Skip to main content

Full text of "The wild olive"

See other formats


THE WILD OLIVE 

BY THE AUTHOR OF 

“THE INNER SHRINE” 

ADVANCE COPY FOR PRIVATE DISTRIBUTION 
NOT FOR SALE — HARPER & BROTHERS 
PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK AND LONDON 

COPYRIGHT, 1910, BY HARPER & BROTHERS 

















Rj3/go, yss 



Library 
of the 

University of Toronto 





THE WILD OLIVE 

BY THE AUTHOR OF 

“THE INNER SHRINE” 

ADVANCE COPY FOR PRIVATE DISTRIBUTION 
NOT FOR SALE —HARPER £r BROTHERS 
PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK AND LONDON 

COPYRIGHT, 1910 , BY HARPER & BROTHERS 












Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2020 with funding from 
University of Toronto 


https://archive.org/details/wildoliveOOking 


H A R PER’S 

Monthly Magazine 

Vol. CXX FEBRUARY, 1910 No. DCCXVII 


The Wild Olive 


By the Author of 

“ Thou, being a wild oli 
PART I 

CHAPTER I 

INDING himself in the level wood- 
road, whose open aisle drew a long, 
straight streak across the sky, still 
luminous with the late-lingering Adiron¬ 
dack twilight, the tall, young fugitive, 
hatless, coatless, and barefooted, paused 
a minute for reflection. As he paused, 
he listened; but all distinctiveness of 
sound was lost in the play of the wind, 
up hill and down, dale, through chasm 
and over crag, in those uncounted leagues 
of forest. It was only a summer wind, 
soft and from the south; but its murmur 
had the sweep of the eternal breath, 
while, when it waxed in power, it rose 
like the swell of some great cosmic organ. 
Through the pines and in the under¬ 
brush it whispered, and crackled, and 
crashed, with a variety of effect strange¬ 
ly bewildering to the young man’s city- 
nurtured senses. There were minutes 
when he felt that not only the four coun¬ 
try constables, whom he had escaped, 
were about to burst upon him, but that 
weird armies of gnomes were ready to 
trample him down. 

Out of the confusion of wood-noises, 
in which his unpractised ear could dis¬ 
tinguish nothing, he waited for a repeti¬ 
tion of the shots which a few hours ago 
had been the protest of his guards; but, 
none coming, he sped on again. He 

Copyright, 1910, by Harper & 


“The Inner Shrine” 

ve tree . . .”—St. Paul. 

—FORD 

weighed the danger of running in the 
open against the opportunities for speed, 
and decided in favor of the latter. 
Hitherto, in accordance with a wood¬ 
craft invented to meet the emergency, 
and entirely his own, he had avoided 
anything in the nature of a road or a 
pathway, in order to take advantage of 
the tracklessness which formed his ob¬ 
vious protection; but now he judged the 
moment come for putting actual space 
between his pursuers and himself. How 
near, or how far behind him, they might 
be he could not guess. If he had covered 
ground, they would have covered it too, 
since they were men born to the moun¬ 
tains, while he had been bred in towns. 
ITis hope lay in the possibility that in 
this wilderness he might be lost to their 
ken, as a mote is lost in the air—though 
he built something on the chance that, 
in sympathy with the feeling in his favor 
pervading the simpler population of the 
region, they had given negative con¬ 
nivance to his escape. These thoughts, 
far from stimulating a false confidence, 
urged him to greater speed. 

And yet, even as he fled, he had a con¬ 
sciousness of abandoning something— 
perhaps of deserting something—which 
brought a strain of regret into this 
minute of desperate excitement. With¬ 
out having had time to count the cost or 

Brothers. All rights reserved 




328 


HARPER'S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


reckon the result, he felt he was giving 
up the light. He, or his counsel for him, 
had contested the ground with all the re¬ 
sourceful ingenuity known to the Amer¬ 
ican legal practitioner. He was told that, 
in spite of the seeming finality of what 
had happened that morning, there were 
still loopholes through which the defence 
might be carried on. In the space of a 
few hours Fate had offered him the 
choice between two courses, neither of 
them fertile in promises of success. The 
one was long and tedious, with a possi¬ 
bility of ultimate justification; the other 
short and speedy, with the accepted 
imputation of guilt. He had chosen the 
latter—instinctively and on the spur of 
the moment—and while he might have 
repeated at leisure the decision he had 
made in haste, he knew even now that 
he was leaving the ways and means of 
proving his innocence behind him. The 
perception came, not as the result of a 
process of thought, but as a regretful, 
scarcely detected sensation. 

He had dashed at first into the broken 
country, hilly rather than mountainous, 
which from the shores of Lake Cham¬ 
plain gradually gathers strength, as it 
rolls inland, to toss up the crests of the 
Adirondacks. Here, burying himself in 
the woods, he skirted the unkempt farms, 
whose cottage lights, just beginning to 
burn, served him as signals to keep 
farther off. When forced to cross one 
of the sterile fields he crawled low, blot¬ 
ting himself out among the boulders. 
At times a patch of tall, tasselled In¬ 
dian corn, interlaced with wandering 
pumpkin vines, gave him cover, till 
he regained the shelter of the vast 
Appalachian mother-forest, which, after 
climbing Cumberland's, Allegfhanies, 
Catskills, and Adirondacks, here clam¬ 
bers down, in long reaches of ash and 
maple, juniper and pine, toward the 
lowlands of the north. 

As far as he had yet been able to 
formulate a plan of flight, it was to seek 
his safety among the hills. The neces¬ 
sity of the instant was driving him to¬ 
ward the open country and the lake, 
but he hoped to double soon upon his 
tracks, finding his way back to the 
lumber camps, whose friendly spirit¬ 
ing from bunk - house to bunk - house 
would baffle pursuit. Once he had 


gained even a few hours’ security, he 
would be able to some extent to pick and 
choose his way. 

lie steered himself by the peak of the 
Raven, black against the last coral- 
tinted glow of the sunset, as a sailor 
steers by a star. There was further as¬ 
surance that he was not losing himself 
or wandering in a circle, when from 
some chance outlook he ventured to 
glance backward, and saw the pinnacle 
of Hurricane Mountain, or the dome of 
the Giant, straight behind him. There 
lay the natural retreats of the lynx, the 
bear, and the outlaw like himself; and 
as lie fled farther from them, it was with 
the same frenzied instinct to return that 
the driven stag must feel toward the bed 
of fern from which he has been roused. 
Rut, for the minute, there was one im¬ 
perative necessity—to go on—to go on 
anywhere, anyhow, so long as it took 
him far enough from the spot where 
masked men had loosed the handcuffs 
from his wrists and stray shots had come 
ringing after him. In his path there 
were lakelets, which he swam, and 
streams—windings of the Bouquet River 
—which he forded. Over the low hills 
he scrambled through an undergrowth so 
dense that even the snake or the squirrel 
might have avoided it, to find some easier 
way. Now and then, as he dragged him¬ 
self up the more barren ascents, the loose 
soil gave way beneath his steps, in minia¬ 
ture avalanches of stone and sand, over 
which he crept, clinging to tufts of grass 
or lightly rooted saplings, to rise at last 
with hands scratched and feet bleeding. 
Then, on again!—frantically, as the hare 
runs—and, as the crow flies, without 
swerving—on, with the sole aim of gain¬ 
ing time and covering distance! 

He was not a native of the mountains. 
Though in the two years spent among 
them he had come to acknowledge their 
charm, it was only as a man learns to 
love an alien mistress, whose alternating 
moods of savagery and softness hold him 
with a spell of which he is half afraid. 
More than any one suspected or he could 
have explained, his reckless life had been 
the rebellion of his man-trained, urban 
instinct against the domination of this 
supreme earth-force, to which he was of 
no more value than a falling leaf or a 
dissolving cloud. Even now, as he flung 


THE WILD OLIVE. 




himself on the forest’s protection, it was 
not with the solace of the son returning 
to the mother; it was rather as a man 
might take refuge from a lion in a mam¬ 
moth cavern, where the darkness only 
conceals dangers. 

After the struggle with crude nature 
the smooth, grass-carpeted wagon-track 
brought him more than a physical sense 
of comfort. It not only made his flight 
swift and easy, but it had been marked 
out by man, for man’s purposes, and to 
meet man’s need. It was the result of 
a human intelligence; it led to a human 
goal. It was possible that it might lead 
even him into touch with human sym¬ 
pathies. With the thought, he became 
conscious all at once that he was fam¬ 
ished and fatigued. Up to the present 
he had been as little aware of a body 
as a spirit on its Avay between two worlds. 
It had ached, and sweated, and bled; 
hut he had not noticed it. The electric 
fluid could not have seemed more tire¬ 
less or iron more insensate. But now, 
when the hardship was somewhat re¬ 
laxed, he was forced back on the percep¬ 
tion that he was faint and hungry. Ilis 
speed slackened; his shoulders sagged; 
the long second wind, which had lasted 
so well, began to shorten. For the first 
time it occurred to him to wonder how 
long his strength would hold out. 

It was then that he noticed a deflect¬ 
ion of the wood-road toward the north, 
and down over the brow of the plateau 
on which for a mile or two its evenness 
had been sustained. It was a new sign 
that it was tending toward some habita¬ 
tion. Half an hour ago he would have 
taken this to mean that he must dash 
into the forest again; but half an hour 
ago he had not been hungry. He did 
not say to himself that he would venture 
to any man’s door and ask for bread. 
So far as he knew, he would never ven¬ 
ture to any man’s door again; neverthe¬ 
less, he kept on, down-hill, and down¬ 
hill, nearer and nearer the lake, and 
farther and farther from the mountain 
and the lairs of safety. 

Suddenly, at a turning, when he was 
not expecting it, the wood-road emerged 
into a rough clearing. Once more he 
stopped to reflect and take his hearings. 
It had now grown so dark that there was 
little danger in doing so; though, as he 


peered into the gloom, his nerves were 
still taut with the expectation of shot, 
or capture, from behind. Straining his 
eyes, he made out a few acres that had 
been cleared for their timber, after which 
JSTature had been allowed to take her own 
way again, in unruly growths of saplings, 
tangles of wild vines, and clumps of 
magenta fireweed. 

Without quite knowing why he did so, 
he crept down the slope, feeling his way 
among the stumps, and stooping low, lest 
his white shirt, wet, and clinging limply 
to his body, might betray him to some 
keen-eyed marksman. Presently one of 
the old root-hedges, common to the coun¬ 
tryside, barred his path—a queer, twisted 
line of long, gray tentacles that had once 
sucked sustenance from the soil, but now 
reached up idly into a barren element, 
where the wild grape was covering their 
grotesque nakedness with masses of kind¬ 
ly beauty. Below him he saw lights 
shining clearly like the planets, or faint¬ 
ly like the mere star-dust of the sky, 
while between the two degrees of bright¬ 
ness he knew there must lie the bosom 
of the lake. lie had come to the little 
fringe of towns that clings to the borders 
of Champlain, here with the Adirondacks 
behind him, and there with the moun¬ 
tains of Vermont, but keeping close to 
the great, safe waterway, as though dis¬ 
trusting the ruggedness of both. 

It was a moment at which to renew 
his alarm in this proximity to human 
dwellings. Like the tiger that has ven¬ 
tured beyond the edge of the jungle, he 
must slink back at the sight of fire. He 
turned himself slowly, looking up the 
heights from which he had come down, 
as they rolled behind him, mysterious 
and hostile, in the growing darkness. 
Even the sky, from which it seemed im¬ 
possible for the daylight ever to depart, 
now had an angry red glare in it. 

He took a step or two toward the 
forest, and paused again, still staring up¬ 
ward. Where was he going? Where could 
he go ? The question presented itself 
with an odd pertinence that drew his set 
beardless lips into a kind of smile. When 
he had first made his rush outward the 
one thing that seemed to him essential 
was to be free; Imt now he was forced 
to ask himself: For what purpose? Of 
what use was it to be as free as wind 



3:30 


HARPER'S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


if he was to be as homeless? It was not 
merely that he was homeless for the mo¬ 
ment; that was nothing; the overwhelm¬ 
ing reflection was that he, Norrie Ford, 
could never have a home at all—that 
there was scarcely a spot within the bor¬ 
ders of civilized mankind where the law 
would not hunt him out. 

This view of his situation was so ap¬ 
parent and yet so new that it held him 
stock-still, gazing into space. He was 
free—but free only to crawl back into 
the jungle and lie down in it, like a 
wild beast. 

“ But I’m not a wild beast,” he pro¬ 
tested, inwardly. “ I’m a man—with 
human rights. By God, I'll never let 
them go!’’ 

He wheeled round again, toward the 
lower lands and the lake. The lights 
glowed more brightly as the darkness 
deepened, each lamp shining from some 
little nest, where men and women were 
busied with the small tasks and interests 
that made life. This was liberty! This 
was what he had a claim upon! All his 
instincts were civilized, domestic. He 
would not go back to the forest, to herd 
with wild nature, when he had a right 
to lie down among his kind. He had 
slept in the open hundreds of times; but 
it had been from choice. There had been 
pleasure then, in waking to the smell 
of balsam and opening his eyes upon the 
stars. But to do the same thing from 
compulsion, because men had closed up 
their ranks and ejected him from their 
midst, was an outrage he would not ac¬ 
cept. In the darkness his head went up, 
while his eyes burned with a fire more 
intense than that of any of the mild 
beacons from the towns below, as he 
strode back to the old root-hedge and 
leaped it. 

He felt the imprudence, not to say the 
uselessness, of the movement, as he made 
it; and yet he kept on, finding himself 
in a field in which cows and horses were 
startled from their munching by his foot¬ 
step. It was another degree nearer to 
the organized life in which he was en¬ 
titled to a place. Shielded by a shrub¬ 
bery of sleeping goldenrod, he stole down 
the slope, making his way to the lane 
along which the beasts went out to pas¬ 
ture and came home. Following the 
trail, he passed a meadow, a potato field, 


and a patch of Indian corn, till the scent 
of flowers told him he was coming on a 
garden. A minute later, low, velvety 
domes of clipped yew rose in the fore¬ 
ground, and he knew himself to be in 
touch with the civilization that clung, 
like a hardy vine, to the coves and 
promontories of the lake, while its ten¬ 
drils withered as soon as they were flung 
up toward the mountains. Only a few 
steps more, and, between the yews, he 
saw the light streaming from the open 
doors and windows of a house. 

It was such a house as, during the two 
years he had spent up in the high timber- 
lands, he had caught sight of only on 
the rare occasions when he came within 
the precincts, of a town—a house whose 
outward aspect, even at night, suggested 
something of taste, means, and social 
position for its occupants. Slipping 
nearer still, he saw curtains fluttering in 
the breeze of the August evening, and 
Virginia creeper dropping in heavily 
massed garlands from the roof of a 
columned veranda. A French window 
was open to the floor, and within, he 
could see vaguely, people were seated. 

The scene was simple enough, but to 
the fugitive it had a kind of sacredness. 
It was like a glimpse into the heaven 
It- has lost caught by a fallen angel. For 
the moment he forgot his hunger and 
weakness, in this feast for the heart and 
eyes. It was with something of the pleas¬ 
ure of recognizing long-absent faces that 
he traced the line of a sofa against the 
wall, and stated to himself that there 
was a row of prints hanging above it. 
There had been no such details as these 
to note in his cell, nor yet in the court¬ 
room which for months had constituted 
his only change of outlook. Insensibly 
to himself he crept nearer, drawn by the 
sheer spell of gazing. 

Finding a gate leading into the gar¬ 
den, he opened it softly, leaving it so, in 
order to secure his retreat. From the 
shelter of one of the rounded yew trees 
he could make his observations more at 
ease. Tie perceived now that the house 
stood on a terrace, and turned the garden 
front, its more secluded aspect, in his 
direction. The high hedges, common in 
these lakeside villages, screened it from 
the road; while the open French window 
threw a shaft of brightness down the 



i Drawn by Lucius W. Hitchcock 

TO LOOK ONCE MORE INTO KINDLY HUMAN FACES AND STEAL AWAY 















TI1E WILD OLIVE. 


yew-tree walk, casting the rest of the 
garden into gloom. 

To Norrie Ford, peeping furtively from 
behind one of the domes of clipped foli¬ 
age, there was exasperation in the fact 
that his new position gave him no 
glimpse of the people in the room. His 
hunger to see them became for the min¬ 
ute more insistent than that for food. 
They represented that human society 
from which he had waked one morning 
to find himself cut off, as a rock is cut 
off by seismic convulsion from the main¬ 
land of which it has formed a part. It 
was in a sort of effort to span the gulf 
separating him from his own past that 
he peered now into this room, whose in¬ 
mates were only passing the hours be¬ 
tween the evening meal and bedtime. 
That people could sit tranquilly reading 
books or playing games filled him with 
a kind of wonder. 

When he considered it safe he slipped 
along to what he hoped would prove a 
better point of view, but finding it no 
more advantageous he darted to still 
another. The light lured him as it might 
lure an insect of the night, till presently 
he stood on the very steps of the terrace. 
He knew the danger of his situation, but 
he could not bring himself to turn and 
steal away till he had fixed the picture of 
that cheerful interior firmly on his mem¬ 
ory. The risk was great, but the glimpse 
of life was worth it. 

With powers of observation quickened 
by his plight, he noted that the home 
vas just such a one as that from which 
he had sprung—one -where old engrav¬ 
ings hung on the walls, while books filled 
the shelves, and papers and periodicals 
strewed the tables. The furnishings 
spoke of comfort and a modest dignity. 
Obliquely in his line of vision he could 
see two children, seated at a table and 
poring over a picture-book. The boy, 
a manly urchin, might have been four¬ 
teen, the girl a year or two younger. 
Her curls fell over the hand and arm 
supporting her cheek, so that Ford could 
only guess at the blue eyes concealed 
behind them. Now and then the boy 
turned a page before she was ready, 
whereupon followed pretty cries of pro¬ 
testation. It was perhaps this mimic 
quarrel that called forth a remark from 
{?o.me one sitting within the shadow. 


331 

“ Evie dear, it’s time to go to bed. 
Billy, I don’t believe they let you stay 
up as late as this at home.” 

“ Oh yes, they do,” came Billy’s an¬ 
swer, given with sturdy assurance. “ I 
often stay up till nine.” 

“ Well, it’s half past now; so you’d 
both better come and say good night.” 

With one foot resting on the turf and 
the other raised to the first step of the 
terrace, as he stood with folded arms, 
Ford watched the little scene, in which 
the children closed their book, pushed 
back their chairs, and crossed the room 
to say good night to the two who were 
seated in the shadow. The boy came 
first, with hands thrust into his trousers 
pockets in a kind of grave nonchalance. 
The little girl fluttered along behind, but 
broke her journey across the room by 
stepping into the opening of the long 
window and looking out into the night. 
Foi’d stood breathless and motionless, ex¬ 
pecting her to see him and cry out. But 
she turned away and danced again into 
the shadow, after which he saw her no 
more. The silence that fell within the room 
told him that the elders w r ere left alone. 

Stealthily, like a thief, Ford crept up 
the steps and over the turf of the ter¬ 
race. The rising of the wind at that 
minute drowned all sound of his move¬ 
ments, so that he was tempted right on 
to the veranda, where a coarse matting 
deadened his tread. lie dared not 
hold himself upright on this dangerous 
ground, but, crouching low, he was 
blotted from sight, w T hile he himself 
could see what passed within. He would 
only, he said, look once more into kindly 
human faces and steal away as he came. 

He could perceive now that the lady who 
had spoken was an invalid reclining in 
a long chair, lightly covered with a rug. 
A fragile, dainty little creature, her 
laces, trinkets, and rings revealed her as 
one clinging to the elegancies of another 
phase of life, though Fate had sent her 
to live, and perhaps to die, here on the 
edge of the wilderness. He made the 
same observation with regard to the man 
who sat with his back to the window. 
He was in informal evening dress—a 
circumstance that, in this land of more 
or less primitive simplicity, spoke of a 
sense of exile. He was slight and middle- 
aged, and though his face was hidden, 


332 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE 


Ford received the impression of having 
seen him already, but from another point 
of view. His habit of using a magnify¬ 
ing-glass as, with some difficulty, he read 
a newspaper in the light of a green- 
shaded lamp, seemed to Ford especially 
familiar, though more pressing thoughts 
kept him from trying to remember where 
and when he had seen some one do the 
same thing within the recent past. 

As he crouched by the window watch¬ 
ing them, it came into his mind that they 
were just, the sort of people of whom 
he had least need to be afraid. The 
sordid tragedy up in the mountains had 
probably interested them little, and in any 
case they could not as yet have heard of 
bis escape. If he broke in on them and 
demanded food, they would give it to 
him as to some common desperado, and 
be glad to let him go. If there was any 
one to inspire terror, it was he, with 
his height, and youth, and wildness of 
aspect. lie was thinking out the most 
natural method of playing some small 
comedy of violence, when suddenly the 
man threw down the paper with a sigh. 
On the instant the lady spoke, as though 
she had been awaiting her cue. 

“ I don’t see why you should feel so 
about it,” she said, making an effort to 
control a cough. “ You must have fore¬ 
seen something of this sort when you 
took up the law.” 

The answer reached Ford’s ears only 
as a murmur, but he guessed its import 
from the response. 

“ True,” she returned, when he had 
spoken, “to foresee possibilities is one 
thing, and to meet them is another; but 
the anticipation does something to nerve 
one for the necessity when it comes.” 

Again there was a murmur in which 
Ford could distinguish nothing, but 
again her reply told him what it meant. 

“ The right and the wrong, as I under¬ 
stand it,” she went on, “ is something 
with which you have nothing to do. 
Your part is to administer the law, not 
to judge of how it works.” 

Once more Ford was unable to catch 
what was said in reply, but once more 
the lady’s speech enlightened him. 

“ That’s the worst of it ? Possibly; 
but it’s also the best of it; for since it 
relieves you of responsibility it’s foolish 
for you to feel remorse.” 


What was the motive of these re¬ 
marks? Ford found himself possessed 
of a strange curiosity to know. He 
pressed as closely as he dared to the open 
door, but for the moment nothing more 
was said. In the silence that followed 
he began again to wonder how he could 
best make his demand for food, when 
a sound from behind startled him. It was 
the sound which, among all others, caused 
him the wildest alarm—that of a human 
footstep. His next movement came from 
the same blind impulse that sends a hunt¬ 
ed fox to take refuge in a church—eager 
only for the instant’s safety. He had 
sprung to his feet, cleared the threshold, 
and leaped into the room, before the re¬ 
flection came to him that, if he was 
caught, he must at least be caught game. 
Wheeling round toward the window-door 
through which he had entered, he stood 
defiantly, awaiting his pursuers, and 
heedless of the astonished eyes fixed upon 
him. It was not till some seconds had 
gone by, and he realized that he was 
not followed, that he glanced about the 
room. When he did so it was to ignore 
the woman, in order to concentrate all 
his gaze on the little, iron-gray man who, 
still seated, stared at him, with lips 
parted. In his own turn, Norrie Ford 
was dumb and wide-eyed in amazement. 
It was a long minute before either spoke. 

“ You ?” 

“ You ?” 

The monosyllable came simultaneously 
from each. The little woman got to her 
feet in alarm. There was inquiry as well 
as terror in her face—inquiry to which 
her husband felt prompted to respond. 

“ This is the man,” he said, in a voice 
of forced calmness, “ whom—whom— 
we’ve been talking about.” 

“Not the man—-you—?” 

“Yes,” he nodded, “the man I—I—■ 
sentenced to death—this morning.” 

CHAPTER II 

E VIE!” 

Mrs. Wayne went to the door, 
but on Ford’s assurance that her child had 
nothing to fear from him, she paused with 
her hand on the knob to look in curiosity 
at this wild young man, whose doom lent 
him a kind of fascination. Again, for a 
minute, all three were silent in the ex- 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


cess of their surprise. Wayne himself 
sat rigid, gazing up at the newcomer 
with strained eyes blurred with partial 
blindness. Though slightly built and 
delicate, he was not physically timid; 
and as the seconds went by he was able 
to form an idea as to what had happened. 
He himself, in view of the tumultuous 
sympathy displayed by hunters and lum¬ 
ber-jacks with the man who passed for 
their boon companion, had advised Ford’s 
removal from the pretty toy prison of 
the county-town to the stronger one at 
Plattsburg. It was clear that the prisoner 
had been helped to escape, either before 
the change had been effected or while it 
was taking place. There was nothing 
surprising in that; the astonishing thing 
was that the fugitive should have found 
his way to this house above all others. 
Mrs. Wayne seemed to think so too, for 
it was she who spoke first, in a tone which 
she tried to make peremptory, in spite of 
its tremor of fear. 

“What did you come here for?” 

Ford looked at her for the first time— 
in a blankness not without a dull ele¬ 
ment of pleasure. It was at least two 
or three years since he had seen anything 
so dainty—not, in fact, since his own 
mother died. At all times his mind 
worked slowly, so that he found nothing 
to reply till she repeated her question 
with a show of increased severity. 

“ I came here for protection,” lie said 
then. 

His hesitation and bewildered ■ air im¬ 
parted assurance to his still astonished 
hosts. 

“ Isn’t it an odd place in which to look 
for that?” Wayne asked, in an excitement 
he strove to subdue. 

The question was the stimulus Ford 
needed in order to get his wits into play. 

“No,” he replied, slowly; “I’ve a 
right to protection from the man who 
sentenced me to death for a crime of 
which he knows me innocent.” 

Wayne concealed a start by smoothing 
the newspaper over his crossed knees, but 
he was unable to keep a shade of thick¬ 
ness out of his voice as he answered: 

“ You had a fair trial. You were found 
guilty. Your appeal was denied by the 
Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. 
You have had the benefit of all the 
other resources allowed by the law. You 


333 

have no right to say I know you to 
be innocent.” 

Wholly spent, Ford dropped into a 
chair from which one of the children 
had risen. With his arm hanging limp¬ 
ly over the back he sat staring haggard¬ 
ly at the judge, as though finding nothing 
to say. 

“ I have a right to read any man’s 
mind,” he muttered, after a long pause, 
“ when it’s as transparent as yours. No 
one had any doubt as to your convictions 
—after your charge.” 

“ That has nothing to do with it. If 
I charged in your favor, it was because 
I wanted you to have the benefit of 
every possible plea. When those pleas 
were found insufficient by a jury of 
your peers—” 

Ford emitted a grunting sound that 
might have been a laugh, had there been 
mirth in it. 

“A jury of my peers! A lot of thick¬ 
headed country tradesmen, prejudiced 
against me from the start because I’d 
sometimes kicked up a row in their 
town! They weren’t my peers any more 
than they were yours!” 

“ The law assumes all men to be 
equal—” 

“ Just as it assximes all men to be in¬ 
telligent—only they’re not. The law is 
a very fine theory. The chief thing to be 
said against it is that five times out of 
ten it leaves human nature out of ac¬ 
count. I’m condemned to death, not be¬ 
cause I killed a man, but because you 
lawyers won’t admit that your theory 
doesn’t work.” 

He began to speak more easily, with 
the energy born of his desperate situa¬ 
tion and his sense of wrong. He sat up 
straighter; the air of dejection with 
which he had sunk to the chair slipped 
from him; his gray eyes, of the kind 
called “ honest,” shot out glances of pro¬ 
test. The elder man found himself once 
more struggling against the wave of sym¬ 
pathy which at times in the court-room 
had been almost too strong for him. He 
was forced to intrench himself mentally 
within the system he served before brac¬ 
ing himself to reply. 

“ I can’t keep you from having your 
opinion—•” 

“ Nor can I save you from having 
yours. Look at me, judge!” lie was 


334 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


holt upright now, throwing his arms wide 
with a gesture in which there was more 
appeal than indignation. “ Look at me! 

1 'm a strong, healthy - bodied, healthy- 
minded fellow of twenty-four; but I'm 
drenched to the skin, I’m half naked, 
I’m nearly dead with hunger, I’m an 
outlaw for life—and you’re responsible 
for it all.” 

It was Wayne’s turn for protest, and 
though he winced, he spoke sharply. 

“ I had my duty to perform—” 

“ Good God, man, don’t sit there and 
call that thing your duty. You’re some¬ 
thing more than a wheel in a machine. 
You were a human being before you were 
a judge. With your convictions you 
should have come down from the bench 
and washed your hands of the whole af¬ 
fair. The very action would have given 
mo a chance—” 

“ You mustn’t speak like that to my 
husband,” Mrs. Wayne broke in, indig¬ 
nantly, from the doorway. “ If you only 
knew what he has suffered on your ac¬ 
count—” 

“ Is it anything like what I’ve suffered 
on his?” 

“ I dare say it’s worse. He has scarce¬ 
ly slept or eaten since he knew he would 
have to pass that dreadful sen—” 

“ Come, come,” Wayne exclaimed, in 
the impatient tone of a man who puts 
an end to a useless discussion. “We 
can’t spend time on this subject any 
longer. I’m not on my defence—” 

“ You are on your defence,” Ford de¬ 
clared, instantly. “ Even your wife puts 
you there. We’re not in a court-room, as 
we were this morning. Circumstantial 
evidence means nothing to us in this iso¬ 
lated house, where you’re no longer the 
judge, as I’m no longer the prisoner. 
We’re just two naked human beings, 
stripped of everything but their inborn 
rights—and I claim mine.” 

“Well—what are they?” 

“ They’re simple enough. I claim the 
right to have something to eat, and to 
go my way without being molested—- 
or betrayed. You’ll admit I’m not ask¬ 
ing much.” 

“ You may have the food,” Mrs. Wayne 
said, in a tone not free from compassion. 
“ I’ll go and get it. Mind,” she added, 
as she turned the knob—“ mind you 
don’t hurt my husband while I’m away.” 


For a minute or two there was no 
sound but that of her cough, as she 
sired down a passage. Before speaking, 
Wayne passed his hand across his brow 
as though in an effort to clear his 
mental vision. 

“No; you don’t seem to be asking 
much. But, as a matter of fact, you’re 
demanding my pledge to my country. I 
undertook to administer its laws—” 

Ford sprang up. 

“ You’ve done it,” he cried, “ and I’m 
the result. You’ve administered the law 
right up to its hilt, and your duty as a 
judge is performed. Surely you’re free 
now to think of yourself as a man and 
to treat me as one.” 

“ I might do that, and still think you 
a man dangerous to leave at large.” 

“ But do you ?” 

“ That’s my affair. Whatever your 
opinion of the courts that have judged 
your case, I must accept their verdict.” 

“ In your official capacity—yes; but not 
here, as host to the poor dog who comes 
under your roof for shelter. My rights 
are sacred. Even the wild Arab—” 

lie paused abruptly. Over Wayne’s 
shoulder, through the window still open 
to the terrace, he saw a figure cross the 
darkness. Could his pursuers be waiting 
outside for their chance to spring on him? 
A perceptible fraction of a second went 
by before he told himself he must have 
been mistaken. 

“ Even the wild Arab would think them 
so,” he concluded, his glance shifting 
rapidly between the judge and the win¬ 
dow open behind him. 

“But I’m not a wild Arab,” Wayne 
replied. “ My first duty is toward my 
country and its organized society.” 

“I don’t think so. Your first duty is 
toward the man you know you’ve sen¬ 
tenced wrongly. Fate has shown you an 
unusual mercy in giving you a chance to 
help him.” 

“ I can be sorry for the sentence and 
yet feel that I could not have acted 
otherwise.” 

“ Then what are you going to do now ?” 

“ What would you expect me to do, but 
hand you back to justice?” 

“How?” 

There was a suggestion of physical dis¬ 
dain in the tone of the laconic question, 
as well as in the look he fixed on the 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


335 


neat, middle-aged man doing his best 
to be cool and collected. Wayne glanced 
over his shoulder toward the telephone 
on the wall. Norrie Ford understood and 
spoke quickly: 

“ Yes; you could ring up the police at 
Greenport, but I could strangle you be¬ 
fore you crossed the floor.” 
j “ So you could; but would you ? If 
you did, should you be any better off ? 
Should you be as well off as you are now ? 
As it is, there is a possibility of a mis¬ 
carriage of justice, of which one day you 
may get the benefit. There would be no 
such possibility then. You would be 
tracked down within forty-eight hours.” 

“Oh, you needn’t arg\ie; I’ve no in¬ 
tention—” Once more he paused. The 
same shadow had flitted across the dark 
space outside, this time with a distinct 
flutter of a white dress. He could only 
think it was some one getting help to¬ 
gether; and while he went on to finish 
his sentence in words, all his subconscious 
faculties were at work, seeking an escape 
from the trap in which he was taken. 

“ I’ve no intention of doing violence 
unless I’m driven to it—” 

, “ But if you are driven to it— ?” 

“ I’ve a right to defend myself. Or¬ 
ganized society, as you call it, has put 
me where it has no further claim upon 
me. I must fight against it single-handed 
—and I’ll do it. 1 shall spare neither 
man nor woman—nor woman ”—he raised 
his voice so as to be heard outside—“ who 
stands in my way.” 

He threw back his head and looked 
defiantly out into the night. As if in 
response to this challenge a tall, white 
figure suddenly emerged from the dark¬ 
ness and stood plainly before him. 

| It was a girl, whose movements were 
curiously quick and silent, as she beck¬ 
oned to him, over the head of the judge, 
who sat with his back toward her. 

“ Then all the more reason why society 
should protect itself against you,” Wayne 
began again; but Ford was no longer 
listening. His attention was wholly fixed 
on the girl, who continued to beckon noise¬ 
lessly, fluttering for an instant close to 
the threshold of the room, then withdraw¬ 
ing suddenly to the very edge of the ter¬ 
race, waving a white scarf in token that 
he should follow her. She had repeated 
her action again and again, beckoning 

Vol. CXX.—No. 717.—42 


with renewed insistence, before he under¬ 
stood and made up his mind. 

“ I don’t say that I refuse to help you,” 
Wayne was saying. “My sympathy with 
you is very sincere. If I can get your 
sentence commuted— In fact, a reprieve 
is almost certain—•” 

With a dash as lithe and sudden as that 
which had brought him in, Ford was out 
on the terrace, following the white dress 
and the waving scarf which were already 
disappearing down the yew - tree walk. 
The girl’s flight over grass and gravel was 
like nothing so much as that of a bird 
skimming through the air. Ford’s own 
steps crunched loudly on the stillness of 
the night, so that if any one lay in am¬ 
bush he knew he could not escape. He 
was prepared to hear shots come ringing 
from any quarter, but he ran on with the 
indifference of a soldier grown used to 
battle, intent on keeping up with the 
shadow fleeing before him. 

He followed her through the garden 
gate he himself had left open, and down 
the lane leading to the pasture. At the 
point where he had entered it from the 
right, she turned to the left, keeping away 
from the mountains and parallel with the 
lake. There was no moon, but the night 
was clear; and no sound but that of the 
shrill, sustained chorus of insect life. 

Beyond the pasture the lane became 
nothing but a path, zigzagging up a hill¬ 
side between patches of Indian corn. The 
girl sped over it so lightly that Ford 
would have found it hard to keep her 
in sight if from time to time she had 
not paused and waited. When he came 
near enough to see the outlines of her 
form she flew on again, less like a living 
woman than a mountain wraith. 

From the top of the hill he could see 
the dull gleam of the lake with its girdle 
of lamp-lit towns. Here the woodland 
began again; not the main body of the 
forest, but one of its long arms, thrust 
down over hill and valley, twisting its 
way in among villages and farm lands. 
That which had been a path now be¬ 
came a trail, along which the girl flitted 
with the ease of habit and familiarity. 

In the concentration of his effort to 
keep the moving white spot in view Ford 
lost count of time. Similarly he had lit¬ 
tle notion of the distance they were cov¬ 
ering. He guessed that they had been ten 


336 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


or fifteen minutes on the way, and that 
they might have gone a mile, when, after 
waiting for him to come almost near 
enough to speak to her, she began moving 
in a direction at an acute angle to that 
by which they had come. At the same 
time he perceived that they were on the 
side of a low wooded mountain and that 
they were beating their way round it. 

All at once they emerged on a tiny 
clearing — a grassy ledge on the slope. 
Through the starlight he could see the 
hillside break away steeply into a vapor¬ 
ous gorge, while above him the moun¬ 
tain raised a black dome amid the serried 
points of the sky-line. The dryad-like 
creature beckoned him forward with her 
scarf, until suddenly she stopped with the 
decisive pause of one who has reached her 
goal. Coming up with her, he saw her 
unlock the door of a small cabin, which 
had hitherto not detached itself from the 
surrounding darkness. 

“ Go in,” she whispered. “ Don’t strike 
a light. There are biscuits somewhere, in 
a box. Grope for them. There’s a couch 
in a corner.” 

Without allowing him to speak, she 
forced him gently over the threshold and 
closed the door upon him. Standing in¬ 
side, in the darkness, he heard the grating 
of her key in the lock, and the rustle of 
her skirts as she sped away. 


CHAPTER III 

ROM the heavy sleep of fatigue 
Ford woke with the twittering of 
birds that announces the dawn. His 
first, thought before opening his eyes, 
that he was still in his cell, was dispelled 
by the silky touch of the Sorrento rugs 
on which he lay. He fingered them again 
and again in a kind of wonder, while his 
still half-slumbering senses struggled for 
the memory of what had happened, and 
the realization of where he was. When 
at last he was able to reconstruct the 
events of the preceding night, he raised 
himself on his elbow and peered about 
him in the dim morning twilight. 

The object he discerned most readily 
was an easel, giving him the secret of his 
refuge. On the wooden walls of the 
cabin, which was fairly spacious, water- 
color sketches were pinned at intervals, 


while on the mantelpiece above a bricked 
fireplace one or two stood framed. Over 
the mantelpiece a pair of snow-shoes were 
crossed as decorations, between which 
hung a view of the city of Quebec. On 
a lay-figure in a corner was thrown care¬ 
lessly the sort of blanket coat worn by 
Canadians during winter sports. Paints 
and palettes were arranged on a table 
by the wall, and on a desk in the middle 
of the room were writing materials and 
books. More books stood in a small sus¬ 
pended bookcase. Beside a comfortable 
reading-chair one or two magazines lay 
on the floor. His gaze travelled last to 
the large apron, or pinafore, on a peg 
fastened in a door immediately beside 
his couch. The door suggested an inner 
room, and he got up promptly to explore 
it. It proved to be cramped and dark, 
lighted only from the larger apartment, 
which in its turn had but the one high 
north window of the ordinary studio. 
The small room was little more than a 
shed, or “ lean-to,” serving the purposes 
of kitchen and storeroom combined. The 
arrangements of the whole cabin showed 
that some one had built it with a view 
to passing in seclusion a few days at 
a time without forsaking the simpler 
amenities of civilized life; and it was 
clear that that “ some one ” was a wom¬ 
an. What interested Ford chiefly for the 
moment was the discovery of a sealed 
glass jar of water, from which he was able 
to slake his twenty hours’ thirst. 

Returning to the room in which he had 
slept, he drew back the green silk curtain 
covering the north light in order to take 
his bearings. As he had guessed on the 
previous night, the slope on which the 
cabin was perched broke steeply down 
into a wooded gorge, beyond which the 
lower hills rolled in decreasing magnitude 
to the shore of Champlain, visible from 
this point of view in glimpses, less as an 
inland sea than like a chain of lakelets. 
Sunrise over Vermont flooded the waters 
with tints of rose and saffron, but made 
of the Green Mountains a long, gigantic 
mass of purple-black, twisting its jagged 
outline toward the north into the Hog’s 
Back and the Camel’s Hump with a kind 
of monstrous grace. To the east, in New 
York, the Adirondacks, with the sunlight 
full upon them, shot up jade-colored peaks 
into the electric blue—the scarred pyra- 



THE WILD OLIVE. 


337 


mid of the Raven standing forth dark, 
detached, and alone, like a battered vet¬ 
eran sentinel. 

In an access of conscious hatred of this 
vast panoramic beauty which had become 
the background of his tragedy, Ford pull¬ 
ed the curtain into place again and turned 
once more to the interior of the room. It 
began to seem more strange to him the 
more it greAv familiar. Why was he 
here? How long was he to stay? How 
was he to get away again? Had this 
girl caught him like a rat in a trap, or 
did she mean well by him? If, as he 
supposed, she was Wayne’s daughter, she 
would probably not be slow in carrying 
out her father’s plan of handing him back 
tp justice—and yet his mind refused to 
connect the wraith of the night before 
with either police work or betrayal. Her 
appearance had been so dim and fleet¬ 
ing that he could have fancied her the 
dryad of a dream, had it not been for 
his surroundings. 

He began to examine them once more, 
inspecting the water-colors on the wall 
one by one, in search of some clue to her 
personality. The first sketch was of a 
nun in a convent garden—the background 
vaguely French, and yet with a differ¬ 
ence. The next was of a trapper, or 
voyageur, pushing a canoe into the waters 
of a wild northern lake. The next was 
of a group of wigwams with squaws and 
children in the foreground. Then came 
more nuns; then more voyageurs with 
their canoes; then more Indians and 
wigwams. It occurred to Ford that the 
nuns might have been painted from life, 
the voyageurs and Indians from imagina¬ 
tion. He turned to the two framed 
drawings on the chimney-piece. Both 
represented winter scenes. In the one a 
sturdy voyageur was conveying his wife 
and small personal belongings across the 
frozen snow on a sled drawn by a team 
of dogs. In the other a woman, ap¬ 
parently the same woman as in the pre¬ 
ceding sketch, had fallen in the midst 
of a blinding storm, while a tall man of 
European aspect—decidedly not the voy¬ 
ageur—was standing beside her with a 
baby in his arms. These were clearly 
fancy pictures, and, so it seemed to 
Ford, the work of one who was trying 
to recapture some almost forgotten mem¬ 
ory. In any case he was too deeply 


engrossed by his own situation to dwell 
on them further. 

He wheeled round again toward the 
centre of the room, impatiently casting 
about him for something to eat. The 
tin box, from which he had devoured all 
the biscuits, lay empty on the floor, but 
he picked it up and ate hungrily the 
few crumbs sticking in its comers. He 
ransacked the small dark room in the 
hope of finding more, but vainly. As 
far as he could see, the cabin had never 
been used for the purpose it was meant 
to serve, nor ever occupied for more 
than a few hours at a time. It had 
probably been built in a caprice that had 
X^assed with its completion. He guessed 
something from the fact that there was 
no visible attempt to sketch the scene 
before the door, though the site had evi¬ 
dently been chosen for its beauty. 

He had nothing by which to measure 
time, but he knew that precious hours 
which he might have utilized for escape 
were passing. He began to chafe at the 
delay. With the impulse of youth to 
be active, he longed to be out, where 
he could at least use his feet. Llis 
clothes had dried upon him; in spite of 
his hunger he was refreshed by his night’s 
sleep; he was convinced that, once in 
the open, he could elude capture. He 
pulled back the curtain again in order 
to reconnoitre. It was well to be as fa¬ 
miliar as possible with the immediate 
lay of the land, so as to avail himself 
of any advantages it might offer. 

The colors of sunrise had disappeared, 
and he judged that it must be seven or 
eight o’clock. Between the rifts of the 
lower hills the lake was flashing silver, 
while where Vermont had been nothing 
but a mass of shadow, blue-green moun¬ 
tains were emerging in a trifle row, 
from which the last veils of vapor were 
being dragged up into the firmament. 
On the left, the Adirondacks were reced¬ 
ing into translucent dimness, in a lilac 
haze of heat. 

With an effort to get back the wood¬ 
craft suddenly inspired by his first dash 
for freedom, he ran his eye over the land¬ 
scape, noting the points with which he 
was familiar. To the west, in a niche 
between the Raven and the double x>eak 
of Hurricane Mountain, he could place 
the county-town; to the north, beyond 


338 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


the pretty headlands and the shining 
coves, the prison of Plattsburg was wait¬ 
ing to receive him. Earther to the north 
was Canada; and to the south the great 
waterway led toward the populous mazes 
of New York. 

With an impatience bordering on 
nervousness he realized that these gen¬ 
eral facts did not help him. He must 
avoid the prison and the county-town, 
of course; while both New York and 
Canada offered him ultimate chances. 
But his most pressing dangers lurked 
in the immediate foreground; and there 
he could see nothing but an unsuggestive 
slope of ash and pine. The rapidity of 
instinct by which last night he had 
known exactly what to do gave place 
this morning to his slower and more 
characteristic mental processes. 

He was still gazing outward in per¬ 
plexity, when, through the trees beyond 
the grassy ledge, he caught the flicker 
of something white. Pie pressed closer 
to the pane for a better view, and a few 
seconds later a girl, whom he recognized 
as the nymph of last night, came out 
of the forest, followed by a fawn-colored 
collie. She walked smoothly and swift¬ 
ly, carrying a large basket with her right 
hand, while with her left she motioned 
him away from the window. He stepped 
back, leaping to the door as she unlocked 
it, in order to relieve her of her burden. 

“ You mustn’t do that,” she said, 
speaking quickly. “You mustn’t look 
out of the window or come to the door. 
There are a hundred men beating the 
mountain to find you.” 

She closed the door and locked it on 
the inside. While Ford lifted her basket 
to the desk in the centre of the room 
she drew the green curtain hastily, cov¬ 
ering the window. Her movements were 
so rapid that he could catch no glimpse 
of her face, though he had time to note 
again the curious silence that marked 
her acts. The dog emitted a low growl. 

“ You must go in here,” she said, de¬ 
cisively, throwing open the door of the 
inner room. “You mustn’t speak or look 
out unless I tell you. I’ll bring you your 
breakfast presently. Lie down, Micmac.” 

The gesture by which she forced him 
across the threshold was compelling 
rather than commanding. Before he 
realized that he had obeyed her he was 


standing alone in the darkness, with the 
sound of a low voice of liquid quality 
echoing in his ears. Of her face he had 
got only the hint of dark eyes flashing 
with an eager, non-Caucasian brightness 
—eyes that drew their fire from a source 
alien to that of any Aryan race. 

But he brushed that impression away 
as foolish. Her words had the unmis¬ 
takable note of cultivation, while a 
glance at her person showed her to be 
a lady. He could see, too, that her dress, 
though simple, was according to the 
standard of means and fashion. She 
w r as no Pocahontas; and yet the thought 
of Pocahontas came to him. Certainly 
there was in her tones, as well as in her 
movements, something akin to this vast 
aboriginal nature around him, out of 
which she seemed to spring as the hu¬ 
man element in its beauty. 

Pie was still thinking of this when the 
door opened and she came in again, car¬ 
rying a plate piled high with cold meat 
and bread and butter. 

“ I’m sorry it’s only this,” she smiled, as 
she placed it before him; “ but I had to 
take what I could get—and what wouldn’t 
he missed. I’ll try to do better in future.” 

He noted the matter-of-fact tone in 
which she uttered the concluding words, 
as though they were to have plenty of 
time together; but for the moment he 
was too fiercely hungry to speak. For 
a few seconds she stood off, watching 
him eat, after which she withdrew, with 
the light swiftness that characterized 
all her motions. 

He had nearly finished his meal when 
she returned again. 

“ I’ve brought you these,” she said, not 
without a touch of shyness, against which 
she struggled by making her tone as 
commonYfiace as possible. “ I shall bring 
you more things by degrees.” 

On a chair beside that on which he was 
sitting she laid a pair of slippers, a pair 
of socks, a shirt, a collar, and a necktie. 

He jumped up hastily, less in surprise 
than in confusion. 

“ I can’t take anything of Judge 
Wayne’s—” he began to stammer; but 
she interrupted him. 

“ I understand your feelings about 
that,” she said, simply. “ They’re not 
Judge Wayne’s; they were my father’s. 
1 have plenty more.” 



Drawn by Lucius IV. Hitchcock 


‘‘THERE ARE A HUNDRED MEN BEATING THE MOUNTAIN TO FIND YOU 











THE WILD OLIVE. 


339 


In his relief at finding she was not 
Wayne’s daughter he spoke awkwardly. 

“Your father? Is he—dead?” 

“ Yes; he’s dead. You needn’t be 
afraid to take the things. He would have 
liked to help a man—in your position.” 

“ In my position ? Then you know— 
who I am?” 

“Yes; you’re Norrie Ford. I saw 
that as soon as I chanced on the terrace 
last night.” 

“And you’re not afraid of me?” 

“ I am—a little,” she admitted; “ but 
that doesn’t matter.” 

“ You needn’t be—” he began to ex¬ 
plain, but she checked him again. 

“ We mustn’t talk now. I must shut 
the door and leave you in the dark all 
day. Men will be passing by, and they 
mustn’t hear you. I shall be painting 
in the studio, so that they won’t suspect 
anything, if you keep still.” 

Allowing him no opportunity to speak 
again, she closed the door, leaving him 
once more in darkness. Sitting in the 
constraint she imposed upon him, he 
could hear her moving in the outer room, 
where, owing to the lightness of the 
wooden partition, it was not difficult to 
guess what she was doing at any given 
moment. He knew when she opened the 
outer door and moved the easel toward 
the entrance. He knew when she took 
down the apron from its peg and pinned 
it on. He knew when she drew up a 
chair and pretended to set to work. In 
the hour or two of silence that ensued 
he was sure that, whatever she might 
be doing with her brush, she was keeping 
eye and ear alert in his defence. 

Who was she? What interest had she 
in his fate? What power had raised her 
up to help him ? Even yet he had scarce¬ 
ly seen her face; but he had received an 
impression of intelligence. He was sure 
she was no more than a girl—certainly 
not twenty—and yet she acted with the 
decision of maturity. At the same time 
there was about her that suggestion of a 
wild origin—that something not wholly 
tamed to the dictates of civilized life— 
which persisted in his imagination, even 
if he could not verify it in fact. 

Twice in the course of the morning 
he heard voices. Men spoke to her 
through the open doorway, and she re¬ 
plied. Once he distinguished her words. 


“ Oh no,” she called out to some one 
at a distance. “ I’m not afraid. He 
won’t do me any harm. I’ve got Micmac 
with me. I often stay here all day, but 
I shall go home early. Thanks,” she add¬ 
ed,- in response to some further hint. 
“ I’d rather not have any one here. I 
never can paint unless I’m quite alone.” 

Her tone was light, and Ford fancied 
that as she spoke she smiled at the 
passers-by who had thought it right to 
warn her against himself; but when, a 
few minutes later, she pushed open the 
door softly, the gravity that seemed more 
natural to her had returned. 

“ Several pai*ties of men have gone by,” 
she whispered. “ They have no sus¬ 
picion. They won’t have, if you keep 
still. They think you have slipped away 
from here, and have gone back toward 
the lumber camps. This is your lunch,” 
she continued, hastily, placing more 
food before him. “ It will have to be 
your dinner, too. It will be safer for me 
not to come into this room again to-day. 
You must not go out into the studio 
till you’re sure it’s dark. No noise. No 
light. I’ve put an extra rug on the couch 
in case you’re chilly in the night.” 

She spoke breathlessly, in whispers, 
and having finished, slipped away. 

“ You’re awfully good,” he whispered 
back. “Won’t you tell me your name?” 

“ Hush!” she warned him, as she closed 
the door. 

He stood still in the darkness, leaving 
his food untasted, listening to the soft 
rustle of her movements beyond the wall. 
Except that he heard no more voices, 
the afternoon passed like the morning. 
At the end of what seemed to him inter¬ 
minable hours he knew by acute attention 
that she hung her apron on its peg, put 
on her hat, and took up her basket, while 
Micmac rose and shook himself. Pres¬ 
ently she closed the door of the cabin and 
locked it on the outside. He fancied 
he could almost hear her step as she 
sped over the grass and into the forest. 
Only then did the tension of his nerves 
relax, as, dropping to his chair in the 
darkness, he began to eat. 

CHAPTER IV 

HE two or three days that followed 
were much like the first. Each 
morning she came early, bringing him 




340 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


food, and such articles of clothing as 
she thought he could wear. By de¬ 
grees she provided him with a complete 
change of raiment, and though the fit 
was tolerable, they laughed together at 
the transformation produced in him. 
It was the first time he had seen her 
smile, and even in the obscurity of the 
inner room where she still kept him 
secluded he noted the vividness with 
which her habitually grave features 
lighted up. Micmac, too, became 
friendly, inferring with the instinct 
of his race that Ford was an object to 
be guarded. 

“No one would know you now,” the 
girl declared, surveying him with satis¬ 
faction. 

“ Were these things all your father’s ?” 
he asked, with a new attempt to pene¬ 
trate the mystery of her personality. 

“ Yes,” she returned, absently, con¬ 
tinuing her inspection of him. “ They 
were sent to me, and I kept them. I 
never knew why I did; but I suppose it 
was—for this.” 

“ He must have been a tall man,” Ford 
hazarded, again. 

“ Yes, he must have been,” she re¬ 
turned, unwarily. Then, feeling that 
the admission required some explanation, 
she added, with a touch of embarrass¬ 
ment, “ I never saw him—not that I 
can remember.” 

“ Then he died a long time ago ?” 

Her reply came reluctantly, after some 
delay. 

“Not so very long—about four years 
ago now.” 

“ And yet you hadn’t seen him since 
you were a child?” 

“ There were reasons. We mustn’t 
talk. Some one may pass and hear us.” 

He could see that her hurry in finish¬ 
ing the small tasks she had come in to 
perform for him arose not so much from 
precaution as from a desire to escape 
from this particular subject. 

“ I suppose you could tell me his 
name ?” he persisted. 

Her hands moved deftly, producing 
order among the things he had left in 
confusion, but she remained silent. It 
was a silence in which he recognized an 
element of protest, though he ignored it. 

“You could tell me his name?” he 
asked, again. 


“ His name,” she said at last, “ would¬ 
n’t convey anything to you. It wouldn’t 
do you any good to know it.” 

“ It would gratify my curiosity. I 
should think you might do as much as 
that for me.” 

“ I’m doing a great deal for you as it is. 
1 don’t think you should ask for more.” 

Her tone was one of reproach rather 
than of annoyance, and he was left with 
a sense of having committed an indis¬ 
cretion. The consciousness brought with 
it the perception that in a measure he 
was growing used to his position. He 
was beginning to take it for granted that 
this girl should come and minister to 
his wants. She herself did it so simply, 
so much as a matter of course, that the 
circumstance lost much of its strange¬ 
ness. Now and then he could detect 
some confusion in her manner as she 
served him, but he could see too that 
she surmounted it, in view of the fact 
that for him the situation was one of 
life and death. She was clearly not in¬ 
different to elementary social usages; she 
only saw that the case was one in which 
they did not obtain. In his long, unoc¬ 
cupied hours of darkness it distracted 
his thoughts from his own peril to 
speculate about her; and when she ap¬ 
peared his questions were the more blunt 
because of the small opportunity she 
allowed for asking them. 

“ Won’t they miss you at home ?” he 
inquired on the next occasion when she 
entered his cell. 

She paused with a look of surprise. 

“ At home ? Where do you mean ?” 

“ Why—where you live; where your 
mother lives.” 

“ My mother died a few months after 
I was bom.” 

“ Oh ? But even so, you live some¬ 
where, don’t you ?” 

“I do; but they don’t miss me there, 
if that’s what you want to know.” 

“ I was only afraid,” he said, apolo¬ 
getically, “ that you were giving me too 
much of your time.” 

“ I’ve nothing else to do with it. I 
shall be only too glad if I can help you 
to escape.” . 

“ Why ? Why should you care about 
me ?” 

“I don’t,” she said, simply; “at least 
I don’t know that I do.” 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


341 


“ Oh, then you’re helping me just—on 
general principles?” 

“ Quite so.” 

“ Well,” lie smiled, “ mayn’t I ask 
why again?” 

“ Because I don’t like the law.” 

“ You mean that you don’t like the 
law as a whole ?—or—or this law in 
particular?” 

“ I don’t like any law. I don’t like 
anything about it. But,” she added, re¬ 
sorting to her usual method of escape, 
“ we mustn’t talk any more now. Some 
men passed here this morning, and they 
may be coming back. They’ve given up 
looking for you; they are convinced you’re 
up in the lumber camps, but all the same 
we must be careful Aill.” 

He had no further speech with her 
that day, and the next she remained at 
the cabin little more than an hour. 

“ It’s just as well for me not to excite 
curiosity,” she explained to him before 
leaving; “ and you needn’t be uneasy 
now. They’ve stopped the hunt alto¬ 
gether. They say there’s not a spot with¬ 
in a radius of ten miles of Greenport 
that they haven’t searched. It would 
never occur to any one that you could 
be here. Every one knows me; and so 
the thought that I could be helping you 
would be the last in their minds.” 

“ And have you no remorse at betray¬ 
ing their confidence?” 

She shook her head. “ Most of them,” 
she declared, “ are very well pleased to 
think you’ve got away; and even if they 
weren’t I should never feel remorse for 
helping any one to evade the law.” 

“ You seem to have a great objection 
to the law.” 

“ Well, haven’t you?” 

"Yes; but in my case it’s compre¬ 
hensible.” 

“ So it is in mine—if you only knew.” 

“ Perhaps,” he said, looking at her 
steadily, “ this is as good a time as any 
to assure you that the law has done 
me wrong.” 

He waited for her to say something; 
but as she stroked Micmac’s head in 
silence, he continued. 

“ I never committed the crime of which 
they found me guilty.” 

He waited again for some intimation 
of her confidence. 

“ Their string of circumstantial evi¬ 


dence was plausible enough, I admit. 
The only weak point about it was that 
it wasn’t true.” 

Even through the obscurity of his 
refuge he could feel the suspension of 
expression in her bearing, and could im¬ 
agine it bringing a kind of eclipse over 

her eyes. 

“ He was very cruel to you—your 
uncle?—wasn’t he?” she asked at last. 

“ He was very cantankerous; but that 
wouldn’t be a reason for shooting him 
in his sleep—whatever I may have said 
when in a rage.” 

“ I should think it might be.” 

He started. If it were not for the 
necessity of making no noise he would 
have laughed. 

“ Are you so • bloodthirsty— ?” he be¬ 
gan. 

“ Oh no, I’m not; but I should tliink 
it is what a man would do. My father 
wouldn’t have submitted to it. I know 
he killed one man; and he may have 
killed two or three.” 

Ford whistled under his breath. 

