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F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)

Saturday Evening Post (5 April 1930)

"I remember your coming to me in despair when Josephine was about
three!" cried Mrs. Bray.  "George was furious because he couldn't
decide what to go to work at, so he used to spank little

"I remember," said Josephine's mother.

"And so this is Josephine."

This was, indeed, Josephine.  She looked at Mrs. Bray and smiled,
and Mrs. Bray's eyes hardened imperceptibly.  Josephine kept on

"How old are you, Josephine?"

"Just sixteen."

"Oh-h.  I would have said you were older."

At the first opportunity Josephine asked Mrs. Perry, "Can I go to
the movies with Lillian this afternoon?"

"No, dear; you have to study."  She turned to Mrs. Bray as if the
matter were dismissed--but:  "You darn fool," muttered Josephine

Mrs. Bray said some words quickly to cover the situation, but, of
course, Mrs. Perry could not let it pass unreproved.

"What did you call mother, Josephine?"

"I don't see why I can't go to the movies with Lillian."

Her mother was content to let it go at this.

"Because you've got to study.  You go somewhere every day, and your
father wants it to stop."

"How crazy!" said Josephine, and she added vehemently, "How utterly
insane!  Father's got to be a maniac I think.  Next thing he'll
start tearing his hair and think he's Napoleon or something."

"No," interposed Mrs. Bray jovially as Mrs. Perry grew rosy.
"Perhaps she's right.  Maybe George IS crazy--I'm sure my husband's
crazy.  It's this war."

But she was not really amused; she thought Josephine ought to be
beaten with sticks.

They were talking about Anthony Harker, a contemporary of
Josephine's older sister.

"He's divine," Josephine interposed--not rudely, for, despite the
foregoing, she was not rude; it was seldom even that she appeared
to talk too much, though she lost her temper, and swore sometimes
when people were unreasonable.  "He's perfectly--"

"He's very popular.  Personally, I don't see very much to him.  He
seems rather superficial."

"Oh, no, mother," said Josephine.  "He's far from it.  Everybody
says he has a great deal of personality--which is more than you can
say of most of these jakes.  Any girl would be glad to get their
hands on him.  I'd marry him in a minute."

She had never thought of this before; in fact, the phrase had been
invented to express her feeling for Travis de Coppet.  When,
presently, tea was served, she excused herself and went to her

It was a new house, but the Perrys were far from being new people.
They were Chicago Society, and almost very rich, and not uncultured
as things went thereabouts in 1914.  But Josephine was an
unconscious pioneer of the generation that was destined to "get out
of hand."

In her room she dressed herself for going to Lillian's house,
thinking meanwhile of Travis de Coppet and of riding home from the
Davidsons' dance last night.  Over his tuxedo, Travis had worn a
loose blue cape inherited from an old-fashioned uncle.  He was tall
and thin, an exquisite dancer, and his eyes had often been
described by female contemporaries as "very dark"--to an adult it
appeared that he had two black eyes in the collisional sense, and
that probably they were justifiably renewed every night; the area
surrounding them was so purple, or brown, or crimson, that they
were the first thing you noticed about his face, and, save for his
white teeth, the last.  Like Josephine, he was also something new.
There were a lot of new things in Chicago then, but lest the
interest of this narrative be divided, it should be remarked that
Josephine was the newest thing of all.

Dressed, she went down the stairs and through a softly opening side
door, out into the street.  It was October and a harsh breeze blew
her along under trees without leaves, past houses with cold
corners, past caves of the wind that were the mouths of residential
streets.  From that time until April, Chicago is an indoor city,
where entering by a door is like going into another world, for the
cold of the lake is unfriendly and not like real northern cold--it
serves only to accentuate the things that go on inside.  There is
no music outdoors, or love-making, and even in prosperous times the
wealth that rolls by in limousines is less glamorous than
embittering to those on the sidewalk.  But in the houses there is a
deep, warm quiet, or else an excited, singing noise, as if those
within were inventing things like new dances.  That is part of what
people mean when they say they love Chicago.

Josephine was going to meet her friend Lillian Hammel, but their
plan did not include attending the movies.  In comparison to it,
their mothers would have preferred the most objectionable, the most
lurid movie.  It was no less than to go for a long auto ride with
Travis de Coppet and Howard Page, in the course of which they would
kiss not once but a lot.  The four of them had been planning this
since the previous Saturday, when unkind circumstances had combined
to prevent its fulfillment.

