The Gay Rebellion.
Robert W. Chambers
(Robert William Chambers)
Arno Press: A New York Times Company. New York 1975.
Reprint Edition 1974 by Arno Press Inc.
copyright 1913 by Robert W. Chambers.
Reprinted by permission of Hawthorn Books, Inc.
ISBN for complete set 0-405-06270-2.
Chambers, Robert William, 1865-1933.
charming illustrations of women with signs and slogans saying votes for women; one with a woman looking snootily over a man in a net, and a rock nearby that says “votes for women”
The Gay Rebellion by Robert W. Chambers.
Illustrated by Edmund Frederick.
D. Appleton and Company
New York and London: MCMXIII (1913)
copyright 1913, by Robert W. Chambers
copyright, 1911, by the Columbian-Sterling Publishing Co.
To Suzanne Carroll
Though J.H. jeer
And “Smith” incline to frown,
I do not fear
To write these verses down
And publish them in town.
The solemn world knows well that I'm no poet;
So what care I if two gay scoffers know it?
Buck up, my Muse!
Wing high thy skyward way,
And don't refuse
To let me say my say
As bravely as I may.
To praise a fair lady I father verses,
Which Admiration cradles, Homage nurses.
For you, Suzanne,
Long since have won my heart;
You break it, too,
And leave the same to smart full sore
Whenever you depart for Baltimore.
You're charming; -- and in metre I endeavour
To say you are as winsome as you're clever.
Winsome and wise,
Subtle in maiden's lore,
With wondrous eyes-
Alas for Baltimore,
That grows this rose no more!
As for Manhattan, that benign old vulture
Wins one more prize in fancy horticulture.
So now to you
I dedicate this tale;
It's neither new
Nor altogether stale,--
Nor can completely fail,
For your bright name as sponsor for my story
Assures the author of reflected glory.
These stories, mademoiselle, as your intuition tells you, are for old-fashioned young people only; and should be read in the Golden Future, some snowy evening by the fire after a home dinner a deux. Your predestined husband, mademoiselle, is to extend his god-like figure upon a sofa, with an ash-tray convenient. You are to do the reading, curled up in the big velvet wing-chair, with the lamp at your left elbow and the fender under your pretty feet. As for me, I shall venture to smile at you now and then from the printed page - but with discretion, mademoiselle, not inconveniencing your party a deux. For, to be rid of me, you have merely to close this book.
The attention of the civilized world is, at present, concentrated upon The Science of Eugenics. The author sincerely trusts that this important contribution to the data now being so earnestly nosed out and gathered, may aid his fellow students, scientifically, politically and anthropologically.
Miris modis Di ludos faciunt hominibus!
“Facta canam; sed erunt qui me finxisse loquantur.” - Ovid
List of illustrations
She looked at him almost insolently …. 'Presently,' she said” Frontispiece
(woman looks at man in net; Votes for Women graffiti nearby)
'To begin,' he said, 'I came here fishing' …. 46
a couple together
Only one fleet-footed young girl remained at his heels … 184
a woman with a mob chases a man … she is waving a kitten at him? the mob has signs that say “votes for women”
'Pray, observe my unmatched eyes' … 246
a couple looks at each other near a lamp
I. p. 1
The year had been, as everybody knows, a momentous and sinister year for themasculine sex; marriages and births in the United States alone had fallen off nearly eighty per cent.; the establishment of Suffragette Unions in every city, town, and village of the country, their obedience to the dictation of the Central National Female Franchise Federation; the financial distress of the florists, caterers, milliners and modistes incident to the almost total suspension of social functions throughout the great cities of the land, threatened eventually to paralyse the nation's business.
the greatest of the New York newspapers, the Morning Star, sends reporters (the editor's sons - the editor is proud but displeased to discover that one of his sons has published poetry, and that the poet is an anti-suffragette poem that has become very well-known) out to find four young men who have disappeared. descriptions of the men reveal that all are exceptionally healthy and handsome.
II. p. 21 the guys - sayre and langdon - are hanging out in the woods. one thinks he saw a woman with a hammock.
III. p. 35
the woman shows up while Sayre is fishing. she admits she had a net. she knows his name. she says she came back to see him although she shouldn't have. they admit an attraction to one another. she says she won't tell him her name, but he should think of her as the name of the woman in the poem he was reciting yesterday - amourette. he says he wrote that poem. she says then she had better go away as fast as possible. she says she came to look at him, and knew “they” wouldn't want him because “you are not up to the University standard. And you won't understand that.” she admits she stood watching him for two hours. ( p 47)
she says why did you come? those four young men have all sent letters saying they will return home as soon as they have finished eloping.
"After a while he managed to ask whether she wished him to believe that these four young men had each eloped with their soul mates.”
She bit her lip. “To be accurate,” she said in a low voice, “somebody eloped with each one of them.”
“How? I don't understand!”
“I don't wish you to…. Good-bye.”
“You mean,” he demanded, incredulously, “that four girls ran away with these four big, hulking young men?”
“That's ridiculous! Besides, it's impossible! Besides - women don't run men off like cattle rustlers. Man is the active agent in elopements, woman the passive agent.”
She did not answer.
She made no reply.
He said: “Amourette, shall I illustrate what I mean - with you as the passive agent?”
The girl bent over a little, then with a sudden movement she dropped her head in her hands. A moment later he saw a single tear fall between her fingers.
they admit they love one another - love at first sight.
“L-listen. Because now I've got to tell youa ll about the disappearance of those perfectly horrid young specimens of physical perfection. And after that you will abhor me!”
“Abhor you! Dearest - dearest and most divine of women!”
“Wait!” she sobbed. “I've got myself and you into the most awful scrape you ever dreamed of by falling in love with you at first sight!”
And she turned her face closer to his shoulder and slipped one desperate little hand into his.
IV. p. 54
About two o'clock that afternoon Sayre rushed into camp with his scanty hair on end.
Langdon, who had been attempting to boil a blank-book for dinner, gazed at him in consternation.
“What is it? Bears, William?” he asked fearfully. “D-d-don't be f-f-frightened; I'll stand by you.”
“It isn't bears, you simp! I've just unearthed [p 55] the most colossal conspiracy of the century! Curtis, things are happening in these woods that are incredible, abominable, horrible-“
“What is happening?” faltered Langdon, turning paler. “Murder?”
“Worse! They've got Willett and the others! She admitted it to me---“
he says she told him, then ran behind a fence and locked it.
Sayre is upset, he says things like “Nine handsome men out of ten are fatheads! I told her so! I tried to point out to her - but she wouldn't listen - she wouldn't listen!”
it turns out that she said she couldn't care for him because his hair was thin / bald and he wore glasses.
he says he won't stand for her going hunting with “that man-net! If she catches any insufferable pup in it I'll go insane!”
“[t]hat twelve-foot fence of heavy elephant-proof wire which we noticed in the forest day before yesterday isn'' the fencing to a game park. It encloses a thousand acres belonging to the New Race University.” p 59
“You won't believe it - but, Curtis, it's a reser- [p 60] vation for the-the p-p-propagation of a new and s-s-symmetrically p-p-proportioned race of g-g-god-like human beings! It's a deliberate attempt at cold-blooded scientific selection - an insult to every bald-headed, near-sighted, thin-shanked young man in the United States!”
“How do you know?”
“Amourette told me - shamelessly, defiantly, adorably! It was organised in secret out of the most advanced and determined as well as the most healthy, vigorous, and physically beautiful of all [p 61] the suffragettes in North America. One of their number happened to own a thousand acres here before the State took the rest for its park. And here they have come, dozens and dozens of them - to attend the first summer session of the New Race University.”
“Is-is there actually a University in these woods?”
“Buildings?” demanded Langdon, amazed.
“No, burrows. Isn't that the limit? curt, believe me, they live in caves. It's their idea of being vigorous and simple and primitive. Their cult is the cave woman. They have classes; they study and recite and exercise and cook and play auction bridge. Their object is to hasten not only political enfranchisement, but the era of a physical and intellectual equality which will permit them to mate as they choose and people this republic with perfect progeny. Every girl there is pledge to mate only with the very pick of physical masculine perfection. Their pledge is to build up a new, god-like race on earth, which ultimately will dominate, crush out, survive, and [p 62] replace all humanity which has become degenerate. Nothing mentally or physically or politically imperfect is permitted inside that wire fence. My eye-glasses bar me out; your shanks exclude you - also your politics, because you're a democrat.”
