"Rather dangerous that, in the bedroom of a family man," he said, picking up the handkerchief and looking suggestively from the lettering in the corner to Crozier. He laid it down again, smiling detestably.
Crozier calmly picked up the handkerchief, saw the lettering, then went quietly to the door of the room and called Mrs. Tynan's name. Presently she appeared. Crozier beckoned her into the room. When she entered, he closed the door behind her.
"Mrs. Tynan," he said, "this fellow found your daughter's handkerchief on my table, and he has said regarding it, 'Rather dangerous that, in the bedroom of a family man.' What would you like me to do with him?"
Mrs. Tynan walked up to Burlingame with the look of a woman of the Commune and said: "If I had a son I would disown him if he didn't mangle you till your wife would never know you again, you loathesome thing. There isn't a man or woman in Askatoon who'd believe your sickening slanders, for every one knows what you are. How dare you enter this house? If the men of Askatoon had any manhood in them they would tar- and-feather you. My girl is as good as any girl that ever lived, and you know it. Now go out of here—now!"
Crozier intervened quietly. "Mrs. Tynan, I asked him in here because it is my room. I have some business with him. When it is over, then he shall go, and we will fumigate the place. As for the tar-and-feathers, you might leave that to me. I think I can arrange it.
"I'll turn the hose on him as he goes out, if you don't mind," the irate mother exclaimed as she left the room.
Crozier nodded. "Well, that would be appropriate, Mrs. Tynan, but it wouldn't cleanse him. He is the original leopard whose spots are there for ever."
By this time Burlingame was on his feet, and a look of craft and fear and ugly meaning was in his face. Morally he was a coward, physically he was a coward, but he had in his pocket a weapon which gave him a feeling of superiority in the situation; and after a night of extreme self- indulgence he was in a state of irritation of the nerves which gave him what the searchers after excuses for ungoverned instincts and acts call "brain-storms." He had had sense enough to know that his amorous escapades would get him into trouble one day, and he had always carried the little pistol which was now so convenient to his hand. It gave him a fictitious courage which he would not have had unarmed against almost any man—or woman—in Askatoon.
"You get a woman to do your fighting for you," he said hatefully. "You have to drag her in. It was you I meant to challenge, not the poor girl young enough to be your daughter." His hand went to his waistcoat pocket. Crozier saw and understood.
Suddenly Crozier's eyes blazed. The abnormal in him—the Celtic strain always at variance with the normal, an almost ultra-natural attendant of it awoke like a tempest in the tropics. His face became transformed, alive with a passion uncanny in its recklessness and purpose. It was a brain-storm indeed, but it had behind it a normal power, a moral force which was not to be resisted.
"None of your sickly melodrama here. Take out of your pocket the pistol you carry and give it to me," Crozier growled. "You are not to be trusted. The habit of thinking you would shoot somebody some time— somebody you had injured—might become too much for you to-day, and then I should have to kill you, and for your wife's sake I don't want to do that. I always feel sorry for a woman with a husband like you. You could never shoot me. You couldn't be quick enough, but you might try. Then I should end you, and there'd be another trial; but the lawyer who defended me would not have to cross-examine any witness about your character. It is too well-known, Burlingame. Out with it—the pistol!" he added, standing menacingly over the other.
In a kind of stupor, under the storm that was breaking above him, Burlingame slowly drew out of a capacious waistcoat pocket a tiny but powerful pistol of the most modern make.
"Put it in my hand," insisted Crozier, his eyes on the other's.
The flabby hand laid the weapon in Crozier's lean and strenuous fingers. Crozier calmly withdrew the cartridges and then tossed the weapon back on the table.
"Now we have equality of opportunity," he remarked quietly. "If you think you would like to repeat any slander that's slid off your foul tongue, do it now; and in a moment or two Mrs. Tynan can turn the hose on the floor of this room."
"I want to get to business," said Burlingame sullenly, as he took from his pocket a paper.
Crozier nodded. "I can imagine your haste," he remarked. "You need all the fees you can get to pay Belle Bingley's bills."
Burlingame did not wince. He made no reply to the challenge that he was the chief supporter of a certain wanton thereabouts.
"The time for your option to take ten thousand dollars' worth of shares in the syndicate is up," he said; "and I am instructed to inform you that Messrs. Bradley, Willingden, Baxter, & Simmons propose to take over your unpaid shares and to complete the transaction without you."
"Who informed Messrs. Bradley, Willingden, Baxter, & Simmons that I am not prepared to pay for my shares?" asked Crozier sharply.
"The time is up," surlily replied Burlingame. "It is assumed you can't take up your shares, and that you don't want to do so. The time us up," he added emphatically, and he tapped the paper spread before him on the table.
Crozier's eyes half closed in an access of stubbornness and hatred. "You are not to assume anything whatever," he declared. "You are to accommodate yourself to actual facts. The time is not up. It is not up till midnight, and any action taken before then on any other assumption will give grounds for damages."
Crozier spoke without passion and with a coldblooded insistence not lost on Burlingame. Taking down a calendar from the wall, he laid it beside the paper on the table before the too eager lawyer. "Examine the dates," he said. "At twelve o'clock tonight Messrs. Bradley, Willingden, Baxter, & Simmons are free to act, if the money is not at the disposal of the syndicate by then; but till then my option is indefeasible. Does that meet the case or not?"
"It meets the case," said Burlingame in a morose voice, rising. "If you can produce the money before the stroke of midnight, why can't you produce it now? What's the use of bluffing! It can't do any good in the end. Your credit—"
"My credit has been stopped by your friends," interrupted Crozier, "but my resources are current." "Midnight is not far off," viciously remarked Burlingame as he made for the door.
Crozier intercepted him. "One word with you on another business before you go," he said. "The tar-and-feathers for which Mrs. Tynan asks will be yours at any moment I raise my hand in Askatoon. There are enough women alone who would do it."
"Talk of that after midnight," sneered Burlingame desperately as the door was opened for him by Crozier. "Better not go out by the front gate," remarked Crozier scornfully. "Mrs. Tynan is a woman of her word, and the hose is handy."
A moment later, with contemptuous satisfaction, he saw Burlingame climb the picket-fence at the side of the house.
Turning back into the room, he threw up his arms. "Midnight—midnight— my God, where am I to get the money! I must—I must have it . . . It's the only way back."
Sitting down at the table, he dropped his head into his hands and shut his eyes in utter dejection. "Mona—by Heaven, no, I'll never take it from her!" he said once, and clenched his hands at his temples and sat on and on unmoving.
WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT IT?
For a full half-hour Crozier sat buried in dark reflection, then he slowly raised his head, and for a minute looked round dazedly. His absorption had been so great that for a moment he was like one who had awakened upon unfamiliar things. As when in a dream of the night the history of years will flash past like a ray of light, so for the bad half-hour in which Crozier had given himself up to despair, his mind had travelled through an incongruous series of incidents of his past life, and had also revealed pictures of solution after solution of his present troubles.
He had that-gift of visualization which makes life an endless procession of pictures which allure, or which wear the nature into premature old age. The last picture flashing before his eyes, as he sat there alone, was of himself and his elder brother, Garnett, now master of Castlegarry, racing ponies to reach the lodge-gates before they closed for the night, after a day of disobedience and truancy. He remembered how Garnett had given him the better pony of the two, so that the younger brother, who would be more heavily punished if they were locked out, should have the better chance. Garnett, if odd in manner and character, had always been a true sportsman though not a lover of sport.
If—if—why had he never thought of Garnett? Garnett could help him, and he would do so. He would let Garnett stand in with him—take one-third of his profits from the syndicate. Yes, he must ask Garnett to see him through. Then it was that he lifted his head from his hands, and his mind awakened out of a dream as real as though he had actually been asleep. Garnett—alas! Garnett was thousands of miles away, and he had not heard from him for five years. Still, he knew the master of Castlegarry was alive, for he had seen him mentioned in a chance number of The Morning Post lately come to his hands. What avail! Garnett was at Castlegarry, and at midnight his chance of fortune and a new life would be gone. Then, penniless, he would have to face Mona again; and what would come of that he could not see, would not try to see. There was an alternative he would not attempt to face until after midnight, when this crisis in his life would be over. Beyond midnight was a darkness which he would not now try to pierce. As his eyes again became used to his surroundings, a look of determination, the determination of the true gambler, came into his face. The real gambler never throws up the sponge till all is gone; never gives up till after the last toss of the last penny of cash or credit; for he has seen such innumerable times the thing come right and good fortune extend a friendly hand with the last hazard of all.
Suddenly he remembered—saw—a scene in the gambling rooms at Monte Carlo on the only visit he had ever paid to the place. He had played constantly, and had won more or less each day. Then his fortune turned and he lost and lost each day. At last, one evening, he walked up to a table and said to the croupier, "When was zero up last?" The croupier answered, "Not for an hour." Forthwith he began to stake on zero and on nothing else. For two hours he put his louis at each turn of the wheel on the Lonely Nought. For two hours he lost. Increasing his stake, which had begun at five francs and had risen at length to five louis, he still coaxed the sardonic deity. Finally midnight came, and he was the only person playing at the table. All others had gone or had ceased to play. These stayed to watch the "mad Inglesi," as a foreigner called him, knocking his head against the foot stool of an unresponsive god of chance. The croupiers watched also with somewhat disdainful, somewhat pitying interest, this last representative of a class who have an insane notion that the law of chances is in their favour if they can but stay the course. And how often had they seen the stubborn challenger of a black demon, who would not appear according to the law of chances, leave the table ruined for ever!
Smiling, Crozier had played on till he had but ten louis left. Counting them over with cheerful exactness, he rose up, lit a cigarette, placed the ten louis on the fatal spot with cynical precision, and with a gay smile kissed his hand to the refractory Nothing and said, "You've got it all, Zero-good-night! Goodnight, Zero!" Then he had buttoned his coat and turned away to seek the cool air of the Mediterranean. He had gone but a step or two, his head half gaily turned to the table where the dwindling onlookers stood watching the wheel spin round, when suddenly the croupier's cry of "Zero!" fell upon his ears.
With cheerful nonchalance he had come back to the table and picked up the many louis he had won—won by his last throw and with his last available coin.
As the scene passed before him now he got to his feet and, with that look of the visionary in his eyes, which those only know who have watched the born gamester, said, "I'll back my hand till the last throw." Then it was, as his eyes gazed in front of him dreamily, he saw the card on his mirror bearing the words, "Courage, soldier!"
With a deepening flame in his eyes he went over and gazed at it. At length he reached out and touched the writing with a caressing finger.
"Kitty—Kitty, how great you are!" he said. Then as he turned to the outer door a softness came into his face, stole up into his brilliant eyes and dimmed them with a tear. "What a hand to hold in the dark—the dark of life!" he said aloud. "Courage, soldier!" he added, as he opened the door by which he had entered, through which Burlingame had gone, and strode away towards the town of Askatoon, feeling somehow in his heart that before midnight his luck would turn.
From the dining-room Kitty had watched him go. "Courage, soldier!" she whispered after him, and she laughed; but almost immediately she threw her head up with a gasping sigh, and when it was lowered again two tears were stealing down her cheeks.
With an effort she conquered herself, wiped away the tears, and said aloud, with a whimsical but none the less pitiful self-reproach, "Kitty- Kitty Tynan, what a fool you are!"
Entering the room Crozier had left, she went to the desk with the green- baize top, opened it, and took out the fateful letter which Mona Crozier had written to her husband five years ago. Putting it into her pocket she returned to the dining-room. She stood there for a moment with her chin in her hands and deep reflection in her eyes, and then, going to the door of her mother's sitting-room, she opened it and beckoned. A moment later Mrs. Crozier and the Young Doctor entered the dining-room and sat down at a motion from her. Presently she said:
"Mrs. Crozier, I have here the letter your husband received from you five years ago in London."
Mrs. Crozier flushed. She had been masterful by nature and she had had her way very much in life. To be dominated in the most intimate things of her life by this girl was not easy to be borne; but she realised that Kitty had been a friend indeed, even if not conventional. In response to Kitty's remark now she inclined her head.
"Well, you have told us that you and your husband haven't made it up. That is so, isn't it?" Kitty continued.
"If you wish to put it that way," answered Mona, stiffening a little in spite of herself.
"P'r'aps I don't put it very well, but it is the stony fact, isn't it, Mrs. Crozier?"
Mona hesitated a moment, then answered: "He is very upset concerning the land syndicate, and he has a quixotic idea that he cannot take money from me to help him carry it through."
"I don't quite know what quixotic means," rejoined Kitty dryly. "If it wasn't understood while you lived together that what was one's was the other's, that it was all in one purse, and that you shut your eyes to the name on the purse and took as you wanted, I don't see how you could expect him, after your five years' desertion, to take money from you now."
