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glad to do," he returned. So saying, he cast back the tent-folds, as the crowd of laughing girls fell away a little.

"It is "Saul in his Tent,' in his madness," I said.

"But, good gracious!" exclaimed Miss Primrose, "it's a Jew!"


"And was he not a Jew?" said Miss Leigh. Oh, but in art! A Jew, you know. Why, the painters don't dare to make Christ a Jew." "But they should," said Alice Leigh. "A Prince of the House of Judah. And this face is typical. And a king too. One misses 'the ruby courageous of heart.' If some one would only read us Saul."

We went on talking, not missing St. Clair. "Hush!" said Miss Primrose," what is that? Oh, how too delicious a surprise!" For now we heard the sound of strange music, and St. Clair came from behind the tent in sandals and a white burnoose. Whether it was prearranged or not I do not know, as he always declined to tell. But here was the boy David, with a small, curious harp, his face all aglow under the curling brown hair. The crowd fell back surprised, and St. Clair dropped on one knee, and began to recite, or rather to chant, "Saul," with now and then a strange accompaniment from the instrument. The effect of the eager and strong young face matched well the intensity of dramatic power that he threw into the lines of that wonderful poem. As he ended, there was silence, and then he cried out merrily to Miss Leigh: "Was n't it absurd? I was miles in the desert already," and the applause was loud and long. As he spoke, I watched Miss Leigh. She regarded him with an intense interest, her face flushing. A few minutes after it was over he came back to us in his own garb.

"How good it was that you liked it," he said to Miss Leigh.

"And did I? How do you know?" "I felt it. I saw. If you had not, I could not have done it. You could always make me do things well.".

"Indeed. You do me honor. You have made me know that old friend better. But I see mama is signaling. I must go. We dine out, and never shall I venture on an afternoon tea again. It would spoil a perfect memory. Good-by."

I stood an instant as if studying the "Saul." What annoyed me? Every one went away laughing and joyous. I heard Mrs. Leigh praising it all to St. Clair. And then I went too.


I SAW the Leighs now and then, and heard from St. Clair that he was making a bas-relief of Miss Alice. This he told me at the Vin

cents', where were the Leighs and Miss Primrose, whom I took in to dinner, and who was, as Vincent confided to me, the final young person selected for me by Mrs. Vincent.

"Is n't she charming?" said my hostess in a quiet aside. Her dinner was prospering, and she now found time to turn to me. "I knew you would like her."

"Like! I said. "She is adorable. The prettiest girl I know, and so intelligent, and so well, so full of tact." I saw in Mrs. Vincent's eyes signs of distressed failure.

"Fred has been talking. I never have a fair chance, and you are getting old, too."

"Will she be like the rath primrose,' etc., think you? Oh, well, I will try again, but just now De Witt is coaching her about pigeonshooting."

"Look at St. Clair and my dear Alice. Was there ever a more charming couple? Between us, now-do not you think-really-"

"IP"I ejaculated. "Do you sincerely want to marry her to that dear fellow? And you who care for both, and know him."

"You are possessed, I think, about our poet. He wants just such a person to make him as staid as-well, as you, and I really cannot see why you are called upon to interfere."

"Dear Mrs. Vincent, did I say I would interfere? And how could I? And what is she to me? A mere acquaintance, and he my friend."

"Very true; but you can be so irritating sometimes. I fancy Mrs. Leigh is quite hurt that you have not been near them for so long. She says Alice talks less of the doctor business; but then St. Clair gives her little leisure. What between sittings, and visits, and dinners, the man has become madly delighted with society, and dance I thought they would never stop at the last assembly."

It was all true. I rarely saw St. Clair. I asked him one day if he were writing. He said no, he was living poetry. After dinner I declined Vincent's cigar, and went up to join the women. I made my peace with Mrs. Leigh very easily.

"Ah," she said, "dear Alice is quite tranquil nowadays; and by the way, Doctor, we are of kin, you know, and I may ask you, entirely in confidence,-you won't consider it a liberty, what kind of person is Mr. St. Clair? Of course he is a genius, and wears strange clothes, but not always; and occasionally does surprise one."

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"You are a stranger of late," she said. "And all that pleasant friendliness we began with alas! it is squandered, as they say in the South." "I am a busy man," I said, "and Mrs. Vincent tells me you are as busy a woman." And then, feeling cross and vicious, I added: "And what has become of those grave views of life? Is it still so unsatisfying?"

She regarded me with a trace of surprised curiosity, and then said: "No; I am as I was, and some day you will let me tell you my side. I listened pretty patiently to yours. I suppose that you men who live amidst life's most serious troubles get a little-well, stolid as to so small a thing as how a woman of your society, a mere girl, is disturbed about her days, and what to make of life, or whether just to let it alone and drift."

