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interest. One side of the card was blank; on the other was written in
ink three words, "The Green Door." And then Rudolf saw, three steps in
front of him, a man throw down the card the negro had given him as he
passed. Rudolf picked it up. It was printed with the dentist's name and
address and the usual schedule of "plate work" and "bridge work" and
"crowns," and specious promises of "painless" operations.

The adventurous piano salesman halted at the corner and considered. Then
he crossed the street, walked down a block, recrossed and joined the
upward current of people again. Without seeming to notice the negro as
he passed the second time, he carelessly took the card that was handed
him. Ten steps away he inspected it. In the same handwriting that
appeared on the first card "The Green Door" was inscribed upon it. Three
or four cards were tossed to the pavement by pedestrians both following
and leading him. These fell blank side up. Rudolf turned them over.
Every one bore the printed legend of the dental "parlours."

Rarely did the arch sprite Adventure need to beckon twice to Rudolf
Steiner, his true follower. But twice it had been done, and the quest
was on.

Rudolf walked slowly back to where the giant negro stood by the case of
rattling teeth. This time as he passed he received no card. In spite
of his gaudy and ridiculous garb, the Ethiopian displayed a natural
barbaric dignity as he stood, offering the cards suavely to some,
allowing others to pass unmolested. Every half minute he chanted a
harsh, unintelligible phrase akin to the jabber of car conductors and
grand opera. And not only did he withhold a card this time, but it
seemed to Rudolf that he received from the shining and massive black
countenance a look of cold, almost contemptuous disdain.

The look stung the adventurer. He read in it a silent accusation that
he had been found wanting. Whatever the mysterious written words on the
cards might mean, the black had selected him twice from the throng for
their recipient; and now seemed to have condemned him as deficient in
the wit and spirit to engage the enigma.

Standing aside from the rush, the young man made a rapid estimate of the
building in which he conceived that his adventure must lie. Five stories
high it rose. A small restaurant occupied the basement.

The first floor, now closed, seemed to house millinery or furs. The
second floor, by the winking electric letters, was the dentist's. Above
this a polyglot babel of signs struggled to indicate the abodes of
palmists, dressmakers, musicians and doctors. Still higher up draped
curtains and milk bottles white on the window sills proclaimed the
regions of domesticity.

After concluding his survey Rudolf walked briskly up the high flight of
stone steps into the house. Up two flights of the carpeted stairway he
continued; and at its top paused. The hallway there was dimly lighted
by two pale jets of gas one - far to his right, the other nearer, to his
left. He looked toward the nearer light and saw, within its wan halo,
a green door. For one moment he hesitated; then he seemed to see the
contumelious sneer of the African juggler of cards; and then he walked
straight to the green door and knocked against it.

Moments like those that passed before his knock was answered measure the
quick breath of true adventure. What might not be behind those green
panels! Gamesters at play; cunning rogues baiting their traps with
subtle skill; beauty in love with courage, and thus planning to be
sought by it; danger, death, love, disappointment, ridicule - any of
these might respond to that temerarious rap.

A faint rustle was heard inside, and the door slowly opened. A girl not
yet twenty stood there, white-faced and tottering. She loosed the knob
and swayed weakly, groping with one hand. Rudolf caught her and laid her
on a faded couch that stood against the wall. He closed the door and
took a swift glance around the room by the light of a flickering gas
jet. Neat, but extreme poverty was the story that he read.

The girl lay still, as if in a faint. Rudolf looked around the room
excitedly for a barrel. People must be rolled upon a barrel who - no, no;
that was for drowned persons. He began to fan her with his hat. That was
successful, for he struck her nose with the brim of his derby and she
opened her eyes. And then the young man saw that hers, indeed, was the
one missing face from his heart's gallery of intimate portraits. The
frank, grey eyes, the little nose, turning pertly outward; the chestnut
hair, curling like the tendrils of a pea vine, seemed the right end and
reward of all his wonderful adventures. But the face was wofully thin
and pale.

The girl looked at him calmly, and then smiled.

"Fainted, didn't I?" she asked, weakly. "Well, who wouldn't? You try
going without anything to eat for three days and see!"

"Himmel!" exclaimed Rudolf, jumping up. "Wait till I come back."

