John Marsh's Millions
by Charles Klein
JOHN MARSH'S MILLIONS
By CHARLES KLEIN AND ARTHUR HORNBLOW
COPYRIGHT 1910, BY G. W. DILLINGHAM COMPANY
When John Marsh, the steel man, died, there was considerable stir in
the inner circles of New York society. And no wonder. The wealthy
ironmaster's unexpected demise certainly created a most awkward
situation. It meant nothing less than the social rehabilitation of a
certain individual who, up to this time, had been openly snubbed, not
to say deliberately cut by everybody in town. In other words, Society
was compelled, figuratively speaking, to go through the humiliating and
distasteful performance of eating crow. Circumstances alter cases.
While the smart set was fully justified in making a brave show of
virtuous indignation when one of its members so far forgot himself as
to get kicked out of his club, it was only natural that the offending
gentleman's peccadilloes were to be regarded in a more indulgent light
when he suddenly fell heir to one of the biggest fortunes in the
It was too bad about Jimmy Marsh. His reputation was unsavory and
he deserved all of it. Total lack of moral principle combined with an
indolent, shiftless disposition had given him a distorted outlook on
things. All his life he had been good for nothing, and at the age of
forty he found himself a nuisance to himself and everybody else. Yet he
was not without a natural cunning which sometimes passed for smartness,
but he often overreached himself and committed blunders of which a
clever man would never be guilty. To put it plainly, Jimmy was crooked.
Fond of a style of living which he was not able to afford and desperate
for funds with which to gratify his expensive tastes, he had foolishly
attempted to cheat at cards. His notions of honor and common decency
had always been nebulous, and when one night, in a friendly game, he
clumsily tried to deal himself an ace from the bottom of the deck, not
even the fact that he was the brother and sole heir of one of the
richest men in the United States could save him from ignominious
The affair made a great noise at the time, and the newspapers were
full of its scandalous details. But the public soon forgets, and as to
the newspapersthey found other victims. Besides, Jimmy's prospects
were too bright to permit of him being dropped from sight altogether.
It was not forgotten that one day he would step into his brother's
shoes and then Society, willy nilly, would have to do homage to his
This rich brother, by the way, was largely responsible for Jimmy's
undoing. They were bothhe and Johnthe sons of poor English people
who immigrated to America five years after John's birth. The father was
a journeyman baker and started a small business in Pittsburg. Two
cousins of the same name, William and Henry, haberdashers by trade, had
likewise settled and prospered in New Jersey. Fifteen years later the
mother died in giving birth to another son. The elder boy, a taciturn,
hard-working lad with a taste for figures, had found employment in the
steel industry, then in its infancy, but growing with giant strides. As
he acquired experience, his position was improved until, before long,
he was known as one of the most expert steel workers in the iron
region. Suddenly, dire calamity befell the little family. One fateful
morning, while making his early rounds, the baker was run over and
killed by a railroad train. It was a staggering blow, but John rose
manfully to the emergency. Silent, serious, masterful, his brain
teeming with ideas that would revolutionize the entire steel trade, he
stoically buried his progenitor and despatched the orphaned Jimmy to
The years passed. The discoveries of vast ore fields in Michigan and
Wisconsin had made the United States the biggest producer of steel in
the world. The pace set was terrific, orders poured in from all corners
of the globe, plants were kept going night and day, a steady stream of
gold flowed into the coffers of the delighted steelmakers who soon
became millionaires over night. John Marsh had long since been a
partner in the company to which he had remained loyal since boyhood,
and in the orgy of profit sharing, he found himself with stock holdings
James naturally shared in the good fortune. The hard-working John
grudged nothing to the drone. He paid the boy's way through college and
gave him a liberal allowance. When he was old enough and had sufficient
schooling he'd put him in the steel business and make a man of him.
But, unfortunately, Jimmy was not made of the same stern stuff as his
brother. Expensive tastes and dubious acquaintances were about all that
he acquired at the University. He gambled and drank and got hopelessly
entangled in debt. John was not blind to his brother's faults, but, in
a measure, he excused them. To the elder brother, plodding, methodical,
sober, the hare-brained, irresponsible Jimmy was always the kid. What
was the use of taking him seriously? One day he'd get tired of making
an ass of himself. So he paid his debts without complaint. One day
Jimmy boldly demanded an increase in his allowance. John, still
unruffled, shook his head. No, kid, he said quietly, you must manage
with what I give you. When I'm gone you'll get it all. This was the
first time that John had hinted at the disposition he had made of his
fortune. Of course, it was only natural that an old bachelor should
leave practically everything to his only brother, but this was the
first intimation he had given of his intentions. Rendered almost
speechless from emotion, Jimmy hurried to the money lenders and
borrowed on futures to the limit.
This was the real starting point of Jimmy's downward course. From
now on he was unfitted for any serious effort. If he ever had any
ambition he lost it now. He lived solely on prospects. What was the
use of exerting himself, he argued, when any day he might come in for
millions? When he left Harvardunder a cloud, of courseJohn took him
in the steel works. But Pittsburg's strenuous, nerve racking, smoky
life did not appeal very strongly to a young man who thirsted for the
more voluptuous joys of Broadway. He left for New York saying he would
shift for himself, and John, secretly glad to be rid of him, gave him a
handsome cheque and his godspeed.
So well did Jimmy shift for himself that within a year he had
squandered $10,000 and was hopelessly involved in debt. Once more the
patient John straightened matters out, and when Jimmy said he thought
he could win out in Wall Street if only given the chance, he purchased
for him a seat on the Stock Exchange. Two years later, as a result of
certain stock jobbing operations, not entirely free from scandal, he
was temporarily suspended from the floor, and later forced to sell his
seat to satisfy clamoring creditors who threatened to put him in jail.
But thanks to the good John's liberal allowance, he was still able to
put on a respectable front and thus for years he merely drifted, at
heart a crook, but living the life of a gentleman of leisure, awaiting
patiently the day when he would come into his own.
The coming inheritance had thus gradually grown to be an obsession.
Night and day it occupied his thoughts. He could think and talk of
nothing else. His associates mockingly called him Inheritance Jim.
For twenty-five long years he waited for his brother to die, and when,
from time to time, John in his few and far-between letters casually
remarked that he was enjoying excellent health, he took the news almost
in the light of a personal injury.
The years went on. The other cousins, William and Henry had died,
each leaving a son. William's son, Peter Marsh, feeling within the
spiritual call, became a Presbyterian minister at Rahway, and taking to
himself a wife, succeeded in raising a numerous progeny on a very
slender income. Henry's son, Thomas Marsh, followed his father's trade
as haberdasher and barely managed to keep body and soul together. To
these poor relatives, also, the dollars of uncle John proved an
irresistible attraction. In order not to be forgotten, they wrote him
affectionate letters, none of which received as much as an
acknowledgment. Towards these impecunious cousins James Marsh assumed a
patronizing, almost friendly, attitude. On divers occasions when his
financial affairs became so critical that he had to negotiate a small
loan without delay he had found even their slender savings useful. In
return for these pecuniary services rendered he had not discouraged the
hope which they often expressed that uncle John would remember them
in his will. To serve his own ends he kept up the pleasant fiction that
he was on the best of terms with his brother and that he would gladly
use his influence in their interests.
As a matter of fact, nothing was further from the truth. He saw
nothing of John. As the brothers grew older they drifted further apart.
Months, years, passed without their seeing each other. When in urgent
need of funds James made flying trips to Pittsburg, he never saw his
brother anywhere but at his office. John never invited him to visit his
home, a lonely place situated some miles out in the suburbs.
Practically, the old man led the life of a recluse. At rare intervals
he would write to his brother James, enclosing a cheque in answer to a
begging letter, but otherwise he discouraged all attempts at intimacy.
The old gentleman kept entirely to himself, growing more reserved and
secretive about his affairs as the years passed. He saw absolutely no
one and of recent years had spent six months out of the twelve in
Europe. He might have been dead long ago for all that was seen of him.
But Jimmy did not worry. John's will was made, that he knew. Bascom
Cooley, his own friend and lawyer, had drawn it up and witnessed its
execution. He had it secure in his possession. If anything happened he
would be informed of it at once. So there was nothing to worry about.
All he had to do was to wait.
Meantime Jimmy, feeling the need of a companion, took to himself a
wife. The lady was the widow of a man named Chase, who had held high
position in one of the big insurance companies. The public
investigations came with their awkward disclosures, and Mr. Chase,
unable to face the limelight of publicity, conveniently succumbed to
heart failure, leaving to his relict a few thousand dollars and the
responsibility of looking after an eighteen-year-old sona slangy,
flippantly inclined youth rejoicing in the euphonious name of
Todhunter, but whom everyone, his cronies and creditors both, knew as
Tod. Mrs. Chase, a stout, vulgar-looking woman, with hair startlingly
yellow and teeth obviously false, met Mr. James Marsh at a dinner one
night, and when, between courses, the inevitable inheritance yarn was
detailed to her by an obliging neighbor, it at once flashed upon the
widow that here was a man whose acquaintance it might be worth her
while to cultivate. She had still a little money left out of the wreck
of the defunct Chase's estate, and this immediate cash asset, she
shrewdly reflected, might prove attractive to a man known to live up to
every cent of his income, but whose prospects were simply dazzling.
That he had no money of his own was no serious obstacle. Under the
circumstances they could afford to dip into her principal, and by the
time that was exhausted, the event which they both so devoutly desired
could not fail to have happened.
The golden bait, thus adroitly hooked, soon caught the fish, and for
the next year or two Mr. James Marsh had all the ready cash he needed.
At the suggestion of the widow, who naturally was anxious to see in the
flesh the mysterious brother on whose state of health so much depended,
John was cordially invited to attend the wedding which was solemnized
with much pomp at a fashionable Fifth Avenue Church. The wedding day
came but no John. Not even by as much as a card did he extend his
congratulations to the happy couple. The only members of the Marsh
family present were Peter, the Presbyterian minister and his wife, from
Rahway, and Thomas Marsh, the haberdasher and his wife, from Newark,
while the genial Tod, a broad grin on his face, stood up for his
The newly married pair took a showy house in West Seventy-second
Street, and while the money lasted they lived in magnificent style.
When it was gone they lived no less luxuriously, thanks to the
unwilling coöperation of overconfident tradespeople. Mrs. Marsh felt
that she could not get along without her motor car, her butler, and
half a dozen useless maid servants. It cost money to entertain so
lavishly and creditors were pressing, but her bridge parties could not
be interfered with for such a trifling reason. At the pace they lived
the few thousand dollars were soon exhausted, yet no matter. Even if
the butcher, the baker, or the domestic servants were kept waiting for
their money, the social prestige of the Marshes must be maintained.
It was far from being smooth sailing. Jimmy's wits were taxed to the
utmost to ward off creditors who grew more and more importunate in
their demands. One day while he was down town trying to raise a loan,
Mrs. Marsh was subjected to such a mortifying and humiliating
experience that she feared she would never rally from the nervous shock
it caused her. It was her regular day at home, and Henry, the butler,
stiff in gold embroidered livery, was busy at the front door ushering
in carriage arrivals. As already hinted, his mistress was long in
arrears with her tradespeople, and being ever apprehensive of a court
summons, she had given Henry implicit instructions to carefully
scrutinize all comers and slam the heavy door in their faces on the
slightest suspicion that the visitors were not all they appeared to be.
Having served the best families for nearly thirty years, Henry was in a
position to assure his employer that he was more than a match for the
wiliest lawyer. Nor had he overestimated his powers. Loudest among the
clamoring creditors was the milkman. His bill was formidable, and every
effort to collect it had failed. He procured a summons, but it was
found impossible to serve it. Every trick known to the thick-soled
sleuths of the sheriff's office was thwarted by the vigilant and
The worthy milkman suddenly conceived a bright idea. Among his
customers was a young woman lawyer to whom he spoke about the matter.
Properly indignant at the treatment to which he had been subjected she
offered to help him. She was a novice at serving summonses, but
possessed plenty of the quality so necessary in the courts known as
nerve. This modern Portia, after a preliminary survey of the premises
which she was to take by storm, quickly determined upon a plan of
action. Learning in the neighborhood that Mrs. Marsh was at home to
her friends every Thursday afternoon, she decided to be one of the
guests. Dressing herself in her best finery she took a hansom cab and
drove to West Seventy-second Street, arriving at the Marsh residence
simultaneously with a venerable old lady whom she politely assisted
with her wraps. The old dame had no recollection of having seen the
young woman before, but distrusting her own bad memory, concluded that
she was one of Mrs. Marsh's younger friends whom she had forgotten, and
thanked her profusely for her kind attentions. The two women approached
the front door together. To the hawk-eyed butler, always on the alert,
the young woman was a stranger, and, under ordinary circumstances, his
suspicions might have been aroused, but seeing her chatting in the most
cordial way with one of his mistress's oldest friends, he felt that any
questioning on his part would be resented as unwarranted impertinence.
Bowing low, therefore, he ushered the two ladies up the thickly
carpeted stairs into the beautifully decorated reception rooms, which
were already crowded with smartly dressed women. In the centre stood
the amiable hostess, the conventional smile of welcome on her face,
exchanging greetings with each arrival. When the new visitors were
announced everyone turned, and Mrs. Marsh pranced amiably forward. Her
venerable old friend she welcomed effusively, and then her eyes fell
inquiringly on the stranger. The smile disappeared, a shadow darkened
her face. Instinct told her something was wrong. Approaching the young
woman she said with asperity:
I haven't the pleasure
You're Mrs. Marsh, I believe, smiled the lawyer.
Yes, stammered the other, I'm Mrs. Marsh, but I haven't the
Quite so, replied the young woman coolly. Quickly drawing a long,
ominous-looking folded paper from her dress, she said archly and
This is for you, Mrs. Marsh. I regret to serve a summons in this
way, but your milkman has waited a long time, and all's fair in love
The people standing about tittered, and there was an embarrassing
silence. Mrs. Marsh, at first, wished the floor would open and swallow
her up. Then her eyes flashed with fury. Waving the unwelcome visitor
back out of reach of her guests' ears, she almost shouted:
Get out of here, hussy! How dare you steal into anyone's house in
this contemptible way? Out with you before I forget myself!
The astonished and crestfallen butler opened wide the door, not
daring to meet his irate mistress' eye, and the woman lawyer hastened
back to her client to report success.
Under the circumstances it was not surprising that this particular
Thursday did not count among Mrs. Marsh's successful At Homes. There
was a chill in the air which everyone remarked, and one by one the
visitors departed, each impatient to retail the good story elsewhere.
It was some time before Mrs. Marsh got over the shock, and from this
time on her troubles seemed to multiply. They came thick and fast. Even
Tod worried her. Tired of his fast companions, menaced with a
curtailment of the financial supplies which had made his idle life
possible, and hopeless under present home conditions of ever making a
decent career for himself, her son rebelled and suddenly startled his
mother by announcing his determination to go to work. He had been
offered the agency of an automobile firm, the engagement including also
a preliminary trip to Europe to negotiate for the representation of
some foreign cars. There was no need to hesitate over such an offer as
that. He was off to gay Paree! A week later he sailed, leaving his
mother and stepfather to weather the financial storm as best they
Matters did not mend after his departure. Creditors became more
insistent, subpoenas more numerous. Then one day, like a bolt from the
blue, came the final catastrophe which sent the whole Marsh edifice
tumbling like a house of cards. Something unexpectedly happened in Wall
Street. Caught in a bad squeeze of the shorts, involved in another
shady transaction of a nature still more serious than the last scandal,
Jimmy staggered home one night with ruin and worse staring him in the
face. This time there was no way out possible. He could not raise a
dollar, and Bascom Cooley, his lawyer and crony, the only man whose
skill and influence could save him, was absent in Europe. It was the
end of everything. He must either resign himself to prison stripes or
blow his brains out.
Affairs had reached this crisis in the Marsh household when late one
evening a messenger boy brought to West Seventy-second Street the
New York office notifies me Richard Marsh died suddenly in
Pittsburg yesterday. Am returning on the next steamer.
Nono, my boythis is on me! protested Mr. Cooley, drawing a wad
of money from his vest pocket and carelessly tossing a hundred-franc
note across the counter.
While the cockney bartender of the English Tavern in the Champs
Elysées counted out the change, Tod, with an unsteady hand, raised to
his lips the glass of foaming, sparkling Clicquot.
Here's to Uncle Dickbless him!
Amen! responded Mr. Cooley fervently.
The regular frequenters of the place, jockeys, bookmakers, racing
touts, and other persons of dubious appearance and pursuits who make up
that queer riffraff of British sporting characters always found
drifting about the French metropolis, either flush after recent
winnings at Longchamps or out at elbow from an extraordinary run of ill
luckall these worthies nudged each other and grinned as they watched
the two Americans. There was no doubt in everyone's mind as to the
nationality of the strangers. Only Yankees could afford the luxury of
opening fizz so early in the day. What the onlookers did not know, of
course, was that an event of exceptional importance had brought the two
Americans together on this particular morning and that Tod Chase and
Bascom Cooley, the well-known New York lawyer, were celebrating an
auspicious event by setting 'em up. Otherwise there would be little
excuse for loitering in the small, stuffy barroom, with its pungent
odor of stale beer and atmosphere thick with tobacco smoke, when the
call of the beautiful world without was so strong.
It was a glorious Spring morning, one of those perfect days when
Paris, decked in her loveliest raiment, is seen at her best. Under the
shade of the fine oak trees lining the entire length of the noble
avenue were dozens of buxom nou-nous, attractive in their neat
caps and long streamer ribbons. They sat knitting and gossiping while
their daintily dressed charges, happy and healthy, romped noisily in
the bright sunshine. Out in the broad, immaculately clean roadway, a
heavy three-horse omnibus Porte Maillot-Hôtel de Ville creaked
its way up to the Place de l'Etoile.
Todhunter Chase was not a bad-looking boy. There was something about
him which at once attracted the stranger. Small hours and cold bottles
had spoiled his complexion somewhat, and the vernacular and usages of
the Tenderloin had not improved his speech and manners. But people
overlooked his foibles because of his intense good nature. Nothing
could down that. Always smiling, always jolly, ever ready to go out of
his way to oblige a friend, it was little wonder that he was popular.
His features were well cut and his athletic, well-knit figure was well
groomed. With his frank, engaging personality and more than average
intelligence, there was no career in which he might not have done
himself credit. But unfortunately for Tod, he was afflicted with
matritis. In other words, his mother was solely to blame for his having
reached the age of twenty-five without earning as much as the price of
a celluloid collar button. Selfish and short sighted, as are many
mothers with growing sons, the then Mrs. Chase had preferred to have
her boy dangling at her skirts rather than see him prepare himself
seriously to battle with the world. After leaving college without
honors, he made a half-hearted effort to get something to do. He tried
a dozen things and succeeded in none. Utterly unable to concentrate on
any one thing he failed miserably in everything. Office routine he
found irksome; discipline intolerable. So, for several years he just
drifted, leading a lazy, irresponsible life that soon rendered him
unfit for anything, more than gambling or carousing with his cronies.
As he grew older he acquired more sense, but then it was too late. His
mother at times worried about it, but more often took it
philosophically. As long as the money held out, there was enough for
her boy. There was plenty of time to think of his future. Tod was so
popular that he would be sure to marry well. He would get some rich
girl whose father would take him in as partner. Then he would find a
position in life ready made. There was no hurry. Besides, would they
not be rich themselves one day? Thus had Tod's career, also, been
marred in a measure by the same dazzling prospects which had ruined
He was weak and he had been foolish, yet at heart Tod was not a bad
sort. A little wild, perhaps, as are most boys of his age and
opportunities, but by no means a fool. Anyone who took him for lacking
in gray matter would make a serious mistake. His moral sense was
blunted and his environments were badthat was all. The fundamentals
were good and when a man's fundamentals are good his case is never
Always in buoyant spirits, to-day Tod felt especially jubilant.
Things certainly seemed to have changed for the better. He had been in
Paris only two weeks, and he had already secured the American agency of
two of the most important French automobile makers, and on top of this
unlooked-for success had come the surprising news from home that John
Marsh was dead at last. The event so long waited for had actually
happened. Too much good fortune is bad for anyone, and for the last few
hours Tod had been celebrating not wisely, but too well. His face was
flushed and his speech thick as he went on:
The old gentleman must have been a decent sort to cash in just now.
It couldn't have come at a better moment. Things at home were getting
pretty queer. Jimmy will be simply tickled to death!
His companion, a big, heavily built, coarse-looking man,
considerably his senior in years, pursed his lips and nodded.
I guess you're not sorry, he said dryly.
Hang it! Cooley, why should I care? cried Tod explosively. He was
nothing to me. I never even saw him. Yetdo you knowI sometimes felt
a sneaking respect for the old man for the delicious way he snubbed
Jimmy. No doubt he was disgusted with him long ago. You know he
wouldn't see him or have anything to do with him. I guess he knew him
better than any of us. Jimmy's the limitthere's no doubt of that. I'm
no saint myself, but I know when to stop. The mater must have been
wuzzy when she married him. She's had a peck of trouble with
himyou've no idea! Of course this windfall puts everything right. I'd
have given a couple of hundred to have seen Jimmy's face when he opened
Mr. Cooley smiled grimly.
YesI guess he didn't sleep much that night. He's waited long
Waited! ejaculated the other. Why, he has thought of nothing
elsesleeping or waking. If anything should happen to rob him of that
inheritance I think it would kill him.
Ain't much chance of that, replied the lawyer, puffing out his
chest. I drew up the will. When Bascom Cooley attends to a thing, it's
likely to be for keeps. The will was witnessed and executed right in my
presence, so there isn't any question about it. The will is now in our
safe-deposit vaults. That is why I must go back immediately. Nothing
can be done until I return. By the time I reach New York, the funeral
will be over. Then we can read the will.
Bascom Cooley, who for many years had looked after the late John
Marsh's interests, and to-day was one of Jimmy Marsh's closest cronies,
was one of the most widely known criminal lawyers in the United States.
His reputation was not of the best, but he was prosperous and the world
forgives much to the successful man. Shrewd, utterly unprincipled, all
kinds of questionable yet profitable legal business came his way, and
thanks to a brilliant talent, and a domineering, blustering manner
which intimidated judge and jury alike, he usually contrived to score a
victory for his client. It is true that only the guilty went to him.
Law breakers knew that if Bascom Cooley could not help them escape the
consequences of their misdeeds no one else could. He was known to be a
crooked lawyer. Corrupt practices, flagrant dishonesty, shameless
perjury of which he had been guilty had often been hinted at, yet none
dare attack him openly. His mysterious influence with the big political
leaders made him a man to be feared. It was Cooley's boast that the law
could not touch him. When it was seen that by the powerful influence
behind him he could break policemen, smother indictments, muzzle the
authorities, and make and unmake judges at will, the public began to
He was born in New York City, of Irish parents. His father was a
policeman who, thanks to political pull, was able to reach a captaincy.
His salary and perquisites enabled him to give his son a better
education than he himself had received, and when it came to the
choosing of a career, Bascom decided on law. He was admitted to the Bar
and began practice in the ninth ward where he had the advantage of his
father's influence. A chip of the old block, he realized early in life
the power of money. He resolved to be successful, no matter by what
means, and with this determination constantly in mind it is not
surprising that he soon became involved in all kinds of shady schemes,
all looking to the fattening of his bank roll. In a single notorious
real-estate dealthe purchase of land for the purpose of a public
parkhe robbed the city of nearly $250,000. That is to say, it was
shown that the price the city was compelled to pay for the land was
exactly $250,000 more than it was worth. Not that he himself got all
the money. He did not expect that. More than half of the spoils in the
gigantic, bare-faced steal, went to the men higher up, to those in the
inner ring of boodle politicians, a shameless coterie of rascals who at
once brought to bear all the power of the System to shield Bascom
Cooley from prosecution and themselves from exposure and disgrace.
Laughing at threats of disbarment, snapping his fingers at the hue and
cry in the newspapers, Mr. Cooley went his way, stealing, perjuring
himself, openly defying public opinion.
The news of John Marsh's death was most welcome to Mr. Cooley. He
was taking a vacation in Europe and enjoying the sights of Paris when
his New York office notified him of what had occurred, and he cabled
that he would return at once. For a long time the wily attorney had had
his eye on the Marsh millions. Otherwise, how explain his close
friendship for Jimmy Marsh? Such a poor, weak fool could have nothing
in common with the famous lawyer whose brain teemed only with big
schemes. If he tolerated Jimmy, and dined and wined him and got him
elected at his club when no other club would admit him, it was with a
purpose distinctly Machiavellian in view. When Jimmy's financial
affairs reached an acute crisis it was always Mr. Cooley who obligingly
bridged the chasm. Jimmy, as already hinted, had borrowed freely on his
prospects. Cooley was nearly always the lender. Now the time had come
to settle, and Mr. Cooley promised himself not only to get back his
own, plus interest, but a substantial bonus besides. He knew a few
things about Jimmy Marshthings Jimmy would rather not have the world,
and especially the yellow newspapers, know. And no doubt Jimmy would
pay up like a man. The money had come at a most convenient time. He had
some big deals on hand and needed cash badly. Things could not have
turned out better. He would go back at once and get in touch with
things. It was while he was hurrying from his hotel to go and secure
his passage home by the first steamer that he stumbled across Tod, who
cheerfully accepted his invitation to drink to the health of the
Tod, who had been silent for a few minutes, apparently lost in
thought, suddenly blurted out:
What gets me is that the old man left Jimmy any money at all! They
never saw each other. The old man utterly disapproved of his brother's
way of living, and had nothing to do with him.
There was no one else to whom he could leave itthat's why,
replied the lawyer. John Marsh, he went on, was a peculiar man. He
was distant and reserved, I might say secretiveeven with me, his
legal adviser. No one knew the real workings of his mind. I drew up his
will according to a rough draft, written by him.
When was that?
Twenty-five years ago.
Tod gave vent to an expressive whistle.
So Jimmy has been waiting twenty-five years?
Yes, said the lawyer, twenty-five yearsthe average span of
Suppose he has made another will since? Did Jimmy ever think of
Mr. Cooley shrugged his shoulders.
Nono danger of that. Why should he? If he had, wouldn't I know of
it? I have always remained on the best of terms with the old gentleman.
I have attended to other legal business for him, so if he did change
his mind in regard to the disposition of his estate, why wouldn't he
come to me? No, I don't think so. He kept aloof from his brother, but
it's no more than he did from anyone else. The man was
eccentricpeculiaryou must let it go at that.
What was the old beggar worth? Have you any idea?
Twenty years ago he was several times a millionaire. What he has
done with the money, how he has invested it, I can't say. But he was no
spendthrift. There'll be enough to go round, I promise you that.
Draining his glass, he added: I suppose you'll give up this automobile
business now, and go back and do some fancy figure skating on Broadway.
There's more fun in that, eh?
Tod shook his head.
NoCooleyyou're wrong. Like everyone else, you think I'm crazy
for money. But I'm nothonest to God! I've had my fling and I'm
through. I'm sick of Broadway, its rotten men and painted women. I'm
sick of that idle, stupid existence which stifles every decent impulse
a fellow may have. It's always the same, the same crowd, the same
drinks and stunts, the same old headache the next morning. I tell you
I'm through with that sort of life. I believe I was intended for
something better, and, by God, I'm going to make the effort! These last
two weeks I've actually respected myself because I've succeeded in
making my board bill. Let Jimmy and mater enjoy the money. I want none
of it. I tell you I'm going to win out by myself. You see if I don't!
Herehave another drink!
The lawyer laughed. This kind of talk from Tod was something
entirely new. He wondered how much the champagne was responsible for
Shall you go back to New York? he asked.
Oh, I suppose so, replied Tod carelessly. I ought to go on
general principles. I only came here on a brief visit.
I sail to-morrow on the Adriatic, said the lawyer. Come
The young man shook his head.
That's out of the question. I still have some business to attend
to. I may go Saturday on the Touraine.
Oh, then you'll be right behind me. I'll let them know you're on
the way home.
Tell Jimmy not to have all the money spent before I get there,
The lawyer made a move towards the door.
WellI must be off. It's late, and I've a lot to attend to. I have
to go to the Palais-Royal first. Are you going my way?
A moment later they were on the avenue hailing a cab. The cocher, aroused by the promise of an extra pourboire, drove off briskly
in the direction of the Rue de Rivoli, and soon they were rolling
smoothly along that street of wonderful arcades. Passing the gilded
gates of the Tuileries gardens they soon came abreast of the Louvre.
Tod glanced up at the gloomy, time-discolored walls.
That's one place I must take in before I leave Paris. Not that I
know one picture from another. Ever been there?
Mr. Cooley gave a snort of disapproval.
Naw, he grunted. I've no time to spend in sepulchres. I prefer
the Bal Tabarin myself.
Among the extraordinary attractions which makes Paris the show place
of Europe, the historic Palace of the Louvre possesses, curiously
enough, the least drawing power of any. Its popularity, from the
tourist viewpoint, at least, certainly falls far short of that enjoyed
by the Moulin Rouge. In other words, the Louvre, vast repository as it
is of the art wealth of the world, would seem to contain little
attraction for the multitude. The annual picture expositions in the
Champs Elysées are always crowded to suffocation, especially on free
days, showing that the common people are not wholly indifferent to art,
but for some reason which has never been satisfactorily explained, the
celebrated museum, the one-time residence of the Kings of France, with
all its historic memories, its priceless pictures and endless rooms
filled with sculptures and antiquities is treated with indifference and
neglect. The blasé Parisian takes no interest in it, because it
is at his very door. If he loves pictures, he prefers the annual
Salon where he regales on the latest conceptions of the various
modern schools. To him, the Louvre belongs to the past, in common with
the Sorbonne, the Pantheon, Notre Dame, and other public monuments
which constitute the city's pride.
To-day the Louvre recruits its visitors chiefly from provincial folk
and foreigners. Cook's tourists, open-mouthed, heavy-booted, and
breathless, rush headlong through the rooms, their feet resounding
noisily on the highly polished parquet floors, slippery as ice and
shining like mirrors, rudely disturbing the almost religious silence of
the deserted galleries. Like a flock of stupid sheep driven by a
hoarse-voiced shepherd who acts as official guide, they stumble from
room to room, following the long, puzzling labyrinth of corridors,
understanding nothing of the stereotyped explanations shouted at them,
merely glancing at and quite indifferent to, the art wealth of the
centuries which looks disdainfully down upon them from every side.
Attendants in uniform, a cocked hat worn jauntily over their left ear,
an expression of utter weariness on their stolid, soldier-like faces,
walk listlessly up and down with measured tread, secretly despising
these foreign barbarians who display so little interest in the great
masters, watching with eagle eye that one of the vandals does not stick
his umbrella through a priceless Rembrandt or Correggio.
Here and there, secluded in distant corners, sitting or standing
near favorite pictures, which they have come to love as though they
were their own, are the true art lovers, the copyists, who spend weeks,
months, sometimes years in futile attempts to transfer to modern canvas
the wonderful transparent coloring of a Tintoretto, a da Vinci or a
Raphael. They are of both sexes. Some are old and others are young. One
is a venerable old man, with long, snow-white hair and patriarchal
beard, who for half a century has earned a scant living copying the
masters. Others are neatly dressed, slim-looking girlsart students of
all nationstimidly trying to reproduce works whose fame has rung
around the world. Monday is the copyists' favorite day, for then the
great Museum is closed to the general public, and by special permission
the artists have the huge palace and its precious contents all to
themselves. They are not annoyed by the crowding and rude staring of
thoughtless strangers. Bent over their easels, they are alone in the
great palace, amid silence as heavy and impressive as that in a church.
Perched on top of a high stool, her fingers skillfully, yet
delicately plying the brush, a young woman sat copying one of Raphael's
Madonnas. The picture showed the Virgin, radiant and beatified, holding
the chubby Infant Jesus, while Joseph, slightly in the background,
looks benignly on. The coloring in the original was wonderful. The
transparent blue of Mary's gown, the living flesh tints of both mother
and Child were well-nigh unattainable with modern pigments, and the
young artist, descending from the stool to get a better perspective,
made a gesture of discouragement as she realized how far her own work
She was a tall, striking-looking brunette with large dark eyes and
classic features crowned by a mass of black hair, carelessly yet not
unbecomingly arranged. Her girlish, slender figure suggested youth,
while the delicate features and a broad intellectual forehead indicated
refinement and more than average intelligence. Dressed in deep
mourning, the sombre garments emphasized still more sharply the extreme
pallor of her face. Her eyes were red as if from recent weeping. Just
now, however, her thoughts were concentrated on the important work on
hand, and so engrossed was she in her painting that she did not hear a
man's approaching footsteps. He was close up to her before she was
aware of his proximity.
Well, Paula, he called out in stentorian tones, how is it going?
Startled, the young girl turned quickly. When she saw who it was,
her face broke into a smile.
Oh, Mr. Ricaby, how you frightened me! I did not hear you coming.
These galleries are so lonely that even one's friends scare one.
Pointing to the canvas resting on the easel in front of her, she
exclaimed gleefully: See how hard I've been working!
The newcomer, a smooth-faced man of forty with whitening hair and
kind gray eyes, smiled indulgently as he silently noted the morning's
progress. Yet his attention was not given exclusively to the picture.
By the glance he gave the canvas and the way he looked at the artist, a
keen observer might have guessed which he admired most. That he was in
love with the girl was plain enough on the circumstantial evidence
alone, nor was it less clear that either she was ignorant of his
feelings, or did not care. True, he was old enough to be her father. To
her, he was a good friend, nothing more. Long ago he had realized this,
and the love words on his lips had always died away before they were
spoken. He suffered in silence. When a man of forty loves for the first
Leon Ricaby was intended for the church. His personality as well as
his training made that his natural vocation. His pale, ascetic-looking
face, with its spiritual, thoughtful expression gave him an appearance
quite clerical, while his rich and resonant voice, and grave,
deliberate enunciation constantly suggested pulpit eloquence. Even as a
boy he was serious and studious, and as he approached manhood his mind
became filled with noble ideas regarding the uplifting of mankind. He
became an idealist, and, not content with mere words, carried his
theories into the New York slums, doing more than his share in the work
of rescuing the degraded and unfortunate. He felt within a call to the
ministry, and, on taking holy orders, had entered upon his duties with
all the impassioned fervor of a zealot. To established dogmas he paid
little heed. Christ was his Church. He tried to model his own life
after that of the humble Nazarene. But he soon realized the
impossibility of leading a consistent Christ-like life amid
twentieth-century conditions. He found no trace of Christ anywhere.
Within the Church itself there was not only an unholy traffic in
preferments, but he found his fellow clergy, curates, rectors, bishops
at war among themselves, self-seeking, greedy for power and money. The
men and women in his congregations were envious, selfish, malicious,
hypocritical. It made him sick at heart, and when he found that he
could no longer reconcile the inconsistencies of spiritual truths to
his intellectual point of view, he left the Church and took up the
study of law. Admitted to the Bar, he began to practice in New York,
but only with indifferent success. In this career, also, his conscience
proved a stumbling block. He soon discovered that men employed him not
to teach them how to obey the law, but how to evade it. Again he
rebelled. He refused cases that did violence to his principles no
matter how profitable they might be. He declined to defend law breakers
whom he knew to be guilty. Those persons of whose innocence he was
assured, he would defend with all the energy and skill at his command,
giving his services gratuitously to those who could not afford to pay,
and in the court-room his outbursts of eloquence seldom failed to
convince the jury. Thus for years he plodded on according to his
conscience. He was not rich. Such rare triumphs as he scored in the
courts could not make him wealthy. A long spell of hard work had caused
a breakdown in his health, and on his physician's advice he had taken a
trip to Europe. In Paris he had run across Paula Marsh whose
acquaintance he had made in America.
He had first met her when she was doing Settlement work in New
York's Ghetto. A consistent altruist, even after he began to practice
law, he did not lose his interest in the splendid organizations which
seek to improve the conditions of the poor. He found Paula the leader
of a group of ardent young womenall girls of easy circumstances, yet
willing to forego social pleasures, and spend their days in congested
districts, visiting filthy tenements reeking with disease-laden air, in
order to alleviate human suffering and bring a ray of comfort to
unfortunates who had almost abandoned hope. This, mused the lawyer, was
true Christianity. He found that Paula had convictions and ideas which
were in sympathy with his own views and this naturally drew them
together. As the intimacy grew Leon Ricaby began to nourish in his
heart the hope that one day he could make Paula his wife, but the wish
thus far, at least, had found no response in his companion. She enjoyed
the society of this man who had struggled and suffered, whose ideals
had been shattered. She admired him for his moral courage in living up
to his principles, but that he expected she might ever be more to him
than a friend had never for an instant entered her thoughts. A good
friend he certainly had been. When her mother died he alone consoled
her in her sorrow, and now that this new crisis had arisen in her
lifethe sudden death of her father, necessitating her immediate
return to Americahe stood ready to assist her again with his advice
Wellwhere have you been all morning? she asked lightly.
Running all over Paris, he answered. I've seen the house agent
and arranged for the cancellation of the lease of your apartment. I've
been to the steamship office and booked our passages. We sail on the
Touraine next Saturday.
Paula dropped her palette and looked up in consternation.
Next Saturdaythe day after to-morrow? she exclaimed. It's
impossible! It will take another fortnight to finish this picture.
Mr. Ricaby shook his head.
Then the picture must remain unfinished, he said impatiently. We
must sail Saturday. Changing his tone, he went on almost coaxingly:
Surely, Paula, you realize what is at stake! There is no time to be
lost. The cable announcing your father's death reached you five days
ago. According to his instructions the old will was not to be opened
until three weeks after his demise. That will give us just time to
reach New York before the old will is offered for probate. Don't you
see the danger of delay? A large fortune awaits you. If you don't go to
America and claim it, you may lose it all. Can't you be ready?
The girl's pale face flushed with anger. Hotly she said:
I can't go until my work is done. You lawyers are all alikeonly
the material, sordid things of life have any weight with you. I think
more of my work than of all the money in the worldyou know that. Why
must I go to America? To be compelled to meet and be pleasant to
relatives who at this moment are unaware of my very existence, and who
will have every reason to detest me and consider me an interloper. I
hate America. What has America ever done for me? It robbed me all these
years of a father who, had he seen more of his only child, might have
learned to love me. Its severe climate killed my mother, and, when she
went, I was alonewithout even a friend.
Have you forgotten me? he interrupted quietly.
Quick to remark the note of reproach in his voice, she held out her
Forgive me, she murmured. It is most ungrateful of me to talk
like that. Yesyou are indeed my friend. I shall never be able to
repay all that you have done for me. Forgive me. This sudden terrible
news from America has unnerved me. I'm all unstrung. Don't mind what I
say. I'll go to New York if you think it necessary, but my workwhat
of my work?
Your work? he echoed gravely. Haven't you other work left undone
in New York? Work more important than that you are now doing?
Your Settlement workhave you forgotten those poor people in the
slums who each day looked forward to your coming as if you were an
angel sent from Heaven to dry their tears and bid them not despair? Has
it not occurred to you during these past few days what God might wish
you to do with the large fortune your father has left you? You are so
different to most women. You are not vain, selfish, preoccupied only
with foolish, trivial pleasures. At least I think you are not. I like
to imagine that you are one of those noble women who would not hesitate
to devote her life, her fortune, to the cause of suffering humanity.
