xt71rn303186 https://nyx.uky.edu/dips/xt71rn303186/data/mets.xml Page, Thomas Nelson, 1853-1922. 190618  books b92-230-31280747v16 English C. Scribner's sons, : New York : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Novels, stories, sketches, and poems of Thomas Nelson Page (vol. 16) text Novels, stories, sketches, and poems of Thomas Nelson Page (vol. 16) 1906 2002 true xt71rn303186 section xt71rn303186 











PLANTATION

  EDITION



VOLUME XVI

 






























































" Perhaps you are the man yourself  " she added insolently.
                                                -I',, 2   2,

 


- THE NOVELS, STORIES,
SKETCHES AND POEMS OF



THOMAS NELSON



PAGE -



CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
NEW YORK     9 09 S 1909



HN MARVEL
kSSISIANT

 































   Copyright, 1909, by
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS


   AU Rights Reserved

 











CONTENTS



                                   PAGE
MRS. ARGAND ............. . 3

WOLFFERT'S MISSION .......... . 26

FATE LEADS .... . . . .. .  .  ... 43

COLL MCSHEEN'S METI-HODS.... ..   . 67

THE SHADOW ..... .. .  . . . . .  . 86

THE WALKING DELEGATE  .9.4.... .  . 9

MY CONFESSION. . .. . . . .. . . .. 118

SEEKING ONE THAT WAS LOST  ... .  . 139

JOHN MARVEL'S RAID.... .  .. . .  . 162

DOCTOR CAIAPHAS . . . . . . . . .. 179

THE PEACE-MAKER . . . . . .. . . .. 207

THE FLAG OF TRUCE . . . . .. . . .. 221



XXXV. MR. LEIGH HAS A PROPOSAL OF MARRIAGE
         MADE HIM ..  . . .. . . .. . . . 256

XXXVI. THE RIOT AND ITS VICTIM . . . . . . . .273



CHAPTER
XXIII.

XXIV.

XXV.

XXVI.

XXVII.

XXVIII.

XXIX.

XXX.

XXXI.

XXXII.

XXXIII.

XXXIV.

 



                 CONTENTS

CHAPTER                                    PAGE
XXXVII. WOLFFERT'S NEIGHBORS. . .. . . .  . 286

XXXVIII. WOLFFERT'S PHILOSOPHY. . . .. . . .298

XXXIX. THE CONFLICT . . . .. . . . . .. . . 313

   XL. THE CURTAIN  . . .. .   .   .. . . .343

 




















                ILLUSTRATIONS


" PERHAPS YOU ARE THE MAN YOURSELF " SHE
   ADDED INSOLENTLY . .. . . . . . . . Frontispiece
                                          FACING PAGE
"SPEAK HER SOFT, GALLEY. . . . . . . . . . . 156

I AM SURE IT WAS ON THAT STREAM THAT HAL-
   CYONE FOUND RETREAT . . . . . . . . . . 334

 This page in the original text is blank.

 














JOHN MARVEL, ASSISTANT

 This page in the original text is blank.

 







JOHN MARVEL, ASSISTANT

                    XXI[I

                 MRS. AR GAND

I NOW began to plan how I was to meet my
   young lady on neutral and equal ground, for
meet her I must. When I first mnet her I could
have boldly introduced myself, for all my smutted
face; now Love made me modest. 'When I met
her, I scarcely dared to look into her eyes; I
began to think of the letters of introduction I
had, which I had thrown into my trunk. One
of them was to Mrs. Argand, a lady whom I as-
sumecl to be the same lofty person I had seen
mentioned in the papers as one of the leaders
among the fashionable set, and also as one of the
leaders in all public charitable work. It had,
indeed, occurred to me to associate her vaguely,
first with the private-car episode, and then with
my poor client's landlord, the Argand Estate;
but the "Argand Estate" appeared a wholly im-
personal machine of steel; her reputation in the
newspapers for charity disposed of this idea. In-
                      3

