Susan Lenox: Her Rise and Fall by David Graham Phillips
At the hotel again; she went to Burlingham's room, gathered his belongings--his suit, his well-worn, twice-tapped shoes, his one extra suit of underclothes, a soiled shirt, two dickeys and cuffs, his whisk broom, toothbrush, a box of blacking, the blacking brush. She made the package as compact as she could--it was still a formidable bundle both for size and weight--and carried it into her room. Then she rolled into a small parcel her own possessions--two blouses, an undervest, a pair of stockings, a nightgown--reminder of Bethlehem and her brief sip at the cup of success--a few toilet articles. With the two bundles she descended to the office.
"I came to say," she said calmly to the clerk, "that we have no money to pay what we owe. Mr. Burlingham is at the hospital--very sick with typhoid. Here is a dollar and eighty cents. You can have that, but I'd like to keep it, as it's all we've got."
The clerk called the manager, and to him Susan repeated. She used almost the same words; she spoke in the same calm, monotonous way. When she finished, the manager, a small, brisk man with a large brisk beard, said:
"No. Keep the money. I'd like to ask you to stay on. But we run this place for a class of people who haven't much at best and keep wobbling back and forth across the line. If I broke my rule----"
He made a furious gesture, looked at the girl angrily--holding her responsible for his being in a position where he must do violence to every decent instinct--"My God, miss, I've got a wife and children to look after. If I ran my hotel on sympathy, what'd become of them?"
"I wouldn't take anything I couldn't pay for," said Susan. "As soon as I earn some money----"
"Don't worry about that," interrupted the manager. He saw now that he was dealing with one who would in no circumstances become troublesome; he went on in an easier tone: "You can stay till the house fills up."
"Could you give me a place to wait on table and clean up rooms--or help cook?"
"No, I don't need anybody. The town's full of people out of work. You can't ask me to turn away----"
"Please--I didn't know," cried the girl.
"Anyhow, I couldn't give but twelve a month and board," continued the manager. "And the work--for a lady like you----"
A lady! She dropped her gaze in confusion. If he knew about her birth!
"I'll do anything. I'm not a lady," said she. "But I've got to have at least ten a week in cash."
"No such place here." The manager was glad to find the fault of uppish ideas in this girl who was making it hard for him to be businesslike. "No such place anywhere for a beginner."
"I must have it," said the girl.
"I don't want to discourage you, but----" He was speaking less curtly, for her expression made him suspect why she was bent upon that particular amount. "I hope you'll succeed. Only--don't be depressed if you're disappointed."
She smiled gravely at him; he bowed, avoiding her eyes. She took up her bundles and went out into Walnut Street. He moved a few steps in obedience to an impulse to follow her, to give her counsel and warning, to offer to help her about the larger bundle. But he checked himself with the frown of his own not too prosperous affairs.
It was the hottest part of the day, and her way lay along unshaded streets. As she had eaten nothing since the night before, she felt faint. Her face was ghastly when she entered the office of the hospital and left Burlingham's parcel. The clerk at the desk told her that Burlingham was in the same condition--"and there'll be probably no change one way or the other for several days."
She returned to the street, wandered aimlessly about. She knew she ought to eat something, but the idea of food revolted her. She was fighting the temptation to go to the Commercial office, Roderick Spenser's office. She had not a suspicion that his kindness might have been impulse, long since repented of, perhaps repented of as soon as he was away from her. She felt that if she went to him he would help her. "But I mustn't do it," she said to herself. "Not after what I did." No, she must not see him until she could pay him back. Also, and deeper, there was a feeling that there was a curse upon her; had not everyone who befriended her come to grief? She must not draw anyone else into trouble, must not tangle others in the meshes of her misfortunes. She did not reason this out, of course; but the feeling was not the less strong because the reasons for it were vague in her mind. And there was nothing vague about the resolve to which she finally came--that she would fight her battle herself.
Her unheeding wanderings led her after an hour or so to a big department store. Crowds of shoppers, mussy, hot, and cross, were pushing rudely in and out of the doors. She entered, approached a well-dressed, bareheaded old gentleman, whom she rightly placed as floorwalker, inquired of him:
"Where do they ask for work?"