"My five years' desertion!" exclaimed Mona. Surely this girl was more than reckless in her talk. Kitty was not to be put down. "If you don't mind plain speaking, he was always with you, but you weren't always with him in those days. This letter showed that." She tapped it on her thumb-nail. "It was only when he had gone and you saw what you had lost, that you came back to him—in heart, I mean. Well, if you didn't go away with him when he went, and you wouldn't have gone unless he had ordered you to go—and he wouldn't do that—it's clear you deserted him, since you did that which drove him from home, and you stayed there instead of going with him. I've worked it out, and it is certain you deserted him five years ago. Desertion does't mean a sea of water between, it means an ocean of self-will and love-me-first between. If you hadn't deserted him, as this letter shows, he wouldn't have been here. I expect he told you so; and if he did, what did you say to him?"
The Young Doctor's eyes were full of decorous mirth and apprehension, for such logic and such impudence as Kitty's was like none he had ever heard. Yet it was commanding too.
Kitty caught the look in his eyes and blazed up. "Isn't what I said correct? Isn't it all true and logical? And if it is, why do you sit there looking so superior?"
The Young Doctor made a gesture of deprecating apology. "It's all true, and it's logical, too, if you stand on your head when you think it. But whether it is logical or not, it is your conclusion, and as you've taken the thing in hand to set it right, it is up to you now. We can only hold hard and wait."
With a shrug of her graceful shoulders Kitty turned again to Mrs. Crozier, who intervened hastily, saying, "I did not have a chance of saying to him all I wished. Of course he could not take my money, but there was his own money! I was going to tell him about that, but just then the lawyer, Mr. Burlingame—"
"They all call him 'Gus' Burlingame. He doesn't get the civility of Mr. here in Askatoon," interposed Kitty.
Mona made an impatient gesture. "If you will listen, I want to tell you about Mr. Crozier's money. He thinks he has no money, but he has. He has a good deal."
She paused, and the Young Doctor and Kitty leaned forward eagerly. "Well, but go on," said Kitty. "If he has money he must have it to-day, and now. Certainly he doesn't know of it. He thinks he is broke,—dead broke,—and there'd be a hundred and fifty thousand dollars for him if he could put up ten thousand dollars to-night. If I were you I wouldn't hide it from him any longer."
Mona got to her feet in anger. "If you would give me a chance to explain, I would do so," she said, her lips trembling. "Unfortunately, I am in your hands, but please give me credit for some intelligence—and some heart. In any case I shall not be bullied."
The Young Doctor almost laughed outright, despite the danger of the situation. He was not prepared for Kitty's reply and the impulsive act that marched with it. In an instant Kitty had caught Mona Crozier's hand and pressed it warmly. "I was only doing what I've seen lawyers do," she said eagerly. "I've got something that I want you to do, and I've been trying to work up to it. That's all. I'm not as mean and bad mannered as you think me. I really do care what happens to him—to you both," she hastened to add.
Struggling to keep back her tears, and in a low voice, Mona rejoined: "I meant to have told him what I'm going to tell you now. I couldn't say anything about the money belonging to him till I had told him how it came to be his."
After a moment' pause she continued: "He told you all about the race which Flamingo lost, and about that letter." She pointed to the letter which Kitty still carried in her hand. "Well, that letter was written under the sting of bitter disappointment. I was vain. I was young. I did not understand as I do now. If you were not such good friends— of his—I could not tell you this. It seemed to me that by breaking his pledge he showed he did not care for me; that he thought he could break a sacred pledge to me, and it didn't matter. I thought it was treating me lightly—to do it so soon after the pledge was given. I was indignant. I felt we weren't as we might be, and I felt, too, that I must be at fault; but I was so proud that I didn't want to admit it, I suppose, when he did give me a grievance. It was all so mixed. I was shocked at his breaking his pledge, I was so vexed that our marriage hadn't been the success it might have been, and I think I was a little mad."
"That is not the monopoly of only one of your sex," interposed the Young Doctor dryly. "If I were you I wouldn't apologise for it. You speak to a sister in like distress."
Kitty's eyes flamed up, but she turned her head, as though some licensed libertine of speech had had his say, and looked with friendly eyes at Mona. "Yes, yes—please go on," she urged.
"When I wrote that letter I had forgotten what I had done the day before the race. I had gone into my husband's room to find some things I needed from the drawer of his dressing-table; and far at the back of a drawer I found a crumpled-up roll of ten-pound notes. It was fifty pounds altogether. I took the notes—"
She paused a moment, and the room became very still. Both her listeners were sure that they were nearing a thing of deep importance.
In a lower voice Mona continued: "I don't know what possessed me, but perhaps it was that the things he did of which I disapproved most had got a hold on me in spite of myself. I said to myself: 'I am going to the Derby. I will take the fifty pounds, and I'll put it on a horse for Shiel.' He had talked so much to my brother about Flamingo, and I had seen him go wrong so often, that I had a feeling if I put it on a horse that Shiel particularly banned, it would probably win. He had been wrong nearly every time for two years. It was his money, and if it won, it would make him happy; and if it didn't win, well, he didn't know the money existed—I was sure of that; and, anyhow, I could replace it. I put it on a horse he condemned utterly, but of which one or two people spoke well. You know what happened to Flamingo. While at Epsom I heard from friends that Shiel was present at the race, though he had said he would not go. Later I learned that he had lost heavily. Then I saw him in the distance paying out money and giving bills to the bookmakers. It made me very angry. I don't think I was quite sane. Most women are like that at times."
"As I said," remarked the Young Doctor, his face mirthfully alive. Here was a situation indeed.
"So I wrote him that letter," Mona went on. "I had forgotten all about the money I put on the outsider which won the race. As you know, I was called away to my sick sister that evening, and the money I won with Shiel's fifty pounds was not paid to me till after Shiel had gone."
"How much was it?" asked Kitty breathlessly.
"Four thousand pounds."
Kitty exclaimed so loudly that she smothered her mouth with a hand. "Why, he only needs for the syndicate two thousand pounds—ten thousand dollars," she said excitedly. "But what's the good of it, if he can't lay his hand on it by midnight to-night!"
"He can do so," was Mona's quick reply. "I was going to tell him that, but the lawyer came, and—"
Kitty sprang up and down in excitement. "I had a plan. It might have worked without this. It was the only way then. But this makes it sure —yes, most beautifully sure. It shows that the thing to do is to follow your convictions. You say you actually have the money, Mrs. Crozier?"
