around
deep ravines and echoing gorges.  The top of the ridge, when
they reached it, was a great flat plain, strewn with white
boulders, with the wind howling over it.  There was not one
trail, as Thea had expected; there were a score; deep fur-
rows, cut in the earth by heavy wagon wheels, and now
grown over with dry, whitish grass.  The furrows ran side
by side; when one trail had been worn too deep, the next
party had abandoned it and made a new trail to the right
or left.  They were, indeed, only old wagon ruts, running
east and west, and grown over with grass.  But as Thea ran
about among the white stones, her skirts blowing this way
and that, the wind brought to her eyes tears that might
have come anyway.  The old rancher picked up an iron
ox-shoe from one of the furrows and gave it to her for a
keepsake.  To the west one could see range after range of
blue mountains, and at last the snowy range, with its white,
windy peaks, the clouds caught here and there on their
spurs.  Again and again Thea had to hide her face from the
cold for a moment.  The wind never slept on this plain, the
old man said.  Every little while eagles flew over.

     Coming up from Laramie, the old man had told them
that he was in Brownsville, Nebraska, when the first tele-
graph wires were put across the Missouri River, and that
the first message that ever crossed the river was "West-
ward the course of Empire takes its way."  He had been

<p 55>

in the room when the instrument began to click, and all
the men there had, without thinking what they were doing,
taken off their hats, waiting bareheaded to hear the mes-
sage translated.  Thea remembered that message when she
sighted down the wagon tracks toward the blue moun-
tains.  She told herself she would never, never forget it.
The spirit of human courage seemed to live up there with
the eagles.  For long after, when she was moved by a
Fourth-of-July oration, or a band, or a circus parade, she
was apt to remember that windy ridge.

     To-day she went to sleep while she was thinking about
it.  When Ray wakened her, the horses were hitched to the
wagon and Gunner and Axel were begging for a place on
the front seat.  The air had cooled, the sun was setting, and
the desert was on fire.  Thea contentedly took the back seat
with Mrs. Tellamantez.  As they drove homeward the stars
began to come out, pale yellow in a yellow sky, and Ray
and Johnny began to sing one of those railroad ditties that
are usually born on the Southern Pacific and run the length
of the Santa Fe and the "Q" system before they die to give
place to a new one.  This was a song about a Greaser dance,
the refrain being something like this:--

     "Pedro, Pedro, swing high, swing low,

     And it's allamand left again;

     For there's boys that's bold and there's some that's cold,

     But the gold boys come from Spain,

     Oh, the gold boys come from Spain!"

<p 56>

                               VIII

     Winter was long in coming that year.  Throughout
October the days were bathed in sunlight and the
air was clear as crystal.  The town kept its cheerful sum-
mer aspect, the desert glistened with light, the sand hills
every day went through magical changes of color.  The
scarlet sage bloomed late in the front yards, the cottonwood
leaves were bright gold long before they fell, and it was not
until November that the green on the tamarisks began to
cloud and fade.  There was a flurry of snow about Thanks-
giving, and then December came on warm and clear.

     Thea had three music pupils now, little girls whose
mothers declared that Professor Wunsch was "much too
severe."  They took their lessons on Saturday, and this, of
course, cut down her time for play.  She did not really mind
this because she was allowed to use the money--her pupils
paid her twenty-five cents a lesson--to fit up a little room
for herself upstairs in the half-story.  It was the end room
of the wing, and was not plastered, but was snugly lined
with soft pine.  The ceiling was so low that a grown person
could reach it with the palm of the hand, and it sloped down
on either side.  There was only one window, but it was a
double one and went to the floor.  In October, while the
days were still warm, Thea and Tillie papered the room,
walls and ceiling in the same paper, small red and brown
roses on a yellowish ground.  Thea bought a brown cotton
carpet, and her big brother, Gus, put it down for her one
Sunday.  She made white cheesecloth curtains and hung
them on a tape.  Her mother gave her an old walnut dresser
with a broken mirror, and she had her own dumpy walnut
single bed, and a blue washbowl and pitcher which she had
drawn at a church fair lottery.  At the head of her bed she

<p 57>

had a tall round wooden hat-crate, from the clothing store.
This, standing on end and draped with cretonne, made a
fairly steady table for her lantern.  She was not allowed to
take a lamp upstairs, so Ray Kennedy gave her a railroad
lantern by which she could read at night.

     In winter this loft room of Thea's was bitterly cold, but
against her mother's advice--and Tillie's--she always
left her window open a little way.  Mrs. Kronborg declared
that she "had no patience with American physiology,"
though the lessons about the injurious effects of alcohol
and tobacco were well enough for the boys.  Thea asked
Dr. Archie about the window, and he told her that a girl
who sang must always have plenty of fresh air, or her voice
would get husky, and that the cold would harden her
throat.  The important thing, he said, was to keep your
feet warm.  On very cold nights Thea always put a brick
in the oven after supper, and when she went upstairs she
wrapped it in an old flannel petticoat and put it in her
bed.  The boys, who would never heat bricks for them-
selves, sometimes carried off Thea's, and thought it a good
joke to get ahead of her.

     When Thea first plunged in between her red blankets,
the cold sometimes kept her awake for a good while, and
she comforted herself by remembering all she could of
"Polar Explorations," a fat, calf-bound volume her father
had bought from a book-agent, and by thinking about the
members of Greely's party: how they lay in their frozen
sleeping-bags, each man hoarding the warmth of his own
body and trying to make it last as long as possible against
the on-coming cold that would be everlasting.  After half
an hour or so, a warm wave crept over her body and round,
sturdy legs; she glowed like a little stove with the warmth
of her own blood, and the heavy quilts and red blankets
grew warm wherever they touched her, though her breath
sometimes froze on the coverlid.  Before daylight, her inter-
nal fires went down a little, and she often wakened to find

<p 58>

herself drawn up into a tight ball, somewhat stiff in the legs.
But that made it all the easier to get up.

     The acquisition of this room was the beginning of a new
era in Thea's life.  It was one of the most important things
that ever happened to her.  Hitherto, except in summer,
when she could be out of doors, she had lived in constant
turmoil; the family, the day school, the Sunday-School.
The clamor about her drowned the voice within herself.  In
the end of the wing, separated from the other upstairs
sleeping-rooms by a long, cold, unfinished lumber room,
her mind worked better.  She thought things out more
clearly.  Pleasant plans and ideas occurred to her which had
never come before.  She had certain thoughts which were
like companions, ideas which were like older and wiser
friends.  She left them there in the morning, when she fin-
ished dressing in the cold, and at night, when she came up
with her lantern and shut the door after a busy day, she
found them awaiting her.  There was no possible way of
heating the room, but that was fortunate, for otherwise it
would have been occupied by one of her older brothers.

     From the time when she moved up into the wing, Thea
began to live a double life.  During the day, when the hours
were full of tasks, she was one of the Kronborg children, but
at night she was a different person.  On Friday and Satur-
day nights she always read for a long while after she was in
bed.  She had no clock, and there was no one to nag her.

     Ray Kennedy, on his way from the depot to his boarding-
house, often looked up and saw Thea's light burning when
the rest of the house was dark, and felt cheered as by a
friendly greeting.  He was a faithful soul, and many dis-
appointments had not changed his nature.  He was still,
at heart, the same boy who, when he was sixteen, had set-
tled down to freeze with his sheep in a Wyoming blizzard,
and had been rescued only to play the losing game of fidel-
ity to other charges.

     Ray had no very clear idea of what might be going on

<p 59>

in Thea's head, but he knew that something was.  He used
to remark to Spanish Johnny, "That girl is developing
something fine."  Thea was patient with Ray, even in
regard to the liberties he took with her name.  Outside the
family, every one in Moonstone, except Wunsch and Dr.
Archie, called her "Thee-a," but this seemed cold and dis-
tant to Ray, so he called her "Thee."  Once, in a moment
of exasperation, Thea asked him why he did this, and he
explained that he once had a chum, Theodore, whose
name was always abbreviated thus, and that since he was
killed down on the Santa Fe, it seemed natural to call
somebody "Thee."  Thea sighed and submitted.  She was
always helpless before homely sentiment and usually
changed the subject.

     It was the custom for each of the different Sunday-
Schools in Moonstone to give a concert on Christmas Eve.
But this year all the churches were to unite and give, as
was announced from the pulpits, "a semi-sacred concert
of picked talent" at the opera house.  The Moonstone
Orchestra, under the direction of Professor Wunsch, was
to play, and the most talented members of each Sunday-
School were to take part in the programme.  Thea was put
down by the committee "for instrumental."  This made
her indignant, for the vocal numbers were always more
popular.  Thea went to the president of the committee and
demanded hotly if her rival, Lily Fisher, were going to sing.
The president was a big, florid, powdered woman, a fierce
W.C.T.U. worker, one of Thea's natural enemies.  Her
name was Johnson; her husband kept the livery stable, and
she was called Mrs. Livery Johnson, to distinguish her
from other families of the same surname.  Mrs. Johnson
was a prominent Baptist, and Lily Fisher was the Baptist
prodigy.  There was a not very Christian rivalry between
the Baptist Church and Mr. Kronborg's church.

     When Thea asked Mrs. Johnson whether her rival was
to be allowed to sing, Mrs. Johnson, with an eagerness

<p 60>

which told how she had waited for this moment, replied
that "Lily was going to recite to be obliging, and to give
other children a chance to sing."  As she delivered this
thrust, her eyes glittered more than the Ancient Mariner's,
Thea thought.  Mrs. Johnson disapproved of the way in
which Thea was being brought up, of a child whose chosen
associates were Mexicans and sinners, and who was, as she
pointedly put it, "bold with men."  She so enjoyed an op-
portunity to rebuke Thea, that, tightly corseted as she was,
she could scarcely control her breathing, and her lace and
her gold watch chain rose and fell "with short, uneasy
motion."  Frowning, Thea turned away and walked slowly
homeward.  She suspected guile.  Lily Fisher was the most
stuck-up doll in the world, and it was certainly not like her
to recite to be obliging.  Nobody who could sing ever recited,
because the warmest applause always went to the singers.

     However, when the programme was printed in the Moon-
stone GLEAM, there it was: "Instrumental solo, Thea
Kronborg.  Recitation, Lily Fisher."

     Because his orchestra was to play for the concert, Mr.
Wunsch imagined that he had been put in charge of the
music, and he became arrogant.  He insisted that Thea
should play a "Ballade" by Reinecke.  When Thea con-
sulted her mother, Mrs. Kronborg agreed with her that the
"Ballade" would "never take" with a Moonstone audi-
ence.  She advised Thea to play "something with varia-
tions," or, at least, "The Invitation to the Dance."

     "It makes no matter what they like," Wunsch replied
to Thea's entreaties.  "It is time already that they learn
something."

     Thea's fighting powers had been impaired by an ulcer-
ated tooth and consequent loss of sleep, so she gave in.  She
finally had the molar pulled, though it was a second tooth
and should have been saved.  The dentist was a clumsy,
ignorant country boy, and Mr. Kronborg would not hear
of Dr. Archie's taking Thea to a dentist in Denver, though

<p 61>

Ray Kennedy said he could get a pass for her.  What with
the pain of the tooth, and family discussions about it, with
trying to make Christmas presents and to keep up her
school work and practicing, and giving lessons on Satur-
days, Thea was fairly worn out.

     On Christmas Eve she was nervous and excited.  It
was the first time she had ever played in the opera house,
and she had never before had to face so many people.
Wunsch would not let her play with her notes, and she was
afraid of forgetting.  Before the concert began, all the par-
ticipants had to assemble on the stage and sit there to be
looked at.  Thea wore her white summer dress and a blue
sash, but Lily Fisher had a new pink silk, trimmed with
white swansdown.

     The hall was packed.  It seemed as if every one in Moon-
stone was there, even Mrs. Kohler, in her hood, and old
Fritz.  The seats were wooden kitchen chairs, numbered,
and nailed to long planks which held them together in
rows.  As the floor was not raised, the chairs were all on the
same level.  The more interested persons in the audience
peered over the heads of the people in front of them to get
a good view of the stage.  From the platform Thea picked
out many friendly faces.  There was Dr. Archie, who never
went to church entertainments; there was the friendly
jeweler who ordered her music for her,--he sold accor-
dions and guitars as well as watches,--and the druggist
who often lent her books, and her favorite teacher from the
school.  There was Ray Kennedy, with a party of freshly
barbered railroad men he had brought along with him.
There was Mrs. Kronborg with all the children, even Thor,
who had been brought out in a new white plush coat.  At
the back of the hall sat a little group of Mexicans, and
among them Thea caught the gleam of Spanish Johnny's
white teeth, and of Mrs. Tellamantez's lustrous, smoothly
coiled black hair.

     After the orchestra played "Selections from Erminie,"

<p 62>

and the Baptist preacher made a long prayer, Tillie Kron-
borg came on with a highly colored recitation, "The Polish
Boy."  When it was over every one breathed more freely.
No committee had the courage to leave Tillie off a pro-
gramme.  She was accepted as a trying feature of every
entertainment.  The Progressive Euchre Club was the only
social organization in the town that entirely escaped Tillie.
After Tillie sat down, the Ladies' Quartette sang, "Beloved,
it is Night," and then it was Thea's turn.

     The "Ballade" took ten minutes, which was five minutes
too long.  The audience grew restive and fell to whispering.
Thea could hear Mrs. Livery Johnson's bracelets jangling
as she fanned herself, and she could hear her father's nerv-
ous, ministerial cough.  Thor behaved better than any
one else.  When Thea bowed and returned to her seat at the
back of the stage there was the usual applause, but it was
vigorous only from the back of the house where the Mexi-
cans sat, and from Ray Kennedy's CLAQUEURS.  Any one could
see that a good-natured audience had been bored.

     Because Mr. Kronborg's sister was on the programme,
it had also been necessary to ask the Baptist preacher's
wife's cousin to sing.  She was a "deep alto" from McCook,
and she sang, "Thy Sentinel Am I."  After her came Lily
Fisher.  Thea's rival was also a blonde, but her hair was
much heavier than Thea's, and fell in long round curls over
her shoulders.  She was the angel-child of the Baptists, and
looked exactly like the beautiful children on soap calen-
dars.  Her pink-and-white face, her set smile of innocence,
were surely born of a color-press.  She had long, drooping
eyelashes, a little pursed-up mouth, and narrow, pointed
teeth, like a squirrel's.

     Lily began:--

          "ROCK OF AGES, CLEFT FOR ME, carelessly the maiden
sang."

     Thea drew a long breath.  That was the game; it was a
recitation and a song in one.  Lily trailed the hymn

<p 63>

through half a dozen verses with great effect.  The Baptist
preacher had announced at the beginning of the concert
that "owing to the length of the programme, there would
be no encores."  But the applause which followed Lily to
her seat was such an unmistakable expression of enthusi-
asm that Thea had to admit Lily was justified in going
back.  She was attended this time by Mrs. Livery Johnson
herself, crimson with triumph and gleaming-eyed, nerv-
ously rolling and unrolling a sheet of music.  She took off
her bracelets and played Lily's accompaniment.  Lily had
the effrontery to come out with, "She sang the song of
Home, Sweet Home, the song that touched my heart."  But
this did not surprise Thea; as Ray said later in the evening,
"the cards had been stacked against her from the begin-
ning."  The next issue of the GLEAM correctly stated that
"unquestionably the honors of the evening must be ac-
corded to Miss Lily Fisher."  The Baptists had everything
their own way.

     After the concert Ray Kennedy joined the Kronborgs'
party and walked home with them.  Thea was grateful for
his silent sympathy, even while it irritated her.  She in-
wardly vowed that she would never take another lesson
from old Wunsch.  She wished that her father would not
keep cheerfully singing, "When Shepherds Watched," as
he marched ahead, carrying Thor.  She felt that silence
would become the Kronborgs for a while.  As a family,
they somehow seemed a little ridiculous, trooping along in
the starlight.  There were so many of them, for one thing.
Then Tillie was so absurd.  She was giggling and talking
to Anna just as if she had not made, as even Mrs. Kronborg
admitted, an exhibition of herself.

     When they got home, Ray took a box from his overcoat
pocket and slipped it into Thea's hand as he said good-
night.  They all hurried in to the glowing stove in the
parlor.  The sleepy children were sent to bed.  Mrs. Kron-
borg and Anna stayed up to fill the stockings.

<p 64>

     "I guess you're tired, Thea.  You needn't stay up."
Mrs. Kronborg's clear and seemingly indifferent eye usu-
ally measured Thea pretty accurately.

     Thea hesitated.  She glanced at the presents laid out on
the dining-room table, but they looked unattractive.  Even
the brown plush monkey she had bought for Thor with such
enthusiasm seemed to have lost his wise and humorous
expression.  She murmured, "All right," to her mother, lit
her lantern, and went upstairs.

     Ray's box contained a hand-painted white satin fan,
with pond lilies--an unfortunate reminder.  Thea smiled
grimly and tossed it into her upper drawer.  She was not
to be consoled by toys.  She undressed quickly and stood
for some time in the cold, frowning in the broken looking-
glass at her flaxen pig-tails, at her white neck and arms.
Her own broad, resolute face set its chin at her, her eyes
flashed into her own defiantly.  Lily Fisher was pretty, and
she was willing to be just as big a fool as people wanted her
to be.  Very well; Thea Kronborg wasn't.  She would rather
be hated than be stupid, any day.  She popped into bed and
read stubbornly at a queer paper book the drug-store man
had given her because he couldn't sell it.  She had trained
herself to put her mind on what she was doing, otherwise
she would have come to grief with her complicated daily
schedule.  She read, as intently as if she had not been
flushed with anger, the strange "Musical Memories" of
the Reverend H. R. Haweis.  At last she blew out the lan-
tern and went to sleep.  She had many curious dreams that
night.  In one of them Mrs. Tellamantez held her shell to
Thea's ear, and she heard the roaring, as before, and dis-
tant voices calling, "Lily Fisher!  Lily Fisher!"

<p 65>

                                IX

     Mr. Kronborg considered Thea a remarkable child;
but so were all his children remarkable.  If one of the
business men downtown remarked to him that he "had
a mighty bright little girl, there," he admitted it, and
at once began to explain what a "long head for business"
his son Gus had, or that Charley was "a natural electri-
cian," and had put in a telephone from the house to the
preacher's study behind the church.

     Mrs. Kronborg watched her daughter thoughtfully.  She
found her more interesting than her other children, and
she took her more seriously, without thinking much about
why she did so.  The other children had to be guided, di-
rected, kept from conflicting with one another.  Charley
and Gus were likely to want the same thing, and to quarrel
about it.  Anna often demanded unreasonable service from
her older brothers; that they should sit up until after mid-
night to bring her home from parties when she did not like
the youth who had offered himself as her escort; or that
they should drive twelve miles into the country, on a winter
night, to take her to a ranch dance, after they had been
working hard all day.  Gunner often got bored with his own
clothes or stilts or sled, and wanted Axel's.  But Thea, from
the time she was a little thing, had her own routine.  She
kept out of every one's way, and was hard to manage only
when the other children interfered with her.  Then there
was trouble indeed: bursts of temper which used to alarm
Mrs. Kronborg.  "You ought to know enough to let Thea
alone.  She lets you alone," she often said to the other
children.

     One may have staunch friends in one's own family, but
one seldom has admirers.  Thea, however, had one in the

<p 66>

person of her addle-pated aunt, Tillie Kronborg.  In older
countries, where dress and opinions and manners are not
so thoroughly standardized as in our own West, there is a
belief that people who are foolish about the more obvious
things of life are apt to have peculiar insight into what lies
beyond the obvious.  The old woman who can never learn
not to put the kerosene can on the stove, may yet be able
to tell fortunes, to persuade a backward child to grow, to
cure warts, or to tell people what to do with a young girl
who has gone melancholy.  Tillie's mind was a curious
machine; when she was awake it went round like a wheel
when the belt has slipped off, and when she was asleep
she dreamed follies.  But she had intuitions.  She knew,
for instance, that Thea was different from the other Kron-
borgs, worthy though they all were.  Her romantic im-
agination found possibilities in her niece.  When she was
sweeping or ironing, or turning the ice-cream freezer at a
furious rate, she often built up brilliant futures for Thea,
adapting freely the latest novel she had read.

     Tillie made enemies for her niece among the church
people because, at sewing societies and church suppers, she
sometimes spoke vauntingly, with a toss of her head, just
as if Thea's "wonderfulness" were an accepted fact in
Moonstone, like Mrs. Archie's stinginess, or Mrs. Livery
Johnson's duplicity.  People declared that, on this subject,
Tillie made them tired.

     Tillie belonged to a dramatic club that once a year per-
formed in the Moonstone Opera House such plays as
"Among the Breakers," and "The Veteran of 1812."  Tillie
played character parts, the flirtatious old maid or the
spiteful INTRIGANTE.  She used to study her parts up in the
attic at home.  While she was committing the lines, she
got Gunner or Anna to hold the book for her, but when
she began "to bring out the expression," as she said,
she used, very timorously, to ask Thea to hold the book.
Thea was usually--not always--agreeable about it.  Her

<p 67>

mother had told her that, since she had some influence
with Tillie, it would be a good thing for them all if she could
tone her down a shade and "keep her from taking on any
worse than need be."  Thea would sit on the foot of Tillie's
bed, her feet tucked under her, and stare at the silly text.
"I wouldn't make so much fuss, there, Tillie," she would
remark occasionally; "I don't see the point in it"; or,
"What do you pitch your voice so high for?  It don't carry
half as well."

     "I don't see how it comes Thea is so patient with Til-
lie," Mrs. Kronborg more than once remarked to her hus-
band.  "She ain't patient with most people, but it seems
like she's got a peculiar patience for Tillie."

     Tillie always coaxed Thea to go "behind the scenes"
with her when the club presented a play, and help her with
her make-up.  Thea hated it, but she always went.  She
felt as if she had to do it.  There was something in Tillie's
adoration of her that compelled her.  There was no family
impropriety that Thea was so much ashamed of as Tillie's
"acting" and yet she was always being dragged in to assist
her.  Tillie simply had her, there.  She didn't know why,
but it was so.  There was a string in her somewhere that
Tillie could pull; a sense of obligation to Tillie's misguided
aspirations.  The saloon-keepers had some such feeling of
responsibility toward Spanish Johnny.

     The dramatic club was the pride of Tillie's heart, and her
enthusiasm was the principal factor in keeping it together.
Sick or well, Tillie always attended rehearsals, and was
always urging the young people, who took rehearsals
lightly, to "stop fooling and begin now."  The young men
--bank clerks, grocery clerks, insurance agents--played
tricks, laughed at Tillie, and "put it up on each other"
about seeing her home; but they often went to tiresome
rehearsals just to oblige her.  They were good-natured
young fellows.  Their trainer and stage-manager was young
Upping, the jeweler who ordered Thea's music for her.

<p 68>

Though barely thirty, he had followed half a dozen pro-
fessions, and had once been a violinist in the orchestra of
the Andrews Opera Company, then well known in little
towns throughout Colorado and Nebraska.

     By one amazing indiscretion Tillie very nearly lost her
hold upon the Moonstone Drama Club.  The club had de-
cided to put on "The Drummer Boy of Shiloh," a very
ambitious undertaking because of the many supers needed
and the scenic difficulties of the act which took place in
Andersonville Prison.  The members of the club consulted
together in Tillie's absence as to who should play the part
of the drummer boy.  It must be taken by a very young
person, and village boys of that age are self-conscious and
are not apt at memorizing.  The part was a long one, and
clearly it must be given to a girl.  Some members of the
club suggested Thea Kronborg, others advocated Lily
Fisher.  Lily's partisans urged that she was much prettier
than Thea, and had a much "sweeter disposition."  No-
body denied these facts.  But there was nothing in the
least boyish about Lily, and she sang all songs and played
all parts alike.  Lily's simper was popular, but it seemed
not quite the right thing for the heroic drummer boy.

     Upping, the trainer, talked to one and another: "Lily's
all right for girl parts," he insisted, "but you've got to
get a girl with some ginger in her for this.  Thea's got
the voice, too.  When she sings, `Just Before the Battle,
Mother,' she'll bring down the house."

     When all the members of the club had been privately
consulted, they announced their decision to Tillie at the
first regular meeting that was called to cast the parts.
They expected Tillie to be overcome with joy, but, on the
contrary, she seemed embarrassed.  "I'm afraid Thea
hasn't got time for that," she said jerkily.  "She is always
so busy with her music.  Guess you'll have to get somebody
else."

     The club lifted its eyebrows.  Several of Lily Fisher's

<p 69>

friends coughed.  Mr. Upping flushed.  The stout woman
who always played the injured wife called Tillie's attention
to the fact that this would be a fine opportunity for her
niece to show what she could do.  Her tone was conde-
scending.

     Tillie threw up her head and laughed; there was some-
thing sharp and wild about Tillie's laugh--when it was
not a giggle.  "Oh, I guess Thea hasn't got time to do any
showing off.  Her time to show off ain't come yet.  I expect
she'll make us all sit up when it does.  No use asking her to
take the part.  She'd turn her nose up at it.  I guess they'd
be glad to get her in the Denver Dramatics, if they could."

     The company broke up into groups and expressed their
amazement.  Of course all Swedes were conceited, but they
would never have believed that all the conceit of all the
Swedes put together would reach such a pitch as this.
They confided to each other that Tillie was "just a little
off, on the subject of her niece," and agreed that it would be
as well not to excite her further.  Tillie got a cold reception
at rehearsals for a long while afterward, and Thea had a
crop of new enemies without even knowing it.

<p 70>

                                 X

     Wunsch and old Fritz and Spanish Johnny cele-
brated Christmas together, so riotously that
Wunsch was unable to give Thea her lesson the next day.
In the middle of the vacation week Thea went to the Kohl-
ers' through a soft, beautiful snowstorm.  The air was a
tender blue-gray, like the color on the doves that flew in
and out of the white dove-house on the post in the Kohl-
ers' garden.  The sand hills looked dim and sleepy.  The
tamarisk hedge was full of snow, like a foam of blossoms
drifted over it.  When Thea opened the gate, old Mrs.
Kohler was just coming in from the chicken yard, with five
fresh eggs in her apron and a pair of old top-boots on her
feet.  She called Thea to come and look at a bantam egg,
which she held up proudly.  Her bantam hens were remiss
in zeal, and she was always delighted when they accom-
plished anything.  She took Thea into the sitting-room,
very warm and smelling of food, and brought her a plateful
of little Christmas cakes, made according to old and hal-
lowed formulae, and put them before her while she warmed
her feet.  Then she went to the door of the kitchen stairs
and called: "Herr Wunsch, Herr Wunsch!"

     Wunsch came down wearing an old wadded jacket, with
a velvet collar.  The brown silk was so worn that the wad-
ding stuck out almost everywhere.  He avoided Thea's
eyes when he came in, nodded without speaking, and
pointed directly to the piano stool.  He was not so insistent
upon the scales as usual, and throughout the little sonata
of Mozart's she was studying, he remained languid and
absent-minded.  His eyes looked very heavy, and he kept
wiping them with one of the new silk handkerchiefs Mrs.
Kohler had given him for Christmas.  When the lesson was

<p 71>

over he did not seem inclined to talk.  Thea, loitering on
the stool, reached for a tattered book she had taken off the
music-rest when she sat down.  It was a very old Leipsic
edition of the piano score of Gluck's "Orpheus."  She turned
over the pages curiously.

     "Is it nice?" she asked.

     "It is the most beautiful opera ever made," Wunsch de-
clared solemnly.  "You know the story, eh?  How, when she
die, Orpheus went down below for his wife?"

     "Oh, yes, I know.  I didn't know there was an opera
about it, though.  Do people sing this now?"

     "ABER JA!  What else?  You like to try?  See."  He drew
her from the stool and sat down at the piano.  Turning over
the leaves to the third act, he handed the score to Thea.
"Listen, I play it through and you get the RHYTHMUS.  EINS,
ZWEI, DREI, VIER."  He played through Orpheus' lament, then
pushed back his cuffs with awakening interest and nodded
at Thea.  "Now, VOM BLATT, MIT MIR."

          "ACH, ICH HABE SIE VERLOREN,

             ALL' MEIN GLUCK IST NUN DAHIN."
Wunsch sang the aria with much feeling.  It was evidently
one that was very dear to him.

     "NOCH EINMAL, alone, yourself."  He played the intro-
ductory measures, then nodded at her vehemently, and she
began:--

          "ACH, ICH HABE SIE VERLOREN."

     When she finished, Wunsch nodded again.  "SCHON," he
muttered as he finished the accompaniment softly.  He
dropped his hands on his knees and looked up at Thea.
"That is very fine, eh?  There is no such beautiful melody
in the world.  You can take the book for one week and learn
something, to pass the time.  It is good to know--always.
EURIDICE, EU--RI--DI--CE, WEH DASS ICH AUF ERDEN BIN!" he
sang softly, playing the melody with his right hand.

     Thea, who was turning over the pages of the third act,

<p 72>

stopped and scowled at a passage.  The old German's
blurred eyes watched her curiously.

     "For what do you look so, IMMER?" puckering up his
own face.  "You see something a little difficult, may-be,
and you make such a face like it was an enemy."

     Thea laughed, disconcerted.  "Well, difficult things are
enemies, aren't they?  When you have to get them?"

     Wunsch lowered his head and threw it up as if he were
butting something.  "Not at all!  By no means."  He took
the book from her and looked at it.  "Yes, that is not so
easy, there.  This is an old book.  They do not print it so
now any more, I think.  They leave it out, may-be.  Only
one woman could sing that good."

     Thea looked at him in perplexity.

     Wunsch went on.  "It is written for alto, you see.  A
woman sings the part, and there was only one to sing that
good in there.  You understand?  Only one!"  He glanced
at her quickly and lifted his red forefinger upright before
her eyes.

     Thea looked at the finger as if she were hypnotized.
"Only one?" she asked breathlessly; her hands, hanging
at her sides, were opening and shutting rapidly.

     Wunsch nodded and still held up that compelling finger.
When he dropped his hands, there was a look of satisfac-
tion in his face.

     "Was she very great?"

     Wunsch nodded.

     "Was she beautiful?"

     "ABER GAR NICHT!  Not at all.  She was ugly; big mouth,
big teeth, no figure, nothing at all," indicating a luxuriant
bosom by sweeping his hands over his chest.  "A pole, a
post!  But for the voice--ACH!  She have something in
there, behind the eyes," tapping his temples.

     Thea followed all his gesticulations intently.  "Was she
German?"

     "No, SPANISCH."  He looked down and frowned for a

<p 73>

moment.  "ACH, I tell you, she look like the Frau Tella-
mantez, some-thing.  Long face, long chin, and ugly al-so."

     "Did she die a long while ago?"

     "Die?  I think not.  I never hear, anyhow.  I guess she is
alive somewhere in the world; Paris, may-be.  But old, of
course.  I hear her when I was a youth.  She is too old to
sing now any more."

     "Was she the greatest singer you ever heard?"

     Wunsch nodded gravely.  "Quite so.  She was the
most--" he hunted for an English word, lifted his hand
over his head and snapped his fingers noiselessly in the air,
enunciating fiercely, "KUNST-LER-ISCH!"  The word seemed to
glitter in his uplifted hand, his voice was so full of emotion.

     Wunsch rose from the stool and began to button his
wadded jacket, preparing to return to his half-heated room
in the loft.  Thea regretfully put on her cloak and hood and
set out for home.

     When Wunsch looked for his score late that afternoon,
he found that Thea had not forgotten to take it with her.
He smiled his loose, sarcastic smile, and thoughtfully
rubbed his stubbly chin with his red fingers.  When Fritz
came home in the early blue twilight the snow was flying
faster, Mrs. Kohler was cooking HASENPFEFFER in the kitchen,
and the professor was seated at the piano, playing the
Gluck, which he knew by heart.  Old Fritz took off his shoes
quietly behind the stove and lay down on the lounge before
his masterpiece, where the firelight was playing over the
walls of Moscow.  He listened, while the room grew darker
and the windows duller.  Wunsch always came back to the
same thing:--

          "ACH, ICH HABE SIE VERLOREN,

            .    .    .    .    .

             EURIDICE, EURIDICE!"

     From time to time Fritz sighed softly.  He, too, had lost
a Euridice.

<p 74>

                                XI

     One Saturday, late in June, Thea arrived early for her
lesson.  As she perched herself upon the piano stool,
--a wobbly, old-fashioned thing that worked on a creaky
screw,--she gave Wunsch a side glance, smiling.  "You
must not be cross to me to-day.  This is my birthday."

     "So?" he pointed to the keyboard.

     After the lesson they went out to join Mrs. Kohler, who
had asked Thea to come early, so that she could stay and
smell the linden bloom.  It was one of those still days of
intense light, when every particle of mica in the soil flashed
like a little mirror, and the glare from the plain below
seemed more intense than the rays from above.  The sand
ridges ran glittering gold out to where the mirage licked
them up, shining and steaming like a lake in the tropics.
The sky looked like blue lava, forever incapable of clouds,
--a turquoise bowl that was the lid of the desert.  And yet
within Mrs. Kohler's green patch the water dripped, the
beds had all been hosed, and the air was fresh with rapidly
evaporating moisture.

     The two symmetrical linden trees were the proudest
things in the garden.  Their sweetness embalmed all the
air.  At every turn of the paths,--whether one went to see
the hollyhocks or the bleeding heart, or to look at the pur-
ple morning-glories that ran over the bean-poles,--wher-
ever one went, the sweetness of the lindens struck one
afresh and one always came back to them.  Under the round
leaves, where the waxen yellow blossoms hung, bevies of
wild bees were buzzing.  The tamarisks were still pink, and
the flower-beds were doing their best in honor of the linden
festival.  The white dove-house was shining with a fresh
coat of paint, and the pigeons were crooning contentedly,

<p 75>

flying down often to drink at the drip from the water tank.
Mrs. Kohler, who was transplanting pansies, came up with
her trowel and told Thea it was lucky to have your birthday
when the lindens were in bloom, and that she must go and
look at the sweet peas.  Wunsch accompanied her, and as
they walked between the flower-beds he took Thea's hand.

          "ES FLUSTERN UND SPRECHEN DIE BLUMEN,"--
he muttered.  "You know that von Heine?  IM LEUCHTENDEN
SOMMERMORGEN?"  He looked down at Thea and softly
pressed her hand.

     "No, I don't know it.  What does FLUSTERN mean?"

     "FLUSTERN?--to whisper.  You must begin now to know
such things.  That is necessary.  How many birthdays?"

     "Thirteen.  I'm in my 'teens now.  But how can I know
words like that?  I only know what you say at my lessons.
They don't teach German at school.  How can I learn?"

     "It is always possible to learn when one likes," said
Wunsch.  His words were peremptory, as usual, but his
tone was mild, even confidential.  "There is always a way.
And if some day you are going to sing, it is necessary to
know well the German language."

     Thea stooped over to pick a leaf of rosemary.  How did
Wunsch know that, when the very roses on her wall-paper
had never heard it?  "But am I going to?" she asked, still
stooping.

     "That is for you to say," returned Wunsch coldly.  "You
would better marry some JACOB here and keep the house for
him, may-be?  That is as one desires."

     Thea flashed up at him a clear, laughing look.  "No, I
don't want to do that.  You know," she brushed his coat-
sleeve quickly with her yellow head.  "Only how can I
learn anything here?  It's so far from Denver."

     Wunsch's loose lower lip curled in amusement.  Then, as
if he suddenly remembered something, he spoke seriously.
"Nothing is far and nothing is near, if one desires.  The

<p 76>

world is little, people are little, human life is little.  There is
only one big thing--desire.  And before it, when it is big,
all is little.  It brought Columbus across the sea in a little
boat, UND SO WEITER."  Wunsch made a grimace, took his
pupil's hand and drew her toward the grape arbor.  "Here-
after I will more speak to you in German.  Now, sit down
and I will teach you for your birthday that little song.  Ask
me the words you do not know already.  Now: IM LEUCH-
TENDEN SOMMERMORGEN."

     Thea memorized quickly because she had the power of
listening intently.  In a few moments she could repeat the
eight lines for him.  Wunsch nodded encouragingly and
they went out of the arbor into the sunlight again.  As they
went up and down the gravel paths between the flower-
beds, the white and yellow butterflies kept darting before
them, and the pigeons were washing their pink feet at the
drip and crooning in their husky bass.  Over and over again
Wunsch made her say the lines to him.  "You see it is
nothing.  If you learn a great many of the LIEDER, you will
know the German language already.  WEITER, NUN."  He
would incline his head gravely and listen.

          "IM LEUCHTENDEN SOMMERMORGEN
             GEH' ICH IM GARTEN HERUM;
             ES FLUSTERN UND SPRECHEN DIE BLUMEN,
             ICH ABER, ICH WANDTE STUMM.

             "ES FLUSTERN UND SPRECHEN DIE BLUMEN
             UND SCHAU'N MITLEIDIG MICH AN:
             `SEI UNSERER SCHWESTER NICHT BOSE,
             DU TRAURIGER, BLASSER MANN!'"

          (In the soft-shining summer morning
          I wandered the garden within.
          The flowers they whispered and murmured,
          But I, I wandered dumb.

          The flowers they whisper and murmur,
          And me with compassion they scan:
          "Oh, be not harsh to our sister,
          Thou sorrowful, death-pale man!")

<p 77>

     Wunsch had noticed before that when his pupil read
anything in verse the character of her voice changed alto-
gether; it was no longer the voice which spoke the speech
of Moonstone.  It was a soft, rich contralto, and she read
quietly; the feeling was in the voice itself, not indicated by
emphasis or change of pitch.  She repeated the little verses
musically, like a song, and the entreaty of the flowers was
even softer than the rest, as the shy speech of flowers might
be, and she ended with the voice suspended, almost with a
rising inflection.  It was a nature-voice, Wunsch told him-
self, breathed from the creature and apart from language,
like the sound of the wind in the trees, or the murmur of
water.

     "What is it the flowers mean when they ask him not to
be harsh to their sister, eh?" he asked, looking down at her
curiously and wrinkling his dull red forehead.

     Thea glanced at him in surprise.  "I suppose he thinks
they are asking him not to be harsh to his sweetheart--or
some girl they remind him of."

     "And why TRAURIGER, BLASSER MANN?"

     They had come back to the grape arbor, and Thea picked
out a sunny place on the bench, where a tortoise-shell cat
was stretched at full length.  She sat down, bending over
the cat and teasing his whiskers.  "Because he had been
awake all night, thinking about her, wasn't it?  Maybe
that was why he was up so early."

     Wunsch shrugged his shoulders.  "If he think about her
all night already, why do you say the flowers remind him?"

     Thea looked up at him in perplexity.  A flash of compre-
hension lit her face and she smiled eagerly.  "Oh, I didn't
mean `remind' in that way!  I didn't mean they brought
her to his mind!  I meant it was only when he came out in
the morning, that she seemed to him like that,--like one
of the flowers."

     "And before he came out, how did she seem?"

     This time it was Thea who shrugged her shoulders.  The

<p 78>

warm smile left her face.  She lifted her eyebrows in annoy-
ance and looked off at the sand hills.

     Wunsch persisted.  "Why you not answer me?"

     "Because it would be silly.  You are just trying to make
me say things.  It spoils things to ask questions."

     Wunsch bowed mockingly; his smile was disagreeable.
Suddenly his face grew grave, grew fierce, indeed.  He pulled
himself up from his clumsy stoop and folded his arms.  "But
it is necessary to know if you know somethings.  Some-
things cannot be taught.  If you not know in the beginning,
you not know in the end.  For a singer there must be some-
thing in the inside from the beginning.  I shall not be long
in this place, may-be, and I like to know.  Yes,"--he
ground his heel in the gravel,--"yes, when you are barely
six, you must know that already.  That is the beginning of
all things; DER GEIST, DIE PHANTASIE.  It must be in the baby,
when it makes its first cry, like DER RHYTHMUS, or it is not to
be.  You have some voice already, and if in the beginning,
when you are with things-to-play, you know that what you
will not tell me, then you can learn to sing, may-be."

     Wunsch began to pace the arbor, rubbing his hands to-
gether.  The dark flush of his face had spread up under the
iron-gray bristles on his head.  He was talking to himself,
not to Thea.  Insidious power of the linden bloom!  "Oh,
much you can learn!  ABER NICHT DIE AMERICANISCHEN FRAU-
LEIN.  They have nothing inside them," striking his chest
with both fists.  "They are like the ones in the MAR-
CHEN, a grinning face and hollow in the insides.  Some-
thing they can learn, oh, yes, may-be!  But the secret--
what make the rose to red, the sky to blue, the man to love
--IN DER BRUST, IN DER BRUST it is, UND OHNE DIESES GIEBT ES
KEINE KUNST, GIEBT ES KEINE KUNST!"  He threw up his square
hand and shook it, all the fingers apart and wagging.  Purple
and breathless he went out of the arbor and into the house,
without saying good-bye.  These outbursts frightened
Wunsch.  They were always harbingers of ill.

<p 79>

     Thea got her music-book and stole quietly out of the
garden.  She did not go home, but wandered off into the
sand dunes, where the prickly pear was in blossom and the
green lizards were racing each other in the glittering light.
She was shaken by a passionate excitement.  She did not
altogether understand what Wunsch was talking about;
and yet, in a way she knew.  She knew, of course, that there
was something about her that was different.  But it was
more like a friendly spirit than like anything that was a
part of herself.  She thought everything to it, and it an-
swered her; happiness consisted of that backward and for-
ward movement of herself.  The something came and went,
she never knew how.  Sometimes she hunted for it and could
not find it; again, she lifted her eyes from a book, or stepped
out of doors, or wakened in the morning, and it was there,--
under her cheek, it usually seemed to be, or over her
breast,--a kind of warm sureness.  And when it was there,
everything was more interesting and beautiful, even people.
When this companion was with her, she could get the most
wonderful things out of Spanish Johnny, or Wunsch, or
Dr. Archie.

     On her thirteenth birthday she wandered for a long while
about the sand ridges, picking up crystals and looking into
the yellow prickly-pear blossoms with their thousand sta-
mens.  She looked at the sand hills until she wished she
WERE a sand hill.  And yet she knew that she was going to
leave them all behind some day.  They would be changing
all day long, yellow and purple and lavender, and she would
not be there.  From that day on, she felt there was a secret
between her and Wunsch.  Together they had lifted a lid,
pulled out a drawer, and looked at something.  They hid it
away and never spoke of what they had seen; but neither
of them forgot it.

<p 80>

                                XII

     One July night, when the moon was full, Dr. Archie
was coming up from the depot, restless and discon-
tented, wishing there were something to do.  He carried
his straw hat in his hand, and kept brushing his hair back
from his forehead with a purposeless, unsatisfied gesture.
After he passed Uncle Billy Beemer's cottonwood grove,
the sidewalk ran out of the shadow into the white moon-
light and crossed the sand gully on high posts, like a bridge.
As the doctor approached this trestle, he saw a white figure,
and recognized Thea Kronborg.  He quickened his pace and
she came to meet him.

     "What are you doing out so late, my girl?" he asked as
he took her hand.

     "Oh, I don't know.  What do people go to bed so early
for?  I'd like to run along before the houses and screech at
them.  Isn't it glorious out here?"

     The young doctor gave a melancholy laugh and pressed
her hand.

     "Think of it," Thea snorted impatiently.  "Nobody up
but us and the rabbits!  I've started up half a dozen of 'em.
Look at that little one down there now,"--she stooped
and pointed.  In the gully below them there was, indeed, a
little rabbit with a white spot of a tail, crouching down on
the sand, quite motionless.  It seemed to be lapping up the
moonlight like cream.  On the other side of the walk, down
in the ditch, there was a patch of tall, rank sunflowers,
their shaggy leaves white with dust.  The moon stood over
the cottonwood grove.  There was no wind, and no sound
but the wheezing of an engine down on the tracks.

     "Well, we may as well watch the rabbits."  Dr. Archie
sat down on the sidewalk and let his feet hang over the

<p 81>

edge.  He pulled out a smooth linen handkerchief that
smelled of German cologne water.  "Well, how goes it?
Working hard?  You must know about all Wunsch can
teach you by this time."

     Thea shook her head.  "Oh, no, I don't, Dr. Archie.
He's hard to get at, but he's been a real musician in his
time.  Mother says she believes he's forgotten more than
the music-teachers down in Denver ever knew."

     "I'm afraid he won't be around here much longer," said
Dr. Archie.  "He's been making a tank of himself lately.
He'll be pulling his freight one of these days.  That's the
way they do, you know.  I'll be sorry on your account."
He paused and ran his fresh handkerchief over his face.
"What the deuce are we all here for anyway, Thea?" he
said abruptly.

     "On earth, you mean?" Thea asked in a low voice.

     "Well, primarily, yes.  But secondarily, why are we in
Moonstone?  It isn't as if we'd been born here.  You were,
but Wunsch wasn't, and I wasn't.  I suppose I'm here
because I married as soon as I got out of medical school and
had to get a practice quick.  If you hurry things, you always
get left in the end.  I don't learn anything here, and as for
the people--  In my own town in Michigan, now, there
were people who liked me on my father's account, who had
even known my grandfather.  That meant something.  But
here it's all like the sand: blows north one day and south
the next.  We're all a lot of gamblers without much nerve,
playing for small stakes.  The railroad is the one real fact
in this country.  That has to be; the world has to be got
back and forth.  But the rest of us are here just because
it's the end of a run and the engine has to have a drink.
Some day I'll get up and find my hair turning gray, and
I'll have nothing to show for it."

     Thea slid closer to him and caught his arm.  "No, no.
I won't let you get gray.  You've got to stay young for me.
I'm getting young now, too."

<p 82>

     Archie laughed.  "Getting?"

     "Yes.  People aren't young when they're children.  Look
at Thor, now; he's just a little old man.  But Gus has a
sweetheart, and he's young!"

     "Something in that!"  Dr. Archie patted her head, and
then felt the shape of her skull gently, with the tips of his
fingers.  "When you were little, Thea, I used always to be
curious about the shape of your head.  You seemed to have
more inside it than most youngsters.  I haven't examined
it for a long time.  Seems to be the usual shape, but uncom-
monly hard, some how.  What are you going to do with
yourself, anyway?"

     "I don't know."

     "Honest, now?"  He lifted her chin and looked into her
eyes.

     Thea laughed and edged away from him.

     "You've got something up your sleeve, haven't you?
Anything you like; only don't marry and settle down here
without giving yourself a chance, will you?"

     "Not much.  See, there's another rabbit!"

     "That's all right about the rabbits, but I don't want
you to get tied up.  Remember that."

     Thea nodded.  "Be nice to Wunsch, then.  I don't know
what I'd do if he went away."

     "You've got older friends than Wunsch here, Thea."

     "I know."  Thea spoke seriously and looked up at the
moon, propping her chin on her hand.  "But Wunsch is the
only one that can teach me what I want to know.  I've got
to learn to do something well, and that's the thing I can
do best."

     "Do you want to be a music-teacher?"

     "Maybe, but I want to be a good one.  I'd like to go to
Germany to study, some day.  Wunsch says that's the best
place,--the only place you can really learn."  Thea hesi-
tated and then went on nervously, "I've got a book that
says so, too.  It's called `My Musical Memories.'  It made me

<p 83>

want to go to Germany even before Wunsch said anything.
Of course it's a secret.  You're the first one I've told."

     Dr. Archie smiled indulgently.  "That's a long way off.
Is that what you've got in your hard noddle?"  He put his
hand on her hair, but this time she shook him off.

     "No, I don't think much about it.  But you talk about
going, and a body has to have something to go TO!"

     "That's so."  Dr. Archie sighed.  "You're lucky if you
have.  Poor Wunsch, now, he hasn't.  What do such fellows
come out here for?  He's been asking me about my mining
stock, and about mining towns.  What would he do in a
mining town?  He wouldn't know a piece of ore if he saw
one.  He's got nothing to sell that a mining town wants to
buy.  Why don't those old fellows stay at home?  We won't
need them for another hundred years.  An engine wiper
can get a job, but a piano player!  Such people can't make
good."

     "My grandfather Alstrom was a musician, and he made
good."

     Dr. Archie chuckled.  "Oh, a Swede can make good any-
where, at anything!  You've got that in your favor, miss.
Come, you must be getting home."

     Thea rose.  "Yes, I used to be ashamed of being a Swede,
but I'm not any more.  Swedes are kind of common, but I
think it's better to be SOMETHING."

     "It surely is!  How tall you are getting.  You come above
my shoulder now."

     "I'll keep on growing, don't you think?  I particularly
want to be tall.  Yes, I guess I must go home.  I wish
there'd be a fire."

     "A fire?"

     "Yes, so the fire-bell would ring and the roundhouse
whistle would blow, and everybody would come running
out.  Sometime I'm going to ring the fire-bell myself and
stir them all up."

     "You'd be arrested."

<p 84>

     "Well, that would be better than going to bed."

     "I'll have to lend you some more books."

     Thea shook herself impatiently.  "I can't read every
night."

     Dr. Archie gave one of his low, sympathetic chuckles as
he opened the gate for her.  "You're beginning to grow up,
that's what's the matter with you.  I'll have to keep an eye
on you.  Now you'll have to say good-night to the moon."

     "No, I won't.  I sleep on the floor now, right in the moon-
light.  My window comes down to the floor, and I can look
at the sky all night."

     She shot round the house to the kitchen door, and Dr.
Archie watched her disappear with a sigh.  He thought of
the hard, mean, frizzy little woman who kept his house
for him; once the belle of a Michigan town, now dry and
withered up at thirty.  "If I had a daughter like Thea to
watch," he reflected, "I wouldn't mind anything.  I won-
der if all of my life's going to be a mistake just because I
made a big one then?  Hardly seems fair."

     Howard Archie was "respected" rather than popular in
Moonstone.  Everyone recognized that he was a good
physician, and a progressive Western town likes to be able
to point to a handsome, well-set-up, well-dressed man
among its citizens.  But a great many people thought
Archie "distant," and they were right.  He had the uneasy
manner of a man who is not among his own kind, and who
has not seen enough of the world to feel that all people are
in some sense his own kind.  He knew that every one was
curious about his wife, that she played a sort of character
part in Moonstone, and that people made fun of her, not
very delicately.  Her own friends--most of them women
who were distasteful to Archie--liked to ask her to con-
tribute to church charities, just to see how mean she could
be.  The little, lop-sided cake at the church supper, the
cheapest pincushion, the skimpiest apron at the bazaar,
were always Mrs. Archie's contribution.

<p 85>

     All this hurt the doctor's pride.  But if there was one
thing he had learned, it was that there was no changing
Belle's nature.  He had married a mean woman; and he
must accept the consequences.  Even in Colorado he
would have had no pretext for divorce, and, to do him jus-
tice, he had never thought of such a thing.  The tenets of
the Presbyterian Church in which he had grown up, though
he had long ceased to believe in them, still influenced his
conduct and his conception of propriety.  To him there was
something vulgar about divorce.  A divorced man was a
disgraced man; at least, he had exhibited his hurt, and made
it a matter for common gossip.  Respectability was so
necessary to Archie that he was willing to pay a high price
for it.  As long as he could keep up a decent exterior, he
could manage to get on; and if he could have concealed
his wife's littleness from all his friends, he would scarcely
have complained.  He was more afraid of pity than he was
of any unhappiness.  Had there been another woman for
whom he cared greatly, he might have had plenty of cour-
age; but he was not likely to meet such a woman in Moon-
stone.

     There was a puzzling timidity in Archie's make-up.  The
thing that held his shoulders stiff, that made him resort to a
mirthless little laugh when he was talking to dull people,
that made him sometimes stumble over rugs and carpets,
had its counterpart in his mind.  He had not the courage
to be an honest thinker.  He could comfort himself by eva-
sions and compromises.  He consoled himself for his own
marriage by telling himself that other people's were not
much better.  In his work he saw pretty deeply into marital
relations in Moonstone, and he could honestly say that
there were not many of his friends whom he envied.  Their
wives seemed to suit them well enough, but they would
never have suited him.

     Although Dr. Archie could not bring himself to regard
marriage merely as a social contract, but looked upon it as

<p 86>

somehow made sacred by a church in which he did not be-
lieve,--as a physician he knew that a young man whose
marriage is merely nominal must yet go on living his life.
When he went to Denver or to Chicago, he drifted about in
careless company where gayety and good-humor can be
bought, not because he had any taste for such society, but
because he honestly believed that anything was better
than divorce.  He often told himself that "hanging and
wiving go by destiny."  If wiving went badly with a man,
--and it did oftener than not,--then he must do the best
he could to keep up appearances and help the tradition
of domestic happiness along.  The Moonstone gossips, as-
sembled in Mrs. Smiley's millinery and notion store, often
discussed Dr. Archie's politeness to his wife, and his pleas-
ant manner of speaking about her.  "Nobody has ever got
a thing out of him yet," they agreed.  And it was certainly
not because no one had ever tried.

     When he was down in Denver, feeling a little jolly,
Archie could forget how unhappy he was at home, and could
even make himself believe that he missed his wife.  He
always bought her presents, and would have liked to send
her flowers if she had not repeatedly told him never to send
her anything but bulbs,--which did not appeal to him in
his expansive moments.  At the Denver Athletic Club ban-
quets, or at dinner with his colleagues at the Brown Palace
Hotel, he sometimes spoke sentimentally about "little
Mrs. Archie," and he always drank the toast "to our wives,
God bless them!" with gusto.

     The determining factor about Dr. Archie was that he
was romantic.  He had married Belle White because he was
romantic--too romantic to know anything about women,
except what he wished them to be, or to repulse a pretty
girl who had set her cap for him.  At medical school, though
he was a rather wild boy in behavior, he had always dis-
liked coarse jokes and vulgar stories.  In his old Flint's
Physiology there was still a poem he had pasted there when

<p 87>

he was a student; some verses by Dr. Oliver Wendell
Holmes about the ideals of the medical profession.  After
so much and such disillusioning experience with it, he still
had a romantic feeling about the human body; a sense that
finer things dwelt in it than could be explained by anatomy.
He never jested about birth or death or marriage, and did
not like to hear other doctors do it.  He was a good nurse,
and had a reverence for the bodies of women and children.
When he was tending them, one saw him at his best.  Then
his constraint and self-consciousness fell away from him.
He was easy, gentle, competent, master of himself and of
other people.  Then the idealist in him was not afraid of
being discovered and ridiculed.

     In his tastes, too, the doctor was romantic.  Though he
read Balzac all the year through, he still enjoyed the
Waverley Novels as much as when he had first come upon
them, in thick leather-bound volumes, in his grandfather's
library.  He nearly always read Scott on Christmas and
holidays, because it brought back the pleasures of his boy-
hood so vividly.  He liked Scott's women.  Constance de
Beverley and the minstrel girl in "The Fair Maid of
Perth," not the Duchesse de Langeais, were his heroines.
But better than anything that ever got from the heart of
a man into printer's ink, he loved the poetry of Robert
Burns.  "Death and Dr. Hornbook" and "The Jolly Beg-
gars," Burns's "Reply to his Tailor," he often read aloud to
himself in his office, late at night, after a glass of hot toddy.
He used to read "Tam o'Shanter" to Thea Kronborg, and
he got her some of the songs, set to the old airs for which
they were written.  He loved to hear her sing them.  Some-
times when she sang, "Oh, wert thou in the cauld blast,"
the doctor and even Mr. Kronborg joined in.  Thea never
minded if people could not sing; she directed them with
her head and somehow carried them along.  When her
father got off the pitch she let her own voice out and
covered him.

<p 88>

                               XIII

     At the beginning of June, when school closed, Thea had
told Wunsch that she didn't know how much prac-
ticing she could get in this summer because Thor had his
worst teeth still to cut.

     "My God! all last summer he was doing that!" Wunsch
exclaimed furiously.

     "I know, but it takes them two years, and Thor is slow,"
Thea answered reprovingly.

     The summer went well beyond her hopes, however.  She
told herself that it was the best summer of her life, so far.
Nobody was sick at home, and her lessons were uninter-
rupted.  Now that she had four pupils of her own and made
a dollar a week, her practicing was regarded more seriously
by the household.  Her mother had always arranged things
so that she could have the parlor four hours a day in sum-
mer.  Thor proved a friendly ally.  He behaved handsomely
about his molars, and never objected to being pulled off
into remote places in his cart.  When Thea dragged him
over the hill and made a camp under the shade of a bush
or a bank, he would waddle about and play with his blocks,
or bury his monkey in the sand and dig him up again.
Sometimes he got into the cactus and set up a howl, but
usually he let his sister read peacefully, while he coated
his hands and face, first with an all-day sucker and then
with gravel.

     Life was pleasant and uneventful until the first of Sep-
tember, when Wunsch began to drink so hard that he was
unable to appear when Thea went to take her mid-week
lesson, and Mrs. Kohler had to send her home after a tear-
ful apology.  On Saturday morning she set out for the
Kohlers' again, but on her way, when she was crossing the

<p 89>

ravine, she noticed a woman sitting at the bottom of the
gulch, under the railroad trestle.  She turned from her path
and saw that it was Mrs. Tellamantez, and she seemed to
be doing drawn-work.  Then Thea noticed that there was
something beside her, covered up with a purple and yellow
Mexican blanket.  She ran up the gulch and called to Mrs.
Tellamantez.  The Mexican woman held up a warning finger.
Thea glanced at the blanket and recognized a square red hand
which protruded.  The middle finger twitched slightly.

     "Is he hurt?" she gasped.

     Mrs. Tellamantez shook her head.  "No; very sick.  He
knows nothing," she said quietly, folding her hands over
her drawn-work.

     Thea learned that Wunsch had been out all night, that
this morning Mrs. Kohler had gone to look for him and
found him under the trestle covered with dirt and cinders.
Probably he had been trying to get home and had lost his
way.  Mrs. Tellamantez was watching beside the uncon-
scious man while Mrs. Kohler and Johnny went to get help.

     "You better go home now, I think," said Mrs. Tella-
mantez, in closing her narration.

     Thea hung her head and looked wistfully toward the
blanket.

     "Couldn't I just stay till they come?" she asked.  "I'd
like to know if he's very bad."

     "Bad enough," sighed Mrs. Tellamantez, taking up her
work again.

     Thea sat down under the narrow shade of one of the
trestle posts and listened to the locusts rasping in the hot
sand while she watched Mrs. Tellamantez evenly draw
her threads.  The blanket looked as if it were over a
heap of bricks.

     "I don't see him breathing any," she said anxiously.

     "Yes, he breathes," said Mrs. Tellamantez, not lifting
her eyes.

     It seemed to Thea that they waited for hours.  At last

<p 90>

they heard voices, and a party of men came down the
hill and up the gulch.  Dr. Archie and Fritz Kohler came
first; behind were Johnny and Ray, and several men from
the roundhouse.  Ray had the canvas litter that was kept at
the depot for accidents on the road.  Behind them trailed
half a dozen boys who had been hanging round the depot.

     When Ray saw Thea, he dropped his canvas roll and
hurried forward.  "Better run along home, Thee.  This is
ugly business."  Ray was indignant that anybody who
gave Thea music lessons should behave in such a manner.

     Thea resented both his proprietary tone and his superior
virtue.  "I won't.  I want to know how bad he is.  I'm not
a baby!" she exclaimed indignantly, stamping her foot into
the sand.

     Dr. Archie, who had been kneeling by the blanket, got
up and came toward Thea, dusting his knees.  He smiled
and nodded confidentially.  "He'll be all right when we
get him home.  But he wouldn't want you to see him like
this, poor old chap!  Understand?  Now, skip!"

     Thea ran down the gulch and looked back only once, to
see them lifting the canvas litter with Wunsch upon it,
still covered with the blanket.

     The men carried Wunsch up the hill and down the road
to the Kohlers'.  Mrs. Kohler had gone home and made up
a bed in the sitting-room, as she knew the litter could not
be got round the turn in the narrow stairway.  Wunsch was
like a dead man.  He lay unconscious all day.  Ray Ken-
nedy stayed with him till two o'clock in the afternoon,
when he had to go out on his run.  It was the first time he
had ever been inside the Kohlers' house, and he was so
much impressed by Napoleon that the piece-picture formed
a new bond between him and Thea.

     Dr. Archie went back at six o'clock, and found Mrs.
Kohler and Spanish Johnny with Wunsch, who was in a
high fever, muttering and groaning.

     "There ought to be some one here to look after him

<p 91>

to-night, Mrs. Kohler," he said.  "I'm on a confinement
case, and I can't be here, but there ought to be somebody.
He may get violent."

     Mrs. Kohler insisted that she could always do anything
with Wunsch, but the doctor shook his head and Spanish
Johnny grinned.  He said he would stay.  The doctor
laughed at him.  "Ten fellows like you couldn't hold him,
Spanish, if he got obstreperous; an Irishman would have
his hands full.  Guess I'd better put the soft pedal on him."
He pulled out his hypodermic.

     Spanish Johnny stayed, however, and the Kohlers went
to bed.  At about two o'clock in the morning Wunsch rose
from his ignominious cot.  Johnny, who was dozing on the
lounge, awoke to find the German standing in the middle of
the room in his undershirt and drawers, his arms bare, his
heavy body seeming twice its natural girth.  His face was
snarling and savage, and his eyes were crazy.  He had risen
to avenge himself, to wipe out his shame, to destroy his
enemy.  One look was enough for Johnny.  Wunsch raised
a chair threateningly, and Johnny, with the lightness of a
PICADOR, darted under the missile and out of the open win-
dow.  He shot across the gully to get help, meanwhile leav-
ing the Kohlers to their fate.

     Fritz, upstairs, heard the chair crash upon the stove.
Then he heard doors opening and shutting, and some one
stumbling about in the shrubbery of the garden.  He and
Paulina sat up in bed and held a consultation.  Fritz slipped
from under the covers, and going cautiously over to the
window, poked out his head.  Then he rushed to the door
and bolted it.

     "MEIN GOTT, Paulina," he gasped, "he has the axe, he
will kill us!"

     "The dresser," cried Mrs. Kohler; "push the dresser
before the door.  ACH, if you had your rabbit gun, now!"

     "It is in the barn," said Fritz sadly.  "It would do no
good; he would not be afraid of anything now.  Stay you in

<p 92>

the bed, Paulina."  The dresser had lost its casters years
ago, but he managed to drag it in front of the door.  "He
is in the garden.  He makes nothing.  He will get sick again,
may-be."

     Fritz went back to bed and his wife pulled the quilt
over him and made him lie down.  They heard stumbling
in the garden again, then a smash of glass.

     "ACH, DAS MISTBEET!" gasped Paulina, hearing her hot-
bed shivered.  "The poor soul, Fritz, he will cut himself.
ACH! what is that?"  They both sat up in bed.  "WIEDER!
ACH, What is he doing?"

     The noise came steadily, a sound of chopping.  Paulina
tore off her night-cap.  DIE BAUME, DIE BAUME!  He is cut-
ting our trees, Fritz!"  Before her husband could prevent
her, she had sprung from the bed and rushed to the win-
dow.  "DER TAUBENSCHLAG!  GERECHTER HIMMEL, he is chopping
the dove-house down!"

     Fritz reached her side before she had got her breath
again, and poked his head out beside hers.  There, in the
faint starlight, they saw a bulky man, barefoot, half
dressed, chopping away at the white post that formed the
pedestal of the dove-house.  The startled pigeons were
croaking and flying about his head, even beating their
wings in his face, so that he struck at them furiously with
the axe.  In a few seconds there was a crash, and Wunsch
had actually felled the dove-house.

     "Oh, if only it is not the trees next!" prayed Paulina.
"The dove-house you can make new again, but not DIE
BAUME."

     They watched breathlessly.  In the garden below Wunsch
stood in the attitude of a woodman, contemplating the
fallen cote.  Suddenly he threw the axe over his shoulder
and went out of the front gate toward the town.

     "The poor soul, he will meet his death!" Mrs. Kohler
wailed.  She ran back to her feather bed and hid her face
in the pillow.

<p 93>

     Fritz kept watch at the window.  "No, no, Paulina," he
called presently; "I see lanterns coming.  Johnny must
have gone for somebody.  Yes, four lanterns, coming along
the gulch.  They stop; they must have seen him already.
Now they are under the hill and I cannot see them, but I
think they have him.  They will bring him back.  I must
dress and go down."  He caught his trousers and began
pulling them on by the window.  "Yes, here they come,
half a dozen men.  And they have tied him with a rope,
Paulina!"

     "ACH, the poor man!  To be led like a cow," groaned
Mrs. Kohler.  "Oh, it is good that he has no wife!"  She
was reproaching herself for nagging Fritz when he drank
himself into foolish pleasantry or mild sulks, and felt that
she had never before appreciated her blessings.

     Wunsch was in bed for ten days, during which time he
was gossiped about and even preached about in Moonstone.
The Baptist preacher took a shot at the fallen man from
his pulpit, Mrs. Livery Johnson nodding approvingly
from her pew.  The mothers of Wunsch's pupils sent him
notes informing him that their daughters would discontinue
their music-lessons.  The old maid who had rented him her
piano sent the town dray for her contaminated instrument,
and ever afterward declared that Wunsch had ruined its
tone and scarred its glossy finish.  The Kohlers were unre-
mitting in their kindness to their friend.  Mrs. Kohler made
him soups and broths without stint, and Fritz repaired the
dove-house and mounted it on a new post, lest it might be
a sad reminder.

     As soon as Wunsch was strong enough to sit about in his
slippers and wadded jacket, he told Fritz to bring him
some stout thread from the shop.  When Fritz asked what
he was going to sew, he produced the tattered score
of "Orpheus" and said he would like to fix it up for a little
present.  Fritz carried it over to the shop and stitched it

<p 94>

into pasteboards, covered with dark suiting-cloth.  Over
the stitches he glued a strip of thin red leather which he got
from his friend, the harness-maker.  After Paulina had
cleaned the pages with fresh bread, Wunsch was amazed to
see what a fine book he had.  It opened stiffly, but that was
no matter.

     Sitting in the arbor one morning, under the ripe grapes
and the brown, curling leaves, with a pen and ink on the
bench beside him and the Gluck score on his knee, Wunsch
pondered for a long while.  Several times he dipped the pen
in the ink, and then put it back again in the cigar box in
which Mrs. Kohler kept her writing utensils.  His thoughts
wandered over a wide territory; over many countries and
many years.  There was no order or logical sequence in his
ideas.  Pictures came and went without reason.  Faces,
mountains, rivers, autumn days in other vineyards far
away.  He thought of a FUSZREISE he had made through the
Hartz Mountains in his student days; of the innkeeper's
pretty daughter who had lighted his pipe for him in the
garden one summer evening, of the woods above Wiesba-
den, haymakers on an island in the river.  The round-
house whistle woke him from his reveries. Ah, yes, he was
in Moonstone, Colorado.  He frowned for a moment and
looked at the book on his knee.  He had thought of a great
many appropriate things to write in it, but suddenly he
rejected all of them, opened the book, and at the top of
the much-engraved title-page he wrote rapidly in purple
ink:--

               EINST, O WUNDER!--

                         A. WUNSCH.
MOONSTONE, COLO.
  SEPTEMBER 30, 18--

     Nobody in Moonstone ever found what Wunsch's first
name was.  That "A" may have stood for Adam, or August,
or even Amadeus; he got very angry if any one asked him.

<p 95>

He remained A. Wunsch to the end of his chapter there.
When he presented this score to Thea, he told her that in
ten years she would either know what the inscription
meant, or she would not have the least idea, in which case
it would not matter.

     When Wunsch began to pack his trunk, both the Kohlers
were very unhappy.  He said he was coming back some
day, but that for the present, since he had lost all his
pupils, it would be better for him to try some "new town."
Mrs. Kohler darned and mended all his clothes, and gave
him two new shirts she had made for Fritz.  Fritz made
him a new pair of trousers and would have made him an
overcoat but for the fact that overcoats were so easy to
pawn.

     Wunsch would not go across the ravine to the town until
he went to take the morning train for Denver.  He said that
after he got to Denver he would "look around."  He left
Moonstone one bright October morning, without telling
any one good-bye.  He bought his ticket and went directly
into the smoking-car.  When the train was beginning to
pull out, he heard his name called frantically, and looking
out of the window he saw Thea Kronborg standing on the
siding, bareheaded and panting.  Some boys had brought
word to school that they saw Wunsch's trunk going over
to the station, and Thea had run away from school.  She
was at the end of the station platform, her hair in two
braids, her blue gingham dress wet to the knees because she
had run across lots through the weeds.  It had rained dur-
ing the night, and the tall sunflowers behind her were fresh
and shining.

     "Good-bye, Herr Wunsch, good-bye!" she called waving
to him.

     He thrust his head out at the car window and called
back, "LEBEN SIE WOHL, LEBEN SIE WOHL, MEIN KIND!"  He
watched her until the train swept around the curve be-
yond the roundhouse, and then sank back into his seat,

<p 96>

muttering, "She had been running.  Ah, she will run a
long way; they cannot stop her!"

     What was it about the child that one believed in?  Was
it her dogged industry, so unusual in this free-and-easy
country?  Was it her imagination?  More likely it was be-
cause she had both imagination and a stubborn will, curi-
ously balancing and interpenetrating each other.  There
was something unconscious and unawakened about her,
that tempted curiosity.  She had a kind of seriousness
that he had not met with in a pupil before.  She hated
difficult things, and yet she could never pass one by.
They seemed to challenge her; she had no peace until she
mastered them.  She had the power to make a great effort,
to lift a weight heavier than herself.  Wunsch hoped he
would always remember her as she stood by the track,
looking up at him; her broad eager face, so fair in color,
with its high cheek-bones, yellow eyebrows and greenish-
hazel eyes.  It was a face full of light and energy, of the
unquestioning hopefulness of first youth.  Yes, she was
like a flower full of sun, but not the soft German flowers of
his childhood.  He had it now, the comparison he had ab-
sently reached for before: she was like the yellow prickly-
pear blossoms that open there in the desert; thornier and
sturdier than the maiden flowers he remembered; not so
sweet, but wonderful.

     That night Mrs. Kohler brushed away many a tear as
she got supper and set the table for two.  When they sat
down, Fritz was more silent than usual.  People who have
lived long together need a third at table: they know each
other's thoughts so well that they have nothing left to say.
Mrs. Kohler stirred and stirred her coffee and clattered the
spoon, but she had no heart for her supper.  She felt, for
the first time in years, that she was tired of her own cook-
ing.  She looked across the glass lamp at her husband and
asked him if the butcher liked his new overcoat, and

<p 97>

whether he had got the shoulders right in a ready-made
suit he was patching over for Ray Kennedy.  After sup-
per Fritz offered to wipe the dishes for her, but she told
him to go about his business, and not to act as if she were
sick or getting helpless.

     When her work in the kitchen was all done, she went out
to cover the oleanders against frost, and to take a last look
at her chickens.  As she came back from the hen-house she
stopped by one of the linden trees and stood resting her
hand on the trunk.  He would never come back, the poor
man; she knew that.  He would drift on from new town
to new town, from catastrophe to catastrophe.  He would
hardly find a good home for himself again.  He would die
at last in some rough place, and be buried in the desert or
on the wild prairie, far enough from any linden tree!

     Fritz, smoking his pipe on the kitchen doorstep, watched
his Paulina and guessed her thoughts.  He, too, was sorry
to lose his friend.  But Fritz was getting old; he had lived a
long while and had learned to lose without struggle.

<p 98>

                                XIV

     "Mother," said Peter Kronborg to his wife one morn-
ing about two weeks after Wunsch's departure,
"how would you like to drive out to Copper Hole with me
to-day?"

     Mrs. Kronborg said she thought she would enjoy the
drive.  She put on her gray cashmere dress and gold
watch and chain, as befitted a minister's wife, and while
her husband was dressing she packed a black oilcloth
satchel with such clothing as she and Thor would need
overnight.

     Copper Hole was a settlement fifteen miles northwest of
Moonstone where Mr. Kronborg preached every Friday
evening.  There was a big spring there and a creek and a
few irrigating ditches.  It was a community of discour-
aged agriculturists who had disastrously experimented
with dry farming.  Mr. Kronborg always drove out one
day and back the next, spending the night with one of
his parishioners.  Often, when the weather was fine, his
wife accompanied him.  To-day they set out from home
after the midday meal, leaving Tillie in charge of the
house.  Mrs. Kronborg's maternal feeling was always gar-
nered up in the baby, whoever the baby happened to be.
If she had the baby with her, the others could look out for
themselves.  Thor, of course, was not, accurately speaking,
a baby any longer.  In the matter of nourishment he was
quite independent of his mother, though this independence
had not been won without a struggle.  Thor was conserva-
tive in all things, and the whole family had anguished with
him when he was being weaned.  Being the youngest, he
was still the baby for Mrs. Kronborg, though he was nearly
four years old and sat up boldly on her lap this afternoon,

<p 99>

holding on to the ends of the lines and shouting "`mup,
'mup, horsey."  His father watched him affectionately and
hummed hymn tunes in the jovial way that was sometimes
such a trial to Thea.

     Mrs. Kronborg was enjoying the sunshine and the bril-
liant sky and all the faintly marked features of the dazzling,
monotonous landscape.  She had a rather unusual capacity
for getting the flavor of places and of people.  Although
she was so enmeshed in family cares most of the time, she
could emerge serene when she was away from them.  For
a mother of seven, she had a singularly unprejudiced
point of view.  She was, moreover, a fatalist, and as she
did not attempt to direct things beyond her control, she
found a good deal of time to enjoy the ways of man and
nature.

     When they were well upon their road, out where the first
lean pasture lands began and the sand grass made a faint
showing between the sagebushes, Mr. Kronborg dropped
his tune and turned to his wife.  "Mother, I've been think-
ing about something."

     "I guessed you had.  What is it?"  She shifted Thor to
her left knee, where he would be more out of the way.

     "Well, it's about Thea.  Mr. Follansbee came to my
study at the church the other day and said they would like
to have their two girls take lessons of Thea.  Then I sounded
Miss Meyers" (Miss Meyers was the organist in Mr.
Kronborg's church) "and she said there was a good deal of
talk about whether Thea wouldn't take over Wunsch's
pupils.  She said if Thea stopped school she wouldn't
wonder if she could get pretty much all Wunsch's class.
People think Thea knows about all Wunsch could teach."

     Mrs. Kronborg looked thoughtful.  "Do you think we
ought to take her out of school so young?"

     "She is young, but next year would be her last year any-
way.  She's far along for her age.  And she can't learn much
under the principal we've got now, can she?"

<p 100>

     "No, I'm afraid she can't," his wife admitted.  "She
frets a good deal and says that man always has to look in
the back of the book for the answers.  She hates all that
diagramming they have to do, and I think myself it's a
waste of time."

     Mr. Kronborg settled himself back into the seat and
slowed the mare to a walk.  "You see, it occurs to me that
we might raise Thea's prices, so it would be worth her
while.  Seventy-five cents for hour lessons, fifty cents for
half-hour lessons.  If she got, say two thirds of Wunsch's
class, that would bring her in upwards of ten dollars a
week.  Better pay than teaching a country school, and
there would be more work in vacation than in winter.
Steady work twelve months in the year; that's an advan-
tage.  And she'd be living at home, with no expenses."

     "There'd be talk if you raised her prices," said Mrs.
Kronborg dubiously.

     "At first there would.  But Thea is so much the best
musician in town that they'd all come into line after a
while.  A good many people in Moonstone have been
making money lately, and have bought new pianos.  There
were ten new pianos shipped in here from Denver in the
last year.  People ain't going to let them stand idle; too
much money invested.  I believe Thea can have as many
scholars as she can handle, if we set her up a little."

     "How set her up, do you mean?"  Mrs. Kronborg felt a
certain reluctance about accepting this plan, though she
had not yet had time to think out her reasons.

     "Well, I've been thinking for some time we could make
good use of another room.  We couldn't give up the parlor
to her all the time.  If we built another room on the ell and
put the piano in there, she could give lessons all day long
and it wouldn't bother us.  We could build a clothes-press
in it, and put in a bed-lounge and a dresser and let Anna
have it for her sleeping-room.  She needs a place of her
own, now that she's beginning to be dressy."

<p 101>

     "Seems like Thea ought to have the choice of the room,
herself," said Mrs. Kronborg.

     "But, my dear, she don't want it.  Won't have it.  I
sounded her coming home from church on Sunday; asked
her if she would like to sleep in a new room, if we built on.
She fired up like a little wild-cat and said she'd made her
own room all herself, and she didn't think anybody ought
to take it away from her."

     "She don't mean to be impertinent, father.  She's made
decided that way, like my father."  Mrs. Kronborg spoke
warmly.  "I never have any trouble with the child.  I
remember my father's ways and go at her carefully.  Thea's
all right."

     Mr. Kronborg laughed indulgently and pinched Thor's
full cheek.  "Oh, I didn't mean anything against your girl,
mother!  She's all right, but she's a little wild-cat, just the
same.  I think Ray Kennedy's planning to spoil a born old
maid."

     "Huh!  She'll get something a good sight better than
Ray Kennedy, you see!  Thea's an awful smart girl.  I've
seen a good many girls take music lessons in my time, but
I ain't seen one that took to it so.  Wunsch said so, too.
She's got the making of something in her."

     "I don't deny that, and the sooner she gets at it in a
businesslike way, the better.  She's the kind that takes
responsibility, and it'll be good for her."

     Mrs. Kronborg was thoughtful.  "In some ways it will,
maybe.  But there's a good deal of strain about teaching
youngsters, and she's always worked so hard with the
scholars she has.  I've often listened to her pounding it
into 'em.  I don't want to work her too hard.  She's so
serious that she's never had what you might call any real
childhood.  Seems like she ought to have the next few
years sort of free and easy.  She'll be tied down with re-
sponsibilities soon enough."

     Mr. Kronborg patted his wife's arm.  "Don't you believe

<p 102>

it, mother.  Thea is not the marrying kind.  I've watched
'em.  Anna will marry before long and make a good wife,
but I don't see Thea bringing up a family.  She's got a
good deal of her mother in her, but she hasn't got all.  She's
too peppery and too fond of having her own way.  Then
she's always got to be ahead in everything.  That kind
make good church-workers and missionaries and school
teachers, but they don't make good wives.  They fret all
their energy away, like colts, and get cut on the wire."

     Mrs. Kronborg laughed.  "Give me the graham crackers
I put in your pocket for Thor.  He's hungry.  You're a
funny man, Peter.  A body wouldn't think, to hear you,
you was talking about your own daughters.  I guess you see
through 'em.  Still, even if Thea ain't apt to have children
of her own, I don't know as that's a good reason why she
should wear herself out on other people's."

     "That's just the point, mother.  A girl with all that
energy has got to do something, same as a boy, to keep her
out of mischief.  If you don't want her to marry Ray, let
her do something to make herself independent."

     "Well, I'm not against it.  It might be the best thing for
her.  I wish I felt sure she wouldn't worry.  She takes things
hard.  She nearly cried herself sick about Wunsch's going
away.  She's the smartest child of 'em all, Peter, by a long
ways."

     Peter Kronborg smiled.  "There you go, Anna.  That's
you all over again.  Now, I have no favorites; they all have
their good points.  But you," with a twinkle, "always did
go in for brains."

     Mrs. Kronborg chuckled as she wiped the cracker crumbs
from Thor's chin and fists.  "Well, you're mighty conceited,
Peter!  But I don't know as I ever regretted it.  I prefer
having a family of my own to fussing with other folks'
children, that's the truth."

     Before the Kronborgs reached Copper Hole, Thea's des-
tiny was pretty well mapped out for her.  Mr. Kronborg

<p 103>

was always delighted to have an excuse for enlarging the
house.

     Mrs. Kronborg was quite right in her conjecture that
there would be unfriendly comment in Moonstone when
Thea raised her prices for music-lessons.  People said she
was getting too conceited for anything.  Mrs. Livery John-
son put on a new bonnet and paid up all her back calls to
have the pleasure of announcing in each parlor she entered
that her daughters, at least, would "never pay professional
prices to Thea Kronborg."

     Thea raised no objection to quitting school.  She was
now in the "high room," as it was called, in next to the
highest class, and was studying geometry and beginning
Caesar.  She no longer recited her lessons to the teacher she
liked, but to the Principal, a man who belonged, like Mrs.
Livery Johnson, to the camp of Thea's natural enemies.
He taught school because he was too lazy to work among
grown-up people, and he made an easy job of it.  He got
out of real work by inventing useless activities for his
pupils, such as the "tree-diagramming system."  Thea had
spent hours making trees out of "Thanatopsis," Hamlet's
soliloquy, Cato on "Immortality."  She agonized under
this waste of time, and was only too glad to accept her
father's offer of liberty.

     So Thea left school the first of November.  By the
first of January she had eight one-hour pupils and ten
half-hour pupils, and there would be more in the sum-
mer.  She spent her earnings generously.  She bought a
new Brussels carpet for the parlor, and a rifle for Gunner
and Axel, and an imitation tiger-skin coat and cap for
Thor.  She enjoyed being able to add to the family posses-
sions, and thought Thor looked quite as handsome in his
spots as the rich children she had seen in Denver.  Thor
was most complacent in his conspicuous apparel.  He could
walk anywhere by this time--though he always preferred
to sit, or to be pulled in his cart.  He was a blissfully lazy

<p 104>

child, and had a number of long, dull plays, such as mak-
ing nests for his china duck and waiting for her to lay
him an egg.  Thea thought him very intelligent, and she
was proud that he was so big and burly.  She found him
restful, loved to hear him call her "sitter," and really liked
his companionship, especially when she was tired.  On Sat-
urday, for instance, when she taught from nine in the
morning until five in the afternoon, she liked to get off in a
corner with Thor after supper, away from all the bathing
and dressing and joking and talking that went on in the
house, and ask him about his duck, or hear him tell one of
his rambling stories.

<p 105>

                                XV

     By the time Thea's fifteenth birthday came round, she
was established as a music teacher in Moonstone.
The new room had been added to the house early in the
spring, and Thea had been giving her lessons there since
the middle of May.  She liked the personal independence
which was accorded her as a wage-earner.  The family ques-
tioned her comings and goings very little.  She could go
buggy-riding with Ray Kennedy, for instance, without tak-
ing Gunner or Axel.  She could go to Spanish Johnny's and
sing part songs with the Mexicans, and nobody objected.

