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The common law


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Title:TheCommonLaw
Author:RobertW.Chambers
ReleaseDate:October20,2004[EBook#13813]
Language:English
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The
COMMONLAW

WorksofRobertW.Chambers
TheCommonLaw



TheAdventuresofaModestMan
AilsaPaige
TheDangerMark
SpecialMessenger
TheFiringLine
TheYoungerSet
TheFightingChance
SomeLadiesinHaste
TheTreeofHeaven
TheTracerofLostPersons
AYoungManinaHurry
Lorraine
MaidsofParadise
AshesofEmpire
TheRedRepublic
Outsiders
TheGreenMouse
Iole
TheReckoning
TheMaid-at-Arms
Cardigan
TheHauntsofMen
TheMysteryofChoice
TheCambricMask
TheMakerofMoons
TheKinginYellow
InSearchoftheUnknown
TheConspirators
AKingandaFewDukes
IntheQuarter
ForChildren
Garden-Land
Forest-Land
River-Land
Mountain-Land
Orchard-Land



Outdoor-Land
HideandSeekinForest-Land

The
COMMONLAW
BY
ROBERTW.CHAMBERS

WITHILLUSTRATIONSBY
CHARLESDANAGIBSON

NEWYORKANDLONDOND.APPLETONANDCOMPANY
1911

[Illustration:"Shesatatthepiano,runningherfingerslightlyoverthe
keyboard."[Page48.]]

TOCHARLESDANAGIBSON
AFRIENDOFMANYYEARS

LISTOFILLUSTRATIONS


PAGE

"Shesatatthepiano,runningherfingerslightlyoverthekeyboard"Frontispiece
"Therewasalong,brisk,decisiveringatthedoor"3
"'Now,MissWest,'hesaiddecisively"13
"'Iknowperfectlywellthatthisisn'tright,'shesaid"31
"'What'sthematterwithit,then?'"40
"Foralongwhileshesat,hercheekrestingononepalm,lookingfixedlyinto
space"65
"Nevillestoodstock-stillbeforethecanvas"81
"Whenhefirsttriedtoringherupthewirewasbusy"83
"'Kelly,dear,areyouunhappy?'"90
"Hepickedupabitofwhitechalk…andtracedonthefloortheoutlineofher
shoes"93
"'IwillcallyouagodifIlike!'"96
"'Ifshe'sasmuchofawinnerasallthat,'beganCameronwithdecision,'Iwant
tomeetherimmediately—'"109
"'Comeon,Alice,ifyou'regoingtoscrubbeforeluncheon'"116
"'Iknowitisyou.Isit?'125
"Asmartlydressedandveryconfidentdrummer"136
"Valeriesatcross-leggedonthegrass…scribblingaway"145
"'Howwellyoulook!'Heexclaimed"149
"Queridahadlaughed…andreturnedcomplimentforcompliment"175


"'Melord,thetaxiwaits!'"179
MazieGray183
"Andthelastrosedroppedfromherhand"188-189
"'Howperfectlyhorridyoucanbe!'sheexclaimed"199
"Shebeganbybalancinghercheckbook"224
"Hestoodbeforeit,searchinginitforanyhintofthatelusiveandmysterious
something"229
"'Ishallhaveneedoffriends,'shesaidhalftoherself"245
'"Don'tdoit,Valerie!'"247
"Ogilvystoodlookingsentimentallyatthetwoyounggirls"249
"Valerie'slipstrembledontheedgeofasmileasshebentloweroverher
sewing"286
"SheandRitadinedwithhimonceortwice"293
"Tall,transparentlypale,negativeincharacter"297
"Herpoise,herunconsciousness,thewinningsimplicityofhermannerwere
noticedeverywhere"307
"'Wheredoyoukeepthoseprettymodels,Louis?'hedemanded"315
"'Your—profession—mustbeanexceedinglyinterestingone,'saidLily"326
"Itwasalarge,thick,darkbook,andweighednearlyfourpounds"338
TheCountessd'Enver347
"'MayIsitherewithyouuntilshearrives?IamStephanieSwift'"355
"'John,youdon'tlookverywell,'saidValerie"359


