Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr.

The man between; an international romance online

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public only

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1st, 1907, be

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Ethel leisurely removed her opera cloak." Page 10.

The Man Between




"The MM <& Maiden Lane,"
"The Black Shilling," "Souls of Passage,'
'The BowWQrange Ribbon," Etc.

Illustrated iqWlater-Colors by FRANK T. MERRILL

[Th^Sale of this book in New York and Phila-
\J delphia is confined to the stores of




Copyright) 1906, by Amelia E. Barr
Entered at Stationers' Hall

rights reserved






THE thing that I know least about is my
beginning. For it is possible to introduce
Ethel Rawdon in so many picturesque ways
that the choice is embarrassing, and forces me
to the conclusion that the actual circum
stances, though commonplace, may be the
most suitable. Certainly the events that shape
our lives are seldom ushered in with pomp or
ceremony; they steal upon us unannounced,
and begin their work without giving any pre
monition of their importance.

Consequently Ethel had no idea when she
returned home one night from a rather stupid
entertainment that she was about to open
a new and important chapter of her life.
Hitherto that life had been one of the sweet
est and simplest character the lessons and
sports of childhood and girlhood had claimed


her nineteen years ; and Ethel was just at that
wonderful age when, the brook and the river
having met, she was feeling the first swell of
those irresistible tides which would carry her
day by day to the haven of all days.

It was Saturday night in the January of
1900, verging toward twelve o'clock. When
she entered her room, she saw that one of
the windows was open, and she stood a moment
or two at it, looking across the straight miles
of white lights, in whose illumined shadows
thousands of sleepers were holding their lives
in pause.

" It is not New York at all," she whispered,
" it is some magical city that I have seen, but
have never trod. It will vanish about six
o'clock in the morning, and there will be only
common streets, full of common people. Of
course," and here she closed the window and
leisurely removed her opera cloak, " of
course, this is only dreaming, but to dream
waking, or to dream sleeping, is very pleas
ant. In dreams we can have men as we like
them, and women as we want them, and make
all the world happy and beautiful."

She was in no hurry of feeling or movement.
She had been in a crowd for some hours, and
was glad to be quite alone and talk to herself


a little. It was also so restful to gradually
relinquish all the restraining gauds of fashion
able attire, and as she leisurely performed
these duties, she entered into conversation
with her own heart talked over with it the
events of the past week, and decided that its
fretless days, full of good things, had been,
from the beginning to the end, sweet as a cup
of new milk. For a woman's heart is very
talkative, and requires little to make it
eloquent in its own way.

In the midst of this intimate companionship
she turned her head, and saw two letters lying
upon a table. She rose and lifted them. One
was an invitation to a studio reception, and
she let it flutter indeterminately from her
hand; the other was both familiar and ap
pealing ; none of her correspondents but Dora
Denning used that peculiar shade of blue
paper, and she instantly began to wonder why
Dora had written to her.

" I saw her yesterday afternoon," she re
flected, " and she told me everything she had
to tell and what does she mean by such a tan
talizing message as this ? * Dearest Ethel : I
have the most extraordinary news. Come to
me immediately. Dora.' How exactly like
Dora! " she commented. " Come to me im-


mediately whether you are in bed or asleep
whether you are sick or well whether it is
midnight or high noon come to me imme
diately. Well, Dora, I am going to sleep now,
and to-morrow is Sunday, and I never know
what view father is going to take of Sunday.
He may ask me to go to church with him, and
he may not: He may want me to drive in the
afternoon, and again he may not ; but Sunday
is father's home day, and Ruth and I make a
point of obliging him in regard to it. That
is one of our family principles; and a girl
ought to have a few principles of conduct in
volving self-denial. Aunt Ruth says, l Life
cannot stand erect without self -denial, ' and
aunt is usually right but I do wonder what
Dora wants ! I cannot imagine what extraor
dinary news has come. I must try and see
her to-morrow it may be difficult but I
must make the effort " and with this satis
fying resolution she easily fell asleep.