     Thea was still under the first excitement of teaching, and
was terribly in earnest about it.  If a pupil did not get on
well, she fumed and fretted.  She counted until she was
hoarse.  She listened to scales in her sleep.  Wunsch had
taught only one pupil seriously, but Thea taught twenty.
The duller they were, the more furiously she poked and
prodded them.  With the little girls she was nearly always
patient, but with pupils older than herself, she sometimes
lost her temper.  One of her mistakes was to let herself in
for a calling-down from Mrs. Livery Johnson.  That lady
appeared at the Kronborgs' one morning and announced
that she would allow no girl to stamp her foot at her daugh-
ter Grace.  She added that Thea's bad manners with the
older girls were being talked about all over town, and that
if her temper did not speedily improve she would lose all
her advanced pupils.  Thea was frightened.  She felt she
could never bear the disgrace, if such a thing happened.
Besides, what would her father say, after he had gone to
the expense of building an addition to the house?  Mrs.
Johnson demanded an apology to Grace.  Thea said she
was willing to make it.  Mrs. Johnson said that hereafter,

<p 106>

since she had taken lessons of the best piano teacher in
Grinnell, Iowa, she herself would decide what pieces
Grace should study.  Thea readily consented to that, and
Mrs. Johnson rustled away to tell a neighbor woman that
Thea Kronborg could be meek enough when you went at
her right.

     Thea was telling Ray about this unpleasant encounter as
they were driving out to the sand hills the next Sunday.

     "She was stuffing you, all right, Thee," Ray reassured
her.  "There's no general dissatisfaction among your schol-
ars.  She just wanted to get in a knock.  I talked to the
piano tuner the last time he was here, and he said all the
people he tuned for expressed themselves very favorably
about your teaching.  I wish you didn't take so much pains
with them, myself."

     "But I have to, Ray.  They're all so dumb.  They've
got no ambition," Thea exclaimed irritably.  "Jenny
Smiley is the only one who isn't stupid.  She can read
pretty well, and she has such good hands.  But she don't
care a rap about it.  She has no pride."

     Ray's face was full of complacent satisfaction as he
glanced sidewise at Thea, but she was looking off intently
into the mirage, at one of those mammoth cattle that are
nearly always reflected there.  "Do you find it easier to
teach in your new room?" he asked.

     "Yes; I'm not interrupted so much.  Of course, if I ever
happen to want to practice at night, that's always the
night Anna chooses to go to bed early."

     "It's a darned shame, Thee, you didn't cop that room
for yourself.  I'm sore at the PADRE about that.  He ought
to give you that room.  You could fix it up so pretty."

     "I didn't want it, honest I didn't.  Father would have
let me have it.  I like my own room better.  Somehow I
can think better in a little room.  Besides, up there I am
away from everybody, and I can read as late as I please
and nobody nags me."

<p 107>

     "A growing girl needs lots of sleep," Ray providently
remarked.

     Thea moved restlessly on the buggy cushions.  "They
need other things more," she muttered.  "Oh, I forgot.
I brought something to show you.  Look here, it came on
my birthday.  Wasn't it nice of him to remember?"  She
took from her pocket a postcard, bent in the middle and
folded, and handed it to Ray.  On it was a white dove,
perched on a wreath of very blue forget-me-nots, and
"Birthday Greetings" in gold letters.  Under this was
written, "From A. Wunsch."

     Ray turned the card over, examined the postmark, and
then began to laugh.

     "Concord, Kansas.  He has my sympathy!"

     "Why, is that a poor town?"

     "It's the jumping-off place, no town at all.  Some houses
dumped down in the middle of a cornfield.  You get lost in
the corn.  Not even a saloon to keep things going; sell whis-
key without a license at the butcher shop, beer on ice with
the liver and beefsteak.  I wouldn't stay there over Sunday
for a ten-dollar bill."

     "Oh, dear!  What do you suppose he's doing there?
Maybe he just stopped off there a few days to tune pianos,"
Thea suggested hopefully.

     Ray gave her back the card.  "He's headed in the wrong
direction.  What does he want to get back into a grass
country for?  Now, there are lots of good live towns down
on the Santa Fe, and everybody down there is musical.
He could always get a job playing in saloons if he was dead-
broke.  I've figured out that I've got no years of my life to
waste in a Methodist country where they raise pork."

     "We must stop on our way back and show this card to
Mrs. Kohler.  She misses him so."

     "By the way, Thee, I hear the old woman goes to church
every Sunday to hear you sing.  Fritz tells me he has to
wait till two o'clock for his Sunday dinner these days.  The

<p 108>

church people ought to give you credit for that, when they
go for you."

     Thea shook her head and spoke in a tone of resignation.
"They'll always go for me, just as they did for Wunsch.
It wasn't because he drank they went for him; not really.
It was something else."

     "You want to salt your money down, Thee, and go to
Chicago and take some lessons.  Then you come back, and
wear a long feather and high heels and put on a few airs,
and that'll fix 'em.  That's what they like."

     "I'll never have money enough to go to Chicago.  Mother
meant to lend me some, I think, but now they've got hard
times back in Nebraska, and her farm don't bring her in
anything.  Takes all the tenant can raise to pay the taxes.
Don't let's talk about that.  You promised to tell me about
the play you went to see in Denver."

     Any one would have liked to hear Ray's simple and clear
account of the performance he had seen at the Tabor Grand
Opera House--Maggie Mitchell in LITTLE BAREFOOT--and
any one would have liked to watch his kind face.  Ray
looked his best out of doors, when his thick red hands were
covered by gloves, and the dull red of his sunburned face
somehow seemed right in the light and wind.  He looked
better, too, with his hat on; his hair was thin and dry, with
no particular color or character, "regular Willy-boy hair,"
as he himself described it.  His eyes were pale beside the
reddish bronze of his skin.  They had the faded look often
seen in the eyes of men who have lived much in the sun
and wind and who have been accustomed to train their
vision upon distant objects.

     Ray realized that Thea's life was dull and exacting, and
that she missed Wunsch.  He knew she worked hard, that
she put up with a great many little annoyances, and that
her duties as a teacher separated her more than ever from
the boys and girls of her own age.  He did everything he
could to provide recreation for her.  He brought her candy

<p 109>

and magazines and pineapples--of which she was very fond
--from Denver, and kept his eyes and ears open for any-
thing that might interest her.  He was, of course, living for
Thea.  He had thought it all out carefully and had made
up his mind just when he would speak to her.  When she
was seventeen, then he would tell her his plan and ask her
to marry him.  He would be willing to wait two, or even
three years, until she was twenty, if she thought best.  By
that time he would surely have got in on something: cop-
per, oil, gold, silver, sheep,--something.

     Meanwhile, it was pleasure enough to feel that she de-
pended on him more and more, that she leaned upon his
steady kindness.  He never broke faith with himself about
her; he never hinted to her of his hopes for the future,
never suggested that she might be more intimately con-
fidential with him, or talked to her of the thing he thought
about so constantly.  He had the chivalry which is per-
haps the proudest possession of his race.  He had never
embarrassed her by so much as a glance.  Sometimes,
when they drove out to the sand hills, he let his left arm
lie along the back of the buggy seat, but it never came any
nearer to Thea than that, never touched her.  He often
turned to her a face full of pride, and frank admiration,
but his glance was never so intimate or so penetrating
as Dr. Archie's.  His blue eyes were clear and shallow,
friendly, uninquiring.  He rested Thea because he was so
different; because, though he often told her interesting
things, he never set lively fancies going in her head; because
he never misunderstood her, and because he never, by any
chance, for a single instant, understood her!  Yes, with
Ray she was safe; by him she would never be discovered!

<p 110>

                                XVI

     The pleasantest experience Thea had that summer was
a trip that she and her mother made to Denver in
Ray Kennedy's caboose.  Mrs. Kronborg had been look-
ing forward to this excursion for a long while, but as Ray
never knew at what hour his freight would leave Moon-
stone, it was difficult to arrange.  The call-boy was as likely
to summon him to start on his run at twelve o'clock mid-
night as at twelve o'clock noon.  The first week in June
started out with all the scheduled trains running on time,
and a light freight business.  Tuesday evening Ray, after
consulting with the dispatcher, stopped at the Kronborgs'
front gate to tell Mrs. Kronborg--who was helping Tillie
water the flowers--that if she and Thea could be at the
depot at eight o'clock the next morning, he thought he
could promise them a pleasant ride and get them into
Denver before nine o'clock in the evening.  Mrs. Kronborg
told him cheerfully, across the fence, that she would "take
him up on it," and Ray hurried back to the yards to scrub
out his car.

     The one complaint Ray's brakemen had to make of him
was that he was too fussy about his caboose.  His former
brakeman had asked to be transferred because, he said,
"Kennedy was as fussy about his car as an old maid about
her bird-cage."  Joe Giddy, who was braking with Ray
now, called him "the bride," because he kept the caboose
and bunks so clean.

     It was properly the brakeman's business to keep the car
clean, but when Ray got back to the depot, Giddy was
nowhere to be found.  Muttering that all his brakemen
seemed to consider him "easy," Ray went down to his car
alone.  He built a fire in the stove and put water on to heat

<p 111>

while he got into his overalls and jumper.  Then he set to
work with a scrubbing-brush and plenty of soap and
"cleaner."  He scrubbed the floor and seats, blacked the
stove, put clean sheets on the bunks, and then began to
demolish Giddy's picture gallery.  Ray found that his
brakemen were likely to have what he termed "a taste for
the nude in art," and Giddy was no exception.  Ray took
down half a dozen girls in tights and ballet skirts,--pre-
miums for cigarette coupons,--and some racy calendars
advertising saloons and sporting clubs, which had cost
Giddy both time and trouble; he even removed Giddy's
particular pet, a naked girl lying on a couch with her knee
carelessly poised in the air.  Underneath the picture was
printed the title, "The Odalisque."  Giddy was under the
happy delusion that this title meant something wicked,--
there was a wicked look about the consonants,--but Ray,
of course, had looked it up, and Giddy was indebted to the
dictionary for the privilege of keeping his lady.  If "oda-
lisque" had been what Ray called an objectionable word,
he would have thrown the picture out in the first place.
Ray even took down a picture of Mrs. Langtry in evening
dress, because it was entitled the "Jersey Lily," and be-
cause there was a small head of Edward VII, then Prince
of Wales, in one corner.  Albert Edward's conduct was a
popular subject of discussion among railroad men in those
days, and as Ray pulled the tacks out of this lithograph he
felt more indignant with the English than ever.  He de-
posited all these pictures under the mattress of Giddy's
bunk, and stood admiring his clean car in the lamplight;
the walls now exhibited only a wheatfield, advertising agri-
cultural implements, a map of Colorado, and some pictures
of race-horses and hunting-dogs.  At this moment Giddy,
freshly shaved and shampooed, his shirt shining with the
highest polish known to Chinese laundrymen, his straw
hat tipped over his right eye, thrust his head in at the door.

     "What in hell--" he brought out furiously.  His good-

<p 112>

humored, sunburned face seemed fairly to swell with
amazement and anger.

     "That's all right, Giddy," Ray called in a conciliatory
tone.  "Nothing injured.  I'll put 'em all up again as I
found 'em.  Going to take some ladies down in the car
to-morrow."

     Giddy scowled.  He did not dispute the propriety of Ray's
measures, if there were to be ladies on board, but he felt
injured.  "I suppose you'll expect me to behave like a
Y.M.C.A. secretary," he growled.  "I can't do my work
and serve tea at the same time."

     "No need to have a tea-party," said Ray with deter-
mined cheerfulness.  "Mrs. Kronborg will bring the lunch,
and it will be a darned good one."

     Giddy lounged against the car, holding his cigar between
two thick fingers.  "Then I guess she'll get it," he observed
knowingly.  "I don't think your musical friend is much on
the grub-box.  Has to keep her hands white to tickle the
ivories."  Giddy had nothing against Thea, but he felt
cantankerous and wanted to get a rise out of Kennedy.

     "Every man to his own job," Ray replied agreeably,
pulling his white shirt on over his head.

     Giddy emitted smoke disdainfully.  "I suppose so.  The
man that gets her will have to wear an apron and bake the
pancakes.  Well, some men like to mess about the kitchen."
He paused, but Ray was intent on getting into his clothes
as quickly as possible.  Giddy thought he could go a little
further.  "Of course, I don't dispute your right to haul
women in this car if you want to; but personally, so far as
I'm concerned, I'd a good deal rather drink a can of toma-
toes and do without the women AND their lunch.  I was never
much enslaved to hard-boiled eggs, anyhow."

     "You'll eat 'em to-morrow, all the same."  Ray's tone
had a steely glitter as he jumped out of the car, and Giddy
stood aside to let him pass.  He knew that Kennedy's next
reply would be delivered by hand.  He had once seen Ray

<p 113>

beat up a nasty fellow for insulting a Mexican woman who
helped about the grub-car in the work train, and his fists
had worked like two steel hammers.  Giddy wasn't looking
for trouble.

     At eight o'clock the next morning Ray greeted his ladies
and helped them into the car.  Giddy had put on a clean
shirt and yellow pig-skin gloves and was whistling his
best.  He considered Kennedy a fluke as a ladies' man,
and if there was to be a party, the honors had to be done
by some one who wasn't a blacksmith at small-talk.
Giddy had, as Ray sarcastically admitted, "a local repu-
tation as a jollier," and he was fluent in gallant speeches
of a not too-veiled nature.  He insisted that Thea should
take his seat in the cupola, opposite Ray's, where she
could look out over the country.  Thea told him, as she
clambered up, that she cared a good deal more about
riding in that seat than about going to Denver.  Ray was
never so companionable and easy as when he sat chatting
in the lookout of his little house on wheels.  Good stories
came to him, and interesting recollections.  Thea had a
great respect for the reports he had to write out, and for
the telegrams that were handed to him at stations; for
all the knowledge and experience it must take to run a
freight train.

     Giddy, down in the car, in the pauses of his work, made
himself agreeable to Mrs. Kronborg.

     "It's a great rest to be where my family can't get at me,
Mr. Giddy," she told him.  "I thought you and Ray might
have some housework here for me to look after, but I
couldn't improve any on this car."

     "Oh, we like to keep her neat," returned Giddy glibly,
winking up at Ray's expressive back.  "If you want to see
a clean ice-box, look at this one.  Yes, Kennedy always
carries fresh cream to eat on his oatmeal.  I'm not particu-
lar.  The tin cow's good enough for me."

<p 114>

     "Most of you boys smoke so much that all victuals taste
alike to you," said Mrs. Kronborg.  "I've got no religious
scruples against smoking, but I couldn't take as much
interest cooking for a man that used tobacco.  I guess it's
all right for bachelors who have to eat round."

     Mrs. Kronborg took off her hat and veil and made her-
self comfortable.  She seldom had an opportunity to be
idle, and she enjoyed it.  She could sit for hours and watch
the sage-hens fly up and the jack-rabbits dart away from
the track, without being bored.  She wore a tan bombazine
dress, made very plainly, and carried a roomy, worn,
mother-of-the-family handbag.

     Ray Kennedy always insisted that Mrs. Kronborg was
"a fine-looking lady," but this was not the common opin-
ion in Moonstone.  Ray had lived long enough among the
Mexicans to dislike fussiness, to feel that there was some-
thing more attractive in ease of manner than in absent-
minded concern about hairpins and dabs of lace.  He had
learned to think that the way a woman stood, moved, sat
in her chair, looked at you, was more important than the
absence of wrinkles from her skirt.  Ray had, indeed, such
unusual perceptions in some directions, that one could
not help wondering what he would have been if he had
ever, as he said, had "half a chance."

     He was right; Mrs. Kronborg was a fine-looking woman.
She was short and square, but her head was a real head,
not a mere jerky termination of the body.  It had some
individuality apart from hats and hairpins.  Her hair,
Moonstone women admitted, would have been very pretty
"on anybody else."  Frizzy bangs were worn then, but
Mrs. Kronborg always dressed her hair in the same way,
parted in the middle, brushed smoothly back from her
low, white forehead, pinned loosely on the back of her
head in two thick braids.  It was growing gray about the
temples, but after the manner of yellow hair it seemed
only to have grown paler there, and had taken on a color

<p 115>

like that of English primroses.  Her eyes were clear and
untroubled; her face smooth and calm, and, as Ray said,
"strong."

     Thea and Ray, up in the sunny cupola, were laughing
and talking.  Ray got great pleasure out of seeing her face
there in the little box where he so often imagined it.  They
were crossing a plateau where great red sandstone boulders
lay about, most of them much wider at the top than at the
base, so that they looked like great toadstools.

     "The sand has been blowing against them for a good
many hundred years," Ray explained, directing Thea's
eyes with his gloved hand.  "You see the sand blows low,
being so heavy, and cuts them out underneath.  Wind and
sand are pretty high-class architects.  That's the principle
of most of the Cliff-Dweller remains down at Canyon de
Chelly.  The sandstorms had dug out big depressions in the
face of a cliff, and the Indians built their houses back in
that depression."

     "You told me that before, Ray, and of course you know.
But the geography says their houses were cut out of the
face of the living rock, and I like that better."

     Ray sniffed.  "What nonsense does get printed!  It's
enough to give a man disrespect for learning.  How could
them Indians cut houses out of the living rock, when they
knew nothing about the art of forging metals?"  Ray
leaned back in his chair, swung his foot, and looked thought-
ful and happy.  He was in one of his favorite fields of specu-
lation, and nothing gave him more pleasure than talking
these things over with Thea Kronborg.  "I'll tell you,
Thee, if those old fellows had learned to work metals once,
your ancient Egyptians and Assyrians wouldn't have beat
them very much.  Whatever they did do, they did well.
Their masonry's standing there to-day, the corners as true
as the Denver Capitol.  They were clever at most every-
thing but metals; and that one failure kept them from
getting across.  It was the quicksand that swallowed 'em

<p 116>

up, as a race.  I guess civilization proper began when men
mastered metals."

     Ray was not vain about his bookish phrases.  He did not
use them to show off, but because they seemed to him more
adequate than colloquial speech.  He felt strongly about
these things, and groped for words, as he said, "to express
himself."  He had the lamentable American belief that
"expression" is obligatory.  He still carried in his trunk,
among the unrelated possessions of a railroad man, a note-
book on the title-page of which was written "Impressions
on First Viewing the Grand Canyon, Ray H. Kennedy."
The pages of that book were like a battlefield; the laboring
author had fallen back from metaphor after metaphor,
abandoned position after position.  He would have admit-
ted that the art of forging metals was nothing to this treach-
erous business of recording impressions, in which the
material you were so full of vanished mysteriously under
your striving hand.  "Escaping steam!" he had said to him-
self, the last time he tried to read that notebook.

     Thea didn't mind Ray's travel-lecture expressions.  She
dodged them, unconsciously, as she did her father's pro-
fessional palaver.  The light in Ray's pale-blue eyes and
the feeling in his voice more than made up for the stiff-
ness of his language.

     "Were the Cliff-Dwellers really clever with their hands,
Ray, or do you always have to make allowance and say,
'That was pretty good for an Indian'?" she asked.

     Ray went down into the car to give some instructions to
Giddy.  "Well," he said when he returned, "about the
aborigines: once or twice I've been with some fellows who
were cracking burial mounds.  Always felt a little ashamed
of it, but we did pull out some remarkable things.  We got
some pottery out whole; seemed pretty fine to me.  I guess
their women were their artists.  We found lots of old shoes
and sandals made out of yucca fiber, neat and strong; and
feather blankets, too."

<p 117>

     "Feather blankets?  You never told me about them."

     "Didn't I?  The old fellows--or the squaws--wove
a close netting of yucca fiber, and then tied on little bunches
of down feathers, overlapping, just the way feathers grow
on a bird.  Some of them were feathered on both sides.
You can't get anything warmer than that, now, can you?
--or prettier.  What I like about those old aborigines is,
that they got all their ideas from nature."

     Thea laughed.  "That means you're going to say some-
thing about girls' wearing corsets.  But some of your In-
dians flattened their babies' heads, and that's worse than
wearing corsets."

     "Give me an Indian girl's figure for beauty," Ray in-
sisted.  "And a girl with a voice like yours ought to have
plenty of lung-action.  But you know my sentiments on
that subject.  I was going to tell you about the handsomest
thing we ever looted out of those burial mounds.  It was on
a woman, too, I regret to say.  She was preserved as perfect
as any mummy that ever came out of the pyramids.  She
had a big string of turquoises around her neck, and she was
wrapped in a fox-fur cloak, lined with little yellow feathers
that must have come off wild canaries.  Can you beat that,
now?  The fellow that claimed it sold it to a Boston man
for a hundred and fifty dollars."

     Thea looked at him admiringly.  "Oh, Ray, and didn't
you get anything off her, to remember her by, even?  She
must have been a princess."

     Ray took a wallet from the pocket of the coat that was
hanging beside him, and drew from it a little lump wrapped
in worn tissue paper.  In a moment a stone, soft and blue
as a robin's egg, lay in the hard palm of his hand.  It was a
turquoise, rubbed smooth in the Indian finish, which is so
much more beautiful than the incongruous high polish the
white man gives that tender stone.  "I got this from her
necklace.  See the hole where the string went through?
You know how the Indians drill them?  Work the drill with

<p 118>

their teeth.  You like it, don't you?  They're just right for
you.  Blue and yellow are the Swedish colors."  Ray looked
intently at her head, bent over his hand, and then gave his
whole attention to the track.

     "I'll tell you, Thee," he began after a pause, "I'm going
to form a camping party one of these days and persuade
your PADRE to take you and your mother down to that coun-
try, and we'll live in the rock houses--they're as comfort-
able as can be--and start the cook fires up in 'em once
again.  I'll go into the burial mounds and get you more
keepsakes than any girl ever had before."  Ray had planned
such an expedition for his wedding journey, and it made
his heart thump to see how Thea's eyes kindled when he
talked about it.  "I've learned more down there about
what makes history," he went on, "than in all the books
I've ever read.  When you sit in the sun and let your heels
hang out of a doorway that drops a thousand feet, ideas
come to you.  You begin to feel what the human race has
been up against from the beginning.  There's something
mighty elevating about those old habitations.  You feel like
it's up to you to do your best, on account of those fellows
having it so hard.  You feel like you owed them something."

     At Wassiwappa, Ray got instructions to sidetrack until
Thirty-six went by.  After reading the message, he turned
to his guests.  "I'm afraid this will hold us up about two
hours, Mrs. Kronborg, and we won't get into Denver till
near midnight."

     "That won't trouble me," said Mrs. Kronborg content-
edly.  "They know me at the Y.W.C.A., and they'll let
me in any time of night.  I came to see the country, not to
make time.  I've always wanted to get out at this white
place and look around, and now I'll have a chance.  What
makes it so white?"

     "Some kind of chalky rock."  Ray sprang to the ground
and gave Mrs. Kronborg his hand.  "You can get soil of
any color in Colorado; match most any ribbon."

<p 119>

     While Ray was getting his train on to a side track, Mrs.
Kronborg strolled off to examine the post-office and sta-
tion house; these, with the water tank, made up the town.
The station agent "batched" and raised chickens.  He ran
out to meet Mrs. Kronborg, clutched at her feverishly,
and began telling her at once how lonely he was and what
bad luck he was having with his poultry.  She went to his
chicken yard with him, and prescribed for gapes.

     Wassiwappa seemed a dreary place enough to people who
looked for verdure, a brilliant place to people who liked
color.  Beside the station house there was a blue-grass plot,
protected by a red plank fence, and six fly-bitten box-elder
trees, not much larger than bushes, were kept alive by
frequent hosings from the water plug.  Over the windows
some dusty morning-glory vines were trained on strings.
All the country about was broken up into low chalky hills,
which were so intensely white, and spotted so evenly with
sage, that they looked like white leopards crouching.  White
dust powdered everything, and the light was so intense
that the station agent usually wore blue glasses.  Behind
the station there was a water course, which roared in flood
time, and a basin in the soft white rock where a pool of
alkali water flashed in the sun like a mirror.  The agent
looked almost as sick as his chickens, and Mrs. Kronborg
at once invited him to lunch with her party.  He had, he
confessed, a distaste for his own cooking, and lived mainly
on soda crackers and canned beef.  He laughed apologetic-
ally when Mrs. Kronborg said she guessed she'd look about
for a shady place to eat lunch.

     She walked up the track to the water tank, and there, in
the narrow shadows cast by the uprights on which the
tank stood, she found two tramps.  They sat up and
stared at her, heavy with sleep.  When she asked them
where they were going, they told her "to the coast."  They
rested by day and traveled by night; walked the ties unless
they could steal a ride, they said; adding that "these

<p 120>

Western roads were getting strict."  Their faces were
blistered, their eyes blood-shot, and their shoes looked fit
only for the trash pile.

     "I suppose you're hungry?" Mrs. Kronborg asked.  "I
suppose you both drink?" she went on thoughtfully, not
censoriously.

     The huskier of the two hoboes, a bushy, bearded fellow,
rolled his eyes and said, "I wonder?"  But the other, who
was old and spare, with a sharp nose and watery eyes,
sighed.  "Some has one affliction, some another," he said.

     Mrs. Kronborg reflected.  "Well," she said at last, "you
can't get liquor here, anyway.  I am going to ask you to
vacate, because I want to have a little picnic under this
tank for the freight crew that brought me along.  I wish I
had lunch enough to provide you, but I ain't.  The station
agent says he gets his provisions over there at the post-
office store, and if you are hungry you can get some canned
stuff there."  She opened her handbag and gave each of
the tramps a half-dollar.

     The old man wiped his eyes with his forefinger.  "Thank
'ee, ma'am.  A can of tomatters will taste pretty good to me.
I wasn't always walkin' ties; I had a good job in Cleve-
land before--"

     The hairy tramp turned on him fiercely.  "Aw, shut up
on that, grandpaw!  Ain't you got no gratitude?  What do
you want to hand the lady that fur?"

     The old man hung his head and turned away.  As he
went off, his comrade looked after him and said to Mrs.
Kronborg: "It's true, what he says.  He had a job in the
car shops; but he had bad luck."  They both limped away
toward the store, and Mrs. Kronborg sighed.  She was not
afraid of tramps.  She always talked to them, and never
turned one away.  She hated to think how many of them
there were, crawling along the tracks over that vast coun-
try.

     Her reflections were cut short by Ray and Giddy and

<p 121>

Thea, who came bringing the lunch box and water bottles.
Although there was not shadow enough to accommodate
all the party at once, the air under the tank was distinctly
cooler than the surrounding air, and the drip made a pleas-
ant sound in that breathless noon.  The station agent ate
as if he had never been fed before, apologizing every time
he took another piece of fried chicken.  Giddy was una-
bashed before the devilled eggs of which he had spoken so
scornfully last night.  After lunch the men lit their pipes
and lay back against the uprights that supported the tank.

     "This is the sunny side of railroading, all right," Giddy
drawled luxuriously.

     "You fellows grumble too much," said Mrs. Kronborg
as she corked the pickle jar.  "Your job has its drawbacks,
but it don't tie you down.  Of course there's the risk; but
I believe a man's watched over, and he can't be hurt on
the railroad or anywhere else if it's intended he shouldn't
be."

     Giddy laughed.  "Then the trains must be operated by
fellows the Lord has it in for, Mrs. Kronborg.  They figure
it out that a railroad man's only due to last eleven years;
then it's his turn to be smashed."

     "That's a dark Providence, I don't deny," Mrs. Kron-
borg admitted.  "But there's lots of things in life that's
hard to understand."

     "I guess!" murmured Giddy, looking off at the spotted
white hills.

     Ray smoked in silence, watching Thea and her mother
clear away the lunch.  He was thinking that Mrs. Kron-
borg had in her face the same serious look that Thea had;
only hers was calm and satisfied, and Thea's was intense
and questioning.  But in both it was a large kind of look,
that was not all the time being broken up and convulsed
by trivial things.  They both carried their heads like Indian
women, with a kind of noble unconsciousness.  He got so
tired of women who were always nodding and jerking;

<p 122>

apologizing, deprecating, coaxing, insinuating with their
heads.

     When Ray's party set off again that afternoon the sun
beat fiercely into the cupola, and Thea curled up in one of
the seats at the back of the car and had a nap.

     As the short twilight came on, Giddy took a turn in the
cupola, and Ray came down and sat with Thea on the rear
platform of the caboose and watched the darkness come
in soft waves over the plain.  They were now about thirty
miles from Denver, and the mountains looked very near.
The great toothed wall behind which the sun had gone
down now separated into four distinct ranges, one behind
the other.  They were a very pale blue, a color scarcely
stronger than wood smoke, and the sunset had left bright
streaks in the snow-filled gorges.  In the clear, yellow-
streaked sky the stars were coming out, flickering like
newly lighted lamps, growing steadier and more golden as
the sky darkened and the land beneath them fell into com-
plete shadow.  It was a cool, restful darkness that was
not black or forbidding, but somehow open and free; the
night of high plains where there is no moistness or misti-
ness in the atmosphere.

     Ray lit his pipe.  "I never get tired of them old stars,
Thee.  I miss 'em up in Washington and Oregon where it's
misty.  Like 'em best down in Mother Mexico, where they
have everything their own way.  I'm not for any country
where the stars are dim."  Ray paused and drew on his
pipe.  "I don't know as I ever really noticed 'em much till
that first year I herded sheep up in Wyoming.  That was
the year the blizzard caught me."

     "And you lost all your sheep, didn't you, Ray?"  Thea
spoke sympathetically.  "Was the man who owned them
nice about it?"

     "Yes, he was a good loser.  But I didn't get over it for
a long while.  Sheep are so damned resigned.  Sometimes,
to this day, when I'm dog-tired, I try to save them sheep

<p 123>

all night long.  It comes kind of hard on a boy when he first
finds out how little he is, and how big everything else is."

     Thea moved restlessly toward him and dropped her chin
on her hand, looking at a low star that seemed to rest just
on the rim of the earth.  "I don't see how you stood it.  I
don't believe I could.  I don't see how people can stand it
to get knocked out, anyhow!"  She spoke with such fierce-
ness that Ray glanced at her in surprise.  She was sitting
on the floor of the car, crouching like a little animal about
to spring.

     "No occasion for you to see," he said warmly.  "There'll
always be plenty of other people to take the knocks for
you."

     "That's nonsense, Ray."  Thea spoke impatiently and
leaned lower still, frowning at the red star.  "Everybody's
up against it for himself, succeeds or fails--himself."

     "In one way, yes," Ray admitted, knocking the sparks
from his pipe out into the soft darkness that seemed to
flow like a river beside the car.  "But when you look at
it another way, there are a lot of halfway people in this
world who help the winners win, and the failers fail.  If a
man stumbles, there's plenty of people to push him down.
But if he's like `the youth who bore,' those same people
are foreordained to help him along.  They may hate to,
worse than blazes, and they may do a lot of cussin' about
it, but they have to help the winners and they can't dodge
it.  It's a natural law, like what keeps the big clock up
there going, little wheels and big, and no mix-up."  Ray's
hand and his pipe were suddenly outlined against the sky.
"Ever occur to you, Thee, that they have to be on time
close enough to MAKE TIME?  The Dispatcher up there must
have a long head."  Pleased with his similitude, Ray went
back to the lookout.  Going into Denver, he had to keep a
sharp watch.

     Giddy came down, cheerful at the prospect of getting
into port, and singing a new topical ditty that had come up

<p 124>

from the Santa Fe by way of La Junta.  Nobody knows
who makes these songs; they seem to follow events auto-
matically.  Mrs. Kronborg made Giddy sing the whole
twelve verses of this one, and laughed until she wiped her
eyes.  The story was that of Katie Casey, head dining-
room girl at Winslow, Arizona, who was unjustly dis-
charged by the Harvey House manager.  Her suitor, the
yardmaster, took the switchmen out on a strike until she
was reinstated.  Freight trains from the east and the west
piled up at Winslow until the yards looked like a log-jam.
The division superintendent, who was in California, had to
wire instructions for Katie Casey's restoration before he
could get his trains running.  Giddy's song told all this with
much detail, both tender and technical, and after each of
the dozen verses came the refrain:--

          "Oh, who would think that Katie Casey owned the Santa Fe?

          But it really looks that way,

          The dispatcher's turnin' gray,

          All the crews is off their pay;

          She can hold the freight from Albuquerq' to Needles any
day;

          The division superintendent, he come home from Monterey,

          Just to see if things was pleasin' Katie Ca--a--a--sey."

     Thea laughed with her mother and applauded Giddy.
Everything was so kindly and comfortable; Giddy and
Ray, and their hospitable little house, and the easy-going
country, and the stars.  She curled up on the seat again
with that warm, sleepy feeling of the friendliness of the
world--which nobody keeps very long, and which she
was to lose early and irrevocably.

<p 125>

                               XVII

     The summer flew by.  Thea was glad when Ray
Kennedy had a Sunday in town and could take her
driving.  Out among the sand hills she could forget the
"new room" which was the scene of wearing and fruitless
labor.  Dr. Archie was away from home a good deal that
year.  He had put all his money into mines above Colo-
rado Springs, and he hoped for great returns from them.

     In the fall of that year, Mr. Kronborg decided that Thea
ought to show more interest in church work.  He put it to
her frankly, one night at supper, before the whole family.
"How can I insist on the other girls in the congregation
being active in the work, when one of my own daughters
manifests so little interest?"

     "But I sing every Sunday morning, and I have to give
up one night a week to choir practice," Thea declared
rebelliously, pushing back her plate with an angry deter-
mination to eat nothing more.

     "One night a week is not enough for the pastor's daugh-
ter," her father replied.  "You won't do anything in the
sewing society, and you won't take part in the Christian
Endeavor or the Band of Hope.  Very well, you must make
it up in other ways.  I want some one to play the organ
and lead the singing at prayer-meeting this winter.  Deacon
Potter told me some time ago that he thought there would
be more interest in our prayer-meetings if we had the organ.
Miss Meyers don't feel that she can play on Wednesday
nights.  And there ought to be somebody to start the hymns.
Mrs. Potter is getting old, and she always starts them too
high.  It won't take much of your time, and it will keep
people from talking."

     This argument conquered Thea, though she left the

<p 126>

table sullenly.  The fear of the tongue, that terror of little
towns, is usually felt more keenly by the minister's family
than by other households.  Whenever the Kronborgs
wanted to do anything, even to buy a new carpet, they had
to take counsel together as to whether people would talk.
Mrs. Kronborg had her own conviction that people talked
when they felt like it, and said what they chose, no matter
how the minister's family conducted themselves.  But she
did not impart these dangerous ideas to her children.  Thea
was still under the belief that public opinion could be
placated; that if you clucked often enough, the hens would
mistake you for one of themselves.

     Mrs. Kronborg did not have any particular zest for
prayer-meetings, and she stayed at home whenever she had
a valid excuse.  Thor was too old to furnish such an excuse
now, so every Wednesday night, unless one of the children
was sick, she trudged off with Thea, behind Mr. Kronborg.
At first Thea was terribly bored.  But she got used to prayer-
meeting, got even to feel a mournful interest in it.

     The exercises were always pretty much the same.  After
the first hymn her father read a passage from the Bible,
usually a Psalm.  Then there was another hymn, and then
her father commented upon the passage he had read and,
as he said, "applied the Word to our necessities."  After
a third hymn, the meeting was declared open, and the old
men and women took turns at praying and talking.  Mrs.
Kronborg never spoke in meeting.  She told people firmly
that she had been brought up to keep silent and let the
men talk, but she gave respectful attention to the others,
sitting with her hands folded in her lap.

     The prayer-meeting audience was always small.  The
young and energetic members of the congregation came
only once or twice a year, "to keep people from talking."
The usual Wednesday night gathering was made up of old
women, with perhaps six or eight old men, and a few sickly
girls who had not much interest in life; two of them, in-

<p 127>

deed, were already preparing to die.  Thea accepted the
mournfulness of the prayer-meetings as a kind of spiritual
discipline, like funerals.  She always read late after she
went home and felt a stronger wish than usual to live and
to be happy.

     The meetings were conducted in the Sunday-School
room, where there were wooden chairs instead of pews;
an old map of Palestine hung on the wall, and the bracket
lamps gave out only a dim light.  The old women sat
motionless as Indians in their shawls and bonnets; some of
them wore long black mourning veils.  The old men drooped
in their chairs.  Every back, every face, every head said
"resignation."  Often there were long silences, when you
could hear nothing but the crackling of the soft coal in the
stove and the muffled cough of one of the sick girls.

     There was one nice old lady,--tall, erect, self-respect-
ing, with a delicate white face and a soft voice.  She never
whined, and what she said was always cheerful, though she
spoke so nervously that Thea knew she dreaded getting
up, and that she made a real sacrifice to, as she said, "tes-
tify to the goodness of her Saviour."  She was the mother of
the girl who coughed, and Thea used to wonder how she
explained things to herself.  There was, indeed, only one
woman who talked because she was, as Mr. Kronborg said,
"tonguey."  The others were somehow impressive.  They
told about the sweet thoughts that came to them while
they were at their work; how, amid their household tasks,
they were suddenly lifted by the sense of a divine Presence.
Sometimes they told of their first conversion, of how in
their youth that higher Power had made itself known to
them.  Old Mr. Carsen, the carpenter, who gave his ser-
vices as janitor to the church, used often to tell how, when
he was a young man and a scoffer, bent on the destruction
of both body and soul, his Saviour had come to him in the
Michigan woods and had stood, it seemed to him, beside
the tree he was felling; and how he dropped his axe and

<p 128>

knelt in prayer "to Him who died for us upon the tree."
Thea always wanted to ask him more about it; about his
mysterious wickedness, and about the vision.

     Sometimes the old people would ask for prayers for their
absent children.  Sometimes they asked their brothers and
sisters in Christ to pray that they might be stronger
against temptations.  One of the sick girls used to ask
them to pray that she might have more faith in the times
of depression that came to her, "when all the way before
seemed dark."  She repeated that husky phrase so often,
that Thea always remembered it.

     One old woman, who never missed a Wednesday night,
and who nearly always took part in the meeting, came all
the way up from the depot settlement.  She always wore a
black crocheted "fascinator" over her thin white hair, and
she made long, tremulous prayers, full of railroad termin-
ology.  She had six sons in the service of different railroads,
and she always prayed "for the boys on the road, who know
not at what moment they may be cut off.  When, in Thy
divine wisdom, their hour is upon them, may they, O our
Heavenly Father, see only white lights along the road to
Eternity."  She used to speak, too, of "the engines that
race with death"; and though she looked so old and little
when she was on her knees, and her voice was so shaky, her
prayers had a thrill of speed and danger in them; they made
one think of the deep black canyons, the slender trestles,
the pounding trains.  Thea liked to look at her sunken eyes
that seemed full of wisdom, at her black thread gloves,
much too long in the fingers and so meekly folded one over
the other.  Her face was brown, and worn away as rocks
are worn by water.  There are many ways of describing
that color of age, but in reality it is not like parchment, or
like any of the things it is said to be like.  That brownness
and that texture of skin are found only in the faces of old
human creatures, who have worked hard and who have
always been poor.

<p 129>

     One bitterly cold night in December the prayer-meeting
seemed to Thea longer than usual.  The prayers and the
talks went on and on.  It was as if the old people were
afraid to go out into the cold, or were stupefied by the hot
air of the room.  She had left a book at home that she was
impatient to get back to.  At last the Doxology was sung,
but the old people lingered about the stove to greet each
other, and Thea took her mother's arm and hurried out to
the frozen sidewalk, before her father could get away.  The
wind was whistling up the street and whipping the naked
cottonwood trees against the telegraph poles and the sides
of the houses.  Thin snow clouds were flying overhead, so
that the sky looked gray, with a dull phosphorescence.
The icy streets and the shingle roofs of the houses were
gray, too.  All along the street, shutters banged or windows
rattled, or gates wobbled, held by their latch but shaking
on loose hinges.  There was not a cat or a dog in Moonstone
that night that was not given a warm shelter; the cats
under the kitchen stove, the dogs in barns or coal-sheds.
When Thea and her mother reached home, their mufflers
were covered with ice, where their breath had frozen.  They
hurried into the house and made a dash for the parlor and
the hard-coal burner, behind which Gunner was sitting on
a stool, reading his Jules Verne book.  The door stood open
into the dining-room, which was heated from the parlor.
Mr. Kronborg always had a lunch when he came home
from prayer-meeting, and his pumpkin pie and milk were
set out on the dining-table.  Mrs. Kronborg said she
thought she felt hungry, too, and asked Thea if she didn't
want something to eat.

     "No, I'm not hungry, mother.  I guess I'll go upstairs."

     "I expect you've got some book up there," said Mrs.
Kronborg, bringing out another pie.  "You'd better bring
it down here and read.  Nobody'll disturb you, and it's
terrible cold up in that loft."

     Thea was always assured that no one would disturb her

<p 130>

if she read downstairs, but the boys talked when they came
in, and her father fairly delivered discourses after he had
been renewed by half a pie and a pitcher of milk.

     "I don't mind the cold.  I'll take a hot brick up for my
feet.  I put one in the stove before I left, if one of the boys
hasn't stolen it.  Good-night, mother."  Thea got her brick
and lantern, and dashed upstairs through the windy loft.
She undressed at top speed and got into bed with her brick.
She put a pair of white knitted gloves on her hands, and
pinned over her head a piece of soft flannel that had been
one of Thor's long petticoats when he was a baby.  Thus
equipped, she was ready for business.  She took from her
table a thick paper-backed volume, one of the "line" of
paper novels the druggist kept to sell to traveling men.
She had bought it, only yesterday, because the first sen-
tence interested her very much, and because she saw, as
she glanced over the pages, the magical names of two
Russian cities.  The book was a poor translation of "Anna
Karenina."  Thea opened it at a mark, and fixed her eyes
intently upon the small print.  The hymns, the sick girl,
the resigned black figures were forgotten.  It was the night
of the ball in Moscow.

     Thea would have been astonished if she could have
known how, years afterward, when she had need of them,
those old faces were to come back to her, long after they
were hidden away under the earth; that they would seem
to her then as full of meaning, as mysteriously marked by
Destiny, as the people who danced the mazurka under the
elegant Korsunsky.

<p 131>

                               XVIII

     Mr. Kronborg was too fond of his ease and too
sensible to worry his children much about religion.
He was more sincere than many preachers, but when he
spoke to his family about matters of conduct it was usually
with a regard for keeping up appearances.  The church and
church work were discussed in the family like the routine
of any other business.  Sunday was the hard day of the
week with them, just as Saturday was the busy day with
the merchants on Main Street.  Revivals were seasons of
extra work and pressure, just as threshing-time was on the
farms.  Visiting elders had to be lodged and cooked for,
the folding-bed in the parlor was let down, and Mrs.
Kronborg had to work in the kitchen all day long and
attend the night meetings.

     During one of these revivals Thea's sister Anna professed
religion with, as Mrs. Kronborg said, "a good deal of
fluster."  While Anna was going up to the mourners' bench
nightly and asking for the prayers of the congregation, she
disseminated general gloom throughout the household, and
after she joined the church she took on an air of "set-apart-
ness" that was extremely trying to her brothers and her
sister, though they realized that Anna's sanctimoniousness
was perhaps a good thing for their father.  A preacher ought
to have one child who did more than merely acquiesce in
religious observances, and Thea and the boys were glad
enough that it was Anna and not one of themselves who
assumed this obligation.

     "Anna, she's American," Mrs. Kronborg used to say.
The Scandinavian mould of countenance, more or less
marked in each of the other children, was scarcely dis-
cernible in her, and she looked enough like other Moon-

<p 132>

stone girls to be thought pretty.  Anna's nature was con-
ventional, like her face.  Her position as the minister's
eldest daughter was important to her, and she tried to
live up to it.  She read sentimental religious story-books
and emulated the spiritual struggles and magnanimous
behavior of their persecuted heroines.  Everything had to
be interpreted for Anna.  Her opinions about the small-
est and most commonplace things were gleaned from the
Denver papers, the church weeklies, from sermons and
Sunday-School addresses.  Scarcely anything was attrac-
tive to her in its natural state--indeed, scarcely anything
was decent until it was clothed by the opinion of some
authority.  Her ideas about habit, character, duty, love,
marriage, were grouped under heads, like a book of popular
quotations, and were totally unrelated to the emergencies
of human living.  She discussed all these subjects with other
Methodist girls of her age.  They would spend hours, for
instance, in deciding what they would or would not toler-
ate in a suitor or a husband, and the frailties of masculine
nature were too often a subject of discussion among them.
In her behavior Anna was a harmless girl, mild except
where her prejudices were concerned, neat and industrious,
with no graver fault than priggishness; but her mind had
really shocking habits of classification.  The wickedness of
Denver and of Chicago, and even of Moonstone, occupied
her thoughts too much.  She had none of the delicacy that
goes with a nature of warm impulses, but the kind of fishy
curiosity which justifies itself by an expression of horror.

     Thea, and all Thea's ways and friends, seemed indecor-
ous to Anna.  She not only felt a grave social discrimination
against the Mexicans; she could not forget that Spanish
Johnny was a drunkard and that "nobody knew what he
did when he ran away from home."  Thea pretended, of
course, that she liked the Mexicans because they were
fond of music; but every one knew that music was no-
thing very real, and that it did not matter in a girl's re-

<p 133>

lations with people.  What was real, then, and what did
matter?  Poor Anna!

     Anna approved of Ray Kennedy as a young man of
steady habits and blameless life, but she regretted that he
was an atheist, and that he was not a passenger conductor
with brass buttons on his coat.  On the whole, she won-
dered what such an exemplary young man found to like in
Thea.  Dr. Archie she treated respectfully because of his
position in Moonstone, but she KNEW he had kissed the
Mexican barytone's pretty daughter, and she had a whole
DOSSIER of evidence about his behavior in his hours of relax-
ation in Denver.  He was "fast," and it was because he was
"fast" that Thea liked him.  Thea always liked that kind
of people.  Dr. Archie's whole manner with Thea, Anna
often told her mother, was too free.  He was always putting
his hand on Thea's head, or holding her hand while he
laughed and looked down at her.  The kindlier manifesta-
tion of human nature (about which Anna sang and talked,
in the interests of which she went to conventions and wore
white ribbons) were never realities to her after all.  She did
not believe in them.  It was only in attitudes of protest or
reproof, clinging to the cross, that human beings could be
even temporarily decent.

     Preacher Kronborg's secret convictions were very much
like Anna's.  He believed that his wife was absolutely good,
but there was not a man or woman in his congregation
whom he trusted all the way.

     Mrs. Kronborg, on the other hand, was likely to find
something to admire in almost any human conduct that
was positive and energetic.  She could always be taken
in by the stories of tramps and runaway boys.  She went
to the circus and admired the bareback riders, who were
"likely good enough women in their way."  She admired
Dr. Archie's fine physique and well-cut clothes as much
as Thea did, and said she "felt it was a privilege to be
handled by such a gentleman when she was sick."

<p 134>

     Soon after Anna became a church member she began to
remonstrate with Thea about practicing--playing "secu-
lar music"--on Sunday.  One Sunday the dispute in the
parlor grew warm and was carried to Mrs. Kronborg in
the kitchen.  She listened judicially and told Anna to read
the chapter about how Naaman the leper was permitted
to bow down in the house of Rimmon.  Thea went back to
the piano, and Anna lingered to say that, since she was in
the right, her mother should have supported her.

     "No," said Mrs. Kronborg, rather indifferently, "I can't
see it that way, Anna.  I never forced you to practice, and
I don't see as I should keep Thea from it.  I like to hear her,
and I guess your father does.  You and Thea will likely fol-
low different lines, and I don't see as I'm called upon to
bring you up alike."

     Anna looked meek and abused.  "Of course all the church
people must hear her.  Ours is the only noisy house on this
street.  You hear what she's playing now, don't you?"

     Mrs. Kronborg rose from browning her coffee.  "Yes;
it's the Blue Danube waltzes.  I'm familiar with 'em.  If
any of the church people come at you, you just send 'em
to me.  I ain't afraid to speak out on occasion, and I
wouldn't mind one bit telling the Ladies' Aid a few things
about standard composers."  Mrs. Kronborg smiled, and
added thoughtfully, "No, I wouldn't mind that one bit."

     Anna went about with a reserved and distant air for a
week, and Mrs. Kronborg suspected that she held a larger
place than usual in her daughter's prayers; but that was
another thing she didn't mind.

     Although revivals were merely a part of the year's work,
like examination week at school, and although Anna's
piety impressed her very little, a time came when Thea was
perplexed about religion.  A scourge of typhoid broke out
in Moonstone and several of Thea's schoolmates died of
it.  She went to their funerals, saw them put into the

<p 135>

ground, and wondered a good deal about them.  But a
certain grim incident, which caused the epidemic, troubled
her even more than the death of her friends.

     Early in July, soon after Thea's fifteenth birthday, a
particularly disgusting sort of tramp came into Moonstone
in an empty box car.  Thea was sitting in the hammock in
the front yard when he first crawled up to the town from
the depot, carrying a bundle wrapped in dirty ticking
under one arm, and under the other a wooden box with
rusty screening nailed over one end.  He had a thin, hungry
face covered with black hair.  It was just before supper-
time when he came along, and the street smelled of fried
potatoes and fried onions and coffee.  Thea saw him sniffing
the air greedily and walking slower and slower.  He looked
over the fence.  She hoped he would not stop at their gate,
for her mother never turned any one away, and this was
the dirtiest and most utterly wretched-looking tramp she
had ever seen.  There was a terrible odor about him, too.
She caught it even at that distance, and put her handker-
chief to her nose.  A moment later she was sorry, for she
knew that he had noticed it.  He looked away and shuffled
a little faster.

     A few days later Thea heard that the tramp had camped
in an empty shack over on the east edge of town, beside
the ravine, and was trying to give a miserable sort of show
there.  He told the boys who went to see what he was doing,
that he had traveled with a circus.  His bundle contained
a filthy clown's suit, and his box held half a dozen rattle-
snakes.

     Saturday night, when Thea went to the butcher shop to
get the chickens for Sunday, she heard the whine of an
accordion and saw a crowd before one of the saloons.  There
she found the tramp, his bony body grotesquely attired in
the clown's suit, his face shaved and painted white,--the
sweat trickling through the paint and washing it away,--
and his eyes wild and feverish.  Pulling the accordion in

<p 136>

and out seemed to be almost too great an effort for him,
and he panted to the tune of "Marching through Georgia."
After a considerable crowd had gathered, the tramp ex-
hibited his box of snakes, announced that he would now
pass the hat, and that when the onlookers had contributed
the sum of one dollar, he would eat "one of these living
reptiles."  The crowd began to cough and murmur, and the
saloon keeper rushed off for the marshal, who arrested the
wretch for giving a show without a license and hurried
him away to the calaboose.

     The calaboose stood in a sunflower patch,--an old hut
with a barred window and a padlock on the door.  The
tramp was utterly filthy and there was no way to give him
a bath.  The law made no provision to grub-stake vagrants,
so after the constable had detained the tramp for twenty-
four hours, he released him and told him to "get out of
town, and get quick."  The fellow's rattlesnakes had been
killed by the saloon keeper.  He hid in a box car in the
freight yard, probably hoping to get a ride to the next
station, but he was found and put out.  After that he was
seen no more.  He had disappeared and left no trace except
an ugly, stupid word, chalked on the black paint of the
seventy-five-foot standpipe which was the reservoir for the
Moonstone water-supply; the same word, in another
tongue, that the French soldier shouted at Waterloo to
the English officer who bade the Old Guard surrender; a
comment on life which the defeated, along the hard roads
of the world, sometimes bawl at the victorious.

     A week after the tramp excitement had passed over,
the city water began to smell and to taste.  The Kron-
borgs had a well in their back yard and did not use city
water, but they heard the complaints of their neighbors.
At first people said that the town well was full of rot-
ting cottonwood roots, but the engineer at the pumping-
station convinced the mayor that the water left the well
untainted.  Mayors reason slowly, but, the well being

<p 137>

eliminated, the official mind had to travel toward the
standpipe--there was no other track for it to go in.
The standpipe amply rewarded investigation.  The tramp
had got even with Moonstone.  He had climbed the
standpipe by the handholds and let himself down into
seventy-five feet of cold water, with his shoes and hat and
roll of ticking.  The city council had a mild panic and
passed a new ordinance about tramps.  But the fever had
already broken out, and several adults and half a dozen
children died of it.

     Thea had always found everything that happened in
Moonstone exciting, disasters particularly so.  It was grat-
ifying to read sensational Moonstone items in the Denver
paper.  But she wished she had not chanced to see the
tramp as he came into town that evening, sniffing the
supper-laden air.  His face remained unpleasantly clear in
her memory, and her mind struggled with the problem of
his behavior as if it were a hard page in arithmetic.  Even
when she was practicing, the drama of the tramp kept
going on in the back of her head, and she was constantly
trying to make herself realize what pitch of hatred or
despair could drive a man to do such a hideous thing.  She
kept seeing him in his bedraggled clown suit, the white
paint on his roughly shaven face, playing his accordion
before the saloon.  She had noticed his lean body, his
high, bald forehead that sloped back like a curved metal
lid.  How could people fall so far out of fortune?  She tried
to talk to Ray Kennedy about her perplexity, but Ray
would not discuss things of that sort with her.  It was in
his sentimental conception of women that they should be
deeply religious, though men were at liberty to doubt and
finally to deny.  A picture called "The Soul Awakened,"
popular in Moonstone parlors, pretty well interpreted
Ray's idea of woman's spiritual nature.

     One evening when she was haunted by the figure of the
tramp, Thea went up to Dr. Archie's office.  She found him

<p 138>

sewing up two bad gashes in the face of a little boy who
had been kicked by a mule.  After the boy had been ban-
daged and sent away with his father, Thea helped the doc-
tor wash and put away the surgical instruments.  Then
she dropped into her accustomed seat beside his desk
and began to talk about the tramp.  Her eyes were hard
and green with excitement, the doctor noticed.

     "It seems to me, Dr. Archie, that the whole town's to
blame.  I'm to blame, myself.  I know he saw me hold my
nose when he went by.  Father's to blame.  If he believes
the Bible, he ought to have gone to the calaboose and
cleaned that man up and taken care of him.  That's what
I can't understand; do people believe the Bible, or don't
they?  If the next life is all that matters, and we're put
here to get ready for it, then why do we try to make money,
or learn things, or have a good time?  There's not one
person in Moonstone that really lives the way the New
Testament says.  Does it matter, or don't it?"

     Dr. Archie swung round in his chair and looked at her,
honestly and leniently.  "Well, Thea, it seems to me like
this.  Every people has had its religion.  All religions are
good, and all are pretty much alike.  But I don't see how we
could live up to them in the sense you mean.  I've thought
about it a good deal, and I can't help feeling that while we
are in this world we have to live for the best things of this
world, and those things are material and positive.  Now,
most religions are passive, and they tell us chiefly what we
should not do."  The doctor moved restlessly, and his eyes
hunted for something along the opposite wall: "See here,
my girl, take out the years of early childhood and the time
we spend in sleep and dull old age, and we only have about
twenty able, waking years.  That's not long enough to get
acquainted with half the fine things that have been done
in the world, much less to do anything ourselves.  I think
we ought to keep the Commandments and help other
people all we can; but the main thing is to live those

<p 139>

twenty splendid years; to do all we can and enjoy all we
can."

     Dr. Archie met his little friend's searching gaze, the look
of acute inquiry which always touched him.

     "But poor fellows like that tramp--" she hesitated and
wrinkled her forehead.

     The doctor leaned forward and put his hand protect-
ingly over hers, which lay clenched on the green felt desk-
top.  "Ugly accidents happen, Thea; always have and
always will.  But the failures are swept back into the pile
and forgotten.  They don't leave any lasting scar in the
world, and they don't affect the future.  The things that
last are the good things.  The people who forge ahead and
do something, they really count."  He saw tears on her
cheeks, and he remembered that he had never seen her cry
before, not even when she crushed her finger when she was
little.  He rose and walked to the window, came back and
sat down on the edge of his chair.

     "Forget the tramp, Thea.  This is a great big world, and
I want you to get about and see it all.  You're going to
Chicago some day, and do something with that fine voice
of yours.  You're going to be a number one musician and
make us proud of you.  Take Mary Anderson, now; even the
tramps are proud of her.  There isn't a tramp along the `Q'
system who hasn't heard of her.  We all like people who
do things, even if we only see their faces on a cigar-box lid."

     They had a long talk.  Thea felt that Dr. Archie had
never let himself out to her so much before.  It was the
most grown-up conversation she had ever had with him.
She left his office happy, flattered and stimulated.  She ran
for a long while about the white, moonlit streets, looking
up at the stars and the bluish night, at the quiet houses
sunk in black shade, the glittering sand hills.  She loved
the familiar trees, and the people in those little houses, and
she loved the unknown world beyond Denver.  She felt as
if she were being pulled in two, between the desire to go

<p 140>

away forever and the desire to stay forever.  She had only
twenty years--no time to lose.

     Many a night that summer she left Dr. Archie's office
with a desire to run and run about those quiet streets until
she wore out her shoes, or wore out the streets themselves;
when her chest ached and it seemed as if her heart were
spreading all over the desert.  When she went home, it was
not to go to sleep.  She used to drag her mattress beside
her low window and lie awake for a long while, vibrating
with excitement, as a machine vibrates from speed.  Life
rushed in upon her through that window--or so it seemed.
In reality, of course, life rushes from within, not from with-
out.  There is no work of art so big or so beautiful that it was
not once all contained in some youthful body, like this one
which lay on the floor in the moonlight, pulsing with ardor
and anticipation.  It was on such nights that Thea Kronborg
learned the thing that old Dumas meant when he told the
Romanticists that to make a drama he needed but one
passion and four walls.

<p 141>

                                XIX

     It is well for its peace of mind that the traveling public
takes railroads so much for granted.  The only men who
are incurably nervous about railway travel are the railroad
operatives.  A railroad man never forgets that the next run
may be his turn.

     On a single-track road, like that upon which Ray Ken-
nedy worked, the freight trains make their way as best they
can between passenger trains.  Even when there is such a
thing as a freight time-schedule, it is merely a form.  Along
the one track dozens of fast and slow trains dash in both
directions, kept from collision only by the brains in the
dispatcher's office.  If one passenger train is late, the whole
schedule must be revised in an instant; the trains following
must be warned, and those moving toward the belated train
must be assigned new meeting-places.

     Between the shifts and modifications of the passenger
schedule, the freight trains play a game of their own.  They
have no right to the track at any given time, but are sup-
posed to be on it when it is free, and to make the best time
they can between passenger trains.  A freight train, on a
single-track road, gets anywhere at all only by stealing
bases.

     Ray Kennedy had stuck to the freight service, although
he had had opportunities to go into the passenger service
at higher pay.  He always regarded railroading as a tempo-
rary makeshift, until he "got into something," and he dis-
liked the passenger service.  No brass buttons for him, he
said; too much like a livery.  While he was railroading he
would wear a jumper, thank you!

     The wreck that "caught" Ray was a very commonplace
one; nothing thrilling about it, and it got only six lines in

<p 142>

the Denver papers.  It happened about daybreak one
morning, only thirty-two miles from home.

     At four o'clock in the morning Ray's train had stopped
to take water at Saxony, having just rounded the long
curve which lies south of that station.  It was Joe Giddy's
business to walk back along the curve about three hundred
yards and put out torpedoes to warn any train which might
be coming up from behind--a freight crew is not notified
of trains following, and the brakeman is supposed to protect
his train.  Ray was so fussy about the punctilious observ-
ance of orders that almost any brakeman would take a
chance once in a while, from natural perversity.

     When the train stopped for water that morning, Ray
was at the desk in his caboose, making out his report.
Giddy took his torpedoes, swung off the rear platform, and
glanced back at the curve.  He decided that he would not
go back to flag this time.  If anything was coming up be-
hind, he could hear it in plenty of time.  So he ran forward
to look after a hot journal that had been bothering him.
In a general way, Giddy's reasoning was sound.  If a freight
train, or even a passenger train, had been coming up behind
them, he could have heard it in time.  But as it happened, a
light engine, which made no noise at all, was coming,--
ordered out to help with the freight that was piling up at
the other end of the division.  This engine got no warning,
came round the curve, struck the caboose, went straight
through it, and crashed into the heavy lumber car ahead.

     The Kronborgs were just sitting down to breakfast, when
the night telegraph operator dashed into the yard at a run
and hammered on the front door.  Gunner answered the
knock, and the telegraph operator told him he wanted to
see his father a minute, quick.  Mr. Kronborg appeared at
the door, napkin in hand.  The operator was pale and
panting.

     "Fourteen was wrecked down at Saxony this morning,"

<p 143>

he shouted, "and Kennedy's all broke up.  We're sending
an engine down with the doctor, and the operator at Saxony
says Kennedy wants you to come along with us and bring
your girl."  He stopped for breath.

     Mr. Kronborg took off his glasses and began rubbing
them with his napkin.

     "Bring--I don't understand," he muttered.  "How did
this happen?"

     "No time for that, sir.  Getting the engine out now.
Your girl, Thea.  You'll surely do that for the poor chap.
Everybody knows he thinks the world of her."  Seeing that
Mr. Kronborg showed no indication of having made up his
mind, the operator turned to Gunner.  "Call your sister,
kid.  I'm going to ask the girl herself," he blurted out.

     "Yes, yes, certainly.  Daughter," Mr. Kronborg called.
He had somewhat recovered himself and reached to the
hall hatrack for his hat.

     Just as Thea came out on the front porch, before the
operator had had time to explain to her, Dr. Archie's ponies
came up to the gate at a brisk trot.  Archie jumped out
the moment his driver stopped the team and came up to
the bewildered girl without so much as saying good-morn-
ing to any one.  He took her hand with the sympathetic,
reassuring graveness which had helped her at more than
one hard time in her life.  "Get your hat, my girl.  Ken-
nedy's hurt down the road, and he wants you to run down
with me.  They'll have a car for us.  Get into my buggy,
Mr. Kronborg.  I'll drive you down, and Larry can come
for the team."

     The driver jumped out of the buggy and Mr. Kronborg
and the doctor got in.  Thea, still bewildered, sat on her fa-
ther's knee.  Dr. Archie gave his ponies a smart cut with the
whip.

     When they reached the depot, the engine, with one car
attached, was standing on the main track.  The engineer
had got his steam up, and was leaning out of the cab im-

<p 144>

patiently.  In a moment they were off.  The run to Saxony
took forty minutes.  Thea sat still in her seat while Dr.
Archie and her father talked about the wreck.  She took
no part in the conversation and asked no questions, but
occasionally she looked at Dr. Archie with a frightened,
inquiring glance, which he answered by an encouraging
nod.  Neither he nor her father said anything about how
badly Ray was hurt.  When the engine stopped near Saxony,
the main track was already cleared.  As they got out of the
car, Dr. Archie pointed to a pile of ties.

     "Thea, you'd better sit down here and watch the wreck
crew while your father and I go up and look Kennedy over.
I'll come back for you when I get him fixed up."

     The two men went off up the sand gulch, and Thea sat
down and looked at the pile of splintered wood and twisted
iron that had lately been Ray's caboose.  She was fright-
ened and absent-minded.  She felt that she ought to be
thinking about Ray, but her mind kept racing off to all sorts
of trivial and irrelevant things.  She wondered whether
Grace Johnson would be furious when she came to take her
music lesson and found nobody there to give it to her;
whether she had forgotten to close the piano last night and
whether Thor would get into the new room and mess the
keys all up with his sticky fingers; whether Tillie would go
upstairs and make her bed for her.  Her mind worked fast,
but she could fix it upon nothing.  The grasshoppers, the
lizards, distracted her attention and seemed more real to
her than poor Ray.

     On their way to the sand bank where Ray had been car-
ried, Dr. Archie and Mr. Kronborg met the Saxony doctor.
He shook hands with them.

     "Nothing you can do, doctor.  I couldn't count the
fractures.  His back's broken, too.  He wouldn't be alive
now if he weren't so confoundedly strong, poor chap.  No
use bothering him.  I've given him morphia, one and a
half, in eighths."

<p 145>

     Dr. Archie hurried on.  Ray was lying on a flat canvas
litter, under the shelter of a shelving bank, lightly shaded
by a slender cottonwood tree.  When the doctor and the
preacher approached, he looked at them intently.

     "Didn't--" he closed his eyes to hide his bitter disap-
pointment.

     Dr. Archie knew what was the matter.  "Thea's back
there, Ray.  I'll bring her as soon as I've had a look at you."

     Ray looked up.  "You might clean me up a trifle, doc.
Won't need you for anything else, thank you all the same."

     However little there was left of him, that little was cer-
tainly Ray Kennedy.  His personality was as positive as
ever, and the blood and dirt on his face seemed merely
accidental, to have nothing to do with the man himself.
Dr. Archie told Mr. Kronborg to bring a pail of water, and
he began to sponge Ray's face and neck.  Mr. Kronborg
stood by, nervously rubbing his hands together and trying
to think of something to say.  Serious situations always
embarrassed him and made him formal, even when he felt
real sympathy.

     "In times like this, Ray," he brought out at last, crum-
pling up his handkerchief in his long fingers,--"in times
like this, we don't want to forget the Friend that sticketh
closer than a brother."

     Ray looked up at him; a lonely, disconsolate smile played
over his mouth and his square cheeks.  "Never mind about
all that, PADRE," he said quietly.  "Christ and me fell out
long ago."

     There was a moment of silence.  Then Ray took pity on
Mr. Kronborg's embarrassment.  "You go back for the
little girl, PADRE.  I want a word with the doc in private."

     Ray talked to Dr. Archie for a few moments, then
stopped suddenly, with a broad smile.  Over the doctor's
shoulder he saw Thea coming up the gulch, in her pink
chambray dress, carrying her sun-hat by the strings.  Such
a yellow head!  He often told himself that he "was per-

<p 146>

fectly foolish about her hair."  The sight of her, coming,
went through him softly, like the morphia.  "There she
is," he whispered.  "Get the old preacher out of the way,
doc.  I want to have a little talk with her."

     Dr. Archie looked up.  Thea was hurrying and yet hang-
ing back.  She was more frightened than he had thought
she would be.  She had gone with him to see very sick
people and had always been steady and calm.  As she came
up, she looked at the ground, and he could see that she had
been crying.

     Ray Kennedy made an unsuccessful effort to put out his
hand.  "Hello, little kid, nothing to be afraid of.  Darned
if I don't believe they've gone and scared you!  Nothing
to cry about.  I'm the same old goods, only a little dented.
Sit down on my coat there, and keep me company.  I've
got to lay still a bit."

     Dr. Archie and Mr. Kronborg disappeared.  Thea cast a
timid glance after them, but she sat down resolutely and
took Ray's hand.

     "You ain't scared now, are you?" he asked affection-
ately.  "You were a regular brick to come, Thee.  Did you
get any breakfast?"

     "No, Ray, I'm not scared.  Only I'm dreadful sorry
you're hurt, and I can't help crying."

     His broad, earnest face, languid from the opium and
smiling with such simple happiness, reassured her.  She
drew nearer to him and lifted his hand to her knee.  He
looked at her with his clear, shallow blue eyes.  How he
loved everything about that face and head!  How many
nights in his cupola, looking up the track, he had seen that
face in the darkness; through the sleet and snow, or in the
soft blue air when the moonlight slept on the desert.

     "You needn't bother to talk, Thee.  The doctor's medi-
cine makes me sort of dopey.  But it's nice to have com-
pany.  Kind of cozy, don't you think?  Pull my coat under
you more.  It's a darned shame I can't wait on you."

<p 147>

     "No, no, Ray.  I'm all right.  Yes, I like it here.  And I
guess you ought not to talk much, ought you?  If you can
sleep, I'll stay right here, and be awful quiet.  I feel just
as much at home with you as ever, now."

     That simple, humble, faithful something in Ray's eyes
went straight to Thea's heart.  She did feel comfortable
with him, and happy to give him so much happiness.  It was
the first time she had ever been conscious of that power to
bestow intense happiness by simply being near any one.
She always remembered this day as the beginning of that
knowledge.  She bent over him and put her lips softly to
his cheek.

     Ray's eyes filled with light.  "Oh, do that again, kid!"
he said impulsively.  Thea kissed him on the forehead,
blushing faintly.  Ray held her hand fast and closed his eyes
with a deep sigh of happiness.  The morphia and the sense
of her nearness filled him with content.  The gold mine,
the oil well, the copper ledge--all pipe dreams, he mused,
and this was a dream, too.  He might have known it before.
It had always been like that; the things he admired had
always been away out of his reach: a college education, a
gentleman's manner, an Englishman's accent--things over
his head.  And Thea was farther out of his reach than all
the rest put together.  He had been a fool to imagine it, but
he was glad he had been a fool.  She had given him one grand
dream.  Every mile of his run, from Moonstone to Denver,
was painted with the colors of that hope.  Every cactus
knew about it.  But now that it was not to be, he knew the
truth.  Thea was never meant for any rough fellow like
him--hadn't he really known that all along, he asked
himself?  She wasn't meant for common men.  She was
like wedding cake, a thing to dream on.  He raised his eye-
lids a little.  She was stroking his hand and looking off into
the distance.  He felt in her face that look of unconscious
power that Wunsch had seen there.  Yes, she was bound for
the big terminals of the world; no way stations for her.  His

<p 148>

lids drooped.  In the dark he could see her as she would be
after a while; in a box at the Tabor Grand in Denver, with
diamonds on her neck and a tiara in her yellow hair, with
all the people looking at her through their opera-glasses,
and a United States Senator, maybe, talking to her.  "Then
you'll remember me!"  He opened his eyes, and they were
full of tears.

     Thea leaned closer.  "What did you say, Ray?  I couldn't
hear."

     "Then you'll remember me," he whispered.

     The spark in his eye, which is one's very self, caught the
spark in hers that was herself, and for a moment they
looked into each other's natures.  Thea realized how good
and how great-hearted he was, and he realized about her
many things.  When that elusive spark of personality re-
treated in each of them, Thea still saw in his wet eyes her
own face, very small, but much prettier than the cracked
glass at home had ever shown it.  It was the first time she
had seen her face in that kindest mirror a woman can ever
find.

     Ray had felt things in that moment when he seemed to
be looking into the very soul of Thea Kronborg.  Yes, the
gold mine, the oil well, the copper ledge, they'd all got
away from him, as things will; but he'd backed a winner
once in his life!  With all his might he gave his faith to the
broad little hand he held.  He wished he could leave her
the rugged strength of his body to help her through with it
all.  He would have liked to tell her a little about his old
dream,--there seemed long years between him and it al-
ready,--but to tell her now would somehow be unfair;
wouldn't be quite the straightest thing in the world.
Probably she knew, anyway.  He looked up quickly.  "You
know, don't you, Thee, that I think you are just the finest
thing I've struck in this world?"

     The tears ran down Thea's cheeks.  "You're too good
to me, Ray.  You're a lot too good to me," she faltered.

<p 149>

     "Why, kid," he murmured, "everybody in this world's
going to be good to you!"

     Dr. Archie came to the gulch and stood over his patient.
"How's it going?"

     "Can't you give me another punch with your pacifier,
doc?  The little girl had better run along now."  Ray re-
leased Thea's hand.  "See you later, Thee."

     She got up and moved away aimlessly, carrying her hat
by the strings.  Ray looked after her with the exaltation
born of bodily pain and said between his teeth, "Always
look after that girl, doc.  She's a queen!"

     Thea and her father went back to Moonstone on the
one-o'clock passenger.  Dr. Archie stayed with Ray Ken-
nedy until he died, late in the afternoon.

<p 150>

                                XX

     On Monday morning, the day after Ray Kennedy's
funeral, Dr. Archie called at Mr. Kronborg's study,
a little room behind the church.  Mr. Kronborg did not
write out his sermons, but spoke from notes jotted upon
small pieces of cardboard in a kind of shorthand of his own.
As sermons go, they were not worse than most.  His con-
ventional rhetoric pleased the majority of his congregation,
and Mr. Kronborg was generally regarded as a model
preacher.  He did not smoke, he never touched spirits.  His
indulgence in the pleasures of the table was an endearing
bond between him and the women of his congregation.
He ate enormously, with a zest which seemed incongruous
with his spare frame.

     This morning the doctor found him opening his mail and
reading a pile of advertising circulars with deep attention.

     "Good-morning, Mr. Kronborg," said Dr. Archie, sit-
ting down.  "I came to see you on business.  Poor Kennedy
asked me to look after his affairs for him.  Like most rail-
road men he spent his wages, except for a few invest-
ments in mines which don't look to me very promising.
But his life was insured for six hundred dollars in Thea's
favor."

     Mr. Kronborg wound his feet about the standard of his
desk-chair.  "I assure you, doctor, this is a complete sur-
prise to me."

     "Well, it's not very surprising to me," Dr. Archie went
on.  "He talked to me about it the day he was hurt.  He
said he wanted the money to be used in a particular way,
and in no other."  Dr. Archie paused meaningly.

     Mr. Kronborg fidgeted.  "I am sure Thea would observe
his wishes in every respect."

<p 151>

     "No doubt; but he wanted me to see that you agreed to
his plan.  It seems that for some time Thea has wanted to
go away to study music.  It was Kennedy's wish that she
should take this money and go to Chicago this winter.  He
felt that it would be an advantage to her in a business way:
that even if she came back here to teach, it would give her
more authority and make her position here more com-
fortable."

     Mr. Kronborg looked a little startled.  "She is very
young," he hesitated; "she is barely seventeen.  Chicago
is a long way from home.  We would have to consider.  I
think, Dr. Archie, we had better consult Mrs. Kronborg."

     "I think I can bring Mrs. Kronborg around, if I have
your consent.  I've always found her pretty level-headed.
I have several old classmates practicing in Chicago.  One
is a throat specialist.  He has a good deal to do with singers.
He probably knows the best piano teachers and could re-
commend a boarding-house where music students stay.  I
think Thea needs to get among a lot of young people who
are clever like herself.  Here she has no companions but old
fellows like me.  It's not a natural life for a young girl.
She'll either get warped, or wither up before her time.  If it
will make you and Mrs. Kronborg feel any easier, I'll be
glad to take Thea to Chicago and see that she gets started
right.  This throat man I speak of is a big fellow in his line,
and if I can get him interested, he may be able to put her
in the way of a good many things.  At any rate, he'll know
the right teachers.  Of course, six hundred dollars won't
take her very far, but even half the winter there would be
a great advantage.  I think Kennedy sized the situation
up exactly."

     "Perhaps; I don't doubt it.  You are very kind, Dr.
Archie."  Mr. Kronborg was ornamenting his desk-blotter
with hieroglyphics.  "I should think Denver might be
better.  There we could watch over her.  She is very young."

     Dr. Archie rose.  "Kennedy didn't mention Denver.

<p 152>

He said Chicago, repeatedly.  Under the circumstances, it
seems to me we ought to try to carry out his wishes ex-
actly, if Thea is willing."

     "Certainly, certainly.  Thea is conscientious.  She would
not waste her opportunities."  Mr. Kronborg paused.  "If
Thea were your own daughter, doctor, would you consent
to such a plan, at her present age?"

     "I most certainly should.  In fact, if she were my
daughter, I'd have sent her away before this.  She's a
most unusual child, and she's only wasting herself here.
At her age she ought to be learning, not teaching.  She'll
never learn so quickly and easily as she will right now."

     "Well, doctor, you had better talk it over with Mrs.
Kronborg.  I make it a point to defer to her wishes in such
matters.  She understands all her children perfectly.  I
may say that she has all a mother's insight, and more."

     Dr. Archie smiled.  "Yes, and then some.  I feel quite
confident about Mrs. Kronborg.  We usually agree.  Good-
morning."

     Dr. Archie stepped out into the hot sunshine and walked
rapidly toward his office, with a determined look on his face.
He found his waiting-room full of patients, and it was one
o'clock before he had dismissed the last one.  Then he shut
his door and took a drink before going over to the hotel for
his lunch.  He smiled as he locked his cupboard.  "I feel
almost as gay as if I were going to get away for a winter
myself," he thought.

     Afterward Thea could never remember much about
that summer, or how she lived through her impatience.
She was to set off with Dr. Archie on the fifteenth of Octo-
ber, and she gave lessons until the first of September.  Then
she began to get her clothes ready, and spent whole after-
noons in the village dressmaker's stuffy, littered little sew-
ing-room.  Thea and her mother made a trip to Denver to
buy the materials for her dresses.  Ready-made clothes for

<p 153>

girls were not to be had in those days.  Miss Spencer, the
dressmaker, declared that she could do handsomely by Thea
if they would only let her carry out her own ideas.  But Mrs.
Kronborg and Thea felt that Miss Spencer's most daring
productions might seem out of place in Chicago, so they
restrained her with a firm hand.  Tillie, who always helped
Mrs. Kronborg with the family sewing, was for letting
Miss Spencer challenge Chicago on Thea's person.  Since
Ray Kennedy's death, Thea had become more than ever
one of Tillie's heroines.  Tillie swore each of her friends to
secrecy, and, coming home from church or leaning over the
fence, told them the most touching stories about Ray's
devotion, and how Thea would "never get over it."

     Tillie's confidences stimulated the general discussion of
Thea's venture.  This discussion went on, upon front
porches and in back yards, pretty much all summer.  Some
people approved of Thea's going to Chicago, but most peo-
ple did not.  There were others who changed their minds
about it every day.

     Tillie said she wanted Thea to have a ball dress "above
all things."  She bought a fashion book especially devoted
to evening clothes and looked hungrily over the colored
plates, picking out costumes that would be becoming to
"a blonde."  She wanted Thea to have all the gay clothes
she herself had always longed for; clothes she often told
herself she needed "to recite in."

     "Tillie," Thea used to cry impatiently, "can't you see
that if Miss Spencer tried to make one of those things,
she'd make me look like a circus girl?  Anyhow, I don't
know anybody in Chicago.  I won't be going to parties."

     Tillie always replied with a knowing toss of her head,
"You see!  You'll be in society before you know it.  There
ain't many girls as accomplished as you."

     On the morning of the fifteenth of October the Kronborg
family, all of them but Gus, who couldn't leave the store,
started for the station an hour before train time.  Charley

<p 154>

had taken Thea's trunk and telescope to the depot in his
delivery wagon early that morning.  Thea wore her new
blue serge traveling-dress, chosen for its serviceable quali-
ties.  She had done her hair up carefully, and had put a
pale-blue ribbon around her throat, under a little lace col-
lar that Mrs. Kohler had crocheted for her.  As they went
out of the gate, Mrs. Kronborg looked her over thought-
fully.  Yes, that blue ribbon went very well with the dress,
and with Thea's eyes.  Thea had a rather unusual touch
about such things, she reflected comfortably.  Tillie al-
ways said that Thea was "so indifferent to dress," but her
mother noticed that she usually put her clothes on well.
She felt the more at ease about letting Thea go away from
home, because she had good sense about her clothes and
never tried to dress up too much.  Her coloring was so
individual, she was so unusually fair, that in the wrong
clothes she might easily have been "conspicuous."

     It was a fine morning, and the family set out from the
house in good spirits.  Thea was quiet and calm.  She had
forgotten nothing, and she clung tightly to her handbag,
which held her trunk-key and all of her money that was
not in an envelope pinned to her chemise.  Thea walked
behind the others, holding Thor by the hand, and this time
she did not feel that the procession was too long.  Thor
was uncommunicative that morning, and would only talk
about how he would rather get a sand bur in his toe every
day than wear shoes and stockings.  As they passed the
cottonwood grove where Thea often used to bring him in
his cart, she asked him who would take him for nice long
walks after sister went away.

     "Oh, I can walk in our yard," he replied unapprecia-
tively.  "I guess I can make a pond for my duck."

     Thea leaned down and looked into his face.  "But you
won't forget about sister, will you?"  Thor shook his head.
"And won't you be glad when sister comes back and can
take you over to Mrs. Kohler's to see the pigeons?"

<p 155>

     "Yes, I'll be glad.  But I'm going to have a pigeon my
own self."

     "But you haven't got any little house for one.  Maybe
Axel would make you a little house."

     "Oh, her can live in the barn, her can," Thor drawled
indifferently.

     Thea laughed and squeezed his hand.  She always liked
his sturdy matter-of-factness.  Boys ought to be like that,
she thought.

     When they reached the depot, Mr. Kronborg paced the
platform somewhat ceremoniously with his daughter.  Any
member of his flock would have gathered that he was giv-
ing her good counsel about meeting the temptations of the
world.  He did, indeed, begin to admonish her not to forget
that talents come from our Heavenly Father and are to be
used for his glory, but he cut his remarks short and looked
at his watch.  He believed that Thea was a religious girl,
but when she looked at him with that intent, that pas-
sionately inquiring gaze which used to move even Wunsch,
Mr. Kronborg suddenly felt his eloquence fail.  Thea was
like her mother, he reflected; you couldn't put much
sentiment across with her.  As a usual thing, he liked girls
to be a little more responsive.  He liked them to blush at
his compliments; as Mrs. Kronborg candidly said, "Father
could be very soft with the girls."  But this morning he was
thinking that hard-headedness was a reassuring quality in
a daughter who was going to Chicago alone.

     Mr. Kronborg believed that big cities were places where
people went to lose their identity and to be wicked.  He
himself, when he was a student at the Seminary--he
coughed and opened his watch again.  He knew, of course,
that a great deal of business went on in Chicago, that there
was an active Board of Trade, and that hogs and cattle
were slaughtered there.  But when, as a young man, he had
stopped over in Chicago, he had not interested himself in
the commercial activities of the city.  He remembered it as

<p 156>

a place full of cheap shows and dance halls and boys from
the country who were behaving disgustingly.

