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wife's warning signals, that he was not living up to his rôle, he pulled himself together.
"By Jove," he said, with a quick recovery, "how did you do it all? You must have worked like Trojans. But-er
would n't it have been simpler to get rid of the boxes and strings and paper-send 'em down-stairs, you know? And to unpack only one barrel at a time, and then put the things away before you unpacked the rest?"
He stopped. His wife was making more signals, and the new servant was beside him, arms akimbo, her face darkened by brooding wrongs.
"So that's the kind ye aare!" she demanded, "finding fault the very first thing, is it? Herself warned me ye 'd make a fuss over the mess, but I 'd not believe it." She was unrolling her sleeves now, and she pulled them into place with an angry tug as she ended. "Give me me day's wages," she added, "an' I 'll be goin'. If 't was a gineral houseworker yez wanted, I c'u'd do the wurruk. But what yez needs is a team av horses, three good carts, six men, a vacyum claner, a cook, a paarlor maid, and a stame-dredge!"
She flounced off to her room after this outburst, and though they tried on her the power of their united eloquence and charm, she departed haughtily, carrying the dingy suitcase that contained her worldly possessions. She left as a souvenir of her sojourn two burned veal cutletswhich the Hartwells devoured in depressed silence, broken finally by the gentleman.
"Damn her!" he said, vigorously. "Damn 'em all!" Then he bit his lips and flushed. "I beg your pardon, Jessie," he muttered, contritely. But his wife was looking up at him with a face glorified by the light of a great gratitude.
“Thank you, darling," she said, simply. "I've been wanting to all day, but of course I could n't!"
The next three months of the Hartwells' domestic life covered a period they both subsequently declined to discuss. A multitude of servants, old and young, plump and thin, came, lingered a few hours, or at most a few days, and went their way. They were of all nationalities, of all complexions, of all tempers-but two things. they had in common: a deep-seated, comprehensive ignorance of their work, coupled
with a grim determination to receive the highest wages ever paid to general houseworkers in the history of feminine labor. One bright Norwegian girl, carefully trained for a week by Mrs. Hartwell in the gentle art of waiting on table, triumphantly informed her mistress at the end of the seventh day that she had secured a good place as "second girl," owing to this same instruction. It was after this episode that Mrs. Hartwell sought her husband with a demand for "new swear words," and, finding that he had used his entire vocabulary and had nothing else to offer, sank into a depression which lasted a fortnight.
At the beginning of the fourth month Hilda came, bringing hope with her. The evening of her arrival she answered in person young Hartwell's imperative ring of the bell, for he had forgotten his latchkey. He had been dreading the new horror before him, so he stared hard as he crossed the threshold. Here at last was the vision of his dream and Jessie's! He pinched himself. Was he dreaming? Or perhaps he had been run over by a cablecar or automobile, and transferred to a world where such visions await those who have borne much here below!
Hilda was blonde, Hilda was young, Hilda was pretty, and Hilda was in blue with a white cap. Even as he took in these glorious, these impossible, details, Hartwell felt deferential hands relieving him of his hat, then of his overcoat. Dazedly he entered his little drawing-room, to be met by another, fairer vision-his young wife, radiant. She was dressed for dinner, and she had a carnation in her hair-a favorite adornment of hers in the past, but one she had abjured as a hollow mockery during these last months.
"How sweet you look!" cried Hartwell. "What does it all mean?" She stopped him, with a quick hand on his lips. Then, drawing him into their small bedroom, she explained in an excited whisper.
"You'll have to dress for dinner," she said, hurriedly. "You won't mind, will you? She expects it!"
She spoke the last words with a furtive glance at the closed door. Hartwell's eyes followed hers, stupidly.
"She-who?" he asked.
The name came softly, almost like an
invocation. Disregarding his puzzled look, his wife went on,
"When it neared dinner-time, Hilda asked if I needed more than half an hour to dress. She seemed to take it for granted that I would dress. So I-I did. And she said dinner would be at seven, of course, because if you did n't get home till half-past six, you would need half an hour to bathe and dress. Please hurry, Josey."
Josey hurried. Several thoughts arose in him, but he kept them to himself. A look at his wife's happy face checked their utterance. When his toilet was completed he followed Jessie into the small drawing-room. It was immaculate. The gas-logs blazed on the hearth, the light of the reading-lamp streamed through a polished chimney, a great easy-chair was drawn up to the fire. Before he could sit down the new maid was at the door.
