Open main menu

 

WHEN PIPPA PASSED

 

 

WHEN PIPPA PASSED

MR. DELAFIELD, stepping comfortably forth from his club, had dined especially well, and was in a correspondingly good humour. As the brisk March wind swept across the comer just in front of him, he meanwhile settling his glossy hat more firmly on a fine, close-clipped grey head, a sudden kindly impulse, not entirely usual with him, sent him bending to his knee to pick up the fugitive slip of white, scribbled foolscap that fluttered by him, hotly pursued by a slender young man.

"Thanks. Oh, thanks!" murmured the pursuer, as Delafield, with a courteous inclination of the head, tendered the captured slip.

"Not at all." A consciousness of the boy's quick panting, his anxious tug at the paper, actually an almost audible beating of the heart, drew the older man to look carefully at him. A white, oval face, drooping mouth, black, deep-set eyes that fairly burned into his, compelled attention.

"Important paper, I suppose?" he inquired lightly.

"Wouldn't want to lose it."

"No—oh, no!"

"Get a wigging at the office?"

"It—it's not—they are my own—it is a poem!" stammered the young man.

Delafield chuckled involuntarily, and then, as a quick red poured over the other's cheeks, he made a hasty gesture of apology.

"No offence—none at all, I assure you, Mr.—Mr. Poet! I was only taken by surprise. One doesn't often assist a poet in catching his works!"

He laughed again, a contented after-dinner laugh.

Then, as the young man fell behind him quietly, the incident being over, an idle desire for company prompted him to delay his own pace.

"Do you write much? Get it printed? Good publisher?" he inquired genially. Few persons could resist Lester Delafield's smile: his very butler warmed to it and the woman who retained her reserve under it he had never met.

Again the young man blushed. "Published? No, sir; I never dared to see—I don't know if it's worth being printed," he said.

"But you think it's pretty good, eh? I'll bet you do. I used to. Let me see it. I'll tell you if it's worth anything."

They had turned into a quieter cross-street; the wind had passed them by. Standing under a street-light, benevolently amused at his impulse, Delafield tucked his stick under his arm, uncreased the paper, and noted the title of the poem aloud: To the Moon in a Stormy Night. His eyebrows lifted; he glanced quizzically at the young man, but met such an earnest, searching look, so restrained, yet so quivering, so terrified, yet so brave, that his heart softened and he read on in silence.

A minute passed, two, three, and four. The man read silently, the boy waited breathless in suspense. The noisy, crowding city seemed to sweep by them, leaving them stranded on this little point of time.

Mr. Delafield raised his eyes and regarded the boy thoughtfully.

"You say you wrote this?" he demanded.

"Yes, sir."

"When did you write it?"

"Last night."

"Have you any more like it?"

"I don't know if it's like it. I've got quite a good deal more. What do you——" He could get no further. Drops of perspiration started from his forehead. His mouth was drawn flat with anxiety.

"This poetry," said Delafield, with a carefully impersonal calm, "is very good. It is remarkably good. It is stunning, in fact. 'And moored at last in some pale bay of dawn'—why did you stop there? Isn't that rather abrupt?"

"That was when it ended. Do you really think——"

"I don't think anything about it. I know. You have a future before you, my young friend. I should like to see—Good Lord, what is it?"

For the boy had twined his arms around the lamp-post and was slowly sinking to the pavement. His face was ghastly white. Delafield grasped his arm, and as their eyes met, the older man drew a quick breath and scowled.

"It's not because—you're not—when did you have your lunch?" he demanded shortly.

The boy smiled weakly.

"And your breakfast?"

"Oh, I had that—quite a little—really I did!" he half whispered.

Delafield got him on his feet and around the corner to a restaurant. As they entered, the smell of the food weakened him again, and he staggered against his friend, begging his pardon helplessly.

"Soup—and hurry it up, it's immaterial what kind," the host commanded.

As the boy gulped it down he made out a further order, and while the hot meat, vegetables, and bread vanished and the strong, brown coffee lowered in the cup, he lighted a long cigar and talked with a quiet insistence. Later, when his guest blinked drowsily behind a cloud of cigarette smoke, he asked questions, marvelling at the simple replies.

The boy's name was Henry West; it was twenty-two years since he had made his appearance in a family already large enough to regard his advent with a stoical endurance. His people all worked in the mills in Lowell; he, too, till the noise and jar gave him racking headaches. He made his first verses in the mill. He had come to New York to learn to be a clerk in a corner drug-store kept by a distant cousin, but he couldn't seem to learn the business. The names of the things were hard to remember. His cousin said he was absent-minded.

