ByHAROLDMACGRATH WITHILLUSTRATIONSBY HARRISONFISHER AND KARLANDERSON INDIANAPOLIS THEBOBBS-MERRILLCOMPANY PUBLISHERS COPYRIGHT1908 PRESSOF BRAUNWORTH&CO. BOOKBINDERSANDPRINTERS BROOKLYN,N.Y. TO MYFELLOWTRAVELER AND GENTLECRITIC
CHAPTERI THEVOICEINTHEFOG Out of the unromantic night, out of the somber blurring January fog, came a voiceliftedinsong,asoprano,rich,fullandround,young,yetmatured,sweet andmysteriousasanight-bird's,hauntingandelusiveasthemurmurofthesea in a shell: a lilt from La Fille de Madame Angot, a light opera long since forgotten in New York. Hillard, genuinely astonished, lowered his pipe and listened.Tositdreamingbyanopenwindow,eveninthisunlovelyfirstmonth of the year, in that grim unhandsome city which boasts of its riches and still accepts with smug content its rows upon rows of ugly architecture, to sit dreaming,then,ofred-tiledroofs,ofcloud-caressedhills,ofterracedvineyards, ofcypressesintheirdarkaloofness,isnotoutofthenaturalorderofthings;but thatintothisidleandpleasantdreamthereshouldentersodivineavoice,living, feeling,pulsing,thiswasnotordinaryatall. AndHillardwasgladthattheroomwasindarkness.Heroseeagerlyandpeered out.Buthesawnoone.Acrossthestreetthearc-lampburneddimly,likeanopal in the matrix, while of architectural outlines not one remained, the fog having kindlyobliteratedthem. The Voice rose and sank and soared again, drawing nearer and nearer. It was joyousand unrestrained,andtherewasyouthinit,thetouchofspringand the breathofflowers.ThemusicwasLecocq's,thatistosay,French;butthetongue wasofacountrywhichHillardknewtobethegardenoftheworld.Presentlyhe observed a shadow emerge from the yellow mist, to come within the circle of light,which,faintasitwas,limnedinagainstthenothingnessbeyondtheform ofawoman.Shewalkeddirectlyunderhiswindow. Astheinvisiblecomessuddenlyoutofthefuturetoassumedistinctproportions whicheithermakeormarus,sodidthisunknowncantatricecomeoutofthefog that night and enter into Hillard's life, to readjust its ambitions, to divert its aimlesscourse,togiveimpetustoit,andadirectnesswhichhithertoithadnot known. "Ah!"
He leaned over the sill at a perilous angle, the bright coal of his pipe spilling comet-wisetothearea-waybelow.Hewasonlysubconsciousofhavingspoken; but this syllable was sufficient to spoil the enchantment. The Voice ceased abruptly, with an odd break. The singer looked up. Possibly her astonishment surpassedeventhatofheraudience.Forafewminutesshehadforgottenthatshe wasinNewYork,whereromancemaybefoundonlyinthebook-shops;shehad forgottenthatitwasnight,adampandchillforlornnight;shehadforgottenthe paininherheart;therehadbeenonlyagreatandirresistiblelongingtosing. Though she raised her face, he could distinguish no feature, for the light was behind. However, he was a man who made up his mind quickly. Brunette or blond,beautifulorotherwise,itneededbutamomenttofindout.Evenasthis decisionwasmadehewasintheupperhall,takingthestairstwoatabound.He ranoutintothenight,bareheaded.Upthestreethesawaflyingshadow.Plainly she had anticipated his impulse and the curiosity behind it. Even as he gave chase the shadow melted in the fog, as ice melts in running waters, as flame dissolvesinsunshine.Shewasgone.Hecuppedhisearwithhishand;invain, therecamenosoundasofpatteringfeet;therewasnothingbutfogandsilence. "Well,ifthisdoesn'tbeattheDutch!"hemurmured. Helaugheddisappointedly.Itdidnotmatterthathewasthreeandthirty;hestill retainedyouthenoughtofeelchagrinedatsuchatrivialdefeat.Herehadbeen something like a genuine adventure, and it had slipped like water through his clumsyfingers. "Deucetakethefog!ButforthatI'dhavecaughther." But reason promptly asked him what he should have done had he caught the singer.Yes,supposinghehad,whatexcusewouldhehavehadtooffer?Denial