He dashed out the green door and down the stairs. In twenty minutes he
was back again, kicking at the door with his toe for her to open it.
With both arms he hugged an array of wares from the grocery and the
restaurant. On the table he laid them - bread and butter, cold meats,
cakes, pies, pickles, oysters, a roasted chicken, a bottle of milk and
one of red-hot tea.

"This is ridiculous," said Rudolf, blusteringly, "to go without eating.
You must quit making election bets of this kind. Supper is ready." He
helped her to a chair at the table and asked: "Is there a cup for the
tea?" "On the shelf by the window," she answered. When he turned again
with the cup he saw her, with eyes shining rapturously, beginning upon
a huge Dill pickle that she had rooted out from the paper bags with a
woman's unerring instinct. He took it from her, laughingly, and poured
the cup full of milk. "Drink that first" he ordered, "and then you shall
have some tea, and then a chicken wing. If you are very good you shall
have a pickle to-morrow. And now, if you'll allow me to be your guest
we'll have supper."

He drew up the other chair. The tea brightened the girl's eyes and
brought back some of her colour. She began to eat with a sort of dainty
ferocity like some starved wild animal. She seemed to regard the young
man's presence and the aid he had rendered her as a natural thing - not
as though she undervalued the conventions; but as one whose great stress
gave her the right to put aside the artificial for the human. But
gradually, with the return of strength and comfort, came also a sense of
the little conventions that belong; and she began to tell him her little
story. It was one of a thousand such as the city yawns at every day - the
shop girl's story of insufficient wages, further reduced by "fines" that
go to swell the store's profits; of time lost through illness; and then
of lost positions, lost hope, and - the knock of the adventurer upon the
green door.

But to Rudolf the history sounded as big as the Iliad or the crisis in
"Junie's Love Test."

"To think of you going through all that," he exclaimed.

"It was something fierce," said the girl, solemnly.

"And you have no relatives or friends in the city?"

"None whatever."

"I am all alone in the world, too," said Rudolf, after a pause.

"I am glad of that," said the girl, promptly; and somehow it pleased the
young man to hear that she approved of his bereft condition.

Very suddenly her eyelids dropped and she sighed deeply.

"I'm awfully sleepy," she said, "and I feel so good."

Then Rudolf rose and took his hat. "I'll say good-night. A long night's
sleep will be fine for you."

He held out his hand, and she took it and said "good-night." But her
eyes asked a question so eloquently, so frankly and pathetically that
he answered it with words.

"Oh, I'm coming back to-morrow to see how you are getting along. You
can't get rid of me so easily."

Then, at the door, as though the way of his coming had been so much less
important than the fact that he had come, she asked: "How did you come
to knock at my door?"

He looked at her for a moment, remembering the cards, and felt a sudden
jealous pain. What if they had fallen into other hands as adventurous
as his? Quickly he decided that she must never know the truth. He would
never let her know that he was aware of the strange expedient to which
she had been driven by her great distress.

"One of our piano tuners lives in this house," he said. "I knocked at
your door by mistake."

The last thing he saw in the room before the green door closed was her
smile.

At the head of the stairway he paused and looked curiously about him.
And then he went along the hallway to its other end; and, coming back,
ascended to the floor above and continued his puzzled explorations.
Every door that he found in the house was painted green.

Wondering, he descended to the sidewalk. The fantastic African was still
there. Rudolf confronted him with his two cards in his hand.

"Will you tell me why you gave me these cards and what they mean?" he
asked.

In a broad, good-natured grin the negro exhibited a splendid
advertisement of his master's profession.

"Dar it is, boss," he said, pointing down the street. "But I 'spect you
is a little late for de fust act."

Looking the way he pointed Rudolf saw above the entrance to a theatre
the blazing electric sign of its new play, "The Green Door."

"I'm informed dat it's a fust-rate show, sah," said the negro. "De agent
what represents it pussented me with a dollar, sah, to distribute a few
of his cards along with de doctah's. May I offer you one of de doctah's
cards, sah?"

At the corner of the block in which he lived Rudolf stopped for a glass
of beer and a cigar. When he had come out with his lighted weed he
buttoned his coat, pushed back his hat and said, stoutly, to the lamp
post on the corner:

"All the same, I believe it was the hand of Fate that doped out the way
for me to find her."

Which conclusion, under the circumstances, certainly admits Rudolf
Steiner to the ranks of the true followers of Romance and Adventure.





