Back to the Index Page

 
 
 
An American Suffragette by Isaac N. Stevens



CHAPTER I. A DOCTOR RETURNS FROM INDIA
CHAPTER II. A MYSTICAL PARADE
CHAPTER III. THE MYSTERIOUS YOUNG WOMAN
CHAPTER IV. A SUFFRAGE BAZAAR AND BALL
CHAPTER V. HYPNOTISM USED FOR AN ANÆSTHETIC
CHAPTER VI. SOME STRENUOUS ANTI-SUFFRAGISTS
CHAPTER VII. CHRISTIAN SCIENCE AND SURGERY
CHAPTER VIII. THE OMNIPRESENT EYES OF FIFTH AVENUE
CHAPTER IX. LOVE, JEALOUSY AND MUSIC
CHAPTER X. A DISCUSSION OF PROGRESSIVE WOMEN
CHAPTER XI. THE ADVANCING COLUMN OF DEMOCRACY
CHAPTER XII. A TUBERCULAR KNEE AND A WORRIED SURGEON
CHAPTER XIII. AN ANTI-SUFFRAGE MEETING
CHAPTER XIV. FAITH IS THE BASIS OF ALL PROGRESS
CHAPTER XV. AN EVIL PROPHECY BEGINS TO BEAR FRUIT
CHAPTER XVI. THE MYSTERIOUS MURDER OF EMMA BELL
CHAPTER XVII. THE ARREST OF DR. JOHN EARL
CHAPTER XVIII. DR. EARL IS INDICTED FOR MURDER
CHAPTER XIX. A GREAT MURDER TRIAL BEGINS
CHAPTER XX. A WOMAN AND SPOOKS FIND A LETTER
CHAPTER XXI. SILVIA HOLLAND'S GREAT PLEA TO THE JURY

 

DEDICATION

To those noble and courageous women of England and America who are trying to demonstrate to the world that Civilization cannot reach the supreme heights of progress without giving freedom to the mental, spiritual and physical energies of women, and that government will always lack a vital element in its functions, so long as women are deprived of equal participation in its operations—THIS BOOK IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED BY THE AUTHOR.

    “But life shall on and upward go;
      Th' eternal step of Progress beats
    To that great anthem, calm and slow,
      Which God repeats.”

                     —Whittier.

AN AMERICAN SUFFRAGETTE

CHAPTER I. A DOCTOR RETURNS FROM INDIA

Among the hundreds of people who were awaiting the arrival of the big Cunarder there were two groups, the second of which seemed determined that the first should not get far away. The young men of which this second group was composed represented the various newspapers of New York City, and while a “beat” was evidently impossible, each of them was determined to get a line for his own journal from the returning hero, Dr. John Earl, which he would not share with the others of the fraternity, and several of them held anxious consultations with their photographers who, by special permit, had been allowed upon the pier.

The other group had moved a number of times to escape the cameras, and a red-haired youth was expatiating upon the glories of American scientific achievement, concluding with a peroration that called forth an exclamation from one of the older men:

“Oh, shut up, Bedford; you sound like a Fourth of July oration. Who are the people you are trying to snapshot for your lurid sheet?” he said wearily, as becomes a Chicago newspaper man when in New York.

The red-headed one looked at him with cheerful surprise. “Don't you know anybody?” he asked. “The tall, handsome blonde is Mrs. Ramsey, wife of George Ramsey, at whose frown the great gods sit tight and the little ones scuttle to cover. Luckily, he is a kindly disposed arbiter and the Street basks under his smile.”

The Chicagoan turned and looked at the lady curiously, and the reporter went on: “The fair-haired lady with the wild-rose face is old Gordon Kimball's daughter; born with a diamond teething ring in her mouth, but has never succeeded in getting anything else of value inside her pretty head.”

“Well, she doesn't have to,” said the Westerner.

Young Bedford grinned. “That's what Dr. Earl thinks; he can furnish brains for the family. Their engagement was reported two months ago. The man with them is Earl's brother, Frank Earl, corporation lawyer, amateur actor, one of those guys that does everything well, and never gives away his own hand. Go after him for a story about some combination his road has gone into and you come away with a great spiel about bumper crops; always gives you the glad hand, but nothing in it. You'd never take him for Mrs. Ramsey's brother, would you? She's a looker, all right. So is Dr. Earl, one of these big, handsome, powerful-looking men that makes folks ask who he is.”

“What's all the hullabaloo about, anyhow?” asked the Chicago man.

“Where have you been that you don't know about Earl?” answered Bedford. “Why, I thought everybody in the country had heard of him. He's the chap that raises the dead, you know; just takes 'em by the hand, makes a few passes, and says, 'Say, it's time to wake up, old fellow,' and the dead one sits up and asks for beefsteak. He's the man that saved Hall, the copper mines king, over in Paris. Hall was finished, all done but putting him in a box, when in comes Dr. Earl. 'Let him alone,' he says. 'He's tired out. When he finishes this nap he'll be just as good as new.' But you know how impetuous the French are, and they were going to have poor old Hall done for, sure enough, when this Earl man stands them off, and promises to bring Hall 'round in six hours. And he does it after the whole bunch of them have parleyed over him and waved looking-glasses across his mouth, and found him as dead as Rameses.”

There was a general buzz among the newspaper men, and one of them, older and more dignified in manner than the others, said quietly, “Bedford, you ought not to hand out that kind of fiction, even in your unreliable journal.”

Bedford winked slyly at the Chicagoan. “It was my only hope,” he said in a rapid aside. “That's Tourney. He was over there at the time, and he'll tell us all about it trying to put me right.”

“If you don't like my story you can give us the straight steer yourself, Tourney,” he said, and, nothing loath, the older man told how Hall had been suddenly stricken with appendicitis in such severe form that an operation was necessary at once. Upon this the French surgeons agreed, but his heart action was so bad that they dared not administer an anæsthetic, and one of them, who was a noted hypnotist, expressed a doubt whether he would be able to rouse the patient from a hypnosis sufficiently profound to enable them to perform the operation.

“This Frenchman,” Tourney went on, warming to his subject, “had seen Earl do some wonderful things and he knew he was in Paris and where he was stopping. He put the case to Hall, and seeing that it was all day with him unless something was done, he told them to send for Earl and they got him there on the double-quick. I was waiting in the hall when he went into the operating room and I stayed there until he came out, and as I had done him one or two good turns he told me about it before he realized that I was a newspaper man. When he saw me last I was coaching Harvard students with more money than brains. That has nothing to do with it, except to show that he isn't one of these 'for publication only' wonder workers.”

“Hurry up,” said the Chicagoan, “he'll be here in a few minutes, and if he's one of these human clams you are the hope of the press. What did he tell you?”

“He agreed with the others in the main points, but he said if Hall was willing to take the chance, he believed he could pull him through by a system he had seen used in India. Then he cleared them all out, and when they came back Hall was comatose. The appendix was removed in record time, and the wound cleansed. Just before Earl finished, one of the Frenchmen noticed that the patient was not breathing, apparently, and exclaimed that he was dead. Dr. Earl pointed out the fact that the blood showed no signs of other than a normal condition, such as would be found in a patient under hypnosis. His idea, as I got it, was that the patient must be kept unconscious long enough for the body to regain its functions and get over the strain of the operation. He told them if he were more familiar with Hall's constitution, he would be inclined to prolong his condition of suspended animation, but under the circumstances he would restore him to consciousness in three hours.

“One or two of them got excited and swore the man was dead, and according to a lot of tests he was, but the rest, knowing he would have died anyhow, were willing to wait, and at the end of the time Earl brought him back to consciousness in such good condition that the other doctors were wild over it. In their enthusiastic French way they heralded the story everywhere. I thought he'd never be allowed to leave Paris. They wanted to keep him right there and string medals around his neck and pin ribbons all over his coat, but he wouldn't stand for it. He's an awfully modest fellow, and he went over to London with Hall, who swears by him; says he believes he put a new heart in him, and all that sort of thing. There comes the boat now. Better have your photographers ready, for all you'll get will be a picture of him keeping his mouth shut.”

As the big English boat swung slowly into its dock, with the help of half a dozen tugs that puffed and pounded at its side, the newspaper men and Dr. Earl's family caught sight of him simultaneously, as he waved his hand and called across the intervening space with all the abandon of a returning traveler.

He could make them hear now. “Leonora, dear, how are you!” as a remarkably sweet-faced girl threw a shower of kisses in his direction, which passed on their way an equal number of his own. “And Hilda! And for the life of me, there's Frank! Love to all of you!” A few minutes more and he was with them. He caught the girl in his arms and gave her a long and tender embrace. Then he turned to the others and greeted them with all the fraternal warmth natural after eighteen months' separation.

“How splendid it is to see you all again! What brought you to New York, Frank?”

“Oh, just to see if I could cross Broadway without being bumped into by a trolley car or a taxi-cab or an airship. Incidentally, to keep you from losing your breath and hearing in the new tunnels through which you will be shot under these New York rivers.”

“Tubes, you mean, brother dear, tubes. I've been doing nothing else but shoot the London tubes for the last fortnight.”

“Where I live, in the wild and woolly Rockies, we call them tunnels,” answered his brother. “Wouldn't the railroad builder howl at the idea of 'tubing the mountains,' and the miner would have a war-dance of delight at the suggestion that he must 'tube his claim.' These English airs are all right, Dr. John Earl, but you may as well learn to talk real American if you expect to chop bones and exploit microbes in this country,” and the young man glowed his admiration while plying him with badinage.

The first greetings were scarcely over when the newspaper men made known their mission, Tourney acting as spokesman for them all. Earl shook his hand warmly.

“I'm awfully glad to see you,” he said, “but you know I never give interviews. I don't know how, to begin with, and I couldn't say anything that would interest your readers. I have come back to practice my profession in New York City; that is all I can tell you.”

“But that Paris case,” pleaded Bedford. “Do tell us about that.”

“Did you use the Hindoo method of respiration that the Swami Bramachunenda gave an exposition of here two or three years ago?” asked another of the fraternity, and the others followed with different interrogatives, but Earl laughed and waved them all away.

“I don't know what the Swami did,” he said, “but if he is like some of his brothers I'm ready to believe anything. All that I did, and a great deal that I never thought of doing myself, or heard of anybody else doing on this planet, was told in your papers at the time. Really, if I had anything worth your while as a news story I would be glad to give it to you—one of these days I may have, but you must excuse me now.”

His manner was courteous but unmistakable, and turning away from them he was soon absorbed in conversation with the pretty girl and his brother and sister. He hardly took his eyes off the former as he recounted his adventures abroad.

Three months previously he and Leonora Kimball had been betrothed in Vienna, and it was agreed that they were to be married soon after his arrival home. In a social way, the match met the approval of New York's select set, for they belonged to equally wealthy and prominent families. The Earls had come to New York from New England, two generations ago, and the foundation of the family fortune had been laid in a small block of New York, New Haven and Hartford stock, which had grown into a huge block of both stocks and bonds from the various expansions of stock and consolidations of property that had meanwhile taken place. The Kimballs had come from the Pacific coast, where the same alchemist's result had been wrought with a block of Southern Pacific Railway stock. The family tree of the Earls had rooted itself into the subsoil of real culture, while that of the Kimballs was mostly displayed above ground with only here and there a stray fibre that had sunk to any depth.

Leonora Kimball, who at this time was slightly over twenty-three years of age, possessed a most winning and gracious manner—a face that might have served as a better model for a madonna than many of those apparently used by the old masters; a lithe and graceful figure and an abundance of vivacity when doing the things that pleased her. She had so captivated John Earl from their first meeting that he had never tried nor cared to analyze her. Indeed, had he so wished, he would have found it a difficult undertaking, for he was too content with the pleasure he felt in her presence to care to question it.

Dr. Earl had taken infinite pains to search the world for the sources of disease and its prevention and cure. He had delved deeply into the mysteries of mental and spiritual therapeutics, and had closely studied the influences surrounding the origin of individual human beings. But while he had harnessed many more or less occult forces into scientific service in treating invalids, strangely enough, it never occurred to him that similar elements might have an important mission in determining the natural affinity of those attracted by the tenderest passion in the world, and might do much, if properly regarded, to render stable that one-time sacred bond of the sexes known as the marriage relation, which at this time, everywhere, was resting upon such shifting quicksands of mismating as to menace its existence.

“Love is of man's life a thing apart,” applied with full force to Dr. Earl, and he accepted his relations with Leonora Kimball with the same confidence and light heart that might characterize the least thoughtful man on Manhattan Island. While he had traveled many thousands of miles and burned many a midnight lamp to ascertain if improvement could not be made in the prevailing orthodox method of treating disease, he blindly accepted, as millions of strong men before him had done, the prevailing orthodox method of selecting a wife.

In any event, after the brother and sister had been left at the Ramsey mansion on upper Fifth Avenue, he and Leonora proceeded to spend the time from eleven to three o'clock very much as other lovers similarly situated would have consumed those four hours. They motored until one o'clock, when they went to her house, not far from his sister's residence, where he had luncheon with her and her widowed mother, and at three o'clock he arrived at the Hotel Gotham, where he had engaged apartments.

When he stepped into his new sitting-room a large photograph of Leonora confronted him on the dressing-case, his valet being a man of rare sense and tact.

As he looked into the counterfeit impression of the large blue eyes and reflected back her smile he declared to himself for the twentieth time that day that she was the most fascinating creature in the world.

CHAPTER II. A MYSTICAL PARADE

When Dr. Earl arrived at his hotel he noticed crowds of people gathering on the sidewalk, and lining up along the curbstone further down the avenue, evidently expecting a parade of some sort. He had dismissed the matter from his mind and was startled about an hour later to hear the tap of a drum on the street, then a martial air by a band, followed by the clatter of horses' hoofs and the shouts of policemen clearing the way. Throwing open a window, he witnessed a sight that dazed him for a moment, and he wondered whether or not he really was in an American city.

As if by magic, the street was now filled with women, arranging themselves in marching order, with the shout of command ringing clear upon the air, and down Fifth Avenue as far as he could see, other columns of women were forming to the strains of military music and to the stirring echoes of fife and drum.

He grabbed his hat and stick, and joined the throng that packed the sidewalk. His six feet of height and his athletic training rendered him good service in ascertaining where to go and making it possible to get there. He hurried along several blocks until he reached what he thought must be the leading column of the march. Then he elbowed his way to the curbstone and took up a position to witness this, as yet, mysterious demonstration.

The air was sharp for a day late in April, but the sky was clear and the sun shed occasional rays of splendor over some of the lower buildings upon the waiting multitude.

The crowd was remarkably quiet. There seemed to be a spell over the whole performance that savored of some of the wonders he had so recently witnessed in India. There was something electric in the air that brought with it an echo from some distant past or a promise for the future which he tried in vain to catch and recognize.

Finally the order, “Forward, march!” was given, and to the air of “Marching Through Georgia” the first column swung down the Avenue with easy grace and in perfect step.

Long before the first standard came near he knew it was a Woman Suffrage parade, and before he could get a view of the women carrying it, he read the inscription on the banner:

    Forward out of Error,
      Leave behind the night;
    Forward through the darkness,
      Forward into Light.

Then the standard bearers were opposite him. The one nearest to him was an exceedingly pretty young woman, as was also the second one, but as his eyes rested upon the one farthest away he gave a startled exclamation that attracted the attention of those around him.

“My mystery! Again she has dropped from the clouds!” The object of his interest was a tall young woman, scarcely more than twenty-five years of age, gowned in white cloth with black trimmings, with a white hat turned straight up on the left side and lined in black. She showed grace and energy in every movement and intellect and force in every glance.

Her large, sapphire-blue eyes gleamed with the intensity of her feelings, and the touches of bronze hair that could be seen beneath her hat gave evidence of the vivacious character of her life.

As she marched with queenly grace at the head of this mighty host of six thousand American women, Dr. Earl had visions of the reality of the myth or history, whichever it may be, of Semiramis invading Assyria and the Amazons conquering Asia.

The entire line of march was no doubt interesting, but the head of the column was absorbing to our hero, so block after block he marched as nearly abreast of the banner on the sidewalk as a dense crowd would permit him, and when the column broke ranks at Union Square he was there to witness it.

No sooner did the mysterious banner bearer quit the march than she rushed to the custodian of the posters, and, gathering an armful, she coaxed, or with mock heroics terrorized, every person she approached into buying one for “the good of the Cause!”

Earl was certain his heart would never beat again when she asked him in deep, musical tones to “Please buy one for the Cause.” He did so, and loitered around watching her a few moments longer, then started up Broadway.

When he swung into Fifth Avenue he was impressed again, as he had been when he came from the boat, with the changed atmosphere of the street. He had always read the mood of New York in its silent reflection in this expressive part of the city's physiognomy. Long ago, he had discovered that Fifth Avenue smiles or weeps, applauds or hisses, effervesces with enthusiasm or gazes somberly like the image of despair, revels in fervent expressions of patriotism or looks with gloomy distrust upon public affairs—all according to the mood of the dominant portion of New York's population—those who control the destinies of the huge private enterprises that are the marvel of the age, and the management of which means so much in the way of industrial slavery or economic freedom to the American people.

This evening there was a note of more seriousness in the air than he had ever before witnessed on this gay thoroughfare. The rush of automobiles and taxicabs and carriages with beautifully gowned women and fine-looking men as occupants was as great as ever; the perfectly groomed New York woman on the sidewalk, with figure and carriage such as outclasses the women of every other large city in the world, was there in numbers quite as great as formerly; the Western woman, who had come on to take New York by storm, or who imagined the acme of human existence was in New York café life, with all of its vulgar display and raucous manners, was abundantly in evidence.

But over the entire concourse there appeared to drift an atmosphere of the spiritual, which lifted them from the plane of the Fifth Avenue crowd of a year and a half before, and impressed him in the same manner that he had been impressed in the far East by adepts when they gave public demonstrations of their powers, or conversed with their Chelæ without the medium of written or spoken language.

When he left America the woman suffrage movement in New York was a subject of more or less ridicule; a few wealthy women had begun to identify themselves with it, but they were called “faddists” and their efforts were not taken seriously. It was apparent now that the suffrage cause had been given the impetus of the world-wide movement that was reaching the women of all countries, and had changed from a gospel of tracts to a militant crusade for their share of the duties and responsibilities of life and the power properly to discharge them. Never had he seen so many of the real leaders of New York society engaged in any work, charitable or otherwise, as had taken part in this parade, marching on foot the full two miles, and often side by side with the working-women of the city.

He had once seen a painting of the Maid of Orleans in a foreign gallery that carried so much of spiritual earnestness that he felt that he could appreciate how easy it was for the French army instinctively to follow her lead, and how much easier it was for the poor dupes of ignorance and superstition to believe that this overmastering spiritual nature was the product of witchcraft.

Absorbing though these thoughts were, they did not exclude another train which had to do with the mysterious banner bearer, and as he entered his hotel he clenched his right hand suddenly and muttered to himself, “I must dismiss her from my thoughts.”

CHAPTER III. THE MYSTERIOUS YOUNG WOMAN

Dr. Earl took a late dinner at his sister's house, after having spent an hour with his fiancée on the way. There were just the four of them at table, his sister and her husband, his brother and himself.

His sister was the oldest member of his family, which comprised but the three of them, his father and mother having died some years before.

During the college days of both himself and his brother, who was two years his junior, his sister had assumed the rôle of a mother to them, and right devotedly had she filled the part. She had been more of a “pal” to them than anything else, and some years' residence in England during her schooldays had broadened her vision of the true meaning and value of this relation between those of opposite sex and particularly between brother and sister.

She possessed now, as always, the unbounded respect and confidence of these two young men of thoroughly dissimilar character and temperament, and she was the repository of the sacred secrets of each of them, which she was warned she must never betray to the other. And she never did.

Eight years previous to these occurrences, she had married George Ramsey, President of the Gotham Trust Company, which institution had recently absorbed half a dozen weaker concerns doing a similar business, and more recently had taken over from the New York bankers, who were stockholders in the trust company, the handling of most of the public utility securities that were floated in this country. But George Ramsey was not the pretentious pawnbroker in spirit and manner that so often presides over the destinies of American banks, but he was a philosophical financier who understood perfectly the strength and weakness of the system under which he worked, and who, while he wondered at the supine idiocy of the people that would permit of the prevailing Dick Turpin methods of high finance, never took his eye from the horizon of public action, where daily he expected to see “the cloud no bigger than a man's hand” that was to expand into the storm that would engulf these and other long permitted public ills.

Many times recently he had sounded the alarm of the dangers attending recapitalization of properties that already bore a heavy weight of watered securities, but his colleagues had laughed at what they termed his fears, and had attempted to reassure him of their complete possession of the departments of government that controlled such matters. Bred to the banking business, he had no thought of transferring his abilities and energies to the realm of statesmanship, but in the sanctum of his own home he would often pour forth his disgust with, and his fear of, such methods, to the tall, clear-eyed, clear-brained and beautiful woman from whom John and Frank Earl were wont to seek advice in their perplexities. And from her he always received valuable suggestions, a keener insight into the motives of men, a broader, more humane view-point, and withal a firmness to set himself, in part, where the law of the land should have been set wholly, as a barrier against the worst of these public depredations.

Mr. and Mrs. George Ramsey were the same lovers now that they were during their honeymoon. In the crowded ballroom, at the opera, in the automobile after the harassing cares of the day, on land or sea, he was always the admiring and devoted attendant, and gave expression to his feelings in a variety of new and interesting ways. It was evident that they had not run counter to the influence of the stars in waiting for a natural affinity. In their home they entered into the spirit of whatever was borne to them by their guests. With scholars and philosophers they held their own in abstruse and abstract discussions. With musicians and music lovers they were at ease, for both played and sang with more than amateur skill. With young people bent on a frolic, they could be the gayest of the party. Their outlook upon life was always across green meadows or perfectly kept beds of beautiful flowers.

Every guest found ready sympathy for whatever was nearest and dearest to him, and went away convinced that he had never rightly understood his own hobby before.

In this atmosphere, and at table with this couple, John and Frank Earl seated themselves at eight o'clock for dinner.

It would be difficult to imagine two brothers more widely separated in physical and mental characteristics. John was tall, athletic, with dark hair, large, dreamy brown eyes, perfect poise, a silent and dignified bearing that easily commanded attention when he spoke, a low, musical voice and an exceedingly strong and graceful hand.

Frank was of medium height, spare of figure, with light hair, penetrating blue eyes, resilient voice, quick and nervous of speech, with large hands and feet, and not a shadow of dignity in his bearing.

The one personified reflection; the other action. In the eyes of one appeared the dreams of centuries; beaming from the eyes of the other was the fun of the ages.

“Did any of you people, aside from Jack, see the suffragette parade to-day?” asked Frank, with laughing eyes fixed upon his brother.

“I—how do you know I saw it?” asked John, and his confused manner brought “Eh, Jack?” from the other two.

“It's all right, Jack; I won't tell Leonora, but how jealous she would be if she could have seen you following the banner carried by those three pretty girls,” answered Frank. “Why, I followed you a dozen blocks myself, almost touching you the whole time, just to see which one of the three girls was making you join the parade. The next time get right out into the street, old man, and don't block the view of us spectators, for you know you were a part of that parade to-day, in mind at least.”

The absurdity of the scene as depicted by Frank made even John throw back his head and join in the unrestrained laughter of the others.

“I was in the Waldorf-Astoria at a tea-table near the window when the head of the column came in view. I, too, liked the looks of those pretty girls carrying the banner, but before I could decide which one I liked best, my dearly beloved brother hove in sight, with eyes glued on the third one, wandering down the Avenue like either a slow-hatching lunatic or a good subject for a hypnotist. I knew Jack would need me in New York to steer him right until all that Indian mysticism gets out of his system, and that is the reason I left the delights of the wilds for the barbarism of the city. Well, I excused myself and hurried out to take possession of Jack, but when I got close to him and was just about to slap him on the shoulder, I followed his eyes—and for the life of me, I couldn't touch him!”

Here Frank's tone became half serious and his changed manner hushed the laughter of the others. “I have always ridiculed the idea of hypnotism and in every experiment where I have been present I have set myself to disprove its effects. But candidly, folks, I was hypnotized. Unconsciously I followed that parade a whole dozen blocks myself, and when I finally came out of the trance, or whatever it was, and started back to the hotel, the entire atmosphere seemed filled with some kind of uncanny dope. I never witnessed such contagious energy and earnestness, and every step emanated spiritual sparks that blinded my eyes and took possession of my faculties. Who is she, Jack?”

“That is what I want to know. I call her my 'Mystery.' One day while I was in London and near Trafalgar Square I saw a demonstration of women down toward the parliament buildings. I went that way to see what was up and soon discovered that it was a body of English suffragettes making an attempt to exercise their claimed right to petition parliament. As usual, the demonstration was more or less strenuous and the police interfered. When I got close enough to identify them, I saw my 'Mystery' in the front ranks, exhorting the women, protesting and pleading with the policemen, and gradually getting nearer and nearer the parliament buildings until they had almost reached one of the entrances. It looked very much as if they might get entirely in and vindicate their claim, but just at that moment a fresh squad of police arrived under an officer superior to any present, and ordered the arrest of the leaders. My 'Mystery' was the first arrested. It was then that I discovered that she was an American girl. The speech she delivered to those police officers on human rights and human liberties and women's rights and women's liberties is worthy a place among the world's great orations. They took her and the rest of them away, but I noticed that they treated her with marked respect. I don't think any of them were jailed on that occasion, but she defied them to jail her. The next time I saw her was at the Grand Opera House in Paris, two months later. She was with some friends in an adjoining stall. It was a gala performance for the benefit of the flood sufferers and the most noted singers in the world had volunteered their services, and single acts from a number of operas were given. It was difficult to believe that this beautiful, stylish, richly-gowned girl was the one I saw arrested in a suffrage disturbance on the streets of London. Throughout the performance I watched her closely, and her expressive face reflected the emotion of every leading role. She partook of the abandon of the gayer airs in 'Carmen,' and her cheeks were flooded with tears at the misfortunes of Marguerite in 'Faust.' I was dying to know who she was, but I was with foreign surgeons, and saw no Americans that I knew. To-day is the first time I have seen her since. Who is she, Hilda?” eagerly he asked of his sister.