onherpartwouldhavebeensimple,andrighteousindignationatbeingaccosted onthestreetsimplerstill.Hehadnotseenherface,anddoubtlessshewasaware ofthisfact.Thus,shewouldhavehadalltheweaponsfordefenseandhenotone for attack. But though reason argued well, it did not dislodge his longing. He would have been perfectly happy to have braved her indignation for a single glanceatherface.Hewalkedback,lightinghispipe.Whocouldshebe?What peculiarwhimsicalfreakhadsenthersingingpasthiswindowatoneo'clockof themorning?Agrandoperasinger,returninghomefromalatesupper?Buthe dismissedthisopinionevenasheadvancedit.Heknewsomethingaboutgrand operasingers.Theyattendlatesuppers,itistrue,buttheyridehomeinluxurious
carriagesandneverrisktheirgoldenvoicesinthiscarelessifromanticfashion. AndinNewYorknobodytookthetroubletoserenadeanybodyelse,unlesspaid inadvanceandarmedwithapolicepermit.Asforbeingacomic-operastar,he refusedtoadmitthepossibility;andherelegatedthiswell-satisfiedconstellation tothedarksoflimbo.HehadheardaVoice. A vast, shadow loomed up in the middle of the street, presently to take upon itself the solid outlines of a policeman who came lumbering over to add or subtracthisquotaofinterestintheaffair.Hillardwiselystoppedandwaitedfor him, pulling up the collar of his jacket, as he began to note that there was a winter'stangtothefog. "Hi,what'sallthis?"thepolicemancalledoutroughly. "To what do you refer?" Hillard counter-questioned, puffing. He slipped his handsintothepocketsofhisjacket. "Iheardawomansingin',that'swhat!"explainedtheguardianofthelaw. "SodidI." "Oh,youdid,huh?" "Certainly.Itispatentthatmyearsareasgoodasyours." "Huh!Seeher?" "Foramoment,"Hillardadmitted. "Well,wecan'thavenoneo'thisinthestreets.It'sdisorderly." "My friend," said Hillard, rather annoyed at the policeman's tone, "you don't thinkforaninstantthatIwasdirectingthisoperetta?" "Think?Where'syourhat?" Hillardranhishandoverhishead.Thepolicemanhadhimhere."Ididnotbring itout." "Toowarmandsummery;huh?Itdon'tlookgood.I'vebeenwatchin'theseparts feraleddy.TheycallherLeddyLightfinger;an'shehassomeO'thegentsdone toapulpwhenitcomestoliftin'joolsan'trinkets.Somebodyfergitstolockthe frontdoor,an'shefindsitout.Whydidyoucomeoutwithoutyerlid?"
"Justforgotit,that'sall." "Whichway'dshego?" "You'llneedamapandasearch-light.Istartedtorunafterhermyself.Ihearda voicefrommywindow;Isawawoman;Imadeforthestreet;niente!" "Huh?" "Niente,nothing!" "Oh!Isee;Dago.Seemstomenowthatthiswomanwassingin'I-taly-an,too." They were nearing the light, and the policeman gazed intently at the hatless youngman."Why,it'sMr.Hillard!I'msurprised.Well,well!SomedayI'llrunin abuncho'thesechorusleddies,jes'feralesson.Theygitlivelyattherestaurants overonBroadway,an'thintheyraisethedeadwiththeirsingin',which,oftenas not,isanythin'butsingin'.An'hereitis,afterone." "Butthiswasnotachoruslady,"repliedHillard,thoughtfullyreachingintohis vestforacigar. "Sure,an'howdoyouknow?"withrenewedsuspicions. "Theladyhadasingingvoice." "Huh!Theyallthinkalikeaboutthat.Butmebbeshewasn'tbadatthebusiness. Annyhow...." "Itwasratheroutoftimeandplace,eh?"helpfully. "That's about the size of it. This Leddy Lightfinger is a case. She has us all thinkin' on our nights off. Clever an' edjicated, an' jabbers in half a dozen tongues.It'sathousan'tothemanwhojugsher.Butshedon'tsing;atleast,they ain'tanyreporttothateffect.Perhapsyourleddywasjes'larkin'abit.Butit'sgot tobestopped." Hillard passed over the cigar, and the policeman bit off the end, nodding with approval at such foresight. The young man then proffered the coal of his pipe and the policeman took his light therefrom, realizing that after such a peaceofferingtherewasnothingforhimtodobutmoveon.Yetondismallonesome nights, like this one, it is a godsend and a comfort to hear one's own voice againstthedarkness.Sohelingered.
