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through a prodigious clatter, amid traffic somewhat as it might look to God-a that seemed in constant danger of col- whole made up of countless parts, all lision, between buildings that leaned half- moving in many ways toward the same way across the sky. There stole through ends, none more important than the rest, them a feeling of defenselessness, of in- none capable of injury without some significance. Before the hotel which they subtle alteration of the whole. had chosen-carved portico, glimpses of Yet when he descended into the streets, marble pillars and palm-trees within, ser- he regained the feeling that his fellows vants rigged out in gaudy livery - Aure- were vastly different from one another. lius completely lost his courage. Waving But when they found Fifth Avenue, back the porters, he called to the chauf- New York at last fulfilled the girls' anfeur to drive on; and after careering ticipations. Here rolled the motor-cars through the streets for half an hour, they with crested panels, full of Aowers and found a family hotel like a dingy obelisk, furs. Here alighted the young girls who sufficiently unfashionable to abate the had stepped out of the fashion-books, immost of their reluctance. The clerk of- pressively bizarre in their costumes of the fered to board and lodge them all for fif- latest hour. But the show-windows sugteen dollars a day.
gested even more extravagance than one “Fifteen!” Thallie's mouth fell open, saw in motion on this thoroughfare. PassEuphrosyne turned slightly pale, Mr. ing the classic restaurants, the famous hoGoodchild's hunted look gave place to tels, the mansions like foreign palaces, the consternation; but Aglaia, her emerald- three Graces wondered if their happiness green eyes already calm again, moved for- would ever equal that of women who ward, touched her father's arm, and mur- were born to such surroundings. For the mured:
moment the prospect before them- the "This is New York. Let 's make the voyage and strange lands, the long study best of it.”
and slow climb to triumph in their chosen They made the best of it.
arts--seemed less inspiring than formerly. From their high rooms they looked All at once they drew Aurelius toward out at a New York beyond their expec- the shops. In spacious rooms, lined with tations-a city of bright towers rising mirrors, salesgirls advanced upon them, far into the limpid air. Each unique in willowy in black satin frocks of the most detail, though all shaped slenderly for the recent cut, with the bearing of Oriental same defiance of the heavens, those struc- handmaids raised, through some pasha's tures seemed to Aoat above the humbler caprice, to feminine authority. A suave roofs like the vision of a more audacious patronage underlay their words and gescivilization than to-day's. And far off to tures as their glances ran over these garthe south, where the haze of distance ments that had come from Zenasville, as thickened, other edifices appeared, only they exhibited the gowns of lace, of cloth vaguely showing all their upward fight, of silver, of painted gauze, and glittering their domes sending forth soft golden embroidery. Mr. Goodchild, seated in a glimmerings from the midst of space. corner, nervously smoothing his thick,
But down below, in the streets that re- tangled beard, blinked at this finery, such sembled the bottoms of crevasses, hu- as he had never seen before. Euphrosyne manity was rendered trivial by its own and Thalia, afflicted by sensations of works. Those tiny creatures rippling humbleness, fell mute. Aglaia, however, along the pavements were not persons, but after calmly pricing and examining everythe seething system of one physical body, thing, at last ended her sisters' torments each atom linked to the rest by invisible with the nonchalant remark, "I think beganglia which drove all to an equal agi- fore we finally decide we 'll look a little tation. And the ght came to Aure- farther.” But for her, their retreat would lius that here he saw humanity revealed have been a flight.
Thallie, blushing in the sunshine, was serving the three Graces only as a cried:
sort of chrysalis. “What must they think of us, buying Aurelius, when they came to preen nothing after putting them to so much themselves before him, found his daughtrouble!"
ters almost too grand to kiss; he thought, “Who cares what they think? All the with sinking heart, "I shall surely lose same, they gave me some ideas. And now them very soon.” we'll go to the department stores, and Indeed, everywhere they now went the get off cheaper."
