The Anatomy of Love
THE WALLS OF LABOR
EDITOR’S NOTE.—Herewith is presented the first instalment of Arthur Stringer’s remarkably fine new story. It has a Canadian setting and will have a special interest for Canadian readers. It is largely due to the fact that Mr. Stringer has returned to his old Canadian home that this story—decidedly one of the best he has written—appeared thus for the first time in a magazine published in Canada. It has been written since he took up his residence again in Chatham, Ontario, and bears the imprint of his remarkable versatility perhaps more markedly than any previous work he has done.
THERE is just one thing, Waggles, before you go.” “Yes, sir,” Waggles meekly replied.
“I am overlooking this—er—this indiscretion on your part. But the fact remains that it was an indiscretion. Undergraduates of this college have been distinctly forbidden to study astronomy from the top of the Tower with young ladies. As for the obviously indecorous hour at which you chose to pursue these studies, your contention that astronomical observations can be made only after dark is defensible enough, even though the argument presupposes the fact that you surreptitiously and laboriously mounted this Tower for the sole purpose of planetary research. But that matter we shall now regard as a closed issue. The question I wish to put to you is something more personal, something more
Waggles shifted uncomfortably. He stared furtively at the green baize table littered with books and papers, at the figurine of Astarte side by side with a bronze statuette of the many-breasted Artemis of Ephesus, at the shining round lenses of the Dean’s eye-glasses which threw back the light from the greenglobed reading lamp.
“Waggles,” said the Dean of Amboro, resting his elbows on the arms of his
chair and leaning his finger-tips meditatively together, “What is love?"
“I beg pardon, sir?” gasped Waggles, recoiling visibly.
“That is a plain question put in plain words. Just what does this word ‘Love’ imply to you?”
Waggles glanced towards the door.
“I—I really don’t know, sir!”
“But aren’t you in love?”
UUAGGLES’ color deepened. He re* ’ mained silent, although a distinct tendency to edge towards the door did not escape the eyes of the Dean of Amboro, who sighed with plaintive satisfaction.
“Then if you have experienced that most primary of all the instincts, surely you have some ideas about it. And surely, as a man of intelligence, of intelligence considerably above that of the ordinary Amboro undergraduate, you are able to articulate those ideas.”
“But that’s something the fellows never talk about,” maintained Waggles, in the second wind of his courage.
“And why not?” pursued the scholar behind the green-baize table-top and the glimmering eye-glasses. “Why should the operation of a perfectly natural instinct promptly degenerate into a sort of mental euthanasia? Why should the mind, in a matter like this, emulate the cricket, which is reputed to be so proud of its song that it forgets to feed and dies singing?”
Waggles, shifting from one foot to another, felt that something was expected of
“But it’s—it’s not a simple thing,” he inspiredly protested.
“With that point, Waggles, you stand on perfectly sound ground. Herbert Spencer, in fact, has even ventured to anticipate you there. Clustering about the physical feeling constituting its nucleus are subsidiary feelings such as those
awakenÿ by beauty of face and figure, and thd^ grounded on human attachment, and reverence, and self-esteem, together with ^ove of appreciation, of sympathy, of freedom, even of property itself. A:d all these, under excitation, tend both to interact and unite into that immense aggregate which we so loosely designate as Romantic Love.”
“Yes, sir,” acknowledged the non-committal Waggles.
“But the point is,” pursued the man of science behind the green-baize table-top. “just what do we mean by Romantic Love? How long has it been romantic? Is this emotional hyperaesthesia something fixed and persistent in the race, or is it the product of comparatively modern civilization? Must we limit it to Schopenhauer’s ‘instinct of philoprogenitiveness,’ and regard it as a sort of specialized sexual desire, or must we make it embrace not only the individualized affection of the modern but also that ecstatic friendship and that regard for the universal which we usually accept as Platonic love? Was romantic love between unmated man and woman unknown before Dante’s Vita Nuova, and was Greek love only that conjugal and post-matrimonial tenderness which such men as Boas and Finck would have us believe? Or was Eskstein, remembering Ovid and his Ars Amoris, remembering Sappho of Lesbos, remembering Diotima herself, who, according to Plato, gave Socrates the first true discourse on such a theme,—I say, was Eskstein right in his contention that love is as enduring and unchanging as the poets would have us believe?”
'IXf AGGLES, feeling the searching v v lenses on him, like head-lights, remained uncomfortably silent.
“What, Waggles, is your opinion on that?” prompted the man of science.
‘That’s something I’ve—I’ve never gone into,” was Waggles’s altogether inadequate reply.
“Precisely,” said the Dean of Amboro, with dolorous triumph. “And it’s something which nobody else seems to want to go into. It’s something which science itself has neglected, although Spencer acknowledges that perhaps, on the whole, this phenomenon of falling in love is the most interesting episode in the career of the ordinary man and woman. And if men decline to go into the matter, as you put it, how are we ever going to reach the truth about it?”
This question seemed to nonplus the discomfited Waggles.
“What’s the good of trying to find out the truth about it?” he finally inquired.
“That question, Waggles, is not consistent with the spirit of science. Otherwise, one might ask what’s the good of trying to find out the truth about anything!”
The only truth seeming to trouble Waggles at the moment was that a mild and moonlit night of early summer lay beyond those musty Deanery walls and that from the shadowy gloom of the huge maples just south of the Tennis Courts he could hear the broken sound of music and laughing voices. And not all of those voices, seeing it was Commencement Week, were the voices of men.
“So what, Waggles, are we going to do about it?” the older man asked with the same weary tolerance that a nurse might use towards an incorrigibly fretful child. Waggles, resenting that note of intellectual condescension, looked his tormentor squarely between the eyes.