Think what good you might do with your inheritance. Paulasurely you
realize that this is the opportunity of your life!
He spoke eloquently, pleadingly, his resonant voice resounding rich
and mellow through the empty corridors. As the girl listened, her face
grew thoughtful. She clasped and unclasped her hands nervously. Her
large, luminous eyes shone with a new light. Rapidly, spasmodically,
with growing exaltation, she replied:
Yesyesyou are right. I had not thought of that. My work is
therenot here. We will go at onceat once. I'll start packing
Mr. Ricaby smiled.
That's the way to talk, he said cheerily. You see I knew you
better than you knew yourself. Of course, it won't be altogether plane
sailing. You must be prepared for
Prepared for what? she demanded, looking at him curiously.
Well, you see, you'll have to meet your relatives, and, as they are
totally ignorant of your very existence, your sudden appearance will be
a shock to them, especially to your Uncle James who, during all these
years, has come to look upon the money as his own.
Poor Uncle James! she murmured. I'm so sorry.
Don't waste any sympathy on him. He isn't worth it, smiled the
lawyer. Your uncle, I'm sorry to say, does not enjoy a very good
reputation in New York. His brother knew his character and would have
nothing to do with him. Your father kept his marriage a secret from him
and rather than destroy the old will, in which he had left James
everything, he made a new one leaving everything to you.
Paula turned away in order to hide the tears that filled her eyes.
Poor father, she murmured. I would rather have had his love than
A lump rose in the lawyer's throat, and, the better to conceal his
feelings, he suddenly became interested in the surrounding paintings.
His heart went out to this orphaned girl. Practically she stood alone
in the world to fight her battles. He realized the probability of the
later will being fiercely contested. He thought with forebodings of the
impending and long drawn-out legal battle, of all the insults that the
disappointed James Marsh and his family would heap upon this
defenceless girltheir hints of illegitimacy and other unscrupulous
methods of attack, all of which would distress and humiliate a delicate
and sensitive girl. If she knew what was in store for her, perhaps she
would hesitate. But she would not fight the battle alone as long as he
was able to champion her cause. He would see that her rights were fully
Taking up her palette and brushes Paula went on with her painting.
Quietly she said:
Very well, Mr. Ricaby. You know best. We will sail on Saturday.
That's a sensible girl! I came to take you to luncheon. It's just
twelve o'clock. Can you come?
She pointed at the canvas.
I have still a little to finish. Then I'm done for the day. I can't
work in the afternoonthe light is not good. Couldn't you make it half
an hour later?
Certainly. That will give me time to go to the American Express
office. I must see them about shipping your baggage. I'll come back for
you in half an hour.
He lifted his hat and went away.
The sound of the lawyer's retreating footsteps died away in the
distance. Once more a heavy stillness settled down over the gallery.
Left to herself, the young girl resumed working with increased vigor.
As her brushes moved rapidly, touching places here and there, now
seeking fresh color on the palette, now making some spot on the rapidly
progressing canvas glow with rich tints, her movements gradually grew
more or less mechanical. While her hand kept busy, her thoughts were
She was sorry to leave Paris. Much that she held dear, her friends,
the bohemian student life which she loved, she must now give up
forever. A new world, new acquaintances claimed her. Yes, Mr. Ricaby
was right. It was her duty to go back and do good with the fortune
which fate had sent her. She would seek happiness by making others
happy. She would use the money left by her father to alleviate the
sufferings of the unfortunate. She would build model tenements, endow
hospitals and homes for orphaned and crippled children. She would make
that her life work. Her face flushed with pleasure as she planned out
all that she could do. Mr. Ricaby should be her legal adviser. He would
tell her how to invest her fortune to best advantage, so she might do
all the good possible. It would reconcile her to leaving Paris if she
could devote her life to trying to solve the social problem.
Her thoughts reverted to her childhood days in America. She had a
dim recollection of living in a great gloomy house in the outskirts of
an ugly, smoky city. At night when she went to bed she could see in the
distance tall chimneys belching flame, terrifying tongues of flame that
reached almost to the sky. They lived very quietly and saw no one. Her
father, reserved and uncommunicative, discouraged callers, and her
mother, a French woman, not understanding the language very well, made
no acquaintances among her neighbors. Then she went to the convent
school where she was educated, and after that they moved to Paris and
made a long stay with relatives of her mother. On the return to America
they lived quietly for a time in New York, seeing absolutely no one,
and it was at this period that she became seriously interested in
She wondered why her father had always insisted on keeping his
marriage secret. It was not because he was ashamed of her mother, who
came of a distinguished family. He must have been fond of her in his
undemonstrative way, for he cried bitterly when she died. For some time
he seemed to find comfort in his daughter's companionship, but little
by little the man's eccentricities estranged them. Owing to his
frequent absences she saw less and less of him until, at last, she
asked to be allowed to return to Paris to study art. He readily
acquiesced and provided her with a comfortable allowance. To their
friend, Leon Ricaby, to whom he handed a long envelope, he had said in
her hearing: This, Mr. Ricaby, contains my last will. I have named you
as executor. I have left everything to Paula. If anything happens to
me, look after my little girl. Another will, executed years ago, in my
brother's favor, is in existence. For reasons of my own I do not wish
to destroy that will. It would lead to explanations and unpleasantness
I would rather avoid. But this new will post-dates the old one. This is
the only valid will. That was only six months ago, and now he, too,
Thus absorbed in these reflections, Paula did not notice how
dangerously her stool tilted on the treacherous, highly polished
parquet floor. There was a little spot high up on the canvas which she
wanted to reach, so, slightly elevating herself, she leaned forward,
palette in one hand, brush extended in the other. Suddenly the stool
slipped backwards and she was thrown heavily against the easel which
went crashing to the ground, the picture, palette, paint box, and
brushes being hurled in all directions. It was all over before she had
time to cry out, and the next instant she found herself sitting
unceremoniously on the floor in the midst of all the débris.
Gee! That was a tumble! Not hurt, are you? exclaimed a man's voice
Paula looked up in amazement. She had heard no footsteps and had no
idea that anyone was near. Standing looking down at her, his face
trying to suppress a grin, was a young man of about twenty-five. He was
rather loudly dressed in a check lounging suit and red tie, and as much
by his manner as by his clean-shaven face and clothes she took him for
a fellow countryman. Just like an American's bad breeding to laugh at
a woman's misfortune, was her inward indignant comment.
Lifting his hat, he extended his hand to assist her to rise.
Lucky I happened along, eh? he grinned.
Paula carefully stretched out her arms to make sure that no bones
You didn't prevent my fall, she said ruefully.
No, he laughed, but it's given me an excuse to make the
acquaintance of a pretty girl.
She tried to look displeased and dignified, but the stranger's
impudence and breezy familiarity amused her. He was a clean-cut, rather
good-looking boy, and his laugh was not only contagious but positively
refreshing after Mr. Ricaby's depressing conversation and funereal
How did you know that I understood English? she inquired.
Pointing to a copy of Galignani's Messenger in which her
palette and brushes had been wrapped, he said with a chuckle:
I saw thatjumped at conclusionsthat's all. I'd make good as a
Sherlock Holmes, eh, what? Besides, don't you suppose I can spot an
American girl when I see one?
I'm only half American, she answered, surprised to find herself
conversing so glibly with a perfect stranger. My mother was French. My
father was an American.
Noticing that she spoke in the past tense and remarking her mourning
dress, he surmised that her parents were dead. She interested him, and
it was more sympathy than idle curiosity that prompted the query:
Where do you liveNew York?
She shook her head.
No, I live here, or, rather, have done so until quite recently. I'm
going to America next Saturdayto live there for good.
Next Saturday! he cried, in surprise. Say, that's odd! I'm going
on the Touraine myself!
The TouraineyesI think that's the name of the boat.
Almost apologetically she added: You see I haven't travelled very
much. Looking at him more closely, she inquired:
You are an American?
He grinned, showing fine white teeth.
I try to be. Greatest country on earth. My name's Todhunter
Chase'Tod' for short you know. Everyone calls me Tod. It's hard to be
dignified with such a name, ain't it?
Suddenly the girl caught sight of her painting which, hurled a dozen
paces away, was lying face down in the dust.
Oh, my picture! she exclaimed anxiously. I do hope it's not
She started forward to pick it up, but Tod, by a quick jump, got
there before her.
No damage done! he cried triumphantly. With a careless laugh he
added: Anyhow, it's only a picture.
Only a picture! she exclaimed indignantly as she clasped the
precious canvas to her breast. Don't you love what is your own? I've
worked six long months over it. I wouldn't have anything happen to it
for anything in the world. Don't you like pictures?
He gave a broad grin as he answered:
Pictures? I'm crazy for 'emespecially the kind engraved on a $500
U. S. Treasury note. I'm perfectly dippy over those.
Dippy? What's that? she asked, puzzled.
Ohyou're not familiar with Broadway slang, are you? Well'dippy'
is most expressive and up to date. It means that one's joy over a
certain thing is so keen that the mental faculties are put temporarily
out of gear.
She laughed heartily. He was certainly droll, this American. He made
her laugh and that in itself was a novel sensation. As she packed up
her things, she asked:
What is your life work?
My what? he gasped.
Your work. What is your occupation?
Oh, you mean what I do for a living? Puffing out his chest he went
on proudly: I'm in the automobile business, and I'm a cracker jack at
it, too. Only been in it a month, but I guess I've made good all
She smiled at his unblushing self-conceit.
Only been at it a month? she echoed. Why, what did you do before
The question seemed to embarrass him.
Oh, I worked hard enough, he replied carelessly. I got up at
noon, had breakfast, played golf or took a spin in the machine, ran in
to the club, dressed for dinner, ate, went to a show, back to clubs,
played poker till three A. M., back home. Same old thing week in, week
out, all through the season. Isn't that hard work?
Hard workyes, she answered quietly. I should think that very
hard work if I had to do it. But I don't think it is exactly the kind
of work a self-respecting man should do. Looking him straight in the
face, she added: At least, not the kind of man I would care to
Tod shuffled his feet as if ill at ease. Under the scrutiny of her
calm gaze he seemed to lose some of his self-assurance.
You're dead right! he stammered nervously. But what can a fellow
do? When one's in a certain set, one has to live as everyone else
does. Summoning up courage, he demanded boldly: If you lived in New
York and knew everybody, wouldn't you like to have a jolly good time?
She shook her head.
I should live as I want to live, she answered calmly. My
happiness would consist in making others happy. If I were rich, I would
go among the poor and try to lighten the burdens of those less
fortunate than I.
He laughed scornfully.
Oh, you're one of those freak suffragettesa socialist!
She smiled as she replied:
I am a Christiana socialist if you will. There was an amused
expression on her face as she asked: What do you know of socialism?
Oh, it's a lot of rot, he retorted. We see 'em in New Yorklazy,
wild-eyed guys with dirty faces and long hair, blowing off hot air on
Union Square, organizing strikes, throwing bombs, and raising Cain
generally. They're usually bums out of a job. As long as they've no
money they're rabid socialists; directly they make a little money, they
become capitalists. They're fakirs, all right!
Paula shook her head. Gravely she said:
I'm afraid you've got the wrong idea altogether. Socialism is
beautiful. It is the one thing that will save mankind from decadence
and gradual extinction. I am a socialist because I am a Christian.
Christ loved the poor and the lowly. I try to follow in His footsteps.
Tod looked at her in amazement. The kind of girls he was accustomed
to associate with talked quite differently. Unconsciously his manner
grew more respectful.
So you're sailing on the Touraine! Say, isn't that a queer
coincidence? Awfully nice, though. I'll see you on board, won't I?
That'll be jolly. He stopped and hesitated. Then looking at her
sheepishly, he said with a grin: Now, I've told you my name, may I
know yours? Rather informal introduction, what?
Paula hesitated. Was it altogether proper to talk to a stranger in
this way? But he seemed such a nice, ingenuous young man. Surely there
could be no great harm in it. Before, however, she could reply, her
ears caught the sound of approaching footsteps, and at the same instant
she heard the big church clock outside striking the half hour. It was
Mr. Ricaby returning to take her to lunch. In another moment the lawyer
appeared. As he came up he stopped short, as if surprised to find her
conversing with a total stranger. Puzzled, he stared from one to the
other. Paula quickly explained:
I had a little mishap. I fell from the stool and this gentleman
very kindly came to my assistance. Introducing the two men, she said:
Mr. Leon RicabyMr. Todhunter Chase.
Tod nodded and Mr. Ricaby bowed stiffly. Feeling that he was now in
the way, the younger man turned to go. Removing his hat, he asked
Since we're to be fellow passengers on the Touraine, may I
not have the pleasure of knowing the name of the lady to whom I was
able to be of some assistance?
Mr. Ricaby frowned disapproval, but Paula, now safely chaperoned,
hesitated no longer. Promptly she said:
My name is Paula Marsh.
Tod could not suppress a start of surprise.
Marsh! he echoed. By Jove! that's another odd coincidence! My
stepfather's name is MarshMr. James Marsh, of West Seventy-second
It was now Mr. Ricaby's turn to be astonished.
Then you are? he cried.
I'm Tod Chase. My mother married Jimmy Marsh. I'm going back home
to take part in a family jollification. You know his brother just died,
and Jimmy has come in for a windfall.
Paula, who was busy packing her things, had not heard, but Mr.
Ricaby quickly gave the young man a significant nudge.
Hush! he said. You're speaking of her father!
Tod gave a gasp.
Her father! he exclaimed.
Yesher father, said the lawyer quietly. John Marsh married her
mothera Frenchwomantwenty-two years ago. He kept the marriage
Tod gave vent to a low but expressive whistle.
Then his money? he gasped.
Goes to his daughter, of course, answered the lawyer, with studied
But the will exclaimed the other. The will which Bascom
Cooley, Jimmy's lawyer, has had in his possession all these years?
Absolutely valueless, replied Mr. Ricaby coolly. Before he died
John Marsh made a new will. I have it safe in my own keeping. We are
going to New York to offer it for probate.
This sudden and unexpected revelation was too much for Tod. Rendered
speechless, he just stared at the lawyer. Mr. Ricaby continued amiably:
We sail Saturday. I understand that you are going on the same boat.
I'm very glad to have met you, Mr. Chase. It is likely that we shall
see a good deal of each other in New York. Miss Marsh and I are just
going out to get a bite of lunch. Won't you join us?
The young man stammered his thanks.
Paula went out with Mr. Ricaby close behind. As Tod followed he
again whistled to himself significantly:
Well, I'm dd! What will Jimmy say to this?
The cablegram from Paris had effected a startling transformation in
Jimmy Marsh. He was a changed man. No longer the cringing, furtive-eyed
bankrupt, ever dodging his creditors, he arose masterfully to the new
situation created by the sudden turn in his fortunes. From the hopeless
depths of moral and financial ruin the news of his brother's death
suddenly raised him to the dollar-marked heights of social prestige and
great wealth. At last his long years of waiting were rewarded. John was
dead! He was the possessor of millions! All the sweets and power which
gold can buy were now his! It seemed too good to be true, and he
pinched himself to make sure that it was not all a dream. The
excitement and nervous strain proved more than he could bear. Locked in
his own room he laughed hysterically and wept aloudtears of gratitude
and joy. His brother was dead! Now, for the first time he could begin
to live. He was only fifty. He might still enjoy twenty years more.
The news rushed through the town like a Kansas cyclone. It was the
one topic of conversation in clubs, brokers' offices, theatre lobbies,
barrooms, and hotel corridors. Jimmy Marsh a millionaire, a power in
Wall Street, a personage to be reckoned with! It sounded funny, yet
there it was. Men suddenly remembered that Jimmy was not such a bad
sort after all, and all day long Mrs. Marsh was kept busy at the
telephone answering calls from officious acquaintances who suddenly
became very friendly and interested.
Recognizing the propriety of not exhibiting too much joy in public
and having little sense of proportion, Jimmy went to the other extreme
in his anxiety to observe the conventions. He rushed into violent
mourning, and, not content with attiring himself and wife in sombre
hue, even to the ridiculous extent of having black borders on his
handkerchiefs which he used conspicuously on every possible occasion,
he gave peremptory orders that everyone in his household, his
chauffeur, his footman, his cook and maids should all be decked in
crape. The blinds of the West Seventy-second Street home were tightly
drawn and the servants instructed to walk on tiptoe and talk in
whispers as in a house of death. Pictures and statuary were covered
with black drapery, and a large oil-painting of John Marsh, conspicuous
over the mantelpiece in the reception room was likewise covered with
crape. These certain outward signs comforted Jimmy. Every day and every
hour they convinced him that the death of his brother was not a chimera
of his disordered brain, but something very real indeed. This
sensation, this assurance he needed to complete his happiness.
The funeral, which was a very quiet affair, took place
unostentatiously with Mr. and Mrs. James Marsh as chief mourners. The
only others who attended were some of John Marsh's business associates
and the Jersey cousins who hurried respectively from Newark and Rahway
in the eager expectation that the will would be read on the return from
the cemetery. In this, however, they were sadly disappointed. The
representative of Bascom Cooley, attorney for the Marsh estate, said
that the box containing the will could not be opened until the return
from Europe of Mr. Cooley. He had been cabled for and doubtless would
return immediately. In any case, nothing could be done now as Mr. Marsh
had expressly stipulated that the will should not be opened for three
weeks after his death. Jimmy secretly fumed at this delay, but there
was nothing to do but wait. He had waited so long that he could afford
to wait a little longer.
The days went by with exasperating slowness. It was all Mr. and Mrs.
Marsh could do to conceal their growing impatience, and, as the time
approached for the formal reading of the will, they each grew more and
more agitated. Mr. Cooley, full of importance, arrived from Europe a
few days after the funeral. He at once went into prolonged secret
sessions with Jimmy, and, when he emerged, his face wore an expression
of satisfaction not seen there in a long time. Tod, he announced, was
coming by the next steamer.
Jimmy decided to do things in as dramatic and ostentatious a way as
possible. He arranged to have the will opened in the library in the
presence of the entire family solemnly assembled. In a self-composed,
dignified manner he would request Mr. Cooley to read his brother's
testament while he, himself, bowed deep in grief in a chair would show
proper sorrow by burying his face in his deep black-bordered
handkerchief, and listen with thumping heart to the solemn message from
the dead which was to make him one of the richest men in New York. The
Jersey cousins were invited, of course. He had to invite them. He did
not know to what extent, if at all, his brother had remembered them,
but it was policy not to ignore them, especially after the little
pecuniary services they had rendered. Besides, he did not wish to
furnish his relations with any excuse to contest the will. He had
nothing to hide. He wanted the whole world to know exactly what the
will said and just how his brother had left him the money.
At length the great day arrived. Jimmy, so arrayed in black from
head to foot that he looked like an animated raven, wandered from room
to room, instructing the new butler, bossing the other servants,
admonishing them to move about noiselessly, rehearsing Mrs. Marsh on
the demeanor she must observe throughout the proceedings, arranging the
mise-en-scène in the library where the will would be read. Bascom
Cooley, he planned, would take his seat in a dignified manner at the
end of the long library table. He and Mrs. Marsh, together with Tod,
whose arrival was expected any moment, would take seats farther down
the board. The Jersey cousins would be ushered to places slightly in
the background. Overhead, dominating the scene, was the oil-painting of
John Marsh, swathed in crape.
For the twentieth time, Jimmy, watch in hand, had gone to the front
parlor window and drawn aside the blinds to see if Mr. Cooley was
coming with the strong box containing the will.
Tod ought to be here by this time, said Mrs. Marsh anxiously, her
eye on the clock. It is eleven o'clock. The Touraine docked at
nine. I ought to have gone to meet him.
Nonsense! exclaimed her husband. He's big enough to look after
himself. I sent the motor to the French line dock. He'll be here any
The front door bell rang violently.
Here he is now! cried Mrs. Marsh, hurrying forward.
There was the shuffle of many feet and the sound of strange voices
in the hall. The next instant the curtains were thrown open by the
butler, and a number of people, men and women, dressed in black,
entered, smiling and bowing. They were the country cousins, with their
sons and daughters, all come to hear the will read. They slouched in
one after the other, sheepish-looking and awkward. James and his wife
greeted them politely yet distantly. It was impolitic to be over
cordial with people who could never be anything but undesirable
The newcomers sat down gingerly on the heavy gilt chairs.
Unaccustomed to such fine surroundings, they were visibly nervous and
ill at ease. Their new clothes did not fit them, and they felt
generally uncomfortable. They had thought it necessary to go into
mourning. It was an expense they could ill afford, and the matter had
furnished food for endless discussion. But it was finally decided that
at least that much respect should be paid to the memory of a dear
uncle who, they fervently prayed, had not forgotten them. The men
wore new, cheap-looking black suits; the wives and daughters had on
heavy crape veils.
The preacher from Newark, fat and asthmatic, was out of breath after
the quick walk from the Subway.
Phew! he puffed, mopping his head with a colored handkerchief
which contrasted violently with his sombre garments: We're not late,
Oh, dear no, said Jimmy, greeting everyone with forced politeness.
Mr. Cooley is not here yet. Sit down and make yourselves comfortable.
I told Mathilda it wasn't no use hurryin'! exclaimed the reverend
gentleman peevishly. She's always so afraid of missing something.
His wife, a shrewish little woman with a snappy manner, bridled up
indignantly. Facing her clerical spouse, she exclaimed:
Now, Peter, how do you come to talk that way? Wasn't you saying to
me all the way along: 'Hurry up or when we gets there like as not we'll
find they've done us out of what's comin' to us?'
The preacher reddened and coughed uneasily:
Nonomy dearnothing of the kind. You misunderstood me
I heard you, Dad, piped the falsetto voice of his daughter, a
gawky girl of eighteen.
The situation was rapidly becoming strained, and it was a relief to
Jimmy when his wife came to the rescue by offering the visitors some
liquid refreshment. Mrs. Thomas Marsh, wife of the Newark haberdasher,
a tall, angular woman with a shrill, masculine voice, accepted with
Thank m'm, I don't care if I does. You know I hate funerals, I'm
that spooky. They allus gives me the creeps. Not that I ever seed
nothin', but I'm just afeerd. Glass of brandy? Yesthank you, m'm. I
wouldn't have come to-day, but for Tom's coaxing. He worried and
But my dear madam, interposed Mr. James Marsh, somewhat
scandalized. This is not a funeral. We've met here merely to listen to
the reading of my lamented brother's will.
Mrs. Thomas chuckled, paying no attention to her husband, who kept
nudging her to be quiet.
Uncle John's will! Welldon't wills and death go together? There's
no will readin' without a death, is there? That's why these meetings
are spooky. Flopping down on one of the chairs, she demanded: How
long will we have to wait?
Directly my lawyer arrives, he replied, trying to control his
temper. He won't be long now.
An awkward silence followed. Each looked at the other while Jimmy,
who was growing more and more nervous, paced restlessly from table to
window. Mrs. Marsh, overheated from excitement, was busy giving final
instructions to the servants to leave them undisturbed once the reading
had begun. The country cousins and their offspring took advantage of
the preoccupation of their hosts to glance furtively round the room,
making muffled exclamations as they attracted each other's attention to
the richness of the furnishings, watching open-mouthed the going and
coming of the solemn-faced butler, who, together with his master, was
on the alert for the arrival of the much-desired Mr. Cooley.
The reverend gentleman from Rahway nudged his wife.
I wonder if there's goin' to be anythin' doin' in the eatin' line?
he whispered. Buryin' people and business of this sort always puts my
appetite on edge.
Really, Peteryou surprise me! exclaimed his wife with asperity.
What do you think this isan Irish wake?
She lapsed into a dignified silence and glued her eyes on the clock.
In another corner of the room the haberdasher's wife, with whom Mrs.
Peter was not on speaking terms, was cogitating thoughtfully on what
the will might and might not contain. Turning to the haberdasher, she
said in a low tone:
We'll look sweet if he hasn't left us anything.
Her husband put on an injured expression.
Say, Mary, he grumbled, can't you be a little more cheerful?
This playful badinage between the cousins might have been kept up
for some time, only, suddenly, there came two sharp rings at the front
entrance. There was no mistaking that ring. The mark of the lawyer was
written all over it. The cousins, as if detected in some impropriety,
sat up with a start. Jimmy, thrusting aside the heavy tapestry
curtains, rushed out into the hall and a moment later reappeared,
escorting triumphantly Mr. Bascom Cooley, who held in his right hand a
small tin security box.
The collective gaze of the country cousins was at once concentrated
on the tin box. Instinctively they guessed that it contained the one
all important documentthe last instructions of their dear lamented
uncle, the late John Marsh, regarding the disposition of his fortune.
Mr. Cooley, full of his usual bluster, advanced briskly into the
room. Barely deigning to notice those present and ignoring utterly
Jimmy's formal introductions, he proceeded at once to the place
prepared for him at the head of the table, and banged the tin box down
in front of him. Then with a patronizing gesture, meant to be amiable,
he invited the others to take their places. When the shuffling of feet
had ceased and everything was perfectly still he turned to his host and
My dear friend and client, we have met here to-day for the
performance of a painful but very necessary dutyto ascertain your
late brother's wishes in regard to the disposition of his estate
Deeming this a proper moment to display brotherly feeling, Jimmy
drew from his pocket the black-bordered handkerchief and buried his
face in its more or less soiled folds. The cousins, not knowing what
was expected of them, began to study closely the pattern of the green
cloth which covered the table. Clearing his throat as a preliminary to
further oratorical flights, Mr. Cooley went on:
YesI know what you feel at this solemn moment, friend. You feel
that if the dead could only be called back to life, you would
cheerfully relinquish the wealth to which the grim Reaper has made you
heir. But that cannot be. We must accept without question the decree of
an inscrutable Providence. Your brother loved you, Jamesfor that I
can vouch. He was a silent, reserved man and kept strangely aloof from
the world, but his heart was in the right place. On the few occasions
when he took me into his confidence, he spoke most affectionately of
youhis only brother. You alone were in his thoughts when he had under
consideration the important duty of making his will
The cousins looked at each other blankly and shifted uneasily on
their seats. The lawyer went on:
One daynow some twenty-five years agoJohn Marsh sent for me to
go to Pittsburg. When I arrived he handed me a sheet of note paper with
some lines hurriedly scribbled on itthe draft for his will. 'Cooley,'
he said, 'this is the way I want to leave my money.' Two days later the
will was signed. Tapping the box in front of him, he added
impressively: It has been in this box ever since. Mr. Marsh, with your
permission, I shall now open the box and read the will.
Jimmy, his heart pumping so furiously that he feared his neighbors
must notice it, gave a quick gesture of assent. Mrs. Marsh grew a shade
paler under her cosmetics. The cousins shuffled closer to the table.
The psychological moment had arrived.
One moment! cried Jimmy. Rising quickly and going to the door, he
called the butler:
Wilson, I don't wish to be disturbed on any pretext whatever. Keep
this door shut, and don't allow any one to enter no matter who it is.
Returning to his seat, he gave the lawyer a sign to proceed.
Calmly, deliberately, Mr. Cooley inserted a key in the lock. The lid
flew open, revealing a number of papers within. The lawyer picked out a
formidable-looking folded document, yellow with age. The cousins
gasped. Instinctively every one knew that it was the will. Unfolding it
slowly, Mr. Cooley looked up to see if all were paying attention. Then,
clearing his husky throat, he began to read in impressive, ministerial
IN THE NAME OF ALMIGHTY GOD, AMEN!
I, John Marsh, of the City of Pittsburg, in the State of
Pennsylvania, being of sound health and understanding, do
declare this to be my last will and testament:
First. I direct the payment of my just debts.
Second. To my cousin, Thomas Marsh of Newark, N. J., I
the sum of Two Thousand dollars to belong to him and
absolutely and forever.
Third. To my cousin, the Reverend Peter Marsh of Rahway, N.
bequeath the sum of Two Thousand dollars to belong to
his heirs absolutely and forever.
Fourth. The remainder of my estate, of whatsoever nature, real
estate, bonds, stocks, interest in steel properties, etc.,
which amounts to nearly Five Million Dollars, I
bequeath to my
Crash! Bang! In the hall outside there was the sound of shattered
glass and the angry slamming of doors. Mr. Cooley stopped reading and,
looking up, glared at the others in indignant surprise. This was rank
sacrilege! He wondered if he couldn't get some one committed for
contempt of court. The cousins, not sure whether they should be
satisfied or not with Uncle John's remembrance of them, gazed at each
other in consternation. Jimmy, wrathful at this flagrant disregard of
his explicit orders, rose to investigate. Outside in the hall could be
heard the voice of the new butler raised in loud altercation with
someone whose entrance into the library he was trying to prevent.
Get out of my way! I tell you I will go in! exclaimed an angry
It's Tod! cried Mrs. Marsh, rising.
The library door was flung unceremoniously open and in walked Tod,
trying to staunch with his handkerchief the blood which flowed freely
from a cut finger. He was somewhat dishevelled after a lively scrimmage
with the butler who, not recognizing him as a member of the family, had
literally obeyed his master's instructions and attempted to bar the
way. It was a poor welcome home, but he was cheery and good natured as
ever. Kissing his mother boisterously, he said:
Hallo, mater! How are you? Saythat new butler of yours is
a birdtried to keep me from coming in here to see you. Just think of
it! So I smashed him against the glass door and cut my finger. Looking
around, a broad grin spread over his face. With well acted surprise, he
exclaimed: Why, what's going on here? Looks like a prayer meeting!
Nodding familiarly to the lawyer and Mr. Marsh, he called out:
HelloCooley! Hello Jimmy!
James Marsh, his face pale with suppressed irritation, snapped
We waited for you all morning. I told the butler to let no one come
in. A disturbance of this kind is most annoying. Turning to the
lawyer, he added: Now, Mr. Cooley, will you please continue
What are you all doing? grinned Tod.
Please be quiet, Tod, said his mother, pulling him by the sleeve.
Take a chair and listen. Mr. Cooley is reading the will.
The will? echoed Tod innocently. What will?
John Marsh's will, of course. Really, Tod, what makes you so
Exasperated, inwardly raging, Mr. Marsh made a sign to Mr. Cooley to
proceed with the reading. The lawyer thus urged, resumed. In a loud
voice he repeated:
I bequeath to my only brother
[Illustration: THAT'S NOT JOHN MARSH'S WILL!]
That's not John Marsh's will! cried Tod, again interrupting.
Not the will! exclaimed the cousins, aghast.
Not my brother's will! cried Jimmy, his face blanching.
Not the willwhat do you mean, sir? roared Bascom Cooley.
Just what I say! replied Tod doggedly. That scrap of yellow
parchment is only good for the waste-paper basket. John Marsh was
married, and has a daughter living. Before he died he made a new will,
leaving every cent to her!
Hilda! called out a voice in a shrill, angry key. Hilda!
Yesm'm, came the slow reply.
The boarding house drudge, a bold looking Irish girl, not devoid of
certain physical attractions, despite a dirty apron, dishevelled hair,
and besmudged face, entered Mrs. Parkes' parlor, carrying broom and
Was it me yer wus after callin', m'm? she demanded, in a rich,
auld counthry brogue.
I thought I told you to dust this room! snapped her mistress, with
The girl looked stupidly around.
Sureain't it dusted? she answered saucily.
Mrs. Parkes bounded with anger. Losing all patience and pointing to
an accumulation of dirt plainly in evidence under the chairs, she
Do you call that dusting? What have you been doing all day? It's
always the samenothing done. I don't know what we're coming
tohaving to run a respectable house with such help. All you girls
think about nowadays is gadding about, getting as much wages as you
can, and doing as little work as possible. You ought to be ashamed of
Mrs. Parkes stopped her tirade for sheer want of breath. Hilda threw
back her head defiantly.
Maybe I ain't as good as some as think they're my betters, and
maybe I am. If I don't suit, yer can get someone else. My month's up
to-day. I'll go at once.
Throwing down broom and dust pan, she bounced out of the room.
Mrs. Parkes looked after the disappearing form of her housemaid in
consternation. She was sorry now that she had lost her temper. Servants
were so hard to keep that it seemed the height of folly to deliberately
send them away. It would have been better to put up with any insolence
rather than expose herself to be left alone. How was it possible to run
a boarding house without domestic help? Certainly things were coming to
a pretty pass if a mistress couldn't say a few plain words of truth.
With a weary sigh of discouragement, she picked up the broom and
started to do, herself, the work which Hilda had neglected.
The servant problem had bothered Mrs. Parkes for nearly twenty-three
years, since the day when she first took upon herself the task of
letting nice rooms with board for select ladies and gentlemen. Left a
widow in straitened circumstances after a none too happy married life,
and faced with the urgent necessity of doing something for a living, it
occurred to her that the best way to provide herself and boy with a
home and income was to open a boarding house. She leased an old
four-story residence on West Fourteenth Street, and, furnishing it as
neatly as possible with the capital at her disposal, she hung out her
shingle. Lodgers knocked at the door to inquire, were attracted by the
clean rooms, and remained for years. It was hard work catering for the
table and looking after the wants of the guests, but Mrs. Parkes toiled
uncomplainingly. It would not be forever, she promised herself. When
her boy grew up, she could take a rest. He would provide for
everything, and they would no longer be under the necessity of taking
Her boy was Mrs. Parkes' one weakness. There were just three things
in which she took special pridecleanliness of her house, the
respectability of her boarders, and her son Harry. Not that there
existed any good reason for feeling particular satisfaction over her
offspring. Harry grew up as other boys do, but his earning capacity did
not grow with him. Like other boys who are made too comfortable at
home, he saw no necessity to exert himself, and at the age of thirty he
was still living at home, more of a hindrance than a help in the
domestic economy, his usefulness being limited to doing odd jobs around
the house and keeping tab on the lodgers' accounts. Recently he had
found employment in an architect's office, and then he became
intolerable. There was nothing that he could not do; no heights to
which he could not climb. A good deal of a poseur he wore
gold-rimmed glasses, aped the absent-minded manner of the student, and
spoke in vague terms of big things he was about to accomplish. That
nothing came of them surprised nobody but his credulous and indulgent
mother, who lived on year after year in the blissful conviction that
one day Harry would astonish the world. If she had any secret worries
about her son at all, it was that he might commit some folly with the
other sex and marry below his station. Mrs. Parkes was only a boarding
house keeper, but she was proud. She did not forget the fact that on
her maternal side she was descended from one of the best families in
the South. Not that she had any cause to complain of Harry in this
respect, but she recalled certain anxieties which her dead husband had
caused her in this respect, and she sometimes feared that her son might
have inherited some of the paternal traits. For this reason alone she
was glad Hilda was leaving. There was no telling what mischief might
happen with such a bold creature around the house.
Mrs. Parkes was absorbed in her reflections when the sound of a
well-known voice made her look up.
Hallo, ma! Whatever are you doing that for? Where's Hilda?
An oldish-looking young man, a pipe in his mouth, newspaper in his
hand, stood in the doorway looking at her.
Mrs. Parkes smiled at her son:
There's no one else to do it, Harry. Hilda is going.
The young man was so surprised that he took the pipe from his mouth,
gave an expressive whistle, and came into the room.
Hilda leaving? I just met her coming down stairs with all her
things on. She looks deuced pretty in her street clothes. What are you
sending her for?
She gave me insolence. I scolded her for neglecting her work. She
said she would go. That's all. Looking at her son searchingly, she
added: Why are you so interested?
The young man laughed, and, throwing himself into an armchair,
proceeded to make himself comfortable.
Interested? I'm not particularly interested that I know of. I'm
sorry if you have to do all the work, that's all.
Mrs. Parkes shook her head ominously as she said:
Harry, you're your father over again.
Absorbed in reading his newspaper, the young man at first made no
answer. Then looking up, he chuckled lightly:
Motheryou're over-anxiousand like most over-anxious mothers,
Mrs. Parkes looked at him fondly as she answered slowly:
My dear boyI know human nature
He shrugged his shoulders impatiently:
You knew father, that's all, he said testily. I wish to goodness
he'd been a better husband, then you wouldn't make my life miserable by
always suspecting the worst. I can't speak to a girlI can't even look
at onethat you don't jump to the ridiculous conclusion that I'm
falling in love with her, or that I'm like my father. Why don't you
His mother could not suppress a smile:
They're too expensive for a boarding house. Besides, some of my
lady guests might object to having them around. Noit's not you, my
boy. It's our designing sex I'm afraid of. I know I'm anxious, but I
don't want to lose you as I lost your father.
You're always throwing my father at me, he answered. Can I help
it if he was a little wild? He's dead now. Why can't you let him
Rising and flinging down his newspaper with a gesture of impatience,
the young man crossed the room, and, pausing at a door near the window,
he leaned his head forward and listened. His mother watched him in
silence. Disapproval at his behavior was plainly written on her face.
What are you doing at that door, sir? she demanded sharply.
Harry grinned. He knew his mother's weakness too well to be much
impressed with her affected tone of severity.
Is Miss Marsh in? he asked, in a low tone.
A new suspicion crossed Mrs. Parkes' mind. Hilda was safe out of the
way, but here was a new peril. Before this she had noticed her son
staring at her young lady lodger. Deardearhow like his father he
Why do you want to know? she demanded. What concern is it of
I want to see her on important business, he said doggedly.
Mrs. Parkes held up her finger warningly.
Now, Harrydon't make a fool of yourself. Rememberthis Miss
Marsh is a boarderunder my roof. She seems a nice girleven if she
does owe me three weeks' rent. But she's nothing for you to waste your
Harry held up his hand in protest.
Mother, he cried. I'm thirty years oldI'm earning fifteen
hundred a year as assistant draughtsman in the office of the biggest
firm of architects in New York City. I'm a free, separate entity, an
independent individual, a somebody, and I warn youif you try to pick
out my company for meas you did for my father, you'll lose me as you
did him. You'll not only be a grass widow, but a grass mother. I want
to see Miss Marsh becausewell, I want to see her
She owes me three weeks' board, repeated Mrs. Parkes doggedly.
What of it? he laughed. I don't want to see her about that.
I don't trust a girl who owes me three weeks' lodging
You do trust her, or she wouldn't owe you. You trust her because
she's a lady, because you like heryes, you do! She's in trouble,
motherand you're never hard on anyone that's in trouble, you dear old
bundle of inconsistencies!
Going up to his mother, he put his arm round her neck. Kissing her,
She'll pay you as soon as she gets the money her father left her.
You know she's won her lawsuit.
Fumbling in her pocket, Mrs. Parkes drew out an envelope.
Yes, so I heard, she said dryly, but this is a little
reminderjust to let her know how much it is. I never knew you took
such an interest in her affairs.
An interest? exclaimed Harry, with mock surprise. What nonsense.
Come here, mothersit down. I want to talk seriously with you.
Drawing up a chair, he made her take a seat. Taking a seat opposite,
Mother, was my father a serious man?
Neverexcept when he was broke.
WellI am serious. I love Paula Marsh. Now, don't faint. Last
night I asked her to be my wife
Mrs. Parkes gasped.
Not one word against her, he went on anxiously. I know your first
impulses are never friendly.
Mrs. Parkes nodded her head sagaciously.
Ifif she inherits all her father's moneyyou might do worse.
