F. Berkeley (Frank Berkeley) Smith.

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deep shadow of the intense sunlight of Montana.

For some moments he held the faded kodak
in the hollow of his hand, his eyes searching the
shadow of her face. The ranch house became a
blur. A big tear rolled, dropped, and spattered
between it and the bottom of the short skirt.

Straight-rye Jones closed his eyes.

"I'm a-goin' to try, Mazie," he prayed. "So
help me God, Mazie, I'm a-goin' to try. Yer said
yer'd marry me if I could only keep straight.
Yer said yer'd marry me," he kept repeating to
himself, "an' I'm a-goin' to try."

A woman with the rouge fresh on her lips, who
had been marketing without it in the morning
up the Rue Lepic, passed him, and smiled, for
she knew him that discreet smile of imbecilic
disdain with which her kind favour the intimate

Spasmodically Straight-rye Jones clutched the
packet of letters, badly creasing the kodak. He
did not know why he did this; but, after all, it
was only natural, like many gestures that our
brain thanks our hands for having done, and


which the brain appears not to have primarily

The sparrow flew back, and Straight-rye Jones
was glad to see it, for he was smiling now, and
telling it a promise. He had to tell it to some-
body, you see, who was respectable.

Having made his decision, Straight-rye Jones
changed his domicile from the alley to the Hor-
net's Nest. Nothing could be stranger or more
incongruous in contrast than this wooden build-
ing of studios, which stood isolated in one of the
vacant lots opposite the vast entrance yards of
the government's slaughter houses. It indeed
resembled somewhat a hornet's nest, since it was
round, and gray, and had a small door as its
single entrance and exit for the swarm of three-
score of painters and bohemians, and their sweet-
hearts, who found a refuge within, and who were
hand-in-hand friends with the butchers opposite.
Meat, therefore, was the easier to obtain.

The whole atmosphere of this strange settle-
ment was savage enough. It was as if the
Temple of the Knife and Certain Death, whose


floors, corridors, and gutters were continually
flushed with blood, had taken the stranded little
Temple of Art under its wing.

It is said that the Hornet's Nest once figured
in the exhibition of 1900. However this may be,
its aspect was singular. It was as round as a
cake. It might easily have served as a round-
house for locomotives, an aquarium, or a one-
ring circus, had not its second-hand shell been
destined to contain as many studios as could be
gotten out of its two floors ; the top one being the
most popular, since its red-tiled floor, upon which
the circle of studio doors opened, was well lighted
by a skylight, broiling hot in summer and a sieve
for the wind and snow in winter. The ground
floor beneath was dark, damp, and as gloomy as a

Both floors were provided in the centre with a
brass water spigot. The water was free, but
not popular.

In the matter of studios, the cake had been cut
into forty thin slices, each segment containing a
small skylight, and renting for the modest sum of
fifty francs for three months.


It is needless to say that the crowd who lived
there were poor desperately poor. Barely
five in the lot spoke the same language, though
their sweethearts were mostly French. The
Hornet's Nest had gathered beneath its roof
Poles, Swedes, and Spaniards; Germans, Greeks,
and Russians ; the only American being Straight-
rye Jones; and the only Frenchman, a dreamer
named Danet, who wrote verses when he was
hungriest, and wore to the salon a silk hat, a
sticky, multicoloured sweater of uncured Nor-
wegian sheep's wool, a frock coat, tennis shoes,
and the paint-stained wedding trousers of his

It was in this place, then, that Straight-rye
Jones had chosen to keep from drink. The wiry,
agile, fair-skinned butchers opposite were too
busy with killing to drink much, the inmates of
the Hornet's Nest too poor. Coal in winter,
when they often chipped in and herded together
in a studio, and food all the year round, were in
themselves difficult enough to obtain, since no
one worked unless driven to it from privation.

La Tzigane was not long in following Straight-


rye Jones. She, too, rented a studio in the Hor-
net's Nest. She cared nothing for Straight-rye
Jones, but she wanted a watchdog in case of need,
and some one to borrow from in idle necessity.

Straight-rye Jones lent her a cot bed, two bad
pictures, a water pitcher, and thirteen francs;
and she stole the rest from him by ingenious
degrees, objects from his meagre store of posses-
sions that she needed.

Straight-rye Jones never let her know he knew.
He was growing happier daily. The nights when
he walked the floor were beginning to grow
shorter; yet what he passed through during ten
days after his decision on the bench had been far
worse than he had experienced in the hospital.

Not since that morning in the hospital had he
taken a drink.