“ So that,” he said, after a pause, 
"your objection to the law is—hered¬ 
itary.” 

“ My objection to the law is because 
it is unjust. The world is full of in¬ 
justice,” she added, indignantly, “ and 
the laws men live by create it.” 

“And your aim is to defeat them?” 

“ I can’t talk any more now,” she said, 
reverting to an explanatory tone of voice. 
“ I must go. I’ve arranged everything 
for you for the day. If you are very 
quiet you can sit in the studio and read; 
but you mustn’t look out at the window, 
or even draw back the curtain. If you 
hear a step outside, you must creep in 
here and shut the door. And you need¬ 
n’t be impatient; because I’m going to 
spend the day working out a plan for 
your escape.” 

But when she appeared next morning 
she declined to give details of the plan 
she had in mind. She preferred to work 
it out alone, she said, and give him the 
outlines only when she had settled them. 
It chanced to be a day of drenching sum¬ 
mer rain, and Ford, with a renewed ef¬ 
fort to get some clue to her identity, 
expressed his surprise that she shoidd 
have been allowed to venture out. 

“ Oh, no one worries about what I do,” 


342 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


she said, indifferently. “ I go about as 
I choose.” 

“ So much the better for me,” he 
laughed. “ That’s how you came to be 
wandering on old Wayne’s terrace, just 
in the nick of time. What stumps me 
is the promptness with which you thought 
of stowing me away.” 

“ It wasn’t promptness, exactly. As a 
matter of fact, I had worked the whole 
thing out beforehand.” 

His eyebrows went up incredulously. 
“ For me?” 

“No, not for you; for anybody. Ever 
since my guardian allowed me to build 
the studio—last year—I’ve imagined how 
easy it would be for some—some hunted 
person to stay hidden here, almost in¬ 
definitely. I’ve tried to fancy it, when 
I’ve had nothing better to do.” 

“ You don’t seem to have had any¬ 
thing better to do very often,” he ob¬ 
served, glancing about the cabin. 

“ If you mean that I haven’t painted 
much, that’s quite true. I thought I 
couldn’t do without a studio—till I got 
one. But when I’ve come here, I’m 
afraid it’s generally been to—to indulge 
in day-dreams.” 

“ Day-dreams of helping prisoners to 
escape. It wouldn’t be every girl’s fancy, 
but it’s not for me to complain of that.” 

“ My father would have wanted me 
to do it,” she declared, as if in self¬ 
justification. “ A woman once helped 
him to get out of prison.” 

“ Good for her! Who was she?” 

Having asked the question lightly, in 
a boyish impulse to talk, he was sur¬ 
prised to see her show signs of em¬ 
barrassment. 

She was my mother,” she said, after 
an interval in which she seemed to be 
making up her mind to give the in¬ 
formation. 

In the manifest difficulty she had in 
speaking, Eord sprang to her aid. 

“ That’s like the old story of Gilbert 
a Becket—Thomas a Bucket’s father, 
you know.” 

The historical reference was received 
in silence, as she bent over the small 
task she had in band. 

“ He married the woman who helped 
him out of prison,” Ford went on, for 
her enlightenment. 

She raised her head and faced him. 


“ It wasn’t like the story of Gilbert a 
Becket,” she said, quietly. 

It took some seconds of Ford’s slow 
thinking to puzzle out the meaning of 
this. Even then he might have pondered 
in vain had it not been for the flush 
that gradually overspread her features, 
and brought what he called the wild 
glint into her eyes. When he under¬ 
stood he reddened in his own turn, 
making matters worse. 

“ I beg your pardon,” he stammered. 
“ I never thought—” 

“ You needn’t beg my pardon,” she 
interrupted, speaking with a catch in 
her breath. “ I wanted you to know. . . . 
You’ve asked me so many questions that 
it seemed as if I was ashamed of my 
father and mother when I didn’t an¬ 
swer. . . . I’m not ashamed of them. . . . 
I’d rather you knew. . . . Every one 
does—who knows me.” 

Half unconsciously he glanced up at 
the framed sketches on the chimney- 
piece. Her eyes followed him, and she 
spoke instantly: 

“ You’re quite right. I meant that— 
for them.” 

They were standing in the studio, into 
which she had allowed him to come from 
the stifling darkness of the inner room, 
on the ground that the rain protected 
them against intrusion from outside. 
During their conversation she had been 
placing the easel and arranging the work 
which formed her pretext for being there, 
while Micmac, stretched on the floor, 
with his head between his paws, kept 
a half-sleepy eye on both of them. 

“ Your father was a Canadian, then ?” 
he ventured to ask, as she seated herself 
with a palette in her hand. 

“ lie was a Virginian. My mother 
was the wife of a French-Canadian 
voyageur. I believe she had a strain of 
Indian blood. The voyageurs and their 
families generally have.” 

Having recovered her self-possession, 
she made her statements in the matter- 
of-fact tone she used to hide embarrass¬ 
ment, flicking a little color into the 
sketch before her as she spoke. Ford 
seated himself at a distance, gazing at 
her with a kind of fascination. Here, 
then, was the clue to that something un¬ 
tamed which persisted through all the 
effects of training and education, as a 










THE WILD OLIVE. 


343 


wild flavor will last in a carefully culti¬ 
vated fruit. Ilis curiosity about her was 
so intense that, notwithstanding the dif¬ 
ficulty with which she stated her facts, 
it overcame his prompting to spare her. 

“ And yet,” he said, after a long 
pause, in which he seemed to be assim¬ 
ilating the information she had given 
him—“ and yet I don’t see how that ex¬ 
plains you.” 

“ I suppose it doesn’t—not any more 
than your situation explains you.” 

“ My situation explains me perfectly, 
because I’m the victim of a wrong.” 

“ Well, so am I—in another way. I’m 
made to suffer because I’m the daughter 
of my parents.” 

“ That’s a rotten shame,” he exclaim¬ 
ed, in boyish sympathy. “ It isn’t your 
fault.” 

“ Of course it isn’t,” she smiled, wist¬ 
fully. “ And yet I’d rather suffer with 
the parents I have than be happy with 
any others.” 

“ I suppose that’s natural,” he ad¬ 
mitted, doubtfully. 

“ I wish I knew more about them,” 
she went on, continuing to give light 
touches to the work before her, and now 
and then leaning back to get the effect. 
“ I never understood why my father was 
in prison in Canada.” 

“ Perhaps it was when he killed the 
man,” Ford suggested. 

“No; that was in Virginia—at least 
the first one. His people didn’t like it. 
That was the reason for his leaving home. 
He hated a settled life; and so he wan¬ 
dered away into the northwest of Can¬ 
ada. It was in the days when they first 
began to build the railways there—when 
there were almost no people except the 
trappers and the voyageurs. I was bom 
on the very shores of Hudson Bay.” 

“ But you didn’t stay there ?” 

“No. I was only a very little child— 
not old enough to remember—when my 
father sent me down to Quebec, to the 
Ursuline nuns. He never saw me again. 
I lived with them till four years ago. 
I’m eighteen now.” 

“ Why didn’t he send you to his peo¬ 
ple? Hadn’t he sisters?—or anything 
like that.” 

“ Lie tried to, but they wouldn’t take 
me. They wouldn’t have anything to 
do with me.” 

Vol. CXX.— No. 717.-43 


It was clearly a relief to her to talk 
about herself. He guessed that she 
rarely had an opportunity of opening 
her heart to any one. Not till this 
morning had he seen her in the full light 
of day; and though but an immature 
judge, he fancied her features had set¬ 
tled themselves into lines of reserve and 
pride from which in happier circum¬ 
stances they might have been free. Her 
way of twisting her dark hair—which 
waved over the brows from a central 
jiarting—into the simplest kind of knot 
gave her an air of sedateness beyond 
her years. But what he noticed in her 
particularly was her eyes—not so much 
because they were wild, dark eyes, with 
the peculiar fleeing expression of startled 
forest things, as because of the pleading, 
apologetic look that comes into the eyes 
of forest things when they stand at bay. 
It was when—for seconds only—the pupils 
shone with a jet-like blaze that he caught 
what he called the non-Aryan effect; but 
that glow died out quickly, leaving some¬ 
thing of the fugitive appeal which Haw¬ 
thorne saw in the eyes of Beatrice Cenci. 

“ He offered his sisters a great deal 
of money,” *she sighed, “ but they would¬ 
n’t take me.” 

“ Oh ? So he had money ?” 

“ He was one of the first Americans 
to make money in the Canadian north¬ 
west ; but that was after my mother died. 
She died in the snow, on a journey— 
like that sketch above the fireplace. I’ve 
been told that it changed my father’s 
life. He had been what they call wild 
before that—but he wasn’t so any more. 
He grew very hard-working and serious. 
He was one of the pioneers of that coun¬ 
try—one of the very first to see its pos¬ 
sibilities. That was how he made his 
money; and when he died he left it to 
me. I believe it’s a good deal.” 

“ Didn’t you hate being in the con¬ 
vent?” he asked, suddenly. “I should.” 

“ N-no; not exactly. I wasn’t un¬ 
happy. The Sisters were kind to me. 
Some of them spoiled me. It wasn’t un¬ 
til after my father died, and I began to 
realize—who I was, that I grew restless. 
I felt I should never be happy until I 
was among people of my own kind.” 

“And how did you get there?” 

She smiled faintly to herself before 
answering. 


344 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


“ I never did. There are no people 
of my kind.” 

Embarrassed by the stress she seemed 
inclined to lay on this circumstance, he 
grasped at the first thought that might 
divert her from it. 

“So you live with a guardian! Plow 
do you like that ?” 

“ I should like it well enough if he 
did—that is, if his wife did. You see,” 
she tried to explain, “ she’s very sweet 
and gentle, and all that, but she’s de¬ 
voted to the proprieties of life, and I 
seem to represent to her—its impro¬ 
prieties. I know it’s a trial to her to 
keep me, and so, in a way, it’s a trial to 
me to stay.” 

“Why do you stay, then?” 

“For one reason, because I can’t help 
myself. I have to do what the law 
tells me.” 

“ I see. The law again !” 

“Yes; the law again. But I’ve other 
reasons besides that.” 

“Such as—?” 

“ Well, I’m very fond of their little 
girl, for one thing. She’s the greatest 
darling in the world, and the only crea¬ 
ture, except my dog, that loves me.” 

“What’s her name?” 

The question drove her to painting 
with closer attention to her work. Ford 
followed something of the progress of 
her thought by watching the just per¬ 
ceptible contraction of her brows into a 
little frown, and the setting of her lips 
into a curve of determination. They 
were handsome lips, mobile and sensi¬ 
tive—lips that might easily have been 
disdainful had not the inner spirit soft¬ 
ened them with a tremor—or it might 
have been a light—of gentleness. 

“ It isn’t worth while to tell you that,” 
she said, after long reflection. “ It will 
be safer for you in the end not to know 
any of our names at all.” 

“ Still—if I escape—I should like to 
know them.” 

“If you escape you may be able to 
find out.” 

“ Oh, well,” he said, with assumed in¬ 
difference, “ since you don’t want to 
tell me—” 

Going on with her painting, she al¬ 
lowed the subject to drop; but to him 
the opportunity for conversation was too 
rare a thing to neglect. Not only was 


his youthful impulse toward social self- 
expression normally strong, but his pleas¬ 
ure in talking to a lady—a girl—was un¬ 
deniable. Sometimes in his moments of 
solitary meditation he said to himself 
that she was “ not his type of girl ”; but 
the fact that he had been deprived of 
feminine society for nearly three years 
made him ready to fall in love with 
any one. If he did not precisely fall in 
love with this girl, it was only because 
the situation precluded sentiment; and 
yet it was pleasant to sit and watch 
her paint, and even torment her with 
his questions. 

“ So the little girl is one reason for 
your staying here. What’s another?” 

She betrayed her own taste for social 
communion by the readiness with which 
she answered him. 

“ I don’t know that I ought to tell you 
that; and yet I might as well. It’s just 
this: they’re not very well off—so I can 
help. Naturally I like that.” 

“ You can help by footing the bills. 
That’s all very fine if you enjoy it, but 
everybody wouldn’t.” 

“ They would if they were in my posi¬ 
tion,” she insisted. “ When you can help 
in any way it gives you a sense of being 
of use to some one. I’d rather that peo¬ 
ple needed me, even if they didn’t want 
me, than that they shouldn’t need me 
at all.” 

“ They need your money,” he declared, 
with a young man’s outspokenness. 
“ That’s what.” 

“ But that’s something, isn’t it ? When 
you’ve no place in the world you’re glad 
enough to get one, even if you have to 
buy it. My guardian and his wife 
mayn’t care much to have me, but it’s 
some satisfaction to lmoiv that they’d 
get along much worse if I weren’t here.” 

“ So should I,” he laughed. “ What 
I’m to do when I’m turned adrift with¬ 
out you, Heaven only knows. It’s cu¬ 
rious—the effect imprisonment has on 
you. It takes away your self-reliance. 
It gives you a helpless feeling, like a 
baby. You want to be free—and yet 
you’re almost afraid of the open air.” 

He was so much at home with her 
now that, sitting carelessly astride of 
his chair, with his arms folded on 
the back, he felt a fraternal element 
in their mutual relation. She bent 



THE TWO DEATHS. 


345 


more closely over her work, and spoke 
without looking up. 

“ Oh, you’ll get along all right. 
You’re that sort.” 

■ “ That’s easy to say.” 

“ You may find it easy to do.” Her 
next words, uttered while she continued 
to flick color into her sketch, caused him 
to jump with astonishment. “ I’d go 
to the Argentine.” 

“ Why not say the moon ?” 

“ For one reason, because the moon 
is inaccessible.” 

“ So is the Argentine—for me.” 

“ Oh no, it isn’t. Other people have 
reached it.” 

“ Yes; but they weren’t in my fix.” 

“ Some of them were probably in 
worse.” 

There was a pause, during which 
she seemed absorbed in her work, while 
Ford sat meditatively whistling under 
his breath. 

“ What put the Argentine into your 
head?” he asked at last. 

“ Because I happen to know a good 
deal about it. Everybody says it’s the 
country of new opportunities. I know 
people wlio’ve lived there. The little 
girl I was speaking of just now—whom 
I’m so fond of—was born there. Her 
father is dead since then, and her mother 
is married again.” 

He continued to meditate, emitting 
the same tuneless, abstracted sound, just 
above his breath. 

“ I know the name of an American 


firm out there,” she went on. “ It’s 
Stephens & Jarrott. It’s a very good 
firm to work for. I’ve often heard that. 
And Mr. Jarrott has helped ever so many 
—stranded people.” 

“ I should be just his sort, then.” 

His laugh, as he sprang to his feet, 
seemed to dismiss an impossible subject; 
and yet as he lay on his couch that eve¬ 
ning in the lampless darkness the name 
of Stephens & Jarrott obtruded itself 
into his visions of this girl, who stood 
between him and peril because she “ dis¬ 
liked the law.” He wondered how far it 
was dislike, and how far jealous pain. 
In her eagerness to buy the domestic 
place she had not inherited she reminded 
him of something he had read—or 
heard—of the wild olive being grafted 
into the olive of the orchard. Well, that 
would come in the natural course of 
events. Some fine fellow, worthy to be 
her mate, would see to it. He was not 
without a pleasant belief that in hap¬ 
pier circumstances he himself might have 
had the qualifications for the task. He 
wondered again what her name was. He 
ran through the catalogue of the names 
he himself would have chosen for a 
heroine—Gladys, • Ethel, Mildred, Mil- 
licent!—none of them seemed to suit 
her. He tried again. Margaret, Bea¬ 
trice, Lucy, Joan! Joan possibly—or, 
he said to himself, in the last inconse¬ 
quential thoughts as he fell asleep, it 
might be—the Wild Olive. 

[to be continued.] 


The Two Deaths 

BY EDITH M. THOMAS 

T HEY stopped the clock the hour he died. 

And they quenched the candle’s flame. 

But the dawn came up the earth’s steep side „ . . . 
And the hours run on the same. 

They stopped the clock, they quenched the light, 
And into the house the mourners came. 

How could they know two died that night? . . . . 
And the hours run on the same. 




The New Science of Animal Behavior 

BY JOHN B. WATSON 

Professor of Experimental and Comparative Psychology, Johns Hopkins University 


A FEW decades ago we heard much 
of the new science of experimental 
psychology. The “ new psychol¬ 
ogy,” as it was called, flourished vigor¬ 
ously and supplanted its rival, the older, 
speculative or metaphysical type. In its 
infancy this science had as its province 
the experimental analysis of the human 
mind. As time went on it became evi¬ 
dent that the human mind, like the hu¬ 
man body, had passed through develop¬ 
mental stages before reaching its present 
relatively high stage of perfection. If 
this is true—and there can no longer be 
a doubt of it—it becomes as necessary 
to study the minds of animals as it is 
to study the human mind. This new 
branch of experimental psychology is 
called animal psychology or animal be¬ 
havior. The latter term is probably the 
preferable one, since many biologists are 
studying the behavior of animals, and 
some of them, being ignorant of the aims 
and methods of experimental psychology, 
object to any naming of the field wfliich 
would imply that its workers are in. any 
measure psychologists. The subject is large 
enough, however, for both the psychol¬ 
ogist and the biologist. The goal of both 
is the same—the right understanding of 
all the factors which enter into the de¬ 
velopment of human life. 

Not later than ten years ago our knowl¬ 
edge of the behavior of animals con¬ 
sisted largely of the chance observations 
made by naturalists and of the anecdotes 
which the lovers of animals had recorded 
about their own pets or the pets of their 
neighbors. The status of animal psychol¬ 
ogy at that time was similar to that of 
physics when the latter science concerned 
itself with the question as to whether 
the sun revolved daily around the earth. 
The older naturalists, by the mistaken 
way in which they carried on their ob- 
servations, gave us what has aptly been 
called a supranormal psychology of ani¬ 


mals. If a cat, which has been shut up 
in a room while its mistress is away, 
goes to the window and turns a button, 
thereby permitting the window to swing 
open, what more natural on the part of 
the mistress when she returns and finds 
the cat gone and discovers the mode of 
exit than to assume that the cat under¬ 
stood the relation existing between the 
button and the window and reasoned 
that if it turned the button the window 
would swing open? And when this anec¬ 
dote comes to the ear of the naturalist, 
why does he not have the right to gen¬ 
eralize upon this single incident and 
conclude that “ reasoning ” is a part of 
the cat’s mental equipment ? Or, if the 
squirrel during the time of plenty buries 
a store of nuts, and when the time of 
scarcity comes goes and scratches them 
up, why not assume that the squirrel “ re¬ 
members ” that he buried the nuts in such 
and such places, and realizes that if he 
goes to these spots he can again find 
food ? Again, if one of these naturalists 
were asked whether or not animals have 
color vision, the reply would be: “ Cer¬ 
tainly. Is not the bull angered by the 
flaunting of a red rag? Does not the 
female bird select her mate by reason of 
his attractive plumage ? Why else, from 
an evolutionary standpoint, should the 
males put on their gaudy plumage in 
the mating season?” 

Gradually, in the course of time, after 
a sufficient number of such observations 
were at hand, there appeared numerous 
books, which took as their subject-matter 
the mental life of animals. Animals 
high and low in the zoological scale were 
accredited with all the sensations which 
mail possesses, and with many which 
man does not possess. It was affirmed 
in these books that animals consciously 
remember their past acts; that they have 
emotions similar in most respects to 
those displayed by man. It was even 


A Voice in the Forest 


BY MADISON ■ CAWEIN 

I HEARD a voice in the forest 

When the world was thrilled with morn; 
And its sound was the sound of waking 
And vision a moment born. 

And it said to my soul, “ Behold me! 

But let thy heart beware: 

For I am she, the deity, 

Who slays men with despair.” 

And I opened my eyes and saw her, 

As Actseon saw of old; 

The perilous virgin presence, 

With the gaze of green and gold. 

As Action saw I saw her, 

White-limbed of the wind and light,— 

And the hound-like sense of that insolence 
Pursues me day and night. 

I heard a voice in the forest 

When the earth was hushed with eve; 

And its sound was the sound of slumber 
And dreams that none perceive. 

And it called to my soul, “ Behold me! 

But let one look suffice: 

For I am she, the divinity, 

Whom none shall gaze on twice.’’ 

And I looked as looked Endymion, 

And saw her glimmering there, 

With limbs of pearl and shimmer, 

A crescent in her hair. 

As Endymion saw I saw her,— 

Like the moon on Tempe’s streams,— 

And the light of her look and the kiss I took 
Have blinded my soul with dreams. 







The Wild Olive 


By the Author of 

CHAPTER V 

A S the days passed, one much like an- 

l\ other, and the retreat seemed more 
and more secure, it was natural 
that Ford’s thoughts should dwell less 
on his own danger and more on the 
girl who filled his immediate horizon. 
The care with which she foresaw his 
wants, the ingenuity with which she met 
them, the dignity and simplicity with 
which she carried herself through in¬ 
cidents that to a less delicate tact must 
have been difficult, would have excited 
his admiration in any case, even if the 
namelessness which helped to make her 
an impersonal element in the episode 
had not stirred his imagination. He was 
obliged to remind himself often that she 
was “ not his type of woman,” in order 
to confine his heart within the limits 
which the situation imposed. 

It worried him, therefore, it even hurt 
him, that in spite of all the openings 
he had given her, she had never offered 
him a sign of her belief in his innocence. 
For this reason he took the first occasion 
when she was seated at her easel, with 
the dog lying at her feet, to lay his case 
before her. 

He told her of his overindulged boy¬ 
hood, as the only child of a wealthy 
New York merchant. He outlined his 
profitless years at the university, where 
a too free use of money had hindered 
work. He narrated the disasters that 
had left him at the age of two-and-twenty 
to begin life for himself—his father’s 
bankruptcy, followed by the death of 
both his parents within the year. He had 
been eager to start in at the foot of the 
ladder and work his way upward, when 
the proposal was made which proved fatal. 

Old Chris Ford, his great-uncle, known 
throughout the Adirondack region as 
“ the lumber king,” had offered to take 
him, train him to the lumber business, 
and make him his heir. An eccentric, 
childless widower, commonly believed to 


“The Inner Shrine” 

have broken his wife’s heart by sheer 
bitterness of tongue, old Chris Ford was 
hated, feared, and flattered by the rela¬ 
tives and time-servers who hoped ulti¬ 
mately to profit by his favor. Norrie 
Ford neither flattered nor feared his 
powerful kinsman, but he hated him with 
the best. His own instincts were city 
born and bred. He was conscious, too. 
of that aptitude with which the typical 
New-Yorker is supposed to come into 
being—the capacity to make money. He 
would have preferred to make it on his 
own ground and in his own way; and 
had it not been for the counsels of those 
who wished him well, he would have re¬ 
plied to his great-uncle’s offer with a 
courteous No. Wiser heads than his 
pointed out the folly of such a course 
as that; and so, reluctantly, he entered 
on his apprenticeship. 

In the two years that followed he could 
not see what purpose he served other 
than that of a mark for the old man’s 
poisoned wit. He was taught nothing, 
and paid nothing, and given nothing to 
do. He slept under his great-uncle’s roof 
and ate at his table, but the sharp tongue 
made the bed hard to lie on and the 
bread difficult to swallow. Idleness re¬ 
awakened the propensity to vicious hab¬ 
its which he thought he had outlived, 
while the rough society of the lumber 
camps, in which he sought to relieve the 
tedium of time, extended him the wel¬ 
come which Falstaff and his comrades 
gave Prince Hal. 

The revolt of his self-respect was on 
the eve of bringing this phase of his 
existence to an end, when the low farce 
turned into tragedy.. Old Chris Ford 
was found dead in his bed—shot in his 
sleep. On the premises there had been 
but three persons, one of whom must 
have committed the crime—Norrie Ford, 
and Jacob and Amalia Gramm. Jacob 
and Amalia Gramm had been the old 
man’s servants for thirty years. Their 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


531 


faithfulness put them beyond suspicion. 
The possibility of their guilt, having 
been considered, was dismissed with few 
formalities. The conviction of Norrie 
Eord became easy after that—the more 
respectable people of the neighborhood 
being agreed that from the evidence 
presented no other deduction could be 
drawn. The very fact that the old man, 
by his provocation of the lad, so thor¬ 
oughly deserved, his fate made the man¬ 
ner in which he met with it the clearer. 
Even Norrie Ford’s friends, the hunters 
and the lumbermen, admitted as much 
as that, though they were determined 
that he should never suffer for so merito¬ 
rious an act, as long as they could give 
him a fighting chance for freedom. 

The girl listened to Ford’s narrative 
with some degree of interest, though it 
contained nothing new to her. She 
coidd not have lived at Greenport dur¬ 
ing the period of his trial without being 
familiar with it all. But when he came 
to explanations in his own defence she 
followed listlessly. Though she leaned 
back in her chair, and courteously stopped 
painting, while he talked so earnestly, 
the light in her eyes faded to a lustre¬ 
less gleam, like that of the black pearl, 
Llis perception that her thoughts were 
wandering gave him a queer sensation 
of speaking into a medium in which 
his voice could not carry, cutting short 
his arguments, and bringing him to 
his conclusion more hurriedly than he 
had intended. 

“ I wanted you to know I didn’t do it,” 
he finished, in a tone which begged for 
some expression of her belief, “ because 
you’ve done so much to help me.” 

“ Oh, but I should have helped you 
just the same, whether you had done it 
or not.” 

“ But I suppose it makes some differ¬ 
ence to you,” he cried, impatiently, “ to 
know that I didn’t.” 

“ I suppose it would,” she admitted, 
slowly, “ if I thought much about it.” 

“Well, won’t you think?” he pleaded— 
“just to oblige me.” 

“Perhaps I will, when you’re gone; 
but at present I have to give my mind 
to getting you away. It was to talk 
about that that I came this morning.” 

Had she wanted to slip out of giving 
an opinion on the subject of his guilt. 


she could not have found a better exit. 
The means of his ultimate escape en¬ 
grossed him even more than the theme 
of his innocence. When she spoke again 
all his faculties were concentrated into 
one keen point of attention. 

“ I think the time has come for you 
to—go.” 

If her voice trembled on the last word, 
he did not notice it. The pose of his 
body, the lines of his face, the glint of his 
gray eyes, were alive with interrogation. 

“Go?” he asked, just audibly. 
“When?” 

“ To-morrow.” 

“How?” 

“ I’ll tell you that then.” 

“ Why can’t you tell me now ?” 

“ I could if I were sure you wouldn’t 
raise objections; but I know you will.” 

“ Then there are objections to be 
raised ?” 

“ There are objections to everything. 
There’s no plan of escape that won’t ex¬ 
pose you to a good many risks. I’d 
rather you didn’t see them in advance.” 

“ But isn’t it well to be prepared 
beforehand ?” 

“You’ll have plenty of time for prep¬ 
aration—after you’ve started. If that 
seems mysterious to you now, you’ll 
know what I mean by it when I come 
to-morrow. I shall be here in the after¬ 
noon, at six.” 

With this information Ford was 
obliged to be content, spending a sleep¬ 
less night and an impatient day, waiting 
for the time appointed. 

She came punctually. For the first 
time she was not followed by her dog. The 
only change in her appearance he cordd 
see was a short skirt of rough material 
instead of her usual linen or muslin. 

“ Are we going through the woods ?” 
he asked. 

“ Hot far. I shall take you by the 
trail that led to this spot before I built 
the cabin and made the path.” As she 
spoke she surveyed him. “ You’ll do,” 
she smiled at last. “ In those flannels, 
and with your beard, no one would 
know you for the Norrie Ford of three 
weeks ago.” 

It was easy for him to ascribe the glow 
in her eyes and the quiver in her voice 
to the excitement of the moment; for 
he could see that she had the spirit of 



532 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 




adventure. Perhaps it was to conceal 
some embarrassment under his regard 
that she spoke again, hurriedly. 

“ We’ve no time to lose. You need¬ 
n’t take anything from here. We’d bet¬ 
ter start.” 

He followed her over the threshold, 
and as she turned to lock the cabin 
he had time to throw a glance of fare¬ 
well over the familiar hills, now trans¬ 
muted into a haze of amethyst under 
the westering sun. A second later he 
heard her quick “ Come on!” as she 
struck into the barely perceptible path 
that led upward, around the shoulder of 
the mountain. 

They came out suddenly on a rocky 
terrace, beneath which, a mile below, 
Champlain was spread out in great part 
of its length, from the dim bluff of 
Crown Point to the far-away, cloud-like 
mountains of Canada. 

“ You can sit down a minute here,” 
she said, as he came up. 

They found seats among the low scat¬ 
tered boulders, but neither spoke. It was 
a moment at which to understand the 
jewelled imagery of the Seer of the 
Apocalypse. Jasper, jacinth, chalcedony, 
emerald, chrysoprasus, were suggested by 
the still bosom of the lake, towered round 
by light-reflecting mountains. The triple 
tier of the Vermont shore was bottle- 
green at its base, indigo in the middle 
height, while its summit was a pale 
undulation of evanescent blue against 
the jade and topaz of the twilight. 

“ The steamer Empress of Erin,” the 
girl said, with what seemed like abrupt¬ 
ness, “ will sail from Montreal on the 
28th, and from Quebec on the 29th. 
Erom Rimouski, at the mouth of the river 
St. Lawrence, she will sail on the 30th, 
to touch nowhere else till she reaches 
Ireland. You will take her at Rimouski.” 

There was a silence, during which he 
tried to absorb this startling information. 

“ And from here to Rimouski ?” he 
asked at last. 

“ From here to Rimouski,” she re¬ 
plied, with a gesture toward the lake, 
“ your way is there.” 

There was another silence, while his 
eyes travelled the long, rainbow-colored 
lake, up to the faint line of mountains, 
where it faded into a mist of bluish- 
green and gold. 


“ I see the way,” he said then, “ but 
1 don't see the means of taking it.” 

“ You’ll find that in good time. In 
the mean while you’d better take this.” 
From her jacket she drew a paper, which 
she passed to him. “ That’s your ticket. 
You’ll see,” she laughed, apologetically, 
“ that I’ve taken for you what they call 
a suite, and I’ve done it for this reason. 
They’re keeping a lookout for you on 
every tramp ship from New York, on 
every cattle-ship from Boston, and on 
every grain-ship from Montreal; but 
they’re not looking, for you in the most 
expensive cabins of the most expensive 
liners. They know you’ve no money; 
and if you get out of the country at 
all, they expect it will be as a stoker 
or a stowaway. They’ll never think 
you’re driving in cabs and staying at the 
best hotels.” 

“ But I sha’n’t be,” he said, simply. 

“ Oh yes, you will. You’ll need 
money, of course; and I’ve brought 
it. You’ll need a good deal; so I’ve 
brought plenty.” 

She drew out a pocketbook and held 
it toward him. He looked at it, redden¬ 
ing. but made no attempt to take it. 

“ I can’t—I can’t—go as far as that,” 
he stammered, hoarsely. 

“ You mean,” she returned, quickly, 
“ that you hesitate to take money from 
a woman. I thought you might. But 
.it isn’t from a woman; it’s from a man. 
It’s from my father. He would have liked 
to do it. He would have wanted me to 
do it. They keep putting it in the bank 
for me—just to spend—but I never need 
it. What can I do with money in a place 
like Greenport? Here, take it,” she 
urged, thrusting it into his hands. 
“ You know very well it isn’t a matter 
of choice, but of life or death.” 

With her own fingers she clasped his 
upon it, drawing back and coloring at 
her boldness. 

“ They’ll expect you at Rimouski, be¬ 
cause your luggage will already have gone 
on board at Montreal. Yes,” she con¬ 
tinued, in reply to his astonishment, 
“ I’ve forwarded all the trunks and 
boxes that came to me from- my father. 
I told my guardian I was sending them 
to he stored—and I am, for you’ll store 
them for me in London when you’ve 
done with them. Here are the keys.” 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


533 


He made no attempt to refuse them, 
and she hurried on. 

“ I sent the trunks for two reasons; 
first because there might be things in 
them you could use till you got some¬ 
thing better; and then I wanted to 
prevent suspicion arising from your 
sailing without luggage. Every little 
thing of that sort counts. The trunks 
have ‘ H. S.’ painted in white let¬ 
ters on them; so that you will have 
no difficulty in knowing them at sight. 
I’ve put a name with the same in¬ 
itials on the ticket. You’d better use 
it till you feel it safe to take your 
own again.” 

“ What name ?” he asked, with eager 
curiosity, beginning to take the ticket 
out of its envelope. 

“ Never mind now,” she said, quickly. 
“ It’s just a name—any name. You can 
look at it afterward. We’d better go on.” 

She made as though she would move, 
but he detained her. 

“ Wait a minute. So your name be¬ 
gins with S!” 

“ Like a good many others,” she smiled. 

“ Then tell me what it is. Don’t let 
me go away without knowing it. You 
can’t think what it means to me.” 

“ I should think you’d see what it 
means to me.” 

“ I don’t. What harm can it do you ?” 

“ If you don’t see, I’m afraid I can’t 
explain. To be nameless is—how shall 
I say it?—a sort of protection to me. 
In helping you, and taking care of you, 
I’ve done what almost any really nice 
girl would have shrunk from. There are 
plenty of people who would say it was 
wrong. And in a way—a way I could 
never make you understand, unless you 
understand already—it’s a relief to me 
that you don’t know who I am. And 
even that isn’t evervthing.” 

“ Well—what else ?” 

“ When this little episode is over ”— 
her voice trembled, and it was not with¬ 
out some effort that she was able to 
begin again —“ when this little episode 
is over, it will he better for us both 
—for you as well as for me—to know 
as little about it as possible. The dan¬ 
ger isn’t past by any means; but it’s 
a kind of danger in which ignorance 
can be made to look a good deal like in¬ 
nocence. I slia’n’t know anything about 


you after you’ve gone, and you know 
nothing whatever about me.” 

“ That’s what I complain of. Suppose 
I pull the thing off, and make a success 
of myself somewhere else, how should I 
communicate with you again ?” 

“ Why should you communicate with 
me at all?” 

“ To pay you back your money, for 
one thing—” 

“ Oh, that doesn’t matter.” 

“ Perhaps it doesn’t from your point 
of view; but it does from mine. But it 
wouldn’t be my only reason in any case.” 

Something in his voice and in his eyes 
warned her to rise and interrupt him. 

“ I’m afraid we haven’t time to talk 
about it now,” she said, hurriedly. “ We 
really must be going on.” 

“ I’m not going to talk about it now,” 
he declared, rising in his turn. “ I said it 
would be a reason for my wanting to com¬ 
municate with you again. I shall want to 
tell you something then; though perhaps 
by that time you won’t want to hear it.” 

“ Hadn’t we better wait and see?” 

“ That’s what I shall have to do; but 
how can I come back to you at all if I 
don’t know who you are ?” 

“ I shall have to leave that to your inge¬ 
nuity,” she laughed, with an attempt to 
treat the matter lightly. “ In the mean 
time we must hurry on. It’s absolutely ne¬ 
cessary that you should set out by sunset.” 

She glided into the invisible trail run¬ 
ning down the lakeside slope of the 
mountain, so that he was obliged to fol¬ 
low her. As they had climbed up. so 
they descended—the girl steadily and si¬ 
lently in advance. The region was dotted 
with farms, but she kept to the shelter 
of the woodland till, before he expected 
it, they found themselves at the water’s 
edge. A canoe drawn up in a cove gave 
him the first clear hint of her intentions. 

It was a pretty little cove, enclosed by 
two tiny headlands, forming a miniature 
landlocked bay, hidden from view of the 
lake beyond. Trees leaned over it and 
into it, while the canoe rested on a yard- 
long beach of sand. 

“ 1 see,” he remarked, after she had 
allowed him to take his own observations. 
“ You want me to go over to Burlington, 
and catch a train to Montreal.” 

She shook her head, smiling, as he 
thought, rather tremulously. 


534 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


“ I’m afraid I’ve planned a much 
longer journey for you. Come and see 
the preparations I’ve made.’’ They 
stepped to the side of the canoe, so as to 
look down into it. “ That,” she pursued, 
pointing to a small suit-case forward of 
the middle thwart, “ will enable you to 
look like an ordinary traveller after you’ve 
landed. And that,” she added, indicating 
a package in the stern, “ contains nothing 
more nor less than sandwiches. Those are 
bottles of mineral water. The small ob¬ 
jects are a corkscrew, a glass, a railway 
time-table, a cheap compass, and a cheaper 
watch. In addition you’ll find a map 
of the lake, which you can consult to¬ 
morrow morning, after you’ve paddled 
all night through the part with which 
you’re most familiar.” 

“ Where am I going?” he asked, husk¬ 
ily, avoiding her eyes. The nonchalance 
of her tone had not deceived him, and 
he thought it well not to let their 
glances meet. 

“ You’ll keep to the middle of the lake 
and go on steadily. You’ll have all 
Champlain to yourself to-night, and in 
daylight there’s no reason why you 
shouldn’t pass for an ordinary sportsman. 
All the same, you had better rest by day, 
and go on again in the evening. You’ll 
find lots of little secluded coves where 
you can pull up the canoe and be quite 
undisturbed. I’d do that, if I were you, 
as soon as.I saw the steamers beginning 
to run in the morning.” 

He nodded to show that he under¬ 
stood her. 

“ When you look at the map,” she went 
on, “you’ll find that I’ve traced a route 
for you, after you get above Plattsburg. 
You’ll see that it will take you past the 
little Erench-Canadian village of Deux 
Etoiles. You can’t mistake it, because 
there’s a lighthouse, with a revolving 
light, on a rock, just off the shore. You’ll 
be in Canada then. You’d better time 
yourself to go by about nightfall.” 

He nodded his agreement with her 
again, and she continued. 

“ About a mile above the lighthouse, 
and close in hv the eastern shore, just 
where the lake becomes very narrow, there 
are two little islands lying close together. 
You’ll take them as a landmark, because 
immediately opposite them, on the main¬ 
land, there’s a stretch of forest running 


for a good many miles. There you can 
land finally. You must drag the canoe 
right up into the wood, and hide it as 
well as you can. It’s my own canoe, 
so that it can lie there till it drops to 
pieces. Is all that quite clear to you?” 

Once more he nodded, not trusting 
himself to speak. Again the sight of his 
emotion braced her to make her tone 
more matter-of-fact than ever. 

“ Now, then,” she went on, “ if you 
consult the map you’ll see that an old 
wood road runs through the forest, and 
comes out at the station of Saint Jean 
du Clou Noir. There you can get a 
train to Quebec. . . . The road begins 
nearly opposite the two little islands I 
spoke of. ... I don’t think you’ll have 
any difficulty in finding it. . . . It’s about 
seven miles to the station. . . .You could 
walk that easily enough through the 
night. . . . I’ve marked a very good 
train on the time-table—a train that 
stops at Saint Jean du Clou Noir at 
seven thirty-five . . 

A choking sensation w r amed her to 
stop, but she retained the power to smile. 
The sun had set, and the slow northern 
night was beginning to close in. Across 
the lake the mountains of Vermont were 
receding into deep purple uniformity, 
while over the crimson of the west a 
veil of filmy black was falling, as though 
dropped in mid-flight by the angel of the 
dark. Here and there through the dead- 
turquoise green of the sky one could 
detect the pale glimmer of a star. 

“ You must go now,” she whispered. 
He began to move the canoe into the 
water. 

“ I haven’t thanked you,” he began, 
unsteadily, holding the canoe by the bow, 
“ because you wouldn’t let me. As a mat¬ 
ter of fact, I don’t know how to do it— 
adequately. But if I live at all, my life 
will belong to you. That’s all I can say. 
My life will be a thing for you to dis¬ 
pose of. If you ever have need of it—” 

“ I sha’n’t have,” she said, hastily, “ but 
I’ll remember what you say.” 

“Thanks; that’s all I ask. For the 
present I can only hope for the chance 
of making my promise good.” 

She said nothing in reply, and after 
a minute’s silence he entered the canoe. 
She steadied it herself to allow him to 
step in. It was not till he had done so 



Drawn by Lucius W, Hitchcock 

HIS BOAT WAS ALREADY LITTLE MORE THAN A SPECK ON THE WATERS 




















THE WILD OLIVE. 


535 


and Lad knelt down with the paddle in 
his hand that, moved by a sudden im¬ 
pulse, she leaned to him and kissed him. 
Then, releasing the light craft, she al¬ 
lowed it to glide out like a swan on the 
tiny bay. In three strokes of the paddle 
it had passed between the low, enclosing 
headlands and was out of sight. When 
she summoned up strength to creep to an 
eminence commanding the lake, it was 
already little more than a speck, mov¬ 
ing rapidly northward, over the opal- 
tinted waters. 

CHAPTER VI 

N finding himself alone, and rela¬ 
tively free, Eord’s first sensation 
was one of insecurity. Having lived 
for more than a year under orders and 
observation, he had lost for the moment 
some of his natural confidence in his 
own initiative. Though he struck reso¬ 
lutely up the lake he was aware of an 
inner bewilderment, bordering on phys¬ 
ical discomfort, at being his own master. 
For the first half-hour he paddled me¬ 
chanically, his consciousness benumbed 
by the overwhelming strangeness of their 
parting. As far as he was able to formu¬ 
late his thought at all he felt himself to 
be in process of a new birth, into a new 
phase of existence. In the darkening of 
the sky above him and of the lake around 
there came upon him something of the 
mental obscurity that might mark the 
passage of a transmigrating soul. After 
the subdued excitement of the past weeks, 
and especially of the past hour, the very 
regularity of his movements now lulled 
him into a passivity only quickened by 
vague fears. The noiseless leaping for¬ 
ward of the canoe beneath him height¬ 
ened his sense of breaking with the past 
and hastening onward into another life. 
In that life he would be a new creature, 
free to be a law unto himself. 

It was not till a steamer crossed his 
bows, not more than a hundred yards 
in front' of him, that he began to appre¬ 
ciate his safety. Under the protection 
of the dark, and in the wide loneliness 
of the waters, he w'as as lost to human 
sight as a bird in the upper air. The 
steamer — zigzagging down the lake, 
touching at little ports now on the west 
bank and now on the east—had shot 
out unexpectedly from behind a point, 


her double row of lights casting a halo 
in which his canoe must have been 
visible on the waves; and yet she had 
passed by and taken no note of him. 

His sigh of relief became almost a 
laugh as he began again to paddle for¬ 
ward. The incident was like a first 
victory, an assurance of victories to 
come. The sense of insecurity with 
which he had started out gave place, 
minute by minute, to the confidence in 
himself which was part of his normal 
state of mind. Other small happenings 
confirmed his self-reliance. Once a pleas¬ 
ure party in a rowboat passed so near 
him that he could hear the splash of 
their oars and the sound of their voices. 
There was something almost miraculous 
to him in being so close to the com¬ 
monplace of human fellowship. Lie had 
the feeling of pleasant inward recog¬ 
nition that comes from hearing one’s 
mother tongue in a foreign land. He 
stopped paddling again, just to catch 
meaningless fragments of their talk, until 
they floated away into silence and dark¬ 
ness. He would have been sorry to have 
them pass out of ear-shot, -were it not 
for his satisfaction in being able to go 
his way unheeded. 

Peace of mind came to him grad¬ 
ually, as the little towns put out their 
lights, and the lake steamers laid up in 
tiny ports, and the rowing-parties went 
home to bed. In the smooth, dark level 
of the lake and in the stars there was 
a soothing quality to which he responded 
before he was aware of doing so. The 
spacious solitude of the summer night 
brought with it a large calmness of out¬ 
look, in which his spirit took a measure 
of comfort. There was a certain bodily 
pleasure, too, in the regular monotony 
of paddling, while his mental faculties 
were kept alert by the necessity of find¬ 
ing points by which to steer, and fixing 
his attention upon them. So, by degrees, 
his limited reasoning powers found them¬ 
selves at work, fumbling, with the help¬ 
lessness of a man whose strong points 
are physical activity and concentration 
of purpose, for some light on the wild 
course on which he was embarked. 

Perhaps his first reflection that had 
the nature of a conclusion or a deduction 
was on the subject of “ old Wayne.” 
Up to the present he had regarded him 



536 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


with special ill will, owing to the fact 
that Wayne, while inclining to a belief 
in his innocence, had nevertheless lent 
himself to the full working of the law. 
It came to Ford now in the light of a 
discovery that, after all, it was not 
Wayne’s fault. Wayne was in the grip 
of forces that deprived him to a large 
extent of the power of voluntary action. 
He could scarcely be blamed if he ful¬ 
filled the duties he was appointed to 
perform. The real responsibility was 
elsewhere. With whom did it lie? Eor 
a primitive mind like Ford’s the question 
was not an easy one to answer. 

For a time he was inclined to call to 
account the lawyers who had pleaded for 
the State. Had it not been for their 
arguments he would have been acquitted. 
With an ingenuity he had never supposed 
to exist they had analyzed his career—• 
especially the two years of it spent with 
Uncle Chris—and shown how it led up 
to the crime as to an inevitable conse¬ 
quence. Certainly, then, the lawyers must 
have been to blame—that is, unless they 
were only carrying out what others had 
hired them to do. 

That qualifying phrase started a new 
train of thought. By a process of elimi¬ 
nation he absolved judge, jury, legal pro¬ 
fession, and local public from the greater 
condemnation. Each had contributed to 
the error that made him an outlaw, but 
no one contributor was the whole of 
the great force responsible. That force, 
which had set its component parts to 
work, and plied them till the worst they 
could do was done, was the body which 
they called Organized Society. To Ford 
Organized Society was a new expression. 
He could not remember ever to have 
heard it till it was used in court. There 
it had been on everybody’s lips. Far 
more than old Chris Ford himself it 
was made to figure as the injured party. 
Though there was little sympathy for the 
victim in his own person, Organized 
Society seemed to have received in his 
death a blow that called for the utmost 
avenging. Organized Society was plain¬ 
tiff in the case, as well as police, jury, 
judge, and public. The single human 
creature who coidd not apparently gain 
footing within its fold was Norrie Ford 
himself. Organized Society had cast 
him out. 


He had been told that before, and yet 
the actual fact had never come home to 
him till now. In prison, in court, in 
the cabin in the woods, there had al¬ 
ways been some human hand within 
reach of his own, some human tie, even 
though it was a chain. However ig¬ 
noble, there had been a place for him. 
But out here on the great vacant lake 
there was an isolation that gave reality 
to his expulsion. The last man left on 
earth would not feel more utterly alone. 

For the first time since the night of 
his escape there came back to him that 
vague feeling of deserting something he 
might have defended, that almost phys¬ 
ical sensation of regret at not having 
stood his ground and fought till he fell. 
He began to understand now what it 
meant. Dip, splash, dip, splash, his 
paddle stirred the dimly shining water, 
breaking into tiny whirlpools the trem¬ 
ulous reflection of the stars. Not for 
an instant did he relax his stroke, though 
the regret took more definitive shape be¬ 
hind him. Convicted and sentenced, he 
was still part of the life of men, just 
as a man whom others are trying to hurl 
from a tower is on the tower till he has 
fallen. He himself had not fallen; he 
had jumped off, while there was still a 
chance of keeping his foothold. 

The reflection gave still another turn 
to his thought. He was passing Bur¬ 
lington by this time—the electric lamps 
throwing broad bands of light along the 
deserted, up - hill streets, between the 
sleeping houses. It was the first city 
he had seen since leaving New York 
to begin his useless career in the moun¬ 
tains. The sight moved him with an 
odd curiosity, not free from a homesick 
longing for normal, simple ways of life. 
He kept the canoe at a standstill, look¬ 
ing hungrily up the empty thoroughfares, 
as a poor ghost may gaze at familiar 
scenes while those it has loved are 
dreaming. By and by the city seemed to 
stir in its sleep. Along the waterside he 
could hear the clatter of some belated 
or too early wayfarer; a weird, inter¬ 
mittent creaking of a wagon told him 
that some energetic farmer was already 
on his way to the town; from a distant 
freight train came the long melancholy 
wail that locomotives give at night; and 
then drowsily, but with the promptness of 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


537 


one conscientious in his duty, a cock crew. 
Eord knew that somewhere, unseen as yet 
by him, the dawn was coming, and— 
again like a wandering ghost—sped on. 

But he had been looking on the tower 
which the children of men had builded, 
and had recognized his desire to clamber 
up into it again. He was not without 
the perception that a more fiery tempera¬ 
ment than his own—-perhaps a nobler 
one—would have cursed the race that 
had done him wrong, and sought to in¬ 
jure it, or shun it. Misty recollections 
of proud-hearted men who had taken 
this stand came back to him. 

“ I suppose I ought to do the same,” 
he muttered to himself, humbly; “ but 
what would be the use when I couldn’t 
keep it up?” 

Understanding himself thus well, his 
purpose became clearer. Like the ant or 
the beaver that has seen its fabric de¬ 
stroyed, he must set patiently to work 
to reconstruct it. He suspected a poor- 
spirited element in this sort of courage; 
but his instinct forced him within his 
limitations. By dint of keeping there 
and toiling there he felt sure of his 
ability to get back to the top of the 
tower in such a way that no one would 
think he lacked the right to be on it. 

But he himself would know it. He 
shrank from that fact with the repug¬ 
nance of an honest nature for what is 
not straightforward; but the matter was 
past helping. He should be obliged to 
play the impostor everywhere and with 
every one. ILe would mingle with men, 
shake their hands, share their friend¬ 
ships, eat their bread, and accept their 
favors—and deceive them under their 
very noses. Life would become one long 
trick, one daily feat of skill. Any pos¬ 
sible success he could win would lack 
stability, would lack reality, because there 
would be neither truth nor fact behind it. 

From the argument that he was in¬ 
nocent he got little comfort. He had 
forfeited his right to make use of that 
fact any longer. Had he stayed where 
he was he could have shouted it out till 
they gagged him in the death-chair. 
Now he must be dumb on the subject 
forevermore. In his disappearance there 
was an acceptation of guilt which he 
must remain powerless to explain away. 

Many minutes of dull pain passed in 

VoL. CXX.—No. 718.—67 


dwelling on that point. He could work 
neither back from it nor forward. Ilis 
mind could only dwell on it with an 
aching admission of its justice, while he 
searched the sky for the dawn. 

In spite of the crowing of the cock 
he saw no sign of day—unless it was that 
the mountains on the New York shore 
detached themselves more distinctly from 
the sky of which they had seemed to 
form a part. On the Vermont side there 
was nothing hut a heaped-up darkness, 
night piled on night, till the eye reached 
the upper heavens and the stars. 

He paddled on, steadily, rhythmically, 
having no sense of hunger or fatigue, 
while he groped for the clue that was 
to guide him when he stepped on land. 
He felt the need of a moral programme, 
of some pillar of cloud and fire that 
would show him a way he should be 
justified in taking. He expressed it to 
himself by a kind of aspiration which 
he kept repeating, sometimes half aloud. 

“ O Lord, O Holy One! I want to be 
a man!” 

Suddenly he struck the water with so 
violent a dash that the canoe swerved 
and headed landward. 

“ By God!” he muttered, under his 
breath, “ I’ve got it. „ . . It isn’t my 
fault. . . . It’s theirs. . . . They’ve put 
me in this fix. . „ . They’ve brought 
this dodging, and shifting, and squirm¬ 
ing upon me. . . . The subterfuge isn’t 
mine; it’s theirs. . „ . They’ve taken 
the responsibility from me. . . . When 
they strip nje of rights they strip me of 
duties. . . . They’ve forced me where 
right and wrong don’t exist for me any 
more. . . . They’ve pitched me out of 
their Organized Society, and I’ve had to 
go. . . . Now I’m free . . . and I shall 
profit by my freedom.” 

In the excitement of these discoveries 
he smote the waters again. He remem¬ 
bered having said something of the sort 
on the night of his interview with 
Wayne; hut he had not till now grasped 
its significance. It was the emancipa¬ 
tion of his conscience. Whatever dif¬ 
ficulties he might encounter from out¬ 
side, he should be hampered by no 
scruples from within. He had been re¬ 
lieved of them; they had been taken from 
him. Since none had a duty toward 
him, he had no duty toward any. If it 


538 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


suited his purposes to juggle with men, 
the blame must rest upon themselves. 
He could but do his best with the maimed 
existence they had left to him. Self- 
respect would entail observance of the 
common laws of truth and honesty, but 
beyond this he need never allow con¬ 
sideration for another to come before 
consideration for himself. He was ab¬ 
solved from the necessity in advance. In 
the region in which he should pass his 
inner life there would be no occupant 
but himself. Prom the world where men 
and women had ties of love and pity and 
mutual regard they had cast him out, 
forcing him into a spiritual limbo where 
none of these things obtained. It was 
only lawful that he should make use of 
such advantages as his lot allowed him. 

There was exaltation in the way in 
which he grasped this creed as his rule 
of life; and looking up suddenly, he saw 
the dawn. It had taken him unawares, 
stealing like a gray mist of light over 
the tops of the Vermont hills, lifting 
their ridges faintly out of night, like the 
ghosts of so many Titans. Among the 
Adirondacks one high peak caught the 
first glimmer of advancing day, while 
all the lower range remained a gigantic 
silhouette beneath the perceptibly paling 
stars. Over Canada the veil was still 
down, but he fancied he could detect a 
thinner texture to the dai’kness. 

Then, as he passed a wooded head¬ 
land, came a sleepy twitter, from some 
little pink and yellow bill barely with¬ 
drawn from its enfolding ^ing—to be 
followed by another, and another, and an¬ 
other, till both shores were aquiver with 
that plaintive chirrup, half threnody for 
the flying darkness, half welcome to the 
sun, like the praise of a choir of children 
roused to sing midnight matins, but still 
dreaming. Ford’s dip was softer now, 
as though he feared to disturb that 
vibrant drowsiness; but when, later, 
capes and coves began to define them¬ 
selves through the gray gloaming, and, 
later still, a shimmer of saffron appeared 
above the eastern summits, he knew it 
was time to think of a refuge from 
the daylight. 

But the sun was actually in the sky 
when he perceived that he no longer had 
the lake to himself. From a village 
nestling in some hidden cove a rowboat 


pulled out into the open—a fisherman 
after the morning’s catch. It was easy 
enough for Ford to keep at a prudent 
distance; but the companionship caused 
him an uneasiness that was not dis¬ 
pelled before, the first morning steamer 
came pounding from the northward. He 
fixed his attention then on a tiny islet 
some two or three miles ahead. There 
were trees on it, and probably ferns and 
grass. Reaching it, he found himself 
in a portion of the lake forest-banked 
and little frequented. Pastures and fields 
of ripening grain on the most distant 
slopes of Vermont gave the nearest token 
of life. All about him there were soli¬ 
tude and stillness—with the gloriotis, 
bracing beauty of the newly risen day. 

Landing with stiffened limbs, he drew 
up the canoe on a bit of sandy beach, over 
which sturdy old bushes, elder and birch, 
battered by the north winds, leaned in 
friendly, concealing protection. He 
himself would be able to lie down here, 
among the tall ferns and the stunted 
blueberry-scrub, as secluded and secure 
as ever he had been in prison. 

Being hungry and thirsty, he ate and 
drank, consulting his map the while and 
fixing approximately his whereabouts. 
He looked at his little watch and wound 
it, and fingered the pages of the rail¬ 
way guide he found beside it. 

The acts brought up the image of the 
girl who had furnished him with these 
useful accessories to flight. For lack of 
another name he called her the Wild 
Olive—remembering her yearning, not 
wholly unlike his own, to be grafted back 
into the good olive tree of Organized 
Society. With some shame he perceived 
that he had scarcely thought of her 
through the night. It was astounding 
to recollect that not twelve hours ago 
she had kissed him and sent him on his 
journey. To him the gulf between then 
and now was so wide and blank that it 
might have been twelve weeks, or twelve 
months, or twelve years. It had been 
the night of the birth of a new creature, 
of the transmigration of a soul; it had 
no measurement in time, and threw all 
that preceded it into the mists of pre¬ 
natal ages. 

These thoughts passed through his 
mind as he made a pillow for himself 
with his white flannel jacket, and twisted 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


539 


the ferns above it into a shelter from 
the flies. Having done this, he stood 
still and pondered. 

“ Plave I really become a new crea¬ 
ture?” he asked himself. 

There was much in the outward con¬ 
ditions to encourage the fancy, while 
Iris inner consciousness found it easy 
to be credulous. Nothing was left of 
Norrie Ford but the mere flesh and bones 
—the least stable part of personality. 
Norrie Ford was gone—not dead, but 
gone—blasted, annihilated, stamped out 
of existence, by the act of Organized 
Society. In its place the night of transi¬ 
tion had called up some one else. 

(t But who ? . . . Who am I ? . . . 
What am I?” 

Above all, a name seemed required to 
give him entity. It was a repetition 
of his feeling about the Wild Olive— 
the girl in the cabin in the woods. Sud¬ 
denly he remembered that, if he had 
found a name for her, she had also found 
one for him—and that it was written 
on the steamer ticket in his pocket. He 
drew it out, and read: 

“ Herbert Strange.” 

He repeated it at first in dull sur¬ 
prise, and then with disapproval. It 
was not the kind of name he would have 
chosen. It was odd, noticeable—a name 
people would remember. He would have 
preferred something commonplace, such 
as might be found for a column or two 
in any city directory. She had prob¬ 
ably got it from a novel—or made 
it up. Girls did such things. It was 
a pity, but there was no help for it 
now. As Herbert Strange he must go 
on board the steamer, and so he should 
be called until— 

But he was too tired to fix a date 
for the resumption of his own name or 
the taking of another. Flinging him¬ 
self on his couch of moss and trailing 
ground-spruce, with the ferns closing 
over him, and the pines over them, he 
was soon asleep. 