“Why not ask the women something about it?” he demanded, backing towards the door as he spoke. This movement gave his question a not undesired touch of the valedictory.
f I 'HE spectacled psychologist at the far side of the reading-lamp sighed more heavily than before. For Waggles had hit on the one stumbling-block along the path of all ethnographic success. You simply couldn’t ask women about such things. Questionnaires on that theme, Macraven had found, were only too sadly impossible. His efforts along that line had already over-embarrassed him, both as a professor and a man. His President, in fact, had mildly intimated that universities did not subsidize research in the intricacies of erotic adventure. And even though the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Russell Street has openly commended your work on the Marriage Codes of the Blonde Esquimaux, you can’t expect to discuss the exogamy and endogamy of African bush-tribes with the ladies of a staid and straight-backed Canadian town, any more than you can line up a row of girls and expect them to enlighten you on the psychology of courtship, even though both Bonn and Heidelberg had acknowledged you to be a second Gillen. It was the old paradox of finding the Espousal Rites of the Upper Niger always at your elbow, but the neogamistic data of your next-door neighbor forever withheld from view.
Even Waggles, the simple-minded Waggles, had served to bring this home to Macraven for the hundredth time. And when the Dean of Amboro, emerging from his brown study, looked up to address this same simple-minded youth, he found that Waggles was no longer in the room. That robust and rebellious specimen had wriggled from the cabinet-pin and escaped.
Macraven, with still another sigh, got up from his chair and went to the window. Beyond the shadowy maples he could hear the lilt and throb of guitars, and the tinkle of mandolins, and rising above the music, now and then, the sound of light and youthful voices. And some of those voices, he knew, were the voices of young women.
It was the old, the never-ending game; it was the Senegalese charming the heart of his woman with the beat of the tomtom in orgiastic glooms; it was the twilight shepherd of the Pyrenees wooing his reluctant mate by means of the threestringed rebeck.
Yet it made Macraven’s thoughts go back to his own youth, to other nights of quiet moonlight, when he had leaned from a window in Oxford and heard much the same music and across the level Magdalen lawns listened to much the same light-noted and happy voices. And still later, in Heidelberg, he had often enough looked out on the same moonlight, on the same odorous beauty of earth and air, on the same unphilosophizing call of youth to youth. And there, too, at times, he had
been vaguely depressed by the sound of distant laughter and music.
Yet, in some way, he had always seemed above it, barred off and detached from it. Instead of bending over mandolins, he had bent over microscope-slides. And instead of living, he had been busy in writing about Life. Instead of climbing tower-stairs with impressionable young women, after the manner of the redoubtable Waggles, he had struggled to make the name “Amboro” stand for something in the world of anthropology. But as he leaned out over the narrow stone sill, gazing across the Deanery garden already fragrant with its wealth of hyacinths, and out across the soft green of the campus, pallid in the flat moonlight, and up to the great grey Tower, that rose so sentinel-like above its huddled college roofs, he felt a wayward sense of isolation creeping over him. He was no longer a young man. He was already entered, well entered, upon what his fellow-worker in Science had called “the plateau of life.” Something had faded and passed away,—he scarcely knew what.
Yet it was only in fleeting and abstracted moments like this, he knew, that those years of effort crept back to him, in any way touched with regret. That lost youth, he tried to tell himself, was not altogether a youth of unhappiness. Each season had known its accomplishment; each year had marked its advance. He had done what he had set out to do. Amboro had indeed been put on the map of Anthropology, and behind him, under the green-shaded light on his sadly littered study-table, lay the last pages of the third and final volume of his “Anatomy of Love.”
It was, in a way, his life work, or one phase of his life work,—and it was finished. The last authority had been consulted, the last reference had been verified. There would be only the proof-reading; and that would not begin until the early autumn. No tinkle of guitars, he felt, could ever carry to listening ears, more dulcet music, than that which had arisen from the quiet scratching of his gold-handled fountain-pen as he slowly wrote “Finis” at the foot of his last page. His college year, with all its avocational drudgery, was over. His work was done. And he was tired.
JUTE turned back to the Tower again. *■ vague and blue above him in the soft moonlight. It had always stood there, a discreet and reticent friend to his midnight questionings, always grim and resolute and purposeful. Sometimes, it is true, he had listened with almost joyous relief to the birds singing so crazily from its gargoyles and turrets. He had watched it soften, spring by spring, with its mercifully enfolding ivy. But he had always liked it best in its midnight taciturnity, isolated, aloof, unaltering, silent in its aspirations, alone in its bald and unbending strength.
He turned to the wide greensward of the moonlit Campus again, as the sound of women’s voices fell on his ear. His eye caught the flutter of jheir white gowns against the blue-green background. He could see them moving across the moonlight, slowly, aimlessly. Some younger girl in their midst was singing. The dusk
gave a touch of mystery to the group; the quiet night air, cool and dark and fresh, 9eemed to muffle and mellow their voices, imparting a new appeal to them, a new allurement.
A sudden inconsequential pang of envy crept through the young Professor of Anthropology, leaning out from his little Deanery window.
His youth was vanishing, and he had missed the warmer colors, the lighter things, the very well-being of life. A vague yet essential something of existence had eluded him. He had not been a drone. Neither had he been a dreamer. But even idleness, he suddenly felt, carried with it its unmerited compensations.
The careless mandolin and guitar music, as he leaned there listening, began to irritate him. He was jealous of it, of its joyousness, of its artlessness, of its unconsidering and unregretted abandonment to primal emotion. They were nothing but a band of college boys, gay and wellgroomed youths of the Dormitories, frivolling away the last evening of Commencement Week; a group of chattering girls in white, idling contentedly about in the moonlight.
I_J E shut the small diamond-paned win1 ^ dows, sharply. Then he drew the curtains, and turned a little wearily to his study-table.