FROM THE CABBY'S SEAT


The cabby has his point of view. It is more single-minded, perhaps, than
that of a follower of any other calling. From the high, swaying seat
of his hansom he looks upon his fellow-men as nomadic particles, of no
account except when possessed of migratory desires. He is Jehu, and you
are goods in transit. Be you President or vagabond, to cabby you are
only a Fare, he takes you up, cracks his whip, joggles your vertebrae
and sets you down.

When time for payment arrives, if you exhibit a familiarity with legal
rates you come to know what contempt is; if you find that you have left
your pocketbook behind you are made to realise the mildness of Dante's
imagination.

It is not an extravagant theory that the cabby's singleness of purpose
and concentrated view of life are the results of the hansom's peculiar
construction. The cock-of-the-roost sits aloft like Jupiter on an
unsharable seat, holding your fate between two thongs of inconstant
leather. Helpless, ridiculous, confined, bobbing like a toy mandarin,
you sit like a rat in a trap - you, before whom butlers cringe on solid
land - and must squeak upward through a slit in your peripatetic
sarcophagus to make your feeble wishes known.

Then, in a cab, you are not even an occupant; you are contents. You are
a cargo at sea, and the "cherub that sits up aloft" has Davy Jones's
street and number by heart.

One night there were sounds of revelry in the big brick tenement-house
next door but one to McGary's Family Café. The sounds seemed to emanate
from the apartments of the Walsh family. The sidewalk was obstructed by
an assortment of interested neighbours, who opened a lane from time to
time for a hurrying messenger bearing from McGary's goods pertinent to
festivity and diversion. The sidewalk contingent was engaged in comment
and discussion from which it made no effort to eliminate the news that
Norah Walsh was being married.

In the fulness of time there was an eruption of the merry-makers to
the sidewalk. The uninvited guests enveloped and permeated them, and
upon the night air rose joyous cries, congratulations, laughter and
unclassified noises born of McGary's oblations to the hymeneal scene.

Close to the curb stood Jerry O'Donovan's cab. Night-hawk was Jerry
called; but no more lustrous or cleaner hansom than his ever closed its
doors upon point lace and November violets. And Jerry's horse! I am
within bounds when I tell you that he was stuffed with oats until one of
those old ladies who leave their dishes unwashed at home and go about
having expressmen arrested, would have smiled - yes, smiled - to have seen
him.

Among the shifting, sonorous, pulsing crowd glimpses could be had of
Jerry's high hat, battered by the winds and rains of many years; of his
nose like a carrot, battered by the frolicsome, athletic progeny of
millionaires and by contumacious fares; of his brass-buttoned green
coat, admired in the vicinity of McGary's. It was plain that Jerry had
usurped the functions of his cab, and was carrying a "load." Indeed, the
figure may be extended and he be likened to a bread-waggon if we admit
the testimony of a youthful spectator, who was heard to remark "Jerry
has got a bun."

From somewhere among the throng in the street or else out of the thin
stream of pedestrians a young woman tripped and stood by the cab. The
professional hawk's eye of Jerry caught the movement. He made a lurch
for the cab, overturning three or four onlookers and himself - no! he
caught the cap of a water-plug and kept his feet. Like a sailor shinning
up the ratlins during a squall Jerry mounted to his professional seat.
Once he was there McGary's liquids were baffled. He seesawed on the
mizzenmast of his craft as safe as a Steeple Jack rigged to the flagpole
of a skyscraper.

"Step in, lady," said Jerry, gathering his lines. The young woman
stepped into the cab; the doors shut with a bang; Jerry's whip cracked
in the air; the crowd in the gutter scattered, and the fine hansom
dashed away 'crosstown.

When the oat-spry horse had hedged a little his first spurt of speed
Jerry broke the lid of his cab and called down through the aperture in
the voice of a cracked megaphone, trying to please:

"Where, now, will ye be drivin' to?"

"Anywhere you please," came up the answer, musical and contented.

"'Tis drivin' for pleasure she is," thought Jerry. And then he suggested
as a matter of course:

"Take a thrip around in the park, lady. 'Twill be ilegant cool and
fine."

"Just as you like," answered the fare, pleasantly.

The cab headed for Fifth avenue and sped up that perfect street. Jerry
bounced and swayed in his seat. The potent fluids of McGary were
disquieted and they sent new fumes to his head. He sang an ancient
song of Killisnook and brandished his whip like a baton.

