" No," he said ; his face was expressionless.
" Then that's all right. So you see how it
is ; we don't quite know what we may do in
this city. At first we were delighted to see so
many attractive men, and we wanted to speak
to some of them who seemed to want to speak
to us, but my father put a stop to that but it's
absurd to think all those men might be rob-
bers, isn't it?"
" Very." There was not an atom of intelli-
gence left in his face.
" So that's all right, then. Let me see, what
was I saying ? Oh, yes, I know ! So four of
my sisters were married, and we four remain-
ing are being civilized. . . . But, oh I
wish I could be in the country for a little
while ! I'm so homesick for the meadows and
brooks and my pajamas and my bare feet in
sandals again. . . . And people seem to
know so little in New York, and nobody un-
derstands us when we make little jests in
Greek, or Latin, or Arabic, and nobody seems
to have been very well educated and accom-
plished, so we feel strange at times."
" D d do you do all those things ? "
" M make jests in Arabic? "
"Why, yes. Don't you?"
"No. What else do you do?"
" Why, not many things."
" Oh, of course."
" Yes, piano, violin, harp, guitar, zither all
that sort of thing. . . . Don't you ? "
"No. What else?"
" Why just various things, ride, swim,
fence, box I box pretty well all those
" Science, too ? "
" Rudiments. Of course I couldn't, for ex-
ample, discourse with authority upon the
heteropterous mictidae or tell you in what
genus or genera the prothorax and femora are
digitate ; or whether climatic and polymorphic
forms of certain diurnal lepidoptera occur
within certain boreal limits. I have only a
vague and superficial knowledge of any sci-
ence, you see."
" I see," he said gravely.
She leaned foward thoughtfully, her pretty
hands loosely interlaced upon her knee.
" Now," she said, " tell me about this dan-
ger that such a girl as I must guard against."
" There is no danger," he said slowly.
" But they told me "
" Let them tell you what it is, then."
"No; you tell me?"
" I can't."
" Because I simply can't."
" Are you ashamed to ? "
" Perhaps" He lifted his boxed sketch-
ing-kit by the strap, swung it, then set it care-
fully upon the ground : " Perhaps it is because
I am ashamed to admit that there could be any
danger to any woman in this world of men."
She looked at him so seriously that he
straightened up and began to laugh. But she
did not forget anything he had said, and she
began her questions at once:
" Why should you not walk with me ? "
" I'll take that back," he said, still laugh-
ing; " there is every reason why I should walk
" Oh ! . . . But you said "
" All I meant was not for you, but for the
ordinary sort of girl. Now, the ordinary,
every-day, garden girl does not concern
" Yes, she does ! Why am I not like her ? "
" Don't attempt to be "
"Am I different very different?"
" Superbly different ! " The flush came to
his face with the impulsive words.
She considered him in silence, then:
" Should I have been offended because you
came into the Park to find me? And why
did you? Do you find me interesting?"
" So interesting," he said, " that I don't
know what I shall do when you go away."
Another pause ; she was deeply absorbed
with her own thoughts. He watched her, the
color still in his face, and in his eyes a grow-
" I'm not out," she said, resting her chin
on one gloved hand, " so we're not likely to
meet at any of those jolly things you go to.
What do you think we'd better do? because
they've all warned me against doing just what
you and I have done."
" Speaking without knowing each other ? "
he asked guiltily.
" Yes. . . . But I did it first to you.
Still, when I tell them about it, they won't
let you come to visit me. I tried it once. I
was in a car, and such an attractive man
looked at me as though he wanted to speak,
and so when I got out of the car he got out,
and I thought he seemed rather timid, so I
asked him where Tiffany's was. I really
didn't know, either. So we had such a jolly
walk together up Fifth Avenue, and when I
said good-by he was so anxious to see me
again, and I told him where I lived. But
do you know? when I explained about it at
home they acted so strangely, and they never
would tell me whether or not he ever came."
" Then you intend to tell them all about
" Of course. I've disobeyed them."
" And and I am never to see you again ? "
" Oh, I'm very disobedient," she said inno-
cently. " If I wanted to see you I'd do it."
"But do you?"
" I I am not sure. Do you want to see
His answer was stammered and almost in-
coherent. That, and the color in his face and
the something in his eyes, interested her.
" Do you really find me so attractive ? " she
asked, looking him directly in the eyes. " You
must answer me quickly; see how dark it is
growing! I must go. Tell me, do you like
" I never cared so much for for any
She dimpled with delight and lay back
regarding him under level, unembarrassed
1 30 lole
" That is very pleasant," she said. " I've
often wished that a man of your kind
would say that to me. I do wish we could
be together a great deal, because you like me
so much already and I truly do find you agree-
able. . . . Say it to me again about how
much you like me."
" I I there is no woman none I ever
saw so so interesting. ... I mean more
" Say it then."
"Say what I mean?"
" I am afraid "
"Afraid? Of what?"
