Active Service

by Stephen Crane

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Chapter XXV

IF the professor and Mrs. Wainwright had descended sooner to a lower floor of the hotel, they would have found reigning there a form of anarchy. The students were in a smoking room which was also an entrance hall to the dining room, and because there was in the middle of this apartment a fountain containing gold fish, they had been moved to license and sin. They had all been tubbed and polished and brushed and dressed until they were exuberantly beyond themselves. The proprietor of the hotel brought in his dignity and showed it to them, but they minded it no more than if he had been only a common man. He drew himself to his height and looked gravely at them and they jovially said: " Hello, Whiskers." American college students are notorious in their country for their inclination to scoff at robed and crowned authority, and, far from being awed by the dignity of the hotel-keeper, they were delighted with it. It was something with which to sport. With immeasurable impudence, they copied his attitude, and, standing before him, made comic speeches, always alluding with blinding vividness to his beard. His exit disappointed them. He had not remained long under fire. They felt that they could have interested themselves with him an entire evening. " Come back, Whiskers! Oh, come back! " Out in the main hall he made a ges. ture of despair to some of his gaping minions and then fled to seclusion.

A formidable majority then decided that Coke was a gold fish, and that therefore his proper place was in the fountain. They carried him to it while he strug. gled madly. This quiet room with its crimson rugs and gilded mirrors seemed suddenly to have become an important apartment in hell. There being as yet no traffic in the dining room, the waiters were all at liberty to come to the open doors, where they stood as men turned to stone. To them, it was no less than incendiarism.

Coke, standing with one foot on the floor and the other on the bottom of the shallow fountain, blas- phemed his comrades in a low tone, but with inten- tion. He was certainly desirous of lifting his foot out of the water, but it seemed that all movement to that end would have to wait until he had successfully ex- pressed his opinions. In the meantime, there was heard slow footsteps and the rustle of skirts, and then some people entered the smoking room on their way to dine. Coke took his foot hastily out of the fountain.

The faces of the men of the arriving party went blank, and they turned their cold and pebbly eyes straight to the front, while the ladies, after little ex. pressions of alarm, looked As if they wanted to run. In fact, the whole crowd rather bolted from this ex- traordinary scene.

" There, now," said Coke bitterly to his companions. "You see? We looked like little schoolboys-" " Oh, never mind, old man," said Peter Tounley. "We'll forgive you, although you did embarrass us. But, above everything, don't drip. Whatever you do, don't drip." The students took this question of dripping and played upon it until they would have made quite insane anybody but another student. They worked it into all manner of forms, and hacked and haggled at Coke until he was driven to his room to seek other apparel. " Be sure and change both legs," they told him. " Remember you can't change one leg without changing both legs."

After Coke's departure, the United States minister entered the room, and instantly they were subdued. It was not his lofty station-that affected them. There are probably few stations that would have at all af- fectedthem. They became subdued because they un- feignedly liked the United States minister. They, were suddenly a group of well-bred, correctly attired young men who had not put Coke's foot in the fountain. Nor had they desecrated the majesty of the hotelkeeper.

"Well, I am delighted," said the minister, laughing as he shook hands with them all. " I was not sure I would ever see you again. You are not to be trusted, and, good boys as you are, I'll be glad to see you once and forever over the boundary of my jurisdiction. Leave Greece, you vagabonds. However, I am truly delighted to see you all safe."

" Thank you, sir," they said.

" How in the world did you get out of it? You must be remarkable chaps. I thought you were in a hopeless position. I wired and cabled everywhere I could, but I could find out nothing."

" A correspondent," said Peter Tounley. " I don't know if you have met him. His name is Coleman. He found us."

" Coleman ? " asked the minister, quickly.

" Yes, sir. He found us and brought us out safely."

" Well, glory be to Coleman," exclaimed the min- ister, after a long sigh of surprise. " Glory be to Cole- man! I never thought he could do it."

The students were alert immediately. "Why, did you know about it, sir? Did he tell you he was coming after us ? "

"Of course. He came tome here in Athens. and asked where you were. I told him you were in a peck of trouble. He acted quietly and somewhat queerly,. and said that he would try to look you up. He said you were friends of his. I warned him against trying it. Yes, I said it was impossible, I had no idea that he would really carry the thing out. But didn't he tell you anything about this himself?"

