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hold all of us," demanded Lyddy, as we rose
to go.

" Yes," said Jimmie. " Three or even four
on the back seat, then two single and separate
seats in the middle and either one or two on
the front seat, depending upon who drives the
machine."

Lyddy pondered the adaptability of that
arrangement. Then she turned to Bob.

" I wonder how much an electric runabout
would cost which holds only two ? "

As we all fell into the tiny hall at once,
we failed to hear Bob s reply.

Jimmie peeked through the crack of the
door.

" He took that hurdle without a smile," he
whispered. "They are holding hands!"

Then Bob joined us with an innocent eye.



Bee and Her Cellarette 67

Aubrey shook hands with him gravely and
Jimmie slapped his shoulder.

No one said a word.

" But what does it all mean ? " I said anx
iously to the Angel as we got home. " He s
engaged and he loves the girl. He told me
so to-night. How will this end? "

" There is but one who knows," said the
Angel solemnly.

" You mean ? " I whispered.

" Nt>, I mean Bee ! " answered the Angel
with a grin.

"Ohl"



CHAPTER V

OUR FIRST STUDIO DINNER

ALL the next day, to our bitter disap
pointment, it rained torrents, so that
to try the new automobile was out
of the question.

Our goods arrived in boxes, however, and
by dint of using tarpaulins we got them under
cover without serious wetting.

Something had happened to the steam and
we had no heat, so we wandered around our
big studio, in whose vastness our great boxes
only took up little dabs of space, feeling for
lorn and miserable and not half as proud and
happy as we had expected to be.

Two men from the ^olian company had
been there all day voicing the Munsons big
organ, after Aubrey, with the help of the jan
itor, Blackman, had connected the motor with
an electric light fixture. I rather grudged the
space the thing took up about an eighth of
the whole studio but Munson didn t want
to move it, and the Angel thought it would be
68



Our First Studio Dinner 69

nice to have it, especially as it could be played
by hand as well as by rolls, so we agreed to
let it remain.

About four o clock, in through the open door
walked my first neighbour an artist in the
building Mrs. Keep. As she was the only
one who ever showed herself in the least
friendly, or in any way cultivated the delights
of our acquaintance, the .others contenting
themselves with severe criticisms of us, be
cause we were not painters, I recall her sweet
friendliness with " a gratitude so fervent as
to be almost base," as Bee puts it.

" Can I do anything to help you? " were her
first words.

I beamed at her.

" You remind me of Mrs. March in Little
Women," I said. " She always came in with
just that lovely manner."

Mrs. Keep laughed.

" It s too cold for you here. Come down
into my studio and have a cup of tea." In
half an hour I was back again, bursting in on
Aubrey an hysterical but wholly transformed
woman.

" Oh, oh, oh ! " I cried dancing up and down
in a frenzy of excitement. " What do you
think Mrs. Keep is going to do? Do you
know who she is ? She s the one who painted



CHAPTER V

OUR FIRST STUDIO DINNER

ALL the next day, to our bitter disap
pointment, it rained torrents, so that
to try the new automobile was out
of the question.

Our goods arrived in boxes, however, and
by dint of using tarpaulins we got them under
cover without serious wetting.

Something had happened to the steam and
we had no heat, so we wandered around our
big studio, in whose vastness our great boxes
only took up little dabs of space, feeling for
lorn and miserable and not half as proud and
happy as we had expected to be.

Two men from the ^olian company had
been there all day voicing the Munsons big
organ, after Aubrey, with the help of the jan
itor, Blackman, had connected the motor with
an electric light fixture. I rather grudged the
space the thing took up about an eighth of
the whole studio but Munson didn t want
to move it, and the Angel thought it would be
68



Our First Studio Dinner 69

nice to have it, especially as it could be played
by hand as well as by rolls, so we agreed to
let it remain.

About four o clock, in through the open door
walked my first neighbour an artist in the
building Mrs. Keep. As she was the only
one who ever showed herself in the least
friendly, or in any way cultivated the delights
of our acquaintance, the others contenting
themselves with severe criticisms of us, be
cause we were not painters, I recall her sweet
friendliness with " a gratitude so fervent as
to be almost base," as Bee puts it.

" Can I do anything to help you? " were her
first words.

I beamed at her.

" You remind me of Mrs. March in Little
Women," I said. " She always came in with
just that lovely manner."

Mrs. Keep laughed.

" It s too cold for you here. Come down
into my studio and have a cup of tea." In
half an hour I was back again, bursting in on
Aubrey an hysterical but wholly transformed
woman.

