Intentions, Not Strictly Honorable
WHEN MARCIA WAINRIGHT'S father died, he left her with about $1,000, and a very big idea. Almost his last words to her were, “Marry a man with money, my dear. I could not die happy if I believed you would have to join that great army of working girls, and support yourself for years to come. Marry money!” After his death, Marcia, with this idea become an obsession, left Wentworth, her home town, and went to Toronto. Here she took a course in a business college, and secured with little difficulty a position as secretary to Mr. William Wayne, sales manager of the Brittan Motors Corporation. This was in October. Marcia’s plan was a simple one: no extravagance, hard work, and the saving of every penny she could earn for about a year. This money she would add to her original capital until she had enough saved to buy a complete outfit of beautiful clothes. Then a month at an expensive Muskoka resort^she had once visited with her parents before her father had lost his money, and—a rich husband. And while Marcia Wainright overestimated the charm of her personality by not the slightest degree, neither did she undervalue her appearance. Her small head was well set on firm, straight shoulders, and although slightly above medium height, and slender, she was delicately and well formed, with dark hair and eyes, a nose that was ever so slightly tip-tilted, and a perfectly shaped bow mouth. Given the clothes for which she meant to work and save, she was willing to stake everything on her one month at Lake Windabere. It is possible that her determination might have
weakened had she made friends with the girls she met in business or in the drab Jarvis street boarding house where she had taken a small room. Companionhip and good healthy pleasure night have restored a sane viewpoint. But her plan included neither time nor inclination for friends. She would play her game single-handed and alone. Thus living, her plan continually before her, she developed an intensity of purpose that might well have been dedicated to a better cause. All during winter and spring Marcia work-
ed and saved, keeping always before I her the thought of i August, and all that i month was going to mean to her. Each week she added to her small capital. She must have enough for her clothes, and for her
expenses at Lake WindaOne day in the beginn-
ing of June, she left the office early in the afternoon, and went to Flaute’s. Marcia entered the quiet, richly-appointed room, with its soft grey rugs and blue upholstered chairs, with perfect assurance. “I would like,” she said, to the handsomely-gowned woman with black hair piled high and meticulj ously waved, “to see Mr. Flaute i himself, regarding some gowns.”
! CHE was conducted to a small \ room, done in bizarre yellow and black. Flaute was writing intently at a yellow table desk and was making elaborate flourishes with a wavy black quill pen. He was a dapper little man, well-groomed, with black hair and moustache carefully waxed. He beamed with pleasure when Marcia, who had been carefully tutored in French in the days of her parents’ affluence, addressed him in his native language. “Monsieur Flaute,” she said, “I am going to Lake Windabere for the month of August, and I want all the gowns I shall need at a place like that. I have about $1,800 to spend. Can you do it for that?” “For you, Mademoiselle, yes,” he exclaimed excitedly. “You have the eyes, the hair, the shoulders. Ah,” clasping his long white hands, “it will be my delight to clothe you.” There followed an hour’s discussion of materials, styles and colors. On the twenty-fifth of July, then, Marcia left the employ of the Brittan Motors Corporation. “Your work has been most satisfactory,” said Mr. Wayne, as he shook hands with her. “If you ever want to come back, there is a place for you here at any time.” And so came the first of August, and Marcia’s arrival at the Royal View, Lake Windabere’s fashionable hotel, a large rambling structure with wide porches awninged in green and white, and inviting with low green and white pillowed wicker chairs.