Mona took from her pocket an envelope, and out of it she drew four Bank of England notes. "Here it is—here are four one-thousand-pound notes. I had it paid to me that way five years ago, and here—here it is," she added, with almost a touch of hysteria in her voice, for the excitement of it all acted on her like an electric storm.
"Well, we'll get to work at once," declared Kitty, looking at the notes admiringly, then taking them from Mona and smoothing them out with tender firmness. "It's just the luck of the wide world, as my father used to say. It actually is. Now you see," she continued, "it's like this. That letter you wrote him"—she addressed herself to Mona—"it has to be changed. You have got to rewrite it, and you must put into it these four bank-notes. Then when you see him again you must have that letter opened at exactly the right moment, and—oh, I wonder if you will do it exactly right!" she added dubiously to Mona. "You don't play your game very well, and it's just possible that, even now, with all the cards in your hands, you will throw them away as you did in the past. I wish that—"
Seeing Mona's agitation changing to choler, the Young Doctor intervened. He did not know Kitty was purposely stinging Crozier's unhappy little consort, so that she should be put upon her mettle to do the thing without bungling.
"You can trust Mrs. Crozier to act carefully; but what exactly do you mean? I judge that Mrs. Crozier does not see more distinctly than I do," he remarked inquiringly to Kitty, and with admonishment in tone and emphasis.
"No, I do not understand quite—will you explain?" interposed Mona with inner resentment at being managed, but feeling that she could not do without Kitty even if she would.
"As I said," continued Kitty, "I will open that letter, and you will put in another letter and these bank-notes; and when he repeats what he said about the way you felt and wrote when he broke his pledge, you can blaze up and tell him to open the letter. Then he will be so sorry that he'll get down on his knees, and you will be happy ever after."
"But it will be a fraud, and dishonest and dishonourable," protested Mona.
Kitty almost sniffed, but she was too agitated to be scornful. "Just leave that to me, please. It won't make me a bit more dishonourable to open the letter again—I've opened it once, and I don't feel any the worse for it. I have no conscience, and things don't weigh on my mind at all. I'm a light-minded person."
Looking closely at her, the Young Doctor got a still further insight into the mind and soul of this prairie girl, who used a lid of irony to cover a well of deep feeling. Things did not weigh on her mind! He was sure that pain to the wife of Shiel Crozier would be mortal torture to Kitty Tynan.
"But I felt exactly what I wrote that Derby Day when he broke his pledge, and he ought to know me exactly as I was," urged Mona. "I don't want to deceive him, to appear a bit better than I am."
"Oh, you'd rather lose him!" said Kitty almost savagely. "Knowing how hard it is to keep a man under the best circumstances, you'd willingly make the circumstances as bad as they can be—is that it? Besides, weren't you sorry afterwards that you wrote that letter?"
"Yes, yes, desperately sorry."
"And you wished often that your real self had written on Derby Day and not the scratch-cat you were then?"
Mona flushed, but answered bravely, "Yes, a thousand times."
"What business had you to show him your cat-self, your unreal, not your real self on Derby Day five years ago? Wasn't it your duty to show him your real self?"
Mona nodded helplessly. "Yes, I know it was."
"Then isn't it your duty to see that your real self speaks in that letter now?"
"I want him to know me exactly as I am, and then—"
Kitty made a passionate gesture. Was ever such an uncomprehending woman as this diamond-button of a wife?
"And then you would be unhappy ever after instead of being happy ever after. What is the good of prejudicing your husband against you by telling the unnecessary truth. He is desperate, and besides, he has been away from you for five years, and we all change somehow—particularly men, when there are so many women in the world, and very pretty women of all ages and kinds and colours and tastes, and dazzling, deceitful hussies too. It isn't wise for any woman to let her husband or any one at all see her exactly as she is; and only the silly ones do it. They tell what they think is the truth about their own wickedness, and it isn't the truth at all, because I suppose women don't know how to tell the exact truth; and they can be just as unfair to themselves as they are to others. Besides, haven't you any sense of humour, Mrs. Crozier? It's as good as a play, this. Just think: after five years of desertion, and trouble without end, and it all put right by a little sleight-of-hand. Shall I open it?"
She held the letter up. Mona nodded almost eagerly now, for come of a subtle, social world far away, she still was no match for the subtlety of the wilds—or was it the cunning the wild things know?
Kitty left the room, but in a moment afterwards returned with the letter open. "The kettle on the hob is the friend of the family," she said gaily. "Here it is all ready for what there is to do. You go and keep watch for Mr. Crozier," she added to the Young Doctor. "He won't be gone long, I should think, and we don't want him bursting in on us before I've got that letter safe back into his desk. If he comes, you keep him busy for a moment. When we're quite ready I'll come to the front door, and then you will know it is all right."
"I'm to go while you make up your prescription—all right!" said the Young Doctor, and with a wave of the hand he left the room.
Instantly Kitty brought a lead pencil and paper. "Now sit down and write to him, Mrs. Crozier," she said briskly. "Use discretion; don't gush; slap his face a little for breaking his pledge, and afterwards tell him that you did at the Derby what you had abused him for doing. Then explain to him about this four thousand pounds—twenty thousand dollars —my, what a lot of money, and all got in one day! Tell him that it was all won by his own cash. It's as easy as can be, and it will be a certainty now."
So saying, she lit a match. "You—hold this wicked old catfish letter into the flame, please, Mrs. Crozier, and keep praying all the time, and please remember that 'our little hands were never made to tear each other's eyes.'"
Mona's small fingers were trembling as she held the fateful letter into the flame, and then in silence both watched it burn to a cinder. A faint, hopeful smile was on Mona's face now.
"What isn't never was to those that never knew," said Kitty briskly, and pushed a chair up to the table. "Now sit down and write, please."
Mona sat down. Taking up a sheet of notepaper she looked at it dubiously.
"Oh, what a fool I am!" said Kitty, understanding the look. "And that's what every criminal does—he forgets something. I forgot the notepaper. Of course you can't use that notepaper. Of course not. He'd know it in a minute. Besides, the sheet we burned had an engraved address on it. I never thought of that—good gracious!"
"Wait—wait," said Mona, her face lighting. "I may have some sheets in my writing-case. It's only a chance, but there were some loose sheets in it when I left home. I'll go and see."