eyes of young men brightened at the sight But it was not till three days later that of them. But the sisters, when they venthe sisters managed to reform their dress tured forth alone, found that masculine completely
homage in New York was bolder than in At first they hardly knew one another Zenasville. For self-protection, they were in those draperies looped and puffed like forced to end their clear, frank gazing, to costumes in a Franco-Persian comic opera, repress the friendly interest natural to in the hats tilted at extraordinary angles, their faces, to assume the mask discreet in the fur scarfs worn, as it seemed, back young girls must wear in the great cities. foremost, in the little slippers revealing "Why, these New York men are territhe sheen of ankles through a mesh of ble!” protested Thallie, though dimpling, silk. Thus arrayed, two at least found despite herself, beneath her frown. themselves abashed — till they remembered "It 's clear," murmured Frossie, "that they were, after all, no more than fash- with the slightest encouragementionably arrayed. And even Thallie was “I suppose men are men wherever one moved to favor her new outfit with an finds them," said Aglaia, with a shrug, unprecedented care, herself replacing "though I understand that in Europe every hook and button lost, and mending they 're even more frankly so." each hole at once in the heels of her silk The three fell silent, wondering about stockings.
the men of Europe, and, after all, not disIn that transformation each, to be sure, pleased by the idea that they might prove had made concessions to her nature. Fros- “more so.” sie's colors were the quietest, her whole New York, however, still sufficiently attire, as befitted her "strong" features, amazed them. pince-nez, bright-red hair, the most con- They visited the museums and the servative. Thallie had chosen clear hues parks, inspected the monuments, peeped and indecisive contours, according with into Chinatown and Wall Street. From her vivid, though still uncompleted, love- the tops of sky-scrapers they saw at last, liness. But Aglaia's was, perhaps, the beyond roofs and masts and shredding greatest triumph. Though garbed with clouds of smoke, the sea, a-shimmer clear the sophisticated daintiness of a young to the horizon. Every night they went matron breathing the very air of style, to the theater to watch the hysterics of she managed to look younger than Eu- the problem-plays or the sensuous confuphrosyne.
sion of the musical comedies. It was The swift change in them surprised the Thallie who decided that the drama in other patrons of the family hotel - the New York was immoral. elderly ladies who prowled the parlors in "The drama, maybe," Euphrosyne asEgyptian shawls, the bluff old gentlemen sented; "but the musical shows are less who “put on no frills" with Mr. Good- immoral than amoral.” child in the lobby, the wives of traveling "Most of them are imported from Eusalesmen who, every morning, eased baby- rope," Aglaia at last volunteered. “Even carriages down the front steps. These pruned a bit, they say, before we honest folk, humdrum even in New York, them!” had not realized that the dingy obelisk And the sisters pictured for themselves
those lands whose amusements so shame- streets, the museums, the theaters, the lessly confessed their cynicism.
countless show-places of New York, his But at concerts they could approve of
She wore a fulleverything they heard. One afternoon skirted dress of poplin covered with a they attended a song-recital by Mme. fringed polonaise; a tiny tip-tilted hat Bertha Linkow, a famous soprano whose was set upon her chignon; long cameo
at the Metropolitan had just ear-rings dangled against her milk-white ended.
throat, adorned with a double crease. They sat far back in a sea of millinery The years had not aged her: youth was that spread through the concert-hall clear exhaled from her person like the perfume under the wide sweep of 'the boxes. On of a flower. But when they passed before the stage appeared a tall, robust woman, a mirror, he saw, beside his gray hairs and majestic even in an azure gown of the stooping shoulders, the countenance of most fashionable eccentricity. Her voice, Thallie! In the morning, however, he stealing out above the throng, was like had forgotten that disappointment. warm, flawless gold. She sang "Nymphs But their week in New York was passand Shepherds," "Wie mir 's Weh tut,” ing. The steamship tickets, good clear to Carey's “Pastorale," and other numbers Paris, were already in the hotel safe. The also. When the first group of her selec- antique trunks, their curved lids plastered tions was done, the sisters sat silent, their inside with gay-colored paper blossoms, hands half open on their laps, their hearts yawned open, as if begging to be packed deeply moved by all those exquisite in time. Yet the Goodchild family consounds. But at last Aglaia, with an ac- tinued to run hither and thither through cent maybe due to envy, murmured: the city, the girls ever thrilling anew,
"I 'm sure she scooped three times in readjusting their perceptions, and only Grieg's 'Lauf der Welt.'”
