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LODER MAKING HIS FAMOUS SPEECH.
She glanced up in quiet pleasure at her success, and with a charming affectation of seriousness marked the engagement with a big cross. At the same moment the car slackened in speed as the chauffeur waited for further orders.
Tillian shut the engagement-book and handed it back. “Where can I drop you?” she asked. “At your club Ž”
The question recalled him to a sense of present things. He thrust the book into his pocket and glanced about him.
They had paused by Hyde Park corner. The crowd of horses and carriages had thinned as the hour of lunch drew near, and the wide roadway of the Park had an air of added space. The suggested loneliness affected him. The tall trees, still bereft of leaves, and the colossal gateway incomprehensively stirred the sense of mental panic that sometimes seized him in face of vastness of space or of architecture. In one moment Lillian, the appointment he had just made, the manner of its making, all left him. The world was filled with his own personality, his own immediate inclinations.
“Don’t bother about me!” he said, quickly. “I can get out here. You've been very good. It’s been a delightful morning.” With a hurried pressure of her fingers he rose and stepped from the car.
Reaching the ground, he paused for a moment and raised his hat; then without a second glance he turned and walked rapidly away. Lillian sat watching him meditatively. She saw him pass through the gateway, saw him hail a hansom; then she remembered the waiting chauffeur.
CHAPTER XXI N the same day that Chilcote had parted with Tillian, but at three o'clock in the afternoon, Toder—dressed in Chilcote's clothes and with Chilcote's heavy overcoat slung over his arm, walked from Fleet Street to Grosvenor Square. He walked steadily, neither slowly nor yet fast. The elation of his last journey over the same ground was tempered by feelings he could not satisfactorily bracket even to himself. There was less of vehement elation and more of matured determination in his gait and bearing than there had been on that night, though the incidents of which they were the outcome were very complex. On reaching Chilcote's house he passed upstairs, but still following the routine of his previous return, he did not halt at Chilcote's door, but moved onward towards Eve's sitting-room and there paused. In that pause his numberless irregular thoughts fused into one. He had the same undefined sense of standing upon sacred ground that had touched him on the previous occasion, but the outcome of the sensation was different. This time he raised his hand almost immediately and tapped on the door. He waited, but no voice responded to his knock. With a sense of disappointment he knocked again; then, pressing his determination still further, he turned the handle and entered the room. No private room is without meaning— whether trivial or the reverse. In a room, perhaps more even than in speech, in look, or in work, does the impress of the individual make itself felt. There, on the wax of outer things, the inner self imprints its seal—enforces its fleeting claim to separate individuality. This thought, with its arresting interest, made Loder walk slowly, almost seriously, half-way across the room and then pause to study his surroundings. The room was of medium size—not too large for comfort and not too small for ample space. At a first impression it struck him as unlike any anticipation of a woman's sanctum. The walls panelled in dark wood, the richly bound books, the beautifully designed bronze ornaments, even the flowers, deep crimson and violet - blue in tone, had an air of sombre harmony that was scarcely feminine. With a strangely pleasant impression he realized this, and following his habitual impulse, moved slowly forward towards the fireplace and there paused, his elbow resting on the mantelpiece. He had scarcely settled comfortably into
his position, scarcely entered on his second and more comprehensive study of the place, than the arrangement of his mind was altered by the turning of the handle and the opening of the door. The newcomer was Eve herself. She was dressed in outdoor clothes, and walked into the room quickly; then, as Loder had done, she too paused. The gesture so natural and spontaneous had a peculiar attraction; as she glanced up at him, her face alight with inquiry, she seemed extraordinarily much the owner and designer of her surroundings. She was framed by them as naturally and effectively as her eyes and her face were framed by her black hair. For one moment he forgot that his presence demanded explanation; the next she had made explanation needless. She had been looking at him intently; now she came forward slowly. “John ” she said, half in appeal, half in question. He took a step towards her. “Look at me!” he said, quietly and involuntarily. In the sharp desire to establish himself in her regard he forgot that her eyes had never left his face. But the incongruity of the words did not strike her. “Oh l’” she exclaimed, “I—I believe I knew, directly I saw you here.” The quick ring of life vibrating in her tone surprised him. But he had other thoughts more