archaic yet exquisitely balanced symmetry of
the laws which govern mass and line composi-
tion, all unconsciously, yet perhaps " he re-
versed his thumb and left his sign manual
upon the atmosphere " perhaps/' he mused,
overflowing with sweetness " perhaps the
laws of Art Nouveau are divine ! perhaps
angels and cherubim, unseen, watch fondly
o'er my babes, lest all unaware they guilt-
lessly violate some subtle canon of Art,
marring the perfect symmetry of eternal
Wayne's mouth was partly open, his eyes
hopeless yet fixed upon the poet with a fear-
" Art," breathed the poet, " is a solemn, a
fearful responsibility. You are responsible,
George, and some day you must answer for
every violation of Art, to the eternal outraged
fitness of things. You must answer, / must
answer, every soul must answer ! "
" A-ans answer ! What, for God's sake ? "
The poet, deliberately joining thumb and
forefinger, pinched out a portion of the at-
"That! That George! For that is Art!
And Art is justice! And justice, affronted,
demands an answer."
He refolded his arms, mused for a space,
then stealing a veiled glance sideways :
" You you are ah convinced that my
two lost lambs need dread no bodily vicissi-
"Cybele and Lissa?"
Ah yes "
" Lethbridge will have money to burn if he
likes the aroma of the smoke. Harrow has
burnt several stacks already; but his father
will continue to fire the furnace. Is that what
you mean ? "
" No ! " said the poet softly, " no, George,
that is not what I mean. Wealth is a great
thing. Only the little things are precious to
me. And the most precious of all is absolutely
nothing ! " But, as he wandered away into
the great luxurious habitation of his son-in-
law, his smile grew sweeter and sweeter and
his half-closed eyes swam, melting into a sac-
" The little things," he murmured, thumb-
ing the air absently " the little things are
precious, but not as precious as absolutely
nothing. For nothing is perfection. Thank
you," he said sweetly to a petrified footman,
" thank you for understanding. It is precious
very, very precious to know that I am un-
Y early springtide the poet had
taken an old-fashioned house on
the south side of Washington
Square; his sons-in-law standing
for it as the poet was actually beginning to
droop amid the civilized luxury of Madison
Avenue. He missed what he called his own
" den." So he got it, rent free, and furnished
it sparingly with furniture of a slabby variety
until the effect produced might, profanely
speaking, be described as dinky.
His friends, too, who haunted the house,
bore curious conformity to the furnishing,
being individually in various degrees either
squatty, slabby or dinky ; and twice a week
they gathered for " Conferences " upon what
he and they described as " L'Arr Noovo."
L'Arr Noovo, a pleasing variation of the
slab style in Art, had profoundly impressed
the poet. Glass window-panes, designed with
tulip patterns, were cunningly inserted into all
sorts of furniture where window-glass didn't
belong, and the effect appeared to be profit-
able ; for up-stairs in his " shop," workmen
were very busy creating extraordinary de-
signs and setting tulip-patterned glass into
everything with, as the poet explained, " a
loving care " and considerable glue.
His four unmarried daughters came to see
him, wandering unconcernedly between the
four handsome residences of their four broth-
ers-in-law and the " den " of the author of their
being Chlorippe, aged thirteen ; Philodice,
fourteen; Dione, fifteen, and Aphrodite, six-
teen lovely, fresh-skinned, free-limbed young
girls with the delicate bloom of sun and wind
still creaming their cheeks lingering effects
of a life lived ever in the open, until the poet's
sons-in-law were able to support him in town
in the style to which he had been unaccus-
< < (> '< < ,< ' r I '< '
To the Conferences of the poet came the
mentally, morally, and physically dinky and
a few badgered but normal husbands, hustled
thither by wives whose intellectual develop-
ment was tending toward the precious.
People read poems, discussed Yeats, Shaw,
Fiona, Mendes, and L'Arr Noovo; sang, wan-
dered about pinching or thumbing the atmos-
phere under stimulus of a cunningly and
unexpectedly set window-pane in the back of
a " mission " rocking-chair. And when the
proper moment arrived the poet would rise,
exhaling sweetness from every pore of his
bulky entity, to interpret what he called a
" Thought." Sometimes it was a demonstra-
tion of the priceless value of " nothings " ;
sometimes it was a naive suggestion that no
house could afford to be without an " Art "-
rocker with Arr Noovo insertions. Such in-
dispensable luxuries were on sale up-stairs.
