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and it was Geoffrey's fault if he did n't Geoffrey gave a sigh of relief. Fanny's care to meet them in this ameliorated atti- reticence seemed the one palliating fact in tude. He thought that Emily's protégées the situation. had had too many disasters. He could "Could n't your mother take up Fanny, have stood one or two, though his hours if she's got to be taken up?" he feebly with Emily had been curtailed on several suggested.
. occasions by the time it took to relate Emily's voice sounded as if something them; but Geoffrey felt as if people who cold and wet had been suddenly dropped insisted on so many troubles had made a habit of misfortune. He was therefore "I think not, dear,” she said patiently. more annoyed than interested when Emily “The modern mind can deal at such a rang him up one afternoon to tell him of different angle with stories like poor Fana fresh discovery.
ny's. Besides, mother would n't like it at "I 've found her," she said through the all. She 's been a little difficult as it is. telephone. "O Geoff, I 've found her! She won't let me have her to stay in the It 's too pitiful; I never dreamed there house because of the servants. Fanny is could be such lonely misery. It 's very here now, but only in the dining-room till strange, too, for I was hoping that just tea. You will come, won't you?” now I might find some one we were spe- Geoffrey agreed instantly to come, but cially meant to help together, and I am he secretly approved of the dining-room. sure it is Fanny. She has simply been Emily was very particular about Geofsent to us.”
frey's work in the mornings. She never “What for?" asked Geoffrey, nervously. interrupted him, but she thought his work "I mean, who is Fanny ?"
would naturally be over by two o'clock in "She 's just a girl,” Emily said softly, the afternoon. She always rang him up "who has been cut to pieces by life. I then to find out, and if Geoff could see found her in a hospital, the one I always Emily, his work always was over at two visit. She's had a terrible operation, but o'clock. when I came across her she was just go- He hastened to the Derings', and was ing to be sent out, with no home or friends immediately shown up into the diningto be sent to, and no money. Is n't civili- room. Mrs. Dering was cutting out chilzation awful? She 's almost a lady. dren's underclothes upon the dining-room feel as if that made it so much worse, table. It was an old oak table, charmdon't you?"
ingly narrow and gate-legged, which, Geoffrey said he did. Generally, when though a little uncomfortable at meals, they were n't ladies, Emily saw them in was obviously four hundred years old. It the housekeeper's room, and he had only reminded Geoff of early Renaissance picto hear about them afterward.
tures of the last supper, and did very well "Poor thing," Emily went on, "she's for cutting out. been literally at death's door. She wants Emily was sitting near the open winto give up her old way of life now and dow smoking a cigarette, a thing she did start quite afresh. It 's been so wonder- only to put other people at their ease, for ful watching the new light dawn!" she rather disliked smoking. She gave
“What was her way of life?” Geoffrey Geoffrey a radiant, confident look, the asked a little suspiciously. Emily's voice look of a woman who has received noth
ing but happiness and security from the “Oh, did n't I tell you ?" she explained. hand of the man she loves. "She 's not been— respectable, you know. Fanny was not smoking, but when It 's all been very dreadful, but I do wish Geoffrey's condemnatory eyes rested upon you 'd come and see her; we might think her, he could not have supposed that she of something together. I can't quite make was otherwise than easy. Her attitude her out. She 's strangely reticent.” seemed to imply that it was a great thing
to be sitting in a comfortable arm-chair startled. Her features were singularly for half an hour, and no use bothering beautiful; her mouth, a little spoiled by much about what was going to happen its slash of carmine, was curved with the afterward.
tilt of wings under a very short upper lip. She did n't appeal to Geoffrey as a She had dark lines beneath her eyes, and flower that had been caught in a storm,-. her cheeks were hollow and colorless, exthis was the way Emily described her to cept for the usual patches of not very mishim afterward, -she looked like a dam- leading rouge. Her hair rose over her aged poster.
forehead in thick, purple-black waves. It Fanny had a peculiar and rather sinis- was altogether too glorious a covering to ter resemblance to the Sistine Madonna. sustain a battered scarlet straw hat trailHer eyes and the long curved lashes which ing an inevitable feather. swept her cheeks were like a fawn's, ex- From her neck to her feet she was covcept that they looked incapable of being ered by an olive-green opera-cloak. It
must once have been a handsome garment, Mrs. Dering took no part in the conbut it had now the peculiar unattractive- versation; she looked as if the only imporness of stained and crumpled velvet. She tant things in the room were the scissors wore no gloves, and her shoes, which had and an expanse of thick, white calico. Still, very high heels, were shabby.
