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Jenny the Joyous 

by Cornelia Stratton ^arker 

Author of “An American Idyll*’ 



New York 

Harcourt, Brace and Company 



COPYRIGHT, 1924, BY / 

HARCOURT, BRACE AND COMPANY, INC. 

COPYRIGHT, 1924, BY 
THE PICTORIAL REVIEW COMPANY 

\ 



PRINTED IN THE U. 8. A. BY 
THE QUINN at BODEN COMPANY 
RAHWAY. N J 


MAV 23 1924-^ 



©c1A703371 2 ;> 


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PART I 





- I 



JENNY THE JOYOUS 


CHAPTER I 

There are many wise grown folks who are sure they can 
look back upon their early years and remember just how 
they felt about the sun, moon, and stars, God, angels, and 
the devil, their parents and their friends, at the age of 
four. Perhaps they can. 

Some other folks are never given to looking back over 
their extreme youth at all, except vaguely to recall a party 
where somebody spilled the ice cream, or how their mother 
cried when their little sister died, or when Uncle Alec came 
back from China and brought a canary bird, or the time 
they had the mumps and it snowed so hard. 

Jenny was not one to do much looking backwards. Not 
that she deliberately said she would not because she lacked 
sympathy with the idea. It was simply a matter of time. 
When she was awake she was always too busy thinking 
about or doing something else. Anyhow her memory was 
poor. Average, but poor. 

She would not then have been in the least sure of what 
she felt about anything or anybody in those early years. 
She was very sure of the present,—that the world was 
made to her own special order. She was comparatively 
sure of the future,—that it would continue more or less 

3 


4 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

as the present; that she, Jenny Joslin, would next year 
and year after next find herself fairly swamped with the 
good things of life, forced for the very pain of so much 
happiness to ease her grateful heart as best she could. 
Which was after the manner of her own invention. When 
her happiness became really extreme, when her spirits be¬ 
came exuberant past the point of maidenly control—Jenny 
being short on maidenly control at best—she laughed to 
herself, raised her eyes, blew a kiss to heaven, and called 
up, ^Thank You, God!” No sense to it, in one way. 
Not for a moment did she think there was any God sitting 
up on high waiting to be thanked. She would not have 
blown a real orthodox Michael Angelo God a kiss. Yet 
she felt uncomfortable until she expressed gratitude to 
somebody. It eased her heart, done so. 

A world made to order from the very start,—that is, her 
very start, except in the mere detail of a father. Her 
mother was exactly after Jenny’s own pattern for mothers. 
It was difficult to see where she could have been improved 
upon. But her father . . . Whoever patterned him, Jenny 
was wont to think in her young years, could have done no 
boasting about the job. Nor did there seem any excuse 
for him anyway, as far as she could see. Everything ap¬ 
peared to go more smoothly when he was not on hand. 

A great deal of uselessness there seemed to be about men, 
any way ’round. Especially to men as fathers and hus¬ 
bands. Especially queer things, husbands. Yet everybody 
seemed to have them. All up and down the block they 
came in pairs. If any house on the entire street should 
start to burn down, out would run a husband and wife,— 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 5 

that is, if it were night time and the man home where 
the general public seemed to think he belonged. Nineteen 
cases out of twenty they would be followed by one or more 
children. But why that inevitable man? 

So much for Jenny and the adult male sex at the age 
of eight. 

And yet at the age of eight Jenny realized there had 
to be street-car conductors and grocery-wagon drivers and 
doctors and piano tuners. And once she saw a man go 
up in a balloon and drop in a parachute. He made a 
distinct contribution to the world. He was useful. In 
addition there was Uncle Alec. 

But if the conductor and the grocer and the doctor and 
the piano tuner and the balloon man and even Uncle Alec 
lived right in the house day after day with one and one’s 
mother,—were there behind a paper at breakfast; were 
back at irregular times for lunch, and expected the food 
to be hot; appeared every evening for dinner and took 
up all the conversation—if there were any conversation at 
all_with one’s mother so that one was scolded at if one 
tried so much as to ask a very important question; and 
then after dinner read a book, or made one’s mother read 
out loud; or, worst of all, took one’s mother out of the 
house bodily, often after one’s mother had whispered in 
the afternoon that she hoped father wouldn’t want to go 
out that evening, she was so very tired ... No, men 
should learn to keep their places, which were plenty numer¬ 
ous enough for them, without ever mixing up in people’s 
home life. 

If around the age of eight Jenny saw no use at all for 


6 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

men, either in theory or in practice, she saw a great deal of 
use for boys. For boys, and grasshoppers. 

Was there anything which could inspire more gratitude 
for just being alive than a warm June day, a bamboo pole 
with a string tied to it and a hook at the end, and an 
empty baking-powder can with holes punched through the 
top? 

‘‘Jenny, where are you going?” 

“To catch grasshoppers.” 

She knew just the sun-baked field of dry grass where the 
grasshoppers hopped in all directions at each slow bare¬ 
legged step she made. The amazing delight of creeping 
up on a victim, pouncing down on him with a brown hand, 
lifting up each finger separately, then slowly her palm, and 
finding she had trapped two luscious morsels! Down in 
the baking-powder can they went, to hop energetically 
and noisily against its tin sides. What a feel of pros¬ 
perity,—two grasshoppers! And then another and another 
and another. . . . Who noticed the heat, the prickles? A 
step, a stealthy creep ahead, a pounce, a peering under 
a sunburnt hand, a gleeful and uproarious chuckle, a tri¬ 
umphant conversation with the captive until he was safe in 
the baking powder can. . . . Who could improve upon the 
world? 

“What ya doin’?” 

“Me? I’m catching grasshoppers.” 

“What for?” 

“What for? Well, now I never! What for? Why— 
to catch fish with, of course.” 

“Why don’t you use worms?” 


7 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

“ Uause they’re nothing like so much fun to catch. 
You have to look in the damp shady places to find worms, 
and then they can’t get away from you fast enough to make 
it any fun. I like the sun and grasshoppers ever so much 
better.” 

“That your pole?” 

“Don’t call it a pole. My Uncle Alec says any one 
who knows calls what you fish with a rod. Of course mine 
is only a pole, but when I’m ten my Uncle Alec is going 
to give me a rod, a real one, the kind you can take apart. 
So I’m starting to call this a rod so I won’t make any 
mistakes when I do get a real one. It’s better to call a 
pole a rod than ever to call a rod a pole. That would be 
awful.” 

The ragged small boy merely sniffed voluminously. Phi¬ 
losophy was out of his line. 

“When ya goin’ fishin’?” 

“Now.” 

“Fish won’t bite when it’s so hot.” 

“But sometimes they do, for me. Uncle Alec can’t catch 
them then. He’s in too much of a hurry. He misses half 
the fun. He just uses a fly. There’s no fun to a fly. Then 
he throws it ’way off from him, where he can’t see hardly 
anything.” 

“What do you do?” 

“I snoop around till I see a hole I like where the water’s 
quiet enough so you can watch things. Then I crawl up 
to it on my stomach. Then I drop the hook right down 
under my nose where I can see everything that’s going on, 
’cause my face is right above the water. At first I scare 


8 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

everything away. After a long time everything in that hole 
forgets about me. All kinds of things get to wiggling 
and crawling and swimming about. At last even the trout 
who owns that pool comes around and smells my grass¬ 
hopper. I think it’s lots more fun to watch a trout just 
smell a grasshopper than it is to catch a fish ’way off 
from you where you can’t see anything but a pull. My 
heart beats something awful. Sometimes I catch him any¬ 
how, ’cause he just gets nervous and bothered seeing that 
grasshopper under his nose forever. He snaps at it to get 
it out of his way. Then I pull him up, and, oh, my good¬ 
ness, I sing and dance, and, my goodness, I can’t wait to 
get home and show Uncle Alec. He doesn’t see how I catch 
anything. That’s because he won’t wait around long enough. 
And all the time the flowers along the bank smell so good, 
and the skaters skate all over the water, and the birds hop 
right near me. I don’t mind it if an ant crawls up my 
leg. I kick him off, and the fish doesn’t see. But I sure 
do just hate it when a fly gets on my nose. If you just 
wiggle your nose, sometimes the fish sees.” 

“What’s in that paper bag?” 

“My lunch.” 

“Hungh. ... I might come along with you and hold 
the grasshoppers.” 

“Well, I tell you, I just don’t go fishing with anybody. 
Other folks are always in too much of a hurry, and they 
fuss, and scare everything. I like just looking at things, 
and smelling all the good smells, and talking and singing 
to myself. But you can have my apple if you want it.” 

“Sure. Thanks.” 


9 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

“And I tell you what we can do to-morrow. You be 
here by my grasshopper field and we’ll dig a cave together 
over on that hillside and I’ll bring a shovel and lunch 
and everything.” 

“Sure. What’ll ya bring to eat? . . .” 

. . There,” said Jenny, strolling through the woods 
to the creek, “I got a can full of grasshoppers, and a bran- 
new friend. I do love summer!” 

And then, at the end of summer, came fall, and school 
again, and the Gang at home. 

Those carefree comfortable years up to twelve, say. 
Those easy, untroubled years, when all boys look more or 
less alike and the world rolls merrily on, so long as there 
is a good wind for kites in March, a level spot for marbles 
in April, a smooth pavement for tops in May, not to men¬ 
tion football in the fall and baseball in the spring, and 
stamps to paste in an album when it rains,—and all of it 
to do with the Gang, and the Gang all boys! 

Ah, ladies, enjoy yourself in peace up to twelve, for from 
twelve on your troubles begin. The entire force of creation 
concentrates upon the female to influence her morning, 
noon, and night, to give up kites—“You’re too old for that 
sort of thing”; to give up tops—“Jenny, you, a twelve- 
year-old girl, playing tops!”; to give up marbles—“Really, 
don’t you think Jenny is much too old to be seen on the 
street playing marbles with boys?” At Christmas time a 
girl is given books bought from the shelf marked “For 
Girls.” One refrain echoes from north, south, east, and 
^est,—“YouTe too old now for that sort of thing—only 


lo JENNY THE JOYOUS 

boys do that at your age.” Jenny gets a sewing basket 
for Christmas, as well as books ‘‘For Girls.” She gets a 
little cook book. The high-minded call it all “Education 
for Motherhood.” 

At least so it was when Jenny was young. 

The high-minded need have little fear. They could 
better keep their hands off, for forces stronger than they 
are at work. The immeasurable pressure of all the high- 
minded who trod the wicked earth these last ten thou¬ 
sand years and more weighs upon our Jenny, and not only 
upon her, but still more to be mourned, upon her Gang. 
Jenny,—^ha, what is the pressure of ten thousand years to 
Jenny? (So would argue Jenny at twelve.) But the 
Gang— What is one to do about it if the Gang, the 
beloved Gang itself, suddenly conceives a Great Plan— 
and leaves Jenny out? And when Jenny, half in tears, 
and half in rage, demands an explanation, she hears those 
words which up to yesterday haunted half the world 
through life: “Well, you see, it’s this way,—you’re a girl” 
No need to hurry the sewing basket and the cook book 
and the other books “For Girls.” The Gang, catching un¬ 
tutored the spirit of ten thousand years, cries out,* first 
apologetically, then defiantly, “You’re a Girl!” The cry 
of the Gang as the Gang, yes. Until as the years come 
and go, one by one the members of the Gang beg singly 
and unashamed for our Jenny, or some other Jenny, be¬ 
cause—she’s a girl. 

So the anxiety of the high-minded serves only to hasten 
slightly the inevitable. 

And the most inevitable of all is Jenny herself. If only 


JENNY THE JOYOUS ii 

the high-minded would concern themselves with their own 
high-mindedness and leave Jenny entirely alone, the forces 
of one hundred thousand years are at work in Jenny, and 
sooner or later, throbbing against every corner of her 
being, cries the soul and body for her forevermore, “I am 
a girl I” Cries it often despairingly, often bitterly, often 
apologetically, yet again and again valiantly, joyously, tri¬ 
umphantly, ‘‘I am a—woman 1’^ 

And so it was that by thirteen Jenny was learning to 
sew, Jenny was learning to cook, Jenny was given, though 
she never read them, special Christmas books “For Girls,” 
and Jenny was in love. 

That is, in love for thirteen. Which, in comparison, is 
often as much in love as a good many people ever fall. 
Usually, at thirteen, it is unrequited love, which is fortu¬ 
nate all around. Every one of us has enough bothersome 
episodes in her life to look back upon without adding to 
them any memory of how we would have deported our¬ 
selves at thirteen if the youth of fourteen we loved madly 
had loved us madly in return. Instead, backward glances 
toward those robust years reveal a picture of complete 
decorum. The adored never so much as looked our 
way. 

By fourteen Jenny^was in love again. Silent loves, those 
early ones, confided only to the girl next door and the 
cook, and, of course, her mother. Jenny’s mother was al¬ 
most always sick those years, alas. Nights she dressed in 
an old-rose soft silk gown and ate dinner downstairs, if 
she were well enough. Daytimes she stayed in her room, 


12 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

and the nicest doctor in the world came to see how she was. 
As Jenny lay in bed nights planning out her life, she saw 
herself always as a certain tall slim lady on the order of 
an Elizabeth Johnson, president of the senior girls at school, 
and she saw the hero of her heart on his knees before her 
in a dimly lighted room, roses on a table near by, the scent 
of roses in the air, a box of chocolates on the sofa next 
her, and the hero always looked almost exactly like a 
cross between her Uncle Alec and the doctor. Since it 
was all so definite in her own mind, she saw no harm in 
incorporating her desires into the bedtime prayer. At least 
one could be perfectly honest and open with the God to 
whom one prayed. So it was “Our Father Who art in 
Heaven,” followed by a statement of her own peculiar 
demands—or rather requests: “Please, dear Father, help 
me to look like Elizabeth Johnson when I’m grown up and 
please help him (she began it with a capital “h” in her 
mind, but once she tried writing it that way and it appeared 
too much as if she were referring to God) to look like Uncle 
Alec and the doctor.” And she added, “May our Hearts 
and Souls work together, his and mine, in perfect peace 
and unity and service to Thee on High.” 

It was about then that Jenny had joined the church. 
Her mother was present for that. So was the doctor, to 
Jenny’s exceeding joy. He did not sit with her mother. 

“Why?” Jenny asked her mother. 

“Because he wishes to sit with his wife,” Jenny’s mother 
told her. But every time Jenny sought the eyes of her 
mother they were looking over toward Dr. Cairns, and 
every time Jenny sought the eyes of Dr. Cairns, they were 


13 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

looking toward her mother. Mrs. Cairns was always look¬ 
ing absorbingly toward the minister. Except once, when 
she smiled a most exceeding smile at Jenny’s mother—an 
extremely healthy smile, the kind a person smiles who in¬ 
tends to stay on earth a long, long while, and in the mean¬ 
time will take good care that her husband tends strictly to 
business. 

Jenny’s father had died two years before. It meant a 
black dress for the funeral and a good deal of excitement 
one way or another, which was most pleasurable. The 
whole block centered its activities for several days about 
Jenny and her mother. For a short time after that Jenny’s 
mother was in much better health. Mrs. Cairns used to 
run in often and visit, coming at the most unexpected 
times. Now and then the doctor would be paying one of 
his professional calls. From upstairs Jenny could hear 
Mrs. Cairns’ greeting as she entered the front parlor. 

“Why, Mrs. Joslin, how very well you’re looking!” 

Dr. Cairns used to have to leave for other professional 
visits almost at once. 

Then Jenny’s mother got worse again, and practically 
every time, Jenny or the cook would have to tell Mrs. 
Cairns that she couldn’t see any one,—no, not even Mrs. 
Cairns. About the only person she could see at all was 
the doctor. 

How Jenny loved that doctor! After all there was an 
excuse for men in the world. It made it all so happy,— 
Jenny and her mother and the doctor. 

“Don’t you just love him?” Jenny asked her mother. 

And once her mother, lying in her rose silk gown, took 


14 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

Jenny’s face between her hands and said, “Yes, I just 
love him.” 

Jenny laughed happily. “So do I!” 

Therefore, while it worried Jenny’s heart through the 
school hours to think her mother seemed to be getting 
worse, it was a good glad thought to know that Dr. Cairns 
had to call just that much more frequently. Often he was 
there when Jenny got back from school. 

One day, after whirling home on her bicycle as fast as 
she could, she heard voices in the front parlor and dashed 
in, only to find Dr. and Mrs. Cairns there, and Mrs. Cairns 
was crying. Dr. Cairns was walking up and down the 
floor. Upstairs sat Jenny’s mother in the sunny alcove of 
her room, very pale, and she too was crying. Not like 
Mrs. Cairns, but quietly. For a while after that Dr. Cairns 
did not come at all. Jenny’s mother looked so pale and 
so shaky, and stared off into no place with such a queer 
expression on her face, that at last Jenny got worried and 
phoned Dr. Cairns herself. 

“Is this Dr. Cairns?” 

“Dr. Cairns speaking.” 

“This is Jenny—^Jenny Joslin.” 

“What is it? What is it?” 

Goodness, it was not really as bad as that. Jenny be¬ 
gan to wish she had not phoned. But having phoned— 

“Mother—” 

“Yes, yes—I’ll be right there!” 

When she went upstairs again she found her mother still 
crying—she thought she would go to bed. 

“Stay up until the doctor comes!” 


15 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

“The—who? What did you say?” 

“Dr. Cairns is coming.” 

“How do you know he is coming? Who said he was 
coming?” 

“He said he was.” 

“When? Where?” 

“Over the phone—^just now.” 

“Did he phone here himself?” 

“No, I phoned him.” 

“What did you say, child? You didn’t tell him I wanted 
to see him, did you? Jenny, Jenny, just what did you 
say?” 

“Why, I told him—I don’t remember the exact words, but 
I was worried and thought I ought to send him word to 
come.” 

“But you didn’t say I wanted him?” 

“No, I said—I’m sure I said—anyhow I meant to say— 
that I wanted him.” 

“He’s surely, surely coming?” 

“He said he’d come right away.” 

“Jenny, Jenny. ... I don’t understand. He promised 
he’d not come again unless I sent for him specially, and 
I—I said . . . Oh, Jenny”—she sat there so drooping— 
“I said to myself—indeed I promised it to myself—that 
never, never would I call him—except, perhaps, just at 
the very end, to see him once. He promised—I don’t un¬ 
derstand. . . . You’re sure—you’re sure he’s coming? . . . 
I—I wonder if I could have kept my end of it. ... I was 
getting so weak—not just my body, you know. . . . My 
soul ... I wonder if I could have waited till the end. . . .” 


i6 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

And just then the door opened and there stood Dr. 
Cairns. He looked to Jenny as if every patient he had 
must be dying. She glanced at her mother. For some 
strange reason the expression on her mother's face made 
Jenny suddenly burst into tears, so that there was nothing 
for her to do but leave the room at once. 

It was all very strange indeed, very unexplainable. 

Just about a month after that Jenny Joslin’s mother 
died. It was odd that Dr. Cairns was not at the funeral. 
Mrs. Cairns was there. 

After that, it was only when Jenny was sick that she ever 
saw Dr. Cairns. Her Aunt Ernie always had Dr. Rawlins. 
The first time Aunt Ernie was forced by Jenny’s insistence 
to call Dr. Cairns, he suggested Dr. Rawlins for Jenny,— 
said it would be almost impossible for him to come himself. 
But Jenny refused Dr. Rawlins point-blank and finally 
phoned herself, at the risk of more chills, to Dr. Cairns. 
She reminded him, ‘‘You came so fast that time I called 
you for mother. What would she think if she knew you 
wouldn’t come at all for me?” 

So he came, much to Aunt Ernie’s most evident dis¬ 
approval. “He’s no kind of a doctor,” Aunt Ernie sniffed. 
“He’s no kind of a man, either.” Which one remark meant 
that a fog of dislike, intense dislike, completely hid Aunt 
Ernie from Jenny’s view from that moment on. She was 
no longer Aunt Ernie. She was in the main an individual 
who did not like her mother’s and her Dr. Cairns. There¬ 
fore everything about her was questionable. 

When Dr. Cairns finally arrived Aunt Ernie showed him 
up to Jenny’s room, the one which used to be her mother’s. 


17 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

and whisked herself off righteously. Dr. Cairns sat down 
in a little stiff chair next to the bed and never said a word, 
—never asked where her aches and pains were, never felt 
her pulse, never looked at her tongue. He just sat. 

‘‘I’m sick!” Jenny said finally. 

Still he just sat. 

“I think it’s the grip,” Jenny said uneasily. 

Jenny lay there in her mother’s bed and did not know 
just what to say or do next. 

After what seemed a most peculiarly long time, Dr. 
Cairns dropped his head in his hands, and there he sat, 
for minutes and minutes and minutes. Jenny began to feel 
sorry for herself and very uncomfortable. 

“I miss mother awfully!” Tears began to run down her 
feverish cheeks. 

Just at that moment Aunt Ernie whisked in again. 

“Is Dr. Cairns finished?” she asked—the room. 

“He’s not yet begun,” announced Jenny. 

“Not yet begun?” Aunt Ernie knit her brows. 

“No. We were talking about mother.” 

Aunt Ernie tried to get out of the room so fast she 
opened the dressing-room door by mistake. 

“She makes me sicker!” Jenny muttered after her. 

When it was time to go Dr. Cairns said, “Don’t you 
think that while you’re sick and need a doctor you ought 
to be moved into another room,—say your own old 
room?” 

“But why?” 

“It’s quieter back there.” 

“But I love being in mother’s room!” 


i8 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

“Well, don’t you really think you had better have Dr. 
Rawlins?” 

“Why should I have Dr. Rawlins? What in the world 
would mother think if I had Dr. Rawlins? She never had 
him inside the house!” 

“You move into your own room and I’ll come.” 

“But what difference does it make to you what room 
I’m in? . . . Oh—oh, is it that it makes you think of 
mother, being in her room? . . . But don’t you like to 
have something remind you of mother? . . . And that re¬ 
minds me,” said Jenny,—Dr. Cairns just stood at the foot 
of the old mahogany bed and never spoke all this time— 
“that reminds me that I found a picture of mother I 
thought you might like. It’s in the drawer of her sewing 
table over in the alcove!” 

What Dr. Cairns did was just to walk out of the room 
and never take the picture or say good-by or “Thank you 
for thinking of me,” or “I’ll call again to-morrow,” or 
anything. Could it be that he ever acted like that with 
her mother? How many queer things there were to get 
accustomed to in the world— 

One could somehow manage to get along without one’s 
mother if everything went just right. Nothing ever went 
just right with Aunt Ernie. But Jenny had expected al¬ 
ways to be able to count on Dr. Cairns. And now see. . . . 

So she cried and got worse and refused to let Aunt Ernie 
in the room at all, and finally there was nothing to do but 
send for Uncle Alec. 

Indeed, indeed there was an excuse for men being in 
the world. Uncle Alec breezed in one sunny morning with 


19 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

a large box of candy and some foolish magazines,—“the 
sort of things to cheer a young lady.” 

“Oh, oh, Mr. Anderson!” Aunt Ernie scowled. 

“Don’t ‘Mr. Anderson’ me, Em.” 

Aunt Ernie went on scowling. “With Jenny sick in bed 
like this,— candy!” 

“Do her good, Em, do her good!” 

“Mr. Anderson, really—” 

“The magazines are for you too, Em,—eh, boy?” 

“i!/w-ter Anderson! Such trash!” 

And when she took herself off, her line of repartee being 
exhausted. Uncle Alec winked at Jenny. “Guess we’ve got 
the old girl on the run!” 

So Uncle Alec exactly understood everything and Jenny 
laughed all morning long, but ate no chocolates because 
Aunt Ernie had already presented the box to the cook. 

At last Jenny could talk with some one about her mother! 
She had fully expected Dr. Cairns would meet her more 
than halfway. Far from it. But Uncle Alec—she and 
Uncle Alec talked hours and hours, and Jenny told him 
how wonderful and helpful Dr. Cairns had been. But 
he acted very peculiarly now, did Dr. Cairns. Uncle Alec 
smoked his pipe and said nothing. Just so had he sat 
one night in this very room a year before while Jenny’s 
mother lay in bed and talked hours and hours about how 
wonderful and helpful Dr. Cairns was. All the women 
Uncle Alec knew were always telling him how wonderful 
and helpful some man was, and Uncle Alec understood every¬ 
thing there was to understand in the whole world, and 
just smoked his pipe and said nothing. Once Uncle Alec 


20 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

had been wonderful and helpful himself to a woman, and 
she had been wonderful and helpful to him, so of course 
Uncle Alec understood everything. But that was rather 
long ago now,—long as one counts days and nights and 
nights and days, and days and nights again. But it is only 
the individuals concerned who measure by days and nights 
and nights and days again. Fortunately the rest of the 
world merely asks, “How many years ago was it that 
Cynthia Norris married Dr. Rawlins?” 

But Cynthia Norris having married Dr. Rawlins, Uncle 
Alec was a rare visitor to Jenny’s town, and when he came 
he mostly sat around the Joslin home and smoked his 
pipe, which was always as every one in the Joslin house¬ 
hold would have it. That is, until this last visit, when 
Aunt Ernie for two well-defined reasons objected. One was, 
she strongly disliked a pipe; the other, she strongly disliked 
Alec Anderson. 

“When is your Uncle Alec leaving?” she inquired of 
Jenny the third morning. 

“When we get through talking about Dr. Cairns and 
about mother,” announced Jenny. 

Aunt Ernie was in a continual state of whisk. She 
could never get comfortably settled any place, but a turn 
in the conversation forced her to seek moral shelter in some 
other quarter of the house. Uncle Alec bumped into her 
removing herself downstairs. 

“Hey, Em, come on up and sit in Jenny’s room for 
a spell!” 

“I’ve just left Jenny’s room.” And Aunt Ernie went 
down and froze in the front parlor. It is especially com- 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 21 

forting to certain mor^l natures to be forced to freeze or 
get overheated because of the spiritual shortcomings of 
others. It brings home to them how inexcusable the spir¬ 
itual shortcomings of others are. 

“I say, Jen,” Uncle Alec leaned against the mantelpiece 
in the room which had been Jenny’s mother’s, “I say, what 
kind of a man are you going to marry when you grow up?” 

‘‘A cross between you and Dr. Cairns,” Jenny informed 
him, “with all of father left out.” 

“So—? And if a cross between Dr. Cairns and your 
loving Uncle Alec fails to find in you exactly what that 
mixture’s soul is searching for in the line of a life mate, 
what then?” 

“Nothing like that ever happens to me,” announced 
Jenny. 

“Or suppose he married you and the mixture doesn’t 
turn out to be all you desire?” 

“Nothing like that ever happens to me,” announced 
Jenny again. 

“Or—suppose—suppose”—Uncle Alec puffed away on his 
pipe—“suppose the mixture might already be married to 
somebody else?” 

**That?” cried Jenny. “Oh, that would never, never 
happen to me!” 

“So . . .” mused Uncle Alec. “What a very fortunate 
person you are going to be! Extremely fortunate, I should 
say. Quite, indeed, the most fortunate person in all the 
world!” 

“I always am,” said Jenny. 


CHAPTER II 


I 

“I THINK,” announced Aunt Ernie one evening after a 
rather silent supper, ^‘that it had better be Vassar or Bryn 
Mawr.” 

“What had?” asked Jenny. 

“The college you go to.” 

“/.? The college / go to? Vassar? Bryn Mawr? Good 
gracious. Aunt Ernie, are you crazy?” 

“Jenny I” 

“7 in a girls’ college?” 

“It was your father’s wish.” 

“My father’s wish! Well, all the more reason—” 

“Jenny, for several years I’ve noticed a tendency on your 
part to speak lightly of your father’s memory. It is ex¬ 
ceedingly painful to me. Your father was one of the finest 
men that ever lived, honest, upright. God-fearing. He never 
indulged in any vices whatsoever.” 

“What makes you talk about him like that just because 
he’s dead?” 

“What do you mean?” 

“He wasn’t any of those things, that is, comfortably. I 
don’t like words like ‘honest,’ ‘upright,’ ‘God-fearing.’ 
What’s the use of such words? A person can be all 
of those things and yet you can be glad when they die.” 

“Jenny!” 


22 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 23 

‘‘It’s true. You think you’re honest. You are—just the 
way father used to be. Yet you call ‘Jenny!’ at me that 
way and that’s not honest. Why can’t you say sometimes 
that you’re glad a certain person dies?” 

“Jenny!” 

“There you go again. I don’t care—it’s not my business. 
Anyhow I was glad when father died, and I’m as sure 
as if she told me that mother was.” 

“Jenny Joslin, how dare you!” 

“There you go again. She was . . . You’d never call 
Uncle Alec honest, upright, God-fearing, but it just wouldn’t 
be the same world if Uncle Alec died.” 

“Uncle Alec!” The scorn of Aunt Ernie. 

“Yes, Uncle Alec! He’d just hate being called ‘upright,’ 
—^you try it sometime!” 

“You needn’t worry, I never shall!” 

“And Dr. Cairns,—I never heard you call him ‘God¬ 
fearing,’ yet next to mother’s death I felt the worst of 
all my life when Dr. Cairns died.” 

“There were some,” remarked Aunt Ernie tersely, “who 
felt the town had not suffered such a great moral loss 
when Dr. Cairns died.” 

“Aunt Ernie!” cried Jenny. 

“Indeed, most certainly one could never refer to Dr. 
Cairns as ‘upright’ or ‘God-fearing’!” 

“And what,” demanded Jenny, “did Dr. Cairns ever do 
in this world that was not perfect?” 

“I’d rather not discuss it with you at your age.” 

Jenny just stared at her. “I don’t believe it!” she said 
at length. 


24 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

‘You don^t even know what it is,” Aunt Ernie reminded 
her. 

“I don’t care—don’t want to know—I don’t believe it!”’ 

“But it’s true. And when you get a little older, and 
understand more about the world, I shall tell you all about 
it.” 

“I don’t want to know! I don’t, won’t, shan’t believe it! 
Dr. Cairns was perfect!” 

“Indeed, he was very far from perfect. He was, to put 
it mildly, immoral.” 

“Dr. Cairns— immoral? He was no such thing!” 

“But you see, my dear, I happen to know that he was!” 

“He was not!” 

“Indeed, my dear Jenny, he was!” 

“He was not!” 

“Since you are so sure, I shall tell you then. Dr. Cairns, 
my dear, was—in—lOve—with—^your—mother!” 

Jenny looked at Aunt Ernie, and looked and looked. “So 
—that was immoral, was it?” 

“I was afraid you were too young to understand.” 

“I certainly am too young to understand.” And it was 
Jenny’s turn to whisk out of the room, leaving Aunt Ernie 
to take that comforting refuge of all relatives in the assur¬ 
ance that whoever the child in question is, he or she strongly 
resembles the other side of the family. . . . However, it 
would be Vassar or Bryn Mawr. 

Upstairs in her mother’s room, Jenny dropped into the 
big easy-chair in the alcove. She sat there in the dark 
and gazed down the street at the lights,—^lights in the homes 


25 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

of neighbors. Upright, God-fearing people, she supposed 
Aunt Ernie would call them. Or were they? Suddenly the 
world took on a peculiar twist. The world that Jenny 
loved, her own pet world that laughed and played and 
sang for her each day. She loved it so! And the people 
—she loved the people, except just one or two,—Aunt Ernie, 
and—and—Aunt Ernie. People were—why, they were won¬ 
derful! The most wonderful of all had been her mother. 
Next came Dr. Cairns and Uncle Alec. And Dr. Cairns 
was “immoral”! Immoral, because he loved her mother! 
Who could have helped loving her mother? And were there 
then some folks in the world who could love, and be moral, 
and some who could not love without being immoral? No, 
no, no! 

Jenny thought back over everything she could remember 
of Dr. Cairns and her mother. The look which always came 
over her mother’s face when Jenny dashed upstairs and 
called “The doctor!” Sometimes she used to come into 
her mother’s room and there her mother and Dr. Cairns 
would be sitting—^just sitting. Jenny thought the doctor 
had gone, because she heard no talking at all. So she 
often walked in without knocking, only to find Dr. Cairns 
and her mother—just sitting. Both of them always ap¬ 
peared very contented,—it always struck Jenny as peculiar 
that anybody could seem so pleased, just doing nothing at 
all, not even talking. Other times she would knock, hearing 
their voices. Often no one called “Come in,” so she just 
went in anyhow, and stayed a bit, and went out again, and 
evidently neither of them knew she had been there, so 
earnest was their conversation. It was enough to hurt a 


26 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

body’s feelings. Two last things she remembered. The 
time her mother took Jenny’s face in her hands and said, 
“Yes, I just love him.” And the way her mother’s face 
looked that time when she had not seen Dr. Cairns for 
several weeks, and the way his face looked. 

“She would not have looked at him the way she did 
if she had thought he was immoral,” decided Jenny. 

And so the whole matter was settled. But she would 
sound Aunt Ernie on one other point. She found her way 
to the door and went downstairs again. 

“I say. Aunt Ernie, mother loved Dr. Cairns, didn’t she?” 

“My dear Jenny, the less said about the whole affair, 
the better. I regret that the matter ever came up at 
all.” 

“Well, but didn’t she?” 

“Your mother never took me into her confidence.” 

“Did Dr. Cairns?” 

“Certainly not!” 

“Then how did you know so positively he loved mother?” 

“Well, of course, it was common—that is, everybody sus¬ 
pected it. His practice fell off decidedly. It was very hard 
indeed on poor Mrs. Cairns that was.” 

Again Jenny looked and looked at her Aunt Ernie. 

“But if—or granted—that mother did love Dr. Cairns 
was she too then—immoral’?” 

“My dear Jenny, it is certainly not my place to discuss 
your mother’s character.” 

“But was she?” 

“My dear Jenny, it is not for me to say what your 
mother was.” 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 27 

“But you didn’t hesitate to say what Dr. Cairns was, 
and I loved him and Uncle Alec next best to mother!” 

“But Dr. Cairns was no relation to you.” 

“There you go again! What has that got to do with it? 
It’s much more important not to speak unkindly of folks 
another person loves than be particular just because they’re 
relatives. You told me my Dr. Cairns was immoral, and 
I’ve got to know if you think mother was immoral too.” 

“Well, at least, she was not as immoral as Dr. Cairns.” 

“But was she immoral at all?” 

“Well, my dear Jenny—” 

*Was she? Yes or no!” 

“Jenny!” 

“Yes or no!” 

“Well, yes.” 

“So then. That’s just what I wanted you to say. Now 
I know that it doesn’t make the least bit of difference 
what you had to say about Dr. Cairns either. It didn’t 
anyhow.” 

At the door she turned again. 

“Why wasn’t mother exactly as ‘immoral’ as Dr. Cairns?” 

“Well, then, if you must know, she wasn’t quite so—” 

“Say it, ‘immoral’! Every time you say it I feel better 
all over.” 

“She was not quite so immoral as Dr. Cairns because— 
because your father had already died.” 

Again Jenny looked and looked. 

“So—father’s dying made mother somewhat moral. . . .” 

“Jenny, my dear Jenny!” 

“But you just said it yourself.” 


28 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

mean, had your dear father been alive, your mother 
perhaps,—that is, we shall hope—^would not have—cared— 
for Dr. Cairns.” 

‘What would that have had to do with it?” 

“Jenny!” 

“But, if father’s dying made mother—moral, why was 
she immoral at all?” 

“Because Dr. Cairns was a married man.” 

“Oho, so that’s what it’s all about! So,—it was Mrs. 
Cairns’ not dying, Mrs. Cairns’ insisting on staying alive, 
that made mother ‘immoral’! . . . It’s too mixed up for 
me!” Jenny shrugged her shoulders and opened the door. 

“That was just it,” said Aunt Ernie, with magnificent wit, 
“it was too mixed up for everybody!” 

Upstairs, in the dark again, Jenny’s brain thumped. 
Whoever could have guessed there were people in the world 
who talked like Aunt Ernie? Moral—immoral; immoral— 
moral. And mixing love up with any of that! As if 
loving, loving, could ever be anything but splendid and 
good and right! 

And then, suddenly, she remembered the time she dashed 
into the front parlor that afternoon by mistake and found 
Mrs. Cairns crying, and Dr. Cairns walking the floor. 
Loving—loving ought only to make everybody happy. It 
was indeed too bad—oh, very much too bad—if it all—if 
anything her beautiful mother and her wonderful Dr. 
Cairns did—felt—made Mrs. Cairns cry. Oh dear, oh 
dear, it certainly was too bad. It was too bad to make 
anybody cry about anything. Why, why, did love have 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 29 

to make anybody cry? It all got much more complicated 
the more Jenny thought about it. 

And then, because the world could not look troubled 
for long at a stretch, Jenny started to undress in the dark 
thinking of her beautiful mother and her wonderful Dr. 
Cairns. “And besides,” she comforted herself, “Mrs. Cairns 
lost no time in marrying the minister.” 

As she rolled over in the mahogany bed of her mother’s 
she sniffed, “Vassar! Bryn Mawr!” 

2 

The main reason it was to be neither Vassar nor Bryn 
Mawr was, of course, that Jenny was too concerned with 
a certain William Lamar. William Lamar could attend 
neither Vassar nor Bryn Mawr. Reason number one. Rea¬ 
son number two was that Aunt Ernie wanted her to go 
to Vassar or Bryn Mawr. Reason number three. Aunt 
Ernie had said her father wanted it. Reason number four, 
nobody she knew was going to Vassar or Bryn Mawr, and 
everybody she knew—who was going any place at all—was 
going to Hastings. So, all in all, it would decidedly be 
Hastings for her. For William Lamar and her. 

She dropped a note on Billy’s desk the next day at school. 
“It’s all decided. I’m going to Hastings!” 

And after the next hour Billy dropped a note on her 
desk. “I’m darn glad.” 

So Romance was on the wing, off toward the hills in 
the direction of Hastings. And on the chimes tower just 
back of the Botany Building Romance preened her many- 


30 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

colored plumage, and waited until William Lamar and 
Jenny Joslin came to college. 

Where can one search to learn the spirit of a university, 
especially a university open to both men and women? With 
what scales does one weigh the richness of her gifts, her 
limitations? No one passes through any college gate a 
Freshman, and out at the end of four years a graduate, 
without the imprint of over a thousand days resting for¬ 
ever on the soul. “Resting”—^alas, too often “resting.” 
That any part of the sum total of a thousand days could 
ever merely “rest”! 

But it is the academic side of university life which ever 
can or does play a negative part. There is that vast, 
dynamic side of human relationships, with its very positive 
influence for good or ill which permeates in and through 
and around every classroom. Few can come in contact 
with their fellow beings seven days and not have a new 
direction given to thought or action, unconscious though 
it is wont to be. 

Who then could ever measure the total reaction of over 
a thousand days? Who could ever measure the difference 
in that reaction when, for those thousand days, men and 
women are thrown constantly together, or when, for those 
thousand days, they are entirely, except for matters out 
of the ordinary, apart? Is it small, is it great? Is it for 
good or evil? 

“It puts too much romance into life, throwing young men 
and women together at that age|” 


31 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

“It takes too much romance out of life, throwing men 
and women together at that age!” 

“They don’t study enough!” 

But then who does, nowadays, in any institution of learn¬ 
ing? 

3 

The first year in college is tragedy for some natures, as 
is the first year out of college. Usually in college, as 
in the world at large, those who are most self-sufficing 
and independent are the ones who draw unto themselves 
others ready to help at every turn. Souls hungry for the 
spoken word and the helping hand go by unnoticed in the 
bustling crowd. The meek would many times exchange 
the holy promise of the earth for a few friends here and 
now. Meanwhile Jenny, who possessed not a meek inch 
in her entire system, found herself confused with the num¬ 
bers who paid her their student homage. Her friends at 
home in the town she considered her very own she had 
always been grateful for. “Thank You, God!” she called 
heavenwards many a time, as she thought of the boys and 
girls she could count on through thick and thin. She 
had been born among them. They were hers. Most of 
them,—all indeed but a small handful,—she left at home 
when she, along with the small handful, went away “to 
college.” 

How was she to know that new friends, people whose 
existence she had been entirely unaware of, were to rush 
into her life and fill it to the brim? She really started 


32 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

college with the idea of studying—^when she was not to be 
with Billy Lamar, or doing something else. Of course she 
would see the girls from home every so often. 

Every so often had been enough for Jenny to see of 
her own kind, except at the more interesting stages of 
each ‘dove affair.” Then it was pleasant to have a con¬ 
fidante. They were exceedingly mild things, those love 
affairs, as love affairs go. Jenny had standards from good¬ 
ness knows where. Her mother had never preached to her 
against the iniquities of over-intimacy. Her Aunt Ernie 
never had, or Jenny surely would have turned around and 
laid her head upon the shoulder of the next youth who 
called. In her thirties Jenny wondered once where those 
early standards ever had evolved from, and as near as she 
could arrive at their source was to remember a remark 
of her Uncle Alec’s: “She’s the kind of a woman who makes 
a fool of herself with a man.” 

Jenny had asked her Uncle Alec what he meant. 

“I don’t know exactly. She just—she doesn’t know 
how to act.” 

“How should she act?” Jenny was all for knowing. 

“Behave herself!” And that was as definite as Uncle 
Alec chose to get. 

Yet at the age of fourteen, twenty-four, forty, who can 
say that a woman behaves herself because she behaves her¬ 
self, or because nothing sufficiently interesting as a reason 
for doing anything else but behave herself ever has turned 
up? Jenny was not one to say. She had a spotless record 
of complete decorum toward the male sex during her youth. 
She fully realized, however, that every boy she had ever 


33 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

been enamored of had an equally spotless record, as far 
as she was concerned. There were spells when she felt 
like taking the credit to herself. In other moments she 
was not so sure but that she might just as well send up 
another ^Thank You, God!” for the kind of male friends 
He had sent her way. She was decorous. They were 
decorous. Everybody behaved. At that rate Jenny’s rec¬ 
ord might have stayed spotless to the bitter end. An un¬ 
interesting notion. Rather a bore of a world almost every 
honest soul would consider it to be if no situation ever 
developed which made it entirely worth one’s while—and 
never a pang afterwards—for one at least a little to mis¬ 
behave. 

Since then Jenny, in the course of those youthful ^dove 
affairs,” never misbehaved, why the need of a confidante? 
Goodness knows. But she found no end of things to talk 
about, did Jenny. There may have been confidantes who 
felt that Jenny could have bestirred herself and made her 
intimate confessions somewhat more thrilling. To Jenny’s 
notions they were thrilling enough. She was more inter¬ 
ested in tennis and swimming and horseback riding and sail¬ 
ing and tramping than she was in thrills. As long as there 
was always one boy at every party more anxious to dance 
with her than with any other girl, Jenny asked for nothing 
more. Literally, for nothing more. Two boys in that state 
made life confusing. One at a time was quite enough. 

Billy Lamar was the one-at-a-time when Jenny started 
college. The first two days of college Jenny and he were 
together most of the time. They planned to take the same 
courses, the same professors. Tuesday and Friday after- 


34 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

noons they would play tennis. Saturday afternoons they 
would go walking. 

And then of a sudden Jenny realized three weeks had 
passed and she had not seen Billy Lamar once. Beginning 
with the third day she found herself surrounded with new 
friends, city girls, older girls, sophisticated girls, well-dressed 
girls. She was invited here and there. Everybody gave 
her advice about her college work and every one suggested 
changes, and since it made not the least difference to Jenny 
what subjects she took, she followed agreeably every sug¬ 
gestion possible. Within three weeks she had changed 
her “major” from Philosophy to History to Economics to 
Political Science. Each soxmded more alluring as its par¬ 
ticular claims were put forth by some girl anxious to im¬ 
press Jenny with her friendliness. 

At the end of three weeks of lunches and dinners and 
dances and receptions and picnics and heart-to-heart talks, 
Jenny told some girl Whose name she was not quite sure 
of that she would join her fraternity. Whereupon some 
thirty girls appeared from goodness knows where and all 
hurled themselves upon Jenny and kissed her and told her 
how glad they were she was to be one of their sacred 
number. Jenny could remember the names of three of 
them. A few hours later some other girl put her arm around 
Jenny and asked if she would join the One and Only, being 
another fraternity, and Jenny’s heart nearly broke not to 
be able to say yes, the girl looked so fearfully hurt. The 
next day some other girl also whose name Jenny had no 
idea of, told Jenny how much she loved her and would 
she join the Grandest and Best, and again Jenny’s heart 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 35 

weighed heavy indeed at seeing the girl’s disappointed face. 
By that time Jenny was not quite sure where she belonged 
or who were the friends who embraced her publicly and 
who smote her with their crushed glances. The world was 
very mixed indeed. One of everything at a time was enough 
of everything. 

Then she remembered Billy Lamar. 

But Billy Lamar had been going through lunches and 
dinners and ‘^glad-handings” of his own. Only he had not 
forgotten Jenny. He had tried to reach her by telephone 
fourteen times, and then gave up. At the beginning of the 
fourth week he got a note in his Monday morning’s mail: 

“You’re a nice kind of a friend! I’ll go to Vassar next 
time.” 

Full of dismay he dashed for Jenny’s boarding house, 
escorted her to the nine o’clock class she had changed three 
times, and was entirely forgiven. 

4 

When people fall in love young enough and gradually 
enough they grow into each other’s lives. It becomes diffi¬ 
cult to know, between the two, where one personality ends 
and the other begins. Much of the happy turmoil and 
upheaval of older and more sudden love affairs is absent. 
Romance takes life easily,—easily and comfortably and 
cheerily. What is lost in the thrills of despair and achieve¬ 
ment, the stirring doubts and glad surrenderings in the 
loves of later years, is gained in tranquillity and that plastic 


36 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

fitting of nature to nature which only the young can ac¬ 
complish. It is not so much that they fall in love as that 
they glide into it. Few, if any, are the weighings and 
misgivings. 

College is a healthy place to fall in love, on the whole. 
There is such a great deal going on all the time, not to 
mention classes to attend for the conscientious—and Jenny 
was conscientious, though bored. There is no time to moon 
about sighing and growing pale or indignant or over-amor¬ 
ous, as do unoccupied folk who are in love at tender years. 
Just gradually, and more and more, Jenny realized she 
preferred doing everything she did, provided it were pos¬ 
sible, with Billy Lamar,—preferred being with Billy Lamar 
to being alone. Jenny always knew that when she got to 
that point she would be perilously near being in love. 
Billy Lamar preferred being in the company of Jenny Joslin 
to anything else he knew of. 

He told her so one night. It was the end of their 
Sophomore year and Jenny was secretary of the Dramatic 
Club, and treasurer of the Debating Club, and business 
manager of the Mandolin Club, a reporter on the Hastings 
Daily, and president of the Sophomore girls’ tennis club. 
In and out of these activities she helped decorate halls for 
dances and booths for fairs and spent imtold effort at every 
party making herself and everybody else miserable trying 
to find partners for girls who could not manage it them¬ 
selves without extraneous pressure. After each party she 
marveled that she had any friends left. But what could 
she do?—dance herself with other girls sitting bravely 
against the wall? 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 37 

''What’s your name?” she would ask an ill-starred girl 
who had two dances taken out of a possible twenty and 
was now sitting out her fourth in succession. 

"Anabelle Browne.” 

"Wait a second—I’ll get a partner.” 

"Oh, don’t bother!” 

Jenny dragged her own impatient but inured partner 
around until she discovered a male person trying for a few 
moments to call his soul his own. 

"I beg your pardon, but what’s your name?” 

«Why, a—Phelps.” 

"Oh, Mr. Phelps, will you do a great favor for me? 
I’ll do one for you Some day! I say, there’s a girl sitting 
there by that palm. I suspect she dances terribly and all 
that. But do let me introduce you and ask her for this 
dance. I’ll bless you forever!” 

Poor Mr. Phelps. Poor Jenny’s martyred-looking part¬ 
ner, already half the dance gone. Agitated Miss Anabelle 
Browne, who careered off heavily in the arms of the luck¬ 
less conscript. She did dance terribly and all that. 

But Mr. Phelps like as not asked Jenny for a dance later 
on, all forgiveness, and put his name down for the eighty- 
third extra. 

And Jenny appointed Anabelle Browne on a committee 
to address Benefit Day circulars, and Anabelle Browne 
was again agitated. At last she was taking root! She 
addressed so many circulars that Jenny asked her to help 
collect funds for a memorial sundial. She collected so 
much money that Jenny made her assistant treasurer of 
the Mandolin Club, and by the time she was a Senior, 


38 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

Anabelle Browne was Recording Secretary of the Student 
Body. On such slender threads hang our destinies. . . . 
But Mr. Phelps never asked her to dance again, nor did 
any one who ever asked her once. That was something 
Jenny realized was beyond her powers of adjustment. The 
Lord had not dealt kindly in all respects with Miss Anabelle 
Browne. 

It was shortly after this same dance, the debut of Ana¬ 
belle Browne, that Billy Lamar told Jenny he liked being 
with her better than anything else—in the world. When 
one adds “in the world” that way to a statement it is 
bound to cause flutterings. 

So that was probably the night Jenny started being in 
love with her William. 

Some women proceed at stated intervals to fall in love 
with men,—^just so-so, regardless. The man who stirs up 
such a flutter in the female heart may never so much as 
guess that the lady takes notice of the fact that he is 
alive. And she all the time tearing her hair days and 
weeping nights and suffering upheavals in her soul enough 
to drive her to six psychoanalysts at once. There are 
other women who seem to find it quite impossible to fall 
in love at all unless the man falls first. The very act 
of his falling, provided he falls in a way to let the lady 
know about it, and provided the lady likes him at all and 
is not already in love with somebody else, produces the 
effect of causing the lady’s heart to become agitated in turn, 
and before she knows it, she is in love herself—^without 
last week having dreamt of such a thing. 

When William Lamar said, “You know, Jenny, more 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 39 

and more I realize that I like being with you better than 
any one else—in the world Jenny’s heart started in to 
palpitate decidedly faster than normal, and she knew her 
face must be as red as the Sophomore banner. And Wil¬ 
liam’s agitation having considerably increased through such 
a declaration, he could not refrain from putting his hand 
over Jenny’s on the railing of the fraternity balcony and 
leaving it there. 

Whereupon he became so wrought up and alarmed at 
his general condition that he failed to see Jenny again 
for a week, and when he did appear one evening after 
seven days of wretchedness, Jenny glared at him. 

‘‘Where have you been for a whole week?” 

“I say, Jenny, let’s take a walk.” 

After they had walked over to the lake and sat down 
under a maple tree by Parson’s Cove, William asked her, 
“Does it make any difference to you if you don’t see me 
for a week?” 

“Yes, it does,” said Jenny. “I hate it.” 

A long pause. 

“Jenny, I’m going to leave college.” 

“Billy!” 

“Yes, I am. I’m going to work!” 

“Billy! What for?” 

—I want to earn money. I—why I—^I’d like to get 
married—^some day.” 

Jenny would not have asked him “To whom?” for a 
thousand dollars, because she knew perfectly well, and 
hated the idea of sounding—the word which came into her 
own mind was “kittenish.” 


40 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

‘^You see, it’s this way. If I stay in college four years 
it would be two years perhaps before I’d be earning enough 
to get married, and that’s too long,—^if she cares at all. 
It’s too long for me anyhow.” 

“Yes, four years is—oh, it’s fearfully long! But it 
seems terrible for you not to graduate!’* 

“What’s the use? Most of it is an awful bore anyhow. 
I’d rather be out in the world doing something.” 

“And the tennis team!” 

“I know, I hate like anything leaving the tennis team!” 

Another long pause. 

“Jenny, if you would ever marry me, wouldn’t you rather 
marry me soon—than wait four years?” 

“What do you mean by soon, Billy?” 

“Well, what do you?” 

“Of course—*soon’ could mean—to-morrow.” 

“I wish—oh, I wish it could be to-morrow! . . . Don’t 
I wish I had a lot of money!” 

“No, to-morrow wouldn’t do anyhow, Billy. Anything 
as—as wonderful as getting married, people ought to look 
forward to and plan for and dream about. I don’t like 
the idea of—of sort of jumping in with both feet.” 

“But how long do you think you’d need to ‘look for¬ 
ward’? I’ve been looking forward, more or less, a whole 
year, off and on. And the last week it’s all I’ve done 
at all. As far as this looking-forward idea of yours goes, 
I’ve had enough already. . . . Jenny, how soon would yOu 
marry me?” 

“Goodness, Billy, I suppose there must be some things 


41 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

a person ought to do and get ahead of time. I suppose 
really you ought to get a job.” 

^‘Yes, of course I’ll get a job. How much do you sup¬ 
pose I ought to have saved up before—before—” 

“I don’t suppose we need anything saved up. Just get 
a job,—I suppose you’d better get a job first.” 

“And a house, Jenny? Ought we to get a house first 
or afterwards?” 

“Oh, let’s get it together afterwards!” 

“Well, then, say—say we— Oh, good Lord, Jenny, I 
just can hardly say it at all. Say we get married in—in 
two months!” 

“Two months—oh, Billy! . . . And I promised to get 
the Dramatic Club out of debt next year and I was as 
good as promised the lead in the Junior Play and I did 
want so to do something worth while in tennis. And I 
was just elected secretary of the fraternity for next year 
and treasurer of the History Club, and I was to have charge 
of ‘rushing’ at the house. ... But I surely would much 
rather get married to you, Billy!” 

“Jenny—Jenny—I’ll make you happy, I swear to God I’ll 
make you happy!” 

Whereupon William Lamar put his arm around Jenny 
and caught her hands and kissed her long, long, long. . . . 

A thousand times Jenny had imagined what it would be 
like to have a man kiss her,—^how she would stand, what 
she would do with her hands, what the man would do with 
his. And what really, really, would the kiss itself be 
like? . . . 


42 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

It was very much more wonderful than anything that 
had ever happened in all her life, so full of wonderful 
things. 