While she was gone to her bedroom Kitty stood still in the middle of the room lost in reflection, as completely absorbed as though she was seeing things thousands of miles away. In truth, she was seeing things millions of miles away; she was seeing a Promised Land. It was a gift of hers, or a penalty of her life, perhaps, that she could lose herself in reverie at a moment's notice—a reverie as complete as though she was subtracted from life's realities. Now, as she looked out of the door, far over the prairie to a tiny group of pine-trees in the vanishing distance, lines she once read floated through her mind:
"Away and beyond the point of pines, In a pleasant land where the glad grapes be, Purple and pendent on verdant vines, I know that my fate is awaiting me."
What fate was to be hers? There was no joy in her eyes as she gazed. Mrs. Crozier was beside the table again before she roused herself from her trance.
"I've got it—just two sheets, two solitary sheets," said Mona in triumph. "How long they have been in my case I don't know. It is almost uncanny they should be there just when they're most needed."
"Providential, we should say out here," was Kitty's response. "Begin, please. Be sure you have the right date. It was—"
Mona had already written the date, and she interrupted Kitty with the words, "As though I could forget it!" All at once Kitty put a restraining hand on her arm.
"Wait—wait, you mustn't write on that paper yet. Suppose you didn't write the real wise thing—and only two sheets of paper and so much to say?"
"How right you always are!" said Mona, and took up one of the blank sheets which Kitty had just brought her.
Then she began to write. For a minute she wrote swiftly, nervously, and had nearly finished a page when Kitty said to her, "I think I had better see what you have written. I don't think you are the best judge. You see, I have known him better than you for the last five years, and I am the best judge please, I mean it in the rightest, kindest way," she added, as she saw Mona shrink. It was like hurting a child, and she loved children—so much. She had always a vision of children at her knee.
Silently Mrs. Crozier pushed the sheets towards her. Kitty read the page with a strange, eager look in her eyes. "Yes, that's right as far as it goes," she said. "It doesn't gush. It's natural. It's you as you are now, not as you were then, of course."
Again Mona bent over the paper and wrote till she had completed a page. Then Kitty looked over her shoulder and read what had been written. "No, no, no, that won't do," she exclaimed. "That won't do at all. It isn't in the way that will accomplish what we want. You've gone quite, quite wrong. I'll do it. I'll dictate it to you. I know exactly what to say, and we mustn't make any mistake. Write, please—you must."
Mona scratched out what had been written without a word. "I am waiting," she said submissively.
"All right. Now we go on. Write. I'll dictate." "'And look here, dearest,'" she began, but Mona stopped her.
"We do not say 'look here' in England. I would have said 'and see.'"
"'And see-dearest,'" corrected Kitty, with an accent on the last word, "'while I was mad at you for the moment for breaking your promise—'"
"In England we don't say 'mad' in that connection," Mona again interrupted. "We say 'angry' or 'annoyed' or 'vexed.'" There was real distress in her tone.
"Now I'll tell you what to do," said Kitty cheerfully. "I'll speak it, and you write it my way of thinking, and then when we've finished you will take out of the letter any words that are not pure, noble, classic English. I know what you mean, and you are quite right. Mr. Crozier never says 'look here' or 'mad,' and he speaks better than any one I ever heard. Now, we certainly must get on."
After an instant she began again.
"—While I was angry at you a moment for breaking your promise, I cannot reproach you for it, because I, too, bet on the Derby, but I bet on a horse that you had said as much against as you could. I did it because you had very bad luck all this year and lost, and also last year, and I thought—"
For several minutes, with greater deliberation than was usual with her, Kitty dictated, and at the end of the letter she said, "I am, dearest, your—"
Here Mona sharply interrupted her. "If you don't mind I will say that myself in my own way," she said, flushing.
"Oh, I forgot for the moment that I was speaking for you!" responded Kitty, with a lurking, undermeaning in her voice. "I threw myself into it so. Do you think I've done the thing right?" she added.
With a direct, honest friendliness Mona looked into Kitty eyes. "You have said the exact right thing as to meaning, I am sure, and I can change an occasional word here and there to make it all conventional English."
Kitty nodded. "Don't lose a minute in copying it. We must get the letter back in his desk as soon as possible."
As Mona wrote, Kitty sat with the envelope in her hand, alternately looking at it and into the distance beyond the point of pines. She was certain that she had found the solution of the troubles of Shiel and Mona Crozier, for Crozier would now have his fortune, and the return to his wife was a matter of course. Was she altogether sure? But yes, she was altogether sure. She remembered, with a sudden, swift plunge of blood in her veins, that early dawn when she bent over him as he lay beneath the tree, and as she kissed him in his sleep he had murmured, "My darling!" That had not been for her, though it had been her kiss which had stirred his dreaming soul to say the words. If they had only been meant for her, then—oh, then life would be so much easier in the future! If—if she could only kiss him again and he would wake and say—
She got to her feet with an involuntary exclamation. For an instant she had been lost in a world of her own, a world of the impossible.
"I almost thought I heard a step in the other room," she said in explanation to Mona. Going to the door of Crozier's room, she appeared to listen for a moment, and then she opened it.
"No, it is all right," she said.
In another few minutes Mona had finished the letter. "Do you wish to read it again?" she asked Kitty, but not handing it to her.
"No, I leave the words to you. It was the right meaning I wanted in it," she replied.
Suddenly Mona came to her and laid a hand on her arm. "You are wonderful—a wonderful, wise, beloved girl," she said, and there were tears in her eyes.
Kitty gave the tiny fingers a spasmodic clasp, and said: "Quick, we must get them in!" She put the banknotes inside the sheets of paper, then hastily placed both in the envelope and sealed the envelope again.
"It's just a tiny bit damp with the steam yet, but it will be all right in five minutes. How soiled the envelope is!" Kitty added. "Five years in and out of the desk, in and out of his pocket—but all so nice and unsoiled and sweet and bonny inside," she added. "To say nothing of the bawbees, as Mr. Crozier calls money. Well, we are ready. It all depends on you now, Mrs. Crozier."
"No, not all."
"He used to be afraid of you; now you are afraid of him," said Kitty, as though stating a commonplace.