Again, he performed a " necklace of precious
sounds " in other words, some verses upon
various topics, nature, woodchucks, and the
dinkified in Art.
And it was upon one of these occasions that
Aphrodite ran away.
Aphrodite, the sweet, the reasonable, the
self-possessed Aphrodite ran away, having
without any apparent reason been stricken
with an overpowering aversion for civilization
and Arr Noovo.
T the poet's third Franco-Ameri-
can Conference that afternoon
the room was still vibrating
with the echoes of Aphrodite's
harp accompaniment to her own singing, and
gushing approbation had scarcely ceased,
when the poet softly rose and stood with
eyes half-closed as though concentrating all
the sweetness within him upon the surface of
his pursed lips.
A wan young man whose face figured only
as a by-product of his hair whispered
" Hush ! " and several people, who seemed
to be more or less out of drawing, assumed
attitudes which emphasized the faulty drafts-
" La Poesie ! " breathed the poet ; " Kesker
say la poesie? "
" La poesie say la vee ! " murmured a
young woman with profuse teeth.
" Wee, wee, say la vee ! " cried several peo-
" Nong ! " sighed the poet, spraying the
hushed air with sweetness, " nong ! Say pas
le vee ; say rimmortalitay ! "
After which the poet resumed his seat, and
the by-product read, in French verse, " An
Appreciation " of the works of Wilhelmina
And that was the limit of the Franco por-
tion of the Conference; the remainder being
Aphrodite, resting on her tall gilded harp,
looked sullenly straight before her. Some-
body lighted a Chinese joss-stick, perhaps to
kill the aroma of defunct cigarettes.
" Verse," said the poet, opening his heavy
lids and gazing around him with the lambent-
eyed wonder of a newly-wakened ram, " verse
is a necklace of tinted sounds strung idly,
yet lovingly, upon stray tinseled threads of
thought. . . . Thank you for understand-
ing; thank you."
The by-product in the corner of the studio
gathered arms and legs into a series of acute
angles, and writhed ; a lady ornamented with
cheek-bones well sketched in, covered her eyes
with one hand as though locked in jiu-jitsu
with Richard Strauss.
Aphrodite's slender fingers, barely resting
on the harp-strings, suddenly contracted in a
nervous tremor; a low twang echoed the in-
voluntary reflex with a discord.
A young man, whose neck was swathed in
a stock a la d'Orsay, bent close to her shoul-
" I feel that our souls, blindfolded, are gro-
ping toward one another/' he whispered.
" Don't don't talk like that ! " she breathed
almost fiercely ; " I am tired suffocated with
sound, drugged with joss-sticks and sandal.
I can't stand much more, I warn you."
" Are you not well, beloved."
" Perfectly well physically. I don't know
what it is it has come so suddenly this over-
whelming revulsion this exasperation with
scents and sounds. ... I could rip out
these harp-strings and and kick that chair
Aphrodite's slender fingers, barely resting on the harp-strings,
suddenly contracted in a nervous tremor.
over! I I think I need something sunlight
and the wind blowing my hair loose "
The young man with the stock nodded. " It
is the exquisite pagan athirst in you, scorched
by the fire of spring. Quench that sweet thirst
at the fount beautiful "
" What fount did you say ? " she asked dan-
" The precious fount of verse, dear maid."
" No ! " she whispered violently. " I'm half
drowned already. Words, smells, sounds, at-
titudes, rocking-chairs and candles profaning
the sunshine I am suffocated, I need more
air, more sense and less incense less sound,
less art "
" Less what? " he gasped.
" Less art ! what you call ' 1'arr ' ! yes,
I've said it ; I'm sick ! sick of art ! I know
what I require now." And as he remained
agape in shocked silence : " I don't mean to
be rude, Mr. Frawley, but I also require less
of you. ... So much less that father will
scarcely expect me to play any more accom-
paniments to your ' necklaces of precious
tones ' so much less that the minimum of
my interest in you vanishes to absolute nega-
tion. ... So I shall not marry you."
" Aphrodite are are you mad ? "
Her sulky red mouth was mute.