That night in bed she decided that since being kissed 
was really quite the most glorious thing in all the world, 
she was very glad indeed that she had not been wasting 
kisses on any boy who came along, and instead had saved 
them all, every single one, for Billy Lamar. 

Her Billy Lamar! 


CHAPTER III 


The next morning Jenny trod the lowly earth with a 
feeling that she was apart from all creation. The day 
before, had she happened to think of it, she was one with 
everybody and everything—^her world, her dear loved world. 
But now—did not last night place her where no other 
mortal had ever reached, in a position no other mortal 
could understand? She was engaged to be married I True, 
other girls had been and were now engaged to be married 
—^but no one else to Billy Lamar! And besides all of that, 
she knew what it was like to have a man kiss her. True, 
other girls had been, were being, would be kissed by men— 
but no one else by Billy Lamar! 

“-^-Miss Joslin?” 

Thump! . . . ‘T—I didn’t quite hear.” 

‘T asked you a question concerning the Fall of Rome.” 

“I—I didn’t quite hear.” 

“Did the rest of the class have any difficulty in hearing 
the question? Miss Joslin possibly did not retire early 
enough last night. Miss Anabelle Browne, why the ex¬ 
pression ‘Fall of Rome’?” 

“He’s sacrilegious! ” muttered Jenny to herself. “The idea 
of his referring to last night!” 

Such a relief to think one was to be done with all this 
ancient stuff. Instead, to be marrying Billy Lamar! 

For the first time since she started college Jenny absented 
43 



44 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

herself from a class. The next hour, instead of attending 
Natural Science 32, ‘The Prevention of Citrus Fruit Dis¬ 
eases” (it was always hard finding a two-hour course for 
Tuesday and Thursday at ten; almost every one took 
“N. S. 32” and read the Hastings Weekly Thursdays—it 
was distributed from nine to ten; Tuesdays Jenny sat next 
the girl who was assisting her as Chairman of the Oriental 
Ball and they discussed plans) . . . instead of attending 
Natural Science 32 Jenny walked exactly in the opposite 
direction, to the Library, got out her notebook, and wrote 
a letter. 

“Hastings Library, Thursday, 10 a.m. 
“Dearest Uncle Alec:— 

“I always knew I’d tell you first. It’s the most beautiful 
piece of news in all the world! Guess what—? I’m going 
to be married in two months! Isn’t it grand, grand, grand? 
Oh, Uncle Alec, I always knew the world was the most 
wonderful place in all creation. Now it’s so marvelous I 
just don’t see how I can hold in! I’m bursting of joy! 
You’ll be at the wedding! Why, Uncle Alec, I just hap¬ 
pened to think—^you’ll have to be the one to give me away! 
Oh, oh, oh. Uncle Alec—isn’t it grand? Write me quick 
and say ‘God bless you, my beloved niece!’ 

“Hello, Uncle Alec! 

“Your loving, loving, 

“Jenny. 

‘T.S.—Of course it’s Billy Lamar. Think of it. Uncle 
Alec—ME—Mrs. William Lamar!!!” 

The very sight of which “Mrs.” set Jenny off into a 
whirl of daydreams, and before she knew it she was alone 
in the library because all the woe-begone and forlorn, those 
pitiable souls not engaged to William Lamar, never kissed 
by William Lamar, had gone home to lunch. 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 45 

Two days later a Freshman called up in a hoarse whisper 
to Jenny, “Hey, Jen, your uncle’s here!” 

What in the world— Oh, joy! And down the stairs 
two steps at a time flew Jenny and hurled herself into the 
arms of Uncle Alec. 

“What in the world—! Oh, I’m glad to see you!” 

“You, Jenny—^you. Why it was only yesterday I fished 
you out of the lake at home, three years old. You, 
Jenny!” 

“Uncle Alec—^you’re not going to say I’m too young!” 

“Too young? Never, Jenny! Think of it—^you’re twenty 
years old! Fact of it is, I’d begun to worry,—thought 
you’d be an old maid. Began to feel sorry for you. And 
William? Let’s see, William must be all of—” 

“Oh, he’s older still,—he’s twenty-one!” 

“Just think, twenty-one! Poor old Bill. . . . Twenty- 
one. It’s well he found some one at last!” 

“Uncle Alec!” 

“Come on, Jen, let’s take a walk.” 

So out they went. Uncle Alec more than twice the age of 
Jenny’s William, yet wondering, after all, if it were only 
yesterday that he and Cynthia Norris were window shop¬ 
ping for a dining-room table. And then eating lunch to¬ 
gether at the little restaurant above Maynard’s—pretending 
they had just decided to eat out for a change instead of 
going “home.” And that afternoon, sitting the whole after¬ 
noon in the park—the most perfect afternoon of his life. 
And that evening, supper in the little basement restaurant 
by the corner of Broadway and Third Avenue—his and her 
beloved rendezvous. And that night, by the lake, the 


46 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

most perfect—no, no, every night with her was the most 
perfect of his life. 

And the next day he made up his mind that he should 
never marry his adored Cynthia Norris until he had money 
enough to buy her the finest dining-room table in the land, 
and until, after they were married, he could take her to 
Maynard’s itself to have lunch. Money—^he must make 
money, that Cjmthia Norris might have only the best! 

But Alec Anderson was not born under a moneyed star. 
It was nothing to Cynthia Norris. He had been born, that 
was the main thing. They could get along—^^oh, Alec— 
on nothing!” 

Alec Anderson worked too hard and waited too long. 
He did not meet Cynthia Norris until he and she were 
twenty-five. At thirty she went to visit Jenny’s mother 
and met Dr. Rawlins and somehow— Alec Anderson could 
never blame her in the least. He had not at forty-five 
been able to earn enough to buy Cynthia Norris the finest 
dining-room table in the land, which was the only kind 
she deserved. 

“Uncle Alec, you will give me away at the wedding, 
won’t you?” 

Come back—or rather come ahead, Uncle Alec, those 
fifteen years and more. Your Dream is long ended— 
ended, except to go on dreaming. And here is Jenny, 
twenty, in the rosy, glowing midst of the Wonderful Thing. 

“Just as you say, my Jenny!” 

And then he decided to come at once to the subject which 
had brought him to Hastings. 

“Jenny, you know, I feel an awful responsibility for you. 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 47 

I never realized how great until I got your letter. You’ve 
no mother or father. Of course there’s your Aunt Em— 
I know,—don’t say anything,—I know your Aunt Em as 
well as you do. I realize I’m the only grown person you 
feel very close to, and goodness, it has scared me to think 
of you being old enough to get married and no mother— 
no person—to—to talk to or anything. . . .” 

“But, Uncle Alec—” 

“No, don’t interrupt me, because it’s the darndest hard¬ 
est job I ever tackled, talking like this to you. I’ve been 
rehearsing it all the way on the train. . . . It’s darn hard. 

. . . I say, Jenny, you really intend to get married?” 

“Why, Uncle Alec, what a question!” 

“Yes, yes, of course. It was just that if yow had changed 
your mind or anything, I’d . . . I’d not feel I had to go 
on with what I had to say. . . . It’s just this, Jenny. . . . 
I do feel so darn responsible. . . . It’s harder saying it 
than I thought for. But what I had in mind ... I say, 
Jenny, what do you know about getting married, anyhow?” 

“How do you mean? I don’t understand.” 

“I mean ... I mean . . . What ... Do you know 
what getting married means 

“Why, it means ... it means . . . that you live with 
the man you love most in all the world.” 

“Yes, yes, but do you know what that ‘living’ means?” 

“Why, it means ... it means . . . everything:' 

“Jenny, do you realize it means . . . he’s the—the father 
of your children?” 

“Heavens, Uncle Alec—heavens I Who else would be?” 

“Yes, yes, of course. But do you know . . . Good God, 


48 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

I wish you had a mother. I wish your Aunt Em weren’t 
such a fool. Do you know what being the father of your 
children means? How much do you know, Jenny?” 

“Oh—oh ... I begin to see what you’re driving at. 
Why, Uncle Alec, if you mean that—I know—I understand 
—all about where babies come from, and all that.” 

*^Do you though—everything about it?” 

“Well, of course, everything’s a big word. But mother 
told me all about how babies are born when I was ten 
or eleven years old. And then just before she died she told 
me some more.” 

“Yes, yes—^well, and what else? What more do you 
know?” 

“What more? Why, isn’t that enough?” 

“You mean, since you were thirteeen or fourteen nobody 
has told you anything?” 

“Why, what more was there to know? Mother told me 
not to talk about what she told me because girls my age 
wouldn’t perhaps understand and it would be better if I 
kept it all to myself. So I’ve never mentioned it from that 
day to this.” 

“But you must have picked up more information some¬ 
how. You’ve heard other girls talking—” 

“No, never a word. I’ve never heard a single soul men¬ 
tion the subject, and I’ve never mentioned it myself.” 

“Jenny—^you’re twenty and you’ve never heard other girls 
—^any one—discuss men, marriage, and all that?” 

“Oh, yes, we’ve discussed men, marriage, and all that, 
only—only very broadly, we’ll say. Nobody ever got near 
details.” 


49 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

“But you must have heard stories about it all!” 

“But I never did!” 

“Haven’t you wondered about things?” 

“No,—mother answered all the questions I could think 
of asking, and I never have thought of ^ny new ones since. 
I’ve never thought much about it, one way or the other. 
Why is it all so important?” 

“Because it is! It’s terribly important! I’m sure at 
thirteen your mother couldn’t have told you all you ought 
to know.” 

“Perhaps not. Well, then, you start in and tell me.” 

“Lord, Jenny. . . . Good Lord ... I don’t know where 
to begin. I don’t believe you really know one thing about 
what men are really like, or can be like.” 

“Billy’s so wonderful! And you! And Dr. Cairns was!” 

“Heigh-ho, Jenny, may you never have cause to change 
your mind. . . . Little Jenny. . . . Dear little Jenny. . . . 
You’re so darn young ... I don’t believe you know a 
thing.” 

“There is one thing I think I’ll ask about.” Jenny 
frowned and looked off over the lake. “Why is it that 
kissing a man makes you feel so queer all over? Why 
does it make you feel so much as if you wanted more, and 
more, and more? It sort of scares me—how I’ve felt ever 
since last Wednesday night. Is it—is it all right to feel 
like that?” 

Uncle Alec looked over the lake. He puffed away on the 
old pipe and narrowed his eyes. 

“It would be all wrong if you didn’t feel like that.” 

“Uncle Alec—I’m so glad, so glad I asked you!” 


50 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

And Jenny threw her arms around his neck to the tem¬ 
porary despair of the pipe. 

They sat silent for a spell. Finally Uncle Alec asked 
her, ‘‘Do you want to have children?’^ 

“Da I want to have cMdren? Why, Uncle Alec I” 

“So ... I see. How many?^’ 

‘Twelve.” 

“I say, Jenny, come down to earth.” 

“Honest, twelve.” 

“You’ll run out of names.” 

“No, I won’t. They’re named already. Five were easy, 
—after mother, you. Dr. Cairns, Billy, and me. Five, you 
see are the irreducible minimum.” 

“And the other seven?” 

“We’ve had the expression in a sociology course: I told 
Billy five were the subsistence minimum, and twelve the 
comfort minimum.” 

“Aha! I’d call it the other way ’round. . . . None 
of the twelve do you consider luxuries?” 

“No, none.” 

“And you’ve discussed it already with your William, 
and he agrees?” 

“He says anything I say about anything suits him.” 

“As to supporting twelve children?” 

“We won’t have all twelve the first year! As each baby 
arrives Billy will be earning more money.” 

“Quite simple. I see. . . . You don’t mind if I remind 
you of this conversation after you have been married twelve 
years, say.” 

“Not a bit! There’ll be at least ten wonderful little— 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 51 

little Lamars (oh, Uncle Alec!) staring you in the face 
when you mention it!” 

“And if there are only two wonderful little—^little 
Lamars?” 

“Uncle Alec!” 

“No, no, ten of course—of course ten! ... Dear old 
Bill ... ten children in twelve years. ... I don’t know 
whether to be more, or less, concerned over what you may, 
or may not know about marriage. . . . Jenm , do you really 
mean to start right in having babies?” 

“I certainly do!” 

Again Uncle Alec looked over the lake. 

“I wish you had your mother.” 

Jenny’s eyes filled with tears. “I never wanted her so 
much as since the night Billy kissed me. A girl just ought 
to have a mother when she’s going to be married! It’s so 
—different, not having a mother then!” 

Uncle Alec took the pipe out of his mouth and turned 
to Jenny. “Jenny Joslin, I’d give everything I possess 
if you wouldn’t get married so soon.” 

“Why, Uncle Alec—^why?” 

“To think of you, just twenty, starting in to have a fam¬ 
ily, tying yourself down to housework and cooking and 
scrubbing and mending. How much money has your Billy?” 

“None at all.” 

«So— None at all. . . . Jenny, it canH be! A man 
has no right to marry a woman when he has no money, 
no right on earth—especially not at twenty-one. A few 
years of waiting then can’t make such a difference. How 
do you know the very first baby won’t wreck your health? 


52 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

You have no money even to get a home started. Good 
God, if only I could help you! I’m just no hand at all 
to earn anything—but all I have is yours. Only wait a 
year or so, Jenny. Have a little nest egg stored away 
against a rainy day. Get some more fun and play out of 
life before you start in having babies on no money.” 

‘You don’t understand! Why, Uncle Alec, there’d be 
no fun in anything, not married to Billy.” 

“And it. mi^ht just be—such things have been known 
to happen—that with no money and babies, there’d be no 
fun any more in anything, married to Billy.” 

“If I were married to Billy, everything would be fun!” 

Uncle Alec turned back to the lake again and again puffed 
his pipe. 

“There’s just one more point, Jenny. It would break 
your mother’s heart not to have you finish college. It was 
the one thing she was determined on. She married your 
father so young—she never had a chance to do any of the 
things she really wanted to do in the world. Over and 
over she used to say to me, ‘Jenny must have four years 
of college! Must have the foundation of it, the training 
of it’ . . . and always pretty wistfully she’d add, ‘must 
have the fun of it.’ ” 

“Really, Uncle Alec, really did mother want me to grad¬ 
uate?” 

“Very much she wanted it.” 

“. . . I’ve tried so hard always to do what mother would 
want me to. . . .” 

Again the tears in Jenny’s eyes. 

Again a long silence. 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 53 

Again broken by Uncle Alec. “I say, Jen, would you 
care if I ran over and had a talk with your Billy? He’s 
to be my own nephew—the better acquainted he and I get, 
the more pleased I’ll be. I don’t want to give you away 
to a semi-stranger.” 

“I’d love it. I’d love to have you and Billy chums!” 

As they neared the house where Jenny lived her college 
days. Uncle Alec looked as if there was still something he 
wanted very much to say. 

“There’s something on your mind.” Jenny wanted his 
face to look boyish and quizzical and happy again. 

“Yes, one last thing. ... I’m not at all sure yet that 
you know all you ought to know. I just can’t tell you . . . 
I can’t see where to begin ... I don’t ... I can’t. . . . 
No, sir, it’s beyond me. ’Way beyond me. I wish you’d 
promise me one thing. Before you get married I wish 
you’d go over and have a talk with . . . Mrs. Rawlins— 
Cynthia Rawlins. She’d be the most splendid person in 
all the world for you to have a talk with. I’ll write her 
a little note, so she’ll understand, and it will be easy for 
you. Will you promise?” 

“Why Mrs. Rawlins? I don’t know her so very well. 
She visited us that time when I was awfully young, and 
then when she came to live near by, we hardly ever saw 
her. . . . She came to see mother once, I remember, not 
long before mother died. She stayed all afternoon, and 
she cried, and mother cried, and they seemed to hate to 
say good-by to each other. After she left mother said— 
I’ve never forgotten it—^enny, Jenny, if each of us could 
just be sure we had a chance to live our lives over! Then 


54 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

we could manage to get through the terrible mistakes of 
this one more patiently.’ Odd, wasn’t it? Mrs. Rawlins 
started to be lovely to me after mother died, but of course 
Aunt Ernie tried to spoil it all. I’m very fond of Mrs. 
Rawlins—if she wouldn’t think it queer, my coming like 
that. ... I don’t know. . . . Why Mrs. Rawlins?” 

“Because Mrs. Rawlins is the loveliest woman in all the 
world, and could talk to you about marriage, or anything 
else, as no other woman on earth could. Promise, Jenny?” 

Jenny gave her Uncle Alec a look out of the comer 
of her eye. Since last Wednesday Jenny was very sure 
she understood very much more about the universe than 
she had ever understood before. 

“I promise,” said Jenny obediently. 

Uncle Alec felt the weight of the world lifted off his 
shoulders. Cynthia Rawlins,—Cynthia Rawlins would be 
able to explain anything and everything. . . . Little mother¬ 
less Jenny—she would be taken care ofl 


CHAPTER IV 


I 

Part of the richness of life is that, whether history repeats 
itself or not, no single human experience does. Some pecu¬ 
liarity there is to every separate happening which precludes 
the possibility of ever experiencing exactly the same sen¬ 
sations twice. 

When it comes to an event like graduating from college, 
of course there is nothing else in the span of a single life 
which even remotely approaches it. How many times in 
those last delirious ten days did Jenny raise her eyes and 
throw that heavenward kiss with its “Thank You, God I” 
How could one world hold so much joy? The farewell 
lunches and teas and dinners and dances, the banquets and 
speeches, the tears, the rejoicings. The sacred ecstasy of 
the last formal exercises. Forgotten all the boredom sur¬ 
rounding the Fall of Rome, the Extermination of the Peach 
Tree Borer. Remembered only that four years, filled to 
overflowing with the good glad things of life, were drawing 
to their end,—^were, indeed, all but ended. The meetings, 
the committees, the dances, the sports, the plays serious and 
frivolous, the bazaars, the games where one cheered and 
sang till one’s throat could cheer and sing no more, the 
picnics, the initiations, the rallies, and the friends, the 
friends, the friends! 

Yes, and History 38 had been really wonderful, and 
55 


56 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

English I a and 14b,—she did love Professor Selby. And 
anyway, she had gotten through every course, albeit there 
was no jot of glory to spare. Even that terrible paper on 
the Cotton Trade in South America 1800-1850 was done 
and handed in. . . . 

And there, to the right of the big hall in Dudley, sat 
Billy, her Billy. To have had those four glorious, throb¬ 
bing years and besides, her Billy! “Thank You, oh, thank 
You, God!” 

Billy already knew what it meant when she looked at 
him and then put a finger to her lips and blew a kiss 
to heaven. She told him, when he once asked, that it 
made her heart a little lighter. That sometimes she felt 
so very grateful, so very happy, she just had to say, “Thank 
You; oh, thank You!” to some one, so she blew that little 
kiss to heaven and said, “Thank You, God!” When she 
did that just after looking at him, it meant “Thank You 
for Billy Lamar!” 

After the graduating exercises came the Senior girls’ 
luncheon, where every soul who had a toast to respond 
to wept, including the heavy and efficient Anabelle Browne. 
Why shouldn’t Anabelle Browne weep? When, oh, when 
would she see Jenny Joslin again? Anabelle Browne was 
not the only one to weep because of Jenny Joslin. . . . 
Six girls announced their engagements and everybody wept 
some more and laughed and laughed, and wept and sang 
songs. Could it really be the end? 

The end, all but the very end, which was the reception 
at President McKenzie’s house, bless his dear old tottering 
heart! Death was mercifully to call him before another 


57 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

commencement,—^before he had to stand back ever and him¬ 
self be forced to view a “good business executive.” Old 
executives are indeed pathetic, often ruinous, figures. Only 
some old executives, students know, stay forever young. 
. . . Boards of Regents have many things to take into 
consideration. 

That night, as a last solemnity, Jenny wanted to sit 
again under their maple at Parson’s Cove. Alas, or not 
alas, for why should it not be thus at twenty-two?—that 
maple and every other maple seemed to be taken in last 
solemnity by souls either beginning or in some luckless 
cases ending, at least for that particular affair, the eternal 
call of youth to youth. 

Is it such a reprehensible thing to be in love at twenty- 
two that one must therefore doom coeducation? 

Girls in women’s colleges, boys in men’s colleges, have 
been known to be in love at twenty-two. Usually on a 
more slender foundation than after four years of seeing 
just how well or ill the other deports her—or himself in 
History or Biology, French or Mathematics, in football 
practice or on the hockey team, in the editorial room or 
at committee meetings or at rallies,—in the countless de¬ 
tails of association of human being with human being in 
those more than a thousand days. 

So Jenny and her Billy walked ’way to the end of the 
lake, and up beyond the falls, and sat down with their 
backs against the rocks of Old Forty. Billy’s arm was 
around her, Jenny’s head close to his. 

“I’m so proud of you, Jenny,—so proud! Think, just 
think, of all you’ve done!” 


58 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

“Hush, Billy. I almost flunked every year.” 

“But all you did^ Jenny! I’m so proud.” 

“Hush. . . . Just love me. . . .” 

Was there such a place in the world as a university? 

“Billy, it was better to wait, wasn’t it?” 

“Everything you decide is always right, Jenny.” 

“But you really think it was right, anyhow, don’t you?” 

He thought it was right anyhow. Mainly because he 
could not help but realize that it had taken him two whole 
years to reach one hundred and twenty-five dollars a month 
and save four hundred dollars. Uncle Alec after all was a 
good scout. 

“And now, Billy, there’s just a last month to live 
through!” 

2 

Waiting for her at home was a note from Uncle Alec: 

“I’ve written to Cynthia Rawlins. Don’t forget your 
promise!” 

Also was waiting for her a note from Cynthia Rawlins. 
“Dear Jenny Joslin:— 

“Do come and have a cup of tea with me in the garden 
Friday afternoon. You promised your Uncle Alec, and, 
anyway, I would so love to see you—” 

Mrs. Rawlins was very lovely,—a good deal like Jenny’s 
mother. Indeed Jenny felt her whole heart rush out to 
her, as they sat under the wistaria arbor that warm sum¬ 
mer afternoon. A woman to talk to,—a woman who un^ 
derstood her language! 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 59 

They looked at each other with expressions of complete 
ease and friendship. Cynthia Rawlins was as grateful for 
the fact that at last this young thing she loved was coming 
into her life as Jenny, to think that at last she had foimd 
an older woman who was all her soul could ask for. One 
person like that was as much as a body needed in the 
world. And Billy. And Uncle Alec. 

“You do make me think so of your Uncle Alec!’’ 

Jenny beamed. “And mother—don’t I remind you a little 
of mother?” 

“You remind me a little, perhaps, of every person I 
ever loved. . . . Tell me about your William.” 

Which was easily done. There was no subject Jenny 
liked to talk about more than—or as much as—^her William. 

“. . . And you are to be married in a month 1” 

“Twenty-eight days now!” 

“Your Uncle Alec wrote that I was ^to talk to you.’ 
What in the world did he want me to talk to you about, 
except anything and everything which came into our 
thoughts?” 

Jenny’s mind flew back to the afternoon of her Sopho¬ 
more year by the lake. 

“He wants you to talk to me about getting married. 
I don’t know just what. He seemed to think there must 
be things I ought to know. I’d always thought mother 
had told me everything necessary.” 

“What do you know?” Cynthia Rawlins asked her. 

Jenny told her all she could think of about having 
babies. 

“But there is more to married life, my dearest Jenny, 


6o 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

than having babies. Here I am, married fifteen years, 
and IVe never had any babies. What about that?” 

“I don’t understand about that,” said Jenny. “Did you 
want babies?” 

“With all my heart. It was the—the main reason—I got 
married.” 

“Is that so?” asked Jenny in amazement. She wanted 
babies badly enough, but the main reason she was getting 
married was to live with Billy Lamar. “Then why didn’t 
you have babies?” 

“No one seems to know.” 

A pause in which Jenny’s heart hurt her terribly,—^hurt 
for Mrs. Rawlins. Imagine wanting babies and not having 

them. . . . 

. . . One way and another there was this and that which 
Cynthia Rawlins could tell Jenny. She told it as Uncle 
Alec knew she would,—so that when Jenny left the rose- 
scented garden long after the bees and butterflies were 
gone, she knew that, while marriage was a good deal more 
complicated than she had imagined it, there were even 
more possibilities for beauty and depth of love than she 
had visioned. 

Cynthia Rawlins had not failed Uncle Alec. 

Jenny could not know that the woman with the soft 
brown hair, slight streaks of gray here and there, her eyes 
gazing off beyond the hollyhocks and cosmos into the land 
of cherished dreams, was painting the picture of married 
life for Jenny not as she had learned its beauty from 
experience,—far from it. Rather, for two hours, did she 
let her heart play madly with the golden fancy of what 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 6i 

it must have been like had Cynthia Norris waited and 
married Alec Anderson. 

3 

Uncle Alec appeared the day before the wedding, “as 
if,” blustered the harassed Aunt Ernie, “there wasn’t enough 
to do without having a man around the house!” To add 
to Aunt Ernie’s concern and dismay, Mrs. Rawlins insisted 
on helping. “Don’t you pay the least attention to Aunt 
Ernie,” Jenny had admonished her. So she did not pay 
the least attention to Aunt Ernie, and packed, and put 
wedding presents around on tables, and decorated, and 
printed name cards, and arranged for automobiles, and 
ordered Jenny’s bouquet—all the last things which from 
lack of experience or from fluster. Aunt Ernie, or Jenny, 
or William, were incapable of performing. Uncle Alec,— 
of course Uncle Alec couldn’t be expected to know anything 
about anything. (“Why such a lot of fuss, Cynthia? As 
long as the minister and Billy appear, I can’t for the life 
of me see the sense of all this activity. I came to have 
a last quiet visit with Jenny.”) As for Jenny, efficient 
Jenny, who had as good as run the entire college before 
she was through—Jenny went off in a blue-yellow-rose- 
green haze with Billy at 9:30 a. m. after extra name cards 
and appeared again at four. We draw the curtain on 
Aunt Ernie’s reception to the returned lovers. They failed 
to catch more than a tenth of it anyway. 

Whereupon, realizing that Aunt Ernie was in that mood 
where Jenny preferred company, and Billy having tom 


62 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

himself away to—to shave or—or do something, Jenny 
asked where her Uncle Alec was. 

“Don’t ask me where your Uncle Alec is!” 

“Where’s Mrs. Rawlins?” 

“How should I know where Mrs. Rawlins is?” And 
as Aunt Ernie went about moving everything one-sixteenth 
of an inch right or left from where everything was doing 
perfectly well in the first place, she sputtered, “Nice way 
to do, at their age! Go off like that, and she a married 
woman!” 

By special invitation it was Mrs. Rawlins who hooked 
Jenny’s wedding dress, arranged the veil, patted her here 
and there. It was only because Jenny was the pet she 
was of the gods that she looked like a presentable bride 
when she got through. Mrs. Rawlins’ cheeks were flaming 
red, her eyes sparkling almost feverishly, her hands shook 
so that nothing went exactly right. Jenny’s own cheeks 
were almost as red, her eyes almost as sparkling, her hands 
shook almost as hard. For Jenny, she was about to step 
into the Beautiful Existence,—^years of glory and wonder 
and delight with the man she loved. For Cynthia Rawlins, 
she had snatched one afternoon, she was snatching part 
of one night, from the eternity of afternoons, and of nights 
of unending boredom and pettiness,—that much of glory 
and wonder and delight with the man she loved. One 
afternoon and part of one night—so much of the Beautiful 
Existence. So much of a wild surrender to the throbbing 
pulse of youth and yearning fairly bursting her veins. So 
much—out of all eternity. 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 63 

Ah, Jenny, your glowing new life, opening out shimmer¬ 
ing before those sparkling eyes, the world bearing gifts, 
music, rose petals, song. Well may your cheeks glow, 
your heart beat high I 

Ah, Cynthia Rawlins, your one radiant afternoon and 
night, and the world mocking you for that—if the world 
ever knows! 

Is it worth what the world may do about it, if the world 
ever does find out? 

Yes, cries the soul of Cynthia Rawlins, it is worth any¬ 
thing, everything,—one afternoon and part of one night! 

At forty-five one afternoon and part of one night can 
mean almost as much as one year at twenty-two. 

And in the excitement of the wedding of Jenny Joslin 
to William Lamar, Jenny Joslin, loved of all the town, it 
just so happened that for once the world forgot to busy 
itself, as is its wont, with where every one spends every 
five minutes. 

Which, however, was no part of the reason why Cynthia 
Rawlins, out alone under the wistaria arbor the day after 
Jenny Joslin’s wedding, gazing off again beyond the holly¬ 
hocks and cosmos into the land of cherished dreams, whis¬ 
pered to herself, ‘Thank You, God!” 


CHAPTER V 


I 

^‘We shall,” Jenny had announced some time in advance, 
‘‘spend very little on a honeymoon.” 

“But, Jen,” her Billy pleaded, “every one will think 
I’m a ‘cheap skate’—not to give my bride a decent honey¬ 
moon! I say, let’s economize on something else!” 

“We’ll start economizing on the honeymoon. Because— 
look here, Billy,—it’s just a matter of cold common sense. 
How much do you love me?” 

“I say, Jen,—good Lord, you don’t expect me to be 
able to tell that!” 

“Just so. And I love you the exact same amount in 
return. Now when two folks love each other that much, 
will you tell me what earthly difference it makes where 
they spend their honeymoon!” 

“But, Jen, what’ll folks say?^^ 

After smoothing over in the traditional way of lovers 
what came thus perilously near being a disagreement Billy 
said, “Just what is your idea then of a honeymoon?” 

“It’s this way. You’ve admitted it doesn’t make the 
least difference where we go or are. Honeymoons—their 
destination—should of course always be kept secret from 
every one. That you will admit. Why not keep it secret 
from ourselves?” 


64 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 65 

“How in the world can you go some place and not know 
where you are going?” 

To which Jenny replied, with wisdom beyond her years: 
“That’s the way almost everybody goes . . . You never 
heard a little song, T don’t know where I’m going, but 
I’m on my way’?” 

“Yes, but a honeymoon!” 

“That’s what we’ll sing when we start off, Mr. and Mrs. 
William Lamar, decorated in white ribbons and new patent 
leather shoes,—one, two, three: ‘We don’t know where 
we’re going, but we’re on our way!’ . . . Don’t look like 
that, as if I talked—or sang—in Greek. See, Billy, what 
a mistake it would be to spend a lot of money traveling 
some place far. We shan’t have the remotest notion where 
we are anyhow. So my idea is, we’ll each put down a 
dollar on the railroad station counter—or you put down 
two—and say, ‘We want that much worth of tickets, south¬ 
ern direction.’ ” 

“Jenny! They’ll think matrimony has unsettled your 
mind!” 

“It will do them good—break into their everyday routine. 
They’ll have to get out a book or something and look 
to see just where one gets to, starting south on a dollar. 
... It may be we’d get four cents back, since the train 
wouldn’t necessarily stop at the exact dollar inch, as it 
were. We’d get off at the nearest station this side of a 
dollar’s worth,—nothing more!” 

“But I’d feel like an idiot!” 

“Then I’ll buy the tickets. I think it would be no end 
of fun and excitement.” 


66 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

‘‘We might land in some dirty old coal-mining town—” 

“Or some terrible big city—” 

“Or—or a place where there'd be nothing but saloons— 

“Or where there’d be no hotel and we’d have to sleep 
with the station master on a wooden bench and hear the 
telegraph thing clicking all night—” 

“Really, Jen, no joking,—it’s an awful risk. And on 
a honeymoon! It just isn’t done!” 

“I tell you, Billy, we’ll compromise. That’s what we’ll 
always do, eh, Billy? The first night, because it would 
be dark and hard finding our way about a strange—coal¬ 
mining town, we’ll spend at Forster’s over the bridge, where 
every bride and groom goes year in year out. Conventional, 
proper, approved. See how good I am, how yielding. And 
then the next day we’ll start out for our dollar’s worth.” 

“Just as you say, Jenny, just as you say.” 

No two honeymoons in all the world could ever be 
alike, even if different pairs of brides and grooms went 
to the same hotel, in the same town, and stayed the same 
length of time, and had the same weather. On the average, 
every young couple bring to their first days together 
twenty to thirty years of background, each quite unlike 
the other, if for no additional reason than that one is a 
man, the other a woman. Always a certain separation of 
personalities continues, the degree of separateness depending 
on the age of marriage, the mutual interests, the amount 
of love. For those first days there has been no time to 
learn a working philosophy of married life, no understand¬ 
ing of the enormous role pure technique can play in en- 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 67 

abling two separate personalities to live comfortably under 
one roof. And so much depends on those first days! Per¬ 
haps the melody and rhythm of the rest of life catches 
its motif, its impulse, from the honeymoon. When the 
world they have more or less forgotten claims the two 
again after those first experiences together, it may receive 
them back less of lovers than when they stood, that night 
of nights, and heard themselves pronounced man and wife. 
Alas, that so much the world could do to play its part 
toward combining successfully two lives, never gets done, 
or gets done wrong. Either the mind, soul, and body re¬ 
ceive no preparation whatever for the most potential of 
all steps taken in life, or such equipment as the world 
supplies is fashioned of ugly stories, half truths, direct 
lies, innuendoes. Years of falsehoods, of misinformation, 
of no information at all,—such, for alas how many, is the 
foundation of the structure upon which society itself rests. 
For in what consideration,—racial, industrial, political, re¬ 
ligious, can the family be disregarded? In every circle 
it is the starting point, the end. In its intangible atmos¬ 
phere each new generation receives its impetus, its chains. 
People ,—the throbbing dynamic cause and effect of every 
atom of the world’s endeavor! 

And how often do we conceive them in an agony of 
misunderstanding, bear them in a spirit of rebellion, give 
birth to them in a torment of fear, and let them grow in 
their turn through lies, misinformation, no information, to 
the act of conception again! 

When it can all be so amazingly wonderful. . . . 

But with the first of wedded life, as with the middle 


68 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

and the end, it rests on two people together to make it 
wonderful. Bride alone, wife alone, mother alone, no 
more than groom alone, husband alone, father alone, can 
produce the soul which typifies marriage. The union of 
the wills of man and woman is as essential to the creation 
of the rich spirit of married life as is their physical union 
necessary for the creation of human beings. Either mate 
alone, in either case, is sterile. 

Of all the wedding gifts to start Jenny Joslin on her 
life with William Lamar, the most precious of all, then, 
was the beauty and truth she had learned early from 
her mother; the beauty and truth she learned later from 
Cynthia Rawlins. Well might those who loved Jenny, 
those who sent their cherished thoughts to follow after 
her, have called “Thank You, God!” 

2 

It was before ten o’clock the next morning that Jenny 
and her Billy, Mr. and Mrs. William Lamar, found their 
way to the ticket window at the railroad station. For all 
Jenny’s fine talk, she discovered it was going to be a 
much more embarrassing performance than she had imag¬ 
ined to put a dollar down on the counter, or furnish William 
with sufficient moral support to put two dollars down, 
and say, “That far, south.” But one couldn’t start one’s 
married life backing out of things. It was finally she who 
took the two dollars, Billy pleading the last minute to be 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 69 

allowed to do something prosaic and conventional, and 
demanded their money’s worth in mileage. The ticket man 
was anything but helpful. It was too much of a departure 
from his routine. He was used to haziness, but absolute 
blankness was out of his line. At last he produced two 
ordinary day-coach tickets to Smedly, price ninety-five 
cents each. 

Jenny was by that time feeling at ease and assured. 
She dashed for Billy. “Only think,—we’re going some 
place you never heard of in all your life!” 

“If only God has heard of it!” sighed her William. 
Himself—no, he had never heard of Smedly. 

“And we’ve lived in these parts all our lives!” grinned 
Jenny, assured that after all the plan was worth the first 
embarrassment. 

They made their way to the last seat in the car. “Billy, 
isn’t it fun, now isnH it, not to have any idea where you’re 
going? Oh, I wouldn’t give this scheme up for a thousand 
dollars!” 

“It’s all very well for you to talk, Jenny. I’ve got all 
the responsibility on my shoulders, and it scares me to 
think I may be taking my—my wife—to some heck of a 
town.” 

“Nonsense, it’s not your responsibility at all. I’m en¬ 
tirely to blame, absolutely and alone, for what Smedly 
turns out to be. But you will be a gentleman and say 
‘Thank you, Jenny,’ if it turns out to be very nice, won’t 
you? It will be the test of your manhood, William Lamar, 
how many times you say ‘I told you so!”’ 


70 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

They didn’t believe ninety-five cents’ worth was far 
enough to take off their things and make themselves at 
home. Better be ready to jump at Smedly. 

The conductor came along and took their tickets. 

“Flag station.” 

“Good Lord, Jenny!” 

“My only fear was that it would turn out to be a 
bustling city. . . . But it is good we didn’t try arriving 
last night.” 

In the midst of nothingness the train suddenly stopped. 
Accident? Cow on the track? The conductor stuck his 
head in the car door and called: 

“Smedly.” 

“I’ll be darned!” said the groom. 

A grab for suitcases and umbrellas and the kodak; a walk 
up the entire length of a bewildered and interested car; 
and Mr. and Mrs. William Lamar stepped out upon a world 
which presented them with a departing train and a large 
sign painted “Smedly.” 

“I’ll be darned!” said the groom again. 

“Billy, Billy, isn’t it glorious and comforting to think 
women know so much more than men?” 

“About what?” 

“Honeymoons!” 

“How so?” 

“Think—we could have spent ninety-five dollars apiece 
in carfare and not have reached a place where we could 
have such privacy. You can kiss me in broad daylight, 
and at the station!—any place!—and no one to giggle and 
say, ‘Bride and groom!’ Just try it, Billy.” 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 71 

He tried it—tried it often. Smedly? Atlantic City? 
No, it really made no difference. 

Until he looked around again at an expanse of low 
rolling hills and brush and scrub oaks, and was over¬ 
whelmed with the responsibility of a wife in such a 
spot. 

“But it is my responsibility! And I’ve not so much 
as begun to regret it! ... See, adventure never ends! 
Do we take this road east or west, or that road north or 
south?” 

“Whatever you say.” 

“No, sir, you’ve got to share a bit in this performance. 
I can always hurl it at your head that it was the road 
we took and not Smedly itself.” 

“So ... I wish you’d say, Jenny!” 

“No, sir, it’s your honeymoon!” 

“Well, then, east, toward those hills.” 

Sometimes they trudged along the road with the suit¬ 
cases; sometimes they sat under the oaks and forgot again 
whether it was Smedly or Atlantic City. And then they 
took up the baggage again and went on. 

“No one ever will know where we spent our honeymoon!” 
declared Jenny. “When they ask us, we’ll say ‘Smedly,’ 
and when they say, ‘Where in the world, what in the world 
is Smedly?’ we’ll just say, ‘Why, Smedly!”’ 

The sound of a wagon wheel scraping over a rock, the 
crack of a whip. 

“Billy, don’t you love it? Isn’t it exciting?” 

Around a low hill a large empty farm wagon came lum¬ 
bering. On the seat was a weathered, lean man of some 


72 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

forty years. He drew up his horses at sight of the two 
strangers and their baggage. 

^‘Hello!” called Jenny. 

‘‘Hello,” grunted the man. 

“Where are we going?” asked Jenny. 

“Hungh?” 

“Where are we going?” 

“Damned if I know!” 

“Same here!” Jenny laughed at him. 

“I say”—^William felt his manhood must assert itself 
in some sort of protection for this woman who belonged 
to him—“I say, is there a hotel- or anything any place 
around here?” 

“Huh! . . . Na!” The man wiped one side of his nose 
with the thumb of the hand which held the whip. “Hotel? 

. . . Huh. . . . Na. . . .” 

“What is there around here?” What a honeymoon to 
take a girl on! 

“Nothin’ much.” 

“Well, you live same placeT^ Jenny ventured. 

“Sure, I live some place.” 

“Well, maybe there’s some place else!” Jenny suggested 
happily. 

“. . . Gonna settle?” 

“No, not settle—-long. We’re—^we’re on our honey¬ 

moon!” 

“Wall I never. . . . Ho-ho! Wall I never. . . . Ya 
mean ya jus’ got married?” 

“Mean that.” 

“Say, whatever . . . Wall, I’ll be durned!” 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 73 

‘‘We’re going to stay a week,—that’s about all the vaca¬ 
tion my—Mr.—a—Billy—could get.” 

The man rubbed his nose again. 

“Well, I ain’t so old I forgot all I ever knew. Won’t 
do for you chilluns to honeymoon out a whole week under 
scrub oaks. . . . Starve to death. . . . Great business, this 
lovin’ and all. . . . Gotta eat. . . . Gotta eat. ... So 
. . . I’ll be durned. . . . Well, you’re here. . . . Either ya 
can get in and I’ll drive ya to St. George,—that’s quite 
a place—movies every night, railroad, hotel, stores and all, 
or . . . Want a lot a company?” 

“Goodness no, none at all!” 

“Uh-ha. . . . So . . . I’ll be durned. . . . Smedly. 
. . . Wall, or ya ken have my house. Ain’t much. I 
was plannin’ to be gone four or five days. Was goin’ 
to ask Smith Tumpson to tend the chickens., . . . Cow died. 
. . . I ken jus’ as well stay away a week. If ya ken 
feed the chickens. . . . Ya’ll find the feed in the barn. 
Eat one of ’em now and then if ya want. ... I ain’t so 
old I forgot everythin’ I ever knew. . . .No, sir. . . . 
There’s enough food around, I guess. . . . Y’ll find some 
berries an’ one thing ’n’ another.” 

“Oh, Mr.—Mr.—” 

“No ‘Mister,’—jus’ plain Muller.” 

“Honestly, Mr.—I’ve just got to say Mr. Muller,—you’re 
just too good for words! Billy, Billy,—didn’t I just know 
it would work out like this!” 

“Wall, what’ll it be?” 

“Oh, your house,—don’t you say so, Billy?” 

“Sure I do. ... I say, you’re kind!” 


74 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

“Huh ,—ysL ain’t seen the house yet. . . . Ya get happy 
awful easy. . . . I’ll be dumed. ... So, go along . . . 
make yourselves ta home. . . Long time since I had any¬ 
thing to do with weddin’s an’ things. Makes me feel all 
young again. . . . I’ll be durned. . . . It’s about two mile 
on. . . . S’long. Enjoy yaselvesl Wish it was all fixed 
up nice an’ all. ... I declare. . . . Makes me feel all 
young again. . . .” 

“I say”—Jenny was in that state where she could scarcely 
wait to blow her kiss to heaven—“I say, you’re the very 
nicest man we’ve seen since we’ve been married! Just 
think how we’ll talk about you and bless you for years 
and years and years!” 

“Huh. . . . Mebbe. . . . Mebbe not. . . . Wall, 
s’long. . . .” 

“Have a grand time at St. George!” 

“Huh. ... St. George. . . . Wall, have a gran’ time 
at Smedly!” 

He jerked in the reins, grunted to his horses, and turned 
his head exactly in time to catch the kiss Jenny threw to 
him just after the one to heaven. “Don’t forget the 
chickens!” he called. 

Around the bend behind the hill which hid Mr. Muller 
from view Jenny tugged the suitcases from Billy’s hands 
and set them plump in the middle of the road. Then she 
stood square in front of him, threw both her arms about 
his startled neck, whereupon his hat landed in the dust, 
and giving him a kiss which nearly dislocated his face, 
said, “Did you ever, ever know any one in all the world 
as lucky as Mr. and Mrs. William Lamar!” 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 75 

Billy pulled himself together again, held her at arm’s 
length and looked her straight in the eyes. “You, Jenny, 
—I never knew any one in the world so lucky as Mr. 
William Lamar I” 

Which was nice, and pleased his wife very much. 

They trudged along through the dust and the sun, and 
never minded dust or sun. Jenny gurgled and laughed, 
and they sang songs, and Billy was almost as happy as 
if it had all been his idea. 

“But of course, Jenny, we really haven’t seen the house 
yet. It may be something awful!” 

“But it’s a house! And we’ve got it to ourselves! And 
there are chickens and berries!” 

And all of a sudden, around another little turn in the 
road following a hill, they came upon it. It was very, very 
small, it was unpainted, it had a little dirty window toward 
the road, next the door. Billy looked at Jenny, Jenny 
looked at Billy, and they laughed. 

“Jenny, honest though, it is an awful looking place to 
take a bride.” 

“Billy! It’s our first home. Think of the wide range 
in improvement it allows for in the second home you pre¬ 
pare for your bride! We shall have such a feeling of 
increased material prosperity every move we ever make!” 

They walked up a little path with a border of old bottles 
turned upside down. On either side of the border was a 
scraggly mixture of cabbages, marigolds, turnips, carrots, 
fuchsias, onions, sweet peas. To the left of the house was 
a potato patch. To the right, the chickens. The door 


76 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

was unlocked; they stepped wide-open eyed into the house. 
It possessed just one room. A stove was in one corner, 
a bed in another, a table in another, a curtained shelf 
arrangement in the fourth and last. 

“No nook for you to escape from me, William!’’ 

“Jenny, honest though, it is a queer-looking place to 
bring a bride.” 

“Nonsense,—it’s Smedly! It’s where you live when you 
live in Smedly. And the first thing of all is, you wash 
the window while I see about food.” 

If folks aren’t too particular they can always find every¬ 
thing they want in the world. The great mistake is that 
too many people are too fastidious. 

Within an hour Jenny had fed her man,—there were 
canned goods of sorts aplenty. The window was washed. 
The bedding was out getting more sun than it knew what 
to do with, and Jenny was washing two old red and white 
tablecloths she found to do for sheets. They scrubbed, they 
swept, they dusted. Bottles and tin cans were filled with 
sweet peas and placed in every conceivable corner. There 
is small satisfaction in cleaning a place already practically 
clean. There is complete contentment of the soul in bring¬ 
ing spotless order out of a ten-year collection of dust and 
dirt. The lamp chimney had never been washed since it 
was bought, the stove never polished, the shelves never 
scrubbed. By seven o’clock Mr. Muller’s bachelor quarters 
fairly blistered with cleanliness, everything smelt of sun 
and sweet peas, and Mr. and Mrs. William Lamar were 
eating their supper under the oak trees between the potato 
patch and the house. 


77 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

^Were you ever in all the world so happy?’' 
was never in all the world so happy.” 

“Now where is Jenny’s good William, who says all gentle¬ 
manly-like, ‘Thank you, Mrs. Lamar, for Smedly!’?” 

“Thank you, Mrs. Lamar, for Smedly!” And he didn’t 
have to move to kiss her the seven hundred and fifty-third 
time that day. 

Later, on the doorstep of the home they already loved, 
they watched the moon rise all for them, full, round, 
yellow, over the low scrub-oak hills. 

“Our moon, Billy, our home, our—EWorld!” 

And then a forlorn cock crow on the still night air. 

“Oh, oh,—and our chickens, William! We forgot all 
about our chickens!” 

Seven days of contentment. On Saturday they found a 
stream, and after four hours of effort caught two trout 
with their hands,—two trout, all of four inches long. Sun¬ 
day they forgot the chickens again and got up with a 
candle in the middle of the night to find the feed in the 
barn. Only the chickens refused to come out at that hour 
and partake of a moonlight supper. Monday they put 
up a lunch of bacon between cold hot cakes and walked 
for miles over rolling scrub-oak and low-brush hills. They 
waded in brooks, they slept under trees, they read some 
poems of Service’s. Tuesday they cleaned the barn, after 
deciding Saturday they wouldn’t, Sunday they’d better not, 
Monday it really wasn’t their barn, and they ought to 
leave it alone. Wednesday they dammed the creek and 


78 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

experimented with swimming in a foot of water and drying 
in the sun. ‘Why, oh, why didn’t we think of this Satur¬ 
day, and every day since?” Thursday they cleaned the 
house all over again and raked the garden and trained up 
the sweet peas against the house which had till then grown 
all in a heap, and hoed perilously among the vegetables, 
and washed the window again, and spruced up generally, 
inside and out, that Mr. Muller might stand spellbound 
at his own gate. All the time Jenny was almost in tears to 
think that the next day was their last. 

Nor was it until that last night they realized they had 
no idea about trains. They must just arrive early at that 
sign marked Smedly, and wave. Perhaps only one train 
a day ran north. Perhaps it would not reach that sign 
until six-thirty p. m. Perhaps it reached it at nine a. m. 
So they made another lunch of bacon between cold hot 
cakes and filled an empty bottle with water from the well, 
and were ready for an early start. 

The last morning of their honeymoon. . , . They hung 
over every moment of it,—the last time we get breakfast 
on our beloved stove; the last time we eat under our be¬ 
loved scrub oaks (we mustn’t forget to put the table back 
in the house); the last time we wash our beloved dishes. 
At the door they kissed each other as those kiss who are 
about to return to the world more lovers than they left it, 
kissed each other again on the step—and lo, there at the 
gate was Mr. Muller’s wagon, Mr. Muller himself and—a 
strange woman next him. 

Mr. Muller was one beam from ear to ear. “Ain’t it a 
nice little home, though?” he was asking the lady. “Ain’t 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 79 

them nice sweet peas I fixed that way by the door? I 
do declare, it all looks even nicer'n I thought it would!” 

Then he noticed Mr. and Mrs. William Lamar. 

“Ho-hol There we are! How’s Smedly? Old Muller’s 
house ain’t so bad, eh? . . . I’ll be dumed. . . 

He jumped down off the wagon, now piled high with 
provisions of all sorts, then turned and helped heave the 
stolid, healthy-looking party to the ground. 

“Well, I do declare. . . . Guess I surprised you all 
right. . . . Ya never spected me to be turning up here 
with a Mrs. Henery Muller, I’ll bet my bottom dollar. 
Bet ya ain’t half so surprised as I am! How ’bout yaself, 
Mrs. Muller,—^hey? Little surprised yaself. I’ll jus’ bet 
my bottom dollar. ... I say, I don’t jus’ recclect as I 
got ya names. Meet m’ wife!” 

All the world loves lovers. Jenny, bride of twenty-two, 
found herself embracing Mrs. Muller, bride of forty-five, 
and Mrs. Muller found herself planting large kisses on 
Jenny’s joyous face. 

“Oh, I’m so glad, dear Mrs. Muller! I’m so glad!” 

Jenny’s neat traveling hat was all askew. Mrs. Muller’s 
St. George Emporium creation of lavender straw and red 
roses was all askew. Billy and Mr. Muller were shaking 
hands and patting each other on the back. Wasn’t it a 
wondrous world? 

“I jus’ declare,” old Muller sputtered, the most excited 
of all. “Blame if I didn’t get thinkin’ all the way to 
St. George. ... I got thinkin’, you ain’t so old, Muller, 
old boy! What’s the matter with ya jus’ having a little 
honeymoon at Smedly of ya own? says I, and the more 


8o 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

I says it the younger I felt, and I sez, sez I, a gal round 
old Muller’s house ’u’d look purty good to me. . . . Gosh 
. . . felt just about eighteen, blame if I didn’t. . . . An’ 
I looked around St. George an’ couldn’t see nobody looked 
like jus’ what I was after. Lost four whole days. So I 
put an ad in the St. George Mercwy, an’ blame if I didn’t 
draw the missus here—^jus’ 6X>actly what I was lookin’ for!” 

He thumped her gaily on the back, and her face broke 
into a contented beam under the St. George Emporium’s 
lavender straw and roses, still askew. 

“An’ so here we are! Purty nice old home—eh, Missus 
Muller?” 

“It’s awful nice!” Mrs. Muller murmured, still one large 
smile. Everything about Mrs. Muller, from the roses of 
St. George’s Emporium, to the shoes of St. George’s Casino 
Shoe Parlor, was large. 

“No, siree!—couldn’t let ya fellas hog all the honey¬ 
moonin’!” 

Billy began to feel a bit uneasy. Suddenly he realized 
that he and Jenny had never given a thought to some 
manner of payment for their week of joy,—bed and board 
at the expense of Mr. Muller. Painfully he began: 

“A—Mr. Muller, we—^we owe you a whole lot for this 
last week. We’ve eaten up almost all your canned goods. 
We didn’t kill any of the chickens, though,—Jenny just 
wouldn’t have it when it came right down to it,—but we— 
we owe you a whole lot . . . ! ” 

“Hey there,—^yor off on the wrong foot. Good Lord, 
young fella, ya don’t owe me nothin’! Look here what I 
got, all ’n account of ya and yor little gal!” And again 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 8i 

the sturdy Mrs. Muller shook contentedly from his thump. 

So Jenny and William stood there and tried to thank 
the man as well as mortals can express gratitude for the 
most glorious days they had ever known. Jenny kissed 
Mrs. Muller again and they looked at each other. In even 
the calm eyes of the sturdy bride of forty-five there were 
tears. Some happiness in the world is just too much. 
Jenny was visibly snuffling. She turned to bid Mr. Muller 
good-by, and because at last all words failed her, she threw 
her arms around his neck and kissed him too. 

‘‘Hey there. ... I declare. . . . Wall, I’ll be durned, 
blame if I won’t! I say, everything does sure happen at 
once in this world!” 

Jenny and her Billy walked slowly to the bend of the 
road and looked back. Mr. Muller was unloading the 
provisions from the wagon, whistling at the top of his 
lungs. Mrs. Muller,—Jenny clutched William’s arm—Mrs. 
Muller, already clad in a kitchen apron, singing a Swedish 
song, was washing—^was washing—the window! 


CHAPTER VI 


I 

It was in November that Jenny received a letter from 
Cynthia Rawlins: 

“Child, child, I miss you so, I need you so! That 
last month we had together spoilt me, having you always 
to talk to, to work with. It made everything easier with 
you around. I do believe you took ten years off my age. 

“Not till now have I been able to write you,—not until 
I heard the great news from you. I hesitated to tell you 
of my happiness until I should hear that you too were 
looking forward in joy and anticipation to the Wonderful 
Event. And you hesitating to tell me, knowing how I 
longed for children. 

