If Lorry slept that night he was not aware of it. The next morning, after
he had breakfasted with his mother, he tried in vain to recall a minute of
the time between midnight and eight a.m. in which he did not think of the
young woman who had flown away with his tranquillity. All night long he
tossed and thought. He counted ten thousand black sheep jumping over a
pasture fence, but, after the task was done and the sheep had scattered,
he was as far from sleep as ever. Her face was everywhere. Her voice
filled his ear with music never-ceasing, but it was not the lulling music
that invites drowsiness. He heard the clock strike the hours from one to
eight, when he arose, thoroughly disgusted with himself. Everything seemed
to taste bitter or to look blue. That breakfast was a great strain on his
natural politeness. He worshipped his mother, but in several instances
that morning he caught himself just in time to prevent the utterance of
some sharp rejoinder to her pleasant, motherly queries. Twice she was
compelled to repeat questions, his mind being so far away that he heard
nothing save words that another woman had uttered, say twenty-four hours
before. His eyes were red, and there was a heavy droop to the lids; his
tones were drawling and his voice strangely without warmth; his face was
white and tired.
“You are not well, Grenfall,” his mother said, peering anxiously into his
eyes. “The trip has done you up. Now, you must take a good, long rest and
recover from your vacation.”
He smiled grimly.
“A man never needs a rest so much as he does at the end of his vacation,
eh, mother? Well, work will be restful. I shall go to the office this
morning and do three days' work before night. That will prove to you that
I am perfectly well.”
He made a pretence of reading the morning paper. There was nothing to
interest him on' those cold, commonplace pages, not one thing—but
wait! A thought struck him suddenly, and for ten minutes he searched the
columns assiduously, even nervously. Then he threw down the paper with a
sigh of relief.
There was nothing to indicate that her train had been wrecked. She had
undoubtedly reached New York in safety. He looked at his watch. She was
probably enjoying her breakfast at that very moment. Perhaps she was
thinking of him and—perhaps not. The memory of that last tender hand
clasp and the soft glow in her eyes stood like a wall between the fear
that she had forgotten and the certainty that she remembered. Had not this
memory kept him awake? That and the final, mysterious emotion which had
shown itself in her face as he had last looked upon it? A thousand times
had he pondered over that startled look and the signs of agitation. Was it
fear? Was it dismay? Was it renunciation? Whatever it was, it sorely
disturbed him; it had partly undone the charm of the moment before—the
charm that could not and would not be gainsaid.
True to his intention, he went to the office early, virtuously inclined to
work. His uncle greeted him warmly and a long conference over business
affairs followed. To Lorry's annoyance and discomfiture he found himself
frequently inattentive. Several important cases were pending, and in a day
or two they were to go into court with a damage suit of more than ordinary
consequence. Lorry, senior, could not repress his gratification over the
return of his clever, active nephew at such an opportune time. He had felt
himself unable to handle the case alone; the endurance of a young and
vigorous mind was required for the coming battle in chancery.
They lunched together, the elder eager and confidential, the other
respectful and—absent-minded. In the afternoon the junior went over
the case, and renewed search for authorities and opinions, fully
determined to be constant in spite of his inclination to be fickle. Late
in the day he petulantly threw aside the books, curtly informed his
astonished uncle that he was not feeling well, and left the office. Until
dinner time he played billiards atrociously at his club; at dinner his
mother sharply reproved him for flagrant inattentions; after dinner he
smoked and wondered despondently. To-morrow she was to sail! If he could
but see her once more!
At 7:30 his mother found him in the library, searching diligently through
the volume of the encyclopedia that contained the G's. When she asked what
he was looking for he laughed idiotically, and, in confusion, informed her
that he was trying to find the name of the most important city in Indiana.
She was glancing at the books in the case when she was startled by hearing
him utter an exclamation and then lean to his feet.
“Half-past seven! I can make it!”
“What is the matter, Gren dear?”
“Oh!” he ejaculated, bringing himself up with a start. “I forgot—er—yes,
mother, I'll just have time to catch the train, you know. Will you kindly
have Mary clean up this muss of books and so forth? I'm off, you see, to
New York—for a day only, mother,—back tomorrow! Important
business—just remembered it, you know,—ahem! Good-by, mother!