Inside the cab the fare sat up straight on the cushions, looking to
right and left at the lights and houses. Even in the shadowed hansom
her eyes shone like stars at twilight.

When they reached Fifty-ninth street Jerry's head was bobbing and his
reins were slack. But his horse turned in through the park gate and
began the old familiar nocturnal round. And then the fare leaned back,
entranced, and breathed deep the clean, wholesome odours of grass and
leaf and bloom. And the wise beast in the shafts, knowing his ground,
struck into his by-the-hour gait and kept to the right of the road.

Habit also struggled successfully against Jerry's increasing torpor. He
raised the hatch of his storm-tossed vessel and made the inquiry that
cabbies do make in the park.

"Like shtop at the Cas-sino, lady? Gezzer r'freshm's, 'n lish'n the
music. Ev'body shtops."

"I think that would be nice," said the fare.

They reined up with a plunge at the Casino entrance. The cab doors flew
open. The fare stepped directly upon the floor. At once she was caught
in a web of ravishing music and dazzled by a panorama of lights and
colours. Some one slipped a little square card into her hand on which
was printed a number - 34. She looked around and saw her cab twenty yards
away already lining up in its place among the waiting mass of carriages,
cabs and motor cars. And then a man who seemed to be all shirt-front
danced backward before her; and next she was seated at a little table by
a railing over which climbed a jessamine vine.

There seemed to be a wordless invitation to purchase; she consulted
a collection of small coins in a thin purse, and received from them
license to order a glass of beer. There she sat, inhaling and absorbing
it all - the new-coloured, new-shaped life in a fairy palace in an
enchanted wood.

At fifty tables sat princes and queens clad in all the silks and gems of
the world. And now and then one of them would look curiously at Jerry's
fare. They saw a plain figure dressed in a pink silk of the kind that is
tempered by the word "foulard," and a plain face that wore a look of
love of life that the queens envied.

Twice the long hands of the clocks went round, Royalties thinned from
their _al fresco_ thrones, and buzzed or clattered away in their
vehicles of state. The music retired into cases of wood and bags of
leather and baize. Waiters removed cloths pointedly near the plain
figure sitting almost alone.

Jerry's fare rose, and held out her numbered card simply:

"Is there anything coming on the ticket?" she asked.

A waiter told her it was her cab check, and that she should give it to
the man at the entrance. This man took it, and called the number. Only
three hansoms stood in line. The driver of one of them went and routed
out Jerry asleep in his cab. He swore deeply, climbed to the captain's
bridge and steered his craft to the pier. His fare entered, and the cab
whirled into the cool fastnesses of the park along the shortest homeward
cuts.

At the gate a glimmer of reason in the form of sudden suspicion seized
upon Jerry's beclouded mind. One or two things occurred to him. He
stopped his horse, raised the trap and dropped his phonographic voice,
like a lead plummet, through the aperture:

"I want to see four dollars before goin' any further on th' thrip. Have
ye got th' dough?"

"Four dollars!" laughed the fare, softly, "dear me, no. I've only got a
few pennies and a dime or two."

Jerry shut down the trap and slashed his oat-fed horse. The clatter
of hoofs strangled but could not drown the sound of his profanity.
He shouted choking and gurgling curses at the starry heavens; he cut
viciously with his whip at passing vehicles; he scattered fierce and
ever-changing oaths and imprecations along the streets, so that a late
truck driver, crawling homeward, heard and was abashed. But he knew his
recourse, and made for it at a gallop.

At the house with the green lights beside the steps he pulled up. He
flung wide the cab doors and tumbled heavily to the ground.

"Come on, you," he said, roughly.

His fare came forth with the Casino dreamy smile still on her plain
face. Jerry took her by the arm and led her into the police station. A
gray-moustached sergeant looked keenly across the desk. He and the cabby
were no strangers.

"Sargeant," began Jerry in his old raucous, martyred, thunderous tones
of complaint. "I've got a fare here that - "

Jerry paused. He drew a knotted, red hand across his brow. The fog set
up by McGary was beginning to clear away.

"A fare, sargeant," he continued, with a grin, "that I want to
inthroduce to ye. It's me wife that I married at ould man Walsh's this
avening. And a divil of a time we had, 'tis thrue. Shake hands wid th'
sargeant, Norah, and we'll be off to home."

