The Great God Success
John Graham (David Graham Phillips)
Part 3 out of 4
Coulter--especially Coulter. In fact, I'm sure you'll quarrel with them.
But if you make yourself valuable enough, you'll probably win out.
Malcolm hesitated, then went on:
"I stopped giving advice years ago. But I'll venture a suggestion. Whenever
your principles run counter to the policy of the paper, it would be wise to
think the matter over carefully before making an issue. Usually there is
truth on both sides, much that can be said fairly and honestly for either
side. Often devotion to principle is a mere prejudice. Often the crowd, the
mob, can be better controlled to right ends by conceding or seeming to
concede a principle for the time. Don't strike a mortal blow at your own
usefulness to good causes by making yourself a hasty martyr to some fancied
vital principle that will seem of no consequence the next morning but one
after the election."
"I know, Mr. Malcolm, judgment is all but impossible. And I have been
trying to learn what you have been teaching me with your blue pencil, what
you now put into words. But there is something in me--an instinct,
perhaps--that forces me on in spite of myself. I've learned to curb and
guide it to a certain extent, but as long as I am I, I shall never learn to
control it. Every man must work out his own salvation along his own lines.
And with my limitations of judgment, it would be fatal to me, I feel, to
study the art of compromise. Where another, broader, stronger, more master
of himself and of others, would succeed by compromising, I should fail
miserably. I should be lost, compassless, rudderless. I have often envied
you your calmness, your ability to see not only to-morrow but the day
after. But, if I ever try to imitate you, I shall make a sad mess of my
As he ended Howard looked uneasily at the old editor, expecting to see that
caustic smile with which he preceded and accompanied his sarcasms at
"sentimental bosh." But instead, Malcolm's face was melancholy; and his
voice was sad and weary as he answered the young man who was just starting
where he had started so many years ago:
"No doubt you are right. I'm not intending to try to dissuade you
from--from the best there is in you. All I mean is that caution,
self-examination, self-doubt, calm consideration of the other side--these
are as necessary to success as energy and resolute action. All I suggest is
that its splendour does not redeem a splendid folly. Its folly remains its
Three weeks later Howard became editor-in-chief of the _News-Record_.
His salary was fifteen thousand a year; and Stokely and Coulter, acting
upon Malcolm's advice, gave him a "free hand" for one year. They agreed not
to interfere during that time unless the circulation or the profits showed
a decrease at the end of a quarter.
The next morning Howard, in the Madison Avenue car on his way to the
office, read among the "Incidents in Society:"
Mrs. George Alexander Provost and her niece, Miss Marion Trevor, sailed in
the _Campania_ yesterday. They will return in July for the Newport
While several of the New York dailies were circulating from two to three
hundred thousand copies, the _News-Record_--the best-written, the most
complete, and, where the interests of the owners did not interfere, the
most accurate--circulated less than one hundred thousand. The Sunday
edition had a circulation of one hundred and fifty thousand where two other
newspapers had almost half a million.
The theory of the _News-Record_ staff was that their journal was too
"respectable," too intelligent, to be widely read; that the "yellow
journals" grovelled, "appealed to the mob," drew their vast crowds by the
methods of the fakir and the freak. They professed pride in the
_News-Record's_ smaller circulation as proof of its freedom from
vulgarity and debasement. They looked down upon the journalists of the
popular newspapers and posed as the aristocracy of the profession.
Howard did not assent to these self-complacent excuses. He was democratic
and modern, and the aristocratic pose appealed only to his sense of humour
and his suspicions. He believed that the success of the "yellow journals"
with the most intelligent, alert and progressive public in the world must
be based upon solid reasons of desert, must be in spite of, not because of,
their follies and exhibitions of bad taste. He resolved upon a radical
departure, a revolution from the policy of satisfying petty vanity and
tradition within the office to a policy of satisfying the demands of the
He gave Segur temporary charge of the editorial page, and, taking a desk in
the news-room, centred his attention upon news and the news-staff. But he
was careful not to agitate and antagonise those whose cooperation was
necessary to success. He made only one change in the management; he retired
old Bowring on a pension and appointed to the city editorship one of the
young reporters--Frank Cumnock.
He chose Cumnock for this position, in many respects the most important on
the staff of a New York daily, because he wrote well, was a judge of good
writing, had a minute knowledge of New York and its neighbourhood and,
finally and chiefly, because he had a "news-sense," keener than that of any
other man on the paper.
For instance, there was the murder of old Thayer, the rich miser in East
Sixteenth Street. It was the sensation in all the newspapers for two weeks.
Then they dropped it as an unsolvable mystery. Cumnock persuaded Mr.
Bowring to let him keep on. After five days' work he heard of a deaf and
dumb woman who sat every afternoon at a back window of her flat overlooking
the back windows of Thayer's house. He had a trying struggle with her
infirmity and stupidity, but finally was rewarded. On the afternoon of the
murder, in its very hour (which the police had been able to discover), she
had seen a man and woman in the bathroom of the Thayer house. Both were
agitated and the man washed his hands again and again, carefully rinsing
the bowl afterward. From her description Cumnock got upon the track of
Thayer's niece and her husband, found the proof of their guilt, had them
watched until the _News-Record_ came out with the "beat," then turned
them over to the police.
Also, Cumnock was keen at taking hints of good news-items concealed in
obscure paragraphs. The Morris Prison scandal was an example of this. He
found in the New England edition of _The World_ a six-line item giving
an astonishing death rate for the Morris Prison. He asked the City Editor
to assign him to go there; and within a week the press of the entire
country was discussing the _News-Record's_ exposure of the barbarities
of torture and starvation practised by Warden Johnson and his keepers.
"We are going to print the news, all the news and nothing but the news,"
Howard said to Cumnock. "They've put you here because, so they tell me, you
know news no matter how thoroughly it is concealed or disguised. And I
assure you that no one shall interfere with you. No favours to anybody; no
use of the news-columns for revenge or exploitation. The only questions a
news-item need raise in your mind are: Is it true? Is it interesting? Is it
printable in a newspaper that will publish anything which a healthy-minded
grown-person wishes to read?"
"Is that 'straight'?" asked Cumnock. "No favourites? No suppressions? No
"'Straight'--'dead straight'! And if I were you I'd make this particularly
clear to the Wall Street and political men. If anybody"--with stress upon
the anybody--"comes to you about this, send him to me."
Howard was uneasy about the managing editor, Mr. King. But he soon found
that his fears were groundless. Mr. King was without petty vanity, and
cordially and sincerely welcomed his control.
"We look too dull," King began when Howard asked him if he had any changes
to suggest. "We need more and bigger headlines, and we need pictures."
"That is it!" Howard was delighted to find that King and he were in perfect
accord. "But we must not have pictures unless we can have the best. Just at
present we can't increase expenses by any great amount. What do you say to
trying what we can do with all the news, larger headlines and plenty of
"I'm sure we can do better with our class of readers by livening up the
appearance of our headlines than we could with second-rate pictures."
"I hope," Howard said earnestly, "that we won't have to use that
phrase--'our class of readers'--much longer. Our paper should interest
every man and woman able to read. It seems to me that a newspaper's
audience should be like that of a good play--the orchestra chairs full and
the last seat in the gallery taken. I suppose you know we're not an 'organ'
"No, I didn't." Mr. King looked surprised. "Do you mean to say that we're
free to print the news?"
"Free as freedom. In our news columns we're neither Democrat nor Republican
nor Mugwump nor Reform. We have no Wall Street or social connections. We
are going to print a newspaper--all the news and nothing but the news."
Mr. King drummed on his desk softly with the tips of his outstretched
fingers. "Hum--hum," he said. "This _is_ news. Well--the
circulation'll go up. And that's all I'm interested in."
Howard went about his plans quietly. He avoided every appearance of
exerting authority, disturbed not a wheel in the great machine. He made his
changes so subtly that those who received the suggestions often came to him
a few days afterward, proposing as their own the very plans he had hinted.
He was thus cautious partly because of his experience of the vanity of men,
their sensitiveness to criticism, their instinctive opposition to
improvement from without; partly from his knowledge of the hysteria which
raged in the offices of the "yellow journals." He wished to avoid an
epidemic of that hysteria--the mad rush for sensation and novelty; the
strife of opposing ambitions; the plotting and counter-plotting of rival
heads of departments; the chaos out of which the craziest ideas often
emerged triumphant, making the pages of the paper look like a series of
He was indifferent to the semblance of authority, to the shadows for which
small men are forever struggling. What he wanted, all he wanted,
The first opposition came from the night editor, who for twenty-six years,
his weekly "night off" and his two weeks' vacation in summer excepted, had
"made up" the paper--that is to say, had defined, with the advice and
consent of the managing editor, the position and order of the various news
items. This night editor, Mr. Vroom, was a strenuous conservative. He
believed that an editor's duty was done when he had intelligently arranged
his paper so that the news was placed before the reader in the order of its
importance. Big headlines, attempts at effect with varying sizes of large
type and varying column-widths he held to be crowd-catching devices, vulgar
and debasing. He had no sympathy with Howard's theory that the first object
of a newspaper published in a democratic republic is to catch the crowd, to
interest it, to compel it to read, and so to lead it to think.
"We're on the way to scuffling in the gutter with the 'yellow journals' for
the pennies of the mob," he was saying sarcastically to Mr. King, one
afternoon just as Howard joined them.
Howard laughed. "Not on the way to the gutter, Mr. Vroom. Actually in the
gutter, actually scuffling."
"Well, I'm frank to say that I don't like it. A newspaper ought to appeal
to the intelligent."
"To intelligence, yes; to the intelligent, no. At least in my opinion, that
is the right theory. We want people to read us because we're intelligent
enough to know how to please them, not because they're intelligent enough
to overcome the difficulties we put in their way. But let's go out to
dinner this evening and talk it over."
