The Red Cross Girl
Richard Harding Davis
Part 1 out of 5
This etext was prepared by Aaron Cannon of Paradise, California
THE NOVELS AND STORIES OF RICHARD HARDING DAVIS
THE RED CROSS GIRL
BY RICHARD HARDING DAVIS
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY GOUVERNEUR MORRIS
Introduction by Gouverneur Morris
1. THE RED CROSS GIRL
2. THE GRAND CROSS OF THE CRESCENT
3. THE INVASION OF ENGLAND
4. BLOOD WILL TELL
5. THE SAILORMAN
6. THE MIND READER
7. THE NAKED MAN
8. THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF
9. THE CARD-SHARP
R. H. D.
"And they rise to their feet as he passes, gentlemen
He was almost too good to be true. In addition, the gods
loved him, and so he had to die young. Some people think that
a man of fifty-two is middle-aged. But if R. H. D. had lived
to be a hundred, he would never have grown old. It is not
generally known that the name of his other brother was Peter
Within the year we have played at pirates together, at the
taking of sperm whales; and we have ransacked the Westchester
Hills for gunsites against the Mexican invasion. And we have
made lists of guns, and medicines, and tinned things, in case
we should ever happen to go elephant shooting in Africa. But
we weren't going to hurt the elephants. Once R. H. D. shot a
hippopotamus and he was always ashamed and sorry. I think he
never killed anything else. He wasn't that kind of a
sportsman. Of hunting, as of many other things, he has said
the last word. Do you remember the Happy Hunting Ground in
"The Bar Sinister"?--"Where nobody hunts us, and there is
nothing to hunt."
Experienced persons tell us that a man-hunt is the most
exciting of all sports. R. H. D. hunted men in Cuba. He
hunted for wounded men who were out in front of the trenches
and still under fire, and found some of them and brought them
in. The Rough Riders didn't make him an honorary member of
their regiment just because he was charming and a faithful
friend, but largely because they were a lot of daredevils and
he was another.
To hear him talk you wouldn't have thought that he had ever
done a brave thing in his life. He talked a great deal, and
he talked even better than he wrote (at his best he wrote
like an angel), but I have dusted every corner of my memory
and cannot recall any story of his in which he played a
heroic or successful part. Always he was running at top
speed, or hiding behind a tree, or lying face down in a foot
of water (for hours!) so as not to be seen. Always he was
getting the worst of it. But about the other fellows he told
the whole truth with lightning flashes of wit and character
building and admiration or contempt. Until the invention of
moving pictures the world had nothing in the least like his
talk. His eye had photographed, his mind had developed and
prepared the slides, his words sent the light through them,
and lo and behold, they were reproduced on the screen of your
own mind, exact in drawing and color. With the written word
or the spoken word he was the greatest recorder and reporter
of things that he had seen of any man, perhaps, that ever
lived. The history of the last thirty years, its manners and
customs and its leading events and inventions, cannot be
written truthfully without reference to the records which he
has left, to his special articles and to his letters. Read
over again the Queen's Jubilee, the Czar's Coronation, the
March of the Germans through Brussels, and see for yourself
if I speak too zealously, even for a friend, to whom, now
that R. H. D. is dead, the world can never be the same again.
But I did not set out to estimate his genius. That matter
will come in due time before the unerring tribunal of
One secret of Mr. Roosevelt's hold upon those who come into
contact with him is his energy. Retaining enough for his own
use (he uses a good deal, because every day he does the work
of five or six men), he distributes the inexhaustible
remainder among those who most need it. Men go to him tired
and discouraged, he sends them away glad to be alive, still
gladder that he is alive, and ready to fight the devil
himself in a good cause. Upon his friends R. H. D. had the
same effect. And it was not only in proximity that he could
distribute energy, but from afar, by letter and cable. He had
some intuitive way of knowing just when you were slipping
into a slough of laziness and discouragement. And at such
times he either appeared suddenly upon the scene, or there
came a boy on a bicycle, with a yellow envelope and a book to
sign, or the postman in his buggy, or the telephone rang and
from the receiver there poured into you affection and
But the great times, of course, were when he came in person,
and the temperature of the house, which a moment before had
been too hot or too cold, became just right, and a sense of
cheerfulness and well-being invaded the hearts of the master
and the mistress and of the servants in the house and in the
yard. And the older daughter ran to him, and the baby, who
had been fretting because nobody would give her a double-
barrelled shotgun, climbed upon his knee and forgot all about
the disappointments of this uncompromising world.
He was touchingly sweet with children. I think he was a
little afraid of them. He was afraid perhaps that they
wouldn't find out how much he loved them. But when they
showed him that they trusted him, and, unsolicited, climbed
upon him and laid their cheeks against his, then the
loveliest expression came over his face, and you knew that
the great heart, which the other day ceased to beat, throbbed
with an exquisite bliss, akin to anguish.
One of the happiest days I remember was when I and mine
received a telegram saying that he had a baby of his own. And
I thank God that little Miss Hope is too young to know what
an appalling loss she has suffered....
Perhaps he stayed to dine. Then perhaps the older daughter
was allowed to sit up an extra half-hour so that she could
wait on the table (and though I say it, that shouldn't, she
could do this beautifully, with dignity and without
giggling), and perhaps the dinner was good, or R. H. D.
thought it was, and in that event he must abandon his place
and storm the kitchen to tell the cook all about it. Perhaps
the gardener was taking life easy on the kitchen porch. He,
too, came in for praise. R. H. D. had never seen our Japanese
iris so beautiful; as for his, they wouldn't grow at all. It
wasn't the iris, it was the man behind the iris. And then
back he would come to us, with a wonderful story of his
adventures in the pantry on his way to the kitchen, and
leaving behind him a cook to whom there had been issued a new
lease of life, and a gardener who blushed and smiled in the
darkness under the Actinidia vines.
It was in our little house at Aiken, in South Carolina, that
he was with us most and we learned to know him best, and that
he and I became dependent upon each other in many ways.
Events, into which I shall not go, had made his life very
difficult and complicated. And he who had given so much
friendship to so many people needed a little friendship in
return, and perhaps, too, he needed for a time to live in a
house whose master and mistress loved each other, and where
there were children. Before he came that first year our house
had no name. Now it is called "Let's Pretend."
Now the chimney in the living-room draws, but in those first
days of the built-over house it didn't. At least, it didn't
draw all the time, but we pretended that it did, and with
much pretense came faith. From the fireplace that smoked to
the serious things of life we extended our pretendings, until
real troubles went down before them--down and out.
It was one of Aiken's very best winters, and the earliest
spring I ever lived anywhere. R. H. D. came shortly after
Christmas. The spireas were in bloom, and the monthly roses;
you could always find a sweet violet or two somewhere in the
yard; here and there splotches of deep pink against gray
cabin walls proved that precocious peach-trees were in bloom.
It never rained. At night it was cold enough for fires. In
the middle of the day it was hot. The wind never blew, and
every morning we had a four for tennis and every afternoon we
rode in the woods. And every night we sat in front of the
fire (that didn't smoke because of pretending) and talked
until the next morning.
He was one of those rarely gifted men who find their chiefest
pleasure not in looking backward or forward, but in what is
going on at the moment. Weeks did not have to pass before it
was forced upon his knowledge that Tuesday, the fourteenth
(let us say), had been a good Tuesday. He knew it the moment
he waked at 7 A. M. and perceived the Tuesday sunshine making
patterns of bright light upon the floor. The sunshine
rejoiced him and the knowledge that even before breakfast
there was vouchsafed to him a whole hour of life. That day
began with attentions to his physical well-being. There were
exercises conducted with great vigor and rejoicing, followed
by a tub, artesian cold, and a loud and joyous singing of
At fifty R. H. D. might have posed to some Praxiteles and,
copied in marble, gone down the ages as "statue of a young
athlete." He stood six feet and over, straight as a Sioux
chief, a noble and leonine head carried by a splendid torso.
His skin was as fine and clean as a child's. He weighed
nearly two hundred pounds and had no fat on him. He was the
weight-throwing rather than the running type of athlete, but
so tenaciously had he clung to the suppleness of his
adolescent days that he could stand stiff-legged and lay his
hands flat upon the floor.
The singing over, silence reigned. But if you had listened at
his door you must have heard a pen going, swiftly and boldly.
He was hard at work, doing unto others what others had done
unto him. You were a stranger to him; some magazine had
accepted a story that you had written and published it.
R. H. D. had found something to like and admire in that story
(very little perhaps), and it was his duty and pleasure to
tell you so. If he had liked the story very much he would
send you instead of a note a telegram. Or it might be that
you had drawn a picture, or, as a cub reporter, had shown
golden promise in a half column of unsigned print, R. H. D.
would find you out, and find time to praise you and help you.
So it was that when he emerged from his room at sharp eight
o'clock, he was wide-awake and happy and hungry, and whistled
and double-shuffled with his feet, out of excessive energy,
and carried in his hands a whole sheaf of notes and letters
Breakfast with him was not the usual American breakfast, a
sullen, dyspeptic gathering of persons who only the night
before had rejoiced in each other's society. With him it was
the time when the mind is, or ought to be, at its best, the
body at its freshest and hungriest. Discussions of the latest
plays and novels, the doings and undoings of statesmen,
laughter and sentiment--to him, at breakfast, these things
were as important as sausages and thick cream.