Travis and Howard were already there--not sitting down, but still
in their overcoats, like symbols of action, hurrying the girls
breathlessly into the future.  Travis wore a fur collar on his
overcoat and carried a gold-headed cane; he kissed Josephine's hand
facetiously yet seriously, and she said, "Hel-LO, Travis!" with the
warm affection of a politician greeting a prospective vote.  But
for a minute the two girls exchanged news aside.

"I saw him," Lillian whispered, "just now."

"Did you?"

Their eyes blazed and fused together.

"Isn't he di-VINE?" said Josephine.

They were referring to Mr. Anthony Harker, who was twenty-two, and
unconscious of their existence, save that in the Perry house he
occasionally recognized Josephine as Constance's younger sister.

"He has the most beautiful nose," cried Lillian, suddenly laughing.
"It's--"  She drew it on the air with her finger and they both
became hilarious.  But Josephine's face composed itself as Travis'
black eyes, conspicuous as if they had been freshly made the
previous night, peered in from the hall.

"Well!" he said tensely.

The four young people went out, passed through fifty bitter feet of
wind and entered Page's car.  They were all very confident and knew
exactly what they wanted.  Both girls were expressly disobeying
their parents, but they had no more sense of guilt about it than a
soldier escaping from an enemy prison camp.  In the back seat,
Josephine and Travis looked at each other; she waited as he burned

"Look," he said to his hand; it was trembling.  "Up till five this
morning.  Girls from the Follies."

"Oh, Travis!" she cried automatically, but for the first time a
communication such as this failed to thrill her.  She took his
hand, wondering what the matter was inside herself.

It was quite dark, and he bent over her suddenly, but as suddenly
she turned her face away.  Annoyed, he made cynical nods with his
head and lay back in the corner of the car.  He became engaged in
cherishing his dark secret--the secret that always made her yearn
toward him.  She could see it come into his eyes and fill them,
down to the cheek bones and up to the brows, but she could not
concentrate on him.  The romantic mystery of the world had moved
into another man.

Travis waited ten minutes for her capitulation; then he tried
again, and with this second approach she saw him plain for the
first time.  It was enough.  Josephine's imagination and her
desires were easily exploited up to a certain point, but after that
her very impulsiveness protected her.  Now, suddenly, she found
something real against Travis, and her voice was modulated with
lowly sorrow.

"I heard what you did last night.  I heard very well."

"What's the matter?"

"You told Ed Bement you were in for a big time because you were
going to take me home in your car."

"Who told you that?" he demanded, guilty but belittling.

"Ed Bement did, and he told me he almost hit you in the face when
you said it.  He could hardly keep restraining himself."

Once more Travis retired to his corner of the seat.  He accepted
this as the reason for her coolness, as in a measure it was.  In
view of Doctor Jung's theory that innumerable male voices argue in
the subconscious of a woman, and even speak through her lips, then
the absent Ed Bement was probably speaking through Josephine at
that moment.

"I've decided not to kiss any more boys, because I won't have
anything left to give the man I really love."

"Bull!" replied Travis.

"It's true.  There's been too much talk around Chicago about me.  A
man certainly doesn't respect a girl he can kiss whenever he wants
to, and I want to be respected by the man I'm going to marry some

Ed Bement would have been overwhelmed had he realized the extent of
his dominance over her that afternoon.

Walking from the corner, where the youths discreetly left her, to
her house, Josephine felt that agreeable lightness which comes with
the end of a piece of work.  She would be a good girl now forever,
see less of boys, as her parents wished, try to be what Miss
Benbower's school denominated An Ideal Benbower Girl.  Then next
year, at Breerly, she could be an Ideal Breerly Girl.  But the
first stars were out over Lake Shore Drive, and all about her she
could feel Chicago swinging around its circle at a hundred miles an
hour, and Josephine knew that she only wanted to want such wants
for her soul's sake.  Actually, she had no desire for achievement.
Her grandfather had had that, her parents had had the consciousness
of it, but Josephine accepted the proud world into which she was
born.  This was easy in Chicago, which, unlike New York, was a city
state, where the old families formed a caste--intellect was
represented by the university professors, and there were no
ramifications, save that even the Perrys had to be nice to half a
dozen families even richer and more important than themselves.
Josephine loved to dance, but the field of feminine glory, the
ballroom floor, was something you slipped away from with a man.