They dined together at Mouquin's every night for a week. At the end of that
time Vroom, still sarcastic and grumbling, was a convert. And a great
accession Howard found him. He had sound judgment as to the value of
news-items--what demanded first page, the "show-window," because it would
interest everybody; what was worth a line on an inside page because it
would interest only a few thousands. He was the most skillful of the
_News-Record's_ many good writers of headlines, a master of that, for
the newspaper, art of arts--condensed and interesting statement, alluring
the glancing reader to read on. Also he had an eye for effects with type.
"You make every page a picture," Howard said to him. "It is wonderful how
you balance your headlines, emphasising the important news yet saving the
minor items from obscurity. I should like to see the paper you would make
if you had the right sort of illustrations to put in."
Vroom was amazed at himself. He who had opposed any "head" which broke the
column rule was now so far degenerated into a "yellow journalist" that,
when Howard spoke of illustrations, he actually longed to test his skill at
distributing them effectively.
* * * * *
Two months of hard work, tedious, because necessarily so indirect, produced
a newspaper which was "on the right lines," as Howard understood right
lines. And he felt that the time had come to make the necessary radical
changes in the editorial page.
The _News-Record_ had long posed as independent because it supported
now one political party and now the other, or divided its support. But this
superficial independence was in reality subservience to the financial
interests of the two principal owners. They made their newspaper assail
Republican or Democratic corruption and misgovernment in city, state or
nation, according as their personal interests lay. They used the editorial
page and, to even better advantage, the news-columns, in revenging
themselves for too heavy levies of blackmail upon their corrupt interests
or in securing unjust legislation and privileges.
Obedient and cynical Mr. Malcolm had made the editorial page corrupt and
brilliant--never so effective as when assailing a good cause. The great
misfortune of good causes is that they attract so many fatal friends--the
superciliously conscientious; the well-meaning but feeble-minded and
blundering; the most offensive because least deceptive kinds of hypocrites.
Mr. Malcolm, as acute as he was intellectually unscrupulous, well
understood how to weaken or to ruin a just cause through these supporters.
Sometimes he stood afar off, showering the poisoned arrows of raillery and
satire. Again he was the plain-spoken friend of the cause and warned its
honest supporters against these "fool friends" whom he pretended to regard
as its leaders. Again he played the part of a blind enthusiast and praised
folly as wisdom and urged it on to more damaging activities.
"We abhor humbug here," he used to say; and perhaps he did in a measure
excuse himself to his conscience with the phrase. But in fact his editorial
page was usually a succession of humbugs, of brilliant hypocrisies and
cheats perpetrated under the guise of exposing humbug.
Just as Howard was ready to reverse Malcolm's editorial programme, New York
was seized with one of its "periodic spasms of virtue." The city government
was, as usual, in the hands of the two bosses who owned the two political
machines. One was taking the responsibility and the larger share of the
spoils; the other was maintaining him in power and getting the smaller but
a satisfactory share. The alliance between the police and criminal vice had
become so open and aggressive under this bi-boss patronage that the people
were aroused and indignant. But as they had no capable leaders and no way
of selecting leaders, there arose a self-constituted leadership of uptown
Phariseeism and sentimentality, planning the "purification" of the city.
Every man of sense knowing human nature and the conditions of city life
knew that this plan was foredoomed to ridiculous failure, and that the
event would be a popular revulsion against "reform."
"Why not speak the truth about these vice-hunters?" Howard was discussing
the situation with three of his editorial writers--Segur, Huntington and
"It's mighty dangerous," Montgomery objected. "You will be sticking knives
into a sacred Anglo-Saxon hypocrisy."
"Yes, we'll have all the good people about our ears," said Segur. "We'll be
denounced as a defender of depravity, a foe of purity. They'll thunder away
at us from every pulpit. The other newspapers will take it up, especially
those that expect to sell millions of papers containing accounts of the
'exposure' of the dives and dens."
"That's good. I hope we shall," said Howard cheerfully. "It will advertise
The three were better pleased than they would have admitted to themselves
by the seeming certainty of Howard's impending undoing.
"No, gentlemen," Howard said, as they were about to go to their rooms for
the day's work. "There's no danger in attacking any hypocrisy. Don't attack
beliefs that are universal or nearly universal--at least not openly. But
don't be afraid of a hypocrisy because it is universal. People know that
they are hypocrites in respect of it. They may not have the courage
publicly to applaud you. But they'll be privately delighted and will admire
your courage. We'll try to be discreet and we'll be careful to be truthful.
And we'll begin by making these gentlemen show themselves up."
The next morning the _News-Record_ published a double-leaded
editorial. It described the importance of improving political and social
conditions in New York; it went on to note the distinguished names on the
committee for the destruction of vice; it closed with the announcement that
on the following day the _News-Record_ would publish the views of
these eminent reformers upon conditions and remedies.
The next day he printed the interviews--a collection of curiosities in
utopianism, cant, ignorant fanaticism, provincialism, hypocrisy. These
appeared strictly as news; for the cardinal principle of Howard's theory of
a newspaper was that it had no right to intrude its own views into its
news-columns. On the editorial page he riddled the interviews. By adroit
quotations, by contrasting one with another, he showed, or rather made the
so-called reformers themselves show, that where they were sincere they were
in the main silly, and where they were plausible they were in the main
insincere; that every man of them had his own pet scheme for the salvation
of wicked New York; and that they could not possibly accomplish anything
more valuable than leading the people on the familiar, aimless,
demoralizing excursion through the slums.
On the following day he frankly laughed at them as a lot of impracticables
who either did not know the patent facts of city life or refused to admit
those facts. And he turned his attention to the real problem, a respectable
administration for the city--a practical end which could easily be
accomplished by practical action. From day to day he kept this up,
publishing a splendid series of articles, humorous, witty, satirical,
eloquent, bold, with a dominant strain of sincerity and plain common sense.
As his associates had predicted, a storm gathered and burst in fury about
the _News-Record_. It was denounced by "leading citizens," including
many of the clergy. Its "esteemed" contemporaries published and endorsed
and amplified the abuse. And its circulation went up at the rate of five
thousand a day.
When the storm was at its height, when the whole town seemed to be agreeing
with the angry reformers but was quietly laughing at their folly and
hypocrisy, Howard threw his bomb. On a Saturday morning he gave half of his
first page with big but severely impartial headlines to an analysis of the
members of the vice committee--a broadside of facts often hinted but never
before verified and published. First came those who owned property and
sub-let it for vicious purposes, the property and purpose specified in
detail; then those who were directors in corporations which had got corrupt
privileges from the local boss, the privileges being carefully specified,
and also the amounts of which they had robbed the city. Last came those who
were directors in corporations which had bought from the State-boss
injustices and licenses to rob, the specifications given in damning detail.
His leading editorial was entitled "Why We Don't Have Decent Government."
It was powerful in its simplicity, its merciless raillery and irony; and
only at the very end did it contain passion. There, in a few eloquent
sentences he arraigned these professed reformers who were growing rich
through the boss-system, who were trafficking with the bosses and were now
engaged in wrecking the hopes of honesty and decency. On that day the
_News-Record's_ circulation went up thirty thousand. The town rang
with its "exposure" and the attention of the whole country was arrested. It
was one of the historic "beats" of New York journalism. The reputation of
the _News-Record_ for fearlessness and truth-telling and
news-enterprise was established. At abound it had become the most
conspicuous and one of the most powerful journals in New York.
MR. STOKELY IS TACTLESS.
Howard, riding in the Park one morning late in the spring, came upon Mrs.
Carnarvon. She gave him no chance to evade her, but joined him and
accommodated her horse's pace to his.
"And are you still on the _News-Record?_" she said. "I hope not."
"Why?" Howard was smiling, glad to get an outside view of what he had been
"Because it's become so sensational. It used to be such a nice paper. And
now--gracious, what headlines! What attacks on the very best people in the
"Dreadful, isn't it?" laughed Howard. "We've become so depraved that we are
actually telling the truth about somebodies instead of only about
"I might have known that you would sympathise with that sort of thing."
Mrs. Carnarvon was teasing, yet reproachful. "You always were an
"Is it anarchistic to be no respecter of persons and to put big headlines
over big items and little headlines over little items?"
"Oh, you know what I mean. You are encouraging the unruly classes."
"Dear me! And we thought we were fighting the unruly class. We thought that
it was our friends--or rather, your friends--the franchise grabbers and
legislature-buyers who won't obey the laws unless the laws happen to suit
their convenience. They're the only unruly class I know anything about.
I've heard of another kind but I've never been able to find it. And I never
hear much about it except when a lot of big rascals are making off weighted
down with plunder. They always shout back over their shoulders: 'Don't
raise a disturbance or you'll arouse the unruly classes.'"
Mrs. Carnarvon was laughing. "You put it well," she said, "and I'm not
clever enough to answer you. But they all tell me the _News-Record_
has become a dangerous paper, that it's attacking everybody who has
"Anything he has stolen, yes. But that's all."
"You can't get me to sympathise with you. I like well-dressed,
well-mannered people who speak good English."
"So do I. That's why I'm doing all in my power to improve the conditions
for making more and more people of the sort one likes to talk to and dine
"Why, I thought you sympathised with the lower classes."
"Not a bit of it. Who has been maligning me to you? I abhor the lower
classes--so much so that I wish to see them abolished."
"Well, you'll have to blame Marian for misleading me."
"Miss Trevor? How is she?" Mrs. Carnarvon was looking closely at him, and
he was not sure that he succeeded in showing nothing more than friendly
"Haven't you heard from her? She's in England, visiting in Lancashire. You
know her cousin married Lord Cranmore."
"I saw in the papers several months ago that she was going abroad. I
haven't heard a word since."
Mrs. Carnarvon started to say something, but changed her mind.
"When is she coming home?"
"Not until July. You must come to see us at Newport."
"Nothing could please me better--if I can get away."
"I'll send you an invitation, although you have treated me very badly of
late. But I suppose you are busy."
"Busy? Isn't a galley slave always busy?"
"Are you still writing editorials?"