Nono, mother, replied her son, shrugging his shoulders. You're
mistaken. I love her for herselfnot for her money. Besides, she may
not get the money after all. Mr. Ricaby, her lawyer, telephoned last
night that there is a new move now against her. You see her father made
a will leaving her all his money. Her Uncle James is contesting the
will and the estate is tied up and she can't get any of it. She hasn't
money enough even to get good lawyers. I think Ricaby's an old fluff.
It's a shame the way her relations are trying to do her out of it. How
I do hate relations!
How can they deprive her of her property if it's hers? inquired
Mrs. Parkes incredulously.
I don't know, said Harry, scratching his head. They're doing it,
that's all. Last night after talking to her lawyer over the 'phone she
broke down and burst into tears. Said she was all alone in the
worldhad no one to protect herand Imotherhuman nature couldn't
stand it. Ioffered to protect her
Mrs. Parkes sighed.
Your father would have done the same, she said.
Kindly refrain from associating my father's name with this matter,
he cried impatiently.
Mrs. Parkes seemed lost in thought. Her eyes filled with tears.
At a time like this I can't forget himbad as he wasI can't help
thinking of him. With a deep sigh, she added: Well, what didwhat
did she say?
Nothing, rejoined Harry carelessly, she looked haughtily at me
and walked out of the room. Perhaps I was wrong, mother. I had no right
to take advantage of her distressed condition of mind. I'm going to
apologize to her. I came away from business early to-day on purpose to
do so. It was too soon for a proposalshe doesn't know me well
Mrs. Parkes tossed back her head indignantly.
I don't see why you should apologize, she said; you're as good as
she isand maybe better. If I remember rightly there was some question
as to her mother being legally married to the father.
That's a damnable lie invented by her relations so as to deprive
her of her rights to her father's estate! broke in Harry hotly.
And her father went on his mother, they say he was crazy when
he made his will.
Another lie! he cried indignantly. Don't you know that's what
lawyers always say about a man who doesn't leave his estate to their
clients. And they can get any number of people to prove it, tooif the
estate is large enough.
His mother was silent for a moment; then, with an air of unconcern,
How much money is there?
I don't knowa whole pile. If there wasn't, Bascom Cooley wouldn't
be the lawyer for the other sideyou can bet on that.
It's very strange, mused Mrs. Parkes; she promised me three weeks
ago that she'd pay me what was owing.
Harry put his hand in his pocket and brought out a roll of bank
Here, mother, I'm going to pay that bill. When she gives you the
money you can pay me back. I don't want you to mention it to her. Will
you promise me?
Mrs. Parkes looked fondly at her son.
Is it as bad as all that? she said.
Harry looked sheepishly down at the carpet.
YesI'mI'm a goner this time he murmured.
Well, exclaimed Mrs. Parkes, with a laugh, your father never
would have done that. No, Harry, I won't take your money. I can wait.
Food is dear, rent is high, and times are hard, but I can wait
The young man bounded forward and again threw his arms around her.
You know, mother, that's what I like about you. You're barking all
the time, but you never bite.
Mrs. Parkes, overcome at this unusual display of filial affection,
put her handkerchief to her eyes. Whimpering, she said:
You know, Harry, I always did like that girl. There's something
about her one can't help liking. She came here from the swellest hotel
on Fifth Avenue and took what we gave her without a murmur. At first I
thought she was a leading lady out of an engagement, until I found that
she went down to the slums every day and worked among the poor. I tell
you I was kinder scared when she told me about her lawsuit. Two years
ago I had a young lady who occupied the front parlor and backand
private bath, too. She was a show girl, and she ran up five hundred
dollars on the strength of a lawsuit she had against a Wall Street man
for breach of promise. She lost the case and I lost my money. With a
sigh she went on: It was your father's fault. He advised me to trust
her, but this one's different. Yes, quite different. She stopped and
burst into tears: Harry, my boy, you're all I have. I don't want to
lose youI don't
Harry looked distressed.
Nownowdon't cry, he said. You won't lose me. You'll get a
God knows I've always wanted a daughter!
Well, let me pick one out for you. I think my judgment is better
The little door opposite which Harry had been watching so eagerly
suddenly opened, and a young woman quietly entered the sitting room. It
was Paula Marsh, dressed in her street clothes.
She nodded to mother and son in a friendly but reserved manner, and
was about to pass out through another door into the outer hall without
speaking when she seemed to remember something. Opening a small bag,
she said amiably:
Oh, Mrs. Parkes, I was looking for you. I've just come in. Here is
what I owe you. I am sorry
Mrs. Parkes, all flustered, rose from the chair.
Oh, pleasenot nowthere's no hurrynot just now. You look so
tiredsit down a moment and rest yourself.
Paula smiled at her landlady's solicitude, and, taking off her hat
and coat, thrust some money in the elder woman's hand.
YesyesI insist, she said. I've been downtown all morning,
waiting for my lawyer in a stuffy little officeand even then I didn't
succeed in seeing Mr. Ricaby. Nothing makes one so tired as failing to
do what one starts out to do.
Sit down, dear, and rest yourself, said Mrs. Parkes, proceeding to
bustle about. Let me get you a cup of teanow, doyou look so
Don't say that, please, protested the young girl. It makes me
feel ten times more tired than I really am.
But I insist. The water is boiling, said the landlady, hurrying
out of the room. I won't be a moment. A nice cup of tea is just the
thing. Harry will keep you company while I'm gone. With a mischievous
wink at her son, she added, as she disappeared: Won't you, Harrylike
a good boy?
Two years had slipped by since Paula's return to America and matters
relating to the inheritance were no nearer actual settlement than
before. They were even more complicated, for the law, with all its
ponderous, intricate machinery, all its chicanery and false swearing,
had been set in motion, not to protect the orphan but to shield those
knaves who sought to enjoy what was not their own.
Tod's startling revelation in his stepfather's library, the morning
the will was being read, regarding John Marsh's secret marriage, came
as a terrible shock to Jimmy. At first he loudly denounced it as a
damnable lie, a blackmailing scheme, the invention of some hidden
enemy. Then, as he grew calmer and learned more details, he began to
realize that the elaborate structure which he had built up so carefully
for years was about to topple and in his disappointment he grew almost
hysterical. He stormed and raved, working himself into such a frenzy
that it was dangerous to go near him. But for Bascom Cooley, who still
held out hope, he would have shot himself. But Cooley, the resourceful,
cunning Cooley advised patience. All might be well. The money was not
yet lost by any means. What were the courts for if not to see that
justice was done? And Mr. Cooley was honest in his belief that a very
serious injustice would be done if the money went anywhere else than
into his own pockets. The new will must be contested. Some way must be
devised to have it declared invalid. It must be shown that John Marsh
was insane at the time he made the will and that the Frenchwoman he
lived with was not his wife. If this were true the girl Paula Marsh was
not his legitimate daughter. The truth of these statements would not be
in question for a moment, for reliable witnesses would go on the stand
and solemnly swear to them. Mr. Cooley knew where such witnesses could
be found. It was only a question of money. The longest purse secured
the greatest number of witnesses, for, strangely enough, very few
people are willing to commit perjury gratis. Cooley attended to
everything, and well, he might. He himself had as much at stake as
Jimmy. So, going among his influential friends, the men higher up, he
set the wheels of justice movingin his own direction.
The first gun in the long and bitterly contested legal battle, which
was to follow, was fired directly Leon Ricaby offered the new will to
the Surrogate for probate. Mr. Cooley replied promptly by offering the
first will. An administrator was then appointed by the Surrogate to
conserve the estate during the litigation, and thus the Marsh estate
was tied up into a complicated legal knot which only the Surrogate or a
decree of a competent court could disentangle.
Then began for Paula a long, drawn-out period of mental distress and
physical discomfort, which taxed her patience and powers of endurance
to the utmost. On first arriving in New York, she had taken a modest
suite of rooms in one of Manhattan's luxurious hostelries, but this she
soon found too expensive for her slender purse. Until it was proved
that she was legally entitled to the fortune her father had left, she
could not touch a cent of it. Meantime, her means were limited.
Practically all the available cash she had was a few hundred dollars
left from her Paris allowance. Mr. Ricaby offered to advance her any
amount, but she gratefully declined his assistance, preferring to
husband her resources by the practice of strict economy. The first step
was to move into cheaper quarters. After a long search she found
comfortable rooms at Mrs. Parkes' genteel boarding house on West
Fourteenth Street. The neighborhood was far from fashionable, but Paula
did not mind that. Indeed, she thought it an advantage, preferring to
be quiet and secluded, hidden away, as it were, from the world until
the legal fight was over and she could take her proper place in the
world. Besides, she was nearer now to the poorer districts to which her
daily duties called her, almost next door to the slums where her
youthful enthusiasm, tireless energy, fine humanitarianism were devoted
daily to the noble work of rescuing the needy and unfortunate. This
Settlement work, far from weighing heavily upon her, she regarded as a
blessing. It not only enabled her to do some good in the world, but it
kept her mind occupied while the lawyers were squabbling in the courts.
Of Mr. Ricaby she saw very little. He was busy, working constantly
in her interests, preparing for the trial. The case, he told her, was
already on the calendar and would come up very soon. Victory, for their
side, was, of course, a foregone conclusion. The other side had
virtually not a leg to stand upon. They must be prepared, however, for
any emergency. Bascom Cooley was known to be unscrupulous, a man who
would stop at nothing to gain his ends. Through trickery and his
political pull he had already scored an important point. The judge
before whom the case would come was an intimate friend of his. They
played poker together and belonged to the same political organization.
Was it not possible that he might be tempted to let his sympathies lean
in his crony's favor? Yet even judges dare not betray their trust too
openly. If right were on Paula's side, the Court would be forced to
render a decision in her favor.
Notwithstanding this legal unpleasantness, Paula thought she ought
to call on her uncle, and in this Mr. Ricaby agreed with her. So one
afternoon she dressed herself smartly and rode up Broadway to West
Seventy-second Street. The reception she received was not such as to
encourage her to repeat the visit. Her uncle was out, but Mrs. Marsh
greeted her with frigid politeness and asked her to have tea. While the
two women were taking mental inventory of each other Mr. Marsh came in,
and the situation became more strained.
Jimmy had expected this visit and had prepared himself for it. He
had intended to call the girl an impostor to her face, to drive her
from the house, but now she had come, he did neither. He saw a tall,
pale, aristocratic-looking girl who vaguely, despite the difference of
sex, reminded him of his brother. Yes, now he saw her he knew it was
the truth, but no matter, he would fight just the same. She was his
brother's child, the girl who had come between him and his rightful
inheritance. She was the enemy. But he would fight her and he would
win. Cooley had promised him that. These thoughts were passing through
his mind as he sat in silence, staring gloomily at her. Then he asked
questions about her father and the way they lived in Paris. It seemed
to her that he was most interested in her answers regarding her mother,
and it suddenly occurred to her that he was cross-examining her for the
purpose of the trial. Disconcerted she relapsed into monosyllables and
the atmosphere grew more chilly. There was no hint of legal
difficulties. He merely inquired if she intended to reside permanently
in New York, and expressed the hope that she would always consider
their house her home. Paula silently bowed her thanks, and the
ceremonious call was at an end.
Of Tod Chase she had seen a good deal since the voyage home. He had
asked for permission to call and she assented gladly. The young man
belonged in a way to the enemy's camp, but she did not mind that. On
the ship they had been thrown a good deal in each other's company, and
she had taken a fancy to him. He was always in such good humor, always
so full of animal spirits that his mere presence relieved the general
gloom and cheered her up. He brought her books and magazines and
chatted to her by the hour of a world she did not know and did not care
to know. He talked freely of the coming trial; denounced the whole
thing as an outrage and hotly berated his stepfather and Bascom Cooley
as two scoundrels. He got so worked up over the case that Paula had to
laugh. Only one person was not convinced of his sincerity and that was
Mr. Ricaby. The lawyer was not blind to the fact that the young man was
paying Paula a good deal of attention, and he would have been more than
human had he not resented it.
Thus in a way Paula was happy. In the day time she had her work
among her poor, and the evening she gave up to reading or music.
Sometimes Tod would drop in, and, with Mr. Ricaby, they would have an
enjoyable evening. On rare occasions Harry and Mrs. Parkes would be
invited to join the little circle.
Then came the trial with all its annoyances, all its brutalities. It
was a terrible ordeal for the young girl, and there were times when,
utterly worn out and discouraged, she felt it was beyond her strength
to go on. The opposite side had no mercy on her. Bascom Cooley was not
the kind of man to spare anyone, woman or child. There were no lies and
calumnies that a devilish ingenuity and brazen impudence could invent
that he did not concoct in order to attack the new will. To discredit
the new claimant, he grossly insulted her; to belittle the will, he
calumniated the dead man. He produced witnesses who swore on the stand
that John Marsh, of late years, was an entirely changed man,
irresponsible for his actions. They testified that he not only drank
himself to death, but that he acted irrationally and was clean out of
his mind. Physicians in Cooley's employ gave corroborative evidence,
with some modifications. Mr. Cooley, triumphant, argued that his
client, Mr. James Marsh, had amply proved his claim. He alone was
entitled to the estate under the original will which was executed at a
time when the deceased was in possession of all his faculties. If,
thundered the lawyer, the second will was not a damnable forgeryand
significantly he added, they had not yet had time to go into that phase
of itit was the work of a crazy man. He would go still further
Now he did a horrible thing. Not content with vilifying the father,
he besmirched the character of Paula's mother. Granted, he shouted,
that John Marsh was not crazyeven then the girl had no legal claim to
the estate, for she was illegitimate. John Marsh never married her
Instantly Mr. Ricaby was on his feet with an indignant protest. Was
it not scandal enough, he cried hotly, that members of the bar should
prostitute their profession by putting perjured witnesses on the stand
without further disgracing themselves by wantonly insulting a
defenseless girl? The insinuation of illegitimacy was a cowardly and
venomous lie, an outrageous falsehood which could be nailed on the
spot, for, luckily, his client, Miss Marsh, had safe in her possession
her mother's marriage certificate. As to the other statements made
under oath regarding John Marsh's mental condition, they were equally
reckless and fabricated solely for the purpose of influencing the
court's decision. The witnesses he would call would refute the
Long before the trial closed, it was apparent that Mr. Ricaby had by
far the best of it. But the fight was not yet won. There were delays
and more delays. Mr. Cooley, feeling he was losing ground, changed his
tactics. Instead of pushing the case, he sought to gain time. Finally
when the evidence was all in, and counsel for either party had
exhausted their arguments and powers of vituperation, the Court calmly
reserved its decision, and the long, tedious wait and suspense began
all over again.
Paula was glad it was over, and at heart was not really concerned
about the outcome. Of course, the money would be welcome. It was hers,
and it was her duty to claim it. When it was in her possession, she saw
in her mind's eye a thousand miracles that might be worked with it to
bring comfort and joy into many a desolate home. But if she lostwell,
then she would go cheerfully to work and support herself. There were
times when she wondered if she would ever marry. Perhaps she would, but
whom? There was no one she cared particularly about. At one time she
thought a good deal of Mr. Chase, but since the beginning of the trial
she had seen less of him. His visits to the boarding house were less
frequent, and it seemed to her that his attitude was more distant.
After all, it was only natural. No matter how much he might sympathize
with her, he must realize that a victory for her would mean a terrible
blow to his own mother. She could not blame him if he stood aloof. Mr.
Ricaby had never liked him. Perhaps she herself was mistaken in him.
His profession of friendship might be only a blind in order to pry into
She smiled to herself as she reflected that she certainly would not
care to marry Harry Parkes. Yet her landlady's son was the only male
who, thus far had ventured to pay court to her. Always solicitous for
the welfare of everybody around her, she was sorry for Harry Parkes.
That he had faults, she overlooked. He had some good traitstherefore
she concluded that there was still hope for him. She tried to get him
interested in her Settlement work and offered to find for him duties
which he would find congenial. But Harry, his faith in himself
unshaken, received all such suggestions with a grimace. As was to be
expected, he put a wrong construction on her sympathetic attitude,
mistaking kindly interest for adoration of his manly charms, and last
evening when they were alone in the parlor he had attempted liberties
which she indignantly resented. She let him plainly understand that if
it happened again she would be forced to leave the house. That is why
she was not particularly grateful to Mrs. Parkes for leaving them alone
now. Her mind was too preoccupied for small talk. At any moment, Mr.
Ricaby had telephoned her, the Court might be expected to hand down its
decision. Still, not wishing to appear curt, she said:
Your mother is remarkably amiable this afternoon, Mr. Parkes.
Harry woke up with a start.
Yesyesshe isshe is! he stammered. There was a short silence,
and then he said:
Miss MarshI want to apologize forforfor mymyconduct the
Apologize! she exclaimed, as if not understanding.
Yes, he stammered. I'm very sorryvery sorry
Sorrywhy, what did you do? she demanded.
Harry looked at her in surprise.
It isn't what I did so much, he said hesitatingly, as what I
saidIwantyou to forgive me
There's nothing to forgive, Mr. Parkes. The fact is, you won't
think II'm rude, will youbutI hardly remember what happened last
night. I was very weak and foolish, and I'm afraid I gave way toto
tears. I don't believe in tearsit seems you're sorry for
yourselfand I'm not sorry for myselfI'm angry with my
relationsI'm angry because they make me angry. I love peace and
happiness and a calm, quiet lifeand they make my existence a hell on
earthwith their attacks on my father and mother and their lawsuits.
My heart is always in my mouthI'm always afraid that something
dreadful is going to happenany moment I may hear the Court's
decision. I'm unhappy, Mr. Parkesand I've no right to be unhappy. I'm
young and I have a happy dispositionevery capacity to enjoy my life
but Shaking her head, she added: But there, I'm not going to
bother you with my troubles. You're home early
You're sure that you're not angry with me?
Why, nowhat forwhatever did you say or do?
He hesitated and looked at her, trying to read her mind. Her
self-possession disconcerted him.
Never mind, he said finally, I was very foolish
Were you? she replied calmly. I didn't notice anything out of the
He advanced a step nearer and his voice was agitated, as he burst
You see, Miss Marsh, I
Do you mind calling me Paula, she said in the most matter-of-fact
tone. I hate the name of Marshit's my Uncle James' nameand it's
always on those horrid law papers'Marsh versus Marsh.' It's
always connected with defendants and plaintiffs andaffidavitsand
other horrible instruments of torture. My heart beats every time I see
the dreadful words. Marsh versus Marsh! I dream of Marsh
versus Marshand when I wake up in the morningthe first thing
that greets me in the morning paper is Marsh versus Marsh. I
hate the nameI hate it!
Was this the opportunity? Harry did not know but he seized it.
Whywhy not change it? he murmured.
That idea has occurred to me dozens of times, she said gaily. I
will when this horrible lawsuit is settled.
His companion grew a shade paler.
Is that aa bargain he asked seriously.
Yes, she laughed.
And may Ipickpick out a suitable name for you?
If you like, she said lightly; any old name will
Even ParParkes? he suggested.
Yeseven Parkes, she laughed. Anything but Marsh
The door opened and Mrs. Parkes entered, carrying a tray with tea.
Here we arehere we are, she said cheerily, a fresh cup of
teaI opened a new packet of Lipton on purpose. Say, that Lipton makes
elegant tea! Oh, I've forgotten the toast. Harry, run down and get it,
there's a dear boy. Turning to Paula, she added: He is a dear boy,
Just like his father, I think you once told me, rejoined Paula,
with a covert smile.
Did I? Well, he is in some waysand in some ways he isn't.
Mother, please! exclaimed Harry. I'm afraid I'm like you, Miss
PaulaI don't like to be reminded of my relationsI'll get the toast,
He left the room to go foraging for toast, while Mrs. Parkes began
pouring out tea.
Did the dear boy tell you? she asked. He said he was going to
Will you kindly tell me what the dear boy did that needs so much
apology? said Paula.
He's so impulsive, said Mrs. Parkes, with a sigh. To that extent
he is like his fatherbuthe feels as I do that until your lawsuit is
settled one way or the other, he should not have asked you to be his
wife. One lump or two?
Paula opened wide her eyes.
Be his wife? she exclaimed. One lump? No, two. Did he ask me to
Yes. Didn't he? He said he did
So that's what it wasgreat Heavens! I've been proposed toand I
didn't know it
Of course, he has my consent, went on Mrs Parkes, in a patronizing
Of course, I meanthank youthat's rather nice, rejoined Paula,
trying to conceal a laugh. You're awfully goodbutthis is nice tea,
Why, you haven't tasted it yet, protested the landlady.
NoI'm just going to. The aromais Gulping the tea down she
scalded herself. It's hot, isn't it?
The door reopened and Harry reappeared with the toast.
Mr. Ricaby has just come in, he blurted out. He wants to see you
at oncesays it is most important. I told him to come right up. Why,
Miss Marsh, what's the matter?
Paula had turned pale. The teacup almost fell from her trembling
hand. Perhaps her attorney had brought the message which she had been
so anxiously expecting. Had he brought good news?
You look frightened to death, my dear! exclaimed Mrs. Parkes.
May I ask you to excuse me? she said. Mr. Ricaby wants to see me
on most important business connected with my lawsuit. I would like to
see him alone.
Certainly, my dear, said Mrs. Parkes, rising. We'll take the tea
in my room. Come, Harry, help me with the tray.
The young man frowned disapproval at this most untimely
interruption, but there was no help for it. With a glance at Paula that
received no response, he rebelliously picked up the tray and followed
his mother out.
Mr. Ricaby entered the room hurriedly. His face was serious and his
manner agitated. Paula advanced eagerly to meet him.
Bad news! he began. That which I feared has happened.
The young girl turned pale.
You mean that we have lost?
The lawyer sank wearily into a chair, and in a tone of utter
discouragement went on:
Yeswe've lost! I did all I could. The court allows that you were
born in wedlockoh, yesthat much they admit. Also that your father
was not insane when he made his willvery kind of themand that you,
his daughter, may inherit his estatesbut
But what? she demanded anxiously.
The lawyer looked at her in silence. He hesitated to let her know
the worst all at once. Slowly he said:
Your uncleis appointed your guardian and custodian during your
minority, and that means he will have complete control of youand of
My uncle? she cried in dismay. Oh, Mr. Ricabycouldn't you have
He shook his head. Then, jumping to his feet, and pacing the floor
nervously, he exclaimed angrily:
How can one man cope with a gang of crooks or break up a
well-organized System? Bascom Cooley, your uncle's lawyer, is a
prominent member of the inner political ring which controls everything.
He presented his petition to a judge who received his appointment from
this very organization. It was a foregone conclusion what the outcome
would be. Now we're no better off than before. The granting of the
petition will give your uncle complete control of your fortune.
Paula looked at him blankly. This was too much. Her patience was
almost exhausted. She had borne everything patiently up to now, but
this new insult went too far. Tears started to her eyes, and, stamping
her foot angrily, she cried:
He shan't have my father's money to squander how and on whom he
pleases! On that I'm determined. I'll give it awayI'llOh! surely
something can be done!
Mr. Ricaby shrugged his shoulders.
I'm afraid not, he answered. Your uncle is in the hands of an
unscrupulous gang. He has spent money like water to break the will. His
lawyers resorted to every questionable device under a loosely
constructed legal jurisprudence. Where did the money come from? Your
uncle didn't have it. His marriage to Mrs. Chasean extravagant widow
with an extravagant sonused up all the money he had. This is Cooley's
ventureand Cooley never goes into anything unless he's sure of
And they have won! she exclaimed.
The lawyer nodded.
They have absolute control of youand your money
Can't anything be done? cried the young girl, wringing her hands
in despair. Can't you do something? Surely I have some rights. Can't
you try?can't you?
The lawyer was silent for a moment. Then he said thoughtfully:
I could retain ex-Senator Wratchettbut he would ask twenty-five
thousand dollars in advance. He's not as good a lawyer as Cooley, but
he has more pull. Excitedly he went on: Ah! that's what we want,
Paulapolitical pull! My God! What a farce life is! When I was a
minister of the Gospel I was a dreamer, howling for purity and truth.
Now I'm awake, with my feet on the earth. I'm praying for a liar and a
trickster to come and help us outand cursing myself because I haven't
the money to buy him
Twenty-five thousand dollars! she echoed helplessly. With a bitter
laugh she went on: I pawned my last ring this morning to pay Mrs.
Parkes the money I owed her. You gave the Judge the whole history of
the caseyou told him how my uncle has deliberately stood in the way
of my getting my rights for two yearsyou told him that he is my worst
And yet he appointed him my custodian and guardian?
The lawyer shrugged his shoulders. Dryly he replied:
He belongs to the same political organization as Cooley. In this
State, he went on, in order to get the nomination, a judge or his
friends are expected to contribute a large sum of money to the campaign
fundthe idea is that he owes something to the men who pay that money
for him, that he must show some gratitude to those who nominate and
elect himfine ethics, eh? I think I'll go back to the pulpit
Can my uncle compel me to live with him? demanded Paula.
Yes, he replied. I'm afraid so.
The girl jumped up, her hands clenched, her face flushed with anger.
Hotly she cried:
I won'tI won'tlive with him! I hate that vulgar, showy
womanhis wife! She sneered at me in court because I cried when they
said my father drank himself to death. I hate that foolish, giggling
son of hersI hate them all! They've spoiled my life, they've robbed
me of the joy of youth. I'm old before my time! My God! I'm not twenty,
and I feel worn out. It's a shame the abominable way they've hounded
me, but I won't give inI won't
Come, come, Paula, said the lawyer soothingly. I feel just as
badly as you do about itI
He stopped abruptly and looked out of the window.
Paula watched him in silence. Something within told her that if this
man felt bitter under defeat, it was more for her sake than for his
Go on, she said, more gently.
I don't see that we can do anything more just now, he continued.
The fact is, I'm a bit bewildered. I'm simply stunned! Hesitatingly,
he went on: I feel I'm to blame to a certain extent. I don't think I
quite understand my profession. There are so many lawsso many
loopholes to evade the lawso many ramificationsso many
interpretations. It's all lawlawlawnothing but lawthe question
of equity and justice is completely lost sight of in the chaos of
procedurethe letter of the law is there, but the spirit is wanting!
Sitting down, he buried his face in his hands, the picture of utter
Paula approached and laid a hand on his shoulder.
It's not your fault, Mr. Ricaby, she said kindly. You've done
your best, but just think! To be compelled to live with my uncle, the
man who destroyed my father's memory, who reviled my mother! Oh,
it'sit's monstrous! No, they shan't compel meI defy themI defy
the law! What do you advise?
The lawyer shook his head.
You will gain nothing by openly defying them, he said. When in
doubtwait! Meantime I'll go and see ex-Senator Wratchett. Perhaps I
can interest him in our behalf. I'll move Heaven and earth to get
himset a thief to catch a thief, eh? Oh, it's a glorious game! God
knows I've tried to be fair!
They were so busy talking that they did not hear a timid knock on
the door. Mrs. Parkes put her head in.
A gentleman to see Miss Marsh! she said, holding out a card.
Paula's face brightened and then grew serious as she caught sight of
the name on the bit of pasteboard.
It's Mr. Chase, she said, turning to the lawyer. He hasn't been
here for an age. I'm surprised he has called so soon after the
rendering of the decision. Do you think I should receive him?
Mrs. Parkes seemed surprised that there should be any question about
He came in a beautiful motor car! she exclaimed. Oh, what a
magnificent machine! Royal blue color and such a handsome uniform the
Mr. Ricaby frowned. He had never approved of this friendship with a
young man whose motives he had reason to suspect very strongly. His
calling so soon after the verdict was certainly not in the best of
taste. It was more than likely that he was a spy sent by the ingenious
Mr. Cooley to ferret out their plan of action. Mr. Chase had been very
amiable and attentive to them in Paris and during the voyage home, but
all that might be only part of the game. On the other hand, if it was a
prearranged plan it would work both ways. With a little careful
maneuvering they, too, might be able to find out from Tod what new tack
the enemy was working on. So, on second thoughts, it might be well to
encourage his visits.
Tell him to come up, he said to the landlady.
Mrs. Parkes bounced out, and a moment later Tod entered.
I hope I don't intrude, was his cheery greeting.
Not at all, replied Paula, somewhat coldly. Won't you sit down?
He took a seat and drew off his gloves. Affably, he said:
Thanksyes. I'll even take a cup of tea if you'll ask me. When I
once get started on a proposition I go right round the courseeven
with a punctured tire. Turning to the lawyer, he went on: Say, Mr.
RicabyI just heard that the case has gone against you. That's fierce!
I've come to have a little family talk-fest.
He stopped and looked at his hostess and the lawyer. Both remained
silent and non-committal. With a shrug of his shoulders, he continued:
No answer? Well, then, I'll talk to myself, and you can listen till
you feel like joining in
Are you here at the request of your stepfather? interrupted Mr.
The young man gave him a look that was intended to be withering.
Instinctively he knew that Mr. Ricaby was no friend of his, and perhaps
he guessed the reason. But he did not come to see the lawyer. He liked
Paula and was sincerely sorry for her. He did not propose to be bluffed
out of his newly made friendship by the unreasonable suspicion of a
jealous rival. Sharply he retorted:
No. I am here at my own request. I'm sorry for this little girl. I
saw her in court several times when they were trying to break the will,
and my heart went out to her. I want to help her. Oh, I know I don't
look like anybody's friend. I'm fatI'm selfishand I love myself to
distractionand all that, butI give you my word I felt sorry for
her. I'll never forget her face the day she testified. Gee whiz! Cooley
laid it onto Uncle Johnyour father I meandidn't he? It wasn't
rightI felt sorry, and I told Jimmy so. Miss Marsh, believe it or
notI'm here to express myself as thoroughly disgusted with the
methods my folks have employed to get Uncle John's money.
Why do you call my father Uncle John? demanded Paula haughtily.
I got your Uncle Jimmy when he married my mother, laughed Tod,
and I take everything that goes with himincluding Uncle John and
youI don't see why I shouldn't have the nice things, too.
Thank you, she answered, trying to suppress a smile.
I understand you're coming to live with us? he said.
Paula's face darkened again.
Am I? she said frigidly.
Cooley says so, he went on, and Jimmy seconded the motion, so I
thought I'd come aheadand sort of break the ice, as it were. I told
mother and she said it wasn't a bad ideafor meand here I am. You
are coming, aren't you? It'll be awfully jolly for me. Please say
yesone plunge and it's all over.
Paula was forced to laugh in spite of herself. Then recalling
suddenly his attitude at the trial, she demanded:
Why did you laugh in court when they said my father was a
Laugh? he exclaimed. I couldn't help it. All that Cooley was able
to prove was that your father drank a quart of champagne at dinner, now
and then. Why, I do that myselfeven when I'm out of training! One
quart? Why, it's pitiful! I'm laughing yet, but understand, I was
laughing for younot against you.
She turned away her head so he should not see she was smiling. But
he was not slow to note the advance he was making, and, thus
encouraged, he went on:
Anotherand perhaps the real reason why I cameand this is on the
levelI'm responsible for this whole state of affairs.
Mr. Ricaby looked up in surprise.
You? he exclaimed.
Yes, continued Tod, rising to go. My mother married Jimmy because
she wanted money. You know she's very extravagant, and I'm her chief
extravagance. I run up bills and she pays 'em. We've both got the
habit. Well, you see, if it wasn't for my debts, she wouldn't have
married Jimmy and he probably wouldn't have tried to get his brother's
estate. So you see it's all my fault. I'm the black sheepthe others
are only dark-brown. But I'm going to do what's right from this out. To
begin with, I'm going to turn my new eight-thousand-dollar car over to
Why should you do that? demanded Paula.
The young man chuckled as he replied:
I got the cash on a note endorsed by mother, and Jimmy will have to
pay it out of your money. It's your money that bought the carso you
take itbut I'll run it for you. It's a dandy. Just romps up the
hills. I can squeeze seventy out of it. It's downstairs now. Say, Miss
Marsh, come down and take a look at it
She shook her head.
Nothank you all the same.
He looked at her with an injured expression.
I give you my word of honor, he said, I want to do what is right.
Jimmy and mother always regarded Uncle John's money as theirs and I
unconsciously fell into line. But I've woke upI withdraw from the
contest. I'm out of itso we can be good friendsbuttake my advice
and watch Jimmy and keep your eyes on Cooley. You know Cooley cooks up
all sorts of schemes for Jimmy, and Cooley isn't exactly working for
charity. I don't like Cooley. He's too sharp. Of course, a lawyer ought
to be sharp, but Cooley is almost too deuced sharpone of these days
he'll cut himself. As he made a move towards the door, he said: You
will come, won't you? When shall I say you're coming?
He stopped to hear her answer, but none came. There was an
embarrassing silence. Mr. Ricaby, who was walking nervously up and down
the room, suddenly turned on the young man, and, looking him squarely
in the face, said:
You really wish to do what is right?
Yes, answered Tod promptly.
Then tell the whole truth, said the lawyer, raising his voice,
how much are you to receive if you succeed in persuading Miss Marsh to
accept her uncle's guardianship without protest?
The young man answered the older man's steady gaze unflinchingly. If
he was playing the role of a spy certainly his face did not betray it.
With perfect sangfroid, he answered:
This is unworthy of you. Yet I don't blame you for suspecting me.
It was like thisI told them they didn't know how to handle women
And you do? laughed Paula.
Well, replied Tod, his chest inflated with self-importance, I've
had a little experience with women. But I didn't promise to tell you
the truth about that. I said to Jimmy and Cooley: Kindnessthat's the
ideakindness. Don't jerk at her mouth. Hold the rein loose. Treat
women and horses alike. Women and horsesthe noblest creatures in
God's creation. Leave her to me, I saidyou see I wanted to get well
acquainted with youI'm interestedreally I am.
Indeed! laughed Paula satirically. I ought to feel quite
Tod broke out into a hearty laugh. Pointing gleefully at his
hostess, he cried:
Ha! ha! The ice is cracking. Miss MarshI warn youyou're warming
Paula was about to make retort when the door opened and Harry Parkes
appeared. He nodded stiffly to Tod and approached the lawyer.
Mr. Ricaby, he said, your office is calling you on the
The lawyer immediately excused himself and hurried out of the room.
There was an awkward silence. Tod looked at Harry and the latter looked
at Tod. Both rivals for the lady's good graces, neither seemed disposed
to leave the field free for the other.
WellI suppose I'd better go growled Tod finally. Holding out
his hand to Paula, he said: May I report progress? Seeing her smile
and thinking he might be able to get the best of the other fellow after
all, he went on: My car is downstairs. Won't you come down and look it
Thank you, so she replied.
Just a spin round the park, he pleaded. I can do it in fifteen
minutes. It's all right, you know. The speed limit don't go with me at
allI know all the policemen. You see Jimmy is running strong with the
chiefand whatever we say, goes.
Paula laughed merrily.
I'm afraid I can't accept your invitation, even with the special
inducement of being able to break the law with impunity.
Sorry. Well, good-byeI'm off. His manner lost its flippancy, and
there was genuine feeling in his voice as he added: Good-bye, Miss
Marsh. Whatever happens I'm really and truly glad I had this chat with
you, but I'm afraid I did most of the talking. Good-bye.
Good-bye, Mr. Chase, she said, extending her hand.
The door closed and Paula returned slowly to the table.
A curious boy, she murmured, more to herself than to her
companion. I rather like him.
Do you? exclaimed Harry blankly, looking at her over his gold
eyeglasses. Awkwardly he went on: I'm glad he's gone. I wanted to say
something to you. Miss MarshII've thought it all over
Paula resumed her seat and took up a book.
Now, Harry, she laughed, you're going to propose again. I can see
it in your face. Please don't. There's a good boy.
I was only going to say, he stammered, that the name of Parkes is
at your disposal.
That's very kind, but
Fifteen hundred a yearno encumbrancesunlimited prospects
She looked up at him, much amused.
It sounds a little like a real estate advertisement. But,
seriously, Harrydon'tdon'tcan't you see I've no time for such
nonsense? I'm driven almost to distraction. I owe Mr. Ricaby so much
money. He has almost ruined himself for me. He has worked day and night
on this caseneglected all his law practice. I hear him coming now.
Perhaps he has some news.
There were sounds of hurried footsteps. The door opened, and the
lawyer entered hurriedly. He looked flurried as if something important
had happened. Turning to Harry, he said quickly:
Will you excuse us a moment?
Certainlycertainly said the young man.
With a side glance at Paula, he went out, closing the door. Mr.
Ricaby quickly approached Paula. Laboring under some excitement, he
Your uncle demands an interview with you. I told him you refused to
go to him.
Quite right! Go to him indeed! she exclaimed indignantly.
He and Mr. Cooley are now at my office. They want to come here to
I won't see them, she cried.
Perhaps it would be good policy, said the lawyer thoughtfully.
No, she retorted emphatically. I won't see them.
Yes, Paula, said the lawyer kindly, but firmly, they can keep up
this legal battle for yearsas long as they chooseuntil we're
exhausted and most of the money we're fighting for is expended in fees
and costs. Cooley will never give upand we can't go on without money.
Something might be gained by meeting them halfway. He hesitated a
moment and then went on: Cooley told me over the telephone just now
that he had new evidence. He could prove that his client had a
partnership with his brother, and was entitled to half
He can prove anything, she cried contemptuously. I refuse to
degrade myself by a compromise. It shall be all or nothing.
Nervous and agitated, Mr. Ricaby strode up and down the room. He was
advising the girl for the best. He had experience in these matters.
Well he knew the law's terrible delays, and even then the result was
If you fight them, he said, it means more costly litigation. I
may be able to get Wratchett, but I'm not sure that he'll fight Cooley.
They're such strong political cronies. You've nothing to lose by
holding out the olive branch, and much to gain. Really, Paula, it's
better for you to see them. I am so sure about it that I told them to
With a gesture of discouragement Paula sank down in a chair.
God knows I'm as tired of the struggle as you are, Mr. Ricaby, she
cried, but I hate to give up. I know you're advising me for the
bestyesI'll be guided by youI will see themandand yield as
gracefully as I can, but it seems hard, very hard. When will they
In a few minutes, replied the lawyer.
Bascom Cooley had not overestimated his abilities or the extent of
his pull. He had not, indeed, been successful in his efforts to have
the new will set aside. There are some things which not even crooked
lawyers, with all their cunning and underhand methods, are unable to
do. Even his perjured witnesses could not disprove the fact that John
Marsh was legally married to Paula's mother, and that he was of sound
mind when he made the second will. Backed by all the influence of the
System, he could not prevent Paula from inheriting what was naturally
and legally hers. Yet, thanks to the mysterious and powerful support
behind him, he did manage to score in one important point. He was able
to manipulate the legal wires in such a way that Paula, after the Court
decision rendered in her favor, found herself no better off than she
was before. Being a minor, she could not touch her inheritance. The
appointment of a guardian was necessary, and Bascom Cooley, after much
secret and underhand manoeuvring, finally persuaded a judge to appoint
the girl's uncle special administrator until she could come of age. It
was clearly unconstitutional and at once evoked protest from Paula's
attorney. But to no purpose. The court's order was peremptory. An
appeal to a higher court would mean more endless and expensive
litigation. The best plan, perhaps, was to wait patiently the one short
year and then demand a strict accounting. At least, so argued Mr.