     Dr. Archie drove up to the station about ten minutes
before the train was due.  His man tied the ponies and stood
holding the doctor's alligator-skin bag--very elegant,
Thea thought it.  Mrs. Kronborg did not burden the doctor
with warnings and cautions.  She said again that she hoped
he could get Thea a comfortable place to stay, where they
had good beds, and she hoped the landlady would be a
woman who'd had children of her own.  "I don't go much
on old maids looking after girls," she remarked as she took
a pin out of her own hat and thrust it into Thea's blue
turban.  "You'll be sure to lose your hatpins on the train,
Thea.  It's better to have an extra one in case."  She tucked
in a little curl that had escaped from Thea's careful twist.
"Don't forget to brush your dress often, and pin it up to
the curtains of your berth to-night, so it won't wrinkle.
If you get it wet, have a tailor press it before it draws."

     She turned Thea about by the shoulders and looked her
over a last time.  Yes, she looked very well.  She wasn't
pretty, exactly,--her face was too broad and her nose was
too big.  But she had that lovely skin, and she looked fresh
and sweet.  She had always been a sweet-smelling child.
Her mother had always liked to kiss her, when she hap-
pened to think of it.

     The train whistled in, and Mr. Kronborg carried the
canvas "telescope" into the car.  Thea kissed them all
good-bye.  Tillie cried, but she was the only one who did.
They all shouted things up at the closed window of the Pull-
man car, from which Thea looked down at them as from
a frame, her face glowing with excitement, her turban a
little tilted in spite of three hatpins.  She had already taken
off her new gloves to save them.  Mrs. Kronborg reflected
that she would never see just that same picture again,
and as Thea's car slid off along the rails, she wiped a
tear from her eye.  "She won't come back a little girl,"

<p 157>

Mrs. Kronborg said to her husband as they turned to go
home.  "Anyhow, she's been a sweet one."

     While the Kronborg family were trooping slowly home-
ward, Thea was sitting in the Pullman, her telescope in the
seat beside her, her handbag tightly gripped in her fingers.
Dr. Archie had gone into the smoker.  He thought she
might be a little tearful, and that it would be kinder to
leave her alone for a while.  Her eyes did fill once, when
she saw the last of the sand hills and realized that she was
going to leave them behind for a long while.  They always
made her think of Ray, too.  She had had such good times
with him out there.

     But, of course, it was herself and her own adventure that
mattered to her.  If youth did not matter so much to itself,
it would never have the heart to go on.  Thea was sur-
prised that she did not feel a deeper sense of loss at leaving
her old life behind her.  It seemed, on the contrary, as she
looked out at the yellow desert speeding by, that she had
left very little.  Everything that was essential seemed to be
right there in the car with her.  She lacked nothing.  She
even felt more compact and confident than usual.  She
was all there, and something else was there, too,--in
her heart, was it, or under her cheek?  Anyhow, it was
about her somewhere, that warm sureness, that sturdy
little companion with whom she shared a secret.

     When Dr. Archie came in from the smoker, she was sit-
ting still, looking intently out of the window and smiling,
her lips a little parted, her hair in a blaze of sunshine.  The
doctor thought she was the prettiest thing he had ever
seen, and very funny, with her telescope and big handbag.
She made him feel jolly, and a little mournful, too.  He
knew that the splendid things of life are few, after all, and
so very easy to miss.

<p 161>

                              PART II

                       THE SONG OF THE LARK

                                 I

     THEA and Dr. Archie had been gone from Moonstone
four days.  On the afternoon of the nineteenth of Octo-
ber they were in a street-car, riding through the depressing,
unkept wastes of North Chicago, on their way to call upon
the Reverend Lars Larsen, a friend to whom Mr. Kron-
borg had written.  Thea was still staying at the rooms of
the Young Women's Christian Association, and was miser-
able and homesick there.  The housekeeper watched her in
a way that made her uncomfortable.  Things had not gone
very well, so far.  The noise and confusion of a big city
tired and disheartened her.  She had not had her trunk sent
to the Christian Association rooms because she did not
want to double cartage charges, and now she was running
up a bill for storage on it.  The contents of her gray tele-
scope were becoming untidy, and it seemed impossible to
keep one's face and hands clean in Chicago.  She felt as if
she were still on the train, traveling without enough
clothes to keep clean.  She wanted another nightgown,
and it did not occur to her that she could buy one.  There
were other clothes in her trunk that she needed very much,
and she seemed no nearer a place to stay than when
she arrived in the rain, on that first disillusioning morning.

     Dr. Archie had gone at once to his friend Hartley Evans,
the throat specialist, and had asked him to tell him of a good
piano teacher and direct him to a good boarding-house.
Dr. Evans said he could easily tell him who was the best
piano teacher in Chicago, but that most students' board-

<p 162>

ing-houses were "abominable places, where girls got poor
food for body and mind."  He gave Dr. Archie several ad-
dresses, however, and the doctor went to look the places
over.  He left Thea in her room, for she seemed tired and
was not at all like herself.  His inspection of boarding-
houses was not encouraging.  The only place that seemed
to him at all desirable was full, and the mistress of the
house could not give Thea a room in which she could have
a piano.  She said Thea might use the piano in her parlor;
but when Dr. Archie went to look at the parlor he found
a girl talking to a young man on one of the corner sofas.
Learning that the boarders received all their callers there,
he gave up that house, too, as hopeless.

     So when they set out to make the acquaintance of Mr.
Larsen on the afternoon he had appointed, the question
of a lodging was still undecided.  The Swedish Reform
Church was in a sloughy, weedy district, near a group of
factories.  The church itself was a very neat little building.
The parsonage, next door, looked clean and comfortable,
and there was a well-kept yard about it, with a picket
fence.  Thea saw several little children playing under a
swing, and wondered why ministers always had so many.
When they rang at the parsonage door, a capable-looking
Swedish servant girl answered the bell and told them that
Mr. Larsen's study was in the church, and that he was
waiting for them there.

     Mr. Larsen received them very cordially.  The furniture
in his study was so new and the pictures were so heavily
framed, that Thea thought it looked more like the wait-
ing-room of the fashionable Denver dentist to whom Dr.
Archie had taken her that summer, than like a preacher's
study.  There were even flowers in a glass vase on the
desk.  Mr. Larsen was a small, plump man, with a short,
yellow beard, very white teeth, and a little turned-up nose
on which he wore gold-rimmed eye-glasses.  He looked
about thirty-five, but he was growing bald, and his thin,

<p 163>

hair was parted above his left ear and brought up over
the bare spot on the top of his head.  He looked cheerful
and agreeable.  He wore a blue coat and no cuffs.

     After Dr. Archie and Thea sat down on a slippery leather
couch, the minister asked for an outline of Thea's plans.
Dr. Archie explained that she meant to study piano with
Andor Harsanyi; that they had already seen him, that
Thea had played for him and he said he would be glad to
teach her.

     Mr. Larsen lifted his pale eyebrows and rubbed his
plump white hands together.  "But he is a concert pianist
already.  He will be very expensive."

     "That's why Miss Kronborg wants to get a church posi-
tion if possible.  She has not money enough to see her
through the winter.  There's no use her coming all the way
from Colorado and studying with a second-rate teacher.
My friends here tell me Harsanyi is the best."

     "Oh, very likely!  I have heard him play with Thomas.
You Western people do things on a big scale.  There are
half a dozen teachers that I should think--  However, you
know what you want."  Mr. Larsen showed his contempt
for such extravagant standards by a shrug.  He felt that
Dr. Archie was trying to impress him.  He had succeeded,
indeed, in bringing out the doctor's stiffest manner.  Mr.
Larsen went on to explain that he managed the music in
his church himself, and drilled his choir, though the tenor
was the official choirmaster.  Unfortunately there were no
vacancies in his choir just now.  He had his four voices,
very good ones.  He looked away from Dr. Archie and
glanced at Thea.  She looked troubled, even a little fright-
ened when he said this, and drew in her lower lip.  She, cer-
tainly, was not pretentious, if her protector was.  He con-
tinued to study her.  She was sitting on the lounge, her
knees far apart, her gloved hands lying stiffly in her lap,
like a country girl.  Her turban, which seemed a little too big
for her, had got tilted in the wind,--it was always windy

<p 164>

in that part of Chicago,--and she looked tired.  She wore
no veil, and her hair, too, was the worse for the wind and
dust.  When he said he had all the voices he required, he
noticed that her gloved hands shut tightly.  Mr. Larsen
reflected that she was not, after all, responsible for the lofty
manner of her father's physician; that she was not even
responsible for her father, whom he remembered as a tire-
some fellow.  As he watched her tired, worried face, he felt
sorry for her.

     "All the same, I would like to try your voice," he said,
turning pointedly away from her companion.  "I am inter-
ested in voices.  Can you sing to the violin?"

     "I guess so," Thea replied dully.  "I don't know.  I
never tried."

     Mr. Larsen took his violin out of the case and began to
tighten the keys.  "We might go into the lecture-room and
see how it goes.  I can't tell much about a voice by the
organ.  The violin is really the proper instrument to try
a voice."  He opened a door at the back of his study, pushed
Thea gently through it, and looking over his shoulder to
Dr. Archie said, "Excuse us, sir.  We will be back soon."

     Dr. Archie chuckled.  All preachers were alike, officious
and on their dignity; liked to deal with women and girls,
but not with men.  He took up a thin volume from the
minister's desk.  To his amusement it proved to be a book
of "Devotional and Kindred Poems; by Mrs. Aurelia S.
Larsen."  He looked them over, thinking that the world
changed very little.  He could remember when the wife of
his father's minister had published a volume of verses,
which all the church members had to buy and all the chil-
dren were encouraged to read.  His grandfather had made
a face at the book and said, "Puir body!"  Both ladies
seemed to have chosen the same subjects, too: Jephthah's
Daughter, Rizpah, David's Lament for Absalom, etc.  The
doctor found the book very amusing.

     The Reverend Lars Larsen was a reactionary Swede.

<p 165>

His father came to Iowa in the sixties, married a Swedish
girl who was ambitious, like himself, and they moved to
Kansas and took up land under the Homestead Act.  After
that, they bought land and leased it from the Government,
acquired land in every possible way.  They worked like
horses, both of them; indeed, they would never have used
any horse-flesh they owned as they used themselves.  They
reared a large family and worked their sons and daughters
as mercilessly as they worked themselves; all of them but
Lars.  Lars was the fourth son, and he was born lazy.  He
seemed to bear the mark of overstrain on the part of his
parents.  Even in his cradle he was an example of physical
inertia; anything to lie still.  When he was a growing boy
his mother had to drag him out of bed every morning,
and he had to be driven to his chores.  At school he had a
model "attendance record," because he found getting his
lessons easier than farm work.  He was the only one of the
family who went through the high school, and by the time
he graduated he had already made up his mind to study
for the ministry, because it seemed to him the least labori-
ous of all callings.  In so far as he could see, it was the only
business in which there was practically no competition, in
which a man was not all the time pitted against other men
who were willing to work themselves to death.  His father
stubbornly opposed Lars's plan, but after keeping the boy
at home for a year and finding how useless he was on the
farm, he sent him to a theological seminary--as much to
conceal his laziness from the neighbors as because he did
not know what else to do with him.

     Larsen, like Peter Kronborg, got on well in the ministry,
because he got on well with the women.  His English was
no worse than that of most young preachers of American
parentage, and he made the most of his skill with the vio-
lin.  He was supposed to exert a very desirable influence
over young people and to stimulate their interest in church
work.  He married an American girl, and when his father

<p 166>

died he got his share of the property--which was very
considerable.  He invested his money carefully and was
that rare thing, a preacher of independent means.  His
white, well-kept hands were his result,--the evidence that
he had worked out his life successfully in the way that
pleased him.  His Kansas brothers hated the sight of his
hands.

     Larsen liked all the softer things of life,--in so far as he
knew about them.  He slept late in the morning, was fussy
about his food, and read a great many novels, preferring
sentimental ones.  He did not smoke, but he ate a great
deal of candy "for his throat," and always kept a box of
chocolate drops in the upper right-hand drawer of his desk.
He always bought season tickets for the symphony con-
certs, and he played his violin for women's culture clubs.
He did not wear cuffs, except on Sunday, because he be-
lieved that a free wrist facilitated his violin practice.
When he drilled his choir he always held his hand with the
little and index fingers curved higher than the other two,
like a noted German conductor he had seen.  On the whole,
the Reverend Larsen was not an insincere man; he merely
spent his life resting and playing, to make up for the time
his forebears had wasted grubbing in the earth.  He was
simple-hearted and kind; he enjoyed his candy and his
children and his sacred cantatas.  He could work energet-
ically at almost any form of play.

     Dr. Archie was deep in "The Lament of Mary Mag-
dalen," when Mr. Larsen and Thea came back to the
study.  From the minister's expression he judged that
Thea had succeeded in interesting him.

     Mr. Larsen seemed to have forgotten his hostility to-
ward him, and addressed him frankly as soon as he entered.
He stood holding his violin, and as Thea sat down he
pointed to her with his bow:--

     "I have just been telling Miss Kronborg that though I
cannot promise her anything permanent, I might give her

<p 167>

something for the next few months.  My soprano is a young
married woman and is temporarily indisposed.  She would
be glad to be excused from her duties for a while.  I like
Miss Kronborg's singing very much, and I think she would
benefit by the instruction in my choir.  Singing here might
very well lead to something else.  We pay our soprano only
eight dollars a Sunday, but she always gets ten dollars for
singing at funerals.  Miss Kronborg has a sympathetic
voice, and I think there would be a good deal of demand for
her at funerals.  Several American churches apply to me
for a soloist on such occasions, and I could help her to
pick up quite a little money that way."

     This sounded lugubrious to Dr. Archie, who had a physi-
cian's dislike of funerals, but he tried to accept the sug-
gestion cordially.

     "Miss Kronborg tells me she is having some trouble
getting located," Mr. Larsen went on with animation,
still holding his violin.  "I would advise her to keep away
from boarding-houses altogether.  Among my parishioners
there are two German women, a mother and daughter.
The daughter is a Swede by marriage, and clings to the
Swedish Church.  They live near here, and they rent some
of their rooms.  They have now a large room vacant, and
have asked me to recommend some one.  They have never
taken boarders, but Mrs. Lorch, the mother, is a good
cook,--at least, I am always glad to take supper with
her,--and I think I could persuade her to let this young
woman partake of the family table.  The daughter, Mrs.
Andersen, is musical, too, and sings in the Mozart Society.
I think they might like to have a music student in the
house.  You speak German, I suppose?" he turned to
Thea.

     "Oh, no; a few words.  I don't know the grammar," she
murmured.

     Dr. Archie noticed that her eyes looked alive again, not
frozen as they had looked all morning.  "If this fellow can

<p 168>

help her, it's not for me to be stand-offish," he said to him-
self.

     "Do you think you would like to stay in such a quiet
place, with old-fashioned people?" Mr. Larsen asked.  "I
shouldn't think you could find a better place to work, if
that's what you want."

     "I think mother would like to have me with people like
that," Thea replied.  "And I'd be glad to settle down most
anywhere.  I'm losing time."

     "Very well, there's no time like the present.  Let us go
to see Mrs. Lorch and Mrs. Andersen."

     The minister put his violin in its case and caught up a
black-and-white checked traveling-cap that he wore when
he rode his high Columbia wheel.  The three left the church
together.

<p 169>

                                II

     SO Thea did not go to a boarding-house after all.  When
Dr. Archie left Chicago she was comfortably settled
with Mrs. Lorch, and her happy reunion with her trunk
somewhat consoled her for his departure.

     Mrs. Lorch and her daughter lived half a mile from the
Swedish Reform Church, in an old square frame house,
with a porch supported by frail pillars, set in a damp yard
full of big lilac bushes.  The house, which had been left over
from country times, needed paint badly, and looked gloomy
and despondent among its smart Queen Anne neighbors.
There was a big back yard with two rows of apple trees
and a grape arbor, and a warped walk, two planks wide,
which led to the coal bins at the back of the lot.  Thea's
room was on the second floor, overlooking this back yard,
and she understood that in the winter she must carry up
her own coal and kindling from the bin.  There was no fur-
nace in the house, no running water except in the kitchen,
and that was why the room rent was small.  All the rooms
were heated by stoves, and the lodgers pumped the water
they needed from the cistern under the porch, or from the
well at the entrance of the grape arbor.  Old Mrs. Lorch
could never bring herself to have costly improvements
made in her house; indeed she had very little money.  She
preferred to keep the house just as her husband built it,
and she thought her way of living good enough for plain
people.

     Thea's room was large enough to admit a rented upright
piano without crowding.  It was, the widowed daughter
said, "a double room that had always before been occupied
by two gentlemen"; the piano now took the place of a
second occupant.  There was an ingrain carpet on the floor,

<p 170>

green ivy leaves on a red ground, and clumsy, old-fashioned
walnut furniture.  The bed was very wide, and the mat-
tress thin and hard.  Over the fat pillows were "shams"
embroidered in Turkey red, each with a flowering
scroll--one with "Gute' Nacht," the other with "Guten
Morgen."  The dresser was so big that Thea wondered
how it had ever been got into the house and up the narrow
stairs.  Besides an old horsehair armchair, there were two
low plush "spring-rockers," against the massive pedestals
of which one was always stumbling in the dark.  Thea sat
in the dark a good deal those first weeks, and sometimes
a painful bump against one of those brutally immovable
pedestals roused her temper and pulled her out of a heavy
hour.  The wall-paper was brownish yellow, with blue
flowers.  When it was put on, the carpet, certainly, had
not been consulted.  There was only one picture on the
wall when Thea moved in: a large colored print of a
brightly lighted church in a snow-storm, on Christmas
Eve, with greens hanging about the stone doorway and
arched windows.  There was something warm and home,
like about this picture, and Thea grew fond of it.  One
day, on her way into town to take her lesson, she stopped
at a bookstore and bought a photograph of the Naples
bust of Julius Caesar.  This she had framed, and hung it on
the big bare wall behind her stove.  It was a curious choice,
but she was at the age when people do inexplicable
things.  She had been interested in Caesar's "Commen-
taries" when she left school to begin teaching, and she
loved to read about great generals; but these facts would
scarcely explain her wanting that grim bald head to share
her daily existence.  It seemed a strange freak, when she
bought so few things, and when she had, as Mrs. Andersen
said to Mrs. Lorch, "no pictures of the composers at all."

     Both the widows were kind to her, but Thea liked the
mother better.  Old Mrs. Lorch was fat and jolly, with a
red face, always shining as if she had just come from the

<p 171>

stove, bright little eyes, and hair of several colors.  Her
own hair was one cast of iron-gray, her switch another,
and her false front still another.  Her clothes always smelled
of savory cooking, except when she was dressed for church
or KAFFEEKLATSCH, and then she smelled of bay rum or of
the lemon-verbena sprig which she tucked inside her puffy
black kid glove.  Her cooking justified all that Mr. Larsen
had said of it, and Thea had never been so well nourished
before.

     The daughter, Mrs. Andersen,--Irene, her mother
called her,--was a different sort of woman altogether.
She was perhaps forty years old, angular, big-boned, with
large, thin features, light-blue eyes, and dry, yellow hair,
the bang tightly frizzed.  She was pale, anaemic, and senti-
mental.  She had married the youngest son of a rich, arro-
gant Swedish family who were lumber merchants in St.
Paul.  There she dwelt during her married life.  Oscar
Andersen was a strong, full-blooded fellow who had counted
on a long life and had been rather careless about his busi-
ness affairs.  He was killed by the explosion of a steam
boiler in the mills, and his brothers managed to prove that
he had very little stock in the big business.  They had
strongly disapproved of his marriage and they agreed
among themselves that they were entirely justified in de-
frauding his widow, who, they said, "would only marry
again and give some fellow a good thing of it."  Mrs. Ander-
sen would not go to law with the family that had always
snubbed and wounded her--she felt the humiliation of be-
ing thrust out more than she felt her impoverishment; so
she went back to Chicago to live with her widowed mother
on an income of five hundred a year.  This experience had
given her sentimental nature an incurable hurt.  Something
withered away in her.  Her head had a downward droop;
her step was soft and apologetic, even in her mother's
house, and her smile had the sickly, uncertain flicker that
so often comes from a secret humiliation.  She was affable

<p 172>

and yet shrinking, like one who has come down in the
world, who has known better clothes, better carpets, bet-
ter people, brighter hopes.  Her husband was buried in the
Andersen lot in St. Paul, with a locked iron fence around
it.  She had to go to his eldest brother for the key when she
went to say good-bye to his grave.  She clung to the Swedish
Church because it had been her husband's church.

     As her mother had no room for her household belongings,
Mrs. Andersen had brought home with her only her bed-
room set, which now furnished her own room at Mrs.
Lorch's.  There she spent most of her time, doing fancy-
work or writing letters to sympathizing German friends
in St. Paul, surrounded by keepsakes and photographs of
the burly Oscar Andersen.  Thea, when she was admitted
to this room, and shown these photographs, found her-
self wondering, like the Andersen family, why such a lusty,
gay-looking fellow ever thought he wanted this pallid,
long-cheeked woman, whose manner was always that of
withdrawing, and who must have been rather thin-blooded
even as a girl.

     Mrs. Andersen was certainly a depressing person.  It
sometimes annoyed Thea very much to hear her insinuat-
ing knock on the door, her flurried explanation of why she
had come, as she backed toward the stairs.  Mrs. Andersen
admired Thea greatly.  She thought it a distinction to be
even a "temporary soprano"--Thea called herself so quite
seriously--in the Swedish Church.  She also thought it
distinguished to be a pupil of Harsanyi's.  She considered
Thea very handsome, very Swedish, very talented.  She
fluttered about the upper floor when Thea was practicing.
In short, she tried to make a heroine of her, just as Tillie
Kronborg had always done, and Thea was conscious of
something of the sort.  When she was working and heard
Mrs. Andersen tip-toeing past her door, she used to shrug
her shoulders and wonder whether she was always to have
a Tillie diving furtively about her in some disguise or other.

<p 173>

     At the dressmaker's Mrs. Andersen recalled Tillie even
more painfully.  After her first Sunday in Mr. Larsen's
choir, Thea saw that she must have a proper dress for
morning service.  Her Moonstone party dress might do to
wear in the evening, but she must have one frock that could
stand the light of day.  She, of course, knew nothing about
Chicago dressmakers, so she let Mrs. Andersen take her to
a German woman whom she recommended warmly.  The
German dressmaker was excitable and dramatic.  Concert
dresses, she said, were her specialty.  In her fitting-room
there were photographs of singers in the dresses she had
made them for this or that SANGERFEST.  She and Mrs. An-
dersen together achieved a costume which would have
warmed Tillie Kronborg's heart.  It was clearly intended
for a woman of forty, with violent tastes.  There seemed to
be a piece of every known fabric in it somewhere.  When
it came home, and was spread out on her huge bed, Thea
looked it over and told herself candidly that it was "a
horror."  However, her money was gone, and there was
nothing to do but make the best of the dress.  She never
wore it except, as she said, "to sing in," as if it were an
unbecoming uniform.  When Mrs. Lorch and Irene told her
that she "looked like a little bird-of-Paradise in it," Thea
shut her teeth and repeated to herself words she had
learned from Joe Giddy and Spanish Johnny.

     In these two good women Thea found faithful friends,
and in their house she found the quiet and peace which
helped her to support the great experiences of that winter.

<p 174>

                                III

     ANDOR HARSANYI had never had a pupil in the
least like Thea Kronborg.  He had never had one
more intelligent, and he had never had one so ignorant.
When Thea sat down to take her first lesson from him, she
had never heard a work by Beethoven or a composition
by Chopin.  She knew their names vaguely.  Wunsch had
been a musician once, long before he wandered into Moon-
stone, but when Thea awoke his interest there was not
much left of him.  From him Thea had learned something
about the works of Gluck and Bach, and he used to play her
some of the compositions of Schumann.  In his trunk he had
a mutilated score of the F sharp minor sonata, which he had
heard Clara Schumann play at a festival in Leipsic.  Though
his powers of execution were at such a low ebb, he used to
play at this sonata for his pupil and managed to give her
some idea of its beauty.  When Wunsch was a young man,
it was still daring to like Schumann; enthusiasm for his
work was considered an expression of youthful wayward-
ness.  Perhaps that was why Wunsch remembered him best.
Thea studied some of the KINDERSZENEN with him, as well
as some little sonatas by Mozart and Clementi.  But for
the most part Wunsch stuck to Czerny and Hummel.

     Harsanyi found in Thea a pupil with sure, strong hands,
one who read rapidly and intelligently, who had, he felt, a
richly gifted nature.  But she had been given no direction,
and her ardor was unawakened.  She had never heard a
symphony orchestra.  The literature of the piano was an
undiscovered world to her.  He wondered how she had been
able to work so hard when she knew so little of what she
was working toward.  She had been taught according to the
old Stuttgart method; stiff back, stiff elbows, a very formal

<p 175>

position of the hands.  The best thing about her prepara-
tion was that she had developed an unusual power of work.
He noticed at once her way of charging at difficulties.  She
ran to meet them as if they were foes she had long been
seeking, seized them as if they were destined for her and
she for them.  Whatever she did well, she took for granted.
Her eagerness aroused all the young Hungarian's chivalry.
Instinctively one went to the rescue of a creature who had
so much to overcome and who struggled so hard.  He used
to tell his wife that Miss Kronborg's hour took more out of
him than half a dozen other lessons.  He usually kept her
long over time; he changed her lessons about so that he
could do so, and often gave her time at the end of the day,
when he could talk to her afterward and play for her a
little from what he happened to be studying.  It was always
interesting to play for her.  Sometimes she was so silent
that he wondered, when she left him, whether she had got
anything out of it.  But a week later, two weeks later, she
would give back his idea again in a way that set him
vibrating.

     All this was very well for Harsanyi; an interesting varia-
tion in the routine of teaching.  But for Thea Kronborg,
that winter was almost beyond enduring.  She always re-
membered it as the happiest and wildest and saddest of her
life.  Things came too fast for her; she had not had enough
preparation.  There were times when she came home from
her lesson and lay upon her bed hating Wunsch and her
family, hating a world that had let her grow up so ignorant;
when she wished that she could die then and there, and be
born over again to begin anew.  She said something of this
kind once to her teacher, in the midst of a bitter struggle.
Harsanyi turned the light of his wonderful eye upon her--
poor fellow, he had but one, though that was set in such a
handsome head--and said slowly: "Every artist makes
himself born.  It is very much harder than the other time,
and longer.  Your mother did not bring anything into the

<p 176>

world to play piano.  That you must bring into the world
yourself."

     This comforted Thea temporarily, for it seemed to give
her a chance.  But a great deal of the time she was com-
fortless.  Her letters to Dr. Archie were brief and business-
like.  She was not apt to chatter much, even in the stim-
ulating company of people she liked, and to chatter on
paper was simply impossible for her.  If she tried to write
him anything definite about her work, she immediately
scratched it out as being only partially true, or not true at
all.  Nothing that she could say about her studies seemed
unqualifiedly true, once she put it down on paper.

     Late one afternoon, when she was thoroughly tired and
wanted to struggle on into the dusk, Harsanyi, tired too,
threw up his hands and laughed at her.  "Not to-day, Miss
Kronborg.  That sonata will keep; it won't run away.
Even if you and I should not waken up to-morrow, it will
be there."

     Thea turned to him fiercely.  "No, it isn't here unless
I have it--not for me," she cried passionately.  "Only
what I hold in my two hands is there for me!"

     Harsanyi made no reply.  He took a deep breath and
sat down again.  "The second movement now, quietly,
with the shoulders relaxed."

     There were hours, too, of great exaltation; when she was
at her best and became a part of what she was doing and
ceased to exist in any other sense.  There were other times
when she was so shattered by ideas that she could do noth-
ing worth while; when they trampled over her like an army
and she felt as if she were bleeding to death under them.
She sometimes came home from a late lesson so exhausted
that she could eat no supper.  If she tried to eat, she was
ill afterward.  She used to throw herself upon the bed and
lie there in the dark, not thinking, not feeling, but evapo-
rating.  That same night, perhaps, she would waken up
rested and calm, and as she went over her work in her mind,

<p 177>

the passages seemed to become something of themselves,
to take a sort of pattern in the darkness.  She had never
learned to work away from the piano until she came to
Harsanyi, and it helped her more than anything had ever
helped her before.

     She almost never worked now with the sunny, happy
contentment that had filled the hours when she worked
with Wunsch--"like a fat horse turning a sorgum mill,"
she said bitterly to herself.  Then, by sticking to it, she
could always do what she set out to do.  Now, every-
thing that she really wanted was impossible; a CANTABILE
like Harsanyi's, for instance, instead of her own cloudy
tone.  No use telling her she might have it in ten years.
She wanted it now.  She wondered how she had ever found
other things interesting: books, "Anna Karenina"--all
that seemed so unreal and on the outside of things.  She
was not born a musician, she decided; there was no other
way of explaining it.

     Sometimes she got so nervous at the piano that she left
it, and snatching up her hat and cape went out and walked,
hurrying through the streets like Christian fleeing from
the City of Destruction.  And while she walked she cried.
There was scarcely a street in the neighborhood that she
had not cried up and down before that winter was over.
The thing that used to lie under her cheek, that sat so
warmly over her heart when she glided away from the sand
hills that autumn morning, was far from her.  She had come
to Chicago to be with it, and it had deserted her, leaving
in its place a painful longing, an unresigned despair.

     Harsanyi knew that his interesting pupil--"the sav-
age blonde," one of his male students called her--was
sometimes very unhappy.  He saw in her discontent a
curious definition of character.  He would have said that
a girl with so much musical feeling, so intelligent, with good
training of eye and hand, would, when thus suddenly in-

<p 178>

troduced to the great literature of the piano, have found
boundless happiness.  But he soon learned that she was
not able to forget her own poverty in the richness of the
world he opened to her.  Often when he played to her,
her face was the picture of restless misery.  She would sit
crouching forward, her elbows on her knees, her brows
drawn together and her gray-green eyes smaller than ever,
reduced to mere pin-points of cold, piercing light.  Some-
times, while she listened, she would swallow hard, two or
three times, and look nervously from left to right, drawing
her shoulders together.  "Exactly," he thought, "as if she
were being watched, or as if she were naked and heard
some one coming."

     On the other hand, when she came several times to see
Mrs. Harsanyi and the two babies, she was like a little
girl, jolly and gay and eager to play with the children, who
loved her.  The little daughter, Tanya, liked to touch Miss
Kronborg's yellow hair and pat it, saying, "Dolly, dolly,"
because it was of a color much oftener seen on dolls than on
people.  But if Harsanyi opened the piano and sat down to
play, Miss Kronborg gradually drew away from the chil-
dren, retreated to a corner and became sullen or troubled.
Mrs. Harsanyi noticed this, also, and thought it very
strange behavior.

     Another thing that puzzled Harsanyi was Thea's ap-
parent lack of curiosity.  Several times he offered to give
her tickets to concerts, but she said she was too tired or
that it "knocked her out to be up late."  Harsanyi did not
know that she was singing in a choir, and had often to sing
at funerals, neither did he realize how much her work with
him stirred her and exhausted her.  Once, just as she was
leaving his studio, he called her back and told her he could
give her some tickets that had been sent him for Emma
Juch that evening.  Thea fingered the black wool on the
edge of her plush cape and replied, "Oh, thank you, Mr.
Harsanyi, but I have to wash my hair to-night."

<p 179>

     Mrs. Harsanyi liked Miss Kronborg thoroughly.  She
saw in her the making of a pupil who would reflect credit
upon Harsanyi.  She felt that the girl could be made to look
strikingly handsome, and that she had the kind of per-
sonality which takes hold of audiences.  Moreover, Miss
Kronborg was not in the least sentimental about her hus-
band.  Sometimes from the show pupils one had to endure
a good deal.  "I like that girl," she used to say, when
Harsanyi told her of one of Thea's GAUCHERIES.  "She doesn't
sigh every time the wind blows.  With her one swallow
doesn't make a summer."

     Thea told them very little about herself.  She was not
naturally communicative, and she found it hard to feel
confidence in new people.  She did not know why, but she
could not talk to Harsanyi as she could to Dr. Archie, or to
Johnny and Mrs. Tellamantez.  With Mr. Larsen she felt
more at home, and when she was walking she sometimes
stopped at his study to eat candy with him or to hear the
plot of the novel he happened to be reading.

     One evening toward the middle of December Thea was
to dine with the Harsanyis.  She arrived early, to have
time to play with the children before they went to bed.
Mrs. Harsanyi took her into her own room and helped her
take off her country "fascinator" and her clumsy plush
cape.  Thea had bought this cape at a big department store
and had paid $16.50 for it.  As she had never paid more
than ten dollars for a coat before, that seemed to her a
large price.  It was very heavy and not very warm, orna-
mented with a showy pattern in black disks, and trimmed
around the collar and the edges with some kind of black
wool that "crocked" badly in snow or rain.  It was lined
with a cotton stuff called "farmer's satin."  Mrs. Harsanyi
was one woman in a thousand.  As she lifted this cape from
Thea's shoulders and laid it on her white bed, she wished
that her husband did not have to charge pupils like this
one for their lessons.  Thea wore her Moonstone party

<p 180>

dress, white organdie, made with a "V" neck and elbow
sleeves, and a blue sash.  She looked very pretty in it, and
around her throat she had a string of pink coral and tiny
white shells that Ray once brought her from Los Angeles.
Mrs. Harsanyi noticed that she wore high heavy shoes
which needed blacking.  The choir in Mr. Larsen's church
stood behind a railing, so Thea did not pay much attention
to her shoes.

     "You have nothing to do to your hair," Mrs. Harsanyi
said kindly, as Thea turned to the mirror.  "However it
happens to lie, it's always pretty.  I admire it as much as
Tanya does."

     Thea glanced awkwardly away from her and looked
stern, but Mrs. Harsanyi knew that she was pleased.  They
went into the living-room, behind the studio, where the
two children were playing on the big rug before the coal
grate.  Andor, the boy, was six, a sturdy, handsome child,
and the little girl was four.  She came tripping to meet
Thea, looking like a little doll in her white net dress--her
mother made all her clothes.  Thea picked her up and
hugged her.  Mrs. Harsanyi excused herself and went to the
dining-room.  She kept only one maid and did a good deal
of the housework herself, besides cooking her husband's
favorite dishes for him.  She was still under thirty, a slender,
graceful woman, gracious, intelligent, and capable.  She
adapted herself to circumstances with a well-bred ease
which solved many of her husband's difficulties, and kept
him, as he said, from feeling cheap and down at the heel.
No musician ever had a better wife.  Unfortunately her
beauty was of a very frail and impressionable kind, and
she was beginning to lose it.  Her face was too thin now,
and there were often dark circles under her eyes.

     Left alone with the children, Thea sat down on Tanya's
little chair--she would rather have sat on the floor, but
was afraid of rumpling her dress--and helped them play
"cars" with Andor's iron railway set.  She showed him

<p 181>

new ways to lay his tracks and how to make switches, set
up his Noah's ark village for stations and packed the ani-
mals in the open coal cars to send them to the stockyards.
They worked out their shipment so realistically that when
Andor put the two little reindeer into the stock car, Tanya
snatched them out and began to cry, saying she wasn't
going to have all their animals killed.

     Harsanyi came in, jaded and tired, and asked Thea to go
on with her game, as he was not equal to talking much
before dinner.  He sat down and made pretense of glancing
at the evening paper, but he soon dropped it.  After the
railroad began to grow tiresome, Thea went with the child-
ren to the lounge in the corner, and played for them the
game with which she used to amuse Thor for hours to-
gether behind the parlor stove at home, making shadow
pictures against the wall with her hands.  Her fingers were
very supple, and she could make a duck and a cow and a
sheep and a fox and a rabbit and even an elephant.  Har-
sanyi, from his low chair, watched them, smiling.  The boy
was on his knees, jumping up and down with the excite-
ment of guessing the beasts, and Tanya sat with her feet
tucked under her and clapped her frail little hands.  Thea's
profile, in the lamplight, teased his fancy.  Where had he
seen a head like it before?

     When dinner was announced, little Andor took Thea's
hand and walked to the dining-room with her.  The chil-
dren always had dinner with their parents and behaved
very nicely at table.  "Mamma," said Andor seriously as
he climbed into his chair and tucked his napkin into the
collar of his blouse, "Miss Kronborg's hands are every
kind of animal there is."

     His father laughed.  "I wish somebody would say that
about my hands, Andor."

     When Thea dined at the Harsanyis before, she noticed
that there was an intense suspense from the moment they
took their places at the table until the master of the house

<p 182>

had tasted the soup.  He had a theory that if the soup
went well, the dinner would go well; but if the soup was
poor, all was lost.  To-night he tasted his soup and smiled,
and Mrs. Harsanyi sat more easily in her chair and turned
her attention to Thea.  Thea loved their dinner table, be-
cause it was lighted by candles in silver candle-sticks,
and she had never seen a table so lighted anywhere else.
There were always flowers, too.  To-night there was a
little orange tree, with oranges on it, that one of Harsanyi's
pupils had sent him at Thanksgiving time.  After Harsanyi
had finished his soup and a glass of red Hungarian wine, he
lost his fagged look and became cordial and witty.  He
persuaded Thea to drink a little wine to-night.  The first
time she dined with them, when he urged her to taste the
glass of sherry beside her plate, she astonished them by
telling them that she "never drank."

     Harsanyi was then a man of thirty-two.  He was to have
a very brilliant career, but he did not know it then.
Theodore Thomas was perhaps the only man in Chicago
who felt that Harsanyi might have a great future.  Har-
sanyi belonged to the softer Slavic type, and was more like
a Pole than a Hungarian.  He was tall, slender, active, with
sloping, graceful shoulders and long arms.  His head was
very fine, strongly and delicately modelled, and, as Thea
put it, "so independent."  A lock of his thick brown hair
usually hung over his forehead.  His eye was wonderful;
full of light and fire when he was interested, soft and
thoughtful when he was tired or melancholy.  The mean-
ing and power of two very fine eyes must all have gone
into this one--the right one, fortunately, the one next
his audience when he played.  He believed that the glass
eye which gave one side of his face such a dull, blind look,
had ruined his career, or rather had made a career impos-
sible for him.  Harsanyi lost his eye when he was twelve
years old, in a Pennsylvania mining town where explo-
sives happened to be kept too near the frame shanties

<p 183>

in which the company packed newly arrived Hungarian
families.

     His father was a musician and a good one, but he had
cruelly over-worked the boy; keeping him at the piano for
six hours a day and making him play in cafes and dance
halls for half the night.  Andor ran away and crossed the
ocean with an uncle, who smuggled him through the port
as one of his own many children.  The explosion in which
Andor was hurt killed a score of people, and he was
thought lucky to get off with an eye.  He still had a clip-
ping from a Pittsburg paper, giving a list of the dead
and injured.  He appeared as "Harsanyi, Andor, left eye
and slight injuries about the head."  That was his first
American "notice"; and he kept it.  He held no grudge
against the coal company; he understood that the acci-
dent was merely one of the things that are bound to hap-
pen in the general scramble of American life, where every
one comes to grab and takes his chance.

     While they were eating dessert, Thea asked Harsanyi
if she could change her Tuesday lesson from afternoon to
morning.  "I have to be at a choir rehearsal in the after-
noon, to get ready for the Christmas music, and I expect
it will last until late."

     Harsanyi put down his fork and looked up.  "A choir
rehearsal?  You sing in a church?"

     "Yes.  A little Swedish church, over on the North
side."

     "Why did you not tell us?"

     "Oh, I'm only a temporary.  The regular soprano is not
well."

     "How long have you been singing there?"

     "Ever since I came.  I had to get a position of some
kind," Thea explained, flushing, "and the preacher took
me on.  He runs the choir himself.  He knew my father, and
I guess he took me to oblige."

     Harsanyi tapped the tablecloth with the ends of his

<p 184>

fingers.  "But why did you never tell us?  Why are you so
reticent with us?"

     Thea looked shyly at him from under her brows.  "Well,
it's certainly not very interesting.  It's only a little church.
I only do it for business reasons."

     "What do you mean?  Don't you like to sing?  Don't you
sing well?"

     "I like it well enough, but, of course, I don't know any-
thing about singing.  I guess that's why I never said any-
thing about it.  Anybody that's got a voice can sing in a
little church like that."

     Harsanyi laughed softly--a little scornfully, Thea
thought.  "So you have a voice, have you?"

     Thea hesitated, looked intently at the candles and then
at Harsanyi.  "Yes," she said firmly; "I have got some,
anyway."

     "Good girl," said Mrs. Harsanyi, nodding and smiling
at Thea.  "You must let us hear you sing after dinner."

     This remark seemingly closed the subject, and when the
coffee was brought they began to talk of other things.
Harsanyi asked Thea how she happened to know so much
about the way in which freight trains are operated, and
she tried to give him some idea of how the people in little
desert towns live by the railway and order their lives by the
coming and going of the trains.  When they left the dining-
room the children were sent to bed and Mrs. Harsanyi
took Thea into the studio.  She and her husband usually
sat there in the evening.

     Although their apartment seemed so elegant to Thea, it
was small and cramped.  The studio was the only spacious
room.  The Harsanyis were poor, and it was due to Mrs.
Harsanyi's good management that their lives, even in
hard times, moved along with dignity and order.  She
had long ago found out that bills or debts of any kind
frightened her husband and crippled his working power.
He said they were like bars on the windows, and shut out

<p 185>

the future; they meant that just so many hundred dollars'
worth of his life was debilitated and exhausted before he
got to it.  So Mrs. Harsanyi saw to it that they never
owed anything.  Harsanyi was not extravagant, though he
was sometimes careless about money.  Quiet and order
and his wife's good taste were the things that meant most
to him.  After these, good food, good cigars, a little good
wine.  He wore his clothes until they were shabby, until his
wife had to ask the tailor to come to the house and mea-
sure him for new ones.  His neckties she usually made her-
self, and when she was in shops she always kept her eye
open for silks in very dull or pale shades, grays and olives,
warm blacks and browns.

     When they went into the studio Mrs. Harsanyi took up
her embroidery and Thea sat down beside her on a low
stool, her hands clasped about her knees.  While his wife
and his pupil talked, Harsanyi sank into a CHAISE LONGUE in
which he sometimes snatched a few moments' rest between
his lessons, and smoked.  He sat well out of the circle of the
lamplight, his feet to the fire.  His feet were slender and
well shaped, always elegantly shod.  Much of the grace of
his movements was due to the fact that his feet were almost
as sure and flexible as his hands.  He listened to the con-
versation with amusement.  He admired his wife's tact
and kindness with crude young people; she taught them
so much without seeming to be instructing.  When the
clock struck nine, Thea said she must be going home.

     Harsanyi rose and flung away his cigarette.  "Not yet.
We have just begun the evening.  Now you are going to
sing for us.  I have been waiting for you to recover from
dinner.  Come, what shall it be?" he crossed to the piano.

     Thea laughed and shook her head, locking her elbows
still tighter about her knees.  "Thank you, Mr. Harsanyi,
but if you really make me sing, I'll accompany myself.
You couldn't stand it to play the sort of things I have to
sing."

<p 186>

     As Harsanyi still pointed to the chair at the piano, she
left her stool and went to it, while he returned to his CHAISE
LONGUE.  Thea looked at the keyboard uneasily for a mo-
ment, then she began "Come, ye Disconsolate," the hymn
Wunsch had always liked to hear her sing.  Mrs. Harsanyi
glanced questioningly at her husband, but he was looking
intently at the toes of his boots, shading his forehead with
his long white hand.  When Thea finished the hymn she
did not turn around, but immediately began "The Ninety
and Nine."  Mrs. Harsanyi kept trying to catch her hus-
band's eye; but his chin only sank lower on his collar.

          "There were ninety and nine that safely lay

             In the shelter of the fold,

           But one was out on the hills away,

             Far off from the gates of gold."

     Harsanyi looked at her, then back at the fire.

          "Rejoice, for the Shepherd has found his sheep."

     Thea turned on the chair and grinned.  "That's about
enough, isn't it?  That song got me my job.  The preacher
said it was sympathetic," she minced the word, remember-
ing Mr. Larsen's manner.

     Harsanyi drew himself up in his chair, resting his elbows
on the low arms.  "Yes?  That is better suited to your
voice.  Your upper tones are good, above G.  I must teach
you some songs.  Don't you know anything--pleasant?"

     Thea shook her head ruefully.  "I'm afraid I don't.  Let
me see--  Perhaps," she turned to the piano and put her
hands on the keys.  "I used to sing this for Mr. Wunsch a
long while ago.  It's for contralto, but I'll try it."  She
frowned at the keyboard a moment, played the few in-
troductory measures, and began

          "ACH, ICH HABE SIE VERLOREN,"

     She had not sung it for a long time, and it came back
like an old friendship.  When she finished, Harsanyi sprang
from his chair and dropped lightly upon his toes, a kind of

<p 187>

ENTRE-CHAT that he sometimes executed when he formed a
sudden resolution, or when he was about to follow a pure
intuition, against reason.  His wife said that when he gave
that spring he was shot from the bow of his ancestors, and
now when he left his chair in that manner she knew he was
intensely interested.  He went quickly to the piano.

     "Sing that again.  There is nothing the matter with
your low voice, my girl.  I will play for you.  Let your
voice out."  Without looking at her he began the accom-
paniment.  Thea drew back her shoulders, relaxed them
instinctively, and sang.

     When she finished the aria, Harsanyi beckoned her
nearer.  "Sing AH--AH for me, as I indicate."  He kept
his right hand on the keyboard and put his left to her
throat, placing the tips of his delicate fingers over her
larynx.  "Again,--until your breath is gone.--  Trill
between the two tones, always; good!  Again; excellent!--
Now up,--stay there.  E and F.  Not so good, is it?  F is
always a hard one.--  Now, try the half-tone.--  That's
right, nothing difficult about it.--  Now, pianissimo, AH--
AH.  Now, swell it, AH--AH.--  Again, follow my hand.--
Now, carry it down.--  Anybody ever tell you anything
about your breathing?"

     "Mr. Larsen says I have an unusually long breath,"
Thea replied with spirit.

     Harsanyi smiled.  "So you have, so you have.  That
was what I meant.  Now, once more; carry it up and then
down, AH--AH."  He put his hand back to her throat and
sat with his head bent, his one eye closed.  He loved to
hear a big voice throb in a relaxed, natural throat, and
he was thinking that no one had ever felt this voice vibrate
before.  It was like a wild bird that had flown into his
studio on Middleton Street from goodness knew how far!
No one knew that it had come, or even that it existed;
least of all the strange, crude girl in whose throat it beat
its passionate wings.  What a simple thing it was, he re-

<p 188>

flected; why had he never guessed it before?  Everything
about her indicated it,--the big mouth, the wide jaw and
chin, the strong white teeth, the deep laugh.  The machine
was so simple and strong, seemed to be so easily operated.
She sang from the bottom of herself.  Her breath came from
down where her laugh came from, the deep laugh which
Mrs. Harsanyi had once called "the laugh of the people."
A relaxed throat, a voice that lay on the breath, that had
never been forced off the breath; it rose and fell in the
air-column like the little balls which are put to shine in the
jet of a fountain.  The voice did not thin as it went up;
the upper tones were as full and rich as the lower, pro-
duced in the same way and as unconsciously, only with
deeper breath.

     At last Harsanyi threw back his head and rose.  "You
must be tired, Miss Kronborg."

     When she replied, she startled him; he had forgotten how
hard and full of burs her speaking voice was.  "No," she
said, "singing never tires me."

     Harsanyi pushed back his hair with a nervous hand.
"I don't know much about the voice, but I shall take
liberties and teach you some good songs.  I think you have
a very interesting voice."

     "I'm glad if you like it.  Good-night, Mr. Harsanyi."
Thea went with Mrs. Harsanyi to get her wraps.

     When Mrs. Harsanyi came back to her husband, she
found him walking restlessly up and down the room.

     "Don't you think her voice wonderful, dear?" she
asked.

     "I scarcely know what to think.  All I really know about
that girl is that she tires me to death.  We must not have
her often.  If I did not have my living to make, then--"
he dropped into a chair and closed his eyes.  "How tired
I am.  What a voice!"

<p 189>

                                IV

     AFTER that evening Thea's work with Harsanyi
changed somewhat.  He insisted that she should
study some songs with him, and after almost every lesson
he gave up half an hour of his own time to practicing them
with her.  He did not pretend to know much about voice
production, but so far, he thought, she had acquired no
really injurious habits.  A healthy and powerful organ had
found its own method, which was not a bad one.  He
wished to find out a good deal before he recommended a
vocal teacher.  He never told Thea what he thought about
her voice, and made her general ignorance of anything
worth singing his pretext for the trouble he took.  That
was in the beginning.  After the first few lessons his own
pleasure and hers were pretext enough.  The singing came
at the end of the lesson hour, and they both treated it as
a form of relaxation.

     Harsanyi did not say much even to his wife about his
discovery.  He brooded upon it in a curious way.  He
found that these unscientific singing lessons stimulated
him in his own study.  After Miss Kronborg left him he
often lay down in his studio for an hour before dinner, with
his head full of musical ideas, with an effervescence in his
brain which he had sometimes lost for weeks together un-
der the grind of teaching.  He had never got so much back
for himself from any pupil as he did from Miss Kronborg.
From the first she had stimulated him; something in her
personality invariably affected him.  Now that he was
feeling his way toward her voice, he found her more in-
teresting than ever before.  She lifted the tedium of the
winter for him, gave him curious fancies and reveries.
Musically, she was sympathetic to him.  Why all this was

<p 190>

true, he never asked himself.  He had learned that one must
take where and when one can the mysterious mental ir-
ritant that rouses one's imagination; that it is not to be
had by order.  She often wearied him, but she never bored
him.  Under her crudeness and brusque hardness, he felt
there was a nature quite different, of which he never got so
much as a hint except when she was at the piano, or when
she sang.  It was toward this hidden creature that he was
trying, for his own pleasure, to find his way.  In short,
Harsanyi looked forward to his hour with Thea for the
same reason that poor Wunsch had sometimes dreaded
his; because she stirred him more than anything she did
could adequately explain.

     One afternoon Harsanyi, after the lesson, was standing
by the window putting some collodion on a cracked finger,
and Thea was at the piano trying over "Die Lorelei"
which he had given her last week to practice.  It was scarcely
a song which a singing master would have given her, but
he had his own reasons.  How she sang it mattered only to
him and to her.  He was playing his own game now, without
interference; he suspected that he could not do so always.

     When she finished the song, she looked back over her
shoulder at him and spoke thoughtfully.  "That wasn't
right, at the end, was it?"

     "No, that should be an open, flowing tone, something
like this,"--he waved his fingers rapidly in the air.  "You
get the idea?"

     "No, I don't.  Seems a queer ending, after the rest."

     Harsanyi corked his little bottle and dropped it into the
pocket of his velvet coat.  "Why so?  Shipwrecks come and
go, MARCHEN come and go, but the river keeps right on.
There you have your open, flowing tone."

     Thea looked intently at the music.  "I see," she said
dully.  "Oh, I see!" she repeated quickly and turned to
him a glowing countenance.  "It is the river.--  Oh, yes,
I get it now!"  She looked at him but long enough to catch

<p 191>

his glance, then turned to the piano again.  Harsanyi was
never quite sure where the light came from when her face
suddenly flashed out at him in that way.  Her eyes were
too small to account for it, though they glittered like green
ice in the sun.  At such moments her hair was yellower, her
skin whiter, her cheeks pinker, as if a lamp had suddenly
been turned up inside of her.  She went at the song again:

          "ICH WEISS NICHT, WAS SOLL ES BEDEUTEN,
              DAS ICH SO TRAURIG BIN."

     A kind of happiness vibrated in her voice.  Harsanyi no-
ticed how much and how unhesitatingly she changed her
delivery of the whole song, the first part as well as the last.
He had often noticed that she could not think a thing out
in passages.  Until she saw it as a whole, she wandered like
a blind man surrounded by torments.  After she once had
her "revelation," after she got the idea that to her--not
always to him--explained everything, then she went for-
ward rapidly.  But she was not always easy to help.  She
was sometimes impervious to suggestion; she would stare
at him as if she were deaf and ignore everything he told her
to do.  Then, all at once, something would happen  in her
brain and she would begin to do all that he had been for
weeks telling her to do, without realizing that he had ever
told her.

     To-night Thea forgot Harsanyi and his finger.  She
finished the song only to begin it with fresh enthusiasm.

          "UND DAS HAT MIT IHREM SINGEN
              DIE LORELEI GETHAN."

     She sat there singing it until the darkening room was so
flooded with it that Harsanyi threw open a window.

     "You really must stop it, Miss Kronborg.  I shan't be
able to get it out of my head to-night."

     Thea laughed tolerantly as she began to gather up her
music.  "Why, I thought you had gone, Mr. Harsanyi.  I
like that song."

<p 191>

     That evening at dinner Harsanyi sat looking intently
into a glass of heavy yellow wine; boring into it, indeed,
with his one eye, when his face suddenly broke into a
smile.

     "What is it, Andor?" his wife asked.

     He smiled again, this time at her, and took up the nut-
crackers and a Brazil nut.  "Do you know," he said in a
tone so intimate and confidential that he might have been
speaking to himself,--"do you know, I like to see Miss
Kronborg get hold of an idea.  In spite of being so talented,
she's not quick.  But when she does get an idea, it fills her
up to the eyes.  She had my room so reeking of a song this
afternoon that I couldn't stay there."

     Mrs. Harsanyi looked up quickly, "`Die Lorelei,' you
mean?  One couldn't think of anything else anywhere in
the house.  I thought she was possessed.  But don't you
think her voice is wonderful sometimes?"

     Harsanyi tasted his wine slowly.  "My dear, I've told
you before that I don't know what I think about Miss
Kronborg, except that I'm glad there are not two of her.
I sometimes wonder whether she is not glad.  Fresh as she
is at it all, I've occasionally fancied that, if she knew how,
she would like to--diminish."  He moved his left hand
out into the air as if he were suggesting a DIMINUENDO to
an orchestra.

<p 193>

                                 V

     BY the first of February Thea had been in Chicago al-
most four months, and she did not know much more
about the city than if she had never quitted Moonstone.
She was, as Harsanyi said, incurious.  Her work took most
of her time, and she found that she had to sleep a good
deal.  It had never before been so hard to get up in the
morning.  She had the bother of caring for her room, and
she had to build her fire and bring up her coal.  Her routine
was frequently interrupted by a message from Mr. Larsen
summoning her to sing at a funeral.  Every funeral took
half a day, and the time had to be made up.  When Mrs.
Harsanyi asked her if it did not depress her to sing at fu-
nerals, she replied that she "had been brought up to go
to funerals and didn't mind."

     Thea never went into shops unless she had to, and she
felt no interest in them.  Indeed, she shunned them, as
places where one was sure to be parted from one's money
in some way.  She was nervous about counting her change,
and she could not accustom herself to having her purchases
sent to her address.  She felt much safer with her bundles
under her arm.

     During this first winter Thea got no city consciousness.
Chicago was simply a wilderness through which one had to
find one's way.  She felt no interest in the general briskness
and zest of the crowds.  The crash and scramble of that
big, rich, appetent Western city she did not take in at all,
except to notice that the noise of the drays and street-cars
tired her.  The brilliant window displays, the splendid furs
and stuffs, the gorgeous flower-shops, the gay candy-shops,
she scarcely noticed.  At Christmas-time she did feel some
curiosity about the toy-stores, and she wished she held

<p 194>

Thor's little mittened fist in her hand as she stood before
the windows.  The jewelers' windows, too, had a strong
attraction for her--she had always liked bright stones.
When she went into the city she used to brave the biting
lake winds and stand gazing in at the displays of diamonds
and pearls and emeralds; the tiaras and necklaces and ear-
rings, on white velvet.  These seemed very well worth
while to her, things worth coveting.

     Mrs. Lorch and Mrs. Andersen often told each other
it was strange that Miss Kronborg had so little initiative
about "visiting points of interest."  When Thea came
to live with them she had expressed a wish to see two
places: Montgomery Ward and Company's big mail-order
store, and the packing-houses, to which all the hogs and
cattle that went through Moonstone were bound.  One
of Mrs. Lorch's lodgers worked in a packing-house, and
Mrs. Andersen brought Thea word that she had spoken to
Mr. Eckman and he would gladly take her to Packing-
town.  Eckman was a toughish young Swede, and he
thought it would be something of a lark to take a pretty
girl through the slaughter-houses.  But he was disap-
pointed.  Thea neither grew faint nor clung to the arm he
kept offering her.  She asked innumerable questions and
was impatient because he knew so little of what was going
on outside of his own department.  When they got off the
street-car and walked back to Mrs. Lorch's house in the
dusk, Eckman put her hand in his overcoat pocket--she
had no muff--and kept squeezing it ardently until she
said, "Don't do that; my ring cuts me."  That night he
told his roommate that he "could have kissed her as easy
as rolling off a log, but she wasn't worth the trouble."  As
for Thea, she had enjoyed the afternoon very much, and
wrote her father a brief but clear account of what she had
seen.

     One night at supper Mrs. Andersen was talking about
the exhibit of students' work she had seen at the Art In-

<p 195>

stitute that afternoon.  Several of her friends had sketches
in the exhibit.  Thea, who always felt that she was be-
hindhand in courtesy to Mrs. Andersen, thought that here
was an opportunity to show interest without committing
herself to anything.  "Where is that, the Institute?" she
asked absently.

     Mrs. Andersen clasped her napkin in both hands.  "The
Art Institute?  Our beautiful Art Institute on Michigan
Avenue?  Do you mean to say you have never visited it?"

     "Oh, is it the place with the big lions out in front?  I
remember; I saw it when I went to Montgomery Ward's.
Yes, I thought the lions were beautiful."

     "But the pictures!  Didn't you visit the galleries?"

     "No.  The sign outside said it was a pay-day.  I've al-
ways meant to go back, but I haven't happened to be
down that way since."

     Mrs. Lorch and Mrs. Andersen looked at each other.
The old mother spoke, fixing her shining little eyes upon
Thea across the table.  "Ah, but Miss Kronborg, there are
old masters!  Oh, many of them, such as you could not see
anywhere out of Europe."

     "And Corots," breathed Mrs. Andersen, tilting her
head feelingly.  "Such examples of the Barbizon school!"
This was meaningless to Thea, who did not read the art
columns of the Sunday INTER-OCEAN as Mrs. Andersen did.

     "Oh, I'm going there some day," she reassured them.
"I like to look at oil paintings."

     One bleak day in February, when the wind was blow-
ing clouds of dirt like a Moonstone sandstorm, dirt that
filled your eyes and ears and mouth, Thea fought her way
across the unprotected space in front of the Art Institute
and into the doors of the building.  She did not come out
again until the closing hour.  In the street-car, on the long
cold ride home, while she sat staring at the waistcoat but-
tons of a fat strap-hanger, she had a serious reckoning with
herself.  She seldom thought about her way of life, about

<p 196>

what she ought or ought not to do; usually there was but
one obvious and important thing to be done.  But that
afternoon she remonstrated with herself severely.  She told
herself that she was missing a great deal; that she ought to
be more willing to take advice and to go to see things.  She
was sorry that she had let months pass without going
to the Art Institute.  After this she would go once a week.

     The Institute proved, indeed, a place of retreat, as the
sand hills or the Kohlers' garden used to be; a place where
she could forget Mrs. Andersen's tiresome overtures of
friendship, the stout contralto in the choir whom she so
unreasonably hated, and even, for a little while, the torment
of her work.  That building was a place in which she could
relax and play, and she could hardly ever play now.  On
the whole, she spent more time with the casts than with
the pictures.  They were at once more simple and more
perplexing; and some way they seemed more important,
harder to overlook.  It never occurred to her to buy a
catalogue, so she called most of the casts by names she
made up for them.  Some of them she knew; the Dying
Gladiator she had read about in "Childe Harold" almost
as long ago as she could remember; he was strongly as-
sociated with Dr. Archie and childish illnesses.  The Venus
di Milo puzzled her; she could not see why people thought
her so beautiful.  She told herself over and over that she
did not think the Apollo Belvedere "at all handsome."
Better than anything else she liked a great equestrian
statue of an evil, cruel-looking general with an unpro-
nounceable name.  She used to walk round and round this
terrible man and his terrible horse, frowning at him, brood-
ing upon him, as if she had to make some momentous de-
cision about him.

     The casts, when she lingered long among them, always
made her gloomy.  It was with a lightening of the heart, a
feeling of throwing off the old miseries and old sorrows of
the world, that she ran up the wide staircase to the pic-

<p 197>

tures.  There she liked best the ones that told stories.
There was a painting by Gerome called "The Pasha's
Grief" which always made her wish for Gunner and Axel.
The Pasha was seated on a rug, beside a green candle al-
most as big as a telegraph pole, and before him was stretched
his dead tiger, a splendid beast, and there were pink roses
scattered about him.  She loved, too, a picture of some
boys bringing in a newborn calf on a litter, the cow walking
beside it and licking it.  The Corot which hung next to this
painting she did not like or dislike; she never saw it.

     But in that same room there was a picture--oh, that
was the thing she ran upstairs so fast to see!  That was
her picture.  She imagined that nobody cared for it but
herself, and that it waited for her.  That was a picture in-
deed.  She liked even the name of it, "The Song of the
Lark."  The flat country, the early morning light, the wet
fields, the look in the girl's heavy face--well, they were
all hers, anyhow, whatever was there.  She told herself that
that picture was "right."  Just what she meant by this, it
would take a clever person to explain.  But to her the word
covered the almost boundless satisfaction she felt when she
looked at the picture.

     Before Thea had any idea how fast the weeks were fly-
ing, before Mr. Larsen's "permanent" soprano had re-
turned to her duties, spring came; windy, dusty, strident,
shrill; a season almost more violent in Chicago than the
winter from which it releases one, or the heat to which it
eventually delivers one.  One sunny morning the apple
trees in Mrs. Lorch's back yard burst into bloom, and for
the first time in months Thea dressed without building a
fire.  The morning shone like a holiday, and for her it was
to be a holiday.  There was in the air that sudden, treacher-
ous softness which makes the Poles who work in the pack-
ing-houses get drunk.  At such times beauty is necessary,
and in Packingtown there is no place to get it except at the

<p 198>

saloons, where one can buy for a few hours the illusion of
comfort, hope, love,--whatever one most longs for.

     Harsanyi had given Thea a ticket for the symphony
concert that afternoon, and when she looked out at the
white apple trees her doubts as to whether she ought to go
vanished at once.  She would make her work light that
morning, she told herself.  She would go to the concert full
of energy.  When she set off, after dinner, Mrs. Lorch, who
knew Chicago weather, prevailed upon her to take her
cape.  The old lady said that such sudden mildness, so
early in April, presaged a sharp return of winter, and she
was anxious about her apple trees.

     The concert began at two-thirty, and Thea was in her
seat in the Auditorium at ten minutes after two--a fine
seat in the first row of the balcony, on the side, where she
could see the house as well as the orchestra.  She had been
to so few concerts that the great house, the crowd of
people, and the lights, all had a stimulating effect.  She
was surprised to see so many men in the audience, and
wondered how they could leave their business in the after-
noon.  During the first number Thea was so much inter-
ested in the orchestra itself, in the men, the instruments,
the volume of sound, that she paid little attention to what
they were playing.  Her excitement impaired her power
of listening.  She kept saying to herself, "Now I must
stop this foolishness and listen; I may never hear this
again"; but her mind was like a glass that is hard to
focus.  She was not ready to listen until the second num-
ber, Dvorak's Symphony in E minor, called on the pro-
gramme, "From the New World."  The first theme had
scarcely been given out when her mind became clear; in-
stant composure fell upon her, and with it came the power
of concentration.  This was music she could understand,
music from the New World indeed!  Strange how, as
the first movement went on, it brought back to her that
high tableland above Laramie; the grass-grown wagon

<p 199>

trails, the far-away peaks of the snowy range, the wind and
the eagles, that old man and the first telegraph message.

     When the first movement ended, Thea's hands and feet
were cold as ice.  She was too much excited to know any-
thing except that she wanted something desperately, and
when the English horns gave out the theme of the Largo,
she knew that what she wanted was exactly that.  Here
were the sand hills, the grasshoppers and locusts, all the
things that wakened and chirped in the early morning;
the reaching and reaching of high plains, the immeas-
urable yearning of all flat lands.  There was home in it,
too; first memories, first mornings long ago; the amaze-
ment of a new soul in a new world; a soul new and yet old,
that had dreamed something despairing, something glori-
ous, in the dark before it was born; a soul obsessed by what
it did not know, under the cloud of a past it could not re-
call.

     If Thea had had much experience in concert-going, and
had known her own capacity, she would have left the
hall when the symphony was over.  But she sat still,
scarcely knowing where she was, because her mind had
been far away and had not yet come back to her.  She was
startled when the orchestra began to play again--the
entry of the gods into Walhalla.  She heard it as people
hear things in their sleep.  She knew scarcely anything
about the Wagner operas.  She had a vague idea that
"Rhinegold" was about the strife between gods and men;
she had read something about it in Mr. Haweis's book long
ago.  Too tired to follow the orchestra with much under-
standing, she crouched down in her seat and closed her
eyes.  The cold, stately measures of the Walhalla music
rang out, far away; the rainbow bridge throbbed out into
the air, under it the wailing of the Rhine daughters and
the singing of the Rhine.  But Thea was sunk in twilight;
it was all going on in another world.  So it happened that
with a dull, almost listless ear she heard for the first time

<p 200>

that troubled music, ever-darkening, ever-brightening,
which was to flow through so many years of her life.

     When Thea emerged from the concert hall, Mrs. Lorch's
predictions had been fulfilled.  A furious gale was beating
over the city from Lake Michigan.  The streets were full of
cold, hurrying, angry people, running for street-cars and
barking at each other.  The sun was setting in a clear,
windy sky, that flamed with red as if there were a great
fire somewhere on the edge of the city.  For almost the
first time Thea was conscious of the city itself, of the con-
gestion of life all about her, of the brutality and power of
those streams that flowed in the streets, threatening to
drive one under.  People jostled her, ran into her, poked
her aside with their elbows, uttering angry exclamations.
She got on the wrong car and was roughly ejected by the
conductor at a windy corner, in front of a saloon.  She stood
there dazed and shivering.  The cars passed, screaming as
they rounded curves, but either they were full to the doors,
or were bound for places where she did not want to go.
Her hands were so cold that she took off her tight kid
gloves.  The street lights began to gleam in the dusk.  A
young man came out of the saloon and stood eyeing her
questioningly while he lit a cigarette.  "Looking for a
friend to-night?" he asked.  Thea drew up the collar of her
cape and walked on a few paces.  The young man shrugged
his shoulders and drifted away.

     Thea came back to the corner and stood there irreso-
lutely.  An old man approached her.  He, too, seemed to be
waiting for a car.  He wore an overcoat with a black fur
collar, his gray mustache was waxed into little points, and
his eyes were watery.  He kept thrusting his face up near
hers.  Her hat blew off and he ran after it--a stiff, pitiful
skip he had--and brought it back to her.  Then, while
she was pinning her hat on, her cape blew up, and he held
it down for her, looking at her intently.  His face worked
as if he were going to cry or were frightened.  He leaned

<p 201>

over and whispered something to her.  It struck her as
curious that he was really quite timid, like an old beggar.
"Oh, let me ALONE!" she cried miserably between her teeth.
He vanished, disappeared like the Devil in a play.  But
in the mean time something had got away from her; she
could not remember how the violins came in after the
horns, just there.  When her cape blew up, perhaps--  Why
did these men torment her?  A cloud of dust blew in her
face and blinded her.  There was some power abroad in the
world bent upon taking away from her that feeling with
which she had come out of the concert hall.  Everything
seemed to sweep down on her to tear it out from under
her cape.  If one had that, the world became one's enemy;
people, buildings, wagons, cars, rushed at one to crush it
under, to make one let go of it.  Thea glared round her
at the crowds, the ugly, sprawling streets, the long lines
of lights, and she was not crying now.  Her eyes were
brighter than even Harsanyi had ever seen them.  All
these things and people were no longer remote and negli-
gible; they had to be met, they were lined up against her,
they were there to take something from her.  Very well;
they should never have it.  They might trample her to
death, but they should never have it.  As long as she lived
that ecstasy was going to be hers.  She would live for it,
work for it, die for it; but she was going to have it, time
after time, height after height.  She could hear the crash
of the orchestra again, and she rose on the brasses.  She
would have it, what the trumpets were singing!  She
would have it, have it,--it!  Under the old cape she
pressed her hands upon her heaving bosom, that was a
little girl's no longer.

<p 202>

                                VI

     ONE afternoon in April, Theodore Thomas, the con-
ductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, had
turned out his desk light and was about to leave his office
in the Auditorium Building, when Harsanyi appeared in
the doorway.  The conductor welcomed him with a hearty
hand-grip and threw off the overcoat he had just put on.
He pushed Harsanyi into a chair and sat down at his bur-
dened desk, pointing to the piles of papers and railway
folders upon it.

     "Another tour, clear to the coast.  This traveling is the
part of my work that grinds me, Andor.  You know what
it means: bad food, dirt, noise, exhaustion for the men and
for me.  I'm not so young as I once was.  It's time I quit
the highway.  This is the last tour, I swear!"

     "Then I'm sorry for the `highway.'  I remember when I
first heard you in Pittsburg, long ago.  It was a life-line you
threw me.  It's about one of the people along your high-
way that I've come to see you.  Whom do you consider the
best teacher for voice in Chicago?"

     Mr. Thomas frowned and pulled his heavy mustache.
"Let me see; I suppose on the whole Madison Bowers is
the best.  He's intelligent, and he had good training.  I
don't like him."

     Harsanyi nodded.  "I thought there was no one else.
I don't like him, either, so I hesitated.  But I suppose he
must do, for the present."

     "Have you found anything promising?  One of your own
students?"

     "Yes, sir.  A young Swedish girl from somewhere in
Colorado.  She is very talented, and she seems to me to
have a remarkable voice."

<p 203>

     "High voice?"

     "I think it will be; though her low voice has a beauti-
ful quality, very individual.  She has had no instruction
in voice at all, and I shrink from handing her over to any-
body; her own instinct about it has been so good.  It is
one of those voices that manages itself easily, without
thinning as it goes up; good breathing and perfect relaxa-
tion.  But she must have a teacher, of course.  There is a
break in the middle voice, so that the voice does not all
work together; an unevenness."

     Thomas looked up.  "So?  Curious; that cleft often
happens with the Swedes.  Some of their best singers have
had it.  It always reminds me of the space you so often see
between their front teeth.  Is she strong physically?"

     Harsanyi's eye flashed.  He lifted his hand before him
and clenched it.  "Like a horse, like a tree!  Every time
I give her a lesson, I lose a pound.  She goes after what she
wants."

     "Intelligent, you say?  Musically intelligent?"

     "Yes; but no cultivation whatever.  She came to me like
a fine young savage, a book with nothing written in it.
That is why I feel the responsibility of directing her."
Harsanyi paused and crushed his soft gray hat over his
knee.  "She would interest you, Mr. Thomas," he added
slowly.  "She has a quality--very individual."

     "Yes; the Scandinavians are apt to have that, too.  She
can't go to Germany, I suppose?"

     "Not now, at any rate.  She is poor."

     Thomas frowned again "I don't think Bowers a really
first-rate man.  He's too petty to be really first-rate; in his
nature, I mean.  But I dare say he's the best you can do,
if you can't give her time enough yourself."

     Harsanyi waved his hand.  "Oh, the time is nothing--she
may have all she wants.  But I cannot teach her to sing."

     "Might not come amiss if you made a musician of her,
however," said Mr. Thomas dryly.

<p 204>

     "I have done my best.  But I can only play with a voice,
and this is not a voice to be played with.  I think she will
be a musician, whatever happens.  She is not quick, but
she is solid, real; not like these others.  My wife says that
with that girl one swallow does not make a summer."

     Mr. Thomas laughed.  "Tell Mrs. Harsanyi that her
remark conveys something to me.  Don't let yourself get
too much interested.  Voices are so often disappointing;
especially women's voices.  So much chance about it, so
many factors."

     "Perhaps that is why they interest one.  All the intelli-
gence and talent in the world can't make a singer.  The
voice is a wild thing.  It can't be bred in captivity.  It is
a sport, like the silver fox.  It happens."

     Mr. Thomas smiled into Harsanyi's gleaming eye.
"Why haven't you brought her to sing for me?"

     "I've been tempted to, but I knew you were driven to
death, with this tour confronting you."

     "Oh, I can always find time to listen to a girl who has a
voice, if she means business.  I'm sorry I'm leaving so
soon.  I could advise you better if I had heard her.  I can
sometimes give a singer suggestions.  I've worked so much
with them."

     "You're the only conductor I know who is not snobbish
about singers."  Harsanyi spoke warmly.

     "Dear me, why should I be?  They've learned from me,
and I've learned from them."  As they rose, Thomas took
the younger man affectionately by the arm.  "Tell me
about that wife of yours.  Is she well, and as lovely as ever?
And such fine children!  Come to see me oftener, when I get
back.  I miss it when you don't."

     The two men left the Auditorium Building together.
Harsanyi walked home.  Even a short talk with Thomas
always stimulated him.  As he walked he was recalling an
evening they once spent together in Cincinnati.

     Harsanyi was the soloist at one of Thomas's concerts

<p 205>

there, and after the performance the conductor had taken
him off to a RATHSKELLER where there was excellent German
cooking, and where the proprietor saw to it that Thomas
had the best wines procurable.  Thomas had been working
with the great chorus of the Festival Association and was
speaking of it with enthusiasm when Harsanyi asked him
how it was that he was able to feel such an interest in choral
directing and in voices generally.  Thomas seldom spoke of
his youth or his early struggles, but that night he turned
back the pages and told Harsanyi a long story.

     He said he had spent the summer of his fifteenth year
wandering about alone in the South, giving violin con-
certs in little towns.  He traveled on horseback.  When he
came into a town, he went about all day tacking up
posters announcing his concert in the evening.  Before the
concert, he stood at the door taking in the admission money
until his audience had arrived, and then he went on the
platform and played.  It was a lazy, hand-to-mouth ex-
istence, and Thomas said he must have got to like that
easy way of living and the relaxing Southern atmosphere.
At any rate, when he got back to New York in the fall, he
was rather torpid; perhaps he had been growing too fast.
From this adolescent drowsiness the lad was awakened by
two voices, by two women who sang in New York in 1851,
--Jenny Lind and Henrietta Sontag.  They were the first
great artists he had ever heard, and he never forgot his
debt to them.

     As he said, "It was not voice and execution alone.  There
was a greatness about them.  They were great women,
great artists.  They opened a new world to me."  Night
after night he went to hear them, striving to reproduce the
quality of their tone upon his violin.  From that time his
idea about strings was completely changed, and on his
violin he tried always for the singing, vibrating tone, in-
stead of the loud and somewhat harsh tone then prevalent
among even the best German violinists.  In later years he

<p 206>

often advised violinists to study singing, and singers to
study violin.  He told Harsanyi that he got his first con-
ception of tone quality from Jenny Lind.

     "But, of course," he added, "the great thing I got from
Lind and Sontag was the indefinite, not the definite, thing.
For an impressionable boy, their inspiration was incalcu-
lable.  They gave me my first feeling for the Italian style
--but I could never say how much they gave me.  At that
age, such influences are actually creative.  I always think
of my artistic consciousness as beginning then."

     All his life Thomas did his best to repay what he felt he
owed to the singer's art.  No man could get such singing
from choruses, and no man worked harder to raise the
standard of singing in schools and churches and choral
societies.

<p 207>

                                VII

     All through the lesson Thea had felt that Harsanyi
was restless and abstracted.  Before the hour was
over, he pushed back his chair and said resolutely, "I am
not in the mood, Miss Kronborg.  I have something on my
mind, and I must talk to you.  When do you intend to go
home?"

     Thea turned to him in surprise.  "The first of June,
about.  Mr. Larsen will not need me after that, and I have
not much money ahead.  I shall work hard this summer,
though."

     "And to-day is the first of May; May-day."  Harsanyi
leaned forward, his elbows on his knees, his hands locked
between them.  "Yes, I must talk to you about something.
I have asked Madison Bowers to let me bring you to him
on Thursday, at your usual lesson-time.  He is the best
vocal teacher in Chicago, and it is time you began to work
seriously with your voice."

     Thea's brow wrinkled.  "You mean take lessons of
Bowers?"

     Harsanyi nodded, without lifting his head.

     "But I can't, Mr. Harsanyi.  I haven't got the time,
and, besides--" she blushed and drew her shoulders up
stiffly--"besides, I can't afford to pay two teachers."
Thea felt that she had blurted this out in the worst possi-
ble way, and she turned back to the keyboard to hide her
chagrin.

     "I know that.  I don't mean that you shall pay two
teachers.  After you go to Bowers you will not need me.  I
need scarcely tell you that I shan't be happy at losing
you."

     Thea turned to him, hurt and angry.  "But I don't want

<p 208>

to go to Bowers.  I don't want to leave you.  What's the
matter?  Don't I work hard enough?  I'm sure you teach
people that don't try half as hard."

     Harsanyi rose to his feet.  "Don't misunderstand me,
Miss Kronborg.  You interest me more than any pupil I
have.  I have been thinking for months about what you
ought to do, since that night when you first sang for me."
He walked over to the window, turned, and came toward
her again.  "I believe that your voice is worth all that you
can put into it.  I have not come to this decision rashly.  I
have studied you, and I have become more and more con-
vinced, against my own desires.  I cannot make a singer of
you, so it was my business to find a man who could.  I
have even consulted Theodore Thomas about it."

     "But suppose I don't want to be a singer?  I want to
study with you.  What's the matter?  Do you really think
I've no talent?  Can't I be a pianist?"

     Harsanyi paced up and down the long rug in front of
her.  "My girl, you are very talented.  You could be a
pianist, a good one.  But the early training of a pianist,
such a pianist as you would want to be, must be something
tremendous.  He must have had no other life than music.
At your age he must be the master of his instrument.
Nothing can ever take the place of that first training.  You
know very well that your technique is good, but it is not
remarkable.  It will never overtake your intelligence.  You
have a fine power of work, but you are not by nature a stu-
dent.  You are not by nature, I think, a pianist.  You
would never find yourself.  In the effort to do so, I'm
afraid your playing would become warped, eccentric."
He threw back his head and looked at his pupil intently
with that one eye which sometimes seemed to see deeper
than any two eyes, as if its singleness gave it privileges.
"Oh, I have watched you very carefully, Miss Kronborg.
Because you had had so little and had yet done so much for
yourself, I had a great wish to help you.  I believe that the

<p 209>

strongest need of your nature is to find yourself, to emerge
AS yourself.  Until I heard you sing I wondered how you
were to do this, but it has grown clearer to me every
day."

     Thea looked away toward the window with hard, nar-
row eyes.  "You mean I can be a singer because I haven't
brains enough to be a pianist."

     "You have brains enough and talent enough.  But to do
what you will want to do, it takes more than these--it
takes vocation.  Now, I think you have vocation, but for
the voice, not for the piano.  If you knew,"--he stopped
and sighed,--"if you knew how fortunate I sometimes
think you.  With the voice the way is so much shorter, the
rewards are more easily won.  In your voice I think Na-
ture herself did for you what it would take you many years
to do at the piano.  Perhaps you were not born in the
wrong place after all.  Let us talk frankly now.  We have
never done so before, and I have respected your reticence.
What you want more than anything else in the world is to
be an artist; is that true?"

     She turned her face away from him and looked down at
the keyboard.  Her answer came in a thickened voice.
"Yes, I suppose so."

     "When did you first feel that you wanted to be an
artist?"

     "I don't know.  There was always--something."

     "Did you never think that you were going to sing?"

     "Yes."

     "How long ago was that?"

     "Always, until I came to you.  It was you who made me
want to play piano."  Her voice trembled.  "Before, I
tried to think I did, but I was pretending."

     Harsanyi reached out and caught the hand that was
hanging at her side.  He pressed it as if to give her some-
thing.  "Can't you see, my dear girl, that was only be-
cause I happened to be the first artist you have ever known?

<p 210>

If I had been a trombone player, it would have been the
same; you would have wanted to play trombone.  But all
the while you have been working with such good-will,
something has been struggling against me.  See, here we
were, you and I and this instrument,"--he tapped the
piano,--"three good friends, working so hard.  But all
the while there was something fighting us: your gift, and
the woman you were meant to be.  When you find your
way to that gift and to that woman, you will be at peace.
In the beginning it was an artist that you wanted to be;
well, you may be an artist, always."

     Thea drew a long breath.  Her hands fell in her lap.
"So I'm just where I began.  No teacher, nothing done.
No money."

     Harsanyi turned away.  "Feel no apprehension about
the money, Miss Kronborg.  Come back in the fall and we
shall manage that.  I shall even go to Mr. Thomas if neces-
sary.  This year will not be lost.  If you but knew what an
advantage this winter's study, all your study of the piano,
will give you over most singers.  Perhaps things have come
out better for you than if we had planned them knowingly."

     "You mean they have IF I can sing."

     Thea spoke with a heavy irony, so heavy, indeed, that
it was coarse.  It grated upon Harsanyi because he felt
that it was not sincere, an awkward affectation.

     He wheeled toward her.  "Miss Kronborg, answer me
this.  YOU KNOW THAT YOU CAN SING, do you not?  You have
always known it.  While we worked here together you
sometimes said to yourself, `I have something you know
nothing about; I could surprise you.'  Is that also true?"

     Thea nodded and hung her head.

     "Why were you not frank with me?  Did I not deserve
it?"

     She shuddered.  Her bent shoulders trembled.  "I don't
know," she muttered.  "I didn't mean to be like that.  I
couldn't.  I can't.  It's different."

<p 211>

     "You mean it is very personal?" he asked kindly.

     She nodded.  "Not at church or funerals, or with people
like Mr. Larsen.  But with you it was--personal.  I'm
not like you and Mrs. Harsanyi.  I come of rough people.
I'm rough.  But I'm independent, too.  It was--all I had.
There is no use my talking, Mr. Harsanyi.  I can't tell
you."

