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THE BEADTIFDL 
AND1)I4MNED 



BY THE AUTHOR OF 

♦^THIS SIDE OF PARADISE 



If 




E Scoftt Fiiz^erald 



4i 



yy 



Watch Fitzgerald! 

saj's tJie ** Chicago News " 



"Fitzgerald is an artist, an apt 

and delicate weaver of words, a 

clever hand, a sound workman." 

• — H. L. Mencken. 

"In F. Scott Fitzgerald America 
has an author who will be the equal 
of any young European." 

— Sinclair Lewis. 

"F. Scott Fitzgerald is the most 
promising young writer in the Eng- 
lish language to-day." 
— Sidney Howard in The Bookmen. 



Other Books by MR. fitzgerald 
Flappers and Philosophers 

Fifth printing 

A collection of short stories, which, the 
Chicago Post says, "fulfils the promise of 
'This Side of Paradise.'" 

"His eight short stories range the gamut 
of style and mood with a brilliance, a jeu 
perle, so to speak, which is not to be found 
in the novel." — New York Times. 



This Side of Paradise 

Twelfth printing 

New York Post — "A brilliant book." 

"A fascinating tale." 
'Bewilderingly interest- 



New York Times- 
New York World— 
ing." 

New York Sun — "Good stuff to read 



I^CHARLES SCRIBNERS SONS 

FIFra AVE. Ar48*SI NEW YORK 






Berkeley 









Digitized by tine Internet Archive 

in 2007 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



http://www.archive.org/details/beautifuldamnedOOfitzrich 



0^ 








University of California • Berkeley 



Gift of 



MR. E. W. NASH 



BY F. SCOTT FITZGERALD 



Novels 

THIS SIDE OF PARADISE 

THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Stories 

FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS 
A second collection in preparation 



CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 



THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 



THE BEAUTIFUL 
AND DAMNED 



By 

F. SCOTT FITZGERALD 



The victor belongs to the spoils. 

— Anthony Patch. 



NEW YORK 

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 

1922 



Copyright, 1922, by 
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 

Printed in the United States of America 



Published March, 1922 



COPYRIGHT. 1921. 1922, BY THE METROPOLITAN PUBLICATIONS, INC. 




TO 

SHANE LESLIE, GEORGE JEAN NATHAN 
AND MAXWELL PERKINS 

IN APPRECIATION OF MUCH LITERARY HELP 
AND ENCOURAGEMENT 



CONTENTS 
BOOK. ONE 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I. Anthony Patch 3 

II. Portrait of a Siren 31 

III. The Connoisseur of Kisses 74 

BOOK TWO 

I. The Radiant Hour 131 

II. Symposium 191 

III. The Broken Lute 261 

BOOK THREE 

I. A Matter of Civilization 313 

II. A Matter of .Esthetics 359 

III. No Matter! 405 



CHAPTER I 
ANTHONY PATCH 

In 19 13, when Anthony Patch was twenty-five, two 
years were already gone since irony, the Holy Ghost of 
this later day, had, theoretically at least, descended 
upon him. Irony was the final polish of the shoe, the 
ultimate dab of the clothes-brush, a sort of intellectual 
"There!" — ^yet at the brink of this story he has as yet 
gone no further than the conscious stage. As you first 
see him he wonders frequently whether he is not without 
honor and slightly mad, a shameful and obscene thinness 
glistening on the surface of the world like oil on a clean 
pond, these occasions being varied, of course, with those 
in which he thinks himself rather an exceptional young 
man, thoroughly sophisticated, well adjusted to his en- 
vironment, and somewhat more significant than any 
one else he knows. 

This was his healthy state and it made him cheerful, 
pleasant, and very attractive to intelligent men and to 
all women. In this state he considered that he would 
one day accomplish some quiet subtle thing that the 
elect would deem worthy and, passing on, would join 
the dimmer stars in a nebulous, indeterminate heaven 
half-way between death and inmiortality. Until the 
time came for this effort he would be Anthony Patch — 
not a portrait of a man but a distinct and dynamic 
personality, opinionated, contemptuous, functioning 
from within outward — a man who was aware that there 
could be no honor and yet had honor, who knew the 
sophistry of courage and yet was brave. 

3 



.4 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

A Worthy Man and His Gifted Son 

Anthony drew as much consciousness of social security 
from being the grandson of Adam J. Patch as he would 
have had from tracing his line over the sea to the cru- 
saders. This is inevitable; Virginians and Bostonians 
to the contrary notwithstanding, an aristocracy founded 
sheerly on money postulates wealth in the particular. 

Now Adam J. Patch, more familiarly known as 
" Cross Patch," left his father's farm in Tarrytown early 
in sixty-one to join a New York cavalry regiment. He 
came home from the war a major, charged into Wall 
Street, and amid much fuss, fume, applause, and ill 
will he gathered to himself some seventy-five million 
dollars. 

This occupied his energies until he was fifty-seven 
years old. It was then that he determined, after a 
severe attack of sclerosis, to consecrate the remainder of 
his life to the moral regeneration of the world. He be- 
came a reformer among reformers. Emulating the mag- 
nificent efforts of Anthony Comstock, after whom his 
grandson was named, he levelled a varied assortment 
of uppercuts and body-blows at liquor, literature, vice, 
art, patent medicines, and Sunday theatres. His mind, 
under the influence of that insidious mildew which even- 
tually forms on all but the few, gave itself up furiously to 
every indignation of the age. From an armchair in the 
office of his Tarrytown estate he directed against the 
enormous hypothetical enemy, unrighteousness, a cam- 
paign which went on through fifteen years, during which 
he displayed himself a rabid monomaniac, an unqualified 
nuisance, and an intolerable bore. The year in which 
this story opens found him wearying; his campaign had 
grown desultory; 1861 was creeping up slowly on 1895; 
his thoughts ran a great deal on the Civil War, some- 



ANTHONY PATCH S 

what on his dead wife and son, almost infinitesimally 
on his grandson Anthony. 

Early in his career Adam Patch had married an 
anaemic lady of thirty, Alicia Withers, who brought him 
one himdred thousand dollars and an impeccable entre 
into the banking circles of New York. Immediately 
and rather spunkily she had borne him a son and, as if 
completely devitalized by the magnificence of this per- 
formance, she had thenceforth effaced herself within 
the shadowy dimensions of the nursery. The boy, 
Adam Ulysses Patch, became an inveterate joiner of 
clubs, connoisseur of good form, and driver of tandems — 
at the astonishing age of twenty-six he began his 
memoirs under the title "New York Society as I Have 
Seen It." On the rumor of its conception this work 
was eagerly bid for among publishers, but as it proved 
after his death to be immoderately verbose and over- 
poweringly dull, it never obtained even a private printing. 

This Fifth Avenue Chesterfield married at twenty- 
two. His wife was Henrietta Lebrune, the Boston 
"Society Contralto," and the single child of the union 
was, at the request of his grandfather, christened An- 
thony Comstock Patch. When he went to Harvard, the 
Comstock dropped out of his name to a nether hell of 
oblivion and was never heard of thereafter. 

Young Anthony had one picture of his father and 
mother together — so often had it faced his eyes in child- 
hood that it had acquired the impersonality of furni- 
ture, but every one who came into his bedroom regarded 
it with interest. It showed a dandy of the nineties, 
spare and handsome, standing beside a tall dark lady 
with a muff and the suggestion of a bustle. Between 
them was a little boy with long brown curls, dressed 
in a velvet Lord Fauntleroy suit. This was Anthony 
at five, the year of his mother's death. 



6 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

His memories of the Boston Society Contralto were 
nebulous and musical. She was a lady who sang, sang, 
sang, in the music-room of their house on Washington 
Square — sometimes with guests scattered all about her, 
the men with their arms folded, balanced breathlessly on 
the edges of sofas, the women with their hands in their 
laps, occasionally making little whispers to the men and 
always clapping very briskly and uttering cooing cries 
after each song — and often she sang to Anthony alone, 
in Italian or French or in a strange and terrible dialect 
which she imagined to be the speech of the Southern 
negro. 

His recollections of the gallant Ulysses, the first man 
in America to roll the lapels of his coat, were much 
more vivid. After Henrietta Lebrune Patch had "joined 
another choir," as her widower huskily remarked from 
time to time, father and son lived up at grampa's in 
Tarrytown, and Ulysses came daily to Anthony's nursery 
and expelled pleasant, thick-smelling words for some- 
times as much as an hour. He was continually prom- 
ising Anthony hunting trips and fishing trips and excur- 
sions to Atlantic City, "oh, some time soon now"; but 
none of them ever materialized. One trip they did take; 
when Anthony was eleven they went abroad, to Eng- 
land and Switzerland, and there in the best hotel in 
Lucerne his father died with much sweating and grunt- 
ing and crying aloud for air. In a panic of despair 
and terror Anthony was brought back to America, 
wedded to a vague melancholy that was to stay beside 
him through the rest of his life. 

Past and Person of the Hero 

At eleven he had a horror of death. Within six 
impressionable years his parents had died and his grand- 
mother had faded off almost imperceptibly, until, for 



ANTHONY PATCH 7 

the first time since her marriage, her person held for 
one day an imquestioned supremacy over her own draw- 
ing-room. So to Anthony life was a struggle against 
death, that waited at every corner. It was as a con- 
cession to his hypochondriacal imagination that he 
formed the habit of reading in bed — it soothed him. 
He read until he was tired and often fell asleep with the 
lights still on. 

His favorite diversion until he was fourteen was his 
stamp collection; enormous, as nearly exhaustive as a 
boy's could be — his grandfather considered fatuously 
that it was teaching him geography. So Anthony kept 
up a correspondence with a half-dozen "Stamp and 
Coin" companies and it was rare that the mail failed 
to bring him new stamp-books or packages of glittering 
approval sheets — there was a mysterious fascination 
in transferring his acquisitions interminably from one 
book to another. His stamps were his greatest happi- 
ness and he bestowed impatient frowns on any one who 
interrupted him at play with them; they devoured his 
allowance every month, and he lay awake at night mus- 
ing untiringly on their variety and many-colored splen- 
dor. 

At sixteen he had lived almost entirely within him- 
self, an inarticulate boy, thoroughly un-American, and 
politely bewildered by his contemporaries. The two 
preceding years had been spent in Europe with a pri- 
vate tutor, who persuaded him that Harvard was the 
thing; it would "open doors," it would be a tremendous 
tonic, it would give him innumerable self-sacrificing and 
devoted friends. So he went to Harvard — there was no 
other logical thing to be done with him. 

Oblivious to the social system, he lived for a while 
alone and unsought in a high room in Beck Hall — a 
slim dark boy of medium height with a shy sensitive 



8 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

mouth. His allowance was more than liberal. He 
laid the foundations for a library by purchasing from a 
wandering bibliophile first editions of Swinburne, Mere- 
dith, and Hardy, and a yellowed illegible autograph 
letter of Keats's, finding later that he had been amazingly 
overcharged. He became an exquisite dandy, amassed 
a rather pathetic collection of silk pajamas, brocaded 
dressing-gowns, and neckties too flamboyant to wear; 
in this secret finery he would parade before a mirror in 
his room or he stretched in satin along his window- 
seat looking down on the yard and realizing dimly 
this clamor, breathless and immediate, in which it 
seemed he was never to have a part. 

Curiously enough he found in senior year that he had 
acquired a position in his class. He learned that he 
was looked upon as a rather romantic figure, a scholar, 
a recluse, a tower of erudition. This amused him but 
secretly pleased him — he began going out, at first a 
little and then a great deal. He made the Pudding. 
He drank — quietly and in the proper tradition. It was 
said of him that had he not come to college so young 
he might have *'done extremely well." In 1909, when 
he graduated, he was only twenty years old. 

Then abroad again — to Rome this time, where he 
dallied with architecture and painting in turn, took up 
the violin, and wrote some ghastly Italian sonnets, sup- 
posedly the ruminations of a thirteenth-century monk 
on the joys of the contemplative life. It became estab- 
lished among his Harvard intimates that he was in Rome, 
and those of them who were abroad that year looked 
him up and discovered with him, on many moonlight 
excursions, much in the city that was older than the 
Renaissance or indeed than the republic. Maury 
Noble, from Philadelphia, for instance, remained two 
months, and together they realized the peculiar charm 



ANTHONY PATCH 9 

of Latin women and had a delightful sense of being very 
young and free in a civilization that was very old and 
free. Not a few acquaintances of his grandfather's 
called on him, and had he so desired he might have been 
persona grata with the diplomatic set — indeed, he found 
that his inclinations tended more and more toward con- 
viviality, but that long adolescent aloofness and conse- 
quent shyness still dictated to his conduct. 

He returned to America in 191 2 because of one of his 
grandfather's sudden illnesses, and after an excessively 
tiresome talk with the perpetually convalescent old man 
he decided to put off until his grandfather's death the 
idea of living permanently abroad. After a prolonged 
search he took an apartment on Fifty-second Street 
and to all appearances settled down. 

In 1 9 13 Anthony Patch's adjustment of himself to 
the universe was in process of consunmiation. Physi- 
cally, he had improved since his undergraduate days — 
he was still too thin but his shoulders had widened and 
his brunette face had lost the frightened look of his 
freshman year. He was secretly orderly and in person 
spick and span — his friends declared that they had never 
seen his hair nmipled. His nose was too sharp; his 
mouth was one of those unfortunate mirrors of mood 
inclined to droop perceptibly in moments of unhappi- 
ness, but his blue eyes were charming, whether alert 
with intelligence or half closed in an expression of mel- 
ancholy humor. 

One of those men devoid of the symmetry of feature 
essential to the Aryan ideal, he was yet, here and there, 
considered handsome — moreover, he was very clean, 
in appearance and in reality, with that especial clean- 
ness borrowed from beauty. 



lo THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

The Reproachless Apartment 

Fifth and Sixth Avenues, it seemed to Anthony, were 
the uprights of a gigantic ladder stretching from Wash- 
ington Square to Central Park. Coming up-town on 
top of a bus toward Fifty-second Street invariably gave 
him the sensation of hoisting himself hand by hand on a 
series of treacherous rungs, and when the bus jolted to 
a stop at his own rung he found something akin to re- 
lief as he descended the reckless metal steps to the side- 
walk. 

After that, he had but to walk down Fifty-second 
Street half a block, pass a stodgy family of brownstone 
houses — and then in a jiffy he was under the high ceil- 
ings of his great front room. This was entirely satis- 
factory. Here, after all, life began. Here he slept, 
breakfasted, read, and entertained. 

The house itself was of murky material, built in the 
late nineties; in response to the steadily growing need 
of small apartments each floor had been thoroughly re- 
modelled and rented individually. Of the four apart- 
ments Anthony's, on the second floor, was the most de- 
sirable. 

The front room had fine high ceilings and three large 
windows that loomed down pleasantly upon Fifty- 
second Street. In its appointments it escaped by a 
safe margin being of any particular period; it escaped 
stiffness, stuffiness, bareness, and decadence. It smelt 
neither of smoke nor of incense — it was tall and faintly 
blue. There was a deep lounge of the softest brown 
leather with somnolence drifting about it Uke a haze. 
There was a high screen of Chinese lacquer chiefly con- 
cerned with geometrical fishermen and huntsmen in 
black and gold; this made a corner alcove for a volumi- 
nous chair guarded by an orange-colored standing lamp. 



ANTHONY PATCH ii 

Deep in the fireplace a quartered shield was burned to 
a murky black. 

Passing through the dining-room, which, as Anthony 
took only breakfast at home, was merely a magnificent 
potentiality, and down a comparatively long hall, one 
came to the heart and core of the apartment — ^An- 
thony's bedroom and bath. 

Both of them were immense. Under the ceilings of 
the former even the great canopied bed seemed of only 
average size. On the floor an exotic rug of crimson 
velvet was soft as fleece on his bare feet. His bathroom, 
in contrast to the rather portentous character of his 
bedroom, was gay, bright, extremely habitable and even 
faintly facetious. Framed around the walls were pho- 
tographs of four celebrated thespian beauties of the day: 
Julia Sanderson as ^*The Sunshine Girl," Ina Claire as 
''The Quaker Girl," Billie Burke as "The Mind-the- 
Paint Girl," and Hazel Dawn as "The Pink Lady." 
Between BilKe Burke and Hazel Dawn hung a print 
representing a great stretch of snow presided over by a 
cold and formidable sun — this, claimed Anthony, sym- 
bolized the cold shower. 

The bathtub, equipped with an ingenious book- 
holder, was low and large. Beside it a wall wardrobe 
bulged with sufficient linen for three men and with a 
generation of neckties. There was no skimpy glorified 
towel of a carpet — instead, a rich rug, like the one in 
his bedroom a miracle of softness, that seemed almost 
to massage the wet foot emerging from the tub. . . . 

All in all a room to conjure with — it was easy to see 
that Anthony dressed there, arranged his immaculate 
hair there, in fact did everything but sleep and eat there. 
It was his pride, this bathroom. He felt that if he had 
a love he would have hung her picture just facing the 
tub so that, lost in the soothing steamings of the hot 



12 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

water, he might lie and look up at her and muse wannly 
and sensuously on her beauty. 

Nor Does He Spin 

The apartment was kept clean by an EngKsh servant 
with the singularly, almost theatrically, appropriate 
name of Bounds, whose technic was marred only by 
the fact that he wore a soft collar. Had he been en- 
tirely Anthony's Bounds this defect would have been 
summarily remedied, but he was also the Bounds of two 
other gentlemen in the neighborhood. From eight 
until eleven in the morning he was entirely Anthony's. 
He arrived with the mail and cooked breakfast. At 
nine-thirty he pulled the edge of Anthony's blanket and 
spoke a few terse words — Anthony never remembered 
clearly what they were and rather suspected they were 
deprecative; then he served breakfast on a card- table 
in the front room, made the bed and, after asking with 
some hostility if there was anything else, withdrew. 

In the mornings, at least once a week, Anthony went 
to see his broker. His income was sUghtly under seven 
thousand a year, the interest on money inherited from 
his mother. His grandfather, who had never allowed 
his own son to graduate from a very Uberal allowance, 
judged that this sum was sufficient for young Anthony's 
needs. Every Christmas he sent him a five-hundred- 
dollar bond, which Anthony usually sold, if possible, 
as he was always a little, not very, hard up. 

The visits to his broker varied from semi-social chats 
to discussions of the safety of eight per cent investments, 
and Anthony always enjoyed them. The big trust 
company building seemed to link him definitely to the 
great fortunes whose solidarity he respected and to 
assure him that he was adequately chaperoned by the 
hierarchy of finance. From these hurried men he de- 



ANTHONY PATCH 13 

rived the same sense of safety that he had in contemplat- 
ing his grandfather's money — even more, for the latter 
appeared, vaguely, a demand loan made by the world 
to Adam Patch's own moral righteousness, while this 
money down-town seemed rather to have been grasped 
and held by sheer indomitable strengths and tremendous 
feats of will; in addition, it seemed more definitely and 
explicitly — ^money. 

Closely as Anthony trod on the heels of his income, 
he considered it to be enough. Some golden day, of 
course, he would have many millions; meanwhile he 
possessed a raison d'etre in the theoretical creation of 
essays on the popes of the Renaissance. This flashes 
back to the conversation with his grandfather imme- 
diately upon his return from Rome. 

He had hoped to find his grandfather dead, but had 
learned by telephoning from the pier that Adam Patch 
was comparatively well again — the next day he had con- 
cealed his disappointment and gone out to Tarrytown. 
Five miles from the station his taxicab entered an elabo- 
rately groomed drive that threaded a veritable maze of 
walls and wire fences guarding the estate — this, said 
the public, was because it was definitely known that if 
the Socialists had their way, one of the first men they'd 
assassinate would be old Cross Patch. 

Anthony was late and the venerable philanthropist 
/ was awaiting him in a glass- walled sun-parlor, where he 
was glancing through the morning papers for the second 
time. His secretary, Edward Shuttleworth — ^who before 
his regeneration had been gambler, saloon-keeper, and 
general reprobate — ^ushered Anthony into the room, ex- 
hibiting his redeemer and benefactor as though he were 
displaying a treasure of immense value. 

They shook hands gravely. "I'm awfully glad to hear 
you're better," Anthony said. 



14 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

The senior Patch, with an air of having seen his 
grandson only last week, pulled out his watch. 

''Train late?" he asked mildly. 

It had irritated him to wait for Anthony. He was 
under the delusion not only that in his youth he had 
handled his practical affairs with the utmost scrupulous- 
ness, even to keeping every engagement on the dot, but 
also that this was the direct and primary cause of his 
success. 

''It's been late a good deal this month," he remarked 
with a shade of meek accusation in his voice — and then 
after a long sigh, "Sit down." 

Anthony surveyed his grandfather with that tacit 
amazement which always attended the sight. That 
this feeble, unintelHgent old man was possessed of such 
power that, yellow journals to the contrary, the men in 
the republic whose souls he could not have bought 
directly or indirectly would scarcely have populated 
White Plains, seemed as impossible to believe as that he 
had once been a pink-and-white baby. 

The span of his seventy-five years had acted as a 
magic bellows — the first quarter-century had blown him 
full with life, and the last had sucked it all back. It had 
sucked in the cheeks and the chest and the girth of arm 
and leg. It had tyrannously demanded his teeth, one 
by one, suspended his small eyes in dark-bluish sacks, 
tweeked out his hairs, changed him from gray to white 
in some places, from pink to yellow in others — callously 
transposing his colors like a child trying over a paint- 
box. Then through his body and his soul it had at- 
tacked his brain. It had sent him night-sweats and 
tears and unfounded dreads. It had split his intense 
normality into creduHty and suspicion. Out of the 
coarse material of his enthusiasm it had cut dozens of 
meek but petulant obsessions; his energy was shrunk to 



ANTHONY PATCH 15 

the bad temper of a spoiled child, and for his will to 
power was substituted a fatuous puerile desire for a 
land of harps and canticles on earth. 

The amenities having been gingerly touched upon, An- 
thony felt that he was expected to outline his intentions 
— and simultaneously a glimmer in the old man's eye 
warned him against broaching, for the present, his desire 
to live abroad. He wished that Shuttleworth would have 
tact enough to leave the room — he detested Shuttleworth 
— but the secretary had settled blandly in a rocker and 
was dividing between the two Patches the glances of 
his faded eyes. 

"Now that you're here you ought to do something," 
said his grandfather softly, "accomplish something." 

Anthony waited for him to speak of "leaving some- 
thing done when you pass on." Then he made a sug- 
gestion: 

"I thought — it seemed to me that perhaps I'm best 
qualified to write " 

Adam Patch winced, visualizing a family poet with 
long hair and three mistresses. 

" — history," finished Anthony. 

" History ? History of what ? The Civil War ? The 
Revolution?" 

"Why — no, sir. A history of the Middle Ages." 
Simultaneously an idea was born for a history of the 
Renaissance popes, written from some novel angle. 
Still, he was glad he had said "Middle Ages." 

"Middle Ages? Why not your own country? Some- 
thing you know about?" 

"Well, you see I've lived so much abroad " 

"Why you should write about. the Middle Ages, I 
don't know. Dark Ages, we used to call 'em. Nobody 
knows what happened, and nobody cares, except that 
they're over now." He continued for some minutes on 



i6 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

the uselessness of such information, touching, naturally, 
on the Spanish Inquisition and the "corruption of the 
monasteries.'^ Then: 

"Do you think you'll be able to do any work in New 
York — or do you really intend to work at all?" This 
last with soft, almost imperceptible, cynicism. 

"Why, yes, I do, sir." 

"When'Uyoubedone?" 

"Well, there'll be an outline, you see — and a lot of 
preliminary reading." 

"I should think you'd have done enough of that al- 
ready." 

The conversation worked itself jerkily toward a rather 
abrupt conclusion, when Anthony rose, looked at his 
watch, and remarked that he had an engagement with 
his broker that afternoon. He had intended to stay a 
few days with his grandfather, but he was tired and irri- 
tated from a rough crossing, and quite unwilling to stand 
a subtle and sanctimonious browbeating. He would 
come out again in a few days, he said. 

Nevertheless, it was due to this encounter that work 
had come into his life as a permanent idea. During the 
year that had passed since then, he had made several 
lists of authorities, he had even experimented with 
chapter titles and the division of his work into periods, 
but not one line of actual writing existed at present, or 
seemed likely ever to exist. He did nothing — and con- 
trary to the most accredited copy-book logic, he managed 
to divert himself with more than average content. 

Afternoon 

It was October in 19 13, midway in a week of pleasant 
days, with the sunshine loitering in the cross-streets and 
the atmosphere so languid as to seem weighted with 



ANTHONY PATCH 17 

ghostly falling leaves. It was pleasant to sit lazily by 
the open window finishing a chapter of "Erewhon.'' It 
was pleasant to yawn about five, toss the book on a 
table, and saunter humming along the hall to his batho 

" To . . . you . . . beaut-if-ul lady," 

he was singing as he turned on the tap. 

" I raise . . . my . . . eyes; 
To . . . you . . . beaut-if-ul la-a-dy 
My . . . heart . . . cries '* 

He raised his voice to compete with the flood of water 
pouring into the tub, and as he looked at the picture of 
Hazel Dawn upon the wall he put an imaginary violin 
to his shoulder and softly caressed it with a phantom 
bow. Through his closed lips he made a humming noise, 
which he vaguely imagined resembled the sound of a 
violin. After a moment his hands ceased their gyra- 
tions and wandered to his shirt, which he began to un- 
fasten. Stripped, and adopting an athletic posture like 
the tiger-skin man in the advertisement, he regarded 
himself with some satisfaction in the mirror, breaking 
off to dabble a tentative foot in the tub. Readjusting 
a faucet and indulging in a few preliminary grunts, he 
slid in. 

Once accustomed to the temperature of the water he 
relaxed into a state of drowsy content. When he fin- 
ished his bath he would dress leisurely and walk down 
Fifth Avenue to the Ritz, where he had an appointment 
for dinner with his two most frequent companions, Dick 
Caramel and Maury Noble. Afterward he and Maury 
were going to the theatre — Caramel would probably trot 
home and work on his book, which ought to be finished 
pretty soon. 

Anthony was glad he wasn't going to work on his 



i8 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

book. The notion of sitting down and conjuring up, 
not only words in which to clothe thoughts but thoughts 
worthy of being clothed — the whole thing was absurdly 
beyond his desires. 

Emerging from his bath he polished himself with the 
meticulous attention of a bootblack. Then he wandered 
into the bedroom, and whistling the while a weird, un- 
certain melody, strolled here and there buttoning, ad- 
justing, and enjoying the warmth of the thick carpet 
on his feet. 

He lit a cigarette, tossed the match out the open top 
of the window, then paused in his tracks with the ciga- 
rette two inches from his mouth — which fell faintly 
ajar. His eyes were focussed upon a spot of brilliant 
color on the roof of a house farther down the alley. 

It was a girl in a red neglige, silk surely, drying her 
hair by the still hot sun of late afternoon. His whistle 
died upon the stiff air of the room; he walked cautiously 
another step nearer the window with a sudden impres- 
sion that she was beautiful. Sitting on the stone para- 
pet beside her was a cushion the same color as her gar- 
ment and she was leaning both arms upon it as she 
looked down into the sunny areaway, where Anthony 
could hear children playing. 

He watched her for several minutes. Something 
was stirred in him, something not accounted for by the 
warm smell of the afternoon or the triumphant vivid- 
ness of red. He felt persistently that the girl was beau- 
tiful — then of a sudden he understood: it was her dis- 
tance, not a rare and precious distance of soul but still 
distance, if only in terrestrial yards. The autumn air 
was between them, and the roofs and the blurred voices. 
Yet for a not altogether explained second, posing per- 
versely in time, his emotion had been nearer to adora- 
tion than in the deepest kiss he had ever known. 



ANTHONY PATCH 19 

He finished his dressing, found a black bow tie and 
adjusted it carefully by the three-sided mirror in the 
bathroom. Then yielding to an impulse he walked 
quickly into the bedroom and again looked out the win- 
dow. The woman was standing up now; she had tossed 
her hair back and he had a full view of her. She was 
fat, full thirty-five, utterly undistinguished. Making a 
cUcking noise with his mouth he returned to the bath- 
room and reparted his hair. 

" To . . . you . . . beaut-if-ul lady," 

he sang lightly, 

" I raise . . . my . . . eyes " 

Then with a last soothing brush that left an iridescent 
surface of sheer gloss he left his bathroom and his 
apartment and walked down Fifth Avenue to the Ritz- 
Carlton. 

Three Men 

At seven Anthony and his friend Maury Noble are 
sitting at a corner table on the cool roof. Maury Noble 
is like nothing so much as a large slender and imposing 
cat. His eyes are narrow and full of incessant, pro- 
tracted blinks. His hair is smooth and flat, as though 
it has been licked by a possible — and, if so, Herculean — • 
mother-cat. During Anthony's time at Harvard he 
had been considered the most unique figure in his class, 
the most brilliant, the most original — smart, quiet and 
among the saved. 

This is the man whom Anthony considers his best 
friend. This is the only man of all his acquaintance 
whom he admires and, to a bigger extent than he likes 
to admit to himself, envies. 

They are glad to see each other now — their eyes are 
full of kindness as each feels the full effect of novelty 



20 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

after a short separation. They are drawing a relaxa- 
tion from each other's presence, a new serenity; Maury 
Noble behind that fine and absurdly catlike face is all 
but purring. And Anthony, nervous as a will-o'-the- 
wisp, restless — he is at rest now. 

They are engaged in one of those easy short-speech 
conversations that only men under thirty or men under 
great stress indulge in. 

Anthony: Seven o'clock. Where's the Caramel? 
{Impatiently) I wish he'd finish that interminable novel. 
I've spent more time hungry 

Maury: He's got a new name for it. "The Demon 
Lover" — not bad, eh? 

Anthony: {Interested) "The Demon Lover"? Oh 
"woman wailing" — No — not a bit bad! Not bad at 
all — d'you think? 

Maury: Rather good. What time did you say? 

Anthony: Seven. 

Maury: {His eyes narrowing — not unpleasantly ^ hut to 
express a faint disapproval) Drove me crazy the other 
day. 

Anthony: How? 

Maury: That habit of taking notes. 

Anthony: Me, too. Seems I'd said something night 
before that he considered material but he'd forgotten 
it — so he had at me. He'd say "Can't you try to con- 
centrate?" And I'd say "You bore me to tears. How 
do I remember?" 

(Maury laughs noiselessly , hy a sort of bland and 
appreciative widening of his features.) 

Maury: Dick doesn't necessarily see more than any 
one else. He merely can put down a larger proportion 
of what he sees. 

Anthony: That rather impressive talent 

Maury: Oh, yes. Impressive! 



ANTHONY PATCH 21 

Anthony: And energy — ambitious, well-directed en- 
ergy. He's so entertaining — he's so tremendously stim- 
ulating and exciting. Often there's something breath- 
less in being with him. 

Maue.y: Oh, yes. 

{Silence, and then :) 

Anthony: (yVith his thin, somewhat uncertain face at 
its most convinced) But not indomitable energy. Some 
day, bit by bit, it'll blow away, and his rather impressive 
talent with it, and leave only a wisp of a man, fretful 
and egotistic and garrulous. 

Maury: (^ith laughter) Here we sit vowing to each 
other that little Dick sees less deeply into things than 
we do. And I'll bet he feels a measure of superiority on 
his side — creative mind over merely critical mind and 
all that. 

Anthony: Oh, yes. But he's wrong. He's inclined 
to fall for a million silly enthusiasms. If it wasn't 
that he's absorbed in realism and therefore has to adopt 
the garments of the cynic he'd be — he'd be credulous 
as a college religious leader. He's an idealist. Oh, yes. 
He thinks he's not, because he's rejected Christianity. 
Remember him in college? Just swallow every writer 
whole, one after another, ideas, technic, and characters, 
Chesterton. Shaw, Wells, each one as easily as the last. 

Maury: {Still considering his own last observation) I 
remember. 

Anthony: It's true. Natural born fetich-worshipper. 
Take art 

Maury: Let's order. He'll be 



Anthony: Sure. Let's order. I told him- 



Maury: Here he comes. Look — he's going to bump 
that waiter. {He lifts his finger as a signal — lifts it as 
though it were a soft and friendly claw) Here y'are, Car- 
amel. 



22 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

A New Voice: {Fiercely) Hello, Maury. Hello, An- 
thony Comstock Patch. How is old Adam's grandson? 
Debutantes still after you, eh? 

In person Richard Caramel is short and fair — 
he is to he bald at thirty-five. He has yellowish 
eyes — one of them startlingly clear, the other 
opaque as a muddy pool — and a bulging brow 
like a funny-paper baby. He bulges in other 
places — his paunch bulges, prophetically, his 
words have an air of bulging from his mouth, 
even his dinner-coat pockets bulge, as though 
from contamination, with a dog-eared collection 
of time-tables, programmes, and miscellaneous 
scraps — on these he takes his notes with great 
screwings up of his unmatched yellow eyes and 
motions of silence with his disengaged left 
hand. 
When he reaches the table he shakes hands with 
Anthony and Maury. He is one of those men 
who invariably shake hands, even with people 
whom they have seen an hour before. 
Anthony: Hello, Caramel. Glad you're here. We 
needed a comic relief. 

Maury: You're late. Been racing the postman down 

the block? We've been clawing over your character. 

Dick: (Fixing Anthony eagerly with the bright eye) 

What'd you say? Tell me and I'll write it down. Cut 

three thousand words out of Part One this afternoon. 

Maury: Noble aesthete. And I poured alcohol into 
my stomach. 

Dick: I don't doubt it. I bet you two have been 
sitting here for an hour talking about liquor. 
Anthony: We never pass out, my beardless boy. 
Maury: We never go home with ladies we meet when 
we're lit. 



ANTHONY PATCH 25 

Anthony: All in all our parties are characterized by 
a certain haughty distinction. 

Dick: The particularly silly sort who boast about be- 
ing *' tanks" ! Trouble is you're both in the eighteenth 
century. School of the Old EngHsh Squire. Drink 
quietly until you roll under the table. Never have a. 
good time. Oh, no, that isn't done at all. 

Anthony: This from Chapter Six, I'll bet. 

Dick: Going to the theatre? 

Maury: Yes. We intend to spend the evening doing 
some deep thinking over of Hfe's problems. The thing 
is tersely called "The Woman." I presmne that she will 
"pay." 

Anthony: My God ! Is that what it is? Let's go to 
the Follies again. 

Maury: I'm tired of it. I've seen it three times. {To 
Dick.) The first time, we went out after Act One and 
found a most amazing bar. When we came back we 
entered the wrong theatre. 

Anthony: Had a protracted dispute with a scared 
young couple we thought were in our seats. 

Dick: {As though talking to himself) I think — that 
when I've done another novel and a play, and maybe a 
book of short stories, I'll do a musical comedy. 

Maury: I know — ^with intellectual lyrics that no one 
will listen to. And all the critics will groan and grunt 
about "Dear old Pinafore." And I shall go on shin- 
ing as a brilliantly meaningless figure in a meaningless 
world. 

Dick: {Pompously) Art isn't meaningless. 

Maury: It is in itself. It isn't in that it tries to 
make Hfe less so. 

Anthony: In other words, Dick, you're playing before 
a grand stand peopled with ghosts. 

Maury: Give a good show anyhow. 



24 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Anthony: {To Maury) On the contrary, I'd feel that 
it being a meaningless world, why write ? The very at- 
tempt to give it purpose is purposeless. 

Dick: Well, even admitting all that, be a decent prag- 
matist and grant a poor man the instinct to live. Would 
you want every one to accept that sophistic rot? 

Anthony: Yeah, I suppose so. 

Maury: No, sir ! I believe that every one in America 
but a selected thousand should be compelled to accept 
a very rigid system of morals — ^Roman Catholicism, for 
instance. I don't complain of conventional morality. 
I complain rather of the mediocre heretics who seize 
upon the findings of sophistication and adopt the pose 
of a moral freedom to which they are by no means 
entitled by their intelligences. 

{Here the soup arrives and what Maury might 
have gone on to say is lost for all time.) 

Night 

Afterward they visited a ticket speculator and, at a 
price, obtained seats for a new musical comedy called 
^'High Jinks." In the foyer of the theatre they waited 
a few moments to see the first-night crowd come in. 
There were opera-cloaks stitched of myriad, many- 
colored silks and furs; there were jewels dripping from 
arms and throats and ear- tips of white and rose; there 
were innumerable broad shimmers down the middles of 
innumerable silk hats; there were shoes of gold and 
bronze and red and shining black; there were the high- 
piled, tight-packed coiffures of many women and the 
slick, watered hair of well-kept men — most of all there 
was the ebbing, flowing, chattering, chuckling, foaming, 
slow-rolling wave effect of this cheerful sea of people as 
to-night it poured its glittering torrent into the artificial 
lake of laughter. . . . 



. ANTHONY PATCH 25 

After the play they parted — ^Maury was going to a 
dance at Sherry's, Anthony homeward and to bed. 

He found his way slowly over the jostled evening mass 
of Times Square, which the chariot-race and its thousand 
sateUites made rarely beautiful and bright and intimate 
with carnival. Faces swirled about him, a kaleidoscope 
of girls, ugly, ugly as sin — too fat, too lean, yet floating 
upon this autumn air as upon their own warm and pas- 
sionate breaths poured out into the night. Here, for all 
their vulgarity, he thought, they were faintly and subtly 
mysterious. He inhaled carefully, swallowing into his 
lungs perfume and the not unpleasant scent of many 
cigarettes. He caught the glance of a dark young beauty 
sitting alone in a closed te-xicab. Her eyes in the half- 
light suggested night and violets, and for a moment he 
stirred again to that half-forgotten remoteness of the 
afternoon. 

Two young Jewish men passed him, talking in loud 
voices and craning their necks here and there in fatuous 
supercilious glances. They were dressed in suits of the 
exaggerated tightness then semi-fashionable; their turn- 
over collars were notched at the Adam's apple; they wore 
gray spats and carried gray gloves on their cane handles. 

Passed a bewildered old lady borne along like a basket 
of eggs between two men who exclaimed to her of the 
wonders of Times Square — explained them so quickly 
that the old lady, trying to be impartially interested, 
waved her head here and there like a piece of wind- 
worried old orange-peel. Anthony heard a snatch of 
their conversation: 

"There's the As tor, mama!" 

*'Look! See the chariot-race sign " 

"There's where we were to-day. No, there T' 

" Good gracious ! . . . " 

" You should worry and grow thin like a dime." He 



26 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

recognized the current witticism of the year as it issued 
stridently from one of the pairs at his elbow. 

"And I says to him, I says " 

The soft rush of taxis by him, and laughter, laughter 
hoarse as a crow's, incessant and loud, with the rumble 
of the subways underneath — and over all, the revolutions 
of light, the growings and recedings of light — light divid- 
ing like pearls — forming and reforming in glittering bars 
and circles and monstrous grotesque figures cut amazingly 
on the sky. 

He turned thankfully down the hush that blew like 
a dark wind out of a cross-street, passed a bakery-res- 
taurant in whose windows a dozen roast chickens turned 
over and over on an automatic spit. From the door 
came a smell that was hot, doughy, and pink. A drug- 
store next, exhaling medicines, spilt soda-water and a 
pleasant undertone from the cosmetic counter; then a 
Chinese laundry, still open, steamy and stifling, smelling 
folded and vaguely yellow. All these depressed him; 
reaching Sixth Avenue he stopped at a corner cigar-store 
and emerged feeling better — the cigar-store was cheerful, 
hmnanity in a navy-blue mist, buying a luxury. . . . 

Once in his apartment he smoked a last cigarette, 
sitting in the dark by his open front window. For the 
first time in over a year he found himself thoroughly 
enjoying New York. There was a rare pungency in it 
certainly, a quality almost Southern. A lonesome town, 
though. He who had grown up alone had lately learned 
to avoid solitude. During the past several months he 
had been careful, when he had no engagement for the 
evening, to hurry to one of his clubs and find some one. 
Oh, there was a loneliness here 

His cigarette, its smoke bordering the thin folds of 
curtain with rims of faint white spray, glowed on until 
the clock in St. Anne's down the street struck one with 



ANTHONY PATCH 27 

a querulous fashionable beauty. The elevated, half a 
quiet block away, sounded a riunble of drums — and 
should he lean from his window he would see the train, 
like an angry eagle, breasting the dark curve at the 
corner. He was reminded of a fantastic romance he 
had lately read in which cities had been bombed from 
aerial trains, and for a moment he fancied that Washing- 
ton Square had declared war on Central Park and that 
this was a north-bound menace loaded with battle and 
sudden death. But as it passed the illusion faded; it 
diminished to the faintest of drums — then to a far-away 
droning eagle. 

There were the bells and the continued low blur of 
auto-horns from Fifth Avenue, but his own street was 
silent and he was safe in here from all the threat of Hfe, 
for there was his door and the long hall and his guardian 
bedroom — safe, safe! The arc-light shining into his 
window seemed for this hour like the moon, only brighter 
and more beautiful than the moon. 

A Flash-Back in Paradise 

Beauty, who was horn anew every hundred years, sat in 
a sort of outdoor waiting-room through which blew gusts 
of white wind and occasionally a breathless hurried star. 
The stars winked at her intimately as they went by and 
the winds made a soft incessant flurry in her hair. She 
was incomprehensible, for, in her, soul and spirit were 
one — the beauty of her body was the essence of her soul. 
She was that unity sought for by philosophers through 
many centuries. In this outdoor waiting-room of winds 
and stars she had been sitting for a hundred years, at 
peace in the contemplation of herself. 

It became known to her, at length, that she was to he 
horn again. Sighing, she began a long conversation with 
a voice that was in the white wind, a conversation that 



28 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

took many hours and of which I can give only a frag- 
ment here. 

Beauty: {Eer lips scarcely stirring, her eyes turned, 
as always, inward upon herself) Whither shall I journey 
now? 

The Voice: To a new country — a land you have 
never seen before. 

Beauty: {Petulantly) I loathe breaking into these 
new civilizations. How long a stay this time? 

The Voice: Fifteen years. 

Beauty: And what^s the name of the place? 

The Voice: It is the most opulent, most gorgeous 
land on earth — a land whose wisest are but little wiser 
than its dullest; a land where the rulers have minds 
like little children and the law-givers believe in Santa 
Claus; where ugly women control strong men 

Beauty: {In astonishment) What? 

The Voice: {Very much depressed) Yes, it is truly a 
melancholy spectacle. Women with receding chins and 
shapeless noses go about in broad daylight sa3dng "Do 
this!" and "Do that!" and aU the men, even those of 
great wealth, obey implicitly their women to whom they 
refer sonorously either as "Mrs. So-and-so" or as "the 
wife." 

Beauty: But this can't be true! I can understand, 
of course, their obedience to women of charm — but to 
fat women? to bony women? to women with scrawny 
cheeks ? 

The Voice: Even so. 

Beauty: What of me? What chance shall I have? 

The Voice: It will be "harder going," if I may borrow 
a phrase. 

Beauty: {After a dissatisfied pause) Why not the old 
lands, the land of grapes and soft-tongued men or the 
land of ships and seas? 



ANTHONY PATCH 2g 

The Voice: It's expected that they'll be very busy 
shortly. 

Beauty: Oh! 

The Voice: Your life on earth will be, as always, the 
interval between two significant glances in a mundane 
mirror. 

Beauty: What will I be? Tell me? 

The Voice: At first it was thought that you would go 
this time as an actress in the motion-pictures but, after 
all, it's not advisable. You will be disguised during your 
fifteen years as what is called a **susciety gurl." 

Beauty: What's that? 

(There is a new sound in the wind which must for 
our purposes he interpreted as The Voice scratch- 
ing its head) 

The Voice: {At length) It's a sort of bogus aristo- 
crat. 

Beauty: Bogus? What is bogus? 

The Voice: That, too, you will discover in this land. 
You will find much that is bogus. Also, you will do 
much that is bogus. 

Beauty: (Placidly) It all sounds so vulgar. 

The Voice: Not half as vulgar as it is. You will be 
known during your fifteen years as a ragtime kid, a 
flapper, a jazz-baby, and a baby vamp. You will dance 
new dances neither more nor less gracefully than you 
danced the old ones. 

Beauty: (In a whisper) Will I be paid? 

The Voice : Yes, as usual — in love. 

Beauty: (With a faint laugh which disturbs only mo- 
mentarily the immobility of her lips) And will I like 
being called a jazz-baby? 

The Voice: (Soberly) You will love it. . . . 

(The dialogue ends here, with Beauty still sitting 
quietly f the stars pausing in an ecstasy of appre- 



30 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

ciation, the windj white and gusty ^ blowing through 
her hair. 
All this took place seven years before Anthony 
sat by the front windows of his apartment and 
listened to the chimes of St. Anne's.) 



CHAPTER II 
PORTRAIT OF A SIREN 

Crispness folded down upon New York a month 
later, bringing November and the three big football 
games and a great fluttering of furs along Fifth Avenue. 
It brought, also, a sense of tension to the city, and sup- 
pressed excitement. Every morning now there were 
invitations in Anthony's mail. Three dozen virtuous 
females of the first layer were proclaiming their fitness, 
if not their specific wiUingness, to bear children unto 
three dozen millionaires. Five dozen virtuous females 
of the second layer were proclaiming not only this fit- 
ness, but in addition a tremendous undaunted ambition 
toward the first three dozen young men, who were of 
course invited to each of the ninety-six parties — as 
were the young lady's group of family friends, acquain- 
tances, college boys, and eager young outsiders. To 
continue, there was a third layer from the skirts of the 
city, from Newark and the Jersey suburbs up to bitter 
Connecticut and the ineHgible sections of Long Island — 
and doubtless contiguous layers down to the city's 
shoes: Jewesses were coming out into a society of Jewish 
men and women, from Riverside to the Bronx, and look- 
ing forward to a rising young broker or jeweller and a 
kosher wedding; Irish girls were casting their eyes, with 
license at last to do so, upon a society of young Tam- 
many politicians, pious undertakers, and grown-up choir- 
boys. 

And, naturally, the city caught the contagious air 
of entre — the working girls, poor ugly souls, wrapping 

31 



32 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

soap in the factories and showing finery in the big stores, 
dreamed that perhaps in the spectacular excitement of 
this winter they might obtain for themselves the coveted 
male — as in a muddled carnival crowd an inefficient 
pickpocket may consider his chances increased. And 
the chimneys commenced to smoke and the subway's 
foulness was freshened. And the actresses came out in 
new plays and the publishers came out with new books 
and the Castles came out with new dances. And the 
railroads came out with new schedules containing new 
mistakes instead of the old ones that the commuters had 
grown used to. . . . 

The City was coming out ! 

Anthony, walking along Forty-second Street one 
afternoon under a steel-gray sky, ran unexpectedly into 
Richard Caramel emerging from the Manhattan Hotel 
barber-shop. It was a cold day, the first definitely cold 
day, and Caramel had on one of those knee-length, 
sheep-lined coats long worn by the working men of the 
Middle West, that were just coming into fashionable 
approval. His soft hat was of a discreet dark brown, 
and from under it his clear eye flamed like a topaz. 
He stopped Anthony enthusiastically, slapping him on 
the arms more from a desire to keep himself warm than 
from playfulness, and, after his inevitable hand-shake, 
exploded into sound. 

"Cold as the devil — Good Lord, IVe been working 
like the deuce all day till my room got so cold I thought 
I'd get pneimaonia. Darn landlady economizing on coal 
came up when I yelled over the stairs for her for half an 
hour. Began explaining why and all. God ! First she 
drove me crazy, then I began to think she was sort of a 
character, and took notes while she talked — so she 
couldn't see me, you know, just as though I were 
writing casually " 



PORTRAIT OF A SIREN 33 

He had seized Anthony's arm and was walking him 
briskly up Madison Avenue. 

''Where to?" 

''Nowhere in particular." 

"Well, then what's the use?" demanded Anthony. 

They stopped and stared at each other, and Anthony 
wondered if the cold made his own face as repellent as 
Dick Caramel's, whose nose was crimson, whose bulging 
brow was blue, whose yellow unmatched eyes were red 
and watery at the rims. After a moment they began 
walking again. 

"Done some good work on my novel." Dick was 
looking and talking emphatically at the sidewalk. "But 
I have to get out once in a while." He glanced at An- 
thony apologetically, as though craving encouragement. 
"I have to talk. I guess very few people ever really 
thinkj I mean sit down and ponder and have ideas in 
sequence. I do my thinking in writing or conversation. 
You've got to have a start, sort of — something to defend 
or contradict — don't you think?" 

Anthony grunted and withdrew his arm gently. 

"I don't mind carrying you, Dick, but with that 
coat " 

"I mean," continued Richafd Caramel gravely, "that 
on paper your first paragraph contains the idea you're 
going to damn or enlarge on. In conversation you've 
got your vis-a-vis's last statement — ^but when you simply 
ponder, why, your ideas just succeed each other like 
magic-lantern pictures and each one forces out the 
last." 

They passed Forty-fifth Street and slowed down 
slightly. Both of them lit cigarettes and blew tremen- 
dous clouds of smoke and frosted breath into the air. 

"Let's walk up to the Plaza and have an egg-nog," 
suggested Anthony. "Do you good. Air'll get the 



34 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

rotten nicotine out of your lungs. Come on — I'll let 
you talk about your book all the way.'' 

*'I don't want to if it bores you. I mean you needn't 
do it as a favor." The words tumbled out in haste, and 
though he tried to keep his face casual it screwed up 
uncertainly. Anthony was compelled to protest: "Bore 
me ? I should say not ! " 

"Got a cousin — " began Dick, but Anthony inter- 
rupted by stretching out his arms and breathing forth 
a low cry of exultation. 

"Good weather!" he exclaimed, "isn't it? Makes 
me feel about ten. I mean it makes me feel as I should 
have felt when I was ten. Murderous ! Oh, God ! one 
minute it's my world, and the next I'm the world's fool. 
To-day it's my world and everything's easy, easy. Even 
Nothing is easy ! " 

"Got a cousin up at the Plaza. Famous girl. We 
can go up and meet her. She lives there in the winter- 
has lately anyway — with her mother and father." 

"Didn't know you had cousins in New York." 

"Her name's Gloria. She's from home — Kansas City. 
Her mother's a practising Bilphist, and her father's quite 
dull but a perfect gentleman." 

" What are they ? Literary material ? " 

"They try to be. All the old man does is tell me he 
just met the most wonderful character for a novel. 
Then he tells me about some idiotic friend of his and 
then he says: ^There's a character for you ! Why don't 
you write him up ? Everybody'd be interested in him,^ 
Or else he tells me about Japan or Paris, or some other 
very obvious place, and says: *Why don't you write a 
story about that place? That'd be a wonderful setting 
for a story ! ' " 

"How about the girl?" inquired Anthony casually, 
"Gloria— Gloria what?" 



PORTRAIT OF A SIREN 35 

"Gilbert. Oh, you've heard of her — Gloria Gilbert. 
Goes to dances at colleges — all that sort of thing." 

"I've heard her name." 

"Good-looking — in fact damned attractive." 

They reached Fiftieth Street and turned over toward 
the Avenue. 

"I don't care for young girls as a rule," said Anthony, 
frowning. 

This was not strictly true. While it seemed to him 
that the average debutante spent every hour of her day 
thinking and talking about what the great world had 
mapped out for her to do during the next hour, any girl 
who made a Hving directly on her prettiness interested 
him enormously. 

"Gloria's darn nice — not a brain in her head." 

Anthony laughed in a one-syllabled snort. 

"By that you mean that she hasn't a line of literary 
patter." 

"No, I don't." 

"Dick, you know what passes as brains in a girl for 
you. Earnest young women who sit with you in a 
corner and talk earnestly about life. The kind who 
when they were sixteen argued with grave faces as to 
whether kissing was right or wrong — and whether it was 
immoral for freshmen to drink beer." 

Richard Caramel was offended. His scowl crinkled 
like crushed paper. 

"No — " he began, but Anthony interrupted ruthlessly. 

"Oh, yes; kind who just at present sit in corners and 
confer on the latest Scandinavian Dante available in 
English translation." 

Dick turned to him, a curious falling in his whole 
countenance. His question was almost an appeal. 

"What's the matter with you and Maury? You talk 
sometimes as though I were a sort of inferior." 



36 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Anthony was confused, but he was also cold and a 
little uncomfortable, so he took refuge in attack. 

"I don't think your brains matter, Dick." 

"Of course they matter!" exclaimed Dick angrily. 
''What do you mean? Why don't they matter?" 

"You might know too much for your pen." 

"I couldn't possibly." 

"I can imagine," insisted Anthony, "a man knowing 
too much for his talent to express. Like me. Suppose, 
for instance, I have more wisdom than you, and less 
talent. It would tend to make me inarticulate. You, 
on the contrary, have enough water to fill the pail and 
a big enough pail to hold the water." 

"I don't follow you at all," complained Dick in a 
crestfallen tone. Infinitely dismayed, he seemed to 
bulge in protest. He was staring intently at Anthony 
and carroming off a succession of passers-by, who re- 
proached him with fierce, resentful glances. 

"I simply mean that a talent like Wells's could carry 
the intelligence of a Spencer. But an inferior talent can 
only be graceful when it's carrying inferior ideas. And 
the more narrowly you can look at a thing the more 
entertaining you can be about it." 

Dick considered, unable to decide the exact degree of 
criticism intended by Anthony's remarks. But An- 
thony, with that facility which seemed so frequently to 
flow from him, continued, his dark eyes gleaming in his 
thin face, his chin raised, his voice raised, his whole 
physical being raised: 

"Say I am proud and sane and wise — an Athenian 
among Greeks. Well, I might fail where a lesser man 
would succeed. He could imitate, he could adorn, he 
could be enthusiastic, he could be hopefully construc- 
tive. But this hypothetical me would be too proud to 
imitate, too sane to be enthusiastic, too sophisticated to 
be Utopian, too Grecian to adorn." 



PORTRAIT OF A SIREN 37 

"Then you don't think the artist works from his in- 
telligence?" 

"No. He goes on improving, if he can, what he imi- 
tates in the way of style, and choosing from his own in- 
terpretation of the things around him what constitutes 
material. But after all every writer writes because it's 
his mode of Hving. Don't tell me you like this ^Divine 
function of the Artist' business?" 

"I'm not accustomed even to refer to myself as an 
artist." 

"Dick," said Anthony, changing his tone, "I want 
to beg your pardon." 

"Why?" 

"For that outburst. I'm honestly sorry. I was talk- 
ing for effect." 

Somewhat mollified, Dick rejoined: 

"I've often said you were a PhiHstine at heart." 

It was a crackling dusk when they turned in under 
the white f agade of the Plaza and tasted slowly the foam 
and yellow thickness of an egg-nog. Anthony looked at 
his companion. Richard Caramel's nose and brow were 
slowly approaching a like pigmentation; the red was 
leaving the one, the blue deserting the other. Glancing 
in a mirror, Anthony was glad to find that his own skin 
had not discolored. On the contrary, a faint glow had 
kindled in his cheeks— he fancied that he had never 
looked so well. 

"Enough for me," said Dick, his tone that of an ath- 
lete in training. "I want to go up and see the Gil- 
berts. Won't you come?" 

"Why — yes. If you don't dedicate me to the par- 
ents and dash off in the corner with Dora." 

"Not Dora— Gloria." 

A clerk announced them over the phone, and ascend- 
ing to the tenth floor they followed a winding corridor 



38 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

and knocked at 1088. The door was answered by a 
middle-aged lady — Mrs. Gilbert herself. 

"How do you do?'* She spoke in the conventional 
American lady-lady language. *'Well, I'm awiully 
glad to see you " 

Hasty interjections by Dick, and then: 

"Mr. Pats? Well, do come in, and leave your coat 
there." She pointed to a chair and changed her inflec- 
tion to a deprecatory laugh full of minute gasps. "This 
is really lovely — lovely. Why, Richard, you haven't 
been here for so long — no!— no!" The latter mono- 
syllables served half as responses, half as periods, to 
some vague starts from Dick. "Well, do sit down and 
tell me what you've been doing." 

One crossed and recrossed; one stood and bowed 
ever so gently; one smiled again and again with help- 
less stupidity; one wondered if she would ever sit down — 
at length one slid thankfully into a chair and settled 
for a pleasant call. 

"I suppose it's because youVe been busy — as much as 
anything else," smiled Mrs. Gilbert somewhat ambigu- 
ously. The "as much as anything else" she used to 
balance aU her more rickety sentences. She had two 
other ones: "at least that's the way I look at it" and 
''pure and simple" — these three, alternated, gave each 
of her remarks an air of being a general reflection on 
life, as though she had calculated all causes and, at 
length, put her finger on the ultimate one. 

Richard Caramel's face, Anthony saw, was now quite 
normal. The brow and cheeks were of a flesh color, 
the nose politely inconspicuous. He had fixed his aunt 
with the bright-yellow eye, giving her that acute and 
exaggerated attention that young males are accustomed 
to render to all females who are of no further value. 

"Are you a writer too, Mr. Pats? . . . Well, per- 



PORTRAIT OF A SIREN 39 

haps we can all bask in Richard's fame." — Gentle laugh- 
ter led by Mrs. Gilbert. 

^' Gloria's out," she said, with an air of laying down an 
axiom from which she would proceed to derive results. 
*' She's dancing somewhere. Gloria goes, goes, goes. 
I tell her I don't see how she stands it. She dances all 
afternoon and all night, until I think she's going to wear 
herself to a shadow. Her father is very worried about 
her." 

She smiled from one to the other. They both smiled. 

She was composed, Anthony perceived, of a succes- 
sion of semicircles and parabolas, like those figures that 
gifted folk make on the typewriter: head, arms, bust, 
hips, thighs, and ankles were in a bewildering tier of 
roundnesses. Well ordered and clean she was, with hair 
of an artificially rich gray; her large face sheltered 
weather-beaten blue eyes and was adorned with just 
the faintest white mustache. 

"I always say," she remarked to Anthony, *'that 
Richard is an ancient soul." 

In the tense pause that followed, Anthony considered 
a pun — something about Dick having been much walked 
upon. 

^'We all have souls of different ages," continued Mrs. 
Gilbert radiantly; "at least that's what I say." 

''Perhaps so," agreed Anthony with an- air of quicken- 
ing to a hopeful idea. The voice bubbled on: 

" Gloria has a very young soul — irresponsible, as much 
as anything else. She has no sense of responsibility." 

''She's sparkling. Aunt Catherine," said Richard 
pleasantly. "A sense of responsibility would spoil her. 
She's too pretty." 

"WeU," confessed Mrs. Gilbert, "all I know is that 
she goes and goes and goes " 

The number of goings to Gloria's discredit was lost 



40 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

in the rattle of the door-knob as it turned to admit 
Mr. Gilbert. 

He was a short man with a mustache resting like a 
small white cloud beneath his undistinguished nose. 
He had reached the stage where his value as a social 
creature was a black and imponderable negative. His 
ideas were the popular delusions of twenty years before; 
his mind steered a wabbly and anaemic course in the wake 
of the daily newspaper editorials. After graduating 
from a small but terrifying Western university, he had 
entered the celluloid business, and as this required only 
the minute measure of intelligence he brought to it, 
he did well for several years — in fact until about 191 1, 
when he began exchanging contracts for vague agree- 
ments with the moving-picture industry. The moving- 
picture industry had decided about 191 2 to gobble him 
up, and at this time he was, so to speak, delicately bal- 
anced on its tongue. Meanwhile he was supervising 
manager of the Associated Mid- western Film Materials 
Company, spending six months of each year in New 
York and the remainder in Kansas City and St. Louis. 
He felt credulously that there was a good thing coming 
to him — and his wife thought so, and his daughter 
thought so too. 

He disapproved of Gloria: she stayed out late, she 
never ate her meals, she was always in a mix-up — he 
had irritated her once and she had used toward him 
words that he had not thought were part of her vocabu- 
lary. His wife was easier. After fifteen years of in- 
cessant guerilla warfare he had conquered her — it was 
a war of muddled optimism against organized dulness, 
and something in the number of "yes's'' with which 
he could poison a conversation had won him the victory. 

"Yes-yes-yes-yes," he would say, "yes-yes-yes-yes. 
Let me see. That was the summer of — ^let me see — 
ninety-one or ninety- two — Yes-yes-yes-yes " 



PORTRAIT OF A SIREN 41 

Fifteen years of yes's had beaten Mrs. Gilbert. Fif- 
teen further years of that incessant unaffirmative affirma- 
tive, accompanied by the perpetual flicking of ash- 
mushrooms from thirty-two thousand cigars, had 
broken her. To this husband of hers she made the last 
concession of married Ufe, which is more complete, 
more irrevocable, than the first — she listened to him. 
She told herself that the years had brought her toler- 
ance — actually they had slain what measure she had 
ever possessed of moral courage. 

She introduced him to Anthony. 

"This is Mr. Pats," she said. 

The young man and the old touched flesh; Mr. Gil- 
bert's hand was soft, worn away to the pulpy sem- 
blance of a squeezed grapefruit. Then husband and 
wife exchanged greetings — he told her it had grown 
colder out; he said he had walked down to a news-stand 
on Forty-foil rth Street for a Kansas City paper. He 
had intended to ride back in the bus but he had found 
it too cold, yes, yes, yes, yes, too cold. 

Mrs. Gilbert added flavor to his adventure by being 
impressed with his courage in braving the harsh air. 

"Well, you are spunky!" she exclaimed admiringly. 
*'You are spunky. I wouldn't have gone out for any- 
thing." 

Mr. Gilbert with true masculine impassivity disre- 
garded the awe he had excited in his wife. He turned 
to the two young men and triumphantly routed them 
on the subject of the weather. Richard Caramel was 
called on to remember the month of November in Kan- 
sas. No sooner had the theme been pushed toward him, 
however, than it was violently fished back to be lingered 
over, pawed over, elongated, and generally devitalized 
by its sponsor. 

The immemorial thesis that the days somewhere were 
warm but the nights very pleasant was successfully pro- 



42 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

pounded and they decided the exact distance on an ob- 
scure railroad between two points that Dick had inad- 
vertently mentioned. Anthony fixed Mr. Gilbert with 
a steady stare and went into a trance through which, 
after a moment, Mrs. Gilbert's smiling voice pene- 
trated: 

"It seems as though the cold were damper here — it 
seems to eat into my bones." 

As this remark, adequately yessed, had been on the 
tip of Mr. Gilbert's tongue, he could not be blamed for 
rather abruptly changing the subject. 

'^Where's Gloria?" 

"She ought to be here any minute." 

*'Have you met my daughter, Mr. ?" 

"Haven't had the pleasure. I've heard Dick speak 
of her often." 

" She and Richard are cousins." 

"Yes?" Anthony smiled with some effort. He was 
not used to the society of his seniors, and his mouth 
was stiff from superfluous cheerfulness. It was such a 
pleasant thought about Gloria and Dick being cousins. 
He managed within the next minute to throw an ago- 
nized glance at his friend. 

Richard Caramel was afraid they'd have to toddle off. 

Mrs. Gilbert was tremendously sorry. 

Mr. Gilbert thought it was too bad. 

Mrs. Gilbert had a further idea — something about 
being glad they'd come, anyhow, even if they'd only 
seen an old lady 'way too old to flirt with them. An- 
thony and Dick evidently considered this a sly sally, for 
they laughed one bar in three-four time. 

Would they come again soon? 

"Oh, yes." 

Gloria would be awiully sorry ! 

"Good-by " 



PORTRAIT OF A SIREN 43 



"Good-by '' 

Smiles ! 

Smiles ! 

Bang ! 

Two disconsolate young men walking down the 
tenth-floor corridor of the Plaza in the direction of 
the elevator. 

A Lady's Legs 

Behind Maury Noble's attractive indolence, his ir- 
relevance and his easy mockery, lay a surprising and 
relentless maturity of purpose. His intention, as he 
stated it in college, had been to use three years in travel, 
three years in utter leisure — and then to become im- 
mensely rich as quickly as possible. 

His three years of travel were over. He had accom- 
plished the globe with an intensity and curiosity that in 
any one else would have seemed pedantic, without re- 
deeming spontaneity, almost the self-editing of a human 
Baedeker; but, in this case, it assumed an air of mysteri- 
ous purpose and significant design — as though Maury 
Noble were some predestined anti-Christ, urged by a 
preordination to go everywhere there was to go along 
the earth and to see all the billions of humans who 
bred and wept and slew each other here and there upon 
it. 

Back in America, he was sallying into the search for 
amusement with the same consistent absorption. He 
who had never taken more than a few cocktails or a 
pint of wine at a sitting, taught himself to drink as he 
would have taught himself Greek — like Greek it would 
be the gateway to a wealth of new sensations, new psychic 
states, new reactions in joy or misery. 

His habits were a matter for esoteric speculation. He 
had three rooms in a bachelor apartment on Forty- 



44 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

fourth Street, but he was seldom to be found there. The 
telephone girl had received the most positive instruc- 
tions that no one should even have his ear without first 
giving a name to be passed upon. She had a list of 
half a dozen people to whom he was never at home, and 
of the same number to whom he was always at home. 
Foremost on the latter list were Anthony Patch and 
Richard Caramel. 

Maury's mother lived with her married son in Phila- 
delphia, and there Maury went usually for the week- 
ends, so one Saturday night when Anthony, prowling 
the chilly streets in a fit of utter boredom, dropped in 
at the Molton Arms he was overjoyed to find that Mr. 
Noble was at home. 

His spirits soared faster than the flying elevator. 
This was so good, so extremely good, to be about to talk 
to Maury — ^who would be equally happy at seeing him. 
They would look at each other with a deep affection just 
behind their eyes which both would conceal beneath 
some attenuated raillery. Had it been summer they 
would have gone out together and indolently sipped two 
long Tom Collinses, as they wilted their collars and 
watched the faintly diverting round of some lazy August 
cabaret. But it was cold outside, with wind around the 
edges of the tall buildings and December just up the 
street, so better far an evening together under the soft 
lamplight and a drink or two of Bushmill's, or a thimble- 
ful of Maury's Grand Marnier, with the books gleaming 
like ornaments against the walls, and Maury radiating 
a divine inertia as he rested, large and catlike, in his 
favorite chair. 

There he was! The room closed about Anthony, 
warmed him. The glow of that strong persuasive mind, 
that temperament almost Oriental in its outward im- 
passivity, warmed Anthony's restless soul and brought 



PORTRAIT OF A SIREN 45 

him a peace that could be likened only to the peace a 
stupid woman gives. One must understand all — else 
one must take all for granted. Maury filled the room, 
tigerlike, godlike. The winds outside were stilled; the 
brass candlesticks on the mantel glowed like tapers be- 
fore an altar. 

'^What keeps you here to-day?" Anthony spread 
himself over a yielding sofa and made an elbow-rest 
among the pillows. 

*'Just been here an hour. Tea dance — and I stayed 
so late I missed my train to Philadelphia." 

^'Strange to stay so long," commented Anthony curi- 
ously. 

''Rather. What'd you do?" 

"Geraldine. Little usher at Keith's. I told you 
about her." 

"Oh!" 

"Paid me a call about three and stayed till five. 
Peculiar little soul — she gets me. She's so utterly 
stupid." 

Maury was silent. 

"Strange as it may seem," continued Anthony, "so 
far as I'm concerned, and even so far as I know, Geral- 
dine is a paragon of virtue." 

He had known her a month, a girl of nondescript and 
nomadic habits. Some one had casually passed her on 
to Anthony, who considered her amusing and rather 
liked the chaste and fairylike kisses she had given him 
on the third night of their acquaintance, when they had 
driven in a taxi through the Park. She had a vague 
family — a shadowy aunt and uncle who shared with her 
an apartment in the labyrinthine hundreds. She was 
company, familiar and faintly intimate and restful. 
Further than that he did not care to experiment — not 
from any moral compunction, but from a dread of allow- 



46 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

ing any entanglement to disturb what he felt was the 
.growing serenity of his life. 

"She has two stunts," he informed Maury; "one of 
them is to get her hair over her eyes some way and then 
blow it out, and the other is to say ^You cra-a-azy!' 
when some one makes a remark that's over her head. 
It fascinates me. I sit there hour after hour, completely 
intrigued by the maniacal symptoms she finds in my 
imagination." 

Maury stirred in his chair and spoke. 

"Remarkable that a person can comprehend so little 
and yet live in such a complex civilization. A woman 
like that actually takes the whole universe in the most 
matter-of-fact way. From the influence of Rousseau 
to the bearing of the tariff rates on her dinner, the whole 
phenomenon is utterly strange to her. She's just been 
carried along from an age of spearheads and plunked 
down here with the equipment of an archer for going 
into a pistol duel. You could sweep away the entire 
crust of history and she'd never know the difference." 

"I wish our Richard would write about her." 

"Anthony, surely you don't think she's worth writing 
about." 

"As much as anybody," he answered, yawning. 
"You know I was thinking to-day that I have a great 
confidence in Dick. So long as he sticks to people and 
not to ideas, and as long as his inspirations come from 
life and not from art, and always granting a normal 
growth, I believe he'll be a big man." 

"I should think the appearance of the black note- 
book would prove that he's going to life." 

Anthony raised himself on his elbow and answered 
eagerly: 

"He tries to go to life. So does every author except 
the very worst, but after all most of them live on pre- 



PORTRAIT OF A SIREN 47 

digested food. The incident or character may be from 
life, but the writer usually interprets it in terms of the 
last book he read. For instance, suppose he meets a 
sea-captain and thinks he's an original character. The 
truth is that he sees the resemblance between the sea- 
captain and the last sea-captain Dana created, or who- 
ever creates sea-captains, and therefore he knows how 
to set this sea-captain on paper. Dick, of course, can 
set down any consciously picturesque, character-like 
character, but could he accurately transcribe his own 
sister?'' 

Then they were off for half an hour 0:1 literature. 

"A classic," suggested Anthony, ^'is a successful book 
that has survived the reaction of the next period or 
generation. Then it's safe, like a style in architecture 
or furniture. It's acquired a picturesque dignity to 
take the place of its fashion. ..." 

After a time the subject temporarily lost its tang. 
The interest of the two young men was not particularly 
technical. They were in love with generalities. An- 
thony had recently discovered Samuel Butler and the 
brisk aphorisms in the note-book seemed to him the 
quintessence of criticism. Maury, his whole mind so 
thoroughly mellowed by the very hardness of his scheme 
of life, seemed inevitably the wiser of the two, yet in 
the actual stuff of their intelligences they were not, it 
seemed, fundamentally different. 

They drifted from letters to the curiosities of each 
other's day. 

''Whose tea was it?" 

''People named Abercrombie." 

" Why'd you stay late ? Meet a luscious debutante ? " 

"Yes." 

"Did you really?" Anthony's voice lifted in sur- 
prise. 



48 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

''Not a debutante exactly. Said she came out two 
winters ago in Kansas City." 

"Sort of left-over?" 

''No," answered Maury with some amusement, "I 
think that's the last thing I'd say about her. She 
seemed — well, somehow the youngest person there." 

"Not too young to make you miss a train." 

"Young enough. Beautiful child." 

Anthony chuckled in his one-syllable snort. 

"Oh, Maury, you're in your second childhood. What 
do you mean by beautiful?" 

Maury gazed helplessly into space. 

"Well, I can't describe her exactly — except to say 
that she was beautiful. She was — tremendously alive. 
She was eating gum-drops." 

"What!" 

"It was a sort of attenuated vice. She's a nervous 
kind — said she always ate gum-drops at teas because 
she had to stand around so long in one place." 

"What'd you talk about — Bergson? Bilphism? 
Whether the one-step is immoral?" 

Maury was unruffled; his fur seemed to run aU ways. 

"As a matter of fact we did talk on Bilphism. Seems 
her mother's a Bilphist. Mostly, though, we talked 
about legs." 

Anthony rocked in glee. 

"My God! Whose legs?" 

"Hers. She talked a lot about hers. As though they 
were a sort of choice bric-a-brac. She aroused a great 
desire to see them." 

"What is she — a dancer?" 

"No, I found she was a cousin of Dick's." 

Anthony sat upright so suddenly that the pillow he 
released stood on end like a Kve thing and dove to the 
floor. 



PORTRAIT OF A SIREN 49 

"Name's Gloria Gilbert?" he cried. 

"Yes. Isn't she remarkable?" 

"I'm sure I don't know — ^but for sheer dulness her 
father " 

"Well," interrupted Maury with implacable convic- 
tion, "her family may be as sad as professional mourn- 
ers but I'm inclined to think that she's a quite authentic 
and original character. The outer signs of the cut-and- 
dried Yale prom girl and all that — ^but different, very 
emphatically different." 

" Go on, go on ! " urged Anthony. " Soon as Dick told 
me she didn't have a brain in her head I knew she must 
be pretty good." 

"Did he say that?" 

"Swore to it," said Anthony with another snorting 
laugh. 

"Well, what he means by brains in a woman is " 

"I know," interrupted Anthony eagerly, "he means 
a smattering of literary misinformation." 

"That's it. The kind who believes that the annual 
moral let-down of the country is a very good thing or 
the kind who believes it's a very ominous thing. Either 
pince-nez or postures. Well, this girl talked about legs. 
She talked about skin too — ^her own skin. Always her 
own. She told me the sort of tan she'd like to get in 
the summer and how closely she usually approximated 
it." 

"You sat enraptured by her low alto?" 

"By her low alto! No, by tan! I began thinking 
about tan. I began to think what color I turned when 
I made my last exposure about two years ago. I did 
use to get a pretty good tan. I used to get a sort of 
bronze, if I remember rightly." 

Anthony retired into the cushions, shaken with laugh- 
ter. 



so THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

" She's got you going — oh, Maury ! Maury the Con- 
necticut life-saver. The human nutmeg. Extra! 
Heiress elopes with coast-guard because of his luscious 
pigmentation! Afterward found to be Tasmanian 
strain in his family!" 

Maury sighed; rising he walked to the window and 
raised the shade. 

'* Snowing hard." 

Anthony, still laughing quietly to himself, made no 
answer. 

*' Another winter." Maury's voice from the window 
was almost a whisper. "We're growing old, Anthony. 
I'm twenty-seven, by God ! Three years to thirty, and 
then I'm what an undergraduate calls a middle-aged 
man." 

Anthony was silent for a moment. 

"You are old, Maury," he agreed at length. "The 
first signs of a very dissolute and wabbly senescence — 
you have spent the afternoon talking about tan and a 
lady's legs." 

Maury pulled down the shade with a sudden harsh 
snap. 

"Idiot!" he cried, "that from you! Here I sit, 
young Anthony, as I'll sit for a generation or more and 
watch such gay souls as you and Dick and Gloria Gil- 
bert go past me, dancing and singing and loving and 
hating one another and being moved, being eternally 
moved. And I am moved only by my lack of emotion. 
I shall sit and the snow will come — oh, for a Caramel to 
take notes — and another winter and I shall be thirty 
and you and Dick and Gloria will go on being eternally 
moved and dancing by me and singing. But after 
you've all gone I'll be saying things for new Dicks to 
write down, and listening to the disillusions and cyni- 
cisms and emotions of new Anthonys — ^yes, and talk- 



PORTRAIT OF A SIREN 51 

ing to new Glorias about the tans of summers yet to 
come." 

The firelight flurried up on the hearth. Maury left 
the window, stirred the blaze with a poker, and dropped 
a log upon the andirons. Then he sat back in his chair 
and the remnants of his voice faded in the new fire 
that spit red and yellow along the bark. 

^' After all, Anthony, it's you who are very romantic 
and young. It's you who are infinitely more suscepti- 
ble and afraid of your calm being broken. It's me who 
tries again and again to be moved — let myself go a 
thousand times and I'm always me. Nothing — quite — • 
stirs me. 

"Yet," he murmured after another long pause, "there 
was something about that little girl with her absurd tan 
that was eternally old — like me." 

Turbulence 

Anthony turned over sleepily in his bed, greeting a 
patch of cold sun on his counterpane, crisscrossed with 
the shadows of the leaded window. The room was full 
of morning. The carved chest in the corner, the an- 
cient and inscrutable wardrobe, stood about the room 
like dark symbols of the obliviousness of matter; only 
the rug was beckoning and perishable to his perishable 
feet, and Bounds, horribly inappropriate in his soft col- 
lar, was of stuff as fading as the gauze of frozen breath he 
uttered. He was close to the bed, his hand still lowered 
where he had been jerking at the upper blanket, his dark- 
brown eyes fixed imperturbably upon his master. 

"Bows!" muttered the drowsy god. "Thachew, 
Bows?" 

"It's I, sir." 

Anthony moved his head, forced his eyes wide, and 
blinked triumphantly. 



52 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

"Bounds." 

"Yes, sir?'' 

"Can you get off — yeow-ow-oh-oh-oh God! — '' An- 
thony yawned insufferably and the contents of his 
brain seemed to fall together in a dense hash. He 
made a fresh start. 

"Can you come around about four and serve some 
tea and sandwiches or something?" 

"Yes, sir." 

Anthony considered with chilling lack of inspiration. 

"Some sandwiches," he repeated helplessly, "oh, some 
cheese sandwiches and jelly ones and chicken and olive, 
I guess. Never mind breakfast." 

The strain of invention was too much. He shut his 
eyes wearily, let his head roll to rest inertly, and quickly 
relaxed what he had regained of muscular control. 
Out of a crevice of his mind crept the vague but inevi- 
table spectre of the night before — ^but it proved in this 
case to be nothing but a seemingly interminable con- 
versation with Richard Caramel, who had called on him 
at midnight; they had drunk four bottles of beer and 
munched dry crusts of bread while Anthony listened to 
a reading of the first part of "The Demon Lover." 

— Came a voice now after many hours. Anthony 
disregarded it, as sleep closed over him, folded down 
upon him, crept up into the byways of his mind. 

Suddenly he was awake, saying: "What?" 

"For how many, sir?" It was still Bounds, standing 
patient and motionless at the foot of the bed — Bounds 
who divided his manner among three gentlemen. 

"How many what?" 

"I think, sir, I'd better know how many are coming. 
I'll have to plan for the sandwiches, sir." 

"Two," muttered Anthony huskily; "lady and a 
gentleman." 



PORTRAIT OF A SIREN 53 

Bounds said, "Thank you, sir," and moved away, 
bearing with him his humiliating reproachful soft collar, 
reproachful to each of the three gentlemen, who only 
demanded of him a third. 

After a long time Anthony arose and drew an opales- 
cent dressing-gown of brown and blue over his slim 
pleasant figure. With a last yawn he went into the 
bathroom, and turning on the dresser light (the bathroom 
had no outside exposure) he contemplated himself in 
the mirror with some interest. A wretched apparition, 
he thought; he usually thought so in the morning — 
sleep made his face unnaturally pale. He lit a cigarette 
and glanced through several letters and the morning 
Tribune. 

An hour later, shaven and dressed, he was sitting at 
his desk looking at a small piece of paper he had taken 
out of his wallet. It was scrawled with semilegible 
memoranda: "See Mr. Howland at five. Get hair-cut. 
See about Rivers' bill. Go book-store." 

— ^And under the last: "Cash in bank, $690 (crossed 
out), $612 (crossed out), $607." 

Finally, down at the bottom and in a hurried scrawl: 
"Dick and Gloria Gilbert for tea." 

This last item brought him obvious satisfaction. His 
day, usually a jelly-like creature, a shapeless, spineless 
thing, had attained Mesozoic structure. It was march- 
ing along surely, even jauntily, toward a climax, as a 
play should, as a day should. He dreaded the moment 
when the backbone of the day should be broken, when 
he should have met the girl at last, talked to her, and 
then bowed her laughter out the door, returning only 
to the melancholy dregs in the teacups and the gather- 
ing staleness of the uneaten sandwiches. 

There was a growing lack of color in Anthony's days. 
He felt it constantly and sometimes traced it to a talk 



54 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

he had had with Maury Noble a month before. That 
anything so ingenuous, so priggish, as a sense of waste 
should oppress him was absurd, but there was no deny- 
ing the fact that some unwelcome survival of a fetich 
had drawn him three weeks before down to the public 
Hbrary, where, by the token of Richard Caramel's card, 
he had drawn out half a dozen books on the Italian 
Renaissance. That these books were still piled on his 
desk in the original order of carriage, that they were 
daily increasing his liabilities by twelve cents, was no 
mitigation of their testimony. They were cloth and 
morocco witnesses to the fact of his defection. Anthony 
had had several hours of acute and startling panic. 

In justification of his manner of living there was first, 
of course, The Meaninglessness of Life. As aides and 
ministers, pages and squires, butlers and lackeys to this 
great Khan there were a thousand books glowing on his 
shelves, there was his apartment and all the money that 
was to be his when the old man up the river should choke 
on his last morality. From a world fraught with the 
menace of debutantes and the stupidity of many Geral- 
dines he was thankfully delivered — rather should he emu- 
late the feline immobility of Maury and wear proudly 
the culminative wisdom of the numbered generations. 

Over and against these things was something which 
his brain persistently analyzed and dealt with as a tire- 
some complex but which, though logically disposed of 
and bravely trampled under foot, had sent him out 
through the soft slush of late November to a library 
which had none of the books he most wanted. It is fair 
to analyze Anthony as far as he could analyze himself; 
further than that it is, of course, presumption. He 
found in himself a growing horror and loneliness. The 
idea of eating alone frightened him; in preference he 
dined often with men he detested. Travel, which had 



PORTRAIT OF A SIREN 55 

once charmed him, seemed, at length, unendurable, a 
business of color without substance, a phantom chase 
after his own dream's shadow. 

— If I am essentially weak, he thought, I need work 
to do, work to do. It worried him to think that he was, 
after all, a facile mediocrity, with neither the poise of 
Maury nor the enthusiasm of Dick. It seemed a 
tragedy to want nothing — and yet he wanted something, 
something. He knew in flashes what it was — some path 
of hope to lead him toward what he thought was an 
imminent and ominous old age. 

After cocktails and luncheon at the University Club 
Anthony felt better. He had run into two men from 
his class at Harvard, and in contrast to the gray heavi- 
ness of their conversation his life assumed color. Both 
of them were married: one spent his coffee time in sketch- 
ing an extra-nuptial adventure to the bland and appre- 
ciative smiles of the other. Both of them, he thought, 
were Mr. Gilberts in embryo; the number of their ^' yes's" 
would have to be quadrupled, their natures crabbed by 
twenty years — then they would be no more than ob- 
solete and broken machines, pseudo-wise and valueless, 
nursed to an utter senility by the women they had 
broken. 

Ah, he was more than that, as he paced the long carpet 
in the lounge after dinner, pausing at the window to 
look into the harried street. He was Anthony Patch, 
brilliant, magnetic, the heir of many years and many 
men. This was his world now — and that last strong 
irony he craved lay in the offing. 

With a stray boyishness he saw himself a power upon 
the earth; with his grandfather's money he might build 
his own pedestal and be a Talleyrand, a Lord Verulam. 
The clarity of his mind, its sophistication, its versatile 
intelligence, all at their maturity and dominated by 



56 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

some purpose yet to be born would find him work to do. 
On this minor his dream faded — work to do: he tried 
to imagine himself in Congress rooting around in the 
litter of that incredible pigsty with the narrow and por- 
cine brows he saw pictured sometimes in the rotogravure 
sections of the Sunday newspapers, those glorified pro- 
letarians babbling blandly to the nation the ideas of 
high-school seniors ! Little men with copy-book ambi- 
tions who by mediocrity had thought to emerge from 
mediocrity into the lustreless and unromantic heaven 
of a government by the people — and the best, the dozen 
shrewd men at the top, egotistic and cynical, were con- 
tent to lead this choir of white ties and wire collar- 
buttons in a discordant and amazing hymn, com- 
pounded of a vague confusion between wealth as a re- 
ward of virtue and wealth as a proof of vice, and con- 
tinued cheers for God, the Constitution, and the Rocky 
Mountains ! 

Lord Verulam ! Talle3T:and ! 

Back in his apartment the gra)mess returned. His 
cocktails had died, making him sleepy, somewhat be- 
fogged and inclined to be surly. Lord Verulam — he? 
The very thought was bitter. Anthony Patch with no 
record of achievement, without courage, without strength 
to be satisfied with truth when it was given him. Oh, 
he was a pretentious fool, making careers out of cock- 
tails and meanwhile regretting, weakly and secretly, the 
collapse of an insuflBicient and wretched idealism. He 
had garnished his soul in the subtlest taste and now he 
longed for the old rubbish. He was empty, it seemed, 
empty as an old bottle 

The buzzer rang at the door. Anthony sprang up 
and lifted the tube to his ear. It was Richard Caramel's 
voice, stilted and facetious: 

"Announcing Miss Gloria Gilbert." 