" Oh, oh, oh ! " I cried dancing up and down
in a frenzy of excitement. " What do you
think Mrs. Keep is going to do? Do you
know who she is ? She s the one who painted



yo The Concentrations of Bee

the Mowgli series that you and I had such a
fit about in the magazine the what-do-
you-call-it don t you remember ? And in
colour they re a million times more beauti
ful I just wish Kipling could see em!
he d go wild. And what do you think she is
going to do! She s going to let me have
them here hang em, you understand ! On
those five gaping wall spaces that have made
me sick all day wondering what we would put
there! Our pictures would look like postage
stamps. When I said that, she howled and
offered them. Isn t she dear? Oh, Aubrey,
if you could only see the one where Mowgli is
leaning against the panther with the little bear
what was his name ? coming up in front.
And the colours ! The blue black of the pan
ther s fur is indicated in the sheen of Mowgli s
hair. And he has such a woodland, wild, un
tamed little face just as if he never had
known any human beings, and to think we are
to have those five heavenly mural paintings to
look at every day and every night "

I stopped and began to cry.

" Now, now," said Aubrey, gently. " Don t
get so excited. You are all trembling. And
your poor hands are quite cold."

" It s having seen so much beauty ! " I
wailed.



Our First Studio Dinner 71

" But don t cry about it. What would Bee
say?"

I wiped my eyes.

" I m glad she didn t see," I said.

" But I did see," said Bee from the door
way, and I whirled around guiltily conscious
of dim eyes, to see Bee and the Jimmies.
Lyddy, the genial soul, had fortunately been
detained.

" Good Lord in heaven ! " said Jimmie, look
ing around. " What a barn of a place ! "

And he immediately began pacing it off.

"Thirty-five by thirty!" he announced
with pride.

Jimmie walked around shaking his head.

" It s the greatest place I ever saw," he said
finally. " Mary, have you seen this dining-
room? It runs the length of the apartment,
except for the width of the kitchen. Having
the kitchen in front is bad very bad."

" No, it isn t. It s nice," I cried, combative
as usual.

" And this little staircase, for all the world
like a yacht," said Mrs. Jimmie.

" And upstairs, three bedrooms, five closets
and a bath," called Bee.

" And the balcony over the door practically
gives you another room, doesn t it? "

" It s simply great ! " commented Jimmie.



72 The Concentrations of Bee

Just then against the huge twelve-foot
window in the studio came a blast of weather
which flung open the two lower doors of the
window, flooding the floor with water and
blowing down candlesticks and books and all
objects which were not nailed to the floor.

Everybody flew to rescue something break
able, while Jimmie and Aubrey succeeded in
getting the windows shut at the expense of
a serious wetting.

Then began such a storm as none of us
had ever seen before, of rain and wind and
hail.

After half an hour of it, Jimmie pulled me
over into a corner and said :

" Faith, let me telephone for some stuff to
be sent in, and let s unpack some of these pack
ing boxes and build a fire in that grand old
fireplace with em, and have a regular old jag
of joy all the evening, will you?"

" Oh, Jimmie, what a dear you are to think
of it! Do let s. The storm makes the idea
simply perfect, doesn t it?"

Jimmie grinned at my praise and forthwith
went to the telephone. Then Aubrey called up
Blackman, and before long even the elevator
boys were in the vein of the thing and were
bringing up old boxes and bits of lumber, for
several of the apartments were not yet finished,



Our First Studio Dinner 73

so that in half an hour we had a roaring fire
and the apartment was warm for the first time
that day.

" But won t it put you out, Faith ? " asked
Mrs. Jimmie. " Have you a cook? "

" Have I? Wait till you see her! She is a
coloured girl, black as the ace of spades and
her name is Pearl Marguerite! "

Just the lady in question appeared in our
midst. Her eyes were rolling wildly and she
twisted her apron nervously.

"Mis Jardine," she said. "I d lake to
speak to you just one minute."

I got up from a soap box and left the fire
reluctantly.

" Jes see what done come!" whispered
Pearl Marguerite. " Hyah s a dozen squabs
and a salad all done mixed in dis yere bowl,
en two dozen years ob cawn raw en
all dese ayschers awn de half shell awn ice,
en "

" Has the stuff come? " asked Jimmie, stick
ing his head through the swinging door. " I
thought you d have potatoes and coffee, but I
ordered everything else. Let s see. Oysters
and squab and claret cup and

" Jimmie, it s a feast ! " I said reproachful
but anticipatory. We had had little to eat all
day and were ravenous,



74 The Concentrations of Bee

Pearl Marguerite whispered again:

" Shall I cook our steak too? "

" Cook everything in sight ! We ll set the
table for you. Isn t it a good thing now, that
you have spent your day washing the Mun-
sons dishes and getting your pantries in
order?"

