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Title: The Professor's House (1925)
Author: Willa Cather
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eBook No.: 0608491.txt
Language:  English
Date first posted: November 2006
Date most recently updated: November 2006

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Title: The Professor's House (1925)
Author: Willa Cather


For Jan, because he likes narrative.


Chapter 1

The moving was over and done. Professor St. Peter was alone in the
dismantled house where he had lived ever since his marriage, where he
had worked out his career and brought up his two daughters. It was
almost as ugly as it is possible for a house to be; square, three
stories in height, painted the colour of ashes--the front porch just too
narrow for comfort, with a slanting floor and sagging steps. As he
walked slowly about the empty, echoing rooms on that bright September
morning, the Professor regarded thoughtfully the needless inconveniences
he had put up with for so long; the stairs that were too steep, the
halls that were too cramped, the awkward oak mantles with thick round
posts crowned by bumptious wooden balls, over green-tiled fire-places.

Certain wobbly stair treads, certain creaky boards in the upstairs hall,
had made him wince many times a day for twenty-odd years--and they still
creaked and wobbled. He had a deft hand with tools, he could easily have
fixed them, but there were always so many things to fix, and there was
not time enough to go round. He went into the kitchen, where he had
carpentered under a succession of cooks, went up to the bath-room on the
second floor, where there was only a painted tin tub; the taps were so
old that no plumber could ever screw them tight enough to stop the drip,
the window could only be coaxed up and down by wriggling, and the doors
of the linen closet didn't fit. He had sympathized with his daughters'
dissatisfaction, though he could never quite agree with them that the
bath should be the most attractive room in the house. He had spent the
happiest years of his youth in a house at Versailles where it distinctly
was not, and he had known many charming people who had no bath at all.
However, as his wife said: "If your country has contributed one thing,
at least, to civilization, why not have it?" Many a night, after blowing
out his study lamp, he had leaped into that tub, clad in his pyjamas, to
give it another coat of some one of the many paints that were advertised
to behave like porcelain, and didn't.

The Professor in pyjamas was not an unpleasant sight; for looks, the
fewer clothes he had on, the better. Anything that clung to his body
showed it to be built upon extremely good bones, with the slender hips
and springy shoulders of a tireless swimmer. Though he was born on Lake
Michigan, of mixed stock (Canadian French on one side, and American
farmers on the other), St. Peter was commonly said to look like a
Spaniard. That was possibly because he had been in Spain a good deal,
and was an authority on certain phases of Spanish history. He had a long
brown face, with an oval chin over which he wore a close trimmed
Van-Dyke, like a tuft of shiny black fur. With this silky, very black
hair, he had a tawny skin with gold lights in it, a hawk nose, and
hawk-like eyes--brown and gold and green. They were set in ample
cavities, with plenty of room to move about, under thick, curly, black
eyebrows that turned up sharply at the outer ends, like military
moustaches. His wicked-looking eyebrows made his students call him
Mephistopheles--and there was no evading the searching eyes underneath
them; eyes that in a flash could pick out a friend or an unusual
stranger from a throng. They had lost none of their fire, though just
now the man behind them was feeling a diminution of ardour.

His daughter Kathleen, who had done several successful studies of him in
water-colour, had once said:--"The thing that really makes Papa handsome
is the modelling of his head between the top of his ear and his crown;
it is quite the best thing about him." That part of his head was high,
polished, hard as bronze, and the close-growing black hair threw off a
streak of light along the rounded ridge where the skull was fullest. The
mould of his head on the side was so individual and definite, so far
from casual, that it was more like a statue's head than a man's.

From one of the dismantled windows the Professor happened to look out
into his back garden, and at that cheerful sight he went quickly
downstairs and escaped from the dusty air and brutal light of the empty

His walled-in garden had been the comfort of his life--and it was the
one thing his neighbours held against him. He started to make it soon
after the birth of his first daughter, when his wife began to be
unreasonable about his spending so much time at the lake and on the
tennis court. In this undertaking he got help and encouragement from his
landlord, a retired German farmer, good-natured and lenient about
everything but spending money. If the Professor happened to have a new
baby at home, or a faculty dinner, or an illness in the family, or any
unusual expense, Appelhoff cheerfully waited for the rent; but pay for
repairs he would not. When it was a question of the garden, however, the
old man sometimes stretched a point. He helped his tenant with seeds and
slips and sound advice, and with his twisted old back. He even spent a
little money to bear half the expense of the stucco wall.

The Professor had succeeded in making a French garden in Hamilton. There
was not a blade of grass; it was a tidy half-acre of glistening gravel
and glistening shrubs and bright flowers. There were trees, of course; a
spreading horse-chestnut, a row of slender Lombardy poplars at the back,
along the white wall, and in the middle two symmetrical, round-topped
linden-trees. Masses of green-brier grew in the corners, the prickly
stems interwoven and clipped until they were like great bushes. There
was a bed for salad herbs. Salmon-pink geraniums dripped over the wall.
The French marigolds and dahlias were just now at their best--such
dahlias as no one else in Hamilton could grow. St. Peter had tended this
bit of ground for over twenty years, and had got the upper hand of it.
In the spring, when home-sickness for other lands and the fret of things
unaccomplished awoke, he worked off his discontent here. In the long hot
summers, when he could not go abroad, he stayed at home with his garden,
sending his wife and daughters to Colorado to escape the humid prairie
heat, so nourishing to wheat and corn, so exhausting to human beings. In
those months when he was a bachelor again, he brought down his books and
papers and worked in a deck chair under the linden-trees; breakfasted
and lunched and had his tea in the garden. And it was there he and Tom
Outland used to sit and talk half through the warm, soft nights.

On this September morning, however, St. Peter knew that he could not
evade the unpleasant effects of change by tarrying among his autumn
flowers. He must plunge in like a man, and get used to the feeling that
under his work-room there was a dead, empty house. He broke off a
geranium blossom, and with it still in his hand went resolutely up two
flights of stairs to the third floor where, under the slope of the
mansard roof, there was one room still furnished--that is, if it had
ever been furnished.

The low ceiling sloped down on three sides, the slant being interrupted
on the east by a single square window, swinging outward on hinges and
held ajar by a hook in the sill. This was the sole opening for light and
air. Walls and ceiling alike were covered with a yellow paper which had
once been very ugly, but had faded into inoffensive neutrality. The
matting on the floor was worn and scratchy. Against the wall stood an
old walnut table, with one leaf up, holding piles of orderly papers.
Before it was a cane-backed office chair that turned on a screw. This
dark den had for many years been the Professor's study.

Downstairs, off the back parlour, he had a show study, with roomy
shelves where his library was housed, and a proper desk at which he
wrote letters. But it was a sham. This was the place where he worked.
And not he alone. For three weeks in the fall, and again three in the
spring, he shared his cuddy with Augusta, the sewing-woman, niece of his
old landlord, a reliable, methodical spinster, a German Catholic and
very devout.

Since Augusta finished her day's work at five o'clock, and the
Professor, on week-days, worked here only at night, they did not elbow
each other too much. Besides, neither was devoid of consideration. Every
evening, before she left, Augusta swept up the scraps from the floor,
rolled her patterns, closed the sewing-machine, and picked ravellings
off the box-couch, so that there would be no threads to stick to the
Professor's old smoking-jacket if he should happen to lie down for a
moment in working-hours.

St. Peter, in his turn, when he put out his lamp after midnight, was
careful to brush away ashes and tobacco crumbs--smoking was very
distasteful to Augusta--and to open the hinged window back as far as it
would go, on the second hook, so that the night wind might carry away
the smell of his pipe as much as possible. The unfinished dresses which
she left hanging on the forms, however, were often so saturated with
smoke that he knew she found it a trial to work on them the next

These "forms" were the subject of much banter between them. The one
which Augusta called "the bust" stood in the darkest corner of the room,
upon a high wooden chest in which blankets and winter wraps were yearly
stored. It was a headless, armless female torso, covered with strong
black cotton, and so richly developed in the part for which it was named
that the Professor once explained to Augusta how, in calling it so, she
followed a natural law of language, termed, for convenience, metonymy.
Augusta enjoyed the Professor when he was risque since she was sure of
his ultimate delicacy. Though this figure looked so ample and billowy
(as if you might lay your head upon its deep-breathing softness and rest
safe forever), if you touched it you suffered a severe shock, no matter
how many times you had touched it before. It presented the most
unsympathetic surface imaginable. Its hardness was not that of wood,
which responds to concussion with living vibration and is stimulating to
the hand, nor that of felt, which drinks something from the fingers. It
was a dead, opaque, lumpy solidity, like chunks of putty, or tightly
packed sawdust--very disappointing to the tactile sense, yet somehow
always fooling you again. For no matter how often you had bumped up
against that torso, you could never believe that contact with it would
be as bad as it was.

The second form was more self-revelatory; a full-length female figure in
a smart wire skirt with a trim metal waist line. It had no legs, as one
could see all too well, no viscera behind its glistening ribs, and its
bosom resembled a strong wire bird-cage. But St. Peter contended that it
had a nervous system. When Augusta left it clad for the night in a new
party dress for Rosamond or Kathleen, it often took on a sprightly,
tricky air, as if it were going out for the evening to make a great show
of being harum-scarum, giddy, folle. It seemed just on the point of
tripping downstairs, or on tiptoe, waiting for the waltz to begin. At
times the wire lady was most convincing in her pose as a woman of light
behaviour, but she never fooled St. Peter. He had his blind spots, but
he had never been taken in by one of her kind!

Augusta had somehow got it into her head that these forms were
unsuitable companions for one engaged in scholarly pursuits, and she
periodically apologized for their presence when she came to install
herself and fulfil her "time" at the house.

"Not at all, Augusta," the Professor had often said. "If they were good
enough for Monsieur Bergeret, they are certainly good enough for me."

This morning, as St. Peter was sitting in his desk chair, looking
musingly at the pile of papers before him, the door opened and there
stood Augusta herself. How astonishing that he had not heard her heavy,
deliberate tread on the now uncarpeted stair!

"Why, Professor St. Peter! I never thought of finding you here, or I'd
have knocked. I guess we will have to do our moving together."

St. Peter had risen--Augusta loved his manners--but he offered her the
sewing-machine chair and resumed his seat.

"Sit down, Augusta, and we'll talk it over. I'm not moving just
yet--don't want to disturb all my papers. I'm staying on until I finish
a piece of writing. I've seen your uncle about it. I'll work here, and
board at the new house. But this is confidential. If it were noised
about, people might begin to say that Mrs. St. Peter and I had--how do
they put it, parted, separated?"

Augusta dropped her eyes in an indulgent smile. "I think people in your
station would say separated."

"Exactly; a good scientific term, too. Well, we haven't, you know. But
I'm going to write on here for a while."

"Very well, sir. And I won't always be getting in your way now. In the
new house you have a beautiful study downstairs, and I have a light,
airy room on the third floor."

"Where you won't smell smoke, eh?"

"Oh, Professor, I never really minded!" Augusta spoke with feeling. She
rose and took up the black bust in her long arms.

The Professor also rose, very quickly. "What are you doing?"

She laughed. "Oh, I'm not going to carry them through the street,
Professor! The grocery boy is downstairs with his cart, to wheel them

"Wheel them over?"

"Why, yes, to the new house, Professor. I've come a week before my
regular time, to make curtains and hem linen for Mrs. St. Peter. I'll
take everything over this morning except the sewing-machine--that's too
heavy for the cart, so the boy will come back for it with the delivery
wagon. Would you just open the door for me, please?"

"No, I won't! Not at all. You don't need her to make curtains. I can't
have this room changed if I'm going to work here. He can take the
sewing-machine--yes. But put her back on the chest where she belongs,
please. She does very well there." St. Peter had got to the door, and
stood with his back against it.

Augusta rested her burden on the edge of the chest.

"But next week I'll be working on Mrs. St. Peter's clothes, and I'll
need the forms. As the boy's here, he'll just wheel them over," she said

"I'm damned if he will! They shan't be wheeled. They stay right there in
their own place. You shan't take away my ladies. I never heard of such a

Augusta was vexed with him now, and a little ashamed of him. "But,
Professor, I can't work without my forms. They've been in your way all
these years, and you've always complained of them, so don't be contrary,

"I never complained, Augusta. Perhaps of certain disappointments they
recalled, or of cruel biological necessities they imply--but of them
individually, never! Go and buy some new ones for your airy atelier, as
many as you wish--I'm said to be rich now, am I not?--Go buy, but you
can't have my women. That's final."

Augusta looked down her nose as she did at church when the dark sins
were mentioned. "Professor," she said severely, "I think this time you
are carrying a joke too far. You never used to." From the tilt of her
chin he saw that she felt the presence of some improper suggestion.

"No matter what you think, you can't have them." They considered, both
were in earnest now. Augusta was first to break the defiant silence.

"I suppose I am to be allowed to take my patterns?"

"Your patterns? Oh, yes, the cut-out things you keep in the couch with
my old note-books? Certainly, you can have them. Let me lift it for
you." He raised the hinged top of the box-couch that stood against the
wall, under the slope of the ceiling. At one end of the upholstered box
were piles of notebooks and bundles of manuscript tied up in square
packages with mason's cord. At the other end were many little rolls of
patterns, cut out of newspapers and tied with bits of ribbon, gingham,
silk, georgette; notched charts which followed the changing stature and
figures of the Misses St. Peter from early childhood to womanhood. In
the middle of the box, patterns and manuscripts interpenetrated.

"I see we shall have some difficulty in separating our life work,
Augusta. We've kept our papers together a long while now."

"Yes, Professor. When I first came to sew for Mrs. St. Peter, I never
thought I should grow grey in her service."

He started. What other future could Augusta possibly have expected? This
disclosure amazed him.

"Well, well, we mustn't think mournfully of it, Augusta. Life doesn't
turn out for any of us as we plan." He stood and watched her large slow
hands travel about among the little packets, as she put them into his
waste-basket to carry them down to the cart. He had often wondered how
she managed to sew with hands that folded and unfolded as rigidly as
umbrellas--no light French touch about Augusta; when she sewed on a bow,
it stayed there. She herself was tall, large-boned, flat and stiff, with
a plain, solid face, and brown eyes not destitute of fun. As she knelt
by the couch, sorting her patterns, he stood beside her, his hand on the
lid, though it would have stayed up unsupported. Her last remark had
troubled him.

"What a fine lot of hair you have, Augusta! You know I think it's rather
nice, that grey wave on each side. Gives it character. You'll never need
any of this false hair that's in all the shop windows."

"There's altogether too much of that, Professor. So many of my customers
are using it now--ladies you wouldn't expect would. They say most of it
was cut off the heads of dead Chinamen. Really, it's got to be such a
frequent thing that the priest spoke against it only last Sunday."

"Did he, indeed? Why, what could he say? Seems such a personal matter."

"Well, he said it was getting to be a scandal in the Church, and a
priest couldn't go to see a pious woman any more without finding
switches and rats and transformations lying about her room, and it was

"Goodness gracious, Augusta! What business has a priest going to see a
woman in the room where she takes off these ornaments--or to see her
without them?"

Augusta grew red, and tried to look angry, but her laugh narrowly missed
being a giggle. "He goes to give them the Sacrament, of course,
Professor! You've made up your mind to be contrary today, haven't you?"

"You relieve me greatly. Yes, I suppose in cases of sudden illness the
hair would be lying about where it was lightly taken off. But as you
first quoted the priest, Augusta, it was rather shocking. You'll never
convert me back to the religion of my fathers now, if you're going to
sew in the new house and I'm going to work on here. Who is ever to
remind me when it's All Souls' day, or Ember day, or Maundy Thursday, or

Augusta said she must be leaving. St. Peter heard her well-known tread
as she descended the stairs. How much she reminded him of, to be sure!
She had been most at the house in the days when his daughters were
little girls and needed so many clean frocks. It was in those very years
that he was beginning his great work; when the desire to do it and the
difficulties attending such a project strove together in his mind like
Macbeth's two spent swimmers--years when he had the courage to say to
himself: "I will do this dazzling, this beautiful, this utterly
impossible thing!"

During the fifteen years he had been working on his Spanish Adventures
in North America, this room had been his centre of operations. There had
been delightful excursions and digressions; the two Sabbatical years
when he was in Spain studying records, two summers in the Southwest on
the trail of his adventurers, another in Old Mexico, dashes to France to
see his foster-brothers. But the notes and the records and the ideas
always came back to this room. It was here they were digested and
sorted, and woven into their proper place in his history.

Fairly considered, the sewing-room was the most inconvenient study a man
could possibly have, but it was the one place in the house where he
could get isolation, insulation from the engaging drama of domestic
life. No one was tramping over him, and only a vague sense, generally
pleasant, of what went on below came up the narrow stairway. There were
certainly no other advantages. The furnace heat did not reach the third
floor. There was no way to warm the sewing-room, except by a rusty,
round gas stove with no flue--a stove which consumed gas imperfectly and
contaminated the air. To remedy this, the window must be left
open--otherwise, with the ceiling so low, the air would speedily become
unfit to breathe. If the stove were turned down, and the window left
open a little way, a sudden gust of wind would blow the wretched thing
out altogether, and a deeply absorbed man might be asphyxiated before he
knew it. The Professor had found that the best method, in winter, was to
turn the gas on full and keep the window wide on the hook, even if he
had to put on a leather jacket over his working-coat. By that
arrangement he had somehow managed to get air enough to work by.

He wondered now why he had never looked about for a better stove, a
newer model; or why he had not at least painted this one, flaky with
rust. But he had been able to get on only by neglecting negative
comforts. He was by no means an ascetic. He knew that he was terribly
selfish about personal pleasures, fought for them. If a thing gave him
delight, he got it, if he sold his shirt for it. By doing without many
so-called necessities he had managed to have his luxuries. He might, for
instance, have had a convenient electric drop-light attached to the
socket above his writing table. Preferably he wrote by a faithful
kerosene lamp which he filled and tended himself. But sometimes he found
that the oil-can in the closet was empty; then, to get more, he would
have had to go down through the house to the cellar, and on his way he
would almost surely become interested in what the children were doing or
in what his wife was doing--or he would notice that the kitchen linoleum
was breaking under the sink where the maid kicked it up, and he would
stop to tack it down. On that perilous journey down through the human
house he might lose his mood, his enthusiasm, even his temper. So when
the lamp was empty--and that usually occurred when he was in the middle
of a most important passage--he jammed an eyeshade on his forehead and
worked by the glare of that tormenting pear-shaped bulb, sticking out of
the wall on a short curved neck just about four feet above his table. It
was hard on eyes even as good as his. But once at his desk, he didn't
dare quit it. He had found that you can train the mind to be active at a
fixed time, just as the stomach is trained to be hungry at certain hours
of the day.

If someone in the family happened to be sick, he didn't go to his study
at all. Two evenings of the week he spent with his wife and daughters,
and one evening he and his wife went out to dinner, or to the theatre or
a concert. That left him only four. He had Saturdays and Sundays, of
course, and on those two days he worked like a miner under a landslide.
Augusta was not allowed to come on Saturday, though she was paid for
that day. All the while that he was working so fiercely by night, he was
earning his living during the day; carrying full university work and
feeding himself out to hundreds of students in lectures and
consultations. But that was another life.

St. Peter had managed for years to live two lives, both of them very
intense. He would willingly have cut down on his university work, would
willingly have given his students chaff and sawdust--many instructors
had nothing else to give them and got on very well--but his misfortune
was that he loved youth--he was weak to it, it kindled him. If there was
one eager eye, one doubting, critical mind, one lively curiosity in a
whole lecture-room full of commonplace boys and girls, he was its
servant. That ardour could command him. It hadn't worn out with years,
this responsiveness, any more than the magnetic currents wear out; it
had nothing to do with Time.

But he had burned his candle at both ends to some purpose--he had got
what he wanted. By many petty economies of purse, he had managed to be
extravagant with not a cent in the world but with his professor's
salary--he didn't, of course, touch his wife's small income from her
father. By eliminations and combinations so many and subtle that it now
made his head ache to think of them, he had done full justice to his
university lectures, and at the same time carried on an engrossing piece
of creative work. A man can do anything if he wishes to enough, St.
Peter believed. Desire is creation, is the magical element in that
process. If there were an instrument by which to measure desire, one
could foretell achievement. He had been able to measure it, roughly,
just once, in his student Tom Outland,--and he had foretold.

There was one fine thing about this room that had been the scene of so
many defeats and triumphs. From the window he could see, far away, just
on the horizon, a long, blue, hazy smear--Lake Michigan, the inland sea
of his childhood. Whenever he was tired and dull, when the white pages
before him remained blank or were full of scratched out sentences, then
he left his desk, took the train to a little station twelve miles away,
and spent a day on the lake with his sail-boat; jumping out to swim,
floating on his back alongside, then climbing into his boat again.

When he remembered his childhood, he remembered blue water. There were
certain human figures against it, of course; his practical,
strong-willed Methodist mother, his gentle, weaned-away Catholic father,
the old Kanuck grandfather, various brothers and sisters. But the great
fact in life, the always possible escape from dullness, was the lake.
The sun rose out of it, the day began there; it was like an open door
that nobody could shut. The land and all its dreariness could never
close in on you. You had only to look at the lake, and you knew you
would soon be free. It was the first thing one saw in the morning,
across the rugged cow pasture studded with shaggy pines, and it ran
through the days like the weather, not a thing thought about, but a part
of consciousness itself. When the ice chunks came in of a winter
morning, crumbly and white, throwing off gold and rose-coloured
reflections from a copper-coloured sun behind the grey clouds, he didn't
observe the detail or know what it was that made him happy; but now,
forty years later, he could recall all its aspects perfectly. They had
made pictures in him when he was unwilling and unconscious, when his
eyes were merely open wide.

When he was eight years old, his parents sold the lakeside farm and
dragged him and his brothers and sisters out to the wheat lands of
central Kansas. St. Peter nearly died of it. Never could he forget the
few moments on the train when that sudden, innocent blue across the sand
dunes was dying for ever from his sight. It was like sinking for the
third time. No later anguish, and he had had his share, went so deep or
seemed so final. Even in his long, happy student years with the
Thierault family in France, that stretch of blue water was the one thing
he was home-sick for. In the summer he used to go with the Thierault
boys to Brittany or to the Languedoc coast; but his lake was itself, as
the Channel and the Mediterranean were themselves. "No," he used to tell
the boys, who were always asking him about le Michigan, "it is
altogether different. It is a sea, and yet it is not salt. It is blue,
but quite another blue. Yes, there are clouds and mists and sea-gulls,
but-I don't know, il est toujours plus naïf."

Afterward, when St. Peter was looking for a professorship, because he
was very much in love and must marry at once, out of the several
positions offered him he took the one at Hamilton, not because it was
the best, but because it seemed to him that any place near the lake was
a place where one could live. The sight of it from his study window
these many years had been of more assistance than all the convenient
things he had done without would have been.

Just in that corner, under Augusta's archaic "forms," he had always
meant to put the filing-cabinets he had never spared the time or money
to buy. They would have held all his notes and pamphlets, and the
spasmodic rough drafts of passages far ahead. But he never got them, and
now he really didn't need them; it would be like locking the stable
after the horse is stolen. For the horse was gone--that was the thing he
was feeling most just now. In spite of all he'd neglected, he had
completed his Spanish Adventurers in eight volumes--without filing
cabinets or money or a decent study or a decent stove--and without
encouragement, Heaven knew! For all the interest the first three volumes
awoke in the world, he might as well have dropped them into Lake
Michigan. They had been timidly reviewed by other professors of history,
in technical and educational journals. Nobody saw that he was trying to
do something quite different--they merely thought he was trying to do
the usual thing, and had not succeeded very well. They recommended to
him the more even and genial style of John Fiske.

St. Peter hadn't, he could honestly say, cared a whoop--not in those
golden days. When the whole plan of his narrative was coming clearer and
clearer all the time, when he could feel his hand growing easier with
his material, when all the foolish conventions about that kind of
writing were falling away and his relation with his work was becoming
every day more simple, natural, and happy--, he cared as little as the
Spanish Adventurers themselves what Professor So-and-So thought about
them. With the fourth volume he began to be aware that a few young men,
scattered about the United States and England, were intensely interested
in his experiment. With the fifth and sixth, they began to express their
interest in lectures and in print. The two last volumes brought him a
certain international reputation and what were called rewards--among
them, the Oxford prize for history, with its five thousand pounds, which
had built him the new house into which he did not want to move.

"Godfrey," his wife had gravely said one day, when she detected an
ironical turn in some remark he made about the new house, "is there
something you would rather have done with that money than to have built
a house with it?"

"Nothing, my dear, nothing. If with that cheque I could have brought
back the fun I had writing my history, you'd never have got your house.
But one couldn't get that for twenty thousand dollars. The great
pleasures don't come so cheap. There is nothing else, thank you."

Chapter 2

That evening St. Peter was in the new house, dressing for dinner. His
two daughters and their husbands were dining with them, also an English
visitor. Mrs. St. Peter heard the shower going as she passed his door.
She entered his room and waited until he came out in his bath-robe,
rubbing his wet, ink-black hair with a towel.

"Surely you'll admit that you like having your own bath," she said,
looking past him into the glittering white cubicle, flooded with
electric light, which he had just quitted.

"Whoever said I didn't? But more than anything else, I like my closets.
I like having room for all my clothes, without hanging one coat on top
of another, and not having to get down on my marrow-bones and fumble in
dark corners to find my shoes."

"Of course you do. And it's much more dignified, at your age, to have a
room of your own."

"It's convenient, certainly, though I hope I'm not so old as to be
personally repulsive?" He glanced into the mirror and straightened his
shoulders as if he were trying on a coat.

Mrs. St. Peter laughed,--a pleasant, easy laugh with genuine amusement
in it. "No, you are very handsome, my dear, especially in your
bath-robe. You grow better-looking and more intolerant all the time."

"Intolerant?" He put down his shoe and looked up at her. The thing that
stuck in his mind constantly was that she was growing more and more
intolerant, about everything except her sons-in-law; that she would
probably continue to do so, and that he must school himself to bear it.

"I suppose it's a natural process," she went on, "but you ought to try,
try seriously, I mean, to curb it where it affects the happiness of your
daughters. You are too severe with Scott and Louie. All young men have
foolish vanities--you had plenty."

St. Peter sat with his elbows on his knees, leaning forward and playing
absently with the tassels of his bath-robe. "Why, Lillian, I have
exercised the virtue of patience with those two young men more than with
all the thousands of young ruffians who have gone through my
class-rooms. My forbearance is overstrained, it's gone flat. That's
what's the matter with me."

"Oh, Godfrey, how can you be such a poor judge of your own behaviour?
But we won't argue about it now. You'll put on your dinner coat? And do
try to be sympathetic and agreeable to-night."

Half an hour later Mr. and Mrs. Scott McGregor and Mr. and Mrs. Louie
Marsellus arrived, and soon after them the English scholar, Sir Edgar
Spilling, so anxious to do the usual thing in America that he wore a
morning street suit. He was a gaunt, rugged, large-boned man of fifty,
with long legs and arms, a pear-shaped face, and a drooping, pre-war
moustache. His specialty was Spanish history, and he had come all the
way to Hamilton, from his cousin's place in Saskatchewan, to enquire
about some of Doctor St. Peter's "sources."

Introductions over, it was the Professor's son-in-law, Louie Marsellus,
who took Sir Edgar in hand. He remembered having met in China a Walter
Spilling, who was, it turned out, a brother of Sir Edgar. Marsellus had
also a brother there, engaged in the silk trade. They exchanged opinions
on conditions of the Orient, while young McGregor put on his horn-rimmed
spectacles and roamed restlessly up and down the library. The two
daughters sat near their mother, listening to the talk about China.

Mrs. St. Peter was very fair, pink and gold,--a pale gold, now that she
was becoming a little grey. The tints of her face and hair and lashes
were so soft that one did not realize, on first meeting her, how very
definitely and decidedly her features were cut, under the smiling
infusion of colour. When she was annoyed or tired, the lines became
severe. Rosamond, the elder daughter, resembled her mother in feature,
though her face was heavier.

Her colouring was altogether different; dusky black hair, deep dark
eyes, a soft white skin with rich brunette red in her cheeks and lips.
Nearly everyone considered Rosamond brilliantly beautiful. Her father,
though he was very proud of her, demurred from the general opinion. He
thought her too tall, with a rather awkward carriage. She stooped a
trifle, and was wide in the hips and shoulders. She had, he sometimes
remarked to her mother, exactly the wide femur and flat shoulder-blade
of his old slab-sided Kanuck grandfather. For a tree-hewer they were an
asset. But St. Peter was very critical. Most people saw only Rosamond's
smooth black head and white throat, and the red of her curved lips that
was like the duskiness of dark, heavy-scented roses.

Kathleen, the younger daughter, looked even younger than she was--had
the slender, undeveloped figure then very much in vogue. She was pale,
with light hazel eyes, and her hair was hazel-coloured with distinctly
green glints to it. To her father there was something very charming in
the curious shadows her wide cheekbones cast over her cheeks, and in the
spirited tilt of her head. Her figure in profile, he used to tell her,
looked just like an interrogation point.

Mrs. St. Peter frankly liked having a son-in-law who could tot up
acquaintances with Sir Edgar from the Soudan to Alaska. Scott, she saw,
was going to be sulky because Sir Edgar and Marsellus were talking about
things beyond his little circle of interests. She made no effort to draw
him into the conversation, but let him prowl like a restless leopard
among the books. The Professor was amiable, but quiet. When the second
maid came to the door and signalled that dinner was ready--dinner was
signalled, not announced--Mrs. St. Peter took Sir Edgar and guided him
to his seat at her right, while the others found their usual places.
After they had finished the soup, she had some difficulty in summoning
the little maid to take away the plates, and explained to her guest that
the electric bell, under the table, wasn't connected as yet--they had
been in the new house less than a week, and the trials of building were
not over.

"Oh? Then if I had happened along a fortnight ago I shouldn't have found
you here? But it must be very interesting, building you own house and
arranging it as you like," he responded.

Marsellus, silenced during the soup, came in with a warm smile and a
slight shrug of the shoulders. "Building is the word with us, Sir Edgar,
my--oh, isn't it! My wife and I are in the throes of it. We are building
a country house, rather an ambitious affair, out on the wooded shores of
Lake Michigan. Perhaps you would like to run out in my car and see it?
What are your engagements for to-morrow? I can take you out in half an
hour, and we can lunch at the Country Club. We have a magnificent site;
primeval forest behind us and the lake in front, with our own beach--my
father-in-law, you must know, is a formidable swimmer. We've been
singularly fortunate in architect,--a young Norwegian, trained in Paris.
He's doing us a Norwegian manor house, very harmonious with its setting,
just the right thing for rugged pine woods and high headlands."

Sir Edgar seemed most willing to make this excursion, and allowed
Marsellus to fix an hour, greatly to the surprise of McGregor, whose
look at his wife implied that he entertained serious doubts whether this
baronet with walrus moustaches amounted to much after all.

The engagement made, Louie turned to Mrs. St. Peter. "And won't you come
too, Dearest? You haven't been out since we got our wonderful
wrought-iron door fittings from Chicago. We found just the right sort of
hinge and latch, Sir Edgar, and had all the others copied from it. None
of your Colonial glass knobs for us!"

Mrs. St. Peter sighed. Scott and Kathleen had just glass-knobbed their
new bungalow throughout, yet she knew Louie didn't mean to hurt their
feelings--it was his heedless enthusiasm that made him often say
untactful things.

"We've been extremely fortunate in getting all the little things right,"
Louie was gladly confiding to Sir Edgar. "There's really not a flaw in
the conception. I can say that, because I'm a mere onlooker; the whole
thing's been done by the Norwegian and my wife and Mrs. St. Peter. And,"
he put his hand down affectionately upon Mrs. St. Peter's bare arm,
"and we've named our place! I've already ordered the house stationary.
No, Rosamond, I won't keep our little secret any longer. It will please
your father, as well as your mother. We call our place 'Outland,' Sir

He dropped the announcement and drew back. His mother-in-law rose to
it--Spilling could scarcely be expected to understand.

"How splendid, Louie! A real inspiration."

"Yes, isn't it? I knew that would go to your hearts." The Professor had
expressed his emotion only by lifting his heavy, sharply uptwisted

"Let me explain, Sir Edgar," Marsellus went on eagerly. "We
have named our place for Tom Outland, a brilliant young American
scientist and inventor, who was killed in Flanders, fighting with the
Foreign Legion, the second year of the war, when he was barely thirty
years of age. Before he dashed off to the front, this youngster had
discovered the principle of the Outland vacuum, worked out the
construction of the bulkheaded vacuum that is revolutionizing aviation.
He had not only invented it, but, curiously enough for such a hot-headed
fellow, had taken pains to protect it. He had no time to communicate his
discovery or to commercialize it--simply bolted to the front and left
the most important discovery of his time to take care of itself."

Sir Edgar, fork arrested, looked a trifle dazed. "Am I to understand
that you are referring to the inventor of the Outland vacuum?"

Louie was delighted. "Exactly that! Of course you would know all about
it. My wife was young Outland's fiancée--is virtually his widow. Before
he went to France he made a will in her favour; he had no living
relatives, indeed. Toward the close of the war we began to sense the
importance of what Outland had been doing in his laboratory--I am an
electrical engineer by profession. We called in the assistance of
experts and got the idea over from the laboratory to the trade. The
monetary returns have been and are, of course, large."

While Louie paused long enough to have some intercourse with the roast
before it was taken away, Sir Edgar remarked that he himself had been in
the Air Service during the war, in the construction department, and that
it was most extraordinary to come thus by chance upon the genesis of the
Outland vacuum.

"You see," Louie told him, "Outland got nothing out of it but death and
glory. Naturally, we feel terribly indebted. We feel it's our first duty
in life to use that money as he would have wished--we've endowed
scholarships in his own university here, and that sort of thing. But our
house we want to have as a sort of memorial to him. We are going to
transfer his laboratory there, if the university will permit,--all the
apparatus he worked with. We have a room for his library and pictures.
When his brother scientists come to Hamilton to look him up, to get
information about him, as they are doing now already, at Outland they
will find his books and instruments, all the sources of his

"Even Rosamond," murmured McGregor, his eyes upon his cool green salad.
He was struggling with a desire to shout to the Britisher that Marsellus
had never so much as seen Tom Outland, while he, McGregor, had been his
classmate and friend.