“That's monstrous!” exclaimed Langdon, indignantly.
“More monstrous still, these disciples of the New Race movement are militant! Their audacity is unbelievable! Certain ones among them, adepts in woodcraft, have now begun to range this forest with nets. What do you think of that! And when they encounter a young fellow who agrees with the remorseless stand of perfection set up by the University, they stalk him and net him! They've got four so far. And now it's Amourette's turn to go out!”
Landon's teeth chattered.
“W-w-what are they g-going to do with their captures?”
… they comment that the captured men probably don't require a fence to be kept in, just a fence to keep the others out.
“The chances are that Willett and that poet [p 65] Carrick and De Lancy Smith and Alphonso W. Green couldn't be chased out of that University.”
“Those are the chances. How I hate those four men. It's curious, William, that no man can ever tolerate the idea of any other man ever getting solid with any looker. I always did dislike to see another man with a pretty girl…. William?”
“Think of the concentrated beauty in that University! Think of that rich round-up of creamy dreams! Consider that mellifluous marmalade! And-we can't have any-because you are slightly bald and near-sighted and I am thin and scholarly!” He ran at the camp kettle and kicked it.
After a painful silence Sayre said timidly: “Don't laugh, but is there any known substance which will bring in hair?”
they decide that Langdon will dress in costume to be netted, to allow sayre to net his girl.
V p 68
“One week later Curtis Langdon sat on the banks of a trout stream fishing, apparently deeply absorbed in his business; but he was listening so hard that his ears hurt him.
A few years away, ambushed behind a rock on which was painted “Votes for Women,” lurked William Sayre. A net lay on the ground beside him, fashioned with ring and detachable handle like a gigantic butterfly net.
He, too, tremendously excited, was listening and [p. 69] watching the human bait - Langdon being cast for bait.
Perfect and nauseating beauty now marked that young gentleman. Features and figure were symmetrical; his eyebrows had been pencilled into exact arcs, his mouth was a Cupid's bow, his cheeks were softly rosy, and a silky and sickly moustache shadowed his rosy lips. Under his fashionable outing shirt he wore a rubber chest improver; his cunningly padded shoulders recalled the exquisite sartorial creations of Mart, Haffner, and Sharx; his patent puttees gave him a calf to which his personal shanks had never aspired; thick, golden-brown hair, false as a woman's vows, was tossed carelessly from a brow, snowy with pearl powder. And he wore a lilac-edge handkerchief in his left cuff.
Both young men truly felt that if any undergraduate of the New Race University was out stalking she'd have at least one try at such a bait. Nothing feminine and earnest could resist that glutinous agglomeration of charms.
two women are stalking about and looking at him. one says he seems to be absolutely perfect; the other replies “I'm wondering about those puttees, dear - shanks in puttees are deceptive.” they decide that amourette has to stalk him.
p. 74 Once the stalking had fairly begun, the girl became absorbed in the game. All memory of Sayre, if there indeed had been any to make her falter in her purpose, now departed. She was a huntress pure and simple, silent, furtive, adroit, intent upon her quarry.
then she nets Langdon, then she is netted herself by sayre. she cries in vain for her friend ethra. then asks what he is going to do to her. he says marry her. they have a little exchange in which he says all men have a little brute in them.
VI - p 78
All over the United State conditions were becoming terrible, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of militant women, wives, widows, matrons, maidens, and stenographers had gone on strike. Non-intercourse with man was to be the punishment for any longer withholding the franchise; husbands, fathers, uncles, fiances, bachelors, and authors held frantic mass meetings to determine what course to pursue in the imminence of rapidly impending industrial, political, and social disaster.
p. 79 But, although men's sufferings threatened to be frightful; although for months now nobody of the gentler sex had condescended to pay them the slightest attention; although their wives replied to them only with monosyllables and scornful smiles, and their sweethearts were never at home to them, let it be remembered to their eternal credit that not one thought of surrender ever entered their limited minds.
And so it was with young Langdon, who was left in a condition neither dignified nor picturesque - a martyr to friendship and a victim to his own rather frivolous idea of practical humour.
Hopelessly entangled in the net which enveloped him from head to foot, he flopped about among the dead leaves on the bank of the stream, struggling and kicking like a fly in a cobweb. This he considered humorous.
The lithe figure across the brook continued to view his gyrations with mingled emotions.
She was a boyish young thing with a full-lipped, sensitive mouth, eyes like bluish-black velvet, and clipped hair of a dull gold colour that curled thickly all over a smal land beautifully shaped [p 80] head in little burnished boucles d'or-which description ought to hold the reader for a while.
She wore gray wool kilts, riding breeches laced in about the knee, suede puttees and tan shoes; and she carried a Russian game pouch beautifully embroidered across her right shoulder.
For a minute or two she watched the entangled young man, eyes still wide with the excitement of the chase, full delicate lips softly parted; and her intent and earnest face reflected modest triumph charmingly modified by an involuntary sympathy - the natural tribute of a generous sportswoman to the quarry successfully stalked and bagged.
when she gets closer she determines that he is so perfect that he will become an instantaneous marriage candidate, but she feels bored by his perfection. she asks if he'll come willingly or by force and threatens him with chloroform and a hypodermic needle. he gets annoyed. he starts taunting her by saying that the suffragette strike is ridiculous, that for a year it's been going on and women are no closer to a vote.
The young lady had been growing pinker and pinker.
“Oh! … And is that why you are laughing?” she asked.
“Yes. It's the funniest strike that ever happened to a serious-minded sex. Because you know your sex, as a sex, is a trifle destitute of a sense of humour ---“
“That expression,” she cut in with bitter satisfaction, “definitely determines your intellectual and social imits, Mr. Langdon. You are what you appear to be - one of those dreary bothers whose stock phrase is 'a sense of humour' - the kind of young man who has acquired a floird imitation of cultivation, a sort of near-polish; the typoe of person who uses the word 'brainy' for 'capable,' and 'mentality' for 'intelligence'; the dreadful kind of person who speaks of a subject as 'meaty' instead of properly employing the words 'substance' or 'material'; the sort of---“
Langdon, red and wrathful, sat up on the ground, peering at her through the enveloping net.
“Never in my life,” he said, “have I been spoken to in such terms of feminine contempt. Stop it! Can't you appreciate a joke?”
“Mr. Langdon, the day is past when women will either countenance or take part in any disrespectful witticisms, slurs, or jests at the expense of their own sex. Once - and that not very long ago - they did it. Comic papers made my sex the subject of cartoons and witticisms; the stage dared to spread the contemptible misinformation; women either smiled or remained indifferent. The impression became general and fixed that women were gallinaceous, that a hen-like philosophy characterised the sex; that they were, at best, second-rate humans, ragging rather gratefully at the heels of the Lords of Creation, unconcerned with the greater and vital questions of the world.
“Now your sex has discovered its mistake. After countless centuries of intellectual and physical bondage Woman has calmly risen to assert herself - not as the peer of man, but as his superior!”
“What!” exclaimed Langdon, angrily.
“Certainly. Since prehistoric times man has [p. 87] attempted to govern and shape the destinies of all things living on this earth. He has made of his reign a miserable fizzle. It is our turn now to try our hands.
“And so, at last, woman steps forward, tipping thes ymbols of despotic power - sceptre and crown - from the nerveless hand and dishonoured brow of her recent lord and master! And down he goes under her feet - where he belongs.”
she tells him that he will be inspected then turned loose in the preserve, then women will court him in his cave.
he tells her this joke has gone far enough, and to take off the net. he says, p. 91, “But, my poor child,” he said, “I am not what I seem. The joke is entirely on woman - poor, derided, deluded, down-trodden, humourless woman! Why, all this symmetry of mine - all these endearing young charms, are - are - “
then he doesn't want to confess that all his beauty is a sham. he notices she uncorks the chloroform and begins speaking to him nasally “Please dod bake be dervous or we bay have ad accidend ---“ - then she chloroforms him, and begins to look closer. then: p. 93
At that instant consciousness began to return; he gave a sudden spasmodic and comprehensive flop; there was a report like a pistol. His chest improver had exploded.”