PART II—STRANGE 

CHAPTER VII 

RESSED in overalls that had once 
been white, he was superintend¬ 
ing the stacking of wool in a long 
brick-walled, iron-roofed shed in Buenos 


Ayres, when the thought came to him 
how easy it had all been. He paused for 
a minute in his work of inspection— 
standing by an open window, where a 
whiff of fresh air from off the mud- 
brown Rio de la Plata relieved the 
heavy, greasy smell of the piles of un¬ 
washed wool—just to review again the 
past eighteen months. Below him 
stretched the noisy docks, with their row 
of electric cranes, as regular as a line 
of street lamps, loading or unloading a 
mile of steamers lying broadside on, and 
flying all flags but the Stars and Stripes. 
Wines, silk, machinery, textiles were 
coming out; wheat, cattle, hides, and beef 
were pouring in. In the confusion of 
tongues that reached him he could, on 
occasions, catch the tones of Spaniard, 
Frenchman, Swede, and Italian, together 
with all the varieties of English speech 
from Highland Scotch to Cockney; but 
none of the intonations of his native land. 
The comparative rarity of anything 
American in his city of refuge, while 
it added to his sense of exile, height¬ 
ened his feeling of security. It was still 
another of the happy circumstances that 
had helped him. 

He had leisure for reflection because 
it was the hour for the men’s midday 
meal and siesta. He could see them 
grouped together—some thirty-odd—at 
the far end of the shed—sturdy little 
Italians, black-eyed, smiling, thrifty, 
dirty, and contented to a degree that 
made them incomprehensible to the am¬ 
bitious, upward-toiling American set 
over them. They sat, or lounged, on 
piles of wool, or on the floor, some chat¬ 
tering, most of them asleep. He had 
begun like them. Lie had stacked wool 
under orders till he had made himself 
capable of being in command. He had 
been beneath the ladder; and though 
his foot was only on the lowest rung of 
it even now, he was satisfied to have 
made this first step upward. 

Lie could hardly have explained how 
his decision to try Argentina had become 
fixed. Until he saw whether or not he 
should get successfully ashore at Liver¬ 
pool there was a paralysis of all mental 
effort; but once on the train for London 
his plans appeared before him already 
formed. Within a fortnight he was a 



640 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


second - class passenger on board the 
Royal Mail Steam Packet Parana , bound 
for Buenos Ayres—thus fulfilling, almost 
unexpectedly to himself, the suggestion 
made by the girl in the Adirondack 
cabin, whose star, as he began to believe, 
must rule his fate. 

lie thought of her now and then, but 
always with the same curious sense of 
remoteness—of unreality, as of a figure 
seen in a dream. Were it not for the 
substantial tokens of her actuality he 
possessed she would have seemed to him 
like the heroine of a play. He would 
have reproached himself for disloyalty 
if the intensity of each minute as he had 
to meet it had not been an excuse for 
him. The time would come when the 
pressure of the instant would be less 
great, and he should be able to get back 
the emotion with which he left her. Per¬ 
haps if she had been “ his type of 
woman,” her image would not have faded 
so quickly. 

There was but one thing for which he 
was not grateful to her. She had fixed 
the name of Herbert Strange upon him 
in such a way that he was unable to 
shake it off. His own first name was the 
unobjectionable monosyllable John—and 
as John Ford he could have faced the 
world with a certain amount of bluff. 
He meant to begin the attempt imme¬ 
diately on reaching London, but the dif¬ 
ficulty of appearing in a hotel under one 
name while everything he brought with 
him bore another was patent to him at 
once. Similarly, he could not receive the 
correspondence incidental to his outfit 
and his passage under the name of Ford 
in a house where he was known as 
Strange. Having applied for his passage 
as Strange, he knew it would create com¬ 
ment if he asked to be put down in the 
books as Ford. Do what he would he 
was obliged to appear on the printed list 
of second-cabin passengers as Herbert 
Strange, and he had made at least one 
acquaintance who would expect to call 
him so after they reached land. 

This was a little, clean-shaven man, in 
the neighborhood of sixty, always dressed 
at sea as he probably dressed on shore. 
He wore nothing but black, with a white 
shirt and a ready-made black bow-tie. 
He might have been a butler, an elderly 
valet, or a member of some discreet 


religious order in street costume. Ford 
had heard a flippant young Frenchman 
speak of him as an “ ancien cure qui 
a fait quelque betise ”; and indeed there 
was about him that stamp of the ec¬ 
clesiastic which is sometimes ineffaceable. 

“ I call myself Durand,” he said to 
Ford, using the conveniently ambiguous 
French idiom: “ Je m’appelle Durand.” 

u Ft je m’appelle Strange—I call my¬ 
self Strange,” Ford had replied, claiming 
the name for the first time without 
hesitation, but feeling the irrevocable 
nature of the words as soon as he had 
uttered them. 

Monsieur Durand had been thirty 
years in the Argentine, observing the 
place and the people, native and foreign, 
with the impartial shrewdness only pos¬ 
sible to one who sought little for himself. 
It was a pleasure to share the fruits of 
his experience with one so eager to learn, 
for young men were not in the habit of 
showing him deference. He could tell 
Mr. Strange many things that would 
be to his advantage—what to do—what 
to avoid—what sort of place to live in— 
what he oiight to pay—and what sort of 
company to keep. 

Yes, he knew the firm of Stephens & 
Jarrott—an excellent house. There was 
no Mr. Stephens now, only a Mr. Jarrott. 
Mr. Stephens had belonged to the great 
days of American enterprise in the south¬ 
ern hemisphere, to the time of Wheel¬ 
wright, and Halsey, and Hale. The 
Civil War had put an end to that. Mr. 
Jarrott had come later—a good man, not 
generally understood. He had suffered a 
great loss a few years ago in the death 
of his brother-in-law and partner, Mr. 
Colfax. Mrs. Colfax, a pretty little 
woman, who hadn’t old age in her blood 
either—one could see that—had gone 
back to the United States with her child 
—but a child!—blond as an angel—alto¬ 
gether darling— tout a fait mignonne. 
Monsieur Durand thought he remem¬ 
bered hearing that Mrs. Colfax had mar¬ 
ried again, but he couldn’t say for cer¬ 
tain. What would you? One heard so 
many things. He knew less of the fam¬ 
ily since the last boy died—the boy to 
whom he gave lessons in Spanish and 
French. Death hadn’t spared the house¬ 
hold—taking the three sons one after 
another and leaving father and mother 



Drawn by Lucius W . Hitchcock 

HE THOUGHT OF HER NOW AND THEN, AS OF A FIGURE SEEN IN A DREAM 









































THE WILD OLIVE. 


541 


alone. It was a thousand pities Mrs. 
Colfax had taken the little girl away. 
They loved her as if she had been their 
own—especially after the boys died. An 
excellent house! Mr. Strange couldn’t 
do better than seek an entfry there—it 
is I who tell you so— c’est moi qui vous 
le clis. 

All this was said in very good Eng¬ 
lish, with occasional lapses into French, 
in a soft, benevolent voice, with slow 
benedictory movements of the hands, 
more and more suggestive of an eccle¬ 
siastic en civile —or under a cloud. 
Strange stole an occasional glance into 
the delicate, clear-cut face, where the 
thin lips were compressed into perma¬ 
nent lines of pain, and the sunken brown 
eyes looked out from under scholarly 
brows with the kind of hopeful anguish 
a penitent soul might feel in the midst 
of purifying flames. Lie remembered 
again what the flippant young Frenchman 
had said: “ Un ancien cure qui a fait 
quelque betise.” Was it possible that 
some tragic sin lay under this gentle 
life? and was the four-funnelled, twin- 
screwed Parana but a ghostly ship bear¬ 
ing a cargo of haunted souls into their 
earthly purgatory? 

But listen now, sir, the old man 
began next day. There would be dif¬ 
ficulties. Stephens & Jarrott employed 
only picked men, men with some ex¬ 
perience—except for the mere manual 
labor such as the Italians cordd per¬ 
form. Wouldn’t it be well for Mr. Strange 
to qualify himself a little, before risk¬ 
ing a refusal ? Ah, but how ? Mon- 
sieur Durand would explain. There 
was first the question of Spanish. No 
one could get along in the Argentine 
without a working knowledge of that 
tongue. Monsieur Durand himself gave 
lessons in it—and in French—but in the 
English and American colonies of Buenos 
Ayres exclusively. If his young friend 
would give him the pleasure of taking 
a few lessons, they could begin even now. 
It would while away the time on the 
voyage. For example: el tabaco—la pipa 
—los cigarillos. Que es esto? Esto es la 
pipa. Very simple. In a few weeks’ time 
the pupil is carrying on conversations. 

It would be an incalculable advantage 
to Mr. Strange if he could enter on his 
Argentine life with some command of 


the vernacular. It might even be well 
to defer his search for permanent em¬ 
ployment until he could have that ac¬ 
complishment to his credit. If he pos¬ 
sessed a little money—even a very lit¬ 
tle— Oh, he did? Then so much the 
better. He need not live on it entirely, 
but it would be something to fall back 
on while getting the rudiments of his 
education. In the mean time he could 
learn a little about wool if he picked up 
jobs— Oh, very humble ones!—they 
were always to be had by the young 
and able-bodied—at the Mercado Cen¬ 
tral, one of the great wool-markets of 
the world. He could earn a few pe¬ 
setas, acquire practical experience, and 
fit himself out in Spanish, all at the 
same time. 

Later on, perhaps Mr. Strange might 
take a season on some great sheep es- 
tancia out in the Camp, where there 
were thousands of herds that were thou¬ 
sands strong. To come into actual con¬ 
tact with the sheep, to know Oxfords, 
Cheviots, Leicesters and Black-faced 
Downs, to assist at the feedings and 
washings and doctorings and shear¬ 
ings, to follow the crossings and re¬ 
crossings and crossings again, that 
bred new varieties as if they were 
roses, to trace the processes by which 
the Argentine pampas supply novel re¬ 
sources to the European manufacturer, 
and the European manufacturer turns 
out the smart young man of London or 
New York, with his air of wearing “ the 
very latest ”—all this would not only 
give Strange a pleasing sense of being 
at the root of things, but form a sort of 
apprenticeship to his trade. 

The men had not yet finished their 
hour of siesta, but Strange himself was 
at work. Ten minutes were sufficient 
for his own snack, and he never needed 
rest. Moreover, he was still too new to 
his position to do other than glory in the 
fact that he was a free being, doing a 
man’s work, and earning a man’s wage. 
Out in the Camp he had been too desolate 
to feel that, but here in Buenos Ayres, 
at the very moment when the great city 
was waking to the knowledge of her 
queenship in the southern world—when 
the commercial hordes of the north were 
sweeping down in thousands of ships 
across the equator to outdo each other 


542 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


in her markets, it was an inspiring thing 
merely to be alive and busy. He was as 
proud of Stephens & Jarrott’s long brick 
shed, where the sun beat pitilessly on 
the corrugated iron roof, and the smell 
of wool nearly sickened him, as if it had 
been a Rothschild’s counting-house. His 
position there was just above the lowest; 
but his enthusiasm was independent of 
trivial things like that. How could he 
lounge about, taking siestas, when work 
was such a pleasure in itself? The shed 
of which he had the oversight was a 
model of its kind, not so much because 
his ambition designed to make it so, as 
because his ardor could make it noth¬ 
ing else. 

The roar of dock traffic through the 
open windows drowned anything but 
the loudest sounds, so that, busily work¬ 
ing, he heard nothing, and paid no atten¬ 
tion, when some one stopped behind him. 
He had turned accidentally, humming 
to himself in the sheer joy of his task, 
when the presence of the stranger caused 
him to blush furiously beneath his tan. 
lie drew himself up, like a soldier, to 
attention. He had never seen the head 
of the firm that employed him, but he 
had heard a young Englishman describe 
him as “ looking like a wooden man just 
coming into life,” so that he was enabled 
to recognize him now. He did look some¬ 
thing like a wooden man, in that the 
long, lean face, of the tone of parchment, 
was marked by the few, deep, almost per¬ 
pendicular folds that give all the expres¬ 
sion there is to a Swiss or German 
medieval statue of a saint or warrior in 
painted oak. One could see it was a face 
that rarely smiled, though there was 
plenty of life in the deep-set, gray-blue 
eyes, together with a force of cautious, 
reserved, and possibly timid, sympathy. 
Of the middle height and slender, with 
hair just turning from iron-gray to gray, 
immaculate in white duck, and wearing 
a dignified Panama, he stood looking at 
Strange—who, tall and stalwart in his 
greasy overalls, held his head high in 
conscious pride in his position in the 
shed—as Capital might look at Labor. 
It seemed a long time before Mr. Jarrott 
spoke—the natural harshness of his voice 
softened by his quiet manner. 

“You’re in charge of this gang?” 

“ Yes, sir.” 


There was an embarrassed pause. As 
though not knowing what to say next, 
Mr. Jarrott’s gaze travelled down the 
length of the shed to where the Italians, 
rubbing their sleepy eyes, were preparing 
for work aga'in. 

“You’re an American, I believe?” 

“ Yes, sir.” 

“ How old are you ?” 

“ Not quite twenty-six.” 

“ What’s your name ?” 

“ Herbert Strange.” 

“Ah? One of the Stranges of Vir¬ 
ginia ?” 

“ No, sir.” 

There was another long pause, during 
which the older man’s eyes wandered 
once more over the shed and the piles 
of wool, coming back again to Strange. 

“ You should pick up a little Spanish.” 

“ I’ve been studying it. Hablo Es- 
panol, pero no muy bien.” 

Mr. Jarrott looked at him for a minute 
in surprise. 

“ So much the better—tanto mejor,” 
he said, after a brief pause, and passed on. 

CHAPTER VIII 

E was again thinking how easy it 
had been, as he stood, more than 
three years later, on the bluffs of Rosario, 
watching the sacks of wheat glide down 
the long chute—full seventy feet—into the 
hold of the Walmer Castle. The sturdy 
little Italians who carried the bags from 
the warehouse in long single file might 
have been those he had superintended in 
the wool-shed in Buenos Ayres in the 
early stages of his rise. But he was not 
superintending these. He superintended 
the siiperintendents of those who super¬ 
intended them. Tired with his long day 
in the office, he had come out toward the 
end of the afternoon not only to get a 
breath of the fresh air off the Parana, 
hut to muse, as he often did, over the 
odd spectacle of the neglected, half- 
forgotten Spanish settlement, that had 
slumbered for two hundred years, waking 
to the sense of its destiny as a factor 
of importance in the modern world. 
Wheat had created Chicago and Winni¬ 
peg Adam-like from the ground; but it 
was rejuvenating Rosario de Santa Ee 
Faust-like, with its golden elixir. It 
interested the man who called himself 



THE WILD OLIVE. 


543 


Herbert Strange—resident manager of 
Stephens & Jarrott’s great wheat busi¬ 
ness in this outlet of the great wheat 
provinces—to watch the impulse by 
which Decrepitude rose and shook itself 
into Youth. As yet the process had 
scarcely advanced beyond the early 
stages of surprise. The dome of the 
seventeenth - century Renaissance cathe¬ 
dral, accustomed for five or six genera¬ 
tions to look down on low, one-storied 
Spanish dwellings surrounding patios al¬ 
most Moorish in their privacy, seemed 
to lift itself in some astonishment over 
warehouses and flour - mills; while the 
mingling of its sweet old bells with the 
creaking of cranes and the shrieks of 
steam was like that chorus of the cen¬ 
turies in which there can be no blending 
of the tones. 

Strange felt himself so much a part 
of the rejuvenescence that the incon¬ 
gruity gave him no mental or aesthetic 
shock. If in his present position he took 
a less naif pride than in that of three 
years ago, he was conscious none the 
less of a deep satisfaction in having 
his part, however humble, in the exercise 
of the world’s energies. It gave him a 
sense of oneness with the great primal 
forces—with the river flowing beneath 
him, two hundred miles to the Atlantic, 
with the wheat fields stretching behind 
him to the confines of Brazil and the 
foot-hills of the Andes—to be a moving 
element in this galvanizing of new life 
into the dormant town, in this finding 
of new riches in the waiting earth. 

It was difficult, too, not to love a 
country in which the way had been made 
so smooth for him. While he knew that 
he brought to.his work those qualities 
most highly prized by men of business, 
he was astonished nevertheless at the 
rapidity with which he climbed. Men 
of long experience in the country had 
been more than once passed over, while 
he got the promotion for which they had 
waited ten and fifteen years. He ad¬ 
mired the way in which for the most 
part they concealed their chagrin, but he 
got respect from them, even if he could 
not win popularity—and from popularity, 
in any case, he had been shut out from 
the first. No man can be popular who 
works harder than anybody else, shuns 
companionship, and takes his rai*e amuse¬ 


ments alone. He had been obliged to do 
all three, knowing in advance that it 
would create for him a reputation of an 
“ ugly brute ” in quarters whence he 
would have been glad to get good-will. 

Finding the lack of popularity a safe¬ 
guard not only against prying curiosity 
but against inadvertent self-betrayal, it 
was with some misgiving that he saw 
his hermit-like seclusion threatened, as 
he rose higher in the business—and con¬ 
sequently in the social—scale. In the 
English-speaking colony of Buenos Ayres 
the one advance is likely to bring about 
the other—especially in the case of a 
good - looking young man, evidently 
bound to make his mark, and apparently 
of respectable antecedents. The first 
menace of danger had come from Mr. 
Jarrott himself, who had unexpectedly 
invited his intelligent employee to lunch 
with him at a club, in order to talk over 
a commission with which Strange was 
to be entrusted. On this occasion he 
was able to stammer his way out of the 
invitation; but when, later, Mr. Skinner, 
the second partner, made a like proposal 
he was caught without an excuse, being 
obliged, with some confusion, to eat his 
meal in a fashionable restaurant in the 
Calle Florida. Oddly enough, both his 
refusal on the one occasion and his ac¬ 
ceptance on the other obtained him credit 
with his elders and superiors, as a modest 
young fellow, too shy to seize an honor, 
and embarrassed when it was thrust 
upon him. 

To Strange both occurrences were so 
alarming that he put himself into a daily 
attitude of defence, fearing similar at¬ 
tack from Mr. Martin, the third mem¬ 
ber of the firm. ILe, however, made no 
sign; and the bomb was thrown by his 
wife. It came in the shape of a card 
informing Mr. Strange that on a certain 
evening, a few weeks hence, Mrs. Martin 
would be at home, at her residence in 
Hurlingham. It was briefly indicated 
that there would be dancing, and he was 
requested to answer if he pleased. The 
general information being engraved, his 
particular name was written in a free 
bold hand, which he took to be that of 
one of the daughters of the family. 

It was a foregone conclusion that he 
should decline their invitation, and he 
did so; but the mere occasion for doing it 


544 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


gave his mind an impetus in the direc¬ 
tion in which he had been able hitherto 
to check it. He began again to think of 
the feminine, to dream of it, to long 
for it. For the time being it was the 
feminine in the abstract—without fea¬ 
tures or personality. As far as it took 
form at all it was with the dainty, nes¬ 
tling seductiveness that belonged to what 
he called his “ type ”—a charm that had 
nothing in common with the forest grace 
of the Wild Olive, or the dash of the 
Misses Martin. 

Now and then he caught glimpses of 
it, but it was generally out of reach. 
Soft eyes, of the velvety kind that smote 
him most deliciously, would lift their 
light upon him through the casement of 
some old Spanish residence, or from the 
daily procession of carriages moving 
slowly along the palm avenue at Palermo, 
or in the Florida. 

Once the incarnation of his dreams 
came so near him that it was actually 
within his grasp. The tree of the knowl¬ 
edge of good and evil dangled its fruit 
right before his eyes in the person of 
Mademoiselle Hortense, who sang at the 
Cafe Florian, while the clients, of whom 
he was sometimes one, smoked and par¬ 
took of refreshments. She was just the 
little round, soft, dimpling, downy bundle 
of youth and love he so often saw in his 
mind’s eye, and so rarely in reality, and 
he was ready to fall in love with any one. 
The mutual acquaintance was formed, as 
a matter of course, over the piece of gold 
he threw into the tambourine, from which, 
as she passed from table to table, she was 
able to measure her hearer’s appreciation 
of art. Those were the days' in which 
he first began to be able to dress well, 
and to have a little money to throw away. 
For ten days or a fortnight he threw it 
away in considerable sums, being either 
in love or in a condition like it. He 
respected Mademoiselle Hortense, and 
had sympathy with her in her trials. 
She was desperately sick of her roving 
life, as he was of Mrs. Wilson’s boarding¬ 
house. She was as eager to marry and 
settle down as he to have a home. The 
subject was not exactly broached between 
them, but they certainly talked round it. 
The decisive moment came on the night 
when her troupe was to sail for Monte¬ 
video. In the most delicate way in the 


world she gave him to understand that 
she would remain even at the eleventh 
hour if he were to say the word. She 
might be on the deck, she might be in 
her berth, and it still would not be too 
late. He left her at nine, and she was 
to sail at eleven. During the two inter¬ 
vening hours he paced the town, a prey 
to hopes, fears, temptations, distresses. 
To do him justice, it was her broken 
heart he thought of, not his own. To him 
she was only one of many possibilities; 
to her, he was the chance of a lifetime. 
She might never, he said to himself, “ fall 
into the clutches of so decent a chap 
again.” It was a wild wrestle between 
common sense and folly—so wild that he 
was relieved to hear a clock strike eleven, 
and to know she must have sailed. 

The incident sobered him by showing 
him how near and how easily he could 
come to a certain form of madness. 
After that he worked harder than ever, 
and in the course of time got his appoint¬ 
ment at Rosario. It was a great “ rise,” 
not only in position and salary, but also 
in expectations. Mr. Martin had been 
resident manager at Rosario before he 
was taken into partnership — so who 
could tell what might happen next? 

The first intimation of the change was 
conveyed by Mr. Jarrott in a manner 
characteristically casual. Strange, being 
about to leave the private office one day, 
after a consultation on some matter of 
secondary import, was already half-way to 
the door, while Mr. Jarrott himself was 
stooping to replace a book in the revolv¬ 
ing bookcase that stood beside his chair. 

“ By the way,” he said, without looking 
up, “ Jenkins is going to represent the 
house in New York. Wq think you had 
better take his place at Rosario.” 

Strange drew himself up to attention. 
He knew the old man liked his sub¬ 
ordinates to receive momentous orders 
as if they came in the routine of the day. 

“ Very well, sir,” he said, quietly, be¬ 
traying no sign of his excitement within. 
Raising himself, Mr. Jarrott looked about 
uneasily, as if trying to find something 
else to say, while Strange began again 
to move toward the door. 

“And Mrs. Jarrott—” 

Strange stopped so still that the senior 
partner paused with that air of gentle¬ 
manly awkwardness—something like an 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


545 


Englishman’s—which he took on when he 
had firmly made up his mind. 

“ Mrs. Jarrott,” he continued, “ begs me 
to say she hopes you will—a—come and 
lunch with us ou Sunday next.” 

There was a long pause, during which 
the young man searched wildly for some 
formula that would soften his point- 
blank refusal. 

“ Mrs. Jarrott is awfully kind,” he be¬ 
gan at last to stammer, “ but if she 
would excuse me—” 

“ She will expect you on Sunday at 
half past twelve.” 

The words were uttered with that 
barely perceptible emphasis which, as the 
whole house knew, implied that all had 
been said. 

In the end the luncheon was no for¬ 
midable affair. Except for his fear lest 
it should be the thin' edge of the wedge 
of that American social life which it 
would be. perilous for him to enter, he 
would have enjoyed this peep into a com¬ 
fortable home, after his long exile from 
anything of the sort. In building his 
house at Palermo, Mr. Jarrott had 
kept, in the outlines at least, to the old 
Spanish style of architecture, as being 
most suited to the history and climate 
of the country, though the wealthy Argen¬ 
tines themselves preferred to have their 
residences look—like their dresses, jewels, 
and carriages—as if they had come from 
Paris. The interior patio was spacious, 
shaded with vines, and gay with flowers, 
while birds, caged or free, were singing 
everywhere. The rooms surrounding it 
were airy and cool, and adapted to Amer¬ 
ican standards of comfort. In the 
dining-room, mahogany, damask, crystal, 
and silver gave Strange an odd feeling 
of having been wafted back to the days 
and usages of the boyhood of Norrie Ford. 

As the only guest he found himself 
seated on Mrs. Jarrott’s right, and op¬ 
posite Miss Queenie Jarrott, the sister of 
the head of the house. The host, as his 
manner was, spoke little. Miss Jarrott, 
too, only looked at Strange across the 
table, smiling at him with her large, thin, 
upward-curving smile, comic in spite of 
itself, and with a certain pathos, since 
she meant it to be charged with senti¬ 
ment. Over the party at table, over the 
elderly men servants who waited on them, 

Vol. CXX.—No. 718.—68 


over the room, over the patio, there was— 
except for the singing of the birds—the 
hush that belongs to a household that 
never hears the noise or the laughter 
of youth. 

Mrs. Jarrott took the brunt of the con¬ 
versation on herself. She was a beautiful 
woman, faded now with the pallor that 
comes to northern people after long resi¬ 
dence in the subtropical south, and lan¬ 
guid from the same cause. Her handsome 
hazel eyes looked as if they had been 
used to weeping, though they conserved 
a brightness that imparted animation to 
her face. A white frill round her throat 
gave the only relief to her plain black 
dress, but she wore many diamond rings, 
after the Argentine fashion, as well as 
a brooch and earrings of black pearls. 

She began by asking her guest if it 
was true, as Mr. Jarrott had informed her, 
that he was not one of the Stranges of 
Virginia. She thought he must be. It 
would be so odd if he wasn’t. There 
were Stranges in Virginia, and had been 
for a great many generations. In fact, 
her own family, the Colfaxes, had almost 
intermarried with them. When she said 
almost, she meant that they had inter¬ 
married with the same families — the 
Yorkes, the Endsleighs, and the Poles. 
If Mr. Strange did belong to the Vir¬ 
ginia Stranges, she was sure they could 
find relatives in common. Oh, he didn’t? 
Well, it seemed really as if he must. If 
Mr. Strange came from New York, he 
probably knew the Wrenns. Her own 
mother was a Wrenn. She had been 
Miss Wrenn before she was Mrs. Col¬ 
fax. Lie thought he had heard of them ? 
Oh, probably. They were well-known peo¬ 
ple—at least they had been in the old 
days—though New York was so very 
much changed. She rarely went back 
there now, the voyage was so long, but 
when she did she was quite bewildered. 
Her own family used to be so con¬ 
servative, keeping to a little circle of 
relatives and friends that rarely went 
north of Boston or south of Philadelphia; 
but now when she made them a visit 
she found them siirrounded by a lot of 
people who had never been heard of be¬ 
fore. She thought it a pity that in a 
country where there were so few dis¬ 
tinctions, those which existed shouldn’t 
be observed. 


54 6 


HARPER'S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


It was a relief to Strange when the 
sweet, languorous monologue, punctuated 
from time to time by a response from 
himself, or an interjectory remark from 
one of the others, came to an end, and 
they proceeded to the patio for coffee. 

It was served in a corner shaded by 
flowering vines, and presided over by a 
huge green and gray parrot in a cage. 
The host and hostess, being denied this 
form of refreshment, took advantage of 
the moment to stroll arm in arm around 
the court, leaving Miss Jarrott in tete-a- 
tete with Strange. He noticed that as 
this lady led the way her figure was as 
lithe as a young girl’s and her walk sin¬ 
gularly graceful. “ No one is ever old 
with a carriage like yours,” Miss Jarrott 
had been told, and she believed it. She 
dressed and talked according to her fig¬ 
ure, and had it not been for features too 
heavily accentuated in nose and chin, 
she might have produced an impression 
of eternal spring-tide. When coffee was 
poured, and the young man’s cigarette 
alight, Miss Jarrott seized the oppor¬ 
tunity which her sister-in-law’s soft mur¬ 
mur at the table had not allowed her. 

“ It’s really funny you should be Mr. 
Strange, because I’ve known a young 
lady of the same name. That is, I have¬ 
n’t known her exactly, but I’ve known 
about her.” 

Not to show his irritation at the re¬ 
newal of the subject, Strange presumed 
she was one of the Stranges of Virginia, 
with right and title to be so called. 

“ She is and she isn’t,” Miss Jarrott 
replied. “ I know you’ll think it funny 
to hear me speak so; but I can’t explain. 
I’m like that. I can’t always explain. 
I say lots and lots of things that people 
just have to interpret for themselves. 
It’s funny I should he like that, isn’t it ? 
I wonder why? Can you tell me why? 
And this Miss Strange—I never knew her 
really—not really—but I feel as if I 
had. I always feel that way about friends 
of friends of mine. I feel as if they were 
my friends too. I’d go through fire and 
water for them. Of course that’s just 
an expression, but you know what I mean, 
now don’t you?” 

Having been assured on that point, 
she continued: 

“ I’m afraid you’ll find us a very quiet 
household, Mr. Strange, hut we’re in 


mourning. That is, Mrs. Jarrott is in 
mourning; and when those dear to me 
are in mourning I always feel that I’m 
in mourning too. I’m like that. I never 
can tell why it is, but—I’m like that. 
My sister-in-law has just lost her sister- 
in-law. Of course that’s no relation to 
me, is it? And yet I feel as if it was. 
I’ve always called Mrs. Colfax my sister- 
in-law, and I’vfe taught her little girl to 
call me Aunt Queenie. They lived here 
once. Mr. Colfax was Mrs. Jarrott’s 
brother and Mr. Jarrott’s partner. The 
little girl was born here. It was a great 
loss to my brother when Mr. Colfax died. 
Mrs. Colfax went back to New York and 
married again. That was a blow, too; 
so we haven’t been on the same friendly 
terms of late years. But now I hope 
it will he different. I’m like that. I al¬ 
ways hope. It’s funny, isn’t it? No mat¬ 
ter what happens, I always think there’s 
a silver lining to the cloud. Now, why 
should I be like that? Why shouldn’t I 
despair, like other people?” 

Strange ventured the suggestion that 
she had been born with a joyous tem¬ 
perament. 

“I’m sure I don’t know,” Miss Jarrott 
mused. “ Everybody is different, don’t 
you think? And yet it sometimes seems 
to me that no one can be so different as 
I am. I always hope and hope; and you 
see, in this case I’ve been justified. We’re 
going to have our little girl again. She’s 
coming to make us a long, long visit. 
Her name is Evelyn; and once we get 
her here we hope she’ll stay. Who 
knows? There may be something to 
keep her here. You never can tell about 
that. She’s an orphan, with no one in 
the world but a stepfather, and he’s blind. 
So who has a better right to her? I al¬ 
ways think that people who have a right 
to other people should have them, don’t 
you? Besides, he’s going to Wiesbaden, 
to a great oculist there, so that Evelyn 
will have to come to us as her natural 
protectors. She’s nearly eighteen now, 
and she wasn’t eight when she left us. 
Oh yes, of course we’ve seen her since 
then—when we’ve gone to New York— 
hut that hasn’t been often. She will have 
changed; she’ll have her hair up, and he 
wearing her dresses long; but I shall 
know her. Oh, you couldn’t deceive me. 
T never forget a face. I’m like that. No, 


WISE. 


547 


nor names either. I should remember 
you, Mr. Strange, if I met you fifty years 
from now. I noticed you when you first 
began to work for Stephens & Jarrott. 
So did my sister-in-law, but I noticed 
you first. We’ve often spoken of you, 
especially after we knew your name was 
Strange. It seemed to us so strange. 
That’s a pun, isn’t it? I often make 
them. We both thought, you were like 
what Henry—that’s Mr. Jarrott’s oldest 
son—-might have grown to, if he’d been 
spared to us. We’ve had a great deal of 
sorrow—oh, a great deal! It’s weaned 
my sister-in-law away from the world 
altogether. She’s like that. My brother, 
too—he isn’t the same man. So when 
Evelyn comes we hope we shall see you 
often, Mr. Strange. You must begin to 
look on this house as your second home. 
Indeed, you must. It ’ll please my 
brother. I’ve never heard him speak of 
any young man as he’s spoken of you. 
I think he sees the likeness to Henry. 
That ’ll be next year when Evelyn comes. 
Ho, I’m sorry to say it isn’t to be this 
year. She can’t leave her stepfather till 
he goes to Wiesbaden. • Then she’ll be 
free. Some one else is going to Wies¬ 
baden with him. And isn’t it funny, it’s 


the same Miss Strange—the lady we were 
speaking of just now.” 

It was already some months since those 
words had been spoken, so that he had 
ceased to dwell on them; but at first they 
haunted him like a snatch of an air 
that passes through the mental hearing, 
and yet eludes the attempt to bring it 
to the lips. Even if he had had the syn¬ 
thetic imagination that easily puts two 
and two together, he had not the leisure, 
in the excitement of his removal to Ro¬ 
sario and the undertaking of his duties 
there, to follow up a set of clues that 
were scarcely more palpable than odors. 
Nevertheless the words came back to him 
from time to time, and always with the 
same odd suggestion of a meaning special 
—perhaps fatal—to himself. They came 
back to him at this minute, as he stood 
watching the loading of the Walmer 
Castle and breathing the fresh air off the 
Parana. But if they threatened danger, 
it was a danger that disappeared the 
instant he turned and faced it—leaving 
nothing behind but the evanescent mem¬ 
ory of a memory, such as will sometimes 
remain from a dream about a dream. 

[to be continued.] 


Wise 

BY LIZETTE WOODWORTH REESE 

A N apple orchard smells like wine; 

t A succory flower is blue; 

Until Grief touched these eyes of mine. 
Such things I never knew. 

And now indeed I know so plain 
Why one would like to cry 
When spouts are full of April rain— 
Such lonely folk go by! 

So wise, so wise—that my tears fall 
Each breaking of the dawn; 

That I do long to tell you all— 

But you are dead and gone. 


The Wrecker 

BY JAMES B. CONNOLLY 


S OMETIMES the notion comes to me 
while I’m talkin’ to people that 
maybe I don’t make myself clear, 
and it’s been so for some time now—the 
things I see in my mind fadin’ away from 
me at times, like vessels in a fog. And 
that’s strange enough, too, if what people 
tell me so often is true—that it used to 
be so one time that the office clerks would 
correct their account-books by what I 
told ’em out of my head. But sometimes 
—not often—things come back to me, 
like to-day—maybe because ’tis a winter 
day and a gale o’ wind drivin’ the sea 
afore it in the bay below there. Things 
come to me then—like pictures—wind 
and sea and fog and the wrecks on a 
lee shore. 

In my business—but of course you 
know—runnin’ after wrecks, from New¬ 
foundland to Cuba, I had to be days and 
maybe weeks away from home—which 
was no harm when I had no more home 
than a room in a sailors’ boardin’-house, 
and no harm later with Sarah. Even 
if anything happened to me, I used to 
feel that Sarah—that’s my first wife— 
Sarah’d still have the two lads to hearten 
her and keep her busy; but ’twas different 
with—but there, my mind’s off again. . . . 

Maybe some things—comforts, refine¬ 
ments—I might ’a’ practised myself in, 
got used to ’em like, but could I see in 
those early days that I’d ever have a 
grand home—me who’d been cast away 
at fourteen—even if I’d had time ? It 
was to be able to do without comforts— 
to make a pleasure out o’ hardship— 
that meant success almost as much as 
knowin’ the business. And I did know 
my business in those days—or people 
lied a lot. And it always meant more 
to me—the name of bein’ the great 
wrecker—than all the money I made, and 
in those last few years I made plenty 
of it—I did that. Me who once slaved 
for six dollars a month as hoy in a 
Bangor coaster. And I mind how I used 


to look back and say—or was it some¬ 
body tellin’ me?—that ’twas a great day 
for me and mine when the old lumber 
schooner wrecked herself on Peaked Hill 
Bar—because when she was hove down 
I was hove into a bigger world. Once 
in my pride I used to cherish praise like 
that—but sometimes now I’m not so sure. 

And this man, an upstandin’, hand¬ 
some man, no one that knew him but 
spoke well of him—to me, anyway, for 
I would not allow aught else after I come 
to know him. Since that last wreck 
it seems to me I’ve listened to other talk 
of him, hut that’s not so clear to me— 
my brain, as I say, clouds up like on 
things that happened since. 

No one ever met Her—my second wife, 
that is—but said she was beautiful and 
good—said so to me, anyway. It is true 
-—but that came afterward, like the other 
talk, and it’s not too clear in my mind 
what they did say. But he came to me 
and I liked him. And he liked me, too 
. . . I think he did. He’d heard of me, 
he said, and would I examine his yacht 
—the Rameses that was—to see if any 
damage had been done—she’d grounded 
cornin’ in by Homer Shoal the day be¬ 
fore. There’d be too much delay to put 
her in dry dock, and he wanted to sail 
soon ’s could be—if she was sound—on 
her regular winter West India cruise. 
’Twas in January, a fine clear day, and 
I said, all right, I’d send my oldest boy 
down and look at her. My oldest boy— 
but you know him? Aye, a grand lad. 
Both grand lads. Modelled off their 
mother, the pair of them. If I’d only a 
daughter like her . . . the woman she was! 
A wife for a seafarin’ man. “Watch 
and watch I’ve stood wi’ ye,” she said, 
goin’—“ watch and watch, but I’m no 
good to see the lights longer. The 
sight’s gone and the strength, Matt. 
Watchmate, bunkmate, and shipmate I’ve 
been to ye, but ye’re in smooth water 
now, and no longer ye’ll need me.” A 


The Wild Olive 

.By the Author of “The Inner Shrine” 


CHAPTER IX 

A NOTHER year had passed before 
Strange learned what Miss Jarrott’s 
L words were to mean to him. Knowl¬ 
edge came then as a flash of revelation in 
which he saw himself and his limita¬ 
tions clearly defined. His success at 
Rosario had been such that he had begun 
to think himself master of Fate; but 
Fate in half an hour laughingly showed 
herself mistress of him. 

He had been called to Buenos Ayres on 
an errand of piety and affection—to bury 
Monsieur Durand. The poor old un¬ 
frocked priest had been gathered to his 
rest, taking his secret with him—peni¬ 
tent, reconciled to the Church, and forti¬ 
fied with the Last Sacraments. Strange 
slipped a crucifix between the wax-like 
fingers, and followed—the only mourner 
—to the Recoleta Cemetery. 

Having ordered a cross to mark the 
grave, he remained in town a day or two 
longer to attend to a small matter which 
for some time past he had at heart and 
on his conscience. It was now three or 
four years since he had set aside the sum 
lent him-by the girl for whom he had still 
no other name than that of the Wild 
Olive. He had invested it, and re¬ 
invested it, till it had become a fund of 
some importance. Putting it now into 
the safest American securities, he placed 
them in the hands of a firm of English 
solicitors in Buenos Ayres, with direc¬ 
tions not only to invest the interest from 
time to time, but—in the event of his 
death—to follow certain sealed instruc¬ 
tions with which also he intrusted them. 
From the few hints he was able to give 
them in this way he had little doubt but 
that her identity'could be discovered, and 
the loan returned. 

In taking these steps he could not but 
see that what would be feasible in case 
of his death must be equally feasible 
now; but he had two reasons for not at¬ 
tempting it. The first was definite and 
prudential. He was unwilling to risk 
anything that could connect him ever so 


indirectly with the life of Norrie Ford. 
Secondly, he was conscious of a vague 
shrinking from the payment of this debt 
otherwise than face to face. Apart from 
considerations of safety, he was unwilling 
to resort to the commonplace channels of 
business, as long as there was a possi¬ 
bility of taking another way. 

Not that he was eager to see her again. 
He had questioned himself on that point, 
and knew she had faded from his 
memory. Except for a vision of fugitive 
dark eyes—eyes of Beatrice Cenci—he 
could scarcely recall her features. Events 
during the last six years had pressed so 
fast on each other, life had been so full, 
so ardent, each minute had been so in¬ 
sistent that he should give it his whole 
soul’s attention, that the antecedent past 
was gone like the passion no effort can 
recapture. As far as he could see her 
face at all, it looked at him out of an 
abyss of oblivion to which his mind 
found it as hard to travel back as a man’s 
imagination to his infancy. 

It was with some shame that he ad¬ 
mitted this. She had saved him—in a 
sense, she had created him. By her sor¬ 
cery she had raised up Herbert Strange 
out of the ruin of Norrie Ford, and en¬ 
dowed him with young vigor. He owed 
her everything. He had told her so. He 
had vowed his life to her. It was to be 
hers to dispose of, even at her caprice. 
It was what he had meant in uttering 
his parting words to her. But, now that 
he had the power in some degree, he was 
doing nothing to fulfil his promise. He 
had even lost the desire to make the 
promise good. 

It was not difficult to find excuses for 
himself. They were ready-made to his 
hand. There was nothing practical that he 
could do except what he had done about 
the money. Life was not over yet; and 
some day the chance might come to prove 
himself as high-souled as he should like 
to be. If he could only have been surer 
that he was inwardly sincere he would 
not have been uneasy over his inactivity. 


730 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


Then, within a few minutes, the thing 
happened that placed him in a new atti¬ 
tude, not only toward the Wild Olive, 
but toward all life. 

Business with the head office detained 
him in Buenos Ayres longer than he had 
expected. It was business of a few 
hours at a time, leaving him leisure for 
the theatres and the opera, for strollings 
at Palermo, and for standing stock-still, 
watching the procession of carriages in 
the Elorida or the Avenida Sarmiento, 
in the good Bonarense fashion. He was 
always alone, for he had acquired the art 
—none too easy—of taking pleasure with¬ 
out sharing it. 

So he found himself one bright after¬ 
noon, watching the races from the lawn 
of the Hipodromo of the Jockey Club. 
He was fond of horses, and he liked a 
good race. When he went to the Hipo¬ 
dromo it was for the sporting, not the 
social, aspect of the affair. Nevertheless, 
as he strolled about, he watched for 
that occasional- velvety glance that gave 
him pleasure, and amused himself with 
the types seated around him, or cross¬ 
ing his path — heavy, swarthy Argen¬ 
tines, looking like Italian laborers grown 
rich—their heavy, swarthy wives, come 
out to display all the jewels that 
could be conveniently worn at once— 
pretty, dark-eyed girls, already with a 
fatal tendency to embonpoint, wearing 
diamonds in their ears and round their 
necks as an added glory to costumes 
fresh from the rue de la Paix—grave 
little boys, in gloves and patent-leather 
boots, seated without budging by their 
mammas, sucking the tops of their canes 
in imitation of their elder brothers, who 
wandered about in pairs or groups, all of 
the latest cut, eying the ladies but rarely 
addressing them—tall Englishmen, who 
looked taller than they were in contrast 
to the pudgy race around them, as the 
Germans looked lighter and the French 
more blond—Italian opera-singers, Pa¬ 
risian actresses, Spanish dancers, music- 
hall soubrettes—diplomats of all nations 
—clerks out for a holiday—sailors on 
shore—tourists come to profit by a spec¬ 
tacle that has no equal in the southern 
world, and little of the kind that is more 
amusing in the north. 

The staring of other men first directed 


his attention toward her. She was sit¬ 
ting slightly detached from the party of 
Americans to whom she clearly belonged, 
and in which the Misses Martin formed 
the merrily noisy centre. Though 
dressed in white, that fell softly about 
her feet, and trained on the grass side- 
wise from her chair, her black cuffs, col¬ 
lar, and hat suggested the last days of 
mourning. Whether or not she was aware 
of the gaze of the passers-by it was diffi¬ 
cult to guess, for her air of demure sim¬ 
plicity was proof against penetration. 
She was one of those dainty little crea¬ 
tures who seem to see best with the 
eyes downcast; but wdien she lifted her 
dark lashes, the darker from contrast 
with the golden hair, to sweep heaven and 
earth in a blue glance that belonged less 
to scrutiny than to prayer, the effort 
seemed to create a shyness causing the 
lids, dusky as some flowers are, to drop 
heavily into place again, like curtains 
over a masterpiece. It was so that they 
rose and fell before Strange, her eyes 
meeting his in a look that no Argentine 
beauty could ever have bestowed, in that 
it was free from coquetry or intention, 
and wholly accidental. 

It was in fact this accidental element, 
with its lack of preparation, that gave the 
electric thrill to both. That is to say, in 
Strange the thrill was electric; as for 
her, she gave no sign further than that 
she opened her parasol and raised it to 
shade her face. Having done this she 
continued to sit in undisturbed com¬ 
posure, though she probably saw through 
her fringing lashes that the tall good- 
looking young man still stood spellbound, 
not twenty yards away. 

Strange on his part was aware of the 
unconventionality of his behavior, though 
he was incapable of moving on. He felt 
the occasion to be one which justified 
him in transcending the established rules 
of courtesy. He was face to face with 
the being who met not only all the long¬ 
ings of his earthly love, but the higher, 
purer aspirations that accompanied it. 
It was not, so he said to himself, a 
chance meeting; it was one which the 
ages had prepared, and led him up to. 
She was “his type of girl” only in so 
far as she distilled the essence of his 
gross imaginings and gave them in their 
exquisite reality. So, too, she was the 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


731 


incarnation of his dreams only because 
he had yearned for something mundane 
of which she was the celestial, and the 
true, embodiment. He had that sense of 
the insufficiency of his own powers of pre¬ 
conception which comes to a blind man 
when he gets his sight and sees a rose. 

He was so lost in the wonder of the 
vision that he had to be wakened as from 
a trance when Miss Jarrott, very young 
and graceful, crossed the lawn and held 
out her hand. 

“ Mr. Strange! I didn’t know you were 
in town. My brother never mentioned it. 
He’s like that. He never tells. If I 
didn’t guess his thoughts, I shouldn’t 
know anything. But I always guess 
people’s thoughts. Why do you suppose 
it is ? I don’t know. Do you ? When I 
see people, I can tell what they’re think¬ 
ing of as well as anything. I’m like 
that; but I can’t tell how I do it. I 
saw you from over there, and I knew 
you were thinking about Evelyn. Now 
weren’t you? Oh, you can’t deceive 
me. You were thinking of her just as 
plain—! Well, now you must come and 
be introduced.” 

He felt that he stumbled blindly as he 
crossed the bit of greensward in Miss 
Jarrott’s wake; and yet he kept his head 
sufficiently to know that he was breaking 
his rules, contradicting his past, and put¬ 
ting himself in peril. In being presented 
to the Misses Martin and their group, he 
was actually entering that Organized 
Society, to which Herbert Strange had 
no attachments, and in which he could 
thrust down no roots. By sheer force of 
will he might keep a footing there, 
as a plant that cannot strike into the 
soil may cling to a bare rock. All the 
same the attempt would be dangerous, 
and might easily lead to his being 
swept away. 

It was in full consciousness, therefore, 
of the revolution in his life that he bowed 
before the Misses Martin, who received 
him coldly. Lie had not come to their 
dance, nor “ called,” nor showed them 
any of the civilities they were accus¬ 
tomed to look for from ;young men. 
Turning their attention at once to the 
other gentlemen about them, they made 
no effort to detain him, as Miss Jarrott 
led him to Miss Colfax. 

Here the introduction would have been 
Vol. CXX—No. T19.-91 


disappointing if the greatness of the 
event had not been independent of the 
details with which it happened. Strange 
was not in a condition to notice them, 
any more than a soul can heed the for¬ 
malities with which it is admitted into 
heaven. Nearly all his impressions were 
subconscious—to be brought to the sur¬ 
face and dwelt on after he went away. 
It was thus he recorded the facts relat¬ 
ing to the gold tint—the teint dore — 
of her complexion, the curl- of her lashes 
that seemed to him deep chestnut rather 
than quite black, as well as the little 
tremor about her mouth, which was pen¬ 
sive in repose, and yet smiled with the 
unreserved sweetness of an infant. He 
could not be said to have taken in any 
of these points at a glance; but they 
came to him later, vividly, enchantingly, 
in the solitude of his room at the 
Phoenix Hotel. 

There was no chair for him, so that he 
was obliged to carry on the conversa¬ 
tion standing. He did not object to this, 
as it would give him an excuse for pass¬ 
ing on. That he was eager to go, to be 
alone, to think, to feel, to suffer, to realize, 
to trace step by step the minutes of the 
day till they had led him to the supreme 
instant when his eyes had fallen on her, 
to take the succeeding seconds one by 
one and extract the significance from 
each, was proof of the power of the spell 
that had been cast upon him. 

“ And isn’t it funny, Evie, dear,” Miss 
Jarrott began, just as he was about to 
take his leave, “ that Mr. Strange’s name 
should be—?” 

“ Yes, I’ve been thinking about that,” 
Miss Colfax fluted, with that pretty way 
she had of speaking with little movement 
of the lips. 

But he was gone. He was gone with 
those broken sentences ringing in his 
ears—casual and yet haunting—mean¬ 
ingless and yet more than pregnant—• 
creeping through the magic music of the 
afternoon, as a death-motive breathes in 
a love-chant. 


CHAPTER X 


A LTER a night of little sleep and 
. much thinking he determined to 
listen- to nothing but the love-chant. 
He came to this decision not in reck¬ 
lessness of self-will, but after due con- 


732 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


si deration of bis rights. .It was true that, 
in Biblical phrase, necessity was laid 
upon him. lie could no more shut his 
ears against that entrancing song than 
he could shut his eyes against the day¬ 
light. This was not, however, the argu¬ 
ment that he found most cogent, as it 
was not the impulse from which he meant 
to act. If he could make this girl his 
wife it would be something more than 
a case of getting his own way; it would 
be an instance—probably the highest 
instance — of the assertion of himself 
against a world organized to destroy him. 
He could not enter that world and form 
a part of it; hut at least he could carry 
off a wife from it, as a lion may leap 
into a sheepfold and snatch a lamb. 

It was in this light that he viewed the 
matter when he accepted Miss Jarrott’s 
invitations—now to lunch, now to din¬ 
ner, now to a seat in their box at the 
opera, or in their carriage in the park— 
during the rest of the time he remained 
in town. It became clear to him that 
the family viewed with approval the at¬ 
tachment that had sprung up between 
Miss Colfax and himself, and were help¬ 
ing it to a happy ending. He even be¬ 
came aware that they were growing fond 
of him—making the discovery with a 
queer sensation of surprise. 

It required no great amount of per¬ 
spicuity to see that the three elders would 
be glad if Miss Colfax and he were to 
“ make a match of it,” and why. It would 
be a means—and a means they could ap¬ 
prove—of keeping their little girl among 
them. As matters stood, she was only 
a visitor, who spoke of her flight back to 
New T York as a matter of course. 

“ I only came,” she lisped to Strange, 
as they sat one day, under the parrot’s 
chaperonage, in the shady comer of the 
patio—“ I only came because when dear 
mamma died there v'as nothing else for 
me to do. Everything happened so un¬ 
fortunately, do you see? Mamma died, 
and my stepfather went blind, and really 
I had no home. Of course that doesn’t 
matter so much while I’m in mourning— 
I mean, not having a home—but I simply 
must be hack in New York next autumn, 
in order to ‘ come out.’ ” 

“Aren’t you ‘out’ enough already?” 

“Do you see?” she began to explain, 
with the quaint air of practical wisdom 


he adored in her, “ I’m not out at all— 
and I’m nearly nineteen. Dear mamma 
fretted over it as it was—and if she knew 
it hadn’t been done yet— Well, some¬ 
thing must be managed, but I don’t know 
what. It isn’t as if Miriam could do any¬ 
thing about it, though she’s a great deal 
older than I am, and has seen a lot of 
social life at Washington and in Eng¬ 
land. But she’s oi;t of the question. 
Dear mamma w'ould never have allowed 
it. And she’s no relation to me, besides.” 

The question, “Who is Miriam?” was 
on his lips, hut he checked it in time. 
He checked all questions as to her rela¬ 
tives and friends whom he did not know 
already. He was purposely making ig¬ 
norance his bliss as long as possible, in 
the hope that before enlightenment could 
be forced upon him it would be too late 
for any one to recede. 

“ Couldn’t they do it for you here ?” he 
asked, when he was sure of what he meant 
to say. “ I know the Miss Martins—” 

“Carrie and Ethel. Oh, well! That 
isn’t quite the same thing. I couldn’t 
come out in a place like Buenos Ayres— 
or anywhere, except New York.” 

“ But when you’ve been through it all, 
you’ll come back here, won’t you ?” 

His eyes sought hers, but he saw only 
the curtains of the lids—those lids with 
the curious dusk on them, which reminded 
him of the petals of certain pansies. 

“ That will depend,” she said, after a 
minute’s hesitation. 

“ It will depend—on what ?” he persist¬ 
ed, softly. 

Before she could answer, the parrot 
interrupted, screaming out a bit of dog¬ 
gerel in its hoarse staccato. 

“ Oh, that bird!” the girl cried, spring¬ 
ing up to throw a cloth over the cage. 
“ I do wish some one would wring 
its neck.” 

He got no nearer to his point that day, 
and perhaps he was not eager to. The 
present situation, with its excitements 
and uncertainties, was too blissful to 
bring to a sudden end. Besides, he was 
obliged to go through some further re¬ 
hearsing of the creed adopted in the 
dawn on Lake Champlain before his self- 
justification could be complete. It was 
not that he was questioning his right to 
act; it was only that he needed to 
strengthen the chain of arguments by 


HE WAS PURPOSELY MAKING IGNORANCE HIS BLISS AS LONG AS POSSIBLE 





































































































































TI1E WILD OLIVE 


which his action must be supported— 
against himself. Within his own heart 
there was something that pleaded against, 
the breaking off of this tender sprig of 
the true olive to graft it on the wild, 
in addition to which the attitude of 
the Jarrott family disconcerted him. 
It was one thing to push his rights 
against a world ready to deny them; but 
it was quite another to take advantage 
of a trusting affection that came more 
than half-way to meet him. His mind 
refused to imagine what they would do 
if they could know that behind the origin 
of Herbert Strange there lay the history 
of Norrie Eord. After all, he was not 
concerned with them, he asserted inward¬ 
ly, but with himself. They were en¬ 
trenched within a world able to take 
care of itself; while there was no power 
whatever to protect him, once he made 
a mistake. 

So every night, as he sat alone in 
his cheerless hotel room, he reviewed 
his arguments, testing them one by one, 
strengthening the weak spots according to 
his lights, and weighing the for and against 
with all the nicety he could command. 
On the one side were love, happiness, 
position, a home, children probably, and 
whatever else the normal, healthy nature 
craves; on the other, loneliness, abnega¬ 
tion, crucifixion, slow torture, and slower 
death. Was it just to himself to choose 
the latter, simply because human law had 
made a mistake and put him outside the 
human race? The answer was obvious 
enough; but while his intelligence made 
it promptly, something else within him— 
some illogical emotion—seemed to lag 
behind with its corroboration. 

This hesitation of his entire being to 
respond to the bugle-call of his need gave 
to his wooing a certain irregularity—an 
advance and recession like that of the 
tide. At the very instant when the 
words of declaration were trembling on 
his lips this doubt about himself would 
check him. There were minutes—moon¬ 
lit minutes, in the patio, when the birds 
were hushed, and the scent of flowers 
heavy, and the voices of the older ones 
stole from some lighted room like a soft, 
human obligato to the melody of the 
night—minutes when he felt that to his, 
“ I love you!” hers would come as sure¬ 
ly as the echo to the sound; and yet 


he shrank from saying it. Their talk 
would drift near to it, dally with it, flash 
about it, play attack and defence across 
it, and drift away again, leaving the 
essential thing unspoken. The skill with 
which she fenced with this most fragile 
of all topics, never losing her guard, 
never missing her thrust or parry, and 
yet never inflicting anything like a 
wound, filled him with a sort of rapture. 
It united the innocence of a child to the 
cleverness of a woman of the world, giv¬ 
ing an exquisite piquancy to both. In 
this young creature, who could have had 
no experience of anything of the kind, it 
was the very essence of the feminine. 

By dint of vigil and meditation he 
drew the conclusion that his inner hesi¬ 
tancy sprang from the fact that he was 
not being honest with himself. He was 
shirking knowledge that he ought to face.. 
L T p to the present he had done his duty in 
that respect, and done it pluckily. 

In the present situation he was less 
sure of that, and there he put his finger 
on his weakness. 

Therefore, when, in the corner of 
the patio, the next opportunity arose? for 
asking the question “ Who is Miriam ?” 
he brought it out boldly. 

“ She’s a darling.” The unexpected 
reply was accompanied by a sudden lift¬ 
ing of the lashes for a rapturous look, 
and one of the flashing smiles. 

“ That’s high praise—from you.” 

“She deserves it—from any one!” 

“ Why ? What for ? What has she 
done to win your enthusiasm, when other 
people find it so hard?” 

“ It isn’t so hard—only some people 
go the wrong way to work about it, do 
you see?” 

“ Do I ?” he was tempted to ask. 

“Do you? Now, let me think. Really, 
I never noticed. You’d have to begin 
all over again—if you ever did begin— 
before I could venture an opinion.” 

This was pretty, but it was not keep¬ 
ing to the point. 

“ Evidently Miriam knows how to do it, 
and when I see her I shall ask her.” 

“ I wish you could see her. You’d 
adore her. She’d be just your style.” 

“ What makes you think that ? Is she 
so beautiful ? What is she Tike ?” 

“ Oh, I couldn’t tell you what she’s 
like. You’d have to see her for yourself. 


734 


HAKPEK’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


No, I don’t think I should call her beau¬ 
tiful, though some people do. She’s aw¬ 
fully attractive, anyhow.” 

“Attractive? In what way?” 

“ Oh, in a lot of ways. She isn’t like 
anybody else. She’s in a class by her¬ 
self. In fact, she has to be, poor thing.” 

“ Why should she be poor thing, with so 
much to her credit in the way of assets ?” 

“ Do you see ?—that’s something I 
can’t tell you. There’s a sort of mystery 
about her. I’m not sure that I under¬ 
stand it very well myself. I only know 
that dear mamma didn’t feel that she 
could take her out, in New York, except 
among our very most intimate friends, 
where it didn’t matter. And yet when 
Lady Bonchurch took her to Washington, 
she got a lot of offers—I know that for 
a fact—and in England, too.” 

“ I seem to be getting deeper in,” 
Strange smiled, with the necessary air 
of speaking carelessly. “ Who is Lady 
Bonchurch ?” 

“Don’t you know? Why, I thought 
you knew everything. She was the wife 
of the British Ambassador. They took 
a house at Greenport that year, because 
they were afraid about Lord Bonchurch’s 
lungs. It didn’t do any good, though. 
ILe had to give up his post the next 
winter, and not long after that he died. 
I don’t think air is much good for 
people’s lungs, do you ? I know it wasn’t 
any help to dear mamma. We had all 
those tedious years at Greenport, and in 
the end— But that’s how we came to 
know Lady Bonchurch, and she took a 
great fancy to Miriam. She said it was a 
shame a girl like that shouldn’t have a 
chance, and so it was. Mamma thought 
she interfered, and I suppose she did. 
Still, you can’t blame her much, when 
she had no children of her own, can you ?” 