There was no more shrewishness left in the little woman to meet this chastisement. The forces against her were too many. Loneliness and the long struggle to face the world without her man; the determination of this masterful young woman who had been so long a part of her husband's life; and, more than all, a new feeling altogether—love, and the dependence a woman feels, the longing to find rest in strong arms, which comes with the first revelation of love, had conquered what Kitty had called her "bossiness." She was now tremulous before the crisis which she must presently face. Pride in her fortune, in her independence, had died down in her. She no longer thought of herself as a woman especially endowed and privileged. She took her fortune now like a man; for she had been taught that a man could set her aside just because she had money, could desert her to be independent of it. It had been a revelation to her, and she was chastened of all the termagancy visible and invisible in her. She stood now before Kitty of "a humble and a contrite heart," and made no reply at all to the implied challenge. Kitty, instantly sorry for what she had said, let it go at that. She was only now aware of how deeply her arrows had gone home.
As they stood silent there was a click at the gate. Kitty ran into Crozier's room, thrust the letter into its pigeonhole in the desk, and in a moment was back again. In the garden the Young Doctor was holding Crozier in conversation, but watching the front door. So soon, however, as Kitty had shown herself, as she had promised, at the front door and then vanished, he turned Crozier towards the house again by an adroit word, and left him at the door-step.
Seeing who was inside the room Crozier hesitated, and his long face, with paleness added to its asceticism, took on a look which could have given no hope of happiness to Mona. It went to her heart as no look of his had ever gone. Suddenly she had a revelation of how little she had known of what he was, or what any man was or could be, or of those springs of nature lying far below the outer lives which move in orbits of sheltering convention. It is because some men and women are so sheltered from the storms of life by wealth and comfort that these piercing agonies which strike down to the uttermost depths so seldom reach them.
Shiel half turned away, not sullen, not morose, but with a strange apathy settled on him. He had once heard a man say, "I feel as though I wanted to crawl into a hole and die." That was the way he felt now, for to be beaten in the game which you have played like a man yourself and have been fouled into an unchallenged defeat, without the voice of the umpire, is a fate which has smothered the soul of better men than Crozier.
Mona's voice stopped him. "Do not go, Shiel," she urged gently. "No, you must not go—I want fair-play from you, if nothing else. You must play the game with me. I want justice. I have to say some things I had no chance to say before, and I want to hear some things I have a right to hear. Indeed, you must play the game."
He drew himself up. Not to be a sportsman, not to play the game—to accuse him of this would have brought him back from the edge of the grave.
"I'm not fit to-day. Let it be to-morrow, Mona," was his hesitating reply; but he did not leave the doorway.
She shook her head and made a swift little childlike gesture towards him. "We are sure of to-day; we are not sure of to-morrow. One or the other of us might not be here to-morrow. Let us do to-day the thing that belongs to to-day."
That note struck home, for indeed the black spirit which whispers to men in their most despairing hours to end it all had whispered to him.
"Let us do to-day the thing that belongs to to-day," she had just said, and, strange to say, there shot into his mind words that belonged to the days when he went to church at Castlegarry and thought of a thousand things other than prayer or praise, but yet heard with the acute ears of the young, and remembered with the persistent memory of youth. "For the night cometh when no man can work," were the words which came to him. He shuddered slightly. Suppose that this indeed was the beginning of the night! As she said, he must play the game—play it as Crozier of Lammis would have played it.
He stepped inside the room. "Let it be to-day," he said.
"We may be interrupted here," she replied. Courage came to her. "Let us talk in your own room," she added, and going over she opened the door of it and walked in. The matured modesty of a lost five years did not cloak her actions now. She was a woman fighting for happiness, and she had been so beaten by the rods of scorn, so smothered by the dust of humiliation, that there had come to her the courage of those who would rather die fighting than in the lethargy of despair.
It was like her old self to take the initiative, but she did it now in so different a way—without masterfulness or assumption. It was rather like saying, "I will do what I know you wish me to do; I will lay all reserve aside for your sake; I will be bold because I love you."
He shut the door behind them and motioned her to a chair.
"No, I will not sit," she said. "That is too formal. You ask any stranger to sit. I am at home here, Shiel, and I will stand."
"What was it you wanted to say, Mona?" he asked, scarcely looking at her.
"I should like to think that there was something you wished to hear," she replied. "Don't you want to know all that has happened since you left us—about me, about your brother, about your friends, about Lammis? I bought Lammis at the sale you ordered; it is still ours." She gave emphasis to "ours." "You may not want to hear all that has happened to me since you left, still I must tell you some things that you ought to know, if we are going to part again. You treated me badly. There was no reason why you should have left and placed me in the position you did."
His head came up sharply and his voice became a little hard. "I told you I was penniless, and I would not live on you, and I could do nothing in England; I had no trade or profession. If I had said good-bye to you, you would probably have offered me a ticket to Canada. As I was a pauper I preferred to go with what I had out of the wreck—just enough to bring me here. But I've earned my own living since."
"Penniless—just enough to bring you out here!" Her voice had a sound of honest amazement. "How can you say such a thing! You had my letter—you said you had my letter?"
"Yes, I had your letter," he answered. "Your thoughtful brother brought it to me. You had told him all the dear womanly things you had said or were going to say to your husband, and he passed them on to me with the letter."
"Never mind what he said to you, Shiel. It was what I said that mattered." She was getting bolder every minute. The comedy was playing into her hands.
"You wrote in your letter the things he said to me," he replied.
Her protest sounded indignantly real. "I said nothing in the letter I wrote you that any man would not wish to hear. Is it so unpleasant for a man who thinks he is penniless to be told that he has made the year's income of a cabinet minister?"
"I don't understand," he returned helplessly.
"You talk as though you had never read my letter.
"I never have read your letter," he replied in bewilderment.
Her face had the flush of honest anger. "You do not dare to tell me you destroyed my letter without reading it—that you destroyed all that letter contained simply because you no longer cared for your wife; because you wanted to be rid of her, wanted to vanish and never see her any more, and so go and leave no trace of yourself! You have the courage here to my face"—the comedy of the situation gained much from the mock indignation—she no longer had any compunctions—"to say that you destroyed my letter and what it contained—a small fortune it would be out here."
"I did not destroy your letter, Mona," was the embarrassed response.
"Then what did you do with it? Gave it to some one else to read—to some other woman, perhaps."
He was really shocked and greatly pained. "Hush! You shall not say that kind of thing, Mona. I've never had anything to do with any woman but my wife since I married her."
"Then what did you do with the letter?"
"It's there," he said, pointing to the high desk with the green baize top.
"And you say you have never read it?"