“Jenny, Jenny, I am going to have a baby of my own! 
My soul has yearned for one these—I was going to say 
fifteen years. Nay, these twenty, twenty-five, thirty years, 
—ever since I can remember. And now, sometimes I wake 
in fear and trembling. I am so old,—forty-six!—the child, 
my own child, will think of me as a grandmother. Some¬ 
times—ah, I can tell you this, you buoyant young thing, 
and it will cause you no concern—but sometimes I wake 
in the night frightened, terribly frightened, lest having 
waited this long, perhaps affairs won’t go just right. Per¬ 
haps the little thing will not be strong. Perhaps I cannot 
weather the trial. Such fears I have, such fears! When 
all my soul should be rejoicing! It is just because of 
such overwhelming rejoicing that I am so afraid. 

“And you, you child yourself, and I, this aged woman 
who loves you, and leans on you with a hungry heart,— 
we shall be suffering our pains of glorious possession about 

82 


83 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

the same time. You will come through so amazingly,—it’s 
your way. I shan’t be surprised to hear you get along 
without a doctor or a nurse, and no doubt you’ll be paint¬ 
ing the roof when the baby starts to arrive. Do, do let 
it rest a spell after it is born! I had to read the part 
of your letter where you told of your doings to the doctor. 
He takes life most seriously,—perhaps all doctors are like 
that. When I got through he remarked earnestly, ‘How 
grateful the offspring will be for birth and quiet.’ 

“And I,—I sit around, scared to move lest something 
happen. You young thing just starting out, declaring this 
your first of ten,—well may you hop, skip, and jump about 
creation. As for me,—ah, Jenny, this is the only chance 
I shall ever have in life. I wonder if you possibly can 
love your baby as I shall love mine! 

“Heigh-ho! Think of me, joyous Jenny, as you career 
about the town marketing, scrubbing, cooking, cleaning, 
eating whipped cream at parties,—think of me sitting almost 
in a daze by the front upstairs window, sewing, sewing, 
sewing, on four times as many garments as a child can 
possibly wear. But when I do go out, and I venture forth 
now and then,—ah, Jenny, I carry my head high! It is 
worth waiting fifteen years for this. 

“I am sending you a box of baby things. As I tell you, 
I’ve made four times too many for my own, and it is 
plain to see you have no time for sewing. I don’t imagine 
Aunt Em is overburdening you. But, Jenny, I ran over 
one day,—I was so hungry for news of you and thought 
Aunt Em might have some. No one came to the door so 
I opened it softly, prepared to call upstairs and ask if 
any one were home. There was Aunt Em in the Front 
Parlor—she will call it that—smoothing out a little baby 
sack she had just finished knitting, and the tears were 
streaming down her face. I knew she would only feel 
embarrassed did she have any idea I saw her, so I closed 
the door softly and went on home. 

“Jenny, I knew just exactly how she felt. After I got 
to my room I wept for her until I thought my heart would 
break. But you—^you married at twenty-two, having your 


84 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

first baby your first year—you, Jenny, will never in all 
your life guess the suffering I knew was in your Aunt Em’s 
heart. For you—yes, the world is indeed‘perfect,’ as you 
say. But for some of us—heigh-ho! again—it is far too 
late to have it anything but a cruel and almost insufferable 
denial. 

“Writing of Ernie I felt so keenly again for her I almost 
forgot the joy that at last is mine; how my tears are—^yes, 
yes, they must be—dried. For, oh, I have at last so much, 
so much! Fifteen years I have been telling myself that 
a baby meant the most in all the world to me. Therefore 
indeed would I never forgive myself if I continue sighing 
after the impossible. 

“For a sight of you! A talk with you! Jenny, Jenny, 
I do love you!” 

Two months later Jenny received another letter from 
Cynthia Rawlins: 

“Dearest Jenny:— 

“The worry lest things go wrong is almost torture. I 
have written you the enclosed letter. If everyAing turns 
out smoothly with my blessed babe and me, tear it up. But 
if—if I should die, read it. I could not ask more of you 
than I do in that letter. It is from a soul in desperation. 
If I could have half your courage! 

“Faithfully always, 

‘‘Cynthia R.” 


2 

One month later, and Jenny called to her William one 
bright Sunday morning: “Now what do you know about 
that for luck! I swore I’d get this bathroom painted—I 
swore it. And bless me if I don’t just know the Child 
is arriving!” 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 85 

Billy turned a shade slightly grayer than the bathroom. 
“Jenny!” he gasped. 

“Goodness, Billy, any one would think you were going 
to have it!” 

“I’ll—I’ll run for the doctor!” 

He turned and fled out the front door. Jenny rushed to 
the living room and put her head out the window. 

“I say, Will-i-um! What do you think we have a tele¬ 
phone for?” 

Will-i-um tore back. 

“Dearest husband, it’s always best to hold the telephone 
book right side up in searching for numbers. That’s the 
common practice in all the first families. . . . I’m so glad 
you’re in such a state,—it makes me feel so calm. ... If 
it’s really the doctor’s number you’re after, you pasted it 
yourself right here on the telephone six months ago.” 

“. . . Jennyr William Lamar’s voice sounded as if 
he had direct communication that creation was to end in 
five minutes. “Jenny!** 

“Heavens, Billy, what in the world is it?” 

“The—the line’s busy!” 

“Will-i-um!” Jenny’s laughing tone mocked his. “Then 
I’ll just not have the baby!” 

“Please let me run for the doctor! I’d be so much more 
—more comfortable—running!” 

“And if the baby arrives before you get back—?” 

“My God, Jenny,—you don’t really think—” 

“Sometimes they arrive right in the street cars, Billy 
just like that. In hacks, in taxis,—on street corners—” 

“Jenny!” 


86 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

“But IVe arranged, this being my seventh, and so being 
very experienced, to have mine arrive in bed.’^ 

Meanwhile Jenny was endeavoring to raise central while 
her William leaned limp against the wall. She got the 
trained nurse. The trained nurse would be right out. No, 
there was no hurry about the doctor. Three or four hours 
would be time enough. 

“Three or four hours, Jenny! Why—^why, I can’t stand 
it!” 

He had to stand it fourteen hours. For ten hours of 
that time Jenny kept his spirits up. The last four she 
needed for herself such energy as she had. Billy sat by 
the side of the bed and wiped his forehead with his hand¬ 
kerchief and asked the doctor every so often in a hoarse 
whisper, meant to be inaudible to Jenny, if she were dying. 
He refused to leave the room, Jenny refused to consider 
such a move. After a severe struggle, when Jenny did lie 
back very limp, he gasped, “Now, now, she’s dying!” And 
when his agonized gaze beheld Jenny winking one eye at 
the doctor, he felt he was as abused a husband as ever 
lived. How could she treat his agony so! And when, 
shortly before the baby was born, Jenny remarked, and 
winked this time at him, “William, if you had proposed 
to me almost any time to-day I don’t think I should have 
accepted you!” his heart hurt unbearably. She also in¬ 
formed the doctor that she felt it a very wise provision 
of society and providence that as an ordinary established 
custom babies did not arrive on honeymoons. “It certainly 
would take the edge off a wedding trip!” 

William Lamar had supposed women took childbirth seri- 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 87 

ously. It was hardly fair for him to do all the suffering! 

The last half-hour Jenny could take life lightly no more. 
When, when had she ever said she intended having twelve 
children? Even ten, the number she had reduced the 
family to during the third month, seemed out of all pro¬ 
portion to common sense. The last fifteen minutes, though 
an only child was apt to be spoilt, she felt that after all 
one was quite enough for anybody. 

*‘Therer she breathed at last with a tremendous sigh. 
And because suddenly the world seemed so easy and com¬ 
fortable and restful, she made a little kiss sound and whis¬ 
pered, “Thank You, God!’’ 

And then she heard William’s voice,—the doctor had 
assured him she was not dead,—^William’s triumphant, con¬ 
quering voice calling, “Jenny, Jenny, my darling Jenny,— 
it’s a boy!” 

The twinkle just had to come in Jenny’s eye. She put 
her hand up and patted his cheek. “Thank you for having 
a boy, William!” 

Did not the gods love Jenny? Was she not their pet? 
Of course it was a boy! 

“Thank You, oh, thank You, God!” 

Such a little, funny, precious thing to be so hard to get 
into the world— 

“My son!” 

Within an hour she and the baby were asleep. The 
object of her creation, as far as most of the gods were 
concerned, had been realized. They, too, slept. 

Only some of the newer gods stayed awake, gods who 


88 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

were interested in affairs other than reproduction. Jenny 
was their pet as well. They had ideas of their own, those 
young, upright, intelligent gods. Scarce a thousand years 
old were some of them, and some, indeed were scarce a 
hundred. They were inexperienced as yet, and muddled 
things a good bit, since gods and men need more than a 
hundred or a thousand years to be assured of the Way and 
the Truth. 

Jenny was their pet. They counseled long together. If 
only the older gods—those gods of hundreds of thousands 
of years—were not so much more powerful, so much more 
experienced, so much more entrenched. It had to be ad¬ 
mitted that they had done their job remarkably well. It 
was a splendid child. The mother slept very peacefully. 
But the job ought to be done well, after hundreds of thou¬ 
sands of years I 

3 

In the big hospital in the big city Cynthia Rawlins lay 
very still. She was not asleep. A week before four doc¬ 
tors had labored over her most of thirty-six hours. There 
was nothing much of Cynthia Rawlins left now,—just a 
pale weak tired body which somehow slipped and slipped, 
and could find nothing to catch hold of to pull her back 
to life. 

Dr. Rawlins sat beside the bed. After fifteen years he 
was the proud father, the deliriously proud father, of a 
son. Babies after babies had he helped other women dur¬ 
ing those years to bring into the world. Never a ray of 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 89 

hope for Cynthia and him. That morning, oh, that morn¬ 
ing, when he chided her. ‘Uynthia, I certainly do not 
understand why you should be feeling sick. I can see no 
cause for it whatsoever!” and her face had flushed scarlet 
as she told him, ^‘Albert, it’s—it’s a baby!” 

He could not believe his ears. After fifteen years! 
^Uynthia, Cynthia! This is the happiest moment of my 
life!” It seemed to make over his whole world. 

And here she lay, dying. When he needed her most! 
He could have managed all these years with a housekeeper, 
somehow, but how could he ever raise a baby without its 
mother? Why didrCt his wife contrive to get well? 

“It’s such a weak little thing, Cynthia. You ought to 
pull yourself together and take care of it. He’ll need you 
so very much!” 

Cynthia just kept on looking at the ceiling. She was too 
tired. She was much too tired to want to live any longer. 
Her baby. ... If only she weren’t so tired. . . . 
“Albert . . .” 

“Yes, Cynthia.” 

“There’s a letter ... my top bureau drawer . . . read 

it. . . .” 

“Yes, yes, Cynthia.” 

“Albert . . .” 

“Yes, yes.” 

“Promise you’ll do what it says. . . .” 

“Why, Cynthia, you—^you couldn’t ask me to promise 
something I know nothing about!” 

“Promise!” 

It took all Cynthia Rawlins’ strength to say it so loud. 


90 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

“Hush, Cynthia,—I can’t!” 

“Promise!” 

Her eyes were still toward the ceiling, imploring. Slowly 
she turned her face and looked at her husband. He turned 
his eyes away and felt his courage falter. 

“All right, Cynthia, I promise.” 

She closed her eyes—to rest—to die. 

Albert Rawlins rode back to his own town, went up to 
Cynthia’s room, opened her top bureau drawer and got out 
a letter addressed to himself. Nothing he had ever done 
weighed on him like the promise to do what that letter said. 
It was a terrible thing to ask of a man. The responsibility 
of his child, hanging between life and death; the loss of 
his wife,—^both relegated themselves to the background of 
his mind in comparison with the overwhelming burden of 
carrying out the unknown commands of that letter. 

He did not like the idea of reading it in Cynthia’s room. 
His own was no better. He was afraid some one might 
come in downstairs. It was too cold in the. garden. He 
roamed about the house like a man in a maze—into this 
door, out that, always clutching the .letter. It was a terrible 
thing to ask of a man. More and more the monstrosity 
of the demand appealed to him, each door he entered, each 
door he came* out—as something he in no way deserved. 
Always he had been a kind and just husband, in the face 
of the fact that, with what he confessed was not conscious 
stubbornness, his wife had taken, fifteen years to bear him 
a child. Never had he reproached her. And now she had 
asked him to promise to do things he knew nothing about. 


91 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

Would a—a kind, a—just—wife have put her husband 
through such an ordeal? He could never believe it pos¬ 
sible. 

At last, up in his own room, with the door locked, he 
sat on the edge of the bed and read the letter. 

‘^Dear Albert:— 

“This letter will come to your attention only if I die. 
I am so beset with tortures lest that is just what will happen 
to me that I must ease my mind by leaving this word behind. 

“First of all, please at once telegraph Jenny Joslin Lamar.” 

That was surely not too much to have promised. He 
clutched at the sentence with an immense feeling of re¬ 
lief. . . . 

“You have been—I use the words you especially value— 
a kind and just husband to me. I would not necessarily 
pain you. But I love my baby more than I love you, which 
is what impels me to write. . . 

Albert Rawlins had always felt women who loved their 
babies, more than their husbands very peculiar. . . . And 
to say so, right out! ... 

“You are almost fifty years old now, Albert. You are 
set in your ways. . . . [What a strange last letter 1 ] ... 
You have no idea of the care and responsibility of a child 
always in the house. . . . [Indeed, indeed, he quite felt 
that as she lay there dying . . .] Young people should 
have the care of children. I have one great wish for my 
baby: that Jenny Lamar shall bring him up. . . 

Dr. Rawlins caught his breath. So that was the prom¬ 
ise! Strangers, mere children, to have his baby! What a 
woman,—to ask that! 


92 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

. I know how happy and proud you are at the 
thought of a child at last. . . . My terrible fear is that you 
will insist on keeping the baby. Albert, Albert, promise me 
you will let the Lamars have him,—at least part of the 
time! Promise! . . 

How could she dream of such a thing? It were strange 
enough had she asked that he let those young Lamars have 
his child for a visit now and then. ... He never realized 
how peculiar Cynthia was. . . .No, no, she had asked too 
much when he was made to promise that those young 
Lamars should help bring up his son. 

. . Oh, I hope, I hope you never see this letter! I 
hope I never—I mean that I won’t die until—oh, Albert— 
until I have had time to love my baby—long! 

“Good-by, 

“Cynthia.” 

Not “Your loving wife,” or “Your faithful wife,” or 
“Your affectionate wife,”—just “Good-by,” that way. 
Sometimes Cynthia was certainly and decidedly—uncon¬ 
ventional. In fact, the whole letter was—unconventional, 
to say the least. First his wife dies and leaves him with 
a baby to care for, and then she demands he give up the 
baby,—the baby he had waited for fifteen years! 

His baby—give his baby to the Lamars! What did 
mere children know about raising a baby? No one on 
earth had the right to ask a man to promise to give his 
child to irresponsible—^youngsters! It was altogether—irre¬ 
ligious. God himself would never counsel such a thing. 
God had counseled him, Albert Rawlins, against giving 
Cynthia his promise to carry out the letter,—he heard God’s 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 93 

voice. Because he had let sentiment blind him to his duty 
then, it should not, would not, blind him again. How God 
must want to smite him for having promised! How mer¬ 
cifully and immediately God would forgive him if he broke 
that promise! 

But he certainly could see to telegraphing Miss Jenny 
—that is, Mrs. Lamar, about Cynthia. That much of his 
word God would be quite willing he should keep. 

4 

Jenny lay like a female animal, contentedly gazing at 
her cub. Peace was in her soul, less in her body, but that, 
they told her, was as it should be. Every one prepared 
you for the pains of childbirth, from the Bible down. 
Every one always forgot to mention how it felt to come 
together again. After all, anything so long as you surely 
came. To appear in public once more in a dress which 
went in at the waist! 

She heard Billy’s steps on the porch, the front door open, 
his call. 

‘‘All’s well!” she sang out, as she had for almost three 
hundred nights, as soon as she heard his voice. * 

He dashed into her room and stood as usual not know¬ 
ing to whom he should pay attention first. Jenny had told 
him it made her just a wee bit jealous when the baby got 
the first kiss, and it hurt her feelings when he failed to 
notice his son properly until he had done kissing her. 
Such a difficult role as a man with a family had to play. 

Billy looked a bit serious this night. 


94 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

“Get it off your mind at once!” Jenny admonished him. 

“How do you know I have anything on my mind?” 

“Will-i-um! As if I hadn’t lived with you all these 
many years!” 

So he told her that a telegram had come several days 
ago, but he had worried about giving it to her lest it 
upset her—or something. 

“It’s not—nothing’s wrong with Cynthia Rawlins?” 

“Yes, just that.” 

“The baby—did the baby die?” 

“No—” 

“Not Cynthia herself?” 

“Yes, Cynthia herself.” 

Jenny bit her underlip. She could not help it,—the tears 
ran down her cheeks. “Billy, Billy, she was—she was my 
second mother, and my sister, and my dear, dear, dearest 
friend!” 

She sobbed softly to herself. Billy felt perfectly miser¬ 
able, not having the least idea what really to do to comfort 
a woman in tears. Something had to be done, of course, 
so he patted the bed and said, “There—there! There— 
there!” 

And then Jenny thought of the letter. 

Billy found it in her drawer. She propped herself up 
in bed and read: 

“Loved Jenny:— 

“If ever you read even this far, it will mean that no 
such person as Cynthia Rawlins exists on earth. How 
amazing that seems. I sit here aghast at the idea. 

“All day I have been shaking, wanting to write this 
letter to you, longing to talk to you instead. When I 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 95 

think of what I am going to ask of you—surely more difficult 
letter was never written. 

“I wonder if you ever guessed, that last month we were 
together, how thin the bond of love was which held Albert 
and me together. Fifteen years is a long, long time—oh, 
Jenny, thousands of separate days and nights—to live with 
a man one loved little to begin with. I can’t tell now, for 
I never did know, just why I did it,—I mean why I married 
Albert Rawlins. Except that there was that great—^perhaps 
half—of me which wanted children,—^yearned, hungered, 
longed for them. With all the rest of me,—more than all 
the rest of me—I loved Alec Anderson. And I married 
Albert Rawlins. Don’t ever ask me why. There is no 
reason under heaven. God punished me. I told myself 
I married to have children. That is not reason enough, I 
know now. I had none—and lived out the days—and nights 
—with the man I grew farther away from every hour. 
Always I tortured myself with the thought, T married him 
to have children,—I will have a child!’ Yet ought a child 
be born where there is no love? 

“And yet, and yet—oh, I never have settled it in my 
mind. What is a woman to do if her whole being longs 
for a child? 

“As the years wore on (don’t mind my rambling along 
this way; it is helping me, and it isn’t really rambling, 
as you shall see) I realized more and more that it was 
not my ‘whole being’ which wanted a child. There were 
still and always great areas of me which yearned for—Alec 
Anderson, and what he meant. Passion, love that stirred 
to the depths. Oh, how I cursed my fate that I had closed 
the door on all of that! 

“Then you came along,—you, with your freshness and 
your own love. We had one month together. I wrote you 
once that it took years off my age. Every day being with 
you, talking of your Billy,—it meant that every wound 
from the hurt of doing without Alec Anderson seemed to 
become fairly raw. And over and over, as I left you and 
walked back here, it was as if a great sign stared me in the 
face, ‘Too Late!’ 


96 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

^‘And then your wedding day. Ah, Jenny, you felt your¬ 
self no inch moi'e a bride that Thursday than did I. Ro¬ 
mance, love, life, raced through my veins,—I had to busy 
myself every minute to keep my head. And Alec Anderson 
every minute right there. 

‘That afternoon we dropped everything, he and I, and 
walked off into the land of memory and dreams. Fifteen 
years were as nothing. I forgot all the pain, the emptiness. 
It was my bridal day—mine and Alec Anderson’s. 

‘T bare my heart that you can understand what I am 
going to ask of you. There is a terrible sickening heaviness 
comes over me when I think of dying and leaving a child 
of mine to be brought up by Albert Rawlins. There is 
more than the abstract idea of it,—of a man I care for so 
little having the care of my baby. I can’t bear the thought 
of the influences which would surround the child. His (I 
keep referring to it as ‘he’—oh, do know I shall be every 
bit as happy if it is a girl!), his little growing soul would 
be crushed and stifled with precepts and admonitions of 
an age that is dead and gone. Albert’s God is not my God, 
his State is not my State,—^ah, his whole heaven and earth 
cramp me, make me gasp for breath. Do you know what 
my nightmare is? That if I die, Albert will get your Aunt 
Ernie to keep house for him and bring up my child. I know 
it in every inch of me. Jenny! 

“Now comes the fearfully hard part,—^what I have to 
ask of you. I want you to bring up my baby! Don’t 
think I haven’t a full realization of what the request means 
—especially with you raising a little family of your own. 
But, Jenny, I have to ask it! Where else can I turn? 
Not a relative do I possess,—they would all be too old 
anyhow. Oh, I want him to have youth for his guide 
and counselor! Rather a thousand times the pliable mis¬ 
takes of youth than the rigid shackles of the middle-aged! 
It is so much, so much, to ask of you. How could one 
ever suggest more? Bring him up as yours, your very own. 
If he could but catch something of your love of life! 

“I’ve some money of my own—a nest egg that fell my 
way a few years ago. I am leaving it all to you. It will 


97 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

carry him along until he is old enough to help look out 
for himself. Use it in any way whatsoever you see fit. 
I have such faith in your youth, your courage,— you. 

. . And yet—how in the world can I expect Albert to 
give up his own child? A cold fear comes over me that 
nothing could influence him to do such a thing. Some¬ 
times I grow frantic and decide I shall make him promise 
it on my death bed—if I do have to die. Once I wrote 
him a note about it, but the demand seemed so monstrous 
I had no courage, no faith, to bring to the task of putting 
the right words on paper. But I am desperate! I so 
long with all my heart to have you bring up my child. 
Because you are you. And because—^because you are the 
adored niece of the finest man I ever knew, the only man 
I ever loved. 

‘‘It comes over me again that if ever you read this letter 
it means that I am—dead. How can I die, I, who at last 
am to possess what I have yearned for these countless 
years! I’ll die!! 

“But if I do, Jenny, love my baby. 

“Your 

“Cynthia R. 

“Jenny, don’t let them name him after Albert,—^please 
not thatl” 


CHAPTER VII 


I 

Jenny lay back on her pillow, a hundred thoughts racing 
through her brain at once. For one thing she was down¬ 
right glad Cynthia Rawlins had written about her Uncle 
Alec, and in a way which took it for granted that Jenny 
would not take it upon herself to pass judgment. Once 
she and Cynthia had talked of her mother and Dr. Cairns, 
and Cynthia had asked her, ‘‘What do you think of a 
married woman who loves some man other than her hus¬ 
band, or a married man who loves some woman other than 
his wife?” 

And Jenny had answered: “For other people I have no 
moral standards whatever. When it comes to questions of 
ethics, others can do exactly as they do,—it is absolutely 
none of my business. With the world so full of things to 
do and see and think about, why should I bother one 
minute over what other people are up to? And of all 
things in the world I shall never make my business, it is, 
whom, how, when, and where, other people love. . . 
She had thought awhile. “Why, Cynthia Rawlins, think 
of any one else mixing in with people’s loving! ... I love 
just loving so,—I suppose the truth of it is that down 
in my heart I should always be glad of all there could 
be of it in the world, ‘legal’ or ‘illegal’—the more the 
better. There’s none too much.” 

98 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 99 

“But, Jenny,” Mrs. Rawlins had reminded her, “it can 
sometimes bring such misery in its wake, this loving, if 
one gives in.” 

“So it seems. Misery if you love, misery if you don’t 
love. Happiness through loving, unhappiness through lov¬ 
ing. If for no other reason than the complexity of the 
thing, I shall let others arrive at their own decisions. One 
thing I know: it will never make the least difference in 
the world to me what any one else in the world does about 
it. I have Jenny Joslin to look after,—it may be quite 
enough.” 

It interested Cynthia Rawlins where Jenny had acquired 
her ideas. It needed a bit of thought. Finally Jenny had 
told her: “I suppose from a talk I once had with Aunt 
Ernie about mother and Dr. Cairns. And then I helped 
a girl in college once who got into trouble. It made me 
rebellious. When I saw how almost impossible it was for 
her to find a single friend to help her, how one and all 
turned against her, I vowed then that any one I knew, 
or didn’t know, could do anything,—it would make no 
difference to me. Nobody need fear the universe will take 
to lax ways because of my attitude. There are sure to 
be enough people left whose main interest in life will be 
to sit in judgment on their fellow beings.” 

So Cynthia Rawlins had taken Jenny at her word. Over 
and over Jenny blessed her for that. 

The fact that she would have the responsibility of another 
baby,—that thought came trailing some time after numer¬ 
ous others. . . . Another baby. Of course she would bring 
up Cynthia’s baby. ... A few disquieting considerations 


100 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

started to work their way to the fore. Jenny’s control 
over disquieting considerations was simple and effective. It 
always had been. Quietly and swiftly and firmly she shut 
the door in their faces. Contrary to some psychological 
precepts, they did not thereby return to haunt her in the 
night nor cause hysteria nor obsessions nor quirks in her 
disposition. Probably because they never had the chance 
fully to form. They seemed to fade and die at the start 
from lack of air. Perhaps it was Jenny’s chief stock in 
trade. Unpleasant things happen, unpleasant thoughts oc¬ 
cur, to everybody. Jenny did not “forget” them in that 
sinister fashion of the New Psychology. She shut that door 
of hers on them and they died—just plain died. No single 
inch of Jenny’s system seemed in the least interested enough 
to keep them in any way, shape, or form, alive. Of course 
some smart professor might nevertheless assure us they 
were Somewhere. 

To which Jenny would reply, “Let them be there, then. 
At least it is all very comfortable.” 

So when she caught herself beginning to think of reasons 
why it might be somewhat inconvenient having another baby 
in the family, she whisked all such ideas into that room 
and closed that door and that was the last of them. . . . 
The crib would stand here; she could put another little 
dresser there. At last, with two babies to nurse, she would 
feel much more comfortable physically. Two babies grow¬ 
ing up together,—^what fun! It was like having twins, 
without having twins. She had always hoped that sooner 
or later she would have twins. ... So that it was no time 
at all before Jenny was honestly of the opinion that the 


JENNY THE JOYOUS loi 

most wonderful thing which could possibly happen was for 
Cynthia Rawlins to let her have that baby. As long as 
Cynthia Rawlins had to die . . . 

“Well?” asked Billy at last. 

“My, it’s a long story, Billy!” In the end she read 
him the letter. “And so, my Billy, we find ourselves the 
proud parents, as it were, of another baby! . . . Billy 
Lamar, what makes your face look like that?” 

“Jenny, I think it’s terrible! The whole thing is terrible! ” 

“Terrible? How do you mean terrible?” 

A cold fear clutched at Jenny’s heart. Could it be that 
Billy, her Billy, thought . . . 

“In the first place,—think of it! ... I—^why—I had no 
idea Mrs. Rawlins was that kind of a woman. And you 
being so friendly with her all this time! . . . And then 
she never confessed that she was in love with another man 
to her husband! . . . And—^and we are expected to take 
the child into our home! Bring it up with our Steve! 
Why, Jenny, we can’t be asked to do a thing like 
that!” 

Jenny crept down under the covers and turned her face 
away. She longed to get ’way off some place in a dark 
corner and labor until she could piece her crumbled world 
together. All these years she had just taken it for granted 
that Billy thought about everything important as she did. 
They always had thought alike about everything under the 
skies. A few times among the girls at college Jenny had 
brought up the subject of “morals” in some of those mid¬ 
night heart-to-heart talks every one indulges in when he 
can. The general result was summed up in a startled 


102 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

chorus of “Jenny Joslinl How you talk! What would 
become of the world if everybody had the same terrible 
ideas that you have!” To which Jenny’s reply was, “Some¬ 
how it doesn’t look as if any of us would be alive to see.” 
Once she lost her patience a bit and said: “At least I’m 
not going to make the world any wickeder for my having 
such ideas. Who knows but that some day I may have 
a chance to help some one, just because I have them.” 

But Billy. . . . And then she faced the honest truth 
that the reason she had never brought up the subject was 
that she was scared,—scared to face the fact that Billy too 
might belong to those who pointed the finger of scorn. 
It was the one matter on which she never had felt abso¬ 
lutely sure of him. Honest Jenny did not want to know 
the truth. Of course his ideas agreed with hers! Of course 
he would say that what other people did was none of his 
business! 

“You’re not really planning to bring that child here, are 
you, Jenny? Not really—” 

Oh, oh, why was she not deaf! 

“Jenny, why don’t you talk? What’s the matter?” 

“Nothing.” She felt very tired,—altogether too tired to 
argue. 

“And I do think just the same that if you do consider 
such a thing you ought at once to explain the entire situa¬ 
tion exactly to Dr. Rawlins.” 

“Billy!” Jenny almost shrieked at him. 

“Jen, I do believe. ... I don’t know what to believe. 
... I think having a baby has sort of—unsettled your 
mind.” 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 103 

No, she was too weary to argue. She turned a little 
to one side and absent-mindedly looked at her baby. Cyn¬ 
thia Rawlins dead. . . . Again the warm te^rs filled her 
eyes. . . . Cynthia, who talked her language. She would 
love Cynthia’s baby as she loved her own. . . . Perhaps at 
first it couldn’t be exactly as much. ... Yes, yes, it must 
be exactly as much! If possible she must love it more, so 
that it could never have the feeling that not being Jenny’s 
own made any difference. . . .No, probably she couldn’t 
love it more. But every bit as much. Oh, indeed she 
must do that! . . . Her mother. Dr. Cairns, Uncle Alec, 
Cynthia Rawlins—Billy. The people she had loved, did 
love, the most in all the world. Just Billy and Uncle Alec 
left. Oh, oh, oh—Steve! There was her Stephen Cairns 
Lamar! And Cynthia’s baby! 

“Aren’t you going to talk any more, Jenny?” 

“I’m tired.” 

Of course Billy would give in. It couldn’t be he felt 
in his heart the way he had just spoken. “Didn’t know 
Mrs. Rawlins was that kind of a woman. . . .” What busi¬ 
ness was it of Billy’s? ... If Billy made a difference,—if 
he insisted on loving Steve much more than Cynthia’s baby, 
then she would have to love Cynthia’s baby more than 
Steve to make up. She didn’t want to—oh, she couldn’t— 
love C3mthia’s baby—any baby in the world—more than 
Steve. . . . Cynthia dead. . . . Billy. ... If the boy 
grew up and made a great name for himself,—imagine some 
day . . . perhaps the whole United States celebrating Cyn¬ 
thia’s baby’s birthday . . . say he’d be forty years old 
then. She would invite Uncle Alec to a great dinner in 


104 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

honor of young Mr. Rawlins—Alec—^yes, yes, surely they 
could name him Alec—Rawlins, and after the dinner was 
over there would be speech-making—none of them too long. 
How proud of his namesake Uncle Alec would be! By that 
time the fearful hurt of Cynthia’s death would be healed. 
Dr. Rawlins would surely be dead. . . . Goodness, good¬ 
ness, Uncle Alec would be forty-six, plus forty,—goodness, 
eighty-six! Imagine Uncle Alec eighty-six! Steve forty! 
Billy sixty-three,—sixty-three! Just imagine Billy sixty- 
three! And she, Jenny, sixty-two. . . . 

“Well, I guess if you don’t want to talk I’ll go in and 
eat my dinner.” 

“Why, Billy, aren’t you going to eat it here by me?” 

“I don’t know. I just thought to-night you would prob¬ 
ably prefer that I ate in the dining-room.” 

To-night? Oh, yes, it was difficult skipping back forty 
years with such speed. Perhaps he had better eat in 
the . . . No, no! 

“Billy, you didn’t meant what you said about Cynthia 
and her baby?” 

“I certainly did mean it! I can’t imagine you wanting 
that baby here in our house. I don’t see what she had 
the baby for in the first place.” 

The way he said “that baby”! . . . So, perhaps he had 
better eat in the dining-room. She was really too tired to 
talk. 

He came back after dinner. “Feeling better?” 

“Yes, much better. . . .” 

Perhaps just as well to go to the bottom of the matter 


now. 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 105 

^Tilly, I don’t know how soon you could go after the 
baby.” 

“I tell you, Jenny, I don’t see why we have to have 
that baby in the house.” 

‘‘So. . . . What do you suggest as an alternative?” 

“That he gets reared by his own parent. A married 
woman goes falling in love with other men and takes a 
notion she isn’t enthusiastic about her own husband, and 
then expects us to raise her child. What business had 
she, a married woman, going around with other men?” 

“Billy, you could see from her letter . . . and you know 
Cynthia Rawlins. . . . What makes you talk like that?” 

“I can’t see such a lot of difference between her and 
a— a, —^prostitute. ... I say it is a good thing she—died. 
... It would all have turned out all right if she had 
kept her mind on her own husband. . . . The first thing 
you know, you’ll be going so far you’ll defend illegitimate 
children. It is just such leniency as you show which makes 
all the trouble. Yes, sir, the earth would be covered with 
illegitimate children! ” 

“How many would you and I have, William, dear?” 

“Jenny, how can you suggest such a thing!” 

“I was just wondering if you excepted any one, that’s 
all.” 

“Of course, people who have strong moral characters 
would not be in danger. There has to be solid public opin¬ 
ion to keep weak people straight.” 

“What has our being two—one hundred millionths of 
solid public opinion got to do with raising Cynthia Rawlins’ 
baby?” 


io6 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

“There^s no doubt about it, you always have a tendency 
to mix sentiment and right 

“Solid public opinion won’t miss us, Billy. For every 
backslider like me they gain two new recruits, perhaps. . . . 
I don’t know. Sometimes I wonder if public opinion is as 
solid way down in its innermost heart as it likes to think 
it is. In the first place, there are all those like Cynthia 
Rawlins who hunger and long for the chance to live love 
through, if only once, with the Person of Persons. I can’t 
believe she was the only married woman in existence who 
ever loved outside the rules! They must judge other wicked 
people a little less severely. They should feel a little 
pull of understanding and sympathy when the rest of 
the world would call ^shamel’ There must be a great many 
people who ought to call ‘shame!’ very softly, if at all, 
since they really honestly don’t know if they are—^perfect 
because they are—perfect, or because they’ve never been 
put to the test. Then there must be many like me, whom 
it would hurt too much if they sat in judgment on others. 
. . . That leaves on your side—if it is your side—those 
who have been sorely tempted and have weathered the 
storm, coming out unscathed. ... I wonder how many. 
. . . They, from their superior moral road, look down in¬ 
tolerantly on those weaker brethren below who slip, and 
falter, and fall. ‘Why could not the Lord have created 
all as strong as we?’ . . . I’m just guessing, you under¬ 
stand. ... I wonder if anybody really knows. . . . And 
then there is the great mass of humanity, your real solid 
public opinion, part of whom really seem to enjoy making 
other people’s business theirs and hurling names; part who 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 107 

would be scared to death to catch their own selves think¬ 
ing that there coidd be any ground for letting other folks 
and their ideas and actions alone. . . . Are you one of 
the tempted who refused to fall? Do you enjoy dissecting 
the sins of the world? Or are you frightened at the very 
idea of what would happen to your soul if you so much 
as whispered, ‘What Cynthia Rawlins did is none of my 
business’?” 

“You’re not fair, Jenny! I guess at my age I know 
what’s right and what’s wrong, and, thank God, I intend 
to stand by the right!” 

“Fine for you, Billy, and may you never falter! You 
see my only question is, need it concern you so terribly 
if Cynthia Rawlins, instead of living up to your idea of 
right, lived up to her own? Couldn’t you, oh, dear, dear 
Billy, couldn’t you say, ‘What Cynthia Rawlins did or 
thought was none of my business’? I don’t ask you to 
approve. I’m not implying you’re to rush out yourself and 
waylay the first innocent young thing who comes along. 
Billy, please don’t think I have my weather eye out for a 
likely opportunity to present you at the earliest possible 
moment with what you call an ‘illegitimate’ child. I only 
ask you to feel that what Cynthia Rawlins or any one 
else does or thinks or feels isn’t really our concern,— 
it’s only theirs, and we’re not called upon to pass judg¬ 
ment.” 

“A man might as well be a fish, if he can’t see the 
difference between right and wrong. . . . Let me ask you 
this, Jenny Lamar. What would you think if I had an— 
affair—with another woman?” 


io8 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

“It would undoubtedly break my heart into a thousand 
pieces.” 

“So you see—that answers the whole thing! . . . And I 
don’t see why we should have Mrs. Rawlins’ baby in our 
house. There’s no telling what peculiar streak it will have 
inherited.” 

Jenny turned her head away and closed her eyes. “I’m 
tired, Billy.” 

2 

A week later Dr. Rawlins received a letter from Jenny 
Lamar. Undoubtedly he was aware of Cynthia’s wishes 
in regard to his child. (It was not until she came to 
write the letter that Jenny realized she had been proceed¬ 
ing all along on the assumption Cynthia’s baby was a boy. 
For all she knew it was a girl.) She did want him to 
know that it would give her much satisfaction and pleasure 
to help bring up his child. It would be a heavy responsi¬ 
bility for him to have all the care on his shoulders. It 
was a great deal, on the other hand, to ask that he re¬ 
linquish his child even part of the time to her. She fully 
understood that. But she would take such good care of 
it! She had milk enough for two babies, fortunately. . . . 
Mr. Lamar was leaving town shortly, therefore she would 
have to wait until she herself was strong enough to travel 
before the baby could be brought to her house. Or could 
it possibly be that Dr. Rawlins would be so very kind 
as to have some one bring the child to Jenny’s house? She 
did want it as soon as possible, on account of its being 


109 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

so good for the baby to have mother’s milk. Everything 
would be ready for the little thing as soon as Dr. Rawlins 
would see to “delivering” it. She would bring the baby up 
with such care. Dr. Rawlins was to see him often. 

She wrote a page about his loss in Cynthia’s death. 
She was his sincerely, Jenny Lamar. 

Dr. Rawlins never knew there could be such a stupid 
affair in all his life. He wrote Jenny Joslin that he had 
made arrangements with her Aunt Ernie to take care of his 
son himself. 

That letter came two days after William had packed 
his suitcase and left for—some place. He had promised 
Jenny it was what he would do if she wrote to Dr. Rawlins 
and asked for that baby. So Jenny would have to wait 
a month or so before she could travel after the child. The 
thought of that trip, and the inevitable session with Dr. 
Rawlins, was quite enough to cause Jenny to give Steve 
the colic. When she saw that Billy did not come back 
in at most two nights, Steve got the colic again. The 
colossal effort it was, for the sake of Steve, to keep her 
thoughts along a certain rigidly defined narrow course! 
She was so used to Billy filling her mind most of the day. 
She was so used to his presence morning and night, his 
loving. She was not at all used to wearing mental blinders. 
Indeed it was quite her first experience, galling beyond 
words. Always, always, she had been able to follow 
through comfortably every idea which came into her head. 
Not even to be allowed to cry at night! If she did, Steve 


no JENNY THE JOYOUS 

cried all the next day. It was too costly a price for her 
tears. 

If only she could send some one else after Cynthia’s 
baby. Yet no one could go but herself, because of the 
dreaded session with Dr. Rawlins. And always, always, 
always, waiting to hear Billy’s footstep on the front 
porch. . . . 

3 

The nurse and doctor insisted she must not take the 
train trip. Jenny explained that her upset condition would 
continue until that trip was done and over with. Finally 
it was arranged to care for Steve over one nursing. She 
made her agitated way to the station, boarded the train. 
She too, like Billy, was doing the right as she saw it. 
What terrible prices one could pay for trying in the waver¬ 
ing way of human beings to do the best one knew how. . . . 
Was it utter foolishness in the eyes of the gods who had 
seemed to forget her altogether these last weeks? How 
could one really know what was right? Was anything 
which separated Billy and her right? After all it was not 
really her business to raise Cynthia Rawlins’ child. . . . 
Oh, it was, it was I Cynthia, much older than she, much 
wiser than she,—she knew. Dr. Rawlins—Aunt Ernie. . . . 
It was worse than murder. It was her business to rescue 
that little life before it froze to death in that half-a-century- 
old atmosphere of respectability. . . . The gods never had 
forgotten Jenny for long. . . . Billy would come back, she 
knew, and once more she could blow a kiss to heaven. 
It was smart of Billy to run away. It meant she would 


JENNY THE JOYOUS iii 

be so glad to have him back she wouldn’t care in the least 
what his ideas were about anything. She was very wise 
to have married such a wise husband. And if Billy did 
come back—when Billy did come back—^he’d be so glad 
to be back he wouldn’t care in the least what her ideas 
were about anything. 

But if he made a difference between Steve and Cynthia’s 
boy? . . . Then he would just have to leave home again 
awhile until he learned that such actions were really not 
Christian. You could not let any one take his moral ideas 
out on a child. 

After all, what she had to do now was just one thing,— 
try to get Cynthia’s baby somehow without hurting Dr. 
Rawlins’ feelings in the matter. Dr. Rawlins—Aunt Ernie 
—bringing up Cynthia’s baby. No! As a doctor he ought 
to realize the importance of mother’s milk for the child. 
That of course was her trump card. And once she got the 
baby—even Dr. Rawlins would have to see what a good 
job she made of raising him I 

She rang the doctor’s office hell. ‘‘Ah, Miss Jenny— 
Mrs. Lamar, I should say. You have come, I take it, in 
answer to my letter about the will.” 

The will . . . ? 

Why, yes, Mrs. Rawlins’ will. He had had his attorney 
advise Miss—that is, Mrs. Lamar, that Mrs. Rawlins had 
left practically everything to her. The letter was mailed 
yesterday. 

It was the first time Jenny had thought about the money 
Cynthia was to leave her. She remembered now, of course. 


112 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

Cynthia had spoken of it in the letter. . . .No, she had 
come about the baby. . . . 

Yes, what about the baby? 

She—she wanted to take the baby home with her. . . . 

Dr. Rawlins shaded his face with his hand. . . . Albert 
Rawlins, Junior, his son, had died a week after he answered 
Mrs. Lamar’s letter. 

He dropped his head suddenly on his desk. Jenny stared 
ahead of her. . . . Cynthia’s baby dead. . . . She looked 
over at Dr. Rawlins. ... To lose a baby! . . . Her heart 
seemed to be crushed within her at the very thought. Sud¬ 
denly she dashed across the room and threw her arms 
around Dr. Rawlins’ shoulder. 

‘Uh, oh . . . I’m so ... I can’t tell you how . . . 
Oh . . .” 

And Jenny dropped down on her knees beside him and 
wept as if her heart would break. She felt a heavy arm 
on her shoulder, through her sobs she heard his, “Ah, 
but Miss Jenny, Miss Jenny,—I knew what it was to be a 
father! I knew what it was to have a son!” 

“I’m so happy for you,” sobbed Jenny, “so, so happy 
for you!” 

When she could collect herself enough she crept out of 
the room and down the street. She must say a word to 
Aunt Ernie before returning home. 

She opened the front door softly. There sat Aunt Ernie 
in the front parlor. How woe-begone she looked! 

“Jenny, bless my soul, you scared me! ... I declare, 
you look as if you’d been crying!” 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 113 

“IVe just seen Dr. Rawlins. I didn’t know about the 
baby’s—dying.” 

Aunt Ernie dropped heavily into a chair and nervously 
bit the end of her handkerchief. The tears would come. 

“If—oh, if you could only know what it means to me— 
that baby’s dying. . . . Jenny, he was to have been almost 
like my very own! I was to have helped raise him—it 
was all decided. Can you guess what that meant? I could 
have washed him and dressed him, and wheeled him around 
in a buggy and given him his bottle. ... We were to sleep 
in the same room, he and I! A little crib next to my 
bed. . . . Jenny, I—I wanted a baby to look after so. 
You were too big when I came. I couldn’t understand 
you. You didn’t let me do things for you,—always you 
could do everything for yourself. . . . Isn’t there any one 
who needs me in all the world? . . . Only think, Jenny. 
. . . Think what Albert Rawlins’ baby would have meant 
to me. ... I would have loved him more, I do believe, 
than his father! ... At least the happiest days of all my 
life were the few weeks I had planning for that little baby.” 

In a haze of countless emotions, Jenny put her arms 
around Aunt Ernie, and for the second time that day, 
wept as if her heart would break. 

Somehow she got to the train, somehow she got home. 
Billy opened the door for her,—Billy! . . . The comfort 
of the long, long kiss of lovers. . . . 

“Where’s the baby?” 

In the turmoil of her soul Jenny could not miss the fact 
that Billy said “the baby” and not “that baby.” 


114 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

“He’s—dead.” 

It had all been too much, and having Billy home again. 
. . . He put her to bed himself. 

“Darn it all, Jenny. I wish he’d lived. I did want a 
chance to show you what a good sport I could be. I was 
going to be a wonder of a father to that boy I” 

After all it was not the word “that.” It was how one 
said it. 

“Billy, my own, own Billy.” Whereupon she indulged 
in the last luxury of tears she would allow herself for— 
life, she hoped. Yet they were the tears of comfort. 


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CHAPTER VIII 


I 

To Jenny, in the first sullen tragedy of Billy’s death, it 
seemed like the end of her youth. On that June day, 
so warm, so living, all that was warm and living in her 
ended. Henceforth she was to go through the years a 
cold, raw,—no, not clay-like,—thing. Better clay-like, that 
she might not feel the rawness. She lay on her face in 
the dark bedroom. Outside, the light and sun made her 
own blackness more piercing. Besides there was the terri¬ 
ble fear lest she see some one. Only think of it,—to be 
afraid of people! All one’s life to rush forward, hands 
outstretched toward friend and stranger. And then sud¬ 
denly, this way, fearful lest a single human being might 
appear. If she just had her mother. No, no, not even 
her mother. . . . Uncle Alec, dear Uncle Alec, just to be 
smoking beside the bed, saying nothing. ... No, not even 
Uncle Alec. . . . Cynthia Rawlins. . . . No, no,—nobody, 
nobody. Just Billy, Billy, Billy! Why was not Billy here, 
now that she needed him most? Never had she suffered 
a fraction of what she was suffering now—and Billy—dead. 
Foolishness. What else was she suffering about, except 
that Billy was—dead. 

How queer the world could get! Everything pressing 
in on you—yet nothing there. Empty, all empty. . . . 
Why should there be a world at all any more? What was 
117 


ii8 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

the excuse of everything keeping on going round and round 
and round, suns rising and setting, flowers blooming and 
fading, birds, animals, people . . . round and round . . . 
busy, getting up, going to bed. . . . Music, play—laugh¬ 
ter. . . . No, no, there could be no more laughter. Why 
any of it, why anything, without Billy? . . . Busy, getting 
up, going to bed. . . . What was there left for any one 
to do? . . . Getting up?—think of it,—opening your eyes 
in the morning to a new day—and that bed next yours— 
empty. God, close your eyes again quick! Never open 
them again, never, never! Shut out the emptiness—shut 
it out! . . . But when one went on living, eyes refused to 
stay forever shut. . . . Dress on the side of the bed and 
look hard at the wall. Rush downstairs ... oh, oh—no 
sitting on the edge of the bathtub mornings while Billy 
shaved! Shaving. . . . Was she never to see Billy shave 
again?. . . That way he pulled his cheek over and looked 
down sideways at her as he worked the razor along. , . . 
And always a dab of shaving soap suds he managed to 
get on her nose. . . . And that kiss, after his face was 
washed and smooth, almost like a woman’s, and so smelling 
of shaving soap still. . . . Billy, Billy, come back and 
shave once more—just once more! 

Breakfast. . . . No, no, she could not eat breakfast 
again. . . . That chair next hers. . . . Never were she and 
Billy happy when he sat at one end of the table, she at 
the other. ‘Tet me move down by you!” So he brought 
his chair back to where they always sat that first year, 
right as close together as they could get. . . . She couldn’t 
move the chair away,—never that! She couldn’t possibly 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 119 

leave it there, empty. . . . Oh, that hateful word. . . • 
That cruel word. . . . Empty. ... All the world was that, 
—empty. Empty . . . Empty. 

The walk about the garden just after breakfast, when 
she showed him what had blossomed since yesterday. 
Billy’s joke—to pretend to kick some loved little plant. 
“Ugly thing!” he’d growl. “I’ll fix it!” and then he always 
kissed her quick—in the garden, in the morning sunshine. 
. . . Would the flowers really go on blooming? How could 
they? 

The walk to the corner. When it never was the corner, 
because he always said, “Just half a block more!” 

There used to follow a whole glad day of work and 
babies and play, all heading toward six o’clock when Billy 
got home from the office. The entire day caught its im¬ 
petus from the glad early morning, and held on its joyous 
course, steering ever toward evening and Billy’s homecom¬ 
ing. What now could ever start her off? What keep her 
going through the hour after hour which made up a day? 

But everything— everything was bearable compared to 
the thought of evening. . . . His step on the front porch, 
her dash to reach the door before he could open it. And 
then—his kiss. 

Through what a gamut of intensity a husband’s home¬ 
coming kiss could run. There were some husbands and 
wives who never kissed at all. Was it because they were 
born that way at the start, or had gotten tired of kissing 
generally, or had wearied only of kissing each other? 

Or there were husbands and wives who just—yes, you 
had to use the same word, because there seemed to be no 


120 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

other. They kissed—but how! She had seen them,— a, 
momentary contact of lips, kept up night after night for 
lack of energy to discontinue the habit. 

But the way Billy kissed—oh, the way Billy kissed. . . . 
The last hour each had been living for that home-coming 
kiss. . . . When they closed the front door, and Billy 
leaned his back against it, and took her in his arms—for 
long, long, long. ... At last, at last, they were together 
again. ‘‘My darling, oh, my darling.” 

Billy! Billy! Come back—oh, come back and kiss her 
again—that way—that home-coming way—where you 
crushed her to you, where you closed your eyes, where at 
last, at last—each was where each belonged, close in the 
other’s arms. My darling, oh, my darling. . . . 

It can’t be, it can’t be, that never, never again in all 
her life will Jenny feel those arms around her, those lips 
against hers. . . . Billy! 

Supper—their suppers. . . . The children in bed, songs 
sung, stories told—and their supper. Just herself and Billy, 
all alone, chairs as close as they could get them. He told 
her of his day,—the men he had seen, what they talked 
about at lunch, how business was going. Happy jabberings 
and stories and laughter—she and Billy. 

Evenings ... in winter by the fire, in summer out on 
the porch or in the rose arbor, reading, talking, visiting 
perhaps with friends who dropped in. The comfort of it. 
. . . The completeness of it. . . . Billy right there,—^her 
Billy. 

And then . . . God, oh, God! . . . And then—^bed. No, 
no, it couldn’t be! It wasn’t so! Billy! Billy! Some 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 121 

place he must be—Billy! She could stand it all—some¬ 
how—but not that. . . . Not going to bed alone. Billy— 
come back for the night time! His bed . . . empty , . , 
empty . . . empty. 

Yes, Billy—no use calling. . . . Jenny knew you were 
gone forever, forever . . . gone forever. . . . And you left 
her here behind. . . , 

What for? What was the use of that? No use. Days 
. . . nights . . . days . . . nights . . . days. . . . 

“Mother, I want so much to come in.” 

So,—there were the boys. . . . She had Alec and Steve. 
She loved Alec and Steve, loved them, loved them. But 
somehow—a grown man. . . . Billy. Billy came so very 
much first! . . . She wished that she could lie still that 
way on her face ... for long. . . . 

“I’ll open the door for you, Steve. Wait a moment.” 

2 

“The best thing for you would be to get started in some¬ 
thing,—something interesting.” 

Every one meant well. Every one was very kind. What 
a strange word, “interesting.” As if there really could be 
anything interesting left in the world. . . . 

“The best thing for you would be to mpve, if you pos¬ 
sibly could,—to go to some new place, away from all the 
associations of the last seven years.” 

Move? . . . Get things packed? . . . Decide where to 
go? . . . Get there? ... Be in a strange place, among 
strange people? . . . What queer advice people could give 


122 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

when they had no idea what it was like to go around with 
one’s world cut in two, as it were. A great knife had 
slashed right through the very middle of Jenny—there was 
just half of her left on earth. Where the knife had cut, she 
was raw and bleeding. When people came, it was as if they 
scraped something across the rawness and made the flesh 
quiver. Yet every one was so kind. Only they did not 
understand, of course, about the knife and the rawness, 
and that half a person, cut like that, and bleeding, could 
not possibly be traveling about creation, finding ^‘interest¬ 
ing” things to do in a strange place. 

3 

Only those who have suffered severely know the debt 
they owe to that gentle quiet healer of all wounds, that 
patient friend of the sorrowing who alone and unaided— 
and often against tremendous odds—can work such miracles, 
—Time. Ah, how one can come to lean on that comforter 
of comforters, and bless his peaceful ways! To those 
yearning for the future and its gifts, he travels with a snail- 
like pace, unmindful of hearts beating high in anticipation. 
That is because he knows he has something even more 
important to do than hasten the happiness of the eager. 
Anticipation in and of itself carries its own measure of 
satisfaction even while it counts the days and hours to 
complete fulfilment. 