When she awoke the church bells were ring
ing and she knew that her father and aunt
would have breakfasted. The fact did not
trouble her. It was an accidental sleep-over ;
she had not planned it, and circumstances
would take care of themselves. In any case,
she had no fear of rebuke. No one was ever


cross with Ethel. It was a matter of pretty
general belief that whatever Ethel did was
just right. So she dressed herself becomingly
in a cloth suit, and, with her plumed hat on
her head, went down to see what the day had
to offer her.

" The first thing is coffee, and then, all be
ing agreeable, Dora. I shall not look further
ahead," she thought.

As she entered the room she called " Good
morning! " and her voice was like the voice
of the birds when they call " Spring! "; and
her face was radiant with smiles, and the touch
of her lips and the clasp of her hand warm
with love and life; and her father and aunt
forgot that she was late, and that her break
fast was yet to order.

She took up the reproach herself. " I am
so sorry, Aunt Ruth. I only want a cup of
coffee and a roll."

" My dear, you cannot go without a proper
breakfast. Never mind the hour. What would
you like best ? '

" You are so good, Euth. I should like a
nice breakfast a breast of chicken and mush
rooms, and some hot muffins and marmalade
would do. How comfortable you look here!


Father, you are buried in newspapers. Is
anyone going to church ? '

Ruth ordered the desired breakfast and Mr.
Eawdon took out his watch " I ana afraid
you have delayed us too long this morning,

" Am I to be the scapegoat ? Now, I do not
believe anyone wanted to go to church. Ruth
had her book, you, the newspapers. It is warm
and pleasant here, it is cold and windy out
side. I know what confession would be made,
if honesty were the fashion."

" Well, my little girl, honesty is the fashion
in this house. I believe in going to church.
Religion is the Mother of Duty, and we should
all make a sad mess of life without duty. Is
not that so, Ruth? "

" Truth itself, Edward; but religion is not
going to church and listening to sermons.
Those who built the old cathedrals of Europe
had no idea that sitting in comfortable pews
and listening to some man talking was wor
shiping God. Those great naves were in
tended for men and women to stand or kneel
in before God. And there were no high or
low standing or kneeling places ; all were on a
level before Him. It is our modern Protes
tantism which has brought in lazy lolling in


cushioned pews ; and the gallery, which makes
a church as like a playhouse as possible! "

" What are you aiming at, Ruth? "

" I only meant to say, I would like going to
church much better if we went solely to praise
God, and entreat His mercy. I do not care to
hear sermons."

"' My dear Ruth, sermons are a large fact in
our social economy. When a million or two
are preached every year, they have a strong
claim on our attention. To use a trade phrase,
sermons are firm, and I believe a moderate tax
on them would yield an astonishing income. "

" See how you talk of them, Edward; as
if they were a commercial commodity. If you
respected them "

" I do. I grant them a steady pneumatic
pressure in the region of morals, and even
faith. Picture to yourself, Ruth, New York
without sermons. The dear old city would be
like a ship without ballast, heeling over with
every wind, and letting in the waters of im
morality and scepticism. Remove this pulpit
balance just for one week from New York
City, and where should we be? "'

" Well then," said Ethel, " the clergy ought
to give New York a first-rate article in ser
mons, either of home or foreign manufacture.


New York expects the very best of every
thing; and when she gets it, she opens her
heart and her pocketbook enjoys it, and pays
for it."

" That is the truth, Ethel. I was thinking
of your grandmother Rawdon. You have
your hat on are you going to see her? '

" I am going to see Dora Denning. I had
an urgent note from her last night. She says
she has l extraordinary news ' and begs me to
* come to her immediately.' I cannot im
agine what her news is. I saw her Friday

" She has a new poodle, or a new lover, or a
new way of crimping her hair," suggested
Ruth Bayard scornfully. " She imposes on
you, Ethel; why do you submit to her selfish
ness? "

" I suppose because I have become used
to it. Four years ago I began to take her part,
when the girls teased and tormented her in the
schoolroom, and I have big-sistered her ever
since. I suppose we get to love those who
make us kind and give us trouble. Dora is not
perfect, but I like her better than any friend
I have. And she must like me, for she asks
my advice about everything in her life."

"Does she take it?"


" Yes generally. Sometimes I have to
make her take it."

" She has a mother. Why does she not go
to her?"