     "You needn't tell me.  I know.  Every artist knows."
Harsanyi stood looking at his pupil's back, bent as if she
were pushing something, at her lowered head.  "You can
sing for those people because with them you do not com-
mit yourself.  But the reality, one cannot uncover THAT
until one is sure.  One can fail one's self, but one must not
live to see that fail; better never reveal it.  Let me help
you to make yourself sure of it.  That I can do better than
Bowers."

     Thea lifted her face and threw out her hands.

     Harsanyi shook his head and smiled.  "Oh, promise
nothing!  You will have much to do.  There will not be
voice only, but French, German, Italian.  You will have
work enough.  But sometimes you will need to be under-
stood; what you never show to any one will need com-
panionship.  And then you must come to me."  He peered
into her face with that searching, intimate glance.  "You
know what I mean, the thing in you that has no business
with what is little, that will have to do only with beauty
and power."

     Thea threw out her hands fiercely, as if to push him
away.  She made a sound in her throat, but it was not
articulate.  Harsanyi took one of her hands and kissed
it lightly upon the back.  His salute was one of greeting,
not of farewell, and it was for some one he had never
seen.

     When Mrs. Harsanyi came in at six o'clock, she found
her husband sitting listlessly by the window.  "Tired?"
she asked.

<p 212>

     "A little.  I've just got through a difficulty.  I've sent
Miss Kronborg away; turned her over to Bowers, for
voice."

     "Sent Miss Kronborg away?  Andor, what is the matter
with you?"

     "It's nothing rash.  I've known for a long while I ought
to do it.  She is made for a singer, not a pianist."

     Mrs. Harsanyi sat down on the piano chair.  She spoke
a little bitterly: "How can you be sure of that?  She was,
at least, the best you had.  I thought you meant to have
her play at your students' recital next fall.  I am sure she
would have made an impression.  I could have dressed her
so that she would have been very striking.  She had so
much individuality."

     Harsanyi bent forward, looking at the floor.  "Yes, I
know.  I shall miss her, of course."

     Mrs. Harsanyi looked at her husband's fine head against
the gray window.  She had never felt deeper tenderness
for him than she did at that moment.  Her heart ached for
him.  "You will never get on, Andor," she said mourn-
fully.

     Harsanyi sat motionless.  "No, I shall never get on,"
he repeated quietly.  Suddenly he sprang up with that
light movement she knew so well, and stood in the window,
with folded arms.  "But some day I shall be able to look
her in the face and laugh because I did what I could for
her.  I believe in her.  She will do nothing common.  She is
uncommon, in a common, common world.  That is what
I get out of it.  It means more to me than if she played at
my concert and brought me a dozen pupils.  All this
drudgery will kill me if once in a while I cannot hope some-
thing, for somebody!  If I cannot sometimes see a bird fly
and wave my hand to it."

     His tone was angry and injured.  Mrs. Harsanyi under-
stood that this was one of the times when his wife was a
part of the drudgery, of the "common, common world."

<p 213>

He had let something he cared for go, and he felt bitterly
about whatever was left.  The mood would pass, and he
would be sorry.  She knew him.  It wounded her, of course,
but that hurt was not new.  It was as old as her love for
him.  She went out and left him alone.

<p 214>

                               VIII

     ONE warm damp June night the Denver Express was
speeding westward across the earthy-smelling plains
of Iowa.  The lights in the day-coach were turned low and
the ventilators were open, admitting showers of soot and
dust upon the occupants of the narrow green plush chairs
which were tilted at various angles of discomfort.  In each
of these chairs some uncomfortable human being lay drawn
up, or stretched out, or writhing from one position to an-
other.  There were tired men in rumpled shirts, their necks
bare and their suspenders down; old women with their
heads tied up in black handkerchiefs; bedraggled young
women who went to sleep while they were nursing their
babies and forgot to button up their dresses; dirty boys
who added to the general discomfort by taking off their
boots.  The brakeman, when he came through at midnight,
sniffed the heavy air disdainfully and looked up at the
ventilators.  As he glanced down the double rows of con-
torted figures, he saw one pair of eyes that were wide open
and bright, a yellow head that was not overcome by the
stupefying heat and smell in the car.  "There's a girl for
you," he thought as he stopped by Thea's chair.

     "Like to have the window up a little?" he asked.

     Thea smiled up at him, not misunderstanding his friend-
liness.  "The girl behind me is sick; she can't stand a draft.
What time is it, please?"

     He took out his open-faced watch and held it before her
eyes with a knowing look.  "In a hurry?" he asked.  "I'll
leave the end door open and air you out.  Catch a wink;
the time'll go faster."

     Thea nodded good-night to him and settled her head
back on her pillow, looking up at the oil lamps.  She was

<p 215>

going back to Moonstone for her summer vacation, and
she was sitting up all night in a day-coach because that
seemed such an easy way to save money.  At her age dis-
comfort was a small matter, when one made five dollars a
day by it.  She had confidently expected to sleep after the
car got quiet, but in the two chairs behind her were a sick
girl and her mother, and the girl had been coughing steadily
since ten o'clock.  They had come from somewhere in
Pennsylvania, and this was their second night on the road.
The mother said they were going to Colorado "for her
daughter's lungs."  The daughter was a little older than
Thea, perhaps nineteen, with patient dark eyes and curly
brown hair.  She was pretty in spite of being so sooty and
travel-stained.  She had put on an ugly figured satine
kimono over her loosened clothes.  Thea, when she boarded
the train in Chicago, happened to stop and plant her
heavy telescope on this seat.  She had not intended to
remain there, but the sick girl had looked up at her with
an eager smile and said, "Do sit there, miss.  I'd so much
rather not have a gentleman in front of me."

     After the girl began to cough there were no empty seats
left, and if there had been Thea could scarcely have changed
without hurting her feelings.  The mother turned on her
side and went to sleep; she was used to the cough.  But the
girl lay wide awake, her eyes fixed on the roof of the car, as
Thea's were.  The two girls must have seen very different
things there.

     Thea fell to going over her winter in Chicago.  It was
only under unusual or uncomfortable conditions like these
that she could keep her mind fixed upon herself or her own
affairs for any length of time.  The rapid motion and the
vibration of the wheels under her seemed to give her
thoughts rapidity and clearness.  She had taken twenty
very expensive lessons from Madison Bowers, but she did
not yet know what he thought of her or of her ability.  He
was different from any man with whom she had ever had

<p 216>

to do.  With her other teachers she had felt a personal
relation; but with him she did not.  Bowers was a cold,
bitter, avaricious man, but he knew a great deal about
voices.  He worked with a voice as if he were in a labora-
tory, conducting a series of experiments.  He was conscien-
tious and industrious, even capable of a certain cold fury
when he was working with an interesting voice, but Har-
sanyi declared that he had the soul of a shrimp, and could
no more make an artist than a throat specialist could.
Thea realized that he had taught her a great deal in twenty
lessons.

     Although she cared so much less for Bowers than for
Harsanyi, Thea was, on the whole, happier since she had
been studying with him than she had been before.  She
had always told herself that she studied piano to fit her-
self to be a music teacher.  But she never asked herself
why she was studying voice.  Her voice, more than any
other part of her, had to do with that confidence, that sense
of wholeness and inner well-being that she had felt at mo-
ments ever since she could remember.

     Of this feeling Thea had never spoken to any human
being until that day when she told Harsanyi that "there
had always been--something."  Hitherto she had felt
but one obligation toward it--secrecy; to protect it even
from herself.  She had always believed that by doing all
that was required of her by her family, her teachers, her
pupils, she kept that part of herself from being caught up
in the meshes of common things.  She took it for granted
that some day, when she was older, she would know a
great deal more about it.  It was as if she had an appoint-
ment to meet the rest of herself sometime, somewhere.
It was moving to meet her and she was moving to meet
it.  That meeting awaited her, just as surely as, for the
poor girl in the seat behind her, there awaited a hole in
the earth, already dug.

     For Thea, so much had begun with a hole in the earth.

<p 217>

Yes, she reflected, this new part of her life had all begun that
morning when she sat on the clay bank beside Ray Ken-
nedy, under the flickering shade of the cottonwood tree.
She remembered the way Ray had looked at her that
morning.  Why had he cared so much?  And Wunsch, and
Dr. Archie, and Spanish Johnny, why had they?  It was
something that had to do with her that made them care,
but it was not she.  It was something they believed in, but
it was not she.  Perhaps each of them concealed another
person in himself, just as she did.  Why was it that they
seemed to feel and to hunt for a second person in her and
not in each other?  Thea frowned up at the dull lamp in
the roof of the car.  What if one's second self could some-
how speak to all these second selves?  What if one could
bring them out, as whiskey did Spanish Johnny's?  How
deep they lay, these second persons, and how little one
knew about them, except to guard them fiercely.  It was
to music, more than to anything else, that these hidden
things in people responded.  Her mother--even her mo-
ther had something of that sort which replied to music.

     Thea found herself listening for the coughing behind
her and not hearing it.  She turned cautiously and looked
back over the head-rest of her chair.  The poor girl had
fallen asleep.  Thea looked at her intently.  Why was she so
afraid of men?  Why did she shrink into herself and avert
her face whenever a man passed her chair?  Thea thought
she knew; of course, she knew.  How horrible to waste
away like that, in the time when one ought to be growing
fuller and stronger and rounder every day.  Suppose there
were such a dark hole open for her, between to-night and
that place where she was to meet herself?  Her eyes nar-
rowed.  She put her hand on her breast and felt how
warm it was; and within it there was a full, powerful
pulsation.  She smiled--though she was ashamed of it
--with the natural contempt of strength for weakness,
with the sense of physical security which makes the savage

<p 218>

merciless.  Nobody could die while they felt like that in-
side.  The springs there were wound so tight that it would
be a long while before there was any slack in them.  The
life in there was rooted deep.  She was going to have a few
things before she died.  She realized that there were a great
many trains dashing east and west on the face of the con-
tinent that night, and that they all carried young people
who meant to have things.  But the difference was that
SHE WAS GOING TO GET THEM!  That was all.  Let people try to
stop her!  She glowered at the rows of feckless bodies that
lay sprawled in the chairs.  Let them try it once!  Along
with the yearning that came from some deep part of her,
that was selfless and exalted, Thea had a hard kind of
cockiness, a determination to get ahead.  Well, there are
passages in life when that fierce, stubborn self-assertion
will stand its ground after the nobler feeling is over-
whelmed and beaten under.

     Having told herself once more that she meant to grab a
few things, Thea went to sleep.

     She was wakened in the morning by the sunlight, which
beat fiercely through the glass of the car window upon her
face.  She made herself as clean as she could, and while the
people all about her were getting cold food out of their
lunch-baskets she escaped into the dining-car.  Her thrift
did not go to the point of enabling her to carry a lunch-
basket.  At that early hour there were few people in the
dining-car.  The linen was white and fresh, the darkies were
trim and smiling, and the sunlight gleamed pleasantly upon
the silver and the glass water-bottles.  On each table there
was a slender vase with a single pink rose in it.  When Thea
sat down she looked into her rose and thought it the most
beautiful thing in the world; it was wide open, recklessly
offering its yellow heart, and there were drops of water on
the petals.  All the future was in that rose, all that one
would like to be.  The flower put her in an absolutely regal
mood.  She had a whole pot of coffee, and scrambled eggs

<p 219>

with chopped ham, utterly disregarding the astonishing
price they cost.  She had faith enough in what she could
do, she told herself, to have eggs if she wanted them.  At
the table opposite her sat a man and his wife and little boy
--Thea classified them as being "from the East."  They
spoke in that quick, sure staccato, which Thea, like Ray
Kennedy, pretended to scorn and secretly admired.  Peo-
ple who could use words in that confident way, and who
spoke them elegantly, had a great advantage in life, she
reflected.  There were so many words which she could not
pronounce in speech as she had to do in singing.  Lan-
guage was like clothes; it could be a help to one, or it
could give one away.  But the most important thing was
that one should not pretend to be what one was not.

     When she paid her check she consulted the waiter.
"Waiter, do you suppose I could buy one of those roses?
I'm out of the day-coach, and there is a sick girl in there.
I'd like to take her a cup of coffee and one of those flowers."

     The waiter liked nothing better than advising travelers
less sophisticated than himself.  He told Thea there were
a few roses left in the icebox and he would get one.  He
took the flower and the coffee into the day-coach.  Thea
pointed out the girl, but she did not accompany him.  She
hated thanks and never received them gracefully.  She
stood outside on the platform to get some fresh air into
her lungs.  The train was crossing the Platte River now,
and the sunlight was so intense that it seemed to quiver
in little flames on the glittering sandbars, the scrub wil-
lows, and the curling, fretted shallows.

     Thea felt that she was coming back to her own land.
She had often heard Mrs. Kronborg say that she "believed
in immigration," and so did Thea believe in it.  This earth
seemed to her young and fresh and kindly, a place where
refugees from old, sad countries were given another chance.
The mere absence of rocks gave the soil a kind of amia-
bility and generosity, and the absence of natural bound-

<p 220>

aries gave the spirit a wider range.  Wire fences might mark
the end of a man's pasture, but they could not shut in his
thoughts as mountains and forests can.  It was over flat
lands like this, stretching out to drink the sun, that the
larks sang--and one's heart sang there, too.  Thea was
glad that this was her country, even if one did not learn to
speak elegantly there.  It was, somehow, an honest coun-
try, and there was a new song in that blue air which had
never been sung in the world before.  It was hard to tell
about it, for it had nothing to do with words; it was like
the light of the desert at noon, or the smell of the sagebrush
after rain; intangible but powerful.  She had the sense of
going back to a friendly soil, whose friendship was some-
how going to strengthen her; a naive, generous country
that gave one its joyous force, its large-hearted, childlike
power to love, just as it gave one its coarse, brilliant
flowers.

     As she drew in that glorious air Thea's mind went back
to Ray Kennedy.  He, too, had that feeling of empire; as
if all the Southwest really belonged to him because he had
knocked about over it so much, and knew it, as he said,
"like the blisters on his own hands."  That feeling, she
reflected, was the real element of companionship between
her and Ray.  Now that she was going back to Colorado,
she realized this as she had not done before.

<p 221>

                                IX

     THEA reached Moonstone in the late afternoon, and all
the Kronborgs were there to meet her except her two
older brothers.  Gus and Charley were young men now,
and they had declared at noon that it would "look silly if
the whole bunch went down to the train."  "There's no use
making a fuss over Thea just because she's been to Chi-
cago," Charley warned his mother.  "She's inclined to
think pretty well of herself, anyhow, and if you go treating
her like company, there'll be no living in the house with
her."  Mrs. Kronborg simply leveled her eyes at Charley,
and he faded away, muttering.  She had, as Mr. Kronborg
always said with an inclination of his head, good control
over her children.  Anna, too, wished to absent herself
from the party, but in the end her curiosity got the better
of her.  So when Thea stepped down from the porter's
stool, a very creditable Kronborg representation was
grouped on the platform to greet her.  After they had all
kissed her (Gunner and Axel shyly), Mr. Kronborg hurried
his flock into the hotel omnibus, in which they were to be
driven ceremoniously home, with the neighbors looking
out of their windows to see them go by.

     All the family talked to her at once, except Thor,--
impressive in new trousers,-- who was gravely silent and
who refused to sit on Thea's lap.  One of the first things
Anna told her was that Maggie Evans, the girl who used to
cough in prayer meeting, died yesterday, and had made
a request that Thea sing at her funeral.

     Thea's smile froze.  "I'm not going to sing at all this
summer, except my exercises.  Bowers says I taxed my
voice last winter, singing at funerals so much.  If I begin
the first day after I get home, there'll be no end to it.

<p 222>

You can tell them I caught cold on the train, or some-
thing."

     Thea saw Anna glance at their mother.  Thea remem-
bered having seen that look on Anna's face often before,
but she had never thought anything about it because she
was used to it.  Now she realized that the look was dis-
tinctly spiteful, even vindictive.  She suddenly realized
that Anna had always disliked her.

     Mrs. Kronborg seemed to notice nothing, and changed
the trend of the conversation, telling Thea that Dr. Archie
and Mr. Upping, the jeweler, were both coming in to see
her that evening, and that she had asked Spanish Johnny
to come, because he had behaved well all winter and ought
to be encouraged.

     The next morning Thea wakened early in her own room
up under the eaves and lay watching the sunlight shine
on the roses of her wall-paper.  She wondered whether she
would ever like a plastered room as well as this one lined
with scantlings.  It was snug and tight, like the cabin of a
little boat.  Her bed faced the window and stood against the
wall, under the slant of the ceiling.  When she went away
she could just touch the ceiling with the tips of her fingers;
now she could touch it with the palm of her hand.  It was
so little that it was like a sunny cave, with roses running
all over the roof.  Through the low window, as she lay
there, she could watch people going by on the farther side
of the street; men, going downtown to open their stores.
Thor was over there, rattling his express wagon along
the sidewalk.  Tillie had put a bunch of French pinks in a
tumbler of water on her dresser, and they gave out a pleas-
ant perfume.  The blue jays were fighting and screeching
in the cottonwood tree outside her window, as they always
did, and she could hear the old Baptist deacon across
the street calling his chickens, as she had heard him do
every summer morning since she could remember.  It was
pleasant to waken up in that bed, in that room, and to feel

<p 223>

the brightness of the morning, while light quivered about
the low, papered ceiling in golden spots, refracted by the
broken mirror and the glass of water that held the pinks.
"IM LEUCHTENDEN SOMMERMORGEN"; those lines, and the face
of her old teacher, came back to Thea, floated to her out of
sleep, perhaps.  She had been dreaming something pleas-
ant, but she could not remember what.  She would go to
call upon Mrs. Kohler to-day, and see the pigeons washing
their pink feet in the drip under the water tank, and flying
about their house that was sure to have a fresh coat of white
paint on it for summer.  On the way home she would stop
to see Mrs. Tellamantez.  On Sunday she would coax
Gunner to take her out to the sand hills.  She had missed
them in Chicago; had been homesick for their brilliant
morning gold and for their soft colors at evening.  The
Lake, somehow, had never taken their place.

     While she lay planning, relaxed in warm drowsiness, she
heard a knock at her door.  She supposed it was Tillie, who
sometimes fluttered in on her before she was out of bed to
offer some service which the family would have ridiculed.
But instead, Mrs. Kronborg herself came in, carrying a
tray with Thea's breakfast set out on one of the best white
napkins.  Thea sat up with some embarrassment and pulled
her nightgown together across her chest.  Mrs. Kronborg
was always busy downstairs in the morning, and Thea
could not remember when her mother had come to her
room before.

     "I thought you'd be tired, after traveling, and might
like to take it easy for once."  Mrs. Kronborg put the tray
on the edge of the bed.  "I took some thick cream for you
before the boys got at it.  They raised a howl."  She
chuckled and sat down in the big wooden rocking chair.
Her visit made Thea feel grown-up, and, somehow, im-
portant.

     Mrs. Kronborg asked her about Bowers and the Har-
sanyis.  She felt a great change in Thea, in her face and in

<p 224>

her manner.  Mr. Kronborg had noticed it, too, and had
spoken of it to his wife with great satisfaction while they
were undressing last night.  Mrs. Kronborg sat looking at
her daughter, who lay on her side, supporting herself on
her elbow and lazily drinking her coffee from the tray be-
fore her.  Her short-sleeved nightgown had come open at
the throat again, and Mrs. Kronborg noticed how white
her arms and shoulders were, as if they had been dipped in
new milk.  Her chest was fuller than when she went away,
her breasts rounder and firmer, and though she was so
white where she was uncovered, they looked rosy through
the thin muslin.  Her body had the elasticity that comes of
being highly charged with the desire to live.  Her hair,
hanging in two loose braids, one by either cheek, was just
enough disordered to catch the light in all its curly ends.

     Thea always woke with a pink flush on her cheeks, and
this morning her mother thought she had never seen her
eyes so wide-open and bright; like clear green springs in the
wood, when the early sunlight sparkles in them.  She would
make a very handsome woman, Mrs. Kronborg said to
herself, if she would only get rid of that fierce look she had
sometimes.  Mrs. Kronborg took great pleasure in good
looks, wherever she found them.  She still remembered
that, as a baby, Thea had been the "best-formed" of any
of her children.

     "I'll have to get you a longer bed," she remarked, as she
put the tray on the table.  "You're getting too long for
that one."

     Thea looked up at her mother and laughed, dropping
back on her pillow with a magnificent stretch of her whole
body.  Mrs. Kronborg sat down again.

     "I don't like to press you, Thea, but I think you'd
better sing at that funeral to-morrow.  I'm afraid you'll
always be sorry if you don't.  Sometimes a little thing like
that, that seems nothing at the time, comes back on one
afterward and troubles one a good deal.  I don't mean the

<p 225>

church shall run you to death this summer, like they used
to.  I've spoken my mind to your father about that, and
he's very reasonable.  But Maggie talked a good deal about
you to people this winter; always asked what word we'd
had, and said how she missed your singing and all.  I guess
you ought to do that much for her."

     "All right, mother, if you think so."  Thea lay looking
at her mother with intensely bright eyes.

     "That's right, daughter."  Mrs. Kronborg rose and
went over to get the tray, stopping to put her hand on
Thea's chest.  "You're filling out nice," she said, feeling
about.  "No, I wouldn't bother about the buttons.  Leave
'em stay off.  This is a good time to harden your chest."

     Thea lay still and heard her mother's firm step receding
along the bare floor of the trunk loft.  There was no sham
about her mother, she reflected.  Her mother knew a great
many things of which she never talked, and all the church
people were forever chattering about things of which they
knew nothing.  She liked her mother.

     Now for Mexican Town and the Kohlers!  She meant to
run in on the old woman without warning, and hug her.

<p 226>

                                 X

     SPANISH JOHNNY had no shop of his own, but he
kept a table and an order-book in one corner of the
drug store where paints and wall-paper were sold, and he
was sometimes to be found there for an hour or so about
noon.  Thea had gone into the drug store to have a friendly
chat with the proprietor, who used to lend her books from
his shelves.  She found Johnny there, trimming rolls of
wall-paper for the parlor of Banker Smith's new house.
She sat down on the top of his table and watched him.

     "Johnny," she said suddenly, "I want you to write
down the words of that Mexican serenade you used to sing;
you know, `ROSA DE NOCHE.'  It's an unusual song.  I'm
going to study it.  I know enough Spanish for that."

     Johnny looked up from his roller with his bright, affable
smile.  "SI, but it is low for you, I think; VOZ CONTRALTO.
It is low for me."

     "Nonsense.  I can do more with my low voice than I
used to.  I'll show you.  Sit down and write it out for
me, please."  Thea beckoned him with the short yellow
pencil tied to his order-book.

     Johnny ran his fingers through his curly black hair.
"If you wish.  I do not know if that SERENATA all right for
young ladies.  Down there it is more for married ladies.
They sing it for husbands--or somebody else, may-bee."
Johnny's eyes twinkled and he apologized gracefully with
his shoulders.  He sat down at the table, and while Thea
looked over his arm, began to write the song down in a
long, slanting script, with highly ornamental capitals.
Presently he looked up.  "This-a song not exactly Mexi-
can," he said thoughtfully.  "It come from farther down;
Brazil, Venezuela, may-bee.  I learn it from some fellow

<p 227>

down there, and he learn it from another fellow.  It is-a
most like Mexican, but not quite."  Thea did not release
him, but pointed to the paper.  There were three verses
of the song in all, and when Johnny had written them
down, he sat looking at them meditatively, his head on
one side.  "I don' think for a high voice, SENORITA," he
objected with polite persistence.  "How you accompany
with piano?"

     "Oh, that will be easy enough."

     "For you, may-bee!"  Johnny smiled and drummed on
the table with the tips of his agile brown fingers.  "You
know something?  Listen, I tell you."  He rose and sat
down on the table beside her, putting his foot on the chair.
He loved to talk at the hour of noon.  "When you was a
little girl, no bigger than that, you come to my house one
day 'bout noon, like this, and I was in the door, playing
guitar.  You was barehead, barefoot; you run away from
home.  You stand there and make a frown at me an' listen.
By 'n by you say for me to sing.  I sing some lil' ting, and
then I say for you to sing with me.  You don' know no
words, of course, but you take the air and you sing it just-
a beauti-ful!  I never see a child do that, outside Mexico.
You was, oh, I do' know--seven year, may-bee.  By 'n
by the preacher come look for you and begin for scold.  I
say, `Don' scold, Meester Kronborg.  She come for hear
guitar.  She gotta some music in her, that child.  Where
she get?'  Then he tell me 'bout your gran'papa play
oboe in the old country.  I never forgetta that time."
Johnny chuckled softly.

     Thea nodded.  "I remember that day, too.  I liked your
music better than the church music.  When are you going
to have a dance over there, Johnny?"

     Johnny tilted his head.  "Well, Saturday night the
Spanish boys have a lil' party, some DANZA.  You know
Miguel Ramas?  He have some young cousins, two boys,
very nice-a, come from Torreon.  They going to Salt Lake

<p 228>

for some job-a, and stay off with him two-three days, and
he mus' have a party.  You like to come?"

     That was how Thea came to go to the Mexican ball.
Mexican Town had been increased by half a dozen new
families during the last few years, and the Mexicans had
put up an adobe dance-hall, that looked exactly like one
of their own dwellings, except that it was a little longer,
and was so unpretentious that nobody in Moonstone knew
of its existence.  The "Spanish boys" are reticent about
their own affairs.  Ray Kennedy used to know about all
their little doings, but since his death there was no one
whom the Mexicans considered SIMPATICO.

     On Saturday evening after supper Thea told her mother
that she was going over to Mrs. Tellamantez's to watch
the Mexicans dance for a while, and that Johnny would
bring her home.

     Mrs. Kronborg smiled.  She noticed that Thea had put
on a white dress and had done her hair up with unusual
care, and that she carried her best blue scarf.  "Maybe
you'll take a turn yourself, eh?  I wouldn't mind watching
them Mexicans.  They're lovely dancers."

     Thea made a feeble suggestion that her mother might
go with her, but Mrs. Kronborg was too wise for that.  She
knew that Thea would have a better time if she went alone,
and she watched her daughter go out of the gate and down
the sidewalk that led to the depot.

     Thea walked slowly.  It was a soft, rosy evening.  The
sand hills were lavender.  The sun had gone down a glow-
ing copper disk, and the fleecy clouds in the east were a
burning rose-color, flecked with gold.  Thea passed the
cottonwood grove and then the depot, where she left the
sidewalk and took the sandy path toward Mexican Town.
She could hear the scraping of violins being tuned, the
tinkle of mandolins, and the growl of a double bass.  Where
had they got a double bass?  She did not know there was
one in Moonstone.  She found later that it was the pro-

<p 229>

perty of one of Ramas's young cousins, who was taking it
to Utah with him to cheer him at his "job-a."

     The Mexicans never wait until it is dark to begin to
dance, and Thea had no difficulty in finding the new hall,
because every other house in the town was deserted.  Even
the babies had gone to the ball; a neighbor was always
willing to hold the baby while the mother danced.  Mrs.
Tellamantez came out to meet Thea and led her in.  Johnny
bowed to her from the platform at the end of the room,
where he was playing the mandolin along with two fiddles
and the bass.  The hall was a long low room, with white-
washed walls, a fairly tight plank floor, wooden benches
along the sides, and a few bracket lamps screwed to the
frame timbers.  There must have been fifty people there,
counting the children.  The Mexican dances were very
much family affairs.  The fathers always danced again
and again with their little daughters, as well as with their
wives.  One of the girls came up to greet Thea, her dark
cheeks glowing with pleasure and cordiality, and intro-
duced her brother, with whom she had just been dancing.
"You better take him every time he asks you," she whis-
pered.  "He's the best dancer here, except Johnny."

     Thea soon decided that the poorest dancer was herself.
Even Mrs. Tellamantez, who always held her shoulders
so stiffly, danced better than she did.  The musicians did
not remain long at their post.  When one of them felt like
dancing, he called some other boy to take his instrument,
put on his coat, and went down on the floor.  Johnny, who
wore a blousy white silk shirt, did not even put on his coat.

     The dances the railroad men gave in Firemen's Hall
were the only dances Thea had ever been allowed to go to,
and they were very different from this.  The boys played
rough jokes and thought it smart to be clumsy and to run
into each other on the floor.  For the square dances there
was always the bawling voice of the caller, who was also
the county auctioneer.

<p 230>

     This Mexican dance was soft and quiet.  There was no
calling, the conversation was very low, the rhythm of the
music was smooth and engaging, the men were graceful
and courteous.  Some of them Thea had never before seen
out of their working clothes, smeared with grease from the
round-house or clay from the brickyard.  Sometimes, when
the music happened to be a popular Mexican waltz song,
the dancers sang it softly as they moved.  There were three
little girls under twelve, in their first communion dresses,
and one of them had an orange marigold in her black hair,
just over her ear.  They danced with the men and with
each other.  There was an atmosphere of ease and friendly
pleasure in the low, dimly lit room, and Thea could not
help wondering whether the Mexicans had no jealousies
or neighborly grudges as the people in Moonstone had.
There was no constraint of any kind there to-night, but a
kind of natural harmony about their movements, their
greetings, their low conversation, their smiles.

     Ramas brought up his two young cousins, Silvo and
Felipe, and presented them.  They were handsome, smil-
ing youths, of eighteen and twenty, with pale-gold skins,
smooth cheeks, aquiline features, and wavy black hair,
like Johnny's.  They were dressed alike, in black velvet
jackets and soft silk shirts, with opal shirt-buttons and
flowing black ties looped through gold rings.  They had
charming manners, and low, guitar-like voices.  They
knew almost no English, but a Mexican boy can pay a
great many compliments with a very limited vocabulary.
The Ramas boys thought Thea dazzlingly beautiful.  They
had never seen a Scandinavian girl before, and her hair
and fair skin bewitched them.  "BLANCO Y ORO, SEMEJANTE LA
PASCUA!"  (White and gold, like Easter!) they exclaimed
to each other.  Silvo, the younger, declared that he
could never go on to Utah; that he and his double
bass had reached their ultimate destination.  The elder
was more crafty; he asked Miguel Ramas whether there

<p 231>

would be "plenty more girls like that _A_ Salt Lake, may-
bee?"

     Silvo, overhearing, gave his brother a contemptuous
glance.  "Plenty more A PARAISO may-bee!" he retorted.
When they were not dancing with her, their eyes followed
her, over the coiffures of their other partners.  That was
not difficult; one blonde head moving among so many dark
ones.

     Thea had not meant to dance much, but the Ramas
boys danced so well and were so handsome and adoring
that she yielded to their entreaties.  When she sat out a
dance with them, they talked to her about their family
at home, and told her how their mother had once punned
upon their name.  RAMA, in Spanish, meant a branch, they
explained.  Once when they were little lads their mother
took them along when she went to help the women deco-
rate the church for Easter.  Some one asked her whether
she had brought any flowers, and she replied that she had
brought her "ramas."  This was evidently a cherished
family story.

     When it was nearly midnight, Johnny announced that
every one was going to his house to have "some lil' ice-
cream and some lil' MUSICA."  He began to put out the
lights and Mrs. Tellamantez led the way across the square
to her CASA.  The Ramas brothers escorted Thea, and as
they stepped out of the door, Silvo exclaimed, "HACE
FRIO!" and threw his velvet coat about her shoulders.

     Most of the company followed Mrs. Tellamantez, and
they sat about on the gravel in her little yard while she
and Johnny and Mrs. Miguel Ramas served the ice-cream.
Thea sat on Felipe's coat, since Silvo's was already about
her shoulders.  The youths lay down on the shining gravel
beside her, one on her right and one on her left.  Johnny
already called them "LOS ACOLITOS," the altar-boys.  The
talk all about them was low, and indolent.  One of the
girls was playing on Johnny's guitar, another was picking

<p 232>

lightly at a mandolin.  The moonlight was so bright that
one could see every glance and smile, and the flash of
their teeth.  The moonflowers over Mrs. Tellamantez's
door were wide open and of an unearthly white.  The
moon itself looked like a great pale flower in the sky.

     After all the ice-cream was gone, Johnny approached
Thea, his guitar under his arm, and the elder Ramas boy
politely gave up his place.  Johnny sat down, took a long
breath, struck a fierce chord, and then hushed it with his
other hand.  "Now we have some lil' SERENATA, eh?  You
wan' a try?"

     When Thea began to sing, instant silence fell upon the
company.  She felt all those dark eyes fix themselves upon
her intently.  She could see them shine.  The faces came
out of the shadow like the white flowers over the door.
Felipe leaned his head upon his hand.  Silvo dropped
on his back and lay looking at the moon, under the
impression that he was still looking at Thea.  When
she finished the first verse, Thea whispered to Johnny,
"Again, I can do it better than that."

     She had sung for churches and funerals and teachers, but
she had never before sung for a really musical people, and
this was the first time she had ever felt the response that
such a people can give.  They turned themselves and all
they had over to her.  For the moment they cared about
nothing in the world but what she was doing.  Their faces
confronted her, open, eager, unprotected.  She felt as if
all these warm-blooded people debouched into her.  Mrs.
Tellamantez's fateful resignation, Johnny's madness, the
adoration of the boy who lay still in the sand; in an instant
these things seemed to be within her instead of without,
as if they had come from her in the first place.

     When she finished, her listeners broke into excited mur-
mur.  The men began hunting feverishly for cigarettes.
Famos Serranos the barytone bricklayer, touched Johnny's
arm, gave him a questioning look, then heaved a deep

<p 233>

sigh.  Johnny dropped on his elbow, wiping his face and
neck and hands with his handkerchief.  "SENORITA," he
panted, "if you sing like that once in the City of Mexico,
they just-a go crazy.  In the City of Mexico they ain't-a
sit like stumps when they hear that, not-a much!  When
they like, they just-a give you the town."

     Thea laughed.  She, too, was excited.  "Think so,
Johnny?  Come, sing something with me.  EL PARRENO; I
haven't sung that for a long time."

     Johnny laughed and hugged his guitar.  "You not-a
forget him?"  He began teasing his strings.  "Come!"  He
threw back his head, "ANOCHE-E-E--"

          "ANOCHE ME CONFESSE
           CON UN PADRE CARMELITE,
           Y ME DIO PENITENCIA
           QUE BESARAS TU BOQUITA."

          (Last night I made confession
           With a Carmelite father,
           And he gave me absolution
           For the kisses you imprinted.)

     Johnny had almost every fault that a tenor can have.
His voice was thin, unsteady, husky in the middle tones.
But it was distinctly a voice, and sometimes he managed
to get something very sweet out of it.  Certainly it made
him happy to sing.  Thea kept glancing down at him as he
lay there on his elbow.  His eyes seemed twice as large as
usual and had lights in them like those the moonlight
makes on black, running water.  Thea remembered the
old stories about his "spells."  She had never seen him
when his madness was on him, but she felt something to-
night at her elbow that gave her an idea of what it might
be like.  For the first time she fully understood the cryptic
explanation that Mrs. Tellamantez had made to Dr.
Archie, long ago.  There were the same shells along the
walk; she believed she could pick out the very one.  There

<p 234>

was the same moon up yonder, and panting at her elbow
was the same Johnny--fooled by the same old things!

     When they had finished, Famos, the barytone, mur-
mured something to Johnny; who replied, "Sure we can
sing `Trovatore.'  We have no alto, but all the girls can
sing alto and make some noise."

     The women laughed.  Mexican women of the poorer
class do not sing like the men.  Perhaps they are too in-
dolent.  In the evening, when the men are singing their
throats dry on the doorstep, or around the camp-fire be-
side the work-train, the women usually sit and comb their
hair.

     While Johnny was gesticulating and telling everybody
what to sing and how to sing it, Thea put out her foot and
touched the corpse of Silvo with the toe of her slipper.
"Aren't you going to sing, Silvo?" she asked teasingly.

     The boy turned on his side and raised himself on his
elbow for a moment.  "Not this night, SENORITA," he pleaded
softly, "not this night!"  He dropped back again, and lay
with his cheek on his right arm, the hand lying passive
on the sand above his head.

     "How does he flatten himself into the ground like that?"
Thea asked herself.  "I wish I knew.  It's very effective,
somehow."

     Across the gulch the Kohlers' little house slept among
its trees, a dark spot on the white face of the desert.  The
windows of their upstairs bedroom were open, and Paulina
had listened to the dance music for a long while before she
drowsed off.  She was a light sleeper, and when she woke
again, after midnight, Johnny's concert was at its height.
She lay still until she could bear it no longer.  Then she
wakened Fritz and they went over to the window and
leaned out.  They could hear clearly there.

     "DIE THEA," whispered Mrs. Kohler; "it must be.  ACH,
WUNDERSCHON!"

     Fritz was not so wide awake as his wife.  He grunted and

<p 235>

scratched on the floor with his bare foot.  They were lis-
tening to a Mexican part-song; the tenor, then the soprano,
then both together; the barytone joins them, rages, is
extinguished; the tenor expires in sobs, and the soprano
finishes alone.  When the soprano's last note died away,
Fritz nodded to his wife.  "JA," he said; "SCHON."

     There was silence for a few moments.  Then the guitar
sounded fiercely, and several male voices began the sextette
from "Lucia."  Johnny's reedy tenor they knew well, and
the bricklayer's big, opaque barytone; the others might be
anybody over there--just Mexican voices.  Then at the
appointed, at the acute, moment, the soprano voice, like
a fountain jet, shot up into the light.  "HORCH!  HORCH!" the
old people whispered, both at once.  How it leaped from
among those dusky male voices!  How it played in and
about and around and over them, like a goldfish darting
among creek minnows, like a yellow butterfly soaring above
a swarm of dark ones.  "Ah," said Mrs. Kohler softly, "the
dear man; if he could hear her now!"

<p 236>

                                XI

     MRS. KRONBORG had said that Thea was not to be
disturbed on Sunday morning, and she slept until
noon.  When she came downstairs the family were just
sitting down to dinner, Mr. Kronborg at one end of the
long table, Mrs. Kronborg at the other.  Anna, stiff and
ceremonious, in her summer silk, sat at her father's right,
and the boys were strung along on either side of the table.
There was a place left for Thea between her mother and
Thor.  During the silence which preceded the blessing,
Thea felt something uncomfortable in the air.  Anna and
her older brothers had lowered their eyes when she came
in.  Mrs. Kronborg nodded cheerfully, and after the bless-
ing, as she began to pour the coffee, turned to her.

     "I expect you had a good time at that dance, Thea.  I
hope you got your sleep out."

     "High society, that," remarked Charley, giving the
mashed potatoes a vicious swat.  Anna's mouth and eye-
brows became half-moons.

     Thea looked across the table at the uncompromising
countenances of her older brothers.  "Why, what's the
matter with the Mexicans?" she asked, flushing.  "They
don't trouble anybody, and they are kind to their families
and have good manners."

     "Nice clean people; got some style about them.  Do
you really like that kind, Thea, or do you just pretend to?
That's what I'd like to know."  Gus looked at her with
pained inquiry.  But he at least looked at her.

     "They're just as clean as white people, and they have
a perfect right to their own ways.  Of course I like 'em.
I don't pretend things."

     "Everybody according to their own taste," remarked

<p 237>

Charley bitterly.  "Quit crumbing your bread up, Thor.
Ain't you learned how to eat yet?"

     "Children, children!" said Mr. Kronborg nervously,
looking up from the chicken he was dismembering.  He
glanced at his wife, whom he expected to maintain har-
mony in the family.

     "That's all right, Charley.  Drop it there," said Mrs.
Kronborg.  "No use spoiling your Sunday dinner with
race prejudices.  The Mexicans suit me and Thea very
well.  They are a useful people.  Now you can just talk
about something else."

     Conversation, however, did not flourish at that dinner.
Everybody ate as fast as possible.  Charley and Gus said
they had engagements and left the table as soon as they
finished their apple pie.  Anna sat primly and ate with
great elegance.  When she spoke at all she spoke to her
father, about church matters, and always in a commiserat-
ing tone, as if he had met with some misfortune.  Mr.
Kronborg, quite innocent of her intentions, replied kindly
and absent-mindedly.  After the dessert he went to take his
usual Sunday afternoon nap, and Mrs. Kronborg carried
some dinner to a sick neighbor.  Thea and Anna began to
clear the table.

     "I should think you would show more consideration for
father's position, Thea," Anna began as soon as she and her
sister were alone.

     Thea gave her a sidelong glance.  "Why, what have I
done to father?"

     "Everybody at Sunday-School was talking about you
going over there and singing with the Mexicans all night,
when you won't sing for the church.  Somebody heard you,
and told it all over town.  Of course, we all get the blame
for it."

     "Anything disgraceful about singing?" Thea asked with
a provoking yawn.

     "I must say you choose your company!  You always

<p 238>

had that streak in you, Thea.  We all hoped that going
away would improve you.  Of course, it reflects on father
when you are scarcely polite to the nice people here and
make up to the rowdies."

     "Oh, it's my singing with the Mexicans you object to?"
Thea put down a tray full of dishes.  "Well, I like to sing
over there, and I don't like to over here.  I'll sing for them
any time they ask me to.  They know something about
what I'm doing.  They're a talented people."

     "Talented!"  Anna made the word sound like escaping
steam.  "I suppose you think it's smart to come home and
throw that at your family!"

     Thea picked up the tray.  By this time she was as white
as the Sunday tablecloth.  "Well," she replied in a cold,
even tone, "I'll have to throw it at them sooner or later.
It's just a question of when, and it might as well be now
as any time."  She carried the tray blindly into the kitchen.

     Tillie, who was always listening and looking out for her,
took the dishes from her with a furtive, frightened glance
at her stony face.  Thea went slowly up the back stairs to
her loft.  Her legs seemed as heavy as lead as she climbed
the stairs, and she felt as if everything inside her had solidi-
fied and grown hard.

     After shutting her door and locking it, she sat down on
the edge of her bed.  This place had always been her refuge,
but there was a hostility in the house now which this door
could not shut out.  This would be her last summer in that
room.  Its services were over; its time was done.  She rose
and put her hand on the low ceiling.  Two tears ran down
her cheeks, as if they came from ice that melted slowly.
She was not ready to leave her little shell.  She was being
pulled out too soon.  She would never be able to think
anywhere else as well as here.  She would never sleep so
well or have such dreams in any other bed; even last night,
such sweet, breathless dreams--  Thea hid her face in the
pillow.  Wherever she went she would like to take that little

<p 239>

bed with her.  When she went away from it for good, she
would leave something that she could never recover; mem-
ories of pleasant excitement, of happy adventures in her
mind; of warm sleep on howling winter nights, and joyous
awakenings on summer mornings.  There were certain
dreams that might refuse to come to her at all except in a
little morning cave, facing the sun--where they came to
her so powerfully, where they beat a triumph in her!

     The room was hot as an oven.  The sun was beating
fiercely on the shingles behind the board ceiling.  She un-
dressed, and before she threw herself upon her bed in her
chemise, she frowned at herself for a long while in her look-
ing-glass.  Yes, she and It must fight it out together.  The
thing that looked at her out of her own eyes was the only
friend she could count on.  Oh, she would make these
people sorry enough!  There would come a time when they
would want to make it up with her.  But, never again!  She
had no little vanities, only one big one, and she would
never forgive.

     Her mother was all right, but her mother was a part of
the family, and she was not.  In the nature of things, her
mother had to be on both sides.  Thea felt that she had
been betrayed.  A truce had been broken behind her back.
She had never had much individual affection for any of her
brothers except Thor, but she had never been disloyal,
never felt scorn or held grudges.  As a little girl she had
always been good friends with Gunner and Axel, whenever
she had time to play.  Even before she got her own room,
when they were all sleeping and dressing together, like
little cubs, and breakfasting in the kitchen, she had led an
absorbing personal life of her own.  But she had a cub
loyalty to the other cubs.  She thought them nice boys and
tried to make them get their lessons.  She once fought a
bully who "picked on" Axel at school.  She never made
fun of Anna's crimpings and curlings and beauty-rites.

     Thea had always taken it for granted that her sister and

<p 240>

brothers recognized that she had special abilities, and that
they were proud of it.  She had done them the honor, she
told herself bitterly, to believe that though they had no
particular endowments, THEY WERE OF HER KIND, and not of
the Moonstone kind.  Now they had all grown up and be-
come persons.  They faced each other as individuals, and
she saw that Anna and Gus and Charley were among the
people whom she had always recognized as her natural
enemies.  Their ambitions and sacred proprieties were
meaningless to her.  She had neglected to congratulate
Charley upon having been promoted from the grocery de-
partment of Commings's store to the drygoods depart-
ment.  Her mother had reproved her for this omission.  And
how was she to know, Thea asked herself, that Anna ex-
pected to be teased because Bert Rice now came and sat in
the hammock with her every night?  No, it was all clear
enough.  Nothing that she would ever do in the world
would seem important to them, and nothing they would
ever do would seem important to her.

     Thea lay thinking intently all through the stifling after-
noon.  Tillie whispered something outside her door once,
but she did not answer.  She lay on her bed until the second
church bell rang, and she saw the family go trooping up
the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street, Anna
and her father in the lead.  Anna seemed to have taken
on a very story-book attitude toward her father; pat-
ronizing and condescending, it seemed to Thea.  The older
boys were not in the family band.  They now took their
girls to church.  Tillie had stayed at home to get supper.
Thea got up, washed her hot face and arms, and put on
the white organdie dress she had worn last night; it was
getting too small for her, and she might as well wear it out.
After she was dressed she unlocked her door and went cau-
tiously downstairs.  She felt as if chilling hostilities might
be awaiting her in the trunk loft, on the stairway, almost
anywhere.  In the dining-room she found Tillie, sitting by

<p 241>

the open window, reading the dramatic news in a Denver
Sunday paper.  Tillie kept a scrapbook in which she pasted
clippings about actors and actresses.

     "Come look at this picture of Pauline Hall in tights,
Thea," she called.  "Ain't she cute?  It's too bad you
didn't go to the theater more when you was in Chicago;
such a good chance!  Didn't you even get to see Clara
Morris or Modjeska?"

     "No; I didn't have time.  Besides, it costs money,
Tillie," Thea replied wearily, glancing at the paper Tillie
held out to her.

     Tillie looked up at her niece.  "Don't you go and be
upset about any of Anna's notions.  She's one of these
narrow kind.  Your father and mother don't pay any atten-
tion to what she says.  Anna's fussy; she is with me, but
I don't mind her."

     "Oh, I don't mind her.  That's all right, Tillie.  I guess
I'll take a walk."

     Thea knew that Tillie hoped she would stay and talk to
her for a while, and she would have liked to please her.
But in a house as small as that one, everything was too
intimate and mixed up together.  The family was the
family, an integral thing.  One couldn't discuss Anna there.
She felt differently toward the house and everything in it,
as if the battered old furniture that seemed so kindly, and
the old carpets on which she had played, had been nour-
ishing a secret grudge against her and were not to be
trusted any more.

     She went aimlessly out of the front gate, not know-
ing what to do with herself.  Mexican Town, somehow, was
spoiled for her just then, and she felt that she would hide
if she saw Silvo or Felipe coming toward her.  She walked
down through the empty main street.  All the stores were
closed, their blinds down.  On the steps of the bank some
idle boys were sitting, telling disgusting stories because
there was nothing else to do.  Several of them had gone

<p 242>

to school with Thea, but when she nodded to them they
hung their heads and did not speak.  Thea's body was
often curiously expressive of what was going on in her
mind, and to-night there was something in her walk and
carriage that made these boys feel that she was "stuck
up."  If she had stopped and talked to them, they would
have thawed out on the instant and would have been
friendly and grateful.  But Thea was hurt afresh, and
walked on, holding her chin higher than ever.  As she
passed the Duke Block, she saw a light in Dr. Archie's
office, and she went up the stairs and opened the door into
his study.  She found him with a pile of papers and account-
books before him.  He pointed her to her old chair at the
end of his desk and leaned back in his own, looking at
her with satisfaction.  How handsome she was growing!

     "I'm still chasing the elusive metal, Thea,"--he pointed
to the papers before him,--"I'm up to my neck in mines,
and I'm going to be a rich man some day."

     "I hope you will; awfully rich.  That's the only thing
that counts."  She looked restlessly about the consulting-
room.  "To do any of the things one wants to do, one has
to have lots and lots of money."

     Dr. Archie was direct.  "What's the matter?  Do you
need some?"

     Thea shrugged.  "Oh, I can get along, in a little way."
She looked intently out of the window at the arc street-
lamp that was just beginning to sputter.  "But it's silly to
live at all for little things," she added quietly.  "Living's
too much trouble unless one can get something big out of
it."

     Dr. Archie rested his elbows on the arms of his chair,
dropped his chin on his clasped hands and looked at her.
"Living is no trouble for little people, believe me!" he
exclaimed.  "What do you want to get out of it?"

     "Oh--so many things!" Thea shivered.

     "But what?  Money?  You mentioned that.  Well, you

<p 243>

can make money, if you care about that more than any-
thing else."  He nodded prophetically above his interlacing
fingers.

     "But I don't.  That's only one thing.  Anyhow, I
couldn't if I did."  She pulled her dress lower at the neck as
if she were suffocating.  "I only want impossible things,"
she said roughly.  "The others don't interest me."

     Dr. Archie watched her contemplatively, as if she were
a beaker full of chemicals working.  A few years ago, when
she used to sit there, the light from under his green lamp-
shade used to fall full upon her broad face and yellow pig-
tails.  Now her face was in the shadow and the line of light
fell below her bare throat, directly across her bosom.  The
shrunken white organdie rose and fell as if she were strug-
gling to be free and to break out of it altogether.  He felt
that her heart must be laboring heavily in there, but he was
afraid to touch her; he was, indeed.  He had never seen her
like this before.  Her hair, piled high on her head, gave her
a commanding look, and her eyes, that used to be so in-
quisitive, were stormy.

     "Thea," he said slowly, "I won't say that you can have
everything you want--that means having nothing, in
reality.  But if you decide what it is you want most, YOU
CAN GET IT."  His eye caught hers for a moment.  "Not every-
body can, but you can.  Only, if you want a big thing,
you've got to have nerve enough to cut out all that's easy,
everything that's to be had cheap."  Dr. Archie paused.
He picked up a paper-cutter and, feeling the edge of it
softly with his fingers, he added slowly, as if to himself:--

          "He either fears his fate too much,

             Or his deserts are small,

           Who dares not put it to the touch

             To win . . . or lose it all."

     Thea's lips parted; she looked at him from under a frown,
searching his face.  "Do you mean to break loose, too, and
--do something?" she asked in a low voice.

<p 244>

     "I mean to get rich, if you call that doing anything.
I've found what I can do without.  You make such bar-
gains in your mind, first."

     Thea sprang up and took the paper-cutter he had put
down, twisting it in her hands.  "A long while first, some-
times," she said with a short laugh.  "But suppose one
can never get out what they've got in them?  Suppose they
make a mess of it in the end; then what?"  She threw the
paper-cutter on the desk and took a step toward the doctor,
until her dress touched him.  She stood looking down at
him.  "Oh, it's easy to fail!"  She was breathing through
her mouth and her throat was throbbing with excitement.

     As he looked up at her, Dr. Archie's hands tightened on
the arms of his chair.  He had thought he knew Thea Kron-
borg pretty well, but he did not know the girl who was
standing there.  She was beautiful, as his little Swede had
never been, but she frightened him.  Her pale cheeks, her
parted lips, her flashing eyes, seemed suddenly to mean one
thing--he did not know what.  A light seemed to break
upon her from far away--or perhaps from far within.  She
seemed to grow taller, like a scarf drawn out long; looked
as if she were pursued and fleeing, and--yes, she looked
tormented.  "It's easy to fail," he heard her say again, "and
if I fail, you'd better forget about me, for I'll be one of the
worst women that ever lived.  I'll be an awful woman!"

     In the shadowy light above the lampshade he caught her
glance again and held it for a moment.  Wild as her eyes
were, that yellow gleam at the back of them was as hard
as a diamond drill-point.  He rose with a nervous laugh
and dropped his hand lightly on her shoulder.  "No, you
won't.  You'll be a splendid one!"

     She shook him off before he could say anything more,
and went out of his door with a kind of bound.  She left so
quickly and so lightly that he could not even hear her foot-
step in the hallway outside.  Archie dropped back into his
chair and sat motionless for a long while.

<p 245>

     So it went; one loved a quaint little girl, cheerful, in-
dustrious, always on the run and hustling through her
tasks; and suddenly one lost her.  He had thought he knew
that child like the glove on his hand.  But about this tall
girl who threw up her head and glittered like that all over,
he knew nothing.  She was goaded by desires, ambitions,
revulsions that were dark to him.  One thing he knew: the
old highroad of life, worn safe and easy, hugging the sunny
slopes, would scarcely hold her again.

     After that night Thea could have asked pretty much
anything of him.  He could have refused her nothing.
Years ago a crafty little bunch of hair and smiles had shown
him what she wanted, and he had promptly married her.
To-night a very different sort of girl--driven wild by
doubts and youth, by poverty and riches--had let him
see the fierceness of her nature.  She went out still dis-
traught, not knowing or caring what she had shown him.
But to Archie knowledge of that sort was obligation.  Oh,
he was the same old Howard Archie!

     That Sunday in July was the turning-point; Thea's peace
of mind did not come back.  She found it hard even to
practice at home.  There was something in the air there
that froze her throat.  In the morning, she walked as far
as she could walk.  In the hot afternoons she lay on her
bed in her nightgown, planning fiercely.  She haunted the
post-office.  She must have worn a path in the sidewalk
that led to the post-office, that summer.  She was there
the moment the mail-sacks came up from the depot,
morning and evening, and while the letters were being
sorted and distributed she paced up and down outside,
under the cottonwood trees, listening to the thump,
thump, thump of Mr. Thompson's stamp.  She hung upon
any sort of word from Chicago; a card from Bowers, a
letter from Mrs. Harsanyi, from Mr. Larsen, from her
landlady,--anything to reassure her that Chicago was

<p 246>

still there.  She began to feel the same restlessness that
had tortured her the last spring when she was teaching in
Moonstone.  Suppose she never got away again, after all?
Suppose one broke a leg and had to lie in bed at home for
weeks, or had pneumonia and died there.  The desert was
so big and thirsty; if one's foot slipped, it could drink
one up like a drop of water.

     This time, when Thea left Moonstone to go back to
Chicago, she went alone.  As the train pulled out, she
looked back at her mother and father and Thor.  They were
calm and cheerful; they did not know, they did not un-
derstand.  Something pulled in her--and broke.  She
cried all the way to Denver, and that night, in her berth,
she kept sobbing and waking herself.  But when the sun
rose in the morning, she was far away.  It was all behind
her, and she knew that she would never cry like that again.
People live through such pain only once; pain comes again,
but it finds a tougher surface.  Thea remembered how she
had gone away the first time, with what confidence in
everything, and what pitiful ignorance.  Such a silly!  She
felt resentful toward that stupid, good-natured child.  How
much older she was now, and how much harder!  She
was going away to fight, and she was going away forever.

<p 249>

                             PART III

                           STUPID FACES

                                 I

     So many grinning, stupid faces!  Thea was sitting by the
window in Bowers's studio, waiting for him to come
back from lunch.  On her knee was the latest number of an
illustrated musical journal in which musicians great and
little stridently advertised their wares.  Every afternoon
she played accompaniments for people who looked and
smiled like these.  She was getting tired of the human
countenance.

     Thea had been in Chicago for two months.  She had a
small church position which partly paid her living ex-
penses, and she paid for her singing lessons by playing
Bowers's accompaniments every afternoon from two until
six.  She had been compelled to leave her old friends Mrs.
Lorch and Mrs. Andersen, because the long ride from North
Chicago to Bowers's studio on Michigan Avenue took too
much time--an hour in the morning, and at night, when
the cars were crowded, an hour and a half.  For the first
month she had clung to her old room, but the bad air in
the cars, at the end of a long day's work, fatigued her
greatly and was bad for her voice.  Since she left Mrs.
Lorch, she had been staying at a students' club to which
she was introduced by Miss Adler, Bowers's morning ac-
companist, an intelligent Jewish girl from Evanston.

     Thea took her lesson from Bowers every day from
eleven-thirty until twelve.  Then she went out to lunch
with an Italian grammar under her arm, and came back
to the studio to begin her work at two.  In the afternoon

<p 250>

Bowers coached professionals and taught his advanced
pupils.  It was his theory that Thea ought to be able to
learn a great deal by keeping her ears open while she
played for him.

     The concert-going public of Chicago still remembers the
long, sallow, discontented face of Madison Bowers.  He
seldom missed an evening concert, and was usually to be
seen lounging somewhere at the back of the concert hall,
reading a newspaper or review, and conspicuously ignoring
the efforts of the performers.  At the end of a number he
looked up from his paper long enough to sweep the ap-
plauding audience with a contemptuous eye.  His face was
intelligent, with a narrow lower jaw, a thin nose, faded
gray eyes, and a close-cut brown mustache.  His hair was
iron-gray, thin and dead-looking.  He went to concerts
chiefly to satisfy himself as to how badly things were done
and how gullible the public was.  He hated the whole race
of artists; the work they did, the wages they got, and the
way they spent their money.  His father, old Hiram Bowers,
was still alive and at work, a genial old choirmaster in Bos-
ton, full of enthusiasm at seventy.  But Madison was of the
colder stuff of his grandfathers, a long line of New Hamp-
shire farmers; hard workers, close traders, with good minds,
mean natures, and flinty eyes.  As a boy Madison had a
fine barytone voice, and his father made great sacrifices
for him, sending him to Germany at an early age and keep-
ing him abroad at his studies for years.  Madison worked
under the best teachers, and afterward sang in England in
oratorio.  His cold nature and academic methods were
against him.  His audiences were always aware of the
contempt he felt for them.  A dozen poorer singers suc-
ceeded, but Bowers did not.

     Bowers had all the qualities which go to make a good
teacher--except generosity and warmth.  His intelligence
was of a high order, his taste never at fault.  He seldom
worked with a voice without improving it, and in teach-

<p 251>

ing the delivery of oratorio he was without a rival.  Sing-
ers came from far and near to study Bach and Handel
with him.  Even the fashionable sopranos and contraltos
of Chicago, St. Paul, and St. Louis (they were usually
ladies with very rich husbands, and Bowers called them the
"pampered jades of Asia") humbly endured his sardonic
humor for the sake of what he could do for them.  He was
not at all above helping a very lame singer across, if her
husband's check-book warranted it.  He had a whole bag
of tricks for stupid people, "life-preservers," he called
them.  "Cheap repairs for a cheap 'un," he used to say,
but the husbands never found the repairs very cheap.
Those were the days when lumbermen's daughters and
brewers' wives contended in song; studied in Germany and
then floated from SANGERFEST to SANGERFEST.  Choral so-
cieties flourished in all the rich lake cities and river cities.
The soloists came to Chicago to coach with Bowers, and
he often took long journeys to hear and instruct a chorus.
He was intensely avaricious, and from these semi-profes-
sionals he reaped a golden harvest.  They fed his pockets
and they fed his ever-hungry contempt, his scorn of him-
self and his accomplices.  The more money he made, the
more parsimonious he became.  His wife was so shabby
that she never went anywhere with him, which suited him
exactly.  Because his clients were luxurious and extrava-
gant, he took a revengeful pleasure in having his shoes half-
soled a second time, and in getting the last wear out of a
broken collar.  He had first been interested in Thea Kron-
borg because of her bluntness, her country roughness, and
her manifest carefulness about money.  The mention of
Harsanyi's name always made him pull a wry face.  For
the first time Thea had a friend who, in his own cool and
guarded way, liked her for whatever was least admirable in
her.

     Thea was still looking at the musical paper, her grammar
unopened on the window-sill, when Bowers sauntered in

<p 252>

a little before two o'clock.  He was smoking a cheap cigar-
ette and wore the same soft felt hat he had worn all last
winter.  He never carried a cane or wore gloves.

     Thea followed him from the reception-room into the
studio.  "I may cut my lesson out to-morrow, Mr. Bowers.
I have to hunt a new boarding-place."

     Bowers looked up languidly from his desk where he had
begun to go over a pile of letters.  "What's the matter
with the Studio Club?  Been fighting with them again?"

     "The Club's all right for people who like to live that
way.  I don't."

     Bowers lifted his eyebrows.  "Why so tempery?" he
asked as he drew a check from an envelope postmarked
"Minneapolis."

     "I can't work with a lot of girls around.  They're
too familiar.  I never could get along with girls of my
own age.  It's all too chummy.  Gets on my nerves.  I
didn't come here to play kindergarten games."  Thea
began energetically to arrange the scattered music on the
piano.

     Bowers grimaced good-humoredly at her over the three
checks he was pinning together.  He liked to play at a
rough game of banter with her.  He flattered himself that
he had made her harsher than she was when she first came
to him; that he had got off a little of the sugar-coating
Harsanyi always put on his pupils.

     "The art of making yourself agreeable never comes
amiss, Miss Kronborg.  I should say you rather need a
little practice along that line.  When you come to market-
ing your wares in the world, a little smoothness goes
farther than a great deal of talent sometimes.  If you hap-
pen to be cursed with a real talent, then you've got to be
very smooth indeed, or you'll never get your money back."
Bowers snapped the elastic band around his bank-book.

     Thea gave him a sharp, recognizing glance.  "Well,
that's the money I'll have to go without," she replied.

<p 253>

     "Just what do you mean?"

     "I mean the money people have to grin for.  I used to
know a railroad man who said there was money in every
profession that you couldn't take.  He'd tried a good
many jobs," Thea added musingly; "perhaps he was too
particular about the kind he could take, for he never
picked up much.  He was proud, but I liked him for that."

     Bowers rose and closed his desk.  "Mrs. Priest is late
again.  By the way, Miss Kronborg, remember not to frown
when you are playing for Mrs. Priest.  You did not re-
member yesterday."

     "You mean when she hits a tone with her breath like
that?  Why do you let her?  You wouldn't let me."

     "I certainly would not.  But that is a mannerism of
Mrs. Priest's.  The public like it, and they pay a great deal
of money for the pleasure of hearing her do it.  There she
is.  Remember!"

     Bowers opened the door of the reception-room and a
tall, imposing woman rustled in, bringing with her a glow
of animation which pervaded the room as if half a dozen
persons, all talking gayly, had come in instead of one.  She
was large, handsome, expansive, uncontrolled; one felt this
the moment she crossed the threshold.  She shone with care
and cleanliness, mature vigor, unchallenged authority,
gracious good-humor, and absolute confidence in her per-
son, her powers, her position, and her way of life; a glowing,
overwhelming self-satisfaction, only to be found where
human society is young and strong and without yesterdays.
Her face had a kind of heavy, thoughtless beauty, like a
pink peony just at the point of beginning to fade.  Her
brown hair was waved in front and done up behind in a
great twist, held by a tortoiseshell comb with gold fili-
gree.  She wore a beautiful little green hat with three long
green feathers sticking straight up in front, a little cape
made of velvet and fur with a yellow satin rose on it.  Her
gloves, her shoes, her veil, somehow made themselves felt.

<p 254>

She gave the impression of wearing a cargo of splendid
merchandise.

     Mrs. Priest nodded graciously to Thea, coquettishly to
Bowers, and asked him to untie her veil for her.  She
threw her splendid wrap on a chair, the yellow lining out.
Thea was already at the piano.  Mrs. Priest stood behind
her.

     "`Rejoice Greatly' first, please.  And please don't hurry
it in there," she put her arm over Thea's shoulder, and
indicated the passage by a sweep of her white glove.  She
threw out her chest, clasped her hands over her abdomen,
lifted her chin, worked the muscles of her cheeks back
and forth for a moment, and then began with conviction,
"Re-jo-oice!  Re-jo-oice!"

     Bowers paced the room with his catlike tread.  When he
checked Mrs. Priest's vehemence at all, he handled her
roughly; poked and hammered her massive person with
cold satisfaction, almost as if he were taking out a grudge
on this splendid creation.  Such treatment the imposing
lady did not at all resent.  She tried harder and harder, her
eyes growing all the while more lustrous and her lips redder.
Thea played on as she was told, ignoring the singer's
struggles.

     When she first heard Mrs. Priest sing in church, Thea
admired her.  Since she had found out how dull the good-
natured soprano really was, she felt a deep contempt for
her.  She felt that Mrs. Priest ought to be reproved and
even punished for her shortcomings; that she ought to
be exposed,--at least to herself,--and not be permitted
to live and shine in happy ignorance of what a poor thing
it was she brought across so radiantly.  Thea's cold looks
of reproof were lost upon Mrs. Priest; although the lady
did murmur one day when she took Bowers home in her
carriage, "How handsome your afternoon girl would be
if she did not have that unfortunate squint; it gives her
that vacant Swede look, like an animal."  That amused

<p 255>

Bowers.  He liked to watch the germination and growth
of antipathies.

     One of the first disappointments Thea had to face when
she returned to Chicago that fall, was the news that the
Harsanyis were not coming back.  They had spent the
summer in a camp in the Adirondacks and were moving
to New York.  An old teacher and friend of Harsanyi's,
one of the best-known piano teachers in New York, was
about to retire because of failing health and had arranged
to turn his pupils over to Harsanyi.  Andor was to give
two recitals in New York in November, to devote him-
self to his new students until spring, and then to go on a
short concert tour.  The Harsanyis had taken a furnished
apartment in New York, as they would not attempt to
settle a place of their own until Andor's recitals were over.
The first of December, however, Thea received a note
from Mrs. Harsanyi, asking her to call at the old studio,
where she was packing their goods for shipment.

     The morning after this invitation reached her, Thea
climbed the stairs and knocked at the familiar door.  Mrs.
Harsanyi herself opened it, and embraced her visitor
warmly.  Taking Thea into the studio, which was littered
with excelsior and packing-cases, she stood holding her
hand and looking at her in the strong light from the big
window before she allowed her to sit down.  Her quick eye
saw many changes.  The girl was taller, her figure had be-
come definite, her carriage positive.  She had got used to
living in the body of a young woman, and she no longer
tried to ignore it and behave as if she were a little girl.
With that increased independence of body there had come
a change in her face; an indifference, something hard and
skeptical.  Her clothes, too, were different, like the attire of
a shopgirl who tries to follow the fashions; a purple suit, a
piece of cheap fur, a three-cornered purple hat with a
pompon sticking up in front.  The queer country clothes

<p 256>

she used to wear suited her much better, Mrs. Harsanyi
thought.  But such trifles, after all, were accidental and
remediable.  She put her hand on the girl's strong shoulder.

     "How much the summer has done for you!  Yes, you are
a young lady at last.  Andor will be so glad to hear about
you."

     Thea looked about at the disorder of the familiar room.
The pictures were piled in a corner, the piano and the
CHAISE LONGUE were gone.  "I suppose I ought to be glad you
have gone away," she said, "but I'm not.  It's a fine thing
for Mr. Harsanyi, I suppose."

     Mrs. Harsanyi gave her a quick glance that said more
than words.  "If you knew how long I have wanted to get
him away from here, Miss Kronborg!  He is never tired,
never discouraged, now."

     Thea sighed.  "I'm glad for that, then."  Her eyes
traveled over the faint discolorations on the walls where
the pictures had hung.  "I may run away myself.  I don't
know whether I can stand it here without you."

     "We hope that you can come to New York to study
before very long.  We have thought of that.  And you must
tell me how you are getting on with Bowers.  Andor will
want to know all about it."

     "I guess I get on more or less.  But I don't like my work
very well.  It never seems serious as my work with Mr.
Harsanyi did.  I play Bowers's accompaniments in the
afternoons, you know.  I thought I would learn a good
deal from the people who work with him, but I don't
think I get much."

     Mrs. Harsanyi looked at her inquiringly.  Thea took
out a carefully folded handkerchief from the bosom of
her dress and began to draw the corners apart.  "Singing
doesn't seem to be a very brainy profession, Mrs. Har-
sanyi," she said slowly.  "The people I see now are not a
bit like the ones I used to meet here.  Mr. Harsanyi's
pupils, even the dumb ones, had more--well, more of

<p 257>

everything, it seems to me.  The people I have to play
accompaniments for are discouraging.  The professionals,
like Katharine Priest and Miles Murdstone, are worst of
all.  If I have to play `The Messiah' much longer for Mrs.
Priest, I'll go out of my mind!"  Thea brought her foot
down sharply on the bare floor.

     Mrs. Harsanyi looked down at the foot in perplexity.
"You mustn't wear such high heels, my dear.  They will
spoil your walk and make you mince along.  Can't you at
least learn to avoid what you dislike in these singers?  I
was never able to care for Mrs. Priest's singing."

     Thea was sitting with her chin lowered.  Without mov-
ing her head she looked up at Mrs. Harsanyi and smiled;
a smile much too cold and desperate to be seen on a young
face, Mrs. Harsanyi felt.  "Mrs. Harsanyi, it seems to me
that what I learn is just TO DISLIKE.  I dislike so much and
so hard that it tires me out.  I've got no heart for any-
thing."  She threw up her head suddenly and sat in defi-
ance, her hand clenched on the arm of the chair.  "Mr.
Harsanyi couldn't stand these people an hour, I know he
couldn't.  He'd put them right out of the window there,
frizzes and feathers and all.  Now, take that new soprano
they're all making such a fuss about, Jessie Darcey.  She's
going on tour with a symphony orchestra and she's work-
ing up her repertory with Bowers.  She's singing some
Schumann songs Mr. Harsanyi used to go over with me.
Well, I don't know what he WOULD do if he heard her."

     "But if your own work goes well, and you know these
people are wrong, why do you let them discourage you?"

     Thea shook her head.  "That's just what I don't under-
stand myself.  Only, after I've heard them all afternoon, I
come out frozen up.  Somehow it takes the shine off of
everything.  People want Jessie Darcey and the kind of
thing she does; so what's the use?"

     Mrs. Harsanyi smiled.  "That stile you must simply
vault over.  You must not begin to fret about the suc-

<p 258>

cesses of cheap people.  After all, what have they to do
with you?"

     "Well, if I had somebody like Mr. Harsanyi, perhaps I
wouldn't fret about them.  He was the teacher for me.
Please tell him so."

     Thea rose and Mrs. Harsanyi took her hand again.  "I
am sorry you have to go through this time of discourage-
ment.  I wish Andor could talk to you, he would under-
stand it so well.  But I feel like urging you to keep clear of
Mrs. Priest and Jessie Darcey and all their works."

     Thea laughed discordantly.  "No use urging me.  I don't
get on with them AT ALL.  My spine gets like a steel rail when
they come near me.  I liked them at first, you know.  Their
clothes and their manners were so fine, and Mrs. Priest IS
handsome.  But now I keep wanting to tell them how
stupid they are.  Seems like they ought to be informed,
don't you think so?"  There was a flash of the shrewd grin
that Mrs. Harsanyi remembered.  Thea pressed her hand.
"I must go now.  I had to give my lesson hour this morn-
ing to a Duluth woman who has come on to coach, and I
must go and play `On Mighty Pens' for her.  Please tell
Mr. Harsanyi that I think oratorio is a great chance for
bluffers."

     Mrs. Harsanyi detained her.  "But he will want to know
much more than that about you.  You are free at seven?
Come back this evening, then, and we will go to dinner
somewhere, to some cheerful place.  I think you need a
party."

     Thea brightened.  "Oh, I do!  I'll love to come; that will
be like old times.  You see," she lingered a moment, soft-
ening, "I wouldn't mind if there were only ONE of them I
could really admire."

     "How about Bowers?" Mrs. Harsanyi asked as they
were approaching the stairway.

     "Well, there's nothing he loves like a good fakir, and
nothing he hates like a good artist.  I always remember

<p 259>

something Mr. Harsanyi said about him.  He said Bowers
was the cold muffin that had been left on the plate."

     Mrs. Harsanyi stopped short at the head of the stairs
and said decidedly: "I think Andor made a mistake.  I
can't believe that is the right atmosphere for you.  It would
hurt you more than most people.  It's all wrong."

     "Something's wrong," Thea called back as she clattered
down the stairs in her high heels.

<p 260>

                                II

     DURING that winter Thea lived in so many places that
sometimes at night when she left Bowers's studio and
emerged into the street she had to stop and think for a
moment to remember where she was living now and what
was the best way to get there.

     When she moved into a new place her eyes challenged
the beds, the carpets, the food, the mistress of the
house.  The boarding-houses were wretchedly conducted
and Thea's complaints sometimes took an insulting form.
She quarreled with one landlady after another and moved
on.  When she moved into a new room, she was almost
sure to hate it on sight and to begin planning to hunt
another place before she unpacked her trunk.  She was
moody and contemptuous toward her fellow boarders,
except toward the young men, whom she treated with a
careless familiarity which they usually misunderstood.
They liked her, however, and when she left the house
after a storm, they helped her to move her things and came
to see her after she got settled in a new place.  But she
moved so often that they soon ceased to follow her.  They
could see no reason for keeping up with a girl who, under
her jocularity, was cold, self-centered, and unimpression-
able.  They soon felt that she did not admire them.

     Thea used to waken up in the night and wonder why
she was so unhappy.  She would have been amazed if she
had known how much the people whom she met in Bowers's
studio had to do with her low spirits.  She had never been
conscious of those instinctive standards which are called
ideals, and she did not know that she was suffering for
them.  She often found herself sneering when she was on a
street-car, or when she was brushing out her hair before

<p 261>

her mirror, as some inane remark or too familiar manner-
ism flitted across her mind.

     She felt no creature kindness, no tolerant good-will for
Mrs. Priest or Jessie Darcey.  After one of Jessie Dar-
cey's concerts the glowing press notices, and the admiring
comments that floated about Bowers's studio, caused
Thea bitter unhappiness.  It was not the torment of per-
sonal jealousy.  She had never thought of herself as even
a possible rival of Miss Darcey.  She was a poor music
student, and Jessie Darcey was a popular and petted
professional.  Mrs. Priest, whatever one held against her,
had a fine, big, showy voice and an impressive presence.
She read indifferently, was inaccurate, and was always
putting other people wrong, but she at least had the
material out of which singers can be made.  But people
seemed to like Jessie Darcey exactly because she could
not sing; because, as they put it, she was "so natural and
unprofessional."  Her singing was pronounced "artless,"
her voice "birdlike."  Miss Darcey was thin and awkward
in person, with a sharp, sallow face.  Thea noticed that
her plainness was accounted to her credit, and that
people spoke of it affectionately.  Miss Darcey was sing-
ing everywhere just then; one could not help hearing
about her.  She was backed by some of the packing-house
people and by the Chicago Northwestern Railroad.  Only
one critic raised his voice against her.  Thea went to
several of Jessie Darcey's concerts.  It was the first time
she had had an opportunity to observe the whims of the
public which singers live by interesting.  She saw that
people liked in Miss Darcey every quality a singer ought
not to have, and especially the nervous complacency that
stamped her as a commonplace young woman.  They
seemed to have a warmer feeling for Jessie than for Mrs.
Priest, an affectionate and cherishing regard.  Chicago
was not so very different from Moonstone, after all, and
Jessie Darcey was only Lily Fisher under another name.

<p 262>

     Thea particularly hated to accompany for Miss Darcey
because she sang off pitch and didn't mind it in the least.
It was excruciating to sit there day after day and hear her;
there was something shameless and indecent about not
singing true.

     One morning Miss Darcey came by appointment to go
over the programme for her Peoria concert.  She was such
a frail-looking girl that Thea ought to have felt sorry for
her.  True, she had an arch, sprightly little manner, and
a flash of salmon-pink on either brown cheek.  But a nar-
row upper jaw gave her face a pinched look, and her eye-
lids were heavy and relaxed.  By the morning light, the
purplish brown circles under her eyes were pathetic enough,
and foretold no long or brilliant future.  A singer with a
poor digestion and low vitality; she needed no seer to cast
her horoscope.  If Thea had ever taken the pains to study
her, she would have seen that, under all her smiles and
archness, poor Miss Darcey was really frightened to death.
She could not understand her success any more than Thea
could; she kept catching her breath and lifting her eye-
brows and trying to believe that it was true.  Her loqua-
city was not natural, she forced herself to it, and when she
confided to you how many defects she could overcome by
her unusual command of head resonance, she was not so
much trying to persuade you as to persuade herself.

     When she took a note that was high for her, Miss Darcey
always put her right hand out into the air, as if she were
indicating height, or giving an exact measurement.  Some
early teacher had told her that she could "place" a tone
more surely by the help of such a gesture, and she firmly
believed that it was of great assistance to her.  (Even when
she was singing in public, she kept her right hand down
with difficulty, nervously clasping her white kid fingers
together when she took a high note.  Thea could always
see her elbows stiffen.)  She unvaryingly executed this
gesture with a smile of gracious confidence, as if she were

<p 263>

actually putting her finger on the tone: "There it is,
friends!"

     This morning, in Gounod's "Ave Maria," as Miss Dar-
cey approached her B natural,--

          DANS---NOS A--LAR-- -- --MES!

out went the hand, with the sure airy gesture, though it
was little above A she got with her voice, whatever she
touched with her finger.  Often Bowers let such things
pass--with the right people--but this morning he
snapped his jaws together and muttered, "God!"  Miss
Darcey tried again, with the same gesture as of putting
the crowning touch, tilting her head and smiling radiantly
at Bowers, as if to say, "It is for you I do all this!"

          DANS--NOS A--LAR------MES!

This time she made B flat, and went on in the happy belief
that she had done well enough, when she suddenly found
that her accompanist was not going on with her, and this
put her out completely.

     She turned to Thea, whose hands had fallen in her lap.
"Oh why did you stop just there!  It IS too trying!  Now
we'd better go back to that other CRESCENDO and try it
from there."

     "I beg your pardon," Thea muttered.  "I thought you
wanted to get that B natural."  She began again, as Miss
Darcey indicated.

     After the singer was gone, Bowers walked up to Thea
and asked languidly, "Why do you hate Jessie so?  Her
little variations from pitch are between her and her public;
they don't hurt you.  Has she ever done anything to you
except be very agreeable?"

     "Yes, she has done things to me," Thea retorted hotly.

     Bowers looked interested.  "What, for example?"

     "I can't explain, but I've got it in for her."

     Bowers laughed.  "No doubt about that.  I'll have to

<p 264>

suggest that you conceal it a little more effectually.  That
is--necessary, Miss Kronborg," he added, looking back
over the shoulder of the overcoat he was putting on.

     He went out to lunch and Thea thought the subject
closed.  But late in the afternoon, when he was taking his
dyspepsia tablet and a glass of water between lessons, he
looked up and said in a voice ironically coaxing:--

     "Miss Kronborg, I wish you would tell me why you
hate Jessie."

     Taken by surprise Thea put down the score she was
reading and answered before she knew what she was say-
ing, "I hate her for the sake of what I used to think a singer
might be."

     Bowers balanced the tablet on the end of his long fore-
finger and whistled softly.  "And how did you form your
conception of what a singer ought to be?" he asked.

     "I don't know."  Thea flushed and spoke under her
breath; "but I suppose I got most of it from Harsanyi."

     Bowers made no comment upon this reply, but opened
the door for the next pupil, who was waiting in the recep-
tion-room.

     It was dark when Thea left the studio that night.
She knew she had offended Bowers.  Somehow she had
hurt herself, too.  She felt unequal to the boarding-house
table, the sneaking divinity student who sat next her and
had tried to kiss her on the stairs last night.  She went
over to the waterside of Michigan Avenue and walked
along beside the lake.  It was a clear, frosty winter night.
The great empty space over the water was restful and
spoke of freedom.  If she had any money at all, she would
go away.  The stars glittered over the wide black water.
She looked up at them wearily and shook her head.  She
believed that what she felt was despair, but it was only one
of the forms of hope.  She felt, indeed, as if she were bid-
ding the stars good-bye; but she was renewing a promise.
Though their challenge is universal and eternal, the stars

<p 265>

get no answer but that,--the brief light flashed back to
them from the eyes of the young who unaccountably
aspire.

     The rich, noisy, city, fat with food and drink, is a
spent thing; its chief concern is its digestion and its little
game of hide-and-seek with the undertaker.  Money and
office and success are the consolations of impotence.  For-
tune turns kind to such solid people and lets them suck
their bone in peace.  She flecks her whip upon flesh that
is more alive, upon that stream of hungry boys and girls
who tramp the streets of every city, recognizable by their
pride and discontent, who are the Future, and who possess
the treasure of creative power.

<p 266>

                                III

     WHILE her living arrangements were so casual and
fortuitous, Bowers's studio was the one fixed thing
in Thea's life.  She went out from it to uncertainties, and
hastened to it from nebulous confusion.  She was more
influenced by Bowers than she knew.  Unconsciously she
began to take on something of his dry contempt, and to
share his grudge without understanding exactly what it
was about.  His cynicism seemed to her honest, and the
amiability of his pupils artificial.  She admired his drastic
treatment of his dull pupils.  The stupid deserved all they
got, and more.  Bowers knew that she thought him a very
clever man.

     One afternoon when Bowers came in from lunch Thea
handed him a card on which he read the name, "Mr.
Philip Frederick Ottenburg."

     "He said he would be in again to-morrow and that he
wanted some time.  Who is he?  I like him better than the
others."

     Bowers nodded.  "So do I.  He's not a singer.  He's a
beer prince: son of the big brewer in St. Louis.  He's been
in Germany with his mother.  I didn't know he was
back."

     "Does he take lessons?"

     "Now and again.  He sings rather well.  He's at the
head of the Chicago branch of the Ottenburg business, but
he can't stick to work and is always running away.  He
has great ideas in beer, people tell me.  He's what they call
an imaginative business man; goes over to Bayreuth and
seems to do nothing but give parties and spend money, and
brings back more good notions for the brewery than the
fellows who sit tight dig out in five years.  I was born too

<p 267>

long ago to be much taken in by these chesty boys with
flowered vests, but I like Fred, all the same."

     "So do I," said Thea positively.

     Bowers made a sound between a cough and a laugh.
"Oh, he's a lady-killer, all right!  The girls in here are al-
ways making eyes at him.  You won't be the first."  He
threw some sheets of music on the piano.  "Better look
that over; accompaniment's a little tricky.  It's for that
new woman from Detroit.  And Mrs. Priest will be in this
afternoon."

     Thea sighed.  "`I Know that my Redeemer Liveth'?"