Sir Edgar was as much interested as he was mystified. He had come here
to talk about manuscripts shut up in certain mouldering monasteries in
Spain, but he had almost forgotten them in the turn the conversation had
taken. He was genuinely interested in aviation and all its problems. He
asked few questions, and his comments were almost entirely limited to
the single exclamation, "Oh!" But this, from his lips, could mean a
great many things; indifference, sharp interrogation, sympathetic
interest, the nervousness of a modest man on hearing disclosures of a
delicately personal nature. McGregor, before the others had finished
dessert, drew a big cigar from his pocket and lit it at one of the table
candles, as the horridest thing he could think of to do.

When they left the dining-room, St. Peter, who had scarcely spoken
during dinner, took Sir Edgar's arm and said to his wife: "If you will
excuse us, my dear, we have some technical matters to discuss." Leading
his guest into the library, he shut the door.

Marsellus looked distinctly disappointed. He stood gazing wistfully
after them, like a little boy told to go to bed. Louie's eyes were
vividly blue, like hot sapphires, but the rest of his face had little
colour--he was a rather mackerel-tinted man. Only his eyes, and his
quick, impetuous movements, gave out the zest for life with which he was
always bubbling. There was nothing Semitic about his countenance except
his nose--that took the lead. It was not at all an unpleasing feature,
but it grew out of his face with masterful strength, well-rooted, like a
vigorous oak-tree growing out of a hill-side.

Mrs. St. Peter, always concerned for Louie, asked him to come and look
at the new rug in her bedroom. This revived him; he took her arm, and
they went upstairs together.

McGregor was left with the two sisters. "Outland, outlandish!" he
muttered, while he fumbled about for an ashtray. Rosamond pretended not
to hear him, but the dusky red on her cheeks crept a little farther
toward her ears.

"Remember, we are leaving early, Scott," said Kathleen. "You have to
finish your editorial to-night."

"Surely you don't make him work at night, too?" Rosamond asked. "Doesn't
he have to rest his brain sometimes? Humour is always better if it's

"Oh, that's the trouble with me," Scott assured her. "Unless I keep my
nose to the grindstone, I'm too damned spontaneous and tell the truth,
and the public won't stand for it. It's not an editorial I have to
finish, it's the daily prose poem I do for the syndicate, for which I
get twenty-five beans. This is the motif:

"'When your pocket is under-moneyed and your fancy is over-girled, you'll
have to admit while you're cursing it, it's a mighty darned good old
world.' Bang, bang!"

He threw his cigar-end savagely into the fireplace. He knew that
Rosamond detested his editorials and his jingles. She had fastidious
taste in literature, like her mother--though he didn't think she had
half the general intelligence of his wife. She also, now that she was
Tom Outland's heir, detested to hear sums of money mentioned, especially
small sums.

After the good-nights were said, and they were outside the front door,
McGregor seized his wife's elbow and rushed her down the walk to the
gate where his Ford was parked, breaking out in her ear as they ran:
"Now what the hell is a virtual widow? Does he mean a virtuous widow, or
the reverseous? Bang, bang!"

Chapter 3

St. Peter awoke the next morning with the wish that he could be
transported on his mattress from the new house to the old. But it was
Sunday, and on that day his wife always breakfasted with him. There was
no way out; they would meet at compt.

When he reached the dining-room Lillian was already at the table, behind
the percolator. "Good morning, Godfrey. I hope you had a good night."
Her tone just faintly implied that he hadn't deserved one.

"Excellent. And you?"

"I had a good conscience." She smiled ruefully at him. "How can you let
yourself be ungracious in your own house?"

"Oh, dear! And I went to sleep happy in the belief that I hadn't said
anything amiss the whole evening."

"Nor anything aright, that I heard. Your disapproving silence can kill
the life of any company."

"It didn't seem to last night. You're entirely wrong about Marsellus. He
doesn't notice."

"He's too polite to take notice, but he feels it. He's very sensitive,
under a well-schooled impersonal manner."

St. Peter laughed. "Nonsense, Lillian!" If he were, he couldn't pick up
a dinner party and walk off with it, as he almost always does. I don't
mind when it's our dinner, but I hate seeing him do it in other people's

"Be fair, Godfrey. You know that if you'd once begun to talk about your
work in Spain, Louie would have followed it up with enthusiasm. Nobody
is prouder of you than he."

"That's why I kept quiet. Support can be too able--certainly too

"There you are; the dog in the manger! You won't let him discuss your
affairs, and you are annoyed when he talks about his own."

"I admit I can't bear it when he talks about Outland as his affair. (I
mean Tom, of course, not their confounded place!) This calling it after
him passes my comprehension. And Rosamond's standing for it! It's brazen

Mrs. St. Peter frowned pensively. "I knew you wouldn't like it, but they
were so pleased about it, and their motives are so generous--"

"Hang it, Outland doesn't need their generosity! They've got everything
he ought to have had, and the least they can do is to be quiet about it,
and not convert his very bones into a personal asset. It all comes down
to this, my dear: one likes the florid style, or one doesn't. You
yourself used not to like it. And will you give me some more coffee,

She refilled his cup and handed it across the table. "Nice hands," he
murmured, looking critically at them as he took it, "always such nice

"Thank you. I dislike floridity when it is beaten up to cover the lack
of something, to take the place of something. I never disliked it when
it came from exuberance. Then it isn't floridness, it's merely strong

"Very well; some people don't care for strong colour. It fatigues them."
He folded his napkin. "Now I must be off to my desk."

"Not quite yet. You never have time to talk to me. Just when did it
begin, Godfrey, in the history of manners--that convention that if a man
were pleased with his wife or his house or his success, he shouldn't say
so, frankly?" Mrs. St. Peter spoke thoughtfully, as if she had
considered this matter before.

"Oh, it goes back a long way. I rather think it began in the Age of
Chivalry--King Arthur's knights. Whoever it was lived in that time, some
feeling grew up that a man should do fine deeds and not speak of them,
and that he shouldn't speak the name of his lady, but sing of her as a
Phyllis or a Nicolette. It's a nice idea, reserve about one's deepest
feelings: keeps them fresh."

"The Oriental peoples didn't have an Age of Chivalry. They didn't need
one," Lillian observed. "And this reserve--it becomes in itself
ostentatious, a vain-glorious vanity."

"Oh, my dear, all is vanity! I don't dispute that. Now I must really go,
and I wish I could play the game as well as you do. I have no enthusiasm
for being a father-in-law. It's you who keep the ball rolling. I fully
appreciate that."

"Perhaps," mused his wife, as he rose, "it's because you didn't get the
son-in-law you wanted. And yet he was highly coloured, too."

The Professor made no reply to this. Lillian had been fiercely jealous
of Tom Outland. As he left the house, he was reflecting that people who
are intensely in love when they marry, and who go on being in love,
always meet with something which suddenly or gradually makes a
difference. Sometimes it is the children, or the grubbiness of being
poor, sometimes a second infatuation. In their own case it had been,
curiously enough, his pupil, Tom Outland.

St. Peter had met his wife in Paris, when he was but twenty-four, and
studying for his doctorate. She too was studying there. French people
thought her an English girl because of her gold hair and fair
complexion. With her really radiant charm, she had a very interesting
mind--but it was quite wrong to call it mind, the connotation was false.
What she had was a richly endowed nature that responded strongly to life
and art, and very vehement likes and dislikes which were often quite out
of all proportion to the trivial object or person that aroused them.
Before his marriage, and for years afterward, Lillian's prejudices, her
divinations about people and art (always instinctive and unexplained,
but nearly always right), were the most interesting things in St. Peters
life. When he accepted almost the first position offered him, in order
to marry at once, and came to take the chair of European history at
Hamilton, he was thrown upon his wife for mental companionship. Most of
his colleagues were much older than he, but they were not his equals
either in scholarship or in experience of the world. The only other man
in the faculty who was carrying on important research work was Doctor
Crane, the professor of physics. St. Peter saw a good deal of him,
though outside his specialty he was uninteresting--a narrow-minded man,
and painfully unattractive. Years ago Crane had begun to suffer from a
malady which in time proved incurable, and which now sent him up for an
operation periodically. St. Peter had had no friend in Hamilton of whom
Lillian could possibly be jealous until Tom Outland came along, so well
fitted by nature and early environment to help him with his work on the
Spanish Adventurers.

When he had almost reached his old house and his study, the Professor
remembered that he really must have an understanding with his landlord,
or the place would be rented over his head. He turned and went down into
another part of the city, by the car shops, where only workmen lived,
and found his landlord's little toy house, set on a hillside, over a
basement faced up with red brick and covered with hop vines. Old
Appelhoff was sitting on a bench before his door, making a broom.
Raising broom corn was one of his economies. Beside him was his
dachshund bitch, Minna.

St. Peter explained that he wanted to stay on in the empty house, and
would pay the full rent each month. So irregular a project annoyed
Appelhoff. "I like fine to oblige you, Professor, but dey is several
parties looking at de house already, an' I don't like to lose a year's
rent for maybe a few months."

"Oh, that's all right, Fred. I'll take it for the year, to simplify
matters. I want to finish my new book before I move."

Fred still looked uneasy. "I better see de insurance man, eh? It says
for purposes of domestic dwelling."

"He won't object. Let's have a look at your garden. What a fine crop of
apples and sickle pears you have!"

"I don't like dem trees what don't bear not'ing," said the old man with
sly humour, remembering the Professor's glistening, barren shrubs and
the good ground wasted behind his stucco wall.

"How about your linden-trees?"

"Oh, dem flowers is awful good for de headache!"

"You don't look as if you were subject to it, Fred."

"Not me, but my woman always had."

"Pretty lonesome without her, Appelhoff?"

"I miss her, Professor, but I ain't just lonesome." The old man rubbed
his bristly chin. "My Minna here is most like a person, and den I got so
many t'ings to t'ink about."

"Have you? Pleasant things, I hope?"

"Well, all kinds. When I was young, in de old country, I had it hard to
git my wife at all, an' I never had time to t'ink. When I come to dis
country I had to work so turrible hard on dat farm to make crops an' pay
debts, dat I was like a horse. Now I have it easy, an' I take time to
t'ink about all dem t'ings."

St. Peter laughed. "We all come to it, Applehoff. That's one thing I'm
renting your house for, to have room to think. Good morning."

Crossing the public park, on his way back to the old house, he espied
his professional rival and enemy, Professor Horace Langtry, taking a
Sunday morning stroll--very well got up in English clothes he had
brought back from his customary summer in London, with a bowler hat of
unusual block and a horn-handled walking-stick. In twenty years the two
men had scarcely had speech with each other beyond a stiff "good
morning." When Langtry first came to the university he looked hardly
more than a boy, with curly brown hair and such a fresh complexion that
the students called him Lily Langtry. His round pink cheeks and round
eyes and round chin made him look rather like a baby grown big. All
these years had made little difference, except that his curls were now
quite grey, his rosy cheeks even rosier, and his mouth dropped a little
at the corners, so that he looked like a baby suddenly grown old and
rather cross about it.

Seeing St. Peter, the younger man turned abruptly into a side alley, but
the Professor overtook him.

"Good morning, Langtry. These elms are becoming real trees at last.
They've changed a good deal since we first came here."

Doctor Langtry moved his rosy chin sidewise over his high double collar.
"Good morning, Doctor St. Peter. I really don't remember much about the
trees. They seem to be doing well now."

St. Peter stepped abreast of him. "There have been many changes,
Langtry, and not all of them are good. Don't you notice a great
difference in the student body as a whole, in the new crop that comes
along every year now--how different they are from the ones of our early
years here?"

The smooth chin turned again, and the other professor of European
history blinked. "In just what respect?"

"Oh, in the all-embracing respect of quality! We have hosts of students,
but they're a common sort."

"Perhaps. I can't say I've noticed it." The air between the two
colleagues was not thawing out any. A church-bell rang. Langtry started
hopefully. "You must excuse me, Doctor St. Peter, I am on my way to

The Professor gave it up with a shrug. "All right, all right, Langtry,
as you will. Quelle folie!"

Langtry half turned back, hesitated on the ball of his suddenly speeding
foot, and said with faultless politeness: "I beg your pardon?"

St. Peter waved his hand with a gesture of negation, and detained the
church-goer no longer. He sauntered along slackly through the hot
September sunshine, wondering why Langtry didn't see the absurdity of
their long grudge. They had always been directly opposed in matters of
university policy, until it had almost become a part of their
professional duties to outwit and cramp each other.

When young Langtry first came there, his specialty was supposed to be
American history. His uncle was president of the board of regents, and
very influential in State politics; the institution had to look to him,
indeed, to get its financial appropriations passed by the Legislature.
Langtry was a Tory in his point of view, and was considered very English
in his tone and manner. His lectures were dull, and the students didn't
like him. Every inducement was offered to make his courses popular.
Liberal credits were given for collateral reading. A student could read
almost anything that had ever been written in the United States and get
credit for it in American history. He could charge up the time spent in
perusing "The Scarlet Letter" to Colonial history, and "Tom Sawyer" to
the Missouri Compromise, it was said. St. Peter openly criticized these
lax methods, both to the faculty and to the regents. Naturally, "Madame
Langtry" paid him out. During the Professor's second Sabbatical year in
Spain, Horace and his uncle together very nearly got his department away
from him. They worked so quietly that it was only at the eleventh hour
that St. Peter's old students throughout the State got wind of what was
going on, dropped their various businesses and professions for a few
days, and came up to the capital in dozens and saved his place for him.
The opposition had been so formidable that when it came time for his
third year away, the Professor had not dared ask for it, but had taken
an extension of his summer vacation instead. The fact that he was
carrying on another line of work than his lectures, and was publishing
books that weren't strictly text-books, had been used against him by
Langtry's uncle.

As Langtry felt that the unpopularity of his course was due to his
subject, a new chair was created for him. There couldn't be two heads in
European history, so the board of regents made for him a chair of
Renaissance history, or, as St. Peter said, a Renaissance chair of
history. Of late years, for reasons that had not much to do with his
lectures, Langtry had prospered better. To the new generations of
country and village boys now pouring into the university in such large
numbers, Langtry had become, in a curious way, an instructor in
manners,--what is called an "influence." To the football-playing farmer
boy who had a good allowance but didn't know how to dress or what to
say, Langtry looked like a short cut. He had several times taken parties
of undergraduates to London for the summer, and they had come back
wonderfully brushed up. He introduced a very popular fraternity into the
university, and its members looked after his interests, as did its
affiliated sorority. His standing on the faculty was now quite as good
as St. Peter's own, and the Professor wondered what Langtry still had to
be sore about.

What was the use of keeping up the feud? They had both come there young
men, fighting for their places and their lives; now they were not very
young any more; they would neither of them, probably, ever hold a better
position. Couldn't Langtry see it was a draw, that they had both been

Chapter 4

On Monday afternoon St. Peter mounted to his study and lay down on the
box-couch, tired out with his day at the university. The first few weeks
of the year were very fatiguing for him; there were so many exhausting
things besides his lectures and all the new students; long faculty
meetings in which almost no one was ever frank, and always the old fight
to keep up the standard of scholarship, to prevent the younger
professors, who had a sharp eye to their own interests, from farming the
whole institution out to athletics, and to the agricultural and
commercial schools favoured and fostered by the State Legislature.

The September heat, too, was hard on him. He wanted to be out at the
lake every day--it was never so fine as in late September. He was lying
with closed eyes, resting his mind on the picture of intense autumn-blue
water, when he heard a tap at the door and his daughter Rosamond
entered, very handsome in a silk suit of a vivid shade of lilac,
admirably suited to her complexion and showing that in the colour of her
cheeks there was actually a tone of warm lavender. In that low room she
seemed very tall indeed, a little out of drawing, as, to her father's
eye, she so often did. Usually, however, people were aware only of her
rich complexion, her curving, unresisting mouth and mysterious eyes. Tom
Outland had seen nothing else, and he was a young man who saw a great

"Am I interrupting something important, Papa?"

"No, not at all, my dear. Sit down."

On his writing-table she caught a glimpse of pages in a handwriting not
his--a script she knew very well.

"Not much choice of chairs, is there?" she smiled. "Papa, I don't like
to have you working in a place like this. It's not fitting."

"Much easier than to break in a new room, Rosie. A work-room should be
like an old shoe; no matter how shabby, it's better than a new one."

"That's really what I came to see you about." Rosamond traced the edge
of a hole in the matting with the tip of her lilac sunshade. "Won't you
let me build you a little study in the back yard of the new house? I
have such good ideas for it, and you would have no bother about it at

"Oh, thank you, Rosamond. It's most awfully nice of you to think of it.
But keep it just an idea--it's better so. Lots of things are. For the
present I'll plod on here. It's absurd, but it suits me. Habit is such a
big part of work."

"With Augusta's old things lying about, and those dusty old forms? Why
didn't she at least get those out of your way?"

"Oh, they have a right here, by long tenure. It's their room, too. I
don't want to come upon them lying in some dump-heap on the road to the
lake. They remind me of the times when you were little girls, and your
first party frocks used to hang on them at night, when I worked."

Rosamond smiled, unconvinced. "Papa, don't joke with me. I've come to
talk about something serious, and it's very difficult. You know I'm a
little afraid of you." She dropped her shadowy, bewitching eyes.

"Afraid of me? Never!"

"Oh, yes, I am when you're sarcastic. You mustn't be to-day, please.
Louie and I have often talked this over. We feel strongly about it. He's
often been on the point of blurting out with it, but I've curbed him.
You don't always approve of Louie and me. Of course it was only Louie's
energy and technical knowledge that ever made Tom's discovery succeed
commercially, but we don't feel that we ought to have all the returns
from it. We think you ought to let us settle an income on you, so that
you could give up your university work and devote all your time to
writing and research. That is what Tom would have wanted."

St. Peter rose quickly, with the light, supple spring he had when he was
very nervous, crossed to the window, wide on its hook, and half closed
it. "My dear daughter," he said decisively, when he had turned round to
her, "I couldn't possibly take any of Outland's money."

"But why not? You were the best friend he had in the world, he owed more
to you than to anyone else, and he hated having you hampered by
teaching. He admired your mind, and nothing would have pleased him more
than helping you to do the work you do better than anyone else. If he
were alive, that would be one of the first things he would use this
money for."

"But he is not alive, and there was no word about me in his will, and so
there is nothing to build your pretty theory upon. It's wonderfully nice
of you and Louie, and I'm very pleased, you know."

"But Tom was so impractical, Father. He never thought it would mean more
than a liberal dress allowance for me, if he thought at all. I don't
know--he never spoke to me about it."

St. Peter smiled quizzically. "I'm not so sure about his
impracticalness. When he was working on that gas, he once remarked to me
that there might be a fortune in it. To be sure he didn't wait to find
out whether there was a fortune, but that had to do with quite another
side of him. Yes, I think he knew his idea would make money and he
wanted you to have it, with him or without him."

The young woman's face grew troubled. "Even if I married?"

"He wanted you to have whatever would make you happy."

She sighed luxuriously. "Louie has done that. The only thing that
troubles me is, I feel you ought to have some of this money, that he
would wish it. He was so full of gratitude, felt that he owed you so

Her father again rose, with that guarded, nervous movement. "Once and
for all, Rosamond, understand that he owed me no more than I owed him.
Nothing hurts me so much as to have any member of my family talk as if
we had done something fine for that young man, brought him out, produced
him. In a lifetime of teaching, I've encountered just one remarkable
mind; but for that, I'd consider my good years largely wasted. And there
can be no question of money between me and Tom Outland. I can't explain
just how I feel about it, but it would somehow damage my recollections
of him, would make that episode in my life commonplace like everything
else. And that would be a great loss to me. I'm purely selfish in
refusing your offer; my friendship with Outland is the one thing I will
not have translated into the vulgar tongue."

His daughter looked perplexed and a little resentful.

"Sometimes," she murmured, "I think you feel I oughtn't to have taken
it, either."

"You had no choice. For you it was settled by his own hand. Your bond
with him was social, and it follows the laws of society, and they are
based on property. Mine wasn't, and there was no material clause in it.
He empowered you to carry out all his wishes, and I realize that you
have responsibilities--but none toward me. There is Rodney Blake, of
course, if he should ever turn up. You keep up some search for him?"

"Louie attends to it. He has investigated and rejected several

"Then, of course, there are other friends of Tom's. The Cranes, for

Rosamond's face grew hard. "I won't bother you about the Cranes, Papa.
We will attend to them. Mrs. Crane is a common creature, and she is
advised by that dreadful shyster brother of hers, Homer Bright. You know
what he is."

"Oh, yes! He was about the greatest bluffer I ever had in my classes."

Rosamond had risen to go. "I want you to be awfully happy, daughter,"
St. Peter went on, "and Tom did. It's only young people like you and
Louie who can get any fun out of money. And there is enough to cover the
fine, the almost imaginary obligations. You won't be sorry if you are
generous with people like the Cranes."

"Thank you, Papa. I shan't forget." Rosamond went down the narrow
stairway, leaving behind her a faint, fresh odour of lavender and
orrisroot, and her father lay down again on the box-couch. "A hint
about the Cranes will be enough," he was thinking.

He didn't in the least understand his older daughter. Not that he
pretended to understand Kathleen, either; but he usually knew how she
would feel about things, and she had always seemed to need his
protection more than Rosamond. When she was a student at the university,
he used sometimes to see her crossing the campus alone, her head and
shoulders lowered against the wind, her muff beside her face, her narrow
skirt clinging close. There was something too plucky, too
"I-can-go-it-alone," about her quick step and jaunty little head; he
didn't like it, it gave him a sudden pang. He would always call to her
and catch up with her, and make her take his arm and be docile.

She had been much quicker at her lessons than Rosie, and very clever at
water-colour portrait sketches. She had done several really good
likenesses of her father--one, at least, was the man himself. With her
mother she had no luck. She tried again and again, but the face was
always hard, the upper lip longer than it seemed in life, the nose long
and severed, and she made something cold and plaster-like of Lillian's
beautiful complexion.

"No, I don't see Mamma like that," she used to say, throwing out her
chin. "Of course I don't! It just comes like that." She had done many
heads of her sister, all very sentimental and curiously false, though
Louie Marsellus protested to them. Her drawing-teacher at the university
had urged Kathleen to go to Chicago and study in the life classes at the
Art Institute, but she said resolutely: "No, I can't really do anybody
but Papa, and I can't make a living painting him."

"The only unusual thing about Kitty," her father used to tell his
friends, "is that she doesn't think herself a bit unusual. Nowdays the
girls in my classes who have a spark of aptitude for anything seem to
think themselves remarkable."

Though wilfulness was implied in the line of her figure, in the way she
sometimes threw out her chin, Kathleen had never been deaf to reasoning,
deaf to her father, but once; and that was when, shortly after
Rosamond's engagement to Tom, she announced that she was going to marry
Scott McGregor. Scott was young, was just getting a start as a
journalist, and his salary was not large enough for two people to live
upon. That fact, the St. Peters thought, would act as a brake upon the
impetuous young couple. But soon after they were engaged Scott began to
do his daily prose poem for a newspaper syndicate. It was a success from
the start, and increased his earnings enough to enable him to marry. The
Professor had expected a better match for Kitty. He was no snob, and he
liked Scott and trusted him; but he knew that Scott had a usual sort of
mind, and Kitty had flashes of something quite different. Her father
thought a more interesting man would make her happier. There was no
holding her back, however, and the curious part of it was that, after
the very first, her mother supported her. St. Peter had a vague
suspicion that this was somehow on Rosamond's account more than on
Kathleen's; Lillian always worked things out for Rosamond. Yet at the
time he couldn't see how Kathleen's marriage would benefit Rosie. "Rosie
is like your second self," he once declared to his wife, "but you never
pampered yourself at her age as you do her."

Chapter 5

It was an intense September noon--warm, windy, golden, with the smell of
ripe grapes and drying vines in the air, and the lake rolling blue on
the horizon. Scott McGregor, going into the west corner of the
university campus, caught sight of Mrs. St. Peter, just ahead of him,
walking in the same direction. He ran and caught up with her.

"Hello, Lillian! Going in to see the Professor? So am I. I want him to
go swimming with me--I'm cutting work. Shall we drop in and hear the end
of his lecture, or sit down here on the bench in the sun?"

"We can go quietly to the door and listen. If it's not interesting, we
can come back and sit down for a chat."

"Good! I came early to overhear a bit. This is the hour he's with his
seniors, isn't it?"

They entered and went along the hall until they came to number 17; the
door was afar, and at the moment one of the students was speaking. When
he finished, they heard the Professor reply to him. "No, Miller, I don't
myself think much of science as a phase of human development. It has
given us a lot of ingenious toys; they take our attention away from the
real problems, of course, and since the problems are insoluble, I
suppose we ought to be grateful for distraction. But the fact is, the
human mind, the individual mind, has always been made more interesting
by dwelling on the old riddles, even if it makes nothing of them.
Science hasn't given us any new amazements, except of the superficial
kind we get from witnessing dexterity and sleight-of-hand. It hasn't
given us any richer pleasures, as the Renaissance did, nor any new
sins--not one! Indeed, it takes our old ones away. It's the laboratory,
not the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world. You'll
agree there is not much thrill about a physiological sin. We were better
off when even the prosaic matter of taking nourishment could have the
magnificence of a sin. I don't think you help people by making their
conduct of no importance--you impoverish them. As long as every man and
woman who crowded into the cathedrals on Easter Sunday was a principal
in a gorgeous drama with God, glittering angels on one side and the
shadows of evil coming and going on the other, life was a rich thing.
The king and the beggar had the same chance at miracles and great
temptations and revelations. And that's what makes men happy, believing
in the mystery and importance of their own individual lives. It makes us
happy to surround our creature needs and bodily instincts with as much
pomp and circumstance as possible. Art and religion (they are the same
thing, in the end, of course) have given man the only happiness he has
ever had.

"Moses learned the importance of that in the Egyptian court, and when he
wanted to make a population of slaves into an independent people in the
shortest possible time, he invented elaborate ceremonials to give them a
feeling of dignity and purpose. Every act had some imaginative end. The
cutting of the finger nails was a religious observance. The Christian
theologians went over the books of the Law, like great artists, getting
splendid effects by excision. They reset the stage with more space and
mystery, throwing all the light upon a few sins of great dramatic
value--only seven, you remember, and of those only three that
are perpetually enthralling. With the theologians came the
cathedral-builders; the sculptors and glass-workers and painters. They
might, without sacrilege, have changed the prayer a little and said, Thy
will be done in art, as it is in heaven. How can it be done anywhere
else as it is in heaven? But I think the hour is up. You might tell me
next week, Miller, what you think science has done for us, besides
making us very comfortable."

As the young men filed out of the room, Mrs. St. Peter and McGregor went

"I came over to get you to go to the electrician's with me, Godfrey, but
I won't make you. Scott wants you to run out to the lake, and it's such
a fine day, you really should go."

"Car's outside. We'll just drop Lillian at the house, Doctor, and you
can pick up your bathing-suit. We heard part of your lecture, by the
way. How you get by the Methodists is still a mystery to me."

"I wish he would get into trouble, Scott," said Lillian as they left the
building. "I wish he wouldn't talk to those fat-faced boys as if they
were intelligent beings. You cheapen yourself, Godfrey. It makes me a
little ashamed."

"I was rather rambling on to-day. I'm sorry you happened along. There's
a fellow in that lot, Tod Miller, who isn't slow, and he excites me to

"All the same," murmured his wife, "it's hardly dignified to think aloud
in such company. It's in rather bad taste."

"Thank you for the tip, Lillian. I won't do it again."

It took Scott only twenty minutes to get out to the lake. He drew up at
the bit of beach of St. Peter had bought for himself years before; a
little triangle of sand running out into the water, with a bath-house
and seven shaggy pine-trees on it. Scott had to fuss with the car, and
the Professor was undressed and in the water before him.

When McGregor was ready to go in, his father-in-law was some distance
out, swimming with an over-arm stroke, his head and shoulders well out
of the water. He wore on his head a rubber visor of a kind he always
brought home from France in great numbers. This one was vermilion, and
was like a continuation of his flesh--his arms and back were burned a
deep terra-cotta from a summer in the lake. His head and powerful
reaching arms made a strong red pattern against the purple blue of the
water. The visor was picturesque--his head looked sheathed and small and
intensely alive, like the heads of the warriors on the Parthenon frieze
in their tight, archaic helmets.

By five o'clock St. Peter and McGregor were dressed and lying on the
sand, their overcoats wrapped about them, smoking. Suddenly Scott began
to chuckle.

"Oh, Professor, you know your English friend, Sir Edgar Spilling? The
day after I met him at your house, he came up to my office at the Herald
to get some facts you'd been too modest to give him. When he was leaving
he stood and looked at one of these motto cards I have over my desk,
DON'T KNOCK, and said: 'May I ask why you don't have that notice on the
outside of your door? I didn't observe any other way of getting in.'
They never get wise, do they? He really went out to see Marsellus'
place--seemed interested. Doctor, are you going to let them call that
place after Tom?"

"My dear boy, how can I prevent it?"

"Well, you surely don't like the idea, do you?"

The Professor lit another cigarette and was a long while about it. When
he had got it going, he turned on his elbow and looked at McGregor.
"Scott, you must see that I can't make suggestions to Louie. He's
perfectly consistent. He's a great deal more generous and
public-spirited than I am, and my preferences would be enigmatical to
him. I can't, either, very gracefully express myself to you about his

"I get you. Sorry he riles me so. I always say it shan't occur next
time, but it does." Scott took out his pipe and lay silent for a time,
looking at the gold glow burning on the water and on the wings of the
gulls as they flew by. His expression was wistful, rather mournful. He
was a good-looking fellow, with sunburned blond hair, splendid teeth,
attractive eyes that usually frowned a little unless he was laughing
outright, a small, prettily cut mouth, restless at the corners. There
was something moody and discontented about his face. The Professor had a
great deal of sympathy for him; Scott was too good for his work. He had
been delighted when his daily poem and his "uplift" editorials first
proved successful, because that enabled him to marry. Now he could sell
as many good-cheer articles as he had time to write, on any subject, and
he loathed doing them. Scott had early picked himself out to do
something very fine, and he felt that the was wasting his life and his
talents. The new group of poets made him angry. When a new novel was
discussed seriously by his friends, he was perfectly miserable. St.
Peter knew that the poor boy had seasons of desperate unhappiness. His
disappointed vanity ate away at his vitals like the Spartan boy's wolf,
and only the deep lines in his young forehead and the twitching at the
corners of his mouth showed that he suffered.

Not long ago, when the students were giving an historical pageant to
commemorate the deeds of an early French explorer among the Great Lakes,
they asked St. Peter to do a picture for them, and he had arranged one
which amused him very much, though it had nothing to do with the
subject. He posed his two sons-in-law in a tapestry-hung tent, for a
conference between Richard Plantagenet and the Saladin, before the walls
of Jerusalem. Marsellus, in a green dressing-gown and turban, was seated
at a table with a chart, his hands extended in reasonable, patient
argument. The Plantagenet was standing, his plumed helmet is his hand,
his square yellow head haughtily erect, his unthoughtful brows fiercely
frowning, his lips curled and his fresh face full of arrogance. The
tableau had received no special notice, and Mrs. St. Peter had said
dryly that she was afraid nobody saw his little joke. But the Professor
liked his picture, and he thought it quite fair to both the young men.

Chapter 6

The Professor happened to come home earlier than usual one bright
October afternoon. He left the walk and cut across the turf, intending
to enter by the open French window, but he paused a moment outside to
admire the scene within. The drawing-room was full of autumn flowers,
dahlias and wild asters and goldenrod. The red-gold sunlight lay in
bright puddles on the thick blue carpet, made hazy aureoles about the
stuffed blue chairs. There was, in the room, as he looked through the
window, a rich, intense effect of autumn, something that presented
October much more sharply and sweetly to him than the coloured maples
and the aster-bordered paths by which he had come home. It struck him
that the seasons sometimes gain by being brought into the house, just as
they gain by being brought into painting, and into poetry. The hand,
fastidious and bold, which selected and placed--it was that which made
the difference. In Nature there is no selection.

In a corner, beside the steaming brass tea-kettle, sat Lillian and
Louie, a little lacquer table between them, bending, it seemed, over a
casket of jewels. Lillian held up lovingly in her fingers a green-gold
necklace, evidently an old one, without stones. "Of course emeralds
would be beautiful, Louie, but they seem a little out of scale--to
belong to a different scheme of life than any you and Rosamond can live
here. You aren't, after all, outrageously rich. When would she wear

"At home, Dearest, with me, at our own dinner-table at Outland! I like
the idea of their being out of scale. I've never given her any jewels.
I've waited all this time to give her these. To me, her name spells

Mrs. St. Peter smiled, easily persuaded. "You'll never be able to keep
them. You'll show them to her."

"Oh, no, I won't! They are to stay at the jeweller's, in Chicago, until
we all go down for the birthday party. That's another secret we have to
keep. We have such lots of them!" He bent over her hand and kissed it
with warmth.

St. Peter swung in over the window rail. "That is always the cue for the
husband to enter, isn't it? What's this about Chicago, Louie?"

He sat down, and Marsellus brought him some tea, lingering beside his
chair. "It must be a secret from Rosie, but you see it happens that the
date of your lecture engagement at the University of Chicago is
coincident with her birthday, so I have planned that we shall all go
down together. And among other diversions, we shall attend your

The Professor's eyebrows rose. "Bus-man's holiday for the ladies, I
should say."

"But not for me. Remember, I wasn't in your classes, like Scott and
Outland. I'd give a good deal if I'd had the chance!" Louie said
somewhat plaintively, "so you must make it up to me."

"Come if you wish. Lectures seem to me a rather grim treat, Louie."