As Josephine came to the iron gate of her house, she saw her sister
shivering on the top steps with a departing young man; then the
front door closed and the man came down the walk.  She knew who he

He was abstracted, but he recognized her for just a moment in

"Oh, hello," he said.

She turned all the way round so that he could see her face by the
street lamp; she lifted her face full out of her fur collar and
toward him, and then smiled.

"Hello," she said modestly.

They passed.  She drew in her head like a turtle.

"Well, now he knows what I look like, anyhow," she told herself
excitedly as she went on into the house.


Several days later Constance Perry spoke to her mother in a serious

"Josephine is so conceited that I really think she's a little

"She's very conceited," admitted Mrs. Perry.  "Father and I were
talking and we decided that after the first of the year she should
go East to school.  But you don't say a word about it until we know
more definitely."

"Heavens, mother, it's none too soon!  She and that terrible Travis
de Coppet running around with his cloak, as if they were about a
thousand years old.  They came into the Blackstone last week and my
SPINE crawled.  They looked just like two maniacs--Travis slinking
along, and Josephine twisting her mouth around as if she had St.
Vitus dance.  HONESTLY--"

"What did you begin to say about Anthony Harker?" interrupted Mrs.

"That she's got a crush on him, and he's about old enough to be her

"Not quite."

"Mother, he's twenty-two and she's sixteen.  Every time Jo and
Lillian go by him, they giggle and stare--"

"Come here, Josephine," said Mrs. Perry.

Josephine came into the room slowly and leaned her backbone against
the edge of the opened door, teetering upon it calmly.

"What, mother?"

"Dear, you don't want to be laughed at, do you?"

Josephine turned sulkily to her sister.  "Who laughs at me?  You
do, I guess.  You're the only one that does."

"You're so conceited that you don't see it.  When you and Travis de
Coppet came into the Blackstone that afternoon, my SPINE crawled.
Everybody at our table and most of the other tables laughed--the
ones that weren't shocked."

"I guess they were more shocked," guessed Josephine complacently.

"You'll have a fine reputation by the time you come out."

"Oh, shut your mouth!" said Josephine.

There was a moment's silence.  Then Mrs. Perry whispered solemnly,
"I'll have to tell your father about this as soon as he comes

"Go on, tell him."  Suddenly Josephine began to cry.  "Oh, why
can't anybody ever leave me alone?  I wish I was dead."

Her mother stood with her arm around her, saying, "Josephine--now,
Josephine"; but Josephine went on with deep, broken sobs that
seemed to come from the bottom of her heart.

"Just a lot--of--of ugly and jealous girls who get mad when anybody
looks at m-me, and make up all sorts of stories that are absolutely
untrue, just because I can get anybody I want.  I suppose that
Constance is mad about it because I went in and sat for FIVE
minutes with Anthony Harker while he was waiting last night."

"Yes, I was TER-ribly jealous!  I sat up and cried all night about
it.  Especially because he comes to talk to me about Marice Whaley.
Why!--you got him so crazy about you in that five minutes that he
couldn't stop laughing all the way to the Warrens."

Josephine drew in her breath in one last gasp, and stopped crying.
"If you want to know, I've decided to give him up."

"Ha-ha!" Constance exploded.  "Listen to THAT, mother!  She's going
to give him up--as if he ever looked at her or knew she was ALIVE!
Of all the conceited--"

But Mrs. Perry could stand no more.  She put her arm around
Josephine and hurried her to her room down the hall.

"All your sister meant was that she didn't like to see you laughed
at," she explained.

"Well, I've given him up," said Josephine gloomily.

She had given him up, renouncing a thousand kisses she had never
had, a hundred long, thrilling dances in his arms, a hundred
evenings not to be recaptured.  She did not mention the letter she
had written him last night--and had not sent, and now would never

"You musn't think about such things at your age," said Mrs. Perry.
"You're just a child."

Josephine got up and went to the mirror.

"I promised Lillian to come over to her house.  I'm late now."

Back in her room, Mrs. Perry thought:  "Two months to February."
She was a pretty woman who wanted to be loved by everyone around
her; there was no power of governing in her.  She tied up her mind
like a neat package and put it in the post office, with Josephine
inside it safely addressed to the Breerly School.