Bascom Cooley now had things going his way. Jimmy, his poor, weak
tool, was in sole control of the Marsh millions. For twelve months he
could do what he liked with the money. Much can be accomplished in a
yearmoney can be made, money can be lost. If, when the day of
accounting came, there was a scandal, Jimmy alone would be held
responsible, and as for denouncing others as having shared in the
division of the spoils, he would not dare. Cooley knew too much of his
business for that.
The next important step was to control, as far as possible, the
movements of the ward herself. It would never do to have her living in
a cheap boarding house, going and coming as she pleased, surrounded by
people who might tell her embarrassing truths. The influence of Leon
Ricaby, especially, Mr. Cooley was anxious to remove. He felt that with
the attorney out of the way, they would have less trouble with the
girl. That is why he had impressed Jimmy with the urgent necessity of
taking Paula as a more or less unwilling boarder under his roof.
She'll kick like a steer, he growled. But that's nothing. I like
a gal with some spirit in her. She must do what we say, whether she
likes it or not.
Overbearing, brutal, defiant, Mr. Cooley entered the sitting room of
Mrs. Parkes' boarding house, followed meekly by Jimmy Marsh.
Fashionably dressed, dyed and perfumed, Paula's uncle, in personal
appearance, offered a sharp contrast to the burly, coarse-looking
lawyer. The two men were types so utterly dissimilar that it was almost
paradoxical to find them in such close association. It was as if the
lamb suddenly found it to his taste to consort with the wolf. While the
lawyer advanced into the room, his air arrogant, his manner insolent,
Jimmy remained in the background, nervous and fidgetty. That he was
completely under the mental control of his attorney was plainly
Mr. Ricaby was alone in the room, awaiting their arrival.
Hallo, Ricabyhowdy? exclaimed the big lawyer. You know Mr.
Jimmy nodded and Mr. Ricaby bowed stiffly. His manner was freezingly
Yes, I think I have that pleasure.
Without troubling to wait for an invitation, Mr. Cooley flopped his
large person into an armchair. Then, looking all around as if in search
of someone, he asked:
Well, where's the young lady?
She'll be here in a moment, replied Mr. Ricaby. There was an
awkward pause, and then he went on: I need scarcely tell you that this
sudden visit is most unexpected.
The big lawyer gave a coarse laugh.
Always expect the unexpected from Bascom Cooley! he cried. Sit
down, Mr. Marsh. Yes, Mr. Ricaby, Bascom Cooley aims at a certain
point, but he never looks in the direction he's aiming, and while the
other side is carefully guarding the wrong placebing!Bascom
Cooley's got 'em where he wants 'em.
Mr. Ricaby nodded.
Quite so! he said, with a shade of irony.
Mr. Cooley grinned.
That's why the aforesaid is in a class all by himself, he
Mr. Marsh ventured to obtrude himself into the conversation. Timidly
Perhaps my niece may find the hour inconvenient. I'm perfectly
willing to postpone
Mr. Cooley stamped his foot impatiently.
Now, look here, Marsh, don't be a fool; don't establish a precedent
of meekness, or you'll have to be meek all the time. That's the advice
I give young married men, Ricaby.
He laughed boisterously at his own wit, and looked at Mr. Ricaby as
if expecting him to join in the merriment. But Paula's attorney
remained sober as a judge.
Come, come, be cheerful! went on Mr. Cooley; why not let us be
good friends? Why can't Miss Paula be made to understand that my client
is her friend as well as her nearest relative? Flesh and blood is flesh
and bloodyou can't get away from that fact. He wants to open his
heart to her. Hang it, they've been separated long enough! All his
movements, however seemingly unfriendly, have been actuated only by a
sense of justice to his own family.
Perfectly trueperfectly true, broke in Jimmy eagerly. She is my
brother's child, and, although we've seen nothing of her, nevertheless
I feel that I am far more competent toto take charge ofthe family
estatethan she is.
The family estate? interrupted Mr. Ricaby, elevating his eyebrows.
Yes, said Jimmy boldly. My brother's estate and mine. You know,
the woman he married
Cooley held up his hand with a deprecating gesture:
Now, please, don't let us go into that phase of the matter. The
marriage was kept secret, but we have conceded that it was a marriage.
Once and for all, let us have done with this litigation business. My
client doesn't want to drag this case through the courts for years. He
can if he wants tobut he doesn't. What he wants ispeace and
And his brother's estate, interrupted Mr. Ricaby sarcastically.
Mr. Cooley looked aggrieved.
Ricaby, he said, that insinuation is not in keeping with the
friendly purpose of this meeting. My client is special
administratoran appointee of the Courtand we are acting under the
The law! exclaimed Mr. Ricaby scornfully. That's the damnable
part of it! You're acting under a law that compels a widow or orphan to
spend thousands of dollars on litigation in order to obtain what is
theirs by right.
Mr. Cooley shrugged his shoulders.
The law is all right.
Then it's dishonest interpretation that's at fault, retorted the
other hotly. Something is rotten somewhere when the courts can be used
to legally deprive this girl of her inheritance.
Mr. Cooley rolled his eyes and remained unperturbed. Suavely,
glibly, he said:
You're repeating yourself, brother Ricaby. So you told the judge,
and it didn't do your case a particle of good. That's a sign of
weakness. But come, I promised myself not to allow anything to
interrupt the peaceful, harmonious flow of events. With an effort at
flowery rhetoric, he went on pompously: Let us bury the legal axe,
let's bring flesh and blood together, that they may be reunited over
the grave of a buried family feud. Let us bring our clients together on
terms of peace. It's a sacred duty we owe our profession, Mr. Ricaby, a
duty that exalts our profession over all other callings. The ministry
may make peace for man in Heaven, but we are peacemakers here on
Quite truequite true, chirped Jimmy from the far corner of the
Mr. Ricaby shrugged his shoulders.
No wonder they call you the silver-lipped orator, he muttered
There was a knock at the door, and Mr. Ricaby went forward to see
who it was. Speaking to someone in the hall outside, he said:
My clerk? Oh, yes, ask him to come up. NoI'll go down. Turning
to the others, he asked:
Will you excuse me for a moment?
Certainly, said Mr. Cooley, and, while I think of it, do your
best to persuade Miss Paula that we are really acting for her best
interests. She is alone in the world. Her uncle will take her into his
own family, welcome her as his own child.
Mr. Ricaby, with an impatient shrug of his shoulders, went out
without waiting to listen to any more. Mr. Cooley, who had not noticed
the attorney's departure, went on:
Can't you see the picture, Ricaby? Uncleniecebosom of
familyhappy homecousinssmiling facesall radiant with newly
Suddenly he noticed that Ricaby was no longer there. Turning to
Jimmy, he exclaimed, in a changed tone of voice:
You know that fellow is the damndest bore I was ever up against!
His arguments to the judge were puerilepositively puerile! That one
about the ethical aspect was a bird. You know it's all I can do to keep
my temper with that brand of practitioner.
Jimmy nodded approval.
You've been remarkably patientremarkably, he said.
Mr. Cooley's face broke into a self-satisfied smile.
Those fellows theorize and theorize by the yard. I've sat on the
bench and listened to their cackle till I got so hot under the collar
I'd like to jump down and bang 'em over the head with their own law
books. They quote authorities by the stack and hand you all the
old-time stuff from old Roman and British digest down to last year's
decision. Those fellows forget that Henry Clay and Daniel Webster
oratory is out of date. Marshwhile I think of itdon't make too much
show of affection to the girlnot too much 'Uncle' business at the
start, she may not take to it kindly.
Of course, of course, said Jimmy impatiently. I'm not exactly a
Not exactlynobut sometimes perilously near, retorted Cooley
My dear Cooley
Now, my dear James, you must really be guided by me
But there are limits, said the other.
Quite so, acquiesced the lawyer, and I apologize for not
observing them, but I really can't allow you to lose control of your
brother John's fortune without at least making the effort to guide you
No, of course not, muttered his vis-à-vis. God knows how I should
ever pay your fees if I did
The lawyer opened wide his eyes as if he did not quite comprehend.
Pay my fees? Why, my dear Marsh, I don't want to be paid fees
You don't suppose I'm working for mere fees, do you? I'll tell you
what I'm after when we get control of the estate.
We? echoed Jimmy interrogatively.
Ouiouisnapped Cooley. That's French for 'yes.' Do you
imagine that Bascom Cooley intends to desert you after the battle is
won? Nonohe will help you handle your victory.
Quite soquite so, nodded Jimmy vacuously, but at the same
There is no same time, snapped Mr. Cooley; you take your tempo
from me. Holding up his hand he demonstrated with his fingers: Move
number 1give her a regular allowance and regulate all expenditure.
Move number 2turn all her father's investments into cash. Move number
3reinvest the cash, so that we can handle the profits.
But suppose sheshe refuses? demanded the other.
She won't. She daren't. If she doesHe hesitated as if unwilling
to give expression to his secret thoughts, even to Jimmywe'll put
her where she can't refuse.
Put her where she can't refuse? echoed his client, puzzled. I
The lawyer put his finger warningly to his lips.
Hush! he whispered, I've got it all planned out. There isn't one
chance in a thousand for us to miss fire, but you must follownot
lead. Bascom Cooley has never lost a case. He can't lose a case. Why,
Marsh, I'll take either side of this case and win.
What colossal confidence! cried Jimmy admiringly.
Mr. Cooley looked around as if to make sure that there were no
eavesdroppers. His manner became very serious and determined.
That's the whole secret, Jimmy, he said. Believe in yourself and
that flock of sheep we call the world will follow you. The power to be
is only the power to will. Whatever I willhappens, and that is a very
valuable political asset. Why, I can take a rank outsider at a crowded
caucusover the heads of all the regular nomineesnominate him and
jam him through to the front. I've done itthey can't resist me. When
I say 'yes,' by God! it's yes! It's got to be 'yes.' Your claim wasn't
worth a button when you first came to me. Well, what do you think of
your chances now? You wouldn't take ninety cents on the dollar for it,
would you? Well, I guess not!
The door opened and Mr. Ricaby reappeared with a bag in his hand. He
seemed surprised to see the two men still alone. Looking around, he
Isn't Miss Marsh here yet?
No, said Cooley, with a covert sneer, the young lady is taking
Jimmy made an effort to put on an air of offended dignity.
My niece is perhaps unaware, he said loftily, that Mr. Cooley is
waiting. I don't mind for myself
Mr. Ricaby was about to leave the room to investigate, when suddenly
the door of the bedroom on the right opened and Paula appeared. Her
face was pale, but she was cool and self-composed. The girl's manner
gave little indication of the agitation within. These men who had come
to see her against her will, she feared and abhorred. That they were
her mortal enemies instinct told her, that they would stop at nothing
to gain their ends, she had every reason to believe. This new proposal
sugar-coated as it was with proffers of friendliness, could only cloak
some sinister, covert design. She would have liked to communicate her
fears to Mr. Ricaby, but this unexpected visit had so taken her by
surprise that there was no opportunity. But she would be on her guard.
They should get nothing from her.
Thank God! she murmured to herself, this is a free country. They
may annoy me, but they can do me no bodily harm.
As she came in the two men arose, Jimmy feeling more and more
uncomfortable, Mr. Cooley beaming with smiles, Mr. Ricaby anxious.
Miss Marsh, began Mr. Ricaby, these two gentlemener
Paula advanced and bowed distantly.
YesI knowMr. James Marsh andMr. Cooley.
Will youersit downPaula? stammered her uncle.
Thank youno, replied Paula, with quiet dignity. II prefer to
stand. Significantly she added: It won't take us very long to say
what we have to say.
Jimmy muttered something under his breath, and Mr. Cooley got ready
for action. Taking the floor, he began pompously:
Miss Paula, your uncle wants you toIt is his earnest desire
that bygonesbygonesand that the past be forgotten.
We're not in court now, Mr. Cooley, answered the girl quickly. If
my uncle has anything to say to me I prefer to hear it directly from
him. He does not need an attorney.
The lawyer shrugged his massive shoulders and sat down.
Oh, just as you please, he said.
Jimmy came forward.
Of course, of course, he said quickly. I want you toto come
homePaula. Your aunt also wishes you to comeshe is eager to welcome
Paula's face did not change its expression. She had made up her
mind. Nothing could shake her from that determination. Still, it was
perhaps just as well to find out just what the other side had to
propose. Calmly she said:
That much I understand, but I want to know exactly what you expect
of me so that there may be no misunderstanding in the future. What is
my exact position according to your idea
Your position stammered Jimmy.
Yes, she insisted. My position in regard to my father's property?
In other words, what are your demands?
Mr. Ricaby interfered.
Mr. MarshI think she means
Paula raised her hand as if she did not need any assistance.
Mr. Ricaby, I wish to know from Mr. Marsh himself exactly what he
expects of me.
What we expect? stammered Jimmy.
This was a question he was unprepared for. He looked at Paula
helplessly and then turned to Mr. Cooley. There was a hurried
whispering, during which time Paula and her attorney stood waiting.
Finally Jimmy came forward:
You will come and live with us, of course? he said.
Yes, she replied, with a careless nod.
Yes, as our own child, Paula, he went on eagerly.
Oh, yes, she repeated.
You will have a regular allowance from the estate, continued her
You will be your own mistress. That iseryou will come and go as
you please, of course. But I think it best that wethat is, your
auntselect such companions for you aserwe deem advisable.
To safeguard my morals, I presume?
No, no; just aa social precaution. Perhaps it won't be necessary.
I don't insist on it. It just occurred to me, that's all. Of course we
shall be guided by your own desires, but as your uncle and guardian I
reserve the right to decide what is best for your social welfare.
What about my debts?
He looked helplessly at Mr. Cooley. The big lawyer guffawed, and
They will be paid out of the estate.
My counsel fees are very large, went on Paula. I owe Mr. Ricaby
an enormous sum.
We'll examine his accounts carefully and decide, echoed Jimmy.
No, said Paula decisively, his accounts will not be examined
carefully. They will be paid without questionand without delay.
Mr. Cooley shrugged his shoulders.
We'llwe won't discuss that point now.
We won't discuss that point now, echoed Jimmy. Turning to her
attorney, he said: Mr. Ricaby, you will turn over all the papers
referring to this or any other matter that Miss Marsh may be interested
inas in future Mr. Cooley will be her counsel and legal adviser.
Indeed! cried Paula.
Yes, my dear girl, said her uncle; it would be rather
inconvenient to have more than one legal adviser in the family. In
fact, it will be impossiblequite impossible.
Paula shook her head.
Mr. Ricaby is my friendthe only friend I have in the world, she
That's rather a pity, answered Jimmy, with a feeble attempt at
irony. He turned to Mr. Cooley and the lawyer shook his head. Jimmy
I am very sorry, Paula, but that doesn't alter the position. It's
the one point I'm afraid I must insist on.
Paula turned to her attorney.
Mr. Ricaby, will you kindly tell these gentlemen that our interview
is at an end?
Jimmy started forward.
Paula! My dear niece
I have nothing further to say, answered Paula coldly.
Paulawon't you listen?
Please ask them to go, she repeated.
Won't you reconsider? cried her uncle. I express my sincere
regret for any annoyance I may have caused you.
She smiled bitterly. All the hate that she had nourished in her
heart against this man was now heated to boiling point. Vehemently she
I expect to suffer through coming in contact with a mean, mercenary
nature like yours, she cried, that's the penalty I pay for being
'your dear niece.' What I cannot understand and what I cannot forgive
is your cruelty in blackening my dead father's memoryto stamp your
own brother a lunatic and drunkard! Why, it'sit's horrible! Even the
love of money in a degenerate age doesn't explain that. And my dead
mother! Her name had to be dishonored, that I might be stamped as
illegitimate. No accusation too scandalous, too shameful, or too
degrading, could be madebecause I had come between you and this
miserable money! Shaking her clenched fist in his face, she cried:
But you'll never get it, Uncle James, you'll never get it! You hear
that, sir? You'll never get itand, nowplease go.
Mr. Cooley looked at her in silence for a moment, whispered a few
words in Jimmy's ear, and then both men left the room.
Paula now breathed freely for the first time in weeks. The enemy was
utterly routed. Temporarily at least she might reasonably expect to be
spared further annoyance. Her uncle, it was true, had control of her
fortune, and until she came of age her hands were completely tied. But
in another year she would be her own mistress. Then they would be
powerless to molest her. Meantime, she devoutly hoped that they would
leave her in peace to live her own life as she saw fit.
The excitement and turmoil incidental to the trial having quieted
down, affairs at the boarding house soon resumed their normal aspect.
Paula became more active daily in her Settlement duties, and was
already well known as one of the most prominent and energetic workers
in that humane organization. Conspicuous in the public eye as the
heiress to a large fortune, the great interest she took in the
condition of the poor attracted much attention in the newspapers. They
printed her portrait with eulogistic comments, sent reporters to
interview her, and printed statements, entirely unauthorized, to the
effect that when she came into her inheritance she would devote her
millions to the cause of charity. All day long she was busy downtown on
her mission of mercy and even at night was frequently called away
either to address some socialist gathering or attend a committee
Mr. Ricaby, ever attentive and devoted, always escorted her on these
occasions, not realizing himself, perhaps, that he took keener pleasure
in these nocturnal excursions than a legitimate interest in the case
would warrant. Paula was grateful for his company, but that was all.
For a pretty girl, full of life and sentiment, she was singularly heart
whole. Of the deeper passions which disturb other normal healthy girls
of her age she seemed entirely free. Men had declared her cold. The
opposite sex appeared to have no attraction to her. But this was a
mistaken impression. She was not cold. It was simply that the right man
had not yet appeared. Certainly, Leon Ricaby with his grave manner and
shattered illusions was not her ideal. She found him devoted, but dull.
She found no pleasure in his society. Harry Parkes was shallow and
impossible. The most interesting man she knew was Tod Chase. He was
original and he interested her. His breezy manner and cheerful way of
looking at things was just what her own life lacked. His mere presence,
his droll utterance, and broad grin dispelled the blues and made her
feel happier. She believed, too, that he was a friend. He had not
called since her refusal to go and live with her uncle, but she had no
reason to believe that he disapproved of her action. Perhaps he was
afraid to intrude on her. She had offered to take him down to the slums
to show him just how the poor people lived. Any day he might come to
claim the promise.
But with all her courage Paula was far from happy. Often she wished
that her father had not left her a cent, and that she was back in
Paris, copying the old masters in the Louvre. All she had gone through
could not have failed to affect her nervous system. She was singularly
depressed. Try as she would, she was unable to shake off the idea,
which soon became an obsession, that something serious was about to
happen, that some catastrophe, compared with which all that had until
now occurred were trifles, was hanging over her head. Never so much as
now had she realized her utter loneliness and defencelessness. Mr.
Ricaby and the Parkes were very kind and sympathetic, but at best they
were only acquaintances. She had no real claim upon them. There was
apparently nothing to fret about. Her uncle and Bascom Cooley gave no
sign of life, yet still she worried. She tried to centre all her
attention on her work, but always the silent question arose in her
mind: What is being plotted in the dark? The uncertainty of suspense
unnerved her so much that she was soon rendered unfit for work of any
One evening about two weeks after the ignominious retreat of Messrs.
Marsh and Cooley, she was sitting alone with Mr. Ricaby in Mrs. Parkes'
parlor. She had been busy at the Settlement all day and returned home
so tired that she was glad when, after dinner, the call of her attorney
gave her an excuse for not going to a lecture which she had promised to
What do you think? she asked anxiously. Will they leave me alone
The lawyer shook his head ominously:
You don't know Bascom Cooley. He never admits defeat. Baffled in
his attempt to keep you under close control in the Marsh house, he will
scheme to gain his ends in some other way. While you are free to come
and go as you please you are a hindrance to their plans. Besides, all
this newspaper talk about your intention to spend millions on your
Settlement work must have made them furious. They will seek other means
to coerce you into passive obedience. They are both scoundrels, and
there is not the slightest doubt in my mind that they have entered into
a conspiracy to make unlawful use of your money. But until they show
their hands we can do nothing.
The young girl sighed. Would all this trouble, the plotting and
counterplotting, never end? How weary she was of it all! Mr. Ricaby
heard the sigh and guessed the reason.
Don't be discouraged, he said. It's only the things which are
worth having that are worth fighting for. Think of all the good you can
do with your money when you get it.
Paula's dark eyes flashed.
You are right, she murmured. It is ungrateful of me to fret like
this. You are so kind. She hesitated a moment, as if there were
something on her mind to which she feared to give utterance. Then
timidly she said: Everything will come out all right, no doubt, but I
can't shake off an uncomfortable feeling that there's still more
trouble coming. I don't like that man Bascom Cooley. He talks and acts
as if he had the power to do anything, even to compelling me by force
to do what I don't wish to do. With a little shudder she added: I had
a horrible dream last night.
Mr. Ricaby laughed.
Comecome, Paula! Don't let this thing take hold of you like that.
What was the dream?
The young girl's large eyes, turned toward him, were dilated with
panicky terror. Her pallid face was still paler and the muscles about
her sensitive mouth twitched spasmodically. In a low, frightened voice,
she went on:
I dreamed that my uncle came to see me. He said insolently that I
must go and live with him. I replied that I would not, and I ordered
him from the house. Instead of going, he merely laughed, and, opening
the door, beckoned to a man who stood waiting outside. The man entered.
He was a gaunt, sinister-looking person, with a cruel mouth and big,
hollow, staring eyes that seemed to pierce me through. A sardonic smile
was on his face. My uncle pointed at me. 'There she is!' he said. 'Take
her away. She's mad.' I gave a scream, and woke up.
Mr. Ricaby laughed outright.
You must have been eating something which disagreed with you, he
said. Surely you don't allow yourself to be frightened by anything so
silly as that?
It was all so vivid that it seemed true. Suppose
Suppose what? he demanded.
Suppose they did something like that. Suppose they had me declared
insane and placed in an asylum? One has read of such things. I think
they are capable of anything.
The lawyer looked amused. Laughingly he asked:
In what age do you think you are living, Paulain the twentieth
century or in the middle ages? Put all such nonsense out of your head.
They couldn't do what you suggest unless a medical commission signed
papers of commitment, and how could they get them? You'd have no
difficulty in proving that you are as sane as they are.
Paula's face brightened. This dream had been haunting her, and she
felt a sense of relief that she had been able to confide it to some
I suppose it is foolish, she faltered. But you know how it is
when one gets a fixed idea. It's hard to shake it off.
Mr. Ricaby looked at her in silence, a wistful expression on his
face. Had he dared, he would have gone forward and taken her in his
arms, telling her hotly that he loved her, and asking her to let him
henceforth be her natural protector. But there was no response in the
girl's face to the tumult that raged in his own heart. Her thoughts
were not of him. He checked the ardent words that rushed to his lips,
and, as usual, was silent.
Won't you have some tea? she asked carelessly, quite unconscious
of what was passing in his mind. Before he could reply there was a
sharp rap at the door, which half opened.
May a fellow come in? called out a cheerful voice.
The next instant Tod Chase poked his head in the room. Paula rose.
Come inI'm very glad to see you, she said, advancing with
outstretched hand. The flush of pleasure that covered her cheek was
proof enough of the genuineness of her cordiality.
Tod came in, good humored as usual, and with a broad grin on his
face. All in one sentence he blurted out:
Hope I don't intrudelooks kind of cozy in here. Been trying to
come round for a week, but our factory's been working overtime these
daysgreatest rush you ever sawa fellow's kept on the jumphow have
you been? You look just right. Howdy, Mr. Ricaby?
He stopped to take breath. Paula laughed. It was the first laugh in
weeks. It did her good.
Take a seat, won't you? she smiled.
Tod laid down his hat and drew up to the little circle.
I wonder you look at me after what's happened, he said, as he drew
off his gloves. Anybody connected with our branch of the family ought
to be kicked. Of course, you understand it isn't my fault. My sympathy
is all yours. You see, Jimmy had looked upon this money as his own.
He's sore, Cooley's sore, everybody's sore. I don't care a rap myself.
I'm making an honest living for the first time in my life. I don't need
your money. Why don't they leave you alone? The money's yoursthat's
all there is to it.
I suppose you know that they wanted Miss Marsh to go and live at
your stepfather's house? interposed Mr. Ricaby.
Yesanother pipe dream. That was Cooley's suggestion. I heard them
talking about it. The day you turned Jimmy down he came home mad as a
All I ask is to be let alone, cried Paula.
Haven't you heard from them since? inquired Tod.
Mr. Ricaby looked up quickly.
Nowe've heard nothing. What is itsome new nefarious scheme?
Tod was silent, and looked at Paula. Noticing his hesitation, she
was at once filled with apprehension. He had heard something and did
not wish to cause her anxiety.
Tell me, she said quickly, what do you know of their plans? If
you are my friend you will conceal nothing.
Yes, chimed in Mr. Ricaby. It would be a kindness to let us
Tod looked from one to the other in a perplexed sort of way.
Evidently there was something on his mind that troubled him. Finally he
I don't know a thinghonest I don't. They have some idea that I
don't approve of their actions, so they tell me nothing. Only
Again he hesitated.
Only what? said Paula eagerly.
There's a lot of talk going on, continued Tod. Cooley's at the
house every night, and they have long conferences in the library behind
closed doors. Last night my curiosity got the better of my manners. I
glued my eye to the keyhole and listened. Jimmy and Cooley were sitting
at the table in silent consultation. There was another man presentDr.
Zacharie. You know Dr. Zachariethe nerve specialist. I think he's a
humbug and a charlatan myself, but he gets himself talked about, the
women crowd his consulting rooms, and he's making piles of money.
Suddenly your name was mentioned. I tried to hear what was said, but
they spoke in low tones. Every now and then Cooley turned to Dr.
Zacharie and asked something, whereupon the doctor nodded.
Paula looked at Mr. Ricaby.
What does this mean? she asked.
The lawyer shrugged his shoulders.
How should I know? I wouldn't pay any attention to it, if I were
you. Your uncle can surely have friends at his home without our getting
alarmed over it.
Mr. Ricaby's dead right, burst in Tod. It's a bally shame that I
told you. I wouldn't have said a word if you hadn't pressed me. The
meeting probably had nothing to do with you
Mr. Ricaby looked thoughtful.
Birds of a feather flock together. I've known Dr. Zacharie for
years. He always had a bad name. One day he will be shown up as the
scoundrel that he is. If he's in with Cooley and Jimmy Marsh it's for
no good. Still, as Mr. Chase says, it may have nothing whatever to do
Paula shook her head apprehensively.
I don't know Dr. Zacharie, she said. But I don't like his name. A
chill came over me when I heard it. I'm dreadfully nervous.
Tod seized her hand.
Now, Miss Marshsay one word more and I'll go and kill him!
Dismiss Zacharie and all the others from your mind. Whythey are not
worthy to breathe the same air as you. If you don't brighten up and
forget all about them I'll do something desperate. Anyhow, I came here
to-night on a desperate errand. It was to remind you of a promise.
A promisewhat promise?
Didn't you say that you would take me down to the slums one day?
Yes, I did.
Well, I'm ready to go. When shall it be?
The young girl hesitated a moment. Then she said:
To-morrow's an interesting day. There are classes at the Settlement
home and house visits among the poor. Holding up a finger, she added
warningly: Mind, it isn't exactly fun. You'll see a new phase of life,
something you do not knowthe appalling misery and sordid wretchedness
of a great, careless city.
That's immense! cried Tod, rising enthusiastically. I'll come for
you to-morrow. What time?
About eleven o'clock, she smiled.
The Bowery, that Broadway of the slums, odoriferous sink of
cosmopolitan pauperism, degradation, and crime, wore its familiar,
everyday aspect of ugly squalor and vicegrimy, dilapidated rookeries,
dark, sinister hallways, filthy, greasy pavements littered with decayed
fruit skins, gutters choked up with offensive black slime,
suspicious-looking characters, abominable stenches of sauerkraut and
stale beer which offended the nostrils on every side. On the slender
rails high overhead occasional trains crashed by with a sullen roar; in
the middle of the roadway rushing trolley cars noisily clanged their
warning gongs, while on either sidewalk stretching as far south as the
City Hall cheap clothing shops, tough saloons, low dance halls,
pawnbrokers, penny arcades, vaudeville shows, displayed their gaudy
signs. Up and down pushed and jostled a perspiring and motley
crowdbearded Jew peddlers, pallid sweat-shop workers, Chinese,
flashily dressed toughs, furtive-eyed pickpockets, sailors on shore
leave, factory girls, painted street walkers, slouching longshoremen,
tattered tramps, derelicts of both sexesan appalling host of unkempt,
unwashed, evil-smelling humanity.
In the side streets, just off the main thoroughfare, conditions were
even more congested and depressing. On either hand ricketty, grimy
tenements were alive with bearded Russians, fierce-looking Italians,
vociferating Irish, pot-bellied Germans. From broken windows hung
clotheslines bending under the load of newly washed rags; on flimsy,
rusty fire-escapes were jammed filthy mattresses on which slept the
wretched occupants, glad to escape from the foul air and heat within;
dark stairways and stoops were thronged with neglected, consumptive
children. The evil smells were so numerous that it was impossible to
determine which was the most objectionable. The air was full of
discordant, nerve-racking sounds. On one side of the street an Italian
was grinding a wheezy organ, while little girls, some with bare feet,
danced to the music. A few yards farther on, boys with white faces
drawn by hunger, were rummaging eagerly in ash barrels, hunting for
scraps of refuse. Two women were pulling each other's hair in the
centre of a circle of encouraging neighbors, neglected babes were
screaming, dogs were barking, a vendor was shrieking his wares. It was
Hell, yet nothing unusualonly everyday life in the slums.
Isn't it dreadful? murmured Paula, as she and Tod hurried along
Gee! replied her escort. Look at some of those faces! They seem
hardly human. Animals are better looking.
They are not to blame, answered Paula sadly. These poor people
are the victims of circumstances. They have been brutalizedthe Jews
by centuries of race persecution, the others by merciless economic
conditions. The black poverty in which they live is well nigh
inconceivable. Their desperate struggle for mere existence is
Phew! exclaimed Tod, as he peeped through the window of a gloomy,
broken-down rookery. How can any one live in such a place? The Black
Hole of Calcutta couldn't have been much worse!
That's just it, answered Paula, with some warmth. You
self-satisfied, well-fed people uptown don't take the trouble to come
down here to find out how the poor live. We Settlement workers know,
for we are right in the heart of it all. What you see from the street
is nothing. You must enter some of these tenements if you wish to
become really acquainted with the shocking conditions in which they
livethe crushing poverty, the physical and moral suffering, the gross
immorality. In some places as many as twelve persons, full-grown men
and women, half-grown boys and girls, all eat and sleep in one dark,
ill-ventilated room. Can you wonder that such a life brutalizes them
and that they die like flies?
Tod shrugged his shoulders.
What good would it do if we did know? We couldn't help all of them.
You remember what Baron Rothschild said to a wild-eyed anarchist who
one day managed to break into his office brandishing a pistol: 'My
friend, you insist that I share my fortune with the poor. I am worth
five millions of dollars. There are in the world more than five hundred
million paupers. Here is your shareexactly one cent.'
That's all very well, smiled Paula. I don't go to that extreme.
We can't help all, but we can help a little. If the rich could see
things as they are, it would make them reflect. I don't think they
would be so wickedly extravagant in their own homes if they saw all
this misery. The price of one big dinner served in a Fifth Avenue
mansion would support half a dozen families here for a year.
Tod looked skeptical.
I like to hear you talk, he said lightly, because you're so
earnest about it, but really you're wrong. If these people were given
assistance to-day they would be as badly off to-morrow. All
civilizations have had this problem to deal with. The poor are the
underdogs in the struggle for life. They're only half human, anyway.
Most of them have never known anything better. They are used to
roughing it. They actually enjoy their dirt. They themselves are
largely responsible for their own misfortunes. They drink, they're
shiftless and thriftless.
The rich have more vices than the poor, answered Paula quietly.
The poor drink to drown their troubles. We can't say just why, of two
men born with the same advantages, one prospers and the other remains
in the gutter. We can only deal with the problem as we find it. It is
dreadful to think that buried in these fearful tenements, brutalized by
their frightful environments, are numbers of talented young men and
women who are trying to better themselves. Left to themselves they are
likely to sink deeper in the frightful morass that surrounds them, but
if extended a helping hand they may be able to rise above the appalling
conditions and so escape the terrible degradation and suffering that
otherwise awaits them. A boy or girl, children of the tenements, may
have within the genius of a Wagner or a Rosa Bonheur, but from infancy
these children are so dragged down, so brutalized by their unspeakable
environments that their natural aspirations and talents are hopelessly
crushed. It is to such as these that the Settlement lends its aid. We
are trying to help the deserving, we are seeking to sift the gold from
the dross. Look, there is the Settlement House!
On the opposite side of the street was a substantial-looking
building resembling a small school-house. Conspicuous by its
cleanliness among the surrounding dingy tenements, erected by
enlightened and humane idealists for the sole purpose of uplifting
humanity, it stood as a kind of moral lighthouse set down in a deadly
morass of crime and hopeless pauperism.
Come, I will show you all through, cried Paula enthusiastically.
Her face brightened up and her step was elastic as once more she found
herself in the midst of her fellow workers. Smiles and nods greeted her
from every direction. The place was busy as a beehive. The halls were
full of people; classes were going on in the different rooms. Taking
Tod's arm, she led him in this direction and that, proud to show all
there was to be seen. There were regular night classes where those
employed during the day could receive instruction in stenography,
bookkeeping, and other useful vocations, gymnasiums, classes where the
technical trades were taught, classes where music lessons were given.
There were also attractive recreation rooms which kept young men from
the dangers of saloons and young girls from the temptations of the
It's such interesting work, she said. Here I have no time to
think of my troubles. I can forget Uncle James and Bascom Cooley.
Tod was full of enthusiasm.
No wonder you've no use for society and the rest, he said
admiringly. If I'd taken a taste for this sort of thing years ago
perhaps I wouldn't have made such a fool of myself.
There's still time, she said mischievously. It's never too late
to mend, you know. Leading him once more in the direction of the
street, she added: This is the bright side of my work; I'll let you
look now on the darker side. It isn't so pleasant. Come with me.
Docilely he followed her out of the building, wondering where he was
being taken, caring little, so long as she was with him. This dark-eyed
girl, with her serious views and charming manner, had already taken a
strong hold of the young man. She was utterly different from any girl
he had ever known, and cogitating secretly with himself, he came to the
conclusion that the comparison was in her favor.
Quite unconscious that she was the object of her companion's
thoughts, Paula hurried along the narrow, slippery pavements, crowded
with pale-faced women and children, obstructed by all kinds of wagons
and hucksters' pushcarts. Stopping for a moment at a delicatessen shop,
she purchased some ham, eggs, butter, and bread, and then hastened on
again until she came to a big, dreary tenement.
We go in here, she said, quite out of breath after the quick walk.
It is the home of one of my favorite pupils, Annie Hughes. They are
wretchedly poor. The father is an incorrigible drunkard and the mother
is bedridden. Only the devotion of her child keeps her alive. I want
you to see Annie. She is only twelve, but she does the work of two
women. She cannot play like other children of her age, yet she never
complains. She is entirely devoted to her mother. It's a dreadful hovel
they live in. You'll be shocked at what you see, but don't show
surprise. Mrs. Hughes is a decent woman, and it will only distress her.
She's consumptive and can't live long. If she dies I shall adopt and
educate Annie as my own.
They entered a dark, narrow, forbidding-looking hallway, with walls
thickly begrimed with the accumulated filth of years, and so cracked
that the plaster in places had fallen out in huge chunks, exposing the
wood lathing. At the far end was a winding, ricketty staircase, every
stair filthy with refuse and rubbish, and only dimly lighted by small
windows that did not look as if they had been washed since the house
was built. It was a steep climb to the sixth floor, and both were out
of breath when they reached the top. Paula approached a door, and
Is that you, Annie? called out a feeble voice.
No, Mrs. Hughesit is I, Miss Marsh, with a friend.
Without waiting for further invitation, they pushed open the door
and went in.
A shocking scene of neglect and squalor met their eyes. In a dimly
lighted, poorly ventilated room about fourteen feet square, on a
tumble-down bed, covered with filthy rags, lay a woman past middle age,
apparently asleep. Her eyes were closed and she did not take the
trouble to turn her face as the visitors entered. The place, living
room and bedchamber in one, was indescribably and hopelessly dirty and
littered with broken furniture and rubbish of every description. It was
really the attic of the house, the low ceiling formed by the roof
sloping down to the front, where a small window looked into the street
below. Half the glass panes being broken and patched up with paper,
only a poor light entered the room, and this helped to partly conceal
the dirt-encrusted floor, torn, filthy bedding, and greasy stove piled
up with unwashed dishes. The foul air reeked with offensive odors of
decaying vegetation and bad drainage.
The woman on the bed started to cough, a violent cough which shook
the bed. When the spasm had passed she turned to see who had come in.
Paula she knew, but Tod was a stranger, yet her face expressed neither
surprise or embarrassment. The poor are accustomed to unceremonious
visits from Salvation Army workers and others, and they are so wretched
that they have ceased to care about anything. A faint smile came over
the invalid's pale, wan face.
I thought it was Annie, she said. She's been a long time gone. I
had to send her to the Dispensary to get some more medicine. My cough
is very bad to-day.
She stopped, seized again by a fit of coughing.
I brought you a few little things, Mrs. Hughes, said Paula, laying
down the packages she had brought. At the same time she slipped a
five-dollar bill into the woman's hand. Let Annie beat you up a
fresh-laid egg. It'll do your cough good. You must get all the
nourishment you can or you'll never get strong.
God bless you, lady, murmured the sick woman. Where would Annie
and me be to-day if it wasn't for you?
Where's your husband? demanded Paula.
Mrs. Hughes shook her head feebly.
I don't know, she whispered. He never comes near me. He earns
wages now and again, but it all goes in whisky. The neighbors say he
was arrested last week and sent to the Island.
Paula turned to Tod.
Isn't it fearful? she said, in a low tone.
Tod put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a ten-dollar bill.
Terrible! he said. Heregive her this. She needs it more than I.
It's the first thing I've done for charity in my life, and somehow it
makes one feel good.
Paula looked at him and smiled as she passed the money over to Mrs.
This is from my friend here, she said.
God bless you, sir! she said. It'll help keep Annie and me going
a little while more. 'Tain't for long, though. I've given up hope. I'll
never get any better. The doctor says I'm a goner. He knows. He told a
neighbor, and she told Annie. The poor child came home crying as if her
dear little heart would break. It's not for myself that I'm worrying.
It's for Annie. If you only knew what a good child she is, sir
She stopped short, choked by another fit of violent coughing.
Don't worry, said Paula, soothingly and trying to keep back her
own tears. We'll take good care of Annie.
The sick woman raised herself with difficulty on one arm.
The child's gone a long time, she said uneasily. I'm always
anxious when she's away.
The words were hardly out of her mouth when through the crack in the
window came the sound of unusual commotion in the street below. There
was the noise of an automobile stopping with a jerk, warning shouts,
and then the shrieks and sobbing of women. Tod rushed to the window.
It's an accident! he said. Some one has been run over.
Paula, her heart in her mouth, seized by an indefinable dread,
leaned out of the window. All they could see was a surging crowd
gathered round a big, red automobile. A burly policeman, and a tall,
thin man in a linen duster were stooping over a prostrate form.