And he had to read everything that was in sight: if a thing was printed he seemed to have to read it. He read books from the library and the night-school when his cousin thought he was polishing the soda-fountain. Of all the things he hated—and they were many—the soda-fountain was the worst. He wanted to study a great deal, but only the studies he liked. Not algebra and geometry, nor chemistry that made his head ache, but history and poetry and French. He thought he would like to know Italian, too. The family supposed he was still in the drug-store, but he had quarrelled with his cousin and left it a month ago. He stayed mostly in the library and helped the janitor with sweeping and airing the rooms. The janitor paid him a little to ease his own hours of night-watching, and often asked him to supper. He read nearly all day and wrote at night. It was better than the mills or the drug-store. He supposed he was lazy—his family always said he was.

"Come to this address to-morrow afternoon and bring the rest of your poetry with you," said Delafield, "I have an engagement at nine. May I keep this one till you come?"—he shook the foolscap significantly. The boy hesitated, almost imperceptibly, then nodded. As Delafield left the little table he did not rise with him, but sat with his eyes fixed on the smoke-rings.

"They do not teach courtesy in the night-schools, evidently," mused the older man, peering for a cab; "but one can't have everything. My manners have been on occasion commended—but I can't write poetry like that."

He tasted in advance the pleasure of reading the poem to Anne: how her brown eyes would dilate and glow, how eagerly her long, slender fingers would clasp and unclasp. People called her cold, they told him; for his part he never could see why. True, she was not kittenish, like the other nieces; she didn't try to flirt with her old uncle, as Ellen's girls did; but what an enthusiasm for fine things, what a quick, keen mind the child had! Child—Anne was twenty-five by now. Was it true that she might never marry? Ellen said—but then Ellen was always a little jealous of poor Anne's money. The girl couldn't help her legacies. Still, at twenty-five—perhaps it was true that she expected too much, thought too seriously, reasoned morbidly that they were after her money.

Seated opposite her in his favourite oak chair, looking with a sudden impersonal appraisal at the slender figure in clinging black lace, the cool pallor of the face under the smooth dark hair, the rope of pearls that hung from her firm, girlish shoulders, it dawned on him that there was something wanting in this not quite sufficiently charming piece of womanhood. She was too black-and-white, too unswerving, too unflushed by life. Humanity, with its countless moulding and colouring touches, seemed to slip away from either side of her, like the waves from some proud young prow, and fall behind.

"Yet she's not unsympathetic—I swear she's not!" he thought, as her eyes glowed to the poem and her lips parted delightedly.

"'And moored at last in some pale bay'—Uncle Les, isn't that beautiful! Not that it's really so fine as the first part, but it's easier to remember. And he was hungry? Oh, oh! And you discovered him, didn't you?"

He nodded complacently.

"I'll bring you around the rest of the things to-morrow. I knew you'd enjoy this, Anne. You love—really love—this sort of thing, don't you?"

She nodded eagerly.

"But nothing else? Nobody—you don't think that perhaps you're letting—after all, my dear, life is something more than the beautiful things you surround yourself with—pictures and music and poetry, and all that. It really is. There is so much——"

"There is one's religion," she said quietly and not uncordially. But she had retreated intangibly from him. She sat there, remote as her cold pearls, as far from the rough, sweet uses of the world as the priceless china in her cabinets.

"Oh, yes, of course, there is religion," he answered listlessly.

Two days later they sat, all three, in her library, while West read them his poems. The two looked at each other in amazement. Where had this untrained factory boy got it all? What wonderful voices had sung to him above the whirring of the wheels; what delicate visions had risen through the smoky pall of his sordid days? He wrote only of Nature: the brown brook water in spring; the pale, hurrying leaves of November; a bird glimpsed through pink apple-blossoms; the full river encircling a bending elm. In the vivid swiftness of effect, the simple subtlety of treatment, there was a recalling of the Japanese witchery of suggestion; the faint tinge of sadness in every poem left in the mind precisely the sweet regret that the beauty of the world must always leave. At the "Clearing Shower," perhaps the most compelling of all his work, quick drops started to the girl's eyes, so intense was the vision of the moist, green-breathing earth, the torn fleece of the clouds, the broken chirping of frightened birds, the softened, yellow light that reassures and saddens at once. His art was not Wordsworth's nor Shelley's; it was as if Keats had turned from human passion and consecrated the beauty of his verse to the beauty of Nature—but simply, sadly, and through a veil of Heine's tears.