PORTRAIT OF A SIREN 57 

The Beautiful Lady 

"How do you do?" he said, smiling and holding the 
door ajar. 

Dick bowed. 

"Gloria, this is Anthony." 

"Well !" she cried, holding out a little gloved hand. 

Under her fur coat her dress was AHce-blue, with white 
lace crinkled stiffly about her throat. 

"Let me take your things." 

Anthony stretched out his arms and the brown mass 
of fur tmnbled into them. 

"Thanks." 

"What do you think of her, Anthony?" Richard 
Caramel demanded barbarously. "Isn't she beautiful ? " 

"Well!" cried the girl defiantly — withal unmoved. 

She was dazzling — alight; it was agony to comprehend 
her beauty in a glance. Her hair, full of a heavenly 
glamour, was gay against the winter color of the room. 

Anthony moved about, magician-like, turning the 
mushroom lamp into an orange glory. The stirred fire 
burnished the copper andirons on the hearth ■ 

"I'm a solid block of ice," murmured Gloria casually, 
glancing around with eyes whose irises were of the most 
delicate and transparent bluish white. "What a slick 
fire ! We found a place where you could stand on an 
iron-bar grating, sort of, and it blew warm air up at 
you — ^but Dick wouldn't wait there with me. I told him 
to go on alone and let me be happy." 

Conventional enough this. She seemed talking for 
her own pleasure, without effort. Anthony, sitting at 
one end of the sofa, examined her profile against the fore- 
ground of the lamp: the exquisite regularity of nose and 
upper lip, the chin, faintly decided, balanced beauti- 
fully on a rather short neck. On a photograph she must 



S8 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

have been completely classical, almost cold — but the 
glow of her hair and cheeks, at once flushed and fragile, 
made her the most living person he had ever seen. 

"... Think youVe got the best name I've heard," 
she was saying, still apparently to herself; her glance 
rested on him a moment and then flitted past him — to 
the Italian bracket-lamps clinging like luminous yellow 
turtles at intervals along the walls, to the books row 
upon row, then to her cousin on the other side. "An- 
thony Patch. Only you ought to look sort of like a 
horse, with a long narrow face — and you ought to be 
in tatters." 

"That's all the Patch part, though. How should 
Anthony look?" 

"You look like Anthony," she assured him seri- 
ously — ^he thought she had scarcely seen him — "rather 
majestic," she continued, "and solemn." 

Anthony indulged in a disconcerted smile. 

"Only I like alliterative names," she went on, "all 
except mine. Mine's too flamboyant. I used to know 
two girls named Jinks, though, and just think if they'd 
been named anything except what they were named — 
Judy Jinks and Jerry Jinks. Cute, what? Don't you 
think?" Her childish mouth was parted, awaiting a re- 
joinder. 

"Everybody in the next generation," suggested Dick, 
"will be named Peter or Barbara — because at present 
all the piquant Hterary characters are named Peter or 
Barbara." 

Anthony continued the prophecy: 

"Of course Gladys and Eleanor, having graced the 
last generation of heroines and being at present in their 
social prime, will be passed on to the next generation 
of shop-girls " 

"Displacing Ella and Stella," interrupted Dick. 



PORTRAIT OF A SIREN 59 

"And Pearl and Jewel/ ^ Gloria added cordially, 
"and Earl and Elmer and Minnie." 

"And then I'll come along," remarked Dick, "and 
picking up the obsolete name, Jewel, I'll attach it to 
some quaint and attractive character and it'll start its 
career all over again." 

Her voice took up the thread of subject and wove 
along with faintly upturning, half-humorous intona- 
tions for sentence ends — as though defying interrup- 
tion — and intervals of shadowy laughter. Dick had 
told her that Anthony's man was named Bounds — she 
thought that was wonderful ! Dick had made some sad 
pun about Bounds doing patchwork, but if there was 
one thing worse than a pun, she said, it was a person 
who, as the inevitable come-back to a pun, gave the 
perpetrator a mock-reproachful look. 

"Where are you from?" inquired Anthony. He 
knew, but beauty had rendered him thoughtless. 

"Kansas City, Missouri." 

"They put her out the same time they barred cig- 
arettes." 

"Did they bar cigarettes? I see the hand of my holy 
grandfather." 

"He's a reformer or something, isn't he?" 

"I blush for him." 

"So do I," she confessed. "I detest reformers, espe- 
cially the sort who try to reform me." 

"Are there many of those?" 

"Dozens. It's 'Oh, Gloria, if you smoke so many 
cigarettes you'll lose your pretty complexion!' and 
'Oh, Gloria, why don't you marry and settle down?'" 

Anthony agreed emphatically while he wondered who 
had had the temerity to speak thus to such a personage. 

"And then," she continued, "there are all the subtle 
reformers who tell you the wild stories they've heard 



6o THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

about you and how they've been sticking up for 
you." 

He saw, at length, that her eyes were gray, very 
level and cool, and when they rested on him he under- 
stood what Maury had meant by saying she was very 
young and very old. She talked always about herself 
as a very charming child might talk, and her comments 
on her tastes and distastes were unaffected and spon- 
taneous. 

^'I must confess," said Anthony gravely, "that even 
/'ve heard one thing about you." 

Alert at once, she sat up straight. Those eyes, with 
the grayness and eternity of a cHff of soft granite, caught 
his. 

"Tell me. I'll believe it. I always believe anything 
any one tells me about myself — don't you?" 

"Invariably!" agreed the two men in unison. 

"WeU, tell me." 

"I'm not sure that I ought to," teased Anthony, 
smiling unwillingly. She was so obviously interested, 
in a state of almost laughable self-absorption. 

"He means your nickname," said her cousin. 

"What name?" inquired Anthony, poHtely puzzled. 

Instantly she was shy — then she laughed, rolled back 
against the cushions, and turned her eyes up as she 
spoke: 

" Coast-to-Coast Gloria." Her voice was full of 
laughter, laughter undefined as the varying shadows 
playing between fire and lamp upon her hair. "O 
Lord!" 

Still Anthony was puzzled. 

"What do you mean?" 

"Ife, I mean. That's what some silly boys coined 
for we." 

"Don't you see, Anthony," explained Dick, "travel- 



PORTRAIT OF A SIREN 6i 

ler of nation-wide notoriety and all that. Isn't that 
what you've heard ? She's been called that for years — ► 
since she was seventeen." 

Anthony's eyes became sad and humorous. 

*' Who's this female Methuselah you've brought in 
here, Caramel?" 

She disregarded this, possibly rather resented it, for 
she switched back to the main topic. 

"What have you heard of me?" 

*' Something about your physique." 

**0h," she said, coolly disappointed, "that all?" 

"Your tan." 

"My tan?" She was puzzled. Her hand rose to her 
throat, rested there an instant as though the fingers 
were feeling variants of color. 

"Do you remember Maury Noble? Man you met 
about a month ago. You made a great impression." 

She thought a moment. 

"I remember — but he didn't call me up." 

"He was afraid to, I don't doubt." 

It was black dark without now and Anthony won- 
dered that his apartment had ever seemed gray — so 
warm and friendly were the books and pictures on the 
walls and the good Bounds offering tea from a respectful 
shadow and the three nice people giving out waves of 
interest and laughter back and forth across the happy 
fire. 

Dissatisfaction 

On Thursday afternoon Gloria and Anthony had tea 
together in the grill-room at the Plaza. Her fur-trimmed 
suit was gray — "because with gray you have to wear a 
lot of paint," she explained — and a small toque sat 
rakishly on her head, allowing yellow ripples of hair to 
wave out in jaunty glory. In the higher Hght it seemed 



62 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

to Anthony that her personality was infinitely softer — 
she seemed so young, scarcely eighteen; her form under 
the tight sheath, known then as a hobble-skirt, was 
amazingly supple and slender, and her hands, neither 
*' artistic'* nor stubby, were small as a child's hands 
should be. 

As they entered, the orchestra were sounding the pre- 
liminary whimpers to a maxixe, a tune full of castanets 
and facile faintly languorous violin harmonies, appro- 
priate to the crowded winter grill teeming with an ex- 
cited college crowd, high-spirited at the approach of the 
holidays. Carefully, Gloria considered several loca- 
tions, and rather to Anthony's annoyance paraded him 
circuitously to a table for two at the far side of the room. 
Reaching it she again considered. Would she sit on 
the right or on the left? Her beautiful eyes and lips 
were very grave as she made her choice, and Anthony 
thought again how naive was her every gesture; she 
took all the things of life for hers to choose from and 
apportion, as though she were continually picking out 
presents for herself from an inexhaustible counter. 

Abstractedly she watched the dancers for a few mo- 
ments, commenting murmurously as a couple eddied 
near. 

"There's a pretty girl in blue" — and as Anthony 
looked obediently — "there! No. behind you — there!" 

"Yes," he agreed helplessly. 

"You didn't see her." 

"I'd rather look at you." 

"I know, but she was pretty. Except that she had 
big ankles." 

"Was she? — I mean, did she?" he said indifferently. 

A girl's salutation came from a couple dancing close 
to them. 

"Hello, Gloria! O Gloria!" 



PORTRAIT OF A SIREN 63 

"HeUo there." 

"Who's that?" he demanded. 

"I don't know. Somebody." She caught sight of 
another face. "Hello, Muriel!" Then to Anthony: 
"There's Muriel Kane. Now I think she's attractive, 
'cept not very." 

Anthony chuckled appreciatively. 

"Attractive, 'cept not very," he repeated. 

She smiled — was interested immediately. 

"Why is that funny?" Her tone was pathetically 
intent. 

"It just was." 

"Do you want to dance?" 

"Do you?" 

"Sort of. But let's sit," she decided. 

"And talk about you? You love to talk about you, 
don't you?" 

"Yes." Caught in a vanity, she laughed. 

"I imagine your autobiography would be a classic." 

"Dick says I haven't got one." 

"Dickl" he exclaimed. "What does he know about 
you?" 

* ' Nothing. But he says the biography of every woman 
begins with the first kiss that counts, and ends when her 
last child is laid in her arms." 

"He's talking from his book." 

"He says unloved women have no biographies — they 
have histories." 

Anthony laughed again. 

"Surely you don't claim to be unloved!" 

"Well, I suppose not." 

"Then why haven't you a biography? Haven't you 
ever had a kiss that counted?" As the words left his 
lips he drew in his breath sharply as though to suck 
them back. This baby! 



64 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

"I don't know what you mean 'counts/ " she objected. 

"I wish you'd tell me how old you are." 

"Twenty- two," she said, meeting his eyes gravely. 
"How old did you think?" 

"About eighteen." 

"I'm going to start being that. I don't like being 
twenty-two. I hate it more than anything in the 
world." 

"Being twenty-two?" 

"No. Getting old and everything. Getting mar- 
ried." 

"Don't you ever want to marry?" 

"I don't want to have responsibility and a lot of chil- 
dren to take care of." 

Evidently she did not doubt that on her lips all 
things were good. He waited rather breathlessly for 
her next remark, expecting it to follow up her last. She 
was smiling, without amusement but pleasantly, and 
after an interval half a dozen words fell into the space 
between them: 

"I wish I had some gum-drops." 

"You shall!" He beckoned to a waiter and sent 
him to the cigar counter. 

"D'you mind? I love gum-drops. Everybody kids 
me about it because I'm always whacking away at one — 
whenever my daddy's not around." 

"Not at all. — ^Wlio are all these children?" he asked 
suddenly. "Do you know them all?" 

"Why — ^no, but they're from — oh, from everywhere, 
I suppose. Don't you ever come here?" 

"Very seldom. I don't care particularly for 'nice 
girls.'" 

Immediately he had her attention. She turned a 
definite shoulder to the dancers, relaxed in her chair, 
and demanded: 



PORTRAIT OF A SIREN 65 

"What do you do with yourself ?'' 

Thanks to a cocktail Anthony welcomed the question. 
In a mood to talk, he wanted, moreover, to impress this 
girl whose interest seemed so tantaHzingly elusive — she 
stopped to browse in unexpected pastures, hurried quickly 
over the inobviously obvious. He wanted to pose. He 
wanted to appear suddenly to her in novel and heroic 
colors. He wanted to stir her from that casualness she 
showed toward everything except herself. 

"I do nothing," he began, realizing simultaneously 
that his words were to lack the debonair grace he craved 
for them. "I do nothing, for there's nothing I can do 
that's worth doing.'' 

''Well?" He had neither surprised her nor even held 
her, yet she had certainly understood him, if indeed he 
had said aught worth understanding. 

''Don't you approve of lazy men?" 

She nodded. 

''I suppose so, if they're gracefully lazy. Is that pos- 
sible for an American ? " 

''Why not?" he demanded, discomfited. 

But her mind had left the subject and wandered up 
ten floors. 

" My daddy's mad at me," she observed dispassionately. 

"Why? But I want to know just why it's impossible 
for an Amgican to be gracefully idle" — ^his words gath- 
ered conviction — "it astonishes me. It — ^it — I don't 
understand why people think that every young man 
ought to go down-town and work ten hours a day for 
the best twenty years of his life at dull, imimaginative 
work, certainly not altruistic work." 

He broke off. She watched him inscrutably. He 
waited for her to agree or disagree, but she did neither. 

"Don't y6u ever form judgments on things?" he 
asked with some exasperation. 



66 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

She shook her head and her eyes wandered back to 
the dancers as she answered: 

*'I don't know. I don't know anything about — what 
you should do, or what anybody should do." 

She confused him and hindered the flow of his ideas. 
Self-expression had never seemed at once so desirable 
and so impossible. 

"Well," he admitted apologetically, "neither do I, 
of course, but " 

"I just think of people," she continued, "whether 
they seem right where they are and fit into the picture. 
I don't mind if they don't do anything. I don't see why 
they should; in fact it always astonishes me when any- 
body does anything." 

"You don't want to do anything?" 

"I want to sleep." 

For a second he was startled, almost as though she 
had meant this literally. 

"Sleep?" 

" Sort of. I want to just be lazy and I want some of 
the people around me to be doing things, because that 
makes me feel comfortable and safe — and I want some 
of them to be doing nothing at all, because they can be 
graceful and companionable for me. But I never want 
to change people or get excited over them." 

"You're a quaint little determinist," laughed Anthony. 
"It's your world, isn't it?" 

"Well — " she said with a quick upward glance, "isn't 
it? As long as I'm — ^young." 

She had paused slightly before the last word and An- 
thony suspected that she had started to say "beautiful." 
It was imdeniably what she had intended. 

Her eyes brightened and he waited for her to enlarge 
on the theme. He had drawn her out, at any rate — he 
bent forward slightly to catch the words. 

But "Let's dance!" was all she said. 



PORTRAIT OF A SIREN 67 

Admiration 

That winter afternoon at the Plaza was the first of 
a succession of "dates'* Anthony made with her in the 
blurred and stimulating days before Christmas. In- 
variably she was busy. What particular strata of the 
city's social life claimed her he was a long time finding 
out. It seemed to matter very little. She attended the 
semi-public charity dances at the big hotels; he saw her 
several times at dinner-parties in Sherry's, and once as 
he waited for her to dre-s, Mrs. Gilbert, apropos of her. 
daughter's habit of "going," rattled off an amazing 
holiday programme that included half a dozen dances 
to which Anthony had received cards. 

He made engagements with her several times for 
lunch and tea — the former were hurried and, to him at 
least, rather unsatisfactory occasions, for she was sleepy- 
eyed and casual, incapable of concentrating upon any- 
thing or of giving consecutive attention to his remarks. 
When after two of these sallow meals he accused her of 
tendering him the skin and bones of the day she laughed 
and gave him a tea-time three days off. This was infi- 
nitely more satisfactory. 

One Sunday afternoon just before Christmas he 
called up and found her in the lull directly after some 
important but mysterious quarrel: she informed him in 
a tone of mingled wrath and amusement that she had 
sent a man out of her apartment — ^here Anthony specu- 
lated violently — and that the man had been giving a 
little dinner for her that very night and that of course 
she wasn't going. So Anthony took her to supper. 

"Let's go to something I" she proposed as they went 
down in the elevator. " I want to see a show, don't you ? " 

Inquiry at the hotel ticket-desk disclosed only two 
Sunday-night "concerts." 



68 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

"They're always the same," she complained un- 
happily, "same old Yiddish comedians. Oh, let's go 
somewhere ! " 

To conceal a guilty suspicion that he should have 
arranged a performance of some kind for her approval 
Anthony affected a knowing cheerfulness. 

"We'll go to a good cabaret." 

"I've seen every one in town." 

"Well, we'll find a new one." 

She was in wretched humor; that was evident. Her 
gray eyes were granite now indeed. When she wasn't 
speaking she stared straight in front of her as if at 
some distasteful abstraction in the lobby. 

"Well, come on, then." 

He followed her, a graceful girl even in her enveloping 
fur, out to a taxicab, and, with an air of having a definite 
place in mind, instructed the driver to go over to Broad- 
way and then turn south. He made several casual at- 
tempts at conversation but as she adopted an impen- 
etrable armor of silence and answered him in sen- 
tences as morose as the cold darkness of the taxicab 
he gave up, and assimiing a like mood fell into a dim 
gloom. 

A dozen blocks down Broadway Anthony's eyes were 
caught by a large and unfamiHar electric sign spelHng 
"Marathon" in glorious yellow script, adorned with 
electrical leaves and flowers that alternately vanished 
and beamed upon the wet and glistening street. He 
leaned and rapped on the taxi-window, and in a moment 
was receiving information from a colored doorman: 
Yes, this was a cabaret. Fine cabaret. Bes' showina 
city! 

"Shall we try it?" 

With a sigh Gloria tossed her cigarette out the open 
door and prepared to follow it; then they had passed 



PORTRAIT OF A SIREN 69 

under the screaming sign, under the wide portal, and 
up by a stuffy elevator into this unsung palace of 
pleasure. 

The gay habitats of the very rich and the very poor, 
the very dashing and the very criminal, not to mention 
the lately exploited very Bohemian, are made known to 
the awed high-school girls of Augusta, Georgia, and Red- 
wing, Minnesota, not only through the bepictured and 
entrancing spreads of the Sunday theatrical supple- 
ments but through the shocked and alarmful eyes of 
Mr. Rupert Hughes and other chroniclers of the mad 
pace of Amerira. But the excursions of Harlem onto 
Broadway, the deviltries of the dull and the revelries 
of the respectable are a matter of esoteric knowledge 
only to the participants themselves. 

A tip circulates — and in the place knowingly men- 
tioned, gather the lower moral-classes on Saturday and 
Sunday nights — the Httle troubled men who are pic- 
tured in the comics as *^the Consumer" or "the Public," 
They have made sure that the place has three qualifica- 
tions: it is cheap; it imitates with a sort of shoddy and 
mechanical wistfulness the glittering antics of the great 
cafes in the theatre district; and — this, above all, im- 
portant — it is a place where they can "take a nice girl," 
which means, of course, that every one has become 
equally harmless, timid, and uninteresting through lack 
of money and imagination. 

There on Sunday nights gather the credulous, sen- 
timental, underpaid, overworked people with hyphe- 
nated occupations: book-keepers, ticket-sellers, office- 
managers, salesmen, and, most of all, clerks — clerks of 
the express, of the mail, of the grocery, of the brokerage, 
of the bank. With them are their giggling, over- 
gestured, pathetically pretentious women, who grow 
fat with tiem, bear them too many babies, and float 



70 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

helpless and uncontent in a colorless sea of drudgery 
and broken hopes. 

They name these bnmunagem cabarets after Pull- 
man cars. The "Marathon" ! Not for them the sala- 
cious similes borrowed from the cafes of Paris! This 
is where their docile patrons bring their " nice women," 
whose starved fancies are only too willing to believe 
that the scene is comparatively gay and joyous, and 
even faintly immoral. This is life ! Who cares for the 
morrow ? 

Abandoned people ! 

Anthony and Gloria, seated, looked about them. At 
the next table a party of four were in process of being 
joined by a party of three, two men and a girl, who were 
evidently late — and the manner of the girl was a study 
in national sociology. She was meeting some new men^ 
and she was pretending desperately. By gesture she 
was pretending and by words and by the scarcely per- 
ceptible motionings of her eyelids that she belonged to 
a class a Httle superior to the class with which she now 
had to do, that a while ago she had been, and presently 
would again be, in a higher, rarer air. She was almost 
painfully refined — she wore a last year's hat covered 
with violets no more yearningly pretentious and palpa- 
bly artificial than herself. 

Fascinated, Anthony and Gloria watched the girl sit 
down and radiate the impression that she was only 
condescendingly present. For me, her eyes said, this 
is practically a slumming expedition, to be cloaked with 
belittling laughter and semi-apologetics. 

— ^And the other women passionately poured out the 
impression that though they were in the crowd they were 
not of it. This was not the sort of place to which they 
were accustomed; they had dropped in because it was 
near by and convenient — every party in the restaurant 



PORTRAIT OF A SIREN 71 

poured out that impression . . . who knew? They 
were forever changing class, all of them — the women 
often marrying above their opportunities, the men strik- 
ing suddenly a magnificent opulence: a suflSciently pre- 
posterous advertising scheme, a celestialized ice-cream 
cone. Meanwhile, they met here to eat, closing their 
eyes to the economy displayed in iD frequent changings 
of table-cloths, in the casualness of the cabaret per- 
formers, most of all in the colloquial carelessness and 
familiarity of the waiters. One was sure that these 
waiters were not impressed by their patrons. One ex- 
pected that presently they would sit at the tables. . . . 

"Do you object to this?" inquired Anthony. 

Gloria's face warmed and for the first time that eve- 
ning she smiled. 

"I love it," she said frankly. It was impossible to 
doubt her. Her gray eyes roved here and there, drows- 
ing, idle or alert, on each group, passing to the next 
with unconcealed enjoyment, and to Anthony were 
made plain the different values of her profile, the won- 
derfully alive expressions of her mouth, and the au- 
thentic distinction of face and form and manner that 
made her like a single flower amidst a collection of cheap 
bric-a-brac. At her happiness, a gorgeous sentiment 
welled into his eyes, choked him up, set his nerves 
a-tingle, and filled his throat with husky and vibrant 
emotion. There was a hush upon the room. The 
careless violins and saxophones, the shrill rasping com- 
plaint of a child near by, the voice of the violet-hatted 
girl at the next table, all moved slowly out, receded, 
and fell away like shadowy reflections on the shining 
floor — and they two, it seemed to him, were alone and 
infinitely remote, quiet. Surely the freshness of her 
cheeks was a gossamer projection from a land of deli- 
cate and undiscovered shades; her hand gleaming on 



72 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

the stained table-cloth was a shell from some far and 
wildly virginal sea. . . . 

Then the illusion snapped like a nest of threads; 
the room grouped itself around him, voices, faces, 
movement; the garish shimmer of the lights overhead 
became real, became portentous; breath began, the slow 
respiration that she and he took in time with this 
docile hundred, the rise and fall of bosoms, the eternal 
meaningless play and interplay and tossing and reiter- 
ating of word and phrase — all these wrenched his senses 
open to the suffocating pressure of Hfe — and then her 
voice came at him, cool as the suspended dream he had 
left behind. 

*'I belong here," she murmured, "I'm like these 
people.'' 

For an instant this seemed a sardonic and unneces- 
sary paradox hurled at him across the impassable dis- 
tances she created about herself. Her entrancement 
had increased — ^her eyes rested upon a Semitic violin- 
ist who swayed his shoulders to the rhythm of the year's 
mellowest fox-trot: 

" Something — goes 
Ring-a-ting-a-ling-a-ling 
Right in-your ear " 

Again she spoke, from the centre of this pervasive 
illusion of her own. It amazed him. It was like blas- 
phemy from the mouth of a child. 

"I'm like they are — like Japanese lanterns and crape 
paper, and the music of that orchestra." 

"You're a young idiot!" he insisted wildly. 

She shook her blond head. 

"No, I'm not. I am like them. . . . You ought 
to see. . . . You don't know me." She hesitated and 
her eyes came back to him, rested abruptly on his, as 



PORTRAIT OF A SIREN 73 

though surprised at the last to see him there. "IVe 
got a streak of what you'd call cheapness. I don't 
know where I get it but it's — oh, things like this and 
bright colors and gaudy vulgarity. I seem to belong 
here. These people could appreciate me and take me 
for granted, and these men would fall in love with me 
and admire me, whereas the clever men I meet would 
just analyze me and tell me I'm this because of this or 
that because of that." 

— Anthony for the moment wanted fiercely to paint 
her, to set her down now, as she was, as, as with each 
relentless second she could never be again. 

"What were you thinking?" she asked. 

"Just that I'm not a realist," he said, and then: 
"No, only the romanticist preserves the things worth 
preserving." 

Out of the deep sophistication of Anthony an under- 
standing formed, nothing atavistic or obscure, indeed 
scarcely physical at all, an understanding remembered 
from the romancings of many generations of minds that 
as she talked and caught his eyes and turned her lovely 
head, she moved him as he had never been moved be- 
fore. The sheath that held her soul had assumed sig- 
nificance — that was all. She was a sun, radiant, grow- 
ing, gathering light and storing it — then after an eternity 
pouring it forth in a glance, the fragment of a sentence, 
to that part of him that cherished all beauty and all 
illusion. 



CHAPTER III 
THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES 

From his undergraduate days as editor of The Harvard 
Crimson Richard Caramel had desired to write. But 
as a senior he had picked up the glorified illusion that 
certain men were set aside for *' service" and, going into 
the world, were to accomplish a vague yearnful some- 
thing which would react either in eternal reward or, 
at the least, in the personal satisfaction of having striven 
for the greatest good of the greatest number. 

This spirit has long rocked the colleges in America. 
It begins, as a rule, during the immaturities and facile 
impressions of freshman year — sometimes back in pre- 
paratory school. Prosperous apostles known for their 
emotional acting go the rounds of the universities and, 
by frightening the amiable sheep and dulling the quick- 
ening of interest and intellectual curiosity which is the 
purpose of all education, distil a mysterious conviction 
of sin, harking back to childhood crimes and to the ever- 
present menace of "women." To these lectures go the 
wicked youths to cheer and joke and the timid to swal- 
low the tasty pills, which would be harmless if adminis- 
tered to farmers' wives and pious drug-clerks but are 
rather dangerous medicine for these "future leaders of 
men." 

This octopus was strong enough to wind a sinuous ten- 
tacle about Richard Caramel. The year after his gradu- 
ation it called him into the slums of New York to muck 
about with bewildered Italians as secretary to an "Alien 
Young Men's Rescue Association." He labored at it 

74 



THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES 75 

over a year before the monotony began to weary him. 
The aliens kept coming inexhaustibly — Italians, Poles, 
Scandinavians, Czechs, Armenians — with the same 
wrongs, the same exceptionally ugly faces and very much 
the same smells, though he fancied that these grew more 
profuse and diverse as the months passed. His even- 
tual conclusions about the expediency of service were 
vague, but concerning his own relation to it they were 
abrupt and decipive. Any amiable young man, his head 
ringing with the latest crusade, could accomplish as 
much as he could with the debris of Europe — and it 
was time for him to write. 

He had been living in a down- town Y. M. C. A., but 
when he quit the task of making sow-ear purses out of 
sows' ears, he moved up-town and went to work im- 
mediately as a reporter for The Sun. He kept at this 
for a year, doing desultory writing on the side, with 
little success, and then one day an infelicitous incident 
peremptorily closed his newspaper career. On a Feb- 
ruary afternoon he was assigned to report a parade of 
Squadron A. Snow threatening, he went to sleep in- 
stead before a hot fire, and when he woke up did a smooth 
column about the mufSed beats of the horses' hoofs in 
the snow. . . . This he handed in. Next morning a 
marked copy of the paper was sent down to the City 
Editor with a scrawled note: ^^Fire the man who wrote 
this." It seemed that Squadron A had also seen the 
snow threatening — and had postponed the parade until 
another day. 

A week later he had begun "The Demon Lover." . . . 

In January, the Monday of the months, Richard 
Caramel's nose was blue constantly, a sardonic blue, 
vaguely suggestive of the flames licking around a sinner. 
His book was nearly ready, and as it grew in complete- 



76 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

ness it seemed to grow also in its demands, sapping him, 
overpowering him, until he walked haggard and con- 
quered in its shadow. Not only to Anthony and Maury 
did he pour out his hopes and boasts and indecisions, 
but to any one who could be prevailed upon to listen. He 
called on polite but bewildered publishers, he discussed 
it with his casual vis-a-vis at the Harvard Club; it was 
even claimed by Anthony that he had been discovered, 
one Sunday night, debating the transposition of Chapter 
Two with a Hterary ticket-collector in the chill and dis- 
mal recesses of a Harlem subway-station. And latest 
among his confidantes was Mrs. Gilbert, who sat with 
him by the hour and alternated between Bilphism and 
literature in an intense cross-fire. 

*' Shakespeare was a Bilphist," she assured him 
through a fixed smile. *^0h, yes! He was a Bilphist. 
It's been proved." 

At this Dick would look a bit blank. 

*'If you've read ^Hamlet' you can't help but see." 

''Well, he — ^he lived in a more credulous age — a more 
religious age." 

But she demanded the whole loaf: 

"Oh, yes, but you see Bilphism isn't a religion. It's 
the science of all religions." She smiled defiantly at 
him. This was the hon mot of her belief. There was 
something in the arrangement of words which grasped 
her mind so definitely that the statement became su- 
perior to any obligation to define itself. It is not un- 
likely that she would have accepted any idea encased 
in this radiant formula — which was perhaps not a for- 
mula; it was the reductio ad absurdum of all formulas. 

Then eventually, but gorgeously, would come Dick's 
turn. 

*' You've heard of the new poetry movement. You 
haven't? Well, it's a lot of young poets that are break- 



THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES 77 

ing away from the old forms and doing a lot of good. 
Well, what I was going to say was that my book is going 
to start a new prose movement, a sort of renaissance." 
"I'm sure it will," beamed Mrs. Gilbert. *'I'm sure 
it will. I went to Jenny Martin last Tuesday, the 
palmist, you know, that every one's mad about. I told 
her my nephew was engaged upon a work and she said 
she knew I'd be glad to hear that his success would be 
extraordinary, TJut she'd never seen you or known any- 
thing about you — not even your name J' 

Having made the proper noises to express his amaze- 
ment at this astounding phenomenon, Dick waved her 
theme by him as though he were an arbitrary traffic 
policeman, and. so to speak, beckoned forward his own 
traffic. 

"I'm absorbed. Aunt Catherine," he assured her, 
"I really am. All my friends are joshing me — oh, I 
see the humor in it and I don't care. I think a person 
ought to be able to take joshing. But I've got a sort 
of conviction," he concluded gloomily. 
"You're an ancient soul, I always say." 
"Maybe I am." Dick had reached the stage where 
he no longer fought, but submitted. He must be an 
ancient soul, he fancied grotesquely; so old as to be 
absolutely rotten. However, the reiteration of the 
phrase still somewhat embarrassed him and sent un- 
comfortable shivers up his back. He changed the sub- 
ject. 

"Where is my distinguished cousin Gloria?" 
"She's on the go somewhere, with some one." 
Dick paused, considered, and then, screwing up his 
face into what was evidently begun as a smile but ended 
as a terrifying frown, delivered a comment. 

"I think my friend Anthony Patch is in love with 
her." 



78 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Mrs. Gilbert started, beamed half a second too late, 
and breathed her "Really?" in the tone of a detective 
play-whisper. 

"I think so," corrected Dick gravely. "She's the 
first girl IVe ever seen him with, so much." 

"Well, of course," said Mrs. Gilbert with meticulous 
carelessness, "Gloria never makes me her confidante. 
She's very secretive. Between you and me" — she bent 
forward cautiously, obviously determined that only 
Heaven and her nephew should share her confession — 
"between you and me, I'd like to see her settle 
down." 

Dick arose and paced the floor earnestly, a small, 
active, already rotund young man, his hands thrust 
unnaturally into his bulging pockets. 

"I'm not claiming I'm right, mind you," he assured 
the infinitely-of-the-hotel steel-engraving which smirked 
respectably back at him. "I'm saying nothing that 
I'd want Gloria to know. But I think Mad Anthony 
is interested — tremendously so. He talks about her 
constantly. In any one else that'd be a bad sign." 

"Gloria is a very young soul — " began Mrs. Gilbert 
eagerly, but her nephew interrupted with a hurried sen- 
tence: 

"Gloria'd be a very young nut not to marry him." 
He stopped and faced her, his expression a battle map 
of lines and dimples, squeezed and strained to its ulti- 
mate show of intensity — this as if to make up by his sin- 
cerity for any indiscretion in his words. "Gloria's a 
wild one. Aunt Catherine. She's uncontrollable. How 
she's done it I don't know, but lately she's picked up a 
lot of the funniest friends. She doesn't seem to care. 
And the men she used to go with around New York 
were — " He paused for breath. 

"Yes-yes-yes," interjected Mrs. Gilbert, with an 



, THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES 79 

anaemic attempt to hide the immense interest with which 
she listened. 

*'Well," continued Richard Caramel gravely, "there 
it is. I mean that the men she went with and the 
people she went with used to be first rate. Now they 
aren't." 

Mrs. Gilbert blinked very fast — ^her bosom trembled, 
inflated, remained so for an instant, and with the exhala- 
tion her words flowed out in a torrent. 

She knew, she cried in a whisper; oh, yes, mothers see 
these things. But what could she do ? He knew Gloria., 
He'd seen enough of Gloria to know how hopeless it was 
to try to deal with her. Gloria had been so spoiled — • 
in a rather complete and unusual way. She had been 
suckled until she was three, for instance, when she 
could probably have chewed sticks. Perhaps — one never 
knew — ^it was this that had given that health and hardi- 
ness to her whole personality. And then ever since she 
was twelve years old she'd had boys about her so thick — 
oh, so thick one couldn't move. At sixteen she began go- 
ing to dances at preparatory schools, and then came the 
colleges; and everywhere she went, boys, boys, boys. At 
first, oh, until she was eighteen there had been so many 
that it never seemed one any more than the others, but 
then she began to single them out. 

She knew there had been a string of affairs spread 
over about three years, perhaps a dozen of them alto- 
gether. Sometimes the men were undergraduates, 
sometimes just out of college — they lasted on an average 
of several months each, with short attractions in be- 
tween. Once or twice they had endured longer and her 
mother had hoped she would be engaged, but always 
a new one came — a new one 

The men? Oh, she made them miserable, literally! 
There was only one who had kept any sort of dignity. 



So THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

and he had been a mere child, young Carter Kirby, of 
Kansas City, who was so conceited anyway that he just 
sailed out on his vanity one afternoon and left for 
Europe next day with his father. The others had been — 
wretched. They never seemed to know when she was 
tired of them, and Gloria had seldom been deliberately 
imkind. They would keep phoning, writing letters to 
her, trying to see her, making long trips after her around 
the country. Some of them had confided in Mrs. Gil- 
bert, told her with tears in their eyes that they would 
never get over Gloria ... at least two of them had 
since married, though. . . . But Gloria, it seemed, 
struck to kill — to this day Mr. Carstairs called up once 
a week, and sent her flowers which she no longer bothered 
to refuse. 

Several times, twice, at least, Mrs. Gilbert knew it 
had gone as far as a private engagement — ^with Tudor 
Baird and that Holcome boy at Pasadena. She was sure 
it had, because — this must go no further — she had come 
in unexpectedly and found Gloria acting, well, very 
much engaged indeed. She had not spoken to her 
daughter, of course. She had had a certain sense of 
delicacy and, besides, each time she had expected an 
announcement in a few weeks. But the announcement 
never came; instead, a new man came. 

Scenes! Young men walking up and down the li- 
brary like caged tigers ! Young men glaring at each other 
in the hall as one came and the other left ! Young men 
calling up on the telephone and being hung up upon in 
desperation! Young men threatening South America! 
. . . Young men writing the most pathetic letters! 
(She said nothing to this effect, but Dick fancied that 
Mrs. Gilbert's eyes had seen some of these letters.) 

. . . And Gloria, between tears and laughter, sorry, 
glad, out of love and in love, miserable, nervous, cool. 



THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES 8i 

amidst a great returning of presents, substitution of 
pictures in immemorial frames, and taking of hot baths 
and beginning again — with the next. 

That state of things continued, assumed an air of 
permanency. Nothing harmed Gloria or changed her or 
moved her. And then out of a clear sky one day she 
informed her mother that undergraduates wearied her. 
She was absolutely going to no more college dances. 

This had begun the change — not so much in her 
actual habits, for she danced, and had as many "dates" 
as ever — ^but they were dates in a different spirit. Pre- 
viously it had been a sort of pride, a matter of her 
own vainglory. She had been, probably, the most cele- 
brated and sought-after young beauty in the coim- 
try. Gloria Gilbert of Kansas City ! She had fed on it 
ruthlessly — enjoying the crowds around her, the man- 
ner in which the most desirable men singled her out; 
enjoying the fierce jealousy of other girls; enjoying the 
fabulous, not to say scandalous, and, her mother was 
glad to say, entirely unfounded rumors about her — for 
instance, that she had gone in the Yale swinuning-pool 
one night in a chiffon evening dress. 

And from loving it with a vanity that was almost 
masculine — it had been in the nature of a triumphant 
and dazzling career — she became suddenly anaesthetic 
to it. She retired. She who had dominated countless 
parties, who had blown fragrantly through many ball- 
rooms to the tender tribute of many eyes, seemed to 
care no longer. He who fell in love with her now was 
dismissed utterly, almost angrily. She went listlessly 
with the most indifferent men. She continually broke 
engagements, not as in the past from a cool assurance 
that she was irreproachable, that the man she insulted 
would return like a domestic animal — but indifferently, 
without contempt or pride. She rarely stormed at men 



82 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

any more — she yawned at them. She seemed — and it 
was so strange — she seemed to her mother to be growing 
cold. 

Richard Caramel listened. At first he had remained 
standing, but as his aunt's discourse waxed in content 
— it stands here pruned by half, of all side references to 
the youth of Gloria's soul and to Mrs. Gilbert's own 
mental distresses — ^he drew a chair up and attended 
rigorously as she floated, between tears and plaintive 
helplessness, down the long story of Gloria's life. 
When she came to the tale of this last year, a tale of the 
ends of cigarettes left all over New York in little trays 
marked "Midnight FroHc" and "Justine Johnson's 
Little Club," he began nodding his head slowly, then 
faster and faster, until, as she finished on a staccato note, 
it was bobbing briskly up and down, absurdly like a 
doll's wired head, expressing — almost anything. 

In a sense Gloria's past was an old story to him. He 
had followed it with the eyes of a journalist, for he was 
going to write a book about her some day. But his 
interests, just at present, were family interests. He 
wanted to know, in particular, who was this Joseph 
Bloeckman that he had seen her with several times; 
and those two girls she was with constantly, "this" 
Rachael Jerryl and "this" Miss Kane — surely Miss 
Kane wasn't exactly the sort one would associate with 
Gloria ! 

But the moment had passed. Mrs. Gilbert having 
climbed the hill of exposition was about to glide swiftly 
down the ski-jump of collapse. Her eyes were like a 
blue sky seen through two round, red window-casements. 
The flesh about her mouth was trembling. 

And at the moment the door opened, admitting into 
the room Gloria and the two young ladies lately men- 
tioned. 



THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES 83 

Two Young Women 

"WeU!" 

"How do you do, Mrs, Gilbert!" 

Miss Kane and Miss Jerryl are presented to Mr. 
Richard Caramel. "This is Dick" (laughter). 

"IVe heard so much about you," says Miss Kane 
between a giggle and a shout. 

"How do you do," says Miss Jerryl shyly. 

Richard Caramel tries to move about as if his figure 
were better. He is torn between his innate cordiality 
and the fact that he considers these girls rather common 
— not at all the Farmover type. 

Gloria has disappeared into the bedroom. 

"Do sit down," beams Mrs. Gilbert, who is by now 
quite herself. "Take off your things." Dick is afraid 
she will make some remark about the age of his soul, 
but he forgets his qualms in completing a conscientious, 
novelist's examination of the two young women. 

Muriel Kane had originated in a rising family of East 
Orange. She was short rather than small, and hovered 
audaciously between plumpness and width. Her hair 
was black and elaborately arranged. This, in conjunc- 
tion with her handsome, rather bovine eyes, and her 
over-red lips, combined to make her resemble Theda 
Bara, the prominent motion-picture actress. People 
told her constantly that she was a "vampire," and she 
believed them. She suspected hopefully that they were 
afraid of her, and she did her utmost under all circum- 
stances to give the impression of danger. An imagina- 
tive man could see the red flag that she constantly car- 
ried, waving it wildly, beseechingly — and, alas, to little 
spectacular avail. She was also tremendously timely: 
she knew the latest songs, all the latest songs — when one 
of them was played on the phonograph she would rise 



84 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

to her feet and rock her shoulders back and forth and 
snap her fingers, and if there was no music she would 
accompany herself by humming. 

Her conversation was also timely: "I don't care," she 
would say, *'I should worry and lose my figure" — and 
again: ^T can't make my feet behave when I hear that 
tune. Oh, baby!" 

Her finger-nails were too long and ornate, polished to 
a pink and unnatural fever. Her clothes were too tight, 
too stylish, too vivid, her eyes too roguish, her smile 
too coy. She was almost pitifully overemphasized from 
head to foot. 

The other girl was obviously a more subtle person- 
ality. She was an exquisitely dressed Jewess with dark 
hair and a lovely milky pallor. She seemed shy and 
vague, and these two qualities accentuated a rather 
delicate charm that floated about her. Her family were 
"Episcopalians," owned three smart women's shops 
along Fifth Avenue, and Hved in a magnificent apart- 
ment on Riverside Drive. It seemed to Dick, after a 
few moments, that she was attempting to imitate Gloria 
■ — ^he wondered that people invariably chose inimitable 
people to imitate. 

*'We had the most hectic time!" Muriel was exclaim- 
ing enthusiastically. "There was a crazy woman behind 
us on the bus. She was absitively, posolutely nutty! 
She kept talking to herself about something she'd like 
to do to somebody or something. I was ^e/rified, but 
Gloria simply wouldn't get off." 

Mrs. Gilbert opened her mouth, properly awed. 

"Really?" 

"Oh, she was crazy. But we should worry, she didn't 
hurt us. Ugly! Gracious! The man across from us 
said her face ought to be on a night-nurse in a home for 
the blind, and we all howled, naturally, so the man tried 
to pick us up." 



THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES 85 

Presently Gloria emerged from her bedroom and in 
unison every eye turned on her. The two girls receded 
into a shadowy background, unperceived, unmissed. 

^' We've been talking about you," said Dick quickly, 
" — ^your mother and I.'' 

''Well," said Gloria. 

A pause — Muriel turned to Dick. 

'' You're a great writer, aren't you?" 

''I'm a writer," he confessed sheepishly. 

''I always say," said Muriel earnestly, "that if I ever 
had time to write down all my experiences it'd make a 
wonderful book." 

Rachael giggled sympathetically; Richard Caramel's 
bow was almost stately. Muriel continued: 

"But I don't see how you can sit down and do it. 
And poetry! Lordy, I can't make two lines rhyme. 
Well, I should worry!" 

Richard Caramel with difHculty restrained a shout 
of laughter. Gloria was chewing an amazing gum-drop 
and staring moodily out the window. Mrs. Gilbert 
cleared her throat and beamed. 

"But you see," she said in a sort of universal exposi- 
tion, "you're not an ancient soul — like Richard." 

The Ancient Soul breathed a gasp of rehef — it was 
out at last. 

Then as if she had been considering it for five minutes, 
Gloria made a sudden announcement: 

"I'm going to give a party." 

"Oh, can I come?" cried Muriel with facetious daring. 

"A dinner. Seven people: Muriel and Rachael and 
I, and you, Dick, and Anthony, and that man named 
Noble — I liked him — and Bloeckman." 

Muriel and Rachael went into soft and purring ecsta- 
sies of enthusiasm. Mrs. Gilbert blinked and beamed. 
With an air of casualness Dick broke in with a question: 

"Who is this fellow Bloeckman, Gloria?" 



86 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Scenting a faint hostility, Gloria turned to him. 

"Joseph Bloeckman? ,He's the moving-picture man. 
Vice-president of 'Films Par Excellence.' He and father 
do a lot of business." 

"Oh!" 

"Well, wiU you aU come?" 

They would all come. A date was arranged within 
the week. Dick rose, adjusted hat, coat, and muffler, 
and gave out a general smile. 

"By-by," said Muriel, waving her hand gaily, "call 
me up some time." 

Richard Caramel blushed for her. 

Deplorable End of the Chevalier O'Keefe 

It was Monday and Anthony took Geraldine Burke 
to luncheon at the Beaux Arts — afterward they went 
up to his apartment and he wheeled out the little rolling- 
table that held his supply of liquor, selecting vermuth, 
gin, and absinthe for a proper stimulant. 

Geraldine Burke, usher at Keith's, had been an amuse- 
ment of several months. She demanded so little that 
he liked her, for since a lamentable affair with a debu- 
tante the preceding summer, when he had discovered 
that after half a dozen kisses a proposal was expected, 
he had been wary of girls of his own class. It was only 
too easy to turn a critical eye on their imperfections: 
some physical harshness or a general lack of personal 
delicacy — but a girl who was usher at Keith's was ap- 
proached with a different attitude. One could tolerate 
qualities in an intimate valet that would be unforgiv- 
able in a mere acquaintance on one's social level. 

Geraldine, curled up at the foot of the lounge, con- 
sidered him with narrow slanting eyes. 

"You drink all the time, don't you?" she said sud- 
denly. 



THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES 87 

"Why, I suppose so," replied Anthony in some sur- 
prise. "Don't you?" 

"Nope. I go on parties sometimes — ^you know, about 
once a week, but I only take two or three drinks. You 
and your friends keep on drinking all the time. I 
should think you'd ruin your health." 

Anthony was somewhat touched. 

"Why, aren't you sweet to worry about me!" 

"Well, I do." 

"I don't drink so very much," he declared. "Last 
month I didn't touch a drop for three weeks. And I 
only get really tight about once a week." 

"But you have something to drink every day and 
you're only twenty-five. Haven't you any ambition? 
Think what you'll be at forty?" 

"I sincerely trust that I won't live that long." 

She clicked her tongue with her teeth. 

"You cra-azy!" she said as he mixed another cock- 
tail — and then: "Are you any relation to Adam Patch?" 

"Yes, he's my grandfather." 

'^ Really?" She was obviously thrilled. 

"Absolutely." 

"That's funny. My daddy used to work for him." 

"He's a queer old man." 

"Is he nice?" she demanded. 

"Well, in private life he's seldom unnecessarily dis- 
agreeable." 

"TeU us about him." 

"Why," Anthony considered " — ^he's all shrunken up 
and he's got the remains of some gray hair that always 
looks as though the wind were in it. He's very moral." 

"He's done a lot of good," said Geraldine with in- 
tense gravity. 

"Rot!" scoffed Anthony. "He's a pious ass — a 
chickenbrain." 



88 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Her mind left the subject and flitted on. 

"Why don't you live with him?" 

"Why don't I board in a Methodist parsonage?" 

"You cra-azy !" 

Again she made a little clicking sound to express 
disapproval. Anthony thought how moral was this 
little waif at heart — how completely moral she would 
still be after the inevitable wave came that would wash 
her off the sands of respectability. 

"Do you hate him?" 

"I wonder. I never liked him. You never like 
people who do things for you." 

"Does he hate you?" 

"My dear Geraldine," protested Anthony, frowning 
humorously, "do have another cocktail. I annoy him. 
If I smoke a cigarette he comes into the room sniffing. 
He's a prig, a bore, and something of a hypocrite. I 
probably wouldn't be telling you this if I hadn't had a 
few drinks, but I don't suppose it matters." 

Geraldine was persistently interested. She held her 
glass, untasted, between finger and thumb and regarded 
him with eyes in which there was a touch of awe. 

"How do you mean a hypocrite?" 

"Well," said Anthony impatiently, "maybe he's not. 
But he doesn't like the things that I like, and so, as far 
as I'm concerned, he's uninteresting." 

"Hm." Her curiosity seemed, at length, satisfied. 
She sank back into the sofa and sipped her cocktail. 

"You're a funny one," she commented thoughtfully. 
"Does everybody want to marry you because your 
grandfather is rich?" 

"They don't — but I shouldn't blame them if they 
did. Still, you see, I never intend to marry." 

She scorned this. 

"You'll fall in love some day. Oh, you will — I know." 
She nodded wisely. 



THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES 89 

*^It'd be idiotic to be overconfident. That's what 
ruined the Chevalier O'Keefe." 

*^Who washe?" 

''A creature of my splendid mind. He's my one 
creation, the Chevalier." 

*'Cra-a-azy I" she murmured pleasantly, using the 
clumsy rope-ladder with which she bridged all gaps and 
climbed after her mental superiors. Subconsciously 
she felt that it ehminated distances and brought the 
person whose imagination had eluded her back within 
range. 

"Oh, no!" objected Anthony, "oh, no, Geraldine. 
You mustn't play the alienist upon the Chevalier. If 
you feel yourself unable to understand him I won't 
bring him in. Besides, I should feel a certain uneasiness 
because of his regrettable reputation." 

"I guess I can understand anything that's got any 
sense to it," answered Geraldine a bit testily. 

"In that case there are various episodes in the life 
of the ChevaHer which might prove diverting." 

"WeU?" 

"It was his untimely end that caused me to think of 
him and made him apropos in the conversation. I 
hate to introduce him end foremost, but it seems inevi- 
table that the ChevaHer must back into your life." 

"Well, what about him? Did he die?" 

"He did! In this manner. He was an Irishman, 
Geraldine, a semi-fictional Irishman — the wild sort with 
a genteel brogue and ^reddish hair.' He was exiled from 
Erin in the late days of chivalry and, of course, crossed 
over to France. Now the Chevalier O'Keefe, Geraldine, 
had, like me, one weakness. He was enormously sus- 
ceptible to all sorts and conditions of women. Besides 
being a sentimentalist he was a romantic, a vain fel- 
low, a man of wild passions, a little blind in one eye 
and almost stone-blind in the other. Now a male 



90 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

roaming the world in this condition is as helpless as a 
lion without teeth, and in consequence the Chevalier 
was made utterly miserable for twenty years by a series 
of women who hated him, used him, bored him, aggra- 
vated him, sickened him, spent his money, made a fool 
of him — in brief, as the world has it, loved him. 

"This was bad, Geraldine, and as the Chevalier, save 
for this one weakness, this exceeding susceptibility, was 
a man of penetration, he decided that he would rescue 
himself once and for all from these drains upon him. 
With this purpose he went to a very famous monastery 
in Champagne called — well, anachronistically known as 
St. Voltaire^s. It was the rule at St. Voltaire^s that 
no monk could descend to the ground story of the mon- 
astery so long as he lived, but should exist engaged in 
prayer and contemplation in one of the four towers, 
which were called after the four commandments of the 
monastery rule: Poverty, Chastity, Obedience, and 
Silence. 

"When the day came that was to witness the Cheva- 
lier's farewell to the world he was utterly happy. He 
gave all his Greek books to his landlady, and his sword 
he sent in a golden sheath to the King of France, 
and all his mementos of Ireland he gave to the young 
Huguenot who sold fish in the street where he lived. 

"Then he rode out to St. Voltaire's, slew his horse 
at the door, and presented the carcass to the monastery 
cook. 

"At five o'clock that night he felt, for the first time, 
free — forever free from sex. No woman could enter 
the monastery; no monk could descend below the sec- 
ond story. So as he climbed the winding stair that led 
to his cell at the very top of the Tower of Chastity he 
paused for a moment by an open window which looked 
down fifty feet on to a road below. It was all so 



THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES 91 

beautiful, he thought, this world that he was leaving, 
the golden shower of sun beating down upon the long 
fields, the spray of trees in the distance, the vineyards, 
quiet and green, freshening wide miles before him. He 
leaned his elbows on the window-casement and gazed 
at the winding road. 

*^Now, as it happened, Therese, a peasant girl of six- 
teen from a neighboring village, was at that moment 
passing along this same road that ran in front of the 
monastery. Five minutes before, the little piece of 
ribbon which held up the stocking on her pretty left 
leg had worn through and broken. Being a girl of 
rare modesty she had thought to wait until she arrived 
home before repairing it, but it had bothered her to such 
an extent that she felt she could endure it no longer. 
So, as she passed the Tower of Chastity, she stopped 
and with a pretty gesture lifted her skirt — as little as 
possible, be it said to her credit — to adjust her garter. 

"Up in the tower the newest arrival in the ancient 
monastery of St. Voltaire, as though pulled forward by 
a gigantic and irresistible hand, leaned from the window. 
Further he leaned and further until suddenly one of the 
stones loosened under his weight, broke from its cement 
with a soft powdery sound — and, first headlong, then 
head over heels, finally in a vast and impressive revolu- 
tion tumbled the Chevalier O'Keefe, bound for the hard 
earth and eternal damnation. 

** Therese was so much upset by the occurrence that 
she ran all the way home and for ten years spent an 
hour a day in secret prayer for the soul of the monk 
whose neck and vows were simultaneously broken on 
that unfortunate Sunday afternoon. 

"And the Chevalier O'Keefe, being suspected of sui- 
cide, was not buried in consecrated ground, but tumbled 
into a field near by, where he doubtless improved the 



92 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

quality of the soil for many years afterward. Such was 
the untimely end of a very brave and gallant gentleman. 
What do you think, Geraldine?'' 

But Geraldine, lost long before, could only smile 
roguishly, wave her first finger at him, and repeat her 
bridge-all, her explain-all: 

"Crazy!" she said, "you cra-a-azy!" 

His thin face was kindly, she thought, and his eyes 
quite gentle. She liked him because he was arrogant 
without being conceited, and because, unlike the men 
she met about the theatre, he had a horror of being 
conspicuous. What an odd, pointless story! But she 
had enjoyed the part about the stocking ! 

After the fifth cocktail he kissed her, and between 
laughter and bantering caresses and a half-stifled flare 
of passion they passed an hour. At four-thirty she 
claimed an engagement, and going into the bathroom 
she rearranged her hair. Refusing to let him order her 
a taxi she stood for a moment in the doorway. 

"You will get married," she was insisting, "you wait 
and see." 

Anthony was playing with an ancient tennis-ball, and 
he bounced it carefully on the floor several times before 
he answered with a soupgon of acidity: 

"You're a little idiot, Geraldine." 

She smiled provokingly. 

"Oh, I am, am I? Want to bet?" 

"That'd be silly too." 

"Oh, it would, would it? Well, 111 just bet you'll 
marry somebody inside of a year." 

Anthony bounced the tennis-ball very hard. This 
was one of his handsome days, she thought; a sort of 
intensity had displaced the melancholy in his dark eyes. 

"Geraldine," he said, at length, "in the first place I 
have no one I want to marry; in the second place I 



THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES 93 

haven't enough money to support two people; in the 
third place I am entirely opposed to marriage for peo- 
ple of my type; in the fourth place I have a strong dis- 
taste for even the abstract consideration of it.'' 

But Geraldine only narrowed her eyes knowingly, 
made her cUcking sound, and said she must be going. 
It was late. 

"Call me up soon," she reminded him as he kissed 
her good-by, "you haven't for three weeks, you know." 

"I will," he promised fervently. 

He shut the door and coming back into the room stood 
for a moment lost in thought with the tennis-ball still 
clasped in his hand. There was one of his loneHnesses 
coming, one of those times when he walked the streets 
or sat, aimless and depressed, biting a pencil at his desk. 
It was a self-absorption with no comfort, a demand for 
expression with no outlet, a sense of time rushing by, 
ceaselessly and wastefuUy — assuaged only by that con- 
viction that there was nothing to waste, because all 
efforts and attainments were equally valueless. 

He thought with emotion — aloud, ejaculative, for he 
was hurt and confused. 

"No idea of getting married, by God!^^ 

Of a sudden he hurled the tennis-ball violently across 
the room, where it barely missed the lamp, and, re- 
bounding here and there for a moment, lay still upon 
the floor. 

SiGNLIGHT AND MOONLIGHT 

For her dinner Gloria had taken a table in the Cas- 
cades at the Biltmore, and when the men met in the 
hall outside a Httle after eight, "that person Bloeck- 
man" was the target of six masculine eyes. He was a 
stoutening, ruddy Jew of about thirty-five, with an ex- 
pressive face under smooth sandy hair — and, no doubt, 



94 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

in most business gatherings his personality would have 
been considered ingratiating. He sauntered up to the 
three younger men, who stood in a group smoking as 
they waited for their hostess, and introduced himself 
with a little too evident assurance — nevertheless it is 
to be doubted whether he received the intended impres- 
sion of faint and ironic chill: there was no. hint of under- 
standing in his manner. 

"You related to Adam J. Patch?" he inquired of 
Anthony, emitting two slender strings of smoke from 
nostrils overwide. 

Anthony admitted it with the ghost of a smile. 

"He's a fine man,'' pronounced Bloeckman pro- 
foundly. "He's a fine example of an American." 

"Yes," agreed Anthony, "he certainly is." 

— I detest these underdone men, he thought coldly. 
Boiled looking! Ought to be shoved back in the oven; 
just one more minute would do it. 

Bloeckman squinted at his watch. 

"Time these girls were showing up . . ." 

— ^Anthony waited breathlessly; it came 

"... but then," with a widening smile, "you know 
how women are." 

The three young men nodded; Bloeckman looked casu- 
ally about him, his eyes resting critically on the ceiling 
and then passing lower. His expression combined that of 
a Middle- Western farmer appraising his wheat-crop and 
that of an actor wondering whether he is observed — the 
public manner of all good Americans. As he finished 
his survey he turned back quickly to the reticent trio, 
determined to strike to their very heart and core. 

"You college men? . . . Harvard, eh. I see the 
Princeton boys beat you fellows in hockey." 

Unfortunate man. He had drawn another blank. 
They had been three years out and heeded only the big 



THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES 95 

football games. Whether, after the failure of this sally, 
Mr. Bloeckman would have perceived himself to be in 
a cynical atmosphere is problematical, for 

Gloria arrived. Muriel arrived. Rachael arrived. 
After a hurried "Hello, people!" uttered by Gloria and 
echoed by the other two, the three swept by into the 
dressing-room. 

A moment later Muriel appeared in a state of elaborate 
undress and crept toward them. She was in her ele- 
ment: her ebony hair was sKcked straight back on her 
head; her eyes were artificially darkened; she reeked of 
insistent perfume. She was got up to the best of her 
ability as a siren, more popularly a "vamp" — a picker 
up and thrower away of men, an unscrupulous and funda- 
mentally unmoved toyer with affections. Something in 
the exhaustiveness of her attempt fascinated Maury at 
first sight — a woman with wide hips affecting a panther- 
like litheness ! As they waited the extra three minutes 
for Gloria, and, by polite assumption, for Rachael, he 
was unable to take his eyes from her. She would turn 
her head away, lowering her eyelashes and biting her 
nether lip in an amazing exhibition of coyness. She 
would rest her hands on her hips and sway from side to 
side in tune to the music, saying: 

"Did you ever hear such perfect ragtime? I just 
can't make my shoulders behave when I hear that." 

Mr. Bloeckman clapped his hands gallantly. 

"You ought to be on the stage." 

"I'd like to be!" cried Muriel; "wiU you back me?" 

"I sure will." 

With becoming modesty Muriel ceased her motions 
and turned to Maury, asking what he had "seen" this 
year. He interpreted this as referring to the dramati'^ 
world, and they had a gay and exhilarating exchange of 
titles, after this manner: 



96 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Muriel: Have you seen "Peg o' My Heart"? 

Maury: No, I haven't. 

Muriel: (Eagerly) It's wonderful ! You want to see it. 

Maury: Have you seen "Omar, the Tentmaker"? 

Muriel: No, but I hear it's wonderful. I'm very 
anxious to see it. Have you seen "Fair and Warmer" ? 

Maury: (Hopefully) Yes. 

Muriel: I don't think it's very good. It's trashy. 

Maury: (Faintly) Yes, that's true. 

Muriel: But I went to "Within the Law" last night 
and I thought it was fine. Have you seen "The Little 
Cafe"? . . . 

This continued until they ran out of plays. Dick, 
meanwhile, turned to Mr. Bloeckman, determined to 
extract what gold he could from this unpromising load. 

"I hear all the new novels are sold to the moving 
pictures as soon as they come out." 

"That's true. Of course the main thing in a moving 
picture is a strong story." 

"Yes, I suppose so." 

"So many novels are all full of talk and psychology. 
Of course those aren't as valuable to us. It's impossi- 
ble to make much of that interesting on the screen." 

"You want plots first," said Richard brilliantly. 

"Of course. Plots first — " He paused, shifted his 
gaze. His pause spread, included the others with all 
the authority of a warning finger. Gloria followed by 
Rachael was coming out of the dressing-room. 

Among other things it developed during dinner that 
Joseph Bloeckman never danced, but spent the music 
time watching the others with the bored tolerance of an 
elder among children. He was a dignified man and a 
proud one. Born in Munich he had begun his American 
career as a peanut vender with a travelling drcus. 
At eighteen he was a side-show ballyhoo; later, the mana- 



THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES 97 

ger of the side-show, and, soon after, the proprietor of a 
second-class vaudeville house. Just when the moving 
picture had passed out of the stage of a curiosity and 
become a promising industry he was an ambitious young 
man of twenty-six with some money to invest, nagging 
financial ambitions and a good working knowledge of 
the popular show business. That had been nine years 
before. The moving-picture industry had borne him 
up with it where it threw off dozens of men with more 
financial abihty, more imagination, and more practical 
ideas . . . and now he sat here and contemplated the 
inomortal Gloria for whom young Stuart Holcome had 
gone from New York to Pasadena — watched her, and 
knew that presently she would cease dancing and come 
back to sit on his left hand. 

He hoped she would hurry. The oysters had been 
standing some minutes. 

Meanwhile Anthony, who had been placed on Gloria's 
left hand, was dancing with her, always in a certain 
fourth of the floor. This, had there been stags, would 
have been a delicate tribute to the girl, meaning ''Damn 
you, don't cut in ! " It was very consciously intimate. 

"Well," he began, looking down at her, "you look 
mighty sweet to-night." 

She met his eyes over the horizontal half foot that 
separated them. 

"Thank you— Anthony." 

"In fact you're uncomfortably beautiful," he added. 
There was no smile this time. 

"And you're very charming." 

"Isn't this nice?" he laughed. "We actually approve 
of each other." 

"Don't you, usually?" She had caught quickly at 
his remark, as she always did at any unexplained allu- 
sion to herself, however faint. 



98 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

He lowered his voice, and when he spoke there was in 
it no more than a wisp of badinage. 

"Does a priest approve the Pope?" 

''I don't know — but that's probably the vaguest com- 
pliment I ever received." 

"Perhaps I can muster a few bromides." 

"Well, I wouldn't have you strain yourself. Look 
at Muriel ! Right here next to us." 

He glanced over his shoulder. Muriel was resting 
her brilliant cheek against the lapel of Maury Noble's 
dinner-coat and her powdered left arm was apparently 
twisted around his head. One was impelled to wonder 
why she failed to seize the nape of his neck with her 
hand. Her eyes, turned ceiling-ward, rolled largely 
back and forth; her hips swayed, and as she danced 
she kept up a constant low singing. This at first seemed 
to be a translation of the song into some foreign tongue 
but became eventually apparent as an attempt to fill 
out the metre of the song with the only words she knew — 
the words of the title — 

"He's a rag-picker, 
A rag-picker, 
A rag-time picking man, 
Rag-picking, picking, pick, pick, 
Rag-pick, pick, pick." 

— and so on, into phrases still more strange and bar- 
baric. When she caught the amused glances of Anthony 
and Gloria she acknowledged them only with a faint 
smile and a half-closing of her eyes, to indicate that the 
music entering into her soul had put her into an ecstatic 
and exceedingly seductive trance. 

The music ended and they returned to their table, 
whose solitary but dignified occupant arose and tendered 
each of them a smile so ingratiating that it was as if 



THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES 99 

he were shaking their hands and congratulating them 
on a brilliant performance. 

"Blockhead never will dance! I think he has a 
wooden leg," remarked Gloria to the table at large. 
The three young men started and the gentleman re- 
ferred to winced perceptibly. 

This was the one rough spot in the course of Bloeck- 
man's acquaintance with Gloria. She relentlessly 
punned on his name. First it had been " Block-house, '^ 
lately, the more invidious "Blockhead.'' He had re- 
quested with a strong undertone of irony that she use 
his first name, and this she had done obediently several 
times — then slipping, helpless, repentant but dissolved 
in laughter, back into "Blockhead.'' 

It was a very sad and thoughtless thing. 

"I'm afraid Mr. Bloeckman thinks we're a frivolous 
crowd," sighed Muriel, waving a balanced oyster in his 
direction. 

"He has that air," murmured Rachael. Anthony 
tried to remember whether she had said anything be- 
fore. He thought not. It was her initial remark. 

Mr. Bloeckman suddenly cleared his throat and said 
in a loud, distinct voice: 

"On the contrary. When a man speaks he's merely 
tradition. He has at best a few thousand years back 
of him. But woman, why, she is the miraculous mouth- 
piece of posterity." 

In the stunned pause that followed this astounding 
remark, Anthony choked suddenly on an oyster and 
hurried his napkin to his face. Rachael and Muriel raised 
a mild if somewhat surprised laugh, in which Dick and 
Maury joined, both of them red in the face and restrain- 
ing uproariousness with the most apparent difficulty. 

"—My God!" thought Anthony. "It's a subtitle 
from one of his movies. The man's memorized it ! " 



loo THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Gloria alone made no sound. She fixed Mr. Bloeck- 
man with a glance of silent reproach. 

"Well, for the love of Heaven! Where on earth did 
you dig that up ? '^ 

Bloeckman looked at her uncertainly, not sure of her 
intention. But in a moment he recovered his poise 
and assumed the bland and consciously tolerant smile 
of an intellectual among spoiled and callow youth. 

The soup came up from the kitchen — ^but simultane- 
ously the orchestra leader came up from the bar, where 
he had absorbed the tone color inherent in a seidel of 
beer. So the soup was left to cool during the delivery 
of a ballad entitled "Everything's at Home Except 
Your Wife." 

Then the champagne — and the party assmned more 
amusing proportions. The men, except Richard Cara- 
mel, drank freely; Gloria and Muriel sipped a glass 
apiece; Rachael Jerryl took none. They sat out the 
waltzes but danced to everything else — all except 
Gloria, who seemed to tire after a while and preferred 
to sit smoking at the table, her eyes now lazy, now 
eager, according to whether she listened to Bloeckman 
or watched a pretty woman among the dancers. Sev- 
eral times Anthony wondered what Bloeckman was 
telling her. He was chewing a cigar back and forth 
in his mouth, and had expanded after dinner to the ex- 
tent of violent gestures. 

Ten o'clock found Gloria and Anthony beginning a 
dance. Just as they were out of ear-shot of the table 
she said in a low voice: 

"Dance over by the door. I want to go down to the 
drug-store." 

Obediently Anthony guided her through the crowd in 
the designated direction; in the hall she left him for a 
moment, to reappear with a cloak over her arm. 



THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES loi 

**I want some gum-drops," she said, humorously apolo- 
getic; "you can't guess what for this time. It's just 
that I want to bite my finger-nails, and I will if I don't 
get some gum-drops." She sighed, and resumed as they 
stepped into the empty elevator: "I've been biting 'em 
all day. A bit nervous, you see. Excuse the pun. It 
was unintentional — the words just arranged themselves. 
Gloria Gilbert, the female wag." 

Reaching the ground floor they naively avoided the 
hotel candy counter, descended the wide front staircase, 
and walking through several corridors found a drug- 
store in the Grand Central Station. After an intense 
examination of the perfume counter she made her pur- 
chase. Then on some mutual unmentioned impulse 
they strolled, arm in arm, not in the direction from 
which they had come, but out into Forty- third Street. 

The night was alive with thaw; it was so nearly warm 
that a breeze drifting low along the sidewalk brought 
to Anthony a vision of an unhoped-for hyacinthine 
spring. Above in the blue oblong of sky, around them 
in the caress of the drifting air, the illusion of a new 
season carried rehef from the stiff and breathed-over 
atmosphere they had left, and for a hushed moment the 
traffic sounds and the murmur of water flowing in the 
gutters seemed an illusive and rarefied prolongation of 
that music to which they had lately danced. When 
Anthony spoke it was with surety that his words came 
from something breathless and desirous that the night 
had conceived in their two hearts. 

"Let's take a taxi and ride around a bit I" he suggested, 
without looking at her. 

Oh, Gloria, Gloria! 

A cab yawned at the curb. As it moved off like a 
boat on a labyrinthine ocean and lost itself among the 
inchoate night masses of the great buildings, among the 



I02 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

now stilled, now strident, cries and clangings, Anthony 
put his arm around the girl, drew her over to him and 
kissed her damp, childish mouth. 

She was silent. She turned her face up to him, pale 
under the wisps and patches of light that trailed in like 
moonshine through a foliage. Her eyes were gleaming 
ripples in the white lake of her face; the shadows of her 
hair bordered the brow with a persuasive unintimate 
dusk. No love was there, surely; nor the imprint of 
any love. Her beauty was cool as this damp breeze, 
as the moist softness of her own lips. 

"You're such a swan in this light," he whispered after 
a moment. There were silences as murmurous as sound. 
There were pauses that seemed about to shatter and 
were only to be snatched back to oblivion by the tight- 
ening of his arms about her and the sense that she was 
resting there as a caught, gossamer feather, drifted in 
out of the dark. Anthony laughed, noiselessly and ex- 
ultantly, turning his face up and away from her, half 
in an overpowering rush of triumph, half lest her sight 
of him should spoil the splendid immobility of her ex- 
pression. Such a kiss — it was a flower held against the 
face, never to be described, scarcely to be remembered; 
as though her beauty were giving off emanations of it- 
self which settled transiently and already dissolving 
upon his heart. 

. . . The buildings fell away in melted shadows; this 
was the Park now, and after a long while the great white 
ghost of the Metropolitan Museum moved majestically 
past, echoing sonorously to the rush of the cab. 

"Why, Gloria ! Why, Gloria ! " 

Her eyes appeared to regard him out of many thou- 
sand years: all emotion she might have felt, all words 
she might have uttered, would have seemed inadequate 
beside the adequacy of her silence, ineloquent against 



THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES 103 

the eloquence of her beauty — and of her body, close to 
him, slender and cool. 

*'Tell him to turn around," she murmured, "and 
drive pretty fast going back. . . ." 

Up in the supper-room the air was hot. The table, 
littered with napkins and ash-trays, was old and stale. 
It was between dances as they entered, and Muriel Kane 
looked up with roguishness extraordinary. 

"Well, where have you been?'' 

"To call up mother," answered Gloria coolly. "I 
promised her I would. Did we miss a dance?" 

Then followed an incident that though slight in itself 
Anthony had cause to reflect on many years afterward. 
Joseph Bloeckman, leaning well back in his chair, fixed 
him with a peculiar glance, in which several emotions 
were curiously and inextricably mingled. He did not 
greet Gloria except by rising, and he immediately re- 
sumed a conversation with Richard Caramel about the 
influence of literature on the moving pictures. 

Magic 

The stark and unexpected miracle of a night fades 
out with the lingering death of the last stars and the 
premature birth of the first newsboys. The flame re- 
treats to some remote and platonic fire; the white heat 
has gone from the iron and the glow from the coal. 

Along the shelves of Anthony's library, filling a wall 
amply, crept a chill and insolent pencil of sunlight touch- 
ing with frigid disapproval Therese of France and Ann 
the Superwoman, Jenny of the Orient Ballet and Zuleika 
the Conjurer — and Hoosier Cora — then down a shelf and 
into the years, resting pityingly on the over-invoked 
shades of Helen, Thais, Salome, and Cleopatra. 

Anthony, shaved and bathed, sat in his most deeply 



I04 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

cushioned chair and watched it until at the steady rising 
of the sun it lay glinting for a moment on the silk-ends 
of the rug — and went out. 

It was ten o^clock. The Sunday Times, scattered 
about his feet, proclaimed by rotogravure and editorial, 
by social revelation and sporting sheet, that the world 
had been tremendously engrossed during the past week 
in the business of moving toward some splendid if some- 
what indeterminate goal. For his part Anthony had 
been once to his grandfather's, twice to his broker's, and 
three times to his tailor's — and in the last hour of the 
week's last day he had kissed a very beautiful and charm- 
ing girl. 

When he reached home his imagination had been 
teeming with high-pitched, imfamiliar dreams. There 
was suddenly no question on his mind, no eternal prob- 
lem for a solution and re-solution. He had experienced 
an emotion that was neither mental nor physical, nor 
merely a mixture of the two, and the love of life absorbed 
him for the present to the exclusion of all else. He was 
content to let the experiment remain isolated and unique. 

Almost impersonally he was convinced that no woman 
he had ever met compared in any way with Gloria. 
She was deeply herself; she was immeasurably sincere — 
of these things he was certain. Beside her the two dozen 
schoolgirls and debutantes, young married women and 
waifs and strays whom he had known were so many 
females, in the word's most contemptuous sense, breed- 
ers and bearers, exuding still that faintly odorous atmos- 
phere of the cave and the nursery. 

So far as he could see, she had neither submitted to 
any will of his nor caressed his vanity — except as her 
pleasure in his company was a caress. Indeed he had 
no reason for thinking she had given him aught that she 
did not give to others. This was as it should be. The 



THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES 105 

idea of an entanglement growing out of the evening was 
as remote as it would have been repugnant. And she 
had disclaimed and buried the incident with a decisive 
untruth. Here were two young people with fancy enough 
to distinguish a game from its reahty — ^who by the very 
casualness with which they met and passed on would 
proclaim themselves unharmed. 

Having decided this he went to the phone and called 
up the Plaza Hotel. 

Gloria was out. Her mother knew neither where she 
had gone nor when she would return. 

It was somehow at this point that the first wrongness 
in the case asserted itself. There was an element of 
callousness, almost of indecency, in Gloria's absence 
from home. He suspected that by going out she had 
intrigued him into a disadvantage. Returning she 
would find his name, and smile. Most discreetly ! He 
should have waited a few hours in order to drive home 
the utter inconsequence with which he regarded the in- 
cident. What an asinine blunder! She would think 
he considered himself particularly favored. She would 
think he was reacting with the most inept intimacy to a 
quite trivial episode. 

He remembered that during the previous month his 
janitor, to whom he had delivered a rather muddled lec- 
ture on the *^ brother-hoove man," had come up next 
day and, on the basis of what had happened the night 
before, seated himself in the window-seat for a cordial 
and chatty half-hour. Anthony wondered in horror if 
Gloria would regard him as he had regarded that man. 
Him — Anthony Patch ! Horror ! 

It never occurred to him that he was a passive thing/ 
acted upon by an influence above and beyond Gloria, 
that he was merely the sensitive plate on which the pho- 
tograph was made. Some gargantuan photographer had 



io6 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

f ocussed the camera on Gloria and snap ! — the poor plate 
could but develop, confined like all things to its nature. 

But Anthony, lying upon his couch and staring at 
the orange lamp, passed his thin fingers incessantly 
through his dark hair and made new symbols for the 
hours. She was in a shop now, it seemed, moving lithely 
among the velvets and the furs, her own dress making, 
as she walked, a debonair rustle in that world of silken 
rustles and cool soprano laughter and scents of many 
slain but living flowers. The Minnies and Pearls and 
Jewels and Jennies would gather round her like cour- 
tiers, bearing wispy frailties of Georgette crepe, delicate 
chiffon to echo her cheeks in faint pastel, milky lace to 
rest in pale disarray against her neck — damask was 
used but to cover priests and divans in these days, and 
cloth of Samarand was remembered only by the romantic 
poets. 

She would go elsewhere after a while, tilting her head 
a hundred ways under a hundred bonnets, seeking in 
vain for mock cherries to match her lips or plumes that 
were graceful as her own supple body. 

Noon would come — she would hurry along Fifth 
Avenue, a Nordic Ganymede, her fur coat swinging 
fashionably with her steps, her cheeks redder by a stroke 
of the wind's brush, her breath a delightful mist upon the 
bracing air — and the doors of the Ritz would revolve, 
the crowd would divide, fifty masculine eyes would 
start, stare, as she gave back forgotten dreams to the 
husbands of many obese and comic women. 

One o'clock. With her fork she would tantalize the 
heart of an adoring artichoke, while her escort served 
himself up in the thick, dripping sentences of an enrap- 
tured man. 

Four o'clock: her little feet moving to melody, her 
face distinct in the crowd, her partner happy as a petted 



THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES 107 

puppy and mad as the immemorial hatter. . . . Then — • 
then night would come drifting down and perhaps an- 
other damp. The signs would spill their light into the 
street. Who knew? No wiser than he, they haply 
sought to recapture that picture done in cream and 
shadow they had seen on the hushed Avenue the night 
before. And they might, ah, they might ! A thousand 
taxis would yawn at a thousand corners, and only to him 
was that kiss forever lost and done. In a thousand 
guises Thais would hail a cab and turn up her face for 
loving. And her pallor would be virginal and lovely, 
and her kiss chaste as the moon. . . . 

He sprang excitedly to his feet. How inappropriate 
that she should be out ! He had realized at last what 
he wanted — to kiss her again, to find rest in her great 
immobility. She was the end of all restlessness, all 
malcontent. 

Anthony dressed and went out, as he should have 
done long before, and down to Richard CarameFs 
room to hear the last revision of the last chapter of 
"The Demon Lover." He did not call Gloria again 
until six. He did not find her in until eight and — oh, 
climax of anticlimaxes ! — she could give him no engage- 
ment until Tuesday afternoon. A broken piece of gutta- 
percha clattered to the floor as he banged up the phone. 

Black Magic 

Tuesday was freezing cold. He called at a bleak two 
o'clock and as they shook hands he wondered confusedly 
whether he had ever kissed her; it was almost unbelieva- 
ble — he seriously doubted if she remembered it. 

"I called you four times on Sunday,'^ he told her. 

"Did you?" 

There was surprise in her voice and interest in her 
expression. Silently he cursed himself for having told 



io8 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

her. He might have known her pride did not deal in 
such petty triumphs. Even then he had not guessed 
at the truth — that never having had to worry about 
men she had seldom used the wary subterfuges, the 
playings out and hauHngs in, that were the stock in 
trade of her sisterhood. When she liked a man, that 
was trick enough. Did she think she loved him — there 
was an ultimate and fatal thrust. Her charm endlessly 
preserved itself. 

"I was anxious to see you," he said simply. " I want 
to talk to you — I mean really talk, somewhere where 
we can be alone. May I ? " 

"What do you mean?'^ 

He swallowed a sudden lump of panic. He felt that 
she knew what he wanted. 

"I mean, not at a tea-table," he said. 

"Well, all right, but not to-day, I want to get some 
exercise. Let's walk!" 

It was bitter and raw. All the evil hate in the mad 
heart of February was wrought into the forlorn and icy 
wind that cut its way cruelly across Central Park and 
down along Fifth Avenue. It was almost impossible 
to talk, and discomfort made him distracted, so much 
so that he turned at Sixty-first Street to find that she 
was no longer beside him. He looked around. She 
was forty feet in the rear standing motionless, her face 
half hidden in her fur-coat collar, moved either by anger 
or laughter — ^he could not determine which. He started 
back. 

"Don't let me interrupt your walk !" she called. 

"I'm mighty sorry," he answered in confusion. "Did 
I go too fast?" 

"I'm cold," she announced. "I want to go home. 
And you walk too fast." 

"I'm very sorry." 



THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES 109 

Side by side they started for the Plaza. He wished 
he could see her face. 

"Men don't usually get so absorbed in themselves 
when they're with me." 

"I'm sorry." 

"That's very interesting." 

"It is rather too cold to walk," he said, briskly, to 
hide his annoyance. 

She made no answer and he wondered if she would 
dismiss him at the hotel entrance. She walked in with- 
out speaking, however, and to the elevator, throwing 
him a single remark as she entered it: 

"You'd better come up." 

He hesitated for the fraction of a moment. 

"Perhaps I'd better call some other time." 

"Just as you say." Her words were murmured as an 
aside. The main concern of life was the adjusting of 
some stray wisps of hair in the elevator mirror. Her 
cheeks were brilliant, her eyes sparkled — she had never 
seemed so lovely, so exquisitely to be desired. 

Despising himself, he found that he was walking down 
the tenth-floor corridor a subservient foot behind her; 
was in the sitting-room while she disappeared to shed 
her furs. Something had gone wrong — ^in his own eyes 
he had lost a shred of dignity; in an unpremeditated yet 
significant encounter he had been completely defeated. 

However, by the time she reappeared in the sitting- 
room he had explained himself to himself with sophistic 
satisfaction. After all he had done the strongest thing, 
he thought. He had wanted to come up, he had come. 
Yet what happened later on that afternoon must be 
traced to the indignity he had experienced in the eleva- 
tor; the girl was worrying him intolerably, so much so 
that when she came out he involuntarily drifted into 
criticism. 



no THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

"Who's this Bloeckman, Gloria?" 

"A business friend of father's." 

"Odd sort of fellow!" 

"He doesn't like you either," she said with a sudden 
smile. 

Anthony laughed. 

"I'm fliattered at his notice. He evidently considers 
me a — " He broke off with "Is he in love with 
you?" 

"I don't know." 

"The deuce you don't," he insisted. "Of course he 
is. I remember the look he gave me when we got back 
to the table. He'd probably have had me quietly as- 
saulted by a delegation of movie supes if you hadn't 
invented that phone call." 

"He didn't mind. I told him afterward what really 
happened." 

"You told him!" 

"He asked me." 

"I don't like that very well," he remonstrated. 

She laughed again. 

"Oh, you don't?" 

"What business is it of his?" 

"None. That's why I told him." 

Anthony in a turmoil bit savagely at his mouth. 

"Why should I Ue?" she demanded directly. "I'm 
not ashamed of anything I do. It happened to interest 
him to know that I kissed you, and I happened to be 
in a good humor, so I satisfied his curiosity by a simple 
and precise ^yes.' Being rather a sensible man, after 
his fashion, he dropped the subject." 

"Except to say that he hated me." 

"Oh, it worries you? Well, if you must probe this 
stupendous matter to its depths he didn't say he hated 
you. I simply know he does." 



THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES iii 

It doesn't wor " 



"Oh, let's drop it!" she cried spiritedly. "It's a 
most uninteresting matter to me." 

With a tremendous effort Anthony made his acqui- 
escence a twist of subject, and they drifted into an an- 
cient question-and-answer game concerned with each 
other's pasts, gradually warming as they discovered the 
age-old, immemorial resemblances in tastes and ideas. 
They said things that were more revealing than they in- 
tended — ^but each pretended to accept the other at face, 
or rather word, value. 

The growth of intimacy is like that. First one gives 
off his best picture, the bright and finished product 
mended with bluff and falsehood and humor. Then 
more details are required and one paints a second por- 
trait, and a third — before long the best lines cancel out 
— and the secret is exposed at last; the planes of the pic- 
tures have intermingled and given us away, and though 
we paint and paint we can no longer sell a picture. We 
must be satisfied with hoping that such fatuous accoimts 
of ourselves as we make to our wives and children and 
business associates are accepted as true. 

"It seems to me," Anthony was saying earnestly, 
"that the position of a man with neither necessity nor 
ambition is unfortunate. Heaven knows it'd be pathetic 
of me to be sorry for myself — ^yet, sometimes I envy 
Dick." 

Her silence was encouragement. It was as near as 
she ever came to an intentional lure. 

" — And there used to be dignified occupations for a 
gentleman who had leisure, things a little more con- 
structive than filling up the landscape with smoke or 
juggling some one else's money. There's science, of 
course: sometimes I wish I'd taken a good foundation, 
say at Boston Tech. But now, by golly, I'd have to 



112 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

sit down for two years and struggle through the funda- 
mentals of physics and chemistry." 

She yawned. 

"IVe told you I don't know what anybody ought to 
do/' she said ungraciously, and at her indifference his 
rancor was born again. 

"Aren't you interested in anything except yourself?" 

"Not much." 

He glared; his growing enjoyment in the conversation 
was ripped to shreds. She had been irritable and vin- 
dictive all day, and it seemed to him that for this mo- 
ment he hated her hard selfishness. He stared morosely 
at the fire. 

Then a strange thing happened. She turned to him 
and smiled, and as he saw her smile every rag of anger 
and hurt vanity dropped from him — as though his very 
moods were but the outer ripples of her own, as though 
emotion rose no longer in his breast unless she saw fit 
to pull an omnipotent controlling thread. 