     "The same.  She starts on her concert tour next week,
and we'll have a rest.  Until then, I suppose we'll have
to be going over her programme."

     The next day Thea hurried through her luncheon at a
German bakery and got back to the studio at ten minutes
past one.  She felt sure that the young brewer would come
early, before it was time for Bowers to arrive.  He had
not said he would, but yesterday, when he opened the door
to go, he had glanced about the room and at her, and some-
thing in his eye had conveyed that suggestion.

     Sure enough, at twenty minutes past one the door of the
reception-room opened, and a tall, robust young man with
a cane and an English hat and ulster looked in expect-
antly.  "Ah--ha!" he exclaimed, "I thought if I came
early I might have good luck.  And how are you to-day,
Miss Kronborg?"

     Thea was sitting in the window chair.  At her left elbow
there was a table, and upon this table the young man sat
down, holding his hat and cane in his hand, loosening his
long coat so that it fell back from his shoulders.  He was a
gleaming, florid young fellow.  His hair, thick and yellow,
was cut very short, and he wore a closely trimmed beard,
long enough on the chin to curl a little.  Even his eye-
brows were thick and yellow, like fleece.  He had lively
blue eyes--Thea looked up at them with great interest

<p 268>

as he sat chatting and swinging his foot rhythmically.
He was easily familiar, and frankly so.  Wherever people
met young Ottenburg, in his office, on shipboard, in a
foreign hotel or railway compartment, they always felt
(and usually liked) that artless presumption which seemed
to say, "In this case we may waive formalities.  We
really haven't time.  This is to-day, but it will soon be
to-morrow, and then we may be very different people,
and in some other country."  He had a way of floating
people out of dull or awkward situations, out of their
own torpor or constraint or discouragement.  It was a
marked personal talent, of almost incalculable value in
the representative of a great business founded on social
amenities.  Thea had liked him yesterday for the way in
which he had picked her up out of herself and her German
grammar for a few exciting moments.

     "By the way, will you tell me your first name, please?
Thea?  Oh, then you ARE a Swede, sure enough!  I thought
so.  Let me call you Miss Thea, after the German fashion.
You won't mind?  Of course not!"  He usually made his
assumption of a special understanding seem a tribute to the
other person and not to himself.

     "How long have you been with Bowers here?  Do you
like the old grouch?  So do I.  I've come to tell him about
a new soprano I heard at Bayreuth.  He'll pretend not to
care, but he does.  Do you warble with him?  Have you
anything of a voice?  Honest?  You look it, you know.
What are you going in for, something big?  Opera?"

     Thea blushed crimson.  "Oh, I'm not going in for any-
thing.  I'm trying to learn to sing at funerals."

     Ottenburg leaned forward.  His eyes twinkled.  "I'll
engage you to sing at mine.  You can't fool me, Miss Thea.
May I hear you take your lesson this afternoon?"

     "No, you may not.  I took it this morning."

     He picked up a roll of music that lay behind him on the
table.  "Is this yours?  Let me see what you are doing."

<p 269>

He snapped back the clasp and began turning over the
songs.  "All very fine, but tame.  What's he got you at this
Mozart stuff for?  I shouldn't think it would suit your
voice.  Oh, I can make a pretty good guess at what will
suit you!  This from `Gioconda' is more in your line.
What's this Grieg?  It looks interesting.  TAK FOR DITT ROD.
What does that mean?"

     "`Thanks for your Advice.'  Don't you know it?"

     "No; not at all.  Let's try it."  He rose, pushed open the
door into the music-room, and motioned Thea to enter be-
fore him.  She hung back.

     "I couldn't give you much of an idea of it.  It's a big
song."

     Ottenburg took her gently by the elbow and pushed her
into the other room.  He sat down carelessly at the piano
and looked over the music for a moment.  "I think I can
get you through it.  But how stupid not to have the Ger-
man words.  Can you really sing the Norwegian?  What
an infernal language to sing.  Translate the text for me."
He handed her the music.

     Thea looked at it, then at him, and shook her head.  "I
can't.  The truth is I don't know either English or Swedish
very well, and Norwegian's still worse," she said confi-
dentially.  She not infrequently refused to do what she
was asked to do, but it was not like her to explain her
refusal, even when she had a good reason.

     "I understand.  We immigrants never speak any lan-
guage well.  But you know what it means, don't you?"

     "Of course I do!"

     "Then don't frown at me like that, but tell me."

     Thea continued to frown, but she also smiled.  She was
confused, but not embarrassed.  She was not afraid of
Ottenburg.  He was not one of those people who made her
spine like a steel rail.  On the contrary, he made one ven-
turesome.

     "Well, it goes something like this: Thanks for your ad-

<P 270>

vice!  But I prefer to steer my boat into the din of roaring
breakers.  Even if the journey is my last, I may find what I
have never found before.  Onward must I go, for I yearn for
the wild sea.  I long to fight my way through the angry waves,
and to see how far, and how long I can make them carry me."*

     Ottenburg took the music and began: "Wait a moment.
Is that too fast?  How do you take it?  That right?"  He
pulled up his cuffs and began the accompaniment again.
He had become entirely serious, and he played with fine
enthusiasm and with understanding.

     Fred's talent was worth almost as much to old Otto
Ottenburg as the steady industry of his older sons.  When
Fred sang the Prize Song at an interstate meet of the
TURNVEREIN, ten thousand TURNERS went forth pledged to
Ottenburg beer.

     As Thea finished the song Fred turned back to the first
page, without looking up from the music.  "Now, once
more," he called.  They began again, and did not hear
Bowers when he came in and stood in the doorway.  He
stood still, blinking like an owl at their two heads shining
in the sun.  He could not see their faces, but there was
something about his girl's back that he had not noticed be-
fore: a very slight and yet very free motion, from the toes
up.  Her whole back seemed plastic, seemed to be mould-
ing itself to the galloping rhythm of the song.  Bowers
perceived such things sometimes--unwillingly.  He had
known to-day that there was something afoot.  The river
of sound which had its source in his pupil had caught him
two flights down.  He had stopped and listened with a kind
of sneering admiration.  From the door he watched her
with a half-incredulous, half-malicious smile.

     When he had struck the keys for the last time, Otten-
burg dropped his hands on his knees and looked up with a
quick breath.  "I got you through.  What a stunning song!
Did I play it right?"

     Thea studied his excited face.  There was a good deal of

<p 271>

meaning in it, and there was a good deal in her own as she
answered him.  "You suited me," she said ungrudgingly.

     After Ottenburg was gone, Thea noticed that Bowers
was more agreeable than usual.  She had heard the young
brewer ask Bowers to dine with him at his club that even-
ing, and she saw that he looked forward to the dinner
with pleasure.  He dropped a remark to the effect that
Fred knew as much about food and wines as any man in
Chicago.  He said this boastfully.

     "If he's such a grand business man, how does he have
time to run around listening to singing-lessons?" Thea
asked suspiciously.

     As she went home to her boarding-house through the
February slush, she wished she were going to dine with
them.  At nine o'clock she looked up from her grammar to
wonder what Bowers and Ottenburg were having to eat.
At that moment they were talking of her.

<p 272>

                                IV

     THEA noticed that Bowers took rather more pains with
her now that Fred Ottenburg often dropped in at
eleven-thirty to hear her lesson.  After the lesson the young
man took Bowers off to lunch with him, and Bowers liked
good food when another man paid for it.  He encouraged
Fred's visits, and Thea soon saw that Fred knew exactly
why.

     One morning, after her lesson, Ottenburg turned to
Bowers.  "If you'll lend me Miss Thea, I think I have an
engagement for her.  Mrs. Henry Nathanmeyer is going to
give three musical evenings in April, first three Saturdays,
and she has consulted me about soloists.  For the first
evening she has a young violinist, and she would be
charmed to have Miss Kronborg.  She will pay fifty dollars.
Not much, but Miss Thea would meet some people there
who might be useful.  What do you say?"

     Bowers passed the question on to Thea.  "I guess you
could use the fifty, couldn't you, Miss Kronborg?  You
can easily work up some songs."

     Thea was perplexed.  "I need the money awfully," she
said frankly; "but I haven't got the right clothes for that
sort of thing.  I suppose I'd better try to get some."

     Ottenburg spoke up quickly, "Oh, you'd make nothing
out of it if you went to buying evening clothes.  I've
thought of that.  Mrs. Nathanmeyer has a troop of daugh-
ters, a perfect seraglio, all ages and sizes.  She'll be glad to
fit you out, if you aren't sensitive about wearing kosher
clothes.  Let me take you to see her, and you'll find that
she'll arrange that easily enough.  I told her she must
produce something nice, blue or yellow, and properly cut.
I brought half a dozen Worth gowns through the customs

<p 273>

for her two weeks ago, and she's not ungrateful.  When can
we go to see her?"

     "I haven't any time free, except at night," Thea re-
plied in some confusion.

     "To-morrow evening, then?  I shall call for you at eight.
Bring all your songs along; she will want us to give her a
little rehearsal, perhaps.  I'll play your accompaniments,
if you've no objection.  That will save money for you and
for Mrs. Nathanmeyer.  She needs it."  Ottenburg chuckled
as he took down the number of Thea's boarding-house.

     The Nathanmeyers were so rich and great that even
Thea had heard of them, and this seemed a very remarkable
opportunity.  Ottenburg had brought it about by merely
lifting a finger, apparently.  He was a beer prince sure
enough, as Bowers had said.

     The next evening at a quarter to eight Thea was dressed
and waiting in the boarding-house parlor.  She was ner-
vous and fidgety and found it difficult to sit still on the
hard, convex upholstery of the chairs.  She tried them one
after another, moving about the dimly lighted, musty
room, where the gas always leaked gently and sang in the
burners.  There was no one in the parlor but the medical
student, who was playing one of Sousa's marches so vigor-
ously that the china ornaments on the top of the piano
rattled.  In a few moments some of the pension-office girls
would come in and begin to two-step.  Thea wished that
Ottenburg would come and let her escape.  She glanced
at herself in the long, somber mirror.  She was wearing
her pale-blue broadcloth church dress, which was not un-
becoming but was certainly too heavy to wear to any-
body's house in the evening.  Her slippers were run over
at the heel and she had not had time to have them mended,
and her white gloves were not so clean as they should be.
However, she knew that she would forget these annoying
things as soon as Ottenburg came.

     Mary, the Hungarian chambermaid, came to the door,

<p 274>

stood between the plush portieres, beckoned to Thea, and
made an inarticulate sound in her throat.  Thea jumped
up and ran into the hall, where Ottenburg stood smiling,
his caped cloak open, his silk hat in his white-kid hand.
The Hungarian girl stood like a monument on her flat heels,
staring at the pink carnation in Ottenburg's coat.  Her
broad, pockmarked face wore the only expression of which
it was capable, a kind of animal wonder.  As the young man
followed Thea out, he glanced back over his shoulder
through the crack of the door; the Hun clapped her hands
over her stomach, opened her mouth, and made another
raucous sound in her throat.

     "Isn't she awful?" Thea exclaimed.  "I think she's
half-witted.  Can you understand her?"

     Ottenburg laughed as he helped her into the carriage.
"Oh, yes; I can understand her!"  He settled himself on
the front seat opposite Thea.  "Now, I want to tell you
about the people we are going to see.  We may have a
musical public in this country some day, but as yet there
are only the Germans and the Jews.  All the other people
go to hear Jessie Darcey sing, `O, Promise Me!'  The
Nathanmeyers are the finest kind of Jews.  If you do any-
thing for Mrs. Henry Nathanmeyer, you must put your-
self into her hands.  Whatever she says about music, about
clothes, about life, will be correct.  And you may feel at
ease with her.  She expects nothing of people; she has
lived in Chicago twenty years.  If you were to behave
like the Magyar who was so interested in my buttonhole,
she would not be surprised.  If you were to sing like Jessie
Darcey, she would not be surprised; but she would manage
not to hear you again."

     "Would she?  Well, that's the kind of people I want to
find."  Thea felt herself growing bolder.

     "You will be all right with her so long as you do not try
to be anything that you are not.  Her standards have noth-
ing to do with Chicago.  Her perceptions--or her grand-

<p 275>

mother's, which is the same thing--were keen when all
this was an Indian village.  So merely be yourself, and you
will like her.  She will like you because the Jews always
sense talent, and," he added ironically, "they admire cer-
tain qualities of feeling that are found only in the white-
skinned races."

     Thea looked into the young man's face as the light of a
street lamp flashed into the carriage.  His somewhat aca-
demic manner amused her.

     "What makes you take such an interest in singers?"
she asked curiously.  "You seem to have a perfect passion
for hearing music-lessons.  I wish I could trade jobs with
you!"

     "I'm not interested in singers."  His tone was offended.
"I am interested in talent.  There are only two interesting
things in the world, anyhow; and talent is one of them."

     "What's the other?"  The question came meekly from
the figure opposite him.  Another arc-light flashed in at
the window.

     Fred saw her face and broke into a laugh.  "Why, you're
guying me, you little wretch!  You won't let me behave
properly."  He dropped his gloved hand lightly on her
knee, took it away and let it hang between his own.  "Do
you know," he said confidentially, "I believe I'm more
in earnest about all this than you are."

     "About all what?"

     "All you've got in your throat there."

     "Oh!  I'm in earnest all right; only I never was much
good at talking.  Jessie Darcey is the smooth talker.  `You
notice the effect I get there--'  If she only got 'em, she'd
be a wonder, you know!"

     Mr. and Mrs. Nathanmeyer were alone in their great
library.  Their three unmarried daughters had departed in
successive carriages, one to a dinner, one to a Nietszche
club, one to a ball given for the girls employed in the big
department stores.  When Ottenburg and Thea entered,

<p 276>

Henry Nathanmeyer and his wife were sitting at a table
at the farther end of the long room, with a reading-lamp
and a tray of cigarettes and cordial-glasses between them.
The overhead lights were too soft to bring out the colors
of the big rugs, and none of the picture lights were on.
One could merely see that there were pictures there.  Fred
whispered that they were Rousseaus and Corots, very fine
ones which the old banker had bought long ago for next to
nothing.  In the hall Ottenburg had stopped Thea before a
painting of a woman eating grapes out of a paper bag, and
had told her gravely that there was the most beautiful
Manet in the world.  He made her take off her hat and
gloves in the hall, and looked her over a little before he
took her in.  But once they were in the library he seemed
perfectly satisfied with her and led her down the long room
to their hostess.

     Mrs. Nathanmeyer was a heavy, powerful old Jewess,
with a great pompadour of white hair, a swarthy complex-
ion, an eagle nose, and sharp, glittering eyes.  She wore a
black velvet dress with a long train, and a diamond necklace
and earrings.  She took Thea to the other side of the table
and presented her to Mr. Nathanmeyer, who apologized
for not rising, pointing to a slippered foot on a cushion;
he said that he suffered from gout.  He had a very soft
voice and spoke with an accent which would have been
heavy if it had not been so caressing.  He kept Thea stand-
ing beside him for some time.  He noticed that she stood
easily, looked straight down into his face, and was not
embarrassed.  Even when Mrs. Nathanmeyer told Otten-
burg to bring a chair for Thea, the old man did not release
her hand, and she did not sit down.  He admired her just
as she was, as she happened to be standing, and she felt it.
He was much handsomer than his wife, Thea thought.  His
forehead was high, his hair soft and white, his skin pink, a
little puffy under his clear blue eyes.  She noticed how warm
and delicate his hands were, pleasant to touch and beauti-

<p 277>

ful to look at.  Ottenburg had told her that Mr. Nathan-
meyer had a very fine collection of medals and cameos,
and his fingers looked as if they had never touched any-
thing but delicately cut surfaces.

     He asked Thea where Moonstone was; how many in-
habitants it had; what her father's business was; from what
part of Sweden her grandfather came; and whether she
spoke Swedish as a child.  He was interested to hear that
her mother's mother was still living, and that her grand-
father had played the oboe.  Thea felt at home standing
there beside him; she felt that he was very wise, and that he
some way took one's life up and looked it over kindly, as
if it were a story.  She was sorry when they left him to
go into the music-room.

     As they reached the door of the music-room, Mrs.
Nathanmeyer turned a switch that threw on many lights.
The room was even larger than the library, all glittering
surfaces, with two Steinway pianos.

     Mrs. Nathanmeyer rang for her own maid.  "Selma
will take you upstairs, Miss Kronborg, and you will find
some dresses on the bed.  Try several of them, and take the
one you like best.  Selma will help you.  She has a great
deal of taste.  When you are dressed, come down and let us
go over some of your songs with Mr. Ottenburg."

     After Thea went away with the maid, Ottenburg came
up to Mrs. Nathanmeyer and stood beside her, resting his
hand on the high back of her chair.

     "Well, GNADIGE FRAU, do you like her?"

     "I think so.  I liked her when she talked to father.  She
will always get on better with men."

     Ottenburg leaned over her chair.  "Prophetess!  Do you
see what I meant?"

     "About her beauty?  She has great possibilities, but you
can never tell about those Northern women.  They look so
strong, but they are easily battered.  The face falls so early
under those wide cheek-bones.  A single idea--hate or

<p 278>

greed, or even love--can tear them to shreds.  She is
nineteen?  Well, in ten years she may have quite a regal
beauty, or she may have a heavy, discontented face, all
dug out in channels.  That will depend upon the kind of
ideas she lives with."

     "Or the kind of people?" Ottenburg suggested.

     The old Jewess folded her arms over her massive chest,
drew back her shoulders, and looked up at the young man.
"With that hard glint in her eye?  The people won't mat-
ter much, I fancy.  They will come and go.  She is very
much interested in herself--as she should be."

     Ottenburg frowned.  "Wait until you hear her sing.  Her
eyes are different then.  That gleam that comes in them
is curious, isn't it?  As you say, it's impersonal."

     The object of this discussion came in, smiling.  She had
chosen neither the blue nor the yellow gown, but a pale
rose-color, with silver butterflies.  Mrs. Nathanmeyer
lifted her lorgnette and studied her as she approached.  She
caught the characteristic things at once: the free, strong
walk, the calm carriage of the head, the milky whiteness of
the girl's arms and shoulders.

     "Yes, that color is good for you," she said approvingly.
"The yellow one probably killed your hair?  Yes; this
does very well indeed, so we need think no more about
it."

     Thea glanced questioningly at Ottenburg.  He smiled
and bowed, seemed perfectly satisfied.  He asked her to
stand in the elbow of the piano, in front of him, instead of
behind him as she had been taught to do.

     "Yes," said the hostess with feeling.  "That other posi-
tion is barbarous."

     Thea sang an aria from `Gioconda,' some songs by Schu-
mann which she had studied with Harsanyi, and the "TAK
FOR DIT ROD," which Ottenburg liked.

     "That you must do again," he declared when they fin-
ished this song.  "You did it much better the other day.

<p 279>

You accented it more, like a dance or a galop.  How did
you do it?"

     Thea laughed, glancing sidewise at Mrs. Nathanmeyer.
"You want it rough-house, do you?  Bowers likes me to sing
it more seriously, but it always makes me think about a
story my grandmother used to tell."

     Fred pointed to the chair behind her.  "Won't you rest
a moment and tell us about it?  I thought you had some
notion about it when you first sang it for me."

     Thea sat down.  "In Norway my grandmother knew a
girl who was awfully in love with a young fellow.  She
went into service on a big dairy farm to make enough
money for her outfit.  They were married at Christmas-
time, and everybody was glad, because they'd been sigh-
ing around about each other for so long.  That very sum-
mer, the day before St. John's Day, her husband caught
her carrying on with another farm-hand.  The next night
all the farm people had a bonfire and a big dance up on
the mountain, and everybody was dancing and singing.  I
guess they were all a little drunk, for they got to seeing
how near they could make the girls dance to the edge
of the cliff.  Ole--he was the girl's husband--seemed the
jolliest and the drunkest of anybody.  He danced his wife
nearer and nearer the edge of the rock, and his wife began
to scream so that the others stopped dancing and the
music stopped; but Ole went right on singing, and he
danced her over the edge of the cliff and they fell hundreds
of feet and were all smashed to pieces."

     Ottenburg turned back to the piano.  "That's the idea!
Now, come Miss Thea.  Let it go!"

     Thea took her place.  She laughed and drew herself up
out of her corsets, threw her shoulders high and let them
drop again.  She had never sung in a low dress before, and
she found it comfortable.  Ottenburg jerked his head and
they began the song.  The accompaniment sounded more
than ever like the thumping and scraping of heavy feet.

<p 280>

     When they stopped, they heard a sympathetic tapping
at the end of the room.  Old Mr. Nathanmeyer had come
to the door and was sitting back in the shadow, just inside
the library, applauding with his cane.  Thea threw him a
bright smile.  He continued to sit there, his slippered foot
on a low chair, his cane between his fingers, and she
glanced at him from time to time.  The doorway made a
frame for him, and he looked like a man in a picture, with
the long, shadowy room behind him.

     Mrs. Nathanmeyer summoned the maid again.  "Selma
will pack that gown in a box for you, and you can take it
home in Mr. Ottenburg's carriage."

     Thea turned to follow the maid, but hesitated.  "Shall
I wear gloves?" she asked, turning again to Mrs. Nathan-
meyer.

     "No, I think not.  Your arms are good, and you will feel
freer without.  You will need light slippers, pink--or
white, if you have them, will do quite as well."

     Thea went upstairs with the maid and Mrs. Nathan-
meyer rose, took Ottenburg's arm, and walked toward her
husband.  "That's the first real voice I have heard in
Chicago," she said decidedly.  "I don't count that stupid
Priest woman.  What do you say, father?"

     Mr. Nathanmeyer shook his white head and smiled
softly, as if he were thinking about something very agree-
able.  "SVENSK SOMMAR," he murmured.  "She is like a
Swedish summer.  I spent nearly a year there when I was
a young man," he explained to Ottenburg.

     When Ottenburg got Thea and her big box into the car-
riage, it occurred to him that she must be hungry, after
singing so much.  When he asked her, she admitted that
she was very hungry, indeed.

     He took out his watch.  "Would you mind stopping
somewhere with me?  It's only eleven."

     "Mind?  Of course, I wouldn't mind.  I wasn't brought
up like that.  I can take care of myself."

<p 281>

     Ottenburg laughed.  "And I can take care of myself, so
we can do lots of jolly things together."  He opened the
carriage door and spoke to the driver.  "I'm stuck on the
way you sing that Grieg song," he declared.

     When Thea got into bed that night she told herself that
this was the happiest evening she had had in Chicago.  She
had enjoyed the Nathanmeyers and their grand house, her
new dress, and Ottenburg, her first real carriage ride, and
the good supper when she was so hungry.  And Ottenburg
WAS jolly!  He made you want to come back at him.  You
weren't always being caught up and mystified.  When
you started in with him, you went; you cut the breeze, as
Ray used to say.  He had some go in him.

     Philip Frederick Ottenburg was the third son of the
great brewer.  His mother was Katarina Furst, the daughter
and heiress of a brewing business older and richer than
Otto Ottenburg's.  As a young woman she had been a con-
spicuous figure in German-American society in New York,
and not untouched by scandal.  She was a handsome, head-
strong girl, a rebellious and violent force in a provincial
society.  She was brutally sentimental and heavily ro-
mantic.  Her free speech, her Continental ideas, and her
proclivity for championing new causes, even when she
did not know much about them, made her an object of
suspicion.  She was always going abroad to seek out in-
tellectual affinities, and was one of the group of young
women who followed Wagner about in his old age, keep-
ing at a respectful distance, but receiving now and then
a gracious acknowledgment that he appreciated their
homage.  When the composer died, Katarina, then a ma-
tron with a family, took to her bed and saw no one for a
week.

     After having been engaged to an American actor, a
Welsh socialist agitator, and a German army officer,
Fraulein Furst at last placed herself and her great brewery

<p 282>

interests into the trustworthy hands of Otto Ottenburg,
who had been her suitor ever since he was a clerk, learning
his business in her father's office.

     Her first two sons were exactly like their father.  Even as
children they were industrious, earnest little tradesmen.
As Frau Ottenburg said, "she had to wait for her Fred,
but she got him at last," the first man who had altogether
pleased her.  Frederick entered Harvard when he was
eighteen.  When his mother went to Boston to visit him,
she not only got him everything he wished for, but she
made handsome and often embarrassing presents to all
his friends.  She gave dinners and supper parties for the
Glee Club, made the crew break training, and was a gen-
erally disturbing influence.  In his third year Fred left the
university because of a serious escapade which had some-
what hampered his life ever since.  He went at once into
his father's business, where, in his own way, he had made
himself very useful.

     Fred Ottenburg was now twenty-eight, and people could
only say of him that he had been less hurt by his mother's
indulgence than most boys would have been.  He had never
wanted anything that he could not have it, and he might
have had a great many things that he had never wanted.
He was extravagant, but not prodigal.  He turned most of
the money his mother gave him into the business, and
lived on his generous salary.

     Fred had never been bored for a whole day in his life.
When he was in Chicago or St. Louis, he went to ball-
games, prize-fights, and horse-races.  When he was in
Germany, he went to concerts and to the opera.  He
belonged to a long list of sporting-clubs and hunting-
clubs, and was a good boxer.  He had so many natural
interests that he had no affectations.  At Harvard he kept
away from the aesthetic circle that had already discovered
Francis Thompson.  He liked no poetry but German poetry.
Physical energy was the thing he was full to the brim of,

<p 283>

and music was one of its natural forms of expression.  He
had a healthy love of sport and art, of eating and drink-
ing.  When he was in Germany, he scarcely knew where
the soup ended and the symphony began.

<p 284>

                                 V

     MARCH began badly for Thea.  She had a cold during
the first week, and after she got through her church
duties on Sunday she had to go to bed with tonsilitis.  She
was still in the boarding-house at which young Ottenburg
had called when he took her to see Mrs. Nathanmeyer.
She had stayed on there because her room, although it
was inconvenient and very small, was at the corner of the
house and got the sunlight.

     Since she left Mrs. Lorch, this was the first place where
she had got away from a north light.  Her rooms had all
been as damp and mouldy as they were dark, with deep
foundations of dirt under the carpets, and dirty walls.  In
her present room there was no running water and no clothes
closet, and she had to have the dresser moved out to
make room for her piano.  But there were two windows,
one on the south and one on the west, a light wall-paper
with morning-glory vines, and on the floor a clean matting.
The landlady had tried to make the room look cheerful,
because it was hard to let.  It was so small that Thea could
keep it clean herself, after the Hun had done her worst.
She hung her dresses on the door under a sheet, used the
washstand for a dresser, slept on a cot, and opened both
the windows when she practiced.  She felt less walled in
than she had in the other houses.

     Wednesday was her third day in bed.  The medical stu-
dent who lived in the house had been in to see her, had left
some tablets and a foamy gargle, and told her that she
could probably go back to work on Monday.  The land-
lady stuck her head in once a day, but Thea did not en-
courage her visits.  The Hungarian chambermaid brought
her soup and toast.  She made a sloppy pretense of put-

<p 285>

ting the room in order, but she was such a dirty crea-
ture that Thea would not let her touch her cot; she got
up every morning and turned the mattress and made the
bed herself.  The exertion made her feel miserably ill, but
at least she could lie still contentedly for a long while
afterward.  She hated the poisoned feeling in her throat,
and no matter how often she gargled she felt unclean and
disgusting.  Still, if she had to be ill, she was almost glad
that she had a contagious illness.  Otherwise she would
have been at the mercy of the people in the house.  She
knew that they disliked her, yet now that she was ill, they
took it upon themselves to tap at her door, send her mes-
sages, books, even a miserable flower or two.  Thea knew
that their sympathy was an expression of self-righteous-
ness, and she hated them for it.  The divinity student,
who was always whispering soft things to her, sent her
"The Kreutzer Sonata."

     The medical student had been kind to her: he knew that
she did not want to pay a doctor.  His gargle had helped
her, and he gave her things to make her sleep at night.  But
he had been a cheat, too.  He had exceeded his rights.  She
had no soreness in her chest, and had told him so clearly.
All this thumping of her back, and listening to her breath-
ing, was done to satisfy personal curiosity.  She had watched
him with a contemptuous smile.  She was too sick to care;
if it amused him--  She made him wash his hands before
he touched her; he was never very clean.  All the same,
it wounded her and made her feel that the world was a
pretty disgusting place.  "The Kreutzer Sonata" did not
make her feel any more cheerful.  She threw it aside with
hatred.  She could not believe it was written by the same
man who wrote the novel that had thrilled her.

     Her cot was beside the south window, and on Wednesday
afternoon she lay thinking about the Harsanyis, about old
Mr. Nathanmeyer, and about how she was missing Fred
Ottenburg's visits to the studio.  That was much the worst

<p 286>

thing about being sick.  If she were going to the studio
every day, she might be having pleasant encounters with
Fred.  He was always running away, Bowers said, and he
might be planning to go away as soon as Mrs. Nathan-
meyer's evenings were over.  And here she was losing all
this time!

     After a while she heard the Hun's clumsy trot in the hall,
and then a pound on the door.  Mary came in, making her
usual uncouth sounds, carrying a long box and a big basket.
Thea sat up in bed and tore off the strings and paper.  The
basket was full of fruit, with a big Hawaiian pineapple in
the middle, and in the box there were layers of pink roses
with long, woody stems and dark-green leaves.  They filled
the room with a cool smell that made another air to breathe.
Mary stood with her apron full of paper and cardboard.
When she saw Thea take an envelope out from under the
flowers, she uttered an exclamation, pointed to the roses,
and then to the bosom of her own dress, on the left side.
Thea laughed and nodded.  She understood that Mary as-
sociated the color with Ottenburg's BOUTONNIERE.  She pointed
to the water pitcher,--she had nothing else big enough
to hold the flowers,--and made Mary put it on the window
sill beside her.

     After Mary was gone Thea locked the door.  When the
landlady knocked, she pretended that she was asleep.  She
lay still all afternoon and with drowsy eyes watched the
roses open.  They were the first hothouse flowers she had
ever had.  The cool fragrance they released was soothing,
and as the pink petals curled back, they were the only things
between her and the gray sky.  She lay on her side, putting
the room and the boarding-house behind her.  Fred knew
where all the pleasant things in the world were, she re-
flected, and knew the road to them.  He had keys to all the
nice places in his pocket, and seemed to jingle them from
time to time.  And then, he was young; and her friends had
always been old.  Her mind went back over them.  They

<p 287>

had all been teachers; wonderfully kind, but still teachers.
Ray Kennedy, she knew, had wanted to marry her, but
he was the most protecting and teacher-like of them all.
She moved impatiently in her cot and threw her braids
away from her hot neck, over her pillow.  "I don't want him
for a teacher," she thought, frowning petulantly out of the
window.  "I've had such a string of them.  I want him for
a sweetheart."

<p 288>

                                VI

     "THEA," said Fred Ottenburg one drizzly afternoon in
April, while they sat waiting for their tea at a restau-
rant in the Pullman Building, overlooking the lake, "what
are you going to do this summer?"

     "I don't know.  Work, I suppose."

     "With Bowers, you mean?  Even Bowers goes fishing
for a month.  Chicago's no place to work, in the summer.
Haven't you made any plans?"

     Thea shrugged her shoulders.  "No use having any plans
when you haven't any money.  They are unbecoming."

     "Aren't you going home?"

     She shook her head.  "No.  It won't be comfortable there
till I've got something to show for myself.  I'm not getting
on at all, you know.  This year has been mostly wasted."

     "You're stale; that's what's the matter with you.  And
just now you're dead tired.  You'll talk more rationally
after you've had some tea.  Rest your throat until it
comes."  They were sitting by a window.  As Ottenburg
looked at her in the gray light, he remembered what Mrs.
Nathanmeyer had said about the Swedish face "breaking
early."  Thea was as gray as the weather.  Her skin looked
sick.  Her hair, too, though on a damp day it curled charm-
ingly about her face, looked pale.

     Fred beckoned the waiter and increased his order for food.
Thea did not hear him.  She was staring out of the window,
down at the roof of the Art Institute and the green lions,
dripping in the rain.  The lake was all rolling mist, with a
soft shimmer of robin's-egg blue in the gray.  A lumber
boat, with two very tall masts, was emerging gaunt and
black out of the fog.  When the tea came Thea ate hungrily,
and Fred watched her.  He thought her eyes became a little

<p 289>

less bleak.  The kettle sang cheerfully over the spirit lamp,
and she seemed to concentrate her attention upon that
pleasant sound.  She kept looking toward it listlessly and
indulgently, in a way that gave him a realization of her
loneliness.  Fred lit a cigarette and smoked thoughtfully.
He and Thea were alone in the quiet, dusky room full of
white tables.  In those days Chicago people never stopped
for tea.  "Come," he said at last, "what would you do this
summer, if you could do whatever you wished?"

     "I'd go a long way from here!  West, I think.  Maybe I
could get some of my spring back.  All this cold, cloudy
weather,"--she looked out at the lake and shivered,--
"I don't know, it does things to me," she ended abruptly.

     Fred nodded.  "I know.  You've been going down ever
since you had tonsilitis.  I've seen it.  What you need is to
sit in the sun and bake for three months.  You've got the
right idea.  I remember once when we were having dinner
somewhere you kept asking me about the Cliff-Dweller
ruins.  Do they still interest you?"

     "Of course they do.  I've always wanted to go down
there--long before I ever got in for this."

     "I don't think I told you, but my father owns a whole
canyon full of Cliff-Dweller ruins.  He has a big worthless
ranch down in Arizona, near a Navajo reservation, and
there's a canyon on the place they call Panther Canyon,
chock full of that sort of thing.  I often go down there to
hunt.  Henry Biltmer and his wife live there and keep a
tidy place.  He's an old German who worked in the brewery
until he lost his health.  Now he runs a few cattle.  Henry
likes to do me a favor.  I've done a few for him."  Fred
drowned his cigarette in his saucer and studied Thea's
expression, which was wistful and intent, envious and ad-
miring.  He continued with satisfaction: "If you went
down there and stayed with them for two or three months,
they wouldn't let you pay anything.  I might send Henry
a new gun, but even I couldn't offer him money for putting

<p 290>

up a friend of mine.  I'll get you transportation.  It would
make a new girl of you.  Let me write to Henry, and you
pack your trunk.  That's all that's necessary.  No red tape
about it.  What do you say, Thea?"

     She bit her lip, and sighed as if she were waking up.

     Fred crumpled his napkin impatiently.  "Well, isn't it
easy enough?"

     "That's the trouble; it's TOO easy.  Doesn't sound prob-
able.  I'm not used to getting things for nothing."

     Ottenburg laughed.  "Oh, if that's all, I'll show you how
to begin.  You won't get this for nothing, quite.  I'll ask
you to let me stop off and see you on my way to California.
Perhaps by that time you will be glad to see me.  Better
let me break the news to Bowers.  I can manage him.  He
needs a little transportation himself now and then.  You
must get corduroy riding-things and leather leggings.
There are a few snakes about.  Why do you keep frown-
ing?"

     "Well, I don't exactly see why you take the trouble.
What do you get out of it?  You haven't liked me so well
the last two or three weeks."

     Fred dropped his third cigarette and looked at his watch.
"If you don't see that, it's because you need a tonic.  I'll
show you what I'll get out of it.  Now I'm going to get a
cab and take you home.  You are too tired to walk a step.
You'd better get to bed as soon as you get there.  Of course,
I don't like you so well when you're half anaesthetized all
the time.  What have you been doing to yourself?"

     Thea rose.  "I don't know.  Being bored eats the heart
out of me, I guess."  She walked meekly in front of him to
the elevator.  Fred noticed for the hundredth time how
vehemently her body proclaimed her state of feeling.  He
remembered how remarkably brilliant and beautiful she
had been when she sang at Mrs. Nathanmeyer's: flushed
and gleaming, round and supple, something that couldn't
be dimmed or downed.  And now she seemed a moving

<p 291>

figure of discouragement.  The very waiters glanced at her
apprehensively.  It was not that she made a fuss, but her
back was most extraordinarily vocal.  One never needed
to see her face to know what she was full of that day.
Yet she was certainly not mercurial.  Her flesh seemed to
take a mood and to "set," like plaster.  As he put her into
the cab, Fred reflected once more that he "gave her up."
He would attack her when his lance was brighter.

<p 295>

                              PART IV

                        THE ANCIENT PEOPLE

                                 I

     THE San Francisco Mountain lies in Northern Arizona,
above Flagstaff, and its blue slopes and snowy summit
entice the eye for a hundred miles across the desert.  About
its base lie the pine forests of the Navajos, where the great
red-trunked trees live out their peaceful centuries in that
sparkling air.  The PINONS and scrub begin only where the
forest ends, where the country breaks into open, stony
clearings and the surface of the earth cracks into deep can-
yons.  The great pines stand at a considerable distance from
each other.  Each tree grows alone, murmurs alone, thinks
alone.  They do not intrude upon each other.  The Navajos
are not much in the habit of giving or of asking help.  Their
language is not a communicative one, and they never
attempt an interchange of personality in speech.  Over
their forests there is the same inexorable reserve.  Each
tree has its exalted power to bear.

     That was the first thing Thea Kronborg felt about the
forest, as she drove through it one May morning in Henry
Biltmer's democrat wagon--and it was the first great
forest she had ever seen.  She had got off the train at Flag-
staff that morning, rolled off into the high, chill air when
all the pines on the mountain were fired by sunrise, so that
she seemed to fall from sleep directly into the forest.

     Old Biltmer followed a faint wagon trail which ran south-
east, and which, as they traveled, continually dipped lower,
falling away from the high plateau on the slope of which
Flagstaff sits.  The white peak of the mountain, the snow

<p 296>

gorges above the timber, now disappeared from time to
time as the road dropped and dropped, and the forest closed
behind the wagon.  More than the mountain disappeared
as the forest closed thus.  Thea seemed to be taking very
little through the wood with her.  The personality of which
she was so tired seemed to let go of her.  The high, spark-
ling air drank it up like blotting-paper.  It was lost in the
thrilling blue of the new sky and the song of the thin wind
in the PINONS.  The old, fretted lines which marked one off,
which defined her,--made her Thea Kronborg, Bowers's
accompanist, a soprano with a faulty middle voice,--were
all erased.

     So far she had failed.  Her two years in Chicago had not
resulted in anything.  She had failed with Harsanyi, and
she had made no great progress with her voice.  She had
come to believe that whatever Bowers had taught her was
of secondary importance, and that in the essential things
she had made no advance.  Her student life closed behind
her, like the forest, and she doubted whether she could
go back to it if she tried.  Probably she would teach music
in little country towns all her life.  Failure was not so tragic
as she would have supposed; she was tired enough not to
care.

     She was getting back to the earliest sources of gladness
that she could remember.  She had loved the sun, and the
brilliant solitudes of sand and sun, long before these other
things had come along to fasten themselves upon her and
torment her.  That night, when she clambered into her big
German feather bed, she felt completely released from the
enslaving desire to get on in the world.  Darkness had once
again the sweet wonder that it had in childhood.

<p 297>

                                II

     THEA'S life at the Ottenburg ranch was simple and full
of light, like the days themselves.  She awoke every
morning when the first fierce shafts of sunlight darted
through the curtainless windows of her room at the ranch
house.  After breakfast she took her lunch-basket and went
down to the canyon.  Usually she did not return until
sunset.

     Panther Canyon was like a thousand others--one of
those abrupt fissures with which the earth in the Southwest
is riddled; so abrupt that you might walk over the edge of
any one of them on a dark night and never know what had
happened to you.  This canyon headed on the Ottenburg
ranch, about a mile from the ranch house, and it was acces-
sible only at its head.  The canyon walls, for the first two
hundred feet below the surface, were perpendicular cliffs,
striped with even-running strata of rock.  From there on
to the bottom the sides were less abrupt, were shelving,
and lightly fringed with PINONS and dwarf cedars.  The
effect was that of a gentler canyon within a wilder one.
The dead city lay at the point where the perpendicular
outer wall ceased and the V-shaped inner gorge began.
There a stratum of rock, softer than those above, had
been hollowed out by the action of time until it was like
a deep groove running along the sides of the canyon.  In
this hollow (like a great fold in the rock) the Ancient
People had built their houses of yellowish stone and mor-
tar.  The over-hanging cliff above made a roof two hun-
dred feet thick.  The hard stratum below was an ever-
lasting floor.  The houses stood along in a row, like the
buildings in a city block, or like a barracks.

     In both walls of the canyon the same streak of soft rock

<p 298>

had been washed out, and the long horizontal groove had
been built up with houses.  The dead city had thus two
streets, one set in either cliff, facing each other across the
ravine, with a river of blue air between them.

     The canyon twisted and wound like a snake, and these
two streets went on for four miles or more, interrupted by
the abrupt turnings of the gorge, but beginning again
within each turn.  The canyon had a dozen of these false
endings near its head.  Beyond, the windings were larger
and less perceptible, and it went on for a hundred miles,
too narrow, precipitous, and terrible for man to follow it.
The Cliff Dwellers liked wide canyons, where the great
cliffs caught the sun.  Panther Canyon had been deserted
for hundreds of years when the first Spanish missionaries
came into Arizona, but the masonry of the houses was
still wonderfully firm; had crumbled only where a landslide
or a rolling boulder had torn it.

     All the houses in the canyon were clean with the clean-
ness of sun-baked, wind-swept places, and they all smelled
of the tough little cedars that twisted themselves into the
very doorways.  One of these rock-rooms Thea took for her
own.  Fred had told her how to make it comfortable.  The
day after she came old Henry brought over on one of the
pack-ponies a roll of Navajo blankets that belonged to
Fred, and Thea lined her cave with them.  The room was
not more than eight by ten feet, and she could touch the
stone roof with her finger-tips.  This was her old idea: a
nest in a high cliff, full of sun.  All morning long the sun
beat upon her cliff, while the ruins on the opposite side of
the canyon were in shadow.  In the afternoon, when she
had the shade of two hundred feet of rock wall, the ruins
on the other side of the gulf stood out in the blazing sun-
light.  Before her door ran the narrow, winding path that
had been the street of the Ancient People.  The yucca and
niggerhead cactus grew everywhere.  From her doorstep
she looked out on the ocher-colored slope that ran down

<p 299>

several hundred feet to the stream, and this hot rock was
sparsely grown with dwarf trees.  Their colors were so pale
that the shadows of the little trees on the rock stood out
sharper than the trees themselves.  When Thea first came,
the chokecherry bushes were in blossom, and the scent of
them was almost sickeningly sweet after a shower.  At the
very bottom of the canyon, along the stream, there was a
thread of bright, flickering, golden-green,--cottonwood
seedlings.  They made a living, chattering screen behind
which she took her bath every morning.

     Thea went down to the stream by the Indian water
trail.  She had found a bathing-pool with a sand bottom,
where the creek was damned by fallen trees.  The climb
back was long and steep, and when she reached her little
house in the cliff she always felt fresh delight in its com-
fort and inaccessibility.  By the time she got there, the
woolly red-and-gray blankets were saturated with sun-
light, and she sometimes fell asleep as soon as she stretched
her body on their warm surfaces.  She used to wonder at
her own inactivity.  She could lie there hour after hour in
the sun and listen to the strident whir of the big locusts,
and to the light, ironical laughter of the quaking asps.  All
her life she had been hurrying and sputtering, as if she
had been born behind time and had been trying to catch
up.  Now, she reflected, as she drew herself out long upon
the rugs, it was as if she were waiting for something to
catch up with her.  She had got to a place where she was
out of the stream of meaningless activity and undirected
effort.

     Here she could lie for half a day undistracted, holding
pleasant and incomplete conceptions in her mind--almost
in her hands.  They were scarcely clear enough to be called
ideas.  They had something to do with fragrance and color
and sound, but almost nothing to do with words.  She was
singing very little now, but a song would go through her
head all morning, as a spring keeps welling up, and it was

<p 300>

like a pleasant sensation indefinitely prolonged.  It was
much more like a sensation than like an idea, or an act of
remembering.  Music had never come to her in that sensu-
ous form before.  It had always been a thing to be struggled
with, had always brought anxiety and exaltation and cha-
grin--never content and indolence.  Thea began to won-
der whether people could not utterly lose the power to
work, as they can lose their voice or their memory.  She
had always been a little drudge, hurrying from one task to
another--as if it mattered!  And now her power to think
seemed converted into a power of sustained sensation.  She
could become a mere receptacle for heat, or become a color,
like the bright lizards that darted about on the hot stones
outside her door; or she could become a continuous repeti-
tion of sound, like the cicadas.

<p 301>

                                III

     THE faculty of observation was never highly developed
in Thea Kronborg.  A great deal escaped her eye as
she passed through the world.  But the things which were
for her, she saw; she experienced them physically and re-
membered them as if they had once been a part of herself.
The roses she used to see in the florists' shops in Chicago
were merely roses.  But when she thought of the moon-
flowers that grew over Mrs. Tellamantez's door, it was as
if she had been that vine and had opened up in white flow-
ers every night.  There were memories of light on the sand
hills, of masses of prickly-pear blossoms she had found in
the desert in early childhood, of the late afternoon sun pour-
ing through the grape leaves and the mint bed in Mrs.
Kohler's garden, which she would never lose.  These recol-
lections were a part of her mind and personality.  In Chicago
she had got almost nothing that went into her subconscious
self and took root there.  But here, in Panther Canyon,
there were again things which seemed destined for her.

     Panther Canyon was the home of innumerable swallows.
They built nests in the wall far above the hollow groove in
which Thea's own rock chamber lay.  They seldom ven-
tured above the rim of the canyon, to the flat, wind-swept
tableland.  Their world was the blue air-river between the
canyon walls.  In that blue gulf the arrow-shaped birds
swam all day long, with only an occasional movement of
the wings.  The only sad thing about them was their tim-
idity; the way in which they lived their lives between the
echoing cliffs and never dared to rise out of the shadow of
the canyon walls.  As they swam past her door, Thea often
felt how easy it would be to dream one's life out in some
cleft in the world.

<p 302>

     From the ancient dwelling there came always a dignified,
unobtrusive sadness; now stronger, now fainter,--like
the aromatic smell which the dwarf cedars gave out in the
sun,--but always present, a part of the air one breathed.
At night, when Thea dreamed about the canyon,--or in
the early morning when she hurried toward it, anticipating
it,--her conception of it was of yellow rocks baking in
sunlight, the swallows, the cedar smell, and that peculiar
sadness--a voice out of the past, not very loud, that went
on saying a few simple things to the solitude eternally.

     Standing up in her lodge, Thea could with her thumb
nail dislodge flakes of carbon from the rock roof--the
cooking-smoke of the Ancient People.  They were that
near!  A timid, nest-building folk, like the swallows.  How
often Thea remembered Ray Kennedy's moralizing about
the cliff cities.  He used to say that he never felt the hard-
ness of the human struggle or the sadness of history as he
felt it among those ruins.  He used to say, too, that it made
one feel an obligation to do one's best.  On the first day
that Thea climbed the water trail she began to have intui-
tions about the women who had worn the path, and who
had spent so great a part of their lives going up and down
it.  She found herself trying to walk as they must have
walked, with a feeling in her feet and knees and loins which
she had never known before,--which must have come up
to her out of the accustomed dust of that rocky trail.  She
could feel the weight of an Indian baby hanging to her
back as she climbed.

     The empty houses, among which she wandered in the
afternoon, the blanketed one in which she lay all morning,
were haunted by certain fears and desires; feelings about
warmth and cold and water and physical strength.  It
seemed to Thea that a certain understanding of those
old people came up to her out of the rock shelf on
which she lay; that certain feelings were transmitted to her,
suggestions that were simple, insistent, and monotonous,

<p 303>

like the beating of Indian drums.  They were not expressi-
ble in words, but seemed rather to translate themselves
into attitudes of body, into degrees of muscular tension or
relaxation; the naked strength of youth, sharp as the sun-
shafts; the crouching timorousness of age, the sullenness of
women who waited for their captors.  At the first turning
of the canyon there was a half-ruined tower of yellow
masonry, a watch-tower upon which the young men used
to entice eagles and snare them with nets.  Sometimes
for a whole morning Thea could see the coppery breast
and shoulders of an Indian youth there against the sky;
see him throw the net, and watch the struggle with the
eagle.

     Old Henry Biltmer, at the ranch, had been a great deal
among the Pueblo Indians who are the descendants of the
Cliff-Dwellers.  After supper he used to sit and smoke his
pipe by the kitchen stove and talk to Thea about them.
He had never found any one before who was interested in
his ruins.  Every Sunday the old man prowled about in the
canyon, and he had come to know a good deal more about
it than he could account for.  He had gathered up a whole
chestful of Cliff-Dweller relics which he meant to take
back to Germany with him some day.  He taught Thea
how to find things among the ruins: grinding-stones, and
drills and needles made of turkey-bones.  There were frag-
ments of pottery everywhere.  Old Henry explained to her
that the Ancient People had developed masonry and pot-
tery far beyond any other crafts.  After they had made
houses for themselves, the next thing was to house the
precious water.  He explained to her how all their customs
and ceremonies and their religion went back to water.  The
men provided the food, but water was the care of the wo-
men.  The stupid women carried water for most of their
lives; the cleverer ones made the vessels to hold it.  Their
pottery was their most direct appeal to water, the envelope
and sheath of the precious element itself.  The strongest

<p 304>

Indian need was expressed in those graceful jars, fashioned
slowly by hand, without the aid of a wheel.

     When Thea took her bath at the bottom of the canyon,
in the sunny pool behind the screen of cottonwoods, she
sometimes felt as if the water must have sovereign quali-
ties, from having been the object of so much service and
desire.  That stream was the only living thing left of the
drama that had been played out in the canyon centuries
ago.  In the rapid, restless heart of it, flowing swifter than
the rest, there was a continuity of life that reached back
into the old time.  The glittering thread of current had a
kind of lightly worn, loosely knit personality, graceful and
laughing.  Thea's bath came to have a ceremonial gravity.
The atmosphere of the canyon was ritualistic.

     One morning, as she was standing upright in the pool,
splashing water between her shoulder-blades with a big
sponge, something flashed through her mind that made her
draw herself up and stand still until the water had quite
dried upon her flushed skin.  The stream and the broken
pottery: what was any art but an effort to make a
sheath, a mould in which to imprison for a moment the
shining, elusive element which is life itself,--life hurrying
past us and running away, too strong to stop, too sweet to
lose?  The Indian women had held it in their jars.  In the
sculpture she had seen in the Art Institute, it had been
caught in a flash of arrested motion.  In singing, one made
a vessel of one's throat and nostrils and held it on one's
breath, caught the stream in a scale of natural intervals.

<p 305>

                                IV

     THEA had a superstitious feeling about the potsherds,
and liked better to leave them in the dwellings
where she found them.  If she took a few bits back to her
own lodge and hid them under the blankets, she did it
guiltily, as if she were being watched.  She was a guest in
these houses, and ought to behave as such.  Nearly every
afternoon she went to the chambers which contained the
most interesting fragments of pottery, sat and looked at
them for a while.  Some of them were beautifully deco-
rated.  This care, expended upon vessels that could not
hold food or water any better for the additional labor
put upon them, made her heart go out to those ancient
potters.  They had not only expressed their desire, but
they had expressed it as beautifully as they could.  Food,
fire, water, and something else--even here, in this crack
in the world, so far back in the night of the past!  Down
here at the beginning that painful thing was already
stirring; the seed of sorrow, and of so much delight.

     There were jars done in a delicate overlay, like pine
cones; and there were many patterns in a low relief, like
basket-work.  Some of the pottery was decorated in
color, red and brown, black and white, in graceful geo-
metrical patterns.  One day, on a fragment of a shallow
bowl, she found a crested serpent's head, painted in red
on terra-cotta.  Again she found half a bowl with a broad
band of white cliff-houses painted on a black ground.
They were scarcely conventionalized at all; there they
were in the black border, just as they stood in the rock
before her.  It brought her centuries nearer to these peo-
ple to find that they saw their houses exactly as she saw
them.

<p 306>

     Yes, Ray Kennedy was right.  All these things made one
feel that one ought to do one's best, and help to fulfill some
desire of the dust that slept there.  A dream had been
dreamed there long ago, in the night of ages, and the wind
had whispered some promise to the sadness of the savage.
In their own way, those people had felt the beginnings of
what was to come.  These potsherds were like fetters that
bound one to a long chain of human endeavor.

     Not only did the world seem older and richer to Thea
now, but she herself seemed older.  She had never been
alone for so long before, or thought so much.  Nothing had
ever engrossed her so deeply as the daily contemplation of
that line of pale-yellow houses tucked into the wrinkle of the
cliff.  Moonstone and Chicago had become vague.  Here
everything was simple and definite, as things had been in
childhood.  Her mind was like a ragbag into which she had
been frantically thrusting whatever she could grab.  And
here she must throw this lumber away.  The things that
were really hers separated themselves from the rest.  Her
ideas were simplified, became sharper and clearer.  She felt
united and strong.

     When Thea had been at the Ottenburg ranch for two
months, she got a letter from Fred announcing that he
"might be along at almost any time now."  The letter
came at night, and the next morning she took it down
into the canyon with her.  She was delighted that he was
coming soon.  She had never felt so grateful to any one,
and she wanted to tell him everything that had happened
to her since she had been there--more than had happened
in all her life before.  Certainly she liked Fred better
than any one else in the world.  There was Harsanyi, of
course--but Harsanyi was always tired.  Just now, and
here, she wanted some one who had never been tired, who
could catch an idea and run with it.

     She was ashamed to think what an apprehensive drudge

<p 307>

she must always have seemed to Fred, and she wondered
why he had concerned himself about her at all.  Perhaps
she would never be so happy or so good-looking again,
and she would like Fred to see her, for once, at her best.
She had not been singing much, but she knew that her
voice was more interesting than it had ever been before.
She had begun to understand that--with her, at least--
voice was, first of all, vitality; a lightness in the body and
a driving power in the blood.  If she had that, she could
sing.  When she felt so keenly alive, lying on that insensi-
ble shelf of stone, when her body bounded like a rubber ball
away from its hardness, then she could sing.  This, too, she
could explain to Fred.  He would know what she meant.

     Another week passed.  Thea did the same things as
before, felt the same influences, went over the same ideas;
but there was a livelier movement in her thoughts, and a
freshening of sensation, like the brightness which came over
the underbrush after a shower.  A persistent affirmation--
or denial--was going on in her, like the tapping of the
woodpecker in the one tall pine tree across the chasm.
Musical phrases drove each other rapidly through her
mind, and the song of the cicada was now too long and too
sharp.  Everything seemed suddenly to take the form of a
desire for action.

     It was while she was in this abstracted state, waiting
for the clock to strike, that Thea at last made up her mind
what she was going to try to do in the world, and that she
was going to Germany to study without further loss of time.
Only by the merest chance had she ever got to Panther
Canyon.  There was certainly no kindly Providence that
directed one's life; and one's parents did not in the least
care what became of one, so long as one did not misbehave
and endanger their comfort.  One's life was at the mercy of
blind chance.  She had better take it in her own hands and
lose everything than meekly draw the plough under the
rod of parental guidance.  She had seen it when she was at

<p 308>

home last summer,--the hostility of comfortable, self-
satisfied people toward any serious effort.  Even to her
father it seemed indecorous.  Whenever she spoke seriously,
he looked apologetic.  Yet she had clung fast to whatever
was left of Moonstone in her mind.  No more of that!  The
Cliff-Dwellers had lengthened her past.  She had older and
higher obligations.

<p 309>

                                 V

     ONE Sunday afternoon late in July old Henry Biltmer
was rheumatically descending into the head of the
canyon.  The Sunday before had been one of those cloudy
days--fortunately rare--when the life goes out of that
country and it becomes a gray ghost, an empty, shivering
uncertainty.  Henry had spent the day in the barn; his
canyon was a reality only when it was flooded with the light
of its great lamp, when the yellow rocks cast purple shad-
ows, and the resin was fairly cooking in the corkscrew
cedars.  The yuccas were in blossom now.  Out of each
clump of sharp bayonet leaves rose a tall stalk hung with
greenish-white bells with thick, fleshy petals.  The nigger-
head cactus was thrusting its crimson blooms up out of
every crevice in the rocks.

     Henry had come out on the pretext of hunting a spade
and pick-axe that young Ottenburg had borrowed, but he
was keeping his eyes open.  He was really very curious
about the new occupants of the canyon, and what they
found to do there all day long.  He let his eye travel along
the gulf for a mile or so to the first turning, where the fis-
sure zigzagged out and then receded behind a stone prom-
ontory on which stood the yellowish, crumbling ruin of
the old watch-tower.

     From the base of this tower, which now threw its
shadow forward, bits of rock kept flying out into the open
gulf--skating upon the air until they lost their momen-
tum, then falling like chips until they rang upon the ledges
at the bottom of the gorge or splashed into the stream.
Biltmer shaded his eyes with his hand.  There on the prom-
ontory, against the cream-colored cliff, were two figures
nimbly moving in the light, both slender and agile, entirely

<p 310>

absorbed in their game.  They looked like two boys.  Both
were hatless and both wore white shirts.

     Henry forgot his pick-axe and followed the trail before
the cliff-houses toward the tower.  Behind the tower, as
he well knew, were heaps of stones, large and small, piled
against the face of the cliff.  He had always believed that
the Indian watchmen piled them there for ammunition.
Thea and Fred had come upon these missiles and were
throwing them for distance.  As Biltmer approached he
could hear them laughing, and he caught Thea's voice,
high and excited, with a ring of vexation in it.  Fred was
teaching her to throw a heavy stone like a discus.  When
it was Fred's turn, he sent a triangular-shaped stone out
into the air with considerable skill.  Thea watched it en-
viously, standing in a half-defiant posture, her sleeves
rolled above her elbows and her face flushed with heat
and excitement.  After Fred's third missile had rung upon
the rocks below, she snatched up a stone and stepped im-
patiently out on the ledge in front of him.  He caught her
by the elbows and pulled her back.

     "Not so close, you silly!  You'll spin yourself off in a
minute."

     "You went that close.  There's your heel-mark," she
retorted.

     "Well, I know how.  That makes a difference."  He drew
a mark in the dust with his toe.  "There, that's right.
Don't step over that.  Pivot yourself on your spine, and
make a half turn.  When you've swung your length, let it
go."

     Thea settled the flat piece of rock between her wrist and
fingers, faced the cliff wall, stretched her arm in position,
whirled round on her left foot to the full stretch of her
body, and let the missile spin out over the gulf.  She hung
expectantly in the air, forgetting to draw back her arm,
her eyes following the stone as if it carried her fortunes
with it.  Her comrade watched her; there weren't many

<p 311>

girls who could show a line like that from the toe to the
thigh, from the shoulder to the tip of the outstretched
hand.  The stone spent itself and began to fall.  Thea drew
back and struck her knee furiously with her palm.

     "There it goes again!  Not nearly so far as yours.  What
IS the matter with me?  Give me another."  She faced the
cliff and whirled again.  The stone spun out, not quite so
far as before.

     Ottenburg laughed.  "Why do you keep on working
AFTER you've thrown it?  You can't help it along then."

     Without replying, Thea stooped and selected another
stone, took a deep breath and made another turn.  Fred
watched the disk, exclaiming, "Good girl!  You got past
the pine that time.  That's a good throw."

     She took out her handkerchief and wiped her glowing
face and throat, pausing to feel her right shoulder with her
left hand.

     "Ah--ha, you've made yourself sore, haven't you?
What did I tell you?  You go at things too hard.  I'll tell
you what I'm going to do, Thea," Fred dusted his hands
and began tucking in the blouse of his shirt, "I'm going to
make some single-sticks and teach you to fence.  You'd be
all right there.  You're light and quick and you've got lots
of drive in you.  I'd like to have you come at me with foils;
you'd look so fierce," he chuckled.

     She turned away from him and stubbornly sent out
another stone, hanging in the air after its flight.  Her fury
amused Fred, who took all games lightly and played them
well.  She was breathing hard, and little beads of moisture
had gathered on her upper lip.  He slipped his arm about
her.  "If you will look as pretty as that--" he bent his
head and kissed her.  Thea was startled, gave him an
angry push, drove at him with her free hand in a manner
quite hostile.  Fred was on his mettle in an instant.  He
pinned both her arms down and kissed her resolutely.

     When he released her, she turned away and spoke over

<p 312>

her shoulder.  "That was mean of you, but I suppose I
deserved what I got."

     "I should say you did deserve it," Fred panted, "turning
savage on me like that!  I should say you did deserve it!"

     He saw her shoulders harden.  "Well, I just said I de-
served it, didn't I?  What more do you want?"

     "I want you to tell me why you flew at me like that!
You weren't playing; you looked as if you'd like to murder
me."

     She brushed back her hair impatiently.  "I didn't mean
anything, really.  You interrupted me when I was watching
the stone.  I can't jump from one thing to another.  I pushed
you without thinking."

     Fred thought her back expressed contrition.  He went
up to her, stood behind her with his chin above her shoul-
der, and said something in her ear.  Thea laughed and
turned toward him.  They left the stone-pile carelessly, as
if they had never been interested in it, rounded the yellow
tower, and disappeared into the second turn of the canyon,
where the dead city, interrupted by the jutting promon-
tory, began again.

     Old Biltmer had been somewhat embarrassed by the
turn the game had taken.  He had not heard their conver-
sation, but the pantomime against the rocks was clear
enough.  When the two young people disappeared, their
host retreated rapidly toward the head of the canyon.

     "I guess that young lady can take care of herself," he
chuckled.  "Young Fred, though, he has quite a way with
them."

<p 313>

                                VI

     DAY was breaking over Panther Canyon.  The gulf was
cold and full of heavy, purplish twilight.  The wood
smoke which drifted from one of the cliff-houses hung in a
blue scarf across the chasm, until the draft caught it and
whirled it away.  Thea was crouching in the doorway of
her rock house, while Ottenburg looked after the crackling
fire in the next cave.  He was waiting for it to burn down to
coals before he put the coffee on to boil.

     They had left the ranch house that morning a little after
three o'clock, having packed their camp equipment the
day before, and had crossed the open pasture land with
their lantern while the stars were still bright.  During the
descent into the canyon by lantern-light, they were chilled
through their coats and sweaters.  The lantern crept slowly
along the rock trail, where the heavy air seemed to offer
resistance.  The voice of the stream at the bottom of the
gorge was hollow and threatening, much louder and deeper
than it ever was by day--another voice altogether.  The
sullenness of the place seemed to say that the world could
get on very well without people, red or white; that under
the human world there was a geological world, conducting
its silent, immense operations which were indifferent to
man.  Thea had often seen the desert sunrise,--a light-
hearted affair, where the sun springs out of bed and the
world is golden in an instant.  But this canyon seemed to
waken like an old man, with rheum and stiffness of the
joints, with heaviness, and a dull, malignant mind.  She
crouched against the wall while the stars faded, and thought
what courage the early races must have had to endure so
much for the little they got out of life.

     At last a kind of hopefulness broke in the air.  In a mo-

<p 314>

ment the pine trees up on the edge of the rim were flashing
with coppery fire.  The thin red clouds which hung above
their pointed tops began to boil and move rapidly, weaving
in and out like smoke.  The swallows darted out of their
rock houses as at a signal, and flew upward, toward the
rim.  Little brown birds began to chirp in the bushes along
the watercourse down at the bottom of the ravine, where
everything was still dusky and pale.  At first the golden
light seemed to hang like a wave upon the rim of the can-
yon; the trees and bushes up there, which one scarcely
noticed at noon, stood out magnified by the slanting rays.
Long, thin streaks of light began to reach quiveringly
down into the canyon.  The red sun rose rapidly above the
tops of the blazing pines, and its glow burst into the gulf,
about the very doorstep on which Thea sat.  It bored into
the wet, dark underbrush.  The dripping cherry bushes,
the pale aspens, and the frosty PINONS were glittering and
trembling, swimming in the liquid gold.  All the pale, dusty
little herbs of the bean family, never seen by any one but
a botanist, became for a moment individual and import-
ant, their silky leaves quite beautiful with dew and light.
The arch of sky overhead, heavy as lead a little while be-
fore, lifted, became more and more transparent, and one
could look up into depths of pearly blue.

     The savor of coffee and bacon mingled with the smell of
wet cedars drying, and Fred called to Thea that he was
ready for her.  They sat down in the doorway of his
kitchen, with the warmth of the live coals behind them and
the sunlight on their faces, and began their breakfast,
Mrs. Biltmer's thick coffee cups and the cream bottle
between them, the coffee-pot and frying-pan conveniently
keeping hot among the embers.

     "I thought you were going back on the whole proposi-
tion, Thea, when you were crawling along with that lan-
tern.  I couldn't get a word out of you."

     "I know.  I was cold and hungry, and I didn't believe

<p 315>

there was going to be any morning, anyway.  Didn't you
feel queer, at all?"

     Fred squinted above his smoking cup.  "Well, I am
never strong for getting up before the sun.  The world
looks unfurnished.  When I first lit the fire and had a square
look at you, I thought I'd got the wrong girl.  Pale, grim--
you were a sight!"

     Thea leaned back into the shadow of the rock room and
warmed her hands over the coals.  "It was dismal enough.
How warm these walls are, all the way round; and your
breakfast is so good.  I'm all right now, Fred."

     "Yes, you're all right now."  Fred lit a cigarette and
looked at her critically as her head emerged into the sun
again.  "You get up every morning just a little bit hand-
somer than you were the day before.  I'd love you just as
much if you were not turning into one of the loveliest wo-
men I've ever seen; but you are, and that's a fact to be
reckoned with."  He watched her across the thin line of
smoke he blew from his lips.  "What are you going to do
with all that beauty and all that talent, Miss Kronborg?"

     She turned away to the fire again.  "I don't know what
you're talking about," she muttered with an awkwardness
which did not conceal her pleasure.

     Ottenburg laughed softly.  "Oh, yes, you do!  Nobody
better!  You're a close one, but you give yourself away
sometimes, like everybody else.  Do you know, I've de-
cided that you never do a single thing without an ulterior
motive."  He threw away his cigarette, took out his
tobacco-pouch and began to fill his pipe.  "You ride and
fence and walk and climb, but I know that all the while
you're getting somewhere in your mind.  All these things
are instruments; and I, too, am an instrument."  He looked
up in time to intercept a quick, startled glance from Thea.
"Oh, I don't mind," he chuckled; "not a bit.  Every
woman, every interesting woman, has ulterior motives,
many of 'em less creditable than yours.  It's your constancy

<p 316>

that amuses me.  You must have been doing it ever since
you were two feet high."

     Thea looked slowly up at her companion's good-humored
face.  His eyes, sometimes too restless and sympathetic in
town, had grown steadier and clearer in the open air.  His
short curly beard and yellow hair had reddened in the sun
and wind.  The pleasant vigor of his person was always
delightful to her, something to signal to and laugh with in
a world of negative people.  With Fred she was never be-
calmed.  There was always life in the air, always something
coming and going, a rhythm of feeling and action,--
stronger than the natural accord of youth.  As she looked
at him, leaning against the sunny wall, she felt a desire to
be frank with him.  She was not willfully holding anything
back.  But, on the other hand, she could not force things
that held themselves back.  "Yes, it was like that when I
was little," she said at last.  "I had to be close, as you
call it, or go under.  But I didn't know I had been like that
since you came.  I've had nothing to be close about.  I
haven't thought about anything but having a good time
with you.  I've just drifted."

     Fred blew a trail of smoke out into the breeze and looked
knowing.  "Yes, you drift like a rifle ball, my dear.  It's
your--your direction that I like best of all.  Most fellows
wouldn't, you know.  I'm unusual."

     They both laughed, but Thea frowned questioningly.
"Why wouldn't most fellows?  Other fellows have liked
me."

     "Yes, serious fellows.  You told me yourself they were all
old, or solemn.  But jolly fellows want to be the whole
target.  They would say you were all brain and muscle;
that you have no feeling."

     She glanced at him sidewise.  "Oh, they would, would
they?"

     "Of course they would," Fred continued blandly.  "Jolly
fellows have no imagination.  They want to be the animat-

<p 317>

ing force.  When they are not around, they want a girl to
be--extinct," he waved his hand.  "Old fellows like Mr.
Nathanmeyer understand your kind; but among the young
ones, you are rather lucky to have found me.  Even I
wasn't always so wise.  I've had my time of thinking it
would not bore me to be the Apollo of a homey flat, and
I've paid out a trifle to learn better.  All those things get
very tedious unless they are hooked up with an idea of
some sort.  It's because we DON'T come out here only to
look at each other and drink coffee that it's so pleasant to
--look at each other."  Fred drew on his pipe for a while,
studying Thea's abstraction.  She was staring up at the
far wall of the canyon with a troubled expression that drew
her eyes narrow and her mouth hard.  Her hands lay in her
lap, one over the other, the fingers interlacing.  "Suppose,"
Fred came out at length,--"suppose I were to offer you
what most of the young men I know would offer a girl
they'd been sitting up nights about: a comfortable flat in
Chicago, a summer camp up in the woods, musical even-
ings, and a family to bring up.  Would it look attractive
to you?"

     Thea sat up straight and stared at him in alarm, glared
into his eyes.  "Perfectly hideous!" she exclaimed.

     Fred dropped back against the old stonework and
laughed deep in his chest.  "Well, don't be frightened.  I
won't offer them.  You're not a nest-building bird.  You
know I always liked your song, `Me for the jolt of the
breakers!'  I understand."

     She rose impatiently and walked to the edge of the cliff.
"It's not that so much.  It's waking up every morning
with the feeling that your life is your own, and your
strength is your own, and your talent is your own; that
you're all there, and there's no sag in you."  She stood for
a moment as if she were tortured by uncertainty, then
turned suddenly back to him.  "Don't talk about these
things any more now," she entreated.  "It isn't that I

<p 318>

want to keep anything from you.  The trouble is that I've
got nothing to keep--except (you know as well as I) that
feeling.  I told you about it in Chicago once.  But it always
makes me unhappy to talk about it.  It will spoil the day.
Will you go for a climb with me?"  She held out her hands
with a smile so eager that it made Ottenburg feel how much
she needed to get away from herself.

     He sprang up and caught the hands she put out so cor-
dially, and stood swinging them back and forth.  "I won't
tease you.  A word's enough to me.  But I love it, all the
same.  Understand?"  He pressed her hands and dropped
them.  "Now, where are you going to drag me?"

     "I want you to drag me.  Over there, to the other houses.
They are more interesting than these."  She pointed across
the gorge to the row of white houses in the other cliff.
"The trail is broken away, but I got up there once.  It's
possible.  You have to go to the bottom of the canyon,
cross the creek, and then go up hand-over-hand."

     Ottenburg, lounging against the sunny wall, his hands in
the pockets of his jacket, looked across at the distant dwell-
ings.  "It's an awful climb," he sighed, "when I could be
perfectly happy here with my pipe.  However--"  He
took up his stick and hat and followed Thea down the
water trail.  "Do you climb this path every day?  You
surely earn your bath.  I went down and had a look at your
pool the other afternoon.  Neat place, with all those little
cottonwoods.  Must be very becoming."

     "Think so?" Thea said over her shoulder, as she swung
round a turn.

     "Yes, and so do you, evidently.  I'm becoming expert
at reading your meaning in your back.  I'm behind you so
much on these single-foot trails.  You don't wear stays, do
you?"

     "Not here."

     "I wouldn't, anywhere, if I were you.  They will make
you less elastic.  The side muscles get flabby.  If you go in

<p 319>

for opera, there's a fortune in a flexible body.  Most of the
German singers are clumsy, even when they're well set up."

     Thea switched a PINON branch back at him.  "Oh, I'll
never get fat!  That I can promise you."

     Fred smiled, looking after her.  "Keep that promise, no
matter how many others you break," he drawled.

     The upward climb, after they had crossed the stream,
was at first a breathless scramble through underbrush.
When they reached the big boulders, Ottenburg went first
because he had the longer leg-reach, and gave Thea a hand
when the step was quite beyond her, swinging her up until
she could get a foothold.  At last they reached a little plat-
form among the rocks, with only a hundred feet of jagged,
sloping wall between them and the cliff-houses.

     Ottenburg lay down under a pine tree and declared that
he was going to have a pipe before he went any farther.
"It's a good thing to know when to stop, Thea," he said
meaningly.

     "I'm not going to stop now until I get there," Thea in-
sisted.  "I'll go on alone."

     Fred settled his shoulder against the tree-trunk.  "Go
on if you like, but I'm here to enjoy myself.  If you meet a
rattler on the way, have it out with him."

     She hesitated, fanning herself with her felt hat.  "I never
have met one."

     "There's reasoning for you," Fred murmured languidly.

     Thea turned away resolutely and began to go up the
wall, using an irregular cleft in the rock for a path.  The
cliff, which looked almost perpendicular from the bottom,
was really made up of ledges and boulders, and behind
these she soon disappeared.  For a long while Fred smoked
with half-closed eyes, smiling to himself now and again.
Occasionally he lifted an eyebrow as he heard the rattle of
small stones among the rocks above.  "In a temper," he
concluded; "do her good."  Then he subsided into warm
drowsiness and listened to the locusts in the yuccas, and

<p 320>

the tap-tap of the old woodpecker that was never weary of
assaulting the big pine.

     Fred had finished his pipe and was wondering whether
he wanted another, when he heard a call from the cliff far
above him.  Looking up, he saw Thea standing on the edge
of a projecting crag.  She waved to him and threw her arm
over her head, as if she were snapping her fingers in the air.

     As he saw her there between the sky and the gulf, with
that great wash of air and the morning light about her,
Fred recalled the brilliant figure at Mrs. Nathanmeyer's.
Thea was one of those people who emerge, unexpectedly,
larger than we are accustomed to see them.  Even at this
distance one got the impression of muscular energy and
audacity,--a kind of brilliancy of motion,--of a person-
ality that carried across big spaces and expanded among
big things.  Lying still, with his hands under his head,
Ottenburg rhetorically addressed the figure in the air.
"You are the sort that used to run wild in Germany,
dressed in their hair and a piece of skin.  Soldiers caught
'em in nets.  Old Nathanmeyer," he mused, "would like
a peep at her now.  Knowing old fellow.  Always buying
those Zorn etchings of peasant girls bathing.  No sag in
them either.  Must be the cold climate."  He sat up.
"She'll begin to pitch rocks on me if I don't move."  In
response to another impatient gesture from the crag, he
rose and began swinging slowly up the trail.

     It was the afternoon of that long day.  Thea was lying
on a blanket in the door of her rock house.  She and Otten-
burg had come back from their climb and had lunch, and
he had gone off for a nap in one of the cliff-houses farther
down the path.  He was sleeping peacefully, his coat under
his head and his face turned toward the wall.

     Thea, too, was drowsy, and lay looking through half-
closed eyes up at the blazing blue arch over the rim of the
canyon.  She was thinking of nothing at all.  Her mind, like

<p 321>

her body, was full of warmth, lassitude, physical content.
Suddenly an eagle, tawny and of great size, sailed over the
cleft in which she lay, across the arch of sky.  He dropped
for a moment into the gulf between the walls, then wheeled,
and mounted until his plumage was so steeped in light that
he looked like a golden bird.  He swept on, following the
course of the canyon a little way and then disappearing
beyond the rim.  Thea sprang to her feet as if she had been
thrown up from the rock by volcanic action.  She stood
rigid on the edge of the stone shelf, straining her eyes after
that strong, tawny flight.  O eagle of eagles!  Endeavor,
achievement, desire, glorious striving of human art!  From
a cleft in the heart of the world she saluted it. . . .  It had
come all the way; when men lived in caves, it was there.
A vanished race; but along the trails, in the stream, under
the spreading cactus, there still glittered in the sun the
bits of their frail clay vessels, fragments of their desire.

<p 322>

                                VII

     FROM the day of Fred's arrival, he and Thea were
unceasingly active.  They took long rides into the
Navajo pine forests, bought turquoises and silver brace-
lets from the wandering Indian herdsmen, and rode twenty
miles to Flagstaff upon the slightest pretext.  Thea had
never felt this pleasant excitement about any man before,
and she found herself trying very hard to please young
Ottenburg.  She was never tired, never dull.  There was
a zest about waking up in the morning and dressing, about
walking, riding, even about sleep.

     One morning when Thea came out from her room at
seven o'clock, she found Henry and Fred on the porch,
looking up at the sky.  The day was already hot and there
was no breeze.  The sun was shining, but heavy brown
clouds were hanging in the west, like the smoke of a for-
est fire.  She and Fred had meant to ride to Flagstaff that
morning, but Biltmer advised against it, foretelling a
storm.  After breakfast they lingered about the house,
waiting for the weather to make up its mind.  Fred had
brought his guitar, and as they had the dining-room to
themselves, he made Thea go over some songs with him.
They got interested and kept it up until Mrs. Biltmer
came to set the table for dinner.  Ottenburg knew some of
the Mexican things Spanish Johnny used to sing.  Thea
had never before happened to tell him about Spanish
Johnny, and he seemed more interested in Johnny than
in Dr. Archie or Wunsch.

     After dinner they were too restless to endure the ranch
house any longer, and ran away to the canyon to practice
with single-sticks.  Fred carried a slicker and a sweater, and
he made Thea wear one of the rubber hats that hung in

<p 323>

Biltmer's gun-room.  As they crossed the pasture land the
clumsy slicker kept catching in the lacings of his leggings.

     "Why don't you drop that thing?" Thea asked.  "I
won't mind a shower.  I've been wet before."

     "No use taking chances."

     From the canyon they were unable to watch the sky,
since only a strip of the zenith was visible.  The flat ledge
about the watch-tower was the only level spot large enough
for single-stick exercise, and they were still practicing there
when, at about four o'clock, a tremendous roll of thunder
echoed between the cliffs and the atmosphere suddenly
became thick.

     Fred thrust the sticks in a cleft in the rock.  "We're in
for it, Thea.  Better make for your cave where there are
blankets."  He caught her elbow and hurried her along the
path before the cliff-houses.  They made the half-mile at a
quick trot, and as they ran the rocks and the sky and the
air between the cliffs turned a turbid green, like the color
in a moss agate.  When they reached the blanketed rock
room, they looked at each other and laughed.  Their faces
had taken on a greenish pallor.  Thea's hair, even, was
green.

     "Dark as pitch in here," Fred exclaimed as they hurried
over the old rock doorstep.  "But it's warm.  The rocks
hold the heat.  It's going to be terribly cold outside, all
right."  He was interrupted by a deafening peal of thunder.
"Lord, what an echo!  Lucky you don't mind.  It's worth
watching out there.  We needn't come in yet."

     The green light grew murkier and murkier.  The smaller
vegetation was blotted out.  The yuccas, the cedars, and
PINONS stood dark and rigid, like bronze.  The swallows
flew up with sharp, terrified twitterings.  Even the quak-
ing asps were still.  While Fred and Thea watched from
the doorway, the light changed to purple.  Clouds of dark
vapor, like chlorine gas, began to float down from the head
of the canyon and hung between them and the cliff-houses

<p 324>

in the opposite wall.  Before they knew it, the wall itself
had disappeared.  The air was positively venomous-looking,
and grew colder every minute.  The thunder seemed to
crash against one cliff, then against the other, and to go
shrieking off into the inner canyon.

     The moment the rain broke, it beat the vapors down.
In the gulf before them the water fell in spouts, and
dashed from the high cliffs overhead.  It tore aspens and
chokecherry bushes out of the ground and left the yuccas
hanging by their tough roots.  Only the little cedars stood
black and unmoved in the torrents that fell from so far
above.  The rock chamber was full of fine spray from the
streams of water that shot over the doorway.  Thea crept
to the back wall and rolled herself in a blanket, and Fred
threw the heavier blankets over her.  The wool of the
Navajo sheep was soon kindled by the warmth of her
body, and was impenetrable to dampness.  Her hair,
where it hung below the rubber hat, gathered the mois-
ture like a sponge.  Fred put on the slicker, tied the
sweater about his neck, and settled himself cross-legged
beside her.  The chamber was so dark that, although he
could see the outline of her head and shoulders, he could
not see her face.  He struck a wax match to light his
pipe.  As he sheltered it between his hands, it sizzled and
sputtered, throwing a yellow flicker over Thea and her
blankets.

     "You look like a gypsy," he said as he dropped the
match.  "Any one you'd rather be shut up with than me?
No?  Sure about that?"

     "I think I am.  Aren't you cold?"

     "Not especially."  Fred smoked in silence, listening to
the roar of the water outside.  "We may not get away from
here right away," he remarked.

     "I shan't mind.  Shall you?"

     He laughed grimly and pulled on his pipe.  "Do you
know where you're at, Miss Thea Kronborg?" he said at

<p 325>

last.  "You've got me going pretty hard, I suppose you
know.  I've had a lot of sweethearts, but I've never been
so much--engrossed before.  What are you going to do
about it?"  He heard nothing from the blankets.  "Are you
going to play fair, or is it about my cue to cut away?"

     "I'll play fair.  I don't see why you want to go."

     "What do you want me around for?--to play with?"

     Thea struggled up among the blankets.  "I want you for
everything.  I don't know whether I'm what people call in
love with you or not.  In Moonstone that meant sitting in
a hammock with somebody.  I don't want to sit in a ham-
mock with you, but I want to do almost everything else.
Oh, hundreds of things!"

     "If I run away, will you go with me?"

     "I don't know.  I'll have to think about that.  Maybe I
would."  She freed herself from her wrappings and stood
up.  "It's not raining so hard now.  Hadn't we better
start this minute?  It will be night before we get to
Biltmer's."

     Fred struck another match.  "It's seven.  I don't know
how much of the path may be washed away.  I don't even
know whether I ought to let you try it without a lantern."

     Thea went to the doorway and looked out.  "There's
nothing else to do.  The sweater and the slicker will keep
me dry, and this will be my chance to find out whether
these shoes are really water-tight.  They cost a week's sal-
ary."  She retreated to the back of the cave.  "It's getting
blacker every minute."

     Ottenburg took a brandy flask from his coat pocket.
"Better have some of this before we start.  Can you take
it without water?"

     Thea lifted it obediently to her lips.  She put on the
sweater and Fred helped her to get the clumsy slicker on
over it.  He buttoned it and fastened the high collar.  She
could feel that his hands were hurried and clumsy.  The
coat was too big, and he took off his necktie and belted it

<p 326>

in at the waist.  While she tucked her hair more securely
under the rubber hat he stood in front of her, between her
and the gray doorway, without moving.