" Ef you all will set de table foh me, you kin
begin awn yo ayschers soon ez you please!"
said Pearl Marguerite, rising to the occasion
manfully.

" Let s bring the table in the studio," said
Jimmie, in another burst of inspiration, " and
eat here by the fire."

Mrs. Jimmie, Bee and I made short work
of setting that table, and soon we heard the
clink of ice in glasses, which told us that the
Angel was also at his share of the work.

That first studio dinner of ours, beside a
roaring fire made of wooden boxes, was one
long to be remembered, not the least of which
was our utter ignorance of what the future
held for us. I particularly recall putting in a
half barrel filled with paper, excelsior and bits
of kindling wood it had been, in fact, our
waste basket during the day and the glori-
bus way that half barrel burned, especially the
awful moment in which we thought we had
set the chimney on fire, added just the brief



Our First Studio Dinner 75

scare necessary to our peculiar idea of enjoy
ing ourselves.

Pearl Marguerite warmed up the squabs and
served them with bits of bacon frizzling on
the breast of each, and seemed to enjoy our
enthusiastic comments on the amount of fried
potatoes she deemed worthy of giving us with
the steak. But when, after we had eaten, until
as Jimmie gracefully expressed it, he could feel
his necktie bind his throat, Pearl Marguerite
added the final touch of elegance to our repast
by appearing in the double doorway, twirling
her fingers, rolling her eyes and asking if we
would have our coffee in large cups or in
" demi-chaises," I thought Jimmie would
never come to.

It was upon our peals of laughter that
Blackman arrived, entirely concealed behind a
large canvass, which proved to be the first of
Mrs. Keep s Mowgli murals. And when the
others were borne in also, the others shared
my raging appreciation, and Blackman, at nine
o clock at night, was called upon to fetch the
twenty-foot step-ladder which belonged to the
house, and forthwith help to hang everyone
of the five, while I sat on my soap box and
blinked and swallowed but dared not weep out
of deference to Bee.

How shall I tell of the wonderful beauty



76 The Concentrations of Bee

and mystery with which that brush of genius
had managed to invest the ever-fascinating
portraits of the five phases of Mowgli !

Although my pen staggers in the attempt,
it is only a stagger of incompetency and not
of unappreciativeness.

We all watched Blackman s skill in handling
those large canvasses in a silence which Jim-
mie finally broke.

" Everybody ought to be skilled at some
form of manual labour," he said. Whereat,
having various and sundry recollections of
Jimmie at work, I laughed.

You needn t laugh, dear," said Mrs. Jim
mie reproachfully. " Jimmie papered a room,
once when we were first married, all by him
self, and did it very nicely too ! "

This was the first time I had ever heard of
Jimmie s being handy at anything but striking
matches, and I was naturally skeptical.

" Was it really well done or is that a bride s
recollection?" I demanded. "Were there no
mistakes? "

Jimmie and his wife glanced at each other
uneasily.

" Tell her," said Jimmie. " There s no use
in trying to keep anything away from a female
ferret ! Air the family skeleton ! "

I smiled in triumph.



Our First Studio Dinner 77

" Well," said Mrs. Jimmie, reluctantly.
" One strip was upside down, but it was behind
the door, and really, Faith, it didn t show, ex
cept when the door was shut ! "

" That was the beginning of my open door
policy," said Jimmie with a wink.

I relented and said no more. Jimmie s
foolishness always makes a hit with me and
he knows it.

I let a glorious opportunity pass.

Then, thoroughly weary, (for though I
seldom can be induced to perform manual
labour myself, my enthusiasm in making
others work is quite exhausting), but filled
with appreciation and joy, we rested and
watched the fire die down and listened to the
beat of the rain against the windows until the
Angel happened to think of the organ, and
forthwith began to play.

Alas and alack! In spite of our individual
troubles and Lyddy Lathrop, we do have good
times, and there are sights and sounds stored
away in our memories that our own frivolity
and nonsense would not dim or blur for
worlds. And that last hour in the studio that
night with the dancing flames now illuminat
ing the story of Mowgli and Shere Khan as if
Mowgli indeed were waving the red flower at
us, and now sending black shadows over the



78 The Concentrations of Bee

mysterious wild creatures of that wonder for
est, while the music from the great organ went
thrilling over all, is one which should be
marked with a white stone.