"Dinner is served," she announced. Long ancestral avenues seemed to diverge from Hilda. She had an "atmosphere" which had to be lived up to.
As in a dream the Hartwells went to the table. The soft light of shaded candles fell on their best dishes, their most exquisite linen. These things had been carefully packed away, but Hilda had found them. Joseph Hartwell drew his wife's chair out for her, an attention he had omitted to pay her for weeks-seated himself in his own, and vainly tried to catch her eye. She was chatting pleasantly, but in formal tones, like a rural social leader at a party. Hartwell grinned at her boyishly, but there was no answering flicker of humor in her cool, responsive smile. She was living up to Hilda.
That night, after dinner, he sought to probe the mystery of Hilda's capture, but Jessie cut him short.
"We've got her!" she said. "Now let's look on these past months as a bad dream, and forget it. Let's forget the horrible habits we 've formed lately, too, and be civilized again. I'm going to keep my resolution from this time on-the one, you know, about not bothering you with the servant question. Henceforth I Henceforth I intend to meet the housekeeping difficulties without your help."
It looked, indeed, as if she could, with Hilda's help. Hartwell, sitting at the breakfast-table the next morning, drank
Hilda's delicious coffee, ate Hilda's crisp bacon, enjoyed Hilda's perfect muffins, and felt his heart go out to Hilda in an expansion of domestic content to which he had heretofore been a stranger. He smiled at her gratefully, bid her a cheery good-by when he left, and greeted her as a true and tried friend when he returned at night. His wife, again in full evening dress, greeted him with the old-time joy.
"But you 're late, Josey," she said, alertly. "You have only twenty minutes to dress for dinner."
"Then I won't dress," declared Hartwell, lightly. "I'm horribly tired, anyhow, and I 've got the beginning of a beastly headache."
His wife's face clouded. For a moment she stood silent, in troubled thought. Then she said, suddenly:
"Please dress, Josey. I'm sorry to insist when you don't feel well, but it 'sit's really important."
Hartwell rose without a word, set his lips, went to his room and dressed with a sense of injury which deepened as he struggled with a refractory tie. His evening clothes were laid out for him, so he was back in the drawing-room in a surprisingly short time. His wife rewarded him with a grateful smile.
"I had tea this afternoon," she said. "Hilda brought it in at five, though I was alone, and served it as daintily as if we were having a party. She took our brass bowl to the florist's this morning, and had him fill it with ferns as a centerpiece for the table. She 's making a great deal of work for herself, but she seems to like it."
Her husband frowned dubiously.
"I don't mind her making work for herself," he remarked frankly, "but I 'm not sure I enjoy having her make work for me. Say, Jessie, have we got to dress for dinner every night, whether we feel like it or not? Of course I know we ought to, theoretically; but practically-have we got to?"
Jessie nodded solemnly.
"I think we have," she said. “But I don't mind. I like it. I always have.” "Oh, well, all right." Hartwell was in a better humor now. Dinner was announced that moment. He was in a still more mellow mood when he had eaten it. Hilda was a good cook, and how she could
cook so well and yet give them such perfect service in the dining-room he could not understand.
"To-night you go to theater, not?" observed Hilda, affably, as she served the dessert.
Hartwell stared. His wife looked eloquently at him.
"Why, we were rather thinking about it," he said, carelessly. "I guess we will. They say 'Madame Z' is a stirring thing. We might go to that and be harrowed up, if you like, Jessie."
Hilda smiled in sweet approval. After dinner she bustled around eagerly, to get them ready. Her face fell when she saw that Mrs. Hartwell's evening coat did not match her gown, but she wrapped it round her loyally and without comment.
"Now I call taxicab," she said, calmly. And, going to the telephone, she did so without waiting for the protest which was trembling on Joseph's startled lips.
"She seemed mighty glad to get rid of us," he murmured, as they entered the waiting vehicle a few minutes later. He had been irritated by the incident of the wrap. "Do you suppose," he added, ironically, "her young man 's coming and she wants the parlor? And say, Jessie, why did she think we wanted a taxi?"