Suddenly a wild cry from the bed behind them froze the blood in their
veins. They looked back. Mrs. Hughes, livid, had raised herself to a
sitting posture and was trying to get out of bed to come and see for
herself. The mother's unerring instinct had told her what had
happenedyet she dare not give expression to her dread. Her hollow
eyes dilated wide with terror, she cried:
Annie only went to the Dispensary. She ought to be back by now.
Where can she be?
Outside, the noise and excitement had been succeeded by an unnatural
calm. Suddenly Tod, who was still hanging half out of the window,
turned round, and before Paula could silence him, called out:
They're coming into this house.
A cry from the mother answered him. She did not know why she called
out. Surely it was no misfortune of hersthis accident. She only knew
that her child was out, and should have returned long ago.
Paula rushed to the top of the landing and looked down. Below, she
saw a procession of people slowly ascending the stairs. First came the
stalwart policeman bearing something white in his arms, then came the
tall, thin man in the linen duster, followed by a number of women
weeping and wailing. Paula felt herself grow pale. A vague intuition
told her that a terrible tragedy had occurred. Her heart seemed to stop
beating. Up and up, closer and closer, came the policeman with his
What is it? cried Paula, scarcely able to control herself.
A child run over, m'm, answered the officer stolidly. Tears were
in his eyes as he added: It's little Annie Hughes. I'm afraid it's all
The child's form was limp, the eyes were closed, her little dress
was saturated with blood.
With an involuntary shriek of horror, Paula staggered back into the
attic. Her first thought was of the poor mother, to save her the shock
of seeing the body of her mangled child, but as she crossed the
threshold, she suddenly felt sick and dizzy. The room seemed to swim
round. She called loudly:
Mr. Chase! Come quick!
Then she fainted, just as Tod reached her.
[Illustration: THE AGONIZED SCREAM OF A MOTHER ROBBED OF HER YOUNG.]
But poor Mrs. Hughes had heard the shriek and she answered it with
one even more terriblethe agonized scream of a mother robbed of her
young. Suddenly possessed of almost superhuman strength, she left the
bed and staggered to the door while Tod, panicstricken, was dashing
cold water into Paula's face, trying to revive her.
The policeman entered with his pathetic burden and laid the child
gently on the bed.
We've rung for an ambulance, he explained, but
A fierce, hysterical outburst interrupted him. The wretched mother
snatched her child from his grasp and, fondling it to her almost naked
breast, tried with wild, staring eyes and trembling hands to find its
injuries. Not understanding, unable to help, crushed under the awful
weight of this supreme blow which had stricken her, she frantically
kissed the child's white face and called upon her by name.
The tall, thin man in the linen duster advanced, felt the child's
pulse, and then tried to lead the mother away.
Madam, he said, I'm a doctor. There's nothing to be done. It's
all over. I can't tell you how I deplore this accident. If money can
help matters, I am willing to pay. The little girl ran right into my
automobile as I was turning the corner. Turning to the policeman, he
added: It was an accident, officer, wasn't it? Thank God, you were a
witness to that. Everybody saw how it happened.
The policeman glared angrily at him. Almost savagely he replied:
You may thank your stars it was, or you'd never have got out of
this neighborhood alive. They'd have strung you up to a lamppost sure
as fate, and served you right. I guess it was an accident, all right,
and you're not to blame, but I'll have to arrest you, anyway, on a
technical charge of homicide.
The distracted mother, staring at the two men, had listened
stupidly. Suddenly she understood, and, pointing a scrawny finger at
him, cried hysterically:
Ahyou are the murderer! You killed my child! He killed my child!
Oh, justice in Heaven!
The effort was more than her weakened condition could stand. Sobbing
violently, she fell prostrate over the body of her little daughter.
The stranger turned to Tod, who was still engaged in reviving Paula.
It seemed to Tod that he had seen the pale, sardonic face, those
piercing eyes and jet black hair before. He could not tell just where.
You seem the only reasonable one here, said the stranger. The
woman's hysteria is only natural. I am entirely blameless in the
matter. Of course, it is very sad, but these children of the tenements
will run under the wheels of carriages. It is a wonder more are not
killed. Looking at Paula, who was slowly coming to, he inquired:
Fainted, eh? One of the family?
Tod did not like the man's cold, indifferent, almost brutal manner.
It was with an effort that he replied civilly:
Nothis lady was merely paying a visit here. The child was one of
her pupils. She is Miss Paula Marsh, teacher of the Rivington Street
The stranger started and looked at Paula more closely.
The niece of Mr. James Marsh? he cried, in surprise.
How strange! muttered the stranger. Drawing a card from his
pocket, he said: I am Dr. Zacharie!
Now Tod remembered where he had seen this man. It was through the
keyhole of the library the night of that secret midnight meeting.
Paula opened her eyes. At first she saw only Tod. Then her gaze,
wandering round the room suddenly rested on Dr. Zacharie, who stood
staring with his black, piercing eyes and sardonic smile, silently
studying her. For a moment she stared back at him, without making a
movement or a sound. A look of repulsion and fright came into her face.
Suddenly she uttered a shriek:
The man of my dreams! she cried.
Then she fainted again.
Dr. Zacharie put his finger on her pulse and turned to Tod. It
seemed to the latter that a smile of satisfaction hovered about his
She's a highly nervous girl, he said, and subject to strange
hallucinations. I am a nerve specialist. Cases like this interest me.
Her condition is well known to her uncle. He asked me to call and see
her. It is a curious coincidence that I should meet her under these
tragic circumstances. You had better get her home at once. My
automobile is at your disposal.
Three weeks passed and Paula still felt the terrible shock of little
Annie's death. The sad affair had made such an impression on her
sensitive nature that she was compelled to give up her Settlement work
temporarily if not altogether. For days she was haunted by the wretched
mother's agonized face; that shrill scream of despair still rang in her
For some time she had been thinking of leaving town and going
somewhere for a rest. Certainly she needed it. Her nerves were all
unstrung; she felt more low-spirited and depressed than ever. With her
music and her books she tried to shake off the melancholy that weighed
upon her, but without much success. The book dropped from her listless
hands and she found herself incapable even of thinking, her mind
constantly filled with a vague, indefinable feeling of uneasiness.
Both Mr. Ricaby and Tod tried their best to cheer her up, insisting
that there was nothing to worry about. It was ten months now since her
uncle was appointed administrator of her estate. In two months more his
guardianship would be at an end, and she would be legally entitled to
come into her own. Yet, in spite of this reassurance, strange
misgivings seized the girl. What new move were her uncle and Bascom
Cooley contemplating? She had heard nothing of them for weeks, but that
in itself meant nothing. Under the peculiar circumstances, such silence
was, perhaps, all the more suspicious.
Why had her uncle spoken to this Dr. Zacharie, the nerve specialist,
about her? How frightened she had been that fatal afternoon in Mrs.
Hughes' attic when she first saw the doctor. As he stood staring at
her, with those black, piercing eyes and sardonic smile of his he
looked exactly like the terrible man in her dream. Of course, that was
silly, but she could not overcome her first aversion to the man. Since
the accident he had called at the boarding house several times on the
pretense of inquiring after her health, and on each occasion she
noticed that he looked at her strangely. Why did he come so oftenby
what right did he stare at her and question in that searching,
inquisitional manner? In future, she would not allow it. She would
resent it as an intolerable impertinence. If he came again she would
refuse to see him.
One afternoon she was home, alone. The weather was stormy and had
spoiled a little shopping excursion arranged with one of her Settlement
friends. At a loss what to do in order to kill time, she thought she
would practice a little, so going to the piano, she played a few bars.
This soon tired her. Finding she had no mind for music, she picked up a
book and tried to read. But she found it impossible to become
interested. For some reason she could not explain she felt nervous and
ill at ease. Depressing fancies came crowding into her brain. There was
nothing particularly to worry about, yet something within told her that
a critical moment in her affairs was fast approaching. She was growing
more and more uncomfortable, when suddenly there came a rap at the
door. Nervously she jumped up, wondering who it could be. Surely Mrs.
Parkes would not knock, and she had not heard the front doorbell.
Come in, she called out timidly.
The door opened and Dr. Zacharie appeared on the threshold, bowing
Dr. Louis Zacharie belonged to that class of medical practitioner,
limited happily in number, who do not hesitate to disgrace a noble
profession for mere love of lucre. An arrant humbug, he called himself
a nerve specialist, and with the help of one or two yellow newspapers
ever ready to print any trash so long as it was sensational, had
succeeded in getting himself talked about as an authority on nervous
diseases. Silly women and foolish men believed he possessed
extraordinary powers to cure their imaginary ailments, and flocked in
crowds to his waiting rooms. Society took him up. It became the fashion
to consult him. Soon he was so busy that he could be seen by
appointment only, and money literally flowed into his coffers. A man of
magnetic personality, with some skill as a hypnotist, he had no
difficulty in persuading his patients that they were in a very alarming
condition, and that only the closest care at his hands could save them
from total nervous collapse and worse. His real character as an
unprincipled charlatan was, of course, well known to all his medical
colleagues, but he was clever enough to cover up his tracks and thus
managed to escape disciplinary action by the Medical Society. He was a
comparative newcomer in New York, but in the West he had blazed a long
trail of crookedness. Driven from San Francisco for malpractice, he
turned up in Denver, where he again aroused the authorities to action.
He fled to Chicago and for a time kept from public notice. Then there
was a new scandal, and once more he disappeared, to turn up two or
three years later in New York. In the metropolis his peculiar talents
seemed to find a more profitable field. Within a short time he found
himself one of the most successful and fashionable specialists in the
One day he found among the patients in his reception room a big,
blustering man who introduced himself as Bascom Cooley. The doctor had
already heard of the criminal lawyer, and for a moment was inwardly
perturbed, thinking the visit might have some connection with his past
history. But Mr. Cooley soon put him at his ease. He had called on
behalf of a friend of his, Mr. James Marsh. They understood that he,
Dr. Zacharie, was an expert on all nervous disorders. There was a case
in Mr. Marsh's immediate family that they believed needed watching.
Would the doctor be willing to come to Mr. Marsh's house for a
conference? The doctor looked at the lawyer and the lawyer looked at
the doctor. Each understood the other. There was money in itbig
money. That decided it. Dr. Zacharie went that same night to West
Seventy-second Street, and ever since had evinced a warm interest in
James Marsh's ward.
Paula's face flushed with annoyance. Going hastily forward, she
I am afraid I cannot see you, doctor.
Not in the least abashed by this chilly reception, Dr. Zacharie
advanced into the room, the sardonic smile hovering round his thin,
I won't detain you a minuteI have come to say good-by, he said
Thinking that she might get rid of him the more quickly by a
pretense at politeness, Paula said more amiably:
Are you leaving town, doctor?
The question was unfortunate for, thus encouraged, he took a seat
uninvited, and drew off his gloves with deliberate slowness.
Just a few words before I go. Fixing her with his penetrating
black eyes, he went on: You know, your case interests meso much
My case? echoed Paula, coldly elevating her eyebrows as if not
comprehending his meaning.
When I first saw you the day of that unfortunate accident I said to
He stopped and shook his head ominously. Then, after a pause, he
I said to myself, she's a fine, highly strung girl, who needs care
and attention, and, above allrestrest. Yes, your brain needs rest.
It is over-workedyou think too muchthe wheels go round too fast.
Yes? said Paula, trying to curb her growing impatience.
The doctor smiled.
You don't mind my sitting down, do you? he asked.
Not in the leastif you wish to, she replied curtly, without
making a move to take a seat herself.
He sat in silence, watching her stealthily.
Won't you sit down, too? he said. We will talk a little.
She shook her head decisively.
NoII can't talk to you. I had fully made up my mind never to
see you again. I'll be perfectly frank, Dr. Zacharie, you have a
disquieting effect on me.
He smiled again, a cynical, horrible smile, which made her shudder.
That is because I tell you the truth, he said, blinking his eyes.
You don't like to hear about your state of mind.
No. For I don't believe what you say, she retorted hotly. My
healthmy mindis as clear as yours. I am only tired. I'm weary to
death of this awful lawsuit. I am compelled to stay in-doors, to keep
my door locked so that they shan't serve me with any one of those
dreadful papers summoning me to appear, to answer, to show cause, to
answer endless questions. Even when you knocked just now my heart began
He shrugged his shoulders as if the symptoms she described confirmed
only too well his diagnosis.
You see, he cried, you are all nerves! There is great danger
therehidden dangers that only we men of science can see.
Starting involuntarily, she exclaimed apprehensively:
Hidden danger! What do you mean? Why do you tell me these things?
Do you think it does me any good to hear them? Last time you were here,
doctor, I asked you not to call again. I told you I needed no further
professional advice. I am perfectly welland
She stopped and stared at him, as if struck with a new idea.
You see, he cried quickly, you cannot even finish your sentence.
You have forgotten what you were going to say.
No, she replied promptly, I was just thinkingsomething flashed
across my mind. Dr. Zacharie, you were sent here by Uncle James to
To watch you? he echoed with well-simulated surprise.
Yes, she said firmly. To watch meam I right?
He shrugged his shoulders.
Your uncle is anxious about you, of coursewhy not? You have said
many strange things about him. He is actually afraid for you, and for
himself. It's natural enough. But come, don't let us speak of him. That
is the one subject that we should never mention before you. It is
youryourwhat shall I call itthat the non-scientific person may
Paula paced nervously up and down the room. What did these
insinuations mean? What was the real object of this ambiguous
questioning? She was about to retort angrily, when the door opened, and
to her great relief Mrs. Parkes entered.
Oh, I beg your pardon, said the landlady, about to withdraw.
Don't go, please, cried Paula, going forward. I want to see you,
Mrs. Parkes. Dr. Zacharie is just going. Turning to dismiss him
without further ceremony, she said curtly: Good-by, doctor. Please
thank my uncle, and tell him I don't need medical attention.
Dr. Zacharie rose and bowed. He understood that he was
unceremoniously dismissed, but he was not the kind of man to easily
lose his sangfroid.
As you wish, he said, as he rose and went toward the door, but
you will be carefulwon't you? Impressively he added:
Rememberthere is dangergreat danger of total collapse. Your
nerves need watching. The slightest imprudence
Lord sakes, doctor, you're not very comforting! cried Mrs. Parkes.
I always tell my patients the truth, replied the doctor. It is
Then I'm glad I'm not your patient, retorted the landlady
promptly. Give me the good, cheerful lie that comforts, even if it
ain't true. My experience with Parkes taught me that, PaulaI was only
happy when he was lying to me.
Well, I have warned you, Miss Marsh, repeated the doctor, take
Paula bowed haughtily.
Thank yougood-by, she said icily.
Dr. Zacharie opened the door and disappeared.
Phew! Isn't he the Job's comforter! exclaimed Mrs. Parkes. Looking
suddenly at Paula, she said:
Lord sakes, child, how pale you are!
Paula was visibly distressed. The man certainly had frightened her,
for she was all trembling. Going to the door, she first locked it, and
then, turning to Mrs. Parkes, she said, in an agitated voice:
Don't let him come here againplease! He has such a depressing
effect on me. Somehow or other I'm afraid of himafraid of him. I
don't know whybut I am.
Suddenly she stopped, and, approaching the landlady, said, in a
Mrs. Parkes, if anything happens to me
Gracious! What could happen? cried the old lady.
I don't know, replied the young girl gloomily. My uncle is
desperate for money. If anything happened to mehe's the next of
kinhe'd get the estate. She stopped, as if unwilling to tell what
was on her mind. Then, with an effort, she continued: Supposing
Supposing he what? demanded the other.
I don't knowI have such strange thoughtsI never know what
they're going to do next. Mr. Ricaby doesn't know, either. There's this
strange, inexplicable silence, these strange visits of Dr. Zacharie. It
is as if they were waiting forforIt's the uncertainty that gets on
my nerves so.
The old lady shrugged her shoulders.
Why don't you get married and settle the whole business? she said.
Get married! cried Paula, compelled to smile in spite of her
Certainly. Then your husband can do the worrying, and your uncle
could whistle for the money.
Yes, yes; but who could I marry? laughed Paula.
The old woman shook her head sagaciously.
Oh, just look around a little. You won't have to look very far. My
Harry's a good boyas different from his father as chalk is to cheese.
He's fine looking, too, and he's a good sonand, Paula, a good son
makes a good husband.
Get married, said Paula musingly, and get away from here? Yes.
That's itthat's it.
I was speaking to Mr. Ricaby about it, went on Mrs. Parkes.
Paula looked up, surprised.
Mr. Ricaby? Whatwhat did he say? she demanded.
He said it was a splendid ideabut you'd have to get your uncle's
consentor the consent of the courtor something. My advice is to
marry first and ask consent afterward.
Paula was silent and thoughtful for a moment. Then she asked:
Did Mr. Ricaby seemed pleased at the idea?
Well, notnotexactly pleased. He didn't throw up his hat and
dance a hornpipe, but he congratulated me on having such a fortunate
The young girl stared at her landlady as if dumbfounded.
What! she cried, did you tell Mr. Ricaby that your sonwhat did
I said that Harry loved you and would make you a good husband,
replied the mother proudly.
How did you dispose of me in the matter? smiled the girl.
Mrs. Parkes seemed embarrassed for an answer. Hesitatingly she
I saidthat youthat you were not exactly opposed to the idea.
It was only with difficulty that Paula could keep her face straight.
Controlling herself, she said:
Mrs. Parkes, you have said that a good, cheerful lie is sometimes
very comforting, butin this case it's not only cheerless and
uncomfortableit's also most embarrassing. As it happens, I'm very
much opposed to the idea.
The mother looked at her blankly. That her Harry was not a suitor
any girl would eagerly jump at had never entered her mind.
You could learn to love him, she said testily.
Paula was getting rather weary of the subject. Impatiently she
But I don't want to learn to love him. Forgive me, Mrs. Parkes, if
I ask you not to refer to the subject again.
The poor boy is eating his heart out, said Mrs. Parkes, wiping
away a solitary tear.
Just as she spoke the door opened and the object of the conversation
put his head in.
Say, mater, he grinned, do you know Mr. Chase has been
waiting downstairs half an hour?
Oh, my gracious! cried the old lady, all flustered. I quite
forgotso he has! He wants to see you. He came while the doctor was
here. I told him to wait, and I'dIclean forgotoh, dear! I'll tell
him to come up. Excuse me, dear, I'm all upside down to-day.
With more excuses the landlady bounced out of the room, leaving the
two together. Harry had been listening at the keyhole, and now he eyed
Paula sheepishly. There was an awkward silence. Finally he took
courage, and said:
Miss PaulaI want you to forgive my mother's meddling with our
affairs. I promised you I would never speak of marriage again, and I
won't. But I can't get mother tostop spreading the news. She has told
Mr. Ricaby, she has told Dr. Zacharie, and now she has just told Mr.
Chase thatthat the matter between us is settled.
Paula gasped with mingled surprise and indignation.
Mr. Chase! Oh! And Dr. Zacharie! Oh!
Don't be too hard on her, Miss Marsh, he said apologetically,
it's the vanity of the mother, she thinks her son is good enough for
any one, just because he's her son. But he isn'tI know it, andwhen
he's a confirmed bachelor of eighty she'll know it, too.
I hope she's alive then, smiled Paula, who had recovered her good
Just then the door opened, and Tod entered. He first looked at
Paula, and, with a grimace, extended his hand to Harry Parkes.
First of allcongratulations! he said.
Offering his hand to Paula, he said:
The young girl showed impatience.
Please, Mr. Chasedon't jest! she cried.
What! exclaimed Tod, a pleased expression on his face, nothing in
Nothing at all! replied Paula laconically.
Tod looked immensely relieved. Then, turning the subject, he said in
a low tone:
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, Paula, but it's bound to be in
all the papers to-night.
Bad news! exclaimed Paula apprehensively.
What is it? Tell me; I'm used to that.
Harry moved towards the door.
If you'll pardon me I'll go.
He went out, closing the door behind him. Approaching Paula, Tod
I should have come here before, only I could not get away. I'm
keeping tabs on Cooley. I wanted to warn Ricaby. Ricaby is all right,
but he doesn't seem to know how to handle the case. He gets the worst
of it every time.
What is the news? demanded Paula uneasily.
Well, they've arrested Ricaby!
Arrested him! What for?
For debt. It appears that he has borrowed money on some securities
left in his charge by a client, or something of that sort. He was taken
from his office this morning to the City Hall Court. He's trying to get
Mr. Ricaby in prison! cried Paula. The only friend I have in the
Not the only friend, replied the young man promptly. Count me,
too, Miss Paula. I'm with you in the fight you're putting up against
that school of sharks, and you couldn't drive me away from you with a
Gatling. This is a new move in their game, but we'll block it. I'm
going on Ricaby's bail bond myself.
Can you? asked Paula eagerly.
Can I? laughed Tod. It's the easiest thing I do. Mother's got
some real estate, and she'll sign anything for me. You know it's a joke
on Jimmy to make his wife put up bail for the man he's had arrested. As
for Cooley, it will be a scream when he finds it out.
Oh, but the disgrace of it! cried Paula, in dismay. The
humiliationhe's so sensitive. Poor Mr. Ricaby!
That's all right, Miss Marsh, said Tod consolingly. It's a put-up
job of the Big Chiefthat's one of his methods. We'll get Ricaby out
before to-night. I thought you'd like to come with me to jailhe's
down in the Tombs.
The Tombs! she exclaimed.
Of course, he went on, that's no place for a lady, but when I'm
with you, you might be in the St. Regis for the courteous treatment
you'll get. Say, can you see Cooley's face when he finds out who went
on Ricaby's bond! Do you know what worried them so? They heard that
Ricaby is trying to raise money to retain ex-Senator Wratchett. That
fellow Cooley's a wonder! He hears about things before they happen.
Then it's for mefor my sake, faltered Paula, that Mr. Ricaby is
in prison. I believe he has beggared himself for meto fight this
case. He never tells me how much I owe him. It's all my fault. Let's go
to him at once. Oh, Mr. Chase, I'm so grateful to you!
Going into her room, she reappeared immediately with her hat and
coat and began hurriedly to put them on.
Then call me Tod, won't you? grinned her companion. All my men
friends call me Tod. The only name I won't stand for is Todhunter. Your
Uncle Jimmy insulted me with that epithet once, and I went up so high
in the air that he never did it again. I'm the one man your uncle
respects. I make so much noise he has to bribe me to keep quiet. That's
Bascom Cooley's argumentthe more noise you make the more attention
you get, and the more you fool people. Cooley says
Don't be like Mr. Cooley, she protested.
He's mighty successful, all the same. Do you know, Miss Marsh, he
and two or three others run this city?
More's the pity, she replied dryly.
Enthusiastically he went on:
Bascom Cooley is the great American legal geniushe never loses a
case. If I thought it would please you I'd cut out the brass band
effects and put some soft pedal polish on my manners. You wouldn't
believe it, would you? I almost graduated, that is, I nearly took a
degree. I can slow down to society speed if I want to.
Whatever you are, be yourself, smiled Paula gently.
Then you like me as I am, eh? he grinned. Well, that's a good
Let us go, please, said Paula, embarrassed at the personal tone
the conversation had taken. When I think that a noble-hearted,
self-sacrificing friend is in prison because he tried to help
meIfeel I ought to share his prison cell with him. Let us go to him
Say, I'd go to jail for the rest of my life if you'd share my cell
with me, he said, with mock heroism.
I think you said you'd cut out the brass band effects, Tod.
That's right, he replied. I'm an extremist. When I like anybody
II don't know where to stop. Ricaby is a good fellow, and he's
entitled to anything you can say about him.
The words were hardly out of his mouth when suddenly there was the
sound of footsteps outside. The door opened and Mr. Ricaby appeared.
Paula did not believe her eyes. She could hardly have been more
startled if she had seen a dead man suddenly come back to life. Here
she had been busy making plans to go and console him in prison, and
behold he walked in!
The lawyer's face was pale and serious, and his manner agitated.
Certainly he had gone through an experience unpleasant enough to upset
any man. The enemy had made a trap for him, and, like a fool, he had
walked into it blindly. Arrested on an absurd charge while trying to
raise more funds to carry on the case, he had been subjected to the
most mortifying humiliation and annoyance, no doubt at the suggestion
of the wily Mr. Cooley himself. Of course, he had no difficulty
whatever in making an explanation so satisfactory that the Court at
once dismissed the case, but then it was too late. The mischief was
done. The reporters had the story, and the yellow extras with their
exaggerated scare heads were already shrieking their way all over
town. Who was responsible for this new outrage? Who was it that had
informed Mr Cooley that he was trying to borrow money in order to
engage the legal services of ex-Senator Wratchett? To Paula alone he
had confided his plans. No, there was still another. Yes, he remembered
it now. He had spoken of his intentions in the presence of Mr. Chase,
the last time the young man had called at the house. No doubt he had
Disregarding Tod's presence, the lawyer advanced quickly towards
Pardon my coming up without being announced, he said. But I heard
Mr. Chase was here, and I came straight in.
Paula's face lit up with pleasure. Hurrying forward and extending
both her hands, she cried:
Oh, I'm so glad to see you! We were just going totothe prison.
Tell me howwhendid you
The attorney halted and pointed to Tod.
First, he said severely, dismiss that gentleman! While he is here
I can say nothing.
Paula, surprised, looked from one to the other.
Why, she exclaimed, Mr. Chase is here to help us! He came with
the news of your arrest, and he was going with me to get bail for you.
He's our friend!
He is not your friend, retorted the lawyer indignantly. Every
word you utter, every action, every detail of your conversation, no
matter how petty, is reported faithfully to Mr. Cooleyby this man.
Tod looked at Paula.
Do you believe that? he asked.
She shook her head.
How else are they acquainted with all that happens here? demanded
Ricaby, trying to control his temper. Turning on Tod, he went on
angrily: You have called here almost every day, you've talked to Mrs.
Parkes, to young Parkes; you've played the spy under pretence of
friendshipand you can't deny it.
The young man shrugged his shoulders.
You're quite right, Mr. Ricaby, he said calmly. There are some
things that a man can't stoop to deny, and this accusation is one of
Then how can I explain it? demanded the lawyer. They knew that I
was trying to raise money. Turning to Paula, he added: They know of
your engagement to young Parkes.
There is no engagement, interrupted Paula quietly.
Mr. Ricaby looked searchingly at her as if trying to read what was
in her thoughts. Then he went on:
They know of your intention to fight your uncle's guardianship to
the bitter end. They know your nervous condition. They know
everythingeven the fact that Dr. Zacharie comes here.
I'm not surprised at that, exclaimed Paula. I believe he was sent
here by my uncle purposely to annoy and frighten me. He came here again
to-day, but I got rid of him. I don't think he will come again so
The lawyer grew thoughtful, then suddenly, as if a new idea had
suddenly flashed into his mind he exclaimed:
Ah! he did, eh? I don't like that man coming here so often. There
is something in the wind. I don't know what. I intended to warn you.
He stopped for a moment, and then, looking at Tod, he said
The fact is, we hardly know friend from foe. I may be doing Mr.
Chase a serious injustice. If so, I beg his pardon. We are fighting in
the dark. We're fighting men without conscience or principle. We can't
trust anyone. We dare not.
Paula turned to Tod.
Will you give us your word? she said, with an encouraging smile.
The young man looked at her reproachfully as he shook his head:
No, he said, that means you have some doubt. No, Miss Marsh, I
won't give my word. It shouldn't be necessary. I guess I'll go. You're
all right, Mr. Ricaby, you're doing your best, but you get rattled. You
lose your head and you bark up the wrong tree. I guess that's where
Cooley doubled up on you. Reaching the door, he turned round: I'm
sorry you don't believe me, Miss Marsh. I'll do all I can for you, but
you're kinder tying my hands. Good day, Mr. Ricabygood-bye, Miss
Marsh, and good luck to you.
Oh, don't go, Mr. Chase, exclaimed Paula, going towards him. I
Yes, I guess I'd better go, he replied doggedly, he's your
The door closed behind him. He was gone. Mr. Ricaby turned to the
Paula, he said earnestly, we must trust no one. They won't stop
at anything, as you see. They even had me arrested on a ridiculous
charge. I was trying to borrow moneyto carry on this caseto engage
ex-Senator Wratchett. Mr. Chase knew this, didn't he?
You see, he knows everything. I'm afraid he's a spy.
The girl shook her head. She was too good a judge of human nature to
be so easily deceived.
I can't believe it, she said quietly. I don't believe it.
At all events, said the lawyer, we dare not risk taking him into
our confidence any more. Listen, I've raised the money, and I'm going
to see Wratchett to-night.
Why did they arrest you?
Because I overlooked the formality of having a certificate of
shares endorsed over to me. As soon as I could get word to my friend,
who loaned me the securities, he came down and the magistrate released
me at once, but the stigma of arrest, of accusation, of prison, is
there. That's what Cooley wantsto discredit me in court. Cooley knows
that if he throws enough mud some of it is bound to stick.
The young girl made a gesture of discouragement. Sinking down in a
chair at the table, she said wearily:
Oh, I'm so tired of it all. Let's give it up, Mr. Ricaby. Let's go
to my uncle and make the best bargain we can. I was hasty before. I'll
be more patient this time.
The lawyer shook his head.
Now that I have the sinews of war? he cried. No! We'll win out;
you'll see. They must be pretty desperate when they resort to such
tactics as false arrest. No, by God! I'm going to stick to them now.
Paula walked to the window, and, drawing aside the curtain, gazed
thoughtfully into the street below.
Isn't there some way out of it? she demanded. If, for instance, I
The lawyer started, choked back something that rose in his throat,
and hesitatingly said:
No, you must obtain the consent of the Court or of your guardian.
It would make new complications, application of annulmentoh,
innumerable opportunities to harass you. NoII am opposed to the
idea of marriage, Paula.
I hope you don't think that I have Mr. Parkes in mind? she smiled.
Pshaw! he exclaimed impatiently. Do you suppose I pay any
attention to that old woman's idle chatter? I don't know whom you have
in your mind, but I have too much respect for your intelligence to
imagine for a moment that it is Mr. Parkes.
He stopped and looked wistfully at her. Did he dare reveal to this
girl what had been so long in his heart? At last, summoning up courage,
he said in a low, diffident tone:
If I could only think that it was I
Startled, she looked at him in amazement. Impulsively, he went on:
There! I have spoken at last, Paula, after all these years. I
didn't intend to say anything. This is no time to speak of such
Eagerly he scanned her delicate and sensitive face, trying to read
there some response that would satisfy his longing, but her manner was
grave and her voice perfectly calm and passionless, as she answered
I had no idea that you thought of me in that way. I am sorry, Mr.
Ricaby. I have regarded you as a life-long friendnothing more. I can
never forget what you have done for me. I shall always be grateful for
your friendship and untiring devotion. That I can never repay.
Chilled, the lawyer drew back instinctively. There was no mistaking
that indifferent, matter-of-fact tone. Bitterly he said:
Yes, I understand. I have always felt that. I have inspired you
with feelings of kindliness, gratitude, friendship. But love? No. That
you reserve for some more fortunate man.
Don't say that, Mr. Ricaby, she replied gently. There is no other
man, I assure you. I would not hurt your feelings for the world, but
you know we can't always control these things ourselves. I admire you
immenselyI respect you more than any man I know.
Eagerly he darted forward and took her hand.
Do you give me hope? he murmured.
She turned away her head as she answered:
Don't let us speak of this now. You can understand that in this
present moment of great anxiety I hardly know what I am doing or
saying. I can never forget what I owe you. Any woman should be proud to
be your wife.
The lawyer shook his head.
A woman who really loves does not stop to reason. You might be
willing to repay what I've done for you by making me happy, but that is
not what I ask. What I have done for you is nothing. It is not such a
debt that you should sacrifice your whole life in repaying it. If there
can be no other consideration than that, I prefer that our relations
should remain as they are. Suddenly turning on her, he demanded:
Are you sure there is no other?
The girl shook her head.
No, she said positively. There is no other.
Then I'll hope against hope, he said hoarsely, and until your
suit is settled I promise you not to mention the subject again.
Going to the table he took his hat and gloves. Then coming back to
where she was, he held out his hand:
Good-bye, he said. I am going now to Albany. It is a trip that I
can't put off any longer. I can't stop to explain what the business is,
but it is important and concerns your case. Of course, my every
movement is watched, and while I am away they may try to take advantage
of my absence by annoying you in some way, so you'd better keep in the
house. Bolt yourself in and decline to see anyone, no matter who it is.
Above all, don't have anything to do with Mr. Chase. Instinctively I
distrust that man.
Do you? I'm sorry for that, she said, shaking her head. With a
deep sigh, she added: I'm beginning to dread being here alone. I think
I'll leave this place. I'm not myself at all lately. Come back as soon
as you can. Sometimes I think it would be best for me to go to my uncle
and put an end to the whole wretched proceedings.
The lawyer shook his head in protest, and, taking his hat and coat,
went towards the door.
No, we're going to win out, Paula, he said decisively. You'll
see. I trusted to ordinary legal procedure, to the equity and justice
of the case. Now I'll adopt their tactics and fight them with their own
weapons. Cheer up, Paula, we're in sight of victory. Good-bye.
Good-bye, Mr. Ricaby, she said, holding out her hand. Don't worry
about meI shall be all right.
Good-bye, Paula, he said, with a smile. Wish me a safe return.
God knows I do, dear friend! she said earnestly.
The young girl carefully bolted the door after him, and, returning
to the window, stood looking after her attorney until he disappeared
from view. The weather was threatening. Big drops of rain, driven
slantwise by gusts of wind, were making the passers-by run hastily to
She was sorry he had spoken. Never had she dreamed that he thought
of her in that way. She was sorry for him, because he deserved to be
happy. She was grateful to him, but in her heart she knew well that it
was useless to hold out any hope. She could never love him. It was too
bad that he had spoken. Now their relations would not be so pleasant.
There would be embarrassment on both sides. The delightful friendly
intimacy of the past must cease. She had lost her best friend.
Was any girl so unfortunate and so unhappy before? Here she was
locked up in this depressing boarding house, afraid to go out for fear
that her uncle might try to kidnap her and do her some harm. For some
unexplained reason she felt horribly nervous and low-spirited. Whether
it was because Mr. Ricaby had left her all alone she did not know, but
she felt herself growing more and more nervous. If only Tod would come
to cheer her up. Suddenly, as she stood looking disconsolately through
the window, her gaze became riveted on a figure which she noticed
standing in a doorway opposite. It was a man with a slouch hat pulled
well down over his eyes, and it seemed to her that she recognized Dr.
Zacharie. He appeared to be watching the house. Instinctively, she
shrank back and when she looked again he had disappeared.
She laughed nervously to herself. How foolish she was! Why should
Dr. Zacharie watch the house? She was surely mistaken. No doubt it was
some stranger sheltering from the rain. If she kept seeing things like
that she would soon make herself ill. With a forced effort at gaiety
she essayed to throw off her melancholy by humming a song, but soon
stopped, unable to continue. Sitting down at the piano, her fingers had
just touched the keys when all at once there was a knock at the door.
Paula rose and opened. It was Mrs. Parkes.
You're wanted at the telephone, my dear, said the landlady.
Who is it? demanded Paula.
Mr. ChaseII can't gomake some excuse.
Shall I take the message? asked Mrs. Parkes.
Remembering Mr. Ricaby's parting admonition Paula shook her head.
NoImust not receive any message, she replied.
As she spoke she was standing in a position commanding a view of the
street. Suddenly she started back in consternation and beckoned to the
Mrs. Parkes, come here, quick!
Pointing out of the window, she said:
Do you see that man standing on the cornerthe one looking up
here? I don't want him to see me. Who is it? Tell me.
It's Dr. Zacharie with some stranger, said the landlady, peering
Ah, I thought so! exclaimed the young girl excitedly. I was sure
of it. He seems to be watching, doesn't hewatching the house?
Yes, said Mrs. Parkes, looking again, it's the doctor all right,
with another gentlemanthe gentleman who was here before. Why, there's
three of them!
Three of them! echoed Paula, dismayed.
Fearfully, she looked over Mrs. Parkes' shoulder.
Yes, I see. It's my uncle and Mr. Cooley. They're pointing at this
house and whispering together. What can they want? Frightened, she
turned to the landlady: Mrs. Parkes, don't let anyone into this house
to-night, do you hear? What can they be doing?
They seem to be waiting for someone.
Don't let them see you looking, cried the girl, becoming more and
more nervous. Carefuldon't let them see you! This is some new move!
They know Mr. Ricaby has gone to Albany. Oh, what can I do?
Why, what are you afraid of, my dear? demanded the landlady,
I don't know, replied the trembling girl, in a frightened whisper,
onlydon't let them in, Mrs. Parkes. Whatever you do, don't let them
Why, my dear! exclaimed the old lady; what ails you? Whatever is
the matter, your hands are as cold as icewhat is it?
I don't know, gasped the other. I can't explain even to myself,
but I don't want to see that man againdon't leave me, Mrs. Parkes.
But I want to go and give Mr. Chase your message, said the other.
Mr. Chaseoh, yes! cried Paula. Tell him I want to see himtell
him to come here at once! I can't be entirely alone. I must see Mr.
Chase. Tell him to come at once!
Before the landlady could obey, however, there was a loud peal of
the front door bell. Paula turned pale.
It must be those men! she exclaimed. Look out! Can you see them
Mrs. Parkes hurried to the window and looked out.
No, she said, they're gone.
In the hall outside was the sound of footsteps and voices.
They've come for me! cried Paula, in an agony of fear. They've
come for me! He said he would, and he has. Wringing her hands, she
cried: Why did Mr. Ricaby go away! I'll go to my roomthey dare not
come therethey dare not.
Rushing into her room, she shut the door and locked it. Mrs. Parkes
went to the door and only partly opened it.
Miss Marsh cannot see anyone, she said, trying to shut the door in
the intruders' faces.
Outside was heard Bascom Cooley's loud, coarse voice:
But she must see usshe must. It's the mandate of the court!
Someone pushed the door open. Mrs. Parkes, unable to resist, fell
back. Bascom Cooley entered, followed by Jimmy Marsh and Harry Parkes.
Mr. Ricaby was not mistaken when he said that Bascom Cooley never
admitted defeat and would stop at nothing to gain his ends. The
situation, as far as Jimmy Marsh and Cooley were concerned, was
certainly desperate. Even in the short time that Jimmy had had Paula's
fortune under his control, he had so mismanaged itto employ only a
polite termas to make his guardianship little short of a scandal.
Wall Street, race horses, and the card table had already swallowed a
considerable part of the Marsh millions, and that a goodly share of the
money had gone to Jimmy's unscrupulous lawyer no one could doubt. A day
of reckoning must come sooner or later.