     "Are you ready to go?" she asked carelessly.

     "If you are," he spoke quietly, without moving, except
to bend his head forward a little.

     Thea laughed and put her hands on his shoulders.  "You
know how to handle me, don't you?" she whispered.  For
the first time, she kissed him without constraint or embar-
rassment.

     "Thea, Thea, Thea!"  Fred whispered her name three
times, shaking her a little as if to waken her.  It was too
dark to see, but he could feel that she was smiling.

     When she kissed him she had not hidden her face on his
shoulder,--she had risen a little on her toes, and stood
straight and free.  In that moment when he came close to
her actual personality, he felt in her the same expansion
that he had noticed at Mrs. Nathanmeyer's.  She became
freer and stronger under impulses.  When she rose to meet
him like that, he felt her flash into everything that she had
ever suggested to him, as if she filled out her own shadow.

     She pushed him away and shot past him out into the rain.
"Now for it, Fred," she called back exultantly.  The rain
was pouring steadily down through the dying gray twilight,
and muddy streams were spouting and foaming over the
cliff.

     Fred caught her and held her back.  "Keep behind me,
Thea.  I don't know about the path.  It may be gone alto-
gether.  Can't tell what there is under this water."

     But the path was older than the white man's Arizona.
The rush of water had washed away the dust and stones
that lay on the surface, but the rock skeleton of the Indian
trail was there, ready for the foot.  Where the streams
poured down through gullies, there was always a cedar or
a PINON to cling to.  By wading and slipping and climbing,
they got along.  As they neared the head of the canyon,

<p 327>

where the path lifted and rose in steep loops to the surface
of the plateau, the climb was more difficult.  The earth
above had broken away and washed down over the trail,
bringing rocks and bushes and even young trees with it.
The last ghost of daylight was dying and there was no time
to lose.  The canyon behind them was already black.

     "We've got to go right through the top of this pine tree,
Thea.  No time to hunt a way around.  Give me your hand."
After they had crashed through the mass of branches, Fred
stopped abruptly.  "Gosh, what a hole!  Can you jump it?
Wait a minute."

     He cleared the washout, slipped on the wet rock at the
farther side, and caught himself just in time to escape a
tumble.  "If I could only find something to hold to, I could
give you a hand.  It's so cursed dark, and there are no
trees here where they're needed.  Here's something; it's a
root.  It will hold all right."  He braced himself on the rock,
gripped the crooked root with one hand and swung himself
across toward Thea, holding out his arm.  "Good jump!  I
must say you don't lose your nerve in a tight place.  Can
you keep at it a little longer?  We're almost out.  Have to
make that next ledge.  Put your foot on my knee and catch
something to pull by."

     Thea went up over his shoulder.  "It's hard ground up
here," she panted.  "Did I wrench your arm when I slipped
then?  It was a cactus I grabbed, and it startled me."

     "Now, one more pull and we're on the level."

     They emerged gasping upon the black plateau.  In the
last five minutes the darkness had solidified and it seemed
as if the skies were pouring black water.  They could not
see where the sky ended or the plain began.  The light at
the ranch house burned a steady spark through the rain.
Fred drew Thea's arm through his and they struck off
toward the light.  They could not see each other, and the
rain at their backs seemed to drive them along.  They kept
laughing as they stumbled over tufts of grass or stepped

<p 328>

into slippery pools.  They were delighted with each other
and with the adventure which lay behind them.

     "I can't even see the whites of your eyes, Thea.  But I'd
know who was here stepping out with me, anywhere.  Part
coyote you are, by the feel of you.  When you make up your
mind to jump, you jump!  My gracious, what's the matter
with your hand?"

     "Cactus spines.  Didn't I tell you when I grabbed the
cactus?  I thought it was a root.  Are we going straight?"

     "I don't know.  Somewhere near it, I think.  I'm very
comfortable, aren't you?  You're warm, except your
cheeks.  How funny they are when they're wet.  Still, you
always feel like you.  I like this.  I could walk to Flagstaff.
It's fun, not being able to see anything.  I feel surer of you
when I can't see you.  Will you run away with me?"

     Thea laughed.  "I won't run far to-night.  I'll think
about it.  Look, Fred, there's somebody coming."

     "Henry, with his lantern.  Good enough!  Halloo!  Hallo
--o--o!" Fred shouted.

     The moving light bobbed toward them.  In half an hour
Thea was in her big feather bed, drinking hot lentil soup,
and almost before the soup was swallowed she was asleep.

<p 329>

                               VIII

     ON the first day of September Fred Ottenburg and Thea
Kronborg left Flagstaff by the east-bound express.
As the bright morning advanced, they sat alone on the
rear platform of the observation car, watching the yellow
miles unfold and disappear.  With complete content they
saw the brilliant, empty country flash by.  They were
tired of the desert and the dead races, of a world without
change or ideas.  Fred said he was glad to sit back and let
the Santa Fe do the work for a while.

     "And where are we going, anyhow?" he added.

     "To Chicago, I suppose.  Where else would we be
going?"  Thea hunted for a handkerchief in her hand-
bag.

     "I wasn't sure, so I had the trunks checked to Albu-
querque.  We can recheck there to Chicago, if you like.
Why Chicago?  You'll never go back to Bowers.  Why
wouldn't this be a good time to make a run for it?  We
could take the southern branch at Albuquerque, down to
El Paso, and then over into Mexico.  We are exceptionally
free.  Nobody waiting for us anywhere."

     Thea sighted along the steel rails that quivered in the
light behind them.  "I don't see why I couldn't marry you
in Chicago, as well as any place," she brought out with
some embarrassment.

     Fred took the handbag out of her nervous clasp and
swung it about on his finger.  "You've no particular love
for that spot, have you?  Besides, as I've told you, my
family would make a row.  They are an excitable lot.  They
discuss and argue everlastingly.  The only way I can ever
put anything through is to go ahead, and convince them
afterward."

<p 330>

     "Yes; I understand.  I don't mind that.  I don't want to
marry your family.  I'm sure you wouldn't want to marry
mine.  But I don't see why we have to go so far."

     "When we get to Winslow, you look about the freight
yards and you'll probably see several yellow cars with
my name on them.  That's why, my dear.  When your
visiting-card is on every beer bottle, you can't do things
quietly.  Things get into the papers."  As he watched her
troubled expression, he grew anxious.  He leaned forward
on his camp-chair, and kept twirling the handbag between
his knees.  "Here's a suggestion, Thea," he said presently.
"Dismiss it if you don't like it: suppose we go down to
Mexico on the chance.  You've never seen anything like
Mexico City; it will be a lark for you, anyhow.  If you
change your mind, and don't want to marry me, you can
go back to Chicago, and I'll take a steamer from Vera
Cruz and go up to New York.  When I get to Chicago,
you'll be at work, and nobody will ever be the wiser.  No
reason why we shouldn't both travel in Mexico, is there?
You'll be traveling alone.  I'll merely tell you the right
places to stop, and come to take you driving.  I won't put
any pressure on you.  Have I ever?"  He swung the bag
toward her and looked up under her hat.

     "No, you haven't," she murmured.  She was thinking
that her own position might be less difficult if he had used
what he called pressure.  He clearly wished her to take the
responsibility.

     "You have your own future in the back of your mind all
the time," Fred began, "and I have it in mine.  I'm not
going to try to carry you off, as I might another girl.  If you
wanted to quit me, I couldn't hold you, no matter how
many times you had married me.  I don't want to over-
persuade you.  But I'd like mighty well to get you down to
that jolly old city, where everything would please you, and
give myself a chance.  Then, if you thought you could have
a better time with me than without me, I'd try to grab you

<p 331>

before you changed your mind.  You are not a sentimental
person."

     Thea drew her veil down over her face.  "I think I am, a
little; about you," she said quietly.  Fred's irony somehow
hurt her.

     "What's at the bottom of your mind, Thea?" he asked
hurriedly.  "I can't tell.  Why do you consider it at all, if
you're not sure?  Why are you here with me now?"

     Her face was half-averted.  He was thinking that it
looked older and more firm--almost hard--under a veil.

     "Isn't it possible to do things without having any very
clear reason?" she asked slowly.  "I have no plan in the
back of my mind.  Now that I'm with you, I want to be
with you; that's all.  I can't settle down to being alone
again.  I am here to-day because I want to be with you
to-day."  She paused.  "One thing, though; if I gave you
my word, I'd keep it.  And you could hold me, though you
don't seem to think so.  Maybe I'm not sentimental, but
I'm not very light, either.  If I went off with you like
this, it wouldn't be to amuse myself."

     Ottenburg's eyes fell.  His lips worked nervously for a
moment.  "Do you mean that you really care for me, Thea
Kronborg?" he asked unsteadily.

     "I guess so.  It's like anything else.  It takes hold of you
and you've got to go through with it, even if you're afraid.
I was afraid to leave Moonstone, and afraid to leave
Harsanyi.  But I had to go through with it."

     "And are you afraid now?" Fred asked slowly.

     "Yes; more than I've ever been.  But I don't think I
could go back.  The past closes up behind one, somehow.
One would rather have a new kind of misery.  The old
kind seems like death or unconsciousness.  You can't force
your life back into that mould again.  No, one can't go
back."  She rose and stood by the back grating of the
platform, her hand on the brass rail.

     Fred went to her side.  She pushed up her veil and turned

<p 332>

her most glowing face to him.  Her eyes were wet and
there were tears on her lashes, but she was smiling the
rare, whole-hearted smile he had seen once or twice be-
fore.  He looked at her shining eyes, her parted lips, her
chin a little lifted.  It was as if they were colored by a sun-
rise he could not see.  He put his hand over hers and clasped
it with a strength she felt.  Her eyelashes trembled, her
mouth softened, but her eyes were still brilliant.

     "Will you always be like you were down there, if I go
with you?" she asked under her breath.

     His fingers tightened on hers.  "By God, I will!" he
muttered.

     "That's the only promise I'll ask you for.  Now go away
for a while and let me think about it.  Come back at lunch-
time and I'll tell you.  Will that do?"

     "Anything will do, Thea, if you'll only let me keep
an eye on you.  The rest of the world doesn't interest me
much.  You've got me in deep."

     Fred dropped her hand and turned away.  As he glanced
back from the front end of the observation car, he saw that
she was still standing there, and any one would have known
that she was brooding over something.  The earnestness of
her head and shoulders had a certain nobility.  He stood
looking at her for a moment.

     When he reached the forward smoking-car, Fred took a
seat at the end, where he could shut the other passengers
from his sight.  He put on his traveling-cap and sat down
wearily, keeping his head near the window.  "In any case,
I shall help her more than I shall hurt her," he kept saying
to himself.  He admitted that this was not the only motive
which impelled him, but it was one of them.  "I'll make it
my business in life to get her on.  There's nothing else I
care about so much as seeing her have her chance.  She
hasn't touched her real force yet.  She isn't even aware of
it.  Lord, don't I know something about them?  There isn't
one of them that has such a depth to draw from.  She'll be

<p 333>

one of the great artists of our time.  Playing accompani-
ments for that cheese-faced sneak!  I'll get her off to Ger-
many this winter, or take her.  She hasn't got any time to
waste now.  I'll make it up to her, all right."

     Ottenburg certainly meant to make it up to her, in so
far as he could.  His feeling was as generous as strong human
feelings are likely to be.  The only trouble was, that he was
married already, and had been since he was twenty.

     His older friends in Chicago, people who had been friends
of his family, knew of the unfortunate state of his personal
affairs; but they were people whom in the natural course
of things Thea Kronborg would scarcely meet.  Mrs.
Frederick Ottenburg lived in California, at Santa Bar-
bara, where her health was supposed to be better than
elsewhere, and her husband lived in Chicago.  He visited
his wife every winter to reinforce her position, and his
devoted mother, although her hatred for her daughter-in-
law was scarcely approachable in words, went to Santa
Barbara every year to make things look better and to
relieve her son.

     When Frederick Ottenburg was beginning his junior year
at Harvard, he got a letter from Dick Brisbane, a Kansas
City boy he knew, telling him that his FIANCEE, Miss Edith
Beers, was going to New York to buy her trousseau.  She
would be at the Holland House, with her aunt and a girl
from Kansas City who was to be a bridesmaid, for two
weeks or more.  If Ottenburg happened to be going down
to New York, would he call upon Miss Beers and "show
her a good time"?

     Fred did happen to be going to New York.  He was going
down from New Haven, after the Thanksgiving game.  He
called on Miss Beers and found her, as he that night tele-
graphed Brisbane, a "ripping beauty, no mistake."  He
took her and her aunt and her uninteresting friend to the
theater and to the opera, and he asked them to lunch with

<p 334>

him at the Waldorf.  He took no little pains in arranging
the luncheon with the head waiter.  Miss Beers was the
sort of girl with whom a young man liked to seem experi-
enced.  She was dark and slender and fiery.  She was witty
and slangy; said daring things and carried them off with
NONCHALANCE.  Her childish extravagance and contempt for
all the serious facts of life could be charged to her father's
generosity and his long packing-house purse.  Freaks that
would have been vulgar and ostentatious in a more simple-
minded girl, in Miss Beers seemed whimsical and pictur-
esque.  She darted about in magnificent furs and pumps
and close-clinging gowns, though that was the day of full
skirts.  Her hats were large and floppy.  When she wrig-
gled out of her moleskin coat at luncheon, she looked like
a slim black weasel.  Her satin dress was a mere sheath, so
conspicuous by its severity and scantness that every one in
the dining-room stared.  She ate nothing but alligator-pear
salad and hothouse grapes, drank a little champagne, and
took cognac in her coffee.  She ridiculed, in the raciest
slang, the singers they had heard at the opera the night
before, and when her aunt pretended to reprove her, she
murmured indifferently, "What's the matter with you,
old sport?"  She rattled on with a subdued loquacious-
ness, always keeping her voice low and monotonous,
always looking out of the corner of her eye and speaking,
as it were, in asides, out of the corner of her mouth.  She
was scornful of everything,--which became her eyebrows.
Her face was mobile and discontented, her eyes quick
and black.  There was a sort of smouldering fire about
her, young Ottenburg thought.  She entertained him pro-
digiously.

     After luncheon Miss Beers said she was going uptown to
be fitted, and that she would go alone because her aunt
made her nervous.  When Fred held her coat for her, she
murmured, "Thank you, Alphonse," as if she were address-
ing the waiter.  As she stepped into a hansom, with a long

<p 335>

stretch of thin silk stocking, she said negligently, over her
fur collar, "Better let me take you along and drop you
somewhere."  He sprang in after her, and she told the driver
to go to the Park.

     It was a bright winter day, and bitterly cold.  Miss Beers
asked Fred to tell her about the game at New Haven, and
when he did so paid no attention to what he said.  She
sank back into the hansom and held her muff before her
face, lowering it occasionally to utter laconic remarks
about the people in the carriages they passed, interrupt-
ing Fred's narrative in a disconcerting manner.  As they
entered the Park he happened to glance under her wide
black hat at her black eyes and hair--the muff hid every-
thing else--and discovered that she was crying.  To his
solicitous inquiry she replied that it "was enough to make
you damp, to go and try on dresses to marry a man you
weren't keen about."

     Further explanations followed.  She had thought she
was "perfectly cracked" about Brisbane, until she met
Fred at the Holland House three days ago.  Then she
knew she would scratch Brisbane's eyes out if she married
him.  What was she going to do?

     Fred told the driver to keep going.  What did she want
to do?  Well, she didn't know.  One had to marry some-
body, after all the machinery had been put in motion.
Perhaps she might as well scratch Brisbane as anybody
else; for scratch she would, if she didn't get what she
wanted.

     Of course, Fred agreed, one had to marry somebody.
And certainly this girl beat anything he had ever been up
against before.  Again he told the driver to go ahead.  Did
she mean that she would think of marrying him, by any
chance?  Of course she did, Alphonse.  Hadn't he seen that
all over her face three days ago?  If he hadn't, he was a
snowball.

     By this time Fred was beginning to feel sorry for the

<p 336>

driver.  Miss Beers, however, was compassionless.  After
a few more turns, Fred suggested tea at the Casino.  He
was very cold himself, and remembering the shining silk
hose and pumps, he wondered that the girl was not frozen.
As they got out of the hansom, he slipped the driver a bill
and told him to have something hot while he waited.

     At the tea-table, in a snug glass enclosure, with the steam
sputtering in the pipes beside them and a brilliant winter
sunset without, they developed their plan.  Miss Beers had
with her plenty of money, destined for tradesmen, which
she was quite willing to divert into other channels--the
first excitement of buying a trousseau had worn off, any-
way.  It was very much like any other shopping.  Fred
had his allowance and a few hundred he had won on the
game.  She would meet him to-morrow morning at the
Jersey ferry.  They could take one of the west-bound
Pennsylvania trains and go--anywhere, some place
where the laws weren't too fussy.--  Fred had not even
thought about the laws!--  It would be all right with
her father; he knew Fred's family.

     Now that they were engaged, she thought she would
like to drive a little more.  They were jerked about in the
cab for another hour through the deserted Park.  Miss
Beers, having removed her hat, reclined upon Fred's
shoulder.

     The next morning they left Jersey City by the latest fast
train out.  They had some misadventures, crossed several
States before they found a justice obliging enough to marry
two persons whose names automatically instigated inquiry.
The bride's family were rather pleased with her originality;
besides, any one of the Ottenburg boys was clearly a better
match than young Brisbane.  With Otto Ottenburg, how-
ever, the affair went down hard, and to his wife, the once
proud Katarina Furst, such a disappointment was almost
unbearable.  Her sons had always been clay in her hands,
and now the GELIEBTER SOHN had escaped her.

<p 337>

     Beers, the packer, gave his daughter a house in St. Louis,
and Fred went into his father's business.  At the end of a
year, he was mutely appealing to his mother for sympathy.
At the end of two, he was drinking and in open rebellion.
He had learned to detest his wife.  Her wastefulness and
cruelty revolted him.  The ignorance and the fatuous con-
ceit which lay behind her grimacing mask of slang and
ridicule humiliated him so deeply that he became absolutely
reckless.  Her grace was only an uneasy wriggle, her auda-
city was the result of insolence and envy, and her wit was
restless spite.  As her personal mannerisms grew more and
more odious to him, he began to dull his perceptions with
champagne.  He had it for tea, he drank it with dinner, and
during the evening he took enough to insure that he would
be well insulated when he got home.  This behavior spread
alarm among his friends.  It was scandalous, and it did not
occur among brewers.  He was violating the NOBLESSE OBLIGE
of his guild.  His father and his father's partners looked
alarmed.

     When Fred's mother went to him and with clasped hands
entreated an explanation, he told her that the only trouble
was that he couldn't hold enough wine to make life endur-
able, so he was going to get out from under and enlist in
the navy.  He didn't want anything but the shirt on his
back and clean salt air.  His mother could look out; he was
going to make a scandal.

     Mrs. Otto Ottenburg went to Kansas City to see Mr.
Beers, and had the satisfaction of telling him that he had
brought up his daughter like a savage, EINE UNGEBILDETE.  All
the Ottenburgs and all the Beers, and many of their friends,
were drawn into the quarrel.  It was to public opinion, how-
ever and not to his mother's activities, that Fred owed his
partial escape from bondage.  The cosmopolitan brewing
world of St. Louis had conservative standards.  The Otten-
burgs' friends were not predisposed in favor of the plunging
Kansas City set, and they disliked young Fred's wife from

<p 338>

the day that she was brought among them.  They found her
ignorant and ill-bred and insufferably impertinent.  When
they became aware of how matters were going between her
and Fred, they omitted no opportunity to snub her.  Young
Fred had always been popular, and St. Louis people took
up his cause with warmth.  Even the younger men, among
whom Mrs. Fred tried to draft a following, at first avoided
and then ignored her.  Her defeat was so conspicuous, her
life became such a desert, that she at last consented to
accept the house in Santa Barbara which Mrs. Otto Otten-
burg had long owned and cherished.  This villa, with its
luxuriant gardens, was the price of Fred's furlough.  His
mother was only too glad to offer it in his behalf.  As soon
as his wife was established in California, Fred was trans-
ferred from St. Louis to Chicago.

     A divorce was the one thing Edith would never, never,
give him.  She told him so, and she told his family so, and
her father stood behind her.  She would enter into no
arrangement that might eventually lead to divorce.  She
had insulted her husband before guests and servants, had
scratched his face, thrown hand-mirrors and hairbrushes
and nail-scissors at him often enough, but she knew that
Fred was hardly the fellow who would go into court and
offer that sort of evidence.  In her behavior with other men
she was discreet.

     After Fred went to Chicago, his mother visited him often,
and dropped a word to her old friends there, who were
already kindly disposed toward the young man.  They
gossiped as little as was compatible with the interest they
felt, undertook to make life agreeable for Fred, and told his
story only where they felt it would do good: to girls who
seemed to find the young brewer attractive.  So far, he had
behaved well, and had kept out of entanglements.

     Since he was transferred to Chicago, Fred had been
abroad several times, and had fallen more and more into
the way of going about among young artists,--people with

<p 339>

whom personal relations were incidental.  With women, and
even girls, who had careers to follow, a young man might
have pleasant friendships without being regarded as a pro-
spective suitor or lover.  Among artists his position was not
irregular, because with them his marriageableness was not
an issue.  His tastes, his enthusiasm, and his agreeable
personality made him welcome.

     With Thea Kronborg he had allowed himself more lib-
erty than he usually did in his friendships or gallantries
with young artists, because she seemed to him distinctly
not the marrying kind.  She impressed him as equipped to
be an artist, and to be nothing else; already directed, con-
centrated, formed as to mental habit.  He was generous
and sympathetic, and she was lonely and needed friendship;
needed cheerfulness.  She had not much power of reaching
out toward useful people or useful experiences, did not see
opportunities.  She had no tact about going after good
positions or enlisting the interest of influential persons.
She antagonized people rather than conciliated them.  He
discovered at once that she had a merry side, a robust
humor that was deep and hearty, like her laugh, but it
slept most of the time under her own doubts and the dull-
ness of her life.  She had not what is called a "sense of
humor."  That is, she had no intellectual humor; no power
to enjoy the absurdities of people, no relish of their preten-
tiousness and inconsistencies--which only depressed her.
But her joviality, Fred felt, was an asset, and ought to be
developed.  He discovered that she was more receptive and
more effective under a pleasant stimulus than she was
under the gray grind which she considered her salvation.
She was still Methodist enough to believe that if a thing
were hard and irksome, it must be good for her.  And yet,
whatever she did well was spontaneous.  Under the least
glow of excitement, as at Mrs. Nathanmeyer's, he had seen
the apprehensive, frowning drudge of Bowers's studio flash
into a resourceful and consciously beautiful woman.

<p 340>

     His interest in Thea was serious, almost from the first,
and so sincere that he felt no distrust of himself.  He be-
lieved that he knew a great deal more about her possibili-
ties than Bowers knew, and he liked to think that he had
given her a stronger hold on life.  She had never seen her-
self or known herself as she did at Mrs. Nathanmeyer's
musical evenings.  She had been a different girl ever since.
He had not anticipated that she would grow more fond of
him than his immediate usefulness warranted.  He thought
he knew the ways of artists, and, as he said, she must have
been "at it from her cradle."  He had imagined, perhaps,
but never really believed, that he would find her waiting
for him sometime as he found her waiting on the day
he reached the Biltmer ranch.  Once he found her so--
well, he did not pretend to be anything more or less
than a reasonably well-intentioned young man.  A lovesick
girl or a flirtatious woman he could have handled easily
enough.  But a personality like that, unconsciously reveal-
ing itself for the first time under the exaltation of a per-
sonal feeling,--what could one do but watch it?  As he
used to say to himself, in reckless moments back there in
the canyon, "You can't put out a sunrise."  He had to
watch it, and then he had to share it.

     Besides, was he really going to do her any harm?  The
Lord knew he would marry her if he could!  Marriage would
be an incident, not an end with her; he was sure of that.
If it were not he, it would be some one else; some one who
would be a weight about her neck, probably; who would
hold her back and beat her down and divert her from the
first plunge for which he felt she was gathering all her ener-
gies.  He meant to help her, and he could not think of
another man who would.  He went over his unmarried
friends, East and West, and he could not think of one who
would know what she was driving at--or care.  The clever
ones were selfish, the kindly ones were stupid.

     "Damn it, if she's going to fall in love with somebody, it

<p 341>

had better be me than any of the others--of the sort
she'd find.  Get her tied up with some conceited ass who'd
try to make her over, train her like a puppy!  Give one of
'em a big nature like that, and he'd be horrified.  He
wouldn't show his face in the clubs until he'd gone after
her and combed her down to conform to some fool idea in
his own head--put there by some other woman, too, his
first sweetheart or his grandmother or a maiden aunt.  At
least, I understand her.  I know what she needs and where
she's bound, and I mean to see that she has a fighting
chance."

     His own conduct looked crooked, he admitted; but he
asked himself whether, between men and women, all ways
were not more or less crooked.  He believed those which are
called straight were the most dangerous of all.  They
seemed to him, for the most part, to lie between windowless
stone walls, and their rectitude had been achieved at the
expense of light and air.  In their unquestioned regularity
lurked every sort of human cruelty and meanness, and
every kind of humiliation and suffering.  He would rather
have any woman he cared for wounded than crushed.  He
would deceive her not once, he told himself fiercely, but a
hundred times, to keep her free.

     When Fred went back to the observation car at one
o'clock, after the luncheon call, it was empty, and he found
Thea alone on the platform.  She put out her hand, and
met his eyes.

     "It's as I said.  Things have closed behind me.  I can't
go back, so I am going on--to Mexico?"  She lifted her
face with an eager, questioning smile.

     Fred met it with a sinking heart.  Had he really hoped
she would give him another answer?  He would have given
pretty much anything--  But there, that did no good.  He
could give only what he had.  Things were never complete
in this world; you had to snatch at them as they came or go

<p 342>

without.  Nobody could look into her face and draw back,
nobody who had any courage.  She had courage enough for
anything--look at her mouth and chin and eyes!  Where
did it come from, that light?  How could a face, a familiar
face, become so the picture of hope, be painted with the
very colors of youth's exaltation?  She was right; she was
not one of those who draw back.  Some people get on by
avoiding dangers, others by riding through them.

     They stood by the railing looking back at the sand levels,
both feeling that the train was steaming ahead very fast.
Fred's mind was a confusion of images and ideas.  Only
two things were clear to him: the force of her determination,
and the belief that, handicapped as he was, he could do
better by her than another man would do.  He knew he
would always remember her, standing there with that ex-
pectant, forward-looking smile, enough to turn the future
into summer.

<p 345>

                              PART V

                       DR. ARCHIE'S VENTURE

                                 I

     DR. HOWARD ARCHIE had come down to Denver
for a meeting of the stockholders in the San Felipe
silver mine.  It was not absolutely necessary for him to
come, but he had no very pressing cases at home.  Winter
was closing down in Moonstone, and he dreaded the dull-
ness of it.  On the 10th day of January, therefore, he was
registered at the Brown Palace Hotel.  On the morning of
the 11th he came down to breakfast to find the streets
white and the air thick with snow.  A wild northwester was
blowing down from the mountains, one of those beautiful
storms that wrap Denver in dry, furry snow, and make the
city a loadstone to thousands of men in the mountains and
on the plains.  The brakemen out on their box-cars, the
miners up in their diggings, the lonely homesteaders in
the sand hills of Yucca and Kit Carson Counties, begin
to think of Denver, muffled in snow, full of food and drink
and good cheer, and to yearn for her with that admiration
which makes her, more than other American cities, an
object of sentiment.

     Howard Archie was glad he had got in before the storm
came.  He felt as cheerful as if he had received a legacy
that morning, and he greeted the clerk with even greater
friendliness than usual when he stopped at the desk for
his mail.  In the dining-room he found several old friends
seated here and there before substantial breakfasts: cattle-
men and mining engineers from odd corners of the State,
all looking fresh and well pleased with themselves.  He had

<p 346>

a word with one and another before he sat down at the little
table by a window, where the Austrian head waiter stood
attentively behind a chair.  After his breakfast was put
before him, the doctor began to run over his letters.  There
was one directed in Thea Kronborg's handwriting, for-
warded from Moonstone.  He saw with astonishment, as
he put another lump of sugar into his cup, that this letter
bore a New York postmark.  He had known that Thea was
in Mexico, traveling with some Chicago people, but New
York, to a Denver man, seems much farther away than
Mexico City.  He put the letter behind his plate, upright
against the stem of his water goblet, and looked at it
thoughtfully while he drank his second cup of coffee.  He
had been a little anxious about Thea; she had not written
to him for a long while.

     As he never got good coffee at home, the doctor always
drank three cups for breakfast when he was in Denver.
Oscar knew just when to bring him a second pot, fresh and
smoking.  "And more cream, Oscar, please.  You know I
like lots of cream," the doctor murmured, as he opened
the square envelope, marked in the upper right-hand cor-
ner, "Everett House, Union Square."  The text of the letter
was as follows:--

DEAR DOCTOR ARCHIE:--

     I have not written to you for a long time, but it has not
been unintentional.  I could not write you frankly, and so
I would not write at all.  I can be frank with you now, but
not by letter.  It is a great deal to ask, but I wonder if you
could come to New York to help me out?  I have got into
difficulties, and I need your advice.  I need your friendship.
I am afraid I must even ask you to lend me money, if you
can without serious inconvenience.  I have to go to Ger-
many to study, and it can't be put off any longer.  My voice
is ready.  Needless to say, I don't want any word of this to
reach my family.  They are the last people I would turn to,

<p 347>

though I love my mother dearly.  If you can come, please
telegraph me at this hotel.  Don't despair of me.  I'll make
it up to you yet.

                    Your old friend,

                                        THEA KRONBORG.

     This in a bold, jagged handwriting with a Gothic turn to
the letters,--something between a highly sophisticated
hand and a very unsophisticated one,--not in the least
smooth or flowing.

     The doctor bit off the end of a cigar nervously and read
the letter through again, fumbling distractedly in his pock-
ets for matches, while the waiter kept trying to call his
attention to the box he had just placed before him.  At last
Oscar came out, as if the idea had just struck him, "Matches,
sir?"

     "Yes, thank you."  The doctor slipped a coin into his
palm and rose, crumpling Thea's letter in his hand and
thrusting the others into his pocket unopened.  He went
back to the desk in the lobby and beckoned to the clerk, upon
whose kindness he threw himself apologetically.

     "Harry, I've got to pull out unexpectedly.  Call up the
Burlington, will you, and ask them to route me to New
York the quickest way, and to let us know.  Ask for the
hour I'll get in.  I have to wire."

     "Certainly, Dr. Archie.  Have it for you in a minute."
The young man's pallid, clean-scraped face was all sympa-
thetic interest as he reached for the telephone.  Dr. Archie
put out his hand and stopped him.

     "Wait a minute.  Tell me, first, is Captain Harris down
yet?"

     "No, sir.  The Captain hasn't come down yet this
morning."

     "I'll wait here for him.  If I don't happen to catch him,
nail him and get me.  Thank you, Harry."

     The doctor spoke gratefully and turned away.  He began

<p 348>

to pace the lobby, his hands behind him, watching the
bronze elevator doors like a hawk.  At last Captain Harris
issued from one of them, tall and imposing, wearing a
Stetson and fierce mustaches, a fur coat on his arm, a soli-
taire glittering upon his little finger and another in his
black satin ascot.  He was one of the grand old bluffers of
those good old days.  As gullible as a schoolboy, he had
managed, with his sharp eye and knowing air and twisted
blond mustaches, to pass himself off for an astute financier,
and the Denver papers respectfully referred to him as the
Rothschild of Cripple Creek.

     Dr. Archie stopped the Captain on his way to breakfast.
"Must see you a minute, Captain.  Can't wait.  Want to
sell you some shares in the San Felipe.  Got to raise
money."

     The Captain grandly bestowed his hat upon an eager
porter who had already lifted his fur coat tenderly from his
arm and stood nursing it.  In removing his hat, the Cap-
tain exposed a bald, flushed dome, thatched about the ears
with yellowish gray hair.  "Bad time to sell, doctor.  You
want to hold on to San Felipe, and buy more.  What have
you got to raise?"

     "Oh, not a great sum.  Five or six thousand.  I've been
buying up close and have run short."

     "I see, I see.  Well, doctor, you'll have to let me get
through that door.  I was out last night, and I'm going to
get my bacon, if you lose your mine."  He clapped Archie
on the shoulder and pushed him along in front of him.
"Come ahead with me, and we'll talk business."

     Dr. Archie attended the Captain and waited while he
gave his order, taking the seat the old promoter indi-
cated.

     "Now, sir," the Captain turned to him, "you don't want
to sell anything.  You must be under the impression that
I'm one of these damned New England sharks that get
their pound of flesh off the widow and orphan.  If you're a

<p 349>

little short, sign a note and I'll write a check.  That's the
way gentlemen do business.  If you want to put up some
San Felipe as collateral, let her go, but I shan't touch a
share of it.  Pens and ink, please, Oscar,"--he lifted a
large forefinger to the Austrian.

     The Captain took out his checkbook and a book of blank
notes, and adjusted his nose-nippers.  He wrote a few words
in one book and Archie wrote a few in the other.  Then
they each tore across perforations and exchanged slips of
paper.

     "That's the way.  Saves office rent," the Captain com-
mented with satisfaction, returning the books to his pocket.
"And now, Archie, where are you off to?"

     "Got to go East to-night.  A deal waiting for me in New
York."  Dr. Archie rose.

     The Captain's face brightened as he saw Oscar approach-
ing with a tray, and he began tucking the corner of his
napkin inside his collar, over his ascot.  "Don't let them
unload anything on you back there, doctor," he said gen-
ially, "and don't let them relieve you of anything, either.
Don't let them get any Cripple stuff off you.  We can man-
age our own silver out here, and we're going to take it out
by the ton, sir!"

     The doctor left the dining-room, and after another con-
sultation with the clerk, he wrote his first telegram to
Thea:--

Miss Thea Kronborg,

          Everett House, New York.

     Will call at your hotel eleven o'clock Friday morning.
Glad to come.  Thank you.

                                             ARCHIE

     He stood and heard the message actually clicked off on
the wire, with the feeling that she was hearing the click at
the other end.  Then he sat down in the lobby and wrote a

<p 350>

note to his wife and one to the other doctor in Moonstone.
When he at last issued out into the storm, it was with a
feeling of elation rather than of anxiety.  Whatever was
wrong, he could make it right.  Her letter had practically
said so.

     He tramped about the snowy streets, from the bank to
the Union Station, where he shoved his money under the
grating of the ticket window as if he could not get rid of it
fast enough.  He had never been in New York, never been
farther east than Buffalo.  "That's rather a shame," he
reflected boyishly as he put the long tickets in his pocket,
"for a man nearly forty years old."  However, he thought
as he walked up toward the club, he was on the whole glad
that his first trip had a human interest, that he was going
for something, and because he was wanted.  He loved holi-
days.  He felt as if he were going to Germany himself.
"Queer,"--he went over it with the snow blowing in his
face,--"but that sort of thing is more interesting than
mines and making your daily bread.  It's worth paying out
to be in on it,--for a fellow like me.  And when it's Thea
--  Oh, I back her!" he laughed aloud as he burst in at the
door of the Athletic Club, powdered with snow.

     Archie sat down before the New York papers and ran
over the advertisements of hotels, but he was too restless
to read.  Probably he had better get a new overcoat, and
he was not sure about the shape of his collars.  "I don't
want to look different to her from everybody else there,"
he mused.  "I guess I'll go down and have Van look me
over.  He'll put me right."

     So he plunged out into the snow again and started for his
tailor's.  When he passed a florist's shop he stopped and
looked in at the window, smiling; how naturally pleasant
things recalled one another.  At the tailor's he kept whis-
tling, "Flow gently, Sweet Afton," while Van Dusen ad-
vised him, until that resourceful tailor and haberdasher
exclaimed, "You must have a date back there, doctor; you

<p 351>

behave like a bridegroom," and made him remember that
he wasn't one.

     Before he let him go, Van put his finger on the Masonic
pin in his client's lapel.  "Mustn't wear that, doctor.  Very
bad form back there."

<p 352>

                                II

     FRED OTTENBURG, smartly dressed for the after-
noon, with a long black coat and gaiters was sitting
in the dusty parlor of the Everett House.  His manner was
not in accord with his personal freshness, the good lines of
his clothes, and the shining smoothness of his hair.  His
attitude was one of deep dejection, and his face, though it
had the cool, unimpeachable fairness possible only to a
very blond young man, was by no means happy.  A page
shuffled into the room and looked about.  When he made
out the dark figure in a shadowy corner, tracing over the
carpet pattern with a cane, he droned, "The lady says you
can come up, sir."

     Fred picked up his hat and gloves and followed the crea-
ture, who seemed an aged boy in uniform, through dark
corridors that smelled of old carpets.  The page knocked
at the door of Thea's sitting-room, and then wandered
away.  Thea came to the door with a telegram in her hand.
She asked Ottenburg to come in and pointed to one of the
clumsy, sullen-looking chairs that were as thick as they
were high.  The room was brown with time, dark in spite
of two windows that opened on Union Square, with dull
curtains and carpet, and heavy, respectable-looking furni-
ture in somber colors.  The place was saved from utter dis-
malness by a coal fire under the black marble mantelpiece,
--brilliantly reflected in a long mirror that hung between
the two windows.  This was the first time Fred had seen
the room, and he took it in quickly, as he put down his hat
and gloves.

     Thea seated herself at the walnut writing-desk, still
holding the slip of yellow paper.  "Dr. Archie is coming,"
she said.  "He will be here Friday morning."

<p 353>

     "Well, that's good, at any rate," her visitor replied with
a determined effort at cheerfulness.  Then, turning to the
fire, he added blankly, "If you want him."

     "Of course I want him.  I would never have asked such
a thing of him if I hadn't wanted him a great deal.  It's a
very expensive trip."  Thea spoke severely.  Then she went
on, in a milder tone.  "He doesn't say anything about
the money, but I think his coming means that he can let
me have it."

     Fred was standing before the mantel, rubbing his hands
together nervously.  "Probably.  You are still determined
to call on him?"  He sat down tentatively in the chair Thea
had indicated.  "I don't see why you won't borrow from
me, and let him sign with you, for instance.  That would
constitute a perfectly regular business transaction.  I could
bring suit against either of you for my money."

     Thea turned toward him from the desk.  "We won't take
that up again, Fred.  I should have a different feeling about
it if I went on your money.  In a way I shall feel freer on
Dr. Archie's, and in another way I shall feel more bound.
I shall try even harder."  She paused.  "He is almost like
my father," she added irrelevantly.

     "Still, he isn't, you know," Fred persisted.  "It would
n't be anything new.  I've loaned money to students
before, and got it back, too."

     "Yes; I know you're generous," Thea hurried over it,
"but this will be the best way.  He will be here on Friday
did I tell you?"

     "I think you mentioned it.  That's rather soon.  May
I smoke?" he took out a small cigarette case.  "I sup-
pose you'll be off next week?" he asked as he struck a
match.

     "Just as soon as I can," she replied with a restless move-
ment of her arms, as if her dark-blue dress were too tight
for her.  "It seems as if I'd been here forever."

     "And yet," the young man mused, "we got in only four

<p 354>

days ago.  Facts really don't count for much, do they?  It's
all in the way people feel: even in little things."

     Thea winced, but she did not answer him.  She put the
telegram back in its envelope and placed it carefully in one
of the pigeonholes of the desk.

     "I suppose," Fred brought out with effort, "that your
friend is in your confidence?"

     "He always has been.  I shall have to tell him about my-
self.  I wish I could without dragging you in."

     Fred shook himself.  "Don't bother about where you
drag me, please," he put in, flushing.  "I don't give--"
he subsided suddenly.

     "I'm afraid," Thea went on gravely, "that he won't
understand.  He'll be hard on you."

     Fred studied the white ash of his cigarette before he
flicked it off.  "You mean he'll see me as even worse than
I am.  Yes, I suppose I shall look very low to him: a fifth-
rate scoundrel.  But that only matters in so far as it hurts
his feelings."

     Thea sighed.  "We'll both look pretty low.  And after
all, we must really be just about as we shall look to
him."

     Ottenburg started up and threw his cigarette into the
grate.  "That I deny.  Have you ever been really frank with
this preceptor of your childhood, even when you WERE a
child?  Think a minute, have you?  Of course not!  From
your cradle, as I once told you, you've been `doing it' on
the side, living your own life, admitting to yourself things
that would horrify him.  You've always deceived him to
the extent of letting him think you different from what
you are.  He couldn't understand then, he can't under-
stand now.  So why not spare yourself and him?"

     She shook her head.  "Of course, I've had my own
thoughts.  Maybe he has had his, too.  But I've never done
anything before that he would much mind.  I must put
myself right with him,--as right as I can,--to begin

<p 355>

over.  He'll make allowances for me.  He always has.  But
I'm afraid he won't for you."

     "Leave that to him and me.  I take it you want me to see
him?"  Fred sat down again and began absently to trace
the carpet pattern with his cane.  "At the worst," he spoke
wanderingly, "I thought you'd perhaps let me go in on the
business end of it and invest along with you.  You'd put
in your talent and ambition and hard work, and I'd put
in the money and--well, nobody's good wishes are to be
scorned, not even mine.  Then, when the thing panned out
big, we could share together.  Your doctor friend hasn't
cared half so much about your future as I have."

     "He's cared a good deal.  He doesn't know as much
about such things as you do.  Of course you've been a great
deal more help to me than any one else ever has," Thea
said quietly.  The black clock on the mantel began to
strike.  She listened to the five strokes and then said, "I'd
have liked your helping me eight months ago.  But now,
you'd simply be keeping me."

     "You weren't ready for it eight months ago."  Fred
leaned back at last in his chair.  "You simply weren't ready
for it.  You were too tired.  You were too timid.  Your
whole tone was too low.  You couldn't rise from a chair
like that,"--she had started up apprehensively and gone
toward the window.--  "You were fumbling and awkward.
Since then you've come into your personality.  You were
always locking horns with it before.  You were a sullen
little drudge eight months ago, afraid of being caught at
either looking or moving like yourself.  Nobody could tell
anything about you.  A voice is not an instrument that's
found ready-made.  A voice is personality.  It can be as
big as a circus and as common as dirt.--  There's good
money in that kind, too, but I don't happen to be interested
in them.--  Nobody could tell much about what you might
be able to do, last winter.  I divined more than anybody
else."

<p 356>

     "Yes, I know you did."  Thea walked over to the old-
fashioned mantel and held her hands down to the glow of
the fire.  "I owe so much to you, and that's what makes
things hard.  That's why I have to get away from you
altogether.  I depend on you for so many things.  Oh, I did
even last winter, in Chicago!"  She knelt down by the
grate and held her hands closer to the coals.  "And one
thing leads to another."

     Ottenburg watched her as she bent toward the fire.  His
glance brightened a little.  "Anyhow, you couldn't look as
you do now, before you knew me.  You WERE clumsy.  And
whatever you do now, you do splendidly.  And you can't
cry enough to spoil your face for more than ten minutes.
It comes right back, in spite of you.  It's only since you've
known me that you've let yourself be beautiful."

     Without rising she turned her face away.  Fred went on
impetuously.  "Oh, you can turn it away from me, Thea;
you can take it away from me!  All the same--" his spurt
died and he fell back.  "How can you turn on me so, after
all!" he sighed.

     "I haven't.  But when you arranged with yourself to
take me in like that, you couldn't have been thinking
very kindly of me.  I can't understand how you carried it
through, when I was so easy, and all the circumstances were
so easy."

     Her crouching position by the fire became threatening.
Fred got up, and Thea also rose.

     "No," he said, "I can't make you see that now.  Some
time later, perhaps, you will understand better.  For one
thing, I honestly could not imagine that words, names,
meant so much to you."  Fred was talking with the des-
peration of a man who has put himself in the wrong and
who yet feels that there was an idea of truth in his conduct.
"Suppose that you had married your brakeman and lived
with him year after year, caring for him even less than you
do for your doctor, or for Harsanyi.  I suppose you would

<p 357>

have felt quite all right about it, because that relation has
a name in good standing.  To me, that seems--sickening!"
He took a rapid turn about the room and then as Thea
remained standing, he rolled one of the elephantine chairs
up to the hearth for her.

     "Sit down and listen to me for a moment, Thea."  He
began pacing from the hearthrug to the window and back
again, while she sat down compliantly.  "Don't you know
most of the people in the world are not individuals at all?
They never have an individual idea or experience.  A lot
of girls go to boarding-school together, come out the same
season, dance at the same parties, are married off in
groups, have their babies at about the same time, send
their children to school together, and so the human crop
renews itself.  Such women know as much about the reality
of the forms they go through as they know about the
wars they learn the dates of.  They get their most per-
sonal experiences out of novels and plays.  Everything is
second-hand with them.  Why, you COULDN'T live like that."

     Thea sat looking toward the mantel, her eyes half closed,
her chin level, her head set as if she were enduring some-
thing.  Her hands, very white, lay passive on her dark
gown.  From the window corner Fred looked at them and
at her.  He shook his head and flashed an angry, tormented
look out into the blue twilight over the Square, through
which muffled cries and calls and the clang of car bells
came up from the street.  He turned again and began to
pace the floor, his hands in his pockets.

     "Say what you will, Thea Kronborg, you are not that
sort of person.  You will never sit alone with a pacifier and
a novel.  You won't subsist on what the old ladies have put
into the bottle for you.  You will always break through
into the realities.  That was the first thing Harsanyi found
out about you; that you couldn't be kept on the outside.
If you'd lived in Moonstone all your life and got on with
the discreet brakeman, you'd have had just the same

<p 358>

nature.  Your children would have been the realities then,
probably.  If they'd been commonplace, you'd have killed
them with driving.  You'd have managed some way to
live twenty times as much as the people around you."

     Fred paused.  He sought along the shadowy ceiling and
heavy mouldings for words.  When he began again, his
voice was lower, and at first he spoke with less conviction,
though again it grew on him.  "Now I knew all this--oh,
knew it better than I can ever make you understand!
You've been running a handicap.  You had no time to lose.
I wanted you to have what you need and to get on fast--
get through with me, if need be; I counted on that.  You've
no time to sit round and analyze your conduct or your
feelings.  Other women give their whole lives to it.  They've
nothing else to do.  Helping a man to get his divorce is a
career for them; just the sort of intellectual exercise they
like."

     Fred dived fiercely into his pockets as if he would rip
them out and scatter their contents to the winds.  Stop-
ping before her, he took a deep breath and went on
again, this time slowly.  "All that sort of thing is foreign
to you.  You'd be nowhere at it.  You haven't that kind of
mind.  The grammatical niceties of conduct are dark to
you.  You're simple--and poetic."  Fred's voice seemed
to be wandering about in the thickening dusk.  "You won't
play much.  You won't, perhaps, love many times."  He
paused.  "And you did love me, you know.  Your railroad
friend would have understood me.  I COULD have thrown you
back.  The reverse was there,--it stared me in the face,--
but I couldn't pull it.  I let you drive ahead."  He threw
out his hands.  What Thea noticed, oddly enough, was the
flash of the firelight on his cuff link.  He turned again.
"And you'll always drive ahead," he muttered.  "It's your
way."

     There was a long silence.  Fred had dropped into a chair.
He seemed, after such an explosion, not to have a word

<p 359>

left in him.  Thea put her hand to the back of her neck and
pressed it, as if the muscles there were aching.

     "Well," she said at last, "I at least overlook more in you
than I do in myself.  I am always excusing you to myself.
I don't do much else."

     "Then why, in Heaven's name, won't you let me be your
friend?  You make a scoundrel of me, borrowing money
from another man to get out of my clutches."

     "If I borrow from him, it's to study.  Anything I took
from you would be different.  As I said before, you'd be
keeping me."

     "Keeping!  I like your language.  It's pure Moonstone,
Thea,--like your point of view.  I wonder how long you'll
be a Methodist."  He turned away bitterly.

     "Well, I've never said I wasn't Moonstone, have I?  I
am, and that's why I want Dr. Archie.  I can't see anything
so funny about Moonstone, you know."  She pushed her
chair back a little from the hearth and clasped her hands
over her knee, still looking thoughtfully into the red coals.
"We always come back to the same thing, Fred.  The name,
as you call it, makes a difference to me how I feel about
myself.  You would have acted very differently with a girl
of your own kind, and that's why I can't take anything
from you now.  You've made everything impossible.  Being
married is one thing and not being married is the other
thing, and that's all there is to it.  I can't see how you
reasoned with yourself, if you took the trouble to reason.
You say I was too much alone, and yet what you did was
to cut me off more than I ever had been.  Now I'm going
to try to make good to my friends out there.  That's all
there is left for me."

     "Make good to your friends!" Fred burst out.  "What
one of them cares as I care, or believes as I believe?  I've
told you I'll never ask a gracious word from you until I
can ask it with all the churches in Christendom at my
back."

<p 360>

     Thea looked up, and when she saw Fred's face, she
thought sadly that he, too, looked as if things were spoiled
for him.  "If you know me as well as you say you do, Fred,"
she said slowly, "then you are not being honest with your-
self.  You know that I can't do things halfway.  If you kept
me at all--you'd keep me."  She dropped her head wearily
on her hand and sat with her forehead resting on her
fingers.

     Fred leaned over her and said just above his breath,
"Then, when I get that divorce, you'll take it up with me
again?  You'll at least let me know, warn me, before there
is a serious question of anybody else?"

     Without lifting her head, Thea answered him.  "Oh, I
don't think there will ever be a question of anybody else.
Not if I can help it.  I suppose I've given you every reason
to think there will be,--at once, on shipboard, any time."

     Ottenburg drew himself up like a shot.  "Stop it, Thea!"
he said sharply.  "That's one thing you've never done.
That's like any common woman."  He saw her shoulders
lift a little and grow calm.  Then he went to the other side
of the room and took up his hat and gloves from the sofa.
He came back cheerfully.  "I didn't drop in to bully you
this afternoon.  I came to coax you to go out for tea with
me somewhere."  He waited, but she did not look up or
lift her head, still sunk on her hand.

     Her handkerchief had fallen.  Fred picked it up and put
it on her knee, pressing her fingers over it.  "Good-night,
dear and wonderful," he whispered,--"wonderful and dear!
How can you ever get away from me when I will always
follow you, through every wall, through every door, wher-
ever you go."  He looked down at her bent head, and the
curve of her neck that was so sad.  He stooped, and with
his lips just touched her hair where the firelight made it
ruddiest.  "I didn't know I had it in me, Thea.  I thought
it was all a fairy tale.  I don't know myself any more."  He
closed his eyes and breathed deeply.  "The salt's all gone

<p 361>

out of your hair.  It's full of sun and wind again.  I believe
it has memories."  Again she heard him take a deep breath.
"I could do without you for a lifetime, if that would give
you to yourself.  A woman like you doesn't find herself,
alone."

     She thrust her free hand up to him.  He kissed it softly,
as if she were asleep and he were afraid of waking her.

     From the door he turned back irrelevantly.  "As to your
old friend, Thea, if he's to be here on Friday, why,"--he
snatched out his watch and held it down to catch the light
from the grate,--"he's on the train now!  That ought to
cheer you.  Good-night."  She heard the door close.

<p 362>

                                III

     ON Friday afternoon Thea Kronborg was walking ex-
citedly up and down her sitting-room, which at that
hour was flooded by thin, clear sunshine.  Both windows
were open, and the fire in the grate was low, for the day was
one of those false springs that sometimes blow into New
York from the sea in the middle of winter, soft, warm,
with a persuasive salty moisture in the air and a relaxing
thaw under foot.  Thea was flushed and animated, and she
seemed as restless as the sooty sparrows that chirped and
cheeped distractingly about the windows.  She kept looking
at the black clock, and then down into the Square.  The
room was full of flowers, and she stopped now and then to
arrange them or to move them into the sunlight.  After the
bellboy came to announce a visitor, she took some Roman
hyacinths from a glass and stuck them in the front of her
dark-blue dress.

     When at last Fred Ottenburg appeared in the doorway,
she met him with an exclamation of pleasure.  "I am glad
you've come, Fred.  I was afraid you might not get my
note, and I wanted to see you before you see Dr. Archie.
He's so nice!"  She brought her hands together to em-
phasize her statement.

     "Is he?  I'm glad.  You see I'm quite out of breath.
I didn't wait for the elevator, but ran upstairs.  I was
so pleased at being sent for."  He dropped his hat and over-
coat.  "Yes, I should say he is nice!  I don't seem to
recognize all of these," waving his handkerchief about at
the flowers.

     "Yes, he brought them himself, in a big box.  He brought
lots with him besides flowers.  Oh, lots of things!  The old
Moonstone feeling,"--Thea moved her hand back and

<p 363>

forth in the air, fluttering her fingers,--"the feeling of
starting out, early in the morning, to take my lesson."

     "And you've had everything out with him?"

     "No, I haven't."

     "Haven't?"  He looked up in consternation.

     "No, I haven't!"  Thea spoke excitedly, moving about
over the sunny patches on the grimy carpet.  "I've lied
to him, just as you said I had always lied to him, and
that's why I'm so happy.  I've let him think what he
likes to think.  Oh, I couldn't do anything else, Fred,"--
she shook her head emphatically.  "If you'd seen him
when he came in, so pleased and excited!  You see this is
a great adventure for him.  From the moment I began to
talk to him, he entreated me not to say too much, not to
spoil his notion of me.  Not in so many words, of course.
But if you'd seen his eyes, his face, his kind hands!  Oh,
no!  I couldn't."  She took a deep breath, as if with a
renewed sense of her narrow escape.

     "Then, what did you tell him?" Fred demanded.

     Thea sat down on the edge of the sofa and began shutting
and opening her hands nervously.  "Well, I told him
enough, and not too much.  I told him all about how good
you were to me last winter, getting me engagements and
things, and how you had helped me with my work more
than anybody.  Then I told him about how you sent me
down to the ranch when I had no money or anything."
She paused and wrinkled her forehead.  "And I told him
that I wanted to marry you and ran away to Mexico with
you, and that I was awfully happy until you told me that
you couldn't marry me because--well, I told him why."
Thea dropped her eyes and moved the toe of her shoe
about restlessly on the carpet.

     "And he took it from you, like that?" Fred asked,
almost with awe.

     "Yes, just like that, and asked no questions.  He was
hurt; he had some wretched moments.  I could see him

<p 364>

squirming and squirming and trying to get past it.  He
kept shutting his eyes and rubbing his forehead.  But when
I told him that I absolutely knew you wanted to marry me,
that you would whenever you could, that seemed to help
him a good deal."

     "And that satisfied him?" Fred asked wonderingly.
He could not quite imagine what kind of person Dr. Archie
might be.

     "He took me by the shoulders once and asked, oh, in
such a frightened way, `Thea, was he GOOD to you, this
young man?'  When I told him you were, he looked at me
again: `And you care for him a great deal, you believe in
him?'  Then he seemed satisfied."  Thea paused.  "You
see, he's just tremendously good, and tremendously afraid
of things--of some things.  Otherwise he would have got
rid of Mrs. Archie."  She looked up suddenly: "You were
right, though; one can't tell people about things they don't
know already."

     Fred stood in the window, his back to the sunlight,
fingering the jonquils.  "Yes, you can, my dear.  But
you must tell it in such a way that they don't know
you're telling it, and that they don't know they're hear-
ing it."

     Thea smiled past him, out into the air.  "I see.  It's a
secret.  Like the sound in the shell."

     "What's that?"  Fred was watching her and thinking
how moving that faraway expression, in her, happened to
be.  "What did you say?"

     She came back.  "Oh, something old and Moonstony!
I have almost forgotten it myself.  But I feel better than I
thought I ever could again.  I can't wait to be off.  Oh,
Fred," she sprang up, "I want to get at it!"

     As she broke out with this, she threw up her head and
lifted herself a little on her toes.  Fred colored and looked
at her fearfully, hesitatingly.  Her eyes, which looked out
through the window, were bright--they had no memories.

<p 365>

No, she did not remember.  That momentary elevation had
no associations for her.  It was unconscious.

     He looked her up and down and laughed and shook his
head.  "You are just all I want you to be--and that is,--
not for me!  Don't worry, you'll get at it.  You are at it.
My God! have you ever, for one moment, been at anything
else?"

     Thea did not answer him, and clearly she had not heard
him.  She was watching something out in the thin light of
the false spring and its treacherously soft air.

     Fred waited a moment.  "Are you going to dine with
your friend to-night?"

     "Yes.  He has never been in New York before.  He
wants to go about.  Where shall I tell him to go?"

     "Wouldn't it be a better plan, since you wish me to
meet him, for you both to dine with me?  It would seem
only natural and friendly.  You'll have to live up a little to
his notion of us."  Thea seemed to consider the suggestion
favorably.  "If you wish him to be easy in his mind,"
Fred went on, "that would help.  I think, myself, that we
are rather nice together.  Put on one of the new dresses
you got down there, and let him see how lovely you can
be.  You owe him some pleasure, after all the trouble he
has taken."

     Thea laughed, and seemed to find the idea exciting and
pleasant.  "Oh, very well!  I'll do my best.  Only don't
wear a dress coat, please.  He hasn't one, and he's nervous
about it."

     Fred looked at his watch.  "Your monument up there
is fast.  I'll be here with a cab at eight.  I'm anxious to
meet him.  You've given me the strangest idea of his callow
innocence and aged indifference."

     She shook her head.  "No, he's none of that.  He's very
good, and he won't admit things.  I love him for it.  Now,
as I look back on it, I see that I've always, even when I was
little, shielded him."

<p 366>

     As she laughed, Fred caught the bright spark in her
eye that he knew so well, and held it for a happy in-
stant.  Then he blew her a kiss with his finger-tips and
fled.

<p 367>

                                IV

     AT nine o'clock that evening our three friends were
seated in the balcony of a French restaurant, much
gayer and more intimate than any that exists in New York
to-day.  This old restaurant was built by a lover of plea-
sure, who knew that to dine gayly human beings must
have the reassurance of certain limitations of space and
of a certain definite style; that the walls must be near
enough to suggest shelter, the ceiling high enough to give
the chandeliers a setting.  The place was crowded with the
kind of people who dine late and well, and Dr. Archie, as
he watched the animated groups in the long room below
the balcony, found this much the most festive scene he had
ever looked out upon.  He said to himself, in a jovial mood
somewhat sustained by the cheer of the board, that this
evening alone was worth his long journey.  He followed
attentively the orchestra, ensconced at the farther end of
the balcony, and told Thea it made him feel "quite musi-
cal" to recognize "The Invitation to the Dance" or "The
Blue Danube," and that he could remember just what kind
of day it was when he heard her practicing them at home,
and lingered at the gate to listen.

     For the first few moments, when he was introduced to
young Ottenburg in the parlor of the Everett House, the
doctor had been awkward and unbending.  But Fred, as
his father had often observed, "was not a good mixer for
nothing."  He had brought Dr. Archie around during the
short cab ride, and in an hour they had become old friends.

     From the moment when the doctor lifted his glass and,
looking consciously at Thea, said, "To your success," Fred
liked him.  He felt his quality; understood his courage in
some directions and what Thea called his timidity in others,

<p 368>

his unspent and miraculously preserved youthfulness.
Men could never impose upon the doctor, he guessed,
but women always could.  Fred liked, too, the doctor's
manner with Thea, his bashful admiration and the little
hesitancy by which he betrayed his consciousness of the
change in her.  It was just this change that, at present,
interested Fred more than anything else.  That, he felt,
was his "created value," and it was his best chance for any
peace of mind.  If that were not real, obvious to an old
friend like Archie, then he cut a very poor figure, indeed.

     Fred got a good deal, too, out of their talk about Moon-
stone.  From her questions and the doctor's answers he was
able to form some conception of the little world that
was almost the measure of Thea's experience, the one bit
of the human drama that she had followed with sympathy
and understanding.  As the two ran over the list of
their friends, the mere sound of a name seemed to recall
volumes to each of them, to indicate mines of knowledge
and observation they had in common.  At some names they
laughed delightedly, at some indulgently and even ten-
derly.

     "You two young people must come out to Moonstone
when Thea gets back," the doctor said hospitably.

     "Oh, we shall!"  Fred caught it up.  "I'm keen to know
all these people.  It is very tantalizing to hear only their
names."

     "Would they interest an outsider very much, do you
think, Dr. Archie?"  Thea leaned toward him.  "Isn't it
only because we've known them since I was little?"

     The doctor glanced at her deferentially.  Fred had noticed
that he seemed a little afraid to look at her squarely--per-
haps a trifle embarrassed by a mode of dress to which he
was unaccustomed.  "Well, you are practically an outsider
yourself, Thea, now," he observed smiling.  "Oh, I know,"
he went on quickly in response to her gesture of protest,--
"I know you don't change toward your old friends, but

<p 369>

you can see us all from a distance now.  It's all to your
advantage that you can still take your old interest, isn't
it, Mr. Ottenburg?"

     "That's exactly one of her advantages, Dr. Archie.
Nobody can ever take that away from her, and none of us
who came later can ever hope to rival Moonstone in the
impression we make.  Her scale of values will always be
the Moonstone scale.  And, with an artist, that IS an
advantage."  Fred nodded.

     Dr. Archie looked at him seriously.  "You mean it keeps
them from getting affected?"

     "Yes; keeps them from getting off the track generally."

     While the waiter filled the glasses, Fred pointed out to
Thea a big black French barytone who was eating ancho-
vies by their tails at one of the tables below, and the doctor
looked about and studied his fellow diners.

     "Do you know, Mr. Ottenburg," he said deeply, "these
people all look happier to me than our Western people do.
Is it simply good manners on their part, or do they get
more out of life?"

     Fred laughed to Thea above the glass he had just lifted.
"Some of them are getting a good deal out of it now,
doctor.  This is the hour when bench-joy brightens."

     Thea chuckled and darted him a quick glance.  "Bench-
joy!  Where did you get that slang?"

     "That happens to be very old slang, my dear.  Older
than Moonstone or the sovereign State of Colorado.  Our
old friend Mr. Nathanmeyer could tell us why it happens
to hit you."  He leaned forward and touched Thea's wrist,
"See that fur coat just coming in, Thea.  It's D'Albert.
He's just back from his Western tour.  Fine head, hasn't
he?"

     "To go back," said Dr. Archie; "I insist that people do
look happier here.  I've noticed it even on the street, and
especially in the hotels."

     Fred turned to him cheerfully.  "New York people live

<p 370>

a good deal in the fourth dimension, Dr. Archie.  It's that
you notice in their faces."

     The doctor was interested.  "The fourth dimension," he
repeated slowly; "and is that slang, too?"

     "No,"--Fred shook his head,--"that's merely a
figure.  I mean that life is not quite so personal here as it
is in your part of the world.  People are more taken up by
hobbies, interests that are less subject to reverses than
their personal affairs.  If you're interested in Thea's voice,
for instance, or in voices in general, that interest is just the
same, even if your mining stocks go down."

     The doctor looked at him narrowly.  "You think that's
about the principal difference between country people and
city people, don't you?"

     Fred was a little disconcerted at being followed up so
resolutely, and he attempted to dismiss it with a pleasantry.
"I've never thought much about it, doctor.  But I should
say, on the spur of the moment, that that is one of the
principal differences between people anywhere.  It's the
consolation of fellows like me who don't accomplish much.
The fourth dimension is not good for business, but we think
we have a better time."

     Dr. Archie leaned back in his chair.  His heavy shoulders
were contemplative.  "And she," he said slowly; "should
you say that she is one of the kind you refer to?"  He in-
clined his head toward the shimmer of the pale-green dress
beside him.  Thea was leaning, just then, over the balcony
rail, her head in the light from the chandeliers below.

     "Never, never!" Fred protested.  "She's as hard-headed
as the worst of you--with a difference."

     The doctor sighed.  "Yes, with a difference; something
that makes a good many revolutions to the second.  When
she was little I used to feel her head to try to locate it."

     Fred laughed.  "Did you, though?  So you were on the
track of it?  Oh, it's there!  We can't get round it, miss,"
as Thea looked back inquiringly.  "Dr. Archie, there's a

<p 371>

fellow townsman of yours I feel a real kinship for."  He
pressed a cigar upon Dr. Archie and struck a match for him.
"Tell me about Spanish Johnny."

     The doctor smiled benignantly through the first waves
of smoke.  "Well, Johnny's an old patient of mine, and he's
an old admirer of Thea's.  She was born a cosmopolitan,
and I expect she learned a good deal from Johnny when she
used to run away and go to Mexican Town.  We thought
it a queer freak then."

     The doctor launched into a long story, in which he was
often eagerly interrupted or joyously confirmed by Thea,
who was drinking her coffee and forcing open the petals of
the roses with an ardent and rather rude hand.  Fred set-
tled down into enjoying his comprehension of his guests.
Thea, watching Dr. Archie and interested in his presenta-
tion, was unconsciously impersonating her suave, gold-
tinted friend.  It was delightful to see her so radiant and
responsive again.  She had kept her promise about looking
her best; when one could so easily get together the colors
of an apple branch in early spring, that was not hard to do.
Even Dr. Archie felt, each time he looked at her, a fresh
consciousness.  He recognized the fine texture of her
mother's skin, with the difference that, when she reached
across the table to give him a bunch of grapes, her arm was
not only white, but somehow a little dazzling.  She seemed
to him taller, and freer in all her movements.  She had now
a way of taking a deep breath when she was interested, that
made her seem very strong, somehow, and brought her
at one quite overpoweringly.  If he seemed shy, it was not
that he was intimidated by her worldly clothes, but that
her greater positiveness, her whole augmented self, made
him feel that his accustomed manner toward her was
inadequate.

     Fred, on his part, was reflecting that the awkward posi-
tion in which he had placed her would not confine or chafe
her long.  She looked about at other people, at other women,

<p 372>

curiously.  She was not quite sure of herself, but she was not
in the least afraid or apologetic.  She seemed to sit there on
the edge, emerging from one world into another, taking her
bearings, getting an idea of the concerted movement about
her, but with absolute self-confidence.  So far from shrink-
ing, she expanded.  The mere kindly effort to please Dr.
Archie was enough to bring her out.

     There was much talk of aurae at that time, and Fred
mused that every beautiful, every compellingly beautiful
woman, had an aura, whether other people did or no.  There
was, certainly, about the woman he had brought up from
Mexico, such an emanation.  She existed in more space
than she occupied by measurement.  The enveloping air
about her head and shoulders was subsidized--was more
moving than she herself, for in it lived the awakenings, all
the first sweetness that life kills in people.  One felt in her
such a wealth of JUGENDZEIT, all those flowers of the mind
and the blood that bloom and perish by the myriad in the
few exhaustless years when the imagination first kindles.  It
was in watching her as she emerged like this, in being near
and not too near, that one got, for a moment, so much that
one had lost; among other legendary things the legendary
theme of the absolutely magical power of a beautiful woman.

     After they had left Thea at her hotel, Dr. Archie admit-
ted to Fred, as they walked up Broadway through the rap-
idly chilling air, that once before he had seen their young
friend flash up into a more potent self, but in a darker mood.
It was in his office one night, when she was at home the
summer before last.  "And then I got the idea," he added
simply, "that she would not live like other people: that,
for better or worse, she had uncommon gifts."

     "Oh, we'll see that it's for better, you and I," Fred
reassured him.  "Won't you come up to my hotel with me?
I think we ought to have a long talk."

     "Yes, indeed," said Dr. Archie gratefully; "I think we
ought."

<p 373>

                                 V

     THEA was to sail on Tuesday, at noon, and on Saturday
Fred Ottenburg arranged for her passage, while she
and Dr. Archie went shopping.  With rugs and sea-clothes
she was already provided; Fred had got everything of that
sort she needed for the voyage up from Vera Cruz.  On
Sunday afternoon Thea went to see the Harsanyis.  When
she returned to her hotel, she found a note from Ottenburg,
saying that he had called and would come again to-morrow.

     On Monday morning, while she was at breakfast, Fred
came in.  She knew by his hurried, distracted air as he
entered the dining-room that something had gone wrong.
He had just got a telegram from home.  His mother had
been thrown from her carriage and hurt; a concussion of
some sort, and she was unconscious.  He was leaving for
St. Louis that night on the eleven o'clock train.  He had a
great deal to attend to during the day.  He would come that
evening, if he might, and stay with her until train time,
while she was doing her packing.  Scarcely waiting for her
consent, he hurried away.

     All day Thea was somewhat cast down.  She was sorry
for Fred, and she missed the feeling that she was the one
person in his mind.  He had scarcely looked at her when
they exchanged words at the breakfast-table.  She felt as
if she were set aside, and she did not seem so important
even to herself as she had yesterday.  Certainly, she
reflected, it was high time that she began to take care of
herself again.  Dr. Archie came for dinner, but she sent him
away early, telling him that she would be ready to go to
the boat with him at half-past ten the next morning.  When
she went upstairs, she looked gloomily at the open trunk
in her sitting-room, and at the trays piled on the sofa.  She

<p 374>

stood at the window and watched a quiet snowstorm
spending itself over the city.  More than anything else,
falling snow always made her think of Moonstone; of the
Kohlers' garden, of Thor's sled, of dressing by lamplight
and starting off to school before the paths were broken.

     When Fred came, he looked tired, and he took her hand
almost without seeing her.

     "I'm so sorry, Fred.  Have you had any more word?"

     "She was still unconscious at four this afternoon.  It
doesn't look very encouraging."  He approached the fire
and warmed his hands.  He seemed to have contracted, and
he had not at all his habitual ease of manner.  "Poor
mother!" he exclaimed; "nothing like this should have
happened to her.  She has so much pride of person.  She's
not at all an old woman, you know.  She's never got beyond
vigorous and rather dashing middle age."  He turned
abruptly to Thea and for the first time really looked at her.
"How badly things come out!  She'd have liked you for a
daughter-in-law.  Oh, you'd have fought like the devil,
but you'd have respected each other."  He sank into a
chair and thrust his feet out to the fire.  "Still," he went
on thoughtfully, seeming to address the ceiling, "it might
have been bad for you.  Our big German houses, our good
German cooking--you might have got lost in the uphol-
stery.  That substantial comfort might take the temper out
of you, dull your edge.  Yes," he sighed, "I guess you were
meant for the jolt of the breakers."

     "I guess I'll get plenty of jolt," Thea murmured, turn-
ing to her trunk.

     "I'm rather glad I'm not staying over until to-morrow,"
Fred reflected.  "I think it's easier for me to glide out like
this.  I feel now as if everything were rather casual, any-
how.  A thing like that dulls one's feelings."

     Thea, standing by her trunk, made no reply.  Presently
he shook himself and rose.  "Want me to put those trays
in for you?"

<p 375>

     "No, thank you.  I'm not ready for them yet."

     Fred strolled over to the sofa, lifted a scarf from one of
the trays and stood abstractedly drawing it through his
fingers.  "You've been so kind these last few days, Thea,
that I began to hope you might soften a little; that you
might ask me to come over and see you this summer."

     "If you thought that, you were mistaken," she said
slowly.  "I've hardened, if anything.  But I shan't carry
any grudge away with me, if you mean that."

     He dropped the scarf.  "And there's nothing--nothing
at all you'll let me do?"

     "Yes, there is one thing, and it's a good deal to ask.  If I
get knocked out, or never get on, I'd like you to see that
Dr. Archie gets his money back.  I'm taking three thousand
dollars of his."

     "Why, of course I shall.  You may dismiss that from
your mind.  How fussy you are about money, Thea.  You
make such a point of it."  He turned sharply and walked
to the windows.

     Thea sat down in the chair he had quitted.  "It's only
poor people who feel that way about money, and who are
really honest," she said gravely.  "Sometimes I think that
to be really honest, you must have been so poor that you've
been tempted to steal."

     "To what?"

     "To steal.  I used to be, when I first went to Chicago
and saw all the things in the big stores there.  Never any-
thing big, but little things, the kind I'd never seen before
and could never afford.  I did take something once, before
I knew it."

     Fred came toward her.  For the first time she had his
whole attention, in the degree to which she was accustomed
to having it.  "Did you?  What was it?" he asked with
interest.

     "A sachet.  A little blue silk bag of orris-root powder.
There was a whole counterful of them, marked down to

<p 376>

fifty cents.  I'd never seen any before, and they seemed
irresistible.  I took one up and wandered about the store
with it.  Nobody seemed to notice, so I carried it off."

     Fred laughed.  "Crazy child!  Why, your things always
smell of orris; is it a penance?"

     "No, I love it.  But I saw that the firm didn't lose any-
thing by me.  I went back and bought it there whenever I
had a quarter to spend.  I got a lot to take to Arizona.  I
made it up to them."

     "I'll bet you did!"  Fred took her hand.  "Why didn't
I find you that first winter?  I'd have loved you just as you
came!"

     Thea shook her head.  "No, you wouldn't, but you
might have found me amusing.  The Harsanyis said yester-
day afternoon that I wore such a funny cape and that my
shoes always squeaked.  They think I've improved.  I told
them it was your doing if I had, and then they looked
scared."

     "Did you sing for Harsanyi?"

     "Yes.  He thinks I've improved there, too.  He said nice
things to me.  Oh, he was very nice!  He agrees with you
about my going to Lehmann, if she'll take me.  He came
out to the elevator with me, after we had said good-bye.
He said something nice out there, too, but he seemed sad."

     "What was it that he said?"

     "He said, `When people, serious people, believe in you,
they give you some of their best, so--take care of it, Miss
Kronborg.'  Then he waved his hands and went back."

     "If you sang, I wish you had taken me along.  Did you
sing well?"  Fred turned from her and went back to the
window.  "I wonder when I shall hear you sing again."
He picked up a bunch of violets and smelled them.  "You
know, your leaving me like this--well, it's almost inhu-
man to be able to do it so kindly and unconditionally."

     "I suppose it is.  It was almost inhuman to be able to
leave home, too,--the last time, when I knew it was for

<p 377>

good.  But all the same, I cared a great deal more than
anybody else did.  I lived through it.  I have no choice now.
No matter how much it breaks me up, I have to go.  Do I
seem to enjoy it?"

     Fred bent over her trunk and picked up something which
proved to be a score, clumsily bound.  "What's this?  Did
you ever try to sing this?"  He opened it and on the
engraved title-page read Wunsch's inscription, "EINST, O
WUNDER!"  He looked up sharply at Thea.

     "Wunsch gave me that when he went away.  I've told
you about him, my old teacher in Moonstone.  He loved
that opera."

     Fred went toward the fireplace, the book under his arm,
singing softly:--

          "EINST, O WUNDER, ENTBLUHT AUF MEINEM GRABE,
              EINE BLUME DER ASCHE MEINES HERZENS;"

"You have no idea at all where he is, Thea?"  He leaned
against the mantel and looked down at her.

     "No, I wish I had.  He may be dead by this time.  That
was five years ago, and he used himself hard.  Mrs. Kohler
was always afraid he would die off alone somewhere and be
stuck under the prairie.  When we last heard of him, he was
in Kansas."

     "If he were to be found, I'd like to do something for him.
I seem to get a good deal of him from this."  He opened the
book again, where he kept the place with his finger, and
scrutinized the purple ink.  "How like a German!  Had he
ever sung the song for you?"

     "No.  I didn't know where the words were from until
once, when Harsanyi sang it for me, I recognized them."

     Fred closed the book.  "Let me see, what was your noble
brakeman's name?"

     Thea looked up with surprise.  "Ray, Ray Kennedy."

     "Ray Kennedy!" he laughed.  "It couldn't well have
been better!  Wunsch and Dr. Archie, and Ray, and I,"--

<p 378>

he told them off on his fingers,--"your whistling-posts!
You haven't done so badly.  We've backed you as we
could, some in our weakness and some in our might.  In
your dark hours--and you'll have them--you may like
to remember us."  He smiled whimsically and dropped the
score into the trunk.  "You are taking that with you?"

     "Surely I am.  I haven't so many keepsakes that I can
afford to leave that.  I haven't got many that I value so
highly."

     "That you value so highly?"  Fred echoed her gravity
playfully.  "You are delicious when you fall into your
vernacular."  He laughed half to himself.

     "What's the matter with that?  Isn't it perfectly good
English?"

     "Perfectly good Moonstone, my dear.  Like the ready-
made clothes that hang in the windows, made to fit every-
body and fit nobody, a phrase that can be used on all occa-
sions.  Oh,"--he started across the room again,--"that's
one of the fine things about your going!  You'll be with
the right sort of people and you'll learn a good, live, warm
German, that will be like yourself.  You'll get a new speech
full of shades and color like your voice; alive, like your mind.
It will be almost like being born again, Thea."

     She was not offended.  Fred had said such things to her
before, and she wanted to learn.  In the natural course of
things she would never have loved a man from whom she
could not learn a great deal.

     "Harsanyi said once," she remarked thoughtfully, "that
if one became an artist one had to be born again, and that
one owed nothing to anybody."

     "Exactly.  And when I see you again I shall not see you,
but your daughter.  May I?"  He held up his cigarette case
questioningly and then began to smoke, taking up again
the song which ran in his head:--

          "DEUTLICH SCHIMMERT AUF JEDEM, PURPURBLATTCHEN,
ADELAIDE!"

<p 379>

"I have half an hour with you yet, and then, exit Fred."
He walked about the room, smoking and singing the words
under his breath.  "You'll like the voyage," he said ab-
ruptly.  "That first approach to a foreign shore, stealing
up on it and finding it--there's nothing like it.  It wakes
up everything that's asleep in you.  You won't mind my
writing to some people in Berlin?  They'll be nice to you."

     "I wish you would."  Thea gave a deep sigh.  "I wish
one could look ahead and see what is coming to one."

     "Oh, no!"  Fred was smoking nervously; "that would
never do.  It's the uncertainty that makes one try.  You've
never had any sort of chance, and now I fancy you'll make
it up to yourself.  You'll find the way to let yourself out in
one long flight."

     Thea put her hand on her heart.  "And then drop like
the rocks we used to throw--anywhere."  She left the
chair and went over to the sofa, hunting for something in
the trunk trays.  When she came back she found Fred sit-
ting in her place.  "Here are some handkerchiefs of yours.
I've kept one or two.  They're larger than mine and useful
if one has a headache."

     "Thank you.  How nicely they smell of your things!"
He looked at the white squares for a moment and then put
them in his pocket.  He kept the low chair, and as she stood
beside him he took her hands and sat looking intently at
them, as if he were examining them for some special pur-
pose, tracing the long round fingers with the tips of his
own.  "Ordinarily, you know, there are reefs that a man
catches to and keeps his nose above water.  But this is a
case by itself.  There seems to be no limit as to how much
I can be in love with you.  I keep going."  He did not lift
his eyes from her fingers, which he continued to study with
the same fervor.  "Every kind of stringed instrument there
is plays in your hands, Thea," he whispered, pressing them
to his face.

     She dropped beside him and slipped into his arms, shut-

<p 380>

ting her eyes and lifting her cheek to his.  "Tell me one
thing," Fred whispered.  "You said that night on the boat,
when I first told you, that if you could you would crush it
all up in your hands and throw it into the sea.  Would you,
all those weeks?"

     She shook her head.

     "Answer me, would you?"

     "No, I was angry then.  I'm not now.  I'd never give
them up.  Don't make me pay too much."  In that embrace
they lived over again all the others.  When Thea drew away
from him, she dropped her face in her hands.  "You are
good to me," she breathed, "you are!"

     Rising to his feet, he put his hands under her elbows and
lifted her gently.  He drew her toward the door with him.
"Get all you can.  Be generous with yourself.  Don't stop
short of splendid things.  I want them for you more than I
want anything else, more than I want one splendid thing
for myself.  I can't help feeling that you'll gain, somehow,
by my losing so much.  That you'll gain the very thing I
lose.  Take care of her, as Harsanyi said.  She's wonder-
ful!"  He kissed her and went out of the door without look-
ing back, just as if he were coming again to-morrow.

     Thea went quickly into her bedroom.  She brought out
an armful of muslin things, knelt down, and began to lay
them in the trays.  Suddenly she stopped, dropped for-
ward and leaned against the open trunk, her head on her
arms.  The tears fell down on the dark old carpet.  It
came over her how many people must have said good-bye
and been unhappy in that room.  Other people, before her
time, had hired this room to cry in.  Strange rooms and
strange streets and faces, how sick at heart they made one!
Why was she going so far, when what she wanted was
some familiar place to hide in?--the rock house, her
little room in Moonstone, her own bed.  Oh, how good it
would be to lie down in that little bed, to cut the nerve
that kept one struggling, that pulled one on and on, to sink

<p 381>

into peace there, with all the family safe and happy down-
stairs.  After all, she was a Moonstone girl, one of the
preacher's children.  Everything else was in Fred's imagi-
nation.  Why was she called upon to take such chances?
Any safe, humdrum work that did not compromise her
would be better.  But if she failed now, she would lose her
soul.  There was nowhere to fall, after one took that step,
except into abysses of wretchedness.  She knew what
abysses, for she could still hear the old man playing in the
snowstorm, "<Ach, ich habe sie verloren!>"  That melody
was released in her like a passion of longing.  Every nerve
in her body thrilled to it.  It brought her to her feet, car-
ried her somehow to bed and into troubled sleep.

     That night she taught in Moonstone again: she beat her
pupils in hideous rages, she kept on beating them.  She
sang at funerals, and struggled at the piano with Harsanyi.
In one dream she was looking into a hand-glass and think-
ing that she was getting better-looking, when the glass
began to grow smaller and smaller and her own reflection
to shrink, until she realized that she was looking into Ray
Kennedy's eyes, seeing her face in that look of his which
she could never forget.  All at once the eyes were Fred
Ottenburg's, and not Ray's.  All night she heard the shriek-
ing of trains, whistling in and out of Moonstone, as she
used to hear them in her sleep when they blew shrill in the
winter air.  But to-night they were terrifying,--the spec-
tral, fated trains that "raced with death," about which the
old woman from the depot used to pray.