Breakfast over, there was no dawdling and putting off of the
day's work (else how, at eleven sharp, could tennis be played
with a free conscience?). Loving, as he did, everything
connected with a newspaper, he would now pass by those on the
hall-table with never so much as a wistful glance, and hurry
to his workroom.
He wrote sitting down. He wrote standing up. And, almost you
may say, he wrote walking up and down. Some people,
accustomed to the delicious ease and clarity of his style,
imagine that he wrote very easily. He did and he didn't.
Letters, easy, clear, to the point, and gorgeously human,
flowed from him without let or hindrance. That masterpiece of
corresponding, "The German March Through Brussels," was
probably written almost as fast as he could talk (next to
Phillips Brooks, he was the fastest talker I ever heard), but
when it came to fiction he had no facility at all. Perhaps I
should say that he held in contempt any facility that he may
have had. It was owing to his incomparable energy and Joblike
patience that he ever gave us any fiction at all. Every
phrase in his fiction was, of all the myriad phrases he could
think of, the fittest in his relentless judgment to survive.
Phrases, paragraphs, pages, whole stories even, were written
over and over again. He worked upon a principle of
elimination. If he wished to describe an automobile turning
in at a gate, he made first a long and elaborate description
from which there was omitted no detail, which the most
observant pair of eyes in Christendom had ever noted with
reference to just such a turning. Thereupon he would begin a
process of omitting one by one those details which he had
been at such pains to recall; and after each omission he
would ask himself: "Does the picture remain?" If it did not,
he restored the detail which he had just omitted, and
experimented with the sacrifice of some other, and so on, and
so on, until after Herculean labor there remained for the
reader one of those swiftly flashed, ice-clear pictures
(complete in every detail) with which his tales and romances
are so delightfully and continuously adorned.
But it is quarter to eleven, and, this being a time of
holiday, R. H. D. emerges from his workroom happy to think
that he has placed one hundred and seven words between
himself and the wolf who hangs about every writer's door. He
isn't satisfied with those hundred and seven words. He never
was in the least satisfied with anything that he wrote, but
he has searched his mind and his conscience and he believes
that under the circumstances they are the very best that he
can do. Anyway, they can stand in their present order until--
A sign of his youth was the fact that to the day of his death
he had denied himself the luxury and slothfulness of habits.
I have never seen him smoke automatically as most men do. He
had too much respect for his own powers of enjoyment and for
the sensibilities, perhaps, of the best Havana tobacco. At a
time of his own deliberate choosing, often after many hours
of hankering and renunciation, he smoked his cigar. He smoked
it with delight, with a sense of being rewarded, and he used
all the smoke there was in it.
He dearly loved the best food, the best champagne, and the
best Scotch whiskey. But these things were friends to him,
and not enemies. He had toward food and drink the Continental
attitude; namely, that quality is far more important than
quantity; and he got his exhilaration from the fact that he
was drinking champagne and not from the champagne. Perhaps I
shall do well to say that on questions of right and wrong he
had a will of iron. All his life he moved resolutely in
whichever direction his conscience pointed; and, although
that ever present and never obtrusive conscience of his made
mistakes of judgment now and then, as must all consciences, I
think it can never once have tricked him into any action that
was impure or unclean. Some critics maintain that the heroes
and heroines of his books are impossibly pure and innocent
young people. R. H. D. never called upon his characters for
any trait of virtue, or renunciation, or self-mastery of
which his own life could not furnish examples.
Fortunately, he did not have for his friends the same
conscience that he had for himself. His great gift of
eyesight and observation failed him in his judgments upon his
friends. If only you loved him, you could get your biggest
failures of conduct somewhat more than forgiven, without any
trouble at all. And of your mole-hill virtues he made
splendid mountains. He only interfered with you when he was
afraid that you were going to hurt some one else whom he also
loved. Once I had a telegram from him which urged me for
heaven's sake not to forget that the next day was my wife's
birthday. Whether I had forgotten it or not is my own private
affair. And when I declared that I had read a story which I
liked very, very much and was going to write to the author to
tell him so, he always kept at me till the letter was
Have I said that he had no habits? Every day, when he was
away from her, he wrote a letter to his mother, and no swift
scrawl at that, for, no matter how crowded and eventful the
day, he wrote her the best letter that he could write. That
was the only habit he had. He was a slave to it.
Once I saw R. H. D. greet his old mother after an absence.
They threw their arms about each other and rocked to and fro
for a long time. And it hadn't been a long absence at that.
No ocean had been between them; her heart had not been in her
mouth with the thought that he was under fire, or about to
become a victim of jungle fever. He had only been away upon a
little expedition, a mere matter of digging for buried
treasure. We had found the treasure, part of it a chipmunk's
skull and a broken arrow-head, and R. H. D. had been absent
from his mother for nearly two hours and a half.
I set about this article with the knowledge that I must fail
to give more than a few hints of what he was like. There
isn't much more space at my command, and there were so many
sides to him that to touch upon them all would fill a volume.
There were the patriotism and the Americanism, as much a part
of him as the marrow of his bones, and from which sprang all
those brilliant headlong letters to the newspapers; those
trenchant assaults upon evil-doers in public office, those
quixotic efforts to redress wrongs, and those simple and
dexterous exposures of this and that, from an absolutely
unexpected point of view. He was a quickener of the public
conscience. That people are beginning to think tolerantly of
preparedness, that a nation which at one time looked yellow
as a dandelion is beginning to turn Red, White, and Blue is
owing in some measure to him.
R. H. D. thought that war was unspeakably terrible. He
thought that peace at the price which our country has been
forced to pay for it was infinitely worse. And he was one of
those who have gradually taught this country to see the
matter in the same way.
I must come to a close now, and I have hardly scratched the
surface of my subject. And that is a failure which I feel
keenly but which was inevitable. As R. H. D. himself used to
say of those deplorable "personal interviews" which appear in
the newspapers, and in which the important person interviewed
is made by the cub reporter to say things which he never
said, or thought, or dreamed of--"You can't expect a fifteen-
dollar-a-week brain to describe a thousand-dollar-a-week
There is, however, one question which I should attempt to
answer. No two men are alike. In what one salient thing did
R. H. D. differ from other men--differ in his personal
character and in the character of his work? And that question
I can answer offhand, without taking thought, and be sure
that I am right.
An analysis of his works, a study of that book which the
Recording Angel keeps will show one dominant characteristic
to which even his brilliancy, his clarity of style, his
excellent mechanism as a writer are subordinate; and to
which, as a man, even his sense of duty, his powers of
affection, of forgiveness, of loving-kindness are
subordinate, too; and that characteristic is cleanliness.
The biggest force for cleanliness that was in the world has
gone out of the world--gone to that Happy Hunting Ground
where "Nobody hunts us and there is nothing to hunt."
THE RED CROSS GIRL
When Spencer Flagg laid the foundation-stone for the new
million-dollar wing he was adding to the Flagg Home for
Convalescents, on the hills above Greenwich, the New York
REPUBLIC sent Sam Ward to cover the story, and with him
Redding to take photographs. It was a crisp, beautiful day in
October, full of sunshine and the joy of living, and from the
great lawn in front of the Home you could see half over
Connecticut and across the waters of the Sound to Oyster Bay.
Upon Sam Ward, however, the beauties of Nature were wasted.
When, the night previous, he had been given the assignment he
had sulked, and he was still sulking. Only a year before he
had graduated into New York from a small up-state college and
a small up-state newspaper, but already he was a "star" man,
and Hewitt, the city editor, humored him.
"What's the matter with the story?" asked the city editor.
"With the speeches and lists of names it ought to run to two
"Suppose it does!" exclaimed Ward; "anybody can collect
type-written speeches and lists of names. That's a messenger
boy's job. Where's there any heart-interest in a Wall Street
broker like Flagg waving a silver trowel and singing, 'See
what a good boy am!' and a lot of grownup men in pinafores
saying, 'This stone is well and truly laid.' Where's the
story in that?"
"When I was a reporter," declared the city editor, "I used to
be glad to get a day in the country."
"Because you'd never lived in the country," returned Sam. "If
you'd wasted twenty-six years in the backwoods, as I did,
you'd know that every minute you spend outside of New York
you're robbing yourself."
"Of what?" demanded the city editor. "There's nothing to New
York except cement, iron girders, noise, and zinc garbage
cans. You never see the sun in New York; you never see the
moon unless you stand in the middle of the street and bend
backward. We never see flowers in New York except on the
women's hats. We never see the women except in cages in the
elevators--they spend their lives shooting up and down
elevator shafts in department stores, in apartment houses, in
office buildings. And we never see children in New York
because the janitors won't let the women who live in
elevators have children! Don't talk to me! New York's a
Little Nemo nightmare. It's a joke. It's an insult!"
"How curious!" said Sam. "Now I see why they took you off the
street and made you a city editor. I don't agree with
anything you say. Especially are you wrong about the women.
They ought to be caged in elevators, but they're not.
Instead, they flash past you in the street; they shine upon
you from boxes in the theatre; they frown at you from the
tops of buses; they smile at you from the cushions of a taxi,
across restaurant tables under red candle shades, when you
offer them a seat in the subway. They are the only thing in
New York that gives me any trouble."