"'Itisverybeautiful,Louis,'saidhismother,withasmileofpride"387
"'Youarenothappy,Louis'"390
"'Whathaveyoubeensayingtoyourmother?'heasked"404
"'Ifyou'llplacealumpofsugaronmynose,andsay"when,"I'llperform'"409
"Andwhathappiercompanyforherthanherthoughts—whattenderer
companionshipthanhermemories?"413
"Sheprowledaroundthelibrary,luxuriously,dippingintoinvitingvolumes"415
"'MissWest!'heexclaimed.'Howonearthdidyoueverfindyourwayintomy
woods?'"417
"'Dearest,'hewhispered,puttinghisarmaroundher,'youmustcomewithus'"
427
"'Well,Louis,whatdoyouknowaboutthis?'"430
"Theparrotgreetedher,flappinghisbrilliantwingsandshriekingfromhis
perch"449
"'Andthey—themajorityofthem—are,afterall,justmen'"453
"HisthoughtsweremostlycentredonValerie"458
"Ogilvy…beganalivelyfencingboutwithanimaginaryadversary"479
"ThenRitacamesilentlyonsandalledfeettostandbehindhimandlookatwhat
hehaddone"483
"'You'dbetterunderstand,Kelly,thatRitaTevisisaswellbornasIam'"491
"Shekneltdownbesidethebedand…saidwhateverprayershehadinmind"
507
"Shewaslongeroverherhair…gatheringitandbringingitunderdiscipline"
510


"'Yes,'shesaid,'itisreallygreat'"521
"'Iamscaredblue.That'swhyI'mholdingontoyourhandsodesperately'"531


THECOMMONLAW
CHAPTERI

Therewasalong,brisk,decisiveringatthedoor.Hecontinuedworking.After
anintervalthebellrangagain,briefly,asthoughthelighttouchontheelectric
buttonhadlostitsassurance.
"Somebody'sconfidencehasdeparted,"hethoughttohimself,busywithaleadweightedstringandastickofsoftcharcoalwrappedinsilverfoil.Forafew
momentshecontinuedworking,notinclinedtotroublehimselftoanswerthe
door,butthehesitatingtimidityofathirdappealamusedhim,andhewalkedout
intothehallwayandopenedthedoor.Inthedimlightadepartingfigureturned
fromthestairway:
"Doyouwishamodel?"sheaskedinanunsteadyvoice.
"No,"hesaid,vexed.
"Then—Ibegyourpardonfordisturbingyou—"
"Whogaveyoumyname?"hedemanded.
"Why—nobody—"
"Whosentyoutome?Didn'tanybodysendyou?"
"No."
"Buthowdidyougetin?"
"I—walkedin."


Therewasascarcelyperceptiblepause;thensheturnedawayinthedimlightof
thecorridor.
"Youknow,"hesaid,"modelsarenotsupposedtocomehereunlesssentfor.It
isn'tdoneinthisbuilding."Hepointedtoablackandwhitesignonhisdoor
whichborethewords:"NoAdmittance."
"Iamverysorry.Ididn'tunderstand—"
"Oh,it'sallright;only,Idon'tseehowyougotuphereatall.
Didn'ttheelevatorboyquestionyou?It'shisbusiness."
"Ididn'tcomeupontheelevator."
"Youdidn'twalkup!"
"Yes."
"Twelvestories!"
"Bothelevatorshappenedtobeinservice.Besides,Iwasnotquitecertainthat
modelswereexpectedtousetheelevators."
"GoodLord!"heexclaimed,"youmusthavewantedanengagementpretty
badly."
"Yes,Idid."
Hestared:"Isupposeyoudo,still,"
"Ifyouwouldcaretotryme."
"I'lltakeyournameandaddress,anyhow.Twelveflights!Fortheloveof—oh,
comeinanywayandrest."
Itwasduskyintheprivatehallwaythroughwhichheprecededher,buttherewas
lightenoughinthegreatstudio.Throughthevastsheetsofglassfleecyclouds
showedblueskybetween.Themorningwasclearing.
HewentovertoanornateLouisXVtable,pickedupanotebook,motionedher
tobeseated,droppedintoachairhimself,andbegantosharpenapencil.Asyet


hehadscarcelyglancedather,andnow,whileheleisurelyshavedthecedarand
scrapedtheleadtoapoint,heabsent-mindedlyandgood-humouredly
admonishedher:
"Youmodelshaveyourownguild,yourclub,yourregularroutine,anditwould
makeitmucheasierforusifyou'dallregisterandquietlywaituntilwesendfor
you.
[Illustration:"Therewasalong,brisk,decisiveringatthedoor."]
"Youseewepaintersknowwhatwewantandweknowwheretoapplyforit.
Butifyouallgowanderingoverstudiobuildingsinsearchofengagements,we
won'thaveanyleisuretoemployyoubecauseitwilltakeallourtimetoanswer
thebell.Anditwillendbyournotansweringitatall.Andthat'swhyitisfitand
properforgoodlittlemodelstoremainchezeux."
Hehadachievedapointtohispencil.Nowheopenedhismodelbook,lookedup
atherwithhisabsentsmile,andremainedlooking.
"Aren'tyougoingtoremoveyourveil?"
"Oh—Ibegyourpardon!"Slenderglovedfingersflewup,werenervouslybusy
amoment.Sheremovedherveilandsatasthoughawaitinghiscomment.None
came.
Afteramoment'spauseshesaid:"Didyouwish—mynameandaddress?"
Henodded,stilllookingintentlyather.
"MissWest,"shesaid,calmly.Hewroteitdown.
"Isthatall?Just'MissWest'?"
"ValerieWest—ifthatiscustom—necessary."
Hewrote"ValerieWest";and,asshegaveittohim,henotedheraddress.
"Headandshoulders?"heasked,quietly.
"Yes,"veryconfidently.