" Mrs. Denning knows nothing about cer
tain subjects. I am Dora's social godmother,
and she must dress and behave as I tell her to
do. Poor Mrs. Denning! I am so sorry for
her another cup of coffee, Kuth it is not
very strong. ' '

" "Why should you be sorry for Mrs. Den
ning? Her husband is enormously rich she
lives in a palace, and has a crowd of men and
women servants to wait upon her carriages,
horses, motor cars, what not, at her com
mand. ' '

" Yet really, Ruth, she is a most unhappy
woman. In that little Western town from
which they came, she was everybody. She ran
the churches, and was chairwoman in all the
clubs, and President of the Temperance
Union, and manager of every religious, social,
and political festival; and her days were full
to the brim of just the things she liked to do.
Her dress there was considered magnificent;
people begged her for patterns, and regarded
her as the very glass of fashion. Servants
thought it a great privilege to be employed on


the Denning place, and she ordered her house
and managed her half -score of men and maids
with pleasant autocracy. Now! Well, I will
tell you how it is, now. She sits all day in her
splendid rooms, or rides out in her car or car
riage, and no one knows her, and of course no
one speaks to her. Mr. Denning has his Wall
Street friends "

" And enemies," interrupted Judge Raw-

" And enemies! You are right, father.
But he enjoys one as much as the other that
is, he would as willingly fight his enemies as
feast his friends. He says a big day in Wall
Street makes him alive from head to foot.
He really looks happy. Bryce Denning has
got into two clubs, and his money passes him,
for he plays, and is willing to lose prudently.
But no one cares about Mrs. Denning. She is
quite old forty-five, I dare say; and she is
stout, and does not wear the colors and style
she ought to wear none of her things have
the right ' look,' and of course I cannot advise
a matron. Then, her fine English servants
take her house out of her hands. She is afraid
of them. The butler suavely tries to inform
her; the housekeeper removed the white
crotcheted scarfs and things from the gilded


chairs, and I am sure Mrs. Denning had a
heartache about their loss; but she saw that
they had also vanished from Dora's parlor,
so she took the hint, and accepted the lesson.
Really, her humility and isolation are pitiful.
I am going to ask grandmother to go and see
her. Grandmother might take her to church,
and get Dr. Simpson and Mrs. Simpson to in
troduce her. Her money and adaptability
would do the rest. There, I have had a good
breakfast, though I was late. It is not always
the early bird that gets chicken and mush
rooms. Now I will go and see what Dora
wants " and lifting her furs with a smile,
and a " Good morning! " equally charming,
she disappeared.

" Did you notice her voice, Ruth? " asked
Judge Rawdon. What a tone there is in her
i good morning ! '

" There is a tone in every one's good morn
ing, Edward. I think people's salutations set
to music would reveal their inmost character.
Ethel's good morning says in D major ' How
good is the day! ' and her good night drops
into the minor third, and says pensively l How
sweet is the night ! '

" Nay, Ruth, I don't understand all that;


but I do understand the voice. It goes straight
to my heart."

" And to my heart also, Edward. I think
too there is a measured music, a central time
and tune, in every life. Quick, melodious na
tures like Ethel's never wander far from their
keynote, and are therefore joyously set ; while
slow, irresolute people deviate far, and only
come back after painful dissonances and fre
quent changes."

" You are generally right, Ruth, even where
I cannot follow you. I hope Ethel will be
home for dinner. I like my Sunday dinner
with both of you, and I may bring my mother
back with me."

Then he said " Good morning" with an in
tentional cheerfulness, and Ruth was left
alone with her book. She gave a moment's
thought to the value of good example, and
then with a sigh of content let her eyes rest on
the words Ethel's presence had for awhile
silenced :