urgent than surprise. In the five days of banishment just lived through the need for a readjustment of his position with regard to her had come to him forcibly. The memory of the night when weakness and he had been at perilously close quarters had returned to him persistently and uncomfortably, spoiling the remembrance of his triumph. It had been well enough to smother the thought of that night in days of work. But had the ignoring of it blotted out the weakness? Had it not rather thrown it into bolder relief? A man strong in his own strength does not turn his back upon temptation; he faces and quells it. In the solitary days in Clifford's Inn, in the solitary nights spent in tramping the city streets, this had been the conviction that had recurred again and again, this the problem to which, after much consideration, he had found a solution—satisfactory at least to himself. When next Chilcote called him (it was notable that he had used the word “when " and not “if”)—when next Chilcote called him he would make a new departure. He would no longer avoid Eve; he would successfully prove to himself that one interest and one alone filled his mind—the pursuance of Chilcote's political career. So does man satisfactorily convince himself against himself. He had this intention fully in mind as he came forward now. “Well,” he said, slowly, “has it been very hard to have faith—these last five days?” It was not precisely the tone he had meant to adopt; but one must begin. Eve turned at his words. Her eyes were brimming with life, her cheeks still touched to a deep soft color by the keenness of the wintry air. “No,” she answered, with a shy responsive touch of confidence. “I seemed to keep on believing. You know converts make the best devotees.” She laughed with slight embarrassment, and glanced up at him. Something in the blue of her eyes reminded him unexpectedly of spring skies—full of youth and promise. He moved abruptly, and crossed the room towards the window. “Eve,” he said, without looking round, “I want your help.” He heard the faint rustling of her dress as she turned towards him, and he knew that he had struck the right chord. All true women respond to an appeal for aid as steel answers to the magnet. He could feel her expectancy in the silence. “You know—we all know, that the present moment is very vital—that it's impossible to deny the crisis in the air. Nobody feels it more than I do—nobody is more exorbitantly keen to have a share—a part, when the real fight comes—” He stopped; then he turned slowly and their eyes met. “If a man is to succeed in such a desire,” he went on, deliberately, “he must exclude all others—he must have one purpose, one interest, one thought. He must forget that—” Eve lifted her head quickly. a wife,” she finished, gently. understand.” There was no annoyance in her face or voice, no suggestion of selfishness or of hurt vanity. She had read his meaning with disconcerting clearness, and responded with disconcerting generosity. A sudden and very human dissatisfaction with his readjustment scheme fell upon Loder. Opposition is the
“That he has “I think I
whip to action; a too ready acquiescence the slackened rein. “Did I say that?” he asked, quickly. The tone was almost Chilcote's. She glanced up; then a sudden, incomprehensible smile lighted up her face. “You didn’t say, but you thought,” she answered, gravely. “Thoughts are the same as words to a woman. That’s why we are so unreasonable.” Again she smiled. Some idea, baffling and incomprehensible to Loder, was stirring in her mind. Conscious of the impression, he moved still nearer. “You jump to conclusions,” he said, abruptly. “What I meant to imply—” “Was precisely what I’ve understood.” Again she finished his sentence. Then she laughed softly. “How very wise, but how very, very foolish men are! You come to the conclusion that because a woman is—is interested in you she is going to hamper you in some direction, and after infinite pains you summon all your tact and you set about saving the situation.” There was interest, even a touch of amusement, in her tone; her eyes were still fixed upon his in an indefinable glance. “You think you are being very diplomatic,” she went on, quietly, “but in reality you are being very transparent. The woman reads the whole of your meaning in your very first sentence—if she hasn't known it before you began to speak.” Again Loder made an interruption, but again she checked him. “No,” she said, still smiling. “You should never attempt such a task. Shall I tell you why?” Loder stood silent, puzzled and interested. “Because,” she said, quickly, “when a woman really is—interested, the man's career ranks infinitely higher in her eyes than any personal desire for power.” For a moment their eyes met, then abruptly Loder looked away. She had gauged his intentions incorrectly, yet with disconcerting insight. Again the suggestion of an unusual personality below the serenity of her manner recurred to his imagination, stirred by her words. With an impulse altogether foreign to him he lifted his head and again met her glance. Then at last he spoke, but only two words. “Forgive me!” he said, with simple, direct sincerity. [To BE CONTINUED.]