“ I shouldn’t want to blame her, if she 
gave Miriam her chance.” 

“ That’s what I’ve always said. And if 
Miriam had only wanted to, she could 
have been—well, almost anybody. She 
had offers and offers in Washington, and 
in England there was a Sir Somebody- 
or-other who asked her two or three times 
over. He married an actress in the end— 
and dear mamma thought Miriam must 
be crazy not to have taken him while he 
was to be had. Dear mamma said it 
would have been such a good thing for 


me to have some one like Miriam—who 
was under obligations to us, do you see? 
—in a good social position abroad.” 

“ But Miriam didn’t see it in that 
way ?” 

“ She didn’t see it in any way. She’s 
terribly exasperating in some respects, 
although she’s such a dear. Poor mamma 
used to be very tried about her—and she 
so ill—and my stepfather going blind— 
and everything. If Miriam had only 
been in a good social position abroad it 
would have been a place for me to go— 
instead of having no home—like this.” 

There was something so touching in 
her manner that he found it difficult not 
to offer her a home there and then; but 
the shadows were marching out into day¬ 
light, and he must watch the procession 
to the end. 

“ It seems to have been very incon¬ 
siderate of Miriam,” he said. “ But why 
do you suppose she acted so ?” 

“ Dear mamma thought she was in 
love with some one—some one we didn’t 
know anything about—but I never be¬ 
lieved that. In the first place, she didn’t 
know any one we didn’t know anything 
about—not before she went to Washing¬ 
ton with Lady Bonchurch. And besides, 
she couldn’t be in love with any one with¬ 
out my knowing it, now could she?” 

“ I suppose not; unless she made up 
her mind she wouldn’t tell you.” 

“ Oh, I shouldn’t want her to tell me. 
I should see it for myself. She wouldn’t 
tell me, in any case—not till things had 
gone so far that—but I never noticed 
the least sign of it, do you see? and I’ve 
a pretty sharp eye for that sort of thing 
at all times. There was just one thing. 
Dear mamma used to say that for a while 
she used to do a good deal of moping in 
a little studio she had, up in the hills 
near our house—but you couldnff tell 
anything from that.. I’ve gone and moped 
there myself, when I’ve felt I wanted 
a good cry—and I wasn’t in love with 
any one.” 

There was a long silence, during wdiicli 
he sat grave, motionless, reflecting. Now 
and then he placed his extinguished 
cigarette to his lips, with the mechanical 
motion of a man forgetful of time and 
place and circumstance. 

“Well, what are you thinking about?” 
she inquired, when the pause had lasted 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


735 


long enough. He seemed to wake with 
a start. 

“ Oh—I—I don’t know. I rather fancy 
I was thinking about—about this Miss- 
after all, you haven’t given me any name 
but Miriam.” 

“ Strange, her name is. The same as 
yours.” 

“Oh? You’ve never told me that.” 

“ Aunt Queenie has, though. But you 
always seem to shuffle so when it’s men¬ 
tioned that I’ve let it alone. I don’t 
blame you, either; for if there’s one thing 
more tedious than another, it’s having- 
people forever fussing about your name. 
There was a girl at our school whose 
name was Fidgett—Jessie Fidgett—a 
nice, quiet girl, as placid as a church— 
hut I do assure you, it got to be so tire¬ 
some—well, you know how it would be— 
and so I decided I wouldn’t say anything 
about Miriam’s name to you, nor about 
yours to her. Goodness knows, there 
must be lots of Stranges in the world— 
just as much as Jarrotts.” 

“ So that—after all—her name was 
Miriam Strange.” 

“ It was, and is, and always will be— 
if she goes on like this,” Miss Colfax re¬ 
joined, not noticing that he had spoken 
half-musingly to himself. “ She was a 
ward of my stepfather’s till she came of 
age,” she added, in an explanatory tone. 
“ She’s a sort of Canadian—or half a 
Canadian^—or something—I never could 
quite make out what. Anyhow, she’s a 
dear. She’s gone now with my stepfather 
to Wiesbaden, about his eyes—and you 
can’t think what a relief to me it is. 
If she hadn’t, I might have had to go 
myself—and at my age—with all I’ve got 
to think about—and my coming out— 
Well, you can see how it would be.” 

She lifted such sweet blue eyes upon 
him that he would have seen anything 
she wanted him to see, if he had not been 
determined to push his inquiries until 
there was nothing left for him to learn. 

“ Were you fond of him ? — your 
stepfather ?” 

“ Of course—in a way. But every¬ 
thing was so unfortunate. I know dear 
mamma thought she was acting for the 
best when she married him; and if he 
hadn’t begun to go blind almost immedi¬ 
ately— But he was very kind to mam¬ 
ma, when she had to go to the Adiron- 


dacks for her health. That was very 
soon after she returned to New York 
from here—when papa died. But she was 
so lonely in the Adirondacks—and he was 
a judge—a Mr. Wayne—with a good posi¬ 
tion—and naturally she never dreamed 
he had anything the matter with his eyes 
—it isn’t the sort of thing you’d ever 
think of asking about beforehand—and 
so it all happened that way, do you see ?’’ 

He did see. He could have wished 
not to see so clearly. He saw with a 
light that dazzled him. Any step would 
be hazardous now, except one in retreat; 
though he was careful to explain to him¬ 
self that night that it was retreat for 
reconnoitre, and not for running away. 

Tt was not astonishing, therefore, that 
he was seized with a sudden longing to get 
away—a longing for space and solitude, 
for the pampas and the rivers, and, above 
all, for work. In the free air his spirit 
would throw off its oppression of discom¬ 
fort, while in a daily routine of occu¬ 
pation he often found that difficulties 
solved themselves. 

“ If you think that this business of 
Kent’s can get along without me now,” 
he said to Mr. Jarrott, in the private 
office, next morning, “ perhaps I had 
better be getting back to Rosario.” 

Not a muscle moved in the old man’s 
long, wooden face, but the gray-blue eyes 
threw Strange a curious look. 

“ Do you want to go ?” he asked, after 
a slight pause. 

Strange smiled, with an embarrassment 
that did not escape observation. 

“ I’ve been away longer than I ex¬ 
pected—a good deal longer. Things must 
want looking after, I suppose. Green 
can take my place for a while, but—” 

“ Green is doing very well—better than 
I thought he could. He seems to have 
taken a new start, that man.” 

“ I’m not used to loafing, sir. If 
there’s no particular reason for my stay¬ 
ing on here—” 

Mr. Jarrott fitted the tips of his fin¬ 
gers together, and answered slowly. 

“ There’s no particular reason—just 
now. We’ve been speaking of—of—a— 
certain—a—certain changes— But it’s 
too soon—” 

“ Of course, sir, I don’t want to urge 
my private wishes against—” 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


( Ol) 


“Quite bo; quite so; I understand 
that. A—a—private wishes, you say?” 

“Yes, sir; entirely private.” 

The gray-blue eyes rested on him in 
a gaze meant to be uninquisitive and non¬ 
committal, but which, as a matter of 
fact, expressed something from which 
Strange turned his own glance away. 

“ Yery well; I’d go,” the old man said, 
quietly. 

Strange left his cards that - afternoon 
at the house at Palermo just when 
he knew Mrs. Jarrott would be resting 
and Miss Jarrott driving with Miss Col¬ 
fax. At seven he took the night boat 
up the Plata to the Parana. 

CHAPTER XI 

VIE, what do you think made Mr. 
Strange rush away like that ? 
Your uncle says he didn’t have to— 
that he might just as well have stayed 
in town.” 

“ I’m sure I don’t know,” was Evie’s 
truthful response, as she flitted about 
the dining-room table, arranging the 
flowers before luncheon. 

“ Your uncle thinks you do,” Mrs. Jar¬ 
rott said, leaning languidly back in an 
armchair. Her tone and manner implied 
that the matter had nothing to do with 
her, though she was willing to speak of 
it. This was as far as she could come 
to showing an interest in anything out¬ 
side herself since the boys died. She 
would not have brought up the subject 
now if the girl’s pallor during' the last 
few days had not made them uneasy. 

“ 1 haven’t the least idea,” Miss Colfax 
declared. “ I was just as much surprised 
as you were, Aunt Helen.” 

“ Your uncle thinks you must have 
said something to him—” 

“ I didn’t. I didn’t say anything to 
him whatever. Why should I ? He’s 
nothing to me.” 

“ Of course he’s nothing to you, if 
you’re engaged to Billy Merrow.” 

Miss Colfax leaned across the table, 
taking a longer time than necessary to 
give its value to a certain rose. 

“ I’m not engaged to him now,” she 
said, as if after reflection—“ not in my 
own mind, that is.” 

“ But you are in his, I suppose.” 

“Well, I can’t help that, can I?” 


“ Not unless you write and tell him 
it’s all over.” 

Miss Colfax stood still, a large red 
flower raised in protestation. 

“ That would be the cruelest thing I 
ever heard of,” she exclaimed, with con¬ 
viction. “ I don’t see how you can bear 
to make the suggestion.” 

“ Then what are you going to do 
about it?” 

“I needn’t do anything just yet. 
There’s no hurry—till I get back to 
New York.” 

“ Do you mean to let him go on 
thinking— ?” 

“ He’d much rather. Whenever I tell 
him, it will be too soon for him. There’s 
no reason why he should know earlier 
than he wants to.” 

“But is that honor, dear?” 

“ How can I tell ?” At so unreasonable 
a question the blue eyes clouded with 
threatening tears. “ I can’t go into all 
those fine points, Aunt Helen, do you 
see? I’ve just got to do what’s right.” 

Mrs. Jarrott rose with an air of help¬ 
lessness. She loved her brother’s daugh¬ 
ter tenderly enough, b\it she admitted to 
herself that she did not understand 
young girls. Having borne only sons, 
she had never been called upon to strug¬ 
gle with the baffling. 

“ I hope you’re not going to tell any 
one, Aunt Helen,” Evie begged, as Mrs. 
Jarrott seemed about to leave the room. 
“ I shouldn’t want Uncle Jarrott to know, 
or Aunt Queenie, either.” 

“ I shall certainly spare them,” Mrs. 
Jarrott said, with what for her was 
asperity. “ They would be surprised, to 
say the least, after the encouragement you 
gave Mr. Strange.” 

“ I didn’t give it—he took it. I could¬ 
n’t stop him.” 

“Did you want to?” 

“ I thought of it—sometimes—till I 
gave up being engaged to Billy.” 

“ And having passed that mental crisis, 
I suppose it didn’t matter.” 

“ Well, the mental crisis, as you call 
it, left me free. I sha’n’t have to re¬ 
proach myself—” 

“No; Mr. Merrow will do that for 
you.” 

“ Of course he will. I expect him to. 
It would be very queer if he didn’t. 1 
shall have a dreadful time making him 



THE WILD OLIVE. 


737 


see thing’s my way. And with all that 
hanging over me I should think I might 
look for a little sympathy from you, 
Aunt Helen. Lots of girls wouldn’t have 
said anything about it. But I told you 
because I want you to see I’m perfectly 
straight and aboveboard.” 

Mrs. Jarrott said no more for the mo¬ 
ment, but later in the day she confided 
to her husband that the girl puzzled her. 
“ She mixes me up so that I don’t know 
which of us is talking sense.” She was 
not at all sure that Evie was fretting 
about Mr. Strange—though she might be. 
If she wasn’t, then she couldn’t be well. 
That was the only explanation of her 
depression and loss of appetite. 

“ You can bet your life he’s thinking 
of her,” Mr. Jarrott said, with the lapse 
into the colloquial expression he permitted 
himself when he got into his house- 
jacket. “He’s praying to her image as 
if it was a wooden saint.” 

With the omission of the word wooden 
this was much what Strange was doing 
at Rosario. At the end of two months 
he was still mentally where he was when 
he left Buenos Ayres. His intelligence 
assured him that he had the right of a 
man who has no rights to seize and carry 
off what he can; while that nameless 
something else within him refused to 
ratify the statement. What precise part 
of him raised this obstacle he was at a 
loss to guess. It could not be his con¬ 
science, since he had been free of con¬ 
science ever since the night on Lake 
Champlain. Still less could it be his 
heart, seeing that his heart was crying 
out for Evie Colfax more fiercely than 
a lion roars for food. The paralysis of 
his judgment had become such that he 
was fast approaching the determination 
to make Love the only arbiter, and let 
all the rest go hang! 

He had got no further than this when 
the news was conveyed to him by Mrs. 
Green, whom he met accidentally in the 
street, that Mr. Skinner, the second 
partner, had had a “ stroke,” and had 
been ordered to Carlsbad. Mrs. Skinner, 
so Mrs. Green’s letters from the Port 
informed her, was to accompany her hus¬ 
band. Furthermore, Miss Colfax was 
seizing the opportunity to travel with 
them to Southampton,- where she would 


he able to join friends who would take 
her to New York. There was even a 
rumor that Miss Jarrott was to accom¬ 
pany her niece, but Mrs. Green was 
unable to vouch for the truth of it. In 
any case, she said, there were signs 
of “ a regular shaking up,” such as 
comes periodically in any great mercan¬ 
tile establishment; and this time, she 
ventured to hope, Mr. Green would get 
his rights. 

CHAPTER XII 

HE knowledge that it was a juncture 
at which to execute a daring move¬ 
ment acted as an opiate on what would 
otherwise have been, for Strange, a day 
of frenzy. While to the outward eye he 
was going quietly about his work, he was 
inwardly calling all his resources to his 
aid to devise some plan for outwitting 
circumstance. After forty-eight hours 
of tearing at his heart and hacking at his 
brain, he could think of nothing more 
original than to take the first train down 
to the Port, ask the girl to be his wife, 
and let life work out the consequence. 
At the end of two days, however, he was 
saved from a too deliberate defiance of 
the unaccounted-for inner voice, by an 
official communication from Mr. Jarrott. 

It was in the brief, dry form of his 
business -conversation, giving no hint 
that there were emotions behind the stilt¬ 
ed phraseology, and an old man’s yearn¬ 
ings. Mr. Skinner was far from well, 
and would “ proceed immediately ” to 
Carlsbad. Strange would hand over the 
business at Rosario to Mr. Green—who 
would become resident manager, pro 
tem. at any rate—and present himself 
in Buenos Ayres at the earliest con¬ 
venient moment. Mr. Jarrott would be 
glad to see him as soon as possible after 
his arrival. 

That was all; hut as far as the young 
man was concerned, it saved the situa¬ 
tion. On consulting the steamer list he 
saw that the Royal Mail Steam Packet 
Gorrientes would sail for Southampton 
in exactly six days’ time. By dint of 
working all night with Mr. Green, who 
was happy to lend himself to anything 
that would show him the last of his rival, 
he was able to take a train to the Port 
next day. It was half past six when he 
arrived in Buenos Ayres. By half past 



738 


HARPER'S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


eight he had washed, changed to an 
evening suit, and dined. At nine his 
cab stopped at the door of the house 
at Palermo. 

As he followed the elderly man servant 
who admitted him, the patio was so dim 
that he made his way but slowly. He 
made his way but slowly, not only be¬ 
cause the patio was dim, but because he 
was trying to get his crowding emotions 
under control, before meeting his em¬ 
ployer in an interview, that might be 
fraught with serious results. 

If she had not moved out unexpectedly 
from behind a pillar, a little fluttering 
figure in a white frock, he could have 
kept his self-control. If he had not come 
upon her in this sudden way, when she 
believed him in Rosario, she, too, would 
not have been caught at a disadvantage. 
As it was, he stood still, as if awe-struck. 
She gave a little cry, as if frightened. It 
is certain that his movement of the arms 
was an automatic process, not dictated 
by any order of the brain; and the same 
may be said for the impulse which threw 
her on* his breast. If, after that, the rest 
was not silence, it was little more. What 
he uttered and she replied was scarcely 
audible to either, though it wa3 under¬ 
stood by both. It was all over so quickly, 
that the man servant had barely thrown 
open the library door, and announced 
“ Mr. Strange,” when Strange himself 
was on the threshold. 

Mr. Jarrott, who was smoking a cigar 
and sipping his after-dinner coffee, was 
in evening dress, but wore his house- 
jacket—a circumstance of which Strange 
did not know the significance, though he 
felt its effect. The old man’s welcome 
was not unlike that of a shy father try¬ 
ing to break the shackles of reserve with 
a home-coming son. lie pushed Strange 
gently into the most comfortable arm¬ 
chair, beside which he drew up a small 
table for the cigar-box, the ash-tray, and 
the matches. He rang for another cup, 
and brought the coffee with his own 
hands. Strange remembered how often, 
after a hard day’s work, he had been 
made uncomfortable by just such awk¬ 
ward, affectionate attentions from poor 
old Monsieur Durand. 

“ I didn’t expect you so soon,” Mr. 
Jarrott began, when they were both 


seated, “ but you’ve done well to come. 
I’m afraid we’re in for a regular upset 
all round.” 

“ I hope it isn’t going to make things 
harder for you, sir,” Strange ventured, 
in the tone of personal concern which his 
kindly treatment seemed to warrant him 
in taking. 

“ It won’t if I can get the right men 
into the right places. That ’ll be the 
tough part of the business. The wool de¬ 
partment will suffer by Mr. Skinner’s ab¬ 
sence—lie’s very ill, in my opinion—and 
there’s only one man who can take his 
place.” Strange felt his heart throbbing, 
and the color rising to his face. He did 
not covet the position, for he disliked the 
wool department; but it was undeniably 
a “ rise,” and right along the line of 
highest promotion. “ That’s Jenkins,” 
Mr. Jarrott finished, quietly. 

Strange said nothing. After all, he 
was relieved. Mr. Jarrott did not go on 
at once, but when he did speak Strange 
fell back into the depths of his arm¬ 
chair, in an attitude suggestive of phys¬ 
ical collapse. 

“And if Jenkins came back here,” the 
old man pursued, “ you’d have to take 
his place in New York.” 

Strange concealed his agitation by 
puffing out successive rings of smoke. If 
he had not long ago considered what he 
would say should this proposal ever be 
made to him, he would have been even 
more overcome than he actually was. He 
had meant to oppose the offer with a 
point-blank refusal, but what had hap¬ 
pened within the last quarter of an hour 
had so modified this judgment that he 
could only sit, turning things rapidly 
over in his mind, till more was said. 

“ There’s no harm in—a—telling you,” 
Mr. Jarrott went on again, with that 
hesitancy Strange had begun to associ¬ 
ate with important announcements, “ that 
—a—Jenkins will be—a—taken into 
partnership. You won’t—a—be taken 
into partnership—a—yet. But you will 
have a good salary in New York. I 
can—a—promise you that much.” 

It was because he was unnerved that 
tears smarted in the young man’s eyes at 
the implications in these sentences. He 
took his time before responding, the cour¬ 
tesies of the occasion being served as well 
by silence as by speech. 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


739 


“ I won’t try to thank you for all your 
kindness, sir,” he said, with a visible 
effort, “ until I’ve told you something— 
something that, very likely, you won’t 
approve of. I’ve asked Miss Colfax to 
marry me, and she’s consented.” 

The old man’s brows shot up incredu¬ 
lously. 

“ That’s odd,” he said, “ because not 
half an hour ago she told my wife 
there was nothing whatever between 
you—that you hadn’t even written to 
her since you went away. Mrs. Jar- 
rott only left this room as you rang 
the door-bell.” 

“ But it was after I rang the door¬ 
bell,” Strange stammered, “ that I—I— 
asked her.” 

“ Quick work,” was the old man’s only 
comment, hut the muscles of his lips re¬ 
laxed slowly, as if rusty from disuse, into 
one of his rare smiles. 

With the assurance of this reception 
Strange could afford to sit silent till Mr. 
Jarrott made some further sign. 

“ By the terms of her father’s will,” he 
explained some minutes later, “ I’m her 
guardian and trustee. She can’t marry 
without my consent till she comes of 
age. I don’t say that in this instance I 
should—a=—withhold my consent; but I 
should feel constrained to—a—give it 
with conditions.” 

“ If it’s anything I can fulfil, sir—” 

“ Ho; it wouldn’t concern you so much 
as her. She’s very young—and in heart 
she’s younger than her age. She knows 
nothing about men—she can’t know—and 
I dare say you’re the first young fellow 
who ever said anything to her about— 
Well, you understand what I mean. Mind 
you, we’ve no objections to you whatever. 
You are your own credentials; and we 
take them at their face value. You tell 
me you’re an orphan, with no near rela¬ 
tions, so that there couldn’t be any com¬ 
plications on that score. Besides that, 
you’re—a likely chap; and I don’t mind 
saying that—a—my ladies—Mrs. Jarrott 
and my sister—have taken rather a 
fancy to you. It can’t do you any—a—• 
harm to know as much as that.” 

Strange murmured his appreciation, 
and the old man went on. 

“No; you’re all right. But, as I said 
before, she’s very young, and if we mar¬ 
ried her to you out of hand we feel that 

Vol. CXX.—No. 719.-93 


we shouldn’t be giving her a fair show. 
We think she ought to have a little more 
chance to look round her, so to speak. In 
fact, she isn’t what ladies call 1 out.’ 
She’s scarcely ever seen a man, except 
through a window. Consequently, we 
think we must send her back to New 
York, for a winter at any rate, and 
trot the procession before her. My 
sister is to undertake it, and they’re 
to sail next week. That won’t make 
so much difference to you now, as it 
would if you weren’t soon going to 
follow them.” 

Strange nodded. He felt himself 
being wafted to New York, whether he 
would or no. 

“Now all I have to say is this: if, 
when she’s regularly started, she sees 
some other young fellow she likes better 
than you, you’re to give her up without 
making a fuss.” 

“ Of course. Naturally, she would 
have to be free to do as she chose in the 
long run. I’m not afraid of losing her—” 

“ That ’ll be your own lookout. You’ll 
be on the spot, and will have as good a 
chance as anybody else. You’ll have a 
better chance; for you’ll only have to 
keep what you’ve won, while any one 
else would have to start in at the be¬ 
ginning. But it’s understood that there 
—a—can be no talk of a wedding just 
yet. She must have next winter to 
reconsider her promise to you, if she 
wants to.” 

Strange having admitted the justice 
of this, the old man rose, and held out 
his hand. 

“ We’ll keep the matter between our¬ 
selves—in the family, I mean—for the 
time being,” he said, with another 
slowly breaking smile; “but the la¬ 
dies will want to wish you luck. You 
must come into the drawing-room and 
see them.” 

They were half-way to the door, when 
Mr. Jarrott paused. 

“ And of course you’ll go to New York? 
I didn’t think it necessary to ask you if 
you cared to make the change.” 

With the question straight before him 
Strange knew that an answer must be 
given. He understood now how it is that 
there are men and women who find it 
worth their while to thrust their heads 
into lions’ mouths. 


740 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


“ Yes, sir, of course,” lie answered, 
quietly; and they went on to join the 
ladies. 

PART III.—MIRIAM 

CHAPTER XIII 
N a day when Evie Colfax was 
nearing' Southampton, and Her¬ 
bert Strange sailing northward from 
the Rio de la Plata up the coast of 
Brazil, Miriam Strange, in New York, 
was standing in the embrasure of a large 
bay-window of a fifth-floor apartment, in 
that section of Fifty-ninth Street that 
skirts the southern limit of Central Park. 
Her conversation with the man beside 
her turned on subjects which both knew 
to be only preliminary to the business 
that had brought him. He inquired about 
her voyage home from Germany, and 
expressed his sympathy with “ poor 
Wayne ” on the hopelessness and finality 
of the Wiesbaden oculist’s report. Tak¬ 
ing a lighter tone, he said, with a gesture 
toward the vast expanse of autumn color 
on which they were looking down: 

“ You didn’t see anything finer than 
that in Europe. Come now!” 

“ No, I didn’t—not in its own way. 
As long as I can look at this I’m almost 
reconciled to living in a town.” 

As her eyes roamed over the sea 
of splendor that stretched from their 
very feet, nearly three miles to the 
northward, till it lost itself beyond the 
city, in the line of the far-distant hills 
—a rim of October gorgeousness against 
the sky—he was able to steal a glance 
at her. His immediate observation was 
to the effect that the suggestion of wild¬ 
ness—or, more correctly, of a wild origin 
—was as noticeable in her now, a woman 
of twenty-seven, as it was when he first 
knew her, a girl of nineteen. That she 
shoidd have brought it with her from a 
childhood passed amid lakes and rivers 
and hills was natural enough—just as it 
was natural that her voice should have 
that liquid cadence which 'belongs to 
peoples of the forest, though it is rarely 
caught by human speech elsewhere; but 
that she should have conserved these 
qualities through the training of a 
woman of the world was more remark¬ 
able. But there it was, that something 
woodland-bom, which London and New 
York had neither submerged nor swept 


away. It was difficult to say in what it 
consisted, since it eluded the effort to 
say, “ It is this or that.” It resisted 
analysis, as it defied description. Though 
it might have been in the look, or in the 
manner, it conveyed itself to the observer’s 
apprehension otherwise than by the eye or 
ear, as if it appealed to some extra sense. 

He noted, too, the sure lines of her 
profile—a profile becoming clearer cut 
as she grew older—features wrought with 
delicacy and yet imbued with strength, 
suggestive of carved ivory. Delicacy 
imbued with strength was betokened, too, 
by the tall slenderness of her figure, whose 
silence and suppleness of movement 
came—in Charles Conquest’s imagination 
at least—from her far-off forest ancestry. 

“ I couldn’t live anywhere else but 
here—if it must be in New York,” she 
said, turning from the window. “ I 
couldn’t do without the sense of woods, 
and space, and sky. I can stand at 
this window and imagine all sorts of 
things—that, the park really does run 
into the Catskills, as it seems to do— 
that the Catskills run into the Adiron- 
dacks—and that the Adirondacks take me 
up to the Laurentides, with which my 
earliest recollections begin.” 

“ I think you’re something like Shel¬ 
ley’s Venice,” he smiled, “a sort of 
‘ daughter of the earth and ocean.’ You 
never seem to me to belong in just the 
ordinary category—” 

She had been afraid of something 
like this from the minute he was an¬ 
nounced, and so hastened to cling to 
the impersonal. 

“ Then, the apartment is so convenient. 
Being all on one floor, it is so much 
easier for Mr. Wayne to get about it 
than if he had stairs to climb. I didn’t 
tell you that I’ve had Mrs. Wayne’s room 
done over for Evie. It’s so much larger 
and lighter than her old one—” 

He cleared his throat uneasily. 

“ I remember your saying something 
of the kind before you went away in the 
spring. It’s one of the things I came in 
to talk about to-day.” 

“ Indeed ?” His change of tone alarm¬ 
ed her. He had taken on the air of a 
man about to break unpleasant news. 
“Won’t you sit down? I’ll ring for tea. 
We’re not in very good order yet, but 
the servants can give us that much.” 



THE WILD OLIVE. 


741 


She spoke for the purpose of hiding 
her uneasiness, just as she felt that she 
should be more sure of herself while 
handling the teacups than if she were 
sitting idle. 

“I’ve had a letter from Mr. Jarrott,” 
he said, making himself comfortable, 
while she moved the tea table in front 
of her. “ He wrote to me, partly as 
Stephens & Jarrott’s legal adviser, and 
partly as a friend.” 

He allowed that information time to 
sink in before continuing. 

“ He tells me Miss Jarrott is on her 
way home, with Evie.” 

“Yes; Evie herself wrote me that,, I 
got the letter at Cherbourg.” 

“ Then she probably told ■ you about 
the house.” 

“ The house ? What house ?” 

“ The house they’ve asked me to take for 
the winter—for Miss Jarrott and her.” 

The tea-things came, giving her the 
relief of occupation. 

“ So I’m not to have her ?” she said, 
at last. 

“ It’s only for this winter—” 

“ Oh, I know. But what’s for this win¬ 
ter will be for every winter!” 

“ And she won’t be far away. I’ve 
taken the Grants’ house in Seventy- 
second Street. They asked for a house 
in which they could do some entertain¬ 
ing. You see, they want to give her a 
good time—” 

“ I quite understand all that. Evie 
has to ‘ come out.’ I’ve not the least 
doubt that they’re managing it in the 
best way possible. Yes, I see that. If 
1 feel a little—well, I won’t say hurt— 
but a little—sorry—it’s because I’ve al¬ 
most brought Evie up. And I suppose 
I’m the person she’s most fond of—as 
far as she’s fond of any one.” 

“ I presume she’s fond of my nephew, 
Billy Merrow.” 

“ I hope so. Billy rather teased her 
into that engagement, you know. She’s 
too young to be deeply in love—unless 
it was with some one romantic. And 
Billy isn’t that. I’m not sure that there 
isn’t trouble ahead for him.” 

“ Then I shall let him worry through 
it himself. I’ve got other things to 
think about.” 

When she had given him his tea and 
begun to sip her own, she looked up with 


that particular bright smile which in 
women means the bracing of the courage. 

“ It ’ll be all right,” she said, with 
forced conviction. “ I know it will. It’s 
foolish in me to think I shall miss her, 
when she will be so near. It’s only 
because she and Mr. Wayne are all 
I’ve got—” 

“ They needn’t be,” he interposed, 
draining his cup, and setting it down, 
like a man preparing for action. 

She knew her own words had exposed 
her to this, and was vexed with herself 
for speaking in a dangerous situation 
without due foresight. For a minute she 
could think of nothing to say that would 
ward off his thrust. She sat looking at 
him rather helplessly, unconsciously ap¬ 
pealing to him with her eyes to let the 
subject drop. 

If he meant to go on with it he took 
his time—flecking a few crumbs from his 
white waistcoat and from his finger tips. 
In the action he showed himself for what 
he was, a man so neat as just to escape 
being dapper. There was nothing large 
about him, in either mind or body; while, 
on the contrary, there was much that 
was keen and able. The incisiveness of 
the face would have been too sharp, had 
it not been saved by the high - bred 
effect of a Roman nose and a hand¬ 
some mouth and chin. The fair mus¬ 
tache, faded now rather than gray, soft¬ 
ened the cynicism of the lips, without 
concealing it. It was the face of a man 
accustomed to “ see through ” other men 
—to “ see through ” life—compelling its 
favors from the w 7 orld rather than asking 
them. The detailed exactness and un¬ 
obtrusive costliness of everything about 
him, from the pearl in his tie to the 
varnish on his boots, were indicative of 
a will rigorously demanding “ the best,” 
and taking it. The refusal of it now 
in the person of the only woman whom 
he had ever wanted as a wife left him 
puzzled, slightly exasperated, as before 
a phenomenon not to be explained. It 
was this unusual resistance that caused 
the somewhat impatient tone he took 
with her. 

“ It’s all nonsense—your living as you 
do—like a professional trained nurse.” 

“ The life of a professional trained 
nurse isn’t nonsense.” 

“ It is for you.” 


742 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


“On the contrary; it’s for me, more 
than for almost any one, to justify my 
right to being in the world.” 

“ Oh, come now! Don’t let us begin 
on that.” 

“ I don’t want to begin on it. I’d much 
rather not. But if you don’t, you throw 
away the key that explains everything 
about me.” 

“ All right,” he rejoined, in an argu¬ 
mentative tone. “ Let’s talk about it, 
then. Let’s have it out. You feel your 
position; granted. Mind you, I’ve always 
said you wouldn’t have done so if it 
hadn’t been for Gertrude Wayne. The 
world to-day has too much common sense 
to lay stress on a circumstance of that 
kind. Believe me, nobody thinks about 
it hut yourself. Did Lady Bonchurch? 
Did any of her friends? You’ve got it 
a little bit—just a little bit—on the brain; 
and the fault isn’t yours; it belongs to 
the woman whose soul is gone, I hope, 
where it’s freed from the rules of a book 
of etiquette.” 

“ She meant well—” 

“ Oh, every failure, and bungler, and 
mischief-maker means well. That’s their 
charter. I’m not concerned with that. 
I’m speaking of what she did. She 
fixed it in your mind that you were like 
a sapling sprung from a seed blown out¬ 
side the orchard. You think you can 
minimize that accident by bringing forth 
fruit as good as any to be found within 
the pale. Consequently you’ve taken a 
poor, helpless blind man off the hands 
of the people whose duty it is to look 
after him—and who are well able to 
do it—” 

“ That isn’t the reason,” she declared, 
flushing. “ If I have chosen to have poor 
Mr. Wayne here with me it’s because we’re 
used to each other—and in a way he has 
taken the place of my father.” 

“ Oh, come now! That’s all very fine. 
But haven’t you got in the back of your 
mind the thought that the wild tree 
that’s known by its good fruit is the one 
that’s best worth grafting?” 

“ If I had—” she began, with color 
deepening. 

“ If you had, you’d simply be taking 
a long way round, when there’s a short 
cut home. I’m in the orchard, Miriam. 
All you’ve got to do is to walk into it— 
with me.” 


“ There’s a reason why I couldn’t do 
that,” she said, meeting his sharp eyes 
with one of her fugitive glances. “ I 
would have given it to you when—when 
you brought up this subject last spring, 
only you didn’t ask me.” 

“Well, what is it?” 

“ I couldn’t love you.” 

She forced herself to bring out the 
words distinctly. He leaned back in 
his chair, threw one leg across the other, 
and stroked the thin, colorless line of 
his mustache. 

“No, I suppose you couldn’t,” he said, 
quietly, after considering her words. 

“ So that my answer has to be final.” 

“ I don’t see that. Love is only one 
of the many motives for marriage—and 
not, as I understand it, the highest one. 
The divorce courts are strewn with the 
wrecks of marriages made for love. Those 
that stand the' test of life and time are 
generally those that have been contract¬ 
ed from some of the more solid—and 
worthier—motives.” 

“ Then I don’t know what they are.” 

“ 1 could explain them to you if you’d 
let me. As for love—if it’s needed at 
all—I coidd bring enough into hotch¬ 
potch, as the phrase goes, to do for two. 
I’m over fifty years of age. It never 
occurred to me that you could—care 
about me—as you might have cared for 
some one else. But as far as I can see, 
there’s no one else. If there was, per¬ 
haps I shouldn’t persist.” 

She looked up with sudden determina¬ 
tion. 

“ If there was any one else, you would 
consider that as settling the question ?” 

“ I might. I shouldn’t bind myself. 
It would depend.” 

“ Then I’ll tell you; there is some o;ie 
else.” The words caused her to flush so 
painfully that she hastened to qualify 
them. “ That is, there might have been.” 

“ What do you mean by—might have 
been ?” 

“ I mean that, though I don’t say 
I’ve ever—loved—any man, there was 
a man I might have loved, if it had 
been possible.” 

“ And why wasn’t it possible ?” 

“ I’d rather not tell you. It was a long 
time ago. He went away. He never 
came back again.” 

“ Did h'e say he’d come back again ?” 



Drawn by Lucius \V. Hitchcock. 

“THERE WAS A MAN I MIGHT HAVE LOVED. IF IT HAD BEEN POSSIBLE ” 









THE WILD OLIVE. 


713 


She shook her head. She tried to meet 
his gaze steadily, but it was like facing 
a search-light. 

“ Were you what you would call—- 
engaged ?” 

“ Oh no.” Her confusion deepened. 
“ There was never anything. It was a 
long time ago. I only want you to under- 
stand that if I could care for any one 
it would be for him. And if I married 
you—and he came back—” 

“ Are you expecting him back ?” 

She was a long time answering the 
question. She would not have answered 
it at all had it not been in the hope of 
getting rid of him. 

“ Yes.” 

He took the declaration coolly, and 
went on. 

“ Why ? What makes you think he’ll 
come ?” 

“ I have no reason. I think he will—• 
that’s all.” 

“ Where is he now ?” 

“ I haven’t the faintest idea.” 

“ Hasn’t he ever written to you ?” 

' “Never.” 

“ And yet you expect him back ?” 

She nodded assent. 

“You’re waiting for him?” 

Once more she braced herself to look 
him in the eyes and answer boldly. 

“I am.” 

He leaned back in his chair and 
laughed, not loudly, but in good-humored 
derision. 

“ If that’s all that stands between us—” 

To her relief he said no more; though 
she was disappointed that the subject 
should he dropped in a way that made 
it possible to bring it up again. As he 
was taking his leave she renewed the 
attempt to end the matter once for all. 

“ I know you think me foolish—” 
she began. 

“No, not foolish; only romantic.” 

“ Then, romantic. Komance is as bad 
as folly when one is twenty-seven. I 
confess it,” she went on, trying to smile, 
“ only that you may understand, that 
it’s a permanent condition, which I 
sha’n’t get over.” 

“ Oh yes, you will.” 

“ Things happened—long ago—such as 
don’t generally happen; and so—I’m wait¬ 
ing for him. If he never comes—then 
I’d rather go on—waiting—uselessly.” 


It was hard to say, but it was said. 
He laughed again—not quite so derisive¬ 
ly as before—and went away. 

When he had gone, she resumed her 
seat behind the tea table. She sat look¬ 
ing absently at the floor and musing on 
the words she had just spoken. Not in 
all the seven or eight years since Norrie 
Ford went away had she acknowledged 
to her own heart what, within the last 
few minutes, she had declared aloud. 
She had actually been waiting for Norrie 
Ford to return, and say what he had told 
her he would say, should it ever become 
possible! She was waiting for him still! 
If he never came she would rather go 
on waiting for him—uselessly! The 
language almost shocked her; but now 
that the thing was spoken she admitted 
it was true. It was a light thrown on 
herself—if not precisely a new light, at 
least one from which all shades and col¬ 
ored wrappings that delude the eye and ob¬ 
scure the judgment had been struck away. 

She smiled to herself to think how 
little Conquest understood her when he 
ascribed to her the ambition to graft her 
ungamered branch on the stock of a duly 
cultivated civilization. She might have 
had that desire once, but it was long 
past. It was a kind of glory to her now 
to be outside the law—with Norrie Ford. 
There they were exiles together, in a 
wild paradise with joys of its own, not 
less sweet than those of any Eden. She 
had faced more than once the question 
of being “ taken into the orchard,” as 
Conquest put it. The men who had 
asked her at various times to marry them 
had been like himself, men of middle age, 
or approaching it—men of assured posi¬ 
tion either by birth or by attainment. 
Once or twice the position offered her was 
so much in accordance with her tastes 
that her refusal brought with it a cer¬ 
tain vague regret. “ But I couldn’t do 
it,” were the words with which she woke 
from every dream of seeing herself mis¬ 
tress in a quiet English park, or a big 
house in New York. Her habits might 
be those of civilized mankind; but her 
heart was listening for a call from beyond 
the limits in which men have the recog¬ 
nized right to live. She could put no 
shackles on her freedom to respond to 
it—if it ever came. 

[to be continued.] 


The Wild Olive 


By the Author of 

CHAPTER XIV 

S HE discovered that Norrie Ford had 
come back, and that some of her ex¬ 
pectations were fulfilled by finding 
him seated on her right at dinner. 

Miss Jarrott’s taste in table light was 
in the direction of candles tempered by 
deep red shades. As no garish electricity 
was allowed to intrude itself into this 
soft glow, the result was that only old 
acquaintances among her guests got a 
satisfactory notion of each other’s feat¬ 
ures. It was with a certain sense of dis¬ 
covery that, by peering through the rose- 
colored twilight, Miriam discerned now 
a Jarrott or a Colfax, now an Endsleigh 
or a Pole—faces more or less well known 
to her which she had not had time to 
recognize during the few hurried min¬ 
utes in the drawing-room. 

It was the dinner of which Evie had 
said, in explaining her plan of campaign 
to Miriam, “ We must kill off the family 
first of all.” It was plain that she re¬ 
garded the duty as a bore; but she was 
too worldly wise not to see that her bread 
cast upon the waters would return to her. 
Most of the Jarrotts were important; 
some were wealthy; and one—Mrs. End¬ 
sleigh Jarrott—was a power in such mat¬ 
ters as assemblies and cotillions. The 
ladies Colfax were little less influential; 
and while the sphere of the Poles and 
Endsleighs was in the world of art, let¬ 
ters, and scholarship, rather than in that 
of fashion and finance, they had the un¬ 
contested status of good birth. To Evie 
they represented just so much in the way 
of her social assets, and she was quick 
in appraising them at their correct rela¬ 
tive values. Some would be good for a 
dinner given in her honor, others for a 
dance. The humblest could be counted 
on for a theatre party or a “ tea.” She 
was skilful, too, in presenting her orphan 
state with a touching vividness that en- 


“The Inner Shrine” 

listed their sympathies on behalf of 
“poor Jack’s,” or “poor Gertrude’s,” 
pretty little girl, according to the side 
of the house on which they recognized 
the relationship. 

With the confusion incidental to the 
arrival from South America, the set¬ 
tling into a new house, and the order¬ 
ing of new clothes, Miriam had had 
little of the old intimate intercourse 
with Evie during the six weeks since 
the latter’s return. It was with double 
pleasure, therefore, that Miriam re¬ 
sponded one day to Evie’s invitation to 
“ come and look at my things,” which 
meant an inspection of the frocks and 
hats that had just come home. They 
lay about now, in clouds like a soft sum¬ 
mer sunset, or in gay spots of feathers 
and flowers, on the bed and the sofa in 
Evie’s room, and filled all the chairs ex¬ 
cept the one on which Miriam had retreat¬ 
ed into the farthest corner of the bay- 
window. Seated there, not quite in profile, 
against the light, her head turned and 
slightly inclined, in order to get a bet¬ 
ter view of Evie’s finery, her slender fig¬ 
ure possessed a sort of Vandyke grace, 
heightened rather than diminished by the 
long plumes and rich draperies of the 
month’s fashion. Evie flitted between 
closets, wardrobes, and drawers, prattling 
while she worked of that first event of 
her season, in which the family were to 
be “ killed off.” She recited the names 
of those who would “ simply have to be 
asked ” and of those who could con¬ 
veniently be omitted. 

“ And of course Popsey Wayne must 
come,” she observed in her practical lit¬ 
tle way. “ I dare say he won’t want to, 
poor dear, but it wouldn’t do if he didn’t. 
Only you, you dear thing, will have to go 
in with him—to pilot him and look after 
him when the dishes are passed. But I’m 
going to have some one nice on your 
other side, do you see ?—some one awfully 
nice. We shall have to ask a few people 


2 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


outside the family, just to give it re¬ 
lief, and save it from looking like Christ¬ 
mas.” 

“ You’ll have Billy, I suppose.” 

Evie took the time to deposit a lace 
blouse in a drawer, as softly as a mother 
lays a sleeping babe to rest. 

“ No, I slia’n’t ask Billy,” she said, 
while she was still stooping. 

“ Won’t he think that queer?” 

“ I hope so.” She turned from the 
drawer, and lifted a blue gossamer 
creation from the bed. Miriam smiled 
indulgently. 

“ Why ? What’s the matter ? Have you 
anything to punish him for?” 

“ I’ve nothing to punish him for; I’ve 
only got something I want to — bring 
home to him.” She paused in the middle 
of the room, with her blue burden held 
in her outstretched arms, somewhat like 
a baby at a christening. “ I might as 
well tell you, Miriam, first as last. 
You’ve got to know it some time, though 
I don’t want it talked about just yet. 
I’ve broken my engagement to Billy.” 

“ Broken your engagement! Why, I 
saw Billy myself this morning. I met 
him as I was coming over. He said he 
was here last night, and seemed par¬ 
ticularly cheerful.” 

“ He doesn’t know it yet. I’m doing 
it—by degi’ees.” 

“You’re doing it by—what?” Miriam 
rose and came toward her, stopping mid¬ 
way to lean on the foot-rail of the bed. 
“ Evie darling, what do you mean ?” 

Evie’s eyes brimmed suddenly, and her 
lip trembled. 

“ If you’re going to be cross about it—” 

“ I’m not going to be cross about it, 
but I want you to tell me exactly what 
you’re doing.” 

“ Well, I’m telling you. I’ve broken 
my engagement, and I want to let Billy 
know it in the kindest way. I don’t want 
to hurt his feelings. You wouldn’t like 
me to do that yourself. I’m trying to 
bring him where he’ll see things just 
as I do.” 

“ And may I ask if you’re—getting him 
there ?” 

“ I shall get him there in time. I’m 
doing lots of things to show him.” 

“ Such as what?” 

“ Such as not asking him to the din¬ 
ner, for one thing. He’ll know from that 


there’s something wrong. IIe’11 make a 
fuss, and I shall be disagreeable. Little 
by little he’ll get to dislike me—and 
then—” 

“ And how long do you think it will 
take for that good work to be accom¬ 
plished ?” 

“ I don’t see that that matters. I sup¬ 
pose I may take all the time I need. 
We’re both young—” 

“ And have all your lives to give to it. 
Is that what you mean ?” 

“ I don’t want to give all my life to 
it, because—I may as well tell you that, 
too, while I’m about it—because I’m en¬ 
gaged to some one else.” 

“ Oh, Evie!” 

Miriam went back, like a person de¬ 
feated, to the chair from which she had 
just risen, while Evie buried herself in 
the depths of a closet where she remained 
long enough, as she hoped, to let Miriam’s 
first astonishment subside. On coming 
out she assumed a virtuous tone. 

“ You see now why I simply had to 
break with Billy. I couldn’t possibly 
keep the two things going together—as 
some girls would. I’m one of those who 
do right, whatever happens. It’s very 
hard for me—but if people would only 
be a little more sympathetic—” 

It was some minutes before Miriam 
knew just what to say. Even when she 
began to speak she doubted her capacity 
for making herself understood. 

“ Evie darling,” she said, trying to 
speak as for a child’s comprehension, 
“ this is a very serious matter. I don’t 
think you realize how serious it is. If 
you find you don’t love Billy well enough, 
of course you must ask him to release 
you. I should be sorry for that, but I 
shouldn’t blame you. But until you’ve 
done it you can’t give your word to any 
one.” 

“ Well, I must say I never heard any¬ 
thing like that,” Evie declared, indig¬ 
nantly. “ You do have the strangest 
ideas, Miriam. Dear mamma used to say 
so, too. I try to defend you, but you 
make it difficult for me, I must say. I 
never knew any one like you for making 
things more complicated than they need 
be. You talk of my asking Billy to re¬ 
lease me when I released myself long 
ago—in my own mind. That’s where I 
have to look. I must do things accord- 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


3 


L: 0 to my conscience—and when that’s 
clear—” 

“ It isn’t only a case of conscience, 
dear; it’s one of common sense. Con¬ 
science has a way of sometimes mistaking 
the issue, whereas common sense can gen¬ 
erally be trusted to be right.” 

“ Of course, if you’re going to talk 
that way, Miriam, I don’t see what’s left 
for me to answer; but it doesn't sound 
very reverent, I must say. I’m trying to 
]ook at things in the highest light, and 
it doesn’t strike me as the highest light 
to be unkind to Billy when I needn’t be. 
If you think I ought to treat him cruelly 
you must keep your opinion, but I know 
you'll excuse me if I keep mine.” 

She carried her head loftily as she bore 
another gown into the adjoining dark¬ 
ness, and Miriam waited patiently till 
she emerged again. 

“ Does your other—I hardly know what 
to cal] him—does your other fiance know 
about Billy ?” 

“ Why on earth should he ? What good 
would that do? It will be all over—I 
mean about Billy—before I announce my 
second engagement, and as the one to 
Billy will never be announced at all 
there’s no use in saying anything about 
it.” 

“ But suppose Billy himself finds out?” 

“ Billy won’t find out anything what¬ 
ever until I get ready' to let him.” 

The finality of this retort tfeduced 
Miriam to silence. She allowed some 
minutes to pass before saying, with 
some hesitation: 

“ I suppose you don’t mind my know¬ 
ing—who it is?” 

Evie was prepared for this question 
and answered it promptly. 

“ I sha’n’t mind your knowing—by and 
by. I want you to meet him first. When 
you’ve once seen him, I know you’ll be 
more just to me. Till then I’m willing 
to go on being—misunderstood.” 

During the three more weeks that in¬ 
tervened before the family dinner Miriam 
got no further light on Evie’s love-af¬ 
fairs. She purposely asked no questions 
through fear of seeming to force the 
girl's confidence, but she obtained some 
relief from thinking that, the rival suitor 
could be no other than a certain young 
Graham, of whom she had heard much 


from Evie during the previous year. His 
chances then had stood higher than Billy 
Merrow’s; and nothing was more possible 
than a discovery on Evie’s part that she 
liked him the better of the two. It was 
a situation that called for sympathy for 
Billy, but not otherwise for grave anx¬ 
iety, so that Miriam could wait quietly 
for further outpourings of Evie’s heart, 
and give her mind to the mysteries in¬ 
cidental to the girl’s social presentation 
to the world. 

Of the ceremonies attendant on this 
event the “ killing off ” of the family was 
the one Miriam dreaded most. It was 
when she came within the periphery of 
this powerful, meritorious, well-to-do cir¬ 
cle, representing whatever was most hon¬ 
orable in New York, that she chiefly felt 
herself an aliefi. In the midst of so 
much that was classified, certified, and 
regular she was as obviously a foreign 
clement as a fly in amber. She came 
in as the ward of Philip Wayne, who 
himself was a newcomer and an intruder, 
since he entered merely as “ poor Ger¬ 
trude’s second husband,” by a marriage 
which they all considered a mistake. 

With the desire to be as unobstrusive 
as possible, she dressed herself in black, 
without ornament of any kind, unaware 
of the fact that with her height of fig¬ 
ure, her grace of movement, her ivory 
tint, and that expression of hers which 
disconcerted people because it was first 
appealing and then proud, she would be 
more than ever conspicuous against the 
background of brilliant toilets, fine jew¬ 
els, and assured manners which the fam¬ 
ily would produce for the occasion. As 
a matter of fact, there was a perceptible 
hush in the hum of talk as she made her 
entry into the drawing-room, ostensibly 
led by Philip Wayne, but really leading 
him. As she paused near the door, half 
timid, half bewildered, looking for her 
hostess, it did not help her to feel at ease 
to see Mrs. Endsleigli Jarrott—a Rubens 
Marie de Medici in white satin and pearls 
—raise her lorgnette and call on a tall 
young man who stood beside her to take 
a look. There was no time to distinguish 
anything further before Miss Jarrott 
glided up, with mincing graciousness, 
to shake hands. 

“ How do you do! How do you do! 
So glad you’ve come. I think you must 


4 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


know nearly every one here, so I needn’t 
introduce any one. I hardly ever intro¬ 
duce. It’s funny, isn’t it? They say it’s 
an English custom not to introduce, but 
I don’t do it just by nature. I wonder 
why I shouldn’t?—but I never do—or al¬ 
most never. So if you don’t happen to 
know your neighbors at table just speak. 
It was Evie who arranged where every 
one was to sit. I don’t know. They say 
that’s English, too—just to speak. I be¬ 
lieve it’s quite a recognized thing in Lon¬ 
don to say, ‘ Is this your bread or mine ?’ 
and then you know each other. Isn’t it 
funny? Now I think we’re all here. 
Will you take in Miriam, Mr. Wayne?” 

A hasty embrace from Evie—an an¬ 
gelic vision in white—was followed by a 
few words of greeting from Charles Con¬ 
quest, after which Miriam saw Miss Jar¬ 
rott take the arm of Bishop Endsleigh, 
and the procession began to move. 

At table Miriam was glad of the dim, 
rose-colored light. It offered her a se¬ 
clusion into which she could withdraw, 
tending her services to the helpless blind 
man beside her, and repeating for his 
benefit the names of their fellow guests. 
She began with Bishop Endsleigh, who 
was on Miss Jarrott’s right. Then 
came Mrs. Stephen Colfax; after her 
Mr. Endsleigh Jarrott, who had on 
his right Mrs. Reginald Pole. Mrs. 
Pole’s neighbor was Charles Conquest, 
whom she shared with Mrs. Rodney 
Wrenn. Now and then Wayne him¬ 
self would give proof of that increased 
acuteness in his hearing of which he had 
spoken more than once since his blind¬ 
ness had become total. “ Colfax Yorke 
is here,” he observed at one time. “I 
hear his voice. He’s sitting on our side 
of the table.” “ Mrs. Endsleigh Jarrott 
is next but one to you,” he said at another 
time. “ She’s airing her plans for the re¬ 
construction of New York society.” 

So for a while they kept one another 
in small talk, affecting the same sort of 
vivacity that obtained around them. It 
was not till dinner was half over that he 
asked in an undertone: 

“ Who is your neighbor ?” 

“ I don’t know,” she managed to whis¬ 
per back. “ He’s so taken up with Mrs. 
Endsleigh Jarrott that he hasn’t looked 
this way. I don’t think he’s any mem¬ 
ber of the family.” 


“ He must be,” Wayne replied. “ I 
know his voice. I have some association 
with it, but just what I can’t remember.” 

Miriam herself listened to hear him 
speak, catching only an irrelevant word 
or two. 

“ He sounds English,” she said then. 

“No, he isn’t English. That’s not my 
association. It’s curious how the mind 
acts. Since I became—since my sight 
failed—my memory instinctively brings 
me voices instead of faces, when I want 
to recall anything. Aren’t you going to 
speak to him ? You’ve got the formula: 
Is this your bread or mine ?” 

“ It’s very convenient, but I don’t think 
I shall use it.” 

“ He’d like you to, I know. I heard 
him say to Miss Endsleigh Jarrott as 
we came in—while Queenie Jarrott was 
talking—that you were the most strik¬ 
ingly beautiful woman he had ever seen 
in his life. How’s that for a compliment 
from a perfect stranger?” 

“ I certainly sha’n’t speak to him now. 
A man who could say that to Mrs. Ends¬ 
leigh, after having seen her , must be 
wofully wanting in tact.” 

Mary Pole on Wayne’s right claimed 
his attention and Miriam was left her 
own mistress. Almost at once her at¬ 
tention was arrested by hearing Mrs. 
Endsleigh Jarrott saying in that appeal¬ 
ing voice which she counted as the secret 
of her success with men: 

“ Now do give me your frank opinion, 
Mr. Strange. You don’t know how much 
I should like it. It’s far from my idea 
that we should slavishly copy London. 
You know that, don’t you? We’ve an 
entirely different stock of materials to 
work with. But I’m firmly convinced 
that by working on the London model we 
should make society far more general, far 
more representative, and far—oh, far —- 
more interesting! Now, what do you 
think? Do give me your frank opinion.” 

Mr. Strange! Her own name was suf¬ 
ficiently uncommon to cause Miriam to 
glance sidewise, in her rapid, fugitive 
way, at the person who bore it. His face 
was turned from her as he bent toward 
Mrs. Jarrott, but again she' heard his 
voice, and this time more distinctly. 

“ I’m afraid my opinion wouldn’t be of 
much value. Nevertheless, I know you 
must be right.” 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


5 


“ Now I’m disappointed in you,” Mrs. 
Jarrott said, with pretty reproaehfulness. 
“You’re not taking me seriously. Oh, I 
see, I see. You’re just an ordinary man, 
after all; when I thought for a minute 
you might be—well, a little different. Do 
take some of that asparagus,” she added 
in another tone. “ It’s simply delicious.” 

It was while he was helping himself 
to the asparagus that Miriam got the 
first clear view of his face, half turned 
as it was toward her. Lie seemed aware 
that she was observing him, for during 
the space of some seconds he held the 
silver implements idle in his hands, 
while he lifted his eyes to meet hers. 
The look they exchanged was significant 
and long, and yet she was never quite 
sure that she recognized him then. For 
the minute she was only conscious of a 
sudden, inward shock, to which she was 
unable to ascribe a cause. Something 
had happened, though she knew not what. 
Having in the course of a few minutes 
regained her self-control, she could only 
suppose that it was a repetition of that 
unreasoning panic which had now and 
then brought her to the verge of faint¬ 
ing, when by chance, in London, Paris, 
or New York, she caught a glimpse of 
some tall figure that carried her imagina¬ 
tion back to the cabin in the Adiron- 
dacks. She had always thought that he 
might appear in some crowd and take 
her by surprise. She had never expected 
to find him in a gathering that could be 
called social. Still less had she looked 
to meet him like this, with Philip Wayne 
who had sentenced him to death not three 
feet away. The mere idea was pre¬ 
posterous. And yet— 

She glanced at him again. Lie was 
eating his asparagus quietly, while Mrs. 
Endsleigh Jarrott’s voice ran on. 

Miriam herself played with the aspara¬ 
gus in order to seem to be doing something 
that would enable her to sit unnoticed. 
She was glad that Wayne was engaged by 
Mary Pole so that he could no longer 
listen to the voice that wakened his recol¬ 
lections. She looked again at the tall, 
carefully dressed man beside her, so dif¬ 
ferent in all his externals from anything 
she imagined Norrie Ford could ever be¬ 
come. Norrie Ford was an outlaw and 
this was a man of the world. She felt 
herself being reassured—and yet disap¬ 


pointed. ILer first feeling of faintness 
passed away, enabling her to face the 
situation with greater calm. Under cover 
of the energetic animation characteristic 
of every American dinner-party at which 
the guests are intimate, she had leisure 
to think over the one or two hints that 
were significant. Now and then a remark 
was addressed to her across the table to 
which she managed to return a reply 
sufficiently apt to give her the appearance 
of being in touch with what was going 
on around her; but in reality she was 
taking in the fact, with the spirit 
rather than the mind, that Norrie Ford 
had returned. 

She never understood just how and 
when that assurance came to her. It 
was certainly not by actual recognition 
of his features, as it was not by putting 
together the few data that came under 
her observation. Thinking it over in 
after years, she could only say that she 
“ just found herself knowing it.” He 
was there—beside her. Of that she had 
no longer a doubt. 

Tier amazement did not develop all 
at once. 