" / am fitted ^vith a sense of sweetness and
wonder that such little things can make a
mortal so exceedingly rich. But I confess that
the chief est of all my delights is still the re
ligious." (Theodore Parker.) She read the
words again, then closed her eyes and let the


honey of some sacred memory satisfy her soul.
And in those few minutes of reverie, Ruth
Bayard revealed the keynote of her being.
Wanderings from it, caused by the exigencies
and duties of life, frequently occurred; but
she quickly returned to its central and con
trolling harmony; and her serenity and poise
were therefore as natural as was her niece's
joyousness and hope. Nor was her religious
character the result of temperament, or of a
secluded life. Ruth Bayard was a woman of
thought and culture, and wise in the ways of
the world, but not worldly. Her personality
was very attractive, she had a good form, an
agreeable face, speaking gray eyes, and brown
hair, soft and naturally wavy. She was a
distant cousin of Ethel's mother, but had
been brought up with her in the same house
hold, and always regarded her as a sister,
and Ethel never remembered that she was
only her aunt by adoption. Ten years older
than her niece, she had mothered her with a
wise and loving patience, and her thoughts
never wandered long or far from the girl.
Consequently, she soon found herself won
dering what reason there could be for Dora
Denning 's urgency.
In the meantime Ethel had reached her


friend's residence a new building of unusual
size and yery ornate architecture. Liveried
footmen and waiting women bowed her with
mute attention to Miss Denning 's suite, an
absolutely private arrangement of five rooms,
marvelously furnished for the young lady's
comfort and delight. The windows of her
parlor overlooked the park, and she was
standing at one of them as Ethel entered the
room. In a passion of welcoming gladness
she turned to her, exclaiming: " I have been
watching for you hours and hours, Ethel. I
have the most wonderful thing to tell you. I
am so happy! So happy! No one was ever
as happy as I am."

Then Ethel took both her hands, and, as they
stood together, she looked intently at her
friend. Some new charm transfigured her
face ; for her dark, gazelle eyes were not more
lambent than her cheeks, though in a differ
ent way; while her black hair in its pictur
esquely arranged disorder seemed instinct
with life, and hardly to be restrained. She
was constantly pushing it back, caressing or
arranging it; and her white, slender fingers,
sparkling with jewels, moved among the
crimped and wavy locks, as if there was an
intelligent sympathy between them.


" How beautiful you are to-day, Dora!
Who has worked wonders on you? '

" Basil Stanhope. He loves me! He loves
me ! He told me so last night in the sweetest
words that were ever uttered. I shall never
forget one of them never, as long as I live !
Let us sit down. I want to tell you every

" I am astonished, Dora! "

" So was mother, and father, and Bryce.
No one suspected our affection. Mother used
to grumble about my going ' at all hours ' to
St. Jude's church; but that was because St.
Jude's is so very High Church, and mother is
a Methodist Episcopal. It was the morning
and evening prayers she objected to. No one
had any suspicion of the clergyman. Oh,
Ethel, he is so handsome! So good! So
clever! I think every woman in the church
is in love with him."

" Then if he is a good man, he must be very

" Of course he is quite ignorant of their
admiration, and therefore quite innocent. I
am the only woman he loves, and he never
even remembers me when he is in the sacred
office. If you could see him come out of the
vestry in his white surplice, with his rapt face


and prophetic eyes. So mystical ! So beauti
ful! You would not wonder that I worship

" But I do not understand how did you
meet him socially? '

" I met him at Mrs. Taylor's first. Then
he spoke to me one morning as I came out of
church, and the next morning he walked
through the park with me. And after that
all was easy enough."

' ' I see. What does your father and mother
think or rather, what do they say? '

" Father always says what he thinks, and
mother thinks and says what I do. This con
dition simplified matters very much. Basil
wrote to father, and yesterday after dinner he
had an interview with him. I expected it, and
was quite prepared for any climax that might
come. I wore my loveliest white frock, and
had lilies of the valley in my hair and on my
breast ; and father called me ' his little angel '
and piously wondered ' how I could be his
daughter.' All dinner time I tried to be an
gelic, and after dinner I sang ' Little Boy
Blue ' and some of the songs he loves ; and I
felt, when Basil's card came in, that I had
prepared the proper atmosphere for the in


" You are really very clever, Dora."

" I tried to continue singing and playing,
but I could not ; the notes all ran together, the
words were lost. I went to mother's side and
put my hand in hers, and she said softly: l I
can hear your father storming a little, but he
will settle down the quicker for it. I dare
say he will bring Mr. Stanhope in here before

"Did he!"