No, Time is for the sorrowing, and goes therefore slowly, 
so that his warm hand laid so tenderly may really heal. 
Time is for those who think that never more can they 


123 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

look forward to the days and years ahead. In the past 
was there comfort, in the past was there laughter and song. 
Only into that past too they dare not look, lest the bleed¬ 
ing of those wounds start afresh. Fearful of or indifferent 
to the future, too raw to live in the past . . . there comes 
a time in some lives where each moment is lived for itself 
alone: this much I have got through; this much is be¬ 
hind me,—one moment. . . . To-morrow? No, no. How 
can to-morrow be faced, when it means another supper, 
and evening, and bed, alone? And the dark, the terrible 
dark, alone. . . . Dreams, yes, dreams. . . . Dreams where 
you search round and round, until your weary feet bleed,— 
and there he is! My lover, oh, my lover! I thought I had 
lost you! You were gone so long, so long. ... With a 
start you are awake. The terrible dark again, the bed, 
empty. It is all worse for the dream. ... No, no, to¬ 
morrow is all of an evening and a night away. ... A year 
ago to-day—that was the very day you walked to Henry 
Meadows’—Billy wore that funny blue and green necktie 
of his. . . . Close your eyes quick. . . . There was no last 
year,—not that Jenny can look back upon yet. . . . The 
wound,—that cut down half her body. . . . No, no,—^not 
last year, yet. 

To-day is like yesterday. To-morrow will be like to-day. 
This week is like last week. Next week will be like this 
week. This month is like last month. Next month will 
be like this month. . . . Wait a bit, Jenny! Wait a bit. 
Was this month exactly as wretched as last month? Will 
next month be exactly as wretched as this? Have you 
forgotten your friend, your friend who never forgets you 


124 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

for one moment of your waking or your sleeping hours? 
You are reckoning without Time! Disregard him. Forget 
him entirely. Say he is no friend of yours, no help, no 
comfort. Abuse him early and late. He is the sort of 
friend who works on, regardless. ... You don’t want to 
be healed? You would drag along forever, raw and bleed¬ 
ing? Time takes no notice of your desires. He goes about 
his ministrations with those soft, caressing, comforting 
hands of his. . . . 

Ah, Jenny, in your heart you know that this month you 
are stronger than last. You know, Jenny Lamar, that next 
month you will be more comforted than this. . . .Yes, 
Jenny knows. 

“Thank You, God.” There is no kiss to heaven, no 
smile. She is grateful that the wound is not quite so 
open, that she is learning to- move about a little with that 
half of her which is left. “Thank you, TimeP 

4 

“I like the new boys in our new home, mother.” 

“That’s good!” 

“But I hate Alec. He makes me sick. Some day I think 
I’ll kill him.” 

“So. . . . Have you planned just how?” 

“No, just kill him. . . . Would you miss him, mother?” 

“I’d miss him very much.” 

“I s’pose it wouldn’t be just right, then, with you not 
having Pop and all. . . . P’r’aps I won’t kill him neither, 
if you’d miss him.” 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 125 

“Thank you, Steve, you’re a good sort. . . . Where’s 
Alec now?” 

“Search me!” 

“But it’s supper time.” 

“He had a big bag of licorice shoestrings with him. He’s 
not hungry.” 

“Steve! Where did he get the licorice shoestrings?” 

“Search me!” 

“Did you eat some too?” 

“No, sirr 

“That’s my good son.” 

“That’s why I’m going to kill Alec, after all!” 

“So?” 

“He wouldn’t give me none.” 

“So.” 

“I bet a dollar when I get a bag of licorice shoestrings 
I won’t give him none!” 

“Won’t give him any/^ 

“. . . . Won’t give him any .You just bet I won’t 

give him none!” 

“. . . . Any” 

^^Any” 

Alec does not appear for supper. . . . Alec does not ap¬ 
pear after supper. . . . The new neighbors, through 
Steve’s family pride, hear that Alec is lost. Everybody 
helps hunt for Alec. ... If only Steve sometime could 
cause half that much excitement. . . . Strangers further 
than the immediate neighborhood, also all strange, take up 
the search. The police are enlisted. At ten o’clock Jenny 


126 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

Lamar returns home again to see if there is any news of 
Alec. A large fat policeman takes her arm. 

^‘You’re the mother of the child that ran away?” 

Yes, she’s the mother. 

He leads her into the dining room. There is Alec, sound 
asleep under the dining-room table, generously bedaubed 
with licorice. 

The fat policeman looks proud. “I always find more lost 
children than any other man on the force. Mostly they’re 
upstairs asleep in bed. Quite a number are under the 
dining-room tables. When he wasn’t in bed I looked here. 
. . . Don’t mention it. . . . Yes, I’m a pretty popular 
man about town with folks ownin’ children of uncertain 
habits. ... At your service, madame, any time! . . . 
Don’t forget,—bed, or under the dining-room table. . . . 
Good night. . . . Don’t mention it!” 

At last all the searchers are called in, one way or an¬ 
other. Every one gathers in Jenny’s new home,—that is, 
new for Jenny—and chatters and tells all the stories of 
lost children each knows. The men in their relief smoke 
and reminisce. The women laugh a good deal, because they 
too are so relieved. No one in all the world likes the idea 
of a child lost at night. . . . Every one introduces Jenny 
several times over to each new batch of scouters, back to 
headquarters to hear if the child really is found, and how, 
and where. They in turn laugh with relief, and tell all the 
lost-child stories they know, most of which have already 
been told that evening by friends and relatives. Jenny 
brings out all the canned goods she possesses, and the grape 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 127 

juice, and the ginger ale, and every one helps, and every 
one laughs, and Jenny,—how she laughs again with her 
neighbors!—these dear good friendly people, strangers all 
up to that very evening. She is mortified at the trouble she 
put them to; she is ashamed to think that she did not 
look under the dining-room table herself the first thing. 
But how then would she ever have known how kind these 
open-hearted new people are? The comfort of brushing 
up against fellow beings again. . . . She had thought to be 
so quiet in this new town. She had hoped to meet a few 
people—by and by. Perhaps, after several months, she 
might even feel like inviting one or two in again for tea. 
... In that other life—how she had welcomed all creation 
to her hearth, the more and oftener the better! . . . Since 
. . . Since . . . How scared she was of people now! . . . 
There was always the long fight to prepare oneself to look 
and talk as if one felt inwardly calm. Always the dread lest 
some word be spoken which would necessitate more strength 
than one could summon to keep the wound from bleeding 
again. . . . Always the empty feeling, stronger than ever, 
when one was left alone once more. . . . 

Here she was in the midst of thirty people, all of them 
laughing, joking, eating bread and sardines without butter 
at eleven o’clock at night. . . . Out in the kitchen six 
neighbors were making molasses candy. She was running 
back and forth, her heart in her throat in very thankfulness 
that once more she could hold her own, could laugh with 
the others. Her splendid new friends! 

Only at the last^ a tall heavy man whose name of course 


128 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

she did not catch in the avalanche of introductions, grasped 
her hand warmly and as he said his jovial good-by, called 
out: 

“Hope to meet the good husband next time, Mrs. Lamar! 
Lucky man! Lucky man!” 

His wife clutched his arm in desperation and dragged him 
off. “What’s that? what’s that? You don’t say! Good 
Lord, don’t get so worked up over it! How was I to 
know? . . .” and so on, down the road. 

Jenny Lamar, get used to things like that. Don’t let 
such remarks spoil your evening. . . . People,—^you were 
with people again! You felt their friendliness, they felt 
yours. Thirty new friends all at once! . . . And she had 
thought perhaps never in her life again would she have the 
courage, the strength, the—must she say it?—the desire, 
to have thirty friends. 

Thank You, God! After eight months that were as eight 
thousand years, for the first time she put her finger to 
her lips and blew the old, old kiss to heaven, and a faint— 
yes, the gods saw it—a faint smile was there. 

It was easier going to bed in a new and different room, 
with a little bran’-new bed in it. . . . Which of her new 
friends would she probably see to-morrow? 

There she was,—thinking about to-morrow! 

Thank you. Time—and Change! 

5 

The money from Cynthia Rawlins was not to be used 
any more than was absolutely necessary. That was for 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 129 

Steve and Alec, in case anything should happen to her, and 
for their education, later. She must find some work to do. 

Such years since she had lifted a finger outside her own 
home. Billy, babies,—they had filled her life. . . . More 
and more she realized Billy, more than babies. Babies 
took her time, it was true. But her world had centered 
around him. . . . She somehow had a horror of getting to 
the point now where her life would center entirely around the 
boys. It would be unhealthy for them, unhealthy for her. 
A widow with two sons. . . .No, she refused to accept for one 
moment the picture of herself sending them off to school in 
the morning, hungering wretchedly for them during the day, 
suffering because they dashed off to play as soon as they got 
home. A woman without a husband too often let her chil¬ 
dren absorb her whole personality. Some people thought 
that the proper state of affairs. Perhaps, by and by, she 
would have no personality left for them to absorb. . . . 
Jenny opened her eyes wide and stared at the ceiling in the 
dark bedroom,—the dark she forgot to be afraid of now 
four nights out of seven. Could it ever happen, perhaps, 
that when a woman lived just for a man,—a man and her 
children, that in the end the man himself might find she 
had no personality left to give? Billy—Billy had his work, 
his friends, his busy days. Indeed the time might have 
come when Jenny needed to bestir herself and be about 
affairs of some importance herself. . . . Billy had gone 
ahead right along. How much smarter was Jenny now than 
the day she left college? Just as much smarter as seven to 
eight years of being as good a wife and mother as she 
knew how, made her. Never in all those years had she felt 


130 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

one tinge of the old college ambition, never once a desire 
to do or be anything ‘‘on her own.” 

Suddenly, stirring away down faintly in the soul of her 
came a whisper of the old call of those days at Hastings. 
The old urge to be about again out in the world, seeing 
what was going on, helping a bit here and there, taking a 
hand again in something that counted outside . . . outside 
in that world which had come to her more or less second¬ 
hand, through Billy, and their friends. Never, never had 
she wanted it first-hand. In her heart of hearts she knew 
her soul, mind, and body had found absolute contentment in 
those seven years. There had been no empty crack or 
cranny in her system for any desire outside Billy and the 
babies to find lodgment. Indeed, through all those full 
seven years, the very idea of a wife and mother busying 
about outside in the world had annoyed her. Any woman 
could find enough to keep herself busy with a husband and 
children to look after. 

With children and a husband ,—and a husband. . . . 

But now, with Billy gone, there was such an enormous 
hole in her, such an emptiness. She would not let the boys 
fill it, even if they could. She had been what Billy had 
considered a perfect wife those seven years. Seven years 
more of centering her life completely in her family, and she 
knew she would make anything but a perfect mother. 

Even then, if she had not needed the money, she wanted 
just a bit to try her hand again,—to be out in the world. 

Clubs again, meetings again, committees again? Per¬ 
ish the thought! No, she knew just what she wanted. It 
was to be at a job, among men. 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 131 

But what, Jenny Lamar, is your stock in trade? 

And Jenny Lamar actually laughed a bit between the 
sheets. “I shall go up to the President of the Largest Mill 
and say, ‘Please, mister, I should like to be First Vice Presi¬ 
dent of your Company.’ 

“ ‘How so?’ would growl the big fat Mill President. 

“ ‘Please, mister, I was Treasurer of the Women’s Mando¬ 
lin Club in my Sophomore year at college!’ ” 

“I shall buy a typewriter to-morrow,” announced Jenny 
Lamar to herself, “and learn something r 


CHAPTER IX 


I 

“Quite a bit of mail to tend to this morning, Mrs. 
Lamar!” 

“Yes, quite a bit. IVe answered all but those top three 
letters.” 

“Goodness, a club wanting me to make a speech! Never, 
—that’s one thing I can’t and won’t do. I know a principal 
is supposed to go about planting the seeds of enlighten¬ 
ment, but—I’d just collapse making a speech before a 
crowd like that.” 

“I’ve already answered that letter.” 

“Bless you,—you save me no end of trouble in this world. 
Hope you put it politely and all that. What did you say?— 
I had another date for that evening, or had a cold and 
couldn’t talk, or did you come right out with it and say I 
couldn’t talk anyhow, cold or no cold, because I’m too 
scared?” 

“None of any of that. I said you’d be very glad indeed 
to address them, and that your charges were fifty dollars.” 

“Mrs. Lamar! Good Lord, you’re joking!” 

“No, I’m not. You can see the carbon copy of the 
letter.” 

“But it isn’t mailed, the letter?” 

“It’s entirely mailed.” 


132 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 133 

“You said yesV^ 

“I said yesy 

“But, Mrs. Lamar, I can’t, I simply can’t give an ad¬ 
dress like that!” 

“How do you know you can’t?” 

“Why—why, I just know it.” 

“And I know you can. And you’re going to.” 

“Here’s a letter from this poor Simpson. That’s the 
fourth. It hurts every time I think about that man and 
his family. But he is a wretched teacher. We can’t take 
him back, yet I haven’t the heart to say no outright.” 

“I answered his letter.” 

“Not really?” 

“Yes. I’ve been at work on Mr. Simpson’s case a month, 
and I’ve got him a good job teaching English at the mill. 
With some little work on the side, he’ll make more than 
he made here. He’ll be all right with workers. It’s boys 
and girls he can’t understand.” 

“I declare. . . . You won’t ever get married or any¬ 
thing like that and leave this job, will you?” 

“Oh, no! It’s too much fun messing into your affairs. 
I’ll stay till I have you stumping the state. Placards on 
every signpost: To-night Monster Open Air Mass Meet¬ 
ing! Hear Our Pride, the Great American Orator, Address 
10,000 Citizens on the Subject of—’ By that time I’ll let 
you chose your own subject.” 

“You’ll stay a long while!” 

“And I’ll stay until every morning you come in this door 
with a smile on your face.” 

“But I’ve got so many things on my mind!” 


134 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

“Pooh,—^you and your mind. Somebody failed to speak 
to you yesterday in the same tone of voice they used three 
weeks ago. The Board of Education left fifty-six cents off 
your pay check. The City Council is pestering over the 
picture of the Rhine in the history room. The price of 
Manila envelopes has gone up. Archie Jones’ father called 
to see if it was true that Miss Alby said that anybody 
objected to the Constitution at the time it was passed. . . . 
Your mind!” 

“It’s all very well for you to joke about it. You come 
from a home where two children have pushed the cares of 
the day into the background. I go home and have nothing 
to do but think of what’s gone wrong. The first thing 
my sister always asks me is, ‘What’s gone wrong to-day, 
Thomas?’ By the time I get to work in the morning we’ve 
talked and thought so much about everything unpleasant 
that I just know the new day will be as full of upsetting 
affairs as the day just passed. ... I think—^pardon my 
saying it—^but I think you ought to take life more seriously 
yourself. It fairly scares me to see a grown person being 
so—so —1 don’t know. You really ought to worry more.” 

“About what?” 

“I don’t know—^but you’re always finding something to 
laugh about. It—it sort of scares me. Lately I’ve caught 
myself starting to laugh at things, too. It—it unbalances 
me. I lose my footing, as it were. Only yesterday my 
sister Agnes told me a story about one of our neighbors 
and before I knew it I was laughing. She was fearfully 
shocked and hurt. Said it was really very important. . . . 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 135 

It is funny, though, how seriously neighbors can take other 
neighbors’ affairs.” 

“Ha, when you chuckle like that—oh, but you’re im¬ 
proving!” 

“But you won’t—Mrs. Lamar, you won’t find another 
job, will you? . . . Only, good Lord, woman, I can’t give 
that address!” 

“You can give that address.” 

“I say, if I do give it, will you let me rehearse it on you 
ahead of time?” 

2 

“I say, Mrs. Lamar.”—This a month or so later. 

“First change the look on your face. Nothing in the 
world is going badly enough to warrant such glumness.” 

“But first listen. The Board is planning to reduce the 
High School budget, right when our three best teachers are 
contemplating leaving anyhow, because of the low pay!” 

“What are you going to do about it?” 

“Why, there’s nothing to do about it. Goodness knows 
what will happen to the school. And we need a physics 
teacher the worst way,—it’s a disgrace not having a first- 
class physics teacher.” 

“And you’re going to do nothing about it?” 

“What is there to do?” 

“At least you can go to the Board,—see each member 
personally; then get permission to speak at the Board 
meeting. And if they still persist in impoverishing us, tell 


136 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

them we’ll take it before the people! Oh, we could have 
no end of fun,—mass meetings and student meetings, and 
club meetings and newspaper publicity. . . . Oh, oh, I 
almost wish they’d refuse!” 

“You—^you simply take my breath away. Why, they’d 
probably fire me if I meddled the least bit in the budget 
business.” 

“Then let them fire you. ... You can’t sit like a bump 
on a log and allow them to pick your pockets! ” 

“Do you really think they’d listen to me? Could I talk 
so that they’d get the idea?” 

“Of course they would. Of course you could. How did 
that speech go you were never going to give? You see! 
Four more letters about addresses have I answered in the 
last two days and accepted them all. . . . What you won’t 
do to that Board . . . !” 

“I’m sick, sick over this budget question. If I could 
ever get away from it!” 

“You can. We’ll go out now and take a walk. Then 
you’ll treat me to a chocolate ice cream soda at Selby’s— 
here’s your hat—and then it will be time for you to go 
home and weep with sister Agnes over the sorrows of the 
world. So that you’ll surely feel natural and woe-begone and 
sufficiently full of despair by evening. . . . Suppose you 
should go to sleep some night with a smile on your face— 
my, the air’s good out here in the wide world! . . . Just ac¬ 
cidentally one of the gods might look down and see you. I 
say ‘just accidentally,’ because I don’t think the gods look 
at you as a rule any more than they can help. They have 
enough troubles of their own without adding yours on. 


137 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

But once you did smile, and it stuck after you went to 
sleep, and one god happened to note it passing by—or 
over. I know what. He puts two fingers in his mouth and 
whistles (I never could whistle that way) and all the other 
gods look up from their labors—or rest periods—and call, 
‘Hey, what ho?’ The first god grins and gives his head a 
sideways jerk, so,—‘Come see for yourselves,’ and points 
down to where you and sister Agnes eat and sleep and hold 
troubled converse over the mistakes of man and beast. 
The other gods know that no god puts his two fingers be¬ 
tween his lips and whistles that way without its really 
being a Big Sight. So they all come trailing over the 
humps and bumps in the clouds as fast as their flowing 
robes allow. All group themselves around the first god, 
and bend over and put their hands on their knees, and peer 
on down through heaven and your and sister Agnes’ roof. 
‘Himmel!’ one god smites his forehead with his hand, ‘it 
can’t be so!’ ‘Himmel!’ another god smites his forehead 
with his hand, ‘it can’t be so!’ And as each sees that smile 
of yours, each god falls over backwards and lies stretched 
out as flat as the humps and bumps of the clouds will 
allow. Only the first god kept his balance, and he tore 
for the bulletin board and nailed up a large placard cover¬ 
ing the whole space: 

“ ‘Thomas Hatch Smiled! !!’ 

“And when the gods came to, they declared a half holiday 
and let the world run itself for six whole glorious grand 
untrampled hours of messes and irregularities (ha, business 


138 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

as usual!) while they had a feast of—of salted almonds 
and milk chocolate and sardine butter and hearts of lettuce 
salad with Russian dressing and fried scallops and French 
fried potatoes and more salted almonds and frozen Alaska 
pudding and chocolate and whipped cream and more and 
more whipped cream and Turkish delight candies and more 
salted almonds and more whipped cream and . . 

“Jenny Lamar, you talk as if you were ten years old!” 

“Ooh, you don’t know what fun a grown person has if 
they just understand the gods! You have no idea how 
grateful the gods are for being understood—it happens so 
rarely. You see—I’m their pet. They love me because 
I know just how to take them. . . . Once they let real 
trouble come to me. . . . They can’t help things like that. 
Really, you know, they have so little say any more. 
They know I know how hard it is, especially on the old 
ones, who are used to folks thinking they managed every¬ 
thing all these centuries. ... We have a sort of under¬ 
standing, the gods and I. They’re quite human, you know, 
gods are. They like to see people happy,—that’s why I’m 
such a pet of theirs. They’re perfectly miserable when 
things go wrong,—^but there’s nothing much they can do 
about it. . . . Adam—Adam was all right alone. He and 
the gods would have fared peacefully enough. But Eve 
muddled things up so. The gods never took quite the same 
interest in the world since Eve appeared,—‘No matter 
what we do, the women will mess it up again!’ . . . They’re 
men, you know, the gods. It goes against my grain to think 
of there being women gods. They’d be in some sort of 
difficulty all the time if there were women gods too. . . . 


139 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

And yet, they’d understand mortals so much better, wouldn’t 
they—I mean the male gods would—if there were female 
gods? ... I suppose they would still find time for some 
of us humans. . . . The busiest men in the world do man¬ 
age to keep their minds off their women folk often numerous 
hours in the day, so the gods surely could. . . . They’d 
always go on loving me, for I’d understand any trouble any 
of them got into and never would care a bit, because it 
would be none of my business, and I’d love them all, no 
matter what they did. . . . That’s it, you see. They 
know I love them. They know I never blame them for a 
single thing. Way back with Eve the world got out of 
hand,—women and work,—it was too much for the gods, 
the complexities that arose. I flatter them, I blame them 
for nothing, hold nothing against them, and thank them for 
everything nice. Who wouldn’t be pleased, under those 
circumstances?” 

“Where in the world do you get such ideas?” 

“They just pop into my head. I never thought of any of 
it before,—don’t think I’m perpetually feeble-minded. But 
I loved the idea of a lot of jolly gods peering down through 
the clouds at your smile and nudging each other in the ribs 
and falling over backwards. . . . Don’t you feel grand 
walking like this?” 

“It is fine.” 

“Then say so! Don’t wait to have pleasant sentiments 
prodded out of you with a pitchfork.” 

They stood looking down at the lake a bit, then walked 
on. 

“What things do you like to do most in the world?” 


140 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

Jenny asked Thomas Hatch. ‘‘What do you think is most 
fun?” 

“Why, I don’t know. I—I don’t think there is much 
fun in the world.” 

“Mercy!” 

“Really is there now? What, for instance?” 

“Well, isn’t this fun, walking along a road like this?” 

“Yes, yes, this is fun. But—I’m almost scared to enjoy 
it. It will end so soon, and then there’s all the trouble and 
worry of the world ahead.” 

“In the first place, it isn’t ended yet, and it’s glorious 
while it’s lasting—everything warm and smelling of grass 
and earth. Don’t you love the smell of things?” 

“I don’t know,—I never noticed the smell.” 

“Well, sniff! Isn’t it good?” 

“It smells—why, it smells just the way any walk smells 
—^just grass and earth.” 

“But don’t you love to smell grass and earth?” 

“I don’t know, I never thought about it.” 

“Do you like to fish?” Jermy again. 

“To fish?” 

“Yes, catch fish—^hook—rod—^line— fishT* 

“I don’t know, I never fished.” 

“Never fished 

“No, how could I? I—I never—I don’t know anything 
about fishing.” 

“I say, sometime we’ll go fishing!” 

“There’s no place to fish around here.” 

“There is! The boys and I go almost every week end. 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 141 

We take our fishing tackle and sleeping bags and a frying 
pan and oh, say, the fun we have! Come next week end 
with us!” 

‘You mean—you sleep out all night?” 

‘Yes, under the stars,—it’s heavenly! Have you got a 
sleeping bag?” 

“A what?” 

“A sleeping bag. Get your sister Agnes to make you 
one,—I’ll tell her how. We won’t take her along—she’d 
ruin the trip. I know her,—everything ought to go wrong 
if it doesn’t. Besides, it would do you good to get away 
from sister Agnes a week end. So that’s settled,—next 
week end.” 

“But, Mrs. Lamar—^you don’t mean— Goodness, you’re 
always taking my breath away. You mean we—stay out 
all night? . . . Why, it’s—it’s rather—irregular, isn’t 
it?” 

“If you weren’t really so very nice I surely would give 
you up altogether in despair. ... If you mean it isn’t 
down in black and white in Agnes’ book of ‘Advice to High 
School Principals and Their Secretaries,’ page thirty-seven, 
paragraph two, it’s irregular. But the gods—oh, the gods 
would love it! I’ve been longing to have a man along. The 
boys go to sleep early, and I sit by the fire all alone and 
look at the stars and think what a chance it would be to 
get acquainted with somebody. I love talking with a man—■ 
much, much better than talking with a woman. I love 
mental adventuring with a man. Only you yourself need a 
powerful lot of dragging along. . . . Don’t you like ad- 
venturings?” 


142 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

‘‘You ask me about such queer things. I don’t know 
anything about adventurings.” 

“I mean, don’t you love to start out to do things or 
think things when you haven’t any idea where the doing 
or thinking is really going to land you? There’s nothing in 
the world like adventure! It is my very pet god, him I 
worship above all. . . . Adventure! . . . Oh, oh—to start 
off just any place and go —^when you know you’re a pet of 
the gods and everything can’t help but turn out all right in 
the end!” 

“But, you see, I would never have that feeling.” 

“Never mind! Start out anyway! I get thrills up and 
down my system just thinking of it. . . . There was a 
time when I thought my pet god had forsaken me alto¬ 
gether. I was scared, too. I know what it is to be scared. 
‘Never again,’ I said to myself, ‘never again will I know the 
longing to venture forth into the new and untried. Always 
I must see the way far ahead, every sign post, and talk 
long with others of the route, and have company along the 
march.’ Nothing is so terrible as to feel chains, to feel 
tied. . . . Suddenly, for no particular reason, just one day 
on the street car, flowers bloomed again for me, I heard 
laughter, snatches of song. The sky was oh, so blue once 
more. And the chains which bound me fell away. The 
tumult of my soul! To know I was free again—that my 
heart had found its god again! ‘I’ll go to India,’ I cried. 
‘I’ll see Lapland!’ . . . Anyhow, I packed up and moved to 
your town. . . . 

“Some day I shall see every inch of the whole wide 
world—every inch. Some day I shall try a thousand dif- 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 143 

ferent jobs—touch life here, there, and every place, feel my¬ 
self part of all creation, one with black and white, rich and 
poor, young and old. I shall have seen it all, lived it all, 
loved it all . . . I, Jenny Lamar I” 

She stood on a rock under the oldest pine on the south 
hill. Suddenly she flung out her arms wide. . . . The 
soft wind blew the waves of hair back off her face, her eyes 
blazed, her cheeks flushed. . . . 

‘T, Jenny Lamar! My world, my people! I, part and 
parcel of the stars and every man and woman and child 
that breathes, and every tree and every flower! They are 
mine, I am theirs!’’ 

One arm still outstretched, the breezes in her hair and 
blue summer dress, she pressed her other hand against her 
lips, and blew that old, old kiss to heaven,—fire in it again, 
strength in it again. 

“Oh, I shall be whole yet,—whole, whole, whole!” 

Thomas Hatch looked at her transfixed. Was she hu¬ 
man, poised on the rock like that? Suddenly his heart 
leapt within him. God, she was human, burning human! 
To have her strength for part of his, her laughter, her faith, 
her song. To sit in the sunshine of her life. To forget the 
damp and chill and fearsomeness of his own. . . . The 
warmth of her, oh, the warmth of her! . . . Must he shiver 
in his loneliness forever, in the grayness of his own old 
purposeless world? 

She jumped down from the rock and curtsied joyous at 
his feet. “And adventure number one for Mr. Thomas 
Hatch will be—” 

For the first time in his thirty-eight years Thomas Hatch 


144 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

failed to weigh an action with minute care. He threw his 
arms around Jenny Lamar, fairly crushing the breath out 
of her, and for the first time in thirty-eight years, kissed 
a woman upon her lips, the kiss of a lover. 

Jenny pushed herself away when she had collected her 
wits enough, and looked at him, mussed and amazed. 

^Thomas Hatch, have you lost your mind?” 

He held her hands. “No, no, . . . Jenny, let me love 
you! That kiss. . . . Just to be with you, to feel your love 
of life ... it begins to make my whole world over. . . . 
You can never know how different everything has seemed 
since you came. ... I never let myself guess for a moment 
that I loved you. . . . Only now, suddenly, it all came over 
me. ... I love you—so much.” 

As if kissing her once had not startled himself and Jenny 
enough, he suddenly drew her to him again and kissed her 
eyes, her hair, again and again her lips. 

And just as suddenly she was not there. A dash of blue 
running through the woods and out again into the grass and 
sunshine—like some dream she was gone. Thomas Hatch 
fell on his knees and clasped his hands on the rock where 
she had stood, and bent his head. It was as if he was no 
longer Thomas Hatch, so changed was his world of yes¬ 
terday. 

As for Jenny Lamar—out of breath she dashed into her 
own home, up into her own room with her one little bed. 
. . . Where was her world of yesterday? 

Was it because she had spoken jokingly of the gods that 
every one of them deserted her? No, she knew,—down in 
her heart she knew. She had stood on that rock and had 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 145 

flung out her arms and had cried, “Soon I shall be whole, 
whole, whole!’’ 

That was what the gods—those old, old-fashioned gods 
of hundreds of thousands of years, had heard. At last she 
had felt herself so confident, so strong, so able to bear any 
burden put upon her shoulders. The wound was no longer 
raw. It still bled at times. Some sudden memory, or 
sight, or sound,—the cut would open, and it took all her 
strength to go on. For the most part there was a dull 
underlying ache, an incompleteness about everything. The 
torture of evenings was quieted by no end of work. She 
found odd typing jobs to keep her busy every spare moment 
she could rescue from other duties,—never a second was she 
idle. There were neighborhood and school gatherings she 
gratefully participated in. Sundays—Sundays there were 
the trips with the boys. Not at first. It was too much 
like the old days. Only just recently had she been able to 
put work aside Sundays and venture forth picnic fashion. 
Then they discovered the river twenty miles away. . . . 
She had painted those week ends somewhat too glowingly to 
Thomas Hatch. She really wanted him along because it 
was so terribly lonely with just the boys. It would be much 
more fun with a man along. . . . How much more fun 
everything in the world was with a man along! . . . Until 
suddenly, this day, talking of Adventure, feeling the old 
thrill, up on the rock like that, the breeze in her hair. . . . 
Suddenly she felt so strong again,—as if there were nothing 
she could not do—alone. Such great things she would ac¬ 
complish in the world,—she, Jenny Lamar! She almost 
had cried, *‘Now I am whole, whole, whole!” That would 


146 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

not have been quite honest. But she was so sure of her¬ 
self, on that rock. 

Those old, old gods of a hundred thousand years and 
more. . . . They heard her, they saw her outstretched 
arms. They were so much older than the new gods, so much 
more powerful, so much more entrenched. Tt was never in 
their scheme of things that a woman was meant for any¬ 
thing on earth but a man—and babies.* When.the new gods 
saw and heard their pet, Jenny—they were watching, too— 
oh, how they rejoiced! They were so happy in heaven, so 
encouraged, so—^yes, like Jenny—so confident! . . . There 
were many more older gods. 

If Jenny had only jumped to the other side of the rock, 
and had run on down through the woods and fields. . . . 

But no, she jumped right at the feet of Thomas Hatch. 
The new upright intelligent gods fought for her—they 
would show the old gods through Jenny what could be done 
in this world. 

Thomas Hatch had kissed Jenny Lamar,—^kissed and 
kissed her. The new gods cried, “WeVe won, anyhow! 
See—it is as if Thomas Hatch kissed a wooden image, as 
far as Jenny Lamar i? concerned!” 

The old, old gods never give up. By the time Jenny had 
reached her room they had won out. 

She lay on her bed and shook and cried, and cried and 
shook, and the soul and body of her throbbed and burned, 
and throbbed and burned again. Bit by bit her strong, 
confident, ambitious world crumbled about her ears. She 
lay there—that proud, buoyant thing who had called from 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 147 

the rock, “I, Jenny Lamar!”—she lay there a woman of 
hundreds of thousands of years, who hungered with the 
hunger of hundreds of thousands of years for the physical 
love , of a man. That, and only that, in all the great new 
world. 


CHAPTER X 


I 

She could give up her job. . . . No. It wasn’t much of 
a job, as jobs went. It was a start. She had made good, 
acquired confidence in herself. But she would not give up 
her job. It was too much fun bossing things around; 
molding affairs, even though they were small affairs, to suit; 
watching a man change under her very eyes. What in the 
world was more satisfying than seeing a person alter his 
ways and thought, a little here, a little there, and knowing 
right well who was responsible? To build faith where there 
was none. To turn fear into confidence and courage, hope¬ 
lessness into ambition. To take oversensitiveness, and 
make out of it valuable indifference. To fashion competence 
itself, from doubt. ... It was slow work. A week at a 
time—there was scant improvement. But compare this 
month with last month! 

Yet how in the world could she go on under the circum¬ 
stances? She had tried it three days, and what an up¬ 
heaval I The world seemed rather full of stories of men who 
fell in love with their secretaries. Jenny wished she could 
collect a few of the secretaries and ask them how they 
managed. Perhaps most of them didn’t manage. Certainly 
she wasn’t managing. Why hadn’t the gods made her of 
stone? or paper pulp—or sawdust—or anything but ma- 

148 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 149 

terial which felt a good deal like the pictures of “Storm on 
the New England Coast,”—only the waves were hot, instead 
of cold. Nor was there anything very New Englandy about 
her feelings, either. 

What a surprising thing the world could be! One day to 
feel, as far as there was any feel to it, as if you were made 
of-—sawdust, and the next, literally the next, to have the 
sawdust catch fire. Storm on the New England Coast— 
burning- sawdust. . . . Well, it was just about that mixed. 

Imagine a mixture of Storm on the New England Coast 
and Burning Sawdust typing faultlessly: 

“Messrs. Strowbridge and Saxon, 

727 Arch Street, 

Peoria, Maine. 

“Gentlemen:— 

“In your last shipment of text books for. . . 

Waves booming, hot, hot sawdust . . . spray, smoke. . . . 

“second year History—” 

He ought to be back by now. The very idea of having a 
door open bringing on such a fresh onslaught of breakers 
against a rock-bound shore. (Ha, rock-bound!—Sawdust- 
bound.) If he’d only come in and get seated, then the 
door could open a hundred times without causing a riffle. 

. . . Goodness, “second year History,”—^where’s the 
eraser? Second year latin. . . . Look at that,—small “ 1 .” 
Now the whole page looked too mussed. . . . Just as well 


150 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

to begin over. Carbon paper was turned the wrong way. 
. . . Breakers. . . . Sawdust. . . . 

At last, here he was! 

She would have to give up her job. Look at the way he 
sat there. He had already read that letter four times, and it 
was absolutely unimportant to begin with. Every time she 
looked up from Messrs. Strowbridge and Saxon, he was 
looking at her. He ought to look away again quickly, and 
not keep on looking and looking. It made a New England 
Coast storm seem calm in comparison with how his looking 
that way caused her to feel inside. ... Of course she 
made mistakes. Why couldn’t Strowbridge and Saxon have 
sent the right order in the first place? Why did she have 
to look at him that way to see if he was still looking at 
her? Why didn’t he get to work? 

‘‘I can’t work this minute. It’s so wonderful to be in 
love. Do you know what? I feel as if I could fight the 
whole world single-handed. Watch me at that board meet¬ 
ing to-night! We’ll have* a new physics teacher next 
semester,—^what do you say?” 

“I say we shall, of course.” 

And when she laid the Strowbridge and Saxon letter on 
his desk to sign, he caught both her hands and kissed them, 
which Jenny Lamar liked very much. 

Waves—New England Coast . . . ? 

Waves—sawdust. 

“Mother, why don’t you eat more lunch?” 

“I’m not hungry, my beloved son.” 

“Ho-hol What did you eat between meals?” 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 151 

“Ho-ho, nothing! Honest to goodness. I’m just think¬ 
ing.’’ 

“Gee, I can think and eat at the same time. I bet I can 
do anything in the world and eat at the same time!” 

“Mother, our teacher acted so funny in school this morn¬ 
ing.” 

“Do tell.” 

“What do you know,—the teacher she spelt jow words 
wrong on the blackboard to-day!” 

“Not really!” 

“And once she sat there and Alec asked her a question 
three times and she just looked out the window.” 

“. . . I just asked her could I have a lend of her eraser. 
I asked her three times!” 

“. . . And then suddenly she said, ‘No, no!’ 

“. . . And I says, ‘Well, whose eraser will I get a lend 
of?’ And she says, ‘Whose what?’ And I said, ‘Eraser,’ 
and she said, ‘Why, use mine!’ She’s nutty, I say.” 

Waves . . . sawdust ... New England Coast. . . . 

“Be sure you give Miss Beatty my love when you get 
back to school. I’ve not seen her now for several weeks. 
Don’t forget. I’m very fond of Miss Beatty.” 

So Miss Beatty had troubles of her own. 

The entire afternoon was one turmoil. Everything 
she touched she made a mess of. He would leave the office 
at four and then she would stay on and work, and really 
get things done. She told the boys when they called for 
her as usual that she couldn’t go home yet,—there was too 
much to do. Each acquired a typewriter ribbon spool and 


152 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

went on his way rejoicing. . . . Five minutes to four,—if 
only he would bestir himself and go. It was utterly im¬ 
possible for her to work with him sitting there. If he 
looked at her she got all upset. If he did not look at her 
she got all upset. She wished he would lock the door and 
take her in his arms and—^yes, kiss her. Couldn’t she 
even admit it to herself? 

‘‘Messrs. Strowbridge and Saxon, 

727 Arch Street, 

Peoria, Maine. 

“Gentlemen:— 

“In regard to the last shipment . . .” 

Good gracious, she had written that letter twice already. 
Thomas Hatch made her sick. Why did he go to work and 
mix himself up this way in her peaceful life? She hadn’t 
wanted him one little bit. . . . 

“Are you going to work all afternoon, Jenny?” 

He came over and laid a hand gently on her shoulder. 
Surging Waves. . . . 

“I am. . . .” New England Coast. 

“Jenny, Jenny,—I love to say your name so— Come 
take a walk again with me this afternoon. It puts the 
breath of life itself into me to be with you. Come!” 
Sawdust. . . . 

She put on her hat and they went out. She did not even 
think to take the third Strowbridge and Saxon letter out 
of the machine and close it up. 

She had not wanted him one single little bit—and just 

look. . . . 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 


153 


2 


Another month went by. 

Since she seemed to lack the moral strength to say what 
she wanted to say, at last she decided to write it. 

^‘Dear Thomas Hatch:— 

“This is a most difficult letter to write. 

“I can’t stand things going on this way any more. Good¬ 
ness knows I wish I had never taken that first walk with 
you the afternoon when you kissed me. Everything was 
progressing wonderfully with me up till then. I was getting 
ahead every day, and feeling always so peaceful and sort 
of independent of the world. Since that afternoon every¬ 
thing has gone topsy-turvy. I can’t work. I can’t sleep. 
I can’t eat. Some loves would be worth that, but not 
yours and mine. 

“Because you love the way you do most other things,— 
or the way you used to do them. I could give you con¬ 
fidence and send you ahead with flying colors if it were 
only some one else you were in love with. But certainly 
I’d feel foolishness itself urging you on to keep up your 
courage and love me myself more! Never that! 

“I hate half-baked things, and this whole affair is half- 
baked. What is it all about, anyway? Certainly you and 
I would never marry each other. I should never marry 
anybody again, even if you ever got to the point of wanting 
to marry me. As far as my end of it goes, I was starved 
to death for some one to love, and for some one to love 
me—just plain old-fashioned love—starving for it, and 
didn’t know it until you came along. 

“Why couldn’t you have left me in my comfortable state? 
Even starving is entirely comfortable, if you have no idea 
you’re starving. And I hadn’t the ghost of an idea. You 
made me conscious of it that afternoon. You made me 
know I was starving. And then you dole out little morsels 
here and there and leave me to curse my fate that you ever 


154 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

came into my life at all. For the only kind of love I want 
—the only kind which wouldn’t leave me more miserable 
than before—is—oh, it’s such worlds more than you seem 
to have the slightest idea about! 

“So I’d rather you gave me none at all. Which is why 
I write this letter. You love me just enough to keep me 
continually stirred up. In the state my soul found me in 
after that afternoon, it seems physically impossible for me 
to be indifferent. I can’t, though I try day and night, find 
a way to protect myself against myself. So I ask you to 
rescue me,—^by ceasing to love me. The way you love— 
it won’t be very hard to stop. I don’t mean that cruelly. 
But it really is so, isn’t it? 

“This loving business! To bring it down to the sort of 
thing between you and me. It makes me ache all over. 
That loving should ever be lukewarm! You see, I don’t 
believe I could ever love a man more than he loves me,— 
something inside of me rears up at the very idea. So that 
by your lukewarm loving, you force me to love lukewarm 
in return, and I am outraged in all directions. I, who love 
loving so,—I hate this! And above all, I hate my own 
weakness. How I have sunk in my own estimation! You 
have no idea. I start out each day saying I will have none 
of him! When you open the door in the morning my whole 
soul and body get mixed up and on end. I want to rush to 
you! . . . We go walking. Everything in me is one wild 
anticipation, hunger. We come back after two hours. You 
have sat under a tree and looked at me—^looked and looked 
and looked. You have told me that I am the most won¬ 
derful person in all the world. You slip a flower I give you 
into your pocketbook—to keep forever. And I want to 
love! I want to be loved! I come back as starving, as 
unsatisfied, as I started out,—^worse, indeed, for just having 
been near you and the agony of unending possibilities you 
never take advantage of. 

“So you see—I’m not the sort for you to be loving at 
all—^you want an entirely different kind. And I—oh, I 
want very much to have you stop loving me. If you’d just 
give up the whole idea, I know it would be no time before 


155 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

my world would be all peaceful again. . . . There are such 
thousands of things I want to be doing! I can do none of 
them when my insides feel like this. ... I can’t even be 
a good secretary. I really wish to be a help,—it would all 
be so comfortable and nice once more. We could even go 
on the fishing trip some week end, perhaps, after all. 

“Please, I’m not really worth your caring about anyhow. 
You see, I had no idea I’d ever be like this, myself. Evi¬ 
dently people know very little about themselves—except in 
retrospect. Certainly I shall never be boastful of myself 
in advance, ever! 

“Remember, you are just to glare at me, and growl, and 
grunt. Please! 

“Your hoping-to-cool-and-solidify-again secretary, 

“Jenny L.” 

My, what a relief. That was done and over with. 
More than a month of a mess. She hated herself—^hated, 
hated, hated herself. . . . After all, it would have been 
much kinder of the gods, when they were designing fe¬ 
males, to have supplied some sort of automatic adjust¬ 
ment which would mean that when you suddenly found 
yourself forced to live without a man, you would, at least 
in time, find it an eminently satisfying and comforting and 
stabilizing state of affairs—indefinitely. 

There was so much, so much to be done in the world. 


Jenny laid the letter on Thomas Hatch’s desk the next 
morning. She went to the basement after new supplies. 
When she came back the office was still empty. The letter 
was gone. Over on her desk was an envelope addressed to 
her in Thomas Hatch’s handwriting. He had read her 
letter. He was called out of town very suddenly by a tele- 


156 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

gram from his mother. His father was dying. He might 
have to be gone several days. It was a great relief to 
know she could manage all the office details in his absence. 
She was to call on the assistant principal if any matter 
needing his attention came up. Sincerely, T. H. 

More things for Thomas Hatch to have on his mind. 
She did hope her letter had not hurt him—on top of that 
telegram. What a pity she had written it just when she 
did. Thinking of her might have helped him over the 
crisis of the next few days. 

At least she would have a short spell in which to find 
herself again, to get on her feet again, solid. 

She had not realized how perpetually near to smiling his 
face had grown in the last month until she saw him for the 
first time on his return. For, you see, it was something 
more than the death of his father. Some folks dream 
dreams from youth on, and accustom themselves to seeing 
them fade—or become shattered. When a man dreams 
the first big dream of all his life at thirty-eight, and when 
it was so extremely difficult to get into a state of mind where 
one could dream at all, and when the dream itself was 
perhaps the most wonderful dream in the world—^how fear¬ 
fully, fearfully gray the world can look when it is all over! 
Possibly really no grayer than before the dream ever 
started, but so very gray. Here and there really black! — 
after the dream. When it was so difficult to dream at 
thirty-eight, and so—so useless, perhaps one never dreams 
again. 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 


157 


3 

Three months later. 

Really it should have been only two months later. One 
solid month had Jenny’s mind been firmly made up. Every 
morning when she dressed she said, “To-day I shall tell 
him.” But every morning his face wore that tired look, 
and she could not bear the thought of causing him any 
more pain. This morning, this morning, she would not look 
at his face. So when the door closed, and by the way it 
closed she knew it was Thomas Hatch, she looked hard at 
the typewriter and said: 

“I’m leaving at the end of the month.” 

No sound. Was he in the room? 

“I’m leaving at the end of the month.” 

She looked up at last. All she could see was his back. 

“I’ve found a very fine secretary to take my place. She’ll 
—she’ll be a much better secretary than I am. She’ll be— 
impersonal.” 

Not a word the whole morning long. At noon time he 
went out first. 

That same day at lunch. 

“Mother, are you sick?” 

“No,—^why?” 

“Your face. . . . Why don’t you smile? . . . That’s 
better!” 

“Mother, we gotta new teacher!” 

“Guess what? Miss Beatty’s gonna get married!” 


158 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

“Ho-ho,—I knew that for two whole monthsE^ 

“How did you know, mother?” 

“Miss Beatty came around one evening and told me all 
about it and I told her all about it and she brought the 
man around to see me a few nights later because she’d 
followed my advice, so he was very nice to me, and she was 
very nice to me, and we’re all to be at the wedding.” 

. . Mother, Miss Beatty’ll have a baby now soon, 
won’t she?” 

“Miss Beatty hopes so, so I hope so too.” 

“Will she bring it to school to show us?” 

“Maybe she will!” 

“Wouldn’t it be funny, though, if our dog had puppies 
and Miss Beatty had a baby all at the same time? ... I 
sure hope the dog has more puppies than Miss Beatty has 
babies. I wouldn’t think much of a dog that had only one 
puppy, would you, mother?” 

“Well, it ud be better than a lady having five babies, 
wouldn’t it, mother?” 

“. . . It’ll be nice for Miss Beatty to have a man around 
the house, don’t you say, mother?” 

“Yes, very nice.” 

“Sometimes I think it ud be awfully nice having a man 
around our house again. What do you say, mother?” 

“I—^perhaps it—^would.” 

That afternoon affairs in the office of Thomas Hatch 
went on as usual. By four o’clock it got on Jenny’s nerves. 

“Did you hear me say I was leaving the end of the 
month?” 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 159 

‘^Yes, I heard you/’ 

^‘I’m leaving town.” 

‘‘You mean—^you’re going away?” 

“Yes. I want to start in some place all new—abso¬ 
lutely new. If I stayed here, every time I saw you on the 
street or at some one’s party, all the wretchedness of the 
past months would come back to me. You see, it would 
keep me reminded of the fact that I’m a woman. I’d like 
to feel as—as sexless as possible. It isn’t that I want to 
feel like a man—oh, never, never! But—well, the truth 
of the whole matter is, I don’t want to feel at all. I was 
in that comfortable state six months ago.” 

“I see. Yes, that would be a very comfortable state to 
be in, not to feel—at all.” 

“You know, I have something of a dramatic streak in 
me. I don’t like to leave a situation without some sort of 
fitting end to it. You’ve played a tremendous part in my 
life the last months. Just before we move away—^I’ve 
promised the boys—^we’re to have a last week end at the 
river. Please come along! It would give us both a won¬ 
derful last memory. After that we shall never see each 
other again, never write each other. The ups and downs of 
especially the last three months we’ll forget—the hurts I’ve 
caused you, the vacillations, the resolves, the backslidings. 
We’ll think of a last two days and a night by a starlit 
river—and the rest. . . .No, there will have been no ‘rest.’ 
Just the river, a beautiful memory of the river. . . .” 

“I don’t know . . .” 

“I never saw a man so scared to do something that might 
give him some happiness in this life! Not once in all these 


i6o JENNY THE JOYOUS 

months did I ever suggest our doing something together 
that you didn’t say, ‘I don’t know . . in that way of 
yours. Are you afraid even to be happy?” 

“Yes, I guess that’s it. I’m afraid even to be happy.” 

“But you are going to the river! When I make up my 
mind to a thing this hard—^just give up right now! Two 
weeks from to-morrow. Good-by! . . . Don’t bother about 
the sleeping bag—I borrowed one for you. No need to give 
Agnes heart failure. . . . Don’t bring Agnes. . . . Good- 
by!” 



PART III 









CHAPTER XI 


I 

Oh, those souls in the world, those souls to whom the 
thought of a camp fire means nothing. . . . Who that has 
ever known the smell of frying bacon in the woods, the taste 
of flapjacks in the woods, the sound of a stream at night, 
the sight of the stars through the trees,—^who that has ever 
known any of that would exchange those memories for all 
the gold of Midas? 

Clear the space for the blankets and the sleeping 
bags, here under those fir trees where the needles are soft¬ 
est. Hunt around and collect wood for the fire, a plenty of 
every kind, before it gets dark,—the little dry twigs for the 
start, middle size for cooking, small logs for the camp fire 
after supper. Here are big stones for the oven—^what a 
broiling we’ll have! There’s the steak for to-night; trout— 
we hope trout for breakfast! . . . How about trying one’s 
luck all alone right now—dusk? No time like it. . . . 
Where did I put those little brown fellows?—that’s the fly 
for me—and a couple of extra leaders. Throw over the 
wading boots—there’s the basket, hanging on the limb of 
that oak. . . . So-long, don’t wait supper for me. If the 
luck is any good at all I won’t be back before dark. . . . 

Up stream? Down stream? There was that wonder of 
a big riffle we passed about a quarter of a mile up. Fish 
163 


i 64 jenny the joyous 

up to that. ... No, it might be too late. Take the path 
up to the Big Riffle and fish down with any time left. 
Don’t put the rod together till we get to the Big Rif¬ 
fle. .. . 

Oh, I say, who could let a hole like that go by? It 
won’t take a second to get the rod out—just this one hole 
on the way. . . . The sound of the reel—^what music in 
all the world like the sound of the reel! . . . There now, 
wade out behind that rock for shelter—cast just over to the 
right and let her float on down to that dark eddy near the 
opposite bank. Look out for the brush behind! No need 
to get so excited,—if there’s a trout in that hole he’ll hear 
your heart beating all this distance. . . . One cast—ach, 
a little too far this way. Give yourself about three feet 
more line. . . . Pretty one! There she is now, right over 
the spot where the Big Boy’s waiting—if he’s waiting^at 
all. . . . Plump! Hey—missed it! Jove, did you hear his 
teeth snap, almost? That big he was. Did you catch that 
shine along the side as he flipped his tail? Oh, say, I’m 
shaking all over. ... If you can do it just that way again. 
You didn’t prick him,—^he’s as good as if the hole had 
never been tried before. Spoil the water this time, and 
you’ve lost him. . . . There—^pretty one again—landed 
as gently as a fly dropping off a leaf. . . . There he’s wait¬ 
ing—She’ll make sure he snaps it this time. . . . Plump!— 
Heigh, see the curve of the rod, hear the reel, the reel, the 
reel! 

How a heart can beat! Ach, there he’s making for the 
rapids—and a gossamer leader. Never mind—follow on 
down and lead him off into that quiet water by the pebbly 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 165 

beach and the old log. Look out—no telling what old 
branches may be down under the water. He’s not there 
yet. . . . Hey, watch him take up stream, will you? Pull 
in the line with your hands—no time to reel. . . . There, 
take up the line now—he’s jerking over by the shallow side. 
. . . Down stream—there goes the line out again. Go on 
down with him! You’ve not got such yards of line left. 
. . . Watch out for that bank there—looks as if there 
might be no end of snags—out this way, old boy, out— 
this—way! ... If you could just know where you hooked 
him, just how well the hook’s holding, just how true that 
gossamer leader is. . . . Hey there—^you almost gave him 
some slack! . . . Now’s your chance—over by that beach. 
. . . He’s getting tired, I say,—look at him! . . . Why 
didn’t you bring a net? Who would have guessed they 
came that big in this stream! . . . The beach doesn’t look 
safe, either. ... No, get him worn out and then—look at 
him, right at your feet! Oh, the beauty! The gills pant¬ 
ing, panting. Run your hand like lightning along his back 
—quick! thumb and second finger tight in at his gills. . . . 

I’ve got him, I’ve got him, I’ve got him! You beauty! 
You glorious thing! Was there ever such a trout! Flap 
your poor old tail—I’ve got a grip on that head nothing in 
all creation could loosen. . . . Just the same, it’s a good 
safe feeling to get him up on dry land—over by that low 
brush and those rocks—it’s fairly clean, and it’s safe. Put 
him down on the grass. ... I say, did you ever see such 
a beauty! Look at the markings of him! Poor old boy— 
you’re done for. No good to flop. Poor old tired flops. 
. . . There—^you’re out of your misery now. . . . Hate to 


i66 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

put him in the basket—want to kneel there and look at 
him till dark. ... A few ferns in first. See how his head 
and tail curl up—he won’t fit in that basket! Wipe your 
hands off in the grass and ferns, and the rest on your khaki 
trousers. . . .You can’t go up to the Big Riffle—^you’ll 
just have to get back to camp and tell them about him, 
the Beauty curled up in the basket. He’s enough for a 
breakfast pretty near, all by himself. To-morrow morn¬ 
ing early—that will be the time to try the Big Riffle. 
Rather dark now, anyway—really ought to get back and 
see if there is anything you can help with around the camp 
—^yes, yes, of course. . . . 

^‘Any luck?” 

“Close your eyes!” 

For sale? No, not one fin of that trout, not one second 
of that delirious time, are for sale. Not all the money in 
the whole United States could buy one single thrill of it. 
That— that is living for you! 

“It makes your hands smell rather funny, doesn’t it?” 

“Funny? Funny? That’s trout!” 

“Was it really fun?” 

“Oh, Thomas Hatch, Thomas Hatch. . . . Well, now 
we’ll get supper.” 

“Mother, look,—Alec’s got two water snakes!” 

“And Steve’s got four little frogs!” 

“And lookit—all these new kinds of flowers we’ve not 
seen before!” 

“And Mr. Hatch got in the nettles!” 

“That’s why we brought Mr. Hatch along,—to teach him 
not to fall into nettles twice. . . .” 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 167 

. . The potatoes are ’most done, mother. . . . Ooh, 
look at that fire for broiling!” 