“You and Frank give me a lot of exclamation points, with a vivid description of how the atmosphere affected you, and then want me to name a vision for you. Please describe the physical girl, leaving out all adjectives, mystical pieces of air, et cetera, and perhaps I can tell who she is.”

Jack described the girl in the parade, somewhat repressing his enthusiasm under Frank's amused scrutiny.

“I don't wonder at your captivation. That is Silvia Holland, one rich American girl who is determined to justify her existence, live a life that is worth while, and demonstrate the ability of women to be economically independent, for although her father has a half-dozen city, country and resort residences, she insists in maintaining at her own expense a modest apartment in the Whittier Studios, and keeps up her own country home on the Hudson at Nutwood. Just now her parents are on a trip around the world. You know she is a graduate of the law school at Columbia and was admitted to practice a few months ago. You should thank your stars, Jack, that it is not the medical profession she is seeking to enter, or the dry bones there would be worse shaken up than they will be by your new theories, and you would have a formidable rival.”

“She is not the daughter of John J. Holland, the steel magnate?” he inquired.

“Yes, his daughter and only child.”

“Whew! There is hope of the American woman after all. There certainly is a big social revolution on in America,” and Jack arose with the others to go into the library for coffee.

“It might interest you young men to know that these suffragists are to finish their day's work with a ball and a bazaar to-night, and I have tickets for a box,” suggested Hilda.

“Of course Jack can't go, but I shall be delighted to bask in the smiles of this modern Semiramis a while,” answered Frank. “Then, too,” he added, “she may convert me to suffrage, which living in Colorado among suffragists for two years has failed to do.”

“Oh, that is because you are looking at the matter through a railroad attorney's eyes; long ago it was truly written that 'no man can serve two masters,' and your railroad employment is your master just now,” answered his sister.

“I have heard reports that indicate that woman's suffrage in Colorado is apt quite soon to cause not only you railroad lawyers but our holders of railroad securities some concern about the quantity of water we inject into any one issue of stocks and bonds,” laughingly suggested Mr. Ramsey.

“Come, gentlemen, your charming Amazon will not stay up all night, and it is ten-thirty now,” called Hilda, who had already garbed herself for the automobile.

CHAPTER IV. A SUFFRAGE BAZAAR AND BALL

A suffrage bazaar does not differ essentially from the same iniquity under other auspices. There are the same useless articles for sale and the same aggressive methods of disposing of them; the same varieties of fancy work, knit, embroidered, drawn, quartered and crocheted; the same display of canned goods and home-made jellies and feminine apparel; the same raffles and “drawings” and “chances” by which churches have long conducted their clerical lotteries; the same side-shows and the same appeal to the social world to come and mingle with the “high-brows” and be fashionably robbed.

Only in this instance far more ingenuity had been displayed in the number and nature of the side attractions. There were guessing machines where the cocksure were reduced to humbleness of mind by their failures to state accurately the number of women voting in the world or some section thereof; the number of countries that have recently swung into line in the woman movement; the number of subjects reigned over by women, and similar questions, all of which proved “extra hazardous” to most of the guessers. Many of them did not even know what the five stars on the suffrage flag indicated.

They had a row of Chinese examination booths, in which persons wishing a certificate of “Efficient Citizenship” were given blanks to fill out, in which they revealed their knowledge, or their crass ignorance, of conditions in various parts of their own country. Mrs. Jarley conducted a wax-works performance, and there was a moving-picture show in which Mrs. Cornelia Gracchus, the favorite example of the “Antis,” was shown lecturing in the Forum on medicine to grave and reverend seigneurs, Joan of Arc leading her troops, and Florence Nightingale bending over the sick and wounded.

An educated pig told the uneducated person in how many States women have full suffrage, and which they are; where suffrage campaigns are pending, and the names of the distinguished Americans who have gone on record in favor of this reform. A Street of All Nations showed the onward march, all the way from the women of Washington casting their “recall” ballots to the women of China unbinding their feet, and Turkish ladies tearing their veils into tatters.

Dancing was going on in an adjoining room, but the crowd was so great that it was impossible to even locate Jack's “Mystery,” so Frank turned his attention to a row of booths, draped in black, with silver astrological symbols, palmist signs and two flaming aces of hearts and diamonds, where past, present and future were revealed at very reasonable prices—considering. “Me for the astrologist,” he said. “Jack, go in at the sign of the glowing heart and find out whether Venus is going to be good to you, and then we can swap experiences.”

“I think I'll try the palmist,” Jack replied. “If it's even moderately well done it is interesting,” and the two brothers disappeared into the cavelike apertures before them. Frank's experience seemed to be highly satisfactory, for he reappeared grinning cheerfully. Perhaps he had cause, but he did not reveal it, and when his brother came forth from the clutches of the sorceress, he insisted that he should have his horoscope cast.

As there seemed no hope of finding the lady they sought until the crowd should have thinned a little, Jack laughed and entered the silver-spangled tent. The seeress was gowned in white, with silver chains and bracelets and girdle, and a long white veil completely enveloped her except the face, and this was concealed by her yashmak up to her mocking gray eyes, with their dark, level brows. There was something in her eyes that attracted Jack, and made him believe in her uncanny powers quite against his will, and even while he told himself that this was but the foolishness of the hour. He gave her the necessary data, and she consulted her charts, and gave him a rapid and wonderfully correct delineation of his character, “a nature which combines the characteristics of Scorpio with some of those of Sagitarrius, as is the case,” she explained gravely, “with persons born near the cusp,” a term which produced no impression upon his mind, though he said, “Oh, indeed,” politely. She made some cabalistic marks on a square of paper and turned to him with a somewhat startled expression, which faded at once, and the mocking eyes looked full into his as she went on.

“You do not believe in anything I am telling you, and therefore I shall speak quite frankly, certain that you will be neither cast down nor elated by anything I can say. I think you are a physician; if not you ought to be; you seem to have come from afar, and to be about to begin a new phase in your life. It is well that you have two of the greatest of the planets, Mars and Jupiter, as controlling influences, for you will need them, and that very soon. You are at this moment in greater danger than ever before has been your lot.”

Jack could not repress a laugh. With youth, health, ability and love he felt that it would take more than a stray comet to turn the currents of his life awry. But the woman did not smile; he could see that much through the gauzy yashmak, and her eyes grew grave and her forehead contracted.

“I am glad you don't believe it,” she said, “because I should not like to tell you what I see if you did; before morning you will know whether it is all the foolishness you think it.”

He apologized. “I'm immensely interested,” he said, “but I didn't know any one regarded this sort of thing seriously. So far as you've gone you've hit me off very well, and I don't mind telling you that I am a physician, and I'm just back from the far East.”

“Thank you,” she said gravely. “Have you ever heard that if a man has made love to a girl under the constellation of Cassiopeia he should not marry until he has also made love under the Southern Cross? There is a conjunction of malign planets at this time; they threaten your happiness through love, through hate, through accident. If you have become interested in any person born under Saturn, that is between the twenty-first of December and the twentieth of January, particularly about the seventh of January, you should certainly take time to consider carefully, for there is nothing but wretchedness and misunderstanding in such an alliance; there may be much that is attractive on the surface, but you will find a complete lack of harmony, of similarity of tastes and ambition that would leave you forever alone, and there is much selfishness and stubborness of will. Saturn and Scorpio are not good marital allies.” He gave her a searching glance, for the seventh of January was Leonora's birthday, but her face was quite inscrutable.

“There is something here I do not understand; this accident does not happen to you, nor to any one near you, yet it has a lasting and a terrible effect upon your life——” she shuddered and pushed the charts away from her. “I will not tell you any more,” she said, “but I wonder whether you would do me the favor of giving me your name and address. I want to cast your horoscope carefully, and I will send you the chart.”

He thanked her and wrote down his name as requested, somewhat impressed in spite of himself. As he rose to go she stood also and lifted her hand as if she would have drawn him back, then let it drop heavily. If it was a piece of acting, he told himself it was perfectly done. “Do be careful for the next twenty-four hours,” she said, “and beware of the evil that may come out of good.”

That last Delphic utterance stamped the whole affair as a clever piece of mind-reading, guesswork and acting, and, somewhat annoyed that he should have been hoaxed even for a moment, Jack withdrew.

The hour was growing late and the crowd dispersing when they turned from the fortune-telling booths and entered the ballroom, and presently Jack said to his sister, “There she is; the one in the green gown.”

“Yes, that is Silvia Holland. What a superb dancer, and how democratic! The man she is dancing with is at the head of one of the labor organizations that is championing woman's suffrage. Come, Jack, let us have a whirl, as of old, and I will then bring your 'Mystery' over to the box.”

In a moment they were in the midst of the waltz, and at its close Hilda had so managed that they were near Miss Holland. Stepping up to her on Jack's arm she presented her brother, and, accepting Hilda's invitation, Miss Holland joined their party.

“Did I not see you a year ago on the streets in London, the time I was arrested?” she naively asked Jack.

“Yes, but you were very busy. How in the world could you remember me?”

“Don't be flattered by the apparent compliment. While I was delivering my little speech to the police I noted how closely you followed me and that you were the only American around, and I had determined to appeal to you for assistance if they undertook to jail the feeble old woman who was with us. They didn't disturb her, and so you were not called upon, but you see how near you came to being a militant English suffragette and perhaps a prisoner for thirty days,” she said, half seriously and half smilingly.

“The word of command would have made me both,” he answered, with so much emphasis that Frank broke into the conversation with, “I wonder if the open door of an English jail would convert me?”

“That would depend upon who was directing your footsteps toward the jail,” suggested his brother-in-law.

“Not at all; I think I am hopeless after having heard so much of the theoretical benefits of suffrage and seen the utter lack of effect in Colorado, where I live.”

Silvia Holland turned her great, intense eyes upon him. They were glowing, and he felt the same fascination he had experienced in the afternoon.

“You from Colorado and talk this way!” she said in amazement. “Surely you are jesting. Take the effect on the polling places alone. Compare those of New York with those of Denver, and I have seen them in full operation in both places. In the first is the atmosphere of barrooms; in the second the manners and air of drawing-rooms. If I were a Colorado man I should be proud of the result upon Colorado women of their responsibility in citizenship. I know women of all nationalities, but I know none where the average of intelligence or womanly grace and real accomplishments are greater than with your Colorado women.”

“I am a railroad attorney, sent out by the owners of some of the lines traversing Colorado to look after their interests,” he answered. “It is possible that my conclusions have been influenced by my occupation. I am prepared to admit that. But I have rather old-fashioned notions in relation to the proper place for women being in the home and not in politics.”

“Oh, you American professional men, particularly you corporation lawyers”—she was smiling now. “You might as well be living in the middle ages, for you take no note of the tremendous revolution that is going on all around you. What we call politics is in reality government, and home is the basis of all good government, and government to serve its legitimate aim in a democracy must reflect the sentiments of all the members of the society that created it, women as well as men, and the higher the aspirations of society the higher the purposes of government.”

The others were enjoying this little scene. “Bravo, bravo, Silvia!” exclaimed Hilda. “Do make a convert of him!”

“You know,” said Miss Holland, and she put as much sarcasm in her tone as possible without leaving a sting, “that this thing called government only needs a good house-cleaning and the application of a few vermin extinguishers, such as every good housekeeper knows how to administer, to make this country a congenial habitation for the gods of the Twentieth Century—the enlightened, progressive, responsible citizens of a democracy. Come to the Industrial League meeting next Thursday night and you will learn more about this than I can possibly tell you. I will send you a card,” and she gaily floated away with Dr. Orrin Morris, her escort of the evening, who had been impatiently waiting for her for several minutes.

Dr. Orrin Morris and Dr. John Earl were graduated from the same class in the Harvard medical school, but Dr. Morris had immediately after graduation settled down to the exclusive practice of surgery according to orthodox methods, and was already regarded as one of the rising young surgeons of New York City.

His father had met with financial reverses in 1907 that had not only wrecked the family fortune but had carried him to an untimely grave. His mother had been dead for some years and he had no brother or sister. He maintained a house on East 57th Street and had much practice in two of the prominent hospitals.

Dr. Morris presented a rather angular appearance as he strode away with Miss Holland. He was excessively lean, of swarthy complexion, dark eyes, black hair and a domineering air. His mother had possessed a strain of that Spanish blood that was freely mixed with the Moors during their occupancy of Spain, and added to the natural tendencies of the Latin were visible some of the ear-marks of Moorish intensity. For some months he had been paying marked attention to Miss Holland, whom he had known in a general way for a long time, and, while she did not encourage him, she had not thought it necessary to dismiss him, for she found him most entertaining, as he was regarded as one of the best non-professional violinists in New York. They had spent many agreeable evenings together over their music, she playing the accompaniments on the piano.

His views on public questions were as set and conservative as were his views on medicine, and she never attempted to discuss those matters with him; the fact that she could not do so was somewhat a relief to her when she desired to get away from her public activities.

Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey, Dr. Morris and Miss Holland, and the two young men with other ladies of their acquaintance, joined in the last dance and then started for the cloakrooms together.

CHAPTER V. HYPNOTISM USED FOR AN ANÆSTHETIC

Mrs. Ramsey and Miss Holland emerged from the dressing-rooms after a trifling delay, and found Hilda's party and Dr. Morris waiting in the foyer. Just as they were about making their way to their respective motors they heard a sudden commotion and wild cries from the street, and a crowd of people surged in, crying that a child had been killed by an automobile. Both Dr. Earl and Dr. Morris rushed toward the street as a man came in carrying a little girl of perhaps ten years of age, bleeding profusely from the mouth and the scalp, with one leg evidently broken. The mother of the child, a comely woman of thirty, followed, wringing her hands. Her excitement verged on hysteria, but at the sight of Dr. Morris she controlled herself by a mighty effort.

“To the hospital, to the hospital, Dr. Earl,” peremptorily exclaimed Dr. Morris, as Dr. Earl threw aside his coat and, rolling back his sleeves and directing the man to place the child on a table in one of the ante-rooms, began to examine the character of the injuries.

“Oh, don't take my poor child to the hospital. I know she will die if she goes there; bring her home; it is only a few blocks,” the mother pleaded with Dr. Morris, whom she seemed to know.

“Don't waste time here. Where is the telephone? I will call an ambulance immediately.”

“I don't want her taken to the hospital,” said the woman sullenly.

“This is no place to operate on a hysterical child,” Morris answered. “She need not be kept in the hospital, but she should certainly be taken there. I know Dr. Earl will agree with me.”

In the meantime, Earl had completed his examination. Silvia Holland was watching him anxiously. As Morris spoke he looked up and caught her eye.

“It is only a simple fracture, and the scalp wounds are slight. I suppose we could get along, if we can get hot water and the necessary appliances,” he said dubiously, and then added, turning to the woman, “Dr. Morris is quite right, madame, in advising the hospital, and I assure you there is no danger.”

The woman turned pleading eyes to Silvia. “She's all I have, and I can't let her be taken away from me. Couldn't we go home? It is only a few blocks away, and I know I can make her comfortable. Oh, please, please don't let them take her away!”

Miss Holland looked at Dr. Earl and put her arm around the woman protectingly. “If it isn't any worse than that,” she said hesitatingly, “don't you think you could do as she asks? Setting a simple fracture isn't a very complicated operation, is it?”

Earl smiled. “Oh, no,” he said, “it can be done in a comparatively few minutes.”

“Then why not do it,” she said, “and spare the mother all this protracted agony, and get the child home?”

“Because there are no appliances here to administer an anæsthetic or do anything else properly,” answered Morris impatiently, “and no one can tell from a cursory examination whether or not there are other injuries, to say nothing of the danger from septicæmia if the work is done in a clumsy, slipshod manner.”

Earl colored, and Miss Holland replied with some spirit that even the absence of the usual accessories need not imply clumsiness of method, and again asked Earl if he could not manage where they were. He turned to the mother.

“If you insist upon it, I have no doubt that I can do all that is necessary without bad results. As to the anæsthetic, we can dispense with that.”

“I will have nothing to do with the case under these circumstances,” Morris said angrily.

The woman hesitated, and then said firmly, “I should prefer the other gentleman to take charge. I won't have her taken to the hospital.”

“Very well,” said Earl, and taking a notebook from his pocket he wrote out a list of necessary appliances, bandages, alcohol, antiseptic solutions, surgeon's scissors, needles, silk and thread, and giving it to Frank bade him hurry to the drug-store around the corner which carried surgical supplies and procure them, and also to bring a box that would do for splints.

“I must have an assistant,” he said, and without a word, Miss Holland improvised an apron from some of the bunting that was in evidence everywhere, and put herself at his disposal. He sent all the others out of the room, and bent over the child for a few minutes. What did he do? Miss Holland watched, but could not tell. The moaning ceased, the little limbs relaxed, and the child fell into a quiet sleep.

The mother stood just outside the door, listening with strained attention, and after two or three impatient turns about the foyer, Morris joined her.

“You can do as you please so far as I am concerned,” he said in a low tone, “but I warn you that you are taking big risks. Allie is nervous and excitable at any time, and to-night she is close to hysterics, and she won't get over the shock of even a simple operation in a hurry, especially if he is fool enough to attempt it without an anæsthetic.”

The woman wavered for a moment, and then turned away without a word, and shrugging his shoulders Morris strode down toward the entrance. A moment later Silvia Holland came out of the ante-room.

“You can go in now,” she said, “only don't disturb your child; she is sleeping and you must be very quiet. Did you see Dr. Morris? Oh, there he is.”

Mindful of the amenities of life, she hurried to his side. His face was dark with something more than anger, and did not lighten as she laid the tips of her fingers on his arm.

“I know you will excuse me, Orrin,” she said gently. “You mustn't be angry with me, but I really feel as if I ought to see this through; the poor woman needs me. You will forgive me?”

He looked at her with sudden passion. “Oh, yes, I forgive you,” he said, with unmistakable emphasis on the pronoun, and was gone. Silvia Holland looked after him for a moment, conscious that, accustomed as she was to his moods, this was quite a new one, and then joined Dr. Earl, who had come into the foyer to say goodnight to the Ramseys and Frank Earl, who had returned with the surgical appliances and found nothing more that he could do. “By the way, old man,” Dr. Earl called to his brother-in-law, “send the machine back if you don't mind,” and with a word of thanks he re-entered the ante-room, followed by Miss Holland, and closed the door against further interruption.

There was a sink in the room, with hot and cold water, and he directed Miss Holland to cleanse the basin and implements in the boiling water, and follow this up by dipping them in an antiseptic solution; in the meantime he ripped the box to pieces, and selected two strips, which he whittled into splints, shaping them to the child's leg, and working with great rapidity. The bandages, cotton and other things were laid out upon the table, and then he took the basin and a cloth and washed the wounds on the head, putting back the tousled locks as carefully and tenderly as a woman.

“Ordinarily,” he said to his assistant, “I should have done this first, but my examination showed that this injury is very slight. Of course she has bled profusely, but it has come from the nose, and it looks pretty bad, but there is nothing serious. Half a dozen stitches will be ample for the scalp. Thread that needle with the silk, please. Now let me have it.” He took it from her, and in a moment the cuts on the head were sewed, and he was pulling the leg into place, applying the cotton, the splints and bandages, working deftly and silently. “The other needle with the thread, please,” he said, not looking up, and Miss Holland handed it to him. Presently he raised his head and threw back his shoulders.

“It is all done,” he said simply, and called the mother. “I shall return in a quarter of an hour,” he said, “and bring her out of this sleep. Do not try to rouse her, for you cannot. Do you not think, Miss Holland, that it would be well for me to get a nurse to assist in taking the little one home? I can 'phone when I return these instruments.”

“Your machine is coming back, isn't it?” Miss Holland answered. “It seems to me that with what help her mother and I can render that we shall manage.”

“Excellently,” he said. “Then you will be on guard until my return; see that the child is not disturbed. I shall be gone but a few minutes.”

He readjusted his attire, and taking up his hat strode out of the building, unconscious until he reached the door that half a dozen energetic reporters were eagerly asking particulars. Finding him unwilling to tell them anything more than the vaguest generalities, the more resourceful returned to the improvised operating-room, and before Silvia Holland knew it they had the story from her enthusiastic lips, supplemented by a few facts gathered from the woman. For thus are first-page sensations secured and created.

Silvia noticed that the woman spoke with visible reluctance, and she herself passed over the controversy between Dr. Morris and Dr. Earl, anxious to spare her friend any unnecessary annoyance.

“I am sorry, Mrs. Bell,” she said contritely. “I didn't realize at first that we were being interviewed.”

“Oh, there is no harm done,” the woman said quietly. “I hope the doctor will not mind; won't he be back pretty soon?”

Almost as she spoke, his tall form was seen making its way through the besieging ranks of the Fourth Estate. He waved them aside good humoredly, but refusing to be interviewed, he took the child in his strong arms and, followed by her mother and Miss Holland, made his way to the auto. While she was in a profound sleep when he returned, she wakened instantly when he commanded her to do so, and the cool night air evidently refreshed her greatly as they drove to Mrs. Bell's home. Dr. Earl carried the little one upstairs, gave her mother explicit directions, and promising to call early the following day to adjust a cast, left the apartment with Miss Holland.

CHAPTER VI. SOME STRENUOUS ANTI-SUFFRAGISTS

Several of the New York papers carried lurid headlines and more or less sensational accounts of the accident to the child and the treatment administered by Dr. Earl, as well as a tribute to the heroism of the volunteer nurse. All of them contained a report of some character of these occurrences.

When Dr. Earl called at the home of his fiancée, according to appointment, to take her and her mother to luncheon the next day, he found Leonora in a sullen mood, and it did not take him long to discover that he was not in high favor at this particular hour.

He greeted her with a kiss, but hers in return was perfunctory. He was not compelled to wait long for an explanation, for she poured out her feelings without any questioning.

“Oh, Jack, dear, how could you mix up with that suffrage crowd! Don't you know that mamma is vice-president of the Anti-Woman Suffrage League? She is so annoyed! And that horrid Silvia Holland—why, Jack, she is a downright socialist. Don't you know she was arrested in England for trying to break into parliament with a lot of other suffragettes, and she was arrested here only last month for defying the police and taking sides with a lot of girls who refused to work in the factories where they were employed! Even when in school she was horrid. When they wouldn't let her make a suffrage speech on the school grounds one night she took the girls to a neighboring graveyard and spoke from a flat monument! And to think the papers have you mixed up with her, and our wedding soon to be announced! Oh, it's terrible!” and she buried her face in the sofa pillows.

Had this scene occurred with any one else, Jack felt certain he could not have restrained his laughter, for he could see Miss Holland delivering an exhortation to the schoolgirls from a tombstone in a cemetery by night. But he understood the prejudices of a certain element of New York society, and while the past twenty-four hours had led him, somewhat, to believe that this progressive democratic wave sweeping over the world had engulfed all New Yorkers, he now realized how sadly mistaken he had been.

With infinite tact he told her that his sister had taken their party to the ball—pointed out his own duty when the injured child had been brought in from the street, and how he had not even suggested that Miss Holland should assist him. He saw that the present was no time for a discussion of the merits of the case or a pronouncement of his own views, but he distinctly realized, with something of a jolt, it is true, that a wide gulf separated the Bourbon element of America's supposed democracy from the advancing column of her real and inspired democracy, and he wondered whether it were at all possible to tunnel under or bridge over this gulf. He lightly changed the subject.

“I have just discovered that I can get my old offices on East 53rd Street, as the year's lease expires the first of next month, and the agents heeded my letter asking them to wait for me. So I shall feel quite at home in the old quarters,” he said.

She smiled at this, but was not quite ready to drop the former subject. “Jack, dear, did you take Miss Holland home at one o'clock in the morning?”

He laughed at her this time, as he bent to kiss her. “I really believe you are jealous, you little nymph. Of course I took her home. She could not stay there all night, and there was no one else to take her.”

She looked very serious. “No, I don't know what jealousy is,” she slowly and emphatically said, “but I don't want to know people who do the things that Miss Holland does, and I don't want you to know them.”

“My dear child,” he said, taking her hands in his and catching her eyes with his own steady glance. “I must know whoever is thrown into my path either in a professional or a social way. All people are intensely interesting to me, for we are, after all, but one great family of human beings, trying to carve out lives that are worth while, and this we can do better by getting the best there is from each other.” He hesitated a moment, still looking steadily at her. She quivered slightly, but he was dimly conscious of the colossal character of the will she was summoning to her aid. Then very slowly, but with all the earnestness of his nature, he added, “You must get away from these views, for they are dwarfing and not becoming to you, and if you do not we shall be very unhappy. Miss Holland is a remarkable young woman. She is destined to fill a great place in our American social and political life. She is well worthy of your friendship.”

She withdrew her hands, but still kept her eyes fixed on his. Her brow contracted and with emphasis she said: “Miss Holland has forfeited her place in our set by her conduct; why, Jack, you don't know how she is criticized by our friends or you would not suggest such a thing.”

He arose with a shrug of his shoulders. Fortunately, Mrs. Kimball appeared at this moment and they motored to the Plaza for luncheon, which was a somewhat formal and unsatisfactory affair, in spite of all his efforts to make it otherwise. The young man could not but feel that Mrs. Kimball shared her daughter's views—was, in fact, their author—and that in the eyes of his future mother-in-law he had been guilty of a breach of etiquette far more serious than an infraction of the moral law. He left them with the understanding that he would accompany them to the theatre in the evening.

CHAPTER VII. CHRISTIAN SCIENCE AND SURGERY

The days of a militant suffragette are full to overflowing, and Silvia Holland was not able to see Mrs. Bell and her little daughter early the following morning as she had planned. It must have been well toward the middle of the afternoon when she entered the modest apartment, and going to the bed, visible in the alcove, kissed the child and put a great, dewy bunch of violets in her hand. She took them, and hugged them tight in her thin little arms, while her eyes looked into Silvia's wonderingly, and her mother turned away to hide the sudden tears.