 
        JOHN MARVEL, ASSISTANT
deed, W&Iffert had said that there were many
Mrs. Argands in the city, and there were many
Argands in the directory.
  I presented my letter anld was invited to call on
a certain day, some two weeks later. She lived
in great style, in a ponderous mansion of unhewn
stone piled up with prison-like massiveness, sur-
rounded by extensive grounds, filled with care-
fully tended, formal flower-beds. A ponderous
servant asked my name and, with eyes on vacancy,
announced me loudly as "MA11r. Glave." The
hostess was well surrounded by callers. I recog-
nized her the instant I entered as the large lady of
the private-car. Both she and her jewels were
the same. Also I knew instantly that she was
the "Argand Estate," which I had scored so, and
I was grateful to the servant for miscalling my
name.   Her sumptuous drawing-rooms were
sprinkled with a handsomely dressed company
who sailed in, smiled around, sat on the edge of
chairs, chattered for some moments, grew pen-
sive, uttered a few sentences, spread their wings,
and sailed out with monotonous regularity and
the solemn air of a duty performed. There was
no conversation with the hostess-only, as I ob-
served from my coign of vantage, an exchange of
compliments and flattery.
                      4

 
MRS. ARGEND



  Most of the callers appeared either to be very
intimate or not to know each other at all, and
when they could not gain the ear of the hostess,
they simply sat stiffly in their chairs and looked
straight before them, or walked around and in-
spectecl the splendid bric-i-brac with something
of an air of appraisement.
  1 became so interested that, being unobserved
myself, I stayed some time observing them. I
also had a vague hope that possibly Miss Leigh
might appear. It was owing to my long visit
that I was finally honored with my hostess's at-
tention. As she had taken no notice of me on
my first entrance beyond a formal bow and an
indifferent hand-shake, I had moved on and a
moment later had gotten irto conversation with a
young girl-large, plump, and apparently, like
myself, ready to talk to ar.y one who came near,
as she promptly opened a conversation with me,
a step which, I may say, I was more than ready
to take advantage of. I recognized her as the
girl who had been talking to Count Pushkin the
evening of the concert, and whom I had seen him
leave for Miss Leigh. We were soon in the nlidst
of a conversation in which I did the questioning
and she did most of the talking and she threw con-
siderable light on a number of the visitors, whom
                      5

 
         JOHN MARVEL, ASSISTANT
 she divided into various classes characterized in a
 vernacular of her own. Some were "frumps,"
 some were "stiffs," and some were "old soaks"-
 the latter appellation, as I gathered, not implying
 any special addiction to spirituous liquors on the
 part of those so characterized, but only indicat-
 ing the young woman's gauge of their merits.
 Still, she was amusing enough for a time, and ap-
 peared to be always ready to "die laughing" over
 everything. Like myself, she seemed rather in-
 clined to keep her eye on the door, where I was
 watching for the )ossible appearance of the one
 who had brought me there. I was recalled from
 a slight straying of my mind from some story she
 was telling, by her saying:
 "You're a lawyer, aren't you"
 Feeling rather flattered at the suggestion, and
 thinking that I must have struck her as intellect-
 ual-looking, I admitted the fact and asked her
 .xhy she thought so.
 "Oh! because they're the only people who have
 nothing to do and attend teas-young lawyers.
 I have seen you walking on the street when I was
 driving by."
 "Well, you know you looked busier than I; but
you weren't really," I said. I was a little taken
aback by her asking if I knew Count Pushkin.
                       6