Geoffrey was glad that she was there. She looked at Geoffrey as women look "Oh, a nice convalescent home," said who have had men as the material of their Emily. "I had rather thought you might daily bread. It was a swift, apprising like Folkestone." look, and it enraged Geoffrey. He was "The usual kind won't do for me," said not a cruel man, but he wanted to take Fanny; "they told me so at the hospital. Fanny by the shoulders and turn her out They would n't take me." into the street, where she belonged. In a There was a moment's pause. Emily world dedicated to Emilys there was no smoked harder; Geoffrey looked at his place for Fanny.
boots. What had put her out of her place
sure we could manage somecould be blamed, if necessary, afterward. thing,” Emily said gently. “There are reGeoffrey had taken no part in any such ligious sisterhoods—”. destruction. He was in a position to cast Fanny interrupted her. a stone, and in so far as his mind went he "I had better tell you first as last,” she cast it. Emily's happiness was safe in his said resolutely, "that I can't stick religion. hands, and Fanny's had nothing whatever I don't want to be nasty about it, but I to do with him.
can't stick it at any price; that 's the way Perhaps Fanny herself came to this con- I'm made. Besides, I 've had it. Lots.” clusion, for her eyes rapidly left him and Emily flushed. returned to the tip of her shabby brown “Oh,” she said, "I would n't dream of shoes, which she was pushing into the deep thrusting religion upon you. It 's one of carpet just to see how far they would go. my strongest theories that it must come
"This is the friend I told you about, of itself, along the line of each person's Fanny,” said Emily in her charming, en- naturecouraging voice. “I thought perhaps he "That 's all right, then," said Fanny, could help us to think of a profession. cheerfully. “I thought I 'd better just Men know so much about work, don't mention it in case you had it up your they?"
sleeve. Most people who want to help Fanny's eyes lifted themselves again to you have. I don't suppose you'll find Geoffrey.
any religion along the lines of my nature, "Some do,” she admitted; but she did but you 're welcome to look for it, pronot look as if she thought Geoffrey was vided you don't want me to go to church one of them.
half a dozen times a day and bark out "Poor Fanny," Emily went on gently, prayers.” “has been so very ill! We don't want to Mrs. Dering paused in her cutting out. rush her into anything, Geoffrey; we only “I think she'd better go into lodgings, want to talk things over. Before we really she said — "nice, comfortable, quiet lodg
" settle anything, I want her to have a fort- ings. Perhaps she has some girl friend night at the seaside. We ought to be able she knows who 'd go with her.” to manage it."
“That," said Fanny, alert with eagerFanny looked at Emily this time. ness, "would be nice.” Then she sank "How?” she asked laconically. She into her former listlessness. "No," she
" was so monosyllabic that it was difficult said regretfully, “I don't think it would to discover how much education she had do, after all. She would n't be quiet. had. Her voice was low, and she did not It's different for me. You see, I 've been speak with any accent; but it might be ill.” worse when she was stronger.
"I know, I know," said Emily, sooth
ingly. “It's a new life you want. I have laundries there is n't much work I could a little cottage in the country, not by the do. I 'm not strong enough for factories.” sea; but you might go there for a fort- "Oh, no, no!" said Emily. "But, my night. I have a nice caretaker in it who dear Fanny, you must be wrong. You are would look after you, and there is plenty educated; surely we can find something to read, and a cat and a dog to play with. more suitable.” I'd come down for the week-ends and see Fanny shook her head. you myself."