"Yes--and on the fallen _News-Record_. In fact----"
Howard laughed. "Don't faint," he said. "I'll leave you at once if you wish
me to, and I'll never give it away that you once knew me. I'm the
editor--the responsible devil for the depravity."
"How interesting!" Mrs. Carnarvon was evidently not disturbed. Then the
American adoration of success came out. "I'm so glad you're getting on. I
always knew you would. Really, you must come to dinner. I'll invite some of
the people you've been attacking. They'll like to look at you, and you will
be amused by them. And I don't in the least mind your giving it to them if
they bait you, as I did this morning. Will you come?"
"If I may leave by ten o'clock. I go down town every night."
"Why, when do you sleep?"
"Not much, these days. Life's too interesting to permit of much sleep. I'll
make up when it slackens a bit."
As he was turning his horse, she said: "Marian's address is Claridge's,
Brooke Street, Mayfair. If she isn't there, they forward her mail."
Howard was puzzled. "What made her give me that address?" he thought. "I
know she didn't like my seeing so much of Marian. And here she is
practically inviting me to write to her." He could not understand it. "If I
were not a 'yellow' editor and if Marian were not engaged to one of the
richest men in New York, I'd say that this lady was encouraging me." He
smiled. "Not yet--not just yet." And he cheerfully urged his horse into a
Mrs. Carnarvon's opinion of the _News-Record_ and its recent
performances fairly represented that of the fashionable and the very rich.
They read it, as they never did before, because it interested them. They
could not deny that what it said was true; that is, they could not deny it
to their own minds, although they did vigorously deny it publicly. Those
who were attacked directly or indirectly, or expected to be attacked,
denounced the paper as an "outrage," a "disgrace to the city," a "specimen
of the journalism of the gutter." Many who were not in sympathy with the
men or the methods assailed thought that its course was "inexpedient,"
"tended to increase discontent among the lower classes," "weakened the
influence of the better classes." Only a few of the "triumphant classes"
saw the real value and benefit of the _News-Record's_ frank attacks
upon greed and hypocrisy, saw that these attacks were not dangerous or
demagogical because they were just and were combined with a careful
avoidance of encouragement to the lazy, the envious, the incompetent and
Fortunately for Howard's peace, that eminent New York "multi," Samuel
Jocelyn, for whom Coulter had the highest respect, was of this last class.
When Howard began, Coulter was at Aiken where Jocelyn had a cottage. He had
never been able to make headway with Jocelyn, and Mrs. Jocelyn deigned to
give him and Mrs. Coulter only the coldest of cold nods. Just as Coulter
had become so agitated by Howard's radical course that he was preparing to
go to New York to remonstrate with him, Jocelyn called.
"I came to thank you for what you are doing with your paper," he said
cordially. "It seems to me that all intelligent men who are not blind to
their own ultimate interests ought to stand by you. I can't tell you how
much I admire your frankness and honesty. And you draw the line just right.
You attack plunder, you defend property. Will your wife and you dine with
us this evening?"
Coulter postponed his trip to New York.
On the last day of the first three months the circulation of the
_News-Record_ was 147,253--an increase of 42,150 over what it was on
the day Howard took charge; its advertising had increased twelve per cent;
its net profits for the quarter were seventy-five thousand dollars as
against fifty-seven thousand for the preceding quarter.
"Very good indeed," was Stokely's comment.
"Another quarter like this," said Howard, "and I'm going to ask you to let
me increase expenses a thousand dollars a week to illustrate the paper."
"We'll talk that over with Coulter. Personally I like this
'yellow-journalism'--when it's done intelligently. I always told Coulter
we'd have to come to it. It's only common sense to make a paper easy
reading. Then, too, we can have a great deal more influence--in fact, we
have already. I'm getting what I want up at Albany this winter much
Howard winced. "He made me feel like a blackmailer," he said to himself
when Stokely had gone. "And I suppose these fellows do look on me as a new
Malcolm with up-to-date tricks. Well, they will see, they will see."
He tried to go on with his work, but Stokely's cynical words persistently
interrupted him. Why had he not squarely challenged Stokely then and there?
Why had he only winced where a year ago he would have demanded an
He hated to confess it to himself, he made every effort to smother it, but
the thought still stared him in the face--"I am not so strong in my ideals
of personal character as I was a year ago."
The fact that his present course was profitable gave him, he felt, more
pleasure than the fact that it was right. If the alternative of wealth and
power with self-abasement or poverty, obscurity with self-respect were put
to him now, what would he decide? Would he give up his prospects, his hopes
of Marian and of an easy career? He was afraid to answer. He contented
himself with one of his habitual evasions--"I will settle that when the
time comes. No, Stokely's remark did not make a crisis. If the crisis ever
does come, surely I will act like a man. I'll be securer then, more
necessary to this pair of plunderers, able to make better terms for myself.
In practical life, it is necessary to sacrifice something in order to
But Stokely's words and his own silence and the real reasons for his
changing ideals and for his cowardice continued to annoy him.
Every day he came down town planning for a better newspaper the next
morning than they had ever made before. And his vigour, his enthusiasm
permeated the entire office. He went from one news department to another,
suggesting, asking for suggestions, praising, criticising judiciously and
with the greatest consideration for vanity. He talked with the reporters,
urging them on by showing keen interest in them and their work, and
intimate knowledge of what they were doing. And he dictated every day
telegrams to correspondents, thanking them for any conspicuously good
stories they had telegraphed in, adding something to the compensation of
those who were paid by space and made little.
If his work had not been his amusement the long hours, the constant
application, would have broken him down. But he had no interests outside
the office and he got his mental recreation by shifting his mind from one
department to another.
In June his salary was increased to twenty-five thousand a year and his
last lingering feeling of financial insecurity disappeared. For the first
time in his life he felt strong enough to undertake a serious
responsibility, to give hostages to fortune without fear of being unable to
keep faith. He learned from Mrs. Carnarvon that Marian was returning on the
_Oceanic_ on the ninth of July, and he accepted a Saturday-to-Monday
invitation to Newport for the twelfth of July. It was from Segur that he
got the news that Danvers was in Japan and was not returning until the
On the ninth of July, from the window of his office, he saw the
_Oceanic_ steam up the bay and up the river to her pier. He sent down
a request that the ship-news reporter be sent up as soon as he returned.
"Is it a good story?" he asked when the reporter, Blackwell, entered. "Was
there anybody on board?"
"A lot of swell people," the young man answered; "all the women got up in
the latest Paris gowns."
"Did you notice whether Mrs. Provost came?"
"Came? Well, rather, with two French maids chattering and chasing after
her. And there was a tall girl with her, a stunner, a girl she called
'Marian, my dear.'"
Howard stopped him with "Thank you. Don't write anything about them."
"It was the best thing I saw--the funniest."
"Well--don't use the names."
Young Blackwell turned to go. "Oh, I see--friends of yours," he smiled.
"Very well. I'll keep 'em out."
Howard flushed and called him back. "Go ahead," he said. "Write just what
you were going to. Of course you wouldn't write anything that was not fair
and truthful. We don't 'play favourites' here. Forget what I said."
And so it came to pass that Mrs. Provost, half pleased, half indignant,
said to Miss Trevor as they sat in the drawing room of the Pullman on the
way to Newport the next day: "Just look at this, Marian dear, in the horrid
_News-Record_. And it used to be such a nice paper with that slimy
Coulter bowing and scraping to everybody."
"This" was Mrs. Provost and her dogs and her maids and her asides to
"Marian dear," described with accuracy and a keen sense of the ludicrous.
"It's too dreadful," she continued. "There is no such thing as privacy in
this country. The newspapers are making us," with a slight accent on the
pronoun, "as common and public as tenement-house people."
"Yes," Miss Trevor answered absently. "But why read the newspapers? I never
could get interested in them, though I've tried."
A WOMAN AND A WARNING.
On the evening of Howard's arrival at Newport, Mrs. Carnarvon was having a
few people in to dine. He had just time to dress and so saw no one until he
descended to the reception room.
"You are to take in Marian," said his hostess, going with him to where Miss
Trevor was sitting, her back to the door and her attention apparently
absorbed by the man facing her.
"Here's Mr. Howard, Marian," Mrs. Carnarvon interrupted. "Come with me,
Willie. Your lady is over here and we're going in directly."
Marian saw that Howard was looking at her in the straight, frank fashion
she remembered and liked so well. "I've come for you," he said.
"Yes, you are to take me in," she evaded, her look even lamer than her
"You know what I mean." He was smiling, his heart in his eyes, as if the
dozen people were not about them.
"I see you have not changed," she laughed, answering his look in kind.
"Changed? I'm revolutionized. I was blind and now I see. I was paralyzed
and behold, I walk. I was weak and lo, I am strong--strong enough for two,
"Now, hasn't it occurred to you that I might possibly have something to say
about my own fate?"
"You? Why, you had everything to say. I reasoned it all out with you. You
simply can't add anything to the case I made you make out for yourself when
I talked it over with you. I made you protest very vigorously."
"Well, what did I say--that is, what did you make me say?"
"You said you were engaged--pledged to another--that you could not draw
back without dishonour. And I answered that no engagement could bind you to
become the wife of a man you did not love; that no moral code could hold
you to such a sin; that no code of honour could command you to permit a man
to degrade himself and you. Then you pleaded that you were not sure you
liked my kind of a life, that you feared you wanted wealth and a great
establishment and social leadership and--and all that."
"Did I?" Marian said with exaggerated astonishment.
"You did indeed. You were perfectly open with me. You let me see all that
part of you which we try to keep concealed and fancy we are concealing--all
that one really feels and wishes and thinks as distinguished from what one
fancies he ought to feel and wish and think."
"I wonder that you cared, after a glance behind that curtain."
"Oh, but I like what is behind that curtain best of all. The very human
things are there. They make me feel so at home."
Dinner was announced and it was not until the second course that he had a
chance to resume. Then he began as if there had been no interval:
Marian laughed and looked at him--a flash of her luminous blue-green
eyes--and was looking away again with her usual expression. "You needn't
tell me the rest. It doesn't matter what I said. I've had you with me
wherever I went. You never doubted my--my caring, did you?"