 
MRS. ARGAND



  "Oh, yes," I said. "I know him."
  This manifestly made an impression.
  "What (1o you think of him"
  "What do I think of him When I know you
a little better, I will tell you," I said. "Doesn't
he attend teas"
  "Oh! yes, but then he is-he is something-a
nobleman, you know."
  'Do I"
  "Yes. Didn't youi hear how last spring he
stopped a runaway and w-as knocked down and
dragged ever so far  Why, his face was all
bruifses."
  I coul(l not help laughing at the recollection of
Pushkin.
  "I saw that."
  "Oh ! did you Do tell me about it. It was
fine, wasn't it Don't you think he's lovely"
  "Get him to tell you about it." I was relieved
at that moment at a chance to escape her. I
saw my hostess talking to a middle-aged, over-
dressed, but handsome woman whose face some-
how haunted me with a reminiscence which I
could not quite place, and as I happened to look
in a mirror I saw they were talking of me, so I
bowed to my young lady and moved on. The
visitor asked who I was, and I could see the host-
                     7

 
        JOHN MARVEL, ASSISTANT
ess reply that she had nct the slightest idea. She
put up her lorgnon and scrutinized me attentivelyI
and then shook her head again. I walked over to
where they sat.
  "We were just saying, Mr.-ah-ah-Laze,
that one who undertakes to do a little for one's
fellow-beings finds very little encouragement."
She spoke almost plaintively, looking first at me
and then at her friend, who had been taking an
inventory of the west side of the room and had
not the slightest idea of what she was talking.
  "I am overrun with beggars," she proceeded.
  Remembering her great reputation for charity,
I thought this natural and suggested as much.
She was pleased witiih my sympathy, and continued:
  "Why, they invade me even in the privacy of
my home. Not long ago, a person called and,
though I had given instructions to my butler to
deny me to persons, unless he knew their business
and I know them, this man, who was a preacher
and should have known better, pushed himself in
and actually got into my drawing-room when I
was receiving some of my friends. As he saw
me, of course I could not excuse myself, and do
you know, he had the insolence, not only to dic-
tate to me how I should spend my money, but
actually how I should manage my affairs!"
                      8

 
MRS. ARG AND



  "Oh! dear, think of that!" sighed the other
lady. "And you, of all people!"
  I admitted that this was extraordinary, and,
manifestly encouraged, Mrs. Argand swept on.
  "Why, he actually wanted me to forego my
rents and let a person stay in one of my houses
who would not pay his rent!"
  " Incredible! "
  "The man had had the insoDence to hold on and
actually force me to bring suit."
  " Impossible! "
  I began to wish I were back in my office. At
this moment, however, succor came from an un-
expected source.
  "You know we have bought a house very near
you" interjected the blonde girl who had joined
our group and suddenly broke in on our hostess's
monologue.
  "Ah! I should think you would feel rather
lonely up here-and would. miss all your old
friends" said Mrs. Argand sweetly, turning her
eyes toward the door. The girl lifted her head
and turned to the other lady.
  "Not at all. You know lots of people call at
big houses, Mrs. Gillis, just because they are big,"
said she, with a spark in her pale-blue eye, and I
felt she was able to take care of herself.
                      9

 

        JOHN MARVEL, ASSISTANT
  But Mrs. Argand did not appear to hear. She
was looking over the heads of the rest of us with
her eye on the door, wshen suddenly, as her ser-
vant in an unintelligible voice announced some
one, her face lit up.
  "Ah! My dear Count! How do you do It
was so good of you to come."
  I turned to look just as Pushkin brushed by me
and, with a little rush between the ladies seated
near me, bent over and seizing her hand, kissed it
zealously, while he uttered his compliments. It
manifestly made a deep impression on the com-
pany. I was sure he had seen me. The effect
on the company was remarkable. The blonde
girl moved around a little and stood in front of
another lady who pressed slightly forward.
  "Count Pushkin!" muttered one lady to Mrs.
Gillis, in an audible undertone.
  "Oh! I know him well." She was evidently
trying to catch the count's eye to prove her inti-
mate acquaintance; but Pushkin was too much
engrossed with or by our hostess to see her-or
else was too busy evading my eye.
  "Well, it's all up with me," I thought. "If I
leave him here, my character's gone forever."
  "Such a beautiful custom," murmured Mrs.
Gillis's friend. "I always like it."
                      10