"Not to me. With a wink of encouragement I'll go on to Boston with you
next winter, when you give the Lowell lectures."

"Would you, really? Next year's a long way off. Now I must get clean.
I've been working in my other-house garden, and I'm scarcely fit to have
tea with a beautiful lady and a smartly dressed gentleman. What am I to
do about that garden in the end, Lillian? Destroy it? Or leave it to the
mercy of the next tenants?"

As he went upstairs he turned at the bend of the staircase and looked
back at them, again bending over their little box. Mrs. St. Peter was
wearing the white silk crêpe that had been the most successful of her
summer dresses, and an orchid velvet ribbon about her shining hair. She
wouldn't have made herself look quite so well if Louie hadn't been
coming, he reflected. Or was it that he wouldn't have noticed it if
Louie hadn't been there? A man long accustomed to admire his wife in
general, seldom pauses to admire her in a particular gown or attitude,
unless his attention is directed to her by the appreciative gaze of
another man.

Lillian's coquetry with her sons-in-law amused him. He hadn't foreseen
it, and he found it rather the most piquant and interesting thing about
having married daughters. It had begun with Scott--the younger sister
was married before the elder. St. Peter had thought that Scott McGregor
was the sort of fellow Lillian always found tiresome. But no; within a
few weeks after Kathleen's marriage, arch and confidential relations
began to be evident between them. Even now, when Louie was so much in
the foreground, and Scott was touchy and jealous, Lillian was very
tactful and patient with him.

With Louie, Lillian seemed to be launching into a new career, and
Godfrey began to think that he understood his own wife very little. He
would have said that she would feel about Louie just as he did; would
have cultivated him as a stranger in the town, because he was so unusual
and exotic, but without in the least wishing to adopt anyone so foreign
into the family circle. She had always been fastidious to an
unreasonable degree about small niceties of deportment. She could never
forgive poor Tom Outland for the angle at which he sometimes held a
cigar in his mouth, or for the fact that he never learned to eat salad
with ease. At the dinner-table, if Tom, forgetting himself in talk,
sometimes dropped back into railroad lunch-counter ways and pushed his
plate away from him when he had finished a course, Lillian's face would
become positively cruel in its contempt. Irregularities of that sort put
her all on edge. But Louie could hurry audibly through his soup, or kiss
her resoundingly on the cheek at a faculty reception, and she seemed to
like it.

Yes, with her sons-in-law she had begun the game of being a woman all
over again. She dressed for them, planned for them, schemed in their
interests. She had begun to entertain more than for years past--the new
house made a plausible pretext--and to use her influence and charm in
the little anxious social world of Hamilton. She was intensely
interested in the success and happiness of these two young men, lived in
their careers as she had once done in his. It was splendid, St. Peter
told himself. She wasn't going to have to face a stretch of boredom
between being a young woman and being a young grandmother. She was less
intelligent and more sensible than he had thought her.

When Godfrey came down stairs ready for dinner, Louie was gone. He
walked up to the chair where his wife was reading, and took her hand.

"My dear," he said quite delicately, "I wish you could keep Louie from
letting his name go up for the Arts and Letters. It's not safe yet. He's
not been here long enough. They're a fussy little bunch, and he ought to
wait until they know him better."

"You mean someone will blackball him? Do you really think so? But the
Country Club--"

"Yes, Lillian; the Country Club is a big affair, and needs money. The
Arts and Letters is a little group of fellows, and, as I said, fussy."

"Scott belongs," said Mrs. St. Peter rebelliously. "Did he tell you?"

"No, he didn't, and I shall not tell you who did. But if you're
tactful, you can save Louie's feelings."

Mrs. St. Peter closed her book without glancing down at it. A new
interest shone in her eyes and made them look quite through and beyond
her husband. "I must see what I can do with Scott," she murmured.

St. Peter turned away to hide a smile. An old student of his, a friend
who belonged to "the Outland period," had told him laughingly that he
was sure Scott would blackball Marsellus if his name ever came to the
vote. "You know Scott is a kid in some things," the friend had said.
"He's a little sore at Marsellus, and says a secret ballot is the only
way he can ever get him where it wouldn't hurt Mrs. St. Peter."

While the Professor was eating his soup, he studied his wife's face in
the candlelight. It had changed so much since he found her laughing with
Louie, and especially since he had dropped the hint about the Arts and
Letters. It had become, he thought, too hard for the orchid velvet in
her hair. Her upper lip had grown longer, and stiffened as it always did
when she encountered opposition.

"Well," he reflected, "it will be interesting to see what she can do
with Scott. That will make rather a test case."

Chapter 7

Early in November there was a picturesque snow-storm, and that day
Kathleen telephoned her father at the university, asking him to stop on
his way home in the afternoon and help her to decide upon some new furs.
As he approached McGregor's spick-and-span bungalow at four o'clock, he
saw Louie's Pierce-Arrow standing in front, with Ned, the chauffeur and
gardener, in the driver's seat. Just then Rosamond came out of the
bungalow alone, and down the path to the sidewalk, without seeing her
father. He noticed a singularly haughty expression on her face; her
brows drawn together over her nose. The curl of her lips was handsome,
but terrifying. He observed also something he had not seen before--a
coat of soft, purple-grey fur, that quite disguised the wide, slightly
stooping shoulders he regretted in his truly beautiful daughter. He
called to her, very much interested. "Wait a minute, Rosie. I've not
seen that before. It's extraordinarily becoming." He stroked his
daughter's sleeve with evident pleasure. "You know, these things with a
kind of lurking purple and lavender in them are splendid for you. They
make your colour prettier than ever. It's only lately you've begun to
wear them. Louie's taste, I suppose?"

"Of course. He selects all my things for me," said Rosamond proudly.

"Well, he does a good job. He knows what's right for you." St. Peter
continued to look her up and down with satisfaction. "And Kathleen is
getting new furs. You were advising her?"

"She didn't mention it to me," Rosamond replied in a guarded voice.

"No? And what do you call this, what beast?" he asked ingenuously, again
stroking the fur with his bare hand.

"It's taupe."

"Oh, moleskin!" He drew back a little. "Couldn't be better for your
complexion. And is it warm?"

"Very warm--and so light."

"I see, I see!" He took Rosamond's arm and escorted her to her car.
"Give Louie my compliments on his choice." The motor glided away--he
wished he could escape as quickly and noiselessly, for he was a coward.
But he had a feeling that Kathleen was watching him from behind the sash
curtains. He went up to the door and made a long and thorough use of the
foot-scraper before he tapped on the glass. Kathleen let him in. She was
very pale; even her lips, which were always pink, like the inside of a
white shell, were without colour. Neither of them mentioned the
just-departed guest.

"Have you been out in the park, Kitty? This is a pretty little storm.
Perhaps you'll walk over to the old house with me presently." He talked
soothingly while he took off his coat and rubbers. "And now for the

Kathleen went slowly into her bedroom. She was gone a great
while--perhaps ten actual minutes. When she came back, the rims of her
eyes were red. She carried four large pasteboard boxes, tied together
with twine. St. Peter sprang up, took the parcel, and began untying the
string. He opened the first and pulled out a brown stole. "What is it,

"No, it's Hudson Bay sable."

"Very pretty." He put the collar round her neck and drew back to look at
it. But after a sharp struggle Kathleen broke down. She threw off the
fur and buried her face in a fresh handkerchief.

"I'm so sorry, Daddy, but it's no use to-day. I don't want any furs,
really. She spoils everything for me."

"Oh, my dear, my dear, you hurt me terribly!" St. Peter put his hands
tenderly on her soft hazel-coloured hair. "Face it squarely, Kitty; you
must not, you cannot, be envious. It's self-destruction."

"I can't help it, Father. I am envious. I don't think I would be if she
let me alone, but she comes here with her magnificence and takes the
life out of all our poor little things. Everybody knows she's rich, why
does she have to keep rubbing it in?"

"But, Kitty dear, you wouldn't have her go home and change her coat
before coming to see you?"

"Oh, it's not that, Father, it's everything! You know we were never
jealous of each other at home. I was always proud of her good looks and
good taste. It's not her clothes, it's a feeling she has inside her.
When she comes toward me, I feel hate coming toward me, like a snake's

St. Peter wiped his moist forehead. He was suffering with her, as if she
had been in physical anguish. "We can't, dear, we can't, in this world,
let ourselves think of things--of comparisons--like that. We are all too
susceptible to ugly suggestions. If Rosamond has a grievance, it's
because you've been untactful about Louie."

"Even if I have, why should she be so revengeful? Does she think nobody
else calls him a Jew? Does she think it's a secret? I don't mind being
called a Gentile."

"It's all in the way it's done, you know, Kitty. And you've shown that
you were a little bored with all their new things, now haven't you?"

"I've shown that I don't like the way she overdresses, I suppose. I
would never have believed that Rosie could do anything in such bad
taste. While she is here among her old friends, she ought to dress like
the rest of us."

"But doesn't she? It seems to me her things look about like yours."

"Oh, Father, you're so simple! And Mother is very careful not to
enlighten you. We go to the Guild to sew for the Mission fund, and Rosie
comes in in a handmade French frock that cost more than all our dresses
put together."

"But if hers are no prettier, what does it matter how much they cost?"
He was watching Kathleen fearfully. Her pale skin had taken on a
greenish tinge--there was no doubt about it. He had never happened to
see that change occur in a face before, and he had never realized to
what an ugly, painful transformation the common phrase "green with envy"

"Oh, foolish, they are prettier, though you may not see it. It's not
just the clothes"--she looked at him intently, and her eyes, in their
reddened rims, expanded and cleared. "It's everything. When we were at
home, Rosamond was a kind of ideal to me. What she thought about
anything decided it for me. But she's entirely changed. She's become
Louie. Indeed, she's worse than Louie. He and all this money have ruined
her. Oh, Daddy, why didn't you and Professor Crane get to work and stop
all this before it began? You were to blame. You knew that Tom had left
something that was worth a lot, both of you. Why didn't you do
something? You let it lie there in Crane's laboratory for this--this
Marsellus to come along and exploit, until he almost thinks it's his own

"Things might have turned out the same, anyway," her father protested.
"Whatever the process earned was Rosamond's. I wasn't in the mood to
struggle with manufacturers, I know nothing of such things. And Crane
needs every ounce of his strength for his own experiments. He doesn't
care anything but the extent of space."

"He'd better have taken a few days off and saved his friend's
reputation. Tom trusted him with everything. It's too foolish; that poor
man being cut to pieces by surgeons all the time, and picking up the
little that's left of himself and bothering about the limitations of
space--much good they'll do him!"

St. Peter rose, took both of his daughter's hands and stood laughing at
her. "Come now! You have more brains than that, Kitty. It happens you do
understand that whatever poor Crane can find out about space is more
good to him than all the money the Marselluses will ever have. But are
you implying that if Crane and I had developed Tom's discovery, we might
have kept Rosie and her money in the family, for ourselves?"

Kathleen threw up her head. "Oh, I don't want her money!"

"Exactly; nor do I. And we mustn't behave as if we did want it. If you
permit yourself to be envious of Rosie, you'll be very foolish, and very

The Professor walked away across the snowy park with a tired step. He
was heavy-hearted. For Kathleen he had a special kind of affection.
Perhaps it was because he had had to take care of her for one whole
summer when she was little. Just as Mrs. St. Peter was ready to start
for Colorado with the children, the younger one developed whooping-cough
and had to be left at home with her father. He had opportunity to
observe all her ways. She was only six, but he found her a square-dealing,
dependable little creature. They worked out a satisfactory plan
of life together. She was to play in the garden all morning, and was not
on any account to disturb him in his study. After lunch he would take
her to the lake or the woods, or he would read to her at home. She took
pride in keeping her part of the contract. One day when he came out of
his study at noon, he found her sitting on the third floor stairs, just
outside his door, with the arnica bottle in one hand and the fingers of
the other puffed up like wee pink sausages. A bee had stung her in the
garden, and she had waited half the morning for sympathy. She was very
independent, and would tug at her leggings or overshoes a great while
before she asked for help.

When they were little girls, Kathleen adored her older sister and liked
to wait on her, was always more excited about Rosie's new dresses and
winter coat than about her own. This attachment had lasted even after
they were grown. St. Peter had never seen any change in it until
Rosamond announced her engagement to Louie Marsellus. Then, all at once,
Kathleen seemed to be done with her sister. Her father believed she
couldn't forgive Rosie's forgetting Tom so quickly.

It was dark when the Professor got back to the old house and sat down at
his writing-table. He would have an hour on his notes, he told himself,
in spite of families and fortunes. And he had it. But when he looked up
from his writing as the Angelus was ringing, two faces at once rose in
the shadows outside the yellow circle of his lamp: the handsome face of
his older daughter, surrounded by violet-dappled fur, with a cruel upper
lip and scornful half-closed eyes, as she had approached her car that
afternoon before she saw him; and Kathleen, her square little chin set
so fiercely, her white cheeks actually becoming green under her swollen
eyes. He couldn't believe it. He rose quickly and went to his one
window, opened it wider, and stood looking at the dark clump of
pine-trees that told where the Physics building stood. A sharp pain
clutched his heart. Was it for this the light in Outland's laboratory
used to burn so far into the night!

Chapter 8

The following week St. Peter went to Chicago to give his lectures. He
had engaged rooms for himself and Lillian at a quiet hotel near the
university. The Marselluses went down by the same train, and they all
alighted at the station together, in a raging snow-storm. The St. Peters
were to have tea with Louie at the Blackstone, before going to their own

Tea was served in Louie's suite on the lake front, with a fine view of
the falling snow from the windows. The Professor was in a genial mood;
he was glad to be in a big city again, in a luxurious hotel, and
especially pleased to be able to sit in comfort and watch the storm over
the water.

"How snug you are here, Louie! This is really very nice," he said,
turning back from the window when Rosamond called him.

Louie came and put both hands on St. Peter's shoulders, exclaiming
delightedly: "And do you like these rooms, sir? Well, I'm glad, for
they're yours! Rosie and I are farther down the corridor. Not a word!
It's all arranged. You are our guests for this engagement. We won't have
our great scholar staying off in some grimy place on the South side. We
want him where we can keep an eye on him."

Louie was so warm with his plan that the Professor could only express
satisfaction. "And our luggage?"

"It's on the way. I cancelled your reservations and did everything in
order. Now have your tea, but not too much. You dine early; you have an
engagement for to-night. You and Dearest are going to the opera--Oh,
not with us! We have other fish to fry. You are going off alone."

"Very well, Louie! And what are they giving to-night?"

"Mignon. It will remind you of your student days in Paris."

"It will. I always had abonnement at the Opéra Comique, and Mignon came
round frequently. It's one of my favourites."

"I thought so!" Louie kissed both the ladies, to express his
satisfaction. The Professor had forgotten his scruples about accepting
lavish hospitalities. He was really very glad to have windows on the
lake, and not to have to go away to another hotel. After the Marselluses
went to their own apartment, he remarked to his wife, while he unpacked
his bag, that it was much more convenient to be on the same floor with
Louie and Rosamond.

"Much better than cabbing across Chicago to meet them all the time,
isn't it?"

At eight o'clock he and his wife were in their places in the Auditorium.
The overture brought a smile to his lips and a gracious mood to his
heart. The music seemed extraordinarily fresh and genuine still. It
might grow old-fashioned, he told himself, but never old, surely, while
there was any youth left in men. It was an expression of youth,--that,
and no more; with the sweetness and foolishness, the lingering accent,
the heavy stresses--the delicacy, too--belonging to that time. After the
entrance of the hero, Lillian leaned toward him and whispered: "Am I
over-credulous? He looks to me exactly like the pictures of Goethe in
his youth."

"So he does to me. He is certainly as tall as Goethe. I didn't know
tenors were ever so tall. The Mignon seems young, too."

She was slender, at any rate, and very fragile beside the courtly
Wilhelm. When she began her immortal song, one felt that she was right
for the part, the pure lyric soprano that suits it best, and in her
voice there was something fresh and delicate, like deep wood flowers.
"Connais-tu--le pays"--it stirred one like the odours of early spring,
recalled the time of sweet, impersonal emotions.

When the curtain fell on the first act, St. Peter turned to his wife. "A
fine cast, don't you think? And the harps are very good. Except for the
wood-winds, I should say it was as good as any performance I ever heard
at the Comique."

"How it does make one think of Paris, and of so many half-forgotten
things!" his wife murmured. It had been long since he had seen her face
so relaxed and reflective and undetermined.

Through the next act he often glanced at her. Curious, how a young mood
could return and soften a face. More than once he saw a starry moisture
shine in her eyes. If she only knew how much more lovely she was when
she wasn't doing her duty!

"My dear," he sighed when the lights were turned on and they both looked
older, "it's been a mistake, our having a family and writing histories
and getting middle-aged. We should have been picturesquely shipwrecked
together when we were young."

"How often I've thought that!" she replied with a faint, melancholy

"You? But you're so occupied with the future, you adapt yourself so
readily," he murmured in astonishment.

"One must go on living, Godfrey. But it wasn't the children who came
between us." There was something lonely and forgiving in her voice,
something that spoke of an old wound, healed and hardened and hopeless.

"You, you too?" he breathed in amazement.

He took up one of her gloves and began drawing it out through his
fingers. She said nothing, but he saw her lip quiver, and she turned
away and began looking at the house through the glasses. He likewise
began to examine the audience. He wished he knew just how it seemed to
her. He had been mistaken, he felt. The heart of another is a dark
forest, always, no matter how close it has been to one's own. Presently
the melting music of the tenor's last aria brought their eyes together
in a smile not altogether sad.

That night, after he was in bed, among unaccustomed surroundings and a
little wakeful, St. Peter still played with his idea of a picturesque
shipwreck, and he cast about for the particular occasion he would have
chosen for such a finale. Before he went to sleep he found the very day,
but his wife was not in it. Indeed, nobody was in it but himself, and a
weather-dried little sea captain from the Hautes-Pyrénées, half a dozen
spry seamen, and a line of gleaming snow peaks, agonizingly high and
sharp, along the southern coast of Spain.

Louie arranged the birthday dinner in the public dining-room of the
hotel, and three of the Professor's colleagues dined with them on that
occasion. Louie had gone out to the university to hear St. Peter
lecture, had met some of the faculty, and immediately invited them to
dinner. They accepted--when was a professor known to refuse a good
dinner? Rosamond was presented with her emeralds, and, as St. Peter
afterward observed to his wife, practically all the guests in the
dining-room were participants in the happy event. Lillian was doubtless
right when she told him that, all the same, his fellow professors went
away from the Blackstone that night respecting Godfrey St. Peter more
than they had ever done before, and if they had marriageable daughters,
they were certainly envying him his luck.

"That," her husband replied, "is my chief objection to public
magnificence; it seems to show everybody up in the worst possible light.
I'm not finding fault with anyone but myself, understand. When I
consented to occupy an apartment I couldn't afford, I let myself in for
whatever might follow."

They got back to Hamilton in bitter weather. The lake winds were
scourging the town, and Scott had laryngitis and was writing prose poems
about the pleasures of tending your own furnace when the thermometer is
twenty below.

"Godfrey," said Mrs. St. Peter when he set off for his class-room on the
morning after their return, "surely you're not going to the old house
this afternoon. It will be like a refrigerating-plant. There's no way of
heating your study except by that miserable little stove."

"There never was, my dear. I got along a good many years."

"It was very different when the house below was heated. That stove isn't
safe when you keep the window open. A gust of wind might blow it out at
any moment, and if you were at work you'd never notice until you were
half poisoned by gas. You'll get a fine headache one of these days."

"I've got headaches that way before, and survived them," he said

"How can you be so perverse? You know things are different now, and you
ought to take more care of your health."

"Why so? It's not worth half so much as it was then."

His wife disregarded this. "And don't you think it's foolish
extravagance to go on paying the rent of an entire house, in order to
spend a few hours a day in one very uncomfortable room of it?"

The Professor's dark skin reddened, and the ends of his formidable
eyebrows ascended toward his black hair. "It's almost my only
extravagance," he muttered fiercely.

"How irritable and unreasonable he is becoming!" his wife reflected, as
she heard him putting on his overshoes in the hall.

Chapter 9

For Christmas day the weather turned mild again. There would be a family
dinner in the evening, but St. Peter was going to have the whole day to
himself, in the old house. He asked his wife to put him up some
sandwiches, so that he needn't come back for lunch. He kept a few
bottles of sherry in his study, in the old chest under the forms.
Fortunately he had brought back a great deal of it from his last trip to
Spain. It wasn't foresight--Prohibition was then unthinkable--but a
lucky accident. He had gone with his innkeeper to an auction, and bought
in a dozen dozens of a sherry that went very cheap. He came home by the
City of Mexico and got the wine through without duty.

As he was crossing the park with his sandwiches, he met Augusta coming
back from Mass. "Are you still going to the old house, Professor?" she
asked reproachfully, her face smiling at him between her stiff black fur
collar and her stiff black hat.

"Oh, yes Augusta, but it's not the same. I miss you. There are never any
new dresses on my ladies in the evening now. Won't you come in sometime
and deck them out, as a surprise for me? I like to see them looking

Augusta laughed. "You are a funny man, Doctor St. Peter. If anyone else
said the things you do to your classes, I'd be scandalized. But I always
tell people you don't mean half you say."

"And how do you know what I say to my classes, may I ask?"

"Why, of course, they go out and talk about it when you say slighting
things about the Church," she said gravely.

"But, really, Augusta, I don't think I ever do."

"Well, they take it that way. They are not as smart as you, and you
ought to be careful."

"It doesn't matter. What they think to-day, they'll forget to-morrow."
He was walking beside Augusta, with a slack, indifferent stride, very
unlike the step he had when he was full of something. "That reminds me:
I've been wanting to ask you a question. That passage in the service
about the Mystical Rose, Lily of Zion, Tower of Ivory--is that the

Augusta stopped and looked at him. "Why, Professor! Did you receive no
religious instruction at all?"

"How could I, Augusta? My mother was a Methodist, there was no Catholic
church in our town in Kansas, and I guess my father forgot his

"That happens, in mixed marriages." Augusta spoke meaningly.

"Ah, yes, I suppose so. But tell me, what is the Magnificat, then?"

"The Magnificat begins, My soul doth magnify the Lord; you must know

"But I thought the Magnificat was about the Virgin?"

"Oh, no, Professor! The Blessed Virgin composed the Magnificat."

St. Peter became intensely interested. "Oh, she did?"

Augusta spoke gently, as if she were prompting him and did not wish to
rebuke his ignorance too sharply. "Why, yes, just as soon as the angel
had announced to her that she would be the mother of our Lord, the
Blessed Virgin composed the Magnificat. I always think of you as knowing
everything, Doctor St. Peter!"

"And you're always finding out how little I know. Well, you don't give
me away. You are very discreet."

Their ways parted, and both went on more cheerful than when they met.
The Professor climbed to his study feeling quite as though Augusta had
been there and brightened it up for him. (Surely she had said that the
Blessed Virgin sat down and composed the Magnificat!) Augusta had been
with them often in the holiday season, back in the years when holidays
were holidays indeed. He had grown to like the reminders of herself that
she left in his workroom--especially the toilettes upon the figures.
Sometimes she made those terrible women entirely plausible!

In the early years, no matter how hard he was working, he had always
felt the sense of holiday, of a special warmth and fragrance in the air,
steal up to his study from the house below. When he was writing his
best, he was conscious of pretty little girls in fresh dresses--of
flowers and greens in the comfortable, shabby sitting-room--of his
wife's good looks and good taste--even of a better dinner than usual
under preparation downstairs. All the while he had been working so
fiercely at his eight big volumes, he was not insensible to the domestic
drama that went on beneath him. His mind had played delightedly with all
those incidents. Just as, when Queen Mathilde was doing the long
tapestry now shown at Bayeux,--working her chronicle of the deeds of
knights and heroes,--alongside the big pattern of dramatic action she
and her women carried the little playful pattern of birds and beasts
that are a story in themselves; so, to him, the most important chapters
of his history were interwoven with personal memories.

On this Christmas morning, with that sense of the past in his mind, the
Professor went mechanically to work, and the morning disappeared. Before
he knew it was passing, the bells from Augusta's church across the park
rang out and told him it was gone. He pushed back his papers and
arranged his writing-table for lunch.

He had been working hard, he judged, because he was so hungry. He peered
with interest into the basket his wife had given him--a wicker bag, it
was, really, that he had once bought full of strawberries at Gibraltar.
Chicken sandwiches with lettuce leaves, red California grapes, and two
shapely, long-necked russet pears. That would do very well; and Lillian
had thoughtfully put in one of her best dinner napkins, knowing he hated
ugly linen. From the chest he took out a round of cheese, and a bottle
of his wine, and began to polish a sherry glass.

While he was enjoying his lunch, he was thinking of certain holidays he
had spent alone in Paris, when he was living at Versailles, with the
Thieraults, as tutor to their boys. There was one All Souls' Day when he
had gone into Paris by an early train and had a magnificent breakfast on
the Rue de Vaugirard--not at Foyot's, he hadn't money enough in those
days to put his nose inside the place. After breakfast he went out to
walk in the soft rainfall. The sky was of such an intense silvery grey
that all the grey stone buildings along the Rue St. Jacques and the Rue
Sufflot came out in that silver shine stronger than in sunlight. The
shop windows were shut; on the bleak ascent to the Pantheon there was
not a spot of colour, nothing but wet, shiny, quick-silvery grey,
accented by black crevices, and weatherworn bosses white as wood-ash.
All at once, from somewhere behind the Pantheon itself, a man and woman,
pushing a hand-cart, came into the empty street. The cart was full of
pink dahlias, all exactly the same colour. The young man was fair and
slight, with a pale face; the woman carried a baby. Both they and the
heels of their barrow were splashed with mud. They must have come from a
good way in the country, and were a weary, anxious-looking pair. They
stopped at a corner before the Pantheon and fearfully scanned the bleak,
silvery, deserted streets. The man went into a bakery, and his wife
began to spread out the flowers, which were done up in large bouquets
with fresh green chestnut-leaves. Young St. Peter approached and asked
the price.

"Deux francs cinquante, Monsieur," she said with a kind of desperate

He took a bunch and handed her a five-franc note. She had no change. Her
husband, watching from the bakery, came running across with a loaf of
bread under his arm.

"Deux francs cinquante," she called to him as he came up. He put his
hand into his pocket and fumbled.

"Deux francs cinquante," she repeated with painful tension. The price
agreed upon had probably been a franc or a franc fifty. The man counted
out the change to the student and looked at his wife with admiration.
St. Peter was so pleased with his flowers that it hadn't occurred to him
to get more; but all his life he had regretted that he didn't buy two
bunches, and push their fortunes a little further. He had never again
found dahlias of such a beautiful colour, or so charmingly arranged with
bright chestnut-leaves.

A moment later he was strolling down the hill, wondering to whom he
could give his bouquet, when a pathetic procession filed past him
through the rain. The girls of a charity school came walking two and
two, in hideous dark uniforms and round felt hats without ribbon or bow,
marshalled by four black-bonneted nuns. They were all looking down, all
but one--the pretty one, naturally--and she was looking sidewise,
directly at the student and his flowers. Their eyes met, she smiled, and
just as he put out his hand with the bouquet, one of the sisters flapped
up like a black crow and shut the girl's pretty face from him. She would
have to pay for that smile, he was afraid. Godfrey spent his day in the
Luxembourg Gardens and walked back to the Gare St. Lazare at evening
with nothing but his return ticket in his pocket, very glad to get home
to Versailles in time for the family dinner.

When he first went to live with the Thieraults, he had found Madame
Thierault severe and exacting, stingy about his laundry and grudging
about the cheese and fruit he ate for dinner. But in the end she was
very kind to him; she never pampered him, but he could depend upon her.
Her three sons had always been his dearest friends. Gaston, the one he
loved best, was dead--killed in the Boxer uprising in China. But Pierre
still lived at Versailles, and Charles had a business in Marseilles.
When he was in France their homes were his. They were much closer to him
than his own brothers. It was one summer when he was in France, with
Lillian and the two little girls, that the idea of writing a work upon
the early Spanish explorers first occurred to him, and he had turned at
once to the Thieraults. After giving his wife enough money to finish the
summer and get home, he took the little that was left and went down to
Marseilles to talk over his project with Charles Thierault fils, whose
mercantile house did a business with Spain in cork. Clearly St. Peter
would have to be in Spain as much as possible for the next few years,
and he would have to live there very cheaply. The Thieraults were always
glad of a chance to help him. Not with money,--they were too French and
too logical for that. But they would go to any amount of trouble and no
inconsiderable expense to save him a few thousand francs.

That summer Charles kept him for three weeks in his oleander-buried
house in the Prado, until his little brig, L'Espoir, sailed out of the
new port with a cargo for Algeciras. The captain was from the
Hautes-Pyrénées, and his spare crew were all Provençals, seamen trained
in that hard school of the Gulf of Lyons. On the voyage everything
seemed to feed the plan of the work that was forming in St. Peter's
mind; the skipper, the old Catalan second mate, the sea itself. One day
stood out above the others. All day long they were skirting the south
coast of Spain; from the rose of dawn to the gold of sunset the ranges
of the Sierra Nevadas towered on their right, snow peak after snow peak,
high beyond the flight of fancy, gleaming like crystal and topaz. St.
Peter lay looking up at them from a little boat riding low in the purple
water, and the design of his book unfolded in the air above him, just as
definitely as the mountain ranges themselves. And the design was sound.
He had accepted it as inevitable, had never meddled with it, and it had
seen him through.

It was late on Christmas afternoon when the Professor got back to the
new house, but he was in such a happy frame of mind that he feared
nothing, not even a family dinner. He quite looked forward to it, on the
contrary. His wife heard him humming his favorite air from Matrimonio
Segreto while he was dressing.

That evening the two daughters of the house arrived almost at the same
moment. When Rosamond threw off her cloak in the hall, her father
noticed that she was wearing her new necklace. Kathleen stood looking at
it, and was evidently trying to find courage to say something about it,
when Louie helped her by breaking in.

"And, Kitty, you haven't seen our jewels! What do you think? Just look
at it."

"I was looking. It's too lovely!"

"It's very old, you see, the gold. What a work I had finding it! She
doesn't like anything showy, you know, and she doesn't care about
intrinsic values. It must be beautiful, first of all."

"Well, it is that, surely."

Louie walked up and down, admiring his wife. "She carries off things
like that, doesn't she? And yet, you know, I like her in simple things,
too." He dropped into reflection, just as if her were alone and talking
to himself. "I always remember a little bracelet she wore the night I
first met her. A turquoise set in silver, wasn't it? Yes, a turquoise
set in dull silver. Have you it yet, Rosie?"

"I think so." There was a shade of displeasure in Rosamond's voice, and
she turned back into the hall to look for something. "Where are the
violets you brought for Mamma?"

Mrs. St. Peter came in, followed by the maid and the cocktails. Scott
began the usual Prohibition lament.

"Why don't you journalists tell the truth about it in print?" Louie
asked him. "It's a case where you could do something."

"And lose my job? Not much! This country's split in two, socially, and I
don't know if it's ever coming together. It's not so hard on me, I can
drink hard liquor. But you and the Professor like wine and fancy stuff."

"Oh, it's nothing to us! We're going to France for the summer," Louie
put his arm round his wife and rubbed his cheek against hers, saying
caressingly, "and drink Burgundy, Burgundy, Burgundy!"

"Please take me with you, Louie," Mrs. St. Peter pleaded, to distract
him from his wife. Nothing made the McGregors so uncomfortable and so
wrathful as the tender moments which sometimes overtook the Marselluses
in public.

"We are going to take you, and Papa too. That's our plan. I take him for
safety. If I travelled on the Continent alone with two such handsome
women, it wouldn't be tolerated. There would be a trumped-up quarrel,
and a stiletto, and then somebody would be a widow," turning again to
his wife.

"Come here, Louie." Mrs. St. Peter beckoned him. "I have a confession to
make. I'm afraid there's no dinner for you tonight."

"No dinner for me?"

"No. There's nothing either you or Godfrey will like. It's Scott's
dinner to-night. Your tastes are so different, I can't compromise. And
this is his, from the cream soup to the frozen pudding."

"But who said I didn't like cream soup and frozen pudding?" Louie held
out his hands to show their guiltlessness. "And are there haricots verts
in the cream sauce? I thought so! And I like those, too. The truth is,
Dearest," he stood before her and tapped her chin with his finger, "the
truth is that I like all Scott's dinners, it's he who doesn't like mine!
He's the intolerant one."

"True for you, Louie," laughed the Professor.

"And it's that way about lots of things," said Louie a little

"Kitty," said Scott as they were driving home that night, Kathleen in
the drivers seat beside him, "that silver bracelet Louie spoke of was
one of Tom's trinkets, wasn't it? Do you suppose she has some feeling
for him still, under all this pompuosity?"

"I don't know, and I don't care. But, oh, Scott, I do love you very
much!" she cried vehemently.

He pinched off his driving-glove between his knees and snuggled his hand
over hers, inside her muff. "Sure?" he muttered.

"Yes, I do!" she said fiercely, squeezing his knuckles together with all
her might.

"Awful nice of you to have told me all about it at the start, Kitty.
Most girls wouldn't have thought it necessary. I'm the only one who
knows, ain't I?"

"The only one who ever has known."

"And I'm just the one another girl wouldn't have told. Why did you,

"I don't know. I suppose even then I must have had a feeling that you
were the real one." Her head dropped on his shoulder. "You know you are
the real one, don't you?"

"I guess!"

Chapter 10

That winter there was a meeting of an Association of Electrical
Engineers in Hamilton. Louie Marsellus, who was a member, gave a
luncheon for the visiting engineers at the Country Club, and then
motored them to Outland. Scott McGregor was at the lunch, with the other
newspaper men. On his return he stopped at the university and picked up
his father-in-law.

"I'll run you over home. Which house, the old? How did you get out of
Louie's party?"

"I had classes."