. I say, mother, we forgot the plates.” 

^^Mr. Thomas Hatch looks to Mrs. Jenny Lamar as if we 
ought to go back and get some!” 

“Well, but what do you do when you forget plates?” 

“Eat off of something else. Camping with the Lamars 
educates for resourcefulness. We always forget something, 
and we always discover it never makes a bit of difference. 
You, being company, can eat out of tlie frying pan,—^put 
some fern leaves down on your lap first—it’s probably none 
too clean underneath. ... You begin to see why I didn’t 
hunger to bring sister Agnes along. If you look like that 
when we forget a little thing like plates, what would be 
sister Agnes’ expression? Steve can eat out of the top to 
the potato pot; Alec—” 

“Mother, look,—I found this big flat stone. Isn’t it just 
perfect for a plate?” 

“And I’ll—eat off another stone. . . . And Agnes is com¬ 
fortably at home eating off of warm china. . . . Smell that 
steak! ... I say, do you know what you do when smoke 
from a camp fire gets in your eyes? You move. ... You 
know, you do look like a martyr. Smiled 

“It wasn’t the smoke, really. I was just thinking.” 

“Wondering, I’ll wager, how long it would take a person 
of your age to be converted to camping, is that it?” 

“Yes, in part. It isn’t that I don’t like it, you know. 
It’s just—it keeps surprising me so all the time. All day 
I’ve found myself wondering what’s coming next.” 

“Oh, but don’t think that is necessarily camping. That’s 


i68 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

just Lamars. I don’t suppose we’ll ever learn to do things 
so that well-brought-up people wouldn’t be surprised. 
Don’t grow discouraged over camping just because your 
first experience is with us. I’m sure it must be very dif¬ 
ferent with circumspect people. But you see I never 
camped with anybody but Lamars, so I’m handicapped. . . . 
It’s dreadful how used you get to the way your own family 
does things. Especially dreadful when I think how used you 
are to Agnes.” 

“Agnes isn’t so bad.” 

“That’s because you’re used to her. That’s the terrible 
part. You don’t see that for Agnes to run your house the 
way she does, it has taken all there is of Agnes for—^how 
long? She’s forty. She lives, moves, and has her being 
for the elimination of dust. Suns rise and set according to 
the amount of the gas bill. The moon alters its course if 
there is a spot on the table cloth. An innocent spider builds 
a web,—it takes a year off of Agnes’ span of life. The 
cream dressing for the salmon isn’t quite thick enough. 
Agnes is mortified to the point of collapse at the table. 
Did every mattress not get turned and aired and beaten 
and brushed every day, Agnes would rend the very skies in 
desperation and probably insist on standing up all night. 
... I can just tell you that long ago the gods washed their 
hands of Agnes. Not even the most old-fashioned gods in 
heaven ever meant women to keep house like Agnes. No 
wonder they get discouraged over women. They don’t suit 
any gods, the kind like Agnes. There are some gods who 
are just concerned over women having husbands and ba¬ 
bies. They hate such careful housekeepers because it makes 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 169 

wives pernickety and nervous and mothers impatient and 
tired. . . . Other gods, who have faith that perhaps there 
are things of value women could be doing in the world—^in 
addition to husbands and babies, or as substitutes for some 
imavoidable absence of them—those gods get out of sorts 
with such women, because they give all their time to pot¬ 
tering about a house and no one in all the world is any 
better off for their pottering. ... I really think gods hate 
waste more than anything else in all creation. I would, if 
I were a god. Wasted material, wasted time, wasted effort, 
wasted opportunities.” 

The stones were rolled back a bit, the logs were catching 
and snapping, the smoke, in the still of early night, going 
straight up through the branches of the pines. 

“I’m going to bring up my boys with the idea of one 
cardinal sin, and one only. One Absolute Wrong, if you 
will. The sin of not making the most of every single 
chance you get in the world. Wasted opportunities,—how 
they break the hearts of the gods! They can forgive any¬ 
thing and everything but that. . . . And yet, perhaps, to 
Agnes, it is a wasted opportunity if she lets a spider web 
alone half an hour—or forever. Her gods would never for¬ 
give that! And how utterly, utterly miserable Agnes would 
be by a camp fire this way, out in the open, in the dark, 
lying flat on her stomach on the good, leafy, grassy earth, 
her chin in her hands, philosophizing. ... I guess there are 
no Absolutes . . . except mine—for me.” 

Jenny told the boys stories and tucked them away in 
their sleeping bags where they could see the fire and the 
beautiful light on the beautiful trees. . . . “Mother, the 


170 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

world is so wonderful, isn’t it? And there never was any 
one in all the world that has so many things to be glad 
about, was there? I just don’t think I could have made 
a nicer world if I’d done it all myself, except . . . except 
for Pop not being here. Isn’t that what you say, mother?” 

2 

“And now, like this by the burning logs, with the boys 
in bed and done their questionings, and the fact you didn’t 
have plates to eat off of forgotten, and in the dark, so 
you can’t see the dirt,—just a fire and trees and stillness— 
aren’t you really glad you came? Isn’t this a fitting way 
to end a—a friendship? Or are you still possessed of the 
idea that some one knows we’re here who won’t under¬ 
stand?” 

“No, I don’t much care right now if some one does mis¬ 
understand. ... A wild feeling comes over me and I rebel 
at the thought of this being—the end.” 

“Don’t waste a moment of this wonderful night rebel¬ 
ling. It is the end. Just enjoy it all, every second, and 
have it always to look back upon and be grateful for. . . . 
There’s much in our relationship I can’t be grateful for,— 
and yet perhaps it had to come, and I should be glad it’s 
part of my past, rather than looming ahead in the future. 
Since I am what I am, it is just as well I know it. Yet it 
is hard to be grateful for being ‘shown up.’ I hate the idea 
that a man can throw me into such a turmoil. I never 
would have guessed it in all the world.” 

“But, Jenny, why, if I could throw you into such a tur- 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 171 

moil—^what was that, perhaps, but being in love? And if 
you were in love with me, why does this have to be the 
end?” 

“In the first place, perhaps the most important lesson 
you taught me was that being in a turmoil doesn’t neces¬ 
sarily mean at all that one is in love. That is worth 
$3,000,000 to me! Do you know, sometimes I think that 
if you had proposed to me any time the first or second 
week after—after you kissed me that first time, I’d have 
accepted you and married you on the spot—in the full 
belief that the turmoil was love. I quake when I think of 
how many people propose and how many proposals get ac¬ 
cepted, because turmoils and love, real love, get confused 
with each other. You see, the only time I ever fell in love, 
I fell in love first, and the turmoils really came later. . . . 
I didn’t know you could have turmoils without being in 
love. I don’t believe you can really be in love without 
having turmoils. Only, when you fall in love young, you’re 
as in love as you can be, being young. But the turmoil 
part in you—well, it just doesn’t seem to be awake. That 
is, really very, very much awake.” 

“You mean that if I had asked you to marry me those 
first weeks—” 

“Don’t get the least excited over it—it would have been 
terrible, terrible. For with my head—oh, I wasn’t one bit 
in love with you with my head. ... I wonder how long 
people can go without realizing the head part of them is not 
in love. That is the awful danger. While the turmoils— 
the hunger of part of you—are so great, you can’t see clearly 
with your mind—^it’s as if everything got mixed and be- 


172 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

fogged. Perhaps, if the physical gets enough satisfaction, 
it can beguile the soul into believing it is satisfied, too— 
for a while. But in our case—the flesh, oh, the flesh found 
such scant gratification for its hunger and thirst. The soul 
finally managed to stand on one side and ask, ‘What man¬ 
ner of man is this who is causing you such unsatisfied 
anguish?’ . . . The worst of it was, that even after the 
soul of me saw clearly, the turmoil kept up. I understand 
so much about the world that I never understood before. 
I thank you for that! ” 

“You see, Jenny, I never could understand what it was 
all about,—your wanting more love than I gave you. I 
gave you all the love I could.” 

“That was what my soul told me when I looked at you 
with clear eyes.” 

“But it—was—a very great deal. You don’t understand. 
It was just that—I don’t know—this expressing of love— 
I can’t do that. I felt as if I’d gone so very far, as it was. 
I just couldn’t, can’t, be different. There are a hundred 
things that hold me back from—from kissing you oftener, 
say. One of them was that—I don’t know—it always 
seemed to me that expressing love cheapened it.” 

“Perhaps you’re right, for you. I’m not saying for a 
minute that the way I was created is superior to the way 
you were created. The point is, how tragically terrible 
when people who love the way you love and people who 
love the way I love get—mixed—in the mating. A Protes¬ 
tant marries a Catholic, a Jew a Gentile, a conservative a 
radical. Mere superficialities of difference exist in such mar¬ 
riages compared to what happens when a demonstrative 


173 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

person marries an undemonstrative person. The gods hurl 
themselves on their faces and weep—more than weep—sob. 
For one of the two, life will be a tragedy. If the demon¬ 
strative person continues being demonstrative, it would 
probably be a tragedy for both.” 

“But why, why do you feel love has to be expressed? 
Why can’t it be even so strong if I—if the man—never 
kisses yoU; —her—the other person at all?” 

“It can be every bit as strong. Perhaps, for all I know, 
stronger. I suppose there are men who love their wives 
devotedly and begin their letters Triend Wife.’ When such 
a husband meets his wife after a three months’ parting he 
shakes hands with her. If the wife might some day whimper 
that she’d like a kiss once in a while, would like once in a 
while to be told T love you,’ her stalwart husband would 
assure her: Tut, Agatha, I kissed you that night we got 
married, remember? And I told you eleven years ago that 
time that I loved you, remember? I love you just as much 
now as I did then, so there is no need my bringing up the 
subject again.’ . . . Suppose, just suppose I married that 
kind! The Lord have mercy on my soul—and his.” 

More logs on the fire. The sparks and smoke curled 
upwards through the high branches of the trees. Jenny 
turned on her back to watch them for a spell. The light 
of a fire on trees at night. . . . 

“But, Jenny, why would you need to keep telling a per¬ 
son you loved them, and wanting to be kissed? I still don’t 
understand.” 

“I would need to keep telling a person that I loved 
them and wanting to be kissed because I was bom that 


174 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

way, that’s all. And you never will understand because 
you were born another way. You would be as unhappy 
with me as I with you. You say expressing love cheapens 
it. If you feel that way—then you feel that way. To 
me they are not two separate things, loving, and expressing 
love. They are both part and parcel of the same thing. 
The outward manifestations of love are an inseparable part 
of love itself, interwoven through and through the very 
texture of devotion. Keep me from expressing my love, and 
my love itself suffers. They just aren’t two separate things.” 

“You wouldn’t do very well married to a Dante, would 
you, Jenny? What about the Dantes?” 

“Yes, for all I know, the Dantes of the world—those who 
clasp one hand over the heart and pass on, but with love 
burning forever for their Beatrices—^perhaps they are the 
really great lovers. Lead me to no Dantes. Active loving, 
active being loved—ah, it is the breath of life itself to me!” 
She sat cross-legged, gazing into the fire, musing. 

“And I don’t mean just between man and woman, either, 
though that is far and away the most beautiful love of all 
—more beautiful, I think, than between mother and child. 
I just—I just love—loving everybody! It is only my reali¬ 
zation of the necessity of conforming in a civilized world to 
civilized standards which keeps me from embracing most 
of creation. In my heart, when I do the morning market¬ 
ing, I figuratively throw my arms about the egg lady and 
the German butcher and the girl who sells hooks and eyes. 
I love people. I just love them. When it comes to my 
own friends though, really I never make a fuss over any 
of them, really. I’ve trained myself not to, except Christ- 


175 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

mases or birthdays, or after long absences, or—well, when 
there’s a very good excuse. . . . But with a husband—^no, 
no, no, I would not be contained! If I loved a man enough 
to marry him I should have to feel I could show him so 
in a hundred and one odd ways every day and night. Lov¬ 
ing, loving is part and parcel of love. Every expression 
of love adds just so much to love itself. Discourage me 
from the expression of my love, and you discourage the very 
existence of my love.” 

Thomas Hatch said nothing. 

^T know what you’re thinking, and you are right, Thomas 
Hatch. You’re saying to yourself, ^What a wearisome, 
an annoying, nature, indeed, ever to be cooped up with 
under one roof.’ I would be that to you—^perhaps to every 
one in the world. Perhaps I married the one man in all 
creation who could absorb Joyfully all the love I had to 
give, and who could give back that much, if not a bit more, 
in return. ... Do you understand then, for that reason, 
if for no other, how very necessary it is for you and me 
to call an end to all of this? Wherever could it lead but 
to more misery for both of us?” 

“It’s been all strange to me, Jenny,—the whole thing. 
From the time I began really to know you at all, you almost 
scared me a little. It was as if you came from another 
world, a creature I had never seen or heard of. Sometimes 
I used to dream that I might see into your world, might 
come to understand it. I would put out my hand toward 
you, as it were, and then draw back again, afraid. It 
was as if I and my world were cold, you and your world 
warm, living. Then, up there on that rock that day—sud- 


176 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

denly I lost my fear. I reached out and touched the warmth 
of you, and I took you in my arms and—^lived. Yes, lived. 
And then the old fear came over me again. Only having 
felt of that warmth, that life of you once—I couldn’t go 
back altogether to the old cold world you’d little by little 
drawn me away from anyhow, almost without my knowing. 
Every time I saw you, it gave me a new faith. Every time 
I broke the countless chains which seemed to hold me and 
did take you in my arms, it was as if all at once the sun 
shone in a dark place. And always, when I was alone 
again, the fear. I knew, oh, I knew, I could only touch 
just the fringe of your world, ever. I never really could 
have come to the point of asking you to marry me, I don’t 
suppose. I dreamt of it nights. I built the castles, know¬ 
ing all too well they were but dreams. The wonder just 
dreaming can be. . . . Only, after that letter you wrote, 
I knew I hadn’t the right any more even to dream. . . . 
It was as if, Jenny, you live in the sunshine, among flowers, 
and I in a cold gray room—and I can’t ever reach your 
sunshine.” 

“That’s it, Thomas Hatch. Now I know just how it is! 
I do live in a garden of sunshine and flowers—I see the 
very garden, and the colors,—the wonderful yellows and 
reds and blues and greens, and a lake in the distance. 
That is where I live, that is where I’ve always lived. . . . 
Once—once, I was in a cold gray room for a while. It 
was terrifying. My soul cried out against it, my soul 
that loves the sunlight so. There’s a door in that cold 
gray room. I found it at last! At first it opened only a 
crack. But a crack gave me a glimpse of my garden. 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 177 

After months it opened more, until finally, not long before 
that walk we took, it opened wide and I stepped out into 
my garden again, and felt the sun, and smelt the flowers, 
and heard the birds. Not so bright a sun, not such fragrant 
flowers, not so many birds, as there used to be—^but, oh, 
how wonderful after that gray room! 

“Then you came to the doorway of that, or some other 
gray room—^you saw me in my garden. You caught me 
by the hand once. It was good to feel the touch of you. 
At first my soul cried, ^You shall have company in your 
garden!’ But I couldn’t draw you out there. And I 
couldn’t let go of your hand. As the weeks went by, I 
saw that what would happen was that if we were to keep 
our hands clasped—and I seemed strangely powerless to 
let go—it would mean that I might have to go back into 
a gray room again. You were afraid of my garden. You 
were afraid to leave the doorway of your gray room. Why, 
why?” 

“Because—^because every time I ever left it, from the 
time I was a little boy, something unhappy always hap¬ 
pened to me. Never could I begin to venture forth, to 
leave my grayness, but something came along to hurt, or 
to make me ashamed, or to frighten me. I can’t remember 
it all. Only to know that years ago I said, T’ll crawl 
back into my gray room and stay there.’ ” 

“Yes, but you did venture forth these last months,— 
not through the door that led to my Garden, but through 
other doors. And never once did you meet with anything 
but success!” 

“It was because—because I held your hand as I went. 


178 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

and forgot what it was to feel afraid. You led the way, 
you gave me faith. With you, backing me, I made good. 
I shall never be able to do it again. As soon as you said, 
‘I’m leaving at the end of the month,’ it was as if every 
door to my gray cold room closed, including the door to 
your sunlit garden. No, you were the Open Sesame to 
those other doors. They’re locked now, and the keys are 
—lost.” 

A strange grim smile came over his face. “Besides, 
Agnes stands guard over one door, mother over another.” 

The logs shook down, there were only coals left. A 
lonely bit of soft spark now and then found its quiet way 
up towards the trees. Each looked long into the embers. 
What each saw was what there was there for each to see. 
Their dreams would never again merge. 

“Jenny, you’re right. I see now that it is wise for you 
to move away altogether. A sight of me would only recall 
the grayness which you have forever escaped; a sight of 
you—it is a glimpse of sunlight which only makes my room 
the darker when you’ve passed.” 

“And I leave you—to get used to grayness and nothing 
but grayness? The idea of it breaks my heart! I would 
have the whole world out in the sun with me!” 

“Grayness, and nothing but grayness. . . . It’s what a 
lot of us are used to all our lives. Only we thank our 
gods that once, at least, to some of us has come a glimpse 
of simlight, a breath of warm summer breeze, the sound 
of laughter and singing. Ah, Jenny, Jenny, I can stand 
my grayness—my eyes, all of me, are accustomed to that. 
I shall sink back into it, alas, almost resignedly. . . . Only 


179 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

that door which opened once into your sunlit garden,”— 
he stood in the last glow of the firelight and held her 
hands—‘‘before that door I build a shrine, and there at 
least, for it will cast no shadow in your sunshine—there 
you will let me—^worship.” 

And then, because, after all, the door between the sunlit 
garden and the cold gray room was not as tightly closed 
as each had thought, he took her in his arms. . . . The 
door closed gently, each turned a key quietly, he on his 
side, she on hers. ... In the morning, as she had hoped, 
he was gone before she and the boys awoke. On a tree 
near where the fire had burned the night before was 
fastened a scrap of yellow paper. On it was written in 
pencil: 

“Alles geben die Cotter, die unendlichen, 

Ihren Lieblingen ganz; 

Alle Freuden, die unendlichen, 

Alle Schmerzen, die unendlichen, ganz.” 

“Good-by, Jenny Lamar, Liebling of the gods, for 
always.” 









PART IV 






CHAPTER XII 


I 

This time she stood on no rock. It was five-thirty in a 
deserted office. She flung her arms wide, wide, threw back 
her head, and called out loud, ‘T, Jenny Lamar!” She 
dared the gods to plot against her! Again, as on that 
rock, well over a year ago, her eyes blazed, her cheeks 
flushed. Again, she pressed one hand against her lips 
and blew that kiss to heaven—^fire in it, strength in it. 
“I am indeed whole, whole, whole!” And again, as for 
so many things in the last months, she called, “Thank 
You, God!” Because of no special reason—^just that she 
was so very glad she was alive. 

She thrust her arms through her coat, jammed her small 
hat over her dark hair, locked her desk. There was a 
knock on the door. 

“Come in!” 

“M’s. Lamar?^ 

“Ho, you Tony! What’s the trouble?” 

“M’s. Lamar, I’d lak to tell you something. You in 
a hurry?” 

“No, no. Sit down here. Smoke a bit—^you’ll feel more 
comfortable.” 

“It’s dis way, M’s. Lamar. You know that foreman, 
Luko? Well, he no good man. I try tell Boss last week. 
I try tell Boss yesterday. He say: ‘No time. You go 

183 


i 84 jenny the joyous 

back to work!’ The men in our department they say we 
no can work with such a foreman. Some men they lak 
keel him. He no good. All the time get worse. Three 
men queet. My fren’ Charlie he an’ me say we queet. 
Charlie he say, ‘Firs’ you go see M’s. Lamar.’ I say, ‘Why 
M’s. Lamar?’ He say, ‘Oh, everybody they go see M’s. 
Lamar.’ ” 

They talked long about the no-good-man foreman; they 
talked about Tony’s wife and babies; they talked about 
the height of the work stools, about the President of the 
United States; about prohibition; about Tony’s little dog. 

Another knock. 

“Come in!” 

“Excuse me, madame, you are occupied.” 

“No, no, Tony and I were just talking. . . . Good-by, 
Tony—^you come this time to-morrow night. We’ll fix 
things, you and I. . . . Don’t mention it! And don’t for¬ 
get to tell the wife to cook the cereal longer—that’s all the 
trouble. Good-by! . . . 

“And what can I do for you?” 

“My name is Arovitch.” 

“How do you do, Mr. Arovitch, glad to meet you. Sit 
down.” 

“I wish to call your attention to a certain matter. I have 
tried to get the attention of several authorities but one 
and all are deaf to my supplications. Three weeks ago 
my pay envelope was ninety-one cents short. I took the 
matter to the foreman. He said there was no mistake. 
That is because the mistake would reflect on his personal 
in-integ—his personal honor. I tell my fellow workers. 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 185 

Some say that is the way the boss he makes his money. 
He keeps a little out every week and it amounts to thou¬ 
sands of dollars—^yes, madame, so they say—at the end of 
the year. I wish to question the boss in person. I cannot 
believe such reports. But now I am not so sure. To-day, 
at last, after three weeks and hearing many tales as we 
sit and eat our lunch, I stop the Boss. He always looked 
an honest man. I say to him with all the respect of my 
soul, ‘Sir, pardon me, did you take the ninety-one cents 
out of my pay envelope?^ Madame, how cruel he did look 
at me! He called me—oh, madame, how it hurts the heart 
of a gentleman to say it. He said to me, ‘You fool, what 
would I want of your ninety-one cents?’ ” 

“Mr.—Arovitch, tell me honestly, did Mr. Hutchins 
say ‘You fool’?” 

“Well, perhaps not exactly ‘you fool.’ But he meant 
‘you fool.’ He said, ‘Man, are you crazy?’ and that is the 
same. And then I go back and tell my friends.” 

“That he said ‘you fool’?” 

“Well, it was what he meant, madame. And they say, 
‘Arovitch, why don’t you quit?’ And I say to myself, 
always I hear the men say, ‘Well, go and see Mrs. Lamar,’ 
and so—madame, I am at your service.” 

“Who’s your foreman?” 

“Schmidt, a gentleman I no longer like since he did not 
act—^wisely—in the matter of my ninety-one cents.” 

Another knock. 

“You’ll hear about your ninety-one cents at once, Mr. 
Arovitch. Leave your time cards for that week here with 
me,—I’ll look the matter up myself.” 


i86 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

'‘Madame, I thank youl The ladies of America are very 
gracious!” 

Waiting at the door as Mr. Arovitch went out was little 
Joey. “Now what, Joey?” 

“Oh, Miss Lamar, I jus’ wanted to tell you—I bin want¬ 
ing to tell you for three nights, but always there’re so many 
guys waitin’ to see you—^but we got another baby at our 
house!” 

“Joey!” 

“Yes, mam. And, Miss Lamar, we’re goin’ to name it 
after you!” 

“Joey!” 

“Yes, mam. Her name’s Lamarine. Ain’t it swell?” 

“Joey!!” 

“Yes, mam. I thought it up all myself. And mom she 
says to give you her best regards and thanks for everything 
you sent and Lamarine she’s a swell baby!” 

Another knock—this time the janitor. 

“Hah, Kaiser Wilhelm, you caught me again!” 

“Now what you callin’ me that new name for?” 

“Because I’m so scared of you! You glare at me terribly 
when you find me in the office cleaning time, and you have 
no idea how I hate being glared at. Some day the Big 
Boss will say, ‘It’s on my mind to raise Mr. Timothy 
O’Rouke’s salary to six thousand dollars a year.’ And 
I shall enter a protest. ‘No, he glares at me. Eight dollars 
and fifty cents a week is all he ought to have!’ ” 

“No, no, now, I don’t glare at you. You never seen 
me glare at you. Why should I be glarin’ at the best 
frien’ I got in all the world? But I don’t like to make 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 187 

a dust in your face! There be those it does my heart 
good to make a dust in the face of them, but not in the 
face of you!” 

Mr. O’Rouke moved a waste basket out into the middle 
of the floor. 

“An’ I do want you to know, Mrs. Lamar, if I glare— 
if I do glare, it’s ’cause it jus’ ain’t right your workin’ late 
like this, night after night. It ain’t your business at all 
bearin’ what a lot o’ Dagoes and Jews and Eyetalians an’ 
Swedes and general riff-raff got to complain about. You’re 
Mr. Hutchins’ Private Secretary, and none of this is your 
troubles. He keeps you busy enough without your stayin’ 
late night after night this way. They get cornin’ worse 
all the time. ... I seen six men waitin’ outside there when 
I came along and I sent ’em all about their business!” 

“Oh, Tim, you didn’t!” 

“Yes, I did. ’Tain’t right how they plague ye!” 

“Don’t you ever do that again! . . . Folks have to have 
some one to tell their troubles to.” 

“Well, they don’t need to tell ’em to you!” 

“. . . How’s Liza, Tim?” 

“Oh, Mrs. Lamar, I would so jus’ like to talk to you 
about Liza. I jus’ don’t know whatever we’ll do about 
Liza. . . . Yesterday she had another of them attacks and 
I ’most didn’t get to work at all to-day. . . . You see, 
when she gets an attack it’s this way. . . .” 

Outside, on her way to the stairs, she called out, “You, 
Jo,—what are you doing here this time of night? The 
soup’ll be cold when you get home!” 


i88 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

“Not much colder’n yours, I^m guessin’. . . . There’s a 
new man here got his machine all in a mess. Damn fool!” 

“Joseph! Thou wast a new man once thyself!” 

“Yes, an’ I was a damn fool then, too.” 

“Is everybody new one of those?” 

“ ’Most everybody.” 

“. . . How was the meeting last night, Jo?” 

“Pretty good. Not many fellas there, but it went so-so.” 

“Did Pete kick up a fuss, as usual?” 

“Sure, Pete he always kicks up a fuss, in meetin’s, in 
the shop—every place. It’s a wonder to me why he don’t 
get fired. ... He sometimes acts to me as if he ud almost 
like to get fired.” 

Jenny knew just why Pete wasn’t being fired. 

“Oh, I say, Jo, how did the party go Wednesday night? 
Did the wife’s cake turn out all right?” 

“You jus’ bet! That was a swell party. . . . Now what 
do you know about that! The Missus she done a piece 
of that cake up and she says, You jus’ give Mrs. Lamar 
a taste!’ I told her how you says she’d forget the baking 
powder or somethin’—and there I let it lay all this time 
in my drawer. I’ll fetch it right now.” 

“Michael! Running the elevator this time of night! 
What ho?” 

“Well, ya don’t think I want to be runnin’ the elevator 
this time of night, do ya?” 

“My goodness, Michael, if you look like that the floor 
will drop out and we’ll land in a heap six stories below.” 

“ ’Sail the same to me.” 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 189 

^‘Now, Michael, stop the elevator right here!” 

^‘What for?” 

“Stop it!” 

. . Well, now what?” 

“Look me in the eye. . . . Are you sore over having 
to run the elevator late, or over something that’s got noth¬ 
ing on earth to do with elevators?” 

“Over runnin’ the elevator this hour of the night.” 

“You’re not looking me square in the eye!” 

“Well, how does any fella really know honest to Gawd 
what he’s sore about? Everybody’s got such a pile of 
troubles.” 

“Well, what are yours, for instance?” 

“Well, runnin’ the elevator late.” 

“Michael, you were going to be honest to Gawd. . . . 
You’re having a scrap with your wife again!” 

“Who told you!” 

“You’re jealous of that Pole again!” 

“Who said I was!” 

“And you don’t like working late because you want to 
be home to see what’s going on.” 

“I never said no such thing!” 

“Michael, do you know what? . . . (You can go on 
down now.) They were thinking of putting you on night 
shift.” 

“My Gawd!” 

“But they won’t. It’s absolutely settled.” 

“Oh, Mrs. Lamar—oh, they’ll never put me on night 
shift! I’d never know whether I was runnin’ the blame 
thing up or down for thinkin’ of where that Pole might be!” 


igo JENNY THE JOYOUS 

“Michael, do you know what?” 

“What now?” 

“I saw the new time sheets. You were down for day 
shift all right. But some one had changed the Pole to 
night shift.” 

“Oh, my Gawd! An’ him havin’ afternoons free again 
and all!” 

“But he’s back on day shift now too, same hours as 
you.” 

“Oh, Mrs. Lamar. Oh, I say, there sure is a Gawd in 
heaven!” 

“Good night, Michael. ... I say, if I were you I’d for¬ 
get that Pole!” 

. . . And yet, worrying over Michael for two blocks, 
Jenny knew that under the circumstances Poles were diffi¬ 
cult to forget. 

At the corner where she waited every evening for the 
car a woman with a shawl around her head and a large 
basket on her arm stopped as if she would speak, went on 
a few steps, turned, and came back. 

“Jus’—good evenin’ to you, mam.” 

“Good evening!” Jenny shook the strange hand. 

“I thought I’d jus’ stop and tall you, my John, he good 
again.” 

“Oh, oh, yes—of course—you’re John’s mother! I’m so 
glad John’s well again! Let him come over a week from 
Sunday and play with Steve and Alec!” 

“T’ank you, oh, t’ank you! He come! He stay well 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 191 

now all time. He eat, drink jus’ smart t’ings same Steve, 
Alecl” 

“Good evening, Mr. Conductor!” 

“Evenin’! Late again, I see!” 

“Guess I’ll have to join the union and get overtime!” 

“. . . ’Member that fat guy had a scrap on the back 
platform that night?” 

“Sure,—don’t tell me he had another!” 

“Oh, say, you otta bin on the last trip an’ a seen that 
fat guy. I was jus’ hopin’ somebody’d come along I cud 
tell ’em about it. Say, he got his at last! He got in a 
scrap some place, the big Beef Stew, and somebody knocked 
the very stuffin’ clean out of him. His left eye . . .Yes, 
mam, transfer next corner. . . . His left eye ... No, take 
the car with number twenty-two in front. ...” 

“Hello, mother! You’re awfully late!” 

“Don’t I know it! Oh, but I got such heaps and heaps 
of work done—you never could guess!” 

“What then? Tell us all about it!” 

“Well, you see, I had to get a lot of reports and papers 
in order and everything ready for the first of the month. 
And everything’s done! I feel so good! I’m so happy! 
We celebrate. I’ve got a wondrous piece of cake here 
from Mrs. Jo,—^you know Jo. So I stopped at the drug 
store and bought some—” 

“Ice cream!” 

“So. . . .Now you tell me everything you did all day 


192 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

and then I’ll tell you everything I did all day, and we’ll 
see who was really the busiest.” 

2 

Upstairs that night in bed Jenny lay humming a little 
tune in the dark. How good it was to be whole again! 
How very much work one could do when one felt whole! 
It was fun to get up in the morning, fun to eat breakfast, 
fun to walk to the car with the boys, fun to get to the 
office, unlock that desk, and dive into work. What very 
extra fun work was! . . . That High School job—that did 
to sort of patch herself together again. How futile and 
small and boresome so much of education was! How weary 
one could get of the endless red tape and complaints and 
economies! It had been interesting, very, working on 
Thomas Hatch. It would have been interesting, very, to 
have seen just how far she really could have encouraged 
him to go in that acquiring of faith in himself. How long 
would she have had to back him before she could have 
stepped out and have him still hold fast and go on? 

But the factory job,—there was life for you! It had 
started in routine enough, but such possibilities as she had 
discovered! Every day was an adventure! There was no 
telling what problem would turn up. Dear old Mr. 
Hutchins would raise those white eyebrows of his and say, 
“Really, Mrs. Lamar, I hardly think that question belongs 
here for settlement.” 

“Where will it be settled then?” How often had Jenny 
asked him that! 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 193 

^Why, I don’t just know. But not here.” 

‘‘Do you mind if, anyhow, I just see what can be done 
about it?” 

“Why, no, not if there seems no fit department to handle 
that point. And provided, of course, none of the traditions 
of the firm are upset.” 

Dear old Mr. Hutchins. . . . Jenny would have worked 
her fingers to the bone for him,—indeed she did do almost 
that. How good he had been to her since that very first 
morning when she had applied for a job imder him at 
the factory. After a sedate talk he had asked her, “And 
just how much secretarial work do you expect to be able 
to handle?” 

And Jenny had laughed and said, “Oh, I expect to help 
you run the factory pretty soon!” 

What a soft pleasant laugh he had. . . . “We’ll start 
with dictating letters,” he told her, and so she began work 
the next day. 

Always he was so thoughtful, always so kind. She loved 
Mr. Hutchins, loved him! And his dear little quiet wife 
—she loved her so. How happy it had all been! Never 
bad he acted like a “boss” at all, but like a dear friend. 
The wonderful times she had had at their house. . . . The 
dinners, where she wore her very best and only low-necked 
dress, and found herself next to the nabobs of the town. 
Wouldn’t Billy have loved it! The concerts and theaters 
she attended with the Hutchinses. The splendid friends she 
met through them—those same nabobs, who didn’t mind 
at all that she was just a secretary with only one party 
dress. The concerts and theaters again! The dinners! 


194 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

What fun, what fun, the whole year had been! Sometimes 
she sat through a dinner and listened to a lot of peculiar 
ideas on everything under the sun and when she told them 
what she thought, they patted her on the back as if she 
were twenty and called her “naive.” She knew what naive 
meant. She wasn’t naive at all. Even so, every one was 
always cordiality itself. And they were all so good to Steve 
and Alec. Hadn’t these months been joy! 

And then all her wonderful friends at the factory. Who¬ 
ever would have guessed there were so many nice people 
to know? . . . Mr. and Mrs. Dobbs, for instance. When 
she ate dinner with the Dobbses, Mr. Dobbs always cele¬ 
brated by taking a bath. He got home a bit late from 
the foundry. Not Wanting to miss any of the conversa¬ 
tion, he used to leave the bathroom door open a foot so 
that he could still be part of the party and carry on his 
end of social intercourse going on between Jenny and Mrs. 
Dobbs in the one room they possessed. If they said any¬ 
thing while he splattered, they had to say it over again 
when he could hear. 

There were Mr. and Mrs. Luko, yes, that very same no¬ 
good-man Luko, and little Tony Luko. Such festivities 
when the Lukos and Lamars got together! Jenny knew 
what was the matter with Luko now, why he was no-good. 
Tony had to have the operation after all, and week in, 
week out, he lay there so weak, in such pain. Luko was 
up with him a good part of the night, and the worry— 
his boy they had waited so many years for. My, she 
must get around again soon—to-morrow. She was sure she 
could put the matter up to Mr. Hutchins so that he would 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 195 

understand. Surely he would be willing to lend Luko money 
for a nurse to help out. Luko would take no charity, that 
was sure. 

And Miss Purly in Department Eleven. What an odd, 
interesting, cranky piece Miss Purly was! If she didn’t 
find a husband one of these days. Miss Purly would be 
crankier than ever. It is difficult to find a husband when 
one is as odd, and as interesting, as Miss Purly, and as 
well along in years. 

And Emanuel with his turbulent ideas, and Mrs. Emanuel 
—^Jenny never could get their last names. She loved to 
go to those wild meetings with the Emanuels. They were 
scared to take her at first, believing she might be critical. 
As if any one oughtn’t to know it was nothing to Jenny 
Lamar what any one thought or said or did. The chairman 
that first night had glared at her accusingly, and made her 
feel uncomfortable when in front of everybody he sighed 
heavily and lamented, ‘‘A little of the Bourgeoise will slip 
in!” Just the same that Scotty, with his teeth all gone, 
was a good friend of hers now. ‘T am a Bourgeoise,” she 
told him a few nights later at Emanuel’s. ‘Df course I 
am. I’m glad I am. But just the same, there ought to 
be two words, one to express the kind of Bourgeoise I 
am, and the other, the kind you want to think every one 
is who refuses to fit into your scheme of things.” So they 
fought for a whole evening, and Jenny learned promptly 
and at once and for always that the most useless activity 
in creation is to argue with a person who has no intention 
on earth of ever changing his mind. She had suspected the 
truth of that after a dinner one night at the Hutchinses’. 


196 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

Scotty convinced her for life. It is such a valuable lesson, 
in this era of conservation of energy, and one worth learning 
as young as possible. . . . Later she got Scotty a job at 
the factory,—his wife was sick and things were in a bad 
way,—but Scotty only stayed two weeks. It went too 
painfully against his principles to swell the profits of the 
bloated idle rich, and that was all any worker did in this 
misguided world. And yet, of course, some of Scotty’s 
ideas were good. It would be impossible for a human being 
to have as many ideas as Scotty had, and have them all 
wrong. 

And Louisa Isaacs—how hard she did work trying to get 
the girls in Department Eight to organize! Poor Louisa. 
. . . She knew there would be at least fifty at the meeting 
Tuesday night. Wednesday Jenny made a point to pass 
Louisa’s machine. “What luck last night?” Louisa clasped 
her hands in desperation. Seven present! What could 
one do with a lot of putty? That was all women 
workers putty. All they wanted was husbands. 

Putty! 

But Mr. Hutchins—after all, he was her pet of every¬ 
body. Long since she had to cease telling Mr. Hutchins 
of her friends outside his circle. One day she had regaled 
him with the account of a party at Emanuel’s. He was 
in despair. He and Mrs. Hutchins invited her to so many 
things that week she had no time to call her soul her own. 
“My dear child, even if you do get fearfully lonely, you 
must not seek such company as you speak of!” 

“Oh, but I love them!” Jenny cried. “It’s not that 
I’m lonely!” 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 197 

^‘All the worse, if you love such queer people as these 
workers!’’ 

If only, only Mr. Hutchins would let Jenny tell him 
some of the things she thought he ought to do in the fac¬ 
tory. There were so many details askew, and she, Jenny 
Lamar, was sure she knew how to fix them. Not alone 
and single-handed, for two thousand workers,—she wanted 
to be allowed to let the two thousand help. It was all 
very well to tell her she could go ahead and find her own 
solutions, “provided they upset no traditions,” but it made 
for a mass of details and non-coordination, and sooner or 
later the larger matters found their way back to head¬ 
quarters. 

And always Mr. Hutchins’ anxiety,—“I am afraid that 
if we follow your suggestion it may be setting a dangerous 
precedent. The firm has never felt called upon before to 
evolve machinery for the handling of such matters.” 

“But the men are getting so discontented! It’s so waste¬ 
ful, discontent!” 

“Then let them go some place else and work where they 
will find more contentment!” 

“That is just what they are doing!” Jenny over and over 
cried in dismay. 

Whereupon perhaps he would sit back in his chair and 
look at the picture of his older brother, his hero, who had 
founded the business and then died, and left him, Andrew 
Hutchins, to “carry on” alone, without his inspiration and 
help. The lines deepened in his handsome face as he 
slouched down, tired, in the chair that had been his brother’s. 

“Why do they grow so discontented nowadays, Mrs. 


198 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

Lamar? Why? Ah, sometimes I am glad Harry was spared 
all this. In those old days the men were happy enough. 
They used to stay on years. Their wives used to speak 
to me on the street. They”—and this Jenny had learned 
was what hurt most of all—‘They used to name their babies 
after me! I liked that so much. ... I used to be very 
fond of the men. Fine, upright, intelligent citizens they 
were! Now look at them—a lot of foreigners that canT 
speak a word of English. The Americans we have are a 
shifty lot,—come and go, come and go. What’s the use 
of doing anything for the men? They don’t stay long 
enough to make it worth while.” 

It was characteristic of Mr. Hutchins that he always re¬ 
ferred to “the men.” For ten years now he had had more 
and more women workers. But his labor mind insisted 
on functioning back in those days when they hired only 
men, all Americans, all upright citizens. Every worker of 
those old days of one hundred employees now looked to the 
tired memory of Andrew Hutchins like a potential Abraham 
Lincoln. . . . And they used to name their babies after 
him. . . . Who of the two thousand workers ever named 
a baby after him now? 

“They don’t stay long enough to learn your first name,” 
Jenny told him. 

“That’s just it!” he frowned. “Why don’t they?” 

“Because it’s too easy finding a more agreeable place to 
work.” 

. . Where do all these foreigners come from?” he 
asked Jenny impatiently. 

When she worked out carefully a plan whereby those 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 199 

foreigners could become less foreign, could at least learn 
English and a bit of reading and writing, a plan worked 
successfully in other plants, she knew, he answered to that 
scheme, as he answered to practically all her schemes, “But 
they don’t stay long enough to make it worth while.” In 
vain did Jenny promise him on her word of honor as a 
lady that they would stay longer if only she could work out 
some of her rosy projects. 

Joey should have named the baby “Hutchine”! It would 
have made the dear man look happy again. . . . Lamarinel 
Jenny chuckled between the sheets. 

But it was inspiring to see how his mind worked on 
the big factory problems outside of labor. Wasn’t it an 
education to be in with him on those designs, see his grasp 
of details, and marvel at how he could lay out the whole 
country in his schemes of production, his plans of distri¬ 
bution. . . . She tried to picture Scotty running the factory 
—Scotty, who was so sure he could do it better than any 
one else, he and the Proletariat together. Perhaps the men 
would not quit any faster under Scotty—^but would there 
be any work for them if they stayed on? . . . Funny old 
Scotty. He really ought to get some teeth. He could 
chew his food better, his digestion would be better, and 
the whole world would look up. Then he could earn a 
bit of money and his wife would look up. And then she 
could take better care of Scotty and his world would look 
up still more. And then he could get a still better job 
and then get still better teeth and eat still more food and 
get a still better wife—no job—and—and . . . Jenny was 
sound asleep. 


200 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 
3 


The next morning Michael told Jenny his wife was sick 
and wanted to see her awful bad. She left a note on Mr. 
Hutchins’ desk at noon that she might be a few minutes 
late to work in the afternoon, and found her way to 
Michael’s house. Mrs. Michael—Jenny never could remem¬ 
ber any of their queer last names—called from inside. 
Jenny opened the front door and went in. 

A slight pale figure lay on a sofa in a nondescript room. 
She looked very miserable. 

“There now,” Jenny smoothed out a pillow under her 
head, “what can I do for you?” 

Mrs. Michael started to cry. It’s a way women have. 
Between her sobs Jenny made out what it was all about— 
Jenny, who had no moral standards for other people. Mrs. 
Michael was going to have a baby. She was awful sick. 
Awful sick. And she was scared to tell Michael. 

Why scared to tell Michael? Wouldn’t he be that happy? 
No, no. M’s. Lamar she didn’t understand »Michael. 
He would think—think—it was—it was that—sobs and 
sobs—Pole. 

Now, now, Mrs. Michael, maybe no such idea would ever 
come into his head. 

Oh, M’s. Lamar she didn’t know Michael. It would 
come into his head first thing. And then—sobs—^he’d kill 
her. And—more sobs—^he’d kill tlie Pole. 

And so ... ? 

Well, what M’s. Michael she wanted M’s. Lamar for, 
she wanted M’s. Lamar, oh, please—and Mrs. Michael’s 


201 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

eyes got very big and pleading—^please to tell Michael 
about the baby. If M’s. Lamar was to tell Michael it 
wasn’t the Pole, Michael he’d believe anything in the world 
M’s. Lamar she said. But jus’ as soon as M’s. Michael 
she’d say Michael, it ain’t that Pole, Michael he’d get black 
in the face and screech. You lie! You lie!! 

Would, could M’s. Lamar tell Michael? And make 
Michael promise to believe it wasn’t the Pole? And if 
M’s. Lamar she’d be that grand and good, “Oh, I tell you, 
M’s. Lamar, I’ll name my li’P baby—I’ll name him after 
you!” 

“I say, Mrs. Michael, instead of naming that baby after 
me, you name him after Mr. Hutchins.” 

“Who’s him?” 


CHAPTER XIII 


I 

This time Jenny’s arms were extended wide, but it was 
in no ecstasy of joy at being alive. She was tired, really 
tired, and stood in the office with her hat and coat on, in¬ 
dulging in a bit of stretching—the kind which seems to 
get a few kinks out of a weary system. The kind you 
indulge in the first thing in the morning, and again the 
last thing at night, and yawn, while you indulge. Tired. 

What real suffering there was, besides just being tired, 
when you knew you knew how to improve a situation, and 
were powerless, alone, to take the necessary steps. Two 
hours that day she and Andrew Hutchins had argued. Dis¬ 
content among the men was growing daily. Both the union, 
under Pete, and the I. W. W., under Emanuel, were mak¬ 
ing headway. Trouble was in the air. Either Mr. Hutchins 
should get a new secretary, and let her, Jenny, give all her 
time to the labor end of things, or he should hire some one 
who could imderstand the labor situation and give all his 
time to that. 

Flatly he had refused to give Jenny up as secretary— 
he had grown too dependent on her. At his age, the very 
thought of breaking in some new person was dismaying. 
Rather than hire a new man to handle the labor end, right 
now when profits were shrinking anyway, it would be much 

202 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 203 

simpler, and cheaper, to fire all the union men and all the 
I. W. W.’s. Long since he had heard of Pete’s and Eman¬ 
uel’s activities and had threatened to fire both. Jenny 
told him she would resign the day he did that. ‘‘What— 
what do you mean, Mrs. Lamar?” 

Jenny carefully explained that what both Pete and Eman¬ 
uel wanted above all else was to be fired. They could 
make more headway in a week as martyrs than in three 
months of staying on the job. They had real grievances. 
Wages, it was true, were as high as in other factories 
doing the same sort of work. But countless minor diffi¬ 
culties over individual wage cases continually arose. There 
was no adequate body to handle the complaints, and with 
enough time to think about it and grumble about it, a thirty- 
five-cent mistake, real or fancied, could grow into three 
hundred and fifty dollars’ worth of trouble. Piece rates 
needed adjusting. The method of payment cost the men 
hours. The whole foreman business was in a mess. Most 
of the foremen were older men, the few remaining relics 
of those rosy days Andrew Hutchins’ mind loved to dwell 
upon. Like him, they could not see “where all these damn 
Dagoes and Jews and Poles come from, anyhow.” Men 
were fired for scarce any excuse at all—the whim of one 
of the old-school employees, a foreman who considered the 
workers under him as riff-raff. Many of them were. But 
much of industrialism has to be carried on with riff-raff, 
so called. But because a man is riff-raff in the shop, Jenny 
had learned, did not mean his soul was riff-raff. There 
was something of riff-raff in every mortal, and there was 
something much finer than riff-raff in every mortal. Only 


204 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

some environments served to minimize the riff-raff, some 
served to bring it to the fore. Nothing emphasizes the 
riff-raff element of a human being like considering him all 
riff-raff. 

Then there was the whole question of “these agitators.” 
The day Mr. Hutchins had wanted to fire Pete and Emanuel, 
Jenny had told him: “IVe a much better scheme than that. 
Call a meeting of all the factory—make attendance com¬ 
pulsory, and make Pete and Emanuel address the meetv 
ing.” 

“Mrs. Lamar, have you lost your senses?” 

“Not a bit. In the first place, the shock would prac¬ 
tically paralyze them both. We’d put big placards all over 
the factory. It would rob their plans of all their romance, 
dragging them out into full and approved publicity. I’ve 
talked to both of them by the hour. Both of them have 
a lot of splendid ideas—ideas which would be peace and 
money in your pockets and theirs if you—and they—^would 
adopt them. But most of their notions have no value to 
them at all—just words, words. Out of two thousand 
workers there’d be a plenty who would sense that fact 
in a minute, and begin to ask, ‘Just how smart through 
and through are these men who would have us follow im¬ 
plicitly?’ But the greatest thing of all,—Mr. Hutchins, you 
have no idea what a time it would be!—Pete thinks his 
ideas are the only ideas which can make the world over 
and bring peace, prosperity, and the Rule of the Workers. 
Emanuel knows his ideas are the real Truth and the Light. 
And Pete’s ideas and Emanuel’s ideas don’t agree in the 
least. By the time they got through squabbling and the au- 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 205 

dience got through listening to their squabbling, and perhaps 
squabbling themselves, every one’s soul would be in a far 
healthier condition and every one, except Pete and Emanuel, 
might come to realize that after all there was no great hurry 
about swallowing whole what either Pete or Emanuel had 
to say. The conditions which both complain about justly 
we could take immediate steps to improve.” 

^‘Mrs. Lamar, sometimes you talk as if after all you 
are merely a woman, with the limitations of a woman’s 
mind.” 

So there was no meeting, and Emanuel and Pete con¬ 
tinued their under-cover activities. 

This special day Mr. Hutchins and Jenny had gone over 
the financial statement for the year. Some months previ¬ 
ously profits had begun to shrink. Prices had therefore 
been advanced, as much as it was felt the public would 
stand for. Still the financial statement looked discouraging. 
Experts had figured on sales and distribution; other experts 
on markets for raw materials. There was no doubt about 
it, what ate up profits was wages. Wages would have to 
come down. 

‘‘Mr. Hutchins! You decrease wages ten cents with the 
spirit of the men what it is to-day, and you’ll have the 
factory in a heap around your ears. It’s not wages—it’s 
the fearful turnover. Just as you say, men come and go, 
come and go. Ask Jo what a new man does to a machine. 
Ask Luko what happens in Department Eighteen when a 
new man comes in and holds up the whole department. 
Ask old Bill Turner what new men do up on his floor. 
Get one of your experts in to figure out just what it costs 


2o6 jenny the joyous 

to teach a new man the game, what he wastes while he’s 
learning, how much he holds the other men back, what 
the continual shifting does to the morale of the entire fac¬ 
tory. Figure up how many new men you hire in a year 
to keep this factory running. Then see if you think it 
would be worth your while to make the factory a place 
where Dagoes and Jews and Poles might like to stay a 
little longer—and Americans and Irish and Germans. . . 

But Andrew Hutchins had felt that the financial state¬ 
ment warranted no further investigations, and anyway, the 
expert might make recommendations which in turn would 
only necessitate further expenditures. Nothing in business 
was as expensive as “a lot of new-fangled notions.” In 
the old days it took no new-fangled notions to hold the 
men. 

After the long argument he was tired, Jenny was tired. 
He had gone home. Jenny stayed on to finish up the work, 
and now at last was ready for home and her boys. The 
telephone rang. 

“Mrs. Lamar? Mr. Hutchins speaking. Don’t you think 
you and I need a little vacation? I need to get away for 
a few days and so do you. Mrs. Hutchins says you are 
to bring the boys to her, and I want you to go with 
me to the National Chamber of Commerce Convention at 
Atlantic City. The trip will do you good. There’s a lot 
of work we can get done—I’m afraid we can’t make it an 
out-and-out vacation. Call it a change. We’ll start day 
after to-morrow.” 

Atlantic City! She, Jenny Lamar, in Atlantic City! A 
chance to go swimming! A chance to sleep on the train! 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 207 

A chance to see new places and things and people! Atlantic 
City! 

She thrust her feet out, leaned her head against the back 
of the chair, threw her smiling kiss to heaven. Atlantic 
City! 

And to go off like that without a single responsibility 
on earth, except to tend to Andrew Hutchins’ business 
affairs. She could almost do that in her sleep by now. 
No meals to plan at home, no household worries of any 
sort. Faithful Mrs. Smith, the housekeeper,—she’d get 
a vacation too. She deserved it. A week of change for 
everybody. A week to get away from everybody’s troubles 
in the factory. After all, she was not a real Christian at 
heart. She was glad, yes, glad, she was getting away from 
everybody’s troubles for a week. ... A week to get away 
from—from not knowing what in the world to do about 
certain—men. Complicated old world. 

2 

The fun of packing a suitcase when it is to be filled 
with only one’s Best! Not since—when had she ever? 
Once before, yes, once before. . . . Years and years and 
years ago, she, Jenny Lamar, had gone on her wedding 
trip. . . . She stood beside the bed, the open suitcase be¬ 
fore her, and looked back, back, back, those—decades. 
Billy ... oh, oh, Billy! She dropped on her knees, buried 
her head in her arms, and cried as she had not let herself 
for—oh, how long? . . . Billy! . . . That kind of joy and 
warmth and protection—the comfort, the immeasurable 


2o8 jenny the joyous 

comfort of it all—gone, gone forever. Billy! To feel 
those arms again! This unending coming home to a house 
without a man. . . . The boys, the blessed boys. What 
in the world could she ever have done, could she ever do, 
without the boys, and the home they made? But they 
were boys—children. Ach, these people who implied that 
children could take the place of a man! Nothing, nothing 
took the place of a man. Billy! . . . 

And then when she got to the business of the suitcase 
again, she had to smile through her tears. That other time, 
those years and years ago, when she had packed that very 
same suitcase with her Best—and had ended at Smedly! 
Her Best at Smedly! But it had been her Best for Billy. 

Atlantic City! Cheer yourself, Jenny Lamar, you are 
going to Atlantic City! Run blue ribbons through articles 
which have known only white tape. Get out that collec¬ 
tion of Christmas handkerchiefs stored away year after 
year, too good to use, waiting all this time for their virgin 
blow. Don’t you take one single second-rate handkerchief. 
. . . Wherever is that pale blue dressing gown, packed those 
years ago to Smedly, never worn at Smedly, never worn 
since, except twice while the trained nurse was still about, 
after Steve and Alec were born. . . . Silk stockings—noth¬ 
ing but silk stockings this trip—those lovely ones that friend 
of Mrs. Hutchins’ gave you last Christmas. . . . Those 
foolish little sachet bags—^put them in. . . . The handsome 
wrap from Mrs. Hutchins, christened just last week—that 
might come handy. ... Mr. Hutchins told her he was 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 209 

going to retire at nine every night, but she, Jenny, was 
to have all the fun she possibly could cram in. It wasn’t 
the prospect of the fun, so much—she had fun enough, 
goodness knows, week in, week out. But it was—Atlantic 
City! Adventure! 

. . . Those silly dressing slippers she had never worn 
—funny little plump blonde, wife of that steel man, gave 
her those last Christmas. Jenny Lamar, in pale pink be- 
laced slippers with little heels! Never mind, they and 
the pale blue dressing gown would fit into Atlantic City. 
. . . Gloves? No! No gloves, not even for Atlantic City. 
No! 