"No. I couldn't doubt you. If you were the sort of woman a man could doubt,
you wouldn't be the sort of woman I could love. And you know it isn't
vanity that makes me sure. I often wonder how you happened to care for such
a--but I must not attack any one whom you like so well. No, I knew you
cared by the same instinct that makes you know that I care for you."
"But why did you come?"
"Because I have won a position for myself, have enough to enable us to live
without eternally fretting over money-matters. I feel that I have the right
to come. And then I could not be interested to live on, without you; and
I'm willing to face, willing to have you face, whatever may come to us
through me. I know that you and I together----"
"Not now--don't--please." Marian was pale and she was obviously under a
great strain. "You see, you knew all about this. But I didn't until you
looked at me when Jessie brought you. It makes me--happy--I am so happy.
But I must--I can't control myself here." She leaned over as if her napkin
had slipped to the floor. "I love you," she murmured.
It was Howard's turn to struggle for self-control. "I understand," he said,
"why you wished me not to go on. You never said those words to me
"Oh, yes I have--many and many a time."
"With your eyes, but not with your voice--at least not so that I could
hear. And--well, it is not easy to look calm and only friendly when every
nerve in one's body is vibrating like a violin string under the bow. Yes,
let us talk of something else. I've never been acutely conscious of the
presence of others when I've been with you. To-night I'm in great danger of
forgetting them altogether."
"That would be so like you." Marian laughed, then raised her voice a little
and went on. "Yes, your little restaurant in the Rue Louis le Grand was
gone. There was a dressmaker in its place--Raudinitz. She made this. How do
you like it?"
"It has the air of--of belonging to you."
Marian looked amused. Howard shrugged his shoulders. "All roads lead to
Rome," he said.
* * * * *
Carnarvon hung about until the women went to bed, so Howard and Marian had
no opportunity to be alone. As soon as he saw his last chance vanish, he
went to his own room, to the solitude of its balcony in the shadow of the
projecting facade with the moonlight flooding the rocks and the sea.
As he sat smoking, the recession came, the reaction from weeks of nervous
tension. And with the ebb of the tide entered that Visitor who alone has
the privilege of the innermost chamber where lives the man himself,
unmasked of all vanity and show and pretense. The visit was not unexpected;
for at every such crisis every one is certain of a call from this Visitor,
this merciless critic, plain and rude of speech, rare and reluctant in
praise, so mocking in our moments of elation, so cruelly frank about our
follies and self-excuses when he comes in our moments of depression.
"So you are going to marry?" the Visitor said abruptly. "I thought you had
made up your mind on that subject long ago."
"Love changes a man's point of view," Howard replied, timid and apologetic
before this quiet, relentless other-self.
"But it doesn't change the facts of life, does it? It doesn't change
character, does it?"
"I think so. For instance, it has changed me. It has made a man of me. It
has been the inspiration of the past year, strengthening me, making me
ambitious, energetic. Have I not thought of her all the time, worked for
"You have been uncommonly persistent--as you always are when you are
thwarted." The Visitor wore a satirical smile. "But a spurt of inspiration
is one thing. A wife--responsibility--fetters----"
"Not when one loves."
"That depends upon the kind of love--and the kind of woman--and the kind of
"Could there be any higher kind of love than ours?"
"Most romantic, most high-minded--quite idyllic." The Visitor's tone was
gently mocking. "And I don't deny that you may go on loving each the other.
But--how does she fit in with your scheme of life? What does she really
know of or care about your ambitions? Why, you had so little confidence in
her that you didn't dare to think of marrying her until you had an income
which you once would have thought wealth--an income which, by the way,
already begins to seem small to you."
"No, it wasn't lack of confidence in her," protested Howard. "It was lack
of confidence in myself."
"True, that did have something to do with it, I grant you. And that reminds
me--what has become of all your cowardice about responsibility?"
"Oh, I'm changed there."
"Are you sure? Are you not deceived by this sudden and maybe momentary
streak of good luck in your affairs? You have fixed your ambition
high--very high. You wish to make an honest and a useful and a
distinguished career. You know you have weaknesses. I needn't remind
you--need I--that you have had to fight those weaknesses? How could you
have won thus far if you had been responsible for others instead of being
alone, and certain that the consequences would fall upon yourself only? I
want to see you continue to win. I don't want to see you dragged down by
extravagance, by love for this woman, by ambition of the kind her friends
approve. I don't want to see you--You were silent when Stokely insulted
"Love--such love as mine--and for such a woman--and with such love in
return--drag down? Impossible!"
"Not so--not exactly so, though I must say you are plausible. But don't
forget that you and she are not starting out to make a career. Don't forget
that she is already fixed--her tastes, habits, friendships, associations,
ideals already formed. Don't forget that your love is the only bond between
you--and that it may drag you toward her mode of life instead of drawing
her towards yours. Don't forget that your own associations and temptations
are becoming more and more difficult. I repeat, you cringed--yes,
cringed--when Stokely insulted you. Why?"
Howard was silent.
"And," the Visitor went on relentlessly, "let me remind you that not only
did you give her up without a struggle a few months ago but also she gave
you up without a word."
"But what could she have said?"
"I don't know, I'm sure. I'm not familiar with ways feminine. But I
know--we know--that, if there had not been some reservation in her love,
some hesitation about you--unconscious, perhaps, but powerful enough to
make her yield--she would not have let you go as she did."
"But she did not realise, as I did not, how much our love meant to us."
"Perhaps--that sounds well. All I ask is, will she help you? Are you really
so much stronger than you were only four months ago? Or are you stimulated
by success? Suppose that days of disaster, of peril, come? What then?"
"But they will not. I have won a position. I can always command a large
salary--perhaps not quite so much but still a large salary."
"Perhaps--if you don't trouble yourself about principles. But how would it
be if you would do nothing, write nothing, except what you think is honest?
Would you ask her to face it? Tell me, tell yourself honestly, have you the
right to assume a responsibility you may not be able to bear, to invite
temptations you may not be able to resist?"
There was a long silence. At last Howard stood up and flung his cigar into
the sea. His face was drawn and his eyes burned.
"God in heaven!" he cried, "am I not human? May I not have companionship
and sympathy and love? Must I be alone and friendless and loveless always?
That is not life; that is not just. I will not; I will not. I love
her--love her--love her. With the best that there is in me, I love her. Am
I such a coward that I cannot face even my own weaknesses?"
HOWARD EXPLAINS HIS MACHINE.
In August Marian and Mrs. Carnarvon came to the Waldorf for two days.
Howard had offered to show them how a newspaper is made; and Mrs.
Carnarvon, finding herself bored by too many days of the same few people
every day, herself proposed the trip. The three dined in the open air on
Sherry's piazza and at eleven o'clock drove down the Avenue, to the east at
Washington Square, and through the Bowery.
"I never saw it before," said Marian, "and I must say I shall not care if I
never see it again. Why do people make so much fuss about slums, I wonder?"
"Oh, they're so queer, so like another world," suggested Mrs. Carnarvon.
"It gives you such a delightful sensation of sadness. It's just like a
not-too-melancholy play, only better because it's real. Then, too, it makes
one feel so much more comfortable and clean and contented in one's own
"You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Jessie." Marian spoke in mock
indignation. "The next thing we know you'll sink to being a patron of the
poor and go about enjoying yourself at making them self-conscious and
"They're not at all sad down this way," said Howard, "except in the usual
inescapable human ways. When they're not hit too hard, they bear up
wonderfully. You see, living on the verge of ruin and tumbling over every
few weeks get one used to it. It ceases to give the sensation of event."
Their automobile had turned into Park Row and so reached the
_News-Record_ building in Printing House Square. Howard took the two
women to the elevator and they shot upward in a car crowded with telegraph
messengers, each carrying one or more envelopes, some of them bearing in
bold black type the words: "News!--Rush!"
"I suppose that is the news for the paper?" Mrs. Carnarvon asked.
"A little of it. Our special cable and special news from towns to which we
have no direct wire and also the _Associated Press_ reports come this
way. But we don't use much _Associated Press_ matter, as it is the
same for all the papers."
"What do you do with it?"
"Throw it away. A New York newspaper throws away every night enough to fill
two papers and often enough to fill five or six."
"Isn't that very wasteful?"
"Yes, but it's necessary. Every editor has his own idea of what to print
and what not to print and how much space each news event calls for. It is
there that editors show their judgment or lack of it. To print the things
the people wish to read in the quantities the people like and in the form
the most people can most easily understand--that is success as an editor."
"No doubt," said Marian, thinking of the low view all her friends took of
Howard's newspaper, "if you were making a newspaper to please yourself, you
would make a very different one."
"Oh, no," laughed Howard, "I print what I myself like; that is, what I like
to find in a newspaper. We print human news made by human beings and
interesting to human beings. And we don't pretend to be anything more than
human. We try never to think of our own idea of what the people ought to
read, but always to get at what the people themselves think they ought to
read. We are journalists, not news-censors."
"I must say newspapers do not interest me." Marian confessed it a little
"You are probably not interested," Howard answered, "because you don't care
for news. It is a queer passion--the passion for news. The public has it in
a way. But to see it in its delirium you must come here."
"This seems quiet enough." Marian looked about Howard's upstairs office. It
was silent, and from the windows one could see New York and its rivers and
harbour, vast, vague, mysterious, animated yet quiet.
"Oh, I rarely come here--a few hours a week," Howard replied. "On this
floor the editorial writers work." He opened a door leading to a private
hall. There were five small rooms. In each sat a coatless man, smoking and
writing. One was Segur, and Howard called to him.
"Are you too busy to look after Mrs. Carnarvon and Miss Trevor for a few
minutes? I must go downstairs."