He moved closer and taking her hand pulled her ever 
so gently toward him until she half lay against his shoul- 
der. She smiled up at him as he kissed her. 

"Gloria," he whispered very softly. Again she had 
made a magic, subtle and pervading as a spilt perfume, 
irresistible and sweet. 

Afterward, neither the next day nor after many years, 
could he remember the important things of that after- 
noon. Had she been moved? In his arms had she 
spoken a little — or at all ? What measure of enjoyment 
had she taken in his kisses ? And had she at any time 
lost herself ever so little? 

Oh, for him there was no doubt. He had risen and 
paced the floor in sheer ecstasy. That such a girl should 
be; should poise curled in a corner of the couch like a 
swallow newly landed from a clean swift flight, watch- 



THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES 113 

ing him with inscrutable eyes. He would stop his pac- 
ing and, half shy each time at first, drop his arm around 
her and find her kiss. 

She was fascinating, he told her. He had never met 
any one like her before. He besought her jauntily but 
earnestly to send him away; he didn't want to fall in 
love. He wasn't coming to see her any more — already 
she had haunted too many of his ways. 

What delicious romance! His true reaction was 
neither fear nor sorrow — only this deep delight in being 
with her that colored the banality of his words and made 
the mawkish seem sad and the posturing seem wise. 
He would come back — eternally. He should have 
known ! 

"This is all. It's been very rare to have known you, 
very strange and wonderful. But this wouldn't do — 
and wouldn't last." As he spoke there was in his heart 
that tremulousness that we take for sincerity in our- 
selves. 

Afterward he remembered one reply of hers to some- 
thing he had asked her. He remembered it in this form 
— ^perhaps he had unconsciously arranged and polished 
it: 

"A woman should be able to kiss a man beautifully 
and romantically witliout any desire to be either his 
wife or his mistress." 

As always when he was with her she seemed to grow 
gradually older until at the end ruminations too deep 
for words would be wintering in her eyes. 

An hour passed, and the fire leaped up in little ec- 
stasies as though its fading life was sweet. It was five 
now, and the clock over the mantel became articulate 
in sound. Then as if a brutish sensibility in him was 
reminded by those thin, tinny beats that the petals were 
falling from the flowered afternoon, Anthony pulkd her 



114 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

quickly to her feet and held her helpless, without breath, 
in a kiss that was neither a game nor a tribute. 

Her arms fell to her side. In an instant she was free. 

"Don't!" she said quietly. "I don't want that." 

She sat down on the far side of the lounge and gazed 
straight before her. A frown had gathered between 
her eyes. Anthony sank down beside her and closed 
his hand over hers. It was lifeless and unresponsive. 

"Why, Gloria!" He made a motion as if to put his 
arm about her but she drew away. 

"I don't want that," she repeated. 

"I'm very sorry," he said, a little impatiently. "I — 
I didn't know you made such fine distinctions." 

She did not answer. 

"Won't you kiss me, Gloria?" 

"I don't want to." It seemed to him she had not 
moved for hours. 

"A sudden change, isn't it?" Annoyance was grow- 
ing in his voice. 

"Is it?" She appeared uninterested. It was almost 
as though she were looking at some one else. 

"Perhaps I'd better go." 

No reply. He rose and regarded her angrily, uncer- 
tainly. Again he sat down. 

"Gloria, Gloria, won't you kiss me?" 

"No." Her lips, parting for the word, had just faintly 
stirred. 

Again he got to his feet, this time with less decision, 
less confidence. 

"Then I'll go." 

Silence. 

"All right— I'll go." 

He was aware of a certain irremediable lack of origi- 
nality in his remarks. Indeed he felt that the whole 
atmosphere had grown oppressive. He wished she 



THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES 115 

would speak, rail at him, cry out upon him, anything 
but this pervasive and chilling silence. He cursed him- 
self for a weak fool; his clearest desire was to move her, 
to hurt her, to see her wince. Helplessly, involuntarily, 
he erred again. 

"If you^re tired of kissing me I'd better go." 

He saw her lips curl sHghtly and his last dignity left 
him. She spoke, at length: 

"I believe you've made that remark several times 
before." 

He looked about him immediately, saw his hat and 
coat on a chair — blundered into them, during an in- 
tolerable moment. Looking again at the couch he per- 
ceived that she had not turned, not even moved. With 
a shaken, immediately regretted "good-by" he went 
quickly but without dignity from the room. 

For over a moment Gloria made no sound. Her Hps 
were still curled; her glance was straight, proud, remote. 
Then her eyes blurred a little, and she murmured three 
words half aloud to the death-bound fire: 

" Good-by, you ass ! " she said. 

Panic 

The man had had the hardest blow of his Hfe. He 
knew at last what he wanted, but in finding it out it 
seemed that he had put it forever beyond his grasp. 
He reached home in misery, dropped into an armchair 
without even removing his overcoat, and sat there for 
over an hour, his mind racing the paths of fruitless and 
wretched self-absorption. She had sent him away! 
That was the reiterated burden of his despair. Instead 
of seizing the girl and holding her by sheer strength 
until she became passive to his desire, instead of beating 
down her will by the force of his own, he had walked, 
defeated and powerless, from her door, with the corners 



ii6 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

of his mouth drooping and what force there might have 
been in his grief and rage hidden behind the manner of 
a whipped schoolboy. At one minute she had Hked 
him tremendously — ah, she had nearly loved him. In 
the next he had become a thing of indifference to her, 
an insolent and efficiently humiliated man. 

He had no great self-reproach — some, of course, but 
there were other things dominant in him now, far more 
urgent. He was not so much in love with Gloria as mad 
for her. Unless he could have her near him again, kiss 
her, hold her close and acquiescent, he wanted nothing 
more from Hfe. By her three minutes of utter unwaver- 
ing indifference the girl had Hfted herself from a high 
but somehow casual position in his mind, to be instead 
his complete preoccupation. However much his wild 
thoughts varied between a passionate desire for her 
kisses and an equally passionate craving to hurt and 
mar her, the residue of his mind craved in finer fashion 
to possess the trimnphant soul that had shone through 
those three minutes. She was beautiful — ^but especially 
she was without mercy. He must own that strength 
that could send him away. 

At present no such analysis was possible to Anthony. 
His clarity of mind, all those endless resources which he 
thought his irony had brought him were swept aside. 
Not only for that night but for the days and weeks that 
followed his books were to be but furniture and his 
friends only people who lived and walked in a nebulous 
outer world from which he was trying to escape — that 
world was cold and full of bleak wind, and for a little 
while he had seen into a warm house where fires shone. 

About midnight he began to realize that he was hungry. 
He went down into Fifty-second Street, where it was so 
cold that he could scarcely see; the moisture froze on 
his lashes and in the corners of his lips. Everywhere 



THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES 117 

dreariness had come down from the north, settling upon 
the thin and cheerless street, where black bundled fig- 
ures blacker still against the night, moved stumbling 
along the sidewalk through the shrieking wind, sliding 
their feet cautiously ahead as though they were on skis. 
Anthony turned over toward Sixth Avenue, so absorbed 
in his thoughts as not to notice that several passers-by 
had stared at him. His overcoat was wide open, and 
the wind was biting in, hard and full of merciless death. 

. . . After a while a waitress spoke to him, a fat 
waitress with black-rimmed eye-glasses from which 
dangled a long black cord. 

"Order, please!'' 

Her voice, he considered, was unnecessarily loud. He 
looked up resentfully. 

"You wanna order or doncha?" 

"Of course," he protested. 

"Well, I ast you three times. This ain't no rest- 
room." 

He glanced at the big clock and discovered with a 
start that it was after two. He was down around 
Thirtieth Street somewhere, and after a moment he 
found and translated the 

S'aJIHD 

in a white semicircle of letters upon the glass front. 
The place was inhabited sparsely by three or four bleak 
and half-frozen night-hawks. 

"Give me some bacon and eggs and coffee, please." 
The waitress bent upon him a last disgusted glance 
and, looking ludicrously intellectual in her corded glasses, 
hurried away. 

God ! Gloria's kisses had been such flowers. He re- 
membered as though it had been years ago the low 
freshness of her voice, the beautiful lines of her body 



ii8 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

shining through her clothes, her face lily-colored under 
the lamps of the street — under the lamps. 

Misery struck at him again, piling a sort of terror upon 
the ache and yearning. He had lost her. It was true 
— no denying it, no softening it. But a new idea had 
seared his sky — what of Bloeckman ! What would hap- 
pen now? There was a wealthy man, middle-aged 
enough to be tolerant with a beautiful wife, to baby her 
whims and indulge her unreason, to wear her as she per- 
haps wished to be worn — a bright flower in his button- 
hole, safe and secure from the things she feared. He 
felt that she had been pla3dng with the idea of marrying 
Bloeckman, and it was well possible that this disappoint- 
ment in Anthony might throw her on sudden impulse 
into Bloeckman's arms. 

The idea drove him childishly frantic. He wanted to 
kill Bloeckman and make him suffer for his hideous pre- 
sumption. He was saying this over and over to him- 
self with his teeth tight shut, and a perfect orgy of hate 
and fright in his eyes. 

But, behind this obscene jealousy, Anthony was in 
love at last, profoundly and truly in love, as the word 
goes between man and woman. 

His coffee appeared at his elbow and gave off for a 
certain time a gradually diminishing wisp of steam. The 
night manager, seated at his desk, glanced at the mo- 
tionless figure alone at the last table, and then with 
a sigh moved down upon him just as the hour-hand 
crossed the figure three on the big clock. 

Wisdom 

After another day the turmoil subsided and Anthony 
began to exercise a measure of reason. He was in love 
— he cried it passionately to himself. The things that 
a week before would have seemed insuperable ob- 



THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES 119 

stacks, his limited income, his desire to be irresponsible 
and independent, had in this forty hours become the 
merest chaff before the wind of his infatuation. If he 
did not marry her his life would be a feeble parody on 
his own adolescence. To be able to face people and to 
endure the constant reminder of Gloria that all existence 
had become, it was necessary for him to have hope. So 
he built hope desperately and tenaciously out of the 
stuff of his dream, a hope flimsy enough, to be sure, a 
hope that was cracked and dissipated a dozen times a 
day, a hope mothered by mockery, but, nevertheless, a 
hope that would be brawn and sinew to his self-respect. 

Out of this developed a spark of wisdom, a true per- 
ception of his own from out the effortless past. 

"Memory is short,'' he thought. 

So very short. At the crucial point the Trust Presi- 
dent is on the stand, a potential criminal needing but 
one push to be a jailbird, scorned by the upright for 
leagues around. Let him be acquitted — and in a year 
all is forgotten. "Yes, he did have some trouble once, 
just a technicality, I believe." Oh, memory is very 
short ! 

Anthony had seen Gloria altogether about a dozen 
times, say two dozen hours. Supposing he left her 
alone for a month, made no attempt to see her or speak 
to her, and avoided every place where she might possi- 
bly be. Wasn't it possible, the more possible because 
she had never loved him, that at the end of that time 
the rush of events would efface his personality from her 
conscious mind, and with his personality his offense and 
humiliation? She would forget, for there would be 
other men. He winced. The implication struck out 
at him — other men. Two months — God ! Better three 
weeks, two weeks 

He thought this the second evening after the catas- 



I20 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

trophe when he was undressing, and at this point he 
threw himself down on the bed and lay there, trembling 
very slightly and looking at the top of the canopy. 

Two weeks — that was worse than no time at all. In 
two weeks he would approach her much as he would 
have to now, without personality or confidence — re- 
maining still the man who had gone too far and then 
for a period that in time was but a moment but in fact 
an eternity, whined. No, two weeks was too short a 
time. Whatever poignancy there had been for her in 
that afternoon must have time to dull. He must give 
her a period when the incident should fade, and then a 
new period when she should gradually begin to think of 
him, no matter how dimly, with a true perspective that 
would remember his pleasantness as well as his humilia- 
tion. 

He fixed, finally, on six weeks as approximately the 
interval best suited to his purpose, and on a desk calen- 
dar he marked the days off, finding that it would fall 
on the ninth of April. Very well, on that day he would 
phone and ask her if he might call. Until then — silence. 

After his decision a gradual improvement was mani- 
fest. He had taken at least a step in the direction to 
which hope pointed, and he realized that the less he 
brooded upon her the better he would be able to give the 
desired impression when they met. 

In another hour he fell into a deep sleep. 

The Interval 

Nevertheless, though, as the days passed, the glory 
of her hair dimmed perceptibly for him and in a year 
of separation might have departed completely, the six 
weeks held many abominable days. He dreaded the 
sight of Dick and Maury, imagining wildly that they 
knew all — ^but when the three met it was Richard 



THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES 121 

Caramel and not Anthony who was the centre of atten- 
tion; "The Demon Lover" had been accepted for im- 
mediate publication. Anthony felt that from now on 
he moved apart. He no longer craved the warmth 
and security of Maury's society which had cheered him 
no further back than November. Only Gloria could 
give that now and no one else ever again. So Dick's 
success rejoiced him only casuaUy and worried him not 
a little. It meant that the world was going ahead — 
writing and reading and publishing — and Uving. And 
he wanted the world to wait motionless and breathless 
for six weeks — while Gloria forgot. 

Two Encounters 

His greatest satisfaction was in Geraldine's company. 
He took her once to dinner and the theatre and enter- 
tained her several times in his apartment. When he 
was with her she absorbed him, not as Gloria had, but 
quieting those erotic sensibiHties in him that worried 
over Gloria. It didn't matter how he kissed Geraldine. 
A kiss was a kiss — to be enjoyed to the utmost for its 
short moment. To Geraldine things belonged in defi' 
nite pigeonholes: a kiss was one thing, anything further 
was quite another; a kiss was all right; the other things 
were "bad." 

When half the interval was up two incidents occurred 
on successive days that upset his increasing calm and 
caused a temporary relapse. 

The first was — he saw Gloria. It was a short meeting. 
Both bowed. Both spoke, yet neither heard the other. 
But when it was over ilnthony read down a column of 
The Sun three times in succession without understand- 
ing a single sentence. 

One would have thought Sixth Avenue a safe street ! 
Having forsworn his barber at the Plaza he went around 



122 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

the corner one morning to be shaved, and while waiting 
his turn he took off coat and vest, and with his soft 
collar open at the neck stood near the front of the shop. 
The day was an oasis in the cold desert of March and 
the sidewalk was cheerful with a population of strolling 
sun-worshippers. A stout woman upholstered in vel- 
vet, her flabby cheeks too much massaged, swirled by 
with her poodle straining at its leash — the effect being 
given of a tug bringing in an ocean liner. Just behind 
them a man in a striped blue suit, walking slue-footed 
in white-spatted feet, grinned at the sight and catch- 
ing Anthony^s eye, winked through the glass. Anthony 
laughed, thrown immediately into that humor in which 
men and women were graceless and absurd phantasms, 
grotesquely curved and rounded in a rectangular world 
of their own building. They inspired the same sensa- 
tions in him as did those strange and monstrous fish 
who inhabit the esoteric world of green in the aquarium. 

Two more strollers caught his eye casually, a man 
and a girl — then in a horrified instant the girl resolved 
herself into Gloria. He stood here powerless; they 
came nearer and Gloria, glancing in, saw him. Her 
eyes widened and she smiled politely. Her lips moved. 
She was less than five feet away. 

^'How do you do?" he muttered inanely. 

Gloria, happy, beautiful, and young — with a man he 
had never seen before ! 

It was then that the barber's chair was vacated and 
he read down the newspaper column three times in 
succession. 

The second incident took place the next day. Going 
into the Manhattan bar about seven he was confronted 
with Bloeckman. As it happened, the room was nearly 
deserted, and before the mutual recognition he had 



THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES 123 

stationed himself within a foot of the older man and 
ordered his drink, so it was inevitable that they should 
converse. 

*' Hello, Mr. Patch," said Bloeckman amiably enough. 

Anthony took the proffered hand and exchanged a 
few aphorisms on the fluctuations of the mercury. 

"Do you come in here much?" inquired Bloeckman. 

"No, very seldom." He omitted to add that the 
Plaza bar had, until lately, been his favorite. 

"Nice bar. One of the best bars in town." 

Anthony nodded. Bloeckman emptied his glass and 
picked up his cane. He was in evening dress. 

"Well, I'll be hurrying on. I'm going to dinner 
with Miss Gilbert." 

Death looked suddenly out at him from two blue 
eyes. Had he announced himself as his vis-a-vis's pro- 
spective murderer he could not have struck a more 
vital blow at Anthony. The younger man must have 
reddened visibly, for his every nerve was in instant 
clamor. With tremendous effort he mustered a rigid 
— oh, so rigid — smile, and said a conventional good-by. 
But that night he lay awake until after four, half wild 
with grief and fear and abominable imaginings. 

Weakness 

And one day in the fifth week he called her up. He 
had been sitting in his apartment trying to read "L'Edu- 
cation Sentimental," and something in the book had sent 
his thoughts racing in the direction that, set free, they al- 
ways took, like horses racing for a home stable. With 
suddenly quickened breath he walked to the telephone. 
When he gave the number it seemed to him that his 
voice faltered and broke hke a schoolboy's. The Cen- 
tral must have heard the pounding of his heart. The 
sound of the receiver being taken up at the other end 



124 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

was a crack of doom, and Mrs. Gilbert's voice, soft as 
maple-syrup rumiing into a glass container, had for him 
a quality of horror in its single *'Hello-o-ah?" 

*'Miss Gloria's not feeling well. She's lying down, 
asleep. Who shall I say called?" 

"Nobody!" he shouted. 

In a wild panic he slammed down the receiver; col- 
lapsed into his armchair in the cold sweat of breathless 
relief. 

Serenade 

The first thing he said to her was: "Why, you've 
bobbed your hair!" and she answered: "Yes, isn't it 
gorgeous?" 

It was not fashionable then. It was to be fashionable 
in five or six years. At that time it was considered 
extremely daring. 

"It's all sunshine outdoors," he said gravely. "Don't 
you want to take a walk?" 

She put on a light coat and a quaintly piquant Na- 
poleon hat of Alice Blue, and they walked along the 
Avenue and into the Zoo, where they properly admired 
the grandeur of the elephant and the collar-height of 
the giraffe, but did not visit the monkey-house because 
Gloria said that monkeys smelt so bad. 

Then they returned toward the Plaza, talking about 
nothing, but glad for the spring singing in the air and 
for the warm balm that lay upon the suddenly golden 
dty. To their right was the Park, while at the left a 
great bulk of granite and marble muttered dully a mil- 
lionaire's chaotic message to whosoever would listen: 
something about "I worked and I saved and I was 
sharper than all Adam and here I sit, by golly, by golly ! " 

All the newest and most beautiful designs in automo- 
biles were out on Fifth Avenue, and ahead of them the 



THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES 125 

Plaza loomed up rather unusually white and attractive. 
The supple, indolent Gloria walked a short shadow's 
length ahead of him, pouring out lazy casual comments 
that floated a moment on the dazzHng air before they 
reached his ear. 

"Oh !" she cried, "I want to go south to Hot Springs ! 
I want to get out in the air and just roll around on the 
new grass and forget there's ever been any winter." 

''Don't you, though!" 

"I want to hear a million robins making a frightful 
racket. I sort of like birds." 

"All women are birds," he ventured. 

"What kind am I?" — quick and eager. 

"A swallow, I think, and sometimes a bird of para- 
dise. Most girls are sparrows, of course — see that row 
of nurse-maids over there? They're sparrows — or are 
they magpies? And of course you've met canary girls 
— and robin girls." 

"And swan girls and parrot girls. All grown women 
are hawks, I think, or owls." 

"What am I — a buzzard?" 

She laughed and shook her head. 

* * Oh, no, you're not a bird at all, do you think ? You're 
a Russian wolfhound." 

Anthony remembered that they were white and al- 
ways looked unnaturally hungry. But then they were 
usually photographed with dukes and princesses, so he 
was properly flattered. 

"Dick's a fox-terrier, a trick fox-terrier," she con- 
tinued. 

"And Maury's a cat." Simultaneously it occurred 
to him how like Bloeckman was to a robust and offen- 
sive hog. But he preserved a discreet silence. 

Later, as they parted, Anthony asked when he might 
see her again. 



126 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

'Don't you ever make long engagements?" he 
pleaded, "even if it's a week ahead, I think it'd be fun 
to spend a whole day together, morning and afternoon 
both." 

"It would be, wouldn't it?" She thought for a mo- 
ment. "Let's do it next Sunday." 

"All right. I'll map out a programme that'll take 
up every minute." 

He did. He even figured to a nicety what would 
happen in the two hours when she would come to his 
apartment for tea: how the good Bounds would have 
the windows wide to let in the fresh breeze — but a fire 
going also lest there be chill in the air — and how there 
would be clusters of flowers about in big cool bowls that 
he would buy for the occasion. They would sit on the 
lounge. 

And when the day came they did sit upon the lounge. 
After a whUe Anthony kissed her because it came about 
quite naturally; he found sweetness sleeping still upon 
her Ups, and felt that he had never been away. The 
fire was bright and the breeze sighing in through the 
curtains brought a mellow damp, promising May and 
world of summer. His soul thrilled to remote har- 
monies; he heard the strum of far guitars and waters 
lapping on a warm Mediterranean shore — for he was 
young now as he would never be again, and more tri- 
lunphant than death. 

Six o'clock stole down too soon and rang the querulous 
melody of St. Anne's chimes on the corner. Through 
the gathering dusk they strolled to the Avenue, where 
the crowds, like prisoners released, were walking with 
elastic step at last after the long winter, and the tops of 
the busses were thronged with congenial kings and the 
shops full of fine soft things for the summer, the rare 
sxmimer, the gay promising sununer that seemed for 



THE CONNOISSEUR OF KISSES 127 

love what the winter was for money. Life was sing- 
ing for his supper on the corner! Life was handing 
round cocktails in the street! Old women there were 
in that crowd who felt that they could have run and won 
a hundred-yard dash ! 

In bed that night with the lights out and the cool 
room swimming with moonlight, Anthony lay awake and 
played with every minute of the day like a child playing 
in turn with each one of a pile of long-wanted Christmas 
toys. He had told her gently, almost in the middle of 
a kiss, that he loved her, and she had smiled and held 
him closer and murmured, ^^I'm glad/' looking into his 
eyes. There had been a new quality in her attitude, 
a new growth of sheer physical attraction toward him 
and a strange emotional tenseness, that was enough to 
make him clinch his hands and draw in his breath at the 
recollection. He had felt nearer to her than ever before. 
In a rare delight he cried aloud to the room that he 
loved her. 

He phoned next morning — no hesitation now, no un- 
certainty — instead a delirious excitement that doubled 
and trebled when he heard her voice: 

" Good morning — Gloria." 

'^Good morning." 

"That's all I called you up to say — dear." 

"I'm glad you did." 

"I wish I could see you." 

"You will, to-morrow night." 

"That's a long time, isn't it?" 

"Yes — " Her voice was reluctant. His hand tight- 
ened on the receiver. 

"Couldn't I come to-night?" He dared anything in 
the glory and revelation of that almost whispered "yes." 

"I have a date." 

"Oh " 



128 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

"But I might — I might be able to break it." 

" Oh ! " — a sheer cry, a rhapsody. " Gloria ? " 

"What?" 

" I love you." 

Another pause and then: 

"I— I'm glad." 

Happiness, remarked Maury Noble one day, is only 
the first hour after the alleviation of some especially in- 
tense misery. But oh, Anthony's face as he walked 
down the tenth-floor corridor of the Plaza that night! 
His dark eyes were gleaming — around his mouth were 
lines it was a kindness to see. He was handsome then 
if never before, bound for one of those immortal mo- 
ments which come so radiantly that their remembered 
light is enough to see by for years. 

He knocked and, at a word, entered. Gloria, dressed 
in simple pink, starched and fresh as a flower, was across 
the room, standing very still, and looking at him wide- 
eyed. 

As he closed the door behind him she gave a little cry 
and moved swiftly over the intervening space, her arms 
rising in a premature caress as she came near. Together 
they crushed out the stiff folds of her dress in one tri- 
imiphant and enduring embrace. 



BOOK TWO 



CHAPTER I 
THE RADIANT HOUR 

After a fortnight Anthony and Gloria began to in- 
dulge in "practical discussions," as they called those 
sessions when under the guise of severe realism they 
walked in an eternal moonlight. 

"Not as much as I do you," the critic of belles-lettres 
would insist. "If you really loved me you'd want 
every one to know it." 

"I do," she protested; "I want to stand on the street 
corner like a sandwich-man, informing all the passers- 
by." 

"Then tell me all the reasons why you're going to 
marry me in June." 

"Well, because you're so clean. You're sort of blowy 
clean, like I am. There's two sorts, you know. One's 
like Dick: he's clean like polished pans. You and I are 
clean like streams and winds. I can tell whenever I see 
a person whether he is clean, and if so, which kind of 
clean he is." 

"We're twins." 

Ecstatic thought ! 

"Mother says"—- she hesitated uncertainly — "mother 
says that two souls are sometimes created together and 
• — and in love before they're born." 

Bilphism gained its easiest convert. . . . After a while 
he lifted up his head and laughed soundlessly toward 
the ceiling. When his eyes came back to her he saw 
that she was angry. 

"Why did you laugh?" she cried, "you've done that 

131 



132 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

twice before. There's nothing funny about our relation 
to each other. I don't mind playing the fool, and I 
don't mind having you do it, but I can't stand it when 
we're together." 

'*I'm sorry." 

"Oh, don't say you're sorry! If you can't think of 
anything better than that, just keep quiet !" 

"I love you." 

"I don't care." 

There was a pause. Anthony was depressed. . . . 
At length Gloria murmured: 

*'I'm sorry I was mean." 

"You weren't. I was the one." 

Peace was restored — the ensuing moments were so 
much more sweet and sharp and poignant. They were 
stars on this stage, each playing to an audience of two: 
the passion of their pretense created the actuality. 
Here, finally, was the quintessence of self-expression — 
yet it was probable that for the most part their love ex- 
pressed Gloria rather than Anthony. He felt often like 
a scarcely tolerated guest at a party she was giving. 

Telling Mrs. Gilbert had been an embarrassed matter. 
She sat stuffed into a small chair and listened with an 
intense and very blinky sort of concentration. She 
must have known it — for three weeks Gloria had seen 
no one else — ^and she must have noticed that this time 
there was an authentic difference in her daughter's atti- 
tude. She had been given special deliveries to post; she 
had heeded, as all mothers seem to heed, the hither end 
of telephone conversations, disguised but still rather 
warm 

— Yet she had delicately professed surprise and de- 
clared herself immensely pleased; she doubtless was; so 
were the geranium-plants blossoming in the window- 
boxes, and so were the cabbies when the lovers sought 



THE RADIANT HOUR 133 

the romantic privacy of hansom cabs — quaint device — • 
and the staid bill of fares on which they scribbled "you 
know I do/' pushing it over for the other to see. 

But between kisses Anthony and this golden girl quar- 
relled incessantly. 

"Now, Gloria/' he would cry, "please let me explain !" 

"Don't explain. Kiss me." 

"I don't think that's right. If I hurt your feelings 
we ought to discuss it. I don't like this kiss-and-forget." 

"But I don't want to argue. I think it's wonderful 
that we can kiss and forget, and when we can't it'll be 
time to argue." 

At one time some gossamer difference attained such 
bulk that Anthony arose and punched himself into his 
overcoat — for a moment it appeared that the scene of 
the preceding February was to be repeated, but knowing 
how deeply she was moved he retained his dignity with 
his pride, and in a moment Gloria was sobbing in his 
arms, her lovely face miserable as a frightened little 
girl's. 

Meanwhile they kept unfolding to each other, unwill- 
ingly, by curious reactions and evasions, by distastes 
and prejudices and unintended hints of the past. The 
girl was proudly incapable of jealousy and, because he 
was extremely jealous, this virtue piqued him. He 
told her recondite incidents of his own life on purpose 
to arouse some spark of it, but to no avail. She pos- 
sessed him now — nor did she desire the dead years. 

"Oh, Anthony," she would say, "always when I'm 
mean to you I'm sorry afterward. I'd give my right 
hand to save you one little moment's pain." 

And in that instant her eyes were brimming and she 
was not aware that she was voicing an illusion. Yet 
Anthony knew that there were days when they hurt 
each other purposely — taking almost a delight in the 



J34 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

thrust. Incessantly she puzzled him: one hour so inti- 
mate and charming, striving desperately toward an un- 
guessed, transcendent union; the next, silent and cold, 
apparently unmoved by any consideration of their love 
or anything he could say. Often he would eventually 
trace these portentous reticences to some physical dis- 
comfort — of these she never complained until they were 
over — or to some carelessness or presumption in him, or 
to an unsatisfactory dish at dinner, but even then the 
means by which she created the infinite distances she 
spread about herself were a mystery, buried somewhere 
back in those twenty-two years of unwavering pride. 

"Why do you like Muriel ?'' he demanded one day. 

"I don't — ^very much." 

"Then why do you go with her?" 

"Just for some one to go with. They're no exertion, 
those girls. They sort of believe everything I tell 'em — 
but I rather like Rachael. I think she's cute — and so 
clean and slick, don't you ? I used to have other friends 
— ^in Kansas City and at school — casual, all of them, 
girls who just flitted into my range and out of it for 
no more reason than that boys took us places together. 
They didn't interest me after environment stopped 
throwing us together. Now they're mostly married. 
What does it matter — they were all just people." 

"You like men better, don't you?" 

"Oh, much better. I've got a man's mind." 

"You've got a mind like mine. Not strongly gen- 
dered either way." 

Later she told him about the beginnings of her friend- 
ship with Bloeckman. One day in Delmonico's, Gloria 
and Rachael had come upon Bloeckman and Mr. Gil- 
bert having luncheon and curiosity had impelled her to 
make it a party of four. She had liked him — rather. 



THE RADIANT HOUR 135 

He was a relief from younger men, satisfied as he was 
with so little. He humored her and he laughed, whether 
he understood her or not. She met him several times, 
despite the open disapproval of her parents, and within 
a month he had asked her to marry him, tendering her 
everything from a villa in Italy to a brilliant career on 
the screen. She had laughed in his face — and he had 
laughed too. 

But he had not given up. To the time of Anthony^s 
arrival in the arena he had been making steady progress. 
She treated him rather well — except that she had called 
him always by an invidious nickname — perceiving, mean- 
while, that he was figuratively following along beside 
her as she walked the fence, ready to catch her if she 
should fall. 

The night before the engagement was announced she 
told Bloeckman. It was a heavy blow. She did not 
enlighten Anthony as to the details, but she implied 
that he had not hesitated to argue with her. Anthony 
gathered that the interview had terminated on a stormy 
note, with Gloria very cool and unmoved lying in her 
corner of the sofa and Joseph Bloeckman of ^' Films Par 
Excellence" pacing the carpet with eyes narrowed and 
head bowed. Gloria had been sorry for him but she 
had judged it best not to show it. In a final burst of 
kindness she had tried to make him hate her, there at 
the last. But Anthony, understanding that Gloria's in- 
difference was her strongest appeal, judged how futile this 
must have been. He wondered, often but quite ca<sually, 
about Bloeckman — finally he forgot him entirely. 

Heyday 

One afternoon they found front seats on the sunny 
roof of a bus and rode for hours from the fading Square 
up along the sullied river, and then, as the stray beams 



136 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

fled the westward streets, sailed down the turgid Avenue, 
darkening with ominous bees from the department-stores. 
The traffic was clotted and gripped in a patternless 
jam; the busses were packed four deep like platforms 
above the crowd as they waited for the moan of the 
traffic whistle. 

"Isn't it good !" cried Gloria. "Look !" 

A miller's wagon, stark white with flour, driven by a 
powdery clown, passed in front of them behind a white 
horse and his black team-mate. 

"What a pity!" she complained; "they'd look so 
beautiful in the dusk, if only both horses were white. 
I'm mighty happy just this minute, in this city." 

Anthony shook his head in disagreement. 

"I think the city's a mountebank. Always struggling 
to approach the tremendous and impressive urbanity 
ascribed to it. Trying to be romantically metropol- 
itan." . 

"I don't. I think it is impressive." 

" Momentarily. But it's really a transparent, artificial 
sort of spectacle. It's got its press-agented stars and 
its flimsy, unenduring stage-settings and, I'll admit, the 
greatest army of supers ever assembled — " He paused, 
laughed shortly, and added: "Technically excellent, per- 
haps, but not convincing." 

"I'll bet policemen think people are fools," said 
Gloria thoughtfully, as she watched a large but cowardly 
lady being helped across the street. "He always sees 
them frightened and inefficient and old — they are," 
she added. And then: "We'd better get off. I told 
mother I'd have an early supper and go to bed. She 
says I look tired, damn it." 

"I wish we were married," he muttered soberly; 
"there'll be no good night then and we can do just as 
we want." 



THE RADIANT HOUR 137 

"Won't it be good ! I think we ought to travel a lot. 
I want to go to the Mediterranean and Italy. And I'd 
like to go on the stage some time — say for about a 
year." 

"You bet. I'll write a play for you." 

"Won't that be good ! And I'll act in it. And then 
some time when we have more money" — old Adam's 
death was always thus tactfully alluded to — "we'll 
build a magnificent estate, won't we?" 

"Oh, yes, with private swimming-pools." 

"Dozens of them. And private rivers. Oh, I wish 
it were now." 

Odd coincidence — he had just been wishing that very 
thing. They plunged like divers into the dark eddying 
crowd and emerging in the cool fifties sauntered indo- 
lently homeward, infinitely romantic to each other . . . 
both were walking alone in a dispassionate garden with 
a ghost found in a dream. 

Halcyon days like boats drifting along slow-moving 
rivers; spring evenings full of a plaintive melancholy 
that made the past beautiful and bitter, bidding them 
look back and see that the loves of other summers long 
gone were dead with the forgotten waltzes of their years. 
Always the most poignant moments were when some 
artificial barrier kept them apart: in the theatre their 
hands would steal together, join, give and return gentle 
pressures through the long dark; in crowded rooms they 
would form words with their lips for each other's eyes — • 
not knowing that they were but following in the foot- 
steps of dusty generations but comprehending dimly 
that if truth is the end of life happiness is a mode of it, 
to be cherished in its brief and tremulous moment. 
And then, one fairy night, May became June. Sixteen 
days now — fifteen — fourteen 



138 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Three Disgressions 

Just before the engagement was announced Anthony- 
had gone up to Tarrytown to see his grandfather, who, 
a Kttle more wizened and grizzly as time played its ulti- 
mate chuckling tricks, greeted the news with profound 
C3aiicism. 

*' Oh, you're going to get married, are you ? " He said 
this with such a dubious mildness and shook his head up 
and down so many times that Anthony was not a little 
depressed. While he was unaware of his grandfather's 
intentions he presumed that a large part of the money 
would come to him. A good deal would go in charities, 
of course; a good deal to carry on the business of 
reform. 

"Are you going to work?" 

"Why — " temporized Anthony, somewhat discon- 
certed. "I am working. You know " 

"Ah, I mean work," said Adam Patch dispassionately. 

"I'm not quite sure yet what I'll do. I'm not ex- 
actly a beggar, grampa," he asserted with some spirit. 

The old man considered this with eyes half closed. 
Then almost apologetically he asked: 

"How much do you save a year?" 

"Nothing so far " 

"And so after just managing to get along on your 
money you've decided that by some miracle two of you 
can get along on it." 

"Gloria has some money of her own. Enough to 
buy clothes." 

"How much?" 

Without considering this question impertinent, An- 
thony answered it. 

"About a hundred a month." 

"That's altogether about seventy-five hundred a 



THE RADIANT HOUR 139 

year." Then he added softly: "It ought to be plenty. 
If you have any sense it ought to be plenty. But the 
question is whether you have any or not." 

"I suppose it is." It was shameful to be compelled 
to endure this pious browbeating from the old man, and 
his next words were stiffened with vanity. ''I can man- 
age very well. You seem convinced that I'm utterly 
worthless. At any rate I came up here simply to tell 
you that I'm getting married in June. Good-by, sir." 
With this he turned away and headed for the door, un- 
aware that in that instant his grandfather, for the first 
time, rather liked him, 

"Wait!" called Adam Patch, "I want to talk to you." 

Anthony faced about. 

"Well, sir?" 

"Sit down. Stay all night." 

Somewhat mollified, Anthony resumed his seat. 

"I'm sorry, sir, but I'm going to see Gloria to-night." 

"What's her name?" 

"Gloria Gilbert." 

"New York girl? Some one you know?" 

"She's from the Middle West." 

"What business her father in?" 

"In a celluloid corporation or trust or something. 
They're from Kansas City." 

"You going to be married out there?" 

"Why, no, sir. We thought we'd be married in New 
York — rather quietly." 

"Like to have the wedding out here?" 

Anthony hesitated. The suggestion made no appeal 
to him, but it was certainly the part of wisdom to give 
the old man, if possible, a proprietary interest in his 
married life. In addition Anthony was a little touched. 

"That's very kind of you^ grampa, but wouldn't it 
be a lot of trouble?" 



I40 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

"Everything's a lot of trouble. Your father was mar- 
ried here — ^but in the old house." 

"Why — I thought he was married in Boston." 

Adam Patch considered. 

"That's true. He was married in Boston." 

Anthony felt a moment's embarrassment at having 
made the correction, and he covered it up with words. 

"Well, I'll speak to Gloria about it. Personally I'd 
like to, but of course it's up to the Gilberts, you see." 

His grandfather drew a long sigh, half closed his eyes, 
and sank back in his chair. 

"In a hurry?" he asked in a different tone. 

"Not especially." 

"I wonder," began Adam Patch, looking out with a 
mild, kindly glance at the lilac-bushes that rustled against 
the windows, "I wonder if you ever think about the 
after-life." 

* ^ Why — sometimes. ' ' 

"I think a great deal about the after-life." His eyes 
were dim but his voice was confident and clear. "I 
was sitting here to-day thinking about what's lying in 
wait for us, and somehow I began to remember an after- 
noon nearly sixty-five years ago, when I was playing 
with my little sister Annie, down where that smnmer- 
house is now." He pointed out into the long flower- 
garden, his eyes trembling of tears, his voice shaking. 

"I began thinking — and it seemed to me that you 
ought to think a little more about the after-life. You 
ought to be — steadier" — ^he paused and seemed to 
grope about for the right word — "more industrious — 
why " 

Then his expression altered, his entire personality 
seemed to snap together like a trap, and when he con- 
tinued the softness had gone from his voice. 

" — ^Why, when I was just two years older than you," 



THE RADIANT HOUR 141 

he rasped with a cunnmg chuckle, "I sent three members 
of the firm of Wrenn and Hunt to the poorhouse." 

Anthony started with embarrassment. 

"Well, good-by," added his grandfather suddenly, 
*' you'll miss your train.'' 

Anthony left the house unusually elated, and strangely 
sorry for the old man; not because his wealth could buy 
him "neither youth nor digestion" but because he had 
asked Anthony to be married there, and because he 
had forgotten something about his son's wedding that 
he should have remembered. 

Richard Caramel, 'who was one of the ushers, caused 
Anthony and Gloria much distress in the last few weeks 
by continually steaHng the rays of their spot-light. 
"The Demon Lover" had been pubHshed in April, and 
it interrupted the love-affair as it may be said to have 
interrupted everything its author came in contact with. 
It was a highly original, rather overwritten piece of sus- 
tained description concerned with a Don Juan of the 
New York slums. As Maury and Anthony had said 
before, as the more hospitable critics were saying then, 
there was no writer in America with such power to de- 
scribe the atavistic and unsubtle reactions of that sec- 
tion of society. 

The book hesitated and then suddenly "went." Edi- 
tions, small at first, then larger, crowded each other 
week by week. A spokesman of the Salvation Army 
denounced it as a cynical misrepresentation of all the 
uplift taking place in the underworld. Clever press- 
agenting spread the unfounded rumor that "Gypsy" 
Smith was beginning a libel suit because one of the prin- 
cipal characters was a burlesque of himself. It was 
barred from the public Hbrary of BurHngton, Iowa, and 
a mid- Western columnist announced by innuendo that 



142 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Richard Caramel was in a sanitarium with delirium 
tremens. 

The author, indeed, spent his days in a state of pleas- 
ant madness. The book was in his conversation three- 
fourths of the time — he wanted to know if one had 
heard "the latest"; he would go into a store and in a 
loud voice order books to be charged to him, in order 
to catch a chance morsel of recognition from clerk or 
customer. He knew to a town in what sections of the 
country it was selling best; he knew exactly what he 
cleared on each edition, and when he met any one 
who had not read it, or, as it happened only too often, 
had not heard of it, he succumbed to moody depres- 
sion. 

So it was natural for Anthony and Gloria to decide, 
in their jealousy, that he was so swollen with conceit as 
to be a bore. To Dick's great annoyance Gloria publicly 
boasted that she had never read *'The Demon Lover," 
and didn't intend to until every one stopped talking 
about it. As a matter of fact, she had no time to read 
now, for the presents were pouring in — ^first a scattering, 
then an avalanche, varying from the bric-a-brac of for- 
gotten family friends to the photographs of forgotten 
poor relations. 

Maury gave them an elaborate "drinking set," which 
included silver goblets, cocktail-shaker, and bottle-open- 
ers. The extortion from Dick was more conventional — 
a tea-set from Tiffany's. From Joseph Bloeckman came 
a simple and exquisite travelling clock, with his card. 
There was even a cigarette-holder from Bounds; this 
touched Anthony and made him want to weep — indeed, 
any emotion short of hysteria seemed natural in the 
half-dozen people who were swept up by this tremendous 
sacrifice to convention. The room set aside in the 
Plaza bulged with offerings sent by Harvard friends 



THE RADIANT HOUR 143 

and by associates of his grandfather, with remembrances 
of Gloria's Farmover days, and with rather pathetic 
trophies from her former beaux, which last arrived with 
esoteric, melancholy messages, written on cards tucked 
carefully inside, beginning "I little thought when — " 
or ^'I'm sure I wish you all the happiness — " or even 
**When you get this I shall be on my way to '' 

The most munificent gift was simultaneously the most 
disappointing. It was a concession of Adam Patch's — • 
a check for five thousand dollars. 

To most of the presents Anthony was cold. It seemed 
to him that they would necessitate keeping a chart of 
the marital status of all their acquaintances during the 
next half-century. But Gloria exulted in each one, 
tearing at the tissue-paper and excelsior with the rapa- 
ciousness of a dog digging for a bone, breathlessly seizing 
a ribbon or an edge of metal and finally bringing to hght 
the whole article and holding it up critically, no emo- 
tion except rapt interest in her unsmiling face. 

"Look, Anthony!" 

"Darn nice, isn't it!" 

No answer until an hour later when she would give 
him a careful account of her precise reaction to the gift, 
whether it would have been improved by being smaller 
or larger, whether she was surprised at getting it, and, 
if so, just how much surprised. 

Mrs. Gilbert arranged and rearranged a hypothetical 
house, distributing the gifts among the different rooms, 
tabulating articles as "second-best clock" or "silver to 
use every day," and embarrassing Anthony and Gloria 
by semi-facetious references to a room she called the 
nursery. She was pleased by old Adam's gift and there- 
after had it that he was a very ancient soul, "as much as 
anything else." As Adam Patch never quite decided 
whether she referred to the advancing senility of his 



144 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

mind or to some private and psychic schema of her own, 
it cannot be said to have pleased him. Indeed he al- 
ways spoke of her to Anthony as *'that old woman, the 
mother," as though she were a character in a comedy 
he had seen staged many times before. Concerning 
Gloria he was unable to make up his mind. She at- 
tracted him but, as she herself told Anthony, he had de- 
cided that she was frivolous and was afraid to approve 
of her. 

Five days! — ^A dancing platform was being erected 
on the lawn at Tarrytown. Four days! — ^A special 
train was chartered to convey the guests to and from 
New York. Three days ! 

The Diary 

She was dressed in blue silk pajamas and standing by 
her bed with her hand on the light to put the room 
in darkness, when she changed her mind and opening a 
table-drawer brought out a little black book — a ^'Line-a- 
day" diary. This she had kept for seven years. Many 
of the pencil entries were almost illegible and there were 
notes and references to nights and afternoons long since 
forgotten, for it was not an intimate diary, even though 
it began with the immemorial "I am going to keep a 
diary for my children." Yet as she thmnbed over the 
pages the eyes of many men seemed to look out at her 
from their half-obHterated names. With one she had 
gone to New Haven for the first time — in 1908, when 
she was sixteen and padded shoulders were fashionable 
at Yale — she had been flattered because "Touch down" 
Michaud had "rushed" her all evening. She sighed, 
remembering the grown-up satin dress she had been 
so proud of and the orchestra playing "Yama-yama, 
My Yama Man" and "Jungle-Town." So long ago! — 
the names: Eltynge Reardon, Jim Parsons^ "Curly''" 



THE RADIANT HOUR 145 

McGregor, Kenneth Cowan, ^^ Fish-eye'' Fry (whom she 
had liked for being so ugly), Carter Kirby — he had sent 
her a present; so had Tudor Baird; — Marty Reffer, the 
first man she had been in love with for more than a day, 
and Stuart Holcome, who had run away with her in his 
automobile and tried to make her marry him by force. 
And Larry Fenwick, whom she had always admired 
because he had told her one night that if she wouldn't 
kiss him she could get out of his car and walk home. 
What a list ! 

. . . And, after all, an obsolete list. * She was in 
love now, set for the eternal romance that was to be 
the synthesis of all romance, yet sad for these men and 
these moonHghts and for the "thrills" she had had — and 
the kisses. The past — her past, oh, what a joy ! She 
had been exuberantly happy. 

Turning over the pages her eyes rested idly on the 
scattered entries of the past four months. She read the 
last few carefully. 

^^ April ist. — I know Bill Carstairs hates me because I 
was so disagreeable, but I hate to be sentimentalized 
over sometimes. We drove out to the Rockyear Country 
Club and the most wonderful moon kept shining through 
the trees. My silver dress is getting tarnished. Funny 
how one forgets the other nights at Rockyear — with 
Kenneth Cowan when I loved him so ! 

'^ April yd. — ^After two hours of Schroeder who, they 
inform me, has millions, I've decided that this matter of 
sticking to things wears one out, particularly when the 
things concerned are men. There's nothing so often 
overdone and from to-day I swear to be amused. We 
talked about 4ove' — how banal ! With how many men 
have I talked about love ? 

"April nth. — Patch actually called up to-day! and 
when he forswore me about a month ago he fairly raged 



146 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

out the door. I'm gradually losing faith in any man 
being susceptible to fatal injuries. 

^^ April 2oth. — Spent the day with Anthony. Maybe 
I'll marry him some time. I kind of like his ideas — he 
stimulates all the originality in me. Blockhead came 
around about ten in his new car and took me out River- 
side Drive. I liked him to-night: he's so considerate. 
He knew I didn't want to talk so he was quiet all during 
the ride. 

^^ April 2ist. — Woke up thinking of Anthony and sure 
enough he called and sounded sweet on the phone — so 
I broke a date for him. To-day I feel I'd break any- 
thing for him, including the ten commandments and my 
neck. He's coming at eight and I shall wear pink and 
look very fresh and starched " 

She paused here, remembering that after he had gone 
that night she had undressed with the shivering April 
air streaming in the windows. Yet it seemed she had 
not felt the cold, warmed by the profound banalities 
burning in her heart. 

The next entry occurred a few days later: 

^^ April 24th. — I want to marry Anthony, because 
husbands are so often ^husbands' and I must marry a 
lover. 

'' There are four general t3^es of husbands. 

(i) The husband who always wants to stay in in the 
evening, has no vices and works for a salary. 
Totally undesirable ! 

(2) The atavistic master whose mistress one is, to 

wait on his pleasure. This sort always considers 
every pretty woman 'shallow/ a sort of peacock 
with arrested development. 

(3) Next comes the worshipper, the idolater of his 

wife and all that is his, to the utter oblivion of 
everything else. This sort demands an emo- 



THE RADIANT HOUR 147 

tional actress for a wife. God! it must be an 

exertion to be thought righteous. 
(4) And Anthony — a temporarily passionate lover 

with wisdom enough to realize when it has flown 

and that it must fly. And I want to get married 

to Anthony. 
'' What grub worms women are to crawl on their bellies 
through colorless marriages ! Marriage was created not 
to be a background but to need one. Mine is going to 
be outstanding. It can't, shan't be the setting — it's 
going to be the performance, the live, lovely, glamourous 
performance, and the world shall be the scenery. I re- 
fuse to dedicate my life to posterity. Surely one owes 
as much to the current generation as to one's unwanted 
children. What a fate^to grow rotund and unseemly, 
to lose my self-love, to think in terms of milk, oatmeal, 

nurse, diapers Dear dream children, how much more 

beautiful you are, dazzling little creatures who flutter (all 

dream children must flutter) on golden, golden wings 

Such children, however, poor dear babies, have little 
in common with the wedded state. 

^^ June yth. — Moral question: Was it wrong to make 
Bloeckman love me? Because I did really make him. 
He was almost sweetly sad to-night. How opportune 
it was that my throat is swollen plunk together and tears 
were easy to muster. But he's just the past — buried 
already in my plentiful lavender. 

"June 8th. — ^And to-day I've promised not to chew 
my mouth. Well, I won't, I suppose — but if he'd only 
asked me not to eat! 

"Blowing bubbles — that's what we're doing, Anthony 
and me. And we blew such beautiful ones to-day, and 
they'll explode and then we'll blow more and more, I 
guess — bubbles just as big and just as beautiful, until 
all the soap and water is used up." 



148 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

On this note the diary ended. Her eyes wandered up 
the page, over the June 8th's of 1912, 1910, 1907. The 
earliest entry was scrawled in the plump, bulbous hand 
of a sixteen-year-old girl — it was the name. Bob Lamar, 
and a word she could not decipher. Then she knew 
what it was — and, knowing, she found her eyes misty 
with tears. There in a graying blur was the record of 
her first kiss, faded as its intimate afternoon, on a rainy 
veranda seven years before. She seemed to remember 
something one of them had said that day and yet she 
could not remember. Her tears came faster, until she 
could scarcely see the page. She was crying, she told 
herself, because she could remember only the rain and 
the wet flowers in the yard and the smell of the damp 
grass. 

. . . After a moment she found a pencil and holding 
it unsteadily drew three parallel Hues beneath the last 
entry. Then she printed FINIS in large capitals, put 
the book back in the drawer, and crept into bed. 

Breath of the Cave 

Back in his apartment after the bridal dinner, Anthony 
snapped out his lights and, feeling impersonal and fragile 
as a piece of china waiting on a serving-table, got into 
bed. It was a warm night — a sheet was enough for 
comfort — and through his wide-open windows came 
sound, evanescent and summery, alive with remote 
anticipation. He was thinking that the young years 
behind him, hollow and colorful, had been lived in facile 
and vacillating cynicism upon the recorded emotions of 
men long dust. And there was something beyond that; 
he knew now. There was the union of his soul with 
Gloria's, whose radiant fire and freshness was the living 
material of which the dead beauty of books was made. 

From the night into his high-walled room there came, 



THE RADIANT HOUR 149 

persistently, that evanescent and dissolving sound — • 
something the city was tossing up and calling back 
again, like a child playing with a ball. In Harlem, the 
Bronx, Gramercy Park, and along the water-fronts, in 
little parlors or on pebble-strewn, moon-flooded roofs, a 
thousand lovers were making this sound, crying little 
fragments of it into the air. All the city was playing 
with this sound out there in the blue summer dark, 
throwing it up and calling it back, promising that, in 
a little while, life would be beautiful as a story, prom- 
ising happiness — and by that promise giving it. It gave 
love hope in its own survival. It could do no more. 

It was then that a new note separated itself jarringly 
from the soft crying of the night. It was a noise from 
an areaway within a hundred feet from his rear window, 
the noise of a woman's laughter. It began low, inces- 
sant and whining — some servant-maid with her fellow, 
he thought — and then it grew in volume and became 
hysterical, until it reminded him of a girl he had seen 
overcome with nervous laughter at a vaudeville per- 
formance. Then it sank, receded, only to rise again and 
include words — a coarse joke, some bit of obscure horse- 
play he could not distinguish. It would break off for 
a moment and he would just catch the low rimible of a 
man's voice, then begin again — interminably; at first 
annoying, then strangely terrible. He shivered, and 
getting up out of bed went to the window. It had 
reached a high point, tensed and stifled, almost the 
quality of a scream — then it ceased and left behind it a 
silence empty and menacing as the greater silence over- 
head. Anthony stood by the window a moment longer 
before he returned to his bed. He found himself upset 
and shaken. Try as he might to strangle his reaction, 
some animal quality in that unrestrained laughter had 
grasped at his imagination, and for the first time in 



ISO THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

four months aroused his old aversion and horror toward 
all the business of life. The room had grown smothery. 
He wanted to be out in some cool and bitter breeze, 
miles above the cities, and to live serene and detached 
back in the comers of his mind. Life was that sound 
out there, that ghastly reiterated female sound. 

''Oh, my God ! " he cried, drawing in his breath sharply. 

Burying his face in the pillows he tried in vain to con- 
centrate upon the details of the next day. 

Morning 

In the gray light he found that it was only five o'clock. 
He regretted nervously that he had awakened so early 
— he would appear fagged at the wedding. He envied 
Gloria who could hide her fatigue with careful pigmen- 
tation. 

In his bathroom he contemplated himself in the mirror 
and saw that he was unusually white — half a dozen 
small imperfections stood out against the morning pal- 
lor of his complexion, and overnight he had grown the 
faint stubble of a beard — the general effect, he fancied, 
was unprepossessing, haggard, half unwell. 

On his dressing-table were spread a number of articles 
which he told over carefully with suddenly fumbling 
fingers — their tickets to California, the book of traveller's 
checks, his watch, set to the half minute, the key to his 
apartment, which he must not forget to give to Maury, 
and, most important of all, the ring. It was of platinum 
set around with small emeralds; Gloria had insisted on 
this; she had always wanted an emerald wedding-ring, 
she said. 

It was the third present he had given her; first had 
come the engagement ring, and then a little gold ciga- 
rette-case. He would be giving her many things now 
— clothes and jewels and friends and excitement. It 



THE RADIANT HOUR 151 

seemed absurd that from now on he would pay for all 
her meals. It was going to cost: he wondered if he had 
not underestimated for this trip, and if he had not better 
cash a larger check. The question worried him. 

Then the breathless impendency of the event swept 
his mind clear of details. This was the day — unsought, 
unsuspected six months before, but now breaking in 
yellow Hght through his east window, dancing along the 
carpet as though the sun were smiling at some ancient 
and reiterated gag of his own. 

Anthony laughed in a nervous one-syllable snort. 

''By God!" he muttered to himself, ''I'm as good as 
married ! " 

The Ushers 

Six young men in Cross Patch's library growing more and 
more cheery under the influence of Mumm^s Extra 
Dryy set surreptitiously in cold pails by the bookcases. 

The First Young Man: By golly! Believe me, in 
my next book I'm going to do a wedding scene that'll 
knock 'em cold ! 

The Second Young Man: Met a debutante th'other 
day said she thought your book was powerful. As a 
rule young girls cry for this primitive business. 

The Third Young Man: Where's Anthony? 

The Fourth Young Man: Walking up and down 
outside talking to himself. 

Second Young Man: Lord! Did you see the min- 
ister? Most peculiar looking teeth. 

Fifth Young Man: Think they're natural. Funny 
thing people having gold teeth. 

Sixth Young Man: They say they love 'em. My 
dentist told me once a woman came to him and insisted 
on having two of her teeth covered with gold. No rea- 
son at all. All right the way they were. 



152 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Fourth Young Man: Hear you got out a book, 
Dicky. 'Gratulations ! 

Dick: {Stiffly) Thanks. 

Fourth Young Man: {Innocently) What is it? Col- 
lege stories? 

Dick: {More stiffly) No. Not college stories. 

Fourth Young Man: Pity! Hasn't been a good 
book about Harvard for years. 

Dick: {Touchily) Why don't you supply the lack? 

Third Young Man: I think I saw a squad of guests 
turn the drive in a Packard just now. 

Sixth Young Man: Might open a couple more bot- 
tles on the strength of that. 

Third Young Man: It was the shock of my life when 
I heard the old man was going to have a wet wedding. 
Rabid prohibitionist, you know. 

Fourth Young Man: {Snapping his fingers excit- 
edly) By gad ! I knew I'd forgotten something. Kept 
thinking it was my vest. 

Dick: What was it? 

Fourth Young Man: By gad ! By gad ! 

Sixth Young Man: Here! Here! Why the trag- 
edy? 

Second Young Man: What'd you forget? The way 
home? 

Dick: {Maliciously) He forgot the plot for his book 
of Harvard stories. 

Fourth Young Man: No, sir, I forgot the present, 
by George! I forgot to buy old Anthony a present. 
I kept putting it off and putting it off, and by gad I've 
forgotten it ! What'll they think? 

Sixth Young Man: {Facetiously) That's probably 
what's been holding up the wedding. 

(The Fourth Young Man looks nervously at his 
watch. Laughter.) 



THE RADIANT HOUR 153 

Fourth Young Man: By gad ! What an ass I am ! 

Second Young Man: What d'you make of the brides- 
maid who thinks she's Nora Bayes? Kept telling me 
she wished this was a ragtime wedding. Name's Haines 
or Hampton. 

Dick: {Hurriedly spurring his imagination) Kane, you 
mean, Muriel Kane. She's a sort of debt of honor, I 
believe. Once saved Gloria from drowning, or some- 
thing of the sort. 

Second Young Man: I didn't think she could stop 
that perpetual swaying long enough to swim. Fill up 
my glass, will you? Old man and I had a long talk, 
about the weather just now. 

Maury : Who ? Old Adam ? 

Second Young Man: No, the bride's father. He 
must be with a weather bureau. 

Dick: He's my uncle, Otis. 

Otis: Well, it's an honorable profession. {Laughter.) 

Sixth Young Man: Bride your cousin, isn't she? 

Dick: Yes, Cable, she is. 

Cable: She certainly is a beauty. Not like you, 
Dicky. Bet she brings old Anthony to terms. 

Maury: Why are all grooms given the title of "old"? 
I think marriage is an error of youth. 

Dick: Maury, the professional cynic. 

Maury: Why, you intellectual faker! 

Fifth Young Man: Battle of the highbrows here, 
Otis. Pick up what crumbs you can. 

Dick: Faker yourself! What do you know? 

Maury: What do you know? 

Dick: Ask me anything. Any branch of knowledge. 

Maury: All right. What's the fundamental princi- 
ple of biology? 

Dick: You don't know yourself. 

Maury: Don't hedge! 



154 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Dick: Well, natural selection? 

Maury: Wrong. 

Dick: I give it up. 

Maury: Ontogony recapitulates phyllogony. 

Fifth Young Man: Take your base! 

Maury: Ask you another. What's the influence of 
mice on the clover crop? {Laughter.) 

Fourth Young Man: What's the influence of rats 
on the Decalogue? 

Maury: Shut up, you saphead. There is a connection. 

Dick: What is it then? 

Maury: {Pausing a moment in growing disconcertion) 
Why, let's see. I seem to have forgotten exactly. Some- 
thing about the bees eating the clover. 

Fourth Young Man: And the clover eating the 
mice ! Haw ! Haw ! 

Maury: {Frowning) Let me just think a minute. 

Dick: {Sitting up suddenly) Listen! 

{A volley of chatter explodes in the adjoining room. 
The six young men arise, feeling at their neck- 
ties.) 

Dick: {Weightily) We'd better join the firing-squad. 
They're going to take the picture, I guess. No, that's 
afterward. 

Otis : Cable, you take the ragtime bridesmaid. 

Fourth Young Man: I wish to God I'd sent that 
present. 

Maury: If you'll give me another minute I'll think 
of that about the mice. 

Otis : I was usher last month for old Charlie Mcln- 

tyre and 

{They move slowly toward the door as the chatter 
becomes a babel and the practising preliminary 
to the overture issues in long pious groans from 
Adam Patch's organ.) 



THE RADIANT HOUR 155 

Anthony 

There were five hundred eyes boring through the back 
of his cutaway and the sun glinting on the clergyman's 
inappropriately bourgeois teeth. With difficulty he re- 
strained a laugh. Gloria was saying something in a 
clear proud voice and he tried to think that the affair 
was irrevocable, that every second was significant, that 
his life was being slashed into two periods and that the 
face of the world was changing before him. He tried 
to recapture that ecstatic sensation of ten weeks before. 
All these emotions eluded him, he did not even feel the 
physical nervousness of that very morning — it was all 
one gigantic aftermath. And those gold teeth! He 
wondered if , the clergyman were married; he wondered 
perversely if a clergyman could perform his own marriage 
service. . . . 

But as he took Gloria into his arms he was conscious 
of a strong reaction. The blood was moving in his veins 
now. A languorous and pleasant content settled like a 
weight upon him, bringing responsibility and possession. 
He was married. 

Gloria 

So many, such mingled emotions, that no one of them 
was separable from the others! She could have wept 
for her mother, who was crying quietly back there ten 
feet and for the loveliness of the June sunhght flooding 
in at the windows. She was beyond all conscious per- 
ceptions. Only a sense, colored with delirious wild 
excitement, that the ultimately important was happen- 
ing — and a trust, fierce and passionate, burning in her 
like a prayer, that in a moment she would be forever and 
securely safe. 

Late one night they arrived in Santa Barbara, where 



156 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

the night-clerk at the Hotel Lacfadio refused to admit 
them, on the grounds that they were not married. 

The clerk thought that Gloria was beautiful. He did 
not think that anything so beautiful as Gloria could be 
moral. 

"Con Amore" 

That first half-year — the trip West, the long months' 
loiter along the California coast, and the gray house near 
Greenwich where they lived until late autumn made 
the country dreary — those days, those places, saw the 
enraptured hours. The breathless idyl of their engage- 
ment gave way, first, to the intense romance of the more 
passionate relationship. The breathless idyl left them, 
fled on to other lovers; they looked around one day and 
it was gone, how, they scarcely knew. Had either of 
them lost the other in the days of the idyl, the love lost 
would have been ever to the loser that dim desire without 
fulfilment which stands back of all life. But magic must 
hurry on, and the lovers remain. . . . 

The idyl passed, bearing with it its extortion of youth. 
Came a day when Gloria found that other men no longer 
bored her; came a day when Anthony discovered that 
he could sit again late into the evening, talking with 
Dick of those tremendous abstractions that had once 
occupied his world. But, knowing they had had the 
best of love, they clung to what remained. Love lin- 
gered — by way of long conversations at night into those 
stark hours when the mind thins and sharpens and the 
borrowings from dreams become the stuff of all life, by 
way of deep and intimate kindnesses they developed 
toward each other, by way of their laughing at the same 
absurdities and thinking the same things noble and the 
same things sad. 

It was, first of all, a time of discovery. The things 



THE RADIANT HOUR 157 

they found in each other were so diverse, so intermixed 
and, moreover, so sugared with love as to seem at the 
time not so much discoveries as isolated phenomena — to 
be allowed for, and to be forgotten. Anthony found that 
he was living with a girl of tremendous nervous tension 
and of the most high-handed selfishness. Gloria knew I 
within a month that her husband was an utter coward 
toward any one of a million phantasms created by his 
imagination. Her perception was intermittent, for this 
cowardice sprang out, became almost obscenely evident, 
then faded and vanished as though it had been only a 
creation of her own mind. Her reactions to it were not 
those attributed to her sex — it roused her neither to 
disgust nor to a premature feeling of motherhood. Her- 
self almost completely without physical fear, she was 
unable to understand, and so she made the most of what 
she felt to be his fear's redeeming feature, which was that 
though he was a coward under a shock and a coward 
under a strain — when his imagination was given play — 
he had yet a sort of dashing recklessness that moved 
her on its brief occasions almost to admiration, and a 
pride that usually steadied him when he thought he was 
observed. 

The trait first showed itself in a dozen incidents of 
little more than nervousness — his warning to a taxi- 
driver against fast driving, in Chicago; his refusal to: 
take her to a certain tough cafe she had always wished 
to visit; these of course admitted the conventional inter- 
pretation — that it was of her he had been thinking; 
nevertheless, their culminative weight disturbed her. 
But something that occurred in a San Francisco hotel, 
when they had been married a week, gave the matter 
certainty. 

It was after midnight and pitch dark in their room. 
Gloria was dozing off and Anthony's even breathing 



158 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

beside her made her suppose that he was asleep, when 
suddenly she saw him raise himself on his elbow and stare 
at the window. 

"What is it, dearest?" she murmured. 

"Nothing" — ^he had relaxed to his pillow and turned 
toward her — "nothing, my darling wife." 

"Don't say 'wife.' I'm your mistress. Wife's such 
an ugly word. Your 'permanent mistress' is so much 
more tangible and desirable. . . . Come into my arms," 
she added in a rush of tenderness; "I can sleep so well, 
so well with you in my arms." 

Coming into Gloria's arms had a quite definite mean- 
ing. It required that he should slide one arm under 
her shoulder, lock both arms about her, and arrange him- 
self as nearly as possible as a sort of three-sided crib 
for her luxurious ease. Anthony, who tossed, whose 
arms went tinglingly to sleep after half an hour of that 
position, would wait until she was asleep and roll her 
gently over to her side of the bed — then, left to his own 
devices, he would curl himself into his usual knots. 

Gloria, having attained sentimental comfort, retired 
into her doze. Five minutes ticked away on Bloeck- 
man's travelling clock; silence lay all about the room, 
over the unfamiliar, impersonal furniture and the half- 
oppressive ceiling that melted imperceptibly into invisi- 
ble walls on both sides. Then there was suddenly a 
rattling flutter at the window, staccato and loud upon 
the hushed, pent air. 

With a leap Anthony was out of the bed and stand- 
ing tense beside it. 

"Who's there?" he cried in an awful voice. 

Gloria lay very still, wide awake now and engrossed 
not so much in the rattling as in the rigid breathless 
figure whose voice had reached from the bedside into 
that ominous dark. 



THE RADIANT HOUR 159 

The sound stopped; the room was quiet as before — 
then Anthony pouring words in at the telephone. 

"Some one just tried to get into the room ! . . . 

"There's some one at the window!" His voice was 
emphatic now, faintly terrified. 

"All right! Hurry!" He hung up the receiver; 
stood motionless. 

. . . There was a rush and commotion at the door, a 
knocking — ^Anthony went to open it upon an excited 
night-clerk with three bell-boys grouped staring be- 
hind him. Between thumb and finger the night-clerk 
held a wet pen with the threat of a weapon; one of the 
bell-boys had seized a telephone directory and was look- 
ing at it sheepishly. Simultaneously the group was 
joined by the hastily summoned house-detective, and 
as one man they surged into the room. 

Lights sprang on with a click. Gathering a piece of 
sheet about her Gloria dove away from sight, shutting 
her eyes to keep out the horror of this unpremeditated 
visitation. There was no vestige of an idea in her 
stricken sensibilities save that her Anthony was at 
grievous fault. 

. . . The night-clerk was speaking from the window, 
his tone half of the servant, half of the teacher reprov- 
ing a schoolboy. 

"Nobody out there," he declared conclusively; "my 
golly, nobody could be out there. This here's a sheer 
fall to the street of fiJ ty feet. It was the wind you heard, 
tugging at the blind." 

"Oh." 

Then she was sorry for him. She wanted only to 
comfort him and draw him back tenderly into her arms, 
to tell them to go away because the thing their presence 
connotated was odious. Yet she could not raise her 
head for shame. She heard a broken sentence, apol- 



i6o THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

ogies, conventions of the employee and one unrestrained 
snicker from a bell-boy. 

^'I've been nervous as the devil all evening," Anthony 
was saying; "somehow that noise just shook me — I was 
only about half awake.'' 

"Sure, I understand," said the night-clerk with com- 
fortable tact; "been that way myself." 

The door closed; the lights snapped out; Anthony 
crossed the floor quietly and crept into bed. Gloria, 
feigning to be heavy with sleep, gave a quiet little sigh 
and slipped into his arms. 

"What was it, dear?" 

"Nothing," he answered, his voice still shaken; "I 
thought there was somebody at the window, so I looked 
out, but I couldn't see any one and the noise kept up, 
so I phoned down-stairs. Sorry if I disturbed you, but 
I'm awfully darn nervous to-night." 

Catching the lie, she gave an interior start — he had 
not gone to the window, nor near the window. He had 
stood by the bed and then sent in his call of fear. 

"Oh," she said — and then: "I'm so sleepy." 

For g,n hour they lay awake side by side, Gloria with 
her eyes shut so tight that blue moons formed and re- 
volved against backgrounds of deepest mauve, Anthony 
staring blindly into the darkness overhead. 

After many weeks it came gradually out into the 
light, to be laughed and joked at. They made a tradi- 
tion to fit over it — whenever that overpowering terror 
of the night attacked Anthony, she would put her arms 
about him and croon, soft as a song: 

"I'll protect my Anthony. Oh, nobody's ever going 
to harm my Anthony ! " 

He would laugh as though it were a jest they played 
for their mutual amusement, but to Gloria it was never 
quite a jest. It was, at first, a keen disappointment; 



THE RADIANT HOUR i6i 

later, it was one of the times when she controlled her 
temper. 

The management of Gloria's temper, whether it was 
aroused by a lack of hot water for her bath or by a 
skirmish with her husband, became almost the primary 
duty of Anthony's day. It must be done just so — ^by 
this much silence, by that much pressure, by this much 
yielding, by that much force. It was in her angers with 
their attendant cruelties that her inordinate egotism 
chiefly displayed itself. Because she was brave, be- 
cause she was "spoiled," because of her outrageous 
and commendable independence of judgment,''and finally 
because of her arrogant consciousness that she had never 
seen a girl as beautiful as herself, Gloria had developed 
into a consistent, practising Nietzschean. This, of 
course, with overtones of profound sentiment. 

There was, for example, her stomach. She was used 
to certain dishes, and she had a strong conviction that 
she could not possibly eat anything else. There must 
be a lemonade and a tomato sandwich late in the morn- 
ing, then a Hght lunch with a stuffed tomato. Not only 
did she require food from a selection of a dozen dishes, 
but in addition this food must be prepared in just a cer- 
tain way. One of the most annoying half hours of the 
first fortnight occurred in Los Angeles, when an unhappy 
waiter brought her a tomato stuffed with chicken salad 
instead of celery. 

"We always serve it that way, madame," he quavered 
to the gray eyes that regarded him wrathfully. 

Gloria made no answer, but when the waiter had 
turned discreetly away she banged both fists upon the 
table until the china and silver rattled. 

"Poor Gloria!" laughed Anthony unwittingly, "you 
can't get what you want ever, can you?" 

"I can't eat stuff !^' she flared up. 



i62 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

"m call back the waiter." 

"I don't want you to! He doesn't know anything, 
the darn /<?(?//" 

"Well, it isn't the hotel's fault. Either send it back, 
forget it, or be a sport and eat it." 

*^Shut up !" she said succinctly. 

"Why take it out on me?" 

"Oh, I'm w^/," she wailed, "but I simply canH eat it." 

Anthony subsided helplessly. 

"We'll go somewhere else," he suggested. 

"I don't want to go anywhere else. I'm tired of being 
trotted around to a dozen cafes and not getting one 
thing fit to eat." 

"When did we go around to a dozen cafes?" 

"You'd have to in this town," insisted Gloria with 
ready sophistry. 

Anthony, bewildered, tried another tack. 

"Why don't you try to eat it? It can't be as bad 
as you think." 

"Just — ^because — I — don't — like — chicken ! " 

She picked up her fork and began poking contemptu- 
ously at the tomato, and Anthony expected her to begin 
flinging the stuffings in all directions. He was sure that 
she was approximately as angry as she had ever been — • 
for an instant he had detected a spark of hate directed 
as much toward him as toward any one else — and Gloria 
angry was, for the present, unapproachable. 

Then, surprisingly, he saw that she had tentatively 
raised the fork to her lips and tasted the chicken salad. 
Her frown had not abated and he stared at her anxiously, 
making no comment and daring scarcely to breathe. 
She tasted another forkful — in another moment she was 
eating. With difficulty Anthony restrained a chuckle; 
when at length he spoke his words had no possible con- 
nection with chicken salad. 



THE RADIANT HOUR 163 

This incident, with variations, ran like a lugubrious 
fugue through the first year of marriage; always it left 
Anthony baffled, irritated, and depressed. But another 
rough brushing of temperaments, a question of laundry- 
bags, he found even more annoying as it ended inevita- 
bly in a decisive defeat for him. 

One afternoon in Coronado, where they made the long- 
est stay of their trip, more than three weeks, Gloria was 
arraying herself brilliantly for tea. Anthony, who had 
been down-stairs Ustening to the latest rumor-bulletins 
of war in Europe, entered the room, kissed the back of 
her powdered neck, and went to his dresser. After a 
great pulling out and pushing in of drawers, evidently 
unsatisfactory, he turned around to the Unfinished 
Masterpiece. 

"Got any handkerchiefs, Gloria?" he asked. 

Gloria shook her golden head. 

"Not a one. I'm using one of yours." 

"The last one, I deduce." He laughed dryly. 

"Is it?" She applied an emphatic though very deli- 
cate contour to her lips. 

"Isn't the laundry back?" 

"I don't know." 

Anthony hesitated — then, with sudden discernment, 
opened the closet door. His suspicions were verified. 
On the hook provided hung the blue bag furnished by 
the hotel. This was full of his clothes — ^he had put 
them there himself. The floor beneath it was littered 
with an astonishing mass of finery — ^lingerie, stockings, 
dresses, nightgowns, and pajamas — ^most of it scarcely 
worn but all of it coming indubitably under the general 
heading of Gloria's laundry. 

He stood holding the closet door open. 

"Why, Gloria!" 

"What?" 



i64 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

The lip line was being erased and corrected according 
to some mysterious perspective; not a finger trembled as 
she manipulated the Hp-stick, not a glance wavered in 
his direction. It was a triumph of concentration. 

*' Haven't you ever sent out the laundry?" 

''Is it there?'' 

''It most certainly is." 

"Well, I guess I haven't, then." 

" Gloria," began Anthony, sitting down on the bed and 
trying to catch her mirrored eyes, "you're a nice fellow, 
you are ! I've sent it out every time it's been sent since 
we left New York, and over a week ago you promised 
you'd do it for a change. All you'd have to do would be 
to cram your own junk into that bag and ring for the 
chambermaid." 

"Oh, why fuss about the laundry?" exclaimed Gloria 
petulantly, "I'll take care of it." 

"I haven't fussed about it. I'd just as soon divide 
the bother with you, but when we run out of handker- 
chiefs it's darn near time something's done." 

Anthony considered that he was being extraordinarily 
logical. But Gloria, unimpressed, put away her cos- 
metics and casually offered him her back. 

"Hook me up," she suggested; "Anthony, dearest, I 
forgot all about it. I meant to, honestly, and I will to- 
day. Don't be cross with your sweetheart." 

What could Anthony do then but draw her down upon 
his knee and kiss a shade of color from her hps. 

"But I don't mind," she murmured with a smile, 
radiant and magnanimous. "You can kiss all the paint 
off my lips any time you want." 

They went down to tea. They bought some handker- 
chiefs in a notion store near by. All was forgotten. 

But two days later Anthony looked in the closet and 
saw the bag still hung limp upon its hook and that the 



THE RADIANT HOUR 165 

gay and vivid pile on the floor had increased surprisingly 
in height. 

''Gloria!" he cried. 

''Oh — " Her voice was full of real distress. Despair- 
ingly Anthony went to the phone and called the chamber- 
maid. 

"It seems to me," he said impatiently, "that you ex- 
pect me to be some sort of French valet to you." 

Gloria laughed, so infectiously that Anthony was un- 
wise enough to smile. Unfortunate man! In some 
intangible manner his smile made her mistress of the 
situation — ^with an air of injured righteousness she went 
emphatically to the closet and began pushing her laun- 
dry violently into the bag. Anthony watched her — 
ashamed of himself. 

"There !" she said, implying that her fingers had been 
worked to the bone by a brutal taskmaster. 

He considered, nevertheless, that he had given her an 
object-lesson and that the matter was closed, but on the 
contrary it was merely beginning. Laundry pile fol- 
lowed laundry pile — at long intervals; dearth of hand- 
kerchief followed dearth of handkerchief — at short ones; 
not to mention dearth of sock, of shirt, of everything. 
And Anthony found at length that either he must send 
it out himself or go through the increasingly unpleasant 
ordeal of a verbal battle with Gloria. 

Gloria and General Lee 

On their way East they stopped two days in Washing- 
ton, strolling about with some hostihty in its atmosphere 
of harsh repellent light, of distance without freedom, of 
pomp without splendor — ^it seemed a pasty-pale and self- 
conscious city. The second day they made an ill- 
advised trip to General Lee's old home at Arlington. 

The bus which bore them was crowded with hot, un- 



i66 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

prosperous people, and Anthony, intimate to Gloria, 
felt a storm brewing. It broke at the Zoo, where the 
party stopped for ten minutes. The Zoo, it seemed, 
smelt of monkeys. Anthony laughed; Gloria called 
down the curse of Heaven upon monkeys, including in 
her malevolence all the passengers of the bus and their 
perspiring offspring who had hied themselves monkey- 
ward. 

Eventually the bus moved on to Arlington. There it 
met other busses and immediately a swarm of women 
and children were leaving a trail of peanut-shells through 
the halls of General Lee and crowding at length into 
the room where he was married. On the wall of this 
room a pleasing sign announced in large red letters 
/'Ladies' Toilet." At this final blow Gloria broke down. 

''I think it's perfectly terrible!'' she said furiously, 
"the idea of letting these people come here! And of 
encouraging them by making these houses show-places." 

''Well," objected Anthony, "if they weren't kept up 
they'd go to pieces." 

"What if they did !" she exclaimed as they sought the 
wide pillared porch. "Do you think they've left a 
breath of i860 here? This has become a thing of 1914." 

"Don't you want to preserve old things?" 

"But you can't, Anthony. Beautiful things grow to 
a certain height and then they fail and fade off, breath- 
ing out memories as they decay. And just as any period 
decays in our minds, the things of that period should 
decay too, and in that way they're preserved for a while 
in the few hearts like mine that react to them. That 
graveyard at Tarrytown, for instance. The asses who 
give money to preserve things have spoiled that too. 
Sleepy Hollow's gone; Washington Irving's dead and 
his books are rotting in our estimation year by year — 
then let the graveyard rot too, as it should, as all things 



THE RADIANT HOUR 167 

should. Trying to preserve a century by keeping its 
relics up to date is like keeping a dying man alive by 
stimulants." 

"So you think that just as a time goes to pieces its 
houses ought to go too?" 

"Of course! Would you value your Keats letter if 
the signature was traced over to make it last longer? 
It's just because I love the past that I want this house 
to look back on its glamourous moment of youth and 
beauty, and I want its stairs to creak as if to the foot- 
steps of women with hoop-skirts and men in boots and 
spurs. But they've made it into a blondined, rouged-up 
old woman of sixty. It hasn't any right to look so 
prosperous. It might care enough for Lee to drop a 
brick now and then. How many of these — these ani- 
mals^ ^ — she waved her hand around — "get anything 
from this, for all the histories and guide-books and res- 
torations in existence? How many of them who think 
that, at best, appreciation is talking in undertones and 
walking on tiptoes would even come here if it was any 
trouble? I want it to smell of magnolias instead of 
peanuts and I want my shoes to crunch on the same 
gravel that Lee's boots crunched on. There's no beauty 
without poignancy and there's no poignancy without 
the feeling that it's going, men, names, books, houses — 
bound for dust — ^mortal " 

A small boy appeared beside them and, swinging a 
handful of banana-peels, flung them valiantly in the di- 
rection of the Potomac. 

Sentiment 

Simultaneously with the fall of Li^ge, Anthony and 
Gloria arrived in New York. In retrospect the six weeks 
seemed miraculously happy. They had found to a great 
extent, as most young couples find in some measure, 



i68 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

that they possessed in common many fixed ideas and 
curiosities and odd quirks of mind; they were essentially 
companionable. 

But it had been a struggle to keep many of their con- 
versations on the level of discussions. Arguments were 
fatal to Gloria's disposition. She had all her Hfe been 
associated either with her mental inferiors or with men 
who, under the almost hostile intimidation of her beauty, 
had not dared to contradict her; naturally, then, it irri- 
tated her when Anthony emerged from the state in which 
her pronouncements were an infallible and ultimate de- 
cision. 

He failed to realize, at first, that this was the result 
partly of her "female" education and partly of her 
beauty, and he was inclined to include her with her 
entire sex as curiously and definitely limited. It mad- 
dened him to find she had no sense of justice. But he 
discovered that, when a subject did interest her, her 
brain tired less quickly than his. What he chiefly 
missed in her mind was the pedantic teleology — the sense 
of order and accuracy, the sense of Hfe as a mysteriously 
correlated piece of patchwork, but he understood after 
a while that such a quality in her would have been incon- 
gruous. 

Of the things they possessed in common, greatest of 
all was their almost uncanny pull at each other's hearts. 
The day they left the hotel in Coronado she sat down on 
one of the beds while they were packing, and began to 
weep bitterly. 

"Dearest — " His arms were around her; he pulled 
her head down upon his shoulder. "What is it, my 
own Gloria? Tell me." 

"We're going away," she sobbed. "Oh, Anthony, 
it's sort of the first place we've lived together. Our two 
little beds here — side by side — they'll be always waiting 
for us, and we're never coming back to 'em any more." 



THE RADIANT HOUR 169 

She was tearing at his heart as she always could. 
Sentiment came over him, rushed into his eyes. 

"Gloria, why, we're going on to another room. And 
two other little beds. We're going to be together all 
our lives." 

Words flooded from her in a low husky voice. 

"But it won't be — like our two beds — ever again. 
Everywhere we go and move on and change, something's 
lost — something's left behind. You can't ever quite 
repeat anything, and I've been so yours, here " 

He held her passionately near, discerning far beyond 
any criticism of her sentiment, a wise grasping of the 
minute, if only an indulgence of her desire to cry — 
Gloria the idler, caresser of her own dreams, extracting 
poignancy from the memorable things of Ufe and youth. 

Later in the afternoon when he returned from the 
station with the tickets he found her asleep on one of 
the beds, her arm curled about a black object which he 
could not at first identify. Coming closer he found it 
was one of his shoes, not a particularly new one, nor 
clean one, but her face, tear-stained, was pressed against 
it, and he understood her ancient and most honorable 
message. There was almost ecstasy in waking her and 
seeing her smile at him, shy but well aware of her own 
nicety of imagination. 

With no appraisal of the worth or dross of these two 
things, it seemed to Anthony that they lay somewhere 
near the heart of love. 

The Gray House 

It is in the twenties that the actual momentum of life 
begins to slacken, and it is a simple soul indeed to whom 
as many things are significant and meam'ngful at thirty 
as at ten years before. At thirty an organ-grinder is 
a more or less moth-eaten man who grinds an organ — 
and once he was an organ-grinder! The unmistakable 



I70 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

stigma of humanity touches all those impersonal and 
beautiful things that only youth ever grasps in their 
impersonal glory. A brilliant ball, gay with light ro- 
mantic laughter, wears through its own silks and satins 
to show the bare framework of a man-made thing — oh, 
that eternal hand ! — a play, most tragic and most divine, 
becomes merely a succession of speeches, sweated over 
by the eternal plagiarist in the clammy hours and acted 
by men subject to cramps, cowardice, and manly senti- 
ment. 

And this time with Gloria and Anthony, this first 
year of marriage, and the gray house caught them in 
that stage when the organ-grinder was slowly under- 
going his inevitable metamorphosis. She was twenty- 
three; he was twenty-six. 

The gray house was, at first, of sheerly pastoral in- 
tent. They lived impatiently in Anthony's apartment 
for the first fortnight after the return from California, 
in a stifled atmosphere of open tnmks, too many callers, 
and the eternal laundry-bags. They discussed with 
their friends the stupendous problem of their future. 
Dick and Maury would sit with them agreeing solemnly, 
almost thoughtfully, as Anthony ran through his list 
of what they ''ought" to do, and where they ''ought" 
to live. 

"I'd like to take Gloria abroad," he complained, "ex- 
cept for this damn war — and next to that I'd sort of 
like to have a place in the country, somewhere near New 
York, of course, where I could write — or whatever I 
decide to do." 

Gloria laughed. 

"Isn't he cute?" she required of Maury. '"What- 
ever he decides to do!' But what am / going to do 
if he works? Maury, will you take me aroimd if An- 
thony works?" 