And last of all, and, oh, so carefully, Jenny Lamar, pack 
that wicked extravagance of yours purchased in the noon 
hour this very day—that new evening dress. Shame on 
you, Jenny Lamar. . . . But wasn’t it lovely! What a 
shade of blue! The luck of the way it fit! ... If only 
she could have afforded slippers and stockings to match. . . . 

What nonsense—^as if really she would have any better 
time. Whenever in her life had she remembered to think 
of her feet once she was dressed up and off? 

The next morning the Hutchins machine called for her. 
She waved good-by to Steve and Alec in their patched 
overalls and shrunken sweaters, their shoes out at the toes, 
socks falling down over the tops. Saturday, red cheeks, fun. 
More fun in old overalls than new. Then that afternoon, 
Mrs. Hutchins’. “Mother, don’t you just love their butler? 
Look, mother, I’m taking him two of my pet snails, and 
Steve’s going to let him have six of his street-car transfers!” 


210 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

There, at the station, was Mr. Hutchins, bless his tired 
old heart. Goodness, there was—well, now, however did 
he know Jenny was leaving this morning? She had just 
told him vaguely that she was going to Atlantic City. 

When? 

Saturday. 

What train? 

She had no idea. 

As if you could really leave for any place and have no 
idea when you started. . . . 

That man had an uncanny way of always appearing 
everywhere. . . . After all, though, it was exciting to start 
off with flowers like that, and a box of candy. It amused 
Andrew Hutchins, and anything to make him smile these 
troubled days was worth while. 

How much more agreeable almost everything is when 
you don’t have to pay for it yourself. Of course it shouldn’t 
be so. And there are times when it isn’t so. . . . On those 
few occasions when Jenny Lamar had ever found herself 
in a dining car, the romance and glory of it lasted until 
she saw the bill of fare. From then on one picked one’s 
way gingerly. . . . Here she sat at a little table across 
from Andrew Hutchins and he just ordered chicken without 
looking at the menu. Romance, glory, never took wings 
the whole trip. 

To lounge back in the Pullman and just look out the 
window. No children to get into a scrap, or break their 
pencils, or want to be read to. All of which didn’t bother 
you while you were doing it. Only this thing of having 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 211 

nothing at all to think of, no one at all to pay attention 
to and amuse—instead an uninterrupted chance to fold 
your arms and look out a car window. . . . Perhaps you 
saw dish pans at back doors and lines of underpinnings and 
kitchen aprons and boys’ overalls strung from the rear of 
the house to the nearest telegraph pole. Yet even though 
styles in wash basins and underpinnings and kitchen aprons 
and boys’ overalls don’t change much from town to town 
—^hardly, for that matter, from generation to generation— 
still, since they are part of life and the world in general, 
Jenny was for looking at dish pans and underpinnings and 
aprons and overalls just because they were. More than 
that, it is difficult to travel far and have nothing but dish 
pans and clothes lines to gaze upon. There are open spaces 
of sorts between most towns in our land, and what might 
one not see if one kept one’s eyes wide open for the 
glories of the universe—and all in spring! Grass and trees 
and bits of color here and there which meant the first 
flowers, or a bird on the wing. If by chance there were 
a glimpse of a brook, or a gay unconscious waterfall slip¬ 
ping over rocks, age-old before ever the steel for railroad 
tracks was imagined in the world. . . . Ah, who was the 
richest woman in creation? 

Suddenly she clutched Mr. Hutchins’ arm,—tired Mr. 
Hutchins, who was asleep beside her. 

‘What—what’s happened?” He peered sleepily ahead 
of him. 

“Oh, I’m sorry, sorry!” Jenny’s conscience smote her. 
To have wakened him! 

“What was it?” 


212 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

‘‘I’m sorry. . . . But”—Jenny’s heart was still beating 
extraordinarily fast—“I saw—a trout!” 

Mr. Hutchins closed his eyes again. “What are you 
going to do about it?” 

Bless him, he never got angry at anything. Imagine 
that man—whatever was his awful name—reporting that 
Mr. Hutchins had glared at him and said “You fool!” As 
if Andrew Hutchins could call any one a fool. She could 
picture instead just how he probably had looked,—a hint 
of a twinkle in his eye, “Man, are you crazy? What would 
I want with your ninety-one cents?” . . . That was the 
way of it, the tragic way of it. Once the men got looking 
for trouble, once some one could sell them the idea that 
the “boss” was their mortal enemy, everything was mis¬ 
construed. . . . Forget the factory, Jenny Lamar, for one 
whole week. 

. . . Flowers did not keep long on a train—too bad. 
What did you do with men who kept giving you things? 
She had learned a great deal from Thomas Hatch. But 
she had learned nothing about this presents business be¬ 
cause Thomas Hatch had never given her a present. She 
had learned that as long as she never let a man so much 
as hold her hand, she was safe. Never a turmoil. But 
whoever could have guessed that it could take such effort 
to keep a man from holding your hand? Not physical 
effort—that would have been simple. If only she belonged 
to Linny Manny’s circle. When a man at the factory tried 
to get sweet on Linny, and Linny wanted none of him, 
she slapped his face hard and called him just the names 
she wanted to call him, and the man perfectly understood. 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 213 

There were several difficulties there which Linny did not 
have to face. All Linny saw in men was the possibility 
of permanent attachment. She had Standards. Did a man 
come along who measured up to those Standards, the sweeter 
he got on Linny, the better. She slapped only the men 
she didn’t like. Any one she liked—welcome. 

Now if Jenny disliked a man, it would have been simple 
enough. There would be no need for Linny’s tactics. She 
could make it quite plain she desired his absence. But 
what was there to do when you liked a man, when you 
preferred having him around, and, in Linny’s lingo, he 
got sweet on you? She was not one bit smart about it. 
Suppose the man was interesting—a clever talker—and you 
had no end of a good time together. Inevitably, or almost 
inevitably, the night came when he would want to—hold 
your hand. Up to then everything had been perfect,—the 
gods had sent you a new friend—and a man was always 
so much more interesting to talk to than a woman. From 
that time on, nothing was perfect any more. Some women 
must be able to manage. Why couldn’t she, Jenny? 

Had it not been for Thomas Hatch, and the next man 
after Thomas Hatch, she would have argued, what then is 
there to worry about in holding hands? When you love lov¬ 
ing people, what terrible harm could come, for goodness’ 
sake, in—a little loving? Again, she very much preferred 
doing what a person wanted, to not being obliging. If 
a person wanted ta be—affectionate, she would, on general 
principles, have enjoyed being accommodating. And then, 
and then, it was so very much nicer being affectionate one’s 
self! She was no ice box. 


214 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

But those turmoils! Not for all the world would she let 
herself get into the state Thomas Hatch got her in. Never! 
Good-by efficiency, good-by peace and comfort! . . . 

Yet—just a little affection. What could a little affection 
hurt? So had argued a still small voice the first experience 
after Thomas Hatch—that very nice m-an she had met the 
very first dinner at the Hutchinses’. What times they had 
had together! And then—just a little affection—it was so 
—so pleasant. The lesson that man taught her, and she 
would never risk it again, was that it never stops at a 
little affection. The man always seems to want a little 
more. And that would never do at all. Then it approached 
the Thomas Hatch state of affairs. No man would ever 
kiss her again as long as she lived! Never, never would 
she take her chances on that happening twice! 

After several—“friendships”—of various sorts and de¬ 
scriptions it had boiled down to this: there must never be 
even a start—never anything at all but just, just . . . un¬ 
adorned—friendship. But she, Jenny Lamar, did not find 
unadorned friendship an entirely soul-satisfying procedure. 
She, Jenny Lamar, would like to love her friends—a little. 
Good gracious, was she to forego every show of affection 
for a man the rest of her life? 

Besides, it was all more complicated than it sounded. 
Simple enough to say, never let anything get started. But 
a woman couldn’t be thinking the first night a man took 
her out, “Now is he going to reach a stage where it will 
be uncomfortable?” No! It was much more agreeable, 
and you felt much more sensible, if you proceeded on the 
assumption that here, at last, is a man who will stay for- 


215 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

ever a mere friend. If only once it would turn out that way. 
Everything so splendid, everything so interesting, everything 
so comfortable. Perhaps he might really never actually get 
—affectionate. But the time came almost always when 
no one but a moron could fail to realize that something 
was getting mixed. The unadulterated friendship was be¬ 
coming—adulterated. It just never could be the same from 
that moment on. If you kept on acting just the same, as 
if you noted nothing in the air, it might be only a question 
of days before the thing would go to pieces about both your 
heads. Jenny, I love you!” And from then on 

there could be either nothing, or a spoiled something. 

She had discovered one way to do it—it had worked in 
two cases—but what a miserable and artificial feeling 
it gave her. Was any man worth such effort? She drew 
in before anything ever happened, something like a snail. 
Only drawing in ran against the grain of everything inside 
her. And after all, she had no shell. She played a tiring 
game with herself and the man. What was the use of 
a relationship if you couldn’t be perfectly and absolutely 
natural? Would the gods please send her one relationship 
where she could be perfectly and absolutely natural, and 
have nothing in all the world happen? But would the 
gods at the same time please send some sign, right at the 
very start, so she could know that this time she really 
need never have one moment’s worry? . . , Or would she, 
now honest!—would she, Jenny Lamar, then begin to worry 
as to what the matter could be that the man always stayed 
so—so just friendly? 

What a complicated place, after all, the world could 


2i6 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

become. . . . How simple it had all been with Billy. . . . 
Never anything to make you think twice from beginning 
to end. Every day and night—except for that matter of 
Cynthia’s baby—^had been entirely comfortable, entirely 
natural, no calculations about anything or anybody. . . . 
If she had died first, instead of Billy, she would have 
left the world thinking it all just like that, for everybody. 
... Of course, there had been her mother and Dr. Cairns. 
Now she knew how much her mother must have suffered, 
how much Dr. Cairns must have suffered. . . . And Cyn¬ 
thia Rawlins and dear old Uncle Alec—^what they had prob¬ 
ably gone through! But those were only two exceptions 
in an otherwise perfectly adjusted world. How little there 
was for any one to worry over! How contented most women 
were with their husbands, and most husbands were with 
their wives,—never, practically never, straying afield. 
What a satisfactory and harmonious relationship almost 
always existed between men and women. ... So she would 
have thought, if she had thought at all—on her death bed. 

“How about a bite of supper, Mrs. Secretary?” 

“Hello—I thought you were asleep!” 

“Long ago I betook myself to the smoking car. You 
were so busy thinking you never so much as knew I de¬ 
parted. I don’t believe you even realize that it has gotten 
pitch dark and there is nothing more you can possibly see 
by continuing to look out that window!” 

And the next time it got dark, in the calendar of Jenny 
Lamar’s affairs, it was Atlantic City. 


CHAPTER XIV 


I 

A TRAVELING Salesman may get somewhat tired of hotels 
at times. Every one knows that any one gets tired of 
anything if he gets one inch more than enough of it. 
Jenny never made so much as a start toward getting enough 
of hotel life. Indeed in all her days she had slept in hotels 
some four times. Funny hotels, three of them. Mild things 
off the principal thoroughfares, very lacy curtains, very 
pattemy carpets, very curlycue furniture, and a pair of 
shady cupid effects holding a collection of mustard, pepper, 
salt, and vinegar in the center of each dining-room table. 
And a plate of soda crackers—at breakfast, as well as 
dinner, in the middle of the day, and supper. Billy used 
to take her to the Best, a fairly good Best, at any rate 
the pride of the town where they used to live, for lunch 
or dinner every so often. The Hutchinses, and the friends 
of the Hutchinses, and the men she knew, took her to the 
Best, one or all three of the Best, at home, for lunch or 
dinner, or dances. But not to sleep. Hardly. She had 
always longed to sleep in—actually to feel part of—a great 
big gorgeous brand-new hotel. What would it be like? She 
had never lived in a place which boasted that kind. 

In the exciting three days since she had known that 
Atlantic City was to be for her more than a dot on a 
map, or a picture post card, or a name, Jenny had never 
217 


2i8 jenny the joyous 

thought of the hotel end of it. Atlantic City had a beach 
and a board walk. Beyond that—of course they wouldn’t 
sleep on either the beach or the board walk. If she visioned 
her private quarters at all, it was to see herself rising in 
the morning, getting into that pale blue silk dressing gown, 
and those pale pink belaced slippers with the funny little 
heels, and gazing about on what she hoped would be a 
neat room, probably looking out upon railroad tracks. Just 
because three of the four hotel rooms she had ever slept 
in all looked out upon railroad tracks. Other than that, 
Atlantic City meant a beach and a board walk, and a place 
where she could hear men talking about what was going 
on in the world she loved. And somehow some hazy eve¬ 
ning setting for that new blue evening dress. Mr. Hutchins 
had told her: “Atlantic City is nothing, nothing. Cheap, 
commonplace. It’s a bore to think of having to go there. 
But I can rest.” Jenny knew better. No place was a bore. 

Therefore, when she was helped out of the hotel bus 
and into the hotel lobby, she merely blinked. She stood 
stock-still in everybody’s way, and blinked. Was there 
any room in Atlantic City for a beach and a board walk 
and this hotel? Perhaps both beach and board walk had 
been sacrificed. 

“Here we are!” It was the familiar voice of Mr. 
Hutchins. “The boy will take you to your room, 615. I’m 
two floors below, 415, if you need to get in touch with me 
about anything. It’s so late—I wouldn’t dress for dinner 
to-night. I’m sorry I’ve got to eat with those men. But 
I see Mr. and Mrs. Holmes over there,—come let me in¬ 
troduce you, and you can have dinner with them.” 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 219 

^Tlease, Mr. Hutchins, I’d so much rather eat alone! 
I’d just love eating alone, and then I can be looking at 
everything and everybody all the time!” 

Jenny followed after the boy with her suitcase. They 
got off the elevator at the sixth floor. Whereupon Jenny 
sank into plush carpets—she thought above her pump tops. 
Luxury!—but difficult to keep clean with children. At 
615 they stopped, the porter unlocked the door, turned on 
the lights, deposited her baggage, and departed. And again 
Jenny just stood and blinked. ’Way off in what seemed 
the dim distance there was the opposite side of the room. 
Faintly she marked the outlines of a bureau against the wall. 
’Way off to her right was another wall, and a dressing table. 
’Way off to her left, some place in the infinity of space 
between there and that wall, were two beds, also a chiffonier 
lost in the atmosphere, also a desk, also a table. If she put 
one foot out and started to walk, as though she were still 
human, could she sometime reach these various articles of 
furniture? 

Then all at once she became appalled. Surely Mr. 
Hutchins had never meant her to have a room like this-^ 
a huge thing designed for a millionairess. It would cost too 
fearfully much! She must get hold of him at once and let 
him know that a room under the hotel laundry or over 
the kitchen, opening out onto an air shaft, was plenty good 
enough for her. 

She called for 415. ‘‘Mr. Hutchins speaking.” 

“Mr. Hutchins, there’s some mistake. You ought to see 
—they’ve given me the wrong room!” 


220 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

‘‘I’ll be darned,” said Mr. Hutchins. “I’ll be darned. 
I’ll see about it at once. What’s the matter?” 

“Why, it’s too good—too big—much too—too expensive a 
room for me! A little room—some funny little room—is 
quite good enough for me!” 

Andrew Hutchins gave that laugh of his, the laugh he 
almost forgot nowadays. “So that’s it! Well, you stay 
just where you are.” Then he chuckled, that sly chuckle. 
“I say, Mrs. Lamar, we’ll make up the difference out of 
the pay envelopes of your friends the Proletariat, eh? 
Good-by!” 

Already it was plain to see Atlantic City was doing An¬ 
drew Hutchins good. 

So then—this was her room, and her conscience was 
clear. And since her conscience was clear and her digestion 
good and she hadn’t an ache or a pain to her name and 
she was as yet not so very much the other side of thirty, 
Jenny Lamar let out three squeals of joy, and then went 
on a hop, skip, and jump tour of inspection. First she must 
peer out of every one of her four windows—and discovered 
that all four looked out on what must in daylight be the 
Atlantic Ocean. She would arise at daybreak and look out 
upon the Atlantic Ocean. Then she danced from the 
bureau to the dresser to the desk to the chiffonier to the 
table. She opened all the drawers. She sat in every one 
of the chairs. She counted the electric lights and put them 
all on and off. She discovered she possessed a large closet. 
She threw it a kiss. She opened another door. 

Where is the human heart, at least the human female 
heart developed to a certain standard of civilization, which 


221 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

does not succumb to a perfectly appointed bathroom? 
Jenny succumbed. Really it would be too bad to be brought 
up with a bathroom like that,—one’s appreciation might 
grow dull with years. One needed the background of 
Lamar bathrooms to correctly value what Jenny gazed upon, 
and one needed the constant evidences of what male young 
considered sufficient habits of cleanliness, to duly esteem 
the vision of spotless white tile which met Jenny’s enrap¬ 
tured eyes. . . . What can fill a mother’s heart with more 
pride than to usher a guest into the bathroom when the 
dear little children used it last? Streaks of muddy water 
all over the washstand, the soap camouflaged with a pattern 
of dirt, and such mud and dirt as was not left on the wash- 
stand and soap, decorates the only towel to be seen. A 
pair of muddy overalls is in one corner, muddy shoes in 
another, a collection, evidently from the muddy overall 
pockets, of three dirty handkerchiefs, six snails, a pack 
of smelly cigarette cards, crust of dried bread, a knife minus 
blades, two small bottles filled with gravel, a ball of 
wet clay, on top of the wash basket; and last, but not least, 
a pet water snake in the bath tub. And probably the guest 
is an old maid lacking all contact with young, male or 
female, or a bachelor. . . . 

A beach, a board walk—^and all of this to boot! Out in 
the middle of her plush-carpeted room again she threw out 
her arms and whirled around on one toe, as well as plush 
carpets allowed. She blew a kiss to every piece of furniture, 
she blew a kiss to the Atlantic Ocean she would see at day¬ 
break. Out loud she cried pompously, ‘This all belongs 
to me, Jeimy Lamar!” Then suddenly she thought of 


222 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

Scotty without any teeth. How Scotty would scold and 
rant at all of this! All of it paid for out of the pockets 
of the Proletariat. He’d have taken Andrew Hutchins right 
seriously. 

“Scotty, Scotty, must I then not enjoy any of it, really? 
Would you and Emanuel and all the rest truly be happier 
if I stood here in the middle of my glory and wept? Should 
I sleep on the beach or the board walk? Oh, really now, 
Scotty, happy people are good for the world, and I’m so 
terribly, awfully happy! Eh, Scotty?”—and she turned and 
blew a kiss in the general direction of where that person 
lived—west—“it’s a new set of teeth would help you most, 
and not scolding about where I sleep and who pays for it!” 

She could not wait for sunrise. About ten o’clock she 
wandered out and felt the sand under her feet, though she 
almost broke her neck getting down to it in the dark, and 
put one finger in the Atlantic Ocean. If Steve and Alec 
were only here for the beach and that Atlantic Ocean! 
She walked along the deserted board walk until it com¬ 
menced to drizzle. She watched the bustle and life of 
the hotel: men who knew the industrial life of the nation 
rested on their shoulders rushing here and there, putting 
their heads together, frowning heavily, in every available 
corner. To-morrow the convention began. 

Bedtime. Woe—she had forgotten her suitcase all this 
while, and that blue dress still squashed in it! She rushed 
to rescue her treasures—and opened a suitcase to gaze 
upon a carefully folded man’s dinner jacket, a pair of light 
blue pajamas. They had mixed her things with Mr. 


223 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

Hutchins’. Probably he was sitting on the edge of the 
bed wondering what he would sleep in. Undoubtedly he 
had been trying to reach her and recover his belongings. 

She dashed to the phone,—“415!” A long wait. At 
last a very sleepy voice, somev/hat impatiently, said, ^‘Mr. 
Hutchins speaking.” 

“Mr. Hutchins—I’m so sorry. This is Jenny Lamar. 
I’ve got your pajamas!” 

“My. what?” 

“Why, what you sleep in. I’m so sorry! I’ll send them 
right down. And please give the boy my suitcase to bring 
back.” 

“I’m—there’s some mistake. I’ve got my pajamas on. 
I’m asleep—or was asleep.” 

“Then this isn’t your suitcase?” 

“No, my suitcase is here.” 

Jenny wanted to hurl herself out the sixth-story window 
in mortification. To waken a tired man about a pair of 
pajamas which didn’t belong to him. . . . But who was 
sitting on the edge of a bed waiting to retire, and gazing 
ruefully at her blue evening dress? 

She phoned her troubles to headquarters. Yes, a gentle¬ 
man had been looking for his suitcase since seven o’clock. 

2 

It was the next night after a dinner where she sat, 
the only woman, and listened eagerly to six men discuss 
the merchant marine; after a vaudeville show at the hotel, 
staged for the entertainment of the delegates to the Cham- 


224 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

ber of Commerce Convention and their families and friends, 
that Jenny found herself standing against a pillar watching 
staid couples from Iowa and Ohio, Arkansas and Illinois, 
Maine and Georgia, dance as dancing goes in the home 
town. The ladies, like Jenny, had, many of them, indulged 
in an eleventh-hour extravagance, and were experiencing 
such conscious comfort as a new dress, one’s best dress, 
inspires. The second wearing usually makes for added 
contentment of soul. There seemed to be more people 
watching than dancing,—it was evident the National Cham¬ 
ber of Commerce was not a hundred per cent dancing or¬ 
ganization. Mr. Hutchins and the men she had met during 
the day and at dinner were not the dancing kind. What 
a waste of any life—to live out its days minus dancing I 

A voice behind her; “Would you care to dance?” 

She looked over her shoulder. A man of about forty 
whose face she very much liked was also leaning against 
the pillar. He was looking at her, but still she wasn’t 
sure. 

“Were you speaking to me?” 

“I was making so bold as to speak to you. I feel an 
awful lot like dancing and knew nobody to dance with. 
I thought I’d take my chances on you being in that same 
state.” 

“Oh, I want terribly to dance!” 

But he could waltz—oh, how he could waltz! The com¬ 
bination of his manner of waltzing and the fact that he 
was one of those rare souls who have sense enough not to 
ruin good dancing by trying to talk at the same time,— 
“Ah,” said Jenny to herself, “the gods always love me.” 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 225 

Since he knew no one else who danced, and she knew no 
one else who danced, and since it was plain both loved 
dancing, it was only natural that they danced together the 
whole evening long. They talked little—none at all while 
they danced. Just before midnight the orchestra played 
the Blue Danube Waltz. Jenny was not sure during that 
dance whether she was in heaven or on earth. When it 
was over he said a little shyly: ‘That was so very wonder¬ 
ful,—I^d rather not dance any more after that. I’d like 
just staying up in the clouds.” How very much sense he 
had. So she said good night. Upstairs, in her room, looking 
out over the darkness of the ocean, she wondered why 
it was you could almost always tell it in your bones when 
an Adventure was in the air. There was no Adventure on 
earth like a new friend. ... 

The next morning was the big opening General Session. 
Jenny and Mr. Hutchins went together, in the huge hall 
out on the pier. First they stood up while a Right Rev¬ 
erend prayed for the Lord to make all business men pure 
and good and honest and God-fearing and exactly as the 
Lord would like to see business men, and everybody, be; 
and then business men and everybody repeated the Lord’s 
Prayer. When they came to “Thy Kingdom come,” each 
member undoubtedly visioned a hundred per cent triumph 
of the open shop; with the “Give us this day our daily 
bread,” Jenny knew it meant three meals at the Tray- 
more with one order of scrambled eggs for breakfast, sixty 
cents. How conceited a hen would get if she knew. And 
then they all murmured, “Forgive us our trespasses,” and 


226 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

by that of course all the business men must have had any 
profiteering in mind; ‘^as we forgive those that trespass 
against us/’ and there they probably thought of the A. F. of 
L. and I. W. W.’s and such. . . . And then Jenny lis¬ 
tened to Reports and Rules of Convention and Approvals 
and then a speech by the President of the National Cham¬ 
ber of Commerce. She wanted to rush up afterwards and 
tell him how fine it was. Either the prayer had done him 
a lot of good, or he was born like that. “Dangerous in 
places,” Mr. Hutchins considered his address. 

In the afternoon Mr. Hutchins went to one set of meet¬ 
ings and dispatched Jenny to another, so that she could 
report on who said what. She listened to four speeches, 
on Sales and Distribution, two of which were very good, 
two of which were very poor. As the discussion finally 
ended, she heard what was now a familiar voice ask, “Do 
you like to swim?” 

“Do I?” And there again was the man with the face 
she so very much liked. 

It was too early and cold for the ocean. They walked 
as briskly as they could up the far end of the board walk 
and managed to squeeze into the big swimming-tank build¬ 
ing just as the proprietor was locking up for the day. He 
gave them their suits and towels and asked them to take 
the key across the street when they were done. “He must 
be a socialist,” Jenny laughed. Yet socialists and Atlantic 
City didn’t seem to fit. She laughed again when, their 
swim over, out once more in the bracing air, she discovered 
a worn volume of Marx’s “Capitalism” in a secondhand 
bookstore on the board walk. Who ever would buy it at 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 227 

Atlantic City? They ate peanut candy and spoilt their 
appetites and looked in all the windows and watched all 
the people. 

“Shall we go swimming again to-morrow?” 

“I say we shall.” 

He was so comfortable. 

As she turned to go up the hotel steps he called hesi¬ 
tatingly, “I—I don’t suppose you’d care to dance again 
to-night?” 

“Oh, but I would care to dance again to-night!” 

Again a dinner with Mr. Hutchins. She listened to 
splendid gray-haired men discuss finances, transportation, 
foreign credits, and made mental notes to develop later 
for Mr. Hutchins. “Just what was it Clement said that 
night about Southern Pacific right of way?”- His memory 
was not what it used to be. Jenny had it down in black 
and white—not always correctly, but it recalled the matter 
to Andrew Hutchins’ mind, and he could fill out gaps 
himself, or make minor corrections. How she admired the 
way men’s minds could work! Until they touched here 
and there on their bugbear, labor, and then, after all, she 
knew they were just mortals, with the shortcomings of 
mortals. Everything they seemed to understand about the 
inanimate side of business. Was it because on the whole 
they had never considered the matter worthy of real thought 
and study, the kind of thought and study they expended 
on refinancing a transportation company, for instance, that 
they never gave the human side of business any worth¬ 
while consideration at all? It was not that their opinions 
on the subject differed from hers. What was a difference 


228 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

of opinion? But they had ideas which she, Jenny Lamar, 
knew were founded not at all on fact. Financial matters 
they investigated personally, or had experts investigate for 
them. When it came to labor, they believed every silly 
story they heard. Some day even their finances, their 
carefully, conscientiously considered finances, might get all 
tangled up with their foolish notions about how working 
men and women should be treated. 

“Scum,” one man called them. Very well, call them 
scum. Even a man who could refer to fellow beings as 
scum would have to admit that it was this scum upon 
which these gray-haired financiers in the last analysis had 
to depend to keep industry going. Not the most modern 
factory in all the world ran without—scum. And scum had 
shown, was showing, that it could get itself and every 
one else into a good deal of trouble now and then. If 
the trains of these railroad men kept running off the tracks 
they would look into the engines and cars and roadbeds. 
When labor went askew it was only the fault of labor—the 
roadbed was never investigated. And the relation of labor 
to its job one mass of split rails! 

Jenny wondered what the man with the face she liked^ 
the comfortable man, would have said to it all. He was 
across the dining room with a group of younger men. They 
smiled at each other, he and she, now and then. 

3 

“Did you ever see the moon on the Atlantic Ocean?” he 
asked her as they started to dance. 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 229 

She had never seen the moon on any ocean. 

‘‘Suppose we take a walk first,—^you’ve no idea how won¬ 
derful it is.” 

Which was how it happened that they sat on the sand 
bundled up in wraps and talked that night until two 
o’clock, instead of dancing. 

In the afternoon she had told him: “Do you know what 
would be fun? Let’s not even know each other’s names. 
You dropped out of nowhere. I dropped out of nowhere. 
The chances are we shall never see each other again as 
long as we live. I shall call you—Peter, Mr. Peter.” 

“And I shall call you ‘Miss Jenny.’ ” 

“But Jenny is my real name! Only it’s Mrs. Jenny.” 

“I know Jenny is your real name. ... You see, it was 
I who had your suitcase.” 

“How did you know it was mine?” 

“Because the blue dress was on top. I suppose really 
that was what gave me courage to ask you to dance. I 
felt a bit at home with that blue dress. . . .You see, you 
couldn't be expected to recognize my dinner jacket. . . . 
Just on top of the blue dress was a handkerchief,—it had 
‘Jenny’ in one corner.” 

And so, that night on the beach, because neither knew 
anything about the other, not even their real names, and 
both had the feeling that after Atlantic City they would 
never see each other again, and because it was night and 
moonlight,—because of all of that, they talked about things 
more intimately than either had ever talked. They dis¬ 
cussed his business, his industrial dreams. He told her of 
the women he had loved, and where and how, and the 


230 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

questionings and problems and doubts and disappointments. 
So that Jenny realized as never before that men faced 
countless complexities in the world the gods let get out 
of hand so long ago, as well as women. She told him of 
Billy. He was the only person she had ever found with 
whom she could really talk about Billy. She told him of 
Thomas Hatch, and every man since. Several times, the 
first night when they danced together, he had spoken of 
his wife. To-night he said nothing of her at all. That 
was strange. Each had asked the other very bold ques¬ 
tions. At last Jenny asked him about that,—why he talked 
so little of his wife. 

He looked out over the ocean—by that time there was 
no moon left. “I know why. . . . We’re being so very 
honest—I’ll tell you why. It’s just that. You see, I’ve 
never let myself think honestly about—^her. Much less can 
I bring myself to talk honestly about it all. No, I think 
I’m afraid to face the situation squarely. For twelve years 
I’ve told myself that everything was going—well enough. 
... I’ve got to go on thinking that. . . . There is noth¬ 
ing that can be done about it. . . . She’s a good deal of 
an invalid. . . . Last night with you was the first time 
I’d danced in—^years. I was almost afraid to try again. 
I never could have, except for the friendly blue dress. . . . 
I love people so—all kinds, all kinds. I love having them 
around, being around where they are. I’d always visioned 
a home where people, all kinds of people, would love to 
come . . . and I love music . . . and dancing . . . and 
good books. ... No, no, don’t ask me to talk about my 
home. It all goes—well enough.” 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 231 

There are two sides to everything. “And she—^how 
much of it all—of the things she loved—has she had to 
give up?” 

“That’s a fair question. . . . Funny, I hardly know. 
You see, I’ve never in my life been as honest about things 
as to-night, never tried so hard to see things just as they 
are. I long ago got out of the habit of ‘opening up.’ She 
and I, even in the days when she was comparatively well, 
didn’t talk ever—^like this. Just surface things. I didn’t 
know a man talked this way with any woman—with any¬ 
body, for that matter. ... I really don’t know what she’s 
had to give up. I do know she never did like people. 
I know she never did like books. She never had learned 
to dance, and never wanted to—I suppose her health was 
at the bottom of that. . . . She loved children. I suppose 
that is the great thing she has had to give up. We have 
only one child, a little girl. It was from the time she 
was born, eight years ago, that her—my wife’s—health 
has been so poor.” 

“So what it amounts to is that the salvage of twelve 
years is for you, your business; for her, a child. Is she 
interested in your business?” 

“Not at all.” 

“Are you interested in her—^your—child?” 

“Of course. I can’t understand her, but I love her— 
more than anything else in the world.” 

“Why did you get married? I can’t see.” 

“I don’t know. Men just do. They reach a certain 
age, some one comes along, and they marry. How many 
men, I wonder, can ever tell just why, especially why just 


232 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

that particular woman. There may have been a possible 
dozen, say, during the so-called marriageable years,—they 
might have picked any one of the dozen they were more 
or less and off and on in love with. Sometimes it happens 
the one they really loved the most married some one else. 
... Of course, once you find yourself really married, you’re 
sure you can make a splendid go of it. I knew I’d make 
a great success of my marriage. ... I always have said it 
was the man’s fault if the thing didn’t go right. ... I 
wonder just where I slipped up. . . . To-night, being hon¬ 
est, I sincerely think the whole trouble of it was not her 
health. I’ve always said it would have been all right if 
she’d been strong. But that’s not true. It would only have 
gone from bad to worse under any circumstances. The 
thing of it was, we hardly had a single interest in common. 
What basis is there to go on then?” 

Jenny shook her head. “That’s a bad start.” 

“I loved the woods, the country, wild things, camping. 
She disliked all of that. I loved just simple things around 
a home,—a little something to eat, not much furniture, 
lots of *books. You can’t move around our house for the 
clutter of possessions. And my books in a back room 
where they won’t ‘get in the way.’ We eat like a hotel 
every night—just a fuss over food. I hate everything by 
the time it comes on the table. I loved business. It was 
a great game to me—^always an Adventure into the untried. 
Each step fascinated me. A person wants to talk about 
their enthusiasms. She always said, ‘Business is stupid.’ 
I loved sports: tennis, boating, mountain climbing. Her 
health kept her from any of that. Above all, I loved peo- 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 233 

pie, as IVe told you. My friends, the men and women I 
had cared most about for years—she liked none of them. 
She didn’t come right out with it that way. They just 
felt, one by one, they weren’t wanted. Month in, month 
out, not a soul comes to our house. . . . Please don’t let 
me go on like this! I hate myself for talking about it 
all. It doesn’t help anything, and now I feel like a cad 
besides. Like a fearful cad. Some place, somehow, it’s 
probably all my fault. . . . Quick, let’s talk about some¬ 
thing else!” 

^‘Have you never thought of separating? Of getting a 
divorce?” 

“Goodness, no! Why, a man doesn’t get a divorce for 
things like that. Heavens, no! Besides—why, just con¬ 
sider her health. Imagine the kind of a man who would, 
could, divorce an invalid wife! I’ve been cad enough to 
talk about it at all—I’m not that much of a cad. Honestly 
I do try my best at home. It really goes pretty well all 
the time. ... I’d much rather we talked some more about 
your Billy.” 

They in time discussed religion—^he had never spoken of 
his religious ideas to anybody. Philosophers can spend an 
evening talking of God as the average man discusses politics. 
Most business men would rather lose a month’s salary than 
be caught having anything to say on the subject at all. 
“So then,” said Jenny, “I’ll tell you my ideas first.” She 
too had never put her faith and beliefs into words. Some¬ 
times she and Billy had discussed religion, of course. But 
a perfectly contented person doesn’t think a great deal about 
religious matters. Jenny, from the end of those ardent 


234 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

church years in her early teens, had given religion scant 
thought. She loved the world and everything in it. She 
was sure the wrongdoings of mankind were brought about 
by causes over which the individual in reality had no direct 
control. Which applied to everybody else but not to her¬ 
self. She felt entirely responsible for her own shortcom¬ 
ings. This life was the only chance we had to show what 
was in us, and the gods never forgave anybody who threw 
chances away. Your soul felt good when you had enough 
to do and didn’t otherwise. There was a good deal of a 
mess in the world, but that didn’t bother her so much. 
The world was altogether too big and had too many people 
in it and too much going on to allow for folks who were 
but recently swinging by their tails—or was the science of 
it that they didn’t ever have tails?—in trees to be able 
to manage matters to suit the particular. The fact they 
tried to manage at all made the earth a very interesting 
place to live on, though very unrestful. She liked to smile 
and blow a kiss to heaven and call, ‘Thank You, God!” 
because she knew there was no other person in all creation 
who had so many good things fall her way. And that had 
been about all. 

“What do you think about God?” he asked her almost 
fearfully. 

“Oh, I don’t believe there’s a personal God. It just goes 
against such intellect as I possess. It is more comfortable 
to let a great many things go entirely unexplained than 
try to fit a personal God into the scheme of things, just 
to account for everything you can’t account for any other 
way. And how terribly, awfully hard on the poor God, if 


235 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

you believed in Him,—this mess of things! I’d be entirely 
too miserable myself to think of all He had to worry over. 
No, in my world there is no personal God. There is just 
you, and me, and the National Chamber of Commerce, and 
the League of Nations,—individuals, collections of individ¬ 
uals, struggling along, struggling along . . . working . . . 
hoping . . . making mistakes. ... Yet there’s so much 
that’s fine about it all! I do love the world! But there is 
no personal God—except for those who prefer him.” 

“Do you really believe that?” 

“Yes, why not? Does it seem wrong to you?” 

“Why, it is what I’ve believed all my life almost, only 
I’ve been scared to tell any one. It’s rather terrifying, 
don’t you think, to feel alone in your ideas? There’s an 
uncanny sensation about it. It would be so much more 
comfortable to have company in one’s beliefs. ... No one 
likes to have a lonely feeling about anything, does he?” 

“I suppose that’s why it’s so hard to change people’s 
ideas. They were sure of intellectual company with their 
old notions—that’s how they happen to have them—a sort 
of group product or possession. If they branch off and 
think anything new, they’re not quite sure of the company 
they’ll find themselves in, not sure of whether there will 
be enough thinking that same new way. So they hang on 
forever to the old faiths and beliefs.” 

“Now I won’t feel lonely any more about—God. Just to 
know there’s one person in the world—that’s company 
enough.” 

“You see, after to-night, you could always think about 
anything which came into your head, ‘There’s that Jenny 


236 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

person,—she probably would agree with everything!’ Be¬ 
cause we really have agreed on everything, haven’t we?” 

‘‘It’s the most wonderful feeling I think I ever had in 
all my life—that there really is some one in the world who 
would understand everything, absolutely everything.” 

They both sat looking out over the expanse of black. . . . 
Almost a trifle wistfully he said: “You see, you knew that 
feeling for all those years. It’s not new to you.” 

Jenny dug her heels in the sand. She was thinking 
hard, and still honestly. 

“But back in those years there was not so much to im- 
derstand, not such a need to be understood. ...” She 
closed her eyes. “That life was a life without problems. 
That was centuries ago. In this new world—every week 
there is something to fight over, some new problem to face. 
In this new world I’ve never known what it was to feel— 
to feel like this. I could tell you anything, anything. I 
could go to you with every problem. . . . I’m very grate¬ 
ful for to-night.” 

It was he who stood up first. It was he who said, “I 
think we had better go.” 


CHAPTER XV 


I 

The next morning the general session was on Transporta¬ 
tion. Jenny sat next to Mr. Hutchins, as before, with pad 
and pencil for note-taking. 

I. Transportation. 

a. Railroads. 

. . There,”—Mr. Hutchins leaned slightly her way— 
^‘make a note of that!” 

Oh, woe. Jenny blinked. Transportation. She had 
been on a dark beach again, a. Railroads. What in the 
world had the man said? This was terrible. To fail Mr. 
Hutchins like that. Not another syllable would she miss. 
She took down practically every word shorthand. 

b. Electric Ratifys. 

. . Those figures didn’t agree with what Thomson 
said at dinner.” 

Jenny Lamar! For shame. Where were you this time? 
Weren’t you quite long enough on that beach last night 
without going back this way ? . . . Again her pencil flew. 

c. Highways. 

My, how interesting this very man was two nights ago 
at dinner! ... And so easy to take notes from. Clean-cut 
237 


238 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

face he had. Just a little the same expression around the 
eyes as. . . . 

. . What was that statement, Mrs. Lamar? I didn’t 
catch it.” 

So. Yes, so. Mrs. Lamar had not caught it, either. 
Mrs. Lamar, some one ought to drop you off the end of 
the pier. Oh, oh! She was disgusted. . . . Would this 
endless discussion of Transportation never be over? 

d. Merchant Marine. 

“Better take this all down shorthand,” Mr. Hutchins 
whispered. “I want it for the office files right away.” 

“ ‘Mr. Chairman, Members of the National Chamber of 
Commerce, ladies and gentlemen. . . ” 

A slight cough to Jenny’s left. Her heart stood stock¬ 
still. She turned her head slightly and looked out of the 
corner of her eyes. Directly next to her sat—Mr. Peter. 
The very next seat! . . . Can you manage it, Jenny Lamar, 
—that shorthand report on the Merchant Marine? She 
managed it. 

Would he ask her to lunch? If so, should she accept, 
or ought she not to stay with Mr. Hutchins? It was the 
very last and only lunch she could ever have with Mr. 
Peter—they were leaving just before noon to-morrow. But 
what would Mr. Hutchins think, to be deserted like that, 
when perhaps he needed her for note-taking, or something? 
Mr. Peter—Mr. Hutchins. Mr. Hutchins—Mr. Peter. 

“Oh, Mrs. Lamar, I forgot to tell you,—I’ve been asked 
to sit in for lunch to-day with the Transportation group. 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 239 

I think I’d better go. You feel free to do anything you like 
until the afternoon sessions. I’d like you to attend the 
meeting on ‘Machinery as an Aid to Labor Conservation,’— 
that general discussion, if you’ll be so kind. A group of us 
meet with the Secretary of Commerce from three on, so I 
shan’t be able to attend any meetings.” 

Free for lunch! Oh, Mr. Peter! She turned quickly in 
order to greet him, feeling relief—she could say yes! 
Lunch together! . . . And there was no Mr. Peter there. 
... Of all things! She looked over the entire huge hall. 
No Mr. Peter. 

“To-night, what have I on for to-night?” Mr. Hutchins 
and she were slowly walking out with the throng. 

“Those New York men invited you to dinner.” 

“Yes, yes. I’ll go. Let them know, will you? . . . And 
you,—is there some one you could eat dinner with to-night, 
so as not to be alone?” 

“I—I suppose so,” Jenny said ruefully. 

. . . Atlantic City wasn’t much, really. Nothing. An 
old cold beach, an ugly old board walk, a lot of overdone 
and underdone hotels, foolish men bumping into each other 
and everybody else, men who thought they counted for 
something, and after all they amounted to nothing at all. 
If only she had been able to bring Steve and Alec. . . . She 
wanted Steve and Alec! 

. . . My, that wind went right through a person. . . . 
Where was Steve’s last letter? She’d read that again. 

“Dear Mother:— 

“I am feeling fine I hope you are feeling fine Anyway 
I am feeling fine. We are having a fine time I hope you 


240 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

are having a fine time too. We have grand things to eat 
I hope you have grand things to eat. Alec is a pretty good 
boy. Dear Mother I hope you are feeling fine I am 
feeling fine. This is all I can think of this time. Godby 
and lots of kises 

‘Your loving son 

“Stephen Cairns Lamar.’^ 

Was it going to rain? Where would she eat? There 
comes that automobile man. Dreadful bore. 

“Why, Mrs. Lamar, all alone like this? Had lunch? 
I say, what luck! Come and have it with me!” 

Jenny would rather starve to death. She was very sorry, 
she had a lunch engagement. No, she couldn’t possibly 
break it. Yes, she had already made arrangements for 
dinner. 

There goes that Merchant Marine man to the Transpor¬ 
tation lunch. After all, he wasn’t so smart. His talk had 
been a good deal of a bore. Everything at the meeting had 
been rather stupid. . . . What unattractive women Cham¬ 
ber of Commerce men married. What in the world did they 
cart them along to Atlantic City for? . . . She wouldn’t eat 
in that hotel, she was sick of that hotel. She’d buy some 
chocolate and eat on the beach. However would he know 
now which meeting she would be going to this afternoon? 
How would they ever meet for that last swim? They 
wouldn’t meet. There’d be no last swim. She’d never 
see him again as long as she lived. Well, and what of 
it? 

She bought some peanuts, some foolish sugary buns, an 
ice cream soda. She didn’t care if she did die. It wouldn’t 


241 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

be her fault. She had been ready enough to eat a decent 
lunch in a decent hotel. 

She wrote some letters—cheerful things. She hated writ¬ 
ing letters anyway. She wouldn’t have thought he’d be 
that kind of man, to run off like that,—not a word. . . . 
After all, hadn’t she been too enthusiastic about last night? 
She’d had just about as good times as that with other men. 
He wasn’t so terribly much more interesting than other 
men. ... He didn’t do that jack-knife dive very well. . . . 
Really it was—rude. That’s what it was, running off like 
that— rude. And that poem of Brooke’s he liked—after all, 
that wasn’t much of a poem. . . . Where was that foolish 
meeting on Machinery, anyway? . . . Upstairs in this very 
hotel. Not even a chance to get out and breathe a bit of 
fresh air. What a bore—cooped up all day! . . . What 
under the rising canopy of heaven would she do with her¬ 
self after the meeting was over? ... For dinner to-night? 

. . . After dinner? . . . Pshaw, she guessed she could go 
swimming by herself. The idea of thinking she had to hang 
around and wait for a rude man before she could go swim¬ 
ming! . . . Dinner. She’d show him! She’d wear her best 
blue dress and eat with that stupid automobile man, after 
all. Or that wholesale milk man who wanted her last night. 
Indeed if he, Mr. Peter, did ask her for dinner, she most 
certainly would refuse. As for dancing . . . She had her 
packing to do, and was tired after being up so late, so 
ridiculously late, last night. She’d go upstairs right after 
dinner. If he did ask her to dance with him she most cer¬ 
tainly would refuse. He had made her feel foolish and 
idiotic in her own eyes—she hated him. To count on him 


242 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

for lunch like that. It just showed, after all, there is no 
such thing as “woman’s intuition.” She’d always known it 
was nonsense. After last night—all morning—she would 
have sworn that he’d have been as anxious to have lunch 
with her as she with him. Was there anything in the world 
more humiliating? To have him just walk off like that. 

. . . She hoped she’d never see him again as long as she 
lived. ... He bent his knees when he did that jack-knife 
dive. What a difference that made. . . . Just walked off 
—didn’t even say good-by. For that matter he hadn’t even 
said good morning. . . . What was that man talking about? 
Where was her program? The man next her lent her his. 
Some people in the world have manners. . . . What an 
awful voice. A man oughtn’t to talk in public who has a 
voice like that. . . . My, what a close room. Why didn’t 
some one open a window? . . . That was queer, not even to 
have said good morning. He had no scruples about asking 
her to dance that first time—and then couldn’t even wait 
and say good-by. . . . 

Mercy, was that man done at last? . . . Done already? 
Jenny Lamar! She hadn’t taken a note. . . . Oh, dear, 
she could tell by the way this speaker began that he would 
never stop. Reading his paper, too. What a bore. There 
ought to be a law against reading papers. Light eyebrows. 
She hated men with light eyebrows. He didn’t look as if 
he knew anything at all about machinery. He was saying 
nothing either she or Andrew Hutchins needed to know. 
She would write a letter to Steve and Alec. 

The stirrings accompanying the end of one speech and 
the beginning of another. Stupid introductions. They 


243 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

took as long as the speeches. . . . There was the chair¬ 
man telling the same funny story she had heard six times 
since the convention began. Call it a by-product of the. 
effects of standardization. To have to listen to the same 
funny story six times. She wouldn’t listen. . . . Did the 
man next to her want to get out? Rude, just when a 
speaker was about to begin. Going up to the platform? 

. . . What . . . What! . . . Jenny Lamar! Mr. Peter— 
it was Mr. Peter! . . . Mr. Peter was talking. . . . She 
got hot all over. Her heart beat terribly. Her hands felt 
damp from perspiration. . . . She tried to take notes in 
shorthand and couldn’t decipher her own efforts. She wrote 
longhand and could scarce recognize her own writing. . . . 
She would walk right out after the meeting and show him 
she was not in the least dependent on him for the pleasures 
of life. . . . He didn’t talk so very well. . . . Frightfully 
nervous. What was there to be nervous about? Anyway, 
now she could easily find out what his name was. She 
didn’t want to know what his name was. . . . 

Back again in the seat next to her. ^Thank God that is 
over! Let’s not wait for the discussion. What do you say 
we go swimming as soon as this man is done?” 

“That suits me!” said our Jenny, and felt all warm and 
happy and contented inside her. . . . Nice-looking man, 
this next speaker. . . . Reading his talk, but then, in a 
technical subject like machinery, it was just as well not to 
rely on notes alone. It was comfortable, sitting there like 
that, listening to papers. . . . Wasn’t it good to see the 
sun! What a heavenly shade of blue the Atlantic Ocean 
was. And to end the day with a swim. 


244 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

. . . Walking briskly down the board walk, she asked 
him, “Why did you disappear that way this morning?” 

He laughed ever so little, and said finally, “Sort of 
human substitute for protective coloration.” 

“Too deep for me, Mr. Peter!” 

“Anyhow, you see, I had to prepare that paper. They 
didn’t let me know until this morning that I was to give 
it. I realized I needed every minute to work on that. I 
oughtn’t to have gone to the morning session at all.” 

“Why did you, then?” 

“Because I refused to face the fact that the human 
substitute for protective coloration is for the other person 
to run as fast as he can in the opposite direction. Instead 
I trailed along behind, and then I trailed along inside, and 
then—I sat down next to you, good and ashamed of my¬ 
self.” 

“And now?” 

“Oh, I never said I wouldn’t go swimming!” 

... He kept his knees stiff this time in the jack-knife 
dive. 

On the board walk coming back he said practically noth¬ 
ing. He seemed uneasy. And all the time Jenny was think¬ 
ing, “What about dinner to-night?” 

Not realizing that every step of Mr. Peter’s he was 
thinking: “What about dinner to-night? And after dinner? 
What about to-morrow and to-morrow night, and the next 
day, and the next night, and the next day, and the next 
night, and on . . . and on ... . and on. . . .” 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 245 

Does something more of a thing make getting along for¬ 
ever after without any of it at all, easier or worse? 

Quite a question, that. Thomas Hatch would have an¬ 
swered one way. Mr. Peter answered another. 

There are those in the world who wilfully choose to live 
their lives out along an even plane. They prefer fore¬ 
going all the peaks to risking the steep incline which may 
follow before they reach normal again. Their careers, 
plotted on a chart, would show a fairly even level from 
start to finish, a bit under average, or average. Just so-so 
lives. 

Then there are those whose life lines, plotted, would look 
more like the Himalayas. Better to reach the highest point 
possible, even though it be paid for by the valley of the 
shadow afterwards. Anything but a uniformly low altitude! 
The everyday level—yes, the everyday level. That was where 
that was. A few degrees higher or lower. Every one lived 
most of his days along a level, differing only in degrees— 
comparatively slight degrees. The big contrast in human 
beings was the measure between the daily average and the 
peaks. At one extreme those who never reached a peak in 
all their span of days,—those cautious souls who always 
played safe, and lived low. Less cautious souls had here 
and there little—mounds. Slight deviations from the norm. 
Small pleasures of even and rounded outlines. . . . Up to 
those who flung all caution to the winds, reckoned on 
neither past or future, soared up and up, and then fell with 
a thud—a straight precipice on the other side of the sum¬ 
mit. In the chasm at the bottom they might sigh, broken 


246 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

though they be, ‘‘It was worth the fall!” Or they might 
twist and turn in their misery and moan, “Nothing was 
worth this!” Yet the next time they will have forgotten 
the dark steep canyon, or they remember, and yet remember 
still more vividly the glories of the peak, and they soar, 
and soar again!—^and fall At least there is no dead level 
to it. In between the two extremes—call it the philosophy 
that every great happiness is worth a great price, and any¬ 
thing is better than nothing. Though there is careful 
reckoning that the happiness is really great, and sure; the 
price, problematical. In contrast to those who always argue 
that the happiness is problematical, the price great, and 
sure. 

. . Have you any engagement for dinner to-night?” 

“No, none.” 

She thought it would be more fun not to go back to the 
hotel and dress, rather eat at some odd place on the board 
walk. . . . She really was not a bit hungry. He really was 
not a bit hungry. She disliked feeling so queer inside—so 
uneasy. It was difficult to talk. He did not seem to want 
to talk very much, anyhow. They discussed machinery, 
mildly; politics, mildly; children, mildly; vacations, 
mildly. 

“Would you like to dance?” 

“Would you?” 

“Eels walk a bit first.” 

Arm in arm they walked from one end of the board walk 
to the other. Every minute counted. He was leaving early 
the next morning. There was a universe of things to talk 
about. Neither said anything. . . . Back the length of the 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 247 

board walk again. ... At the further end they leaned on 
the railing, arms still locked. 

“This is foolish, Mr. Peter,—not saying anything at all.” 

“You see, we set a bad precedent. Last night, Mrs. 
Jenny, we were honest. Perhaps about some things, too 
honest. Now it is hard to talk to you without continuing 
in all honesty. I can’t be honest about the thoughts which 
fill me to-night. I don’t like ‘made conversation.’ Noth¬ 
ing in the world seems important to talk about except things 
I shouldn’t talk about. . . .You understand everything in 
the world—I guess you understand that.” 

“I understand that. . . . You see, I told you you could 
always know that no matter what thoughts came into your 
head, you could say to yourself, ‘That Jenny person would 
understand.’ . . . More, perhaps, than just understand. 
. . . She might even have the same thoughts.” 

Must she always be learning difficult lessons? So. Mr. 
Peter had taught her the most upsetting one of all. It was 
possible for a man to come into your life and without his 
doing or saying anything, somehow one’s world stood on 
end. The peaceful, well-ordered structure of yesterday, the 
universe one understood and counted on—a crumbled heap. 
What barrier of protection could be raised, when there was 
nothing tangible to guard against? Without knowing just 
how or when or where, there she stood a totally different 
Jenny Lamar from yesterday and the day before, last week. 
This was no turmoil of the kind Thomas Hatch inspired 
when he kissed her by that rock. Thomas Hatch never 
could have ruffled her soul one atom had he let her alone. 
Here was a man who had done nothing, said nothing 


248 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

nothing definite, nothing you could put your finger on. Yet 
her whole being trembled,—mind, soul, body. With what 
weapons did one fight against a state of affairs like this? 
They both would continue to say nothing, do nothing. 
What difference would that make? The harm was done. 