Segur gave some "copy" to a boy who handed him a bundle of proofs and
rushed away down a narrow staircase. Howard descended in the elevator, and
Segur, who had put on his coat, sat talking to the two women as he looked
through the proofs, glancing at each narrow strip, then letting it drop to
"You don't mind my working?" he asked. "I have to look at these things to
see if there is any news that calls for editional attention. If I find
anything and can think an editorial thought about it, I write it; and if
Howard is in the humour, perhaps the public is permitted to read it."
"Is he severe?" asked Mrs. Carnarvon.
"The 'worst ever,'" laughed Segur. "He is very positive and likes only a
certain style and won't have anything that doesn't exactly fit his ideas.
He's easy to get along with but difficult to work for."
"I imagine his positiveness is the secret of his success." Marian knew that
Segur was half in jest and was fond of Howard. But she couldn't endure
hearing him criticised.
"No. I think he succeeds because he works, pushes straight on, never stops
to repair blunders but never makes the same kind of a blunder the second
Segur's eye caught an item that suggested an editorial paragraph. He sat at
Howard's desk, thought a moment, scrawled half a dozen lines in a large
ragged hand on a sheet of ruled yellow paper, and pressed an electric
button. The boy came, handed him another thick bundle of proofs, took the
"copy" and withdrew. Just then Howard returned.
"We'll go down to the news-room," he said.
The windows of the great news-room were thrown wide. Scores of electric
lights made it bright. At the various desks or in the aisles were perhaps
fifty men, most of them young, none of them beyond middle age. They were in
every kind of clothing from the most fashionable summer attire to an old
pair of cheap and stained duck trousers, collarless negligee shirt open all
the way down the front and suspenders hanging about the hips.
Some were writing long-hand; others were pounding away at the typewriter;
others were talking in undertones to "typists" taking dictation to the
machine; others were reading "copy" and altering it with huge blue pencils
which made apparently unreadable smears wherever they touched the paper. In
and out skurried a dozen office-boys, responding to calls from various
desks, bringing bundles of proofs, thrusting copy into boxes which
instantly and noisily shot up through the ceiling.
It was a scene of confusion and furious activity. The face of each
individual was calm and his motions by themselves were not excited. But
taking all together and adding the tense, strained expression underneath
the calm--the expression of the professional gambler--there was a total of
active energy that was oppressive.
"We had a fire below us one night," said Howard. "We are two hundred feet
from the street and there were no fire escapes. We all thought it was
good-bye. It was nearly half an hour before we found out that the smoke
booming up the stairways and into this room had no danger behind it."
"Gracious!" Mrs. Carnarvon shuddered and looked uneasily about.
"It's perfectly safe," Howard reassured her. "We've arranged things better
since then. Besides, that fire demonstrated that the building was
"And what happened?" asked Miss Trevor.
"Why, just what you see now. The Managing Editor, Mr. King over there--I'll
introduce him to you presently--went up to a group of men standing at one
of the windows. They were pretending indifference as they looked down at
the crowd which was shouting and tossing its arms in a way that more than
suggested pity for us poor devils up here. Well, King said: 'Boys, boys,
this isn't getting out a paper.' Every one went back to his work and--and
that was all."
They went on to the room behind the newsroom. As Howard opened its heavy
door a sound, almost a roar, of clicking instruments and typewriters burst
out. Here again were scores of desks with men seated at them, every man
with a typewriter and a telegraph instrument before him.
"These are our direct wires," Howard explained. "Our correspondents in all
the big cities, east, west, north and south and in London, are at the other
end of these wires. Let me show you."
Howard spoke to the operator nearest them. "Whom have you got?"
"I'm taking three thousand words from Kansas City," he replied. "Washington
is on the next wire."
"Ask Mr. Simpson how the President is to-night," Howard said to the
His instrument clicked a few times and was silent. Almost immediately the
receiver began to click and, as the operator dashed the message off on his
typewriter the two women read over his shoulder: "Just came from White
House. He is no better, probably a little worse because weaker. Simpson."
"And can you hear just as quickly from London?" Marian asked.
"Almost. I'll try. There is always a little delay in transmission from the
land systems to the cable system; and messages have to be telephoned
between our office in Trafalgar Square and the cable office down in the
city. Let's see, it's five o'clock in the morning in London now. They've
been having it hot there. I'll ask about the weather."
Howard dictated to the man at the London wire: "Roberts, London. How is the
In less than ten minutes the cable-man handed Howard a typewritten slip
reading: "_News-Record_, New York, Howard: Thermometer 97 our office
now. Promises hottest day yet. Roberts."
"I never before realised how we have destroyed distance," said Mrs.
"I don't think any one but a newspaper editor completely realises it,"
Howard answered. "As one sits here night after night, sending messages far
and wide and receiving immediate answers, he loses all sense of space. The
whole world seems to be in his anteroom."
"I begin to see fascination in this life of yours." Marian's face showed
interest to enthusiasm. "This atmosphere tightens one's nerves. It seems to
me that in the next moment I shall hear of some thrilling happening."
"It's listening for the first rumour of the 'about to happen' that makes
newspaper-men so old and yet so young, so worn and yet so eager. Every
night, every moment of every night, we are expecting it, hoping for some
astounding news which it will test our resources to the utmost to present
From the news-room they went up to the composing room--a vast hall of
confusion, filled with strange-looking machines and half-dressed men and
boys. Some were hurrying about with galleys of type, with large metal
frames; some were wheeling tables here and there; scores of men and a few
women were seated at the machines. These responded to touches upon their
key-boards by going through uncanny internal agitations. Then out from a
mysterious somewhere would come a small thin strip of almost hot metal, the
width of a newspaper column and marked along one edge with letters printed
Up through the floor of this room burst boxes filled with "copy." Boys
snatched the scrawled, ragged-looking sheets and tossed them upon a desk. A
man seated there cut them into little strips, hanging each strip upon a
hook. A line of men filed rapidly past these hooks, snatching each man a
single strip and darting away to a machine.
"It is getting late," said Howard. "The final rush for the first edition is
on. They are setting the last 'copy.'"
"But," Mrs. Carnarvon asked, "how do they ever get the different parts of
the different news-items together straight?"
"The man who is cutting copy there--don't you see him make little marks on
each piece? Those marks tell them just where their 'take,' as they call it,
They went over to the part of the great room where there were many tables,
on each a metal frame about the size of a page of the newspaper. Some of
the frames were filled with type, others were partly empty. And men were
lifting into them the galleys of type under the direction of the Night
Editor and his staff. As soon as a frame was filled two men began to even
the ends of the columns and then to screw up an inside framework which held
the type firmly in place. Then a man laid a great sheet of what looked like
blotting-paper upon the page of type and pounded it down with a mallet and
scraped it with a stiff brush.
"That is the matrix," said Howard. "See him putting it on the elevator."
They looked down the shaft. "It has dropped to the sub-basement," said
Howard, "two hundred and fifty feet below us. They are already bending it
into a casting-box of the shape of the cylinders on the presses; metal will
be poured in and when it is cool, you will have the metal form, the metal
impression of the page. It will be fastened upon the press to print from."
They walked back through the room which was now in almost lunatic
confusion--forms being locked; galleys being lifted in; editors,
compositors, boys, rushing to and fro in a fury of activity. Again the
phenomenon of the news-room, the individual faces calm but their tense
expressions and their swift motions making an impression of almost
"Why such haste?" asked Marian.
"Because the paper must be put to press. It must contain the very latest
news and it must also catch the mails; and the mail-trains do not wait."
They descended in the main elevator to the ground floor and then went down
a dark and winding staircase until they faced an iron door. Howard pushed
it open and they entered the press-room. Its temperature was blood-heat,
its air heavy and nauseating with the odours of ink, moist paper and oil,
its lights dim. They were in a gallery and below them on all sides were the
huge presses, silent, motionless, waiting.
Suddenly a small army of men leaped upon the mighty machines, scrambled
over them, then sprang back. With a tremendous roar that shook the entire
building the presses began to revolve, to hurl out great heaps of
"Those presses eat six hundred thousand pounds of paper and four tons of
ink a week," Howard shouted. "They can throw out two hundred thousand
complete papers an hour--papers that are cut, folded, pasted, and ready to
send away. Let us go before you are stifled. This air is horrible."
They returned in the elevator to his lofty office. Even there a slight
vibration from the press-room could be felt. But it was calm and still, a
fit place from which to view the panorama of sleeping city and drowsy
harbour tranquil in the moonlight.
"Look." Howard was leaning over the railing just outside his window.
They looked straight down three hundred feet to the street made bright by
electric lights. Scores of wagons loaded with newspapers were rushing away
from the several newspaper buildings. The shouts, the clash of hoofs and
heavy tires on the granite blocks, the whirr of automobiles, were borne
"It is the race to the railway stations to catch the mail-trains," Howard
explained. "The first editions go to the country. These wagons are hurrying
in order that tens of thousands of people hundreds of miles away, at
Boston, Philadelphia, Washington and scores on scores of towns between and
beyond, may find the New York newspapers on their breakfast-tables."
The office-boy came with a bundle of papers, warm, moist, the ink
"And now for the inquest," said Howard.
"The inquest?" Marian looked at him inquiringly.
"Yes--viewing the corpse. It was to give birth to this that there was all
that intensity and fury--that and a thousand times more. For, remember,
this paper is the work of perhaps twenty thousand brains, in every part of
the world, throughout civilisation and far into the depths of barbarism.
Look at these date lines--cities and towns everywhere in our own country,
Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America. You'll find most of the
capitals of Europe represented; and Africa, north, south and central, east
and west coast. Here's India and here the heart of Siberia.
"There is China and there Japan and there Australia. Think of these scores
of newspaper correspondents telegraphing news of the doings of their fellow
beings--not what they did last month or last year, but what they did a few
hours ago--some of it what they were doing while we were dining up at
Sherry's. Then think of the thousands on thousands of these newspaper-men,
eager, watchful agents of publicity, who were on duty but had nothing to
report to-day. And----"
Howard shrugged his shoulders and tossed the paper from him.
"There it lies," he said, "a corpse. Already a corpse, its life ended
before it was fairly born. There it is, dead and done for--writ in water,
and by anonymous hands. Who knows who did it? Who cares?"