"It was some lunch! Louie's a good host. First-rate cigars, and plenty
of them," Scott tapped his breast pocket. "We had poor Tom served up
again. It was all right, of course--the scientific men were interested,
didn't know much about him. Louie called on me for personal
recollections; he was very polite about it. I didn't express myself very
well. I'm not much of a speaker, anyhow, and this time I seemed to be
talking uphill. You know, Tom isn't very real to me any more. Sometimes
I think he was just a--a glittering idea. Here we are, Doctor."

Scott's remark rather troubled the Professor. He went up the two flights
of stairs and sat down in his shadowy crypt at the top of the house.
With his right elbow on the table, his eyes on the floor, he began
recalling as clearly and definitely as he could every incident of that
bright, windy spring day when he first saw Tom Outland.

He was working in his garden one Saturday morning, when a young man in a
heavy winter suit and a Stetson hat, carrying a grey canvas telescope,
came in at the green door that led from the street.

"Are you Professor St. Peter?" he inquired.

Upon being assured, he set down his bag on the gravel, took out a blue
cotton handkerchief, and wiped his face, which was covered with beads of
moisture. The first thing the Professor noticed about the visitor was
his manly, mature voice--low, calm, experienced, very different from the
thin ring or the hoarse shouts of boyish voices about the campus. The
next thing he observed was the strong line of contrast below the young
man's sandy hair--the very fair forehead which had been protected by his
hat, and the reddish brown of his face, which had evidently been exposed
to a stronger sun than the spring sun of Hamilton. The boy was
fine-looking, he saw--tall and presumably well built, though the
shoulders of his stiff, heavy coat were so preposterously padded that
the upper part of him seemed shut up in a case.

"I want to go to school here, Professor St. Peter, and I've come to ask
you advice. I don't know anybody in the town."

"You want to enter the university, I take it? What high school are you

"I've never been to high school, sir. That's the trouble."

"Why, yes. I hardly see how you can enter the university. Where are you

"New Mexico. I haven't been to school, but I've studied. I read Latin
with a priest down there."

St. Peter smiled incredulously. "How much Latin?"

"I read Caesar and Virgil, the AEneid."

"How many books?"

"We went right through." He met the Professor's questions squarely, his
eyes were resolute, like his voice.

"Oh, you did." St. Peter stood his spade against the wall. He had been
digging around his red-fruited thorn-trees. "Can you repeat any of it?"

The boy began: Infandum, regina, jubes renovare dolorem and steadily
continued for fifty lines or more, until St. Peter held up a checking

"Excellent. Your priest was a thorough Latinist. You have a good
pronunciation and good intonation. Was the Father by any chance a

"Yes, sir. He was a missionary priest, from Belgium."

"Did you learn any French from him?"

"No, sir. He wanted to practise his Spanish."

"You speak Spanish?"

"Not very well, Mexican Spanish."

The Professor tried him out in Spanish and told him he thought he knew
enough to get credit for a modern language. "And what are your

"I've never had any mathematics or science, and I write very bad hand."

"That's not unusual," St. Peter told him. "But, by the way, how did you
happen to come to me instead of the registrar?"

"I just got in this morning, and your name was the only one here I knew.
I read an article by you in a magazine, about Fray Marcos. Father
Duchene said it was the only thing with any truth in it he'd read about
our country down there."

The Professor had noticed before that whenever he wrote for popular
periodicals it got him into trouble. "Well, what are your plans, young
man? And, by the way, what is your name?"

"Tom Outland."

The Professor repeated it. It seemed to suit the boy exactly.

"How old are you?"

"I'm twenty." He blushed, and St. Peter supposed he was dropping off a
few years, but he found afterward that the boy didn't know exactly how
old he was. "I thought I might get a tutor and make up my mathematics
this summer."

"Yes, that could be managed. How are you fixed for money?"

Outland's face grew grave. "I'm rather awkwardly fixed. If you were to
write to Tarpin, New Mexico, to inquire about me, you'd find I have
money in the bank there, and you'd think I had been deceiving you. But
it's money I can't touch while I'm able-bodied. It's in trust for
someone else. But I've got three hundred dollars without any string on
it, and I'm hoping to get work here. I've been bossing a section gang
all winter, and I'm in good condition. I'll do anything but wait table.
I won't do that." On this point he seemed to feel strongly.

The Professor learned some of his story that morning. His parents, he
said, were "mover people," and both died when they were crossing
southern Kansas in a prairie schooner. He was a baby and had been
informally adopted by some kind people who took care of his mother in
her last hours,--a locomotive engineer named O'Brien, and his wife. This
engineer was transferred to New Mexico and took the foundling boy along
with his own children. As soon as Tom was old enough to work, he got a
job as call boy and did his share toward supporting the family.

"What's a call boy, a messenger boy?"

"No, sir. It's a more responsible position. Our town was an important
freight division on the Santa Fé, and a lot of train men live there. The
freight schedule is always changing because it's a single track road and
the dispatcher has to get the freights through when he can. Suppose
you're a brakeman, and your train is due out at two A.M.; well, like as
not, it will be changed to midnight, or to four in the morning. You go
to bed as if you were going to sleep all night, with nothing on your
mind. The call boy watches the schedule board, and half an hour before
your train goes out, he comes and taps on your window and gets you up in
time to make it. The call boy has to be on to things in the town. He
must know when there's a poker game on, and how to slip in easy. You
can't tell when there's a spotter about, and if a man's reported for
gambling, he's fired. Sometimes you have to get a man when he isn't
where he ought to be. I found there was usually a reason at home for
that." The boy spoke with gravity, as if he had reflected deeply upon
irregular behaviour.

Just then Mrs. St. Peter came out into the garden and asked her husband
if he wouldn't bring his young friend in to lunch. Outland started and
looked with panic toward the door by which he had come in; but the
Professor wouldn't hear of his going, and picked up his telescope to
prevent his escape. As he carried it into the house and put it down in
the hall, he noticed that it was strangely light for its bulk. Mrs. St.
Peter introduced the guest to her two little girls, and asked him if he
didn't want to go upstairs to wash his hands. He disappeared; as he came
back something disconcerting happened. The front hall and the front
staircase were the only hard wood in the house, but as Tom came down the
waxed steps, his heavy new shoes shot out from under him, and he sat
down on the end of his spine with a thump. Little Kathleen burst into a
giggle, and her elder sister looked at her reprovingly; Mrs. St. Peter
apologized for the stairs.

"I'm not much used to stairs, living mostly in 'dobe houses," Tom
explained, as he picked himself up.

At luncheon the boy was very silent at first. He sat looking admiringly
at Mrs. St. Peter and the little girls. The day had grown warm, and the
Professor thought this was the hottest boy he had ever seen. His stiff
white collar began to melt, and his handkerchief, as he kept wiping his
face with it, became a rag. "I didn't know it would be so warm up here,
or I'd have picked a lighter suit," he said, embarrassed by the activity
of his skin.

"We would like to hear more about your life in the Southwest," said his
host. "How long were you a call boy?"

"Two years. Then I had pneumonia, and the doctor said I ought to go on
the range, so I went to work for a big cattle firm."

Mrs. St. Peter began to question him about the Indian pueblos. He was
reticent at first, but he presently warmed up in defence of Indian
housewifery. He forgot his shyness so far, indeed, that having made a
neat heap of mashed potato beside his chop, he conveyed it to his mouth
on the blade of his knife, at which sight the little girls were not able
to conceal their astonishment. Mrs. St. Peter went on quietly talking
about Indian pottery and asking him where they made the best.

"I think the very best is the old,--the cliff-dweller pottery," he said.
"Do you take an interest in pottery, Ma'am? Maybe you'd like to see some
I have brought along." As they rose from the table he went to his
telescope underneath the hat-rack, knelt beside it, and undid the
straps. When he lifted the cover, it seemed full of bulky objects
wrapped in newspapers. After feeling among them, he unwrapped one and
displayed an earthen water jar, shaped like those common in Greek
sculpture, and ornamented with a geometrical pattern in black and white.

"That's one of the real old ones. I know, for I got it out myself. I
don't know just how old, but there's pin>on trees three hundred years
old by their rings, growing up in the stone trail that leads to the
ruins where I got it."

"Stone trail...piñons?" she asked.

"Yes, deep, narrow trails in white rock, worn by their moccasin feet
coming and going for generations. And these old piñon trees have come up
in the trails since the race died off. You can tell something about how
long ago it was by them." He showed her a coating of black on the under
side of the jar.

"That's not from the firing. See, I can scratch it off. It's soot, from
when it was on the cook-fire last--and that was before Columbus landed,
I guess. Nothing makes those people seem so real to me as their old
pots, with the fire-black on them." As she gave it back to him, he shook
his head. "That one's for you, Ma'am, if you like it."

"Oh, I couldn't think of letting you give it to me! You must keep it for
yourself, or put it in a museum." But that seemed to touch a sore spot.

"Museums," he said bitterly, "they don't care about our things. The want
something that came from Crete or Egypt. I'd break my jars sooner than
they should get them. But I'd like this one to have a good home, among
your nice things"--he looked about appreciatively. "I've no place to
keep them. They're in my way, especially that big one. My trunk is at
the station, but I was afraid to leave the pottery. You don't get them
out whole like that very often."

"But get them out of what, from where? I want to know all about it."

"Maybe some day, Ma'am, I can tell you," he said, wiping his sooty
fingers on his handkerchief. His reply was courteous but final. He
strapped his bag and picked up his hat, then hesitated and smiled.
Taking a buckskin bag from his pocket, he walked over to the window-seat
where the children were, and held out his hand to them, saying: "These I
would like to give to the little girls." In his palm lay two lumps of
soft blue stone, the colour of robins' eggs, or of the sea on halcyon
days of summer.

The children marvelled. "Oh, what are they?"

"Turquoises, just the way they come out of the mine, before the
jewellers have tampered with them and made them look green. The Indians
like them this way."

Again Mrs. St. Peter demurred. She told him very kindly that she
couldn't let him give his stones to the children. "They are worth a lot
of money."

"I'd never sell them. They were given to me by a friend. I have a lot,
and they're no use to me, but they'll make pretty playthings for little
girls." His voice was so wistful and winning that there was nothing to

"Hold them still a moment," said the Professor, looking down, not at the
turquoises, but at the hand that held them: the muscular, many-lined
palm, the long, strong fingers with soft ends, the straight little
finger, the flexible, beautifully shaped thumb that curved back from the
rest of the hand as if it were its own master. What a hand! He could see
it yet, with the blue stones lying in it.

In a moment the stranger was gone, and the St. Peter family sat down and
looked at one another. He remembered just what his wife had said on that

"Well, this is something new in students, Godfrey. We ask a poor
perspiring tramp boy to lunch, to save his pennies, and he departs
leaving princely gifts."

Yes, the Professor reflected, after all these years, that was still
true. Fellows like Outland don't carry much luggage, yet one of the
things you know them by is their sumptuous generosity--and when they are
gone, all you can say of them is that they departed leaving princely

With a good tutor, young Outland had no difficulty in making up three
years' mathematics in four months. Latin, he owned, had been hard for
him. But in mathematics, he didn't have to work, he had merely to give
his attention. His tutor had never known anything like it. But St. Peter
held the boy at arm's length. As a young teacher full of zeal, he had
been fooled more than once. He knew that the wonderful seldom holds
water, that brilliancy has no staying power, and the unusual becomes
commonplace by a natural law.

In those first months Mrs. St. Peter saw more of their protégé than her
husband did. She found him a good boarding-place, took care that he had
proper summer clothes and that he no longer addressed her as "Ma'am." He
came often to the house that summer, to play with the little girls. He
would spend hours with them in the garden, making Hopi villages with
sand and pebbles, drawing maps of the Painted Desert and the Rio Grande
country in the gravel, telling them stories, when there was no one by to
listen, about the adventures he had had with his friend Roddy.

"Mother," Kathleen broke out one evening at dinner, "what do you think!
Tom hasn't any birthday."

"How is that?"

"When his mother died in the mover wagon, and Tom was a baby, she forgot
to tell the O'Briens when his birthday was. She even forgot to tell them
how old he was. They thought he must be a year and a half, because he
was so big, but Mrs. O'Brien always said he didn't have enough teeth for

St. Peter asked her whether Tom had ever said how it happened that his
mother died in a wagon.

"Well, you see, she was very sick, and they were going West for her
health. And one day, when they were camped beside a river, Tom's father
went in to swim, and had a cramp or something, and was drowned. Tom's
mother saw it, and it made her worse. She was there all alone, till some
people found her and drove her on to the next town to a doctor. But when
they got her there, she was too sick to leave the wagon. They drove her
into the O'Briens' yard, because that was nearest the doctor's and Mrs.
O'Brien was a kind woman. And she died in a few hours."

"Does Tom know anything about his father?"

"Nothing except that he was a school-teacher in Missouri. His mother
told the O'Briens that much. But the O'Briens were just lovely to him."

St. Peter had noticed that in the stories Tom told the children there
were no shadows. Kathleen and Rosamond regarded his free-lance childhood
as a gay adventure they would gladly have shared. They loved to play at
being Tom and Roddy. Roddy was the remarkable friend, ten years older
than Tom, who knew everything about snakes and panthers and deserts and
Indians. "And he gave up a fine job firing on the Santa Fé, and went off
with Tom to ride after cattle for hardly any wages, just to be with Tom
and take care of him after he'd had pneumonia," Kathleen told them.

"That wasn't the only reason," Rosamond added dreamily. "Roddy was
proud. He didn't like taking orders and living on pay cheques. He liked
to be free, and to sit in his saddle all day and use it for a pillow at
night. You know Tom said that, Kitty."

"Anyhow, he was noble. He was always noble, noble Roddy!" Kathleen
finished it off.

After the first day, when he had walked into the garden and introduced
himself, Tom never took up the story of his own life again, either with
the Professor or Mrs. St. Peter, though he was often encouraged to do
so. He would talk about the New Mexico country when questioned, about
Father Duchene, the missionary priest who had been his teacher, about
the Indians; but only with the two little girls did he ever speak freely
and confidentially about himself. St. Peter used to wonder how the boy
could afford to spend so much time with the children. All through that
summer and fall he used to come in the afternoon and join them in the
garden. In the winter he dropped in two or three evenings a week to play
Five Hundred or to take a dancing-lesson.

There was evidently something enchanting about the atmosphere of the
house to a boy who had always lived a rough life. He enjoyed the
prettiness and freshness and gaiety of the little girls as if they were
flowers. Probably, too, he liked being so attractive to them. A flush of
pleasure would come over Tom's face--so much fairer now than when he
first arrived in Hamilton--if Kathleen caught his hand and tried to
squeeze it hard enough to hurt, crying: "Oh, Tom, tell us about the time
you and Roddy found the water hole dry, and then afterward tell us about
when the rattlesnake bit Henry!" He would whisper: "Pretty soon," and
after a while, through the open windows, the Professor would hear them
in the garden: the laughter and exclamations of the little girls, and
that singularly individual voice of Tom's--mature, confident, seldom
varying in pitch, but full of slight, very moving modulations.

He couldn't have wished for a better companion for his daughters, and
they were teaching Tom things that he needed more than mathematics.

Sitting thus in his study, long afterward, St. Peter reflected that
those first years, before Outland had done anything remarkable, were
really the best of all. He liked to remember the charming groups of
three he was always coming upon,--in the hammock swung between the
linden-trees, in the window-seat, or before the dining-room fire. Oh,
there had been fine times in this old house then: family festivals and
hospitalities, little girls dancing in and out, Augusta coming and
going, gay dresses hanging in his study at night, Christmas shopping and
secrets and smothered laughter on the stairs. When a man had lovely
children in his house, fragrant and happy, full of pretty fancies and
generous impulses, why couldn't he keep them? Was there no way but
Medea's, he wondered?

Chapter 11

St. Peter had come in late from an afternoon lecture, and had just
lighted his kerosene lamp to go to work, when he heard a light foot
ascending the stairs. In a moment Kathleen's voice called: "May I
interrupt for a moment, Papa?"

He opened the door and drew her in.

"Kitty, do you remember the time you sat out there with your bee-sting
and your bottle? Nobody ever showed me more consideration than that, not
even your mother."

Kathleen threw her hat and jacket into the sewing-chair and walked
about, touching things to see how dusty they were. "I've been wondering
if you didn't need me to come in and clean house for you, but it's not
so bad as they report it. This is the first time I've called on you
since you've been here alone. I've turned in from the walk more than
once, but I've always run away again." She paused to warm her hands at
the little stove. "I'm silly, you know; such queer things make me blue.
And you still have Augusta's old forms. I don't think anything ever
happened to her that amused her so much. And now, you know, she's quite
sentimental about their being here. It's about Agusta sic that I came,
Papa. Did you know that she had lost some of her savings in the Kinkoo
Copper Company?"

"Augusta? Are you sure? What a shame!"

"Yes. She was sewing for me last week. I noticed that she seemed
depressed and hadn't much appetite for lunch--which, you know, is
unusual for Augusta. She was ashamed to tell any of us about it, because
it seems she'd asked Louie's advice, and he told her not to invest in that
company. But a lot of the people in her church were putting money into
it, and of course that made it seem all right to her. She lost five
hundred dollars, a fortune for her, and Scott says she'll never get a
cent of it back."

"Five hundred dollars," murmured St. Peter. "Let me see, at three
dollars a day that means one hundred and sixty-six days. Now what can we
do about it?"

"Of course we must do something. I knew you'd feel that way, Father."

"Certainly. Among us, we must cover it. I'll speak to Rosamond

"You needn't, dear." Kathleen tossed her head. "I have been to her. She

"Refuses? She can't refuse, my dear. I'll have a word to say." The
firmness of his tone, and the quick rush of claret colour under his
skin, were a gratification to his daughter.

"She says that Louie took the trouble to speak to his banker and to
several copper men before he advised Augusta; and that if she doesn't
learn her lesson this time, she will do the same thing over again.
Rosamond said they would do something for Augusta later, but she didn't
say what."

"Leave Rosamond to me. I'll convince her."

"Even if you can do anything with her, she's determined to make Augusta
admit her folly, and it can't be done that way. Augusta is terribly
proud. When I told her her customers ought to make it up to her, she was
very haughty and said she wasn't that kind of a sewing-woman; that she
gave her ladies good measure for their money. Scott thought we could buy
stock in some good company and tell her we had used our influence and
got an exchange, but that she must keep quiet about it. We could manage
some such little fib, she knows so little about business. I know I can
get the Dudleys and the Browns to help. We needn't go to the

"Wait a few days. It's a disgrace to us as a family not to make it up
ourselves. On her own account, we oughtn't to let Rosamond out. She's
altogether too blind to responsibilities of that kind. In a world full
of blunders, why should Augusta have to pay scrupulously for her
mistakes? It's very petty of Rosie, really!"

Kathleen started to speak, stopped and turned away. "Scott will give a
hundred dollars," she said a moment later.

"That's very generous of him. I'll give another, and Rosie shall make up
the rest. If she doesn't, I'll speak to Louie. He's an absolutely
generous chap. I've never known him to refuse to give either time or

Kathleen's eyes suddenly brightened. "Why, Daddy, you have Tom's Mexican
blanket! I never knew he gave it to you. I've often wondered what became
of it." She picked up from the foot of the box-couch a purple blanket,
faded in streaks to amethyst, with a pale yellow stripe at either end.

"Oh, yes, I often get chilly when I lie down, especially if I turn the
stove out, which your mother says I ought always to do. Nothing could
part me from that blanket."

"He wouldn't have given it to anybody but you. It was like his skin. Do
you remember how horsey it smelled when he first brought it over and
showed it to us?"

"Just like a livery stable! It had been strapped behind the saddle on so
many sweating cow-ponies. In damp weather that smell is still

Kathleen stroked it thoughtfully. "Roddy brought it up from Old Mexico,
you know. He gave it to Tom that winter he had pneumonia. Tom ought to
have taken it to France with him. He used to say that Rodney Blake might
turn up in the Foreign Legion. If he had taken this, it might have been
like the wooden cups that were always revealing Amis and Amile to each

St. Peter smiled and patted her hand on the blanket. "Do you know,
Kitty, I sometimes think I ought to go out and look for Blake myself.
He's on my conscience. If that country down there weren't so
everlastingly big--"

"Oh, Father! That was my romantic dream when I was little, finding
Roddy! I used to think about it for hours when I was supposed to be
taking my nap. I used to swim rivers and climb mountains and wander
about with Navajos, and rescue Roddy at the most critical moments, when
he was being stabbed in the back, or drugged in a gambling-house, and
bring him back to Tom. You know Tom told us about him long before he
ever told you."

"You children used to live in his stories. You cared more about them
than about all your adventure books."

"I still do," said Kathleen, rising. "Now that Rosamond has Outland, I
consider Tom's mesa entirely my own."

St. Peter put down the cigarette he had just lighted with anticipation.
"Can't you stay awhile, Kitty? I almost never see anyone who remembers
that side of Tom. It was nice, all those years when he was in and out of
the house like an older brother. Always very different from the other
college boys, wasn't he? Always had something in his voice, in his
eyes...One seemed to catch glimpses of an unusual background behind his
shoulders when he came into the room."

Kathleen smiled wanly. "Yes, and now he's all turned out chemicals and
dollars and cents, hasn't he? But not for you and me! Our Tom is much
nicer than theirs." She put on her jacket and went out of the study and
quickly down the stairs. Her father, on the landing, looked after until
she disappeared. When she was gone he still stood there, motionless, as
if her were listening intently, or trying to fasten upon some fugitive

Chapter 12

St. Peter was breakfasting at six-thirty, alone, reading last night's
letters while he waited for the coffee to percolate. It had been long
since he had had an eight o'clock class, but this year the schedule
committee had slyly put him down for one. "He can afford to take a taxi
over now," the Dean remarked.

After breakfast he went upstairs and into his wife's room. "I have a
rendezvous with a lady," he said, tossing an envelope upon her
counterpane. She read a note from Mrs. Crane, the least attractive of
the faculty ladies, requesting an interview with the professor at his
earliest convenience: as she wished to see him quite alone, might she
come to his study in the old house, where she understood he still

"Poor Godfrey!" murmured his wife.

"One ought not to joke about it--" St. Peter went into his room to
get a handkerchief and came back, taking up his suspended sentence. "I'm
afraid it means poor Crane is coming up for another operation. Or, worse
still, that the surgeons tell her another would be useless. It's like
The Pit and the Pendulum. I feel as if the poor fellow were strapped
down on a revolving disk that comes around under the knife just so

Mrs. St. Peter looked judicially at the letter, then at her husband's
back. She didn't believe that surgery would be the subject of discussion
when they met. Mrs. Crane had been behaving very strangely of late.

Doctor Crane had married a girl whom no other man ever thought of
courting, a girl of whom people always said: "Oh, she's so good!"
chiefly because she was so homely. They had three very plain daughters,
and only Crane's salary to live upon. Doctors and surgeons kept them
poor enough.

St. Peter kissed his wife and went forth quite unconscious of what was
going on in her mind. During the morning he telephoned Mrs. Crane, and
arranged a meeting with her at five o'clock. As the bell in the old
house didn't work now, he waited downstairs on the front porch, to
receive his visitor and conduct her up to his study. It was raining
drearily, and Mrs. Crane arrived in a rubber coat, and a knitted sport
hat belonging to one of her daughters. St. Peter took her wet umbrella
and led her up the two flights of stairs.

"I'm not very well appointed to receive ladies, Mrs. Crane. This was the
sewing-room, you know. There's Augusta's chair, which she insisted was

"Thank you." Mrs. Crane sat down, took off her gloves, and tucked wisps
of damp hair up under her crocheted hat. Her bleak, plain face wore an
expression of grievance.

"I've come without my husband's knowledge, Doctor St. Peter, to ask you
what you think can be done about our rights in the Outland patent. You
know how my husband's health has crippled us financially, and we never
know when his trouble may come on worse again. Myself, I've never
doubted that you would see it is only right to share with us."

St. Peter looked at her in amazement. "But, my dear Mrs. Crane, how can
I share with you what I haven't got? Tom willed his estate and royalties
in a perfectly regular way. The fact that he named my daughter as his
sole beneficiary doesn't affect me, any more than if he had named some
relative of his own. I tell you frankly, I have never received one
dollar from the Outland patent."

"It's all the same if it goes to your family, Doctor St. Peter. My
husband must be considered in this matter. He spent days and nights
working with Outland. Tom never could have worked his theory out without
Robert's help. He said so, more than once, in my presence and in the
presence of others."

"Oh, I believe that, Mrs. Crane. But the difficulty is that Tom didn't
make any recognition of that assistance in his will."

Mrs. Crane had set her head and advanced her long chin with meek
determination. "Well, this is how it was, Professor. Mr. Marsellus came
here a stranger, to put in the Edison power plant, just at the time the
city was stirred up about Outland's being killed at the front. Everybody
was wanting to do something in recognition of the young man. You brought
Mr. Marsellus to our house and introduced him. After that he came alone,
again and again, and he got round my husband. Robert thought he was
disinterested, and was only taking a scientific interest, and he told
him a great deal about what he and Outland had been working on. Then
Rosamond's lawyers came for the papers. Tom Outland had no laboratory of
his own. He was allowed the use of a room in the physics building, at my
husband's request. He wanted to be there, because he constantly needed
Robert's help. The first thing we knew, your daughter's engagement to
Marsellus was announced, and then we heard that all Outland's papers had
been given over to him."

Here St. Peter anticipated her. "But, Mrs. Crane, your husband couldn't,
and wouldn't, have kept Tom's papers. They had to be given over to his
executor, who was my daughter's attorney."

"Well, I could have kept them, if he couldn't!"--Mrs. Crane threw up her
head as if to show that the worm had turned at last--"kept them until
justice was done us, and some recognition had been made of my husband's
part in all that research work. If he had taken the papers to court
then, with all the evidence we have, we could easily have got an equity.
But Mr. Marsellus is very smooth. He flattered Robert and got everything
there was."

"But he didn't get anything from your husband. Outland's papers and
apparatus were delivered to his executor, as was inevitable."

"That was poor subterfuge," said Mrs. Crane, with deep meaning. "You
know how unworldly Robert is, and as an old friend you might have warned

"Of what, Mrs. Crane?"

"Why, that Marsellus saw there was a fortune in the gas my husband and
his pupil had made, and we could have asked for our equity before we
gave your son-in-law a free hand with everything."

St. Peter felt very unhappy. He began walking up and down the little
room. "Heaven knows I'd like to see Crane get something out of it, but
how? How? I've thought a great deal about this matter, and I've blamed
Tom for making that kind of will. I don't think it occurred to the boy
that the will would ever be probated. He expected to come back from the
war and develop the thing himself. I doubt whether Robert, with all his
superior knowledge, would have known the twists and turns by which the
patent could be commercialized. It took a great deal of work and a
special kind of ability to do that."

"A salesman's ability!" Mrs. Crane was becoming nasty.

"If you like; but certainly Robert would have been no man to convince
manufacturers and machinists, any more than I would. A great deal of
money was put into it, too, before any came back; every cent Marsellus
had, and all he could borrow. He took heavy chances. Crane and I
together could never have raised a hundredth part of the capital that
was necessary to get the thing started. Without capital to make it go,
Tom's idea was merely a formula written out on paper. It had lain for
two years in your husband's laboratory, and would have lain there for
years more before he or I would have done anything about it."

Mrs. Crane's dreary face took on more animation than he had supposed it
capable of. "It had lain there because it belonged there, and was made
there! My husband was done out of it by an adventurer, and his
friendship for you tied his hands. I must say you've shown very little
consideration for him. You might have warned us never to let those
papers go. You see Robert getting weaker all the time and having those
terrible operations, and our girls going shabby and teaching in the ward
schools, and Rosamond riding about in a limousine and building country
houses,--and you do nothing about it. You take your honours--you've
deserved them, we never forget that--and move into your new house, and
you don't remember what it is to be in straitened circumstances."

St. Peter drew his chair nearer to Mrs. Crane, and addressed her
patiently. "Mrs. Crane, if you had any legal rights in the patent, I'd
defend them against Rosamond as soon as against anyone else. I think she
ought to recognize Dr. Crane's long friendship and helpfulness to Tom in
some way. I don't see just how it can be done, but I feel it should be.
And if you wish I'll tell Rosamond how I feel. Why don't you put this
matter before her?"

"I don't care to ask anything of Mrs. Marsellus. I wrote her some time
ago, and she replied to me through her lawyer, saying that all claims
against the Outland patent would be considered in due order. It's not
worthy of a man in Robert's position to accept hush money from the
Marselluses. We want justice, and my brother is confident the court will
give it to us."

"Well, I suppose Bright knows more about what the courts will do than I.
But if you've decided to go to law about it, why did you come to me?"

"There are some things the law don't cover," said Mrs. Crane
mysteriously, as she rose and put on her gloves. "I wanted you to know
how we feel about it."

St. Peter followed her downstairs and put up her umbrella for her, and
then went back to his study to think it over. His friendship with Crane
had been a strange one. Out in the world they would almost certainly
have kept clear of each other; but in the university they fought
together in a common cause. Both, with all their might, had resisted the
new commercialism, the aim to "show results" that was undermining and
vulgarizing education. The State Legislature and the board of regents
seemed determined to make a trade school of the university. Candidates
for the degree of Bachelor of Arts were allowed credits for commercial
studies; courses in bookkeeping, experimental farming, domestic science,
dress-making, and what not. Every year the regents tried to diminish the
number of credits required in science and the humanities. The liberal
appropriations, the promotions and increases in salary, all went to the
professors who worked with the regents to abolish the purely cultural
studies. Out of a faculty of sixty, there were perhaps twenty men who
made any serious stand for scholarship, and Robert Crane was one of the
staunchest. He had lost the Deanship of the College of Science because
of his uncompromising opposition to the degrading influence of
politicians in university affairs. The honour went, instead, to a much
younger man, head of the department of chemistry, who was willing "to
give the taxpayers what they wanted."

The struggle to preserve the dignity of the university, and their own,
had brought St. Peter and Dr. Crane much together. They were, moreover,
the only two men on the faculty who were doing research work of an
uncommercial nature, and they occasionally dropped in on one another to
exchange ideas. But that was as far as it went. St. Peter couldn't ask
Crane to dinner; the presence of a bottle of claret on the table would
have made him uncomfortable. Dr. Crane had all the prejudices of the
Baptist community in which he grew up. He carried them with him when he
went to study at a German university, and brought them back. But Crane
knew that none of his colleagues followed his work so closely, and
rejoiced at his little triumphs so heartily, as St. Peter.

St. Peter couldn't help admiring the man's courage; poor, ill,
overworked, held by his conscience to a generous discharge of his duties
as a teacher, he was all the while carrying on these tedious and
delicate experiments that had to do with determining the extent of
space. Fortunately, Crane seemed to have no social needs or impulses. He
never went anywhere, except, once or twice a year, to a dinner at the
President's house. Music disturbed him too much, dancing shocked him--he
couldn't see why it was permitted among the students. Once, after Mrs.
St. Peter had set next to him at the President's dinner-table, she said
to her husband: "The man is too dreary! All evening his heavy underwear
kept coming down below his cuffs, and he kept poking it back with his
forefinger. I believe he thinks it's wicked to live with even so plain a
woman as Mrs. Crane."

After Tom Outland graduated from the university, he and Dr. Crane worked
side by side in the Physics building for several years. The older man
had been of great assistance to the younger, without doubt. Though that
kind of help, the result of criticism and suggestion, is not easily
reckoned in percentages, still St. Peter thought Crane ought to get
something out of the patent. He resolved to see Louie about it. But
first he had better talk with Crane himself, and try to dissuade him
from going to law. His brother-in-law, Homer Bright, would be tempted by
the publicity which an action involving the Outland patent would
certainly bring him. But he would lose the case, and Crane would get
nothing. Whereas Louie, if he were properly approached, would be

St. Peter looked at his watch. He would go home now, and after dinner he
would walk over to the Physics building, where his colleague worked
every night. He never went to see Crane at his house if he could help
it. He lived in the most depressing and unnecessary ugliness.

Chapter 13

At dinner Lillian asked him no questions about his interview with Mrs.
Crane, and he volunteered no information. She was not surprised,
however, when he said he would not stop for a cigar, as he was going
over to the Physics laboratory.

He walked through the park, past the old house and across the north end
of the campus, to a building that stood off by itself in a grove of
pine-trees. It was constructed of red brick, after an English model. The
architect had had a good idea, and he very nearly succeeded in making a
good thing, something like the old Smithsonian building in Washington.
But after it was begun, the State Legislature had defeated him by
grinding down the contractor to cheap execution, and had spoiled
everything, outside and in. Ever since it was finished, plumbers and
masons and carpenters had been kept busy patching and repairing it.
Crane and St. Peter, both young men then, had wasted weeks of time with
the contractors, and had finally gone before the Legislative committee
in person to plead for the integrity of that building. But nothing came
of all their pains. It was one of many lost causes.

St. Peter entered the building and went upstairs to a small room at the
end of a chain of laboratories. After knocking, he heard the familiar
shuffle of Crane's carpet slippers, and the door opened.

Crane was wearing a grey cotton coat, shrunk to a rag by washing, though
he wasn't working with fluids or batteries tonight, but at a roll-top
desk littered with papers. The room was like any study behind a lecture
room; dusty books, dusty files, but no apparatus--except a spirit-lamp
and a little saucepan in which the physicist heated water for his cocoa
at regular intervals. He was working by the glare of an unshaded
electric bulb of high power--the man seemed to have no feeling for
comfort of any kind. He asked his visitor to sit down, and to excuse him
for a moment while he copied some entries into a note-book.

St. Peter watched him scribbling with his fountain pen. The hands that
were so deft in delicate manipulations were white and soft-looking; the
fingers long and loosely hung, stained with chemicals, and blunted at
the tips like a violinist's. His head was square, and the lower part of
his face was covered by a reddish, matted beard. His pale eyes and
fawn-coloured eyebrows were outbalanced by his mouth, his most
conspicuous feature. One always remembered about Crane that unexpected,
startling red mouth in a setting of kinky beard. The lips had no
modelling, they were as thick at the corners as in the middle, and he
spoke through them rather than with them. He seemed painfully conscious
of them.