And since the harm was done, what then was the sense in 
continuing to say nothing, do nothing? They were two 
philosophers who believed in the peaks, even though the 
valley on the other side were dark and steep. Jenny’s gods 
held that the most should be made of every oppor¬ 
tunity. . . . 

Slowly they walked back to the hotel. 

^T must go in and pack,” she said wretchedly. 

‘T think I’ll walk some more.” 

They stood by the florist window at the entrance. They 
looked at the flowers and saw nothing. Then they turned 
and looked at each other. 

“Good night.” 

“Good night. . . . It’s just as well we’re never to see 
each other again ... I suppose.” 

“I suppose ... it is.” She turned and went up the 
steps. 


2 

“Fine meeting last night, Mrs. Lamar, wasn’t it?” 

“Fine what?” 

“Meeting—meeting. The Vice President certainly gave 
a splendid address. Secretary of the Treasury was good, 
too. Hope you took rather full notes.” 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 249 

“I—I didn’t go to the meeting.” 

“What —didn’t go? Why, it was the big meeting of the 
session.” 

‘‘I forgot about it.” 

‘‘I declare. . . .You look tired this morning. I’ve 
worked you too hard, after all, and I really did want you 
to have a rest. I’m sorry. . . . Worrying over the boys? 
You’ll see them day after to-morrow!” 

She listened to the last meeting of the convention, lis¬ 
tened listlessly. She took some notes. She packed the last 
of her things. 

They were on the train home-bound. “I tell you, a 
change does a man good, Mrs. Lamar. I feel like getting 
back on the job and jumping into things. I’ve no end of 
good ideas. The whole transportation problem looks much 
clearer to me now. Trucks—we must add to our trucks. 

. . . That accountant was a smart man,—we can make 
some improvements in the records and the financial state¬ 
ments. He’s coming to look over things next month. Sup¬ 
pose we go over your notes, especially on Transportation.” 

3 

A pair of pink slippers was found under one of the beds 
in 615. A toothbrush, tooth paste, and nail brush in the 
bathroom. An umbrella hung on the doorknob of the closet. 
When the chambermaid opened the closet, there hung a blue 
silk evening dress. 

'T’r’aps they made a mistake downstairs. P’r’aps the 
party ain’t left, after all.” 


250 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

She phoned to headquarters. Yes, 615 had checked out. 

‘Tity she wouldn’t pack up before she left,” the woman 
muttered as she collected Jenny’s possessions. “I’ve seen 
’em leave a few things behind, but not everything they own. 
. . . Easy to see what was the matter with her. Probably 
some guy she picked up on the board walk. ’Sail right for 
her—she prob’ly ain’t got enough to keep her busy, any¬ 
how. It’s when you got a lot to do all day, like me, that 
a guy’s got no business mixin’ up in your affairs. Can’t 
make a bed half decent no more. . . 

4 

It was after ten at night when Jenny neared home. The 
boys were in bed and asleep. Such excitement as there 
would be in the morning! They would kiss her and make 
a general commotion and she would kiss them and make 
a general commotion, just as if nothing had happened, just 
as if she were the same woman who had left them a week 
ago. . . . What did any one know of any one else in the 
world? We looked at people, people whom we knew well, 
and unless some cataclysmic event took place which every 
one was aware of, we all proceeded on the general assump¬ 
tion that our friends are this week as they were last, this 
month as last month, this year as last year. Most certainly 
children take it quite for granted that their parents are 
exactly the same year in, year out. What child thinks any¬ 
thing about it? 

She opened the front door quietly with her own key so 
as to disturb no one—^and there in the living room sat Jo, 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 251 

from Department Twenty, Jo, whose wife made such good 
cake. And Jo was asleep. What was Jo doing at her 
house after ten o’clock at night? 

He was not very sound asleep, but most decidedly em¬ 
barrassed that he had been asleep at all. 

“What’s wrong, Jo? What do you want?” 

“Mrs. Lamar, Mrs. Lamar, everything’s wrong! I did 
want to see you and have a talk before you got to the fac¬ 
tory to-morrow morning. ... I don’t know what we can 
do!” 

He and Jenny Lamar had talked over the possibilities of 
“everything going wrong” three months ago. At that time 
Jo had declared: “I don’t believe the Boss knows he’s got 
red-blooded men and women workin’ for him. He acts like 
we was a lot of clay.” 

“What makes you say that?” 

“Look at how he treats us every time we want to get 
some little thing changed. Don’t a life-sized man know 
once in a while what he needs to do his job decent? what 
ought to be done here and there to keep him from hatin’ 
the sound of the factory whistle? I told you, for one thing, 
I got to get two experts to help me keep the machines in 
order. These new men! I tell you, every time a new 
man’s a damn fool. He works hell all right with his ma¬ 
chine. . . . What word does the boss send back, after I 
wait weeks for a chance to see him? Yes, he says. The 
foreman always used to manage to keep the machines runnin’ 
all right without repair experts.’ Course a man could, if 
only one new man come now and then. But new men’s our 


252 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

middle name. . . . Then you managed it somehow and we 
got two men. All that mess you and me had about payin’ 
them! You knew all right you couldn’t get no good men 
for that job in this city without their bein’ union members, 
and bein’ union men they had to get time and a half for 
Saturday afternoon work. And then they get fired and the 
machines go to pieces and the boss says no more fuss about 
it and the work gets spoilt and the men get their wages 
docked and get sore and the boss wants to fire me and it’s 
you don’t let him, I know. I know, too, the men ud walk 
out in my department if the boss fired me. I’m pretty near 
the only young foreman in the place. Gee, them old birds! 
What they don’t know! They come over in the Ark, all 
right. 

^^And that’s only my department. Every department’s 
got a hundred things they’re stewin’ over. Nonsense, most 
of ’em are all right. But if a man’s got an idea in his 
head, he’s the last one to think it’s not an important idea. 
He’s sure of the importance of it jus’ because it’s in his own 
head. . . . Luko needs them safety appliances in his de¬ 
partment,—boss says they cost too much. And he hires 
some bum professor or fancy guy of some sort to poke his 
nose around findin’ out what’s none of his business, payin’ 
out good money to get some fool figures on routin’. Who 
cares about routin’?” 

“Come back, Jo, you’re off the track. You’ve no idea 
how necessary it was for Mr. Hutchins to hire that routing 
expert. Work was being held up dreadfully,—the old rout¬ 
ing methods and the foreman came over in the same Ark.” 

“Well, it all looked suspicious to us men, all right.” 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 253 

Didn’t Jenny know at the time it looked suspicious? 
When people get a bit out of sorts with conditions, any¬ 
thing can look suspicious. She had asked Mr. Hutchins if 
he wouldn’t post notices or explain to the men somehow 
about the routing experts. Every man who knew there were 
experts at work was sure it was only some scheme to re¬ 
duce, in the end, his pay envelope. 

“It’s none of their business! Do I have to stop and ex¬ 
plain to a bunch of immigrants every plan I have in mind? 
I suppose you’ll be wanting to send the whole factory to 
sit in on the Board of Directors’ meeting next.” 

He never lost his temper—just scolded a bit now and 
then, or teased. 

All the mass of detail she and Jo had talked over three 
months ago. No single thing vitally important in itself, the 
accumulation of all together looking more and more formida¬ 
ble: the drinking water, the stools, garbage cans for the 
end of the lunch period, Saturday afternoon work when the 
other factories were giving their workers, union men on the 
whole, a half holiday, discontent over irregularities in wage 
payment, the way a man never could count on his job— 
a foreman could fire him for any sort of small excuse,—and 
so on, and so on. 

“And so, Jo, what’s the upshot of it all?” 

“The upshot’s jus’ this: Pete’s got eleven departments 
pretty well organized. Emanuel’s got four. They scrap 
like hell between themselves now, but wait till the Boss 
gives them one good excuse to get together—^just one, and 


254 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

the jig’s all up. Everybody’s sore. O’ course, feeling like 
that, they’re not gettin’ out the goods. That makes them 
old foremen naturally scold like the devil. That makes the 
fellas sorer yet. ‘Damn it, work!’ old Turner hollers up 
and down his floor. Ain’t a fella liftin’ one finger more’n 
he has to. . . . This last week, the day you left, the report 
got around there’d be a cut in wages.” 

“It’s not true, Jo, it’s not true!” 

“Well, that was the report. Some of the fellas went right 
to find out if it was true from you—there was a mob 
around your office that night—and you gone all week. All 
the things you settle in a week,—there wasn’t nobody here 
all week to handle any of ’em. . . I don’t want trouble, 
see? That’s why I’m here. I been in two strikes already 
in my life and two’s enough for me. A man can’t lay 
nothin’ by to carry him over strike times. . . . Pete he 
pretty near wants to kill me ’cause I won’t talk strike. It ud 
be all right if you could quit workin’ forever after a strike. 
But you got to get back at it again some day, and it jus’ 
spoils all your feelin’s about your job. It ain’t never the 
same. . . . Hell, I’m gettin’ good and sore on mine, any¬ 
how. And then I go home and take it out on the Missus. 
. . . She don’t make such good cake no more, these days. 
I tell her to cut out the cake business, anyhow; there’s goin’ 
to be trouble at the factory. Then she cries. She’s been 
through one of them two strikes I been through. . . . 
Maybe our baby would a lived. . . . 

“Well, I guess that’s all, Mrs. Lamar. I’d better be 
goin’. I knew if any one could fix it, you could. But I’m 
’most afraid it’s too late to fix. Funny, one week of no 


255 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

chance for anybody to blow off steam—what a damn dif¬ 
ference it makes! I sure feel better for this talk. . . . 
Good night, Mrs. Lamar.” 

5 

Upstairs Jenny unpacked her things—such as she had 
remembered to pack, trying to think of Jo, trying to think 
of Steve and Alec. Out of one evening slipper there fell 
a little trickle of sand. It made a tiny mound on the white 
cover of her bed. She sat down, still holding the slipper 
in her hand, and looked at the sand. The tears came. Why 
use up a lot of energy she didn’t have, anyhow, trying to 
stop them? She flung herself face downwards on the bed. 
. . . One week ago she, the joyous Jenny, had sobbed 
beside this bed for the loneliness of forever living without 
Billy. To-night, between her sobs, she whispered, ‘‘Oh, 
Peter, oh, Mr. Peter!” In her heart she knew that if Billy 
could have heard, Billy would have understood. 


CHAPTER XVI 


I 

‘T’m afraid to raise prices again. Then look at that state¬ 
ment, Mrs. Lamar, and tell me if there is anything on earth 
to be done but lower wages.” 

‘‘That’s the solution of a tired man, Mr. Andrew 
Hutchins. Tired, or stupid. You’re not stupid.” 

“Tired? Tired of this game? . . . I’ve been at it since 
before you were born, right at this desk. ... If I’d found 
things working all right when I got back from Atlantic 
City ... I got a new breath of life down there. But to 
come back to troubles, and more troubles ... No, no,— 
I’m not so tired. . . . But still I ask you, what is there to 
do but lower wages?” 

“Whew, how many times have we talked this over! There 
are times when a man’s justified in lowering wages. You’re 
not, because there are other ways you can change the look 
of that sheet, and you know it, for I’ve told you often 
enough. What will it look like next month if you try re¬ 
ducing wages now? . . . And yet, it’s all gone so far . . . 
my old solution doesn’t sound so very smart any more. 
How increase production when the whole spirit is for every 
man and woman to get out as little work as ever they can? 
... A year ago—oh, what couldn’t have been done a year 
agol” 


256 


257 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

“Well then, reduce wages.” 

“And you have a strike on your hands. It may cost you 
in cold money more than ever you’ll gain in wage reduc¬ 
tions. And in morale—what it will cost your end, and the 
men’s end, in morale! This factory will never be the same. 

. . . But what’s the morale now, anyhow? . . .” 

“Goodness, Mrs. Lamar, never before did I hear you 
sound discouraged. I’m the one to play that tune, not 
you.” 

“I am discouraged. How long have I had to sit here and 
see things go from bad to worse, when for months and 
months and months I could have turned the tide, had you 
but had faith in me. If I’d been a man, maybe you would 
have listened. All along there have been enough of the 
men themselves who knew what to do to help solve our 
troubles, only you’d never let me make definite use of their 
views and experiences. A lot of them don’t know black 
from white. I’ll grant you. They’re the ones who help swell 
the following of the discontented who do know black from 
white—one shade of gray from another shade. ... If you 
had let me put Emanuel and Pete and some six or seven 
others on a factory committee a long while ago, you’d not 
recognize this place to-day. What we all together could 
have done!” 

“Put ’em on then!” 

“Yes, ^put ’em on then.’ In the first place, they wouldn’t 
be put now. A nice picture they’d make in the eyes of 
their followers! They’ve been preaching for all this time 
that everything was rotten, and the only way anything can ^ 
be fixed is through the A. F. of L. and the I. W. W. and 


258 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

a grand strike. Imagine them sitting on a committee whose 
object was peaceably to improve conditions. Not Pete and 
Emanuel! . . . And in the second place, when you say 
‘put ’em on then’ in that tone of voice, no good could ever 
come of it. You’d have to feel some interest, have some 
faith.” 

“I tell you, what we ought to have done all along is fire 
Pete and Emanuel. It’s not too late now.” 

“It was always too late to fire Pete and Emanuel if what 
you wanted was to save yourself trouble. You don’t im¬ 
agine Pete and Emanuel alone and unaided could make 
much of a fuss, do you? Had you fired them, there’d have 
been Charley Davis and Sulzy to take their places, and 
then two more, and then two more, for every ‘agitator’ you 
got rid of. Pete and Emanuel could have made little head¬ 
way unless there really were things wrong. Firing those 
two men would only have convinced the other discontented 
workers that conditions were as bad as they thought. Other 
agitators would have kept up their agitation for them.” 

“Pete’s a crook.” 

“Maybe he is. There’s no love lost between Pete and 
me. He regards me as his greatest stumbling block. I 
don’t think he’s really a crook.” 

“I’m going to fire him. I’m going to fire Emanuel. I’m 
going to reduce wages.” 

“What will you use, strike breakers?” 

“There won’t be a strike. You just think there’ll be a 
strike.” 

“And if there is a strike?” 

“We’ll wait till the time comes.” 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 259 

“It’s summer, you know. Men aren’t so easy to get.” 

“We’d find plenty.” 

“. . . Mr. Hutchins, when did you have a vacation 
last? Not—^not Atlantic City. I mean a real vaca¬ 
tion.” 

“Vacation? I don’t know. Why? . . . Vacation. . . . 
I—why, I’ve never had a real vacation. How could I?” 

“I wish you’d take one. Mrs. Hutchins and I both wish 
you’d take one.” 

“What’s the matter? You don’t think I need a vaca¬ 
tion, do you? I guess I never was in better condition. 
Tired, that’s all. Anybody gets tired.” 

“You ought to have a vacation before you have a strike. 
A tired man doesn’t do very well with a strike.” 

“I guess I can do as well as your Pete and your Emanuel. 
It’s no harm if a man’s tired. . . . Who wouldn’t get tired, 
running a factory where there are so many things going 
wrong? I come back with a lot of fine new plans, all held 
up because production keeps falling off and there’s no money 
to do anything with. ... I’d like to fire the whole fac¬ 
tory. I’d be glad if they would strike. ... We’d close 
down. . . . Get a vacation . . . real vacation.” 

“What would the Board of Directors say if you closed 
down?” 

“Let them say. . . . I’m tired of the mess. . . . Don’t 
care what they say.” Andrew Hutchins dropped his gray 
head in his hands. 

“Mrs. Lamar!” Suddenly he wheeled around and looked 
at Jenny. “I’m not tired. It’s not that. I’d never give up 
the game, really I wouldn’t. Nobody could get me out of 


26o jenny the joyous 

this job. My brother and I made this business! . . . But 
I’m sixty-eight years old next month. The little wife isn’t 
very strong any longer. She’s been wanting to get over to 
Europe now for the last thirty years. Yes, sir, thirty years 
she’s been telling me, ‘What’s the good of it all if we don’t 
ever go any place? see anything?’ I always said: ‘Go? 
We go some place almost every night!’—^Not really that 
often, you know. But she’d say: ‘I don’t mean that. I 
mean—Venice! Vienna’! Paris! . . Shucks, America’s 
good enough for me. But—well, a trip might help us both. 
. . . Mrs. Lamar, what do you say? ... I declare, it sort 
of startles me. What do you say I—well, not exactly re¬ 
sign, but—well, make way for a new man, a younger man? 
It’s about time I let some one else have a turn.” 

Jenny sat speechless. What would it all mean? She had 
visioned herself working for Mr. Hutchins as long as he 
lived,—she really never could have deserted him. But the 
last six months—it had nearly taken the heart out of her. 
He could not understand what was going on. . . . What a 
state to leave a factory in! And yet what a necessary time 
to get in new blood! . . . And she, Jenny Lamar. . . . She 
could find a new job, some place . . . any old place, she 
didn’t much care. . . . Any old thing. . . . Since Atlantic 
City . . . 

“I’ll go right home this minute and tell the little wife 
that after waiting thirty years she can go to Europe. . . . 
I declare, I don’t see how I could get along, even in Eu¬ 
rope, without you to lean on, Mrs. Lamar. I say, would 
you—would you like to come along?” 

What a mixture of emotions a question could raise. Eu- 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 261 

rope—Venice, Vienna, Paris!—oh, Jenny Lamar, who would 
see every corner of the world! London, Berlin, Rome! 

. . . Steamers, trains, automobiles! . . . Alps, Rhine, 
Scotch lakes! . . . Steve and Alec—just walk off and leave 
Steve and Alec,—wouldn’t that be a fine way to do? Drag 
them along,—so peaceful for everybody, so good for Steve 
and Alec. . . . And Jenny Lamar, imagine wasting any 
money showing you anything any place any more. In the 
center of Paris you would but see the moon on the Atlantic 
Ocean; on the Grand Canal in Venice it would be one hun¬ 
ger for the Board Walk of Atlantic City. ... It might 
help you forget, Jenny Lamar. . . . Jenny Lamar does not 
want to forget. . . . There were gods whose pet she was, 
old gods .... young gods. . . . They loved her too much 
to have let something like that come into her life, and then 
snatch it away forever. There were times when you knew 
the last of a thing was the last of a thing. There were 
other times. . . . Venice, Vienna, Paris—they were so far 
away from—everything. 

“How now, Mrs. Lamar? Come along and make the 
little wife and me happy!” 

“Thank you, oh, thank you more than I can say, Mr. 
Hutchins, but—I can’t.” 

“Well, no hurry. Think it over. . . . Imagine my tak¬ 
ing a real vacation. . . . Some younger man. . . . It’s not 
that I’m too old. ... I’m really hardly tired, either, hardly 
tired at all. But the little wife ought to see Europe, after 
waiting thirty years, now oughtn’t she, Mrs. Lamar?” 

“She surely ought! ” 

To wait thirty years for anything you wanted very, very 


262 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

much. Thirty years! . . . One coidd wait thirty years for 
Europe. . . . 

2 

It was some six weeks later that Mr. Hutchins asked, 
“And what, Mrs. Lamar, is precisely the situation now?” 

“The new manager was informed by letter—I wrote quite 
pages—that the strike was on, and just how matters stood, 
—the long letter you signed. He answers he is quite agree¬ 
able to taking over a factory when a strike is on—may it 
not be a case of fools rush in. . . . But”—^and here Jenny 
smiled—“he seems strongly to object to a female assistant 
manager. Just read that letter you are to sign on your desk 
now, in which you tell him what a very nice assistant man¬ 
ager Mrs. Lamar is, how competent, how long at the job, 
how able to handle the labor situation! Oh, I gave myself 
many a bouquet. He’s got to get along with me. The 
audacity of him—objecting to me at all!” 

“So . . . Wednesday Mrs. Hutchins and I leave. She 
persists in being fearful. After wanting a thing thirty years 
she now thinks she’d rather go to California and play with 
the grandchildren. Says ten years ago she was too old 
for Venice, Vienna, Paris. Women are peculiar. But she 
must see the world—she always used to want to see the 
world.” 

“I can feel for Mrs. Hutchins a little. You hand her 
Europe ten—twenty years too late. You hand me labor 
one—two years too late. Doesn’t your conscience hurt you 
at all?” 

“All things in their time. A man must never make up 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 263 

his mind hastily. See how IVe speeded up. Thirty years 
it took me to surprise Mrs. Hutchins with Europe, less than 
two to surprise you with labor!” 

‘‘And I’m thinking she’ll find a good bit of Europe in 
pretty much the state I find labor. Good luck to both of 
us!” 

“. . . Sunday night supper then?” 

Why could she not throw wide her arms and call: ‘T, 
Jenny Lamar! Assistant Manager!” A year ago her 
dreams had never reached as far as this reality. She had 
never visioned herself with as much authority as the Board 
of Directors had endowed her with. She had never thought 
she would be able in all her life to earn as much money as 
the amount Mr. Hutchins informed her was her new salary. 
Everything was in a fearful mess, true, but that, now that 
she had real authority, only made the new job look more 
interesting. It was no fun to preserve order. The Adven¬ 
ture was to bring order out of chaos. At first she was to 
play the old role of secretary to the new head, but in a few 
weeks she was to have her own office and her own secre¬ 
tary. Whom had she discovered for that very job but 
Anabelle Browne of the old Hastings days. Anabelle had 
gotten track of her again, had come all the way from Chi¬ 
cago to look her up the very day Jenny got her new appoint¬ 
ment. Anabelle didn’t care about salary or hours. “Jenny 
Joslin, I’d work for you for nothing!” 

Yet there was no spirit in her this Sunday to call, I, 
Jenny Lamar!” The young gods—how good they were 
being to her, what an opportunity they were putting in her 


264 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

way. Assistant Manager, two thousand men, when they 
were on the job. Imagine Mr. Hutchins having faith after 
all. Yes, her very new, very young, upright gods,—thank 
You, thank You. Only there was no toss of the head, no 
smile, no kiss to heaven. . . . The old, old thousands of 
years old gods, and Jenny,—just they and Jenny knew 
why. There was more of Jenny going back one hundred 
thousand years, perhaps, than some thirty years. What¬ 
ever it was—^yes, it was nice to be assistant manager. Billy 
would have been proud. 

Jenny, Jenny, the nonsense of that! As if, were there any 
Billy to be proud, you ever, ever would have become as¬ 
sistant manager to anybody or anything, except Billy. 
She could, by the skin of her teeth as it were, manage to 
bring up two boys and be assistant manager. At least the 
boys were showing no ill effects as yet. But to be a wife, 
and assistant manager at the same time. ... I wonder, 
Jenny Lamar. A wife, yes, if it were somebody you didn’t 
love very much for a husband. But if you were very, very 
much in love, so that you—well, the way you feel when 
you are very, very much in love. How about it? What 
kind of assistant manager would you make? What kind 
of wife? Off early mornings. Yes, that part of it was 
all right. Work all day. Yes, that part of it might be 
all right. Home tired, dog-tired, evenings. How about 
that? He would come home dog-tired evenings too,—^he 
took business that way, did Mr. Peter. Who? Caught, 
Jenny Lamar! 

Yes, caught. Caught and caught and caught again. What 
was the use of pretending to oneself? 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 265 

But it showed just how much real sense those old gods 
had. They managed it so that she was perfectly miserable 
—they won out that far. They succeeded in handicapping 
the new young gods to that extent. Miserable she was, 
and that was all they had to show for their pains. What 
was the wisdom of that? Nobody won out. The new 
gods pushed her on and on to where she needed all the 
ability and energy she possessed to do her job well. The 
old hundreds of thousands of years old gods saw to it that 
she danced with a man at Atlantic City, and sat on the 
beach with a man, and swam, and ate dinner, and walked 
the board walk from end to end, and from end to end 
again, and then—they just deserted her. Small comfort 
she was now to the new gods, in her present state of mind. 
What good was she doing the old? Unless, indeed, they 
loved misery. 


3 

‘^Mrs. Lamar, good evening, good evening! Thought you 
had forgotten supper. Excuse me one moment—the tele¬ 
phone. Go right in the living room and meet the new 
Manager.” 

The Beloved Butler opened the heavy living-room doors. 
A man stood by a table looking over a clutter of papers. 
He turned at the sound of some one entering. Jenny put 
out one hand to steady herself against a chair. 

Mr. Hutchins finished his telephoning, the butler opened 
the heavy doors again. As he glanced in the living room 
Jenny Lamar was standing in the identical spot and in 


266 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

the identical position as when he closed the doors after 
her minutes ago. The man was in exactly the same posi¬ 
tion by the table. Butlers are experienced people and un¬ 
derstand a great deal in the world, but not everything. 
Some situations puzzle even butlers. 

‘‘Well, well, folks—sorry to have run off like that. My, 
my, just standing here waiting to be introduced? Didn’t 
realize you were so formal. The new manager, Mr. Cairns, 
the Assistant Manager, Mrs. Lamar,—shake hands!” 

The new manager took about three steps forwards, the 
new assistant manager three steps. 

“Here, here, this will never do! Just because Mr. Cairns 
objected to a woman assistant manager and the woman 
assistant manager knows he objected, there’s no reason to 
hold off like this. I’m—I’m embarrassed! . . . There, 
that’s better. If you two find it perhaps a little difficult 
to get started, I can promise you both you’ll be doing 
famously together in no time at all. Women assistant 
managers on the whole may be objectionable, Mr. Cairns, 
but not—^not Mrs. Lamar. . . . Ah, here’s the little wife. 
Always packing!” 

Mr. Hutchins may have felt somewhat disappointed dur¬ 
ing supper. He had hoped to cover much ground. He and 
Philip Cairns had progressed splendidly all afternoon. Per¬ 
haps, after all, he would find it difficult getting along with 
Mrs. Lamar. Unthinkable! Any one could get along with 
Mrs. Lamar. Too bad, however, this first night, when he 
was so anxious for her to make a good impression, she 
seemed so—no, you surely could never call Mrs. Lamar 
nervous. 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 267 

Interesting, though, how it turned out that they had 
known each other somewhat, years ago. 

“Are you by any chance any relation to Dr. Stephen 
Cairns?” Mrs. Lamar had asked him. 

Dr. Cairns was his father. 

“You’re Philip then—Philip Cairns! I remember when 
I was very small indeed and boasted one very mild and 
modest curl over one ear—how proud I was of it! You 
were a great big boy with a knife, and you cut that curl 
off! ... I named my first boy after your father. He 
was a great friend of my mother’s. I loved him very 
much.” 

But Philip Cairns did not remember little Jenny Joslin. 
He had moved away when she was at altogether too un¬ 
interesting an age for a boy of twenty. 

Queer that after having named her boy after his father, 
Mrs. Lamar several times got Cairns’ name wrong at sup¬ 
per. That wouldn’t help matters any. Called him “Mr. 
Peter.” Nothing in the least like “Cairns.” Not like 
Mrs. Lamar to make such a slip as that. 

Also he had hoped they could talk business all evening. 
It was surprising to have Mrs. Lamar say by nine-thirty 
that she must be going. Mr. Cairns would surely stay 
on and work. 

“May I just see Mrs. Jen—Mrs. Lamar home first? I 
could if necessary come back.” 

“No need to see Mrs. Lamar home, Mr. Cairns. My 
car always takes her home evenings.” 

“I’d—rather prefer to walk to-night, if you don’t mind.” 

“So? Well, you two may get a chance to talk over 


268 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

matters on the way. Yes, yes. By the by, Mrs. Lamar, 
Mr. Cairns was at the Atlantic City Convention! If we’d 
only known it we could all have gotten acquainted down 
there. . . . Fine speech the Vice President made that last 
night, wasn’t it, Cairns?” 

‘‘I didn’t hear it. I missed that meeting.” 

“Now think of that! Best talk of the Convention. Mrs. 
Lamar missed it too. . . . See you later then this evening, 
Cairns.” 

They walked a block without a word. Then Philip 
Cairns said, “One more minute in that room, Mrs. Jenny, 
and I’m dead sure I’d have gone crazy.” 

“I was so afraid you might not say you’d take me home. 
I had to see you alone.” 

“It is all the irony of fate, Jenny Lamar. Sometimes 
I think there must be gods determined to have things 
turn out a certain way regardless. When Hutchins first 
wrote me about this job I was in a desperate state. It 
was about a month after Atlantic City, and all I could 
think of day and night was you. How could I take on 
new work? I determined to stay where I was, nor did 
the interview with Hutchins alter my decision. Then came 
the news of the strike. Suddenly that looked like my life- 
saver. Things will be in such a mess, I said; I’ll have 
to work like such a dog to get matters clear and going 
again, there’ll be no time to think. First it will mean an 
uprooting, a change. Secondly it will mean the hardest 
work I ever had to do in my life. Between the two, per- 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 269 

haps I can forget that there ever was such a place as 
Atlantic City.” 

“But I didn’t want to forget!” 

“Of course—real forgetting. No, I never could forget, 
that way, had I wanted to. But if there is a certain situa¬ 
tion which has daily to be faced, what is there but eternal 
misery in remembering—too vividly?” 

“And here we are—^you and I who were never to see 
each other again.” 

“Here we are.” 

“What are we going to do about it, Mr. Peter?” 

“All evening just that one question kept going through 
and through my brain: ‘What are we going to do about 
it? . . Shall we be as honest as we were that night on 
the beach, and really talk it all out? Or shall we beat 
around the bush?” 

“Be honest! Let’s forever and forever be honest! Peo¬ 
ple can only beat around the bush who see each other sel¬ 
dom. We have to labor side by side, day in, day out. 
Certainly the sooner we face the issue the better.” 

“After all there’s little to say. You know I love you. 
I’m married. . . . There now, I seem to have come to the 
end already.” 

“And I. . . . You know I love you. You’re married. 
. . . After all, those are merely statements of fact. Much 
more difficult is to figure out a practical relationship. Per¬ 
haps we can come to no conclusions in one night. . . . And 
yet I feel we must decide something before we leave each 
other this evening. No more walking up and down a board 


270 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

walk saying nothing—that only does when you think you’re 
ending a situation, not when you face a new beginning. 
. . . To-night, a hundred times, I felt I’d have to give 
up the factory. I wonder if I can work alongside of you. 
. . . Sometimes, since Atlantic City, I’ve wondered if I 
could work any more at all. It’s made such a difference. 
. . . I’ve always had a theory that a man could work and 
be in love at the same time,—often he works even harder 
for being in love. But a woman—I don’t know. It seems 
to make another being out of the woman. It’s one fight— 
one fight to keep at what is in front of you to do.” 

‘T can’t bear that thought,—that I’ve made your life 
any harder for you! I’ll give up my new job in a second, 
and go back—away—if you say the word, if it would make 
things any easier for you.” 

“But it wouldn’t! It would just be worse. You see— 
if I’m to continue being honest—I shall tell you that noth¬ 
ing in the world makes me so happy as to be with you. 
I knew that at Atlantic City. The thing that dragged 
me down so was not the being in love so much as just 
the hunger—the longing to have you around.” 

“Don’t you think I know!” 

“And here you are! Now we’re really getting down to 
the problem we have to work out. When you are around, 
this way, it is as if suddenly I was in my garden again. . . . 
You don’t know about my garden, where I live, almost 
always. The way the sun shines there! The flowers— 
countless flowers in masses of color, birds . . . and in the 
distance a blue lake. My soul’s garden. I love it so. 
I’m so at home there. Once I couldn’t reach it again 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 271 

for some time—and everything in me rebels at the dark, 
and being cooped up. Off and on since then something has 
happened to dim my sun—clouds, only clouds. Some darker 
than others. But always they pass, and there’s my sun 
again, my garden of colors and fragrance and song. My 
soul, singing. 

“Since Atlantic City—I don’t know. It has been so 
strange. Always a feeling that if I could just reach my 
garden again it would be more beautiful than ever. I’d 
lost my way. Never could I find it again, alone. I was 
done forever with ever wanting to be in that garden by 
myself. It was never meant in the first place to be en¬ 
joyed just by myself. Yet I had been enjoying it that 
way, just the same. Because nothing in me let me stay 
away from it. Almost without my having anything to do 
with it, my soul always got me back there. My soul will 
have the sun I 

“Since you left that evening, even my soul seemed to say, 
‘I can’t find the way.’ When we said good night that last 
time, we shut some door to my garden. My soul and I 
together said: ‘There’s no use searching for the key—^he 
has it. If ever he comes again, he’ll have the key with 
him. He and I shall stand among those flowers together. 
I never want to stand there again alone.’ . . . To-night, 
when I entered that living room and knew it was you, it 
was like suddenly seeing the sun, after being lost in the 
dark. I stood in my garden again, with you, with you! 
And the wonder and glory of it hurt. I could not move. 
... Yet part of me longed to rush to you.” 

“And I, Jenny. . . . Not part of me. Everything in me 


272 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

wanted to take you in my arms. ... I wonder how long 
the two of us just stood there. There is no measuring such 
time. Clocks were never invented for that sort of reckon¬ 
ing. I seemed to live a whole life in those moments, and 
yet not to live at all.” 

“So then, don’t ever talk of helping me by going away. 
If you only knew how my soul hates the dark ... No, 
the problem to work out is, how much can we let ourselves 
be together, and have it harm no one else? Where’s your 
family?” 

“I’m alone here, at least for the present. I had expected 
to move Mrs. Cairns and Nancy with me, of course. Every¬ 
thing was ready. The last thing she decided against com¬ 
ing, until later. The excitement of packing was too much 
for her. Then the thought of leaving her home where 
she had lived since she was born . . . suddenly she felt 
she couldn’t. Her father’s health is very poor. She asked 
to be allowed to stay home until I got settled here and 
could get a house in readiness. She prefers to wait until 
early winter. . . . Whom then could it harm, our seeing 
each other all we could?” 

“Nobody, nobody! Oh, the wonderful world—our 
world! The marvelous times we shall have, just being to¬ 
gether! Never did I think I could feel so happy again. 
. . . You’ll learn to know my boys, and they you. How 
I’ve longed for just that! To love again, just to love again 
with all my heart—and to be loved. . . . That is really, 
really what my garden’s for!” 

“You, to love ‘again,’ Jenny. For me,—this is all new 
for me. I seem to be living for the first time in my life. 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 273 

except Atlantic City. ... Yet, in the midst of the wonder 
of it, there is such uneasiness that comes over me. What 
right have I to take your love? Useless to ask. What right 
have I to love you? I could no more help that than I could 
help breathing. Always, always I shall love you. But 
for you to love me. ... I’m not free. I feel like a caged 
animal. I tramp back and forth, back and forth—there’s 
no opening. My loving you, having you near, your lov¬ 
ing me,—it is as if suddenly, instead of a little cage, 
I had woods and fields to roam in—^your garden, if you 
will. And yet, though through you my world has broad¬ 
ened until I know it no more—it’s still a cage. There is 
still no opening, and I imprison you with me, when I take 
your love.” 

^‘So easy is that to answer, so easy. In the first place, 
there is nothing you or I can do about it. Like you, I 
can no more help loving you than I can keep my heart 
from beating. And secondly—Mr. Peter, remember this 
forever and ever—I should far rather be imprisoned with 
you in a cage without an opening than roam the whole 
world over, free and alone. You see a cage with you— 
a cage with iron bars—really it is my garden. . . So long 
has it been, so long, since I could blow my kiss to heaven. 
Thank You, God, for Mr. Peter’s cage I” 


CHAPTER XVII 


I 

“That’s the way of it. People give you ‘full authority,’ 
and what it is apt to mean is, full authority as long as 
you do only what those same people approve of. I know 
just what I want to do. I haven’t an idea that won’t 
work. But the first step is recognition of the union. How 
can we build a new spirit, a new working morale, on bitter¬ 
ness? I say, settle the strike by recognizing the union. 
That means the men can feel at once that they are victors, 
and return to the job in such frame of mind as victory 
inspires. ‘Good world after all.’ What is the alternative? 
Fight till we break the union, and start the new era on a 
basis of bitterness.” 

“Did you explain it that way to the Board of Directors?” 

“All the way to New York I went, and I explained it 
that way. I guaranteed that it would be no time, reckoned 
you know in decades, with my new plans before we would 
have incorporated all the good phases of the union into 
factory labor management. We’d have our Factory Board 
composed of workers only, and such standing committees 
as they chose to appoint to handle details,—wages, com¬ 
plaints, working conditions, hiring and firing, production, 
recreation,—anything else they think of; a Board of Man- 
274 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 275 

agers where a smaller elected number of workers and you 
and I and the treasurer act on the recommendations of 
the Factory Board and handle the universe in general. . . . 
I didn’t go into details—they looked too bored and unen¬ 
couraging.” 

“I should think they’d have looked a bit alarmed.” 

“No, they didn’t flatter me enough to look alarmed. 
Alarmed. . . . Why, what I am above all else is safe— 
the safest thing in the factory, if they only knew it. With 
my plans in full swing, what soil could the unhappy features 
of unionism find in which to flourish? Indeed it’s not the 
Board of Directors who should get out of sorts with me,— 
it’s Pete and his kind. They’ll have to hustle like mad 
to turn out better citizens via the straight fighting union 
method than I’ll turn out via my method. ... I got so 
excited with the wonders of what I could do—I know I 
must have looked like a small-sized Walkure swooping 
down on those agonized Directors. ‘My job is to make 
that factory a success, a hundred per cent success,’ I blus¬ 
tered. ‘I don’t care anything about their old unions as 
such. If they can turn out real men faster than without 
unions, then unions are surely better than no unions. But 
they’re getting all mixed up and forget half the time what 
they are really about and bicker and squabble and do 
more harm than good. (Of course they nodded sage 
approval at such statements.) We’ll do everything in our 
factory a union can do, and do it better. Wait till you see 
the type of worker we have in three years’ time! Wait till 
you see how they hang onto their jobs! (In comparison, 
I should have added!) Wait till you see how they labor. 


276 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

how they whistle at their work! Wait till you see how 
healthy they are, how contented! Wait till you see how 
production jumps, how profits increase, how prices can 
come down, how wages can go up! All that I guaranteed— 
I, Jenny Lamar! Oh, I felt like Napoleon. It’s that 
Board of Directors will be my Waterloo, not the workers. 
I promised too much in my excitement—I ran away with 
myself, trying to sell my idea. There they sat, nine of 
them, gray-haired, pompous men all of whom undoubtedly 
have beautiful butlers.” 

‘‘And the upshot?” 

“The upshot! They might as well have sent me to Elba 
then and there. They give me six months to show results. 
Six months! Things getting in a mess for ten years at 
least, two thousand workers, and I’m to show results in 
six months. Two years, I cried, is the minimum! Six 
months, the hirers of the beautiful butlers repeated. I 
wanted to drop all nine of them in the Hudson.” 

“Six months is better than nothing.” 

“But it isn’t. They’ll be able to nod their gray heads 
and say, ‘Aha, we told you so!’ and then they’ll lock 
up their brains once more and never again will any one 
be able to get a forward-looking labor idea in their heads. 
They’ll nod wisely and say, ‘Yes, yes, we tried that all 
once.’ . . . But I saw New York, Mr. Peter! Only—it 
was no fun at all, really it wasn’t, without you. Every¬ 
thing I looked at, everything I did . . . bah, it was all the 
same. Always, ‘If Peter were only here!’ I tried to get 
excited over things I’d longed all my life to see, and the 
better the thing looked which I gazed upon, the more I 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 277 

wanted you. . . . The boys said they had a wondrous time 
with you while I was gone.” 

“. . . And now what?” 

^‘First, we recognize the union,—how it hurt that Board 
finally to give in on that! They’d already agreed to let 
wages stand for the present. Then, then, that committee 
I’ve longed these months and months to appoint! Emanuel 
on it. . . .” 

“And Pete, what about Pete?” 

“And Pete on it. Pete as a Conquering Hero may prove 
very constructive, whereas Pete as ‘Agitator’ is a hundred 
per cent trouble-maker. Then, after plans are fairly well 
laid, a meeting of the two thousand. Ha, that will be 
fun! One thousand nine hundred will sit like bumps on a 
log. They’ll be suspicious,—alas, maybe even bored. Pete 
will make a speech, Emanuel, Michael,—oh, I’ve got it down 
cold. Pete can say it’s all the work of his union, Emanuel 
can say it was his and the I. W. W.’s doings. Any one 
can say anything. Then we’ll have an election by depart¬ 
ments. That committee will be the one to really start 
things going. . . . I’m biding my time to see if Pete will 
be elected to that committee. . . . My job is to let every 
man and woman of the two thousand know that the whole 
thing is absolutely on the square. But it’s up to us all 
to see if we can show the Board of Directors in six months 
that we really are fit to begin to handle our own affairs. 
With the union recognized, I have a right to tell the men 
it’s up to them to make good as union men, else any one 
will have a right to say that what the union aims for is 
not the welfare of industry as a whole, but its own limited 


278 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

squabbly interests. . . . Well, we’re off. We’ll show the 
world 1 ’ I have sessions with Pete and Emanuel this after¬ 
noon.” 

2 


Five months later. 

^‘You see, my Mr. Peter, they really and honestly aren’t 
giving me a real six months even. If that Board would 
keep its hands off for six months! Of course I have to 
spend some money! When they gave me only six months, 
naturally I have to try to crowd in everything I can in 
that time and take no chances on where I’ll be when the 
six months are up. Otherwise we could spread out some 
things over a couple of years, if necessary. . . . The men 
want a decent place to have their committee meetings. How 
would the Board of Directors like to meet in a cold base¬ 
ment or in a corner where you can’t hear yourself think 
for the noise of machinery? They should have a room, 
more than one. There’s all the third floor, where those 
cutters stand. We don’t use that floor any more,—^we 
could do wonders with it. The men and women want 
a place to eat, instead of sitting about on boxes or stools 
at the machines where they work all day. The start of 
a lunch room could be arranged on the third floor. We’ve 
had the drinking-water problem tackled by experts—it can 
all be settled beautifully. (Strange how little objection 
labor has to those suspicious ‘experts’ when they do the 
hiring of the experts themselves.) The Board sees only 
money going out. It will be several years before it comes 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 279 

back in morale and output. So—they’ve put their eighteen 
beautiful feet down on my budget. The logic of them: 
‘When production looks favorable enough to warrant in¬ 
creased expenditure, I can proceed slowly with certain of 
my plans.’ I’d like to pull the gray hairs right out of 
their heads. The men vote for certain things, we here 
agree,—and then that Board says the effect has to precede 
the cause. . . . Peter, Peter, is there anything that breaks 
a body’s heart like having one’s dreams held up? . . . 
And yet isn’t it a lark, fighting away like this?” 

“And one last month to go, Jenny.” 

“One last month. Why, we’ve used up five months just 
getting used to the feel of our own legs. ... I wish the 
men had elected Pete to the Board of Management. Pete’s 
the kind who is only of use as a victor. He was fine on 
that first committee—really had some ideas. But you see 
when it came right down to his own department, Jo had 
the men, and Pete didn’t. But by a mighty narrow margin. 
So Pete is back at his old job of making trouble. The 
Factory Board is actually considering firing him,—they 
have the sole power. They think they have enough facts 
to warrant action. But first I’m going to put it up to 
Pete. . . . 

“Manager Man, at least I don’t have to convert you to 
anything. You’re almost too easy, you and Anabelle 
Browne. Everything I say satisfies you two.” 

“. . . Jenny, it really does go wonderfully, working to¬ 
gether side by side, doesn’t it? Never did I know a mortal 
could be so happy. I get up singing every morning. And 
our evenings together—oh, our evenings!” 


28o jenny the joyous 

‘Ton’t you like my garden, Mr. Peter? To think you 
didn’t know there was such a sun, such flowers! After 
all, it isn’t being in love which keeps people from working. 

* It’s being unhappy. If a person is in love, he is unhappy 
away from the person he loves. But here we are, working 
day in, day out, and nights, together. Could anything be 
more wonderful? . . . I’ve let the rest of the world rather 
slide away. Just you, the boys, the factory. All in my rose- 
scented garden, my garden of song. . . 

3 

“Peter, Mr. Peter, you look worried this morning. What 
is it?” 

“Mrs. Cairns and Nancy get here in two days, Jenny. 
The telegram was waiting when I got home late last night 
from our walk.” 

The clouds covered the sun, the petals of the flowers 
closed, the birds ceased their singing, a cold breeze blew. 

“. . . Mrs. Hutchins had written her from Europe that 
she was not well and could not return as soon as expected, 
and we should occupy their house until we can get settled.” 

He made little pencil marks all over a freshly typed let¬ 
ter. The clock ticked on and on. Jenny finally felt able 
to walk to the door and into her own office. 

Jo was waiting there. 

“You’re not sick, Mrs. Lamar?” 

“No. What can I do for you?” 

“I came to report on Pete. We decided five to four to 
fire him. He was notified last night. He knows he can 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 281 

appeal his case, but he says he won’t. I wish something 
would get Pete out of this town. There’s trouble in his 
eye all right. I can’t figure out what he’s plannin’ on, 
but it’s no good, whatever it is. ... Of course it’s made 
a lot of feelin’. Pete’s pretty strong with the men. If we 
could have about a month or so to let the matter blow 
over, but, good Lord, Mrs. Lamar, in two weeks the six 
months is up and it looks like we might be in the thick 
of the mess in two weeks. We had to fire Pete,—^he was 
makin’ trouble all the time. He’ll make still more for a 
little while, but we can explain it to the men. The Board’s 
willin’ to resign and have a new election if there’s too much 
rumpus.” 

‘T want to have about half an hour to think it over. 
Thank you, Jo.” 

In a garden, in the midst of sunshine and flowers, any¬ 
thing, everything looked possible. That garden, indeed, 
knew no such word as ^‘fail.” In the cold damp grayness 
of this morning—what a chaos the factory situation was 
in! What a great mass of immovable weight most of two 
thousand workers were. Did they really care for anything 
on earth outside of their pay envelopes? And Pete, what 
did Pete have up his sleeve? Perhaps it was all no job 
for a woman anyhow. What was a woman good for any¬ 
way? Why should a person be tired at nine o’clock in the 
morning? . . . Unending nights stretching ahead, unend¬ 
ing nights of loneliness. . . . She could go to a party again 
now and then. All of a sudden the old feeling of the years 
back came over her, that sensation of being once more 
cut in two. This time there was no bleeding, no rawness. 


282 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

Just that half of her ached so, and half a person—^what is 
half a person? Half a person can’t work, can’t go to 
parties or anything else, shrinks from people. Instead there 
is just a tottery unbalanced feeling, as if always you must 
hold on to something or you would fall altogether. Hold 
on to what? 


4 

“But, Jenny, I can’t face it. I’m not strong enough to 
let myself imagine what life would be like, not seeing you. 
You asked before, what harm could it do, our being together 
all we could. It harmed no one. And now, what harm 
would it do now? The thousand and one things I must 
talk over with you—we get no chance here in the office, 
interrupted as we are. The reading we did, the walks we 
took, the—the just being together. You taught me what 
life could really mean. And just the joy of it all—the 
unending joy of it! I tell you I can’t face doing without 
it!” 

“We’ve got to face it. All I know is, the whole situation 
is altered, now that your family is coming to-morrow. 
Something inside me won’t let me go on, that’s all. The 
joy would be gone. ... I’d see her sitting home alone. 
. . . Never!” 

“But she has to go to bed at nine o’clock every night. 
What harm would it do to see you after nine?” 

“Harm? I don’t know just exactly what harm. All I 
know is I cmH. It seems now as if it might be even more 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 283 

misery than not seeing you at all. ... If she were well 
and strong, and had pleasures and friends and interests 
of her own—that would make a difference. I go striding 
about creation so healthy I don’t know I have a body at 
all. It seems to put me on my honor not to take advantage 
of her.” 

“You don’t understand. When I can be with you, talk 
with you, read with you, play with you,—love you—^I’m 
a ten times better and more useful man. I could be a much 
more valuable husband the hours I was home—and I’d be 
home all the time that she ever could possibly need me.” 

“I can’t reason it out. I don’t know the logic of it. 
Perhaps I just let. myself forget her altogether up till now. 
You were mine! My Peter, mine, mine, mine I Suddenly 
—^you belong to her.” 

“But I don’t, I don’t! I am a thousand times more 
yours. Jenny, you can’t say that I’m not to see you!” 

“I say just that—^yet I don’t know how we can live, 
either of us, and carry it through. You see, if you were 
just a friend—then it would make no difference at all to 
me, whether she were in town or not. I’d see you why, 
any time I felt like it. But this way ... Of course 
there’s the office here, and lunch now and then, and once 
in a great while—oh, she’d not mind if you came just once 
in a great while! No, no! If there is something inside 
of me that won’t let me go on seeing you Peter, Peter, 
there’s something inside of me that won’t, can’t, let me alto¬ 
gether abide by what that other something decides! No, no, 
I can’t give you up altogether! Peter my Peter. . . . 


284 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 


5 

“Jenny, you worry me so these days. You look half 
dead.” 

“Don’t you bother about me, Anabelle Browne, I’m all 
right. Something is going strangely, though, among the 
men, something in the air. Jo and Michael are both 
trying to find out for me what it is. I don’t like the way 
things look.” 

“You need a rest.” 

“Rest nothing. Maybe the Board of Directors will give 
me one! The kindness of them: they’ve allowed me a 
month’s extension of time. I plead for a year and I get 
a month.” 

“Mr. Cairns is feeling pressure from all sides, I guess 
you know, on the union question. The other employers are 
saying he’s got to withdraw union recognition. He’s show¬ 
ing the signs of the fight too.” 

“Don’t I know it! The New York people wrote to him 
behind my back on that union issue. I won’t lift a finger 
to do away with the unions. I ask only for a chance to 
let the workers prove to themselves that, seeing the world 
at present is what it is, they can make something better 
for themselves, at least for the present, better for the in¬ 
dustry on which so much of their welfare depends. I hate 
the harassment and uncertainty unions bring. They do 
keep us all uneasy, and uneasiness is an unprofitable soil 
for the flourishing of wise judgments and decisions. But I’m 
sick of the way this factory was going before there were 
any unions,—the men were helpless. I’d rather see a union 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 285 

here than let the workers be totally without any power on 
their side at all, at the mercy of every foreman, at the 
mercy of an employer, bless his dear old heart just the 
same, who thought he still had one hundred men outside 
in the shops. Those directors had better let me alone. 
We’re supplying something right now, day by day, better 
than ever any union could supply, with the spirit of unions 
and employers what it is. The union will cease to function 
as a cause for concern in no time—if, if, if those directors 
could have patience! If they handle the union question the 
wrong end, there’ll be another lovely mess. . . . Hello, Jo!” 

“Could I see you alone, Mrs. Lamar? ... I can hardly 
talk. I’m jus’ sick over what I found out.” 

“Now what?” 

“Mrs. Lamar, it ain’t so—^nobody can make me believe 
it’s so. But what’s makin’ trouble—oh, that dirty skunk 
of a Pete—” 

“Goodness, Jo, it can’t be as bad as all that.” 

“Well, he made up his mind to get even with you and 
he done it. He sure done it. He’s askin’, and now all 
his old leftenants they’re askin’—all the soreheads that 
don’t like the idea of you messin’ in at all, that want to 
get what they get with a fight—they’re all goin’ around 
askin’ the men why they’re lettin’ a woman with—with 
morals like yours tie ’em round her little finger.” 

“Morals like mine?” 

“Yes. I don’t believe a word of it, but it’s all over 
the factory. And the dirty trick of it—it’s more’n I think 
a man could do—the dirty skunk, I say—” 

“Here, Jo, get to the point.” 


286 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

“Well, he’s sent the whole dirty lie on to the Board of 
Directors, signed by a lot of the soreheads. If I jus’ could 
a known about it in time! Wrote it out in black and 
white!” 

“Wrote what out?” 

“That —7 don’t believe it, I can tell you. That you ain’t 
moral. That—that trip to Atlantic City—well, you and 
Mr. Hutchins. . . . The Chamber of Commerce was just 
an excuse . . . that you—^you were livin’ with Mr. 
Hutchins. . . . He—^he kept you goin’. You really done 
no work around this office. And the reason he left, his 
wife jus’ took him off to Europe to get him away from 
you. I don’t know jus’ how he worded it all. Pete—I’ll 
kill him yet!—^he goes round—o’ course it’s him—he goes 
round askin’ the men how they like bein’ bossed by a ‘kept 
woman.’ ” 

“Jo, it’s not really so. He’s not really spreading a report 
like that.” 

“It’s Gawd’s truth.” 

“But no one’s paying any attention.” 

“Now, Mrs. Lamar, it’s hurtin’ me to say it, but you 
can find folks in this world that’ll pay attention to any 
one and anything. You see, out of two thousand workers 
there’s whole lots got started long ago bein’ suspicious 
of everything cornin’ from the office. The men that wanted 
a strike long ago—they got sore on you ’cause you kept 
peace somehow all the time and they was itchin’ for a fight. 
Some soreheads take a long time gettin’ over it—it’s too 
soon to expect they’d all be feelin’ good about the new 
plans here in the factory. They think maybe the union’s 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 287 

goin’ to suffer. They don’t like you havin’ so much in¬ 
fluence with the workers—the way they come to you with 
their troubles and all. Pete never got over wantin’ to 
get even for bein’ fired that first time—it made him sore 
on both you and the boss, or he tried to make himself 
think it did. He was all right for a while after the strike, 
and then when we fired him ourselves he said you was 
behind it all. . . . He kept at it till he could think of a 
way to get both you and Mr. Hutchins. The dirty skunk I” 

“What about the Board of Directors and this story?” 

“Why, Pete he got a petition up that you be removed 
for ^moral reasons.’ Actually wrote down about you and 
the old boss at Atlantic City. Said you was no fit influ¬ 
ence to have around the men. If they had to have a 
woman bossin’ ’em around they wanted one they could 
respect. What do y’ know about it! I’m done. I’m done 
with this dirty old factory. I’d never believe such rot 
as all that possible. I’m sick of everything. Michael got 
that Greek friend of Pete’s down in the basement and he 
sure punched his face in for all time. I’m jus’ itchin’ to 
smash somebody’s jaw. I feel like killin’ somebody.” 