THE RADIANT HOUR 171 

"Anyway, I'm not going to work yet," said Anthony 
quickly. 

It was vaguely understood between them that on 
some misty day he would enter a sort of glorified diplo- 
matic service and be envied by princes and prime min- 
isters for his beautiful wife. 

"Well,'' said Gloria helplessly, "I'm sure I don't 
know. We talk and talk and never get anywhere, and 
we ask all our friends and they just answer the way we 
want 'em to. I wish somebody'd take care of us." 

"Why don't you go out to — out to Greenwich or 
something?" suggested Richard Caramel. 

"I'd like that," said Gloria, brightening. "Do you 
think we could get a house there ? " 

Dick shrugged his shoulders and Maury laughed. 

"You two amuse me," he said. "Of all the unprac- 
tical people ! As soon as a place is mentioned you ex- 
pect us to pull great piles of photographs out of our 
pockets showing the different styles of architecture 
available in bimgalows." 

"That's just what I don't want," wailed Gloria, "a 
hot stuffy bungalow, with a lot of babies next door and 
their father cutting the grass in his shirt-sleeves " 

"For Heaven's sake, Gloria," interrupted Maury, 
"nobody wants to lock you up in a bungalow. Who 
in God's name brought bungalows into the conversa- 
tion? But you'll never get a place anywhere unless you 
go out and hunt for it." 

"Go where? You say 'go out and hunt for it,' but 
where?" 

With dignity Maury waved his hand paw-like about 
the room. 

"Out anywhere. Out in the country. There're lots 
of places." 

"Thanks." 



172 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

"Look here!" Richard Caramel brought his yellow 
eye rakishly into play. "The trouble with you two is 
that you're all disorganized. Do you know anything 
about New York State? Shut up, Anthony, I'm talk- 
ing to Gloria." 

"Well," she admitted finally, "I've been to two or 
three house-parties in Portchester and around in Con- 
necticut — ^but, of course, that isn't in New York State, 
is it? And neither is Morris town," she finished with 
drowsy irrelevance. 

There was a shout of laughter. 

"Oh, Lord!" cried Dick, "'neither is Morristown!' 
No, and neither is Santa Barbara, Gloria. Now Hsten. 
To begin with, unless you have a fortune there's no use 
considering any place like Newport or Southhampton 
or Tuxedo. They're out of the question." 

They all agreed to this solemnly. 

"And personally I hate New Jersey. Then, of course, 
there's upper New York, above Tuxedo." 

"Too cold," said Gloria briefly. "I was there once 
in an automobile." 

"Well, it seems to me there're a lot of towns like 
Rye between New York and Greenwich where you could 
buy a Httle gray house of some " 

Gloria leaped at the phrase triumphantly. For the 
first time since their return East she knew what she 
wanted. 

"Oh, yes!'' she cried. "Oh, yes! that's it: a little 
gray house with sort of white around and a whole lot of 
swamp-maples just as brown and gold as an October 
picture in a gallery. Where can we find one?" 

"Unfortunately, I've mislaid my list of little gray 
houses with swamp-maples around them — ^but I'll try 
to find it. Meanwhile you take a piece of paper and 
write down the names of seven possible towns. And 



THE RADIANT HOUR 173 

every day this week you take a trip to one of those 
towns." 

"Oh, gosh!" protested Gloria, collapsing mentally, 
"why won't you do it for us? I hate trains." 

"Well, hire a car, and " 

Gloria yawned. 

"I'm tired of discussing it. Seems to me all we do 
is talk about where to live." 

"My exquisite wife wearies of thought," remarked 
Anthony ironically. "She must have a tomato sand- 
wich to stimulate her jaded nerves. Let's go out to 
tea," 

As the unfortunate upshot of this conversation, they 
took Dick's advice literally, and two days later went 
out to Rye, where they wandered around with an irri- 
tated real-estate agent, like bewildered babes in the 
wood. They were shown houses at a hundred a month 
which closely adjoined other houses at a hundred a 
month; they were shown isolated houses to which they 
invariably took violent dislikes, though they submitted 
weakly to the agent's desire that they "look at that 
stove — some stove!" and to a great shaking of door- 
posts and tapping of walls, intended evidently to show 
that the house would not immediately collapse, no matter 
how convincingly it gave that impression. They gazed 
through windows into interiors furnished either "com- 
mercially" with slab-like chairs and unyielding settees, 
or "home-like" with the melancholy bric-a-brac of 
other summers — crossed tennis-rackets, fit-form couches, 
and depressing Gibson girls. With a feeHng of guilt 
they looked at a few really nice houses, aloof, dignified, 
and cool — at three hundred a month. They went away 
from Rye thanking the real-estate agent very much 
indeed. 

On the crowded train back to New York the seat be- 



174 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

bind was occupied by a super-respirating Latin whose 
last few meals had obviously been composed entirely of 
garlic. They reached the apartment gratefully, almost 
hysterically, and Gloria rushed for a hot bath in the 
reproachless bathroom. So far as the question of a 
future abode was concerned both of them were incapaci- 
tated for a week. 

The matter eventually worked itself out with unhoped- 
for romance. Anthony ran into the hving-room one 
afternoon fairly radiating ^Hhe idea." 

"I've got it,'' he was exclaiming as though he had 
Just caught a mouse. "We'll get a car." 

" Gee whiz ! Haven't we got troubles enough taking 
care of ourselves?" 

"Give me a second to explain, can't you? Just let's 
leave our stuff with Dick and just pile a couple of suit- 
cases in our car, the one we're going to buy — ^we'll have to 
have one in the country anyway — and just start out in 
the direction of New Haven. You see, as we get out of 
commuting distance from New York, the rents'll get 
cheaper, and as soon as we find a house we want we'll 
just settle down." 

By his frequent and soothing interpolation of the word 
"just" he aroused her lethargic enthusiasm. Strutting 
violently about the room, he simulated a d3niamic and 
irresistible efficiency. "We'll buy a car to-morrow." 

Life, limping after imagination's ten-league boots, saw 
them out of town a week later in a cheap but sparkling 
new roadster, saw them through the chaotic unintelli^ 
gible Bronx, then over a wide murky district which alter- 
nated cheerless blue-green wastes with suburbs of tre- 
mendous and sordid activity. They left New York at 
eleven and it was well past a hot and beatific noon when 
they moved rakishly through Pelham. 

"These aren't towns," said Gloria scornfully, "these 



THE RADIANT HOUR 175 

are just city blocks plumped down coldly into waste 
acres. I imagine all the men here have their mus- 
taches stained from drinking their coffee too quickly in 
the morning.'' 

"And play pinochle on the commuting trains." 

"What's pinochle?'' 

"Don't be so Hteral. How should I know? But it 
sounds as though they ought to play it." 

"I like it. It sounds as if it were something where 
you sort of cracked your knuckles or something. . . . 
Let me drive." 

Anthony looked at her suspiciously. 

"You swear you're a good driver?" 

"Since I was fourteen." 

He stopped the car cautiously at the side of the road 
and they changed seats. Then with a horrible grinding 
noise the car was put in gear, Gloria adding an accom- 
paniment of laughter which seemed to Anthony dis- 
quieting and in the worst possible taste. 

"Here we go !" she yelled. "Whoo-oop !" 

Their heads snapped back like marionettes on a single 
wire as the car leaped ahead and curved retchingly 
about a standing milk-wagon, whose driver stood up on 
his seat and bellowed after them. In the immemorial 
tradition of the road Anthony retorted with a few brief 
epigrams as to the grossness of the milk-delivering pro- 
fession. He cut his remarks short, however, and turned 
to Gloria with the growing conviction that he had made 
a grave mistake in relinquishing control and that Gloria 
was a driver of many eccentricities and of infinite care- 
lessness. 

"Remember now!" he warned her nervously, "the 
man said we oughtn't to go over twenty miles an hour 
for the first five thousand miles." 

She nodded briefly, but evidently intending to ac- 



176 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

compHsh the prohibitive distance as quickly as possible, 
slightly increased her speed. A moment later he made 
another attempt. 

*'See that sign? Do you want to get us pinched?" 

"Oh, for Heaven's sake," cried Gloria in exaspera- 
tion, "you always exaggerate things so!" 

"Well, I don't want to get arrested." 

"Who's arresting you? You're so persistent — ^just 
like you were about my cough medicine last night." 

"It was for your own good." 

"Ha ! I might as well be living with mama." 

"What a thing to say to me !" 

A standing poKceman swerved into view, was hastily 
passed. 

"See him?" demanded Anthony. 

"Oh, you drive me crazy I He didn't arrest us, did 
he?" 

"When he does it'll be too late," countered Anthony 
brilliantly. 

Her reply was scornful, almost injured. 

"Why, this old thing won't go over thirty-five." 

"It isn't old." 

"It is in spirit." 

That afternoon the car joined the laundry-bags and 
Gloria's appetite as one of the trinity of contention. He 
warned her of railroad- tracks; he pointed out approach- 
ing automobiles; finally he insisted on taking the wheel 
and a furious, insulted Gloria sat silently beside him 
between the towns of Larchmont and Rye. 

But it was due to this furious silence of hers that the 
gray house materialized from its abstraction, for just 
beyond Rye he surrendered gloomily to it and re-relin- 
quished the wheel. Mutely he beseeched her and Gloria, 
instantly cheered, vowed to be more careful. But be- 
cause a discourteous street-car persisted callously in re- 



THE RADIANT HOUR 177 

maining upon its track Gloria ducked down a side- 
street — and thereafter that afternoon was never able to 
find her way back to the Post Road. The street they 
finally mistook for it lost its Post-Road aspect when it 
had gone five miles from Cos Cob. Its macadam be- 
came gravel, then dirt — moreover, it narrowed and de- 
veloped a border of maple-trees, through which filtered 
the westering sun, making its endless experiments with 
shadow designs upon the long grass. 

*' We're lost now," complained Anthony. 

"Read that sign!" 

" Marietta— Five Miles. What's Marietta ? " 

"Never heard of it, but let's go on. We can't turn 
here and there's probably a detour back to the Post 
Road." 

The way became scarred with deepening ruts and 
insidious shoulders of stone. Three farmhouses faced 
them momentarily, slid by. A town sprang up in a 
cluster of dull roofs around a white tall steeple. 

Then Gloria, hesitating between two approaches, and 
making her choice too late, drove over a fire-hydrant 
and ripped the transmission violently from the car. 

It was dark when the real-estate agent of Marietta 
showed them the gray house. They came upon it just 
west of the village, where it rested against a sky that was 
a warm blue cloak buttoned with tiny stars. The gray 
house had been there when women who kept cats were 
probably witches, when Paul Revere made false teeth in 
Boston preparatory to arousing the great commercial 
people, when our ancestors were gloriously deserting 
Washington in droves. Since those days the house had 
been bolstered up in a feeble corner, considerably repar- 
titioned and newly plastered inside, amplified by a 
kitchen and added to by a side-porch — ^but, save for 



1 78 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

where some jovial oaf had roofed the new kitchen with 
red tin, Colonial it dej5antly remained. 

^'How did you happen to come to Marietta?" de- 
manded the real-estate agent in a tone that was first 
cousin to suspicion. He was showing them through 
four spacious and airy bedrooms. 

"We broke down/' explained Gloria. "I drove over a 
fire-hydrant and we had ourselves towed to the garage 
and then we saw your sign." 

The man nodded, unable to follow such a sally of 
spontaneity. There was something subtly immoral in 
doing anything without several months' consideration. 

They signed a lease that night and, in the agent's car, 
returned jubilantly to the somnolent and dilapidated 
Marietta Inn, which was too broken for even the chance 
immoralities and consequent gaieties of a country road- 
house. Half the night they lay awake planning the 
things they were to do there. Anthony was going to 
work at an astounding pace on his history and thus 
ingratiate himself with his cynical grandfather. . . . 
When the car was repaired they would explore the 
country and join the nearest "really nice" club, where 
Gloria would play golf "or something" while Anthony 
wrote. This, of course, was Anthony's idea — Gloria 
was sure she wanted but to read and dream and be fed 
tomato sandwiches and lemonades by some angelic 
servant still in a shadowy hinterland. Between para- 
graphs Anthony would come and kiss her as she lay 
indolently in the hammock. . . . The hammock! a 
host of new dreams in tune to its imagined rhythm, 
while the wind stirred it and waves of sun undulated 
over the shadows of blown wheat, or the dusty road 
freckled and darkened with quiet summer rain. . . . 

And guests — here they had a long argument, both 
of them trying to be extraordinarily mature and far- 



THE RADIANT HOUR 179 

sighted. Anthony claimed that they would need people 
at least every other week-end ''as a sort of change.'' 
This provoked an involved and extremely sentimental 
conversation as to whether Anthony did not consider 
Gloria change enough. Though he assured her that 
he did, she insisted upon doubting him. . . . Eventu- 
ally the conversation assumed its eternal monotone: 
"What then? Oh, what'U we do then?'' 

''Well, we'll have a dog," suggested Anthony. 

*'I don't want one. I want a kitty." She went 
thoroughly and with great enthusiasm into the history, 
habits, and tastes of a cat she had once possessed. An- 
thony considered that it must have been a horrible char- 
acter with neither personal magnetism nor a loyal heart. 

Later they slept, to wake an hour before dawn with 
the gray house dancing in phantom glory before their 
dazzled eyes. 

The Soul of Gloria 

For that autumn the gray house welcomed them with 
a rush of sentiment that falsified its cynical old age. 
True, there were the laundry-bags, there was Gloria's 
appetite, there was Anthony's tendency to brood and 
his imaginative "nervousness," but there were intervals 
also of an unhoped-for serenity. Close together on the 
porch they would wait for the moon to stream across 
the silver acres of farmland, jump a thick wood and 
tumble waves of radiance at their feet. In such a moon- 
light Gloria's face was of a pervading, reminiscent white, 
and with a modicum of effort they would slip off the 
blinders of custom and each would find in the other al- 
most the quintessential romance of the vanished June. 

One night while her head lay upon his heart and their 
cigarettes glowed in swerving buttons of light through 
the dome of darkness over the bed, she spoke for the first 



i8o THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

time and fragmentarily of the men who had hung for 
brief moments on her beauty. 

"Do you ever think of them?" he asked her. 

"Only occasionally — ^when something happens that 
recalls a particular man." 

"What do you remember — their kisses?" 

"All sorts of things. . . . Men are different with 
women." 

"Different in what way?" 

"Oh, entirely — and quite inexpressibly. Men who 
had the most firmly rooted reputation for being this way 
or that would sometimes be surprisingly inconsistent 
with me. Brutal men were tender, negligible men were 
astonishingly loyal and lovable, and, often, honorable 
men took attitudes that were anything but honorable." 

"For instance?" 

"Well, there was a boy named Percy Wolcott from 
Cornell who was quite a hero in college, a great athlete, 
and saved a lot of people from a fire or something like 
that. But I soon found he was stupid in a rather dan- 
gerous way." 

"What way?" 

"It seems he had some naive conception of a woman 
'fit to be his wife,' a particular conception that I used 
to run into a lot and that always drove me wild. He 
demanded a girl who'd never been kissed and who liked 
to sew and sit. home and pay tribute to his self-esteem. 
And I'll bet a hat if he's gotten an idiot to sit and be 
stupid with him he's tearing out on the side with some 
much speedier lady." 

"I'd be sorry for his wife." 

"I wouldn't. Think what an ass she'd be not to 
realize it before she married him. He's the sort whose 
idea of honoring and respecting a woman would be never 
to give her any excitement. With the best intentions, 
he was deep in the dark ages." 



THE RADIANT HOUR i8i 

"What was his attitude toward you?" 

"I'm coming to that. As I told you — or did I tell 
you? — he was mighty good-looking: big brown honest 
eyes and one of those smiles that guarantee the heart 
behind it is twenty-karat gold. Being young and credu- 
lous, I thought he had some discretion, so I kissed him 
fervently one night when we were riding around after a 
dance at the Homestead at Hot Springs. It had been a 
wonderful week, I remember — ^with the most luscious 
trees spread like green lather, sort of, aU over the valley 
and a mist rising out of them on October mornings like 
bonfires lit to turn them brown " 

"How about your friend with the ideals?" interrupted 
Anthony. 

"It seems that when he kissed me he began to think 
that perhaps he could get away with a Httle more, that 
I needn't be 'respected' like this Beatrice Fairfax glad- 
girl of his imagination." 

"What'dhedo?" 

"Not much. I pushed him off a sixteen-foot embank- 
ment before he was well started." 

"Hurt him?" inquired Anthony with a laugh. 

"Broke his arm and sprained his ankle. He told the 
story all over Hot Springs, and when his arm healed a 
man named Barley who liked me fought him and broke 
it over again. Oh, it was all an awful mess. He threat- 
ened to sue Barley, and Barley — ^he was from Georgia — 
was seen buying a gun in town. But before that ma- 
ma had dragged me North again, much against my will, 
so I never did find out all that happened — though I saw 
Barley once in the Vanderbilt lobby." 

Anthony laughed long and loud. 

"What a career! I suppose I ought to be furious 
because you've kissed so many men. I'm not, though." 

At this she sat up in bed. 

"It's funny, but I'm so sure that those kisses left no 



i82 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

mark on me — ^no taint of promiscuity, I mean — even 
though a man once told me in all seriousness that he 
hated to think I'd been a public drinking-glass." 

"He had his nerve.'' 

"I just laughed and told him to think of me rather as 
a loving-cup that goes from hand to hand but should 
be valued none the less." 

"Somehow it doesn't bother me — on the other hand 
it would, of course, if you'd done any more than kiss 
them. But I believe youWe absolutely incapable of 
jealousy except as hurt vanity. Why don't you care 
what I've done? Wouldn't you prefer it if I'd been 
absolutely innocent?" 

"It's all in the impression it might have made on 
you. My kisses were because the man was good-looking, 
or because there was a slick moon, or even because I've 
felt vaguely sentimental and a little stirred. But that's 
all — ^it's had utterly no effect on me. But you'd re- 
member and let memories haunt you and worry 
you." 

"Haven't you ever kissed any one like you've kissed 
me?" 

"No," she answered simply. "As I've told you, men 
have tried — oh, lots of things. Any pretty girl has that 
experience. . . . You see," she resumed, "it doesn't 
matter to me how many women you've stayed with in 
the past, so long as it was merely a physical satisfaction, 
but I don't believe I could endure the idea of your ever 
having hved with another woman for a protracted period 
or even having wanted to marry some possible girl. 
It's different somehow. There'd be all the little inti- 
macies remembered — and they'd dull that freshness that 
after all is the most precious part of love." 

Rapturously he pulled her down beside him on the 
pillow. 



THE RADIANT HOUR 183 

"Oh, my darling," he whispered, "as if I remembered 
anything but your dear kisses." 

Then Gloria, in a very mild voice: 

"Anthony, did I hear anybody say they were thirsty ? " 

Anthony laughed abruptly and with a sheepish and 
amused grin got out of bed. 

"With just a little piece of ice in the water," she added. 
"Do you suppose I could have that?" 

Gloria used the adjective "little" whenever she asked 
a favor — ^it made the favor sound less arduous. But 
Anthony laughed again — ^whether she wanted a cake of 
ice or a marble of it, he must go down-stairs to the 
kitchen. . . . Her voice followed him through the 
hall: "And just a little cracker with just a little marma- 
lade on it. . . ." 

"Oh, gosh!" sighed Anthony in rapturous slang, 
"she's wonderful, that girl! She has it!" 

"When we have a baby," she began one day — this, 
it had already been decided, was to be after three years — 
"I want it to look like you." 

"Except its legs," he insinuated slyly. 

" Oh, yes, except his legs. He's got to have my legs. 
But the rest of him can be you." 

"My nose?" 

Gloria hesitated. 

"Well, perhaps my nose. But certainly your eyes — 
and my mouth, and I guess my shape of the face. I 
wonder; I think he'd be sort of cute if he had my 
hair." 

"My dear Gloria, you've appropriated the whole 
baby." 

"Well, I didn't mean to," she apologized cheerfully. 

"Let him have my neck at least," he urged, regarding 
himseK gravely in the glass. "You've often said you 



i84 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

liked my neck because the Adam's apple doesn't show, 
and, besides, your neck's too short." 

"Why, it is wo//" she cried indignantly, turning to 
the mirror, "it's just right. "I don't believe I've ever 
seen a better neck." 

"It's too short," he repeated teasingly. 

"Short?" Her tone expressed exasperated wonder. 
*' Short? You're crazy!" She elongated and con- 
tracted it to convince herself of its reptilian sinuousness. 
"Do you call that a short neck?" 

"One of the shortest I've ever seen." 

For the first time in weeks tears started from Gloria's 
eyes and the look she gave him had a quality of real 
pain. 

"Oh, Anthony " 

"My Lord, Gloria !" He approached her in bewilder- 
ment and took her elbows in his hands. "Don't cry, 
please! Didn't you know I was only kidding? Gloria, 
look at me ! Why, dearest, you've got the longest neck 
I've ever seen. Honestly." 

Her tears dissolved in a twisted smile. 

"Well — ^you shouldn't have said that, then. Let's talk 
about the b-baby." 

Anthony paced the floor and spoke as though rehears- 
ing for a debate. 

"To put it briefly, there are two babies we could have, 
two distinct and logical babies, utterly differentiated. 
There's the baby that's the combination of the best of 
both of us. Your body, my eyes, my mind, your intel- 
ligence — and then there is the baby which is our worst 
— ^my body, your disposition, and my irresolution." 

"I like that second baby," she said. 

"What I'd really like," continued Anthony, "would 
be to have two sets of triplets one year apart and then 
experiment with the six boys " 



THE RADIANT HOUR 185 

''Poor me," she interjected. 

" — I'd educate them each in a different country and 
by a different system and when they were twenty-three 
I'd call them together and see what they were like." 

''Let's have 'em all with my neck," suggested 
Gloria. 

The End of a Chapter 

The car was at length repaired and with a deliberate 
vengeance took up where it left off the business of caus- 
ing infinite dissension. Who should drive? How fast 
should Gloria go ? These two questions and the eternal 
recriminations involved ran through the days. They 
motored to the Post-Road towns, Rye, Portchester, 
and Greenwich, and called on a dozen friends, mostly 
Gloria's, who all seemed to be in different stages of hav- 
ing babies and in this respect as well as in others bored 
her to a point of nervous distraction. For an hour after 
each visit she would bite her fingers furiously and be 
inclined to take out her rancor on Anthony. 

"I loathe women," she cried in a mild temper. " What 
on earth can you say to them — except talk 'lady lady'? 
I've enthused over a dozen babies that I've wanted only 
to choke. And every one of those girls is either incipi- 
ently jealous and suspicious of her husband if he's charm- 
ing or beginning to be bored with him if he isn't." 

"Don't you ever intend to see any women?" 

"I don't know. They never seem clean to me — 
never — never. Except just a few. Constance Shaw — 
you know, the Mrs. Merriam who came over to see us 
last Tuesday — is almost the only one. She's so tall and 
fresh-looking and stately." 

"I don't Hke them so tall." 

Though they went to several dinner-dances at various 
country clubs, they decided that the autumn was too 



i86 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

nearly over for them to "go out'' on any scale, even had 
they been so inclined. He hated golf; Gloria liked it 
only mildly, and though she enjoyed a violent rush that 
some undergraduates gave her one night and was glad 
that Anthony should be proud of her beauty, she also 
perceived that their hostess for the evening, a Mrs. 
Granby, was somewhat disquieted by the fact that 
Anthony's classmate, Alec Granby, joined with enthusi- 
asm in the rush. The Granby s never phoned again, and 
though Gloria laughed, it piqued her not a Kttle. 

"You see," she explained to Anthony, "if I wasn't 
married it wouldn't worry her — but she's been to the 
movies in her day and she thinks I may be a vampire. 
But the point is that placating such people requires an 
effort that I'm simply unwilHng to make. . . . And 
those cute little freshmen making eyes at me and paying 
me idiotic compliments ! I've grown up, Anthony." 

Marietta itself offered little social life. Half a dozen 
farm-estates formed a hectagon around it, but these 
belonged to ancient men who displayed themselves only 
as inert, gray- thatched lumps in the back of limousines 
on their way to the station, whither they were sometimes 
accompanied by equally ancient and doubly massive 
wives. The townspeople were a particularly uninterest- 
ing type — unmarried females were predominant for the 
most part — with school-festival horizons and souls 
bleak as the forbidding white architecture of the three 
churches. The only native with whom they came into 
close contact was the broad-hipped, broad-shouldered 
Swedish girl who came every day to do their work. She 
was silent and efficient, and Gloria, after finding her 
weeping violently into her bowed arms upon the kitchen 
table, developed an uncanny fear of her and stopped 
complaining about the food. Because of her untold 
and esoteric grief the girl stayed on. 



THE RADIANT HOUR 187 

Gloria's penchant for premonitions and her bursts of 
vague supernaturalism were a surprise to Anthony. 
Either some complex, properly and scientifically inhibited 
in the early years with her Bilphistic mother, or some 
inherited hypersensitiveness, made her susceptible to 
any suggestion of the psychic, and, far from gullible 
about the motives of people, she was inclined to credit 
any extraordinary happening attributed to the whimsi- 
cal perambulations of the buried. The desperate squeak- 
ings about the old house on windy nights that to Anthony 
were burglars with revolvers ready in hand represented 
to Gloria the auras, evil and restive, of dead generations, 
expiating the inexpiable upon the ancient and romantic 
hearth. One night, because of two swift bangs down- 
stairs, which Anthony fearfully but unavailingly inves- 
tigated, they lay awake nearly until dawn asking each 
other examination-paper questions about the history of 
the world. 

In October Muriel came out for a two weeks' visit. 
Gloria had called her on long-distance, and Miss Kane 
ended the conversation characteristically by saying 
" All-U-ll righty. I'll be there with bells ! " She arrived 
with a dozen popular songs under her arm. 

"You ought to have a phonograph out here in the 
country," she said, "just a little Vic — they don't cost 
much. Then whenever you're lonesome you can have 
Caruso or Al Jolson right at your door." 

She worried Anthony to distraction by telling him that 
"he was the first clever man she had ever known and 
she got so tired of shallow people." He wondered that 
people fell in love with such women. Yet he supposed 
that under a certain impassioned glance even she might 
take on a softness and promise. 

But Gloria, violently showing off her love for Anthony, 
was diverted into a state of purring content. 



i88 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Finally Richard Caramel arrived for a garrulous and 
to Gloria painfully literary week-end, during which he 
discussed himself with Anthony long after she lay in 
childlike sleep up-stairs. 

"It's been mighty funny, this success and all," said 
Dick. "Just before the novel appeared I'd been trying, 
without success, to sell some short stories. Then, after 
my book came out, I polished up three and had them 
accepted by one of the magazines that had rejected them 
before. I've done a lot of them since; pubHshers don't 
pay me for my book till this winter." 

"Don't let the victor belong to the spoils." 

"You mean write trash?" He considered. "If you 
mean deliberately injecting a slushy fade-out into each 
one, I'm not. But I don't suppose I'm being so care- 
ful. I'm certainly writing faster and I don't seem to 
be thinking as much as I used to. Perhaps it's because 
I don't get any conversation, now that you're married 
and Maury's gone to Philadelphia. Haven't the old 
urge and ambition. Early success and all that." 

"Doesn't it worry you?" 

"Frantically. I get a thing I call sentence-fever that 
must be like buck-fever — it's a sort of intense literary 
self-consciousness that comes when I try to force my- 
self. But the really awful days aren't when I think I 
can't write. They're when I wonder whether any writ- 
ing is worth while at all — ^I mean whether I'm not a 
sort of glorified buffoon." 

"I like to hear you talk that way," said Anthony 
with a touch of his old patronizing insolence. "I was 
afraid you'd gotten a bit idiotic over your work. Read 
the damnedest interview you gave out " 

Dick interrupted with an agonized expression, 
t ** Good Lord! Don't mention it. Young lady wrote 
it — ^most admiring young lady. Kept telling me my 



THE RADIANT HOUR 189 

work was 'strong/ and I sort of lost my head and made 
a lot of strange pronouncements. Some of it was good, 
though, don't you think?" 

"Oh, yes; that part about the wise writer writing for 
the youth of his generation, the critic of the next, and 
the schoolmaster of ever afterward." 

"Oh, I believe a lot of it," admitted Richard Caramel 
with a faint beam. "It simply was a mistake to give 
it out." 

In November they moved into Anthony's apartment, 
from which they sallied triumphantly to the Yale- 
Harvard and Harvard-Princeton football games, to the 
St. Nicholas ice-skating rink, to a thorough round of the 
theatres and to a miscellany of entertainments — ^from 
small, staid dances to the great affairs that Gloria loved, 
held in those few houses where lackeys with powdered 
wigs scurried around in magnificent Anglomania under 
the direction of gigantic majordomos. Their intention 
was to go abroad the first of the year or, at any rate, 
when the war was over. Anthony had actually com- 
pleted a Chestertonian essay on the twelfth century by 
way of introduction to his proposed book and Gloria had 
done some extensive research work on the question of 
Russian-sable coats — in fact the winter was approaching 
quite comfortably, when the Bilphistic demiurge decided 
suddenly in mid-December that Mrs. Gilbert's soul had 
aged sufficiently in its present incarnation. In conse- 
quence Anthony took a miserable and hysterical Gloria 
out to Kansas City, where, in the fashion of mankind, 
they paid the terrible and mind-shaking deference to 
the dead. 

Mr. Gilbert became, for the first and last time in his 
life, a truly pathetic figure. That woman he had broken 
to wait upon his body and play congregation to his 



iQo THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

mind had ironically deserted him — just when he could 
not much longer have supported her. Never again 
would he be able so satisfactorily to bore and bully a 
hiunan soul. 



CHAPTER II 
SYMPOSIUM 

Gloria had lulled Anthony's mind to sleep. She, 
who seemed of all women the wisest and the finest, hung 
like a brilliant curtain across his doorways, shutting out 
the light of the sun. In those first years what he be- 
lieved bore invariably the stamp of Gloria; he saw the 
sun always through the pattern of the curtain. 

It was a sort of lassitude that brought them back 
to Marietta for another summer. Through a golden 
enervating spring they had loitered, restive and lazily 
extravagant, along the California coast, joining other 
parties intermittently and drifting from Pasadena to 
Coronado, from Coronado to Santa Barbara, with no 
purpose more apparent than Gloria's desire to dance by 
different music or catch some infinitesimal variant among 
the changing colors of the sea. Out of the Pacific there 
rose to greet them savage rocklands and equally bar- 
baric hostelries built that at tea-time one might drowse 
into a languid wicker bazaar glorified by the polo cos- 
tumes of Southhampton and Lake Forest and Newport 
and Palm Beach. And, as the waves met and splashed 
and glittered in the most placid of the bays, so they 
joined this group and that, and with them shifted sta- 
tions, murmuring ever of those strange unsubstantial 
gaieties in wait just over the next green and fruitful 
valley. 

A simple healthy leisure class it was — the best of the 
men not unpleasantly undergraduate — they seemed to 
be on a perpetual candidates list for some etherealized 

191 



192 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

''Porcellian" or "Skull and Bones" extended out indefi- 
nitely into the world; the women, of more than average 
beauty, fragilely athletic, somewhat idiotic as hostesses 
but charming and infinitely decorative as guests. Se- 
dately and gracefully they danced the steps of their 
selection in the balmy tea hours, accomplishing with a 
certain dignity the movements so horribly burlesqued 
by clerk and chorus girl the country over. It seemed 
irom'c that in this lone and discredited offspring of the 
arts Americans should excel, unquestionably. 

Having danced and splashed through a lavish spring, 
Anthony and Gloria found that they had spent too much 
money and for this must go into retirement for a certain 
period. There was Anthony's "work," they said. Al- 
most before they knew it they were back in the gray 
house, more aware now that other lovers had slept there, 
other names had been called over the banisters, other 
couples had sat upon the porch steps watching the gray- 
green fields and the black bulk of woods beyond. 

It was the same Anthony, more restless, inclined to 
quicken only under the stimulus of several high-balls, 
faintly, almost imperceptibly, apathetic toward Gloria. 
But Gloria — she would be twenty-four in August and 
was in an attractive but sincere panic about it. Six 
years to thirty ! Had she been less in love with Anthony 
her sense of the flight of time would have expressed it- 
self in a reawakened interest in other men, in a deliber- 
ate intention of extracting a transient gleam of romance 
from every potential lover who glanced at her with low- 
ered brows over a shining dinner-table. She said to 
Anthony one day: 

"How I feel is that if I wanted anything I'd take it. 
That's what I've always thought all my life. But it 
happens that I want you, and so I just haven't room for 
any other desires." 



SYMPOSIUM 193 

They were bound eastward through a parched and 
lifeless Indiana, and she had looked up from one of her 
beloved moving-picture magazines to find a casual con- 
versation suddenly turned grave. 

Anthony frowned out the car-window. As the track 
crossed a country road a farmer appeared momentarily 
in his wagon; he was chewing on a straw and was appar- 
ently the same farmer they had passed a dozen times 
before, sitting in silent and malignant symbolism. 
As Anthony turned to Gloria his frown intensified. 

"You worry me," he objected; ''I can imagine wanting 
another woman under certain transitory circumstances, 
but I can't imagine taking her." 

"But I don't feel that way, Anthony. I can't be 
bothered resisting things I want. My way is not to 
want them — to want nobody but you." 

"Yet when I think that if you just happened to take 
a fancy to some one " 

" Oh, don't be an idiot ! " she exclaimed. "There'd be 
nothing casual about it. And I can't even imagine the 
possibihty." 

This emphatically closed the conversation. Anthony's 
unfailing appreciation made her happier in his company 
than in any one's else. She definitely enjoyed him — 
she loved him. So the summer began very much as 
had the one before. 

There was, however, one radical change in menage. 
The icy-hearted Scandinavian, whose austere cooking 
and sardonic manner of waiting on table had so depressed 
Gloria, gave way to an exceedingly efficient Japanese 
whose name was Tanalahaka, but who confessed that 
he heeded any summons which included the dissyllable 
"Tana." 

Tana was unusually small even for a Japanese, and 
displayed a somewhat naive conception of himself as a 



194 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

man of the world. On the day of his arrival from "R. 
Gugimoniki, Japanese Reliable Employment Agency," 
he called Anthony into his room to see the treasures of 
his trunk. These included a large collection of Japa- 
nese post-cards, which he was all for explaining to his 
employer at once, individually and at great length. 
Among them were half a dozen of pornographic intent 
and plainly of American origin, though the makers had 
modestly omitted both their names and the form for 
mailing. He next brought out some of his own handi- 
work — a pair of American pants, which he had made him- 
self, and two suits of solid silk underwear. He informed 
Anthony confidentially as to the purpose for which these 
latter were reserved. The next exhibit was a rather good 
copy of an etching of Abraham Lincoln, to whose face he 
had given an unmistakable Japanese cast. Last came 
a flute; he had made it himself but it was broken: he 
was going to fi:x it soon. 

After these polite formalities, which Anthony conjec- 
tured must be native to Japan, Tana deHvered a long 
harangue in splintered EngHsh on the relation of master 
and servant from which Anthony gathered that he had 
worked on large estates but had always quarrelled with 
the other servants because they were not honest. They 
had a great time over the word "honest," and in fact 
became rather irritated with each other, because An- 
thony persisted stubbornly that Tana was trying to say 
*' hornets," and even went to the extent of buzzing in 
the manner of a bee and flapping his arms to imitate 
wings. 

After three-quarters of an hour Anthony was released 
with the warm assurance that they would have other 
nice chats in which Tana would tell ''how we do in my 
count ree." 

Such was Tana's garrulous premiere in the gray 



SYMPOSIUM 195 

house — and he fulfilled its promise. Though he was 
conscientious and honorable, he was unquestionably a 
terrific bore. He seemed imable to control his tongue, 
sometimes continuing from paragraph to paragraph with 
a look akin to pain in his small brown eyes. 

Sunday and Monday afternoons he read the comic sec- 
tions of the newspapers. One cartoon which contained 
a facetious Japanese butler diverted him enormously, 
though he claimed that the protagonist, who to Anthony 
appeared clearly Oriental, had really an American face. 
The difficulty with the funny paper was that when, aided 
by Anthony, he had spelled out the last three pictures 
and assimilated their context with a concentration surely 
adequate for Kant's ''Critique/' he had entirely for- 
gotten what the first pictures were about. 

In the middle of June Anthony and Gloria celebrated 
their first anniversary by having a "date." Anthony 
knocked at the door and she ran to let him in. Then 
they sat together on the couch calKng over those names 
they had made for each other, new combinations of en- 
dearments ages old. Yet to this "date" was appended 
no attenuated good night with its ecstasy of regret. 

Later in June horror leered out at Gloria, struck at 
her and frightened her bright soul back half a generation. 
Then slowly it faded out, faded back into that im- 
penetrable darkness whence it had come — taking re- 
lentlessly its modicum of youth. 

With an infallible sense of the dramatic it chose a Httle 
railroad-station in a wretched village near Portchester. 
The station platform lay all day bare as a prairie, ex- 
posed to the dusty yellow sun and to the glance of that 
most obnoxious type of countryman who lives near a 
metropolis and has attained its cheap smartness without 
its urbanity. A dozen of these yokels, red-eyed, cheer- 



196 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

less as scarecrows, saw the incident. Dimly it passed 
across their confused and uncomprehending minds, taken 
at its broadest for a coarse joke, at its subtlest for a 
"shame." Meanwhile there upon the platform a mea- 
sure of brightness faded from the world. 

With Eric Merriam, Anthony had been sitting over a 
decanter of Scotch all the hot summer afternoon, while 
Gloria and Constance Merriam swam and sunned them- 
selves at the Beach Club, the latter under a striped 
parasol-awning, Gloria stretched sensuously upon the 
soft hot sand, tanning her inevitable legs. Later they 
had all four played with inconsequential sandwiches; 
then Gloria had risen, tapping Anthony's knee with her 
parasol to get his attention. 

"WeVe got to go, dear." 

" Now ? " He looked at her unwillingly. At that mo- 
ment nothing seemed of more importance than to idle 
on that shady porch drinking mellowed Scotch, while 
his host reminisced interminably on the byplay of some 
forgotten political campaign. 

''We've really got to go," repeated Gloria. "We can 
get a taxi to the station. . . . Come on, Anthony!" 
she commanded a bit more imperiously. 

"Now see here — " Merriam, his yarn cut off, made 
conventional objections, meanwhile provocatively filling 
his guest's glass with a high-ball that should have been 
sipped through ten minutes. But at Gloria's annoyed 
"We really must!'' Anthony drank it off, got to his feet 
and made an elaborate bow to his hostess. 

"It seems we 'must,'" he said, with httle grace. 

In a minute he was following Gloria down a garden- 
walk between tall rose-bushes, her parasol brushing 
gently the Jime-blooming leaves. Most inconsiderate, 
he thought, as they reached the road. He felt with in- 
jured naivete that Gloria should not have interrupted 



I^ J P <* 



SYMPOSIUM 197 

such innocent and harmless enjoyment. The whiskey 
had both soothed and clarified the restless things in his 
mind. It occurred to him that she had taken this same 
attitude several times before. Was he always to re- 
treat from pleasant episodes at a touch of her parasol 
or a flicker of her eye? His unwillingness blurred to 
ill will, which rose within him like a resistless bubble. 
He kept silent, perversely inhibiting a desire to reproach 
her. They found a taxi in front of the Inn; rode silently 
to the little station. . . . 

Then Anthony knew what he wanted — to assert his 
will against this cool and impervious girl, to obtain with 
one magnificent effort a mastery that seemed infinitely 
desirable. 

"Let^s go over to see the Barneses," he said without 
looking at her. "I don't feel like going home." 

— Mrs. Barnes, nee Rachael Jerryl, had a summer place 
several miles from Redgate. 

"We went there day before yesterday," she answered 
shortly. 

"I'm sure they'd be glad to see us." He felt that 
that was not a strong enough note, braced himself stub- 
bornly, and added: "I want to see the Barneses. I 
haven't any desire to go home." 

"Well, I haven't any desire to go to the Barneses." 

Suddenly they stared at each other. 

"Why, Anthony," she said with annoyance, "this is 
Sunday night and they probably have guests for supper. 
Why we should go in at this hour " 

"Then why couldn't we have stayed at the Mer- 
riams'?" he burst out. "Why go home when we were 
having a perfectly decent time? They asked us to 
supper." 

"They had to. Give me the money and I'll get the 
railroad- tickets." 



iqs the beautiful and damned 

"I certainly will not! I^m in no humor for a ride in 
that damn hot train." 

Gloria stamped her foot on the platform. 

*^ Anthony, you act as if you're tight!" 

"On the contrary, I'm perfectly sober." 

But his voice had slipped into a husky key and she 
knew with certainty that this was imtrue. 

"If you're sober you'll give me the money for the 
tickets." 

But it was too late to talk to him that way. In his 
mind was but one idea — that Gloria was being selfish, 
that she was always being selfish and would continue 
to be unless here and now he asserted himself as her 
master. This was the occasion of all occasions, since 
for a whim she had deprived him of a pleasure. His 
determination solidified, approached momentarily a dull 
and sullen hate. 

"I won't go in the train,'^ he said, his voice trem'bling 
a Httle with anger. "We're going to the Barneses." 

"I'm not!" she cried. "If you go I'm going home 
alone." 

"Goon, then." 

Without a word she turned toward the ticket-oflSce; 
simultaneously he remembered that she had some money 
with her and that this was not the sort of victory he 
wanted, the sort he must have. He took a step after 
her and seized her arm. 

"See here!" he muttered, "you're not going alone!" 

"I certainly am — why, Anthony !" This exclamation 
as she tried to pull away from him and he only tightened 
his grasp. 

He looked at her with narrowed and malicious eyes. 

"Let go!" Her cry had a quality of fierceness. "If 
you have any decency you'll let go." 

"Why?" He knew why. But he took a confused 
and not quite confident pride in holding her there. 



SYMPOSIUM 199 

"I^m going home, do you understand? And you're 
going to let me go!" 

"No, I'm not." 

Her eyes were burning now. 

"Are you going to make a scene here?" 

"I say you're not going! I'm tired of your eternal 
selfishness!" 

"I only want to go home." Two wrathful tears 
started from her eyes. 

"This time you're going to do what / say." 

Slowly her body straightened: her head went back in 
a gesture of infinite scorn. 

"I hate you!" Her low words were expelled like 
venom through her clenched teeth. "Oh, let me go! 
Oh, I hate you!" She tried to jerk herself away but 
he only grasped the other arm. "I hate you! I hate 
you!" 

At Gloria's fury his uncertainty returned, but he felt 
that now he had gone too far to give in. It seemed that 
he had always given in and that in her heart she had 
despised him for it. Ah, she might hate him now, 
but afterward she would admire him for his domi- 
nance. 

The approaching train gave out a premonitory siren 
that tumbled melodramatically toward them down the 
glistening blue tracks. Gloria tugged and strained to 
free herself, and words older than the Book of Genesis 
came to her lips. 

"Oh, you brute!" she sobbed. "Oh, you brute! 
Oh, I hate you ! Oh, you brute ! Oh " 

On the station platform other prospective passengers 
were beginning to turn and stare; the drone of the train 
was audible, it increased to a clamor. Gloria's efforts 
redoubled, then ceased altogether, and she stood there 
trembling and hot-eyed at this helpless humiliation, as 
the engine roared and thundered into the station. 



200 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Low, below the flood of steam and the grinding of the 
brakes came her voice: 

'^Oh, if there was one man here you couldn't do this ! 
You couldn't do this ! You coward ! You coward, oh, 
you coward ! " 

Anthony, silent, trembling himself, gripped her rigidly, 
aware that faces, dozens of them, curiously unmoved, 
shadows of a dream, were regarding him. Then the 
bells distilled metallic crashes that were like physical 
pain, the smoke-stacks volleyed in slow acceleration at 
the sky, and in a moment of noise and gray gaseous 
turbulence the line of faces ran by, moved off, became 
indistinct — until suddenly there was only the sun slant- 
ing east across the tracks and a volume of sound de- 
creasing far off like a train made out of tin thunder. 
He dropped her arms. He had won. 

Now, if he wished, he might laugh. The test was done 
and he had sustained his will with violence. Let leni- 
ency walk in the wake of victory. 

"Well hire a car here and drive back to Marietta," 
he said with fine reserve. 

For answer Gloria seized his hand with both of hers 
and raising it to her mouth bit deeply into his thumb. 
He scarcely noticed the pain; seeing the blood spurt 
he absent-mindedly drew out his handkerchief and 
wrapped the wound. That too was part of the triumph 
he supposed — ^it was inevitable that defeat should thus 
be resented — and as such was beneath notice. 

She was sobbing, almost without tears, profoundly 
and bitterly. 

"I won't go! I won't go! You — can't — ^make — ^me 
— go! You've — you've killed any love I ever had for 
you, and any respect. But all that's left in me would 
die before I'd move from this place. Oh, if I'd thought 
you'd lay your hands on me " 



SYMPOSIUM 20I 

"You're going with me," he said brutally, "if I have 
to carry you." 

He turned, beckoned to a taxicab, told the driver 
to go to Marietta. The man dismounted and swung 
the door open. Anthony faced his wife and said be- 
tween his clenched teeth: 

"Will you get in? — or will I put you in?" 

With a subdued cry of infinite pain and despair she 
yielded herself up and got into the car. 

All the long ride, through the increasing dark of twi- 
light, she sat huddled in her side of the car, her silence 
broken by an occasional dry and solitary sob. Anthony 
stared out the window, his mind working dully on the 
slowly changing significance of what had occurred. 
Something was wrong — that last cry of Gloria's had 
struck a chord which echoed posthumously and with 
incongruous disquiet in his heart. He must be right — 
yet, she seemed such a pathetic little thing now, broken 
and dispirited, humiliated beyond the measure of her 
lot to bear. The sleeves of her dress were torn; her 
parasol was gone, forgotten on the platform. It was a 
new costume, he remembered, and she had been so 
proud of it that very morning when they had left the 
house. . . . He began wondering if any one they knew 
had seen the incident. And persistently there recurred 
to him her cry: 

"All that's left in me would die " 

This gave him a confused and increasing worry. It 
fitted so well with the Gloria who lay in the comer — ^no 
longer a proud Gloria, nor any Gloria he had known. He 
asked himself if it were possible. While he did not be- 
lieve she would cease to love him — this, of course, was 
unthinkable — ^it was yet problematical whether Gloria 
without her arrogance, her independence, her virginal 



202 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

confidence and courage, would be the girl of his glory, 
the radiant woman who was precious and charming be- 
cause she was ineffably, triumphantly herself. 

He was very drunk even then, so drunk as not to reaHze 
his own drunkenness. When they reached the gray 
house he went to his own room and, his mind still wres- 
tling helplessly and sombrely with what he had done, 
fell into a deep stupor on his bed. 

It was after one o'clock and the hall seemed extraordi- 
narily quiet when Gloria, wide-eyed and sleepless, trav- 
ersed it and pushed open the door of his room. He had 
been too befuddled to^open the windows and the air was 
stale and thick with whiskey. She stood for a moment 
by his bed, a slender, exquisitely graceful figure in her 
boyish silk pajamas — then with abandon she flung her- 
self upon him, half waking him in the frantic emotion 
of her embrace, dropping her warm tears upon his throat. 

"Oh, Anthony!" she cried passionately, *^oh, my 
darling, you don't know what you did ! " 

Yet in the morning, coming early into her room, he 
knelt down by her bed and cried like a Httle boy, as 
though it was his heart that had been broken. 

"It seemed, last night," she said gravely, her fingers 
playing in his hair, "that all the part of me you loved, 
the part that was worth knowing, all the pride and fire, 
was gone. I knew that what was left of me would al- 
ways love you, but never in quite the same way." 

Nevertheless, she was aware even then that she would 
forget in time and that it is the manner of life seldom to 
strike but always to wear away. After that morning 
the incident was never mentioned and its deep wound 
healed with Anthony's hand — and if there was triumph 
some darker force than theirs possessed it, possessed the 
knowledge and the victory. 



SYMPOSIUM 203 

NiETZSCHEAN INCIDENT 

Gloria's independence, like all sincere and profound 
qualities, had begun unconsciously, but, once brought to 
her attention by Anthony's fascinated discovery of it, 
it assumed more nearly the proportions of a formal code. 
From her conversation it might be assumed that all her 
energy and vitality went into a violent affirmation of 
the negative principle "Never give a damn." 

"Not for anything or anybody," she said, "except 
myself and, by implication, for Anthony. That's the 
rule of all life and if it weren't I'd be that way anyhow. 
Nobody'd do anything for me if it didn't gratify them to, 
and I'd do as Httle for them." 

She was on the front porch of the nicest lady in Mari- 
etta when she said this, and as she finished she gave a 
curious little cry and sank in a dead faint to the porch 
floor. 

The lady brought her to and drove her home in her 
car. It had occurred to the estimable Gloria that she 
was probably with child. 

She lay upon the long lounge down-stairs. Day was 
slipping warmly out the window, touching the late roses 
on the porch pillars. 

"All I think of ever is that I love you," she wailed. 
"I value my body because you think it's beautiful. And 
this body of mine — of yours — to have it grow ugly and 
shapeless? It's simply intolerable. Oh, Anthony, I'm 
not afraid of the pain." 

He consoled her desperately — ^but in vain. She con- 
tinued: 

"And then afterward I might have wide hips and be 
pale, with all my freshness gone and no radiance in my 
hair." 



204 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

He paced the floor with his hands in his pockets, 
asking: 

''Is it certain?'' 

''/ don't know anything. I've always hated obstrics, 
or whatever you call them. I thought I'd have a child 
some time. But not now." 

"Well, for God's sake don't lie there and go to pieces." 

Her sobs lapsed. She drew down a merciful silence 
from the twilight which filled the room. "Turn on the 
lights," she pleaded. "These days seem so short — June 
seemed — to— have — longer days when I was a little 
girl." 

The lights snapped on and it was as though blue 
drapes of softest silk had been dropped behind the win- 
dows and the door. Her pallor, her immobility, without 
grief now, or joy, awoke his sympathy. 

"Do you want me to have it?" she asked listlessly. 

"I'm indifferent. That is, I'm neutral. If you have 
it I'll probably be glad. If you don't — well, that's all 
right too." 

"I wish you'd make up your mind one way or the 
other!" 

"Suppose you make up your mind." 

She looked at him contemptuously, scorning to answer. 

"You'd think you'd been singled out of all the women 
in the world for this crowning indignity." 

"What if I do ! " she cried angrily. "It isn't an indig- 
nity for them. It's their one excuse for living. It's 
the one thing they're good for. It is an indignity for 
mer 

"See here, Gloria, I'm with you whatever you do, but 
for God's sake be a sport about it." 

"Oh, don! t fuss at me!" she wailed. 

They exchanged a mute look of no particular signifi- 
cance but of much stress. Then Anthony took a book 
from the shelf and dropped into a chair. 



SYMPOSIUM 205 

Half an hour later her voice came out of the intense 
stillness that pervaded the room and hung like incense 
on the air. 

''I'll drive over and see Constance Merriam to- 
morrow." 

"All right. And I'll go to Tarry town and see Grampa." 

" — You see," she added, ''it isn't that I'm afraid — of 
this or anything else. I'm being true to me, you know." 

"I know," he agreed. 

The Practical Men 

Adam Patch, in a pious rage against the Germans, 
subsisted on the war news. Pin maps plastered his walls; 
atlases were piled deep on tables convenient to his hand 
together with "Photographic Histories of the World 
War," official Explain-alls, and the "Personal Impres- 
sions" of war correspondents and of Privates X, Y, and 
Z. Several times during Anthony's visit his grand- 
father's secretary, Edward Shuttleworth, the one-time 
"AccompHshed Gin-physician" of "Pat's Place" in Ho- 
boken, now shod with righteous indignation, would 
appear with an extra. The old man attacked each paper 
with untiring fury, tearing out those columns which 
appeared to him of sufficient pregnancy for preservation 
and thrusting them into one of his already bulging files. 

"Well, what have you been doing? " he asked Anthony 
blandly. "Nothing? Well, I thought so. I've been 
intending to drive over and see you, all summer." 

"I've been writing. Don't you remember the essay 
I sent you — the one I sold to The Florentine last 
winter?" 

"Essay? You never sent me any essay." 

"Oh, yes, I did. We talked about it." 

Adam Patch shook his head mildly. 

"Oh, no. You never sent me any essay. You may 
have thought you sent it but it never reached me." 



2o6 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

"Why, you read it, Grampa," Insisted Anthony, some- 
what exasperated, "you read it and disagreed with it." 

The old man suddenly remembered, but this was made 
apparent only by a partial falling open of his mouth, 
displa)dng rows of gray gums. Eying Anthony with a 
green and ancient stare he hesitated between confessing 
his error and covering it up. 

"So you're writing," he said quickly. "Well, why 
don't you go over and write about these Germans? 
Write something real, something about what's going on, 
something people can read." 

"Anybody can't be a war correspondent," objected 
Anthony. "You have to have some newspaper willing 
to buy your stuff. And I can't spare the money to go 
over as a free-lance." 

"I'll send you over," suggested his grandfather sur- 
prisingly. "I'll get you over as an authorized correspon- 
dent of any newspaper you pick out." 

Anthony recoiled from the idea — almost simultane- 
ously he bounded toward it. 

"I— don't— know " 

He would have to leave Gloria, whose whole life 
yearned toward him and enfolded hun. Gloria was in 
trouble. Oh, the thing wasn't feasible — ^yet — he saw 
himself in khaki, leaning, as all war correspondents lean, 
upon a heavy stick, portfolio at shoulder — trying to look 
like an Englishman. "I'd like to think it over," he 
confessed. "It's certainly very kind of you. I'll think 
it over and I'll let you know." 

Thinking it over absorbed him on the journey to New 
York. He had had one of those sudden flashes of illumi- 
nation vouchsafed to all men who are dominated by a 
strong and beloved woman, which show them a world 
of harder men, more fiercely trained and grappling with 
the abstractions of thought and war. In that world the 



SYMPOSroM 207 

arms of Gloria would exist only as the hot embrace of a 
chance mistress, coolly sought and quickly forgotten. . . . 

These unfamiliar phantoms were crowding closely 
about him when he boarded his train for Marietta, in 
the Grand Central Station. The car was crowded; he 
secured the last vacant seat and it was only after several 
, minutes that he gave even a casual glance to the man be- 
side him. When he did he saw a heavy lay of jaw and 
nose, a curved chin and small, puffed-under eyes. In a 
moment he recognized Joseph Bloeckman. 

Simultaneously they both half rose, were half embar- 
rassed, and exchanged what amounted to a half hand- 
shake. Then, as though to complete the matter, they 
both half laughed. 

"Well," remarked Anthony without inspiration, "I 
haven't seen you for a long time." Immediately he re- 
gretted his words and started to add: "I didn't know 
you lived out this way." But Bloeckman anticipated 
him by asking pleasantly: 

"How's your wife? ..." 

"She's very well. How've you been?" 

"Excellent." His tone amplified the grandeur of the 
word. 

It seemed to Anthony that during the last year 
Bloeckman had grown tremendously in dignity. The 
boiled look was gone, he seemed "done" at last. In 
addition he was no longer overdressed. The inappro- 
priate facetiousness he had affected in ties had given 
way to a sturdy dark pattern, and his right hand, which 
had formerly displayed two heavy rings, was now inno- 
cent of ornament and even without the raw glow of a 
manicure. 

This dignity appeared also in his personality. The 
last aura of the successful travelling-man had faded from 
him, that deliberate ingratiation of which the lowest 



2o8 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

form is the bawdy joke in the Pulhnan smoker. One 
imagined that, having been fawned upon financially, he 
had attained aloofness; having been snubbed socially, 
he had acquired reticence. But whatever had given him 
weight instead of bulk, Anthony no longer felt a correct 
superiority in his presence. 

"D'you remember Caramel, Richard Caramel? I 
believe you met him one night." 

"I remember. He was writing a book." 

"Well, he sold it to the movies. Then they had some 
scenario man named Jordan work on it. Well, Dick 
subscribes to a cHpping bureau and he's furious because 
about half the movie reviewers speak of the 'power 
and strength of William Jordan's "Demon Lover."' 
Didn't mention old Dick at all. You'd think this fel- 
low Jordan had actually conceived and developed the 
thing." 

Bloeckman nodded comprehensively. 

"Most of the contracts state that the original writer's 
name goes into all the paid publicity. Is Caramel still 
writing ? " 

"Oh, yes. Writing hard. Short stories." 

"Well, that's fine, that's fine. . . . You on this train 
often?" 

"About once a week. We live in Marietta." 

"Is that so? Well, well! I live near Cos Cob my- 
self. Bought a place there only recently. We're only 
five miles apart." 

"You'll have to come and see us." Anthony was sur- 
prised at his own courtesy. " I'm sure Gloria'd be de- 
Hghted to see an old friend. Anybody'll tell you where 
the house is — ^it's our second season there." 

"Thank you." Then, as though returning a comple- 
mentary politeness: "How is your grandfather?" 

"He's been well. I had lunch with him to-day." 



SYMPOSIUM 209 

"A great character," said Bloeckman severely. "A 
fine example of an American." 

The Triumph of Lethargy 

Anthony found his wife deep in the porch hammock 
voluptuously engaged with a lemonade and a tomato 
sandwich and carrying on an apparently cheery conver- 
sation with Tana upon one of Tana's complicated themes. 

"In my countree," Anthony recognized his invariable 
preface, "all time — peoples — eat rice — because haven't 
got. Cannot eat what no have got." Had his nation- 
ality not been desperately apparent one would have 
thought he had acquired his knowledge of his native 
land from American primary-school geographies. 

When the Oriental had been squelched and dismissed 
to the kitchen, Anthony turned questioningly to Gloria: 

"It's all right," she announced, smiling broadly. 
"And it surprised me more than it does you." 

"There's no doubt?" 

"None! Couldn't be!" 

They rejoiced happily, gay again with reborn irre- 
sponsibility. Then he told her of his opportunity to go 
abroad, and that he was almost ashamed to reject it. 

"What do you think? Just tell me frankly." 

"Why, Anthony!" Her eyes were startled. "Do 
you want to go? Without me?" 

His face fell — yet he knew, with his wife's question,! 
that it was too late. Her arms, sweet and strangling,* 
were around him, for he had made all such choices back 
in that room in the Plaza the year before. This was an 
anachronism from an age of such dreams. 

"Gloria," he lied, in a great burst of comprehension,' 
"of course I don't. I was thinking you might go as a 
nurse or something." He wondered dully if his grand- 
father would consider this. 



2IO THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

As she smiled he realized again how beautiful she was, 
a gorgeous girl of miraculous freshness and sheerly hon- 
orable eyes. She embraced his suggestion with luxuri- 
ous intensity, holding it aloft like a sun of her own mak- 
ing and basking in its beams. She strung together an 
amazing synopsis for an extravaganza of martial adven- 
ture. 

After supper, surfeited with the subject, she yawned. 
She wanted not to talk but only to read "Penrod," 
stretched upon the lounge until at midnight she fell 
asleep. But Anthony, after he had carried her roman- 
tically up the stairs, stayed awake to brood upon the 
day, vaguely angry with her, vaguely dissatisfied. 

"What am I going to do?" he began at breakfast. 
"Here we've been married a year and weVe just worried 
around without even being efiicient people of leisure." 

"Yes, you ought to do something," she admitted, 
being in an agreeable and loquacious humor. This was 
not the first of these discussions, but as they usually 
developed Anthony in the r61e of protagonist, she had 
come to avoid them. 

"It's not that I have any moral compunctions about 
work," he continued, "but grampa may die to-morrow 
and he may live for ten years. Meanwhile we're living 
above our income and all we've got to show for it is a 
farmer's car and a few clothes. We keep an apartment 
that we've only lived in three months and a little old 
house way off in nowhere. We're frequently bored and 
yet we won't make any effort to know any one except 
the same crowd who drift around California all summer 
wearing sport clothes and waiting for their families to 
die." 

"How you've changed!" remarked Gloria. "Once 
you told me you didn't see why an American couldn't 
loaf gracefully." 



SYMPOSIUM 211 

"Well, damn it, I wasn't married. And the old mind 
was working at top speed and now it's going round and 
round like a cog-wheel with nothing to catch it. As a 
matter of fact I think that if I hadn't met you I would 
have done something. But you make leisure so subtly 
attractive " 

"Oh, it's all my fault " 

"I didn't mean that, and you know I didn't. But here 
I'm almost twenty-seven and " 

"Oh," she interrupted in vexation, "you make me 
tired ! Talking as though I were objecting or hindering 
you!" 

" I was just discussing it, Gloria. Can't I discuss " 

"I should think you'd be strong enough to settle " 

" — something with you without " 

" — ^your own problems without coming to me. You 
talk a lot about going to work. I could use more money 
very easily, but Fm not complaining. Whether you 
work or not I love you." Her last words were gentle as 
fine snow upon hard ground. But for the moment 
neither was attending to the other — they were each en- 
gaged in polishing and perfecting his own attitude. 

"I have worked — some." This by Anthony was an 
imprudent bringing up of raw reserves. Gloria laughed, 
torn between dehght and derision; she resented his 
sophistry as at the same time she admired his noncha- 
lance. She would never blame him for being the inef- 
fectual idler so long as he did it sincerely, from the atti- 
tude that nothing much was worth doing. 

"Work!" she scoffed. "Oh, you sad bird! You 
bluffer! Work — that means a great arranging of the 
desk and the lights, a great sharpening of pencils, and 
'Gloria, don't sing!' and 'Please keep that damn Tana 
away from me,' and 'Let me read you my opening sen- 
tence,' and 'I won't be through for a long time, Gloria, 



212 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

so don't stay up for me,' and a tremendous consumption 
of tea or coffee. And that's all. In just about an hour 
I hear the old pencil stop scratching and look over. 
You've got out a book and you're 'looking up' something. 
Then you're reading. Then yawns — then bed and a 
great tossing about because you're all full of caffeine 
and can't sleep. Two weeks later the whole performance 
over again." 

With much difficulty Anthony retained a scanty 
breech-clout of dignity. 

"Now that's a slight exaggeration. You know darn 
well I sold an essay to The Florentine — and it attracted 
a lot of attention considering the circulation of The Flor- 
entine. And what's more, Gloria, you know I sat up 
till five o'clock in the morning finishing it." 

She lapsed into silence, giving him rope. And if he 
had not hanged himself he had certainly come to the end 
of it. 

"At least," he concluded feebly, "I'm perfectly willing 
to be a war correspondent." 

But so was Gloria. They were both willing — anxious; 
they assured each other of it. The evening ended on a 
note of tremendous sentiment, the majesty of leisure, 
the ill health of Adam Patch, love at any cost. 

"Anthony!" she called over the banister one after- 
noon a week later, "there's some one at the door." 

Anthony, who had been lolling in the hammock on the 
sun-speckled south porch, strolled around to the front 
of the house. A foreign car, large and impressive, 
crouched like an immense and saturnine bug at the 
foot of the path. A man in a soft pongee suit, with cap 
to match, hailed him. 

"Hello there, Patch. Ran over to call on you." 

It was Bloeckman; as always, infinitesimally improved, 
of subtler intonation, of more convincing ease. 



SYMPOSIUM 213 

"I'm awfully glad you did." Anthony raised his 
voice to a vine-covered window: "Glor-i-a! WeVe got 
a visitor ! " 

*'I'm in the tub," wailed Gloria politely. 

With a smile the two men acknowledged the triumph 
of her alibi. 

" She'll be down. Come round here on the side-porch. 
Like a drink? Gloria's always in the tub — good third 
of every day." 

*'Pity she doesn't live on the Sound." 

*Tan't afford it." 

As coming from Adam Patch's grandson, Bloeckman 
took this as a form of pleasantry. After fifteen minutes 
filled with estimable brilliancies, Gloria appeared, fresh 
in starched yellow, bringing atmosphere and an increase 
of vitality. 

"I want to be a successful sensation in the movies," 
she announced. *'I hear that Mary Pickford makes a 
million dollars annually." 

"You could, you know," said Bloeckman. "I think 
you'd film very well." 

"Would you let me, Anthony? If I only play unso- 
phisticated roles?" 

As the conversation continued in stilted commas, 
Anthony wondered that to him and Bloeckman both 
this girl had once been the most stimulating, the most 
tonic personality they had ever known — and now the 
three sat like overoiled machines, without conflict, 
without fear, without elation, heavily enamelled little 
figures secure beyond enjoyment in a world where death 
and war, dull emotion and noble savagery were covering 
a continent with the smoke of terror. 

In a moment he would call Tana and they would 
pour into themselves a gay and delicate poison which 
would restore them momentarily to the pleasurable ex- 
citement of childhood, when every face in a crowd had 



214 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

carried its suggestion of splendid and significant trans- 
actions taking place somewhere to some magnificent and 
illimitable purpose. . . . Life was no more than this 
summer afternoon; a faint wind stirring the lace collar 
of Gloria's dress, the slow baking drowsiness of the 
veranda. . . . Intolerably unmoved they all seemed, 
removed from any romantic imminency of action. Even 
Gloria's beauty needed wild emotions, needed poignancy, 
needed death. . . . 

"... Any day next week," Bloeckman was saying 
to Gloria. "Here — take this card. What they do is to 
give you a test of about three hundred feet of film, and 
they can tell pretty accurately from that." 

"How about Wednesday?" 

"Wednesday's fine. Just phone me and I'll go 
around with you " 

He was on his feet, shaking hands briskly — then his 
car was a wraith of dust down the road. Anthony turned 
to his wife in bewilderment. 

"Why, Gloria!" 

"You don't mind if I have a trial, Anthony. Just 
a trial? I've got to go to town Wednesday, awyhow." 

"But it's so silly! You don't want to go into the 
movies — ^moon around a studio all day with a lot of 
cheap chorus people." 

"Lot of mooning around Mary Pickford does!" 

"Everybody isn't a Mary Pickford." 

"Well, I can't see how you'd object to my /rying." 

"I do, though. I hate actors." 

"Oh, you make me tired. Do you imagine I have a 
very thrilling time dozing on this damn porch?" 

"You wouldn't mind if you loved me." 

"Of course I love you," she said impatiently, making 
out a quick case for herself. "It's just because I do 
that I hate to see you go to pieces by just lying around 



SYMPOSIUM 215 

and saying you ought to work. Perhaps if I did go into 

this for a while it'd stir you up so you'd do something." 

*'It's just your craving for excitement, that's all it is." 

*^ Maybe it is ! It's a perfectly natural craving, isn't it ? " 

"Well, I'll tell you one thing. If you go to the movies 

I'm going to Europe." 

*' Well, go on then ! Vm not stopping you !" 
To show she was not stopping him she melted into mel- 
ancholy tears. Together they marshalled the armies of 
sentiment — ^words, kisses, endearments, self-reproaches. 
They attained nothing. Inevitably they attained noth- 
ing. Finally, in a burst of gargantuan emotion each of 
them sat down and wrote a letter. Anthony's was to 
his grandfather; Gloria's was to Joseph Bloeckman. It 
was a triumph of lethargy. 

One day early in July Anthony, returned from an 
afternoon in New York, called up-stairs to Gloria. Re- 
ceiving no answer he guessed she was asleep and so went 
into the pantry for one of the little sandwiches that were 
always prepared for them. He found Tana seated at 
the kitchen-table before a miscellaneous assortment of 
odds and ends — cigar-boxes, knives, pencils, the tops of 
cans, and some scraps of paper covered with elaborate 
figures and diagrams. 

''What the devil you doing?" demanded Anthony 
curiously. 

Tana politely grinned. 

"I show you," he exclaimed enthusiastically. "I 
tell " 

"You making a dog-house?" 

"No, sa." Tana grinned again. "Make typewutta." 

"Typewriter?" 

"Yes, sa. I think, oh all time I think, lie in bed think 
'bout typewutta." 



2i6 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

"So you thought you^d make one, eh?" 

"Wait. IteU." 

Anthony, munching a sandwich, leaned leisurely 
against the sink. Tana opened and closed his mouth 
several times as though testing its capacity for action. 
Then with a rush he began: 

"I been think — typewutta — ^has, oh, many many 
many many thing. Oh many many many many." 

"Many keys. I see." 

" No-o ? Yes — ^key ! Many many many many lettah. 
Like so a-b-c." 

"Yes, you're right." 

"Wait. I tell." He screwed his face up in a tremen- 
dous effort to express himself: "I been think — ^many 
words — end same. Like i-n-g." 

"You bet. A whole raft of them." 

"So — I make — typewutta — quick. Not so many 
lettah " 

"That's a great idea. Tana. Save time. You'll make 
a fortune. Press one key and there's 'ing.' Hope you 
work it out." 

Tana laughed disparagingly. 

"Wait. I tell " 

"Where's Mrs. Patch?" 

"She out. Wait, I tell — " Again he screwed up his 
face for action, "ikfy typewutta " 

"Where is she?" 

"Here — I make." He pointed to the miscellany of 
junk on the table. 

"I mean Mrs. Patch." 

"She out." Tana reassured him. "She be back five 
o'clock, she say." 

"Down in the village?" 

"No. Went off be-fore lunch. She go Mr. Bloeck- 



SYMPOSIUM 217 

Anthony started. 

"Went out with Mr. Bloeckman?'' 

''She be back five.'' 

Without a word Anthony left the kitchen with Tana's 
disconsolate "I tell" trailing after him. So this was 
Gloria's idea of excitement, by God! His fists were 
clenched; within a moment he had worked himself up 
to a tremendous pitch of indignation. He went to the 
door and looked out; there was no car in sight and his 
watch stood at four minutes of five. With furious energy 
he dashed down to the end of the path — as far as the 
bend of the road a mile off he could see no car — except — 
but it was a farmer's flivver. Then, in an undignified 
pursuit of dignity, he rushed back to the shelter of the 
house as quickly as he had rushed out. 

Pacing up and down the living-room he began an 
angry rehearsal of the speech he would make to her when 
she came in 

"So this is love!" he would begin — or no, it sounded 
too much like the popular phrase "So this is Paris!" 
He must be dignified, hurt, grieved. Anyhow — "So 
this is what you do when I have to go up and trot all day 
around the hot city on business. No wonder I can't 
write ! No wonder I don't dare let you out of my sight !" 
He was expanding now, warming to his subject. "I'll 
tell you," he continued, "I'll tell you — " He paused, 
catching a familiar ring in the words — then he realized — 
it was Tana's "I tell." 

Yet Anthony neither laughed nor seemed absurd to 
himseK. To his frantic imagination it was already six — 
seven — eight, and she was never coming! Bloeckman 
finding her bored and unhappy had persuaded her to go 
to California with him. . . . 

— There was a great to-do out in front, a joyous " Yoho, 
Anthony!" and he rose trembling, weakly happy to see 



2i8 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

her fluttering up the path. Bloeckman was following, 
cap in hand. 

^'Dearest!" she cried. 

"We've been for the best Jaunt — all over New York 
State." 

"I'll have to be starting home," said Bloeckman, 
almost immediately. "Wish you'd both been here when 
I came." 

"I'm sorry I wasn't," answered Anthony dryly. 

When he had departed Anthony hesitated. The fear 
was gone from his heart, yet he felt that some protest 
was ethically apropos. Gloria resolved his uncertainty. 

"I knew you wouldn't mind. He came just before 
lunch and said he had to go to Garrison on business and 
wouldn't I go with him. He looked so lonesome, An- 
thony. And I drove his car all the way." 

Listlessly Anthony dropped into a chair, his mind 
tired — tired with nothing, tired with everything, with 
the world's weight he had never chosen to bear. He was 
ineffectual and vaguely helpless here as he had always 
been. One of those personalities who, in spite of all 
their words, are inarticulate, he seemed to have inherited 
only the vast tradition of human failure — that, and the 
sense of death. 

"I suppose I don't care," he answered. 

One must be broad about these things, and Gloria 
being young, being beautiful, must have reasonable 
privileges. Yet it wearied him that he failed to under- 
stand. 

Winter 

She rolled over on her back and lay still for a moment 
in the great bed watching the February sun suffer one 
last attenuated refinement in its passage through the 
leaded panes into the room. For a time she had no 



SYMPOSIUM 219 

accurate sense of her whereabouts or of the events of 
the day before, or the day before that; then, like a sus- 
pended pendulum, memory began to beat out its story, 
releasing with each swing a burdened quota of time until 
her life was given back to her. 

She could hear, now, Anthony's troubled breathing 
beside her; she could smell whiskey and cigarette-smoke. 
She noticed that she lacked complete muscular control; 
when she moved it was not a sinuous motion with the 
resultant strain distributed easily over her body — it 
was a tremendous effort of her nervous system as though 
each time she were hypnotizing herself into performing 
an impossible action. . . . 

She was in the bathroom, brushing her teeth to get 
rid of that intolerable taste; then back by the bedside 
listening to the rattle of Bounds's key in the outer door. 

"Wake up, Anthony !'' she said sharply. 

She climbed into bed beside him and closed her eyes. 

Almost the last thing she remembered was a conver- 
sation with. Mr. and Mrs. Lacy. Mrs. Lacy had said, 
*' Sure you don't want us to get you a taxi ? " and Anthony 
had replied that he guessed they could walk over to 
Fifth all right. Then they had both attempted, impru- 
dently, to bow — and collapsed absurdly into a battalion 
of empty milk-bottles just outside the door. There 
must have been two dozen milk-bottles standing open- 
mouthed in the dark. She could conceive of no plausible 
explanation of those milk-bottles. Perhaps they had 
been attracted by the singing in the Lacy house and 
had hurried over agape with wonder to see the fun. 
Well, they'd had the worst of it — though it seemed 
that she and Anthony never would get up, the perverse 
things rolled so. . . . 

Still, they had found a taxi. "My meter's broken 
and it'll cost you a dollar and a half to get home," said 



220 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

the taxi-driver. "Well/' said Anthony, "I'm young 
Packy McFarland and if you'll come down here I'll 
beat you till you can't stand up." ... At that point 
the man had driven off without them. They must have 
found another taxi, for they were in the apartment. . . . 

"What time is it?" Anthony was sitting up in bed, 
staring at her with owlish precision. 

This was obviously a rhetorical question. Gloria 
could think of no reason why she should be expected to 
know the time. 

"Golly, I feel like the devil!" muttered Anthony dis- 
passionately. Relaxing, he tumbled back upon his pil- 
low. "Bring on your grim reaper !" 

"Anthony, how'd we finally get home last night?" 

"Taxi." 

"Oh!" Then, after a pause: "Did you put me to 
bed?" 

"I don't know. Seems to me you put me to bed. 
What day is it?" 

"Tuesday." 

"Tuesday? I hope so. If it's Wednesday, I've got 
to start work at that idiotic place. Supposed to be 
down at nine or some such ungodly hour." 

"Ask Bounds," suggested Gloria feebly. 

"Bounds!" he caUed. 

Sprightly, sober — a voice from a world that it seemed 
in the past two days they had left forever, Bounds 
sprang in short steps down the hall and appeared in the 
half darkness of the door. 

"What day, Bounds?" 

"February the twenty-second, I think, sir." 

"I mean day of the week." 

"Tuesday, sir." "Thanks." After a pause: "Are you 
ready for breakfast, sir?" 

"Yes, and Bounds, before you get it, will you make a 



SYMPOSIUM 221 

pitcher of water, and set it here beside the bed ? I'm a 
little thirsty." 

^^Yes, sir." 

Bounds retreated in sober dignity down the hallway. 

*^ Lincoln's birthday," affirmed Anthony without en- 
thusiasm, "or St. Valentine's or somebody's. When did 
we start on this insane party?" 

"Sunday night." 

"After prayers?" he suggested sardonically. 

"We raced all over town in those hansoms and Maury 
sat up with his driver, don't you remember? Then we 
came home and he tried to cook some bacon — came out 
of the pantry with a few blackened remains, insisting it 
was ^ fried to the proverbial crisp.'" 

Both of them laughed, spontaneously but with some 
difficulty, and lying there side by side reviewed the chain 
of events that had ended in this rusty and chaotic dawn. 

They had been in New York for almost four months, 
since the country had grown too cool in late October. 
They had given up California this year, partly because of 
lack of funds, partly with the idea of going abroad should 
this interminable war, persisting now into its second year, 
end during the winter. Of late their income had lost 
elasticity; no longer did it stretch to cover gay whims 
and pleasant extravagances, and Anthony had spent 
many puzzled and unsatisfactory hours over a densely 
figured pad, making remarkable budgets that left huge 
margins for "amusements, trips, etc.," and trying to 
apportion, even approximately, their past expenditures. 

He remembered a time when in going on a "party" 
with his two best friends, he and Maury had invariably 
paid more than their share of the expenses. They would 
buy the tickets for the theatre or squabble between 
themselves for the dinner-check. It had seemed fitting; 
Dick, with his naivete and his astonishing fund of in- 



222 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

formation about himself, had been a diverting, ahnost 
juvenile, figure — court jester to their royalty. But this 
was no longer true. It was Dick who always had money; 
it was Anthony who entertained within Hmitations — ^al- 
ways excepting occasional wild, wine-inspired, check- 
cashing parties — and it was Anthony who was solemn 
about it next morning and told the scornful and dis- 
gusted Gloria that they'd have to be "more careful 
next time." 

In the two years since the publication of "The Demon 
Lover," Dick had made over twenty-five thousand dol- 
lars, most of it lately, when the reward of the author of 
fiction had begun to swell unprecedentedly as a result 
of the voracious hunger of the motion-pictures for plots. 
He received seven hundred dollars for every story, at 
that time a large emolument for such a young man — he 
was not quite thirty — and for every one that contained 
enough "action" (kissing, shooting, and sacrificing) for 
the movies, he obtained an additional thousand. His 
stories varied; there was a measure of vitahty and a sort 
of instinctive technic in all of them, but none attained 
the personality of "The Demon Lover," and there 
were several that Anthony considered downright cheap. 
These, Dick explained severely, were to widen his audi- 
ence. Wasn't it true that men who had attained real 
permanence from Shakespeare to Mark Twain had ap- 
pealed to the many as well as to the elect? 

Though Anthony and Maury disagreed, Gloria told 
him to go ahead and make as much money as he could — 
that was the only thing that counted anyhow. . . . 

Maury, a little stouter, faintly mellower, and more 
complaisant, had gone to work in Philadelphia. He came 
to New York once or twice a month and on such occasions 
the four of them travelled the popular routes from dinner 
to the theatre, thence to the Frolic or, perhaps, at the 



SYMPOSIUM 223 

urging of the ever-curious Gloria, to one of the cellars 
of Greenwich Village, notorious through the furious but 
short-lived vogue of the "new poetry movement." 

In January, after many monologues directed at his 
reticent wife, Anthony determined to "get something to 
do,'* for the winter at any rate. He wanted to please 
his grandfather and even, in a measure, to see how he 
liked it himself. He discovered during several tentative 
semi-social calls that employers were not interested in a 
young man who was only going to "try it for a few 
months or so." As the grandson of Adam Patch he was 
received everywhere with marked courtesy, but the old 
man was a back number now — the heyday of his fame as 
first an "oppressor" and then an upHfter of the people 
had been during the twenty years preceding his retire- 
ment. Anthony even found several of the younger 
men who were under the impression that Adam Patch 
had been dead for some years. 

Eventually Anthony went to his grandfather and asked 
his advice, which turned out to be that he should enter 
the bond business as a salesman, a tedious suggestion to 
Anthony, but one that in the end he determined to fol- 
low. Sheer money in deft manipulation had fascinations 
under all circumstances, while almost any side of manu- 
facturiQg would be insufferably dull. He considered 
newspaper work but decided that the hours were not 
ordered for a married man. And he lingered over 
pleasant fancies of himself either as editor of a brilliant 
weekly of opinion, an American Mercure de France, or as 
scintillant producer of satiric comedy and Parisian musi- 
cal revue. However, the approaches to these latter 
guilds seemed to be guarded by professional secrets. 
Men drifted into them by the devious highways of writing 
and acting. It was palpably impossible to get on a 
magazine unless you had been on one before. 



224 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

So in the end he entered, by way of his grandfather^s 
letter, that Sanctum Americanum where sat the presi- 
dent of Wilson, Hiemer and Hardy at his ^'cleared 
desk," and issued therefrom employed. He was to be- 
gin work on the twenty-third of February. 

In tribute to the momentous occasion this two-day 
revel had been planned, since, he said, after he began 
working he'd have to get to bed early during the week. 
Maury Noble had arrived from Philadelphia on a trip 
that had to do with seeing some man in Wall Street 
(whom, incidentally, he failed to see), and Richard 
Caramel had been half persuaded, half tricked into join- 
ing them. They had condescended to a wet and fash- 
ionable wedding on Monday afternoon, and in the 
evening had occurred the denouement: Gloria, going 
beyond her accustomed limit of four precisely timed 
cocktails, led them on as gay and joyous a bacchanal as 
they had ever known, disclosing an astonishing knowl- 
edge of ballet steps, and singing songs which she con- 
fessed had been taught her by her cook when she was 
innocent and seventeen. She repeated these by request 
at intervals throughout the evening with such frank con- 
viviaUty that Anthony, far from being annoyed, was 
gratified at this fresh source of entertainment. The oc- 
casion was memorable in other ways — a long conversa- 
tion between Maury and a defunct crab, which he was 
dragging around on the end of a string, as to whether 
the crab was fully conversant with the applications of 
the binomial theorem, and the aforementioned race in 
two hansom cabs with the sedate and impressive shadows 
of Fifth Avenue for audience, ending in a labyrinthine 
escape into the darkness of Central Park. Finally An- 
thony and Gloria had paid a call on some wild young 
married people — the Lacys — and collapsed in the empty 
milk-bottles. 



SYMPOSIUM 225 

Morning now — theirs to add up the checks cashed 
here and there in clubs, stores, restaurants. Theirs to 
air the dank staleness of wine and cigarettes out of the 
tall blue front room, to pick up the broken glass and 
brush at the stained fabric of chairs and sofas; to give 
Bounds suits and dresses for the cleaners; finally, to 
take their smothery half-feverish bodies and faded de- 
pressed spirits out into the chill air of February, that 
life might go on and Wilson, Hiemer and Hardy obtain 
the services of a vigorous man at nine next morning. 

"Do you remember," called Anthony from the bath- 
room, "when Maury got out at the corner of One Hun- 
dred and Tenth Street and acted as a traffic cop, beck- 
oning cars forward and motioning them back? They 
must have thought he was a private detective." 

After each reminiscence they both laughed inordi- 
nately, their overwrought nerves responding as acutely 
and janglingly to mirth as to depression. 

Gloria at the mirror was wondering at the splendid 
color and freshness of her face — it seemed that she had 
never looked so well, though her stomach hurt her and 
her head was aching furiously. 

The day passed slowly. Anthony, riding in a taxi to 
his broker's to borrow money on a bond, found that he 
had only two dollars in his pocket. The fare would cost 
all of that, but he felt that on this particular afternoon 
he could not have endured the subway. When the 
taximetre reached his limit he must get out and walk. 

With this his mind drifted off into one of its charac- 
teristic day-dreams. ... In this dream he discovered 
that the metre was going too fast — the driver had dis- 
honestly adjusted it. Calmly he reached his destina- 
tion and then nonchalantly handed the man what he 
justly owed him. The man showed fight, but almost 
before his hands were up Anthony had knocked him 



226 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

down with one terrific blow. And when he rose Anthony 
quickly sidestepped and floored him definitely with a 
crack in the temple. 

. . . He was in court now. The judge had fined him 
five dollars and he had no money. Would the court 
take his check? Ah, but the court did not know him. 
Well, he could identify himself by having them call his 
apartment. 

. . . They did so. Yes, it was Mrs. Anthony Patch 
speaking — but how did she know that this man was her 
husband? How could she know? Let the police ser- 
geant ask her if she remembered the milk-bottles . . . 

He leaned forward hurriedly and tapped at the glass. 
The taxi was only at Brooklyn Bridge, but the metre 
showed a dollar and eighty cents, and Anthony would 
never have omitted the ten per cent tip. 

Later in the afternoon he returned to the apartment. 
Gloria had also been out — shopping — and was asleep, 
curled in a corner of the sofa with her purchase loclced 
securely in her arms. Her face was as untroubled as a 
little girl's, and the bundle that she pressed tightly to 
her bosom was a child's doll, a profound and infinitely 
healing balm to her disturbed and childish heart. 

Destiny 

It was with this party, more especially with Gloria's 
part in it, that a decided change began to come over 
their way of living. The magnificent attitude of not 
giving a damn altered overnight; from being a mere 
tenet of Gloria's it became the entire solace and justifica- 
tion for what they chose to do and what consequence it 
brought. Not to be sorry, not to loose one cry of re- 
gret, to live according to a clear code of honor toward 
each other, and to seek the moment's happiness as fer- 
vently and persistently as possible. 