Both men knew this well, and Mr. Cooley also knew that whatever
exposure and punishment awaited the ward's uncle would also implicate
himself. The important thing, therefore, was to put off that day as
long as possible, if not altogether, and the resourceful Cooley was not
slow in hitting upon an idea. The girl, he said, must not be permitted
to claim her estate. In a few more weeks she would be of age and
legally entitled to demand of her uncle an accounting of his
stewardship. There was no time to be lost. They must show that the girl
was incapable of taking care of her own affairs. Was not her conduct
strange and eccentric enough to justify this belief? Had she not flatly
refused to live with her uncle, preferring the small, uncomfortable
quarters of a cheap boarding house to a luxurious suite in a fine
residence? Did she not associate habitually with socialists, paupers,
and other undesirables? Were there not rumors that she had affianced
herself to the almost imbecile son of her landlady? Had she not
announced her intention to give all her money to these people, once it
came into her possession? Was she not at all times highly nervous,
morose, melancholy? Did she act rationally? What were all these traits
and eccentricities but proof of an unsound mind?
It was a very sad state of affairs, of course, but the truth was
that the young woman was mentally unbalanced and needed the rest cure.
She should be sent somewhere where her special case could receive
proper attention. At first Jimmy was staggered by this audacious
proposal. There were some lengths to which even he hesitated to follow
Cooley. But his resistance was not long lived. When the lawyer, without
mincing words, showed him in what peril he stood and that this step was
necessary if he wished to be spared the ignominy of wearing prison
stripes, he gave way. The next question was the method of procedure.
How could the girl be placed in an institution without regular
commitment papers? Again, Mr. Cooley sprang into the breach. Dr.
Zacharie would swear to anything for a consideration.
Mr. Cooley next went before a judge of a competent court, and
petitioned for an order for the commitment to an asylum of Paula Marsh,
a minor and ward of his client, Mr. James Marsh, on the alleged ground
that she was of unsound mind and liable to do injury to someone. At the
same time he submitted an affidavit sworn to by Dr. Zacharie, a
recognized specialist in nervous and mental diseases, to the effect
that on several occasions when he had observed and examined the said
Paula Marsh, he had found her highly nervous and excitable and subject
to hallucinations. On one occasion, in his presence, she had uttered
threats of bodily violence against the said James Marsh. The court
thereupon appointed physicians to examine the said Paula Marsh, the
physicians being Dr. McMutrie, visiting inspector of the State Asylum
for the Insane, and Professor Bodley, a country doctor recommended by
Cooley. If in the opinion of these medical experts the girl was insane,
commitment papers would be granted. Armed with this formidable mandate
of the court, Mr. Cooley gathered his forces and made his sudden raid
on Mrs. Parkes' boarding house.
It was in vain that the landlady tried to bar the way. The burly
lawyer, more aggressive than ever, now that he felt himself armed with
the authority of the Court, roughly pushed his way in.
Now, my good lady, he said coaxingly, in a clumsy effort to be
amiable. I will assume the entire responsibility and that ought to
relieve you of any further anxiety.
I know, sir, said Mrs. Parkes, but Mr. Ricaby's orders
Paula had already taken refuge in her own room. Harry tried to
prevent Cooley's further entrance.
Miss Marsh doesn't want to see you, he said. Her orders were
Before he could complete what he was going to say the muscular Mr.
Cooley gave him a push that nearly knocked him over.
All orders are superseded by an order of the court! he retorted.
Going back to the door, he called out to others waiting in the hall:
Come in, gentlemen!
A strange and lugubrious procession filed into the parlor. First
came Dr. Zacharie, his swarthy face beaming with insolent triumph.
Behind him was Dr. McMutrie, the State Inspector, a smooth-faced
keen-eyed man, and close at his heels trotted Professor Bodley, a fat,
asthmatic person with spectacles and side whiskers. Jimmy Marsh,
feeling anything but at ease, brought up the rear. Solemn-faced and
ominous-looking, the doctors stood in a row, waiting for further
This is an outrageous intrusion! cried Mrs. Parkes.
Nonsense! retorted Mr. Cooley. Pointing to Jimmy Marsh he
exclaimed: This gentleman is appointed special administrator and
guardian of the Marsh estate, and as such is empowered to take any
steps he may deem necessary to effect an interview with his niece.
Waving the other gentlemen to chairs, he said: Sit down, gentlemen.
The doctors, thus invited, took chairs in a semi-circle on one side
of the table. Dr. McMutrie, as head of the insanity commission, sat in
the centre. On his right was Dr. Zacharie and on his left Professor
Bodley. Directly they were seated Dr. Zacharie put before his
colleagues a number of papers which they proceeded to peruse carefully.
Jimmy sat in a corner, nervously twirling his thumbs while Mr.
Cooley waited impatiently for Paula to come in. At last, his patience
exhausted, he turned to the landlady. Pointing to the room on the left,
Isn't that her room?
Yes, sir, replied Mrs. Parkes hesitatingly, but
The lawyer advanced as if about to force his way in, but Harry
Parkes sprang forward and barred the way. If ever there was an
opportunity to display his devotion and heroism, it was surely now.
This is an unwarrantable intrusion! he cried indignantly. If you
don't desist II shall call an officer!
Mr. Cooley shrugged his shoulders contemptuously.
Please do, he chuckled, and I'll have you arrested for
obstructing a special appointee of the court in the performance of his
duty. Staring at Harry, he went on: Let me seeyou're the young chap
who entertains the absurd notion of marrying Miss Marsh. You're Henry
Parkes, are you not?
Harry looked uncomfortable.
Well, let me inform you, Mr. Parkes, said the lawyer grimly, that
any marriage ceremony with Miss Marsh, without the consent of her
uncle, will not only be illegal, but it will also render you liable to
imprisonment for contempt of court.
What! cried Harry frightened. Imprisonment!
Precisely! rejoined the lawyer, and I now notify you that until
these gentlemen have decided whether Miss Marsh is competent to enter
into a marital engagement, contract, or promise, any such engagement,
contract, or promise is null and void and can in no way or manner
become the basis for any legal action on your part. I think that will
be about all. He coughed and looked around for admiration.
There is no promise, gasped Harry terrified; no
No, sir, exclaimed Mrs. Parkes, with a low curtsy. Indeed, there
A very sensible way to look at it, replied the lawyer with a grim
smile of satisfaction, and now, my good lady, please tell Miss Marsh
that we are waiting for her.
Jimmy Marsh came forward, his manner fidgetty and nervous.
Perhaps my niece may not be quite prepared, he stammered. In that
case you will tell her that we will wait for her.
Quite so, chimed in Cooley. That iswe'll wait a reasonable
We'll be very gentle with her, added Jimmy considerately.
Very well, sir, said Mrs. Parkes, now thoroughly cowed. She
crossed the room and knocked at Paula's door. Receiving no answer, she
knocked again. At last a voice called out:
It's only me, dearMrs. Parkes.
There was the sharp click of a key being turned. The door was opened
cautiously. The landlady went in and the door slammed to again.
And now, young man, said Mr. Cooley, who had watched the
proceedings without comment. If you will kindly withdraw we shall all
regard your absence most favorably.
Thoroughly intimidated by the lawyer's domineering manner, Harry
went sheepishly towards the door. As he reached the threshold he turned
and said timidly:
Of course you understand, sir, that there is no engagement of any
sortthere never was.
With a gesture the lawyer waved him to be gone.
That's all right, he said disdainfully.
As he disappeared the lawyer turned to see what the commission was
doing. All the doctors were busy. Dr. McMutrie was deeply engrossed in
the reading of a voluminous report. Professor Bodley, not quite sure
what was expected of him, was glancing over some newspaper clippings
and trying to look wise. Dr. Zacharie rose and held out a paper which
he had selected from a number of others spread out on the table before
This, gentlemen, he said pompously, is the daily reporta very
Hum! growled the inspector, looking up, I don't see anything very
serious so far.
Do you anticipate any trouble? whispered Jimmy to Mr. Cooley.
I don't anticipate it, rejoined the lawyer dryly, but I'm
prepared for it. If it comes, Bascom Cooley will be on deck.
Confidently he added: McMutrie is the only hard nut we have to crack.
He's one of those dd conscientious fellows. He may ask awkward
questions. Zacharie is oursand Bodley is a dd fool. He's liable
to jump in any direction, but he'll follow McMutrie in the final say.
Zacharie is the family physician, and that always carries conviction.
We were very lucky to get him, chuckled Jimmy.
Hush! commanded Cooley. Dr. McMutrie is talking to you. In a
warning undertone, he added: Take care what you say!
Has your niece ever threatened you personally, Mr. Marsh? demanded
Specifically noconstructively yes, answered Cooley promptly for
The inspector looked annoyed.
Excuse me, Mr. Cooley, he snapped. I addressed Mr. Marsh.
Jimmy turned red and shuffled uneasily on his feet. Quickly he said:
Yes, I should say so. Yes, her manner was always veryveryI
should say quite threatening.
It's all there in the affidavit, said Mr. Cooley.
Ignoring the interruption, Dr. McMutrie went on:
Has she ever made a personal threat against your lifein your
hearing? Pointing to the paper in his hand, he said impatiently:
These statements are all more or less vague.
The affidavit of the family physician bears that out, interrupted
Dr. McMutrie frowned.
Mr. Marsh, will you please answer my questions? Yes, or no.
Yes, said Jimmy positively.
Yes, sir. I'm in actual fear of my lifethat's the whole truth.
Mr. Cooley beamed satisfaction.
Yes, he said quickly, my client can never tell when this girl's
mania for the punishment of imaginary wrongs inflicted on her may not
assume the form of personal violence. We have thirty witnesses who can
prove the existence in this unfortunate girl's mind of the most
unaccountable, unreasonable desire toto inflict something she calls
retribution on this innocent man's head. Oh, it's a positive dangera
Professor Bodley peered over his spectacles and grew reminiscent.
I remember, he said, a case up the State, where that condition
resulted in a fatal shooting affair.
Of course, exclaimed Cooley eagerly, glad to grasp at any straw,
that's just it. It isn't her ridiculous notion about moneyor the
fact that she is being sought in marriage by penniless paupers. It's
the fear of violence which prompts us to ask that she be taken care of,
and watched, at least for a time, for her own sake absolutelyfor her
The inspector's face grew grave.
Quite soquite so, he said thoughtfully.
Professor Bodley held up a newspaper clipping.
Is it really a fact, he demanded, that Miss Marsh stated that she
intended to contribute a large sum of money to He stopped a moment
to consult the clipping and then read on: An institution for the
development of the psychic self in domestic animals?
That's sworn testimony! exclaimed Mr. Cooley, pointing to the
It's a positive fact, nodded Dr. Zacharie affirmatively, she told
me so herself.
Animal-psychology is decidedly far fetched, laughed the professor.
It seems to me that the human race has a hard enough time in
developing its own soul.
He threw himself back into his chair convulsed at his own humor.
Rather good, grinned Cooley, joining in the merriment.
Of course, went on Dr. Zacharie gravely, these strange ideas may
mean nothing. But with the delusion of imaginary wrongs a violent mania
may develop. You never can tell where it will lead. A case of this sort
needs close study.
Jimmy nodded approval.
Just so, he said. A year or so of rest in the calm seclusion of
some country retreat would do the poor girl so much good. It might work
a complete curedon't you think so?
Mr. Cooley gave him a nudge.
Hush! whispered the lawyer.
Up to this point the lawyer had followed the proceedings eagerly,
highly gratified at the progress made, but Jimmy's loquaciousness
threatened to spoil everything. Aloud he said:
Erthese gentlemen will form their own opinions. Whatever is best
will be done. If your niece is, as I fear, hopelessly incompetent, you
can rely on them tototake the proper step to prevent any
Her attitude is certainly very significant, said Dr. Zacharie
Dr. McMutrie was still sceptical. Dryly he said:
Yes, it signifies that she dislikes her relatives, but dislike of
one's relatives is not necessarily a sign of mental derangement. I know
some very excellent people who cannot bear the sight of their
On the other hand, retorted Mr. Cooley, Hamlet hated his uncle,
and it developed into a general mania for killing people. If he'd been
properly restrained five innocent lives would have been saved.
Five livesthat is not in the medical records, is it? demanded
Professor Bodley anxiously.
Shakespeare killed themnot Hamlet, laughed Dr. McMutrie.
Still, said Mr. Cooley significantly, it's a good object lesson.
We don't need object lessons from playwrights, rejoined Dr.
Certainly not, chuckled the professor.
Hush! exclaimed Jimmy. Here comes my niece!
The door of the little room opened, but it was not Paula. Mrs.
Parkes appeared instead.
She won't come, sir, said the landlady apologetically. I told
her, and I tried to persuade her, but she wouldn't.
Then we'll go to her, said Mr. Cooley determinedly.
He made a motion as if he would use force, but Mrs. Parkes, alarmed,
held up her arms entreatingly.
No, please, sir, the poor girl's so frightened! Won't you come
Dr. Zacharie advanced, full of importance and authority.
I'll get her, he said grimly. That is, of course, unless I have
completely lost my influence over her. In these cases one can never be
sure what form the delusion will take.
Do as you think best, doctor, assented Mr. Cooley.
Dr. Zacharie opened the door and went in. There was a short delay
during which the others waited expectantly. In a few moments the door
again opened and Paula entered docily, the physician at her side.
Nervous and trembling, in a condition verging on total collapse, the
young girl suffered herself to be led into the parlor, there to face
the strange tribunal which was to pass judgment upon her. Further
resistance she felt was useless. That she realized. These men would sit
there and persecute her until she surrendered and submitted to their
merciless cross-examination. Whether they had a legal right thus to
invade the privacy of her home she did not know. Mr. Ricaby had gone to
Albany, and there was no way of communicating with him. No doubt her
uncle and Mr. Cooley knew he was away and had taken advantage of it. If
only Tod would come. Perhaps he had already received the message.
As she entered, the doctors half rose from their chairs and bowed.
There was a quiet dignity in her manner that compelled their respect.
Each looked intently at her, and Dr. McMutrie, leaving his seat, placed
a chair for her so she might face them.
Now, Miss Marsh, he said, not unkindly, please don't be alarmed.
There is nothing to be afraid of. We are here only for your own good.
Won't you please answer the few questions we shall ask you? It is
merely a matter of form. Please take a seat, and above all, don't be
Paula sat down, and he returned to his place. Mr. Cooley made a sign
to Mrs. Parkes to withdraw, and the landlady was about to obey when
Paula stopped her.
Please don't go, Mrs. Parkesplease don't go! she cried almost
Mr. Cooley was about to object, but on a sign of assent from the
head of the commission, the landlady was allowed to remain.
Mr. Cooley now proceeded to business.
We ask your pardon, Miss Marsh, for what seems to be an unwarranted
intrusion, butthe law prescribes our rightsthat is, my client's
right to take any steps he may deem necessary to see you and bring
these gentlemen with him for the purpose ofertalking over your
My future? she echoed. Looking around in bewilderment she
demanded: Whowho are these gentlemen?
Mr. Cooley hastened to reply.
Friends of your uncle'sfriends of mineof yours.
What do they want? she demanded falteringly.
The lawyer grew red in the face. He was at a loss to answer frankly
her very direct question. Stuttering and stammering, he said:
Toerjust toer Not knowing what to say, he introduced the
doctors: Professor Bodley, of Michigan, State Psychopathic
expertalso Professor of Psychotherapy, Ann ArborMiss Marsh.
Professor Bodley bowed pompously.
Mr. Cooley continued the presentations:
Dr. McMutrie, the eminent expert pathologist, psychologist, and
alienistExaminer New York State institutions, etc., etc., etc., Miss
Paula Marshmy client's niece. I need not introduce Dr. Zacharieyour
He is not my family physician, interrupted Paula, with quiet
Not now perhaps, said Cooley soothingly. But he
wasernower I'm sorry Mr. Ricaby isn't here to explain more
fully the object
What is the object? demanded Paula.
The lawyer evaded a direct answer.
Your interests, he replied quickly, are perfectly safe in your
uncle's hands. Oh, if I could only convince youbut never mind.
Turning to the doctor, he said, in a low tone:
Observe the unnatural glitter of the eye when I mention the uncle.
Will you proceed, gentlemen?
From the time that Paula seated herself Dr. Zacharie kept his big,
black eyes fixed on her. Once or twice she turned, and, noticing the
persistence of his stare, she shuddered involuntarily. It made her
restless and uncomfortable. She wondered if Harry Parkes had succeeded
in telephoning to Tod. If only he would come! She didn't know what he
could do to help her. These men, no doubt, had some sort of legal
authority to torture her in this way, but Tod's mere presence would
reassure her and help her to bear the ordeal.
Doctor, said Professor Bodley pompously, I think you had
Dr. McMutrie began fumbling with some papers. Looking up, he said:
Certainly, certainly. What is your age, Miss Marsh?
Twenty, she replied quietly.
The inspector cleared his throat and went on:
Miss Marsh, will you tell me why you prefer to live here under
these conditions rather than go and live with your uncle and aunt,
where you would have so many more social advantages?
The girl hesitated for a moment. Then she said:
II prefer not to say.
Is it not because you hate your Uncle James? demanded Mr. Cooley.
The inspector held up his hand warningly to the lawyer.
I do not hate him, said Paula. I am afraid of him.
Are you afraid of yourself? continued the inspector. You told Dr.
Zacharie that you could not control yourself in his presence.
Yes, she cried, with a little shudder. II am afraid of myself.
He inspires me with hateful thoughts, and I believe that hateful
thoughts injure the person who thinks them. Suddenly she turned and
again found Dr. Zacharie staring at her. She stopped and almost
hysterically she cried: II can't answer you ifI can't think if
that man sits there and stares at me. Won't you please ask him to go?
Dr. Zacharie smiled indulgently and shrugged his shoulders.
Why, my dear child, I was unaware He shook his head
significantly as if her hysterical outburst only went to confirm his
Mr. Cooley chuckled, and in an undertone to the experts he
Another delusionyou see. To Dr. Zacharie he said: Sit over
there, will you, doctor?
Certainly, with pleasure.
The physician rose, and, crossing the room, took Professor Bodley's
seat at back of table where Paula could not see him.
So you are afraid of yourself? continued the inspector.
NoI don't meanthat, she answered quickly.
You told Dr. Zacharie soyou told us so, interrupted Mr. Cooley
Yes, she said slowly, but I meant
She stopped, not knowing what to reply.
Well, never mind! smiled the inspector. Looking at her curiously,
he asked: Why are you afraid of your uncle?
I don't know, she replied, hesitating. HeI'm afraid of him,
that's all. I can't explain why. Laughing hysterically, she went on:
I'm at a disadvantage here. I can't seem to say even what I've said a
great many times.
The physicians looked at each other significantly. Mr. Cooley nudged
Jimmy. The examiner went on:
Did you tell Dr. Zacharie that you'd rather die than let your uncle
get his brother's estates?
I may have said so. It's very probable, answered Paula quietly.
Did you say you'd rather he was dead?
No, I did not, she answered emphatically. Pointing to Dr. Zacharie
she exclaimed indignantly: That man has twisted my words! He'd ask me
questions, and I'd answer them without thinking.
Oh! sneered Mr. Cooley. Then you might have said it and have
forgotten that you said it?
Yes, I might, she said falteringly. But II don't think it's
fair tototoIt isn't fair
Naturally she would deny it, suggested Dr. Zacharie in an
undertone to the other physicians.
Of course, chimed in Mr. Cooley. I think we've established the
facts that she fears him, hates him, and wishes he was dead. That alone
is ground enough for our application.
Suddenly there was a commotion in the hall outside. The door was
flung open and Tod appeared, cool and self-possessed.
Thank God! exclaimed Paula, overjoyed.
Hello, everybody! grinned Tod. Why, I didn't know you were giving
a party, Miss Marsh!
What do you want here? demanded Jimmy, trying to prevent his
stepson's further entrance.
But Paula jumped up and ran eagerly to greet him. Never had he been
so welcome. In one instant her anxiety and apprehension had
disappeared. Her manner was entirely changed. Smiling, she extended her
I'm so glad to see you, Mr. Chaseso glad! Won't you come in?
Mr. Cooley frowned.
It's impossible! he said emphatically.
You can't stay here, said Mr. Marsh. Don't you see we're
YesyesJimmy, grinned Tod.
You can't stay here, Mr. Chase, said Mr. Cooley sternly.
Tod looked at Paula inquiringly.
Please don't go, she said, in an undertone.
But he must go, said Mr. Cooley, who overheard.
Tod laughed, and, going to a side table, laid down his hat and cane.
Coming back he said, with a careless laugh:
My dear old Cooley, when a lady invites me to stay and that lady
happens to be the hostess, one doesn't need any lawyer's advice on the
subjectone simply stays.
He looked across at the table where the commission were sitting,
and, surprised to see them, he turned to Paula for an explanation.
What's the game? he asked. I don't see any chipscan I get in?
Say, this looks like a nice little party, Miss Marsh. I'm awfully glad
Mr. Marsh, who was fast losing his temper, went up to him and took
Now, Tod, he said angrily, you must really go! Don't you
understand this is aavery sadPlease go at once.
Behave yourself, Jimmy, laughed Tod, shaking his stepfather off.
Damn! ejaculated Jimmy.
Young man, said Mr. Cooley sternly, this is very seriousbelieve
That's the trouble with you, Cooley. You take things too
But this is serious, sir, thundered the lawyer.
All rightI'll be serious, too, retorted the young man. What's
Your son? inquired Dr. McMutrie blandly.
My wife's son, replied Jimmy sourly.
The examiner rose.
Just a moment, sir, he said.
Drawing Tod aside, he crossed the room with him, conversing in a
whisper, while the others watched in silence, Paula in an agony of
suspense. Suddenly the young man started and exclaimed:
Good Lord! Nonononot for a moment. It's a lie!
For all reply Dr. McMutrie handed the young man his visiting card.
I don't care a d cried Tod wrath fully. Excuse me,
sirexcuse meI'llI'llwell, I'll bePardon me, won't you, sir?
My feelings got away with me.
The examiner bowed and returned to his seat.
You'd better go home, Todhunter, said Jimmy, severely.
No, James, retorted his stepson calmly. I think I'll stay here.
But this is a private commission, sir! roared Mr. Cooley angrily.
Well, let's make it public, retorted Tod quickly. Turning to
Paula, he said: Would you like me to stay here, Miss Marsh?
Ohpleaseplease! she said imploringly.
It's impossible! shouted the lawyer angrily. I object.
Nothing is impossible when a lady requests it, rejoined Tod
determinedly. Go on with the examination! I'm going to staydon't
trouble, CooleyI'll find a chair.
He looked around and took a seat near the fireplace. Mr. Cooley,
unable to control himself, moved towards him with threatening gesture.
In another moment he would have attempted to eject him forcibly, but
Jimmy restrained him:
Better let him stay, he whispered.
Very well, grumbled the lawyer, but young manperfect silence!
Go on now, grinned Tod, go onnever mind me.
The examiner resumed the questioning:
Miss Marshyou have stated on several occasions that when you came
in for your father's estate you would give large sums of money to
Did you say you were going tohe stopped and looked at a paper in
his hand. Reading, he went onfound an institution for the
development of the psychic self in animals?
No! she replied, with an emphatic shake of her head.
Dr. Zacharie threw up his hands with a gesture meant to express
utter disbelief in her denial.
The money, went on Paula, was to be expended for the prevention
of animal torture in the name of science.
Mr. Cooley now took a hand in the cross-examination.
Isn't it a fact, he demanded, that all these large bequests to
societies for the psychic development of monkies or mice or old ladies,
as the case may be, were made for the express purpose of preventing
your Uncle James and his family from participating in the enjoyment of
the family estate?
Exactly, answered Paula calmly.
Mr. Cooley gave vent to a noisy chuckle. Turning to Dr. McMutrie, he
Ah! That establishes irresponsibility.
Quite soquite so, chimed in Professor Bodley, trying to look
alert by peering over his spectacles.
But the lawyer's interference only earned for him a well-merited
rebuke from the head of the commission. Frigidly the examiner said:
I prefer to draw my own conclusions, Mr. Cooley. Turning again to
Paula, he went on: You left your church a year agowhy?
Because Mr. James Marsh is one of its chief pillars, she replied
spiritedly. He prays the loudest and receives the most homage
Tod laughed outright.
That's rather rough on you, Jimmy!
Mr. Cooley glared at him.
Silence, sir! he thundered.
How dare you! exclaimed Jimmy, in a fierce undertone.
The lawyer tried to impress on the physicians the importance of the
The illusion of imaginary wrongs, he said, must have taken a
terrible hold on her when it compels her to give up her religion.
I did not give up my religion, protested Paula quickly. I gave up
a church that countenanced hypocrisy.
You said, interrupted the examiner, that the law of compensation
will punish him. What is the law of compensation?
It's the pit a man digs for othersand falls into himself.
And if the law of compensation fails, interposed Mr. Cooley,
you'll undertake Uncle James' punishment yourselfeh?
Mr. CooleyI must insist! cried the examiner angrily.
Paula was rapidly becoming more and more hysterical. With growing
exaltation she cried:
Yes, I willof that you may rest assured!
Mr. Cooley, with an expression of triumph on his coarse face, looked
toward the examiner.
The law would construe that answer as a threat, sir.
Professor Bodley leaned forward to ask a question:
How would you punish him, young lady?
The girl shook her head.
I don't knowit will come to me.
She will hear a voice within, eh? laughed Dr. Zacharie.
Ahso you hear voices? demanded the examiner.
Oh, yes, she does, said Dr. Zacharie.
We all hear voices within, said Paula seriously.
She stopped speaking. The men all looked at each other
significantly. Then she went on:
Something tells us to do this or that, and we obey. We obey
blindlyinstinctively. Men call it reason, but it's only intuition.
Suddenly the girl became confused, as if conscious of being closely
watched. Slowly, as if impelled by some superior mental force, she
turned around until she found herself face to face with Dr. Zacharie,
who was once more fixing her with his steady gaze. Again she shuddered,
and, recoiling from him with a look of horror, for a moment stood as if
transfixed. Then she turned mutely to Mrs. Parkes, as if instinctively
seeking the protection of one of her own sex. In a hoarse, nervous
whisper, she cried:
I'm afraid! I'm afraid! I don't understand myself! If I stay here I
shall say things I don't mean! That man is putting thoughts into my
mindthoughts that are not my own. I don't seem to be able to say what
I want to say. I won't stay here any longer
She tried to rise from her chair, but her limbs failed her.
I can't. I don't seem able to move. Don't let them speak to me
again. I'm afraid! I'm afraid!
Mrs. Parkes tried to soothe her.
Oh, Miss PaulaMiss Pauladon't give way! she cried.
I know it's foolish, moaned the young girl, but I can't help it.
It's got on my nerves at last, and ILet me go while I can still act
of my own will.
Suddenly she rose to her feet, angry and defiant. Facing her judges
boldly, she almost shouted:
I won't stay here! I won't stay to be questioned until I don't know
what I'm saying.
With the dignity of an offended queen, she made a step in the
direction of her room. But Mr. Cooley, on the alert, quickly advanced
and placed his large hulk in her path.
One moment, Miss Marsh, you can't leave until
Tod, who had often distinguished himself on the football field,
promptly went into action. Bringing his old tactics into play, he
rammed the lawyer in the stomach with a bump that nearly doubled him
Oh, yes, she can! he exclaimed. What's the matter with you,
Cooley? Can't you see the lady is tired and confused?
She can't go, said the lawyer, gasping for wind.
No, she really can't! piped Jimmy, scandalized at Tod's behavior,
until these gentlemen have signified
Well, she is going, all right, said Tod determinedly. Planting
himself before the other men, he effectually blocked the way until
Paula was safe back in her room and had shut the door.
I had still one or two questions I want to ask! cried Professor
Bodley, in an injured tone.
I'll fetch her back! said Dr. Zacharie, advancing toward the
Yes, and I! chimed in Jimmy.
Come on! roared the outraged Cooley.
The men made a concerted movement in the direction of the ward's
place of refuge. Tod, white with rage, threw himself before the door:
In the name of the law! said Cooley.
Damn the law! retorted Tod.
In justice to my claim! exclaimed Jimmy.
These men of science, said Mr. Cooley, in a tone of injured
innocence, are actuated only by motives of pure
So am I, so are you, so are we all, cried Tod impatiently. But I
warn you, you've gone far enough. You've frightened this poor girl into
such a state that she's not responsible for anything she says, and
you've got me so worked up I'm not responsible for what I do.
Dr. Zacharie advanced threateningly. Assuming his sternest manner,
SirI shall not allow you toto interfere
Tod, thoroughly exasperated, looked as though he would rather enjoy
a personal encounter with the physician.
You won't allowyouyou
He leaped forward, but Cooley restrained him. Jimmy pulled Dr.
Don't use any force, doctor.
Please don'tplease don't! cried Tod sarcastically.
He's an amateur champion athlete, whispered Jimmy into the
doctor's ear, and I don't want you to get hurt.
He is a ruffian! retorted Dr. Zacharie angrily.
Leaving them, he joined the Examiner and Professor Bodley, who were
talking earnestly in a group by themselves.
Do you know, young man, said Mr. Cooley severely, that this is
contempt of court?
If you're the court, it is!
Shrugging his shoulders disdainfully, the lawyer joined the doctors
at the table. After a quick, anxious glance in their direction, Tod
turned to Mrs. Parkes. Pointing to Paula's door, he said in a whisper:
Can you get to Miss Marsh without going through that door?
Yes, through my room, she replied, in the same tone.
Unobserved by the others, Tod quickly scribbled a few lines on a
piece of paper and handed it to her.
Give her this note. Tell her toNonever mindI don't want
them to see her. Don't ask any questions, but do just as I tell you.
She will understand
The landlady hesitated. She stood in considerable awe of Mr.
Cooley's wrath, and was not quite sure that Tod's request would receive
his sanction. The young man pushed her toward the door.
Go quick! You're wasting time.
All right, sir, I'll go.
Profiting by Mr. Cooley's back being turned, she slipped out of the
room. No one noticed her departure. All were talking at the same time.
The lawyer, conversing in a low tone with Jimmy, was impatient to bring
matters to a head. Turning to the commission he demanded:
Well, gentlemen, what is your decision?
I have expressed my opinion, said Dr. Zacharie calmly.
Yes, said the examiner hesitatingly. What do you think,
I'd like to study the case a little more, answered Dr. Bodley. It
has a great many points of interest. Ticking off with his fingers, he
went on: A self-evident delusiona possibleand sporadic indications
of general derangement.
But there's no absolute evidence of derangement, objected the
You can never tell what may develop, insisted Professor Bodley.
Quite true, said Dr. Zacharie, quickly rubbing his hands.
Of course, remarked the examiner sagely, that applies to any of
My client must be protected, insisted Mr. Cooley, prevention is a
dsight better than curethat's scientific, isn't it?
Not quite the way you express it, Mr. Cooley, replied the examiner
dryly. I confess I'd like to see her again, she's an interesting
Quite soquite so, puffed Professor Bodley bombastically. She
ought to be watchedno doubt about thatand I haven't the slightest
hesitation in recommending that she be sent to Sea Rest,
For a few months, at least, put in Dr. Zacharie.
A splendid idea! exclaimed Mr. Cooley, rubbing his hands. You can
watch the case togetherI'll retain you both. It's not a question of
feesany sum you ask is yours. Mr. Marsh is most anxious to do all he
can for her.
The doctors looked at Jimmy, who nodded acquiescence. Mr. Cooley
Take her under your own charge, gentlemen. Of course, her counsel
will get out a habeas corpus and make all possible effort to obstruct
justice, but, in the meantime, she goes to Sea Rest. Will you make out
Very well, said Professor Bodley pompously. Turning to the
examiner, he asked: Have you any objection, doctor?
The examiner shrugged his shoulders.
No, no; no positive objectionmerely a natural disinclination to
jump hastily at conclusions. Looking toward Dr. Zacharie, he said:
You are positive, doctor?
And you, Professor? he asked, looking at Professor Bodley.
Not exactly positive, replied the Professor, but I think we shall
be on the safe side if we study the case for a few weeks.
For a few weeks? Very well, I'll make out the certificate.
The examiner produced blanks, and Mr. Cooley got busy getting pens
and ink. While he was thus engaged Mrs. Parkes reëntered. An
affirmative sign of the head assured Tod that the message was
You'd better telephone up to Tocquencke that you're coming, said
the examiner, as he made out the certificate.
That's already arranged for, Mr. Cooley said, beaming with
satisfaction. She's to have the best suite of rooms, the best
attendance, everything that the most lavish expenditure can purchase.
Oh, she will be well taken care of. By the way, Dr. Zacharie, I'm going
to recommend your nomination for Health Officer of this Port, and if
the Big Chief Cooley recommends anything it's 'un fait accompli.' as the girls from Paris say; in other words, a sure thing.
Thank you, counsellor, said Dr. Zacharie, bowing and handing him
Thank you. Now, madam, smirked Mr. Cooley, turning to Mrs. Parkes
and scarcely able to contain his satisfaction, will you please tell
Miss Marsh that we're waiting for her?
The landlady crossed the parlor and entered Paula's room, while the
lawyer, with a chuckle, showed Jimmy the certificate.
This simplifies matters, eh? said Mr. Cooley, with a broad grin.
It's taken a long time, Counsellor.
Great bodies move slowly, James, but they move.
Suddenly Mrs. Parkes reappeared precipitately, her manner all
Is she ready? demanded the lawyer.
She's gone, sir, replied Mrs. Parkes, in consternation.
Gonewhere? roared Mr. Cooley.
I think she's gone over to Jersey to get married, Bascom, said
Tod, with a grin.
Quick! cried Mr. Cooley. She can't be gone far. My automobile is
Cooley went out hurriedly, followed by Jimmy.
Completely dazed, quite ignorant as to where she was going, hardly
knowing where she was, so quickly had events followed each other, Paula
found herself on the upper deck of a ferryboat which was churning its
way out of the New York slip, bound for Jersey City. At her side stood
Tod, whose eyes, assisted by a powerful fieldglass, were riveted on the
now fast-receding ferryhouse, trying to distinguish among the belated
arrivals who had rushed up at the last minute, only to miss the boat,
the disappointed faces of Mr. Cooley and Jimmy Marsh.
The day was superb, and in the swirling river, tinted a glorious
blue by the bright sunshine, flocks of white seagulls rode buoyantly on
the dancing waves. A magnificent view was before them. Ahead lay New
Jersey and the wide stretch of land-locked water which forms
Manhattan's matchless harbor. Close by, on the left, Governor's Island
appeared as a splotch of inviting green in the blue expanse; farther
South soared the noble figure of Liberty holding aloft the torch that
enlightens the world. Away to the East smiled the green hills of Staten
Island, and farther on were the fortified Narrows and Sandy Hook, with
the open sea beyond.
The ever-busy river was literally alive with craft of every kind.
The swift ferryboats hurrying from shore to shore, the countless little
tugs, puffing and whistling as they darted, mosquito-like, here and
there, graceful sailing vessels staggering along under clouds of
canvas, stately ocean liners passing majestically out to seaall this
made up a spectacle of which the eye could never tire.
But both Paula and her escort were too much preoccupied to pay
proper attention to the beauty of their surroundings. The eyes of both
were turned anxiously in the direction of the receding shore.
It's all right! said Tod reassuringly, as he lowered the glass. I
don't see anything of them.
Thank God for that! exclaimed his companion, making a great effort
to control her agitation.
But that Cooley's certainly a bird! went on the young man. He
guessed that it was I who put up the job on him. He knew that he could
find you quickest by keeping close at my heels, so he and Jimmy jumped
into a red taxi and shadowed my machine. I threw on all the speed I
could, trying to get away. I went like the very mischief. I knocked
over a fruit stand and nearly killed a policeman. But I couldn't shake
them off. The red taxi was close behind me all the time. Just as I got
near to the ferry the man was raising the draw. I yelled and shook a
five-spot in his face. It worked like a charm. He lowered the
drawbridge again, and I shot across.
His companion gave him a look in which gratitude and admiration
How clever you are! she smiled. I should never have got away but
for you. I was terribly frightened. When Mrs. Parkes came in and handed
me your note I could have hugged her. I did not lose a minute, but put
on my hat and ran downstairs. Harry Parkes hailed a cab for me, and I
reached the ferry a few minutes before you arrived. I can't tell you
how glad I was to get away. What did those horrible men want with me?
He made no answer, hardly knowing what answer to make. How could he
tell this intelligent, high-spirited girl, whose mental faculties were
every bit as sound and keen as his own, that her unnatural uncle had
sworn out an affidavit, committing her to the horrors of an insane
asylum? The very idea of it was monstrous. Pretending that he had not
heard the question, he directed Paula's attention to a schooner heavily
laden with lumber which was coming down the river on the swift ebb
tide. It was a pretty sight to see how gracefully she cut through the
water. Notwithstanding the fact that she had only sail for motor power,
the craft was going very fast, and Tod began to speculate idly whether
their ferryboat would cross the stranger's bow or slow down to pass
under her stern. But his companion, preoccupied with more serious
thoughts, was not to be put off.
Tell me, she repeated anxiously, what did those horrid men want
with me? What right had they to catechise me as they did? He remained
silent, and appealingly she went on: Please don't hide anything from
me. I want to know the truth.
He still hesitated. It was incredible of belieftoo infamous a
proceeding. Yet Cooley and his stepfather were acting well within the
law. It was plainly a conspiracy to do this poor girl out of her
rights, yet those scoundrels had the sanction of the Court for the
action they were taking. After all, why should he hide anything from
her? She would soon learn the terrible truth. It was his duty to let
her know everything, so she might be forearmed.
His silence only alarmed her the more.
It must be something serious, she exclaimed, or you would tell
me. What did those dreadful men want of me? Peremptorily she said: I
wish you to tell me. I appeal to your honor as a man.
No longer able to restrain himself, Tod burst out:
Pardon me if I express myself too emphatically, Miss Marsh, but I
just can't keep it in any longer. You are the victim of as damnable a
plot as was ever hatched outside of Hell! Your uncle, desperate at the
nearness of your attaining your majority, wants to put you in a place
where you will be powerless to interfere with his plans. Alleging that
you are highly excitable and not responsible for your actions, they
have secured from the Court an order committing you to the Tocquencke
Not thatmy God! Not that!
The young girl turned white as death, and with an exclamation of
horror collapsed onto the seat. Her entire body trembled like a leaf.
What have I done, she moaned, that I should be persecuted in this
way? Looking up at her companion, her eyes filled with tears, she
demanded: Is it possible that they have the rightdoes the law give
my uncle this power over me?
He nodded affirmatively.
Unfortunately it does, he replied. The law is all wrong, but it's
the law. All your uncle has to do is to secure the affidavit of two
physicians that you are insane. You may be perfectly sane, but if it
pleases these physicians to conclude otherwise you can be committed to
Then no one is safe! cried the girl. Any relative wishing, for
reasons of his own, to get you out of the way could bribe two
unscrupulous physicians and deprive you of your liberty!
Certainly, rejoined the young man. There have been many cases of
the sort. The process is very simple. In case the person can be made
out as violently insane so as liable to do injury to some one, two
physicians are called upon to examine the person and to make the
necessary affidavit. Then on the petition of anybody interested in the
personyour uncle, for instancea Court can at once, on the statement
of the physicians, commit the person to an asylum.
Horrible! cried Paula. And these things can happen in free
America? Surely there is some remedy?