The city editor sighed. "How young you are!" he exclaimed.
"However, to-morrow you will be free from your only trouble.
There will be few women at the celebration, and they will be
interested only in convalescents--and you do not look like a
Sam Ward sat at the outer edge of the crowd of overdressed
females and overfed men, and, with a sardonic smile, listened
to Flagg telling his assembled friends and sycophants how
glad he was they were there to see him give away a million
"Aren't you going to get his speech?", asked Redding, the
"Get HIS speech!" said Sam. "They have Pinkertons all over
the grounds to see that you don't escape with less than three
copies. I'm waiting to hear the ritual they always have, and
then I'm going to sprint for the first train back to the
centre of civilization."
"There's going to be a fine lunch," said Redding, "and
reporters are expected. I asked the policeman if we were, and
he said we were."
Sam rose, shook his trousers into place, stuck his stick
under his armpit and smoothed his yellow gloves. He was very
thoughtful of his clothes and always treated them with
"You can have my share," he said. "I cannot forget that I am
fifty-five minutes from Broadway. And even if I were starving
I would rather have a club sandwich in New York than a
Thanksgiving turkey dinner in New Rochelle."
He nodded and with eager, athletic strides started toward the
iron gates; but he did not reach the iron gates, for on the
instant trouble barred his way. Trouble came to him wearing
the blue cambric uniform of a nursing sister, with a red
cross on her arm, with a white collar turned down, white
cuffs turned back, and a tiny black velvet bonnet. A bow of
white lawn chucked her impudently under the chin. She had
hair like golden-rod and eyes as blue as flax, and a
complexion of such health and cleanliness and dewiness as
blooms only on trained nurses.
She was so lovely that Redding swung his hooded camera at her
as swiftly as a cowboy could have covered her with his gun.
Reporters become star reporters because they observe things
that other people miss and because they do not let it appear
that they have observed them. When the great man who is being
interviewed blurts out that which is indiscreet but most
important, the cub reporter says: "That's most interesting,
sir. I'll make a note of that." And so warns the great man
into silence. But the star reporter receives the indiscreet
utterance as though it bored him; and the great man does not
know he has blundered until he reads of it the next morning
under screaming headlines.
Other men, on being suddenly confronted by Sister Anne, which
was the official title of the nursing sister, would have
fallen backward, or swooned, or gazed at her with soulful,
worshipping eyes; or, were they that sort of beast, would
have ogled her with impertinent approval. Now Sam, because he
was a star reporter, observed that the lady before him was
the most beautiful young woman he had ever seen; but no one
would have guessed that he observed that--least of all Sister
Anne. He stood in her way and lifted his hat, and even looked
into the eyes of blue as impersonally and as calmly as though
she were his great-aunt--as though his heart was not beating
so fast that it choked him.
"I am from the REPUBLIC," he said. "Everybody is so busy here
to-day that I'm not able to get what I need about the Home.
It seems a pity," he added disappointedly, "because it's so
well done that people ought to know about it." He frowned at
the big hospital buildings. It was apparent that the
ignorance of the public concerning their excellence greatly
When again he looked at Sister Anne she was regarding him in
alarm--obviously she was upon the point of instant flight.
"You are a reporter?" she said.
Some people like to place themselves in the hands of a
reporter because they hope he will print their names in black
letters; a few others--only reporters know how few--would as
soon place themselves in the hands of a dentist.
"A reporter from the REPUBLIC," repeated Sam.
"But why ask ME?" demanded Sister Anne.
Sam could see no reason for her question; in extenuation and
explanation he glanced at her uniform.
"I thought you were at work here," he said simply. "I beg
He stepped aside as though he meant to leave her. In giving
that impression he was distinctly dishonest.
"There was no other reason," persisted Sister Anne. "I mean
for speaking to me?"
The reason for speaking to her was so obvious that Sam
wondered whether this could be the height of innocence or the
most banal coquetry. The hostile look in the eyes of the lady
proved it could not be coquetry.
"I am sorry," said Sam. "I mistook you for one of the nurses
here; and, as you didn't seem busy, I thought you might give
me some statistics about the Home not really statistics, you
know, but local color."
Sister Anne returned his look with one as steady as his own.
Apparently she was weighing his statement. She seemed to
disbelieve it. Inwardly he was asking himself what could be
the dark secret in the past of this young woman that at the
mere approach of a reporter--even of such a nice-looking
reporter as himself--she should shake and shudder. "If that's
what you really want to know," said Sister Anne doubtfully,"
I'll try and help you; but," she added, looking at him as one
who issues an ultimatum, "you must not say anything about
Sam knew that a woman of the self-advertising, club-
organizing class will always say that to a reporter at the
time she gives him her card so that he can spell her name
correctly; but Sam recognized that this young woman meant it.
Besides, what was there that he could write about her? Much
as he might like to do so, he could not begin his story with:
"The Flagg Home for Convalescents is also the home of the
most beautiful of all living women." No copy editor would let
that get by him. So, as there was nothing to say that he
would be allowed to say, he promised to say nothing. Sister
Anne smiled; and it seemed to Sam that she smiled, not
because his promise had set her mind at ease, but because the
promise amused her. Sam wondered why.
Sister Anne fell into step beside him and led him through the
wards of the hospital. He found that it existed for and
revolved entirely about one person. He found that a million
dollars and some acres of buildings, containing sun-rooms and
hundreds of rigid white beds, had been donated by Spencer
Flagg only to provide a background for Sister Anne--only to
exhibit the depth of her charity, the kindness of her heart,
the unselfishness of her nature.
"Do you really scrub the floors?" he demanded--"I mean you
yourself--down on your knees, with a pail and water and
Sister Anne raised her beautiful eyebrows and laughed at him.
"We do that when we first come here," she said--"when we are
probationers. Is there a newer way of scrubbing floors?"
"And these awful patients," demanded Sam--"do you wait on
them? Do you have to submit to their complaints and whinings
and ingratitude?" He glared at the unhappy convalescents as
though by that glance he would annihilate them. "It's not
fair!" exclaimed Sam. "It's ridiculous. I'd like to choke
"That's not exactly the object of a home for convalescents,"
said Sister Anne.
"You know perfectly well what I mean," said Sam. "Here are
you--if you'll allow me to say so--a magnificent, splendid,
healthy young person, wearing out your young life over a lot
of lame ducks, failures, and cripples."
"Nor is that quite the way we look at," said Sister Anne.
"We?" demanded Sam.
Sister Anne nodded toward a group of nurse
"I'm not the only nurse here," she said "There are over
"You are the only one here," said Sam, "who is not! That's
Just what I mean--I appreciate the work of a trained nurse; I
understand the ministering angel part of it; but you--I'm not
talking about anybody else; I'm talking about you--you are
too young! Somehow you are different; you are not meant to
wear yourself out fighting disease and sickness, measuring
beef broth and making beds."
Sister Anne laughed with delight.
"I beg your pardon," said Sam stiffly.
"No--pardon me," said Sister Anne; "but your ideas of the
duties of a nurse are so quaint."
"No matter what the duties are," declared Sam; "You should
not be here!"
Sister Anne shrugged her shoulders; they were charming
shoulders--as delicate as the pinions of a bird.
"One must live," said Sister Anne.
They had passed through the last cold corridor, between the
last rows of rigid white cots, and had come out into the
sunshine. Below them stretched Connecticut, painted in autumn
colors. Sister Anne seated herself upon the marble railing of
the terrace and looked down upon the flashing waters of the
"Yes; that's it," she repeated softly--"one must live."
Sam looked at her--but, finding that to do so made speech
difficult, looked hurriedly away. He admitted to himself that
it was one of those occasions, only too frequent with him,
when his indignant sympathy was heightened by the fact that
"the woman. was very fair." He conceded that. He was not
going to pretend to himself that he was not prejudiced by the
outrageous beauty of Sister Anne, by the assault upon his
feelings made by her uniform--made by the appeal of her
profession, the gentlest and most gracious of all
professions. He was honestly disturbed that this young girl
should devote her life to the service of selfish sick people.
"If you do it because you must live, then it can easily be
arranged; for there are other ways of earning a living."
The girl looked at him quickly, but he was quite sincere--and
again she smiled.
"Now what would you suggest?" she asked. "You see," she said,
"I have no one to advise me--no man of my own age. I have no
brothers to go to. I have a father, but it was his idea that
I should come here; and so I doubt if he would approve of my
changing to any other work. Your own work must make you
acquainted with many women who earn their own living. Maybe
you could advise me?"
Sam did not at once answer. He was calculating hastily how
far his salary would go toward supporting a wife. He was
trying to remember which of the men in the office were
married, and whether they were those whose salaries were
smaller than his own. Collins, one of the copy editors, he
knew, was very ill-paid; but Sam also knew that Collins was
married, because his wife used to wait for him in the office
to take her to the theatre, and often Sam had thought she was
extremely well dressed. Of course Sister Anne was so
beautiful that what she might wear would be a matter of
indifference; but then women did not always look at it that
way. Sam was so long considering offering Sister Anne a life
position that his silence had become significant; and to
cover his real thoughts he said hurriedly:
"Take type-writing, for instance. That pays very well. The
hours are not difficult."
"And manicuring?" suggested Sister Anne.
Sam exclaimed in horror.
"You!" he cried roughly. "For you! Quite impossible!"