" No, sir ' " answered Peter Tounley. " He never said much about it. I think he usually contended that it was mainly an accident."

" It was no accident," said the minister, sharply. "When a man starts out to do a thing and does it, you can't say it is an accident."

" I didn't say so, sir," said Peter Tounley diffidently.

" Quite true, quite true ! You didn't, but-this Coleman must be a man! " " We think so, sir," said be who was called Billie. " He certainly brought us through in style." " But how did he manage it? " cried the minister, keenly interested. " How did he do it ? "

" It is hard to say, sir. But he did it. He met us in the dead of night out near Nikopolis-"

"Near Nikopolis?"

"Yes, sir. And he hid us in a forest while a fight was going on, and then in the morning he brought us inside the Greek lines. Oh, there is a lot to tell-"

Whereupon they told it, or as much as they could of it. In the end, the minister said: " Well, where are the professor and Mrs. Wainwright ? I want you all to dine with me to-night. I am dining in the public room, but you won't mind that after Epirus." " They should be down now, sir," answered a Student.

People were now coming rapidly to dinner and presently the professor and Mrs. Wainwright appeared. The old man looked haggard and white. He accepted the minister's warm greeting with a strained pathetic smile. " Thank you. We are glad to return safely."

Once at dinner the minister launched immediately into the subject of Coleman. " He must be altogether a most remarkable man. When he told me, very quietly, that he was going to try to rescue you, I frankly warned him against any such attempt. I thought he would merely add one more to a party of suffering people. But the. boys tell- me that he did actually rescue you."

"Yes, he did," said the professor. " It was a very gallant performance, and we are very grateful."

"Of course," spoke Mrs. Wainwright, "we might have rescued ourselves. We were on the right road, and all we had to do was to keep going on."

" Yes, but I understand-" said the minister. " I understand he took you into a wood to protect you from that fight, and generally protected you from all, kinds of trouble. It seems wonderful to me, not so much because it was done as because it was done by the man who, some time ago, calmy announced to me that he was going to do it. Extraordinary."

"Of course," said Mrs. Wainwright. " Oh, of course."

"And where is he now? " asked the minister suddenly. "Has he now left you to the mercies of civilisation ? " There was a moment's curious stillness, and then Mrs. Wainwright used that high voice which-the students believed-could only come to her when she was about to say something peculiarly destructive to the sensibilities. " Oh, of course, Mr. Coleman rendered us a great service, but in his private character he is not a man whom we exactly care to associate with."

" Indeed" said the minister staring. Then he hastily addressed the students. " Well, isn't this a comic war? Did you ever imagine war could be like this ? " The professor remained looking at his wife with an air of stupefaction, as if she had opened up to him visions of imbecility of which he had not even dreamed. The students loyally began to chatter at the minister. " Yes, sir, it is a queer war. After all their bragging, it is funny to hear that they are running away with such agility. We thought, of course, of the old Greek wars."

Later, the minister asked them all to his rooms for coffee and cigarettes, but the professor and Mrs. Wainwright apologetically retired to their own quarters. The minister and the students made clouds of smoke, through which sang the eloquent descriptions of late adventures.

The minister had spent days of listening to questions from the State Department at Washington as to the whereabouts of the Wainwright party. "I suppose you know that you,are very prominent people in, the United States just now ? Your pictures must have been in all the papers, and there must have been columns printed about you. My life here was made almost insupportable by your friends, who consist, I should think, of about half the population of the country. Of course they laid regular siege to the de. partment. I am angry at Coleman for only one thing. When he cabled the news of your rescue to his news. paper from Arta, he should have also wired me, if only to relieve my failing mind. My first news of your escape was from Washington-think of that."