St. Peter saw no use in beating about the bush. As soon as Crane put
down his pen, he remarked that Mrs. Crane had been to see him that
afternoon. His colleague flushed, took up a large celluloid paper-knife,
and began shutting and unshutting his hands about the blade.

"I want to know exactly how you feel about this, and what the facts
are," St. Peter began. "We've never discussed it before, and there may
be things I know nothing about. Did Tom ever say that he meant you to
have a share in his profits, if there were any?"

"No, not exactly. Not exactly that." Dr. Crane moved his shoulders about
in his tight coat and looked embarrassed and unhappy. "More than once he
said, in a general way, that he hoped it would go, on my account as well
as on his own, and that we would use the income for further

"Did he talk much about the possible commercial value of the gas while
he was trying to make it?"

"Not much. No, very seldom. Perhaps not more than half a dozen times in
the three years he was working in my laboratory. But whenever he did, he
spoke as if there would be something in it for both of us if our gas
became remunerative."

"Just how much was it 'our gas,' Crane?"

"Strictly speaking, of course, it wasn't. The idea was Outland's. He
benefited by my criticism, and I often helped him with his experiments.
He never acquired a nice laboratory technic. He would fail repeatedly in
some perfectly sound experiment because of careless procedure."

"Do you think he would have arrived at his results without your help?"

Dr. Crane was clenching the paper-knife with both hands. "That I cannot
say. He was impatient. He might have got discouraged and turned to
something else. He would have been much slower in getting his results,
at any rate. 'His conception was right, but very delicate manipulation
was necessary, and he was a careless experimentor."

St. Peter felt that this was becoming nothing less than
cross-examination. He tried to change the tone of it.

"I want to see you get recognition and compensation for whatever part
you had in his experiments, if there's any way to get it. But you've
been neglectful, Crane. You haven't taken the proper steps. Why in the
world didn't you have some understanding with Tom when he was getting
his patent? You knew all about it."

"It didn't occur to me then. We'd finished the experiments, and I put
them out of my mind. I was trying to concentrate on my own work. His
results weren't as interesting scientifically as I'd expected them to

"While his manuscripts and formulé were lying here those two years, did
you ever make the gas, or give any study to its behaviour?"

"No, of course not. It's off my own line, and didn't interest me."

"Then it's only since this patent has begun to make money that it does
interest you?"

Dr. Crane twisted his shoulders. "Yes. It's the money."

"Heaven knows I'd like to see you get some of it. But why did you put it
off so long? Why didn't you make some claim when you delivered the
papers to his executor, since you hadn't done so before? Why didn't you
bring the matter up to me then, and let me make a claim against the
estate for you?"

Dr. Crane could endure his chair no longer. He began to walk softly
about in his slippers, looking at nothing, but, as he talked, picking up
objects here and there,--drawing-tools, his cocoa-cup, a china
cream-pitcher, turning them round and carefully putting them down again,
just as he often absently handled pieces of apparatus when he was

"I know," he said, "appearances are against me. But you must understand
my negligence. You know how little opportunity a man has to carry on his
own line of investigation here. You know how much time I give to any of
my students who are doing honest work. Outland was, of course, the most
brilliant pupil I ever had, and I gave him time and thought without
stint. Gladly, of course. If he were reaping the rewards of his
discovery himself, I'd have nothing to say--though I've not the least
doubt he would compensate me liberally. But it does not seem right that
a stranger should profit, and not those who helped him. You, of course,
do profit--indirectly, if not directly. You cannot shut your eyes to the
fact that this money, coming into your family, has strengthened your
credit and your general security. That's as it should be. But your claim
was less definite than mine. I spent time and strength I could ill
afford to spare on the very series of experiments that led to this
result. Marsellus gets the benefit of my work as well as Outland's. I
have certainly been ill-used--and, as you say, it's difficult to get
recompense when I ask for it so late. It's not to my discredit,
certainly, that I didn't take measures to protect my interests. I never
thought of my student's work in terms of money. There were others who
did, and I was not considered," he concluded bitterly.

"Why don't you put in a claim to Marsellus, for your time and expert
advice? I think he'd honour it. He is going to live here. He probably
doesn't wish to be more unpopular than a suddenly prosperous man is
bound to be, and you have many friends. I believe I can convince him
that it would be poor policy to disregard any reasonable demand."

"I had thought of that. But my wife's brother advises a different

"Ah, yes. Mrs. Crane said something of that sort. Well, Crane, if you're
going to law about it, I hope you'll consult a sound lawyer, and you
know as well as I that Homer Bright is not one."

Dr. Crane coloured and bridled. "I'm sure you are disinterested, St.
Peter, but, frankly, I think your judgment has been warped by events.
You don't realize how clear the matter is to unprejudiced minds. Though
I'm such an unpractical man, I have evidence to rest my claims upon."

"The more the better, if you are going to depend on such a windbag as
Bright. If you go to law, I'd like to see you win your case."

St. Peter said good-night, went down the stairs, and out through the
dark pine-trees. Evidence, Crane said; probably letters Tom had written
him during the winter he was working at Johns Hopkins. Well, there was
nothing to be done, unless he could get old Dr. Hutchins to persuade
Crane to employ an intelligent lawyer. Homer Bright's rhetoric might
influence a jury in a rape or bigamy case, but it would antagonize a
judge in an equity court.

The Professor took a turn in the park before going home. The interview
had depressed him, and he was afraid he might be wakeful. He had never
seen his colleague in such an unbecoming light before. Crane was narrow,
but he was straight; a man you could count on in the shifty game of
college politics. He had never been out to get anything for himself. St.
Peter would have said that nothing about the vulgar success of Outland's
idea could possibly matter to Crane, beyond gratifying his pride as a
teacher and friend.

The park was deserted. The arc-lights were turned off. The leafless
trees stood quite motionless in the light of the clear stars. The world
was sad to St. Peter as he looked about him; the lake-shore country flat
and heavy, Hamilton small and tight and airless. The university, his new
house, his old house, everything around him, seemed insupportable, as
the boat on which he is imprisoned seems to a sea-sick man. Yes, it was
possible that the little world, on its voyage among all the stars, might
become like that; a boat on which one could travel no longer, from which
one could no longer look up and confront those bright rings or

He brought himself back with a jerk. Ah, yes, Crane; that was the
trouble. If Outland were here to-night, he might say with Mark Antony,
My fortunes have corrupted honest men.

Chapter 14

At the end of the semester, St. Peter went to Chicago with Rosamond to
help her buy things for her country house. He had very much wanted to
stay at home and rest--the university work seemed to take it out of him
that winter more than ever before; but Rosamond had set her mind on his
going, and Mrs. St. Peter told him he couldn't refuse. A Chicago
merchant had brought over a lot of old Spanish furniture, and on this
nobody's judgement would be better than St. Peter's. He was supposed to
know a good deal about rugs, too. When his wife said a thing must be
done, the Professor usually did it, from long-established habit. Her
instincts about what one owed to other people were better than his.

Louie accompanied them to Chicago, where he was to join his brother, the
one who was in the silk trade in China, and go on to New York with him
for a family reunion. St. Peter was amused, and pleased, to see that
Louie sincerely hated to leave them--with very little encouragement he
would have sent his brother on alone and remained in Chicago with his
wife and father-in-law. They all lunched together, after which the
Professor and Rosamond took the Marsellus brothers to the La Salle Street
station. When Louie had again and again kissed his hand to them from the
rear platform of the Twentieth Century observation car, and was rolled
away in the very act of shouting something to his wife, St. Peter, who
had so often complained that there was to much Louie in his life, now
felt a sudden drop, a distinct sense of loss.

He took Rosamond's arm, and they turned away from the shining rails. "We
must be diligent, Rosie. He expects wonders of us."

Scott McGregor got on the Blue Bird Express one afternoon, returning
from a business trip for his paper. On entering the smoking-car, he came
upon his father-in-law lying back in a leather chair, his clothes
covered with dust, his eyes closed, a dead cigar hanging between the
relaxed fingers of his dark, muscular hand. It gave Scott a start; he
thought the Professor didn't look well.

"Hello, Doctor! What are you doing here? Oh, yes! the shopping
expedition. Where's Rosamond?"

"In Chicago. At the Blackstone."

"Outlasted you, did she?"

"That's it." The Professor smiled apologetically, as if he were ashamed
to admit it.

Scott sat down beside him and tried to interest him in one subject after
another, without success. It occurred to him that he had never before
seen the Professor when he seemed absolutely flattened out and listless.
That was a bad sign; he was glad they were only half an hour from
Hamilton. "The old chap needs rest," he reflected. "Rosamond's run him
to death in Chicago. He oughtn't to be used as a courier, anyhow! I'm
going to tell Kitty that we must look out for her father a little. The
Marselluses have no mercy, and Lillian has always taken it for granted
that he was as strong as three men."

That evening Mrs. St. Peter was standing by the French windows in the
drawing-room, watching somewhat anxiously for her husband. The Chicago
train was usually punctual, and surely he would have taken a cab from
the station, for it was a raw February night with a freezing wind
blowing off the lake. St. Peter arrived on foot, however. As he came
through the gate, she could see by his walk and the set of his shoulders
that he was very tired. She hurried to open the front door, and asked
him why he hadn't come up in a taxi.

"Didn't think of it, really. I'm a creature of habit, and that's one of
the things I never used to do."

"And in you lightest overcoat! I thought you only wore this one because
you were going to buy a new fur coat in Chicago."

"Well, I didn't," he said rather shortly. "Let's omit the verb 'to buy'
in all forms for a time. Keep dinner back a little, will you, Lillian? I
want to take a warm bath and dress. I did get rather chilled coming up."

Mrs. St. Peter went to the kitchen, and, after a discreet interval,
followed her husband upstairs and into his room.

"I know you're tired, but tell me one thing: did you find the painted
Spanish bedroom set?"

"Oh, dear, yes! Several of them."

"And were they pretty?"

"Very. At least, I think I'd have found them so if I'd come upon them
without so many other things. Too much is certainly worse than too
little--of anything. It turned out to be rather an orgy of

"Rosamond lost her head?"

"Oh, no! Perfectly cool. I should say she had a faultless purchasing
manner. Wonder where a girl who grew up in that old house of ours ever
got it. She was like Napoleon looting the Italian palaces."

"Don't be harsh. You had a nice little vacation, at any rate."

"A very expensive one, for a poor professor. And not much rest."

A look of sharp anxiety came into Mrs. St. Peter's face. "You mean," she
breathed in a hushed voice, "that she let you--"

He cut in sharply. "I mean that I paid my way, as I hope always to be
able to do. Any suggestion to the contrary might have been very
graceful, but it would have been rejected. I am quite ready to permit
myself a little extravagance to be of service to the women of my family.
Any other arrangement is humiliating."

"Then that was why you didn't get your fur coat."

"That may have been one reason. I was not much in the humour for it."

Mrs. St. Peter went swiftly downstairs to make him a cocktail. She
sensed an unusual weariness in him, and felt, as it were, the bitter
taste on his tongue. A man, she knew, could get from his daughter a
peculiar kind of hurt--one of the cruellest that flesh is heir to. Her
heart ached for Godfrey.

When the Professor had been warmed and comforted by a good dinner, he
lit a cigar and sat down before the hearth to read. After a while his
wife saw that the book had slid to his knee, and he was looking into the
fire. Studying his dark profile, she noticed that the corners of his
funny eyebrows rose, as if he were amused by something.

"What are you thinking about, Godfrey?" she said presently. "Just then
you were smiling--quite agreeably!"

"I was thinking," he answered absently, "about Euripides; how, when he
was an old man, he went and lived in a cave by the sea, and it was
thought queer, at the time. It seems that houses had become
insupportable to him. I wonder whether it was because he had observed
women so closely all his life."

Chapter 15

The month of March was the dreariest and bleakest of the year in
Hamilton, and Louie strove to brighten it by opening a discussion of
plans for the summer. He had been hinting for some time that he had a
very attractive project up his sleeve, and though he had not succeeded
in keeping it from Mrs. St. Peter, he said nothing to the Professor
until one night when they were dining at the Marselluses'. All through
dinner Louie kept reminding them of the specialties of this and that
Paris restaurant, so that St. Peter was not altogether unprepared.

As they left the dining-room, Louie burst out with it. He and Rosamond
were to take Doctor and Mrs. St. Peter to France for the summer. Louie
had decided upon the dates, the boat, the itinerary; he was intoxicated
with the pleasure of planning.

"Understand," he said, "it is to be our excursion, from Hamilton back to
Hamilton. We'll travel in the most ample comfort, but not in
magnificence. We'll go down to Biarritz for a little fashionable life,
and stop at Marseilles to see your foster-brother, Charles Thierault.
The rest of the summer we'll lead a scholarly life in Paris. I have my
own reasons for wishing you to go along, Professor. The pleasure of your
company would be quite enough, but I have also other reasons. I want to
see the intellectual side of Paris, and to meet some of the savants and
men of letters whom you know. What a shame Gaston Paris is not living!
We could very nicely make up a little party at Lapérouse for him. But
there are others."

Mrs. St. Peter developed the argument. "Yes, Louie, you and Godfrey can
lunch with the scholars while Rosamond and I are shopping."

Marsellus looked alarmed. "Not at all, Dearest! It's to be understood
that I always shop with you. I adore the shops in Paris. Besides, we
shall want you with us when we lunch with celebrities. When was a
savant, and a Frenchman, not eager for the company of two charming
ladies at déjeuner? And you may have too much of the society of your
sposi; very nice for you to have variety. You must keep a little
engagement book: Lundi, déjeuner, M. Emile Faguet. Mercredi, diner, M.
Anatole France; and so on."

St. Peter chuckled. "I'm afraid you exaggerate the circumference of my
social circle, Louie. I haven't the pleasure of knowing Anatole France."

"No matter; we can have M. Paul Bourget for Wednesday."

"You can help us, too, about finding things for the house, Papa," said
Rosamond. "We expect to pick up a good many things. The Thieraults ought
to know good shops down in the South, where prices have not gone up."

"I'm afraid the antiquaries are centralized in Paris. I never saw
anything very interesting in Lyons or the Midi. However, they may

"Charles Thierault is still interested in a shipping-line that runs to
the City of Mexico for us. They would go in without duty, and Louie
thinks he can get them across the border as household goods."

"That sounds practicable, Rosie. It might be managed."

Marsellus laughed and patted his wife's hand. "Oh-ho, cher Papa, you
haven't begun to find how practical we can be!"

"Well, Louie, it's a tempting idea, and I'll think it over. I'll see
whether I can arrange my work." St. Peter knew at that moment that he
would never be one of this light-hearted expedition, and he hated
himself for the ungracious drawing-back that he felt in the region of
his diaphragm.

The family discussed their summer plans all evening. Louie wanted to
write at once for rooms at the Meurice, but Mrs. St. Peter ruled it out
as too expensive.

That night, after he was in bed, St. Peter tried in vain to justify
himself in his inevitable refusal. He liked Paris, and he liked Louie.
But one couldn't do one's own things in another person's way; selfish or
not, that was the truth. Besides, he would not be needed. He could trust
Louie to take every care of Lillian, and nobody could please her more
than her son-in-law. Beaux-fils, apparently, were meant by Providence to
take the husband's place when husbands had ceased to be lovers.
Marsellus never forgot one of the hundred foolish little attentions that
Lillian loved. Best of all, he admired her extravagantly, her
distinction was priceless to him. Many people admired her, but Louie
more than most. That worldliness, that willingness to get the most out
of occasions and people, which had developed so strongly in Lillian in
the last few years, seemed to Louie as natural and proper as it seemed
unnatural to Godfrey. It was an element that had always been in Lillian,
and as long as it resulted in mere fastidiousness, was not a means to an
end, St. Peter liked it, too. He knew it was due to this worldliness,
even more than to the fact that his wife had a little money of her own,
that she and his daughters had never been drab and a little pathetic,
like some of the faculty women. They hadn't much, but they were never
absurd. They never made shabby compromises. If they couldn't get the
right thing, they went without. Usually they had the right thing, and it
got paid for, somehow. He couldn't say they were extravagant; the old
house had been funny and bare enough, but there were no ugly things in

Since Rosamond's marriage to Marsellus, both she and her mother had
changed bewilderingly in some respects--changed and hardened. But Louie,
who had done the damage, had not damaged himself. It was to him that one
appealed,--for Augusta, for Professor Crane, for the bruised feelings of
people less fortunate. It was less because of Louie than for any other
reason that he would refuse this princely invitation.

He could get out of it without hurting anybody--though he knew Louie
would be sorry. He could simply insist that he must work, and that he
couldn't work away from his old study. There were some advantages about
being a writer of histories. The desk was a shelter one could hide
behind, it was a hole one could creep into.

When St. Peter told his family of his decision, Louie was disappointed;
but he was respectful, and readily conceded that the Professor's first
duty was to his work. Rosamond was incredulous and piqued; she didn't
see how he could be so ungenerous as to spoil an arrangement which would
give pleasure to everyone concerned. His wife looked at him with
thoughtful disbelief.

When they were alone together, she approached the matter more directly
than was her wont nowadays.

"Godfrey," she said slowly and sadly, "I wonder what it is that makes
you draw away from your family. Or who it is."

"My dear, are you going to be jealous?"

"I wish I were going to be. I'd much rather see you foolish about some
woman than becoming lonely and inhuman."

"Well, the habit of living with ideas grows on one, I suppose, just as
inevitably as the more cheerful habit of living with various ladies.
There's something to be said for both."

"I think you ideas were best when you were your most human self."

St. Peter sighed. "I can't contradict you there. But I must go on as I
can. It is not always May."

"You are not old enough for the pose you take. That's what puzzles me.
For so many years you never seemed to grow at all older, though I did.
Two years ago you were an impetuous young man. Now you save yourself in
everything. You're naturally warm and affectionate; all at once you
begin shutting yourself away from everybody. I don't think you'll be
happier for it." Up to this point she had been lecturing him. Now she
suddenly crossed the room and sat down on the arm of his chair, looking
into his face and twisting up the ends of his military eyebrows with her
thumb and middle finger. "Why is it, Godfrey? I can't see any change in
your face, though I watch you so closely. It's in your mind, in your
mood. Something has come over you. Is it merely that you know too much,
I wonder? Too much to be happy? You were always the wisest person in the
world. What is it, can't you tell me?"

"I can't altogether tell myself, Lillian. It's not wholly a matter of
the calendar. It's the feeling that I've put a great deal behind me,
where I can't go back to it again--and I don't really wish to go back.
The way would be too long and too fatiguing. Perhaps, for a home-staying
man, I've lived pretty hard. I wasn't willing to slight anything--you,
or my desk, or my students. And now I seem to be tremendously tired. One
pays, coming or going. A man has got only just so much in him; when it's
gone he slumps. Even the first Napoleon did." They both laughed. That
was an old joke--the Professor's darkest secret. At the font he had been
christened Napoleon Godfrey St. Peter. There had always been a Napoleon
in the family, since a remote grandfather got his discharge from the
Grande Armée. Godfrey had abbreviated his name in Kansas, and even his
daughters didn't know what it had been originally.

"I think, you know," he told his wife as he rose to go to bed, "that
I'll get my second wind. But for the present I don't want anything very
stimulating. Paris is too beautiful, and too full of memories."

Chapter 16

One Saturday morning in the spring, when the Professor was at work in
the old house, he heard energetic footsteps running up the uncarpeted
stairway. Louie's voice called:

"Cher Papa, shall I disturb you too much?"

St. Peter rose and opened to him. Louie was wearing his golf stockings,
and a purple jacket with a fur collar.

"No, I'm not going golfing. I changed my mind, but didn't have time to
change my clothes. I want you to take a run out along the lake-shore
with us. Rosie is going to lunch with some friends at the Country Club.
We'll have a drive with her, and then drop her there. It's a glorious
day." Louie's keen, interested eye ran about the shabby little room. He
chuckled. "The old bear, he just likes his old den, doesn't he? I can
readily understand. Your children were born here. Not your
daughters--your sons, your splendid Spanish-adventurer sons! I'm proud
to be related to them, even by marriage. And your blanket, surely that's
a Spanish touch!" Louie pounced upon the purple blanket, threw it across
his chest, and, moving aside the wire lady, studied himself in Augusta's
glass. "And a very proper dressing-gown it would make for Louie,
wouldn't it?"

"It was Outland's--a precious possession. His lost chum brought it up
from Mexico."

"Was it Outland's, indeed?" Louie stroked it and regarded it in the glass
with increased admiration. "I can never forgive destiny that I hadn't
the chance to know that splendid fellow."

The Professor's eyebrows rose in puzzled interrogation. "It might have
been awkward--about Rosie, you know."

"I never think of him as a rival," said Louie, throwing back the blanket
with a wide gesture. "I think of him as a brother, an adored and gifted

Half an hour later they were spinning along through the country, just
coming green, Rosamond and her father on the back seat, Louie facing
them. It struck the Professor that Louie had something on his mind; his
restless bright eyes watched his wife narrowly, as if to seize an
opportune moment.

"You know, Doctor," he said presently, "we've decided to give up our
house before we go abroad, and cut off the rent. We'll move the books
and pictures up to Outland (and our wedding presents, of course), and
the silver we'll put in the bank. There won't be much of our present
furniture that we'll need. I wonder if you could use any of it? And it
has just occurred to me, Rosie," here he leaned forward and tapped her
knee, "that we might ask Scott and Kathleen to come round and select
anything they like. No use bothering to sell it, we'd get so little."

Rosamond looked at him in astonishment. It was very evident they had not
discussed anything of this sort before. "Don't be foolish, Louie," she
said quietly. "They wouldn't want your things."

"But why not?" he persisted playfully. "They are very nice things. Not
right for Outland, but perfectly right for a little house. We chose them
with care, and we don't want them going into some dirty second-hand

"They won't have to. We can store them in the attic at Outland, Heaven
knows it's big enough! You don't have to do anything with them just

"It seems a pity, when somebody might be getting the good of them. I
know Scott could do very well with that chiffonier of mine. He admired
it greatly, I remember, and said he'd never had one with proper drawers
for his shirts."

Rosamond's lip curled.

"Don't look like that, Rosie! It's naughty. Stop it!" Louie reached
forward and shook her gently by the elbows. "And how can you be sure the
McGregors wouldn't like our things, when you've never asked them? What
positive ideas she does get into her head!"

"They wouldn't want them because they are ours, yours and mine, if you
will have it," she said coldly, drawing away from him.

Louie sank back into his seat and gave it up. "Why do you think such
naughty things? I don't believe it, you know! You are so touchy. Scott
and Kitty may be a little stand-offish, but it might very possibly make
them feel better if you went at them nicely about this." He rallied and
began to coax again. "She's got it into her head that the McGregors have
a grudge, Doctor. There's nothing to it."

Rosamond had grown quite pale. Her upper lip, that was so like her
mother's when she was affable, so much harder when she was not, came
down like a steel curtain. "I happen to know, Louie, that Scott
blackballed you for the Arts and Letters. You can call that a grudge or
not, as you please."

Marsellus was visibly shaken. He looked sad. "Well, if he did, it wasn't
very nice of him, certainly. But are you sure, Rosie? Rumours do go
about, and people like to stir up family differences."

"It isn't people, and it's not rumour. I know it positively. Kathleen's
best friend told me."

Louie lay back and shook with laughter. "Oh, the ladies, the ladies!
What they do to each other, Professor!"

St. Peter was very uncomfortable. "I don't think I'd accept such
evidence, Rosamond. I don't believe it of Scott, and I think Louie has
the right idea. People are like children, and Scott's poor and proud. I
think Louie's chiffonier would go to his heart, if Louie offered it to
him. I'm afraid you wouldn't do it very graciously."

"Professor, I'll go to McGregor's office and put it up to him. If he
scorns it, so much the worse for him. He'll lose a very handy piece of

Rosamond's paleness changed to red. Fortunately they were spinning over
the gravel loops that led through shaven turf to the Country Club. "You
can do as you like with your own things, Louie. But I don't want any of
mine in the McGregors' bungalow. I know Scott's brand of humour too
well, and the kind of jokes that would be made about them."

The car stopped. Louie sprang out and gave his arm to his wife. He
walked up the steps to the door with her, and his back expressed such
patient, protecting kindness that the Professor bit his lower lip with
indignation. Louie came back looking quite grey and tired, and sank into
the seat beside the Professor with a sadder-and-wiser smile.

"Louie," St. Peter spoke with deep feeling, "do you happen to have read
a novel of Henry James, The American? There's rather a nice scene in it,
in which a young Frenchman, hurt in a duel, apologizes for the behaviour
of his family. I'd like to do something of the sort. I apologize to you
for Rosamond, and for Scott, if he has done such a mean thing."

Louie's downcast face brightened at once. He squeezed the Professor's
arm warmly. "Oh, that's all right, sir! As for Scott, I can understand.
He was the first son of the family, and he was the whole thing. Then I
came along, a stranger, and carried off Rosie, and this patent began to
pay so well--it's enough to make any man jealous, and he a Scotchman!
But I think Scott will come around in the end; people usually do, if you
treat them well, and I mean to. I like the fellow. As for Rosamond, you
mustn't give that a thought. I love her when she's naughty. She's a bit
unreasonable sometimes, but I'm always hoping for a period of utter, of
fantastic unreasonableness, which will be the beginning of a great
happiness for us all."

"Louie, you are magnanimous and magnificent!" murmured his vanquished

Chapter 17

Lillian and the Marselluses sailed for France early in May. The
Professor, left alone, had plenty of time to spray his rose-vines, and
his garden had never been so beautiful as it was that June. After his
university duties were over, he smuggled his bed and clothing back to
the old house and settled down to a leisurely bachelor life. He realized
that he ought to be getting to work. The garden, in which he sat all
day, was no longer a valid excuse to keep him from his study. But the
task that awaited him up there was difficult. It was a little thing, but
one of those little things at which the hand becomes self-conscious,
feels itself stiff and clumsy.

It was his plan to give part of this summer to Tom Outland's diary--to
edit and annotate it for publication. The bother was that he must write
an introduction. The diary covered only about six months of the boy's
life, a summer he spent on the Blue Mesa, and in it there was almost
nothing about Tom himself. To mean anything, it must be prefaced by a
sketch of Outland, and some account of his later life and achievements.
To write of his scientific work would be comparatively easy. But that
was not all the story; his was a many-sided mind, though a simple and
straightforward personality.

Of course Mrs. St. Peter had insisted that he was not altogether
straightforward; but that was merely because he was not altogether
consistent. As an investigator he was clear-sighted and hard-headed; but
in personal relations he was apt to be exaggerated and quixotic. He
idealized the people he loved and paid his devoir to the ideal rather
than to the individual, so that his behaviour was sometimes a little too
exalted for the circumstances--"chivalry of the cinema," Lillian used to
say. One of his sentimental superstitions was that he must never on any
account owe any material advantage to his friends, that he must keep
affection and advancement far apart, as if they were chemicals that
would disintegrate each other. St. Peter thought this the logical result
of Tom's strange bringing-up and his early associations. There is, he
knew, this dream of self-sacrificing friendship and disinterested love
down among the day-labourers, the men who run the railroad trains and
boats and reapers and thrashers and mine-drills of the world. And Tom
had brought it along to the university, where advancement through
personal influence was considered honourable.

It was not until Outland was a senior that Lillian began to be jealous
of him. He had been almost a member of the family for two years, and she
had never found fault with the boy. But after the Professor began to
take Tom up to the study and talk over his work with him, began to make
a companion of him, then Mrs. St. Peter withdrew her favour. She could
change like that; friendship was not a matter of habit with her. And
when she was through with anyone, she of course found reasons for her
fickleness. Tom, she reminded her husband, was far from frank, though he
had such an open manner. He had been consistently reserved about his own
affairs, and she could not believe the facts he withheld were altogether
creditable. They had always known he had a secret, something to do with
the mysterious Rodney Blake and the bank account in New Mexico upon
which he was not at liberty to draw. The young man must have felt the
change in her, for he began that winter to make his work a pretext for
coming to the house less often. He and St. Peter now met in the alcove
behind the Professor's lecture room at the university.

One Sunday, shortly before Tom's Commencement, he came to the house to
ask Rosamond to go to the senior dance with him. The family were having
tea in the garden; a few days of intensely warm weather had come on and
hurried the roses into bloom. Rosamond happened to ask Tom, who sat in
his white flannels, fanning himself with his straw hat, if spring in the
South-west was as warm as this.

"Oh, no," he replied. "May is usually chilly down there--bright sun, but
a kind of edge in the wind, and cool nights. Last night reminded me of
smothery May nights in Washington."

Mrs. St. Peter glanced up. "You mean Washington City? I didn't know you
had ever been so far east."

There was no denying that the young man looked uncomfortable. He frowned
and said in a low voice: "Yes, I've been there. I suppose I don't speak
of it because I haven't very pleasant recollections of it."

"How long were you there?" his hostess asked.

"A winter and spring, more than six months. Long enough to get very
home-sick." He went away almost at once, as if he were afraid of being
questioned further.

The subject came up again a few weeks later, however. After Tom's
graduation, two courses were open to him. He was offered an instructorship,
with a small salary, in the Physics department under Dr. Crane,
and a graduate scholarship at Johns Hopkins University. St. Peter
strongly urged him to accept the latter. One evening when the family
were discussing Tom's prospects, the Professor summed up all the reasons
why he ought to go to Baltimore and work in the laboratory made famous
by Dr. Rowland. He assured him, moreover, that he would find the
atmosphere of an old Southern city delightful.

"Yes, I know something about the atmosphere," Tom broke out at last. "It
is delightful, but it's all wrong for me. It discourages me dreadfully.
I used to go over there when I was in Washington, and it always made me
blue. I don't believe I could ever work there."

"But can you trust a child's impression to guide you now, in such an
important decision?" asked Mrs. St. Peter gravely.

"I wasn't a child, Mrs. St. Peter. I was as much grown up as I am
now--older, in some ways. It was only about a year before I came here."

"But, Tom, you were on the section gang that year! Why do you mix us
all` up?" Kathleen caught his hand and squeezed the knuckles together,
as she did when she wanted to punish him.

"Well, maybe it was two years before. It doesn't matter. It was long
enough to count for two ordinary years," he muttered abstractedly.

Again he went away abruptly, and a few days later he told St. Peter that
he had definitely accepted the instructorship under Crane, and would
stay on in Hamilton.

During that summer after Outland's graduation, St. Peter got to know all
there was behind his reserve. Mrs. St. Peter and the two girls were in
Colorado, and the Professor was alone in the house, writing on volumes
three and four of his history. Tom was carrying on some experiments of
his own, over in the Physics laboratory. He and St. Peter were often
together in the evening, and on fine afternoons they went swimming.
Every Saturday the Professor turned his house over to the cleaning-woman,
and he and Tom went to the lake and spent the day in his sail-boat.

It was just the sort of summer St. Peter liked, if he had to be in
Hamilton at all. He was his own cook, and had laid in a choice
assortment of cheeses and light Italian wines from a discriminating
importer in Chicago. Every morning before he sat down at his desk he
took a walk to the market and had his pick of the fruits and salads. He
dined at eight o'clock. When he cooked a fine leg of lamb, saignant,
well rubbed with garlic before it went into the pan, then he asked
Outland to dinner. Over a dish of steaming asparagus, swathed in a
napkin to keep it hot, and a bottle of sparkling Asti, they talked and
watched night fall in the garden. If the evening happened to be rainy or
chilly, they sat inside and read Lucretius.

It was on one of those rainy nights, before the fire in the dining-room,
that Tom at last told the story he had always kept back. It was nothing
very incriminating, nothing very remarkable; a story of youthful defeat,
the sort of thing a boy is sensitive about--until he grows older.


Chapter 1

The thing that side-tracked me and made me so late coming to college was
a somewhat unusual accident, or string of accidents. It began with a
poker game, when I was a call boy in Pardee, New Mexico.

One cold, clear night in the fall I started out to hunt up a freight
crew that was to go out soon after midnight. It was just after pay day,
and one of the fellows had tipped me off that there would be a poker
game going on in the card-room behind the Ruby Light saloon. I knew most
of my crew would be there, except Conductor Willis, who had a sick baby
at home. The front windows were dark, of course. I went up the back
alley, through a tumble-down ice house and a court, into a 'dobe room
that didn't open into the saloon proper at all. It was crowded, and hot
and stuffy enough. There were six or seven in the game, and a crowd of
fellows were standing about the walls, rubbing the white-wash off on to
their coat shoulders. There was a bird-cage hanging in one window,
covered with an old flannel shirt, but the canary had wakened up and was
singing away for dear life. He was a beautiful singer--an old Mexican
had trained him--and he was one of the attractions of the place.

I happened along when a jack-pot was running. Two of the fellows I'd
come for were in it, and they naturally wanted to finish the hand. I
stood by the door with my watch, keeping time for them. Among the
players I saw two sheep men who always liked a lively game, and one of
the bystanders told me you had to buy a hundred dollars' worth of chips
to get in that night. The crowd was fussing about one fellow, Rodney
Blake, who had come in from his engine without cleaning up. That wasn't
customary; the minute a man got in from his run, he took a bath, put on
citizen's clothes, and went to the barber. This Blake was a new fireman
on our division. He'd come up town in his greasy overalls and sweaty
blue shirt, with his face streaked up with smoke. He'd been drinking; he
smelled of it, and his eyes were out of focus. All the other men were
clean and freshly shaved, and they were sore at Blake--said his hands
were so greasy they marked the cards. Some of them wanted to put him out
of the game, but he was a big, heavy-built fellow, and nobody wanted to
be the man to do it. It didn't please them any better when he took the

I got my two men and hurried them out, and two others from the row along
the wall took their places. One of the chaps who left with me asked me
to go up to his house and get his grip with his work clothes. He's lost
every cent of his pay cheque and didn't want to face his wife. I asked
him who was winning.

"Blake. The dirty boomer's been taking everything. But the fellows will
clean him out before morning."