" No. That was Bryce's fault. How Bryce
happened to be in the house at that hour, I
cannot imagine ; but it seems to be natural for
him to drop into any interview where he can
make trouble. However, it turned out all for
the best, for when mother heard Bryce ? s voice
above all the other sounds, she said, i Come
Dora, we shall have to interfere now.' Then
I was delighted. I was angelically dressed,
and I felt equal to the interview."

" Do you really mean that you joined the
three quarreling men I '

" Of course. Mother was quite calm calm
enough to freeze a tempest but she gave
father a look he comprehended. Then she
shook hands with Basil, and would have made
some remark to Bryce, but with his usual im
pertinence he took the initiative, and told her


very authoritatively to i retire and take me
with her ' calling me that ' demure little
flirt ' in a tone that was very offensive. You
should have seen father blaze into anger at his
words. He told Bryce to remember that e - Mr.
Ben Denning owned the house, and that Bryce
had four or five rooms in it by his courtesy.'
He said also that the ' ladies present were
Mr. Ben Denning 's wife and daughter, and
that it was impertinent in him to order them
out of his parlor, where they were always
welcome.' Bryce was white with passion,
but he answered in his affected way ' Sir,
that sly girl with her pretended piety and
her sneak of a lover is my sister, and I shall
not permit her to disgrace my family with
out making a protest. '

" And then?"

" I began to cry, and I put my arms around
father's neck and said he must defend me;
that I was not ' sly,' and Basil was not ' a
sneak,' and father kissed me, and said he
would settle with any man, and every man,
who presumed to call me either sly or a flirt."

" I think Mr. Denning acted beautifully.
What did Bryce say? "

" He turned to Basil, and said: ' Mr. Stan
hope, if you are not a cad, you will leave the


house. You have no right to intrude yourself
into family affairs and family quarrels.'
Basil had seated mother, and was standing
with one hand on the back of her chair, and
he did not answer Bryce there was no need,
father answered quick enough. He said Mr.
Stanhope had asked to become one of the fam
ily, and for his part he would welcome him
freely; and then he asked mother if she was
of his mind, and mother smiled and reached
her hand backward to Basil. Then father
kissed me again, and somehow Basil's arm
was round me, and I know I looked lovely
almost like a bride! Oh, Ethel, it was just
heavenly! '

" I am sure it was. Did Bryce leave the
room then? '

" Yes; he went out in a passion, declaring
he would never notice me again. This morn
ing at breakfast I said I was sorry Bryce felt
so hurt, but father was sure Bryce would
find plenty of consolation in the fact that his
disapproval of my choice would excuse him
from giving me a wedding present. You
know Bryce is a mean little miser! '

" On the contrary, I thought he was very
luxurious and extravagant."

' ' Where Bryce is concerned, yes ; toward


everyone else his conduct ,is too mean to
consider. Why, father makes him an allow
ance of $20,000 a year and he empties father's
cigar boxes whenever he can do so with
out "

" Let us talk about Mr. Stanhope he is far
more interesting. When are you going to
marry him? '

" In the Spring. Father is going to give
me some money and I have the fortune G rand-
mother Cahill left me. It has been well in
vested, and father told me this morning I
was a fairly rich little woman. Basil has
some private fortune, also his stipend we
shall do very well. Basil's family is one of
the finest among the old Boston aristocrats,
and he is closely connected with the English
Stanhopes, who rank with the greatest of the

" I wish Americans would learn to rely on
their own nobility. I am tired of their ever
lasting attempts to graft on some English
noble family. No matter how great or clever
a man may be, you are sure to read of his
descent from some Scottish chief or English

" They can't help their descent, Ethel."

" They need not pin all they have done on


to it. Often father frets me in the same way.
If he wins a difficult case, he does it naturally,
because he is a Rawdon. He is handsome,
gentlemanly, honorable, even a perfect horse
man, all because, being a Rawdon, he was by
nature and inheritance compelled to such per
fection. It is very provoking, Dora, and if I
were you I would not allow Basil to begin a
song about i the English Stanhopes.' Aunt
Ruth and I get very tired often of the English
Rawdons, and are really thankful for the sep
arating Atlantic."

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Online LibraryAmelia Edith Huddleston BarrThe man between; an international romance → online text (page 1 of 15)