"Figure?"
"Yes,"—lessconfidently.
"Drapedorundraped?"
Whenhelookedupagain,foraninstanthethoughtherskinevenwhiterthanit
hadbeen;perhapsnot,for,exceptthevividlipsandacarnationtintinthe
cheeks,thesnowybeautyofherfaceandneckhadalreadypreoccupiedhim.
"Doyouposeundraped?"herepeated,interested.
"I—expecttodo—whatis—requiredof—models."
"Sensible,"hecommented,notingthedetailinhisbook."Now,Miss
West,forwhomhaveyourecentlyposed?"
And,asshemadenoreply,helookedupamiably,balancinghispencilinhis
handandrepeatingthequestion.
"Isitnecessaryto—tellyou?"
"Notatall.Oneusuallyasksthatquestion,probablybecauseyoumodelsare
alwayssoeverlastinglyanxioustotellus—particularlywhenthemenforwhom
youhaveposedaremorefamousthanthepoordevilwhooffersyouan
engagement."
Therewassomethingverygoodhumouredinhissmile,andshestrovetosmile,
too,buthercalmnesswasnowallforced,andherheartwasbeatingveryfast,
andherblack-glovedfingerswereclosinganddoublingtillthehandsthatrested
onthearmsofthegildedantiquechairlaytightlyclenched.
Hewasleisurelywritinginhisnotebookunderhername:
"Height,medium;eyes,adarkbrown;hair,thick,lustrous,andbrown;head,
unusuallybeautiful;throatandneck,perfect—"
Hestoppedwritingandliftedhiseyes:
"Howmuchofyourtimeistakenahead,Iwonder?"


"What?"
"Howmanyengagementshaveyou?Isyourtimeallcutup—asIfancyitis?"
"N-no."
"CouldyougivemewhattimeImightrequire?"
"Ithinkso."
"WhatImean,MissWest,isthis:supposethatyourfigureiswhatIhaveanidea
itis;couldyougivemealotoftimeahead?"
Sheremainedsilentsolongthathehadstartedtowrite,"probablyunreliable,"
underhisnotes;but,ashispencilbegantomove,herlipsunclosedwith,alow,
breathlesssoundthatbecameaghostofavoice:
"Iwilldowhatyourequireofme.Imeanttoanswer."
"Doyoumeanthatyouareinapositiontomakeatimecontractwithme?—
providedyouprovetobewhatIneed?"
Shenoddeduncertainly.
"I'mbeginningtheceiling,lunettes,andpanelsfortheByzantineTheatre,"he
added,sternlystrokinghisshortmustache,"andunderthosecircumstancesI
supposeyouknowwhatacontractbetweenusmeans."
Shenoddedagain,butinhereyeswasbewilderment,andinherheart,fear.
"Yes,"shemanagedtosay,"IthinkIunderstand."
"Verywell.Imerelywanttosaythatamodelthrewmedownhardinthevery
middleoftheBimmington'sball-room.MaxSchindlerputonashow,andshe
putforthespot-light.She'dbetterstayput,"headdedgrimly:"she'llneverhave
anotherchanceinyourguild."
Thenthefrownvanished,andtheexceedinglyengagingsmileglimmeredinhis
eyes:
"Youwouldn'tdosuchathingasthattome,"headded;"wouldyou,