Good-by!” he had kissed her and was in the hall before she fairly
understood what he was talking about. Then she ran after him, gaining the
hallway in time to see him pass through the street door, his hat on the
side of his head, his overcoat fluttering furiously as he shoved his arms
into the sleeves. The door slammed, and he was off to New York.
The train was ready to pull out when he reached the station, and it was
only by a hard run that he caught the last platform, panting but happy.
just twenty-four hours before she had left Washington, and it was right
here that she had smiled and said she would expect him to come to
Edelweiss. He had had no time to secure a berth in the sleeper, but was
fortunately able to get one after taking the train. Grenfall went to sleep
feeling both disappointed and disgusted. Disappointed because of his
submission to sentiment; disgusted because of the man who occupied the
next section. A man who is in love and in doubt has no patience with the
prosaic wretch who can sleep so audibly.
After a hasty breakfast in New York he telephoned to the steamship
company's pier and asked the time of sailing for the Kaiser Wilhelm. On
being informed that the ship was to cast off at her usual hour, he
straightway called a cab and was soon bowling along toward the busy
waterway. Directly he sat bolt upright, rigid and startled to find himself
more awakened to the realization of his absurd action. Again it entered
his infatuated head that he was performing the veriest schoolboy trick in
rushing to a steamship pier in the hope of catching a final, and at best,
unsatisfactory glimpse of a young woman who had appealed to his sensitive
admiration. A love-sick boy could be excused for such a display of
imbecility, but a man—a man of the world'. Never!
“The idea of chasing down to the water's edge to see that girl is enough
to make you ashamed of yourself for life, Grenfall Lorry,” he
apostrophized. “It's worse than any lovesick fool ever dreamed of doing. I
am blushing, I'll be bound. The idiocy, the rank idiocy of the thing! And
suppose she should see me staring at her out there on the pier? What would
she think of me? I'll not go another foot! I won't be a fool!”
He was excited and self-conscious and thoroughly ashamed of the trip into
which his impetuous adoration had driven him. Just as he was tugging at
the door in the effort to open it that he might order the driver to take
him back to the hotel, a sly tempter whispered something in his ear; his
fancy was caught, and he listened:
“Why not go down to the pier and look over the passenger list, just to see
if she has been booked safely? That would be perfectly proper and
sensible, and besides it will be a satisfaction to know that she gets off
all right. Certainly! There's nothing foolish in that.... Especially as I
am right on the way there.... And as I have come so far... there's no
sense in going back without seeing whether she has secured passage.... I
can find out in a minute and then go home. There won't be anything wrong
in that. And then I may have a glimpse of her before the ship leaves the
pier. She must not see me, of course. Never! She'd laugh at me! How I'd
hate to see her laughing at me!” Then, sinking back again with a smile of
justification on his face, he muttered: “We won't turn back; we'll go
right ahead. We'll be a kind of a fool, but not so foolish as to allow her
to see us and recognize us as one.”
Before long they arrived at the wharf, and he hurried to the office near
by. The clerk permitted him to look over the list. First he ran through
the first-class passengers, and was surprised to find that there was no
such name as Guggenslocker in the list. Then he went over the second
class, but still no Guggenslocker.
“Hasn't Mr. Guggenslocker taken passage?” he demanded, unwilling to
believe his eyes.
“Not on the Kaiser Wilhelm, sir.”
“Then, by George, they'll miss the boat!” Lorry exclaimed. “Maybe they'll
be here in a few minutes.”
“They can't get anything but steerage now, sir. Everything else is gone.”
“Are you sure they haven't taken passage?” asked the bewildered Lorry,
“You can see for yourself,” answered the young man, curtly. Lorry was
again in a perspiration, this time the result of a vague, growing
suspicion that had forced itself into his mind. He wandered aimlessly
away, his brain a chaos of speculation. The suspicion to which he had
given countenance grew, and as it enlarged he suffered torment untold.