Delafield nodded mutely to his niece, then walked over to the boy.

"There will be plenty of people to tell you later," he said, holding out his hand, "but let me be the first. You are a genius, Mr. West, and your country will be proud of your work some day. There is no American to-day writing such poetry."

West took his hand awkwardly, not rising from his chair. He fingered his manuscript nervously.

"I—I wouldn't want to be laughed at," he demurred. "Other folks mightn't be so kind as you. If anybody laughed—I—it would just about kill me!" he concluded, passionately. They smiled sympathetically at each other.

"But no one would laugh, I assure you, Mr. West," Anne murmured, stooping to pick up a scattered sheet.

He hardly noticed her. His eyes were fixed constantly on Delafield: the girl had made no impression upon him whatever. Nor did the elegance of the furnishings, the evidences of great wealth everywhere arouse in him the least apparent curiosity. Having no knowledge of the many grades of material prosperity between his own meagre surroundings and Anne Delafield's luxury, he accepted the one as he had endured the other, his mind quite removed from either, his eyes looking beyond.

Anne had supposed that her uncle would carry the poems to one of the leading magazines, but he pooh-poohed the idea.

"I think not. We're not going to have the boy mixed up with the hacks that turn out two or three inches of rhymes to fill up a page in a magazine," he declared. "We'll have D—— drop in some night and West shall read 'em to him. Then we'll bring out a book. Here and in England—they'll like him there, or I'm much mistaken."

In a month it seemed that they had always known him. Intimacy was so impossible with his intured, elusive nature, that to have him sitting through hours of silence by the birch fire, abstracted, dreamy, inattentive, except to some chance word that stirred his fancy, was to know him well, to all intents. His nerves, dulled to all great torments like poverty, hunger, obscurity, quivered like violin strings under little unaccustomed jarrings. If interrupted in the reading of his verses he would lose his control beyond belief; a chance cough, the falling of an ember, put him out of tune for hours. He possessed little sense of humour, and the lightest satire turned him sulky. A child might have teased him to madness; it was evident to them that his utterly lonely life had preserved him from constant torture at the hands of associates.

Until the book was complete he refused to have the great publisher brought to hear it read. Sometimes for days they would not see him, then on some rainy evening he would appear, lonely and hungry, eager for the praise and warmth of Anne's library, an exquisite poem in his pocket. Served to repletion by the secretly scornful butler, he would smoke a while, then draw out the sheet of foolscap, and read in his nervous yet musical voice the latest page of the book that was to bring him fame.

On one such night—it was when he brought them "Dawn on the River," the only poem of which Anne had a copy, and the one which a well-known firm afterward printed under his photograph and sold by thousands at Easter-tide—he broke through the mist—it was too impalpable to be called a wall of reserve—that held his personality apart from them, and talked wonderfully for an hour. They seemed to see the clear soul of some gentle, strayed fawn; his thoughts were like summer clouds mirrored in a placid brook. All the crowding, sweating humanity of his stunted boyhood had flowed through his youth like an ugly drain laid through a fresh mountain stream. He seemed to have lived all his years with young David on the hillside, and wealth and poverty, crowds and loneliness, love and death were as far from his life as if the vast procession of them all that swept by him daily through the great city had never been.

As he talked, Delafield found his eyes drawn from the boy's face to Anne's. Never before had he seen just that faint, steady rose in her cheeks, that sweet glow in her eyes. As she leaned forward, her very pearls seemed to catch a red tinge from the fire: it occurred to him for the first time that she looked like Ellen's girls—there was a suggestion of Kitty in the curve of her cheek.

Was it possible that Anne—no, it could not be. To think of the men that had tried to come into her life and failed—such men! And this boy, this elf, to whom no woman was so real or so dear as a tree in the glen!

For two weeks after that night he did not come. Anne never mentioned his name, and Delafield, doubtful of what that might portend, tried to believe that she had forgotten him. Toward the end of the second week she spoke of the completion of his book, and suggested that her uncle should invite Mr. D——: "Urge Henry to consent to it," she added, "he will do anything for you, Uncle Les."

"More than for you?" he asked.

"For me?" She flushed a little. "I doubt if he distinguishes me from my portrait over the mantel!"