MissWest?"
"Oh,no,"shereplied,notclearlycomprehendingtheenormityofthe
Schindlerrecruit'sbehaviour.
"Andyou'llstandbymeifourengagementgoesthrough?"
"Yes,I—willtryto."
"Goodbusiness!Now,ifyoureallyarewhatIhaveanideayouare,I'llknow
prettyquickwhetherIcanuseyoufortheByzantinejob."Herose,walkedover
toapairofclosedfoldingdoorsandopenedthem."Youcanundressinthere,"he
said."Ithinkyouwillfindeverythingyouneed."
Forasecondshesatrigid,herblack-glovedhandsdoubled,hereyesfastenedon
himasthoughfascinated.Hehadalreadyturnedandsaunteredovertooneof
severaleaselswherehepickedupthelumpofcharcoalinitssilverfoil.
Thecolourbegantocomebackintoherface—swifter,moreswiftly:thevast
blankwindowwithitsambercurtainsstaredather;sheliftedhertragicgazeand
sawthesheetofglassaboveswimmingincrystallight.Throughitcloudswere
dissolvinginthebluestofskies;againstitaspiderwebofpendantcordsdrooped
fromthehighceiling;andshesawtheloomingmysteryofhugecanvasesbeside
whichstepladdersrosesurmountedbylittlecrow's-nestswherethegracefuloval
ofpalettescurved,tintedwithscrapedbrilliancy.
"Whatadreameryouare!"hecalledacrossthestudiotoher."Thelightisfine,
now.Hadn'twebettertakeadvantageofit?"
Shemanagedtofindherfooting;contrivedtorise,tomovewithapparentselfpossessiontowardthefoldingdoors.
"Betterhurry,"hesaid,pleasantly."Ifyou'rewhatIneedwemightstartthings
now.IamallreadyforthesortoffigureIexpectyouhave."
Shesteppedinsidetheroomandbecamedesperatelybusyforamomenttrying
toclosethedoors;buteitherherhandshadsuddenlybecomepowerlessorthey
shooktoomuch;andwhenheturned,almostimpatiently,fromhiseaseltosee
whatallthatrattlingmeant,sheshrankhastilyasideintotheroombeyond,
keepingoutofhisview.


Theroomwascharming—notlikethestudio,butmodernandfreshanddainty
withchintzandfloweredwall-paperandthegracefulwhitefurnitureofabedroom.Therewasafloweredscreenthere,too.Behinditstoodachair,andonto
thisshesank,laidherhandsforaninstantagainstherburningface,thenstooped
and,scarcelyknowingwhatshewasabout,begantountieherpatent-leather
shoes.
Heremainedstandingathiseasel,verybusywithhisstringandlumpof
charcoal;butafterawhileitoccurredtohimthatshewastakinganannoyingly
longtimeaboutasimplematter.
"Whatonearthisthetrouble?"hecalled."Doyourealiseyou'vebeenintherea
quarterofanhour?"
Shemadenoanswer.Asecondlaterhethoughtheheardanindistinctsound—
anditdisquietedhim.
"MissWest?"
Therewasnoreply.
Impatient,alittledisturbed,hewalkedacrosstothefoldingdoors;andthesame
low,suppressedsoundcaughthisear.
"Whatinthenameof—"hebegan,walkingintotheroom;andhalted,amazed.
Shesatallhuddledtogetherbehindthescreen,partlyundressed,herfacehidden
inherhands;andbetweentheslenderfingerstearsrandownbrightly.
"Areyouill?"heasked,anxiously.
Afteramomentsheslowlyshookherhead.
"Then—whatinthenameofMike—"
"P-pleaseforgiveme.I—Iwillbereadyinain-moment—ifyouwouldn'tmind
goingout—"
"Areyouill?Answerme?"


"N-no."
"Hasanythingdisturbedyousothatyoudon'tfeeluptoposingto-day?"
"No….I—am—almostready—ifyouwillgoout—"
Heconsideredher,uneasyandperplexed.Then:
"Allright,"hesaid,briefly."Takeyourowntime,MissWest."
Athiseasel,fussingwithyard-stickandcrayon,hebegantosquareoffhis
canvas,mutteringtohimself:
"Whatthedeuceisthematterwiththatgirl?Nicemomenttonursesecret
sorrowsorblightedaffections.There'salwayssomethingwrongwiththebest
lookers….Andsheisarealbeauty—orImissmyguess."Hewentonrulingoff,
measuring,grumbling,untilslowlytherecameoverhimthesenseofthe
nearnessofanotherperson.Hehadnotheardherenter,butheturnedaround,
knowingshewasthere.
Shestoodsilent,motionless,asthoughmotionterrifiedherandinertiawere
salvation.Herdarkhairrippledtoherwaist;herwhitearmshunglimp,yetthe
fingershadcurledtilleverydelicatenailwaspresseddeepintothepinkpalm.
Shewastryingtolookathim.Herfacewasaswhiteasaflower.
"Allright,"hesaidunderhisbreath,"you'repracticallyfaultless.Isupposeyou
realiseit!"
Ascarcelyperceptibleshiverpassedoverherentirebody,then,ashestepped
back,hiskeenartist'sgazenarrowing,therestoleoverheradelicateflush,
faintlystainingherfrombrowtoankle,transfiguringthepallourexquisitely,
enchantingly.Andhersmallheaddroopedforward,shadowedbyherhair.
"You'rewhatIwant,"hesaid."You'reabouteverythingIrequireincolourand
formandtexture."
Sheneitherspokenormovedasmuchasaneyelash.
"Lookhere,MissWest,"hesaidinaslightlyexcitedvoice,"let'sgoaboutthis
thingintelligently."Heswunganothereaselonitsrollers,displayingasketchin