 

               MRS. ARGAND
  "Now, do sit down and have a cup of tea," said
our hostess. "I will make you a fresh cup."
She glanced at a chair across the room and then
at me, and I almost thought she was going to ask
me to bring the chair for the count! But she
thought better of it.
  "Go and bring that chair and sit right here by
me and let me know how you are."
  "Here, take this seat," said Mrs. Gillis, who was
rising, but whose eyes were fast on Pushkin's face.
  "Oh! must you be going" asked Mrs. Argand.
"Well, good-by--so glad yooi could come."
  "Yes, I must go. How do you (1o, Count
Pushkin"
  "Oh! ah! How do you (1o" said the count,
turning with a start and a short bow.
  "I met you at the ball not long ago. Miss
MeSheen introduced me to you. Don't you re-
member" She glanced at the young lady who
stood waiting.
  "Ah! Yes-cer-tainly! To be sure-Mliss Mc-
Sheen-ah! yes, I remember."
  Doubtless, he did; for at this juncture the
young lady I had been talking to, stepped for-
ward and claimed the attention of the count, who,
I thought, looked a trifle bored.
  Feeling as if I were a mo ise in a trap, I was
                     11

 

        JOHN MARVEL, ASSISTANT
about to try to escape when my intention was
changed as suddenly as by a miracle, and, indeed,
Eleanor Leigh's appearance at this moment
seemed almost, if not quite, miraculous.
  She had been walking rapidly in the wind and
her hair was a little blown about-not too much
--for I hate frowsy hair-just enough to give
precisely the right touch of "sweet neglect" and
naturalness to a pretty and attractive girl. Her
cheeks were glowing, her eyes sparkling, her face
lighted with some resolution which made it at
once audacious and earnest, and as she came
tripping into the room she suddenly transformed
it, by giving it something of reality which it had
hitherto lacked. She appeared like spring conning
after winter. She hurried up to her aunt (who, I
must say, looked pleased to see her and gave
Pushkin an arch glance which I did not fail to
detect), and then, after a dutiful and hasty kiss,
she pulled up a chair and dashed into the middle
of the subject which filled her mind. She was so
eager about it that she did not pay the least atten-
tion to Pushkin, who, with his heels close together,
and his back almost turned on the other girl, who
was rattling on at his ear, was bowing and grin-
ning like a Japanese toy; and she did not even
see me, where I stood a little retired.
                      12

 
MRS. ARGAND



  " My dear, here is Count Pushkin trying to
speak to you," said her auni-. "Come here, Mliss
MeSheen, and tell me what you have been doing."
She smiled at the blonde girl and indicated a
vacated chair.
  But Miss McSheen saw the trap--she had no
idea of relinquishing her prize, and Mliss Leigh
did not choose to try for a capture.
  "Howdydo, Count Pushkin," she said over her
shoulder, giving the smiling and bowing Pushkin
only half a nod and less than half a glance. " Oh!
aunt," she proceeded, "I hare such a favor to ask
you. Oh, it's a most worthy object, I assure you
-really worthy."
  "How much is it" enquired the older lady
casually,
  "I don't kno-w yet. But wait-you must let
me tell you about it, and you will see how good
it is."
  "My dear, I haven't a cent to give to anything,"
said her aunt. "I am quite strapped."
  "I know, it's the family disease," said the girl
lightly, and hurried on. "I am trying to do some
work among the poor."
  "The poor!" exclaimed her aunt. "My dear,
I am so tired of hearing about the poor, I don't
know what to (1o. I am one of the poor myself.
                      13