She had been attracted to him because his was the one face within view not suggesting temper or at least bad humor. It was more than pleasant, it was benign. He inclined toward Susan with an air that invited confidence and application for balm for a wounded spirit. The instant the nature of her inquiry penetrated through his pose to the man himself, there was a swift change to lofty disdain--the familiar attitude of workers toward fellow-workers of what they regard as a lower class. Evidently he resented her having beguiled him by the false air of young lady into wasting upon her, mere servility like himself, a display reserved exclusively for patrons. It was Susan's first experience of this snobbishness; it at once humbled her into the dust. She had been put in her place, and that place was not among people worthy of civil treatment. A girl of his own class would have flashed at him, probably would have "jawed" him. Susan meekly submitted; she was once more reminded that she was an outcast, one for whom the respectable world had no place. He made some sort of reply to her question, in the tone the usher of a fashionable church would use to a stranger obviously not in the same set as the habitues. She heard the tone, but not the words; she turned away to seek the street again. She wandered on--through the labyrinth of streets, through the crowds on crowds of strangers.
Ten dollars a week! She knew little about wages, but enough to realize the hopelessness of her quest. Ten dollars a week--and her own keep beside. The faces of the crowds pushing past her and jostling her made her heartsick. So much sickness, and harassment, and discontent--so much unhappiness! Surely all these sad hearts ought to be kind to each other. Yet they were not; each soul went selfishly alone, thinking only of its own burden.
She walked on and on, thinking, in this disconnected way characteristic of a good intelligence that has not yet developed order and sequence, a theory of life and a purpose. It had always been her habit to walk about rather than to sit, whether indoors or out. She could think better when in motion physically. When she was so tired that she began to feel weak, she saw a shaded square, with benches under the trees. She entered, sat down to rest. She might apply to the young doctor. But, no. He was poor--and what chance was there of her ever making the money to pay back? No, she could not take alms; than alms there was no lower way of getting money. She might return to Mr. Blynn and accept his offer. The man in all his physical horror rose before her. No, she could not do that. At least, not yet. She could entertain the idea as a possibility now. She remembered her wedding--the afternoon, the night. Yes, Blynn's offer involved nothing so horrible as that--and she had lived through that. It would be cowardice, treachery, to shrink from anything that should prove necessary in doing the square thing by the man who had done so much for her. She had said she would die for Burlingham; she owed even that to him, if her death would help him. Had she then meant nothing but mere lying words of pretended gratitude? But Blynn was always there; something else might turn up, and her dollar and eighty cents would last another day or so, and the ten dollars were not due for six days. No, she would not go to Blynn; she would wait, would take his advice--"think it over."
A man was walking up and down the shaded alley, passing and repassing the bench where she sat. She observed him, saw that he was watching her. He was a young man--a very young man--of middle height, strongly built. He had crisp, short dark hair, a darkish skin, amiable blue-gray eyes, pleasing features. She decided that he was of good family, was home from some college on vacation. He was wearing a silk shirt, striped flannel trousers, a thin serge coat of an attractive shade of blue. She liked his looks, liked the way he dressed. It pleased her that such a man should be interested in her; he had a frank and friendly air, and her sad young heart was horribly lonely. She pretended not to notice him; but after a while he walked up to her, lifting his straw hat.
"Good afternoon," said he. When he showed his strong sharp teeth in an amiable smile, she thought of Sam Wright--only this man was not weak and mean looking, like her last and truest memory picture of Sam--indeed, the only one she had not lost. "Good afternoon," replied she politely. For in spite of Burlingham's explanations and cautionings she was still the small-town girl, unsuspicious toward courtesy from strange men. Also, she longed for someone to talk with. It had been weeks since she had talked with anyone nearer than Burlingham to her own age and breeding.
"Won't you have lunch with me?" he asked. "I hate to eat alone."
She, faint from hunger, simply could not help obvious hesitation before saying, "I don't think I care for any."
"You haven't had yours--have you?"
"May I sit down?"
She moved along the bench to indicate that he might, without definitely committing herself.
He sat, took off his hat. He had a clean, fresh look about the neck that pleased her. She was weary of seeing grimy, sweaty people, and of smelling them. Also, except the young doctor, since Roderick Spenser left her at Carrolltown she had talked with no one of her own age and class--the class in which she had been brought up, the class that, after making her one of itself, had cast her out forever with its mark of shame upon her. Its mark of shame--burning and stinging again as she sat beside this young man!
"You're sad about something?" suggested he, himself nearly as embarrassed as she.
"My friend's ill. He's got typhoid."
"That is bad. But he'll get all right. They always cure typhoid, nowadays--if it's taken in time and the nursing's good. Everything depends on the nursing. I had it a couple of years ago, and pulled through easily."