The main fact being accepted, her 
outer faculties could respond to the call 
that a dinner-party makes on its least 
important member. When the conversa¬ 
tion at her end of the table- became gen¬ 
eral she took her part, and later engaged 
in a three - cornered discussion with 
Wayne and Mary Pole on the subject 
of an endowed theatre; but all the while 
her subconscious mind was struggling 
for a theory to account for Norrie Ford’s 
presence in that particular room and in 
that unexpected company. Had she re¬ 
called what she had said to him eight 
years ago as to the Argentine, and the 
“ very good firm to work for,” she would 
have had an easy clue, but that had passed 
from her mind almost with the utterance 
—certainly with his departure. He had 
gone out into the world, leaving no more 
trace behind him than the bird that has 
flown southward. Not once during the 
intervening years did the thought cross 
her mind that words which she had 
spoken nearly at haphazard could have 
acted as a guide to him, while still less 
did she dream that they could have led 
him into the very seat beside her which 
he was occupying now. 


6 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


Nevertheless, he was there, and for the 
present she could dispense with the knowl¬ 
edge of the adventures that had brought 
him. He was there, and that was the 
reason of his coming in itself. He had 
hewn his way through all difficulties to 
reach her—as Siegfried came to Brun- 
hilde, over the mountains and through 
the fire. He had found the means—both 
the means and the daring—to enter and 
make himself accepted in her own world, 
her own circle, her own family—in so 
far as she had a family—and to sit right 
down at her side. 

In the drawing-room he was introduced 
to her. Miss Jarrott led him up and 
made the presentation. 

“ Miss Strange, 1 want you to know 
Mr. Strange. Now isn’t that funny? 
You can’t think how many times I’ve 
thought how interesting it would be to 
see you two meet. It’s so unusual to have 
the same name, especially when it’s such 
a strange name as yours. There, that’s 
a pun. I simply can’t help making it. 
My brother says I inherited all the sense 
of humor in the family. I don’t know 
why I do it, but I always see a joke. 
Can you tell me why I do it ?” 

Neither Strange nor Miriam knew 
what replies they made, but a conversa¬ 
tion of some sort went on for a minute 
or two, after which Miss Jarrott whisked 
him away to present him to some one 
else. When he had gone Miriam was 
left with a feeling of spiritual chill. 
While it was impossible to betray a pre¬ 
vious acquaintance before Miss Jarrott. 
there had been nothing whatever in his 
bearing to respond to the recognition in 
hers. There was something that might 
have been conveyed from mind to mind 
without risk, and he had not used the op¬ 
portunity. In as far as he addressed her 
at all it had been through Miss Jarrott, 
and he had looked around her and over 
her rather than directly into her eyes. 

She hoped he would find an occasion 
for passing again in her direction. If 
she could have only a word with him, it 
might help to make the situation intelli¬ 
gible. But he did not return, and pres¬ 
ently she noticed, in looking about the 
room, that he had disappeared. She, too, 
was eager to be gone. Only in solitude 
could she get control of the surging 


thoughts, the bewildering suggestions, the 
contradictory suppositions that crowded 
in on her. She saw how useless it was 
to try to build a theory without at least 
one positive fact to go on. 

It was just as they were departing that 
her opportunity to ask a question came. 
They had said their good nights to Miss 
Jarrott and were in the hall, waiting for 
the footman to call their carriage, when 
Evie, whom they had not wanted to dis¬ 
turb, came fluttering after them. She 
was flushed but radiant, and flung herself 
into Miriam’s arms. 

“You dear thing! I haven’t had time 
to say a word to you or Popsey Wayne 
the entire evening. But you’ll excuse 
me, won’t you? I’ve had to be civil to 
them all, do you see? and do them up 
well. I knew you wouldn’t mind. I 
wanted you to have a good time, but I’m 
afraid you haven’t.” 

“ Oh yes,” Miriam said, disengaging 
herself from the girl’s embrace. “ It’s 
been wonderful—it really has. But, Evie 
dear,” she whispered, drawing her away 
from the group of ladies who stood 
cloaked and hooded, also waiting for 
their carriages, “ tell me—who is that Mr. 
Strange, who sat next to me?” 

Evie’s eyes went heavenward, and she 
took on a look of rapture. 

“ I hope you liked him.” 

“ I didn’t have much chance to see. 
But why do you hope it ?” 

“ Because—don’t you see ?—Oh, surely 
you must see—because—he’s the one.” 

CHAPTER XV 

NLIGHTENMENT came to her in 
the carriage while she was driving 
homeward. During the five or ten 
minutes since Evie had spoken she, 
Miriam, had been sitting still and up¬ 
right in the darkness, making no fur¬ 
ther attempt to see reason through 
this succession of bewilderments from 
sheer inability to contend against them. 
For the time being, at any rate, the 
struggle was too much for her. She was 
fighting with herself, with her own wild 
inward cries of protest, anger, jealousy, 
and self-pity, trying to distinguish each 
from the others and to silence it by ap¬ 
peal to her years of romantic folly, when 
suddenly Wayne spoke, in the cheery tone 



THE WILD OLIVE. 


7 


of a man who has unexpectedly passed a 
pleasant evening. 

“ I had a nice long chat with the Great 
Unknown, who was sitting beside you, 
when the ladies left the dining-room. 
Who do you think he is?” 

After the shocks of the last two hours, 
she was prepared to hear Wayne tell her, 
in an offhand way, that it was Norrie 
Ford. Nevertheless, she summoned what 
was left of her stunned faculties and did 
her best to speak carefully. 

“ I heard them call him Mr. Strange—” 

“ Odd that was, wasn’t it? But it isn’t 
such a very uncommon name. I’ve met 
other Stranges—” 

“ Oh yes. So have I.” 

“Well, who do you think he is? Why, 
he’s Stephens and Jarrott’s new man in 
New York. He’s taken Jenkins’s place. 
You remember Jenkins, don’t you? That 
little man with a lisp. I had a nice long 
chat with him—Strange, I mean. He 
tells me he’s a New-Yorker by birth, but 
that he went out to the Argentine after 
his father failed in business. Well, he 
won’t fail in business, I bet a penny. 
He’s tremendously enthusiastic over the 
Argentine, too. Showed he had his head 
put on the right way when he went there. 
Wonderful country—the United States of 
South America some people call it. We’re 
missing our opportunities out there. 
Great volume of trade flowing to Eu¬ 
rope, of which we had almost the mo¬ 
nopoly at one time. I had a nice long 
chat with him.” 

Her tired emotions received a new sur¬ 
prise as Wayne’s words directed her 
thoughts to the morning when she had 
made to Ford the first suggestion of the 
Argentine; She had not precisely for¬ 
gotten it; she had only thought it of too 
little importance to dwell on. She re¬ 
membered that she had considered the 
idea practical till she had expressed it, 
but that his opposition had seemed to 
turn it into the impossible. She had 
never supposed that he might have acted 
on it—not any more than she had ex¬ 
pected him to retain her father’s name 
once he had reached a place of safety. 

“ Queenie Jarrott tells me,” Wayne 
meandered on, “ that her brother thinks 
very highly of this young man. It seems 
that his business abilities are quite re¬ 
markable, and they fancy he looks like 


Henry—the eldest of the boys who died. 
It’s extraordinary how his voice reminds 
me of some one—I don’t know who. It 
might be— But then again—” 

With the data Wayne had given her 
she worked out the main lines of the story 
during the night; but it was not until 
she had done so that its full significance 
appeared to her. Having grasped that, 
she could scarcely wait for daylight in 
order to go to Evie, and yet when morn¬ 
ing came she abandoned that course as 
impolitic. Reflection showed her that her 
struggle must be less with Evie than with 
Ford, while she judged that he himself 
would lose no time in putting the battle 
in array. He must see as plainly as she 
did that she stood like an army across 
his path, and that he must either retreat 
before her or show fight. She believed 
he would do the latter and do it soon. 
She thought it probable that he would 
appear that very day, and that her wisest 
plan was to await his opening attack. 
The necessity, so unexpectedly laid upon 
her, of defending the right deflected her 
mind from dwelling too bitterly on her 
own disillusioning. 

It was half past four when the servant 
showed him in. His frock-coat attire 
seemed to her, as he crossed the room, 
oddly civilized and correct after her 
recollections of him. Notwithstanding 
her dread of the opening minutes, the 
meeting passed off according to the fixed 
procedure of the drawing-room. It was 
a relief to both to find that the acts of 
shaking hands and sitting down had been 
accomplished with matter-of-course for¬ 
mality. With the familiar support of 
afternoon call conventions diificult topics 
could be treated at greater ease. 

“ I’m very glad to find you at home,” 
he began, feeling it to be a safe opening. 
“ I was almost afraid—” 

“ I stayed in on purpose,” she said, 
frankly. “ I thought you might come.” 

“ I wasn’t sure whether or not you 
knew me last night—” 

“ I didn’t at first. I really hadn’t 
noticed you, though I remembered after¬ 
ward that you were standing with Mrs. 
Endsleigh Jarrott when Mr. Wayne and 
I came into the room. I wonder now if 
you recognized me?” 

“ Oh, rather! I knew you were going 


8 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


to be there. I’ve been in New York 
a month.” 

“ Then you might have come to see me 
sooner.” 

“ Well, you see—” 

He paused and colored, trying to cover 
up his embarrassment with a smile. She 
allowed her eyes to express interrogation, 
not knowing that her frank gaze discon¬ 
certed him. She herself went back so 
eagerly to the days when he was the 
fugitive, Norrie Ford, and she the name¬ 
less girl who was helping him, that. she 
could not divine his humiliation at being 
obliged to drop his mask. Since becom¬ 
ing engaged to Evie Colfax and return¬ 
ing to New York, he perceived more 
clearly than ever before that his true part 
in the world was that of the respectable, 
successful man of business which he play¬ 
ed so skilfully. It cost him an effort she 
could have no reason to suspect to be face 
to face with the one person in the world 
who knew him as something else. 

“ You see,” he began again, “ I had to 
consider a good many things—naturally. 
It wouldn’t have done to give any one an 
idea that we had met before.” 

“ No, of course not. But last night 
you might have—” 

“ Last night I had to follow the same 
tactics. I can’t afford to run risks. It’s 
rather painful, it’s even a bit humilia¬ 
ting—” 

“ I can imagine that, especially here 
in New York. In out-of-the-way places 
it must be different. There it doesn’t 
matter. But to be among the very peo¬ 
ple who—” 

“ You think that there it does matter, 
I had to consider that. I had to make 
it plain to myself that there was nothing 
dishonorable in imposing on people who 
had forced me into a false position. I 
don’t say it’s pleasant—” 

“ Oh, I know it can’t be pleasant. I 
only wondered a little, as I saw you last 
night, why you let yourself be placed in a 
position that made it necessary.” 

“ I should have wondered at that my¬ 
self a year ago. I certainly never had 
any intention of doing it. It’s almost 
as much a surprise to me to be here 
as it is to you to see me. I suppose 
you thought I would never turn up 
again.” 

“ No, I didn’t think that. On the con¬ 


trary, I thought you would turn up—only 
not just here.” 

It struck him that she was emphasizing 
that point for a purpose—to bring him 
to another point still. He took a few 
seconds to reflect before deciding that he 
would follow her lead without further 
hanging back. 

“ I shouldn’t have returned to New 
York if I hadn’t become engaged to Miss 
Colfax. You know about that, don’t 
you ? I think she meant to tell you.” 

She inclined her head assentingly, with¬ 
out words. He noticed her dark eyes 
resting on him with a kind of pity. He 
had cherished a faint hope — the very 
faintest—that she might welcome what 
he had just said sympathetically. In 
the few minutes during which she re¬ 
mained silent that hope died. 

“ I suppose,” she said, gently, “ that 
you became engaged to Evie before know¬ 
ing who she was?” 

‘ I fell in love with her before know¬ 
ing who she was. I’m afraid that when 
I actually asked her to marry me I had 
heard all there was to learn.” 

“ Then why did you do it?” 

Lie shrugged his shoulders with a move¬ 
ment acquired by long residence among 
Latins. His smile conveyed the impos¬ 
sibility of explaining himself in a sen¬ 
tence. 

“ I’ll tell you all about it, if you’d like 
to hear.” 

“ I should like it very much. Remem¬ 
ber, I know nothing of what happened 
after—after—” 

He noticed a shade of confusion in her 
manner and hastened to begin his nar¬ 
rative. 

Somewhat to her surprise, he sketched 
his facts in lightly, but dwelt strongly on 
the mental and moral necessities his sit¬ 
uation forced on him. He related with 
some detail the formation of his creed 
of conduct in the dawn on Lake Cham¬ 
plain, and showed her that according to 
its tenets he was permitted a kind of 
action that in other men might be repre¬ 
hensible. He came to the story of Evie 
last of all, and allowed her to see how 
dominating a part Fate, or Predestina¬ 
tion, had played in evolving it. 

“ So you see,” he ended, “ it was too 
late then to do anything—but yield.” 

“ Or withdraw,” she added, softly. 



THE WILD OLIVE. 


9 


He stared at her a moment, his body 
bent slightly forward, his elbows resting 
on the arms of his chair. As a matter 
of fact, he was thinking less of her words 
than of her beauty—so much nobler in 
type than he remembered it. 

“ Yes,” he returned, quietly, “ I can 
see that it would strike you in that way. 
So it did me—at first. But I had to look 
at the subject all round—” 

“ I don’t need to do that.” 

He stared at her again. There was 
a decision in her w r ords which he found 
hard to reconcile with the pity in her 
eyes, and the gentle softness of her smile. 

“ You mean that you don’t want to 
take my—necessites—into consideration.” 

“ I mean that when I see the one thing 
right to do, I don’t have to look any 
further.” 

“ The one thing right to do—for you ? 
—or for me?” 

“ There’s no reason why I should in¬ 
tervene at all. I look to you to save me 
from the necessity.” 

He hesitated a minute before decid¬ 
ing whether to hedge or to meet her 
squarely. 

“ By giving up Evie and — clearing 
out,” he said, with a perceptible hint of 
defiance. 

“ I shouldn’t lay stress on your—clear¬ 
ing out.” 

“ But you would on my givng up, 
Evie?” 

“ Don’t you see,” she began in an ex¬ 
planatory tone, “ I, in my own person, 
have nothing to do with it? It isn’t 
for me to say this should be done or that. 
You can’t imagine how hard it is for 
me to say anything at all; and if I speak, 
it isn’t as myself—it’s as the voice of a 
situation. You must understand as well 
as I do what that situation imposes.” 

“ But I don’t intend that a situation 
shall impose anything—on me. I mean 
to act as master—” 

“ But I’m neither so independent or so 
strong—nor is Evie. You don’t consider 
her.” 

“ I don’t have to consider any one. 
When I make Evie happy I do all that 
can be asked of me.” 

“ No, you would be called on to keep 
her happy. And she couldn’t remain 
happy if she were married to you. It 
isn’t possible. She couldn’t live with 


you any more than—than a humming¬ 
bird could live with a hawk.” 

They both smiled, rather nervously. 

“ But I’m not a hawk,” he insisted. 
“ I’m much more a humming-bird than 
you imagine. You think me some sort of 
creature of prey because you believe— 
that I did—what I was accused of—” 

The circumstances seemed so far off 
from him now, so incongruous with what 
he had become, that he reverted to them 
with difficulty. 

“ I don’t attach any importance to 
that,” she said, with a tranquillity that 
startled him. “ I suppose I ought to, but 
I never have. If you killed your uncle, 
it seems to me—very natural. He pro¬ 
voked you. He deserved it. My father 
would have done it certainly.” 

“ But I didn’t, you see. That puts 
another color on the case.” 

“ It doesn’t for me. And it doesn’t, as 
it affects Evie. Whether you’re innocent 
or guilty—and I don’t say I think you 
to be guilty—I’ve never thought much 
about it—but whether you’re guilty or 
not. your life is the kind of tragedy Evie 
couldn’t share. It would kill her.” 

“ It wouldn’t kill her, if she didn’t 
know anything about it.” 

“ But she would know. You can’t keep 
that sort of thing from a wife. She 
wouldn’t be married to you a year before 
she had discovered that you were—a—” 

“ An escaped convict. Why not say 
it?” 

“ I wasn’t going to say it. But at 
least she would know that you were a 
man who was pretending to be—some¬ 
thing that he wasn’t.” 

“You mean an impostor. Well, I’ve 
already explained to you that I’m an im¬ 
postor only because Society itself has 
made me one. I’m not to blame—” 

“ I quite see the force of that. But 
Evie wouldn’t. Don’t you understand ? 
That’s my point. She would only see the 
horror of it, and she would be over¬ 
whelmed. It wouldn’t matter to her that 
you could bring forward arguments in 
your own defence. She wouldn’t be cap¬ 
able of understanding them. You must 
see for yourself that mentally — and 
spirtually—just as bodily—she’s as fragile 
as a butterfly. She couldn’t withstand a 
storm. She’d be crushed by it.” 

“ I don’t think you do her justice. If 


10 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


she were to discover — I mean, if the 
worst were to come to the worst—well, 
you can see how it’s been with your¬ 
self. You’ve known from the beginning 
all there is to know—and yet—” 

“ I’m different.” 

She meant the brief statement to di¬ 
vert his attention from himself, but she 
perceived that it aroused a flash of self- 
consciousness in both. While she could 
hear herself saying inwardly, “ I’d rather 
go on waiting for him — uselessly,” he 
was listening to a silvery voice, as it 
lisped the words, “ Dear mamma used 
to think she was in love with some one 
we didn’t know anything about.” Each 
reverted to the memory of the lakeside 
scene in which he had said, “ My life 
will belong to you ... a thing for you 
to dispose of . . .” and each was afraid 
that the other was doing so. 

All at once she saw herself as she 
fancied he must see her—a woman claim¬ 
ing the fulfilment of an old promise, the 
payment of a long-standing debt. He 
must think she was making Evie a pre¬ 
text in her fight for her own hand. His 
vow—if it was a vow—had been the germ 
of so much romance in her mind that 
she ascribed it to a place in the fore¬ 
ground of his. In all she was saying 
he would ^understand a demand on her 
part that he should make it good. Very 
well, then; if he could do her such in¬ 
justice, he must do it. She could not 
permit the fear of it to inspire her with 
moral cowardice, or deter her from doing 
what was right. 

Nevertheless, it helped her to control 
her agitation to rise and ring for tea. 
She felt the need of some commonplace 
action to assure herself and him that 
now, at last, she was. outside the realm 
of the romantic. He rose as she did, to 
forestall her at the bell; and as the serv¬ 
ant entered with the tray, they moved 
together into the embrasure of the wide 
bay-window. Down below, the autumn 
colors were fading, while leaves, golden- 
yellow or blood-red, were being swirled 
along the ground. 

“ I had to do things out there ”—his 
nod was meant to indicate the direction 
of South America—“ in a somewhat high¬ 
handed manner, and I’ve acquired the 
habit of it. If I’d stuck at difficulties 
I shouldn’t have got anywhere.” 


She looked at him inquiringly, as 
though to ask the purport of the observa¬ 
tion. 

“ You must see that I’m obliged to 
put this thing through—on Evie’s ac¬ 
count as much as mine. After getting 
her to care for me, I can’t desert her 
now, whatever happens.” 

“ She wouldn’t suffer—after a while. 
She’d get over it. You might not, but 
she—” 

“ She shall not get over it, if I can 
help it. How can you ask me to let her?” 

“ Only on the ground that you love 
her well enough.” 

“ Would you call that love?” 

“ In view of all the circumstances, it 
would be my idea of it.” 

“ Then, it wouldn’t be mine. The 
only love I understand is the love that 
fights for its object, in the face of all 
opposition.” 

She looked at him a minute with what 
she tried to make a smile, but which 
became no more than a quivering of the 
lips and lashes. 

“ I hope you won’t fight,” she said, 
in a tone of appeal; “ because it would 
have to be with me. If anything could 
break my heart, that would.” 

She knew how near to self-betrayal she 
had gone, but in her eagerness she was 
reckless of the danger. 

“ IIow do you know it wouldn’t break 
mine, too?” he asked, with a scrutiny 
that searched her eyes. “ But there are 
times in life when men have just to 
fight—and let their hearts be broken. 
In becoming responsible for Evie’s hap¬ 
piness, I’ve given a pledge from which 
I can’t withdraw—” 

“ But that’s where you don’t under¬ 
stand her—” 

“ Possibly; but it’s where I under¬ 
stand myself.” 

“ Tea is served, miss,” the maid said, 
coming forward to where they talked in 
undertones. At the same minute there 
was a shuffling at the door and Wayne 
entered from his drive. Ford would have 
gone forward to help him, but she put out 
her hand, and stopped him. 

“ He likes to find his way himself,” she 
whispered. 

“ They tell me there’s tea in here,” 
Wayne said, cheerily, from the doorway. 

“ There’s more than tea,” Miriam re- 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


11 


plied in as bright a tone as she could 
assume. “ There’s Mr. Strange, whom 
you met last night.” 

“ Ah, that’s good.” Wayne groped his 
way toward the voices. “ IIow do you 
do! Glad to see you. It’s windy 
out-of-doors. One feels the winter be¬ 
ginning to nip.” 

Ford took the extended hand, and, with¬ 
out seeming to do so, adroitly piloted the 
blind man to a seat as they moved, all 
three, to the tea-table. 

For the next ten minutes their talk 
turned on the common topics of the day. 
As during her conversation with Con¬ 
quest a few weeks before, Miriam found 
again that the routine duties of acting 
as hostess steadied her nerves. With 
Ford aiding her in the little ways to 
which he had become accustomed since 
his engagement to Evie hostility was 
absent from their mutual relation, even 
though opposition remained. That at 
least was a comfort to her; and now 
and then, as she handed him the bread 
and butter or a plate of cakes to pass 
to Wayne, their eyes could meet in a 
glance of comprehension. 

Wayne was still enjoying his tea when 
Ford turned to him wtli an abrupt change 
of tone. 

“ I’m glad you came in, sir, while I 
was still here, because there’s something 
I particularly want to tell you.” 

He did not look at Miriam, but he 
could feel the way in which she sat up¬ 
right and aghast. Wayne turned his 
sightless eyes, hidden by large colored 
glasses, toward the speaker, and nodded. 

“ Yes?” he said, interrogatively. 

“ I would have told you before, only 
that Miss Jarrott and Miss Colfax 
thought I had better wait till every one 
got settled. In any case, Mr. Jarrott made 
it a condition before I left Buenos Ayres 
that it shouldn’t go outside the family 
till Miss Colfax had had her social win¬ 
ter in New York.” 

Wayne’s face grew grave, but not un¬ 
sympathetic. 

“ I suppose I know what’s coming,” he 
said, quietly. 

“ It’s the sort of thing that was bound 
to come sooner or later with Miss Col¬ 
fax.” Ford smiled, speaking with an air 
of assurance. “ What makes me uneasy 
is that I should be the man to come and 


tell the news. If it was any one you 
knew better—” 

“You’ve probably heard that I’m 
not Evie’s guardian,” Wayne interposed. 
“ I’ve no control at all over what she 

does.” 

“ I understand that; but to me there’s 
an authority above the legal one—dr at 
least on a level with it—and I should be 
unhappy—we should both be unhappy— 
if we didn’t have your consent.” 

“ It’s a serious matter — of course,” 
Wayne said, after becoming hesitation; 
“ but I’ve great confidence in Henry 
Jarrott. Next to Evie herself, he’s the 
person most concerned—in a certain way. 
I’m told he thinks well of you—” 

“ He ought to know,” Ford broke in, 
confidently. “ I’ve nothing to show in 
the way of passports, except myself and 
my work. I’ve been with him ever since 
I went to South America, and he’s been 
extremely kind to me. The only certi¬ 
ficate of character I can offer is one from 
him.” 

“ That’s sufficient. We should be sorry 
to let Evie go, shouldn’t we, Miriam? 
She’s a sweet child and very much like 
her dear mother. But as you say, it was 
bound to happen one day or another; and 
we can only be glad that—I’m happy to 
congratulate you, Mr. Strange. Your 
name, at any rate, is a familar one. It’s 
that of an old boyhood’s friend of mine— 
who showed nu the honor of placing this 
young lady in my charge. We called him 
Flarry. His full name was Flerbert Har¬ 
rington, but he dropped the first. You 
seem to have taken it up—it’s odd, isn’t 
it, Miriam ?—and I take it as a happy 
omen.” 

“ Thank you.” Ford rose, and made the 
blind man understand that he was hold¬ 
ing out his hand. “ I shall be more sat¬ 
isfied now for having told you.” 

Miriam accompanied him into the hall, 
on pretext of ringing for the lift. 

“ Oh, why did you do that ?” she pro¬ 
tested. “ Don’t you see that it only 
makes things more complicated than they 
were already?” 

“ It’s my first move,” he laughed, 
with friendly bravado. “ Now you can 
make yours.” 

She gazed at. him in puzzled distress, 
as the lift rose. 

“ I’m coming again,” he said, with re- 


12 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


newed confidence. “ I’ve a lot more 
things to say.” 

“ And I have only one,” she answered, 
turning back toward the drawing-room. 

“He’s a nice young fellow,” Wayne 
said, as he heard her enter. He had risen 
and felt his way into the bay-window, 
where he stood looking outward as if he 
could see. “ I suppose it must be all 
right, since the Jarrotts are so enthu¬ 
siastic. Poor little Evie! I hope she’ll 
be happy. It’s extraordinary how his 
voice reminds me of—” 

She stood still in the middle of the 
room, waiting for him to continue. Noth¬ 
ing he could add would have surprised 
her now. But he said no more. 

CHAPTER XVI 

HINKING that Eord might come 
again next afternoon, Miriam went 
out. On her return she found his card 
— Mr. Herbert Strange. The same thing 
occurred the next day, and the next, and 
so on through the week. She was not 
afraid of seeing him. Now that the worst 
was known to her, she was sure of her 
mastery of herself, and of her capacity 
to meet anything. What she feared most 
was her sympathy for him, and the pos¬ 
sibility that in some unguarded moment 
of pity he might wring concessions from 
her which she had no right to make. She 
hoped, too, that time, even a few days’ 
time, would help him to work out the 
honorable course for himself. 

Her meetings with Evie were more 
inevitable, and required greater self¬ 
repression. She was so used to the part 
of elder sister, with whom all confidences 
are discussed, that she found it difficult 
not to speak her heart out frankly. 

“ I heard he had been to see you and 
Popsey Wayne, and told you,” Evie said, 
with her pretty nose just peeping above 
the bedclothes, at midday, on a morning 
later in the week. 

It was the day after Evie’s first large 
dance, and she had been sleeping late. 
Miriam sat on the edge of the bed, 
smoothing stray golden tendrils off the 
flushed, happy little face. 

“ He did come,” Miriam admitted. 
“ Mr. Wayne made no objections. I can’t 
say he was glad. You wouldn’t expect us 
to be that, dear, would you ?” 


“ I expect you to like him. It isn’t 
committing you to much to say that. 
But you seem so—so every which way 
about him.” 

“ I’m not every which way about him. 
I can’t say that I’m any way at all. Yes, 
I do like him—after a fashion. If I 
make reserves, it’s because I’m not sure 
that I think him good enough for my 
little Evie.” 

“ He’s a great deal too good,” Evie 
exclaimed, rapturously. “ Oh, Miriam, 
if you only knew how fond I am of him. 
I’d die for him—I truly believe I would— 
almost. Oh, it was so stupid last night 
without him! All these boys seem such 
pigeons beside him. I’m sorry now we’re 
not going to announce the engagement 
at once. I certainly sha’n’t change my 
mind—and it would be such fun to be 
able to say I was engaged before coming 
out.” 

“ Twice before coming out.” 

“ Oh, well, I only count it once, do 
you see? Billy’s such a goose. You 
should have seen him last night when 
I forgot two of my dances with him— 
on purpose. He’s really getting to dis¬ 
like me; so that I shall soon be able to— 
to show him.” 

“ I wouldn’t be in a fumy about that, 
dear. There’s lots of time. As you said 
the other day, it’s no use hurting his 
feelings—” 

Evie sat up suddenly in bed, and 
looked suspicious. 

“ So you’re taking that stand. Now I 
know you don’t like him. You’ve got 
something against him, though I can’t 
for the life of me imagine what it can 
be, when you never laid eyes on him till 
a few days ago. Well, I’m not going to 
change, do you see? You may as well 
make up your mind to that at once. And 
it will be Billy or no Billy.” 

Nearer than that Miriam could not 
approach the subject, through fear of 
doing more harm than good. At the 
end of a week Ford found her at home, 
chiefly because she felt it time he should. 
She secured again the afternoon-call at¬ 
mosphere; but she noticed that he car¬ 
ried a small packet—a large, brownish- 
yellow envelope, strapped with rubber 
bands—which he kept in his hand. The 
small comedy of introductory common¬ 
place went off smoothly. 



THE WILD OLIVE. 


13 


“ Well ?” he said then, with a little 
challenging laugh. 

“ Well—what ?” 

“ I’ve been waiting for your move. 
You haven’t made it.” 

She shook her head. “ I’ve no move 
to make.” 

“ Oh yes, you have—a great big move. 
You can easily say, Check. I doubt if 
you can make it, Checkmate.” 

“ I’m afraid that’s a game I don’t know 
how to play.” 

He stared at her inquiringly—noting 
the disdain with which her chin tilted 
and her lip curled, though he could see 
it was a disdain suffused with sweet¬ 
ness. 

“ Do you mean that you wouldn’t— 
wouldn’t give me away ?” 

“ I mean that you’re either broaching 
a topic I don’t understand, or speak¬ 
ing a language I’ve never learned. If 
you don’t mind, we won’t discuss the 
subject, and we’ll speak our mother- 
tongue — the mother-tongue of people 
like you and me.” 

He stared again. It took him some 
few seconds to understand her phraseol¬ 
ogy. In proportion as her meaning broke 
upon him his face glowed. When he 
spoke it was with enthusiasm for her 
generosity in taking this stand rather 
than in gratitude for anything he was 
to gain by it. 

“By Jove, you’re a brick! You al¬ 
ways were. I might have expected that 
this is exactly what you’d say.” 

“ I hope so. I didn’t expect that 
you’d talk of my—giving you away, as 
you call it—to any one.” 

“ But you’re wrong,” he said, with a 
return to the laughing bravado which 
concealed his inward repugnance to his 
position. “You’re wrong. I’ll give you 
that tip now. I’ll fight fair. I sha’n’t 
be grateful. I’ll profit by your magna¬ 
nimity. Remember it’s my part in the 
world to be unscrupulous. It has to be. 
I’ve told you so. With me, the end 
justifies the means—always; and when 
the end is to keep my word to Evie, it 
will make no difference to me that you 
were too high-minded to put the big 
obstacle in my way.” 

“You’ll not expect me to be otherwise 
than sorry for that—for your sake.” 

“No, I dare say. But I can’t stop to 


think of what any one feels for my sake, 
when I know what I feel for my own.” 

“ Which is only an additional reason 
for my being—sorry. You don’t find 
fault with me for that ?” 

“ I do. I don’t want you to be sorry. 
I want to convince you. I want you to 
see things from my point of view—how 
I’ve been placed. Good Lord! it’s hard 
enough, without the sense that you’re sit¬ 
ting in judgment on me.” 

“ I’m not sitting in judgment on you 
—except in so far as concerns Evie Col¬ 
fax. If it was anybody else—” 

“ But it couldn’t be anybody else. It’s 
Evie or no one. She’s everything on 
earth to me. She’s to me what electricity 
is to the wire—that which makes it a 
thing alive.” 

“ To be a thing alive isn’t necessarily 
the highest thing.” 

“ Ah, but that doesn’t apply to me. 
It's all very well for other men to say 
‘ All is lost to save honor.’ They have 
compensations. I haven’t. You might 
as well ask a man to think of the highest 
thing when he’s drowning.” 

“ But I should. There have been men 
who haven’t—and they’ve saved their 
lives by it. But you know what we’ve 
called them.” 

“ In my case there’d be only you to call 
me that—if you wanted to.” 

“ Oh no; there’d be—you.” 

“ I can stand that. I’ve stood it for 
eight years already. If you think I have¬ 
n’t had times when it’s been hell, you’re 
quite mistaken. I wonder if you can 
guess what it means to me—in here ”— 
he tapped his breast—“ to go round 
among all these good, kind, honorable 
people, passing myself off as Herbert 
Strange, when all the time I’m Norrie 
Eord—and a convict? But I’m forced 
to. There’s no way out of it.” 

“ Because there’s no way out of it isn’t 
a reason for going farther in.” 

“ What does that matter ? When 
you’re in up to the eyes, what does it 
matter if you go over your head ?” 

“ In this case it would matter to Evie. 
That’s my point. I have to protect her— 
to save her. There’s no one but me to 
do it—and you.” 

“ Don’t count on me,” he said, savage¬ 
ly. “ I’ve the right, in this wild beast’s 
life, to seize anything I can snatch.” 


14 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


He renewed his arguments, going over 
all the ground again. She listened to him 
as she had once listened to his plea in 
his defence—her pose pensive, her chin 
resting on her hand, her eyes pitiful. As 
far as she was aware of her own feelings 
it was merely to take note that a kind 
of yearning over him, an immense sorrow 
for him and with him, had extinguished 
the fires that a few days ago were burn¬ 
ing for herself. It was hard to sit there 
heedless of his exposition and deaf to his 
persuasion. Seeing her inflexible, he be¬ 
came halting in his speech, till finally 
he stopped, still looking at her with an 
unresenting, dog-like gaze of entreaty. 

She made no comment when he ceased, 
and for a time they sat in silence. 

“ Ho you know what this is 2” he asked, 
holding the packet toward her. 

She shook her head wonderingly. 

“ It’s what I owe you.” She made a 
gesture of deprecation. “ It’s the money 
you lent me,” he went on. “ It’s a tre¬ 
mendous satisfaction—that at least—to 
be able to bring it back to you.” 

“ But I don’t want it,” she stammered, 
in some agitation. 

“ Perhaps not. But I want you to have 
it.” He explained to her briefly what he 
had done in the matter. 

“ Couldn’t you give it to something 2” 
she begged, “ to some church or institu¬ 
tion 2” 

“ You can, if you like. I mean to give 
it to you. You see, I’m not returning it 
with expressions of gratitude, because 
anything I could say would be so in¬ 
adequate as to be absurd.” 

He left his chair and came to hex’, with 
the packet in his outstretched hand. She 
shrank from it, rising, and retreating 
into the space of the bay-window. 

“ But I don’t want it,” she insisted. 
“ I never thought of your returning it. 
I scarcely thought of the incident at all. 
It had almost passed from my memory.” 

“ That’s natural enough; but it’s equal¬ 
ly natural that it shouldn’t have passed 
from mine.” He came close to her and 
offered it again. “ Do take it.” 

“ Put it on the table. Please.” 

“ That isn’t the same thing. I want 
you to take it. I want to put it into your 
own hand, as you put it into mine.” 

She remembered that she had put it 
into his hand by closing his fingers 


forcibly upon it, and hastened to prevent 
anything of that kind now. She took it 
unwillingly, holding it in both hands as 
if it were a casket. 

“ That’s done,” he said, with satisfac¬ 
tion. “ You caix’t imagine what a relief 
it is to have it off my mind.” 

“ I’m sorry you should have felt about 
it like that.” 

“ You would have felt like that your¬ 
self, if you were a man owing money 
to a woman—and especially a woman 
who was your—enemy.” 

“ Oh!” She cowered, as if he had 
threatened her. 

“ I repeat the word,” he laughed, un¬ 
easily. “ Any one is my enemy who 
comes between me and Evie. You’ll for¬ 
give me if I seem brutal—” 

“ l r es, I’ll forgive you. I’ll even accept 
the word.” She w T as pale and nervous, 
with the kind of nervousness that kept 
her smiling and still, but sent the queer, 
lambent flashes into her eyes. “ Let us 
say it. I’m your enemy, and you pay 
me the money so as to feel free to 
sti’ike me as hard as you can.” 

He kept to his laugh, but there was 
a forced ring in it. 

“ I don’t call that a fair way of put¬ 
ting it, but—” 

“ I don’t see that the way of putting 
it matters, so long as it’s the fact.” 

“ It’s the fact twisted iix a very in¬ 
genious fashion. I should say that— 
since I’m going to marry Evie—I want— 
naturally enough—to feel that—that ”— 
he stammered and reddened, seeking a 
word that would not convey an insult— 
“ to feel—that I—met other claims—as 
well as I could.” 

He looked her in the eyes with sig¬ 
nificant directness. His steady gaze, in 
which she saw—or thought she saw— 
glints of challenge toned down by gleams 
of regret, seemed to say, “ Whatever I 
owe you other than money is out of my 
power to pay.” She fully understood 
that he did not repudiate the debt; he 
was only telling her that since he had 
given all to Evie, his heart was bankrupt. 
What angered her and kept her silent, 
fearing she would say something she 
would afterward repent, was the implica- 
tioxx that she was puttiixg forth her claiixx 
for fulfilment. 

He still confronted her, with an air 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


15 


of flying humiliation as a flag of defiance, 
while she stood holding the packet in 
both hands, when the door was pushed 
open, and Evie, radiant from her walk 
in the cold air and fine in autumn furs 
and plumage, fluttered in. Her blue eyes 
opened wide on the two in the bay- 
window, but she did not advance from 
the threshold. 

“Dear me, dear me!” she twittered, 
in her dry little fashion, before they 
had time to realize the fact that she 
was there. “ I hope I’m not interrupt¬ 
ing you.” 

“ Evie dear, come in.” Miriam threw 
the packet on a table, and went forward. 
Ford followed, trying to regain the ap¬ 
pearance of. “ just making a call.” 

“ No, no,” Evie cried, waving Miriam 
back. “ I only came—for nothing. That 
is— But I’ll go away and come back 
again. Do you think you’ll be long? But 
I suppose if you have secrets—” 

Her hand was on the knob again, but 
Miriam caught her. 

“ No, darling, you must stay. You’re 
absurd. Mr. Strange and I were just— 
talking.” 

“ Yes, so I saw. That’s why I thought 
I might be de trop. How do you do!” 
She put out her left hand carelessly to 
Ford, her right still holding the knob, 
and twisted her little person impatiently. 
Ford held her hand, but she snatched it 
away. “ There’s not the least reason 
why I should stay, do you see?” she hur¬ 
ried on. “ I only came with a message 
from Aunt Queenie.” 

“ I’m sure it’s confidential,” Ford 
laughed, “ so I’ll make myself scarce.” 

“You can do just as you like,” Evie 
returned, indifferently. “ Cousin Colfax 
Yorke,” she added, looking at Miriam, 
“ has telephoned that he can’t come to 
dine; and, as it’s too late to get anybody 
else, Aunt Queenie thought you might 
come and make a fourth. It’s only our¬ 
selves and—him,” she nodded toward 
Strange. 

“ Certainly, I’ll come, dear — with 
pleasure.” 

“ And I’ll go,” Ford said; “ but I won’t 
add with pleasure, because that would 
be rude.” 

When he had gone Evie sniffed about 
the room, looking at the pictures and 
curios as if she had never seen them 


before. It was evident that she had spied 
the packet, and was making her way, by 
a seemingly accidental route, toward it. 
Miriam drifted back to her place in the 
bay-window, where, while apparently 
watching the traffic in the street below, 
she kept an eye on Evie’s manoeuvres. 

“ What on earth can you two have to 
talk about?” Evie demanded, while she 
seemed intent on examining a cabinet of 
old porcelain. 

“ If you’re very good, dear,” Miriam 
replied, trying to take an amused, off¬ 
hand tone, “ I’ll tell you. ' It was busi¬ 
ness.” 

“ Business ? Why, I thought you hard¬ 
ly knew him.” 

“ You don’t have to know people very 
well to transact business with them. He 
came on a question of—money.” 

“ No, but you don’t start up doing 
business with a person that’s just dropped 
down from the clouds—like that.” She 
snapped her fingers to indicate precipi¬ 
tous haste. 

“ Sometimes you do.” 

“ Well, you don’t. I know that for a 
fact.” She was inspecting a vase on a 
pedestal in a corner now. It was nearer 
to the packet. She wheeled round sud¬ 
denly, so that it should take her by sur¬ 
prise. “ What’s that ?” 

“ You see. It’s an envelope with 
papers in it.” 

“ What sort of papers ?” 

“ I haven’t looked at them yet. They 
have to do with money, or investments, 
or something. I’m never very clear about 
those things.” 

“ I thought you did all that through 
Cousin Endsleigh Jarrott and Mr. Con¬ 
quest ?” 

“ This was a little thing I couldn’t 
trouble them with.” 

“ And you went straight off to him, 
when you’d only known him—let me see! 
—how many days ? — one, two, three, 
four—” 

“ I’ve gone to people I didn’t know at 
all—sometimes. You have to. If you 
only knew more about investing money—” 

“ I don’t know anything about invest¬ 
ing money; but I know this is very queer. 
And you didn’t like him. Or you said 
you didn’t.” 

“ I said I did, dear—after a fashion— 
and so I do.” 


16 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


“ In that ease I should think a good 
deal would depend upon the fashion. 
Look here. It’s addressed— Miss Strange. 
That’s his writing. That’s how he scrib¬ 
bles his name. And there’s something 
written in tiny, tiny letters in the corner. 
What is it?” Without touching the en¬ 
velope she bent down to see. “ It’s The 
Wild Olive. Now, what in this world 
can that mean? That’s not business, 
anyhow. That means something.” 

“ No, that’s not business, but I haven’t 
an idea what it means.” Miriam was 
glad to be able to disclaim something. 
“ It was probably on the envelope by ac¬ 
cident. Some clerk wrote it, and Mr. 
Strange didn’t notice it.” 

Evie let the explanation pass, while 
continuing to stare at the object of her 
suspicions. 

“ That’s not papers,” she said at last, 
pointing as she spoke to a small boss pro¬ 
truding between the rubber bands. 
“ There’s something in there. It looks 
like a ”—she hesitated, to find the right 
article—“ it looks like a card-case.” 

“ Perhaps it is,” Miriam agreed. “ But 
I’m sure I don’t know why he should 
bring me a card-case.” 

“ Why don’t you look ?” 

“ I wasn’t in a hurry; but you can look 
yourself if you want to.” 

Evie took offence. “ I’m sure I don’t 
want to. That’s the last thing.” 

“ I wish you would. Then you’d see.” 

“ I only do it under protest,” she de¬ 
clared—“ because you force me to.” She 
took up the envelope, and began to un¬ 
loose the rubber bands. “ The Wild 
Olive T she quoted, half to herself. 
“ Ridiculous! I should think clerks 
might have something better to do than 
write such things as that—on envelopes— 
on people’s business.” But her indigna¬ 
tion turned to surprise when a small flat 
thing, not unlike a card-case, certainly, 
tumbled out. “ What in the name of 
goodness— ?” 

Only strong self-control kept Miriam 
from darting forward to snatch it from 
the floor. She remembered it at once. 
It was a worn red leather pocketbook, 
which she had last seen when it was fresh 
and new-*—sitting in the sunset, on the 
heights above Champlain, and looking at 
the jewelled sea. A card fell from it, on 
which there was something written. Evie 


dropped on one knee to pick it up. 
Miriam was sorry to risk anything, but 
she felt constrained to say, as quietly 
as possible: 

“ You’d better not read that, dear. It 
might be private.” 

Evie slipped the card back into the 
pocketbook, which she threw on the table, 
where Miriam let it lie. “ I won’t look 
at anything else,” Evie said, with dignity, 
turning away. 

. “ I want you to,” Miriam said, au¬ 
thoritatively. “ I beg you to.” 

Thus commanded, Evie drew forth a 
flat document, on which she read, in or¬ 
namental letters, the inscription, New 
York, Toronto, and Great Lakes Railroad 
Company. She unfolded it slowly, look¬ 
ing puzzled. 

“ It’s nothing but a lot of little square 
things,” she said, with some disdain. 

“ The little square things are called 
coupons, if you know what they are.” 

“ I know they’re things people cut— 
when they have a lot of money. I don’t 
know why they cut them; and still less 
do I know why he should be bringing 
them to you.” 

Miriam had a sudden inspiration that 
made her face beam with relief. 

“ I’ll tell you why he brought them to 
me, dear—though I do it under protest, 
as you say yourself. Your curiosity 
forces my hand, and makes me show it 
ahead of time. He brought them to me, 
because it’s a wedding-present for you. 
When you get married—or begin to get 
married—you can have all that money 
for your trousseau.” 

Evie prepared to depart, looking un¬ 
convinced. 

“ It’s awfully nice of you—of course. 
But still—if that’s what you had meant 
at first—from the beginning—you would 
have— Well, I’ll tell Aunt Queenie 
you’ll come.” 

Left alone, Miriam made haste to read 
the card in the pocketbook. 

A s deep calls to deep, so Spirit speaks 
to Spirit. It is the only true communion 
between mutually comprehending soids. 
But it is unerring—pardoning all, because 
understanding all, and making the 
crooked straight. 

She read it more than once. She was 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


17 


not sure that it was meant for her. She 
was not sure that it was in Lord’s own 
handwriting. But in their situation it 
had a meaning; she took it as a message 
to herself; and as she read, and read 
again, she felt on her face the trickling 
of one or two slow, hard tears. 

CHAPTER XVII 

HE result of the dinner that evening 
was that Evie grew more fretful. 
After the departure of her guests, she 
evolved a brief formula which she used 
frequently during the next few weeks: 
“There’s something!” With her quick 
eyes and quicker intuitions, it was im¬ 
possible for her not to see that Eord and 
Miriam possessed common memories of 
the kind that distinguish old acquaint¬ 
ances from new ones. When it did not 
transpire in chance words she caught it 
in their glances or divined it in the men¬ 
tal atmosphere. As autumn passed into 
early winter she became nervous, peevish, 
and exacting; she lost much from her 
pretty ways and something from her 
looks. 

“ You see how it is already,” Miriam 
said to him. “ It’s making her unhappy 
from the start. You can’t conceal the 
truth from her very long.” 

“She isn’t fretting about the truth; 
she’s fretting about what she imagines.” 

“ She’s fretting because she doesn’t un¬ 
derstand, and she’ll go on fretting till 
she does. I’m not sorry. It must show 
you—” 

“ It shows me the necessity of our be¬ 
ing married as soon as possible, so that 
1 may take care of her, and put a stop 
to it.” 

“ I agree with you that you’d put a 
stop to it. You’d put a stop to every¬ 
thing. She wovddn’t live a year—or you 
wouldn’t. Either she’d die—or she’d 
abhor you. And if she didn’t die, you’d 
want to.” 

“ I wish to the Lord I had died—eight 
years ago. The great mistake I made was 
when the lumber-jacks loosed my hand¬ 
cuffs and started me through the woods. 
They called it giving me a chance, and 
for a few minutes I thought it was one. 
A chance! Good God ! I remember feel¬ 
ing, as I ran, that I was deserting some¬ 
thing. I didn’t know what it was just 


then, hut I’ve understood it since. It 
would have been a pluckier thing to have 
been in my coffin as Norrie Ford—or 
even doing time—than to be here as 
Herbert Strange.” 

She said nothing for the moment, but 
as they walked along side by side he shot 
a glance at her, and saw her coloring. 
They had met in the Park. He was go¬ 
ing toward the house in Seventy-second 
Street when she was coming away from 
it. Seizing the opportunity of a few 
words in private, he had turned t© stroll 
back with her. 

“ I didn’t expect you to be here as Her¬ 
bert Strange,” she said, as though in self¬ 
excuse. “ I had to give you a name that 
was like my own, when I was writing let¬ 
ters about your ticket, and sending checks. 
I had to do everything to avoid suspicion 
at a time when Greenport was watched. 
I thought you might be able to take your 
own name or something like it—” 

He explained to her how that had never 
been possible. 

“ Evie fidgets about it,” he continued. 
“ She puts together the two facts that 
you and I seem to have known each other, 
and that my name is identical with your 
father’s. She doesn’t know what to make 
of it; she only thinks 1 there’s some¬ 
thing.’ She hasn’t said more than that 
in words, but I see her little mind at 
work.” 

“ Evie isn’t the only one,” she inform¬ 
ed him. “ There’s Mr. Wayne. He has 
to be reckoned with. He recognized your 
voice from the first minute of hearing 
it, though he hasn’t said yet that he 
knows whose it is. He may do so at any 
time. He’s very surprising at that sort 
of thing. I can see him listening when 
you’re there, not only to your words, but 
to your very movements, trying to re¬ 
capture—” 

“ The upshot of everything,” he said, 
abruptly, “ is that I must marry her, take 
her back to the Argentine, where I found 
her, and where we shall both be out of 
harm’s way.” 

“ You wouldn’t be out of harm’s way. 
You can’t turn your back on it like that. 
You alone might be able to slip through, 
but not if you have Evie.” 

“ That will be my affair; I’ll see to it. 
I take the full responsibility on myself.” 

“ I couldn’t let you. Remember that. 



18 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


You can’t marry her. Let me say it 
plainly—” 

“ Oh, you’ve said it plainly enough.” 

“ If I’ve said it too plainly, it’s because 
you force me. You’re so wilful.” 

“ You mean, I’m so determined. What 
it amounts to is the clash of your will 
against mine; and you refuse to see that 
I can’t give way.” 

“ I see that you must give way. It’s 
in the nature of things. It’s inevitable. 
If I didn’t know that, do you think I 
should interfere? Do you think I should 
dare to run the risk of wrecking your 
happiness, if I could do anything else? 
If you knew how I hate doing anything 
at all—” 

“ But you needn’t. You can just let 
things be.” 

“ I can’t let things be—with all I 
know; and yet it’s impossible for me to 
appeal to any one, except yourself. You 
put me in a position in which I must 
either betray you, or betray those who 
trust me. Because I can’t do either—” 

“ I profit by your noble-mindedness. 
I told you I would. I’m sorry to have 
to do it—I’ll even admit that I’m 
ashamed of it—and yet there’s no other 
course for me. I’m not taking you at 
an unfair advantage, because I've con¬ 
cealed nothing from you from the first. 
You talk about the difficulty of your 
position, but you don’t begin to imagine 
mine. As if everything else wasn’t gall 
to me, I’ve got your disapproval to 
add wormwood.” 

“It isn’t my disapproval; it’s simply— 
the situation. My opinion counts for 
nothing—” 

“ It counts for everything with me— 
and yet I have to ignore it. But, after 
all.” he flung out, bitterly, “ it’s the old 
story. 1 claim the right to squeeze out 
of life such drops of happiness—if you 
can call it happiness—as men have left 
to me, and you deny it. There it is 
in a nutshell. Because other people have 
inflicted a great wrong on me, you insist 
that I shall inflict a greater one on my¬ 
self. And this time it wouldn’t be only 
on myself; it would be on poor little 
Evie. There’s where it cuts. No, no; 
I shall go on I’ve the right to do it. 
You must stop me if you can. If you 
don’t, or won’t—why, then—” 

“ 1 can stop you ... if you drive me 


to extremes . . . but it wouldn’t be by 
doing . . . any of the things you expect.” 

It was because of the catch in her 
voice that he stopped in his walk, and 
confronted her. In spite of the little 
tremor he could see in her no sign of 
yielding, and behind her veil he caught 
a gleam like that of anger. It wa 3 
at that minute, perhaps, that he be¬ 
came distinctly conscious for the first 
time of a doubt as to the superiority of 
“ his type of girl.” Notwithstanding the 
awakening of certain faint perceptions, 
he had hitherto denied • within himself 
that there was anything higher or more 
lovely. But in this girl’s unflinching 
loyalty, and in her tenacious clinging 
to what she considered right, he was get¬ 
ting a new glimpse of womanhood, 
which, however, in no way weakened his 
determination to resist her. 

“ As far as I see,” he said, after long- 
hesitation, “you and I have two ir¬ 
reconcilable duties. My duty is to marry 
Evie; yours is to prevent me. In that 
case there’s nothing for either of us but 
to forge ahead, and see who wins. If you 
win, I shall bear no malice; and I hope 
you’ll be equally generous if I do.” 

“ But I don’t want to win independent¬ 
ly of you. If I did, nothing could be 
easier.” 

“ Then why not do it ?” 

He tossed up his hand with one of 
his fatalistic Latin gestures, drawing 
the attention of the passers-by to the 
man and woman talking so earnestly. 
Eor this reason, and because she was 
losing her self-command, she hastened to 
take leave of him. 

Arrived at home, it gave her no comfort 
to find Charles Conquest—the most spick 
and span of middle-aged New-Yorkers—- 
waiting in the drawing-room. 

“ I thought you might come in,” he ex¬ 
plained, “ so I stayed. I have to get 
your signature to the papers about that 
property in Montreal. I’ve fixed the thing 
up and we’ll sell.” 

“ You said you’d send the papers—” 

“ That sounds as if you weren’t glad 
to see me,” he laughed, “ but I’ll, ignore 
the discourtesy. Here,” he added, unfold¬ 
ing the documents, “ you put your name 
there—and there—near the L. S.” 

She carried the papers to her desk, and 
sat down to write. Conquest took the 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


19 


liberty of old friendship to stroll about 
the room, with his hands behind him, 
humming a little tune. 

“Well,” he said, suddenly, “has he 
come back ?” 

He had not approached the subject, be¬ 
yond alluding to it covertly, since the day 
she had confided to him the confused 
story of her hopes. She blotted her sig¬ 
nature carefully, thinking out her reply. 

“ I’ve given up expecting Inn,” she said 
at last. 

“ Ho! ho! So that’s out of the way.” 

She pretended to be scanning the docu¬ 
ments before her so as to be able to sit 
with her back to him. 

“ It isn’t, for the reason that there’s— 
no way she said, after some hesitation. 

“ Oh yes, there is,” he laughed, “ where 
there’s a will.” 

“ But I’ve no will.” 

“ I have; I’ve enough for two.” 

“ I’ll tell you what you have got,” she 
said, half turning and speaking to him 
over the back of her chair. He drew 
near her. “You’ve got a great deal 
of common sense, and I want to ask 
your advice.” 

“ I can give that, as radium emits 
light—without ever diminishing the or¬ 
iginal store.” 

“ Then tell me. Has one ever the right 
to interfere, where a man and a wom¬ 
an—” 

“ No, never. You needn’t give me any 
more details, because it’s one of the ques¬ 
tions an oracle finds easiest to answer. 
No one ever thanks you—” 

“ I shouldn’t be doing it for thanks.” 

“ And you get your own fingers burnt.” 

“ That wouldn’t matter. I’d let my 
fingers burn to the bone, if it would do 
any good.” 

“ It wouldn’t. You may take my word 
for it. I know who you’re talking about. 
It’s Evie Colfax.” 

She started, looking guilty. “ Why 
should you suppose that?” 

“ I’ve got eyes. I’ve watched her, and 
I know she’s a little minx. Oh, you 
needn’t protest. She’s a taking little 
minx, and this time she’s in the right.” 

“ I’m afraid I don’t know what you 
mean.” 

“ What has Billy Merrow got to offer 
her, even if he is my nephew ? Come 
now! He won’t be in a position to marry 


for the next two or three years. Whereas 
that fellow Strange—” 

“ Have you heard anything about 
him?” she asked, breathlessly. 

“ It isn’t what I’ve heard, it’s what I 
see. He’s a very good chap, and a first- 
rate man of business.” 

“ Do you know him well—personally ?” 

“ I meet him around—at the club and 
other places—and naturally I have some¬ 
thing to do with .him at the office. I like 
him. If Evie can snap him up she’ll be 
doing well for herself. I’m sorry for 
Billy, of course; but he’ll have time to 
break his heart more than once before 
he’ll have money enough to do anything 
else with it. If I’d married at his age—” 

This, however, was venturing on deli¬ 
cate ground, so that he broke off, wheeling 
round toward the centre of the drawing¬ 
room. She folded the documents and 
brought them to him. 

“You know why I didn’t send them?” 
he said, as he took them. “ I thought if 
I came myself, you might have something 
to tell me.” 

“ I haven’t; not anything special, that 
is.” 

“You’ve told me something special al¬ 
ready—that you’re not looking for him 
back.” 

“ I’d rather not talk about it now, if 
you don’t mind.” 

“ Then we’ll talk about what goes with 
it—the other side of the subject.” 

“ There is no other side of the subject.” 

“ Oh, come now, Miriam! You haven’t 
heard all I’ve got to tell you. You’ve 
never let me really present my case, as 
we lawyers say. If you could see things 
as I do—” 

“ But I can’t and you mustn’t ask me 
to-day. I’m tired—” 

“ It would rest you.” 

“No, no; not to-day. Don’t you see 
I’m not—I’m not myself? I’ve had a 
very trying morning.” 

“ What’s the matter ? Tell me. I can 
keep a confidence, even if I can’t do some 
other things. Come now! I don’t like 
to think you’re worried when perhaps I 
could help you. That’s what I should 
be good for, don’t you see? I could as¬ 
sist you to bear a lot of things—” 

“ Not to-day,” she pleaded. “ I’m not 
equal to it.” 

“ Then I’ll come another day.” 


20 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


“Yes, yes; if you like, only—” 

“ Some day soon ?” 

“ When you like, only leave me now. 
Please go away. You won’t think Pm 
rude, will you? But I’m not—not as I 
generally am—” 

“ Good - by.” He put out his hand 
frankly, and smiled so humbly, and yet 
withal so confidently, that she felt as if 
in spite of herself she might yield to his 
persistency through sheer weariness. 

To her surprise, the next few weeks 
passed without incident, bringing no de¬ 
velopment in the situation. She saw lit¬ 
tle of Evie and almost nothing of Ford. 
One or two encounters with Charles Con¬ 
quest had no result beyond the reitera¬ 
tion on his part of a set phrase, “ You’re 
coming to it, Miriam,” which, while ex¬ 
asperating her nerves, had a kind of 
hypnotic effect upon her will. She felt 
as if she might be “ coming to it.” With¬ 
out calculating the probabilities, she saw 
clearly enough that if she married Con¬ 
quest the very act would furnish proof 
to Ford that her intervention in his af¬ 
fairs had been without self-interest. It 
would even offer some proof to herself, 
the sort of proof that strengthens the 
resolution and supports what is totter¬ 
ing in the pride. Notwithstanding the 
valor with which she struggled, her vic¬ 
tory over herself was not so complete that 
she could contemplate the destruction of 
Ford’s happiness with absolute confidence 
in the purity of her motives in bringing 
it to ruin. It was difficult to take the 
highest road when what was left of her 
own fiercest instincts accompanied her 
on it. Marriage with Conquest present¬ 
ed itself, therefore, as a refuge—from 
Ford’s suspicion and her own. 