He caught Marian's eyes, looking wonder and reproach.
"I don't like to hear you say that," she said, forgetting Mrs. Carnarvon.
"Other men--yes, the little men who work for the cheap rewards. But not
you, who work for the sake of work. This night's experience has thrilled
me. I understand your profession now. I see what it means to us all, to
civilisation, what a splendid force for good, for enlightenment, for
uplifting it is. I can see a great flood of light radiating from this
building, pouring into the dark places, driving away ignorance. And the
thunder of those presses seems to me to fill the world with some mighty
command--what is it?--oh, yes--I can hear it distinctly. It is, 'Let there
Mrs. Carnarvon's back was toward them and she was looking out at the
harbour. Howard put his hands upon Marian's shoulders and they looked each
the other straight in the eyes.
"Lovers and comrades," he said, "always. And how strong we are--together!"
"I MUST BE RICH."
"While I don't feel dependent upon the owners of the _News-Record_,
still I am not exactly independent of them either. And if I left them it
would only be to become dependent in the same way upon somebody else. A man
who makes his living by the advocacy of principles should be wholly free.
If he isn't, the principles are sure sooner or later to become incidental
to the living, instead of the living being incidental to the principles."
"But you see--perhaps I ought to have told you before--that is, there may
be"--Marian was stammering and blushing.
"What's the matter? Don't frighten me by looking so--so criminal," Howard
It was late in August. Marian was visiting Mrs. Brandon at
Irvington-on-the-Hudson and she and Howard were driving.
"I never told you. But the fact is"--she hesitated again.
"Is it about your other engagement? You never told me about that--how you
broke it off. I don't want you to tell me unless you wish to. You know I
never meddle in past matters. I'm simply trying to help you out."
"Instead, you're making it worse. I'd rather not tell you that if----"
"We'll never speak of it again. And now, what is it that is troubling you?"
"I have been trying to tell you--I wish you wouldn't look at me--I've got a
small income--it's really very small."
"I'm glad to hear it."
"I was afraid you wouldn't like it. It isn't very big--only about eight
thousand a year--some years not so much. But then, if anything happened--we
could be--we could live."
Howard smiled as he looked at her--but not with his eyes.
"I'm glad," he said. "It makes me feel safer in several ways. And I'm
especially glad that it is not larger than mine. I know it's stupid, as so
many of our instincts are; but I should not like to marry a woman who had a
larger income than I could earn. I think it is the only remnant I have of
the 'lord and master' idea that makes so many men ridiculous. But we need
not let that bother us. Fate has made us about equal in this respect, so
unimportant yet so important; and we are each independent of the other.
Each will always know that love is the only bond that holds us together."
They decided that they would live at the rate of about fifteen thousand a
year and would put by the rest of their income. She was to undertake the
entire management of their home, he transferring his share by check each
"And so," she said, "we shall never have to discuss money matters."
"We couldn't," laughed Howard. "I don't know anything about them and could
not take part in a discussion."
As they were to be married in November, they planned to take an apartment
when Marian came back to town--in late September. She was to attend to the
furnishing and all was to be in readiness by the time they were married.
Howard was to get a six weeks' vacation and, as soon as they returned, they
were to go to housekeeping.
Her visit to the _News-Record_ office had made a change in her. Until
she met Howard, she had known only the world-that-idles and the
world-that-drudges. Howard brought her the first real news of the
world-that-works. Of course she knew that there was such a world, but she
had confused it with the world-that-drudges. She liked to hear Howard talk
about his world, but she thought that his enthusiasm blinded him to the
truth of its drudgery; and she often caught herself half regretting that he
had to work.
But that vast machine for the swift collecting and distributing of the news
of the world had opened her eyes, had made her see her lover and, through
him, his life, in a different aspect. She had accepted the supercilious,
thoughtless opinion of those about her that the newspaper is a mere
purveyor of inaccurate gossip. And while Howard had tried to show her his
profession as it was, he had only succeeded in convincing her that he
himself had an exalted view of it; a view which she thought creditable to
him but wide of the disagreeable truth.
On that trip down-town she had seen "the press" with the flaws reduced and
the merits looming. She had looked into those all-seeing eyes that watch
the councils of statesmen and the movements of nations and peoples, yet
also note the swing of a murderous knife in an alley of the slums. She had
heard that stentorian voice of Publicity, arousing the people of the earth
to apprehend, to reflect, to progress.
She had been proud of Howard for his appearance, for what he said and the
way he said it. Now she was proud of him for the part he was taking in this
wonderful world-that-works. And she would not have confessed to him how
insignificant she felt, how weak and worthless.
She thought she was impatient for the time to come when she could learn how
to help him in his work, could begin to feel that she too had a real share
in it. With what seemed to her most creditable energy and self-sacrifice
she tried again to interest herself in newspapers. But the trivial parts
bored her; the chronicles of crime repelled her; and the politics and most
of the other serious articles were beyond the range of her knowledge or of
her interest. "I shall wait until we are married," she said, "then he will
teach me." And she did not suspect how significant, how ominous her
She asked him if he would not teach her and he replied: "Why, certainly, if
you are interested. But I don't intend to trouble you with the details of
my profession. I want you to lead your own life--to do what interests you."
She did not stop to analyse her feeling of relief at this release, and went
on to protest: "But I want your life to be my life. I want there to be only
one life--our life."
"And there shall be--each contributing his share, at least I'll try to
contribute mine. But you have your own individuality, dear; and a very
strong one it is. And I don't want you to change."
At the time he was deep in his plans for illustrating the
_News-Record_. Early in that fall's campaign they had secured the best
cartoonist in America. Cartoons are rarely the work of one man but are got
up by consultations. Howard spent never less than an hour each day with the
cartoonist, Wickham, wrestling with the problem of the next day's picture.
For he insisted upon having a striking cartoon each day, and gave it the
most conspicuous place in the paper--the top-centre of the first page.
"If a cartoon is worth printing at all," he said, "it is worth printing
large and conspicuous. And to be worth printing it must be like an ideal
editorial--one point sharply and swiftly made and so clear that the most
careless glance-of-the-eye is enough."
Wickham had made a series of cartoons on the campaign, humorous and
satirical, which had the distinction of being reproduced on lantern slides
for use in all parts of the town. It was an admirable beginning of the new
policy of illustration. Howard had been making a careful study of all the
illustrators in the country, not overlooking those toiling in obscurity on
the big western dailies. He had selected a staff of twenty; as soon as
Coulter and Stokely assented, he engaged them by telegraph. Five were
developed artists, the rest beginners with talent. He gave all of his
attention for two weeks to organising this staff. He infected it with his
enthusiasm. He impressed upon it his ideas of newspaper illustration--the
dash and energy of the French illustrators adapted to American public
taste. He insisted upon the artists studying the French illustrated papers
and applying what they learned. It was not until the first Sunday in
December that he felt ready to submit the results of these labours to the
Again he scored over the "contemporaries" of the _News-Record_. They
printed many more illustrations than it did. It had only one illustration
on a page, but there was one on every page and a good one. All the subjects
were well chosen--either action or character--and as many good looking
women as possible.
"Never publish a commonplace face," he said. "There is no such thing in
life as an uninteresting face. Always find the element of interest and
bring it out."
The result of this policy, interpreted by a carefully trained and
enthusiastic staff, was what the out-of-town press was soon praising as "a
revelation in newspaper-illustration." Howard himself was surprised. He had
mentally insured against a long period of disappointment.
"This shows," he remarked to King and Vroom, "how much more competent men
are than we usually think--if they get a chance, if they are pointed in the
right direction and are left free."
"He certainly knows his business." Vroom was looking after Howard
admiringly. "I never saw anybody who so well understood when to lead and
when to let alone. What results he does get!"
"A pity to waste such talents on this thankless business," said King. "If
he'd gone into real business, he would have a salary of a hundred thousand
a year, would be rich and secure for life. Why, a business man could and
would make a whole career on the ideas he has in a single week. As it
King shrugged his shoulders and Vroom finished the sentence for him:
"Coulter and Stokely could kick him out to-morrow and the
_News-Record_ would go straight on living upon his ideas for ten years
Howard needed no one to make this truth clear to him to the full. Often, as
he thought of his expanding tastes, his expanding expenditures and his
expanding plans both for his private life and for his career, he felt an
awful sinking at the heart and a sense of fundamental weakness.
"I am building upon sand," he said to himself. "In business, in the law, in
almost any other career to-day's work would be to-morrow's capital. As it
is, I am ever more and more a slave. To be free I ought to be poor or rich.
And I cannot endure the thought of poverty again. I must be rich."
The idea allured him to a degree that made him ashamed of himself.
Sometimes, when he was talking to Marian or writing editorials, all in the
strain of high principle and contempt for sordidness, he would flush at the
thought that he was in reality a good deal of a hypocrite. "I'm expressing
the ideals I ought to have, the ideals I used to have, not the ideals I
But the clearer this discrepancy became to him and the wider the gap
between what he ought to think and what he really did think, the more
strenuously he protested to himself against himself, and the more fiercely
he denounced in public the very poison he was himself taking.
"I am living in a tainted atmosphere," he said to Marian. "We all are. I
fight against the taint but how can I hope to avoid the consequences if I
persist in breathing it, in absorbing it at every pore of my body?"
"I don't understand you." Marian was used to his moods of self-criticism
and did not attach much importance to them.
He thought a moment. "Oh, nothing," he said. "What's the use of discussing
what can't be helped?" How could he tell her that the greatest factor in
his enervating environment was herself; that the strongest chains which
held him in it were the chains which bound him to her? Indeed, was he not
indulging in cowardly self-excuse in thinking that this was true? Had not
his success, rather than his love, made ambition unfettered by principle
the mainspring of his life?
"How shall we be married?" Howard asked her in the late Autumn.
"I know it will not be in a church with ushers and bridesmaids and a crowd
gaping at us. I suppose there is a public side to marriage since the state
makes one enter into a formal contract. But that can be done privately. I
should as soon think of driving down the Avenue with my arms about your
neck as of a public wedding."