PARIs, May 25, 1904. HEN lately I received an invitation
W to a “ the parlé,” I rose unfalteringly to the occasion, feeling sure there is nothing the French can do to me in the way of tea, for which American teas in Paris have not prepared me. There are teas given in the American colony, where, for the love of my country, I am bound to eat baking - powder biscuit, chocolate - layer cake, doughnuts—quantities of all this, to show how truly American I am, and how grateful I am to find a bit of genuine American hospitality in Paris. There are other American teas designed for the support of charity, where I must eat the same American indigestibles. only in greater quantities, to show my love of humanity; and out of compliment to the French poor whom we seek to benefit, on these occasions I must further eat brioches, cherry tarts, and petits fours. Do you know what a brioche is . It is a French kind of bun which makes you homesick, and tempts you because it looks rather like a nice breakfast muffin. Eaten, it is as if you had taken into your system all the concentrated evil proceeding from having consumed ten hot mince pies and a pound of cheese. As I glance back over my career of nearly two years in Paris, I can see that most of the ruin I have wrought has followed upon eating brioches; the rest has come from attending American girls' teas in the Latin Quarter. That is the limit of the wrong I know in Paris–American girls' teas in the Latin Quarter. In the town on the Mississippi where I was reared, there were several women, lank, unlovely, intelligent, determined, who were known as girls in spite of being anywhere from forty to seventy years old. I am sure there are few such girls left in the United States now. They have come over to Paris, and are leading a life devoted to art and bohemianism in the Latin Quarter. It seems to be in their most reckless moments that they invite me to tea, and, until I learned better, I have gone—gone to their dingy, shabby rooms on the top floor of dilapidated old buildings, where art is honored in a
parade of posters, studies from the nude, fishnets, chairs “picked up " for collections without the least reference to having something safe to sit upon, and here in the midst of this squalor, alleged to be artistic, amid fumes of a choubersky, cigarettes, and want of sanitation, I have drunk weak tea and munched dried cakes and grinned, and grinned and grinned, felling all kinds of villain within me, while the “girls,” having perhaps the joyous incentive of a long-haired, unkempt male student or two, have gurgled and gushed and giggled, leaving no sad token wanting to show that in our midst existed the real wickedness, the hopeless gayety of the Quartier Latin. Knowing that a “ the parlé” was at least not an American girl students’ tea, I confidently presented myself at the room designated, only to find, as I have before in Paris, disguised under a foreign name, the essence of something good which I had known in childhood days at home. The “th 6 ° was given by one of the countless Parisian societies devoted to the culture of the intellect of the masses. At the first glance it seemed to me that by some sort of magic I must have got into a church supper given by the United Ladies' Aid Society of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. There were the same long tables, simply laid, and so arranged that everybody could sit down and have a nice sociable encounter with his neighbor, v.hile taking his refreshment at ease. But if the “th 6 ° was reminiscent, the “parlé’’ was uniquely French. The “parleur” was Baron d’Estournelles de Constant, and his theme, the Peace Propaganda. For the “parlé,” perhaps 200 persons—men and a very few women —were assembled in a smallish room; immediately in front of the speaker were a number of members of the Groupe de l’Arbitrage of the Chamber of Deputies, and the venerable and adorable Frederic Passy. Baron d’Estournelles is alternately regarded as “that ridiculous d’Estournelles” and the “great d’Estournelles,” according as one does or does not sympathize with the cause to which he is devoted. In many respects he