"And is not happiness everything, and are not you happy now?"

"Happy? That is my temperament; and what has that to do with it?"

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"I do not know. The phrase is rather strong. He is interesting. I like him. You should have seen his face when I told him I meant to be a doctor. He looked at me a moment, and then said, Good heavens! and would I cut my hair short, and might he send for me if he were ill, and would I be expensive as a medical attendant? He was certainly very amusing, but it takes two to make a joke as well as a quarrel, and I do not like to be laughed at by a man who-" and she paused.

Well," I said, "who-"

In some ways I am more of a man than he He is undecided, easily led, and expects sycry one to indulge him."

"I assure you that a more delightful friend no one could have.”

Friend? Yes, certainly."

I looked at her. A little flush like a faint, Tay sunset cloud was slowly moving over her A signal of something. Was it doubt, of annoyance, or what? I began to feel a re

newed interest in the woman before me. It faded when I ceased to see her. It grew up again when we met and talked. As the idea crossed my mind that Mrs. Vincent's schemes might this time be successful I had a sense of discomfort which I did not stay to analyze, but said at once:

"Are there not men who are incomplete without women? I most honestly think that some noble-minded woman could be the complement of this man's nature. She should be one fixed as to character, resolute, tender, and absolutely conscientious. If she were beautiful, and-well, if she loved him, he would be at his best always. It would be not the poor task of saving a worthless man, but the nobler one of helping one well worth the helping." "Ah," she laughed:

"If he be not in word and deed
A king of nature's highest creed,
To be the chancellor of his soul
Were any but a happy rôle.

Some women love and learn. Some learn and, learning, love. It seems to me hard to understand how a woman could with knowledge aforethought undertake such a task. Would you?"

"Oh, I am not a woman."

"Well, it is a pretty problem. Imagine yourself that woman."

"I cannot. But men and women may marry with clear ideas of the imperfections of the being they marry, believing that to love all things are possible."

"I see. But though one might love a man with a bad temper, or morose, or despotic, one might with more doubt face the qualities which come out of lower forms of moral weakness. But how serious we are. Why not invite Susan Primrose to the post of conscience-bearer. Ah, here come the men you deserted."

St. Clair joined us, and presently I took my departure.

Mrs. Vincent detained me a moment. "Really," she said in an undertone, “I think our friend is—well, and my gentle Alice — you laughed at me about it at dinner, but now it is serious, I think, and how nice it would be. If Mrs. Leigh speaks to you, do be careful." "She has spoken," I said.

"And of course I know what you must have

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you should object to being asked questions as to your friend by Mrs. Leigh. It is plain to us all that St. Clair is in love with Miss Leigh, and what more natural than her mother's desire to know something definite as to the man."

"And how can I tell her that St. Clair, with all his fine qualities, is unfit to be a husband ?" "Then why shift the responsibility of an answer upon me ?”

"Because you think otherwise. I shall tell him exactly what passed."

"Perhaps that is best. It may really be of use to him. His character-"

"Oh, confound his character! I beg pardon, I did not mean that; I was rude. I must speak out frankly to Mrs. Leigh, or not speak at all, and I prefer the latter course. I would rather not discuss it further."

"Well, as you please. Good night. You are very cross and most unreasonable."


I HAD never before been so vexed with Mrs. Vincent. She was apt to meddle gently with the affairs of other folks's hearts, and sometimes to retreat bewildered or dismayed at the consequences. Moreover, she was subject to acute attacks of social remorse, and suffered out of all proportion to the greatness of the crime. I must say that I am not an easy quarreler. I am troubled deeply by a cold phrase, or a hasty word, and lie awake repentant upon the rack of self-examination. Therefore it was that our two notes of self-accusation and apology crossed each other next day.

She said:


MY DEAR FRIEND: I was persistent, and perhaps- yes, I was unreasonable last night. mean unreasonably persistent. And it may be that I am quite wrong. Fred says I am, which will perhaps comfort you. For although I hate to be wrong, I hate more to be told I am, even by Fred. I do not understand you, but that does not make me grieve less at having annoyed or hurt you. As to Alice and St. Clair, I shall never say another word, and if I were not afraid of a pledge, I would vow never to be kind to man or woman again unless the man is the friend to whom now I excuse myself. And if it only were you.


There was also a package, which was a first edition of "The Urn Burial," and inside was written "I am so sorry. 12.30 P. M. A. V." And as for me, I had written: "I was rude last night. Pardon me."