"Thank you," he laughed. "I was afraid--well, women are usually so fond
of--but you're not usual. Let us see. The minister is absolutely necessary,
I suppose. Would one feel married if there were not a minister?"
"I don't know--I feel--"
She hesitated and blushed but looked straight at him with that expression
in her eyes which always made him think of their love as their religion.
"Feel--go on. I want to hear that very, very much."
"I feel as if I were just as much married to you now as I ever could be."
"And that is how I have felt ever since the day, when I hardly knew you,
when you suddenly came into my life--my real, inner life where no one had
been before--and sat down and at once made it look as if it were your home.
And the place that had been lonely was lonely no more, and has not been
She put her hand in his and he saw that there were tears in her eyes.
"What is it?" he asked.
"Only that--that I am so happy. It--it frightens me. It seems so like a
"It's going to be a long, long dream, isn't it?" He lifted her hand and
kissed it, then put it down in her lap again gently as if he feared a
sudden movement might awaken them. "Perhaps it had better be at Mrs.
Carnarvon's house--some morning just before luncheon and we could go
quietly away afterward."
"Yes--and--tell me," she said, "wouldn't it be better for us not to go far
away--and not to stay long? It seems to me that I most want to begin--begin
our life together just as it will be."
"Are you afraid you wouldn't know what to do with me if I were idling about
all day long?"
"Not exactly that. But I'd rather not take a vacation until we had earned
"What a beautiful idea! I'll see what I can do."
They postponed the wedding until Howard had the "art-department" of the
_News-Record_ well established. It was on a bright winter day in the
second week of January that they stood up together and were married by the
Mayor whom Howard had helped to elect. Only Mr. and Mrs. Carnarvon and
Marian's brother were there. Then the six sat down to luncheon, and at
three o'clock Howard and his wife started for Lakewood.
When they arrived a victoria was waiting. As soon as they were seated,
Howard said "Home." The coachman touched his hat and the horses set out at
a swift trot. The sun was setting and the dry, still air was saturated with
the perfume of the snow-draped pines. Within five minutes the carriage was
at a pretty little cottage with wide, glass-enclosed porches. They entered
the hall. In the rooms on either side open fires were blazing an ecstatic
"How do you like 'home'?" asked Howard.
"I don't quite understand."
"You remember your plan of beginning at once. Well--this is the compromise.
Stokely has let me have his house here for a month--we may keep it two if
we like it. There is a telephone. The office isn't two hours away by rail.
The newspapers are here early. We can combine work and play."
The manservant had left the room, a sort of library-reception room. Marian
was seated in a big chair drawn near the fire. She had thrown back her
wraps and was slowly drawing off her gloves. Howard stood at the side of
the fire, leaning against the mantel and looking down at her.
"Before you definitely decide to stay--" he paused.
"Yes," she said, her colour heightening as she slowly lifted her eyes to
his, "yes--why this solemn tone?"
"If ever--in the days that come--one never knows what may happen--if ever
you should find that you had changed toward me----"
"I ask you--don't promise--I never want you to promise me anything--I want
you always--at every moment--to be perfectly free. So I just ask that you
will let me see it. Then we can talk about it frankly, and we can decide
what is best to do."
"But--suppose--you see I might still not wish to wound you--" she
suggested, half teasing, half in earnest.
"It seems to me now that it is impossible that we can ever change. It seems
to me--" he sat on the wide arm of her chair, and leaned over until his
head touched hers, "that if you were to change it would break my heart. But
if you were to change and were to hide it from me, I should find it out
some day and----" "And what----"
"It would be worse--a broken heart, a horror of myself, a--a contempt for
"Whatever comes, I'll be myself or try to be. Is that what you mean?"
"And if you change?"
"But I shall not!"
"Why do you say that so positively?"
"Because--well, there are some things that we wish to believe and half
believe, and some things that we believe that we believe, and somethings
that we _know_. I _know_ about you--about my love for you."
"It is strange in a way, isn't it?" Marian was gently drawing her fingers
through his. "This is all so different from what I used to think love would
be. I used to picture to myself a man, something like you in appearance,
only taller and fair, who would be my master, who would make me do what he
wished. I think a woman always dreams of a lover who will be strong enough
to be her ruler. And here----"
"So I am not the strong man that you look up to and tremble before? We
"Don't laugh at me. I mean that instead I have a man who makes me rule
myself. You make me feel strong, not weak, and proud, not humble. You make
me respect myself so."
"The democracy of love--freedom, equality, fraternity. Don't you like it?"
"Madame is served." It was the servant holding back one of the portieres,
his face expressionless, his eyes down.
* * * * *
Happiness evades description or analysis. We can only say that it reaches
its highest point when a man and a woman, intelligent, appreciative,
sympathetic, endowed with youth, health and freedom, are devoting their
energies solely and determinedly to verifying each a preconceived idea of
"And what do you think of it by this time?"
Marian asked the question in the pause after a twenty minutes' canter over
a straightaway stretch through the pines.
"Of what?" Howard inquired. "I mean of what phase of it. Of you?"
"Well,--yes, of me--after a week."
"As I expected, only more so--more than I could have imagined. And you,
what do you think?"
"It's very different from what I expected. It seemed to me beforehand that
you, even you, would 'get on my nerves' just a little at times. I didn't
expect you to appreciate--to feel my moods and to avoid doing--or is it
that you simply cannot do--anything jarring. You have amazing instincts or
else--" Marian looked at him and smiled mischievously, "or else you have
been well educated. Oh, I don't mind--not in the least. No matter what the
cause, I'm glad--glad--glad that you have been taught how to treat a
"I see you are determined to destroy me," Howard was in jest, yet in
earnest. "I am not used to being flattered. I have never had but one
critic, and I have trained him to be severe and uncharitable. Now if you
set me up on a high altar and wave the censers and cry 'glory, glory,
glory,' I'll lose my head. You have a terrible responsibility. I trust you
and I believe everything you say."
"I'll begin my duties as critic as soon as we go back to--to earth. But at
present I'm going to be selfish. You see it makes me happier to blind
myself to your faults."
They rode in silence for a few moments and then she said:
"I wish I had your feeling about--about democracy. I see your point of view
but I can't take it. I know that you are right but I'm afraid my education
is too strong for me. I don't believe in the people as you do. It's
beautiful when you say it. I like to hear you. And I would not wish you to
feel as I do. I'd hate it if you did. It would be stooping, grovelling for
you to make distinctions among people. But----"
"Oh, but I do make distinctions among people--so much so that I have never
had a friend in my life until you came. I have been on intimate terms with
many, but no one except you has been on intimate terms with me. Oh, yes,
I'm one of the most exclusive persons in the world."
"That sounds like autocracy, doesn't it?" laughed Marian. "But you know I
don't mean that. You think all the others are just as good as you are, only
in different ways, whereas I feel that they're not. You don't mind
vulgarity and underbreeding because you are perfectly indifferent to people
so long as they don't try to jump the fence about your own little private
"Oh, I believe in letting other people alone, and I insist upon being let
alone myself. You see you make the whole world revolve about social
distinctions. The fact is, isn't it, that social distinctions are mere
"You oughtn't to waste time arguing with a prejudice. I admit that what I
believe and feel is unreasonable. But I can't change an instinct. To me
some people are better than others and are entitled to more, and ought to
be looked up to and respected."
Howard had an answer on the tip of his tongue. His passion for high
principle seemed to have been rekindled for the time by his love and in
this tranquillising environment. He felt strongly tempted to reason with
her unreasonableness, thus practically boasted as a virtue. It seemed so
unworthy, this streak of snobbery, so senseless in an American at most
three generations away from manual labour. But he had made up his mind long
ago to trust to new surroundings, new interests to create in her a spirit
more in sympathy with his career.
"She is too intelligent, too high-minded," he often reassured himself, "to
cling to this stupidity of class-feeling. She has heard nothing but
class-distinction all her life. Now that she is away from those people,
with their petty routine of petty ideas, she will begin to see things as
So he suppressed the argument and, instead, said in a tone of mock-pity:
"Poor fallen queen--to marry beneath her. How she must have fought against
the idea of such a plebeian partner."
"Plebeian--you?" Marian looked at him proudly. "Why, one has only to see
you to know."
"Yes, plebeian. I shall conceal it no longer. My ancestors were plain,
ordinary, common, untitled Americans."
"Why, so were mine," she laughed.
"Don't! You distress me. I should never have married you had I known that."
"I _am_ absurd, am I not?" Marian said gaily. "But let me have my
craze for well-mannered people and I'll leave you your craze for the--the
They began to canter. Howard was smiling in spite of his irritation; for it
always irritated him to have her refuse to see his point in this
matter--his distinction between a person as a friend and a person as a
He worked for an hour or two every morning and sometimes in the evening,
Marian not far from his desk, so seated that when she turned the page of
her book she could lift her eyes and look at him. She read the papers
diligently every day for the first week. At the outset she thought she was
interested. But she knew so little about newspaper details that she soon
had to confess to herself that she was in fact interested in Howard as her
husband and lover, and that his career interested her only in a broad,
general way. What he talked about, that she understood and liked and was
able to discuss. But the newspapers and the news direct suggested nothing
to her, bored her.
"Just read that," he would say, pointing to an item. She would read it and
wonder what he meant.
"It seems to me," she would think, "that it wouldn't in the least matter if
that had not been printed." Then she would ask evasively but with an
assumption of interest, "What are you going to do about it?"
And he would explain the meaning between the lines; the hinted facts that
ought to be brought out; the possibilities of getting a piece of news that
would attract wide attention. And she would see it, sometimes clearly,
usually vaguely; and she would admire him, but resume her unconquerable
indifference to news.
She was soon looking at the paper only to read what he wrote; and she often
thought how much more interesting he was as a talker than as a writer.
"I'll start right when we get to town," she was constantly promising
herself. "It must, must, must be _our_ work."
