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put them in the paper, because I promised to; but I don’t have to put them here, and I won’t. My young heart sank as I read my friend's editorial, but what could I do? So I put it in the page, under the heading Mabel wrote—“Is There Hope for May Iverson?” and right above it was my name as editor-in-chief. Was that right or fair? I pause for a reply, as real writers say. When I wrote the editorial about Mabel Blossom's faults I had forgotten some of them, but now I remembered more; so I wrote them right in for the child's good, and when I showed it to her she couldn’t say a word, for they were all true, and right well did Mabel Blossom know it. That filled up most of what was left of the editorial page, so I just dropped in a few more thoughts and then I sent the copy to the printer, which I had to do, of course, before it could be published in the paper. After that I rested—and I needed to. The Voice of Truth came out the next Saturday. Across the top of the front page was our picture of the angel and the trumpet and the wireless pole, but the artist had forgotten the balloon thing which was Truth. However, I guess it looked better his way. It was very pretty. In the first column was the article on “Parsifal,” and next to that was “Ethel Barrymore at Home,” and beside that was the “Iroquois Fire.” Then you had to turn the paper and you came right to my editorials. They looked beautiful. printer had used big type with lots of white between to fill the page, and the eager eye of the reader could fall on the alluring titles. “Greeting—and Our Aims,” was one. “His Workmen Cry for Bread "--that was about Mr. Murphy. “Ignoble Faults in Lovely Natures,” was about the girls, you know. “Showing His Teeth '' was the one about the President, and then there were the poems and the weather and the rest. And of course the one about me, which I trust I need not mention again. The next page had Mabel's Roll of Honor and Roll of Ignominy, because she said they were very important and must come near the front of the paper. After that we had advertisements and “Academy Notes " — a whole page of those—and “Advice to the Faculty,” by Mabel Blossom. She wrote the headlines herself, and the second one was “An Eloquent Plea for Less Studies and
More Fun, by a Brilliant but Overworked Student.” And she says I am conceited! Well, I haven’t time to tell about all the rest. There was a love-story by Maudie Joyce, a beautiful one where they don’t see each other for sixty years and then are reunited and die smiling in each other's arms. I cried quarts over it! Adeline Thurston had a poem, of course; and we printed one of Kittie James's compositions to encourage her in her studies. Besides, we needed something to fill the page. And that was about all, I guess, but we explained that we would have more next week when the President and cabinet officers began to send us beats. One of the girls put a copy on Sister Irmingarde's desk, to surprise her—and I think it did. For while we were all reading the paper together and talking it over, and before we had time to mail any copies to subscribers, I saw something black coming along the hall, and first I thought it was a cloud, and then I saw it was Sister Irmingarde. So did the others. We all looked at each other, and somehow in that very moment I began to feel queer and to wonder whether the paper was so good, after all, and to think perhaps we had made some mistakes. The girls did, too. They told me so afterwards. When Sister Irmingarde reached us we all stood up, of course, and we saw that she had The Voice of Truth in her hand and that her face was very white. She tapped the cover of the paper with her finger, and when she spoke her voice sounded queer. “Have any copies of this gone out of the building’” she asked. We said, “No, not yet,” and her face changed right away and she wiped her forehead as if she felt warm, though it was a cold day. Then she looked at us again in an odd way, and when she spoke she seemed to be speaking to herself, not to us. “You haven’t the remotest conception, evidently, of what you’ve done,” she said, very slowly. “So I suppose we must try to remember that, after all, you are mere babies!” We did not know what she meant by those enigmatic words and she never told us. But it was indeed easy to see she didn’t like The Voice of Truth. She made us promise to destroy every copy and never to do anything of the kind again without consulting her. And she seemed to think we were so terribly young ! That worried us most of all. Perhaps we are babies and don’t know it.
ND so it came about that Loder was freed from one responsibility to undertake another. From the morning of March the twenty - seventh, when Lakeley had expounded the political programme in the offices of the St. George's Gazette, to the afternoon of April the first he found himself a central figure in the whirlpool of activity that formed itself in Conservative circles. With the acumen for which he was noted, Lakeley had touched the keystone of the situation on that morning; and succeeding events, each fraught with its own importance, had established the precision of his forecast. Minutely watchful of Russia's attitude, Fraide quietly organized his forces and strengthened his position with a statesmanlike grasp of opportunity; and to Loder, the attributes displayed by his leader during those trying days formed an endless and absorbing study. Setting the thought of Chilcote aside, ignoring his own position and the risks he daily ran, he had fully yielded to the glamour of the moment, and in the first freedom of a loose rein he had given unreservedly all that he possessed of activity, capacity, and determination to the cause that had claimed him. Singularly privileged in a constant, personal contact with Fraide, he learned many valuable lessons of tact and organization in those five vital days during which the tactics of a whole party hung upon one item of news from a country thousands of miles away. Begun in HARPER's Bazar No. 1., Vol. XXXVIII.