"Didn'tgetapeepatherface?" "Notasinglefeature.Thelightwasbehindher."Hillardtappedonetoeandthen theother. "An'howwasshedressed?" "Infog,forallIcouldsee." "Onthelevelnow,didn'tyouknowwhoshewas?"ThepolicemangaveHillarda slydigintheribswithhisclub. "Onmyword!" "Someswell,mebbe." "Undoubtedlyalady.That'swhyitlooksodd,whyitbroughtmeintothestreet. She sang in classic Italian. And what's more, for the privilege of hearing that voiceagain,Ishouldnotmindsittingonthiscoldcurbtillthemilkmancomes aroundinthemorning." "That wouldn't be fer long," laughed the policeman, taking out his watch and holdingitclosetotheendofhiscigar."Twentyminutesafterone.Well,Imust begittin'backtomebeat.An'you'dbetterbegoin'in;it'scold.Goodnight." "Goodnight,"Hillardrespondedcheerfully. "Say,what'sI-taly-anfergoodnight?"stillreluctanttogoon. "Buonanotte." "Bonynotty;huh,soundslikeChineseferrheumatism.BeentoItaly?" "Iwasbornthere,"patiently. "No!Why,you'renoDago!" "Notsomuchasaneyelash.Thestorkhappenedtodropthebasketthere,that's all." "Ha!Isee.Well,Amerikyisgoodenoughfermean'mine,"complacently. "Idaresay!" "An' if this stogy continues t' behave, we'll say no more about the vanishin'
leddy." And with this the policeman strolled off into the fog, his suspicions in nowiseremoved.HeknewmanyrichyoungbachelorslikeHillard.Ifitwasn'ta chorus lady, it was a prima donna, which was not far in these degenerate days frombeingthesamething. Hillard regained his room and leaned with his back to the radiator. He had an idea. It was rather green and salad, but as soon as his hands were warm he determinedtoputthisideaintoimmediateuse.TheVoicehadstirredhimdeeply, stirred him with the longing to hear it again, to see the singer's face, to learn what extraordinary impulse had loosed the song. Perhaps it was his unspoken loneliness striving to call out against this self-imposed isolation; for he was secretlylonely,asallbachelorsmustbewhohavepassedtheRubiconofthirty. He made no analysis of this new desire, or rather this old desire, newly awakened. He embraced it gratefully. Such is the mystery and power of the humanvoice:thisone,passingcasuallyunderhiswindow,hadawakenedhim. Neverthewintercamewithitswearyroundofrainandfogandsnowthathis heartandminddidnotflyoverthetidelesssouthernseatothelandofhisbirthif notofhisblood.Sorrento,thatjeweloftheruddyclifts!Therewasfogoutside his window, and yet how easy it was to picture the turquoise bay of Naples shimmeringinthemorninglight!TherewasNaplesitself,likeastringofitsown pink coral, lying crescent-wise on the distant strand; there were the snowcaps fading on the far horizon; the bronzed fishermen and their wives, a sheer two hundred feet below him, pulling in their glistening nets; the amethyst isles of CapriandIschiaeternallyhangingmidwaybetweentheblueoftheskyandthe blueofthesea;andthere,toweringmenacinglyaboveallthismeltingbeauty,the dark,grimpipeofVulcan.Howeasily,indeed,hecouldseeallthesethings! Withaquickgestureofbothhands,Latin,alwaysLatin,hecrossedtheroomtoa smallwriting-desk,turnedonthelightsandsatdown.Hesmiledashetookup the pen to begin his composition. Not one chance in a thousand. And after severalattemptsherealizedthattheletterhehadinmindwasnotthesimplestto compose. There were a dozen futile efforts before he produced anything like satisfaction.Thenhefilledoutasmallcheck.Alittlelaterhestoledown-stairs, roundthecornertothelocalbranchofthepost-office,andreturned.Itwasonly ablindthrow,suchasdicerssometimesmakeinthedark.Butchancelovesher truegamester,andtohimshemakesafaithfulservant. "I should be sorely tempted," he mused, picking up a novel and selecting a comfortable angle in the Morris, "I should be sorely tempted to call any other
manasillyass.LeddyLightfinger—itwouldbeafinejokeifmysingerturned outtobethatirregularperson." Hefelltoreading,butitwasnotlongbeforeheyawned.Heshiedthebookinto acorner,drewoffhisbootsandcastthemintothehall.Amomentafterhisvalet appeared,gathereduptheboots,tuckedthemunderhisarm,andwaited. "Iwantnothing,Giovanni.Ihaveonlybeenaroundtothepost-office." "Iheardthedooropenandclosefourtimes,signore." "ItwasIeachtime.Ifthisfogdoesnotchangeintorain,Ishallwantmyridingbreechesto-morrowmorning." "Itisalwaysraininghere,"Giovanniremarkedsadly. "Notalways;therearepleasantdaysinthespringandsummer.Itisbecausethis is not Italy. The Hollander wonders how any reasonable being can dwell in a countrywheretheydonotdrinkgin.It'shome,Giovanni;rainpeltsyoufroma differentanglehere.Thereisnothingmore;youmaygo.Itistwoo'clock,and youaredeadforsleep." ButGiovannionlybowed;hedidnotstir. "Well?"inquiredhismaster. "Itissevenyearsnow,signore." "Soitis;seventhiscomingApril." "Iamnowacitizenofthiscountry;Iobeyitslaws;Ivote." "Yes,Giovanni,youareanAmericancitizen,andyoushouldbeproudofit." Giovannismiled."ImayreturntomygoodItaliawithoutdanger." "Thatdepends.Ifyoudonotrunacrossanyofficialwhorecognizesyou." Giovanni spread his hands. "Official memory seldom lasts so long as seven years.Thesignorehascrossedfourtimesinthisperiod." "Iwouldgladlyhavetakenyoueachtime,asyouknow." "Oh, yes! But in two or three years the police do not forget. In seven it is different."