About two o'clock, when my work for that night was over and I was going
home to sleep, I just dropped in at the card-room to see how things had
come out. The game was breaking up. Since I left them at midnight, they
had changed to stud poker, and Blake, the fireman, had cleaned everybody
out. He was cashing in his chips when I came in. The bank was a little
short, but Blake made no fuss about it. He had something over sixteen
hundred dollars lying on the table before him in bank-notes and gold.
Some of the crowd were insulting him, trying to get him into a fight and
loot him. He paid no attention and began to put the money away, not
looking at anybody. The bills he folded and put inside the band of his
hat. He filled his overall pockets with the gold, and swept the rest of
it into his big red neckerchief.

I'd been interested in this fellow ever since he came on our division;
he was close-mouthed and unfriendly. He was one of those fellows with a
settled, mature body and a young face, such as you often see among
working-men. There was something calm, and sarcastic, and mocking about
his expression--that, too, you often see among workingmen. When he had
put all his money away, he got up and walked toward the door without a
word, without saying good-night to anybody.

"Manners of a hog, and a dirty hog!" little Barney Shea yelled after
him. Blake's back was just in the doorway; he hitched up one shoulder,
but didn't turn or make a sound.

I slipped out after him and followed him down the street. His walk was
unsteady, and the gold in his baggy overalls pockets clinked with every
step he took. I ran a little way and caught up with him. "What are you
going to do with all that money, Blake?" I asked him.

"Lose it, to-morrow night. I'm no hog for money. Damned barber-pole

I thought I'd better follow him home. I knew he lodged with an old
Mexican woman, in the yellow quarter, behind the round-house. His room
opened on to the street, by a sky-blue door. He went in, didn't strike a
light or make a stab at undressing, but threw himself just as he was on
the bed and went to sleep. His hat stuck between the iron rods of the
bed-head, the gold ran out of his pockets and rolled over the bare floor
in the dark.

I struck a match and lit a candle. The bed took up half the room; on the
dresser was a grip with his clean clothes in it, just as he'd brought it
in from his run. I took out the clothes and began picking up the money;
got the bills out of his hat, emptied his pockets, and collected the
coins that lay in the hollow of the bed about his hips, and put it all
into the grip. Then I blew out the light and sat down to listen. I
trusted all the boys who were at the Ruby Light that night, except
Barney Shea. He might try to pull something off on a stranger, down in
Mexican town. We had a quiet night, however, and a cold one. I found
Blake's winter overcoat hanging on the wall and wrapped up in it. I
wasn't a bit sorry when the roosters began to crow and the dogs began
barking all over Mexican town. At last the sun came up and turned the
desert and the 'dobe town red in a minute. I began to shake the man on
the bed. Waking men who didn't want to get up was part of my job, and I
didn't let up on him until I had him on his feet.

"Hello, kid, come to call on me?"

I told him I'd come to call him to a Harvey House breakfast. "You owe me
a good one. I brought you home last night."

"Sure, I'm glad to have company. Wait till I wash up a bit." He took his
soap and towel and comb and went out into the patio, a neat little
sanded square with flowers and vines all around, and washed at the
trough under the pump. Then he called me to come and pump water on his
head. After he'd stood the gush of cold water for a few seconds, he
straightened up with his teeth chattering.

"That ought to get the whisky out of a fellow's head, oughtn't it? Felt
good, Tom." Presently he began feeling his side pockets. "Was I dreaming
something, or did I take a string of jack-pots last night?"

"The money's in your grip," I told him. "You don't deserve it, for you
were too drunk to take care of it. I had to come after you and pick it
up out of the mud."

"All right. I'll go halvers. Easy come, easy go."

I told him I didn't want anything off him but breakfast, and I wanted
that pretty soon.

"Go easy, son. I've got to change my shirt. This one's wet."

"It's worse than wet. You oughtn't to go up town without changing.
You're a stranger here, and it makes a bad impression."

He shrugged his shoulders and looked superior. He had a square-built,
honest face and steady eyes that didn't carry a cynical expression very
well. I knew he was a decent chap, though he'd been drinking and acting
ugly ever since he'd been on our division.

After breakfast we went out and sat in the sun at a place where the
wooden sidewalk ran over a sand gully and made a sort of bridge. I had a
long talk with him. I was carrying the grip with his winnings in it, and
I finally persuaded him to go with me to the bank. We put every cent of
it into a savings account that he couldn't touch for a year.

From that night Blake and I were fast friends. He was the sort of fellow
who can do anything for somebody else, and nothing for himself. There
are lots like that among working-men. They aren't trained by success to
a sort of systematic selfishness. Rodney had been unlucky in personal
relations. He'd run away from home when he was a kid because his mother
married again--a man who had been paying attention to her while his
father was still alive. He got engaged to a girl down on the Southern
Pacific, and she double-crossed him, as he said. He went to Old Mexico
and let his friends put all his savings into an oil well, and they
skinned him. What he needed was a pal, a straight fellow to give an
account to. I was ten years younger, and that was an advantage. He liked
to be an older brother. I suppose the fact that I was a kind of stray
and had no family, made it easier for him to unbend to me. He surely got
to think a lot of me, and I did of him. It was that winter I had
pneumonia. Mrs. O'Brien couldn't do much for me; she was overworked,
poor woman, with a houseful of children. Blake took me down to his room,
and he and the old Mexican woman nursed me. He ought to have had boys of
his own to look after. Nature's full of such substitutions, but they
always seem to me sad, even in botany.

I wasn't able to be about until spring, and then the doctor and Father
Duchene said I must give up night work and live in the open all summer.
Before I knew anything about it, Blake had thrown up his job on the
Santa Fé, and got a berth for him and me with the Sitwell Cattle
Company. Jonas Sitwell was one of the biggest cattle men in our part of
New Mexico. Roddy and I were to ride the range with a bunch of grass
cattle all summer, then take them down to a winter camp on the Cruzados
river and keep them on pasture until spring.

We went out about the first of May, and joined our cattle twenty miles
south of Pardee, down toward the Blue Mesa. The Blue Mesa was one of the
landmarks we always saw from Pardee--landmarks mean so much in a flat
country. To the northwest, over toward Utah, we had the Mormon Buttes,
three sharp blue peaks that always sat there. The Blue Mesa was south of
us, and was much stronger in colour, almost purple. People said the rock
itself had a deep purplish cast. It looked, from our town, like a naked
blue rock set down alone in the plain, almost square, except that the
top was higher at one end. The old settlers said nobody had ever climbed
it, because the sides were so steep and the Cruzados river wound round
it at one end and under-cut it.

Blake and I knew that the Sitwell winter camp was down on the Cruzados
river, directly under the mesa, and all summer long, while we drifted
about with our cattle from one water-hole to another, we planned how we
were going to climb the mesa and be the first men up there. After
supper, when we lit our pipes and watched the sunset, climbing the mesa
was our staple topic of conversation. Our job was a cinch; the actual
work wouldn't have kept one man busy. The Sitwell people were good to
their hands. John Rapp, the foreman, came along once a month in his
spring-wagon, to see how the cattle were doing and to bring us supplies
and bundles of old newspapers.

Blake was conscientious reader of newspapers. He always wanted to know
what was going on in the world, though most of it displeased him. He
brooded on the great injustices of his time; the hanging of the
Anarchists in Chicago, which he could just remember, and the Dreyfus
case. We had long arguments about what we read in the papers, but we
never quarrelled. The only trouble I had with Blake was in getting to do
my share of the work. He made my health a pretext for taking all the
heavy chores, long after I was as well as he was. I'd brought my Caesar
along, and had promised Father Duchene to read a hundred lines a day.
Blake saw that I did it--made me translate the dull stuff aloud to him.
He said if I once knew Latin, I wouldn't have to work with my back all
my life like a burro. He had great respect for education, but he
believed it was some kind of hocus-pocus that enabled a man to live
without work. We had Robinson Crusoe with us, and Roddy's favourite
book, Gulliver's Travels, which he never tired of.

Late in October, Rapp, the foreman, came along to accompany us down to
the winter camp. Blake stayed with the cattle about fifteen miles to the
east, where the grass was still good, and Rapp and I went down to air
out the cabin and stow away our winter supplies.

Chapter 2

The cabin stood in a little grove of piñons, about thirty yards back
from the Cruzados river, facing south and sheltered on the north by a
low hill. The grama grass grew right up to the doorstep, and the rabbits
were running about and the grasshoppers hitting the door when we pulled
up and looked at the place. There was no litter around, it was as clean
as a prairie-dog's house. No outbuildings, except a shed for our horses.
The hillside behind was sandy and covered with tall clumps of deer-horn
cactus, but there was nothing but grass to the south, with streaks of
bright yellow rabbit-brush. Along the river the cottonwoods and quaking
asps had already turned gold. Just across from us, overhanging us,
indeed, stood the mesa, a pile of purple rock, all broken out with red
sumach and yellow aspens up in the high crevices of the cliffs. From the
cabin, night and day, you could hear the river, where it made a bend
round the foot of the mesa and churned over the rocks. It was the sort
of place a man would like to stay in forever.

I helped Rapp open the wooden shutters and sweep out the cabin. We put
clean blankets on the bunks, and stowed away bacon and coffee and canned
stuff on the shelves behind the cook-stove. I confess I looked forward
to cooking on an iron stove with four holes. Rapp explained to me that
Blake and I wouldn't be able to enjoy all this luxury together for a
time. He wanted the herd kept some distance to the north as long as the
grass held out up there, and Roddy and I could take turn about, one
camping near the cattle and one sleeping in a bed.

"There's not pasture enough down here to take them through a long
winter," he said, "and it's safest to keep them grazing up north while
you can. Besides, if you bring them down here while the weather's so
warm, they get skittish, and that mesa over there makes trouble. The
swim the river and bolt into the mesa, and that's the last you ever see
of them. We've lost a lot of critters that way. The mesa has been
populated by run-aways from our herd, till now there's a fine bunch of
wild cattle up there. When the wind's right, our cows over here get the
scent of them and make a break for the river. You'll have to watch 'em
close when you bring 'em down."

I asked him whether nobody had ever gone over to get the lost cattle

Rapp glared at me. "Out of that mesa? Nobody has ever got into it yet.
The cliffs are like the base of a monument, all the way round. The only
way in is through that deep canyon that opens on the water level, just
where the river makes the bend. You can't get in by that, because the
river's too deep to ford and too swift to swim. Oh, I suppose a horse
could swim it, if cattle can, but I don't want to be the man to try."

I remarked that I had had my eye on the mesa all summer and meant to
climb it.

"Not while you're working for the Sitwell Company, you don't! If you
boys try any nonsense of that sort, I'll fire you quick. You'd break
your bones and lose the herd for us. You have to watch them close to
keep them from going over, I tell you. If it wasn't for that mesa, this
would be the best winter range in all New Mexico."

After the foreman left us, we settled down to easy living and fine
weather; blue and gold days, and clear, frosty nights. We kept the
cattle off to the north and east and alternated in taking charge of
them. One man was with the herd while the other got his sleep and did
the cooking at the cabin. The mesa was our only neighbour, and the
closer we got to it, the more tantalizing it was. It was no longer a
blue, featureless lump, as it had been from a distance. Its sky-line was
like the profile of a big beast lying down; the head to the north,
higher than the flanks around which the river curved. The north end we
could easily believe impassable--sheer cliffs that fell from the summit
to the plain, more than a thousand feet. But the south flank, just
across the river from us, looked accessible by way of the deep canyon
that split the bulk in two, from the top rim to the river, then wound
back into the solid cube so that it was invisible at a distance, like a
mouse track winding into a big cheese. This canyon didn't break the
solid outline of the mesa, and you had to be close to see that it was
there at all. We faced the mesa on its shortest side; it was only about
three miles long from north to south, but east and west it measured
nearly twice that distance. Whether the top was wooded we couldn't
see--it was too high above us; but the cliffs and canyon on the river
side were fringed with beautiful growth, groves of quaking asps and
piñons and a few dark cedars, perched up in the air like the hanging
gardens of Babylon. At certain hours of the day, those cedars, growing
so far up on the rocks, took on the bluish tint of the cliffs

It was light up there long before it was with us. When I got up at
daybreak and went down to the river to get water, our camp would be cold
and grey, but the mesa top would be red with sunrise, and all the slim
cedars along the rocks would be gold--metallic, like tarnished
gold-foil. Some mornings it would loom up above the dark river like a
blazing volcanic mountain. It shortened our days, too, considerably. The
sun got behind it early in the afternoon, and then our camp would lie in
its shadow. After a while the sunset colour would begin to stream up
from behind it. Then the mesa was like one great ink-black rock against
a sky on fire.

No wonder the thing bothered us and tempted us; it was always before us,
and was always changing. Black thunder-storms used to roll up from
behind it and pounce on us like a panther without warning. The lightning
would play round it and jab into it so that we were always expecting it
would fire the brush. I've never heard thunder so loud as it was there.
The cliffs threw it back at us, and we thought the mesa itself, though
it seemed so solid, must be full of deep canyons and caverns, to account
for the prolonged growl and rumble that followed every crash of thunder.
After the burst in the sky was over, the mesa went on sounding like a
drum, and seemed itself to be muttering and making noises.

One afternoon I was out hunting turkeys. Just as the sun was getting
low, I came through a sea of rabbit-brush, still yellow, and the
horizontal rays of light, playing into it, brought out the contour of
the ground with great distinctness. I noticed a number of straight
mounds, like plough furrows, running from the river inland. It was too
late to examine them. I cut a scrub willow and stuck a stake into one of
the ridges, to mark it. The next day I took a spade down to the
plantation of rabbit-brush and dug around the sandy soil. I came upon an
old irrigation main, unmistakable, lined with hard smooth cobbles and
'dobe cement, with sluices where the water had been let out into the
trenches. Along these ditches I turned up some pieces of pottery, all of
it broken, and arrowheads, and a very neat, well-finished stone pick-ax.

That night I didn't go back to the cabin, but took my specimens out to
Blake, who was still north with the cattle. Of course, we both knew
there had been Indians all over this country, but we felt sure that
Indians hadn't used stone tools for a long while back. There must have
been a colony of pueblo Indians here in ancient time: fixed residents,
like the Taos Indians and the Hopis, not wanderers like the Navajos.

To people off alone, as we were, there is something stirring about
finding evidences of human labour and care in the soil of an empty
country. It comes to you as a sort of message, makes you feel
differently about the ground you walk over every day. I liked the winter
range better than any place I'd ever been in. I never came out of the
cabin door in the morning to go after water that I didn't feel fresh
delight in our snug quarters and the river and the old mesa up there,
with its top burning like a bonfire. I wanted to see what it was like on
the other side, and very soon I took a day off and forded the river
where it was wide and shallow, north of our camp. I rode clear around
the mesa, until I met the river again where it flowed under the south

On that ride I got a better idea of its actual structure. All the way
round were the same precipitous cliffs of hard blue rock, but in places
it was mixed with a much softer stone. In these soft streaks there were
deep dry watercourses which could certainly be climbed as far as they
went, but nowhere did they reach to the top of the mesa. The top seemed
to be one great slab of very hard rock, lying on the mixed mass of the
base like the top of an old-fashioned marble table. The channels worn
out by water ran for hundreds of feet up the cliffs, but always stopped
under this great rim-rock, which projected out over the erosions like a
granite shelf. Evidently, it was because of this unbroken top layer that
the butte was inaccessible. I rode back to camp that night, convinced
that if we ever climbed it, we must take the route the cattle took,
through the river and up the one canyon that broke down to water-level.

Chapter 3

We brought the bunch of cattle down to the winter range in the latter
part of November. Early in December the foreman came along with generous
provisions for Christmas. This time he brought with him a super-cargo,
a pitiful wreck of an old man he had picked up at Tarpin, the railroad
town thirty miles northeast of us, where the Sitwells bought their
supplies. This old man was a castaway Englishman, Henry Atkins by name.
He had been a valet, and a hospital orderly, and a cook, and for many
years was a table steward on the Anchor Line. Lately he had been cooking
for a sheep outfit that were grazing in the cattle country, were they
weren't wanted. They had done something shady and had to get out in a
hurry. They dropped old Henry at Tarpin, where he soon drank up all his
wages. When Rapp picked him up there, he was living on hand-outs.

"I've told him we can't pay him anything," Rapp explained. "But if he
wants to stay here and cook for you boys till I make my next trip, he'll
have plenty to eat and a roof over him. He was sleeping in the livery
stable in Tarpin. He says he's a good cook, and I thought he might liven
things up for you at Christmas time. He won't bother you, he's not got
any of the mean ways of a bum--I know a bum when I see one. Next time I
come down I'll bring him some old clothes from the ranch, and you can
fire him if you want to. All his baggage is that newspaper bundle, and
there's nothing in it but shoes--a pair of patent leathers and a pair of
sneakers. The important thing is, never, on any account, go off
skylarking, you two, and leave him with the cattle. Not for an hour,
mind you. He ain't strong enough, and he's got no head."

Life was a holiday for Blake and me after we got old Henry. He was a
wonderful cook and a good housekeeper. He kept that cabin shining like a
playhouse; used to dress it all out with piñon boughs, and trimmed the
kitchen shelves with newspapers cut in fancy patterns. He had learned to
make up cots when he was a hospital orderly, and he made our bunks feel
like a Harvey House bed. To this day that's the best I can say for any
bed. And he was such a polite, mannerly old boy; simple and kind as a
child. I used to wonder how anybody so innocent and defenceless had
managed to get along at all, to keep alive for nearly seventy years in
as hard a world as this. Anybody could take advantage of him. He held no
grudge against any of the people who had misused him. He loved to tell
about the celebrated people he'd been steward to, and the liberal tips
they had given him. There with us, where he couldn't get at whisky, he
was a model of good behaviour. "Drink is me weakness, you might say," he
occasionally remarked apologetically. He shaved every morning and was as
clean as a pin. We got to be downright fond of him, and the three of us
made a happy family.

Ever since we'd brought our herd down to the winter camp, the wild
cattle on the mesa were more in evidence. They came down to the river to
drink oftener, and loitered about, grazing in that low canyon so much
that we began to call it Cow Canyon. They were fine-looking beasts, too.
One could see they had good pasture up there. Henry had a theory that we
ought to be able to entice them over to our side with salt. He wanted to
kill one for beef-steaks. Soon after he joined us we lost two cows.
Without warning they bolted into the mesa, as the foreman had said.
After that we watched the herd closer; but a few days before Christmas,
when Blake was off hunting and I was on duty, four fine young steers
sneaked down to the water's edge through the brush, and before I knew it
they were swimming the river--seemed to do it with no trouble at all.
They frisked out on the other side, ambled up the canyon, and
disappeared. I was furious to have them steal a march on me, and I swore
to myself I'd follow them over and drive them back.

The next morning we took the herd a few miles east, to keep them out of
mischief. I made some excuse to Blake, cut back to the cabin, and asked
Henry to put me up a lunch. I told him my plan, but warned him not to
bear tales. If I wasn't home when Blake came in at night, then he could
tell him where I'd gone.

Henry went down to the river with me to watch me across. It had grown
colder since morning, and looked like snow. The old man was afraid of a
storm; said I might get snowed in. But I'd got my nerve up, and I didn't
want to put off making a try at it. I strapped my blanket and my lunch
on my shoulders, hung my boots around my neck to keep them dry, stuffed
my socks inside my hat, and we waded in. My horse took the water without
any fuss, though he shivered a good deal. He stepped out very carefully,
and when it got too deep for him, he swam without panic. We were carried
down-stream a little by the current, but I didn't have to slide off his
back. He found bottom after a while, and we easily made a landing. I
waved good-bye to Henry on the other side and started up the canyon,
running beside my horse to get warm.

The canyon was wide at the water's edge, and though it corkscrewed back
into the mesa by abrupt turns, it preserved this open, roomy character.
It was, indeed, a very deep valley with gently sloping sides, rugged and
rocky, but well grassed. There was a clear trail. Horses have no sense
about making a trail, but you can trust cattle to find the easiest
possible path and to take the lowest grades. The bluish rock and the
sun-tanned grass, under the unusual purple-grey of the sky, gave the
whole valley a very soft colour, lavender and pale gold, so that the
occasional cedars growing beside the boulders looked black that morning.
It may have been the hint of snow in the air, but it seemed to me that I
had never breathed in anything that tasted so pure as the air in that
valley. It made my mouth and nostrils smart like charged water, seemed
to go to my head a little and produce a kind of exaltation I kept
telling myself that it was very different from the air on the other side
of the river, though that was pure and uncontaminated enough.

When I had gone up this canyon for a mile or so, I came upon another,
opening out to the north--a box canyon, very different in character. No
gentle slope there. The walls were perpendicular, where they weren't
actually overhanging, and they were anywhere from eight hundred to a
thousand feet high, as we afterward found by measurement. The floor of
it was a mass of huge boulders, great pieces of rock that had fallen
from above ages back, and had been worn round and smooth as pebbles by
the long action of water. Many of them were as big as haystacks, yet
they lay piled on one another like a load of gravel. There was no
footing for my horse among those smooth stones, so I hobbled him and
went on alone a little way, just to see what it was like. My eyes were
steadily on the ground--a slip of the foot there might cripple one.

It was such rough scrambling that I was soon in a warm sweat under my
damp clothes. In stopping to take breath, I happened to glance up at the
canyon wall. I wish I could tell you what I saw there, just as I saw it,
on that first morning, through a veil of lightly falling snow. Far up
above me, a thousand feet or so, set in a great cavern in the face of
the cliff, I saw a little city of stone, asleep. It was as still as
sculpture--and something like that. It all hung together, seemed to have
a kind of composition: pale little houses of stone nestling close to one
another, perched on top of each other, with flat roofs, narrow windows,
straight walls, and in the middle of the group, a round tower.

It was beautifully proportioned, that tower, swelling out to a larger
girth a little above the base, then growing slender again. There was
something symmetrical and powerful about the swell of the masonry. The
tower was the fine thing that held all the jumble of houses together and
made them mean something. It was red in colour, even on that grey day.
In sunlight it was the colour of winter oak-leaves. A fringe of cedars
grew along the edge of the cavern, like a garden. They were the only
living things. Such silence and stillness and repose--immortal repose.
That village sat looking down into the canyon with the calmness of

The falling snow-flakes, sprinkling the piñons, gave it a special kind
of solemnity. I can't describe it. It was more like sculpture than
anything else. I knew at once that I had come upon the city of some
extinct civilization, hidden away in this inaccessible mesa for
centuries, preserved in the dry air and almost perpetual sunlight like a
fly in amber, guarded by the cliffs and the river and the desert.

As I stood looking up at it, I wondered whether I ought to tell even
Blake about it; whether I ought not to go back across the river and keep
that secret as the mesa had kept it. When I at last turned away, I saw
still another canyon branching out of this one, and in its was still
another arch, with another group of buildings. The notion struck me like
a rifle ball that this mesa had once been like a bee-hive; it was full
of little cliff-hung villages, it had been the home of a powerful tribe,
a particular civilization.

That night when I got home Blake was on the river-bank waiting for me. I
told him I'd rather not talk about my trip until after supper,--that I
was beat out. I think he'd meant to upbraid me for sneaking off, but he
didn't. He seemed to realize from the first that this was a serious
matter to me, and he accepted it in that way.

After supper, when we had lit our pipes, I told Blake and Henry as
clearly as I could what it was like over there, and we talked it over.
The town in the cliffs explained the irrigation ditches. Like all pueblo
Indians, these people had had their farms away from their dwellings. For
a stronghold they needed rock, and for farming, soft earth and a water

"And this proves," said Roddy, "that there must have been a trail into
the mesa at the north end, and that they carried their harvest over by
the ford. If this Cow Canyon was the only entrance, they could never
have farmed down here." We agreed that he should go over on the first
warm day, and try to find a trail up to the Cliff City, as we already
called it.

We talked and speculated until after midnight. It was Christmas eve, and
Henry said it was but right we should do something out of the ordinary.
But after we went to bed, tired as I was, I was unable to sleep. I got
up and dressed and put on my overcoat and slipped outside to get sight
of the mesa. The wind had come up and was blowing the squall clouds
across the sky. The moon was almost full, hanging directly over the
mesa, which had never looked so solemn and silent to me before. I
wondered how many Christmases had come and gone since that round tower
was built. I had been to Acoma and the Hopi villages, but I'd never seen
a tower like that one. It seemed to me to mark a difference. I felt that
only a strong and aspiring people would have built it, and a people with
a feeling for design. That cluster of buildings, in its arch, with the
dizzy drop into empty air from its doorways and the wall of cliff above,
was as clear in my mind as a picture. By closing my eyes I could see it
against the dark, like a magic-lantern slide.

Blake got over the river before New Year's day, but he didn't find any
way of getting from the bottom of the box canyon up into the Cliff City.
He felt sure that the inhabitants of that sky village had reached it by
a trail from the top of the mesa down, not from the bottom of the canyon
up. He explored the branch canyons a little, and found four other
villages, smaller than the first, placed in similar arches.

These arches we had often seen in other canyons. You can find them in
the Grand Canyon, and all along the Rio Grande. Whenever the surface
rock is much harder than the rock beneath it, the softer stone begins to
crack and crumble with weather just at the line where it meets the hard
rim rock. It goes on crumbling and falling away, and in time this
wash-out grows to be a spacious cavern. The Cliff City sat in an
unusually large cavern. We afterward found that it was three hundred and
sixty feet long, and seventy feet high in the centre. The red tower was
fifty feet in height.

Blake and I began to make plans. Our engagement with the Sitwell Company
terminated in May. When we turned our cattle over to the foreman, we
would go into the mesa with what food and tools we could carry, and try
to find a trail down the north end, where we were sure there must once
have been one. If we could find an easier way to get in and out of the
mesa, we would devote the summer, and our winter's wages, to exploring
it. From Tarpin, the nearest railroad, we could get supplies and tools,
and help if we needed it. We thought we could manage to do the work
ourselves if old Henry would stay with us. We didn't want to make our
discovery any more public than necessary. We were reluctant to expose
those silent and beautiful places to vulgar curiosity. Finally we
outlined our plan to Henry, telling him we couldn't promise him regular

"We won't mention it," he said, waving his hand. "I'd ask nothing better
than to share your fortunes. In me youth it was me ambition to go to
Egypt and see the tombs of the Pharaohs."

"You may get a bad cold going over the river, Henry," Blake warned him.
"It's a bad crossing--makes you dizzy when you take to swimming. You
have to keep your head."

"I was never seasick in me life," he declared, "and at that, I've helped
in the cook's galley on the Anchor Line when she was fair standing on
her head. You'll find me strong and active when I'm once broke into the
work. I come of an enduring family, though, to be sure, I've abused me
constitution somewhat."

Henry liked to talk about his family, and the work they'd done, and the
great age to which they lived, and the brandy puddings his mother made.
"Eighteen we was in all, when we sat down at table," he would often say
with his thin, apologetic smile. "Mother and father, and ten living, and
four dead, and two still-born." Roddy and I used to strain our
imagination trying to visualize such a family dinner party.

Everything worked out well for us. The foreman showed so much interest
in our plans that we told him everything. He insisted that we should
stay on at the winter camp as long as we needed a home base, and use up
whatever supplies were left. When he paid us off, he sold us our two
horses at a very reasonable figure.

Chapter 4

Blake and I got over to the mesa together for the first time early in
May. We carried with us all the food we could, and an ax and spade. It
took us several days to find a trail leading from the bottom of the box
canyon up to the Cliff City. There were gaps in it; it was broken by
ledges too steep for a man to climb. Lying beside one of these, we found
an old dried cedar trunk, with toe-notches cut in it. That was a plain
suggestion. We felled some trees and threw them up over the gaps in the
path. Toward the end of the week, when our provisions were getting low,
we made the last lap in our climb, and stepped upon the ledge that was
the floor of the Cliff City.

In front of the cluster of buildings, there was an open space, like a
court-yard. Along the outer edge of this yard ran a low stone wall. In
some places the wall had fallen away from the weather, but the buildings
themselves sat so far back under the rim rock that the rain had never
beat on them. In thunder-storms I've seen the water come down in sheets
over the face of that cavern without a drop touching the village.

The court-yard was not choked by vegetation, for there was no soil. It
was bare rock, with a few old, flat-topped cedars growing out of the
cracks, and a little pale grass. But everything seemed open and clean,
and the stones, I remember, were warm to the touch, smooth and pleasant
to feel.

The outer walls of the houses were intact, except where sometimes an
outjutting corner had crumbled. They were made of dressed stones,
plastered inside and out with 'dobe, and were tinted in light colours,
pink and pale yellow and tan. Here and there a cedar log in the ceiling
had given way and let the second-story chamber down into the first;
except for that, there was little rubbish or disorder. As Blake
remarked, wind and sun are good housekeepers.

This village had never been sacked by an enemy, certainly. Inside the
little rooms water jars and bowls stood about unbroken, and yucca-fibre
mats were on the floors.

We could give only a hurried look over the place, as our food was
exhausted, and we had to get back over the river before dark. We went
about softly, tried not to disturb anything--even the silence. Besides
the tower, there seemed to be about thirty little separate dwellings.
Behind the cluster of houses was a kind of back court-yard, running from
end to end of the cavern; a long, low, twilit space that got gradually
lower toward the back until the rim rock met the floor of the cavern,
exactly like the sloping roof of an attic. There was perpetual twilight
back there, cool, shadowy, very grateful after the blazing sun in the
front court-yard. When we entered it we heard a soft trickling sound,
and we came upon a spring that welled out of the rock into a stone basin
and then ran off through a cobble-lined gutter and dripped down the
cliffs. I've never anywhere tasted water like it; as cold as ice, and so
pure. Long afterward Father Duchene came out to spend a week with us on
the mesa; he always carried a small drinking-glass with him, and he used
to fill it at the spring and take it out into the sunlight. The water
looked like liquid crystal, absolutely colourless, without the slight
brownish or greenish tint that water nearly always has. It threw off the
sunlight like a diamond.

Beside this spring stood some of the most beautifully shaped water jars
we ever found--I gave Mrs. St. Peter one of them--standing there just as
if they'd been left yesterday. In the back court we found a great many
things besides jars and bowls: a row of grinding stones, and several
clay ovens, very much like those the Mexicans use to-day. There were
charred bones and charcoal, and the roof was thick with soot all the way
along. It was evidently a kind of common kitchen, where they roasted and
baked and probably gossiped. There were corncobs everywhere, and ears of
corn with the kernels still on them--little, like popcorn. We found
dried beans, too, and strings of pumpkin seeds, and plum seeds, and a
cupboard full of little implements made of turkey bones.

Late that afternoon Roddy and I crossed the river and got back to our
cabin to rest for a few days.

The second time we went over, we found a long winding trail leading from
the Cliff City up to the top of the mesa--a narrow path worn deep into
the stone ledges that overhung the village, then running back into the
wood of stunted piñons on the summit. Following this to the north end of
the mesa, we found what was left of an old road down to the plain. But
making this road passable was a matter of weeks, and we had to get
workmen and tools from Tarpin. It was a narrow foot-path, barely wide
enough for a sure-footed mule, and it wound down through Black Canyon,
dropping in loops along the face of terrifying cliffs. About a hundred
feet above the river, it ended--broke right off into the air. A wall of
rock had fallen away there, probably from a landslide. That last piece
of road cost us three weeks' hard work, and most of our winter's wages.
We kept the workmen on long enough to build us a tight log cabin on the
mesa top, a little way back from the ledge that hung over the Cliff

While we were engaged in road-building, we made a short cut from our
cabin down to the Cliff City and Cow Canyon. Just over the Cliff City,
there was a crack in the ledge, a sort of manhole, and in this we hung a
ladder of pine-trunks spliced together with light chains, leaving the
branch forks for foot-holds. By climbing down this ladder we saved
about two miles of winding trails, and dropped almost directly into Cow
Canyon, where we meant always to leave one of the horses grazing. Taking
this route, we could at any time make a quick exit from the mesa--we
were used to swimming the river now, and in summer our wet clothes dried
very quickly.

Bill Hook, the liveryman at Tarpin, who'd sheltered old Henry when he
was down and out, proved a good friend to us. He got our workmen back
and forth for us, brought our supplies up on to the mesa on his
pack-mules, and when one of us had to stay in town overnight he let us
sleep in his hay barn to save a hotel bill. He knew our expenses were
heavy, and did everything for us at bottom price.

By the first of July our money was nearly gone, but we had our road
made, and our cabin built on top of the mesa. We brought old Henry up by
the new horse-trail and began housekeeping. We were now ready for what
we called excavating. We built wide shelves all around our
sleeping-room, and there we put the smaller articles we found in the
Cliff City. We numbered each specimen, and in my day-book I wrote down
just where and in what condition we had found it, and what we thought it
had been used for. I'd got a merchant's ledger in Tarpin, and every
night after supper, while Roddy read the newspapers, I sat down at the
kitchen table and wrote up an account of the day's work.

Henry, besides doing the housekeeping, was very eager to help us in the
"rew-ins," as he called them. He was more patient than we, and would dig
with his fingers half a day to get a pot out of a rubbish pile without
breaking it. After all, the old man had a wider knowledge of the world
than either of us, and it often came in handy. When we were working in a
pale pink house, with two stories, and a sort of balcony before the
upper windows, we came on a closet in the wall of the upstairs room; in
this were a number of curious thing, among them a deerskin bag full of
little tools. Henry said at once they were surgical instruments; a stone
lancet, a bunch of fine bone needles, wooden forceps, and a catheter.

One thing we knew about these people; they hadn't built their town in a
hurry. Everything proved their patience and deliberation. The cedar
joists had been felled with stone axes and rubbed smooth with sand. The
little poles that lay across them and held up the clay floor of the
chamber above, were smoothly polished. The door lintels were carefully
fitted (the doors were stone slabs held in place by wooden bars fitted
into hasps). The clay dressing that covered the stone walls was tinted,
and some of the chambers were frescoed in geometrical patterns, on
colour laid on another. In one room was a painted border, little tents,
like Indian tepees, in brilliant red.