He had been working too hard, he told himself, as he pushed back the litter of papers before him. He had been living too long on the North side of life. The only tower he had watched had been that cloistral tower of granite. It was a tangible tower, and an enduring one, cold to the touch, sombre to the eye. But beyond it, he had always indeterminately felt, there was some far-off sister tower, some frailer thing of softly-fashioned ivory, the fragile abode of idleness and dreams, the pinnacle of poetry and longing. That was the tower his over-studious years had left untrodden. And that was the tower he most needed now, he told himself, before it was too late.
His line of thought was disrupted by a sudden knock on the door. His listlessly authoritative “Come” was answered by the unlooked for appearance of Taussig, the associate Professor of Philosophy. Macraven rose with a sudden change of expression, from diffidence to interest, as he saw who his visitor was. But Taussig motioned him back into his seat with a wave of his long cherry pipe-stem.
The difference in the two men was marked. The associate Professor in Philosophy was short and stout. The eyes that shone out from under the shadows of his beetling brows were small, restless, almost furtive in their quickness of movement, had it not been for the settled good nature about the lines of the mouth. His vest was unbuttoned, and his dress, on the whole, tended towards untidiness, redolent, as always, of strong tobacco. His sentences came from his tongue a little loose and thick in utterance, in strange contradiction of his unwavering and machine-like precision of thought on the platform before his classes.
John Herrin Macraven, on the other hand, was exceptionally tall, and some-
what clumsily put together as to frame. His shoulders were marked by that slight roundness which is sometimes known as the scholar’s stoop. His face was cleanshaven, firm and clear-cut in outline, but given the appearance of being unusually long and ascetic-like by the high smooth forehead, blocked out in strokes that left it almost rectangular. The nose, however, was straight and well-chiselled, with the large nostril of physical strength, latent or neglected. The marked droop of the mouth-corners, which gave the face its occasional aspect of grimness, might be taken as a conscious and deliberate assumption of the authoritative attitude, so kindly were the wide-set hazel eyes, so pensive their abstracted gaze. The hair was thin on the high temples, and the face, on the whole, was contemplative and conciliating, but joyless. In moments of strong feeling, as of outraged Right, it was almost saturnine, and only the exercise of a sentry-like will, guarding the widening lines of abstraction, saved it from being an emotional and betrayingly mobile face. An air of fixed preoccupation, of continuous thought along everramifying avenues of research, marked him as a man who would always be more an observer than an actor in life.
Yet there was something perversely fresh and adolescent about him, for all his sense of mental maturity. In affairs not of the mind, in fact, he was still a good deal of the boy. But even this again was contradicted by the impression of something untamed and irrepressible, carrying with it the conviction that any tranquillity which his ever-questioning mind might attain to, would be wrung from the dust of struggle, and not won from the serenity of a spirit resigned.
' I 'HERE was, in fact, something untamed and aggressive in the very gesture with which Macraven thrust back from him a loose pyramid of examination-papers heavily overscored with blue penciling.
“How’s Love?” asked Taussig, as he dropped into a wide-armed rattan chair. The associate professor in Philosophy, Macraven remembered, always asked that question, and Macraven himself always winced at it. There were times, indeed, when he strongly suspected it was prompted by some possible incongruity between his personality and the paths of his research-work. But Taussig was the enfant terrible of the Amboro faculty; allowances had to be made for him.
“With me, it’s at last a closed issue,” announced the man at the desk.
“On paper?” amended Taussig. There was still a touch of mockery in his tones.
“On paper!” solemnly conceded Macraven. “Excepting the fact, of course, that my next four years must go to a study of Sexual Selection.”
Taussig, nursing his pipe-bowl in short thick fingers, nodded comprehendingly.
“And you feel rather lost, I dare say, with the big job off your hands?”
“Yes, I feel rather lost,” acknowledged Macraven.
“Then why don’t you try smoking?”
There were times when Taussig was hard to put up with.
“You’ve asked me that before, I think, and my answer still is that life has always seemed quite short enough—in fact, altogether too sorrowfully short, for what there is to do, without devising anaesthetizing instruments for making it still shorter.”
“Heigho!” said Taussig. Then he suddenly grew grave. “You need a rest!”
“I’m going to take one. Doctor Shotwell has asked me up to his place at Cedar Hills. I’m off, the first of the
“But I saw somewhere that Shotwel! was starting for London to read that paper of his on Reconstructive Anthropogen y ?”
“Precisely; and I’ve engaged to look after his place when he’s away!”
Taussig smoked in silence for a moment or two.
“He has a daughter, if I remember correctly?” said the man in the armchair.
“Yes,” answered Macraven, picking up his terra-cotta figurine of a heavy-browed and helmeted Minerva, and gazing at it absently, “a mere child.” His last memory of Shotwell’s offspring was that of an impish and spider-legged youngster who had once upset a bottle of ink over his fourth chapter of The Mating of Mam-
“Hm! Do you know how old a chiTd?” asked Taussig.
AÆ ACRAVEN did not. Replacing the Minerva, he took up his little airy, ivory Phryne.
“Ah, that brings me back to young Sewell,” said Taussig, elliptically. “It’s young Richard Ford Sewell of the Fourth Year. He’s asked me to help him out of that Memorial Hall scrape with Ramsdell.”
“But why should we make an exception of young Sewell’s case?” said the Dean of Amboro, with a sudden resumption of the academic mien.
“He tells me,” confessed Taussig, “that he hopes to be married pretty soon.”
“Poor devil!” said Macraven. His companion smiled, understandingly. Macraven’s most widely read book, through what always seemed to its author some inscrutable caprice of public taste, had been his “Woman Retrogressive.” From the purely scientific side, it had done little more, of course, than provide a new and startling viewpoint for the world of psychology. But it had marked its creator as a misogynist of uncompromising and self-confessed extremes. This tradition had grown, though its ready adoption by the rebuffed women of his Amboro world caused small distress to the studious and ascetic-minded scholar who already found life too short for the work that lay before him.