Then, the day being Sunday, I sulked over my misdeeds, and went to see St. Clair. I found him idling in his studio before the bas-relief of Miss Leigh's head.

"Oh, come in," he said. "Jolly cold, clear

day, is n't it? Had two hours on the ice at six this morning. Is n't this a success ?" It was, and I said so shortly.

"What's the matter?" he queried of a sudden. "You look as you do when I have been in mischief. By all the gods, I have been a good boy of late. I gave Clayborne money to invest for me last week. I have n't been to a beer-garden for days. I have even paid my dinner-calls, idiotic custom. What is it?" "Nothing. I have to say something unpleasant."

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Then get it over. I loathe suspense, as the fellow said when he was about to be hanged." "Mrs. Leigh has asked me to give her some idea of your character. Oh, confound it! how stiff that sounds. She thinks, as we all do, that you are in love with Miss Alice, and, like a straightforward mama, says, 'Is this a good man? Will he be the husband she ought to have?'"


Well, old man, what then?"

"Oh, simply this: Do you want to marry Miss Leigh? If so, I must go on. If not, you are doing her a wrong, and I need say no more than that.”

"Is n't she noble-looking?" he replied. "Just look at that head; the color of the hair; the tranquil kindliness of the face; and the proud prettiness of the neck."

"Do you love her?" I said abruptly. "Oh, how do I know?"

"Are you really a child, St. Clair? Yes or no. How is it with you?

Then I looked from him steadily at the medallion. I could not tell why it so touched me, but, as I looked, my eyes filled. I was while, for this brief moment, he was silent, puzzled at my own causeless emotion. Meanand then his face, as I turned to it, took on a look I well knew of peculiar sweetness as he said gently, "Would you like me to love her?"

"No," I said.

"And why not?" he went on, touching the clay here and there.

"Because you would make a bad husband. You would in a year break her heart. You would not want to. She is a woman resolute, proud, and firm as to her beliefs, and the duties to which they bind her. You have no creed. You are amoral, not immoral. You would hurt her all the time, and at last lose her love and — and-"

"Her respect. Do I lose yours sometimes? Yes, I know I do; and you mean that you can fail to respect me and yet cherish my friendship, but that with her love must go with respect. Is that it?"

"Yes," I said, astonished.

"And you could not, would not, tell her

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My dear St. Clair, what are you talking about? How can you trifle so? How do you suppose she would like that, or Mrs. Leigh ?" "Hang Mrs. Leigh."

"With all my heart; but let us have no nonsense about this matter-I mean, as to this head. As to the rest, I have done my duty as to a friend. Go on, or stop. It does not concern me. I am free of responsibility." I was vexed with his indecision, and dissatisfied with the rôle I was playing.

"And what do you advise? Now, really." "How childish you are, St. Clair." I shrank from saying: "Give her up. You are unfit for her. Women do not resist you. You were made to please for the hour, not the year." I went on at last quickly: "If you are honestly in love, I have no more to say. Go on, and God help her and you. Perhaps he may, and time may show what a fool I have been."

Frankly, Owen," he returned, "is it of me or of her you think?"

"Of both."

"Of whom most?"



Oh, what matters it? I have said enough." "Too much or too little. But do not think I am not thankful, and more thoughtful than you suppose. Let us drop it. I hear that you may go to Charleston about this yellow fever." Yes; I am asked to go South on a Government commission to study the outbreak they have had. I think I shall go. I saw it once before, and, for various reasons, no one else is quite as well fitted for this not over-pleasant task."

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The next evening I was at Mrs. Leigh's. They were alone- or rather Miss Alice was - for a time.

"Good evening," I said. "I am very busy, but I have come in just for a little talk, and to say good-by."

"Yes; Mr. St. Clair told us this morning. He thinks it quite needless-your going, I mean." "Needless? He knows nothing at all about it. A man of experience is wanted, and I, unmarried and without ties, am of the men alone fit for it."

"But you have friends, and sometimes those ties are strong."

"Yes, very."

"And is—is the risk great? You have never had the fever. Is there no one who has had it who can go?”

"No one. And I want a change, too. At times life wearies one. You ask why, and I cannot tell. A fresh duty, an absence, winds one up, and we go on again."

"And is your life wearisome? You, who live for others, who are dear to so many, the rich, the poor. Ah, you smile, but you know we are friends, and I manage to learn all about my friends."

A sudden impulse mastered me. "If you were I, would you go?"

"Go!" she exclaimed. “Without a doubt." "And you advise me to go?" "I am only a girl," she replied. "You are my friend."

"Thank you; would one say to a soldier, 'Stay at home'? Yours is a nobler calling. I do not think the world has bonds would hold you back."