late at night, when back again in the The recital ending, the women of the topsyturvy bedrooms, pausing to think, audience swarmed toward the stage; the “Four days, three days, and we shall be girls dragged Aurelius forward, in America no longer!" Now they saw the prima donna at close Already their young, eager brains had quarters. Bowing and beaming, her arms profited by a thousand fleeting observafull of roses, she glowed with the whole- tions; but how much more did they not some blonde beauty of a magnificent peas- feel they had to learn! Hardly an hour ant. She was nearer forty than thirty, passed that they were not humiliated by yet that night they all dreamed of her. their inexperience, that they did not flush
Aurelius, when he stretched out his because they had not acted like “Newtired limbs between the sheets, mused for Yorkers." All their real cultivation a while on all the marvels of the city. seemed insignificant to them, compared Each reminiscence ended with the thought, with the savoir-faire of the metropolis. "If she could have shared that with her Their acquaintance with ancient and Euhusband and her children !” Sadness crept ropean literature, the histories of music round him, as tenuous and penetrating as and of painting, the political developthe autumn mists of thirty years ago, when ment of nations, did not, in New York, he and she, returning arm in arm through excuse their ignorance of how to pass Maple Lane, had ended their evening triumphantly the velvet cord at the threshwalk, among the garden-plats, with a old of smart restaurants, how to order long kiss, and the words "Some day! tea, how to tip the waiter neither lavishly Some day!” At last, on the border-land nor parsimoniously. At last, forgetting of sleep, it seemed to him that the expec- even the art treasures they had so long tations of that time were realized. With desired to study here, they succumbed the ease of those who make pilgrimages in completely to Fifth Avenue, to the great their dreams, he returned through the hotels where, if only they had known it,
THE CENTURY MAGAZINE they learned lessons in deportment chiefly makes some of its happiest discoveries from aliens like themselves.
when undisturbed by age, sent them off “She gave him fifty cents.”
nearly every afternoon to "play by them“Two teas complete are eighty, and selves.” If they asked him, on their reher extra tartlet makes one dollar. The turn, what he had been doing, he anBaedeker for France says only one tenth swered with a smile: of the bill.”
"I 've been in much-reviled Nineveh. “But this is New York."
But the heathen, who respect the foolish, “That fat one does n't take her escort's sent me back safe and sound.” arm; he holds her by the elbow.”
On their last night in New York, after “In Europe a gentleman never touches the play, the girls inveigled him into a a lady except when dancing or kissing her Broadway restaurant for supper. hand.”
They entered a room embellished with "And will they kiss our hands, those marble, gilt, and mirrors, full of Powerforeigners?"
ing-shrubs and white-spread tables. Be“One could hardly object, if it 's the tween the lustrous pillars, knee-deep, as it custom.”
seemed, in the rich bloom of azalea-plants, "Who said anything about objecting! the supper-parties moved to their places. "Now the one in yellow 's smoking an
The women, against a background of other cigarette."
white and black, assumed a regal mien, “If a girl ever smoked like that in Ze- aware, no doubt, of their elaborate headnasville!"
gear, of the scanty corsages which they "But this is New York."
had eked out with jewels, of the artful "Maybe she's not quite respectable." folds that pretended to conceal their “Then which of them is ?”
forms. When they gathered together by "Perhaps they wonder if we are?" their chairs, there appeared for an in"Oh, Frossie!"
stant a dazzlement of pale satin, powThallie giggled outright at the idea of dered flesh, and diamonds. When they any one imagining that sedate Euphrosyne took their seats, it was as if a dewy garmight not be respectable. The latter re- land had been flung around the table. torted:
The sisters neglected their suppers to “I don't think it 's a subject to laugh watch those others, so gay, so much at at, anyway.
ease, so well surrounded by dapper cav"But," said Aglaia, her shadowy smile aliers. They wondered what it must be appearing, "this is New York.”