Meanwhile the poet's rich, resonant voice
filled the studio with an agreeable and ram-
bling monotone :
" Verse is a vehicle for expression ; expres-
sion is a vehicle for verse; sound, in itself, is
so subtly saturated with meaning that it re-
quires nothing of added logic for its vindica-
tion. Sound, therefore, is sense, modified by
the mysterious portent of tone. Thank you
for understanding, thank you for a thought
very, very precious, a thought beautiful/'
He smeared the air with inverted thumb and
smiled at Mr. Frawley, who rose, somewhat
agitated, and, crooking one lank arm behind
his back, made a mechanical pinch at an at-
" If if you do that again if you dare to
recite those verses about me, I shall go! I
tell you I can't stand any more," breathed
Aphrodite between her clenched teeth.
The young man cast his large and rather
sickly eyes upon her. For a moment he was
in doubt, but belief in the witchery of sound
prevailed, for he had yet to meet a being in-
sensible to the " music of the soul," and so
with a fond and fatuous murmur he pinched
the martyred atmosphere once more, and be-
gan, mousily :
A tear a year
My pale desire requires,
And that is all.
Enlacements weary, passion tires,
Kisses are cinder-ghosts of fires
Smothered at birth with mortal earth ;
And that is all.
A year of fear
My pallid soul desires
And that is all
Terror of bliss and dread of happiness,
A subtle need of sorrow and distress
And you to weep one tear, no more, no
And that is all I ask
And that is all.
People were breathing thickly ; the poet un-
affectedly distilled the suggested tear; it was
a fat tear; it ran smoothly down his nose,
twinkled, trembled, and fell.
Aphrodite's features had become tense; she
half rose, hesitated. Then, as the young man
in the stock turned his invalid's eyes in her
direction and began :
Oh, sixteen tears
In sixteen years
she transfixed her hat with one nervous ges-
ture, sprang to her feet, turned, and vanished
through the door.
" She is too young to endure it," sobbed the
by-product to her of the sketchy face. And
that was no idle epigram, either.
HE had no definite idea; all she
craved for was the open or
its metropolitan substitute
sunshine, air, the glimpse of
sanely preoccupied faces, the dull, quickening
tumult of traffic. The tumult grew, increas-
ing in her ears as she crossed Washington
Square under the sycamores and looked up
through tender feathery foliage at the white
arch of marble through which the noble ave-
nue flows away between its splendid arid
chasms of marble, bronze, and masonry to that
blessed leafy oasis in the north the Park.
1 1 2 lole
She took an omnibus, impatient for the
green rambles of the only breathing-place she
knew of, and settled back in her seat, rebellious
of eye, sullen of mouth, scarcely noticing the
amused expression of the young man op-
Two passengers left at Twenty-third Street,
three at Thirty-fourth Street, and seven at
Preoccupied, she glanced up at the only pas-
senger remaining, caught the fleeting shadow
of interest on his face, regarded him with
natural indifference, and looked out of the
window, forgetting him. A few moments
later, accidentally aware of him again, she
carelessly noted his superficially attractive
qualities, and, approving, resumed her idle
inspection of the passing throng. But the
next time her pretty head swung round she
found him looking rather fixedly at her, and
involuntarily she returned the gaze with a
childlike directness a gaze which he sus-
tained to the limit of good breeding, then
evaded so amiably that it left an impression
rather agreeable than otherwise.
" I don't see," thought Aphrodite, " why I
never meet that sort of man. He hasn't art
nouveau legs, and his features are not by-
products of his hair. ... I have told
my brothers-in-law that I am old enough
to go out without coming out. . . . And
The lovely mouth grew sullen again : " I
don't wish to wait two years and be what
dreadful newspapers call a ' bud ' ! I wish to
go to dinners and dances now! . . . Where
I'll meet that sort of man. . . . The sort
one feels almost at liberty to talk to with-
out anybody presenting anybody. . . .
I've a mind to look amiable the next time
He raised his eyes at that instant; but she
did not smile.
" I I suppose that is the effect of civiliza-
tion on me," she reflected " metropolitan civ-
ilization. I felt like saying, ' For goodness'
sake, let's say something ' even in spite of all
'my sisters have told me. I can't see why it
would be dangerous for me to look amiable.
If he glances at me again so agreeably "
He did ; but she didn't smile.
" You see ! " she said, accusing herself dis-
contentedly ; " you don't dare look human.
Why? Because you've had it so drummed
into you that you can never, never again do
anything natural. Why? Oh, because they
all begin to talk about mysterious dangers
when you say you wish to be natural. . . .
I've made up my mind to look interested the
next time he turns. . . . Why shouldn't he
see that I'm quite willing to talk to him?
. . . And I'm so tired of looking out of the
window. . . . Before I came to this curious
city I was never afraid to speak to anybody who
attracted me. . . . And I'm not now. . . .
So if he does look at me - "
The faintest glimmer of a smile troubled
her lips. She thought : "I do wish he'd
speak ! "
There was a very becoming color in his face,
partly because he was experienced enough not
to mistake her ; partly from a sudden and com-
plete realization of her beauty.
" It's so odd," thought Aphrodite, " that at-
tractive people consider it dangerous to speak
to one another. I don't see any danger. . . .
I wonder what he has in that square box be-
side him? It can't be a camera. ... It
can't be a folding easel ! It simply can't be
that he is an artist ! a man like that - "
lole 1 1 5
" Are you ? " she asked quite involuntarily.
" What ? " he replied, astonished, wheeling
" An an artist. I can't believe it, and I
don't wish to ! You don't look it, you know ! "
For a moment he could scarcely realize that
she had spoken; his keen gaze dissected the
face before him, the unembarrassed eyes, the
oval contour, the smooth, flawless loveliness
of a child.
" Yes, I am an artist," he said, considering
" I am sorry," she said, " no, not sorry
only unpleasantly surprised. You see I am so
tired of art and I thought you looked so so
He began to laugh a modulated laugh
rather infectious, too, for Aphrodite bit her lip,
then smiled, not exactly understanding it all.
" Why do you laugh ? " she asked, still smil-
ing. " Have I said something I should not
have said? "
But he replied with a question : " Have you
found art unwholesome ? "
" I I don't know," she answered with a
little sigh ; " I am so tired of it all. Don't let
us talk about it will you ? "
" It isn't often I talk about it," he said,
" Oh ! That is unusual. Why don't you
talk about art ? "
" I'm much too busy."
" D doing what? If that is not very im-
" Oh, making pictures of things," he said,
" Pictures ? You don't talk about art, and
you paint pictures ! "
" W what kind ? Do you mind my ask-
ing? You are so so very unusual."
" Well, to earn my living, I make full-page
pictures for magazines; to satisfy an absurd
desire, I paint people things anything that
might satisfy my color senses." He shrugged
his shoulders gaily. " You see, I'm the sort
you are so tired of "
" But you paint! The artists I know don't
paint except that way " She raised her
pretty gloved thumb and made a gesture in
the air; and, before she had achieved it, they
were both convulsed with laughter.
" You never do that, do you ? " she asked
lole 1 1 7
" No, I never do. I can't afford to deco-
rate the atmosphere for nothing ! "
" Then then you are not interested in art
nouveau ? "
" No ; and I never could see that beautiful
music resembled frozen architecture."
They were laughing again, looking with
confidence and delight upon one another as
though they had started life's journey to-
gether in that ancient omnibus.
" What is a ' necklace of precious tones ' ? "
" Precious stones ? "
" Let me cite, as an example, those beautiful
verses of Henry Haynes," he replied gravely.
TO BE OR NOT TO BE
I'd rather be a Could Be,
If I can not be an Are ;
For a Could Be is a May Be,
With a chance of touching par.
I had rather be a Has Been
Than a Might Have Been, by far ;
For a Might Be is a Hasn't Been
But a Has was once an Are !
Also an Are is Is and Am ;
A Was was all of these ;
So I'd rather be a Has Been
Than a Hasn't, if you please.
And they fell a-laughing so shamelessly that
the 'bus driver turned and squinted through
his shutter at them, and the scandalized horses
stopped of their own accord.
" Are you going to leave ? " he asked as
" Yes ; this is the Park," she said. " Thank
you, and good-by."
He held the door for her; she nodded her
thanks and descended, turning frankly to
smile again in acknowledgment of his quickly
" He was nice," she reflected a trifle guiltily,
"and I had a good time, and I really don't see
any danger in it."
HE drew a deep, sweet breath as
she entered the leafy shade
and looked up into the bluest
of cloudless skies. Odors of
syringa and lilac freshened her, cleansing her
of the last lingering taint of joss-sticks. The
cardinal birds were very busy in the scarlet
masses of Japanese quince ; orioles fluttered
among golden Forsythia ; here and there an
exotic starling preened and peered at the bur-
nished purple grackle, stalking solemnly
through the tender grass.
For an hour she walked vigorously, en-
chanted with the sun and sky and living green,
through arbors heavy with wistaria, iris hued
1 20 lole
and scented, through rambles under tall elms
tufted with new leaves, past fountains splash-
ing over, past lakes where water-fowl floated
or stretched brilliant wings in the late after-
noon sunlight. At times the summer wind
blew her hair, and she lifted her lips to it,
caressing it with every fiber of her ; at times
she walked pensively, wondering why she had
been forbidden the Park unless accompanied.
" More danger, I suppose," she thought im-
patiently. . . . " Well, what is this danger
that seems to travel like one's shadow, dog-
ging a girl through the world? It seems to
me that if all the pleasant things of life are
so full of danger I'd better find out what it
is. ... I might as well look for it so that
I'll recognize it when I encounter it. ...
And learn to keep away."
She scanned the flowery thickets attentively,
looked behind her, then walked on.
" If it's robbers they mean," she reflected,
"I'm a good wrestler, and I can make any
one of my four brothers-in-law look foolish.
. . . Besides, the Park is full of fat police-
men. . . . And if they mean I'm likely
to get lost, or run over, or arrested, or poi-
soned with soda-water and bonbons " She
lole 1 2 1
laughed to herself, swinging on in her free-
limbed, wholesome beauty, scarcely noticing a
man ahead, occupying a bench half hidden
under the maple's foliage.
" So I'll just look about for this danger they
are all afraid of, and when I see it, I'll know
what to do/' she concluded, paying not the
slightest heed to the man on the bench until he
rose, as she passed him, and took off his hat.
" You ! " she exclaimed.
She had stopped short, confronting him with
the fearless and charming directness natural
to her. " What an amusing accident," she
" The truth is/' he began, " it is not exactly
" N no. . . . Are you offended ? "
"Offended? No. Should I be? Why?
. . . Besides, I suppose when we have fin-
ished this conversation you are going the
" I no, I wasn't."
" Oh ! Then you are going to sit here ? "
" Y yes I suppose so. ... But I
don't want to."
" Then why do you? "
" Well, if I'm not going the other way, and
if I'm not going to remain here " He looked
at her, half laughing. She laughed, too, not
exactly knowing why.
" Don't you really mind my walking a little
way with you ? " he asked.
"No, I don't. Why should I? Is there
any reason? Am I not old enough to know
why we should not walk together? Is it be-
cause the sun is going down? Is there what
people call ' danger ' ? "
He was so plainly taken aback that her fair
young face became seriously curious.
" Is there any reason why you should not
walk with me ? " she persisted.
The clear, direct gaze challenged him. He
" Yes, there is," he said.
"A a reason why you should not walk
with me ? "
"What is it?"
And, as he did not find words to answer,
she studied him for a moment, glanced up and
down the woodland walk, then impulsively
seated herself and motioned him to a place
beside her on the bench.
" Now/' she said, " I'm in a position to find
out just what this danger is that they all warn
me about. You know, don't you ? "
" Know what ? " he answered.
" About the danger that I seem to run every
time I manage to enjoy myself. . . . And
you do know ; I see it by the way you look at
me and your expression is just like their ex-
pression when they tell me not to do things I
find most natural."
But I you "
" You must tell me ! I shall be thoroughly
vexed with you if you don't."
Then he began to laugh, and she let him,
leaning back to watch him with uncertain and
speculative blue eyes. After a moment he
" You are absolutely unlike any girl I ever
heard of. I am trying to get used to it to
adjust things. Will you help me?"
" How ? " she asked innocently.
" Well, by telling me "he looked at her a
moment " your age. You look about nine-
" I am sixteen and a half. I and all my
sisters have developed our bodies so perfectly
because, until we came to New York last au-
tumn, we had lived all our lives out-of-doors."
She looked at him with a friendly smile.
" Would you really like to know about us ? "
"Well, there are eight of us: Chlorippe,
thirteen; Philodice, fourteen; Dione, fifteen;
Aphrodite, sixteen I am Aphrodite; Cybele,
seventeen, married; Lissa, eighteen, married;
lole, nineteen, married, and Vanessa, twenty,
married." She raised one small, gloved finger
to emphasize the narrative. " All our lives we
were brought up to be perfectly natural, to live,
act, eat, sleep, play like primitive people. Our
father dressed us like youths boys, you know.
Why," she said earnestly, " until we came to
New York we had no idea that girls wore
such lovely, fluffy underwear but I believe I
am not to mention such things; at least they
have told me not to but my straight front
is still a novelty to me, and so are my stock-
ings, so you won't mind if I've said something
I shouldn't, will you ? "