"It's hell at first," was his only remark.

Though La Tzigane's door was close to his
own on the ground floor, and she spent most
of her time loafing in his studio, Straight-rye
Jones still stuck to milk, which he practically
lived on. He would sit for hours watching an-
other fellow paint silent, amused as a child, his


elbows on his knees; and, though he was hail-
fellow-well-met with the crowd in the Hornet's
Nest, he was welcomed even more heartily by
the butchers.

Whenever he strolled into the abattoir a shout
would go up, for they all knew him.

" Eh v&ila! Stret Reel " shouted the butchers ;
and the girls working with them in the pens
shouted "Bonjour" to him, for these butchers
will not work without this girl helper, whom they
flirt with and chaff, and who is never much over
eighteen, well built, chosen for her good looks,
dressed in a short skirt, thick, dark-blue stock-
ings, and sabots bare-armed, bare-necked;
and always a ribbon, pink or blue, in a tiny bow
tied in her neatly dressed hair.

It is she who is the soubrette in the daily
killing. Straight-rye Jones knew them all.
One Jacqueline fell in love with him until
her own sweetheart knifed her; another, a small
brunette with hair as black and glossy as a Jap-
anese, knitted him a muffler. But neither
tempted him to drink. I believe the man who had
tempted him would have been knifed for his pains.


Over his studio cot a poorer one than he
had lent La Tzigane hung a faded kodak. He
had fashioned for it a little wooden frame. No
one ever mentioned this photograph save La
Tzigane. One afternoon, a week after he hung it
up, La Tzigane mentioned it. She made several
turns in the studio, glancing at it askance out
of her snake-like eyes.

Finally her curiosity got the better of her.

"Who is that woman there?" she inquired.

Then she shut her red mouth tight and backed
slowly away from its owner. Straight-rye Jones
had not uttered a word in reply. He simply held
the door open for her, and La Tzigane backed
slowly out of it, gazing at his eyes, in which there
lurked something akin to murder.

A year passed, and again Straight-rye Jones
disappeared. Three years, and no one saw him.
Some said he had gone to America. This infor-
mation was, however, vague.

One afternoon I turned the corner of the Rue
Henri Monnier. To my amazement, he stood
before me.


"For gosh sake!" he drawled. You see, his
language had grown milder.

The very little girl he held by the hand I did
not recognize as Delacour's. Straight-rye Jones
placed her very small hand in mine, for she was

!< Yours?" I stammered.

"Yes," he drawled, his whole face alight.
"Tell what father's goin' to get yer?" But she
pressed her fair little head against her father's
coat. "One er them little" he coaxed, and
bent to reassure her "one er them little -
them little -

" Rockin'-hor-thiz," lisped the little girl.

There flashed across my mind the kodak from
Montana and I was right-

La Tzigane, after Straight-rye Jones's disappearance,
endeavoured to inveigle into her heart a butcher who had both
meat and money. This proved to be a dangerous game. The
last I heard of her she was in the hospital with a knife
wound in her back stabbed by the butcher's sweetheart.

F.B. S.



We always go to the salon, no matter how poor we are, or
how poor it is. Besagon and Vautrin had promised to meet
me there and neither of them had turned up. I was glad
afterward they never did turn up, for otherwise this story
could have never been written. F. B. S.



rFIHE autumn salon had opened. Seen from
the gallery where Hollister and I stood, hah*
of artistic and fashionable Paris this afternoon
swarmed like black ants in and out among the
acres of sculpture under the mammoth glass roof
of the Grand Palais.

Antlike, the throng moved ceaselessly over-
running the broad stairways, sweeping up to
rooms after rooms of good and bad pictures, or
edged along their adjoining corridors choked



with the annual miscellany of drawings, jewellery,
and bronze.

Upon the spacious floor, lean, long-haired
painters, their frock coats brushed up for the
occasion, chatted with fat, well-fed critics. Here
too, had come the sculptor and his model, the
girl in a pre-Raphaelite gown of her own inven-
tion, her black hair worn in a bandeau half hiding
her tiny shells of ears.

Jack and I were looking at a bust by Rodin
when we ran across the young painter, Paul
Desmoulins, a tall black-eyed fellow of thirty, im-
maculate in a white silk stock and a black velvet
waistcoat. With him was a woman, slender
even in her furs, with a complexion like a rose of

Whether it was the satin sheen of her golden
hair, which brought the passing gaze of hundreds
upon her as she passed, the pearly whiteness of
her teeth, her lithe grace as she moved, or the
alert, fearless look in her blue eyes, I do not
know. There was something in her whole per-
sonality which attracted and dominated.