"No, I 'm not,” she said, "not properly. Fanny said:
We were too poor for that. I 've got "You 're very kind, Miss Dering. I just about as much education as a Lonlike animals; they leave you alone. I don sparrow; about the same kind, too, I dare say I could stand the country for a should think! If I could get somewhere fortnight.”
and rest for a fortnight I 'd be awfully A faint frown showed between Emily's grateful; heaps of people can't. I 'll be arched eyebrows; her cottage was the final all right afterward. I can look out for privilege of the redeemed. She was using myself then. When I was ill and you it up rather early on Fanny. She turned
came to see me it was jolly talking about a little less eagerly than usual to the ques- a different life. It helped me awfully tion of a profession. Geoffrey, helped by then; it made me think I wanted to get the sound of rending calico, suggested better. But, you see, it 's the same life dressmaking.
when you do get well again, is n't it? “I could n't do that,” said Fanny, "for Don't you bother about it. Your friend two reasons. One is, I never could sew; he thinks the same as I do; he thinks it 's another is, there'd surely be trouble." just about what I 'm good for. What 's
"What kind of trouble?" Emily asked the use of thinking you can get out of a little impatiently.
things? And if you did, how do you know "Oh, just trouble," said Fanny, you 'd like it? What you 've had you
used to, and what you have n't had you Mrs. Dering intervened again.
might n't like. So there you are." "She could n't earn her living as "You shall never go back to that life,” dressmaker," she objected, "unless she said Emily, with intensity. "You quite knows how, and it would take two or misunderstand Mr. Amberley. Does n't three years before she could be properly she, Geoffrey ?"
, ? taught."
Geoffrey cleared his throat. He was n't "Fancy!” said Fanny, conversationally. going to admit how unmistakably Fanny "And by that time we might all be dead. had understood him. You never know your luck, do you?” "Have n't you any ideas yourself?” he
Emily had one of her swift and tender suggested, addressing Fanny for the first inspirations.
time. "Is n't there anything you'd like “My dear,” she exclaimed, “how stupid to do, - lighter work than you mention, of me! I know the very thing. My bookbinding or leather work, which you mother and I are interested in a little or- could do more or less independently?" phanage for crippled children; you might Fanny considered this question. help us with them."
"Well," she said at length, "there is Fanny drew back as if Emily had struck something I have thought of. There 's a her.
girl I used to know once; she was a model, "Oh, I could n't do that!" she ex- -- for the figure, you know,-and she said claimed breathlessly. "It 's bad enough it was n't bad ; tiring, of course, but a for them to be orphans; they don't want good deal of variety and fun in between. a girl like me to look after them. You It would be easier for me to stick to a don't understand, Miss Dering; except job if there was a little fun in between." for ladies who want servants cheap and “Oh!” said Emily and Geoffrey, simul
taneously; but Geoffrey said it because he could n't say "Damn!"
Mrs. Dering ripped some more calico; it made a sound like the sudden breaking of a squall at sea.
Then Emily said slowly:
"I do believe you could be a model, Fanny, if Mr. Amberley can tell us of any nice artists, and the right kind of pictures for you to sit for."
"If I'm to earn my living," said Fanny, inexorably, "I shall have to sit to all kinds of artists and for whatever pictures they have in their heads. When you can start picking and choosing it's because you don't need money."
Emily evaded this iron truth.
"There must," she said, appealing to Geoffrey, "be a great many women artists now, are n't there, Geoffrey?"
"Oh, heaps," said Geoffrey, eagerly. "I can make a list of them, and send you a few introductions."
"And, then," said Emily, with another inspiration, "you can paint her yourself."
"I thought," said Mrs. Dering, "that you told me. Emily, artists had always to choose their own subjects?"
"I have a feeling," said Emily, earnestly, "that Geoffrey could paint Fanny. Could n't you, Geoffrey?"
Quite apart from hating to resist Emily's feelings, Geoffrey knew that he could. He had seen it, solidly seen it, from the moment he came into the room. It was n't her beauty, he would almost rather she had been plain,-it was simply that she could be almost anything you liked, and always with that look of life in her, so indelibly stained and marred.
All her lines were histories; in the depths of her mysterious, hardened eyes were crushed and drowned a hundred secrets. She had not been easily bad; there was in her none of the dullness of the path of least resistance. She had resisted; perhaps she was still capable of resistance. Life had made her what she was, and in return had left in her firm, perfect lips, in the chiseling of her delicate, strong chin, some hint of her power to mold others. She had a terrible power. "Is he an artist?" Fanny asked indifferently. "Well, you never can tell, of I should have thought he was just an ordinary man."
(To be continued)