The apartment was well though not expensively furnished, and both mother and child had the unmistakable air of good birth and refinement. As Silvia glanced at Mrs. Bell she was conscious of something in her face at once baffling and appealing. She had the indefinable look of one who dwells with a sorrow for which there is no cure.

“Are you quite sure there is nothing I can do for either of you to-day?” Silvia asked, a trifle diffidently, for she did not want to offend by overzeal.

“You and Dr. Earl have placed us under so many obligations that we can never hope to repay them,” Mrs. Bell said quietly. “If I do not speak more freely of what I feel, it is because I have no words for its expression.”

“Don't speak or think of obligations,” Silvia said lightly, “and here is my card, so that if at any time I might be of service to you I hope you will not hesitate to call on me. I live at the Whittier Studios.” The card which she gave Mrs. Bell read:

                     SILVIA HOLLAND,
                    Attorney and Counsellor-at-Law,
                     City Investment Building,
                     New York City.

Mrs. Bell looked at it curiously. “Oh, it isn't possible that you are that Miss Holland, the Miss Holland!” she said incredulously.

Silvia laughed. “Don't I look as if I could say 'Gentlemen of the jury' with sufficient gravity?” she said. “Probably I shall do better when we say 'Ladies of the jury,' too.”

“You look like what you are, a beautiful and fashionable lady,” Mrs. Bell answered. “Surely no one would ever take you for a professional woman.”

“Must a fashionable lady be a listless parasite? Even if she wishes merely to be a queen of society, would she not be more queenly if she knew the trials and afflictions of others, and, better still, knew how to help them? Would she be less a queen if she were not dependent upon some man for her daily bread——”

A sudden flash of something, she could not tell whether it was pain or rebellion or despair, crossed Mrs. Bell's face, and Silvia hesitated and then went on rather hurriedly, as if, knowing she had struck a false note, she sought to distract the other woman's thought from it. “I am trying to demonstrate the glorious mission that belongs to woman when she fills her predestined sphere of economic independence and political freedom.”

“Political freedom will come first and easiest,” said the woman slowly. She raised her eyes, filled with trouble, and looked full into Silvia's. “The other is the greater boon, and will be harder to win. Some day I may need to consult a lawyer; there is no one I would so gladly trust; it is a personal matter and may adjust itself, if not——”

“If not, telephone to make sure that I am in, and I shall be glad to see you at any time,” answered Silvia.

There was the sound of a quick, firm step in the hall, and the bell rang. Mrs. Bell opened the door and admitted Dr. Earl. After a few questions and the exchange of greetings, he went over to the bedside of his small patient. He found the child doing admirably, and glanced hastily about the room, trying to make up his mind whether he might offer any other assistance than that of a professional character. He decided that he could not, and realized with a sense of pleasure and relief that Miss Holland would be able to attend to such details with more tact and skill than he could. Nor could he help the glow of gratification that they should be associated in so vital a matter, one that he felt swept away the petty conventionalities of society, and placed them on a footing of understanding and common sympathy not to have been acquired by months, or even years, of the ordinary social amenities. After a few directions for the care of the small patient, and a promise to look in the following day, he told Mrs. Bell how to find him in case of any sudden need and took up his hat and stick.

“Were you going, Dr. Earl? Can I set you down anywhere? My car is at the door.”

He bowed, and followed her out. “We have an embarrassment of riches,” he said, “for my car is also here.” Then, rather boyishly, moved by an impulse he would have found it hard to explain, he said, “Suppose we dismiss them both, and walk up through the Park?”

She acquiesced, and a few moments later they were strolling up the Avenue, rather silently, considering that each had many things to say. As usual, it was the woman who broke the silence.

“Tell me about all this. I never was more interested in anything in my life,” she said, looking up at him with a glance that carried the subtlest flattery, and, while her query was vague, he understood and made no attempt to evade it.

“It is a long story,” he said; “have you time for it to-day? And it is really no more remarkable than the effect you produced in your parade yesterday, and I think the causes are the same. The world is full of mystery, but before honest, earnest purpose of any kind the storehouses of mystery will eventually open. The fact is, that the present tremendous progressive movement in the world is spiritual and every phase of it is interdependent upon every other element. The thoughtless call these things 'fads.' In reality, each one of them marks a crystallization of centuries of thought and hope and dream for the advancement and elevation of the human race. The world, as usually happens in spiritual matters, awakened to the importance of all of them at the same time.” He paused, as if realizing for the first time how personal was the story for which she had asked. “You will think me an egregious egotist, Miss Holland, I fear.”

“No, whatever you may be, or I may think you, you need have no fears on that score.” She answered simply, directly. “Please tell me—if you think I deserve so great a confidence.”

He bowed gravely; there was no hint of coquetry in her manner.

“Directly after my graduation at Harvard, three years ago, I opened offices in New York, intending to specialize in surgery, for I had prepared for that, though I desired to obtain a general practice for a while to put into effect and improve my theoretical knowledge. In a misty way I soon realized that neither my own efforts nor those of my colleagues were crowned with the success that should attend a profession founded upon strictly scientific principles, as modern surgery is. The chief cause of disturbance with me was that so many operations were performed which subsequent developments showed might have been avoided, but which at the time seemed imperative. I redoubled my studies of materia medica, hoping to find a way by which this difficulty might be obviated or overcome, and while my constant researches helped, I still found much difficulty in arriving at accurate conclusions before attempting an operation. I found nothing that satisfied me. I was also greatly bothered and baffled by the large number of cases which the surgeon encounters, controlled or dependent upon nervous conditions and the futility of the drugs ordinarily given.

“While in this mood a friend of mine called at my office one Wednesday evening by appointment. He was the general manager of a large utility company that has to do with the people of every section of the civilized world, and a man of rare judgment, knowledge of the world, and poise. We were on most intimate terms, and I had already told him something of these perplexities. This evening, I had supposed that he was coming to see me professionally, and I had made other engagements. As soon as he stepped into my private office, he said: 'Doctor, cancel every engagement you have for this evening. I need you very badly in affairs of my own. You are to ask no questions, but do as I request and send me your bill to-morrow.'

“Of course I could not refuse him, so I arranged to go with him, and then asked whether I should require surgical instruments or only a medicine case. He replied that I would need neither, and I could gain nothing from his manner, for he was very grave. At his suggestion we walked, going up Fifth Avenue to the Park, and then across the Park to the corner of 96th Street and Central Park West, where there stands a great church. The rolling notes of the organ filled the quiet with an impressiveness I had never felt before, and the congregation was singing an old hymn with an earnestness and depth of feeling quite different from most congregational singing. We entered and were shown to seats in the balcony, in the front row, where we had an excellent view of most of those below. 'You will find many of your acquaintances here,' he said, and on looking around I was surprised at the great number of prominent New York men and women in the audience.

“After the preliminary proceedings those that desired to do so were invited to tell their experiences in combating disease, or other adverse conditions. What I heard was a revelation. This experience, corroborating, as it did, my own observations, emphasized how little of the field of suggestive and mental therapeutics the ordinary medical practitioner really filled, and I determined to explore that field before going any further with my practice. I thanked my friend for taking me to this place, and within a month I decided to go abroad. I visited the institutions of note in Europe, where suggestive therapeutics are practiced, and then went to India, where I spent many months. There I found the original source of suggestive, mental and spiritual treatment.

“If the Yogi of India could supplement his method of training the subconscious mind with the knowledge which our regular physicians possess, and could apply both with discriminating skill, we would have the greatest human healing power ever known. The best I could hope for was to apply as much of the wisdom of the Yogi and other cults in India and Europe as I could master in the brief time at my disposal, and that I am attempting to do. With all the perfection of system in training the subconscious mind that characterizes a comparatively few of the inhabitants of India, the millions are left without any appreciable benefits therefrom, just as the millions here are left without the full benefits of the special training of the few.

“We are but touching the borderland of this mysterious realm of the occult, the subconscious and the spiritual forces that have such an important bearing upon all phases of human life, and which, when intelligently applied to the child in school and the direction of the individual in his career, promise so much for the elevation, longevity and achievements of the human race.

“The world is just waking up to the vast significance of the spiritual teachings of Jesus Christ, and their bearing upon all phases and activities of human life. When Christ told the Pharisees that 'the kingdom of God is within you,' he carried the lesson, though little understood then, and so fully comprehended now, that Christianity, citizenship, government, health, happiness and progress are all dependent upon the character of the ideals and purposes and daily life of the individual.

“When Christ told the lawyer that to 'love thy neighbor as thyself' was one of the essentials of salvation, he laid the corner-stone for a pure and honest democracy, without which underlying principle there can be no lasting democratic government. We now know, in medicine, that much of longevity and good health and power of recuperation depend upon the ideals of the individual, and their inspiring influence.

“It is too bad that with all our tremendous progress we allow bigotry and prejudice to hamper us in getting the most out of the wisdom around us as well as that of the ages, all of which is correlated. Yet very often the orthodox Christian, who believes that Christ not only healed the sick but also raised the dead, decries the Christian Scientist who only professes to restore the sick on the theory that disease cannot exist in an individual properly imbued with Christ's teachings. Too often the orthodox doctor of medicine denounces the healer who overcomes apparent disease through mental suggestion or arrests a nervous breakdown in a patient by teaching that patient how to relax, when the doctor himself does not hesitate to give bread pills in the first instance and to recommend a sanitarium where relaxation is the only thing attempted in the second. And I presume this quotation from the Dhamma-pada, which is many centuries older than the Christian religion, would be denounced as heresy by some of the Christian Scientists, although it embodies the spirit and almost the words of their own teachings: 'All that we are is the result of what we have thought. It is founded on our thoughts; it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speak or act with an evil thought, pain follows him as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage.'”

Presently Dr. Earl hailed a passing taxi-cab, and gave the order to be taken to the Whittier Studios. The drive home was silent. Once or twice Silvia looked at her tall companion. She was frankly curious about the Paris case, but something in the quiet, self-contained face of the man beside her did not invite questions. On his part, John Earl was asking himself why he should have given his confidence to this comparative stranger, and the longer he thought about it the less able was he to answer his question.

CHAPTER VIII. THE OMNIPRESENT EYES OF FIFTH AVENUE

The source of gossip in a village is the corner grocery store; in a small city, what goes on about the public square; in the medium-sized city, what transpires in the leading café; in New York, Fifth Avenue and Central Park are the all-abounding sources of gossip. The Avenue has a thousand curious eyes; those on the sidewalk peering into automobiles and carriages for sensations; those being whirled along in vehicles, straining their power in the quest of salacious information among the throng beyond the curbstone. All New York passes along Fifth Avenue at some time or another. All of one's friends are always passing along that way when one does not particularly wish to be seen by them. If one is walking, the friends are invariably driving; if one is driving, of course the ubiquitous acquaintances are out for a stroll. Sometimes people have been known to escape two-thirds of the omnipresent eyes that line the sidewalks, pack the Avenue and infest the highways of Central Park, but no person has ever been heard of who escaped all of them.

So the lot of our strollers was but the common lot of all, visitors as well as resident New Yorkers.

While mutually absorbed, the one in reciting the tale, the other in listening to it; while diverted and interested by the thousand sparks that radiate from the batteries of youthful energy and enthusiasm and tingle the sensibilities of a congenial comrade; while speculating on the unknown vista from peep-holes that show only fragments, but realizing all the vastness and richness of the world force and universal sympathy possessed by each of them—it is not strange that in four blocks on the Avenue they were passed by two ladies in an automobile, who took more than an ordinary interest in their movements, and by a dark-eyed, dark-haired man in another car, whose eyes gleamed and whose cheeks blanched at the sight of their absorption in each other.

But the things garnered on the Avenue are never placed in cold storage, and soon enough both of them were to hear about this stroll.

When Dr. Earl called that evening to take Mrs. and Miss Kimball to the theatre he discovered that his reception in the morning had been tropical compared to this one. He was compelled to wait fully fifteen minutes before Miss Kimball appeared in house gown and slippers, indicating her purpose to remain at home, and the bearer of a message that her mother begged to be excused, as she had retired with a sick headache.

In vain he sought for a reason for his frigid reception, and feeling that his presence was an affliction he arose to go.

“I hope you had a pleasant stroll this afternoon,” came in icicle tones.

This shed all the light necessary upon the character of his greeting.

The eyes of Fifth Avenue had not grown dim.

“Yes,” he replied, looking at her steadily, “it was a most delightful stroll.”

She could stand the strain no longer; she came close to him and he stooped and tenderly kissed her.

“Oh, Jack, why do you persist in having anything to do with her when you know how unhappy it makes me!” she said in her gentlest tone.

They sat down and he related the entire story of the occurrences of the afternoon to her. It pacified her to a degree.

“But Jack, dear, you will promise me never to see her again, will you not?” and her tone was pleading now.

“I promised to go with my brother to a suffrage meeting she is holding Thursday night. Of course you would not wish to go, and I am certain you do not want me to break my promise.”

“I am certain,” she said, emphasizing each word, “that I do not want you to see her again.”

“Let me understand you, Leonora, dear. There are many prominent New York women in this suffrage movement. Some of my very best old-time friends, I am informed, are participating in it. Is it your desire that I shall cut their acquaintance also, or is it just Miss Holland you want me never to see again?”

“Now, don't think I am jealous of her, for I am not. She is the most conspicuous one in this suffrage movement on account of the awful things she does, but I don't care to associate with any person who is identified with this crusade. Neither does my mother, nor any of our social set, and of course I would like you to feel the same way.”

“But suppose I do not feel that way. Suppose my sympathies are with them and my profession as well as my political predilections should carry me among them?” he asked earnestly.

“Oh, Jack, what has come over you that you are so plebeian! Can't you see how these women are cheapening New York society, associating with workingmen and shop girls!”

“But that is what they should do in a democracy, and I am sure I never saw better-looking women in my life than these same busy suffragists. They have something to do, and are not dying of ennui or listlessness,” he answered.

“Their stock argument,” she answered, “but whoever heard of an aristocracy based on such things as these women engage in. Promise me, Jack, that you will have nothing to do with any of them.”

“You are unduly wrought up to-night,” he answered, “but I will promise you that I shall do nothing to cause you unnecessary annoyance. You must not be too captious, dear, and remember that I go Thursday night.”

She started to protest, but he drowned the effort in a shower of caresses and bade her goodnight. Each of them, in the silence of their own apartments, thought long and earnestly of this interview. Leonora Kimball had been taught to believe that the chief badges of an aristocracy were complete idleness of the women, and the possession of enough wealth to support such idleness. It mattered not how mentally insipid or morally opaque or physically inane such women might be, the true test of being fitted for the purple was whether or not they had ever done any useful work, and whether or not they had money enough so that the other members of their set might feel assured that they never would do any useful work. An aristocracy of trained brains or unselfish culture were meaningless terms to her.

But this night she was greatly disturbed over the attitude of the man she was to marry. She had been quite honest with him when she asserted that jealousy was foreign to her nature; affection did not run deep enough with her to strike its eternal renewing fountain—jealousy. The practical character with which she had been endowed easily enough conducted affairs of the heart along paths directed by the head, and while her professions of love were quite sincere and her loyalty beyond question, yet she had not the remotest idea of the grand passion. She knew that she was very fond of John Earl; that he was worthy of her; that he could sustain her manner of life and that his social standing was all that either she or her mother could desire. She also knew that she did not wish to lose him, and much as she abhorred the suffragists, she determined to be lenient with his present mood, certain she could change it ere long, else of what avail was the all-powerful “silent influence” upon which the Anti-Suffragists laid so much stress?

Earl was more than disturbed by her attitude, for he discovered traits of character and a shallowness of sympathy that shocked him. His dream of married bliss was the absolute camaraderie he expected it to bring. He feared now that she would not enter into his life or ambitions, and, like too many of his married acquaintances, they would be seeking happiness along diverse paths.

“However, it's all very new to her,” he said to himself after an hour's reverie, “and she is quite young. A few weeks will properly adjust our relations.”

The dominant characteristic of this young man was a deep sense of justice, and while other feelings were all too manifest in his subconscious being, he permitted himself only to try to solve the problem of what was the right thing along the lines where he had cast his future.

CHAPTER IX. LOVE, JEALOUSY AND MUSIC

The telephone bell in her apartment was ringing as Miss Holland entered from her stroll, radiantly happy and at peace with all the world. She took the receiver from the maid.

“Dr. Morris? Yes, I shall be home this evening, and glad to see you, of course. Bring your violin and come by eight-thirty. Yes—yes. I meant to have called you and apologized for my somewhat cavalier desertion of you last night. I am sorry I was rude, I didn't mean to be, but come and let me ask you to forgive me.” Her tone was adorable and melted the sullen mood of the man at the other end of the wire.

Having sworn that he would not see her again, having 'phoned to make an appointment at which he meant to utter as bitter reproaches as he dared, he appeared promptly at the hour set, ready to implore her grace and accept with gratitude any smallest favor, any ray of hope she might see fit to bestow upon him.

Like many another professional man in New York, in order to cater to the class in society in which he hoped to establish his reputation and clientele, Morris had found it necessary to live in a style which far exceeded his income, although that was a good one for a man still young in his profession. He was not popular with men, who regarded him as rather theatrical and a poseur, but his music, a certain deference of manner, a more romantic quality than is to be generally found among American business men, gave him a great vogue with women, and he cultivated them, especially the older ones, and they made life very pleasant for him, introduced him to the right people, and gave him much good advice now and then.

One of the smartest of these social leaders said practically one day: “My dear boy, why do you let all these rich girls marry those silly foreigners, without an idea to bless themselves with—dukes, debts and diseases seem synonymous; you are not only clever, but you have the one gift, saving the title, that commends these creatures to our girls.”

He smiled his inscrutable smile and bowed. “And that is?”

“You seem to have found the lost art of making pretty speeches, and paying a woman the small attentions that we all like so well. If I were a man,” went on this dreadful dame, “I should never forget to kiss my wife and send her flowers and remember all the family anniversaries. It is by attention to such small details as this that a man may purchase immunity in larger and more important matters. I know this is most immoral, but it makes the wife happy, the husband comfortable, and would go far to decimate the divorce rate, so what more could you ask?”

“Perhaps I owe this to the fact that my father was a Hungarian nobleman—oh, just a trumpery little title, with nothing to pay for the necessary gold lace, so when he came to America he decided, like so many of the revolutionists of that period, to be ultra-American, and dropped even the foreign spelling of the name, changing the 'itz' to plain 'r-i-s,'“ he answered. “I'm sure my music belongs to the other side of the Atlantic.”

“That accounts for it all,” she said. “There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't marry almost any woman you want to. Why not find one who can give you millions in money and the social position you need without taking a generation to create one? I hope you haven't any foolish entanglements,” she added.

He flushed, but did not answer, and when a few weeks later he and Silvia Holland had played together for some charitable entertainment, his venerable mentor had sought him out, ready to bestow her blessing at the earliest possible moment, approving his practical judgment and his good taste. That was a long time ago.

He had resented the implication at the time; to do him justice, had Silvia been penniless she would still have attracted him as no other woman ever had. It was partly her personal charm, partly her music. It may be true that the world of art is still the world, but it is a very different world from that in which most of us live and move and have our being, and Morris was conscious when her fingers touched the keys, and he took up his bow and drew it across the strings of his violin, that they entered upon a new and boundless universe in which sound superseded all other mediums of communication, and seemed to take the place of mere mundane sensation. Whether his passion for Silvia grew out of their music, or the wonder of the music was a result of the perfect accord of their natures, he could not tell. They had become one in his mind.

He fervently hated her various public activities. Here again the ancestral traits dominated. He thought of her as a great lady, and being that, she should have been content without anything more. Rushing madly about doing things for other people implied a certain loss of caste. But until the previous evening his discontent had been free from the bitter draught of jealousy. There had been safety in the number of Miss Holland's admirers, and when he was surest that she did not in any way return his feeling for her, there had been balm in the thought that she was too busy elevating the condition of her own sex to have much time to waste upon any member of his. Instinctively he knew, when he intercepted the first look between the lady of his dreams and his erstwhile college associate, that the hour had come that he had dreaded. Silvia Holland had at last met a man whom, consciously or unconsciously, she acknowledged king. His rival was there, upon the threshold of her life, and he was a rival to be feared. That he might also be a rival in his profession, that he was so rich that he was far above the straits in which Morris found himself more and more frequently involved, only added to the flame that consumed him; life without Silvia herself would be dull, colorless, objectless; life without her music would be but “wind along the waste.”

He had no patience with the theories of the newer medical practitioners who refuse to be frightened by the cry of “professional ethics” or by the demand that practice shall be “regular” whether the patient survives or not; and yet while he denounced all forms of mental therapeutics, he was conscious of a strain of superstition which he could in no wise overcome. Weird folk-lore and uncanny rites kept up by some of the primitive people of Hungary had had a strange fascination for him when he was abroad. In himself, he found a singular mixture of the primeval savage, and the ultra refined that approaches decadence. Of one thing alone he was certain. To lose Silvia was to lose his soul; without her there was neither here nor hereafter. Ruthlessly as he had brushed aside the one woman in his life who came between them, he was prepared to thrust out of his way any man who sought to become a part of her life.

It was in this mood that he entered her presence, and in this mood he accepted her amende honorable, which she made with charming humility, but when she would have led him to the music-room, for once he hesitated.

“In a few minutes,” he said, “but just now there is something I must say to you. It is true that I was deeply hurt last night, but your regret, so graciously expressed, emboldens me to think that you would not willingly hurt me.” He stopped, and she looked at him with a rather puzzled air. “We have been friends for a great while,” he said irrelevantly.

“Yes,” she said cordially, and somewhat relieved. “Haven't we? And what a friendship it has been! A triangular affair, like a loving cup—you and I and some one of the great masters of melody. Shall it be Chopin to-night, or shall we begin with something lighter and finish with the Twelfth Nocturne, as usual?”

She led the way, and stood by the piano, rippling her fingers over the keys, and he stood before her, his face white and intense with feeling. He laid his strong, brown fingers over the white ones, and raised them to his lips, and Silvia laughed a trifle nervously. It was one of his old-world ways that she liked, but disapproved with all proper democratic fervor.

“Has it indeed been a loving cup from which we have drunk?” he said, with passionate sadness. “I dare not think so, I dare not even hope so much grace! And yet how is it possible that a man should feel what I feel for you unless there is a response, little as he may deserve it——”

He paused, and she took away her hand, and laid it lightly on his shoulder as he sank down on the seat before the piano.

“Please don't,” she said gently. “Don't you see that you are quite right? If it were really, truly love that had come to you, I should feel it also, there could be no question of doubting or daring; no thought of hopelessness. Some time you will know that this is true, when some other heart speaks to yours in the unmistakable tone of the one only love of your heart. Each of us has his place in life, and in the lives of those with whom we come in contact. No one can ever have your place; I can't tell you how much rest and happiness you have brought me when I have been a-weary of this world. Come, Orrin, don't rob me of my friend that I may lose a lover.”

By a herculean effort he restrained his feelings, and answered lightly, “You shall keep your friend, my sorceress of song,” but he added under his breath, “Look to it, when the lover comes, for you may still lose him.” Then he took up his violin, and the night became a splendid harmony, despite the discord that raged in his soul.

CHAPTER X. A DISCUSSION OF PROGRESSIVE WOMEN

The group that had foregathered about Mrs. Ramsey's tea-table that Thursday afternoon had scattered and gone its several ways. The last of them was bidding her adieu as her husband entered and joined her brothers, who were lingering for a farewell word with her, each occupied in characteristic fashion, John gazing into the fire that smouldered on the grate, for it was a raw and chilly afternoon, and Frank endeavoring to coax a last cup of tea from the silver tea-ball and the still steaming kettle.

“If you really want another cup, Frank, let me have the tea-ball refilled,” Mrs. Ramsey said, and then laying her hand on her elder brother's shoulder, “A new Lincoln penny for your thoughts, Jack. You look as if they might be romantic, but I suppose you are really off on the quest of the blooming bacillus or the meandering microbe, or hanging over—what is it you call your garden beds of disease—a culture?”

He looked up and patted her hand. “It is too bad not to be able to be a hero to one's own sister, but the truth is, I wasn't thinking at all, just wool-gathering. By the way, Frank, are you going to motor down to that meeting of Miss Holland's to-night?”

“Wool-gathering, he calls it!” said the younger man, letting his lump of sugar clatter on his saucer. “I'd say it was all cry and no wool; at least you are pulling none over my eyes. Am I going to motor down to hear the protests of the proletariat to-night? No, dear brother, I am not. When I go out to mingle with the down-trodden and oppressed I take the 'L'; a surface car would be even more appropriate, but they take forever, and I compromise on the 'L,' but you never did have any sense of dramatic fitness.”

“Might I ask why this sudden interest in the militant laboring ladies?” said Ramsey, drawing up his chair before the fire, and lighting a cigarette. “Are you going to obtrude your somewhat massive personality upon the scene?”

“Yes, that's what I'd like to know,” added Frank.

The doctor laughed rather diffidently. “Why not?” he said. “Why shouldn't I go, if I wish to?”

Frank flung out his hands with a gesture of mock despair. “Now, wouldn't that come and get you!” he said. “I appeal to you, Hilda. You were present; you heard Miss Holland invite me to this Manifesto Makers' meeting. You know she never said a word to Jack; she didn't even look at him. He was foolish enough to let her see that he was already a convert to her little gospel, and therefore no longer in need of her ministrations. But as for me, 'I was a wandering sheep; I did not love the fold,' and hence, as a good missionary, she feels a deep interest in me. Off and on, I should say at least fifty Colorado women have tried to make a suffragist of me. Some of them were very pretty,” he added reminiscently, “and I've noticed that the prettier they are the longer it takes 'em to make me see the error of my ways. Now with Miss Holland, I wouldn't mind letting her tinker with my political views so long as we both shall live.”

“Frank, you are incorrigible,” said his sister. “If Miss Holland knew what a flighty, inconsequent infant you are, she wouldn't waste a thought on you, let alone a whole evening. What makes you want to go, anyhow?”