"Coleman had us all on his hands at Arta," said Peter Tounley. " He was a fairly busy man." " I suppose so," said the minister. " By the way," he asked bluntly, "what is wrong with him? What did Mrs. Wainwright mean? "

They were silent for a time, but it seemed plain to him that it was not evidence that his question had demoralised them. They seemed to be deliberating upon the form of answer. Ultimately Peter Tounley coughed behind his hand. " You see, sir," he began, " there is-well, there is a woman in the case. Not that anybody would care to speak of it excepting to you. But that is what is the cause of things, and then, you see, Mrs. Wainwright is-well-" He hesitated a moment and then completed his sentence in the ingenuous profanity of his age and condition. " She is rather an extraordinary old bird."

" But who is the woman ?

"Why, it is Nora Blaick, the actress." "Oh," cried the minister, enlightened. " Her Why, I saw her here. She was very beautiful, but she seemed harmless enough. She was somewhat-er- confident, perhaps, but she did not alarm me. She called upon me, and I confess I-why, she seemed charming." " She's sweet on little Rufus. That's the point," said an oracular voice.

" Oh," cried the host, suddenly. " I remember. She asked me where he was. She said she had heard he was in Greece, and I told her he had gone knight- erranting off after you people. I remember now. I suppose she posted after him up to Arta, eh ? "

" That's it. And so she asked you where he was?

" Yes."

" Why, that old flamingo-Mrs. Wainwright insists that it was a rendezvous."

Every one exchanged glances and laughed a little. " And did you see any actual fighting ? " asked the minister.

" No. We only beard it-"

Afterward, as they were trooping up to their rooms, Peter Tounley spoke musingly. " Well, it looks to me now as if Old Mother Wainwright was just a bad-minded old hen."

" Oh, I don't know. How is one going to tell what the truth is ? "

" At any rate, we are sure now that Coleman had nothing to do with Nora's debut in Epirus."

They had talked much of Coleman, but in their tones there always had been a note of indifference or carelessness. This matter, which to some people was as vital and fundamental as existence, remained to others who knew of it only a harmless detail of life, with no terrible powers, and its significance had faded greatly when had ended the close associat.ions of the late adventure.

After dinner the professor had gone directly to his daughter's room. Apparently she had not moved. He knelt by the bedside again and took one of her hands. She was not weeping. She looked at him and smiled through the darkness. " Daddy, I would like to die," she said. " I think-yes-I would like to die."

For a long time the old man was silent, but he arose at last with a definite abruptness and said hoarsely " Wait! "

Mrs. Wainwright was standing before her mirror with her elbows thrust out at angles above her head, while her fingers moved in a disarrangement of 'her hair. In the glass she saw a reflection of her husband coming from Marjory's room, and his face was set with some kind of alarming purpose. She turned to watch him actually, but he walked toward the door into the corridor and did not in any wise heed her.

" Harrison! " she called. " Where are you going? "

He turned a troubled face upon her, and, as if she had hailed him in his sleep, he vacantly said: "What ? "

"Where are you going?" she demanded with increasing trepidation.

He dropped heavily into a chair. "Going?" he repeated.

She was angry. "Yes! Going? Where are you going? "

"I am going-" he answered, "I am going to see Rufus Coleman."

Mrs. Wainwright gave voice to a muffled scream. " Not about Marjory ? " "Yes," he said, "about Marjory."

It was now Mrs. Wainwright's turn to look at her husband with an air of stupefaction as if he had opened up to her visions of imbecility of which she had not even dreamed. " About Marjory!" she gurgled. Then suddenly her wrath flamed out. "Well, upon my word, Harrison Wainwright, you are, of all men in the world, the most silly and stupid. You are absolutely beyond belief. Of all projects! And what do you think Marjory would have to say of it if she knew it ? I suppose you think she would like it ? Why, I tell you she would keep her right hand in the fire until it was burned off before she would allow you to do such a thing."

" She must never know it," responded the professor, in dull misery.

" Then think of yourself! Think of the shame of it! The shame of it ! "

The professor raised his eyes for an ironical glance at his wife. " Oh I have thought of the shame of it!"

" And you'll accomplish nothing," cried Mrs. Wain- wright. " You'll accomplish nothing. He'll only laugh at you."

" If he laughs at me, he will laugh at nothing but a poor, weak, unworldly old man. It is my duty to go."