soft,brilliantcolours—amultitudeoffiguresamidaswirlofsunset-tintedclouds
andpatchesofazuresky.
"You'reintelligent,"hewentonwithanimation,—"Isawthat—somehowor
other—thoughyouhaven'tsaidverymuch."Helaughed,andlaidhishandon
thepaintedcanvasbesidehim:
"You'reamodel,andit'snotnecessarytoinformyouthatthisIsonlya
preliminarysketch.Yourexperiencetellsyouthat.Butitisnecessarytotellyou
thatit'sthefinalcomposition.I'vedecidedonthisarrangementfortheceiling:
Youseeforyourselfthatyou'reperfectlyfittedtostandorsitforallthese
floating,drifting,cloud-cradledgoddesses.You'reaninspirationinyourself—for
theperfectionsofOlympus!"headded,laughing,"andthat'snoidlecompliment.
Butofcourseotherartistshaveoftentoldyouthisbefore—asthoughyoudidn't
haveeyesofyourownIAndbeautifulonesatthat!"Helaughedagain,turned
anddraggedatwo-storiedmodel-standacrossthefloor,tosseduponeortwosilk
cushions,andnoddedtoher.
"Don'tbeafraid;it'sricketybutsafe.Itwillholdusboth.Areyouready?"
Asinadreamshesetonelittlebarefootonthesteps,mounted,balancingwith
armsextendedandthetipsofherfingersrestingonhisoutstretchedhand.
Standingonthestepshearrangedthecushions,toldherwheretobeseated,how
torecline,placedthewedgesandblockstosupportherfeet,chalkedthebases,
markedpositionswitharrows,andwedgedandblockedupherelbow.Thenhe
threwoverherasoft,white,woolrobe,swathingherfromthroattofeet,
descendedthesteps,touchedanelectricbell,andpickingupahugecleanpalette
begantosqueezeoutcoilsofcolourfromadozenplumptubes.
Presentlyashort,squarelybuiltmanentered.Heworeabluejumper;therewere
tracesofpaintonit,onhislargesquarehands,onhissquare,seriousface.
"O'Hara?"
"Sorr?"
"We'regoingtobeginnow!—thankHeaven.Soifyou'llbekindenoughtohelp
moveforwardtheceilingcanvas—"


O'Haraglancedupcarelesslyattheswathedandmotionlessfigureabove,then
calmlyspatuponhishandsandlaidholdofonesideofthehugecanvas
indicated.Thepaintertooktheotherside.
"Now,O'Hara,careful!Backoffalittle!—don'tletitsway!There—that'swhere
Iwantit.Getaladderandclampthetops.Pitchitalittleforward—more!—stop!
Fixthosepullyropes;I'llmakethingssnugbelow."
[Illustration:"'Now,MissWest,'hesaiddecisively."]
Fortenminutestheyworkeddeftly,rapidly,makingfastthegreatblankcanvas
whichhadbeensquaredandsetwithanenormousovalinheavyoutline.
Fromherloftyeyrieshelookeddownatthemasinadreamwhiletheyshifted
otherenormousframedcanvasesandsettledtheovaloneintoplace.Everything
belowseemedtobeonrubberwheelsorcasters,easels,stepladders,colour
cabinets,eventhegreatbasewheretheovalsetcanvasrested.
Shelookedupatthebluesky.Sparrowsdroppedoutofthebrilliantvoidinto
unseencanonsfarbelowfromwhencecamethesoftenedroaroftraffic.
Northwardthecityspreadawaybetweenitsrivers,glitteringundertheearly
Aprilsun;theParklaylikeagreyandgreenmapsetwith,theirregularsilverof
water;beyond,thehugeunfinishedcathedralloomeddarkagainstthebigwhite
hospitalofSt.Luke;fartherstillalilac-tintedhazehungalongtheedgesofthe
Bronx.
"Allright,O'Hara.Muchobliged.Iwon'tneedyouagain."
"Verygood,Sorr."
Theshort,broadIrishmanwentoutwithanotherincuriousglancealoft,and
closedtheouterdoor.
Highuponherperchshewatchedthemanbelow.Hecalmlyremovedcoatand
waistcoat,pulledapainter'slinenblouseoverhiscurlyhead,lightedacigarette,
pickeduphispalette,fastenedatincuptotheedge,filleditfromabottle,tooka
handfulofbrushesandabunchofcheesecloth,andbegantoclimbupa
stepladderoppositeher,lugginghissketchintheotherhand.
Hefastenedthelittlesketchtoanuprightandstoodontheladderhalfwayup,