“What's the use of her wasting thoughts on a solemn dub like our brother?” he demanded aggrievedly. “What business has he trailing the soap-boxing suffragers around when he is about to take upon himself vows to cleave only to the daughter of a militant 'Anti' leader, some time when he can jar himself loose from his professional cares long enough for a honeymoon?”

“I'm afraid, Jack, you will find your prospective mother-in-law quite as strenuous as the most ardent of the suffragists,” said his sister. “I haven't gone into this thing at all, I haven't time, but it is certainly amusing to watch the 'Antis' outdo even the most ardent suffragettes by way of proving their contention that woman's sphere is home. If they were consistent, they would never appear in public——”

“Except by 'Now comes the counsel for the defendant,'“ interrupted Frank, “but they never are. There is a little bunch of them in Colorado who have failed to command the same attention in politics that their money imposes upon the social world, so they rush into type and get themselves interviewed and asked to speak when they come East, all by way of proving their sensitive and shrinking nature. I don't agree with the suffragists, not a little bit, but I can fraternize with them; they are sincere, but none of the 'Antis' for me; never saw one yet who wasn't either a snob or so narrow-minded that a toothpick would look like the Brooklyn Bridge by comparison.”

“Hear, hear!” cried Jack. “Miss Holland has certainly made an impression upon you; not that I see what difference it makes, since women already vote where you hail from.”

“That just goes to show how foolish a smart man can be,” replied his brother cheerfully. “You think because you may have a vote on the enfranchisement of women that it is very important what you think, but is it? Not at all. But with me it is different. I've paid office rent in Denver for two years, and spent a third of the time here or in Washington. I've looked in on two State conventions, and forgot to register at the last election, but because I come from Colorado I am considered an authority on woman suffrage, and when I say it's no good, and swell out my chest and look gloomy, it has great weight, great weight!” He leaned back in his chair and gave way to unseemly mirth as he recalled some occasion on which he had evidently hoaxed some trusting reporter.

“Nonsense, Frank,” his brother-in-law answered. “I don't believe you know the first thing about politics or suffrage, or what the women have done or haven't done.”

“There you wrong me,” the young man answered gravely. “The first thing to know in politics is when to come into the game and when to keep out. Personally, I can't make my firm believe that it is cheaper to buy the other fellows' men after they are elected than it is to try to elect our own, and have them raise the ante on us, but they'll come to it after a while. As to the women, bless you, voting doesn't change their nature, and so long as women are willing to believe what men tell them, it's mighty unsafe to trust them with the ballot. Before you know it, they'll find us out, and then you'll see the first result of the suffragist dream of heaven on earth—there'll be no more marrying or giving in marriage. Oh, I'm dead against it!”

They all joined in the laughter that followed this sally, and Hilda said thoughtfully, “If you boys are intent on this meeting, I'll hurry dinner, for they probably begin early.” As she rose to go, Frank caught her hand with the piteous entreaty, “Oh, please make my big brother take his marbles and go home. He wasn't asked to this party. Miss Holland didn't say a thing to him. I don't see why he has to have first show with all the pretty girls in New York!”

“When Miss Holland knows you, and all your native charm, she will never smile again upon your older brother,” laughed his sister, “but in the meantime I suppose it's an open meeting, and we can't prevent his going. But don't worry; his fatal beauty will but serve as a foil to your more sparkling type. Besides, with your vivid imagination, unhampered by a slavish subserviency to facts, you should be able to furnish canards that will occupy all Miss Holland's time for a month.”

As she left the room her husband opened the door, and her brothers rose and remained standing until it was closed after her.

“If all women were like her——” Frank said impulsively, but Ramsey stopped him.

“If half of them were like her,” he said reverently, “I would be in favor of turning the government over to them, certain that the hand that rocks the cradle would never give this storm-tossed old world more shaking up than is good for it.”

CHAPTER XI. THE ADVANCING COLUMN OF DEMOCRACY

As the two brothers turned into the cross street that led to the hall where the Industrial League had its headquarters and held its weekly meetings, Dr. Earl laid his hand on Frank's shoulder.

“Dear old fellow,” he said affectionately, “would you mind telling me what on earth possesses you to come down here to-night? I'm not asking out of mere curiosity, nor do I believe that is the motive that brings you.”

“Then if I say the pursuit of the good, the true and the beautiful, you will not believe me?” his brother answered lightly.

“I shall know you do not wish to tell me the real reason, and will drop it, but I shall not be deceived. I haven't studied my kind for this long without knowing at least the a-b-c of human nature. You use your cap and bells and an air of frivolity to conceal your true character from the world, as other men cloak themselves in an atmosphere of austerity and reserve.”

“Discovered!” cried Frank, with a laugh, “after all these years in which I flattered myself I had made such a good job of it, too. Truth to tell, no mask and domino ever afforded such perfect protection as the jingle of my jester's bells. I am apparently so given up to pomps and vanities that nobody gives me credit for a serious thought, and so takes no pains to conceal his own from me. It has long been one of the wonders of my world how I hold my job.”

“Well, since you put it that way, I have asked myself at times how you have achieved the standing you have in your profession, a standing of which we are all immensely proud, by the way. But if you are a profound student, it is something recent; I used to think you learned too easily ever to know how to study, and law is a vocation.”

“Law is one thing and success in the legal profession is another,” said the young man oracularly. “Between our omnipresent legislatures which spend our time and money repealing what we lawyers already know, and enacting laws for the courts to set aside, these are what might be called parlous times for the profession, but my long suit is not in understanding statutes, but people.”

Insensibly he had dropped his flippant tone, and was speaking, seriously, with conviction. There was a moment's pause and then Jack said, “And you go to this meeting because——?”

“Because, little as I like it, I am not such a fool that I do not know that the enfranchisement of women is certain, and it may help me to understand the new and troublesome element which is to be injected into public life if I watch the workings from the beginning. Anyhow, it is part of my business to understand these things, and hence my acceptance of Miss Holland's invitation. This is the place, isn't it?”

The house differed in no wise from the rest of the block, save in its air of thrift and cleanliness, and the brass plate on the door bore the name, “Industrial League House.” It was evidently a settlement with resident workers, for a troop of boys was straggling down into the basement, where a gymnasium had been established, and several young women were standing in the hall discussing some matter connected with sterilized milk. At the right of the wide hall there was a large, old-fashioned double parlor, with plenty of chairs for a meeting of sixty or seventy people, and perhaps half that many were already in the room. They were singing as the two men entered, and Dr. Earl and Frank stood in the hallway listening to the words sung to the soul-stirring old tune of “John Brown's Body.”

    “These are they who build thy houses, weave thy raiment, win thy wheat,
    Smooth the rugged, fill the barren, turn the bitter into sweet;
    All for thee this day—and ever. What reward for them is meet?
              Till the host comes marching on.”

As they struck into the chorus, the boys downstairs took up the swelling chords, and it was echoed from the street beyond.

    “Hark, the rolling of the thunder;
    Lo, the sun! and lo! thereunder
    Riseth wrath, and hope, and wonder,
          And the host comes marching on.”

“I wonder whether they sing the sixth stanza,” said Frank curiously. Jack looked at him in amazement. “What is the song?” he asked, conscious that he was getting new sidelights upon his younger brother's character this evening.

“It's William Morris' 'March of the Workers,' and the verse I'm talking about begins, 'O, ye rich men, hear and tremble.' Come on in, Jack,” and a moment later John Earl heard his brother's beautiful voice take up the words:

    “Many a hundred years, passed over, have they labored deaf and blind;
    Never tidings reached their sorrow, never hope their toil might find.
    Now at last they've heard and hear it, and the cry comes down the wind
              And their feet are marching on.

    “On we march, then, we, the workers, and the rumor that ye hear
    Is the blended sound of battle and deliv'rance drawing near;
    For the hope of every creature is the banner that we bear,
              And the world is marching on.”

Silvia Holland turned quickly when she heard the strong, unknown voice join in the ringing words, and fairly gasped when she saw that it was Frank Earl who was singing, while his brother looked at her with an air as bewildered as her own. The moment that the song was concluded she greeted them, and found them comfortable seats where they could see and hear without being too conspicuous.

“We like to have men come to our meetings, and a few generally drop in. I expect several to-night, for we have a speaker from Colorado, but we don't often have the luxury of a baritone note for our music, so we owe you a special vote of thanks, Mr. Earl,” she said to Frank.

He bowed. “Oh, no; it's the other way about,” he said lightly. “You don't know how grateful I am to you for not singing the 'Day of Wrath' verse, in which all of us who haven't succeeded in swearing off our taxes hear what is coming to us. How well that girl presides,” he added, as a businesslike young woman dispatched the reading and adoption of minutes and the reports of committees without a hitch or a moment's useless delay.

“That is Florence Dresser,” explained Miss Holland. “She is one of the leaders in the Laundry Girls' Association. The secretary,” indicating a young woman who might have been a twelve-year-old child, save for her sad, careworn face, “has nearly killed herself sewing for sweaters to take care of her family; we've found homes for the children and she lives here now; we are trying to make up to her for the lost years, but it is hard work,” and she sighed.

“We have one meeting a month when we have a program,” Miss Holland explained. “At the other three we consider various phases of industrial life as it affects our own membership or women in general. I am rather sorry that this happens to be a program night, for you would have had a better idea of the scope we try to cover at the other kind, but perhaps this will be more entertaining.” She turned more directly to Frank. “A business meeting here always makes me think of the 'Antis,' and their twaddle about woman's sphere, which they would like to reduce to a demi-hemisphere.”

Frank nodded. “Of course there's nothing to that with intelligent people now; woman's sphere is wherever she can make good, but I think it is a pity that she has to take so large a place in the industrial world, and I don't believe that voting will help her.”

“But it has helped men,” Miss Holland replied quickly.

“Not half so much as their unions,” he answered. “The thing that helps is getting together and standing together.”

“Now you've lost your whole case,” laughed Dr. Earl. “There has never been anything that brought all sorts and conditions of women together like the suffrage cause. You see that in England. In fact, you see it everywhere. Women are waking up, and getting to their feet and stretching out their hands—to us? Not at all, to each other.”

“Oh, I wish you'd say that to my comrades here,” said Miss Holland. “We should all be so glad to hear you. Will you not let me present you for a few minutes during the informal discussion?”

For an instant he wavered, then the face of Leonora flashed before him, and he shook his head decisively. “I'm too new at this sort of thing,” he answered. “Get my brother here to talk to you about Colorado, and let the audience heckle him.”

“We'd be delighted,” laughed Miss Holland. “The lady who is to conduct the question box, which is the main thing to-night, comes from Denver. Her name is Carroll Renner; do you happen to know her? Will she be able to hold her own? Sometimes they ask pretty sharp questions.”

“Don't give yourself a moment's uneasiness,” Frank answered. “There'll be no twelve baskets needed to remove the fragments of the contumacious when she gets through. A small blotter will answer.”

“You know her very well, then?” Miss Holland said, openly surprised.

“Rather,” he answered laconically. “She is the most persistent lobbyist in the State, and she infallibly discovers the one deadly section in a bill that you thought so well hidden that no one would ever notice it. She's the most troublesome woman I know and the best fellow.”

Miss Holland and Dr. Earl both turned and looked at the little woman, who had come in a few minutes before with a party of people, with added interest. She was very simply gowned in black, and but for a certain twinkle of the dark gray eyes, and a rather mocking smile, there was nothing particularly distinctive about her.

“Tell me some more,” said Miss Holland curiously. “Sometimes the voting woman helps and sometimes she hurts; if they're freaky, and of course some of them are, they hurt dreadfully.”

“I've seen her a good deal while I've been watching the Senate,” he said. “I'd been out there for several sessions of the General Assembly before I located there. She came in one day with a letter from some national woman's organization—wanted the Beveridge Child Labor Law endorsed, I think. Anyhow, time was of the essence of the contract, so we drew up a concurrent resolution, and she got a Republican and a Democrat to introduce it together, and it slid along on its way to Washington within forty-eight hours; she and a Mrs. Platt worked it together. All they said was that the women wanted it.”

Miss Holland gasped. “Go on,” she said.

He lowered his voice, for the president was introducing a handsome girl who was to give a reading.

“Another time there was a bill—I don't recollect it, but something about committing girl prisoners, or something of the sort; I saw her get pretty white, and shut her lips hard, and then she got up and started to walk out, and one of the Senators saw her, too. 'Say, you don't like that bill?' he said, and she answered, as if she could hardly control her anger, 'It's infamous!' 'Oh, it is, is it?' he said. 'Well, then, we'll make them adjourn over until we can get a conference and amend the thing.' No fuss, no talk; just straight goods. That's Carroll Renner.”

“And that's what it means to be an enfranchised woman!” said Miss Holland, with a long breath. “None of us could do that here!”

“Well, that's part of it,” acquiesced Frank, and then they listened silently. The girl who was reading was not particularly well-trained, but there were passion and pathos in her voice as she told the story of the eaglet, chained to a log for fear it might fall if permitted to attempt to fly.

“We also have our dream of a Garden,” the strong young voice went on. “But it lies in a distant future. We dream that woman shall eat of the tree of knowledge together with man, and that side by side and hand close to hand, through ages of much toil and labor, they shall together raise about them an Eden nobler than any the Chaldean dreamed of; an Eden created by their own labor and made beautiful by their own fellowship.

“In his Apocalypse there was one who saw a new heaven and a new earth; we see a new earth; but therein dwells love—the love of comrades and co-workers.

“It is because so wide and gracious to us are the possibilities of the future, so impossible is a return to the past, so deadly is a passive acquiescence in the present, that to-day we are found everywhere raising our strange new cry, 'Labor, and the training that fits us for labor!'”

“You recognize it, of course?” Silvia said to Dr. Earl, but he shook his head, and Frank answered, “It's Olive Schreiner, isn't it? She does good work, but I've never read anything that compared with that book on 'Woman and Economics,' and when an American writer has the whole world sitting up and taking notice, I don't see why we don't boost her game.”

There was a little buzz and stir while slips of paper and pencils were distributed to the audience, and the questions collected for the next speaker.

The presiding officer made the usual preliminary remarks, and introduced Miss Renner, who gathered up the goodly sheaf of white slips in her hands and ran over them as if looking for some query that would make a specially apt beginning. Her face lit up as she came across one with which she was evidently familiar.

“This is a favorite question of mine,” she said cheerfully. “I should miss it dreadfully if it failed to turn up, but it is such a troublesome and comprehensive question to answer that I have set the reply to music, and will have it sung for you, in order that you may all remember it. The question is, 'What have Colorado women done with the ballot?' I don't, myself, consider that a fair question, since none of us come down to Philadelphia or New York or Pittsburg or any of the other cities of sweetness and light and ask what you men have done with your all-powerful vote, but this seems to be the main one, especially to the masculine mind.”

Dr. Earl laughed, for he had written the question, and seating herself at the piano, Miss Renner looked up at a merry-faced girl, who began singing to her rippling accompaniment a song of miraculous changes which should have ensued upon woman's enfranchisement, and concluded with a long chant, recounting some of the more notable achievements of the voting woman, ranging all the way from joint ownership of children and property, minimum salary laws, juvenile courts, medical inspection of school children, State institutions built and endowed, equality in inheritance and a host of other things, up to the adoption by her State of the initiative and referendum.

After that, Miss Renner had her audience with her until she dropped the last twist of paper on the table beside her. “You ask me why it took us so many years to pass a good law regulating child labor, and why we have failed in limiting the hours of woman's labor. As to the first, it is true that our law was by no means equal to yours, but we had the means to enforce it, and as a consequence we have little or no child labor. You have a good statute, one of the best in the Union”—there was a ripple of applause—“but in addition to this excellent law prohibiting child labor,” she went on evenly, “you have in this city alone over twenty thousand child wage-earners.

“When we have gone to our legislatures asking for laws for the protection of the weak, we have generally obtained them easily, when they did not interfere with 'big business.' It took Illinois women nine years to get a State Home for children. We passed such a law without any effort whatever. In two-thirds of the States of the Union women are trying to make mothers co-equal guardians of their children, and trying in vain. That was the first law our enfranchised women wrote upon our statute books. One only learns to understand these things by experience. You may find it hard to see why railroads should go into a deal to defeat an eight-hour law for women, but that statute was flagged by a Pullman palace car towel and fell asleep at the switch, because that company complained that it couldn't get a change of sheets unless laundry girls could be compelled to work overtime. You don't dream when you talk of 'big business' to what little business it will descend.”

There was a sudden hush, and she flung out her hands with an impulsive gesture, and there was a passionate earnestness in her voice that gripped her hearers. “Let me tell you something you do not know when you hold the women in the suffrage States responsible for conditions they are the first to deplore. A handful of men in this city have more to do with Western industries and their regulation than have both the men and women. We have steel works; their policy is dictated from lower Broadway. We have smelters; they are closed at the order of a syndicate in this city. We have railroads, all of them controlled by your fellow citizens, and it was the deals entered into between the representatives of these interests and our local corporations that defeated the eight-hour law for women, and every bit of reform legislation pledged to the people. It was this condition, this failure of alleged democracy, that made us go on record for real democracy, for the initiative that makes it possible for us to enact the laws our representatives are cajoled into pigeon-holing, for the referendum that enables us to scotch the snake so that the people may have a chance to kill it. This was the first great fundamental reform which the women demanded, and it was owing to the work of education they began twenty years ago, and kept up untiringly, that Colorado has won this great victory. Woman suffrage is not alone for women, or to enable us to secure certain readjustments of law. It is for our country, which cannot exist half enfranchised and half irresponsible, half democracy and half a feudalism; half of it privileged to shirk or exercise its civic rights, and half denied aught but the burden of those rights. Women need the franchise if only to make their influence, of which we hear so much, effective, but more than they need the ballot, this nation needs the active devotion of its women to transmute to golden fulfillment its leaden life; it needs, it must have all that we can give it, your life and mine; if it is to go forward, its sons and daughters must go forward—together!”

There was generous applause, and the two young men followed Miss Holland, and she presented Dr. Earl and was about to introduce his brother, when Miss Renner held out both hands to him.

“Hast thou found me, O mine enemy,” she cried. “I'm awfully glad to see you, Frank. I was much minded to tell how you helped me get my dove bill through, but I feared they might hold you responsible for the defeat of the eight-hour law and turn and rend you.”

“You promised never to reveal any of my good deeds,” he answered. “Keep it out of the papers, Miss Holland. I can't afford to lose prestige as the exponent of the Mammon of Unrighteousness.”

“Unfortunately, he is a great god with legislatures, East as well as West,” answered Miss Holland, and then they all went out together.

CHAPTER XII. A TUBERCULAR KNEE AND A WORRIED SURGEON

Dr. Earl found his hands uncommonly full for the next few weeks. What with the endless detail attendant upon the arrangements for his new offices, and the perfection of his equipment, it seemed as if there were not enough hours in the day to meet all the calls upon him. Leonora looked aggrieved, and Hilda complained loudly that he had deserted them.

The spectacular manner in which the yellower part of the New York press had handled his first case after his return, brought him telephone calls and personal visits from many old patients, and a goodly number from new ones, not to mention freaky interviews with persons representing all sorts of cults. He was asked to address half a dozen different branches of the New Thought movement. The Society for the Propagation of Esoteric Buddhism asked him to tell them of his experiences in Hindoostan; “Purple Mother” and “Besant” Theosophists sent committees to wait on him, and various believers in Spiritist exploitations, astrologists, psychometrists and all sorts and conditions of dabblers in occultism pestered him with letters, circulars and requests of every conceivable nature.

It had been no part of his plan to return to his native land and set up a practice by which he should exploit to the world the results of his study. A real student, he knew very well that a lifetime would be all too short to devote to the as yet but little known field of mental therapeutics, and nothing could have been more foreign to his character, individually or professionally, than the fanfare of trumpets with which his return had been heralded. The principles which he wished to prove must be brought home to his profession if they were to be of great and lasting benefit, and the publicity and advertising which a man of a different calibre might have enjoyed, were annoying in the extreme to Earl. He was still a young man, and modest withal, and he felt that nothing could be more detrimental with the men whose regard he wished to secure and hold, so he declined all invitations to speak, all requests for articles or interviews, and gave himself up to getting back into the harness. His patients, both old and new, took up more time than he could have hoped for, and before the middle of summer he found himself not only well launched in his profession, but with all that he could possibly find time to do, and work piling up ahead of him, so that he could only promise indefinitely when the Ramseys urged him to come down to their Newport place, and Leonora had to put up with fractions of Sundays until she and her mother left for Bar Harbor.

There were times when that young lady was by no means certain that she wished to marry a successful physician. “You wouldn't like me any better if I were unsuccessful?” he asked teasingly, but she came back to her point, and he had to explain gravely that the theories of the laboratory must be worked out in actual practice before they can be transmuted into accepted facts.

“But you don't need the money,” she argued, trying dimly to apply some of the principles which he was fond of expounding. It seemed rather hopeless, but with infinite patience he sought to make clear to her that any human being whose life is not to be useless and profitless must have some object to attain, some work to do which will develop his character. When she replied that he had character enough, and her only object in life was to be his wife, what more was there to say? Flattery at once so charming and so complete left him defenseless, and he kissed her and went away, trying not to ask himself whether a legal ceremony could ever make wedded souls of two mortals of such diverse views of life. And yet, she was so sweet, so sweet!

In spite of the many other demands upon his time, Dr. Earl saw his first patient very frequently. Mrs. Bell did not appear cramped for means, and provided everything that could add to her little daughter's comfort, including not a few luxuries, which Dr. Earl felt convinced were the gift of Miss Holland. If he had vaguely hoped that he might meet her at his patient's he was destined to disappointment. Once her car arrived just as he was leaving, and another time they passed on the stairs. He told himself that it was better so, and yet when he took her hand, and felt the firm, strong fingers, well-knit and efficient, for no soft, yielding little five-and-a-half glove-wearer ever compassed Beethoven, he knew that hers was a nature that could answer to his own, and his hand tightened involuntarily. There was something in his look as he met the blue eyes on the step above that brought the warm blood to her face, and she swayed toward him almost imperceptibly, and then with a word of courteous greeting went on her way, for she knew that according to common report he was to marry Miss Kimball that fall. Her lip curled a little, for she remembered Leonora of old; she knew her pink-and-white prettiness and the few and simple enfoldments of her elementary little brain, just large enough to hold a few attractive near-ideas, a thorough comprehension of all the social conventionalities, and a fixed and stubborn conviction as to what was or was not “smart.” “If she has a soul,” Silvia said to herself with rather unusual heat, “no one could tell whether it is in a condition of arrested development, hopeless atrophy or complete ossification. As well seek diamonds in a common sandbank as inspiration or aspiration in its sawdusty recesses.” Then she laughed, and said, “Cat!” softly, which was really most irrelevant.

The day that the cast was to be removed, Silvia appeared laden with good things that they might celebrate the occasion with due ceremony.

With infinite care and gentleness, Dr. Earl cut down through the cast, and took it off. The fracture was perfectly knit, but there was a slight swelling about the knee, and as Earl examined it Silvia saw him compress his lips in a hard, straight line. Without looking up, or changing his tone, he asked the child if she had had a fall since the cast had been changed. She answered readily that about a week before her crutch had slipped as she was coming indoors, and she had fallen, striking the injured leg against the stone step, and she winced as he touched the thin knee.

“It's too bad,” he said, “but there will have to be another cast about this knee, and you must be more careful, little girl.”

The tears came to her eyes, and her mother turned to him with an expression of anxiety. His cheerful face reassured her. “We'll hope it won't be for long,” he said, “but there's no use taking chances. Has her health generally been good?” he asked Mrs. Bell.

“The diseases common to childhood went rather hard with her and she had considerable trouble with her neck and throat a few years ago,” Mrs. Bell replied.

He made an examination of the glands of her neck, but said no more.

In spite of many insistent calls elsewhere, Dr. Earl remained long enough to help lend an air of festivity to the small party, which Silvia presided over with infinite tact, and with a last admonition to Mrs. Bell to keep the little girl in bed until he came again, and as quiet as possible, he took his departure, and Silvia went with him.

“Tell me what is the matter?” she said, with her usual directness, when they were out on the street.

“What makes you think anything is?” he parried.

“I beg your pardon,” she said, a trifle coldly. “I should not have asked.”

He turned to her and stopped, mute reproach in his eyes. “There isn't a shadow of doubt that tuberculosis has developed in that knee, and while I hope to arrest it, and perfect a cure in time, I am very anxious, nevertheless.”

“But the break has united?” she asked.

“Oh, yes, and that goes to show that this condition is very recent, and mild, but with her antecedent history no one can tell what may happen,” he said.

“Antecedent history?” Silvia said, rather puzzled. “I thought you did not know the family?”

“I didn't,” he answered, “but you may remember that I looked very carefully at the bruises about the knee when I set the leg, and I asked Mrs. Bell some general questions but received no very definite replies until to-day, and what you heard indicates that the child has already had a slight attack of tuberculosis. I had counted on my treatment to overcome the weakening influences of confinement to bed and crutch for so long a time.”

Silvia was silent, as if thinking out some plan, and said suddenly, “Then it will all resolve itself into a contest between health and disease, with a considerable handicap against the patient?”

“Yes,” he said. “With plenty of good food and good air and the right kind of care, there is no reason why she should not win. And I intend that she shall,” he concluded energetically.

CHAPTER XIII. AN ANTI-SUFFRAGE MEETING

Dr. Earl redoubled his attentions to Leonora, determined to give her no just cause for complaint. The doubts that had beset him disappeared, for no one could be more charming than Leonora, when she was permitted to follow her own bent. Her mother also showed her gratification at his devotion, and tried, with consummate tact, to wean him away from his evident partiality for the suffrage cause. She gave him the best of the tracts issued by the Anti-Suffrage Society; while he was waiting for his offices to be fitted up, she took him to lectures and teas and receptions where anti-suffrage sentiment abounded, and tried in various ways to convince him of the superior social status of the “Anti” women.

The culmination was reached, however, when he escorted her and Leonora to a meeting in a large theatre one afternoon. They were prominent figures in one of the boxes nearest the stage, and Silvia Holland and Carroll Renner, who were sitting well toward the rear of the parquet, had ample opportunity to watch the effect of the meeting upon him.