CHAPTER VI

WHAT HAPPENED AT SHERRY S

BEE S toleration of Lyddy was, to those
of us who know her best, something
wonderful.

One evening while things were still in this
unsettled state Bee came in and said abruptly :

" Wherever you and Aubrey are going to
night, you ve got to take me. I left Lyddy
standing in the doorway of our apartments,
hurling remarks after me that if I d stayed to
listen to, I would have answered in kind and
she would have had me where she wants me."

" We are going to be very gay to-night,"
I said. " Aubrey delivered his revised MS.
to-day and got the rest of his advance royalty,
so we are going to dine down-town and go to
the theatre."

"May I come?" asked Bee.

" Why certainly, child ! You didn t think I
was telling you that in order to excite your
envy, did you? "

" We ll be glad to have you, Bee," said the
Angel. And at that Bee looked pleased.
79



8o The Concentrations of Bee

" What has the old lady been up to now? "
I asked cheerfully. " Come on upstairs while
I dress."

" Doesn t it sound funny to say, come up
stairs in a New York apartment? " said Bee,
following me and curling herself up on the bed
while I mussed my hair going down on all
fours on my closet floor to get my best hat box.

" Here, let me fix your hair for you," she
said as I emerged red, hot and vexed.

" No, nobody can touch my hair without
making my hairpins pull. You always stick a
hairpin straight in, as though you thought my
head was soft."

" Not soft, exactly," said Bee politely.
" Only spongy."

"Tell about Lyddy and let me alone!" I
said.

" Well, to-day I caught her reading my
letters ! "

" For Heaven s sake ! "

" And that is why she turned on me and
said things ! " continued Bee.

"Look here, Bee. Why do you stand it?
I wouldn t!"

" Oh, yes, you would for all that I mean
to get by it. I ll stand a whole lot more than
that. Besides "

" Well, what? Don t stop in such an irritat-



What Happened at Sherry s 8 1

ing way just when you ve got to something
which sounds interesting," I cried, tumbling
up my top drawer for a clean pair of gloves
which were mates.

" Well, Hope Loring told me that Laflin
once advised her to cultivate patience with the
little things of life, and it struck me at the time
that all I ever get wild about are little things.
Now like Lyddy s reading my letters. That
isn t much after all, is it? "

I turned and looked at her.

" Let me feel your pulse, Bee. You ll die
if you keep on getting holy at this swift pace.
For my part, I consider that the old cat did
an awful thing. Think what she might have
found!"

" Not at all," said Bee. " All the important
letters are locked up ! "

At that I fell over on my bureau. Bee
didn t care much to see me laugh. She hates
to make that kind of a hit with me.

" I might have known," I said wagging my
head, " that such a holy frame of mind re
ferred to catching Lyddy reading tailors
announcements and fingering samples ! " I
said.

" You are such an idiot ! " observed my
sister feelingly.

Just here the Angel called us, and with a



82 The Concentrations of Bee

final snatch at the powder box, we hurried
down.

It was a clear, starry night and we had the
proud consciousness of having left none of
our good clothes at home.

"Whither are we bound?" asked Bee, as
Aubrey led the way to our waiting taxi, (a
luxury permitted by the advance), which we
hadn t been able to afford for nearly a year.

" Where would you like to go, Bee? " asked
the Angel, with a twinkle at me, reminding me
of Bee s violet ways.

" Why," said Bee, pausing as if in uncer
tainty, " wouldn t Sherry s be satisfactory to
all of us?"

" Sherry s ! " said Aubrey to the chauffeur.

" Oh, but," said Bee, politely, as the Angel
followed us in, " you didn t ask Faith. Possi
bly you would have preferred to go to the
Plaza or "

" Not at all," I said. " I don t care where
we go."

I thought I detected a gleam of subdued
excitement in Bee s manner as we entered
Sherry s and swept down the room, but as I
saw no reason for it, I thought I must have
been mistaken.

Aubrey found a good table reserved and



What Happened at Sherry s 83

we seated ourselves, extremely well pleased
with the world.

The table next ours had an air of expect
ancy which attracted our attention, and as is
usual with us, when we are interested, from
the time the party entered who were to sit
there, we spoke but little to each other, but,
within the limits of tolerable breeding not
the best, but good enough we listened and
observed them, for the women at least were
there for that purpose.

They came in with an air of anticipation
which showed that some of them at least were
unused to dining in a public restaurant, and
it presently transpired that the girl in white
had never ordered a dinner and this was to
be her chance.

Our table was next theirs, as I have said, and
while Aubrey studied the menu, Bee and I had
time to observe our neighbours.