Terrified, trembling, she dropped on her knees beside him; never before had she heard of a young man being blown to pieces by chloroform. Then, almost hysterical, she ran to the stream, filled her leather satchel with water, and, running back [p 93] again, emptied it upon his upturned countenance.
Horror on horror! His golden brown hair - his very scalp seemed to be parting from his forehead - eyebrows, silky moustache, lips - his entire face seemed to be coming off; and, as she shrieked and tottered to her feet, he began to sputter and kick so violently that both pneumatic calves blew up like the reports of a double-barreled shotgun.
And Ethra reeled back against a tree and cowered there, covering her shocked eyes with shaking fingers.
VII p 95
It is a surprising and trying moment for a girl who throws water upon a young man's face to see that face begin to dissolve and come off, feature by feature, in polychromatic splendour.
after a while he goes to the stream to wash up; she watches him to see what he really looks like. And all the while, as the fumes of the chloroform disappeared and he began to realise what had been done to him, he was becoming madder and madder.
She recognised the wrath in his face as he swung on his heel and came toward her.
“It is your own fault!” she said, resolutely, [p 97] “for playing a silly trick like ---“ But she observed his advance very dubiously, straightening up to her full slender height to confront him, but not rising to her feet. Her knees were still very shaky.
He halted close in front of her. Something in the interrogative yet fearless beauty of her upward gaze checked the torrent of indignant eloquence under which he was labouring, and, presently, left him even mentally mute, his lips parted stupidly.
She said: “According to the old order of things a well-bred man would ask my pardon. But a decently-bred man, in the first place, wouldn't have done such a thing to me. So your apology would only be a paradox---“
“What!” he exclaimed, stung into protest. “Am I to understand that after netting me and chloroforming me and nearly drowning me---“
“My mistake was perfectly natural. Do you suppose that I would even dream of trailing you as you really are?”
he gets very upset and feels humiliated by her telling him this. he tells her she has completely spoiled his life, that she is heartless. he asks her to tell him all the problems. she doesn't want. he says he can go to a gymnasium, etc. she says, do you want to be captured?
He looked into her bright and melting eyes.
“Yes,” he said. “I'd like to give you another chance at me.”
“Mr. Langdon,” she said slowly, “surely you would not care to develop the featureless symmetry and the - the monotonous perfection necessary to ---“
“Yes, I would. I wish to become superficially monotonous. I'm too varied; I realise that. I want to resemble that make-up I wore---“
“That! Goodness! What a horrid idea---“
“Horrid? Didn't you like it well enough to net me?”
“I-there was nothing expressive of my personal taste in capturing you-I mean the kind of a man you appeared to be. It was my duty - a purely scientific matter-“
“I don't care what it was. You went after me. You wouldn't go after me as I now appear. I want you to tell me what is lacking in me which would prevent you going after me again-from a purely scientific standpoint.”
… now when she looks at him she can't find anything wrong. now she says, p. 105
“Do you know,” she said slowly, “the chances are that I would have netted you anyway. It just occurred to me.”
“Without any make-up?” he asked, in delighted surprise.
“I think so. Why not?” she replied, looking at him with growing interest. “I don't see anything the matter with you.”
“My chest improver exploded,” he ventured, being naturally honest.
“I don't think you require it.”
“Don't you? That is the nicest thing you ever said to me.”
“It's only the truth,” she said, flushing a trifle in her intense interest. “And, as far as your legs are concerned, I really do not believe you need a bicycle or anything else …. In fact---in fact---I don't see why you shouldn't go with me to the University if-if you-care to---“
“Mr. Langdon! Wh-what a perfectly odd thing to s-say to me!”
“I didn't mean it,” he said with enthusiasm; [p. 106] I really didn't mean it. What I meant was - you know - don't you?”
She did not reply. She was absorbed in contemplating one small thumb.
“I'm all ready to go,” he ventured.
She said nothing.
She looked up, looked into his youthful eyes. After a moment she rose, a trifle pale. And he followed beside her through the sun-lit woods.
VIII p 107
At the gate of the New Race University and Masculine Beauty Preserve the pretty gate-keeper on duty looked at Langdon, then at his fair captor, in unfeigned astonishment.
“Why, Ethra!” she said, “is that all you've brought home?”
“Did you think I was going to net a dozen?” asked Ethra Leslie, warmly.
the guard tells her that he'll never pass inspection, but she says why not, just open the gate; the guard opens the gate and they walk in.
The collective and individual charms of the Board of Regents so utterly overpowered Langdon that he scarcely realised what was happening to him.
First, at their request, he sat cross-legged on the ground; and they walked round and round him, inspecting him.
… they make him walk and run past them, they feel his ankles; one checks his mouth; one pinches his biceps; they test his sight and hearing and his sense of smell. p. 111
Then Miss Challis came and stood behind him and examined, phrenologically, the bumps on his head, while Miss Vining, seated at his feet, read his palm, and Miss Darrell produced a dream book and a pack of cards, and carefully cast his horoscope. But, except that it transpired that he was going to take a journey, that somebody was going to leave him money, and that a dark lady was coming over the sea to trouble him, nothing particularly exciting was discvoered concerning him.
Miss Challis, relinquishing his head, produced a crystal and gazed into it. She did not say what she saw there. Miss Vining tried to hypnotise him and came near hypnotising herself. Which scared and irritated her; and she let him very carefully alone after that.
… ethra just waits on a nearby tree stump. the exam ends and he asks ethra what she thinks. she says it will be horrid if they don't give him a blue ribbon. he gets angry and she says, p. 112
“Don't let them see you display any temper or you'll lose their good will, Mr. Langdon. Please recollect that there is no sentiment in this proceeding; it is a scientific matter to be scientifically recorded --purely a matter of eugenics.”
Langdon gazed around him at the distant and [p. 113] charming faces peeping at him from behind trees and bushes. Everywhere bright eyes met his mischievously, gaily. An immense sense of happiness began to invade him. The enraptured and fatuous smile on his features now became almost idiotic as here and there, among the trees, he caught glimpses of still more young girls strolling about, arms interlacing one another's waists. The prospect dazzled him; his wits spun like a humming top.
… he asks if he is likely to be courted by many; she gets jealous; he says he wouldn't being courted by this one or that one … then he sees one of the men coming towards him. she says she has been paying attention to one of them. this makes him unhappy. he says he wouldn't have come here if he hadn't hoped she would pay him attention. she chastises him for making the initiative. the other women call her, and tell her that he will never do. she says there's nothing wrong with him. they say no. she says please let him stay. they award him the yellow ribbon. one says to her, p. 118, “I vote we keep him under observation for a day or two. Give him the yellow ribbon.” And, bending, she kissed Ethra lightly on the lips, whispering:
“I'm afraid we won't be able to keep him, dear. But if you'd like to have a little fun with him and jolly him along, why - why, I was a flirt myself in the old days of the old regime.”
“That is all I want,” said Ethra, dimpling with delight. “I want to see how far I can go with him just for the fun of it.”
Miss Darrell smiled tenderly at the girl and strolled off to join the other Regents; and Ethra, her thoughtful eyes fixed on Langdon, came slowly back, the yellow ribbon trailing in her hand.
Langdon leaped to his feet to meet her, gazing delightedly at the yellow ribbon.
“I qualified, of course!” he said joyously. “When is it customary to begin the courting?”
“You haven't qualified,” said the girl, watching the effect of her words on the young man. “This is merely the probation ribbon.”
[ he says - so I could be chased out at any moment? she says yes - he asks what are we going to do? she says “we”? how does this concern me? it doesn't concern me - but no doubt he'll get some attention in the next day or two. but he has to wait. she says he has nothing to say until some girl asks him, that the girls here are having too good a time flirting with the young men to make any declarations, just occasionally frisking a kiss now and then to keep the men amused. she leaves him. he walks over to the tennis court where the four men are playing tennis. he compares himself to them and finds himself not wanting in the least, thinking there is nothing remarkable about them. they introduce themselves to him. he explains the circumstances of his capture and they all laugh. he explains that he's here on probation, and they say that's all right, they all come in on probation, the regents can't agree and some girl always swings the deciding vote as a favour to herself. they say the women won't let him go - … p. 122 … “Besides, no woman ever lets any man loose voluntarily. And women haven't changed radically, Mr. Langdon. Don't worry; you can stay, all right.”
the women start to come up to the men with flowers, ask if they'd like to stroll. the men blush and respond. nobody asks him. Ethra watches him from afar. p. 124
By absent treatment she was reducing him to a proper frame of mind.