 
        JOHN- MARVEL, ASSISTANT
My agent was here this morning and tells me that
any number of my tenants are behind on their
rents and several of mn  best tenants have given
notice that on the expiration of their present
terms, they want a reduction of their rents."
  'I know," said the girl. "They are out of
work. They are all ordered out, or soon will be,
papa says, poor things! I have been to-day to see
a poor family---"
  "Out of work! Of course they are out of work!
They wtcon't work, that's why they are out-and
now thev are talking of a general strike! As if
they hadn't had strikes enough. I shall cut down
my charities; that's what I shall do."
  "Oh! aunt, don't do that!" exclaimed the girl.
"They are so poor. If N Du could see a poor family
I saw this morning. Why, they have nothing-
nothing!I They are literally starving."
  "Well, they have themselves to thank, if they
are."  She was now addressing the count, and
two or three ladies seated near her on the edg-,e of
their chairs.
  "Very true!" sighed cne of the latter.
  "I know," said the count. "I haf read it in
th' papers to-day t'at fey vill what you call
strike.  T'ey should  be-vhat you    call, put
down."
                     14

 
MRS. ARG AND



  "COf course they should. It almost makes one
deSpair of mankind," chimed in Mrs. Gillis, who,
though standing, co uld not tear herself away.
As she stood buttoning at a glove, I suddenly re-
called her standing at the foot of a flight of steps
looking with cold eyes at a child's funeral.
  "Yes, their ingratitude! It does, indeed," said
Mrs. Argaiid. "My agent---ah! your husband-
says f shall have to make repairs that will take up
every bit of the rents of anv numnber of my houses
-and two of my largest warehouses. I have to
rep)air them, of course. AnLd( then if this strike
reailly conies, whhy. he says it will cost our city
linwes alone-oh! I don't kn(w how much money.
Biut I hate to talk about m-ioney. It is so sordid!"
She sat back in her chair.
  "Yes, indeed," assented the bejewelled lady she
addressed. "I don't even like to think about it.
I would likle just to be able to draw my cheque
for whatever I want and aever hear the word
mioneyJ-like you, Mrs. Argarnd. But one can't do
it," she sighed. "Why, my mail----"
  "WVhy don't you do as I do" demanded Mrs.
Argand, who had no idea of having the conversa-
tion taken away fromn her in her own house. "Mv
secretary opens all those letters and destroys them.
I consider it a great impertinence for any one
                      15

 
        JOHN MARVEL, ASSISTANT
whom I don't know to write to me, and, of course,
I don't acknowledge those letters. My agent-A"
  "My dear, we must go," said the lady nearest
her to her companion. As the two ladies swept
out they stopped near me to look at a picture, and
one of them said to the other:
  "Did you ever hear a more arrogant display in
all your life Her secretary! Her interest-her
duties! As if we didn't all have them!"
  "Yes, indeed. And her agent! That's my
husband! "
  "But I do think she was right about that man's
pushing in-"
  " Oh! yes, about that--she was, but she need not
be parading her money before us. My husband
made it for old Argand.`
  "My husband says the Argand Estate is vilely
run, that they have the worst tenements in the
city and charge the highest rents."
  "Do you know that my husband is her-agent"
  "Is he Why, to be sure; but of course, she is
responsible."
  "Yes, she's the cause of it."
  "And they pay more for their franchises than
any one else. Why, my husband says that Coll
McSheen, who is the lawyer of the Argand Estate,
is the greatest briber in this city. I suppose he'll
                     16

 
MRS. ARGAND



be buying a count next. I don't see how your
husband stands him. Hle's so refined-such a--"
   "Well, they have to have business dealings
together, you know."
  "Yes. They say lie just owns the council, and
now he's to be mayor."
  "I know."
  "Did you see that article in the paper about
him and his methods, charging that he was untrue
to every one in town, even the Canters and Ar-
gands who employed him"
  "Oh, didn't I I tell mnv husband he'd better
be sure which side to take. One reason I came
to-day was to see how she took it."
  "So did I," said her friend. "They say the
first paper was written by a Jew. It was a scath-
ing indictment. It charged him with making a
breach between Mr. Leigh and AMrs. Argand, and
now with trying to ruin Mr. Leigh."
  "And it was written by a Jew Was it, in-
deed I should like to meet him, shouldn't you
But, of course, we couldn't invite him to our
homes. Do you know anybody who might invite
him to lunch and ask us to meet him It would
be so interesting to hear him talk."
  So they passed out, and I went up to make my
adieux to our hostess, secretly intending to remain
                     17