Frank Earl, who had come in directly afterward and taken a seat just back of them, leaned forward and talked while the crowd gathered. “Oh, don't mind him,” he said, when Miss Renner asked if that were not his brother with the anti-suffrage leaders. “He can't help himself, but if he doesn't go away from here ready to enlist under Miss Holland's banner I miss my count. Even I should, were it not that I have seen the folly of it all on its native heath. Don't make faces at me, Carroll, or people will know you are a suffragette.”

The theatre had been profusely decorated with flags, flowers and bunting, and mottoes were festooned along the walls, one of which was “God Bless Our Homes,” and another, “Imbecile Children Will Be the Product of Imbecile Voting Women.”

Dr. Earl was much impressed with the audience, which, nevertheless, seemed rather chilly and unresponsive. A dignity prevailed which either could not or dared not give way to any decided demonstration, in marked contradistinction to the enthusiasm which characterized the suffrage meetings he had witnessed.

In addition to the bunting and the mottoes, there were a number of large pictures, done in the style of the cartoonist. One of these showed a colonial dame at her spinning-wheel, with the words “An American Lady of Four Generations Ago” beneath it; beside it was the picture of a masculine-looking woman, in a harem skirt, standing on a box at a street corner, addressing other women similarly attired; this was called “The American Suffragette.” Another picture showed a nurse caring for the sick and dying soldiers on one side, and on the other a suffragette charging the police; this picture was labeled “Before and After Taking.”

The meeting opened with a spirited address by the president of the association, Mrs. Briglow-Jorliss, who was welcomed with a brief rustle of well-bred applause, led by Frank Earl.

“Got to do it,” he said, in answer to Carroll's reproachful look. “You'll see; even Jack will catch on before the end of the meeting. Always applaud these folks when they begin; maybe you can't when they quit.”

Mrs. Briglow-Jorliss told of the enormous gains recently made by the “Antis” among the select people of the city, and passed off the suffrage parade as merely a tatterdemalion host of the riff-raff of the city led by a few notoriety seekers.

“You see, Miss Holland,” Frank whispered, “what a good thing it is that I came here; I never should have known that that parade wasn't one of the finest assemblages of women in the world if I hadn't.”

Silvia laughed in spite of herself, and the stout lady on the platform went on piling up the indictment against her sex, and showing how demoralizing the vote had proved to women; how the suffrage sentiment was dying out in the West; how the “Antis” were organizing even in the suffrage States to lift the curse from their kind; how much purer and nobler politics would be without the influence of woman, and wound up with a glowing peroration on behalf of the women who were fighting to maintain the sanctity of the home and the elevation of the children.

Silvia gave an impatient ejaculation. “How can you take it so quietly, Miss Renner?” she asked. “I confess it always stirs me up.”

“It wouldn't if you had the ballot,” said the smaller woman. “It's just amusing, or tiresome, according to how well it is done. You women are the worried and worrying Marthas; we are the Marys, who have chosen the better part that shall not be taken away; we know it can't be, and this is something like hearing people laboriously argue that the world is flat with the sun revolving around it.”

After the opening speech there were brief addresses by Dr. David Dearson on the disastrous results to motherhood should women participate in the active life of the nation; by the Reverend Jayson Yerkes on the Pauline doctrine of the subserviency of the truly feminine woman; by Mrs. Workman Werther on the decadence of feminine charm among women aping men's interests in life, and Crawford Dorer, a labor leader, opposed the movement because the natural timidity of woman would, he predicted, set back all hope of militant progress for the workers of the world. The “Antis” listened with a somewhat strained and puzzled attention, and a group of working-women, out on strike, and sitting in the balcony, gave an angry hiss, which was instantly suppressed. The last speaker, Mr. Reuben Rice, was one of those wandering scribes who travel through the West and write up suffrage from a Pullman-car window, and as he exposed the weaknesses, the failures and the pitiful spectacle that voting women make of themselves, he galvanized the audience into a semblance of real life and interest.

Dr. Earl found the speeches entertaining if not enlightening, and after the second, gave himself up to the silent enjoyment of collating the arguments presented in juxtaposition. No sooner had one speaker convinced his hearers that women would precipitate anarchy by their radicalism than the next proved equally conclusively that an era of dilettantism and millinery shop legislation would be the inevitable result of woman suffrage; no sooner were they filled with the horror of the degradation of politics by the class of women certain to participate in it, than another speaker assured them that politics was already so vile that any woman would be hopelessly contaminated who had anything to do with the gangrenous growth, and yet another showed that women wouldn't vote anyhow. It was all he could do to control the muscles of his face when the Reverend Mr. Yerkes told them in one sentence of the dissension that would rend families and in the next that married women simply voted as their husbands dictated, and he could not repress a smile when the doctor and the professor made it clear that if woman is to reproduce the race she must not be expected to do anything else, only to have Mrs. Werther show how woman must be free to take part in the ennobling activities of the world, philanthropy, charity, etc., if she is to “bring to motherhood that crown which is the glory of the race,” and much more of the same sort. He heard the ancient argument about bullets and ballots, and in the same breath his attention was called to Semiramis conquering Assyria, the Amazons invading Asia, the triumph of Sappho in song, Aspasia in the salon, Deborah among the Judges of Israel, George Eliot in literature, and a host of others who had won distinction.

The audience was told that it was entirely proper to agitate, cajole, coax, beseech, threaten, bully and browbeat men into voting for candidates and measures desired by the women; anything that stopped short of blackmail and personal intimidation bore the hallmark of refined femininity, but to take two minutes to accomplish results for themselves by depositing a ballot on election day meant everlasting damnation to all feminine traits! And Leonora patted her pretty little hands, and looked up to Earl for approval, feeling that at last he must see that Silvia and her cohorts were routed horse and foot.

When the attack upon Western women was well under way, and Mr. Rice, a dapper little chap, looking like a freshman from high school, was rolling out his arraignment of Denver women in particular as typical of the nethermost depths to which the voting female may descend, Carroll Renner wrote a few lines on a bit of paper, and gave it to one of the ushers, and a few minutes later she had the satisfaction of watching the portly Mrs. Briglow-Jorliss read it. When Mr. Rice had concluded his diatribe, the lady stated in dulcet tones that Mr. Frank Earl was said to be in the audience, and as he lived in Denver, and was known to have strong views on this question, there was an urgent request that he should come to the platform, that they might know from one who had long witnessed with regret the deteriorating effects of woman suffrage that nothing that they had heard was in any way exaggerated. She vouched for Earl as one whom she had known since his boyhood, a member of one of the most highly respected families in New York, and who had never failed to reply when she had needed statistics from the field of woman's dethronement.

There was a bustle and stir over the audience, and John Earl looked a good deal startled, while Leonora was openly delighted. An excellent speaker, and a trained debater, the occasion had no terrors for Frank Earl. In fact, he confessed to himself as he made his way to the platform, he had not had so much fun as he expected to enjoy in the next fifteen minutes for many a long day. He was introduced with many rather florid expressions, and began by stating his position calmly, unmistakably, as opposed to the extension of the franchise to women. He then made a few complimentary references to those ladies who nobly put aside their own devotion to the home, the sphere they adorned so admirably, in order to save their misguided suffrage sisters from the evil effects of their mistaken zeal.

There were a good many suffragists and some suffragettes in that anti-suffrage meeting, and Frank saw that the chilly audience had at last thawed, melted, warmed up and was rapidly approaching the point where it might reasonably be expected to boil over.

“I am unalterably against the extension of the franchise to women,” he repeated, and went on, “but my reasons for this opposition are concrete and practical rather than abstract and theoretical, and are based upon the experience I have gained from my residence in Colorado. I am also opposed to it because it is all too evident that the suffrage should be restricted rather than extended. The ballot should be the reward of intelligence, education, and a comprehension of the great political problems of the nation.”

“Give us the truth,” some one at the left of the parquet cried.

“I shall,” he said, “and that necessitates correcting a few impressions which seem to me at variance with the facts. If it were true that women would not vote, or would vote as directed by the male members of their families, I should not so much deprecate giving them the ballot; but neither contention is true. Women do vote, and what is worse, they vote in steadily increasing numbers. Out of seventy thousand votes cast at the last election in my city a little less than half of them were cast by women, and judging from the results, I must say that the men of their families had very little influence with them. The possession of the franchise has developed the secretive instinct among women; they no longer confide their intentions to their doting husbands; they listen to their words of wisdom and then—they vote the secret ballot as they please.”

There was a wave of laughter that swelled into a gleeful sort of shout of mirth, but with an air of the most grieved surprise the speaker turned wonderingly to Mrs. Briglow-Jorliss, who still beamed upon him, though she was looking worried.

“But surely, Mr. Earl,” she said, “when the disagreeable duty is thrust upon them, the conservative women do what they can to protect the interests of the State?”

He shook his head sadly.

“This is one of the most frightful discoveries we have made since women began to vote. When Mr. Dorer speaks of the innate conservatism of women he shows that he is not conversant with the woman movement. It is true that there are a few intensely partisan women, who can be held by party ties, but the rank and file observe no such allegiance. They read and study, but in addition they go to the legislative halls, and there they see that both parties make and break promises with equal facility, and what is the result?”

“Well, what is it?” cried an impatient feminine voice.

“I hardly know how to break it to you,” he said, “but the result is revolt, revolt all along the line. Yes, ladies; women, lovely, refined, gentle, educated women utterly refuse to be dictated to by political leaders, and openly sneer at ward bosses. They can't be kept in line. They no longer sing the sweet strains of 'The land of the free and the home of the brave.' On the contrary, they raise the battle cry, 'Let independence be our boast,' and in spite of the passionate pleas of their natural leaders, they go on record for the most radical legislation. Why, I'm told that nearly every so-called progressive law enacted in my State has been passed by their continued efforts.

“They have no conception of the ideal of government laid down by Hamilton; they will submit to neither checks nor balances, and would subvert the whole scheme of representative government and replace it with an out-and-out democracy. In accord with this mistaken view they have adopted the initiative and referendum, carried it overwhelmingly, three to one, in every county in the State, and I need not tell an audience of intelligence that this is the most insidious form of attack now being made upon the fundamental principles of our government.”

By this time Silvia and all the suffragists in the audience were applauding wildly, while Carroll Renner laughed till the tears ran down her cheeks, and once more Frank turned a patient and puzzled countenance to the presiding officer.

“I do not understand the applause, ladies,” he said mildly, with a gleam in his eyes that none but Carroll understood. “The thing I am telling you is frightful. The enfranchisement of women means the end of the Republic as it now is; it means the rejection of all theories that are found wanting, and the putting out on the vast uncharted sea of experiment; it means interference with those great business enterprises that have built up, I had nearly said that 'make and preserve us a nation'! It means a reckless disregard for property rights in the sentimental desire to protect the individual, as if a nation could become great and strong by individual effort alone, and without the guiding and sustaining hands of statecraft and financial genius gripping the rudder of the ship of state. They will not listen to the voice of experience; they cannot be intimidated; they cannot be deceived for an indefinite number of years; if the established order seems to them unfair, unjust or illiberal, they have little respect for tradition when it's results they're after.”

“But if the anti-suffrage movement is growing as we have been told, can't the anti-suffragists overcome those tendencies?” asked an old lady on the platform.

Frank restated the question for the benefit of the audience, and then answered with indescribable pathos, “I cannot conceal the truth from you; improbable as it seems, when once this poison becomes virulent in the body politic it spares none, and the very women who have battled most nobly against this corroding innovation are apt to succumb to its insidious influence; even the anti-suffragist, home-loving, God-fearing, modest and retiring as is her nature, has developed a talent for political intrigue that has led to the downfall of more than one of the best laid plans of mice and men.”

He tried to go on, but the audience was convulsed, not so much by what he said as by his manner, and by the sudden turning of the tables after the long tension had reached the snapping point. Still uncertain whether to regard his as friend or foe, Mrs. Briglow-Jorliss, after rapping vainly for order, was obliged to dismiss the meeting, and by some irony of fate the orchestra played “Hail Columbia,” and the suffragettes took up the words and sung them with much unction, especially the lines—

    “Let independence be our boast,
    Ever mindful what it cost.”

CHAPTER XIV. FAITH IS THE BASIS OF ALL PROGRESS

Early in June, Dr. Earl received a letter which puzzled him not a little. It was complimentary in the extreme, and yet something back of it made him say, “'For it is not an open enemy that hath done this.'” The letter asked him to speak on “Mental Therapeutics” before a meeting of one of the great medical societies of the city of New York; stated that there would be no other speaker, but there would be an open discussion after his address, and hoped he would find time to comply with the request. Once he started to write his acceptance; twice he actually wrote, declining, and then tore up both letters. It was true that he was crowded for time, but he could make time, and in his heart he knew perfectly well that he would have done so without a thought, but for the unexpected complications which had occurred with Alice Bell. Already he had heard one or two thinly veiled sneers at the result of this much-lauded case. He had met Towers and Hershell, both of them eminent in the profession, but the day before, and their greetings had been singularly cool; once or twice at the club they both frequented Morris had been little short of insulting, but his well-known infatuation for Silvia Holland would account for that. A reporter from one of the less reputable dailies had asked for an interview, and had written an article which barely escaped being libelous. There were not wanting those in the profession who openly denounced him as a “fakir.”

The longer he thought about it, the more unwilling he was to act upon his own judgment alone, and so he turned to the one unfailing counsellor of his life, his sister Hilda. With him, to will was to do, so within an hour he was in his sister's drawing-room, and not five minutes later Silvia Holland entered and was warmly greeted by Mrs. Ramsey. The day was dismal and the rain was descending in a steady downpour that gave no promise of ever ceasing; it was late afternoon, and Mrs. Ramsey said cordially, “Let us have tea in my sitting-room; nobody else will come such a day as this, and it will be so much more cosy. I distrust from his air of supernatural gravity that my brother has something on his mind——”

“Then I will be de trop” said Miss Holland. “I will amuse myself in the library until you are at liberty. I was awfully glad to get your 'phone message to come over, for it's a wretched day, and I was wondering where I should go for tea as I came up town from my office. Have your conference and never mind about me.”

“Indeed,” said Jack eagerly, “if you would be so kind as to give me your opinion also on the matter I have called to consult my sister about, you would confer a great favor,” and even as he spoke he knew it was for her quick comprehension he had been unconsciously wishing all the time.

She laughed and assented graciously, and they followed Mrs. Ramsey to her own charming little room, as dainty and distinctive as its owner. Upon the tea-tray there were cigarettes, and Dr. Earl rather wondered whether Silvia would accept, but she shook her head. “No,” she said lightly, “I emulate men's virtues, not their vices; maybe my nerves may need alternate sedatives and stimulants some day, but as yet I hardly know that I have any.”

Hilda lit one rather languidly. “My doctor says it isn't so much nerves as lack of nerve with me; I don't know what you call it, but I confess I find the smoke-wreaths pleasant; you won't join me either, Jack? Well, let us have the story in all its native simplicity and be sure you nothing extenuate nor set down aught in malice.”

“I am told,” he said, “that no well-bred New Yorker makes literary allusions, and that to quote Shakespeare is to relegate oneself to his century; however, this is the problem,” and then he read them the letter.

Hilda was openly pleased. “Why not?” she said. “It seems to me a very courteous and appreciative note, and I should think you would enjoy speaking before that kind of an audience, all of them picked men, trained and scientific and able to take in shades of meaning and distinctions that are wasted on the laity. Unless you are keeping something back, I should say, accept by all means. But are you?”

He paused. “In just a moment, Hilda. How does it strike you, Miss Holland?”

She held out her hand for the note, and read and then reread it, and her forehead contracted. “I wonder,” she said to herself, “whether this is what Orrin meant when he said the profession would furnish Dr. Earl enough rope—I meant to ask him what he did mean, but I forgot it.” Aloud she said, “Isn't Dr. Morris one of the directors of this society? He's a fellow alumnus of yours; it doesn't seem as if he would be likely to show you an affront, does it?”

“That's just the point,” answered Dr. Earl. “Is it a case of 'mine own familiar friend'?”

His sister looked at him quizzically. “When it comes to literary allusion, Jack,” she said, “New York might permit Shakespeare, but I assure you it wouldn't stand for the psalmist. Do you really think it is a plan to get you into some false position or to embarrass you with criticisms or queries not made in good faith?”

“That is exactly what I want to know,” he said.

“And what if it is?” asked Silvia.

He colored. “You mean I ought to be willing to bear testimony to my beliefs whether they meet with acceptance or not?”

Hilda blew a ring of smoke ceilingwards. “That's the trouble with these suffragettes,” she said reminiscently. “They never question the advisability of 'casting pearls before swine.'”

Jack laughed and Silvia turned on her reproachfully. “Hilda! That isn't fair; haven't you just said yourself that this would be a picked audience? Suppose a little clique of them have arranged the meeting with the intention of heckling the speaker? The bulk of them will be there in good faith, anxious to learn, willing to listen to your brother's account of his experiences, and profit by them. If he can't gain a respectful hearing there, where will he gain it?”

“Forgive me for being biblical to-night,” Hilda answered. “I can't seem to get away from the suggestion; you know it was the high priests and the rulers of the synagogue that stirred up their followers to cry, 'Crucify Him, crucify Him!' And times have changed more than people. The poor will hear gladly enough of healing that is to be had without money and without price, and operations that may be avoided by simply keeping well, but my experience is that the fetish of the professional man is a jealous god, given to heresy hunting, and bowing down and worshiping at the shrine of 'regularity.' They want to preserve the status quo at any cost.”

“Yes,” said Silvia bluntly, “even after it has long been lost. They are like people who might discover an ostrich egg-shell after the bird was half grown, and go chasing after it, trying to put it back inside the shell. I think it is Emerson who says that there are quantities of people who are always trying to become settled, whereas our only salvation consists in being constantly unsettled. I think the English women are infinitely braver and finer in their attitude on the suffrage question than we are. What I feel, Dr. Earl, is this: we have come to a time when nothing is really worth while unless it is worth fighting for. There are other worth while things, of course, for the laboratory man or woman, but for those of us who are in the thick of the fight, who want to do things now, it is necessary that we should be willing to do battle for our beliefs.”

“But is that the way to win?” asked the doctor. “We've all heard about catching flies with molasses, to use a homely simile.”

“Yes,” responded Silvia; “the more molasses the more flies. No, the old methods are gone or are going. Do you suppose anything would do the suffrage cause as much good in this country as clubbing a few old women who want respectfully to present a petition to the other old women in Congress? A few years ago a petition was presented, signed by a million women, and a jocose member rolled it down the aisle with his foot, saying it might as well be signed by mice! But just let them try the English methods and every State in the Union would enfranchise its women just as soon as they could get a popular vote on it.” She stopped short. “Oh, I beg your pardon, doctor, I didn't mean to give you a suffrage lecture.”

“You are not,” he said. “At least, what I understand is that you are trying to make me see that, the spirit of the age is the militant spirit, that does not wait to have its own presented to it, but takes it wherever it finds it.” She nodded and he went on: “I think that is true, but with this difference between the illustration you cite and the case in point. You women must be passionate enthusiasts to win, because the thing you want is concrete and imminent and personal. I have no intention of setting up as a vade mecum, founding a new cult, proselyting or even preaching my own doctrines; in the first place I shall change them as I discover better ones, or when they fail to bring results, and in the second I shall be too busy practicing my theories to find time to exploit them.”

“There you are wrong,” said his sister. “When a man like Jenner comes along that is the time for practicing, but when smallpox has been rooted out and tuberculosis forgotten, men will still read what Socrates had to say of immortality and the sermon on the mount. When you hear people belittle the written and the spoken Word, it becomes us to remember that 'In the beginning the Word was God,' and all that we know of past civilizations is the word they have left behind, painted on their stony walls or burned in a brick to say, 'After me cometh a builder. Tell him I too have known.'”

“But, my dear sister,” Jack answered, “don't you think assuming the rôle of the teacher may be just a trifle, only a trifle, presumptuous on my part?”

“I don't quite know what your new views are,” she answered.

“They are not new,” he said. “In fact they are most of them of such hoary antiquity that they are lost in the mists that brooded over the face of the deep. It is only the application that is new. Even that has always been understood by certain great souls. Pythagoras is said to have taught the Greeks to believe in metempsychosis for the purpose of making them kinder to lesser forms of life; like many beauty worshipers they were frankly inhuman, and it took heroic measures to create even a glimmering perception of the unity of life which is the basis of all the great world religions, whether it be Buddha's 'Who hurteth another hurteth himself,' or Christ's commandment, 'Love one another'; the Yogi looking first at the prince and then at the pauper and saying, 'I am that,' or Father Damien going into voluntary exile for the sake of the souls of the wretched lepers. The Prince of Peace preached the doctrine of spiritual inspiration, and the King of Conquerors said 'Imagination rules the world.' Jesus or Napoleon—both knew that back of the visible man himself is the thought of the man, which controls him, and other men through him, if it possesses power and vitality and truth.”

“Then it is a kind of new thought?” asked Hilda.

“Rather a renaissance of old thought. The modern quest of the Grail is not for the crystal cup that held the holy elements, but for the divine life itself, the principle that inspires men to action. The philosopher of our day is not a hermit, theorizing about vague abstractions, but vitally alive to the problems that confront this day and generation, and modern psychology is changing all the methods of the great processes of existence. Education, medicine, law, are all in process of transformation. Grandsons of the men who denounced Mesmer as a charlatan thronged the clinics of Charcot.”

“Yes,” said Silvia, “and within the next decade Münsterberg will have compelled a complete remodeling of our forms of legal procedure. No attorney worth his salt would undertake to ignore the apparatus devised by the psychologist, and the time is nearly gone by when, as he says, courts will prefer to listen to the 'science' of the handwriting experts, rather than permit the examination of a witness by methods in accord with the exact work of the psychologist.”

“That is true,” assented Jack, “and not the least gratifying part of the whole matter is that it isn't the unimportant who are the ones to speak respectfully of the changing ideal; in fact, the smaller a man's calibre the more sure you can be that he will cling to the established order. It is only very great men who have the courage of their intuitions long enough to prove them. Münsterberg can afford to say what he thinks. Now if I go to this meeting and tell these men that 'there are cases where a fact cannot come at all unless a preliminary faith exists in its coming,' what do you think they will say?”

Hilda smiled. “Most of them will suspect you of quoting 'Science and Health.' If they accuse you of it, read them the rest of the paragraph.”

“What is it?” asked Silvia eagerly.

“I can find it in a moment,” said Hilda, going to the bookshelves, and taking down a modest olive-colored volume. “Here it is. 'And where faith in a fact can help create the fact, that would be an insane logic which should say that faith running ahead of scientific evidence is the lowest kind of immorality into which a thinking being can fall. Yet such is the logic by which our scientific absolutists pretend to regulate our lives.' That is from the late Professor James, who is said to have been the profoundest thinker this country has ever produced, and he has said much more equally startling to those little minds that, like full bottles, have no room for more.”

Dr. Earl threw back his head and laughed; his quandary was over, his course settled. He turned to Silvia with a genial smile. “Score one more victory for the Feminists,” he said. “I wonder if there ever has been a time, anywhere on earth, where women were actually and aggressively noncombatants. The Spartan woman handing over her husband's shield is typical. Whenever and wherever there has been a cause worth fighting for, worth dying for—always and forever we can see the figure of the woman, shield on arm and javelin in hand, standing at the door of the slothful warrior's tent, calling him to action. Sometimes the eternal feminine leads on, but very frequently, I regret to say, it has to get back and drive, and sometimes if it did not kneel and push I fear the wheels of progress would not revolve at all; that we do go on, slowly and uncertainly, it is true, but that we go on at all, is due to the woman soul that will not let us waste our years in the wilderness when the land of promise is so near at hand. Ladies, I go!”

He rose as if to make good his words, but Hilda entered a peremptory negative, and it ended by his staying to dinner and spending a long and utterly delightful evening, which became in a sense the beginning of what he felt was a new epoch in his life. This was the understanding, the fellowship, the bon camaraderie that gives existence its zest and permits one to dream of life eternal without a horror of impending weariness and boredom.

CHAPTER XV. AN EVIL PROPHECY BEGINS TO BEAR FRUIT

Leonora and Mrs. Kimball accompanied Dr. Earl to the meeting of the medical society, and if he had some doubts whether or not she would be able to follow his discourse perfectly, he had none whatever as to his own pride and pleasure in her dainty loveliness. She was gowned in white, and the season's styles were particularly becoming to her graceful and well-rounded figure. Her radiant face with its sensitive coloring resembled the delicate glow of one of those rare Sevres vases of the Empire Period.

She appreciated the compliment of the invitation, as people always appreciate the compliment of being invited to distinguished gatherings where the subjects of discussion are likely to be much beyond their range of knowledge or understanding.

There was a large attendance, for while many members of the profession had come from idle curiosity, most of those present were interested in the views of any man of standing who might throw new light upon the successful application of either medical or surgical remedies.

Whatever criticisms may be passed upon individual practitioners, or however many Bourbons may exist in the fraternity, yet it must be apparent to the student of such matters that nowhere in the world does as large a percentage of the medical or surgical profession adopt new and improved methods of treatment of the maimed and the ill as in the United States. And nowhere in the world are such new and improved methods applied with anything like the aptness or skill as by American doctors of medicine or surgery.

The old school, the newer school, the newest school of legally recognized practitioners were there in force, as well as numbers of those who were effecting remarkable cures without any special sanction of law for their methods.

Modestly and earnestly, Dr. Earl discussed the subject that had been assigned him, amplifying as much as his time would permit, and occasionally citing authorities bound to command respectful attention from scientific minds.

He was aware that he had the sympathy of most of his audience, and he was just as fully conscious of the hostility of Drs. Morris, Tower, Hershell, Bainbridge and two or three more of those who believed with something approaching fanaticism that all physicians and surgeons must adhere strictly to what they denominated “standard methods.”

While Leonora could not comprehend the larger significance of his discourse, it gratified her pride and pleased her vanity that her fiancée was a man who could obtain such a hearing from the medical profession. The discussion that followed the address was animated and intelligent, and if the malcontents had intended any discourtesy to Dr. Earl their plans went awry.