“Sewell isn’t a bad sort,” said Taussig.
“But what can I do?” demanded Macraven.
“It occurred to me that you might have Miss Appleby speak to her uncle about it.”
Taussig smiled as he watched the misogynist, who was nervously fingering his helmeted Minerva. “You see, you have
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so much more influence with her than the rest of us have.”
The Professor of Anthropology wheeled about suddenly.
“I have no influence with Miss Appleby —I don’t think anyone on this wide green earth has any influence with Anne Appleby.”
TT IS nerves might be bad, but there 1^1 were reasons for it. He had his own ideas about the sophomoric habit of all such circuitous molestation—it was a relic of the Stone Age. He hated to be ridiculed. For one morning, during Macraven’s absence, it seems, the Fellow in Mathematics, in passing, had distinctly beheld Miss Appleby stoop and press her lips to an open book on the Professor of Anthropology’s study table. It was an action so unlooked for, so unaccountably mysterious, from the psychological standpoint, that the indiscreet Fellow in Mathematics had talked it over with the Associate Professor in Philosophy.
“Why, I thought,” said Taussig, innocently, “that it was you who stopped her subscribing that five thousand dollars to the Chaeronean Restoration Fund?”
“I did—she might just as well have thrown her money into the river!”
“That’s where Ramsdell said he’d like to throw young Sewell! But I’m sure Miss Appleby would listen to a word from you.”
The ridiculousness of the picture of such an appeal was too much for Macraven’s over-taxed nerves.
“I’ve told Dodson, my man, to admit Miss Anne Appleby to these rooms on no consideration!” he cried.
“But she goes everywhere in Amboro! You can’t quarrel with a woman who claims no less than thirteen blood and marriage relationships on the teachingstaff alone. And besides all that, she’s your own cousin!”
“Pardon me—my step-sister’s husband’s second cousin!”
“But surely, when she looked after you —I mean brought you that black currant jam last winter, when you had influenza
“She brings black currant jam to every member of the staff, when he has influenza!”
“Well, when you were having her—’’ “Again pardon me—Miss Appleby brought that jam against my obvious and expressed desires. Not only that, but when I was quite weak—not altogether myself, I mean—she dictatorily insisted that I should eat it.”
“It was remarkably good jam!” said Taussig, reminiscently.
The Professor of Anthropology closed his open ink-well with a tart suddenness that seemed to imply that life could know no greater joy and relief than imprisoning within that same ink-well both Anne Appleby and her jam, for all time.
“Well,” said Taussig, rising, “I merely wanted to mention the fact that Miss
ppleby would call herself, to-morrow, to ilk it over with you.”
“Then I shan’t see her!” cried Mac-
“She will argue you out of that,” said aussig, from the doorway, with a wag f the head, “the same as she did about íe vivisecting! She always does!”
iXTHEN the Professor of Anthropol' ' ogy returned to his rooms from the 'resident’s office, early the next day, he ; ound Anne Appleby awaiting him. She as in his big brown-leather reading hair, idly twirling her long gloves. Her alf-closed eyes were fixed on his ceiling, here a spider-web showed above the lectrolier, and on her black waist, just nder her little pear-like chin, reposed vivid cluster of Roman jonquils.
“Good morning, 0 King of Knowledge!” aid Anne, with her meekest bow, folding er hands.
That was a mocking way of Anne’s . hich had always left Macraven more or ?ss afraid of her. He wondered, in a udden little panic, just what Dodson ould have been saying to her. For Anne, ñth all her funereal blacks, with all her liety, he tenaciously held, was still unubjugated and frivolous. She had never obered down. It had pleased him mightly, once, to think that Anne had adopted o many of his ideas as to the weaker ex, that at his instigation she had schewed barbaric jewelry, and forworn plumage in her headgear, and exiressed a horror of adorning herself in he primitive colors. That was in the arly and unsophisticated days of “Woman Retrogressive,” when his knowledge of he sex was merely an empiric and absract one. In fact, he had been so caried away by that discipleship that he had ashly proposed marriage to the quite tartled Anne, who promptly refused him, ui the ground, she said, that he was an ignostic, and that she herself was too •oung to marry. That had been seven ong years earlier in his career, and Anne lad seemingly accepted single life with a trange and gentle placidity. Yet during ill that time he had felt mysteriously apirehensive of this calm-eyed young lady vho vacillated, in her relation to him, beween that of a brusquely solicitous older lister to that of a mildly chastening young nother. He remembered only too well hat it was a law of Nature to chloi-oform 1er victims, as it were, before accomplishng the great cosmic processes, and he lad always, since adopting the firm-fixed •esolution that the celibate life was the inly path through which he might reach iis scholastic ends, fought fiercely and •tubbornly against that subtly, anaesthetizing influence which Anne seemed to shed iround her. Not that, even in his most ■>elf-candid moments, he had ever flatter'd his vanity with the thought that Anne was slinging herself at his head. And tolay, of all days, his sense of release from long-existing obligations was so emboldening that as she sat there idly twirling her gloves in her hand, he trfrned to her
and ventured the remark that she was looking uncommonly well.
“Thanks,” said Anne, diffidently, with her eyes still on the cobweb.
MACRAVEN noticed, too, as he stepped to his study table, that one of his empty and neglected vases—they were of Etruscan bronze—was filled with a heavy cluster of the same wonderful yellow flower that Anne herself was wearing. For some unfathomable reason a brickred color slowly crept up to the young Professor’s high white temples, as he sat looking at them.
“They were simply going to waste in my hot-house,” explained Anne, with a shrug. “And this room of yours is always so dowdy, you know!”
Macraven remembered, pensively, two or more occasions on which the scrupulous-minded Anne had essayed to put his desk to rights. Her intentions, of course, had been of the best. But a student’s work-table, he felt, was scarcely to be treated the same as a sewing-room floor. He looked at the flowers; then he looked at Anne: then he looked hack at the flowers again.