SYMPOSIUM 227 

"No one cares about us but ourselves, Anthony," she 
said one day. "It'd be ridiculous for me to go about 
pretending I felt any obligations toward the world, and 
as for worrying what people think about me, I simply 
donH, that's all. Since I was a httle girl in dancing- 
school IVe been criticised by the mothers of all the Uttle 
girls who weren't as popular as I was, and I've always 
looked on criticism as a sort of envious tribute." 

This was because of a party in the ^'Boul' Mich' " 
one night, where Constance Merriam had seen her as 
one of a highly stimulated party of four. Constance 
Merriam, "as an old school friend," had gone to the 
trouble of inviting her to lunch next day in order to in- 
form her how terrible it was. 

"I told her I couldn't see it," Gloria told Anthony. 
"Eric Merriam is a sort of subKmated Percy Wolcott — 
you remember that man in Hot Springs I told you about 
— his idea of respecting Constance is to leave her at 
home with her sewing and her baby and her book, and 
such innocuous amusements, whenever he's going on a 
party that promises to be anything but deathly dull." 

"Did you tell her that?" 

"I certainly did. And I told her that what she really 
objected to was that I was having a better time than 
she was." 

Anthony applauded her. He was tremendously proud 
of Gloria, proud that she never failed to eclipse whatever 
other women might be in the party, proud that men were 
always glad to revel with her in great rowdy groups, 
without any attempt to do more than enjoy her beauty 
and the warmth of her vitaHty. 

These "parties" gradually became their chief source 
of entertainment. Still in love, still enormously inter- 
ested in each other, they yet found as spring drew near 
that staying at home in the evening palled on them; 



228 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

books were unreal; the old magic of being alone had long 
since vanished — instead they preferred to be bored by 
a stupid musical comedy, or to go to dinner with the 
most uninteresting of their acquaintances, so long as 
there would be enough cocktails to keep the conversa- 
tion from becoming utterly intolerable. A scattering of 
younger married people who had been their friends in 
school or college, as well as a varied assortment of single 
men, began to think instinctively of them whenever 
color and excitement were needed, so there was scarcely 
a day without its phone call, its ^'Wondered what you 
were doing this evening.'' Wives, as a rule, were afraid 
of Gloria — her facile attainment of the centre of the 
stage, her innocent but nevertheless disturbing way of 
becoming a favorite with husbands — these things drove 
them instinctively into an attitude of profound distrust, 
heightened by the fact that Gloria was largely unre- 
sponsive to any intimacy shown her by a woman. 

On the appointed Wednesday in February Anthony 
had gone to the imposing offices of Wilson, Hiemer and 
Hardy and listened to many vague instructions deHvered 
by an energetic young man of about his own age, named 
Kahler, who wore a defiant yellow pompadour, and in 
announcing himself as an assistant secretary gave the 
impression that it was a tribute to exceptional abil- 
ity. 

"There's two kinds of men here, you'll find," he said. 
"There's the man who gets to be an assistant secretary 
or treasurer, gets his name on our folder here, before 
he's thirty, and there's the man who gets his name there 
at forty-five. The man who gets his name there at 
forty-five stays there the rest of his life." 

"How about the man who gets it there at thirty?" 
inquired Anthony politely. 

"Why, he gets up here, you see." He pointed to a 



SYMPOSIUM 229 

list of assistant vice-presidents upon the folder. "Or 
maybe he gets to be president or secretary or treasurer." 

"And what about these over here?" 

"Those? Oh, those are the trustees — the men with 
capital." 

"I see." 

"Now some people," continued Kahler, "think that 
whether a man gets started early or late depends on 
whether he's got a college education. But they're 
wrong." 

"I see." 

"I had one; I was Buckleigh, class of nine teen-eleven, 
but when I came down to the Street I soon found that 
the things that would help me here weren't the fancy 
things I learned in college. In fact, I had to get a lot 
of fancy stuff out of my head." 

Anthony could not help wondering what possible 
"fancy stuff" he had learned at Buckleigh in nine teen- 
eleven. An irrepressible idea that it was some sort of 
needlework recurred to him throughout the rest of the 
conversation. 

"See that fellow over there?" Kahler pointed to a 
youngish-looking man with handsome gray hair, sitting 
at a desk inside a mahogany raiHng. "That's Mr. 
Ellinger, the first vice-president. Been everywhere, 
seen everything; got a fine education." 

In vain did Anthony try to open his mind to the ro- 
mance of finance; he could think of Mr. Ellinger only 
as one of the buyers of the handsome leather sets of 
Thackeray, Balzac, Hugo, and Gibbon that Hned the 
walls of the big bookstores. 

Through the damp and uninspiring month of March 
he was prepared for salesmanship. Lacking enthusiasm 
he was capable of viewing the turmoil and bustle that 
surrounded him only as a fruitless circumambient striv- 



230 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

ing toward an incomprehensible goal, tangibly evidenced 
only by the rival mansions of Mr. Frick and Mr. Car- 
negie on Fifth Avenue. That these portentous vice- 
presidents and trustees should be actually the fathers of 
the "best men'* he had known at Harvard seemed to 
him incongruous. 

He ate in an employees' lunch-room up-stairs with an 
uneasy suspicion that he was being upUfted, wondering 
through that first week if the dozens of young clerks, 
some of them alert and immaculate, and just out of 
college, lived in flamboyant hope of crowding onto that 
narrow slip of cardboard before the catastrophic thirties. 
The conversation that interwove with the pattern of the 
day's work was all much of a piece. One discussed how 
Mr. Wilson had made his money, what method Mr. 
Hiemer had employed, and the means resorted to by 
Mr. Hardy. One related age-old but eternally breath- 
less anecdotes of the fortunes stumbled on precipitously 
in the Street by a "butcher" or a "bartender," or "a 
darn messenger boy, by golly ! " and then one talked of 
the current gambles, and whether it was best to go out 
for a hundred thousand a year or be content with twenty. 
During the preceding year one of the assistant secre- 
taries had invested all his savings in Bethlehem Steel. 
The story of his spectacular magnificence, of his haughty 
resignation in January, and of the triumphal palace he 
was now building in California, was the favorite ofiice 
subject. The man's very name had acquired a magic 
significance, symbolizing as he did the aspirations of all 
good Americans. Anecdotes were told about him — 
how one of the vice-presidents had advised him to sell, 
by golly, but he had hung on, even bought on margin, 
"and now look where he is!" 

Such, obviously, was the stuff of life — a dizzy triumph 
dazzling the eyes of all of them, a gypsy siren to content 



SYMPOSIUM 231 

them with meagre wage and with the arithmetical im- 
probability of their eventual success. 

To Anthony the notion became appalling. He felt 
that to succeed here the idea of success must grasp and 
limit his mind. It seemed to him that the essential 
element in these men at the top was their faith that 
their affairs were the very core of life. All other things 
being equal, self-assurance and opportunism won out over 
technical knowledge; it was obvious that the more ex- 
pert work went on near the bottom — so, with appro- 
priate efficiency, the technical experts were kept there. 

His determination to stay in at night during the week 
did not survive, and a good half of the time he came to 
work with a spHtting, sickish headache and the crowded 
horror of the morning subway ringing in his ears like 
an echo of hell. 

Then, abruptly, he quit. He had remained in bed 
all one Monday, and late in the evening, overcome by 
one of those attacks of moody despair to which he peri- 
odically succumbed, he wrote and mailed a letter to Mr. 
Wilson, confessing that he considered himself ill adapted 
to the work. Gloria, coming in from the theatre with 
Richard Caramel, found him on the lounge, silently 
staring at the high ceiling, more depressed and discour- 
aged than he had been at any time since their marriage. 

She wanted him to whine. If he had she would have 
reproached him bitterly, for she was not a little an- 
noyed, but he only lay there so utterly miserable that 
she felt sorry for him, and kneeling down she stroked 
his head, saying how little it mattered, how little any- 
thing mattered so long as they loved each other. It was 
like their first year, and Anthony, reacting to her cool 
hand, to her voice that was soft as breath itself upon 
his ear, became almost cheerful, and talked with her of 
his future plans. He even regretted, silently, before he 



232 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

went to bed that he had so hastily mailed his resig- 
nation. 

"Even when everything seems rotten you can't trust 
that judgment," Gloria had said. "It's the simi of all 
your judgments that counts." 

In mid-April came a letter from the real-estate agent 
in Marietta, encouraging them to take the gray house 
for another year at a slightly increased rental, and en- 
closing a lease made out for their signatures. For a 
week lease and letter lay carelessly neglected on An- 
thony's desk. They had no intention of returning to 
Marietta. They were weary of the place, and had been 
bored most of the preceding smnmer. Besides, their 
car had deteriorated to a rattling mass of hypochondri- 
acal metal, and a new one was financially inadvisable. 

But because of another wild revel, enduring through 
four days and participated in, at one time or another, 
by more than a dozen people, they did sign the lease; 
to their utter horror they signed it and sent it, and im- 
mediately it seemed as though they heard the gray 
house, drably malevolent at last, licking its white chops 
and waiting to devour them. 

"Anthony, where's that lease?" she called in high 
alarm one Sunday morning, sick and sober to reality. 
"Where did you leave it? It was here!" 

Then she knew where it was. She remembered the 
house-party they had planned on the crest of their ex- 
uberance; she remembered a room full of men to whose 
less exhilarated moments she and Anthony were of no 
importance, and Anthony's boast of the transcendent 
merit and seclusion of the gray house, that it was so 
isolated that it didn't matter how much noise went on 
there. Then Dick, who had visited them, cried enthu- 
siastically that it was the best little house imaginable, 
and that they were idiotic not to take it for another 



SYMPOSIUM 233 

summer. It had been easy to work themselves up to a 
sense of how hot and deserted the city was getting, of 
how cool and ambrosial were the charms of Marietta. 
Anthony had picked up the lease and waved it wildly, 
found Gloria happily acquiescent, and with one last burst 
of garrulous decision during which all the men agreed 
with solemn handshakes that they would come out for a 
visit . . . 

"Anthony,'' she cried, "we've signed and sent it!" 

"What?" 

"The lease!" 

"What the devil!" 

"Oh, ^wthony!" There was utter misery in her 
voice. For the summer, for eternity, they had built 
themselves a prison. It seemed to strike at the last 
roots of their stability. Anthony thought they might 
arrange it with the real-estate agent. They could no 
longer afford the double rent, and going to Marietta 
meant giving up his apartment, his reproachless apart- 
ment with the exquisite bath and the rooms for which 
he had bought his furniture and hangings — it was the 
closest to a home that he had ever had — familiar with 
memories of four colorful years. 

But it was not arranged with the real-estate agent, 
nor was it arranged at all. Dispiritedly, without even 
any talk of making the best of it, without even Gloria's 
all-sufhcing "I don't care," they went back to the house 
that they now knew heeded neither youth nor love — ■ 
only those austere and incommunicable memories that 
they could never share. 

The Sinister Summer 

There was a horror in the house that summer. It 
came with them and settled itself over the place like a 
sombre pall, pervasive through the lower rooms, grad- 



234 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

ually spreading and climbing up the narrow stairs until 
it oppressed their very sleep. Anthony and Gloria grew 
to hate being there alone. Her bedroom, which had 
seemed so pink and young and delicate, appropriate to 
her pastel-shaded lingerie tossed here and there on chair 
and bed, seemed now to whisper with its rustling cur- 
tains : 

''Ah, my beautiful young lady, yours is not the first 
daintiness and delicacy that has faded here under the 
summer suns . . . generations of unloved women have 
adorned themselves by that glass for rustic lovers who 
paid no heed. . . . Youth has come into this room in 
palest blue and left it in the gray cerements of despair, 
and through long nights many girls have lain awake 
where that bed stands pouring out waves of misery into 
the darkness." 

Gloria finally tumbled all her clothes and unguents in- 
gloriously out of it, declaring that she had come to live 
with Anthony, and making the excuse that one of her 
screens was rotten and admitted bugs. So her room was 
abandoned to insensitive guests, and they dressed and 
slept in her husband's chamber, which Gloria considered 
somehow "good," as though Anthony's presence there 
had acted as exterminator of any uneasy shadows of the 
past that might have hovered about its walls. 

The distinction between "good" and "bad," ordered 
early and summarily out of both their lives, had been 
reinstated in another form. Gloria insisted that any 
one invited to the gray house must be "good," which, 
in the case of a girl, meant that she must be either sim- 
ple and reproachless or, if otherwise, must possess a 
certain solidity and strength. Always intensely scepti- 
cal of her sex, her judgments were now concerned with 
the question of whether women were or were not clean. 
By uncleanliness she meant a variety of things, a lack of 



SYMPOSIUM 235 

pride, a slackness in fibre and, most of all, the unmis- 
takable aura of promiscuity. 

"Women soil easily,'' she said, "far more easily than 
men. Unless a girl's very young and brave it's almost 
impossible for her to go down-hill without a certain hys- 
terical animality, the cunning, dirty sort of animality. 
A man's different — and I suppose that's why one of the 
commonest characters of romance is a man going gal- 
lantly to the devil." 

She was disposed to like many men, preferably those 
who gave her frank homage and unfailing entertainment 
— but often with a flash of insight she told Anthony that 
some one of his friends was merely using him, and con- 
sequently had best be left alone. Anthony customarily 
demurred, insisting that the accused was a "good one," 
but he found that his judgment was more fallible than 
hers, memorably when, as it happened on several occa- 
sions, he was left with a succession of restaurant checks 
for which to render a solitary account. 

More from their fear of solitude than from any desire 
to go through the fuss and bother of entertaining, they 
filled the house with guests every week-end, and often 
on through the week. The week-end parties were much 
the same. When the three or four men invited had ar- 
rived, drinking was more or less in order, followed by a 
hilarious dinner and a ride to the Cradle Beach Country 
Club, which they had joined because it was inexpensive, 
lively if not fashionable, and almost a necessity for just 
such occasions as these. Moreover, it was of no great 
moment what one did there, and so long as the Patch 
party were reasonably inaudible, it mattered little 
whether or not the social dictators of Cradle Beach saw 
the gay Gloria imbibing cocktails in the supper-room at 
frequent intervals during the evening. 

Saturday ended, generally, in a glamourous confusion 



236 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

t — it proving often necessary to assist a muddled guest to 
bed. Sunday brought the New York papers and a quiet 
morning of recuperating on the porch — and Sunday after- 
noon meant good-by to the one or two guests who must 
return to the city, and a great revival of drinking among 
the one or two who remained until next day, concluding 
in a convivial if not hilarious evening. 

The faithful Tana, pedagogue by nature and man of 
all work by profession, had returned with them. Among 
their more frequent guests a tradition had sprung up 
about him. Maury Noble remarked one afternoon that 
his real name was Tannenbaum, and that he was a Ger- 
man agent kept in this country to disseminate Teutonic 
propaganda through Westchester County, and, after 
that, mysterious letters began to arrive from Philadelphia 
addressed to the bewildered Oriental as *'Lt. Emile 
Tannenbaimi," containing a few cryptic m^essages signed 
*' General Staff," and adorned with an atmospheric 
double column of facetious Japanese. Anthony always 
handed them to Tana without a smile; hours afterward 
the recipient could be found puzzling over them in the 
kitchen and declaring earnestly that the perpendicular 
symbols were not Japanese, nor anything resembling 
Japanese. 

Gloria had taken a strong dislike to the man ever 
since the day when, returning unexpectedly from the 
village, she had discovered him reclining on Anthony's 
bed, puzzling out a newspaper. It was the instinct of 
all servants to be fond of Anthony and to detest Gloria, 
and Tana was no exception to the rule. But he was 
thoroughly afraid of her and made plain his aversion 
only in his moodier moments by subtly addressing An- 
thony with remarks intended for her ear: 

*'What Miz Pats want dinner?" he would say, look- 
ing at his master. Or else he would comment about the 
bitter selfishness of "'Merican peoples" in such manner 



SYMPOSIUM 237 

that there was no doubt who were the "peoples" re- 
ferred to. 

But they dared not dismiss him. Such a step would 
have been abhorrent to their inertia. They endured 
Tana as they endured ill weather and sickness of the 
body and the estimable Will of God — as they endured 
all things, even themselves. 

In Darkness 

One sultry afternoon late in July Richard Caramel 
telephoned from New York that he and Maury were 
coming out, bringing a friend with them. They arrived 
about five, a Httle drunk, accompanied by a small, stocky 
man of thirty-five, whom they introduced as Mr. Joe 
Hull, one of the best fellows that Anthony and Gloria 
had ever met. 

Joe Hull had a yellow beard continually fighting 
through his skin and a low voice which varied between 
basso profundo and a husky whisper. Anthony, carry- 
ing Maury's suitcase up-stairs, followed into the room 
and carefully closed the door. 

"Who is this fellow?" he demanded. 

Maury chuckled enthusiastically. 

"Who, Hull? Oh, he's all right. He's a good one." 

"Yes, but who is he?" 

"Hull? He's just a good fellow. He's a prince." 
His laughter redoubled, culminating in a succession of 
pleasant catlike grins. Anthony hesitated between a 
smile and a frown. 

"He looks sort of funny to me. Weird-looking 
clothes" — he paused — "I've got a sneaking suspicion 
you two picked him up somewhere last night." 

"Ridiculous," declared Maury. "Why, I've known 
him all my life." However, as he capped this statement 
with another series of chuckles, Anthony was impelled 
to remark: "The devil you have!" 



238 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Later, just before dinner, while Maury and Dick were 
conversing uproariously, with Joe Hull listening in 
silence as he sipped his drink, Gloria drew Anthony into 
the dining-room: 

"I don't like this man Hull," she said. "I wish he'd 
use Tana's bathtub." 

**I can't very well ask him to." 

"Well, I don't want him in ours." 

"He seems to be a simple soul." 

"He's got on white shoes that look like gloves. I 
can see his toes right through them. Uh ! Who is he, 
anyway?" 

"You've got me." 

"Well, I think they've got their nerve to bring him 
out here. This isn't a Sailor's Rescue Home !" 

"They were tight when they phoned. Maury said 
they've been on a party since yesterday afternoon." 

Gloria shook her head angrily, and saying no more 
returned to the porch. Anthony saw that she was try- 
ing to forget her uncertainty and devote herself to en- 
joying the evening. 

It had been a tropical day, and even into late twilight 
the heat-waves emanating from the dry road were quiver- 
ing faintly like undulating panes of isinglass. The sky 
was cloudless, but far beyond the woods in the direction 
of the Sound a faint and persistent rolling had com- 
menced. When Tana announced dinner the men, at a 
word from Gloria, remained coatless and went inside. 

Maury began a song, which they accomplished in har- 
mony during the first course. It had two lines and was 
sung to a popular air called Daisy Dear. The lines 
were: 

**The — ^pan-ic — ^has — come — over us, 
So ha-a-as — the moral decline /" 

Each rendition was greeted with bursts of enthusiasm 
and prolonged applause. 



SYMPOSIUM 239 

"Cheer up, Gloria!" suggested Maury. "You seem 
the least bit depressed.'' 

"I'm not," she lied. 

"Here, Tannenbaum!" he called over his shoulder. 
"I've filled you a drink. Come on !" 

Gloria tried to stay his arm. 

"Please don't, Maury!" 

"Why not? Maybe he'll play the flute for us after 
dinner. Here, Tana." 

Tana, grinning, bore the glass away to the kitchen. 
In a few moments Maury gave him another. 

"Cheer up, Gloria!" he cried. "For Heaven's sakes 
everybody, cheer up Gloria." 

"Dearest, have another drink," counselled Anthony. 

"Do, please!" 

"Cheer up, Gloria," said Joe Hull easily. 

Gloria winced at this uncalled-for use of her first name, 
and glanced around to see if any one else had noticed it. 
The word coming so glibly from the lips of a man to 
whom she had taken an inordinate dislike repelled her. 
A moment later she noticed that Joe Hull had given 
Tana another drink, and her anger increased, heightened 
somewhat from the effects of the alcohol. 

" — and once," Maury was saying, "Peter Granby and 
I went into a Turkish bath in Boston, about two o'clock 
at night. There was no one there but the proprietor, 
and we jammed him into a closet and locked the door. 
Then a fella came in and wanted a Turkish bath. 
Thought we were the rubbers, by golly ! Well, we just 
picked him up and tossed him into the pool with all his 
clothes on. Then we dragged him out and laid him on 
a slab and slapped him until he was black and blue. 
'Not so rough, fellows!' he'd say in a little squeaky 
voice, 'please! . . .'" 

— Was this Maury? thought Gloria. From any one 
else the story would have amused her, but from Maury, 



240 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

the infinitely appreciative, the apotheosis of tact and 
consideration . . . 

"The — pan-ic — has — come — over us, 
So ha-a-as " 

A drum of thunder from outside drowned out the rest 
of the song; Gloria shivered and tried to empty her 
glass, but the first taste nauseated her, and she set it 
down. Dinner was over and they all marched into the 
big room, bearing several bottles and decanters. Some 
one had closed the porch door to keep out the wind, and 
in consequence circular tentacles of cigar-smoke were 
twisting already upon the heavy air. 

"Paging Lieutenant Tannenbamn!" Again it was 
the changeling Maury. "Bring us the flute !" 

Anthony and Maury rushed into the kitchen; Richard 
Caramel started the phonograph and approached Gloria. 

"Dance with your well-known cousin." 

"I don^t want to dance." 

"Then I'm going to carry you around." 

As though he were doing something of overpowering 
importance, he picked her up in his fat little arms and 
started trotting gravely about the room. 

"Set me down, Dick! I'm dizzy!" she insisted. 

He dumped her in a bouncing bundle on the couch, 
and rushed off to the kitchen, shouting "Tana ! Tana !" 

Then, without warning, she felt other arms around 
her, felt herself lifted from the lounge. Joe Hull had 
picked her up and was trying, drunkenly, to imitate 
Dick. 

"Put me down!" she said sharply. 

His maudlin laugh, and the sight of that prickly yel- 
low jaw close to her face, stirred her to intolerable disgust. 

"At once!" 

"The — ^pan-ic — " he began, but got no further, for 



SYMPOSIUM 241 

Gloria's hand swung around swiftly and caught him in 
the cheek. At this he all at once let go of her, and she 
fell to the floor, her shoulder hitting the table a glancing 
blow in transit. . . . 

Then the room seemed full of men and smoke. There 
was Tana in his white coat reeling about supported by 
Maury. Into his flute he was blowing a weird blend of 
sound that was known, cried Anthony, as the Japanese 
train-song. Joe Hull had found a box of candles and 
was juggling them, yelling "One down!" every time 
he missed, and Dick was dancing by himself in a fas- 
cinated whirl around and about the room. It appeared 
to her that everything in the room was staggering in 
grotesque fourth-dimensional gyrations through inter- 
secting planes of hazy blue. 

Outside, the storm had come up amazingly — the lulls 
within were fiUed with the scrape of the tall bushes 
against the house and the roaring of the rain on the tin 
roof of the kitchen. The lightning was interminable, 
letting down thick drips of thunder like pig iron from 
the heart of a white-hot furnace. Gloria could see that 
the rain was spitting in at three of the windows — ^but 
she could not move to shut them. . . . 

. . . She was in the hall. She had said good night 
but no one had heard or heeded her. It seemed for an 
instant as though something had looked down over the 
head of the banister, but she could not have gone back 
into the living-room — ^better madness than the madness 
of that clamor. . . . Up-stairs she fumbled for the elec- 
tric switch and missed it in the darkness; a roomful of 
lightning showed her the button plainly on the wall. 
But when the impenetrable black shut down, it again 
eluded her fumbling fingers, so she slipped off her dress 
and petticoat and threw herself weakly on the dry side 
of the half-drenched bed. 



242 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

She shut her eyes. From down-stairs arose the babel 
of the drinkers, punctured suddenly by a tinkling shiver 
of broken glass, and then another, and by a soaring 
fragment of unsteady, irregular song. . . . 

She lay there for something over two hours — so she 
calculated afterward, sheerly by piecing together the 
bits of time. She was conscious, even aware, after a 
long while that the noise down-stairs had lessened, and 
that the storm was moving off westward, throwing back 
lingering showers of sound that fell, heavy and lifeless 
as her soul, into the soggy fields. This was succeeded 
by a slow, reluctant scattering of the rain and wind, 
until there was nothing outside her windows but a gentle 
dripping and the swishing play of a cluster of wet vine 
against the sill. She was in a state half-way between 
sleeping and waking, with neither condition predominant 
. . . and she was harassed by a desire to rid herself of 
a weight pressing down upon her breast. She felt that 
if she could cry the weight would be lifted, and forcing 
the lids of her eyes together she tried to raise a lump in 
her throat ... to no avail. . . . 

Drip 1 Drip ! Drip ! The sound was not unpleasant 
— ^like spring, like a cool rain of her childhood, that made 
cheerful mud in her back yard and watered the tiny 
garden she had dug with miniature rake and spade and 
hoe. Drip — dri-ip! It was like days when the rain 
came out of yellow skies that melted just before twilight 
and shot one radiant shaft of sunlight diagonally down 
the heavens into the damp green trees. So cool, so clear 
and clean — and her mother there at the centre of the 
world, at the centre of the rain, safe and dry and strong. 
She wanted her mother now, and her mother was dead, 
beyond sight and touch forever. And this weight was 
pressing on her, pressing on her — oh, it pressed on her so ! 

She became rigid. Some one had come to the door 



SYMPOSIUM 243 

and was standing regarding her, very quiet except for 
a slight swaying motion. She could see the outline of 
his figure distinct against some indistinguishable light. 
There was no sound anywhere, only a great persuasive 
silence — even the dripping had ceased . . . only this 
figure, swaying, swaying in the doorway, an indiscerni- 
ble and subtly menacing terror, a personality filthy un- 
der its varnish, like smallpox spots under a layer of 
powder. Yet her tired heart, beating until it shook her 
breasts, made her sure that there was still Hfe in her, 
desperately shaken, threatened. . . . 

The minute or succession of minutes prolonged itself 
interminably, and a swimming blur began to form be- 
fore her eyes, which tried with childish persistence to 
pierce the gloom in the direction of the door. In another 
instant it seemed that some unimaginable force would 
shatter her out of existence . . . and then the figure in 
the doorway — ^it was Hull, she saw, Hull — turned de- 
liberately and, still slightly swaying, moved back and 
off, as if absorbed into that incomprehensible light that 
had given him dimension. 

Blood rushed back into her limbs, blood and Hfe to- 
gether. With a start of energy she sat upright, shifting 
her body until her feet touched the floor over the side 
of the bed. She knew what she must do — ^now, now, 
before it was too late. She must go out into this cool 
damp, out, away, to feel the wet swish of the grass 
around her feet and the fresh moisture on her forehead. 
Mechanically she struggled into her clothes, groping in 
the dark of the closet for a hat. She must go from this 
house where the thing hovered that pressed upon her 
bosom, or else made itself into stray, swaying figures in 
the gloom. 

In a panic she fumbled clumsily at her coat, found 
the sleeve just as she heard Anthony's footsteps on the 



244 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

lower stair. She dared not wait; he might not let her 
go, and even Anthony was part of this weight, part of 
this evil house and the sombre darkness that was grow- 
ing up about it. . . . 

Through the hall then . . . and down the back stairs, 
hearing Anthony's voice in the bedroom she had just 
left 

"Gloria! Gloria!'' 

But she had reached the kitchen now, passed out 
through the doorway into the night. A hundred drops, 
startled by a flare of wind from a dripping tree, scat- 
tered on her and she pressed them gladly to her face with 
hot hands. 

*^ Gloria! Gloria!" 

The voice was infinitely remote, muffled and made 
plaintive by the walls she had just left. She rounded 
the house and started down the front path toward the 
road, almost exultant as she turned into it, and followed 
the carpet of short grass alongside, moving with caution 
in the intense darkness. 

"Gloria!" 

She broke into a run, stumbled over the segment of 
a branch twisted off by the wind. The voice was out- 
side the house now. Anthony, finding the bedroom de- 
serted, had come onto the porch. But this thing was 
driving her forward; it was back there with Anthony, 
and she must go on in her flight under this dim and op- 
pressive heaven, forcing herself through the silence ahead 
as though it were a tangible barrier before her. 

She had gone some distance along the barely discerni- 
ble road, probably haK a mile, passed a single deserted 
bam that loomed up, black and foreboding, the only 
building of any sort between the gray house and Mari- 
etta; then she turned the fork, where the road entered 
the wood and ran between two hi^fh walls of leaves and 



SYMPOSIUM 245 

branches that nearly touched overhead. She noticed 
suddenly a thin, longitudinal gleam of silver upon the 
road before her, like a bright sword half embedded in 
the mud. As she came closer she gave a little cry of 
satisfaction — ^it was a wagon-rut full of water, and 
glancing heavenward she saw a light rift of sky and 
knew that the moon was out. 

" Gloria !'' 

She started violently. Anthony was not two hundred 
feet behind her. 

"Gloria, wait for me!" 

She shut her lips tightly to keep from screaming, and 
increased her gait. Before she had gone another hun- 
dred yards the woods disappeared, rolling back like a 
dark stocking from the leg of the road. Three minutes' 
walk ahead of her, suspended in the now high and limit- 
less air, she saw a thin interlacing of attenuated gleams 
and glitters, centred in a regular undulation on some one 
invisible point. Abruptly she knew where she would go. 
That was the great cascade of wires that rose high over 
the river, like the legs of a gigantic spider whose eye was 
the Httle green light in the switch-house, and ran with 
the railroad-bridge in the direction of the station. The 
station ! There would be the train to take her away. 

"Gloria, it's me! It's Anthony! Gloria, I won't try 
to stop you! For God's sake, where are you?" 

She made no answer but began to run, keeping on 
the high side of the road and leaping the gleaming pud- 
dles — dimensionless pools of thin, unsubstantial gold. 
Turning sharply to the left, she followed a narrow 
wagon-road, serving to avoid a dark body on the ground. 
She looked up as an owl hooted mournfully from a soli- 
tary tree. Just ahead of her she could see the trestle 
that led to the railroad-bridge and the steps mounting 
up to it. The station lay across the river. 



246 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Another sound startled her, the melancholy shren of 
an approaching train, and almost simultaneously, a re- 
peated call, thin now and far away. 

"Gloria! Gloria!" 

Anthony must have followed the main road. She 
laughed with a sort of malicious cunning at having 
eluded him; she could spare the time to wait until the 
train went by. 

The siren soared again, closer at hand, and then, with 
no anticipatory roar and clamor, a dark and sinuous 
body curved into view against the shadows far down 
the high-banked track, and with no sound but the rush 
of the cleft wind and the clocklike tick of the rails, 
moved toward the bridge — ^it was an electric train. 
Above the engine two vivid blurs of blue light formed 
incessantly a radiant crackling bar between them, which, 
like a spluttering flame in a lamp beside a corpse, lit 
for an instant the successive rows of trees and caused 
Gloria to draw back instinctively to the far side of 
the road. The light was tepid — the temperature of 
warm blood. . . . The clicking blended suddenly with 
itself in a rush of even sound, and then, elongating in 
sombre elasticity, the thing roared blindly by her and 
thundered onto the bridge, racing the lurid shaft of fire 
it cast into the solemn river alongside. Then it con- 
tracted swiftly, sucking in its soimd until it left only a 
reverberant echo, which died upon the farther bank. 

Silence crept down again over the wet country; the 
faint dripping resumed, and suddenly a great shower 
of drops tiunbled upon Gloria, stirring her out of the 
trance-like torpor which the passage of the train had 
wrought. She ran swiftly down a descending level to 
the bank and began climbing the iron stairway to the 
bridge, remembering that it was something she had 
always wanted to do, and that she would have the added 



SYMPOSIUM 247 

excitement of traversing the yard-wide plank that ran 
beside the tracks over the river. 

There! This was better. She was at the top now 
and could see the lands about her as successive sweeps 
of open country, cold under the moon, coarsely patched 
and seamed with thin rows and heavy clumps of trees. 
To her right, half a mile down the river, which trailed 
away behind the light like the shiny, slimy path of a 
snail, winked the scattered lights of Marietta. Not two 
hundred yards away at the end of the bridge squatted 
the station, marked by a sullen lantern. The oppres- 
sion was Hfted now — the tree-tops below her were rock- 
ing the young starlight to a haunted doze. She stretched 
out her arms with a gesture of freedom. This was what 
she had wanted, to stand alone where it was high and 
cool. 

"Gloria!" 

Like a startled child she scurried along the plank, 
hopping, skipping, jumping, with an ecstatic sense of 
her own physical lightness. Let him come now — she 
no longer feared that, only she must first reach the sta- 
tion, because that was part of the game. She was 
happy. Her hat, snatched off, was clutched tightly in 
her hand, and her short curled hair bobbed up and down 
about her ears. She had thought she would never feel 
so young again, but this was her night, her world. Tri- 
umphantly she laughed as she left the plank, and reach- 
ing the wooden platform flung herself down happily be- 
side an iron roof-post. 

"Here I am 1" she called, gay as the dawn in her ela- 
tion. "Here I am, Anthony, dear — old, worried An- 
thony." 

" Gloria ! " He reached the platform, ran toward her. 
"Are you all right? " Coming up he knelt and took her 
in his arms. 



248 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

''What was the matter? Why did you leave?" he 
queried anxiously. 

^'I had to — there was something" — she paused and a 
flicker of uneasiness lashed at her mind — "there was 
something sitting on me — here." She put her hand on 
her breast. "I had to go out and get away from it." 

''What do you mean by 'something* ?" 

"I don't know— that man Hull " 

"Did he bother you?" 

"He came to my door, drunk. I think I'd gotten 
sort of crazy by that time." 

"Gloria, dearest " 

Wearily she laid her head upon his shoulder. 

"Let's go back," he suggested. 

She shivered. 

"Uh! No, I couldn't. It'd come and sit on me 
again." Her voice rose to a cry that hung plaintive on 
the darkness. "That thing " 

"There — there," he soothed her, pulling her close to 
hdm. "We won't do anything you don't want to do. 
What do you want to do? Just sit here?" 

"I want — I want to go away." 

"Where?" 

' ' Oh — anywhere. ' ' 

"By golly, Gloria," he cried, "you're still tight!" 

"No, I'm not. I haven't been, all evening. I went 
up-stairs about, oh, I don't know, about half an hour 
after dinner . . . Ouch!" 

He had inadvertently touched her right shoulder. 

"It hurts me. I hurt it some way. I don't know — ■ 
somebody picked me up and dropped me." 

"Gloria, come home. It's late and damp." 

"I can't," she wailed. "Oh, Anthony, don't ask me 
to ! I will to-morrow. You go home and I'll wait here 
for a train. I'll go to a hotel " 



SYMPOSIUM 249 

"I'll go with you." 

"No, I don't want you with me. I want to be alone. 
I want to sleep — oh, I want to sleep. And then to- 
morrow, when you've got all the smell of whiskey and 
cigarettes out of the house, and everything straight, and 
Hull is gone, then I'll come home. If I went now, that 
thing — oh — !" She covered her eyes with her hand; 
Anthony saw the futility of trying to persuade her. 

"I was all sober when you left," he said. "Dick was 
asleep on the lounge and Maury and I were having a dis- 
cussion. That fellow HuU had wandered off some- 
where. Then I began to realize I hadn't seen you for 
several hours, so I went up-stairs " 

He broke off as a salutatory "Hello, there!" boomed 
suddenly out of the darkness. Gloria sprang to her 
feet and he did likewise. 

"It's Maury's voice," she cried excitedly. "If it's 
Hull with him, keep them away, keep them away!" 

"Who's there?" Anthony caUed. 

"Just Dick and Maury," returned two voices re- 
assuringly. 

"Where's HuU?" 

"He's in bed. Passed out." 

Their figures appeared dimly on the platform. 

"What the devil are you and Gloria doing here?" 
inquired Richard Caramel with sleepy bewilderment. 

"What are you two doing here?" 

Maury laughed. 

"Damned if I know. We followed you, and had the 
deuce of a time doing it. I heard you out on the porch 
yelling for Gloria, so I woke up the Caramel here and 
got it through his head, with some difficulty, that if 
there was a search-party we'd better be on it. He 
slowed me up by sitting down in the road at intervals 
and asking me what it was all about. We tracked you 
by the pleasant scent of Canadian Club." 



250 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

There was a rattle of nervous laughter under the low 
train-shed. 

"How did you track us, really?" 

"Well, we followed along down the road and then we 
suddenly lost you. Seems you turned off at a wagon- 
trail. After a while somebody hailed us and asked us 
if we were looking for a young girl. Well, we came up 
and found it was a little shivering old man, sitting on a 
fallen tree like somebody in a fairy-tale. 'She turned 
down here,' he said, 'and most steppud on me, goin' 
somewhere in an awful hustle, and then a fella in short 
golfin' pants come runnin' along and went after her. 
He throwed me this.' The old fellow had a dollar bill 
he was waving around " 

"Oh, the poor old man!" ejaculated Gloria, moved. 

"I threw him another and we went on, though he 
asked us to stay and tell him what it was all about." 

"Poor old man," repeated Gloria dismally. 

Dick sat down sleepily on a box. 

"And now what?" he inquired in the tone of stoic 
resignation. 

"Gloria's upset," explained Anthony. "She and I 
are going to the city by the next train." 

Maury in the darkness had pulled a time-table from 
his pocket. 

"Strike a match." 

A tiny flare leaped out of the opaque background illu- 
minating the four faces, grotesque and unfamiliar here in 
the open night. 

"Let's see. Two, two- thirty — no, that's evening. 
By gad, you won't get a train till five- thirty." 

Anthony hesitated. 

"Well," he muttered uncertainly, "we've decided to 
stay here and wait for it. You two might as well go 
back and sleep." 

"You go, too, Anthony," urged Gloria; "I want you 



SYMPOSIUM 251 

to have some sleep, dear. YouVe been pale as a ghost 
all day." 

"Why, you little idiot ! " 

Dick yawned. 

"Very well. You stay, we stay." 

He walked out from under the shed and surveyed the 
heavens. 

''Rather a nice night, after all. Stars are out and 
everything. Exceptionally tasty assortment of them." 

"Let's see." Gloria moved after him and the other 
two followed her. "Let's sit out here," she suggested. 
"I like it much better." 

Anthony and Dick converted a long box into a back- 
rest and found a board dry enough for Gloria to sit on. 
Anthony dropped down beside her and with some effort 
Dick hoisted himself onto an apple-barrel near them. 

"Tana went to sleep in the porch hammock," he re- 
marked. "We carried him in and left him next to the 
kitchen-stove to dry. He was drenched to the skin." 

"That awful little man!" sighed Gloria. 

" How do you do ! " The voice, sonorous and funereal, 
had come from above, and they looked up startled to 
find that in some manner Maury had climbed to the 
roof of the shed, where he sat dangling his feet over 
the edge, outlined as a shadowy and fantastic gargoyle 
against the now brilliant sky. 

"It must be for such occasions as this," he began 
softly, his words having the effect of floating down 
from an immense height and settling softly upon his 
auditors, "that the righteous of the land decorate the 
railroads with bill-boards asserting in red and yellow 
that 'Jesus Christ is God,' placing them, appropriately 
enough, next to announcements that ' Gunter's Whiskey 
is Good.'" 

There was gentle laughter and the three below kept 
their heads tilted upward. 



252 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

"I think I shall tell you the story of my education," 
continued Maury, "under these sardonic constellations." 

"Do! Please!" 

"Shalll, reaUy?" 

They waited expectantly while he directed a rumina- 
tive yawn toward the white smiling moon. 

"Well," he began, "as an infant I prayed. I stored 
up prayers against future wickedness. One year I stored 
up nineteen himdred ^Now I lay me's.' " 

"Throw down a cigarette," murmured some one. 

A small package reached the platform simultaneously 
with the stentorian command: 

"Silence! I am about to unburden myself of many 
memorable remarks reserved for the darkness of such 
earths and the brilliance of such skies." 

Below, a lighted match was passed from cigarette to 
cigarette. The voice resumed: 

"I was adept at fooling the deity. I prayed im- 
mediately after all crimes until eventually prayer and 
crime became indistinguishable to me. I believed that 
because a man cried out *My God!' when a safe fell 
on him, it proved that belief was rooted deep in the 
htunan breast. Then I went to school. For fourteen 
years half a hundred earnest men pointed to ancient 
flint-locks and cried to me: 'There's the real thing.' 
These new rifles are only shallow, superficial imitations.' 
They damned the books I read and the things I thought 
by calling them immoral; later the fashion changed, and 
they damned things by calHng them * clever.' 

"And so I turned, canny for my years, from the pro- 
fessors to the poets, listening — to the lyric tenor of 
Swinburne and the tenor robusto of Shelley, to Shake- 
speare with his first bass and his fine range, to Tennyson 
with his second bass and his occasional falsetto, to 
Milton and Marlow, bassos prof undo. I gave ear to 



SYMPOSIUM 253 

Browning chatting, Byron declaiming, and Wordsworth 
droning. This, at least, did me no harm. I learned a 
little of beauty — enough to know that it had nothing to 
do with truth — and I found, moreover, that there was 
no great literary tradition; there was only the tradition 
of the eventful death of every literary tradition. . . . 

"Then I grew up, and the beauty of succulent il- 
lusions fell away from me. The fibre of my mind coars- 
ened and my eyes grew miserably keen. Life rose around 
my island like a sea, and presently I was swimming. 

"The transition was subtle — the thing had lain in 
wait for me for some time. It has its insidious, seem- 
ingly innocuous trap for every one. With me? No — 
I didn't try to seduce the janitor's wife — nor did I run 
through the streets unclothed, proclaiming my viril- 
ity. It is never quite passion that does the business — 
it is the dress that passion wears. I became bored — that 
was all. Boredom, which is another name and a fre- 
quent disguise for vitahty, became the unconscious mo- 
tive of all my acts. Beauty was behind me, do you un- 
derstand? — I was grown." He paused. "End of school 
and college period. Opening of Part Two." 

Three quietly active points of Hght showed the loca- 
tion of his listeners. Gloria was now half sitting, half 
I)dng, in Anthony's lap. His arm was around her so 
tightly that she could hear the beating of his heart. 
Richard Caramel, perched on the apple-barrel, from 
time to time stirred and gave off a faint grunt. 

"I grew up then, into this land of jazz, and fell 
immediately into a state of almost audible confusion. 
Life stood over me lilce an immoral schoolmistress, 
editing my ordered thoughts. But, with a mistaken 
faith in intelligence, I plodded on. I read Smith, who 
laughed at charity and insisted that the sneer was the 
highest form of self-expression — ^but Smith himself re- 



254 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

placed charity as an obscurer of the light. I read Jones, 
who neatly disposed of individualism — ^and behold! 
Jones was still in my way. I did not think — I was a 
battle-ground for the thoughts of many men; rather 
was I one of those desirable but impotent countries over 
which the great powers surge back and forth. 

"I reached maturity under the impression that I was 
gathering the experience to order my Hfe for happiness. 
Indeed, I accomplished the not unusual feat of solving 
each question in my mind long before it presented it- 
self to me in life — and of being beaten and bewildered 
just the same. 

''But after a few tastes of this latter dish I had had 
enough. Here! I said, Experience is not worth the 
getting. It's not a thing that happens pleasantly to a 
passive you — it's a wall that an active you runs up 
against. So I wrapped myself in what I thought was my 
invulnerable scepticism and decided that my educa- 
tion was complete. But it was too late. Protect my- 
self as I might by making no new ties with tragic and 
predestined humanity, I was lost with the rest. I had 
traded the fight against love for the fight against lone- 
liness, the fight against life for the fight against death." 

He broke off to give emphasis to his last observation 
— after a moment he yawned and resumed. 

"I suppose that the beginning of the second phase of 
my education was a ghastly dissatisfaction at being 
used in spite of myself for some inscrutable purpose of 
whose ultimate goal I was unaware — ^if, indeed, there 
was an ultimate goal. It was a difficult choice. The 
schoolmistress seemed to be saying, 'We're going to 
play football and nothing but football. If you don't 
want to play football you can't play at all ' 

"What was I to do — the playtime was so short! 

"You see, I felt that we were even denied what con- 
solation there might have been in being a figment of a 



SYMPOSIUM 255 

corporate man rising from his knees. Do you think 
that I leaped at this pessimism, grasped it as a sweetly 
smug superior thing, no more depressing really than, 
say, a gray autumn day before a fire? — I don't think I 
did that. I was a great deal too warm for that, and too 
alive. 

"For it seemed to me that there was no ultimate goal 
for man. Man was beginning a grotesque and bewil- 
dered fight with nature — ^nature, that by the divine and 
magnificent accident had brought us to where we could 
fly in her face. She had invented ways to rid the race 
of the inferior and thus give the remainder strength 
to fill her higher — or, let us say, her more amusing — 
though still unconscious and accidental intentions. And, 
actuated by the highest gifts of the enhghtenment, we 
were seeking to circumvent her. In this republic I 
saw the black beginning to mingle with the white — in 
Europe there was taking place an economic catastrophe 
to save three or four diseased and wretchedly governed 
races from the one mastery that might organize them 
for material prosperity. 

"We produce a Christ who can raise up the leper — 
and presently the breed of the leper is the salt of the 
earth. If any one can find any lesson in that, let him 
stand forth." 

"There's only one lesson to be learned from life, any- 
way," interrupted Gloria, not in contradiction but in a 
sort of melancholy agreement. 

"What's that?" demanded Maury sharply. 

"That there's no lesson to be learned from life." 

After a short silence Maury said: 

"Young Gloria, the beautiful and merciless lady, 
first looked at the world with the fundamental sophis- 
tication I have struggled to attain, that Anthony never 
will attain, that Dick will never fully understand." 

There was a disgusted groan from the apple-barrel. 



256 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Anthony, grown accustomed to the dark, could see 
'plainly the flash of Richard Caramel's yellow eye and 
the look of resentment on his face as he cried: 

"You're crazy! By your own statement I should 
have attained some experience by trying." 

"Trying what?" cried Maury fiercely. "Trying to 
pierce the darkness of political idealism with some wild, 
despairing urge toward truth? Sitting day after day 
supine in a rigid chair and infinitely removed from Kfe 
staring at the tip of a steeple through the trees, trying to 
separate, definitely and for all time, the knowable from 
the unknowable? Trying to take a piece of actuahty 
and give it glamour from your own soul to make for that 
inexpressible quality it possessed in life and lost in tran- 
sit to paper or canvas? Struggling in a laboratory- 
through weary years for one iota of relative truth in a 
mass of wheels or a test-tube " 

"Have you?" 

Maury' paused, and in his answer, when it came, 
there was a measure of weariness, a bitter overnote that 
lingered for a moment in those three minds before it 
floated up and off like a bubble bound for the moon. 

"Not I," he said softly. "I was bom tired — ^but with 
the quality of mother wit, the gift of women like Gloria 
— to that, for all my talking and listening, my waiting 
in vain for the eternal generality that seems to lie just 
beyond every argument and every speculation, to that 
I have added not one jot." 

In the distance a deep sound that had been audible 
for some moments identified itself by a plaintive mooing 
like that of a gigantic cow and by the pearly spot of a 
headlight apparent half a mile away. It was a steam- 
driven train this time, rumbHng and groaning, and as it 
timibled by with a monstrous complaint it sent a shower 
of sparks and cinders over the platform. 

"Not one jot !" Again Maury's voice dropped down 



SYMPOSIUM 257 

to them as from a great height. "What a feeble thing 
inteUigence is, with its short steps, its waverings, its 
pacings back and forth, its disastrous retreats ! Intelli- 
gence is a mere instrument of circumstances. There are 
people who say that intelligence must have built the 
universe — why, intelligence never built a steam-engine ! 
Circumstances built a steam-engine. Intelligence is Kttle 
more than a short foot-rule by which we measure the 
infinite achievements of Circumstances. 

"I could quote you the philosophy of the hour — but, 
for all we know, fifty years may see a complete reversal 
of this abnegation that's absorbing the intellectuals 
to-day, the triumph of Christ over Anatole France — " 
He hesitated, and then added: "But all I know — the 
tremendous importance of myself to me, and the neces- 
sity of acknowledging that importance to m^yself — these 
things the wise and lovely Gloria was born knowing, 
these things and the painful futility of trying to know 
anything else. 

"Well, I started to tell you of my education, didn't 
I? But I learned nothing, you see, very little even 
about myself. And if I had I should die with my lips 
shut and the guard on my fountain-pen — as the wisest 
men have done since — oh, since the failure of a certain 
matter — a strange matter, by the way. It concerned 
some sceptics who thought they were far-sighted, just 
as you and I. Let me tell you about them by way of 
an evening prayer before you all drop off to sleep. 

"Once upon a time all the men of mind and genius in 
the world became of one belief — that is to say, of no be- 
lief. But it wearied them to think that within a few 
years after their death many cults and systems and 
prognostications would be ascribed to them which they 
had never meditated nor intended. So they said to one 
another: 

"'Let's join together and make a great book that will 



258 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

last forever to mock the credulity of man. Let's per- 
suade our more erotic poets to write about the delights 
of the flesh, and induce some of our robust journalists 
to contribute stories of famous amours. We'll include 
all the most preposterous old wives' tales now current. 
We'll choose the keenest satirist alive to compile a deity 
from all the deities worshipped by mankind, a deity 
who will be more magnificent than any of them, and 
yet so weakly human that he'll become a byword for 
laughter the world over — and we'll ascribe to him all 
sorts of jokes and vanities and rages, in which he'll be 
supposed to indulge for his own diversion, so that the 
people will read our book and ponder it, and there'll 
be no more nonsense in the world. 

^"Finally, let us take care that the book possesses all 
the virtues of style, so that it may last forever as a wit- 
ness to our profound scepticism and our universal irony.' 

"So the men did, and they died. 

"But the book Hved always, so beautifully had it 
been written, and so astounding the quality of imagina- 
tion with which these men of mind and genius had en- 
dowed it. They had neglected to give it a name, but 
after they were dead it became known as the Bible." 

When he concluded there was no comment. Some 
damp languor sleeping on the air of night seemed to have 
bewitched them all. 

"As I said, I started on the story of my education. 
But my high-balls are dead and the night's almost over, 
and soon there'll be an awful jabbering going on every- 
where, in the trees and the houses, and the two Kttle 
stores over there behind the station, and there'll be a 
great running up and down upon the earth for a few 
hours — Well," he concluded with a laugh, " thank God 
we four can all pass to our eternal rest knowing we've 
left the world a little better for having lived in it." 



SYMPOSIUM 259 

A breeze sprang up, blowing with it faint wisps of life 
which flattened against the sky. 

"Your remarks grow rambKng and inconclusive," 
said Anthony sleepily. "You expected one of those 
miracles of illumination by which you say your most 
brilliant and pregnant things in exactly the setting that 
should provoke the ideal symposium. Meanwhile Gloria 
has shown her far-sighted detachment by falling asleep 
— ^I can tell that by the fact that she has managed to 
concentrate her entire weight upon my broken body." 

"Have I bored you?" inquired Maury, looking down 
with some concern. 

"No, you have disappointed us. You've shot a lot 
of arrows but did you shoot any birds?" 

"I leave the birds to Dick," said Maury hurriedly. 
"I speak erratically, in disassociated fragments." 

"You can get no rise from me," muttered Dick. "My 
mind is full of any number of material things. I want 
a warm bath too much to worry about the importance of 
my work or what proportion of us are pathetic figures." 

Dawn made itself felt in a gathering whiteness east- 
ward over the river and an intermittent cheeping in the 
near-by trees. 

"Quarter to five," sighed Dick; "almost another hour 
to wait. Look! Two gone." He was pointing to 
Anthony, whose lids had sagged over his eyes. "Sleep 
of the Patch family " 

But in another five minutes, despite the amplifying 
cheeps and chirrups, his own head had fallen forward, 
nodded down twice, thrice. . . . 

Only Maury Noble remained awake, seated upon the 
station roof, his eyes wide open and fixed with fatigued 
intensity upon the distant nucleus of morning. He was 
wondering at the unreality of ideas, at the fading radi- 
ance of existence, and at the little absorptions that were 
creeping avidly into his life, lilce rats into a ruined house. 



26o THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

He was sorry for no one now — on Monday morning 
there would be his business, and later there v^rould be a 
girl of another class whose whole life he was; these were 
the things nearest his heart. In the strangeness of the 
brightening day it seemed presumptuous that with this 
feeble, broken instrument of his mind he had ever tried 
to think. 

There was the sun, letting down great glowing masses 
of heat; there was life, active and snarling, moving about 
them like a fly swarm — the dark pants of smoke from 
the engine, a crisp "all aboard!" and a bell ringing. 
Confusedly Maury saw eyes in the milk-train staring 
curiously up at him, heard Gloria and Anthony in quick 
controversy as to whether he should go to the city with 
her — then another clamor and she was gone and the 
three men, pale as ghosts, were standing alone upon the 
platform while a grimy coal-heaver went down the road 
on top of a motor-truck, carolling hoarsely at the sima- 
mer morning. 



CHAPTER III 
THE BROKEN LUTE 

// is seven-thirty of an August evening. The windows in 
the living-room of the gray house are wide open, pa- 
tiently exchanging the tainted inner atmosphere of 
liquor and smoke for the fresh drowsiness of the late 
hot dusk. There are dying flower scents upon the air, 
so thin J so fragile, as to hint already of a summer laid 
away in time. But August is still proclaimed relent- 
lessly by a thousand crickets around the side-porch, 
and by one who has broken into the house and con- 
cealed himself confidently behind a bookcase, from 
time to time shrieking of his cleverness and his in- 
domitable will. 

The room itself is in messy disorder. On the table is a dish 
of fruit, which is real but appears artificial. Around 
it are grouped an ominous assortment of decanters, 
glasses, and heaped ash-trays, the latter still raising 
wavy smoke-ladders into the stale air — the efect on the 
whole needing but a skull to resemble that venerable 
chromo, once a fixture in every ^^den," which presents 
the appendages to the life of pleasure with delightful and 
awe-inspiring sentiment. 

After a while the sprightly solo of the supercricket is inter- 
rupted rather than joined by a new sound — the melan- 
choly wail of an erratically fingered flute. It is obvious 
that the musician is practising rather than perform- 
ing, for from time to time the gnarled strain breaks off 
and, after an interval of indistinct mutterings, recom- 
mences. 

261 



262 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Just prior to the seventh false start a third sound contributes 
to the subdued discord. It is a taxi outside. A min- 
ute's silence, then the taxi again, its boisterous retreat 
almost obliterating the scrape of footsteps on the cinder 
walk. The door-bell shrieks alarmingly through the 
house. 

From the kitchen enters a small, fatigued Japanese, hastily 
buttoning a servants coat of white duck. He opens 
the front screen-door and admits a handsome young 
man of thirty, clad in the sort of well-intentioned 
clothes peculiar to those who serve mankind. To his 
whole personality clings a well-intentioned air: his 
glance about the room is compounded of curiosity and 
a determined optimism; when he looks at Tana the 
entire burden of uplifting the godless Oriental is in his 
eyes. His name is Frederick E. Paramore. He 
was at Harvard with Anthony, where because of the 
initials of their surnames they were constantly placed 
next to each other in classes, A fragmentary ac- 
quaintance developed — but since that time they have 
never met. 

Nevertheless, Paramore enters the room with a certain air 
of arriving for the evening. 

Tana is answering a question. 

Tana: {Grinning with ingratiation) Gone to Inn for 
dinnah. Be back half-hour. Gone since ha' past six. 

Paramore: (Regarding the glasses on the table) Have 
they company ? 

Tana: Yes. Company. Mistah Caramel, Mistah 
and Missays Barnes, Miss Kane, all stay here. 

Paramore: I see. (Kindly) TheyVe been having a 
spree, I see. 

Tana: I no un'stan\ 

Paramore: TheyVe been having a fling. 



THE BROKEN LUTE 263 

- Tana: Yes, they have drink. Oh, many, many, many 
drink. 

Paramore : (Receding delicately from the subject) Didn't 
I hear the sounds of music as I approached the house ? 
Tana: (With a spasmodic giggle) Yes, I play. 
Paramore : One of the Japanese instruments. 

(He is quite obviously a subscriber to the ^'National 
Geographic Magazine. ^^) 
Tana: I play flu-u-ute, Japanese flu-u-ute. 
Paramore: What song were you playing? One of 
your Japanese melodies? 

Tana: (His brow undergoing preposterous contraction) 
I play train song. How you call? — railroad song. So 
call in my countree. Like train. It go so-o-o; that 
mean whistle; train start. Then go so-o-o; that mean 
train go. Go like that. Vera nice song in my countree. 
Children song. 
Paramore: It sounded very nice. 

(It is apparent at this point that only a gigantic 
effort at control restrains Tana from rushing up- 
stairs for his post-cards, including the six made 
in America) 
Tana: I fix high-ball for gentleman? 
Paramore: No, thanks. I don't use it. (He smiles) 
(Tana withdraws into the kitchen, leaving the inter- 
vening door slightly ajar. From the crevice there 
suddenly issues again the melody of the Japanese 
train song — this time not a practice, surely, but 
a performance, a lusty, spirited performance. 
The phone rings. Tana, absorbed in his harmon- 
ics, gives no heed, so Paramore takes up the 
receiver) 
Paramore: Hello. . . . Yes. . . . No, he's not here 
now, but he'll be back any moment. . . ., Butter- 



264 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

worth? Hello, I didn't quite catch the name. . . , 
HeUo, hello, hello. HeUo! . . . Huh! 

{The phone obstinately refuses to yield up any more 

sound. Paramore replaces the receiver. 

At this point the taxi motif re-enters, wafting with 

it a second young man; he carries a suitcase 

and opens the front door without ringing the hell!) 

Maury: {In the hall) Oh, Anthony! Yoho! {He 

xomss into the large room and sees Paramore) How do? 

Paramore : {Gazing at him with gathering intensity) Is 

this — i^ this Maury Noble? 

Maury: That's it. {He advances, smiling, and hold- 
ing out his hand) How are you, old boy? Haven't seen 
you for years. 

{He has vaguely associated the face with Harvard, 
hut is not even positive ahout that. The name, if 
he ever knew it, he has long since forgotten. How- 
ever, with a fine sensitiveness and an equally com- 
mendahle charity Paramore recognizes the foci 
and tactfully relieves the situation.) 
Paramore: You've forgotten Fred Paramore? We 
were both in old Unc Robert's history class. 

Maury: No, I haven't, Unc — I mean Fred. Fred was 
— I mean Unc was a great old fellow, wasn't he ? 

Paramore: {Nodding his head humorously several 
times) Great old character. Great old character. 

Maury: {After a short pause) Yes — ^he was. Where's 
Anthony? 

Paramore: The Japanese servant told me he was at 
some inn. Having dinner, I suppose. 

Maury: {Looking at his watch) Gone long? 
Paramore: I guess so. The Japanese told me they'd 
be back shortly. 
Maury: Suppose we have a drink. 
Paramore: No, thanks. I don't use it. {He smiles,) 



THE BROKEN LUTE 265 

Maury: Mind if I do? (Yawning as he helps him- 
self from a bottle) What have you been doing since you 
left college? 

Paramore: Oh, many things. I've led a very active 
life. Knocked about here and there. (His tone implies 
anything from lion-stalking to organized crime.) 

Maury: Oh, been over to Europe? 

Paramore: No, I haven't — unfortunately. 

Maury: I guess we'll all go over before long. 

Paramore: Do you really think so? 

Maury: Sure! Country's been fed on sensationalism 
for more than two years. Everybody getting restless. 
Want to have some fun. 

Paramore: Then you don't believe any ideals are at 
stake? 

Maury: Nothing of much importance. People want 
excitement every so often. 

Paramore: {Intently) It's very interesting to hear 
you say that. Now I was talking to a man who'd been 

over there 

{During the ensuing testament, left to he filled in by 
the reader with such phrases as ^'Saw with his 
own eyeSj^^ ^^ Splendid spirit of France,'' and 
^'Salvation of civilization," Maury sits with low- 
ered eyelids, dispassionately bored.) 

Maury: {At the first available opportunity) By the 
way, do you happen to know that there's a German agent 
in this very house? 

Paramore: {Smiling cautiously) Are you serious? 

Maury: Absolutely. Feel it my duty to warn you. 

Paramore: {Convinced) A governess? 

Maury: {In a whisper, indicating the kitchen with his 
thumb) Tana! That's not his real name. I understand 
he constantly gets mail addressed to Lieutenant Emile 
Tannenbaum. 



266 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Paramore: {Laughing with hearty tolerance) You were 
kidding me. 

Maury: I may be accusing him falsely. But, you 
haven't told me what you've been doing. 
Paramore: For one thing — ^writing. 
Maury: Fiction? 
Paramore: No. Non-fiction. 

Maury: What's that? A sort of literature that's half 
fiction and half fact? 

Paramore: Oh, I've confined myself to fact. I've 
been doing a good deal of social-service work. 
Maury: Oh! 

{An immediate glow of suspicion leaps into his 
eyes. It is as though Paramore had announced 
himself as an amateur pickpocket) 
Paramore: At present I'm doing service work in 
Stamford. Only last week some one told me that An- 
thony Patch lived so near. 

{They are interrupted hy a clamor outside^ un- 
mistakable as that of two sexes in conversation 
and laughter. Then there enter the room in a 
body Anthony, Gloria, Richard Caramel, 
Muriel Kane, Rachael Barnes and Rodman 
Barnes, her husband. They surge about Maury, 
illogically replying "Fine!" to Ms general 
"Hello." . . . AntronYj meanwhile, approaches 
his other guest!) 
Anthony: Well, I'll be darned. How are you? 
Mighty glad to see you. 

Paramore: It's good to see you, Anthony. I'm sta- 
tioned in Stamford, so I thought I'd run over. {Ro- 
guishly) We have to work to beat the devil most of the 
time, so we're entitled to a few hours' vacation. 

{In an agony of concentration Anthony tries to re- 
call the name. After a struggle of parturition 



THE BROKEN LUTE 267 

his memory gives up the fragment "Fred," 
around which he hastily builds the sentence " Glad 
you did, Fred!" Meanwhile the slight hush 
prefatory to an introduction has fallen upon the 
company, Maury, who could help, prefers to 
look on in malicious enjoyment) 
Anthony: {In desperation) Ladies and gentlemen, 
this is — this is Fred. 

Muriel: (yVith obliging levity) Hello, Fred! 

(Richard Caramel and Paramore greet each 
other intimately by their first names, the latter 
recollecting that Dick was one of the men in his 
class who had never before troubled to speak to 
him, Dick fatuously imagines that Paramore 
is some one he has previously met in Anthony's 
house. 
The three young women go upstairs) 
Maury: (In an undertone to Dick) Haven't seen 
Muriel since Anthony's wedding. 

Dick: She's now in her prime. Her latest is "/'// 
say so!" 

(Anthony struggles for a while with Paramore and 
at length attempts to make the conversation gen- 
eral by asking every one to have a drink) 
Maury: I've done pretty well on this bottle. I've 
gone from "Proof" down to "Distillery." {He indicates 
the words on the label) 

Anthony: {To Paramore) Never can tell when these 
two will turn up. Said good-by to them one afternoon 
at five and darned if they didn't appear about two in 
the morning. A big hired touring-car from New York 
drove up to the door and out they stepped, drunk as 
lords, of course. 

{In an ecstasy of consideration Paramore regards 
the cover of a book which he holds in his hand, 
Maury and Dick exchange a glance) 



268 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Dick: {Innocently, to Paramore) You work here in 
town? 

Paramoke: No, I'm in the Laird Street Settlement in 
Stamford. {To Anthony) You have no idea of the 
amount of poverty in these small Connecticut towns. 
Italians and other immigrants. CathoHcs mostly, you 
know, so it's very hard to reach them. 

Anthony: {Politely) Lot of crime? 

Paramore : Not so much crime as ignorance and dirt. 

Maury: That's my theory: immediate electrocution 
of all ignorant and dirty people. I'm all for the crim- 
inals — give color to Hfe. Trouble is if you started to 
punish ignorance you'd have to begin in the first families, 
then you could take up the moving-picture people, and 
finally Congress and the clergy. 

Paramore: {Smiling uneasily) I was speaking of the 
more fundamental ignorance — of even our language. 

Maury: {Thoughtfully) I suppose it is rather hard. 
Can't even keep up with the new poetry. 

Paramore: It's only when the settlement work has 
gone on for months that one realizes how bad things are. 
As our secretary said to me, your finger-nails never seem 
dirty until you wash your hands. Of course we're al- 
ready attracting much attention. 

Maury: {Rudely) As your secretary might say, if 
you stuff paper into a grate it'll burn brightly for a 
moment. 

{At this point Gloria, freshly tinted and lust- 
ful of admiration and entertainment, rejoins the 
party, followed by her two friends. For several 
moments the conversation becomes entirely frag- 
mentary, Gloria calls Anthony aside) 

Gloria: Please don't drink much, Anthony. 

Anthony: Why? 

Gloria: Because you're so simple when you're drunk. 



THE BROKEN LUTE 269 

Anthony: Good Lord! What's the matter now? 

Gloria: {After a pause during which her eyes gaze 
coolly into his) Several things. In the first place, why 
do you insist on paying for everything? Both those 
men have more money than you ! 

Anthony: Why, Gloria! They're my guests! 

Gloria: That's no reason why you should pay for a 
bottle of champagne Rachael Barnes smashed. Dick 
tried to fix that second taxi bill, and you wouldn't let 
him. 

Anthony: Why, Gloria 

Gloria: When we have to keep selling bonds to even 
pay our bills, it's time to cut down on excess generosities. 
Moreover, I wouldn't be quite so attentive to Rachael 
Barnes. Her husband doesn't like it any more than 
I do! 

Anthony: Why, Gloria 

Gloria: {Mimicking him sharply) "Why, Gloria!" 
But that's happened a httle too often this summer — 
with every pretty woman you meet. It's grown to be 
a sort of habit, and I'm not going to stand it ! If you 
can play around, I can, too. {Then, as an afterthought) 
By the way, this Fred person isn't a second Joe Hull, 
is he? 

Anthony: Heavens, no ! He probably came up to 
get me to wheedle some money out of grandfather for 
his flock. 

(Gloria turns away from a very depressed An- 
thony and returns to her guests. 

By nine o^clock these can he divided into two classes 
— those who have been drinking consistently and 
those who have taken little or nothing. In the 
second group are the Barneses, Muriel, and 
Frederick E. Paramore.) 



270 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Muriel: I wish I could write. I get these ideas but 
I never seem to be able to put them in words. 

Dick: As Goliath said, he understood how David felt, 
but he couldn't express himself. The remark was im- 
mediately adopted for a motto by the Philistines. 

Muriel: I don't get you. I must be getting stupid 
in my old age. 

Gloria: {Weaving unsteadily among the company like 
an exhilarated angel) If any one's hungry there's some 
French pastry on the dining-room table. 

Maury: Can't tolerate those Victorian designs it 
comes in. 

Muriel: {Violently amused) Pll say you're tight, 
Maury. 

{Her bosom is still a pavement that she offers to the 
hoofs of many passing stallions, hoping that their 
iron shoes may strike even a spark of romance 
in the darkness. . . . 
Messrs. Barnes and Paramore have been engaged 
in conversation upon some wholesome subject, a 
subject so wholesome that Mr. Barnes has been 
trying for several moments to creep into the more 
tainted air around the central lounge. Whether 
Paramore is lingering in the gray house out of 
politeness or curiosity, or in order at some future 
tifne to make a sociological report on the decadence 
of American life, is problematical.) 
Maury: Fred, I imagined you were very broad- 
minded. 
Paramore: I am. 

Muriel: Me, too. I believe one religion's as good as 
another and everything. 
Paramore: There's some good in all religions. 
Muriel: I'm a Catholic but, as I always say, I'm 
not working at it. 



THE BROKEN LUTE 271 

Paramore: {With a tremendous hurst of tolerance) 
The Catholic reUgion is a very — a very powerful re- 
ligion. 

Maury: Well, such a broad-minded man should con- 
sider the raised plane of sensation and the stimulated 
optimism contained in this cocktail. 

Paramore: {Taking the drink, rather defiantly) Thanks, 
I'll try — one. 

Maury: One? Outrageous! Here we have a class 
of 'nineteen ten reunion, and you refuse to be even a 
little pickled. Come on ! 

"Here's a health to King Charles, 
Here's a health to King Charles, 
Bring the howl that you boast " 



(Paramore joins in with a hearty voice.) 

Maury: Fill the cup, Frederick. You know every-' 
thing's subordinated to nature's purposes with us, and 
her purpose with you is to make you a rip-roaring tip- 
pler. 

Paramore: If a fellow can drink like a gentleman ■ 

Maury: What is a gentleman, anyway? 

Anthony: A man who never has pins under his coat 
lapel. 

Maury: Nonsense! A man's social rank is deter- 
mined by the amount of bread he eats in a sandwich. 

Dick: He's a man who prefers the first edition of a 
book to the last edition of a newspaper. 

Rachael: a man who never gives an impersonation 
of a dope-fiend. 

Maury: An American who can fool an English butler 
into thinking he's one. 

Muriel: A man who comes from a good family and 
went to Yale or Harvard or Princeton, and has money 
and dances well, and all that. 



^ 272 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Maury: At last — the perfect definition! Cardinal 
Newman's is now a back number. 

Paeamore: I think we ought to look on the question 
more broad-mindedly. Was it Abraham Lincoln who 
said that a gentleman is one who never inflicts pain ? 

Maury: It's attributed, I believe, to General Luden- 
dorff. 
Paramore: Surely you're joking. 
Maury: Have another drink. 

Paramore: I oughtn't to. {Lowering his voice for 
Maury's ear alone) What if I were to tell you this is 
the third drink I've ever taken in my life? 

(Dick starts the phonography which provokes Mu- 
riel to rise and sway from side to side, her elbows 
against her rihs, her forearms perpendicular to 
her body and out like fins.) 
Muriel: Oh, let's take up the rugs and dance! 

{This suggestion is received by Anthony and 
Gloria with interior groans and sickly smiles 
of acquiescence?) 
Muriel: Come on, you lazy-bones. Get up and 
move the furniture back. 

Dick: Wait till I finish my drink. 
Maury: {Intent on his purpose toward Paramore) I'll 
tell you what. Let's each fill one glass, drink it off — 
and then we'll dance. 

{A wave of protest which breaks against the rock of 
Maury's insistence^ 
Muriel: My head is simply going round now. 
Ra-Chael: {In an undertone to Anthony) Did Gloria 
teU you to stay away from me? 

Anthony: {Confused) Why, certainly not. Of course 
not. 

(Rachael smiles at him inscrutably. Two years 
have given her a sort of hard, well-groomed beauty.) 



THE BROKEN LUTE 273 

Maury: (Holding up his glass) Here's to tlie defeat 
of democracy and the fall of Christianity. 
Muriel: Now really ! 

(She flashes a mock-reproachful glance at Maury 

and then drinks. 
They all drink, with varying degrees of difficulty.) 
Muriel: Clear the floor! 

(// seems inevitable that this process is to he gone 
through, so Anthony and Gloria join in the 
great moving of tables, piling of chairs, rolling 
of carpets, and breaking of lamps. When the 
furniture has been stacked in ugly masses at the 
sides, there appears a space about eight feet 
square) 
Muriel: Oh, let's have music! 
Maury: Tana will render the love-song of an eye, 
ear, nose, and throat specialist. 

{Amid some confusion due to the fact that Tana has 
retired for the night, preparations are made for 
the performance. The pajamaed Japanese, flute 
in hand, is wrapped in a comforter and placed in 
a chair atop one of the tables, where he makes a 
ludicrous and grotesque spectacle. Paramore is 
perceptibly drunk and so enraptured with the no- 
tion that he increases the effect by simulating 
funny-paper staggers and even venturing on an 
occasional hiccough.) 
Paramore: {To Gloria) Want to dance with me? 
Gloria: No, sir! Want to do the swan dance. Can 
you do it? 
Paramore: Sure. Do them all. 
Gloria: All right. You start from that side of the 
room and I'll start from this. 
Muriel: Let's go 1 

{Then Bedlam creeps screaming out of the bottles; 



274 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Tana plunges into the recondite mazes of the 
train song, the plaintive ^Uootle toot-toot^' blend- 
ing its melancholy cadences with the ^'Poor But- 
ter-fly (tink-atink), by the blossoms wait-ing" 
of the phonograph. Muriel is too weak with 
laughter to do more than cling desperately to 
Barnes, who, dancing with the ominous rigid- 
ity of an army officer j tramps without humor 
around the small space. Anthony is trying 
to hear Rachael's whisper — without attracting 
Gloria's attention. . . . 

But the grotesque, the unbelievable, the histrionic 
incident is about to occur, one of those incidents 
in which life seems set upon the passionate imi- 
tation of the lowest forms of literature . Paramore 
has been trying to emulate Gloria, and as the com- 
motion reaches its height he begins to spin round 
and round, more and more dizzily — he staggers, 
recovers, staggers again and then falls in the direc- 
tion of the hall . . . almost into the arms of old 
Adam Patch, whose approach has been rendered 
inaudible by the pandemonium in the room. 

Adam Patch is very white. He leans upon a stick. 
The man with him is Edward Shuttleworth, 
and it is he who seizes Paramore by the shoulder 
and deflects the course of his fall away from the 
venerable philanthropist. 

The time required for quiet to descend upon the room 
like a monstrous pall may be estimated at two 
minutes, though for a short period after that the 
phonograph gags and the notes of the Japanese 
train song dribble from the end of Tana's flute. 
Of the nine people only Barnes, Paramore, and 
Tana are unaware of the late-comer^s identity. 
Of the nine not one is aware that Adam Patch 



THE BROKEN LUTE 275 

has that morning made a contribution of fifty 
thousand dollars to the cause of national prohi" 
hition. 
It is given to Paramore to break the gathering 
silence; the high tide of his life's depravity is 
reached in his incredible remark) 
Paramore: {Crawling rapidly toward the kitchen on 
his hands and knees) I'm not a guest here — I work 
here. 

{Again silence falls — so deep now, so weighted with 
intolerably contagious apprehension, that Ra- 
CHAEL gives a nervous little giggle, and Dick 
finds himself telling over and over a line from 
Swinburne, grotesquely appropriate to the scene: 

"One gaunt bleak blossom of scentless breath." 

, . . Out of the hush the voice of Anthony, sober 

and strained, saying something to Adam Patch; 

then this, too, dies away,) 

Shuttle worth: {Passionately) Your grandfather 

thought he would motor over to see your house. I 

phoned from Rye and left a message. 

{A series of little gasps, emanating, apparently, 
from nowhere, from no one, fall into the next 
pause. Anthony is the color of chalk. Glo- 
ria's lips are parted and her level gaze at the old 
man is tense and frightened. There is not one 
smile in the room. Not one? Or does Cross 
Patch's drawn mouth tremble slightly open, to 
expose the even rows of his thin teeth ? He speaks 
— five mild and simple words.) 

Adam Patch: We'll go back now, Shuttleworth 

{And that is all. He turns, and assisted by his cane 
goes out through the hall, through the front door, 
and with hellish portentousness his uncertain 



276 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

footsteps crunch on the gravel path under the 
August moon.) 

Retrospect 

In this extremity they were like two goldfish in a 
bowl from which all the water had been drawn; they 
could not even swim across to each other. 

Gloria would be twenty-six in May. There was noth- 
ing, she had said, that she wanted, except to be young 
and beautiful for a long time, to be gay and happy, and 
to have money and love. She wanted what most women 
want, but she wanted it much more fiercely and pas- 
sionately. She had been married over two years. At 
first there had been days of serene understanding, rising 
to ecstasies of proprietorship and pride. Alternating 
with these periods had occurred sporadic hates, endur- 
ing a short hour, and forgetfulnesses lasting no longer 
than an afternoon. That had been for half a year. 

Then the serenity, the content, had become less jubi- 
lant, had become gray — very rarely, with the spur of 
jealousy or forced separation, the ancient ecstasies re- 
turned, the apparent communion of soul and soul, the 
emotional excitement. It was possible for her to hate 
Anthony for as much as a full day, to be carelessly in- 
censed at him for as long as a week. Recrimination had 
displaced affection as an indulgence, almost as an enter- 
tainment, and there were nights when they would go to 
sleep trying to remember who was angry and who should 
be reserved next morning. And as the second year waned 
there had entered two new elements. Gloria realized 
that Anthony had become capable of utter indifference 
toward her, a temporary indifference, more than half 
lethargic, but one from which she could no longer stir 
him by a whispered word, or a certain intimate smile. 
There were days when her caresses affected him as a 



THE BROKEN LUTE 277 

sort of suffocation. She was conscious of these things; 
she never entirely admitted them to herself. 

It was only recently that she perceived that in spite 
of her adoration of him, her jealousy, her servitude, her 
pride, she fundamentally despised him — and her con- 
tempt blended indistinguishably with her other emo- 
tions. . . . All this was her love — the vital and feminine 
illusion that had directed itself toward him one April 
night, many months before. 

On Anthony's part she was, in spite of these qualifica- 
tions, his sole preoccupation. Had he lost her he would 
have been a broken man, wretchedly and sentimentally 
absorbed in her memory for the remainder of life. He 
seldom took pleasure in an entire day spent alone with 
her — except on occasions he preferred to have a third 
person with them. There were times when he felt that 
if he were not left absolutely alone he would go mad — 
there were a few times when he definitely hated her. In 
his cups he was capable of short attractions toward other 
women, the hitherto-suppressed outcroppings of an ex- 
perimental temperament. 

That spring, that summer, they had speculated upon 
future happiness — how they were to travel from summer 
land to siunmer land, returning eventually to a gorgeous 
estate and possible idyllic children, then entering diplo- 
macy or politics, to accomplish, for a while, beautiful 
and important things, until finally as a white-haired 
(beautifully, silkily, white-haired) couple they were to 
loll about in serene glory, worshipped by the bourgeoisie 
of the land. . . . These times were to begin "when we 
get our money"; it was on such dreams rather than on 
any satisfaction with their increasingly irregular, in- 
creasingly dissipated life that their hope rested. On 
gray mornings when the jests of the night before had 
shrunk to ribaldries without wit or dignity, they could, 



278 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

after a fashion, bring out this batch of common hopes 
and count them over, then smile at each other and repeat, 
by way of clinching the matter, the terse yet sincere 
Nietzscheanism of Gloria's defiant "I don't care!'' 

Things had been slipping perceptibly. There was 
the money question, increasingly annoying, increasingly 
ominous; there was the realization that Hquor had be- 
come a practical necessity to their amusement — not an 
uncommon phenomenon in the British aristocracy of a 
hundred years ago, but a somewhat alarming one in a 
civilization steadily becoming more temperate and more 
circumspect. Moreover, both of them seemed vaguely 
weaker in fibre, not so much in what they did as in their 
subtle reactions to the civilization about them. In 
Gloria had been born something that she had hitherto 
never needed — the skeleton, incomplete but neverthe- 
less unmistakable, of her ancient abhorrence, a con- 
science. This admission to herself was coincidental with 
the slow decHne of her physical courage. 

Then, on the August morning after Adam Patch's 
unexpected call, they awoke, nauseated and tired, dis- 
pirited with life, capable only of one pervasive emotion 
— ^fear. 

Panic 

"Well?" Anthony sat up in bed and looked down 
at her. The corners of his lips were drooping with de- 
pression, his voice was strained and hollow. 

Her reply was to raise her hand to her mouth and 
begin a slow, precise nibbling at her finger. 

*^ We've done it," he said after a pause; then, as she 
was still silent, he became exasperated. "Why don^t 
;you say something?" 

"What on earth do you want me to say?" 

"What are you thinking?" 



THE BROKEN LUTE 279^ 

"Nothing." 

"Then stop biting your finger!" 

Ensued a short confused discussion of whether or not 
she had been thinking. It seemed essential to Anthony 
that she should muse aloud upon last night's disaster. 
Her silence was a method of settling the responsibility 
on him. For her part she saw no necessity for speech 
— the moment required that she should gnaw at her 
finger like a nervous child. 

"I've got to fix up this damn mess with my grand- 
father," he said with uneasy conviction. A faint new- 
born respect was indicated by his use of "my grand- 
father" instead of "grampa." 

"You can't," she afiirmed abruptly. "You can't — 
ever. He'll never forgive you as long as he lives." 

"Perhaps not," agreed Anthony miserably. "Still — 
I might possibly square myself by some sort of reforma- 
tion and all that sort of thing " 

"He looked sick," she interrupted, "pale as flour." 

"He is sick. I told you that three months ago." 

"I wish he'd died last week!" she said petulantly. 
"Inconsiderate old fool!" 

Neither of them laughed. 

"But just let me say," she added quietly, "the next 
time I see you acting with any woman like you did with 
Rachael Barnes last night, I'll leave you— ^'ust — like — 
that! I'm simply not going to stand it!" 

Anthony quailed. 

"Oh, don't be absurd," he protested. "You know 
there's no woman in the world for me except you — none, 
dearest." 

His attempt at a tender npte failed miserably — the 
more imminent danger stalked back into the foreground. 

"If I went to him," suggested Anthony, "and said 
with appropriate bibHcal quotations that I'd walked 



28o THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

too long in the way of unrighteousness and at last seen 
the light — " He broke off and glanced with a whimsical 
expression at his wife. "I wonder what he'd do?" 

^'I don't know." 

She was speculating as to whether or not their guests 
would have the acumen to leave directly after breakfast. 

Not for a week did Anthony muster the courage to 
go to Tarrytown. The prospect was revolting and left 
alone he would have been incapable of making the trip 
— ^but if his will had deteriorated in these past three 
years, so had his power to resist urging. Gloria com- 
pelled him to go. It was all very well to wait a week, 
she said, for that would give his grandfather's violent 
animosity time to cool — ^but to wait longer would be an 
error — it would give it a chance to harden. 

He went, in trepidation . . . and vainly. Adam 
Patch was not well, said Shuttleworth indignantly. 
Positive instructions had been given that no one was 
to see him. Before the ex-' 'gin-physician's" vindictive 
eye Anthony's front wilted. He walked out to his taxi- 
cab with what was almost a slink — recovering only a 
little of his self-respect as he boarded the train; glad to 
escape, boylike, to the wonder-palaces of consolation 
that still rose and glittered in his own mind. 

Gloria was scornful when he returned to Marietta. 
Why had he not forced his way in? That was what she 
would have done ! 

Between them they drafted a letter to the old man, 
and after considerable revision sent it off. It was half 
an apology, half a manufactured explanation. The letter 
was not answered. 

Came a day in September, a day slashed with alternate 
sun and rain, sun without warmth, rain without fresh- 
ness. On that day they left the gray house, which had 
seen the flower of their love. Four trunks and three 



THE BROKEN LUTE 281 

monstrous crates were piled in the dismantled room 
where, two years before, they had sprawled lazily, think- 
ing in terms of dreams, remote, languorous, content. 
The room echoed with emptiness. Gloria, in a new 
brown dress edged with fur, sat upon a trunk in silence, 
and Anthony walked nervously to and fro smoking, as 
they waited for the truck that would take their things 
to the city. 

^'What are those?" she demanded, pointing to some 
books piled upon one of the crates. 

'' That's my old stamp collection," he confessed sheep- 
ishly. ''I forgot to pack it." 

*' Anthony, it's so silly to carry it around." 

"Well, I was looking through it the day we left the 
apartment last spring, and I decided not to store it." 

"Can't you sell it? Haven't we enough junk?" 

"I'm sorry," he said humbly. 

With a thunderous rattling the truck rolled up to the 
door. Gloria shook her fist defiantly at the four walls. 

"I'm so glad to go!" she cried, "so glad. Oh, my 
God, how I hate this house!" 

So the brilliant and beautiful lady went up with her 
husband to New York. On the very train that bore 
them away they quarrelled — her bitter words had the 
frequency, the regularity, the inevitability of the sta- 
tions they passed. 

"Don't be cross," begged Anthony piteously. "We've 
got nothing but each other, after all." 

"We haven't even that, most of the time," cried 
Gloria. 

"When haven't we?" 

"A lot of times — ^beginning with one occasion on the 
station platform at Redgate." 

"You don't mean to say that " 



282 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

*'No," she interrupted coolly, "I don't brood over it. 
It came and went — and when it went it took something 
with it." 