Susan brightened. He spoke so confidently that the appeal to her young credulity toward good news and the hopeful, cheerful thing was irresistible. "Oh, yes--he'll be over it soon," the young man went on, "especially if he's in a hospital where they've got the facilities for taking care of sick people. Where is he?"
"In the hospital--up that way." She moved her head vaguely in the direction of the northwest.
"Oh, yes. It's a good one--for the pay patients. I suppose for the poor devils that can't pay"--he glanced with careless sympathy at the dozen or so tramps on benches nearby--"it's like all the rest of 'em--like the whole world, for that matter. It must be awful not to have money enough to get on with, I mean. I'm talking about men." He smiled cheerfully. "With a woman--if she's pretty--it's different, of course."
The girl was so agitated that she did not notice the sly, if shy, hint in the remark and its accompanying glance. Said she:
"But it's a good hospital if you pay?"
"None better. Maybe it's good straight through. I've only heard the servants' talk--and servants are such liars. Still--I'd not want to trust myself to a hospital unless I could pay. I guess the common people have good reason for their horror of free wards. Nothing free is ever good."
The girl's face suddenly and startlingly grew almost hard, so fierce was the resolve that formed within her. The money must be got--must!--and would. She would try every way she could think of between now and to-morrow; then--if she failed she would go to Blynn.
The young man was saying: "You're a stranger in town?"
"I was with a theatrical company on a show boat. It sank."
His embarrassment vanished. She saw, but she did not understand that it was because he thought he had "placed" her--and that her place was where he had hoped.
"You are up against it!" said he. "Come have some lunch. You'll feel better."
The good sense of this was unanswerable. Susan hesitated no longer, wondered why she had hesitated at first. "Well--I guess I will." And she rose with a frank, childlike alacrity that amused him immensely.
"You don't look it, but you've been about some--haven't you?"
"Rather," replied she.
"I somehow thought you knew a thing or two."
They walked west to Race Street. They were about the same height. Her costume might have been fresher, might have suggested to an expert eye the passed-on clothes of a richer relative; but her carriage and the fine look of skin and hair and features made the defects of dress unimportant. She seemed of his class--of the class comfortable, well educated, and well-bred. If she had been more experienced, she would have seen that he was satisfied with her appearance despite the curious looking little package, and would have been flattered. As it was, her interest was absorbed in things apart from herself. He talked about the town--the amusements, the good times to be had at the over-the-Rhine beer halls, at the hilltop gardens, at the dances in the pavilion out at the Zoo. He drew a lively and charming picture, one that appealed to her healthy youth, to her unsatisfied curiosity, to her passionate desire to live the gay, free city life of which the small town reads and dreams.
"You and I can go round together, can't we? I haven't got much, but I'll not try to take your time for nothing, of course. That wouldn't be square. I'm sure you'll have no cause to complain. What do you say?"
"Maybe," replied the girl, all at once absentminded. Her brain was wildly busy with some ideas started there by his significant words, by his flirtatious glances at her, by his way of touching her whenever he could make opportunity. Evidently there was an alternative to Blynn.
"You like a good time, don't you?" said he.
"Rather!" exclaimed she, the violet eyes suddenly very violet indeed and sparkling. Her spirits had suddenly soared. She was acting like one of her age. With that blessed happy hopefulness of healthy youth, she had put aside her sorrows--not because she was frivolous but for the best of all reasons, because she was young and superbly vital. Said she: "I'm crazy about dancing--and music."
"I only needed to look at your feet--and ankles--to know that," ventured he the "ankles" being especially audacious.
She was pleased, and in youth's foolish way tried to hide her pleasure by saying, "My feet aren't exactly small."
"I should say not!" protested he with energy. "Little feet would look like the mischief on a girl as tall as you are. Yes, we can have a lot of fun."
They went into a large restaurant with fly fans speeding. Susan thought it very grand--and it was the grandest restaurant she had ever been in. They sat down--in a delightfully cool place by a window looking out on a little plot of green with a colladium, a fountain, some oleanders in full and fragrant bloom; the young man ordered, with an ease that fascinated her, an elaborate lunch--soup, a chicken, with salad, ice cream, and fresh peaches. Susan had a menu in her hand and as he ordered she noted the prices. She was dazzled by his extravagance--dazzled and frightened--and, in a curious, vague, unnerving way, fascinated. Money--the thing she must have for Burlingham in whose case "everything depended on the nursing." In the brief time this boy and she had been together, he, without making an effort to impress, had given her the feeling that he was of the best city class, that he knew the world--the high world. Thus, she felt that she must be careful not to show her "greenness." She would have liked to protest against his extravagance, but she ventured only the timid remonstrance, "Oh, I'm not a bit hungry."