     In the morning she wakened breathless after a struggle
with Mrs. Livery Johnson's daughter.  She started up with
a bound, threw the blankets back and sat on the edge of
the bed, her night-dress open, her long braids hanging over
her bosom, blinking at the daylight.  After all, it was not
too late.  She was only twenty years old, and the boat sailed
at noon.  There was still time!

<p 385>

                              PART VI

                             KRONBORG

                                 I

     It is a glorious winter day.  Denver, standing on her
high plateau under a thrilling green-blue sky, is masked
in snow and glittering with sunlight.  The Capitol building
is actually in armor, and throws off the shafts of the sun
until the beholder is dazzled and the outlines of the building
are lost in a blaze of reflected light.  The stone terrace is a
white field over which fiery reflections dance, and the trees
and bushes are faithfully repeated in snow--on every
black twig a soft, blurred line of white.  From the terrace
one looks directly over to where the mountains break in
their sharp, familiar lines against the sky.  Snow fills the
gorges, hangs in scarfs on the great slopes, and on the peaks
the fiery sunshine is gathered up as by a burning-glass.

     Howard Archie is standing at the window of his private
room in the offices of the San Felipe Mining Company, on
the sixth floor of the Raton Building, looking off at the
mountain glories of his State while he gives dictation to his
secretary.  He is ten years older than when we saw him last,
and emphatically ten years more prosperous.  A decade of
coming into things has not so much aged him as it has forti-
fied, smoothed, and assured him.  His sandy hair and
imperial conceal whatever gray they harbor.  He has not
grown heavier, but more flexible, and his massive shoulders
carry fifty years and the control of his great mining inter-
ests more lightly than they carried forty years and a coun-
try practice.  In short, he is one of the friends to whom we
feel grateful for having got on in the world, for helping to

<p 386>

keep up the general temperature and our own confidence in
life.  He is an acquaintance that one would hurry to over-
take and greet among a hundred.  In his warm handshake
and generous smile there is the stimulating cordiality of
good fellows come into good fortune and eager to pass it on;
something that makes one think better of the lottery of
life and resolve to try again.

     When Archie had finished his morning mail, he turned
away from the window and faced his secretary.  "Did any-
thing come up yesterday afternoon while I was away,
T. B.?"

     Thomas Burk turned over the leaf of his calendar.
"Governor Alden sent down to say that he wanted to see
you before he sends his letter to the Board of Pardons.
Asked if you could go over to the State House this morn-
ing."

     Archie shrugged his shoulders.  "I'll think about it."

     The young man grinned.

     "Anything else?" his chief continued.

     T. B. swung round in his chair with a look of interest on
his shrewd, clean-shaven face.  "Old Jasper Flight was in,
Dr. Archie.  I never expected to see him alive again.  Seems
he's tucked away for the winter with a sister who's a
housekeeper at the Oxford.  He's all crippled up with
rheumatism, but as fierce after it as ever.  Wants to know
if you or the company won't grub-stake him again.  Says
he's sure of it this time; had located something when the
snow shut down on him in December.  He wants to crawl
out at the first break in the weather, with that same old
burro with the split ear.  He got somebody to winter the
beast for him.  He's superstitious about that burro, too;
thinks it's divinely guided.  You ought to hear the line of
talk he put up here yesterday; said when he rode in his
carriage, that burro was a-going to ride along with him."

     Archie laughed.  "Did he leave you his address?"

     "He didn't neglect anything," replied the clerk cynically.

<p 387>

     "Well, send him a line and tell him to come in again.  I
like to hear him.  Of all the crazy prospectors I've ever
known, he's the most interesting, because he's really crazy.
It's a religious conviction with him, and with most of 'em
it's a gambling fever or pure vagrancy.  But Jasper Flight
believes that the Almighty keeps the secret of the silver
deposits in these hills, and gives it away to the deserving.
He's a downright noble figure.  Of course I'll stake him!
As long as he can crawl out in the spring.  He and that
burro are a sight together.  The beast is nearly as white as
Jasper; must be twenty years old."

     "If you stake him this time, you won't have to again,"
said T. B. knowingly.  "He'll croak up there, mark my
word.  Says he never ties the burro at night now, for fear he
might be called sudden, and the beast would starve.  I guess
that animal could eat a lariat rope, all right, and enjoy it."

     "I guess if we knew the things those two have eaten, and
haven't eaten, in their time, T. B., it would make us vege-
tarians."  The doctor sat down and looked thoughtful.
"That's the way for the old man to go.  It would be pretty
hard luck if he had to die in a hospital.  I wish he could
turn up something before he cashes in.  But his kind seldom
do; they're bewitched.  Still, there was Stratton.  I've been
meeting Jasper Flight, and his side meat and tin pans, up
in the mountains for years, and I'd miss him.  I always
halfway believe the fairy tales he spins me.  Old Jasper
Flight," Archie murmured, as if he liked the name or the
picture it called up.

     A clerk came in from the outer office and handed Archie
a card.  He sprang up and exclaimed, "Mr. Ottenburg?
Bring him in."

     Fred Ottenburg entered, clad in a long, fur-lined coat,
holding a checked-cloth hat in his hand, his cheeks and
eyes bright with the outdoor cold.  The two men met before
Archie's desk and their handclasp was longer than friend-
ship prompts except in regions where the blood warms and

<p 388>

quickens to meet the dry cold.  Under the general keying-
up of the altitude, manners take on a heartiness, a vivacity,
that is one expression of the half-unconscious excitement
which Colorado people miss when they drop into lower
strata of air.  The heart, we are told, wears out early in
that high atmosphere, but while it pumps it sends out no
sluggish stream.  Our two friends stood gripping each other
by the hand and smiling.

     "When did you get in, Fred?  And what have you come
for?"  Archie gave him a quizzical glance.

     "I've come to find out what you think you're doing out
here," the younger man declared emphatically.  "I want
to get next, I do.  When can you see me?"

     "Anything on to-night?  Then suppose you dine with
me.  Where can I pick you up at five-thirty?"

     "Bixby's office, general freight agent of the Burlington."
Ottenburg began to button his overcoat and drew on his
gloves.  "I've got to have one shot at you before I go,
Archie.  Didn't I tell you Pinky Alden was a cheap squirt?"

     Alden's backer laughed and shook his head.  "Oh, he's
worse than that, Fred.  It isn't polite to mention what he
is, outside of the Arabian Nights.  I guessed you'd come
to rub it into me."

     Ottenburg paused, his hand on the doorknob, his high
color challenging the doctor's calm.  "I'm disgusted with
you, Archie, for training with such a pup.  A man of your
experience!"

     "Well, he's been an experience," Archie muttered.  "I'm
not coy about admitting it, am I?"

     Ottenburg flung open the door.  "Small credit to you.
Even the women are out for capital and corruption, I hear.
Your Governor's done more for the United Breweries in
six months than I've been able to do in six years.  He's the
lily-livered sort we're looking for.  Good-morning."

     That afternoon at five o'clock Dr. Archie emerged from
the State House after his talk with Governor Alden, and

<p 388>

crossed the terrace under a saffron sky.  The snow, beaten
hard, was blue in the dusk; a day of blinding sunlight had
not even started a thaw.  The lights of the city twinkled
pale below him in the quivering violet air, and the dome of
the State House behind him was still red with the light
from the west.  Before he got into his car, the doctor paused
to look about him at the scene of which he never tired.
Archie lived in his own house on Colfax Avenue, where
he had roomy grounds and a rose garden and a conserva-
tory.  His housekeeping was done by three Japanese boys,
devoted and resourceful, who were able to manage Archie's
dinner parties, to see that he kept his engagements, and to
make visitors who stayed at the house so comfortable that
they were always loath to go away.

     Archie had never known what comfort was until he
became a widower, though with characteristic delicacy, or
dishonesty, he insisted upon accrediting his peace of mind
to the San Felipe, to Time, to anything but his release from
Mrs. Archie.

     Mrs. Archie died just before her husband left Moonstone
and came to Denver to live, six years ago.  The poor wo-
man's fight against dust was her undoing at last.  One
summer day when she was rubbing the parlor upholstery
with gasoline,--the doctor had often forbidden her to use
it on any account, so that was one of the pleasures she
seized upon in his absence,--an explosion occurred.  No-
body ever knew exactly how it happened, for Mrs. Archie
was dead when the neighbors rushed in to save her from the
burning house.  She must have inhaled the burning gas and
died instantly.

     Moonstone severity relented toward her somewhat after
her death.  But even while her old cronies at Mrs. Smiley's
millinery store said that it was a terrible thing, they added
that nothing but a powerful explosive COULD have killed
Mrs. Archie, and that it was only right the doctor should
have a chance.

<p 390>

     Archie's past was literally destroyed when his wife died.
The house burned to the ground, and all those material
reminders which have such power over people disappeared
in an hour.  His mining interests now took him to Denver
so often that it seemed better to make his headquarters
there.  He gave up his practice and left Moonstone for
good.  Six months afterward, while Dr. Archie was living
at the Brown Palace Hotel, the San Felipe mine began to
give up that silver hoard which old Captain Harris had
always accused it of concealing, and San Felipe headed the
list of mining quotations in every daily paper, East and
West.  In a few years Dr. Archie was a very rich man.
His mine was such an important item in the mineral out-
put of the State, and Archie had a hand in so many of the
new industries of Colorado and New Mexico, that his poli-
tical influence was considerable.  He had thrown it all, two
years ago, to the new reform party, and had brought about
the election of a governor of whose conduct he was now
heartily ashamed.  His friends believed that Archie himself
had ambitious political plans.

<p 391>

                                II

     WHEN Ottenburg and his host reached the house on
Colfax Avenue, they went directly to the library,
a long double room on the second floor which Archie had
arranged exactly to his own taste.  It was full of books and
mounted specimens of wild game, with a big writing-table
at either end, stiff, old-fashioned engravings, heavy hang-
ings and deep upholstery.

     When one of the Japanese boys brought the cocktails,
Fred turned from the fine specimen of peccoray he had
been examining and said, "A man is an owl to live in such
a place alone, Archie.  Why don't you marry?  As for me,
just because I can't marry, I find the world full of charm-
ing, unattached women, any one of whom I could fit up a
house for with alacrity."

     "You're more knowing than I."  Archie spoke politely.
"I'm not very wide awake about women.  I'd be likely to
pick out one of the uncomfortable ones--and there are a
few of them, you know."  He drank his cocktail and rubbed
his hands together in a friendly way.  "My friends here
have charming wives, and they don't give me a chance
to get lonely.  They are very kind to me, and I have a
great many pleasant friendships."

     Fred put down his glass.  "Yes, I've always noticed that
women have confidence in you.  You have the doctor's way
of getting next.  And you enjoy that kind of thing?"

     "The friendship of attractive women?  Oh, dear, yes!
I depend upon it a great deal."

     The butler announced dinner, and the two men went
downstairs to the dining-room.  Dr. Archie's dinners were
always good and well served, and his wines were excellent.

     "I saw the Fuel and Iron people to-day," Ottenburg said,

<p 392>

looking up from his soup.  "Their heart is in the right place.
I can't see why in the mischief you ever got mixed up with
that reform gang, Archie.  You've got nothing to reform
out here.  The situation has always been as simple as two
and two in Colorado; mostly a matter of a friendly under-
standing."

     "Well,"--Archie spoke tolerantly,--"some of the
young fellows seemed to have red-hot convictions, and I
thought it was better to let them try their ideas out."

     Ottenburg shrugged his shoulders.  "A few dull young
men who haven't ability enough to play the old game the
old way, so they want to put on a new game which doesn't
take so much brains and gives away more advertising
that's what your anti-saloon league and vice commission
amounts to.  They provide notoriety for the fellows who
can't distinguish themselves at running a business or prac-
ticing law or developing an industry.  Here you have a
mediocre lawyer with no brains and no practice, trying to
get a look-in on something.  He comes up with the novel
proposition that the prostitute has a hard time of it, puts
his picture in the paper, and the first thing you know, he's
a celebrity.  He gets the rake-off and she's just where she
was before.  How could you fall for a mouse-trap like
Pink Alden, Archie?"

     Dr. Archie laughed as he began to carve.  "Pink seems
to get under your skin.  He's not worth talking about.
He's gone his limit.  People won't read about his blame-
less life any more.  I knew those interviews he gave out
would cook him.  They were a last resort.  I could have
stopped him, but by that time I'd come to the conclusion
that I'd let the reformers down.  I'm not against a general
shaking-up, but the trouble with Pinky's crowd is they
never get beyond a general writing-up.  We gave them a
chance to do something, and they just kept on writing
about each other and what temptations they had over-
come."

<p 393>

     While Archie and his friend were busy with Colorado
politics, the impeccable Japanese attended swiftly and
intelligently to his duties, and the dinner, as Ottenburg at
last remarked, was worthy of more profitable conversation.

     "So it is," the doctor admitted.  "Well, we'll go up-
stairs for our coffee and cut this out.  Bring up some cognac
and arak, Tai," he added as he rose from the table.

     They stopped to examine a moose's head on the stair-
way, and when they reached the library the pine logs in
the fireplace had been lighted, and the coffee was bubbling
before the hearth.  Tai placed two chairs before the fire
and brought a tray of cigarettes.

     "Bring the cigars in my lower desk drawer, boy," the
doctor directed.  "Too much light in here, isn't there,
Fred?  Light the lamp there on my desk, Tai."  He turned
off the electric glare and settled himself deep into the chair
opposite Ottenburg's.

     "To go back to our conversation, doctor," Fred began
while he waited for the first steam to blow off his coffee;
"why don't you make up your mind to go to Washington?
There'd be no fight made against you.  I needn't say the
United Breweries would back you.  There'd be some KUDOS
coming to us, too; backing a reform candidate."

     Dr. Archie measured his length in his chair and thrust
his large boots toward the crackling pitch-pine.  He drank
his coffee and lit a big black cigar while his guest looked
over the assortment of cigarettes on the tray.  "You say
why don't I," the doctor spoke with the deliberation of a
man in the position of having several courses to choose
from, "but, on the other hand, why should I?"  He puffed
away and seemed, through his half-closed eyes, to look
down several long roads with the intention of luxuriously
rejecting all of them and remaining where he was.  "I'm
sick of politics.  I'm disillusioned about serving my crowd,
and I don't particularly want to serve yours.  Nothing in it
that I particularly want; and a man's not effective in poli-

<p 394>

tics unless he wants something for himself, and wants it
hard.  I can reach my ends by straighter roads.  There are
plenty of things to keep me busy.  We haven't begun to
develop our resources in this State; we haven't had a look
in on them yet.  That's the only thing that isn't fake--
making men and machines go, and actually turning out a
product."

     The doctor poured himself some white cordial and looked
over the little glass into the fire with an expression which
led Ottenburg to believe that he was getting at something
in his own mind.  Fred lit a cigarette and let his friend
grope for his idea.

     "My boys, here," Archie went on, "have got me rather
interested in Japan.  Think I'll go out there in the spring,
and come back the other way, through Siberia.  I've always
wanted to go to Russia."  His eyes still hunted for some-
thing in his big fireplace.  With a slow turn of his head he
brought them back to his guest and fixed them upon him.
"Just now, I'm thinking of running on to New York for
a few weeks," he ended abruptly.

     Ottenburg lifted his chin.  "Ah!" he exclaimed, as if he
began to see Archie's drift.  "Shall you see Thea?"

     "Yes."  The doctor replenished his cordial glass.  "In
fact, I suspect I am going exactly TO see her.  I'm getting
stale on things here, Fred.  Best people in the world and
always doing things for me.  I'm fond of them, too, but
I've been with them too much.  I'm getting ill-tempered,
and the first thing I know I'll be hurting people's feelings.
I snapped Mrs. Dandridge up over the telephone this
afternoon when she asked me to go out to Colorado Springs
on Sunday to meet some English people who are staying
at the Antlers.  Very nice of her to want me, and I was as
sour as if she'd been trying to work me for something.
I've got to get out for a while, to save my reputation."

     To this explanation Ottenburg had not paid much atten-
tion.  He seemed to be looking at a fixed point: the yellow

<p 395>

glass eyes of a fine wildcat over one of the bookcases.
"You've never heard her at all, have you?" he asked
reflectively.  "Curious, when this is her second season in
New York."

     "I was going on last March.  Had everything arranged.
And then old Cap Harris thought he could drive his car
and me through a lamp-post and I was laid up with a com-
pound fracture for two months.  So I didn't get to see
Thea."

     Ottenburg studied the red end of his cigarette attentively.
"She might have come out to see you.  I remember you
covered the distance like a streak when she wanted you."

     Archie moved uneasily.  "Oh, she couldn't do that.  She
had to get back to Vienna to work on some new parts for
this year.  She sailed two days after the New York season
closed."

     "Well, then she couldn't, of course."  Fred smoked his
cigarette close and tossed the end into the fire.  "I'm tre-
mendously glad you're going now.  If you're stale, she'll
jack you up.  That's one of her specialties.  She got a rise
out of me last December that lasted me all winter."

     "Of course," the doctor apologized, "you know so much
more about such things.  I'm afraid it will be rather wasted
on me.  I'm no judge of music."

     "Never mind that."  The younger man pulled himself
up in his chair.  "She gets it across to people who aren't
judges.  That's just what she does."  He relapsed into his
former lassitude.  "If you were stone deaf, it wouldn't all
be wasted.  It's a great deal to watch her.  Incidentally,
you know, she is very beautiful.  Photographs give you no
idea."

     Dr. Archie clasped his large hands under his chin.  "Oh,
I'm counting on that.  I don't suppose her voice will sound
natural to me.  Probably I wouldn't know it."

     Ottenburg smiled.  "You'll know it, if you ever knew it.
It's the same voice, only more so.  You'll know it."

<p 396>

     "Did you, in Germany that time, when you wrote me?
Seven years ago, now.  That must have been at the very
beginning."

     "Yes, somewhere near the beginning.  She sang one of
the Rhine daughters."  Fred paused and drew himself up
again.  "Sure, I knew it from the first note.  I'd heard a
good many young voices come up out of the Rhine, but,
by gracious, I hadn't heard one like that!"  He fumbled
for another cigarette.  "Mahler was conducting that night.
I met him as he was leaving the house and had a word with
him.  `Interesting voice you tried out this evening,' I
said.  He stopped and smiled.  `Miss Kronborg, you mean?
Yes, very.  She seems to sing for the idea.  Unusual in a
young singer.'  I'd never heard him admit before that a
singer could have an idea.  She not only had it, but she got
it across.  The Rhine music, that I'd known since I was a
boy, was fresh to me, vocalized for the first time.  You
realized that she was beginning that long story, adequately,
with the end in view.  Every phrase she sang was basic.
She simply WAS the idea of the Rhine music."  Ottenburg
rose and stood with his back to the fire.  "And at the end,
where you don't see the maidens at all, the same thing
again: two pretty voices AND the Rhine voice."  Fred
snapped his fingers and dropped his hand.

     The doctor looked up at him enviously.  "You see, all
that would be lost on me," he said modestly.  "I don't
know the dream nor the interpretation thereof.  I'm out of
it.  It's too bad that so few of her old friends can appreciate
her."

     "Take a try at it," Fred encouraged him.  "You'll get
in deeper than you can explain to yourself.  People with no
personal interest do that."

     "I suppose," said Archie diffidently, "that college Ger-
man, gone to seed, wouldn't help me out much.  I used to
be able to make my German patients understand me."

     "Sure it would!" cried Ottenburg heartily.  "Don't be

<p 397>

above knowing your libretto.  That's all very well for
musicians, but common mortals like you and me have got
to know what she's singing about.  Get out your dictionary
and go at it as you would at any other proposition.  Her
diction is beautiful, and if you know the text you'll get a
great deal.  So long as you're going to hear her, get all
that's coming to you.  You bet in Germany people know
their librettos by heart!  You Americans are so afraid of
stooping to learn anything."

     "I AM a little ashamed," Archie admitted.  "I guess
that's the way we mask our general ignorance.  However,
I'll stoop this time; I'm more ashamed not to be able to
follow her.  The papers always say she's such a fine ac-
tress."  He took up the tongs and began to rearrange the
logs that had burned through and fallen apart.  "I suppose
she has changed a great deal?" he asked absently.

     "We've all changed, my dear Archie,--she more than
most of us.  Yes, and no.  She's all there, only there's a
great deal more of her.  I've had only a few words with her
in several years.  It's better not, when I'm tied up this
way.  The laws are barbarous, Archie."

     "Your wife is--still the same?" the doctor asked
sympathetically.

     "Absolutely.  Hasn't been out of a sanitarium for seven
years now.  No prospect of her ever being out, and as long
as she's there I'm tied hand and foot.  What does society
get out of such a state of things, I'd like to know, except
a tangle of irregularities?  If you want to reform, there's
an opening for you!"

     "It's bad, oh, very bad; I agree with you!"  Dr. Archie
shook his head.  "But there would be complications under
another system, too.  The whole question of a young man's
marrying has looked pretty grave to me for a long while.
How have they the courage to keep on doing it?  It de-
presses me now to buy wedding presents."  For some time
the doctor watched his guest, who was sunk in bitter reflec-

<p 398>

tions.  "Such things used to go better than they do now,
I believe.  Seems to me all the married people I knew when
I was a boy were happy enough."  He paused again and bit
the end off a fresh cigar.  "You never saw Thea's mother,
did you, Ottenburg?  That's a pity.  Mrs. Kronborg was a
fine woman.  I've always been afraid Thea made a mistake,
not coming home when Mrs. Kronborg was ill, no matter
what it cost her."

     Ottenburg moved about restlessly.  "She couldn't,
Archie, she positively couldn't.  I felt you never under-
stood that, but I was in Dresden at the time, and though
I wasn't seeing much of her, I could size up the situation
for myself.  It was by just a lucky chance that she got to
sing ELIZABETH that time at the Dresden Opera, a complica-
tion of circumstances.  If she'd run away, for any reason,
she might have waited years for such a chance to come
again.  She gave a wonderful performance and made a
great impression.  They offered her certain terms; she had
to take them and follow it up then and there.  In that game
you can't lose a single trick.  She was ill herself, but she
sang.  Her mother was ill, and she sang.  No, you mustn't
hold that against her, Archie.  She did the right thing
there."  Ottenburg drew out his watch.  "Hello!  I must be
traveling.  You hear from her regularly?"

     "More or less regularly.  She was never much of a letter-
writer.  She tells me about her engagements and contracts,
but I know so little about that business that it doesn't
mean much to me beyond the figures, which seem very
impressive.  We've had a good deal of business correspond-
ence, about putting up a stone to her father and mother,
and, lately, about her youngest brother, Thor.  He is with
me now; he drives my car.  To-day he's up at the mine."

     Ottenburg, who had picked up his overcoat, dropped it.
"Drives your car?" he asked incredulously.

     "Yes.  Thea and I have had a good deal of bother about
Thor.  We tried a business college, and an engineering

<p 399>

school, but it was no good.  Thor was born a chauffeur
before there were cars to drive.  He was never good for any-
thing else; lay around home and collected postage stamps
and took bicycles to pieces, waiting for the automobile to
be invented.  He's just as much a part of a car as the steer-
ing-gear.  I can't find out whether he likes his job with me or
not, or whether he feels any curiosity about his sister.  You
can't find anything out from a Kronborg nowadays.  The
mother was different."

     Fred plunged into his coat.  "Well, it's a queer world,
Archie.  But you'll think better of it, if you go to New
York.  Wish I were going with you.  I'll drop in on you
in the morning at about eleven.  I want a word with you
about this Interstate Commerce Bill.  Good-night."

     Dr. Archie saw his guest to the motor which was waiting
below, and then went back to his library, where he replen-
ished the fire and sat down for a long smoke.  A man of
Archie's modest and rather credulous nature develops late,
and makes his largest gain between forty and fifty.  At
thirty, indeed, as we have seen, Archie was a soft-hearted
boy under a manly exterior, still whistling to keep up his
courage.  Prosperity and large responsibilities--above all,
getting free of poor Mrs. Archie--had brought out a good
deal more than he knew was in him.  He was thinking to-
night as he sat before the fire, in the comfort he liked so
well, that but for lucky chances, and lucky holes in the
ground, he would still be a country practitioner, reading
his old books by his office lamp.  And yet, he was not so
fresh and energetic as he ought to be.  He was tired of
business and of politics.  Worse than that, he was tired of
the men with whom he had to do and of the women who,
as he said, had been kind to him.  He felt as if he were still
hunting for something, like old Jasper Flight.  He knew
that this was an unbecoming and ungrateful state of mind,
and he reproached himself for it.  But he could not help
wondering why it was that life, even when it gave so much,

<p 400>

after all gave so little.  What was it that he had expected
and missed?  Why was he, more than he was anything else,
disappointed?

     He fell to looking back over his life and asking himself
which years of it he would like to live over again,--just
as they had been,--and they were not many.  His college
years he would live again, gladly.  After them there was
nothing he would care to repeat until he came to Thea
Kronborg.  There had been something stirring about those
years in Moonstone, when he was a restless young man on
the verge of breaking into larger enterprises, and when she
was a restless child on the verge of growing up into some-
thing unknown.  He realized now that she had counted for
a great deal more to him than he knew at the time.  It was
a continuous sort of relationship.  He was always on the
lookout for her as he went about the town, always vaguely
expecting her as he sat in his office at night.  He had never
asked himself then if it was strange that he should find a
child of twelve the most interesting and companionable
person in Moonstone.  It had seemed a pleasant, natural
kind of solicitude.  He explained it then by the fact that
he had no children of his own.  But now, as he looked back
at those years, the other interests were faded and inani-
mate.  The thought of them was heavy.  But wherever his
life had touched Thea Kronborg's, there was still a little
warmth left, a little sparkle.  Their friendship seemed to
run over those discontented years like a leafy pattern, still
bright and fresh when the other patterns had faded into
the dull background.  Their walks and drives and confi-
dences, the night they watched the rabbit in the moon-
light,--why were these things stirring to remember?
Whenever he thought of them, they were distinctly dif-
ferent from the other memories of his life; always seemed
humorous, gay, with a little thrill of anticipation and mys-
tery about them.  They came nearer to being tender secrets
than any others he possessed.  Nearer than anything else

<p 401>

they corresponded to what he had hoped to find in the
world, and had not found.  It came over him now that the
unexpected favors of fortune, no matter how dazzling, do
not mean very much to us.  They may excite or divert us
for a time, but when we look back, the only things we cher-
ish are those which in some way met our original want; the
desire which formed in us in early youth, undirected, and
of its own accord.

<p 402>

                                III

     FOR the first four years after Thea went to Germany
things went on as usual with the Kronborg family.
Mrs. Kronborg's land in Nebraska increased in value and
brought her in a good rental.  The family drifted into an
easier way of living, half without realizing it, as families
will.  Then Mr. Kronborg, who had never been ill, died sud-
denly of cancer of the liver, and after his death Mrs.
Kronborg went, as her neighbors said, into a decline.
Hearing discouraging reports of her from the physician
who had taken over his practice, Dr. Archie went up from
Denver to see her.  He found her in bed, in the room where
he had more than once attended her, a handsome woman
of sixty with a body still firm and white, her hair, faded
now to a very pale primrose, in two thick braids down her
back, her eyes clear and calm.  When the doctor arrived,
she was sitting up in her bed, knitting.  He felt at once how
glad she was to see him, but he soon gathered that she had
made no determination to get well.  She told him, indeed,
that she could not very well get along without Mr. Kron-
borg.  The doctor looked at her with astonishment.  Was
it possible that she could miss the foolish old man so much?
He reminded her of her children.

     "Yes," she replied; "the children are all very well, but
they are not father.  We were married young."

     The doctor watched her wonderingly as she went on
knitting, thinking how much she looked like Thea.  The
difference was one of degree rather than of kind.  The
daughter had a compelling enthusiasm, the mother had
none.  But their framework, their foundation, was very
much the same.

     In a moment Mrs. Kronborg spoke again.  "Have you
heard anything from Thea lately?"

<p 403>

     During his talk with her, the doctor gathered that what
Mrs. Kronborg really wanted was to see her daughter Thea.
Lying there day after day, she wanted it calmly and con-
tinuously.  He told her that, since she felt so, he thought
they might ask Thea to come home.

     "I've thought a good deal about it," said Mrs. Kronborg
slowly.  "I hate to interrupt her, now that she's begun to
get advancement.  I expect she's seen some pretty hard
times, though she was never one to complain.  Perhaps
she'd feel that she would like to come.  It would be hard,
losing both of us while she's off there."

     When Dr. Archie got back to Denver he wrote a long
letter to Thea, explaining her mother's condition and how
much she wished to see her, and asking Thea to come, if
only for a few weeks.  Thea had repaid the money she had
borrowed from him, and he assured her that if she hap-
pened to be short of funds for the journey, she had only to
cable him.

     A month later he got a frantic sort of reply from Thea.
Complications in the opera at Dresden had given her an
unhoped-for opportunity to go on in a big part.  Before this
letter reached the doctor, she would have made her debut
as ELIZABETH, in "Tannhauser."  She wanted to go to her
mother more than she wanted anything else in the world,
but, unless she failed,--which she would not,--she abso-
lutely could not leave Dresden for six months.  It was not
that she chose to stay; she had to stay--or lose every-
thing.  The next few months would put her five years
ahead, or would put her back so far that it would be of no
use to struggle further.  As soon as she was free, she would
go to Moonstone and take her mother back to Germany
with her.  Her mother, she was sure, could live for years
yet, and she would like German people and German ways,
and could be hearing music all the time.  Thea said she was
writing her mother and begging her to help her one last
time; to get strength and to wait for her six months, and

<p 404>

then she (Thea) would do everything.  Her mother would
never have to make an effort again.

     Dr. Archie went up to Moonstone at once.  He had great
confidence in Mrs. Kronborg's power of will, and if Thea's
appeal took hold of her enough, he believed she might
get better.  But when he was shown into the familiar room
off the parlor, his heart sank.  Mrs. Kronborg was lying
serene and fateful on her pillows.  On the dresser at the
foot of her bed there was a large photograph of Thea in the
character in which she was to make her debut.  Mrs.
Kronborg pointed to it.

     "Isn't she lovely, doctor?  It's nice that she hasn't
changed much.  I've seen her look like that many a time."

     They talked for a while about Thea's good fortune.  Mrs.
Kronborg had had a cablegram saying, "First performance
well received.  Great relief."  In her letter Thea said; "If
you'll only get better, dear mother, there's nothing I can't
do.  I will make a really great success, if you'll try with me.
You shall have everything you want, and we will always be
together.  I have a little house all picked out where we are
to live."

     "Bringing up a family is not all it's cracked up to be,"
said Mrs. Kronborg with a flicker of irony, as she tucked
the letter back under her pillow.  "The children you don't
especially need, you have always with you, like the poor.
But the bright ones get away from you.  They have their
own way to make in the world.  Seems like the brighter
they are, the farther they go.  I used to feel sorry that you
had no family, doctor, but maybe you're as well off."

     "Thea's plan seems sound to me, Mrs. Kronborg.
There's no reason I can see why you shouldn't pull up
and live for years yet, under proper care.  You'd have the
best doctors in the world over there, and it would be won-
derful to live with anybody who looks like that."  He
nodded at the photograph of the young woman who must
have been singing "DICH, THEURE HALLE, GRUSS' ICH WIEDER,"

<p 405>

her eyes looking up, her beautiful hands outspread with
pleasure.

     Mrs. Kronborg laughed quite cheerfully.  "Yes, would
n't it?  If father were here, I might rouse myself.  But
sometimes it's hard to come back.  Or if she were in
trouble, maybe I could rouse myself."

     "But, dear Mrs. Kronborg, she is in trouble," her old
friend expostulated.  "As she says, she's never needed you
as she needs you now.  I make my guess that she's never
begged anybody to help her before."

     Mrs. Kronborg smiled.  "Yes, it's pretty of her.  But
that will pass.  When these things happen far away they
don't make such a mark; especially if your hands are full
and you've duties of your own to think about.  My own
father died in Nebraska when Gunner was born,--we
were living in Iowa then,--and I was sorry, but the baby
made it up to me.  I was father's favorite, too.  That's the
way it goes, you see."

     The doctor took out Thea's letter to him, and read it over
to Mrs. Kronborg.  She seemed to listen, and not to listen.

     When he finished, she said thoughtfully: "I'd counted
on hearing her sing again.  But I always took my pleasures
as they come.  I always enjoyed her singing when she was
here about the house.  While she was practicing I often
used to leave my work and sit down in a rocker and give
myself up to it, the same as if I'd been at an entertainment.
I was never one of these housekeepers that let their work
drive them to death.  And when she had the Mexicans over
here, I always took it in.  First and last,"--she glanced
judicially at the photograph,--"I guess I got about as
much out of Thea's voice as anybody will ever get."

     "I guess you did!" the doctor assented heartily; "and I
got a good deal myself.  You remember how she used to sing
those Scotch songs for me, and lead us with her head, her
hair bobbing?"

     "`Flow Gently, Sweet Afton,'--I can hear it now,"

<p 406>

said Mrs. Kronborg; "and poor father never knew when
he sang sharp!  He used to say, `Mother, how do you always
know when they make mistakes practicing?'"  Mrs. Kron-
borg chuckled.

     Dr. Archie took her hand, still firm like the hand of a
young woman.  "It was lucky for her that you did know.
I always thought she got more from you than from any
of her teachers."

     "Except Wunsch; he was a real musician," said Mrs.
Kronborg respectfully.  "I gave her what chance I could,
in a crowded house.  I kept the other children out of the
parlor for her.  That was about all I could do.  If she wasn't
disturbed, she needed no watching.  She went after it like a
terrier after rats from the first, poor child.  She was down-
right afraid of it.  That's why I always encouraged her
taking Thor off to outlandish places.  When she was out of
the house, then she was rid of it."

     After they had recalled many pleasant memories to-
gether, Mrs. Kronborg said suddenly: "I always under-
stood about her going off without coming to see us that
time.  Oh, I know!  You had to keep your own counsel.
You were a good friend to her.  I've never forgot that."
She patted the doctor's sleeve and went on absently.
"There was something she didn't want to tell me, and
that's why she didn't come.  Something happened when
she was with those people in Mexico.  I worried for a good
while, but I guess she's come out of it all right.  She'd
had a pretty hard time, scratching along alone like that
when she was so young, and my farms in Nebraska were
down so low that I couldn't help her none.  That's no way
to send a girl out.  But I guess, whatever there was, she
wouldn't be afraid to tell me now."  Mrs. Kronborg
looked up at the photograph with a smile.  "She doesn't
look like she was beholding to anybody, does she?"

     "She isn't, Mrs. Kronborg.  She never has been.  That
was why she borrowed the money from me."

<p 407>

     "Oh, I knew she'd never have sent for you if she'd done
anything to shame us.  She was always proud."  Mrs.
Kronborg paused and turned a little on her side.  "It's
been quite a satisfaction to you and me, doctor, having
her voice turn out so fine.  The things you hope for don't
always turn out like that, by a long sight.  As long as old
Mrs. Kohler lived, she used always to translate what it
said about Thea in the German papers she sent.  I could
make some of it out myself,--it's not very different from
Swedish,--but it pleased the old lady.  She left Thea her
piece-picture of the burning of Moscow.  I've got it put
away in moth-balls for her, along with the oboe her grand-
father brought from Sweden.  I want her to take father's
oboe back there some day."  Mrs. Kronborg paused a
moment and compressed her lips.  "But I guess she'll take
a finer instrument than that with her, back to Sweden!"
she added.

     Her tone fairly startled the doctor, it was so vibrating
with a fierce, defiant kind of pride he had heard often in
Thea's voice.  He looked down wonderingly at his old friend
and patient.  After all, one never knew people to the core.
Did she, within her, hide some of that still passion of
which her daughter was all-compact?

     "That last summer at home wasn't very nice for her,"
Mrs. Kronborg began as placidly as if the fire had never
leaped up in her.  "The other children were acting-up
because they thought I might make a fuss over her and
give her the big-head.  We gave her the dare, somehow,
the lot of us, because we couldn't understand her changing
teachers and all that.  That's the trouble about giving the
dare to them quiet, unboastful children; you never know
how far it'll take 'em.  Well, we ought not to complain,
doctor; she's given us a good deal to think about."

     The next time Dr. Archie came to Moonstone, he came
to be a pall-bearer at Mrs. Kronborg's funeral.  When he

<p 408>

last looked at her, she was so serene and queenly that he
went back to Denver feeling almost as if he had helped
to bury Thea Kronborg herself.  The handsome head in
the coffin seemed to him much more really Thea than did
the radiant young woman in the picture, looking about
at the Gothic vaultings and greeting the Hall of Song.

<p 409>

                                IV

     ONE bright morning late in February Dr. Archie was
breakfasting comfortably at the Waldorf.  He had got
into Jersey City on an early train, and a red, windy sunrise
over the North River had given him a good appetite.  He
consulted the morning paper while he drank his coffee and
saw that "Lohengrin" was to be sung at the opera that
evening.  In the list of the artists who would appear was
the name "Kronborg."  Such abruptness rather startled
him.  "Kronborg": it was impressive and yet, somehow,
disrespectful; somewhat rude and brazen, on the back page
of the morning paper.  After breakfast he went to the hotel
ticket office and asked the girl if she could give him some-
thing for "Lohengrin," "near the front."  His manner was
a trifle awkward and he wondered whether the girl noticed
it.  Even if she did, of course, she could scarcely suspect.
Before the ticket stand he saw a bunch of blue posters
announcing the opera casts for the week.  There was
"Lohengrin," and under it he saw:--

        ELSA VON BRABANT . . . . Thea Kronborg.

     That looked better.  The girl gave him a ticket for a seat
which she said was excellent.  He paid for it and went out
to the cabstand.  He mentioned to the driver a number on
Riverside Drive and got into a taxi.  It would not, of
course, be the right thing to call upon Thea when she was
going to sing in the evening.  He knew that much, thank
goodness!  Fred Ottenburg had hinted to him that, more
than almost anything else, that would put one in wrong.

     When he reached the number to which he directed his
letters, he dismissed the cab and got out for a walk.  The

<p 410>

house in which Thea lived was as impersonal as the
Waldorf, and quite as large.  It was above 116th Street,
where the Drive narrows, and in front of it the shelving
bank dropped to the North River.  As Archie strolled about
the paths which traversed this slope, below the street level,
the fourteen stories of the apartment hotel rose above him
like a perpendicular cliff.  He had no idea on which floor
Thea lived, but he reflected, as his eye ran over the many
windows, that the outlook would be fine from any floor.
The forbidding hugeness of the house made him feel as if
he had expected to meet Thea in a crowd and had missed
her.  He did not really believe that she was hidden away
behind any of those glittering windows, or that he was to
hear her this evening.  His walk was curiously uninspiring
and unsuggestive.  Presently remembering that Ottenburg
had encouraged him to study his lesson, he went down to
the opera house and bought a libretto.  He had even brought
his old "Adler's German and English" in his trunk, and
after luncheon he settled down in his gilded suite at the
Waldorf with a big cigar and the text of "Lohengrin."

     The opera was announced for seven-forty-five, but at
half-past seven Archie took his seat in the right front of the
orchestra circle.  He had never been inside the Metropoli-
tan Opera House before, and the height of the audience
room, the rich color, and the sweep of the balconies were
not without their effect upon him.  He watched the house
fill with a growing feeling of expectation.  When the steel
curtain rose and the men of the orchestra took their places,
he felt distinctly nervous.  The burst of applause which
greeted the conductor keyed him still higher.  He found
that he had taken off his gloves and twisted them to a
string.  When the lights went down and the violins began
the overture, the place looked larger than ever; a great pit,
shadowy and solemn.  The whole atmosphere, he reflected,
was somehow more serious than he had anticipated.

     After the curtains were drawn back upon the scene beside

<p 411>

the Scheldt, he got readily into the swing of the story.  He
was so much interested in the bass who sang KING HENRY
that he had almost forgotten for what he was waiting so
nervously, when the HERALD began in stentorian tones to
summon ELSA VON BRABANT.  Then he began to realize that
he was rather frightened.  There was a flutter of white at
the back of the stage, and women began to come in: two,
four, six, eight, but not the right one.  It flashed across
him that this was something like buck-fever, the paralyz-
ing moment that comes upon a man when his first elk
looks at him through the bushes, under its great antlers;
the moment when a man's mind is so full of shooting that
he forgets the gun in his hand until the buck nods adieu to
him from a distant hill.

     All at once, before the buck had left him, she was there.
Yes, unquestionably it was she.  Her eyes were downcast,
but the head, the cheeks, the chin--there could be no
mistake; she advanced slowly, as if she were walking in
her sleep.  Some one spoke to her; she only inclined her
head.  He spoke again, and she bowed her head still lower.
Archie had forgotten his libretto, and he had not counted
upon these long pauses.  He had expected her to appear
and sing and reassure him.  They seemed to be waiting for
her.  Did she ever forget?  Why in thunder didn't she--
She made a sound, a faint one.  The people on the stage
whispered together and seemed confounded.  His nervous-
ness was absurd.  She must have done this often before;
she knew her bearings.  She made another sound, but he
could make nothing of it.  Then the King sang to her, and
Archie began to remember where they were in the story.
She came to the front of the stage, lifted her eyes for the
first time, clasped her hands and began, "EINSAM IN TRUBEN
TAGEN."

     Yes, it was exactly like buck-fever.  Her face was there,
toward the house now, before his eyes, and he positively
could not see it.  She was singing, at last, and he positively

<p 412>

could not hear her.  He was conscious of nothing but an
uncomfortable dread and a sense of crushing disappoint-
ment.  He had, after all, missed her.  Whatever was there,
she was not there--for him.

     The King interrupted her.  She began again, "IN LICHTER
WAFFEN SCHEINE."  Archie did not know when his buck-
fever passed, but presently he found that he was sitting
quietly in a darkened house, not listening to but dreaming
upon a river of silver sound.  He felt apart from the others,
drifting alone on the melody, as if he had been alone with it
for a long while and had known it all before.  His power of
attention was not great just then, but in so far as it went
he seemed to be looking through an exalted calmness at a
beautiful woman from far away, from another sort of life
and feeling and understanding than his own, who had in her
face something he had known long ago, much brightened
and beautified.  As a lad he used to believe that the faces
of people who died were like that in the next world; the
same faces, but shining with the light of a new understand-
ing.  No, Ottenburg had not prepared him!

     What he felt was admiration and estrangement.  The
homely reunion, that he had somehow expected, now
seemed foolish.  Instead of feeling proud that he knew her
better than all these people about him, he felt chagrined
at his own ingenuousness.  For he did not know her better.
This woman he had never known; she had somehow de-
voured his little friend, as the wolf ate up Red Ridinghood.
Beautiful, radiant, tender as she was, she chilled his old
affection; that sort of feeling was not appropriate.  She
seemed much, much farther away from him than she had
seemed all those years when she was in Germany.  The
ocean he could cross, but there was something here he
could not cross.  There was a moment, when she turned to
the King and smiled that rare, sunrise smile of her child-
hood, when he thought she was coming back to him.  After
the HERALD'S second call for her champion, when she knelt

<p 413>

in her impassioned prayer, there was again something
familiar, a kind of wild wonder that she had had the power
to call up long ago.  But she merely reminded him of Thea;
this was not the girl herself.

     After the tenor came on, the doctor ceased trying to
make the woman before him fit into any of his cherished
recollections.  He took her, in so far as he could, for what
she was then and there.  When the knight raised the
kneeling girl and put his mailed hand on her hair, when she
lifted to him a face full of worship and passionate humility,
Archie gave up his last reservation.  He knew no more
about her than did the hundreds around him, who sat in
the shadow and looked on, as he looked, some with more
understanding, some with less.  He knew as much about
ORTRUDE or LOHENGRIN as he knew about ELSA--more, be-
cause she went further than they, she sustained the leg-
endary beauty of her conception more consistently.  Even
he could see that.  Attitudes, movements, her face, her
white arms and fingers, everything was suffused with a
rosy tenderness, a warm humility, a gracious and yet--
to him--wholly estranging beauty.

     During the balcony singing in the second act the doctor's
thoughts were as far away from Moonstone as the singer's
doubtless were.  He had begun, indeed, to feel the exhila-
ration of getting free from personalities, of being released
from his own past as well as from Thea Kronborg's.  It was
very much, he told himself, like a military funeral, exalting
and impersonal.  Something old died in one, and out of it
something new was born.  During the duet with ORTRUDE,
and the splendors of the wedding processional, this new
feeling grew and grew.  At the end of the act there were
many curtain calls and ELSA acknowledged them, brilliant,
gracious, spirited, with her far-breaking smile; but on the
whole she was harder and more self-contained before the
curtain than she was in the scene behind it.  Archie did his
part in the applause that greeted her, but it was the new

<p 414>

and wonderful he applauded, not the old and dear.  His
personal, proprietary pride in her was frozen out.

     He walked about the house during the ENTR'ACTE, and here
and there among the people in the foyer he caught the
name "Kronborg."  On the staircase, in front of the coffee-
room, a long-haired youth with a fat face was discoursing
to a group of old women about "die Kronborg."  Dr. Archie
gathered that he had crossed on the boat with her.

     After the performance was over, Archie took a taxi and
started for Riverside Drive.  He meant to see it through
to-night.  When he entered the reception hall of the hotel
before which he had strolled that morning, the hall porter
challenged him.  He said he was waiting for Miss Kronborg.
The porter looked at him suspiciously and asked whether
he had an appointment.  He answered brazenly that he
had.  He was not used to being questioned by hall boys.
Archie sat first in one tapestry chair and then in another,
keeping a sharp eye on the people who came in and went
up in the elevators.  He walked about and looked at his
watch.  An hour dragged by.  No one had come in from the
street now for about twenty minutes, when two women en-
tered, carrying a great many flowers and followed by a tall
young man in chauffeur's uniform.  Archie advanced to-
ward the taller of the two women, who was veiled and
carried her head very firmly.  He confronted her just as
she reached the elevator.  Although he did not stand di-
rectly in her way, something in his attitude compelled her
to stop.  She gave him a piercing, defiant glance through
the white scarf that covered her face.  Then she lifted her
hand and brushed the scarf back from her head.  There
was still black on her brows and lashes.  She was very pale
and her face was drawn and deeply lined.  She looked, the
doctor told himself with a sinking heart, forty years old.
Her suspicious, mystified stare cleared slowly.

     "Pardon me," the doctor murmured, not knowing just
how to address her here before the porters, "I came up

<p 415>

from the opera.  I merely wanted to say good-night to
you."

     Without speaking, still looking incredulous, she pushed
him into the elevator.  She kept her hand on his arm while
the cage shot up, and she looked away from him, frowning,
as if she were trying to remember or realize something.
When the cage stopped, she pushed him out of the elevator
through another door, which a maid opened, into a square
hall.  There she sank down on a chair and looked up at
him.

     "Why didn't you let me know?" she asked in a hoarse
voice.

     Archie heard himself laughing the old, embarrassed
laugh that seldom happened to him now.  "Oh, I wanted
to take my chance with you, like anybody else.  It's been
so long, now!"

     She took his hand through her thick glove and her head
dropped forward.  "Yes, it has been long," she said in the
same husky voice, "and so much has happened."

     "And you are so tired, and I am a clumsy old fellow to
break in on you to-night," the doctor added sympathetic-
ally.  "Forgive me, this time."  He bent over and put his
hand soothingly on her shoulder.  He felt a strong shudder
run through her from head to foot.

     Still bundled in her fur coat as she was, she threw both
arms about him and hugged him.  "Oh, Dr. Archie,
DR. ARCHIE,"--she shook him,--"don't let me go.  Hold
on, now you're here," she laughed, breaking away from
him at the same moment and sliding out of her fur coat.
She left it for the maid to pick up and pushed the doctor
into the sitting-room, where she turned on the lights.  "Let
me LOOK at you.  Yes; hands, feet, head, shoulders--just
the same.  You've grown no older.  You can't say as much
for me, can you?"

     She was standing in the middle of the room, in a white
silk shirtwaist and a short black velvet skirt, which some-

<p 416>

how suggested that they had `cut off her petticoats all
round about.'  She looked distinctly clipped and plucked.
Her hair was parted in the middle and done very close to
her head, as she had worn it under the wig.  She looked
like a fugitive, who had escaped from something in clothes
caught up at hazard.  It flashed across Dr. Archie that she
was running away from the other woman down at the
opera house, who had used her hardly.

     He took a step toward her.  "I can't tell a thing in the
world about you, Thea--if I may still call you that."

     She took hold of the collar of his overcoat.  "Yes, call
me that.  Do: I like to hear it.  You frighten me a little,
but I expect I frighten you more.  I'm always a scarecrow
after I sing a long part like that--so high, too."  She
absently pulled out the handkerchief that protruded from
his breast pocket and began to wipe the black paint off her
eyebrows and lashes.  "I can't take you in much to-night,
but I must see you for a little while."  She pushed him to a
chair.  "I shall be more recognizable to-morrow.  You
mustn't think of me as you see me to-night.  Come at four
to-morrow afternoon and have tea with me.  Can you?
That's good."

     She sat down in a low chair beside him and leaned for-
ward, drawing her shoulders together.  She seemed to him
inappropriately young and inappropriately old, shorn of
her long tresses at one end and of her long robes at the
other.

     "How do you happen to be here?" she asked abruptly.
"How can you leave a silver mine?  I couldn't!  Sure
nobody'll cheat you?  But you can explain everything to-
morrow."  She paused.  "You remember how you sewed
me up in a poultice, once?  I wish you could to-night.  I
need a poultice, from top to toe.  Something very disagree-
able happened down there.  You said you were out front?
Oh, don't say anything about it.  I always know exactly
how it goes, unfortunately.  I was rotten in the balcony.

<p 417>

I never get that.  You didn't notice it?  Probably not, but
I did."

     Here the maid appeared at the door and her mistress
rose.  "My supper?  Very well, I'll come.  I'd ask you to
stay, doctor, but there wouldn't be enough for two.  They
seldom send up enough for one,"--she spoke bitterly.
"I haven't got a sense of you yet,"--turning directly to
Archie again.  "You haven't been here.  You've only an-
nounced yourself, and told me you are coming to-morrow.
You haven't seen me, either.  This is not I.  But I'll be
here waiting for you to-morrow, my whole works!  Good-
night, till then."  She patted him absently on the sleeve
and gave him a little shove toward the door.

<p 418>

                                 V

     WHEN Archie got back to his hotel at two o'clock in
the morning, he found Fred Ottenburg's card under
his door, with a message scribbled across the top: "When
you come in, please call up room 811, this hotel."  A mo-
ment later Fred's voice reached him over the telephone.

     "That you, Archie?  Won't you come up?  I'm having
some supper and I'd like company.  Late?  What does that
matter?  I won't keep you long."

     Archie dropped his overcoat and set out for room 811.
He found Ottenburg in the act of touching a match to a
chafing-dish, at a table laid for two in his sitting-room.
"I'm catering here," he announced cheerfully.  "I let the
waiter off at midnight, after he'd set me up.  You'll have
to account for yourself, Archie."

     The doctor laughed, pointing to three wine-coolers under
the table.  "Are you expecting guests?"

     "Yes, two."  Ottenburg held up two fingers,--"you,
and my higher self.  He's a thirsty boy, and I don't invite
him often.  He has been known to give me a headache.
Now, where have you been, Archie, until this shocking
hour?"

     "Bah, you've been banting!" the doctor exclaimed,
pulling out his white gloves as he searched for his handker-
chief and throwing them into a chair.  Ottenburg was in
evening clothes and very pointed dress shoes.  His white
waistcoat, upon which the doctor had fixed a challenging
eye, went down straight from the top button, and he wore
a camelia.  He was conspicuously brushed and trimmed
and polished.  His smoothly controlled excitement was
wholly different from his usual easy cordiality, though he
had his face, as well as his figure, well in hand.  On the

<p 419>

serving-table there was an empty champagne pint and a
glass.  He had been having a little starter, the doctor told
himself, and would probably be running on high gear before
he got through.  There was even now an air of speed about
him.

     "Been, Freddy?"--the doctor at last took up his ques-
tion.  "I expect I've been exactly where you have.  Why
didn't you tell me you were coming on?"

     "I wasn't, Archie."  Fred lifted the cover of the chafing-
dish and stirred the contents.  He stood behind the table,
holding the lid with his handkerchief.  "I had never thought
of such a thing.  But Landry, a young chap who plays her
accompaniments and who keeps an eye out for me, tele-
graphed me that Madame Rheinecker had gone to Atlantic
City with a bad throat, and Thea might have a chance to
sing ELSA.  She has sung it only twice here before, and I
missed it in Dresden.  So I came on.  I got in at four this
afternoon and saw you registered, but I thought I would
n't butt in.  How lucky you got here just when she was
coming on for this.  You couldn't have hit a better time."
Ottenburg stirred the contents of the dish faster and put
in more sherry.  "And where have you been since twelve
o'clock, may I ask?"

     Archie looked rather self-conscious, as he sat down on a
fragile gilt chair that rocked under him, and stretched out
his long legs.  "Well, if you'll believe me, I had the bru-
tality to go to see her.  I wanted to identify her.  Couldn't
wait."

     Ottenburg placed the cover quickly on the chafing-dish
and took a step backward.  "You did, old sport?  My word!
None but the brave deserve the fair.  Well,"--he stooped
to turn the wine,--"and how was she?"

     "She seemed rather dazed, and pretty well used up.  She
seemed disappointed in herself, and said she hadn't done
herself justice in the balcony scene."

     "Well, if she didn't, she's not the first.  Beastly stuff to

<p 420>

sing right in there; lies just on the `break' in the voice."
Fred pulled a bottle out of the ice and drew the cork.
Lifting his glass he looked meaningly at Archie.  "You
know who, doctor.  Here goes!"  He drank off his glass
with a sigh of satisfaction.  After he had turned the lamp
low under the chafing-dish, he remained standing, looking
pensively down at the food on the table.  "Well, she
rather pulled it off!  As a backer, you're a winner, Archie.
I congratulate you."  Fred poured himself another glass.
"Now you must eat something, and so must I.  Here, get
off that bird cage and find a steady chair.  This stuff ought
to be rather good; head waiter's suggestion.  Smells all
right."  He bent over the chafing-dish and began to serve
the contents.  "Perfectly innocuous: mushrooms and truf-
fles and a little crab-meat.  And now, on the level, Archie,
how did it hit you?"

     Archie turned a frank smile to his friend and shook his
head.  "It was all miles beyond me, of course, but it gave
me a pulse.  The general excitement got hold of me, I sup-
pose.  I like your wine, Freddy."  He put down his glass.
"It goes to the spot to-night.  She WAS all right, then?
You weren't disappointed?"

     "Disappointed?  My dear Archie, that's the high voice
we dream of; so pure and yet so virile and human.  That
combination hardly ever happens with sopranos."  Otten-
burg sat down and turned to the doctor, speaking calmly
and trying to dispel his friend's manifest bewilderment.
"You see, Archie, there's the voice itself, so beautiful and
individual, and then there's something else; the thing in it
which responds to every shade of thought and feeling,
spontaneously, almost unconsciously.  That color has to
be born in a singer, it can't be acquired; lots of beautiful
voices haven't a vestige of it.  It's almost like another
gift--the rarest of all.  The voice simply is the mind and
is the heart.  It can't go wrong in interpretation, because it
has in it the thing that makes all interpretation.  That's

<p 421>

why you feel so sure of her.  After you've listened to her
for an hour or so, you aren't afraid of anything.  All the
little dreads you have with other artists vanish.  You lean
back and you say to yourself, `No, THAT voice will never be-
tray.'  TREULICH GEFUHRT, TREULICH BEWACHT."

     Archie looked envyingly at Fred's excited, triumphant
face.  How satisfactory it must be, he thought, to really
know what she was doing and not to have to take it on
hearsay.  He took up his glass with a sigh.  "I seem to
need a good deal of cooling off to-night.  I'd just as lief
forget the Reform Party for once.

     "Yes, Fred," he went on seriously; "I thought it
sounded very beautiful, and I thought she was very
beautiful, too.  I never imagined she could be as beautiful
as that."

     "Wasn't she?  Every attitude a picture, and always the
right kind of picture, full of that legendary, supernatural
thing she gets into it.  I never heard the prayer sung like
that before.  That look that came in her eyes; it went right
out through the back of the roof.  Of course, you get an
ELSA who can look through walls like that, and visions and
Grail-knights happen naturally.  She becomes an abbess,
that girl, after LOHENGRIN leaves her.  She's made to live
with ideas and enthusiasms, not with a husband."  Fred
folded his arms, leaned back in his chair, and began to
sing softly:--

          <"In lichter Waffen Scheine,

            Ein Ritter nahte da.">

     "Doesn't she die, then, at the end?" the doctor asked
guardedly.

     Fred smiled, reaching under the table.  "Some ELSAS do;
she didn't.  She left me with the distinct impression that
she was just beginning.  Now, doctor, here's a cold one."
He twirled a napkin smoothly about the green glass, the
cork gave and slipped out with a soft explosion.  "And now
we must have another toast.  It's up to you, this time."

<p 422>

     The doctor watched the agitation in his glass.  "The
same," he said without lifting his eyes.  "That's good
enough.  I can't raise you."

     Fred leaned forward, and looked sharply into his face.
"That's the point; how COULD you raise me?  Once again!"

     "Once again, and always the same!"  The doctor put
down his glass.  "This doesn't seem to produce any symp-
toms in me to-night."  He lit a cigar.  "Seriously, Freddy,
I wish I knew more about what she's driving at.  It makes
me jealous, when you are so in it and I'm not."

     "In it?"  Fred started up.  "My God, haven't you seen
her this blessed night?--when she'd have kicked any
other man down the elevator shaft, if I know her.  Leave
me something; at least what I can pay my five bucks for."

     "Seems to me you get a good deal for your five bucks,"
said Archie ruefully.  "And that, after all, is what she cares
about,--what people get."

     Fred lit a cigarette, took a puff or two, and then threw it
away.  He was lounging back in his chair, and his face was
pale and drawn hard by that mood of intense concentration
which lurks under the sunny shallows of the vineyard.  In
his voice there was a longer perspective than usual, a slight
remoteness.  "You see, Archie, it's all very simple, a natu-
ral development.  It's exactly what Mahler said back there
in the beginning, when she sang WOGLINDE.  It's the idea,
the basic idea, pulsing behind every bar she sings.  She
simplifies a character down to the musical idea it's built on,
and makes everything conform to that.  The people who
chatter about her being a great actress don't seem to get
the notion of where SHE gets the notion.  It all goes back to
her original endowment, her tremendous musical talent.
Instead of inventing a lot of business and expedients to
suggest character, she knows the thing at the root, and lets
the musical pattern take care of her.  The score pours her
into all those lovely postures, makes the light and shadow
go over her face, lifts her and drops her.  She lies on it, the

<p 423>

way she used to lie on the Rhine music.  Talk about
rhythm!"

     The doctor frowned dubiously as a third bottle made its
appearance above the cloth.  "Aren't you going in rather
strong?"

     Fred laughed.  "No, I'm becoming too sober.  You see
this is breakfast now; kind of wedding breakfast.  I feel
rather weddingish.  I don't mind.  You know," he went on
as the wine gurgled out, "I was thinking to-night when
they sprung the wedding music, how any fool can have
that stuff played over him when he walks up the aisle with
some dough-faced little hussy who's hooked him.  But it
isn't every fellow who can see--well, what we saw to-
night.  There are compensations in life, Dr. Howard Archie,
though they come in disguise.  Did you notice her when she
came down the stairs?  Wonder where she gets that bright-
and-morning star look?  Carries to the last row of the
family circle.  I moved about all over the house.  I'll tell
you a secret, Archie: that carrying power was one of the
first things that put me wise.  Noticed it down there in
Arizona, in the open.  That, I said, belongs only to the big
ones."  Fred got up and began to move rhythmically about
the room, his hands in his pockets.  The doctor was aston-
ished at his ease and steadiness, for there were slight lapses
in his speech.  "You see, Archie, ELSA isn't a part that's
particularly suited to Thea's voice at all, as I see her voice.
It's over-lyrical for her.  She makes it, but there's nothing
in it that fits her like a glove, except, maybe, that long
duet in the third act.  There, of course,"--he held out his
hands as if he were measuring something,--"we know
exactly where we are.  But wait until they give her a chance
at something that lies properly in her voice, and you'll see
me rosier than I am to-night."

     Archie smoothed the tablecloth with his hand.  "I am
sure I don't want to see you any rosier, Fred."

     Ottenburg threw back his head and laughed.  "It's en-

<p 424>

thusiasm, doctor.  It's not the wine.  I've got as much in-
flated as this for a dozen trashy things: brewers' dinners
and political orgies.  You, too, have your extravagances,
Archie.  And what I like best in you is this particular
enthusiasm, which is not at all practical or sensible, which
is downright Quixotic.  You are not altogether what you
seem, and you have your reservations.  Living among the
wolves, you have not become one.  LUPIBUS VIVENDI NON
LUPUS SUM."

     The doctor seemed embarrassed.  "I was just thinking
how tired she looked, plucked of all her fine feathers, while
we get all the fun.  Instead of sitting here carousing, we
ought to go solemnly to bed."

     "I get your idea."  Ottenburg crossed to the window and
threw it open.  "Fine night outside; a hag of a moon just
setting.  It begins to smell like morning.  After all, Archie,
think of the lonely and rather solemn hours we've spent
waiting for all this, while she's been--reveling."

     Archie lifted his brows.  "I somehow didn't get the idea
to-night that she revels much."

     "I don't mean this sort of thing."  Fred turned toward
the light and stood with his back to the window.  "That,"
with a nod toward the wine-cooler, "is only a cheap imita-
tion, that any poor stiff-fingered fool can buy and feel his
shell grow thinner.  But take it from me, no matter what
she pays, or how much she may see fit to lie about it, the
real, the master revel is hers."  He leaned back against the
window sill and crossed his arms.  "Anybody with all that
voice and all that talent and all that beauty, has her hour.
Her hour," he went on deliberately, "when she can say,
'there it is, at last, WIE IM TRAUM ICH--

          "`As in my dream I dreamed it,

            As in my will it was.'"

     He stood silent a moment, twisting the flower from his
coat by the stem and staring at the blank wall with hag-

<p 425>

gard abstraction.  "Even I can say to-night, Archie," he
brought out slowly,

          "`As in my dream I dreamed it,
            As in my will it was.'

Now, doctor, you may leave me.  I'm beautifully drunk,
but not with anything that ever grew in France."

     The doctor rose.  Fred tossed his flower out of the win-
dow behind him and came toward the door.  "I say," he
called, "have you a date with anybody?"

     The doctor paused, his hand on the knob.  "With Thea,
you mean?  Yes.  I'm to go to her at four this afternoon--
if you haven't paralyzed me."

     "Well, you won't eat me, will you, if I break in and send
up my card?  She'll probably turn me down cold, but that
won't hurt my feelings.  If she ducks me, you tell her for me,
that to spite me now she'd have to cut off more than she
can spare.  Good-night, Archie."

<p 426>

                                VI

     IT was late on the morning after the night she sang ELSA,
when Thea Kronborg stirred uneasily in her bed.  The
room was darkened by two sets of window shades, and the
day outside was thick and cloudy.  She turned and tried
to recapture unconsciousness, knowing that she would not
be able to do so.  She dreaded waking stale and disap-
pointed after a great effort.  The first thing that came was
always the sense of the futility of such endeavor, and of
the absurdity of trying too hard.  Up to a certain point,
say eighty degrees, artistic endeavor could be fat and
comfortable, methodical and prudent.  But if you went
further than that, if you drew yourself up toward ninety
degrees, you parted with your defenses and left yourself
exposed to mischance.  The legend was that in those upper
reaches you might be divine; but you were much likelier
to be ridiculous.  Your public wanted just about eighty
degrees; if you gave it more it blew its nose and put a
crimp in you.  In the morning, especially, it seemed to
her very probable that whatever struggled above the good
average was not quite sound.  Certainly very little of that
superfluous ardor, which cost so dear, ever got across the
footlights.  These misgivings waited to pounce upon her
when she wakened.  They hovered about her bed like
vultures.

     She reached under her pillow for her handkerchief, with-
out opening her eyes.  She had a shadowy memory that
there was to be something unusual, that this day held more
disquieting possibilities than days commonly held.  There
was something she dreaded; what was it?  Oh, yes, Dr.
Archie was to come at four.

     A reality like Dr. Archie, poking up out of the past, re-

<p 427>

minded one of disappointments and losses, of a freedom
that was no more: reminded her of blue, golden mornings
long ago, when she used to waken with a burst of joy at
recovering her precious self and her precious world; when
she never lay on her pillows at eleven o'clock like some-
thing the waves had washed up.  After all, why had he
come?  It had been so long, and so much had happened.
The things she had lost, he would miss readily enough.
What she had gained, he would scarcely perceive.  He, and
all that he recalled, lived for her as memories.  In sleep,
and in hours of illness or exhaustion, she went back to
them and held them to her heart.  But they were better
as memories.  They had nothing to do with the struggle
that made up her actual life.  She felt drearily that she
was not flexible enough to be the person her old friend
expected her to be, the person she herself wished to be
with him.

     Thea reached for the bell and rang twice,--a signal to
her maid to order her breakfast.  She rose and ran up the
window shades and turned on the water in her bathroom,
glancing into the mirror apprehensively as she passed it.
Her bath usually cheered her, even on low mornings like
this.  Her white bathroom, almost as large as her sleeping-
room, she regarded as a refuge.  When she turned the key
behind her, she left care and vexation on the other side of
the door.  Neither her maid nor the management nor her
letters nor her accompanist could get at her now.

     When she pinned her braids about her head, dropped
her nightgown and stepped out to begin her Swedish move-
ments, she was a natural creature again, and it was so that
she liked herself best.  She slid into the tub with anticipa-
tion and splashed and tumbled about a good deal.  What-
ever else she hurried, she never hurried her bath.  She
used her brushes and sponges and soaps like toys, fairly
playing in the water.  Her own body was always a cheer-
ing sight to her.  When she was careworn, when her mind

<p 428>

felt old and tired, the freshness of her physical self, her
long, firm lines, the smoothness of her skin, reassured her.
This morning, because of awakened memories, she looked
at herself more carefully than usual, and was not discour-
aged.  While she was in the tub she began to whistle
softly the tenor aria, "AH!  FUYEZ, DOUCE IMAGE," somehow
appropriate to the bath.  After a noisy moment under the
cold shower, she stepped out on the rug flushed and glow-
ing, threw her arms above her head, and rose on her toes,
keeping the elevation as long as she could.  When she
dropped back on her heels and began to rub herself with
the towels, she took up the aria again, and felt quite in the
humor for seeing Dr. Archie.  After she had returned to her
bed, the maid brought her letters and the morning papers
with her breakfast.

     "Telephone Mr. Landry and ask him if he can come at
half-past three, Theresa, and order tea to be brought up
at five."

     When Howard Archie was admitted to Thea's apart-
ment that afternoon, he was shown into the music-room
back of the little reception room.  Thea was sitting in a
davenport behind the piano, talking to a young man whom
she later introduced as her friend Mr. Landry.  As she
rose, and came to meet him, Archie felt a deep relief, a
sudden thankfulness.  She no longer looked clipped and
plucked, or dazed and fleeing.

     Dr. Archie neglected to take account of the young man
to whom he was presented.  He kept Thea's hands and
held her where he met her, taking in the light, lively sweep
of her hair, her clear green eyes and her throat that came
up strong and dazzlingly white from her green velvet gown.
The chin was as lovely as ever, the cheeks as smooth.
All the lines of last night had disappeared.  Only at the
outer corners of her eyes, between the eye and the temple,
were the faintest indications of a future attack--mere

<p 429>

kitten scratches that playfully hinted where one day the
cat would claw her.  He studied her without any embar-
rassment.  Last night everything had been awkward; but
now, as he held her hands, a kind of harmony came between
them, a reestablishment of confidence.

     "After all, Thea,--in spite of all, I still know you," he
murmured.

     She took his arm and led him up to the young man who
was standing beside the piano.  "Mr. Landry knows all
about you, Dr. Archie.  He has known about you for many
years."  While the two men shook hands she stood between
them, drawing them together by her presence and her
glances.  "When I first went to Germany, Landry was
studying there.  He used to be good enough to work with
me when I could not afford to have an accompanist for
more than two hours a day.  We got into the way of work-
ing together.  He is a singer, too, and has his own career to
look after, but he still manages to give me some time.  I
want you to be friends."  She smiled from one to the
other.

     The rooms, Archie noticed, full of last night's flowers,
were furnished in light colors, the hotel bleakness of them
a little softened by a magnificent Steinway piano, white
bookshelves full of books and scores, some drawings of
ballet dancers, and the very deep sofa behind the piano.

     "Of course," Archie asked apologetically, "you have
seen the papers?"

     "Very cordial, aren't they?  They evidently did not
expect as much as I did.  ELSA is not really in my voice.
I can sing the music, but I have to go after it."

     "That is exactly," the doctor came out boldly, "what
Fred Ottenburg said this morning."

     They had remained standing, the three of them, by the
piano, where the gray afternoon light was strongest.  Thea
turned to the doctor with interest.  "Is Fred in town?
They were from him, then--some flowers that came last

<p 430>

night without a card."  She indicated the white lilacs on
the window sill.  "Yes, he would know, certainly," she said
thoughtfully.  "Why don't we sit down?  There will be
some tea for you in a minute, Landry.  He's very depend-
ent upon it," disapprovingly to Archie.  "Now tell me,
Doctor, did you really have a good time last night, or were
you uncomfortable?  Did you feel as if I were trying to
hold my hat on by my eyebrows?"

     He smiled.  "I had all kinds of a time.  But I had no feel-
ing of that sort.  I couldn't be quite sure that it was you at
all.  That was why I came up here last night.  I felt as if
I'd lost you."

     She leaned toward him and brushed his sleeve reassur-
ingly.  "Then I didn't give you an impression of painful
struggle?  Landry was singing at Weber and Fields' last
night.  He didn't get in until the performance was half
over.  But I see the TRIBUNE man felt that I was working
pretty hard.  Did you see that notice, Oliver?"

     Dr. Archie looked closely at the red-headed young man
for the first time, and met his lively brown eyes, full of a
droll, confiding sort of humor.  Mr. Landry was not pre-
possessing.  He was undersized and clumsily made, with a
red, shiny face and a sharp little nose that looked as if it
had been whittled out of wood and was always in the air,
on the scent of something.  Yet it was this queer little
beak, with his eyes, that made his countenance anything
of a face at all.  From a distance he looked like the grocery-
man's delivery boy in a small town.  His dress seemed an
acknowledgment of his grotesqueness: a short coat, like a
little boys' roundabout, and a vest fantastically sprigged
and dotted, over a lavender shirt.

     At the sound of a muffled buzz, Mr. Landry sprang up.

     "May I answer the telephone for you?"  He went to the
writing-table and took up the receiver.  "Mr. Ottenburg is
downstairs," he said, turning to Thea and holding the
mouthpiece against his coat.

<p 431>

     "Tell him to come up," she replied without hesitation.
"How long are you going to be in town, Dr. Archie?"

     "Oh, several weeks, if you'll let me stay.  I won't hang
around and be a burden to you, but I want to try to get
educated up to you, though I expect it's late to begin."

     Thea rose and touched him lightly on the shoulder.
"Well, you'll never be any younger, will you?"

     "I'm not so sure about that," the doctor replied gal-
lantly.

     The maid appeared at the door and announced Mr. Fred-
erick Ottenburg.  Fred came in, very much got up, the
doctor reflected, as he watched him bending over Thea's
hand.  He was still pale and looked somewhat chastened,
and the lock of hair that hung down over his forehead was
distinctly moist.  But his black afternoon coat, his gray tie
and gaiters were of a correctness that Dr. Archie could
never attain for all the efforts of his faithful slave, Van
Deusen, the Denver haberdasher.  To be properly up to
those tricks, the doctor supposed, you had to learn them
young.  If he were to buy a silk hat that was the twin of
Ottenburg's, it would be shaggy in a week, and he could
never carry it as Fred held his.

     Ottenburg had greeted Thea in German, and as she
replied in the same language, Archie joined Mr. Landry at
the window.  "You know Mr. Ottenburg, he tells me?"

     Mr. Landry's eyes twinkled.  "Yes, I regularly follow
him about, when he's in town.  I would, even if he didn't
send me such wonderful Christmas presents: Russian vodka
by the half-dozen!"

     Thea called to them, "Come, Mr. Ottenburg is calling on
all of us.  Here's the tea."

     The maid opened the door and two waiters from down-
stairs appeared with covered trays.  The tea-table was in
the parlor.  Thea drew Ottenburg with her and went to
inspect it.  "Where's the rum?  Oh, yes, in that thing!
Everything seems to be here, but send up some currant

<p 432>

preserves and cream cheese for Mr. Ottenburg.  And in
about fifteen minutes, bring some fresh toast.  That's all,
thank you."

     For the next few minutes there was a clatter of teacups
and responses about sugar.  "Landry always takes rum.
I'm glad the rest of you don't.  I'm sure it's bad."  Thea
poured the tea standing and got through with it as quickly
as possible, as if it were a refreshment snatched between
trains.  The tea-table and the little room in which it stood
seemed to be out of scale with her long step, her long reach,
and the energy of her movements.  Dr. Archie, standing
near her, was pleasantly aware of the animation of her
figure.  Under the clinging velvet, her body seemed in-
dependent and unsubdued.

     They drifted, with their plates and cups, back to the
music-room.  When Thea followed them, Ottenburg put
down his tea suddenly.  "Aren't you taking anything?
Please let me."  He started back to the table.

     "No, thank you, nothing.  I'm going to run over that
aria for you presently, to convince you that I can do it.
How did the duet go, with Schlag?"

     She was standing in the doorway and Fred came up to
her: "That you'll never do any better.  You've worked
your voice into it perfectly.  Every NUANCE--wonder-
ful!"

     "Think so?"  She gave him a sidelong glance and spoke
with a certain gruff shyness which did not deceive anybody,
and was not meant to deceive.  The tone was equivalent to
"Keep it up.  I like it, but I'm awkward with it."

     Fred held her by the door and did keep it up, furiously,
for full five minutes.  She took it with some confusion, seem-
ing all the while to be hesitating, to be arrested in her
course and trying to pass him.  But she did not really try
to pass, and her color deepened.  Fred spoke in German,
and Archie caught from her an occasional JA?  SO? mut-
tered rather than spoken.

<p 433>

     When they rejoined Landry and Dr. Archie, Fred took
up his tea again.  "I see you're singing VENUS Saturday
night.  Will they never let you have a chance at ELIZABETH?"

     She shrugged her shoulders.  "Not here.  There are so
many singers here, and they try us out in such a stingy way.
Think of it, last year I came over in October, and it was the
first of December before I went on at all!  I'm often sorry
I left Dresden."

     "Still," Fred argued, "Dresden is limited."

     "Just so, and I've begun to sigh for those very limita-
tions.  In New York everything is impersonal.  Your audi-
ence never knows its own mind, and its mind is never twice
the same.  I'd rather sing where the people are pig-headed
and throw carrots at you if you don't do it the way they
like it.  The house here is splendid, and the night audi-
ences are exciting.  I hate the matinees; like singing at a
KAFFEKLATSCH."  She rose and turned on the lights.

     "Ah!" Fred exclaimed, "why do you do that?  That is
a signal that tea is over."  He got up and drew out his
gloves.

     "Not at all.  Shall you be here Saturday night?" She
sat down on the piano bench and leaned her elbow back on
the keyboard.  "Necker sings ELIZABETH.  Make Dr. Archie
go.  Everything she sings is worth hearing."

     "But she's failing so.  The last time I heard her she had
no voice at all.  She IS a poor vocalist!"

     Thea cut him off.  "She's a great artist, whether she's in
voice or not, and she's the only one here.  If you want a big
voice, you can take my ORTRUDE of last night; that's big
enough, and vulgar enough."

     Fred laughed and turned away, this time with decision.
"I don't want her!" he protested energetically.  "I only
wanted to get a rise out of you.  I like Necker's ELIZABETH
well enough.  I like your VENUS well enough, too."

     "It's a beautiful part, and it's often dreadfully sung.
It's very hard to sing, of course."

<p 434>

     Ottenburg bent over the hand she held out to him.  "For
an uninvited guest, I've fared very well.  You were nice
to let me come up.  I'd have been terribly cut up if you'd
sent me away.  May I?"  He kissed her hand lightly and
backed toward the door, still smiling, and promising to
keep an eye on Archie.  "He can't be trusted at all, Thea.
One of the waiters at Martin's worked a Tourainian hare
off on him at luncheon yesterday, for seven twenty-five."

     Thea broke into a laugh, the deep one he recognized.
"Did he have a ribbon on, this hare?  Did they bring him
in a gilt cage?"

     "No,"--Archie spoke up for himself,--"they brought
him in a brown sauce, which was very good.  He didn't
taste very different from any rabbit."

     "Probably came from a push-cart on the East Side."
Thea looked at her old friend commiseratingly.  "Yes, DO
keep an eye on him, Fred.  I had no idea," shaking her
head.  "Yes, I'll be obliged to you."

     "Count on me!"  Their eyes met in a gay smile, and
Fred bowed himself out.

<p 435>

                                VII

     ON Saturday night Dr. Archie went with Fred Otten-
burg to hear "Tannhauser."  Thea had a rehearsal
on Sunday afternoon, but as she was not on the bill again
until Wednesday, she promised to dine with Archie and
Ottenburg on Monday, if they could make the dinner
early.

     At a little after eight on Monday evening, the three
friends returned to Thea's apartment and seated them-
selves for an hour of quiet talk.

     "I'm sorry we couldn't have had Landry with us to-
night," Thea said, "but he's on at Weber and Fields' every
night now.  You ought to hear him, Dr. Archie.  He often
sings the old Scotch airs you used to love."

     "Why not go down this evening?" Fred suggested hope-
fully, glancing at his watch.  "That is, if you'd like to go.
I can telephone and find what time he comes on."

     Thea hesitated.  "No, I think not.  I took a long walk
this afternoon and I'm rather tired.  I think I can get to
sleep early and be so much ahead.  I don't mean at once,
however," seeing Dr. Archie's disappointed look.  "I al-
ways like to hear Landry," she added.  "He never had
much voice, and it's worn, but there's a sweetness about
it, and he sings with such taste."

     "Yes, doesn't he?  May I?"  Fred took out his cigarette
case.  "It really doesn't bother your throat?"

     "A little doesn't.  But cigar smoke does.  Poor Dr.
Archie!  Can you do with one of those?"

     "I'm learning to like them," the doctor declared, taking
one from the case Fred proffered him.

     "Landry's the only fellow I know in this country who
can do that sort of thing," Fred went on.  "Like the best

<p 436>

English ballad singers.  He can sing even popular stuff by
higher lights, as it were."

     Thea nodded.  "Yes; sometimes I make him sing his
most foolish things for me.  It's restful, as he does it.
That's when I'm homesick, Dr. Archie."

     "You knew him in Germany, Thea?"  Dr. Archie had
quietly abandoned his cigarette as a comfortless article.
"When you first went over?"

     "Yes.  He was a good friend to a green girl.  He helped me
with my German and my music and my general discourage-
ment.  Seemed to care more about my getting on than about
himself.  He had no money, either.  An old aunt had loaned
him a little to study on.-- Will you answer that, Fred?"

     Fred caught up the telephone and stopped the buzz
while Thea went on talking to Dr. Archie about Landry.
Telling some one to hold the wire, he presently put down
the instrument and approached Thea with a startled ex-
pression on his face.

     "It's the management," he said quietly.  "Gloeckler has
broken down: fainting fits.  Madame Rheinecker is in At-
lantic City and Schramm is singing in Philadelphia to-
night.  They want to know whether you can come down and
finish SIEGLINDE."

     "What time is it?"

     "Eight fifty-five.  The first act is just over.  They can
hold the curtain twenty-five minutes."

     Thea did not move.  "Twenty-five and thirty-five makes
sixty," she muttered.  "Tell them I'll come if they hold the
curtain till I am in the dressing-room.  Say I'll have to wear
her costumes, and the dresser must have everything ready.
Then call a taxi, please."

     Thea had not changed her position since he first inter-
rupted her, but she had grown pale and was opening and
shutting her hands rapidly.  She looked, Fred thought, ter-
rified.  He half turned toward the telephone, but hung on
one foot.

<p 437>

     "Have you ever sung the part?" he asked.

     "No, but I've rehearsed it.  That's all right.  Get the
cab."  Still she made no move.  She merely turned per-
fectly blank eyes to Dr. Archie and said absently, "It's
curious, but just at this minute I can't remember a bar of
'Walkure' after the first act.  And I let my maid go out."
She sprang up and beckoned Archie without so much, he
felt sure, as knowing who he was.  "Come with me."  She
went quickly into her sleeping-chamber and threw open a
door into a trunk-room.  "See that white trunk?  It's not
locked.  It's full of wigs, in boxes.  Look until you find one
marked `Ring 2.'  Bring it quick!"  While she directed
him, she threw open a square trunk and began tossing out
shoes of every shape and color.

     Ottenburg appeared at the door.  "Can I help you?"

     She threw him some white sandals with long laces and
silk stockings pinned to them.  "Put those in something,
and then go to the piano and give me a few measures in
there--you know."  She was behaving somewhat like a
cyclone now, and while she wrenched open drawers and
closet doors, Ottenburg got to the piano as quickly as pos-
sible and began to herald the reappearance of the Volsung
pair, trusting to memory.

     In a few moments Thea came out enveloped in her long
fur coat with a scarf over her head and knitted woolen
gloves on her hands.  Her glassy eye took in the fact that
Fred was playing from memory, and even in her distracted
state, a faint smile flickered over her colorless lips.  She
stretched out a woolly hand, "The score, please.  Behind
you, there."

     Dr. Archie followed with a canvas box and a satchel.  As
they went through the hall, the men caught up their hats
and coats.  They left the music-room, Fred noticed, just
seven minutes after he got the telephone message.  In the
elevator Thea said in that husky whisper which had so per-
plexed Dr. Archie when he first heard it, "Tell the driver

<p 438>

he must do it in twenty minutes, less if he can.  He must
leave the light on in the cab.  I can do a good deal in twenty
minutes.  If only you hadn't made me eat--  Damn
that duck!" she broke out bitterly; "why did you?"