"And you wish that he would," Delafield wanted to reply, trying to remember if she had ever called him "Henry" before.

On a warm April evening, when the windows were open to catch the setting sun and the odour of the blossoming window-boxes, he came at last. As he stepped into the room, head erect, eyes wide and bright, they became aware immediately of a change in him. His glance was more conscious, more alert, his hand-grasp more assured.

"You are in time to dine with us," Anne said, with her grave smile, "we are all alone. Will you stay?"

"Thanks, I can't stay, I'm going somewhere else," he answered quickly.

"And the new poem?" Delafield inquired, "did you get it done? That was to be the last, wasn't it?"

"Oh! I haven't been writing lately," he explained, blushing a little. "I've been too busy—that is, I've been too—I've been thinking of something else." He stood before them in the full light of the late day; every expression in his sensitive, mobile face showed clear.

"A perfectly wonderful thing has happened," he burst out, "you couldn't understand. Nobody can understand but me, and—and——"

"Who is she?" said Delafield bluntly.

"How did you know?" cried the boy, "have you seen—did she tell——"

"Of course not. When did it happen?"

Delafield kept his face persistently from Anne's. For the world he could not have looked at her.

"It was last week." West was smiling eagerly at him, ignoring the woman's presence.

"I went into the grocer's to do an errand for Mr. Swazey, and she was behind the little grating—you pay her. She is the cashier. I didn't take my change, and she had to call me back, and we dropped it all over the floor. She helped me pick it up. Oh, if you could see her, Mr. Delafield!"

"Is she handsome?"

"She is a perfectly beautiful woman," said the boy.

"Dear, dear!" murmured the older man.

"We are engaged, but her mother objects to me. In fact—in fact, her mother doesn't know that she is engaged. She has been engaged before. But she never really loved the man. Her mother doesn't care for poetry——"

At that word, Delafield, with a distinct effort, connected this babbling druggist's clerk with his poet of "The Clearing Shower." There could be no doubt that they were the same person. As in a dream he listened to the boy.

"And that's what I dropped in to see about. I told her mother all you said about me being sure to be well-off some day, and about the book being published soon, and her brother, that's Pippa's uncle——"

"What name did you say?"

"Pippa. That's her name. Philippa It is really; she was named after the daughter of a lady her mother nursed when she was sick, and so she named her after this lady's daughter. But she couldn't say it plain, you see, so she always called herself Pippa for short, and so they all call her that still. I suppose you never heard it before—I never did."

"It is a strange name—for a cashier," said Mr. Delafield.

"Yes, indeed. Well, her Uncle Joseph is a stenographer in a newspaper office, and he knows a good deal about this sort of thing, and he says not to publish with the D——s. He says they're a poky firm and don't advertise enough. If I gave the book to the L——s they'd push it along, he says. He says they'd make anything sell. The D——s wouldn't put up posters on bill-boards, now, would they?"

"I suppose not," said Delafield. He felt unaccountably tired. He had not realised till now how much his mind had been filled with Henry West and his poetry, how much he had anticipated introducing his rare young protegé.

"And of course I want to do the best for myself——"

"Of course, beyond a doubt."

How could a person change so in two weeks? What had turned that sensitive dreamer into this bustling young lover?

"You see, sir, I've got a good many things to consider," he smiled happily.

"Certainly, West, I appreciate that. At the same time I doubt if you will do better with anybody than you can with Mr. D——. It may be the L——s wouldn't want your book. It is not what is known as a popular book, you know. Poetry appeals to a limited public, and——"

"Oh, well, it's all right. Only I thought you might want to know what Uncle Joseph said, that's all. I must go now," and he turned.

"Miss Delafield is still here," said her uncle, coldly.

"Oh, good-night," West murmured, and left the room.

"Is it really he?" Delafield hazarded, hardly glancing at her. She met his look calmly.

"At any rate the book is ready, which is the principal thing, I suppose," she said.

He found himself illogically wishing she had resented it more. "It was a mistake," he thought, "she has no feeling for him."

Through the weeks that followed they avoided mentioning his name, and each, trusting that the other would forget, thought of him in puzzled silence.

When he came to them next, toward the end of May, it seemed for a moment, as he flung himself into a chair and stared moodily at the empty fire-place, that his old self had returned. Thin and shabby, with dark rings under his eyes, he looked like the boy Delafield had warmed and fed that cold March night. But his words undeceived them.