 
        JOHN MARVEL, A SSISTANT
 longer if I could get a chance to talk to her niece,
 who was now presenting her petition to her, while
 the count, with his eye on her while he pretended
 to listen to Miss MeSheen, stood by waiting like a
 eat at a mousehole.
 As I approached, Miss Leigh glanced up, and I
 flattered myself for weeks that it was not only
 surprise, but pleasure, that lighted up her face.
 "Why, how do you do" she said, and I ex-
 tended my hand, feeling as shy as I ever did in my
 life, but as though paradise were somewhere close
 at hand.
 "Where did you two know each other" de-
 mnanded her aunt, suspiciously, and I saw Push-
 kin's face darken, even while the blonde girl
 rattled on at his ear.
 "Why, this is the gentleman who had the poor
 children on the train that day last spring They
 are the same children I have been telling you
 about."
 "'Yes, but I did not know you had ever really
 met."
 "That was not the only time I have hvad the
 good fortune to meet Miss Leigh," I said. I
wanted to add that I hoped to have vet better
fortune hereafter; but I did not.
  Perhaps, it was to save me embarrassment that
                      18

 
MRS. ARGA'uND



Miss Leigh said: " Mr. Glave and I teach in the
same Sunday-school."
  "Yes, about the she-bears," I hazarded, think-
ing of one at the moment.
  Miss Leigh laughed. "I Iave been trying to
help your little friends since  I am glad the she-
bears did not devour them; I think they are in
much more danger from the wolf at the door: in
fact, it was about them that I caine to see miy
aunt to-day."
  I cursed my folly for not h aving carried out nmy
intention of going to look a`ter them and regis-
tered a vow to go often thereafter.
  "I was so glad you won their case for them, " she
said in an undertone, moving- over toward me, as
several new visitors entered. A warm thrill ran
all through my veins. "But how did you manage
to get here" she asked with twinkling eyes.
"Does she know, or has she forgiven you"
  " She doesn't know--at least, I haven't told her."
  " Well, I should like to be by--that is, in a bal-
cony--when she finds out who you are.''
  "Do Vou think I was ver'v-bold to corne'
  "Bold! Well, wait till she discovers who you
are, Richard Coeur de Lion."
  "Not I-you see that door Well, youl just
watch me. I came for a particular reason that
                      19

 
        JOHN MARVEL, ASSISTANT
made me think it best to come-and a very good
one," I added, and glanced at her and found her
still smiling.
  "What was it"  She looked me full in the face.
  "I will tell you some time-
  "No, now."
  "No, next Sunday afternoon, if you will let me
walk home with you after you have explained the
she-bears."
  She nodded "All right," and I rose up into the
blue sky. I almost thought I had wings.
  "My aunt is really a kind woman-I can do
almost anything with her.."
  "Do you think that prcves it " I said. I
wanted to say that I was that sort of a kind person
myself, but I did not dare.
  "My father says she has a foible-she thinks
she is a wonderful business woman, because she
can run up a column of figures correctly, and that
she makes a great to-do over small things, and
lets the big ones go. She would not take his ad-
vice; so he gave up trying to advise her and
she relies on two men who flatter and deceive
her."
  " Yes."
  "I don't see how she can keep those two men,
MleSheen and Gillis, as her counsel and agent.
                     20