Mrs. Wainwright opened her mouth as if she was about to shriek. After choking a moment she said: " Your duty? Your duty to go and bend the knee to that man? Yourduty?"

"'It is my duty to go,"' he repeated humbly. "If I can find even one chance for my daughter's happi- ness in a personal sacrifice. He can do no more than he can do no more than make me a little sadder."

His wife evidently understood his humility as a tribute to her arguments and a clear indication that she had fatally undermined his original intention. " Oh, he would have made you sadder," she quoth grimly. "No fear! Why, it was the most insane idea I ever heard of."

The professor arose wearily. " Well, I must be going to this work. It is a thing to have ended quickly." There was something almost biblical in his manner.

" Harrison! " burst out his wife in amazed lamenta- tion. You are not really going to do it? Not really!"

" I am going to do it," he answered.

" Well, there! " ejaculated Mrs. Wainwright to the heavens. She was, so to speak, prostrate. " Well, there! "

As the professor passed out of the door she cried beseechingly but futilely after him. " Harrison." In a mechanical way she turned then back to the mirror and resumed the disarrangement of her hair. She ad- dressed her image. " Well, of all stupid creatures under the sun, men are the very worst! " And her image said this to her even as she informed it, and afterward they stared at each other in a profound and tragic reception and acceptance of this great truth. Presently she began to consider the advisability of going to Marjdry with the whole story. Really, Harrison must not be allowed to go on blundering until the whole world heard that Marjory was trying to break her heart over that common scamp of a Coleman. It seemed to be about time for her, Mrs. Wainwright, to come into the situation and mend matters.


WHEN the professor arrived before Coleman's door, he paused a moment and looked at it. Previously, he could not have imagined that a simple door would ever so affect him. Every line of it seemed to express cold superiority and disdain. It was only the door of a former student, one of his old boys, whom, as the need arrived, he had whipped with his satire in the class rooms at Washurst until the mental blood had come, and all without a conception of his ultimately arriving before the door of this boy in the attitude of a supplicant. Hewould not say it; Coleman probably would not say it; but-they would both know it. A single thought of it, made him feel like running away. He would never dare to knock on that door. It would be too monstrous. And even as he decided that he was afraid to knock, he knocked.

Coleman's voice said; "Come in." The professor opened the door. The correspondent, without a coat, was seated at a paper-littered table. Near his elbow, upon another table, was a tray from which he had evidently dined and also a brandy bottle with several recumbent bottles of soda. Although he had so lately arrived at the hotel he had contrived to diffuse his traps over the room in an organised disarray which represented a long and careless occupation if it did not represent t'le scene of a scuffle. His pipe was in his mouth.

After a first murmur of surprise, he arose and reached in some haste for his coat. " Come in, professor, come in," he cried, wriggling deeper into his jacket as he held out his hand. He had laid aside his pipe and had also been very successful in flinging a newspaper so that it hid the brandy and soda. This act was a feat of deference to the professor's well known principles.

"Won't you sit down, sir ? " said Coleman cordially. His quick glance of surprise had been immediately suppressed and his manner was now as if the pro- fessor's call was a common matter.

" Thank you, Mr. Coleman, I-yes, I will sit down,". replied the old man. His hand shook as he laid it on the back of the chair and steadied himself down into it. " Thank you!" -

Coleman looked at him with a great deal of ex- pectation.

" Mr. Coleman ! "

"Yes, sir."

" I—"

He halted then and passed his hand over his face. His eyes did not seem to rest once upon Coleman, but they occupied themselves in furtive and frightened glances over the room. Coleman could make neither head nor tail of the affair. He would not have believed any man's statement that the professor could act in such an extraordinary fashion. " Yes, sir," he said again suggestively. The simple strategy resulted in a silence that was actually awkward. Coleman, despite his bewilderment, hastened into a preserving gossip. " I've had a great many cables waiting for me for heaven knows- how long and others have been arriving in flocks to-night. You have no idea of the row in America, professor. Why, everybody must have gone wild over the lost sheep. My paper has cabled some things that are evidently for you. For instance, here is one that says a new puzzle-game called Find the Wainwright Party has had a big success. Think of that, would you." Coleman grinned at the professor. " Find the Wainwright Party, a new puzzle-game."