“Tt’s very good of you,” he said relenting-
“It’s rather good of you to take them," answered Anne, with her preoccupied smile, looking about the walls to see if there were dust on his picture frames.
“Why didn’t you have that second window cut in your sleeping-room?” she suddenly demanded.
“The building is not mine,” parried Macraven, almost irritably.
“But your lungs are your own,” said Anne, mildly. Then she sighed. “There’s one thing nice about a woman-hater. He always tells you the truth, whether he means to or not.”
The Professor of Anthropology looked at Anne, apprehensively. He sometimes found it hard to understand that enigmatic young lady, for all her appearance of brusque straightforwardness. He was about to speak; then he decided that silence was golden.
“You’re going away,” said Anne, with conviction.
Anne’s intuitions, at times, were startling.
“Yes, I want a rest,” said Macraven.
“I know it,” said Anne, simply. She seemed to be struggling with a momentary temptation towards candor.
“Couldn’t I pack for you?” she demanded. Anne, strange to say, was the type of woman that takes an unreasonable and implacable delight in the exercise of the domestic attributes. She had even once insisted on sewing buttons on for the Fellow in Mathematics. “Why couldn’t I pack for you?” she implored.
“You could do it only over Dodson’s dead body, Pm afraid,” explained Macraven, uneasily. He always felt afraid of Anne in that imploring mood. “Dodson is leaving me to-morrow.”
“Well, there’s one thing I want you to do for me,” said Anne, suddenly sitting up straight and turning on him the soft artillery of her solemn smile.
“And that is?”
“I want you to be easy on Dickie Sewell.”
“And who is Dickie Sewell?”
“Merely the young man on whose prostrate body you wish to erect your reputation for terr-r-rible sternness.”
“If young Sewell has broken the rule« of this college, he must suffer accordingly.”
“Yes, but supposing it’s going to hurt somebody who is very near and dear to you?” persisted Anne.
“Good heavens, are you in love with young Sewell too?” demanded Macraven.
“Thanks awfully,” said Anne, purring a little mockingly, “I never really knew you felt that way about me.”
She grew suddenly 9ober, with an eloquent little outthrust of her upturned hands. “Instead of being merely just, be generous, this one time.”
Macraven tried to explain to her the meaning and purport of impersonal Duty.
“But I know he would be grateful,” said Anne, inconsequentially, “it would mean so much to him.” Almost as much as it meant to poor Waggles!
* I 'HE Dean of Amboro smiled a little wearily. It was an old cry, that; it always did mean so much to them, and they were all so ready to be grateful! So many times, now, year after year, they had come to him for help, and had pleaded their cause, and passed out into the world, without so much as an open word of gratitude. He did not resent it—he resented only the disillusionment it brought to his own breast.
“There is nothing I can do,” he said, a little wearily.
A fleeting look of pity crept into Anne’s eyes, at the lines of fatigue on his face. That look in her eyes made him very guarded and watchful.
“That is all I ask, you see,” she cried, with another of her sudden changes of tone. “That is all that will be necessary —just to do nothing.” Then she added, softly, “I’ve attended to all the rest of the faculty!”
He would have laughed, had he been more at his ease. When he looked up again she had risen and was standing above him, with her hand outstretched.
“Good-bye,” she said. “Have a good rest, and a jolly time!”
And before he realized it she had fluttered out, and the room was empty. As he sat there, deep in thought, with the tips of his long fingers held lightly together, he first tried to recall their talk, and then tried to reframe in his mind her face as she had looked down at him.
TT was not an easy face to visualize. His wandering eye, chancing to fall on the last page of his manuscript, brought him back to the world of actualities. And once more beholding that world from the serene and tranquil heights of the scientific mind, he was, as of old, possessed of some vague impression that he was a party to some dim and mysterious duel, that there was some vast yet silent conspiracy of forces designing to frustrate and overthrow his natural man’s passion for absolute and unqualified liberty. In
other words, he felt mortally and foolishly afraid of this young lady who had just so calmly and so sedately said goodbye to him. He was even glad of his impending migration, for with it came a vague sense of escape, an impression of evading some final issue as yet undefined.
For Anne Appleby was a woman of twenty-seven, unmarried, and of independent means. An open brow, not altogether untouched with its mysterious serenities, bore testimony to the full intellectual control of that bodily warmth which the rich yet softly turned lips only too eloquently confessed. Yet this mouth was both tender and humorous. Her eyes were grey, large and intelligent. Un9crupulous in her efforts towards the engagement of affection, since with that invincible ally she had long since learned she could best control people, she was still courageous enough to make enemies for the sake of a friend, or to shock friends for the sake of an enemy. There was a tradition in Amboro that either the Field Captain or the Class President of each term for eleven years back had duly but hopelessly proposed to her, and had, of course, been promptly yet tenderly rejected.
Not that Anne was a coquette in the ordinary sense of that odious word. It had always seemed to be her sportsman-like principle to kill only what was needed for camp—she could surrender to no impulse for slaughter for the mere sake of the killing. She wa9 still young enough to talk with her contented victims as a sister might, and yet quite oldish enough to act towards them as a mother should—an elusive and unstable association which seldom tended toward peace of mind in the objects of her keenly impersonal solicitude. Yet Anne, at times, could be the soul of 9obriety; she was reserved even to a primness; her indiscretions were open ones, and usually due to a mingling of carelessly defiant impulse and a warmhearted and ever-active domesticity. In fact, so wide were her relationships by blood and marriage, so ready were her sympathies, and so numerous even the army of infants named after her—so went the Amboro tradition—that for seven years and more the passing away of some namesake or kindred had kept Anne Appleby in a state of continuous mourning. There were those who held that it wa9 all because she thought she looked best in black—for Anne’s funebrial gowns could not be called that mourning of concession which goes in delicate purples shading off to soft French greys. They were always of a 9tern and uncompromising black. Macraven had often wondered if it was not this sombreness of costume which accentuated Anne’s frivolity of mind. For Anne in black had always seemed as incongruous to him as a Watteau Sheperdess in a gloomy Rembrandt frame.