Gradually he came to the conclusion that she had fooled him, had lied to
him. She did not intend to sail on the Wilhelm, at all. It was all very
clear to him now, that strangeness in her manner, those odd occasional
smiles What was she? An adventuress! That sweet-faced girl a little
ordinary coquette, a liar? He turned cold with the thought. Nor was she
alone in her duplicity. Had not her uncle and aunt been as ready to
deceive him? Were they trying to throw him off their track for some subtle
purpose? Had they done something for which they were compelled to fly the
country as quickly as possible? No! Not that! They certainly were not
fleeing from justice. But why were they not on board the Kaiser Wilhelm?
Suddenly he started as if he had been struck, and an involuntary
exclamation of pain and horror escaped his lips. Perhaps something
unforeseen had happened—an accident—illness—even death!
The clanging of bells broke upon his ears and he knew that the great ship
was about to depart. Mechanically, disconsolately he walked out and paced
the broad, crowded wharf. All was excitement. There was the rush of
people, the shouts, the cheers, the puffing of tugs, the churning of
water, and the Kaiser Wilhelm was off on its long voyage. Half-heartedly,
miserably and in a dazed condition he found a place in the front row along
the rail. There were tears in his eyes, tears of anger, shame and
mortification. She had played with him!
Moodily he watched the crowd of voyagers hanging over the rails of the
moving leviathan of the deep. A faint smile of irony came to his lips.
This was the boat on which his heart was to have been freighted from
native shores. The craft was sailing, but it was not carrying the cargo
that he had, in very good faith, consigned to Graustark. His heart was
certainly not on board the Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse.
Gloomily his disappointed eyes swept along the rail of the big steamer,
half interested in spite of themselves. Twice they passed a certain point
on the forward deck, unconscious of a force that was attracting them in
that direction. The third time he allowed them to settle for an instant on
the group of faces and figures and then stray off to other parts of the
ship. Some strange power drew them again to the forward deck, and this
time he was startled into an intent stare. Could he believe those eyes?
Surely that was her figure at the rail—there between the two young
women who were waving their handkerchiefs so frantically. His heart began
to jump up and down, wildly, doubtingly, impatiently. Why could not that
face be turned toward the wharf as the others were? There was the blue
coat but not the blue cap. A jaunty sailor hat sat where the
never-to-be-forgotten cap had perched. The change was slight, but it was
sufficient to throw him into the most feverish state of uncertainty. An
insane desire to shout a command to this strange young woman came over
The ship was slowly opening a gap between herself and the wharf, and he
knew that in a few moments recognition would be impossible. Just as he was
losing hope and was ready to groan with despair, the face beneath the
sailor hat was turned squarely in his direction. A glaze obscured his
eyes, a numbness attacked his brain. It was Miss Guggenslocker!
Why was her name omitted from the passenger list? That question was the
first to whirl through his addled brain. He forgot the questionings,
forgot everything a moment later, for, to his amazement and delight and
discomfiture, he saw that she was peering intently at him. A pair of big
glasses was leveled at him for a second and then lowered. He plainly saw
the smile on her face, and the fluttering cambric in her hand. She had
seen him, after all,—had caught him in a silly exhibition of
weakness. Her last impression of him, then, was to be one of which he
could not feel proud. While his heart burned with shame, it could not have
been suspected from the appearance of his face. His eyes were dancing, his
mouth was wide open with joy, his lips were quivering with a suppressed
shout, his cheeks were flushed and his whole aspect bespoke ecstacy. He
waved his hat and then his handkerchief, obtaining from her vigorous and
unrestrained signs of approbation. Her face was wreathed in smiles as she
leaned far over the rail, the picture of animated pleasure.
Making sure that her uncle and aunt were not visible, he boldly placed his
fingers to his lips and wafted a kiss out over the water!
“Now she'll crush me,” he cried to himself, regretting the rash act and
praying that she had not observed it.
Her handkerchief ceased fluttering in an instant, and, with sinking heart,
he realized that she had observed. There was a moment of indecision on the
part of the fair one going out to sea, and then the little finger tips of
both hands went to her lips and his kiss came back to him!