The word had been passed that he was Ethra's quarry; mischievous bright eyes glanced at him, but no eyes unclosed to speak to him; little feet strolled near him, even lingered a moment, but trotted on.
His sentiments varied from apathy to pathos, from self-pity to indignation, from hungry despair to an indignation no longer endurable.
… he goes toward a woman and asks how he can get out. she says only the woman who captured him can give him a pass out. he asks directions to Ether Leslie's cave and goes there; she sees him coming, is nervous, and pretends to be asleep. p. 126
“I suppose,” he said, “that all this is a grim parody on the past when women did the waiting until it was men's pleasure to make the next move. I suppose that my recent appraisement parallels the social inspection of a debutante - that my present hunger is paying for the wistful intellectual starvation to which men once doomed your sex; that my isolation represents the isolation from all that was vital in the times when women's opportunities were few and restricted; that my probation among you symbolises the toleration of my sex for whatever specimen of your sex they captured and set their mark on as belonging to them, and on view to the world during good behaviour.”
He stared at her flushed face, thoughtfully.
“The allegory is all right,” he said, “but you've cast the wrong man for the goat. I'm going.”
“Y-you can't go,” she stammered, colouring painfully, “unless I give you a pass.”
“I see; it resembles divorce. My sex had to give yours a cause for escape, or you couldn't escape. And in here you must give me a pass to freedom, or I remain here and starve. Is that it?”
She crimsoned to her hair, but said nothing.
“Give me that pass,” he said.
“If I do every girl here will gossip---“
“I don't care what they say. I'm going.”
… he complains that she kept him starving because he took a natural interest in other women, he says he will go unless she “there'll be something doing” - so she writes him a pass - he leaves, they're both mad and upset.
Then a strange buoyancy came over him as he [p 129] arrived in sight of the gate, where the red-haired girl sat on a camp stool, yawning and knitting a silk necktie - for eventualities, perhaps; perhaps for herself, Lord knows. She lifted her grey eyes as he came swinging up - deep, clear, grey eyes that met his and presently seemed ready to answer his. So his eyes asked; and, after a long interval, came the reply, as though she had unconsciously been waiting a long, long while for the question.
“I suppose you will wish to keep this,” he said in a low voice, offering her the pass. “You will probably desire to preserve it under lock and key.”
She rose to her slender height, took it in her childish hands, hesitated, then, looking up at him, slowly tore the pass to fragments and loosed them from her palm into the current of the south wind blowing.
“That does not matter,” she said, “if you are going to love me.”
There was a moment's silence, then she held out her left hand. He took it; with her right hand, standing on tiptoe, she reached up and unbarred the gates. And they passed out together into the infernal splendour of the sunset forest.
X p 130 -
The riots in London culminated in an episode so cataclysmic that it sobered the civilised world. Young Lord Marque, replying to a question in the House of Lords, said: “As long as the British peerage can summon muscular vigour sufficient to keep a monocle in its eye and extract satisfaction from a cigarette, no human woman in the British Empire shall ever cast a bally ballot for any bally purpose whatever. What!”
And the House of Lords rose to its wavering legs and cheered him with an enthusiasm almost loud enough to be heard about ordinary conversation.
But that unwise and youthful and masculine defiance was the young man's swan-song. A male [p. 131] suffragette rushed with the news to Miss Pondora Bottomly; Lord Marque was followed as he left the house; and that very afternoon he was observed fleeing in a series of startled and graceful bounds through Regent Park, closely pursued by several ladies of birth, maturity, and fashion carrying solid silver hair-brushes.
The Queen, chronicaling the somewhat intimate and exclusive affair a week later, mentioned that: “Among those present was the lovely Lady Diana Guernsey wearing tweeds, leather spats, and waving a Directoire Banner embroidered with the popular device, 'Votes for Women,' in bright yellow and bottle green on an old rose ground;” and that she had far outdistanced the aged Marchioness of Dingledell, Lady Spatterdash, the Hon. Miss Mousely, the Duchess of Rolinstone, Baroness Mosscroppe, and others; and that, when last seen, she and the Earl of Marque were headed westward. …
… rumors that she had sworn to make him eat his words “written in frosting upon a plum cake of her own manufacture.” p. 132
He decides to remain in hiding, then to travel to the US, consoling himself that his creditors would have forced him to emigrate before long anyway “and that he might as well take the present opportunity to pick out his dollar princess while in exile.” p 132
but “the great popular feminine upheaval in America was now in full swing” - the day after his arrival he was “a witness of the suffragette riots” when “thousands of handsome young men were being chased in every direction by beautiful and swift-footed suffragettes.” he lay in his hotel bed thinking about Lady Diana Guernsey and her pursuit of him. … then three months later he has survived various american insults to his englishness, and is ejected from a freight train near albany, new york.
XI. p 137.
The duties of young Lord Marque, the new man on the Willett estate at Caranay, left him at leisure only after six o'clock, his day being almost entirely occupied in driving a large lawn mower.
… he has become entranced with a telephone operator … he is asked by an old man nearby if he is interested in the telephone girl, and the old man says folks have been talking ever since she fooled him with her looking glass, watching him without him realizing it. marque asks him about “that crack on his lid” and the old man says his wife hit him, and asked p. 143
'Air wimmen to hev their rights?' sez she, makin' for me some more. 'Is wimmen to be free?' she sez.
“'Yew bet,' sez I, grabbin' onto her. 'I'll make free with ye,' sez I. An' I up an' tuk an' spanked Hetty - the first time in forty year, young man! An' it done her good, I guess, for she ain't never [p. 144] cooked like she cooked supper to-night. God a'mighty, what biscuits them was!”
marque is distracted and wanders off to see the young girl, and thinks about how she has been watching him every night while he watched her. she continued to make no indication that she was aware of him. he admitted to himself that “he was in love with all he could see of her”.
A few days later he decided to make an ass of himself, having been sent with a wagon to Moss Centre, a neighbouring metropolis.
First he sent a telegram to himself at Carany, signing it William Smith. … then he calls up the station and asks about himself, pretending to be someone else, he says I'm not sure I should hire him, he doesn't amount to much, not trustworthy, etc. she contradicts him and says he's honest, capable, sober, etc. she says that he is very happy at his present job [in her city] and won't be leaving.
then he goes back to the station and asks if there is a telegram for him; she gives it to him but does not speak.
XII p 150
Whenever he went to Moss Centre with the wagon he telephoned and telegraphed to himself, and about a month after he had begun this idiot performance he ventured to speak to her.
… he says good evening, she replies, he asks if she would mind if he spoke to her. she asks why he would like to speak to her? he can barely respond. the next day he asks her about the bird that sings so beautifully near them. they talk about the bird. he finds her extremely cultivated. she lets him give her some of the fish he catches. he leaves. she walks on a rubber-tipped cane to the door.
XIII - 156
He came every day; and every day, at sundown, she sat sewing by the window behind her heliotrope and mignonette waiting.
one day he asks if she is ill, because he sees the doctor come by weekly, she says she is not ill, the doctor is a friend. she then says, p. 159 “Lord Marque,” she said quietly, “why do you not go back to England?” … she says she is an english girl who happens to have seen him in london. she says she is 25 and has known his face since she was 20. it turns out she saw when he was attacked in america and lost his monocle and top hat. he wonders aloud what happened to the fleet-footed girl who followed him, Lady Diana Guernsey. he talks about how she kept chasing him till he fell. she said she did fall, she broke her thigh, and it lamed her for life.
he says he wished he'd let her catch him, that he'd have eaten her plum cake, frosting and all, to have saved her from such a fate.
she says that was not the tragic part of it. the tragedy was that she was in love with him. that as a young romantic girl she had fallen in love with him, and that she loves him to this day.
he says that's impossible, wasn't she a suffragette? but she says yes, but even as she chased you she loved you.
he asks if she is really lame, she says yes, it's hip disease, he says but that's curable, in vienna or new york, and she says she's going, she just recently found out, and the physician just told her. he said are you in constant communication with her? tell her I'll eat the plum cake if it will make her happy.
she said do you realise what you're saying? Do you realise what you're offering to do for a girl - a lame girl - who is already in love with you?
he says - do you think I should marry her? but how can I do that when I am already in love with somebody else? he says yes, but I think she is in love with someone else, because he comes to see her and she won't talk about him.
he says “I've been all kinds of a fool. For all I know women have as many rights on earth as men have. All I wish is that the plucky girl who took that hedge, banner in hand, were well and happy and married to a really decent fellow.”