Dr. Earl found himself plunged deeper and deeper every day in the seemingly innumerable duties that crowded upon him. Summer came with tropical heat, but feeling that he had already enjoyed a long vacation, he made no plans, save to take his week-ends out of town, and prepared to keep office hours all summer.

Early in July, Leonora and her mother went to Bar Harbor and the Ramseys to Newport. Frank had gone West in May. He would have missed them had he possessed a free moment, but the first of August found him as busy as ever, in spite of the fact that the city was deserted by the fashionable world. Sickness has fashions of its own, and the fame he had achieved as “the surgeon who cures without operating,” brought him not a few calls from those who had nothing to commend them save their suffering and their faith. Every doctor worthy the name has a set of books kept only by his recording angel, and Earl's invisible guardian made many entries that summer, and there were times when even the insistence of Leonora could not make him feel willing to leave those who seemed so wholly dependent upon his presence for their physical welfare.

Now and then, in spite of his all-absorbing work, there came to his sensitive consciousness a feeling of foreboding and dread that he could not explain, save by some subtle law of suggestion, as he recalled half in mirth and half in seriousness the dark prophecies of the astrologist at the suffrage ball. He had suspected his brother Frank, and when he learned that the seeress was Miss Renner, that suspicion had been confirmed; Frank might have given her the date of Leonora's birthday, but he had nothing to do with the warning she had given him that something would happen within the next twenty-four hours which would have a bearing on his whole career. Within two hours he had treated little Alice Bell, and out of that event had grown his more intimate acquaintance with Silvia, and the marked hostility of Dr. Morris. The child was doing as well as could be expected, but he was greatly disturbed over her condition, and was building up her general health in the hope of overcoming the disease.

He had asked Miss Renner one or two questions, but she had evaded him, and while he had thought of calling on her and asking for the promised horoscope, which she did not send, the idea seemed absurd, and he had no time to carry it out.

On the fourth of August he received a summons to come to Magnolia, Massachusetts, to attend a former patient who was spending the summer there, and he left New York, intending to remain a week.

His movements had become a matter of interest to the ubiquitous newspaper reporter, and as the dog-days in New York were not prolific in startling items, the fact of his being sent for to attend a prominent New York man at Magnolia was seized upon and made into a fairly readable first page news story.

He arranged for the care of his patients, saw the Bells and told them of his intended absence, and spent some time talking with the frail little child who had become greatly attached to him. As he rose to go, he turned to the couch once more. “What shall I send you from Boston, little Miss Alice?” he said kindly, and the girl replied in true child fashion, “Candy.” He shook his head. “You know I don't approve of much candy for small girls; but you shall have something better,” he said, “you may be sure I won't forget,” and with another good-by he was gone. He took the midnight train for Boston, and his patient's motor car was waiting for him when he arrived there.

Perhaps it was the excitement of thinking what the “something better” could be that kept Alice Bell awake that night; whatever it was, when Silvia Holland saw her the next morning her heart sank. She had a feeling that she was in some way responsible for the child also, and that she was still Dr. Earl's assistant. She watched her while she talked to Mrs. Bell, and suggested, in a tentative way, that Mrs. Bell should go to some quiet country place for a month, but the woman shook her head.

“I cannot leave the city, now,” she said. “I have a great quantity of sewing that must be done for Miss Lanier's wedding in September.”

“Couldn't you take it along?” asked Silvia.

“No,” she said quietly, but decidedly. “Some of the things she wants fitted, and I have said I would be here any time she wanted to run into town. Besides, there are other reasons why I cannot go away now.” She controlled herself with an effort. “I can never tell you, Miss Holland, how thankful I am for the work you have brought my way. You can't understand, no woman who has never been anxious to know how she was going to get the rent can understand what a blessing it is to be independent! You are doing great things for all women, Miss Holland, and not forgetting individual women as some people would, but do try to make girls understand that they can never be free so long as they are dependent on somebody else for their bread and butter.”

Silvia flushed. “You're not fretting because of the paltry little sum I advanced for your rent, are you?” she said. “I thought we were friends, and such things should not be spoken of between friends.”

The woman turned to her with a face in which gratitude and some great sorrow were contending emotions, and caught her hands and held them tight.

“No,” she said, “I don't mind being under obligations to you; I'm almost glad to be, for the sake of knowing such a woman. You can do a kindness without making it a burden; there are people who pay a debt as if they were doing you a favor. The only thing I mind is that I am not more worthy of all you have done for me.”

Silvia put her hands on the other woman's shoulders. “Don't talk to me of unworthiness,” she said. “You are a brave woman and a devoted mother; it is one of the crimes of civilization that you should lack for any creature comforts, and you shall not any more. You shall earn what you need yourself, and this fall I intend to start a class of girls in domestic economy, and you shall teach them how to make these pretty things you fashion so exquisitely.”

An indescribable look of pain and rebellion passed over Mrs. Bell's face, and she turned away from Silvia, with a quick gesture of renunciation.

“In the meantime,” Silvia went on, feeling that the time had not come to seek any further confidence, “I am going to borrow Alice. I want to take her up to Nutwood for a week or two, and as I'm going this noon, suppose you gather her things together, and I'll take her right along.”

The little girl gave a cry of joy, and then her face dropped. “But, mamma,” she said, “will I miss my present from Dr. Earl?”

Her mother smiled and explained that the doctor had promised to send Allie “something better than candy” from Boston, where he had gone the night before. “I will forward it,” she said; “you can trust mother for that.”

“He has been very good to you, hasn't he?” said Silvia absently, thinking of him once more as she had seen him first, as he bent over the child, the sleeves rolled back from his powerful white arms while he bathed the matted locks and set the broken leg.

“He has that,” said the woman laconically. “I'm glad to have Allie go with you, for she would miss him; he said he wouldn't be back for a week. Now be a good girl, Allie, and do just as Miss Holland tells you, and you will write mother a little letter every day, and mother will write to you.” She flung her arms about the child in a sudden passion of emotion, but the eyes that looked into Silvia's as she took her hand were dry and wretched.

“I wish you could tell me all about it,” Silvia said impulsively.

“I shall, soon,” she answered; “unless Fate turns kind for once, I shall tell you all, soon, very soon.”

CHAPTER XVI. THE MYSTERIOUS MURDER OF EMMA BELL

The crowd going home from the resorts and roof gardens August 9th was startled by the wild cries of the newsboys: “Extra! Extra! All about the mysterious murder!”

Murders are not so rare in New York as to cause any genuine sensation among its people when one is announced in the public press, but mystery has ever been attractive to the human race, and the details of the present case as contained in the columns of the papers were so involved in conjecture as to arouse the interest of every reader. The only facts that were clear were that Mrs. Emma Bell had been found dead in the sitting-room of her apartment on East 56th Street with a box of candied fruit on the table near her, which had just been opened, and which, according to the postmark stamped on the paper enclosing the box, had been mailed to her from Boston. Written on thin paper that was so pasted as to cover the entire top of the box was the inscription, “With best wishes to you and Alice. J. E.”

A weird description of the lifelike appearance of the woman when found, seated in her chair, with eyes staring and pupils dilated, was given in the best reportorial style. The coroner had taken possession of everything and had ordered the apartment sealed until an inquest could be held. Whether or not the candied fruit had anything to do with the death, and if so who could have sent it, were all matters of speculation which the various writers had covered in from one to four columns, according to their respective imaginative qualities and newspaper instinct, but none of them gave the slightest intimation as to the suspected person, if murder really had been committed.

More or less accurate likenesses of Mrs. Bell were given with all the events of her life that seemed spectacular, the most prominent of which was that her neighbors had long speculated as to her source of livelihood, since her husband's death some four years previously, and with characteristic charity such speculation led to hints along salacious trails and the dark recesses of public suspicion. The events of the injury to her little girl, and her treatment by Dr. Earl, and the devotion of the volunteer nurse, lacked nothing in their interesting narration in connection with the supposed murder mystery, and assisted very materially in enhancing that mystery through the glamour of prominent personages who were so well in the foreground of the story.

The coroner's jury sat upon the case as coroners' juries have been sitting upon similar cases ever since English jurisprudence advanced to the stage of not executing people on suspicion. There was the same dank, solemn atmosphere of the morgue, the same density of intellect and understanding, the same owl-like gaze of stupidity that passed muster for wisdom, the same perfervid desire to get a certificate on the public treasury without undue mental or physical effort, the same ambition to give a duly impressive but harmless verdict, that must have characterized the first empaneled jury of this nature. Never by any possibility could these original qualities have deteriorated, and it would require a wild stretch of the imagination to note any traces of improvement.

The reading of the verdict of a coroner's jury has never been known to disqualify any person from serving on a trial jury in a murder case by unduly influencing the opinion, or arousing the passions of such involuntary candidate for the jury box. No jails have been stormed or revolutions started by the verdict of an American coroner's jury, and New York was not destined to have its sensibilities too harshly jarred by a sensational verdict in this case.

After solemnly sitting for hours, the jury found that “Said Emma Bell came to her death from the effects of hydrocyanic acid administered by some person to the said jurors unknown, and whether said hydrocyanic acid was administered with felonious intent the said jurors cannot at this time ascertain.”

The facts established by the jury were, that the woman was dead; that hydrocyanic acid had killed her; that the cause of death was so evident that it was only necessary to examine the contents of the stomach; that apparently none of the candied fruit had been disturbed, as the box was even full and the top layer as smooth as when first packed; that a chemical analysis proved that no poison of any kind was in any of the candied fruit in the box; that no vial could be found on or near the woman after death, and that a thorough search of the apartment failed to disclose any of this or any other kind of poison; that the woman was quite alone in the apartment when death took place and was only discovered by the janitress at ten o'clock at night, at which time she entered the apartment, having been invited to sleep there during the absence of the child in the country, whither she had gone a few days previous to this for a week's stay; that Mrs. Bell had been doing her own work for several months and taking in fine sewing.

But ambitious newspaper reporters bent themselves to this new task, as is their custom in all matters of public concern, i. e., to outrival the most noted expert in the line of that particular phase of public endeavor uppermost at the time. Theories were advanced in the daily papers that made Sherlock Holmes seem like a novice in detective work and Lucretia Borgia a mere infant in the skillful administration of poisons. The regular detectives, both public and private, were aroused by the mystery that shrouded the case. It remained, however, for the ubiquitous reporter, to whom society really owes a debt along every line of worthy public endeavor impossible either to estimate or discharge, to discover that the handwriting on the box was that of Dr. John Earl, and that he had been in the habit, for months, of paying almost daily visits to the Bell home; that he was at Magnolia Beach, but a short ride from Boston, at the time the package was mailed there; that ostensibly he had visited the Bell home to attend the little girl who was injured by the automobile, but that the mother was undoubtedly much interested in him; that there were many rumors among surgeons that his operation on the leg of the child had produced tuberculosis; that the district attorney had received anonymous letters to the effect that Earl had deliberately attempted to poison both mother and daughter, to be rid of an unpleasant liaison on the one hand and the evidence of his lack of skill on the other; that the child had gone to the country after he left the city and he still supposed her with her mother, hence the saving of the child's life; that the box of candied fruit was only a blind, and that some other package must have arrived containing the poison in another form, possibly in the same wrapping paper with the fruit; that no possible motive could be discovered for the poisoning by any other person and no clue could be found leading to a suspicion of any one else.

With five hundred thousand visitors constantly within the gates of their city; with a shifting population of nearly a million more; with permanent residents absorbed in the most strenuous existence known on the American Continent; with sensation in high life of such frequent occurrence as to benumb any effort to form a discriminating opinion—the people of New York (visitors, temporary denizens, those of fixed habitation) welcomed these ready-made conclusions of the daily press and blindly adopted them as their own.

Individual character counts for less in the metropolis of the United States than it does anywhere else in the nation. There are several reasons for this, but the principal ones are a lack of time on the part of the permanent residents to inform themselves on such matters and a lack of interest in the subject on the part of the remainder of the population. The result is, that when charges are made, with any degree of sanction from the constituted authorities, against ordinary citizens of hitherto blameless lives, the great majority of the people accept such charges as well founded until they are effectively disproved.

So it was in this case. Just as soon as the incriminating facts seriously involved Dr. John Earl it was taken for granted that he was guilty, and such presumption was certain to grip the public mind until his innocence could be duly established, if such result were at all possible.

This was also the golden opportunity for the Bourbon members of his own profession to assail his theories and, secretly and openly, certain of them charged that the result in Dr. Earl's case was but the natural one where “standard methods” of practice were set aside for the, as yet, “unscientific paths of suggestive therapeutics,” as these reactionary medical men denominated Earl's system, for he had cured through suggestive methods a score of patients who had been condemned to the operating table by other surgeons, and as a result he had aroused the resentment of such surgeons in particular and the condemnation in general of all those who believed in the supreme curative power of the knife.

Those in other walks of life, who, from conviction or selfishness, were opposed to disturbing present conditions, and who appreciated and feared the interdependence of the whole progressive movement, were also easily convinced that, properly enough, he was in the toils of the law.

It was not long until his friends and defenders began to realize that a secret sentiment was being created against him which had for its purpose the discrediting of his mental stability, as well as his medical methods, and that they would be compelled to combat not only menacing facts and conditions, but also the still more powerful influences of centuries of prejudice against men of his type, who had dared to get too far ahead of the general parade.

Psychologically, some interesting impressions were made upon observant minds. Many of our national hypocrisies were emphasized, and these occurrences revealed certain inconsistencies of public pretension and action in other fields closely correlated to this one, and it became evident that improvement in theory and practice, in matters of this sort, was impossible so long as more fundamental abuses were not only permitted but sanctioned in a most aggressively affirmative manner.

These observing people were reminded that in this Christian nation a cross of considerable dimensions is generally ready for instant use in immolating the person who is rash enough to interfere too strenuously or persistently with the operations of our morally depraved and generally rum-soaked political bosses, who have boldly usurped the functions of government and whose aims and purposes are widely at variance with all of the teachings of the lowly Nazarene; that, much as we pride ourselves upon our philosophical advancement, there is usually a cup of hemlock in reserve for a master spirit that attempts too far to outdistance the crowd; that, fond as we are of orating and writing about the dark days of barbarism, we continually applaud the barbarian methods of those who appropriate the property and liberties of their fellow men to increase their own wealth and power; that, while there is no longer much of a disposition to consider the earth flat, there is a marked tendency to regard most every other mysterious thing as of that character.

Dr. John Earl had friends who understood the complex and extensive nature of these sentiments, and, whatever might be their opinion concerning his guilt or innocence of the specific charge under discussion, they greatly feared the graver charge which emanated from the chaotic darkness of superstition, ignorance, prejudice and jealousy and the location of which could be determined only by occasional and angry flashes of venom.

While these things were occurring, Dr. Earl had come to New York and had gone directly to the district attorney and notified him that, if needed, he could be found at his house on East 53rd Street, but he assured that official that he knew nothing of the affair whatever.

This was treated as bravado by those who believed in his guilt and as vindication by those who asserted his innocence.

His brother Frank hastened from a summer resort in the fastnesses of the Rockies and his sister and brother-in-law returned to town from Newport.

One day, Silvia Holland appeared at the coroner's office and asked to see the box in which the candied fruit had arrived. She examined it critically for several minutes, and then asked for the wrapper containing the address and postage stamps. There were three ten-cent and two fifteen-cent stamps on the paper, although it was apparent that half that amount in postage would have carried the package. She compared the handwriting with samples of Dr. Earl's, and it was only too evident that both address and message were written by him.

When she returned to her office she found Miss Renner waiting for her in response to a telephone message. The two women had seen much of each other after their meeting at the League House and a deep regard had sprung up between them. For the time being, Miss Renner was doing special work on one of the New York papers, and lending her voice to the suffrage cause between assignments. They exchanged greetings, and then the little Westerner said quietly, “You wanted me?”

Miss Holland looked at her long and searchingly. “Yes, I both want and need you, my dear. Your paper has been rather vindictive in its pursuit of evidence against Dr. Earl. I want you to go to the district attorney and ask him personally to examine the inside of the lid of the box which contained the fruit, also the scalloped paper that covered the fruit. If he does so, he will find that a green gage, an apricot or a plum, which was seedless, of course, rested on top of the paper, and was crushed against the lid of the box. The stain is quite distinct on both paper and cover, and shows that there was only one such piece of fruit placed there. Of course, it contained the poison, and was placed on top, because it would naturally be eaten first.”

Carroll Renner looked at her in amazement.

“If I do that he will order the immediate arrest of Dr. Earl; it will put him in jail and possibly lead to his conviction. Is that what you desire?” She looked up at the taller woman searchingly.

“Surely I do—if he is guilty,” Miss Holland replied, without changing her expression. “There is no doubt that it will cause his immediate arrest,” she added, “but even that is preferable to this suspense with everybody suspecting him and no opportunity to defend himself.”

She turned away, and Carroll slipped her arm about her waist. “Dear Silvia, I'll go—on one condition.”

“And that is?” came in a rather muffled voice.

“That you will defend him yourself!” said Miss Renner. Miss Holland turned and caught her in her arms. “I can't do that,” she said. “I couldn't, anyhow, without being asked, and besides, he will need the most skillful criminal lawyer in New York to defend him. I should make a sorry mess of it.”

Carroll drew her down on a settee and held her hands firmly. “You might just as well be a man, if you are going to talk like that—always ready to let women go ahead until something really worth while comes along, and then saying 'only a man can do big, difficult things.' After all you've said, are you going to hesitate when it comes to crossing professional swords with a man? Come now, promise me; if I go to the district attorney, you will defend him.”

“But I have not been employed, or even asked to defend him,” she insisted. “You must see how unprofessional it would be, Carroll.”

“Professional! that's what the doctors say when they refuse to save your life because they don't want to be discourteous to a fellow practitioner,” answered Carroll. “Well, if the life of the man I loved was at stake I wouldn't wait for somebody to come and hire me to defend him!”

“Carroll!” cried Silvia.

“Silvia!” she retorted. “Will your highness deign to accept employment if it is offered you by his family?”

“Oh, Carroll, I can't let you drum up business——”

“You should be shaken, Silvia,” her friend answered. “Of course everybody in the country knows that you live in daily fear of the poorhouse, and keep an advertising bureau busy trying to find you employment! However, I suspected you would make these silly objections, so I told Frank Earl yesterday that he ought to move heaven and earth to get you to defend his brother. He nearly fell on my neck, and he is now giving me absent treatment or holding a thought that I may succeed in making you see that you could do more for the doctor than any other New York lawyer.”

“That isn't true, Carroll,” she said. “I wish it were, but it isn't, and I haven't been able to think of any one that I want to see take up his defense.”

“Naturally, because you know you ought to do it yourself. Now listen to me.” Miss Renner put her hands on Silvia's shoulders. “We haven't known each other long, but it doesn't follow that we don't know each other well. If John Earl were my brother I should give you no peace until you promised to defend him, not alone because you have the requisite skill as an attorney, but because you would give this case the devotion, the insight, that are not to be bought with money. Now you know my terms; shall I go to the district attorney?”

Silvia kissed her impulsively. “Yes, dear; go—go at once!” Her eyes filled and her exquisite voice quivered with the strain of the emotion she could no longer conceal. “Oh, Carroll, I'm glad to have you now; come back to me afterward and tell me all about it!”

CHAPTER XVII. THE ARREST OF DR. JOHN EARL

Early the next morning Dr. John Earl was arrested for the murder of Emma Bell and was remanded by the magistrate to The Tombs without bail to await the action of the grand jury, which was soon to convene. Both he and his family had foreseen the event, and he had made the necessary arrangements for the conduct of his business. Humiliating as his arrest was, they all bore it with Spartan courage, and prepared to ransack the earth, if need be, to establish his innocence.

Leonora Kimball and her mother returned from Bar Harbor to find their city friends almost unanimously arrayed against Dr. Earl, and they were not themselves in the best humor with the tide of ill fortune that had swept them into these muddy currents. They went immediately to The Tombs, and in the interview that followed Dr. Earl insisted that Leonora should consider herself released from her engagement so long as the least taint was attached to his name in connection with this charge. She protested that this was the hour of his need, and she could not think of such a thing, but he caught the tone of doubt in her voice, and the lack of genuine sympathy in her manner. There passed rapidly through his mind the thought that the electric chair might be just ahead of him; a long imprisonment might be his fate; he might lose the affection of friends and the respect of strangers, but if in this hour of bitter ordeal, guilty or innocent, whichever she might believe, his affianced wife did not show supreme faith and devotion, he was indeed a beggar in the realm of love. Carroll's ominous words about the malign stars that governed her fate recurred to his mind, and he thought of his contest with himself, and his decision when, defying the possibility of separation, inharmony or divorce, he elected to keep his plighted troth whatever his post-nuptial fate might be.

But in the recesses of his prison he had yearned for love, for the divine, illuminating rays that had lighted the path of many a martyr to the stake; of many a hero to the cannon's mouth; of not a few convicts to the gallows; of many a sublime philosopher to the dungeon or the ax—and all his misfortunes seemed but fleecy down compared to the weight which this sense of isolation and aloofness from the tenderness of the world brought to him. He looked at her fair young face, clouded and troubled now with doubts and annoyance, and with a sinking heart he realized that her personal vexation loomed as large upon the horizon of her mind as the shame and danger that had overtaken him.

“For the present, dear, you are absolved from any obligation to me,” he said very gravely. “When I am released I shall, of course, give you the opportunity to reconsider if you choose to do so, but in the meantime you are entirely free; it must be so, dearest.”

She made no reply, but lifted her face to his for their farewell kiss, and her mother was not able to stifle her sigh of relief until they had passed beyond the prison walls. As they left, Frank entered the room, and the glance he cast after the departing form of the elder lady was not exactly amiable, but he kept his peace.

“It is time, Jack, that you were thinking of somebody to take charge of your case. You know I'm not familiar with criminal law, or the New York practice; I'll do my best, but you must have a skilled lawyer in command.”

“I have already given the matter deep thought, but I have not made up my mind. There's Littlefield, but hiring him or any other noted criminal lawyer is equivalent to pleading guilty,” answered Jack. “What do you suggest?”

“I'm not in a position to make suggestions myself that are really valuable,” Frank replied, “and of the hundreds that have been made there has been but one that really appealed to me. That came from my Colorado friend—Miss Renner; but this is a matter where you must be the sole judge, and I want you to make your own selection, regardless of any other person's ideas.”

“Miss Renner is a very keen woman,” Jack said, a gleam of curiosity in his manner. “I should like to hear her proposition; it is sure to be original, anyhow.”

Frank answered rather hesitatingly. “At first, I was enthusiastic about it, but I fear you will not approve of trusting your life to a woman, and I don't urge it in any way; Miss Renner wants us to employ Silvia Holland.”

“Miss Holland defend me? Will she—would she be willing to do it?” Jack asked, in startled tones.

“Carroll Renner says she will,” Frank answered, “and she is curiously correct in her judgments of people, and they have been pretty close this last summer.”

Earl gave a sigh of relief. “Then by all means employ her at once,” he said. “I not trust my life to a woman? Dear Frank, when is there ever a time when man does not trust his fate to woman? The infant owes his existence to a woman; the boy would make sad progress in the world were it not for the woman. The young man would drop back to barbarism but for her, and where would you and I be but for that dear, sweet sister of ours? Simply because the Twentieth Century woman is breaking away from the old, destructive life of the parasite and endeavoring to fulfill her destiny on earth, is no reason for believing that she does not still possess all the noble qualities that have characterized her since the world began. Not only have I no prejudices against, but a decided partiality for a woman defender,” and so the matter was settled.

Silvia went to consult with Earl every day that she was in the city, and strongly advised against any attempt to secure bail, as sure to open anew the charges and innuendoes which were already but dimly remembered by the New York public. She took personal charge of every phase of the case, and although Frank was associated with her he asked few questions and she volunteered but little information. A week later she spent several days in Boston and stopped at Providence on her way back, but aside from telling his family where she had been she gave no intimation either of her purposes or the results of her trip, and cautioned every one to give nothing to the press.

“What did you do with the box of candied fruit you bought at Thompson's candy store when you were in Boston?” she demanded of Dr. Earl at her first interview after her return.

For a moment he looked dazed. “Box of candied fruit—I didn't buy any—oh, yes; wait a minute. While at Magnolia, I wished to pay a visit to some old friends who live in East Boston; they have a youngster in the family, and I bought the candied fruit for her at the same time I bought the pecans which I sent to Alice; but do you know, a curious thing happened to that package of candied fruit. I put it on the seat beside me while crossing the ferry, and then took up a magazine article I was much interested in, and when I rose to leave the boat the package was gone. I hadn't been conscious that any one was near enough to take it, but there was a crowd on the boat, and my package disappeared; naturally, I didn't mention it to my friends.”

The look she bent upon him was full of perplexity. “Of course it can't be traced,” she said to herself. “Did the box have the name of the store, or any name of a manufacturer or dealer upon it? Try and remember,” she said.

“Really, I cannot say; I didn't notice, except that the clerk wrapped it in plain white paper,” he replied.

“Were you in Providence on this trip, or have you been there recently?” she continued.

“Not in four years,” he answered and she gave an involuntary sigh of relief.

“Have you expressed any annoyance to your medical friends over the development of tuberculosis in the knee of little Alice Bell, or have you stated that the case baffled you?” she asked with considerable concern.

“Yes, I have said to at least two surgeons that I was annoyed at what I believe to be the recurrence of an old condition, but never that I was baffled. It is perfectly simple.”

“How I wish I could find that letter,” she said, more to herself than to him. “The post-office department has ransacked the country for it, but it seems to have disappeared as completely as did your package on the boat. I do wish I could clear up two or three things to my own satisfaction, but you can't help me, and there is no need of annoying you with them.” She looked about the small room set aside for the consultation of prisoners with their counsel, but gained no inspiration from the bare walls, and rose to go, extending her hand as she did so.

“You do believe in my innocence?” he asked.

She gave no direct answer in words, but as her eyes met his he knew that he was no longer alone in his struggles, and whatever her belief in the merits of his case, her faith in him was supreme.