"Ah!" Hillard was beginning to understand the trend of this conversation. "So, then,youwishtoreturn?" "Yes,signore.Ihavesavedalittlemoney,"modestly. "Alittle?"Hillardlaughed."ForsevenyearsyouhavereceivedfiftyAmerican dollarseverymonth,andoutofityoudonotspendasmanycoppercentesimi.I amcertainthatyouhavetwentythousandliretuckedawayinyourstocking;a fortune!" "Ibuytheblackingforthesignore'sboots,"gravely. Hillard saw the twinkle in the black eyes. "I have never," he said truthfully, "askedyoutoblackmyboots." "Penance, signore, penance for my sins; and I am not without gratitude. There was a time when I had rather cut off a hand than black a boot; but all that is changed. We of the Sabine Hills are proud, as the signore knows. We are Romansoutthere;wedespisethecities;andwedonotholdoutourpalmsfor the traveler's pennies. I am a peasant, but always remember the blood of the Cæsars. Who can say? Besides, I have held a sword for the church. I owe no allegiancetothepunyHouseofSavoy!"Therewasnotwinkleintheblackeyes now; there was a ferocious gleam. It died away quickly, however; the squared shouldersdrooped,andtherewasadeprecatingshrug."Pardon,signore;thisis farawayfromthematterofboots.Igrowboastful;Iamanoldmanandshould knowbetter.ButdoesthesignorereturntoItalyinthespring?" "Idon'tknow,Giovanni,Idon'tknow.Butwhat'sonyourmind?" "Nothingnew,signore,"witheyescastdowntohidethereturninglights. "Youareabloodthirstyruffian!"saidHillardshortly."Willtimeneversoftenthe murderinyourheart?" "Iamas thegoodGodmademe.Ihaveseenthroughblood,andtimecannot changethat.Besides,theHolyFatherwilldosomethingforonewhofoughtfor thecause." "Hewillcertainlynotcountenancebloodshed,Giovanni." "Hecanabsolveit.Andasyousay,Iamrich,asrichesgointheSabineHills." "Iwasinhopesyouhadforgotten."
"Forgotten?Thesignorewillneverunderstand;itishisfather'sblood.Shewas soprettyandyouthful,eyeofmyeye,heartofmyheart!Andinnocent!Shesang likethenightingale.Shewasalwayshappy.Upwiththedawn,tosleepwiththe stars.Wewerealone,sheandI.Thesheepsupportedmeandshesoldherroses anddriedlavender.Itwasallsobeautiful...tillhecame.Ah,hadhelovedher! Butaplaything,apastime!Thesignoreneverhadadaughter.Whatisshenow? Anamelessthinginthestreets!"Giovanniraisedhisarmstragically;thehoots clattered to the floor. "Seven years! It is a long time for one of my blood to wait." "Enough!"criedHillard;buttherewasahardnessinhisthroatatthesightofthe old man's tears. Where was the proud and stately man, the black-bearded shepherdinfadedbluelinen,inpicturesquegarters,withhisreed-likepipe,that he, Hillard, had known in his boyhood days? Surely not here. Giovanni had known the great wrong, but Hillard could not in conscience's name foster the spiritwhichdemandedaneyeforaneye.Sohesaid:"Icangiveyouonlymy sympathy for your loss, but I abhor the spirit of revenge which can not find satisfactioninanythingsavemurder." Giovanni once more picked up the boots. "I shall leave the signore in the spring." "Asyouplease,"saidHillardgently. Giovannibowedgravelyandmadeoffwithhisboots.Hillardremainedstaring thoughtfullyatthemany-coloredsquaresintherugunderhisfeet.Itwouldbe lonesomewithGiovannigone.Theoldmanhadevidentlymadeuphismind.... ButtheWomanwiththeVoice,wouldsheseethenoticeinthepaper?Andifshe did,wouldshereplytoit?Whatafoundationforaromance!...Bah!Heprepared forbed. To those who reckon earthly treasures as the only thing worth having, John Hillard was a fortunate young man. That he was without kith or kin was consideredbymanyasanadditionalpieceofgoodfortune.BorninSorrento,in one of the charming villas which sweep down to the very brow of the cliffs, educated in Rome up to his fifteenth year; taken at that age from the dreamy, drifting land and thrust into the noisy, bustling life which was his inheritance; fatherlessandmotherlessattwenty;acollegeyouthwhowasforevermixinghis Italian with his English and being laughed at; hating tumult and loving quiet; warm-hearted and impulsive, yet meeting only habitual reserve from his