She thought she was speaking the truth, for the ideas whirling so fast that they were dim quite took away the sense of hunger. But when the food came she discovered that she was, on the contrary, ravenous--and she ate with rising spirits, with a feeling of content and hope. He had urged her to drink wine or beer, but she refused to take anything but a glass of milk; and he ended by taking milk himself. He was looking more and more boldly and ardently into her eyes, and she received his glances smilingly. She felt thoroughly at ease and at home, as if she were back once more among her own sort of people--with some element of disagreeable constraint left out.
Since she was an outcast, she need not bother about the small restraints the girls felt compelled to put upon themselves in the company of boys. Nobody respected a "bastard," as they called her when they spoke frankly. So with nothing to lose she could at least get what pleasure there was in freedom. She liked it, having this handsome, well-dressed young man making love to her in this grand restaurant where things were so good to eat and so excitingly expensive. He would not regard her as fit to associate with his respectable mother and sisters. In the casts of respectability, her place was with Jeb Ferguson! She was better off, clear of the whole unjust and horrible business of respectable life, clear of it and free, frankly in the outcast class. She had not realized--and she did not realize--that association with the players of the show boat had made any especial change in her; in fact, it had loosened to the sloughing point the whole skin of her conventional training--that surface skin which seems part of the very essence of our being until something happens to force us to shed it. Crises, catastrophes, may scratch that skin, or cut clear through it; but only the gentle, steady, everywhere-acting prying-loose of day and night association can change it from a skin to a loose envelope ready to be shed at any moment.
"What are you going to do?" asked the young man, when the acquaintance had become a friendship--which was before the peaches and ice cream were served.
"I don't, know " said the girl, with the secretive instinct of self-reliance hiding the unhappiness his abrupt question set to throbbing again.
"Honestly, I've never met anyone that was so congenial. But maybe you don't feel that way?"
"Then again maybe I do," rejoined she, forcing a merry smile.
His face flushed with embarrassment, but his eyes grew more ardent as he said: "What were you looking for, when I saw you in Garfield Place?"
"Was that Garfield Place?" she asked, in evasion.
"Yes." And he insisted, "What were you looking for?"
"What were you looking for?"
"For a pretty girl." They both laughed. "And I've found her. I'm suited if you are. . . . Don't look so serious. You haven't answered my question."
"I'm looking for work."
He smiled as if it were a joke. "You mean for a place on the stage. That isn't work. You couldn't work. I can see that at a glance."
"Oh, you haven't been brought up to that kind of life. You'd hate it in every way. And they don't pay women anything for work. My father employs a lot of them. Most of his girls live at home. That keeps the wages down, and the others have to piece out with"--he smiled--"one thing and another."
Susan sat gazing straight before her. "I've not had much experience," she finally said, thoughtfully. "I guess I don't know what I'm about."
The young man leaned toward her, his face flushing with earnestness. "You don't know how pretty you are. I wish my father wasn't so close with me. I'd not let you ever speak of work again--even on the stage. What good times we could have!"
"I must be going," said she, rising. Her whole body was alternately hot and cold. In her brain, less vague now, were the ideas Mabel Connemora had opened up for her.
"Oh, bother!" exclaimed he. "Sit down a minute. You misunderstood me. I don't mean I'm flat broke."
Susan hastily reseated herself, showing her confusion. "I wasn't thinking of that."
"Then--what were you thinking of?"
"I don't know," she replied--truthfully, for she could not have put into words anything definite about the struggle raging in her like a battle in a fog. "I often don't exactly know what I'm thinking about. I somehow can't--can't fit it together--yet."
"Do you suppose," he went on, as if she had not spoken, "do you suppose I don't understand? I know you can't afford to let me take your time for nothing. . . . Don't you like me a little?"
She looked at him with grave friendliness. "Yes." Then, seized with a terror which her habitual manner of calm concealed from him, she rose again.
"Why shouldn't it be me as well as another?. . . At least sit down till I pay the bill."
She seated herself, stared at her plate.
"Now what are you thinking about?" he asked.
"I don't know exactly. Nothing much."