Desmoulins grasped Hollister's hand heartily.


"Well, well!" he cried. "How are you, my
boy?" and with a bow he courteously presented
Mademoiselle Coralie de Favrier.

"Ah!" exclaimed mademoiselle, with a frank
smile, and she lapsed into her broken English.

"So it iz zat I have zee pleasure of meeting
you, Monsieur Holleestaire," and she turned to
me. "You see, I know already since long time
your friend ah, yes! I see somezing in
London by him in zee Gallerie Nationale."

"Oh, my lion," laughed Jack, "I'm afraid its
pretty bad."

"Notzing of zee kind, Monsieur. It was not
bad only it is very difficult to know a lion
zee leetle characteristics "

"You may not be aware," interrupted Des-
moulins in French, "that Mademoiselle de Fav-
rier is speaking as a connoisseur."

"Ah! my friend! you must not flatter me so,"
replied the girl, laying her firm gloved hand on
the arm of her escort. "Non! It is not zat I
am an artiste, but you see I have many lion my-

"In sculpture, Mademoiselle?" ventured I.


"No, Monsieur, zat would be easier. Mine
are in zee cages.'* As she said it her blue eyes
half closed with a gaze in them as steady as

"Of course you do not know," she resumed
quietly- "you have nevaire seen me? Ah!
you artistes go so leetle to zee theatre. But,"
she added, seriously, "you shall come both of
you, I am going to send you a box, zen you shall
see my lions. I am at zee Folies Bergeres and
zis bad boy," she said, archly turning to Des-
moulins, "who always make me zee compliment,
he shall come too."

We presented her with our grateful thanks and
our cards. The latter she tucked safely within a
hidden pocket of her muff.

Hollister's eyes brightened.

"Wait a moment," said he, "y es it was last
year," and with a quick gesture he exclaimed:
"Why, of course I have seen you, Mademoiselle.
You were then at the Olympia. You were train-
ing a den of leopards. I shall never forget it.
They were superb."

" And myself a little fool," she added. " Really,


I shall nevaire, nevaire do zat again. I love life
too much."

" Come, show us your new group," pleaded
Desmoulins. "Mademoiselle has been search-
ing the catalogue for it where have they put
it, Hollister?"

"Oh! they've stuck it over there in the corner
near the stairs," said Jack, modestly. "Really,
I haven't the heart to show it to mademoiselle.
You see, if it were a group of nymphs or peas-
ants or anything else I wouldn't mind -
but lions! I'm afraid my 'Lion and Mate' is a

"But, Monsieur!" exclaimed mademoiselle.
" It is for zat I come ! Ah ! you artistes are impos-
sible. Truly. Come, I insist." She stretched
forth her hand to him.

"It is so bad," pleaded Jack.

"Nonsenze!" laughed Coralie de Favrier, and
Jack led the way.

"Forgive me," he said abruptly. "I should
be only too grateful for your criticism, honest
critics are so rare."

" Bah ! Zey are so stupide ! " returned Coralie.


"It is so vary, vary easy to criticize, so difficult
to create, isn't it?"

As she looked up at Hollister, he was conscious
of the courage in those blue eyes, and if there was
anything Jack admired in a woman it was cour-
age. Slender and graceful as she was, there was
a sense of physical strength about that finely
trained body of hers, which fascinated him, a
woman who could risk her life as she had in that
den of leopards and who even now was in daily
peril, who possessed a courage, a quick wit, pres-
ence of mind and an indomitable will. And yet,
after all, Coralie was feminine. You would never
have guessed this pretty woman was a lion tamer.

Coralie studied Jack's "Lion and Mate" care-
fully, her keen glance running along the muscles
of the lion's back who, with muzzle to the ground,
was scenting a fresh trail. Then she began to
scrutinize the lioness crouched beside her mate.

"Ah, yes! zat is better- ' she cried with
enthusiasm. "Zat is much better. Her hind-
quarters you make a leetle too thin, but, par-
bleu! zee weight is zere. It is zee lion which has
fault. You make him smell a fresh trail, eh?


He going to kill for his sweetheart, eh? Well,
zen his ears would lie flatter to his skull."

"By George, I knew it," exclaimed Jack to
me. "That was the thing I worried over for
weeks. The impression of scent."

"It is so discouraging working from rapid
memorandums of that lazy overfed lot of lions
at the Jardin des Plantes," explained Hollister.