The professor had seemed grateful for Coleman's tangent off into matters of a light vein. " Yes?" he said, almost eagerly. " Are they selling a game really called that?"

" Yes, really," replied Coleman. " And of course you know that-er-well, all the Sunday papers would of course have big illustrated articles-full pages- with your photographs and general private histories pertaining mostly to things which are none of their business." " Yes, I suppose they would do that," admitted the professor. " But I dare say it may not be as bad as you suggest."

" Very like not," said Coleman. " I put it to you forcibly so that in the future the blow will not be too cruel. They are often a weird lot."

" Perhaps they can't find anything very bad about us."

" Oh, no. And besides the whole episode will probably be forgotten by the time you return to the United States."

They talked onin this way slowly, strainedly, until they each found that the situation would soon become insupportable. The professor had come for a distinct purpose and Coleman knew it; they could not sit there lying at each other forever. Yet when he saw the pain deepening in the professor's eyes, the correspondent again ordered up his trivialities. " Funny thing. My paper has been congratulating me, you know, sir, in a wholesale fashion, and I think-I feel sure-that they have been exploiting my name all over the country as the Heroic Rescuer. There is no sense in trying to stop them, because they don't care whether it is true or not true. All they want is the privilege of howling out that their correspondent rescued you, and they would take that privilege without in any ways worrying if I refused my consent. You see, sir? I wouldn't like you to feel that I was such a strident idiot as I doubtless am appearing now before the public."

" No," said the professor absently. It was plain that he had been a very slack listener. " I-Mr. Coleman-" he began.

"Yes, sir," answered Coleman promptly and gently.

It was obviously only a recognition of the futility of further dallying that was driving the old man on- ward. He knew, of course, that if he was resolved to take this step, a longer delay would simply make it harder for him. The correspondent, leaning forward, was watching him almost breathlessly.

" Mr. Coleman, I understand-or at least I am led to believe-that you-at one time, proposed marriage to my daughter? "

The faltering words did not sound as if either man had aught to do with them. They were an expression by the tragic muse herself. Coleman's jaw fell and he looked glassily at the professor. He said: "Yes!" But already his blood was leaping as his mind flashed everywhere in speculation.

" I refused my consent to that marriage," said the old man more easily. " I do not know if the matter has remained important to you, but at any rate, I-I retract my refusal."

Suddenly the blank expression left Coleman's face and he smiled with sudden intelligence, as if informa- tion of what the professor had been saying had just reached him. In this smile there was a sudden be. trayal, too, of something keen and bitter which had lain hidden in the man's mind. He arose and made a step towards the professor and held out his hand. "Sir, I thank yod from the bottom of my heart!" And they both seemed to note with surprise that Coleman's voice had broken.

The professor had arisen to receive Coleman's hand. His nerve was now of iron and he was very formal. " I judge from your tone that I have not made a mis- take-somcthing which I feared." Coleman did not seem to mind the professor's formality. " Don't fear anything. Won't you sit down again? Will you have a cigar. * * No, I couldn't tell you how glad I am. How glad I am. I feel like a fool. It—"

But the professor fixed him with an Arctic eye and bluntly said: " You love her ? "

The question steadied Coleman at once. He looked undauntedly straight into the professor's face. He simply said: " I love her! "

" You love her ? " repeated the professor.

" I love her," repeated Coleman.

After some seconds of pregnant silence, the professor arose. " Well, if she cares to give her life to you I will allow it, but I must say that I do not consider you nearly good enough. Good-night." He smiled faintly as he held out his hand.

" Good-night, sir," said Coleman. " And I can't tell, you, now-"

Mrs. Wainwright, in her room was languishing in a chair and applying to her brow a handkerch-ief wet with cologne water. She, kept her feverish glarice upon the door. Remembering well the manner of her husband when he went out she could hardly identify him when he came in. Serenity, composure, even self-satisfaction, was written upon him. He, paid no attention to her, but going to a chair sat down with a groan of contentment.