 
MRS. ARGAND



But I suppose she found them-n there and does not
like to change. My father says "
  Just then Mrs. Argand, af -er a long scrutiny of
us through her lorgnon, said rather sharply:
  " Eleanor! "
  Miss Leigh turned hastily and plunged into a
sentence.
  "Aunt, you do not know how much good the
little chapel you helped out in the East Side does.
Mr. Mar-the preacher there gets places for poor
people that are out of employmnent, and- -'
  "I suppose he does, but save me from these
preachers! Why, one of themn came here the other
day and would not be refused -. He actually forced
himself into my house. IHe had a poor family or
something, he said, and he Unwanted me to under-
take to support them. And when I came to find
out, they were some of my own tenants who had
positively refused to pay any rent, and had held
on for months to one of my houses without pay-
ing me a penny." She ha: evidently forgotten
that she had just said this a moment before. 'I
happened to remember," she added, "because my
agent told me the man's name, O'Neil."
  "McNeil!" exclaimed Miss Leigh. "Why, that
is the name of my poor family!" She cut her eye
over toward me with a quizzi.cal sparkle in it.
                     21

 

        JOHN MARVEL, ASSISTANT
  "What! Well, you need rIOt come to me about
that man. My counsel said he was one of the
worst characters he knew; a regular anarchist-
one of these Irish-you know ! And when I after-
ward tried to collect my rents, he got some upstart
creature of a lawyer to try and defeat me, and
actually did defraud me of rmy debt."
  This was a centre shot for me, and I wondered
what she would think if she ever found out who
the upstart was. The perspiration began to start
on my forehead. It was clear that I must get
away. She was, however, in such a full sweep
that I could not get in a word to say good-by.
  "But I soon gave Mr. Marble, or whatever his
name was, a very different idea of the way he
should behave when he came to see a lady. I let
him know that I preferred to manage my affairs
and select my own objects of charity, without
being dictated to by any one, and that I did not
propose to help anarchists. And I soon gave kr.
McNeil to understand whom he had to deal with.
I ordered him turned out at once-instantly."
She was now addressing me.
  She was so well satisfied with her position that
I must have looked astonished, and I had not
at first a word to say. This she took for acqui
essence.
                     22

 
MRS. ARG -ND



  "That was, perhaps, the greatest piece of in-
solence I ever knew!" she continued. "Don't
you think so"
  "'Well, no, I dlo not," I said bluntly.
  For a moment or so her face was a. perfect
blank, then it was filled with amazement. Her
whole person changed. Her head went up-her
eyes flashed, her color deepened.
  "Oh!" she said. "Perhaps, we look at the
matter from different stand-points" rearing back
more stiffly than ever.
  "Unquestionably, madamr I happen to know
John Mlarvel, the gentleman who called on you,
very well, and I know him I-lo be one of the best
men in the world. I know that he supported that
poor family out of his own small incomne, and
when they were turned out of their house, fed
them until he could get the fa ther some work to do.
lIe was not an anarchist, but a hard-working
Scotchnman, who had been ill and had lost his
plaCe. "
  "Oh!" she said-this time with renewed super-
ciliousness, raising her lorgr.on to observe some
new-comers.
  "Perhaps, you happen also to know McNeil's
counsel-perhaps, you are the man yourself"
she added insolently.
                      23

 
        JO1HN MARVEL, ASSISTANT
  I bowed low. "I am."
  The truth swept over her like a flood. Before
she recovered, I bowed my adieux, of which, so
far as I could see, she took no notice. She turned
to Pushkin, as Miss Leigh, from behind a high-
backed chair, held out her hand to me. "Well,
poor McNeil's done for now," she said in an under-
tone. But as the latter smiled in my eyes, I did
not care what her aunt said.
  "Ah! my dear Count, here is the tea at last," I
heard our hostess say, and then she added solici-
tously, " I have not seen you for so long. AWhy
have you denied yourself to your friends You
have quite gotten over your accident of the
spring I read about it in the papers at the
time. Such a noble thing to have stopped those
horses. You must tell me about it. How did it
happen"
  I could not help turning to give Pushkin one
look, and he hesitated and stammered. I came
out filled with a new sense of what was meant
by the curses against the Pharisees.  As I was
walking along I ran into Wolffert.
  "Ah! You are the very man," he exclaimed.
"It is Providence! I was just thinking of you,
and you ran into my arms. It is Fate."
  It did seem so. Mrs. Argand and her "dear
                      24

 
MRS. ARC-AND



count " had sickened me. Here, at least, was
sincerity. But I wondered if he knew that Miss
Leigh was within there.