For the time being, however, the neces¬ 
sity for doing anything was not press¬ 
ing. Evie was caught into the social ma¬ 
chine that had been set going on her ac¬ 
count, and was not so much whirling in it 
as being whirled. Her energies were so 
taxed by the task of going round that she 
had only snatches of time and attention 
to give to her own future. In one of 
these she wrote to her uncle Jarrott, ask¬ 
ing his consent to the immediate pro¬ 
clamation of her engagement, with his 
approval of her marriage at the end of 
the winter, though the reasons she gave 


him were not the same as those she ad¬ 
vanced to Miriam. To him she dwelt on 
the maturity of her age—twenty by this 
time — the unchanging nature of her 
sentiments, and her desire to be settled 
down. To Miriam she was content to 
say, “ There’s something! and I sha’n’t 
get to the bottom of it till we’re married.” 

Of the opening thus unexpectedly of¬ 
fered her Miriam made full use, pointing 
out the folly of verifying suspicions after 
marriage rather than before. 

“ Well, I’m going to do it, do you see?” 
was Evie’s only reply. “ I know it will 
be all right in the end.” 

Still a few weeks were to pass, and it 
was early in the New-Year before Uncle 
Jarrott’s cablegram arrived with the three 
words, “ If you like.” Miriam received the 
information at the opera, where she had 
been suddenly called on to take the place 
of Miss Jarrott, laid low with “one of 
her headaches.” It was Ford who told 
her, during an entr’acte, when for a few 
minutes Evie had left the box with the 
young man who made the fourth in the 
party. Finding themselves alone. Ford 
and Miriam withdrew as far as possible 
from public observation, speaking in 
rapid undertones. 

“ But you’ll not let her do it ?” Mi¬ 
riam urged. 

“I shall, if you will. -You can stop it 
—or postpone it. If you don’t, I have 
every right to forge ahead. It’s no use 
going over the old arguments again—” 

“ You put me in an odious position. 
You want me either to betray you or be¬ 
tray the people who’ve been kind to me. 
It would be betrayal if I were to let you 
go on.” 

“ Then stop me; it’s in your power.” 

“Very well; I will.” 

He gave her a quick look, astonished 
rather than startled, but there was no 
time for further speech before Evie and 
her companion returned. 

It was Miriam’s intention to put her 
plan into immediate execution, but she 
let most of the next day go by without 
doing anything. Understanding his driv¬ 
ing her to extremes to be due less to de¬ 
liberate defiance than to a desperate brav¬ 
ing of the worst, she was giving him a 
chance for repentance. Just at the clos¬ 
ing in of the winter twilight, at the hour 
when he generally appeared, the door 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


21 


was Hung open and Billy Merrow rushed 
in excitedly. 

“What’s all this about Evie?” he 
shouted, almost before crossing the thres¬ 
hold. “ I’ve been there, and no one is at 
home. What’s it about? Who has in¬ 
vented the confounded lie?” 

She could only guess at his meaning, 
but she forced him to shake hands and 
calm himself. Turning on the electric 
light, she saw a young man with de¬ 
cidedly tousled reddish hair, and features 
as haggard as a perfectly healthy, honest, 
freckled face could be. 

“ Sit down, Billy, and tell me about it.” 

“I can’t; I’m crazy.” 

“ So I see; but tell me what you’re 
crazy about.” 

“ Haven’t you heard it ? Of course 
you have. They wouldn’t be writing it to 
Uncle Charlie if you didn’t know all about 
it. But I’m hanged if I’ll let it go on.” 

Little by little she dragged the story 
from him. Miss Queenie Jarrott had 
written to Charles Conquest as one of 
the oldest friends of the family to inform 
him, “ somewhat confidentially as yet,” of 
her niece’s engagement to Mr. Herbert 
Strange, of Buenos Ayres and New York. 
Uncle Charlie, knowing what this would 
mean to him, had come to break the 
news and tell him to “ buck up and take 
it standing.” 

“ I’ll bet you I slia’n’t take it lying 
down,” he assured Miriam. “ Evie is 
engaged to we.” 

“Yes, Billy, but you see Miss Jarrott 
didn’t know it. That’s where the mistake 
has been. You know I’ve always been 
opposed to the secrecy of the affair, and 
I advised you and Evie to wait till you 
could both speak out.” 

“ It isn’t so very secret. You know it 
and so does Uncle Charlie.” 

“ But Evie’s own family have been kept 
in the dark, except ^iat she told her 
aunt in South America. But that’s where 
the mistake comes in, don’t you see? 
Miss Jarrott, not having an idea about 
you, you see—” 

“ Spreads it round that Evie is en¬ 
gaged to some one else, when she isn’t. 
I’ll show her who’s engaged, when I can 
find her in. I’m going to sit on her 
door-step till—” 

“ I wouldn’t do anything rash, Billy. 
Suppose you were to leave it to me ?” 


“What good would that do? If that 
old witch is putting it round, the only 
thing for Evie and me to do is to con¬ 
tradict her.” 

“ Has Evie ever given you an idea that 
anything was wrong?” 

“ Evie’s been the devil. I don’t mind 
saying it to you, because you understand 
the kind of devil she’d be. But Lord! 
I don’t care. It’s just her way. She’s 
told me to go to the deuce half a 
dozen times, but she knows I won’t 
till she comes with me. Oh no. Evie’s 
all right—” 

“Yes, of course Evie’s all right. But 
you know, Billy dear, this thing requires 
a great deal of management and straight¬ 
ening out, and I do wish you’d let me 
take charge of it. I know every one 
concerned, you see, so that I could do 
it better than any one—any one but 
you, I mean—” 

“ I understand that all right. I’m not 
going to be rough on them, but all the 
same—” 

She got him to sit down at last, made 
tea for him, and soothed him. At the 
end of an hour he had undertaken not 
to molest Miss Jarrott, or to fight that 
“ confounded South-American,” or to say 
a word of any kind to Evie till she was 
ready to say a word to him. He became 
impressed with the necessity for diplo¬ 
matic action and, after some persuasion, 
promised to submit to guidance—at any 
rate, for a time. 

“ And now, Billy, I’m going to write 
a note. The first thing to be done is 
that you should find Mr. Strange and 
deliver it to him before nine o’clock this 
evening. You’ll do it quietly, won’t you ? 
and not let him see that you are anything 
more than my messenger. No matter 
where he is, even in a private house, 
you must see that he gets the note, if 
at all possible.” 

When he had sworn to this she wrote 
a few lines hurriedly. He carried them 
away in the same tumultuous haste with 
which he had come. After his departure 
she felt herself unexpectedly strong and 
calm. 

CHAPTER XVIII 

HE feeling of being equal to any¬ 
thing she might have to face con¬ 
tinued with her. Now that the moment 



22 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


for action had arrived, she had confidence 
in her ability to meet it, since it had to 
be done. At dinner she was able to talk 
to Wayne on indifferent topics, and later, 
when he had retired to his den to practise 
his Braile, she sat down in the drawing¬ 
room with a book. Noticing that she 
wore the severe black dress in which she 
had assisted at the “ killing off ” of Evie’s 
family, she brightened it with a few un¬ 
obtrusive jewels, so as to look less like 
the Tragic Muse. The night being cold, 
a cheerful fire biirned on the hearth, be¬ 
side which she sat down and waited. 

When he was shown in, about half past 
eight, it seemed to her best not to rise 
to receive him. Something in her re¬ 
pose, or in her dignity, gave him the 
impression of arriving before a tribunal, 
and he began his explanations almost 
from the doorway. 

“ I got your note. Young Merrow 
caught me at dinner. I was dining 
alone, so that I could come at once.” 

“ You’re very kind. I’m glad you were 
able to do it. Won’t you sit down?” 

Without offering her hand, she indi¬ 
cated a high armchair, suitable for a 
man, on the other side of the hearth. 
He seated himself with an air of expecta¬ 
tion, while she gazed pensively at the 
fire, speaking at last without looking up. 

“ I hear Miss Jarrott has begun to 
announce your engagement to Evie.” 

“ I understood she was going to, to a 
few intimate friends.” 

“ And you allowed it ?” 

“ As you see.” 

“ Didn’t you know that I should have 
to take that for a signal?” 

“ I’ve never given you to understand 
that a signal wouldn’t come—if you re¬ 
quired one.” 

“No; but I hoped—” She broke off, 
continuing to gaze at the fire. “ Do you 
remember,” she began again—“ do you 
remember telling me—that evening on 
the shore of Lake Champlain—just be¬ 
fore you went away—that if ever I needed 
your life, it would be at my disposal ?— 
to do with as I chose?” 

“ I do.” 

“ Then I’m going to claim it.” She did 
not look up, but she heard him change 
his position in his chair. “ I shouldn’t 
do it if there was any other way. I’m 
sure you understand that. Don’t you?” 


she insisted, glancing at him for an an¬ 
swer. 

“ I know you wouldn’t do it, unless you 
were convinced there was a reason.” 

“ I’ve tried to be just to you, and to 
see things from your point of view. I 
do; I assure you. If I were in your 
position I should feel as you do. But 
I’m not in your position. I’m in one 
of great responsibility, toward Evie and 
toward her friends.” 

“ I don’t see what you owe to them.” 

“ I owe them the loyalty that every 
human being owes to every other.” 

“To every other—except me.” 

“ I’m loyal to you at least, whoever 
else may not be. But it wouldn’t be 
loyalty if I let you marry Evie. I’m 
going to ask you—not to do it—to go 
away—to leave her alone—to go—for 
good.” 

There was a long silence. When he 
spoke, it was hoarsely, but otherwise with¬ 
out change of tone. 

“'Is that what you meant?—just now?” 

“ Yes. That’s what I meant.” 

“ Do you intend me to get out of New 
York, to go back to the south—?” 

She lifted her hand in protestation. 

“ I’m not giving orders, or making con¬ 
ditions. New York is large. There’s 
room in it for you and Evie, too.” 

“ I dare say. One doesn’t require much 
space to break one’s heart in.” 

“ Evie wouldn’t break her heart. I 
know her better than you do. She’d 
suffer for a while, but she’d get over it, 
and in the end, very soon probably— 
marry some one else.” 

“ How cruel you can be,” he said, 
with a twisted smile. 

“ I can be, when it’s right. In this 
case I’m only as cruel as—the truth. 
I’m saying it because it must make things 
easier for you. Your own pain will be 
the less from the knowledge that, in time, 
Evie will get over hers.” 

“ I suppose it ought to be, but—” 

He did not finish his sentence, and 
again there was a long hush, during 
which, while she continued to gaze pen¬ 
sively at the fire, she could hear him shift¬ 
ing with nervous frequency in his chair. 
When at last she ventured to look at 
him he was bowed forward, his elbow 
supported on his knee, and his forehead 
resting on his hand. Nevertheless, it 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


23 


caused her some surprise when he raised 
himself and said, in a voice that would 
have been casual on a common occasion: 

“I suppose you think me a cad?” 

“No; why should I?” 

“ Because 1 am one.” 

“ I don’t know wdiy you should say 
that, or what it has to do with—any¬ 
thing.” 

“ It’s about that—that—promise.” 

“ Oh!” 

“ Do you mind if we speak quite 
frankly? I should like to. I’ve been 
bluffing that point ever since you and I 
met again. It’s been torture to have to 
do it—damned, humiliating torture; but 
it’s been difficult to do anything else. 
You see, I couldn’t even speak of it with¬ 
out seeming to—to insult you—that is, 
unless you took me in just the right 
way.” 

“ You may say anything you like. 
There’s nothing you could possibly tell 
me that I shouldn’t understand.” 

“ Well, then, when I made that promise, 
I meant to keep it, and to keep it in a 
special way. I thought—of course we 
were both very young—but I thought 
that, after what had happened—” 

“ Wait a minute. I want to tell you 
something before you go on.” She rallied 
her spirit’s forces for a desperate step, 
gathering all her life’s possible happiness 
into one extravagant handful, and fling¬ 
ing it away, in order to save her pride 
before this man, who was about to tell 
her that he had never been able to love 
her. “ What I am going to say may 
strike you as irrelevant; but if it is, you 
can ignore it. I expect to be married— 
in a little while—it’s practically a set¬ 
tled thing—to Charles Conquest, whom I 
think you know. Now, will you go on, 
please ?” 

He stared at her in utter blankness. 

“ Good God!” 

He got up and took a few restless turns 
up and down the room, his head bent, 
his hands behind his back. He reseated 
himself when his confused impressions 
grew clearer. 

“ So that it doesn’t matter what I 
thought about—that promise?” 

“ Not in the least,” She had saved 
herself. “ The one thing important to 
me is that you should have made it.” 

“ And that you can hold me to' it,” he 


added, tersely. 

“ I presume I can do that ?” 

“ You can, unless—unless I find myself 
in a position to take the promise back.” 

“ I can hardly see how that position 
coxdd come about,” she said, with an 
air of wondering. 

“ I can. You see,” he went on in an 
explanatory tone, “ it was an unusual 
sort of promise—a promise made, so to 
speak, for value received—for unusual 
value received. It wasn’t one that a com¬ 
mon occasion would have called forth. 
It was offered because you had given me 
—life.” 

He rested his arm now on a table that 
stood between them and, leaning toward 
her, looked her steadily in the eyes. 

“ I haven’t the faintest idea what 
you’re going to say,” she remarked, rather 
blankly. 

“ No, but you’ll see. You gave me 
life. I hold that life in a certain sense 
at your pleasure. It is at your disposal. 
It must remain at your disposal—until 
I give it back.” 

She sat upright in her chair, leaning 
in her turn on the table, and drawing 
nearer to him. 

“ I can’t imagine what you mean,” she 
said, under her breath and looking a lit¬ 
tle frightened. 

“You’ll see presently. But don’t be 
alarmed. It’s going to be all right. As 
long as I hold the life you gave me,” 
he continued to explain, “ I must do your 
bidding. I’m not a free man; I’m—- 
don’t be offended—I’m your creature. I 
don’t say I was a free man before this 
came up. I haven’t been a free man 
ever since I’ve been Herbert Strange. 
I’ve been the slave of a sort of make- 
believe. I’ve made believe, and I’ve felt 
I was justified. Perhaps I was. I’m 
not quite sure. ' But I haven’t liked 
it; and now I begin to feel that I can’t 
stand it any longer. You follow me, 
don’t you ?” 

She nodded, still leaning toward him 
across the table, and not taking her eyes 
from his. 

“ I told you a few days ago,” he pur¬ 
sued, “ that there were times when it was 
hell. That was putting it mildly—too 
mildly. There’s been no time when it 
wasn’t hell — in here.” He tapped his 
forehead. “ I’ve struggled, and fought. 


24 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


and pushed, and swaggered, and bluffed, 
and had ups and down, and taken heart, 
and swaggered and bluffed again, and 
lied all through—and I’ve made Herbert 
Strange a respectable man of business on 
the high road to success. But when I 
come near you it all goes to pieces—like 
one of those curiously conserved dead 
bodies when they’re brought to the air. 
There’s nothing to them. There’s noth¬ 
ing to me — so long as I’m Herbert 
Strange.” 

“ But you ore Herbert Strange. You 
can’t help yourself—now.” 

“ Herbert Strange goes back into the 
nothingness out of which he was born 
the minute I become Norrie Ford again.” 

She drew herself up hastily, with a 
gasp. 

“ But you can’t do that!” 

“ It’s exactly what I mean to do.” He 
spoke very slowly. “ I’m going to be a 
free man, and my own master, even if 
it leads me where—where they meant to 
put me Avhen you snatched me away. 
I’m going back to my fellow men, to 
the body corporate—” 

She rose in agitation, and drew back 
from him toward the chimney-piece. 
“ So that if—if anything happens,” she 
said, “ I shall have driven you to it. 
That’s how you get your revenge.” 

“ Not at all. I’m not coming to this 
decision suddenly, or in a spirit of re¬ 
venge, in any way.” He followed her, 
standing near her, on the hearth rug. 
“ I can truthfully say,” he went on in his 
slow, explanatory fashion, “ that there’s 
been no time, since the minute I made 
my first dash for liberty, when I haven’t 
known, in the bottom of my heart, what 
a good thing it would have been if I 
hadn’t done it. I’ve come to see—I’ve 
had to—that the death-chair would have 
been better, with self-respect, than free¬ 
dom to go and come, with the necessity 
to gag every one, every minute of the 
day, and every day in the year, and all 
the time, with lies. If that seems far¬ 
fetched to you—” 

“ No, it doesn’t.” 

“ Well, if it did you’d see it wasn’t, if 
you were in my place for a month. I 
didn’t mind it so much at first. I stood 
it by day and just suffered by night— 
till the Jarrotts began to be so kind to 
me, and I came to New York—and—and 


—and Evie!” 

“ I’m sorry I’ve spoken to you as I 
have,” she said, hastily. “ If I’d known 
you felt like that—” 

“ You were quite right. I always un¬ 
derstood that. But I can’t go on with it. 
If Evie marries me now, it shall be know¬ 
ing who I am.” 

“You don’t mean that you could pos¬ 
sibly tell her?” 

“ I’m going to tell every one.” 

She stifled a little cry. “ Then it will 
be my doing!” 

“ It will be your doing—up to a point. 
But it will be something for you to be 
proud of, not to regret. You’ve only 
brought my mistake so clearly before me 
that even I can’t stand it—when I’ve 
stood so much. You ask me to turn 
my back on Evie and sneak away. You’ve 
got the right to command, and there’s 
nothing for me but to obey you. But I 
can’t help seeing the sort of life that 
would be left to me after I’d carried out 
your orders. It wouldn’t only be the 
loss of Evie—I may lose her in any case 
—it would be the loss of everything with¬ 
in myself that’s enabled me hitherto 
merely to hold up my head—and bluff.” 

“ I might withdraw what I’ve just ask¬ 
ed you to do. Perhaps we could find some 
other way.” 

He laughed with grim lightness. 

“ You’re weakening. That’s not like 
you. And it wouldn’t do any good now. 
Even if we did patch up some other 
scheme, there would still remain what 
you talked about a minute ago — the 
loyalty that every human being owes to 
every other.” 

“ But I thought you didn’t recognize 
that?” 

“ I said I didn’t. But in here ”—he 
tapped his fingers over the heart—“ I 
did, and I do. You’ve brought me to 
see it.” 

“ That’s very noble, but you saw it for 
yourself—” 

“Through a glass—darkly; now I can 
look at the thing in clear daylight, and 
see -what I have to do.” 

She dropped into her chair again, look¬ 
ing up at him. He stood with his back 
to the fire, holding his head high, his 
bearing marked by a dogged, perhaps 
forced, serenity. 

“ But what can you do ?” she asked. 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


25 


after considering his words. “ You're so 
involved. All this business—and the peo¬ 
ple in South America—” 

“ Oh, there ai'e ways and means. I 
haven’t made plans, but I’ve thought, 
from time to time, of what I should do 
if I ever came to just this pass. The 
first thing would be to tell the few peo¬ 
ple who are most concerned, confidential¬ 
ly. Then I should go hack to South 
America, and settle things up out there. 
When I had done that, I should return 
to New York and tell—the police.” 

“ I couldn’t let you. I couldn’t endure 
it. It would kill me.” 

He smiled down at her, rather cruelly. 

“ Oh no, it wouldn’t. You’d have mar¬ 
ried Conquest by that time, and become 
reconciled to my fate, like me.” 

She ignored the thrust, and spoke 
eagerly. 

“ And what would that be ? — your 
fate ?” 

“ I don’t know just yet. I’m not very 
strong on points of law. 1 suppose they 
could carry out the old sentence without 
further notice; or perhaps they would 
give me a new trial.” 

“ And if they did give you a new trial 
—what then ?” 

“ Then I hope I should get off.” 

“ And if you didn’t ?” 

“If I didn’t, I fancy I should have 
to take—the—” 

“ You mustn’t do it.” She spoke with 
conviction, and sprang up again. “ You 
mustn’t do it,” she repeated. “You 
mustn’t run the risk.” 

Without moving in any way, he eyed 
her aslant, a smile, not too bitter, trem¬ 
bling about his lips. 

“You probably think the risk would 
be greater than I do, because your con¬ 
victions—” 

“ I have no convictions. If you say 
you didn’t do it I’m ready to believe you. 
I don’t see that it matters so very much 
—if he drove you to it—” 

“ It matters to me.” He smiled again 
to see that the wild olive had not yet 
been grafted. 

“If they found you guilty once,” she 
argued, “ they may do it again.” 

“ Exactly; but I should have my 
chance.” 

“ Promise me you won’t take it,” she 
demanded, desperately. “ I’ll do any¬ 


thing. I’ll do anything you ask. I’ll 
give in without conditions. You shall 
marry Evie, and I will never, never say 
a word.” 

“ But it’s too late,” he reasoned. 
“Don’t you see that? After pointing 
out the right road all these months, you 
can’t push me hack into the wrong.” 

“ I never dreamed of your taking this 
road at all.” 

“ I dare say not. But you’ve inspired 
the principle—and it’s for me to work 
it out. You’ve given me a foretaste of 
the joy of being honest—of being able to 
speak out, to be myself, to tell the truth 
—of getting rid of the dodging and wrig¬ 
gling and squirming—of being delivered 
from the daily, the hourly, terror of de¬ 
tection. I want to be the man that God 
made and not a creature called up out of 
nightmare. What do I care how it ends ? 
—so long as I can stand free, just once, 
on my own feet, before the world and say, 
Yes, I’m Norrie Ford.” 

“ Don’t you care how it ends for Evie?” 

“I do; and 1 believe she’ll be happier 
this way—in the long run. I’ve kicked 
against the pricks and shirked it too 
many years not to know it. She’ll suffer 
less in being true to me, while I fight 
my way, than if I were to turn my back 
on her and shuffle out of her existence. 
She’ll be true to me; you’ll see. I’ll win 
in the end, and she will marry a man 
and not a shadow.” 

“ But if you went on,” she pleaded. 
“ just as you had planned—and I didn’t 
say anything?” 

“You’d despise me. You’ve shown me 
that already. You’d despise me and you’d 
be right. It would be all very well for 
the minute. It would be an easy way 
out of a painful fix. But afterward, when 
I’d taken it, you’d never give me your 
respect again—not even the little you’ve 
given me hitherto—and God knows that 
can’t have been much. I could stand 
anything in the world—anything—rather 
than that you should come to that.” 

“ But I shouldn’t, when I myself had 
dissuaded you—” 

“No, no; don’t try. You’d be doing 
wrong. You’ve been to me so high and 
holy that I don’t like to think you haven’t 
the strength to go on to the end. I’ve 
got it, because you’ve given it me. Don’t 
detract from your own gift by holding 


26 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


me back from using it. You found me 
a prisoner—or an escaped one—and I’ve 
been a prisoner all these years, the pris¬ 
oner of something worse than chains. 
Now I’m going free. Look!” he cried, 
with sudden inspiration. “ I’ll show you 
how it’s done. You’ll see how easy it 
will be.” 

He moved to cross the room. 

“ What are you going to do ?” 

She sprang up as if to hold him back, 
but his finger was on the bell. 

“You don’t mind, I hope?” he asked.; 
but he had rung before she could give 
an answer. The maid appeared in the 
doorway. 

“Ask Mr. Wayne if he would be good 
enough to come in here a minute. Tell 
him Mr. Strange particularly wants to 
see him.” 

He went back to his place by the fire¬ 
side, where he stood apparently calm, 
showing no sign of excitement except in 
heightened color and the stillness of 
nervous tension. Miriam sank into her 
chair again. 

“ Don’t do anything rash,” she pleaded. 
“Wait till to-morrow. There will al¬ 
ways be time. For God’s sake!” 

If he heard her he paid no attention, 
and presently Wayne appeared. He hesi¬ 
tated a minute on the threshold, and 
during that instant Ford could see that 
he looked ashy and older, as if something 
had aged him suddenly. His hands 
trembled, too, as he felt his way in. 

“ Good evening,” he said, speaking into 
the air as blind men do. “ I thought I 
heard your voice.” 

Having groped his way across the room 
and reached the table that stood between 
the arm-chairs Miriam and Ford had oc¬ 
cupied, he stopped. He stood there, with 
fingers drumming soundlessly on the pol¬ 
ished wood, waiting for some one to speak. 

In spite of the confidence with which 
he had rung the bell. Ford found it dif¬ 
ficult now to begin. It was only after 
one or two inarticulate attempts that he 
was able to say anything. 

“ I asked you to come in, sir,” he be¬ 
gan, haltingly, “ to tell you something 
very special. Miss Strange knows it al¬ 
ready. ... If I’ve done wrong in not 
telling you before . . . you’ll see I’m 
prepared to take my punishment. . . . 
My name isn’t Strange ... it isn’t Her¬ 


bert.” 

“ I know it isn’t.” 

The words slipped out in a sharp tone, 
not quite nervous, but thin and worn. 
Miriam’s attitude grew tense. Ford took 
a step forward from the fireside. With 
his arm flung over the back of his chair, 
and his knee resting on the seat of it, 
he strained across the table, as if to 
annihilate the space between Wayne 
and himself. 

“ You knew?” 

The blind man nodded. When he 
spoke it was again into the air. 

“Yes; I knew. You’re Norrie Ford. 
I ought to say I’ve only known it lat¬ 
terly—about a fortnight now.” 

“How?” 

“ Oh, it just came to me—by degrees, 
I think.” 

“ Why didn’t you say something about 
it?” 

“ I thought I wouldn’t. It has worried 
me, but I thought I’d keep still.” 

“ Do you mean that you were going to 
let everything—go on ?” 

“ I weighed all the considerations. 
That’s the decision I came to. You must 
understand,” he went on to explain, in a 
voice that was now tremulous as well as 
thin, “ that I’d had you a good deal on 
my mind, during these past eight years. 
I sentenced you to death when I almost 
knew you were innocent. It was my 
duty. I couldn’t help it. The facts told 
dead against you. Every one admitted 
that. The Court of Appeals upheld the 
verdict. True, the evidence might have 
been twisted to tell against old Gramm 
and his wife, but they hadn’t been dis¬ 
sipated, and they hadn’t been indicted, 
and they hadn’t gone round making 
threats against Chris Ford’s life like you.” 

“I didn’t mean them. It was nothing 
but a boy’s rage—” 

“Yes, but you made them; and when 
the old man was found— But I’ll not 
go into that now. I only want to say 
that, while I couldn’t acquit you with 
my intelligence, I felt constrained to do 
it in my heart, especially when every¬ 
thing was over, and it was too late. The 
incident has been the one tilling in my pro¬ 
fessional career that I’ve most regretted. 
I don’t quite blame myself. I had to 
do my duty. And yet it was a relief 
to me when you got away. I don’t know 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


27 


that I could have acted differently, but— 
but I liked you. I’ve gone on liking you. 
I’ve often thought about you, and won¬ 
dered what had become of you. And one 
day—not long ago—as I was going over 
the old ground once more, I saw I’d been 
thinking about — you. That’s how it 
came to me.” 

“ And you were going to remain si¬ 
lent, and let me marry Evie?” 

The blind man reflected. 

“ I saw what was to be said against it. 
But I weighed all the evidence carefully. 
You were an injured man; you’d made 
a great fight and you’d won—as far as 
one man can win against the world. I 
came to the conclusion that I wasn’t 
called on to strike you down a second 
time, after you’d scrambled up so pluck- 
ily. Evie is very dear to me; I don’t say 
that I should see her married to you with¬ 
out some misgiving; but I decided that 
you deserved her. It was a great respon¬ 
sibility to take, but I took it and made 
up my mind to—let her go.” 

“ Oh, you’re a good man! I didn’t 
think there was such mercy in the world.” 

Eord flung out the words in a cry that 
was half a groan and half a shouts of 
triumph. Miriam choked back a sob. 
The neat little man shrugged his shoul¬ 
ders deprecatingly. 

“ There’s one thing I should like to 
ask,” he pursued, “ among the many that 
I don’t know anything about, and that I 
don’t care to inquire into. IIow did you 
come by the name of this lady’s father, 
my old friend Herbert Strange?” 

Ford and Miriam exchanged swift 
glances. She shook her head, and he 
took his cue. 

“ I happened to see it in a—a sort of 
—paper. I had no idea it was that of a 
real person. I fancied it had come out 
of a novel—or something like that. I 
didn’t mean to keep it, but it got fastened 
on me.” 

“Very odd,” was his only comment. 
“Isn’t it, Miriam? Now,” he added, “I 
suppose you’ve had all you want of me, 
so I’ll say good night.” 

He held out his hand, which Eord 
grasped, clenched rather, in both his own. 

“God bless you!” Wayne murmured, 
still tremulously. “ God bless you—my 
boy, and bring everything out right. 
Miriam, I suppose you’ll come in and 


see me before you go to bed.” 

They watched him shuffle his way out 
of the room, and watched the door long 
after he had closed it. When at last 
Miriam turned her eyes on Ford they 
were luminous with the relief of her own 
defeat. 

“ You see!” she cried, triumphantly. 
“ You see the difference between him and 
me—between his spirit and mine! Now 
which of us was right?” 

“ You were.” 

CHAPTER XIX 

T HE one thing clear to Miriam on the 
following day was that she had ruin¬ 
ed everything with astonishing complete¬ 
ness—a curious result to come from what 
she was firmly convinced was “ doing 
right.” She had calculated that, by a 
moderate measure of suffering to Evie, 
and a large one to Ford, Evie’s ultimate 
welfare at least would be secured. Now 
everything was being brought to grief to¬ 
gether. Out of such a wreck nothing 
could be saved. 

With Ford’s desire to break the force 
which made him an impostor she had 
sympathy; but his willingness to risk 
his life in order to be in harmony with 
law and order again was not so easy for 
her to understand. That Eord should 
deliberately seek chains in barracks, 
when—by her surrender on the subject 
of Evie—she had made it possible for 
him still to keep the liberty of the field, 
was to her at once incomprehensible and 
awful. She had not only the sense of 
watching a man rushing upon Fate, but 
the knowledge that she herself had given 
him the impetus; while she was fully 
alive to the fact that when he fell, every¬ 
thing she cared for in the world would 
fall with him. 

Her mind was too resourceful, her 
spirit too energetic, to permit of her sit¬ 
ting in helpless anguish over his new de¬ 
termination. She was already busy with 
plans for counteracting him, in one of 
which at least she saw elements of 
hope. Having conceived its possibilities, 
she was eager to go and test them; but 
she had decided not to leave the house 
until she knew that Ford was really put¬ 
ting his plans into execution. The min¬ 
ute Evie learned the fatal news she 


28 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


would have need of her, and she dared 
not put herself out of the child’s reach. 
Her first duty must be toward the fragile 
little creature, who would be crushed like 
a trampled flower. 

Shortly before noon she was summoned 
to the telephone, where Evie was asking 
if she should find her in. Miriam judged 
from the tones of the transmitted voice 
that the worst had been made known. 
She was not, however, prepared for the 
briskness with which, ten minutes later, 
Evie whisked into .the room, her cheeks 
aglow with excitement, and her heavenly 
eyes dancing with a purely earthly 
sparkle. 

“ Isn’t this awful ?” she cried, before 
Miriam could take her into her loving 
arms. “ Isn’t it appalling ? But it’s not 
a surprise to me—not in the least. I 
knew there was something. Haven’t I 
said so? I almost knew that his name 
wasn’t Strange. If I hadn’t been so busy 
with my coming-out—and everything— 
I should have been sure of it. I have¬ 
n’t had time to think of it, do you see ? 
With a lunch somewhere every day at 
half past one,” she hurried on, breath¬ 
lessly, “ and a tea at half past four, and 
a dinner at eight, and a dance at eleven, 
and very likely the theatre or the opera 
in between—well, you can see' I haven’t 
been able to give much attention to any¬ 
thing else; but I knew, from the very 
time when I was in Buenos Ayres, that 
there was something queer about that 
name. I never saw a man so sensitive 
when any one spoke about his name, not 
in all my life before—and you know 
down there it’s the commonest thing— 
why, they’re so suspicious on that point 
that they’d almost doubt that mine was 
Evie Colfax.” 

She threw her muff in one direction, 
her boa in another, and her gloves in still 
another. 

“ But, Evie darling, you surely didn’t 
think—” 

“ Of course I never thought of any¬ 
thing like this. I didn’t really think of 
anything at all. If I’d begun to give 
my mind to it, I should probably have 
hit on something a great deal worse.” 

“What do you mean, dear? Worse— 
than what?” 

“ Worse than just being accused of 
shooting your uncle—and it was only his 


great-uncle, too. I might have thought 
of forgery or something dishonorable, 
though I should know he wasn’t capable 
of it. Being accused isn’t much. You 
can accuse any one — you could accuse 
me. That doesn’t prove anything when 
he says he didn’t do it. Of course he 
didn’t do it. Can’t any one see? My 
goodness! I wish they’d let me make the 
laws. I’d show them. Just think! To 
put a man like that in prison—and say 
they’d do such awful things to him— 
and make him change his name — and 
everything. It’s perfectly scandalous. 
It’s an outrage. I shouldn’t think such 
things would be allowed. They wouldn’t 
be allowed in the Argentine. Why, there 
was a man out there who killed his father- 
in-law — actually hilled him — and they 
didn’t do anything to him at all. I’ve 
seen him lots of times. Aunt Queenie 
has pointed him out to me. He used 
to have the box next but two to ours 
at the opera. And to think they should 
take a man like Herbert, and worry him 
like that—it makes me so indignant I’d 
like to—” 

Evie ground her teeth, threw her 
clenched fists outward, and twitched her 
skirts about the room in the prettiest pos¬ 
sible passion of righteous anger. 

“ But, darling,” Miriam asked, in a 
puzzled voice, “ what are you going to 
do about it?” 

Evie wheeled round haughtily. 

“ Do about it ? What would you ex¬ 
pect me to do about it? I’m going to 
tell every one he didn’t do it—that’s what 
I’m going to do about it. But of course 
we’re not to speak of it just yet—out¬ 
side ourselves, you know. He’s going 
to Buenos Ayres to tell Uncle Jarrott 
he didn’t do it—and when he comes 
back we’re going to make it generally 
known. Oh, there’s to be law about it— 
and everything. He means to change his 
name again to what it was before— 
Ford, the name was—and I must say, 
Miriam, I like that a good deal better 
than Strange, if you don’t mind my tell¬ 
ing you. It seems odd to have so many 
Stranges—and I must say I never could 
get used to the idea of having exactly the 
same name as yours. It was almost like 
not being married outside the family— 
and 1 should hate to marry a relation. 
That part of it comes as a pleasant sur- 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


29 


prise, do you see ? I'd made up my mind 
to Strange, and thought there was no -way 
of getting rid of it, unless I—but I wasn’t 
looking ahead to anything of that kind. 
I hope I shall never—” 

“ So, darling, you’re going to be true 
to him?” 

“ True to him ? Of course I’m going 
to be true to him. Why shouldn’t I be? 
I'm going to be more true to him now 
than I was before. He’s so noble about 
it, too. I wish you could have seen the 
way he broke it to me. Aunt Queenie 
said she never saw anything so affecting, 
not even on the stage. She was there, 
you know. Herbert felt he couldn’t go 
over it all twice, and he thought I should 
need some one to support me through the 
shock. I didn’t—not a bit. But I wish 
you could have been there, just to see 
him.” 

“ I can fancy it, dear.” 

“ Of course I know now what you’ve 
been fidgeting about ever since he came 
to New York. He says you recognized 
him—that you’d seen him at Greenport. 
Oh, I knew there was something. But 
I must say, Miriam, I think you might 
have told me confidentially, and not let 
it come on me as such a blow as this. 
Not that I take it as a blow; though, of 
course, it upsets things terribly. We 
can’t announce our engagement for ever 
so long, and Aunt Queenie is rushing 
round in the motor now to take back 
what she wrote to a few people yester¬ 
day. I can’t imagine what she’ll tell 
them, because I charged her on her sacred 
honor not to give them the idea it was 
broken off, although I’d rather they 
thought it was broken off than that I 
hadn’t been engaged at all.” 

“ Miss Jarrott takes it quietly, then ?” 

“ Quietly! I wish you could see her. 
She thinks there never was anything so 
romantic. Why, she cried over him, and 
kissed him, and said she’d always be his 
friend if every one else in the world were 
to turn against him. As a matter of 
fact, the poor old dear is head over heels 
in love with him, do you see? in that 
sort of old-maid w T ay — you know the 
kind of thing I mean. She thinks there’s 
nobody like him, and neither there is. I 
shall miss him frightfully while he’s 
down there telling Uncle Jarrott. I shall 
skip half my invitations and go regular¬ 


ly into retreat till he comes back. There’s 
lots more he’s going to tell me then—all 
about what Popsey Wayne had to do 
with it—and everything. I’m glad he 
doesn’t want to do it now, because my 
head is reeling as it is. I’ve so many 
things to think of—and so much respon¬ 
sibility coming on me all at once— 
and—” 

“ Are you going to do anything about 
Billy?” 

“ Well, I can postpone that, at any 
rate. Thank goodness, there’s one silver 
lining to the cloud. I was going to give 
him a pretty strong hint to-night, seeing 
Aunt Queenie has begun writing notes 
around, but now I can let him simmer 
for a while longer. He won’t be able to 
say I haven’t let him down easy, poor old 
boy. And Miriam dear,” she continued, 
gathering up her various articles of ap¬ 
parel, preparatory to taking leave, “ you’ll 
keep just as quiet about it as you can 
like a dear, won’t you? We don’t mean 
to say a word about it outside ourselves 
till Herbert comes back from seeing 
Uncle Jarrott. That’s my advice—and 
it’s all our advice — I mean, Aunt 
Queenie’s, too. Then they’re going to 
law—or something. I know you won’t 
say anything about it, but I thought I’d 
just put you on your guard.” 

If Evie’s way of taking it was a new 
revelation to Miriam of her own mis¬ 
calculation, it was also a new incentive 
to setting to work as promptly as pos¬ 
sible to repair what she could of the 
mischief she had made. With Evie’s 
limitations she might never know more 
of the seriousness of her situation than 
a bird of the nature of the battle raging 
near its nest; while if even Eord “ went 
to law,” as Evie put it, and he came off 
victorious, there might still be chances 
for their happiness. To anything else 
Miriam was indifferent, as a man in 
the excitement of saving his children 
from fire or storm is dead to his own 
sensations. It was with impetuous, al¬ 
most frenzied, eagerness, therefore, that 
she went to the telephone to ring up 
Charles Conquest, asking to be allowed 
to see him privately at his office, during 
the afternoon. 

In what she had made up her mind 
to do the fact that she was planning for 


30 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


herself an unnecessary measure of sacri¬ 
fice was no deterrent. She was in a mood 
in which self - immolation seemed the 
natural penalty of her mistakes. She 
was not without the knowledge that 
money could buy the help she purposed 
to obtain by direct intervention; but her 
inherited instincts, scornful of round¬ 
about methods, urged her to pay the 
price in something more personal than 
coin. It replied in some degree to 
her self-accusation, it assuaged the bit¬ 
terness of her self-condemnation, to know 
that she was to be the active agent in 
putting right that which her errors of 
judgment had put wrong. To her es¬ 
sentially primitive soul atonement by 
proxy was as much out of the question 
as to the devotee beneath the wheels of 
J uggernaut. Somewhere in the back¬ 
ground of her thought there were faint 
prudential protests against throwing her¬ 
self away; but she disdained them, as 
a Latin or a Teuton disdains the Anglo- 
Saxon’s preference for a court of law 
to the pistol of the duellist. It was 
something outside the realm of reason. 
Reckless impulses subdued by convent 
restraint or civilized requirements awoke 
with a start all the more violent because 
of their long sleep, driving her to do 
that which she knew other women would 
have done otherwise or not at all. 

She was aware, therefore, of limita¬ 
tions in the sacrifice she was making; 
she was even aware that, in the true 
sense, it was no sacrifice whatever. She 
was offering herself up because she chose 
to—in a kind of wilfulness—but a pas¬ 
sionate wilfulness which claimed that 
for her at least there was no other way. 
Other women, wiser women, women be¬ 
hind whom there was a long, moderation- 
loving past, might obey the laws that 
prompt to the economy of oneself; she 
could only follow those blind urgings 
which drove her forefathers to fight 
when they might have remained at peace, 
or whipped them forth into the wild 
places of the earth when they could have 
stayed in quiet homes. The hard way 
in preference to the easy way was in her 
blood. She could no more have resisted 
taking it now than she could have held 
herself back eight years ago from be¬ 
friending Norrie Ford against the law. 

Nevertheless, it was a support to her 


to remember that Conquest’s manner on 
the occasions when business brought her 
to his office was always a little different 
from that which he assumed when they 
met outside. lie was much more the 
professional man with his client, a little 
the friend, but not at all the lover— 
if he was a lover anywhere. Having 
welcomed her now with just the right 
shade of cordiality, he made her sit at 
a little distance from his desk, while he 
himself returned to the revolving chair 
at which he had been writing when she 
entered. After the preliminary greetings, 
he put on, unconsciously, the question¬ 
ing air a business man takes at the be¬ 
ginning of an interview which he has 
been invited to accord. 

“ I came—about Evie.” 

Now that she was there it was less easy 
to begin than she had expected. 

“ Quite so. I knew there was a hitch. 
I’ve just had a mysterious note from 
Queenie Jarrott which I haven’t been 
able to make out. Can’t they hit it off?” 

“ It’s a good deal more serious than 
that. Mr. Strange came to see Mr. 
Wayne and me last night. I may as 
well tell you as simply as I can. His 
name isn’t Strange at all.” 

“ Ho! ho! What’s up ?” 

“ Did you ever hear the name of— 
Norrie Ford?” 

“ Good Lord, yes. I can’t quite remem¬ 
ber— Let’s see. Norrie Ford? I know 
the name as well as I know my own. 
Wasn’t that the case—why, yes, it must 
have been—wasn’t that the case Wayne 
was mixed up in six or eight years ago?” 

“ Yes, it was.” 

“ The fellow gave ’em all the slip, 
didn’t he?” 

She nodded. 

“ Hadn’t he been commuted to a life 
sentence— ?” 

“Mr. Wayne hoped it would be done, 
but it hadn’t been done yet. He was still 
under sentence of—death.” 

“ Yes, yes, yes. It comes back to me. 
We thought Wayne hadn’t displayed 
much energy or ability or foresight— 
or something. I remember there was talk 
about it, and in the newspapers there was 
even a cock and hull story that Wayne 
had connived at his escape. Well, what 
has that got to do with Evie?” 

“ Ft has everything to do with her.” 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


31 


Conquest’s little gray-green eyes blink¬ 
ed as if against the blaze of their own 
light, while his features sharpened to 
their utmost incisiveness. 

“You don’t mean to say—?” 

“ I do.” 

“Well, upon—my—!” The exclama¬ 
tion trailed off into a silent effort to 
take in this extraordinary piece of intel¬ 
ligence. “ Do you mean to say the scamp 
had the cheek—? Oh no, it isn’t pos¬ 
sible. Come now!”* 

“ It was exactly as I’m going to tell 
you, but I don’t think you should call 
him a scamp. You see, he’s engaged to 
Evie—” 

“ He not engaged to her now ?” 

“ Lie is. She means to be true to him. 
So do we all.” 

Two little scarlet spots burned in her 
cheeks, but it was not more in the way 
of emotion than a warm partisanship on 
Evie’s account demanded. 

“ Well, I’m blowed.” Lie swung one 
leg across the other, making his chair 
describe a semicircle. 

“ Perhaps you won’t be so much— 
blowed, when you hear all I have to 
tell you.” 

“ Go ahead; I’m more interested than 
if it was a dime novel.” 

As lucidly as she could she gave him 
the outline of Ford’s romance, dwelling 
as he had done in relating it to her, less 
on its incidents than on its mental and 
moral effect upon himself. She sup¬ 
pressed the narrative of the weeks spent 
in the cabin and based her report en¬ 
tirely on information received from Ford. 
For testimony as to his life and char¬ 
acter in the Argentine she had the evi¬ 
dence of Miss Jarrott, while on the sub¬ 
ject of his business abilities—no small 
point with a New York business man, 
as she was astute enough to see—there 
could be no better authority than Con¬ 
quest himself, who, as Stephens and 
Jarrott’s American legal adviser, had had 
ample opportunity of judging. She was 
gratified to note that as her story prog¬ 
ressed it called forth sympathetic looks, 
and an occasional appreciative exclama¬ 
tion, while now and then he slapped 
his thigh as a mark of the kind of 
amused astonishment that verges on 
approbation. 

“ So we couldn’t desert him now,- after 


she’s been so brave, could we?” she plead¬ 
ed, with some amount of confidence; 
“ and especially when he’s engaged to 
Evie.” 

“ I suppose we can’t desert him, if he’s 
sane.” 

“ Oh, he’s sane.” 

“ Then why the deuce, when he was 
so well out of harm’s way, didn’t he stay 
there ?” 

“ Because of his love for Evie, don’t 
you see?” She had to explain Ford’s 
moral development and psychological 
state all over again, until he could see 
it with some measure of comprehension 

“ It certainly is the queerest story I 
ever heard,” he declared, in enjoyment of 
its dramatic elements, “ and we’re all in 
it, aren’t we? It’s like seeing yourself 
in a play.” 

“ I thought you would look at it in 
that way. As soon as I began wonder¬ 
ing what we could do—this morning—I 
saw that after Evie you were the person 
most concerned.” 

“ Who ? I ? Why am I concerned ? 
I’ve got nothing to do with it ?” 

“ No, of course not, except as Stephens 
and Jarrott’s lawyer. When their repre¬ 
sentative in New York—” 

“ Oh, but my dear girl, my duties don’t 
involve me in anything of this kind. I’m 
the legal adviser to the firm, but I’ve 
nothing to do with the private affairs of 
their employees.” 

“ Mr. Jarrott is very fond of Mr. 
Strange—” 

“ Perhaps this will cool his affection.” 

“ I don’t think it will, as long as Evie 
insists on marrying him. I’m sure they 
mean to stand by him.” 

“ They won’t be able to stand by him 
long, if the law gives him—what it meant 
to give him before.” 

“ Oh, but you don’t think there’s any 
danger of that?” 

“ I don’t know about it,” he said, shak¬ 
ing his head, ominously. “ The fact that 
he comes back and gives himself up isn’t 
an argument in favor of his innocence. 
There’s generally remorse behind that 
dodge.” 

“ Then isn’t that all the more reason 
why we should help him ?” 

“Help him? How?” 

“ By trying to win his case for him.” 

He looked at her with eyes twinkling 


32 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


while his fingers concealed the smile be¬ 
hind his colorless mustache. 

“ And how would you propose to set 
about that ?” 

“ I don’t know, but I suppose you do. 
There must be ways. He’s leaving as 
soon as he can for South America. He 
thinks it may be months before lie" gets 
back. I thought that—perhaps—in the 
mean time—while he won’t be able to do 
anything for himself—you might see—” 

“ Yes, yes; go on,” he said, as she 
hesitated. 

“ You might see if there is any evi¬ 
dence that could be found—that wasn’t 
found before—isn’t that the way they do 
it ?—and have it ready—for him when he 
came back.” 

“Eor a wedding present.” 

“ It would be a wedding present—to all 
of us. It would be for Evie’s sake. You 
know how I love her. She’s the dearest 
thing to me in the world. If I coidd 
only secure her happiness like that—” 

“ You mean, if I could secui’e it.” 

“ You’d be doing it actively, but I 
should want to co-operate.” 

“ In what way ?” 

She sat very still. She was sure he 
understood her by the sudden rigidity of 
his pose, while his eyes stopped twinkling, 
and his fingers ceased to travel along the 
line of his mustache. Her eyes fell be¬ 
fore the scrutiny in his, but she lifted 
them again for one of her quick, wild 
glances. 

“ In any way you like.” 

She tried to make her utterance dis¬ 
tinct, matter-of-fact, not too significant, 
but she failed. In spite of herself, her 
words conveyed all their meaning. The 
brief pause that followed was not less 
eloquent, nor did it break the spell when 
Conquest gave a short little laugh that 
might have been nervous and, changing 
his posture, leaned forward on his desk 
and scribbled on the blotting-pad. While 
he w 7 ould never have admitted it, it was a 
relief to him, too, not to be obliged to 
face her. 

He was not shocked, neither was he 
quite surprised. lie was accustomed to 
the thought that a woman’s love was a 
thing to purchase. One man bought it 
from her father for a couple of oxen, 
another from herself for an establishment 
and a diamond tiara. It was the same 


principle in both cases. He had never 
considered Miriam Strange as being with¬ 
out a price; his difficulty had been in 
knowing what it was. The establish¬ 
ment and the diamond tiara having 
proved as indifferent to her as the yoke 
of oxen, he was thrown back upon the 
alternative of heroic deeds. He had more 
than once suspected that these might win 
her if they had only been in his line. 
There being few opportunities for that 
kind of endeavor as the head of a large 
and lucrative legal practice, the sugges¬ 
tion only left him cynical. In the bot¬ 
tom of his heart he had long wished to 
dazzle, by some act of prowess, the eyes 
that saw him only as a respectable man 
of middle age, but the desire had merely 
mocked him with the kind of derision 
which impotence gets from youth. It 
seemed now a stroke of luck which al¬ 
most merited being termed an act of 
Providence that there should have come 
a call for exactly his variety of “ derring- 
do ” from the very quarter in which he 
could make it tell. 

“ We’ve never gone in for any criminal 
business here,” he said, after long re¬ 
flection, while he continued to scribble 
aimlessly, “ but of course we’re in touch 
with the people who take it up ?” 

“ I thought you might be.” 

“ But it’s only fair to you to tell you 
that if your motive is to save time for 
our friend in question—” 

“ That is my motive—the only one.” 

“ Then, you could get in touch with 
them, too.” 

“ But I don’t want to.” 

“ Still I think you should consider it. 
The best legal advice in the world can 
be—bought—for money.” 

“ I know that.” 

Lifting his eyes in a sharp look he 
saw her head tilted back with her own 
special air of deliberate temerity. 

“ Oh, very well, then,” he said, quietly, 
resuming his scribbling again. After 
this warning he felt justified in taking 
her at her word. 

With that as a beginning she knew 
she had gained her first great point. In 
answer to his questions she told the 
story over again, displaying, as he re¬ 
membered afterward—but long afterward 
—a surprising familiarity with its de¬ 
tails. She made suggestions which he 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


33 


noted as marked by some acumen and 
laid stress on the value of the aid they 
might expect privately from Philip 
Wayne. The beauty and eagerness in 
her face tired the almost atrophied en¬ 
thusiasm in his own heart, while he could 
not hut see that this entirely altruistic 
interest had brought them in half an hour 
nearer together than they had ever been 
before. It was what they had never had 
till now—a bond in common. In spite 
of the persistency of his efforts and his 
assertions, he had never hitherto got 
nearer her than a statue on a pedestal 
gets to its neighbor in a similar situa¬ 
tion, blit now at last they were down on 
the same earth together. This was more 
than reason enough for his taking up 
the cause of Norrie Ford, consecrating to 
it all his resources, mental and material, 
and winning it. 

In the course of an hour or two their 
understanding was complete, but he did 
not refer again to the conditions of their 
tacit compact. It was she who felt that 
sufficient had not been said—that the 
sincerity with which she subscribed to it 
had not been duly emphasized. She was 
at the door on the point of going away 
when she braced herself to look at him 
and say: 

“ You can’t realize what all this means 
to me. If we succeed—that is, if you 
succeed—I hardly dare to tell you of the 
extent to which I shall be grateful.” 

He felt already some of the hero’s mag¬ 
nanimity as to claiming his reward. 

“ You needn’t think about that,” he 
smiled. “ I sha’n’t. If by making Evie 
happy I can serve you I shall not ask 
for gratitude.” 

She looked down at her muff and 
smoothed its fur, then glanced up swift¬ 
ly. “ No; but I shall want to give it.” 

With that she was gone—lighter of 
heart than a few hours ago it had seemed 
to her possible ever to be again. Her 
joy was the joy of the captain who feels 
that he has saved his ship, though his 
own wound is fatal. 


Part IV— Conquest 


CHAPTER XX 


A MONG the three or four qualities 
Conquest most approved of in him¬ 
self, not the least was a certain 


capacity for the patient acquisition of 
the world’s more enviable properties. He 
had the gift of knowing what.he wanted, 
recognizing it when he saw it, and wait¬ 
ing for it till it came within his reach. 
From his youth upward he had been a 
connoisseur of quality rather than a 
lover of abundance, while he owned to 
a talent for seeing the value of things 
which other people overlooked, and throw¬ 
ing them into relief when the objects 
became his. As far back as the time 
when the modest paternal heritage had 
been divided between his brothers and 
sisters and himself, he had been astute 
enough to leave the bulk of it to them, 
contenting himself with one or two bits 
of ancestral furniture, and a few old 
books, which were now known by all to 
have been the only things worth having. 
Throughout his life he had followed this 
principle of acquiring unobtrusively but 
getting exactly what he wanted. It was 
so that he bought his first horse, so that 
he bought his first motor, so that he pur¬ 
chased the land where he afterward built 
his house—in a distant, desolate stretch 
of Fifth Avenue which his acquaintances 
told him would be hopelessly out of reach, 
but where, not many years after, most 
of them were too late to join him. 

In building his house, too, he took his 
time, allowing his friends to make their 
experiments around him, while he studied 
the great art of “ how not to do it.” 
One of his neighbors erected a Flemish 
chateau, another a Florentine palazzo, 
and a third a Frangois Premier hotel; 
but his plot of ground remained an un¬ 
kempt tangle of mullein and blue succory. 
In the end he put up a sober, handsome 
development on a style which the humbler 
passers-by often called, with approval, 
“ good, plain American,” but whose point 
of departure was Georgian. He had the 
instinct for that wffiich springs out of 
the soil. He was not a Chauvinist, nor 
had he any sympathy with the intoler¬ 
ably patriotic. He was merely a lover 
of the indigenous. 

In much the same way he had sought 
for—and waited for—a wife. He had 
been rashly put down as “ not a marry¬ 
ing man,” when he was only taking his 
time. He had seen plainly of excellent 
possibilities—fine women, handsome wom¬ 
en, clever women, good women—any of 


34 


HARPER'S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


whom presumably he could have had for 
the asking; but none was, in his own 
phraseology r u just the right thing.” He 
wanted something unusual, and yet not 
exotic—something obvious, which no one 
else had observed—something cultivated, 
and yet native—something as exquisite 
as any hothouse orchid, but with the keen, 
fresh scent of the American woods and 
waters on its bloom. It was not a thing 
to be picked up every day, and so he kept 
on the lookout for it, and waited. Even 
when he found it, he was not certain, 
on the spur of the moment, that it would 
prove exactly what he had in mind. So 
he wafted longer. He watched the effect 
of time and experience upon it, until he 
Avas quite sure. He knew the risk he was 
running that some one else might snatch 
it up; but his principle had always been 
to let everything, no matter how he 
coveted, go, rather than buy in haste. 

Lest such an attitude toward Miriam 
Strange should seem cold - blooded, it 
should be said in his defence that he 
considered the aggregate of his senti¬ 
ments to be those of love, as he un¬ 
derstood the word. He conceded the fact 
that love, like every other desire, must 
work to win, and proceeded* to set about 
his task according to his usual methods 
of persistent, unobtrusive siege. It was 
long before Miriam became aware of what 
he was doing, and her surprise as she 
drew back was not quite so great as his 
to see her do it. Lie was so accustomed 
to success—after taking the trouble to 
ensure it—that he was astonished, and a 
little angry, to find his usual tactics fail. 
He did not believe that she was beyond 
his grasp; he perceived only that he had 
taken the wrong way to get her. That 
there was a right way there could be no 
question; and he knew that by patient, 
unremitting search he should find it. 

He had therefore several sources of 
satisfaction in espousing the cause of 
Norrie Ford. The amplitude of his legal 
knowledge would be to him as gay 
feathers to the cock; while the con¬ 
templation of the prize added to his self¬ 
approval in never doubting that it could 
he won. 

It was early March when Ford sailed 
away, leaving his affairs in Conquest’s 
charge, at the latter’s own request. He 


in his turn placed them in the hands of 
Kilcup and Warren, who had a specialty 
in just that line. The reward was imme¬ 
diate, in that frequent talks with Miriam 
became a matter of course. 

His trained mind was prompt to seize 
the fact that these interviews took place 
on a basis different from that of their 
meetings in the past. Where he had been 
seeking to gain an end he was now on 
probation. He had been told—or prac¬ 
tically told—that what he had been ask¬ 
ing would be granted, as soon as certain 
conditions were fulfilled. It became to 
him, therefore, a matter of honor, in some 
degree one of professional etiquette, to 
fulfil the conditions before referring to 
the reward. Instead of a suitor pressing 
his suit, he became the man of business 
recounting the points scored, or still to be 
scored, in a common enterprise. In keep¬ 
ing her informed of each new step that 
Kilcup and Warren were taking, he main¬ 
tained an attitude of distant respect, of 
which she could have nothing to com¬ 
plain. 

Expecting an equal reserve on her part, 
it was with some surprise that he saw her 
assume the initiative in cordiality. He 
called it cordiality, because he dared not 
make it a stronger word. Her manner 
went back to the spontaneous friendliness 
that had marked their intercourse before 
she began to see what he was aiming at, 
while into it she threw ai? infusion of 
something that had not hitherto been 
there. When he came with the informa¬ 
tion that a fresh bit of evidence had been 
discovered, or a new light thrown on an 
old one, she listened with interest—just 
the right kind of interest—and made pre¬ 
texts to detain him, sometimes with 
Wayne as a third, sometimes without, for 
the pleasure of his own company. Now 
and then, as spring came on, they would 
all three, at her suggestion, cross the 
street, and stroll in the Park together. 
Leaving Wayne on some convenient seat, 
they would prolong their own walk, talk¬ 
ing with the unguarded confidence of 
mutual trust. 