"Of course, of course, I understand," replied
Coralie, "but you must not go zere, my friend;
not to zee public Zoo where zey lie about in zee
sun and get so fat as an old concierge. Nonl
I have a better idea ! You shall have one of my
lions as model. I shall arrange. I shall come
to your studio some morning soon and we talk it
over, eh? You shall show me zee new tiger zat
you make in marble."

"Can I expect you this week?" asked Jack,

Desmoulins raised his eyes, met the gaze of the
girl and lowered them.

"Zen Thursday morning," she said, "at ten."
And with a frank little nod to us both she swept
away in the throng on the arm of Desmoulins,


who, good fellow as he was, concealed his sudden
jealousy, I must confess, with poor grace.

Thursday morning Hollister's studio received
an extra cleaning. I helped him straighten
things out, stowing the trash behind the curtain
and sweeping into the dark corners as much of
the debris of failures as we could. Suddenly,
the rattle and abrupt stopping of a cab put an
end to this hasty cleaning.

"There she is!" said Jack, shoving the broom
under the divan. "Don't poke your head in
evidence out of the window, it's ill bred."

"Hark!" whispered Jack, as the silky swish
and rustle of skirts preceded by a slouching tread
approached the door.

" The devil ! " he muttered. " I'll bet you that
Desmoulins is in the cab with her; he's never
without her, in fact."

A sharp rap brought us to our feet, and Hoi-
lister strode over to slip the bolt. As he did so
the door flew open. I shall never forget the
sight in that open doorway. There stood a full-
grown lion, and a little behind him, one gloved


hand buried in his shaggy mane, smiled Made-
moiselle Coralie de Favrier, the slight cord that
tethered the lion wrapped about her wrist.

I am not used to full-grown lions butting into
one's studio at ten in the morning, and I edged
to a safer corner.

Coralie was still smiling, smiling mischievously
through those clear blue eyes of hers, but I saw a
flash of pride in them as she looked at Hollister,
erect, within a yard of her pet.

" You see, my good friend," she said gayly, "I
have kept my promise. You shall make zis tune
a sketch of a forest bred.

"Come, Monsieur," she added, nodding to me.
" You must not have zee fear. He will not hurt
you. He is my good old Jean Bart. He is as
gentle as a kitten."

She led the lion to the corner beside the divan
and passed the cord with a hah 6 hitch about
Jack's brass fender.

" There ! Lie down ! " she commanded gently,
and the great beast settled to the floor, turning
in his huge paws, one blow of which could have
crushed the skull of an ox.


"See!" cried Coralie. "His teeth are almost
gone, poor old beast!" She stripped off her
gloves and tossed them on the divan and opened
Jean Bart's jaws.

"You mean to say you brought him here all the
way from the Folies Bergere?" exclaimed Jack.

" Yes, why not? " laughed Coralie. " We came
in a closed cab. I know zee coachman. He
used to be my groom at zee Nouveau Cirque.
No one see us."

"It's a good thing my old concierge lives next
door. She would have had a fit," replied Jack.

"Forgive me for my timidity," I apologized.
"I'm afraid my nerves are not as steady as Mr.

"Ah! zat is quite natural, quite natural," she

replied. "But Monsieur Holleestaire," she

added, looking up at Jack with a little gleam of

pride, "you were not afraid. You stood zee

ground like an old hand. You have seen lions

loose before, eh? Yes, I am right, am I not?

Zere was somezing in your eyes zat told me so."

: *Yes, once," confessed Jack.

''You were training once?" she asked, with as


much naturalness as if she had inquired if he
had once studied law.

"No, shooting."

"In Africa?"

'Yes, with Sir Roderick Welch. We were
gone ten months until the rain cut us off. I
killed two," added Jack. "An old and a young
one, but Sir Roderick killed four. He is a fine
shot and a fine fellow."

Again Coralie looked into his eyes with that
same flash of pride she had given him as she
entered. "I too have been in Africa," she said,

She was seated now in the cozy corner of the

" I knew it," she exclaimed. :< You Americans
have zee courage. I like zat. Zat is why zis
morning I come to you. Listen !

"Somezing dreadful has happened. Last
night at zee Cafe de Paris," she raised her hand
as Jack started to speak. "Listen!" she re-
peated, almost severely. "What a dinner last
night! What a dinner! It is zat jalousie which
makes always some stupide trouble, eh ?


" You know Desmoulins? " she went on rapidly,
with a toss of her head.

Jack and I nodded.