" Well ? " cried Mrs. Wainwright, starting up. " Well ? " " Well-what ? " he asked.

She waved her hand impatiently. " Harrison, don't be absurd. You know perfectly well what I mean. It is a pity you couldn't think of the anxiety I have been in." She was going to weep.

"Oh, I'll tell you after awhile," he said stretching out his legs with the complacency of a rich merchant after a successful day.

"No! Tell me now," she implored him. "Can't you see I've worried myself nearly to death?" She was not going to weep, she was going to wax angry.

"Well, to tell the truth," said the professor with considerable pomposity, " I've arranged it. Didn't think I could do it at first, but it turned out "

"I Arranged it,"' wailed Mrs. Wainwright. " Arranged what? "

It here seemed to strike the professor suddenly that he was not such a flaming example for diplomatists as he might have imagined. " Arranged," he stammered. " Arranged ."

" Arranged what? "

" Why, I fixed-I fixed it up."

" Fixed what up? "

"It-it-" began the professor. Then he swelled with indignation. " Why, can't you understand anything at all? I-I fixed it."

" Fixed what? "

" Fixed it. Fixed it with Coleman."

" Fixed what with Coleman?

The professor's wrath now took control of him. "Thunder and lightenin' ! You seem to jump at the conclusion that I've made some horrible mistake. For goodness' sake, give me credit for a particle of sense."

" What did you do? " she asked in a sepulchral voice.

" Well," said the professor, in a burning defiance, " I'll tell you what I did. I went to Coleman and told him that once-as he of course knew-I had re- fused his marriage with my daughter, but that now—-"

" Grrr," said Mrs. Wainwright.

" But that now-" continued the professor, " I retracted that refusal." " Mercy on us! " cried Mrs. Wainwright, throwing herself back in the chair. " Mercy on us! What fools men are!"

" Now, wait a minute-" But Mrs. Wainwright began to croon: " Oh, if Marjory should hear of this! Oh, if she should hear of it! just let her. Hear-" " But she must not," cried the professor, tigerishly. just you dare! " And the woman saw before her a man whose eyes were lit with a flame which almost expressed a temporary hatred.

The professor had left Coleman so abruptly that the correspondent found himself murmuring half. coherent gratitude to the closed door of his room. Amazement soon began to be mastered by exultation. He flung himself upon the brandy and soda and nego- tiated a strong glass. Pacing. the room with nervous steps, he caught a vision of himself in a tall mirror. He halted before it. " Well, well," he said. " Rufus, you're a grand man. There is not your equal anywhere. You are a great, bold, strong player, fit to sit down to a game with the -best."

A moment later it struck him that he had appropriated too much. If the professor had paid him a visit and made a wonderful announcement, he, Coleman, had not been the engine of it. And then he enunciated clearly something in his mind which, even in a vague form, had been responsible for much of his early elation. Marjory herself had compassed this thing. With shame he rejected a first wild and preposterous idea that she had sent her father to him. He reflected that a man who for an instant could conceive such a thing was a natural-born idiot. With an equal feeling, he rejected also an idea that she could have known anything of her father's purpose. If she had known of his purpose, there would have been no visit.

What, then, was the cause? Coleman soon decided that the professor had witnessed some demonstration of Marjory's emotion which had been sufficiently severe in its character to force him to the extraordinary visit. But then this also was wild and preposterous. That coldly beautiful goddess would not have given a demonstration of emotion over Rufus Coleman sufficiently alarming to have forced her father on such an errand. That was impossible. No, he was wrong; Marjory even indirectly, could not be connected with the visit. As he arrived at this decision, the enthusiasm passed out of him and he wore a doleful, monkish face.

"Well, what, then, was the cause?" After eliminating Marjory from the discussion waging in his mind, he found it hard to hit upon anything rational. The only remaining theory was to the effect that the professor, having a very high sense of the correspond. ent's help in the escape of the Wainwright party, had decided that the only way to express his gratitude was to revoke a certain decision which he now could see had been unfair. The retort to this theory seemed to be that if the professor had had such a fine conception of the services rendered by Coleman, he had had ample time to display his appreciation on the road to Arta and on the road down from Arta. There was no necessity for his waiting until their arrival in Athens. It was impossible to concede that the professor's emotion could be anew one; if he had it now, he must have had it in far stronger measure directly after he had been hauled out of danger.