She raised her head with dainty haughtiness. "Then if you have still the same sense of honour that made you keep faith with the bookmakers—you didn't run away from them!—read it now, here in my presence. Read it, Shiel. I demand that you read it now. It is my right. You are in honour bound—"
It was the only way. She dare not give him time to question, to suspect; she must sweep him along to conviction. She was by no means sure that there wasn't a flaw in the scheme somewhere, something that would betray her; and she could hardly wait till it was over, till he had read the letter.
In a moment he was again near her with the letter in his hand.
"Yes, that's it—that's the letter," she said, with wondering and reproachful eyes. "I remember the little scratchy blot from the pen on the envelope. There it is, just as I made it five years ago. But how disgracefully soiled the envelope is! I suppose it has been tossed about in your saddle-bag, or with your old clothes, and only kept to remind you day by day that you had a wife you couldn't live with—kept as a warning never to think of her except to say, 'I hate you, Mona, because you are rich and heartless, and not bigger than a pinch of snuff.' That was the kind way you used to speak of her even when you were first married to her—contemptuously always in your heart, no matter what you said out loud. And the end showed it—the end showed it; you deserted her."
He was so fascinated by the picture she made of passion and incensed declamation that he did not attempt to open the letter, and he wondered why there was such a difference between the effect of her temper on him now and the effect of it those long years ago. He had no feeling of uneasiness in her presence now, no sense of irritation. In spite of her tirade, he had a feeling that it didn't matter, that she must bluster in her tiny teacup if she wanted to do so.
"Open the letter at once," she insisted. "If you don't, I will." She made as though to take the letter from him, but with a sudden twist he tore open the envelope. The bank-notes fell to the floor as he took out the sheet inside. Wondering, he stooped to pick them up.
"Four thousand pounds!" he exclaimed, examining them. "What does it mean?"
"Read," she commanded.
He devoured the letter. His eyes swam; then there rushed into them the flame which always made them illumine his mediaeval face like the light from "the burning bush." He did not question or doubt, because he saw what he wished to see, which is the way of man. It all looked perfectly natural and convincing to him.
"Mona—Mona—heaven above and all the gods of hell and Hellas, what a fool, what a fool I've been!" he exclaimed. "Mona—Mona, can you forgive your idiot husband? I didn't read this letter because I thought it was going to slash me on the raw—on the raw flesh of my own lacerating. I simply couldn't bear to read what your brother said was in the letter. Yet I couldn't destroy it, either. It was you. I had to keep it. Mona, am I too big a fool to be your husband?"
He held out his arms with a passionate exclamation. "I asked you to kiss me yesterday, and you wouldn't," she protested. "I tried to make you love me yesterday, and you wouldn't. When a woman gets a rebuff like that, when—"
She could not bear it any longer. With a cry of joy she was in his arms.
After a moment he said, "The best of all was, that you—you vixen, you bet on that Derby and won, and—"
"With your money, remember, Shiel."
"With my money!" he cried exultingly. "Yes, that's the best of it—the next best of it. It was your betting that was the best of all—the best thing you ever did since we married, except your coming here."
"It's in time to help you, too—with your own money, isn't it?"
He glanced at his watch. "Hours—I'm hours to the good. That crowd— that gang of thieves—that bunch of highwaymen! I've got them—got them, and got a hundred and fifty thousand dollars, too, to start again at home, at Lammis, Mona, back on the—but no, I'm not sure that I can live there now after this big life out here."
"I'm not so sure, either," Mona replied, with a light of larger understanding in her eyes. "But we'll have to go back and stop the world talking, and put things in shape before we come here to stay."
"To stay here—do you mean that?" he asked eagerly.
"Somewhere in this big land," she replied softly; "anyhow, to stay here till I've grown up a little. I wasn't only small in body in the old days, I was small in mind, Shiel."
"Anyhow, I've done with betting and racing, Mona. I've just got time left—I'm only thirty-nine—to start and really do something with myself."
"Well, start now, dear man of Lammis. What is it you have to do before twelve o'clock to-night?" "What is it? Why, I have to pay over two thousand of this,"—he flourished the banknotes—"and even then I'll still have two thousand left. But wait—wait. There was the original fifty pounds. Where is that fifty pounds, little girl alive? Out with it. This is the profit. Where is the fifty you staked?" His voice was gay with raillery.
She could look him in the face now and prevaricate without any shame or compunction at all. "That fifty pounds—that! Why, I used it to buy my ticket for Canada. My husband ought to pay my expenses out to him."
He laughed greatly. All Ireland was rioting in his veins now. He had no logic or reasoning left. "Well, that's the way to get into your old man's heart, Mona. To think of that! I call it tact divine. Everything has spun my way at last. I was right about that Derby, after all. It was in my bones that I'd make a pot out of it, but I thought I had lost it all when Flamingo went down."
"You never know your luck—you used to say that, Shiel."
"I say it again. Come, we must tell our friends—Kitty, her mother, and the Young Doctor. You don't know what good friends they have been to me, mavourneen."
"Yes, I think I do," said Mona, opening the door to the outer room.
Then Crozier called with a great, cheery voice—what Mona used to call his tally-ho voice. Mrs. Tynan appeared, smiling. She knew at a glance what had happened. It was so interesting that she could even forgive Mona.
"Where's Kitty?" asked Crozier, almost boisterously.
"She has gone for a ride with John Sibley," answered Mrs. Tynan.
"Look, there she is!" said Mona, laying a hand on Crozier's arm, and pointing with the other out over the prairie.
Crozier looked out towards the northwestern horizon, and in the distance was a woman riding as hard as her horse could go, with a man galloping hard after her. It seemed as though they were riding into the sunset.
"She's riding the horse you won that race with years ago when you first came here, Mr. Crozier," said Mrs. Tynan. "John Sibley bought it from Mr. Brennan."
Mona did not see the look which came into Crozier's face as, with one hand shading his eyes and the other grasping the banknotes which were to start him in life again, independent and self-respecting, he watched the girl riding on and on, ever ahead of the man.
It was at that moment the Young Doctor entered the room, and he distracted Mona's attention for a moment. Going forward to him Mona shook him warmly by the hand. Then she went up to Mrs. Tynan and kissed her.
"I would like to kiss your daughter too, Mrs. Tynan," Mona said. . . . "What are you looking at so hard, Shiel?" she presently added to her husband.
He did not turn to her. His eyes were still shaded by his hand.
"That horse goes well yet," he said in a low voice. "As good as ever— as good as ever."
"He loves horses so," remarked Mona, as though she could tell Mrs. Tynan and the Young Doctor anything about Shiel Crozier which they did not know.