compatriots whichever way he turned; it is not to be wondered at that he preferredthelandofhisbirthtothatofhisblood. All this might indicate an artistic temperament, the ability to do petty things grandly; but Hillard had escaped this. He loved his Raphaels, his Titians, his Veroneses,hisRubenses,withoutanydesiretomakeindifferentcopiesofthem; he admired his Dante, his Petrarch, his Goldoni, without the wish to imitate them. He was full of sentiment without being sentimental, a poet who thought but never indited verses. His father's blood was in his veins, that is to say, the saltofrestraint;thus,hisfortunegrewandmultiplied.Thestrongestandreddest corpusclehadbeenthegiftofhismother.Shehadlefthimthelegacyofloving allbeautifulthingsinmoderation,thelegacyofgentleness,ofcharity,ofstrong lovesandfrankhatreds,ofhumor,oflivingoutintheopen,ofdreaminggreat thingsandaccomplishingnoneofthem. Theoldhouseinwhichhelivedwasnotinthefashionablequarterofthetown; butthatdidnotmatter.Nordiditvaryexternallyfromanyofitsunpretentious neighbors.Inside,however,thereweretreasurespricelessandunique.Therewas nowomaninthehousehold;hemightsmokeinanyroomhepleased.Acook,a butler,andavaletwerethesum-totalofhisretinue.Inappearanceheresembled manyanotherclean-cut,clean-livingAmericangentleman. Giovannisoughthisownroomattheendofthehall,squattedonalowstooland solemnlybeganthebusinessofblackinghismaster'sboots.Hewasstillaslean and tall as a Lombardy poplar, this handsome old Roman. His hair was white; therewasnownoblackbeardonhisface,whichwasasbrownandcreasedas Spanishlevant;andsomeofthefullnesswasgonefromhischestandarms;but forallthathecarriedhisfifty-oddyearslightly.Heworkedswiftlyto-night,but hismindwasfarawayfromhistask. There was a pitiful story, commonplace enough. A daughter, a loose-living officer, a knife flung from a dark alley, and sudden flight to the south. Hillard had found him wandering through the streets of Naples, hiding from the carabinieri as best he could. Hillard contrived to smuggle him on the private yachtofafriend.Hefoundapeasantwhowasreconsideringtheadvisabilityof diggingsewersandlayingrailroadtiesintheEldoradooftheWest.Afewpieces of silver, and the passport changed hands. With this Giovanni blandly lied his way into the United States. After due time he applied for citizenship, and through Hillard's influence it was accorded him. He solemnly voted when electionscameround,andhoardedhiswages,likethethriftymanhewas.Some
day he would return to Rome, or Naples, or Venice, or Florence, as the case mightbe;andthen! When the boots shone flawlessly, he carried them to Hillard's door and softly tiptoed back. He put his face against the cold window. He, too, had heard the Voice.Howhishearthurthimwithitswildhope!Butonlyforamoment.Itwas not the voice he hungered for. The words were Italian, but he knew that the womanwhosangthemwasnot!
CHAPTERII OBJECT,MATRIMONY WinterfogsinNewYorkareneverquitesointolerableastheircounterpartsin London; and while their frequency is a matter of complaint, their duration is seldom of any length. So, by the morrow a strong wind from the west had winnowedtheskiesandclearedthesun.Therewasanexhilaratingtingleoffrost intheairandavisiblerimeonthewindows.Hillard,havingbreakfastedlightly, was standing with his back to the grate in the cozy breakfast-room. He was in boots and breeches and otherwise warmly clad, and freshly shaven. He rocked onhisheelsandtoes,andranhispalmoverhisblue-whitechininsearchofa possibleslipoftherazor. Giovanni came in to announce that he had telephoned, and that the signore's brownmarewouldbeattheparkentrancepreciselyathalf-aftereight.Giovanni stillmarveledoverthiswonderfulvoicewhichcameoutofnowhere,buthewas nolongerafraidofit.Thecuriositywhichisinnateandchild-likeinallLatins soon overcame his dark superstitions. He was an ardent Catholic and believed thatafewmiraclesshouldbeleftinthehandsofGod.Thetelephonehadnow becomeakindofplaything,andHillardoftenfoundhiminfrontofit,patiently waitingforthebelltoring. ThefacilitywithwhichGiovannihadmasteredEnglishamazedhisteacherand master;butnowheneedednomorelessons,thetwowhenalonetogetherspoke Giovanni'stongue:Hillard,becausehelovedit,andGiovannibecausethecook spokeitbadlyandtheEnglishbutlernotatall. "Youhavemadeupyourmindtogo,then,amico?"saidHillard. "Yes,signore." "Well, I shall miss you. To whom shall I talk the tongue I love so well, when Giovanni is gone?" with a lightness which he did not feel. Hillard had grown veryfondoftheoldRomaninthesesevenyears. "Whenever the signore goes to Italia, he shall find me. It needs but a word to bringmetohim.Thesignorewillpardonme,butheislike—likeason."