“But - she loves you.”
“And I” - he looked up, encountering her blue eyes -“ am already hopelessly in love. What shall I do?”
She said under her breath: “God knows … I can not blame you for not wishing to marry a lame girl -“
“It isn't that!”
“But you wouldn't anyhow'-“
“I would if I loved her!”
“You couldn't - love a - a cripple! It would not be love; it would be pity -“
He said slowly: “I wish that you were that lame girl. Then you'd understand me.”
she says she's going to new york with the doctor, he said he thinks he understands, she says he doesn't, wait until he comes to any unhappy conclusions. he says he's coming in (he'd been outside her window all these nights) she says no, then he does, and realizes it's her.
she has baked the cake for him and planned to leave it for him.
“B-because I was going away to New York and would never perhaps see you again unless I was entirely cured. And I meant to leave this for you - so you would know that I had followed you even here - so you would know I had made a plucky try at you - through all these months -“
“You - you corker!”
“D-do you really mean it?”
“Mean it! I tell you, Diana, you women put it all over the lords of creation - or any lord ever created! Mean it! You bet I do, sweetness! I'll take back everything I ever said about women. They're the real thing in the world! And the best thing for the world is to let them run it!”
“But - dear - “ she faltered, lifting her beautiful eyes to him, “if men are going to feel that way about it, we won't want to run anything at all …. It was only because you wouldn't let us that we wanted to.”
then he eats the plum cake.
XIV - p 173
The situation in Great Britain was becoming deplorable; the Home Secretary had been chased into the Serpentine; the Prime Minister and a dozen members of Parliament had taken permanent refuge in the vaults of the Bank of England; a vast army of suffragettes was parading the streets of London, singing, cheering, and eating bon-bons. Statutes, monuments, palaces were defaced with the words “Votes for Women,” and it was not an uncommon sight to see some handsome young man rushing distractedly through Piccadilly pursued by scores of fleet-footed suffragettes of the eugenic wing of their party, intent on his capture for the purposes of scientific propagation.
No young man who conformed to the standard of masculine beauty set by the eugenist suffragettes was safe any longer. Scientific marriage between perfectly healthy people was now a firmly established principle of the suffragette propaganda; they began to chase attractive young men on sight with the avowed determination of marrying them to physically qualified individuals of their own sex and party, irrespective of social or educational suitability.
This had already entailed much hardship; the young Marquis of Putney was chased through Cadogan Place, caught, taken away in a taxi, and married willy-nilly to a big, handsome, strapping girl who sold dumb-bells in the new American department store. No matter who the man might be professionally and socially, if he was young and well-built and athletic he was chased on sight and, if captured, married to some wholesome and athletic young suffragette in spite of his piteous protests.
“We will found,” cried Mrs. Blinkerly Danksome-Hankly triumphantly, “a perfect human race and teach it the immortal principles of woman's [p. 174] rights. So, if we can't persuade Parliament to come out for us, we'll take Parliament by the slack of its degraded trousers, some day, and throw it out!”
This terrible menace delivered in Trafalgar Square was cabled to the Outlook, which instantly issued its first extra; and New York, already in the preliminary throes of a feminine revolution, went wild.
That day the handsome young Governor of New York, attended by his ornamental young Military Secretary in full uniform, had arrived at the Waldorf-Astoria to confer with the attractive young Mayor of the metropolis concerning a bill to be introduced into the legislature, permitting the franchise to women under certain conditions. And on the same day a monster suffragette parade was scheduled.
[some aspects of the measure became known to the National Federation of Women; rioting broke out (lq: because they were happy or unhappy?) and the Governor, Mayor, and Secretary, looking out the window, saw suffragettes pursuing and kidnapping beautiful young youths to take them to be married. ]
But now the suffragettes threw off all restraint; [p. 177] men, frightened and confused, were being not only spoken to on Fifth Avenue, but were being seized and forcibly conducted in taxicabs toward the marriage license bureau.
It was a very St. Bartholomew for bachelors.
[the Mayor et al decide to flee: the Governor takes his Secretary's military uniform; the Secretary decides to flee disguised as a chambermaid. The men are not able however to figure out all the pieces of the chambermaid's clothing, accessories, and hairpieces.]
Meanwhile the unfortunate Military Secretary had dressed in the top hat and cutaway of the Governor.
He said huskily, “If I can't outrun them they'll catch me and try to start raising statesmen.”
“It's your duty to defend me,” observed the Governor.
“Yes, with my life, but not with my p-progeny---“
“Then you'd better run faster than you've ever run in all your life,” said the Governor coldly.
[just then the men get a call; it is Professor Elizabeth Challis - p. 179]
At the terrible name of the new President of the National Federation of American Women the Governor jumped with nervousness. Anonymous letters had warned him that she was after him for eugenic purposes.
“What do you want?” he asked tremulously.
“In the name of the Federation I demand that you instantly destroy the draft of that infamous bill which you are preparing to rush through at Albany.”
[he refuses; she says the committee on eugenics will seize him; he says let them catch me first. then the men, disguised, go downstairs to try to escape through the suffragettes. they are about to make a dash for a taxicab when a wind comes - p. 182]
The next moment the Secretary's top hat was carried away by a brick; the Mayor's turban-swirl went the same way, amid showers of confetti and a yell of fury from a thousand suffragettes who saw in his piteous attempt to disguise himself, by aid of a turban-swirl, an insult to womanhood the world over.
A perfect blizzard of missiles rained on the terrified politicians; the Secretary and the Mayor burst into a frantic canter up Thirty-fourth Street, pursued by a thousand strikingly handsome women. The Governor ran west.
[end of chapter]
Chapter XV - p. 183
The Governor of the great State of New York was now running up Broadway with his borrowed sword between his legs and his borrowed uniform covered with confetti - footing it as earnestly as though he were running behind his ticket with New York County yet to hear from.
After him sped bricks, vegetables, spot-eggs, and several exceedingly fashionable suffragettes, their perfectly gloved hands full of horsewhips, banners, and farm produce.
[the pursuers give up the chase until at 42d “only one fleet-footed young girl remained at his heels” - a list of pursuers, the governor, the suffragette, “several agitated policemen,” “fourth, the hoi polloi of the Via Blanca” then a dog and then a wind. the wind kicks up the dust and when they reappear the governor is chasing the suffragette. he had tripped and she grabbed the bill from his hands and ran - into a cul-de-sac. she throws the ci-devant cat she was carrying at him, and runs up some stairs to the skylight. at the top of the stairs they both collapse exhausted. he locks the door, and looks at the cat - which was just an imitation cat.
he mocks her and says he supposed the bricks, vegetables, and eggs were “cotillion favours full of confetti”
she says they were, but they served their purpose, as symbols “The three most ancient symbols of an insulted people's fury - the egg, the turnip, and the cat.” (p. 188)
he asks when she will let him have the papers; she says never; he says he won't let her out till she returns them; she says she'll stay in the room all her life then; he asks what will happen when the owners return; she shrugs. she looks around the room. he asks her what she's doing with the papers and she says giving them to Professor Elizabeth Challis. he wants to know what is so distasteful in the bill: p. 191
“It is reactionary-a miserable subterfuge-a treacherous attempt to return to the old order of things! A conspiracy to re-shackle, re-enslave American womanhood with the sordid chains of domestic cares! To drive her back into the kitchen, the laundry, the nursery-back into the dark ages of dependence and acquiescence and non-resistance-back into the degraded epochs of sentimental relations with the tyrant man!”
She leaned forward in her excitement and her sable boa slid back as she made a gesture with her expensive muff.
“Once,” she said, “woman was so ignorant that she married for love! Now the national revolt has come. Neither sentiment nor impulse nor emo- [p. 192] tion shall ever again play any part in our relations with man!”
He said, trying to speak ironically: “That's a gay outlook, isn't it?”