THE CROSSING INTO ARCADIA
Xjf ACRAVEN, with his butterfly net ■‘•’’A and his microscopes beside him peered uneasily up and down the lonel; little station platform. The way train halt;
already crept and rumbled off on its languid course, and was now nothing more than a plume of smoke above the pulsating, sun-steeped track. From a nearby clover-field, in full bloom, echoed the call of bob-o-links. From somewhere in the remoter distance came the sound of pounding; then a dog barked, and the morning grew silent again.
A sense of the unreality of things crept over Macraven. He felt not so much that he had just emerged from a provincial day-coach, but that he had passed over that Nonacrian stream which once separated the world of the living from the world of sleep.
The only figure in sight, he finally determined, was that of a much bewhiskered and ferret-eyed workman, placidly squatting beside a can of kerosene and a row of track-lamps, at the far end of the bald little platform. Macraven’s succeeding discovery was that this workman was smoking a corn-cob pipe, without the slightest signs of anxiety, within two feet of the huge can labelled “Kerosene.” The traveller’s final realization was that this workman, as he smoked away and wiped at his lamps with a handful of cottonwaste, was eyeing him both covertly and quizzically.
“Can you tell me if I am right in assuming that this is Cedar Hills?” asked Macraven, weighed down by the loneliness of the place, and some wordless sense of impending calamity.
“It be!” responded the lamp-cleaner, with a gently forgiving nod towards the station sign, where the name stood in letters a foot high.
“Are you aware that that is coal-oil you’re smoking over?” demanded the man of science.
“I be!” And he indulged in an equally forgiving nod towards the sign that decorated the side of the can. Macraven shut his teeth.
“If I am not mistaken, the fruit-farm of Doctor Ezra Shotwell lies somewhere about this neighborhood?”
“Then would you please tell me about how far away?”
The lamp-cleaner sat and studied for a moment or two.
“ ’Bout four mile!”
* I ' HE distant sound of hammering broke forth again, and a dog barked dismally once more through the morning quietness. All the world, it seemed to the Dean of Amboro, had fallen asleep. He thought of the tourists and summer visitors who would soon be crowding across the campus at Amboro, climbing the tower, companionably about the old sundial in the little Deanery garden. Then he turned back to his uncommunicative companion.
“Could you tell me the best way of getting there?”
The young Professor of Anthropology was beginning to resent the look of gentle yet pitying curiosity dominating the other’s gaze.
“Be yuh goin’ there?”
“I be!” retorted the Professor, exasperated.
The old lamp-cleaner slowly wheeled about, and pointed to a clump of willows beyond the clover-field.
“The Harkins boy is waitin’ for yuh there with the Shotwell team, I guess Scart to death o’ the train, he says. Ain’t takin’ no chances on another runaway!”
Even as he spoke a prancing bay team, with heads high and ears forward, emerged from the shadow of the willows. Macraven looked at them with gathering distrust. The youth who was holding the reins could have been little more than twelve or thirteen years of age. The Professor promptly decided that if only four miles separated him from the Shotwell farm, across the open country, he preferred to walk.
“Air yuh the man from Amboro they was lookin’ for yisterday?” languidly inquired the lamp-cleaner.
“Yesterday?” echoed Macraven, in alarm. “Surely I wired the right date!” He peered through his pocket note-book, with a sigh of distress. His friend viewed him with forbearance modified by compassion, slowly wagging his head up and
“She said as yuh might be a little queer-like.”
“Who said I’d be ‘queer-like’?” demanded the other.
“That gurl o’ Shotwell’s. She druv through with that team o’ bays o’ theirs yisterday. Waited a hull hour and a half for the up train. When the train did pull in, that team o’ hers run away, lickety-split. Smashed a hind spring afore the gurl could git ’em sawed off’n the wind !”
“But was she hurt?”
“No, but she was mad!” He wagged his head again, in silent memory of the scene. “She’s a high-stepper, that gurl! Then she cooled down, and said I was to hev yuh sent over to the farm if yuh got in when nobody was ’round—said I was to try and git some little wits in my head—he-he—and look out for a middleaged gen’lemen with long legs!”
An inconsequential feeling of irritability crept over the young Professor of Anthropology. He was, obviously, in the land of the Barbaroi, where worth went unrecognized. It further annoyed him to think that he could surrender to such a mood. But even the scientific mind, he finally sighed, as he left instructions for the Harkins boy to carry his traps on to the farm, while he followed on foot, even the scientific mind was not yet absolutely detached from those transliminal ebullitions, those atavistic emotions so persistent and racial in man. A walk of four miles through the fresh country air would brush the cob-webs from his brain, and give him a chance to think things out. and perhaps swing back to a more cheerful point of view.
But he had his misgivings about the days that lay before him. After all, he had never been particularly fond of country life. He remembered only too well his last excursion into rural surroundings —the excursion which had left him with such a rooted aversion to cock-crowing. That farm-house had seemed a little oasis of sleeplessness in an endless Sahara of
Shanghai roosters, They began crowing long before the rise of the sun, and sleep had been out of the question, until his return from the nearest village with a number of berry-pails. Then, after secretly purchasing the co-operation of the small boy of the place, these different farmyard chanticleers were duly imprisoned, one under each pail; and there they remained, until a sign from the window signified that the man of science had arisen, whereupon the indignant and outraged captives were duly released.