"Why for me?" said the girl.
In the distress at the thought Sam was jabbing his stick into
the gravel walk as though driving the manicuring idea into a
deep grave. He did not see that the girl was smiling at him
"You?" protested Sam. "You in a barber's shop washing men's
fingers who are not fit to wash the streets you walk on I
Good Lord!" His vehemence was quite honest. The girl ceased
smiling. Sam was still jabbing at the gravel walk, his
profile toward her--and, unobserved, she could study his
face. It was an attractive face strong, clever, almost
illegally good-looking. It explained why, as , he had
complained to the city editor, his chief trouble in New York
was with the women. With his eyes full of concern, Sam turned
to her abruptly. "How much do they give you a month?" "Forty
dollars," answered Sister Anne. "This is what hurts me about
it," said Sam.
It is that you should have to work and wait on other people
when there are so many strong, hulking men who would count it
God's blessing to work for you, to wait on you, and give
their lives for you. However, probably you know that better
than I do."
"No; I don't know that," said Sister Anne.
Sam recognized that it was quite absurd that it should be so,
but this statement gave him a sense of great elation, a
delightful thrill of relief. There was every reason why the
girl should not confide in a complete stranger--even to
deceive him was quite within her rights; but, though Sam
appreciated this, he preferred to be deceived.
"I think you are working too hard," he said, smiling happily.
"I think you ought to have a change. You ought to take a day
off! Do they ever give you a day off?"
"Next Saturday," said Sister Anne. "Why?"
"Because," explained Sam, "if you won't think it too
presumptuous, I was going to prescribe a day off for
you--a day entirely away from iodoform and white enamelled
cots. It is what you need, a day in the city and a lunch
where they have music; and a matinee, where you can laugh--or
cry, if you like that better--and then, maybe, some fresh air
in the park in a taxi; and after that dinner and more
theatre, and then I'll see you safe on the train for
Greenwich. Before you answer," he added hurriedly, "I want to
explain that I contemplate taking a day off myself and doing
all these things with you, and that if you want to bring any
of the other forty nurses along as a chaperon, I hope you
will. Only, honestly, I hope you won't!"
The proposal apparently gave Sister Anne much pleasure. She
did not say so, but her eyes shone and when she looked at Sam
she was almost laughing with happiness.
"I think that would be quite delightful," said Sister Anne,"
--quite delightful! Only it would be frightfully expensive;
even if I don't bring another girl, which I certainly would
not, it would cost a great deal of money. I think we might
cut out the taxicab--and walk in the park and feed the
"Oh!" exclaimed Sam in disappointment,--"then you know
Sister Anne's eyes grew quite expressionless.
"I once lived near there," she said.
"Not exactly in Harlem, but near it. I was quite young," said
Sister Anne. "Since then I have always lived in the country
or in--other places."
Sam's heart was singing with pleasure.
"It's so kind of you to consent," he cried. "Indeed, you are
the kindest person in all the world. I thought so when I saw
you bending over these sick people, and, now I know."
"It is you who are kind," protested Sister Anne, "to take
pity on me."
"Pity on you!" laughed Sam. "You can't pity a person who can
do more with a smile than old man Flagg can do with all his
millions. Now," he demanded in happy anticipation," where are
we to meet?"
"That's it," said Sister Anne. "Where are we to meet?"
"Let it be at the Grand Central Station. The day can't begin
too soon," said Sam; "and before then telephone me what
theatre and restaurants you want and I'll reserve seats and
tables. Oh," exclaimed Sam joyfully, "it will be a wonderful
day--a wonderful day!"
Sister Anne looked at him curiously and, so, it seemed, a
little wistfully. She held out her hand.
"I must go back to my duties," she said. "Good-by."
"Not good-by," said Sam heartily, "only until Saturday--and
my name's Sam Ward and my address is the city room of the
REPUBLIC. What's your name?"
"Sister Anne," said the girl. "In the nursing order to which
I belong we have no last names."
"So," asked Sam, "I'll call you Sister Anne?"
"No; just Sister," said the girl.
"Sister!" repeated Sam, "Sister!" He breathed the word rather
than spoke it; and the way he said it and the way he looked
when he said it made it carry almost the touch of a caress.
It was as if he had said "Sweetheart! or "Beloved!" "I'll not
forget," said Sam.
Sister Anne gave an impatient, annoyed laugh.
"Nor I," she said.
Sam returned to New York in the smoking-car, puffing
feverishly at his cigar and glaring dreamily at the smoke. He
was living the day over again and, in anticipation, the day
off, still to come. He rehearsed their next meeting at the
station; he considered whether or not he would meet her with
a huge bunch of violets or would have it brought to her when
they were at luncheon by the head waiter. He decided the
latter way would be more of a pleasant surprise. He planned
the luncheon. It was to be the most marvellous repast he
could evolve; and, lest there should be the slightest error,
he would have it prepared in advance--and it should cost half
his week's salary.
The place where they were to dine he would leave to her,
because he had observed that women had strange ideas about
clothes--some of them thinking that certain clothes must go
with certain restaurants. Some of them seemed to believe
that, instead of their conferring distinction upon the
restaurant, the restaurant conferred distinction upon them.
He was sure Sister Anne would not be so foolish, but it might
be that she must always wear her nurse's uniform and that she
would prefer not to be conspicuous; so he decided that the
choice of where they would dine he would leave to her. He
calculated that the whole day ought to cost about eighty
dollars, which, as star reporter, was what he was then
earning each week. That was little enough to give for a day
that would be the birthday of his life! No, he contradicted--
the day he had first met her must always be the birthday of
his life; for never had he met one like her and he was sure
there never would be one like her. She was so entirely
superior to all the others, so fine, so difficult--in her
manner there was something that rendered her
unapproachable. Even her simple nurse's gown was worn with a
difference. She might have been a princess in fancy dress.
And yet, how humble she had been when he begged her to let
him for one day personally conduct her over the great city!
"You are so kind to take pity on me," she had said. He
thought of many clever, pretty speeches he might have made.
He was so annoyed he had not thought of them at the time that
he kicked violently at the seat in front of him.
He wondered what her history might be; he was sure it was
full of beautiful courage and self-sacrifice. It certainly
was outrageous that one so glorious must work for her living,
and for such a paltry living--forty dollars a month! It was
worth that merely to have her sit in the flat where one could
look at her; for already he had decided that, when they were
married, they would live in a flat--probably in one
overlooking Central Park, on Central Park West. He knew of
several attractive suites there at thirty-five dollars a
week--or, if she preferred the suburbs, he would forsake his
beloved New York and return to the country. In his gratitude
to her for being what she was, he conceded even that
When he reached New York, from the speculators he bought
front-row seats at five dollars for the two most popular
plays in town. He put them away carefully in his waistcoat
pocket. Possession of them made him feel that already he had
obtained an option on six hours of complete happiness.
After she left Sam, Sister Anne passed hurriedly through the
hospital to the matron's room and, wrapping herself in a
raccoon coat, made her way to a waiting motor car and said,
"Home!" to the chauffeur. He drove her to the Flagg family
vault, as Flagg's envious millionaire neighbors called the
pile of white marble that topped the highest hill above
Greenwich, and which for years had served as a landfall to
mariners on the Sound.
There were a number of people at tea when she arrived and
they greeted her noisily.
"I have had a most splendid adventure!" said Sister Anne.
"There were six of us, you know, dressed up as Red Cross
nurses, and we gave away programmes. Well, one of the New
York reporters thought I was a real nurse and interviewed me
about the Home. Of course I knew enough about it to keep it
up, and I kept it up so well that he was terribly sorry for
me; and. . . . "
One of the tea drinkers was little Hollis Holworthy, who
prided himself on knowing who's who in New York. He had met
Sam Ward at first nights and prize fights. He laughed
"Don't you believe it!" he interrupted. "That man who was
talking to you was Sam Ward. He's the smartest newspaper man
in New York; he was just leading you on. Do you suppose
there's a reporter in America who wouldn't know you in the
dark? Wait until you see the Sunday paper."
Sister Anne exclaimed indignantly.
"He did not know me!" she protested. "It quite upset him that
I should be wasting my life measuring out medicines and
There was a shriek of disbelief and laughter.
"I told him," continued Sister Anne, "that I got forty
dollars a month, and he said I could make more as a
typewriter; and I said I preferred to be a manicurist."
"Oh, Anita!" protested the admiring chorus.
"And he was most indignant. He absolutely refused to allow me
to be a manicurist. And he asked me to take a day off with
him and let him show me New York. And he offered, as
attractions, moving-picture shows and a drive on a Fifth
Avenue bus, and feeding peanuts to the animals in the park.
And if I insisted upon a chaperon I might bring one of the
nurses. We're to meet at the soda-water fountain in the Grand
Central Station. He said, 'The day cannot begin too soon.'"
"Oh, Anita!" shrieked the chorus.
Lord Deptford, who as the newspapers had repeatedly informed
the American public, had come to the Flaggs' country-place to
try to marry Anita Flagg, was amused.
"What an awfully jolly rag!" he cried. "And what are you
going to do about it?"
"Nothing," said Anita Flagg. "The reporters have been making
me ridiculous for the last three years; now I have got back
at one of them! "And," she added, "that's all there is to
That night, however, when the house party was making toward
bed, Sister Anne stopped by the stairs and said to Lord
Deptford: "I want to hear you call me Sister."