Yes, he replied. Anybody interested in the person, like a father,
brother, next friend, or anybody else, can apply at any time they see
fit, to a Judge of the Supreme Court, on a habeas corpus, and
have the question of the sanity of the person tested. This may be done
in open Court by a Judge, or he can send it to a referee, if he sees
fit, where the proceedings are lengthy. This judge decides whether the
person is sane or not. Of course if they had succeeded in putting you
in the asylum Mr. Ricaby would have immediately applied for a habeas
Paula grew silent. How she wished herself back in Paris! It was all
on account of that wretched inheritance! How she regretted having come
to America to claim it! If she was nervous, who could wonder at it? The
manoeuvres of her Uncle James, Mr. Cooley, and Dr. Zacharie were enough
to unnerve any one. If they put her in an asylum, she would go really
mad. She had heard and read so much of the terrors of private insane
asylums. It was nothing but a living death. The horror of it seized
upon her. Shaken by a sudden nervous trembling, she exclaimed
Don't let them take me, Mr. Chase! Please don't let them take me
Tod put his arm around her sympathetically. He felt sorrier for her
than he dare show. Never so much as now did he realize the place which
this girl had taken in his life. Was it love? He did not know, but he
certainly was more attracted to her than to any girl he had ever known.
Nono, he said reassuringly. You're safe from them now. The
Court order which they have secured is only good in New York State. In
a few more minutes we shall be in New Jersey. They can't touch you
But afterward? she asked. What are we going to do when we get to
I haven't the remotest idea, he answered. All I thought was
getting away from those land sharks!
But I must go somewhere, insisted Paula, who was beginning to feel
uneasy, now that the first excitement of the escape was over. Until now
she had not had a moment's leisure in which to think matters over
The important thing, said Tod decisively, is to keep away from
Messrs. Cooley, Marsh & Company. They must not know where you are. The
best you can do is to go to Philadelphia, and engage rooms for an
indefinite period at the Bellevue-Stratford. When I've seen you
comfortably settled there I'll leave you and come back here to find Mr.
Ricaby. Your lawyer must take immediate legal steps to have the
committal order vacated on the ground of criminal conspiracy.
But how can I go to Philadelphia in this? cried Paula, looking
down in dismay at the simple house dress she was wearing. I had no
time to change. Why, I haven't even a toothbrush!
Oh, that's nothing, rejoined Tod, with calm unconcern. You can
buy 'em by the dozen in Philadelphia. The main thing is to get you away
as quickly as possible from the dangerous proximity of Mr. Cooley.
Look out! Look out, there!
A sudden warning shout from the group of passengers gathered in the
fore part of the boat, followed by a succession of shrill blasts from
the ferryboat's whistle, made them jump up with a start. They had been
so busy talking that they had not paid much heed to what was going on
around them. What they saw was sufficiently alarming.
The lumber craft, going fast with the strong tide, and having, in
any case, the right of way, was close upon them. The pilot of the
ferryboat, miscalculating the distance that separated one vessel from
the other, put on speed and attempted to cross the schooner's bow. But
it was too late. He had not taken into account the strength of the
tide. The surrounding water was lashed into white foam as the ferryboat
made frantic efforts to escape the impending blow. But a collision
amidships was inevitable. The lumber boat came rushing on with the
speed of an express locomotive. Then the pilot did the only thing he
could do. To escape a blow, which, if well delivered, would have sent
the ferryboat and its two hundred passengers to the bottom of the
river, he gave his steering wheel a few quick twists. The ferryboat,
obediently answering the helm, swung round, while the lumber craft, a
mass of black and white sail cloth, bore down rapidly and seemed about
to overwhelm and crush them. Women screamed, men shouted and tore down
the racks containing the life belts. Deckhands ran excitedly about. The
whistle was kept going continuously. For a few panicky moments
Good God! cried Tod, snatching up a life belt. It's an accident.
But before Paula could move a step or even make reply there came a
terrible shock, followed by the sound of smashing glass and the
splintering of wood. Officers and deckhands ran about quieting the
passengers, many of whom, seized by a frenzy of fear, were ready to
jump into the water. The more self-possessed ones cried out:
Keep cool! There is no danger.
Slowly the two boats drew apart and swung clear. Then it was seen
that the ferryboat's injuries were merely superficial. The blow,
fortunately, was only a glancing one. No damage had been done below the
water line. The paddlebox was smashed to smithereens, and this was a
serious enough mishap, for it left the ferryboat completely helpless,
drifting with the tide. The whistle blew continuously, summoning
assistance from the shore, and the schooner, seeing it could be of no
assistance, proceeded down the stream.
We're lucky it's no worse! cried Tod, as he returned, after a tour
of inspection, to where Paula was sitting. We'll have to drift about a
bit until they come and tow us into the Jersey City slip.
A deckhand who was passing heard the remark.
Guess again! he snickered. Jersey nothing! It's New York we're
going back to. Seethey're after comin' out for us now.
With a jerk of his thumb he pointed to the Manhattan shore. A
powerful tug had already left the New York slip and was puffing in
Back to New York! exclaimed Tod and Paula, in startled unison.
This outcome to their adventure they had certainly not foreseen. To
be taken ignominiously back and made to walk right in the arms of their
pursuers was something they hardly expected. Consternation was plainly
written on the faces of both. Tod was not easily excited, but this
contretemps was too much even for his self-composure. Addressing
the deckhand, he cried excitedly:
We can't go back to New York! It's out of the question! I'll go and
see the captain.
The man grinned.
I guess I'd leave the Cap'n alone, if I was yer, he said, with a
dry chuckle. He's thunderin' mad over the smash-up. There's no tellin'
what he might do ter yer.
But you don't understand, burst out Tod, with renewed energy.
There's a reason why this lady and I can't go back to New York. There
are people there whom we're most anxious to avoid. We must get over to
New Jersey without further delay. Can't you hail a passing tug for us,
or lower a boat? I'll make it worth your whilesee!
He drew from his pocket a roll of money. The man laughed and shook
Pair of runaways, eh? Goin' ter git spliced in Jersey? With an
impudent stare at Paula, he added, with a laugh: I don't blame yer.
The gal's pretty, all right. But there's nothin' doin'. I don't want to
lose me job. I guess it's New York fer yours, all right. Here comes the
He ran forward just as the rescuing tug, puffing and snorting, came
alongside. A rope was thrown up and made fast, and the tow back to the
Confound the fellow's impudence! said Tod savagely. If I wasn't
in such a fix I'd punch his head.
Paula, pale and anxious, laid her hand on his arm.
Never mind him! she said. What are we going to do about the
others? That is more serious.
Tod, silent and thoughtful, was racking his brain to find some way
out of this new dilemma. Yet there was nothing to be done. The accident
had been noticed from the shore. Every one knew they must come back.
They were trapped like two naughty children who had been caught playing
truant from school. A nice laugh Cooley and Jimmy would have on him!
Suddenly he turned to Paula.
We've only one chance left, he said quickly, and it's a very slim
one. Come down to the lower deck. We'll get into the machine. Directly
the boat touches the dock and the bridge is lowered, I'll let her go
for all she's worth. There's a chance that in the general excitement we
may be able to get past them. Come!
It was a forlorn hope at best, but a drowning man will clutch at a
straw. Slowly, like a limping, living thing, the helpless ferryboat
entered the New York slip, pushed and coaxed into its berth by the
rescuing tug. A large crowd of curious sightseers, gathered on the
dock, followed the manoeuvres with interest. As Tod sat at the wheel of
his machine, his frightened companion by his side, ready to dash
forward the moment the boat was made fast, he scanned eagerly the sea
of faces turned toward them. There was no sign of the enemy. Apparently
the coast was clear. There was a bump as the boat reached the dock and
a rattle of chains as the deckhands made fast. The drawbridge came
down. Tod pulled the starting lever, and the machine shot forward. At
that instant several police officers and a number of men, among whom
Tod recognized Mr. Cooley and Jimmy Marsh, ran into the middle of the
road and barred the way. A policeman held up his hand to Tod to stop.
Paula gave a little scream, while Tod let loose a flow of
unprintable profanity. Mr. Cooley ran up to the car, his fat, bloated
face congested with a combination of anger and triumph.
Stop that car, he roared, or I'll send you up for contempt of
Yielding to superior forces, Tod stopped the machine. Mr. Cooley
came up with a police officer. Pointing at Paula, the lawyer cried:
That's the young lady. She is attempting to evade an order of the
Court. Producing a legal paper, he added: Here is the order
committing her to my custody.
Paula again screamed and clung to her companion. The policeman,
puzzled, glanced at the Court order. A crowd began to gather. Finally
the officer, addressing Paula, said respectfully:
Do you acknowledge that you are Paula Marsh, the person named in
White as a sheet, ready to swoon from terror, the girl nodded
Then you must go with this man, said the officer, pointing to Mr.
No, no! I won'tI won't! she cried, clinging to Tod's arm.
You had better go with him, he whispered gently. It's best to
avoid a scene. It won't be for long. Leave it to me. We'll soon get you
out again. I'll see Ricaby at once, and to-morrow we'll swear out a
habeas corpus. You'd better go quietly with him.
With an unobserved pressure of the hand, which he felt was returned,
Tod silently said good-by. Paula slowly descended from the automobile.
Turning to Mr. Cooley, she said, in a deliberate, dignified manner:
Very well, Mr. Cooley, I am ready to accompany you.
Among the unspeakable crimes which man, in the name of humanity, has
perpetrated against his fellow man, none has been more gruesome, more
merciless, more fiendishly cruel than the abuse of the private
There is a hazy notion in the public mind that the private insane
asylum, the horrors of which were so vividly depicted by Charles Reade,
Edgar Allan Poe, and other writers, are things of the barbarous past,
and that in our own enlightened, humane, practical twentieth century,
when the liberty of the individual was never so jealously safe-guarded,
it would be impossible for any unscrupulous person, actuated by
interested motives of his own, to railroad a perfectly sane relative
to an institution, and retain him there indefinitely against his or her
will. The startling truth, however, is that, under our present lunacy
system, nothing is easier.
The infamous madhouses of half a century ago, with their secret
dungeons, their living skeletons rattling in chains, their brutal
keepers who tickled the soles of hapless inmates' feet to drive them
into hysterics in anticipation of the annual perfunctory visit of the
State examiners in lunacy, have, it is true been driven out of
business; the existing sanitariums are now more or less under rigid
State control, yet this official supervision is not always adequate
protection against misrepresentation and fraud. By the free expenditure
of money and with the coöperation of unscrupulous physicians, foul
wrongs are frequently inflicted on the most innocent and unoffensive
people. At the present moment it is not only possible for scheming
persons, interested in getting a relative safely out of the way, to
accomplish their sinister purpose, but each year in the United States
dozens of perfectly sane persons are actually incarcerated in private
asylums scattered over the country.
The medical superintendent of a prominent State hospital, in a paper
read recently before the Bar Association practically admitted the truth
of this. At the same time, reviewing the laws bearing upon the
commitment and discharge of the criminally insane, he proposed certain
changes suggested by the actual operation of the present laws. He also
drew attention to a statement made by the Medical Record to the
effect that, only a short time since, no fewer than fourteen persons
were committed to one small institution by juries in a single year and
every one of them was found later to be sane, and had to be discharged.
The superintendent very properly insisted that there should be some
modification of the present law whereby lunatics, accused of serious
crimes against the person and especially those committing murder,
should be dealt with by a tribunal having fixed, continuous
responsibility, and that a jury of laymen should not be allowed to
decide regarding the mental condition of any person with a view to his
commitment to an asylum for the insane or to his discharge therefrom.
The abuses possible under the present loose system are only too
obvious, the opportunity offered to fraud and crime only too apparent.
Putting troublesome relatives in lunatic asylums might be considered an
easy way of getting rid of them by those who are too tender-hearted or
too cowardly to murder them outright. It is scarcely more merciful.
Frequently the request for incarceration is not brought before a court
or jury at all. A commission of insanity experts is summoned by the
alleged lunatic's relatives, and if they are satisfied that the patient
is of unsound mind they sign a paper committing him or her to some
institution. Sometimes the signature of one physician only is
sufficient, and in fraudulent cases, where the persons calling in the
physicians are keenly interested in the result, everything is done to
make out a bona-fide case, and prove the patient out of his or
her mind. Harried, nervous, fearful of everybody and everything, the
slightest lapse from control or commonplace speech is used for the
The mental anguish and actual suffering that a sane person must
necessarily undergo when suddenly deprived of his liberty and brutally
incarcerated in some lugubrious, lonely sanitarium can better be
imagined than described. To know that one is in perfect health and yet
compelled to associate with poor creatures whose minds are really
shattered, forced to listen to their senseless chatter all day and to
hear their blood-curdling screams all night, to be under constant
surveillance, an object of distrust and pity, subject to a severe and
humiliating discipline, punished by the dreaded cold-water douche when
refractoryall this is enough to make a madman of the sanest person.
And when, added to these horrors, the unfortunate victim sees himself
deserted by all, deprived of means to employ a lawyer, knowing that the
enemies responsible for his misfortune are squandering his money and
profiting by his misery, is it a wonder that in a moment of
discouragement and desperation he abandons hope and does away with
himself? Then the indifferent world sagely wags its head and accepts
without questioning the coroner's verdict: Killed by his own hand in a
fit of suicidal mania.
Among the larger private insane asylums in New York State, the
institution Sea Rest at Tocquencke, bore a fairly good reputation.
That is to say, the skirts of the management had been kept relatively
free from scandal, and suicides were of comparatively rare occurrence.
The institution, under the direction of Superintendent Spencer, was
pleasantly situated on Long Island, overlooking the Sound, and catered
almost exclusively to a wealthy class of patients who, for one reason
or another, found themselves compelled to take the rest cure.
One morning, about three weeks after Mr. Cooley's spectacular arrest
of the runaways at the Jersey ferry, Superintendent Spencer was seated
at his desk in the general reception room at Sea Rest, dictating
reports to a young woman stenographer. There was little about the
surroundings to suggest the sinister character of the place. Only the
heavily barred windows, overlooking the grounds enclosed by high walls,
and the massive doors fitted with ponderous bolts and locks suggested
that padded cells with wild-eyed inmates might be found in some other
part of the establishment. Otherwise it was an ordinary, everyday
business office. The large desk near the window was covered with
ledgers and papers, while close at hand was a telephone and clicking
typewriter. To the left of the desk a small, narrow door led to the
wards. On the right a heavy door opened on the vestibule and grounds.
The superintendent himself was a clean-shaven man of about
thirty-five. Alert-looking and well groomed, he had the energetic
manner of the successful business man. Mechanically, as if it were a
matter of tiresome routine, to be hurried through as speedily as
possible, he went on dictating in a monotonous tone:
Report on Miss Manderson's case. Attendant, Miss Hadley; physician,
Dr. Bently. Patient's demand for stimulants decreasing, but she calls
constantly for bridge-playing companions. Patient generally
cheerfulwill not retire till 3 A. M. Six packages of cigarettes in
Buzz! buzz! A disc fell down on the indicator on the wall,
disclosing a number.
The superintendent turned quickly and, glancing at the indicator,
pressed a button in his desk. This released a bolt in the door leading
to the outer hall, a safeguard necessary to prevent reckless patients
from wandering outside to help themselves without permission to the
fresh air. The big door swung open and an old man, bent with age,
Ah, CollinsI wanted to see you! said the superintendent sharply.
Seized with an attack of coughing, the old man could not reply at
once. For thirty years he had been an inmate. When a man is going on
eighty, he is not as vigorous as he once was. Formerly a waiter at
Delmonico's, he found the pace too swift. His mind gave way, and a rich
patron, pitying his condition, sent him to Sea Rest. For a long time
now he had been cured, but, broken in spirit, he found he could not
return to the old life, so he had remained at the asylum in the
capacity of attendant.
Yessir, he gasped, between spasms of coughing.
The superintendent looked at him severely:
Collins, did you buy six packets of cigarettes for Miss Manderson?
The old man cowered. He was afraid of the superintendent. He had
reason to dread those cold douches.
No, sir, he replied, trembling.
Are you sure? demanded the superintendent.
Yes, sir, answered the old man hesitatingly, his eyes on the
Look at me, thundered the superintendent.
He looked up timidly and shook his head.
Don't you know, almost shouted the superintendent, that she has
come to 'Sea Rest' to recuperate from an overdose of social life, and
that she must not smoke?
You've been a waiter all your life, Collinsand I'm afraid that
the old instinct to take tips is too strong.
It's hard to refuse sometimes, sir, replied the old man, his knees
shaking, but I manage to overcome my feelingsoccasionally.
The indicator again rang. The superintendent turned.
It's the front door, he said, with a gesture to go and answer the
It's Dr. Bently, sir, rejoined the old man.
As Collins went to open the outside door, the superintendent turned
to the stenographer.
Make a note in your report suggesting that Miss Manderson's money
be taken from her while she is an inmate of the sanitarium.
The superintendent took up another paper.
Report on Mr. Jeliffe's case. Attendant, James Hurst; physician,
Dr. Macdonald. Same as previous report.
Suddenly the small, narrow door on the left opened and the head
female attendant, dressed in a gray uniform with white cap and apron,
entered. She was a big, muscular-looking woman, the kind of person one
might expect to find in her particular business, a woman who looked
capable of meeting, single-handed, any emergency that might arise. Her
face was hard and unsympathetic, yet it belied her real character, for,
as asylum nurses go, she was kind to the patients under her care.
Well, Mrs. Johnson, what is it? exclaimed the superintendent
testily, annoyed at the many interruptions.
Miss Marsh wants to see you, sir.
Not to-day, Mrs. Johnson. I have seventy reports to make out, and
I'm only half through. What does she want to see me about? Same thing,
She insists that she is being unlawfully detained here, and she
wants to go.
Of courseof course, exclaimed the superintendent impatiently.
In the short time that she's been here her case has received more
attention than any in my experience. What with doctors, and lawyers,
and newspaper men, I'm hounded to death about her. Tell her that she
can't be permitted to go without an order of release from a physician.
The State demands that. You know it as well as I do and yet you waste
my time every few hours. Tell her that her habeas corpus case
comes up next Friday.
He returned to his papers with an impatient gesture, as if he
dismissed the matter from his mind, but the attendant still remained.
Hesitatingly she said:
She's so unhappy! She cries so constantly that II wish you'd see
her, Mr. Spencerif only to satisfy her. What can I do?
The superintendent looked up from his work and glared at his head
nurse, as if amazed at her obstinacy. Coldly, deliberately, he said:
Mrs. Johnson, I'm afraid you are wasting a lot of sympathy on this
case. This patient was caught by her guardian at the Jersey City ferry,
in the act of eloping. She's mad as a March hare. Her certificate is
signed by three of the most eminent physicians in the country, and her
application for release is opposed by the biggest lawyer in New
YorkBascom Cooley. There is no question about her mental condition.
Turning once more to his desk, he resumed dictating:
Report on Mr. Jeliffe's case
The attendant still lingered.
Well, sir, she said hesitatingly, will you send a telegram to Mr.
Ricaby, her lawyer, asking him to come up.
He was here yesterday, wasn't he? snapped the superintendent.
She is most anxious to see him, persisted the nurse.
The superintendent frowned. This obstinacy was very annoying. Still,
he dare not refuse such a simple request.
I'll see what Dr. Zacharie says, he said curtly. His instructions
were that she must not be excited or annoyed by visitors.
Very well, sir, said the nurse respectfully, as she went out again
through the little door.
The superintendent resumed his work.
Have you made out the report on Miss Marsh's case?
The stenographer was busy searching through a mass of papers when
Will you see Dr. Zacharie, sir? inquired the old man.
Yesshow him in, replied the superintendent.
Collins half opened the door and Dr. Zacharie entered, full of
authority. Like most charlatans who find it necessary to deceive the
world, the physician tried to cover up his shortcomings by noisy
bluster. Advancing to the desk, his chest inflated with
self-importance, he greeted Mr. Spencer in a patronizing tone:
Good morning, Mr. Spencer. Well, how is she to-day?
The superintendent shook his head, as if much discouraged.
Rather restless, I should say. Handing a paper to the physician,
he added: Here's the report.
Dr. Zacharie took the report and hastily scanned it.
Ah, well! he muttered, it is to be expected.
Will you see her? inquired the superintendent.
No; itit is not necessary just yet. There is to be a consultation
to-day. Dr. McMutrie and Professor Bodley will be here presentlyalso
Her habeas corpus comes up on Friday, I believe, said the
superintendent politely. Mr. Spencer always made it a rule to stand in
well with the visiting physicians.
Dr. Zacharie frowned.
Yes, a jury of illiterate ignoramuses to decide a scientific
question! Ah, such laws in this country! He stopped and read aloud
from the report: Cries constantlysits silent and moody for hours.
Looking up, he said: Poor girl, sheshe seems to be conscious of her
position at timesshe talks much, eh?
At that moment old Collins reappeared.
Mr. Ricaby wishes to see Miss Marsh, he said.
The superintendent made a gesture in the direction of the wards.
Tell Mrs. Johnson to bring her here. As the old attendant went to
obey the order, the superintendent turned to Dr. Zacharie: Will you
wait, doctor? he asked.
The other quickly shook his head.
No, he said. I don't like that fellow Ricaby. He has a stupid
idea that we are opposed to him. May I take this report? I would like
to show it to my colleagues when they come.
Certainly, certainly, replied the other.
He rose from his desk, indicating by a nod to his stenographer that
there would be no further dictation. As the secretary gathered her
papers the bell rang.
There's the luncheon bell, said the superintendent. Addressing Dr.
Zacharie: Won't you join us?
No, thanks, replied the physician. Send us a copy of the other
reports, will you? We shall need them on Friday.
Mr. Spencer touched a button and the big doors swung wide open,
giving admittance to Mr. Ricaby, who, pale and anxious-looking,
advanced quickly into the office. As he came in Dr. Zacharie, a sneer
on his lips, made a formal salutation, but it was not returned.
Ignoring the physician's presence entirely, the lawyer made his way
straight to the superintendent's desk:
I wish to see my client, Miss Marsh, he said, in a firm voice that
would brook no refusal.
Dr. Zacharie gave a contemptuous shrug of his shoulders and, with a
significant smile at the superintendent, went away.
I have sent for Miss Marsh, said the superintendent coldly.
Thank you, replied the lawyer curtly.
The air was full of hostility. The superintendent stood in silence
at his desk putting away his papers. Mr. Ricaby, taking a seat
uninvited, looked around him and shuddered as he thought of the poor
girl whose rescue from this dreadful place he was moving heaven and
earth to effect. After a few minutes' wait Collins reappeared.
Addressing the superintendent, he said:
Miss Marsh will be here directly, sir.
Very well, growled the other. They can have this room.
Who is on watch duty to-day? demanded the superintendent.
Lockwood at the front gates, sir, and Medwinter patrolling.
Very well, said the superintendent airily. If you want me I'm at
Then, without so much as a glance at the lawyer, he closed his desk
lid with a bang and left the office.
Mr. Ricaby waited anxiously for the coming of his client. All voices
and sounds had died away, and a heavy, sinister silence fell upon the
entire building. There was something unnatural about the dead calm.
Suddenly there was a scream of terror, followed by peals of hysterical
laughter. Then all was silence again. In spite of himself the lawyer
felt uncomfortable. He shuddered as he realized what Paula had suffered
in such a place. The quiet now was uncanny and oppressive. All one
heard was the loud ticking of the office clock and the stealthy walk of
old Collins, who, gliding about the room in his noiseless felt
slippers, halted every now and then to glance in the direction of the
visitor. Like most persons of weak mind, he was easily excited by the
appearance of a new face. Indeed, strangers at Sea Rest were enough
of a novelty to excite interest. With the physicians and regular
callers the inmates were familiar enough, but the sight of a stranger
revived in their debilitated minds old recollections, thoughts of the
outer world, a world of sunshine, joy, and liberty of which they
themselves had once been a part and which they had abandoned all hope
of ever seeing again. At last, unable to control his curiosity any
longer, the old man stopped in front of the lawyer and inquired
Can I get you anything, sir?
No, thanks, replied Mr. Ricaby. There was something in the
appearance of the old man that interested him, and kindly he asked:
How long have you been here?
Nearly ten years, siron and off. I was an inmate here, sir, when
Dr. SpencerMr. Spencer's fatherwas the proprietor.
Are you still aaan inmate?
No, sirnot so to speak. I'm a waiter, sirmy old profession.
After I got better I went back to my old position at Delmonico's, but I
couldn't stand the excitement. You wouldn't believe it, sir, but
waiters are frightfully tried. We've got to know just what people want,
who don't know what they want themselves, and who complain if we make
the slightest mistake. Don't they make mistakes, too? Don't they point
with their knives and forks while they talk in a vulgar, loud voice
with their mouths full of food? Don't they put vinegar on their oysters
and ice in their claret? Don't they drink champagne with fish? Don't
they expect a half portion to be enough for two? And, cruellest act of
all, they talk to us in a language they call French. They blame us when
the cashier makes mistakes. They blame us when the cook makes mistakes.
They blame us when their own digestions make mistakes. They forget that
we're human. And, I tell you, sir, it gets on our nerves at last. It's
bound to. Suddenly the electric indicator buzzed loudly. The old man
started nervously and glanced up.
It's the dining room, sir. Excuse me, sir.
Before he could obey the summons a bell sounded violently from the
All rightall right, he cried. I heard it the first time.
He toddled off, grumbling. A moment later the small, narrow door
opened and Mrs. Johnson, the head attendant, entered, followed by
Every minute of the day and night, for three long, weary weeks, that
had seemed like years, Paula had prayed for deliverance from what was
little better than a living death. At first, when she was brought to
the asylum she thought she would go really mad. The first glimpse of
the barred windows, the bolted doors and padded cells filled her with
terror. She became hysterical, and for two days could not be pacified.
She refused all nourishment, and, unable to sleep, passed her time
pacing up and down her room. The superintendent and nurses fully
believed that she was insane, and the symptoms she displayed being
common in patients, no heed was paid to them or to her protests.
Gradually, seeing the futility of tears and resistance, the girl grew
quieter, and calmly began to look forward to the moment when the horrid
nightmare would be at an end, and she would be set free. She knew that
Mr. Ricaby and Tod were exhausting every legal resource to procure her
liberty and that an order for her release was only a question of time.
But the long, agonizing wait, the knowledge that she was the associate
of, and breathed the same air as wretched, demented beings whose one
hope of deliverance was a speedy death, was more than she could bear.
Of Dr. Zacharie she had, fortunately, seen very little. Only once since
her incarceration had the physician attempted to visit her
professionally, and then she was seized with such a violent attack of
hysteria that the nurse, alarmed, begged him to retire.
All this anxiety and mental distress could not have failed to affect
her general health, and Mr. Ricaby was startled when he caught sight of
the girl's pale, wan face, with its traces of suffering. She smiled
faintly when she saw him, and, as he darted forward, extended a thin,
Oh, Mr. Ricaby, I'm so glad, so glad to see you! she said weakly.
I didn't expect you to-day.
Shocked by her appearance, the lawyer was too much agitated at first
to answer. Controlling himself with an effort, he asked in a low tone:
How are you? Have they been kind to you?
Paula made no answer. Looking over her shoulder in a frightened kind
of way, she said in a whisper:
Tell that woman to go away.
He turned to the attendant.
Will you please leave us? he said politely.
Mrs. Johnson hesitated. It was against the rules to let the patient
out of her sight. Shaking her head doubtfully, she said:
I'm supposed toYou see, sir, I'm responsible for the young
lady. But I'll go. It will be all right, I am sure. If you want me I
shall be in there. Pointing to the entrance to the wards, she opened
the door and quietly disappeared.
She's a good woman, said Paula. She's very kind and obliging. But
she follows me everywhere. If I could forget my position even for a
moment, the constant presence of that woman would remind me. Oh, it's
so hard to bear!
But she's kind, you sayand obliging. That's something, isn't it?
said Mr. Ricaby encouragingly.
Yes, it's something, replied the girl. She laughed bitterly as she
went on: They're all kind and considerate, Mr. Ricaby, but it's their
very kindness and consideration that hurts me most. They look at me
with such sympathy and pity. I can read their very thoughts. They seem
to say: 'Poor thing, you have no mind. You can't think as we do.' And
they treat me as tenderly as they would a child. They try to amuse me
and comfort me. They give me everything I ask foreverything, except
my liberty. I demand my liberty. It won't be long now. The case comes
up the day after to-morrow, doesn't it?
The lawyer looked away. Awkwardly he replied:
No, Paula; it's postponed for a week.
What! she cried, in dismay. Postponedpostponed! Oh!
If we'd been successful in getting Senator Wratchett, he
explained, Cooley never would have obtained a stay of proceedings. But
Wratchett says he is not prepared.
And until he is prepared I must stay here? she cried, in
The time will soon pass, he replied soothingly.
The girl walked nervously up and down the floor. Turning quickly on
the lawyer, she exclaimed, with angry vehemence:
Soon pass! Soon pass! Do you realize what it means to stay in this
dreadful place another whole week? To meet only men and women who
regard you with pity and curiosityasas hopelessly unfit to go into
the outer world? Their very kindness and consideration is a mockery.
Another week? Seven long days, seven endless nights? I can't sleep, I
only get fitful snatches of oblivion during which my dreams are worse
than the awakening. I've been here only three weeks and it seems like a
lifetimea lifetime. The companionship of that woman for another
week! Hysterically she cried: I can't do it, Mr. Ricaby, I can't do
it! You must take me away from here!
The lawyer made no reply. Then, as if suddenly actuated by a
determined resolution, he went up to the window overlooking the grounds
and glanced out. Perhaps there might be a chance to get away. But when
he noted the precipitous stone walls and the man on guard at the locked
iron gates, he was convinced of the futility of any such attempt. It
would only injure her cause. Shaking his head, he returned to where
It isn't possible, he said, in an undertone. That woman is behind
the door. A man is over at the gate. No, that's not the way. If you go
at all it must be through the front door, with head erect.
With a gesture of discouragement, Paula sank down on a chair.
I can't stand it any longer, she cried, her face streaming with
tears, it's unbearablesimply unbearable! Did you ever try to count
the time away? The first day I was here I determined not to think of my
position. I counted the seconds. I counted one, two, three, four, five
thousandcounted until I became exhausted. I thought I'd counted for
hours, but I found that barely one little hour had passedone little
hourand that the more I tried to forget my position the more
intolerable it became.
Almost beside himself, not knowing what to suggest next, the lawyer
strode nervously up and down the room. Each word she uttered was a
stinging reproach and a knife thrust in his heart. Yet could he do more
than he was doing? Stopping in front of her, he seized her burning
hands and held them firmly in his own.
PaulaPaula! he cried appealingly, for God's sake don't go on
that way! I can't stand it. Try, try to bear up. The sun is shining
somewhere behind these cloudsif we could only see it! This darkness
will only last for a few daysa few hoursand then
And then, she echoed with a hollow, mocking laugh. Sometimes,
when I think of the frightful ordeal I shall be compelled to go through
to prove that I am entitled to my freedom, II feel unequal to the
task I'mI'm afraidafraid
You'll be all rightyou'll come out triumphant!
She shook her head doubtfully.
How can I tell that I shall be able to convince these strangers?
They don't know me asas you do. Suppose I don't make a good
impression. Suppose that the answers I make to their questions are
notnot what they consider intelligent. Suppose I become confused and
lose control of myself as I did beforewhat then?
He held out his hand deprecatingly.
What then? she demanded plaintively.
It's impossible! he answered. Entreatingly he went on: Oh, Paula!
for God's sake don't let these gloomy thoughts get hold of your mind!
But they do get into my mind, she went on hoarsely. How can I
tell for certain that these strange men who will be called upon to
decide finallywill decide in my favor? They may mean to do what is
right, but do they know? It's the uncertainty that makes my position
here so intolerablethe dreadful uncertainty. If I thought that when
my case did come up I would walk out of court a free woman, I'd try and
bear this temporary restraintbut it's the horrible uncertaintythe
suspensethe anxiety that's gnawing at methe secret dread that
constant contact with these people may make me one of them
Don't say that, he interrupted.
But it's true, she insisted. That's why I must go away from here
Yes, but howhow? he demanded.
I don't know.
There was a deep silence. Neither spoke. Helpless, crushed by the
law's heavy hand, with hardly a ray of hope ahead, both sat stunned by
the calamity which had overtaken them. All at once their reverie was
disturbed by the sound of approaching footsteps. The big door opened
and Collins appeared. Addressing the lawyer, the old waiter said:
There's a gentleman in the visitors' rooma Mr. Chase, sir. He's
come up from New York specially to see you, sir. When I told him you
were talking with the young ladyhehe made me promise him to bring
him to see her, too. He has no permit, but I've waited on him scores of
times at Del's, and he was always so liberal, that I couldn't refuse
him. Shall I bring him here, sir? And would you mind taking the
responsibilityif any question is raised?
Paula rose, a flush of pleasure reddening her pale cheeks.
Oh, please, Mr. Ricaby, I do so want to see him, she cried.
I had better see him alone, Paula, objected the lawyer.
But I want to see him, she insisted.
Mr. Ricaby nodded to Collins.
Very well; tell him to come in.
The old man disappeared, and the attorney turned to his client.
There was a tone of reproach in his voice as he said:
How glad you are to see this man, Paula!
Yes; II she stammered.
You don't stop to think, rejoined her companion bitterly, that
his family is the cause of your present predicament. You might say it
is his fault.
His mother's fault, perhaps, but not his, corrected Paula quickly.
You don't like himyou never liked him. Yet he is my friendthe one
friend I feel I can depend upon besides yourself. Won't you try and
like him for my sake?
The lawyer shook his head. Doggedly he replied:
If I don't like him that is my affair. I don't see why you should
take it so much to heart.
Well, don'tdon't say anything to him, will you?
No, no, of course not. I only wish I could share your good opinion
Paula was about to reply, when they heard the noise of approaching
footsteps. The next instant Tod came in, beaming over with high
Hello, people! hello! he cried heartily.
His jocular manner and hearty greeting might lead one to think that
it was a pleasure jaunt rather than a sympathy call on an inmate which
had brought him to the asylum. Not understanding his gaiety, Paula and
the lawyer stared at him in amazement. It was the first time that Paula
had seen him since they were parted so unceremoniously at the ferry,
and she thought he might show a little more concern.
How are you, Mr. Ricaby? he said cheerily. Miss Paula, I never
saw you looking better! Looking around curiously, he went on
enthusiastically: Do you know this is a great little place up here?
Gee, the scenery is great!finest view of Long Island Sound I ever
saw. Well, they got us at the ferry, didn't they? If the blamed old
boat hadn't broken down they'd never have caught us, would they?
It was very good of you to come to see me, said Paula, somewhat
He stared at her in well-feigned astonishment.
To see you? he exclaimed. Why, I'm up here for my own health.
Mother is with me. She wants to see you. You know I'm going to spend a
couple of weeks here and rest up. I've just looked the place over and I
tell you it beats all your summer hotels to a standstill. No bands of
music, no bridge parties for mother, no late suppers for me, no late
hours, not even a golf link! Oh, it's just the place for me. I'm glad I
cameI'm all run down, and II need
Suddenly he noticed Paula's pale face and traces of recent weeping.
He stopped chattering and for the first time looked serious. But the
girl was not deceived. She knew that his apparent carelessness was only
make-believe. With a forced smile, she said:
You're trying to cheer me up.
Why shouldn't I? he laughed. Don't you deserve it?
Mr. Ricaby was impatient to hear what news the young man had
You came to see me? he interrupted anxiously.
Incidentally, yes, smiled Tod.
How did you know I was here? demanded the lawyer.
Missed you at your office. Listen, we'll just talk business a few
minutes, Miss Marsh, and then devote ourselves to the enjoyment of the
place. Gee, what air! what ozone! what trees Suddenly stopping, he
scratched his hand vigorously. And what mosquitoes! Now, in the first
place, Ricaby, I'm your witnessyou can depend on me. I can prove that
Jimmy needed moneyand that he was compelled to resort to desperate
means to raise it.
The lawyer looked at him keenly.
Are you aware, he said, that it will involve your mother?
Your mother! cried Paula, astonished. Oh, no! Youcan't do that.
Oh, Tod, your mother!
She's all right, cried the young man. She has left Jimmy
Left him! cried Mr. Ricaby.
Yes, left him for good and all! I explained his dastardly conduct
to her, and when I refused to live in the same house with him, she
said: 'If you won't live with him, neither will I.' So she just left
him, and if I can help it she'll never go back to him. You can count on
mother and me, and I think that between us we ought to bottle up Jimmy
and Mr. Cooley.
The lawyer held out his hand.
I've done you a wrong, Mr. Chase, but Iyou'll forgive me, won't
Don't speak of it, laughed Tod good-humoredly.
You may be of great value, went on the lawyer hastily. Of course,
it depends on what kind of evidence you have. What proof have you?
The best of proof, replied the young man mysteriously, but don't
let us bother her with itI'll show you my proofs later on.
Mr. Ricaby's face brightened. Perhaps they might yet be able to trap
the wily Cooley, after all. Thoughtfully he said:
If you could persuade your mother to furnish us with some evidence
of his intention to defraud
Oh, don't ask him to do that! Betray his own mother, she
exclaimed. It seems sosounnatural!
Tod laughed. Looking at the girl fondly, he said:
Paula, for your sake I'dI'd commit every crime on the calendar!
Anything short of murder goes with me. Desperate diseases require
desperate remedies. My stepfather and Bascom Cooley are the most
desperate diseases I've ever encountered. Looking out of the window,
he continued, with pretended enthusiasm: Gee! but this is a lovely
spot! Look at that sunlight shimmering on the water! This air is like
the cocktail that exuberates but does not intoxicate! I'll be writing
poetry if I stay here long.
The door leading to the wards suddenly opened and Mrs. Johnson
appeared. Advancing toward Paula, she said:
Dr. Zacharie thinks it advisable for you to rest before the others
see you. Come, Miss Marsh.
She took her patient by the arm, but Paula, made bolder by the
presence of friends, shook her off:
I don't wish to go, she avowed decisively.
Does Dr. Zacharie know we're here? demanded Tod, turning to the
Yes, rejoined the other.
You had better come, miss, said the attendant firmly.
Paula looked at Mr. Ricaby and Tod helplessly.
You won't go away untiluntilDon't leave me here alonewill
Leave you? echoed Tod. Certainly not. I'm going to get mother.
Why, I'm a fixture herehotel picked outbaggage unpackedrooms
taken for a month ahead.
A month? Why, you said two weeks! cried the girl, delighted at the
thought that she would have his company so long.
Did I? he grinned. Well, you see, the place grows on me.
Come, miss, said the attendant impatiently.
You are sure you won't go? said Paula, addressing Tod.
I'm sure, he said. If I go, you go with me.
[Illustration: PAULA LEFT THE ASYLUM OFFICE ACCOMPANIED BY THE
Paula gave him a long look of gratitude, and, with a sigh of
resignation, left the office in company with the head attendant. As
soon as the women had disappeared Tod's gaiety of manner underwent a
sudden change. Gulping down a dry sob, he broke down completely, and,
throwing himself on to a chair, covered his face with his two hands.
Oh, the damned scoundrels! he cried, with a vehemence that
astonished the lawyer, who had little suspected so much feeling in a
youth apparently so flippant. To think, went on the young man, that
they dare do such a cruel thing as this! How I wish I had them both in
a twenty-four-foot ringif I wouldn't give them what they deserved!
Mr. Ricaby was anxious to hear what his companion had to impart to
Now, tell me, he said impatiently, what proofs have you got?