An hour later, in the tea room at the Blackstone Hotel, Anthony
Harker and another young man lingered at table.  Anthony was a
happy fellow, lazy, rich enough, pleased with his current
popularity.  After a brief career in an Eastern university, he had
gone to a famous college in Virginia and in its less exigent shadow
completed his education; at least, he had absorbed certain
courtesies and mannerisms that Chicago girls found charming.

"There's that guy Travis de Coppet," his companion had just
remarked.  "What's he think he is, anyhow?"

Anthony looked remotely at the young people across the room,
recognizing the little Perry girl and other young females whom he
seemed to have encountered frequently in the street of late.
Although obviously much at home, they seemed silly and loud;
presently his eyes left them and searched the room for the party he
was due to join for dancing, but he was still sitting there when
the room--it had a twilight quality, in spite of the lights within
and the full dark outside--woke up to confident and exciting music.
A thickening parade drifted past him.  The men in sack suits, as
though they had just come from portentous affairs, and the women in
hats that seemed about to take flight, gave a special impermanence
to the scene.  This implication that this gathering, a little more
than uncalculated, a little less than clandestine, would shortly be
broken into formal series, made him anxious to seize its last
minutes, and he looked more and more intently into the crowd for
the face of anyone he knew.

One face emerged suddenly around a man's upper arm not five feet
away, and for a moment Anthony was the object of the saddest and
most tragic regard that had ever been directed upon him.  It was a
smile and not a smile--two big gray eyes with bright triangles of
color underneath, and a mouth twisted into a universal sympathy
that seemed to include both him and herself--yet withal, the
expression not of a victim, but rather of the very DE-mon of tender
melancholy--and for the first time Anthony really saw Josephine.

His immediate instinct was to see with whom she was dancing.  It
was a young man he knew, and with this assurance he was on his feet
giving a quick tug to his coat, and then out upon the floor.

"May I cut in, please?"

Josephine came close to him as they started, looked up into his
eyes for an instant, and then down and away.  She said nothing.
Realizing that she could not possibly be more than sixteen, Anthony
hoped that the party he was to join would not arrive in the middle
of the dance.

When that was over, she raised eyes to him again; a sense of having
been mistaken, of her being older than he had thought, possessed
him.  Just before he left her at her table, he was moved to say:

"Couldn't I have another later?"

"Oh, sure."

She united her eyes with his, every glint a spike--perhaps from the
railroads on which their family fortunes were founded, and upon
which they depended.  Anthony was disconcerted as he went back to
his table.

One hour later, they left the Blackstone together in her car.

This had simply happened--Josephine's statement, at the end of
their second dance, that she must leave, then her request, and his
own extreme self-consciousness as he walked beside her across the
empty floor.  It was a favor to her sister to take her home--but he
had that unmistakable feeling of expectation.

Nevertheless, once outside and shocked into reconsideration by the
bitter cold, he tried again to allocate his responsibilities in the
matter.  This was hard going with Josephine's insistent dark and
ivory youth pressed up against him.  As they got in the car he
tried to dominate the situation with a masculine stare, but her
eyes, shining as if with fever, melted down his bogus austerity in
a whittled second.

Idly he patted her hand--then suddenly he was inside the radius of
her perfume and kissing her breathlessly. . . .

"So that's that," she whispered after a moment.  Startled, he
wondered if he had forgotten something--something he had said to
her before.

"What a cruel remark," he said, "just when I was getting

"I only meant that any minute with you may be the last one," she
said miserably.  "The family are going to send me away to school--
they think I haven't found that out yet."

"Too bad."

"--and today they got together--and tried to tell me that you
didn't know I was al-IVE!"

After a long pause, Anthony contributed feebly.  "I hope you didn't
let them convince you."

She laughed shortly.  "I just laughed and came down here."

Her hand burrowed its way into his; when he pressed it, her eyes,
bright now, not dark, rose until they were as high as his, and came
toward him.  A minute later he thought to himself:  "This is a
rotten trick I'm doing."

He was sure he was doing it.

"You're so sweet," she said.

"You're a dear child."

"I hate jealousy worse than anything in the world," Josephine broke
forth, "and _I_ have to suffer from it.  And my own sister worse
than all the rest."

"Oh, no," he protested.

"I couldn't help it if I fell in love with you.  I tried to help
it.  I used to go out of the house when I knew you were coming."