"I shall shoot myself if this doesn't stop," he said bitterly. Anne started.

"Here, here, West, none of that," the older man corrected, sharply. "That's no thing to say—what is the matter?"

"It's Pippa," he returned, simply. "She won't marry me. I'll kill myself if she don't. I can't eat, I can't sleep, I can't think. It cuts into me night and day. You don't know how it kills me—you don't know!"

He writhed like a child in physical pain. His face was distorted : he made no more effort to conceal his misery than his delight of weeks ago. Delafield showed a little of his disgust.

"Come, come, West," he said, "control yourself. This is no killing matter. Better men than you have been thrown over before this. If she won't have you, take it like a man, and get to work. It's time your book was under way."

West stared dully at him.

"Book? book?" he repeated. "Oh, damn the book! I'd throw it away this minute to feel her arms around me! When I think of how we used to sit in Uncle Joseph's hammock—Oh, I can't endure it, I can't!"

He leaned his head on his arms and rocked to and fro in abject misery.

"She laughs at me—just laughs at me!" he moaned. "I'm ashamed to go near them."

"Keep away, then," said Delafield shortly.

"I can't!" he fairly sobbed.

Anne spoke softly from a dim corner:

"Does she know about the book?"

"She doesn't care anything about it. She says I better be getting a job somewhere. I—I would, if she'd marry me. I'd go to the drug-store!"

"Oh, no!" she breathed.

"If only she'd be engaged again," he muttered, half to himself, "Pd finish the book, and then, perhaps——" He began to rock again. "But she won't, she won't!" he wailed.

"If you will tell me where she lives," said Anne quietly, and as if the conversation were to the last degree conventional, "I will go to see her and talk the matter over. Perhaps she doesn't understand——"

"My dear Anne! Are you mad?"

As Delafield spoke, West interrupted:

"I'd rather Mr, Delafield would go," he said quickly, "if—if he would. Maybe she'd listen to you."

"I will do nothing of the sort," Delafield returned angrily. "As if anything I could say could compare with Miss Delafield's words! You are an ungrateful little beast, West. A woman, like Pippa herself, is the best person to understand the matter."

"All right," the boy assented wearily, "only she isn't like Pippa, not a bit. Pippa's different."

Anne coloured deeply, and Delafield cursed the day he met the boy. His niece he did not pretend to understand.

The next afternoon, as he chafed in the stuffy dining-room-parlour of the flat that was Pippa's home, listening to the quarrelling of a half dozen children on the dreary little roof-garden below him as to who should swing in Uncle Joseph's hammock, he understood her less and less. What did she expect to gain from this visit? Was she satisfying her idea of duty or her curiosity? How much did she care, anyhow?

A steady murmur of voices came from a room behind the one he occupied. The afternoon wore on. He began to grow sleepy.

At last the door was flung open. Anne, looking pale and tired, entered the room, followed by a large, handsome girl with a heavy rope of auburn hair twisted low over her forehead. She had a frank, vulgar smile, and shallow, red-brown eyes. In her plump, large-limbed beauty she was like a well-kept cat. The day was damp and hot, and her mussed white shirt-waist clung to her broad curve of shoulder and breast. In her eyes, as she smiled at him, was the quiet ease of a conscious beauty. Beside her Anne seemed unimportant.

"I'm sorry about the book, Mr. Delafield," she said, with a slow smile. "But I guess you don't know Henry very well if you think any reasonable girl would think of marrying him for a minute. The gentleman I've been keeping company with some time had a little misunderstanding with me, and 'twas more or less to spite him, I guess, that I got engaged to Henry. It never seemed to me it mattered much either way."

"You have broken his heart," said Delafield stiffly.

She looked vaguely at her short, fat fingers: her hands were like a baby's in shape.

"Oh, I don't know," she said. "He's an awful unreasonable fellow, Henry is. He gets into such tantrums—I don't dare tell him about Mr. Winch—that's the gentleman I was speaking of. We're going to be married in the fall. He's in a livery-stable: I guess you probably noticed it as you came along Sixth Avenue—Judd and Winch. He's only junior partner, but he knows as much about running a real swell funeral as any of the uptown men—Mr. Judd says so. Henry's afraid of a horse, you know. It don't seem quite natural for a man not to know about horses, does it, now?"