"Call you what?" exclaimed the young man. "I will tell you,"
he whispered, "what I'd like to call you!"
"You will not!" interrupted Anita. "Do as I tell you and say
Sister once. Say it as though you meant it."
"But I don't mean it," protested his lordship. "I've said
already what I. . . ."
"Never mind what you've said already," commanded Miss Flagg.
"I've heard that from a lot of people. Say Sister just once."
His lordship frowned in embarrassment.
"Sister!" he exclaimed. It sounded like the pop of a cork.
Anita Flagg laughed unkindly and her beautiful shoulders
shivered as though she were cold.
"Not a bit like it, Deptford," she said. "Good-night."
Later Helen Page, who came to her room to ask her about a
horse she was to ride in the morning, found her ready for bed
but standing by the open window looking out toward the great
city to the south.
When she turned Miss Page saw something in her eyes that
caused that young woman to shriek with amazement.
"Anita!" she exclaimed. "You crying! What in Heaven's name
can make you cry?"
It was not a kind speech, nor did Miss Flagg receive it
kindly. She turned upon the tactless intruder.
"Suppose," cried Anita fiercely, "a man thought you were
worth forty dollars a month--honestly didn't know!--honestly
believed you were poor and worked for your living, and still
said your smile was worth more than all of old man Flagg's
millions, not knowing they were YOUR millions. Suppose he
didn't ask any money of you, but just to take care of you, to
slave for you--only wanted to keep your pretty hands from
working, and your pretty eyes from seeing sickness and pain.
Suppose you met that man among this rotten lot, what would
you do? What wouldn't you do?"
"Why, Anita!" exclaimed Miss Page.
"What would you do?" demanded Anita Flagg. "This is what
you'd do: You'd go down on your knees to that man and say:
'Take me away! Take me away from them, and pity me, and be
sorry for me, and love me--and love me--and love me!"
"And why don't you?" cried Helen Page.
"Because I'm as rotten as the rest of them!" cried Anita
Flagg. "Because I'm a coward. And that's why I'm crying.
Haven't I the right to cry?"
At the exact moment Miss Flagg was proclaiming herself a
moral coward, in the local room of the REPUBLIC Collins, the
copy editor, was editing Sam's story' of the laying of the
corner-stone. The copy editor's cigar was tilted near his
left eyebrow; his blue pencil, like a guillotine ready to
fall upon the guilty word or paragraph, was suspended in mid-
air; and continually, like a hawk preparing to strike, the
blue pencil swooped and circled. But page after page fell
softly to the desk and the blue pencil remained inactive. As
he read, the voice of Collins rose in muttered ejaculations;
and, as he continued to read, these explosions grew louder
and more amazed. At last he could endure no more and,
swinging swiftly in his revolving chair, his glance swept the
office. "In the name of Mike!" he shouted. "What IS this?"
The reporters nearest him, busy with pencil and typewriters,
frowned in impatient protest. Sam Ward, swinging his legs
from the top of a table, was gazing at the ceiling, wrapped
in dreams and tobacco smoke. Upon his clever, clean-cut
features the expression was far-away and beatific. He came
back to earth.
"What's what?" Sam demanded.
At that moment Elliott, the managing editor, was passing
through the room his hands filled with freshly pulled proofs.
He swung toward Collins quickly and snatched up Sam's copy.
The story already was late--and it was important.
"What's wrong?" he demanded. Over the room there fell a
"Read the opening paragraph," protested Collins. "It's like
that for a column! It's all about a girl--about a Red Cross
nurse. Not a word about Flagg or Lord Deptford. No speeches!
No news! It's not a news story at all. It's an editorial, and
an essay, and a spring poem. I don't know what it is. And,
what's worse," wailed the copy editor defiantly and to the
amazement of all, "it's so darned good that you can't touch
it. You've got to let it go or kill it."
The eyes of the managing editor, masked by his green paper
shade, were racing over Sam's written words. He thrust the
first page back at Collins.
"Is it all like that?"
"There's a column like that!"
"Run it just as it is," commanded the managing editor. " Use
it for your introduction and get your story from the flimsy.
And, in your head, cut out Flagg entirely. Call it 'The Red
Cross Girl.' And play it up strong with pictures." He turned
on Sam and eyed him curiously.
"What's the idea, Ward?" he said. "This is a newspaper--not a
The click of the typewriters was silent, the hectic rush of
the pencils had ceased, and the staff, expectant, smiled
cynically upon the star reporter. Sam shoved his hands into
his trousers pockets and also smiled, but unhappily.
"I know it's not news, Sir," he said; but that's the way I
saw the story--outside on the lawn, the band playing, and the
governor and the governor's staff and the clergy burning
incense to Flagg; and inside, this girl right on the job--
taking care of the sick and wounded. It seemed to me that a
million from a man that won't miss a million didn't stack up
against what this girl was doing for these sick folks! What I
wanted to say," continued Sam stoutly "was that the moving
spirit of the hospital was not in the man who signed the
checks, but in these women who do the work--the nurses, like
the one I wrote about; the one you called 'The Red Cross
Collins, strong through many years of faithful service,
backed by the traditions of the profession, snorted
"But it's not news!"
"It's not news," said Elliott doubtfully; "but it's the kind
of story that made Frank O'Malley famous. It's the kind of
story that drives men out of this business into the arms of
what Kipling calls 'the illegitimate sister.'"
It seldom is granted to a man on the same day to give his
whole heart to a girl and to be patted on the back by his
managing editor; and it was this combination, and not the
drinks he dispensed to the staff in return for its
congratulations, that sent Sam home walking on air. He loved
his business, he was proud of his business; but never before
had it served him so well. It had enabled him to tell the
woman he loved, and incidentally a million other people, how
deeply he honored her; how clearly he appreciated her power
for good. No one would know he meant Sister Anne, save two
people--Sister Anne and himself; but for her and for him that
was as many as should know. In his story he had used real
incidents of the day; he had described her as she passed
through the wards of the hospital, cheering and sympathetic;
he had told of the little acts of consideration that endeared
her to the sick people.
The next morning she would know that it was she of whom he
had written; and between the lines she would read that the
man who wrote them loved her. So he fell asleep, impatient
for the morning. In the hotel at which he lived the REPUBLIC
was always placed promptly outside his door; and, after many
excursions into the hall, he at last found it. On the front
page was his story, "The Red Cross Girl." It had the place of
honor--right-hand column; but more conspicuous than the
headlines of his own story was one of Redding's, photographs.
It was the one he had taken of Sister Anne when first she had
approached them, in her uniform of mercy, advancing across
the lawn, walking straight into the focus of the, camera.
There was no mistaking her for any other living woman; but
beneath the picture, in bold, staring, uncompromising type,
was a strange and grotesque legend.
"Daughter of Millionaire Flagg," it read, "in a New Role,
Miss Anita Flagg as The Red Cross Girl."
For a long time Sam looked at the picture, and then, folding
the paper so that the picture was hidden, he walked to the
open window. From below, Broadway sent up a tumultuous
greeting--cable cars jangled, taxis hooted; and, on the
sidewalks, on their way to work, processions of shop-girls
stepped out briskly. It was the street and the city and the
life he had found fascinating, but now it jarred and
affronted him. A girl he knew had died, had passed out of his
life forever--worse than that had never existed; and yet the
city went or just as though that made no difference, or just
as little difference as it would have made had Sister Anne
really lived and really died.
At the same early hour, an hour far too early for the rest of
the house party, Anita Flagg and Helen Page, booted and
riding-habited, sat alone at the breakfast table, their tea
before them; and in the hands of Anita Flagg was the DAILY
REPUBLIC. Miss Page had brought the paper to the table and,
with affected indignation at the impertinence of the press,
had pointed at the front-page photograph; but Miss Flagg was
not looking at the photograph, or drinking her tea, or
showing in her immediate surroundings any interest
whatsoever. Instead, her lovely eyes were fastened with
fascination upon the column under the heading "The Red Cross
Girl"; and, as she read, the lovely eyes lost all trace of
recent slumber, her lovely lips parted breathlessly, and on
her lovely cheeks the color flowed and faded and glowed and
bloomed. When she had read as far as a paragraph beginning,
"When Sister Anne walked between them those who suffered
raised their eyes to hers as flowers lift their faces to the
rain," she dropped the paper and started for telephone.
"Any man," cried she, to the mutual discomfort of Helen Page
and the servants, "who thinks I'm like that mustn't get away!
I'm not like that and I know it; but if he thinks so that's
all I want. And maybe I might be like that--if any man would
She gave her attention to the telephone and "Information."
She demanded to be instantly put into communication with the
DAILY REPUBLIC and Mr. Sam Ward. She turned again upon Helen
"I'm tired of being called a good sport," she protested, "by
men who aren't half so good sports as I am. I'm tired of
being talked to about money--as though I were a stock-broker.
This man's got a head on his shoulders, and he's got the
shoulders too; and he's got a darned good-looking head; and
he thinks I'm a ministering angel and a saint; and he put me
up on a pedestal and made me dizzy--and I like being made
dizzy; and I'm for him! And I'm going after him!"
"Be still!" implored Helen Page. "Any one might think you
meant it!" She nodded violently at the discreet backs of the
"Ye gods, Parker!" cried Anita Flagg. "Does it take three of
you to pour a cup of tea? Get out of here, and tell everybody
that you all three caught me in the act of proposing to an
American gentleman over the telephone and that the betting is
even that I'll make him marry me!"
The faithful and sorely tried domestics fled toward the door.
"And what's more," Anita hurled after them, "get your bets
down quick, for after I meet him the odds will be a hundred
Had the REPUBLIC been an afternoon paper, Sam might have been
at the office and might have gone to the telephone, and
things might have happened differently; but, as the REPUBLIC
was a morning paper, the only person in the office was the
lady who scrubbed the floors and she refused to go near the
telephone. So Anita Flagg said, "I'll call him up later," and
went happily on her ride, with her heart warm with love for
all the beautiful world; but later it was too late.
To keep himself fit, Sam Ward always walked to the office. On
this particular morning Hollis Holworthy was walking uptown
and they met opposite the cathedral.
"You're the very man I want," said Hollworthy joyously--
"you've got to decide a bet."
He turned and fell into step with Sam.
"It's one I made last night with Anita Flagg. She thinks you
didn't know who she was yesterday, and I said that was
ridiculous. Of course you knew. I bet her a theatre party."
To Sam it seemed hardly fair that so soon, before his fresh
wound had even been dressed, it should be torn open by
impertinent fingers; but he had no right to take offense. How
could the man, or any one else, know what Sister Anne had
meant to him?
"I'm afraid you lose," he said. He halted to give Holworthy
the hint to leave him, but Holworthy had no such intention.
"You don't say so!" exclaimed that young man. "Fancy one of
you chaps being taken in like that. "I thought you were
taking her in--getting up a story for the Sunday supplement."
Sam shook his head, nodded, and again moved on; but he was
not yet to escape. "And, instead of your fooling her,"
exclaimed Holworthy incredulously, "she was having fun, with
With difficulty Sam smiled.
"So it would seem," he said.
"She certainly made an awfully funny story of it!" exclaimed
Holworthy admiringly. "I thought she was making it up--she
must have made some of it up. She said you asked her to take
a day off in New York. That isn't so is it?"
"Yes, that's so."
"By Jove!" cried Holworthy--and that you invited her to see
the moving-picture shows?"
Sam, conscious of the dearly bought front row seats in his
pocket, smiled pleasantly.
"Did she say I said that--or you?" he asked
"Well, then, I must have said it."
Holworthy roared with amusement.
"And that you invited her to feed peanuts to the monkeys at
Sam avoided the little man's prying eyes.
"Yes; I said that too."
"And I thought she was making it up!" exclaimed Holworthy.
"We did laugh. You must see the fun of it yourself."
Lest Sam should fail to do so he proceeded to elaborate.
"You must see the fun in a man trying to make a date with
Anita Flagg--just as if she were nobody!"
"I don't think," said Sam, "that was my idea." He waved his
stick at a passing taxi. "I'm late," he said. He abandoned
Hollis on the sidewalk, chuckling and grinning with delight,
and unconscious of the mischief he had made.
An hour later at the office, when Sam was waiting for an
assignment, the telephone boy hurried to him, his eyes lit
"You're wanted on the 'phone," he commanded. His voice
dropped to an awed whisper. "Miss Anita Flagg wants to speak
The blood ran leaping to Sam's heart and face. Then he
remembered that this was not Sister Anne who wanted to speak
to him, but a woman he had never met.
"Say you can't find me," he directed. The boy gasped, fled,
and returned precipitately.
"The lady says she wants your telephone number--says she must
"Tell her you don't know it; tell her it's against the
rules--and hang up."
Ten minutes later the telephone boy, in the strictest
confidence, had informed every member of the local staff that
Anita Flagg--the rich, the beautiful, the daring, the
original of the Red Cross story of that morning--had twice
called up Sam Ward and by that young man had been thrown
down--and thrown hard!
That night Elliott, the managing editor, sent for Sam; and
when Sam entered his office he found also there Walsh, the
foreign editor, with whom he was acquainted only by sight.
Elliott introduced them and told Sam to be seated.
"Ward," he began abruptly, "I'm sorry to lose you, but you've
got to go. It's on account of that story of this morning."
Sam made no sign, but he was deeply hurt. From a paper he had
served so loyally this seemed scurvy treatment. It struck him
also that, considering the spirit in which the story had been
written, it was causing him more kinds of trouble than was
quite fair. The loss of position did not disturb him. In the
last month too many managing editors had tried to steal him
from the REPUBLIC for him to feel anxious as to the future.
So he accepted his dismissal calmly, and could say without
"Last night I thought you liked the story, sir?
"I did," returned Elliott; "I liked it so much that I'm
sending you to a bigger place, where you can get bigger
stories. We want you to act as our special correspondent in
London. Mr. Walsh will explain the work; and if you'll go
you'll sail next Wednesday."
After his talk with the foreign editor Sam again walked home
on air. He could not believe it was real--that it was
actually to him it had happened; for hereafter he was to
witness the march of great events, to come in contact with
men of international interests. Instead of reporting what was
of concern only from the Battery to Forty-seventh Street, he
would now tell New York what was of interest in Europe and
the British Empire, and so to the whole world. There was one
drawback only to his happiness--there was no one with whom he
might divide it. He wanted to celebrate his good fortune; he
wanted to share it with some one who would understand how
much it meant to him, who would really care. Had Sister Anne
lived, she would have understood; and he would have laid
himself and his new position at her feet and begged her to
accept them--begged her to run away with him to this
tremendous and terrifying capital of the world, and start the
new life together.
Among all the women he knew, there was none to take her
place. Certainly Anita Flagg could not take her place. Not
because she was rich, not because she had jeered at him and
made him a laughing-stock, not because his admiration--and he
blushed when he remembered how openly, how ingenuously he had
shown it to her--meant nothing; but because the girl he
thought she was, the girl he had made dreams about and wanted
to marry without a moment's notice, would have seen that what
he offered, ridiculous as it was when offered to Anita Flagg,
was not ridiculous when offered sincerely to a tired, nerve-
worn, overworked nurse in a hospital. It was because Anita
Flagg had not seen that that she could not now make up to him
for the girl he had lost, even though she herself had
inspired that girl and for a day given her existence.
Had he known it, the Anita Flagg of his imagining was just as
unlike and as unfair to the real girl as it was possible for
two people to be. His Anita Flagg he had created out of the
things he had read of her in impertinent Sunday supplements
and from the impression he had been given of her by the
little ass, Holworthy. She was not at all like that. Ever
since she had come of age she had been beset by sycophants
and flatterers, both old and young, both men and girls, and
by men who wanted her money and by men who wanted her. And it
was because she got the motives of the latter two confused
that she was so often hurt and said sharp, bitter things that
made her appear hard and heartless.
As a matter of fact, in approaching her in the belief that he
was addressing an entirely different person, Sam had got
nearer to the real Anita Flagg than had any other man. And
so--when on arriving at the office the next morning, which
was a Friday, he received a telegram reading, "Arriving to-
morrow nine-thirty from Greenwich; the day cannot begin too
soon; don't forget you promised to meet me. Anita Flagg "--he
was able to reply: " Extremely sorry; but promise made to a
different person, who unfortunately has since died!"'
When Anita Flagg read this telegram there leaped to her
lovely eyes tears that sprang from self-pity and wounded
feelings. She turned miserably, appealingly to Helen Page.
"But why does he do it to me?" Her tone was that of the
bewildered child who has struck her head against the table,
and from the naughty table, without cause or provocation, has
received the devil of a bump.
Before Miss Page could venture upon an explanation, Anita
Flagg had changed into a very angry young woman.
"And what's more," she announced, "he can't do it to me!"
She sent her telegram back again as it was, word for word,
but this time it was signed, Sister Anne."
In an hour the answer came: "Sister Anne is the person to
whom I refer. She is dead."
Sam was not altogether at ease at the outcome of his
adventure. It was not in his nature to be rude--certainly not
to a woman, especially not to the most beautiful woman he had
ever seen. For, whether her name was Anita or Anne, about her
beauty there could be no argument; but he assured himself
that he had acted within his rights. A girl who could see in
a well-meant offer to be kind only a subject for ridicule was
of no interest to him. Nor did her telegrams insisting upon
continuing their acquaintance flatter him. As he read them,
they showed only that she looked upon him as one entirely out
of her world--as one with whom she could do an unconventional
thing and make a good story about it later, knowing that it
would be accepted as one of her amusing caprices.
He was determined he would not lend himself to any such
performance. And, besides, he no longer was a foot-loose,
happy-go-lucky reporter. He no longer need seek for
experiences and material to turn into copy. He was now a man
with a responsible position--one who soon would be conferring
with cabinet ministers and putting ambassadors At their ease.
He wondered if a beautiful heiress, whose hand was sought in
marriage by the nobility of England, would understand the
importance of a London correspondent. He hoped someone would
tell her. He liked to think of her as being considerably
impressed and a little unhappy.
Saturday night he went to the theatre for which he had
purchased tickets. And he went alone, for the place that
Sister Anne was to have occupied could not be filled by any
other person. It would have been sacrilege. At least, so it
pleased him to pretend. And all through dinner, which he ate
alone at the same restaurant to which he had intended taking
her, he continued, to pretend she was with him. And at the
theatre, where there was going forward the most popular of
all musical comedies, the seat next to him, which to the
audience, appeared wastefully empty, was to him filled with
her gracious presence. That Sister Anne was not there--that
the pretty romance he had woven about her had ended in
disaster--filled, him with real regret. He was glad he was,,
leaving New York. He was glad he was going, where nothing
would remind him of her. And then he glanced up--and looked
straight into her eyes!
He was seated in the front row, directly on the aisle. The
seat Sister Anne was supposed to be occupying was on his
right, and a few seats farther to his right rose the stage
box and in the stage box, and in the stage box, almost upon
the stage, and with the glow of the foot-lights full in her
face, was Anita Flagg, smiling delightedly down on him. There
were others with her. He had a confused impression of bulging
shirt-fronts, and shining silks, and diamonds, and drooping
plumes upon enormous hats. He thought he recognized Lord
Deptford and Holworthy; but the only person he distinguished
clearly was Anita Flagg. The girl was all in black velvet,
which was drawn to her figure like a wet bathing suit; round
her throat was a single string of pearls, and on her hair of
golden-rod was a great hat of black velvet, shaped like a
bell, with the curving lips of a lily. And from beneath its
brim Anita Flagg, sitting rigidly erect with her white-gloved
hands resting lightly on her knee, was gazing down at him,
smiling with pleasure, with surprise, with excitement.
When she saw that, in spite of her altered appearance, he
recognized her, she bowed so violently and bent her head so
eagerly that above her the ostrich plumes dipped and
courtesied like wheat in a storm. But Sam neither bowed nor
courtesied. Instead, he turned his head slowly over his left
shoulder, as though he thought she was speaking not to him
but some one beyond him, across the aisle. And then his eyes
returned to the stage and did not again look toward her. It
was not the cut direct, but it was a cut that hurt; and in
their turn the eyes of Miss Flagg quickly sought the stage.
At the moment, the people in the audience happened to be
laughing; and she forced a smile and then laughed with them.
Out of the corner of his eye Sam could not help seeing her
profile exposed pitilessly in the glow of the foot-lights;
saw her lips tremble like those of a child about to cry; and
then saw the forced, hard smile--and heard her laugh lightly
"That's all she cares." he told himself.
It seemed to him that in all he heard of her, in everything
she did, she kept robbing him still further of all that was
dear to him in Sister Anne.
For five minutes, conscious of the foot-lights, Miss Flagg
maintained upon her lovely face a fixed and intent
expression, and then slowly and unobtrusively drew back to a
seat in the rear of the box. In the' darkest recesses she
found Holworthy, shut off from a view of the stage by a
barrier of women's hats.
"Your friend Mr. Ward," she began abruptly, in a whisper, "is
the rudest, most ill-bred person I ever met. When I talked to
him the" other day I thought he was nice. He was nice, But he
has behaved abominably--like a boor--like a sulky child. Has
he no sense of humor? Because I played a joke on him, is
that any reason why he should hurt me?"
"Hurt you?" exclaimed little Holworthy in amazement. "Don't
be ridiculous! How could he hurt you? Why should you care how
rude he is? Ward's a clever fellow, but he fancies himself.
He's conceited. He's too good-looking; and a lot of silly
women have made such a fuss over him. So when one of them
laughs at him he can't understand it. That's the trouble. I
could see that when I was telling him."
"Telling him!" repeated Miss Flagg--"Telling him what?"
"About what a funny story you made of it," explained
Holworthy. "About his having the nerve to ask you to feed the
monkeys and to lunch with him."
Miss Flagg interrupted with a gasping intake of her breath.
"Oh!" she said softly. "So-so you told him that, did you?
And--what else did you tell him?" ,
"Only what you told us--that he said 'the day could not begin
too soon'; that he said he wouldn't let you be a manicure and
wash the hands of men who weren't fit to wash the streets you
There was a pause.
"Did I tell you he said that?" breathed Anita Flagg.
"You know you did," said Holworthy.
There was another pause.
"I must have been mad!" said the girl.
There was a longer pause and Holworthy shifted uneasily.
"I'm afraid you are angry," he ventured.
"Angry!" exclaimed Miss Flagg. "I should say I was
angry, but not with you. I'm very much pleased with you. At
the end of the act I'm going to let you take me out into the
With his arms tightly folded, Sam sat staring unhappily at
the stage and seeing nothing. He was sorry for himself
because Anita Flagg had destroyed his ideal of a sweet and
noble woman--and he was sorry for Miss Flagg because a man
had been rude to her. That he happened to be that man did not
make his sorrow and indignation the less intense; and,
indeed, so miserable was he and so miserable were his looks,
that his friends on the stage considered sending him a note,
offering, if he would take himself out of the front row, to
give him back his money at the box office. Sam certainly
wished to take himself away; but he did not want to admit
that he was miserable, that he had behaved ill, that the
presence of Anita Flagg could spoil his evening--could, in
the slightest degree affect him. So he sat, completely
wretched, feeling that he was in a false position; that if he
were it was his own fault; that he had acted like an ass and
a brute. It was not a cheerful feeling.
When the curtain fell he still remained seated. He knew
before the second act there was an interminable wait; but he
did not want to chance running into Holworthy in the lobby
and he told himself it would be rude to abandon Sister Anne.
But he now was not so conscious of the imaginary Sister Anne
as of the actual box party on his near right, who were
laughing and chattering volubly. He wondered whether they
laughed at him--whether Miss Flagg were again entertaining
them at his expense; again making his advances appear
ridiculous. He was so sure of it that he flushed
indignantly. He was glad he had been rude.
And then, at his elbow, there was the rustle of silk; and a
beautiful figure, all in black velvet, towered above him,
then crowded past him, and sank into the empty seat at his
side. He was too startled to speak--and Miss Anita Flagg
seemed to understand that and to wish to give him time; for,
without regarding him in the least, and as though to
establish the fact that she had come to stay, she began
calmly and deliberately to remove the bell-like hat. This
accomplished, she bent toward him, her eyes looking straight
into his, her smile reproaching him. In the familiar tone of
an old and dear friend she said to him gently:
"This is the day you planned for me. Don't you think you've
wasted quite enough of it?"
Sam looked back into the eyes, and saw in them no trace of
laughter or of mockery, but, instead, gentle reproof and
appeal--and something else that, in turn, begged of him to be
For a moment, too disturbed to speak, he looked at her,
"It's not Anita Flagg at all," he said. "It's Sister Anne
come back to life again!" The girl shook her head.
"No; it's Anita Flagg. I'm not a bit like the girl you
thought you met and I did say all the, things Holworthy told
you I said; but that was before I understood--before I read
what you wrote about Sister Anne--about the kind of me you
thought you'd met. When I read that I knew what sort of a man
you were. I knew you had been really kind and gentle, and I
knew you had dug out something that I did not know was
there--that no one else had found. And I remembered how you
called me Sister. I mean the way you said it. And I wanted to
hear it again. I wanted you to say it."
She lifted her face to his. She was very near him--so near
that her shoulder brushed against his arm. In the box above
them her friends, scandalized and amused, were watching her
with the greatest interest. Half of the people in the now
half-empty house were watching them with the greatest
interest. To them, between reading advertisements on the
programme and watching Anita Flagg making desperate love to a
lucky youth in the front row, there was no question of which
The young people in the front row did not know they were
observed. They were alone--as much alone as though they were
seated in a biplane, sweeping above the clouds.
"Say it again," prompted Anita Flagg "Sister."
"I will not!" returned the young man firmly. "But I'll say
this," he whispered: "I'll say you're the most wonderful, the
most beautiful, and the finest woman who has ever lived!"
Anita Flagg's eyes left his quickly; and, with her head bent,
she stared at the bass drum in the orchestra.
"I don't know," she said, "but that sounds just as good."
When the curtain was about to rise she told him to take her
back to her box, so that he could meet her friends and go on
with them to supper; but when they reached the rear of the
house she halted.
"We can see this act," she said, "or--my car's in front of
the theatre--we might go to the park and take a turn or two
or three. Which would you prefer?"
"Don't make me laugh!" said Sam.
As they sat all together at supper with those of the box
party, but paying no attention to them whatsoever, Anita
Flagg sighed contentedly.
"There's only one thing," she said to Sam, "that is making me
unhappy; and because it is such sad news I haven't told you.
It is this: I am leaving America. I am going to spend the
winter in London. I sail next Wednesday."
"My business is to gather news," said Sam, but in all my life
I never gathered such good news as that."
"Good news!" exclaimed Anita.
"Because," explained Sam, "I am leaving, America--am
spending the winter in England. I am sailing on Wednesday.
No; I also am unhappy; but that is not what makes me
"Tell me," begged Anita.
"Some day," said Sam.
The day he chose to tell her was the first day they were at
sea--as they leaned upon the rail, watching Fire Island
"This is my unhappiness," said Sam--and he pointed to a name
on the passenger list. It was: "The Earl of Deptford, and
valet." "And because he is on board!"
Anita Flagg gazed with interest at a pursuing sea-gull.
"He is not on board," she said. "He changed to another boat."
Sam felt that by a word from her a great weight might be
lifted from his soul. He looked at her appealingly--hungrily.
"Why did he change?" he begged.
Anita Flagg shook her head in wonder. She smiled at him with
"Is that all that is worrying you?" she said.
Chapter 2. THE GRAND CROSS OF THE CRESCENT
Of some college students it has been said that, in order to
pass their examinations, they will deceive and cheat their
kind professors. This may or may not be true. One only can
shudder and pass hurriedly on. But whatever others may have
done, when young Peter Hallowell in his senior year came up
for those final examinations which, should he pass them even
by a nose, would gain him his degree, he did not cheat. He
may have been too honest, too confident, too lazy, but Peter
did not cheat. It was the professors who cheated.
At Stillwater College, on each subject on which you are
examined you can score a possible hundred. That means
perfection, and in, the brief history of Stillwater, which
is a very, new college, only one man has attained it. After
graduating he "accepted a position" in an asylum for the
insane, from which he was, promoted later to the poor-house,
where he died. Many Stillwater undergraduates studied his
career and, lest they also should attain perfection, were
afraid to study anything else. Among these Peter was by far
the most afraid.
The marking system at Stillwater is as follows: If in all the
subjects in which you have been examined your marks added
together give you an average of ninety, you are passed "with
honors"; if of seventy-five, you pass "with distinction"; if
Of fifty, You just "pass." It is not unlike the grocer's
nice adjustment of fresh eggs, good eggs, and eggs. The
whole college knew that if Peter got in among the eggs he
would be lucky, but the professors and instructors of
Stillwater 'were determined that, no matter what young
Hallowell might do to prevent it, they would see that he
passed his examinations. And they constituted the jury of
awards. Their interest in Peter was not because they loved
him so much, but because each loved his own vine-covered
cottage, his salary, and his dignified title the more. And
each knew that that one of the faculty who dared to flunk
the son of old man Hallowell, who had endowed Stillwater, who
supported Stillwater, and who might be expected to go on
supporting Stillwater indefinitely, might also at the same
time hand in his official resignation.
Chancellor Black, the head of Stillwater, was an up-to-date
college president. If he did not actually run after money he
went where money was, and it was not his habit to be
downright rude to those who possessed it. And if any three-
thousand-dollar-a-year professor, through a too strict
respect for Stillwater's standards of learning, should lose
to that institution a half-million-dollar observatory,
swimming-pool, or gymnasium, he was the sort of college
president, who would see to it that the college lost also the
services of that too conscientious instructor.
He did not put this in writing or in words, but just before
the June examinations, when on, the campus he met one of the
faculty, he would inquire with kindly interest as to the
standing of young Hallowell.
"That is too bad!" he would exclaim, but, more in sorrow than
in anger. "Still, I hope the boy can pull through. He is his
dear father's pride, and his father's heart is set upon his
son's obtaining his degree. Let us hope he will pull
through." For four years every professor had been pulling
Peter through, and the conscience of each had become
calloused. They had only once more to shove him through and
they would be free of him forever. And so, although they did
not conspire together, each knew that of the firing squad
that was to aim its rifles at, Peter, HIS rifle would hold
the blank cartridge.
The only one of them who did not know this was Doctor Henry
Gilman. Doctor Gilman was the professor of ancient and modern
history at Stillwater, and greatly respected and loved. He
also was the author of those well-known text-books, "The
Founders of Islam," and "The Rise and Fall of the Turkish
Empire." This latter work, in five volumes, had been not
unfavorably compared to Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of the
Roman Empire." The original newspaper comment, dated some
thirty years back, the doctor had preserved, and would
produce it, now somewhat frayed and worn, and read it to
visitors. He knew it by heart, but to him it always possessed
a contemporary and news interest.
"Here is a review of the history," he would say--he always
referred to it as "the" history--"that I came across in my
In the eyes of Doctor Gilman thirty years was so brief a
period that it was as though the clipping had been printed
the previous after-noon.
The members of his class who were examined on the "Rise and
Fall," and who invariably came to grief over it, referred to
it briefly as the Fall," sometimes feelingly as "the. . . .
Fall." The" history began when Constantinople was Byzantium,
skipped lightly over six centuries to Constantine, and in the
last two Volumes finished up the Mohammeds with the downfall
of the fourth one and the coming of Suleiman. Since Suleiman,
Doctor Gilman did not recognize Turkey as being on the map.
When his history said the Turkish Empire had fallen, then the
Turkish Empire fell. Once Chancellor Black suggested that he
add a sixth volume that would cover the last three centuries.
"In a history of Turkey issued as a text-book," said the
chancellor, "I think the Russian-Turkish War should be
Doctor Gilman, from behind his gold-rimmed spectacles, gazed
at him in mild reproach. "The war in the Crimea!" he
exclaimed. "Why, I was alive at the time. I know about it.
That is not history."
Accordingly, it followed that to a man who since the
seventeenth century knew of no event, of interest, Cyrus
Hallowell, of the meat-packers' trust, was not an imposing
figure. And such a man the son of Cyrus Hallowell was but an
ignorant young savage, to whom "the" history certainly had
been a closed book. And so when Peter returned his
examination paper in a condition almost as spotless as that
in which he had received it, Doctor Gilman carefully and
conscientiously, with malice toward none and, with no thought
of the morrow, marked" five."
Each of the other professors and instructors had marked Peter
fifty. In their fear of Chancellor Black they dared not give
the boy less, but they refused to be slaves to the extent of
crediting him with a single point higher than was necessary
to pass him. But Doctor Gilman's five completely knocked out
the required average of fifty, and young Peter was "found"
and could not graduate. It was an awful business! The only
son of the only Hallowell refused a degree in his father's
own private college--the son of the man who had built the
Hallowell Memorial, the new Laboratory, the Anna Hallowell
Chapel, the Hallowell Dormitory, and the Hallowell Athletic
Field. When on the bulletin board of the dim hall of the
Memorial to his departed grandfather Peter read of his own
disgrace and downfall, the light the stained-glass window
cast upon his nose was of no sicklier a green than was the
nose itself. Not that Peter wanted an A.M. or an A.B., not
that he desired laurels he had not won, but because the young
man was afraid of his father. And he had cause to be. Father
arrived at Stillwater the next morning. The interviews that
followed made Stillwater history.
"My son is not an ass!" is what Hallowell senior is said to
have said to Doctor Black. "And if in four years you and your
faculty cannot give him the rudiments of an education, I will
send him to a college that can. And I'll send my money where
I send Peter."
In reply Chancellor Black could have said that it was the
fault of the son and not of the college; he could have said
that where three men had failed to graduate one hundred and
eighty had not. But did he say that? Oh, no, he did not say
that! He was not that sort of, a college president. Instead,
he remained calm and sympathetic, and like a conspirator in a
comic opera glanced apprehensively round his, study. He
lowered his voice.
"There has been contemptible work here, "he whispered--"spite
and a mean spirit of reprisal. I have been making a secret
investigation, and I find that this blow at your son and you,
and at the good name of our college was struck by one man, a
man with a grievance--Doctor Gilman. Doctor Gilman has
repeatedly desired me to raise his salary." This did not
happen to be true, but in such a crisis Dotor Black could not
afford to be too particular.
"I have seen no reason for raising his salary--and there you
have the explanation. In revenge he has made this attack. But
he overshot his mark. In causing us temporary embarrassment
he has brought about his own downfall. I have already asked
for his resignation."
Every day in the week Hallowell was a fair, sane man, but on
this particular day he was wounded, his spirit was hurt, his
self-esteem humiliated. He was in a state of mind to believe
anything rather than that his son was an idiot.
"I don't want the man discharged," he protested, "just
because Peter is lazy. But if Doctor Gilman was moved by
personal considerations, if he sacrificed my Peter in order
to get even . . . ."
"That," exclaimed Black in a horrified whisper, "is exactly
what he did! Your generosity to the college is well known.
You are recognized all over America as its patron. And he
believed that when I refused him an increase in salary it was
really you who refused it--and he struck at you through your
son. Everybody thinks so. The college is on fire with
indignation. And look at the mark he gave Peter! Five! That
in itself shows the malice. Five is not a mark, it is an
insult! No one, certainly not your brilliant son--look how
brilliantly he managed the glee-club and foot-ball tour--is
stupid enough to deserve five. No, Doctor Gilman went too
far. And he has been justly punished!"
What Hallowell senior was willing to believe of what the
chancellor told him, and his opinion of the matter as
expressed to Peter, differed materially.
"They tell me," he concluded, "that in the fall they will
give you another examination, and if you pass then, you will
get your degree. No one will know you've got it. They'll slip
it to you out of the side-door like a cold potato to a tramp.
The only thing people will know is that when your classmates
stood up and got their parchments--the thing they'd been
working for four years, the only reason for their going to
college at all--YOU were not among those present. That's your
fault; but if you don't get your degree next fall that will
be my fault. I've supported you through college and you've
failed to deliver the goods. Now you deliver them next fall,
or you can support yourself."
"That will be all right," said Peter humbly; "I'll pass next
"I'm going to make sure of that," said Hallowell senior. "To-
morrow you will take those history books that you did not
open, especially Gilman's 'Rise and Fall,' which it seems you
have not even purchased, and you will travel for the entire
summer with a private tutor . . . ."
Peter, who had personally conducted the foot-ball and base-
ball teams over half of the Middle States and daily bullied
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