"Thanks,Giovanni.Bytheway,didyouhearawomansinginginthestreetlast night?" "Yes.Atfirst—"Giovannihesitated. "Ah,butthatcouldnotbe,Giovanni;thatcouldnotbe." "No,itcouldnotbe.Butshesangwell!"theoldservantventured. "So thought I. I even ran out into the street to find out who she was; but she vanishedliketheladyintheconjurer'strick.Butitseemedtomethat,whileshe sanginItalian,sheherselfwasnotwhollyofthatrace." "Buonissima!" Giovanni struck a noiseless brava with his hands. "Have I not always said that the signore's ears are as sharp as my own? No, the voice was verybeautiful,butitwasnottrulyRoman.ItwasmoreliketheytalkinVenice. Andyetthesoundofthevoicedecidedme.Thehillshavealwaysbeencallingto me;andImustanswer." "Andtheunforgettingcarabinieri?" "Oh,Imusttakemychance,"withtheairofafatalist. "Whatshallyoudo?" "I have my two hands, signore. Besides, the signore has said it; I am rich." Giovanni permitted a smile to stir his thin lips. "Yes, I must go back. Your people have been good to me and have legally made me one of them, but my heartisneverhere.Itisalwayssocoldandeveryonemovessoquickly.Youcan not lie down in the sun. Your police, bah! They beat you on the feet. You rememberwhenIfellasleeponthestepsofthecathedral?TheythoughtIwas drunk,andwouldhavearrestedme!" "Everybodymustkeepmovinghere;itisthepenaltyofbeingrich." "AndIamlonesomeformykind.Ihavenothingincommonwiththeseherdsof SiciliansandNeapolitanswhopourintothestreetsfromthewharves."Giovanni spokescornfully. "YetinwartimetheNeapolitansshelteredyourpope." "Vanity!Theywishedtomakeanimpressionontherestoftheworld.Itisdull here,besides.Thereisnojoyintheshops.Iamlostinthesegreatpalaces.The
festaislacking.Nobodybargains;nobodyseestheproprietor;youfindyourway tothestreetsalone.Thebutchersaysthathismeatisso-and-so,andyoupay;the grocermarkshistinssuch-and-such,andyoudonotquestion;andthebakersays that, and you pay, pay, pay! What? I need a collar; it is quindici—fifteenyou say!Iofferquattordici.Iwouldgiveinteresttothesale.Butno!Thecollargoes backintothebox.Ipayquindici,orIgowithout.Itisthesameeverywhere;very dull,dead,lifeless." Hillardwasmovedtolaughter.Heverywellunderstoodtheoldman'slament.In Italy,ifthereisonethingmorethananotherthatpleasesthenativeitistomake believe to himself that he has got the better of a bargain. A shrewd purchase enlivensthewholeday;itistalkedabout,laughedover,andbecomesthehistory of the day that Tomass', or Pietro, or Paoli, or whatever his name may be, has bestedthemerchantoutofsometwentycentesimi. "Andthecookandthebutler,"concludedGiovanna;"wedonotgetonwell." "It is because they are in mortal fear of you, you brigand! Well, my coat and cap." Hillard presentlyleftthehouseandhailed aFifthAvenueomnibus. Helooked with negative interest at the advertisements, at the people in the streets, at his fellow-travelers.Oneofthesewashiddenbehindhismorningpaper.Personals. Hillardsquirmedalittle.Theworldneverholdsverymuchromanceinthesober morning. What a stupid piece of folly! The idea of his sending that personal inquirytothepaper!To-morrowhewouldseeitsandwichedinbetweensamples of shop-girl romance, questionable intrigues, and divers search-warrants. Ye gods! "Will the blonde who smiled at gentleman in blue serge, elevated train, Tuesday,meetsameinpark?Object,matrimony."Hillardfidgeted."Youngman knownasAdoniswouldadorestoutelderlylady,independentlysituated.Object, matrimony." Pish! "Girlie. Can't keep appointment to-night. Willie." Tush! "A French Widow of eighteen, unencumbered," and so forth and so on. Rot, bally rot; and here he was on the way to join them! "Will the lady who sang from MadameAngot communicate with gentleman who leaned out of the window? J.H.BurgomasterClub."Positivelyasinine!Themanoppositefoldedthepaper andstuffeditintohispocket,anditsdisappearancerelievedHillardsomewhat. Therewasscarceonechanceinathousandofthemysterioussinger'sseeingthe inquiry,notoneintenthousandofheransweringit.Andthefollyofgivinghis clubaddress!Thatwouldlookverydignifiedinyonderagonycolumn!Andthen