In all this there was nothing remark¬ 
able, as between old friends, except the 
contrast with her bearing toward him 
during the past year. He had expected 
that when Norrie Ford went finally free 
she would fulfil her contract-, and fulfil 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


35 


it well; but lie had not expected this in¬ 
stalment of graciousness in advance. It 
set him to pondering, to looking in the 
mirror, to refining on that careful dress¬ 
ing which he had already made an art. 
After all, a man in the fifties was young 
as long as he looked young, and accord¬ 
ing as one took the point of view. 

Except when Ford’s affairs came direct¬ 
ly under discussion, he occupied, seeming¬ 
ly, a secondary place in their thoughts. 
Miriam rarely spoke of him at all, and 
if Conquest brought up his name more 
frequently it was because his profes¬ 
sional interest in the numerous “ nice 
points ” of the case was becoming keen. 
He talked them over with her, partly be¬ 
cause of his pleasure in the intelligence 
with which she grasped them, and partly 
because their intimacy deepened in pro¬ 
portion as the hope strengthened that 
Ford’s innocence would be proved. 

It was June before she heard from 
South America. Two or three letters to 
Evie had already come, guardedly writ¬ 
ten, telling little more than the incidents 
of Ford’s voyage and arrival. It was to 
Miriam he wrote what he actually had 
at heart. 

“ The great moment has come and 
gone,” she read to Conquest. “ I have 
seen Mr. Jarrott, and made a clean breast 
of everything. It was harder than I ex¬ 
pected, though I expected it would be 
pretty hard. I think I felt sorrier for 
him than for myself, which is saying a 
good deal. He not only takes it to heart, 
but feels it as a cut to his pride. I can 
see that that thought is uppermost. What 
he suffers from is not so much the fact 
that 1 deceived him, as that I deceived 
him. I can understand it, too. In a 
country where there is such a lot of this 
sort of thing, he has never been touched 
by it before. It has been a kind of boast 
that his men were always the genuine 
article. If one of them is called Smith, 
it is because he is a Smith, and not a 
Vere de Vere in hiding. But that isn’t 
all. He took me into his family—into 
his very heart. He showed that, when I 
told him. He tried not to, but he couldn’t 
help it. I tell you it hurt—me. I won’t 
try to write about it. I’ll tell you every¬ 
thing face to face, when I get up to the 
mark, if I ever do. 


“ As for Evie, he wouldn’t let me men¬ 
tion her name. I didn’t insist, because 
it was too painful—I mean,^too painful 
to see how he took it. Lie said, in about 
ten words, that Evie had not been any¬ 
more engaged than if she had given her 
word to a man of air, and that there -was 
no reason why she should be spoken of. 
We left it there. I couldn’t deny that, 
and it was no use saying any more. The 
only reply to him must be given by Evie 
herself. He is writing to her, and so am 
I. I wish you would help her to see that 
she must consider herself quite free, and 
that she isn’t to undertake what she may 
not have the strength to carry out. I 
realize more and more that I was asking 
her to do the impossible.” 

It was an hour or two after reading 
this, when Conquest had gone away, that 
Evie herself—as dainty as spring, in 
flowered muslin, and a Leghorn hat, 
crowned with a wreath of roses—came 
fluttering in. 

“ I’ve had the queerest letter from 
Uncle Jarrott,” she began, breathlessly. 
“ The poor old dear—well, something 
must be the matter with him- I can’t 
for the life of me imagine what Herbert 
can have told him, but he doesn’t under¬ 
stand a bit.” 

Miriam locked her own letter in her 
desk, saying as she did so: 

“ How does he show it ?—that he does¬ 
n’t understand.” 

“ Why, he simply talks wild—that’s 
how he shows it. lie says I am not to 
consider myself engaged to Herbert—that 
I was never engaged to him at all. I 
wonder what he calls it, if it isn’t en¬ 
gaged, when I have a ring—and every¬ 
thing.” 

“ It is rather mystifying.” Miriam 
tried to smile. “ I suppose he means that 
having given your word to Herbert 
Strange, you’re not to consider yourself 
bound to Norrie Ford, unless you want 
to.” 

“ Pff! I don’t care anything about 
that. I never liked the name of Herbert 
—or Strange, either. I told you that be¬ 
fore. All the same, I wish Uncle Jarrott 
would have a little sense.” 

“ Suppose—I mean, just suppose, dear 
—he felt it his duty to forbid your en¬ 
gagement altogether. What would you 


36 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


do then ?” 

“ It wouldn’t be very nice of him, I 
must say. .He was as pleased as Punch 
over it when I was down there. If he’s 
so capricious, I don’t see how he can 
blame me.” 

“ Blame you, for what, dear?” 

“ For staying engaged—if it’s all 
right.” 

“ But if he thought it wasn’t all right ?” 

“You do, don’t you?” 

Evie, who had been prancing about the 
room, turned sharply on Miriam, who 
was still at her desk. 

“ That isn’t the question—” 

“ No, but it’s a question. I presume 
you don’t mind my asking it?” 

“ You may ask me anything, darling— 
of course. But this is your uncle Jar- 
rott’s affair, and yours. It wouldn’t do 
for me—” 

“ Oh, that’s so like you, Miriam. You’d 
exasperate a saint—the way you won’t 
give your opinion when you’ve got one. 
I wish I could ask Billy. He’d know. 
But of course I couldn’t, when he thinks 
I’m still engaged to him.” 

“ What do you want to ask him, Evie, 
dear?” 

“ Well, he’s a lawyer. He could tell 
me all about what it’s all about. I’m 
sure I don’t know. I didn’t think it was 
anything—and yet here’s Uncle Jarrott 
writing as if it was something awful. 
He’s written to Aunt Queenie, too. Of 
course I must stand by Herbert, whatever 
happens—if it isn’t very bad; but you 
can see yourself that I don’t want to be 
mixed up in a—a—in a scandal.” 

Evie twitched about the room, making 
little clicking sounds with her lips, as 
signs of meditation. 

“ Well, I mean to be true to him—a 
while longer,” she said at last, as if 
coming to a conclusion. “ I’m not going 
1o let Uncle Jarrott think I’m just a 
puppet to be jerked on a string. The 
idea! When he was as pleased as Punch 
about it himself. And Aunt Helen said 
she’d give me my trousseau. I suppose 
I sha’n’t .get that now. But there’s the 
money you offered me for the pearl neck¬ 
let. Only I’d much rather have the 
pearl— Well. I’ll be true to him, do you 
see? We’re leaving for Newpoii: the day 
after to-morrow. They say there hasn’t 
been such a brilliant summer for a long 


time as they expect this year. Thank 
goodness, there’s something to take my 
mind off all this care and worry and re¬ 
sponsibility, otherwise I think I should 
pass away. But I shall show Uncle Jar¬ 
rott that he can’t do just as he likes 
with me, anyhow.” 

Evie and Miss Jarrott went to New¬ 
port, and it was the beginning of July 
before Miriam heard from Ford again. 
Once more she read to Conquest such 
portions of the letter as she thought he 
would find of interest. 

“It is all over now,” Ford wrote, “be¬ 
tween Stephens & Jarrott and me. I’m 
out of the concern for good. It was some¬ 
thing of a wrench, and I’m glad it is past. 
1 didn’t see the old man again. I wanted 
to thank him and say good-by, but he 
dodged me. Perhaps it is just as well. 
Even if I were to meet him now, I 
shouldn’t make the attempt again. I 
confess to feeling a little hurt, but I 
thoroughly understand him. He is one 
of those men—you meet them now and 
again—survivals from the old school— 
with a sense of rectitude so exact that 
they can only see in a straight line. It 
is all right. Don’t think that I com¬ 
plain. It is almost as much for his sake 
as for my own that I wish he could have 
taken what I call a more comprehensive 
view of me. I know he suffers—and I 
shall never be able to tell him how sorry 
I am, till we get into the kingdom of 
heaven. In fact, I can’t explain any¬ 
thing to any one, except you, which must 
be an excuse for my long letters. I try 
to keep you posted in what I’m going 
through, so that you may convey as much 
or as little of it as you think fit to Evie. 
I can’t tell her much, and I see from 
the little notes she writes me that she 
doesn’t yet understand. 

There was a silence of some weeks be¬ 
fore he wrote again. 

“ I shall not get away from here as 
soon as I expected, as my private affairs 
are not easily settled up. This city grows 
so fast that I have had a good part of 
my savings in real estate. I am getting 
rid of it by degrees, but it takes time to 
sell to advantage. I may say that I am 
doing very well, for which I am not 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


37 


sorry, as I shall need the money for my 
trial. I hope you don’t mind my refer¬ 
ring to it, because I look forward to it 
with something you might almost call 
glee. To get back where I started will 
be like waking from a bad dream. I 
can’t believe that Justice will make the 
same mistake twice—and even if she 
does I would rather she had the chance. 
I am much encouraged by the last reports 
from Kilcup and Warren. I’ve long felt 
that it was Jacob Gramm who did for my 
poor old uncle, though I didn’t like to 
accuse him of it, when the proofs seemed 
all the other way. He certainly had more 
reason to do the trick than I had, for my 
uncle had been a brute to him for thirty 
years, while he had only worried me for 
two. Now that the old chap is dead I 
should have less scruple in following it 
up—especially if the old lady is gone, 
too. She was a bit of a vixen, but the 
husband was a good old sort. I liked 
him.” 

These letters, and others like them, 
Miriam shared conscientiously with Con¬ 
quest. It was part of the. loyalty she had 
vowed to him in her heart that she should 
keep nothing from him, except what was 
sanctified and sealed forever, as her own 
private history. In the impulse to give 
her life as a ransom for Norrie Ford’s 
she was eager to do it without reserves, 
or repinings, or backward looks—without 
even a wish that it had been possible to 
make any other use of it. If she was not 
entirely successful in the last feat, she 
was fairly equal to the rest, so that in 
allowing himself to be misled Conquest 
could scarcely be charged with fatuity. 
With his combined advantages, personal 
and otherwise, it was not astonishing that 
a woman should be in love with him; and 
if that woman proved to be Miriam 
Strange, one could only say that the un¬ 
expected had happened, as it often does. 
If, in view of all the circumstances, he 
dressed better than ever, and gave his 
little dinners more frequently, while hap¬ 
piness toned down the sharpness of his 
handsome profile to a softer line, he had 
little in common with Malvolio. 

And what he had began to drop away 
from him. Insensibly he came to see 
that the display of his legal knowledge, 
of his carefully chosen ties, of his splen¬ 


did equipment in house, horses, and auto¬ 
mobiles, had something of the major- 
domo’s strut in parti-colored hose. The 
day came when he understood that the 
effort to charm her by the parade of these 
things was like the appeal to divine grace 
by means of grinding on a prayer-mill. 
It was a long step to take, both in thought 
and emotion, leading him to see love, 
marriage, women’s hearts, and all kindred 
subjects, from a different point of view. 
Love in particular began to appear to 
him as more than the sum total of appro¬ 
bation bestowed on an object to be ac¬ 
quired. Though he was not prepared to 
give it a new definition it was clear that 
the old one was no longer sufficient for 
his needs. The mere fact that this wom¬ 
an, whom he had vainly tempted with 
gifts—whom he was still hoping to cap¬ 
ture by prowess—could come to him of 
her oavu accord, had a transforming effect 
on himself. If he ever got her—by pur¬ 
chase, conquest, or any other form of 
acquisition—he had expected to be proud; 
he had never dreamed of this curious 
happiness, that almost made him humble. 

It was a new conception of life to think 
that there were things in it that might 
be given but which could not be bought; 
as it was a new revelation of himself to 
perceive that there were treasures in his 
dry heart which had never before been 
drawn on. This discovery was made al¬ 
most accidentally. lie stumbled on it, 
as men have stumbled on Koh-i-noors and 
Cullinanes lying in the sand. 

“ What I really came to tell you,” he 
said to her, on one occasion, as they 
strolled side by side in the Park, “ is 
that I am going away to-morrow—to the 
West—to Omaha.” 

“ Isn’t that rather sudden ?” 

“ Rather. I’ve thought for the last few 
days I might do it. The fact is, they’ve 
found Amalia Gramm.” 

She stopped, with a sudden start of 
interrogation, moving on again at once. 
It was a hot September evening, at the 
hour when twilight merges into night. 
They had left Wayne on a favorite seat, 
and having finished their own walk north¬ 
ward, were returning to pick him up and 
take him home. 

“ They’ve found her living with some 
nieces out there,” he went on to explain. 
“ She appears to have been half over the 


38 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


world since old Gramm died—home to 
Germany—back to America—to Denver 
—to Chicago — to Milwaukee — to the 
Lord knows where—and now she has 
fetched up in Omaha. She strikes me 
in the light of an unquiet, spirit. It 
seems she has nephews and nieces all over 
the lot—and as she has the ten thousand 
dollars old Chris Ford left them—” 

“ Are they going to bring her here?” 

“ They can’t—bedridden—paralyzed, or 
something. They’ve got to take her testi¬ 
mony on the spot. I want to be there 
when they do it. There are certain ques¬ 
tions which it is most important to have 
asked. In a way, it is not my business; 
hut I’m going to make it mine. I’ve 
mulled over the thing so long that I think 
I see the psychology of the whole drama.” 

“ I can never thank you enough for 
the interest you’ve shown,” she said, after 
a brief silence. 

He gave his short, nervous laugh. 

“Nor I you for giving me the chance 
to show it. That’s where the kindness 
comes in. It’s made a different world for 
me, and me a different man in it. If any¬ 
body had told me last winter that I 
should spend the whole summer in town 
working on a criminal case—” 

“ You shouldn’t have done that. I 
wanted you to go away as usual.” 

“ And leave you here ?” 

“ I shouldn’t have minded—as long as 
Mr. Wayne preferred to stay. It’s so hard 
for him to get about, anywhere hut in the 
place he’s accustomed to. New York in 
summer isn’t as bad as people made me 
think.” 

“ I too have found that true. To me 
it has been a very happy time. But per¬ 
haps my reasons were different from 
yours.” 

She reflected a minute before uttering 
her next words, but decided to say them. 

“ I fancy our reasons were the same.” 

The low voice, the simplicity of the 
sentence, the meanings in it and behind 
it, made him tremble. It was then, per¬ 
haps, that he began to see most clearly 
the true nature of love, both as given 
and received. 

“ I don’t think they can be,” he ven¬ 
tured, hoping to draw her on to say some¬ 
thing more; but she did not respond. 

After all, he reflected, as they con¬ 
tinued their walk more or less in silence, 


too many words would only spoil the 
minute’s bliss. There was, too, a pleas¬ 
ure in standing afar off to view the 
promised land almost equal to that of 
marching into it—especially when, as 
now, he was given to understand that its 
milk and honey were awaiting him. 

CHAPTER XXI 

T was the middle of October when Evie 
wrote from Lenox to say she would 
come to town to meet Ford on his 
arrival, begging Miriam to give her 
shelter for a night or two. The Grants 
remaining abroad, Miss Jarrott had taken 
the house in Seventy-second Street for 
another winter, but as Evie would run 
up to New York alone she preferred for 
the minute to be Miriam’s guest. 

“ The fact is, I’m worried to death,” 
she wrote, confidentially, “ and you must 
help me to see daylight through this 
tangled mass of everybody saying differ¬ 
ent things. Aunt Queenie has gone com¬ 
pletely back on Herbert, just because 
Uncle Jarrott has. That doesn’t strike 
me as very loyal, I must say. I shouldn’t 
think it right to desert anybody, unless 
I wanted to. I wouldn’t do it because 
some one else told me to—not if he was 
my brother ten times over. I mean to 
he just as true to Herbert as I can. Not 
that he makes it very easy for me, be¬ 
cause he has broken altogether with 
Uncle Jarrott—and that seems to me the 
maddest thing. I certainly sha’n't get 
my trousseau from Aunt Helen now. I 
don’t see what we’re all coming to. 
Everybody is so queer, and they keep 
hinting things they won’t say out, as i’f 
there was some mystery. I do wish I 
could talk to Billy about it. Of course 
I can’t—the way matters stand. And 
speaking of Billy, that, rich Mr. Bii’d— 
you remember I told you about him last 
winter—has asked me to marry him. 
Just think! I forget how much he has 
a year, but it’s something awful. Of 
course I told him I couldn’t give him a 
definite answer yet—but that if he in¬ 
sisted on it I should have to make it No. 
He said he didn’t insist—that he’d rather 
wait till I had time to make up my mind, 
if I didn’t keep him dangling. I told 
him I wouldn’t keep him doing anything 
whatever, and that if he dangled at all 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


39 


it would be entirely of his own accord. 
1 think he liked my spirit, so he said he’d 
wait. We left it there, which was the 
wisest way—though I must say I didn’t 
like his presuming on his money to think 
I would make a difference between him 
and others. Money doesn’t mean any¬ 
thing to me, though dear mamma hoped 
she would live to see me well established. 
She didn’t, poor darling, but that’s no 
reason why I shouldn’t try to carry out 
her wishes. All the same, I mean to be 
true to Herbert just as long as possible; 
and so you may expect me on the twenty- 
ninth.” 

If there was much in this letter that 
Miriam found disturbing, it was not the 
thought that Evie might be false to Ford, 
or that Ford might suffer, which alarmed 
her most. There was something within 
her that cried out in fear before the pos¬ 
sibility that Norrie Ford might be free 
again. Her strength having sprung so 
largely from the hope of restoring the 
plans she had marred, the destruction of 
the motive left her weak; but worse than 
that was the knowledge that, though she 
had tried to empty her heart completely 
of its cravings, only its surface had been 
drained. It was to get assurance rather 
than to give information that she read 
fragments of Evie’s letter to Conquest, 
on the evening of his return from 
Omaha. He had come to give her the 
news of his success. That it was good 
news was evident in his face when he 
entered the room; and, almost afraid to 
hear it, she had broached the subject of 
her anxiety about Evie first. 

“ She’s going to give him the sack; 
that’s what she s going to give him,” 
Conquest said, conclusively, while Miriam 
folded the dashingly scribbled sheets. 
“ You needn’t be worried about her in 
the least. Miss Evie knows her way 
about, as cleverly as a homing bee. 
She’ll do well for herself, whatever else 
she may not do. Come now!” 

“ I’m not thinking of that, so much as 
that she should do her duty.” 

“ Duty! Pooh ! That sort of little 
crittur has no duty—the word doesn’t 
apply to it. Evie is the most skilful 
mixture of irresponsible impulse and 
shrewd, calculation you’ll find in New 
York. She’ll use both her gifts with per¬ 
fect heartlessness, and yet in such a way 


that even her guardian angel won’t know 
just where to find fault with her.” 

“ But she must marry Mr. Ford— 
now.” 

He was too busy with his own side of 
the subject to notice that her assertion 
had the intensity of a cry. He had a 
man’s lack of interest in another man’s 
love affairs, while he was blissfully ab¬ 
sorbed in his own. 

“ You might as well tell a swallow that 
it must migrate—now,” he laughed. 
“Poor Ford will feel it, I’ve no doubt; 
but we shall make up to him for a good 
deal of it. We’re going to pull him 
through.” 

For the instant her anxiety was di¬ 
verted into another channel. “ Does 
that mean that Amalia Gramm has told 
you anything?” 

“ She’s told us everything. I thought 
she would. I don’t feel at liberty to give 
you the details before they come out at 
the proper time and place; but there’s 
no harm in saying that my analysis of 
the old woman’s psychological state was 
not so very far wrong. There’s no ques¬ 
tion about it any longer. We’ll pidl him 
through. And, by George, he’s worth it!” 

The concluding exclamation, uttered 
with so much sincerity, took her by sur¬ 
prise, transmuting the pressure about her 
heart into a mist of sudden tears. Tears 
came to her rarely, hardly, and seldom 
with relief. She was especially unwilling 
that Conquest should notice them now; 
but the attempt to dash them away only 
caused them to fall faster. She could see 
him watching her in a kind of sym¬ 
pathetic curiosity, slightly surprised in 
his turn at the unexpected emotion, and 
trying to divine its cause. Unable to 
bear bis gaze any longer, she got up 
brusquely from her chair, retreating into 
the bay-window, where—the curtains be¬ 
ing undrawn—she stood looking down on 
the sea of lights, as beings above the 
firmament might look down on stars. He 
waited a minute, and came near her only 
when he judged that he might do so 
discreetly. 

“You’re unnerved,” he said, with ten¬ 
der kindliness. “ That’s why *you’re up¬ 
set. You’ve had too much on your mind. 
You’re too willing to take all the care on 
your own shoulders, and not let other 
people hustle for themselves.” 


40 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


She was pressing her handkerchief 
against her lips, so she made no reply. 
The moment seemed to him one at which 
he might go forward a little more boldly. 
All the circumstances warranted an ad¬ 
vance from his position of reserve. 

“ You need me,” he ventured to say, 
with that quiet assurance which in a lover 
means much. “ I understand you as no 
one else does, in the world.” 

Her brimming eyes gave him a look 
which was only pathetic, but which he 
took to be one of assent. 

“ I’ve always told you I could help 
you,” he went on, with tranquil earnest¬ 
ness, “ and I could. You’ve too many 
burdens to carry alone—burdens that 
don’t belong to you, but which, I know, 
you’ll never lay down. Well, I’ll share 
them. There’s Wayne, now. He’s too 
much for you, by yourself—I don’t mean 
from the material point of view, but— 
the whole thing. It wears on you. It’s 
bound to. Wayne is my friend just as 
much as yours. He’s my responsibility— 
so long as you take it in that light. I’ve 
been thinking of him a lot lately—and 
I see how, in my house—I could put him 
up—ideally.” 

Still pressing her handkerchief against 
her lips with her right hand, she put 
out her left in a gesture of deprecation. 
He understood it as one of encourage¬ 
ment, and went on. 

“ You must come and look at my house. 
You’ve never really seen it, and I think 
you’d like it. I think you’d like—every¬ 
thing. I’ve got everything to make you 
happy; and if you’ll only let me do it, 
you’ll make me happy, too.” 

She felt able to speak at last. Her 
eyes were still brimming as she turned 
toward him, but brimming only as pools 
are when the rain is over. 

“ I want you to be happy. You’re so 
good . . . and kind . . . and you’ve done 
so much for me . . you deserve it.” 

She turned away from him again. 
With her arm on the woodwork of the 
window, she rested her forehead rather 
wearily on her hand. He understood so 
little of what was passing within her 
that she found it a relief to suspend for 
the minute her comedy of spontaneous 
happiness, letting her heart ache un¬ 
restrainedly. Her left hand hanging limp 


and free, she made no effort to withdraw 
it when she felt him clasp it in his own. 
Since she had subscribed to the treaty 
months ago, since she had insisted on 
doing it rightly or wrongly, it made little 
difference when and how she carried the 
conditions out. So they stood hand in 
hand together, tacitly, but, as each knew, 
quite effectually, plighted. In her si¬ 
lence, her resignation, her evident con¬ 
sent, he read the proof of that love which, 
to his mind, no longer needed words. 

Late that night, after he had gone 
away, she wrote to Evie, beseeching her 
to be true to Ford. The letter was so 
passionate, so little like herself, that she 
was afraid of destroying it if she waited 
till morning, so she posted it without 
delay. The answer came within forty- 
eight hours, in the shape of a telegram 
from Evie. She was coming to town at 
once, though it wanted still three or four 
days to Ford’s arrival. 

It was a white little Evie, with drawn 
face, who threw herself into Miriam’s 
arms at the station, clutching at her with 
a convulsive sob. 

“ Miriam, I can’t do it,” she whispered, 
in a kind of terror. “ They say lie’s go¬ 
ing to be put in— jail!” 

Her voice rose on the last word, so 
that one or two people paused in their 
rush past to glance at the pitifully tragic 
little face. 

“ Flush, darling,” Miriam whispered 
back. “ You’ll tell me about it as we 
go home.” 

But in the motor Evie could only cry, 
clinging to Miriam as she used to do in 
troubled moments in childhood. Arrived 
at the apartment, Wayne had to be faced 
with some measure of self-control, and 
then came dinner. It was only in the 
bedroom, when they were secure from 
interruption, that Miriam heard what 
Evie had to tell. She was tearless now, 
and rather indignant. 

“ I’ve had the strangest letter from 
Herbert,” she declared, excitedly, as soon 
as Miriam entered the room. “ I couldn’t 
have believed he wrote it in his senses, 
if Aunt Queenie hadn’t heard the same 
thing from Uncle Jarrott. He says lie’s 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


41 


got to go to— -jail” 

There was the same rising inflexion 
on the last word, suggestive of a shriek 
of horror, that Miriam had noticed in 
the station. In her white peignoir, her 
golden hair streaming over her shoulders, 
and her hands flung wide apart with an 
appealing dramatic gesture, Evie was not 
unlike some vision of a youthful Chris¬ 
tian martyr, in spite of the hair-brush 
in her hand. Miriam sat down sidewise 
on the edge of the couch, looking up at 
the child in pity. She felt that it was 
useless to let her remain in darkness 
any longer. 

“ Of course he has to,” she said, trying 
to make her tone as matter-of-fact as 
might be. “ Didn’t you know it ?” 

“Know it! Did you?” 

Evie stepped forward, bending over 
Miriam as if she meant to strike her. 

“ I knew it in a general way, darling. 
I suppose, when he gives himself up to 
the police—” 

“ The police ?” Evie screamed. “ Am 
I to he engaged to a man who—gives 
himself up to the police?” 

“ It will only be for a little while, 
dear— 

“ I don’t care whether it’s for a little 
while, or forever—it can’t be. What is 
he thinking of? What are you thinking 
of? Don’t you see? LIow can I face the 
world—with all my invitations—when 
the man I’m engaged to is—in jail?” 

Evie’s hands flew up in a still more 
eloquent gesture, while the blue eyes, 
usually so soft and veiled, were wide with 
flaming interrogation. 

“ I knew that—in some ways—it might 
be hard for you—” 

Evie laughed, a little silvery mirthless 
ripple of scorn. 

“ I must say, Miriam, you choose your 
words skilfully. But you’re wrong, do 
you see? There’s no way in which it 
can be hai'd for me, because there’s no 
way in'which it’s possible.” 

“ Oh yes, there is, dear—if you love 
him.” 

“ That has nothing to do with it. Of 
course I love him. Haven’t I said so? 
But that doesn’t make any difference. 
Can’t I love him, without being engaged 
to—to—to a man who has to go to jail?” 

“Certainly; but you can’t love him, if 
you don’t feel that you must—that you 


simply must —stand by his side.” 

“ There you go again, Miriam, with 
your queer ideas. It’s exactly what any 
one would expect you to say.” 

“ I hope so.” 

“ Oh, you needn’t hope so, because they 
would—any one who knew you. But I 
have to do what’s right. I know what I 
feel in my conscience—and I have to 
follow it. And besides, I couldn’t—I 
couldn’t ”—her voice began to rise again 
—“ I .couldn’t face it—I couldn’t bear it 
—not if I loved him a great deal better 
than I do.” 

“ That’s something you must think 
about very seriously, dear—” 

“ I don’t have to,” she cried, with a 
stamp of her foot. “ I know it already. 
It wouldn’t make any difference if I 
thought about it a thousand years. I 
couldn’t be engaged to a man who was 
in jail, not if I worshipped the ground 
he trod on.” 

“ But when he’s innocent, darling—” 

“It’s jail, just the same. I can’t he 
engaged to people just because they’re 
innocent. It isn’t right to expect it of 
me. And, anyhow,” she added, passion¬ 
ately, “ I can’t do it. It would kill me. 
I should never lift my head again. I 
can’t—I can’t. It’s hateful of any one 
to say I ought to. I’m surprised at you, 
Miriam, when you know how dear mamma 
would have forbidden it. It’s all very 
well for you to give advice, when you 
have no family—and no one to think 
about—and hardly any invitations— 
Well, I can’t, and there’s an end of it. 
If that’s your idea of love, then, I must 
say, my conception is a little different. 
I’ve always had high ideals, and I feel 
obliged to hold to them, however you may 
condemn me.” 

She ended with a catch in her breath 
something like a sob. 

“ But I’m not condemning you, Evie 
dear. If you feel what you say, there’s 
nothing for it but to See Mr. Ford and 
tell him so.” 

At this suggestion Evie sobered. She 
was a long time silent before she ob¬ 
served, in a voice that had become sud¬ 
denly calm and significantly casual: 
“ That’s easy for you to say.” 

“ If you speak to him as decidedly as 
to me, I should think it would be easy 
for you to do.” 


42 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


“ And still easier for you.” 

Evie spoke in that tone of uninten¬ 
tional intention, which is most pointed. 
It was not lost on Miriam, who recoiled 
from the mere thought. It seemed to 
her better to ignore the hint, but Evie, 
with feverish eagerness, refused to let 
it pass. 

“ Did you hear what I said ?” she per¬ 
sisted, sharply. 

“ I heard it, dear; but it didn’t seem to 
me to mean anything.” 

“ That would depend on whether you 
heard it only with the ear, or in the 
heart.” 

“ You know that everything that has 
to do with you is in my heart.” 

“ Well, then ?” 

“ But if you mean by that that I should 
tell Mr. Ford you’re not going to marry 
him—why, it’s out of the question.” 

“ Then, who’s to tell him?' I can’t. 
It’s not to be expected.” 

“ But, darling, you must. This is 
awful.” 

Miriam got up and went toward her, 
but Evie, who was nervously brushing her 
hair, edged away. 

“ Of course it’s awful, but I don’t see 
the use of making it worse than it need 
be. He’ll feel it a great deal more, if 
he sees me, and so shall I.” 

“ And what shall I feel ?” Miriam 
spoke unguardedly, but Evie was too pre¬ 
occupied to notice the bitterness of the 
tone. 

“ I don’t see why you should feel any¬ 
thing at all. It’s nothing to you—or very 
little. It wouldn’t be your fault, not any 
more than it’s the postman’s, if he has 
to bring you a letter with bad news.” 

Miriam went back to her place on the 
edge of the couch, where with her fore¬ 
head bowed for a minute on her hand she 
sat reflecting. 

“ Darling,” she began, “ I want to tell 
you something—” 

But before she could proceed Evie 
flung the hair-brush on the floor and ut¬ 
tered a great swelling sob. With her 
hands hanging at her sides, and her 
golden head thrown back, she wept with 
the abandonment of a child, while sug¬ 
gesting the seraphic suffering of a griev¬ 
ing angel by some old master. 

In an instant Miriam had her in her 
arms. It was the appeal she had never 


been able to resist. 

“ There, there, my pet,” she said, 
soothingly, drawing her to the couch. 
“ Come to Miriam, who loves you. 
There, there.” 

Evie clung to her piteously, with 
flower-like, face tilted outward and up¬ 
ward for the greater convenience of 
weeping. 

“ Oh, I'm so lonely,” she sobbed. “ I’m 
so lonely . . . ! I wish dear mamma 
. . . hadn’t died.” 

Miriam pressed her the more closely. 

“ I’m so lonely . . . and everything’s 
so strange . . . and I don’t know what 
to do . . . and he’s going to be put in 
jail . . . and you’re so unkind to me. . . . 
Oh, dear! . . . I can’t tell him ... I 
can’t tell him ... I can’t ... I can’t . . .” 

She pillowed her head on Miriam’s 
shoulder, like a child that would force 
a caress from the hand that has just 
been striking it. The action filled Miri¬ 
am with that kind of self-reproach which 
the weak creature inspires so easily in the 
strong. In spite of her knowledge to 
the contrary, she had the feeling of hav¬ 
ing acted selfishly. 

“ No, darling,” she said, at last, as 
Evie’s sobs subdued into convulsive trem¬ 
blings, “ you needn’t tell him. I’ll see 
him. He’ll understand how hard it’s been 
for you. It’s been hard for every one— 
and especially for you, darling. I’ll do 
my best. You know I will. And I’m 
sure he’ll understand. There, there,” she 
comforted, as Evie’s tears broke out 
afresh. “ Have your cry out, dear. It 
will do you good. There, there.” 

So Evie went back next day to Lenox, 
while Miriam waited for Ford. 

CHAPTER XXII 

AFEW days later she read his name, 
/\in a morning paper, in the Asiatic’s 
list of passengers, the steamer having 
arrived at quarantine the night before. 
Mr. John Norrie Ford! Though flung 
carelessly into a paragraph printed in 
small type, it seemed to blaze in fire 
on the page. It was as if all America 
must rise at it. As she looked from the 
window it was with something like sur¬ 
prise that she saw the stream of traffic 
x-oaring onward, heedless of the fact that 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


43 


this dread name was being hawked in 
the streets and sold at the news-stands. 
She sent out for the evening papers that 
appear at midday, being relieved and 
astonished to find that as yet it had 
created no sensation. 

She was not deceived by his ease of 
manner when he appeared at the apart¬ 
ment in the afternoon. Though he car¬ 
ried his head loftily, and smiled with his 
habitual air of confidence, she could see 
that the deep waters of the proud had 
gone over his soul. Their ebb had 
streaked his hair and beard with white, 
and deepened the wrinkles that meant 
concentrated will into the furrows that 
come of suffering. She was more or less 
prepared for that. It was the outward 
manifestation of what she had read be¬ 
tween the lines of the letters he had 
written her. As he crossed the room, 
with hand outstretched, her one conscious 
thought was of the chance to be a woman 
and a helpmeet Evie had flung away. 
She had noticed how, on the very thresh¬ 
old, he had glanced twice about the room, 
expecting to find her there. 

They did not speak of her at once. 
They talked of commonplace, intro¬ 
ductory things—the voyage, the arrival, 
the hotel at which he was staying—any¬ 
thing that would help her, and perhaps 
him, to control the preliminary nervous¬ 
ness. There was no sign of it, however, 
on his part, while she felt her own spirit 
rising, as it always did to meet emer¬ 
gencies. Presently she mentioned her 
fears regarding his use of his true name. 

“No; it isn’t dangerous,” he assured 
her, “ because I’m out of danger now. 
Thank the Loi’d, that’s all over. I don’t 
have to live with a great hulking terror 
behind me any longer. I’m a man like 
any other. You can’t imagine what it 
means to be yourself, and not to care 
who knows it. I’m afraid I parade my 
name just like a boy with a new watch, 
who wants to tell every one the time. 
So far no one has paid it any particular 
attention; but I dare say that will come. 
Is Evie here ?” 

“ She’s not here—to-day.” 

“ Why not ?” he asked, sharply. “ She 
said she would be. She said she’d come 
to town—” 

“ She did come to town, but she 
thought she’d better not—stay.” 


“Not stay? Why shouldn’t she stay? 
Is anything up? You don’t mean that 
Miss Jarrott—?” 

“No; Miss Jarrott had nothing to do 
with it. I know her brother has written 
to her, in the way you must be prepared 
for. But she couldn’t have kept Evie 
from waiting for you, if Evie herself—” 

“ Had wanted to,” he finished, as she 
seemed to hesitate at the words. 

Since she said nothing to modify this 
assertion she hoped he would comprehend 
its gravity. Indeed, he seemed to be try¬ 
ing to attenuate that when he spoke next. 

“ I suppose she had engagements— 
or something.” 

“ ITer return to Lenox,” she said then, 
“ wasn’t because of her engagements.” 

“ Then, it must have been because of 
me. Didn’t she want to see me?” 

“ She didn’t want to tell you what she 
felt she would have to say.” 

“ Oh! So that was it.” 

He continued to sit looking at her with 
an expression of interrogation, though it 
was evident from his eyes that his ques¬ 
tions had been answered. 

“ Poor little thing! So she funked 
telling me.” 

The comment was made musingly, to 
himself, but she took it as if addressed 
to her. 

“ She wasn’t equal to it.” 

“ But you are. You’re equal to any¬ 
thing. Aren’t you?” He smiled with 
that peculiar twisted smile which she had 
noticed at other times, when he w T as con¬ 
cealing pain. 

“ One is generally equal to what one 
has to do. All the same,” she added, 
with an impulse she could not repress, 
“ I’m sorry to be always associated in 
your mind with things that must be hard 
for you.” 

“ You’re associated in my mind with 
everything that’s high and noble. That’s 
the only memory I shall ever have of you. 
You’ve been with me through some of 
the dark spots of my life; but if it hadn’t 
been for you I shouldn’t have found 
the way.” 

“ Thank you. I’m glad you can say 
that. I should be even more sorry than 
I am to give you this news to-day, if it 
were not that perhaps I can explain 


44 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


things a little better than Evie could.” 

“ I don’t imagine that they require 
much explanation. I’ve seen from 
Evie’s letters that—” 

“ That she was afraid of—the situation. 
She hasn’t changed toward you.” 

“ Do you mean by that that she still— 
cares anything about me?” 

“ I mean that when it’s all over, and 
everything has ended as you hope it will, 
it may be quite possible for you to win 
her back.” 

He stared at her, with an incredulous 
lifting of the eyebrows. 

“ Would you advise me to try?” 

“ It isn’t a matter I could give advice 
about. I’m showing you what might be 
possible, but—” 

“ No, no. That sort of thing doesn’t 
work. There was just a chance that 
Evie might have stuck to me spon¬ 
taneously; but since she didn’t—” 

“ Since she didn’t—what ?” 

“ She was quite right not to. I admit 
that. It’s in the order of things. She 
followed her instinct rather than her 
heart—I’m ready to believe that—but 
there are times in life when instinct is 
a pretty good guide.” 

“ Do you mean by that,” she asked, 
slowly, “ that you’re—definitely—letting 
her go ?” 

“ I mean that, Evie being what she is, 
and I being what life has made me— 
Isn’t it perfectly evident ? Can you 
fancy us tied together—now?” 

“ I never could fancy it. I haven’t 
concealed that from you at any time. 
But since you loved her, and she loved 
you—” 

“ That was true enough—in its wmy. 
In its way, it’s still true. Evie still loves 
the man I was, perhaps, and the man I 
was loves her. The difference is that the 
man I was isn’t sitting here in front 
of you.” 

“ One changes with years, of course. 
I didn’t suppose one could change in a 
few months, like that.” 

“ One changes with experience—above 
all, with that kind of experience which 
people generally call—suffering. That’s 
the great Alchemist; and he often trans- 
rrmtes our silver into gold. In my case, 
Evie was silver; but I’ve found there’s 
something else, that stands for—” 

“ So that,” she interposed, quickly, 


“you’re not sorry that Evie—?” 

He got up, restlessly, and stood with 
his back to the empty fireplace. 

“ It isn't a case for sorrow,” he re¬ 
plied, after a minute’s thinking, “ as 
it isn’t one for joy. It’s one purely for 
acceptance. When I first .knew Evie I 
was still something of a kid. I was so 
all the more because the kid element 
in me had never had full play. I was 
arrogant, and cock-sure, and certain of 
my ability to manipulate the world to 
suit myself. That was all Evie saw, 
and she liked it. In as far as she had 
it in her to fall in love with anything, 
sho fell in love with it.” 

He took a turn or two across the room, 
coming back to his stand on the hearth¬ 
rug. 

“ I’ve travelled far since then,” he 
continued; “I’ve had to travel far. 
Evie hasn’t been able to come with me; 
and that’s all there is to the story. It 
isn’t her fault; because, when I asked 
her, I had no intention of taking this 
particular way.” 

“ It was I who drove you into that,” 
she said, with a hint of remorse. 

“Yes — you — and conscience — and 
whatever else I honor most. I give you 
the credit first of all, because, if it hadn’t 
been for you, I shouldn’t have had the 
moral energy to assert my true self 
against the false one. It’s no wonder that 
I’ve come to see—” He paused, in doubt 
as to how to express himself, while her 
eyes were fixed on him in troubled ques¬ 
tioning. “ It’s no wonder,” he went on 
again, “ that I’ve come to see everything 
in a true light—Evie as well as all the 
rest of it.” 

With a renewed impulse to move about, 
he strode toward the bay-window, where 
he stood for a few seconds, looking out, 
and trying to co-ordinate his thoughts. 
Wheeling round again, he drew up a 
small chair close to hers, seating himself 
sidewise, with his arm resting on the 
back. He looked like a man anxious to 
explain himself. 

“ You’re blaming *me, I think, because 
I don’t take Evie’s defection more to 
heart. Isn’t that so?” 

“ I’m not blaming you. I may be a 
little surprised at it.” 

“ You wouldn’t be surprised at it, if 
you knew all I’ve been through. It’s 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


45 


difficult to explain to you—” 

“ There’s no reason why you should 
try.” 

“ But I want to try. I want you to 
know. You see,” he pursued, speaking 
slowly, as if searching for the right 
words—“you see, it’s largely a question 
of progress—of growth. Trouble has two 
stages. In the first, you think it hard 
luck that you should have to meet it. 
In the second, you see that, having met 
it, and gone through it, you come out 
into a region of big experience, where 
everything is larger and nobler than 
you thought it was before. Now, you’d 
probably think me blatant if I said that 
I feel myself emerging into— that” 

“ No; I shouldn’t. As a matter of fact, 
I know you’re doing it.” 

“ Well, then, having got there—out 
into that new kind of world ”—he 
sketched the vision with one of his 
Latin gestures—“ I discover that—for 
one reason or another—poor little Evie 
has stayed on the far side of it. She 
couldn’t pass the first gate with me, or 
the second, or the third, to say nothing 
of those I have still to go through. You 
know I’m not criticising, or finding fault 
with her, don’t you ?” 

She assured him of that. 

“ And yet, I must go on, you see. 
There’s no waiting, or turning back, for 
me, any more than for a dying man. 
No matter who goes or who stays, I must 
press forward. If Evie can’t make the 
journey with me, I can only feel relieved 
that she’s able to slip out of it—but I 
must still go on. I can’t look back; I 
can’t even be sorry—because I’m coming 
into the new, big land. You see what 
I mean ?” 

She signified again that she followed 
him. 

“ But the finding of a new land doesn’t 
take anthing from the old one. It only 
enlarges the world. Europe didn’t be¬ 
come different because they discovered 
America. The only change was in their 
getting to know a country where the 
mountains were higher, and the rivers 
broader, and the sunshine brighter, and 
where there was a chance for the race 
to expand. Evie remains what she was. 
The only difference is that my eyes have 
been opened to—a new ideal.” 

It was impossible for her not to guess 


at what he meant. Independently of 
words, his earnest eyes told their tale, 
while he bent toward her like a man not 
quite able to restrain himself. In the 
ensuing seconds of silence she had time 
to be aware of three distinct phases of 
emotion within her consciousness, fol¬ 
lowing each other so rapidly as to seem 
simultaneous. A throb of reckless joy 
in the perception that he loved her was 
succeeded by the knowledge that loyalty 
to Conquest must make rejoicing vain, 
while it flashed on her that, having duped 
herself once in regard to him, she must 
not risk the humiliating experience a 
second time. It was this last reflection 
that prevailed, keeping her still and un¬ 
responsive. After all, his new ideal 
might be something—or some one—quite 
different from what her fond imagining 
was so ready to believe. 

“ I suppose,” she said, vaguely, for 
the sake of saying something, “ that trial 
is the first essential to maturity. We 
need it for our ripening, as the flowers 
and fruit need wind and rain.” 

“ And there are things in life,” he re¬ 
turned, quickly, “ that no immature 
creature can see. That’s the point I 
want you to notice. It explains me. In 
a way, it’s an excuse for me.” 

“ I don’t need excuses for you,” she 
hastened to say, “ any more than I re¬ 
quire to have anything explained.” 

“No; of course not. You don’t care 
anything about it. It’s only I who do. 
But I care so much that I want you to 
understand why it was that—that—I 
didn’t care before.” 

She felt the prompting to stop him, 
to silence him, but once more she held 
herself back. There was still a possi¬ 
bility that she Avas mistaking him, and 
her pride was on its guard. 

“ It was because I didn’t know any 
better,” he burst out, in naive self- 
reproach. “ It was because I couldn’t 
recognize the high, the fine, thing when 
I saw it. I’ve had that experience in 
other ways, and with just the same re¬ 
sult. It was like that when I first began 
to hear good music. I couldn’t make it 
out—it was nothing but a crash of 
sounds. I preferred the ditties and 
dances of a musical comedy; and it was 
only by degrees that I began to find 
them flat. Then my ear caught some- 


4G 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


thing of the wonderful things in the 
symphonies that used to bore me. You 
see, I’m slow—I’m stupid—” 

“ Not at all,” she smiled. “ It’s quite 
a common experience.” 

“ But I’m like that all through, with 
everything. I’ve been like that—with 
Avomen. I used to be attracted by quite 
an ordinary sort. It’s taken me years— 
all these years, till I’m thirty-three—to 
see that there’s a perfect expression of 
the human type, just as there’s a per¬ 
fect expression of any kind of art. And 
I’ve found it.” 

He bent farther forward, nearer to her. 
There Avas a light in his face that seemed 
to her to denote enthusiasm quite as 
much as love. To her Avider experience 
in emotions this discovery of himself, 
which was involved in his discovery of 
her, was rather youthful, provoking a 
faint smile. 

“You’re to be congratulated, then,” 
she said, with an air of distant friend¬ 
liness. “ It isn’t every one Avho’s so 
fortunate.” 

“ That’s true. There’s only one man 
in the world Avho’s more fortunate than 
I. That’s Conquest.” 

“ Oh 1” 

In the brusqueness with which she 
started she pushed her chair slightly back 
from him. It was to conceal her agita¬ 
tion that she rose, steadying herself on 
the back of the chair in which she had 
been seated. 

“ Conquest saw what I didn’t—till it 
was too late.” 

He was on his feet now, facing her, 
Avith the chair between them. 

“ I wish you wouldn’t say any more,” 
she begged, though Avithout overempha¬ 
sis of pleading. She was anxious, for 
her oaaui sake as well as for his, to keep 
to the tone of the colloquial. 

“ I don’t see why I shouldn’t. I’m not 
going to say anything to shock you. I 
know you’re going to marry Conquest. 
You told me so before I .went away, 
and—” 

“ I should like to remind you that 
Mr. Conquest is the best friend you 
have. When you hear what he’s done 
for you, you’ll see that you owe him 
more than you do any man in the world.” 

“ I know that. I’m the last to forget 
it. But it can’t do any harm to tell 


the Avoman—Avho’s going to be his Avife— 
that I owe her even more than I do him.” 

“ It can’t do any harm, perhaps; but 
when I ask you not to—” 

“I can’t obey you. I shouldn’t he a 
man if I Avent through life without some 
expression of my—gratitude; and noAv’s 
the only time to make it. There are 
things which I wasn’t free to say before, 
because I Avas bound to Evie—and which 
it will soon be too late for you to listen 
to, because you’ll be bound to him. 
You’re not bound to him yet—” 

“ I (I'm boimd to him,” she said, in a 
lone in which there were all the regrets 
he had no reason to divine. “I don’t 
know what you think of saying; but 
Avhatever it is, I implore you not to 
say it.” 

“ It’s precisely because you don’t know 
that I feel the necessity of telling you. 
It's something I owe you. It’s like a 
debt. It isn’t as if we were just any 
man and any woman. We're a man and 
a woman in a very special x-elation to 
each other. No matter Avhat happens, 
nothing can change that. And it isn’t 
as if Ave were going to live in the same 
Avorld, in the same way. You will be 
Conquest’s wife—a great lady in New 
York. I shall be—well, Heaven only 
knows Avhat I shall be, but nothing that’s 
likely to cross your path again. All the 
same, it won’t hurt you, it wouldn’t hurt 
any xx^oman, however good, to hear what 
I’m going to tell you. It wouldn’t hurt 
any man—not even Conquest—that it 
should be said to his wife—in the way 
that I shall say it. If it could, I 
wouldn’t—” 

“ Wait a minute,” she said, suddenly. 
“ Let me ask you something.” She took 
a step toward him, though her hand rest¬ 
ed still on the back of the chair. “ If 
I knoAv it already,” she continued, look¬ 
ing him in the eyes, “ there would be no 
necessity for you to speak?” 

He took the time to consider this in 
all its bearings. 

“ I’d rather tell you in my oavu. words,” 
he said, at last; “ but if you. assure me 
that you know, I shall be satisfied.” 

She took a step nearer to him still. 
Only the tips of her fingers now rested 
on the back of the chair, to which she 
held, as to a bulwark. Before she spoke 
she glanced round the room, as though 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


47 


afraid lest the doors and walls might 
mistake her words for a confession. 

“ Then, I do know,” she said, quietly. 

CHAPTER XXIII 

HE old lady was willing enough 
to talk,” Conquest assured Ford, 
in his narrative of the taking 
of Amalia Gramm’s testimony. “ There’s 
nothing more loquacious than remorse. 
I figured on that before going out 
to Omaha.” 

“ But if she had no hand in the crime, 
I don't see where the remorse comes in.” 

“ It comes in vicariously. She feels 
it for Jacob, since Jacob didn’t live to 
feel it for himself. It involves a subtle 
element of wifely devotion which I guess 
you’re too young, or too inexperienced, 
to understand. She was glad old Jacob 
was gone, so that she could make his 
confession with impunity. She was will¬ 
ing to make any atonement within her 
power, since it was too late to call him 
to account.” 

“ Isn’t that a bit far-fetched ?” 

“ Possibly—except to a priest, or a 
lawyer, or a woman herself. It isn’t 
often that a woman’s heroism works in 
a straight line, like a soldier’s, or a fire¬ 
man’s. It generally pops at you round 
some queer corner, where it takes you 
by surprise. Before leaving Omaha I’d 
come to see that Amalia Gramm was by 
no means the least valiant of her sex.” 

Conquest’s smoking-room, with its 
space and height, its deep leather arm¬ 
chairs, its shaded lamps, its cheerful fire, 
suggested a club rather than a private 
dwelling, and invited the most taciturn 
guest to confidence. Ford stretched him¬ 
self before the blaze with an enjoyment 
rendered keener by the thought that it 
might be long before he had occasion to 
don a dinner-jacket again, or taste such 
a good Havana. Though it was only 
the evening of his arrival, he was eager 
to give himself up. Now that he had 
“ squared himself,” as he expressed it, 
with Miriam Strange, he felt he had put 
the last touch to his preparations. Ivil- 
cup and Warren were holding him back 
for a day or two, but his own promptings 
were for haste. 

“ I admit,” Conquest continued to ex¬ 
plain, as he fidgeted about the room, 


moving a chair here, or an ash-tray there, 
with the fussiness of an old bachelor of 
housekeeping tastes —“ I admit that I 
thought the old woman w T as trying it on 
at first. But I came to the conclusion 
that she had told a true story from the 
start. When she gave her evidence at 
your trial she thought you were— 
the man.” 

“ There’s nothing surprising in that. 
They almost made me think so, too.” 

“ It did look fishy, old boy. You won’t 
mind my saying that much. Clearer 
heads than your jury of village store¬ 
keepers and Adirondack farmers might 
have given the same verdict. But old 
lady Gramm’s responsibility hadn’t be¬ 
gun then. It was a matter of two or 
three years before she came to see—as 
women do see things about the men they 
live with—that the hand which did the 
job was Jacob's. By that time you had 
disappeared into space, and she didn’t 
feel bound to give the old chap away. 
She says she would have done it if it 
could have saved you; but since you had 
saved yourself, she confined her attentions 
to shielding Jacob. You may credit as 
much or as little of that as you please; 
but I believe the bulk of it. In any case, 
since it does the trick for us we have 
no reason to complain. Come now!” 

“ I’m not going to complain of any¬ 
thing. It’s been a rum experience all 
through, but I can’t say that, in certain 
aspects, I haven’t enjoyed it. I have 
enjoyed it. If it weren’t for the neces¬ 
sity of deceiving people who are decent 
to you, I’d go through it all again.” 

“ That’s game,” Conquest said, approv¬ 
ingly, as he worked round to the hearth¬ 
rug, where he stood clipping the end of 
a cigar, with Ford’s long figure stretched 
out obliquely before him. 

“I would,” Ford assured him. “I’d 
go through it all again, like a shot. It’s 
been a lark from—I won’t say from 
start to finish—but certainly from the 
minute—let me see just when!—certainly 
from the minute when Miss Strange 
beckoned to me, over old Wayne’s shoul¬ 
der.” 

An odd look came by degrees into Con¬ 
quest’s face—the look of pitying amuse¬ 
ment with which one listens to queer 
things said by some one in delirium._ lie 
kept the clippers fixed in the end of the 



48 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


cigar, much too astonished to complete 
his task. 

“ Since Miss Strange did— what?” 

Ford was too deeply absorbed in his 
own meditations to notice the tone. 

“ I mean, since she pulled me through.” 

Conquest’s face broke into a broad 
smile. 

“ Are you dreaming, old chap ? Or 
have you ‘ got ’em again ’ ?” 

“I’m going back in the story,” Ford 
explained, with a hint of impatience. 
“ I’m talking about the night when Miss 
Strange saved me.” 

“ Miss Strange saved you ? How ?” 

Ford raised himself slowly in his chair, 
his long legs stretched out straight be¬ 
fore him, and his body bent stiffly for¬ 
ward, as he stared up at Conquest, in 
puzzled interrogation. 

“ Do you mean to say,” he asked, in¬ 
credulously, “ that she hasn’t told you— 
that?” 

“ Perhaps you’ll be good enough to tell 
me yourself. I’ll be hanged if I know 
what you’re talking about.” 

There was suppressed irritation in the 
way in which he tore off the end of the 
cigar and struck a match. Ford let him¬ 
self sink back into the chair again. 

“ So she never told you! By George, 
that’s like her! It’s just what I might 
have expected.” 

“ Look here,” Conquest said, sharply, 
“ did you know Miss Strange before you 
came up here from South America?” 
He stood with his cigar unlighted, for 
he had let the match burn down to his 
fingers before attempting to apply it. 
“ Was your taking the name of Strange,” 
he demanded, with sudden inspiration, 
“ merely an accident, as I’ve supposed it 
was—or had it anything to do with her?” 

“ It wasn’t an accident, and it did have 
something to do with her.” 

“Just so! And you kept it dark!” 

Something in Conquest’s intonation 
caused Ford to look up. He saw a man 
with face suddenly growing gray, as 
though a light had gone out of it. He 
was disturbed only to the point of feel¬ 
ing that he had spoken tactlessly, and 
proceeded to repair the error. 

“ I kept it dark for obvious reasons. 
If Miss Strange didn’t tell you about it, 
it’s because she isn’t the kind of person 
to talk of an incident in which her own 


part was so noble. I’ll give you the 
whole story now.” 

“ I should be obliged to you,” Conquest 
said, dryly. 

He sat down on the very edge of one 
of the big armchairs, leaning forward, 
and fingering his still-unlighted cigar 
nervously, as he watched Ford puff out 
successive rings of smoke before begin¬ 
ning. He was less on his guard to screen 
the intenseness with which he listened, 
because Ford spoke at first in a dreamy 
way, without looking in his direction. 

With more insight into the circum¬ 
stances surrounding him Ford would 
have told his tale with greater reticence. 
As a matter of fact, he was moved not so 
much by the desire of convincing Con¬ 
quest of Miriam Strange’s nobility, as by 
the impulse to do her justice, once in his 
life at least, in language of his own. 

It was a naive bit of eloquence, of 
which no detail was lost on the expe¬ 
rienced man of the world, who sat twirl¬ 
ing his cigar with nervous fingers, his 
eyes growing keener in proportion as 
his face became more gray. It was part 
of his professional acquirement to be 
able to draw his deductions from some 
snatch of human drama, as he listened to 
its unfolding. 

Ford concluded with what for him 
was an almost lyric outburst. 

“ By George! Conquest, I didn’t know 
there were such women in the world. 
She’s been a revelation to me—as art 
and religion are revelations to other peo¬ 
ple. She came to me as the angel came 
to Peter in the prison; but, like Peter, 
I didn’t know it was an angel. There’s 
a sort of glory about her—a glory which 
it takes a higher sense than any I’ve 
got to see and understand. After all 
she’s done for me—after all this time— 
I’m only now beginning to get glimpses 
of it; but it’s merely as we get glimpses 
of an infinite beyond, because we see the 
stars. She’s a mystery to me, in the 
same way that genius is a mystery, or 
holiness. I didn’t appreciate her, be¬ 
cause I hadn’t the soul; and yet it’s in 
seeing that I hadn’t the soul that I be¬ 
gin to get it. That’s curious, isn’t it? 
She’s like some heavenly spirit that’s 
passed by me, and touched me into new¬ 
ness of life.” 

His ardor was so sincere, his hymn 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


49 


of praise so spontaneous, that he expected 
some sort of echo back. It surprised 
him, therefore, it disappointed him, that 
Conquest should sit unmoved, unless the 
spark-like twinkle of his little eyes could 
he taken as emotion. 

“ It’s the most amazing story I ever 
heard,” was his only comment, in re¬ 
sponse to Ford’s look of expectation. 

“ I hoped it might strike you as some¬ 
thing more than—amazing,” Ford ven¬ 
tured, after a minute’s waiting for a 
more appreciative word. 

“ Perhaps it will when I get my breath. 
You must give me time for that. Do 
you actually tell me that she kept you 
in her studio for weeks—?” 

“ Three weeks and four days, to be 
exact.” 

“ And that she furnished you with food 
and clothing—?” 

“ And money—but I paid that back.” 

“ And got you away in that ingenious 
fashion— ?” 

“ Just as I’ve told you.” 

“ Amazing 1 Simply amazing! And,” 
he added, with some bitterness, “ you 
came back here—and you and she to¬ 
gether—took us all in.” 

Ford drew his cigar from his lips, 
and turning in his chair, faced Con¬ 
quest in an attitude, and with a look, 
which could not be misinterpreted. 

“ I came back here, and took you all 
in—if you like. Miss Strange had noth¬ 
ing to do with it. She didn’t even 
expect me.” 

The last sentence gave Conquest the 
opening he was looking for, but now that 
he had it, he hesitated to make use of 
it. In his memory were the very words 
Miriam Strange had stammered out to 
him in the sort of confession no woman 
ever makes willingly: “ Things hap¬ 

pened . . . such as don’t generally hap¬ 
pen . . . and even if he never comes . . . 
I'd rather go on waiting for him . . . 
uselessly.” It was all growing clear to 
him, and yet not so clear but that there 
was time even now to let the matter 
drop into the limbo of things it is best 
not to know too much about. It was 
against his better judgment, then—his 
better judgment as a barrister-at-law— 
that he found himself saying: 

“ She didn’t expect you at that day 
ami date, perhaps: but she probably look¬ 


ed for you some time.” 