Before stepping into the cab Norah sighed profoundly.

"I've had such a nice time, Jerry," said she.





AN UNFINISHED STORY


We no longer groan and heap ashes upon our heads when the flames of
Tophet are mentioned. For, even the preachers have begun to tell us
that God is radium, or ether or some scientific compound, and that
the worst we wicked ones may expect is a chemical reaction. This is
a pleasing hypothesis; but there lingers yet some of the old, goodly
terror of orthodoxy.

There are but two subjects upon which one may discourse with a free
imagination, and without the possibility of being controverted. You may
talk of your dreams; and you may tell what you heard a parrot say. Both
Morpheus and the bird are incompetent witnesses; and your listener dare
not attack your recital. The baseless fabric of a vision, then, shall
furnish my theme - chosen with apologies and regrets instead of the more
limited field of pretty Polly's small talk.

I had a dream that was so far removed from the higher criticism that it
had to do with the ancient, respectable, and lamented bar-of-judgment
theory.

Gabriel had played his trump; and those of us who could not follow suit
were arraigned for examination. I noticed at one side a gathering of
professional bondsmen in solemn black and collars that buttoned behind;
but it seemed there was some trouble about their real estate titles; and
they did not appear to be getting any of us out.

A fly cop - an angel policeman - flew over to me and took me by the left
wing. Near at hand was a group of very prosperous-looking spirits
arraigned for judgment.

"Do you belong with that bunch?" the policeman asked.

"Who are they?" was my answer.

"Why," said he, "they are - "

But this irrelevant stuff is taking up space that the story should
occupy.

Dulcie worked in a department store. She sold Hamburg edging, or stuffed
peppers, or automobiles, or other little trinkets such as they keep in
department stores. Of what she earned, Dulcie received six dollars per
week. The remainder was credited to her and debited to somebody else's
account in the ledger kept by G - - Oh, primal energy, you say, Reverend
Doctor - Well then, in the Ledger of Primal Energy.

During her first year in the store, Dulcie was paid five dollars per
week. It would be instructive to know how she lived on that amount.
Don't care? Very well; probably you are interested in larger amounts.
Six dollars is a larger amount. I will tell you how she lived on six
dollars per week.

One afternoon at six, when Dulcie was sticking her hat-pin within an
eighth of an inch of her _medulla oblongata_, she said to her chum,
Sadie - the girl that waits on you with her left side:

"Say, Sade, I made a date for dinner this evening with Piggy."

"You never did!" exclaimed Sadie admiringly. "Well, ain't you the lucky
one? Piggy's an awful swell; and he always takes a girl to swell places.
He took Blanche up to the Hoffman House one evening, where they have
swell music, and you see a lot of swells. You'll have a swell time,
Dulce."

Dulcie hurried homeward. Her eyes were shining, and her cheeks showed
the delicate pink of life's - real life's - approaching dawn. It was
Friday; and she had fifty cents left of her last week's wages.

The streets were filled with the rush-hour floods of people. The
electric lights of Broadway were glowing - calling moths from miles, from
leagues, from hundreds of leagues out of darkness around to come in and
attend the singeing school. Men in accurate clothes, with faces like
those carved on cherry stones by the old salts in sailors' homes, turned
and stared at Dulcie as she sped, unheeding, past them. Manhattan,
the night-blooming cereus, was beginning to unfold its dead-white,
heavy-odoured petals.

Dulcie stopped in a store where goods were cheap and bought an imitation
lace collar with her fifty cents. That money was to have been spent
otherwise - fifteen cents for supper, ten cents for breakfast, ten cents
for lunch. Another dime was to be added to her small store of savings;
and five cents was to be squandered for licorice drops - the kind that
made your cheek look like the toothache, and last as long. The licorice
was an extravagance - almost a carouse - but what is life without
pleasures?

Dulcie lived in a furnished room. There is this difference between a
furnished room and a boardinghouse. In a furnished room, other people
do not know it when you go hungry.

Dulcie went up to her room - the third floor back in a West Side
brownstone-front. She lit the gas. Scientists tell us that the diamond
is the hardest substance known. Their mistake. Landladies know of a
compound beside which the diamond is as putty. They pack it in the tips
of gas-burners; and one may stand on a chair and dig at it in vain
until one's fingers are pink and bruised. A hairpin will not remove it;
therefore let us call it immovable.


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