For should Russia subdue the insurgent Hazaras and, laden with the honors of the peacemaker, retire across the frontier, then the political arena would remain undisturbed; but should the all-important movement predicted by Lakeley become an accepted fact before Parliament rose for the Easter recess, then the first blow in the fight that would rage during the succeeding session must inevitably be struck. In the mean time it was Fraide's difficult position to wait and watch and yet preserve his dignity.
It was early in the afternoon of March the twenty-ninth that Loder, in response to a longstanding invitation, lunched quietly with the Fraides. Being delayed by some communications from Wark, he was a few minutes late in keeping his appointment, and on being shown into the drawing-room found the little group of three that was to make up the party already assembled—Fraide, Lady Sarah —and Eve. As he entered the room they ceased to speak, and all three turned in his direction.
In the first moment he had a vague impression of responding suitably to Lady Sarah's cordial greeting; but he knew that immediately and unconsciously his eyes turned to Eve, while a quick sense of surprise and satisfaction passed through him at sight of her. For an instant he wondered how she would mark his avoidance of her since their last eventful interview; then instantly he blamed himself for the passing doubt. For, before all things, he knew her to be a woman of the world.
He took Fraide's outstretched hand; then again he looked towards Eve, waiting for her to speak.
She met his glance, but said nothing; instead of speaking she smiled at him—a smile that was far more reassuring than any words, a smile that in a single second conveyed forgiveness, approbation, and a warm, almost tender sense of sympathy and comprehension. The remembrance of that smile stayed with him long after they were seated at table; and far into the future the remembrance of the lunch itself, with its pleasant private sense of satisfaction, was destined to return to him in retrospective moments. The delightful atmosphere of the Fraides's home life had always been a wonder and an enigma to him; but on this day he seemed to grasp its meaning by a new light, as he watched Eve soften under its influence and felt himself drawn imperceptibly from the position of a speculative outsider to that of an intimate. It was a fresh side to the complex, fascinating life of which Fraide was the master spirit. These reflections had grown agreeably familiar to his mind; the talk, momentarily diverted into social channels, was quietly drifting back to the inevitable question of the “situation ” that in private moments was never far from their lips, when the event that was to mark and separate that day from those that had preceded it was unceremoniously thrust upon them. Without announcement or apology, the door was suddenly flung open and Lakeley entered the room. His face was brimming with excitement, and his eyes flashed. In the first haste of the entry he failed to see that there were ladies in the room, and crossing instantly to Fraide, laid an open telegram before him. “This is official, sir,” he said. Then at last he glanced round the table. “Lady Sarah!” he exclaimed. “Can you forgive me? But I’d have given a hundred pounds to be the first with this!” He glanced back at Fraide. Lady Sarah rose and stretched out her hand. “Mr. Lakeley,” she said, “I more than understand ''” There was a thrill in her warm, cordial voice, and her eyes also turned towards her husband. Of the whole party, Fraide alone was perfectly calm. He sat very still, his small, thin figure erect and dignified, as his eyes scanned the message that meant so much. Eve, who had sprung from her seat and passed round the table at sound of Lakeley’s news, was leaning over his shoulder, reading
the telegram with him. At the last word she lifted her head, her face flushed with excitement. “How splendid it must be to be a man!” she exclaimed. And without premeditation her eyes and Loder's met.