Mrs. Hartwell shook her head. "I suppose," she said, slowly, "she is accustomed to people who take a taxicab as a woman would take a fresh handkerchief. But I'm sure she is n't expecting company. I don't think Hilda would do anything that is n't right."
They enjoyed the play, and came home after it in a humble cable-car, Hilda's expectant eyes not being on them. They were in good spirits after the drama, sad though it had been, and Hartwell realized, with sudden compunction, that such outings for Jessie were rarer than they should have been so early in their married life. Passing the dining-room when they reached home, he observed that the gas there was burning dimly, and entered to turn it out. A cry of surprise and pleasure burst from him.
"Great Scott, Jessie!" he said. "Come here!"
Jessie rushed. On the table stood a plate of sandwiches, a delicate salad, a bottle of claret, and Mr. Hartwell's sole box of cigars. Like children the two fell
upon the feast, after a gasp of adult appreciation.
"Say, is n't this great, really?" remarked Hartwell, with his mouth full. "She's a 'perfect treasure,' that girl,-the kind we read about."
"Indeed she is," Jessie acquiesced. "But-can we keep her? There's the rub. We 'll have to be so careful!"
She looked thoughtful, and a line of anxiety was discernible on her brow. During the day she had gleaned from Hilda the uneventful story of that young person's life. She repeated it later to her husband as he smoked peacefully before the gas-logs.
The next evening at six, young Hartwell staggered into his home under the weight of an unwieldly box.
"Carried it myself," he explained, sheepishly. "It's a present for you, and I wanted to be here when you opened it. Do you realize that it 's my first married present to you, Jessie? We 've been in such a mess that I have n't had time, until now, to even think of the delicate little attentions all authorities agree that a man should pay his wife."
As he spoke Jessie was feverishly unfastening strings and tearing away paper. She gasped when the contents of the box came into view. A handsome evening wrap, selected with surprisingly good taste, lay before her. With a cry of delight she took it out, unfolded it, and put it on at once. It fitted perfectly and was extremely becoming. She hurled it and herself into her husband's waiting arms.
"I got the hint I wanted last night," said Hartwell, after a satisfying pause, "when I found you did n't have one that would go with every gown. Before that I could n't think what to give you. Do you realize that we were married four months ago to-day? This is an occasion worth celebrating."
"Do I remember?" She looked at him reproachfully. "Wait. I'll show you! You'll be more glad that you remembered it. Come here."
"Here" was apparently under the bed, whither she had just dived. She emerged breathless, bearing a carefully wrapped parcel, which she handed him without a word. He opened it eagerly and beheld a black velvet smoking-jacket.
"My anniversary present to you," gur
gled his wife, happily. "I thought of it last night when you hated so to dress. Evenings when we stay home you can take off your dinner coat and be comfy in this. Hilda won't mind," she added, as she helped him into it.
At the end of their fifth month an awakening came. Young Mrs. Hartwell approached her husband with features puckered with anxiety.
"Josey, darling," she said, "I 've just been going over the grocer's and butcher's bills. They're perfectly awful! They're almost twice what they were last month." Mr. Hartwell nodded solemnly.
"I know," he told her. "I've just been having a session over the bills for gas and taxicabs. The figures are staggering."
He showed them to her. She gasped. Then, with a long sigh, she answered.
"It means Hilda," she said, reluctantly. "We 've been living up to her, you see. Have n't you realized that?"
He stared at her with masculine obtuse
"I know we've had a bully time," he said, "and been mighty comfortable; but I don't see where she comes in."
"Oh, yes, you do, Josey Hartwell!" His wife's tone was triumphant. "You've understood exactly as well as I have. Only you would n't admit it. Have n't I seen you dressing for dinner nights when you'd almost rather die? Did n't you buy silk socks because she wondered why you had none? Did n't you hire taxicabs a dozen times rather than have her think you were stingy? Have n't you taken me to the theater twice a week because she expected you to?"
Hartwell writhed. "Well," he conceded, "suppose I did? Have n't you given three dinners this month simply because she wondered why we did n't entertain more?"
His wife's head drooped. "I know," she said. "And I wanted to show her off. And I've squandered our income in laundry bills because she expected me to wear all my best wedding lingerie-and of course she could n't do it up. She had n't time. She was too busy laundering extra table linen, and getting late suppers for us, and planning for our pleasure in various ways, and arranging for our life as she intends us to live it."