" Of offending you-
Is it an offense to me to tell me how much
you like me ? How can it offend me ? "
" But it is incredible ! You won't be-
" That in so short a time I I could care
for you so much "
" But I shall believe you. I know how I
feel toward you. And every time you speak
to me I feel more so."
" Feel more so ? " he stammered.
lole 1 3 1
" Yes, I experience more delight in what
you say. Do you think I am insensible to
the way you look at me ? "
" You you mean " He simply could not
She leaned back, watching him with sweet
composure; then laughed a little and said:
" Do you suppose that you and I are going
to fall in love with one another ? "
In the purpling dusk the perfume of wistaria
grew sweeter and sweeter.
" I've done it already " His voice shook
and failed; a thrush, invisible in shadowy
depths, made soft, low sounds.
" You love me already ? " she exclaimed
under her breath.
" Love you ! I I there are no words "
The thrush stirred the sprayed foliage and
called once, then again, restless for the moon.
Her eyes wandered over him thoughtfully :
" So that is love. ... I didn't know. . . .
I supposed it could be nothing pleasanter than
friendship, although they say it is. ...
But how could it be ? There is nothing pleas-
anter than friendship. ... I am perfectly
delighted that you love me. Shall we marry
some day, do you think ? "
He strove to speak, but her frankness
" I meant to tell you that I am engaged,"
she observed. " Does that matter? "
" Engaged ! " He found his tongue quickly
enough then; and she, surprised, interested,
and in nowise dissenting, listened to his elo-
quent views upon the matter of Mr. Frawley,
whom she, during the lucid intervals of his
silence, curtly described.
" Do you know," she said with great relief,
"that I always felt that way about love, be-
cause I never knew anything about it except
from the symptoms of Mr. Frawley ? So when
they told me that love and friendship were
different, I supposed it must be so, and I had
no high opinion of love . . . until you
made it so agreeable. Now I I prefer it to
anything else. ... I could sit here with
you all day, listening to you. Tell me some
E did. She listened, sometimes in-
tently interested, absorbed, some-
times leaning back dreamily, her
eyes partly veiled under silken
lashes, her mouth curved with the vaguest of
He spoke as a man who awakes with a
start not very clearly at first, then with fe-
verish coherence, at times with recklessness al-
most eloquent. Still only half awakened him-
self, still scarcely convinced, scarcely credulous
that this miracle of an hour had been wrought
in him, here under the sky and setting sun
and new-born leaves, he spoke not only to her
but of her to himself, formulating in words
the rhythm his pulses were beating, interpret-
ing this surging tide which thundered in his
heart, clamoring out the fact -the fact the
fact that he loved ! that love was on him like
the grip of Fate on him so suddenly, so
surely, so inexorably, that, stricken as he was,
the clutch only amazed and numbed him.
He spoke, striving to teach himself that the
incredible was credible, the impossible possible
that it was done! done! done! and that he
loved a woman in an hour because, in an hour,
he had read her innocence as one reads
through crystal, and his eyes were opened
for the first time upon loveliness unspoiled,
sweetness untainted, truth uncompromised.
" Do you know/' she said, " that, as you
speak, you make me care for you so much
more than I supposed a girl ,could care for a
man ? "
" Can you love me ? "
" Oh, I do already ! I don't mean mere
love. It is something something that I never
knew about before. Everything about you is
so so exactly what I care for your voice,
your head, the way you think, the way you
look at me. I never thought of men as I am
thinking about you. ... I want you to
belong to me all alone. ... I want to
see how you look when you are angry, or wor-
ried, or tired. I want you to think of me when
you are perplexed and unhappy and ill. Will
you? You must! There is nobody else, is
there? If you do truly love me? "
" Nobody but you."
" That is what I desire. ... I want to
live with you I promise I won't talk about
art even your art, which I might learn to
care for. All I want is to really live and have
your troubles to meet and overcome them be-
cause I will not permit anything to harm you.
... I will love you enough for that. . . .
I do you love other women ? "
"Good God, no!"
" And you shall not ! " She leaned closer,
looking him through and through. " I will be
what you love ! I zvill be what you desire
most in all the world. I will be to you every-
thing you wish, in every way, always, ever,
and forever and ever. . . . Will you marry
She suddenly stripped off her glove,
wrenched a ring set with brilliants from
the third ringer of her left hand, and, rising,
threw it, straight as a young boy throws, far
out into deepening twilight. It was the end
of Mr. Frawley ; he, too, had not only become
a by-product but a good-by product. Yet his
modest demands had merely required a tear
a year ! Perhaps he had not asked enough.
Love pardons the selfish.
She was laughing, a trifle excited, as she
turned to face him where he had risen. But,
at the touch of his hand on hers, the laughter
died at a breath, and she stood, her limp hand
clasped in his, silent, expressionless, save for
the tremor of her mouth.
" I I must go," she said, shrinking from
He did not understand, thrilled as he was
by the contact, but he let her soft hand fall
away from his.
Then with a half sob she caught her own
fingers to her lips and kissed them where the
pressure of his hand burned her white flesh
kissed them, looking at him.
