The Things That Count
BISHOP WIDDIFIELD and Judge Gair were dining together at the “Wanderers.” It was their weekly custom. Over them bent Peters, the chief steward, in whose immaculate and deferential person was embodied the happy compromise of service and dignity. Peters always felt that this was for him the focus in which culminated the expression of personal and official obligation. Inclined at that exact angle which bespeaks respect not only for one’s employers, but also for oneself, he said: “I can recommend the broiled shad this evening, gentlemen.”
The judge looked up from the menu. “Shall we leave it to Peters, Bishop?”
The bishop’s eyes twinkled. “By all means,” he said, briskly, “as usual.” While Peters vanishes to confer with invisible acolytes regarding the culinary sacrament shortly to appear, consider the two, nibbling olives at the table, and throwing out delicate conversational tentacles.
The judge was a huge man, with scanty grey hair, through which the pink dome of his gigantic skull glowed with the delicate hues of a spring sunset. His face was broad and square, his mouth large and firm, his eyes blue and brilliant, beaming with radiations of humor and good-will. He wore vast loose garments, which settled softly on him in smooth comforting folds, garments which seemed to have absorbed the warp and woof of rolls of fabric, and were neither designed nor made nor sold by any ordinary rule of any ordinary tailor. The judge, in short, gave one not only the evidence of amplitude, but also of a mould so framed that its large resiliency seemed immune from those assaults of life and circumstances which continually beset his fellows.
For years he had deflected the bench of the High Court. Gair’s judgments, so admirable were they in their fusion of
law and equity, were recognized as pronouncements from which any appeal was costly rather than successful. Litigants somehow were not encouraged to appeal from his decisions. The bench was too eminently fair. The judge beamed like a great kindly luminary, transforming the dusty atmosphere of his court, terrible yet kindly, aloof yet human—a Juggernaut of justice, a big brother to the oppressed.
Opposed to him, the bishop resembled a rapidly darting dragon-fly that paused in its gyrations in front of some towering plantigrade. The bishop was short and brisk, and dressed with almost meticulous care. He had a small face, a straight sharp nose, and thin lips, redeemed by benignant little lines that puckered into being as he spoke. His expression would have been that of an inquisitor, were it not that the grey eyes softened with something more than friendliness as he looked contentedly mound the spacious leatherlined cube of the dining-room.
Very few had got far enough into the bishop’s inner soul to see the ashes of an old fire, extinguished by an old tragedy that had left him widowed with the son of the love of his youth. From Richard came but little companionship; but deep in the episcopal soul other things were moving, questions whose dominant reiterations was known only to the man across the table.
“I read your sermon on Monday, Bishop,” said the judge.
The bishop paused over his soup. “Well?”
“I’ve been trying to reconcile it with jurisprudence ever since. And I can’t.”
“Thank God for that,” replied the bishop, a trifle sententiously. “Jurisprudence, as I see it, is a stumbling block in the way of the Church. We refuse to recognize divorce. You do exactly the opnosite.”
The judge slowly stroked the napkin across his knees—stroked it carefully and thoughtfully. He seemed to be smoothing out mental creases as well.
“ Take Mary’s case,” he said at length. “ Get into the middle distance and look at them. Mary is doing her best, without a word of protest; but does society profit by the perpetuation of such a union? ”
Into the minds of both came the vision of Mary, Gair’s only child. It was three years since she and Lamont had knelt to Widdifield’s blessing, while the judge beamed gloriously to hide the ache in his heart. But in three years the veil had been torn away, and there was revealed, instead of the altar of love, a metallic personality, dead to any throb of response or affection. Beneath this coldness Mary’s soul had shrunk like a withered plant. Nature had invested her with a rare and delicate spirit. She had pulsed with every divine anticipation of womanhood, and held out to Lamont every exquisite promise of an intimate companionship. But, even as her soul beckoned him nearer, Lamont had retired cold and silent. He surrounded her with the product of his genius; for Lamont was a famous inventor. But more and more he shut himself up with intricate mental processes from which he emerged only to sustain life for further isolation. His name was world-known, his royalties flowed in from the ends of the earth, but he was a thinking machine, insensible to any thrill save the ecstacy of discovery and the triumph of science. And all of this the bishop knew and remembered.
“As a whole, undoubtedly,” he said slowly. “As for Mary’s case, it simply brings us back to the origin of most of such trouble—pure casual ignorance of what may be involved in marriage.”