“The outlook, Captain Jones, is straight into a glorious millennium. Marriage, in the future, is to mean the regeneration of the human race through cold-blooded selection in mating. Only the physically and mentally perfect will hereafter be selected as specimens for scientific propagation. All others must remain unmated - pro bono publico - and so ultimately human imperfection shall utterly disappear from this world!”
Her pretty enthusiasm, her earnestness, the delicious colour in her cheeks, began to fascinate him. Then uneasiness returned.
“Do you know,” he said cautiously, “that the Governor of New York has received anonymous letters informing him that Professor Elizabeth Challis considers him a proper specimen for the - the t-t-terrible purposes of s-s-scientific p-p-propagation?”
“Some traitor in our camp,” she said, “wrote those letters.”
“It-it isn't true, then, is it?”
“What isn't true?”
“That the Governor of the great State of New York is in any danger of being seized for any such purpose?”
She looked at him with a curious veiled expression in her pretty eyes, as though she were near-sighted.
“I think,” she said, “Professor Challis means to seize him.”
The Governor gazed at her, horrified for a moment, then his political craft came to his aid, and he laughed.
“What does she look like?” he inquired. “Is she rather a tough old lady?”
“No; she's young and-athletic.”
“Oh, she's as tall as the Governor is-about six feet, I believe.”
“Nonsense!” he exclaimed, paling.
“Six feet,” she repeated carelessly; “rowed stroke at Vassar; carried off the standing long jump, pole vault, and ten-mile swimming---“
“This-this is terrible,” murmured the young [p. 194] man, passing one gloved hand over his dampening brow. Then, with a desperate attempt at a smile, he leaned forward and said confidentially:
“As a matter of fact, just between you and me, the Governor is an invalid.”
[he goes on to tell her that the governor has a cardiac affection, known as Lamour's disease - she says she'll have to tell Professor Challis and that she has heard of Lamour's disease. She asks if the Governor's attentions are fixed on any particular person. p. 195:
“Oh, no!” he said, smiling; “the Governor isn't in love-except-er-generally. He's a gay bird. The Governor never, in all his career, saw a single specimen of your sex which-well, which interested him as much-well, for example,” he added in a burst of confidence, ”as much even as you interest me!”
[he starts to hint that the governor might be interested in her if the governor ever recovered - then he asks her name. she tells him her name is Mary Smith and “Like you, I am Militant Secretary to Professor Elizabeth Challis, President of the Federation of American Women.” p. 196
[he asks if they can remain friends; she says she hopes so; he says then won't you give me the papers? she says no, she must deliver them to Professor Challis: p. 197]
“Because it contains the evidence of a wicked conspiracy between the Governor of New York, the Mayor of this city, and an abandoned legislature. The women of America ought to know what threatens them before this bill is perfected and introduced. And before they will permit it to be debated and passed they are determined to march on Albany, half a million strong, as did the heroines of Versailles!”
She stretched out her white gloved hand with an excited but graceful gesture; he eyed her moodily, swinging the chenille cat by its fluffy tail.
“What do they suspect is in that bill?” he said at last.
“We are not yet perfectly sure. We believe it is an insidious attempt to sow dissension in the ranks of our sex-a bill cunningly devised to create jealousy and unworthy distrust among us-an ingenious and inhuman conspiracy to disorganize the National Federation of Free and Independent Women.”
[he tells her that no, the bill is designed to give her exactly what she wants - votes for women]
“On what terms?” she asked, incredulously.
“Terms? Oh, no particular terms. I wouldn't call them 'terms,'” he said craftily; “that sounds like masculine dictation.”
“It certainly does.”
“Of course. There are no terms in it. It's a-a sort of a civil service idea-a kind of a qualification for the franchise-“
“Yes,” he continued pleasantly, “it a-er-suggests that a vote be accorded to any woman who, in competition with others of that election district, passes the examinations-“
He twirled the cat carelessly.
“Oh, the examination papers are on various subjects. One is chemistry.”
“Yes-that part of organic chemistry which includes the scientific preparation of-er-food.”
Her eyes flashed; he twirled the cat absently.
“Yes,” he said, “chemistry is one of the subjects. Physics is another-physical phenomena.”
“Oh, the-the proposition that nature abhors a vacuum. You're to prove it-you're given a certain area-say a bed-room full of dust. Then you apply to it-“
“I see,” she said; “you mean we apply to it a vacuum cleaner, don't you?”
“Or,” he admitted courteously, “you may solve it through the science of dynamics-“
“Of course-using a broom.” Her eyes were beautiful but frosty.
“Do you know,” he said, as pleasantly as he dared, “that you, for instance, would be sure to pass.”
he goes on to say there are tests on sewing buttons, sterilizing nursing bottles, taking care of the baby. p. 201:
“Captain Jones,” she said, “as I understand it, this bill is a codified conspiracy to turn every woman of this State into a-a washer of clothes, a cleaner of floors, a bearer of children-and a Haus-frau!”
“I-I would not put it that way,” he protested.
“And her reward,” she went on, not noticing his interruption, “is permission to vote-to use the inalienable liberty with which already Heaven has endowed her.”
Tears flashed in her eyes; she held her small head proudly and not one fell.
“Captain Jones,” she said, “do you realize what centuries of suppression are doing to my sex? Do you understand that woman is degenerating into [p. 202] an immobility-an inertia-a molluskular condition of receptive passivity which is rendering us, year by year, more unfitted to either think or act for ourselves? Even in the matter of marriage we are not permitted by custom to assume the initiative. We may only shake our heads until the man we are inclined toward asks us, when he is entirely ready to ask. Then, like a row of Chinese dolls, we nod our heads. I tell you,” she said, tremulously, “we are becoming like that horrid, degenerate, wingless moth which is born, mates, and dies in one spot-a living mechanical incubator-a poor, deformed, senseless thing that has through generations lost not only the use, but even the rudiments of the wings which she once possessed. But the male moth flies more strongly and frivolously than ever. There is nothing the matter with the development of his wings, Captain Jones.”
[end of chapter]
Chapter XVI - p 203
It was now growing rather dark in the room.
“I'm terribly sorry you feel this way,” he said.
She had averted her eyes and was now seated, chin in hand, looking out of the window.
“Do you know,” he said, “this is a rotten condition of affairs.”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“This attitude of women.”
“Is it more odious than the attitude of men?”
“After all,” he said, “man is born with the biceps. He was made to do the fighting.”
“Not all of the intellectual fighting.”
“No, of course not. But-you don't want him to rock the cradle, do you?”
“Cradles are no longer rocked, Captain Jones. I don't think you would be qualified to pass this examination with which you menace us.”
she says he wishes she could talk to him sensibly - he says he would be willing to listen, but that she must eventually return the papers to him. she refuses & says only brute violence will take them from her. he says that is out of the question. she says “It is no more shameful than the mental violence to which you have subjected us through centuries.”
he starts to pace, says he's hungry, thinks to himself “If this is Dill's room it's a horrible place.” then he says he's hungry again.
For nearly five minutes she let the remark go apparently unnoticed. But the complaint he had made is the one general and comprehensive appeal [p. 207] that no woman ever born can altogether ignore. In the depths of her something always responds, however faintly. And in the soul of this young girl it was answering now-the subtle, occult response of woman to the eternal and endless need of man-hunger of one kind or another.
“I'm sorry,” she said, so sincerely that the sweetness in her voice startled him.
[she says she ought to destroy the papers & let him go home. he agrees & says it's because he's near-sighted; she says what has that to do with anything? he says because suffragettes would never marry a near-sighted man; she says how does that concern her; he asks “Couldn't it-ever?” and she says no. he reaches toward her to grab the papers; they are deadlocked; then she knocks him to the floor. he wakes up to the sound of her crying and telling him she loves him and has loved him ever since the election. that she'll give him back the bill, that she's perfectly willing to do all those things, “Oh, oh, oh! How conscience does make Haus-fraus of us all!” p. 210 - he continued to pretend to be asleep until there is a knocking on the door - then he wakes up & says how will we explain this?
he thinks the knocking is dill & he hears the mayor's voice too.
the mayor yells let us in george, there's a mob of suffragettes after us.
the suffragettes grab the men.
she says to the governor Check! and he says “Make it check-mate,” she replies, “Mate you?” and he says “Will you?”, she says of course she will, why else did he run after him - she didn't want anyone else to grab him? then she confesses that she is professor challis. one of the women runs up and says: p. 212]
“Professor,” she cried, “all over the city desirable young men are being pursued and married by the thousands! We have swept the State, with Brooklyn and West Point yet to hear from!” Her glance fell upon the Governor; she laughed gleefully.