The waiter brought the bill. The young man merely glanced at the total, drew a small roll of money from his trousers pocket, put a five-dollar note on the tray with the bill. Susan's eyes opened wide when the waiter returned with only two quarters and a dime. She glanced furtively at the young man, to see if he, too, was not disconcerted. He waved the tray carelessly aside; the waiter said "Thank you," in a matter-of-course way, dropped the sixty cents into his pocket. The waiter's tip was by itself almost as much as she had ever seen paid out for a meal for two persons.
"Now, where shall we go?" asked the young man.
Susan did not lift her eyes. He leaned toward her, took her hand. "You're different from the sort a fellow usually finds," said he. "And I'm--I'm crazy about you. Let's go," said he.
Susan took her bundle, followed him. She glanced up the street and down. She had an impulse to say she must go away alone; it was not strong enough to frame a sentence, much less express her thought. She was seeing queer, vivid, apparently disconnected visions--Burlingham, sick unto death, on the stretcher in the hospital reception room--Blynn of the hideous face and loose, repulsive body--the contemptuous old gentleman in the shop--odds and ends of the things Mabel Connemora had told her--the roll of bills the young man had taken from his pocket when he paid--Jeb Ferguson in the climax of the horrors of that wedding day and night. They went to Garfield Place, turned west, paused after a block or so at a little frame house set somewhat back from the street. The young man, who had been as silent as she--but nervous instead of preoccupied--opened the gate in the picket fence.
"This is a first-class quiet place," said he, embarrassed but trying to appear at ease.
Susan hesitated. She must somehow nerve herself to speak of money, to say to him that she needed ten dollars--that she must have it. If she did not speak--if she got nothing for Mr. Burlingham--or almost nothing--and probably men didn't give women much--if she were going with him--to endure again the horrors and the degradation she had suffered from Mr. Ferguson--if it should be in vain! This nice young man didn't suggest Mr. Ferguson in any way. But there was such a mystery about men--they had a way of changing so--Sam Wright--Uncle George even Mr. Ferguson hadn't seemed capable of torturing a helpless girl for no reason at all----
"We can't stand here," the young man was saying.
She tried to speak about the ten dollars. She simply could not force out the words. With brain in a whirl, with blood beating suffocatingly into her throat and lungs, but giving no outward sign of agitation, she entered the gate. There was a low, old-fashioned porch along the side of the house, with an awning curiously placed at the end toward the street. When they ascended the steps under the awning, they were screened from the street. The young man pulled a knob. A bell within tinkled faintly; Susan started, shivered. But the young man, looking straight at the door, did not see. A colored girl with a pleasant, welcoming face opened, stood aside for them to enter. He went straight up the stairs directly ahead, and Susan followed. At the threshold the trembling girl looked round in terror. She expected to see a place like that foul, close little farm bedroom--for it seemed to her that at such times men must seek some dreadful place--vile, dim, fitting. She was in a small, attractively furnished room, with a bow window looking upon the yard and the street. The furniture reminded her of her own room at her uncle's in Sutherland, except that the brass bed was far finer. He closed the door and locked it.
As he advanced toward her he said: "What are you seeing? Please don't look like that." Persuasively, "You weren't thinking of me--were you?"
"No--Oh, no," replied she, passing her hand over her eyes to try to drive away the vision of Ferguson.
"You look as if you expected to be murdered. Do you want to go?"
She forced herself to seem calm. "What a coward I am!" she said to herself. "If I could only die for him, instead of this. But I can't. And I must get money for him."
To the young man she said: "No. I--I--want to stay."
Late in the afternoon, when they were once more in the street, he said. "I'd ask you to go to dinner with me, but I haven't enough money."
She stopped short. An awful look came into her face.
"Don't be alarmed," cried he, hurried and nervous, and blushing furiously. "I put the--the present for you in that funny little bundle of yours, under one of the folds of the nightgown or whatever it is you've got wrapped on the outside. I didn't like to hand it to you. I've a feeling somehow that you're not regularly--that kind."
"Was it--ten dollars?" she said, and for all he could see she was absolutely calm.
"Yes," replied he, with a look of relief followed by a smile of amused tenderness.
"I can't make you out," he went on. "You're a queer one. You've had a look in your eyes all afternoon--well, if I hadn't been sure you were experienced, you'd almost have frightened me away."
"Yes, I've had experience. The--the worst," said the girl.
"You--you attract me awfully; you've got--well, everything that's nice about a woman--and at the same time, there's something in your eyes----Are you very fond of your friend?"
"He's all I've got in the world."