"What's the answer, Jessie?" Hartwell added the figures before him and
held up the held up the total for her inspection. "Must we let her go?" he asked, "or can we economize in other ways, and keep her? We can stand the bills, I suppose, but are n't we parting with our liberty, too? She rules us with a rod of iron. She makes us do everything she thinks best. Is it worth it?"
His wife hesitated, began to speak, then stopped. A great wave of color rolled over her delicate face.
"Oh, we can't let her go, Josey," she cried. "We can never let her go, now. She was talking yesterday about children. She said she would just love to have one in the house. It seemed too good to be true, that she should feel that way. To think she's so interested! It made me perfectly happy! She was just dear when I told her. But,"-this point settled, her voice changed as she turned to the smaller issues-"how are we going to manage?"
Her husband's chest swelled. His voice was full of pride as he answered.
"That's all right, darling," he said, as he held her very close, very tenderly. "I got a big increase in salary to-day. I was just bluffing a little over the bills before telling you about it. And Brown, good old Brown, told me he considered me the most valuable man the firm has. He says if I keep up the pace I 've struck, I can count on a good rise every year. So you see we 're all right. Hilda stays right on. Her principal job hereafter is to take care of you, and make you comfy. We'll get a woman to do the washing and ironing and other heavy work.".
Mrs. Hartwell drew a long breath of happiness.
"She'll like that," she said. "And oh, to think she 's really glad!" Then, "They'll make you a partner yet, darling," she predicted, proudly. "They know they can't get along without you."
Her mind reverted again to the vital problem in their lives.
"Hilda will stay now," she said, confidently. "This-this will hold her."
For a moment they sat in happy silence. The shadow of the angel's wing touched them, but the angel had the bright face of Hilda. Then young Mrs. Hartwell continued aloud her train of thought:
"She can see for herself," she murmured, contentedly, "that we 're doing everything we can to please her!"
AN ARTIST'S VIGNETTES
BY SYDNEY ADAMSON
WITH PICTURES BY THE WRITER
DUKALI burst upon me first above
the steamboat-landing after I had passed the custom-house. His cousin, also a guide, had already seized upon me as his prey, and having secured my umbrellas as a mark of attachment, he was ordering various donkey-drivers to handle my lug
I looked up and saw the tall, fine figure, crowned with its beautiful head. The features bespoke a high-bred Arab strain, with beautiful, dark eyes that showed the whites like a startled horse, and a trim, black beard that did not conceal the clearcut mouth.
He came over, and quietly, in a few words, asked if he could assist me to a lodging. My captor rounded upon him like a gutter dog upon a mastiff that dares to dispute a bone.
I said: "I would rather have you, but this man seized me amid that yelling throng on the pier, and I am powerless to resist. To-morrow I shall have you for my guide."
Dukali inclined his head stiffly, while the irate screams of his cousin seemed to fall harmlessly about his dignity.
The services he afterward rendered were delicately done, and the hope of gain was never visible or in any way suggested, even though our meetings were frequent and his assistance was valuable. He shared my taste for coffee in large glasses weakened with warm milk. Seated by a café table on the street, in perfect physical con
tent we watched for hours the blended life that filled the little market-place.
Attracted by a delicate voice and charming accent, I quickly noted the finely chiseled features of a noble, a private in the Chasseurs d'Afrique. Beside him sat another of his company, with a strangely stern face, who spoke little. But in the hard, set line of his jaw one could see the will that locked forever some unfortunate incident which had made him enlist in the legion. Only one of his fine mettle could accept with resignation a fate so foreign to his birth. The face of the first chasseur showed a peace as of a clear conscience.
Dukali turned sharply as a prisoner in the grasp of armed men was hurried crying and struggling across the market-place and fell upon his knees sobbing piteously before a Moor of venerable appearance who sat against the café wall. A woman, unveiled, threw herself before him, rending her garments, and kissing his feet, and imploring him piteously to be merciful to her only son. The guards expostulated and made charges, the magistrate tried to calm them, and the prisoner denied and wailed for mercy, each in turn. There was doubt, and when the woman lifted her tear-stained face and imploringly held out her arms, the magistrate stirred his coffee and let his spirit soften. So he spoke gently to the man and to the guards, who let him go, and held forth his hand to silence the stream of blessings that the mother poured upon him.