" You you find a child you leave a
woman," she said unsteadily. " Do you
understand how I love you for that ? "
He caught her in his arms.
" No not yet not my mouth ! " she
pleaded, holding him back ; " I love you too
much already too much. Wait ! Oh, will
you wait? . . . And let me wait make
me wait? . . . I I begin to understand
some things I did not know an hour ago."
In the dusk he could scarcely see her as she
swayed, yielding, her arms tightening about
his neck in the first kiss she had ever given
or forgiven in all her life.
And through the swimming tumult of their
senses the thrush's song rang like a cry. The
moon had risen.
jOUNTINGthe deadened stairway
noiselessly to her sister's room,
groping for the door in the
dark of the landing, she called :
" lole ! " And again : " lole ! Come to me !
It is I ! "
The door swung noiselessly; a dim form
stole forward, wide-eyed and white in the
Then down at her sister's feet dropped Aph-
rodite, and laid a burning face against her
silken knees. And, " Oh, lole, lole/' she whis-
pered, " lole, lole, lole ! There is danger, as
you say there is, and I understand it ...
now. . . . But I love him so I I have
been so happy so happy! Tell me what I
have done ... and how wrong it is ! Oh,
lole, lole ! What have I done ! "
" Done, child ! What in the name of all the
gods have you done? "
" Loved him in the names of all the gods !
Oh, lole! lole! lole!"
" The thrush singing in darkness ; the
voice of spring calling, calling me to his arms !
Oh, lole, lole ! these, and my soul and his,
alone under the pagan moon ! alone, save for
the old gods whispering in the dusk "
" And listening, I heard the feathery
tattoo of wings close by the wings of Eros
all aquiver like a soft moth trembling ere it
flies! Peril divine! I understood it then.
And, stirring in darkness, sweet as the melody
of unseen streams, I heard the old gods laugh-
ing. . . . Then I knew."
"Is that all, little sister?"
" Almost all."
And when, at length, the trembling tale was
told, lole caught her in her white arms, looked
at her steadily, then kissed her again and
" If he is all you say this miracle I I
think I can make them understand," she whis-
pered. " Where is he ? "
" D-down-stairs at b-bay ! Hark ! You
can hear George swearing! Oh, lole, don't
let him ! "
In the silence from the drawing-room below
came the solid sobs of the poet :
" P-pup ! P-p-penniless pup ! "
'" He must not say that ! " cried Aphrodite
fiercely. " Can't you make father and George
understand that he has nearly six hundred dol-
lars in the bank ? "
" I will try," said lole tenderly. " Come ! "
And with one arm around Aphrodite she
descended the great stairway, where, on the
lower landing, immensely interested, sat Chlo-
rippe, Philodice and Dione, observant, fairly
aquiver with intelligence.
" Oh, that young man is catching it ! " re-
marked Dione, looking up as lole passed, her
arm close around her sister's waist. " George
has said ' dammit ' seven times and father is
rocking not in a rocking-chair just rocking
and expressing his inmost thoughts. And Mr.
Briggs pretends to scowl and mutters : ' Hook
him over the ropes, George. 'E ain't got no
friends ! ' Take a peep, lole. You can just
see them if you lean over and hang on to the
But lole brushed by her younger sisters,
Aphrodite close beside her, and, entering the
great receiving-hall, stood still, her clear eyes
focused upon her husband's back.
" George ! "
Mr. Wayne stiffened and wheeled ; Mr.
Briggs sidled hastily toward the doorway,
crabwise; the poet choked back the word,
" Phup ! " and gazed at his tall daughter with
apprehension and protruding lips.
" lole," began Wayne, " this is no place for
you ! Aphrodite.! let that fellow alone, I
lole turned, following with calm eyes the
progress of her sister toward a tall young man
who stood by the window, a red flush staining
his strained face.
The tense muscles in jaw and cheek relaxed
as Aphrodite laid one hand on his arm ; the
poet, whose pursed lips were overloaded, ex-
pelled a passionate " Phupp ! " and the young
man's eyes narrowed again at the shot.
Then silence lengthened to a waiting men-
ace, and even the three sisters on the stairs
succumbed to the oppressive stillness. And all
the while lole stood like a white Greek god-
dess under the glory of her hair, looking full
into the eyes of the tall stranger.
A minute passed ; a glimmer dawned to a
smile and trembled in the azure of lole's eyes ;
she slowly lifted her arms, white hands out-
stretched, looking steadily at the stranger.
He came, tense, erect; lole's cool hands
dropped in his. And, turning to the others
with a light on her face that almost blinded
him, she said, laughing: "Do you not under-
stand ? Aphrodite brings us the rarest gift in
the world in this tall young brother ! Look !
Touch him ! We have never seen his like be-
fore for all the wisdom of wise years. For
he is one of few and men are many, and art-
ists legion this honorable miracle, this sane
and wholesome wonder! this trinity, Lover,
Artist, and Man ! '"
And, turning again, she looked him wist-
fully, wonderingly, in the eyes.
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