oneleghigherthantheother.
"Now,MissWest,"hesaiddecisively.
Atthesoundofhisvoicefearagainleapedthroughherlikeaflame,burningher
faceassheletslipthewhitewoolrobe.
"Allright,"hesaid."Don'tmovewhileI'mdrawingunlessyouhaveto."
Shecouldseehimworking.Heseemedtobedrawingwithabrush,rapidly,and
with,akindofassurancethatappearedalmostcareless.
Atfirstshecouldmakeoutlittleofthelines.Theywerealldarkintint,thin,
tingedwithplumcolour.Thereseemedtobenocurvesinthem—andatfirstshe
couldnotcomprehendthathewasdrawingherfigure.Butafteralittlewhile
curvesappeared;longdelicateoutlinesbegantoemergeasroundedsurfacesin
monochrome,castingdefiniteshadowsonothersurfaces.Shecouldrecognise
theshapeofahumanhead;sawitgraduallybecomeacolourlessdrawing;saw
shoulders,arms,abodyemergingintoshadowyshape;sawthelongfinelimbs
appear,theslenderindicationoffeet.
Thenflatonthecheeklayapatchofbrilliantcolour,anotheronthemouth.A
greatswirlofcloudformssprangintoviewhighpiledinacornerofthecanvas.
Andnowheseemedtobeeternallyrunningupanddownhisladder,shiftingit
hereandthereacrossthevastwhitebackgroundofcanvas,drawinggreat
meaninglesslinesindistantexpansesofthetexture,then,alwaysconsultingher
withhiskeen,impersonalgaze,hepushedbackhisladder,mounted,wipedthe
bigbrushes,selectedotherssmallerandflatter,consideringherinpenetrating
silencebetweeneverybrush,stroke.
Shesawafaceandhairgrowinglovelyunderhereyes,bathedinaniris-tinted
light;sawlittleexquisiteflecksofcoloursethereandthereonthewhite
expanse;watchedallsointently,sowonderingly,thatthenumbnessofherbody
becameathrobbingpainbeforeshewasawarethatshewasenduringtorture.
Shestrovetomove,gavealittlegasp;andhewasdownfromhisladderandup
onhersbeforeherhalf-paralysedbodyhadswayedtotheedgeofdanger.
"Whydidn'tyousayso?"heasked,sharply."Ican'tkeeptrackoftimewhenI'm


working!"
Witharmsandfingersthatscarcelyobeyedhershecontrivedtogatherthewhite
woolcoveringaroundhershouldersandlimbsandlayback.
"Youknow,"hesaid,"thatit'sfoolishtoactthisway.Idon'twanttokillyou,
MissWest."
Sheonlyloweredherheadamiditslovelycrownofhair.
"Youknowyourownlimits,"hesaid,resentfully.Helookeddownatthebig
clock:"It'safullhour.Youhadonlytospeak.Whydidn'tyou?"
"I—Ididn'tknowwhattosay."
"Didn'tknow!"Hepaused,astonished.Then:"Well,youfeltyourselfgetting
numb,didn'tyou?"
"Y-yes.ButIthoughtitwas—tobeexpected"—sheblushedvividlyunderhis
astonishedgaze:"IthinkIhadbettertellyouthat—thatthisis—thefirsttime."
"Thefirsttime!"
"Yes….Ioughttohavetoldyou.Iwasafraidyoumightnotwantme."
"Lordabove!"hebreathed."Youpoor—poorlittlething!"
Shebegantocrysilently;hesawthedropsfallshiningonthewhitewoolrobe,
andleanedoneelbowontheladder,watchingthem.Afterawhiletheyceased,
butshestillheldherheadlow,andherfacewasbentinthewarmshadowofher
hair.
"HowcouldIunderstand?"heaskedverygently.
"I—shouldhavetoldyou.Iwasafraid."
Hesaid:"I'mterriblysorry.Itmusthavebeenperfecttortureforyoutoundress
—tocomeintothestudio.Ifyou'donlygivenmeanideaofhowmattersstoodI
couldhavemadeitalittleeasier.I'mafraidIwasbrusque—takingitforgranted
thatyouwereamodelandknewyourbusiness….I'mterriblysorry."