he brightened. He could withdraw it; and he would do so the very first thing whenhewentdown-towntotheoffice."Object,matrimony!"Ifthewomansaw itshewouldonlylaugh.Itwasalladecentwomancoulddo.Andcertainlythe womanofthepastnight'sadventurewasofhighdegree,educated;anddoubtless thespiritwhichhadpromptedthesongwasasinexplicabletoherthismorning asithadbeentohimlastnight.Hehadlostnoneofthedesiretomeether,but reason made it plain to him that a meeting could not possibly be arranged throughanypersonalcolumninthenewspaper.Hewouldcancelthething. Hedroppedfromtheomnibusattheparkentrance,wherehefoundhisrestive mare.Hegaveheralumpofsugarandclimbedintothesaddle.Hedirectedthe groom to return for the horse at ten o'clock, then headed for the bridle-path. It washeavy,buttheairwassokeenandbracingthatneitherthemannorthehorse worriedaboutthegoing.Therewereadozenorsoearlyridersbesideshimself, and in and out the winding path they passed and repassed, walking, trotting, cantering. Only one party attracted him: a riding master and a trio of brokers whowerevergingonembonpoint,andweredesperateandlookedit.Theystood inafairwayoflosingseveralpoundsthatmorning.Agoodrideralwayssmiles at the sight of a poor one, when a little retrospection should make him rather pitying. Hillard went on. The park was not lovely; the trees were barren, the grass yellow and sodden, and here and there were grimy cakes of unmelted snow. "Sheissoinnocent,soyouthful!" He found himself humming the refrain over and over. She had sung it with abandon,tenderness,lightness.Foroneglimpseofherface!Hetooktheriseand dipwhichfollowed.Perhapsahundredyardsaheadasolitarywomancantered easily along. Hillard had not seen her before. He spurred forward, only faintly curious.Sheprovedtobeatotalstranger.Therewasnothingfamiliartohiseye inherfigure,whichwascharming.Sherodewell.Ashedrewnearerhesawthat sheworeaheavygreyveil.Andthisveilhideverythingbutthesingleflashofa pair of eyes the color of which defied him. Then he looked at her mount. Ha! therewasonlyonerangyblackwithawhitethroat;fromtheSandfordstables, hewaspositive.ButtheSandfordswereatthismomentinCairo,soitsignified nothing.Thereisalwayssomeonereadytoexerciseyourhorses,iftheyhappen to be showy ones. He looked again at the rider; the flash of the eyes was not repeated;sohisinterestvanished,andheurgedthemareintoasharprun.Twice inthecourseoftheridehepassedher,butherheadneverturned.Heknewitdid notbecauseheturnedtosee.
So he went back to his tentative romance. She had passed his window and disappearedintothefog,andtherewasareasonabledoubtofhereverreturning from it. The Singer in the Fog; thus he would write it down in his book of memories andsensibly turnthe page.Oncedown-townhewouldcountermand hisorder,andthatwouldbetheendofit.Atlengthhecamebacktotheentrance andsurrenderedthemare.Hewasabouttocrossthesquare,whenhewashailed. "Hello,Jack!Isay,Hillard!" HillardwheeledandsawMerrihew.He,too,wasinriding-breeches. "Why,Dan,gladtoseeyou.Wereyouinthepark?" "Riverside.Beastlycold,too.ComeintothePlazaandjoinmeinacupofgood coffee." "Hadbreakfastlongago,boy." "Oh,justonecup!I'mlonesome." "That'snoinducement;butI'lljoinyou,"repliedHillardcheerfully. Thetwoenteredthecafé,satdown,andMerriheworderedMocha. "Howare youbehavingyourselfthesedays?"askedMerrihew.Hedrankmore coffeeandsmokedmorecigarsthanweregoodforhim.Hewasalwaysgoingto startinnextweektoreducethequantity. "Myhabitsarealwaysexemplary,"answeredHillard."Butyours?" Merrihew'sfacelengthened.Hepulledtheyellowhairoutofhiseyesandgulped hiscoffee. "KittyKilligrewleavesintwoweeksforEurope." "AndwhothedeuceisKittyKilligrew?"demandedHillard. "What?" reproachfully. "You haven't heard of Kitty Killigrew in The Modern Maid? Where've you been? Pippin! Prettiest soubrette that's hit the town in a dog'sage." "I say, Dan, don't you ever tire of that sort? I can't recall when there wasn't a KittyKilligrew.What'stheattraction?"Hillardwavedasidethebigblackcigar. "Noheavytobaccoformeinthemorning.What'stheattraction?"