"I suppose it's his being sick that makes you look and act so queer?"
"I don't know what's the matter with me," she said slowly. "I--don't know."
"I want to see you again--soon. What's your address?"
"I haven't any. I've got to look for a place to live."
"Well, you can give me the place you did live. I'll write you there, Lorna. You didn't ask me my name when I asked you yours. You've hardly said anything. Are you always quiet like this?"
"No--not always. At Least, I haven't been."
"No. You weren't, part of the time this afternoon--at the restaurant. Tell me, what are you thinking about all the time? You're very secretive. Why don't you tell me? Don't you know I like you?"
"I don't know," said the girl in a slow dazed way. "I--don't--know."
"I wouldn't take your time for nothing," he went on, after a pause. "My father doesn't give me much money, but I think I'll have some more day after tomorrow. Can I see you then?"
"I don't know."
He laughed. "You said that before. Day after tomorrow afternoon--in the same place. No matter if it's raining. I'll be there first--at three. Will you come?"
"If I can."
She made a movement to go. But still he detained her. He colored high again, in the struggle between the impulses of his generous youth and the fear of being absurd with a girl he had picked up in the street. He looked at her searchingly, wistfully. "I know it's your life, but--I hate to think of it," he went on. "You're far too nice. I don't see how you happened to be in--in this line. Still, what else is there for a girl, when she's up against it? I've often thought of those things--and I don't feel about them as most people do. . . . I'm curious about you. You'll pardon me, won't you? I'm afraid I'll fall in love with you, if I see you often. You won't fail to come day after tomorrow?"
"If I can."
"Don't you want to see me again?"
She did not speak or lift her eyes.
"You like me, don't you?"
Still no answer.
"You don't want to be questioned?"
"No," said the girl.
"Where are you going now?"
"To the hospital."
"May I walk up there with you? I live in Clifton. I can go home that way."
"I'd rather you didn't."
"Then--good-by--till day after tomorrow at three." He put out his hand; he had to reach for hers and take it. "You're not--not angry with me?"
His eyes lingered tenderly upon her. "You are so sweet! You don't know how I want to kiss you. Are you sorry to go--sorry to leave me--just a little?. . . I forgot. You don't like to be questioned. Well, good-by, dear."
"Good-by," she said; and still without lifting her gaze from the ground she turned away, walked slowly westward.
She had not reached the next street to the north when she suddenly felt that if she did not sit she would drop. She lifted her eyes for an instant to glance furtively round. She saw a house with stone steps leading up to the front doors; there was a "for rent" sign in one of the close-shuttered parlor windows. She seated herself, supported the upper part of her weary body by resting her elbows on her knees. Her bundle had rolled to the sidewalk at her feet. A passing man picked it up, handed it to her, with a polite bow. She looked at him vaguely, took the bundle as if she were not sure it was hers.
"Heat been too much for you, miss?" asked the man.
She shook her head. He lingered, talking volubly--about the weather--then about how cool it was on the hilltops. "We might go up to the Bellevue," he finally suggested, "if you've nothing better to do."
"No, thank you," she said.
"I'll go anywhere you like. I've got a little money that I don't care to keep."
She shook her head.
"I don't mean anything bad," he hastened to suggest--because that would bring up the subject in discussable form.
"I can't go with you," said the girl drearily. "Don't bother me, please."
"Oh--excuse me." And the man went on.
Susan turned the bundle over in her lap, thrust her fingers slowly and deliberately into the fold of the soiled blouse which was on the outside. She drew out the money. A ten and two fives. Enough to keep his room at the hospital for two weeks. No, for she must live, herself. Enough to give him a room one week longer and to enable her to live two weeks at least. . . . And day after tomorrow--more. Perhaps, soon--enough to see him through the typhoid. She put the money in her bosom, rose and went on toward the hospital. She no longer felt weary, and the sensation of a wound that might ache if she were not so numb passed away.
A clerk she had not seen before was at the barrier desk. "I came to ask how Mr. Burlingham is," said she.
The clerk yawned, drew a large book toward him. "Burlingham--B--Bu--Bur----" he said half to himself, turning over the leaves. "Yes--here he is." He looked at her. "You his daughter?"
"No, I'm a friend."
"Oh--then--he died at five o'clock--an hour ago."
He looked up--saw her eyes--only her eyes. They were a deep violet now, large, shining with tragic softness--like the eyes of an angel that has lost its birthright through no fault of its own. He turned hastily away, awed, terrified, ashamed of himself.