So, it may be seen that after Coleman had eliminated Marjory from the discussion that was waging in his mind, he had practically succeeded in eliminating the professor as well. This, he thought, mournfully, was eliminating with a vengeance. If he dissolved all the factors he could hardly proceed.

The mind of a lover moves in a circle, or at least on a more circular course than other minds, some of which at times even seem to move almost in a straight line. Presently, Coleman was at the point where he bad started, and he did not pause until he reached that theory which asserted that the professor had been inspired to his visit by some sight or knowledge of Marjory in distress. Of course, Coleman was wistfully desirous of proving to himself the truth of this theory.

The palpable agitation of the professor during the interview seemed to support it. If he had come on a mere journey of conscience, he would have hardly appeared as a white and trembling old, man. But then, said Coleman, he himself probably exaggerated this idea of the professor's appearance. It might have been that he was only sour and distressed over the performance of a very disagreeable duty.

The correspondent paced his room and smoked. Sometimes he halted at the little table where was the brandy and soda. He thought so hard that sometimes it seemed that Marjory had been to him to propose marriage, and at other times it seemed that there had been no visit from any one at all.

A desire to talk to somebody was upon him. He strolled down stairs and into the smoking and reading rooms, hoping to see a man he knew, even if it were Coke. But the only occupants were two strangers, furiously debating the war. Passing the minister's room, Coleman saw that there was a light within, and he could not forbear knocking. He was bidden to enter, and opened the door upon the minister, care- fully reading his Spectator fresh from London. He looked up and seemed very glad. "How are you?" he cried. "I was tremendously anxious to see you, do you know! I looked for you to dine with me to-night, but you were not down?" "No ; I had a great deal of work."

" Over the Wainwright affair? By the way, I want you to accept my personal thanks for that work. In a week more I would have gone demented and spent the rest of my life in some kind of a cage, shaking the bars and howling out State Department messages about the Wainwrights. You see, in my territory there are no missionaries to get into trouble, and I was living a life of undisturbed and innocent calm, ridiculing the sentiments of men from Smyrna and other interesting towns who maintained that the diplomatic service was exciting. However, when the Wainwright party got lost, my life at once became active. I was all but helpless, too; which was the worst of it. I suppose Terry at Constantinople must have got grandly stirred up, also. Pity he can't see you to thank you for saving him from probably going mad. By the way," he added, while looking keenly at Coleman, " the Wainwrights don't seem to be smothering you with gratitude? "

" Oh, as much as I deserve-sometimes more," answered Coleman. " My exploit was more or less of a fake, you know. I was between the lines by accident, or through the efforts of that blockhead of a dragoman. I didn't intend it. And then, in the night, when we were waiting in the road because of a fight, they almost bunked into us. That's all."

"They tell it better," said the minister, severely. " Especially the youngsters." "Those kids got into a high old fight at a town up there beyond Agrinion. Tell you about that, did they? I thought not. Clever kids. You have noted that there are signs of a few bruises and scratches?" " Yes, but I didn't ask-" " Well, they are from the fight. It seems the people took us for Germans, and there was an awful palaver, which ended in a proper and handsome shindig. It raised the town, I tell you."

The minister sighed in mock despair. " Take these people home, will you ? Or at any rate, conduct them out of the field of my responsibility. Now, they would like Italy immensely, I am sure."

Coleman laughed, and they smoked for a time.

" That's a charming girl-Miss Wainwright," said the minister, musingly. "And what a beauty! It does my exiled eyes good to see her. I suppose all those youngsters are madly in love with her ? I don't see how they could help it."

" Yes," said Coleman, glumly. " More than half of them."

The minister seemed struck with a sudden thought. " You ought to try to win that splendid prize yourself. The rescuer ! Perseus! What more fitting? " Coleman answered calmly: "Well * * * I think I'll take your advice."

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