I have no absolute proof, replied the other. Only a very strong
But I thought you said you had proofs? cried the lawyer,
I said that to comfort her. I have no absolute proofs. I am just as
much stumped for an idea as to what course to take as you are. But the
girl can't stay any longer in this placethat is certain. I have a
plan that may work out all right.
What is it? demanded the other.
Just a minute, replied Tod. I want to telephone mother to come
over. She may be able to help us.
Going to the telephone, he picked up the receiver. In a tone of
irritation, the lawyer said:
Then all that talk about your baggage and room
All hot air, nodded the other. I had to say somethingor I'd
have broken down. What's the number of the hotel?
207 Tocquencke, replied the lawyer. Looking at the young man, he
went on: You're a peculiar fellow, Chase.
Yes, I know, said the other indifferently. Give me 207, and get
Mrs. James Marsh on the 'phone. Helloyeswill you please tell her to
come over to 'Sea Rest' at once and ask for Mr. Chase? Yes, thank you.
Turning to the lawyer he went on:
It unnerves me to see her in this placelocked in with a bunch of
dips and nervous wreckscompelled to come and go at their call. By
God! it's awful, and to think I have to sit here powerless to move a
finger on her behalf! Scornfully he added: You're a nice lawyer, or
she wouldn't have stayed here twenty-four hours! Can't we dope out
somethingare we going to let them cook up all those schemes while we
sit back and watch them?
I am doing everything I can, replied Mr. Ricaby calmly. Our case
comes up next week
Next week! cried Tod. She'll be a nervous wreck by then! Can't
you see how worried she is? We must get her out of this place at
onceif we have to break out with a jimmy. Jimmy! I wish I had him
here, I'd wring his neck!
The lawyer looked at his companion in grave silence. Then he said
You think a great deal of Miss Marsh, don't you?
Think a great deal of her? exclaimed Tod. Ha! ha! The truth of
the matter is that IRicabyIII'd marry her to-morrowifif
she'd have me!
Mr. Ricaby turned pale. Only by a great effort was he able to
control himself. Yet by what right could he interfere? Paula cared more
for this man than she admitted. He felt that. Why should he selfishly
stand between them? Was that worthy of one who prided himself on his
You would marry her? he cried hoarsely.
Not noticing his companion's agitation, unaware of the pain he was
inflicting, Tod went on:
Yes, a fine position, ain't it? The first girl I really cared for
locked up in ain awell, we'll call it a sanitarium. In order to get
out she's got to face a public trial to prove she ought not to be there
for the rest of her life. How many experts have we on our side?
Fifteen! replied Mr. Ricaby.
Why don't you get fifty? cried the young man heatedly. You can
bet that Cooley will have a raft of 'em. Don't take any chances.
I'm not going to, replied the lawyer quickly. I've engaged two of
the most eminent counsel in the country. They will represent us at the
Tod's jaw closed with an angry click and his face grew resolute and
determined. Clenching his fists, he exclaimed:
Ricaby, we must prevent that public examination somehow or other.
Can you see her facing a crowded court, packed full of curiosity
seekers, answering a lot of humbug experts who are paid to prove
anything you lawyers want them to provethe slurs, the innuendosthe
insinuations! You know what they said about her father. Well, they'll
rake up all that stuff again. If that doesn't break her down, nothing
will. We've got to save her that ordealRicaby, we must.
I'm afraid it's impossible, objected the lawyer We must comply
with the law.
The young man laughed scornfully.
The law be dd! he exclaimed. Law is hell, isn't it? It's
worse than war, at least, you're not fighting in the dark all the
You're right! replied the other. War is fought with
weaponsfairly, face to face. This legal strife is combat with
hypocrisycunning deceit and low political trickery!
Well, cried Tod, we must fight them in the same way! I've got a
planby Jove! I think it will work.
What is it? said the other eagerly.
Just this, said the younger man, drawing closer. Glancing hastily
around to make sure there were no eavesdroppers present, he said, in a
For the last three weeks I've had Cooley watched. I know more about
him than he imagines. If I choose to, I could ruin him. I know now
where he gets his influence and what he pays for it. I have employed a
detective agency. Sleuths have shadowed Cooley and looked up the record
of Dr. Zacharie. There is just a fighting chance that we may be able to
The lawyer looked skeptical. Shaking his head, he replied:
Unless you have absolute proof it will avail nothing. It would mean
more endless trouble and litigation, and your charges against these men
might come back like a boomerang on our own heads.
The young man grinned shrewdly.
I have no intention of making complaint to the district attorney.
But with the information in our hands we can make both Cooley and Dr.
Zacharie believe that we mean business. We can frighten them into
thinking that we're going to make a public exposé. Cooley is too deeply
involved with the System to run any such chances, and I don't suppose
Dr. Zacharie has any particular yearning to be put behind prison bars.
I shall lead them to think that we know more than we do, and if I am
able to gain Jimmy over, as I think I can, by threats or otherwise, the
battle is won. We shall soon see the last of Mr. Cooley, and Miss Paula
will go free to enjoy the Marsh millions.
Hush! said the lawyer warningly. Some one is coming!
The big door flung open, and Collins entered, followed by the
superintendent, Jimmy Marsh, Mr. Cooley, and Professor Bodley.
As the gentlemen came in the superintendent was chatting affably
with Mr. Cooley, approving everything he said, and laughing loudly at
his witticisms, with the forced, artificial cordiality of the man
anxious to please. The big lawyer was too influential a personage not
to be worth cultivating, and there was no telling when he might prove
very useful. Neither of them paid the slightest attention to Tod or Mr.
Ricaby, who, anxious to avoid, for the present at least, the slightest
excuse for friction, withdrew to the farther end of the office.
Waving the others to seats, the superintendent called his aged
Collins, take Professor Bodley to Parlor B.
Very good, sir.
Isn't Zacharie here yet? demanded the Professor.
Yes, doctor, replied the superintendent civilly. He's stopping
here for a few days.
Ah, yesa very conscientious man! exclaimed the professor.
Prattling on, he said: Well, it's a pleasant place! How is the young
The superintendent shrugged his shoulders.
About the same, doctor, about the sameno change to speak of.
Hum! ha! yes! muttered the professor. Too badtoo bad!
The superintendent turned again to Mr. Cooley. In an undertone he
The reports are upstairs, counsellor.
But McMutrie isn't here yet, growled Cooley, glancing around with
a frown. That's the trouble with these successful men. They never have
time to keep their appointments.
I keep my appointments, sir! snapped the professor peevishly.
Oh, yesyou do, sneered the lawyer. Where's Zacharie?
Waiting for you upstairs, replied the superintendent, pointing to
Parlor Bthis way, gentlemen! called out Collins.
Mr. Cooley approached the superintendent.
Get McMutrie on the 'phone, he said impatiently. Tell him that
we're all waiting. And send Miss Marsh up to us as soon as he arrives.
Professor Bodley left the office escorted by the old attendant, and
Cooley was about to follow when Mr. Ricaby, who had been watching his
opportunity, quickly stepped forward.
Mr. Cooley, he said firmly, I wish to be present at the
examination of Miss Marsh.
The big lawyer halted and stared at his opponent contemptuously.
Without a word he looked at him from head to foot. Finally he sneered:
That's not necessary. It's only an informal examinationa private
interview for the benefit of our witnesses. We can't have anyone
present but those experts interested on behalf of James Marshher
uncle and special administrator of the estate.
I demand to be present, insisted Mr. Ricaby, raising his voice
angrily. It's my client's right, and you know it!
Cooley shook his head disdainfully.
I'm sorry, he sneered, but I can't accommodate you. Scornfully
he went on: Why should we outline our plan of operation to you
fellows? The girl's here for her own good, and this habeas corpus
business of yours is opposing the order of the court. If you want to
see her, you can see her, but not while we are present.
It's an outrage! exclaimed Mr. Ricaby indignantly.
An outrage? echoed Mr. Cooley, elevating his bushy eyebrows in
mock surprise. Why, you saw Miss Marsh this morning, didn't you?
Turning to the superintendent, he asked: Didn't you so inform me, Mr.
Yes, counsellor, replied the superintendent, with a grin.
Well, what more do you want? sneered Cooley.
I demand to be present! insisted Mr. Ricaby, who was becoming more
angry every minute. The Constitution of the United States
Mr. Cooley laughed outright:
Now, Ricaby, don't let's have any more of this high falutin'
nonsense about constitutional rights and curtailments of liberty and
all that rot! Keep that for the courts. Miss Marsh is at liberty to
come and go as she pleases. But just at present she is engaged. See?
Rudely turning his back on his interlocutor, he said to Mr. Spencer:
Send McMutrie up as soon as he arrives.
Very well, counsellor, replied the superintendent, bowing
With a loud snort of defiance, Mr. Cooley turned on his heel and
made his way upstairs. Mr. Ricaby, pale with suppressed wrath, quickly
turned to Tod:
Is your machine at the hotel? he demanded hoarsely.
Yes, replied the other.
Let me have it, said the lawyer. I'll run up to town, I'll find a
Supreme Court judge and get permission to be present at the
examination. Is it a fast machine?
Seventythat's all! replied the young man laconically.
All right! said the lawyer excitedly. Come and tell the chauffeur
to take me to town as fast as he can go. When I get back we'll tackle
Right you are! cried Tod enthusiastically.
He was about to leave the office, when suddenly, through the window,
he saw a lady and gentleman in the grounds making their way toward the
Hello! he exclaimed, in astonishment. It's mother.
A moment later Mrs. Marsh, elegantly dressed in the latest fashion,
entered, together with Dr. McMutrie. Tod hurried forward to greet her.
Hello, mother! he cried. Did you leave the machine outside?
CertainlyI didn't bring it in with me, you silly boy, she
laughed. Surprised at his flustered manner, she demanded: Why are you
so excitedwhat's the matter?
Quickly Tod introduced them.
Mr. Ricabymy mother! No time to explain. Quickly taking hold of
the lawyer's arm, he said: Comewe don't have to go far for the
machine, it's outside. You'll be there and back before you know it.
Then we'll give Cooley the time of his life!
He ran out of the office, followed in more dignified fashion by Mr.
Ricaby. While Mrs. Marsh stood looking after them in blank
astonishment, trying to guess the reason for this hasty departure, Dr.
McMutrie calmly drew off his gloves, and, approaching the desk, saluted
Good morning, Mr. Spencer, he said blandly.
Good morning, doctor, replied the superintendent, bowing. They're
waiting for you impatiently upstairs, sir.
The examiner in lunacy turned and looked at Mrs. Marsh, who was
still watching Tod and Mr. Ricaby as they hurried through the grounds.
That's my son! she smiled. The most extraordinary boy you ever
Dr. McMutrie smiled.
Yes, he answered dryly, it seems to me that we've met before. I
thinkwhen I was first called into this case.
Oh, yes, Tod told me, she replied quickly. Then she went on:
Doctor, it was very good of you to bring me in here. They wouldn't
have let me in, but for you. I am very anxious to see my niece
Yes, it is a very interesting casevery interesting, indeed, said
the examiner, with a grave shake of the head. Thoughtfully he added:
Sometimes I have my doubts
About her sanity? she demanded, reddening.
He nodded gravely.
Really, doctor? she exclaimed, in well-feigned astonishment. Then
why should she be in such a place as this?
The physician made no reply, but, turning to the superintendent,
handed him a bundle of administration papers, which the latter
proceeded to read. Mrs. Marsh quietly took a seat, awaiting her
opportunity when she could approach the desk and request that Paula be
It was not without a severe struggle with her conscience that Mrs.
Marsh had summoned up courage to come to Sea Rest. While in a sense
she was privy to the conspiracy which had robbed her niece of her
liberty, she had known only vaguely what Jimmy and Cooley were doing.
They were fighting for the control of the Marsh millions, that was all
she cared to know. If her niece, who had come to America uninvited, got
the worst of it, that was her affair. It was Tod who had awakened her
to the full enormity of the crime which her husband and the lawyer had
committed, and after that her conscience knew no peace. Mrs. Marsh was
not a bad woman at heart. She was vain and luxury-loving, she had been
weak and foolish, and she had allowed herself to be governed, to a
great extent, by Jimmy's loose code of morals. But she was not utterly
depraved. Ever since the day she married Jimmy, she had known that her
husband was unscrupulous, but that he would go as far as this she had
never dreamed. While she might have overlooked his less important
peccadilloes, she was determined not to follow him further in his
course of crime. They were in a desperate predicament for money, but
that made no difference. She would rather sell everything she had in
the world and be reduced to beggary rather than remain an accomplice in
such a diabolical action as subjecting a perfectly sane young girl to
the horrors of a lunatic asylum. Already she had had a stormy scene
with Jimmy. She told him plainly that she had done with him, that she
despised him and would leave him forever. And now, at Tod's earnest
entreaties, she had come herself to Sea Rest to find out what she
could do to right a great wrong and help the poor motherless girl who
was the victim of two scoundrels.
She was thus absorbed in her reflections when a loud chuckle close
by her ear caused her to look up with a start. It was Tod who had
returned after seeing Mr. Ricaby off. With a chortle of satisfaction,
He's gone! If they don't hit a tree and break their necks he ought
to be back in half an hour. Surprised to find his mother still sitting
there, he demanded: Haven't you seen Paula yet?
No, she answered. I was waiting until the gentleman at the desk
had time to attend to me.
But Tod was not of the kind who waits for the convenience of others.
Striding boldly to the desk, he said, in a tone of authority:
Mr. Spencer, will you please send for Miss Marsh? My mother wishes
to see her at once.
The superintendent, who was busy going over some papers with Dr.
McMutrie, looked up at this interruption and frowned.
Impossible, he snapped. The patient can't be seen to-day.
But this lady is Miss Marsh's aunt, persisted Tod, not to be put
off so easily.
The superintendent suddenly became more polite.
Are you Mrs. James Marsh? he asked, looking more closely at the
Yes, she answered.
Taking up the telephone to communicate with the ward, he said:
Well, I'll see, but I'm afraid
If he succeeds, laughed Tod, it will be the first time your
relationship to Jimmy has been of the slightest advantage.
Won't you help us, Dr. McMutrie? pleaded Mrs. Marsh. We're so
anxious to see her! That will be the second time you've come to our
rescue. Don't say no. Let us see her, there's a dear man! If you
insist, they can't refuse
The examiner turned to the superintendent.
I don't see why Mrs. Marsh should not see her niece. Send for her,
The superintendent hesitated.
Mr. Cooley's orders were very positive, he replied.
Never mind Cooley's orders, retorted the other. The young lady is
under my charge. Have her sent here at once. Is Professor Bodley here?
The superintendent went out to obey the order, and the examiner
turned to the others.
Hum! he smiled significantly. I think I had better go and send
her here myself. As he turned to go he bowed and said: I shall see
you again, I hope.
I hope so, smiled Mrs. Marsh graciously. We dine at the hotel at
seven-thirty. Won't you join us?
Dr. McMutrie bowed.
You are very good.
With another ceremonious salute, he opened the door leading to the
female ward and disappeared.
Honestly, mother, gasped Tod, you take my breath away. You've
seen that man only once, and yet you call him 'dear man' and squeeze
his arm and all that kind of thing. He must think you're crazy.
I wish you wouldn't be so critical, son, replied his mother, with
mock severity. We were asking a favor. It is no time to be freezingly
Freezingly formal? echoed the young man. Why, you've invited him
Well, you shall chaperon us, she answered, laughing. More
seriously she went on: Besides, I had an object! Your stepfather, Mr.
Marsh, has followed me here!
Jimmy? cried Tod, surprised. Did you see him?
No, he came to the hotel and tried to force his way in. I refused
to see him, but he wouldn't go, so I called the porter and had him
removed from the door of my rooms.
Tod rubbed his hands gleefully.
Good! he cried joyfully. That's bully!
He acted like a madman, went on his mother. He said he was sorry
and would make any amends if only I would forgive him, but I wouldn't
I told you what you might expect with a man of that kind. I don't
see how you ever married him. I ought to have kicked him downstairs
when he first patted me on the head and called me sonny boy.
To think, wailed Mrs. Marsh, that his millions consisted of the
property left to this poor girl by her father. My whole life
Oh, come now, mother, protested Tod, not your whole life! You
lived happily with my father for eleven years.
I meanmy widowhood has been wasted, replied his mother, with a
Further conversation was interrupted by the entrance of old man
Collins, who, going to the desk, gathered pen, ink, and paper and then
made his way solemnly upstairs. He had no sooner disappeared than the
door of the female ward opened and Mrs. Johnson appeared. Addressing
Mrs. Marsh, she said respectfully:
If you will step this way, madam, you can see Miss Marsh for a few
That's Paula's nurse, whispered Tod.
He also rose and went toward the ward with his mother, but the nurse
held up her hand.
Not you, sir, only the lady, she said.
There's no danger, is there? inquired Mrs. Marsh timidly.
Oh, she's not very dangerous! She won't bite you! grinned Tod
This way, please, m'm, said the nurse.
Holding the door open for the visitor, Mrs. Johnson waited until she
had entered and then closed it carefully behind her. Tod stood looking
after the two women until the door was shut in his face, then he walked
over to the window and stood gazing disconsolately out into the
grounds. How he envied his mother that brief interview with Paula.
Never so much as now did he realize how he loved her. Each day that
went by without his seeing her seemed to make his passion burn
stronger. And to think that she was kept an unwilling prisoner within
these grim walls! Nervously he began to pace the floor. When would
Ricaby be back? The examination would soon take place upstairs. They
ought to corner Cooley before it began. Would they succeed in
frightening him? So preoccupied was he with his thoughts that he did
not hear anyone enter. But a cough suddenly made him look up. The old
male attendant was standing by the foot of the staircase, looking at
Say, Collins, exclaimed the young man, can't you get me a brandy
and soda? I'm awfully dry. This place gives me the blues.
The old man shook his head violently.
Not without a prescription, sir, he said, with a grimace.
Temperanceoh, my God!horrible temperancedon't ask medon't
I've got a little bottle upstairs. It's got a linament label on it, but
it's all rightOld Crow.
Never mind, laughed Tod, I'll wait till I get to the hotel.
The old man turned to go. Suddenly he stopped, and hesitatingly he
Please, sirhow's the old spot
What old spot? demanded Tod.
Why, Twenty-sixth and BroadwayDel's
Oh, it's moved uptown long ago. It's Forty-fourth and Fifth Avenue
Oh, yesI forgotCharley's dead, too, isn't he? Ah, times change.
You know, I miss the musicand the lightsthe low-neck dresses and
the popping of corks, but I'll tell you a funny thing, sir. The guests
act more human-like here. Yes, they're more human. They don't blame one
for everything. If the cooking goes wrong they roast the cook, and when
they get their bills the cashier gets hellnot me. This place isn't as
black as it's painted. The only thing is, when they drink champagne at
Christmas and New Years they drink it out of tumblers. That's bad,
isn't itthat's awful bad!
Shaking his head, he toddled out of the office.
Tod took out a cigarette and lighted it. His mother had been gone a
long time. He wondered what was keeping her and what Paula said to her.
Suddenly the ward door opened and Mrs. Marsh reappeared, her manner
Oh, Tod! she exclaimed excitedly, we must get her out of this
place at once. The poor girl is nearly frightened to death! She should
never have been sent here. It's an outrage. She is perfectly rational.
She's just nervous and afraidthat's all!
Of course, she's all right! retorted Tod. We've known that right
Yes, said his mother contritely, we should have taken care of her
from the first, and not let her go among strangers. It's your
Well, what can we do to mend matters? demanded Tod, with some
The poor girl begged me so hard to take her to the hotel with me.
I'm so upset IWhen does her case come up?
In about a week, replied Tod doggedly, and until then I'm going
to stay right here every minute of the time.
Supposing I speak to Dr. McMutrie? suggested his mother.
Tod shook his head.
There's some legal process to go through. We have to get the
consent of the person who placed her here. Cooley and Jimmy alone can
do it. They must! We'll make them
Hush! cried his mother warningly. Here's your stepfather.
James Marsh appeared at the top of the staircase, and after glancing
furtively around, as if to make sure that his wife and stepson were
alone, he slowly descended and came toward where they were standing.
He was pale and his manner was greatly agitated. Deep lines furrowed
his face as if he had passed nights without sleep. He must have been
aware that his wife and stepson were in the asylum, for he evinced no
surprise at seeing them. On the contrary, he seemed relieved. Advancing
quickly he held out his hand to his wife:
Amelia! he exclaimed imploringly.
Don't address me! said Mrs. Marsh indignantly. Don't come near
Amelia! he repeated.
What do you want here? she demanded.
There's a preliminary examination before the trial. Mr. Cooley and
I have to be present. But what has that to do with it? I want you to
come back to me.
No! she said positively.
Do you mean to say you've left me for good?
I do! I won't listen to you while that girl remains in this
What can I do, Amelia? he cried, wringing his hands. I sat up
last nightall nightwaitinghoping that you'd come back. All my
anxiety about my brother's estate has been on your account, and now
you've left me without a word. Everything I've said or done has been
for your sake. It's damned ingratitude to leave me like this!
It's not half what you deserve, she retorted.
He turned to his stepson:
Tod, you can put everything rightpersuade her to come back.
The young man looked at him indignantly.
Do you think she'd go back to you after the way you've treated that
girl? he cried hotly.
His stepfather looked aggrieved. Peevishly he said:
Why, three physicians have attested to the fact that we are doing
the best we can for her.
It's a damnable conspiracy! cried Tod, with increasing fury.
It isn't my fault, whined Jimmy. If I'm mistakenso are they.
Almost in a whisper, he went on: It was Cooley's ideahis idea from
the very beginning. Of course, if she's not responsible she ought to be
watched. All I wanted him to do was to contest the will. We've gone so
far now, we've got to go on
Tod started eagerly forward. That was just what he wanted to know.
Quickly he said:
So it was Cooley's idea, eh? Of course, that changes the aspect of
things. If that is so, mother, I think you may reconsider
How dare you suggest such a thing? exclaimed Mrs. Marsh
Everything I've done, went on Jimmy tearfully, I've done for your
sakeI acted for the best. It's the most ungrateful piece of
But you said it was Cooley's idea, interrupted Tod impatiently.
Where does he come in?
He gets halfhalf of everything, replied the other.
Oh, he divides the estate with you, does he?
It was his idea from the very beginning, went on Jimmy. I only
wanted my share of my brother's property. I'm entitled to that. Cooley
urged me onand onuntil at last we'd gone too far.
Oh, Tod! exclaimed Mrs. Marsh, in dismay; it's worse than I
Sinking down on a chair she looked helplessly at the two men.
Well, you can blame yourself, too, said Jimmy doggedly. Your
damned extravagance is responsible for the whole business, and, if the
truth ever does come out, you won't escapethat you can gamble on!
My mother doesn't want to escape, retorted Tod angrily, we are
both willing to pay the penalty for our association with you.
Whywhat are you going to do? demanded Jimmy, in alarm.
Going to do? echoed Tod. What else is there to do but tell Mr.
Ricaby what you have just told us?
TellRicabyyou fool, do you know what he'll do?
Yes, replied the young man dryly. He will probably have you and
Cooley indicted for conspiracy.
He'll have us all indicted, exclaimed the other. Do you think you
can share the spoils without being associated with the crime?
Youyou wretch! cried Mrs. Marsh. Do you mean that we are your
No, I don't mean that, Amelia, said Jimmy half-apologetically.
II've had no sleep for forty-eight hours, and I don't know what I'm
saying. But it was all for your sakeevery bit of it! You can't make
me take that backfor your sake
Sitting down, he covered his face with his hands. Tod went up to his
Mother, he said eagerly, have I your consent toto make this
matter public? Are you willing torisk telling the truth?
And go to prison, eh? sneered Jimmy. Fine advice!
The more wicked a man is, the bigger fool he is! retorted his
Do you suppose that this matter can be kept secret? cried Tod.
You are willing? You want to cut yourself loose from thisthis
association with a scoundrel like Cooley?
God knows I do! moaned Jimmy. Oh, this is my punishmentthis is
Then you've got one chance, Jimmy. Go upstairs and tell those
people that you demand Paula Marsh's instant release from this place.
Jimmy rose, his face white.
No, he said. Give me timeI'll arrange it privately with Cooley.
Don't force me totomake a public exposurefor your own sakes
You must not consider us, cried Tod.
Well, you can consider me, said his mother. I don't mind going as
far as the divorce court, but I'm not pining to go to prison.
Mother! cried the young man; we must go on!
Of course, you're right, TodI know, butoh, the wretch to drag
us into aaoh, it's horrible.
There was a commotion at the front entrance. A moment later Mr.
Ricaby entered, excited and travel-stained.
The machine broke down, he explained, three miles out. I had to
drive backeverything goes against useverything.
Tod pointed triumphantly to Jimmy.
Mr. Marshtell Mr. Ricaby what you have just told us.
No, said Jimmy, rising. I'llI'll tell Cooley. That's the best
I'll tell him you found out. It was for your sake, Ameliadon't lose
sight of that factfor your sake.
Quickly opening the ward door, he disappeared.
The lawyer looked in amazement from one to the other. What he had
heard was scarcely credible. He did not believe the evidence of his own
What do you mean? he gasped.
Just what I say, replied Tod calmly. The fight is as good as won!
Jimmy Marsh acknowledges that he and Cooley conspired to divide Paula
Marsh's estate, and put her here to gain their ends.
Mr. Ricaby said nothing for a moment. The suddenness of this most
unexpected revelation had almost paralyzed his faculties. Could it be
possible that they had run the cunning fox to earth, that they had the
big criminal lawyer in their power? Was the astute Bascom Cooley
trapped at last? It seemed too good to believe. If it were true, then
Paula was as good as free. All their worry and anxiety was at an end.
There was nothing to prevent her walking out of the asylum at once. All
that remained to be done was the punishment of the scoundrels who by
audacious fraud and misrepresentation had put her there. Silently the
lawyer promised himself that the penalty should be the limit.
Is it possible? he ejaculated.
Yes, said Tod exultingly. Jimmy has just left here. He has gone
upstairs to see Cooley and call the whole thing off.
Mrs. Marsh, giving way to her emotions, sank down on a convenient
seat and buried her face in her daintily perfumed handkerchief.
Oh, I'm so ashamed! she moaned.
Tod put his arm tenderly around her. He was fond of his mother in
spite of all that had occurred to estrange him from home.
No, dear, he said gently, you haven't done anything to be ashamed
of. It isn't your fault. Mr. Ricaby knows that. Don't you, Ricaby?
The lawyer looked at the weeping woman in silence. Then slowly and
gravely he said:
I can't believe it possible that you are associated with your
husband in the commission of this crimenoI am ready to acquit you
What do you intend to do first? demanded Tod anxiously.
The lawyer remained thoughtful for a moment. Then he said:
I want you both to remain here until I have your sworn testimony as
to the facts of the case. Then I shall proceed to have Mr. James Marsh
and Mr. Bascom Cooley arrested for criminal conspiracy!
It seems rather hard to make my mother testify against her own
husband, objected the younger man.
It's perfectly disgraceful, sobbed Mrs. Marsh, but I'll do
whatever must be done.
Wellwe won't discuss that question now, replied Mr. Ricaby
hastily, the important thing is to get Miss Marsh out of this place as
soon as possible.
Suddenly Tod gave a wild whoop and darted towards the stairs. On the
top landing he had spied Paula standing with Dr. McMutrie by her side.
Here she is! he cried.
Slowly the young girl descended the winding staircase, carefully
assisted round the turns by the Examiner. She seemed weak and looked
very pale. But her face brightened as soon as she caught sight of
Good news, Miss Paula! exclaimed Tod breathlessly. You will
scarcely believe it.
Mrs. Marsh, who had hastily dried her eyes, rose and went towards
her niece with arms outstretched. Paula! she cried. How we have
I thought she would be more comfortable with you, smiled Dr.
McMutrie. I'm afraid the presence of we men of science rather
Paula, who was now leaning on the arm of the supremely contented
Tod, smiled gratefully:
You are very kind, doctorIthank you. It does oppress me when I
see so many people who are notnot kindly disposed. I'm glad to be
herewith my friends.
While Tod talked in an eager undertone with Paula, Dr. McMutrie took
Mr. Ricaby and Mrs. Marsh aside.
The girl's all right, he said. She's suffering from intense
nervousness, that's all! While we were questioning her Mr. Marsh came
into the room and took Mr. Cooley awayso I thought I'd bring her down
here until she's wanted. By the way, Mrs. Marsh, did you select Dr.
Zacharie to attend your niece?
NoI certainly did not! she replied positively.
The examiner hesitated and coughed as if unwilling to express his
frank opinion of Mr. Cooley's physician.
He is certainly a most peculiar manIdon't agree with him at
all. He's essentially too drastic, and I don't think he understands. Do
you know who did engage him?
She stopped suddenly, seeing that Mr. Ricaby was signalling her to
Well, I must get back, said Dr. McMutrie, rising. You had better
stay here. I don't approve of your niece remaining at Tocquencke, Mrs.
Marsh, and I am going to say so. She ought never to have come
With a courteous bow to Mrs. Marsh and the others, he turned and
left the office.
Did you tell him? demanded Tod eagerly, when he was out of
No, replied the lawyer quickly, we'll tell no one. I don't want
the scoundrel to escape.
I've told Miss Paula everything, said Tod gaily. Jokingly, he
added: Would you believe it? She's sorry to leave Sea Rest!
Paula laughed, a frank, girlish peal of merriment unclouded by care
or anxiety. It was the first laugh since she had come to the asylum,
and she was surprised how good it felt. Her eyes sparkled with new joy
and happiness. Thank God! Her troubles were at an end. Freedom was now
only a question of minutes. The terrible nightmare was over, a thing of
the past. No more would she be terrified by the sight of padded cells
or haunted by Dr. Zacharie's cruel, diabolical smile. And as she clung
more tightly to Tod's arm she thought with gratitude in her heart how
true and devoted a friend he had been through all these dark days. But
for him, her uncle and Mr. Cooley might have succeeded in their design,
they might have kept her confined in the asylum for years. The outside
world would never have known or cared. She might have died there and no
one been the wiser. She felt sorry for Mrs. Marsh, for she believed in
the sincerity of the woman's repentance. Besides, she was ready to
forgive her anything. Was she not the mother of the one being she loved
better than anyone in the world?
Turning to Mrs. Marsh, she said with a sympathetic smile:
It's fortunate for mebut is hard for you, isn't it?
Oh, never mind me, murmured Mrs. Marsh, averting her face. You
did not deserve to suffer. I do.
Dr. McMutrie has been very kind, went on Paula; he seemed to
realize instinctively that Dr. Zacharie was against me. That fact alone
enlisted his sympathy.
Yes, my dear, said Mrs. Marsh, who had somewhat recovered from her
agitation, Dr. McMutrie is an exceptionally nice man. One doesn't
often meet such men nowadays. With a mischievous glance at Tod, she
added: He's almost as nice as my son, don't you think so, Paula?
Understanding her meaning, the girl blushed, and the alert Tod,
quick to seize the psychological moment, thought this as good a time as
any to put to words what his eyes had already told her eloquently
Paula, he whispered, I
Hush! said Mr. Ricaby warningly. Here's Mr. Cooley!
Bascom Cooley, head erect and defiant as ever, came slowly down the
stairs and glared savagely at each individual member of the group
gathered in the office waiting for him. He knew that he was checkmated,
that his reign of terror was ended, that the Marsh millions had slipped
out of his grasp, but still he would not acknowledge defeat. They
thought they had trapped him, did they? Well, he would show them that
the old fox was too cunning for them. He stood in silence, waiting for
someone to speak. Finally, Mr. Ricaby stepped forward. His face was
pale, but his voice firm as he said:
Bascom Cooley, I suppose Mr. Marsh has already told you that we
know. There is no use mincing matters. You and James Marsh will have to
answer to the proper authorities for as damnable and wicked a criminal
conspiracy as was ever plotted in the history of the State. In your
greed for gold you have deliberately done a great wrong. You have
committed subornation of perjury, you have wilfully concocted and
distorted evidence, all for the sordid miserable purpose of securing
dishonestly the control of funds belonging to another. Believing that
your political influence would hold you immune, you have outraged every
law of order and decency. You have robbed both the public and the
individual. You have become rich on the sufferings of those you have
victimized. There is hardly a crime in the calendar that may not be
laid at your door. Your past career is a matter of public record. Until
now you have gone scot-free. People knew of your misdeeds, your
turpitudes were a matter of common gossip, but everybody was afraid of
you, afraid to denounce you. They lacked proof. But now it is
different. We have the proofs at last. To-morrow your disgrace will be
blazoned forth in flaming 'scareheads' on the front page of every
newspaper in the land. You are a contemptible personnot worthy to be
called a man! You are a disgrace to the profession of which I myself
have the honor to be an humble member. But your day of reckoning is
close at hand. In the case of this poor unfortunate girl your greed has
overreached itself. You went too farso far that, at last, your fellow
conspirator refused to follow you any longer. He has turned State's
evidence. He will help convict you and put you behind the bars!
Mr. Ricaby halted a moment, for sheer want of breath. The
bystanders, trembling with excitement, crowded eagerly around, closely
watching the chief figures in this sensational denunciation. They
expected that the burly lawyer, rendered furious by all these insults,
would attack his opponent. Physically he was more than a match for Mr.
Ricaby, and the latter certainly had not spared his words. But there
was no fight in Bascom Cooley. On his pasty white, bloated face, the
sweat stood out like glistening beads. His fat, swine-like mouth
quivered as, with clenched fists, he replied hoarsely:
What the hll are you talking about? Who'll believe all that
rubbish? What proofs have you got?
Thus challenged, Mr. Ricaby returned to the attack.
Proofs? he almost shouted. We've got all the proofs any jury will
want. Not only shall we have the sworn testimony of James Marsh, your
accomplice, but we have had you yourself shadowed. Yes, Mr. Cooley, we
have had detectives on your track. Unknown to you, unsuspected by you,
our men have watched your every movement for weeks past. You have not
made a call, you have not sent a message without it being instantly
faithfully reported to me. We know now who your political friends are,
we know so well that they will not dare come to your rescue, for if
they have the temerity to interfere in your just punishment, we will
ruin them as well. They shall share in your downfall. Corrupt servants
of the public, they have accepted your bribes and they shall share your
Mr. Cooley grew whiter and visibly more nervous. His defiant manner
had completely disappeared. His attitude was more humble and
conciliatory. Shuffling his feet nervously on the floor, he said:
I don't see why there should be any misunderstanding. I am ready to
make amends for any inconvenience I may have caused Miss Marsh. My
client, Mr. James Marsh, has informed me of his intentions to withdraw
all opposition to your writ of habeas corpus.
Miss Paula may go when she pleasesthe authorities have
instructions. Furthermore, it is Mr. Marsh's intention to withdraw from
the guardianship of his nieceand to return to her the estate
intactintactwith interest if she asks it.
He stopped and looked around for approval, but everybody was dumb. A
dead silence reigned. He went on:
As to the question of conspiracycriminal conspiracylet me
remind my client's wife
Mrs. Marsh started nervously.
Yes, madam, he said, pointing his finger at her. You and your son
both! If Mr. Marsh and I go to prison you will go with us. If we are
guilty so are you. If my unfortunate client has made any remarks about
me they are insinuations based on motives of self-interestNow, I've
warned youRicabyyou young reformers must learn to let sleeping dogs
lie. Conspiracy is an edged toolit not only cuts both ways, but
sometimes it cuts the hand that holds it.
Turning to Mr. Ricaby, he continued:
Go to the district attorney, have me indicted, but if you do I
swear to God that I'll tell some truths about this woman's husband that
will make her regret her action. Do your worst, Mr. Ricaby. Now I have
the honor to wish you all good day!
Turning on his heel, he took his departure. No one attempted to stop
him, all rejoiced to see him go. Paula turned to Mrs. Marsh who,
overcome with emotion, was weeping bitterly. Tod putting his arm around
her, attempted to comfort her, while Paula knelt by her side.
In order to protect themselves, said Paula gently, these men have
accused you. We can't reach them without hurting you. Isn't that what
Mr. Cooley meant, Mr. Ricaby?
Yes, replied the lawyer grimly.
They will accuse you of conspiring with them, too! Oh, that's
We'll be all right, Paula, said Tod reassuringly.
Yes, but they may believe this man Cooley. They may believe my
uncle. They may put your mother in prison!
We must prosecute them, Paula, insisted Mr. Ricaby. We cannot
compound a felony even if
Yes, she retorted, but why should the innocent suffer for the
guilty? Why shouldTodWhy should he suffer? No, I won't appear
against themI refuse! Do you hear, Mr. Ricaby, I won't!
They can't do anything to us, Paula, said Tod. We shall be all
right. They must be punished as a warning to othersI don't feel so
hard against Marshbut Cooleyhe's the real criminal.
He must go to prison, insisted Mr. Ricaby. Marsh is only a
figureheadbut Cooley represents the Systeman iniquitous
organization of crooks
What do I care for the System and warning to others if he is to
suffer, too? retorted Paula. No, II care only for
She stopped suddenly, and her face flushed and then turned pale. She
realized that she was betraying herself, but Tod had heard the
exclamation. Silently he pressed her hand and she returned the
pressure. Without exchanging a word they understood each other.
Mr. Chase, said Mr. Ricaby, will you pardon me a moment? I wish
to speak to Miss Marsh alone.
Certainly, he replied. Come, mother, we'll prosecute those men,
and she will appear against wait out there
Do whatever you think is right, Mr. Ricaby, said Mrs. Marsh.
Whatever is right, he echoed; that shall be to them
When they had disappeared, Paula said quickly:
No, I will notI refuse.
You must! insisted the lawyer, unwilling to be balked of his prey
now in his hour of triumph.
No, she said firmly, it's only revenge you wantrevengeon
Revenge on whom? he demanded.
You hated him from the very first, she cried.
Always that man! cried the lawyer impatiently. You think of no
one else. Ah, you love him! Tell me the truth, Paula, I can bear it
now. You love him!
The young girl was silent for a moment and then, in a tone so low as
to be almost inaudible, she replied:
Yes, I love him.
The lawyer bowed his head. There was nothing more to be said. He
could only accept the inevitable.
I see now why I always mistrusted him, he said bitterly. But I
never hated him, Paula. If he is the man I take him to be, he'll insist
on my showing up this rotten system which is a blight on our fair
land. Going to the door, he called out:
The young man reëntered, his face wreathed in smiles.
My machine is outside, he said cheerily, the chauffeur has fixed
it all right. Paula, it is all settled! You are coming home with us,
with mother andme!
Going home?yes, she replied tenderly.
Mr. Ricaby, making an effort to control his feelings, pretended to
be busy with some papers at the desk. Turning to Tod, he said:
I will at once see about getting Miss Marsh's certificate of
discharge from this place. Talk to her while I am gone. She's worrying
because you are involved in this matter. With a sigh he added: If she
only thought of me as much as she does of you
He shook his head sadly and left the office. Tod turned to his
Paula, he said tenderly, there is something I've wanted for a
long time to tell you
Nonot here, she smiled.
That's right, he laughed. Not herebut where?
At home, she said, in a low voice.
He put his arms around her.
My machine's at the doorwe'll start right now.