But the really splendid thing about our city, the thing that made it
delightful to work there, and must have made it delightful to live
there, was the setting. The town hung like a bird's nest in the cliff,
looking off into the box canyon below, and beyond into the wide valley
we called Cow Canyon, facing an ocean of clear air. A people who had the
hardihood to build there, and who lived day after day looking down upon
such grandeur, who came and went by those hazardous trails, must have
been, as we often told each other, a fine people. But what had become of
them? What catastrophe had overwhelmed them?

They hadn't moved away, for they had taken none of their belongings, not
even their clothes. Oh, yes, we found clothes; yucca moccasins, and what
seemed like cotton cloth, woven in black and white. Never any wool, but
sheepskins tanned with the fleece on them. They may have been mountain
sheep; the mesa was full of them. We talked of shooting one for meat,
but we never did. When a mountain sheep comes out on a ledge hundreds of
feet above you, with his trumpet horns, there's something noble about
him--he looks like a priest. We didn't want to shoot at them and make
them shy. We liked to see them. We shot a wild cow when we wanted fresh

At last we came upon one of the original inhabitants--not a skeleton,
but a dried human body, a woman. She was not in the Cliff City; we found
her in a little group of houses stuck up in a high arch we called the
Eagle's Nest. She was lying on a yucca mat, partly covered with rags,
and she had dried into a mummy in that water-drinking air. We thought
she had been murdered; there was a great wound in her side, the ribs
stuck out through the dried flesh. Her mouth was open as if she were
screaming, and her face, through all those years, had kept a look of
terrible agony. Part of the nose was gone, but she had plenty of teeth,
not one missing, and a great deal of coarse black hair. Her teeth were
even and white, and so little worn that we thought she must have been a
young woman. Henry named her Mother Eve, and we called her that. We put
her in a blanket and let her down with great care, and kept her in a
chamber in the Cliff City.

Yes, we found three other bodies, but afterward. One day, working in the
Cliff City, we came upon a stone slab at one end of the cavern, that
seemed to lead straight into the rock. It was set in cement, and when we
loosened it we found it opened into a small, dark chamber. In this there
had been a platform, of fine cedar poles laid side by side, but it had
crumbled. In the wreckage were three bodies, one man and two women,
wrapped in yucca-fibre, all in the same posture and apparently prepared
for burial. They were the bodies of old people. We believed when the
tribe went down to live on their farms in the summer season; that they
had died in the absence of the villages, and were put into this mortuary
chamber to await the return of the tribe, when they would have their
funeral rites. Probably these people burned their dead. Of course an
archaeologist could have told a great deal about that civilization from
those bodies. But they never got to an archaeologist--at least, not on
this side of the world.

Chapter 5

The first of August came, and everything was going well with us. We
hadn't met with any bad luck, and though we had very little money left,
there was Blake's untouched savings account in the bank at Pardee, and
we had plenty of credit in Tarpin. The merchants there took an interest
and were friendly. But the little new moon, that looked so innocent,
brought us trouble. We lost old Henry, and in a terrible way. From the
first we'd been a little bothered by rattlesnakes--you generally find
them about old stone quarries and old masonry. We had got them pretty
well cleared out of the Cliff City, hadn't seen one there for weeks. But
one Sunday we took Henry and went on an exploring expedition at the
north end of the mesa, along Black Canyon. We caught sight of a little
bunch of ruins we'd never noticed before, and made a foolhardy scramble
to get up to them. We almost made it, and then there was a stretch of
rock wall so smooth we couldn't climb it without a ladder. I was the
tallest of the three, and Henry was the lightest; he thought he could
get up there if he stood on my shoulders. He was standing on my back,
his head just above the floor of the cavern, groping for something to
hoist himself by, when a snake struck him from the ledge--struck him
square in the forehead. It happened in a flash. He came down and brought
the snake with him. By the time we picked him up and turned him over,
his face had begun to swell. In ten minutes it was purple, and he was so
crazy it took the two of us to hold him and keep him from jumping down
the chasm. He was struck so near the brain that there was nothing to do.
It lasted nearly two hours. Then we carried him home. Roddy dropped down
the ladder into Cow Canyon, caught his horse, and rode into Tarpin for
the coroner. Father Duchene was preaching there at the mission church
that Sunday, and came back with him.

We buried Henry on the mesa. Father Duchene stayed on with us a week to
keep us company. We were so cut up that we were almost ready to quit.
But he had been planning to come out to see our find for a long while,
and he got our minds off our trouble. He worked hard every day. He went
over everything we'd done, and examined everything minutely: the
pottery, cloth, stone implements, and the remains of food. He measured
the heads of the mummies and declared they had good skulls. He cut down
one of the old cedars that grew exactly in the middle of the deep trail
worn in the stone, and counted the rings under his pocket microscope.
You couldn't count them with the unassisted eye, for growing out of a
tiny crevice in the rock as that tree did, the increase of each year was
so scant that the rings were invisible except with a glass. The tree he
cut down registered three hundred and thirty-six years' growth, and it
could have begun to grow in that well-worn path only after human feet
had ceased to come and go there.

Why had they ceased? That question puzzled him, too. Smallpox, any
epidemic, would have left unburied bodies. Father Duchene suggested what
Dr. Ripley, in Washington, afterward surmised: that the tribe had been
exterminated, not here in their stronghold, but in their summer camp,
down among the farms across the river. Father Duchene had been among the
Indians nearly twenty years then, he had seventeen Indian pueblos in his
parish, and he spoke several Indian dialects. He was able to explain the
use of many of the implements we found, especially those used in
religious ceremonies. The night before he left us, he summed up the
results of his week's study, something like this:

"The two square towers on the mesa top, to which you have given little
attention, were unquestionably granaries. Under the stones and earth
fallen from the walls, there is a quantity of dried corn on the ear. Not
a great harvest, for life must have come to an end here in the summer,
when the new crop was not yet garnered and the last year's grain was
getting low. The semicircular ridge on the mesa top, which you can see
distinctly among the piñons when the sun is low and brings it into high
relief, is the buried wall of an amphitheatre, where probably religious
exercises and games took place. I advise you not to dig into it. It is
probably the most important thing here, and should be left for scholars
to excavate.

"The tower you so much admire in the cliff village may have been a watch
tower, as you think, but from the curious placing of those narrow slits,
like windows, I believe it was used for astronomical observations. I am
inclined to think that you tribe were a superior people. Perhaps they
were not so when they first came upon this mesa, but in an orderly and
secure life they developed considerably the arts of peace. There is
evidence on every hand that they lived for something more than food and
shelter. They had an appreciation of comfort, and went even further than
that. Their life, compared to that of our roving Navajos, must have been
quite complex. There is unquestionably a distinct feeling for design in
what you call the Cliff City. Buildings are not grouped like that by
pure accident, though convenience probably had much to do with it.
Convenience often dictates very sound design.

"The workmanship on both the wood and stone of the dwellings is good.
The shapes and decoration of the water jars and food bowls is better
than in any of the existing pueblos I know, better even than the pottery
made at Acoma. I have seen a collection of early pottery from the island
of Crete. Many of the geometrical decorations on these jars are not only
similar, but, if my memory is trustworthy, identical.

"I see your tribe as a provident, rather thoughtful people, who made
their livelihood secure by raising crops and fowl--the great number of
turkey bones and feathers are evidence that they had domesticated the
wild turkey. With grain in their storerooms, and mountain sheep and deer
for their quarry, they rose gradually from the condition of savagery.
With the proper variation of meat and vegetable diet, they developed
physically and improved in the primitive arts. They had looms and mills,
and experimented with dyes. At the same time, they possibly declined in
the arts of war, in brute strength and ferocity.

"I see them here, isolated, cut off from other tribes, working out their
destiny, making their mesa more and more worthy to be a home for man,
purifying life by religious ceremonies and observances, caring
respectfully for their dead, protecting the children, doubtless
entertaining some feelings of affection and sentiment for this
stronghold where they were at once so safe and so comfortable, where
they had practically overcome the worst hardships that primitive man had
to fear. They were, perhaps, too far advanced for their time and

"They were probably wiped out, utterly exterminated, by some roving
Indian tribe without culture or domestic virtues, some horde that fell
upon them in their summer camp and destroyed them for their hides and
clothing and weapons, or from mere love of slaughter. I feel sure that
these brutal invaders never even learned of the existence of this mesa,
honeycombed with habitations. If they had come here, they would have
destroyed. They killed and went their way.

"What I cannot understand is why you have not found more human remains.
The three bodies you found in the mortuary chamber were prepared for
burial by the old people who were left behind. But what of the last
survivors? It is possible that when autumn wore on, and no one returned
from the farms, the aged banded together, went in search of their
people, and perished in the plain.

"Like you, I feel reverence for this place. Wherever humanity has made
that hardest of all starts and lifted itself out of mere brutality, is a
sacred spot. Your people were cut off here without the influence of
example or emulation, with no incentive but some natural yearning for
order and security. They built themselves into this mesa and humanized

Father Duchene warmly agreed with Blake that I ought to go to Washington
and make some report to the Government, so that the proper specialists
would be sent out to study the remains we had found.

"You must go to the Director of the Smithsonian Institution," he said.
"He will send us an archaeologist who will interpret all that is obscure
to us. He will revive this civilization in a scholarly work. It may be
that you will have thrown light on some important points in the history
of your country."

After he left us, Blake and I began to make definite plans for my trip
to Washington. Blake was to work on the railroad that winter and save as
much money as possible. The expense of my journey would be paid out of
what we called the jack-pot account, in the bank at Pardee. All our
further expenses on the mesa would be paid by the Government. Roddy
often hinted that we would get a substantial reward of some kind. When
we broke or lost anything at our work, he used to smile and say: "Never
mind. I guess our Uncle Sam will make that good to us."

We had a beautiful autumn that year, soft, sunny, like a dream. Even up
there in the air we had so little wind that the gold hung on the poplars
and quaking aspens late in November. We stayed out on the mesa until
after Christmas. We wanted our archaeologist, when he came, to find
everything in good order. We cleared up any litter we'd made in digging
things out, stored all the specimens, even the mummies, in our cabin,
and padlocked the doors and windows before we left it. I had written up
my day-book carefully to the very end, had even written out some of
Father Duchene's deductions. This book I left in concealment on the
mesa. I climbed up to the Eagle's Nest in which we had found the mummy
of the murdered woman we called Mother Eve, where I had noticed a
particularly neat little cupboard in the wall. I put my book in this
niche and sealed it up with cement. Mother Eve had greatly interested
Father Duchene, by the way. He laughed and said she was well named. He
didn't believe her death could throw any light on the destruction of her
people. "I seem to smell," he said slyly, "a personal tragedy. Perhaps
when the tribe went down to the summer camp, our lady was sick and would
not go. Perhaps her husband thought it worth while to return unannounced
from the farms some night, and found her in improper company. The young
man may have escaped. In primitive society the husband is allowed to
punish an unfaithful wife with death."

When the first snow began to fly, we said goodbye to our mesa and rode
into Tarpin. It took several days to outfit me for my journey to
Washington. We bought a trunk (I'd never owned one in my life), and a
supply off white shirts, an overcoat that was as heavy as lead and just
about as cold, and two suits of clothes. That conscienceless trader
worked off on me a clawhammer coat he must have had in stock for twenty
years. He easily persuaded Roddy that it was the proper thing for dress
occasions. I think Roddy expected that I would be received by
ambassadors--perhaps I did.

Roddy drew me six hundred dollars out of the bank to stake me, and
bought my ticket and Pullman through to Washington. He went to the
station with me the morning I left, and a hard handshake was good-bye.

For a long while after my train pulled out, I could see our mesa bulking
up blue on the sky-line. I hated to leave it, but I reflected that it
had taken care of itself without me for a good many hundred years. When
I saw it again, I told myself, I would have done my duty by it; I would
bring back with me men who would understand it, who would appreciate it
and dig out all its secrets.

Chapter 6

I got off the train, just behind the Capitol building, one cold bright
January morning. I stood for a long while watching the white dome
against a flashing blue sky, with a very religious feeling. After I had
walked about a little and seen the parks, so green though it was winter,
and the Treasury building, and the War and Navy, I decided to put off my
business for a little and give myself a week to enjoy the city. That was
the most sensible thing I did while I was there. For that week I was
wonderfully happy.

My sightseeing over, I got to work. First I went to see the
Representative from our district, to ask for letters of introduction. He
was cordial enough, but he gave me bad advice. He was very positive that
I ought to report to the Indian Commission, and gave me a letter to the
Commissioner. The Commissioner was out of town, and I wasted three days
waiting about his office, being questioned by clerks and secretaries.
They were not very busy, and seemed to find me entertaining. I thought
they were interested in my mission, and interest was what I wanted to
arouse. I didn't know how influential these people might be--they talked
as if they had great authority. I had brought along in my telescope bag
some good pieces of pottery--not the best, I was afraid of accident, but
some that were representative--and all the photographs Blake and I had
taken. We had only a small kodak, and these pictures didn't make much
show,--looked, indeed, like grubby little 'dobe ruins such as one can
find almost anywhere. They gave no idea of the beauty and vastness of
the setting. The clerks at the Indian Commission seemed very curious
about everything and made me talk a lot. I was green and didn't know any
better. But when one of the fellows there tried to get me to give him my
best bowl for his cigarette ashes, I began to suspect the nature of
their interest.

At last the Commissioner returned, but he had pressing engagements, and
I hung around several days more before he would see me. After
questioning me for about half an hour, he told me that his business was
with living Indians, not dead ones, and that his office should have
informed me of that in the beginning. He advised me to go back to our
Congressman and get a letter to the Smithsonian Institution. I packed up
my pottery and got out of the place, feeling pretty sore. The head clerk
followed me down the corridor and asked me what I'd take for that little
bowl he'd taken a fancy to. He said it had no market value, I'd find
Washington full of such things; there were cases of them in the cellar
at the Smithsonian that they'd never taken the trouble to unpack, hadn't
any place to put them.

I went back to my Congressman. This time he wasn't so friendly as
before, but he gave me a letter to the Smithsonian. There I went through
the same experience. The director couldn't be seen except by
appointment, and his secretary had to be convinced that your business
was important before he would give you an appointment with his chief.
After the first morning I found it difficult to see even the secretary.
He was always engaged. I was told to take a seat and wait, but when he
was disengaged he was hurrying off to luncheon. I would sit there all
morning with a group of unfortunate people: girls who wanted to get
typewriting to do, nice polite old men who wanted to be taken out on
surveys and expeditions next summer. The secretary would at last come
out with his overcoat on, and would hurry through the waiting-room
reading a letter or a report, without looking up.

The office assistants cheered me along, and I kept this up for some
days, sitting all morning in that room, studying the patterns of the
rugs, and the shoes of the patient waiters who came as regularly as I.
One day after the secretary had gone out, his stenographer, a nice
little Virginia girl, came and sat down in an empty chair next to mine
and began talking to me. She wasn't pretty, but her kind eyes and soft
Southern voice took hold of me at once. She wanted to know what I had in
my telescope, and why I was there, and where I came from, and all about
it. Nearly everyone else had gone out to lunch--that seemed to be the
one thing they did regularly in Washington--and we had the waiting-room
to ourselves. I talked to her a good deal. Her name was Virginia Ward.
She was a tiny little thing, but she had lovely eyes and such gentle
ways. She seemed indignant that I had been put off so long after having
come so far.

"Now you just let me fix it up for you," she said at last. "Mr. Wagner
is bothered by a great many foolish people who waste his time, and he is
suspicious. The best way will be for you to invite him to lunch with
you. I'll arrange it. I keep a list of his appointments, and I know he
is not engaged for luncheon tomorrow. I'll tell him that he is to lunch
with a nice boy who has come all the way from New Mexico to inform the
Department about an important discovery. I'll tell him to meet you at
the Shoreham, at one. That's expensive, but it would do no good to
invite him to a cheap place. And, remember, you must ask him to order
the luncheon. It will maybe cost you ten dollars, but it will get you

I felt grateful to the nice little thing,--she wasn't older than I. I
begged her wouldn't she please come to lunch with me herself to-day, and
talk to me.

"Oh, no!" she said, blushing red as a poppy. "Why, I'm afraid you

I told her I didn't think anything but how nice she was to me, and how
lonesome I was. She went with me, but she wouldn't go to any swell
place. She told me a great many useful things.

"If you want to get attention from anybody in Washin'ton," she said,
"ask them to lunch. People here will do almost anything for a good

"But the Director of the Smithsonian, for instance," I said, "surely
you don't mean that the high-up ones like that--? Why would he want
to bother with a cow-puncher from New Mexico, when he can lunch with
scientists and ambassadors?"

She had a pretty little fluttery Southern laugh. "You just name a hotel
like the Shoreham to the Director, and try it! There has to be somebody
to pay for a lunch, and the scientists and ambassadors don't do that
when they can avoid it. He'd accept your invitation, and the next time
he went to dine with the Secretary of State he'd make a nice little
story of it, and paint you up so pretty you'd hardly know yourself."

When I asked her whether I'd better take my pottery--it was there under
the table between us--to the Shoreham to show Mr. Wagner, she tittered
again. "I wouldn't bother. If you show him enough of the Shoreham
pottery, that will be more effective."

The next morning, when the secretary arrived at his office, he stopped
by my chair and said he understood he had an engagement with me for one
o'clock. That was a good idea, he added: his mind was freer when he was
away from office routine.

I had been in Washington twenty-two days when I took the secretary out
to lunch. It was an excellent lunch. We had a bottle of Château d'Yquem.
I'd never heard of such a wine before, but I remember it because it cost
five dollars. I drank only one glass, and that pleased him too, for he
drank the rest. Though he was friendly and talked a great deal, my heart
sank lower, for he wouldn't let me explain my mission to him at all. He
kept telling me that he knew all about the South-west. He had been sent
by the Smithsonian to conduct parties of European archaeologists through
all the show places, Frijoles and Canyon de Chelly, and Taos, and the
Hopi pueblos. When some Austrian Archduke had gone to hunt in the Pecos
range, he had been sent by his chief and the German ambassador to manage
the tour, and he had done it with such success that both he and the
Director were given decorations from the Austrian Crown, in recognition
of his services. Then I had to listen to a long story about how well he
was treated by the Archduke when he went to Vienna with his chief the
following summer. I had to hear about the balls and receptions, and the
names and titles of all the people he had met at the Duke's country
estate. I was amazed and ashamed that a man of fifty, a man of the
world, a scholar with ever so many degrees, should find it worth his
while to show off before a boy, and a boy of such humble pretensions,
who didn't know how to eat the hors d'enticons grol oelig gifvres any
more than if an assortment of cocoanuts had been set before him with no

Imagine my astonishment when, as he was drinking his liqueur, he said
carelessly: "By the way, I was successful in arranging an interview with
the Director for you. He will see you at four o'clock on Monday."

That was Thursday. I spent the time between then and Monday trying to
find out something more about the kind of people I had come among. I
persuaded Virginia Ward to go to the theatre with me, and she told me
that it always took a long while to get anything through with the
Director, that I mustn't lose heart, and she would always be glad to
cheer me up. She lived with her mother, a widow lady, and they had me
come to dinner and were very nice to me.

All this time I was living with a young married couple who interested me
very much, for they were unlike any people I had ever known. The husband
was "in office," as they say there, he had some position in the War
Department. How it did use to depress me to see all the hundreds of
clerks come pouring out of that big building at sunset! Their lives
seemed to me so petty, so slavish. The couple I lived with gave me a
prejudice against that kind of life. I couldn't help knowing a good deal
about their affairs. They had only a small rented flat, and rented me
one room of it, so I was very much in their confidence and couldn't help
overhearing. They asked me not to mention the fact that I paid rent, as
they had told their friends I was making them a visit. It was like that
in everything; they spent their lives trying to keep up appearances, and
to make his salary do more than it could. When they weren't discussing
where she should go in the summer, they talked about the promotions in
his department; how much the other clerks got and how they spent it, how
many new dresses their wives had. And there was always a struggle going
on for an invitation to a dinner or a reception, or even a tea-party.
When once they got the invitation they had been scheming for, then came
the terrible question of what Mrs. Bixby should wear.

The Secretary of War gave a reception; there was to be dancing and a
great showing of foreign uniforms. The Bixbys were in painful suspense
until they got a card. Then for a week they talked about nothing but
what Mrs. Bixby was going to wear. They decided that for such an
occasion she must have a new dress. Bixby borrowed twenty-five dollars
from me, and took his lunch hour to go shopping with his wife and choose
the satin. That seemed to me very strange. In New Mexico the Indian boys
sometime went to trader's with their wives and bought shawls or calico,
and we thought it rather contemptible. On the night of the reception the
Bixbys set off gaily in a cab; the dress they considered a great
success. But they had bad luck. Somebody spilt claret-cup on Mrs.
Bixby's skirt before the evening was half over, and when they got home
that night I heard her weeping and reproaching him for having been so
upset about it, and looking at nothing but her ruined dress all evening.
She said he cried out when it happened. I don't doubt it.

Every cab, every party, was more than they could afford. If he lost an
umbrella, it was a real misfortune. He wasn't lazy, he wasn't a fool,
and he meant to be honest; but he was intimidated by that miserable sort
of departmental life. He didn't know anything else. He thought working
in a store or a bank not respectable. Living with the Bixbys gave me a
kind of low-spiritedness I had never known before. During my days of
waiting for appointments, I used to walk for hours around the fence that
shuts in the White House grounds, and watch the Washington monument
colour with those beautiful sunsets, until the time when all the clerks
streamed out of the treasury building and the War and Navy. Thousands of
them, all more or less like the couple I lived with. They seemed to me
like people in slavery, who ought to be free. I remember the city
chiefly by those beautiful, hazy, sad sunsets, white columns and green
shrubbery, and the monument shaft still pink while the stars were coming

I got my interview with the Director of the Smithsonian at last. He gave
me his attention, he was interested. He told me to come again in three
days and meet Dr. Ripley, who was the authority on prehistoric Indian
remains and had excavated a lot of them. Then came an exciting and
rather encouraging time for me. Dr. Ripley asked the right sort of
questions, and evidently knew his business. He said he'd like to take
the first train down to my mesa. But it required money to excavate, and
he had none. There was a bill up before Congress for an appropriation.
We'd have to wait. I must use my influence with my Representative. He
took my pottery to study it. (I never got it back, by the way.) There
was a Dr. Fox, connected with the Smithsonian, who was also interested.
They told me a good many things I wanted to know, and kept me dangling
about the office. Of course they were very kind to take so much trouble
with a green boy. But I soon found that the Director and all his staff
had one interest which dwarfed every other. There was to be an
International Exposition of some sort in Europe the following summer,
and they were all pulling strings to get appointed on juries or sent to
international congresses--appointments that would pay their expenses
abroad, and give them a salary in addition. There was, indeed, a bill
before Congress for appropriations for the Smithsonian; but there was
also a bill for Exposition appropriations, and that was the one they
were really pushing. They kept me hanging on through March and April,
but in the end it came to nothing. Dr. Ripley told me he was sorry, but
the sum Congress had allowed the Smithsonian wouldn't cover an
expedition to the Southwest.

Virginia Ward, who had been so kind to me, went out to lunch with me
that day, and admitted I had been let down. She was almost as much
disappointed as I. She said the only thing Dr. Ripley really cared about
was getting a free trip to Europe and acting on a jury, and maybe
getting a decoration. "And that's what the Director wants, too," she
said. "They don't care much about dead and gone Indians. What they do
care about is going to Paris, and getting another ribbon on their

The only other person besides Virginia who was genuinely concerned about
my affair was a young Frenchman, a lieutenant attached to the French
Embassy, who came to the Smithsonian often on business connected with
this same International Exposition. He was nice and polite to Virginia,
and she introduced him to me. We used to walk down along the Potomac
together. He studied my photographs and asked me such intelligent
questions about everything that it was a pleasure to talk to him. He had
a fine attitude about it all; he was thoughtful, critical, and
respectful. I feel sure he'd have gone back to New Mexico with me if
he'd had the money. He was even poorer than I.

I was utterly ashamed to go home to Roddy, dead broke after all the
money I'd spent, and without a thing to show for it. I hung on in
Washington through May, trying to get a job of some sort, to at least
earn my fare home. My letters to Blake had been pretty blue for some
time back. If I'd been sensible, I'd have kept my troubles to myself. He
was easily discouraged, and I knew that. At last I had to write him for
money to go home. It was slow in coming, and I began to telegraph. I
left Washington at last, wiser than I came. I had no plans, I wanted
nothing but to get back to the mesa and live a free life and breathe
free air, and never, never again to see hundreds of little black-coated
men pouring out of white buildings. Queer, how much more depressing they
are than workmen coming out of a factory.

I was terribly disappointed when I got off the train at Tarpin and Roddy
wasn't at the station to meet me. It was late in the afternoon, almost
dark, and I went straight to the livery stable to talk Bill Hook for
news of Blake. Hook, you remember, had done all our hauling for us, and
had been a good friend. He gave me a glad hand and said Blake was out on
the mesa.

"I expect maybe he's had his feelings hurt here. He's been shy of this
town lately. You see, Tom, folks weren't bothered none about that mesa
so long as you fellows were playing Robinson Crusoe out there, digging
up curios. But when it leaked out that Blake had got a lot of money for
your stuff, then they begun to feel jealous--said them ruins didn't
belong to Blake any more than anybody else. It'll blow over in time;
people are always like that when money changes hands. But right now
there's a good deal of bad feeling."

I told him I didn't know what he was talking about.

"You mean you ain't heard about the German, Fechtig? Well, Rodney's got
some surprise waiting for you! Why, he's had the damnedest luck! He's
cleaned up a neat little pile on your stuff."

I begged him to tell me what stuff he meant.

"Why, your curios. This German, Fechtig, come along; he'd been buying up
a lot of Indian things out here, and he bought you whole outfit and paid
four thousand dollars down for it. The transaction made quite a stir
here in Tarpin. I'm not kicking. I made a good thing out of it. My mules
were busy three weeks packing the stuff out of there on their backs, and
I held the Dutchman up for a fancy price. He had packing cases made at
the wagon shop and took 'em up to the mesa full of straw and sawdust,
and packed the curios out there. I lost one of my mules, too. You
remember Jenny? Well, they were leading her down with a big box on her,
and right there where the trail runs so narrow around a bump in the
cliff above Black Canyon, she lost her balance and fell clean to the
bottom, her load on her. Pretty near a thousand feet, I guess. We never
went down to hold a post-mortem, but Fechtig paid for her like a

I remember I sat down on the sofa in Hook's office because I couldn't
stand up any longer, and the smell of the horse blankets began to make
me deathly sick. In a minute I went over, like a girl in a novel. Hook
pulled me out on the sidewalk and gave me some whisky out of his pocket

When I felt better I asked him how long this German had been gone, and
what he had done with the things.

"Oh, he cleared out three weeks ago. He didn't waste no time. He treated
everybody well, though; nobody's sore at him. It's your partner they're
turned against. Fechtig took the stuff right along with him, chartered a
freight car, and travelled in the car with it. I reckon it's on the
water by now. He took it straight through into Old Mexico, and was to
load it on a French boat. Seems he was afraid of having trouble getting
curiosities out of the United States ports. You know you can take
anything out of the City of Mexico."

I had heard all I wanted to hear. I went to the hotel, got a room, and
lay down without undressing to wait for daylight. Hook was to drive me
and my trunk out to the mesa early the next morning. All I'd been
through in Washington was nothing to what I went through that night. I
thought Blake must have lost his mind. I didn't for a minute believe
he'd meant to sell me out, but I cursed his stupidity and presumption. I
had never told him just how I felt about those things we'd dug out
together, it was the kind of thing one doesn't talk about directly. But
he must have known; he couldn't have lived with me all summer and fall
without knowing. And yet, until that night, I had never known myself
that I cared more about them than about anything else in the world.

At the first blink of daylight I jumped up from my damnable bed and went
round to the stable to rout Hook out of his bunk. We had breakfast and
got out of town with his best team. On the way to the mesa we had a
break-down, one of the old dry wheels smashed to splinters. Hook had to
unhitch and ride back to Tarpin and get another. Everything took an
unreasonably long time, and the afternoon was half gone when he put me
and my trunk down at the foot of the Black Canyon trail. Every inch of
that trail was dear to me, every delicate curve about the old piñon
roots, every chancy track along the face of the cliffs, and the deep
windings back into shrubbery and safety. The wild-currant bushes were in
bloom, and where the path climbed the side of a narrow ravine, the scent
of them in the sun was so heavy that it made me soft, made me want to
lie down and sleep. I wanted to see and touch everything, like home-sick
children when they come home.

When I pulled out on top of the mesa, the rays of sunlight fell
slantingly through the little twisted piñons,--the light was all in
between them, as red as a daylight fire, they fairly swam in it. Once
again I had that glorious feeling that I've never had anywhere else, the
feeling of being on the mesa, in a world above the world. And the air,
my God, what air!--Soft, tingling, gold, hot with an edge of chill on
it, full of the smell of piñons--it was like breathing the sun,
breathing the colour of the sky. Down there behind me was the plain,
already streaked with shadow, violet and purple and burnt orange until
it met the horizon. Before me was the flat mesa top, thinly sprinkled
with old cedars that were not much taller than I, though their twisted
trunks were almost as thick as my body. I struck off across it, my long
black shadow going ahead.

I made straight for the cabin, it was about three miles from the spot
where the trail emerged at the top. I saw smoke rising before I could
see the hut itself. Blake was in the doorway when I got there. I didn't
look at his face, but I could feel that he looked at mine.

"Don't say anything, Tom. Don't rip me up until you hear all about it,"
he said as I came toward him.

"I've heard enough to about do for me," I blurted out. "What made you do
it, Blake? What made you do it?"

"It was a chance in a million, boy. There wasn't any time to consult
you. There's only one man in thousands that wants to buy relics and pay
real money for them. I could see how your Washington campaign was coming
out. I know you'd thought about big figures, so had I. But that was all
a pipe dream. Four thousand's not so bad, you don't pick it up every
day. And he bore all the expenses. Why, it was a terrible expensive job,
getting all that frail stuff out of here. Who else would have bought it,
I want to know? We'd have had to pack it around at Harvey Houses,
selling it at a dollar a bowl, like the poor Indians do. I took the best
chance going, for both of us, Tom."

I didn't say anything, because there was too much to say. I stood
outside the cabin until the gold light went blue and a few stars came
out, hardly brighter than the bright sky they twinkled in, and the
swallows came flying over us, on their way to their nests in the cliffs.
It was the time of day when everything goes home. From habit and from
weariness I went in through the door. The kitchen table was spread for
supper, I could smell a rabbit stew cooking on the stove. Blake lit the
lantern and begged me to eat my supper. I didn't go into the bunk-room,
for I knew the shelves in there were empty. I heard Blake talking to me
as you hear people talking when you are asleep.

"Who else would have bought them?" he kept saying. "Folks make a lot of
fuss over such things, but they don't want to pay good money for them."

When I at last told him that such a thing as selling them had never
entered my head, I'm sure he thought I was lying. He reminded me about
how we used to talk of getting big money from the Government.

I admitted I'd hoped we'd be paid for our work, and maybe get a bonus of
some kind, for our discovery. "But I never thought of selling them,
because they weren't mine to sell--nor yours! They belonged to this
country, to the State, and to all the people. They belonged to boys like
you and me, that have no other ancestors to inherit from. You've gone
and sold them to a country that's got plenty of relics of its own.
You've gone and sold your country's secrets, like Dreyfus."

"That man was innocent. It was a frame-up," Blake murmured. It was a
point he would never pass up.

"Whether he's guilty or not, you are! If there was only anybody in
Washington I could telegraph to, and have that German held up at the

"That's just it. If there was anybody in Washington that cared a damn, I
wouldn't have sold 'em. But you pretty well found out there ain't."

"We could have kept them, then," I told him. "I've got a strong back.
I'm not so poor that I have to sell the pots and pans that belonged to
my poor grandmothers a thousand years ago. I made all my plans on the
train, coming back." (It was a lie, I hadn't.) "I meant to get a job on
the railroad and keep our find right here, and come back to it when I
had a lay-off. I think a lot more of it now than before I went to
Washington. And after a while, when that Exposition is over and the
Smithsonian people get home, they would come out here all right. I've
learned enough from them so that I could go on with it myself."

Blake reminded me that I had my way to make in the world, and that I
wanted to go to school. "That money's in the bank this minute, in your
name, and you're going to college on it. You're not going to be a
day-labourer like me. After you've got your sheepskin, then you can
divide with me."

"You think I'd touch that money?" I looked squarely at him for the first
time. "No more than if you'd stolen it. You made the sale. Get what you
can out of it. I want to ask you one question: did you ever think I was
digging those things up for what I could sell them for?"

Rodney explained that he knew I cared about the things, and was proud of
them, but he'd always supposed I meant to "realize" on them, just as he
did, and that it would come to money in the end. "Everything does," he

"If that nice young Frenchman I met had come down here with me, and
offered me four million instead of four thousand, I'd have refused him.
There never was any question of money with me, where this mesa and its
people were concerned. They were something that had been preserved
through the ages by a miracle, and handed on to you and me, two poor
cow-punchers, rough and ignorant, but I thought we were men enough to
keep a trust. I'd as soon have sold my own grandmother as Mother
Eve--I'd have sold any living woman first."

"Save your tears," said Roddy grimly. "She refused to leave us. She went
to the bottom of Black Canyon and carried Hook's best mule along with
her. They had to make her box extra wide, and she crowded out an inch or
so too far from the canyon wall."

This painful interview went on for hours. I walked up and down the
kitchen trying to make Blake understand the kind of value those objects
had had for me. Unfortunately, I succeeded. He sat slumping on the
bench, his elbows on the table, shading his eyes from the lantern with
his hands.

"There's no need to keep this up," he said at last. "You're away out of
my depth, but I think I get you. You might have given me some of this
Fourth of July talk a little earlier in the game. I didn't know you
valued that stuff any different than anything else a fellow might run on
to: a gold mine or a pocket of turquoise."

"I suppose you gave him my diary along with the rest?"

"No," said Blake, his voice growing gloomier and darker, "that's in the
Eagle's Nest, where you hid it. That's your private property. I supposed
I had some share in the relics we dug up--you always spoke of it that
way. But I see now I was working for you like a hired man, and while you
were away I sold your property."