Sheliftedherhead,lookedathim,withthetearsstillclingingtoherlashes.
"Youhavebeenverynicetome.Itisallmyownfault."
Hesmiled."Thenit'sallright,nowthatweunderstand.Isn'tit?"
"Yes."
"Youmakeastunningmodel,"hesaidfrankly.
"DoI?Thenyouwillletmecomeagain?"
"Letyou!"Helaughed;"I'llbemorelikelytobegyou."
"Oh,youwon'thaveto,"shesaid;"I'llcomeaslongasyouwantme."
"Thatissimplyangelicofyou.Tellme,doyouwishtodescendtoterrafirma?"
Sheglancedbelow,doubtfully:
"N-no,thankyou.IfIcouldonlystretchmy—legs—"
"Stretchaway,"hesaid,muchamused,"butdon'ttumbleoffandbreakinto
pieces.IlikeyoubetterasyouarethanasanantiqueandlimblessVenus."
Shecautiouslyanddaintilyextendedfirstonelegthentheotherunderthewool
robe,theneasedthecrampedmusclesofherback,straighteningherbodyand
flexingherarmswithalittlesighofrelief.Ashershysidelonggazerevertedto
himshesawtoherreliefthathewasnotnoticingher.Aslightsenseofwarmth,
suffusedherbody,andshestretchedherselfagain,moreconfidently,and
venturedtoglancearound.
"Speakingofterms,"hesaidinanabsentway,apparentlypreoccupiedwiththe
palettewhichhewascarefullyscraping,"doyouhappentoknowwhatisthe
usualrecompenseforamodel'sservice?"
Shesaidthatshehadheard,andaddedwithquickdiffidencethatshecouldnot
expectsomuch,beingonlyabeginner.
Hepolishedthesurfaceofthepalettewithahandfulofcheesecloth:


"Don'tyouthinkthatyouareworthit?"
"HowcanIbeuntilIknowhowtoposeforyou?"
"Youwillneverhavetolearnhowtopose,MissWest."
"Idon'tknowexactlywhatyoumean."
"Imeanthatsomemodelsneverlearn.Someknowhowalready—you,for
example."
Sheflushedslightly:"Doyoureallymeanthat?"
"Oh,Iwouldn'tsaysoifIdidn't.It'smerelynecessaryforyoutoaccustom
yourselftoholdingapose;therestyoualreadyknowinstinctively."
"Whatistherest?"sheventuredtoask."Idon'tquiteunderstandwhatyouseein
me—"
"Well,"hesaidplacidly,"youarebeautifullymade.Thatisnine-tenthsofthe
matter.Yourheadissetlogicallyonyourneck,andyourneckiscorrectlyplaced
onyourspine,andyourlegsandarmsareproperlyattachedtoyourtorso—your
entirebody,anatomicallyspeaking,ishinged,hung,supported,developedasthe
idealbodyshouldbe.It'sundeformed,unmarred,unspoiled,andthat'spartly
luck,partlyinheritance,andmostlydecenthabitsanddigestion."
Shewaslisteningintently,interested,surprised,herpinklipsslightlyparted.
"Anotherpoint,"hecontinued;"youseemunabletomoveorrestungracefully.
Fewwomenaresobuiltthatanungracefulmotionisimpossibleforthem.You
areoneofthefew.It'sallamatterofanatomy."
Sheremainedsilent,watchinghimcuriously.
Hesaid:"Butthefinalclinchertoyourqualificationsisthatyouareintelligent.I
haveknownprettywomen,"headdedwith,sarcasm,"whowerenotwhat
learnedmenwouldcallpreciselyintelligent.Butyouare.Ishowedyoumy
sketch,indicatedinageneralwaywhatIwanted,andinstinctivelyand
intelligentlyyouassumedtheproperattitude.Ididn'thavetotakeyoubythe
chinandtwistyourheadasthoughyouwerealayfigure;Ididn'thavetopull