The force of her lies came from her sincerity and from her simple
and superb confidence that whomsoever she loved must love her in
return.  Josephine was never either ashamed or plaintive.  She was
in the world of being alone with a male, a world through which she
had moved surely since she was eight years old.  She did not plan;
she merely let herself go, and the overwhelming life in her did the
rest.  It is only when youth is gone and experience has given us a
sort of cheap courage that most of us realize how simple such
things are.

"But you couldn't be in love with me," Anthony wanted to say, and
couldn't.  He fought with a desire to kiss her again, even
tenderly, and began to tell her that she was being unwise, but
before he got really started at this handsome project, she was in
his arms again, and whispering something that he had to accept,
since it was wrapped up in a kiss.  Then he was alone, driving away
from her door.

What had he agreed to?  All they had said rang and beat in his ear
like an unexpected temperature--tomorrow at four o'clock on that

"Good God!" he thought uneasily.  "All that stuff about giving me
up.  She's a crazy kid, she'll get into trouble if somebody looking
for trouble comes along.  BIG chance of my meeting her tomorrow!"

But neither at dinner nor the dance that he went to that night
could Anthony get the episode out of his mind; he kept looking
around the ballroom regretfully, as if he missed someone who should
be there.


Two weeks later, waiting for Marice Whaley in a meager, indefinable
down-stairs "sitting room," Anthony reached in his pocket for some
half-forgotten mail.  Three letters he replaced; the other--after a
moment of listening--he opened quickly and read with his back to
the door.  It was the third of a series--for one had followed each
of his meetings with Josephine--and it was exactly like the others--
the letter of a child.  Whatever maturity of emotion could
accumulate in her expression, when once she set pen to paper was
snowed under by ineptitude.  There was much about "your feeling for
me" and "my feeling for you," and sentences began, "Yes, I know I
am sentimental," or more gawkily, "I have always been sort of pash,
and I can't help that," and inevitably much quoting of lines from
current popular songs, as if they expressed the writer's state of
mind more fully than verbal struggles of her own.

The letter disturbed Anthony.  As he reached the postscript, which
coolly made a rendezvous for five o'clock this afternoon, he heard
Marice coming down-stairs, and put it back in his pocket.

Marice hummed and moved about the room.  Anthony smoked.

"I saw you Tuesday afternoon," she said suddenly.  "You seemed to
be having a fine time."

"Tuesday," he repeated, as if thinking.  "Oh, yeah.  I ran into
some kids and we went to a tea dance.  It was amusing."

"You were AL-most alone when I saw you."

"What are you getting at?"

Marice hummed again.  "Let's go out.  Let's go to a matinée."

On the way Anthony explained how he had happened to be with
Connie's little sister; the necessity of the explanation somehow
angered him.  When he had done, Marice said crisply:

"If you wanted to rob the cradle, why did you have to pick out that
little devil?  Her reputation's so bad already that Mrs. McRae
didn't want to invite her to dancing class this year--she only did
it on account of Constance."

"Why is she so awful?" asked Anthony, disturbed.

"I'd rather not discuss it."

His five-o'clock engagement was on his mind throughout the matinée.
Though Marice's remarks served only to make him dangerously sorry
for Josephine, he was nevertheless determined that this meeting
should be the last.  It was embarrassing to have been remarked in
her company, even though he had tried honestly to avoid it.  The
matter could very easily develop into a rather dangerous little
mess, with no benefit either to Josephine or to himself.  About
Marice's indignation he did not care; she had been his for the
asking all autumn, but Anthony did not want to get married; did not
want to get involved with anybody at all.

It was dark when he was free at 5:30, and turned his car toward the
new Philanthrophilogical Building in the maze of reconstruction in
Grant Park.  The bleakness of place and time depressed him, gave a
further painfulness to the affair.  Getting out of his car, he
walked past a young man in a waiting roadster--a young man whom he
seemed to recognize--and found Josephine in the half darkness of
the little chamber that the storm doors formed.

With an indefinable sound of greeting, she walked determinedly into
his arms, putting up her face.

"I can only stay for a sec," she protested, just as if he had
begged her to come.  "I'm supposed to go to a wedding with sister,
but I had to see you."

When Anthony spoke, his voice froze into a white mist, obvious in
the darkness.  He said things he had said to her before but this
time firmly and finally.  It was easier, because he could scarcely
see her face and because somewhere in the middle she irritated him
by starting to cry.

"I knew you were supposed to be fickle," she whispered, "but I
didn't expect this.  Anyhow, I've got enough pride not to bother
you any further."  She hesitated.  "But I wish we could meet just
once more to try and arrive at a more different settlement."