Merrihewtouchedoffamatch,appliedittotheblackcigar,tookthecigarfrom histeethandinspectedtheglowingendcritically.Heneverfailedtogothrough thisabsurdpantomime;hewouldmissatrainratherthanomitit. "Thetruthis,Jack,I'majackasshalfthetime.Ican'tgetawayfromtheglamour of the footlights. I'm no Johnny; you know that. No hanging round stageentrancesandbuyingwineanddiamonds.Imightberecklessenoughtobuya bunchofroses,whenI'mnotbroke.ButIlike'em,thebrightones.Theykeepa fellowamused.Mostof'emspeakgoodEnglishandcomefrombetterfamilies thanyouwouldsuppose.Justgoodfellowship,youknow;maybearabbitanda bottle of beer after the performance, or a little quarter limit at the apartment, singingandgoodstories.Whatyou'veinmindisthechorus-lady.Notformine!" Hillardlaughed,recallinghisconversationwiththepoliceman. "Goon,"hesaid;"getitalloutofyoursystem,nowthatyou'restarted." "And then it tickles a fellow's vanity to be seen with them at the restaurants. That'sthewayitbegins,youknow.I'llbeperfectlyfrankwithyou.Ifitwasn't forwhattheotherfellowssay,mostofthechorus-ladieswouldgohungry.And thegirlsthatyouandIknowthinkI'madevilofafellow,wickedbutinteresting, andallthat." Hillard'slaughterbrokeforthagain,andheleanedback.Merrihewwouldalways betwenty-six,hewouldalwaysbeyouthful. "AndthisKittyKilligrew?IbelieveI'veseenpostersofherinthewindows,now thatyouspeakofit." "Well,Jack,I'vegotitbadthistrip.Iofferedtomarryherlastnight." "What!" "Truth.Andwhatdoyouthink?Droppedmeveryneatlytwothousandfeet,but softly.AndIwasserious,too." "ItseemstomethatyourKittyisnothalfbad.Whatwouldyouhavedonehad sheacceptedyou?" "Marriedherwithintwenty-fourhours!" "Come,Dan,besensible.Youarenotsuchanassasallthat."
"Yes,Iam,"moodily."Itoldyou thatIwasajackasshalfthetime;thisisthe half." "Butshewon'thaveyou?" "Notforloveormoney." "Areyousureaboutthemoney?"askedHillardshrewdly. "Sevenhundredorseventhousand,itwouldn'tmattertoKittyifshemadeupher mind to marry a fellow. What's the matter with me, anyhow? I'm not so badly set-up;Icanwhipanymanintheclubatmyweight;Icantellastorywell;and I'mnotafraidofanything." "Notevenofthefuture!"addedHillard. "Doyoureallythinkit'smymoney?"pathetically. "Well,seventhousanddoesn'tgofar,andthat'sallyouhave.Ifitwereseventy, now,I'mnotsureKittywouldn'treconsider." Merrihew ran his tongue along the cigar wrapper which had loosened. He had seventhousandayear,andeveryJanuaryfirstsawhimshoulderingathousand odddollars'worthoflastyear'sdebts.Somehow,nomatterhowheretrenched, he never could catch up. It's hard to pay for a horse after one has ridden it to death,andMerrihewwasalwayspayingfordeadhorses.Hesighed. "What'sshelike?"askedHillard,withmoresympathythancuriosity. Merrihew drew out his watch and opened the case. It was a pretty face; more than that, it was a refined prettiness. The eyes were merry, the brow was intelligent,thenoseandchinweregood.Altogether,itwasthefaceofamerry, kindlylittlesoul,onesuchaswouldbemostlikelytotrapthewanderingfancy ofayoungmanlikeMerrihew. "Andshewon'thaveyou,"Hillardrepeated,thistimewithmorecuriositythan sympathy. "Oh,she'snofool,Isuppose.HonestInjun,Jack,it'ssobadthatIfindmyself writingpoetryonthebacksofenvelopes.Andnowshe'sgoingtoEurope!" "London?" "No.Somemanagerhastheideainhisheadthatthereismoneytobemadein