“Shall I call a taxi, Professor?” she asked.
An exquisite and modest pride transformed the features of Professor Betty Challis to a beauty almost celestial.
“Let George do it,” she said tenderly.
[george being the governor. end of chapter]
XVII - p. 214
A few minutes later, amid a hideous scene of riot, where young men were fleeing distractedly in every direction, where excited young girls were dragging them, struggling and screaming, into cabs, where even the police were rushing hither and thither in desperate search for a place to hide in, the Governor of New York and Professor Elizabeth Challis might have been seen whirling downtown in a taxicab toward the marriage license bureau.
[she lays her head on his shoulder; then jerks upright: where is the draft of the bill? he says did you want it? she says no, but didn't you? he says no. she says why did you keep me there if you didn't want it? he confesses he just wanted to be with her. he asks if their great love justified them concealing his myopia. she said it did & she is dreadfully near-sighted herself. p. 216
“Dear, every one of us has got something the matter with her. Miss Vining, who caught the Mayor, wears a rat herself…. Do you mean to say that men believe there ever was a perfect woman?”
He kissed her slowly. “I believe it,” he said.
[end of chapter]
XVIII - 217
As the extremes of fashionable feminine costume appear first on Fifth Avenue in late November, and in early December are imitated in Harlem, and finally in January pervade the metropolitan purlieus, so all the great cities of the Union, writhing in the throes of a fashionable suffragette revolution, presently inoculated the towns; and the towns infected the villages; and the villages the hamlets; and the hamlets passed the contagion along into the open country, where isolated farms and dicky-birds alone remained uninfected and receptive.
lots of marraiges - 60,000 in NYC the previous year, but “… in the few months of the eugenic revolution the number of weddings had reached the enormous figures of 180,000, not including Flatbush.” p. 218
Thousands and thousands of marriageable young men were hiding in their clubs or in the [p. 219] shrubbery of Central Park, waiting for a chance to make their escape to the country and remain incognito in hay lofts until the eugenic revolution had ended itself in a dazzling display of divorce.
suffragettes began hunting the suburbs and then the countryside for eligible young men. described as sport - “Diana roamed the earth once more.” description of startled young men peering through the shrubs at “distractingly pretty girls … carrying as excess baggage one clergywoman and a bundle of marriage licenses, with the bridegroom's name represented only by a question mark.”
2 young men were sitting out among the Westchester hills. “In every direction stretched hills, woods, and Italians.” p. 221
Brown & Vance are listening & hear a group of girls. Vance moans that he can't afford to be married. The two young men have to make a break for it and start running. Gladys, Millicent, Constance start chasing them with dogs and a marmoset. They catch Vance. Brown runs on and finds an isolated house & barn. he sees a black cat & “parti-colored” kittens. he determines that “this crumbling house and its occupants knew as much about the recent high-jinks [p. 227] in New York as did the man who built it in the days when loop-holes were an essential part of local architecture, and the painted Sagamore passed like a spectre through the flanking florests.
So Brown, carrying his suit-case, opened the gate, walked up the path, seized the knocker, and announced himself with resolution.
[end of chapter]
XIX - 228
While he waited the cat looked up at him, curiously but pleasantly. “Hello, old lady,” he said; and she arched her back and rubbed lightly against his nigh leg while the kittens tumbled over his shoes and played frantically with the frayed bottoms of his trousers.
[a young girl answers the door. red-head, with one eye hazel-brown and one eye hazel-grey. he asks if she could take summer boarders; she says she never heard of them except in naval battles.
“Thank heaven,” he thought; “this is remote, all right; and I have discovered pristine innocence in the nest.”
“Modern boarders,” he explained politely, “are unpleasant people who come from the city to en- [p. 230] joy the country, and who, having no real homes, pay farmers to lodge and feed them for a few days of vacation and dyspepsia.”
“You mean is this a tavern?” she asked, unsmiling.
“No, I don't. I mean, will you let me live her a little while as though I were a guest, and then permit me to settle my reckoning in accordance with your own views upon the subject?”
She hesitated as though perplexed.
“Suppose you ask your father or mother,” he suggested.
[she says they're gone, he says can't she make the decision? they introduce each other - John Brown 4th, Elizabeth Tennant. He says he's from New York; she says she was there once at a ball many years ago.
“Not very many years ago, I imagine,” he said, smiling at her youthful reminiscence.
“Many, many years ago,” she said thoughtfully. “I shall go again some day.”
she says she knew a boy years ago like him with his name. she asks after his family - and says of his father that he fought at pound ridge; she describes his death, and then covers her face. then she says she lives in the past so vividly that they seem real to him. she says she is a Daughter of the American Revolution.
“Exactly,” he smiled with an inward shudder. “A-a very interesting-er-and-exceedingly-and-all that sort of thing,” he nodded amiably. “Don't take much interest in it myself-being a broker and rather busy-“
“I am sorry.”
… he says he wouldn't mind hearing about it; she invites him in.
p. 234 - end of chapter
XX - 235
He went, first depositing his suit-case on the step outside by the cats, and followed her into a large, comfortable sitting room.
he comments on the old furniture - she says it was made to order for her in Boston. he says then it must be replicas. he comments that it is a charming setting; she says “The Manor House” was much finer and talks about fine folk, “the Lockwoods, Hunts, and Fanchers” - he uneasily notes out the window that there is a well-traveled road. she says the Manor House stood over there but Tarleton burnt it, and a soldier struck the Major's young wife. she tells more stories of revolutionary times, repeating a violent story of one soldier cursing and killing another. he is amused that she curses. she tells him that his ancestor was only 20 when he died; she says he was very handsome. she talks about how he would tease and play with his young wife and then her voice breaks. he thinks how funny that she is so affected by something that happened 130 years ago.
he asks her why make herself unhappy; she says she is happy, just unhappy when she is hear. she says she is usually elsewhere. he says why do you come here? p. 242
“I don't know. I am very happy elsewhere. But-I come. Women do such things.”
“I don't exactly understand why.”
“A woman's thoughts return eternally to one place and one person. One memory is her ruling passion.”
“What is that memory?”
“The Place and the Man.”
“I don't know what you mean.”
“I mean that a woman, in spirit, journeys eternally to the old, old rendezvous with love; makes, with her soul, the eternal pilgrimage back to the spot where Love and she were first acquainted. And, moreover, a woman may even leave the man with whom she is happy to go all alone for a while back to the spot where first she knew happiness because of him…. You don't understand, do you?”
Brown was a broker. He did not understand.
she smiles at him & offers him cake & wine. he imagines that he would not have to be chased to fall in love with a woman like this. then she asks him about what is going on in new york.
His jaw fell.
“Have you heard about-what is going on in town?” he asked. “I thought you didn't know.”
“They say that the women there are ambitious to govern the country and are even resolved to choose their own husbands.”
“Something of that sort,” he muttered uneasily.
“That is a very strange condition of affairs,” she murmured, brooding eyes remote.
“It's a darn sight worse than strange!” he blurted out-then asked pardon for his inelegant vehemence; but she only smiled dreamily and sipped her currant wine in the sunshine.
[he tries to change the subject back to “those jolly old colonial days” - comments on her gown being an antique, that it is a wonder. she notes that men seldom notice women's clothes. she asks is it very gay and fine? he says: “They are the garments of perfection-robing it!” she says what a gallant thing to say, do you find me so agreeable? and she teases him to praise him. he speaks of going mad over her. p. 248
Then, as he came close to her, she drew the wild rose through the lapel of his coat, and he bent his head and touched his lips to the blossom.
“When she and you-and Love-shall meet at last, you will first know her by her eyes,” she began; and the next instant the smile froze on her face and she caught his arm in both hands and clung there, white to the lips.”
[end of chapter]
XXI p 249
“Listen!” she whispered; “did you hear that?”
“What?” he asked, dazed.
“On the Bedford road! do you hear the horses? Do you hear them running?”