" Well, you know he vary fond of me. He ask
me always zat I marry him. An' I say no, not
yet, and so he ask me thousand times zee same
sing. In zee theatre, at zee supper, oh, la, la!"
and she shrugged her shoulders, hopelessly. " He
is quite crazy, zat Desmoulins, an' last night we
dine at zee Cafe de Paris."

"I see," interrupted Jack, "and there some
brute looked at you in a way Desmoulins did
not like."

"No, not zat exactly. Franchard, zee archi-
tect, he come into zee cafe, and he is an old friend
of Desmoulins. Zey are what you say in Eng-
lish, like brozaires, and Desmoulins he make
Franchard anozer place at zee table. Well, mon
Dieu, we have not eat zee fish before in come
Gaston de Courcelles. You know zat old bear? "

Jack hesitated.

' My goodness, you do not know zat De Cour-
celles? Why, everybody in Paris know him.
It is he who arrange zee zee duels like Diebler


arrange zee execution rfest-ce pas? Zat stu-
pide fat old De Courcelles, wiz his red face an'
his big moustache! and he is so stupide oh, la,
la! He always make trouble. So zat old fool
he come dine wiz us so we make four at table and
Desmoulins and Franchard zey drink two bottles
of champagne while zat old bear he pay me zee
compliment. He like I marry him, too, and
Franchard he want I marry him and he ask me
hundred times but nevaire before Desmoulins
for zey were zee best of friends. So when zee
bill came Franchard he pay it as quick as a
prestidigitateur and zat make Desmoulins mad.
He say Franchard is a bad friend to him, and zen
De Courcelles he get redder in zee face, and he say
somezing to Desmoulins zat make Franchard
and he look at each ozer as white as my

"Um!" said Jack, and he wheeled where he
sat, regarding Coralie intently.

"People begin look at us and I say I going to
leave and I send for zee coachman for my coupe,
and when zee maid she help me on wiz my cloak,
Desmoulins he slap Franchard's face."


The lion raised his shaggy head, as Coralie's
voice rose in her intensity.

"Now zey is going to fight, for zat old fool De
Courcelles, he say zey must fight for zee sake of
zere honaire. I go now to see him." She rose
from the divan with a defiant look in her eyes.

"I vill not have zat duel on my account," she
cried, " zat I vill not have. Zey are crazy, all of
zem. I go talk to De Courcelles. I leave Jean
Bart viz you. I shall be back for him in half an
hour. You need not be afraid, he will be as
quiet as a dog."

"I see," muttered Jack, and he fell to pacing
the floor, as Coralie adjusted her veil.

"And you say De Courcelles arranged it?"

questioned Hollister, looking gloomily up into

Coralie's eyes, as she held out her hand to him.

"Yes, it was he - " she answered. "It is not

zee first time he arrange zose horrid affairs."

The lion rose, dragging the fender with him,
then settled down obedient to the command of
his mistress. He evidently understood, for,
though he watched her every movement with his
old gray eyes, he made no further attempt to


follow her to the door. " Au revoir, my friend,"
said Coralie, and, with a word to Jean Bart, she
closed the door behind her.

We were alone with the lion.

Do you know how it feels to be alone with a
lion? It is an uncomfortable sensation, a sense
of being helpless before the king of beasts with
only his good will between you and death.

I watched him as Jack made half a dozen
memorandum sketches of him. He was majestic
as he lay there in the corner of the studio with
his ponderous head, his tawny mane and those
dignified eyes of his. As lions go, Jean Bart was
an exception, for his mistress had told us he had
never yet " gone bad," and more than once he had
saved the life of Coralie once in Berlin when
she had slipped, (that calamity, the most hope-
less that can happen to a trainer of wild beasts)
and Jean Bart had defended her from two other
lions. Now, he was too old to work and too
wise to be savage. Occasionally a low moan
escaped him, but it was more like the whine of
an obedient dog left on a doorstep.

"He's lovely!" said Jack, laying down his


sketch block. "Have a cigarette?" and he
brought me the box from the end of the divan,
then he crossed to the stove and stood smoking
for some time in silence.

"Then," he said at length. "I wonder what
would happen to De Courcelles if he ever got as
far West as Cripple Creek? I can see De Cour-
celles trying to ' arrange ' things some Saturday
night in the American 'Eagle Bar' or down at
'Four Star' when the gang was flush. He'd
get all the arrangement he wanted. He doesn't
even deserve a pine box. I've seen better men
than he go into six feet of dirt without one. I

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Online LibraryF. Berkeley (Frank Berkeley) SmithThe street of the two friends → online text (page 14 of 16)