“ Possibly; but if so, I know little or 
nothing about it.” 

The reply, delivered with a certain 
dignified force of intention, recalled Con¬ 
quest to a sense of his own interests. 
He had too often counselled his clients 
to let sleeping dogs lie not to be aware 
of the advantage of doing it himself; 
and so, restraining his jealous curiosity, 
he turned the conversation back to the 
evidence of -Amalia Gramm. 

During the next half-hour he mani¬ 
fested that talent—partly native, and 
partly born of practice—which he had 
often commended in himself, of talking 
about one thing and thinking of another. 
His exposition of the line to be adopted 
in Ford’s defence was perfectly lucid, 
when all the while he was saying to him¬ 
self that this was the man whom Miriam 
Strange had waited for through eight 
romantic years. 

The fact leaped at him, but it was part 
of his profession not to be afraid of facts. 
If they possessed adverse qualities one 
recognized them boldly, in the practise of 
law, chiefly with a view of circumvent¬ 
ing them. The matter presented it¬ 
self first of all, not as one involving 
emotional or moral issues, but as an an¬ 
noying arrangement of circumstances 
which might cheat him out of what he 
had honestly acquired. He had no in¬ 
tention of being cheated by any one 
whatever; and as he made a rapid sum¬ 
mary of the points of the case he saw 
that the balance of probabilities was in 
his favor. It was to make that clear to 
Ford that he led the conversation back 
again to the subject of his adventures, 
tempting him to repeat at least a por¬ 
tion of his hymn of praise. By the time 
he had finished it Conquest was able to 
resume the friendly, confidential tone 
with which they had begun the evening. 

“ It’s very satisfactory to me, old man,” 
he said, between quiet puffs at his cigar, 
“ to know that you think so highly of 
Miss Strange, because—I don’t know 
whether you have heard it—she and I 
are to be married before long.” 

He looked to see Ford disconcerted by 
this announcement, and was surprised to 
see him take it coolly. 

“Yes; I knew that. I’ve meant to 
congratulate you when the time came. 


50 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


I should say it had come now.” 

There was a candor about him that 
Conquest could scarcely discredit, though 
he was unwilling to trust it too far. 

“ Thanks, old man. I scarcely expected 
you to he so well posted. May I ask 
how— ?” 

“ Oh, I’ve known it a long time. Miss 
Strange told me before I went to South 
America last spring.” 

This evidence of a confidential relation 
between the two gave him a second shock, 
but he postponed its consideration, con¬ 
tenting himself for the moment with 
making it plain to Ford that “ Hands 
off!” must be the first rule of the game. 
His next move was meant to carry the 
play into the opponent’s quarters. 

“ As a matter of fact, I’ve never con¬ 
gratulated you,” he said, with apparent 
tranquillity. “ I’ve known about you 
and Evie for some time past, but—” 

“ Oh, that’s all off. In the existing 
circumstances Evie didn’t feel like— 
keeping the thing up.” 

“ That’s too bad. You’ve been pretty 
hard hit—what? When a fellow is as 
game as you a girl should stand by him, 
come now! But I know Evie. I’ve 
known her from her cradle. She’ll back 
round, you’ll see. When we’ve pulled you 
through, as we’re going to, she’ll take 
another view of things. I know for a 
fact that she’s been head over heels in 
love with you, ever since her trip to 
Buenos Ayres.” 

As Ford made no remark, Conquest 
felt it well to drive the point home. 

“We can-all help in that, old boy; 
and you can count on us—both on Miss 
Strange and me. No one has such in¬ 
fluence over Evie as Miriam, and I know 
she’s very keen on seeing you and her— 
you and Evie, I mean—hit it off. I 
don’t mind telling you that, as a matter 
of fact, it’s been Miriam’s anxiety on 
Evie’s account that has mixed me up 
in your case at all. I don’t say that I 
haven’t got interested in yoxi for your 
own sake; but it was she who stiri’ed me 
up in the first place. It’s going to mean 
a lot to her to see you get through—and 
marry Evie.” 

Ford smiled—his odd, twisted smile— 
but as he said nothing, Conquest decided 
to let the subject drop. He had, in fact, 
gone as far as his present judgment 


would carry him, and anything farther 
might lead to a false step. In a situation 
alive with claims and counter-claims, 
with yearnings of the heart, and prompt¬ 
ings of the higher law, he could preserve 
his rights only by a walk as wary as the 
treading of a tight-rope. 

This became clearer to him later in the 
night, when Ford had gone away, and 
he was left free to review the circum¬ 
stances with that clarity of co-ordination 
he had so often brought to bear on other 
men’s affairs. Out of the mass of data 
he selected two conditions as being the 
only ones of importance. 

If Miriam Strange was marrying him 
because she loved him, nothing else 
needed to be considered. This fact would 
subordinate everything to itself; and 
there were many arguments to support 
the assumption that she was doing so. 
One by one he marshalled them before 
him, from the first faint possibility up 
to the crowning proof that there was no 
earthly reason for her marrying him at 
all, unless she wanted to. He had 
pointed that out to her clearly, on 
the day when she came to him to make 
her terms. 

To a late hour of the night he wan¬ 
dered about the great, silent rooms of 
the house which he had made the ex¬ 
pression of himself. Stored with costly, 
patiently selected comforts, it lacked only 
the last requisite which was to impart 
the living touch. Having chosen this 
essential with so much care, and begun 
to feel for her something far more vital 
than the pride of possession which had 
been his ^governing emotion hitherto, it 
was an agony with many aspects to think 
he might have to let her go. 

That there was this possibility was un¬ 
deniable. It was the second of the two 
paramount considerations. Though 
Ford’s enthusiasm tried to make itself 
enthusiasm and no more, there had been 
little difficulty in seeing what it was. 
All the same, it would be a passion to 
pity and ignore, if on Miriam’s side there 
was nothing to respond to it. But it was 
here that, in spite of all his arguments. 
Conquest’s doubts began. With much 
curious ignorance of women, there was 
a point of view from which he knew them 
well. It was out of many a poignant bit 
of domestic history, of which his profes- 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


51 


sion had made him the confidant, that 
he had distilled the observation made 
to Ford earlier in the evening: “It isn’t 
often that a woman’s heroism works in 
a straight line, like a soldier’s or a fire¬ 
man’s.” Notwithstanding her directness, 
he could see Miriam Strange as just the 
type of woman to whom these words 
might be applicable. If by marrying a 
man whom she did not love she thought 
she could help another whom she did love, 
a culpable sacrifice was just the thing 
of which she would be capable. He called 
it culpable sacrifice with some emphasis, 
for in his eyes all sacrifice was culpable. 
It was more than culpable, in that it 
verged on the absurd. There were few 
teachings of an illogical religion, few 
promptings of a misdirected energy, for 
which he had a greater scorn than the 
precept that the strong should suffer for 
the weak, or one man for another. Every 
man for himself, and the survival of the 
fittest was the doctrine by which he lived; 
and his abhorrence of anything else was 
the more intense for the moment be¬ 
cause he found himself in a situation 
where he might be expected to repudiate 
his faith. 

But there it was, that something' in 
public opinion which, in certain circum¬ 
stances, might challenge him—might ask 
him for magnanimity, might appeal to 
him for mercy, might demand that he 
make two other human beings happy 
while he denied himself. It. was pre¬ 
posterous, it was grotesque, hut it was 
there. He could hear its voice already, 
explaining that since Miriam Strange 
had given him her word in an excess of 
self-devotion, it was his duty to let her 
off. Lie could see the line of argument; 
he could hear the applause following on 
his noble act. He had heard it before— 
especially in the theatre—and his soul 
had shaken with laughter. He had read 
of it in novels, only to toss such books 
aside. “ The beauty of renunciation,” he 
had often said, “ appeals to the morbid, 
the sickly, and the sentimental. It has 
no function among the healthy and the 
sane.” He had not only said that, but 
he had believed it. He believed it still, 
and lived by it. By doing so he had 
amassed his modest fortune and won a 
respected position in the world. He had 
not got on into middle life without meet¬ 


ing the occasion more than once when he 
could have saved others—a brother, or a 
sister, or a friend—and forborne to save 
himself. He had felt the temptation, 
and resisted it, with the resrdt that he 
was up in the world when he might have 
been down in it, and envied by those who 
would have despised him without hesita¬ 
tion, when they had got out of him all 
that he coxdd give. Ho coidd look back 
now and see the folly it would have been 
had he yielded to impulses that every 
sentimentalist would have praised. lie 
was fully conscious that the moment of 
danger might be on the point of return¬ 
ing again, and that he must be prepared 
for it. 

Ilis exasperation was as much with 
his doubt about himself as with the 
impalpable forces threatening him, as he 
strode fiercely from room to room, turn¬ 
ing out the flaring lights before going to 
bed. After all. his final resolutions were 
pitifully insufficient, in view of the tragic 
element—for he took it tragically—that 
had suddenly crept into his life. While 
his gleam of happiness was in danger of 
going out, the sole means he could find 
of keeping it aglow was in deciding on 
a prudent ignoring of whatever did not 
meet the eye, on a discreet assumption 
that what he had been dreaming for the 
past few months was true. As a matter 
of fact, there was nothing to show him 
that it wasn’t true; and it was only com¬ 
mon sense to let the first move toward 
clearing his vision come from the other 
side rather than from his. 

And yet it was precisely this passive 
attitude which he found himself next 
day least able to maintain. If he needed 
anything further to teach him that love 
was love, it was this restless, prying 
jealousy, making it impossible to let well 
enough alone. After a trying day at the 
office, during which he irritated his part¬ 
ners and worried his clerks, he presented 
himself late in the afternoon at Miriam’s 
apartment at the hour when he generally 
went to his cluh, and he knew she would 
not expect him. Thinking to surprise 
Ford with her—like the suspicious hus¬ 
band in a French play, he owned to him¬ 
self, grimly—he experienced something 
akin to disappointment to find her drink¬ 
ing tea with two old ladies, whom he 
outstayed. During the ceremonies of 


52 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


their leave-taking he watched Miriam 
closely, seeking- for some impossible proof 
that she either loved Ford or did not 
love him, and getting- nothing but a re¬ 
newed and maddening conviction of her 
grace and quiet charm. 

“What about Evie’s happiness?” 

Miriam raised her eyebrows inquiring¬ 
ly at the question before stooping to put 
out the spirit-lamp. 

“Well, what about it?” she asked, 
without looking up. 

“ Oh, nothing—except that we don’t 
seem to be securing it.” 

She gazed at him now, with an ex¬ 
pression frankly puzzled. He had re¬ 
fused tea, but she kept her accustomed 
place behind the tea table, while he 
stretched himself comfortably in the low 
arm-chair by the hearth, which she often 
occupied herself. 

“ Don’t you remember ?” he went on. 
“ Evie’s happiness was the motive of our 
lift 1 e—a greemen t.” 

He endeavored to make his tone play¬ 
ful, but there was a something sharp 
and aggressive in his manner, at which 
she colored slightly, no less than at his 
words. 

“ T suppose,” she said, as if after 
meditation, “ Evie’s happiness isn’t in 
our hands.” 

“True; but there’s a good deal that is 
in our hands. There’s, for example— 
our own.” 

“ Up to a point—yes.” 

“ And up to that point we should take 
care of it. Shouldn’t we?” 

“ I dare say. But I don’t know what 
you mean.” 

He gave the nervous little laugh which 
helped him over moments of embarrass¬ 
ment. 

“ Ford was with me last night. He 
said it was all off between him and Evie.” 

“ T thought he might tell you that.” 

“ So that,” he went on, forcing a smile, 
with which his voice and manner were 
not in accord, “ our undertaking having 
failed, the bottom’s out of everything. 
Don’t you see?” 

She was so astonished that she walked 
into his trap, just as he expected. 

“ I don’t see, in the least. I thought 
our undertaking—as you call it—was go¬ 
ing to be particularly successful.” 


“ Successful—how?” 

He dropped his smile and looked in¬ 
terrogative, his bit of acting still keep¬ 
ing her off her guard. 

“ Why, if Amalia Gramm’s testimony 
is all you think it’s going to be—” 

“ Oh, I see. That’s the way you look 
at it.” 

“Isn’t it the way you look at it, too?” 

He smiled again, indulgently, but with 
significance. 

“No; I confess it isn’t—at least it 
hasn’t been. I thought—perhaps I was 
wrong—that our interest was in getting 
Ford off, so that he could marry Evie. 
Since he isn’t going to marry her, why— 
naturally—we don’t care so much— 
whether he gets off or not.” 

“ Oh, but—” 

She checked herself; she even grew a 
little pale. She began to see dimly 
whither he was leading her. 

“ Of course I don’t say we should chuck 
him over,” he went on; “ but it isn’t the 
same thing any longer, is it? I think 
it only fair to point that out to you, 
because it gives you reasonable ground 
for reconsidering your—decision.” 

“ Oh, but I don’t want to.” 

While she had said exactly what he 
hoped to hear, she had not said it as 
be hoped to hear it. There were shades 
of tone even to impetuosity, and this one 
lacked the note his ear was listening for. 
None the less, he told himself, a wise 
man would have stopped right there; 
and he was conscious of his folly in per¬ 
sisting. while he still persisted. 

“ That’s for you to decide, of course. 
Only if we go on, it must be understood 
that we’ve somewhat shifted our ground.” 

“ T haven’t shifted mine.” 

“ Not as you understand it yourself— 
as, possibly, you’ve understood it all 
along. But you have, as I see things. 
When you came to me—to my office—” 

She put iip her hand, as though she 
would have screened her face, but con¬ 
trolled herself to listen quietly. 

“ Your object then,” Conquest con¬ 
tinued, cruelly, “was to get Ford off, so 
that he might marry Evie. Now, T un¬ 
derstand it to be simply—to get him off.” 

She looked at him with eyes full of 
distress or protest. It was a minute or 
two before she spoke. 

“ I don’t see the necessity for such 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


53 


close definition.” 

“ I do. I want you to know exactly 
what you’re doing. I want you to see 
that you’re paying a higher price than 
you need pay—for the services rendered.” 

He had got her now just where he had 
been trying to put her. He had snared 
her. or given her an opportunity, accord¬ 
ing as she chose to take it. She could 
have availed herself of the latter by a 
look, or a simple intonation; for the 
craving of his heart was such that his 
perceptions were acute for the slightest 
hint. Had she known that, it would have 
been easy for her to respond to him, 
playing her part with the loyalty with 
which she had begun it. As it was, his 
cold manner and his slightly mocking 
tone betrayed her. Her answer was meant 
to give him the kind of assurance she 
thought he was looking for; and she 
couched it in the language she supposed 
he would most easily understand. In 
the things it said and did not say, her 
very sincerity was what stabbed him. 

“ I hope it won’t be necessary to bring 
this subject up again. I know what I 
undertook, and I’m anxious to fulfil it. 
I should be very much hurt if I wasn’t 
allowed to, just because you had scruples 
about taking me at my word. You’ve 
been so—so splendid—in doing your 
part that I should feel humiliated if I 
didn’t do mine.” 

There was earnestness in her regard, 
and a suggestion of haughtiness in the 
tilt of her head. The Wise Man within 
him bade him be content, and this time 
he listened to the voice. He did her the 
jutice to remember, too, that she was 
offering him all he had ever asked of her; 
and if he was dissatisfied, it was because 
he had increased his demands without 
telling her. 

It was by a transition of topic that he 
saw he could nail her to her purpose. 

“ By the way,” he said, when they had 
got on neutral ground again, and were 
speaking of Wayne, “ I wish you would 
come and see what I think of doing for 
him. There are two rooms back of my 
library—too dark for my use—but that 
wouldn’t matter to him, poor fellow—” 

He saw she was nerving herself not 
to flinch at this confrontation with the 
practical. He saw too that her courage 
and her self-command would have de¬ 


ceived any one but him. The very pluck 
with which she nodded her comprehen¬ 
sion of his idea, and her sympathy with 
it, enraged him to a point at which, so 
it seemed to him, he could have struck 
her. Had she cried off from her bargain 
he could have borne it far more easily. 
That would at least have given him a 
sense of superiority, and helped him to 
be magnanimous; while this readiness to 
pay put him in the wrong, and drove him 
to exact the uttermost farthing of his 
rights. On a weak woman he might have 
taken pity; but this strong creature, who 
refused to sue to him by so much as the 
quiver of an eyelid, and rejected his con¬ 
cessions before he had time to put them 
forth, exasperated every nerve that had 
been wont to tingle to his sense of power. 
Since she asked no quarter, why should 
he give it ?—above all, when to give 
quarter was against his principles. 

“ And perhaps,” he pursued, in an even 
voice, showing no sign of the tempest 
within, “ that would be as good a time 
as any for you to look over the entire 
house. If there are any changes you 
would like to have made—” 

“ I don’t think there will be.” 

“ All the same, I should like you to see. • 
A man’s house, however well arranged, 
isn't always right for a lady’s occupancy; 
and so—” 

“Very well; I’ll come.” 

“ When ?” 

“ I'll come to-morrow.” 

“ About four ?’’ 

“Yes; about four. That would suit 
me perfectly.” 

She spoke frankly, and even smiled 
faintly, with just such a shadow of a 
blush as the situation called for. The 
Wise Man within him begged him once 
more to be content. If, the Wise Man 
argued, this well-poised serenity was not 
love, it was something so like it that the 
distinction would require a splitting of 
hairs. Conquest strove to listen and 
obey; but even as he did so he was aware 
again of that rage of impotence which 
finds its easiest outlet in violence. As 
he rose to take his leave, with all the 
outward signs of friendly ceremonious¬ 
ness, he had time to be appalled at the 
perception that he, the middle-aged, spick- 
and-span New-Yorker, should so fully 
understand how it is that a certain type 


54 


HARPER’S .MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


of frenzied brute can kill the woman 
whom he passionately loves, but who is 
hopelessly out. of reach. 

CHAPTER XXIV 

XCEPT when his business instincts 
were on the alert, Ford’s slowness 
of perception was perhaps most apparent 
in his judgment of character and his 
analysis of other people’s motives. Tak¬ 
ing- men and women as he found them, 
he had little tendency to speculate as to 
the impulses within their lives, any more 
than as to the furnishings behind their 
house-fronts. A human being was all 
exterior to him, something like a street. 
Even in matters that touched him close¬ 
ly, the act alone was his concern; and he 
dealt with its consequences, without, as 
a rule, much inquisitive probing of 
its cause. 

So, when Miriam Strange elected to 
marry Conquest, he accepted the settled 
fact, for the time being, in the spirit in 
which he would have taken some dis¬ 
astrous manifestation of natural phe¬ 
nomena. Investigation of the motive of 
such a step was as little in his line as 
it would have been in the case of a 
destructive storm at sea. To his essen¬ 
tially simple way of viewing life it was 
something to be lamented, hut to be borne 
as best one was able, while one said as 
little as one could about it. 

And yet, somewhere in the wide, rare¬ 
ly explored regions of his nature there 
were wonderings, questionings, yearn¬ 
ings, protests, cries, that forced them¬ 
selves to the surface now and then, as 
the boiling waters within the earth gush 
out in geyser springs. It required 
urgent pressure to impel them forth, but 
when they came it was with violence. 
Such an occasion had been his night on 
Lake Champlain; such another was the 
evening when he announced to Miriam 
his intention of becoming Norrie Ford 
again. When these moments came they 
took him by surprise, even though after¬ 
ward he was able to recognize the fact 
that they had been long preparing. 

It was in this way, without warning, 
that his heart had sprung on him the 
question: Why should she marry him? 
At the minute when Conquest was leav¬ 
ing Miriam, he. Ford, was tramping the 


streets of New York, watching them 
grow alive with light, in glaring, imag¬ 
inative ugliness—ugliness so dazzling in 
its audacity, and so fanciful in its crude 
commercialism, that it had the power to 
thrill. It was perhaps the electric stim¬ 
ulus of sheer light that quickened the 
pace of his slow mentality from the 
march of acceptance to the rush of pro¬ 
test, at an instant when he thought he 
had resigned himself to the facts. 

Why should she marry him ? He was 
shouldering his way through the crowds 
when the question made itself heard, 
with a curious illuminating force that 
suggested its own answer. He was walk¬ 
ing, partly to work off the tension of 
the strain under which these few days 
were passing, and partly because he had 
got the idea that he was being shadowed. 
He had no profound objection to that, 
though he would have preferred to give 
himself up of his own free will rather 
than to be arrested. Perhaps, after all, it 
was only an accident that had caused 
him to catch sight of the same two men 
at different moments through the day, 
and just now it amused him to put them 
to the test by leading them a dance. 
He had come to the conclusion that he 
had been mistaken, or that he had out¬ 
witted them, when this odd question, ir¬ 
relevant to anything he had directly in 
his thoughts, presented itself as though 
it had been asked by some voice outside 
him: Why should she marry him ? 

Up to the present his unanalytical mind 
would have replied—as it would have 
replied to the same query concerning any 
one else—that she was marrying him 
“ because she wanted to.” That would 
have seemed to him to cover the whole 
ground of anj’- one’s affairs; but all at 
once it had become insufficient. It was 
as if the street had suddenly become in¬ 
sufficient as a highway, breaking into 
a chasm. He stopped abruptly, confront¬ 
ing, as it were, that bewildering void, 
which a psychological situation in¬ 
variably seemed to him. To get into a 
place where his few straightforward 
formulae did not apply gave him that 
sense of distress which every creature 
feels out of its native element. 

It was a proof of the dependence with 
which, in matters requiring mental or 
emotional experience, he had come to 



THE WILD OLIVE. 


lean on Miriam Strange, as well as of 
the directness with which he appealed 
to her for help, that he should face about 
on the instant, and turn his steps to¬ 
ward her. 

Only a few minutes earlier she had 
seen Conquest go, and in the interval 
since his departure she had had time to 
detect the windings of his strategy, and 
to be content with the skill with which 
she had met them. She understood him 
thoroughly, both in his fear of letting her 
go, and his shame at holding her. Stand¬ 
ing in her wide bay-window, her slight 
figure erect, her hands behind her back, 
she looked down, without seeing it, on 
the spangled city, as angels intent on 
their own high thoughts might pass over 
the Milky Way. She smiled faintly to 
herself, thinking how she should lead this 
kindly man, who for her sake had done 
so much for Norrie Ford, back to a sense 
of security and self-respect. When Nor¬ 
rie Ford went free she meant to live for 
nothing else but the happiness of the man 
who bad cleared his name and given him 
hack to the world. It would be a kind 
of consecration to her, like that of the 
nun who forsakes the dearest ties for a 
life of good works and prayer. Conquest 
had told her that she was paying a 
bigger price than she needed to pay 
for the services rendered; but that de¬ 
pended somewhat on the value one set 
on the services. In this case, she would 
not have been content in paying less. 
To do so would seem to indicate that she 
was not grateful. Since perceiving his 
compunction as to claiming his reward, 
she was aware of an elation, an exalta¬ 
tion, in forcing it upon him. 

She was in the glow of this sentiment 
when Ford was ushered in. He was so 
vitally in her thoughts that, though she 
did not expect him, his presence gave 
her no surprise. It helped her, in fact, 
to sustain the romantic quality in her 
mood to treat his coming as a matter 
of course, and make it a natural incident 
to the moment. 

“ Come and look down on the stars,” 
she said, in the tone she might have 
used to another member of her household 
who had appeared accidentally. “ The 
view here, in the evening, makes one feel 
as if one had been wafted above the sky.” 


55 

She half turned toward him, but did 
not offer her hand, as he took his place 
by her side. For a few seconds he said 
nothing, and when he spoke she accepted 
his words in the manner in which she 
had taken his coming. 

“ So you’re going to marry Conquest!” 

It was to show that the abrupt, remark 
had not perturbed her that she nodded 
her head assentingly, still with the smile 
that had greeted his arrival. 

“Why?” 

In spite of her efforts she manifested 
some surprise. 

“ What makes you ask that question 
—now?” 

“ Because it never occurred to me be¬ 
fore that there might be a special reason.” 

“ Well, there is one.” 

“ Has it anything to do with me?” 

She backed away from him slightly, 
to the side curve of the window, where 
it joined the straight line of the wall. 
In this position she had him more di¬ 
rectly in view. 

“ I said there was a reason,” she an¬ 
swered, after some hesitation. “ I didn’t 
say I would tell you what it was.” 

“ No, but you will, won’t you?” 

“ I don’t see why you should want 
to know.” 

“Is that quite true?” he queried, with 
a somewhat startling fixing of his eyes 
upon her. “Don’t you see? Can’t you 
imagine ?” 

“ I don’t see why—in such circum¬ 
stances as these—any man should want 
to know what a woman doesn’t tell him.” 

“ Then, I’ll explain to you. I want to 
know, because ... I think . . . you’re 
marrying Conquest . . . when you don’t 
love him . . .” 

“ He never asked me to love him. He 
said he could do without that.” 

“. . . while . . . you do love . . . 

some one else.” 

She reflected before speaking. Under 
his piercing look she took on once more 
the appealing expression of forest crea¬ 
tures at bay. 

“ Even if that were true,” she said, at 
last, “ there would be no harm in it, as 
long as there was what you asked me for 
at first—a special reason.” 

“ Is there ever a reason for a step like 
that ? I don’t believe it.” 

“ But I do believe it, you see. That 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


56 

makes a difference.” 

“ It would make a still greater differ¬ 
ence if I begged you not to do it, 
wouldn’t it?” 

She shook her head. “ It wouldn’t— 
now.” 

“ I let you see yesterday that I—I 
loved you.” 

“ Since you force me to acknowledge 
it—yes.” 

“ And you’ve shown me,” he ventured, 
“ within the last minute, that you— 
Jove me.” 

Her figure grew more erect against 
the background of exterior darkness. 
Even the hand that rested on the wood¬ 
work of the window became tense. 
Lambent fire in her eyes—the light that 
he used to call non-Aryan—took the place 
of the fugitive glance of the woodland 
animal; but she kept her composure. 

“ Well, what then?” 

“ Then you’d be committing a sacri¬ 
lege against yourself—if you married 
any one else but me.” 

If her heart bounded at the words, 
she did nothing to betray it. 

“ You say that, because it seems so 
to. you. I take another view of it. Love 
to me does not necessarily mean mar¬ 
riage, any more than marriage neces¬ 
sarily implies love. There have been 
happy marriages without love; and there 
can be honorable love that doesn’t seek 
marriage as its object. If I married you 
now, I should seem to myself to be de¬ 
serting a high impulse for a lower one.” 

“ There’s only one sort of impulse to 
love.” 

“ Not to my love. I know what you 
mean—but my love has more than one 
prompting; and the highest is—or I hope 
it is—to try to do what’s right.” 

“ But this would not be right.” 

“ I’m the only judge of that.” 

“ Not if we love each other. In that 
case I become a judge of it, too.” 

Once more she reflected. In speaking 
she lifted her head and looked at him 
frankly. 

“ Very well; I’ll admit it. Perhaps 
it’s true. In any case, I’d rather things 
were clear to you. It will help us both. 
I’ll tell you what I’m doing, and why 
I’m doing it.” 

It -was one of those occasions when a 
woman’s emotion is so great that she 


seems to have none at all. As iron is said 
to come to a degree of heat so intense 
that it does not burn, so Miriam Strange 
seemed to herself to have reached a stage 
where the sheer truth, simple and without 
reserves, could bring no shame to her 
womanhood. Words that could not have 
passed her lips either before that eve¬ 
ning or after it escaped her in the subse¬ 
quent minutes as a matter of course. 

“I entered into your life twice; and 
each time I did you harm. On the first 
occasion I turned you into Herbert 
Strange, and sent you out on a career 
of deception; on the second, I came be¬ 
tween you and Evie, and brought you 
to the present pass, where you’re facing 
death again, as you were eight or nine 
years ago. It’s no use to tell you that 
I wanted to do my best; because good 
intentions are not much excuse for the 
trouble they often cause. But I’m ready 
to say this, that whenever you’ve suf¬ 
fered, I’ve suffered more. That’s espe¬ 
cially true of what’s happened in the 
last six months. And when I saw how 
much I had put wrong, it was a comfort 
to think there was something at least 
that I could put right again.” 

“ But you’ve put nothing wrong. 
That’s what I should like to convince 
you of.” 

“ I’ve put you in a position of danger. 
When I see that, I see enough to act 
upon.” 

“ It’s a very slight danger.” 

“ It is now, because I’ve made it 
slight. Tt wasn’t—before I went to Mr. 
Conquest.” 

“You went to him—what for?” 

“ He wanted me to marry him. He 
had wanted it for a long time. I told 
him I would do so, on condition that 
he found the evidence that would prove 
you innocent.” 

Eord laughed, harshly, and rather 
loudly, stopping suddenly, as though he 
had ceased to see the joke. 

“So that’s it! That’s why Conquest 
has been so devilishly kind. I wondered 
at his interest—or at least I should have 
wondered if I’d had the time. As a mat¬ 
ter of fact, I took it for granted that he 
should help me. as a drowning man takes 
it for granted that the chance passer¬ 
by should pull him out. It wasn’t till 
this evening—about half an hour ago— 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


57 


By Jove! I ran right up against it.” 

“You ran right up against—what?” 

“ Against the truth. It came in a 
flash—just like that.” He snapped his 
fingers. “You’re selling yourself—to 
get me off.” 

She seemed to grow straighter, taller. 
For the minute he saw nothing but the 
blaze of her eyes. 

“Well? Why shouldn’t I? My moth¬ 
er sold herself—to get a man off. He 
was my father. I’m proud of her. She 
did the best she could with her life. I’m 
doing the best I can with mine.” 

“ But I shouldn’t lie doing the best I 
can with mine—if I let you continue.” 

“Isn’t it too late for you to stop me? 
If I’ve sold myself, as you put it, the 
price has been paid in. Mr. Conquest 
has secured the evidence that will acquit 
you. It will be used. That’s all I care 
about—much.” 

She saw the hot color surge into his 
cheeks and brows. It seemed to her that 
his eyes grew red, as the blood left his 
lips. She had never before b’een called 
on to confront a man angry with a 
passion beyond his control, but instinct 
told her what the signs were. Instinct 
told her, too, that, however confused his 
own sensations might be, his anger was 
not so much resentment against anything 
she might have done as it was despair 
at having lost her. She had guessed al¬ 
ready that he -would be seized with a 
blind impulse to strike, as soon as he 
came to a realizing sense of her action; 
though she had not expected the moment 
of this fury till after he went free. 
Till then, she had thought, he would 
be partially unconscious of his pain, 
just as a soldier fighting would run 
along for a while without feeling a bullet 
in his flesh. The anticipation of an 
awakening on his part some time enabled 
her to see beyond the madness of this 
instinct, even though the words he threw 
at her struck her like stones. The very 
fact that she could see how he labored 
with himself to keep them back gave her 
strength to take them without flinching. 

“ You . . . dared . . . ? Without . . . 
my . . . permission . . . ?” 

“ I’d done so many things without your 
permission that it seemed I could ven¬ 
ture that far.” 

“You were wrong. It was—too far.” 


“ It wasn’t too far—when I loved you.” 

She uttered the words in a matter-of- 
fact voice, without a tremor. She fore¬ 
saw their effect in bringing him to him¬ 
self. In his next words his tone had 
already softened slightly to one of pro¬ 
test. 

“ But I could have done it so much 
better—! so much more easily—! with¬ 
out—” 

“ I could have done that, too. Mr. 
Conquest pointed it out to me. He took 
no advantage of my ignorance. As a 
matter of fact, I wasn’t ignorant at all. 
I was extremely clear-sighted and wise. 
My love for you made me so. I knew— 
1 felt it—that money might fail to do 
what I wanted. But I knew too that 
there was one thing that wouldn’t fail. 
If you were innocent—and I wasn’t 
wholly sure that you were—I knew there 
was one energy that would surely prove 
you so—and that was Charles Conquest’s 
desire to have me as his wife. I took 
the course in which there was least risk 
of failure—and you see—” 

A little gesture, triumphant in its sug¬ 
gestion, finished her sentence. 

“What I see is this,” Ford answered, 
thickly, “that I’m to hold my life at the 
cost of your degradation.” 

“ Degradation ? That’s a hard word. 
But as applied to me—I don’t know what 
it means.” 

“ Isn’t it degradation ?—to enter into 
a marriage in which you put no love?” 

There was a kind of superb indifference 
in her answer. 

“ You may call it degradation, if you 
choose. I shouldn’t. As long as you go 
free, you can call my action anything 
you like. I dare say,” she admitted, 
“ you’re quite right, from the highest 
moral—and modern—point of view; but 
that doesn’t appeal to me. You see— 
you’ve got to make allowances for it— 
I’m not a child of your civilization. I’m 
not a child of any civilization at all. At 
best T’m like the wild creature that sub¬ 
mits to being tamed, because it doesn’t 
know what else to do—but remains wild 
at heart. I used to think I could come 
into your system of law and order, if 
any one would take me. But now I know 
I shall always be outside it. The very 
word you’ve just used of me shows me 
that. You say I’m to be degraded—it’s 


58 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


your civilized point of view. I have no 
comprehension of that whatever. Be¬ 
cause 1 love you I want to save you. I 
don’t care anything about the means, so 
long as I reach the end. To undo the 
harm I’ve done to you I’d freely give 
my body to be burned; so why shouldn’t 
I—? No, no,” she cried, as he made 
as though he would approach her, “ keep 
away ! Don’t come near me ! I can only 
talk to you like this—at a distance. I 
shall never say these things again—but 
I want to tell you—to explain to you— 
I should like you to understand—” 

She repeated herself haltingly because, 
as Ford held back from approaching her, 
a queer spasm passed over his face, while 
he hung his head, and compressed his 
lips in a way that made him seem sur¬ 
prisingly boyish all at once, and touched 
that maternal tenderness in her that had 
always formed such a large part of her 
yearning over him. It was the kind of 
tenderness that steadied her own nerve, 
and kept her dry-eyed and strong, as she 
saw him reel to a chair, and flinging his 
arms on the table beside it, bow himself 
down on them, while his form shook con¬ 
vulsively. She had no shame for him. 
She understood perfectly that the pressure 
of years had been brought to bear on the 
complex emotions of the moment — to 
which reaction from his brief anger and 
his bitter words added an element of 
remorse—to cause this honest, manly 
nature that had never made any pretence 
of being stronger than it was, to give way 
to the instant’s weakness. She was sure 
he would never have done it in the pres¬ 
ence of any one but her, and she was 
thrilled with a curious joy at this proof 
of their spiritual intimacy. What was 
difficult was not the keeping of her own 
self-control, but the holding herself back 
from crossing the room, and laying a 
hand on his shoulder, in token of their 
oneness at heart; but there, she felt, the 
forbidden line would be passed. She 
could only wait—it was not long—till he 
was calm again. Then he pulled himself 
together, blew his nose, got up heavily, 
and sheepishly refrained from looking 
her in the face. In the act and the 
attitude there was something so boy-like, 
so natural, so entirely lacking in the 
dignity of grief, that if she had any im¬ 
pulse to let her own tears flow it was then. 


But she knew it to be one of those 
minutes when a woman has to be strong 
for herself and for the man, too, even 
though she break down afterward. The 
necessity of coming to an understanding 
with him, once for all, impelled her to the 
economy of her forces, while the nervous 
snapping of his fortitude had given her 
an opportunity she could not afford to 
lose, 

“ So I want you to see,” she went on, 
quietly, as though no interruption had 
occurred, “ that having gained my point 
in helping to—to get you off, it’s to some 
extent a matter of indifference what you 
think of me—what any one thinks of me 
—just as it was when I hid you in my 
studio, nearly nine years ago. You must 
put it down to my being of wild origin, 
and not wholly amenable to civilized 
dictates. I can only do what the inward 
urging drives me on to do—just as my 
mother did—and my father. If it’s de¬ 
grading-—” 

Raising his head at last, he strode to¬ 
ward her. He put his hands rigidly be¬ 
hind his back, as if to show her that he 
pinioned them there in token that she 
had nothing to fear from him. His eyes 
were red, and there was still a painful 
tightening about his lips. 

“ You’ll have to let me take that back,” 
he muttered, unsteadily. “ I didn’t know 
what I was saying. It’s come on me so 
suddenly that it’s broken me all up. I 
haven’t realized till this evening what— 
what everything meant. It seemed to me 
then that I couldn’t stand it.” 

“ But you can.” 

“ Yes, I can,” he replied, doggedly. 
“ One can stand anything. If I reached 
my limit, for a minute, it was in seeing* 
that you have to suffer for my sake—” 

“ Wouldn’t you suffer for mine?” 

“ I couldn’t. Suffering for your sake 
would become such a joy—” 

“ That it wouldn’t be suffering. That’s 
just it. That’s what I feel, exactly. It 
isn’t hard for me to do what I’m doing, 
because 1 know—I know —I’m helping to 
save your honor, if not your life. I don’t 
believe money would have done it. Mr. 
Conquest reminded me that the best legal 
services can be bought; but I never 
thought for an instant that you could 
secure such zeal such as his for anything* 
less than I offered him. And he’s been 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


59 


so superb! He’s given himself up to the 
thing absolutely. He’s followed every 
trail with a scent—with a certainty— 
your other men, your Kilcup and Warren, 
would never have been capable of. I’ve 
seen that; I’m sure of it. He has a won¬ 
derful mind, and in his way he has the 
kindest heart in the world. I’m very, very 
fond of him, and I’m deeply grateful. 
Next to seeing you free, I don’t think I 
have any desire in life so strong as to 
make him happy. I dare say that isn’t 
civilized, either—but it’s what I feel. 
And so we must think of this,” she con¬ 
tinued, eagerly explanative; “we must be 
loyal to him, you and I, as the first of 
all our duties. Don’t you think so?” 

He withdrew his eyes from hers before 
answering. Ilis power of resistance was 
broken. The signs of struggle wei’e 
visible; and yet the quixotic element in 
his own nature helped him to respond to 
that in hers. 

“ I’ll try,” he muttered, looking on the 
ground. 

“You’ll do more than try—you'll suc¬ 
ceed. Only very small souls could grudge 
him what he’s earned, when lie’s worked 
so hard and given himself so unstintingly. 
The very fact that you and I know that 
we love each other will make it easier to 
be true to him.” 

“ Conquest must know that we love 
each other, too,” he declared, with some 
bitterness. 

“ Perhaps he does; but, you see, every 
one has a different way of looking at life, 
and I don’t think that with him it’s a 
thing that counts greatly. I’m not sure 
that I understand him in that respect. 
I only know that you and I, who owe him 
so much, can repay him, by giving him 
what he asks for. Will you promise me 
to do it ?” 

He continued to look downward, as 
though finding it hard to give his word; 
hut when he raised his eyes again, he 
flung back his head with his old air of 
resolution. 

“ I’ll promise to do anything you ask 
me, throughout our lives. I don’t admit 
that Conquest should demand this thing, 
or that he had any right to let you offer 
it. But since you want to give it—and I 
can show you no other token of my love— 
and shall never again be able to tell you 


that T adore you—that I adore you— 
1 promise—to obey.” 

CHAPTER XXV 

HE inspection of the house was 
over, and they had come back to 
the drawing-room for tea. Conquest 
had lavished pains on the occasion, put¬ 
ting flowers in the rooms, and strewing 
handsome objects carelessly about, so as 
to impart to the great shell as much as 
possible the air of being lived in. To 
the tea table he had given particular at¬ 
tention, ordering out the most ornamental 
silver and the costliest porcelain, and 
placing the table itself just where she 
would probably have it in days to come, 
so as to get the effect she produced in 
sitting there, as she liked to do with 
a new picture or piece of furniture. 

On her part, Miriam had made the 
rounds of the rooms with conscientious 
care, observing, admiring, suggesting, 
with just that mingling of shyness and 
interest with which a woman in her situa¬ 
tion would view her future home. Hav¬ 
ing got, by intuition, the idea that he 
was watching for some flaw in her man¬ 
ner, she was determined that he should 
find none. It was the beginning of that 
lifelong schooling to his service to which 
she had vowed herself, though the effort 
would have been easier had he not ren¬ 
dered her self-conscious by scanning her 
so keenly out of his little gray-green eyes. 
Nevertheless, she was pleased with the 
manner in which she was acquitting her¬ 
self, giving him his tea, and taking her 
own, with no sign of embarrassment. As 
on the preceding day, it was this perfec¬ 
tion of acting, as he chose to call it, that 
exasperated his restless suspicion more 
than any display of weakness. 

The thought that she was keeping her 
true self locked against him had, during 
the last twenty-four hours, become an 
obsession, making it impossible for him 
to eat or to sleep. In her serene, impec¬ 
cable bearing he saw nothing but the bars 
up, and the blinds drawn down. An in¬ 
stant of faltering or self-betrayal would 
have admitted him to at least a glimpse 
of what was passing within; but through 
this well-balanced graciousness it was as 
difficult to get at her soul as to read the 
mind of the Venus of Milo in the marble 



60 


HARPER'S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


nobility of her face. He had led her from 
room to room, describing one, explaining 
another, and apologizing for a third, but 
all the while trying to break down her 
guard, only to find, as they returned to 
the point at which they started, that he 
had failed. It was with nerves all un¬ 
strung, and with a lack of self-command 
he w T ould have been, in his saner senses, 
the first to condemn, that he strode up 
at last and rapped sharply at the door 
of her barricaded citadel. 

“ Why did you never tell me that you 
knew Norrie Ford—years ago?” 

He was putting his empty cup on the 
table as he spoke, so that he could avoid 
looking at her. She was glad of this 
respite from his gaze, for she found the 
question startling. Before the scrutiny 
of his eyes was turned on her again, she 
had herself in hand. 

“ I should probably have told you 
sometime.” 

“ Very likely. The odd thing is that 
you didn’t tell me at once.” 

“ It wasn’t so odd—given all the cir¬ 
cumstances.” 

“ It wasn’t so odd, given some of the 
circumstances; but given them all— all — 
I should say, I ought to have known.” 

She allowed a few seconds to pass. 

“ I suppose,” she said, slowly, then, 
“ that may fairly be considered a matter 
of opinion. I don’t see, however, that it 
makes much difference—since you know 
now.” 

“ My knowing or not knowing now isn’t 
quite the point. The fact of importance 
is that you never told me.” 

“ I’m sorry you should take it in that 
way; but since I didn’t—and the matter 
is beyond remedy—I suppose we shouldn’t 
gain anything by discussing it.” 

“ I don’t know about that. It seems 
to me a subject that ought to be—aired.” 

She tried to smile down his aggressive¬ 
ness, succeeding partially, in that he sub¬ 
dued the quarrelsomeness of his voice and 
manner to that affectation of banter be¬ 
hind which he concealed habitually his 
real self, and by which he most easily 
deceived her. 

“Very well,” she laughed; “I’m quite 
ready to air it; only I don’t know just 
how it’s to be done.” 

“ Suppose you were to tell me what 
happened, in your own language?” 


“ If Mr. Ford has told you already, 
as 1 imagine he has, I don’t see that my 
language can be very different from his. 
All the same, I’ll try, since you want 
me to.” 

“ Just so.” 

During the few minutes she took to 
collect her thoughts he could see sweep 
over her features one of those swift, light 
changes—as delicate as the ripple of sum¬ 
mer wind on water—which transformed 
her in an instant from the woman of the 
world to the forest maid, the spirit of 
the indigenous. The mystery of the 
nomadic ages was in her eyes again, as 
she began her narrative, wistfully and 
reminiscently. 

“You see, I’d been thinking a good 
deal of my father and mother. I hadn’t 
known about them very long, and I lived 
with their memory. The Mother Su¬ 
perior had told me a few things—all she 
knew, I suppose—before I left the con¬ 
vent at Quebec: and Mr. and Mrs. Wayne 
—especially Mrs. Wayne—had added the 
rest, That was the chief reason why I 
wanted the studio—so that I could get 
away from the house, which v^as so op¬ 
pressive to me, and—so it seemed to me— 
live with them, with nothing but the 
woods and the hills and the sky about me. 
I could be very happy then—painting 
things I fancied they might have done, 
and pinning them up on the wall. I dare 
say it was foolish, but—” 

“ It was very natural. Go on.” 

“ And then came up all this excitement 
about Norrie Ford. For months the whole 
region talked of nothing else. Nearly 
every one believed he had shot his uncle, 
but, except in the villages, the sympathy 
with him was tremendous. Some people— 
especially the hotel-keepers and those who 
depended on the tourist travel—were for 
law and order; but others said that old 
Chris Ford had got no more than he de¬ 
served. That was the way they used to 
talk. Mr. Wayne was on the side of law 
and order too—naturally—till the trial 
came on; and then he began—” 

“ I know all about that. Go on.” 

“ My own sympathy was with the man 
in prison. I used to dream about him. 
I remembered what Mrs. Wayne had told 
me my mother had done for my father. 
I was proud of that. Though I knew 
only vaguely what it was, I was sure it 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


(51 


was what I should have done, too. So 
when there was talk of breaking into the 
jail, and helping Norrie to escape, I used 
to think how easily I could keep any one 
hidden in my studio. I don’t mean I 
thought of it as a practical thing; it was 
just a dream.” 

“ But a dream that came true.” 

“ Yes; it came true. It was wonderful. 
It was the day Mr. Wayne sentenced him. 
I knew what he was suffering — Mr. 
Wayne, I mean. We were all suffering, 
even Mrs. Wayne who in her gentle way 
was generally so hard. Some people 
thought Mr. Wayne needn’t have done it; 
and I suppose it was just his conscien¬ 
tiousness—because he had such a horror 
of the thing—that drove him on to it. 
He thought he mustn’t shirk his duty. 
But that night at the house was awful. 
We dressed for dinner, and tried to act 
as if nothing frightful had happened— 
but it was as if the hangman was sitting 
with us at the table. At last I couldn’t 
endure it. I went out into the garden— 
you remember it was one of those gardens 
with clipped yews. Out there, in the air, 
T stopped thinking of Mr. Wayne and his 
distress, to think of Norrie Eord. It 
seemed to me as if, in some strange way, 
he belonged to me—that I ought to do 
something—as my mother had done for 
my father. And then—all of a sudden— 
I saw him creep in.” 

“ How did you know it was he?” 

“ I thought it must be, though I was 
only sure of it when I was on the ter¬ 
race, and saw his face. He crept along, 
and crept along— Oh, such a forlorn, 
hopeless, outcast figure! My heart ached 
at the sight of him. I didn’t know -what 
he meant to do, and at first T had no in¬ 
tention of attempting anything. It was 
by degrees that my own thought about 
the studio came back to me. By that 
time he was on the veranda of the house, 
and I was afraid he meant to kill Mr. 
Wayne. T went after him. I thought I 
would entice him away and hide him. 
But the minute he heard my footstep he 
leaped into the house. The next I saw, 
he was talking to Mr. and Mrs. Wayne— 
and something told me he wouldn’t hurt 
them. After that I watched my chance 
till he looked outward, and then I 
beckoned to him. That’s how it hap¬ 
pened.” 


“ And then ?” 

“ After that everything was easy. Lie 
must have told you. I kept him in the 
studio for three weeks, and brought him 
food—and clothing of my father’s. It 
seemed to me that my father was doing 
everything—not I. That’s what made it 
so simple. I know my father would have 
wanted me to do it. I was only the agent 
in carrying out his will.” 

“ That’s one way of looking at it,” 
Conquest said, grimly. 

“ It’s the only way I’ve ever looked at 
it; the only way I ever shall.” 

“ It was a romantic situation,” he ob¬ 
served, when she had given him the out¬ 
lines of the rest of the story. “ I wonder 
you didn’t fall in love with him.” 

He smoothed the colorless line of his 
mustache, as though concealing a smile. 
He had recaptured the teasing tone he 
liked to employ toward her, though its 
nervous sharpness would have betrayed 
him had she suspected his real thoughts. 
While she said nothing in response, the 
lilt of her head was that which he as¬ 
sociated with her moods of indignation 
or pride. 

“ Perhaps you did,” ho persisted. 
Then, as she remained silent: “ Did 
you ?” 

She resolved on a bold step—the 
audacity of that perfect candor she had 
always taken as a guide. 

“ I don’t know that one could call it 
that,” she said, quietly. 

He drew a quick inward breath, clench¬ 
ing his teeth, but keeping his fixed smile. 

“ But you don’t know that one 
couldn’t.” 

“ I can’t define what I felt, at all.” 

“It was just enough,” he pursued, in 
his bantering tone, “to keep you—look¬ 
ing for him back—as you told me— 
that day.” 

She lifted her eyes in a swift glance 
of reproach. 

“ It was that—then.” 

“ But it’s more—now. Isn’t it ?” 

She met him squarely. 

“ T don’t think you’ve any right to 
ask.” 

He laughed aloud, somewhat shrilly. 

“ That’s good!—considering we’re to 
be man and wife.” 

“We’re to be man and wife on a very 


02 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


distinct understanding, to which I’m per¬ 
fectly loyal. I mean to be loyal to it 
always—and to you. 1 shall give you 
everything you ever asked for. If there 
are some things—one thing in particular 
—out of my power to give you, I’ve said 
so from the first, and you’ve told me you 
could do without them. If what I can’t 
give you I’ve given to some one else— 
because—because—I couldn’t help it— 
that’s my secret, and I claim the right 
to guard it.” 

They faced one another across the table 
piled with ornate silver. He had not 
lost his smile. 

“ You’ve the merit of being clear,” was 
his only comment. 

“ You force me to be clear,” she de¬ 
clared, with heightened color, “ and a lit-* 
tie angry. When you asked me to be 
your wife—long- ago—I told you there 
were certain conditions I could never 
fulfil—and you waived them. On that 
ground I’m ready to meet all your wishes, 
and make you a good wife to the utmost 
of my power. I’m eager to do it—be¬ 
cause I honor and respect you as women 
don’t always honor and respect the very 
men they love. I’ve told Norrie Ford, 
and I repeat it to you, that after seeing 
him go free, and restored to his place 
among men, the most ardent desire of 
my life is to make yo\i happy. I’m per¬ 
fectly true; I’m perfectly sincere. What 
more can you ask of me?” 

He looked at her searchingly, while he 
thought hard and rapidly. He could not 
complain that the bars were up and the 
blinds drawn any longer. On the con¬ 
trary, she had let him see into the re¬ 
cesses of her life with a clarity that 
startled him. as pure truth startles often. 
As he sat musing, his pretence at cyni¬ 
cism fell from him, together with some¬ 
thing of his furbished air of youth. She 
saw him grow graver, grayer, older, under 
her very eyes, and was moved with com¬ 
punction—with compassion. Her face 
still aglow, and her hands clasped in her 
lap, she leaned to him across the table, 
speaking in the rich, low voice that al¬ 
ways thrilled him. 

“ What I feel for you is . . . some¬ 
thing so much like . . . love . . . that 
you would never have known the differ¬ 
ence ... if you hadn’t wrung it from me.” 

Though he toyed aimlessly with some 


small silver object on the table, and did 
not look up, her words sent a tremor 
through his frame. The Wise Man with¬ 
in him was very eloquent, repeating 
again and again the sentence she herself 
had used a minute or two ago: What 
more could he ask of her? What more 
could he ask of her, indeed ? after this 
assurance right out of the earnestness 
and honesty of her pure heart ? It was 
enough to satisfy men with far greater 
claims than he had ever put forth, and 
far more pretension than he had ever 
dreamed of cherishing. The Wise Man 
supplied him with two or three phrases 
of reply—neat little phrases that would 
have bound her forever, and yet saved 
his self-esteem. He turned them over 
in his mind and on his tongue, trying 
to add a touch of glamour while he kept 
them terse. He could feel the Wise Man 
fidgeting impatiently, just as he could 
feel her flaming, expectant eyes upon 
him; and still he toyed with the small 
silver object aimlessly, conscious of a 
certain bitter joy in his soul’s suspense. 
Fie had not yet looked up, nor polished 
the Wise Man’s phrases to his taste, when 
a footman threw the door open, and 
Norrie Ford himself walked in. 

The meeting was saved from awkward¬ 
ness chiefly by Ford’s own lack of em¬ 
barrassment. As he crossed the room and 
shook hands, first with Miriam, then with 
Conquest, there was a subdued elation in 
his manner and glance that reduced small 
considerations to nothing. 

“No; I won’t sit down,” he explained, 
hurriedly, and not without excitement, 
“ because I only looked in for a minute. 
I’ve got a cab waiting for me outside. 
The fact is, I ran in to say good-by.” 

“ Good-by?” Miriam questioned. 

“ Not for long, I hope. I’m off—to 
give myself up.” 

“ But why to-night ?” Conquest asked. 
“ What’s the rush ?” 

“ Only that I want to get my word 
in first. They’ve got their eye on me. 
I thought it yesterday, and I know it 
to-day. I want them to see that I’m 
not afraid of them, and so I’m asking 
their hospitality for to-night. I’ve got 
my bag in the cab, and everything ship¬ 
shape. I couldn’t do it without coming 
round for a last word with you, old man; 
and I was going to see you afterward, 


THE WILD OLIVE. 


63 


Hiss Strange. But since I’ve found you 
here—” 

“ You won’t have to,” she finished, 
brightly. “ Fin glad to be able to save 
your time. I’m confident we’re not losing 
you for long; and as I know you’re 
eager, I can only wish you God-speed, and 
be glad to see you go.” 

She held out her hand, frankly, strong¬ 
ly, as one who has no fear. 

“ Now,” she added, turning to Con¬ 
quest, “ I’ll ask you to see me to my 
motor. I shall leave you and Mr. Ford 
together, as I know you must have some 
last detail to arrange.” • 

Ford protested, but she gathered up 
her gloves and furs, and both men ac¬ 
companied her to the street. 

It was an autumn evening, drizzling 
and dark. Up and down Fifth Avenue 
the wet pavements reflected the electric 
lamps like blurred mirrors. There were 
few passengers on foot, but an occasional 
motor whizzed weirdly out of the dark 
and into it. It was because there were 
no other people to be seen that two 
men standing in the rain attracted the 
attention of the three who descended 
Conquest’s steps together. 

“ There they are,” Ford said, jerkily. 
“ By George ! they’ve got ahead of me.” 

Instinctively Miriam clutched his arm, 
while one of the two strangers came for¬ 
ward apologetically. 

“You’re Mr. John Norrie Ford, ain’t 
you ?” 

“ I am.” 

“ I’m very sorry, sir, but I’ve got a 
warrant for your arrest.” 

“ That’s all right,” Ford said, cheerily. 
“ I was on my way to you, anyhow. 
You’ll find my bag in the cab, and every¬ 
thing in style. We’ll drive, if it’s all the 
same to you.” 

“ Yes, sir. Sure thing, sir.” 

The man dropped back a few paces 
courteously, while Ford turned to his 
friends. His air was buoyant. Miriam, 
too. reflected the radiance of her vision 
of his triumph. Conquest alone, looking 
small and white and shrivelled in the 
rain, showed care and fear. 

“I don’t think there’s anything special 
to say,” Ford remarked, with the awk¬ 
wardness of a simple nature at an emo¬ 
tional crisis. “ I’m not very good at 
thanks. Miss Strange knows that al¬ 


ready. But it’s all in here ”—he tapped 
his breast, with a characteristic gesture 
—“ very sacred, very strong.” 

“ We know all about that,” Conquest 
said, unsteadily, with an embarrassment 
like Ford’s own. 

“ Well, then—good-by.” 

“ Good-by.” 

With a long pressure of the hand to 
each, he turned toward his cab. Of the 
two strangers, one took his place beside 
the driver on the box, while the other 
held the door open for his prisoner to 
enter. Ford’s foot was already on the 
step when Miriam cried, “Wait!” 

He turned toward her, as she glided 
across the wet pavement. 

“ Good-by, good-by,” she whispered 
again: and drawing down his face to 
hers, she kissed him, as she had kissed 
him once before, beside the waters of 
Champlain. 

As she drew back from him, Ford’s 
countenance wore the uplifted look of a 
knight who has received the consecration 
to his quest. Even the two strangers 
bowed their heads, as though they had 
witnessed the bestowal of a sacrament. 
To Miriam herself it was the seal set 
on a past that could never be reopened. 
She felt the definiteness with which it 
was ended, as she heard, on her way back 
to Conquest’s side, the door slammed, 
while the cab lumbered away. It seemed 
to her that Conquest shrank from her 
as she approached him. 

“You’ll come to-morrow? I shall be 
home about five.” 

Conquest had put her into her motor, 
drawn the rugs about her, and closed the 
door. As he did so, she noticed some¬ 
thing slow and broken in his movements. 
Leaning from the open window, she held 
out her hand, but he barely touched it. 

“ No,” he said, hoarsely, “ I shall not 
come to-morrow.” 

“ Then, the next day.” 

“No, nor the next day.” 

“Well, when you can. If you let me 
know. I shall stay in, whenever it 
may be.” 

“ You needn’t stay in. I’m not com¬ 
ing any more.” 

“ Oh. don’t say that. Don’t say that,” 
she pleaded. “ You hurt me.” 

“I can’t come, Miriam. Don’t you see? 


04 


HARPER’S MONTHLY MAGAZINE. 


Isn’t it plain enough? I can’t come. I 
thought I could. I tried to think I could 
hold you—in spite of everything. But 
I can’t. I can’t.” 

“ You can hold me—if I stay. I want 
to stay. You mustn’t let me go. 1 want 
you to be happy. You deserve it. You’ve 
done so much for me—and him.” 

It was the stress she laid on the last 
word—a suggestion of something tri¬ 
umphant and enraptured beyond restraint 
—that made him bound back to the centre 
of the pavement. 

“ Go on, Laporte,” he said to the 
chauffeur, in a sharp voice. “ Miss 
Strange is ready.” 


“ No, no,” Miriam cried, stretching 
both hands toward him. “ I’m not ready. 
Keep me. I want to stay.” 

“ Go on,” he cried, sternly, as the 
chauffeur hesitated. “ Miss Strange is 
quite ready. She must go.” 

Standing by the curb, he watched the** 
motor glide off into the misty, lamplit 
darkness. He was watching it still, as 
it overtook the carriage in which Norrie 
Ford had just driven away. As the two 
vehicles passed finally out of his range of 
vision, they seemed to him side by side. 

THE END. 













































>