THE young Professor sighed as he resumed his journey down the little winding roadway, between slopes of resinous pine, and through orchard-lands stippled with light and shade, and along rolling pasture-fields threaded with a flashing and tumbling little rivulet. For he had suddenly thought of his telegram and his arrival one day too late. After all it was just as well that he was getting away from his work. Twice old Ramsdell, the Professor of Greek, had accused him of absently carrying off his goldheaded umbrella. Once, too, he had worn his house-coat into the lecture-hall—a very comfortable garment which Anne Appleby quilted and trimmed with scarlet military braid for him. Then he had made that mistake about the overcoat of the little Fellow in Mathematics, puzzled over the fact that only the lowest button could be made to reach. And then, too, he had fallen into the habit of thinking aloud. It was a habit that had cost him many painful moments, and, he feared, lost him a number of friends. He had been “Grinding” too hard. The quiet life of the country had much to be said in its favor. For a moment he almost envied Shotwell, his old friend who had been Dean of the same “Residence,” had lectured in the same halls, and had worried along on the same frugal salary. But seven years before the older man had startled both Amboro and the outer world by the unexpected publication of his romantic novel, “Princess Impossible.” He had plaintively enough cried his apologies for it, before his gently smiling academic friends, but in clubs and car seats, in boudoirs and libraries, half a million readers had sighed and wept over its well stiffened mush of adventure and its well candied meringue of sentiment. Little did they imagine, all the while, that the “Shirley Legrange” of the eleven-editioned romance was the Ezra Ingraham Shotwell, M.A., Ph.D., F.A.S.L., author of “Racial Evolution.” Yet. ironically enough, the returns from that eleveneditioned frolic in easy-handed eroticism had given the over-worked Amboro lecturer a belated chance to cut loose from academic confinement and to take unto himself the many-acred estate where he now toyed with the hybridozation of orchard fruits and labored in secluded ease and content on the Sixth and last volume of his colossal “Evolutionary Series.”
Again the young Professor of Anthropology sighed, as he came to a stop in the narrow winding road, and gazed absently about him at the murmuring woods, the softly rolling fields, the shadowy thickets from which the birds were singing. That
was all he asked for—freedom, such as his old friend had found, to do his own work in his own way. And here, at least he would be free of all danger of en! tangling alliances.
It was not that he was so much afraid of women—he prided himself that he knew them too well for that!—it was more that he was afraid of his own racial instincts calling to him so arbitrarily out of the tomb of the past. Nor was he uncertain of what course to choose. Even when Miss Theodosia Mackleford, Anne Appleby’s romantic maiden-aunt of fiftythree, had pointedly submitted to his attention several pages of statistics demonstrating the comparative longevity of j man when lapped in the conjugal state,
¡ even then he had made it a point to re! iterate that he, for one, was not a marrying man. When one was wedded to one’s profession one is better off, frankly, with out women about. Anne herself had always agreed with him on that. But even ; while her actions had given him the vague yet haunting impression of being stalked through the ever-deepening jungle of too ! multitudinous interests, she had candidly agreed that it would be a shame to spoil his chances by marrying—and then she would casually ask, ten minutes later, why he had gone out in the sleet without his rubbers, and if he was eating his meals on time. Or she would intimately demand, as she picked a piece of lint from his carpet, if Dodson was airing the Deanery blanket? properly.
T_T E had often heard that it was the practical and housewifely sort of woman, from the day of the cave-dweller down to that of the auto-user, who ensnared men. He had even marvelled, too, that Anne was allowed so much time and space in his thoughts—for he had an abhorrence of practical-minded and domestic people. She had even come and bullied him about that new window and sent a chimney-cleaner to the Deanery when his grate refused to draw. Still, whenever she had mockingly aired her ideas as to the irresponsibility of bookish people he had made it a point to dilate on the charms of Selvyna Verrard, the singer in an itinerant opera company who also chanced to be a cousin of the Professor of Chemistry’s sister-in-law. That, was the sort of creature who appealed to him, he was always at great pains to point out to Anne, —a being of light and song, beautiful and ebullient, gay and volatile, free and gladhearted as a bird singing in the midst of April meadows! Anne had only looked at him with her solemn grey eyes—it must be conceded that they were remarkably fine eyes—and told him that his necktie was on inside out. Perhaps that was her feminine way of getting even with him for his repetition of her own Aunt Matilda’s dictum that a man should always marry his opposite, his temperamental complement,—a woman, for instance, of the Selvyna Verrard type!
Macraven, as he paced along, recalled the occasion on which he had taken that young actress in to dinner, and how she had squeezed his arm and pinned an orchid on the lapel of his coat, and begged to see a copy of “The Mating of Mammals” —which he had furtively carried to the
Ramsdell’s house the very next day, with two dollars’ worth of violets. It was as well, perhaps, that she happened to be out automobiling. He felt that he was a fellow of impulse, at heart. And actresses, he had been told, were sometimes shockingly extravagant, even after passing under the yoke of martial subjugation. And, before the overlooked and uncut “Mating of Mammals” had been conscientiously returned to him by Mrs. Ramsdell herself, he had sent to New York for Miss Verrard's photograph, and had even lied, actually lied, to old Ramsdell and Taussig about it.
He had not passed through many such exciting periods, it was true. But that one gallant adventure had at least clinched his uncertain belief in the attraction of opposites and the sexual allurements of complementary characteristics, for, as he himself would phra9e it, he still brokenly experienced a vague and subliminal call for some adequate catharsis of the superemotional tract, some continuous excitation of the psychic substrate. All of which Anne, who neither squeezed his arm nor wore baby blue, to say nothing of never having read a page of physiological psychology, duly failed to understand. There was, however, something about the soft and yet steely derision in her calm and placidly brooding grey eyes that seemed, in its vague way, as eloquent to him of impending dangers as the red lamps of a tangled switch-yard might be to an engine-driver.