She finished abruptly. Anthony sat in silence, con- 
fused, depressed. The drab visions of train-side Ma- 
maroneck, Larchmont, Rye, Pelham Manor, succeeded 
each other with intervals of bleak and shoddy wastes 
posing ineffectually as country. He found himself re- 
membering how on one summer morning they two had 
started from New York in search of happiness. They 
had never expected to find it, perhaps, yet in itself that 
quest had been happier than anything he expected for- 
evermore. Life, it seemed, must be a setting up of 
props around one — otherwise it was disaster. There was 
no rest, no quiet. He had been futile in longing to drift 
and dream; no one drifted except to maelstroms, no one 
dreamed, without his dreams becoming fantastic night- 
mares of indecision and regret. 

Pelham! They had quarrelled in Pelham because 
Gloria must drive. And when she set her little foot on 
the accelerator the car had jumped off spunkily, and 
their two heads had jerked back like marionettes worked 
by a single string. 

The Bronx — the houses gathering and gleaming in the 
sun, which was falling now through wide refulgent skies 
and tumbling caravans of light down into the streets. 
I New York, he supposed, was home — the city of luxury 
and mystery, of preposterous hopes and exotic dreams. 
Here on the outskirts absurd stucco palaces reared them- 
selves in the cool sunset, poised for an instant in cool 
unreality, glided off far away, succeeded by the mazed 
confusion of the Harlem River. The train moved in 
through the deepening twilight, above and past half a 
hundred cheerful sweating streets of the upper East Side, 
each one passing the car-window like the space between 



THE BROKEN LUTE 283 

the spokes of a gigantic wheel, each one with its vigor- 
ous colorful revelation of poor children swarming in 
feverish activity like vivid ants in alleys of red sand. 
From the tenement windows leaned rotund, moon-shaped 
mothers, as constellations of this sordid heaven; women 
like dark imperfect jewels, women lilce vegetables, 
women like great bags of abominably dirty laundry. 

*'I like these streets," observed Anthony aloud. "I 
always feel as though it's a performance being staged 
for me; as though the second I've passed they'll all stop 
leaping and laughing and, instead, grow very sad, re- 
membering how poor they are, and retreat with bowed 
heads into their houses. You often get that effect 
abroad, but seldom in this country." 

Down in a tall busy street he read a dozen Jewish 
names on a line of stores; in the door of each stood a 
dark little man watching the passers from intent eyes — ■ 
eyes gleaming with suspicion, with pride, with clarity, 
with cupidity, with comprehension. New York — he 
could not dissociate it now from the slow, upward creep 
of this people — the Httle stores, growing, expanding, con- 
solidating, moving, watched over with hawk's eyes and 
a bee's attention to detail — they slathered out on all 
sides. It was impressive — in perspective it was tre- 
mendous. 

Gloria's voice broke in with strange appropriateness 
upon his thoughts. 

"I wonder where Bloeckman's been this simimer." 

The Apartment 

After the sureties of youth there sets in a period of 
intense and intolerable complexity. With the soda- 
jerker this period is so short as to be almost negligible. 
Men higher in the scale hold out longer in the attempt 
to preserve the ultimate niceties of relationship, to re- 



284 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

tain ^'impracticar' ideas of integrity. But by the late 
twenties the business has grown too intricate, and what 
has hitherto been imminent and confusing has become 
gradually remote and dim. Routine comes down like 
twilight on a harsh landscape, softening it until it is 
tolerable. The complexity is too subtle, too varied; the 
values are changing utteriy with each lesion of vitahty; 
it has begun to appear that we can learn nothing from 
the past with which to face the future — so we cease to 
be impulsive, convincible men, interested in what is 
ethically true by fine margins, we substitute rules of 
conduct for ideas of integrity, we value safety above 
romance, we become, quite unconsciously, pragmatic. It 
is left to the few to be persistently concerned with the 
nuances of relationships — and even this few only in cer- 
tain hours especially set aside for the task. 

Anthony Patch had ceased to be an individual of 
mental adventure, of curiosity, and had become an indi- 
vidual of bias and prejudice, with a longing to be emo- 
tionally undisturbed. This gradual change had taken 
place through the past several years, accelerated by a 
succession of anxieties preying on his mind. There was, 
first of all, the sense of waste, always dormant in his 
heart, now awakened by the circumstances of his posi- 
tion. In his moments of insecurity he was haunted by 
the suggestion that life might be, after all, significant. 
In his early twenties the conviction of the futility of 
effort, of the wisdom of abnegation, had been confirmed 
by the philosophies he had admired as well as by his 
association with Maury Noble, and later with his wife. 
Yet there had been occasions — ^just before his first meet- 
ing with Gloria, for example, and when his grandfather 
had suggested that he should go abroad as a war corre- 
spondent — ^upon which his dissatisfaction had driven 
him almost to a positive step. 



THE BROKEN LUTE 285 

One day just before they left Marietta for the last 
time, in carelessly turning over the pages of a Harvard 
Alumni Bulletin, he had found a column which told him 
what his contemporaries had been about in this six years 
since graduation. Most of them were in business, it was 
true, and several were converting the heathen of China 
or America to a nebulous protestantism; but a few, he 
found, were working constructively at jobs that were 
neither sinecures nor routines. There was Calvin Boyd, 
for instance, who, though barely out of medical school, 
had discovered a new treatment for typhus, had shipped 
abroad and was mitigating some of the civilization that 
the Great Powers had brought to Servia; there was 
Eugene Bronson, whose articles in The New Democracy 
were stamping him as a man with ideas transcending 
both vulgar timeliness and popular hysteria; there was a 
man named Daly who had been suspended from the 
faculty of a righteous university for preaching Marxian 
doctrines in the classroom: in art, science, poHtics, he 
saw the authentic personalities of his time emerging — • 
there was even Severance, the quarter-back, who had 
given up his life rather neatly and gracefully with the 
Foreign Legion on the Aisne. 

He laid down the magazine and thought for a while 
about these diverse men. In the days of his integrity he 
would have defended his attitude to the last — an Epi- 
curus in Nirvana, he would have cried that to struggle 
was to believe, to believe was to limit. He would as 
soon have become a churchgoer because the prospect 
of immortality gratiJ&ed him as he would have considered 
entering the leather business because the intensity of the 
competition would have kept him from unhappiness. 
But at present he had no such delicate scruples. This 
autumn, as his twenty-ninth year began, he was inclined 
to close his mind to many things, to avoid prying deeply 



286 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

into motives and first causes, and mostly to long pas- 
-sionately for security from the world and from himself. 
He hated to be alone, as has been said he often dreaded 
being alone with Gloria. 

Because of the chasm which his grandf a therms visit 
had opened before him, and the consequent revulsion 
from his late mode of Hfe, it was inevitable that he 
should look around in this suddenly hostile city for the 
friends and environments that had once seemed the 
warmest and most secure. His first step was a desperate 
attempt to get back his old apartment. 

In the spring of 191 2 he had signed a four-year lease 
at seventeen hundred a year, with an option of renewal. 
This lease had expired the previous May. When he 
had first rented the rooms they had been mere poten- 
tialities, scarcely to be discerned as that, but Anthony 
had seen into these potentialities and arranged in the 
lease that he and the landlord should each spend a cer- 
tain amount in improvements. Rents had gone up in 
the past four years, and last spring when Anthony had 
waived his option the landlord, a Mr. Sohenberg, had 
realized that he could get a much bigger price for what 
was now a prepossessing apartment. Accordingly, when 
Anthony approached him on the subject in September 
he was met with Sohenberg's offer of a three-year lease 
at twenty-five hundred a year. This, it seemed to An- 
thony, was outrageous. It meant that well over a third 
of their income would be consumed in rent. In vain he 
argued that his own money, his own ideas on the repar- 
titioning, had made the rooms attractive. 

In vain he offered two thousand dollars — twenty-two 
hundred, though they could ill afford it: Mr. Sohenberg 
was obdurate. It seemed that two other gentlemen 
"were considering it; just that sort of an apartment was 
in demand for the moment, and it would scarcely be 



THE BROKEN LUTE 287 

business to give it to Mr. Patch. Besides, though he had 
never mentioned it before, several of the other tenants 
had complained of noise during the previous winter — 
singing and dancing late at night, that sort of thing. 

Internally raging Anthony hurried back to the Ritz 
to report his discomfiture to Gloria. 

**I can just see you," she stormed, "letting him back 
you down ! " 

"What could I say?" 

"You could have told him what he was. I wouldn't 
have stood it. No other man in the world would have 
stood it! You just let people order you around and 
cheat you and bully you and take advantage of you as 
if you were a silly little boy. It's absurd !" 

"Oh, for Heaven's sake, don't lose your temper." 

"I know, Anthony, but you are such an ass!" 

"Well, possibly. An3rway, we can't afford that apart- 
ment. But we can afford it better than living here at 
the Ritz." 

"You were the one who insisted on coming here." 

"Yes, because I knew you'd be miserable in a cheap 
hotel." 

"Of course I would!" 

"At any rate we've got to find a place to live." 

"How much can we pay?" she demanded. 

"Well, we can pay even his price if we sell more bonds, 
but we agreed last night that until I had gotten some- 
thing definite to do we " 

"Oh, I know all that. I asked you how much we 
can pay out of just our income." 

"They say you ought not to pay more than a fourth." 

"How much is a fourth?" 

"One hundred and fifty a month." 

"Do you mean to say we've got only six hundred 
dollars coming in every month ? " A subdued note crept 
into her voice. 



288 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

^'Of course!'' he answered angrily. "Do you think 
we've gone on spending more than twelve thousand a 
year without cutting way into our capital?" 

"I knew we'd sold bonds, but — have we spent that 
much a year? How did we?" Her awe increased. 

"Oh, I'll look in those careful account-books we kept," 
he remarked ironically, and then added: "Two rents a 
good part of the time, clothes, travel — why, each of 
those springs in California cost about four thousand 
dollars. That darn car was an expense from start to 
finish. And parties and amusements and — oh, one thing 
or another." 

They were both excited now and inordinately de- 
pressed. The situation seemed worse in the actual tell- 
ing Gloria than it had when he had first made the dis- 
covery himself. 

"You've got to make some money," she, said sud- 
denly. 

"I know it." 

"And you've got to make another attempt to see 
your grandfather." 

"IwiU." 

"When?" 

"When we get settled." 

This eventuality occurred a week later. They rented 
a small apartment on Fifty-seventh Street at one hun- 
dred and fifty a month. It included bedroom, living- 
room, kitchenette, and bath, in a thin, white-stone apart- 
ment-house, and though the rooms were too small to 
display Anthony's best furniture, they were clean, new, 
and, in a blonde and sanitary way, not unattractive. 
Bounds had gone abroad to enlist in the British army, 
and in his place they tolerated rather than enjoyed the 
services of a gaunt, big-boned Irishwoman, whom Gloria 
loathed because she discussed the glories of Sinn Fein 



THE BROKEN LUTE 289 

as she served breakfast. But they had vowed they 
would have no more Japanese, and English servants were 
for the present hard to obtain. Like Bounds, the woman 
prepared only breakfast. Their other meals they took 
at restaurants and hotels. 

What finally drove Anthony post-haste up to Tarry- 
town was an announcement in several New York papers 
that Adam Patch, the multimillionaire, the philan- 
thropist, the venerable uplifter, was seriously ill and not 
expected to recover. 

The Kitten 

Anthony could not see him. The doctors' instruc- 
tions were that he was to talk to no one, said Mr. Shut- 
tleworth — who offered kindly to take any message that 
Anthony might care to intrust with him, and deliver it 
to Adam Patch when his condition permitted. But by 
obvious innuendo he confirmed Anthony's melancholy 
inference that the prodigal grandson would be partic- 
ularly unwelcome at the bedside. At one point in the 
conversation Anthony, with Gloria's positive instruc- 
tions in mind, made a move as though to brush by the 
secretary, but Shuttleworth with a smile squared his 
brawny shoulders, and Anthony saw how futile such an 
attempt would be. 

Miserably intimidated, he returned to New York, 
where husband and wife passed a restless week. A little 
incident that occurred one evening indicated to what 
tension their nerves were drawn. 

Walking home along a cross-street after dinner, An- 
thony noticed a night*bound cat prowling near a railing. 

''I always have an instinct to kick a cat," he said 
idly. 

"I like them." 

"I yielded to it once." 



290 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

"When?'^ 

"Oh, years ago; before I met you. One night between 
the acts of a show. Cold night, like this, and I was a 
little tight — one of the first times I was ever tight," he 
added. "The poor little beggar was looking for a place 
to sleep, I guess, and I was in a mean mood, so it took 
my fancy to kick it " 

"Oh, the poor kitty!" cried Gloria, sincerely moved. 

Inspired with the narrative instinct, Anthony enlarged 
on the theme. 

"It was pretty bad," he admitted. "The poor little 
beast turned around and looked at me rather plaintively 
as though hoping I'd pick him up and be kind to him 
— ^he was really just a kitten — and before he knew it 
a big foot launched out at him and caught his little 
back " 

"Oh !" Gloria's cry was full of anguish. 

"It was such a cold night," he continued, perversely, 
keeping his voice upon a melancholy note. "I guess it 
expected kindness from somebody, and it got only 
pain " 

He broke off suddenly — Gloria was sobbing. They 
had reached home, and when they entered the apartment 
she threw herself upon the lounge, crying as though he 
had struck at her very soul. 

"Oh, the poor little kitty!" she repeated piteously, 
"the poor Httle kitty. So cold " 

"Gloria " 

"Don't come near me ! Please, don't come near me. 
You killed the soft little kitty." 

Touched, Anthony knelt beside her. 

"Dear," he said. "Oh, Gloria, darling. It isn't 
true. I invented it — every word of it." 

But she would not believe him. There had been some- 
thing in the details he had chosen to describe that made 



THE BROKEN LUTE 291 

her cry herself asleep that night, for the kitten, for An- 
thony, for herself, for the pain and bitterness and cruelty 
of all the world. 



The Passing of an American Moralist 

Old Adam died on a midnight of late November with 
a pious compliment to his God on his thin Ups. He, 
who had been flattered so much, faded out flattering the 
Omnipotent Abstraction which he fancied he might have 
angered in the more lascivious moments of his youth. 
It was announced that he had arranged some sort of 
an armistice with the deity, the terms of which were not 
made public, though they were thought to have included 
a large cash payment. All the newspapers printed his 
biography, and two of them ran short editorials on his 
sterling worth, and his part in the drama of industriaHsm, 
with which he had grown up. They referred guardedly 
to the reforms he had sponsored and financed. The 
memories of Comstock and Cato the Censor were resus- 
citated and paraded like gaunt ghosts through the col- 
umns. 

Every newspaper remarked that he was survived by 
a single grandson, Anthony Comstock Patch, of New 
York. 

The burial took place in the family plot at Tarrytown. 
Anthony and Gloria rode in the first carriage, too wor- 
ried to feel grotesque, both trying desperately to glean 
presage of fortune from the faces of retainers who had 
been with him at the end. 

They waited a frantic week for decency, and then, 
having received no notification of any kind, Anthony 
called up his grandfather's lawyer. Mr. Brett was not 
in — ^he was expected back in an hour. Anthony left his 
telephone number. 



292 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

It was the last day of November, cool and crackling 
outside, with a lustreless sun peering bleakly in at the 
windows. While they waited for the call, ostensibly 
engaged in reading, the atmosphere, within and without, 
seemed pervaded with a deliberate rendition of the pa- 
thetic fallacy. After an interminable while, the bell 
jingled, and Anthony, starting violently, took up the 
receiver. 

"Hello . . ." His voice was strained and hollow. 
''Yes — I did leave word. Who is this, please? . . . 
Yes. . . . Why, it was about the estate. Naturally 
I'm interested, and I've received no word about the 
reading of the will — I thought you might not have my 
address. . . . What? ... Yes . . ." 

Gloria fell on her knees. The intervals between An- 
thony's speeches were like tourniquets winding on her 
heart. She found herself helplessly twisting the large 
buttons from a velvet cushion. Then: 

"That's — that's very, very odd — that's very odd — • 
that's very odd. Not even any — ah — ^mention or any 
— ah — reason ? " 

His voice sounded faint and far away. She uttered 
a little sound, half gasp, half cry. 

"Yes, I'll see. ... All right, thanks . . . thanks. . . ." 

The phone clicked. Her eyes looking along the floor 
saw his feet cut the pattern of a patch of sunlight on 
the carpet. She arose and faced him with a gray, level 
glance just as his arms folded about her. 

"My dearest," he whispered huskily. "He did it, 
God damn him ! " 

Next Day 

"Who are the heirs?" asked Mr. Haight. "You see 

when you can tell me so little about it " 

Mr. Haight was tall and bent and beetle-browed. He 



THE BROKEN LUTE 293 

had been recommended to Anthony as an astute and 
tenacious lawyer. 

"I only know vaguely/' answered Anthony. "A man 
named Shuttleworth, who was a sort of pet of his, has 
the whole thing in charge as administrator or trustee 
or something — all except the direct bequests to charity 
and the proxdsions for servants and for those two cousins 
in Idaho." 

"How distant are the cousins?" 

"Oh, third or fourth, anyway. I never even heard of 
them." 

Mr. Haight nodded comprehensively. 

"And you want to contest a provision of the will?" 

"I guess so," admitted Anthony helplessly. "I want 
to do what sounds most hopeful — that's what I want 
you to tell me." 

"You want them to refuse probate to the will?" 

Anthony shook his head. 

"You've got me. I haven't any idea what ^probate' 
is. I want a share of the estate." 

"Suppose you tell me some more details. For in- 
stance, do you know why the testator disinherited 
you?" 

"Why — ^yes," began Anthony. "You see he was al- 
ways a sucker for moral reform, and all that " 

"I know," interjected Mr. Haight humorlessly. 

" — and I don't suppose he ever thought I was much 
good. I didn't go into business, you see. But I feel 
certain that up to last summer I was one of the bene- 
ficiaries. We had a house out in Marietta, and one 
night grandfather got the notion he'd come over and 
see us. It just happened that there was a rather gay 
party going on and he arrived without any warning. 
Well, he took one look, he and this fellow Shuttleworth, 
and then turned around and tore right back to Tarry- 



294 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

town. After that he never answered my letters or even 
let me see him." 

"He was a prohibitionist, wasn't he?" 

''He was everything — regular rehgious maniac." 

"How long before his death was the will made that 
disinherited you?" 

"Recently — I mean since August." 

"And you think that the direct reason for his not 
leaving you the majority of the estate was his dis- 
pleasure with your recent actions?" 

"Yes." 

Mr. Haight considered. Upon what grounds was 
Anthony thinking of contesting the will? 

"Why, isn't there something about evil influence?" 

"Undue influence is one ground — ^but it's the most 
difficult. You would have to show that such pressure 
was brought to bear so that the deceased was in a con- 
dition where he disposed of his property contrary to his 
intentions ^" 

"Well, suppose this fellow Shuttleworth dragged him 
over to Marietta just when he thought some sort of a 
celebration was probably going on?" 

"That wouldn't have any bearing on the case. There's 
a strong division between advice and influence. You'd 
have to prove that the secretary had a sinister inten- 
tion. I'd suggest some other grounds. A will is auto- 
matically refused probate in case of insanity, drunken- 
ness" — ^here Anthony smiled — "or feeble-mindedness 
through premature old age." 

"But," objected Anthony, "his private physician, 
being one of the beneficiaries, would testify that he 
wasn't feeble-minded. And he wasn't. As a matter of 
fact he probably did just what he intended to with his 
money — ^it was perfectly consistent with everything he'd 
ever done in his life " 



THE BROKEN LUTE 295 

"Well, you see, feeble-mindedness is a great deal like 
undue influence — it implies that the property wasn't 
disposed of as originally intended. The most common 
ground is duress — ^physical pressure." 

Anthony shook his head. 

"Not much chance on that, I'm afraid. Undue in- 
fluence sounds best to me." 

After more discussion, so technical as to be largely 
unintelligible to Anthony, he retained Mr. Haight as 
counsel. The lawyer proposed an interview with Shut- 
tleworth, who, jointly with Wilson, Hiemer and Hardy, 
was executor of the will. Anthony was to come back 
later in the week. 

It transpired that the estate consisted of approxi- 
mately forty million dollars. The largest bequest to an 
individual was of one million, to Edward Shuttleworth, 
who received in addition thirty thousand a year salary 
as administrator of the thirty-million-dollar trust fund, 
left to be doled out to various charities and reform so- 
cieties practically at his own discretion. The remain- 
ing nine millions were proportioned among the two 
cousins in Idaho and about twenty-five other benefici- 
aries: friends, secretaries, servants, and employees, who 
had, at one time or another, earned the seal of Adam 
Patch's approval. 

At the end of another fortnight Mr. Haight, on a re- 
tainer's fee of fifteen thousand dollars, had begun prepa- 
rations for contesting the will. 

The Winter of Discontent 

Before they had been two months in the little apart- 
ment on Fifty-seventh Street, it had assumed for both 
of them the same indefinable but almost material taint 
that had impregnated the gray house in Marietta. 
There was the odor of tobacco always — ^both of them 



296 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

smoked incessantly; it was in their clothes, their blankets, 
the curtains, and the ash-littered carpets. Added to 
this was the wretched aura of stale wine, with its in- 
evitable suggestion of beauty gone foul and revelry re- 
membered in disgust. About a particular set of glass 
goblets on the sideboard the odor was particularly no- 
ticeable, and in the main room the mahogany table was 
ringed with white circles where glasses had been set 
down upon it. There had been many parties — ^people 
broke things; people became sick in Gloria's bathroom; 
people spilled wine; people made unbelievable messes of 
the kitchenette. 

These things were a regular part of their existence. 
Despite the resolutions of many Mondays it was tacitly 
understood as the week-end approached that it should 
be observed with some sort of unholy excitement. When 
Saturday came they would not discuss the matter, but 
would call up this person or that from among their circle 
of sufficiently irresponsible friends, and suggest a ren- 
dezvous. Only after the friends had gathered and An- 
thony had set out decanters, would he murmur casually : 
"I guess I'll have just one high-ball myself " 

Then they were off for two days — realizing on a wintry 
dawn that they had been the noisiest and most conspicu- 
ous members of the noisiest and most conspicuous party 
at the Boul' Mich', or the Club Ramee, or at other re- 
sorts much less particular about the hilarity of their 
clientele. They would find that they had, somehow, 
squandered eighty or ninety dollars, how, they never 
knew; they customarily attributed it to the general 
penury of the "friends" who had accompanied them. 

It began to be not unusual for the more sincere of 
their friends to remonstrate with them, in the very course 
of a party, and to predict a sombre end for them in the 
loss of Gloria's "looks" and Anthony's "constitution.'* 



THE BROKEN LUTE 297 

The story of the summarily interrupted revel in Mari- 
etta had, of course, leaked out in detail — "Muriel doesn't 
mean to tell every one she knows," said Gloria to An- 
thony, ''but she thinks every one she tells is the only 
one she's going to tell"— rand, diaphanously veiled, the 
tale had been given a conspicuous place in Town Tattle. 
When the terms of Adam Patch's will were made public 
and the newspapers printed items concerning Anthony's 
suit, the story was beautifully rounded out — to An- 
thony's infinite disparagement. They began to hear ru- 
mors about themselves from all quarters, rumors founded 
usually on a soup^on of truth, but overlaid with pre- 
posterous and sinister detail. 

Outwardly they showed no signs of deterioration. 
Gloria at twenty-six was still the Gloria of twenty; her 
complexion a fresh damp setting for her candid eyes; 
her hair still a childish glory, darkening slowly from com 
color to a deep russet gold; her slender body suggesting 
ever a n)miph running and dancing through Orphic 
groves. Masculine eyes, dozens of them, followed her 
with a fascinated stare when she walked through a hotel 
lobby or down the aisle of a theatre. Men asked to be 
introduced to her, fell into prolonged states of sincere 
admiration, made definite love to her — for she was still 
a thing of exquisite and unbeHevable beauty. And for 
his part Anthony had rather gained than lost in ap- 
pearance; his face had taken on a certain intangible air 
of tragedy, romantically contrasted with his trim and 
immaculate person. 

Early in the winter, when all conversation turned on 
the probability of America's going into the war, when 
Anthony was making a desperate and sincere attempt 
to write, Muriel Kane arrived in New York and came 
immediately to see them. Like Gloria, she seemed never 
to change. She knew the latest slang, danced the latest 



298 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

dances, and talked of the latest songs and plays with all 
the fervor of her first season as a New York drifter. 
Her coyness was eternally new, eternally ineffectual; her 
clothes were extreme; her black hair was bobbed, now, 
like Gloria's. 

"IVe come up for the midwinter prom at New 
Haven," she announced, imparting her deHghtful secret. 
Though she must have been older then than any of the 
boys in college, she managed always to secure some 
sort of invitation, imagining vaguely that at the next 
party would occur the flirtation which was to end at 
the romantic altar. 

" Where Ve you been?'' inquired Anthony, unfailingly 
amused. 

''I've been at Hot Springs. It's been slick and peppy 
this fall — ^more menl^' 

''Are you in love, Muriel?" 

' ' What do you mean ' love ' ? " This was the rhetorical 
question of the year. "I'm going to tell you some- 
thing," she said, switching the subject abruptly. "I 
suppose it's none of my business, but I think it's time 
for you two to settle down." 

"Why, we are settled down." 

"Yes, you are!" she scoffed archly. "Everywhere I 
go I hear stories of your escapades. Let me tell you, I 
have an awful time sticking up for you." 

"You needn't bother," said Gloria coldly. 

"Now, Gloria," she protested, "you know I'm one 
of your best friends." 

Gloria was silent. Muriel continued: 

"It's not so much the idea of a woman drinking, but 
Gloria's so pretty, and so many people know her by 
sight all around, that it's naturally conspicuous " 

"What have you heard recently?" demanded Gloria, 
her dignity going down before her curiosity. 



THE BROKEN LUTE 299 

*'Well, for instance, that that party in Marietta killed 
Anthony's grandfather." 

Instantly husband and wife were tense with annoy- 
ance. 

''Why, I thinlc that's outrageous." 

''That's what they say," persisted Muriel stubbornly. 

Anthony paced the room. "It's preposterous!" he 
declared. "The very people we take on parties shout 
the story around as a great joke — and eventually it gets 
back to us in some such form as this." 

Gloria began running her finger through a stray red- 
dish curl. Muriel licked her veil as she considered her 
next remark. 

"You ought to have a baby." 

Gloria looked up wearily. 

"We can't afford it." 

"All the people in the slums have them," said Muriel 
triumphantly. 

Anthony and Gloria exchanged a smile. They had 
reached the stage of violent quarrels that were never 
made up, quarrels that smouldered and broke out again 
at intervals or died away from sheer indifference — but 
this visit of Muriel's drew them temporarily together. 
When the discomfort under which they were living was 
remarked upon by a third party, it gave them the im- 
petus to face this hostile world together. It was very 
seldom, now, that the impulse toward reunion sprang 
from within. 

Anthony found himself associating his own existence 
with that of the apartment's night elevator man, a 
pale, scraggly bearded person of about sixty, with an 
air of being somewhat above his station. It was prob- 
ably because of this quahty that he had secured the 
position; it made him a pathetic and memorable figure 
of failure. Anthony recollected, without humor, a 



300 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

hoary jest about the elevator man's career being a 
matter of ups and downs — it was, at any rate, an en- 
closed life of infinite dreariness. Each time Anthony 
stepped into the car he waited breathlessly for the old 
man's "Well, I guess we're going to have some sunshine 
to-day." Anthony thought how Httle rain or sunshine 
he would enjoy shut into that close little cage in the 
smoke-colored, windowless hall. 

A darkling figure, he attained tragedy in leaving the 
life that had used him so shabbily. Three young gun- 
men came in one night, tied him up and left him on a 
pile of coal in the cellar while they went through the 
tnmk-room. When the janitor found him next morn- 
ing he had collapsed from chill. He died of pneiunonia 
four days later. 

He was replaced by a glib Martinique negro, with an 
incongruous British accent and a tendency to be surly, 
whom Anthony detested. The passing of the old man 
had approximately the same effect on him that the 
kitten story had had on Gloria. He was reminded of 
the cruelty of all life and, in consequence, of the increas- 
ing bitterness of his own. 

He was writing — and in earnest at last. He had gone 
to Dick and Hstened for a tense hour to an elucidation 
of those minutiae of procedure which hitherto he had 
rather scornfully looked down upon. He needed money 
immediately — he was selling bonds every month to pay 
their bills. Dick was frank and explicit: 

"So far as articles on literary subjects in these obscure 
magazines go, you couldn't make enough to pay your 
rent. Of course if a man has the gift of humor, or a 
chance at a big biography, or some specialized knowledge, 
he may strike it rich. But for you, fiction's the only 
thing. You say you need money right away ? " 

"I certainly do." 



THE BROKEN LUTE 301 

"Well, itM be a year and a half before you'd make 
any money out of a novel. Try some popular short 
stories. And, by the way, unless they're exceptionally 
brilliant they have to be cheerful and on the side of 
the heaviest artillery to make you any money." 

Anthony thought of Dick's recent output, which had 
been appearing in a well-known monthly. It was con- 
cerned chiefly with the preposterous actions of a class 
of sawdust effigies who, one was assured, were New York 
society people, and it turned, as a rule, upon questions 
of the heroine's technical purity, with mock-sociological 
overtones about the "mad antics of the four hundred." 

"But your stories — " exclaimed Anthony aloud, al- 
most involuntarily. 

"Oh, that's different," Dick asserted astoundingly. 
^^I have a reputation, you see, so I'm expected to deal 
with strong themes." 

Anthony gave an interior start, realizing with this 
remark how much Richard Caramel had fallen off. Did 
he actually think that these amazing latter productions 
were as good as his first novel? 

Anthony went back to the apartment and set to work. 
He found that the business of optimism was no mean 
task. After half a dozen futile starts he went to the 
public library and for a week investigated the files of 
a popular magazine. Then, better equipped, he ac- 
complished his first story, " The Dictaphone of Fate." 
It was founded upon one of his few remaining impressions 
of that six weeks in Wall Street the year before. It pur- 
ported to be the sunny tale of an office boy who, quite 
by accident, hummed a wonderful melody into the dic- 
taphone. The cyHnder was discovered by the boss's 
brother, a well-known producer of musical comedy — 
and then inamediately lost. The body of the story was 
concerned with the pursuit of the missing cylinder and 



302 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

the eventual marriage of the noble office boy (now a 
successful composer) to Miss Rooney, the virtuous 
stenographer, who was half Joan of Arc and half Flor- 
ence Nightingale. 

He had gathered that this was what the magazines 
wanted. He offered, in his protagonists, the customary 
denizens of the pihk-and-blue Hterary world, immersing 
them in a saccharine plot that would offend not a single 
stomach in Marietta. He had it typed in double space 
— this last as advised by a booklet, ^^ Success as a Writer 
Made Easy," by R. Meggs Widdlestien, which assured 
the ambitious plumber of the futility of perspiration, 
since after a six-lesson course he could make at least a 
thousand dollars a month. 

After reading it to a bored Gloria and coaxing from 
her the immemorial remark that it was ** better than a 
lot of stuff that gets published," he satirically affixed 
the nom de plume of "GiUes de Sade," enclosed the 
proper return envelope, and sent it off. 

Following the gigantic labor of conception he decided 
to wait until he heard from the first story before begin- 
ning another. Dick had told him that he might get as 
much as two hundred dollars. If by any chance it did 
happen to be unsuited, the editor's letter would, no 
doubt, give him an idea of what changes should be made. 

"It is, without question, the most abominable piece 
of writing in existence," said Anthony. 

The editor quite conceivably agreed with him. He 
returned the manuscript with a rejection slip. Anthony 
sent it off elsewhere and began another story. The 
second one was called "The Little Open Doors"; it 
was written in three days. It concerned the occult: 
an estranged couple were brought together by a mediima 
in a vaudeville show. 

There were six altogether, six wretched and pitiable 



THE BROKEN LUTE 303 

efforts to "write down'' by a man who had never before 
made a consistent effort to write at all. Not one of them 
contained a spark of vitality, and their total yield of 
grace and felicity was less than that of an average news- 
paper column. During their circulation they collected, 
all told, thirty-one rejection slips, headstones for the 
packages that he would find l3dng like dead bodies at 
his door. 

In mid- January Gloria's father died, and they went 
agjain to Kansas City — a miserable trip, for Gloria 
brooded interminably, not upon her father's death, but 
on her mother's. Russel Gilbert's affairs having been 
cleared up they came into possession of about three 
thousand dollars, and a great amount of furniture. 
This was in storage, for he had spent his last days in a 
small hotel. It was due to his death that Anthony made 
a new discovery concerning Gloria. On the journey 
East she disclosed herself, astonishingly, as a Bilphist. 

"Why, Gloria," he cried, "you don't mean to tell me 
you believe that stuff." 

"WeU," she said defiantly, "why not?" 

"Because it's — ^it's fantastic. You know that in 
every sense of the word you're an agnostic. You'd 
laugh at any orthodox form of Christianity — and then 
you come out with the statement that you believe in 
some silly rule of reincarnation." 

"What if I do? I've heard you and Maury, and 
every one else for whose intellect I have the slightest re- 
spect, agree that Hfe as it appears is utterly meaningless. 
But it's always seemed to me that if I were uncon- 
sciously learning something here it might not be so 
meaningless." 

"You're not learning anything — ^you're just getting 
tired. And if you must have a faith to soften things, 
take up one that appeals to the reason of some one be- 



304 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

side a lot of hysterical women. A person like you 
oughtn't to accept anything unless it's decently demon- 
strable." 

^'I don't care about truth. I want some happiness." 

"Well, if you've got a decent mind the second has 
got to be qualified by the first. Any simple soul can 
delude himself with mental garbage." 

"I don't care," she held out stoutly, "and, what's 
more, I'm not propounding any doctrine." 

The argument faded off, but reoccurred to Anthony 
several times thereafter. It was disturbing to find this 
old belief, evidently assimilated from her mother, in- 
serting itself again under its immemorial disguise as an 
innate idea. 

They reached New York in March after an expensive 
and ill-advised week spent in Hot Springs, and Anthony 
resumed his abortive attempts at fiction. As it became 
plainer to both of them that escape did not lie in the 
way of popular literature, there was a further slipping 
of their mutual confidence and courage. A compKcated 
struggle went on incessantly between them. All efforts 
to keep down expenses died away from sheer inertia, 
and by March they were again using any pretext as an 
excuse for a "party." With an assmnption of reckless- 
ness Gloria tossed out the suggestion that they should 
take aU their money and go on a real spree while it 
lasted — anything seemed better than to see it go in un- 
satisfactory driblets. 

"Gloria, you want parties as much as I do." 

"It doesn't matter about me. Everything I do is in 
accordance with my ideas: to use every minute of these 
years, when I'm young, in having the best time I pos- 
sibly can." 

"How about after that?" 

"After that I won't care." 

"Yes, you wiU." 



THE BROKEN LUTE 305 

"Well, I may — ^but I won't be able to do anything 
about it. And I'll have had my good time." 

*' You'll be the same then. After a fashion, we have 
had our good time, raised the devil, and we're in the 
state of paying for it." 

Nevertheless, the money kept going. There would be 
two days of gaiety, two days of moroseness — an endless, 
almost invariable round. The sharp pull-ups, when 
they occurred, resulted usually in a spurt of work for 
Anthony, while Gloria, nervous and bored, remained in 
bed or else chewed abstractedly at her fingers. After a 
day or so of this, they would make an engagement, and 
then — Oh, what did it matter? This night, this glow, 
the cessation of anxiety and the sense that if living was 
not purposeful it was, at any rate, essentially romantic ! 
Wine gave a sort of gallantry to their own failure. 

Meanwhile the suit progressed slowly, with intermi- 
nable examinations of witnesses and marshallings of evi- 
dence. The preliminary proceedings of settling the es- 
tate were finished. Mr. Haight saw no reason why the 
case should not come up for trial before summer. 

Bloeckman appeared in New York late in March; he 
had been in England for nearly a year on matters con- 
cerned with ^' Films Par Excellence." The process of gen- 
eral refinement was still in progress — always he dressed 
a little better, his intonation was mellower, and in his 
manner there was perceptibly more assurance that the 
fine things of the world were his by a natural and in- 
alienable right. He called at the apartment, remained 
only an hour, during which he talked chiefly of the war, 
and left telling them he was coming again. On his 
second visit Anthony was not at home, but an absorbed 
and excited Gloria greeted her husband later in the 
afternoon. 



3o6 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

"Anthony," she began, "would you still object if I 
went in the movies?" 

His whole heart hardened against the idea. As she 
seemed to recede from him, if only in threat, her pres- 
ence became again not so much precious as desperately 
necessary. 

"Oh, Gloria !" 

"Blockhead said he'd put me in — only if I'm ever 
going to do anything I'll have to start now. They only 
want young women. Think, of the money, Anthony!" 

"For you — ^yes. But how about me?" 

"Don't you know that anything I have is yours too?" 

"It's such a hell of a career !" he burst out, the moral, 
the infinitely circumspect Anthony, "and such a hell 
of a bunch. And I'm so utterly tired of that fellow 
Bloeckman coming here and interfering. I hate the- 
atrical things." 

"It isn't theatrical ! It's utterly different." 

"What am I supposed to do? Chase you all over the 
country? Live on your money?" 

"Then make some yourself." 

The conversation developed into one of the most 
violent quarrels they had ever had. After the ensuing 
reconciliation and the inevitable period of moral inertia, 
she reahzed that he had taken the Hfe out of the project. 
Neither of them ever mentioned the probability that 
Bloeckman was by no means disinterested, but they 
both knew that it lay back of Anthony's objection. 

In April war was declared with Germany. Wilson 
and his cabinet — a cabinet that in its lack of distinction 
was strangely reminiscent of the twelve apostles — ^let 
loose the carefully starved dogs of war, and the press 
began to whoop hysterically against the sinister morals, 
sinister philosophy, and sinister music produced by the 
Teutonic temperament. Those who fancied themselves 



THE BROKEN LUTE 307 

particularly broad-minded made the exquisite distinc- 
tion that it was only the German Government which 
aroused them to hysteria; the rest were worked up to 
a condition of retching indecency. Any song which 
contained the word "mother" and the word ''kaiser'' 
was assured of a tremendous success. At last every 
one had something to talk about — and almost every one 
fully enjoyed it, as though they had been cast for parts 
in a sombre and romantic play. 

Anthony, Maury, and Dick sent in their applications 
for officers' training-camps and the two latter went about 
feeling strangely exalted and reproachless; they chattered 
to each other, like college boys, of war's being the one 
excuse for, and justification of, the aristocrat, and con- 
jured up an impossible caste of officers, to be composed, 
it appeared, chiefly of the more attractive alumni of 
three or four Eastern colleges. It seemed to Gloria that 
in this huge red light streaming across the nation even 
Anthony took on a new glamour. 

The Tenth Infantry, arriving in New York from 
Panama, were escorted from saloon to saloon by patri- 
otic citizens, to their great bewilderment. West Point- 
ers began to be noticed for the first time in years, and 
the general impression was that everything was glorious, 
but not half so glorious as it was going to be pretty soon, 
and that everybody was a fine fellow, and every race 
a great race — always excepting the Germans — and in 
every strata of society outcasts and scapegoats had but 
to appear in uniform to be forgiven, cheered, and wept 
over by relatives, ex-friends, and utter strangers. 

Unfortunately, a small and precise doctor decided that 
there was something the matter with Anthony's blood- 
pressure. He could not conscientiously pass him for an 
officers' training-camp. 



3o8 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

The Broken Lute 

Their third anniversary passed, uncelebrated, un- 
noticed. The season warmed in thaw, melted into 
hotter summer, simmered and boiled away. In July 
the will was offered for probate, and upon the contesta- 
tion was assigned by the surrogate to trial term for 
trial. The matter was prolonged into September — there 
was difficulty in empanelling an unbiassed jury because 
of the moral sentiments involved. To Anthony's dis- 
appointment a verdict was finally returned in favor of 
the testator, whereupon Mr. Haight caused a notice 
of appeal to be served upon Edward Shuttleworth. 

As the siunmer waned Anthony and Gloria talked of 
the things they were to do when the money was theirs, 
and of the places they were to go to after the war, when 
they would "agree on things again," for both of them 
looked forward to a time when love, springing like the 
phoenix from its own ashes, should be born again in its 
mysterious and unfathomable haunts. 

He was drafted early in the fall, and the examining 
doctor made no mention of low blood-pressure. It was 
all very purposeless and sad when Anthony told Gloria 
one night that he wanted, above all things, to be killed. 
But, as always, they were sorry for each other for the 
wrong things at the wrong times. . . . 

They decided that for the present she was not to go 
with him to the Southern camp where his contingent was 
ordered. She would remain in New York to "use the 
apartment," to save money, and to watch the progress 
of the case — ^which was pending now in the Appellate 
Division, of which the calendar, Mr. Haight told them, 
was far behind. 

Almost their last conversation was a senseless quarrel 
about the proper division of the income — at a word 



THE BROKEN LUTE 309 

either would have given it all to the other. It was 
typical of the muddle and confusion of their lives that 
on the October night when Anthony reported at the 
Grand Central Station for the journey to camp, she ar- 
rived only in time to catch his eye over the anxious heads 
of a gathered crowd. Through the dark light of the en- 
closed train-sheds their glances stretched across a hys- 
terical area, foul with yellow sobbing and the smells of 
poor women. They must have pondered upon what 
they had done to one another, and each must have ac- 
cused himself of drawing this sombre pattern through 
which they were tracing tragically and obscurely. At 
the last they were too far away for either to see the other's 
tears. 



BOOK III 



CHAPTER I 
A MATTER OF CIVILIZATION 

At a frantic command from some invisible source, 
Anthony groped his way inside. He was thinking that 
for the first time in more than three years he was to re- 
main longer than a night away from Gloria. The finality 
of it appealed to him drearily. It was his clean and 
lovely girl that he was leaving. 

They had arrived, he thought, at the most practical 
financial settlement: she was to have three hundred and 
seventy-five dollars a month — not too much considering 
that over half of that would go in rent — and he was 
taking fifty to supplement his pay. He saw no need for 
more: food, clothes, and quarters would be provided — ■ 
there were no social obligations for a private. 

The car was crowded and already thick with breath. 
It was one of the type known as "tourist'' cars, a 
sort of brummagem Pulhnan, with a bare floor, and 
straw seats that needed cleaning. Nevertheless, An- 
thony greeted it with relief. He had vaguely expected 
that the trip South would be made in a freight-car, in 
one end of which would stand eight horses and in the 
other forty men. He had heard the "hommes 40, 
chevaux 8 '' story so often that it had become confused 
and ominous. 

As he rocked down the aisle with his barrack-bag 
slung at his shoulder Hke a monstrous blue sausage, he 
saw no vacant seats, but after a moment his eye fell on 
a single space at present occupied by the feet of a short 
swarthy Sicilian, who, with his hat drawn over his eyes, 

313 



314 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

hunched defiantly in the corner. As Anthony stopped 
beside him he stared up with a scowl, evidently intended 
to be intimidating; he must have adopted it as a defense 
against this entire gigantic equation. At Anthony's 
sharp "That seat taken?" he very slowly lifted the feet 
as though they were a breakable package, and placed 
them with some care upon the floor. His eyes remained 
on Anthony, who meanwhile sat down and unbuttoned 
the uniform coat issued him at Camp Upton the day 
before. It chafed him under the arms. 

Before Anthony could scrutinize the other occupants 
of the section a young second lieutenant blew in at the 
upper end of the car and wafted airily down the aisle, 
announcing in a voice of appalling acerbity: 

"There will be no smoking in this car ! No smoking ! 
Don't smoke, men, in this car!" 

As he sailed out at the other end a dozen little clouds 
of expostulation arose on all sides. 

"Oh, cripe!" 

"Jeese!" 

''No smokin'?'' 

"Hey, come back here, fella!" 

"What's 'ee idea?" 

Two or three cigarettes were shot out through the 
open windows. Others were retained inside, though kept 
sketchily away from view. From here and there in ac- 
cents of bravado, of mockery, of submissive humor, a 
few remarks were dropped that soon melted into the 
listless and pervasive silence. 

The fourth occupant of Anthony's section spoke up 
suddenly. 

"G'by, liberty," he said sullenly. "G'by, everything 
except bein' an officer's dog." 

Anthony looked at him. He was a tall Irishman 
with an expression moulded of indifference and utter 



A MATTER OF CIVILIZATION 315 

disdain. His eyes fell on Anthony, as though he ex- 
pected an answer, and then upon the others. Receiving 
only a defiant stare from the Italian he groaned and 
spat noisily on the floor by way of a dignified transition 
back into taciturnity. 

A few minutes later the door opened again and the 
second lieutenant was borne in upon his customary 
ofl&cial zephyr, this time singing out a different tiding: 

"All right, men, smoke if you want to ! My mistake, 
men! It's all right, men! Go on and smoke — ^my 
mistake ! " 

This time Anthony had a good look at him. He was 
young, thin, already faded; he was like his own mus- 
tache; he was like a great piece of shiny straw. His 
chin receded, faintly; this was offset by a magnificent 
and unconvincing scowl, a scowl that Anthony was to 
connect with the faces of many young officers during the 
ensuing year. 

Immediately every one smoked — ^whether they had 
previously desired to or not. Anthony's cigarette con- 
tributed to the hazy oxidation which seemed to roll back 
and forth in opalescent clouds with every motion of the 
train. The conversation, which had lapsed between the 
two impressive visits of the young officer, now revived 
tepidly; the men across the aisle began making clumsy 
experiments with their straw seats' capacity for com- 
parative comfort; two card-games, half-heartedly begun, 
soon drew several spectators to sitting positions on the 
arms of seats. In a few minutes Anthony became aware 
of a persistently obnoxious sound — the small, defiant 
Sicilian had fallen audibly asleep. It was wearisome to 
contemplate that animate protoplasm, reasonable by 
courtesy only, shut up in a car by an incomprehensible 
civilization, taken somewhere, to do a vague something 
without aim or significance or consequence. Anthony 



3i6 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

sighed, opened a newspaper which he had no recollection 
of buying, and began to read by the dim yellow light. 

Ten o'clock bumped stuffily into eleven; the hours 
clogged and caught and slowed down. Amazingly the 
train halted along the dark countryside, from time to 
time indulging in short, deceitful movements backward 
or forward, and whistKng harsh paeans into the high 
October night. Having read his newspaper through, 
editorials, cartoons, and war-poems, his eye fell on a 
half-column headed Shakespearevilky Kansas. It seemed 
that the Shakespeareville Chamber of Commerce had 
recently held an enthusiastic debate as to whether the 
American soldiers should be known as '^Sammies" or 
^'Battling Christians." The thought gagged him. He 
dropped the newspaper, yawned, and let his mind drift 
off at a tangent. He wondered why Gloria had been 
late. It seemed so long ago already — he had a pang 
of illusive loneliness. He tried to imagine from what 
angle she would regard her new position, what place in 
her considerations he would continue to hold. The 
thought acted as a further depressant — he opened his 
paper and began to read again. 

The members of the Chamber of Commerce in Shake- 
speareville had decided upon "Liberty Lads." 

For two nights and two days they rattled southward, 
making mysterious inexplicable stops in what were ap- 
parently arid wastes, and then rushing through large 
cities with a pompous air of hurry. The whimsicalities 
of this train foreshadowed for Anthony the whimsicali- 
ties of all army administration. 

In the arid wastes they were served from the baggage- 
car with beans and bacon that at first he was unable to 
eat — he dined scantily on some milk chocolate distrib- 
uted by a village canteen. But on the second day the 



A MATTER OF CIVILIZATION 317 

baggage-car^s output began to appear surprisingly palat- 
able. On the third morning the rumor was passed along 
that within the hour they would arrive at their destina- 
tion, Camp Hooker. 

It had become intolerably hot in the car, and the men 
were all in shirt-sleeves. The sun came in through the 
windows, a tired and ancient sun, yellow as parchment 
and stretched out of shape in transit. It tried to enter 
in triumphant squares and produced only warped 
splotches — but it was appallingly steady; so much so 
that it disturbed Anthony not to be the pivot of all the 
inconsequential sawmills and trees and telegraph-poles 
that were turning around him so fast. Outside it played 
its heavy tremolo over oHve roads and fallow cotton- 
fields, back of which ran a ragged line of woods broken 
with eminences of gray rock. The foreground was 
dotted sparsely with wretched, ill-patched shanties, 
among which there would flash by, now and then, a 
specimen of the languid yokelry of South Carolina, or 
else a strolling darky with sullen and bewildered eyes. 

Then the woods moved off and they rolled into a 
broad space like the baked top of a gigantic cake, sugared 
with an infinity of tents arranged in geometric figures 
over its surface. The train came to an uncertain stop, 
and the sun and the poles and the trees faded, and his 
universe rocked itself slowly back to its old usualness, 
with Anthony Patch in the centre. As the men, weary 
and perspiring, crowded out of the car, he smelt that 
unforgetable aroma that impregnates all permanent 
camps — the odor of garbage. 

Camp Hooker was an astonishing and spectacular 
growth, suggesting "A Mining Town in 1870 — ^The Second 
Week." It was a thing of wooden shacks and whitish- 
gray tents, connected by a pattern of roads, with hard 
tan drill-grounds fringed with trees. Here and there 



3i8 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

stood green Y. M. C. A. houses, unpromising oases, with 
their muggy odor of wet flannels and closed telephone- 
booths — and across from each of them there was usually 
a canteen, swarming with life, presided over indolently 
by an officer who, with the aid of a side-car, usually 
managed to make his detail a pleasant and chatty 
sinecure. 

Up and down the dusty roads sped the soldiers of the 
quartermaster corps, also in side-cars. Up and down 
drove the generals in their government automobiles, 
stopping now and then to bring unalert details to atten- 
tion, to frown heavily upon captains marching at the 
heads of companies, to set the pompous pace in that 
gorgeous game of showing off which was taking place 
triumphantly over the entire area. 

The first week after the arrival of Anthony's draft 
was filled with a series of interminable inoculations and 
physical examinations, and with the preliminary drilling. 
The days left him desperately tired. He had been issued 
the wrong-size shoes by a popular, easy-going supply- 
sergeant, and in consequence his feet were so swollen 
that the last hours of the afternoon were an acute tor- 
ture. For the first time in his fife he could throw him- 
self down on his cot between dinner and afternoon drill- 
call, and seeming to sink with each moment deeper into 
a bottomless bed, drop off immediately to sleep, while 
the noise and laughter around him faded to a pleasant 
drone of drowsy summer sound. In the morning he 
awoke stiff and aching, hollow as a ghost, and hurried 
forth to meet the other ghostly figures who swarmed in 
the wan company streets, while a harsh bugle shrieked 
and spluttered at the gray heavens. 

He was in a skeleton infantry company of about a 
hundred men. After the invariable breakfast of fatty 
bacon, cold toast, and cereal, the entire hundred would 



A MATTER OF CIVILIZATION 319 

rush for the latrines, which, however well policed, seemed 
always intolerable, like the lavatories in cheap hotels. 
Out on the field, then, in ragged order — the lame man 
on his left grotesquely marring Anthony's listless efforts 
to keep in step, the platoon sergeants either showing off 
violently to impress the officers and recruits, or else 
quietly lurking in close to the line of march, avoiding 
both labor and unnecessary visibility. 

When they reached the field, work began immediately 
— they peeled off their shirts for calisthenics. This was 
the only part of the day that Anthony enjoyed. Lieu- 
tenant Kretching, who presided at the antics, was sinewy 
and muscular, and Anthony followed his movements 
faithfully, with a feeling that he was doing something of 
positive value to himself. The other officers and ser- 
geants walked about among the men with the malice of 
schoolboys, grouping here and there around some un- 
fortunate who lacked muscular control, giving him con- 
fused instructions and commands. When they discov- 
ered a particularly forlorn, ill-nourished specimen, they 
would Hnger the full half-hour making cutting remarks 
and snickering among themselves. 

One little officer named Hopkins, who had been a 
sergeant in the regular army, was particularly annoying. 
He took the war as a gift of revenge from the high gods 
to himself, and the constant burden of his harangues 
was that these rookies did not appreciate the full gravity 
and responsibility of "the service.'' He considered that 
by a combination of foresight and dauntless efficiency he 
had raised himself to his current magnificence. He aped 
the particular tyrannies of every officer under whom he 
had served in times gone by. His frown was frozen on 
his brow — ^before giving a private a pass to go to town 
he would ponderously weigh the effect of such an ab- 
sence upon the company, the army, and the welfare of 
the military profession the world over. 



320 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Lieutenant Kretching, blond, dull and phlegmatic, 
introduced Anthony ponderously to the problems of 
attention, right face, about face, and at ease. His prin- 
cipal defect was his forgetfulness. He often kept the 
company straining and aching at attention for five min- 
utes while he stood out in front and explained a new 
movement — as a result only the men in the centre knew 
what it was all about — those on both flanks had been 
too emphatically impressed with the necessity of staring 
straight ahead. 

The drill continued until noon. It consisted of stress- 
ing a succession of infinitely remote details, and though 
Anthony perceived that this was consistent with the 
logic of war, it none the less irritated him. That the 
same faulty blood-pressure which would have been in- 
decent in an oflicer did not interfere with the duties of 
a private was a preposterous incongruity. Sometimes, 
after listening to a sustained invective concerned with 
a dull and, on the face of it, absurd subject known as 
military '^ courtesy," he suspected that the dim purpose 
of the war was to let the regular army officers — men with 
the mentality and aspirations of schoolboys — have their 
fling with some real slaughter. He was being gro- 
tesquely sacrificed to the twenty-year patience of a 
Hopkins ! 

Of his three tent-mates — a flat-faced, conscientious 
objector from Tennessee, a big, scared Pole, and the 
disdainful Celt whom he had sat beside on the train — 
the two former spent the evenings in writing eternal 
letters home, while the Irishman sat in the tent-door 
whistling over and over to himself half a dozen shrill and 
monotonous bird-calls. It was rather to avoid an hour 
of their company than with any hope of diversion that, 
when the quarantine was lifted at the end of the week, 
he went into town. He caught one of the swarm of 



A MATTER OF CIVILIZATION 321 

jitneys that overran the camp each evening, and in half 
an hour was set down in front of the Stonewall Hotel on 
the hot and drowsy main street. 

Under the gathering twilight the town was unexpect- 
edly attractive. The sidewalks were peopled by vividly 
dressed, overpainted girls, who chattered volubly in 
low, lazy voices, by dozens of taxi-drivers who assailed 
passing officers with *^Take y' anywheh, Ziewtenant," 
and by an intermittent procession of ragged, shuffling, 
subservient negroes. Anthony, loitering along through 
the warm dusk, felt for the first time in years the slow, 
erotic breath of the South, imminent in the hot softness 
of the air, in the pervasive lull of thought and time. 

He had gone about a block when he was arrested sud- 
denly by a harsh conmiand at his elbow. 

"Haven't you been taught to salute officers?" 

He looked dumbly at the man who addressed him, a 
stout, black-haired captain, who fixed him menacingly 
with brown pop-eyes. 

^^Come to attention r^ The words were literally thun- 
dered. A few pedestrians near by stopped and stared. 
A soft-eyed girl in a lilac dress tittered to her companion. 

Anthony came to attention. 

"What's your regiment and company?" 

Anthony told him. 

"After this when you pass an officer on the street you 
straighten up and salute!" 

"All right!" 

"Say * Yes, sir!'" 

"Yes, sir." 
. The stout officer grunted, turned sharply, and marched 
down the street. After a moment Anthony moved on; 
the town was no longer indolent and exotic; the magic 
was suddenly gone out of the dusk. His eyes were 
turned precipitately inward upon the indignity of his 



322 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

position. He hated that officer, every officer — life was 
unendurable. 

After he had gone half a block he realized that the 
girl in the Hlac dress who had giggled at his discomfiture 
was walking with her friend about ten paces ahead of 
him. Several times she had turned and stared at An- 
thony, with cheerful laughter in the large eyes that 
seemed the same color as her gown. 

At the comer she and her companion visibly slackened 
their pace — he must make his choice between joining 
them and passing obHviously by. He passed, hesitated, 
then slowed down. In a moment the pair were abreast 
of him again, dissolved in laughter now — not such 
strident mirth as he would have expected in the North 
from actresses in this familiar comedy, but a soft, low 
rippling, like the overflow from some subtle joke, into 
which he had inadvertently blundered. 

*'How do you do?" he said. 

Her eyes were soft as shadows. Were they violet, or 
was it their blue darkness mingling with the gray hues 
of dusk ? 

^'Pleasant evening," ventured Anthony uncertainly. 

^'Sure is," said the second girl. 

''Hasn't been a very pleasant evening for you," sighed 
the girl in lilac. Her voice seemed as much a part of 
the night as the drowsy breeze stirring the wide brim 
of her hat. 

"He had to have a chance to show off," said Anthony 
with a scornful laugh. 

"Reckon so," she agreed. 

They turned the corner and moved lackadaisically up 
a side street, as if following a drifting cable to which they 
were attached. In this town it seemed entirely natural 
to turn corners like that, it seemed natural to be bound 
nowhere in particular, to be thinking nothing. . . . The 



A MATTER OF CIVILIZATION 323 

side street was dark, a sudden offshoot into a district of 
wild-rose hedges and little quiet houses set far back 
from the street. 

''Where're you going?" he inquired politely. 

"Just goin'." The answer was an apology, a ques- 
tion, an explanation. 

*'Can I stroll along with you?" 

"Reckon so." 

It was an advantage that her accent was different. 
He could not have determined the social status of a 
Southerner from her talk — in New York a girl of a lower 
class would have been raucous, unendurable — except 
through the rosy spectacles of intoxication. 

Dark was creeping down. Talking Httle — ^Anthony 
in careless, casual questions, the other two with provin- 
cial economy of phrase and burden — they sauntered past 
another corner, and another. In the middle of a block 
they stopped beneath a lamp-post. 

"I live near here," explained the other girl. 

"I Hve around the block," said the girl in lilac. 

"Can I see you home?" 

"To the corner, if you want to." 

The other girl took a few steps backward. Anthony 
removed his hat. 

"You're supposed to salute," said the girl in lilac with 
a laugh. "All the soldiers salute." 

"I'll learn," he responded soberly. 

The other girl said, "Well — " hesitated, then added, 
"call me up to-morrow. Dot," and retreated from the 
yellow circle of the street-lamp. Then, in silence, An- 
thony and the girl in Hlac walked the three blocks to 
the small rickety house which was her home. Outside 
the wooden gate she hesitated. 

"WeU— thanks." 

"Must you go in so soon?" 



524 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

"I ought to." 

"Can't you stroll around a little longer?" 

She regarded him dispassionately. 

"I don't even know you." 

Anthony laughed. 

"It's not too late." 

"I reckon I better go in." 

"I thought we might walk down and see a movie." 

"I'd Hke to." 

"Then I could bring you home. I'd have just enough 
time. I've got to be in camp by eleven." 

It was so dark that he could scarcely see her now. 
She was a dress swayed infinitesimally by the wind, two 
limpid, reckless eyes . . . 

"Why don't you come — Dot ? Don't you like movies ? 
Better come." 

She shook her head. 

"I oughtn't to." 

He liked her, realizing that she was temporizing for 
the effect on him. He came closer and took her hand. 

"If we get back by ten, can't you? Just to the 
movies ? " 

"Well— I reckon so " 

Hand in hand they walked back toward down-town, 
along a hazy, dusky street where a negro newsboy was 
calhng an extra in the cadence of the local venders' tra- 
dition, a cadence that was as musical as song. 

Dot 

Anthony's affair with Dorothy Raycroft was an in- 
evitable result of his increasing carelessness about him- 
self. He did not go to her desiring to possess the desir- 
able, nor did he fall before a personality more vital, more 
compelling than his own, as he had done with Gloria 
four years before. He merely slid into the matter 



A MATTER OF CIVILIZATION 325 

through his inability to make definite judgments. He 
could say "No!" neither to man nor woman; borrower 
and temptress alike found him tender-minded and plia- 
ble. Indeed he seldom made decisions at all, and when 
he did they were but half-hysterical resolves formed in 
the panic of some aghast and irreparable awakening. 

The particular weakness he indulged on this occasion 
was his need of excitement and stimulus from without. 
He felt that for the first time in four years he could ex- 
press and interpret himself anew. The girl promised 
rest; the hours in her company each evening alleviated 
the morbid and inevitably futile poundings of his imagi- 
nation. He had become a coward in earnest — completely 
the slave of a hundred disordered and prowling thoughts 
which were released by the collapse of the authentic de- 
votion to Gloria that had been the chief jailer of his 
insufficiency. 

On that first night, as they stood by the gate, he kissed 
Dorothy and made an engagement to meet her the fol- 
lowing Saturday. Then he went out to camp, and with 
the light burning lawlessly in his tent, he wrote a long 
letter to Gloria, a glowing letter, full of the sentimental 
dark, full of the remembered breath of flowers, full of a 
true and exceeding tenderness — these things he had 
learned again for a moment in a kiss given and taken 
under a rich warm moonlight just an hour before. 

When Saturday night came he found Dot waiting at 
the entrance of the Bijou Moving Picture Theatre. She 
was dressed as on the preceding Wednesday in her lilac 
gown of frailest organdy, but it had evidently been 
washed and starched since then, for it was fresh and 
unrumpled. Daylight confirmed the impression he had 
received that in a sketchy, faulty way she was lovely. 
She was clean, her features were small, irregular, but 



326 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

eloquent and appropriate to each other. She was a 
dark, unenduring Httle flower — yet he thought he de- 
tected in her some quahty of spiritual reticence, of 
strength drawn from her passive acceptance of all things. 
In this he was mistaken. 

Dorothy Raycroft was nineteen. Her father had kept' 
a small, unprosperous corner store, and she had gradu- 
ated from high school in the lowest fourth of her class 
two days before he died. At high school she had en- 
joyed a rather unsavory reputation. As a matter of 
fact her behavior at the class picnic, where the rumors 
started, had been merely indiscreet — she had retained 
her technical purity until over a year later. The boy 
had been a clerk in a store on Jackson Street, and on the 
day after the incident he departed unexpectedly to New 
York. He had been intending to leave for some time, 
but had tarried for the consummation of his amorous 
enterprise. 

After a while she confided the adventure to a girl 
friend, and later, as she watched her friend disappear 
down the sleepy street of dusty sunshine, she knew in 
a flash of intuition that her story was going out into the 
world. Yet after telling it she felt much better, and a 
little bitter, and made as near an approach to character 
as she was capable of by walking in another direction 
and meeting another man with the honest intention of 
gratifying herself again. As a rule things happened to 
Dot. She was not weak, because there was nothing in 
her to tell her she was being weak. She was not strong, 
because she never knew that some of the things she did 
were brave. She neither defied nor conformed nor com- 
promised. 

She had no sense of humor, but, to take its place, a 
happy disposition that made her laugh at the proper 
times when she was with men. She had no definite in- 



A MATTER OF CIVILIZATION 327 

tentions — sometimes she regretted vaguely that her repu- 
tation precluded what chance she had ever had for se- 
curity. There had been no open discovery: her mother 
was interested only in starting her off on time each morn- 
ing for the jewelry-store where she earned fourteen dol- 
lars a week. But some of the boys she had known in 
high school now looked the other way when they were 
walking with "nice girls/' and these incidents hurt her 
feelings. When they occurred she went home and 
cried. 

Besides the Jackson Street clerk there had been two 
other men, of whom the first was a naval officer, who 
passed through town during the early days of the war. 
He had stayed over a night to make a connection, and 
was leaning idly against one of the pillars of the Stone- 
wall Hotel when she passed by. He remained in town 
four days. She thought she loved him — lavished on him 
that first hysteria of passion that would have gone to 
the pusillanimous clerk. The naval ofiicer's uniform — 
there were few of them in those days — had made the 
magic. He left with vague promises on his lips, and, 
once on the train, rejoiced that he had not told her his 
real name. 

Her resultant depression had thrown her into the 
arms of Cyrus Fielding, the son of a local clothier, who 
had hailed her from his roadster one day as she passed 
along the sidewalk. She had always known him by 
name. Had she been born to a higher stratum he would 
have known her before. She had descended a little 
lower — so he met her after all. After a month he had 
gone away to training-camp, a little afraid of the in- 
timacy, a little relieved in perceiving that she had not 
cared deeply for him, and that she was not the sort who 
would ever make trouble. Dot romanticized this affair 
and conceded to her vanity that the war had taken these 



328 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

men away from her. She told herself that she could 
have married the naval officer. Nevertheless, it worried 
her that within eight months there had been three men 
m her Hfe. She thought with more fear than wonder 
in her heart that she would soon be Hke those "bad 
girls'' on Jackson Street at whom she and her gum- 
chewing, giggling friends had stared with fascinated 
glances three years before. 

For a while she attempted to be more careful. She 
let men "pick her up"; she let them kiss her, and even 
allowed certain other liberties to be forced upon her, 
but she did not add to her trio. After several months 
the strength of her resolution — or rather the poignant 
expediency of her fears — ^was worn away. She grew rest- 
less drowsing there out of life and time while the simamer 
months faded. The soldiers she met were either ob- 
viously below her or, less obviously, above her — in which 
case they desired only to use her; they were Yankees, 
harsh and ungracious; they swarmed in large crowds. 
. . . And then she met Anthony. 

On that first evening he had been little more than a 
pleasantly unhappy face, a voice, the means with which 
to pass an hour, but when she kept her engagement with 
him on Saturday she regarded him with consideration. 
She liked him. Unknowingly she saw her own tragedies 
mirrored in his face. 

Again they went to the movies, again they wandered 
along the shadowy, scented streets, hand in hand this 
time, speaking a little in hushed voices. They passed 
through the gate — ^up toward the little porch 

"I can stay a while, can't I?" 

"Sh!" she whispered, "we've got to be very quiet. 
Mother sits up reading Snappy Stories." In confirma- 
tion he heard the faint crackling inside as a page was 
turned. The open-shutter slits emitted horizontal rods 
of light that fell in thin parallels across Dorothy's skirt. 



A MATTER OF CIVILIZATION 329 

The street was silent save for a group on the steps of a 
house across the way, who, from time to time, raised 
their voices in a soft, bantering song. 

" — When you wa-ake 
You shall ha-ave 

All the pretty little hawsiz " 



Then, as though it had been waiting on a near-by roof 
for their arrival, the moon came slanting suddenly 
through the vines and turned the girFs face to the color 
of white roses. 

Anthony had a start of memory, so vivid that before 
his closed eyes there formed a picture, distinct as a flash- 
back on a screen — a spring night of thaw set out of time 
in a half-forgotten winter five years before — another 
face, radiant, flower-like, upturned to lights as trans- 
forming as the stars 

Ah, la belle dame sans merci who Hved in his heart, 
made known to him in transitory fading splendor by 
dark eyes in the Ritz-Carlton, by a shadowy glance 
from a passing carriage in the Bois de Boulogne ! But 
those nights were only part of a song, a remembered 
glory — here again were the faint winds, the illusions, 
the eternal present with its promise of romance. 

"Oh,'' she whispered, "do you love me? Do you 
love me ? " 

The spell was broken — the drifted fragments of the 
stars became only Hght, the singing down the street 
diminished to a monotone, to the whimper of locusts in 
the grass. With almost a sigh he kissed her fervent 
mouth, while her arms crept up about his shoulders. 

The Man-at-Arms 

As the weeks dried up and blew away, the range of 
Anthony's travels extended until he grew to comprehend 
the camp and its environment. For the first time in his 



330 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

life he was in constant personal contact with the waiters 
to whom he had given tips, the chauffeurs who had 
touched their hats to him, the carpenters, plumbers, 
barbers, and farmers who had previously been remarkable 
only in the subservience of their professional genuflec- 
tions. During his first two months in camp he did not 
hold ten minutes^ consecutive conversation with a single 
man. 

On the service record his occupation stood as "stu- 
dent"; on the original questionnaire he had prematurely 
written "author"; but when men in his company asked 
his business he commonly gave it as bank clerk — had 
he told the truth, that he did no work, they would have 
been suspicious of him as a member of the leisure class. 

His platoon sergeant, Pop Donnelly, was a scraggly 
"old soldier," worn thin with drink. In the past he had 
spent unnumbered weeks in the guard-house, but re- 
cently, thanks to the drill-master famine, he had been 
elevated to his present pinnacle. His complexion was 
full of shell-holes — it bore an unmistakable resemblance 
to those aerial photographs of " the battle-field at Blank." 
Once a week he got drunk down-town on white liquor, 
returned quietly to camp and collapsed upon his bunk, 
joining the company at reveille looking more than ever 
like a white mask of death. 

He nursed the astounding delusion that he was astutely 
"slipping it over" on the government — he had spent 
eighteen years in its service at a minute wage, and he 
was soon to retire (here he usually winked) on the im- 
pressive income of fifty-five dollars a month. He looked 
upon it as a gorgeous joke that he had played upon the 
dozens who had bullied and scorned him since he was a 
Georgia country boy of nineteen. 

At present there were but two lieutenants — ^Hopkins 
and the popular Kretching. The latter was considered 



A MATTER OF CIVILIZATION 331 

a good fellow and a fine leader, until a year later, when 
he disappeared with a mess fund of eleven hundred dol- 
lars and, like so many leaders, proved exceedingly diffi- 
cult to follow. 

Eventually there was Captain Dunning, god of this 
brief but self-sufficing microcosm. He was a reserve 
officer, nervous, energetic, and enthusiastic. This latter 
quality, indeed, often took material form and was visible 
as fine froth in the corners of his mouth. Like most 
executives he saw his charges strictly from the front, 
and to his hopeful eyes his command seemed just such 
an excellent unit as such an excellent war deserved. 
For all his anxiety and absorption he was having the 
time of his life. 

Baptiste, the Kttle Sicilian of the train, fell foul of 
him the second week of driU. The captain had several 
times ordered the men to be clean-shaven when they fell 
in each morning. One day there was disclosed an alarm- 
ing breech of this rule, surely a case of Teutonic con- 
nivance — during the night four men had grown hair upon 
their faces. The fact that three of the four understood 
a minimum of English made a practical object-lesson 
only the more necessary, so Captain Dunning resolutely 
sent a volunteer barber back to the company street for 
a razor. Whereupon for the safety of democracy a half- 
ounce of hair was scraped dry from the cheeks of three 
Italians and one Pole. 

Outside the world of the company there appeared, 
from time to time, the colonel, a heavy man with snarling 
teeth, who circumnavigated the battalion drill-field upon 
a handsome black horse. He was a West Pointer, and, 
mimetically, a gentleman. He had a dowdy wife and a 
dowdy mind, and spent much of his time in town taking 
advantage of the army's lately exalted social position. 
Last of all was the general, who traversed the roads of 



332 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

the camp preceded by his flag — a figure so austere, so 
removed, so magnificent, as to be scarcely comprehen- 
sible. 

December. Cool winds at night now, and damp, 
chilly mornings on the drill-grounds. As the heat faded, 
Anthony found himself increasingly glad to be alive. 
Renewed strangely through his body, he vs^orried Httle 
and existed in the present with a sort of animal content. 
It was not that Gloria or the life that Gloria represented 
was less often in his thoughts — it was simply that she 
became, day by day, less real, less vivid. For a week 
they had corresponded passionately, almost hysterically 
■ — then by an unwritten agreement they had ceased to 
write more than twice, and then once, a week. She was 
bored, she said; if his brigade was to be there a long 
time she was coming down to join him. Mr. Haight was 
going to be able to submit a stronger brief than he had 
expected, but doubted that the appealed case would 
come up until late spring. Muriel was in the city doing 
Red Cross work, and they went out together rather 
often. What would Anthony think if she went into the 
Red Cross ? Trouble was she had heard that she might 
have to bathe negroes in alcohol, and after that she 
hadn't felt so patriotic. The city was full of soldiers 
and she'd seen a lot of boys she hadn't laid eyes on for 
years. . . . 

Anthony did not want her to come South. He told 
himself that this was for many reasons — ^he needed a rest 
from her and she from him. She would be bored be- 
yond measure in town, and she would be able to see 
Anthony for only a few hours each day. But in his 
heart he feared that it was because he was attracted to 
Dorothy. As a matter of fact he lived in terror that 
Gloria should learn by some chance or intention of the 



A MATTER OF CIVILIZATION 333 

relation he had formed. By the end of a fortnight the 
entanglement began to give him moments of misery at 
his own faithlessness. Nevertheless, as each day ended 
he was unable to withstand the lure that would draw 
him irresistibly out of his tent and over to the telephone 
at the Y. M. C. A. 

^^Dot." 

"Yes?" 

*'I may be able to get in to-night." 

"I'm so glad.'' 

"Do you want to listen to my splendid eloquence for 
a few starry hours?" 

"Oh, you funny — " For an instant he had a memory 
of five years before — of Geraldine. Then 

"I'll arrive about eight." 

At seven he would be in a jitney bound for the city, 
where hundreds of little Southern girls were waiting on 
moonlit porches for their lovers. He would be excited 
already for her warm retarded kisses, for the amazed 
quietude of the glances she gave him — glances nearer to 
worship than any he had ever inspired. Gloria and he 
had been equals, giving without thought of thanks or 
obligation. To this girl his very caresses were an in- 
estimable boon. Crying quietly she had confessed to 
him that he was not the first man in her life; there had 
been one other — he gathered that the affair had no 
sooner commenced than it had been over. 

Indeed, so far as she was concerned, she spoke the 
truth. She had forgotten the clerk, the naval olOScer, 
the clothier's son, forgotten her vividness of emotion, 
which is true forgetting. She knew that in some opaque 
and shadowy existence some one had taken her — ^it was 
as though it had occurred in sleep. 

Almost every night Anthony came to town. It was 
too cool now for the porch, so her mother surrendered to 



334 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

them the tiny sitting-room, with its dozens of cheaply 
framed chromos, its yard upon yard of decorative fringe, 
and its thick atmosphere of several decades in the prox- 
imity of the kitchen. They would build a fire — then, 
happily, inexhaustibly, she would go about the business 
of love. Each evening at ten she would walk with him 
to the door, her black hair in disarray, her face pale 
without cosmetics, paler still under the whiteness of the 
moon. As a rule it would be bright and silver outside; 
now and then there was a slow warm rain, too indolent, 
almost, to reach the ground. 

"Say you love me," she would whisper. 

"Why, of course, you sweet baby." 

"Am I a baby?" This ahnost wistfully. 

"Just a little baby." 

She knew vaguely of Gloria. It gave her pain to 
think of it, so she imagined her to be haughty and proud 
and cold. She had decided that Gloria must be older 
than Anthony, and that there was no love between hus- 
band and wife. Sometimes she let herself dream that 
after the war Anthony would get a divorce and they 
would be married — ^but she never mentioned this to An- 
thony, she scarcely knew why. She shared his company's 
idea that he was a sort of bank clerk — she thought that 
he was respectable and poor. She would say: 

"If I had some money, darlin', I'd give ev'y bit of it 
to you. ... I'd like to have about fifty thousand 
doUars." 

"I suppose that'd be plenty," agreed Anthony. 

— In her letter that day Gloria had written: "I sup- 
pose if we could settle for a million it would be better to 
tell Mr. Haight to go ahead and settle. But it'd seem 
a pity. . . ." 

. . . "We could have an automobile," exclaimed Dot, 
in a final burst of triumph. 



A MATTER OF CIVILIZATION 335 

An Impressive Occasion 

Captain Dunning prided himself on being a great 
reader of character. HaK an hour after meeting a man 
he was accustomed to place him in one of a number of 
astonishing categories — fine man, good man, smart fel- 
low, theorizer, poet, and *' worthless." One day early 
in February he caused Anthony to be summoned to his 
presence in the orderly tent. 

''Patch,", he said sententiously, "I've had my eye on 
you for several weeks." 

Anthony stood erect and motionless. 

"And I think you've got the makings of a good sol- 
dier." 

He waited for the warm glow, which this would natu- 
rally arouse, to cool — and then continued: 

"This is no child's play," he said, narrowing his brows. 

Anthony agreed with a melancholy "No, sir." 

"It's a man's game — ^and we need leaders." Then 
the climax, swift, sure, and electric: "Patch, I'm going 
to make you a corporal." 

At this point Anthony should have staggered sHghtly 
backward, overwhelmed. He was to be one of the quar- 
ter miUion selected for that consummate trust. He was 
going to be able to shout the technical phrase, "Follow 
me !" to seven other frightened men. 

"You seem to be a man of some education," said 
Captain Dunning. 

"Yes, sir." 

, "That's good, that's good. Education's a great thing, 

\~Dut don't let it go to your head. Keep on the way 
you're doing and you'll be a good soldier." 

* With these parting words lingering in his ears. Corporal 
Patch saluted, executed a right about face, and left the 
tent. 



336 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Though the conversation amused Anthony, it did gen- 
erate the idea that life would be more amusing as a 
sergeant or, should he find a less-exacting medical ex- 
aminer, as an officer. He was little interested in the 
work, which seemed to belie the army's boasted gallantry. 
At the inspections one did not dress up to look well, 
one dressed up to keep from looking badly. 

But as winter wore away — the short, snowless winter 
marked by damp nights and cool, rainy days — ^he mar- 
velled at how quickly the system had grasped him. He 
was a soldier — all who were not soldiers were civilians. 
The world was divided primarily into those two classi- 
fications. 

It occurred to him that all strongly accentuated 
classes, such as the military, divided men into two kinds : 
their own kind — and those without. To the clergyman 
there were clergy and laity, to the Catholic there were 
Catholics and non-Catholics, to the negro there were 
blacks and whites, to the prisoner there were the im- 
prisoned and the free, and to the sick man there were 
the sick and the well. ... So, without thinking of it 
once in his lifetime, he had been a civilian, a layman, a 
non-Catholic, a Gentile, white, free, and well. . . . 

As the American troops were poured into the French 
and British trenches he began to find the names of many 
Harvard men among the casualties recorded in the 
Army and Navy Journal. But for all the sweat and 
blood the situation appeared unchanged, and he saw no 
prospect of the war's ending in the perceptible future. 
In the old chronicles the right wing of one army always 
defeated the left wing of the other, the left wing being, 
meanwhile, vanquished by the enemy's right. After that 
the mercenaries fled. It had been so simple, in those 
days, almost as if prearranged. . . . 

Gloria wrote that she was reading a great deal. What 



A MATTER OF CIVILIZATION 337 

a mess they had made of their affairs, she said. She 
had so little to do now that she spent her time imagining 
how differently things might have turned out. Her 
whole environment appeared insecure — and a few years 
back she had seemed to hold all the strings in her own 
little hand. . . . 

In June her letters grew hurried and less frequent. 
She suddenly ceased to write about coming South. 

Defeat 

March in the country around was rare with jasmine 
and jonquils and patches of violets in the warming grass. 
Afterward he remembered especially one afternoon of 
such a fresh and magic glamour that as he stood in the 
rifle-pit marking targets he recited "Atalanta in Caly- 
don'' to an uncomprehending Pole, his voice mingling 
with the rip, sing, and splatter of the bullets overhead. 
*'When the hounds of spring . . ." 

Spang I 

^'Are on winter's traces ..." 

Whirr-r-r-r ! . . . 

''The mother of months ..." 

''Hey! Come to! Mark three-e-e! . . ." 

In town the streets were in a sleepy dream again, and 
together Anthony and Dot idled in their own tracks of 
the previous autumn until he began to feel a drowsy 
attachment for this South — a South, it seemed, more of 
Algiers than of Italy, with faded aspirations pointing 
back over innumerable generations to some warm, primi- 
tive Nirvana, without hope or care. Here there was an 
inflection of cordiality, of comprehension, in every voice. 
*'Life plays the same lovely and agonizing joke on all 
of us,'' they seemed to say in their plaintive pleasant 
cadence, in the rising inflection terminating on an un- 
resolved minor. 



338 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

He liked his barber-shop, where he was ''Hi, corporal ! " 
to a pale, emaciated young man, who shaved him and 
pushed a cool vibrating machine endlessly over his in- 
satiable head. He liked "Johnston's Gardens" where 
they danced, where a tragic negro made yearning, aching 
music on a saxophone until the garish hall became an 
enchanted jungle of barbaric rhythms and smoky laugh- 
ter, where to forget the uneventful passage of time upon 
Dorothy's soft sighs and tender whisperings was the 
consummation of all aspiration, of all content. 

There was an undertone of sadness in her character, a 
conscious evasion of all except the pleasurable minutiae 
of Hfe. Her violet eyes would remain for hours appar- 
ently insensate as, thoughtless and reckless, she basked 
like a cat in the sun. He wondered what the tired, 
spiritless mother thought of them, and whether in her 
moments of uttermost cynicism she ever guessed at their 
relationship. 

On Sunday afternoons they walked along the coun- 
tryside, resting at intervals on the dry moss in the out- 
skirts of a wood. Here the birds had gathered and the 
clusters of violets and white dogwood; here the hoar 
trees shone crystalline and cool, obUvious to the intoxicat- 
ing heat that waited outside; here he would talk, inter- 
mittently, in a sleepy monologue, in a conversation of 
no significance, of no replies. 

July came scorching down. Captain Dunning was 
ordered to detail one of his men to learn blacksmithing. 
The regiment was filling up to war strength, and he 
needed most of his veterans for drill-masters, so he se- 
lected the little Italian, Baptiste, whom he could most 
easily spare. Little Baptiste had never had anything 
to do with horses. His fear made matters worse. He 
reappeared in the orderly room one day and told Cap- 



A MATTER OF CIVILIZATION 339 

tain Dunning that he wanted to die if he couldn't be 
reKeved. The horses kicked at him, he said; he was 
no good at the work. Finally he fell on his knees and 
besought Captain Dunning, in a mixture of broken Eng- 
lish and scriptural Italian, to get him out of it. He had 
not slept for three days; monstrous stallions reared and 
cavorted through his dreams. 

Captain Dunning reproved the company clerk (who 
had burst out laughing), and told Baptiste he would do 
what he could. But when he thought it over he decided 
that he couldn't spare a better man. Little Baptiste 
went from bad to worse. The horses seemed to divine 
his fear and take every advantage of it. Two weeks 
later a great black mare crushed his skull in with her 
hoofs while he was trying to lead her from her stall. 

In mid- July came rumors, and then orders, that con- 
cerned a change of camp. The brigade was to move to 
an empty cantonment, a hundred miles farther south, 
there to be expanded into a division. At first the men 
thought they were departing for the trenches, and all 
evening little groups jabbered in the company street, 
shouting to each other in swaggering exclamations: 
**Su-u-ure we are !" When the truth leaked out, it was 
rejected indignantly as a blind to conceal their real des- 
tination. They revelled in their own importance. That 
night they told their girls in town that they were "going 
to get the Germans." Anthony circulated for a while 
among the groups — then, stopping a jitney, rode down 
to tell Dot that he was going away. 

She was waiting on the dark veranda in a cheap 
white dress that accentuated the youth and softness of 
her face. 

*'0h," she whispered, "I've wanted you so, honey. 
All this day." 



340 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

"I have something to tell you.'' 

She drew him down beside her on the swinging seat, 
not noticing his ominous tone. 

"TeU me." 

"We're leaving next week." 

Her arms seeking his shoulders remained poised upon 
the dark air, her chin tipped up. When she spoke the 
softness was gone from her voice. 

"Leaving for France?" 

"No. Less luck than that. Leaving for some darn 
camp in Mississippi." 

She shut her eyes and he could see that the lids were 
trembhng, 

"Dear Uttle Dot, life is so damned hard." 

She was crying upon his shoulder. 

"So damned hard, so damned hard," he repeated 
aimlessly; "it just hurts people and hurts people, until 
finally it hurts them so that they can't be hurt ever any 
more. That's the last and worst thing it does." 

Frantic, wild with anguish, she strained him to her 
breast. 

"Oh, God!" she whispered brokenly, "you can't go 
way from me. I'd die." 

He was finding it impossible to pass off his departure 
as a common, impersonal blow. He was too near to 
her to do more than repeat "Poor Httle Dot. Poor little 
Dot." 

"And then what?" she demanded wearily. 

"What do you mean?" 

"You're my whole fife, that's all. I'd die for you 
right now if you said so. I'd get a knife and kill myself. 
You can't leave me here." 

Her tone frightened him. 

"These things happen," he said evenly. 

"Then I'm going with you." Tears were streaming 



A MATTER OF CIVILIZATION 341 

down her cheeks. Her mouth was trembling in an 
ecstasy of grief and fear. 

^' Sweet," he muttered sentimentally, "sweet little girl. 
Don't you see we'd just be putting off what's bound to 
happen? I'll be going to France in a few months " 

She leaned away from him and clinching her fists 
lifted her face toward the sky. 

"I want to die," she said, as if moulding each word 
carefully in her heart. 