“It is not a question of what I believe,” she said at last, “but of what the State can prove on the one hand, and what we shall be able to show on the other.”

“You are worried,” he said quickly.

“Yes,” she said, “I am; your life may be at stake, and if I fail to clear you every one in the country will say that I should never have taken this case, and they will be right. Even now, Dr. Earl, are you certain it would not be better to employ counsel eminent in this branch of the profession? I shall be very glad to serve in second place.”

“This is no time for flattery or false sentiment, and I shall attempt neither,” he said, “as you know, I prefer thorough methods in all professions, and those methods require rather more of the psychological than the usual practitioner employs. I think we are quite agreed in that. For that and other ample reasons I prefer to leave my case just where it is.”

The look that the blue eyes flashed up to the brown ones was pleased and proud, and something that she saw there sent a quick flush to her cheek, and though her heart was heavy her step was light as she left the gloomy building.

Her car was waiting at the door, and calmly seated therein was Carroll Renner. Silvia greeted her eagerly. “Of all persons on earth you are the one I was most wishing to see,” she said. “How did you happen to come here?”

“I got your telepathy, Silvia, dear,” she answered, with a squeeze of the hand, “when on mischief bent about three blocks from here, and decided to come by this cheerful edifice on the chance that you might be here. I saw the car, introduced myself to your chauffeur and climbed in. I must say,” she added, “that you were an unconscionable time. Now, what can I do for you?”

“Let's go and have luncheon somewhere,” answered Silvia, “and I'll tell you all about it.”

“No,” said the newspaper woman, “I have to interview a Mrs. Somebody or other who has just come to town to teach us how to connect our trolleys with psychic wires, or our subliminal minds with ethereal vibrations. She's stopping at the Buckingham, and if you want to take me out there I'll be glad of the lift, for I'm short on time, and we can talk on the way.”

“Surely, I'll take you gladly,” Silvia answered, giving the directions to the chauffeur, “and since I've wasted so much of your afternoon, I'll send back for you, and have you taken to the office if you're going there, or to your own hotel, unless you'll come and dine with me; I'm alone to-night.”

“Thank you,” Miss Renner answered; “I would be glad to get back home, for I've a wretched headache; not that I'm particularly comfortable there, for it's been abominably warm the last few days.”

Silvia gave a sigh of relief. “Has it? Well, that makes it easier for me to ask a favor of you. But first tell me, Carroll, are you timid—nervous?”

“Do you mean am I given to 'seein' things at night'?” Carroll asked. “I don't know how it will be after I have my seance with Mrs. Whoever-it-is I'm going to see, but when I'm reasonably abstemious I'm not given to ingrowing nerves. What do you want me to do?”

“I want you to go and live in what was Mrs. Bell's home. I had paid the rent for her up to the end of October, and after her death I took charge of the place. Of course, I couldn't send Alice back there, but I went and got her clothes and toys and I've been there a number of times. I had a new lock put on, and have taken a maid there and kept it in order, so all you'll have to do will be to send up your trunk.”

“Certainly I'll go,” Carroll answered soberly, “but what do you expect to gain by it? Of course you have a motive.”

“Yes,” answered the other woman, “I have, but it isn't the sort of thing one can speak of, except in the closest confidence. I haven't mentioned it even to Frank Earl, whose interest in this case is at least as great as mine, and you mustn't. I haven't been practicing law so very long, but I've heard that all lawyers, who are really worth while, are superstitious about talking over a case before it goes to trial. They don't tell their clients more than a bare outline, and I believe it is true, for surely I've found myself more fanciful than I ever was before. The day before Mrs. Bell was found dead in her room she wrote to Alice; it was a very short letter, and she excused herself by saying that she was very tired, having written me a long letter. Naturally, Alice showed me the letter, and I remarked at the time that it was strange mine hadn't come by the same mail. Then after the tragedy it slipped my mind for a day or so, and when I made inquiries it had not been received, or if it had, the servants said it was forwarded to me here. I made more inquiries, but nothing could be found in my office, though there was a bunch of mail from Nutwood. The longer I thought of it the more anxious I became to find that letter, and when I was employed in this case it seemed to me absolutely imperative that I should do so. I have seen all the postal authorities here who could have any knowledge of the letter, or its possible disposition, and have written to Washington, but all in vain. I am sure it would clear up several matters that are troubling me greatly.”

“Couldn't the letter have been returned to Mrs. Bell's apartment, through some error in the address? She would not have mailed an important letter without the return address,” said Carroll practically.

“That was my idea exactly, so when it didn't come I looked for it there; several letters addressed to her had been delivered, but there was no sign of this one. Now, I can't tell why, but I feel as if I want somebody in that house. Was there ever anything more utterly unreasonable than that? I wouldn't dare tell any one but you; I can't explain it, but neither can I rid myself of the feeling, and I was going to seek you, to ask if you will undertake this for me. All I want is that you shall put in whatever time you spend in your own apartment there. Nothing may come of it, but you have no idea what a relief it will be to me if you will not be too much inconvenienced, and you have no dread of the rather morbid associations.”

“I'll do it,” Carroll answered. “There are too many other people in the building for me to be afraid of anything alive, and as for the dead—well, I shouldn't be afraid of her either. I can't tell you why, but I believe this is a good move.” She gave a little shiver. “I hope the new lock is a strong one, Silvia; I should hate to have the murderer come back to the scene of his crime.”

CHAPTER XVIII. DR. EARL IS INDICTED FOR MURDER

The grand jury returned an indictment against Dr. John Earl for the murder of Mrs. Emma Bell. There could be but one grade of homicide in this kind of a case, and he was accordingly charged with murder in the first degree and his trial was set for Tuesday of the following week.

Frank came to see him early Saturday morning. “The neighbors of Mrs. Bell will be at the trial in full force to tell of your daily visits there at all sorts of ungodly hours. Their gossip indicates that they believe you had a very serious affair on with her, and this, together with the claim of the surgeons that you botched the operation on the child's leg, furnishes a fairly powerful motive for the crime, at least in the public mind. Jack,” he asked, with a mixture of doubt and anxiety, “did you really have an affair with her?”

“Nonsense, Frank, nonsense,” answered his brother. “It is true that I went there at rather unusual hours; I was pretty busy, and when I found she was in the habit of sitting up until after midnight I used to drop in there when I was through for the day. I don't think I ever went there later than nine-thirty or ten, and I seldom stayed more than fifteen or twenty minutes. Later on I was, and I still am, greatly worried about the child. Of course my operation didn't produce tuberculosis; that is silly, but it serves the purposes of jealous rivals. When I found this tubercular condition developing I asked her mother a great many questions; it seemed to me so improbable that it should have occurred when the child was really having better care than usual, judging from their surroundings, that I sought to learn whether it was not a recurrence of some trouble she had apparently outgrown, and from her mother's answers I think there is absolutely no doubt that this is true. You will readily see, under the circumstances, that I did not time my visits watch in hand, but the charge of a liaison there would be ridiculous were it not so vulgar and malicious. There was some sort of a tragedy in the woman's life, but I have no idea whatever as to its nature.”

“With your handwriting on both the outside and inside of the package, your intimate relations with the family, the complications of this surgical case, the fact that you were practically in Boston at the time the package was mailed, and the total lack of suspicion of any one else,” said Frank, checking the indictments off on his fingers, “they have a fairly convincing case against you, old man, and if you know anything that can break these theories down now is the time to divulge it.”

“Naturally, if there were anything of the kind you imply, it would be easier for me to discuss it with you than with my leading counsel,” his brother replied, “but equally, of course, in such a case, I should not have employed a woman to defend me; certainly not such a rabid feminist as Miss Holland. I have told her all I know, all I can conjecture, but candidly, Frank, I fear she is greatly worried over the outcome. I know the difficulty in overcoming gossip and prejudice and jealousy, and if that cannot be done I fear I must pay the penalty of being the target of their shafts. Crushing as that is, there is one haunting thought that is even more intolerable,” he concluded.

“And that is?”

“That the last thought of that unhappy woman was that I sent the candied fruit. She may have realized in that brief second of time that it caused her death. I hope to prove my innocence to the world, but she has passed beyond the reach of proof.”

“She has also passed beyond the need of it,” answered his brother quickly. “Why don't you comfort yourself with the thought that, no matter who else may be deceived, wherever she is, she knows the truth?”

There had been something akin to despair in his voice, and Frank noticed how trouble had deepened the lines in his face. “Brace up, old fellow,” he said huskily. “We'll get a line on something before we go to trial.”

Dr. Earl did not see Leonora or hear from her directly again after their interview, but the Sunday following the announcement that Miss Holland had been employed to defend him, an item appeared in the society columns of the New York papers stating that their engagement had been terminated. He sighed when he read it, whether from sorrow or relief he could scarcely have told himself. But he fully realized at this time that the vital heart-beats of genuine love are not always inspired by plighted troth, neither is the latter always a product of the former, and he marveled at his own lack of understanding in so readily accepting a superficial substitute for the real article. The Ramseys gave every evidence of their devotion, seeing him daily, and there were not wanting a few staunch friends, and numerous former patients showed their loyalty, but as the day of his trial approached he found himself thinking more and more of the four devoted souls who had done and would do all for him that was humanly possible.

CHAPTER XIX. A GREAT MURDER TRIAL BEGINS

Although the court officials had taken the precaution to admit spectators only by cards issued from the sheriff's office, the famous old room in the Criminal Courts Building was jammed to its very doors at the opening of the trial of Dr. John Earl for the murder of Mrs. Emma Bell, for it must be remembered sheriffs are elected by popular vote and have friends in all walks of life. So there were business men and street urchins, ladies of fashion and washerwomen, members of the learned professions and hoboes, scholars and draymen, students of psychology and the merely curious, advocates in frock-coats and counsellors in jackets, attracted by the ever-living fascination of seeing a human being fighting for his life, with the added interest in this case of the novelty of seeing that fight made by a woman attorney.

Many tragic memories cling to this old room. Here other doctors had been convicted and sentenced to the electric chair for sending poison through the mails. Here more ordinary individuals had been acquitted by displaying more skill in the transaction than had been shown by the doctors. Here had been tried all sorts of murder cases, with all sorts of defenses, from self-preservation with an ax to the irresponsibility of a brain-storm. From that old-fashioned witness chair, on its high platform, enough tales of tragedy had been told, if bound in books, to fill a good-sized library; enough tears had been shed to atone for a thousand crimes; enough pathos shown to have broken a million hearts; enough perjury committed to substantiate David's somewhat sweeping assertion.

From that high perch against the wall had emanated the technical rulings, or the broad principles of justice that had made society tremble for its safety, or caused it to repose in security.

From that old counsel's table some of the greatest lawyers of the world had measured steel in weird combats over sending human souls into the mysterious Beyond.

On this day, the district attorney sat at one side of the table, with his assistants, grave, severe, determined-looking officers of the law. On the other side sat a beautiful young woman, with luminous eyes, a spirituelle countenance, but a firm and earnest manner and perfect poise. Behind her sat the younger brother of the prisoner. At her side was the prisoner himself, grave in mien, courageous in bearing, collected in deportment. Back of them were Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey. Among the witnesses for the defense was Dr. Morris, saturnine, mocking, indifferent.

Thus organized society arrayed itself against a portion of its own elements. Thus organized society spoke through the cold impassiveness of its own laws, while its elements spoke through personal emotions and human passions. Thus organized society appealed to itself to protect itself, while its elements appealed for human kindness and universal charity.

Such is the situation in every criminal trial.

It took three days to obtain a jury of proper qualification and sufficient disinterestedness to satisfy both sides. All the other lawyers watched with interest the methods employed by the “woman lawyer” in asking her voir dire questions and in exercising her right to challenge, and most of them agreed that she asked no useless questions and showed rare judgment in her peremptory challenges.

The next day on the convening of court the district attorney outlined his case with circumstantial detail. He related in spectacular fashion the first meeting of Dr. Earl and the Bells at the suffrage ball, and dwelt insinuatingly upon the interest manifested by Dr. Earl in the child at the time of the accident. Either inadvertently, or by design, he referred in slighting tones to the part played at this meeting by the “volunteer nurse,” but his sentence was never completed, for Silvia addressed the Court.

“May it please the Court,” she said—and her manner was unmistakable—“I have no right, and neither do I intend, to complain of any respectful reference made to me during the course of this trial, either as an individual, or as an attorney for this defendant, but I shall insist now and hereafter that I must be referred to with the respect and consideration due my, as yet, unsullied membership in the legal profession and my reputation as a private citizen.”

There was no opportunity for a ruling by the Court, for the district attorney promptly disclaimed any intention of disrespect, and begged her pardon for any words susceptible of such construction. It was evident that her interruption produced a most favorable impression upon Court, jury and spectators, and if any came to scoff at the weakness of the “woman attorney” they remained to admire the strength of the female advocate. The district attorney continued, warmed into greater determination to make a lasting impression upon the jury as to the guilt of the defendant.

He followed Dr. Earl on his numerous visits to the Bell home; dwelt upon the unusual hour of many of them; agreed to prove more than ordinary intimacy between Mrs. Bell and the defendant; showed the defects in his surgery and the terrible results, which promised permanently to cripple the child; exhibited the handwriting upon the box and placed beside it the handwriting of Dr. Earl to undisputed legal documents; stated that the defense would scarcely claim that the handwriting was not his; asserted that they had positive proof that Dr. Earl had purchased a box of candied fruit of the exact size and character of this box just prior to the time it was mailed, and that Dr. Earl was in Boston at the time of the mailing of the package.

From his recital it was clear that much thorough detective work had been done in the case for the State.

“Now, gentlemen of the jury, as to the motive,” he went on. “A powerful incentive existed for the commission of this crime. Dr. Earl had been engaged for some time to marry into one of the most prominent and wealthy families in this city and the wedding was to have taken place this month. The advertisement that followed his spectacular professional performance at the suffrage ball brought him an enormous practice. To have the public learn that this piece of surgery upon which his reputation was based was in reality a case of malpractice meant ruin. To have his married life disturbed by the appearance of a wronged woman meant destruction to his domestic happiness, so he planned that the poison should be sent to wipe out this family on the eve of his wedding and before any damage had been done him in either of these directions. You must confess it was a skillful job. Only one piece of poisoned fruit in the box, and that so arranged as not to disturb its contents. Whether mother or daughter got this piece of candied fruit first, the other was doomed, for a kiss from those dying lips would have conveyed a like fate, so powerful was this solution. The only thing that thwarted his nefarious purpose to kill them both was the absence of the child, who was in the country, a fact entirely unknown to Dr. Earl.”

This and much more of like import furnished the closing portion of his statement to the jury, and when he finished it was apparent that his recital had made a deep impression upon every person in the courtroom. The atmosphere was charged with serious import to Dr. Earl.

His sister had moved closer to him and was holding his hand. Her husband came nearer, and Frank turned and gave him a reassuring glance. His expressive face showed deep concern rather than worry.

As soon as the district attorney resumed his seat Silvia arose and deathlike stillness fell upon the courtroom. “With your permission, your honor, I will reserve my statement of defense until the State has closed its case.”

“Certainly, that is your privilege,” replied the Judge.

Then there was a buzz of excited whispering. “What does it mean?” “Is she afraid to state her defense after that terrific arraignment of the defendant?” “Oh, there comes in the timidity of woman!” said an old and skilled criminal lawyer. “Does she not realize that it is a fatal evidence of weakness not to state a defense at the opening of the trial?”

But the district attorney had called his first witness and the bailiff rapped loudly for order. For three days the State put witness after witness on the stand and by expert medical testimony, by toxicologists, by direct and inferential testimony, the district attorney more than proved the case which he had outlined to the jury.

That the child was probably permanently crippled from tuberculosis of the knee and that the tuberculosis resulted from faulty surgery was the opinion of the three surgical experts called upon that point, but upon cross-examination Silvia forced each of them to admit that it was possible that a former tubercular condition had recurred. She also forced the unwilling admission that so far as the fracture of the leg was concerned the bones had knit perfectly. The most damaging testimony was that of a neighbor woman, who had overheard Mrs. Bell exclaim to herself on the very day of the poisoning, “I will force him to marry me or I will kill him!”

Pressed on cross-examination as to what she saw as well as heard, she related how she had passed Mrs. Bell's door, which was open, and had seen Mrs. Bell with a document of some kind in one hand and a pen in the other, and had heard her utter this exclamation. When asked why she assumed that the statement must refer to Dr. Earl, she replied with some feeling that no other man had been seen around the apartment since Mrs. Bell moved in, the first of April.

A young woman, a clerk in Thompson's candy store in Boston, identified Dr. Earl as the purchaser of a box of candied fruit a few days before the poisoning. On cross-examination she said it was a box of identical proportions with the one marked “Exhibit A.” Silvia asked her if the boxes from their store did not always bear the firm name on the lid and she admitted that they did, and swore that the one purchased by Dr. Earl had the firm name on the outside of the lid in gilt letters. Then Silvia showed her the box which had contained the poisoned fruit and asked her to state on oath whether or not that was the box in which she had sold Dr. Earl the fruit and she declared that it was not. Then she asked her if Dr. Earl had purchased any loose pieces of fruit, and she testified that he had not.

Silvia produced a box and asked the witness if it were not from the Thompson store. She answered that it was.

“Did not Dr. Earl also purchase a box of pecans at the time that he bought the fruit and is not this the box in which the pecans were packed?” Silvia continued.

The girl seemed to study for a few moments. “Yes, I do remember,” she said, “he did buy a box of pecans the same day he bought the candied fruit and this box may have contained them, for it is from our store. I want to add, though, that I had forgotten about the nuts when the district attorney asked his questions here and when I was examined in Boston.”

“How did you happen to forget about the nuts and remember about the candied fruit?” asked Silvia.

“There was nothing to recall the pecans to my mind until you mentioned them just now, but I remember that Dr. Earl bought them first and returned afterward and bought the fruit.”

On redirect examination the district attorney got an admission from the clerk that at several places in Boston, which she mentioned, boxes could be obtained without any name on the lid, but that the Thompson store never carried them.

The testimony of this clerk that the box presented by the district attorney had not come from their store, was the only rift in the otherwise dense cloud of incriminating evidence for the State, and the prosecution closed its case with perceptible gloom hanging over every person connected with the defense, and the jury was grave of face, as men well may be who have the life of a fellow being in their hands.

The prosecution closed at four-thirty and Silvia asked for an adjournment until morning to open her case. The request was granted, and New York spent the night wondering what the “woman lawyer” would do the next day. In the cafés, clubs, hotels, between acts in the theatres, little else was discussed, and the consensus of opinion was that she was doomed to defeat in this her first big trial.

Progressive women grieved over the outlook, for it spelled much of disaster to the woman movement if she should be humiliatingly vanquished. Her friends championed her cause as best they could, vigorously, but not with the genuine enthusiasm they would like to have felt.

New York had never before been so interested in a criminal trial.

CHAPTER XX. A WOMAN AND SPOOKS FIND A LETTER

The trial had been in progress some six days when the State rested its case. None of the family or friends of the defendant underestimated the impression created by the array of facts marshalled by the district attorney. The evidence, though wholly circumstantial, was nevertheless sinister and deadly.

Hilda Ramsey, white and worn, kissed her brother with quivering lips and went out of the court leaning on her husband's arm, and making no pretense of concealing her suffering. Neither her belief in her brother's innocence, nor her confidence in Silvia's ability to prove it, could counteract the pain and humiliation of the past weeks. Ramsey wrung his brother-in-law's hand, and gave him a look more eloquent than words, and Frank bade him brace up. “'Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just,' you know, old fellow,” he said, with a slap on the shoulder.

There was a grayish pallor on Silvia's face as she gave her client her hand, but he was as composed and almost as cheerful as if he were but “a looker-on in Vienna” as he once more assured her and Frank of his entire confidence in a verdict of acquittal.

“If you will pardon me,” he said, looking at Silvia kindly, “I will change places with you and be the counsellor for a moment, and advise you to eat a good dinner of very simple things, then disconnect your telephone and go to bed and read Omar till you fall asleep; there are times when it is an immense comfort to remember that—

    “'He that tossed you down into the Field,
    He knows about it all—He knows! He knows!'”

His quiet voice acted like a tonic, and her face was full of gratitude as she bade him goodnight, and turned to confer with Frank. Carroll stood by the reporters' tables, irresolutely, until presently Silvia beckoned her. The two women exchanged looks which were enigmatical to Frank, but evidently perfectly intelligible to them, for Carroll turned away with a sound like a strangled sob, and the pall of weariness and depression which had lifted for a moment again settled over Silvia, now that there were no longer any prying or unfriendly eyes upon them. Without another word she turned and went down to her car. Frank waited until Carroll gathered up her “copy,” and then they went out into the street together.

“Why didn't you go home with Miss Holland?” he asked. “She looked as if she wanted you; I supposed she was going to ask you when she called you over.”

“Not she,” answered the girl. “She knows better than to prepare for the great day of her life by gabbling half the night. Besides, I'm too blue to be of any use to her.”

“Anything happened?” he asked, too absorbed in his own affairs to give other matters more than perfunctory attention.

“Yes,” she said, vexation in her voice. “I've fallen down on an assignment, the biggest I've had since I came to New York, and I'm all broken up over it.”

He turned and looked at her, conscious of a sense of disappointment all out of proportion to the occasion. It was the first time he had ever known her to fail in comprehension or sympathy; that she could even remember, let alone obtrude, a small personal grievance of her own in the face of the tragedy that surrounded them, was so utterly out of keeping with her character that he looked at her in amazement, and it took him several minutes to control his voice so as to make the proper politely concerned query as to the demands of the city editor which had proved too much for her well-known ability.

“It wasn't the city editor,” she said, too unhappy to notice the icy timbre of his voice. “It's a good thing to disappoint them once in a while; keeps 'em from expecting you to outdo the labors of Hercules in time to beat the morning papers. No, it was something I was to do for Silvia, and I can't make good; at least I haven't, and I'm at the end of my resources.”

In spite of the fact that it was still broad daylight, and a crowded thoroughfare, Frank Earl stopped and gave her hand a cordial grip that made her wince. “You're all right,” he said. “You're all right. Now let's go and have dinner.”

“Are you not going to the Ramseys'?” she asked, evidently taking it for granted that the family would wish to be together at such a time.

“Oh, no,” he answered. “Hilda will go straight to bed, poor girl; and Ramsey will sit beside her and dab cologne on her forehead, and after a while he'll coax her to eat a cracker and drink some tea, and he'll have his dinner right there beside her. You don't know the turtle-doves. I don't hanker for my own society to-night, but I shall have to put up with it unless you take pity on me.”

“I can't, Frank,” she answered. “I simply can't eat when my mind is so upset; I'm going straight home.”

“And make your supper on crackers and tea, I suppose,” he said disgustedly. “Well, in that case, I'll go for a tramp and try to get rid of the cobwebs in my brain, and the stuffy air of that courtroom. I always feel as if twenty centuries of alleged justice, injustice and malpractice looked down upon me when I get into court; that's one reason why I'm no good as a trial lawyer. Here, isn't this your street?”

“Yes, no—I don't live where I did any more just now,” she answered lucidly. He stopped and looked at her and smiled in spite of every everything. “I've sent in my copy, and you can walk up with me, if you want to.”

They walked on in silence; Frank was evidently thinking deeply, and Carroll was following some weary round of conjecture for the thousandth time when she stopped at her number. Frank looked at it and then at her, startled out of his usual debonair manner for once.

“Why—it is——”

“Yes,” she answered. “I've been living here for some time, but that wasn't for publication, so I kept my other room, and had my mail go there as usual. Silvia desired it.”

“She hasn't left any stone unturned,” he said musingly. “I wonder what was in that letter!”

“Oh, she has told you, then?” Carroll asked.

“About Mrs. Bell's letter to her? Oh, yes, she told me to-night, just before you joined us; I thought you knew about it. Anyhow, it seems to be gone beyond recall. Don't you intend to invite me in? Well, of all the inhospitable persons! I'll see you in the morning,” and lifting his hat he went on up the Avenue.

Carroll climbed the two flights slowly and unlocked her door. The suite across the hall had been vacated by a superstitious tenant the week after the murder, and the family immediately below had moved away that morning. As Carroll closed the door behind her she was conscious of a sense of oppression. It was not fear, which is a simple, concrete emotion, easily understood; it was not even so subtle as dread of any abstract thing, ghost or goblin damned. She gave her shoulders a little shake, as if the sensation were some tangible thing to be thrown off, and laying aside her hat and gloves she went through to the buffet kitchen and put the kettle on. She returned to the sitting-room and looked about her uneasily, and then put on a house gown and slippers, and arranged her tea-tray. There were but four rooms in the apartment, in addition to the kitchenette, and but one of them offered much in the way of light or ventilation, so Carroll lived in the front room, as Emma Bell had lived there; she worked there, as Emma Bell had worked; she looked upon the same nondescript blue wall paper, and the few pictures that relieved its monotony. With some misty idea, similar to that of the French “confrontation,” she had brought none of her own books or belongings to disturb the suggestion of the room as it had been. There were three large windows, through which the city lights were beginning to shine; under one of these and across that end of the room was a divan, covered with a bright rug; opposite and against the other wall was a desk, with a chair before it, and bookshelves, and a corner cupboard which held a plentiful supply of tea-things. Between the two windows nearest it was a tea-table, which evidently served a double purpose, for underneath was a basketful of neatly folded sewing. By the table was the high-armed mission rocking-chair in which the dead woman had been found. Opposite was the little sewing-chair, usually occupied by Alice when she and her mother had supper together at the table, which had been a gift of Silvia's. Evidently it had been a fancy of Mrs. Bell's to set the chair for the child before she opened the fatal box, and Carroll had kept both chairs in their relative positions. The doorway into the alcove bedroom was concealed by a portière.