"If you had only waited till his book came out," said Delafield tentatively. As he looked at her he was conscious of a ridiculous satisfaction that such a fine woman should know her own mind so perfectly. She was a very complete creature, in her way. He realised that in this strangely assorted quartette he and she were involuntarily on one side of an intangible line, his niece and their unintelligible protegé on the other.

"Wait? But I did wait. I waited over a week," she explained, "and then I couldn't stand it any longer. He'd drive me to drink. For one thing, Henry's changed so. When we first knew him he was really as entertaining a gentleman as I ever saw—and I've had a great deal of attention. Why, we'd sit around and laugh till we nearly died, he'd say such ridiculous things. He was so different. Ma used to say if he was much funnier she'd think he'd ought to have a keeper! The way he'd go on——!"

Anne had turned her back and was looking steadily at the room they had left. Pippa and Delafield might have been alone.

"But when we got engaged, he seemed to change, somehow. I don't know if you've noticed it——"

Delafield nodded.

"Well, that's what I mean. I didn't care any more about him, then. I guess I sort of woke up," she laughed into his eyes. "He tires me to death with how he'll shoot himself," she added; "they always say that, you know, but they never do."

Anne moved toward the door and Delafield followed her.

"I must say that I appreciate your position, Miss—Miss—" he stopped, inquiringly.

"Cooley—Miss Philippa Cooley," she supplied. "Of course you do. Ma said she hoped I'd have too much sense to stand up with a little radish of a man like that, even if he could support me!"

"But I think It was rather hard on all of us that you should have engaged yourself to him at all. You must have known how it would end." He tried to speak reprovingly.

She threw him a rich glance.

"Oh, you can't help it sometimes," she murmured. "He teased so hard—you don't want to be disagreeable. As I was telling Miss Delafield——"

"We must go," said Anne, briefly.

As they drove home, an inexplicable desire to provoke her, to rouse some warm feeling in her, mastered him.

"Your Aunt Ellen would enjoy this deep Interest in the love affairs of an ex-druggist's clerk and a grocer's cashier," he said lightly.

"Would she?" Anne returned quietly, and was ashamed of his freakish impulse.

When they told him that evening that they had been able to accomplish nothing he only stared at them gloomily.

"I knew it—I knew it," he muttered. "I did a poem last night—it's the last I shall ever do. You can put it in the book. It's the best I've done yet."

Delafield hardly noticed his words as he seized the poem. What if from this sordid little tragedy had sprung the very flower of the poet's genius? He read eagerly. In a moment his face fell. He stared doubtfully at the boy.

"Well," said West irritably, "can't you read it? Give it here—I'll read it to you."

"You needn't, I can read it well enough."

"What do you think of it?"

"I think it's rot," Delafield returned curtly. He was bitterly disappointed.

"Rot?" the boy's eyes narrowed. "What d'you mean?"

"I mean that this doggerel is utterly unworthy of you, West, and that you certainly cannot include it in your book. It is the cheapest sentimentalism—good heavens, can't you see it? Have you no critical faculty whatever?"

"Oh, Uncle Lester, don't!" Anne implored. "Let me see it," and she put out her hand. The young man struck it away and seized the paper.

"I won't trouble you with my 'rot' any more, Mr. Delafield," he said, with a boyish grandiloquence, "we'll see what other people have to say about it."

"Here, West, don't go away angry!" the older man urged, "I shouldn't have been so harsh. You've done such fine work that I couldn't bear——"

"Oh, hush your noise!" West interrupted, brutally, "neither can I bear! You've driven me to death between you all—you'll never see me again!" and he flung out of the room.

Delafield set his teeth. "This is too much," he said slowly. "The vulgar little cad! No, I won't go after him, Anne; let him fume it out himself. I'll try to ask D—— over next week, just the same."

But when Mr. D—— came over, full of pleasant anticipation, it was only to hear of the shocking death of the boy, whose photograph, taken from a cheap gilt locket of Pippa's, he afterward used over the popular gift-card, "Dawn on the River."

"Couldn't even shoot himself like a gentleman," said Delafield roughly. "Jumping seven stories—pah!"

"But the poems—the poems?" urged the publisher, "surely they——"

Anne took from the table an oblong tin biscuit-box and softly lifted the cover.

"Here are the poems," she said, pointing to a mass of fine, grey paper-ashes.

"He sent them to you?"

Mr. D——'s eyes lighted comprehensively; he glanced at the girl's white face and inscrutable dark-ringed eyes with a restrained sympathy.

"He sent them to my uncle," she replied quietly.