"Kitty rides well, doesn't she?" asked Mrs. Tynan of Crozier.
"What a pair—girl and horse!" Crozier exclaimed. "Thoroughbred— absolutely thoroughbred!"
Kitty had ridden away with her heart's secret, her very own, as she thought: but Shiel Crozier knew—the man that mattered knew.
Golden, all golden, save where there was a fringe of trees at a watercourse; save where a garden, like a spot of emerald, made a button on the royal garment wrapped across the breast of the prairie. Above, making for the trees of the foothills far away, a golden eagle floated, a prairie-hen sped affrighted from some invisible thing; and in the far distance a railway train slipped down the plain like a serpent making for a covert in the first hills of the first world that ever was.
At a casual glance the vast plain seemed uninhabited, yet here and there were men and horses, tiny in the vastness, but conquering. Here and there also—for it was July—a haymaker sharpened his scythe, and the sound came singing through the air radiant and stirring with life.
Seated in the shade of a clump of trees a girl sat with her chin in her hands looking out over the prairie, an intense dreaming in her eyes. Her horse was tethered near by, but it scarcely made a sound. It was a horse which had once won a great race, with an Irish gentleman on his back. Long time the girl sat absorbed, her golden colour, her brown-gold hair in harmony with the universal stencil of gold. With her eyes drowned in the distance, she presently murmured something to herself, and as she did so the eyes deepened to a nameless umber tone, deeper than gold, warmer than brown; such a colour as only can be found in a jewel or in a leaf the frost has touched.
The frost had touched the soul which gave the colour to the eyes of the girl. Yet she seemed all summer, all glow and youth and gladness. Her voice was golden, too, and the words which fell from her lips were as though tuned to the sound of falling water. The tone of the voice would last when the gold of all else became faded or tarnished. It had its origin in the soul:
"Whereaway goes my lad? Tell me, has he gone alone? Never harsh word did I speak; never hurt I gave; Strong he was and beautiful; like a heron he has flown Hereaway, hereaway will I make my grave."
The voice lingered on the words till it trailed away into nothing, like the vanishing note of a violin which seems still to pulse faintly after the sound has ceased.
"But he did not go alone, and I have not made my grave," the girl said, and raised her head at the sound of footsteps. With an effort she emerged from the half-trance in which she had been, and smiled at a man hastening towards her.
"Dear bully, bulbous being—how that word 'bully' would have, made her cringe!" she said as the man ambled nearer. He could not go as fast as his mind urged him.
"I've got news—news, news!" he exclaimed, wading through his own perspiration to where she sat. "I can guess what it is," the girl remarked smilingly, as she reached out a hand to him, but remained seated. "It's a real, live baby born to Lydia, wife of Methuselah, the woman also being of goodly years. It is, isn't it."
"The fattest, finest, most 'scrumpshus' son of all the ages that ever—"
Kitty laughed happily and very whimsically. "Like none since Moses was found among the bulrushes! Where was this one found, and what do you intend to call him—Jesse, after his 'pa'?"
"No—nothing so common. He's to be called Shiel—Shiel Crozier Bulrush, that's to be his name."
The face of the girl became a shade pensive now. "Oh! And do you think you can guarantee that he will be worth the name? Do you never think what his father is?"
"I'm starting him right with that name. I can do so much, anyway," laughed the imperturbable one. "And Mrs. Bulrush, after her great effort—how is she?
"Flying—simply flying. Earth not good enough for her. Simply flying. But here—here is more news. Guess what—it's for you. I've just come from the post office, and they said there was an English letter for you, so I brought it."
He handed it over. She laid it in her lap and waited as though for him to go.
"Can't I hear how he is? He's the best man that ever crossed my path," he said.
"It happens to be in his wife's, not his, handwriting—did ever such a scrap of a woman write so sprawling a hand!" she replied, holding the letter up.
"But she'll let us know in the letter how Crozier is, won't she?"
Kitty had now recovered herself, and slowly she opened the envelope and took out the letter. As she did so something fluttered to the ground.
Jesse Bulrush picked it up. "That looks nice," he said, and he whistled in surprise. "It's a money-draft on a bank."
Kitty, whose eyes were fixed on the big, important handwriting, answered calmly and without apparently looking, as she took the paper from his hand: "Yes, it's a wedding present—five hundred dollars to buy what I like best for my home. So she says."
"Mrs. Crozier, of course."
"Well, that's magnificent. What will you do with it?"
Kitty rose and held out her hand. "Go back to your flying partner, happy man, and ask her what she would do with five hundred dollars if she had it."
"She'd buy her lord and master a present with it, of course," he answered.
"Good-bye, Mr. Rolypoly," she responded, laughing. "You always could think of things for other people to do; and have never done anything yourself until now. Good-bye, father."
When he was gone and out of sight her face changed. With sudden anger she crushed and crumpled up the draft for five hundred in her hand. "'A token of affection from both!'" she exclaimed, quoting from the letter. "One lone leaf of Irish shamrock from him would—"
She stopped. "But he will send a message of his own," she continued. "He will—he will. Even if he doesn't, I'll know that he remembers just the same. He does—he does remember."
She drew herself up with an effort, and, as it were, shook herself free from the memories which dimmed her eyes.
Not far away a man was riding towards the clump of trees where she was. She saw, and hastened to her horse.
"If I told John all I feel he'd understand. I believe he always has understood," she added with a far-off look.
The draft was still crushed in her hand when she mounted the beloved horse, whose name now was Shiel.
Presently she smoothed out the crumpled paper. "Yes, I'll take it; I'll put it by," she murmured. "John will keep on betting. He'll be broke some day and he'll need it, maybe."
A moment later she was riding hard to meet the man who, before the wheat- harvest came, would call her wife.
ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:
He saw what he wished to see, which is the way of man Searchers after excuses for ungoverned instincts and acts Telling the unnecessary truth What isn't never was to those that never knew
ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS FOR THE ENTIRE "NEVER KNOW YOUR LUCK":
And I was very lucky—worse luck! Anny man as is a man has to have one vice God help the man that's afraid of his own wife! He saw what he wished to see, which is the way of man Her moral standard had not a multitude of delicate punctilios Law's delays outlasted even the memory of the crime committed Searchers after excuses for ungoverned instincts and acts Sensitive souls, however, are not so many as to crowd each other She looked too gay to be good Telling the unnecessary truth They had seen the world through the bottom of a tumbler What isn't never was to those that never knew