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“No, no, Nan,” I cried, “don't throw it when every old hen in our town went open the lattice!”
cackling from one house to another when “Why not?” she asked, her hands on the papers published that story about the latch.
Larry losing so much money at cards one “Flying things! Bats and other trop- night? And some of these same women ical night birds.”
not able to afford a second maid and even “Ugh-h-h!" cried Nan, and let the lat- doing their own fine laundering in secret tice alone.
some of them playing afternoon bridge, “Let's sit here,” I said, setting our Nettie, for a quarter of a cent a point. It chairs almost against the lattice. Larry just makes me sick. How do we know could not escape then if he wanted to, be- how many of them wouldn't gamble away cause it was a twenty-foot drop onto a lot ten thousand dollars in one night if they of marble vases or the spiked edges of had it?” some cactus plants, and more than twenty And just then I heard "That's you, feet to a marble walk and into the depths Nan!" in Larry's fervent voice, from beof some kind of a spouting fountain in the hind the lattice. patio.
Nan leaped up. I could feel her heart He had to stay, and, being an officer and beating when she fell against me. “Did a gentleman, of course, he was trying not you hear that, Nettie?" to hear; but the lattice slats were loose “I did hear something," I said—"a fitting and we were sitting not two feet word from one of the cooks or maids from them.
down-stairs it must have been. They “Where did you hear of Larry last, take the air in the patio of an evening Nan?” I began.
when their work is done. Remember, “Oh,” said Nan, “I've been getting voices carry far in the tropics—especially mamma to take all kinds of trips, Nettie, when it is damp." and every trip with the one idea of seeing “I never knew that, Nettie,” said inLarry somewhere. Wherever I thought nocent Nan-"that voices carry farther any of our warships came, there I'd spe- in the tropics. And I'm sure it is clear cially get mamma to go. I can draw a and lovely out.” And she stood up to map of this coast-line with all its ports in look through the lattice. their proper places with my eyes shut. Now, the best defense to an attack, And the places in the different ports I've Ned always told me, is another attack; so peeked into, Nettie !-knowing how curi “But Larry did drink too much that time, ous Larry always was to see everything Nan," I said. going on and hoping to run across him in "Why, Nettie Trench—from you!” that way.
I even got mamma to go to a cried Nan, and plumped back into her bull-fight last Sunday."
chair. “When did he drink too much? “A bull-fight, Nan!” I said.
Just once when he knew so little of "Why not?” retorted Nan. “In our wine that he had no idea how much would country we have prize-fights. And which upset him. The trouble was that poor is worse—for men to maul beasts or to Larry never knew how to hide anything maul each other?"
he ever did. No hypocrisy in him at any “I know, Nan, but women who have rate. And I'd a good deal rather have a seen them
man who did what Larry did, and own to “I know, Nettie—and their writing it and be sorry right out, than a man that articles of the horror of it, but always you never know when he is lying to you after they've satisfied their curiosity. or not, or what he is likely to be doing The curse of our training to-day, Nettie, when he is out of sight. And he gave me is hypocrisy."
his promise in a letter that he would Which was just like Nan-straight never touch another card or drink anfrom the shoulder! But we just have other glass of wine until I said he might. to restrain those headstrong ones.
"I Mother wouldn't let me answer the letter. wouldn't call it hypocrisy altogether, And he guessed how it was, and I don't Nan," I said.
blame him for writing her as he did. What else is it? And what else was Mamma was too harsh. She paid too
much attention to town gossip, and I told “And isn't my Ned likely to be killed her that. And she said: 'I think, Nan, a at all?” I said, beginning to get frightlittle travelling and discipline won't hurt ened too; and then, seeing her so tearful: you one bit; and then Larry went and “But it will be all right, dear-don't you got his appointment to the marine corps, worry.” thinking there might be a war and some "But, Nettie, why shouldn't a woman fighting for him down in this country.” let a man know-or give him a hint ?
Now, I always have held that women, "What!' says mamma to me, 'would you even as men of any account, are never so run after him?' But why should I be attractive as when they throw aside all afraid to let him know that I do care for affectation and stand forth just as they him?” are—that is, if they're wholesome and “I don't know why not, Nan. It degood to begin with; and no surer way to pends on the man, perhaps.” hold the right kind of a boy to the line “Did you ever let Ned know you cared than to let him know that the right girl for him before he asked—did you, Nethas never lost faith in him. But Nan was tie?" holding forth altogether too bravely She was so wistful I almost forgot with the boy in the case so handy. A few Larry behind the lattice; but I caught little reservations-a few-at this partic- myself in time. “I hope, Nan Wedner, ular time, I thought, would do no harm. you don't think I proposed to him?"And so “Sh-h, Nan!” I warned. that was with such dignity as I could
“I won't, Nettie Trench. It's so, and quickly assume. you know it. I hate superior people, “But, Nettie”—she switched her head Nettie. Father always did, too. And on my shoulder—"do
you suppose Ned you know how he liked Larry. Dear knew, Nettie?" papa! One night, Nettie—I was never so “I'm afraid," I sighed—I thought of surprised-mamma all at once began to Larry listening, but I had to tell her the cry-imagine mamma crying! She was truth—“ he would have been dull not to crying for papa, who had to die, she said, guess it.” before she could appreciate the gentleness “And Ned isn't dull, is he?” said Nan. and warm heart that was in him. And “Ned dull! I guess not !” I said. papa always said that no kind of people And while I stood with Nan tearful and go farther to the bad than those who discouraged against my shoulder, I could really think they're better than others. hear the patter of the fountain tinkling He used to say that such beasts, for their up from the patio, and the voices of men punishment, ought to be forced to herd and girls, and the music of some kind of by themselves.”