25

 





XXIV



             WOLFFERT'S MISSION

XAJOLFFERT      naturally was somewhat sur-
      prised to see me come sallying forth from
Mrs. Argand's; for he knew what I had not known
when I called there, that she was the real owner
of "The Argand Estate."
  I gave him an account of my interview with the
lady.
  "I was wondering," he said, laughing, "what
you were doing in there after having beaten her
in that suit. I thought you had taken your nerve
with you. I was afraid you had fallen a victim
to her blandishments."
  "To whose"'
  "Mrs. Argand's. She is the true Circe of the
time, and her enchantment is one that only the
strong can resist. She reaches men through their
bellies."
  "Oh!" I was thinking of quite another person,
who alone could beguile me, and I was glad that
he was not looking at me.
  He was, however, too full of another subject to
                     26

 
WOLFFERT'` MISSION



notice me, and as we walked along, I told him of
the old lady's views about John Marvel. He sud-
denly launched out against her with a passion
which I was scarcely prepared for, as much as I
knew he loved John Marvel. Turning, he pointed
fiercely back at the great prison-like mansion.
  "Do you see that big house" His long finger
shook slightly-an index of his feeling.
  "Yes."
  "Every stone in it is laid in mortar cemented
with the tears of widows and orphans, and the
blood of countless victims of greed and op-
pression."
  "Oh! nonsense! I have no brief for that old
w oman. I think she is an ignorant, arrogant,
purse-proud, ill-bred old creature, spoiled by her
wealth and the adulation that it has brought her
from a society of sycophants and parasites; but
I do not believe that at herit she is bad."  She
had had a good advocate de end her to me and I
was quoting her. WIolifert wias unappeased.
  "That is it. She sets up to be the paragon of
Generosity, the patron of Charity, the example of
Kindness for all to follow. She never gave a
cent in her life-but only a portion-a small por-
tion of the money wrun, from the hearts of others.
Her fortune was laid in corruption. Her old hus-
                      27

 

        JOHN AMARVEL, ASSISTANT
band-I knew him!-he robbed every one, even
his partners. He defrauded his benefactor, Colo-
nel Tipps, who made him., and robbed his heirs
of their inheritance."
  "How"    For I was much interested now.
  "By buying up their counsel, and inducing him
to sell them out and making him his counsel.
And now that old woman keeps him as her coun-
sel and adv iser, though he is the worst man in
this city, guilty of every crime on the statute-
books, sacred and profane."
  "But she does not know that"
  "Not know it Why doesn't she know it
Because she shuts her doors to the men who do
know it, and her ears to the cries of his victims.
Doesn't every one who cares to look into the crimes
in this city know that Coll McSheen is the pro-
tector of Vice, and that hIe could not exist a day
if the so-called good people got up ancl determined
to abolish him-that he is the owner of the vilest
houses in this city-the vilest because they are
not so openly vile as some others Isn't she try-
ing to sell her niece to an adventurer for a title,
or a reprobate for his money"
  "Is she"  My blood suddenly began to boil,
and I began to get a new insight into Wolffert's
hostility.
                      28

 

WOLFFERT'S NIISSION



  We had turned toward Join Marvel's. Ile ap-
peared a sort of landmark to which to turn as we
were dealing with serious subjects, and Wolffert
was Oin his way there when I encountered him.
Ais we walked alon,, he disclosed a system of vice
so wsvidespread, so horrible and so repulsive that I
hesitate t