"Some jealous girl has been talking to you about me."

"No."  Then, in despair, he struck at her heart.  "I'm NOT fickle.
I've never loved you and I NEVER told you I did."

Guessing at the forlorn expression that would come into her face,
Anthony turned away and took a purposeless step; when he wheeled
nervously about, the storm door had just shut--she was gone.

"Josephine!" he shouted in helpless pity, but there was no answer.
He waited, heart in his boots, until presently he heard a car drive

At home, Josephine thanked Ed Bement, whom she had used, with a
tartlet of hope, went in by a side door and up to her room.  The
window was open and, as she dressed hurriedly for the wedding she
stood close to it so that she would catch cold and die.

Seeing her face in the bathroom mirror, she broke down and sat on
the edge of the tub, making a small choking sound like a struggle
with a cough, and cleaning her finger nails.  Later she could cry
all night in bed when every one else was asleep, but now it was
still afternoon.

The two sisters and their mother stood side by side at the wedding
of Mary Jackson and Jackson Dillon.  It was a sad and sentimental
wedding--an end to the fine, glamorous youth of a girl who was
universally admired and loved.  Perhaps to no onlooker there were
its details symbolical of the end of a period, yet from the vantage
point of a decade, certain things that happened are already
powdered with yesterday's ridiculousness, and even tinted with the
lavender of the day before.  The bride raised her veil, smiling
that grave sweet smile that made her "adored," but with tears
pouring down her cheeks, and faced dozens of friends hands outheld
as if embracing all of them for the last time.  Then she turned to
a husband as serious and immaculate as herself, and looked at him
as if to say, "That's done.  All this that I am is yours forever
and ever."

In her pew, Constance, who had been at school with Mary Jackson,
was frankly weeping, from a heart that was a ringing vault.  But
the face of Josephine beside her was a more intricate study; it
watched intently.  Once or twice, though her eyes lost none of
their level straight intensity, an isolated tear escaped, and, as
if startled by the feel of it, the face hardened slightly and the
mouth remained in defiant immobility, like a child well warned
against making a disturbance.  Only once did she move; hearing a
voice behind her say:  "That's the little Perry girl.  Isn't she
lovely looking?" she turned presently and gazed at a stained-glass
window lest her unknown admirers miss the sight of the side face.

Josephine's family went on to the reception, so she dined alone--or
rather with her little brother and his nurse, which was the same

She felt all empty.  Tonight Anthony Harker, "so deeply lovable--so
sweetly lovable--so deeply, sweetly lovable" was making love to
someone new, kissing her ugly, jealous face; soon he would have
disappeared forever, together with all the men of his generation,
into a loveless matrimony, leaving only a world of Travis de
Coppets and Ed Bements--people so easy as to scarcely be worth the
effort of a smile.

Up in her room, she was excited again by the sight of herself in
the bathroom mirror.  Oh, what if she should die in her sleep

"Oh, what a shame," she whispered.

She opened the window, and holding her only souvenir of Anthony, a
big initialed linen handkerchief, crept desolately into bed.  While
the sheets were still cold, there was a knock at the door.

"Special-delivery letter," said the maid.

Putting on the light, Josephine opened it, turned to the signature,
then back again, her breast rising and falling quickly under her

DARLING LITTLE JOSEPHINE:  It's no use, I can't help it, I can't
lie about it.  I'm desperately, terribly in love with you.  When
you went away this afternoon, it all rushed over me, and I knew I
couldn't give you up.  I drove home, and I couldn't eat or sit
still, but only walk up and down thinking of your darling face and
your darling tears, there in that vestibule.  And now I sit writing
this letter--

It was four pages long.  Somewhere it disposed of their disparate
ages as unimportant, and the last words were:

I know how miserable you must be, and I would give ten years of my
life to be there to kiss your sweet lips good night.

When she had read it through, Josephine sat motionless for some
minutes; grief was suddenly gone, and for a moment she was so
overwhelmed that she supposed joy had come in its stead.  On her
face was a twinkling frown.

"Gosh!" she said to herself.  She read over the letter once more.