I said again it wasn't mine or his. He took something out of the pocket
of his flannel shirt and laid it on the table. I saw it was a bank
passbook, with my name on the yellow cover.

"You may as well keep it," I said. "I'll never touch it. You had no
right to deposit it in my name. The townspeople are sore about the
money, and they'll hold it against me."

"No they won't. Can't you trust me to fix that?"

"I don't know what I can trust you with, Blake. I don't know where I'm
at with you," I said.

He got up and began putting on his coat. "Motives don't count, eh?" he
said, his face turned away, as he put his arm into the sleeve.

"They would in anything of our own, between you and me," I told him. "If
it was my money you'd lost gambling, or my girl you'd made free with, we
could fight it out, and maybe be friends again. But this is different."

"I see. You make it clear." He was quietly stirring around as he spoke.
He got his old knapsack off its nail on the wall, opened his trunk and
took out some underwear and socks and a couple of shirts. After he had
put these into the bag, he slung it over one shoulder, and his canvas
water-bag over the other. I let these preparations go on without a word.
He went to the cupboard over the stove and put some sticks of chocolate
into his pocket, then his pipe and a bag of tobacco. Presently I said
he'd break his neck if he tried riding down the trail in the dark.

"I'm not riding the trail," he replied curtly. "I'm going down the quick
way. My horse is grazing in Cow Canyon."

"I noticed the river's high. It's dangerous crossing," I remarked.

"I got over that way a few days ago. I'm surprised at you, using such
common expressions!" he said sarcastically. "Dangerous crossing; it's
painted on signboards all over the world!" He walked out of the cabin
without looking back. I followed him to the V-shaped break in the rim
rock, hardly larger than a man's body, where the spliced tree-trunks
made a swinging ladder down the face of the cliff. I wanted to protest,
but only succeeded in finding fault.

"You'll catch your knapsack on those forks and come to grief."

"That's my look-out."

By this time my eyes had grown accustomed to the darkness, and I could
see Blake quite clearly--the stubborn, crouching set of his shoulders
that I used to notice when he first came to Pardee and was drinking all
the time. There was an ache in my arms to reach out and detain him, but
there was something else that made me absolutely powerless to do so. He
stepped down and settled his foot into the first fork. Then he stopped a
moment and straightened his pack, buttoned his coat up to the chin, and
pulled his hat on tighter. There was always a night draught in the
canyon. He gripped the trunk with his hands. "Well," he said with grim
cheerfulness, "here's luck! And I'm glad it's you that's doing this to
me, Tom; not me that's doing it to you."

His head disappeared below the rim. I could hear the trees creak under
his heavy body, and the chains rattle a little at the splicings. I lay
down on the ledge and listened. I could hear him for a long way down,
and the sounds were comforting to me, though I didn't realize it. Then
the silence closed in. I went to sleep that night hoping I would never

Chapter 7

The next morning the whinnying of my saddle-horse in the shed roused me.
I took him down to the foot of the trail where I'd left my trunk, and
packed my things up to the cabin on his back. I sat up late that night,
waiting for Blake, though I knew he wouldn't come. A few days later I
rode into Tarpin for news of him. Bill Hook showed me Roddy's horse. He
had sold him to the barn for sixty dollars. The station-master told me
Blake had bought a ticket to Winslow, Arizona. I wired the
station-master and the dispatcher at Winslow, but they could give me no
information. Father Duchene came along, on his rounds, and I told him
the whole story.

He thought Blake would come back sometime, that I'd only miss him if I
went out to look for him. He advised me to stay on the mesa that summer
and get ahead with my studies, work up my Spanish grammar and my Latin.
He had friends all along the Santa Fé, and he was sure we could catch
Blake by advertising in the local papers along the road; Albuquerque,
Winslow, Flagstaff, Williams, Los Angeles. After a few days with him, I
went back to the mesa to wait.

I'll never forget the night I got back. I crossed the river an hour
before sunset and hobbled my horse in the wide bottom of Cow Canyon. The
moon was up, though the sun hadn't set, and it had that glittering
silveriness the early stars have in high altitudes. The heavenly bodies
look so much more remote from the bottom of a deep canyon than they do
from the level. The climb of the walls helps out the eye, somehow. I lay
down on a solitary rock that was like an island in the bottom of the
valley, and looked up. The grey sage-brush and the blue-grey rock
around me were already in shadow, but high above me the canyon walls
were dyed flame-colour with the sunset, and the Cliff City lay in a
gold haze against its dark cavern. In a few minutes it, too, was grey,
and only the rim rock at the top held the red light. When that was gone,
I could still see the copper glow in the piñons along the edge of the
top ledges. The arc of sky over the canyon was silvery blue, with its
pale yellow moon, and presently stars shivered into it, like crystals
dropped into perfectly clear water.

I remember these things, because, in a sense, that was the first night I
was ever really on the mesa at all--the first night that all of me was
there. This was the first time I ever saw it as a whole. It all came
together in my understanding, as a series of experiments do when you
begin to see where they are leading. Something had happened in me that
made it possible for me to co-ordinate and simplify, and that process,
going on in my mind, brought with it great happiness. It was possession.
The excitement of my first discovery was a very pale feeling compared to
this one. For me the mesa was no longer an adventure, but a religious
emotion. I had read of filial piety in the Latin poets, and I knew that
was what I felt for this place. It had formerly been mixed up with other
motives; but now that they were gone, I had my happiness unalloyed.

What that night began lasted all summer. I stayed on the mesa until
November. It was the first time I'd ever studied methodically, or
intelligently. I got the better of the Spanish grammar and read the
twelve books of the AEneid. I studied in the morning, and in the
afternoon I worked at clearing away the mess the German had made in
packing--tidying up the ruins to wait another hundred years, maybe, for
the right explorer. I can scarcely hope that life will give me another
summer like that one. It was my high tide. Every morning, when the sun's
rays first hit the mesa top, while the rest of the world was in shadow,
I wakened with the feeling that I had found everything, instead of
having lost everything. Nothing tired me. Up there alone, a close
neighbour to the sun, I seemed to get the solar energy in some direct
way. And at night, when I watched it drop down behind the edge of the
plain below me, I used to feel that I couldn't have borne another hour
of that consuming light, that I was full to the brim, and needed dark
and sleep.

All that summer, I never went up to the Eagle's Nest to get my
diary--indeed, it's probably there yet. I didn't feel the need of that
record. It would have been going backward. I didn't want to go back and
unravel things step by step. Perhaps I was afraid that I would lose the
whole in the parts. At any rate, I didn't go for my record.

During those months I didn't worry much about poor Roddy. I told myself
the advertisements would surely get him--I knew his habit of reading
newspapers. There are times when one's vitality is too high to be
clouded, too elastic to stay down. Hurrying in from my cabin in the
morning to the spot in the Cliff City where I studied under a cedar, I
used to be frightened at my own heartlessness. But the feel of the
narrow moccasin-worn trail in the flat rock made my feet glad, like a
good taste in the mouth, and I'd forget all about Blake without knowing
it. I found I was reading too fast; so I began to commit long passages
of Vergil to memory--if it hadn't been for that, I might have forgotten
how to use my voice, or gone to talking to myself. When I look into the
AEneid now, I can always see two pictures: the one on the page, and
another behind that: blue and purple rocks and yellow-green piñons with
flat tops, little clustered houses clinging together for protection, a
rude tower rising in their midst, rising strong, with calmness and
courage--behind it a dark grotto, in its depths a crystal spring.

Happiness is something one can't explain. You must take my word for it.
Troubles enough came afterward, but there was that summer, high and
blue, a life in itself.

Next winter I went back to Pardee and stayed with the O'Briens again,
working on the section and studying with Father Duchene and trying to
get some word of Blake. Now that I was back on the railroad, I thought I
couldn't fail to find him. I went out to Winslow and to Williams, and I
questioned the railroad men. We advertised for him in every possible
way, had all the Santa Fé operatives and the police and the Catholic
missionaries on the watch for him, offered a thousand dollars reward for
whoever found him. But it came to nothing. Father Duchene and our
friends down there are still looking. But the older I grow, the more I
understand what it was I did that night on the mesa. Anyone who requites
faith and friendship as I did, will have to pay for it. I'm not very
sanguine about good fortune myself. I'll be called to account when I
least expect it.

In the spring, just a year after I quarrelled with Roddy, I landed here
and walked into your garden, and the rest you know.


Chapter 1

All the most important things in his life, St. Peter sometimes
reflected, had been determined by chance. His education in France had
been an accident. His married life had been happy largely through a
circumstance with which neither he nor his wife had anything to do. They
had been young people with good qualities, and very much in love, but
they could not have been happy if Lillian had not inherited a small
income from her father--only about sixteen hundred a year, but it had
made all the difference in the world. A few memorable interregnums
between servants had let him know that Lillian couldn't pinch and be
shabby and do housework, as the wives of some of his colleagues did.
Under such conditions she became another person, and a bitter one.

Tom Outland had been a stroke of chance he couldn't possibly have
imagined; his strange coming, his strange story, his devotion, his early
death and posthumous fame--it was all fantastic. Fantastic, too, that
this tramp boy should amass a fortune for someone whose name he had
never heard, for "an extravagant and wheeling stranger." The Professor
often thought of that curiously bitter burst from the barytone in
Brahms' Requiem, attending the words, "He heapeth up riches and cannot
tell who shall scatter them!" The vehemence of this passage had seemed
to him uncalled for until he read it by the light of the history of his
own family.

St. Peter thought he had fared well with fate. He wouldn't choose to
live his life over--he might not have such good luck again. He had had
two romances: one of the heart, which had filled his life for many
years, and a second of the mind--of the imagination. Just when the
morning brightness of the world was wearing off for him, along came
Outland and brought him a kind of second youth.

Through Outland's studies, long after they had ceased to be pupil and
master, he had been able to experience afresh things that had grown dull
with use. The boy's mind had the superabundance of heat which is always
present where there is rich germination. To share his thoughts was to
see old perspectives transformed by new effects of light.

If the last four volumes of "The Spanish Adventurers" were more simple
and inevitable than those that went before, it was largely because of
Outland. When St. Peter first began his work, he realized that his great
drawback was the lack of early association, the fact that he had not
spent his youth in the great dazzling South-west country which was the
scene of his explorers' adventures. By the time he had got as far as the
third volume, into his house walked a boy who had grown up there, a boy
with imagination, with the training and insight resulting from a very
curious experience; who had in his pocket the secrets which old trails
and stones and water-courses tell only to adolescence.

Two years after Tom's graduation they took the copy of Fray Garces'
manuscript that the Professor had made from the original in Spain, and
went down into the South-west together. By autumn they had been over
every mile of his trail on horseback. Tom could take a sentence from
Garces' diary and find the exact spot at which the missionary crossed
the Rio Colorado on a certain Sunday in 1775. Given one pueblo, he could
always find the route by which the priest had reached the next.

It was on that trip that they went to Tom's Blue Mesa, climbed the
ladder of spliced pine-trees to the Cliff City, and up to the Eagle's
Nest. There they took Tom's diary from the stone cupboard where he had
sealed it up years ago, before he set out for Washington on his
fruitless errand.

The next summer Tom went with the Professor to Old Mexico. They had
planned a third summer together, in Paris, but it never came off.
Outland was delayed by the formalities of securing his patent, and then
came August, 1914. Father Duchene, the missionary priest who had been
Tom's teacher, stopped in Hamilton on his way back to Belgium, hurrying
home to serve in any capacity he might. The rugged old man stayed in
Hamilton only four days, but in that time Outland made up his mind, had
a will drawn, packed, and said good-bye. He sailed with Father Duchene
on the Rochambeau.

To this day St. Peter regretted that he had never got that vacation in
Paris with Tom Outland. He had wanted to revisit certain spots with him:
to go with him some autumn morning to the Luxembourg Gardens, when the
yellow horse-chestnuts were bright and bitter after the rain; to stand
with him before the monument to Delacroix and watch the sun gleam on the
bronze figures--Time, bearing away the youth who was struggling to
snatch his palm--or was it to lay a palm? Not that it mattered. It might
have mattered to Tom, had not chance, in one great catastrophe, swept
away all youth and all palms, and almost Time itself.

And suppose Tom had been more prudent, and had not gone away with his
old teacher? St. Peter sometimes wondered what would have happened to
him, once the trap of worldly success had been sprung on him. He
couldn't see Tom building "Outland," or becoming a public-spirited
citizen of Hamilton. What change would have come in his blue eye, in his
fine long hand with the backspringing thumb, which had never handled
things that were not the symbols of ideas? A hand like that, had he
lived, must have been put to other uses. His fellow scientists, his
wife, the town and State, would have required many duties of it. It
would have had to write thousands of useless letters, frame thousands of
false excuses. It would have had to "manage" a great deal of money, to
be the instrument of a woman who would grow always more exacting. He had
escaped all that. He had made something new in the world--and the
rewards, the meaningless conventional gestures, he had left to others.

Chapter 2

All those summer days, while the Professor was sending cheerful accounts
of his activities to his family in France, he was really doing very
little. He had begun, in a desultory way, to annotate the diary that Tom
had kept on the mesa, in which he had noted down the details of each
day's work among the ruins, along with the weather and anything unusual
in the routine of their life. There was a minute description of each
tool they found, of every piece of cloth and pottery, frequently
accompanied by a very suggestive pencil sketch of the object and a
surmise as to its use and the kind of life in which it had played a
part. To St. Peter this plain account was almost beautiful, because of
the stupidities it avoided and the things it did not say. If words had
cost money, Tom couldn't have used them more sparingly. The adjectives
were purely descriptive, relating to form and colour, and were used to
present the objects under consideration, not the young explorer's
emotions. Yet through this austerity one felt the kindling imagination,
the ardour and excitement of the boy, like the vibration in a voice when
the speaker strives to conceal his emotion by using only conventional

When the first of August came round, the Professor realized that he had
pleasantly trifled away nearly two months at a task which should have
taken little more than a week. But he had been doing a good deal
besides--something he had never before been able to do.

St. Peter had always laughed at people who talked about "day-dreams,"
just as he laughed at people who naively confessed that they had "an
imagination." All his life his mind had behaved in a positive fashion.
When he was not at work, or being actively amused, he went to sleep. He
had no twilight stage. But now he enjoyed this half-awake loafing with
his brain as if it were a new sense, arriving late, like wisdom teeth.
He found he could lie on his sand-spit by the lake for hours and watch
the seven motionless pines drink up the sun. In the evening, after
dinner, he could sit idle and watch the stars, with the same immobility.
he was cultivating a novel mental dissipation--and enjoying a new
friendship. Tom Outland had not come back again through the garden door
(as he had so often done in dreams!), but another boy had: the boy the
Professor had long ago left behind him in Kansas, in the Solomon
Valley--the original, unmodified Godfrey St. Peter.

This boy and he had meant, back in those faraway days, to live some sort
of life together and to share good and bad fortune. They had not shared
together, for the reason that they were unevenly matched. The young St.
Peter who went to France to try his luck, had a more active mind than
the twin he left behind in the Solomon Valley. After his adoption into
the Thierault household, he remembered that other boy very rarely, in
moments of home-sickness. After he met Lillian Ornsley, St. Peter forgot
that boy had ever lived.

But now that the vivid consciousness of an earlier state had come back
to him, the Professor felt that life with this Kansas boy, little as
there had been of it, was the realest of his lives, and that all the
years between had been accidental and ordered from the outside. His
career, his wife, his family, were not his life at all, but a chain of
events which had happened to him. All these things had nothing to do
with the person he was in the beginning.

The man he was now, the personality his friends knew, had begun to grow
strong during adolescence, during the years when he was always
consciously or unconsciously conjugating the verb "to love"--in society
and solitude, with people, with books, with the sky and open country, in
the lonesomeness of crowded city streets. When he met Lillian, it
reached its maturity. From that time to this, existence had been a
catching at handholds. One thing led to another and one development
brought on another, and the design of his life had been the work of this
secondary social man, the lover. It had been shaped by all the penalties
and responsibilities of being and having been a lover. Because there was
Lillian, there must be marriage and a salary. Because there was
marriage, there were children. Because there were children, and fervour
in the blood and brain, books were born as well as daughters. His
histories, he was convinced, had no more to do with his original ego
than his daughters had; they were a result of the high pressure of young

The Kansas boy who had come back to St. Peter this summer was not a
scholar. He was a primitive. He was only interested in earth and woods
and water. Wherever sun sunned and rain rained and snow snowed, wherever
life sprouted and decayed, places were alike to him. He was not nearly
so cultivated as Tom's old cliff-dwellers must have been--and yet he was
terribly wise. He seemed to be at the root of the matter; Desire under
all desires, Truth under all truths. He seemed to know, among other
things, that he was solitary and must always be so; he had never
married, never been a father. He was earth, and would return to earth.
When white clouds blew over the lake like bellying sails, when the seven
pine-trees turned red in the declining sum, he felt satisfaction and
said to himself merely: "That is right." Coming upon a curly root that
thrust itself across his path, he said: "That is it." When the
maple-leaves along the street began to turn yellow and waxy, and were
soft to the touch,--like the skin on old faces,--he said: "That is true;
it is time." All these recognitions gave him a kind of sad pleasure.

When he was not dumbly, deeply recognizing, he was bringing up out of
himself long-forgotten, unimportant memories of his early childhood, of
his mother, his father, his grandfather. His grandfather, old Napoleon
Godfrey, used to go about lost in profound, continuous meditation,
sometimes chuckling to himself. Occasionally, at the family
dinner-table, the old man would try to rouse himself, from motives of
politeness, and would ask some kindly question--nearly always absurd and
often the same one he had asked yesterday. The boys used to shout with
laughter and wonder what profound matters could require such deep
meditation, and make a man speak so foolishly about what was going on
under his very eyes. St. Peter thought he was beginning to understand
what the old man had been thinking about, though he himself was but
fifty-two, and Napoleon had been well on in his eighties. There are only
a few years, at the last, in which man can consider his estate, and he
thought he might be quite as near the end of his road as his grandfather
had been in those days.

The Professor knew, of course, that adolescence grafted a new creature
into the original one, and that the complexion of a man's life was
largely determined by how well or ill his original self and his nature
as modified by sex rubbed on together.

What he had not known was that, at a given time, that first nature could
return to a man, unchanged by all the pursuits ad passions and
experiences of his life; untouched even by the tastes and intellectual
activities which have been strong enough to give him distinction among
his fellows and to have made for him, as they say, a name in the world.
Perhaps this reversion did not often occur, but he knew it had happened
to him, and he suspected it had happened to his grandfather. He did not
regret his life, but he was indifferent to it. It seemed to him like the
life of another person.

Along with other states of mind which attended his realization of the
boy Godfrey, came a conviction (he did not see it coming, it was there
before he was aware of its approach) that he as nearing the end of his
life. This conviction took its place so quietly, seemed so
matter-of-fact, that he gave it little thought. But one day, when he
realized that all the while he was preparing for the fall term he didn't
in the least believe he would be alive during the fall term, he thought
he might better see a doctor.

Chapter 3

The family doctor knew all about St. Peter. It was summer, moreover, and
he had plenty of time. He devoted several mornings to the Professor and
made tests of the most searching kind. In the end he of course told St.
Peter there was nothing the matter with him.

"What made you come to me, any discomfort or pain?"

"None. I simply feel tired all the time."

Dr. Dudley shrugged. "So do I! Sleep well?"

"Almost too much."

"Eat well?"

"In every sense of the word, well. I am my own chef."

"Always a gourmet, and never anything wrong with your digestive tract! I
wish you'd ask me to dine with you some night. Any of that sherry left?"

"A little. I use it plentifully."

"I'll bet you do! But why did you think there was something wrong with
you? Low in your mind?"

"No, merely low in energy. Enjoy doing nothing. I came to you from a
sense of duty."

"How about travel?"

"I shrink from the thought of it. As I tell you, I enjoy doing nothing."

"Then do it! There's nothing the matter with you. Follow your

St. Peter went home well satisfied. He did not mention to Dr. Dudley the
real reason for his asking for a medical examination. One doesn't
mention such things. The feeling that he was near the conclusion of his
life was an instinctive conviction, such as we have when we waken in the
dark and know at once that it is near morning; or when we are walking
across the country and suddenly know that we are near the sea.

Letters came every week from France. Lillian and Louie alternated, so
that one or the other got off a letter to him on every fast boat...Louie
told him that wherever they went, when they had an especially delightful
day, they bought him a present. At Trouville, for instance, they had
laid in dozens of the brilliant rubber casquettes he liked to wear when
he went swimming. At Aix-les-Bains they found a gorgeous dressing-gown
for him in a Chinese shop. St. Peter was happy in his mind about them
all. He was glad they were there, and that he was here. Their generous
letters, written when there were so many pleasant things to do,
certainly deserved more than one reading. He used to carry them out to
the lake to read them over again. After coming out of the water he would
lie on the sand, holding them in his hand, but somehow never taking his
eyes off the pine-trees, appliquéed against the blue water, and their
ripe yellow cones, dripping with gum and clustering on the pointed tips
like a mass of golden bees in swarming-time. Usually he carried his
letters home unread.

His family wrote constantly about their plans for next summer, when they
were going to take him over with them. Next summer? The Professor
wondered...Sometimes he thought he would like to drive up in front of
Notre Dame, in Paris, again, and see it standing there like the Rock of
Ages, with the frail generation breaking about its base. He hadn't seen
it since the war.

But if he went anywhere next summer, he thought it would be down into
Outland's country, to watch the sunrise break on sculptured peaks and
impassable mountain passes--to look off at those long, rugged, untamed
vistas dear to the American heart. Dear to all hearts, probably--at
least, calling to all. Else why had his grandfather's grandfather, who
had tramped so many miles across Europe into Russia with the Grande
Armée, come out to the Canadian wilderness to forget the chagrin of his
Emperor's defeat?

Chapter 4

The fall term of the university opened, and now the Professor went to
his lectures instead of to the lake. He supposed he did his work, he
heard no complaints from his assistants, and the students seemed
interested. He found, however, that he wasn't willing to take the
trouble to learn the names of several hundred new students. It wasn't
worth while. He felt that his relations with them would be of short

The McGregors got home from their vacation in Oregon, and Scott was much
amused to find the Professor so doggedly anchored in the old house.

"It never struck me, Doctor, that you were a man who would be keeping up
two establishments. They'll be coming home pretty soon, and then you'll
have to decide where you are going to live."

"I can't leave my study, Scott. That's flat."

"Don't then! Darn it, you've a right to two houses if you want 'em."

This encounter took place on the street in front of the house. The
Professor went wearily upstairs and lay down on the couch, his refuge
from this ever-increasing fatigue. He really didn't see what he was
going to do about the matter of domicile. He couldn't make himself
believe that he was ever going to live in the new house again. He didn't
belong there. He remembered some lines of a translation from the Norse
he used to read long ago in one of his mother's few books, a little
two-volume Ticknor and Fields edition of Longfellow, in blue and gold,
that used to lie on the parlour table: For thee a house was built Ere
thou was born; For thee a mould was made Ere thou of woman camest.

Lying on his old couch, he could almost believe himself in that house
already. The sagging springs were like the sham upholstery that is put
in coffins. Just the equivocal American way of dealing with serious
facts, he reflected. Why pretend that it is possible to soften that last
hard bed?

He could remember a time when the loneliness of death had terrified him,
when the idea of it was insupportable. He used to feel that if his wife
could but lie in the same coffin with him, his body would not be so
insensible that the nearness of hers would not give it comfort. But now
he thought of eternal solitude with gratefulness; as a release from
every obligation, from every form of effort. It was the Truth.

One morning, just as St. Peter was leaving the house to go to his
class-room, the postman handed him two letters, one addressed in
Lillian's hand and one in Louie's. He put them into his pocket. The feel
of them disturbed him. They were of a suspicious thinness--as if they
didn't contain amusing gossip, but announced sudden decisions. He set
off down the street, sniffing the lake-cooled morning air and trying to
overcome a feeling of nervous dread.

All the morning those two letters lay in his breast pocket. Though they
were so light, their effect was to make him drop his shoulders and look
woefully tired. The weather, too, had changed, come on suddenly hot and
sultry at noon, as if getting ready for a storm. When his classes were
over and he was back in his study again, St. Peter felt no interest in
lunch. He took out the two letters and ripped them open with his
forefinger to have it over. Yes, all plans were changed, and by the
happiest of expectations. The family were hurrying home to prepare for
the advent of a young Marsellus. They would sail on the sixteenth, on
the Berengaria.

Lillian added a postscript to the effect that by this same mail she was
getting off a letter to Augusta, who would come to him for the keys of
the new house. She would be the best person to open the house and
arrange to have the cleaning done. She would take it entirely off his
shoulders and see that everything was properly put in order.

They were sailing on the sixteenth, and this was the seventeenth; they
were already on the water. The Berengaria was a five-day boat. St. Peter
caught up his hat and light overcoat and started down the stairs.
Halfway down, he stopped short, went back to his study, and softly shut
the door behind him. He sat down, forgetting to take off his overcoat,
though the afternoon was so hot and his face was damp with perspiration.
He sat motionless, breathing unevenly, one dark hand lying clenched on
his writing-table. There must, he was repeating to himself, there must
be some way in which a man who had always tried to live up to his
responsibilities could, when the hour of desperation came, avoid meeting
his own family.

He loved his family, he would make any sacrifice for them, but just now
he couldn't live with them. He must be alone. That was more necessary,
even, than his marriage had been in his vehement youth. He could not
live with his family again--not even with Lillian. Especially not with
Lillian! Her nature was intense and positive; it was like a chiselled
surface, a die, a stamp upon which he could not be beaten out any
longer. If her character were reduced to an heraldic device, it would be
a hand (a beautiful hand) holding flaming arrows--the shafts of her
violent loves and hates, her clear-cut ambitions.

"In great misfortunes," he told himself, "people want to be alone. They
have a right to be. And the misfortunes that occur within one are the
greatest. Surely the saddest thing in the world is falling out of
love--if once one has ever fallen in."

Falling out, for him, seemed to mean falling out of all domestic and
social relations, out of his place in the human family, indeed.

St. Peter did not go out of the house that afternoon. He did not leave
his study. He sat at his desk with bent head, reviewing his life, trying
to see where he had made his mistake, to account for the fact that he
now wanted to run away from everything he had intensely cared for.

Late in the afternoon the heaviness of the air in the room drove him to
the window. He saw that a storm was coming on. Great orange and purple
clouds were blowing up from the lake, and the pine-trees over about the
Physics laboratory were blacker than cypresses and looked contracted, as
if they were awaiting something. The rain broke, and it turned cold.

The rain-storm was over in half and hour, but a heavy blow had set in
for the night. The wind would be a protection, he thought. Even Augusta
would hardly come plodding up the stairs to-night. It seemed strange to
be dreading Augusta, but just now he did dread her. He believed he was
safe, for to-night. Though it was only five o'clock, the sky was black,
and the room was dusky and chilly. He lit the stove and lay down on the
couch. The fire made a flickering pattern of light on the wall. He lay
watching it, vacantly; without meaning to, he fell asleep. For a long
while he slept deeply and peacefully. Then the wind, increasing in
violence, disturbed him. He began to be aware of noises--things banging
and slamming about. He turned over on his back and slept deeper still.

When St. Peter at last awoke, the room was pitch-black and full of gas.
He was cold and numb, felt sick and rather dazed. The long-anticipated
coincidence had happened, he realized. The storm had blown the stove out
and the window shut. The thing to do was to get up and open the window.
But suppose he did not get up--? How far was a man required to exert
himself against accident? How would such a case be decided under English
law? He hadn't lifted his hand against himself--was he required to lift
it for himself?

Chapter 5

At midnight St. Peter was lying in his study, on his box-couch, covered
up with blankets, a hot water bottle at his feet; he knew it was
midnight, for the clock of Augusta's church across the park was ringing
the hour. Augusta herself was there in the room, sitting in her old
sewing-chair by the kerosene lamp, wrapped up in a shawl. She was
reading a little much-worn religious book that she always carried in her
handbag. Presently he spoke to her.

"Just when did you come in, Augusta?"

She got up and came over to him.

"Are you feeling comfortable, Doctor St. Peter?"

"Oh, very thank you. When did you happen in?"

"Not any too soon, sir," she said gravely, with a touch of reproof. "You
never would take my cautions about that old stove, and it very nearly
asphyxiated you. I was barely in time to pull you out."

"You pulled me out, literally? Where to?"

"Into the hall. I came over in the storm to ask you for the keys of the
new house--I didn't get Mrs. St. Peter's letter until I got home from
work this evening, and I came right over. When I opened the front door I
smelled gas, and I knew that stove had been up to its old tricks. I
supposed you'd gone out and forgot to turn it off. When I got to the
second floor I heard a fall overhead, and it flashed across me that you
were up here and had been overcome. I ran up and opened the two windows
at the head of the stairs and dragged you out into the wind. You were
lying on the floor." She lowered her voice. "It was perfectly frightful
in here."

"I seem to remember Dudley's being here."

"Yes, after I'd turned off the stove and opened everything up, I went
next door and telephoned for Doctor Dudley. I thought I'd better not say
what the trouble was, but I asked him to come at once, as you'd been
taken ill. You soon came round, but you were flighty." Augusta hurried
over her recital. She was evidently embarrassed by the behaviour of the
stove and the condition in which she had found him. It was an ugly
accident, and she didn't want the neighbours to know of it.

"You must have great presence of mind, Augusta, and a strong arm as
well. You say you found me on the floor? I thought I was lying here on
the couch. I remember waking up and smelling gas."

"You were stupefied, but you must have got up and tried to get to the
door before you were overcome. I was on the second floor when I heard
you fall. I'd never heard anyone fall before, that I can remember, but I
seemed to know just what it was.

"I'm sorry to have given you a fright. I hope the gas hasn't made your
head ache."

"All's well that ends well, as they say. But I doubt if you ought to be
talking, sir. Could you go to sleep again? I can stay till morning, if
you prefer."

"I'd be greatly obliged if you would stay the night with me, Augusta. It
would be a comfort. I seem to feel rather lonely--for the first time in

"That's because your family are coming home. Very well, sir."

"You do a good deal of this sort of thing--watching and sitting up with
people, don't you?"

"Well, when happen to be sewing in a house where there's sickness, I am
sometimes called upon."

Augusta sat down by the table and again took up little religious book.
St. Peter, with half-closed eyes, lay watching her--regarding in her
humankind, as if after a definite absence from the world of men and
women. If he had thought of Augusta sooner, he would have got up from
the couch sooner. Her image would have at once suggested the proper

Augusta, he reflected, had always been a corrective, a remedial
influence. When she sewed for them, she breakfasted at the house--that
was part of the arrangement. She came early, often directly from church,
and had her breakfast with the Professor, before the rest of the family
were up. Very often she gave him some wise observation or discreet
comment to begin the day with. She wasn't at all afraid to say things
that were heavily, drearily true, and though he used to wince under
them, he hurried off with the feeling that they were good for him, that
he didn't have to hear such sayings half often enough. Augusta was like
the taste of bitter herbs; she was the bloomless side of life that he
had always run away from,--yet when he had to face it, he found that it
wasn't altogether repugnant. Sometimes she used to telephone Mrs. St.
Peter that she would be a day late, because there had been a death in
the family where she was sewing just then, and she was "needed." When
she met him at the table the next morning, she would look just a little
more grave than usual. While she ate a generous breakfast, she would
reply to his polite questions about the illness or funeral with
befitting solemnity, and then go readily to another topic, not holding
the dolorous note. He used to say that he didn't mind hearing Augusta
announce these deaths which seemed to happen so frequently along her
way, because her manner of speaking about it made death seem less
uncomfortable. She hadn't any of the sentimentality that comes from a
fear of dying. She talked about death as she spoke of a hard winter or a
rainy March, or any of the sadnesses of nature.

It occurred to St. Peter, as he lay warm and relaxed but undesirous of
sleep, that he would rather have Augusta with him just now than anyone
he could think of. Seasoned and sound and on the solid earth she surely
was, and, for all her matter-of-factness and hard-handedness, kind and
loyal. He even felt a sense of obligation toward her, instinctive,
escaping definition, but real. And when you admitted that a thing was
real, that was enough--now.

He didn't, on being quite honest with himself, feel any obligations
toward his family. Lillian had had the best years of his life, nearly
thirty, and joyful years they had been, nothing could ever change that.
But they were gone. His daughters had outgrown any great need of him. In
certain wayward moods Kitty would always come to him. But Rosamond, on
that shopping expedition in Chicago had shown him how painful the
paternal relation could be. There was still Augusta, however; a world
full of Augustas, with whom one was outward bound.

All the afternoon he had sat there at the table where now Augusta was
reading, thinking over his life, trying to see where had made his
mistake. Perhaps the mistake was merely in an attitude of mind. He had
never learned to live without delight. And he would have to learn to,
just as, in a Prohibition country, he supposed he would have to learn to
live without sherry. Theoretically he knew that life is possible, may be
even pleasant, without joy, without passionate griefs. But it had never
occurred to him that he might have to live like that.

Though he had been low-spirited all summer, he told the truth when he
told Dr. Dudley that he had not been melancholy. He had no more thought
of suicide than he had thought of embezzling. He had always regarded it
as a grave social misdemeanour--except when it occurred in very evil
times, as a form of protest. Yet when he was confronted by accidental
extinction, he had felt no will to resist, but had let chance take its
way, as it had done with him so often. He did not remember springing up
from the couch, though he did remember a crisis, a moment of acute,
agonized strangulation.

His temporary release from consciousness seemed to have been beneficial.
He had let something go--and it was gone: something very precious, that
he could not consciously have relinquished, probably. He doubted whether
his family would ever realize that he was not the same man they had said
good-bye to; they would be too happily preoccupied with their own
affairs. If his apathy hurt them, they could not possibly be so much
hurt as he had been already. At least, he felt the ground under his
feet. He thought he knew where he was, and that he could face with
fortitude the Berengaria and the future.


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