There were six of them. One Girl in
White, one Girl in Blue and a Woman in Pink.
One Silly Ass, one Gibson Man and one
Family Man, whose wife evidently was out of
town and who plainly was invited at the last
moment to fill up.

It was a party incongruous enough to be
interesting from the start, and before they had
been seated ten minutes, I remarked to Bee



84 The Concentrations of Bee

that I was going to have the time of my life,
and she nodded without speaking, she was so
afraid she would miss something.

The Silly Ass at first gave no reason for his
existence. I could not find an excuse for his
living at all. The Gibson Man exhibited a
patience born of long experience with women,
while the Family Man bullied the waiter, just
to show that he was master of the present
situation, from which I deduced the fact that
he was henpecked at home. No one stoops
to bully a servant, who is not trying to get
even for some sort of domestic tyranny which
he is unable to remedy.

The Gibson Man was evidently host, and
the Woman in Pink the chaperon. For this
reason, and apparently no other, the Family
Man exclaimed loudly :

" Let s have a round of cocktails first ! "

Aubrey looked at me, and murmured,

" His wife evidently doesn t allow him to
drink!"

I motioned him to silence and boldly went
on observing.

The Gibson Man looked uncomfortable.

" I have never had a cocktail," cried the
Girl in White.

" Oh, then you must have one," exclaimed



What Happened at Sherry s 85

the Girl in Blue. " It makes you feel so nice
and wobbly in the elbow joints ! "

" Well, neither of you girls is going to feel
nice and wobbly in the elbow joints while /
am above ground ! " said the Woman in Pink,
decidedly. Whereat the Gibson Man drew a
sigh of relief, and turned to the menu card.

" What shall we have? " he said to the Girl
in White. " As this is your first experience,
suppose you order the dinner ? "

He was evidently not looking for trouble.
He seemed simply to want to give her pleasure.

Aubrey looked at me and grinned. Then
he wrote five items silently and swiftly on a
little pad and handed it to our waiter, whose
face lighted as he read its concise orders, and
with a muttered: " Bien, monsieur!" he dis
appeared.

" Oh, I should simply love to ! " squealed
the Girl in White. Then turning to the Girl
in Blue, she said : " Now, what do you like ?
I am going to order to suit everybody ! "

" I am afraid you will find that rather diffi
cult," said the chaperon, who seemed hungry.
Then turning to the Gibson Man, she said:
" Just because I won t let the girls have cock
tails, there is no reason why you three men
shouldn t have them ! "



86 The Concentrations of Bee

" Good work," said the Silly Ass. " A dry
Martini for me, old chap ! "

The Gibson Man whispered to the Woman
in Pink, but she shook her head and motioned
toward the girls.

The Family Man decided on a Manhattan
cocktail, and the Gibson Man wrote them
down with an order of Scotch and Soda for
himself, and let the waiter go.

" Now," said the Girl in White, " how
would it do to begin on oysters?"

" I hate oysters. Make it little neck clams,
for me," said the Girl in Blue.

" How many want oysters ? " cried the Girl
in White. " Hold up your hands. Three for
oysters and three for clams! Now that s all
right. Will you write it down?" she begged
of the Gibson Man. " You write and we ll
suggest."

" Now a soup ! Cream or bouillon ? "

" I like thick soups best, but they do take
away your appetite ! " said the chaperon.
" How about a chicken broth in cups?"

" Or a Petite Marmite? " said the Silly Ass.

" Or a green turtle? " said the Family Man.

" I believe I ll change my order of oysters
to clams ! " cried the Girl in White, suddenly.
The Gibson Man gravely made the change.

" Now about soup ? " he said tentatively.



What Happened at Sherry s 87

The waiter reappeared with the cocktails,
and the Family Man proposed the health of
the ladies.

" To you ! " murmured the Silly Ass to the
Woman in Pink. She looked at the Gibson
Man and they both smiled.

"About the soup?" suggested the Family
Man.

" Would green turtle suit everybody ? "
asked the chaperon. It had made her a little
nervous to see that we had finished our oys
ters and were eating our fish.

After a little demur, they decided on three
for green turtle and three for chicken broth in
cups.

" Now fish ! " cried the Girl in White. " Is
anybody going to deny me a broiled lob
ster?"

" A broiled lobster as a fish course ! " cried
the chaperon. " My dear, think a moment ! "

" I do think ! I am thinking ! I never do
anything but think what I want to eat in a
restaurant, and I never can get anybody to
join me in a lobster! Sometimes they won t


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