youaboutandflexandbendandtwistyou.YouknewthatIwantedyoutolook
likesomesortofanetherealimmortality,deliciouslyrelaxed,adriftinsunset
clouds.Andyouwereit—somehoworother."
Shelookeddown,thoughtfully,nestlingtothechininthewhitewoolfolds.A
smile,almostimperceptible,curvedherlips.
"Youaremakingitveryeasyforme,"shesaid.
"Youmakeiteasyforyourself."
"Iwashorriblyafraid,"shesaidthoughtfully.
"Ihavenodoubtofit."
"Oh,youdon'tknow—nobodycanknow—nomancanunderstandtheterrorof
—ofthefirsttime—"
"Itmustbeaghastlyexperience."
"Itis!—Idon'tmeanthatyouhavenotdoneeverythingtomakeiteasier—but—
thereinthelittleroom—mycourageleftme—Ialmostdied.I'dhaverunaway
only—Iwasafraidyouwouldn'tletme—"
Hebegantolaugh;shetriedto,buttheterrorofitallwasasyettoorecent.
"Atfirst,"shesaid,"IwasafraidIwouldn'tdoforamodel—notexactlyafraidof
my—myappearance,butbecauseIwasanovice;andIimaginedthatonehadto
knowexactlyhowtopose—"
"Ithink,"heinterruptedsmilingly,"thatyoumighttaketheposeagainifyouare
rested.Goontalking;Idon'tmindit."
Shesaterect,loosenedthewhitewoolrobeanddroppeditfromherwithless
consciousnessandeffortthanbefore.Verycarefullyshesetherfeetonthe
blocks,fittingtheshapelyheelstothechalkedoutlines;foundthemarkforher
elbow,adjustedherslim,smoothbodyandlookedathim,flushing.
"Allright,"hesaidbriefly;"goaheadandtalktome."


"Doyouwishmeto?"
"Yes;I'drather."
"Idon'tknowexactlywhattosay."
"Sayanything,"hereturnedabsently,selectingaflatbrushwithaverylong
handle.
Shethoughtamoment,then,liftinghereyes:
"Imightaskyouyourname."
"What?Don'tyouknowit?Oh,Lord!Oh,Vanity!Ithoughtyou'dheardofme."
Sheblushed,confusedbyherignoranceandwhatshefearedwasannoyanceon
hispart;thenperceivedthathewasmerelyamused;andherfacecleared.
"Wefolkwhocreateconcreteamusementforthepublicalwaysimagine
ourselvesmuchbetterknowntothatpublicthanweare,MissWest.It'sourlittle
vanity—ratherharmlessafterall.We'reaprettydecentlot,sometimesabsurd,
especiallyinourtragicmoments;sometimesemotional,usuallyillogical,often
impulsive,frequentlytender-heartedaswellassupersensitive.
"Nowitwasapleasantlittlevanityformetotakeitforgrantedthatsomehow
youhadheardofmeandhadclimbedtwelveflightsofstairsfortheprivilegeof
sittingforme."
Helaughedsofranklythattheshy,responsivesmilemadeherfaceenchanting;
andhecoollytookadvantageofit,andwhileexcitingandstimulatingit,affixed
itimmortallyontheexquisitecreaturehewaspainting.
"Soyoudidn'tclimbthosetwelveflightssolelyfortheprivilegeofhavingme
paintyou?"
"No,"sheadmitted,laughingly,"Iwasmerelygoingtobeginatthetopand
applyforworkallthewaydownuntilsomebodytookme—ornobodytookme."
"Butwhybeginatthetop?"


"Itiseasiertobeardisappointmentgoingdown,"shesaid,seriously;"iftwoor
threeartistshadrefusedmeonthefirstandsecondfloors,mylegswouldnot
havecarriedmeupveryfar."
"Badlogic,"hecommented."Wemountbyexperience,usingourwreckedhopes
asfootholds."
"Youdon'tknowhowmuchagirlcanendure.Therecomesatime-afteryearsof
steadydescent—whenmisfortuneanddisappointmentbecomeendurable;when
hopedeferrednolongersickens.Itisinrisingtowardbetterthingsthat
disappointmentshurtmostcruelly."
Heturnedhisheadinsurprise;thenwentonpainting:
"Yourphilosophyisthephilosophyofsubmission."
"Doyoucallastruggleofyears,submission?"
"Butitwasgivingupafterall—acquiescence,despondency,alaissezfaire
policy."
"Onemaytireoffighting."
"Onemay.Anothermaynot."
"Ithinkyouhaveneverhadtofightveryhard."
Heturnedhisheadabruptly;afteramoment'ssilentsurveyofher,heresumed
hispaintingwithasharp,impersonalglancebeforeeveryswiftanddecisive
brushstroke:
"No;Ihaveneverhadtofight,MissWest….Itwaskeenofyoutorecogniseit.I
haveneverhadtofightatall.Thingscomeeasilytome—thingshaveahabitof
comingmyway….IsupposeI'mnotexactlythemantolectureanybodyonthe
artoffightingfortune.She'salwaysbeendecenttome….SometimesI'mafraid
—Ihaveaninstinctthatshe'stoofriendly….Andittroublesme.Doyou
understandwhatImean?"
"Yes."


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