She remained in her room ali afternoon, and although she was much too exciten to sleep, she lay quietly on the bed, glancing through the pages of a current magazine. “My first night is important,” she mused. “I shall go in late, and I shall wear my white with the jade jewelry.” As she entered the door of the long, brightly-lighted dining room that evening, she paused for a moment until the head waiter could approach her and conduct her to a table. Never did her black hair, falling softly back from her face, and coiled in a low knot, appear blacker, nor her skin more perfect, with excitement staining her cheeks to a soft pink. The dead white of her shimmering satin evening gown with its long graceful lines, was unbroken but for the cool green jade of her necklace, and on the slim whiteness of her hand gleamed the jade ring. The Royal View, accustomed as it was to beautiful welldressed women, paused an instant, and paid her beauty tribute. When morning came, Marcia awakened early, and decided to swim in cool Lake Muskoka before breakfast. By six o’clock she was in her bathing suit, and at the lake, just a stone’s throw from the hotel. The stillness was overwhelming. There was nothing to break the morning peace but the occasional flute-like trill of a bird. Marcia stood poised for a minute on the diving board, a slim, graceful figure in black, with arms straight above, her delicate white hands held palm to palm. For an instant she paused; then straight as an arrow she made her dive into the soft, cool waters. SLOWLY and leisurely she swam about, and then lazily turned on her back to rest. She was lying on the water, relaxed, with eyes shut, when suddenly she was startled by the excited barking of a dog. She turned swiftly, and there swimming straight in her direction was a large, lantern-jawed bull-dog. “Rex,” cried a man’s voice, “come back this minute!” She saw some one swimming toward her with rapid, powerful strokes. “Now, now,” she soothed. “Aren’t you ashamed, sir!” and held out her hand coaxingly to the dog. He came toward her more slowly, and she turned and swam to a raft some distance away. The dog followed meekly, panting lustily from the exertion of the rather long swim. Marcia reached the raft, and climbed up on it. The dog pulled himself up also, and shook himself industriously, at the same time rapidly wagging a short and very crooked tail. By this time the man reached the raft, and took hold of the sides. “I certainly ask your pardon for my dog’s bad manners,” he said, seriously. “Rex’s behavior was very rude.” She looked down at the tanned face with the straight nose, dark blue eyes set far apart, and straight brows that almost met. “Please,” she replied, “don’t think anything about it. He really did not alarm me very much.” He smiled, and she noticed his even teeth, white and strong-looking. “I am glad,” he answered. Then, “Oh, Lady of the White and Jade, may I venture upon your boat?” Marcia laughed. “Oh, Discerning One,” she replied, “if you have the acumen to recognize a lady when she changes from evening dress to the disguis-i ing costume of the bath, you should indeed be rewarded. Will you walk, or rather climb, into my parlor ?” He pulled himself up from the water, and sat beside her, brown feet and legs dangling in the water. Rex came up to him with a friendly wriggle, and he looked at the dog severely. “Aren’t you ashamed, sir!” he scolded. “Rex says,” he explained, turning to . Marcia, “that
lie has never before seen the Lady of the Lake, and certainly never dared hope to find her at such an early hour. Naturally, for a minute he was surprised and did not recognize her. But he hopes he did not startle her too much.”
“Your perceptions, sir,” she mocked, “are just as keen when it comes to understanding dog language as when discovering the identity of a lady in a bathing suit disguise.”
“Lady,” he answered, bowing, “my perceptions in both cases are sharpened by my interest in the subject.”
“Not so bad,” she laughed approvingly. “Will you tell Rex for me that he is quite forgiven?” and she stood up, about to dive into the water.
“But Lady,” he objected, as Marcia raised her hands, “you would not leave me thus without a word of encouragement. May I not hope to see you again?
Perhaps you would play tennis. Might I hope for a game this morning?”
She turned and regarded him humorously. “W’ho am I,” she replied, “that I can forbid you to hope for a game >f tennis this morning. But,” as he looked at her hopefully,
“said game will not be with me. I am much too lazy to play tennis—and besides, I am going exploring this morning.”
“Then surely, you will permit me to go with you,” he begged. “As a guide my knowledge and ability are unexcelled. In fact, ’twas as a guide that I made my start in life—in these here same lakes.”
“But you forget, sir,” she reproved laughingly, “that as yet we have not been formally introduced.”
“Of course,” he exclaimed.
“I forgot that you cannot understand dog language. Rex says, ‘Permit me to introduce Ward Pelham. Mr. Pelham this is Miss—?’” He looked at her questioningly.
“Wainright. Marcia Wainnght,” she said. “And I am glad to meet Mr. Pelham.”