' I ' HE ruminating young Professor of Anthropology, as he trudged more blithely along through the quiet and fragrant pine woods, felt more and more grateful for the uncounted miles that lay between him and Amboro. A relieving sense of emancipation crept over him. It seemed, as he threaded his way deeper and deeper into the solitudes of that tranquil country road, that he was forging further and further across the frontier of some newer and freer existence.
Yet his day was not all delight. For as the morning grew older, and the sun mounted higher, he began to wish that he had waited for the Harkins boy and the team. As he had feared, his left knee had already begun to trouble him.
He unbuttoned his heat-absorbing coat of sombre black, and every now and then fanned himself with his broad-brimmed, clerical-looking “wide-awake” hat. Yet he kept stoically on, until he came to an alluringly secluded thicket of pine and thorn-tree. The country had grown more broken, and faintly, at times, he could hear the sound of running water.
He decided, at the music of that call, to swing aside into the coolness of the woods, and to rest, if only for a few moments, on one of the fallen logs.
He stood there, chewing a dandelion stem, idly debating whether to turn to the right or to the left, when all thought was arrested by a sudden and unexpected sound.
Macraven no longer hesitated. But with a strangely quickened interest he turned in the direction of that unlooked for interruption,—for the sound he had heard across the leafy silences was unmistakably that of a young girl singing.
THE SONG OF SYBIL
AS John Herrin Macraven pushed his way through the aisles of dark pines bordering the roadside he was overtaken by a second subtle feeling of migration, a feeling that he was passing from a world of realities into one of purely imaginary and Hesperidean setting. A thick carpeting of pine-needles muffled his hurrying steps, the wind sighed continually in the tree-tops overhead, a bird or two chirped drowsily.
Then came the fuller sound of the human note, the high and clear soprano once more. The young Professor, like a man in a dream, made his way from the darker belt of pines to a thicket of wild plum, through which a little stream glimmered and flashed and danced. It was from the heart of this thicket, apparently that the light-noted Arcadian voice was singing, with all the abandon of an April
The man of books was obviously more given to sentiment than he would have allowed, for as he approached the thicket he did so on tiptoe, removing his hat. He made note of the wild-flowers so thick about him, briar-ro9es, and may-apples, and a belated trillium or two ; and contentedly he inhaled the perfume of blossoms, ckrried to him on the softly-moving breeze.
Then, of a sudden, the singing grew still. Silence seemed to hang on the air, heavy and expectant. Through this silence crept the tinkle and splash of a tiny waterfall.
As the young Professor guardedly pushed the tangled plum branches to one side, his startled eyes made out the crystal glimmer of a secluded pool. On the greensward beside this pool knelt a young girl, vigorously towelling a great mass of golden yellow hair. As it fell and swung over her face, from time to time, she threw back her head with a quick upward motion, to free herself of the engulfing cascade. Her round young arms were bare, and gleamed in the 9trong sunlight. Her throat, too. was bare, and cut out against its emerald background, seemed at the moment, of more than ivory whiteness. As the girl rose languidly to her feet, taking up a comb from the grass behind her and combing out the heavy tresses of tangled gold, she once more broke into light and careless song.
’ I ' HE Professor gazed down at her without restraint, without shame, without even a thought of intrusion. A9 he looked at that scene of Edenic simplicity, he could have flung a dozen classical allusions at her: Aphrodite emerging from the sea, Ariadne among her nymphs, Diana herself beside the secret pool. For his impression of the tableau, at tbe moment, was a purely impersonal and æsthetic one. Then, of a sudden, the charm was broken.
Whether it was mere accident, or whether through some vague and telepathic impression, he was never able to say. But before the impulse of withdrawal had come to him, as the eyes of the singing girl with the glimmering white
shoulders idly turned about the little woodland coign, they came to a halt at the precise point where the intruding stranger stood.
He thought he heard the sound of a frightened and muffled and strictly human “Oh, Goodness!” The next moment he saw nothing more than a startled and indignant young woman covering her shoulders with a red-striped Turkish towel. He was grimly conscious, of a sudden, that the figure was in no sense that of mythology. He would have fled, madly, ignominiously, but flight was already too late. Instead, as was his custom in moments of great embarrassment, he coughed gravely, all the while conscious that his face was turning a deeper and deeper color. His mental misery, however, seemed somewhat to reassure and calm the young woman confronting him. The Professor repeated his premonitory cough.
Her challenge was an audaciously timid
“Hello!” responded the Professor, inadequately.
“Well?” she demanded, more imperiously.
The intruder fumbled with his hat.
“Were you looking for anyone?” asked the girl.
“I—I hoj*§ you don’t mind!” stammered the abashf scholar. “I didn’t dream of intruding, you know!” And his scarlet brow plainly bore out the truth of his declaration. He waited for her to speak.
qpHE girl gave vent, at last, to a ripple of light and easy laughter. Then she stopped, and looked the intruder up and
“You’re John Herrin Macraven!” she announced, with sudden conviction, plaiting her hair with deft and twinkling fingers.
The Professor bowed, gravely.
“Then you don’t know me?” asked the girl, stooping to tie her shoe-strings, and then turning for a prolonged and pointed stare at his definitively attenuated limbs. He moved uneasily, remembering the conversation un the railway platform.
“And you don’t know me?” laughed the girl.
The Professor confessed that he did
“I’m Sybil!” she announced simply.
“Is it possible?” gasped the scholar of the long legs. Little Sybil, grown almost into a woman, the child he had trotted on his knee, and put out of his study for knocking over his insect-cases; he gazed at her, from head to foot, and she in turn colored under his prolonged and studious gaze.
“Would you mind turning around for a minute?” she asked. He noticed for the first time, that she was holding her jacket in her hand.
He faced about, tingling with a new and disturbing embarrassment.
“I really forgot!” he stammered. There was a moment of silence.
“It’s all right now,” announced the girl, placidly. “You can turn back.”
To be continued