like to live such lives, which they pictured When they had paid their tea-bill, as one round of social triumph and roglancing furtively at the waiter to see how he received the tip, the three Graces But this scene depressed their father went out to the sunny avenue. They for a different reason. The strange, unstrolled past the shops, as much to gaze necessary foods, the many bottles of chamon their reflected images as to view the pagne, the air thick with tobacco-smoke, window-displays. A photographer's show- heavy with perfumes, throbbing with case engrossed them; they contemplated erotic music, seemed to Aurelius degradthe print of a bride in her wedding-dress. ing stimulants to pleasure. He thought: And they wondered if the fashions in "Could they not find recreation in some wedding-dresses would change before simpler, healthier way? All these influtheir own marriages. The sky was fad- ences must finally react upon the soul. ing between the white marble towers So the ancients began to feast before their when they turned back to the family ho- downfall." tel, where their father was beginning to Into an open space emerged a man with worry about them.
an orange scarf wrapped around his eveFor Aurelius, remembering that youth ning waistcoat, and a woman in a pea
green wig. The band struck up a Span- "If Mr. Holland is maybe going ish tune; the pair, after bawling out some look in at the Villa di Tasso this sumn verses of a slangy song, fell into each I shall be there to welcome him." other's arms and began to undulate lan- "I may get down to Italy later on. guorously among the tables. Slowly the sail next week.” pallor of Mr. Goodchild's brow disap- “A good voyage to Mr. Holland !” peared beneath a wave of red. Looking "Thank you, Humbert. The same away, he met the eyes of a gentleman
you.” who sat near by alone.
“He's going to Europe next wed This stranger was a tall, rather thick- reflected Thallie. “I bet we run into set man of forty, whose calm, smooth- there." shaven face revealed at the same time "You might think Europe was no sophistication and a hint of gentleness. ger than Zenasville !" He wore a dinner-jacket; two fine black "All the same, I bet we do see pearls adorned his shirt-front; on his left again somewhere." hand shone a gold ring set with a graved “Is our little Thallie smitten?" carnelian. The plate before him con- "I? With a middle-aged man tained some remnants of a light repast, that?" his tall glass was still half-full of well- "Do hush, girls!" diluted whisky, and he was just letting But "Mr. Holland" was tipping the waiter lay match to his cigar when waiter, not lavishly, yet receiving he caught Mr. Goodchild's gaze. By way tyrant's humble thanks. And he depa of response, he produced a slight grimace like a man who walks out of his own of sympathy, an almost imperceptible ing-room. shrug, an effect of having remarked: “If only we knew some one like th “Everything you suggest is quite true. Aglaia exclaimed, “to show us the rd But then, my poor fellow-sufferer, this is
over there!” New York.” And after his glance had “As if anybody like that would bo passed over the Goodchild family in one with us!” swift flash, he stared into space as before, “Who knows who will and who w smoking at ease, his thoughts apparently before we 're through?" traveling far away.
Then, realizing that the ship sa Euphrosyne fancied she had seen his next morning, that it was one o'cl picture somewhere. Aglaia summoned that nothing had been packed, they w the waiter.
home as fast as they could. “Can you tell me who—"
The next morning was all hazy f “Aggie! He 'll hear you!"
excitement. As they sped for the "Who that gentleman is over there?” time through the city's streets, wild
"That gentleman? That is Mr. Hol- prehensions darted into their minds. I land, Miss."
remembered tales of storms and fire "Oh, Mr. Holland."
sea; they pictured panics round life-b And fear of appearing still more igno- on the sloping decks; they saw themse rant kept them from asking who “Mr. clinging to a raft between two mount Holland" might be.
But as they entered the 1 They decided that while he could never and viewed, through tall doorways, b have been handsome, he was quite distin- bulwarks rising clear out of sight, like guished-looking
walls of an immovable building, t Now the head waiter himself came came to them a feeling of immense re bowing to his table!
That whole structure was SO vast "Mr. Holland has found everything all strong, so still, one could not imagin right this evening?"
even rocking in the highest storms. "Quite all right, Humbert."
When they had climbed the gang