“So, of course, now you will allow me to be your guide, since we are introduced, Miss Wainright,” Pelham coaxed.
She looked at the strong, pleasant face, with the closepopped black moustache, and the black hair with just a suspicion of a wave.
“My objections are overruled, and my love of the conventions satisfied. I accent Your kind invitation, Sir Guide, and will be ready to explore at 10.30.”
“Yntil t,1en>” he said, “I shall count the minutes.”
She waved a laughing good-bye to him as she swam away with clean, strong strokes. “Ward Pelham,” she mused “What a nice name.
He looks prosperous, even in a bathing suit. I wonder.”
When Marcia came out on the porch about 10.30, she paused a moment, in doubt as to where Pelham would be, and then started toward e steps as he jumped out of a shining red Metz roadster and ran up the steps to meet her.
So you didn’t change your mind, after all,” he exclaimed with pleasure.
Gracious,” laughed Mar-
cia, “what bitter experiences you must have had. Do all your ladies change their minds ;;fter they have made engagements with you?”
LTE STEPPED in front of her to open the door of A the machine, and she noticed the gray Norfolk coat and white flannel trousers. The car started slowly, with a low purring sound, and Marcia glanced approvingly at the lean brown hand on the wheel, and wondered whether the deeply carved design on the heavy gold ring he wore on his little finger could be a coat of arms.
During their ride, Marcia Wainright and Ward Pelham talked of many things. He spoke of himself, and told her he was in the bond business in Toronto. His father and mother were both dead, and he lived in an apartment, with a housekeeper to take care of him. But although Ward spoke freely of himself,
that her parents were dead. Well read, and with a surprising breadth of knowiedge due largely to her reading while she was working in Toronto, Marcia talked well and interestingly about a number of subjects. Bui when Ward broached any matter even the slightest bit personal, her answers became evasive, and as soon as possible she changed the subject.
As they drove up to the hotel, he said “To-night is dance night at the hotel. I wander if you would think me very presumptuous if I were to ask you to let me look out for you to-night?”
“I think it would be lovely of you,” she replied. “You know I am quite alone here, and I know no one. You are being very kind.”
As she was carried up in the mirrored elevator, Marcia looked at herself critically, and could find no fault. “It never occurred to me, in deciding on a rich man, that I might find one who would be sort of interesting,” she thought. “Things look very bright.”
At dinner that night, she wore an evening gown ef rich yellow. The bodice of yellow was supported by shoulder straps of large amber colored stones that gleamed against her soft white shoulders. The skirt consisted of ruffle after ruffle of ripply net, shading from yellow to a deep orange, and standing out about her hips in a filmy
As she left the dining-room and entered the lobby of the hotel, Ward Pelham, looking very straight and distinguished in a gleaming shirt front and well-fitting dinner coat, approached her, and as he reached her side, she smiled at the unsDoken delight in her appearance which she read in his eyes.
Together they danced the first dance. Ward Pelham danced faultlessly, in such perfect rhythm and so smoothly, that they became a very part of the music. It seemed as if they were the physical expression of the spirit of the haunting oriental strain. And as the music came to an end, Ward held her to him for just a moment as if he were not sure that the dance was really over. As their eyes met, Marcia caught her breath sharply. He released her, and they walked to the porch without speaking.
When they had sat down in the low wicker chairs, Ward leaned toward Marcia and said earnestly, “Need I give many dances away, Lady of the Flame?”
“You are a wonderful dancer,” she laughed, “but aren’t you going to let me know some of your friends? And I am sure there are a number of girls here with whom you will want to dance.”
Thus reminded of an obvious duty, Ward introduced Marcia to a number of people. She danced with some of the men after that, but there was no one with whom she enjoyed dancing so much as with Ward, and she smiled at him in welcome as he came up to her for their next dance.
t'ROM the night of that dance Ward Pelham never lost an opportunity to be with Marcia. Early morning rides
and swims, trips in his sleek, high-powered car, walks, dances—he was with her practically all the time, And Marcia, utterly free of responsibility for the first time e’ince her father’s death, was supremely h-i'p'-. It is a question as to whether she even thought much about l&r great plan. She was not insensible to the gossip circulating
about the hotel concerning her, but she was totally indifferent. She was experiencing a complete reaction from her long period of suppression and loneliness. Her mind, disciplined to one obsessing thought for so long, had rebelled at last, and refused to dwell on the hitherto engrossing subject. Vivacious, high-spirited, in the joyous days which followed one another in rapid succession, Marcia was positively brilliant. Ward found in her a companion of rare understanding, quick sympathy and ready wit. And always he was conscious of her beauty. Her cheeks were now rounder, and their healthy glow was permanent. She seemed never to tire; she was always ready for any ride or walk, no matter how long. So three of the precious weeks slipped by, and Marcia gave not a thought to them, nor to the rapidly approaching end of her month. Together she and Ward Pelham spent glorious days. Always he was eager, attentive, considerate of her slightest wish, and doing everything in his power to make her happy. And in her new found joy, Marcia was radiant. It seemed as if each hour had its newly discovered wonder. There was so much to talk about, so much to do! Ward as a playfellow, impulsive and funloving, was only eclipsed by the more serious Ward with his sympathetic understanding and deep appreciation of beauty, and the things Marcia had always held most dear.
To see them together, he tall, masterful, sun-tanned, she slight, vivid, and radiating happiness in her every gesture, was a delight. More than one
person turned to watch them, with a little sigh of regretful envy; and at the hotel there was needed only the confirmation of their rumored engageront. The authentic announcement was expected at any time. On the night of another dance, as she had just finished a particularly wonderful fox trot with Ward, he bent over her head and whispered, “Will you send for a wrap, Marcia, and ride with me for a while?” “I think I’ll get it myself.” she replied, and never realized until he was putting the dark coat with its big soft collar around her that for the first time Ward had called her Marcia. There was no moon as yet, but the stars brightened the road to a dull silver, and they rode without speaking. When they reached a turn in the road, the sky had become a dull gold, and the mountains rose black and sharply-cut against it. They got out of the machine, and stood quietly as a tiny rim of deep yellow appeared between a depression in the two mountains. Slowly it grew, tipping the mountain tops with high lights, and then gradually drenching tops and sides in a golden flood. The moon, full and round, had risen. Ward turned to Marcia. Her coat had slipped back from her shoulders, and she stood before him radiant and beautiful in her lustrous dress of wltite satin. In the moonlight, her dark hair framed a face that seemed white and smooth as the fragrant petals of a gardenia, and her eyes were dark and briüiant as twin lakes under the moon. He drew her to him, and tilted her flower face so that he could look deep into her eyes. “Oh, my dear, my dear,” he said tenderly, “you are very wonderful! I love you so much that it will take all the rest of our lives to tell you about it.” Slowly he bent his head until his lips met hers. He held her to him as if he could never let her go. T TNTIL he kissed her, Marcia had listened quietly, knowing that Ward Pelham loved her, and very triumphant in the knowledge that she had played her game well—and won. But as his lips sought hers, something seemed to snap in her brain. It was as if a rubber band, stretohed too far, had suddenly given
way. For the first time she realized what she had done, how she had deliberately planned to bring about this very situation, how she had encouraged Ward Pelham, after making sure that he was rich, how she had finally succeeded in making him fall in love with her. In a flash she saw the unscrupulous thing she had planned in its true light, and realized
the great injustice she had done him. Why, she was nothing but an adventuress. What would Ward say if he ? knew! And she cared what > Ward would say. For she knew now in this moment of self revelation that she loved him, loved him as she had dreamed of loving her Prince of Romance when she was a girl of eighteen. And because of her .ove for him, she could not do him this great injustice. So he felt her suddenly stiffen in his arms, and she forced him away from her, putting both slender white hands against him. “Please, Ward,” she begged. “You mustn’t—you do not understand. Take me back to the hotel.” “But Marcia,” he exclaimed, “I love you, my dear. Don’t you love me even a little?” “Don’t ask me to-night, Ward,” she answered, “I —I—think I’m not well. Take me back now, and tomorrow I will tell you.” And so, puzzled and hurt, Ward helped her into the machine and they started back. They did not speak until they had reached the hotel drive, and then Marcia laid her hand on his coat sleeve. “Will you let me go in alone, Ward?” she pleaded. “I’d rather, if you don’t mind.” He took her hand to help her out of the car, and as she stepped down, he caught her again to him, and put his face against her cool, smooth cheek. “Sweetheart, sweetheart,” he murmured brokenly, “what is it? Don’t you understand—I love you. I want you to be my wife. Oh, what is the matter?” She pressed her face against his for a moment, and smoothed back his hair tenderly. “Oh, Ward,” she sobbed. “My dear, forgive me,” and then turned from him and started up the steps to the hotel. All night long, Marcia, between spells of uncontrollable weeping, packed her lovely dresses and made preparations to leave. By the time she had finishd packing, dawn was already streaking the sky, and she sat down at the small desk by the window to write a note to Ward.
What could she say? After all, there was nothing she could tell him. She had been unfair, and that was all there was tb it. He would soon forget her. As for her, well, somehow, nothing seemed to matter very much. So she wrote him just a few lines— “Ward, I am going away, and you must never see me agam. I have done you a
see me agam. I have done you a great injustice. Forgive me.” She left instructions that the letter be delivered to him after she had gone, and then, arranging to have her trunks sent to Toronto, to an address to be furnished later, she left the Royal View, explaining to the hotel clerk that she had been suddenly called away. And so, in less than a month after Marcia Wainright had left the dark prison of her boarding house, the routine of her work at the Brittan Motors Corporation, and Toronto, she was back again, resuming her former cheerless existence. Only this time she had no comfortable capital to add to, and no wonderful plan for which to live—nothing to which she could look forward. She had indeed joined the vast army of those girls who work day after day, with no objective and no hope. EACH day, she dragged herself listlessly to the office; night after night she turned wearily homewards. Now, when there was no reason why she could not have made friends, she had no desire for companionship. She had absolutely no interest in life. Even her trunks with her lovely clothes she had not unpacked. Only the trunk which held a few of the dresses she had worn before she went away was opened. For days in succession she would not consciously think of Ward, although always he formed a background for all her thoughts. Then would come days when the memory of Ward as he had taken her in his arms in the moonlight and told her he loved , her would almost drive her mad. Every look, every gesture, every word he had said would recur to her in redoubled force until it seemed as if the very strength
very and power of her longing for him must draw him to her from wherever he was. At times she would hurry along the street with furtive glances, afraid that she might meet him. And other days she would walk along eagerly, /searchingly, hoping for just a glimpse of him as he passed on the street. Outwardly there was a marked change in Marcia Wainright. Before, when she had been at the Brittan Motors Corporation she was quiet and detached, it is true, but her face never lacked animation and in her eyes was the steady glow of unfaltering purpose. Now, however, there was a hopelessness about her expression, and a lack lustre about her great dark eyes that was little short of tragic. She lost all the glowing healthiness that she had gained during her weeks at Lake Windabere, and she steadily became thinner. Even Mr. Wayne, engrossed as he always was in his many affairs, noticed that Marcia looked ill, and spoke to her about it. “Miss Wainright,” he said, quizzically, "I am wondering whether you are working too hard. You don’t look quite so well as you did. Are you feeling all right?” Her eyes filled with tears, and for a moment she could not answer him. For one brief second, she longed to put her head down on Mr. Wayne’s desk, and sob out the whole story to him. If only she could talk to some one! But after a supreme effort, she regained control of herself, and replied that she was quite well, except for a case of nerves. And Mr. Wayne, perceiving that she would tel! him nothing, and realizing that after all there was no reason for him to expect her confidence, said no more, except to recommend that she be careful, and take a good tonic. Thus September slipped into the cool, wine-clear Continued on page 40.
Continued, from page 23.
days of October, and October, reluctant to leave, was remembered in the early November days. And still Marcia went listlessly about her work, utterly miserable and lonely. The natural buoyancy and hopefulness of her youth had not reasserted their sway, and her apathy and indifference were not abated in the least degree.
(''AME the Saturday before Thanks-* giving, cold, bleak, and promising a dull holiday. Marcia, as Mr. Wayne interrupted his dictation to her to answer the phone, thought with dread of Sunday and Monday—long, dreary days with nothing to keep her busy, no work to occupy her mind. How she hated week ends and holidays!
Her thoughts were brought up sharply when Mr. Wayne exclaimed in amazement, “By George, send him right in!” and added as he hung up the phone, “Well, I’ll be darned.”
She glanced at him questioningly, and then turned as the door opened, and Mr. Wayne looked up, a welcoming smile on his face.
“Ward Pelham,” he said heartily, “you rascal! Where the devil have you
Marcia caught her breath with a gasp, and half rose from her chair as if to escape. There before her, overcoated and hat in hand, stood Ward, thinner than when she had seen him, and oh, so haggard-looking, but with the same dear eyes and wonderful
He started toward Mr. Wayne, hand outstretched, smiling with pleasure at his friend’s patent delight at seeing him. And then halfway to the desk, as Marcia, realizing that it would be impossible to escape, sank back again in her chair, he turned, and caught sight of her as she sat very still and white, one hand involuntarily raised to her throat.
“Marcia,” he cried, all the agony and longing of the last three months trying to find expression in that one word. And again, “Oh Marcia!”
He strode towards her, an expression of incredulity and tenderness suffusing his face. “Oh, my dear, my dear, where have you been?” he cried. “I have looked for you everywhere, until it seemed as if I should go mad if I did not find you. Oh. Marcia, sweetheart, why did you go ? ”
He had reached her, and she rose to meet him, extending her hand in front of her to keep him from coming too close. Distressed, she turned to Mr. Wayne, who stood with the hand he had held out to Ward still extended, a look of amazement on his face. As Marcia turned to him, he raised his hand, and ran his fingers perplexedly through his
Ward, following Marcia’s glance, turned to him impulsively, “Bill, Bill,” he exclaimed, “you superfluous fool, get out! Don’t come back in this office till I send for you”; and turning him about by the shoulders, Ward, who was a head taller than Bill Wayne, fairly pushed him out of the office.
When Mr. Wayne left the office, Marcia spoke for the first time. “Ward, she said, “wait—you do not understand.”
He started as if to speak, but she held up her hand. “Let me tell you about it, Ward. When you know, you won’t ever want to see me again.”
Impressed by her seriousness, Ward sat down in the chair at Mr. Wayne’s desk, and Marcia took the chair by him, slender hands clasped, and resting on the side of the desk. Ward leaned forward, and as Marcia commenced speaking, he reached over and took both of her clasped hands in his big brown
She talked on steadily, until near the conclusion of her story.
Then she paused for a moment, and lowered her eyes, as she mustered all her courage to finish. “It never occurred to me to consider your feelings or what you might think if you knew of my deceit,” she continued. “And then came the night you told me that you loved me, and in a flash I realized the enormity of the thing I had done. I was simply overwhelmed, and my one idea was to get away.”
“But why, Marcia,” asked Ward gently, “did you leave without telling me?”
Her eyes filled with tears, but she looked bravely at him through them. “Because, my dear,” she said very softly, “I found that I cared, and I was afraid that you would hate me.”
He had waited only for that, and now he arose, and drawing her to her feet, he gathered her to him, and held her very tight and still. He stooped to kiss her, and turned as the door opened, al-
though he kept his arm protectingly about her.
“If it’s all the same to you two,” said Mr. Wayne, as he entered and carefully closed the door behind him, “I’d like to come back to my office and do some work.”
“Bill, you old spoil sport,” said Ward joyously, “get on your hat. We’re joing to he married, and vve need you
for a witness!”
“But. what am I to do for a secretary?” asked Mr. Wayne in consterna-
“As to that, my dear sir,” said Ward, in a condescending tone, “I really could not say. But it’s a cinch you’re not going to have Marcia another minute. She’s going to be much too busy being Mrs. Ward Pelham.”