Howard was, as she had told him, acutely sensitive to her moods. He did not
formulate it to himself but simply obeyed an instinct which defined for him
the limits of her interest. Before they had been at Lakewood a month, he
was working alone without any expectation of sympathy or interest from her
and without the slightest sense of loss in not getting it. Why should he
miss that which he had never had, had never counted upon getting? He had
always been mentally alone, most alone in the plans and actions bearing
directly upon his own career. He was perfectly content to have her as the
companion of his leisure.
Possibly, if he had been insistent, or if they had been in real sympathy
instead of in only surface sympathy in most respects, she might have become
interested in his work, might have impelled him to right development. But
her distaste and inertia and his habit of debating and deciding questions
as to the paper in his own mind, the fear of boring her, the dread of
intruding upon her rights to her own individual tastes and feelings,
restrained him without his having a sense of restraint.
When, after two months, they went up to town to stay, their course of life
was settled, though Marian was protesting that it was not and Howard was
unconscious of there having been any settlement, or anything to settle.
Their home was an apartment at Twenty-ninth Street and Madison Avenue--just
large enough for two with its eleven rooms, all bearing the stamp of
Marian's individuality. She had a keen sense of the beautiful and she had
given her thought and most of her time between the early autumn and the
wedding to making an attractive home. He had not seen her work until they
came together in the late afternoon of a day in the last week of February.
"You--everywhere you," he said, as they inspected room after room. "I don't
see how I could add anything to that. It is beautiful--the things you have
brought together, I mean, the furniture, curtains, carpets, pictures, all
beautiful in themselves, but--"
He was looking at her in that way which made her feel his great love for
her even more deeply than when he put his arms about her and kissed her.
"It reminds me of what I so often think about you. Nature gave you beauty
but you make it wonderful because _you_ shine through it, give it the
force, the expression of your individuality. Other women have noses, eyes,
chins, mouths as beautiful as yours. But only you produce such effects with
the materials. I don't express it very well but--you understand?"
"Yes, I understand." She was leaning against him, her head resting upon his
shoulder. "And you like your home?"
"We shall be happy here. I feel it in the air. This is a temple of the
three great gods--Freedom, Love and Happiness. And--we'll keep the fires on
the altars blazing, won't we?"
His hours were most irregular. Sometimes he was off to work early in the
morning. Again he would not rise until noon. Sometimes he did not go to the
office after dinner, and again he came hurriedly to dinner, not having the
time to dress, and left immediately afterward to be gone until two, three
or even four in the morning. At first Marian tried to follow his
irregularities; but she was soon compelled to give up. As he most often
breakfasted about ten o'clock, she arranged to breakfast regularly at that
hour. If he was not yet up, she waited about the house until she had seen
him, listened while he talked of those "everlasting newspapers," praised
his work a great deal, criticised it little and that gently. She made few
and feeble struggles to interest herself in newspapers as newspapers. But
he did not encourage her; other interests, domestic and social, clamoured
for her time; and the idea of being directly useful to him in his work
faded from her mind.
If she had loved him more sympathetically, if she had not been so
super-sensitive to his passion for complete freedom, she would have
resented what in another kind of man would have seemed frank neglect of
her. But she thought she understood him and was deceived by his
self-deceiving conviction that his work was her service and that the
highest proof of his devotion to her was devotion to "our" career. Thus
there was no bitterness or reproach of him, rarely much intensity, in her
regret that they were together so little.
"Good morning, stranger!" she said, as he came into the dining room one day
in early June.
He kissed her hand and then the "topknot" as he called the point into which
her hair was gathered at the crown of her head. "It has been four days
since I saw you," he said. And he sat opposite her looking at her with an
expression of sadness which she had not seen since the first days of their
"I have missed you--you know," she was trying to look cheerful, "but I
"Yes," he interrupted. "You understand what I intend, understand that I
mean my life to be for _us_. But sometimes--this morning--I think I am
mistaken. It seems to me that I am letting this--" he threw his hand
contemptuously toward the heap of morning newspapers beside him, "this
trash comes between us. You are my real career, not these, and under the
pretense of working for us I am spending my whole life, my one life, my one
chance to help to make us happy, upon these." And he pushed the bundle of
papers off the table.
"Something has depressed you." She was leaning her elbow upon the table and
her chin upon her hand and was looking at him wistfully. "I wouldn't have
you any different. You must follow the law of your nature. You must work at
your ideal of being useful and influential in the world. You would not be
satisfied to take my hand and trudge off with me through Arcadia to pick
flowers and weave them into crowns for me. Nor should I," she laughed, "or
I try to think I shouldn't."
"Let us go abroad for two months," he said. "I am tired, so tired. I am so
weary of all these others, men and things."
"Can you spare the time?"
"I"--he corrected himself--"we have earned a vacation. It will be for me
the first real vacation since I left Yale--thirteen years ago. I am growing
narrow and stale. Let us get away and forget. Shall we?"
"The sooner the better--if this is not a passing mood. What has depressed
you?" she persisted.
"What seems to be a piece of very good luck." He laughed almost sneeringly.
"They have given me a share in the paper, twenty thousand in stock--which
means a fixed income of five thousand a year so long as the paper pays what
it does now--twenty-five per cent. And they offer me twenty thousand more
at par to be paid for within two years. We are in a fair way to be rich."
"They don't want to lose you, evidently," she said. "But why does this make
you sad? We are independent now--absolutely independent, both of us."
"Yes--we are rich. Together we have more than thirty-five thousand a year.
But it is not what I wanted. I wanted to be free. Can a man be free who is
rich, and rich in the way we are? Will my mind be open? Shall I dare to act
and speak the truth? Or will our property, our environment, speak for me?"
"I can't imagine you a slave to mere dollars."
"Can't you? Well, I am afraid--I'm really afraid. I have always said that
if I wished to--enslave a people I would make them prosperous, would give
them property, make them dependent upon their dollars. Then the fear of
losing their dollars, their investments, would make them endure any
oppression. Freedom's battles were never fought by men with full stomachs
and full purses."
"But rich men have given up everything for freedom--Washington was a rich
"Ah, but how many Washingtons has the world produced? I see the time coming
when I shall have to choose. I see it and--I dread it."
She rose and stood behind him leaning over with her arms about his neck and
her check against his.
"You are brave. You are strong," she whispered. "You will meet that crisis
if it comes and I have no fear, Mr. Valiant-for-Truth, as to how the battle
He was glad that he did not have to face her eyes just then. "We will go
abroad next Wednesday week," he whispered, "and we'll be happy in
France--in Switzerland--in Holland--I want to see the park at the Hague
again; and the tall trees with their straight big trunks green with moss;
and the boughs meeting over the canals and making the clear water so black;
and the snow-white swans sailing statelily about."
* * * * *
With the Atlantic between him and his work, he was able to suspend the
habit of so many years. You would have fancied them just married, at
whatever stage of their wanderings you might have met them. They were
always laughing and talking--an endless flow of high spirits, absorption
each in the other. They rose when they pleased, went to bed when it suited
them. They had a manservant and a maid with them to relieve them of all the
details. They travelled only in the afternoons, and then not far. If they
missed one train, they cheerfully waited for another.
"I think we are achieving my ideal of vacation," he said.
"What is that--perfect idleness? We certainly are idle. I shouldn't have
believed you could be so idle."
"Perfect idleness--yes. But more than that. I aimed far higher. My ideal
was perfect irresponsibility. We have become like the wind that bloweth
where it listeth."
And again, she said: "Let me see, what day is this?"
"I think it is Thursday or Friday," he replied. "But it may be Sunday. I
can assure you that it is afternoon, late afternoon, and I think we ought
to dress for dinner soon. After dinner, if you still care to know, and will
remind me, I'll try to find out the day. But I'm sure we shall have
forgotten before to-morrow."
Howard got an extension of his leave of absence and they roamed about
England in August, reaching New York on the first day of September. Marian
went on to Mrs. Carnarvon at Newport and Howard took rooms at the Waldorf.
She stayed away a full week, then came to town, opened their apartment, and
surprised him with a formal invitation to dinner.
He came like a guest and they went through all the formalities of meeting
for the first time, of increasing intimacy--condensing a complete courtship
into one evening.
"I thought you had had enough of me for the time," he said, as they sat in
the wide window-seat, he tracing with his forefinger the line of the straps
over her bare shoulders.
"And I thought that I would give you a chance to forget how nice I am and
so give you the pleasure of learning all over again. But it was so lonely
and miserable up there. 'Who can come after the king?'"
"Sometimes I think I ought to stir about more--meet the men who lead in the
city. But it seems such a waste of time when I can come and call upon you."
"But might it not be better in the long run if you did meet these men?
Mightn't it make your getting on quicker and easier?"
"Perhaps--if I were a gregarious animal, but I'm not. I'm shy and solitary
and hard to get acquainted with. And it takes time to make friends.
Besides, in making friends you also make enemies, and one enemy can do you
more harm than all your friends can do you good. Then too, friends take up
too much time. We have so little time and--we can spend it to so much
better advantage--can't we?"
Marian pushed herself closer against him and presently said dreamily: "So
much happiness, such utter happiness which no one, nothing can take away. I
wonder when and how the first storm will come?"
"It needn't come at all--not for a long, long time. And when it does--we
can weather it, don't you think?"
* * * * *
During the next two months they were together more than they had been in
the spring. He imposed day office hours upon himself and did no work in the
evenings except the correcting of editorial proofs which he had sent to him
at the house, at the theatre, or at whatever restaurant they were dining.
And at midnight he called up the office on the telephone and talked with
Mr. King or Mr. Vroom about the news in hand and the programme for
presenting it in the next morning's paper.
But as "people"--meaning Marian's friends--returned to town, they fell into
the former routine. It was in part his doing, in part hers. He was now
thirty-seven years old and his mind, always of a serious cast, was
intolerant of trifles and triflers.
Marian's range of interests was shallower but much wider than his. Her
beauty, her cleverness, her tact caused her to be sought. She invited many
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