“The men and women really believe a story like that?” 

“Sure. You can get folks to believe anything. That 
is, if it’s rotten. Makes me think folks like to believe 
rotten stories. They sit around and smack their lips over it.” 

“Good gracious, Jo, what a state of affairs! What can 
we do about it?” 

“Nothin’. That’s jus’ the hell of it. Some of us been 
talkin’ about that. Some of ’em say you ought to call a 
meetin’ and tell ’em it’s a lie. I don’t believe it ud do 


288 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

any good. Just a lot more folks ud hear about it p’r’aps 
than knows it now—though a story like that sure goes 
fast.” 

‘‘I wonder ... I wonder if those men, those gray-haired 
men on the Board of Directors, with the chances theyVe 
had to know the world and its ways ... I wonder if they’ll 
be taken in with a story like that. I don’t believe they’ll 
so much as read the petition through. After all they’ve 
had to say about workers—the low-down incompetent lot 
they are—surely they’ll not find themselves putting faith 
in the word of the very men they so look down upon. 
Atid such characters as that Board—they’d be above pay¬ 
ing attention to a lie like that! Besides, every one of 
them knows Andrew Hutchins and the kind of man he is. 
. . . A lie like that about Andrew Hutchins!” 

^‘Here’s my hand, Mrs. Lamar. I won’t never believe 
but what you’re—^you’re just-exactly-right! ” 

‘‘And if I weren’t, Jo,—if I didn’t come up to your 
and Pete’s ideas of ‘just-exactly-right’—would it really be 
Pete’s and your and everybody else’s business? Would 
you really think it something the men ought to be told, 
something the Directors ought to know?” 

“Good Gawd, Mrs. Lamar, you ain’t goin’ to say it’s all 
true then—^about Atlantic City?” 

“So ... I suppose all the world does think other people’s 
affairs its business. . . .No, Jo. Pete’s report is all a 
lie. ... I just wondered what difference it really would 
make had it been true.” 

. . . Andrew Hutchins—to tell a story like that about 
Andrew Hutchins! Thank Heaven he was the other side 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 289 

of the ocean and could never know. It would have blown 
over by the time he got back. . . . 

^‘Come in. . . . You, Michael!” 

^‘Yes, M’s. Lamar, I been talkin’ to Jo. He ain’t told 
you one thing ’cause I jus’ found it out. I thought maybe 
you ought to know. Pete and that gang—they sent a 
copy of that lie to Europe—to Mrs. Hutchins, it was ad¬ 
dressed. That cousin of Pete’s—he got braggin’ too loud 
to a couple o’ pals. Said they wanted to be dead honest 
an’ thought it would only be square an’ all like that to 
let Mrs. Hutchins know. ‘Mr. Hutchins ought to have a 
chance to defend himself,’ that cousin of Pete’s said. An’ 
he said after, ‘It’ll help ’em enjoy Europe more.’ I’ll kill 
’em yet, M’s. Lamar, don’t you have no fear.” 

“How long ago was that report mailed to Europe?” 

“Oh, a week or so ago, little after the report to the 
Directors. Idea didn’t hit Pete till later. . . . Anythin’ I 
can do for you, M’s. Lamar, I’m yours!” 

“Thank you, Michael. . . . Good-by.” 

So, anything else? 

“Come in, . . . Emanuel, how are you?” 

“How do-do, Mrs. Lamar. I—I just came—I know, 
Mrs. Lamar, you and me we’ve had lots of differences 
of opinion and all like that. I know what-all the men 
are saying. I told Scotty about it all. Scotty says I was 
to come and tell you it don’t make a damn bit of difference 
to him and me what you do. Scotty and me—^we got no 
use for them Bourgeois morals anyhow. Lot of crooks. 
Pete’s as bad as any of them. Make a hell of a lot of noise 


290 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

over what other folks do—that’s the way with them Bour¬ 
geois—and then they go and do a lot* worse themselves. 
That’s Bourgeois for you all right. Scotty and me we 
don’t get a lot of your ideas, but it’s sure nothin’ to us 
what you do, Mrs. Lamar. We’re your friends, me and 
Scotty. I’d like to shake on that, Mrs. Lamar!” 

“Thank you, Emanuel. I’m—I’m ever and ever so much 
obliged!” 

“Don’t make a damn bit of difference to me and Scotty. 
Do anything you like, Mrs. Lamar! S’long!” 

So, anything else? 

Yes, a few things more. 


CHAPTER XVIII 


1 

^‘Mother, where’s Uncle Phil Cairns? Why doesn’t he 
come around any more?” 

“His own little girl is here now. He has to stay home 
with her.” 

“Why doesn’t he bring his girl here, or why don’t you 
take us there? He got us all used to him and then he 
just doesn’t appear. It’s sort of lonesome without him, 
don’t you think? What makes your face look like that, 
mother?” 

“. . . I say, mother—” 

“Yes, Alec.” 

“A boy at school to-day said his father told him to ask 
me about you at Atlantic City. What’s it all about—you 
at Atlantic City?” 

So. . . . That far. 

2 

She met Philip Cairns at the entrance to the factory 
the next morning. 

“Mister Peter, you have the strangest expression on 
your face!” 

“I guess faces often look the way insides feel.” 

291 


292 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

“What can the matter be?” 

He looked into her office and saw no one was there. 

“May I come in a moment?” 

“Peter, Peter, you look like the end of the world. You 
seem actually embarrassed. Whatever can it be?” 

“. . . Jenny—” 

“Out with it.” 

“Mrs. Cairns is very sick. ... I won’t be at the office 
this afternoon. . . . She has to go to the hospital, very 
suddenly. The trip, and getting settled, was too much 
after all. . . . She has to be operated on—capital opera¬ 
tion. . . . Oh, good morning, Miss Browne. . . .No, no, 
I was just leaving.” 

3 

“Jenny Lamar, when Mr. Cairns stays away from the 
office two days and a half it surely is a different place. 
The poor man, what a state he must be in!” 

“Have you any late news, Anabelle?” 

“I phoned again just now to the hospital. They still 
don’t expect her to live. Think of the hours and hours 
he has suffered, never knowing from one to the next if 
she could pull through! The agony of it! ... A funny 
little messenger boy just brought this note. He didn’t wait 
for an answer.” 

It was scrawled hastily from the hospital. “Jenny, could 
you possibly be home at two o’clock to-day for half an 
hour? I need you terribly. P. C.” 

Why, why, hadn’t he said nine-thirty this morning? To 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 293 

live until two and know that he needed her for something 
all that time. For what, for what? 

. . You said you were going to think things over 
last night, Jenny. What did you decide?” 

“My brain doesn’t think very well these days. ... So 
much depends on how long it takes to live down a story 
like Pete’s. If the machinery of our new labor policies 
had been running long, everything in working order, it 
wouldn’t make such a great deal of difference what the men 
and women thought about me. And yet it would too. The 
personal element in work like this counts tremendously. 
As it is, each day feeling our way, each day a hundred 
new and untried points to settle—it’s an overpowering 
handicap to try to accomplish things against suspicion. Not 
a woman has been in this office on any problem for three 
days, and you know the way they used to come. Evidently 
the Board of Directors is paying no attention. But if 
they didn’t pay attention, if they let me work on after 
the seven months are up, as labor manager, I wonder if 
I could swing the job. It’s what you might call touchy 
work at best just now, all the doubters with their eyes 
glued to see what mistakes we can make. The workers 
aren’t a bit used to their new responsibilities after this 
short time. It makes a big difference who is at the head 
and what they think of her, or him.” 

“. . . Here is the morning mail from Mr. Cairns’ office.” 

Jenny picked out one letter to read at once. 

“. . . So, that goose is cooked. We have the busiest 
Board of Directors of any industry in the land. They 
don’t seem to have another thing to do but keep track 


294 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

of Mr. Cairns and me. It gives one such a happy feeling 
about the work—such kind interest. The factory was in a 
bad way, it’s true. They could well quake for the funds. 
They cannot get over the idea that the new labor policy 
is going to wreck everything—so they screw a microscope 
on the people they delegate to manage matters and block 
us at every step. What do they know ’way off there in 
New York about this factory?” 

‘What’s the latest?” 

“After due and deliberate consideration the Board con¬ 
cludes that the manager and assistant manager have over¬ 
stepped the bounds of sound business precedent and wisdom 
in working in any way through the unions. The welfare 
of the country as a whole must be considered. They as one 
link in the great chain of industry which upholds the 
business integrity of our nation must do their share in 
standing by the traditional American principles of freedom 
and the sacred rights of the individual. At the expiration 
of the seven months, therefore, ladies and gentlemen, ques¬ 
tions concerning labor must be carried on through indi¬ 
viduals only. All recognition of unions in any way must 
be withdrawn. . . . 

“Still I have hope, Anabelle Browne! Maybe the seeds 
we have sown these seven months will bear fruit. If they 
let us keep on with what we’ve started, it may be that 
we can avoid another mess of the kind we had—that lovely 
strike of five beautiful weeks. We’ll show them yet! 
Maybe seven months will have given enough men the 
assurance that there is sufficient machinery on their side 
to see that they get a square deal.” 


295 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

Four hours more until two o’clock. 

... Yet that story, that story of Pete’s. . . . Would 
some one else after all have to come in and take her place? 
It was like snatching a child away and giving it to a foster 
mother. 

Would it mean—^leaving the factory altogether? When 
then could she ever see Mr. Peter at all? 

Three hours yet until two o’clock. 

. . . His wife was dying. No! Two and a half days 
now she had locked h'er brain tight on the whole picture. 
Lock it again! She had tried not even to think of Mr. 
Peter. She had succeeded in suspending him in a setting 
of fantasy such times as she had backslid and let the 
thought of him enter her mind at all. Off on a desert island 
he was and she was, she, Jenny Lamar. Neither, of them 
had any past, present, or future. They possessed not the 
faintest connection with anything in the whole wide real 
world. 

“They’ve started work on the lunch room, Jenny. You 
ought to go up and see how things are going.” 

“I suppose I had better.” 

She arrived home at half past one, her soul in agony. 
What could he want of her. Anything, anything, so long 
as she really could help. 

There was a letter from Paris—Mr. Hutchins! ... Oh, 
oh, what was her world made of—the world she had always 
so loved? . . . Was she reading real words, or could it all 
be a crazy dream? . . . Could she rush to Paris and be 
of help to the poor broken man? The futility of that 


296 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

thought! It was the last thing in the world she could 
now do. That Mrs. Hutchins— Mrs. Hutchins —could be¬ 
lieve such a tale! Pete, you did indeed get even. . . . 

Frail, tired little Mrs. Hutchins, sick from the excite¬ 
ment of traveling around strange lands ten, twenty years 
too late, Mrs. Hutchins ill in bed, had opened the letter 
containing Pete’s handiwork. Before he so much as waited 
to see what it was all about, Mr. Hutchins had rushed 
for the doctor. By the time he got back there were some 
papers torn in bits all over the bed, and Mrs. Hutchins 
sobbing: ‘‘Andy, Andy—oh, the faith I had in you all 
these years! That you— you, could have done a thing like 
that! Let me die—oh, let me die!” And Jenny Lamar, 
—the way she had taken Jenny Lamar into her own home 
almost, had loved her like a daughter. And all the time 
—all the time— “Oh, Andy!’^ 

And then she said no more—just lay there still, except 
for quiet sobbing, hour in, hour out. The doctor said 
her condition was serious on account of her heart. “Mrs. 
Lamar, Mrs. Lamar, what can it all be about? Cable 
at once, I am desperate. When I ask her questions, she 
just shakes her head and says: ‘You know all too well, 
Andrew Hutchins! That you— you —should do a thing 
like that! And Jenny Lamar!’ Cable me, Mrs. Lamar, 
if you have the least idea what it is all about. I am so 
helpless. I started to cable you to come yourself. When 
I told Mrs. Hutchins that I was going to send for you 
to see what could be done, the quiet little soul—Mrs. 
Lamar, she screamed. How it frightened me! She cried, 
‘She’ll not step foot in Paris!’ Cable me at once. I am 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 297 

desperate. She gets worse every hour. My poor, tired 
little wife. . . 

It was Mr. Peter’s step on the front porch. The suffering 
look of him! ‘What is it?” 

“Jenny, give me strength! I’ve come to you just for 
that. Hold both my hands this way and say: ‘Peter, go 
ahead! It’s the only thing for you to do!”’ 

“Tell me, just tell me what it’s all about.” 

“Two more doctors came last night late in consultation. 
At ten o’clock thej^ said it was only a question of a few 
hours. At eleven they said she was holding her own, but 
there was no hope for recovery. At one this morning they 
came to me. ‘There is just one thing that can save her. 
She cannot live twenty-four hours unless there is a transfu¬ 
sion. Would you be willing to have that gone, through 
with?’ They tested my blood. She got a little worse 
toward morning. It looked as if after all nothing could 
be done. Now it has been decided the transfusion will 
take place as soon as I get back. I told them—after these 
three days now—I simply had to have half an hour before 
the operation. At first they said I shouldn’t leave. But 
I had to! I was like a wild animal. They couldn’t keep 
me from seeing you! For I need your help, Jenny, need 
it as I’ve never needed anything in this world. You—^you 
understand everything—everything. Tell me I must go 
ahead with it. They think, if she pulls through this trans¬ 
fusion—they think—she may live—years. But always, 
they say, an invalid. ... I must do it, Jenny, mustn’t I? 
It’s the only thing I can do, isn’t it? Say, ‘Go ahead, 
Peter!’ Say, ‘It’s the only thing you can do!’ And—and 


298 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

kiss me, Jenny, so I can be thinking of it as I lie there. 
, . . The heart of me is pulled to pieces. ... Tell me it’s 
the only thing!” 

“It’s the only thing.” 

“Jenny, say it harder! Look at me! Don’t say it the 
way I say it. Hold my hands tight. Make me sure!” 

“It’s the only thing!” 

“Jenny—Jenny— Good-by. . . 

4 

“Anabelle, did you go yourself to the hospital? Did— 
did you see Mr. Cairns?” 

“I told them it was very urgent business, that I wanted 
to see him for only a second. Indeed, all I had to do of 
course was to give him your note. But you said I must 
see him personally if possible. . . . Just as they opened 
the door to his room, I looked in. He was in bed, with 
his face buried in a pillow. The doctor was patting him 
on the back gently and I heard him say; ‘There, there, 
Cairns. I know it really is almost too wonderful to be 
true. Hard for you to believe—the relief and all. Mar¬ 
velous operation—^you did your part well, splendidly. The 
danger is past for her—she’ll recover now without a doubt. 
Wonderful! Wonderful!’ 

“Think, Jenny Lamar, of how Mr. Cairns must have 
felt! Isn’t it almost too good to be true? 

“And then the doctor started toward the door. I stepped 
back into the hall, to ask him about the case in more 
detail. He was a charming man. Said all five doctors 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 299 

were quite unprepared for the complete success of the 
transfusion. It’s long enough now so that they can be 
sure of the results. The doctor said of course she would 
always be an invalid—more so than previously. Indeed 
he claimed that she probably would never be able to 
leave her room. But the wonderful part of it is she’s 
alive! 

“And in the excitement of that good news, I forgot all 
about leaving your note. 

. Here’s the mail again. . . . Looks like important 
letters. Shall I open them for you? . . What’s the matter, 
Jenny—why don’t you talk? ... I say, here’s one from 
the Board of Directors, to you. Don’t you want to read 
it? Jenny! Wake up! ... Well, then. I’ll lay it on 
your desk. It would appear worth your reading as soon 
as possible. . . . Shall I go ahead with getting out the 
notices of the meeting? Whom did the Board of Manage¬ 
ment choose to make the speech about the Board of 
Directors’ new union policy? It’s wicked that you can’t be 
the one to do it. ... I wish you’d read that letter on your 
desk before you go on with any plans at all. . . . Jenny 
Lamar! Are you alive? 

. . And are you still sitting there like that? Have 
you been sitting there all this time? . . . What about the 
Board of Directors’ letter? Jenny Lamar, you embarrass 
me the way you act. There are important things to do! 
I don’t know whether you are sick or what is the matter. 
I never saw you act like this before. . . . Shall I read 
your mail out loud to you? . . Pretty soon I’ll get scared. 


300 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

if you just continue this way. At least read that Board 
of Directors’ letter!” 

Jenny bent her head slightly. She would read the page 
spread out on her desk. It really made no difference what 
the board had to say. Nothing made any difference. . . . 
Queer how you could make yourself think you never had 
been thinking about a certain outcome to a certain situation 
—and yet if a certain outcome had never entered your head, 
how could it seem such an utter frustration when the situa¬ 
tion turned out otherwise? The door to her garden. . . . 
How difficult to be honest, even to one’s self, about death. 
How almost impossible to be honest! Yet why not, why 
not? Why should she not say to herself, “I, Jenny Lamar, 
wish, wish, wish—she—^had— died!” There—it had been 
said. . . . The door to her garden. . . . The gate to his— 
cage. It was one and the same. He would feel those 
bars closer than—no, not closer than before he ever had 
known Jenny. He had said they never could be as close 
as that again. She had broadened out his cage—it could 
never be the old confines. But closer than since he had 
known her. His reaction would be as hers. Each of them 
had been standing at that opening the last days. They— 
yes, yes, be honest, be honest . . . they had held their 
breath, thinking, thinking, thinking to see that gate open. 
. . . Hand in hand—they would enter the glory of a gar¬ 
den without boundaries. Hand in hand, that garden with¬ 
out boundaries would be the whole wide world—every place, 
everything, would be sunshine, fragrance, song—^hand in 
hand. Once, in a moment of blessed forgetfulness, he 
had said to her: ‘Tt is our world, isn’t it, Jenny? Don’t 


301 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

you just feel, now that we have each other, that we own 
all creation, you and I?’' Yes, through that gate which 
could have opened any time these last days, they would 
have stepped into their ownership of all creation. The 
wonder of it! 

And as they stood there, that gate which had seemed 
to open ever so little, closed tight. Tight. The agony 
of it was that it seemed to shut him in on his side, and 
shut Jenny out on the other. Indeed, a gate closing with 
both of them on the same side—that would be no gate 
to reckon with at all. Or hardly at all. Such a gate had 
proscribed the limitations of their overflowing months to¬ 
gether, but because they were together almost constantly, 
they scarcely knew the gate was there. Compared to his 
being out of her world entirely, and she out of his, as it 
had been after Atlantic City. . . . Yes, just being together, 
lovers. The gate had kept them from roaming to the 
farthest limits—there was a gate, yes, and it was closed. 
But there was still such a marvelously great space for them 
to explore, together! 

The last few weeks—^had he not been on his side of 
those bars, she on hers, ever since—^his—Mrs. Cairns— 
came to town? He had, she had. But she never had faced 
it quite squarely. It was because of seeing the gate open 
the last few days—the closing again was what made it all 
so vivid now. His cage—he would feel so cramped again. 
Her garden—the grayness of it. 

. . Jenny, what about it, I ask you again?”' 

‘‘What about what?’^ 

“The letterj of course!” 


302 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 
‘What letter?” 

“Well, I do declare. Something surely is the matter 
with you. The letter from the Board of Directors!” ^ 
“Oh, yes. I’ll read it.” 


“New York . . . 

“Mrs. Jenny Lamar, Assistant Manager Hutchins and Com¬ 
pany. 

“Dear Mrs. Lamar:— In the light of the developments 
of the last seven months, and particularly of the last 
few weeks, the Board of Directors has concluded that the 
welfare of Hutchins and Company necessitates taking action 
in certain matters. 

“As you know, the seven months granted as sufficient 
time in which to test the value of certain labor theories have 
practically expired. The Board of Directors feels that the 
promised increase in production has in no way evidenced 
itself. After careful examination of an agent on the spot, 
we conclude, almost unanimously, to discontinue further 
experimentation in the matter of such labor representation 
and control as you had in mind. 

“The Board of Directors has also notified Mr. Cairns that 
in the future the policy of Hutchins and Company must 
divorce itself entirely from union influence. 

“We should like to feel justified in continuing your serv¬ 
ices in some capacity with Hutchins and Company. After 
due consideration, it has appeared to the Board, in the 
light of recent developments, that it may be the part of 
better wisdom to do away with the office of Assistant Man¬ 
ager as conceived by Mr. Hutchins. It is sincerely hoped 
that you will find no difficulty in obtaining employment in 
some other congenial business. 

“The Board of Directors wishes to express its apprecia¬ 
tion of your services in the past, in token of which it 
has voted you three months’ salary. 

“Very truly yours, 

“H. C. Williams, Secretary!* 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 303 

The secretary had wanted to add, but could not see just 
where to fit it in, that the Board really felt the place for 
a woman with children to care for was certainly not in a 
factory. The whole thing showed that women were not 
fitted for business life. The Lord meant women to stay 
home. By paying her three months’ salary, a member of 
the Board remarked, she could stay home at least three 
months. 

‘‘She should get married, that’s what she should do!” It 
was the conclusion of the kind-hearted Vice Chairman. 

But Jenny naturally knew nothing of any of that, be¬ 
cause, as mentioned, the secretary could not quite see where 
to get it in. 

“. . . Well?” 

There was that Anabelle Browne at her again. 

“Jenny, say something!” 

“Why don’t you ask me to sing?” 

“Do you realize what it means?” 

“Don’t insult my intelligence.” 

“We are minus jobs on the first of the month.” 

“Don’t you worry for a moment,—Mr. Cairns will be 
only to glad to keep you indefinitely, that I know.” 

“Yes, but you, Jenny, what in the world about you?” 

“Oh, that— I don’t have to decide about that this 
minute.” 

What she was thinking of was not what would become 
of her, but Phil Cairns. He would come back from the 
hospital to find an order to break the unions, the whole 
machinery of labor participation in management thrown 
overboard, and no more Jenny Lamar at his right hand, to 


304 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

work with. He had grown to have every ounce as much 
faith in her labor plans as she had herself. 

And the workers—nothing left to them, unless, indeed, 
they could succeed in winning out on the union issue, 
which was highly improbable now. Back they would be 
once more to where they were five years ago—an unor¬ 
ganized, helpless body of discontented, or indifferent, men 
and women, each exerting the minimum of energy possible, 
having no more interest in their jobs than just to hold them 
until something better turned up. The production curve 
would continue down, the wage curve would stay stationary, 
or in turn go down, profits would shrink, until . . . until. 
Well, some other factory would be the gainer. Harry 
Hutchins, and his dream of furnishing the whole eager 
country with his wares. . . . He would never know. Andy 
Hutchins, Andy, who carried on the dream. . . . Things 
might limp along until he too could be spared the final 
outcome. One detail only of that beautiful dream had 
fallen short,—they had failed to take sufficiently into ac¬ 
count the flesh and blood of the business. Men, women,— 
Jenny loved them, loved them! They were going back 
into that hopeless treadmill, that day-to-day grind, where 
never a ray of their own worth to the larger scheme of 
things would ever enter. They were often discouraging, 
they were often stupid, they were often exasperating, they 
were often apathetic, but they were men, women! She put 
her head on her desk and cried, cried for the people she 
had to leave. What if Pete had spread lies about her? 
If she could know everything about Pete she would un¬ 
derstand why he could do a thing like that. Perhaps he 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 305 

really thought it would serve The Cause. She didn’t care 
now. She held nothing against Pete, he was one of the 
men. She loved Pete, she loved every single one of them. 
She too had her Dream, her Dream of helping the workers 
remake a bit of their world. She would have seen to it 
that it paid those gray-haired Directors in New York. She 
held a trust for them—was she so stupid as to forget that? 
But the Dream—the Dream concerned itself with the hu¬ 
man beings on whose shoulders—on whose careless, indif¬ 
ferent, impatient, suspicious shoulders, if you will—rested 
in part the burden for the success of that very same “great 
chain of industry which upholds the business integrity of 
our nation.” Yes, yes, her factory was indeed a link in 
that chain. Her men and women were what held that 
link together. She would cement them to the factory with 
bonds of interest and loyalty. Interest and loyalty would 
hold them, but how it would hold! In the end they would 
—oh, surely they would—have caught her idea! Together 
they would labor on that structure which would make each 
man and woman of them feel the welfare of the Great 
American Industrial Dream was bound up in how each 
one of them made good. It would be theirs to prove that 
not by bitter factional fighting, not by paternalism, not 
by indifference, would that Dream materialize. Gone the 
old boast of either side in the industrial game of “We alone 
can and will—” “We together! Our Welfare! Together 
we shall make of Hutchins and Company the strongest link 
of all that chain! Together we shall prove that either side 
alone is powerless to help create that American Dream! 
Management and men togetherT . . . Mistakes—oh, yes, 


3o6 jenny the joyous 

they would make mistakes. Always the faith would be 
there. Sooner or later two thousand workers would have 
to feel it. Perhaps one thousand five hundred would never 
catch more than a spark. But the wonders a spark, if 
it is the spark of a Dream, can perform! 

Her men and women—^people she loved. And they had 
tied her hands. Pete—^never mind. Pete was one of them, 
or had been one of them. The Board of Directors. . . . 
They were part of it all too. No, she could hold nothing 
against them. They thought they were acting for the good 
of their Cause as they saw it. Who, who would rise up 
and explain so that the Petes of the country and the Boards 
of Directors of the country would understand, that the 
Cause of each was ultimately really one Cause? Separated 
the way they were . . . how could the Dream ever come 
true? This great land which was producing things to 
revolutionize a world—^was it to remain divided against 
itself? In the end little men of shrimken souls would gaze 
upon a mockery of industrial wreckage. They could pro¬ 
duce no more—the Dream had collapsed about all their 
heads—because the price had been too great. The souls 
of men, those shrunken souls of men—that had been the 
cost. The gods in their anger would have none of what 
the shrinking of souls had paid for. Hundreds of thousands 
of years of men and women—to the end that half pursue 
their gains at the expense of the other half. She could have 
shown—she, Jenny Lamar—that there was another way! 
Bitterness, indifference, incompetence, arrogance—there was 
a touchstone to turn it all to the success of the Dream. 
She had it burning in her heart. Because she loved them 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 307 

'—loved that Board of Directors, loved Pete, loved them all, 
all, all, she could have shown them in the end! . . . Faith, 
it took faith. How little there was of it in the world. 
Where could one turn to reinforce what there was? Where 
turn to create more? 

“. . . I’m no use around the office this afternoon, Ana- 
belle Browne,—I’m going home.” 

As she got off the car, the plump blonde wife of the 
steel man, she who had given her the little pink bedroom 
slippers with the funny heels, passed her at the corner. 

“Hello!” called Jenny. 

The wife of the steel man glanced at Jenny as if she 
had never seen her before. ^ 

So—that far. 

If there at home wasn’t a letter from old Aunt Ernie. 
. . . What in the world did she have to say? 

So—that far. Really, a person could almost smile. . . . 
She was broken-hearted, was Aunt Ernie, at the dreadful 
gossip she had heard. She hoped, of course, there was no 
truth in it. Still, Jenny, dear, perhaps after all it was in 
the family. . . . Her poor dear mother. . . . And really, 
she never could have a great deal of respect for her Uncle 
Alec. . . . However, one should think kindly of the dead. 

5 

“Jenny, I can’t keep on with it! I hate the very thought 
of it! The job was one glorious Adventure with you there, 


3o8 jenny the joyous 

even when I could see you only during work hours. The 
help you were! I had no idea how I’d come to rely on 
you. Now—it’s like going into a tomb. I hate it! And 
to know the men who hired me fired you! How can I work 
with any spirit fpr them?” 

^‘Hold on, Peter, for a little longer. Somehow I feel 
we owe it to Andrew Hutchins. He could walk off and 
leave the factory in a mess—^he was old. You can’t go 
until things are settled again. Almost all the men are 
back who ever will come back. Two departments have 
to be closed down altogether, you say,—necessary economy. 
. . . Let Mr. Hutchins get a bit over his terrible shock—■ 
he cabled he is bringing his wife’s body back here. I sent 
word I’d meet him in New York and help all I could. He 
seemed so anxious for me to be there. ... It would be 
agony heaped on agony if he comes back and finds you 
contemplating leaving and everything on end.” 

^‘But you will stay here these ten days, until you must 
be in New York, and let me have you to count on that 
long? . . . After all, whatever I work at has to be in this 
town. The doctors say never another move. After all, 
what difference does it make any more what job I hold, as 
long as it has to mean working without you?” 

‘‘Peter, haven’t you come at last to feel that it is better 
for me to go away? You see—we’ve proved to ourselves 
that we’re not strong enough. I can’t be in the same city 
with you and not see you, see you—all the time. You, you 
—it is the same with you. ... Now that I can no longer 
work beside you—no, the hunger with both of us is too 
great. It’s a fight, fight most of twenty-four hours— 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 309 

Strange how oft the lips must call the end 

Before the heart first hears. 

Or hearing, heeds. 

“It will be struggle enough for us both to carry on. Why 
put obstacles in the way? . . . Besides, the combination 
of that story, and my labor ideas—it’s not so easy to find 
a job around this town. I tried for a week, before I could 
find the courage to face going away. I haven’t spirit enough 
right now to confront the continual reminder that I am an 
outcast. It’s no fun.” 

“I ought to be convinced, I know, Jenny. I suppose 
it is the only thing to do. Yet where does a person look 
for the strength to carry the decision through? If it were 
for a week—even a month. . . . Jenny, Jenny, it can’t be 
forever! I refuse to face that. Say what you will, go 
where you will, somehow I must and will see you now and 
then. I will! What harm could it do, what harm? What 
can a man accomplish when he looks forward to an eternity 
of darkness? Twice a year—^if I could see you just twice 
a year! Then there would be—^your garden to look for¬ 
ward to through all the waiting months; your garden to 
look back upon through the lonely months that follow. 
Jenny, Jenny, I could fight through anything, if twice a 
year I knew there would be—^your garden!” 

“Can there be a single god in heaven who would be¬ 
grudge to mortals sunshine twice in all the year? Peter, 
surely there is not a god in heaven who loves misery for 
its own sake. . . 





PART V 



CHAPTER XIX 


I 

Early summer ten years later. 

Where had those years and years flown since she and 
Billy sat under this very tree by this very cove at Hastings? 
One moment it seemed to Jenny as if it must have been but 
a month ago; the next, a passing of centuries. Here it 
was she and Billy had become engaged, here for the first 
time he had kissed her. A world of happiness, a world 
which knew neither doubt nor discouragement. It was well 
so. Why should not every one have a taste of that sort 
of world? . . . Billy, her Billy—so young. Her heart 
had known only the youth of him. She had journeyed 
down the years—goodness, soon they would be calling her 
“middle-aged.” But Billy—Billy was forever young. That 
boy had loved her so, and she him. Yet she had grown 
old—gray hairs were hers, many of them. Back there, 
back in those Hastings days, in those married days—a child 
she had been, just a child. What in the world could she 
have understood of life? What really had Billy understood 
of life? Two children they were. Yet how wise they had 
felt themselves! If she could only feel half that wise now, 
she with her gray hairs. 

Steve came striding along, her big splendid Steve. 

“Waiting for you!” 


313 


314 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

“And did you succeed, as you proposed, in reviewing your 
youth?” 

“Steve, sometimes I wonder if you and Alec think I had 
any youth at all. Do you picture me as always gray-haired 
and working all day? Really I was young once—as young 
as you yourself!” 

“Mother, I never think of you as anything but young, 
really! Always you have seemed just a bit older than I 
—just enough older so that I could go to you with my 
troubles. When I was ten, I used to think of you as 
about sixteen. When I was sixteen, you seemed about 
twenty-four. And now, now I’d say you’re about thirty- 
five.” 

“Bless your heart for that. . . . And my having to work, 
Steve. So often I’ve wondered what it would all have been 
like if I hadn’t had to work, to be away from home a good 
part of the time. How much, 1 wonder^ did we all lose 
of each other?” 

“Alec and I have talked that over. There were times, 
of course, when we used to wonder why our mother couldn’t 
be home like other boys’. There were times when we 
wanted you for something and you weren’t there. In the 
long run it may have been a gain. I wish you could 
have heard Alec in class one day. The subject came up 
of working mothers,—^what a handicap it was when they 
had to be away from home all day, what it did to the 
children, how mothers ought to stay home where they be¬ 
longed. Alec got sore—^you ought to have heard him! 
He asked if they thought a woman worked for the fun 
of it. He said he and I were the sons of a working woman. 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 315 

and one point sure, it certainly made a boy realize the 
kind of mother he had when he saw how she pegged away 
at things day after day. He thought your having to work 
had done us good. Right from the start almost we realized 
you were working for us. I tell you, we had mighty few 
notions of wasting either time or money. We always knew 
we’d get to work and do our share just as soon as ever 
we could. In high school, and especially here in college, 
time and again the temptation came along to loaf on the 
job. Then Alec and I would remind ourselves of how 
never had we seen you loafing once, and we’d dig our 
toes in. We were always so darn proud of you, proud 
of the way you kept at trying to put over your ideas, proud 
of the friends you had, especially the kind of men so 
often at our house, and the way they valued your judgment. 
But not until college did we realize perhaps the biggest 
asset of all—the fact that you had brought so much of 
the world each night home to us. I suppose if we’d had 
a father, you and he might have discussed things, and 
we would have heard. But it wouldn’t have been the same 
as the way you talked right to us about everything. I 
do believe Alec and I understood more about what the big 
outside world meant before we ever entered college than 
most boys realize when they graduate. It stood us in good 
stead course after course we took at Hastings. . . . Imagine, 
mother, just imagine, Alec and me not making good when 
we’ve seen how you’ve worked all the years!” 

‘‘But, Steve, I can’t let you put me on a pedestal for 
one minute. The last few years I didn’t need to work 
so hard. I’ve known that any time you could have taken 


3i6 jenny the joyous 

over the entire financial responsibility between you. You 
boys have been helping yourselves more and more. IVe 
money put by. I could really stop working any time. 
You’ll be entirely self-supporting, beginning with graduation 
this week. Alec needs very little any more. There’s that 
nest egg of Cynthia Rawlins’. ... I work now, partly from 
habit; partly, mostly, because—because I need it to keep 
going spiritually. Once I did work with my whole heart 
in it,—that’s joy for you! Since then . . . work can 
come to be just a means of keeping your heart together. 
... If a time ever comes in life when the universe no 
longer seems made to order, there’s nothing in the world 
to help one over the years like work. No, Steve, from the 
very start I’ve been no martyr working. It is the thing 
that has saved my life.” 

“Do you mean, mother, that you really preferred to work 
than not to work?” 

“I mean just that. I had to work; I have to work. If 
you laid a million dollars in my lap, I would still have 
to work.” 

“But why?” 

“Because—it’s too long a story. Some day I may tell 
you it all. Because—a year is made up of twelve months, 
and each month of some thirty days and nights, and each 
day and night of twenty-four hours. A year is a long 
span of time to put behind one.” 

“Have—have you really ever been unhappy? Why, 
mother, I can’t believe it! And are you still where you 
want to go on helping put the years behind you—^with 
work?” 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 317 

“Still. ... So, you see, Steve, when the time comes 
that you want to get married, say, you’re to go right ahead 
with your plans.” 

“It—it doesn’t seem quite right.” 

“But it is quite right. I should be miserable if I 
thought you held up falling in love on my account!” 

“I haven’t done that. . . . The queer part of it is, there 
doesn’t seem any way to hold up falling in love. You fall 
—and there you are. Though you may have sworn to 
yourself a thousand times that it was something you would 
never do—at least for years. I was almost ashamed to 
fall in love,—it didn’t seem right to you. I’ve been ashamed 
to tell you that I have fallen in love. I mean, you know, 
really seriously in love.” 

“Steve! . . . Oh, but I’m happy—chappy for you—for 
the girl. A bit jealous, just this minute. ... A bit, and 
I’ll get over that soon enough. . . . Makes me want to 
cry—just a little. I’ll get over that soon enough, too. . . . 
I’ll be all right in a second. . . . Bless you, Steve, bless 
you!” 

“You couldn’t guess who it is, mother!” 

“No, I know I couldn’t guess.” 

“Nancy Cairns.” 

“What, Steve? What did you say?” 

“It’s Nancy Cairns!” 

“Steve—you’re going to marry—Nancy Cairns? Oh, 
Steve,—I—it—” 

“Mother, mother—you—^you don’t object to Nancy 
Cairns! It can’t be that?” 

hq! Oh, Tm glad it’s Nancy Cate! Il’a 


3i8 jenny the joyous 

just—I’m so surprised, so—so—surprised. My son, my 
Steve—Nancy, his Nancy. Why, Steve, it’s almost unbe¬ 
lievable!” 

“No, it’s true.” 

“Does—her father know?” 

“Not yet. I wanted to tell you first. My, mother, maybe 
you don’t think I’m glad to have him for a father-in-law! 
He won’t say no, will he?” 

“No, he won’t say no.” 

“You never knew her mother, did you? She’s an invalid, 
you know—hasn’t left her room for years. It was a fear¬ 
fully hard fight for Nancy to get away to college at all, 
and then she could only stay one year. Nancy knows it 
will be terrible enough for her mother ever to think of 
her getting married. She feels as it is that when we ever 
do get married, we shall have to live with her folks, in 
order to have her mother accept the idea. I’d hate that— 
so would Nancy. It’s the one cloud on our wonderful 
blue sky. Nancy has given so much to her mother, so 
much. You know, mother, once a terrible thought came 
over me—I suppose it means I’m simply rotten at heart. 
It scares me just to realize I could think such a thing. . . . 
But once I caught myself thinking, ‘I wish her mother would 
dieV But, mother, I do! Tell me, is that such a fearfully 
wicked thing to wish? Does it show I’m bad all 
through . . . ?” 

2 

If any one had ever asked Jenny Lamar what she con^ 
sidered would be the greatest ordeal of her life, she would 


319 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

have answered at once, to herself, to meet Mrs. Philip 
Cairns. Goodness knows what answer she would have given 
out loud,—something, of course, entirely different. . . . 
Certainly she would not miss Steve’s wedding. Certainly 
she could not attend Steve’s wedding and not meet Nancy’s 
mother. ... All these years she had never so much as 
seen a picture of Mrs. Cairns—she did not know the color 
of her hair. Practically never had she spoken of her. 
There had come a time, after the boys left home for college, 
and life seemed to have settled down to a somewhat lone¬ 
some fight to keep at anything at all, when she caught her¬ 
self feeling bitter towards Mrs. Cairns. Up to then it was 
only in a clandestine and furtive manner, and at rare in¬ 
tervals, she fell to letting herself skim over the thought 
that Mrs. Cairns seemed to be living forever. During the 
last three or four years she asked herself quite audaciously, 
“Is she never going to die?” In dreams at night sometimes 
Mrs. Cairns would assume the shape of a great blackness 
which stood between Jenny and all the joy and sunlight 
in the world. 

And instead of a great blackness, she was a thin, pale 
form huddled in a chair by a window. 

“Nancy’s mother!” Jenny came forward as steadily as 
she could and put out her hand. 

“Yes, I’m Nancy’s mother.” It was a voice as thin and 
pale as the body it came from. “And I’m Philip Cairns’ 
wife.” 

Jenny dropped somewhat hastily into the nearest chair. 

“I expect, Mrs. Lamar, you’ve been waiting rather long 
for me to dieJ’ 


320 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

Jenny began to wonder if really this were not one of 
her terrible dreams. Perhaps it was the Day of Judgment, 
and a fiery God was putting her soul on trial. She would 
gladly call “Guilty!” at once, if only she would awake. 

“You and Phil have been pretty faithful all these years, 
haven’t you? Sometimes I used to say, ‘I’ll live longer than 
their love will last!’ Once or twice you got rather des¬ 
perate, other men pressed you a bit hard, it looked as 
if I never would die, and you were tired of working, tired 
of waiting, lonely. But on the whole—on the whole, you 
two have certainly held to the notion that some day 
I’d— And yet here I am,” 

It was a dream. Where could this thin, pale woman 
with her dark eyes have gotten hold of all this truth? 

“And on top of everything else, your son comes along 
and takes my daughter! I could have stood all the rest, 
but not that! Phil—^he’s just my husband. But Nancy— 
Nancy is my daughter, and it is your son, your son, who 
robs me of her! Did you plan that?” 

“Oh, Mrs. Cairns—” 

“Well, of course you’d not admit it. Now I have noth¬ 
ing left to live for . . . except—my husband.” 

She looked squarely at Jenny. By that time Jenny began 
to feel almost inhuman as she looked squarely at Mrs. 
Cairns. 

“You, Mrs. Lamar—^you think you’ve had a hard time 
keeping your head up these last ten years, waiting for me 
to die. How much fun do you think I’ve had living? Is 
there any time ygii’d have changed places with me— 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 321 

places, you in my body, I in yours? I guess not! You, 
very sorry for yourself that I kept on living—what did 
you expect me to do—take poison? No, you waited until 
you could inflict something slower and surer and more 
painful. You had your son take Nancy. . . . Had I met 
you a year ago—then I’d have said nothing—^perhaps you’d 
never have guessed how much I knew. But now. ... At 
first I refused to see you. As the woman my husband 
loved—bah, what is a husband?—^you amused me more 
than anything else. But as the mother of the man who 
takes my daughter—no, I never wanted to lay eyes on you. 
... I wasn’t strong enough to have my way.” 

“I—I can go. Really, Mrs. Cairns, I can go now.” 

“Oh, no, now you’re here, it’s relieving me to see you. 
It would be too bad not to let any one know how much 
I knew. I’ve only had the nurse to talk to about it. To 
have said anything to Phil would have spoilt it all. He 
would have become suspicious, and would have been too 
careful of what he carried around in his coat pockets. 
Really, you know, you and Phil have been Miss Humphreys’ 
and my main interest in life—next, of course, to Nancy. 
We never missed a thing, she and I. We knew when 
Phil got too low in spirits to so much as write you a letter. 
Then, when you didn’t hear from him, how desperate you 
got! Remember how you used to write, ‘All I have of 
you, most of fifty-two weeks in the year, are letters. When 
you deny me those, it seems as if I couldn’t go on! It 
isn’t fair, Peter, not to write!’ 

“Don’t blush. I tell you Miss Humphreys and I would 


322 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

have perished from boredom often, without you and Phil. 
. . . We always could tell when it neared the time for 
his visit with you twice a year. About a month beforehand 
he would start singing as he dressed in the morning, such 
whistlings in his bath. Miss Humpheys and I would smile 
at each other. ‘About time for the gentleman to say he’ll 
have to be out of town for about ten days!’ 

“The questions we used to ask him. ‘What are you 
going to do this trip, Phil?’ He’d have something or other 
to say. I suppose he really did get a bit of business done— 
enough to excuse his absence at the office. The last few 
days before the time to leave—oh, it was funny! He could 
scarcely eat. We’d hear him up about six o’clock in the 
morning. He was like a boy before Christmas. For about 
a month after he got back his spirits were fairly high. 
Then he’d begin going down, down, until after a few 
months he’d go around like a tomb. ‘Why so joyous, Phil?’ 
I’d ask him. Your letters followed his spirits—cheerful 
things a month before and a month after, and then you’d 
start going down, down. 

“When Phil got back from one of those trips we’d say, 
‘Tell us all you did!’ That was Miss Humphreys’ and 
my best joke, that ‘all.’ He had countless ways of chang¬ 
ing the subject, but she and I were almost too smart for 
him. ‘Didn’t you have any pleasure at all?’ Oh, yes, of 
course some. But we’d have to wait for your letters to 
know what pleasures. ‘Peter, wasn’t that night on the 
beach wonderful?—to have been on a beach again with 
you! ’ Somebody wanted to take you to a certain restaurant 
—of course you could never go there with any one but 


323 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

Peter. You were always throwing a kiss to this place and 
that with your peculiar Thank You, God.’ . . . Oh, you see 
how very much I know! 

“I know too how tedious it was for Miss Humphreys 
and me those times you failed to write for more than a 
month on end. Sometimes we’d suspect that he put the 
letters away in the office as soon as they came. Except 
that he always got in such a state, we were pretty sure 
he was not hearing. At last a letter would arrive. Miss 
Humphreys could hear him rereading and rereading it in 
bed—the sound of the paper. You did almost give up 
several times, didn’t you? I suppose Phil would have had 
to find some one else. I always suspected there must have 
been several others before you came along. I’ve never had 
any faith in men. Fickle things. . . . Goodness knows how 
long your Steve will stay faithful to Nancy. If he so much 
as looks at another woman—I should kill him! I do be¬ 
lieve I should find some way to kill him! That’s one 
reason why they shall live here in this house. Between 
Miss Humphreys and me, we’ll be able to tell the first 
symptoms. Wait until your son begins to love another 
woman!” 

“Really, Mrs. Cairns, I can’t stand this any longer. If 
you’ll excuse me—I shall have to go.” 

“I’m very tired anyhow. I’ve told you almost everything 
I know, you mother of the boy who takes my Nancy. . . . 
There were large parts of your letters which were exceed¬ 
ingly boresome. You seemed to think Phil would be ter¬ 
ribly interested in your trials and tribulations in getting a 
lot of uneducated people to help take care of themselves, 


324 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

when other people surely could do it a great deal better 
for them. We skipped as much of all that as we could. 
We had enough troubles of our own. ... We never could 
see why you didn’t find something interesting to do. And 
writing all that to Phil. . . . Goodness knows he could 
look worried enough about his own affairs. Perhaps he 
poured all his anxieties into your ears. Men are that 
selfish. I kept my aches and pains to myself—I always 
expected him to keep his worries to himself. And he did. 
I’ll say that much for him. . . . Good-by. If you had 
never been born, your son would never have been born. 
. . . Nancy, my Nancy. . . . The one joy, the one real 
happiness I’ve had in twenty-two years, the one person 
I love in all the world, the one thing which has made ex¬ 
istence worth while—and your son takes her.” 

“Mrs. Cairns, don’t—don’t cry like that. He’s not tak¬ 
ing her away. They’re to live right here by you—she’ll 
be just as much a daughter to you. Perhaps you could 
find with time that Steve would be a real help to you— 
he’s very fine, is Steve.” 

“Yes, yes, by the time I find he’d be any help—^by 
that time he’ll probably be in love with some other 
woman.” 

“Mrs. Cairns! I haven’t a doubt in the world but that 
Steve will love Nancy as long as she lives!” 

“If she should lose her health—lie fiat on her back 
month in, month out; if the least noise is torture to her, 
even the sound of his voice; if the pain, and the fear, and 
the misery keep her from taking any interest in anything 
or anybody—^you think, do you, Mrs. Lamar, that your 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 325 

Steve will love her, and her only, as long as she lives? Oh, 
you do, do you, Mrs. Lamar?” 

“We can certainly hope and pray that she never will 
lose her health!” 

“So, you think hoping and praying help? . . . Good-by, 
Mrs, Lamar. ... I shall be at the wedding—my mind is 
made up to that. I intend to hear the minister say, ‘for 
better or for worse, in sickness and in health. . . .’ And 
he shall say it in a church. I shall be standing next to 
Philip Cairns when the minister says that, and I shall 
be witness to hearing your son say, ‘I do.’ ... In sickness 
and in health. . . . Thirty years is it since I heard those 
words. They never need to be repeated to have one re¬ 
member. I’m thinking Philip Cairns never forgot them 
entirely—I can say that much for him. ... If your Steve 
forgets them ... ah, I must live till then! . . . And yet 
... I almost wish he would ... I almost wish he would. 
I could get my Nancy back again! My darling. . . . My 
Nancy. . . .” 

Jenny closed the door softly. 

3 

“My mother Lamar—I’m so glad it’s your son I’m marry¬ 
ing to-night! I can’t quite tell you what it has meant, 
having you for a friend. All the help you’ve been! Some¬ 
times I seemed so terribly young and ignorant about every¬ 
thing, so lost in the world. Ever since that wonderful 
letter you wrote me when Steve told you—ever since then, 
I’ve felt I could turn to you for anything. I showed that 


326 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

letter to mother, and somehow it got destroyed. I told 
mother I wanted to keep it always, as long as I lived. . . . 
Without you and father I don’t suppose Steve and I could 
have managed to get married at all. Father—my, I never 
saw father so like a rock. ‘Nancy shall marry Steve!’ 
And Nancy marries Steve to-night. . . . You see it isn’t 
that my own mother doesn’t love me and want to see me 
happy. It’s just that she’s—^she’s so sick. . . . Father 
seems so very happy that you and I are such good friends. 
And Steve—Steve loves it!” 

“And I, little Nancy, I love it most of all!” 

“Now there’s this side of the veil to fix. . . . How my 
heart beats! . . . Mother Lamar, I suppose I ought to con¬ 
fess to you—but my own mother doesn’t know you’re here 
to-night helping me. She said I wasn’t to let you—that it 
would be too much trouble and all that for you. But I 
knew better, though I said nothing about it. Mother is 
in a very nervous state the last few days. ... I wish 
she’d not try coming to the church. We’ve all tried to 
make her promise to wait for us here at home. But it had 
to be a church wedding, and she has to be there. . . . 
Ought those flowers to be a bit more to this side? 

“Your dress is the most beautiful shade of blue. I had 
one once almost that exact color, but father somehow didn’t 
like me to wear it. Once he said it was the color of At¬ 
lantic City—funny. As if a city could have a color. . . . 
Isn’t it almost time to go? It’s been such fun having you 
to help. Mother said I ought to have one of the girls. 
... It had to be you. . . . Oh, I wish, I wish, you lived 
near enough so that I could see you often!” 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 327 

The wedding march was over. There stood Nancy and 
her Steve. . . . How like his father he looked—^her Billy! 
Her Billy of that old carefree world where problems never 
entered. If Billy were only . . . No, no, Billy would 
have to have gray hair. Billy would have to have lines 
in his face, if he were here. Billy with gray hair!—Billy, 
forever young. . . . No, just she, Jenny, could grow old. 
She and—and Peter. 

If she could but have had Peter next to her while his 
Nancy was marrying her Steve. Instead he was caring 
for the thin, pale woman at his side, out for the first time 
in more than ten years. It couldn’t be that the thin, 
pale woman would come like a great dark cloud between 
Jenny and Steve’s Nancy—Steve’s and Peter’s Nancy. She 
must be allowed to love Steve’s Nancy—Steve’s and Peter’s 
Nancy. And Nancy must be allowed to love her, Steve’s 
mother. 

. For better or for worse, in sickness and in 
health . . .” 

“. . . I do.” 

“Come, mother—she’s Mrs. Steve, bless her heart!” It 
was Alec. . . . The comfort of Alec in the tumult of un¬ 
happy thoughts which crowded in on her. . . . “Steve 
doesn’t look as if he’d be giving her up very soon!” 


4 

Nancy had said to her: “Mother Lamar, I wish it could 
be you who sees about the presents being put away and all 


328 JENNY THE JOYOUS 

the last things. Of course mother can’t. And Miss Hum¬ 
phreys—I’ve never confessed to you or anybody, but I hate 
Miss Humphreys and I won’t have her touching my things! 
I’d feel so at ease if I knew you were to be here in the 
morning.” 

“I promise you I shall be here in the morning!” 

So there she stood, ringing the doorbell of the old 
Hutchins house again, after all these years. Of course she 
had been there for that call—oh, that call!—on Mrs. Cairns, 
and last night, to help dress Nancy for the wedding, and 
later, for the wedding supper. ... It had been all Jenny 
could do to make herself attend that wedding supper, she 
so dreaded those dark eyes watching her every move. But 
when she got there she found that Mrs. Cairns had been 
forced to retire at once—the trip to the church had been 
too much for her. 

“So, father, you’ll just have to watch out for my mother 
Lamar!” Neither of them could say a word all eve¬ 
ning. ... 

Last night, all of that excitement. And here she stood, 
waiting to be allowed to bring order out of chaos, the 
inevitable chaos following a wedding. Eleven years ago she 
had rung that doorbell one Sunday night and Philip Cairns 
had come back into her life. 

At last a white-faced maid answered the bell. 

“Good morning! I’ve come to help clean up.” 

The door was closed slowly after her. 

“Mrs. Lamar, she—she died!” 

“What did you say?” 


329 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

“Mrs. Cairns—died. Early this morning, madame. . . . 
Mr. Cairns is in the living room—maybe you’d like to say 
a word to him.” 

The maid opened those heavy doors, and Jenny entered. 
Again, as eleven years ago, a man standing by a table 
turned at the sound of some one entering. Again, as eleven 
years ago, Jenny put out her hand to steady herself against 
a chair. . . . Some minutes later the maid opened the doors 
to deliver a message to Mr. Cairns. Funny now—she never 
saw the like of that. All this time the two of them stand¬ 
ing just the way they were when she closed the doors be¬ 
fore. Funny now. . . . Well, maybe she might better wait 
and deliver the message later. . . . 

Since her visit with Mrs. Cairns, Jenny had felt that 
a grayness had settled over her world to last forever. 
Could it ever be lifted? . . . 

. . Jenny.” 

“. . . Peter.” 

One by one the bars of his cage crumbled away; her 
door swung back. Together they stood in the sunlit gar¬ 
den. The warm good sun. They had known something of 
that garden together through the years. Always it had 
its wall. Always there was the door that closed on her 
afterwards, the gate which shut him away. ... At last 
there was a garden without boundaries, at last, for them, 
their garden was the whole wide world. Theirs together the 
unending sunshine^ the flowers; in their hearts forever the 
song, 


330 


JENNY THE JOYOUS 

The old, old gods looked down from heaven and saw their 
pet, their Jenny. Never had they deserted her. Long ago 
they would have seen her joyous in her garden. But now¬ 
adays the world gets so very out of hand. The gods, like 
the rest of us, find there is just so much, and no more, that 
can be done about it. 















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