     "Wish I had it back!  But it won't bother you, to-night.
You need strength," he pleaded consolingly.

     But she only muttered angrily under her breath, "Idiot,
idiot!"

     Ottenburg shot ahead and instructed the driver, while
the doctor put Thea into the cab and shut the door.  She
did not speak to either of them again.  As the driver scram-
bled into his seat she opened the score and fixed her eyes
upon it.  Her face, in the white light, looked as bleak as a
stone quarry.

     As her cab slid away, Ottenburg shoved Archie into a
second taxi that waited by the curb.  "We'd better trail
her," he explained.  "There might be a hold-up of some
kind."  As the cab whizzed off he broke into an eruption of
profanity.

     "What's the matter, Fred?" the doctor asked.  He
was a good deal dazed by the rapid evolutions of the last
ten minutes.

     "Matter enough!" Fred growled, buttoning his over-
coat with a shiver.  "What a way to sing a part for the first
time!  That duck really is on my conscience.  It will be a
wonder if she can do anything but quack!  Scrambling on
in the middle of a performance like this, with no rehearsal!
The stuff she has to sing in there is a fright--rhythm,
pitch,--and terribly difficult intervals."

     "She looked frightened," Dr. Archie said thoughtfully,
"but I thought she looked--determined."

     Fred sniffed.  "Oh, determined!  That's the kind of
rough deal that makes savages of singers.  Here's a part
she's worked on and got ready for for years, and now they
give her a chance to go on and butcher it.  Goodness knows
when she's looked at the score last, or whether she can use

<p 439>

the business she's studied with this cast.  Necker's singing
BRUNNHILDE; she may help her, if it's not one of her sore
nights."

     "Is she sore at Thea?" Dr. Archie asked wonderingly.

     "My dear man, Necker's sore at everything.  She's
breaking up; too early; just when she ought to be at her
best.  There's one story that she is struggling under some
serious malady, another that she learned a bad method at
the Prague Conservatory and has ruined her organ.  She's
the sorest thing in the world.  If she weathers this winter
through, it'll be her last.  She's paying for it with the last
rags of her voice.  And then--"  Fred whistled softly.

     "Well, what then?"

     "Then our girl may come in for some of it.  It's dog eat
dog, in this game as in every other."

     The cab stopped and Fred and Dr. Archie hurried to the
box office.  The Monday-night house was sold out.  They
bought standing room and entered the auditorium just as
the press representative of the house was thanking the
audience for their patience and telling them that although
Madame Gloeckler was too ill to sing, Miss Kronborg had
kindly consented to finish her part.  This announcement
was met with vehement applause from the upper circles of
the house.

     "She has her--constituents," Dr. Archie murmured.

     "Yes, up there, where they're young and hungry.  These
people down here have dined too well.  They won't mind,
however.  They like fires and accidents and DIVERTISSEMENTS.
Two SIEGLINDES are more unusual than one, so they'll be
satisfied."

     After the final disappearance of the mother of Siegfried,
Ottenburg and the doctor slipped out through the crowd
and left the house.  Near the stage entrance Fred found
the driver who had brought Thea down.  He dismissed him
and got a larger car.  He and Archie waited on the sidewalk,

<p 440>

and when Kronborg came out alone they gathered her into
the cab and sprang in after her.

     Thea sank back into a corner of the back seat and
yawned.  "Well, I got through, eh?"  Her tone was reas-
suring.  "On the whole, I think I've given you gentlemen a
pretty lively evening, for one who has no social accomplish-
ments."

     "Rather!  There was something like a popular uprising
at the end of the second act.  Archie and I couldn't keep
it up as long as the rest of them did.  A howl like that
ought to show the management which way the wind is
blowing.  You probably know you were magnificent."

     "I thought it went pretty well," she spoke impartially.
"I was rather smart to catch his tempo there, at the begin-
ning of the first recitative, when he came in too soon, don't
you think?  It's tricky in there, without a rehearsal.  Oh,
I was all right!  He took that syncopation too fast in the
beginning.  Some singers take it fast there--think it
sounds more impassioned.  That's one way!"  She sniffed,
and Fred shot a mirthful glance at Archie.  Her boastful-
ness would have been childish in a schoolboy.  In the light
of what she had done, of the strain they had lived through
during the last two hours, it made one laugh,--almost
cry.  She went on, robustly: "And I didn't feel my din-
ner, really, Fred.  I am hungry again, I'm ashamed to say,
--and I forgot to order anything at my hotel."

     Fred put his hand on the door.  "Where to?  You must
have food."

     "Do you know any quiet place, where I won't be stared
at?  I've still got make-up on."

     "I do.  Nice English chop-house on Forty-fourth Street.
Nobody there at night but theater people after the show,
and a few bachelors."  He opened the door and spoke to the
driver.

     As the car turned, Thea reached across to the front seat
and drew Dr. Archie's handkerchief out of his breast pocket.

<p 441>

     "This comes to me naturally," she said, rubbing her cheeks
and eyebrows.  "When I was little I always loved your
handkerchiefs because they were silk and smelled of Col-
ogne water.  I think they must have been the only really
clean handkerchiefs in Moonstone.  You were always
wiping my face with them, when you met me out in the
dust, I remember.  Did I never have any?"

     "I think you'd nearly always used yours up on your
baby brother."

     Thea sighed.  "Yes, Thor had such a way of getting
messy.  You say he's a good chauffeur?"  She closed her
eyes for a moment as if they were tired.  Suddenly she
looked up.  "Isn't it funny, how we travel in circles?  Here
you are, still getting me clean, and Fred is still feeding me.
I would have died of starvation at that boarding-house on
Indiana Avenue if he hadn't taken me out to the Bucking-
ham and filled me up once in a while.  What a cavern I was
to fill, too.  The waiters used to look astonished.  I'm still
singing on that food."

     Fred alighted and gave Thea his arm as they crossed the
icy sidewalk.  They were taken upstairs in an antiquated
lift and found the cheerful chop-room half full of supper
parties.  An English company playing at the Empire had
just come in.  The waiters, in red waistcoats, were hurry-
ing about.  Fred got a table at the back of the room,
in a corner, and urged his waiter to get the oysters on at
once.

     "Takes a few minutes to open them, sir," the man ex-
postulated.

     "Yes, but make it as few as possible, and bring the
lady's first.  Then grilled chops with kidneys, and salad."

     Thea began eating celery stalks at once, from the base
to the foliage.  "Necker said something nice to me to-
night.  You might have thought the management would
say something, but not they."  She looked at Fred from
under her blackened lashes.  "It WAS a stunt, to jump in

<p 442>

and sing that second act without rehearsal.  It doesn't
sing itself."

     Ottenburg was watching her brilliant eyes and her face.
She was much handsomer than she had been early in the
evening.  Excitement of this sort enriched her.  It was only
under such excitement, he reflected, that she was entirely
illuminated, or wholly present.  At other times there was
something a little cold and empty, like a big room with no
people in it.  Even in her most genial moods there was a
shadow of restlessness, as if she were waiting for something
and were exercising the virtue of patience.  During dinner
she had been as kind as she knew how to be, to him and to
Archie, and had given them as much of herself as she could.
But, clearly, she knew only one way of being really kind,
from the core of her heart out; and there was but one way in
which she could give herself to people largely and gladly,
spontaneously.  Even as a girl she had been at her best in
vigorous effort, he remembered; physical effort, when there
was no other kind at hand.  She could be expansive only in
explosions.  Old Nathanmeyer had seen it.  In the very first
song Fred had ever heard her sing, she had unconsciously
declared it.

     Thea Kronborg turned suddenly from her talk with
Archie and peered suspiciously into the corner where Otten-
burg sat with folded arms, observing her.  "What's the
matter with you, Fred?  I'm afraid of you when you're
quiet,--fortunately you almost never are.  What are you
thinking about?"

     "I was wondering how you got right with the orchestra
so quickly, there at first.  I had a flash of terror," he re-
plied easily.

     She bolted her last oyster and ducked her head.  "So
had I!  I don't know how I did catch it.  Desperation, I
suppose; same way the Indian babies swim when they're
thrown into the river.  I HAD to.  Now it's over, I'm glad I
had to.  I learned a whole lot to-night."

<p 443>

     Archie, who usually felt that it behooved him to be silent
during such discussions, was encouraged by her geniality
to venture, "I don't see how you can learn anything in such
a turmoil; or how you can keep your mind on it, for that
matter."

     Thea glanced about the room and suddenly put her hand
up to her hair.  "Mercy, I've no hat on!  Why didn't you
tell me?  And I seem to be wearing a rumpled dinner dress,
with all this paint on my face!  I must look like something
you picked up on Second Avenue.  I hope there are no
Colorado reformers about, Dr. Archie.  What a dreadful
old pair these people must be thinking you!  Well, I had to
eat."  She sniffed the savor of the grill as the waiter uncov-
ered it.  "Yes, draught beer, please.  No, thank you, Fred,
NO champagne.--  To go back to your question, Dr. Archie,
you can believe I keep my mind on it.  That's the whole
trick, in so far as stage experience goes; keeping right there
every second.  If I think of anything else for a flash, I'm
gone, done for.  But at the same time, one can take things
in--with another part of your brain, maybe.  It's different
from what you get in study, more practical and conclusive.
There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in
storm.  You learn the delivery of a part only before an
audience."

     "Heaven help us," gasped Ottenburg.  "Weren't you
hungry, though!  It's beautiful to see you eat."

     "Glad you like it.  Of course I'm hungry.  Are you stay-
ing over for `Rheingold' Friday afternoon?"

     "My dear Thea,"--Fred lit a cigarette,--"I'm a seri-
ous business man now.  I have to sell beer.  I'm due in
Chicago on Wednesday.  I'd come back to hear you, but
FRICKA is not an alluring part."

     "Then you've never heard it well done."  She spoke up
hotly.  "Fat German woman scolding her husband, eh?
That's not my idea.  Wait till you hear my FRICKA.  It's a
beautiful part."  Thea leaned forward on the table and

<p 444>

touched Archie's arm.  "You remember, Dr. Archie, how
my mother always wore her hair, parted in the middle
and done low on her neck behind, so you got the shape of
her head and such a calm, white forehead?  I wear mine like
that for FRICKA.  A little more coronet effect, built up a lit-
tle higher at the sides, but the idea's the same.  I think
you'll notice it."  She turned to Ottenburg reproachfully:
"It's noble music, Fred, from the first measure.  There's
nothing lovelier than the WONNIGER HAUSRATH.  It's all such
comprehensive sort of music--fateful.  Of course, FRICKA
KNOWS," Thea ended quietly.

     Fred sighed.  "There, you've spoiled my itinerary.
Now I'll have to come back, of course.  Archie, you'd bet-
ter get busy about seats to-morrow."

     "I can get you box seats, somewhere.  I know nobody
here, and I never ask for any."  Thea began hunting among
her wraps.  "Oh, how funny!  I've only these short woolen
gloves, and no sleeves.  Put on my coat first.  Those Eng-
lish people can't make out where you got your lady, she's
so made up of contradictions."  She rose laughing and
plunged her arms into the coat Dr. Archie held for her.  As
she settled herself into it and buttoned it under her chin,
she gave him an old signal with her eyelid.  "I'd like to
sing another part to-night.  This is the sort of evening I
fancy, when there's something to do.  Let me see: I have to
sing in `Trovatore' Wednesday night, and there are re-
hearsals for the `Ring' every day this week.  Consider me
dead until Saturday, Dr. Archie.  I invite you both to dine
with me on Saturday night, the day after `Rheingold.'
And Fred must leave early, for I want to talk to you alone.
You've been here nearly a week, and I haven't had a seri-
ous word with you.  TAK FOR MAD, Fred, as the Norwegians
say."

<p 445>

                               VIII

     THE "Ring of the Niebelungs" was to be given at the
Metropolitan on four successive Friday afternoons.
After the first of these performances, Fred Ottenburg went
home with Landry for tea.  Landry was one of the few pub-
lic entertainers who own real estate in New York.  He lived
in a little three-story brick house on Jane Street, in Green-
wich Village, which had been left to him by the same aunt
who paid for his musical education.

     Landry was born, and spent the first fifteen years of
his life, on a rocky Connecticut farm not far from Cos Cob.
His father was an ignorant, violent man, a bungling farmer
and a brutal husband.  The farmhouse, dilapidated and
damp, stood in a hollow beside a marshy pond.  Oliver had
worked hard while he lived at home, although he was never
clean or warm in winter and had wretched food all the year
round.  His spare, dry figure, his prominent larynx, and the
peculiar red of his face and hands belonged to the chore-
boy he had never outgrown.  It was as if the farm, knowing
he would escape from it as early as he could, had ground its
mark on him deep.  When he was fifteen Oliver ran away
and went to live with his Catholic aunt, on Jane Street,
whom his mother was never allowed to visit.  The priest of
St. Joseph's Parish discovered that he had a voice.

     Landry had an affection for the house on Jane Street,
where he had first learned what cleanliness and order and
courtesy were.  When his aunt died he had the place done
over, got an Irish housekeeper, and lived there with a great
many beautiful things he had collected.  His living ex-
penses were never large, but he could not restrain himself
from buying graceful and useless objects.  He was a collec-
tor for much the same reason that he was a Catholic, and

<p 446>

he was a Catholic chiefly because his father used to sit
in the kitchen and read aloud to his hired men disgusting
"exposures" of the Roman Church, enjoying equally the
hideous stories and the outrage to his wife's feelings.

     At first Landry bought books; then rugs, drawings,
china.  He had a beautiful collection of old French and
Spanish fans.  He kept them in an escritoire he had brought
from Spain, but there were always a few of them lying
about in his sitting-room.

     While Landry and his guest were waiting for the tea to
be brought, Ottenburg took up one of these fans from the
low marble mantel-shelf and opened it in the firelight.  One
side was painted with a pearly sky and floating clouds.
On the other was a formal garden where an elegant shep-
herdess with a mask and crook was fleeing on high heels
from a satin-coated shepherd.

     "You ought not to keep these things about, like this,
Oliver.  The dust from your grate must get at them."

     "It does, but I get them to enjoy them, not to have
them.  They're pleasant to glance at and to play with at
odd times like this, when one is waiting for tea or some-
thing."

     Fred smiled.  The idea of Landry stretched out before his
fire playing with his fans, amused him.  Mrs. McGinnis
brought the tea and put it before the hearth: old teacups
that were velvety to the touch and a pot-bellied silver
cream pitcher of an Early Georgian pattern, which was
always brought, though Landry took rum.

     Fred drank his tea walking about, examining Landry's
sumptuous writing-table in the alcove and the Boucher
drawing in red chalk over the mantel.  "I don't see how
you can stand this place without a heroine.  It would give
me a raging thirst for gallantries."

     Landry was helping himself to a second cup of tea.
"Works quite the other way with me.  It consoles me for
the lack of her.  It's just feminine enough to be pleasant to

<p 447>

return to.  Not any more tea?  Then sit down and play for
me.  I'm always playing for other people, and I never have
a chance to sit here quietly and listen."

     Ottenburg opened the piano and began softly to boom
forth the shadowy introduction to the opera they had just
heard.  "Will that do?" he asked jokingly.  "I can't seem
to get it out of my head."

     "Oh, excellently!  Thea told me it was quite wonderful,
the way you can do Wagner scores on the piano.  So few
people can give one any idea of the music.  Go ahead, as
long as you like.  I can smoke, too."  Landry flattened him-
self out on his cushions and abandoned himself to ease with
the circumstance of one who has never grown quite accus-
tomed to ease.

     Ottenburg played on, as he happened to remember.  He
understood now why Thea wished him to hear her in
"Rheingold."  It had been clear to him as soon as FRICKA
rose from sleep and looked out over the young world,
stretching one white arm toward the new Gotterburg
shining on the heights.  "WOTAN!  GEMAHL! ERWACHE!"  She
was pure Scandinavian, this FRICKA: "Swedish summer"!
he remembered old Mr. Nathanmeyer's phrase.  She had
wished him to see her because she had a distinct kind of
loveliness for this part, a shining beauty like the light of
sunset on distant sails.  She seemed to take on the look
of immortal loveliness, the youth of the golden apples, the
shining body and the shining mind.  FRICKA had been a
jealous spouse to him for so long that he had forgot she
meant wisdom before she meant domestic order, and that,
in any event, she was always a goddess.  The FRICKA of
that afternoon was so clear and sunny, so nobly conceived,
that she made a whole atmosphere about herself and quite
redeemed from shabbiness the helplessness and unscrupu-
lousness of the gods.  Her reproaches to WOTAN were the
pleadings of a tempered mind, a consistent sense of beauty.
In the long silences of her part, her shining presence was a

<p 448>

visible complement to the discussion of the orchestra.  As
the themes which were to help in weaving the drama to its
end first came vaguely upon the ear, one saw their import
and tendency in the face of this clearest-visioned of the
gods.

     In the scene between FRICKA and WOTAN, Ottenburg
stopped.  "I can't seem to get the voices, in there."

     Landry chuckled.  "Don't try.  I know it well enough.
I expect I've been over that with her a thousand times.  I
was playing for her almost every day when she was first
working on it.  When she begins with a part she's hard to
work with: so slow you'd think she was stupid if you didn't
know her.  Of course she blames it all on her accompanist.
It goes on like that for weeks sometimes.  This did.  She
kept shaking her head and staring and looking gloomy.
All at once, she got her line--it usually comes suddenly,
after stretches of not getting anywhere at all--and after
that it kept changing and clearing.  As she worked her voice
into it, it got more and more of that `gold' quality that
makes her FRICKA so different."

     Fred began FRICKA'S first aria again.  "It's certainly
different.  Curious how she does it.  Such a beautiful idea,
out of a part that's always been so ungrateful.  She's a
lovely thing, but she was never so beautiful as that, really.
Nobody is."  He repeated the loveliest phrase.  "How does
she manage it, Landry?  You've worked with her."

     Landry drew cherishingly on the last cigarette he meant
to permit himself before singing.  "Oh, it's a question of a
big personality--and all that goes with it.  Brains, of
course.  Imagination, of course.  But the important thing
is that she was born full of color, with a rich personality.
That's a gift of the gods, like a fine nose.  You have it, or
you haven't.  Against it, intelligence and musicianship
and habits of industry don't count at all.  Singers are a
conventional race.  When Thea was studying in Berlin the
other girls were mortally afraid of her.  She has a pretty

<p 449>

rough hand with women, dull ones, and she could be rude,
too!  The girls used to call her DIE WOLFIN."

     Fred thrust his hands into his pockets and leaned back
against the piano.  "Of course, even a stupid woman
could get effects with such machinery: such a voice and
body and face.  But they couldn't possibly belong to a
stupid woman, could they?"

     Landry shook his head.  "It's personality; that's as near
as you can come to it.  That's what constitutes real equip-
ment.  What she does is interesting because she does it.
Even the things she discards are suggestive.  I regret some
of them.  Her conceptions are colored in so many different
ways.  You've heard her ELIZABETH?  Wonderful, isn't it?
She was working on that part years ago when her mother
was ill.  I could see her anxiety and grief getting more
and more into the part.  The last act is heart-breaking.
It's as homely as a country prayer meeting: might be
any lonely woman getting ready to die.  It's full of the
thing every plain creature finds out for himself, but that
never gets written down.  It's unconscious memory, maybe;
inherited memory, like folk-music.  I call it personality."

     Fred laughed, and turning to the piano began coaxing
the FRICKA music again.  "Call it anything you like, my
boy.  I have a name for it myself, but I shan't tell you."
He looked over his shoulder at Landry, stretched out by
the fire.  "You have a great time watching her, don't
you?"

     "Oh, yes!" replied Landry simply.  "I'm not interested
in much that goes on in New York.  Now, if you'll excuse
me, I'll have to dress."  He rose with a reluctant sigh.
"Can I get you anything?  Some whiskey?"

     "Thank you, no.  I'll amuse myself here.  I don't often
get a chance at a good piano when I'm away from home.
You haven't had this one long, have you?  Action's a bit
stiff.  I say," he stopped Landry in the doorway, "has
Thea ever been down here?"

<p 450>

     Landry turned back.  "Yes.  She came several times
when I had erysipelas.  I was a nice mess, with two
nurses.  She brought down some inside window-boxes,
planted with crocuses and things.  Very cheering, only I
couldn't see them or her."

     "Didn't she like your place?"

     "She thought she did, but I fancy it was a good deal
cluttered up for her taste.  I could hear her pacing about
like something in a cage.  She pushed the piano back
against the wall and the chairs into corners, and she broke
my amber elephant."  Landry took a yellow object some
four inches high from one of his low bookcases.  "You can
see where his leg is glued on,--a souvenir.  Yes, he's
lemon amber, very fine."

     Landry disappeared behind the curtains and in a moment
Fred heard the wheeze of an atomizer.  He put the amber
elephant on the piano beside him and seemed to get a great
deal of amusement out of the beast.

<p 451>

                                IX

     WHEN Archie and Ottenburg dined with Thea on
Saturday evening, they were served downstairs in
the hotel dining-room, but they were to have their coffee
in her own apartment.  As they were going up in the ele-
vator after dinner, Fred turned suddenly to Thea.  "And
why, please, did you break Landry's amber elephant?"

     She looked guilty and began to laugh.  "Hasn't he got
over that yet?  I didn't really mean to break it.  I was per-
haps careless.  His things are so over-petted that I was
tempted to be careless with a lot of them."

     "How can you be so heartless, when they're all he has
in the world?"

     "He has me.  I'm a great deal of diversion for him; all he
needs.  There," she said as she opened the door into her
own hall, "I shouldn't have said that before the elevator
boy."

     "Even an elevator boy couldn't make a scandal about
Oliver.  He's such a catnip man."

     Dr. Archie laughed, but Thea, who seemed suddenly to
have thought of something annoying, repeated blankly,
"Catnip man?"

     "Yes, he lives on catnip, and rum tea.  But he's not the
only one.  You are like an eccentric old woman I know in
Boston, who goes about in the spring feeding catnip to
street cats.  You dispense it to a lot of fellows.  Your pull
seems to be more with men than with women, you know;
with seasoned men, about my age, or older.  Even on Fri-
day afternoon I kept running into them, old boys I hadn't
seen for years, thin at the part and thick at the girth, until
I stood still in the draft and held my hair on.  They're al-
ways there; I hear them talking about you in the smoking-

<p 452>

room.  Probably we don't get to the point of apprehending
anything good until we're about forty.  Then, in the light
of what is going, and of what, God help us! is coming, we
arrive at understanding."

     "I don't see why people go to the opera, anyway,--seri-
ous people."  She spoke discontentedly.  "I suppose they
get something, or think they do.  Here's the coffee.  There,
please," she directed the waiter.  Going to the table she be-
gan to pour the coffee, standing.  She wore a white dress
trimmed with crystals which had rattled a good deal dur-
ing dinner, as all her movements had been impatient and
nervous, and she had twisted the dark velvet rose at her
girdle until it looked rumpled and weary.  She poured the
coffee as if it were a ceremony in which she did not believe.
"Can you make anything of Fred's nonsense, Dr. Archie?"
she asked, as he came to take his cup.

     Fred approached her.  "My nonsense is all right.  The
same brand has gone with you before.  It's you who won't
be jollied.  What's the matter?  You have something on
your mind."

     "I've a good deal.  Too much to be an agreeable hos-
tess."  She turned quickly away from the coffee and sat
down on the piano bench, facing the two men.  "For one
thing, there's a change in the cast for Friday afternoon.
They're going to let me sing SIEGLINDE."  Her frown did not
conceal the pleasure with which she made this announce-
ment.

     "Are you going to keep us dangling about here forever,
Thea?  Archie and I are supposed to have other things to
do."  Fred looked at her with an excitement quite as ap-
parent as her own.

     "Here I've been ready to sing SIEGLINDE for two years,
kept in torment, and now it comes off within two weeks,
just when I want to be seeing something of Dr. Archie.  I
don't know what their plans are down there.  After Friday
they may let me cool for several weeks, and they may rush

<p 453>

me.  I suppose it depends somewhat on how things go Fri-
day afternoon."

     "Oh, they'll go fast enough!  That's better suited to
your voice than anything you've sung here.  That gives
you every opportunity I've waited for."  Ottenburg
crossed the room and standing beside her began to play
"DU BIST DER LENZ."

     With a violent movement Thea caught his wrists and
pushed his hands away from the keys.

     "Fred, can't you be serious?  A thousand things may
happen between this and Friday to put me out.  Some-
thing will happen.  If that part were sung well, as well as
it ought to be, it would be one of the most beautiful things
in the world.  That's why it never is sung right, and never
will be."  She clenched her hands and opened them de-
spairingly, looking out of the open window.  "It's inac-
cessibly beautiful!" she brought out sharply.

     Fred and Dr. Archie watched her.  In a moment she
turned back to them.  "It's impossible to sing a part like
that well for the first time, except for the sort who will
never sing it any better.  Everything hangs on that first
night, and that's bound to be bad.  There you are," she
shrugged impatiently.  "For one thing, they change the
cast at the eleventh hour and then rehearse the life out of
me."

     Ottenburg put down his cup with exaggerated care.
"Still, you really want to do it, you know."

     "Want to?" she repeated indignantly; "of course I want
to!  If this were only next Thursday night--  But between
now and Friday I'll do nothing but fret away my strength.
Oh, I'm not saying I don't need the rehearsals!  But I
don't need them strung out through a week.  That sys-
tem's well enough for phlegmatic singers; it only drains
me.  Every single feature of operatic routine is detri-
mental to me.  I usually go on like a horse that's been
fixed to lose a race.  I have to work hard to do my worst,

<p 454>

let alone my best.  I wish you could hear me sing well,
once," she turned to Fred defiantly; "I have, a few times
in my life, when there was nothing to gain by it."

     Fred approached her again and held out his hand.  "I
recall my instructions, and now I'll leave you to fight it out
with Archie.  He can't possibly represent managerial stu-
pidity to you as I seem to have a gift for doing."

     As he smiled down at her, his good humor, his good
wishes, his understanding, embarrassed her and recalled
her to herself.  She kept her seat, still holding his hand.
"All the same, Fred, isn't it too bad, that there are so
many things--"  She broke off with a shake of the head.

     "My dear girl, if I could bridge over the agony between
now and Friday for you--  But you know the rules of the
game; why torment yourself?  You saw the other night
that you had the part under your thumb.  Now walk, sleep,
play with Archie, keep your tiger hungry, and she'll spring
all right on Friday.  I'll be there to see her, and there'll be
more than I, I suspect.  Harsanyi's on the Wilhelm der
Grosse; gets in on Thursday."

     "Harsanyi?"  Thea's eye lighted.  "I haven't seen him
for years.  We always miss each other."  She paused, hesi-
tating.  "Yes, I should like that.  But he'll be busy, may-
be?"

     "He gives his first concert at Carnegie Hall, week after
next.  Better send him a box if you can."

     "Yes, I'll manage it."  Thea took his hand again.  "Oh,
I should like that, Fred!" she added impulsively.  "Even
if I were put out, he'd get the idea,"--she threw back
her head,--"for there is an idea!"

     "Which won't penetrate here," he tapped his brow and
began to laugh.  "You are an ungrateful huzzy, COMME LES
AUTRES!"

     Thea detained him as he turned away.  She pulled a
flower out of a bouquet on the piano and absently drew
the stem through the lapel of his coat.  "I shall be walking

<p 455>

in the Park to-morrow afternoon, on the reservoir path,
between four and five, if you care to join me.  You know
that after Harsanyi I'd rather please you than anyone else.
You know a lot, but he knows even more than you."

     "Thank you.  Don't try to analyze it.  SCHLAFEN SIE
WOHL!" he kissed her fingers and waved from the door,
closing it behind him.

     "He's the right sort, Thea."  Dr. Archie looked warmly
after his disappearing friend.  "I've always hoped you'd
make it up with Fred."

     "Well, haven't I?  Oh, marry him, you mean!  Perhaps
it may come about, some day.  Just at present he's not
in the marriage market any more than I am, is he?"

     "No, I suppose not.  It's a damned shame that a man
like Ottenburg should be tied up as he is, wasting all the
best years of his life.  A woman with general paresis ought
to be legally dead."

     "Don't let us talk about Fred's wife, please.  He had no
business to get into such a mess, and he had no business to
stay in it.  He's always been a softy where women were
concerned."

     "Most of us are, I'm afraid," Dr. Archie admitted
meekly.

     "Too much light in here, isn't there?  Tires one's eyes.
The stage lights are hard on mine."  Thea began turning
them out.  "We'll leave the little one, over the piano."
She sank down by Archie on the deep sofa.  "We two have
so much to talk about that we keep away from it altogether;
have you noticed?  We don't even nibble the edges.  I wish
we had Landry here to-night to play for us.  He's very
comforting."

     "I'm afraid you don't have enough personal life, outside
your work, Thea."  The doctor looked at her anxiously.

     She smiled at him with her eyes half closed.  "My dear
doctor, I don't have any.  Your work becomes your per-
sonal life.  You are not much good until it does.  It's like

<p 456>

being woven into a big web.  You can't pull away, because
all your little tendrils are woven into the picture.  It takes
you up, and uses you, and spins you out; and that is your
life.  Not much else can happen to you."

     "Didn't you think of marrying, several years ago?"

     "You mean Nordquist?  Yes; but I changed my mind.
We had been singing a good deal together.  He's a splendid
creature."

     "Were you much in love with him, Thea?" the doctor
asked hopefully.

     She smiled again.  "I don't think I know just what that
expression means.  I've never been able to find out.  I
think I was in love with you when I was little, but not
with any one since then.  There are a great many ways of
caring for people.  It's not, after all, a simple state, like
measles or tonsilitis.  Nordquist is a taking sort of man.
He and I were out in a rowboat once in a terrible storm.
The lake was fed by glaciers,--ice water,--and we
couldn't have swum a stroke if the boat had filled.  If we
hadn't both been strong and kept our heads, we'd have
gone down.  We pulled for every ounce there was in us,
and we just got off with our lives.  We were always being
thrown together like that, under some kind of pressure.
Yes, for a while I thought he would make everything
right."  She paused and sank back, resting her head on a
cushion, pressing her eyelids down with her fingers.  "You
see," she went on abruptly, "he had a wife and two chil-
dren.  He hadn't lived with her for several years, but
when she heard that he wanted to marry again, she began
to make trouble.  He earned a good deal of money, but he
was careless and always wretchedly in debt.  He came to
me one day and told me he thought his wife would settle
for a hundred thousand marks and consent to a divorce.
I got very angry and sent him away.  Next day he came
back and said he thought she'd take fifty thousand."

     Dr. Archie drew away from her, to the end of the sofa.

<p 457>

     "Good God, Thea,"--  He ran his handkerchief over his
forehead.  "What sort of people--"  He stopped and shook
his head.

     Thea rose and stood beside him, her hand on his shoul-
der.  "That's exactly how it struck me," she said quietly.
"Oh, we have things in common, things that go away back,
under everything.  You understand, of course.  Nordquist
didn't.  He thought I wasn't willing to part with the
money.  I couldn't let myself buy him from Fru Nord-
quist, and he couldn't see why.  He had always thought I
was close about money, so he attributed it to that.  I am
careful,"--she ran her arm through Archie's and when
he rose began to walk about the room with him.  "I
can't be careless with money.  I began the world on six
hundred dollars, and it was the price of a man's life.  Ray
Kennedy had worked hard and been sober and denied him-
self, and when he died he had six hundred dollars to show
for it.  I always measure things by that six hundred dol-
lars, just as I measure high buildings by the Moonstone
standpipe.  There are standards we can't get away from."

     Dr. Archie took her hand.  "I don't believe we should
be any happier if we did get away from them.  I think it
gives you some of your poise, having that anchor.  You
look," glancing down at her head and shoulders, "some-
times so like your mother."

     "Thank you.  You couldn't say anything nicer to me
than that.  On Friday afternoon, didn't you think?"

     "Yes, but at other times, too.  I love to see it.  Do you
know what I thought about that first night when I heard
you sing?  I kept remembering the night I took care of you
when you had pneumonia, when you were ten years old.
You were a terribly sick child, and I was a country doctor
without much experience.  There were no oxygen tanks
about then.  You pretty nearly slipped away from me.
If you had--"

     Thea dropped her head on his shoulder.  "I'd have

<p 458>

saved myself and you a lot of trouble, wouldn't I?  Dear
Dr. Archie!" she murmured.

     "As for me, life would have been a pretty bleak stretch,
with you left out."  The doctor took one of the crystal
pendants that hung from her shoulder and looked into it
thoughtfully.  "I guess I'm a romantic old fellow, under-
neath.  And you've always been my romance.  Those
years when you were growing up were my happiest.  When
I dream about you, I always see you as a little girl."

     They paused by the open window.  "Do you?  Nearly
all my dreams, except those about breaking down on the
stage or missing trains, are about Moonstone.  You tell
me the old house has been pulled down, but it stands in
my mind, every stick and timber.  In my sleep I go all
about it, and look in the right drawers and cupboards for
everything.  I often dream that I'm hunting for my rub-
bers in that pile of overshoes that was always under the
hatrack in the hall.  I pick up every overshoe and know
whose it is, but I can't find my own.  Then the school bell
begins to ring and I begin to cry.  That's the house I rest
in when I'm tired.  All the old furniture and the worn
spots in the carpet--it rests my mind to go over them."

     They were looking out of the window.  Thea kept his
arm.  Down on the river four battleships were anchored in
line, brilliantly lighted, and launches were coming and
going, bringing the men ashore.  A searchlight from one
of the ironclads was playing on the great headland up the
river, where it makes its first resolute turn.  Overhead the
night-blue sky was intense and clear.

     "There's so much that I want to tell you," she said at
last, "and it's hard to explain.  My life is full of jealousies
and disappointments, you know.  You get to hating people
who do contemptible work and who get on just as well as you
do.  There are many disappointments in my profession, and
bitter, bitter contempts!"  Her face hardened, and looked
much older.  "If you love the good thing vitally, enough to

<p 459>

give up for it all that one must give up for it, then you
must hate the cheap thing just as hard.  I tell you, there
is such a thing as creative hate!  A contempt that drives
you through fire, makes you risk everything and lose
everything, makes you a long sight better than you ever
knew you could be."  As she glanced at Dr. Archie's face,
Thea stopped short and turned her own face away.  Her
eyes followed the path of the searchlight up the river and
rested upon the illumined headland.

     "You see," she went on more calmly, "voices are acci-
dental things.  You find plenty of good voices in common
women, with common minds and common hearts.  Look
at that woman who sang ORTRUDE with me last week.  She's
new here and the people are wild about her.  `Such a beau-
tiful volume of tone!' they say.  I give you my word she's
as stupid as an owl and as coarse as a pig, and any one
who knows anything about singing would see that in an
instant.  Yet she's quite as popular as Necker, who's a
great artist.  How can I get much satisfaction out of the
enthusiasm of a house that likes her atrociously bad per-
formance at the same time that it pretends to like mine?
If they like her, then they ought to hiss me off the stage.
We stand for things that are irreconcilable, absolutely.
You can't try to do things right and not despise the peo-
ple who do them wrong.  How can I be indifferent?  If
that doesn't matter, then nothing matters.  Well, some-
times I've come home as I did the other night when you
first saw me, so full of bitterness that it was as if my mind
were full of daggers.  And I've gone to sleep and wakened
up in the Kohlers' garden, with the pigeons and the white
rabbits, so happy!  And that saves me."  She sat down
on the piano bench.  Archie thought she had forgotten all
about him, until she called his name.  Her voice was soft
now, and wonderfully sweet.  It seemed to come from some-
where deep within her, there were such strong vibrations
in it.  "You see, Dr. Archie, what one really strives for in

<p 460>

art is not the sort of thing you are likely to find when
you drop in for a performance at the opera.  What one
strives for is so far away, so deep, so beautiful"--she
lifted her shoulders with a long breath, folded her hands
in her lap and sat looking at him with a resignation that
made her face noble,--"that there's nothing one can
say about it, Dr. Archie."

     Without knowing very well what it was all about,
Archie was passionately stirred for her.  "I've always be-
lieved in you, Thea; always believed," he muttered.

     She smiled and closed her eyes.  "They save me: the old
things, things like the Kohlers' garden.  They are in every-
thing I do."

     "In what you sing, you mean?"

     "Yes.  Not in any direct way,"--she spoke hurriedly,
--"the light, the color, the feeling.  Most of all the feeling.
It comes in when I'm working on a part, like the smell of
a garden coming in at the window.  I try all the new
things, and then go back to the old.  Perhaps my feelings
were stronger then.  A child's attitude toward everything
is an artist's attitude.  I am more or less of an artist now,
but then I was nothing else.  When I went with you to
Chicago that first time, I carried with me the essentials,
the foundation of all I do now.  The point to which I could
go was scratched in me then.  I haven't reached it yet, by
a long way."

     Archie had a swift flash of memory.  Pictures passed
before him.  "You mean," he asked wonderingly, "that
you knew then that you were so gifted?"

     Thea looked up at him and smiled.  "Oh, I didn't know
anything!  Not enough to ask you for my trunk when I
needed it.  But you see, when I set out from Moonstone
with you, I had had a rich, romantic past.  I had lived a
long, eventful life, and an artist's life, every hour of it.
Wagner says, in his most beautiful opera, that art is only
a way of remembering youth.  And the older we grow the

<p 461>

more precious it seems to us, and the more richly we can
present that memory.  When we've got it all out,--the
last, the finest thrill of it, the brightest hope of it,"--she
lifted her hand above her head and dropped it,--"then
we stop.  We do nothing but repeat after that.  The stream
has reached the level of its source.  That's our measure."

     There was a long, warm silence.  Thea was looking hard
at the floor, as if she were seeing down through years and
years, and her old friend stood watching her bent head.
His look was one with which he used to watch her long
ago, and which, even in thinking about her, had become a
habit of his face.  It was full of solicitude, and a kind of
secret gratitude, as if to thank her for some inexpressible
pleasure of the heart.  Thea turned presently toward the
piano and began softly to waken an old air:--

          "Ca' the yowes to the knowes,

           Ca' them where the heather grows,

           Ca' them where the burnie rowes,

               My bonnie dear-ie."

     Archie sat down and shaded his eyes with his hand.  She
turned her head and spoke to him over her shoulder.
"Come on, you know the words better than I.  That's
right."

          "We'll gae down by Clouden's side,

           Through the hazels spreading wide,

           O'er the waves that sweetly glide,

               To the moon sae clearly.

           Ghaist nor bogle shalt thou fear,

           Thou'rt to love and Heav'n sae dear,

           Nocht of ill may come thee near,

               My bonnie dear-ie!"

     "We can get on without Landry.  Let's try it again, I
have all the words now.  Then we'll have `Sweet Afton.'
Come: `CA' THE YOWES TO THE KNOWES'--"

<p 462>

                                 X

     OTTENBURG dismissed his taxicab at the 91st Street
entrance of the Park and floundered across the drive
through a wild spring snowstorm.  When he reached the
reservoir path he saw Thea ahead of him, walking rapidly
against the wind.  Except for that one figure, the path was
deserted.  A flock of gulls were hovering over the reservoir,
seeming bewildered by the driving currents of snow that
whirled above the black water and then disappeared with-
in it.  When he had almost overtaken Thea, Fred called
to her, and she turned and waited for him with her back
to the wind.  Her hair and furs were powdered with snow-
flakes, and she looked like some rich-pelted animal, with
warm blood, that had run in out of the woods.  Fred
laughed as he took her hand.

     "No use asking how you do.  You surely needn't feel
much anxiety about Friday, when you can look like
this."

     She moved close to the iron fence to make room for him
beside her, and faced the wind again.  "Oh, I'm WELL enough,
in so far as that goes.  But I'm not lucky about stage
appearances.  I'm easily upset, and the most perverse
things happen."

     "What's the matter?  Do you still get nervous?"

     "Of course I do.  I don't mind nerves so much as getting
numbed," Thea muttered, sheltering her face for a mo-
ment with her muff.  "I'm under a spell, you know, hoo-
dooed.  It's the thing I WANT to do that I can never do.
Any other effects I can get easily enough."

     "Yes, you get effects, and not only with your voice.
That's where you have it over all the rest of them; you're
as much at home on the stage as you were down in

<p 463>

Panther Canyon--as if you'd just been let out of a cage.
Didn't you get some of your ideas down there?"

     Thea nodded.  "Oh, yes!  For heroic parts, at least.  Out
of the rocks, out of the dead people.  You mean the idea
of standing up under things, don't you, meeting catas-
trophe?  No fussiness.  Seems to me they must have been
a reserved, somber people, with only a muscular language,
all their movements for a purpose; simple, strong, as if
they were dealing with fate bare-handed."  She put her
gloved fingers on Fred's arm.  "I don't know how I can
ever thank you enough.  I don't know if I'd ever have got
anywhere without Panther Canyon.  How did you know
that was the one thing to do for me?  It's the sort of thing
nobody ever helps one to, in this world.  One can learn how
to sing, but no singing teacher can give anybody what I
got down there.  How did you know?"

     "I didn't know.  Anything else would have done as well.
It was your creative hour.  I knew you were getting a lot,
but I didn't realize how much."

     Thea walked on in silence.  She seemed to be thinking.

     "Do you know what they really taught me?" she
came out suddenly.  "They taught me the inevitable
hardness of human life.  No artist gets far who doesn't
know that.  And you can't know it with your mind.  You
have to realize it in your body, somehow; deep.  It's an
animal sort of feeling.  I sometimes think it's the strongest
of all.  Do you know what I'm driving at?"

     "I think so.  Even your audiences feel it, vaguely: that
you've sometime or other faced things that make you
different."

     Thea turned her back to the wind, wiping away the snow
that clung to her brows and lashes.  "Ugh!" she exclaimed;
"no matter how long a breath you have, the storm has
a longer.  I haven't signed for next season, yet, Fred.  I'm
holding out for a big contract: forty performances.  Necker
won't be able to do much next winter.  It's going to be one

<p 464>

of those between seasons; the old singers are too old, and
the new ones are too new.  They might as well risk me as
anybody.  So I want good terms.  The next five or six
years are going to be my best."

     "You'll get what you demand, if you are uncompro-
mising.  I'm safe in congratulating you now."

     Thea laughed.  "It's a little early.  I may not get it at
all.  They don't seem to be breaking their necks to meet
me.  I can go back to Dresden."

     As they turned the curve and walked westward they
got the wind from the side, and talking was easier.

     Fred lowered his collar and shook the snow from his
shoulders.  "Oh, I don't mean on the contract particularly.
I congratulate you on what you can do, Thea, and on all
that lies behind what you do.  On the life that's led up to
it, and on being able to care so much.  That, after all, is
the unusual thing."

     She looked at him sharply, with a certain apprehension.
"Care?  Why shouldn't I care?  If I didn't, I'd be in a
bad way.  What else have I got?"  She stopped with a
challenging interrogation, but Ottenburg did not reply.
"You mean," she persisted, "that you don't care as much
as you used to?"

     "I care about your success, of course."  Fred fell into a
slower pace.  Thea felt at once that he was talking seri-
ously and had dropped the tone of half-ironical exaggera-
tion he had used with her of late years.  "And I'm
grateful to you for what you demand from yourself, when
you might get off so easily.  You demand more and more
all the time, and you'll do more and more.  One is grateful
to anybody for that; it makes life in general a little less
sordid.  But as a matter of fact, I'm not much interested
in how anybody sings anything."

     "That's too bad of you, when I'm just beginning to
see what is worth doing, and how I want to do it!"  Thea
spoke in an injured tone.

<p 465>

     "That's what I congratulate you on.  That's the great
difference between your kind and the rest of us.  It's how
long you're able to keep it up that tells the story.  When
you needed enthusiasm from the outside, I was able to
give it to you.  Now you must let me withdraw."

     "I'm not tying you, am I?" she flashed out.  "But with-
draw to what?  What do you want?"

     Fred shrugged.  "I might ask you, What have I got?
I want things that wouldn't interest you; that you prob-
ably wouldn't understand.  For one thing, I want a son
to bring up."

     "I can understand that.  It seems to me reasonable.
Have you also found somebody you want to marry?"

     "Not particularly."  They turned another curve, which
brought the wind to their backs, and they walked on in
comparative calm, with the snow blowing past them.  "It's
not your fault, Thea, but I've had you too much in my
mind.  I've not given myself a fair chance in other direc-
tions.  I was in Rome when you and Nordquist were there.
If that had kept up, it might have cured me."

     "It might have cured a good many things," remarked
Thea grimly.

     Fred nodded sympathetically and went on.  "In my
library in St. Louis, over the fireplace, I have a property
spear I had copied from one in Venice,--oh, years ago,
after you first went abroad, while you were studying.
You'll probably be singing BRUNNHILDE pretty soon now,
and I'll send it on to you, if I may.  You can take it and
its history for what they're worth.  But I'm nearly forty
years old, and I've served my turn.  You've done what
I hoped for you, what I was honestly willing to lose you
for--then.  I'm older now, and I think I was an ass.  I
wouldn't do it again if I had the chance, not much!  But
I'm not sorry.  It takes a great many people to make
one--BRUNNHILDE."

     Thea stopped by the fence and looked over into the

<p 466>

black choppiness on which the snowflakes fell and dis-
appeared with magical rapidity.  Her face was both angry
and troubled.  "So you really feel I've been ungrateful.
I thought you sent me out to get something.  I didn't
know you wanted me to bring in something easy.  I
thought you wanted something--"  She took a deep
breath and shrugged her shoulders.  "But there! nobody
on God's earth wants it, REALLY!  If one other person wanted
it,"--she thrust her hand out before him and clenched
it,--"my God, what I could do!"

     Fred laughed dismally.  "Even in my ashes I feel my-
self pushing you!  How can anybody help it?  My dear
girl, can't you see that anybody else who wanted it as you
do would be your rival, your deadliest danger?  Can't you
see that it's your great good fortune that other people
can't care about it so much?"

     But Thea seemed not to take in his protest at all.  She
went on vindicating herself.  "It's taken me a long while
to do anything, of course, and I've only begun to see day-
light.  But anything good is--expensive.  It hasn't
seemed long.  I've always felt responsible to you."

     Fred looked at her face intently, through the veil of
snowflakes, and shook his head.  "To me?  You are a truth-
ful woman, and you don't mean to lie to me.  But after the
one responsibility you do feel, I doubt if you've enough
left to feel responsible to God!  Still, if you've ever in an
idle hour fooled yourself with thinking I had anything to
do with it, Heaven knows I'm grateful."

     "Even if I'd married Nordquist," Thea went on, turn-
ing down the path again, "there would have been some-
thing left out.  There always is.  In a way, I've always been
married to you.  I'm not very flexible; never was and never
shall be.  You caught me young.  I could never have that
over again.  One can't, after one begins to know anything.
But I look back on it.  My life hasn't been a gay one, any
more than yours.  If I shut things out from you, you shut

<p 467>

them out from me.  We've been a help and a hindrance to
each other.  I guess it's always that way, the good and the
bad all mixed up.  There's only one thing that's all beau-
tiful--and always beautiful!  That's why my interest keeps
up."

     "Yes, I know."  Fred looked sidewise at the outline of
her head against the thickening atmosphere.  "And you
give one the impression that that is enough.  I've gradu-
ally, gradually given you up."

     "See, the lights are coming out."  Thea pointed to where
they flickered, flashes of violet through the gray tree-tops.
Lower down the globes along the drives were becoming a
pale lemon color.  "Yes, I don't see why anybody wants
to marry an artist, anyhow.  I remember Ray Kennedy
used to say he didn't see how any woman could marry a
gambler, for she would only be marrying what the game
left."  She shook her shoulders impatiently.  "Who marries
who is a small matter, after all.  But I hope I can bring
back your interest in my work.  You've cared longer and
more than anybody else, and I'd like to have somebody
human to make a report to once in a while.  You can send
me your spear.  I'll do my best.  If you're not interested,
I'll do my best anyhow.  I've only a few friends, but I
can lose every one of them, if it has to be.  I learned how
to lose when my mother died.--  We must hurry now.  My
taxi must be waiting."

     The blue light about them was growing deeper and
darker, and the falling snow and the faint trees had be-
come violet.  To the south, over Broadway, there was an
orange reflection in the clouds.  Motors and carriage lights
flashed by on the drive below the reservoir path, and the
air was strident with horns and shrieks from the whistles
of the mounted policemen.

     Fred gave Thea his arm as they descended from the
embankment.  "I guess you'll never manage to lose me or
Archie, Thea.  You do pick up queer ones.  But loving

<p 468>

you is a heroic discipline.  It wears a man out.  Tell me
one thing: could I have kept you, once, if I'd put on every
screw?"

     Thea hurried him along, talking rapidly, as if to get it
over.  "You might have kept me in misery for a while,
perhaps.  I don't know.  I have to think well of myself, to
work.  You could have made it hard.  I'm not ungrateful.
I was a difficult proposition to deal with.  I understand now,
of course.  Since you didn't tell me the truth in the be-
ginning, you couldn't very well turn back after I'd set
my head.  At least, if you'd been the sort who could, you
wouldn't have had to,--for I'd not have cared a button
for that sort, even then."  She stopped beside a car that
waited at the curb and gave him her hand.  "There.  We
part friends?"

     Fred looked at her.  "You know.  Ten years."

     "I'm not ungrateful," Thea repeated as she got into
her cab.

     "Yes," she reflected, as the taxi cut into the Park carriage
road, "we don't get fairy tales in this world, and he has,
after all, cared more and longer than anybody else."  It
was dark outside now, and the light from the lamps along
the drive flashed into the cab.  The snowflakes hovered
like swarms of white bees about the globes.

     Thea sat motionless in one corner staring out of the
window at the cab lights that wove in and out among
the trees, all seeming to be bent upon joyous courses.
Taxicabs were still new in New York, and the theme of
popular minstrelsy.  Landry had sung her a ditty he heard
in some theater on Third Avenue, about

          "But there passed him a bright-eyed taxi

               With the girl of his heart inside."

Almost inaudibly Thea began to hum the air, though she
was thinking of something serious, something that had
touched her deeply.  At the beginning of the season, when

<p 469>

she was not singing often, she had gone one afternoon to
hear Paderewski's recital.  In front of her sat an old Ger-
man couple, evidently poor people who had made sacri-
fices to pay for their excellent seats.  Their intelligent
enjoyment of the music, and their friendliness with each
other, had interested her more than anything on the pro-
gramme.  When the pianist began a lovely melody in the
first movement of the Beethoven D minor sonata, the
old lady put out her plump hand and touched her hus-
band's sleeve and they looked at each other in recognition.
They both wore glasses, but such a look!  Like forget-me-
nots, and so full of happy recollections.  Thea wanted to
put her arms around them and ask them how they had
been able to keep a feeling like that, like a nosegay in a
glass of water.

<p 470>

                                XI

     DR. ARCHIE saw nothing of Thea during the follow-
ing week.  After several fruitless efforts, he succeeded
in getting a word with her over the telephone, but she
sounded so distracted and driven that he was glad to say
good-night and hang up the instrument.  There were, she
told him, rehearsals not only for "Walkure," but also for
"Gotterdammerung," in which she was to sing WALTRAUTE
two weeks later.

     On Thursday afternoon Thea got home late, after an
exhausting rehearsal.  She was in no happy frame of mind.
Madame Necker, who had been very gracious to her
that night when she went on to complete Gloeckler's
performance of SIEGLINDE, had, since Thea was cast to sing
the part instead of Gloeckler in the production of the
"Ring," been chilly and disapproving, distinctly hostile.
Thea had always felt that she and Necker stood for the
same sort of endeavor, and that Necker recognized it and
had a cordial feeling for her.  In Germany she had several
times sung BRANGAENA to Necker's ISOLDE, and the older
artist had let her know that she thought she sang it beau-
tifully.  It was a bitter disappointment to find that the
approval of so honest an artist as Necker could not stand
the test of any significant recognition by the management.
Madame Necker was forty, and her voice was failing just
when her powers were at their height.  Every fresh young
voice was an enemy, and this one was accompanied by
gifts which she could not fail to recognize.

     Thea had her dinner sent up to her apartment, and it
was a very poor one.  She tasted the soup and then indig-
nantly put on her wraps to go out and hunt a dinner.  As
she was going to the elevator, she had to admit that she

<p 471>

was behaving foolishly.  She took off her hat and coat
and ordered another dinner.  When it arrived, it was no
better than the first.  There was even a burnt match under
the milk toast.  She had a sore throat, which made swal-
lowing painful and boded ill for the morrow.  Although she
had been speaking in whispers all day to save her throat,
she now perversely summoned the housekeeper and de-
manded an account of some laundry that had been lost.
The housekeeper was indifferent and impertinent, and
Thea got angry and scolded violently.  She knew it was
very bad for her to get into a rage just before bedtime, and
after the housekeeper left she realized that for ten dollars'
worth of underclothing she had been unfitting herself for
a performance which might eventually mean many thous-
ands.  The best thing now was to stop reproaching herself
for her lack of sense, but she was too tired to control her
thoughts.

     While she was undressing--Therese was brushing out
her SIEGLINDE wig in the trunk-room--she went on chid-
ing herself bitterly.  "And how am I ever going to get to
sleep in this state?" she kept asking herself.  "If I don't
sleep, I'll be perfectly worthless to-morrow.  I'll go down
there to-morrow and make a fool of myself.  If I'd let that
laundry alone with whatever nigger has stolen it--  WHY
did I undertake to reform the management of this hotel
to-night?  After to-morrow I could pack up and leave the
place.  There's the Phillamon--I liked the rooms there
better, anyhow--and the Umberto--"  She began going
over the advantages and disadvantages of different apart-
ment hotels.  Suddenly she checked herself.  "What AM
I doing this for?  I can't move into another hotel to-night.
I'll keep this up till morning.  I shan't sleep a wink."

     Should she take a hot bath, or shouldn't she?  Some-
times it relaxed her, and sometimes it roused her and fairly
put her beside herself.  Between the conviction that she
must sleep and the fear that she couldn't, she hung para-

<p 472>

lyzed.  When she looked at her bed, she shrank from it in
every nerve.  She was much more afraid of it than she had
ever been of the stage of any opera house.  It yawned be-
fore her like the sunken road at Waterloo.

     She rushed into her bathroom and locked the door.  She
would risk the bath, and defer the encounter with the bed a
little longer.  She lay in the bath half an hour.  The warmth
of the water penetrated to her bones, induced pleasant
reflections and a feeling of well-being.  It was very nice to
have Dr. Archie in New York, after all, and to see him get
so much satisfaction out of the little companionship she
was able to give him.  She liked people who got on, and
who became more interesting as they grew older.  There
was Fred; he was much more interesting now than he had
been at thirty.  He was intelligent about music, and he
must be very intelligent in his business, or he would not
be at the head of the Brewers' Trust.  She respected that
kind of intelligence and success.  Any success was good.
She herself had made a good start, at any rate, and now,
if she could get to sleep--  Yes, they were all more inter-
esting than they used to be.  Look at Harsanyi, who had
been so long retarded; what a place he had made for him-
self in Vienna.  If she could get to sleep, she would show
him something to-morrow that he would understand.

     She got quickly into bed and moved about freely be-
tween the sheets.  Yes, she was warm all over.  A cold,
dry breeze was coming in from the river, thank goodness!
She tried to think about her little rock house and the Ari-
zona sun and the blue sky.  But that led to memories which
were still too disturbing.  She turned on her side, closed
her eyes, and tried an old device.

     She entered her father's front door, hung her hat and
coat on the rack, and stopped in the parlor to warm her
hands at the stove.  Then she went out through the dining-
room, where the boys were getting their lessons at the long
table; through the sitting-room, where Thor was asleep in

<p 473>

his cot bed, his dress and stocking hanging on a chair.  In
the kitchen she stopped for her lantern and her hot brick.
She hurried up the back stairs and through the windy loft
to her own glacial room.  The illusion was marred only by
the consciousness that she ought to brush her teeth before
she went to bed, and that she never used to do it.  Why--?
The water was frozen solid in the pitcher, so she got over
that.  Once between the red blankets there was a short,
fierce battle with the cold; then, warmer--warmer.  She
could hear her father shaking down the hard-coal burner
for the night, and the wind rushing and banging down the
village street.  The boughs of the cottonwood, hard as
bone, rattled against her gable.  The bed grew softer and
warmer.  Everybody was warm and well downstairs.  The
sprawling old house had gathered them all in, like a hen,
and had settled down over its brood.  They were all warm
in her father's house.  Softer and softer.  She was asleep.
She slept ten hours without turning over.  From sleep like
that, one awakes in shining armor.

     On Friday afternoon there was an inspiring audience;
there was not an empty chair in the house.  Ottenburg
and Dr. Archie had seats in the orchestra circle, got from
a ticket broker.  Landry had not been able to get a seat,
so he roamed about in the back of the house, where he
usually stood when he dropped in after his own turn in
vaudeville was over.  He was there so often and at such
irregular hours that the ushers thought he was a singer's
husband, or had something to do with the electrical
plant.

     Harsanyi and his wife were in a box, near the stage,
in the second circle.  Mrs. Harsanyi's hair was noticeably
gray, but her face was fuller and handsomer than in those
early years of struggle, and she was beautifully dressed.
Harsanyi himself had changed very little.  He had put on
his best afternoon coat in honor of his pupil, and wore a

<p 474>

pearl in his black ascot.  His hair was longer and more
bushy than he used to wear it, and there was now one
gray lock on the right side.  He had always been an elegant
figure, even when he went about in shabby clothes and
was crushed with work.  Before the curtain rose he was
restless and nervous, and kept looking at his watch and
wishing he had got a few more letters off before he left his
hotel.  He had not been in New York since the advent of
the taxicab, and had allowed himself too much time.  His
wife knew that he was afraid of being disappointed this
afternoon.  He did not often go to the opera because the
stupid things that singers did vexed him so, and it always
put him in a rage if the conductor held the tempo or in
any way accommodated the score to the singer.

     When the lights went out and the violins began to
quaver their long D against the rude figure of the basses,
Mrs. Harsanyi saw her husband's fingers fluttering on his
knee in a rapid tattoo.  At the moment when SIEGLINDE
entered from the side door, she leaned toward him and
whispered in his ear, "Oh, the lovely creature!"  But he
made no response, either by voice or gesture.  Throughout
the first scene he sat sunk in his chair, his head forward
and his one yellow eye rolling restlessly and shining like a
tiger's in the dark.  His eye followed SIEGLINDE about the
stage like a satellite, and as she sat at the table listening to
SIEGMUND'S long narrative, it never left her.  When she
prepared the sleeping draught and disappeared after
HUNDING, Harsanyi bowed his head still lower and put
his hand over his eye to rest it.  The tenor,--a young
man who sang with great vigor, went on:--

          "WALSE!  WALSE!
              WO IST DEIN SCHWERT?"

Harsanyi smiled, but he did not look forth again until
SIEGLINDE reappeared.  She went through the story of her
shameful bridal feast and into the Walhall' music, which

<p 475>

she always sang so nobly, and the entrance of the one-
eyed stranger:--

          "MIR ALLEIN
              WECKTE DAS AUGE."

Mrs. Harsanyi glanced at her husband, wondering whether
the singer on the stage could not feel his commanding
glance.  On came the CRESCENDO:--

          "WAS JE ICH VERLOR,
              WAS JE ICH BEWEINT
              WAR' MIR GEWONNEN."

          (All that I have lost,
           All that I have mourned,
           Would I then have won.)

Harsanyi touched his wife's arm softly.

     Seated in the moonlight, the VOLSUNG pair began their
loving inspection of each other's beauties, and the music
born of murmuring sound passed into her face, as the old
poet said,--and into her body as well.  Into one lovely
attitude after another the music swept her, love impelled
her.  And the voice gave out all that was best in it.  Like
the spring, indeed, it blossomed into memories and prophe-
cies, it recounted and it foretold, as she sang the story of
her friendless life, and of how the thing which was truly
herself, "bright as the day, rose to the surface" when in
the hostile world she for the first time beheld her Friend.
Fervently she rose into the hardier feeling of action and
daring, the pride in hero-strength and hero-blood, until in
a splendid burst, tall and shining like a Victory, she chris-
tened him:--

          "SIEGMUND--

              SO NENN ICH DICH!"

     Her impatience for the sword swelled with her antici-
pation of his act, and throwing her arms above her head,
she fairly tore a sword out of the empty air for him, before
NOTHUNG had left the tree.  IN HOCHSTER TRUNKENHEIT, in-

<p 476>

deed, she burst out with the flaming cry of their kinship:
"If you are SIEGMUND, I am SIEGLINDE!"  Laughing, sing-
ing, bounding, exulting,--with their passion and their
sword,--the VOLSUNGS ran out into the spring night.

     As the curtain fell, Harsanyi turned to his wife.  "At
last," he sighed, "somebody with ENOUGH!  Enough voice
and talent and beauty, enough physical power.  And such
a noble, noble style!"

     "I can scarcely believe it, Andor.  I can see her now, that
clumsy girl, hunched up over your piano.  I can see her shoul-
ders.  She always seemed to labor so with her back.  And I
shall never forget that night when you found her voice."

     The audience kept up its clamor until, after many re-
appearances with the tenor, Kronborg came before the cur-
tain alone.  The house met her with a roar, a greeting that
was almost savage in its fierceness.  The singer's eyes,
sweeping the house, rested for a moment on Harsanyi, and
she waved her long sleeve toward his box.

     "She OUGHT to be pleased that you are here," said Mrs.
Harsanyi.  "I wonder if she knows how much she owes to
you."

     "She owes me nothing," replied her husband quickly.
"She paid her way.  She always gave something back,
even then."

     "I remember you said once that she would do nothing
common," said Mrs. Harsanyi thoughtfully.

     "Just so.  She might fail, die, get lost in the pack.  But
if she achieved, it would be nothing common.  There are
people whom one can trust for that.  There is one way in
which they will never fail."  Harsanyi retired into his own
reflections.

     After the second act Fred Ottenburg brought Archie
to the Harsanyis' box and introduced him as an old friend
of Miss Kronborg.  The head of a musical publishing house
joined them, bringing with him a journalist and the presi-
dent of a German singing society.  The conversation was

<p 477>

chiefly about the new SIEGLINDE.  Mrs. Harsanyi was gra-
cious and enthusiastic, her husband nervous and uncom-
municative.  He smiled mechanically, and politely an-
swered questions addressed to him.  "Yes, quite so."  "Oh,
certainly."  Every one, of course, said very usual things
with great conviction.  Mrs. Harsanyi was used to hearing
and uttering the commonplaces which such occasions de-
manded.  When her husband withdrew into the shadow,
she covered his retreat by her sympathy and cordiality.
In reply to a direct question from Ottenburg, Harsanyi
said, flinching, "ISOLDE?  Yes, why not?  She will sing all
the great roles, I should think."

     The chorus director said something about "dramatic
temperament."  The journalist insisted that it was "ex-
plosive force," "projecting power."

     Ottenburg turned to Harsanyi.  "What is it, Mr. Har-
sanyi?  Miss Kronborg says if there is anything in her,
you are the man who can say what it is."

     The journalist scented copy and was eager.  "Yes, Har-
sanyi.  You know all about her.  What's her secret?"

     Harsanyi rumpled his hair irritably and shrugged his
shoulders.  "Her secret?  It is every artist's secret,"--he
waved his hand,--"passion.  That is all.  It is an open
secret, and perfectly safe.  Like heroism, it is inimitable
in cheap materials."

     The lights went out.  Fred and Archie left the box as
the second act came on.

     Artistic growth is, more than it is anything else, a refining
of the sense of truthfulness.  The stupid believe that to
be truthful is easy; only the artist, the great artist, knows
how difficult it is.  That afternoon nothing new came to
Thea Kronborg, no enlightenment, no inspiration.  She
merely came into full possession of things she had been
refining and perfecting for so long.  Her inhibitions chanced
to be fewer than usual, and, within herself, she entered
into the inheritance that she herself had laid up, into the

<p 478>

fullness of the faith she had kept before she knew its name
or its meaning.

     Often when she sang, the best she had was unavailable;
she could not break through to it, and every sort of dis-
traction and mischance came between it and her.  But
this afternoon the closed roads opened, the gates dropped.
What she had so often tried to reach, lay under her hand.
She had only to touch an idea to make it live.

     While she was on the stage she was conscious that every
movement was the right movement, that her body was
absolutely the instrument of her idea.  Not for nothing
had she kept it so severely, kept it filled with such energy
and fire.  All that deep-rooted vitality flowered in her
voice, her face, in her very finger-tips.  She felt like a tree
bursting into bloom.  And her voice was as flexible as her
body; equal to any demand, capable of every NUANCE.
With the sense of its perfect companionship, its entire
trustworthiness, she had been able to throw herself into
the dramatic exigencies of the part, everything in her at
its best and everything working together.

     The third act came on, and the afternoon slipped by.
Thea Kronborg's friends, old and new, seated about the
house on different floors and levels, enjoyed her triumph
according to their natures.  There was one there, whom
nobody knew, who perhaps got greater pleasure out of
that afternoon than Harsanyi himself.  Up in the top gal-
lery a gray-haired little Mexican, withered and bright as
a string of peppers beside a'dobe door, kept praying and
cursing under his breath, beating on the brass railing
and shouting "Bravo!  Bravo!" until he was repressed by
his neighbors.

     He happened to be there because a Mexican band was
to be a feature of Barnum and Bailey's circus that year.
One of the managers of the show had traveled about the
Southwest, signing up a lot of Mexican musicians at low
wages, and had brought them to New York.  Among them

<p 479>

was Spanish Johnny.  After Mrs. Tellamantez died, Johnny
abandoned his trade and went out with his mandolin to
pick up a living for one.  His irregularities had become
his regular mode of life.

     When Thea Kronborg came out of the stage entrance
on Fortieth Street, the sky was still flaming with the last
rays of the sun that was sinking off behind the North
River.  A little crowd of people was lingering about the
door--musicians from the orchestra who were waiting
for their comrades, curious young men, and some poorly
dressed girls who were hoping to get a glimpse of the
singer.  She bowed graciously to the group, through her
veil, but she did not look to the right or left as she crossed
the sidewalk to her cab.  Had she lifted her eyes an instant
and glanced out through her white scarf, she must have
seen the only man in the crowd who had removed his hat
when she emerged, and who stood with it crushed up in
his hand.  And she would have known him, changed as he
was.  His lustrous black hair was full of gray, and his face
was a good deal worn by the EXTASI, so that it seemed to
have shrunk away from his shining eyes and teeth and left
them too prominent.  But she would have known him.
She passed so near that he could have touched her, and he
did not put on his hat until her taxi had snorted away.
Then he walked down Broadway with his hands in his
overcoat pockets, wearing a smile which embraced all the
stream of life that passed him and the lighted towers that
rose into the limpid blue of the evening sky.  If the singer,
going home exhausted in her cab, was wondering what
was the good of it all, that smile, could she have seen it,
would have answered her.  It is the only commensurate
answer.

     Here we must leave Thea Kronborg.  From this time
on the story of her life is the story of her achievement.
The growth of an artist is an intellectual and spiritual

<p 480>

development which can scarcely be followed in a personal
narrative.  This story attempts to deal only with the sim-
ple and concrete beginnings which color and accent an
artist's work, and to give some account of how a Moon-
stone girl found her way out of a vague, easy-going world
into a life of disciplined endeavor.  Any account of the
loyalty of young hearts to some exalted ideal, and the
passion with which they strive, will always, in some of
us, rekindle generous emotions.

<p 483>

                             EPILOGUE

     MOONSTONE again, in the year 1909.  The Metho-
dists are giving an ice-cream sociable in the grove
about the new court-house.  It is a warm summer night of
full moon.  The paper lanterns which hang among the
trees are foolish toys, only dimming, in little lurid circles,
the great softness of the lunar light that floods the blue
heavens and the high plateau.  To the east the sand hills
shine white as of old, but the empire of the sand is grad-
ually diminishing.  The grass grows thicker over the dunes
than it used to, and the streets of the town are harder and
firmer than they were twenty-five years ago.  The old in-
habitants will tell you that sandstorms are infrequent
now, that the wind blows less persistently in the spring
and plays a milder tune.  Cultivation has modified the soil
and the climate, as it modifies human life.

     The people seated about under the cottonwoods are
much smarter than the Methodists we used to know.  The
interior of the new Methodist Church looks like a theater,
with a sloping floor, and as the congregation proudly say,
"opera chairs."  The matrons who attend to serving the
refreshments to-night look younger for their years than
did the women of Mrs. Kronborg's time, and the children
all look like city children.  The little boys wear "Buster
Browns" and the little girls Russian blouses.  The coun-
try child, in made-overs and cut-downs, seems to have
vanished from the face of the earth.

     At one of the tables, with her Dutch-cut twin boys,
sits a fair-haired, dimpled matron who was once Lily
Fisher.  Her husband is president of the new bank, and
she "goes East for her summers," a practice which causes

<p 484>

envy and discontent among her neighbors.  The twins are
well-behaved children, biddable, meek, neat about their
clothes, and always mindful of the proprieties they have
learned at summer hotels.  While they are eating their ice-
cream and trying not to twist the spoon in their mouths,
a little shriek of laughter breaks from an adjacent table.
The twins look up.  There sits a spry little old spinster
whom they know well.  She has a long chin, a long nose,
and she is dressed like a young girl, with a pink sash and
a lace garden hat with pink rosebuds.  She is surrounded
by a crowd of boys,--loose and lanky, short and thick,--
who are joking with her roughly, but not unkindly.

     "Mamma," one of the twins comes out in a shrill
treble, "why is Tillie Kronborg always talking about a
thousand dollars?"

     The boys, hearing this question, break into a roar of
laughter, the women titter behind their paper napkins,
and even from Tillie there is a little shriek of apprecia-
tion.  The observing child's remark had made every one
suddenly realize that Tillie never stopped talking about
that particular sum of money.  In the spring, when she
went to buy early strawberries, and was told that they
were thirty cents a box, she was sure to remind the grocer
that though her name was Kronborg she didn't get a
thousand dollars a night.  In the autumn, when she went
to buy her coal for the winter, she expressed amazement
at the price quoted her, and told the dealer he must
have got her mixed up with her niece to think she could
pay such a sum.  When she was making her Christmas
presents, she never failed to ask the women who came into
her shop what you COULD make for anybody who got a
thousand dollars a night.  When the Denver papers an-
nounced that Thea Kronborg had married Frederick Otten-
burg, the head of the Brewers' Trust, Moonstone people
expected that Tillie's vain-gloriousness would take an-
other form.  But Tillie had hoped that Thea would marry

<p 485>

a title, and she did not boast much about Ottenburg,--
at least not until after her memorable trip to Kansas City
to hear Thea sing.

     Tillie is the last Kronborg left in Moonstone.  She lives
alone in a little house with a green yard, and keeps a fancy-
work and millinery store.  Her business methods are in-
formal, and she would never come out even at the end
of the year, if she did not receive a draft for a good round
sum from her niece at Christmas time.  The arrival of this
draft always renews the discussion as to what Thea would
do for her aunt if she really did the right thing.  Most of
the Moonstone people think Thea ought to take Tillie
to New York and keep her as a companion.  While they
are feeling sorry for Tillie because she does not live at the
Plaza, Tillie is trying not to hurt their feelings by show-
ing too plainly how much she realizes the superiority of
her position.  She tries to be modest when she complains
to the postmaster that her New York paper is more than
three days late.  It means enough, surely, on the face of
it, that she is the only person in Moonstone who takes a
New York paper or who has any reason for taking one.  A
foolish young girl, Tillie lived in the splendid sorrows of
"Wanda" and "Strathmore"; a foolish old girl, she lives
in her niece's triumphs.  As she often says, she just missed
going on the stage herself.

     That night after the sociable, as Tillie tripped home
with a crowd of noisy boys and girls, she was perhaps a
shade troubled.  The twin's question rather lingered in her
ears.  Did she, perhaps, insist too much on that thousand
dollars?  Surely, people didn't for a minute think it was
the money she cared about?  As for that, Tillie tossed her
head, she didn't care a rap.  They must understand that
this money was different.

     When the laughing little group that brought her home
had gone weaving down the sidewalk through the leafy
shadows and had disappeared, Tillie brought out a rocking

<p 486>

chair and sat down on her porch.  On glorious, soft summer
nights like this, when the moon is opulent and full, the
day submerged and forgotten, she loves to sit there behind
her rose-vine and let her fancy wander where it will.  If
you chanced to be passing down that Moonstone street
and saw that alert white figure rocking there behind the
screen of roses and lingering late into the night, you might
feel sorry for her, and how mistaken you would be!  Tillie
lives in a little magic world, full of secret satisfactions.
Thea Kronborg has given much noble pleasure to a world
that needs all it can get, but to no individual has she
given more than to her queer old aunt in Moonstone.  The
legend of Kronborg, the artist, fills Tillie's life; she feels
rich and exalted in it.  What delightful things happen in
her mind as she sits there rocking!  She goes back to those
early days of sand and sun, when Thea was a child and
Tillie was herself, so it seems to her, "young."  When
she used to hurry to church to hear Mr. Kronborg's won-
derful sermons, and when Thea used to stand up by the
organ of a bright Sunday morning and sing "Come, Ye
Disconsolate."  Or she thinks about that wonderful time
when the Metropolitan Opera Company sang a week's
engagement in Kansas City, and Thea sent for her and
had her stay with her at the Coates House and go to
every performance at Convention Hall.  Thea let Tillie
go through her costume trunks and try on her wigs and
jewels.  And the kindness of Mr. Ottenburg!  When Thea
dined in her own room, he went down to dinner with
Tillie, and never looked bored or absent-minded when
she chattered.  He took her to the hall the first time
Thea sang there, and sat in the box with her and helped
her through "Lohengrin."  After the first act, when Tillie
turned tearful eyes to him and burst out, "I don't care,
she always seemed grand like that, even when she was a
girl.  I expect I'm crazy, but she just seems to me full of
all them old times!"--Ottenburg was so sympathetic

<p 487>

and patted her hand and said, "But that's just what she
is, full of the old times, and you are a wise woman to see
it."  Yes, he said that to her.  Tillie often wondered how
she had been able to bear it when Thea came down the
stairs in the wedding robe embroidered in silver, with a
train so long it took six women to carry it.

     Tillie had lived fifty-odd years for that week, but she
got it, and no miracle was ever more miraculous than that.
When she used to be working in the fields on her father's
Minnesota farm, she couldn't help believing that she
would some day have to do with the "wonderful," though
her chances for it had then looked so slender.

     The morning after the sociable, Tillie, curled up in bed,
was roused by the rattle of the milk cart down the street.
Then a neighbor boy came down the sidewalk outside her
window, singing "Casey Jones" as if he hadn't a care in
the world.  By this time Tillie was wide awake.  The
twin's question, and the subsequent laughter, came back
with a faint twinge.  Tillie knew she was short-sighted
about facts, but this time--  Why, there were her scrap-
books, full of newspaper and magazine articles about Thea,
and half-tone cuts, snap-shots of her on land and sea, and
photographs of her in all her parts.  There, in her parlor, was
the phonograph that had come from Mr. Ottenburg last
June, on Thea's birthday; she had only to go in there and
turn it on, and let Thea speak for herself.  Tillie finished
brushing her white hair and laughed as she gave it a smart
turn and brought it into her usual French twist.  If Moon-
stone doubted, she had evidence enough: in black and
white, in figures and photographs, evidence in hair lines
on metal disks.  For one who had so often seen two and
two as making six, who had so often stretched a point,
added a touch, in the good game of trying to make the
world brighter than it is, there was positive bliss in having
such deep foundations of support.  She need never tremble
in secret lest she might sometime stretch a point in Thea's

<p 488>

favor.--  Oh, the comfort, to a soul too zealous, of having
at last a rose so red it could not be further painted, a lily
so truly auriferous that no amount of gilding could exceed
the fact!

     Tillie hurried from her bedroom, threw open the doors
and windows, and let the morning breeze blow through
her little house.

     In two minutes a cob fire was roaring in her kitchen
stove, in five she had set the table.  At her household work
Tillie was always bursting out with shrill snatches of song,
and as suddenly stopping, right in the middle of a phrase,
as if she had been struck dumb.  She emerged upon the
back porch with one of these bursts, and bent down to get
her butter and cream out of the ice-box.  The cat was
purring on the bench and the morning-glories were thrust-
ing their purple trumpets in through the lattice-work in a
friendly way.  They reminded Tillie that while she was
waiting for the coffee to boil she could get some flowers
for her breakfast table.  She looked out uncertainly at a
bush of sweet-briar that grew at the edge of her yard, off
across the long grass and the tomato vines.  The front
porch, to be sure, was dripping with crimson ramblers
that ought to be cut for the good of the vines; but never
the rose in the hand for Tillie!  She caught up the kitchen
shears and off she dashed through grass and drenching dew.
Snip, snip; the short-stemmed sweet-briars, salmon-pink
and golden-hearted, with their unique and inimitable woody
perfume, fell into her apron.

     After she put the eggs and toast on the table, Tillie
took last Sunday's New York paper from the rack beside
the cupboard and sat down, with it for company.  In the
Sunday paper there was always a page about singers, even
in summer, and that week the musical page began with a
sympathetic account of Madame Kronborg's first per-
formance of ISOLDE in London.  At the end of the notice,
there was a short paragraph about her having sung for the

<p 489>

King at Buckingham Palace and having been presented
with a jewel by His Majesty.

     Singing for the King; but Goodness! she was always
doing things like that!  Tillie tossed her head.  All through
breakfast she kept sticking her sharp nose down into the
glass of sweet-briar, with the old incredible lightness of
heart, like a child's balloon tugging at its string.  She had
always insisted, against all evidence, that life was full of
fairy tales, and it was!  She had been feeling a little down,
perhaps, and Thea had answered her, from so far.  From
a common person, now, if you were troubled, you might
get a letter.  But Thea almost never wrote letters.  She
answered every one, friends and foes alike, in one way,
her own way, her only way.  Once more Tillie has to re-
mind herself that it is all true, and is not something she has
"made up."  Like all romancers, she is a little terrified at
seeing one of her wildest conceits admitted by the hard-
headed world.  If our dream comes true, we are almost
afraid to believe it; for that is the best of all good fortune,
and nothing better can happen to any of us.

     When the people on Sylvester Street tire of Tillie's
stories, she goes over to the east part of town, where her
legends are always welcome.  The humbler people of
Moonstone still live there.  The same little houses sit
under the cottonwoods; the men smoke their pipes in the
front doorways, and the women do their washing in the
back yard.  The older women remember Thea, and how
she used to come kicking her express wagon along the side-
walk, steering by the tongue and holding Thor in her lap.
Not much happens in that part of town, and the people
have long memories.  A boy grew up on one of those
streets who went to Omaha and built up a great business,
and is now very rich.  Moonstone people always speak of
him and Thea together, as examples of Moonstone enter-
prise.  They do, however, talk oftener of Thea.  A voice has
even a wider appeal than a fortune.  It is the one gift that

<p 490>

all creatures would possess if they could.  Dreary Maggie
Evans, dead nearly twenty years, is still remembered be-
cause Thea sang at her funeral "after she had studied in
Chicago."

     However much they may smile at her, the old inhabi-
tants would miss Tillie.  Her stories give them something
to talk about and to conjecture about, cut off as they are
from the restless currents of the world.  The many naked
little sandbars which lie between Venice and the main-
land, in the seemingly stagnant water of the lagoons, are
made habitable and wholesome only because, every night,
a foot and a half of tide creeps in from the sea and winds
its fresh brine up through all that network of shining water-
ways.  So, into all the little settlements of quiet people,
tidings of what their boys and girls are doing in the world
bring real refreshment; bring to the old, memories, and
to the young, dreams.

                              THE END

Notes on the original edition and on changes and corrections made.

By Professor Judith Boss, University of Nebraska, Omaha

Cather, Willa. _The Song of the Lark: (1915 Edition)_. Lincoln:
University of Nebraska Press, 1915/1943.

Notes on e-text 1915 edition of Song of the Lark:

      Contractions in the printed text, such as "I 'm" and "do
          n't" have been contracted to "I'm" and "don't".
          Exceptions to this are:

          On page 401 in text line 4 and page 419 in text line 19,
          the line breaks occur between "would" and "n't". The
          desire to preserve line breaks of this edition to allow
          line count to become a reference has effected this
          exception.

      A double quotation mark (") has been inserted before the
          first letter of page 22 (first line of section IV of part
          "Friends of Childhood") to pair with the quotation mark
          at the end of the sentence: (Summer!").

     Page 98, text line 1: A double quotation mark has been
          inserted before "Mother" to open the quotation that the
          double quotation following "Mother" closes.
      Page 121, text line 24: Following "Kron-" on line 23 on
      page 121, "born" on line 24 has been changed to "borg".
           The speaker is Mrs. Kronborg, not a Mrs. Kronborn.
      Page 126, text line 33: "only one or twice a year" has been
          changed to "only once or twice a year".  The sense of the
          sentence (parallelism with "twice") mandates the change.
      Page 223, text line 35: Kornberg has been changed to
          Kronborg to accord with spelling of the name in the rest
          of the book.
      Page 263, text line 14: The double quote (") mark has been
          removed from after the exclamation mark.  It seems to
          have no opening paired double quote.
      Page 288, text line 1: A double quotation mark (") has been
          inserted before the first letter of the first word (THEA,")
          to pair with the quotation mark after the first word.
      Page 370, text line 1: A comma has been inserted between
          "dimension" and "Dr. Archie."
      Page 414, text line 13: The spelling of "challeged" has
                been corrected to "challenged".

Notes on editing done by Michael S. Hart:

Italics have been replaced with CAPITALS, and the single italic a
was replaced with _A_.  A blank line has been placed between each
paragraph.  Page numbers have been left in, but each separated by
a blank line from the surrounding material.  Single quotes are `,
whereas the original file had them as ' when they opened a quote.

END.
.

Colophon

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