There was nothing in the desk now but some of Carroll's writing materials; everything in the room had been ransacked at the time of its mistress' death, and Silvia had herself searched carefully for anything that might afford a possible clue. Sometimes she even thought that some one, possessing a key, had entered the place and removed all evidence while that ghastly witness still sat in the chair, for there were no letters, no papers, nothing. Immediately after going there to stay, Carroll had gone over the tiny place with systematic care. There was no upholstered furniture in which anything could have been concealed; even the divan was a rattan affair; there were only rugs upon the floors. The mattress revealed nothing, and though she laboriously examined every picture, there was nothing concealed back of them or within the frames.

“Don't you think the letter was mailed?” Silvia asked her, and she had replied that while it probably had been, the chances were that a rough draft of it had been written, and preserved somewhere, and it was for this that she searched until it became evident that the slight resources of the flat were exhausted.

It was rather a poor little place, woefully lacking in the closets and cubby-holes so dear to women, and yet, as Carroll sat there in the child's place, with her second cup of strong tea getting cold beside her, she found herself looking at the other chair expectantly, and the empty desk seemed watching her; she was resentfully conscious that everything in that room knew the truth, everything save its human occupant with her keen mind, her active brain. The hours passed and still she sat there, waiting, waiting. There were the usual noises, commonplace and mysterious, to be found in vacant houses, but about nine o'clock she became conscious that there were sounds in the recently vacated flat below. Evidently the family had come back for some last articles which they had left behind. They were a quiet old couple with whom Carroll had exchanged greetings now and then on the stairs; the old lady had told her they were going to live with their daughter. Carroll roused herself and lit the gas, and a little while later there came a tap at the door. She was frightened for a second, the sound was so unexpected, and then with a laugh at her foolishness she went to the door and opened it, revealing an old man, her neighbor from the floor below. He held a rather heavy package in his arms, and explained, rather shamefacedly, that they had no high-chair, and when their little grandchild was brought to visit them Mrs. Bell had been accustomed to lend them her big dictionary. “Not bein' literary she didn't need it, and the very afternoon of the day she died I came up to borrow it, same as usual; she had stepped out, but the door was ajar, and the dictionary lying right on the end of the divan, so I took it, and when I brought it back after supper I couldn't get in, and after the trouble my wife wrapped it up and put it away for safe-keeping, Miss, and forgot it till we come to move,” he finished breathlessly.

He put the package on the divan, and Carroll talked with him a few moments longer, and then locked the door upon his retreating form and went to the window, and stood there, looking out, yet seeing nothing. It was beginning to rain, and the cool, damp air was pleasant, but she shivered and turned back to the room that still kept its silent mistress' secret, as she had kept it, even in death. The little clock on the mantel struck ten, and there was a quick, light step on the stair, and a brisk knock at her door. As she opened it, Frank stood there, shaking the drops of water from his hat.

“I've had my walk,” he said, “I've got over my gloom; I've lost my grouch, but I still have my appetite with me. Now come on, like a good fellow, and let's have supper.”

“Oh, go away, Frank,” she said, almost crying with vexation. “I was almost on the verge of something when you came.”

“That's what I thought,” he said cheerfully. “I said, 'She'll drink a pint of strong tea and sit there in the dark until the rugs begin to wiggle and the wall paper glowers at her.' You're on the verge of nervous prostration; that's what you're on the verge of, and nothing else. Now come along, or have I got to come over there and make you?” He noticed her negligee. “Put on your frock, and I'll wait, but hurry.”

“It's raining,” she demurred, “and I haven't my raincoat here.”

“I brushed by one in the hall,” he said, and stepping back he lifted down a somewhat shabby gray raincoat and flung it toward her. She picked it up, and slipped it on. It was large, but still she could wear it, and while she stood in the middle of the room hesitating, she slipped her hands into the capacious pockets.

“Well?” demanded Frank impatiently.

The girl did not answer, but stood staring ahead of her. Slowly she raised her left hand, pressing the thumb between her eyebrows, and taking the right hand from the raincoat pocket, she stretched it out, the fingers groping uncertainly. She turned so white that the young man in the doorway stared, frightened, yet under a spell that forbade his moving. Suddenly the trembling, questioning hand grew rigid, and without an instant's hesitation she turned and walked to the divan, and laid her hand upon the bundle.

“It is here, Frank,” she said quietly. “Turn up the light, and cut this cord.”

He did so, and as the paper fell away from the dictionary, she opened the heavy volume and their eyes fell upon a large manila envelope plainly addressed to “Miss Silvia Holland, City Investment Building, New York.” The girl laid her hand upon it.

“Wait a minute; let me tell you what happened,” she said. “When the postman came she gave him the letter for Alice, and he gave her the box. She didn't give him this letter because she hadn't stamps enough—see, it has but one—or perhaps she meant to use it as a threat; there was somebody who had a motive for killing her. The woman across the hall called her and she slipped this envelope into the dictionary and went out, leaving her door open; old Mr. Dillon came up and got the book; he's just been telling me about it. They never opened it, and after her body was found—Mrs. Bell's, I mean—his wife was so upset that she went to her daughter, and they forgot it entirely until to-night. When Mrs. Bell came back, she opened the package the postman had given her, and she never had a chance to miss anything after that.”

She lifted her hand, and Frank picked up the envelope and looked at it and then at her.

“I believe you have solved the mystery,” he said, “and that all you have not learned will be revealed when Silvia opens this envelope. Oh, this is wonderful, Carroll! I'll get a taxi, and we'll go to her at once.”

“I wouldn't,” said the girl. “It'll be nearly midnight by the time we can get there, and if it is bad news—which it isn't—there's nothing she can do to-night, and if it is good—and I am sure it is, for us at least—it can wait until morning. Whichever it is, she needs a night's sleep before she faces any new complication.”

She took the envelope and looked at it again, and then at Frank Earl. With a little laugh she clutched it to her bosom, and holding out the other hand to him, she said, “Now, I'm ready to go to the kitchen and cook anything there is to be found in this section of New York!”

“Carroll,” he said, humbly, “would you mind if I proposed to you once more? We seem to need you in our family.”

CHAPTER XXI. SILVIA HOLLAND'S GREAT PLEA TO THE JURY

Hours before court time the next morning an immense crowd packed the streets around the building, and when the doors were opened it was useless to attempt the enforcement of the ticket rule. When the court convened the space outside the rail was jammed with a crowd that threatened to overflow the space inside which was reserved for members of the legal profession, witnesses, and the family of the defendant. It was an orderly crowd, however, and the tension of silence was so complete that it held them in a kind of paralysis of attention when the gavel fell and the stentorian voice of the bailiff called his “Hear ye.” As soon as he sat down the Court recognized Silvia. She took her place at the end of the counsel table with a few papers within reach. The district attorney noticed with satisfaction that they were very few. She was gowned in pure white, and her hair rippled back from her broad forehead, and with head proudly erect and with easy, natural pose, she faced the jury, which gave her instant and absorbed attention. She spoke slowly, deliberately, and her soft, musical voice was heard distinctly in every corner of the courtroom.

“Gentlemen of the Jury: Human life is the greatest mystery in a universe of mystery. It springs into existence with the knowledge of the ages coursing through its sensibilities and inherently possessing all of the passion and prejudice of countless centuries. Where it started none of us knows. Where the æons ahead of us destine it to end none of us can tell. Deliberately to blot from this earth and its service that which comes into the world so divinely equipped with knowledge and inspiration requires both sublime courage and indescribable depravity; sublime courage to invite the hostility of the vast, complicated, mysterious forces that are embodied in a human life, however humble it may be; indescribable depravity to destroy the most useful and the most beautiful product of this earth.

“Yet the statute in this and other American States for the punishment of those who take human life is made to apply but to a fraction of those guilty of such offense. The individual who shoots or otherwise takes the life of another is always prosecuted and generally punished. The association, whose culpable neglect of the ordinary dictates of humanity in making its employees safe, is not even prosecuted for factory girls destroyed in a fire, for miners entombed in the earth, for passengers and trainmen hurled to their death that dividends may be wrung from soft roadbeds and rotten rails, for excursion boats so built as to prevent the saving of passengers in case of accident; and what must be said of those economic and social conditions that drive thousands to self-destruction every year and that destroy all Christian and political ideals, the proper development of which would preclude the possibility of crime!

“You, gentlemen, represent the collected society of which I am a part, and the fact is worth your consideration at least, that under the system of woman parasitism, dependence, and, in a way, slavery, the rugged qualities of strength of purpose, of womanly self-reliance, of constantly expanding mental and moral natures that so distinguished our foremothers, and which mean so much to the character of children, which in turn mean so much to the character of the citizen and the nation, have largely disappeared.

“In every consideration of crime, its cause should be of interest to those who represent the State. I am not seeking to minimize or palliate or excuse whatever crime may have been committed in this case, but that society which is seeking its own safety and perpetuity cannot too strongly be urged to beware of the universal menace to its existence, as well as to guard against those individuals that war only against individuals. So I appeal to you in this case, if crime there be, to deal with the perpetrator of such crime with all due justice, but with that mercy and consideration which these thoughts may suggest, and which we owe to the weaker members of society.

“Whatever crime was committed in this case sprang from the old order of our existence, which is rapidly passing away; it was nurtured in that soil which most of us cultivate too much, and which produces envy, malice, hatred, uncharitableness and other destructive and despoiling human traits. I have no quarrel with the character of the testimony with which it is sought to convict the defendant, for circumstantial evidence is the most reliable, the most convincing, the least subject to perjury of any evidence recognized by the law, and, as I shall undertake to demonstrate to you, it is absolutely unassailable when each link of the chain fits perfectly in every other one. I am not unmindful of the very strong case which the district attorney has made against the defendant, and it may be that his contention is the correct one. That is a matter for you to determine.”

There was a little stir in the courtroom at this extraordinary statement, and Hilda looked at her husband and then at her brother and the hot flush of resentment dyed her white face to the hair.

“The motive of malpractice on the child,” Silvia went on evenly, “and a troublesome liaison with the mother do, indeed, seem to be powerful, but what can be said for those motives when I prove to your entire satisfaction that the setting of this fracture and the subsequent treatment and final results are among some of the best ever attending such cases in this large city; that the tuberculosis of the knee is the recurrence of a disease which had attacked the child five years before in the glands of the neck and which broke forth afresh in the knee because of her low physical condition and the immediate injury to the knee; that what I shall present will so conclusively prove the impossibility of a liaison between Dr. Earl and Mrs. Bell that there cannot even remain the suspicion of such a thing?

“The mystery of her support since last April I alone can clear up with checks and other evidence so convincing in character as to leave no doubt. It is embarrassing but necessary to bring myself as a witness into this trial. I found this poor woman with a great and secret sorrow, not knowing how to earn a living and by industrial independence develop the best qualities of her nature, and I undertook to teach her self-reliance and to lead her into the new life of social and economic freedom. Had she been thus trained from girlhood this tragedy would have been impossible, and her life would have been full of beauty, for I have never known a sweeter character. In the meantime I loaned—not gave, but loaned her the money to live upon. She would have resented a gift. She was making splendid progress with her fine sewing, and would soon have been independent of any financial aid. But the sorrow which hung over her, and which all this time was and still is a mystery to me, seemed to dominate her life, as I will presently show you.

“It was the ghost of the old environment, of the old parasitical age, when women were so easily enslaved with the promise of idle luxury and transient caresses, stalking into the midst of a nobler effort and beckoning her backward while yet the understanding and courage were not sufficiently seasoned. Later I shall go into these things more fully.

“I will prove to you by the proper Federal officials that, owing to a change of design by the government, the ten-cent stamps on this package, bearing this particular vignette, could only be purchased in three or four post-offices in the United States for several months before and at the time the package was mailed, and the only place east of the post-office at St. Louis was in Providence, Rhode Island, and I shall also prove that the defendant has not been in Providence in four years. You will notice that stamps to the value of sixty cents were placed on the parcel, when half that amount would have been sufficient, showing that whoever mailed it did not care to have it officially weighed.

“Another circumstance worthy your attention is that poisoning by hydrocyanic acid is so easily recognized that it has seldom been used for purposes of murder, except in cases where the person committing the crime felt safe as to his own identity, and desired to make it appear that some one else had done the deed.”

She paused in her recital and cast a glance at a large, muscular man, seated among a group of witnesses for the defense. He gave her an almost imperceptible nod in the affirmative, and she went on slowly and impressively:

“What is more, gentlemen of the jury, this candied fruit was not purchased in Boston, but in Providence, and the person buying it insisted on a perfectly plain box, without any name upon it; he also bought several separate pieces of similar fruit.”

There was a buzz of excitement in the human hive, which the bailiff suppressed by a sharp rap of his gavel. Those who had caught the signal turned their eyes from Silvia to the large man, but there was nothing in his impassive demeanor to attract attention.

The defendant and his family were evidently as much at sea as were the others in the courtroom as to the significance of these assertions, but the look of worry had entirely disappeared from the face of Dr. Earl.

“It is true,” she went on, “that I had taken the little girl to the country for a week when this awful crime was committed, but Dr. Earl knew nothing of this, and the evidence is already so clear as to need no further illumination that the person who sent the poisoned candy was aware of the fact that the child was not at home, and would not be for several days at least. So clear is it that Dr. Earl did not know the child was in the country that I will prove to you that he sent to her city address a box of pecans which were forwarded by her mother to the country, and I will offer in evidence the box in which they were sent. The person who mailed this box had designs on one victim only, and had the child been at home she would undoubtedly have been the one killed, for she would have been certain to receive the first piece. With all due deference to the learned district attorney, and while his theory is possible that a kiss given and received might have caused the death of the other, the probability is so remote that a person skilled in the knowledge of poisons and their effects, as Dr. Earl is, would scarcely have undertaken to poison two people in this clumsy and uncertain fashion, when the placing of two pieces of candied fruit instead of one on the top of the box was all that was necessary to insure the end desired.”

She paused again, and gave the large man another look, and then exhibited a card to the jury, which she had been holding in her hand from the beginning of her address.

“No, gentlemen, the poison was intended for but one person, and that person partook of it,” she said sadly and earnestly. She held a picture postal so the jury could see it. “This postcard, as you see, was sent to Mrs. Bell from Magnolia a few days before the crime occurred. It is dated August 5th; her death took place August 9th. Look at the address on this card, and at the message on the other side. Now let me show you a strange thing, which cannot be merely a coincidence.”

She took the outer layer of thin white paper that had wrapped the box, on which were the stamps and the address, and laid it over the same address on the card, and the length and formation of each letter were identical, the punctuation marks and the lines of shading were the same, on paper and card.

“You see how this has been done,” she said. “The address on the paper is written with an indelible pencil. Ink would have spread and blotted. We shall prove to you that the address on the box was copied by tracing from this identical card, as also were the closing words on the card with the initials which were traced on the paper that is pasted on the top of the box—'With best wishes to you and Alice. J. E.'”

The district attorney protested to the Court against so much detail and proof going into an opening statement, and the Judge looked inquiringly at Silvia.

“I know I am pursuing an unusual course,” she replied, “but I promise your honor, and also the honorable district attorney, that I will not abuse my privilege, and if you gentlemen will bear with me I am certain that I shall be able to render a distinct service to the State.”

The Judge had followed her carefully, and being one of those wearers of the ermine who believe that substantial justice rather than technical results should be the aim of courts in criminal trials, said to the district attorney, “I am certain that Miss Holland fully understands the rules of procedure in this court and will adhere to them as strictly as the nature of her defense will permit. If I think she is overstepping them, I will stop her.”

Silvia gave another glance at the large man. His eyes were on the little group by his side at the time, but the silence caused him to turn to her again, and after another affirmative nod she resumed.

“It is difficult for me to cause pain to anything that lives. I feel that the ant, with its wonderful little organism, is as much entitled to the uses and joys of this dear old world as I am. When I enlisted in this case it was to defend a man whom I felt certain was innocent, not to bring any other person to the bar of justice, and even now, if I could clear the fair name of my client from the remotest suspicion of ever having thought of this crime, without injury to another, I should much prefer to do so. Not that I am unmindful of my duty as a citizen, but I am more conscious of the tenderer feelings that are of necessity appealed to in such a case.

“When in the discharge of my duty I found suspicious footprints leading elsewhere I spent hours determining what course I should pursue in this complicated situation. The sequel will give all of you, in the jury box and in this courtroom, an opportunity to decide whether my course has been the right one. God knows I have prayed to be shown another way, but I could discover none.”

She paused, and the tears were glistening in her eyes and her voice trembled, but she regained her self-control at once.

“Before I did aught else, I had two skilled detectives watch the suspected person; their observations were all too convincing. It was Eugene Aram again telling his dream to the child, but this time the guilt was acted.

    “Then down I cast me on my face,
      And first began to weep,
    For I knew my secret then was one
      That earth refused to keep:
    Or land or sea, though he should be
      Ten thousand fathoms deep.

    “So wills the fierce, avenging sprite,
      Till blood for blood atones!
    Ay, though he's buried in a cave,
      And trodden down with stones,
    And years have rotted off his flesh—
      The world shall see his bones!”

Once more the tears shone in her eyes, tears that were the only consolation one wretched soul in that courtroom was ever to know, but she dashed them away impatiently.

“To prevent injustice, and possible injury, the suspected man has been kept under surveillance ever since.”

Again there was a murmur of voices over the courtroom, and Frank, who had entered hastily, just after she began her address, called her attention to a large envelope which he laid on the table before her. She looked at him, and then at the envelope, and gave an involuntary start of surprise and a hastily stifled exclamation. “The missing letter!” she said, under her breath, and hastily tore it open, and glanced at the first and last pages, while the bailiff restored order.

“I must beg your honor's indulgence,” she said, “for a few moments. This letter contains information of vital importance, and as your honor sees, it has just come into my hands.”

The Judge granted her request, and while she hastily read the document, the excited murmur swelled again in spite of the glaring bailiff. In a few minutes she turned to the Judge.

“Your honor,” she said, “this is a letter to me written by Mrs. Bell only a few hours before her death; I can easily prove her handwriting, and in any event, it is sworn to before a notary. The matter contained therein will end this trial. That I can use it as part of the res gesta, I have no doubt. I will submit it to the district attorney and ask him to examine it, and then give it to your honor. In the interest of justice and my client I would like to read it to the jury at this time.”

She handed the letter to the district attorney, and while he read it she seated herself and conferred with Frank. “Where in the world did you get it?” she asked.

“Carroll and spooks,” he began, and then went on more seriously, “but where on earth did you hide yourself? We have been madly tearing around New York, and telephoning all over the adjacent territory in a wild endeavor to find you and get this into your hands. I'm not going to tell you about the letter itself; that's Carroll's story. We've been to the Studios, and everywhere else we thought there was a possibility of finding you, and waited at your office until the last minute in the hope that you'd come there.”

“I spent the night at Nutwood, making a last search for the letter,” she said. “It was only a chance, but I felt that I couldn't give it up. This morning I motored down, and we had some delay, so that I had to come directly here. But it's all right.”

The Judge finished reading the letter, and called Silvia to the bench, where they held a whispered conversation with the district attorney, glancing once or twice toward the little group of witnesses where the large man sat. Then Silvia returned to her seat, and the district attorney gave some hurried directions to a deputy, who immediately left the room, while the Judge gave whispered instructions to a bailiff, who stationed himself at the general entrance.

“You may read the letter, Miss Holland,” said the Judge, and the tension in the courtroom grew almost intolerable as she rose, holding the letter in shaking hands, and began reading:

“'NEW YORK, August 9.

“'MY DEAR MISS HOLLAND:

“'The secret I have longed and yet hesitated to tell you must now be disclosed. Of course my trouble has been caused by a man, a man whom I have known a long time and loved too well. He was here day before yesterday and we had a stormy interview—which he says shall be the last. For a long time his manner has been changed toward me, and for the last few months he has neglected me. He didn't seem to like it when I got acquainted with you, or when you paid so much attention to Allie; he said he didn't see what you wanted of her, and asked me how you came to take her to the country and when she would be back, and wanted to know if I had told you or Dr. Earl of my relations with him. I said certainly not, and when I reproached him for not coming to see me he said he couldn't come here. Since Allie was hurt, I have only met him a few times. Sometimes I have been happy when I was with him, for I loved, and I love him, better than my life, but I have not wanted to deceive you, and every day the old life has grown harder to bear. I think I have always believed that he would marry me, as he promised in the beginning, until this summer. Now I see that, more than he has deceived me, I have deceived myself, as every woman deceives herself when she forgets the honor of the present for promises that are to be redeemed in the future.

“'I had made up my mind to break away from this life and try to begin over again; you had shown me the way, and I saw the means by which I could support myself and Allie, and not be beholden to him. God knows I never wanted to take his money, and when it was grudgingly given it was worse than gall and wormwood to have to ask him for it. I did not mean to see him any more, for when I look into his face I forget everything except the days when he did love me. I meant to tear him out of my heart, and devote my life to Allie.

“'And then, Miss Holland, I made the discovery that has made me desperate, the one discovery that tells a woman she is helpless, and that not only her whole future, but that of another, depend upon the whim of a man. I demanded that he should keep his promise; I will not permit a child of mine to go through the world bearing the brand of illegitimacy, and I told him so plainly. Perhaps I was wrong to lose my temper and threaten him, but I am half mad. I told him I might bear the blame, and the pain, but that if he allowed me to go through this dreadful time alone that he should share the shame, if I dragged him through the courts to fasten it on him.

“'I don't wonder much that he was infuriated with me, or that he threatened to kill me if I didn't let him alone. He said he hadn't the money to give me all I needed, but if I would be sensible and not make a fuss and a scandal, when he married the rich woman he expected to win that he would give me a fortune ample for myself and my children for the balance of my life. I think it was the thought of his marrying another woman when my child was coming into the world fatherless that made me beside myself, but I could not bear it and I said some dreadful things.

“'Now, I want to know what I can do, or if there is any law to defend a woman who makes a mistake; if there is, I know you will find it. I am going to swear to this, so you will know that I am in earnest, and will not back out like so many women do.

“'One other thing I think I ought to tell you. While we were talking he picked up the postal Dr. Earl sent me, from Magnolia, and then he began all over again and talked awfully about him. I don't know why, but he hates him and will injure him if he can.

“'You will find this at your office when you get back from the country; even now I can't bear to tell the whole truth, and yet I suppose you must know it if you are to help me. What fools women are, Miss Holland; I ought to hate him, and yet if it were to be the last word I should ever write—now, as I always have, I love Orrin Morris.

                     “'Your unhappy friend,
                     'EMMA BELL.'”

Silvia had scarcely finished the letter, pausing instinctively before she read the name of the guilty man, when the large man, who had been furtively keeping guard of the little group of witnesses where Dr. Morris was seated, sprang toward Morris in a vain attempt to knock from his hand a vial which he but that instant had touched to his lips. At the same moment a smaller man on the other side of the group made a similar effort, but they were both too late. Almost instantly the doomed man became rigid, a slight froth appeared on his lips, the pupils of his eyes dilated and the lids opened in a wide and horrible stare. There was a general rush in his direction on the part of the medical men gathered for the trial, but the first of the physicians to gain his side saw the hopelessness of any effort to save him and waved the crowd back. In less than five minutes he was dead, and in the sudden appalled silence the bailiffs cleared a way and removed the body, a considerable portion of the curious crowd following.

Every day during the trial Dr. Morris had occupied practically the same seat in the courtroom. His naturally colorless face gave no indication of the emotions within, and when Silvia's address told him all too plainly that his deeds were to be publicly uncovered, he turned a trifle more livid, but otherwise gave no evidence of his feelings. He had known for several days that he was under surveillance and he understood, at last, that the reason for his subpoena as an expert for the defense was to keep him constantly in attendance on the court, but he faced his ordeal with resolute will, if not with supreme courage. As often before during his career he had carefully scanned the path he was to tread and was prepared for every emergency. When the fatal exposure came, which he had hoped until the last might be withheld, he was determined that none should know aught from his lips concerning its truth or falsity. They might speculate as to the significance of his death by his own hand, but he would neither say nor do anything that would throw additional light upon the subject.

Poor Morris! Other learned professional men before him had sought to mystify the world as to their misdeeds by blotting out their own lives, not realizing that every accusing finger of the seen and the unseen world would be instinctively and unerringly pointed toward their mortal remains with the final and irrevocable verdict—“Suicide is confession.”

When quiet was restored the Court ordered the defendant to come forward, and Silvia, trembling with emotion, stepped to the front of the Judge's bench with him.

“It is quite evident, sir,” began the Judge, clearing his throat, “that a mistake has been made in your case. Not an intentional one, or one that could have been avoided, apparently. The manner in which you have been defended leaves not a vestige of suspicion attaching to you either in connection with this matter, your professional qualifications or your standing as a citizen. Let me assure you that such a result, under the circumstances, is most gratifying to all of the officers of the law, for our purpose is to guard society by punishing the guilty and protecting the innocent. Sir, you are discharged as a defendant in this case.”

Great applause greeted this speech from the Court, and the district attorney added his own tribute, while Silvia was given an impromptu reception by jurors, court officers and spectators. When this was over, and the throng that had surrounded her and her client went their way on the quest of new sensations, she found herself standing alone with him before the bench, in almost the identical spot where he had entered his plea of “Not guilty” a few weeks before. The Ramseys and Frank and Carroll were eagerly waiting their turn to shower congratulations upon them, but as John Earl took both her hands in his, Silvia was unconscious of all else. The eyes she lifted to his were swimming in happy tears that could not drown the love they revealed. He dared not trust his voice for more. Besides, what more was there to say? For all the world lay in the single word—“Silvia!”

       * * * * *

In a short time, Jack and Silvia were absorbed in their respective professions, but never failing in their duty to the great world movement that was making real the prophecy of England's poetic seer:

    “We two will serve them both in aiding her—
    Will clear away the parasitic forms
    That seem to keep her up but drag her down—
    Will leave her space to burgeon out of all
    Within her—let her make herself her own
    To give or keep, to live and learn and be
    All that not harms distinctive womanhood.”

There was no “task” to their duties, for the all-powerful though subtle inspiration of genuine love made each day only a part of a splendid dream which they felt could never end.

And the love that leads to high endeavor and unlocks the storehouses of human progress crowned their efforts with success, and humanity was better and nobler for their deeds and example.

THE END.

 
 
 

Back to the Index Page