Her first instinct was to call up Lillian, but she thought better
of it.  The image of the bride at the wedding popped out at her--
the reproachless bride, unsullied, beloved and holy with a sweet
glow.  An adolescence of uprightness, a host of friends, then the
appearance of the perfect lover, the Ideal.  With an effort, she
recalled her drifting mind to the present occasion.  Certainly Mary
Jackson would never have kept such a letter.  Getting out of bed,
Josephine tore it into little pieces and, with some difficulty,
caused by an unexpected amount of smoke, burned it on a glass-
topped table.  No well-brought-up girl would have answered such a
letter; the proper thing was to simply ignore it.

She wiped up the table top with the man's linen handkerchief she
held in her hand, threw it absently into a laundry basket and crept
into bed.  She suddenly was very sleepy.


For what ensued, no one, not even Constance, blamed Josephine.  If
a man of twenty-two should so debase himself as to pay frantic
court to a girl of sixteen against the wishes of her parents and
herself, there was only one answer--he was a person who shouldn't
be received by decent people.  When Travis de Coppet made a
controversial remark on the affair at a dance, Ed Bement beat him
into what was described as "a pulp," down in the washroom, and
Josephine's reputation rose to normal and stayed there.  Accounts
of how Anthony had called time and time again at the house, each
time denied admittance, how he had threatened Mr. Perry, how he had
tried to bribe a maid to deliver letters, how he had attempted to
waylay Josephine on her way back from school--these things pointed
to the fact that he was a little mad.  It was Anthony Harker's own
family who insisted that he should go West.

All this was a trying time for Josephine.  She saw how close she
had come to disaster, and by constant consideration and implicit
obedience, tried to make up to her parents for the trouble she had
unwittingly caused.  At first she decided she didn't want to go to
any Christmas dances, but she was persuaded by her mother, who
hoped she would be distracted by boys and girls home from school
for the holidays.  Mrs. Perry was taking her East to the Breerly
School early in January, and in the buying of clothes and uniforms,
mother and daughter were much together, and Mrs. Perry was
delighted at Josephine's new feeling of responsibility and

As a matter of fact, it was sincere, and only once did Josephine do
anything that she could not have told the world.  The day after New
Year's she put on her new travelling suit and her new fur coat and
went out by her familiar egress, the side door, and walked down the
block to the waiting car of Ed Bement.  Downtown she left Ed
waiting at a corner and entered a drug store opposite the old Union
Station on LaSalle Street.  A man with an unhappy mouth and
desperate, baffled eyes was waiting for her there.

"Thank you for coming," he said miserably.

She didn't answer.  Her face was grave and polite.

"Here's what I want--just one thing," he said quickly:  "Why did
you change?  What did I do that made you change so suddenly?  Was
it something that happened, something I did?  Was it what I said in
the vestibule that night?"

Still looking at him, she tried to think, but she could only think
how unattractive and rather terrible she found him now, and try not
to let him see it.  There would have been no use saying the simple
truth--that she could not help what she had done, that great beauty
has a need, almost an obligation, of trying itself, that her ample
cup of emotion had spilled over on its own accord, and it was an
accident that it had destroyed him and not her.  The eyes of pity
might follow Anthony Harker in his journey West, but most certainly
the eyes of destiny followed Josephine as she crossed the street
through the falling snow to Ed Bement's car.

She sat quiet for a minute as they drove away, relieved and yet
full of awe.  Anthony Harker was twenty-two, handsome, popular and
sought after--and how he had loved her--so much that he had to go
away.  She was as impressed as if they had been two other people.

Taking her silence for depression, Ed Bement said:

"Well, it did one thing anyhow--it stopped that other story they
had around about you."

She turned to him quickly.  "What story?"

"Oh, just some crazy story."

"What was it?" she demanded.

"Oh, nothing much," he said hesitantly, "but there was a story
around last August that you and Travis de Coppet were married."

"Why, how perfectly terrible!" she exclaimed.  "Why, I never heard
of such a lie.  It--"  She stopped herself short of saying the
truth--that though she and Travis had adventurously driven twenty
miles to New Ulm, they had been unable to find a minister willing
to marry them.  It all seemed ages behind her, childish, forgotten.

"Oh, how perfectly terrible!" she repeated.  "That's the kind of
story that gets started by jealous girls."

"I know," agreed Ed.  "I'd just like to hear any boy try to repeat
it to me.  Nobody believed it anyhow."

It was the work of ugly and jealous girls.  Ed Bement, aware of her
body next to him, and of her face shining like fire through the
half darkness, knew that nobody so beautiful could ever do anything
really wrong.

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