a native instrument; and the song I believed in what Nan said myself, but home and love by a man to a girl. And also, thinking of the wily woman waiting do you know ?—no matter what we think below, I decided that a little chastening of of their politics and so on—those men the spirit of rebellious girlhood would now down in that country do seem to be able be in order. So I said: “But a long rec- to put something terribly sad into their ord of the human race, Nan, proves that voices when they sing, and somebody if we do not intend to try to be better somewhere has said that no man who than the people we happen to be with, loves but is more often sad than gay. then we ought to take care whom we are And it made no difference—it may have with.”
been some low-built kitchen girl he was “You and your sermons !” exclaimed singing to, and he one of the hotel porters Nan. “Nettie dear, talk with me, not at loafing on his job-not a mite of differ
Oh, Nettie”—Nan threw herself on The melody of it rose up and my shoulders—“I never had a chance to clutched me. And Nan clinging to me tell him I'm not mad with him. And I'm I could feel it clutching her, too. And I afraid he'll do something desperate. And knew that for Larry behind the lattice if they get to fighting down here, as every- it was hard work staying where he was; body says, he will be killed! He's that and as for myself—I hadn't seen my Ned kind, Nettie--he will be killed!”
in almost a year, and, thinking of Ned and
his ways, I felt all at once terribly lone- set them up on edge between the columns some and like crying with Nan. And of the portales. Let's get busy with the then a vision of the arrogant beauty tables now.” down-stairs came suddenly to my mind. Everybody began to clear the little But now without my being so afraid. It tables by sweeping whatever was on them would be safe enough now, I thought, to to the marble floor. The majordomo cried have Larry and Nan meet in her presence. out: “Careful, if you please, señors!”
“Let us go down-stairs now, Nan,” I But no one minded him, and everybody said. "We can look at the dancing. then began to pick up the marble-topped That Miss Whiffle, they say, is a won- tables, Nan and I among them, and place derful dancer."
them between the portales columns. “Yes, but let me look at the children Larry, if he saw us, paid no attention again, Nettie,” said Nan. “I love to see to us; neither did he pay any attention to them asleep. Isn't it wonderful to you, Carmen Whiffle when she stood at his Nettie, to think of your having children elbow. “There's no changing nature, of your own—nobody else's but your Nan," I said—"the male in war time is a own?”
warrior first and a lover afterward.” “And Ned's,” I said.
“Would you want him not to be?” "Of course. You wouldn't give them said Nan, who had dropped grabbing up for anything, would you, Nettie, in all tables to stand off and admire Larry; and the world? Why, Nettie, I'd go down on while she was at that, her mother, in a my knees and scrub floors, like the old dressing-gown of a chocolate shade, came women in the office buildings, every night down the wide stairs. of my life in thankfulness to have such "Mamma, there's Larry-look!" cried lovely little babies of my own!”
Nan. “And he won't pay the least atten“Hush, Nan!” I said, thinking of Larry tion to us!” in hiding.
“Why should he?" retorted auntie. “And Larry, Nettie-wouldn't Larry “He has his work before him. Let him love to have children of his own!” do it in peace.”
Before she could say any more I hurried By this time the tables were all piled her away to look at the children, and also up as Larry had ordered, and half the to give Larry time to make his escape. women in the hotel were clustering around And after Nan had cuddled them we him. You would think they had a special headed for the stairs, I wondering just claim on him. But he almost rudely how I could let Larry see us after we got waved them away; among them Carmen there. And while descending the stairs Whiffle, who retired, I was pleased to see, we heard a rifle-shot, and another, and in some wonderment. another, and then dozens of shots.
“Good for you, Larry!" I said; but “Podesta! Podesta !" we heard every- was myself shocked a moment later when body calling out then, and the waiters he said, with both hands in the air warndashed from under the portales to the ing us: “Mesdames-señoras, señoritas, corner of the plaza to see what was doing. ladies, demoiselles—there probably isn't And as we hurried down-stairs we heard the least danger, but no harm in standing a voice-Larry's voice.
clear. You, Nettie,” he added, when I “This plaza is about the best-lighted was going to rush over to him, in my place in town,” Larry was saying to a pride to let the others know who he was group of diners. “The most exposed, but and I was—"you too, Nettie, same as the also the safest place on the defense-in rest!” the city. Whatever they decide to do to “Larry Trench, why, what,” I began, us here, at least we can see them coming and “O Larry!” began Nanto do it.”
“And you, Nan-you know I'm not The stout majordomo was standing allowed to speak to you,” said Larry. “I near Larry. “Truly, that is so," he said. promised your mother I wouldn't"; but
“And these little marble-topped ta- he gave her a glance which sent her trembles," said Larry, "won't be bad little bling up against me, murmuring: “O defenses against their rifle fire. We can Nettie, Nettie, I'm so glad !"