In this manner came the news from Persia, and with it Loder's definite call. In the momentary stress of action it was impossible that any thought of Chilcote could obtrude itself. Events had followed each other too rapidly, decisive action had been too much thrust upon him, to allow of hesitation; and it was in this spirit, under this vigorous pressure, that he made his attack upon the Government on the day that followed Fraide's luncheon party. That indefinable attentiveness, that alert sensation of impending storm, that is so strong an index of the Parliamentary atmosphere was very keen on that memorable first of April. It was obvious in the crowded benches on both sides of the House—in the oneness of purpose that insensibly made itself felt through the ranks of the Opposition, and found definite expression in Fraide's stiff figure and tightly shut lips, in the unmistakable uneasiness that lay upon the Ministerial benches. But notwithstanding these indications of battle, the early portion of the proceedings was unmarked by excitement, being tinged with the purposeless lack of vitality that had of late marked all affairs of the Sefborough Ministry; and it was not until the adjournment of the House for the Easter recess had at last been moved that the spirit of activity hovering in the air descended and galvanized the assembly into life. It was then, amid a stir of interest, that Loder slowly rose. Many curious incidents have marked the speech-making annals of the House of Commons, but it is doubtful whether it has ever been the lot of a member to hear his own voice raised for the first time on a subject of vital interest to his party, having been denied all initial assistance of minor questions asked or unimportant amendments made. Of all those gathered together in the great building on that day only one man appreciated the difficulty of Loder's position—and that man was Loder himself. He rose slowly and stood silent for a couple of seconds, his body braced, his fingers touching the sheaf of notes that lay in front of him. To the waiting House the silence was effective. It might mean overassurance, or it might mean a failure of nerve at a critical moment. Either possibility had a tinge of piquancy. Moved by the same impulse, fifty pairs of eyes turned upon him with new interest; but up in the Ladies' Gallery Eve clasped her hands in sudden apprehension; and Fraide, sitting stiffly in his seat, turned and shot one swift glance at the man on whom, against prudence and precedent, he had pinned his faith. The glance was swift but very searching, and with a characteristic movement of his wiry shoulders he resumed his position and his usual grave, attentive attitude. At the same moment Loder lifted his head and began to speak. Here at the outset his inexperience met him. His voice, pitched too low, only reached those directly near him. It was a moment of great strain. Eve, listening intently, drew a long breath of suspense and let her fingers drop apart; the sceptical, watchful eyes that faced him line upon line seemed to flash and brighten with critical interest; only Fraide made no change of expression. He sat placid, serious, attentive, with the shadow of a smile behind his eyes. Again Loder paused, but this time the pause was shorter. The ordeal he had dreaded and waited for was passed and he saw his way clearly. With the old movement of the shoulders he straightened himself and once more began to speak. This time his voice rang quietly true and commanding across the floor of the House. No first step can be really great; it must of necessity possess more of prophecy than of achievement; nevertheless it is by the first step that a man marks the value, not only of his cause, but of himself. Following broadly on the lines that tradition has laid down for the Conservative orator, Toder disguised rather than displayed the vein of strong, persuasive eloquence that was his natural gift. The occasion that might possibly justify such a display of individuality might lie with the future, but it had no application to the present. For the moment his duty was to voice his party sentiments with as much lucidity, as much logic, and as much calm conviction as lay within his capacity. Standing quietly in Chilcote's place, he was conscious with a deep sense of gravity of the peculiarity of his position; and perhaps it was this unconscious and unstudied serious
ness that lent him the tone of weight and judgment so essential to the cause he had in hand. It has always been difficult to arouse the interest of the House on matters of British policy in Persia. Once aroused, it may, it is true, reach fever heat with remarkable rapidity, but the introductory stages offer that worst danger to the earnest speaker — the dread of an apathetic audience. But from this consideration Loder, by his sharp consciousness of personal difficulties was given immunity. Pitching his voice in that quietly masterful tone that beyond all others compels attention, he took up his subject and dealt with it with dispassionate force. With great skill he touched on the steady southward advance of Russia into Persian territory from the distant days when, by a curious irony of fate, Russian and British enterprise combined to make entry into the country under the sanction of the Grand-Duke of Moscovy. to the present hour, when this great power of Russia—long since alienated by interests and desires from her former cooperator, had taken a step which in the eyes of every thinking man must possess a deep significance. With quiet persistence he pointed out the peculiar position of Meshed in the distant province of Khorasan; its vast distance from the Persian Gulf round which British interests and influence centre, and the consequently alarming position of hundreds of traders who, in the security of British sovereignty, are fighting their way upward from India, from Afghanistan—even from England herself. Following up his point, he dilated on these subjects of the British Crown who, cut off from adequate assistance, can only turn in personal or commercial peril to the protective power of the nearest consulate. Then, quietly demanding the attention of his hearers, he marshalled fact after fact to demonstrate the isolation and inadequacy of a consulate so situated; the all but arbitrary power of Russia, who in her new occupation of Meshed had only two considerations to withhold her from open agression—the knowledge of England as a very considerable but also a very distant power, the knowledge of Persia as an imminent but wholly impotent factor in the case! Having stated his opinions, he reverted to the motive of his speech—his desire to put forward a strong protest against the ad