The judge shook his head. “You’re dealing with something too big and elemental. You can’t control it. You can’t even modulate it. But it does seem to me, Bishop, as if the Church to-day simply ratified every ill-considered union with what it claims to be an eternal seal and the courts have the subsequent and unpleasant privilege of enfranchising.”
He caught his companion’s eyes and stopped abruptly. His mind went back to the days following Widdifield’s entry into the Church, to the long evenings when his friend’s soul was laid bare before him, to the simplicity and candor of that soul when faith and reason laid mine and countermine in battle for its loyalty.
Widdifield was fair. He knew that. Above all things, he treasured his friendship.
The judge stood for even more to the bishop. In later years there had come to his episcopal seculsion seasons, more and more recurrent, of longing to wipe out form and office and cast his trammeled spirit on just such a broad placid humanity as that which differentiated Gair from most of the men he knew. He felt, and felt keenly, that the Church, for all his efforts, lacked something — was it “cameraderie?”—that he found in most places where men walk abroad together. He was tired of being “Bishoped.” He chafed at the differentiation that custom and society has set upon his station. He resented the implication that he was, all of him, a thing apart and not of the everyday man’s world. He felt out of the things he wanted to be in. And to all this the judge brought that reasonable gentleness which is born of the knowledge of the light and shade in other people’s lives. He respected the spiritual side of the bishop ; he did not differentiate him; he paid him the compliment of no modulations, and this was balm to Widdifield.
There was a moment’s silence, then the bishop looked up affectionately. “I suppose it’s the heritage of the Church to be on what is considered the uncomfortable side of things. I for one should grow very suspicious of my office if people jumped at my advice and said: ‘How sensible!’ You suggested just now that it was the unpleasant privilege of the courts to dissolve ill-considered unions that had previously been ratified by the Church. But I feel tempted to say that courts were invented as a means of escape from reasonable duties imposed by the C h u r c h.” His eyes twinkled. “Don’t forget,
Judge, before you were, we are.”
Gair nodded gently. “Yes, I know. I suppose I take it deeply. It comes so near home. I’m unhappy about Mary. She looks like a lonely ghost. This is the springtime of life for her, and she was made to be loved. Heigh ho ! I hope your Richard won’t make any mistake.”
The bishop smiled mechanically. “I hope not, but there’s not much chance of it. He doesn’t seem to care for women and I rather expect he won’t marry. But as a matter of fact I see very little of him
“A clever fellow,” said the judge thoughtfully. “And, by the way, he pleads a case before me to-morrow. I think,” he added, “Richard should go far.”
The bishop’s eyes were wistful. “He’s gone too far from me already,” he answered with a shadow of dejection.
"D ICHARD WIDDIFIELD counsel for the defence, closed his address, glanced keenly at the bench and sat down amidst a murmur of approval that the judge did not attempt to check. He felt that he had done something more than
his best; that he had not only exhausted every available argument, but had also woven into the fabric of his pleading such a maze of relevant, extenuating facts that the Government would forthwith abandon its prosecution. The opposing counsel came over to compliment him. His principal, the president of a great manufacturing company, shook his hand in a burst of relief, while Richard, deep in his own brain, smiled at the ease with which most men are swayed.
Later he walked slowly home, staring thoughtfully ahead with dark eyes above which heavy black brows met in a certain sinister union. His chin was strong and heavy, his mouth large and firm, the whole aspect of him dogged with relentless and almost cruel suggestions of power. He seemed a man who could herd and drive other men, inflexibly deaf to entreaty and fatigue. He was the anti-type of his father, a sudden reversion to some atavistic and primordial strain.
The applause of the court died in his ears to be replaced by a voice that he grimly acknowledged was more dominant, more ceaselessly reiterant. It seemed a strange thing to Richard Widdifield that what he craved should be, to him of all men, so unattainable. When or how Mary Lamont had entered his life he did not know. He only knew that he refused to regard her as unattainable. He wondered
EDITOR’S NOTE.—In the next, and concluding instalment, the writer introduces a new and thrilling element into “The Things That Count”—something to do with a great scientific secret. It adds to the interest of a story already filled with dramatic possibilités. In this story, Alan Sullivan is seen at his best. His deep insight into human nature, backed by his undoubted genius as a story-teller, places him in the forefront of Canadian authors.
sometimes in savage self analysis if Mary Gair, free and unwedded, would have inflamed him as did Mary Lamont with her petitionary eyes. It had now reached the sharp point of hunger. But Richard, with all his fire, felt that he was assailing an impalpable wall. The driving force in the man thrust him on with the fog of desire in his eyes.
Had Richard been gentler, had he suggested instead of demanding, Mary might have made the great decision. But now, even through her constant longing for his vivifying companionship, she sensed the domineering phase in his ardent nature.
And of all this the bishop and the judge knew nothing. For his father Richard had something of the frank admiration that men of his sort yield to a position so remote from their own that it precludes any thought of rivalry. But a gulf yawned between them—there was nothing sacrificial about Richard. He believed that faith and creed were of economic rather than spiritual worth — to those who needed them. For himself he felt no need of anything that he could not hack out of life for himself. He never
guessed that he was a weaker man than his father.
But that evening, meeting Mary’s eyes across the flickering hearth and noting for the hundredth time the essential grace and delicacy of her whole exquisite person, he felt that here in the very focus of his desire he had been too long baffled by some elusive, intangible influence. Had Richard been more intuitive, less calculating, he might have perceived that she waited for that which had not yet been expressed. Richard lived in a blaze of confidence. He yielded no time to the contemplation of the inevitable sequences of his heart’s desire. He was not humble enough to anticipate the shadows of life and made no tender preparation to guide her through their solitary season.
She realized, nevertheless, that the thought of Richard had displaced most of hre other reflections. Lamont, cold, indifferent and temperamentally bloodless, had gradually opened the gateway through which Richard entered with force and ardor and restless ambition. Mary had a sudden dread of unloved age. She had too much to give. It seemed sacrilege not to give it. And gradually she and Richard had builded a world of their own, glorified by cross currents of understanding and swift poignant revelations. From it they had excluded everything that might mar its beauty, but over it hung the necessity of a great decision.
To-night Richard pleaded as never before. Here, in this intimate court of last appeal, he flung himself into a passionate protest that shook her very soul. Beyond his love opened that vista of life and action at whose doors she had waited in vain for years. She gazed at him with tear-stained eyes.
But, though her heart yielded to all his pleading there was some indefinite part of herself that Mary could not yield. It was not the thought of her husband; though she had asked Lamont for bread and, from the seclusion of his remoteness, he had given her a stone. It was not that she shrank from the Divorce Court, where life and liberty awaited her. But it was rather through a fine, delicate sense, an inward prompting that she must not be the one to do this thing, however brightly the horizon gleamed. She shrank not from the anticipation of her own retrospect, but from that which, deep in their hearts, her father and the bishop must feel, however their judgment might be outwardly tempered. Her people were not those who did this sort of thing. If that other life for which she had longed had only come, there would be that with which to stifle this mordant gnawing of the spirit. Lamont deep in his laboratory had seemed a million miles from any such consummation. Month after month he raised his barricades of test tubes, chemicals and resistance coils. Month after month he emerged, his cold gray eyes haunted with the swift imaginings of a metallic brain, that yielded no whit to the humanities of life. He was possessed with
the cold Berserker fury of science, but dead to every delicate tendril of natural aifection.
Ever since her mother’s death, Mary had been very close to her father—so close that she shared something of that keen analysis which the judge’s position brought to bear upon men and affairs— but never close enough to tell him about Richard. Now she felt suddenly weak and impotent. Lamont faded into the background of his own devising and she could see only Richard, with his burning eyes and compelling prophecies of the promised land. One by one the barriers came down, less and less distinct grew her own loneliness, till there was left only the whisper of that other self which would not be utterly silent.
“Dick,” she said, unsteadily. “I don’t know what is best to be done—for all of us. You must go now. Don’t come again till I send for you, dear.”
WEEKS later, when the fortunate ones of the city were flying from a metropolitan June, the bishop sat in his study. His reflections were interrupted by a card laid on his table. He looked at it with a strange sentiment of apprehension. “Mrs.
In retrospect he always remembered that interview as bringing with it the mysterious feeling of recurrence that sometimes drops into the mind with disturbing certitude. The tall figure, the pale oval of the face, the high-strung sensitiveness of mouth and eyes, seemed to be reiterating an oft-told story, a story that under alien skies and circumstances had presented itself before with just such direct simplicity.
He listened patiently, anticipating revelation and penetrating indeed with priestly responsiveness into those darker shadows which Mary Lamont screened with wounded silence.
“I can’t stand it any longer,” she concluded with sudden passionate protest. “I was a fool. I know it. I knew it the week after we were married. He has no real regard for me—for anyone. Life is one long banishment. Bishop! Don’t you see this can’t go on? It’s killing my soul. I’ve smiled for three years—and—and I can’t do it any longer. I—I only want to be happy. Is that too much to ask of life?”
The bishop put his hand on her shoulder. She was trembling violently. This was the elemental thing that the girl’s father had spoken of. He felt impotent in the presence of all his faith and all his creed. “Is there no compromise?” he said, after a tense moment.
“None.” She spoke wearily. “How can you know what it means to be linked with a bloodless experimentalist? You can’t
expect me to continue an existence the loneliness of which you can’t even guess at. ‘Humility,’ ‘patience,’ ‘self-sacrifice’! Bishop Widdifield, I’ve listened to you since I was a child, but do you know what you ask me to do? To link myself forever to a machine—not a man? To a machine that lives and breathes among dead things and not the world I love? He looks at me and thinks of his laboratory. He talks to me when he has to—and he does not give me the one thing God made me for. I was a fool—a fool!”
In a flash the bishop saw himself on the edge of that abyss, which had long yawned across the path of his spiritual progress. For forty years he had been exhorting his people to drain cups of selfimmolation that he himself had never tasted. His ability, his mental poise, his faith had all combined to make the way straight and the course plain.
Then, as always, the prelate flung himself confidently on the broad bosom of his Church.
He was making ground. He saw that in the straightening of the slight shoulders and the steadying of the girl’s tempestuous breathing. Suddenly, as if visioning that to which he bade her return, she laid her pale face in her arms and burst into passionate sobbing.
“I can’t—I can't. It’s too dreadful— too lonely. One mistake shall not ruin me. I want love—love—love. I have been without it long enough—without a single caress. I did my duty—more than my duty. I won’t go back to it. It isn’t justice, and—” she stared wet-eyed at the bishop. “It isn’t Christianity either.”
His gaze searched her own. “Is
there another?” he asked slowly.
She started violently. Her cheeks burned with a quick flush and she turned to him with eyes full of apprehension. He read in them something more, something that suggested that he, of all men, must not, should not, guess her secret. “Do you know—you—” she said faintly, “and who it is?”
“No—and I would rather not know.” Then, reading deep, he recognized all the strangling yearning of womanhood. That cry of isolation was the voice of the one passion of her life. He knew that. Its poignancy was too eloquent to be misread. But he also knew that this was the moment when his own steps must not falter.
“You cannot do this. You must not,” he said, with something of austerity in his voice. “The Church does not sanction it. I can take no part in it.” And then, remembering that this was the daughter of the friend of his heart: “It’s a heavy burden but you are strong enough to carry it. Others are doing that to-day, people you know but would never imagine. And if this other man loves you as I believe he must, if his love is honorable, he will see it too.” His voice deepened. “Don’t you see what you would be doing? The world laughs at it, unhappily, only too often. Don’t think it’s easy to say these things. It isn’t. What tales of sorrow these walls might repeat. But the longer I live the plainer the way seems. There are many roads to peace that you have not tried. Now—promise me.”
She stared at him. Meeting the infinite supplication in her eyes, Widdi-. field went confidently on. He somehow felt that on the turning of this one question hung all the law and the prophets., “Think, for a moment. You are holding your own plaint so close to your eyes that you can see nothing else. What about this world that you love so much— do you love it only when participating in its pleasures? Is there nothing else you can do for it? My dear, if you but knew the potentiality of a woman in your position ! Fifty of you could redeem a city. Have you never though of that? People make me a bishop and then leave me— alone—to do duty for them toward the rest of humanity. Why don’t you come forward and help? It’s lonely work, Mary—a loneliness of the spirit as well as of the heart. Have you never guessed how lonely a bishop can be?”
Widdifield stood, a little breathless with the hope inspired by the steady, gaze of her introspective eyes. He had infinite faith in her. She was Gair’s daughter.
Continued on Page 124.
Continued, from Page 25.
A long silence. She looked at him bravely, not a driven desperate creature, but a woman tremulous with some new and great thought that was slowly thrusting itself through a wounded and quivering soul. “Could I help—really? Do you want me to? Am I of any use?”
“My dear,” said the bishop very gently, but with something in his voice that thrilled her, “come and see.”
She faced him with head lifted and an unconscious straightening of slight shoulders. “I think I will go out of town for a while and—and try and find myself ; and then”—she glanced up with exquisite and delicate candor—“I will come and see you in the autumn.”
“And in the meantime?”
She had no words left, but took his outstretched hands in so strong and steady a clasp that Widdifield, looking thoughtfully after the slim figure as it dwindled down the shining street, was comforted.
Mary Lamont moved through the background of the season of diocesan duties that followed and with Mary moved the vision of her father. Widdifield’s sympathy, his understanding, all the unordained part of him revolted at this marriage that his office decreed she must endure. He recognized that she was in spiritual tribulation. And it seemed, pondering over similar cases he knew, that spirituality was beginning more and more to mean simply the ability to suffer. There were other women of not so fine a fibre, not so delicate a perception who had awakened to the truth too late. But they had merely shrugged diffident shoulders and straightway opened new avenues of interest and excitement. There could be no such alternative for Mary. He began to wonder why it was that religion had the same panacea for every temperament and whether after all Gair’s keen insight had not accepted the right way out. The bishop tried to guess at the mental peace of this man whose admirable balance and humane benignity fitted so well into the pattern of the world at large that his unorthodoxy had not even drawn a protest from the most devout believer. What would the judge say when Mary told him of this visit! Could he, however fair and noble, remain unaffected by his friend’s pronouncement? There were many men who contributed to churches, who were indeed pillars of the Sanctuary and yet whose business interpretations remained untouched by any softening influence. Widdifield met them in pubilc,
mourned over them in secret and looked for others like Gair to balance the account. He fortified himself by reflecting that if men could live like Gair without professing belief, what was not possible for those who did. But he always wound up by admitting that Gair, in all attributes of manhood and citizenship was the finest of them all. The judge, he concluded, did not know how to misunder-
'“p HAT summer was the first for years in which Widdifield had not snatched a week to spend with Gair in the Catskills. He had many memories of that wide veranda from which the judge scanned the blue flanks of the hills and let sweet winds purge his memories of charge and countercharge. But now the bishop felt strangely divorced from the accustomed haven. He struggled against a sense of alienation, an atmosphere haunted by Mary Gair with her pleading eyes.
Thus divided, he heard the first rumblings of a political storm. Heretofore it would have meant little, but the bishop had, in the previous year thrown himself wholeheartedly into municipal affairs. He was suddenly seized of the conviction that the Church was getting too episcopal, too sacerdotal. With others he had been carried along by a wave of revolt that swept the municipality. A year ago a new party was formed. It embraced men who had hitherto abstained from politics as an unclean thing. New men these, of the best type, who came forward in united protest. The surge of this movement captured the city. The administration was house-cleaned. Light had dawned on a horizon long murky with
To the campaign organization Widdifield had given little heed. He had been in too great demand as a speaker. It filled him with new sensation to occupy these platforms, where he was conscious of new associations with men he had been trying all his life to reach. Then too there was a certain human satisfaction in advocating honesty, simply on the ground of good business. All this had afforded him an outlet for the expression of Widdifield the man, not Widdifield the bishop. He was further fortified because Richard was in control of the party funds. The first staring headlines came out in the subsidized journal of the defeated candi-
i date. The bishop read them with a smile, and inwardly thanked God. It was an[ other chance to smite the Amalekites. Those of his friends to whom he spoke saw it in the same light.
Days passed and the accusations did not I weaken, but gathered instead an increasing note of confidence. They hinted at incontrovertible evidence to be produced in the proper time and place. The pro! gressive organ scoffed, giving its opin! ion that a crooked organization always ¡ became restless under the curb. The reI ply flashed back instantly, culminating in a direct charge that a leader of the new party had bought, or at least sanctioned the purchase of votes. Widdifield attended a hurried committee meeting, resulting in a flat denial in headlines of equal height. He saw his own name in enormous letters and reflected grimly that it had taken an election squabble to secure a publicity never accorded to his office. Finally when the defeated candidate undertook to produce proof and witnesses, the court, forced to act, nominated a commission of inquiry, with Gair as chair-
Richard was recalled from his summer holidays. He returned, sulky and truculent. He was in open revolt at what he thought was Mary’s vacillation. Mary for the time being was inaccessible and he was filled with a slow fury at the emptiness of his days. He dined with his father at the Wanderers’ on the evening of his arrival. Widdifield looked at him anxiously, sitting in the judge’s chair, dark, slight, nervously impatient, confidently contemptuous—the antithesis of the goodnatured giant whose mild blue eyes were wont to roam so contentedly from the same corner.
An hour’s talk with Richard cleared away none of the uncertain mists that now seemed to befog his own memories of the election. He kept his own position in the background but felt nevertheless that a precious thing, something more precious than even his own honor was at stake. He, a champion of the Church, had championed the new cause. He had flung into it all the traditional heritage of his office. Now, searching Richard’s face, he thrust away the thought that his son could have imperiled that which was not his own or any man’s to risk. Persistently Widdifield assured himself that all was well. All must be well.
“The point is this, as I see it, Richard,” he said, oblivious to Peters, who stood resignedly at his elbow. “The whole matter of funds was in your hands. We were quite content that it should be. But we stated publicly that the election was to be clean. Now, I ask you—was it? I looked on it as a great moral victory. It cheered me tremendously; but was it clean, absolutely, all the way through, as far as your knowledge goes?”
Richard drummed the table for a moment, staring at his father from lowered lids. Compared to the transparency of the face across the table, he seemed clothed in a keen, shrewd, worldly wisdom that belonged to some sphere foreign to that in which his father moved. For years, as a corporation counsel, he had
studied men, had weighed their ambitions, abilities and weaknesses, and on the interpretation of these had built his reputation. His father walked in the belief that every man was honest unless he had been proved a knave; but deep in Richard’s mind the creed had long been reversed. Now, searching that calculating mind for some means of enlightening his father’s unworldly soul as to how most men believe worldly betterment must be effected, he suddenly realized that they spoke different moral languages.
“It was the cleanest election I know of,” he said slowly.
“I’m not answered yet, Richard,” replied the bishop, gently.
“Look here, Dad. Do you know how much money was spent by our party in that election?”
“A very large sum, I believe. I don’t know the figures.”
“Well, something over two hundred thousand dollars. And do you know by whom that money was spent?”
“Very little of it. I signed the cheques, that’s all. Personally, I spent practically nothing. That was done by hundreds of men, many of whom I never saw. Our programme was to get the best men we could and give them a free hand. We had to. They got others, and so on down the line. You ask me if the election was absolutely clean. I don’t think so—that’s an impossibility. There were things said and done in the heat of conflict that one hears and forgets. They are lost in the larger object in view. In election times, to do a great right one sometimes does a little wrong. You allied yourself with a good cause but you were not responsible for the personal rectitude of everyone connected with it.”
The prelate shook his head, a curious quick delicate gesture as if daintily divesting himself of something unpleasant. “I am afraid I must stick to my point. Do you personally know of any—any irregularities?” He persisted painfully, galvanized by some moral current into more intimate contact with that which he loathed.
“We made some mistakes. Not as many as I expected.”
“I’m not answered, Richard.” Widdifield spoke gently. From his own stainless horizon he glimpsed again the boy of twenty-five years ago.
“Well—yes, I do,” said his son bluntly. “But,” he added confidently, “they will never come out.”
In the silence that suddenly fell over them, Widdifield sought vainly for words. The unspeakable thing was true. He had touched and felt it. He had strengthened its coils with the high honor of his station, the honor so joyfully placed in the hands of his son. In the first revulsion of this revelation he saw himself a traitor to every lofty tradition of his position. Then, marking Richard’s impersonal front, the indifference with which he faced the searchings of the commission, he felt for one poignant moment the gulf between his own episcopal limitations and the accepted ways of men. He seemed inside a stone wall of doctrine and that outside of this wall men moved, armed cap-
a-pie against mutual assaults and stayed only occasionally to observe its exquisite and memorial proportions.
HALF the summer slipped away and Mary was still poised on the verge of resolution. The bishop’s words had sunk deep. They had left her with a breathless consciousness that she must at all costs see this tragedy through. Richard, as she had begged, had left her alone and, once invisible, had in consequence been invested with a tenderness that her petitionary eyes had never before discerned in his stormy pleadings. She wondered how it was that Lamont remained unswayed by a life that outraged her very soul. If he did not want her why could he not open the gate and let her go?
But during the last month Lamont had been more mechanically impersonal than ever. More than this, he now seemed keyed up to a pinnacle of nervous restlessness. She saw him sometimes once a day —sometimes not at all. He ate and often slept in his laboratory, a glass structure erected on the roof of his house. Above this soared a mast, festooned with wireless antennae. It seemed indeed that Lamont aspired to interpret the messages of space, while he remained dead to every human pulsation in Mary’s breast.
At last she decided to go to the judge in the Catskills. It had been curiously hard to make this decision for there, on the flanks of the hills, the die would be cast. This frightened, then attracted her. Desperately she dissected her own emotions, trying to drag forth something on which to fasten and discern in it some germ of natural hope. Once the thought flashed that love could not be altogether dead if she found this break so hard. This comforted her till it dissipated and merged in a cloud of traditional influences.
To Be Continued.