The people near him were surprised to hear a wild yell from his lips and
then to see him wave his hat so madly that there was some danger of its
being knocked to pieces against the railing or upon the persons of those
who stood too close to escape the whirling consequences. So unexpected had
been her reception of what he considered a calamitous indiscretion that he
was to be pardoned for the ebullition of relief and joy that followed. Had
she drawn a revolver and fired angrily at him he could not have been more
astounded. But, to actually throw a kiss to him—to meet his
imprudence in the same spirit that had inspired it! Too much to believe!
In the midst of his elation, however, there came a reminder that she did
not expect to see him again, that she was playing with him, that it was a
merry jest and not a heartache that filled her bosom at the parting.
While he was still waving his handkerchief, debating savagely and joyously
the wisdom of the act, she became a part of the distant color scheme; the
blue figure faded and blended into the general tone and could no longer be
distinguished. She was gone, but she had tossed him a kiss from lips that
he should always see. As he turned away from the water he found himself
wondering if there had been tears in her eyes, but the probability was so
remote that he laughed foolishly and aloud A couple of girls heard the
laugh and giggled in sympathy, but he turned a scowling face upon them and
disappeared in the throng.
Uppermost in his bewildered mind was the question: Why is she not in the
passenger list? Acting on a sudden impulse, he again sought out the clerk
in charge and made a most thorough inspection. There was no Guggenslocker
among the names. As a last resort h asked:
“They could not have sailed under an assumed name, could they?”
“I can't say as to that. Where are they going?”
But the young man shook his head slowly, Lorry's shaking in unconscious
“Are you sure that you saw the young lady on board?”
“Well, rather!” exclaimed Lorry, emphatically.
“I was going to say there are a lot of Italian and German singers on the
ship, and you might have been mistaken. But since you are so positive, it
seems very strange that your friends are not on the list.”
So Lorry went away discouraged and with a vague fear that she might have
been a prima donna whose real name was Guggenslocker but whose stage name
was something more euphonious. He instantly put away the thought and the
fear. She was certainly not an opera singer—impossible! He drove
back to his hotel, and made preparations for his return to Washington.
Glancing casually over the register he came to the name that had been
haunting him—Guggenslocker! There were the names, “Caspar
Guggenslocker and four, Graustark.” Without hesitation he began to
question the clerk.
“They sailed on the Kaiser Wilhelm to-day;” said that worthy. “That's all
I know about them. They came yesterday and left to-day.”
Mr. Grenfall Lorry returned to Washington as in a dream—a fairy
dream. The air of mystery that had grown from the first was now an
impenetrable wall, the top of which his curiosity could not scale. Even
his fancy, his imagination, served him not. There was but one point on
which he was satisfied: he was in love. His own condition was no mystery.
Several weeks later he went to New York to question the Captain of the
Wilhelm, hoping to clear away the clouds satisfactorily. To his amazement,
the captain said there had been no Guggenslockers on board nor had there
been persons answering the description, so far as he could tell.
Through the long hot summer he worked, and worried, and wondered. In the
first, he did little that was satisfactory to himself or to his uncle; in
the second, he did so much that he was advised by his physician to take a
rest; in the last, he indulged himself so extensively that it had become
unbearable. He must know all about her? But how?
The early months of autumn found him pale and tired and indifferent alike
to work and play. He found no pleasure in the society that had known him
as a lion. Women bored him; men annoyed him; the play suffocated him; the
tiresome club was ruining his temper; the whole world was going wrong. The
doctor told him he was approaching nervous prostration; his mother's
anxious eyes could no longer be denied, so he realized grimly that there
was but one course left open to him.
He suggested it to the doctor, to his mother and to his uncle, and they
agreed with him. It involved Europe.
Having fully decided again to cross the sea, his spirits revived. He
became more cheerful, took an interest in things that were going on, and,
by the time the Kaiser Wilhelm sailed in September, was the picture of
health and life.
He was off for Edelweiss—to the strange Miss Guggenslocker who had
thrown him a kiss from the deck that sailing-day.