[she hears Tarleton's horses; cries where is jack? where is jack? he stares at her & says it's an automobile horn; she springs past him & goes out the door. he follows and sees a big red touring car come to a standstill beside the house. the chauffeur gets out to put on a new tire; a young girl gets out of the car. the two of them look eye-to-eye. she is slim & red-haired and has mismatched eyes also. she says I suppose you came to look at the place? people often come; you are welcome. she says she is happy to show him the place.
he asks is the place yours or your sister's?
she says you mistake me for someone else; it belonged to my great grandmother; he says people are here now; she says oh no it's empty.
she takes him into the house - unlocks the door which he had thought he left open - and the house is very dusty and empty.
she tells him of the house, he knows the name of the owner “Elizabeth Tennant,” he bends his head to kiss the wild rose and then looks up at the girl and into her eyes.
“As they left the house an hour later, walking down the path slowly, shoulder to shoulder, she said:
“Mr. Brown, I want you to like that house.”
A sudden and subtly hideous idea glided into his brain.
“You don't believe in suffragettes, do you?” he said, forcing a hollow laugh.
“Why, I am one. Didn't you know it?”
“Certainly. Goodness! how you did run! But,” she added with innocent satisfaction, “I think I have secured every bit as good a one as the one Gladys chased out of a tree with her horrid marmoset.”
[end of chapter]
XXIII p 256
The Eugenic Revolution might fairly be said to have begun with the ignominious weddings of Messrs. Reginald Willett, James Carrick, De Lancy Smith, and Alphonso W. Green.
Its crisis culminated in the Long Acre riots. But the great suffragette revolution was now coming to its abrupt and predestined end; the reaction, already long overdue, gathered force with incredible rapidity and exploded from Yonkers to Coney Island, in a furious counter-revolution. The revolt of the Unfit was on at last.
Mobs of maddened spinsters paraded the streets of the five boroughs demanding spouses. Maidens of uncertain age and attractions who, in the hysterical enthusiasm of the eugenic revolution, had offered themselves the pleasures of martyrdom by [p. 257] vowing celibacy and by standing aside while physically perfect sister suffragettes pounced upon and married all flawless specimens of the opposite sex, now began to demand for themselves the leavings among the mature, thin-shanked, and bald-headed.
In vain their beautiful comrades attempted to explain the eugenistic principles-to point out that the very essence of the entire cult lay in non-reproduction by the physically unfit, and in the ultimate extinction of the thin, bald, and meagre among the human race.
But thousands and thousands of the love-maddened rose up and denounced the Beauty Trust, demanded a return to the former conditions of fair competition in the open shop of matrimony.
They were timidly encouraged by thousands of middle-aged gentlemen who denied that either excessive meagreness or baldness was hereditary; they even dared to assert that the suffragette revolution had been a mistake, and pointed out that only an average of one in every hundred women had taken the trouble to exercise her privilege at the polls in the recent election, and that ninety [p. 258] per cent. of those who voted marked their ballots wrong or forgot to mark them at all, or else invalidated them by writing suggestions to the candidates on the backs of the ballots.
[then a woman seizes a thin policeman and marries him despite his protests; then the old order of things was in sight. men began reappearing in public places; wives responded to their husbands' “good-mornings”; the unattractive plucked up spirits; florists, etc., came out of seclusion; the art of flirting was resurrected.
The good old days of yore were returning fast on the heels of the retreat of woman; capital shook hands with privilege; the prices of staples soared; joints, dives, and hospitals were fast filling up; jails and prisons and asylums looked forward to full houses. It was the same old world again-the same dear old interesting, exciting, grafting, murdering, diseased planet, spinning along through space-just as far as usual from other worlds and probably so arranged in order that other worlds might not suffer from its aroma.
And over it its special, man-designed god was expected to keep watch and deal out hell or paradise as the man-made regulations which governed the deity and his abode required.
So once again the golden days of yore began; congregations worshipped in Fifth Avenue churches and children starved on Avenue A; splendid hospitals were erected, palatial villas were built in the country; and department stores paid Mamie and Maud seven dollars a week-but competed in vain, sometimes, with smiling and considerate individuals who offered them more, including enough to eat.
The world's god was back in his heaven; the world would, therefore, go very well; and woman, at last, was returning to her own sphere to mind her own business-and a gifted husband, especially created as her physical and mental lord and master by a deity universally regarded as masculine in sex.
[end of chapter]
XXIV p 262
She knew so little about the metropolis that, on her first visit, a year before, she had asked the driver of the taxicab to recommend a respectable hotel for a lady traveling alone; and he had driven her to the Hotel Aurora Borealis-that great, gay palace of Indiana limestone and plate glass towering above the maelstrom of Long Acre.
[so she returned to Westchester farm; then when going back to NY decided to go to AB because she knew it; and so on for several trips. at one of the trips she asked about a young man always in the lobby. the maid says he's a gambler, who picks up friends to gamble with. she keeps looking at him, thinking him handsome. she meditates and determines that his charm is part of his equipment. then she feels sorry for him for being led astray. then she gets up from breakfast.
She rose, curiously weary; a lassitude lay upon her as she left the room and went out into the city about her business-which was to see her lawyer concerning the few remaining details of her inheritance.
The inheritance was the big, prosperous Westchester farm where she lived-had always lived with her grandfather since her parents' death. It was turning out to be very valuable because of the mania of the wealthy for Westchester acreage and a revival in a hundred villages of the magnificence of the old Patroons.
Outside of her own house and farm she had land to sell to the landed and republican gentry; [p. 269] and she sold it and they bought it with an avidity that placed her financial independence beyond doubt.
All the morning she transacted business downtown with the lawyer. In the afternoon she went to a matinee all by herself, and would have had a most blissful day had it not been for the unquiet memory of a young man who, she had learned that morning, was fairly certain of eternal damnation.
That evening she went back to Westchester absent-minded and depressed.
end of chapter
XXV - 270
It was in early June when she arrived in town again. He was in the lobby as usual; he lunched at the table by the window as usual. There seemed to be nothing changed about him except that he was a handsomer man than she had supposed him.
she does her business & decides to never come to the Hotel AB again. as she is leaving she hears the hotel detective telling him to leave and stay gone. the young man seems desperate & says he has to keep the appointment. the detective kicks him out. she helps him up. then he makes a quick movement, and then she wrenches “the short, dull-blue weapon from his hand” and tells him to do what she tells him. she tells him to get in a cab. he is bleeding. in the cab she says she has to tell him something; that she's seen him before. she asks where is he going when she leaves him? will he go back to the hotel and become a murderer? she says she will keep his pistol. he promises and thanks her for preventing him from committing “what I meant to do.” she asks is there any chance of her helping him further?
she says her name is Lilly Hollis, she lives at Whitebrook Farm, Westchester. she asks him to call on her and he agrees, and she gives him the pistol.
XXVI - 280
The next day he didn't appear, but a letter did.
“I merely lied to you,” he wrote. “All gamblers are liars. You should have passed by on the other side.”
she looks around at the parlor she had prepared for his salvation - with bible etc. she had arranged it all carefully with flowers, tea, bibles & books, polishing silver. she is depressed that he is not coming and then she remembers that she gave him back his pistol. dramatic text of her anguish.
XXVII - p 287
She lifted her head from the sofa cushion in the dark, dazzled by the sudden lamp-light.
he is hear actually-then he says you see what the honour of a gambler is worth; I have lied to you twice already. they talk. he finally says would you like me to speak of myself? he says he worked his way through college on his wits, got into gambling, and felt himself drifting lower until what she saw occurred. he admits that he is not an honest player. “I have heard of honest gamblers; I never saw one…. There may be some; but I'm afraid they're like good Indians….”
he says he's not in want, that it's easier for him to make a living this way. he says it cost him a lot to come here; that he felt humiliated; she says she did not feel contempt for him; they have dramatic conversation; he says he is going to leave, but she wants him to stay. he says some of her friends would know him. she says she doesn't care, she wants him to stay. he asks if she will be patient, that he's gone all wrong somehow since he was a boy; she says she will be patient.
end of chapter - p. 297
In all Romances
And poet's fancies
Where Cupid prances,
Embowered in flowers,
The tale advances
That check love's chances
Through tragic hours.
The reader's doleful now,
The lover's soulful now,
At least a bowlful now
Of tears are poured.
The villain makes a hit,
The reader throws a fit,
The author grins a bit
And draws his sword!
Strikes down Fate's lances,
And deftly cans his
'Mid ardent glances
And lover's trances
And wedding dances