"Dot," he whispered uncomfortably, "you'll forget. 
Things are sweeter when they're lost. I know — ^because 
once I wanted something and got it. It was the only 
thing I ever wanted badly. Dot. And when I got it it 
turned to dust in my hands." 

"All right." 

Absorbed in himself, he continued: 

"I've often thought that if I hadn't got what I wanted 
things might have been different with me. I might have 
found something in my mind and enjoyed putting it in 
circulation. I might have been content with the work 
of it, and had some sweet vanity out of the success. I 
suppose that at one time I could have had anything I 
wanted, within reason, but that was the only thing I 
ever wanted with any fervor. God ! And that taught 
me you can't have anything^ you can't have anything 
at all. Because desire just cheats you. It's like a sun- 
beam skipping here and there about a room. It stops 
and gilds some inconsequential object, and we poor fools 
try to grasp it — ^but when we do the sunbeam moves on 
to something else, and you've got the inconsequential 
part, but the glitter that made you want it is gone — " 
He broke off uneasily. She had risen and was standing, 
dry-eyed, picking little leaves from a dark vine. 

"Dot " 

"Go way," she said coldly. 



342 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

"What? Why?" 

"I don't want just words. If that's all you have for 
me you'd better go." 

*'Why, Dot " 

"What's death to me is just a lot of words to you. 
You put 'em together so pretty." 

"I'm sorry. I was talking about you, Dot." 

"Go way from here." 

He approached her with arms outstretched, but sEe 
held him away. 

"You don't want me to go with you," she said evenly; 
"maybe you're going to meet that — that girl — " She 
could not bring herself to say wife. "How do I know? 
Well, then, I reckon you're not my feUow any more. 
So go way." 

For a moment, while conflicting warnings and desires 
prompted Anthony, it seemed one of those rare times 
when he would take a step prompted from within. He 
hesitated. Then a wave of weariness broke against him. 
It was too late — everything was too late. For years 
now he had dreamed the world away, basing his decisions 
upon emotions unstable as water. The little girl in the 
white dress dominated him, as she approached beauty 
in the hard symmetry of her desire. The fire blazing in 
her dark and injured heart seemed to glow around her 
like a flame. With some profound and uncharted pride 
she had made herself remote and so achieved her pur- 
pose. 

"I didn't — ^mean to seem so callous, Dot." 

"It don't matter." 

The fire rolled over Anthony. Something wrenched 
at his bowels, and he stood there helpless and beaten. 

"Come with me. Dot — little loving Dot. Oh, come 
with me. I couldn't leave you now " 

With a sob she wound her arms around him and let 
him support her weight while the moon, at its perennial 



A MATTER OF CIVILIZATION 343 

labor of covering the bad complexion of the world, 
showered its illicit honey over the drowsy street. 

The Catastrophe 

Early September in Camp Boone, Mississippi. The 
darkness, alive with insects, beat in npon the mosquito- 
netting, beneath the shelter of which Anthony was try- 
ing to write a letter. An intermittent chatter over a 
^ker game was going on in the next tent, and outside a 
man was strolHng up the company street singing a cur- 
rent bit of doggerel about "K-K-K-Katy." 

With an effort Anthony hoisted himself to his elbow 
and, pencil in hand, looked down at his blank sheet of 
paper. Then, omitting any heading, he began: 

/ can't imagine what the matter is, Gloria. I havenH had a 
line from you for two weeks and it's only natural to be worried 

He threw this away with a disturbed grunt and began 
again: 

I don't know what to think, Gloria. Your last letter, short, 
cold, without a word of afection or even a decent account of what 
you've been doing, came two weeks ago. It's only natural that I 
should wonder. If your love for me isn't absolutely deed it seems 
that you'd at least keep me from worry 

Again he crumpled the page and tossed it angrily 
through a tear in the tent wall, realizing simultaneously 
"that he would have to pick it up in the morning. He felt 
disincHned to try again. He could get no warmth into 
the Unes — only a persistent jealousy and suspicion. 
Since midsummer these discrepancies in Gloria's corre- 
spondence had grown more and more noticeable. At 
first he had scarcely perceived them. He was so inured 
to the perfunctory "dearest" and "darlings" scattered 



344 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

through her letters that he was oblivious to their pres- 
ence or absence. But in this last fortnight he had be- 
come increasingly aware that there was something amiss. 

He had sent her a night-letter sajdng that he had 
passed his examinations for an officers' training-camp, 
and expected to leave for Georgia shortly. She had not 
answered. He had wired again — when he received no 
word he imagined that she might be out of town. But 
it occurred and recurred to him that she was not out of 
town, and a series of distraught imaginings began to 
plague him. Supposing Gloria, bored and restless, had 
found some one, even as he had. The thought terrified 
him with its possibility — it was chiefly because he had 
been so sure of her personal integrity that he had con- 
sidered her so sparingly during the year. And now, as a 
doubt was born, the old angers, the rages of possession, 
swarmed back a thousandfold. What more natural 
than that she should be in love again? 

He remembered the Gloria who promised that should 
she ever want anything, she would take it, insisting that 
since she would act entirely for her own satisfaction she 
could go through such an affair unsmirched — it was only 
the effect on a person's mind that counted, anyhow, she 
said, and her reaction would be the masculine one, of 
satiation and faint dislike. 

But that had been when they were first married. 
Later, with the discovery that she could be jealous of 
Anthony, she had, outwardly at least, changed her mind. 
There were no other men in the world for her. This he 
had known only too surely. Perceiving that a certain 
fastidiousness would restrain her, he had grown lax in 
preserving the completeness of her love — which, after 
all, was the keystone of the entire structure. 

Meanwhile aU through the summer he had been main- 
taining Dot in a boarding-house down-town. To do 



A MATTER OF CIVILIZATION 345 

this it had been necessary to write to his broker for 
money. Dot had covered her journey south by leaving 
her house a day before the brigade broke camp, inform- 
ing her mother in a note that she had gone to New York. 
On the evening following Anthony had called as though 
to see her. Mrs. Raycroft was in a state of collapse 
and there was a policeman in the parlor. A question- 
naire had ensued, from which Anthony had extricated 
himself with some difficulty. 

In September, with his suspicions of Gloria, the com- 
pany of Dot had become tedious, then almost intoler- 
able. He was nervous and irritable from lack of sleep; 
his heart was sick and afraid. Three days ago he had 
gone to Captain Dunning and asked for a furlough, 
only to be met with benignant procrastination. The 
division was starting overseas, while Anthony was going 
to an officers' training-camp; what furloughs could be 
given must go to the men who were leaving the coun- 
try. 

Upon this refusal Anthony had started to the telegraph 
office intending to wire Gloria to come South — he reached 
the door and receded despairingly, seeing the utter im- 
practicability of such a move. Then he had spent the 
evening quarrelling irritably with Dot, and returned to 
camp morose and angry with the world. There had 
been a disagreeable scene, in the midst of which he had 
precipitately departed. What was to be done with her 
did not seem to concern him vitally at present — he was 
completely absorbed in the disheartening silence of his 
wife. . . . 

The flap of the tent made a sudden triangle back upon 
itself, and a dark head appeared against the night. 

"Sergeant Patch?'' The accent was ItaHan, and 
Anthony saw by the belt that the man was a head- 
quarters orderly. 



346 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

"Want me?" 

"Lady call up headquarters ten minutes ago. Say 
she have speak with you. Ver' important." 

Anthony swept aside the mosquito-netting and stood 
up. It might be a wire from Gloria telephoned over. 

"She say to get you. She call again ten o'clock." 

"AU right, thanks." He picked up his hat and in a 
moment was striding beside the orderly through the hot, 
almost suffocating, darkness. Over in the headquarters 
shack he saluted a dozing night-service officer. 

"Sit down and wait," suggested the lieutenant non- 
chalantly. " Girl seemed awful anxious to speak to you." 

Anthony's hopes fell away. 

"Thank you very much, sir." And as the phone 
squeaked on the side-wall he knew who was calling. 

"This is Dot," came an unsteady voice, "IVe got to 
see you." 

"Dot, I told you I couldn't get down for several days." 

"I've got to see you to-night. It's important." 

"It's too late," he said coldly; "it's ten o'clock, and 
I have to be in camp at eleven." 

"All right." There was so much wretchedness com- 
pressed into the two words that Anthony felt a measure 
of compunction. 

"What's the matter?" 

"I want to tell you good-by." 

"Oh, don't be a Uttle idiot!" he exclaimed. But his 
spirits rose. What luck if she should leave town this 
very night ! What a burden from his soul. But he said : 
"You can't possibly leave before to-morrow." 

Out of the comer of his eye he saw the night-service 
officer regarding him quizzically. Then, startlingly, 
came Dot's next words: 

"I don't mean * leave' that way." 

Anthony's hand clutched the receiver fiercely. He 



A MATTER OF CIVILIZATION 347 

felt his nerves turning cold as if the heat was leaving his 
body. 

"What?" 

Then quickly in a wild broken voice he heard: 

" Good-by — oh, good-by ! " 

Cul-lup! She had hung up the receiver. With a 
sound that was half a gasp, half a cry, Anthony hurried 
from the headquarters building. Outside, under the 
stars that dripped like silver tassels through the trees 
of the little grove, he stood motionless, hesitating. Had 
she meant to kill herself ? — oh, the little fool ! He was 
filled with bitter hate toward her. In this denouement 
he found it impossible to reaHze that he had ever begun 
such an entanglement, such a mess, a sordid melange of 
worry and pain. 

He found himself walking slowly away, repeating o\^er 
and over that it was futile to worry. He had best go 
back to his tent and sleep. He needed sleep. God! 
Would he ever sleep again? His mind was in a vast 
clamor and confusion; as he reached the road he turned 
around in a panic and began running, not toward his 
company but away from it. Men were returning now 
— he could find a taxicab. After a minute two yellow 
eyes appeared around a bend. Desperately he ran 
toward them. 

''Jitney! Jitney!" . . . It was an empty Ford. . . . 
"I want to go to town." 

"Cost you a dollar." 

"All right. If you'll just hurry " 

After an interminable time he ran up the steps of a 
dark ramshackle little house, and through the door, al- 
most knocking over an immense negress who was walk- 
ing, candle in hand, along the hall. 

"Where's my wife?" he cried wildly. 

"She gone to bed." 



348 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Up the stairs three at a time, down the creaking pas- 
sage. The room was dark and silent, and with trembling 
fingers he struck a match. Two wide eyes looked up at 
him from a wretched ball of clothes on the bed. 

"Ah, I knew you'd come, '^ she murmured brokenly. 

Anthony grew cold with anger. 

*'So it was just a plan to get me down here, get me 
in trouble!" he said. "God damn it, you've shouted 
'wolf once too often!" 

She regarded him pitifully. 

"I had to see you. I couldn't have lived. Oh, I 
had to see you " 

He sat down on the side of the bed and slowly shook 
his head. 

"You're no good," he said decisively, talking uncon- 
sciously as Gloria might have talked to him. "This 
sort of thing isn't fair to me, you know." 

"Come closer." Whatever he might say Dot v/as 
happy now. He cared for her. She had brought him 
to her side. 

"Oh, God," said Anthony hopelessly. As weariness 
rolled along its inevitable wave his anger subsided, re- 
ceded, vanished. He collapsed suddenly, fell sobbing 
beside her on the bed. 

"Oh, my darling," she begged him, "don't cry! Oh, 
don't cry!" 

She took his head upon her breast and soothed him, 
mingled her happy tears with the bitterness of his. Her 
hand played gently with his dark hair. 

"I'm such a httle fool," she murmured brokenly, "but 
I love you, and when you're cold to me it seems as if 
it isn't worth while to go on livin'." 

After all, this was peace — the quiet room with the 
mingled scent of women's powder and perfume. Dot's 
hand soft as a warm wind upon his hair, the rise and fall 



A MATTER OF CIVILIZATION 349 

of her bosom as she took breath — for a moment it was 
as though it were Gloria there, as though he were at rest 
in some sweeter and safer home than he had ever known. 

An hour passed. A clock began to chime in the hall. 
He jumped to his feet and looked at the phosphorescent 
hands of his wrist-watch. It was twelve o'clock. 

He had trouble in finding a taxi that would take him 
out at that hour. As he urged the driver faster along 
the road he speculated on the best method of entering 
camp. He had been late several times recently, and he 
knew that were he caught again his name would prob- 
ably be stricken from the list of officer candidates. He 
wondered if he had not better dismiss the taxi and take 
a chance on passing the sentry in the dark. Still, 
officers often rode past the sentries after midnight. . . . 

"Halt!" The monosyllable came from the yellow 
glare that the headlights dropped upon the changing 
road. The taxi-driver threw out his clutch and a sentry 
walked up, carrying his rifle at the port. With him, by 
an ill chance, was the officer of the guard. 

"Out late, sergeant." 

"Yes, sir. Got delayed." 

"Too bad. Have to take your name." 

As the officer waited, note-book and pencil in hand, 
something not fully intended crowded to Anthony's lips, 
something born of panic, of muddle, of despair. 

"Sergeant R. A. Foley," he answered breathlessly. 

"And the outfit?" 

"Company Q, Eighty-third Infantry." 

"All right. You'll have to walk from here, sergeant." 

Anthony saluted, quickly paid his taxi-driver, and set 
off for a run toward the regiment he had named. When 
he was out of sight he changed his course, and with his 
heart beating wildly, hurried to his company, feeling 
that he had made a fatal error of judgment. 



350 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Two days later the officer who had been in command 
of the guard recognized him in a barber-shop down- 
town. In charge of a military policeman he was taken 
back to the camp, where he was reduced to the ranks 
without trial, and confined for a month to the limits of 
his company street. 

With this blow a spell of utter depression overtook 
him, and within a week he was again caught down- town, 
wandering around in a drunken daze, with a pint of boot- 
leg whiskey in his hip pocket. It was because of a sort 
of craziness in his behavior at the trial that his sentence 
to the guard-house was for only three weeks. 

Nightmare 

Early in his confinement the conviction took root in 
him that he was going mad. It was as though there 
were a quantity of dark yet vivid personalities in his 
mind, some of them familiar, some of them strange and 
terrible, held in check by a little monitor, who sat aloft 
somewhere and looked on. The thing that worried him 
was that the monitor was sick, and holding out with 
difficulty. Should he give up, should he falter for a 
moment, out would rush these intolerable things — only 
Anthony could know what a state of blackness there 
would be if the worst of him could roam his conscious- 
ness unchecked. 

The heat of the day had changed, somehow, until it 
was a burnished darkness crushing down upon a devas- 
tated land. Over his head the blue circles of ominous 
uncharted suns, of unnumbered centres of fire, revolved 
interminably before his eyes as though he were lying 
constantly exposed to the hot light and in a state of 
feverish coma. At seven in the morning something 
phantasmal, something almost absurdly unreal that he 
knew was his mortal body, went out with seven other 



A MATTER OF CIVILIZATION 351 

prisoners and two guards to work on the camp roads. 
One day they loaded and unloaded quantities of gravel, 
spread it, raked it — the next day they worked with huge 
barrels of red-hot tar, flooding the gravel with black, 
shining pools of molten heat. At night, locked up in 
the guard-house, he would He without thought, without 
courage to compass thought, staring at the irregular 
beams of the ceiling overhead until about three o'clock, 
when he would sHp into a broken, troubled sleep. 

During the work hours he labored with uneasy haste, 
attempting, as the day bore toward the sultry Missis- 
sippi sunset, to tire himself physically so that in the 
evening he might sleep deeply from utter exhaustion. 
. . . Then one afternoon in the second week he had a 
feeling that two eyes were watching him from a place 
a few feet beyond one of the guards. This aroused him 
to a sort of terror. He turned his back on the eyes and 
shovelled feverishly, until it became necessary for him 
to face about and go for more gravel. Then they en- 
tered his vision again, and his already taut nerves tight- 
ened up to the breaking-point. The eyes were leering 
at him. Out of a hot silence he heard his name called 
in a tragic voice, and the earth tipped absurdly back 
and forth to a babel of shouting and confusion. 

When next he became conscious he was back in the 
guard-house, and the other prisoners were throwing him 
curious glances. The eyes returned no more. It was 
many days before he realized that the voice must have 
been Dot's, that she had called out to him and made 
some sort of disturbance. He decided this just previous 
to the expiration of his sentence, when the cloud that 
oppressed him had lifted, leaving him in a deep, dis- 
pirited lethargy. As the conscious mediator, the moni- 
tor who kept that fearsome menage of horror, grew 
stronger, Anthony became physically weaker. He was 



352 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

scarcely able to get through the two days of toil, and 
when he was released, one rainy afternoon, and returned 
to his company, he reached his tent only to fall into a 
heavy doze, from which he awoke before dawn, aching 
and unrefreshed. Beside his cot were two letters that 
had been awaiting him in the orderly tent for some time. 
The first was from Gloria; it was short and cool: 

The case is coming to trial late in November. Can yotc possibly 
get leave ? 

I've tried to write you again and again but it just seems to make 
things worse. I want to see you about several matters, but you know 
that you have once prevented me from coming and I am disinclined 
to try again. In view of a number of things it seems necessary that 
we have a conference. I'm very glad about your appointment. 

Gloria. 

He was too tired to try to understand — or to care. 
Her phrases, her intentions, were all very far away in 
an incomprehensible past. At the second letter he 
scarcely glanced; it was from Dot — an incoherent, tear- 
swollen scrawl, a flood of protest, endearment, and grief. 
After a page he let it slip from his inert hand and 
drowsed back into a nebulous hinterland of his own. 
At drill-call he awoke with a high fever and fainted 
when he tried to leave his tent — at noon he was sent to 
the base hospital with influenza. 

He was aware that this sickness was providential. 
It saved him from a hysterical relapse — and he recov- 
ered in time to entrain on a damp November day for 
New York, and for the interminable massacre beyond. 

When the regiment reached Camp Mills, Long Island, 
Anthony's single idea was to get into the city and see 
Gloria as soon as possible. It was now evident that 
an armistice would be signed within the week, but rumor 



A MATTER OF CIVILIZATION 353 

had it that in any case troops would continue to be 
shipped to France until the last moment. Anthony- 
was appalled at the notion of the long voyage, of a tedi- 
ous debarkation at a French port, and of being kept 
abroad for a year, possibly, to replace the troops who 
had seen actual fighting. 

His intention had been to obtain a two-day furlough, 
but Camp Mills proved to be under a strict influenza 
quarantine — it was impossible for even an officer to 
leave except on official business. For a private it was 
out of the question. 

The camp itself was a dreary muddle, cold, wind- 
swept, and filthy, with the accmnulated dirt incident 
to the passage through of many divisions. Their train 
came in at seven one night, and they waited in Hne until 
one while a military tangle was straightened out some- 
where ahead. Officers ran up and down ceaselessly, 
calling orders and making a great uproar. It turned 
out that the trouble was due to the colonel, who was in 
a righteous temper because he was a West Pointer, and 
the war was going to stop before he could get over- 
seas. Had the militant governments realized the num- 
ber of broken hearts among the older West Pointers 
during that week, they would indubitably have pro- 
longed the slaughter another month. The thing was 
pitiable ! 

Gazing out at the bleak expanse of tents extending 
for miles over a trodden welter of slush and snow, An- 
thony saw the impracticability of trudging to a tele- 
phone that night. He would call her at the first op- 
portunity in the morning. 

Aroused in the chill and bitter dawn he stood at 
reveille and listened to a passionate harangue from 
Captain Dunning: 

"You men may think the war is over. Well, let me 



354 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

tell you, it isn't! Those fellows aren't going to sign 
the armistice. It's another trick, and we'd be crazy to 
let anything slacken up here in the company, because, 
let me tell you, we're going to sail from here within a 
week, and when we do we're going to see some real 
fighting." He paused that they might get the full 
effect of his pronouncement. And then: "If you think 
the war's over, just talk to any one who's been in it 
and see if they think the Germans are all in. They 
don't. Nobody does. I've talked to the people that 
knoWj and they say there'll be, anyways, a year longer 
of war. They don't think it's over. So you men better 
not get any foolish ideas that it is." 

Doubly stressing this final admonition, he ordered the 
company dismissed. 

At noon Anthony set off at a run for the nearest 
canteen telephone. As he approached what corre- 
sponded to the down-town of the camp, he noticed that 
many other soldiers were running also, that a man near 
him had suddenly leaped into the air and clicked his 
heels together. The tendency to run became general, 
and from little excited groups here and there came the 
sounds of cheering. He stopped and Hstened — over the 
cold country whistles were blowing and the chimes of 
the Garden City churches broke suddenly into rever- 
beratory sound. 

Anthony began to run again. The cries were clear 
and distinct now as they rose with clouds of frosted 
breath into the chilly air: 

^^ Germany s surrendered! Germany s surrendered!^^ 

The False Armistice 

That evening in the opaque gloom of six o'clock An- 
thony sKpped between two freight-cars, and once over 
the railroad, followed the track along to Garden City, 



A MATTER OF CIVILIZATION 355 

whcFe he caught an electric train for New York. He 
stood some chance of apprehension — he knew that the 
military police were often sent through the cars to ask 
for passes, but he imagined that to-night the vigilance 
would be relaxed. But, in any event, he would have 
tried to slip through, for he had been unable to locate 
Gloria by telephone, and another day of suspense would 
have been intolerable. 

After inexpHcable stops and waits that reminded him 
of the night he had left New York, over a year before, 
they drew into the Pennsylvania Station, and he fol- 
lowed the familiar way to the taxi-stand, finding it 
grotesque and oddly stimulating to give his own address. 

Broadway was a riot of light, thronged as he had 
never seen it with a carnival crowd which swept its 
glittering way through scraps of paper, piled ankle-deep 
on the sidewalks. Here and there, elevated upon benches 
and boxes, soldiers addressed the heedless mass, each 
face in which was clear cut and distinct under the white 
glare overhead. Anthony picked out half a dozen fig- 
ures — a drunken sailor, tipped backward and supported 
by two other gobs, was waving his hat and emitting a 
wild series of roars; a wounded soldier, crutch in hand, 
was borne along in an eddy on the shoulders of some 
shrieking civilians; a dark-haired girl sat cross-legged 
and meditative on top of a parked taxicab. Here 
surely the victory had come in time, the climax had 
been scheduled with the uttermost celestial foresight. 
The great rich nation had made triumphant war, suf- 
fered enough for poignancy but not enough for bitter- 
ness — hence the carnival, the feasting, the triumph. 
Under these bright lights glittered the faces of peoples 
whose glory had long since passed away, whose very 
civilizations were dead — ^men whose ancestors had heard 
the news of victory in Babylon, in Nineveh, in Bagdad, 



356 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

in Tyre, a hundred generations before; men whose an- 
cestors had seen a flower-decked, slave-adorned cortege 
drift with its wake of captives down the avenues of 
Imperial Rome. . . . 

Past the Rialto, the glittering front of the Astor, the 
jewelled magnificence of Times Square ... a gorgeous 
alley of incandescence ahead. . . . Then — was it years 
later? — he was paying the taxi-driver in front of a white 
building on Fifty-seventh Street. He was in the hall — 
ah, there was the negro boy from Martinique, lazy, in- 
dolent, unchanged. 

^^ Is Mrs. Patch in?" 

"I have just came on, sah," the man announced with 
his incongruous British accent. 

''Take me up '' 

Then the slow drone of the elevator, the three steps 
to the door, which swung open at the impetus of his 
knock. 

''Gloria!" His voice was trembling. No answer. 
A faint string of smoke was rising from a cigarette-tray 
— a number of Vanity Fair sat astraddle on the table. 

"Gloria!" 

He ran into the bedroom, the bath. She was not 
there. A negligee of robin's-egg blue laid out upon the 
bed diffused a faint perfume, illusive and famiHar. On 
a chair were a pair of stockings and a street dress; an 
open powder-box yawned upon the bureau. She must 
just have gone out. 

The telephone rang abruptly and he started — an- 
swered it with all the sensations of an impostor. 

"Hello. Is Mrs. Patch there?" 

"No, I'm looking for her myself. Who is this?" 

"This is Mr. Crawford." 

"This is Mr. Patch speaking. IVe just arrived un- 
expectedly, and I don't know where to find her." 



A MATTER OF CIVILIZATION 357 

"Oh." Mr. Crawford sounded a bit taken aback. 
"Why, I imagine she's at the Armistice Ball. I know 
she intended going, but I didn't think she'd leave so 
early." 

"Where's the Armistice Ball?" 

"At the Astor." 

"Thanks." 

Anthony hung up sharply and rose. Who was Mr. 
Crawford? And who was it that was taking her to the 
ball? How long had this been going on? All these 
questions asked and answered themselves a dozen times, 
a dozen ways. His very proximity to her drove him half 
frantic. 

In a frenzy of suspicion he rushed here and there 
about the apartment, hunting for some sign of mas- 
culine occupation, opening the bathroom cupboard, 
searching feverishly through the bureau drawers. Then 
he found something that made him stop suddenly and 
sit down on one of the twin beds, the corners of his 
mouth drooping as though he were about to weep. 
There in a corner of her drawer, tied with a frail blue 
ribbon, were all the letters and telegrams he had written 
her during the year past. He was suffused with happy 
and sentimental shame. 

"I'm not fit to touch her," he cried aloud to the four 
walls. "I'm not fit to touch her little hand." 

Nevertheless, he went out to look for her. 

In the Astor lobby he was engulfed immediately in a 
crowd so thick as to make progress almost impossible. 
He asked the direction of the ballroom from half a dozen 
people before he could get a sober and intelligible an- 
swer. Eventually, after a last long wait, he checked 
his military overcoat in the hall. 

It was only nine but the dance was in full blast. The 
panorama was incredible. Women, women everywhere 



3S8 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

— girls gay with wine singing shrilly above the clamor 
of the dazzling confetti-covered throng; girls set off by 
the uniforms of a dozen nations; fat females collapsing 
without dignity upon the floor and retaining self-respect 
by shouting ^'Hurraw for the Allies ! " ; three women with 
white hair dancing hand in hand around a sailor, who 
revolved in a dizzying spin upon the floor, clasping to his 
heart an empty bottle of champagne. 

Breathlessly Anthony scanned the dancers, scanned 
the muddled Hues trailing in single file in and out among 
the tables, scanned the horn-blowing, kissing, coughing, 
laughing, drinking parties under the great full-bosomed 
flags which leaned in glowing color over the pageantry 
and the sound. 

Then he saw Gloria. She was sitting at a table for 
two directly across the room. Her dress was black, and 
above it her animated face, tinted with the most glam- 
ourous rose, made, he thought, a spot of poignant beauty 
on the room. His heart leaped as though to a new 
music. He jostled his way toward her and called her 
name just as the gray eyes looked up and found him. 
For that instant as their bodies met and melted, the 
world, the revel, the tumbHng whimper of the music 
faded to an ecstatic monotone hushed as a song of bees. 

"Oh, my Gloria!" he cried. 

Her kiss was a cool rill flowing from her heart. 



CHAPTER II 
A MATTER OF ESTHETICS 

On the night when Anthony had left for Camp Hooker 
one year before, all that was left of the beautiful Gloria 
Gilbert — her shell, her young and lovely body — moved 
up the broad marble steps of the Grand Central Station 
with the rhythm of the engine beating in her ears like a 
dream, and out onto Vanderbilt Avenue, where the huge 
bulk of the Biltmore overhung the street and, down at 
its low, gleaming entrance, sucked in the many-colored 
opera-cloaks of gorgeously dressed girls. For a moment 
she paused by the taxi-stand and watched them — won- 
dering that but a few years before she had been of their 
number, ever setting out for a radiant Somewhere, 
always just about to have that ultimate passionate ad- 
venture for which the girls' cloaks were delicate and 
beautifully furred, for which their cheeks were painted 
and their hearts higher than the transitory dome of 
pleasure that would engulf them, coiffure, cloak, and all. 

It was growing colder and the men passing had flipped 
up the collars of their overcoats. This change was kind 
to her. It would have been kinder still had everything 
changed, weather, streets, and people, and had she been 
whisked away, to wake in some high, fresh-scented room, 
alone, and statuesque within and without, as in her 
virginal and colorful past. 

Inside the taxicab she wept impotent tears. That 
she had not been happy with Anthony for over a year 
mattered little. Recently his presence had been no more 
than what it would awake in her of that memorable 
June. The Anthony of late, irritable, weak, and poor, 

359 



36o THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

could do no less than make her irritable in turn — and 
bored with everything except the fact that in a highly 
imaginative and eloquent youth they had come together 
in an ecstatic revel of emotion. Because of this mu- 
tually vivid memory she would have done more for 
Anthony than for any other human — so when she got 
into the taxicab she wept passionately, and wanted to 
call his name aloud. 

Miserable, lonesome as a forgotten child, she sat in 
the quiet apartment and wrote him a letter full of con- 
fused sentiment: 

... 7 can almost look down the tracks and see you going hut 
without you, dearest, dearest, I canH see or hear or feel or think. 
Being apart — whatever has happened or will happen to us — is like 
legging for mercy from a storm, Anthony ; it's like growing old. 
I want to kiss you so — in the back of your neck where your old 
black hair starts. Because I love you and whatever we do or say 
to each other, or have done, or have said, you've got to feel how much 
I do, how inanimate I am when you're gone. I can't even hate the 
damnable presence of people, those people in the station who 
haven't any right to live — I can't resent them even though they're 
dirtying up our world, because I'm engrossed in wanting you so. 

If you hated me, if you were covered with sores like a leper, if you 
ran away with another woman or starved me or beat me — how absurd 
this sounds — I'd still want you, I'd still love you. I know, my 
darling. 

It's late — I have all the windows open and the air outside is just 
as soft as spring, yet, somehow, much more young and frail than 
spring. Why do they make spring a young girl, why does that illu- 
sion dance and yodel its way for three months through the world's 
preposterous barrenness. Spring is a lean old plough-horse with 
its ribs showing — it's a pile of refuse in a field, parched by the sun 
and the rain to an ominous cleanliness. 

In a few hours you'll wake up, my darling — and you'll be miser- 
able, and disgusted with life. You'll be in Delaware or Carolina or 
somewhere and so unimportant. I don't believe there's any one alive 



A MATTER OF ESTHETICS 361 

who can contemplate themselves as an impermanent institution, as 
a luxury or an unnecessary evil. Very few of the people who ac- 
centuate the futility of life remark the futility of themselves. Per- 
haps they think that in proclaiming the evil of living they somehow 
salvage their own worth from the ruin — hut they don't, even you 
and I. . . . 

. . . Still I can see you. There^s blue haze about the trees where 
youHl be passing, too beautiful to be predominant. No, the fallow 
squares of earth will be most frequent — theyHl he along beside the 
track like dirty coarse brown sheets drying in the sun, alive, we- 
chanical, abominable. Nature, slovenly old hag, has been sleeping 
in them with every old farmer or negro or immigrant who happened 
to covet her. . . . 

So you see that now youWe gone Vve written a letter all full of 
contempt and despair. And that just means that I love you, An- 
thony, with all there is to love with in your ^ 

Gloria. 

When she had addressed the letter she went to her 
twin bed and lay down upon it, clasping Anthony's 
pillow in her arms as though by sheer force of emotion 
she could metamorphize it into his warm and living body. 
Two o'clock saw her dry-eyed, staring with steady per- 
sistent grief into the darkness, remembering, remember- 
ing unmercifully, blaming herself for a hundred fancied 
unkindnesses, making a likeness of Anthony akin to 
some martyred and transfigured Christ. For a time she 
thought of him as he, in his more sentimental moments, 
probably thought of himself. 

At five she was still awake. A mysterious grinding 
noise that went on every morning across the areaway 
told her the hour. She heard an alarm-clock ring, and 
saw a light make a yellow square on an illusory blank 
wall opposite. With the half -formed resolution of fol- 
lowing him South immediately, her sorrow grew remote 
and unreal, and moved off from her as the dark moved 
westward. She fell asleep. 



362 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

When she awoke the sight of the empty bed beside 
her brought a renewal of misery, dispelled shortly, how- 
ever, by the inevitable callousness of the bright morn- 
ing. Though she was not conscious of it, there was re- 
lief in eating breakfast without Anthony's tired and 
worried face opposite her. Now that she was alone she 
lost all desire to complain about the food. She would 
change her breakfasts, she thought — ^have a lemonade 
and a tomato sandwich instead of the sempiternal bacon 
and eggs and toast. 

Nevertheless, at noon when she had called up several 
of her acquaintances, including the martial Muriel, and 
found each one engaged for lunch, she gave way to a 
quiet pity for herself and her loneliness. Curled on the 
bed with pencil and paper she wrote Anthony another 
letter. 

Late in the afternoon arrived a special dehvery, mailed 
from some small New Jersey town, and the famiHarity 
of the phrasing, the almost audible undertone of worry 
and discontent, were so familiar that they comforted 
her. Who knew? Perhaps army disciphne would 
harden Anthony and accustom him to the idea of work. 
She had immutable faith that the war would be over 
before he was called upon to fight, and meanwhile the 
suit would be won, and they could begin again, this time 
on a different basis. The first thing different would be 
that she would have a child. It was unbearable that 
she should be so utterly alone. 

It was a week before she could stay in the apartment 
with the probability of remaining dry-eyed. There 
seemed little in the city that was amusing. Muriel had 
been shifted to a hospital in New Jersey, from which 
she took a metropolitan holiday only every other week, 
and with this defection Gloria grew to realize how few 
were the friends she had made in all these years of New 



A MATTER OF ESTHETICS 363 

York. The men she knew were in the army. "Men 
she knew"? — she had conceded vaguely to herself that 
all the men who had ever been in love with her were 
her friends. Each one of them had at a certain con- 
siderable time professed to value her favor above any- 
thing in life. But now — ^where were they? At least 
two were dead, half a dozen or more were married, the 
rest scattered from France to the Philippines. She 
^ wondered whether any of them thought of her, and how 
* often, and in what respect. Most of them must still 
picture the little girl of seventeen or so, the adolescent 
siren of nine years before. 

The girls, too, were gone far afield. She had never 
been popular in school. She had been too beautiful, 
too lazy, not sufficiently conscious of being a Farmover 
girl and a "Future Wife and Mother" in perpetual 
capital letters. And girls who had never been kissed 
hinted, with shocked expressions on their plain but not 
particularly wholesome faces, that Gloria had. Then 
these girls had gone east or west or south, married and 
become "people," prophesying, if they prophesied about 
Gloria, that she would come to a bad end — ^not knowing 
that no endings were bad, and that they, like her, were 
by no means the mistresses of their destinies. 

Gloria told over to herself the people who had visited 
them in the gray house at Marietta. It had seemed at 
the time that they were always having company — she 
had indulged in an unspoken conviction that each guest 
was ever afterward slightly indebted to her. They 
owed her a sort of moral ten dollars apiece, and should 
she ever be in need she might, so to speak, borrow from 
them this visionary currency. But they were gone, scat- 
tered like chaff, mysteriously and subtly vanished in 
essence or in fact. 

By Christmas Gloria's conviction that she should 



364 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

join Anthony had returned, no longer as a sudden emo- 
tion, but as a recurrent need. She decided to write him 
word of her coming, but postponed the announcement 
upon the advice of Mr. Haight, who expected ahnost 
weekly that the case was coming up for trial. 

One day, early in January, as she was walking on 
Fifth Avenue, bright now with uniforms and hung with 
the flags of the virtuous nations, she met Rachael Barnes, 
whom she had not seen for nearly a year. Even Rachael, 
whom she had grown to dislike, was a relief from ennui, 
and together they went to the Ritz for tea. 

After a second cocktail they became enthusiastic. 
They liked each other. They talked about their hus- 
bands, Rachael in that tone of public vainglory, with 
private reservations, in which wives are wont to speak. 

'* Rodman's abroad in the Quartermaster Corps. 
He's a captain. He was bound he would go, and he 
didn't think he could get into anything else." 

''Anthony's in the Infantry." The words in their 
relation to the cocktail gave Gloria a sort of glow. With 
each sip she approached a warm and comforting patri- 
otism. 

"By the way," said Rachael half an hour later, as they 
were leaving, ''can't you come up to dinner to-morrow 
night? I'm having two awfully sweet ofiicers who are 
just going overseas. .1 think we ought to do all we can 
to make it attractive for them." 

Gloria accepted gladl}^ She took down the address 
— ^recognizing by its number a fashionable apartment 
building on Park Avenue. 

"It's been awfully good to have seen you, Rachael." 

"It's been wonderful. I've wanted to." 

With these three sentences a certain night in Marietta 
two summers before, when Anthony and Rachael had 
been unnecessarily attentive to each other, was forgiven 



A MATTER OF .ESTHETICS 365 

— Gloria forgave Rachael, Rachael forgave Gloria. Also 
it was forgiven that Rachael had been witness to the 
greatest disaster in the lives of Mr. and Mrs. Anthony 

Patch 

Compromising with events time moves along. 

The Wiles of Captain Collins 

The two officers were captains of the popular craft, 
machine gunnery. At dinner they referred to them- 
selves with conscious boredom as members of the 
"Suicide Club" — in those days every recondite branch 
of the service referred to itself as the Suicide Club. One 
of the captains — RachaeFs captain, Gloria observed — 
was a tall horsy man of thirty with a pleasant mus- 
tache and ugly teeth. The other, Captain Collins, was 
chubby, pink-faced, and inclined to laugh with abandon 
every time he caught Gloria's eye. He took an im- 
mediate fancy to her, and throughout dinner showered 
her with inane compliments. With her second glass of 
champagne Gloria decided that for the first time in 
months she was thoroughly enjoying herself. 

After dinner it was suggested that they all go some- 
where and dance. The two officers supplied themselves 
with bottles of liquor from RachaeFs sideboard — a law 
forbade service to the military — and so equipped they 
went through innumerable fox-trots in several glittering 
caravanseries along Broadway, faithfully alternating 
partners — while Gloria became more and more uproari- 
ous and more and more amusing to the pink-faced cap- 
tain, who seldom bothered to remove his genial smile 
at all. 

At eleven o'clock to her great surprise she was in the 
minority for staying out. The others wanted to return 
to RachaeFs apartment — to get some more liquor, they 
said. Gloria argued persistently that Captain CoUins's 



366 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

flask was half full — she had just seen it — then catching 
Rachael's eye she received an unmistakable wink. She 
deduced, confusedly, that her hostess wanted to get rid 
of the officers and assented to being bundled into a 
taxicab outside. 

Captain Wolf sat on the left with Rachael on his 
knees. Captain Collins sat in the middle, and as he 
settled himself he slipped his arm about Gloria's shoulder. 
It rested there Hfelessly for a moment and then tight- 
ened like a vise. He leaned over her. 

"You're awfully pretty," he whispered. 

"Thank you kindly, sir." She was neither pleased 
nor annoyed. Before Anthony came so many arms had 
done likewise that it had become Httle more than a 
gesture, sentimental but without significance. 

Up in Rachael's long front room a low fire and two 
lamps shaded with orange silk gave all the light, so that 
the corners were full of deep and somnolent shadows. 
The hostess, moving about in a dark-figured gown of 
loose chiffon, seemed to accentuate the already sensuous 
atmosphere. For a while they were all four together, 
tasting the sandwiches that waited on the tea-table — 
then Gloria found herself alone with Captain Collins 
on the fireside lounge; Rachael and Captain Wolf had 
withdrawn to the other side of fhe room, where they 
were conversing in subdued voices. 

"I wish you weren't married," said Collins, his face 
a ludicrous travesty of "in all seriousness." 

"Why?" She held out her glass to be filled with a 
high-ball. 

"Don't drink any more," he urged her, frowning. 

"Why not?" 

"You'd be nicer — ^if you didn't." 

Gloria caught suddenly the intended suggestion of the 
remark, the atmosphere he was attempting to create. 



A MATTER OF ESTHETICS 367 

She wanted to laugh — ^yet she realized that there was 
nothing to laugh at. She had been enjoying the eve- 
ning, and she had no desire to go home — at the same 
time it hurt her pride to be flirted with on just that 
level. 

''Pour me another drink," she insisted. 

"Please " 

"Oh, don't be ridiculous!" she cried in exaspera- 
tion. 

"Very well." He yielded with ill grace. 

Then his arm was about her again, and again she made 
no protest. But when his pink cheek came close she 
leaned away. 

"You're awfully sweet," he said with an aimless air. 

She began to sing softly, wishing now that he would 
take down his arm. Suddenly her eye fell on an in- 
timate scene across the room — Rachael and Captain 
Wolf were engrossed in a long kiss. Gloria shivered 
sUghtly — she knew not why. . . . Pink face approached 
again. 

"You shouldn't look at them," he whispered. Almost 
immediately his other arm was around her ... his 
breath was on her cheek. Again absurdity triumphed 
over disgust, and her laugh was a weapon that needed 
no edge of words. 

"Oh, I thought you were a sport," he was saying. 

"What's a sport?" 

"Why, a person that likes to — to enjoy Kfe." 

"Is kissing you generally considered a joyful affair?" 

They were interrupted as Rachael and Captain Wolf 
appeared suddenly before them. 

"It's late, Gloria," said Rachael — she was flushed and 
her hair was dishevelled. "You'd better stay here all 
night." 

For an instant Gloria thought the officers were being 



368 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

dismissed. Then she understood, and, understanding, 
got to her feet as casually as she was able. 

Uncomprehendingly Rachael continued: 

"You can have the room just off this one. I can 
lend you everything you need.'' 

Collins's eyes implored her like a dog's; Captain 
Wolf's arm had settled famiharly around Rachael's 
waist; they were waiting. 

But the lure of promiscuity, colorful, various, labyrin- 
thine, and ever a little odorous and stale, had no call 
or promise for Gloria. Had she so desired she would 
have remained, without hesitation, without regret; as 
it was she could face coolly the six hostile and offended 
eyes that followed her out into the hall with forced 
politeness and hollow words. 

^^Ee wasn't even sport enough to try to take me 
home," she thought in the taxi, and then with a quick 
surge of resentment: "How utterly common!" 

Gallantry 

In February she had an experience of quite a different 
sort. Tudor Baird, an ancient flame, a young man 
whom at one time she had fully intended to marry, 
came to New York by way of the Aviation Corps, and 
called upon her. They went several times to the the- 
atre, and within a week, to her great enjoyment, he 
was as much in love with her as ever. Quite deliber- 
ately she brought it about, realizing too late that she 
had done a mischief. He reached the point of sitting 
with her in miserable silence whenever they went out 
together. 

A Scroll and Keys man at Yale, he possessed the cor- 
rect reticences of a "good egg," the correct notions of 
chivalry and noblesse oblige — and, of course but un- 
fortunately, the correct biases and the correct lack of 



A MATTER OF ESTHETICS 369 

ideas — all those traits which Anthony had taught her 
to despise, but v/hich, nevertheless, she rather admired. 
Unlike the majority of his type, she found that he was 
not a bore. He was handsome, witty in a light way, 
and when she was with him she felt that because of some 
quality he possessed — call it stupidity, loyalty, senti- 
mentality, or something not quite as definite as any of 
the three — ^he would have done anything in his power 
to please her. 

He told her this among other things, very correctly 
and with a ponderous manliness that masked a real suf- 
fering. Loving him not at all she grew sorry for him 
and kissed him sentimentally one night because he was 
so charming, a relic of a vanishing generation which 
lived a priggish and graceful illusion and was being re- 
placed by less gallant fools. Afterward she was glad 
she had kissed him, for next day when his plane fell 
fifteen hundred feet at Mineola a piece of a gasolene 
engine smashed through his heart. 

Gloria Alone 

When Mr. Haight told her that the trial would not 
take place until autumn she decided that without tell- 
ing Anthony she would go into the movies. When he 
saw her successful, both histrionically and financially, 
when he saw that she could have her will of Joseph 
Bloeckman, yielding nothing in return, he would lose 
his silly prejudices. She lay awake half one night plan- 
ning her career and enjoying her successes in anticipa- 
tion, and the next morning she called up "Films Par 
Excellence." Mr. Bloeckman was in Europe. 

But the idea had gripped her so strongly this time 
that she decided to go the rounds of the moving-picture 
employment agencies. As so often had been the case, 
her sense of smell worked against her good intentions. 



370 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

The employment agency smelt as though it had been 
dead a very long time. She waited five minutes in- 
specting her unprepossessing competitors — then she 
walked briskly out into the farthest recesses of Central 
Park and remained so long that she caught a cold. She 
was trying to air the employment agency out of her 
walking suit. 

In the spring she began to gather from Anthony's 
letters — ^not from any one in particular but from their 
culminative effect — that he did not want her to come 
South. Curiously repeated excuses that seemed to 
haunt him by their very insufiiciency occurred with 
Freudian regularity. He set them down in each letter 
as though he feared he had forgotten them the last time, 
as though it were desperately necessary to impress her 
with them. And the dilutions of his letters with affec- 
tionate diminutives began to be mechanical and un- 
spontaneous — almost as though, having completed the 
letter, he had looked it over and literally stuck them in, 
like epigrams in an Oscar Wilde play. She jumped to 
the solution, rejected it, was angry and depressed by 
turns — finally she shut her mind to it proudly, and al- 
lowed an increasing coolness to creep into her end of the 
correspondence. 

Of late she had found a good deal to occupy her at- 
tention. Several aviators whom she had met through 
Tudor Baird came into New York to see her and two 
other ancient beaux turned up, stationed at Camp Dix. 
As these men were ordered overseas they, so to speak, 
handed her down to their friends. But after another 
rather disagreeable experience with a potential Captain 
Collins she made it plain that when any one was intro- 
duced to her he should be under no misapprehensions as 
to her status and personal intentions. 



A MATTER OF ^ESTHETICS 371 

When summer came she learned, like Anthony, to 
watch the officers' casualty Hst, taking a sort of melan- 
choly pleasure in hearing of the death of some one with 
whom she had once danced a german and in identify- 
ing by name the younger brothers of former suitors — 
thinking, as the drive toward Paris progressed, that 
here at length went the world to inevitable and well- 
merited destruction. 

She was twenty-seven. Her birthday fled by scarcely 
noticed. Years before it had frightened her when she 
became twenty, to some extent when she reached twenty- 
six — ^but now she looked in the glass with calm self- 
approval seeing the British freshness of her complexion 
and her figure boyish and slim as of old. 

She tried not to think of Anthony. It was as though 
she were writing to a stranger. She told her friends 
that he had been made a corporal and was annoyed 
when they were poHtely unimpressed. One night she 
wept because she was sorry for him — ^had he been even 
sHghtly responsive she would have gone to him without 
hesitation on the first train — whatever he was doing he 
needed to be taken care of spiritually, and she felt that 
now she would be able to do even that. Recently, 
without his continual drain upon her moral strength 
she found herself wonderfully revived. Before he left 
she had been incKned through sheer association to 
brood on her wasted opportunities — now she returned 
to her normal state of mind, strong, disdainful, existing 
each day for each day's worth. She bought a doll and 
dressed it; one week she wept over "Ethan Frome"; 
the next she revelled in some novels of Galsworthy's, 
whom she liked for his power of recreating, by spring in 
darkness, that illusion of young romantic love to which 
women look forever forward and forever back. 

In October Anthony's letters multiplied, became 



372 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

almost frantic — then suddenly ceased. For a worried 
month it needed all her powers of control to refrain from 
leaving immediately for Mississippi. Then a telegram 
told her that he had been in the hospital and that she 
could expect him in New York within ten days. Like 
a figure in a dream he came back into her life across 
the ballroom on that November evening — and all 
through long hours that held familiar gladness she took 
him close to her breast, nursing an illusion of happi- 
ness and security she had not thought that she would 
know again. 

Discomfiture of the Generals 

After a week Anthony's regiment went back to the 
Mississippi camp to be discharged. The officers shut 
themselves up in the compartments on the Pullman 
cars and drank the whiskey they had bought in New 
York, and in the coaches the soldiers got as drunk as 
possible also — and pretended whenever the train stopped 
at a village that they were just returned from France, 
where they had practically put an end to the German 
army. As they all wore overseas caps and claimed that 
they had not had time to have their gold service stripes 
sewed on, the yokelry of the seaboard were much im- 
pressed and asked them how they liked the trenches — 
to which they replied ^'Oh, hoy!" with great smacking 
of tongues and shaking of heads. Some one took a 
piece of chalk and scrawled on the side of the train, 
*'We won the war — now we're going home," and the 
officers laughed and let it stay. They were all getting 
what swagger they could out of this ignominious return. 

As they rumbled on toward camp, Anthony was un- 
easy lest he should find Dot awaiting him patiently at 
the station. To his relief he neither saw nor heard 
anything of her and thinking that were she still in town 



A MATTER OF ESTHETICS 373 

she would certainly attempt to communicate with him, 
he concluded that she had gone — whither he neither knew 
nor cared. He wanted only to return to Gloria — Gloria 
reborn and wonderfully alive. When eventually he was 
discharged he left his company on the rear of a great 
truck with a crowd who had given tolerant, almost sen- 
timental, cheers for their officers, especially for Captain 
Dunning. The captain, on his part, had addressed 
them with tears in his eyes as to the pleasure, etc., and 
the work, etc., and time not wasted, etc., and duty, etc. 
It was very dull and human; having given ear to it An- 
thony, whose mind was freshened by his week in New 
York, renewed his deep loathing for the military pro- 
fession and all it connoted. In their childish hearts two 
out of every three professional officers considered that 
wars were made for armies and not armies for wars. He 
rejoiced to see general and field-officers riding desolately 
about the barren camp deprived of their commands. 
He rejoiced to hear the men in his company laugh scorn- 
fully at the inducements tendered them to remain in 
the army. They were to attend ''schools.'' He knew 
what these ^'schools" were. 
Two days later he was with Gloria in New York. 

Another Winter 

Late one February afternoon Anthony came into the 
apartment and groping through the Httle hall, pitch- 
dark in the winter dusk, found Gloria sitting by the 
window. She turned as he came in. 

"What did Mr. Haight have to say?" she asked list- 
lessly. 

"Nothing," he answered, "usual thing. Next month, 
perhaps." 

She looked at him closely; her ear attuned to his voice 
caught the slightest thickness in the dissyllable. 



374 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

" YouVe been drinking," she remarked dispassionately. 

"Couple glasses." 

"Oh." 

He yawned in the armchair and there was a moment's 
silence between them. Then she demanded suddenly: 

"Did you go to Mr. Haight? Tell me the truth." 

"No." He smiled weakly. "As a matter of fact I 
didn't have time." 

"I thought you didn't go. . . . He sent for you." 

"I don't give a damn. I'm sick of waiting around his 
office. You'd think he was doing me a favor." He 
glanced at Gloria as though expecting moral support, 
but she had turned back to her contemplation of the 
dubious and unprepossessing out-of-doors. 

"I feel rather weary of Hfe to-day," he offered ten- 
tatively. Still she was silent. "I met a fellow and we 
talked in the Biltmore bar." 

The dusk had suddenly deepened but neither of them 
made any move to turn on the lights. Lost in heaven 
knew what contemplation, they sat there until a flurry 
of snow drew a languid sigh from Gloria. 

"What've you been doing?" he asked, finding the 
silence oppressive. 

"Reading a magazine — all full of idiotic articles by 
prosperous authors about how terrible it is for poor 
people to buy silk shirts. And while I was reading it 
I could think of nothing except how I wanted a gray 
squirrel coat^ — and how we can't afford one." 

"Yes, we can." 

"Oh, no." 

"Oh, yes! If you want a fur coat you can have 
one." 

Her voice coming through the dark held an implica- 
tion of scorn. 

"You mean we can sell another bond?" 



A MATTER OF iESTHETICS 375 

"If necessary. I don't want you to go without things. 
We have spent a lot, though, since IVe been back." 

"Oh, shut up !" she said in irritation. 

"Why?" 

"Because I'm sick and tired of hearing you talk about 
what we've spent or what we've done. You came back 
two months ago and we've been on some sort of a 
party practically every night since. We've both wanted 
to go out, and we've gone. Well, you haven't heard 
me complain, have you ? But all you do is whine, whine, 
whine. I don't care any more what we do or what 
becomes of us and at least I'm consistent. But I will 
not tolerate your complaining and calamity-howling " 

"You're not very pleasant yourself sometimes, you 
know." 

"I'm under no obligations to be. You're not making 
any attempt to make things different." 

"But I am " 

"Huh! Seems to me I've heard that before. This 
morning you weren't going to touch another thing to 
drink until you'd gotten a position. And you didn't 
even have the spunk to go to Mr. Haight when he sent 
for you about the suit." 

Anthony got to his feet and switched on the lights. 

"See here!" he cried, blinking, "I'm getting sick of 
that sharp tongue of yours." 

"Well, what are you going to do about it?" 

"Do you think Fm particularly happy?" he con- 
tinued, ignoring her question. "Do you think I don't 
know we're not living as we ought to?" 

In an instant Gloria stood trembling beside him. 

"I won't stand it!" she burst out. "I won't be lec- 
tured to. You and your suffering ! You're just a piti- 
ful weakling and you always have been!" 

They faced one another idiotically, each of them un- 



376 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

able to impress the other, each of them tremendously, 
achingly, bored. Then she went into the bedroom and 
shut the door behind her. 

His return had brought into the foreground all their 
pre-bellum exasperations. Prices had risen alarmingly 
and in perverse ratio their income had shrunk to a little 
over half of its original size. There had been the large 
retainer's fee to Mr. Haight; there were stocks bought 
at one hundred, now down to thirty and forty and other 
investments that were not paying at all. During the 
previous spring Gloria had been given the alternative 
of leaving the apartment or of signing a year's lease at 
two hundred and twenty-five a month. She had signed 
it. Inevitably as the necessity for economy had in- 
creased they found themselves as a pair quite unable 
to save. The old policy of prevarication was resorted 
to. Weary of their incapabilities they chattered of what 
they would do — oh — to-morrow, of how they would 

/^stop going on parties" and of how Anthony would go 
to work. But when dark came down Gloria, accus- 
tomed to an engagement every night, would feel the 
ancient restlessness creeping over her. She would stand 
in the doorway of the bedroom, chewing furiously at 
her fingers and sometimes meeting Anthony's eyes as 

' he glanced up from his book. Then the telephone, and 
her nerves would relax, she would answer it with iU- 
concealed eagerness. Some one was coming up "for 
just a few minutes" — and oh, the weariness of pretense, 
the appearance of the wine-table, the revival of their 
jaded spirits — and the awakening, like the mid-point of 
a sleepless night in which they moved. 

As the winter passed with the march of the returning 
troops along Fifth Avenue they became more and more 
aware that since Anthony's return their relations had 
entirely changed. After that reflowering of tenderness 



A MATTER OF ESTHETICS 377 

and passion each of them had returned into some soli- 
tary dream unshared by the other and what endear- 
ments passed between them passed, it seemed, from 
empty heart to empty heart, echoing hollowly the de- 
parture of what they knew at last was gone. 

Anthony had again made the rounds of the metropoli- 
tan newspapers and had again been refused encourage- 
ment by a motley of office boys, telephone girls, and city 
editors. The word was: "We're keeping any vacancies 
open for our own men who are still in France." Then, 
late in March, his eye fell on an advertisement in the 
morning paper and in consequence he found at last the 
semblance of an occupation. 

YOU CAN SELL! ! ! 

Why not earn while you learn ? 
Our salesmen make $50-$ 200 weekly. 

There followed an address on Madison Avenue, and in- 
structions to appear at one o'clock that afternoon. 
Gloria, glancing over his shoulder after one of their 
usual late breakfasts, saw him regarding it idly. 
''Why don't you try it?" she suggested. 
"Oh — ^it's one of these crazy schemes." 
"It might not be. At least it'd be experience." 
At her urging he went at one o'clock to the appointed 
address, where he found himself one of a dense mis- 
cellany of men waiting in front of the door. They 
ranged from a messenger-boy evidently misusing his 
company's time to an inamemorial individual with a 
gnarled body and a gnarled cane. Some of the men 
were seedy, with sunken cheeks and puffy pink eyes — ■ 
others were young, possibly still in high school. After 
a jostled fifteen minutes during which they all eyed one 
another with apathetic suspicion there appeared a smart 
young shepherd clad in a "waist-line" suit and wear- 



378 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

ing the maimer of an assistant rector who herded them 
up-stairs into a large room, which resembled a school- 
room and contained innumerable desks. Here the pro- 
spective salesmen sat down — and again waited. " After an 
interval a platform at the end of the hall was clouded 
with half a dozen sober but sprightly men who, with one 
exception, took seats in a semicircle facing the audience. 

The exception was the man who seemed the soberest, 
the most sprightly and the youngest of the lot, and who 
advanced to the front of the platform. The audience 
scrutinized him hopefully. He was rather small and 
rather pretty, with the conmiercial rather than the 
thespian sort of prettiness. He had straight blond 
bushy brows and eyes that were almost preposterously 
honest, and as he reached the edge of his rostrum he 
seemed to throw these eyes out into the audience, simul- 
taneously extending his arm with two fingers out- 
stretched. Then while he rocked himself to a state of 
balance an expectant, silence settled over the hall. 
With perfect assurance the young man had taken his 
listeners in hand and his words when they came were 
steady and confident and of the school of "straight from 
the shoulder." 

"Men!" — ^he began, and paused. The word died 
with a prolonged echo at the end of the hall, the faces 
regarding him, hopefully, cynically, wearily, were alike 
arrested, engrossed. Six hundred eyes were turned 
slightly upward. With an even graceless flow that 
reminded Anthony of the rolling of bowUng-balls he 
launched himself into the sea of exposition. 

"This bright and sunny morning you picked up your 
favorite newspaper and you found an advertisement 
which made the plain, unadorned statement that you 
could sell. That was all it said — it didn't say ^what,' 
it didn't say 'how,' it didn't say 'why.' It just made 



A MATTER OF .ESTHETICS 379 

one single solitary assertion that you and you and you " — • 
business of pointing — "could sell. Now my job isn't 
to make a success of you, because every man is born a 
success, he makes himself a failure; it's not to teach you 
how to talk, because each man is a natural orator and 
only makes himself a clam; my business is to tell you 
one thing in a way that will make you know it — it's to 
tell you that you and you and you have the heritage 
of money and prosperity waiting for you to come and 
claim it." 

At this point an Irishman of saturnine appearance 
rose from his desk near the rear of the hall and went 
out. 

"That man thinks he'll go look for it in the beer par- 
lor around the corner. (Laughter.) He won't find it 
there. Once upon a time I looked for it there myself 
(laughter), but that was before I did what every one of 
you men no matter how young or how old, how poor or 
how rich (a faint ripple of satirical laughter), can do. It 
was before I found — ray self I 

"Now I wonder if any of you men know what a 
'Heart Talk' is. A 'Heart Talk' is a little book in 
which I started, about five years ago, to write down 
what I had discovered were the principal reasons for a 
man's failure and the principal reasons for a man's 
success — frcm ^ohn D. Rockerfeller back to John D. 
Napoleon (laughter), and before that, back in the days 
when Abel sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. 
There are now one hundred of these 'Heart Talks/ 
Those of you who are sincere, who are interested in our 
proposition, above all who are dissatisfied with the way 
things are breaking for you at present will be handed 
one to take home with you as you go out yonder door 
this afternoon. 

"Now in my own pocket I have four letters just re- 



38o THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

ceived concerning 'Heart Talks.' These letters have 
names signed to them that are familiar in every house- 
hold in the U. S. A. Listen to this one from Detroit: 

Dear Mr. Carleton: 

I want to order three thousand more copies of "Heart Talks" 
for distribution among my salesmen. They have done more 
for getting work out of the men than any bonus proposition ever 
considered. I read them myself constantly, and I desire to 
heartily congratulate you on getting at the roots of the biggest 
problem that faces our generation to-day — the problem of sales- 
manship. The rock bottom on which the country is founded 
is the problem of salesmanship. With many felicitations I am 

Yours very cordially, 

Henry W. Terral. 

He brought the name out in three long booming tri- 
umphancies — ^pausing for it to produce its magical effect. 
Then he read two more letters, one from a manufac- 
turer of vacuum cleaners and one from the president of 
the Great Northern Doily Company. 

"And now,'' he continued, "I'm going to tell you in a 
few words what the proposition is that's going to make 
those of you who go into it in the right spirit. Simply 
put, it's this: 'Heart Talks' have been incorporated as 
a company. We're going to put these Httle pamphlets 
into the hands of every big business organization, every 
salesman, and every man who knows — I don't say 
'thinks,' I say ' knows ^ — that he can sell ! We are offer- 
ing some of the stock of the * Heart Talks' concern upon 
the market, and in order that the distribution may be 
as wide as possible, and in order also that we can fur- 
nish a living, concrete, flesh-and-blood example of what 
salesmanship is, or rather what it may be, we're going 
to give those of you who are the real thing a chance to 
sell that stock. Now, I don't care what you've tried 



A MATTER OF .ESTHETICS 381 

to sell before or how you've tried to sell it. It don't 
matter how old you are or how young you are. I only 
want to know two things — first, do you want success, 
and, second, will you work for it? 

"My name is Sammy Carle ton. Not ^Mr.' Carle ton, 
but just plain Sammy. I'm a regular no-nonsense man 
with no fancy frills about me. I want you to call me 
Sammy. 

"Now this is all I'm going to say to you to-day. To- 
morrow I want those of you who have thought it over 
and have read the copy of * Heart Talks' which will be 
given to you at the door, to come back to this same room 
at this same time, then we'll go into the proposition 
further and I'll explain to you what I've found the 
principles of success to be. I'm going to make you feel 
that you and you and you can sell!" 

Mr. Carleton's voice echoed for a moment through 
the hall and then died away. To the stamping of many 
feet Anthony was pushed and jostled with the crowd out 
of the room. 

Further Adventures with "Heart Talks" 

With an accompaniment of ironic laughter Anthony 
told Gloria the story of his commercial adventure. But 
she listened without amusement. 

"You're going to give up again?" she demanded 
coldly. 

"Why — you don't expect me to " 

"I never expected anything of you." 

He hesitated. 

"Well — I can't see the slightest benefit in laughing 
myself sick over this sort of affair. If there's anything 
older than the old story, it's the new twist." 

It required an astonishing amount of moral energy on. 
Gloria's part to intimidate him into returning, and when 



382 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

he reported next day, somewhat depressed from his 
perusal of the senile bromides skittishly set forth in 
*' Heart Talks on Ambition," he found only fifty of the 
original three hundred awaiting the appearance of the 
vital and compelling Sammy Carleton. Mr. Carleton's 
powers of vitality and compulsion were this time exer- 
cised in elucidating that magnificent piece of speculation 
— how to sell. It seemed that the approved method 
was to state one's proposition and then to say not ''And 
now, will you buy?'' — this was not the way — oh, no! — 
the way was to state one's proposition and then, having 
reduced one's adversary to a state of exhaustion, to 
dehver oneself of the categorical imperative: ''Now 
see here! You've taken up my time explaining this 
matter to you. You've admitted my points — all I want 
to ask is how many do you want?" 

As Mr. Carleton piled assertion upon assertion An- 
thony began to feel a sort of disgusted confidence in 
him. The man appeared to know what he was talking 
about. Obviously prosperous, he had risen to the posi- 
tion of instructing others. It did not occur to Anthony 
that the type of man who attains commercial success 
seldom knows how or why, and, as in his grandfather's 
case, when he ascribes reasons, the reasons are generally 
inaccurate and absurd. 

Anthony noted that of the numerous old men who had 
answered the original advertisement, only two had re- 
turned, and that among the thirty odd who assembled 
on the third day to get actual selling instructions from 
Mr. Carleton, only one gray head was in evidence. 
These thirty were eager converts; with their mouths 
they followed the working of Mr. Carleton's mouth; 
they swayed in their seats with enthusiasm, and in the 
intervals of his talk they spoke to each other in tense 
approving whispers. Yet of the chosen few who, in the 



A MATTER OF .ESTHETICS 383 

words of Mr. Carle ton, "were determined to get those 
deserts that rightly and truly belonged to them," less 
than half a dozen combined even a modicum of personal 
appearance with that great gift of being a "pusher." 
But they were told that they were all natural pushers 
— it was merely necessary that they should believe with 
a sort of savage passion in what they were selling. He 
even urged each one to buy some stock himself, if pos- 
sible, in order to increase his own sincerity. 

On the fifth day then, Anthony sallied into the street 
with all the sensations of a man wanted by the police. 
Acting according to instructions he selected a tall 
office-building in order that he might ride to the top 
story and work downward, stopping in every office that 
had a name on the door. But at the last minute he 
hesitated. Perhaps it would be more practicable to ac- 
climate himself to the chilly atmosphere which he felt 
was awaiting him by trying a few offices on, say, Madi- 
son Avenue. He went into an arcade that seemed only 
semi-prosperous, and seeing a sign which read Percy B. 
Weatherbee, Architect, he opened the door heroically 
and entered. A starchy young woman looked up ques- 
tioningly. 

"Can I see Mr. Weatherbee?" He wondered if his 
voice sounded tremulous. 

She laid her hand tentatively on the telephone-re- 
ceiver. 

"Whafs the name, please?" 

"He wouldn't — ah — ^know me. He wouldn't know 
my name." 

"What's your business with him? You an insurance 
agent?" 

"Oh, no, nothing like that!" denied Anthony hur- 
riedly. "Oh, no. It's a — it's a personal matter." He 
wondered if he should have said this. It had all sounded 



384 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

so simple when Mr. Carleton had enjoined his flock: 
"Don't allow yourself to be kept out! Show them 
youVe made up your mind to talk to them, and they'll 
listen." 

The girl succumbed to Anthony's pleasant, melan- 
choly face, and in a moment the door to the inner room 
opened and admitted a tall, splay-footed man with 
shcked hair. He approached Anthony with ill-con- 
cealed impatience. 

"You wanted to see me on a personal matter?" 

Anthony quailed. 

"I wanted to talk to you," he said defiantly. 

"About what?" 

"It'll take some time to explain." 

"Well, what's it about?" Mr. Weatherbee's voice 
indicated rising irritation. 

Then Anthony, straining at each word, each syllable, 
began: 

"I don't know whether or not you've ever heard of 
a series of pamphlets called 'Heart Talks' " 

"Good grief!" cried Percy B. Weatherbee, Architect, 
"are you trying to touch my heart?" 

"No, it's business. 'Heart Talks' have been incorpo- 
rated and we're putting some shares on the market " 

His voice faded slowly off, harassed by a fixed and con- 
temptuous stare from his unwilling prey. For another 
minute he struggled on, increasingly sensitive, entangled 
in his own words. His confidence oozed from him in 
great retching emanations that seemed to be sections 
of his own body. Almost mercifully Percy B. Weather- 
bee, Architect, terminated the interview: 

"Good grief!" he exploded in disgust, "and you call 
that a personal matter ! " He whipped about and strode 
into his private office, banging the door behind him. 
Not daring to look at the stenographer, Anthony in some 



A MATTER OF .ESTHETICS 385 

shameful and mysterious way got himself from the room. 
Perspiring profusely he stood in the hall wondering 
why they didn't come and arrest him; in every hurried 
look he discerned infallibly a glance of scorn. 

After an hour and with the help of two strong whiskies 
he brought himself up to another attempt. He walked 
into a plumber's shop, but when he mentioned his busi- 
ness the pliunber began pulling on his coat in a great 
hurry, gruffly announcing that he had to go to lunch. 
Anthony remarked politely that it was futile to try to 
sell a man anything when he was hungry, and the 
plumber heartily agreed. 

This episode encouraged Anthony; he tried to think 
that had the plumber not been bound for lunch he 
would at least have listened. 

Passing by a few glittering and formidable bazaars 
he entered a grocery-store. A talkative proprietor told 
him that before buying any stocks he was going to see 
how the armistice affected the market. To Anthony 
this seemed almost unfair. In Mr. Carleton's salesman's 
Utopia the only reason prospective buyers ever gave 
for not purchasing stock was that they doubted it to 
be a promising investment. Obviously a man in that 
state was almost ludicrously easy game, to be brought 
down merely by the judicious application of the correct 
selling points. But these men — why, actually they 
weren't considering buying anything at all. 

Anthony took several more drinks before he ap- 
proached his fourth man, a real-estate agent; neverthe- 
less, he was floored with a coup as decisive as a syllogism. 
The real-estate agent said that he had three brothers 
in the investment business. Viewing himself as a 
breaker-up of homes Anthony apologized and went out. 

After another drink he conceived the brilliant plan 
of seUing the stock to the bartenders along Lexington 



386 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Avenue. This occupied several hours, for it was neces- 
sary to take a few drinks in each place in order to get 
the proprietor in the proper frame of mind to talk 
business. But the bartenders one and all contended 
that if they had any money to buy bonds they would 
not be bartenders. It was as though they had all con- 
vened and decided upon that rejoinder. As he ap- 
proached a dark and soggy five o'clock he found that 
they were developing a still more annoying tendency to 
turn him off with a jest. 

At five, then, with a tremendous effort at concen- 
tration he decided that he must put more variety into 
his canvassing. He selected a medium-sized delicatessen 
store, and went in. He felt, illuminatingly, that the 
thing to do was to cast a spell not only over the store- 
keeper but over all the customers as well — and perhaps 
through the psychology of the herd instinct they would 
buy as an astounded and immediately convinced whole. 

"Af'ernoon," he began in a loud thick voice. ^'Ga 
Til prop'sition." 

If he had wanted silence he obtained it. A sort of 
awe descended upon the half-dozen women marketing 
and upon the gray-haired ancient who in cap and apron 
was slicing chicken. 

Anthony pulled a batch of papers from his flapping 
brief case and waved them cheerfully. 

"Buy a bon'," he suggested, *^good as liberty bon' !'* 
The phrase pleased him and he elaborated upon it. 
"Better'n liberty bon'. Every one these bon's worth 
two liberty bon's." His mind made a hiatus and skipped 
to his peroration, which he delivered with appropriate 
gestures, these being somewhat marred by the necessity 
of clinging to the counter with one or both hands. 
"Now see here. You taken up my time. I don't want 
know why you won't buy. I just want you say why. 
Want you say how many I ^^ 



A MATTER OF .ESTHETICS 387 

At this point they should have approached him with 
check-books and fountain-pens in hand. Realizing that 
they must have missed a cue Anthony, with the in- 
stincts of an actor, went back and repeated his finale. 

"Now see here! You taken up my time. You fol- 
lowed prop'sition. You agreed 'th reasonin'? Now, 
all I want from you is, how many lib'ty bon's?" 

"See here!" broke in a new voice. A portly man 
whose face was adorned with symmetrical scrolls of 
yellow hair had come out of a glass cage in the rear of 
the store and was bearing down upon Anthony. "See 
here, you ! " 

' ' How many ? ' ^ repeated the salesman sternly. * ' You 
taken up my time " 

"Hey, you!" cried the proprietor, "I'll have you 
taken up by the police." 

"You mos' cert'nly won't!" returned Anthony with 
fine defiance. "All I want know is how many." 

From here and there in the store went up little clouds 
of comment and expostulation. 

"How terrible!" 

"He's a raving maniac." 

"He's disgracefully drunk." 

The proprietor grasped Anthony's arm sharply. 

"Get out, or I'll call a policeman." 

Some relics of rationality moved Anthony to nod and 
replace his bonds clumsily in the case. 

"How many?" he reiterated doubtfully. 

"The whole force if necessary!" thundered his ad- 
versary, his yellow mustache trembling fiercely. 

"Sell 'em all a bon'." 

With this Anthony turned, bowed gravely to his late 
auditors, and wabbled from the store. He found a taxi- 
cab at the corner and rode home to the apartment. 
There he fell sound asleep on the sofa, and so Gloria 



388 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

found him, his breath filling the air with an unpleasant 
pungency, his hand still clutching his open brief case. 

Except when Anthony was drinking, his range of sen- 
sation had become less than that of a healthy old man 
and when prohibition came in July he found that, among 
those who could afford it, there was more drinldng than 
ever before. One's host now brought out a bottle upon 
the slightest pretext. The tendency to display liquor 
was a manifestation of the same instinct that led a man 
to deck his wife with jewels. To have liquor was a 
boast, almost a badge of respectability. 

In the mornings Anthony awoke tired, nervous, and 
worried. Halcyon summer twilights and the purple 
chill of morning alike left him unresponsive. Only for 
a brief moment every day in the warmth and renewed 
life of a first high-ball did his mind turn to those opal- 
escent dreams of future pleasure — the mutual heritage 
of the happy and the damned. But this was only for a 
little while. As he grew drunker the dreams faded and 
he became a confused spectre, moving in odd crannies 
of his own mind, full of unexpected devices, harshly 
contemptuous at best and reaching sodden and dispir- 
ited depths. One night in June he had quarrelled vio- 
lently with Maury over a matter of the utmost triviahty. 
He remembered dimly next morning that it had been 
about a broken pint bottle of champagne. Maury had 
told him to sober up and Anthony's feelings had been 
hurt, so with an attempted gesture of dignity he had 
risen from the table and seizing Gloria's arm half led, 
half shamed her into a taxicab outside, leaving Maury 
with three dinners ordered and tickets for the opera. 

This sort of semi-tragic fiasco had become so usual 
that when they occurred he was no longer stirred into 
making amends. If Gloria protested — and of late she 



A MATTER OF ESTHETICS 389 

was more likely to sink into a contemptuous silence — he 
would either engage in a bitter defense of himself or else 
stalk dismally from the apartment. Never since the 
incident on the station platform at Redgate had he laid 
his hands on her in anger — though he was withheld often 
only by some instinct that itself made him tremble with 
rage. Just as he still cared more for her than for any 
other creature, so did he more intensely and frequently 
hate her. 

So far, the judges of the Appellate Division had failed 
to hand down a decision, but after another postponement 
they finally afl&rmed the decree of the lower court — two 
justices dissenting. A notice of appeal was served upon 
Edward Shuttleworth. The case was going to the court 
of last resort, and they were in for another interminable 
wait. Six months, perhaps a year. It had grown enor- 
mously unreal to them, remote and uncertain as heaven. 

Throughout the previous winter one small matter had 
been a subtle and omnipresent irritant — the question of 
Gloria's gray fur coat. At that time women enveloped 
in long squirrel wraps could be seen every few yards 
along Fifth Avenue. The women were converted to 
the shape of tops. They seemed porcine and obscene; 
they resembled kept women in the concealing richness, 
the feminine animality of the garment. Yet — Gloria 
wanted a gray squirrel coat. 

Discussing the matter — or, rather, arguing it, for even 
more than in the first year of their marriage did every 
discussion take the form of bitter debate full of such 
phrases as "most certainly," ''utterly outrageous," 
''it's so, nevertheless," and the ultra-emphatic "regard- 
less" — they concluded that they could not afford it. 
And so gradually it began to stand as a symbol of their 
growing financial anxiety. 

To Gloria the shrinkage of their income was a remark- 



390 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

able phenomenon, without explanation or precedent — 
that it could happen at all within the space of five years 
seemed almost an intended cruelty, conceived and exe- 
cuted by a sardonic God. When they were married 
seventy-five hundred a year had seemed ample for a 
young couple, especially when augmented by the ex- 
pectation of many millions. Gloria had failed to re- 
alize that it was decreasing not only in amount but in 
purchasing power until the payment of Mr. Haight's 
retaining fee of fifteen thousand dollars made the fact 
suddenly and startlingly obvious. When Anthony was 
drafted they had calculated their income at over four 
hundred a month, with the dollar even then decreasing 
in value, but on his return to New York they discovered 
an even more alarming condition of affairs. They were 
receiving only forty-five hundred a year from their in- 
vestments. And though the suit over the will moved 
ahead of them like a persistent mirage and the financial 
danger-mark loomed up in the near distance they found, 
nevertheless, that living within their income was impos- 
sible. 

So Gloria went without the squirrel coat and every 
day upon Fifth Avenue she was a little conscious of her 
well-worn, half-length leopard skin, now hopelessly old- 
fashioned. Every other month they sold a bond, yet 
when the bills were paid it left only enough to be gulped 
down hungrily by their current expenses. Anthony's 
calculations showed that their capital would last about 
seven years longer. So Gloria's heart was very bitter, 
for in one week, on a prolonged hysterical party during 
which Anthony whimsically divested himself of coat, 
vest, and shirt in a theatre and was assisted out by a 
posse of ushers, they spent twice what the gray squirrel 
coat would have cost. 

It was November, Indian summer rather, and a warm, 



A MATTER OF ESTHETICS 391 

warm night — which was unnecessary, for the work of 
the summer was done. Babe Ruth had smashed the 
home-run record for the first time and Jack Dempsey 
had broken Jess Willard^s cheek-bone out in Ohio. Over 
in Europe the usual number of children had swollen 
stomachs from starvation, and the diplomats were at 
their customary business of making the world safe for 
new wars. In New York City the proletariat were being 
*' disciplined," and the odds on Harvard were generally 
quoted at five to three. Peace had come down in earnest, 
the beginning of new days. 

Up in the bedroom of the apartment on Fifty-seventh 
Street Gloria lay upon her bed and tossed from side to 
side, sitting up at intervals to throw off a superfluous 
cover and once asking Anthony, who was lying awake 
beside her, to bring her a glass of ice- water. "Be sure 
and put ice in it," she said with insistence; "it isn't cold 
enough the way it comes from the faucet." 

Looking through the frail curtains she could see the' 
rounded moon over the roofs and beyond it on the sky 
the yellow glow from Times Square — and watching the 
two incongruous lights, her mind worked over an emo- 
tion, or rather an interwoven complex of emotions, that 
had occupied it through the day, and the day before 
that and back to the last time when she could remem- 
ber having thought clearly and consecutively about any- 
thing — which must have been while Anthony was in 
the army. 

She would be twenty-nine in February. The month 
assumed an ominous and inescapable significance — ■ 
making her wonder, through these nebulous half-fevered 
hours whether after all she had not wasted her faintly 
tired beauty, whether there was such a thing as use for 
any quality bounded by a harsh and inevitable mor- 
tality. 



392 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Years before, when she was twenty-one, she had writ- 
ten in her diary: "Beauty is only to be admired, only to 
be loved — to be harvested carefully and then flung at a 
chosen lover like a gift of roses. It seems to me, so far 
as I can judge clearly at all, that my beauty should be 
used like that. . . ." 

And now, all this November day, all this desolate 
day, under a sky dirty and white, Gloria had been 
thinking that perhaps she had been wrong. To preserve 
the integrity of her first gift she had looked no more for 
love. When the first flame and ecstasy had grown dim, 
sunk down, departed, she had begun preserving — what ? 
It puzzled her that she no longer knew just what she 
was preserving — a sentimental memory or some pro- 
found and fundamental concept of honor. She was 
doubting now whether there had been any moral issue 
involved in her way of life — to walk unworried and un- 
regretful along the gayest of all possible lanes and to 
keep her pride by being always herself and doing what 
it seemed beautiful that she should do. From the first 
little boy in an Eton collar whose "girl" she had been, 
down to the latest casual man whose eyes had grown 
alert and appreciative as they rested upon her, there was 
needed only that matchless candor she could throw into 
a look or clothe with an inconsequent clause — for she 
had talked always in broken clauses — to weave about 
her immeasurable illusions, immeasurable distances, im- 
measurable light. To create souls in men, to create fine 
happiness and fine despair she must remain deeply 
proud — ^proud to be inviolate, proud also to be melt- 
ing, to be passionate and possessed. 

She knew that in her breast she had never wanted 
children. The reality, the earthiness, the intolerable 
sentiment of child-bearing, the menace to her beauty — • 
had appalled her. She wanted to exist only as a con- 



A MATTER OF ^ESTHETICS 393 

scious flower, prolonging and preserving itself. Her 
sentimentality could cling fiercely to her own illusions, 
but her ironic soul whispered that motherhood was also 
the privilege of the female baboon. So her dreams were 
of ghostly children only — the early, the perfect symbols 
of her early and perfect love for Anthony. 

In the end then, her beauty was all that never failed 
her. She had never seen beauty like her own. What 
it meant ethically or aesthetically faded before the gor- 
geous concreteness of her pink-and-white feet, the clean 
perfectness of her body, and the baby mouth that was 
like the material symbol of a kiss. 

She would be twenty-nine in February. As the long 
night waned she grew supremely conscious that she and 
beauty were going to make use of these next three 
months. At first she was not sure for what, but the 
problem resolved itself gradually into the old lure of 
the screen. She was in earnest now. No material want 
could have moved her as this fear moved her. No mat- 
ter for Anthony, Anthony the poor in spirit, the weak 
and broken man with bloodshot eyes, for whom she 
still had moments of tenderness. No matter. She would 
be twenty-nine in February — a hundred days, so many 
days; she would go to Bloeckman to-morrow. 

With the decision came relief. It cheered her that 
in some manner the illusion of beauty could be sus- 
tained, or preserved perhaps in celluloid after the reality 
had vanished. Well — to-morrow. 

The next day she felt weak and ill. She tried to go 
out, and saved herself from collapse only by clinging to 
a mail-box near the front door. The Martinique ele- 
vator boy helped her up-stairs, and she waited on the 
bed for Anthony's return without energy to unhook her 
brassiere. 

For five days she was down with influenza, which, 



394 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

just as the month turned the corner into winter, ripened 
into double pneumonia. In the feverish perambulations 
of her mind she prowled through a house of bleak un- 
lighted rooms hunting for her mother. All she wanted 
was to be a little girl, to be efficiently taken care of by- 
some yielding yet superior power, stupider and steadier 
than herself. It seemed that the only lover she had 
ever wanted was a lover in a dream. 



^'Odi Profanum Vulgus" 

One day in the midst of Gloria's illness there occurred 
a curious incident that puzzled Miss McGovern, the 
trained nurse, for some time afterward. It was noon, 
but the room in which the patient lay was dark and 
quiet. Miss McGovem was standing near the bed mix- 
ing some medicine, when Mrs. Patch, who had appar- 
ently been sound asleep, sat up and began to speak 
vehemently: 

'^Millions of people," she said, "swarming like rats, 
chattering like apes, smeUing like all hell . . . monkeys ! 
Or Hce, I suppose. For one really exquisite palace . . . 
on Long Island, say — or even in Greenwich ... for one 
palace full of pictures from the Old World and exquisite 
things — ^with avenues of trees and green lawns and a 
view of the blue sea, and lovely people about in slick 
dresses . . . I'd sacrifice a hundred thousand of them, 
a million of them." She raised her hand feebly and 
snapped her fingers. "I care nothing for them — under- 
stand me?" 

The look she bent upon Miss McGovem at the con- 
clusion of this speech was curiously elfin, curiously in- 
tent. Then she gave a short little laugh polished 
with scorn, and tumbling backward fell off again to 
sleep. 



A MATTER OF ESTHETICS 395 

Miss McGovern was bewildered. She wondered what 
were the hundred thousand things that Mrs. Patch 
would sacrifice for her palace. Dollars, she supposed — • 
yet it had not sounded exactly like dollars. 

The Movies 

It was February, seven days before her birthday, and 
the great snow that had filled up the cross streets as 
dirt fills the cracks in a floor had turned to slush and 
was being escorted to the gutters by the hoses of the 
street-cleaning department. The wind, none the less 
bitter for being casual, whipped in through the open 
windows of the living-room bearing with it the dismal 
secrets of the areaway and clearing the Patch apart- 
ment of stale smoke in its cheerless circulation. 

Gloria, wrapped in a warm kimona, came into the 
chilly room and taking up the telephone-receiver called 
Joseph Bloeckman. 

"Do you mean Mr. Joseph Black ?'^ demanded the 
telephone girl at " Films Par Excellence. '^ 

''Bloeckman, Joseph Bloeckman. B-l-o '^ 

"Mr. Joseph Bloeckman has changed his name to 
Black. Do you want him?'' 

"Why — yes." She remembered nervously that she 
had once called him "Blockhead'' to his face. 

His office was reached by courtesy of two additional 
female voices; the last was a secretary who took her 
name. Only with the flow through the transmitter of 
his own familiar but faintly impersonal tone did she 
realize that it had been three years since they had met. 
And he had changed his name to Black. 

"Can you see me?" she suggested lightly. "It's on 
a business matter, really. I'm going into the movies at 
last — ^if I can." 



396 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

^'I'm awfully glad. IVe always thought you'd like 
it.'' 

"Do you think you can get me a trial? " she demanded 
with the arrogance peculiar to all beautiful women, to 
all women who have ever at any time considered them- 
selves beautiful. 

He assured her that it was merely a question of when 
she wanted the trial. Any time? Well, he'd phone 
later in the day and let her know a convenient hour. 
The conversation closed with conventional padding on 
both sides. Then from three o'clock to five she sat close 
to the telephone — with no result. 