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"That was kindly said and true. But you overrate me,-I mean as to what you said a moment ago, and to be overestimated always humiliates me. I shall think of what you have said, and, please God, will come home safe and happier."

"You ought to be happy. It seems strange to me that you are not. You cannot be compassed about with doubts as I am, and see duties you must not accept, or a path you may not tread."

"And are you still tormented?" "Yes."

"And why not go on?"

"It may appear to you odd, but only one statement of yours really disturbed my resolu

I laughed, as if darning duty mended mat- tion." ters, and we parted.


WHAT I had said was true. I was out of spirits. My work bored me, and, as has been seen, I was peevish and irritable.

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And that?"

"The idea that-that a woman might lose in the work I look to certain of those nameless graces, those tendernesses, which seem to me so much of her honest property."

"I think so, and I have seen you often. We have come to be friends. Now, suppose that

you promise me you will not go on in this matter till I come back. I have much to say about it, and no time in which to say it. I leave tomorrow."


giene and carelessness, but that I might like to spend some of his spare cash, and thus excused in his cynical way acts of unusual generosity.

A week before my return came a letter from

"Yes; but one word more. If I never come Mrs. Vincent. back, of course it releases you."

"It releases me? It releases me?"

“Yes. Ah, Mrs. Leigh, good evening," I said, rising. "I came to say good-by." "Yes; I saw it in the paper, and Mr. St. Clair told us. I suppose it is not very dangerous, and then, if it is, you are a doctor, and it is a matter of business after all. If you see the Temples, remember me to them. But they must have gone, of course."

"When do you return?" said Miss Alice, who had been watching her mother with a grave


"In a month, I hope."


If you see any nice feather fans," said Mrs. Leigh," do spend a few dollars for me. There are red ones, really charming."

"Charming? What is?" said Mrs. Vincent, entering with her husband. "We missed your call, and Fred and I have been to see you. You leave to-morrow, your note said. Í do not call that charming."

“Oh, it was fans," said Mrs. Leigh. “Dr. North is to bring me some nice feather fans." "Indeed! Bring me nothing but yourself. I am horribly troubled about you. It recalls our talk about fear. Are you ever afraid of disease?"

"I? No-yes. I have always had a slight, a vague dread of this especial malady. I think I said so. I find that physicians often have some such single pet fear."

"Like a soldier's," said Miss Leigh, glancing up at me. "That alone would make you go." Mrs. Vincent glanced at her curiously.

"We won't talk of it," said Vincent. "Write soon and as often as you can."

"Oh, not to me!" said Mrs. Leigh. "Is n't it dangerous?"

"No," I said, laughing. "And now good-by. And this day month, Miss Alice. Good night."


Of my really perilous commission I have nothing to say except that it brought some empty honors, and cost my colleague a sharp attack of the fever. This detained me longer in Charleston, and I got home early in May, tired out with nursing and anxiety. I had heard often from home, but, until a week before my departure, nothing of moment. Clayborne from time to time sent me large sums to be used among the poor of the pest-stricken city. He wrote that of course it was all due to bad hyVOL. XLIV.- 46.

Our friend St. Clair [she wrote] has been at his wicked worst of late. He told Fred last month that he had been gambling in stocks, and was in absurd. I asked him why he did it, and he replied debt. The speculations, Fred says, were simply that it amused him. I cannot make him out of late. I ought to say that Mr. Clayborne at once paid some thousands for him, remarking that it was so comfortable to make a fool of one's self now and then. I said that St. Clair puzzled me. He has shut up his studio, declined recklessly to complete his contracts, and really told Mrs. Leigh, to her disgust, that he could not finish the relief of Alice's face, because work bored him. I do not think he has been near the Leighs since you left. It is too annoying; I shall never try to help anybody again. I am furious at the thought of how right you were. If you bring Mrs. Leigh any fans I will never speak to you any more.

I reopen this letter to tell you an astonishing St. Clair came in on us to-day, piece of news. and would we tell him when you would be at home. Fred said, "Next week." Upon which he was so sorry, because he was to sail for Europe in four days, and gone he has. The new statue for Cleveland has to be cast in Paris. I do not believe it. At first I suspected that Alice had said "No," but this is not so, for, as I said, he has not been near her, and the last time they were here they were on pleasant terms enough. I am dying to ask Alice, but she is hardly the girl to put questions to, and, besides - however, you never appreciated her duly, and I do not want to bore you.

She told me to-day that he had called before he left (his first visit in a month) and that he did nothing but talk about you, which amused me. Fred sends his love, and I am as always,

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