But next morning came a note that contented and 
excited her: 

My dear Gloria: 

Just hy luck a matter came to my attention that I think will he 
just suited to you. I would like to see you start with something that 
would bring you notice. At the sam^ time if a very beautiful girl 
of your sort is put directly into a picture next to one of the rather 
shop-worn stars with which every company is afflicted, tongues would 
very likely wag. But there is a "flapper^' part in a Percy B. Debris 
production that I think would be just suited to you and would bring 
you notice. Willa Sable plays opposite Gaston Mears in a sort 
of character part and your part I believe would be her younger sister. 

Anyway Percy B. Debris who is directing the picture says if 

youll come to the studios day after to-morrow {Thursday) he will 

run of a test. If ten o'clock is suited to you I will meet you there 

at that time. 

With all good wishes „ -n -^rr jj 

Ever Faithfully ^ „ 

•^ Joseph Black. 

Gloria had decided that Anthony was to know noth- 
ing of this until she had obtained a definite position, 
and accordingly she was dressed and out of the apart- 
ment next morning before he awoke. Her mirror had 



A MATTER OF ESTHETICS 397 

given her, she thought, much the same account as ever. 
She wondered if there were any lingering traces of her 
sickness. She was still slightly under weight, and she 
had fancied, a few days before, that her cheeks were 
a trifle thinner — but she felt that those were merely 
transitory conditions and that on this particular day 
she looked as fresh as ever. She had bought and charged 
a new hat, and as the day was warm she had left the 
leopard-skin coat at home. 

At the "Films Par Excellence" studios she was an- 
nounced over the telephone and told that Mr. Black 
would be down directly. She looked around her. Two 
girls were being shown about by a little fat man in a 
slash-pocket coat, and one of them had indicated a 
stack of thin parcels, piled breast-high against the wall, 
and extending along for twenty feet. 

"That's studio mail," explained the fat man. "Pic- 
tures of the stars who are with * Films Par Excellence.'" 

"Oh." 

"Each one's autographed by Florence Kelley or Gas- 
ton Mears or Mack Dodge — " He winked confiden- 
tially. "At least when Minnie McGlook out in Sauk 
Center gets the picture she wrote for, she thinks it's 
autographed." 

"Just a stamp?" 

"Sure. It'd take 'em a good eight-hour day to auto- 
graph half of 'em. They say Mary Pickford's studio 
mail costs her fifty thousand a year." 

"Say!" 

"Sure. Fifty thousand. But it's the best kinda 
advertising there is " 

They drifted out of earshot and almost immediately 
Bloeckman appeared — ^Bloeckman, a dark suave gentle- 
man, gracefully engaged in the middle forties, who 
greeted her with courteous warmth and told her she 



398 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

had not changed a bit in three years. He led the way 
into a great hall, as large as an armory and broken in- 
termittently with busy sets and bhnding rows of un- 
famiHar light. Each piece of scenery was marked in 
large white letters "Gaston Mears Company," "Mack 
Dodge Company," or simply "Films Par Excellence." 

"Ever been in a studio before?" 

"Never have." 

She liked it. There was no heavy closeness of grease- 
paint, no scent of soiled and tawdry costumes which 
years before had revolted her behind the scenes of a 
musical comedy. This work was done in the clean 
mornings; the appurtenances seemed rich and gorgeous 
and new. On a set that was joyous with Manchu hang- 
ings a perfect Chinaman was going through a scene 
according to megaphone directions as the great glitter- 
ing machine ground out its ancient moral tale for the 
edification of the national mind. 

A red-headed man approached them and spoke with 
famihar deference to Bloeckman, Vv^ho answered: 

"Hello, Debris. Want you to meet Mrs. Patch. . . . 
Mrs. Patch wants to go into pictures, as I explained to 
you. . . . All right, now, where do we go?" 

Mr. Debris — the great Percy B. Debris, thought 
Gloria — showed them to a set which represented the in- 
terior of an office. Some chairs were drawn up around 
the camera, which stood in front of it, and the three of 
them sat down. 

"Ever been in a studio before?" asked Mr. Debris, 
giving her a glance that was surely the quintessence of 
keenness. "No? Well, I'll explain exactly what's going 
to happen. We're going to take what we call a test in 
order to see how your features photograph and whether 
you've got natural stage presence and how you respond 
to coaching. There's no need to be nervous over it. 



A MATTER OF ESTHETICS 399 

I'll Just have the camera-man take a few hundred feet 
in an episode I've got marked here in the scenario. 
We can tell pretty much what we want to from that." 

He produced a typewritten continuity and explained 
to her the episode she was to enact. It developed that 
one Barbara Wainwright had been secretly married to 
the junior partner of the firm whose office was there rep- 
resented. Entering the deserted office one day by acci- 
dent she was naturally interested in seeing where her 
husband worked. The telephone rang and after some 
hesitation she answered it. She learned that her hus- 
band had been struck by an automobile and instantly 
killed. She was overcome. At first she was unable to 
realize the truth, but finally she succeeded in compre- 
hending it, and went into a dead faint on the floor. 

"Now that's all we want," concluded Mr. Debris. 
"I'm going to stand here and tell you approximately 
what to do, and you're to act as though I wasn't here, 
'and just go on do it your own way. You needn't be 
afraid we're going to judge this too severely. We sim- 
ply want to get a general idea of your screen person- 
aHty." 

"I see." 

"You'll find make-up in the room in back of the set. 
Go light on it. Very little red." 

"I see," repeated Gloria, nodding. She touched her 
lips nervously with the tip of her tongue. 

The Test 

As she came into the set through the real wooden 
door and closed it carefully behind her, she found her- 
self inconveniently dissatisfied with her clothes. She 
should have bought a "misses'" dress for the occasion 
— she could still wear them, and it might have been a 
good investment if it had accentuated her airy youth. 



400 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Her mind snapped sharply into the momentous pres- 
ent as Mr. Debris's voice came from the glare of the 
white lights in front. 

"You look around for your husband. . . . Now 
—you don't see him . . . you're curious about the 
office. . . ." 

She became conscious of the regular sound of the 
camera. It worried her. She glanced toward it in- 
voluntarily and wondered if she had made up her face 
correctly. Then, with a definite effort she forced her- 
self to act — and she had never felt that the gestures of 
her body were so banal, so awkward, so bereft of grace 
or distinction. She strolled around the office, picking up 
articles here and there and looking at them inanely. 
Then she scrutinized the ceiHng, the floor, and thor- 
oughly inspected an inconsequential lead-pencil on the 
desk. Finally, because she could think of nothing else 
to do, and less than nothing to express, she forced a 
smile. 

"All right. Now the phone rings. Ting-a-ling-a- 
ling ! Hesitate, and then answer it." 

She hesitated — and then, too quickly, she thought, 
picked up the receiver. 

"HeUo." 

Her voice was hollow and unreal. The words rang in 
the empty set like the ineffectualities of a ghost. The 
absurdities of their requirements appalled her — Did 
they expect that on an instant's notice she could put 
herself in the place of this preposterous and unexplained 
character ? 

''. . . No . . . no. . . . Not yet! Now listen: 
'John Sumner has just been knocked over by an auto- 
mobile and instantly killed!'" 

Gloria let her baby mouth drop slowly open. Then: 

"Now hang up ! With a bang !" 



A MATTER OF ESTHETICS 401 

She obeyed, clung to the table with her eyes wide 
and staring. At length she was feeling slightly encour- 
aged and her confidence increased. 

"My God!" she cri'ed. Her voice was good, she 
thought. "Oh, my God!" 

"Now faint." 

She collapsed forward to her knees and throwing her 
body outward on the ground lay without breathing. 

"All right!" called Mr. Debris. "That's enough, 
thank you. That's plenty. Get up — that's enough." 

Gloria arose, mustering her dignity and brushing off 
her skirt. 

"Awful !" she remarked with a cool laugh, though her 
heart was bumping tumultuously. "Terrible, wasn't 
it?" 

"Did you mind it?" said Mr. Debris, smiling blandly. 
"Did it seem hard? I can't tell anything about it 
until I have it run off." 

"Of course not," she agreed, trying to attach some 
sort of meaning to his remark — and failing. It was just 
the sort of thing he would have said had he been try- 
ing not to encourage her. 

A few moments later she left the studio. Bloeckman 
had promised that she should hear the result of the test 
within the next few days. Too proud to force any 
definite comment she felt a baMng uncertainty and 
only now when the step had at last been taken did she 
realize how the possibility of a successful screen career 
had played in the back of her mind for the past three 
years. That night she tried to tell over to herself the 
elements that might decidelor or against her. Whether 
or not she had used enough make-up worried her, and 
as the part was that of a girl of twenty, she wondered 
if she had not been just a little too grave. About her 
acting she was least of all satisfied. Her entrance had 



402 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

been abominable — in fact not until she reached the 
phone had she displayed a shred of poise — and then the 
test had been over. If they had only realized! She 
wished that she could try it again. A mad plan to call 
up in the morning and ask for a new trial took possession 
of her, and as suddenly faded. It seemed neither poUtic 
nor poHte to ask another favor of Bloeckman. 

The third day of waiting found her in a highly ner- 
vous condition. She had bitten the insides of her 
mouth until they were raw and smarting, and burnt 
unbearably when she washed them with Hsterine. She 
had quarrelled so persistently with Anthony that he 
had left the apartment in a cold fury. But because he 
was intimidated by her exceptional frigidity, he called 
up an hour afterward, apologized and said he was hav- 
ing dinner at the Amsterdam Club, the only one in 
which he stiU retained membership. 

It was after one o'clock and she had breakfasted at 
eleven, so, deciding to forego luncheon, she started for 
a walk in the Park. At three there would be a mail. 
She would be back by three. 

It was an afternoon of premature spring. Water was 
dr5dng on the walks and in the Park little girls were 
gravely wheeling white doll-buggies up and down under 
the thin trees while behind them followed bored nursery- 
maids in two's, discussing with each other those tre- 
mendous secrets that are peculiar to nursery-maids. 

Two o'clock by her little gold watch. She should 
have a new watch, one made in a platinum oblong and 
incrusted with diamonds — ^but those cost even more 
than squirrel coats and of course, they were out of her 
reach now, like everything else — unless perhaps the right 
letter was awaiting her ... in about an hour . . . 
fifty-eight minutes exactly. Ten to get there left forty- 
eight . . . forty-seven now. . . 



A MATTER OF .ESTHETICS 403 

Little girls soberly wheeling their buggies along the 
damp sunny walks. The nursery-maids chattering in 
pairs about their inscrutable secrets. Here and there 
a raggedy man seated upon newspapers spread on a 
drying bench, related not to the radiant and delightful 
afternoon but to the dirty snow that slept exhausted 
in obscure corners, waiting for extermination. . . . 

Ages later, coming into the dim hall she saw the 
Martinique elevator boy standing incongruously in the 
light of the stained-glass window. 

"Is there any mail for us?" she asked. 

"Up-stays, madame." 

The switchboard squawked abominably and Gloria 
waited while he ministered to the telephone. She sick- 
ened as the elevator groaned its way up — ^the floors 
passed like the slow lapse of centuries, each one ominous, 
accusing, significant. The letter, a white leprous spot, 
lay upon the dirty tiles of the hall. . . . 

My dear Gloria: 

We had the test run of yesterday afternoon, and Mr. Debris 
seemed to think that for the part he had in mind he needed a younger 
woman. He said that the acting was not had, and that there was a 
small character part supposed to be a very haughty rich widow that 
he thought you might 

Desolately Gloria raised her glance until it fell out 
across the areaway. But she found she could not see 
the opposite wall, for her-^ray eyes were full of tears. 
She walked into the bedroom, the letter crinkled tightly 
in her hand, and sank down upon her knees before the 
long mirror on the wardrobe floor. This was her twenty- 
ninth birthday, and the world was melting away before 
her eyes. She tried to think that it had been the 
make-up, but her emotions were too profound, too over- 



404 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

whelming for any consolation that the thought con- 
veyed. 

She strained to see until she could feel the flesh on 
her temples pull forward. Yes — the cheeks were ever 
so faintly thin, the corners of the eyes were lined with 
tiny wrinkles. The eyes were different. Why, they 
were different ! . . . And then suddenly she knew how 
tired her eyes were. 

''Oh, my pretty face," she whispered, passionately 
grieving. "Oh, my pretty face! Oh, I don't want to 
live without my pretty face ! Oh, what's happened ? " 

Then she slid toward the mirror and, as in the test, 
sprawled face downward upon the floor — and lay there 
sobbing. It was the first awkward movement she had 
ever made. 



CHAPTER m 
NO MATTER! 

Within another year Anthony and Gloria had be- 
come like players who had lost their costumes, lacking 
the pride to continue on the note of tragedy — so that 
when Mrs. and Miss Hulme of Kansas City cut them 
dead in the Plaza one evening, it was only that Mrs. 
and Miss Hulme, like most people, abominated mirrors 
of their atavistic selves. 

Their new apartment, for which they paid eighty-five 
dollars a month, was situated on Claremont Avenue, 
which is two blocks from the Hudson in the dim hun- 
dreds. They had lived there a month when Muriel 
Kane came to see them late one afternoon. 

It was a reproachless twilight on the summer side of 
spring. Anthony lay upon the lounge looking up One 
Hundred and Twenty-seventh Street toward the river, 
near which he could just see a single patch of vivid green 
trees that guaranteed the brummagem umbrageousness 
of Riverside Drive. Across the water were the Palisades, 
crowned by the ugly framework of the amusement park 
— yet soon it would be dusk and those same iron cob- 
webs would be a glory against the heavens, an en- 
chanted palace set over the smooth radiance of a tropical 
canal. 

The streets near the apartment, Anthony had found, 
were streets where children played — streets a little nicer 
than those he had been used to pass on his way to Mari- 
etta, but of the same general sort, with an occasional 

40s 



4o6 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

hand-organ or hurdy-gurdy, and in the cool of the eve- 
ning many pairs of young girls walking down to the cor- 
ner drug-store for ice-cream soda and dreaming unhmited 
dreams under the low heavens. 

Dusk in the streets now, and children playing, shout- 
ing up incoherent ecstatic words that faded out close to 
the open window — and Muriel, who had come to find 
Gloria, chattering to him from an opaque gloom over 
across the room. 

"Light the lamp, why don't we?" she suggested. 
''It's getting ghostly in here." 

With a tired movement he arose and obeyed; the gray 
window-panes vanished. He stretched himseK. He was 
heavier now, his stomach was a limp weight against his 
belt; his flesh had softened and expanded. He was 
thirty-two and his mind was a bleak and disordered 
wreck. 

''Have a little drink, Muriel?" 

"Not me, thanks. I don't use it any more. What're 
you doing these days, Anthony?" she asked curiously. 

"Well, I've been pretty busy with this lawsuit," he 
answered indifferently. "It's gone to the Court of 
Appeals — ought to be settled up one way or another by 
autumn. There's been some objection as to whether 
the Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over the matter." 

Muriel made a choking sound with her tongue and 
cocked her head on one side. 

"Well, you teU 'em ! I never heard of anything taking 
so long." 

"Oh, they all do," he replied listlessly; "all will cases. 
They say it's exceptional to have one settled under four 
or five years." 

"Oh . . ." Muriel daringly changed her tack, "why 
don't you go to work, you la-azy!" 

"At what?" he demanded abruptly. 



NO MATTER! 407 

"Why, at anything, I suppose. You're still a young 
man." 

*'If that's encouragement, I'm much obliged," he an- 
swered dryly — and then with sudden v/eariness: "Does 
it bother you particularly that I don't want to work?" 

"It doesn't bother me — but, it does bother a lot of 
people who claim " 

"Oh, God!" he said brokenly, "it seems to me that 
for three years I've heard nothing about myself but 
wild stories and virtuous admonitions. I'm tired of it. 
If you don't want to see us, let us alone. I don't bother 
my former ^friends.' But I need no charity calls, and 
no criticism disguised as good advice — " Then he added 
apologetically: "I'm sorry — but really, Muriel, you 
mustn't talk like a lady slum- worker even if you are 
visiting the lower middle classes." He turned his blood- 
shot eyes on her reproachfully — eyes that had once been 
a deep, clear blue, that were weak now, strained, and 
half-ruined from reading when he was drunk. 

"Why do you say such awful things?" she protested. 
"You talk as if you and Gloria were in the middle 
classes." 

"Why pretend v/e're not? I hate people who claim 
to be great aristocrats when they can't even keep up 
the appearances of it." 

"Do you think a person Has to have money to be aris- 
tocratic?" 

Muriel . . . the horrified democrat . . . ! 

"Why, of course. Aristocracy's only an admission 
that certain traits which we call fine — courage and 
honor and beauty and all that sort of thing — can best be 
developed in a favorable environment, where you don't 
have the warpings of ignorance and necessity." 

Muriel bit her lower lip and waved her head from 
side to side. 



4o8 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

"Well, all / say is that if a person comes from a good 
family they're always nice people. That's the trouble 
with you and Gloria. You think that just because things 
aren't going your way right now all your old friends are 
trying to avoid you. You're too sensitive " 

"As a matter of fact," said Anthony, "you know 
nothing at all about it. With me it's simply a matter 
of pride, and for once Gloria's reasonable enough to 
agree that we oughtn't go where we're not wanted. 
And people don't want us. We're too much the ideal 
bad examples." 

"Nonsense! You can't park your pessimism in my 
little sun-parlor. I think you ought to forget all those 
morbid speculations and go to work." 

"Here I am, thirty- two. Suppose I did start in at 
some idiotic business. Perhaps in two years I might 
rise to fifty dollars a week — with luck. That's if I could 
get a job at all; there's an awful lot of unemployment. 
Well, suppose I made fifty a week. Do you think I'd 
be any happier? Do you think that if I don't get this 
money of my grandfather's life will be endurable ? " 

Muriel smiled complacently. 

"Well," she said, "that may be clever but it isn't 
common sense." 

A few minutes later Gloria came in seeming to bring 
with her into the room some dark color, indeterminate 
and rare. In a taciturn way she was happy to see 
Muriel. She greeted Anthony with a casual "Hi!" 

"I've been talking philosophy with your husband," 
cried the irrepressible Miss Kane. 

"We took up some fundamental concepts," said An- 
thony, a faint smile disturbing his pale cheeks, paler 
still under two days' growth of beard. 

Oblivious to his irony Muriel rehashed her conten- 
tion. When she had done, Gloria said quietly: 



NO MATTER! 409 

"Anthony's right. It's no fun to go around when 
you have the sense that people are looking at you in a 
certain way." 

He broke in plaintively: 

"Don't you think that when even Maury I^oble, who 
was my best friend, won't come to see us it's high time 
to stop calling people up?'' Tears were standing in his 
eyes. 

"That was your fault about Maury Noble," said 
Gloria coolly. 

"It wasn't." 

"It most certainly was." 

Muriel intervened quickly: 

"I met a girl who knew Maury, the other day, and 
she says he doesn't drink any more. He's getting pretty 
cagey." 

"Doesn't?" 

"Practically not at all. He's making piles of money. 
He's sort of changed since the war. He's going to 
marry a girl in Philadelphia who has millions, Ceci 
Larrabee — anyhow, that's what Town Tattle said." 

"He's thirty- three," said Anthony, thinking aloud. 
"But it's odd to imagine his getting married. I used to 
think he was so briUiant." 

"He was," murmured Gloria, "in a way." 

"But brilliant people don't settle down in business — 
or do they? Or what do they do? Or what becomes 
of everybody you used to know and have so much in 
common with?" 

"You drift apart," suggested Muriel with the appro- 
priate dreamy look. 

"They change," said Gloria. "All the quahties 
that they don't use in their daily lives get cobwebbed 
up." 

"The last thing he said to me," recollected Anthony, 



4IO THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

"was that he was going to work so as to forget that 
there was nothing worth working for/' 

Muriel caught at this quickly. 

*' That's what you ought to do,'' she exclaimed trium- 
phantly. "Of course I shouldn't think anybody would 
want to work for nothing. But it'd give you something 
to do. What do you do with yourselves, anyway? 
Nobody ever sees you at Montmartre or — or anywhere. 
Are you economizing?" 

Gloria laughed scornfully, glancing at Anthony from 
the comers of her eyes. 

"Well," he demanded, "what are you laughing at?" 

"You know what I'm laughing at," she answered 
coldly. 

"At that case of whiskey?" 

"Yes" — she turned to Muriel — "he paid seventy-five 
dollars for a case of whiskey yesterday." 

"What if I did? It's cheaper that way than if you 
get it by the bottle. You needn't pretend that you 
won't drink any of it." 

"At least I don't drink in the daytime." 

"That's a fine distinction!" he cried, springing to his 
feet in a weak rage. "What's more, I'll be damned if 
you can hurl that at me every few minutes !" 

"It's true." 

"It is fwtl And I'm getting sick of this eternal busi- 
ness of criticising me before visitors !" He had worked 
himself up to such a state that his arms and shoulders 
were visibly trembling. "You'd think everything was 
my fault. You'd think you hadn't encouraged me to 
spend money — and spent a lot more on yourself than I 
ever did by a long shot." 

Now Gloria rose to her feet. 

"I worCi let you talk to me that way!" 

"All right, then; by Heaven, you don't have to!" 



NO MATTER! 411 

In a sort of rush he left the room. The two women 
heard his steps in the hall and then the front door 
banged. Gloria sank back into her chair. Her face was 
lovely in the lampUght, composed, inscrutable. 

''Oh — !" cried Muriel in distress. "Oh, what is the 
matter?" 

''Nothing particularly. He's just drunk.'' 

"Drunk ? Why, he's perfectly sober. He talked " 

Gloria shook her head. 

"Oh, no, he doesn't show it any more unless he can 
hardly stand up, and he talks all right until he gets 
excited. He talks much better than he does when he's 
sober. But he's been sitting here all day drinking — ex- 
cept for the time it took him to walk to the corner for 
a newspaper." 

"Oh, how terrible!" Muriel was sincerely moved. 
Her eyes filled with tears. "Has this happened much ? " 

"Drinking, you mean?" 

"No, this — leaving you?" 

"Oh, yes. Frequently. He'll come in about mid- 
night — and weep and ask me to forgive him." 

"And do you?" 

"I don't know. We just go on." 

The two women sat there in the lamplight and looked 
at each other, each in a different way helpless before this 
thing. Gloria was still pretty, as pretty as she would 
ever be again — her cheeks were flushed and she was 
wearing a new dress that she had bought — imprudently 
— for fifty dollars. She had hoped she could persuade 
Anthony to take her out to-night, to a restaurant or 
even to one of the great, gorgeous moving-picture pal- 
aces where there would be a few people to look at her, 
at whom she could bear to look in turn. She wanted 
this because she knew her cheeks were flushed and be- 
cause her dress was new and becomingly fragile. Only 



412 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

very occasionally, now, did they receive any invitations. 
But she did not tell these things to Muriel. 

" Gloria, dear, I wish we could have dinner together, 
but I promised a man — and it's seven-thirty already. 
IVe got to tear,'' 

"Oh, I couldn't, anyway. In the first place IVe been 
ill all day. I couldn't eat a thing." 

After she had walked with Muriel to the door, Gloria 
came back into the room, turned out the lamp, and 
leaning her elbows on the window-sill looked out at 
Palisades Park, where the brilliant revolving circle of 
the Ferris wheel was like a trembling mirror catching the 
yellow reflection of the moon. The street was quiet now; 
the children had gone in — over the way she could see a 
family at dinner. Pointlessly, ridiculously, they rose 
and walked about the table; seen thus, all that they did 
appeared incongruous — it was as though they were being 
jiggled carelessly and to no purpose by invisible over- 
head wires. 

She looked at her watch — ^it was eight o'clock. She 
had been pleased for a part of the day — the early after- 
noon — ^in walking along that Broadway of Harlem, One 
Hundred and Twenty-fifth Street, with her nostrils alert 
to many odors, and her mind excited by the extraor- 
dinary beauty of some Italian children. It affected her 
curiously — as Fifth Avenue had affected her once, in 
the days when, with the placid confidence of beauty, she 
had known that it was all hers, every shop and all it 
held, every adult toy glittering in a window, all hers for 
the asking. Here on One Hundred and Twenty-fifth 
Street there were Salvation Army bands and spectrum- 
shawled old ladies on door-steps and sugary, sticky candy 
in the grimy hands of shiny-haired children — and the 
late sun striking down on the sides of the tall tenements. 
All very rich and racy and savory, like a dish by a 



NO MATTER! 413 

provident French chef that one could not help enjoying, 
even though one knew that the ingredients were prob- 
ably left-overs. . . . 

Gloria shuddered suddenly as a river siren came 
moaning over the dusky roofs, and leaning back in till 
the ghostly curtains fell from her shoulder, she turned 
on the electric lamp. It was growing late. She knew 
there was some change in her purse, and she considered 
whether she would go down and have some coffee and 
rolls where the Kberated subway made a roaring cave of 
Manhattan Street or eat the devilled ham and bread in 
the kitchen. Her purse decided for her. It contained 
a nickel and two pennies. 

After an hour the silence of the room had grown un- 
bearable, and she found that her eyes were wandering 
from her magazine to the ceiling, toward which she stared 
without thought. Suddenly she stood up, hesitated for 
a moment, biting at her finger — then she went to the 
pantry, took down a bottle of whiskey from the shelf 
and poured herself a drink. She filled up the glass with 
ginger ale, and returning to her chair finished an article 
in the magazine. It concerned the last revolutionary 
widow, who, when a young girl, had married an an- 
cient veteran of the Continental Army and who had 
died in 1906. It seemed strange and oddly romantic 
to Gloria that she and this woman had been contem- 
poraries. 

She turned a page and learned that a candidate for 
Congress was being accused of atheism by an opponent. 
Gloria's surprise vanished when she found that the 
charges were false. The candidate had merely denied 
the miracle of the loaves and fishes. He admitted, under 
pressure, that he gave full credence to the stroll upon the 
water. 

Finishing her first drink, Gloria got herself a second. 



414 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

After slipping on a negligee and making herself com- 
fortable on the lounge, she became conscious that she 
was miserable and that the tears were rolling down her 
cheeks. She wondered if they were tears of self-pity, and 
tried resolutely not to cry, but this existence without 
hope, without happiness, oppressed her, and she kept 
shaking her head from side to side, her mouth drawn 
down tremulously in the corners, as though she were 
denying an assertion made by some one, somewhere. 
She did not know that this gesture of hers was years 
older than history, that, for a hundred generations of 
men, intolerable and persistent grief has offered that 
gesture, of denial, of protest, of bewilderment, to some- 
thing more profound, more powerful than the God made 
in the image of man, and before which that God, did he 
exist, would be equally impotent. It is a truth set at 
the heart of tragedy that this force never explains, never 
answers — this force intangible as air, more definite than 
death. 

Richard Caramel 

Early in the summer Anthony resigned from his last 
club, the Amsterdam. He had come to visit it hardly 
twice a year, and the dues were a recurrent burden. 
He had joined it on his return from Italy because it 
had been his grandfather's club and his father's, and 
because it was a club that, given the opportunity, one 
indisputably joined — but as a matter of fact he had pre- 
ferred the Harvard Club, largely because of Dick and 
Maury. However, with the decline of his fortunes, it 
had seemed an increasingly desirable bauble to cling 
to. . . . It was rehnquished at the last, with some 
regret. . . . 

His companions nimibered now a curious dozen. Sev- 
eral of them he had met in a place called "Sammy's," 



NO MATIER! ' 415 

on Forty-third Street, where, if one knocked on the 
door and were favorably passed on from behind a grat- 
ing, one could sit around a great round table drinking 
fairly good whiskey. It was here that he encountered 
a man named Parker AlKson, who had been exactly the 
wrong sort of rounder at Harvard, and who was running 
through a large "yeast" fortune as rapidly as possible. 
Parker Allison's notion of distinction consisted in driving 
a noisy red-and-yellow racing-car up Broadway with two 
ghttering, hard-eyed girls beside him. He w^as the sort 
who dined with two girls rather than with one — his im- 
agination was almost incapable of sustaining a dialogue. 

Besides AlKson there was Pete Lytell, who wore a 
gray derby on the side of his head. He always had 
money and he was customarily cheerful, so Anthony 
held aimless, long-winded conversation with him through 
many afternoons of the summer and fall. Lytell, he 
found, not only talked but reasoned in phrases. His 
philosophy was a series of them, assimilated here and 
there through an active, thoughtless Ufe. He had 
phrases about SociaKsm — the immemorial ones; he had 
phrases pertaining to the existence of a personal deity — 
something about one time when he had been in a rail- 
road accident; and he had phrases about the Irish prob- 
lem, the sort of woman he respected, and the futility of 
prohibition. The only time his conversation ever rose 
superior to these muddled clauses, with which he inter- 
preted the most rococo happenings in a life that had 
been more than usually eventful, was when he got down 
to the detailed discussion of his most animal existence: 
he knew, to a subtlety, the foods, the liquor, and the 
women that he preferred. 

He was at once the commonest and the most remark- 
able product of civilization. He was nine out of ten 
people that one passes on a city street — and he was a 



4i6 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

hairless ape with two dozen tricks. He was the hero of 
a thousand romances of life and art — and he was a 
virtual morpn, performing staidly yet absurdly a series 
of complicated and infinitely astounding epics over a 
span of threescore years. 

With such men as these two Anthony Patch drank 
and discussed and drank and argued. He liked them 
because they knew nothing about him, because they 
lived in the obvious and had not the faintest conception 
of the inevitable continuity of life. They sat not before 
a motion-picture with consecutive reels, but at a musty 
old-fashioned travelogue with all values stark and hence 
all imphcations confused. Yet they themselves were 
not confused, because there was nothing in them to be 
confused — they changed phrases from month to month 
as they changed neckties. 

Anthony, the courteous, the subtle, the perspicacious, 
was drunk each day — in Sammy's with these men, in 
the apartment over a book, some book he knew, and, 
very rately, with Gloria, who, in his eyes, had begun to 
develop the unmistakable outlines of a quarrelsome and 
unreasonable woman. She was not the Gloria of old, 
certainly — the Gloria who, had she been sick, would have 
preferred to inflict misery upon every one around her 
rather than confess that she needed sympathy or assis- 
tance. She was not above whining now; she was not 
above being sorry for herself. Each night when she 
prepared for bed she smeared her face with some new 
unguent which she hoped illogically would give back 
the glow and freshness to her vanishing beauty. When 
Anthony was drimk he taunted her about this. When 
he was sober he was pohte to her, on occasions even 
tender; he seemed to show for short hours a trace of 
that old quality of understanding too well to blame — • 
that quality which was the best of him and had worked 
swiftly and ceaselessly toward his ruin. 



NO MATTER! 417 

But he hated to be sober. It made him conscious of 
the people around him, of that air of struggle, of greedy 
ambition, of hope more sordid than despair, of incessant 
passage up or down, which in every metropolis is most 
in evidence through the imstable middle class. Unable 
to live with the rich he thought that his next choice 
would have been to live with the very poor. Anything 
was better than this cup of perspiration and tears. 

The sense of the enormous panorama of life, never 
strong in Anthony, had become dim almost to extinc- 
tion. At long intervals now some incident, some ges- 
ture of Gloria's, would take his fancy — ^but the gray veils 
had come down in earnest upon him. As he grew older 
those things faded — after that there was wine. 

There was a kindliness about intoxication — there was 
that indescribable gloss and glamour it gave, like the 
memories of ephemeral and faded evenings. After a 
few high-balls there was magic in the tall glowing Ara- 
bian night of the Bush Terminal Building — its summit 
a peak of sheer grandeur, gold and dreaming against 
the inaccessible sky. And Wall Street, the crass, the 
banal — again it was the triumph of gold, a gorgeous 
sentient spectacle; it was where the great kings kept 
the money for their wars. . . . 

. . . The fruit of youth or of the grape, the transitory 
magic of the brief passage from darkness to darkness — 
the old illusion that truth and beauty were in some 
way entwined. 

As he stood in front of Delmonico's lighting a ciga- 
rette one night he saw two hansoms drawn up close to 
the curb, waiting for a chance drunken fare. The out- 
moded cabs were worn and dirty — the cracked patent 
leather wrinkled like an old man's face, the cushions 
faded to a brownish lavender; the very horses were an- 



4i8 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

cient and weary, and so were the white-haired men who 
sat aloft, cracking their whips with a grotesque affec- 
tation of gallantry. A relic of vanished gaiety ! 

Anthony Patch walked away in a sudden fit of de- 
pression, pondering the bitterness of such survivals. 
There was nothing, it seemed, that grew stale so soon 
as pleasure. 

On Forty-second Street one afternoon he met Richard 
Caramel for the first time in many months, a prosper- 
ous, fattening Richard Caramel, whose face was filling 
out to match the Bostonian brow. 

"Just got in this week from the coast. Was going to 
call you up, but I didn't know youj new address." 

"WeVe moved." 

Richard Caramel noticed that Anthony was wearing 
a soiled shirt, that his cuffs were sHghtly but perceptibly 
frayed, that his eyes were set in half-moons the color of 
dgar-smoke. 

"So I gathered," he said, fixing his friend with his 
bright-yellow eye. "But where and how is Gloria? 
My God, Anthony, IVe been hearing the dog-gonedest 
stories about you two even out in California — ^and when 
I get back to New York I find youVe sunk absolutely 
out of sight. Why don't you pull yourself together?" 

"Now, listen," chattered Anthony unsteadily, "I can't 
stand a long lecture. We've lost money in a dozen 
ways, and naturally people have talked — on account of 
the lawsuit, but the thing's coming to a final decision 
this winter, surely " 

"You're talking so fast that I can't imderstand you," 
interrupted Dick calmly. 

"Well, I've said all I'm going to say," snapped An- 
thony. " Come and see us if you like — or don't ! " 

With this he turned and started to walk off in the 



NO MATTER! 419 

crowd, but Dick overtook him immediately and grasped 
his arm. 

"Say, Anthony, don't fly off the haAdle so easily! 
You know Gloria's my cousin, and you're one of my 
oldest friends, so it's natural for me to be interested 
when I hear that you're going to the dogs — and taking 
her with you." 

"I don't want to be preached to." 

"Well, then, all right — How about coming up to 
my apartment and having a drink? I've just got set- 
tled. I've bought three cases of Gordon gin from a 
revenue officer." 

As they walked along he continued in a burst of ex- 
asperation: 

"And how about your grandfather's money — ^you 
going to get it?" 

"Well," answered Anthony resentfully, "that old 
fool Haight seems hopeful, especially because people 
are tired of reformers right now — ^you know it might 
make a sKght difference, for instance, if some judge 
thought that Adam Patch made it harder for him to 
get liquor." 

"You can't do without money," said Dick senten- 
tiously. "Have you tried to write any — ^lately?" 

Anthony shook his head silently. 

"That's funny," said Dick. "I always thought 
that you and Maujy would write some day, and now 
he's grown to be a sort of tight-fisted aristocrat, and 
you're " 

"I'm the bad example." 

"I wonder why?" 

"You probably think you know," suggested Anthony, 
with an effort at concentration. "The failure and the 
success both beheve in their hearts that they have ac- 
curately balanced points of view, the success because 



420 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

he's succeeded, andthe failure because he's failed. The 
successful man teliyhis son to profit by his father's good 
fortune, and the failure tells his son to profit by his 
father's mistakes." 

^^I don't agree with you," said the author of "A 
Shave-tail in France." "I used to listen to you and 
Maury when we were young, and I used to be impressed 
because you were so consistently cynical, but now — well, 
after all, by God, which of us three has taken to the — 
to the intellectual life? I don't want to soimd vain- 
glorious, but — it's me, and I've always believed that 
moral values existed, and I always will." 

"Well," objected Anthony, who was rather enjoying 
himself, ''even granting that, you know that in practice 
life never presents problems as clear cut, does it?" 

"It does to me. There's nothing I'd violate certain 
principles for." 

"But how do you know when you're violating them? 
You have to guess at things just like most people do. 
You have to apportion the values when you look back. 
You finish up the portrait then — ^paint in the details 
and shadows." 

Dick shook his head with a lofty stubbornness. 

"Same old futile cynic," he said. "It's just a mode 
of being sorry for yourself. You don't do anything — • 
so nothing matters." 

"Oh, I'm quite capable of self-pity," admitted An- 
thony, "nor am I claiming that I'm getting as much 
fun out of life as you are." 

"You say — at least you used to — that happiness is 
the only thing worth while in Hfe. Do you think you're 
any happier for being a pessimist ? " 

Anthony grunted savagely. His pleasure in the con- 
versation began to wane. He was nervous and craving 
for a drink. 



NO MATTER! 421 

"My golly!" he cried, "where do you live? I can't 
keep walking forever." S 

"Your endurance is all mental, eh?" returned Dick 
sharply. "Well, I live right here." 

He turned in at the apartment-house on Forty-ninth 
Street, and a few minutes later they were in a large 
new room with an open fireplace and four walls lined 
with books. A colored butler served them gin rickeys, 
and an hour vanished politely with the mellow shorten- 
ing of their drinks and the glow of a light mid-autumn 
fire. 

"The arts are very old," said Anthony after a while. 
With a few glasses the tension of his nerves relaxed 
and he foimd that he could think again. 

"Which art?" 

"All of them. Poetry is dying first. It'll be ab- 
sorbed into prose sooner or later. For instance, the 
beautiful word, the colored and glittering word, and the 
beautiful simile belong in prose now. To get attention 
poetry has got to strain for the unusual word, the harsh, 
earthy word that's never been beautiful before. Beauty, 
as the sum of several beautiful parts, reached its apothe- 
osis in Swinburne. It can't go any further — except in 
the novel, perhaps." 

Dick interrupted him impatiently: 

"You know these new novels make me tired. My 
God! Everywhere I go some silly girl asks me if I've 
read 'This Side of Paradise.' Are our girls really like 
that? If it's true to life, which I don't believe, the next 
generation is going to the dogs. I'm sick of all this 
shoddy realism. I think there's a place for the roman- 
ticist in literature." 

Anthony tried to remember what he had read lately 
of Richard Caramel's. There was "A Shave- tail in 
France," a novel called "The Land of Strong Men," and 



422 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

several dozen short stories, which were even worse. It 
had become the custom among yoimg and clever re- 
viewers to mention Richard Caramel with a smile of 
scorn. ''Mr." Richard Caramel, they called him. His 
corpse was dragged obscenely through every literary 
supplement. He was accused of making a great fortune 
by writing trash for the movies. As the fashion in books 
shifted he was becoming almost a byword of contempt. 

While Anthony was thinking this, Dick had got to his 
feet and seemed to be hesitating at an avowal. 

''I've gathered quite a few books," he said suddenly. 

"So I see." 

"I've made an exhaustive collection of good Ameri- 
can stuff, old and new. I don't mean the usual Long- 
fellow- Whittier thing — in fact, most of it's modem." 

He stepped to one of the walls and, seeing that it was 
expected of him, Anthony arose and followed. 

"Look!" 

Under a printed tag Americana he displayed six long 
rows of books, beautifully bound and, obviously, care- 
fully chosen. 

"And here are the contemporary novelists." 

Then Anthony saw the joker. Wedged in between 
Mark Twain and Dreiser were eight strange and in- 
appropriate volumes, the works of Richard Caramel — 
"The Demon Lover," true enough . . . but also seven 
others that were execrably awful, without sincerity or 
grace. 

Unwillingly Anthony glanced at Dick^s face and 
caught a slight uncertainty there. 

"I've put my own books in, of course," said Richard 
Caramel hastily, "though one or two of them are un- 
even — I'm afraid I wrote a Httle too fast when I had 
that magazine contract. But I don't believe in false 
modesty. Of course some of the critics haven't paid 



NO MATTER! 423 

so much attention to me since IVe been established — 
but, after all, it's not the critics that count. They're 
just sheep." 

For the first time in so long that he could scarcely 
remember, Anthony felt a touch of the old pleasant 
contempt for his friend. Richard Caramel continued: 

"My publishers, you know, have been advertising me 
as the Thackeray of America — ^because of my New York 
novel." 

"Yes," Anthony managed to muster, "I suppose 
there's a good deal in what you say." 

He knew that his contempt was unreasonable. He 
knew that he would have changed places with Dick un- 
hesitatingly. He himself had tried his best to write with 
his tongue in his cheek. Ah, well, then — can a man dis- 
parage his life-work so readily? ... 

— ^And that night while Richard Caramel was hard at 
toil, with great hittings of the wrong keys and screw- 
ings up of his weary, unmatched eyes, laboring over his 
trash far into those cheerless hours when thie fire dies 
down, and the head is swimming from the effect of pro- 
longed concentration — ^Anthony, abominably drunk, was 
sprawled across the back seat of a taxi on his way to 
the flat on Claremont Avenue. 

The Beating 

As winter approached it seemed that a sort of mad- 
ness seized upon Anthony. He awoke in the morning 
so nervous that Gloria could feel him trembling in the 
bed before he could muster enough vitality to stumble 
into the pantry for a drink. He was intolerable now 
except under the influence of liquor, and as he seemed 
to decay and coarsen under her eyes, Gloria's soul and 
body shrank away from him; when he stayed out all 
night, as he did several times, she not only failed to 



424 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

be sorry but even felt a measure of dismal relief. Next 
day he would be faintly repentant, and would remark in 
a gruff, hang-dog fashion that he guessed he was drink- 
ing a little too much. 

For hours at a time he would sit in the great arm- 
chair that had been in his apartment, lost in a sort of 
stupor — even his interest in reading his favorite books 
seemed to have departed, and though an incessant bick- 
ering went on between husband and wife, the one sub- 
ject upon which they ever really conversed was the 
progress of the will case. What Gloria hoped in the 
tenebrous depths of her soul, what she expected that 
great gift of money to bring about, is difficult to imagine. 
She was being bent by her environment into a grotesque 
similitude of a housewife. She who imtil three years 
before had never made coffee, prepared sometimes three 
meals a day. She walked a great deal in the afternoons, 
and in the evenings she read — ^books, magazines, any- 
thing she found at hand. If now she wished for a child, 
even a child of the Anthony who sought her bed blind 
drunk, she neither said so nor gave any show or sign of 
interest in children. It is doubtful if she could have 
made it clear to any one what it was she wanted, or 
indeed what there was to want — a lonely, lovely woman, 
thirty now, retrenched behind some impregnable inhi- 
bition born and coexistent with her beauty. 

One afternoon when the snow was dirty again along 
Riverside Drive, Gloria, who had been to the grocer's, 
entered the apartment to find Anthony pacing the floor 
in a state of aggravated nervousness. The feverish eyes 
he turned on her were traced with tiny pink lines that 
reminded her of rivers on a map. For a moment she 
received the impression that he was suddenly and defi- 
nitely old. 

''Have you any money?" he inquired of her precip- 
itately. 



NO MATTER! 425 

"What ? What do you mean ? '' 

"Just what I said. Money! Money! Can't you 
speak English?" 

She paid no attention but brushed by him and into 
the pantry to put the bacon and eggs in the ice-box. 
When his drinking had been unusually excessive he was 
invariably in a whining mood. This time he followed 
her and, standing in the pantry door, persisted in his 
question. 

"You heard what I said. Have you any money?" 

She turned about from the ice-box and faced him. 

"Why, Anthony, you must be crazy! You know I 
haven't any money — except a dollar in change." 

He executed an abrupt about-face and returned to the 
living-room, where he renewed his pacing. It was evi- 
dent that he had something portentous on his mind — he 
quite obviously wanted to be asked what was the matter. 
Joining him a moment later she sat upon the long 
lounge and began taking down her hair. It was no 
longer bobbed, and it had changed in the last year from 
a rich gold dusted with red to an imresplendent light 
brown. She had bought some shampoo soap and meant 
to wash it now; she had considered putting a bottle 
of peroxide into the rinsing water. 

"—Well?" she implied silently. 

"That dam bank !" he quavered. "They've had my 
account for over ten years — ten years. Well, it seems 
they've got some autocratic rule that you have to keep 
over five hundred dollars there or they won't carry you. 
They wrote me a letter a few months ago and told me 
I'd been nmning too low. Once I gave out two bum 
checks — ^remember? that night in Reisenweber's ? — ^but 
I made them good the very next day. Well, I promised 
old Halloran — he's the manager, the greedy Mick — that 
I'd watch out. And I thought I was going all right; I 



426 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

kept up the stubs in my check-book pretty regular. 
Well, I went in there to-day to cash a check, and Hal- 
loran came up and told me they'd have to close my ac- 
count. Too many bad checks, he said, and I never had 
more than five himdred to my credit — ^and that only for 
a day or so at a time. And by God! What do you 
think he said then?" 

"What?" 

"He said this was a good time to do it because I didn't 
have a damn penny in there !" 

"You didn't?" 

"That's what he told me. Seems I'd given these 
Bedros people a check for sixty for that last case of 
liquor — and I only had forty-five dollars in the bank. 
Well, the Bedros people deposited fifteen dollars to my 
account and drew the whole thing out." 

In her ignorance Gloria conjured up a spectre of im- 
prisonment and disgrace. 

"Oh, they won't do anything," he assured her. 
"Bootlegging's too risky a business. They'll send me 
a bill for fifteen dollars and I'll pay it." 

"Oh." She considered a moment. " — ^Well, we can 
sell another bond." 

He laughed sarcastically. 

"Oh, yes, that's always easy. When the few bonds 
we have that are paying any interest at all are only 
worth between fifty and eighty cents on the dollar. 
We lose about half the bond every time we sell." 

"What else can we do?" 

" Oh, we'll sell something — as usual. We've got paper 
worth eighty thousand dollars at par . ' ' Again he laughed 
unpleasantly. "Bring about thirty thousand on the 
open market." 

"I distrusted those ten per cent investments." 

"The deuce you did !" he said. "You pretended you 



NO MATTER! 427 

did, so you could claw at me if they went to pieces, but 
you wanted to take a chance as much as I did.'' 

She was silent for a moment as if considering, then: 

"Anthony," she cried suddenly, "two himdred a 
month is worse than nothing. Let's sell all the bonds 
and put the thirty thousand dollars in the bank — and 
if we lose the case we can Hve in Italy for three years, 
and then just die." In her excitement as she talked 
she was aware of a faint flush of sentiment, the first she 
had felt in many days. 

"Three years," he said nervously, "three years! 
You're crazy. Mr. Haight'U take more than that if we 
lose. Do you think he's working for charity?" 

"I forgot that." 

" — ^And here it is Saturday," he continued, "and I've 
only got a dollar and some change, and we've got to live 
till Monday, when I can get to my broker's. . . . And 
not a drink in the house," he added as a significant after- 
thought. 

" Can't you call up Dick ? " 

"I did. His man says he's gone down to Princeton 
to address a literary club or some such thing. Won't 
be back till Monday." 

"Well, let's see — Don't you know some friend you 
might go to?" 

"I tried a couple of fellows. Couldn't find anybody 
in. I wish I'd sold that Keats letter like I started to 
last week." 

"How about those men you play cards with in that 
Sammy place?" 

"Do you think I'd ask them?^^ His voice rang with 
righteous horror. Gloria winced. He would rather 
contemplate her active discomfort than feel his own 
skin crawl at asking an inappropriate favor. "I thought 
of Muriel," he suggested. 

"She's in CaHfornia." 



428 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

"Well, how about some of those men who gave you 
such a good time while I was in the army ? You'd think 
they might be glad to do a little favor for you." 

She looked at him contemptuously, but he took no 
notice. 

"Or how about your old friend Rachael — or Con- 
stance Merriam?" 

"Constance Merriam's been dead a year, and I 
wouldn't ask Rachael." 

"Well, how about that gentleman who was so anxious 
to help you once that he could hardly restrain himself, 
Bloeckman?" 

"Oh — !" He had hurt her at last, and he was not 
too obtuse or too careless to perceive it. 

"Why not him?" he insisted callously. 

"Because — ^he doesn't like me any more," she said 
with difficulty, and then as he did not answer but only 
regarded her cynically: "If you want to know why, I'll 
tell you. A year ago I went to Bloeckman — ^he's changed 
his name to Black — ^and asked him to put me into 
pictures." 

"You went to Bloeckman?" 

"Yes." 

"Why didn't you tell me?" he demanded incred- 
ulously, the smile fading from his face. 

"Because you were probably off drinking somewhere. 
He had them give me a test, and they decided that I 
wasn't young enough for anything except a character 
part." 

"A character part?" 

"The ' woman of thirty ' sort of thing. I wasn't thirty, 
and I didn't think I— looked thirty." 

"Why, damn him!" cried Anthony, championing 
her violently with a curious perverseness of emotion, 
"why " 



NO MATTER! 429 

"Well, that's why I can't go to him." 

"Why, the insolence!" insisted Anthony nervously, 
"the insolence I" 

"Anthony, that doesn't matter now; the thing is we've 
got to live over Sunday and there's nothing in the house 
but a loaf of bread and a half-poimd of bacon and two 
eggs for breakfast." She handed him the contents of 
her purse. "There's seventy, eighty, a dollar fifteen. 
With what you have that makes about two and a half 
altogether, doesn't it? Anthony, we can get along on 
that. We can buy lots of food with that — ^more than we 
can possibly eat." 

Jingling the change in his hand he shook his head. 

"No. I've got to have a drink. I'm so dam ner- 
vous that I'm shivering." A thought struck hun. 
"Perhaps Sammy 'd cash a check. And then Monday 
I could rush down to the bank with the money." 

"But they've closed your account." 

"That's right, that's right— I'd forgotten. I'll tell 
you what: I'll go down to Sammy's and I'll find some- 
body there who'll lend me something. I hate like the 
devil to ask them, though. ..." He snapped his fingers 
suddenly. "I know what I'll do. I'll hock my watch. 
I can get twenty dollars on it, and get it back Monday 
for sixty cents extra. It's been hocked before — ^when I 
was at Cambridge." 

He had put on his overcoat, and with a brief good-by 
he started down the hall toward the outer door. 

Gloria got to her feet. It had suddenly occurred to 
her where he would probably go first. 

"Anthony!" she called after him, "hadn't you better 
leave two dollars with me? You'll only need car- 
fare." 

The outer door slammed — he had pretended not to 
hear her. She stood for a moment looking after him; 



430 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

then she went into the bathroom among her tragic un- 
guents and began preparations for washing her hair. 

Down at Sammy's he found Parker Allison and Pete 
Lytell sitting alone at a table, drinking whiskey sours. 
It was just after six o'clock, and Sammy, or Samuele 
Bendiri, as he had been christened, was sweeping an 
accumulation of cigarette butts and broken glass into 
a corner. 

"Hi, Tony!" called Parker Allison to Anthony. 
Sometimes he addressed him as Tony, at other times it 
was Dan. To him all Anthonys must sail under one 
of these diminutives. 

" Sit down. What'll you have ? " 

On the subway Anthony had counted his money and 
found that he had almost four dollars. He could pay 
for two rounds at fifty cents a drink — which meant that 
he would have six drinks. Then he would go over to 
Sixth Avenue and get twenty dollars and a pawn-ticket 
in exchange for his watch. ^ 

*'WeU, roughnecks," he said jovially, "how's the life 
of crime?" 

"Pretty good," said Allison. He winked at Pete 
Lytell. "Too bad you're a married man. We've got 
some pretty good stuff lined up for about eleven o'clock, 
when the shows let out. Oh, boy! Yes, sir — too bad 
he's married — isn't it, Pete?" 

"'Sa shame." 

At half past seven, when they had completed the six 
rounds, Anthony found that his intentions were giving 
audience to his desires. He was happy and cheerful 
now — thoroughly enjoying himself. It seemed to him 
that the story which Pete had just finished telling was 
unusually and profoundly humorous — and he decided, 
as he did every day at about this point, that they were 
"damn good fellows, by golly!" who would do a lot 



NO MATTER! 431 

more for him than any one else he knew. The pawn- 
shops would remain open until late Saturday nights, 
and he felt that if he took just one more drink he would 
attain a gorgeous rose-colored exhilaration. 

Artfully, he fished in his vest pockets, brought up his 
two quarters, and stared at them as though in surprise. 

^'Well, I'll be darned," he protested in an aggrieved 
tone, ''here I've come out without my pocketbook." 

"Need some cash?" asked Lytell easily. 

"I left my money on the dresser at home. And I 
wanted to buy you another drink." 

"Oh — ^knock it." Lytell waved the suggestion away 
disparagingly. "I guess we can blow a good fella to all 
the drinks he wants. What'U you have — same?" 

"I tell you," suggested Parker Allison, "suppose we 
send Sanxmy across the street for some sandwiches and 
eat dinner here." 

The other two agreed. 

"Goodid^ea." 

"Hey, Sammy, wantcha do somep'm for us. . . ." 

Just after nine o'clock Anthony staggered to his feet 
and, bidding them a thick good night, walked unsteadily 
to the door, handing Sanmiy one of his two quarters as 
he passed out. Once in the street he hesitated uncer- 
tainly and then started in the direction of Sixth Avenue, 
where he remembered to have frequently passed several 
loan-oflSices. He went by a news-stand and two drug- 
stores — and then he realized that he was standing in 
front of the place which he sought, and that it was shut 
and barred. Unperturbed he continued; another one, 
half a block down, was also closed — so were two more 
across the street, and a fifth in the square below. Seeing 
a faint Hght in the last one, he began to knock on the 
glass door; he desisted only when a watchman appeared 
in the back of the shop and motioned him angrily to 



432 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

move on. With growing discouragement, with growing 
befuddlement, he crossed the street and walked back 
toward Forty- third. On the comer near Sammy's he 
paused undecided — if he went back to the apartment, 
as he felt his body required, he would lay himself open 
to bitter reproach; yet, now that the pawnshops were 
closed, he had no notion where to get the money. He de- 
cided finally that he might ask Parker Allison, after all — 
but he approached Sammy's only to find the door locked 
and the lights out. He looked at his watch; nine- thirty. 
He began walking. 

Ten minutes later he stopped aimlessly at the comer 
of Forty- third Street and Madison Avenue, diagonally 
across from the bright but nearly deserted entrance to 
the Biltmore Hotel. Here he stood for a moment, and 
then sat down heavily on a damp board amid some debris 
of construction work. He rested there for almost half 
an hour, his mind a shifting pattern of surface thoughts, 
chiefest among which were that he must obtain some 
money and get home before he became too sodden to 
find his way. 

Then, glancing over toward the Biltmore, he saw a 
man standiQg directly under the overhead glow of the 
porte-cochere lamps beside a woman in an ermine coat. 
As Anthony watched, the couple moved forward and 
signalled to a taxi. Anthony perceived by the infalhble 
identification that lurks in the walk of a friend that it 
was Maury Noble. 

He rose to his feet. 

''Maury!" he shouted. 

Maury looked in his direction, then turned back to 
the girl just as the taxi came up into place. With the 
chaotic idea of borrowing ten dollars, Anthony began to 
run as fast as he could across Madison Avenue and 
along Forty-third Street. 



NO MATTER! 433 

As he came up Maury was standing beside the yawn- 
ing door of the taxicab. His companion turned and 
looked curiously at Anthony. 

"Hello, Maury I " he said, holding out his hand. 
"How are you?'' 

"Fine, thank you." 

Their hands dropped and Anthony hesitated. Maury 
made no move to introduce him, but only stood there 
regarding him with an inscrutable feline silence. 

"I wanted to see you — " began Anthony uncertainly. 
He did not feel that he could ask for a loan with the girl 
not four feet away, so he broke off and made a percep- 
tible motion of his head as if to beckon Maury to one 
side. 

"I'm in rather a big hurry, Anthony." 

"I know — ^but can you, can you — " Again he hesi- 
tated. 

"I'll see you some other time," said Maury. 

"It's important." 

"I'm sorry, Anthony." 

Before Anthony could make up his mind to blurt out 
his request, Maury had turned coolly to the girl, helped 
her into the car and, with a polite "good evening," 
stepped in after her. As he nodded from the window it 
seemed to Anthony that his expression had not changed 
by a shade or a hair. Then with a fretful clatter the 
taxi moved off, and Anthony was left standing there 
alone under the lights. 

Anthony went on into the Biltmore, for no reason in 
particular except that the entrance was at hand, and 
ascending the wide stair found a seat in an alcove. He 
was furiously aware that he had been snubbed; he was 
as hurt and angry as it was possible for him to be when 
in that condition. Nevertheless, he was stubbornly pre- 
occupied with the necessity of obtaining some money 



434 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

before he went home, and once again he told over on 
his fingers the acquaintances he might conceivably call 
on in this emergency. He thought, eventually, that he 
might approach Mr. Howland, his broker, at his home. 

After a long wait he found that Mr. Howland was 
out. He returned to the operator, leaning over her desk 
and fingering his quarter as though loath to leave un- 
satisfied. 

''Call Mr. Bloeckman," he said suddenly. His own 
words surprised him. The name had come from some 
crossing of two suggestions in his mind. 

"What's the number, please?" 

Scarcely conscious of what he did, Anthony looked 
up Joseph Bloeckman in the telephone directory. He 
could find no such person, and was about to close the 
book when it flashed into his mind that Gloria had men- 
tioned a change of name. It was the matter of a minute 
to find Joseph Black — then he waited in the booth while 
central called the number. 

''Hello-o. Mr. Bloeckman— I mean Mr. Black in?" 

''No, he's out this evening. Is there any message?" 
The intonation was cockney; it reminded him of the 
rich vocal deferences of Bounds. 

"Where is he?" 

"Why, ah, who is this, please, sir?" 

"This Mr. Patch. Matter of vi'al importance." 

"Why, he's with a party at the BouP Mich', sir." 

"Thanks." 

Anthony got his five cents change and started for the 
Boul' Mich', a popular dancing resort on Forty-fifth 
Street. It was nearly ten but the streets were dark and 
sparsely peopled until the theatres should eject their 
spawn an hour later. Anthony knew the Boul' Mich', 
for he had been there with Gloria during the year before, 
and he remembered the existence of a rule that patrons 



NO MATTER! 435 

must be in evening dress. Well, he would not go up- 
stairs — ^he would send a boy up for Bloeckman and 
wait for him in the lower hall. For a moment he did 
not doubt that the whole project was entirely natural 
and graceful. To his distorted imagination Bloeckman 
had become simply one of his old friends. 

The entrance-hall of the Boul' Mich' was warm. 
There were high yellow lights over a thick green carpet, 
from the centre of which a white stairway rose to the 
dancing floor. 

Anthony spoke to the hallboy: 

"I want to see Mr. Bloeckman — Mr. Black," he said. 
'^He's up-stairs — ^have him paged." 

The boy shook his head. 

" 'Sagainsa rules to have him paged. You know what 
table he's at?" 

"No. But IVe got see him." 

"Wait an' I'll getcha waiter." 

After a short interval a head waiter appeared, bear- 
ing a card on which were charted the table reservations. 
He darted a cynical look at Anthony — ^which, however, 
failed of its target. Together they bent over the card- 
board and found the table without difficulty — a, party 
of eight, Mr. Black's own. 

"Tell him Mr. Patch. Very, very important." 

Again he waited, leaning against the banister and 
listening to the confused harmonies of "Jazz-mad" 
which came floating down the stairs. A check-girl near 
him was singing: 

"Out in — the shimmee sanitarium 
The jazz-mad nuts reside. 
Out in — the shimmee sanitarium 
I left my blushing bride. 

She went and shook herself insanCy 
So let her shiver back again " 



436 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

Then he saw Bloeckman descending the staircase, and 
took a step forward to meet him and shake hands. 

"You wanted to see me?'^ said the older man coolly. 

"Yes," answered Anthony, nodding, "personal matter. 
Can you jus^ step over here?" 

Regarding him narrowly Bloeckman followed An- 
thony to a half bend made by the staircase where they 
were beyond observation or earshot of any one entering 
or leaving the restaurant. 

"Well?" he inquired. 

"Wanted talk to you." 

"What about?" 

Anthony only laughed — a silly laugh; he intended it 
to sound casual. 

"What do you want to talk to me about?" repeated 
Bloeckman. 

"Wha's hurry, old man?" He tried to lay his hand 
in a friendly gesture upon Bloeckman's shoulder, but 
the latter drew away sHghtly. "HowVe been?" 

"Very well, thanks. . . . See here, Mr. Patch, I've 
got a party up-stairs. They'll think it's rude if I stay 
away too long. What was it you wanted to see me 
about?" 

For the second time that evening Anthony's mind 
made an abrupt jump, and what he said was not at all 
what he had intended to say. 

"Un'erstand you kep' my wife out of the movies." 

"What?" Bloeckman's ruddy face darkened in par- 
allel planes of shadows. 

"You heard me." 

"Look here, Mr. Patch," said Bloeckman, evenly and 
without changing his expression, "you're drunk. You're 
disgustingly and insultingly drunk." 

"Not too drunk talk to you," insisted Anthony with 
a leer. "Firs' place, my wife wants nothin' whatever 
do with you. Never did. Un'erstand me?" 



NO MATTER! 437 

"Be quiet!" said the older man angrily. "I should 
think you'd respect your wife enough not to bring her 
into the conversation under these circumstances." 

"Never you min' how I expect my wife. One thing 
— ^you leave her alone. You go to hell !" 

"See here — I think you're a little crazy!" exclaimed 
Bloeckman. He took two paces forward as though to 
pass by, but Anthony stepped in his way. 

"Not so fas', you Goddam Jew." 

For a moment they stood regarding each other, An- 
thony swaying gently from side to side, Bloeckman 
almost trembling with fury. 

"Be careful!" he cried in a strained voice. 

Anthony might have remembered then a certain look 
Bloeckman had given him in the Biltmore Hotel years 
before. But he remembered nothing, nothing 

"I'll say it again, you God " 

Then Bloeckman struck out, with all the strength in 
the arm of a well-conditioned man of forty-five, struck 
out and caught Anthony squarely in the mouth. An- 
thony cracked up against the staircase, recovered him- 
self and made a wild drunken swing at his opponent, 
but Bloeckman, who took exercise every day and knew 
something of sparring, blocked it with ease and struck 
him twice in the face with two swift smashing jabs. 
Anthony gave a little grunt and toppled over onto the 
green-plush carpet, finding, as he fell, that his mouth 
was full of blood and seemed oddly loose in front. He 
struggled to his feet, panting and spitting, and then as 
he started toward Bloeckman, who stood a few feet 
away, his fists clenched but not up, two waiters who had 
appeared from nowhere seized his arms and held him, 
helpless. In back of them a dozen people had mirac- 
ulously gathered. 

"I'll kill him," cried Anthony, pitching and straining 
from side to side. "Let me kill " 



438 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

"Throw him out I" ordered Bloeckman excitedly, just 
as a small man with a pockmarked face pushed his way 
hurriedly through the spectators. 

"Any trouble, Mr. Black?" 

"This bimi tried to blackmail me!" said Bloeckman, 
and then, his voice rising to a faintly shrill note of pride: 
"He got what was coming to himl" 

The little man turned to a waiter. 

"Call a policeman!" he commanded. 

"Oh, no," said Bloeckman quickly. "I can't be 
bothered. Just throw him out in the street. . . . Ugh ! 
What an outrage!" He turned and with conscious 
dignity walked toward the wash-room just as six brawny 
hands seized upon Anthony and dragged him toward the 
door. The "bum" was propelled violently to the side- 
walk, where he landed on his hands and knees with a 
grotesque slapping sound and rolled over slowly onto 
his side. 

The shock stunned him. He lay there for a moment 
in acute distributed pain. Then his discomfort became 
centralized in his stomach, and he regained conscious- 
ness to discover that a large foot was prodding him. 

"You've got to move on, y' bum! Move on!" 

It was the bulky doorman speaking. A town car had 
stopped at the curb and its occupants had disem- 
barked — that is, two of the women were standing on the 
dashboard, waiting in offended deHcacy until this ob- 
scene obstacle should be removed from their path. 

" Move on ! Or else I'll throw y'on ! " 

"Here— I'U get him." 

This was a new voice; Anthony imagined that it was 
somehow more tolerant, better disposed than the first. 
Again arms were about him, half lifting, half dragging 
him into a welcome shadow four doors up the street and 
propping him against the stone front of a millinery shop. 



NO MATTER! 439 

"Much obliged,'' muttered Anthony feebly. Some 
one pushed his soft hat down upon his head and he 
winced. 

^'Just sit still, buddy, and you'll feel better. Those 
guys sure give you a bump." 

"I'm going back and kill that dirty — " He tried to 
get to his feet but collapsed backward against the wall. 

"You can't do nothin' now," came the voice. "Get 
'em some other time. I'm tellin' you straight, ain't I? 
I'm helpin' you." 

Anthony nodded. 

"An' you better go home. You dropped a tooth to- 
night, buddy. You know that?" 

Anthony explored his mouth with his tongue, verify- 
ing the statement. Then with an effort he raised his 
hand and located the gap. 

"I'm agoin' to get you home, friend. Whereabouts 
do you live " 

"Oh, by God! By God!" interrupted Anthony, 
clenching his fists passionately. "I'll show the dirty 
bunch. You help me show 'em and I'll fix it with you. 
My grandfather's Adam Patch, of Tarry town " 

"Who?" 

"AdamPatch, by God!" 

"You wanna go all the way to Tarrytown?" 

''No." 

"Well, you tell me where to go, friend, and I'll get a 
cab." 

Anthony made out that his Samaritan was a short, 
broad-shouldered individual, somewhat the worse for 
wear. 

"Where d'you live, hey?" 

Sodden and shaken as he was, Anthony felt that his 
address would be poor collateral for his wild boast about 
his grandfather. 



440 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

" Get me a cab," he commanded, feeling in his pockets. 

A taxi drove up. Again Anthony essayed to rise, but 
his ankle swung loose, as though it were in two sections. 
The Samaritan must needs help him in — ^and climb in 
after him. 

"See here, fella," said he, "you're soused and you're 
bunged up, and you won't be able to get in your house 
'less somebody carries you in, so I'm going with you, 
and I know you'U make it all right with me. Where 
d'you live?" 

With some reluctance Anthony gave his address. 
Then, as the cab moved off, he leaned his head against 
the man's shoulder and went into a shadowy, painful 
torpor. When he awoke, the man had Kfted him from 
the cab in front of the apartment on Claremont Avenue 
and was trying to set him on his feet, 

"Cany' walk?" 

"Yes — sort of. You better not come in with me." 
Again he felt helplessly in his pockets. "Say," he con- 
tinued, apologetically, swaying dangerously on his feet, 
**I'm afraid I haven't got a cent." 

"Huh?" 

"I'm cleaned out." 

"Sa-a-ay! Didn't I hear you promise you'd fix it 
with me? Who's goin' to pay the taxi bill?" He 
turned to the driver for confirmation. "Didn't you hear 
him say he'd fix it? All that about his grandfather?" 

"Matter of fact," muttered Anthony imprudently, 
"it was you did all the talking; however, if you come 
round, to-morrow " 

At this point the taxi-driver leaned from his cab and 
said ferociously: 

"Ah, poke him one, the dirty cheap skate. If he 
wasn't a bum they wouldn'ta throwed him out." 

In answer to this suggestion the fist of the Samaritan 



NO MATTER! 441 

shot out like a battering-ram and sent Anthony crash- 
ing down against the stone steps of the apartment- 
house, where he lay without movement, while the tall 
buildings rocked to and fro above him. . . . 

After a long while he awoke and was conscious that 
it had grown much colder. He tried to move himself 
but his muscles refused to function. He was curiously 
anxious to know the time, but he reached for his watch, 
only to find the pocket empty. Involuntarily his lips 
formed an immemorial phrase: 

"What a night!" 

Strangely enough, he was almost sober. Without 
moving his head he looked up to where the moon was 
anchored in mid-sky, shedding light down into Claremont 
Avenue as into the bottom of a deep and uncharted abyss. 
There was no sign or sound of life save for the continu- 
ous buzzing in his own ears, but after a moment Anthony 
himself broke the silence with a distinct and peculiar 
murmur. It was the sound that he had consistently at- 
tempted to make back there in the Boul' Mich', when he 
had been face to face with Bloeckman — the unmistakable 
sound of ironic laughter. And on his torn and bleeding 
lips it was like a pitiful retching of the soul. 

Three weeks later the trial came to an end. The 
seemingly endless spool of legal red tape having un- 
rolled over a period of four and a half years, suddenly 
snapped off. Anthony and Gloria and, on the other 
side, Edward Shuttleworth and a platoon of beneficiaries 
testified and lied and ill-behaved generally in varying 
degrees of greed and desperation. Anthony awoke one 
morning in March realizing that the verdict was to be 
given at four that afternoon, and at the thought he got 
up out of his bed and began to dress. With his extreme 
nervousness there was mingled an unjustified optimism 



442 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

as to the outcome. He believed that the decision of the 
lower court would be reversed, if only because of the 
reaction, due to excessive prohibition, that had recently 
set in against reforms and reformers. He counted more 
on the personal attacks that they had levelled at Shuttle- 
worth than on the more sheerly legal aspects of the 
proceedings. 

Dressed, he poured himself a drink of whiskey and 
then went into Gloria's room, where he foimd her already 
wide awake. She had been in bed for a week, hiunoring 
herself, Anthony fancied, though the doctor had said 
that she had best not be disturbed. 

"Good morning,'' she murmured, without smiling. 
Her eyes seemed imusually large and dark. 

' ' How do you feel ? " he asked grudgingly. ' * B e tter ? ' ' 

"Yes." 

"Much?" 

"Yes." 

"Do you feel well enough to go down to court with 
me this afternoon?" 

She nodded. 

"Yes. I want to. Dick said yesterday that if the 
weather was nice he was coming up in his car and take 
me for a ride in Central Park — and look, the room's all 
full of sunshine." 

Anthony glanced mechanically out the window and 
then sat down upon the bed. 

"God, I'm nervous!" he exclaimed. 

"Please don't sit there," she said quickly. 

"Why not?" 

"You smell of whiskey. I can't stand it." 

He got up absent-mindedly and left the room. A 
little later she called to him and he went out and brought 
her some potato salad and cold chicken from the deli- 
catessen. 



NO MATTER! 443 

At two o'clock Richard CarameFs car arrived at the 
door and, when he phoned up, Anthony took Gloria 
down in the elevator and walked with her to the curb. 

She told her cousin that it was sweet of him to take 
her riding. "Don't be simple," Dick replied disparag- 
ingly. ''It's nothing." 

But he did not mean that it was nothing and this was 
a curious thing. Richard Caramel had forgiven many 
people for many offenses. But he had never forgiven 
his cousin, Gloria Gilbert, for a statement she had made 
just prior to her wedding, seven years before. She had 
said that she did not intend to read his book. 

Richard Caramel remembered this — he had remem- 
bered it weU for seven years. 

"What time will I expect you back?" asked Anthony. 

"We won't come back," she answered, "we'll meet you 
down there at four." 

"All right," he muttered, "I'll meet you." 

Up-stairs he found a letter waiting for him. It was a 
mimeographed notice urging "the boys" in condescend- 
ingly colloquial language to pay the dues of the American 
Legion. He threw it impatiently into the waste-basket 
and sat down with his elbows on the window-sill, look- 
ing down blindly into the sunny street. 

Italy — ^if the verdict was in their favor it meant 
Italy. The word had become a sort of talisman to him, 
a land where the intolerable anxieties of life would fall 
away like an old garment. They would go to the water- 
ing-places first and among the bright and colorful crowds 
forget the gray appendages of despair. Marvellously re- 
newed, he would walk again in the Piazza di Spogna at 
twilight, moving in that drifting flotsam of dark women 
and ragged beggars, of austere, barefooted friars. The 
thought of Italian women stirred him faintly — when his 
purse hung heavy again even romance might fly back to 



444 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

perch upon it — the romance of blue canals in Venice, of 
the golden green hills of Fiesole after rain, and of women, 
women who changed, dissolved, melted into other women 
and receded from his life, but who were always beautiful 
and always young. 

But it seemed to him that there should be a difference 
in his attitude. All the distress that he had ever known, 
the sorrow and the pain, had been because of women. 
It was something that in different ways they did to 
him, unconsciously, almost casually — ^perhaps finding 
him tender-minded and afraid, they killed the things in 
him that menaced their absolute sway. 

Turning about from the window he faced his reflec- 
tion, in the mirror, contemplating dejectedly the wan, 
pasty face, the eyes with their crisscross of lines like 
shreds of dried blood, the stooped and flabby figure whose 
very sag was a document in lethargy. He was thirty- 
three — he looked forty. Well, things would be different. 

The door-bell rang abruptly and he started as though 
he had been dealt a blow. Recovering himself, he went 
into the hall and opened the outer door. It was Dot. 

The Encounter 

He retreated before her into the living-room, com- 
prehending only a word here and there in the slow flood 
of sentences that poured from her steadily, one after the 
other, in a persistent monotone. Sh^ was decently and 
shabbily dressed — a. somehow pitiable Httle hat adorned 
with pink and blue flowers covered and hid her dark 
hair. He gathered from her words that several days 
before she had seen an item in the paper concerning the 
lawsuit, and had obtained his address from the clerk of 
the Appellate Division. She had called up the apart- 
ment and had been told that Anthony was out by a 
woman to whom she had refused to give her name. 



NO MATTER! 445 

In the living-room he stood by the door regarding her 
with a sort of stupefied horror as she rattled on. . . . 
His predominant sensation was that all the civilization 
and convention around him was curiously unreal. . . . 
She was in a milliaer's shop on Sixth Avenue, she said. 
It was a lonesome life. She had been sick for a long 
while after he left for Camp Mills; her mother had come 
down and taken her home again to Carolina. . . . She 
had come to New York with the idea of finding An- 
thony. 

She was appallingly in earnest. Her violet eyes were 
red with tears; her soft intonation was ragged with little 
gasping sobs. 

That was all. She had never changed. She wanted 
him now, and if she couldn't have him she must 
die. . . . 

"You'll have to get out," he said at length, speaking 
with tortuous intensity. "Haven't I enough to worry 
me now without you coming here? My God! You'll 
have to get ow//" 

Sobbing, she sat down in a chair. 

"I love you," she cried; "I don't care what you say 
to me ! I love you." 

"I don't care !" he almost shrieked; "get out — oh, get 
out ! Haven't you done me harm enough ? Haven't — 
you — done — enough .? " 

"Hit me ! " she implored him — wildly, stupidly. " Oh, 
hit me, and I'll kiss the hand you hit me with !" 

His voice rose until it was pitched almost at a scream. 
"I'U kill you!" he cried. "If you don't get out I'll 
kill you, I'll kiU you!" 

There was madness in his eyes now, but, unintimi- 
dated. Dot rose and took a step toward him. 

"Anthony ! Anthony ! " 

He made a little clicking sound with his teeth and 



446 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

drew back as though to spring at her — then, changing 
his purpose, he looked wildly about him on the floor and 
wall. 

"I'll kill you!" he was nauttering in short, broken 
gasps. "I'll kill you !" He seemed to bite at the word 
as though to force it into materialization. Alarmed at 
last she made no further movement forward, but meet- 
ing his frantic eyes took a step back toward the door. 
Anthony began to race here and there on his side of 
the room, still giving out his single cursing cry. Then 
he found what he had been seeking — a stiff oaken chair 
that stood beside the table. Uttering a harsh, broken 
shout, he seized it, swung it above his head and let it go 
with all his raging strength straight at the white, fright- 
ened face across the room . . . then a thick, impenetra- 
ble darkness came down upon him and blotted out 
thought, rage, and madness together — with almost a 
tangible snapping soimd the face of the world changed 
before his eyes. . . . 

Gloria and Dick came in at five and called his name. 
There was no answer — they went into the living-room 
and found a chair with its back smashed lying in the 
doorway, and they noticed that all about the room there 
was a sort of disorder — the rugs had slid, the pictures 
and bric-^-brac were upset upon the centre-table. The 
air was sickly sweet with cheap perfume. 

They foimd Anthony sitting in a patch of sunshine 
on the floor of his bedroom. Before him, open, were 
spread his three big stamp-books, and when they en- 
tered he was running his hands through a great pile 
of stamps that he had dumped from the back of one 
of them. Looking up and seeing Dick and Gloria he 
put his head critically on one side and motioned them 
back. 



NO MATTER! 447 

"Anthony ! " cried Gloria tensely, "we've won ! They 
reversed the decision!" 

"Don't come in," he murmured wanly, "you'll muss 
them. I'm sorting, and I know you'll step in them. 
Everything always gets mussed." 

"What are you doing?" demanded Dick in astonish- 
ment. "Going back to childhood? Don't you realize 
you've won the suit? They've reversed the decision of 
the lower courts. You're worth thirty millions !" 

Anthony only looked at him reproachfully. 

"Shut the door when you go out." He spoke like a 
pert child. 

With a faint horror dawning in her eyes, Gloria gazed 
at him 

"Anthony!" she cried, "what is it? What's the 
matter? Why didn't you come — ^why, what is it?" 

"See here," said Anthony softly, "you two get out — 
now, both of you. Or else I'll tell my grandfather." 

He held up a handful of stamps and let them come 
drifting down about him like leaves, varicolored and 
bright, tm-ning and fluttering gaudily upon the sunny 
air: stamps of England and Ecuador, Venezuela and 
Spain — ^Italy. . . . 

Together with the Sparrows 

That exquisite heavenly irony which has tabulated 
the demise of so many generations of sparrows doubt- 
less records the subtlest verbal inflections of the passen- 
gers of such ships as The Berengaria. And doubtless 
it was listening when the young man in the plaid cap 
crossed the deck quickly and spoke to the pretty girl 
in yellow. 

"That's him," he said, pointing to a bimdled figure 
seated in a wheel-chair near the rail. "That's Anthony 
Patch. First time he's been on deck." 



448 THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED 

"Oh— thafshim?" 

"Yes. He's been a little crazy, they say, ever since 
he got his money, four or five months ago. You see, the 
other fellow, Shuttleworth, the religious fellow, the one 
that didn't get the money, he locked himself up in a 
room in a hotel and shot himself " 

"Oh, he did " 

"But I guess Anthony Patch don't care much. He 
got his thirty million. And he's got his private physician 
along in case he doesn't feel just right about it. Has 
she been on deck?" he asked. 

The pretty girl in yellow looked aroimd cautiously. 

"She was here a minute ago. She had on a Russian- 
sable coat that must have cost a small fortune." She 
frowned and then added decisively: "I can't stand 
her, you know. She seems sort of — sort of dyed and 
unclean, if you know what I mean. Some people just 
have that look about them whether they are or not." 

"Sure, I know," agreed the man with the plaid cap. 
"She's not bad-looking, though." He paused. "Won- 
der what he's thinking about — his money, I guess, or 
maybe he's got remorse about that fellow Shuttleworth." 

"Probably. . . ." 

But the man in the plaid cap was quite wrong. An- 
thony Patch, sitting near the rail and looking out at 
the sea, was not thinking of his money, for he had seldom 
in his life been really preoccupied with material vain- 
glory, nor of Edward Shuttleworth, for it is best to look 
on the sunny side of these things. No — he was con- 
cerned with a series of reminiscences, much as a general 
might look back upon a successful campaign and analyze 
his victories. He was thinking of the hardships, the in- 
sufferable tribulations he had gone through. They had 
tried to penalize him for the mistakes of his youth. He 
had been exposed to ruthless misery, his very craving 



/ NO MATTER! 449 

for romance had been punished, his friends had deserted 
him — even Gloria had turned against him. He had been 
alone, alone — facing it all. 

Only a few months before people had been urging 
him to give in, to submit to mediocrity, to go to work. 
But he had known that he was justified in his way of 
life — and he had stuck it out stanchly. Why, the very 
friends who had been most unkind had come to respect 
him, to know he had been right all along. Had not the 
Lacys and the Merediths and the Cartwright-Smiths 
called on Gloria and him at the Ritz-Carlton just a week 
before they sailed? 

Great tears stood in his eyes, and his voice was trem- 
ulous as he whispered to himself. 

"I showed them," he was saying. "It was a hard 
fight, but I didn't give up and I came through ! " 



2y F. Scott Fitzgerald 

THIS 
SIDE OF PARADISE 



"A Novel about Flappers 
Written for Philosophers" 



**It IS probably one of the few really American novels 
extant." — Harry Hansen in the Chicago Baily News. 

"A very enlivening book, indeed; a book really brilliant 
and glamorous, making as agreeable reading as could be 
asked." — New York Evening Post, 

**The glorious spirit of abounding youth glows throughout 
this fascinating tale. ... It could have been written only 
by an artist who knows how to balance his values, plus a 
delightful literary style." — New York Times, 

**It is abundantly worth while; it is delightful, consciously 
and unconsciously, amusing, keenly and diversely inter- 
esting; cracking good stuff to read, in short." — New York 
Sun. 



Twelfth Printing 



CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 



Sj^ F, Scott Fitzgerald 

FLAPPERS AND 
PHILOSOPHERS 

A collection of the author^s best stories 



The Off Shore Pirate Bernice Bobs Her Hair 

The Ice Palace Benediction 

Head and Shoulders Dalyrimple Goes Wrong 

The Cut-Glass Bowl The Four Fists 

"He is a story-teller with a courage of his own, and such 
story-tellers are rare even in the midst of the modern quest 
for unconventionality." — Boston Transcript, 

*'His eight short stories range the gamut of style and 
mood with a brilliance, a jeu perle, so to speak, not to be 
found in the novel." — New York Times, 

"No one can teach him anything about how to build a 
short story." — Philadelphia Public Ledger, 

Fifth Printing 



CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 



FSB 6^ 



New Scribner Fiction 






The Forsyte Saga 

By John Galsworthy 

This volume, composed of three of Mr. Galsworthy's 
most powerful novels — "The Man of Property," "In 
Chancery," and "To Let" — and two shorter stories — 
"The Indian Summer of a Forsyte" and "Awakening" 
— presents the life of a representative English family 
through three generations. It is unquestionably one 
of the notable achievements in the entire history of 
fiction in the English language. 

The Everlasting Whisper 

By Jackson Gregory 

An enthralling tale of adventure in the California 
wilderness. 

The Unspeakable Gentleman 

By J. P. Marquand 

Sheer romance, to be read for the joy of the reading. 
A succession of flashing incidents, centring around one 
of the most remarkable characters of romantic fiction. 

Where Your Treasure Is 

By John Hastings Turner 

This lively story by the author of "Simple Souls" is 
a witty, humorous, yet deeply sincere commentary on 
modern love. 

Pirates' Hope 

By Francis Lynde 

A. group of wealthy people, at sea on a yacht, run 
afoul of mutiny among the crew and are marooned on 
a desert island. 

Uncle Bijah's Ghost 

By Jennette Lee 

In this delightful tale, the thrill of what seems to be 
the supernatural leaves not a morbid trace behind it. 

His Soul Goes Marching On 

By Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews 

Fifteen years ago, in "The Perfect Tribute." Mrs. 
Andrews wrote a great story around the personality of 
Abraham Lincoln. Here Roosevelt becomes the guid- 
ing influence in the life of a boy who had a brief talk 
with the great man. 

Madame Valcour's Lodger 

By Florence Olmstead 

This love-story has the quality of humor and the 
essentially human character of "The Cloistered Ro- 
mance" and "Father Bernard's Parish." 

Stories 

By Meredith Nicholson 

A collection of the best stories by this celebrated 
novelist. 

The Beautiful and Damned 

By F. Scott Fitzgerald 

The second novel by the author of "This SiHf r^f 
Pa^o^:c„ ".->-•-■ ■ ' • 

[ U.C. BERKELEY LIBRARIES 




i HiL iiiLAUTIFUL A^D OAMxNiLi. 

BY F. SCOTT FITZGERALD 

The appearance of "This 
Side of Paradise" infused 
a new vitality into Ameri- 
can fiction. It opened that 
striking literary movement 
which, whatever its crudi- 
ties, was marked by an in- 
tense sincerity and courage 
that make the novel a vital 
factor in life. It became a 
chief topic of discussion and 
a ''best seller." 

"The Beautiful and 
Damned" will certainly not 
cause less of a stir. In re- 
lating the story of the love 
and mu triage of Anthony- 
Patch and the vivid beauty, 
Gloria, it reveals with dev- 
astating satire a section of 
American society w^Hl^h has 
never before been recog- 
nized as an entity — that 
wealthy, floating popula- 
tion which throngs the res- 
taurants, cabarets, theatres, 
and hotels of our great cities 
— people adrift on a sea of 
luxury, without the anchors 
of homes and the rudders of responsibilities — people without roots 
or backgrounds. 

Fitzgerald shows in particular these two young people — Anthony 
and Gloria — of natural charm and beauty, cast upon this shining sea 
and floating toward that awful whirlpool that may do worse than 
kill: it may destroy the soul and leave only the body. This he does 
with such brilliance of dialogue and withering comment, with so 
effective a succession of scenes and incidents, that this jloating so- 
ciety, in all its glitter and color, is brought before the very eyes of 
the reader. Through the medium of a fascinating story he reveals a 
significant phase of modern life hitherto unrealized. 




CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS