Meanwhile Paul and Mr. Rasmussen had picked up their bags. "Honestly, we'd better make tracks," said Paul, nervously jiggling Eveline's suitcase. "It's about traintime." They all scampered through the station. Jerry Burnham had forgotten to buy a ticket and couldn't go out on the platform; they left him arguing with the officials and searching his pockets for his presscard. Paul put the bags in the compartment and shook hands hurriedly with Eleanor. Eveline found his eyes in hers serious and hurt like a dog's eyes.
"You won't stay too long, will you? There's not much time left," he said. Eveline felt she'd like to kiss him, but the train was starting. Paul scrambled off. All Mr. Rasmussen could do was hand some papers and Jerry's roses through the window and wave his hat mournfully from the platform. It was a relief the train had started.
Eleanor was leaning back against the cushions laughing and laughing.
"I declare, Eveline. You're too funny with your Romeos." Eveline couldn't help laughing herself. She leaned over and patted Eleanor on the shoulder. "Let's just have a wonderful time," she said.
Next morning early when Eveline woke up and looked out they were in the station at Marseilles. It gave her a funny feeling because she'd wanted to stop off there and see the town, but Eleanor had insisted on going straight to Nice, she hated the sordidness of seaports she'd said. But later when they had their coffee in the diner, looking out at the pines and the dry hills and headlands cutting out blue patches of the Mediterranean, Eveline felt excited and happy again.
They got a good room in a hotel and walked through the streets in the cool sunshine among the wounded sol- diers and officers of all the allied armies and strolled along the Promenade des Anglais under the grey palmtrees and gradually Eveline began to feel a chilly feeling of dis- appointment coming over her. Here was her two weeks leave and she was going to waste it at Nice. Eleanor kept on being crisp and cheerful and suggested they sit down in the big café on the square where a brass band was play- ing and have a little dubonnet before lunch. After they'd sat there for some time, looking at the uniforms and the quantities of overdressed women who were no better than they should be, Eveline leaned back in her chair and said, "And now that we're here, darling, what on earth shall we do?"
The next morning Eveline woke late; she almost hated to get up as she couldn't imagine how she was going to pass the time all day. As she lay there looking at the stripes of sunlight on the wall that came through the shutters, she heard a man's voice in the adjoining room, that was Eleanor's. Eveline stiffened and listened. It was J.W.'s
voice. When she got up and dressed she found her heart was pounding. She was pulling on her best pair of trans- parent black silk stockings when Eleanor came in, "Who do you think's turned up? J.W. just motored down to see me off to Italy . . . He said it was getting too stuffy for him around the Peace Conference and he had to get a change of air . . . Come on in, Eveline, dear, and have some coffee with us."
She can't keep the triumph out of her voice, aren't women silly, thought Eveline. "That's lovely, I'll be right in, darling," she said in her most musical tones.
J.W. had on a light grey flannel suit and a bright blue necktie and his face was pink from the long ride. He was in fine spirits. He'd driven down from Paris in fifteen hours with only four hours sleep after dinner in Lyons. They all drank a great deal of bitter coffee with hot milk and planned out a ride.
It Was a fine day. The big Packard car rolled them smoothly along the Corniche. They lunched at Monte Carlo, took a look at the casino in the afternoon and went on and had tea in an English tearoom in Mentone. Next day they went up to Grasse and saw the perfume factories, and the day after they put Eleanor on the rapide for Rome. J.W. was to leave immediately afterwards to go back to Paris. Eleanor's thin white face looked a little forlorn Eveline thought, looking out at them through the window of the wagonlit. When the train pulled out Eveline and J.W. stood on the platform in the empty station with the smoke swirling milky with sunlight under the glass roof overhead and looked at each other with a certain amount of constraint. "She's a great little girl," said J.W. "I'm very fond of her," said Eveline. Her voice rang false in her ears. "I wish we were going with her."
They walked back out to the car. "Where can I take you, Eveline, before I pull out, back to the hotel?" Eve- line's heart was pounding again. "Suppose we have a little
lunch before you go, let me invite you to lunch." "That's very nice of you . . . well, I suppose I might as well, I've got to lunch somewhere. And there's no place fit for a white man between here and Lyons."
They lunched at the casino over the water. The sea was very blue. Outside there were three sailboats with lateen sails making for the entrance to the port. It was warm and jolly, smelt of wine and food sizzled in butter in the glassedin restaurant. Eveline began to like it in Nice.
J.W. drank more wine than he usually did. He began to talk about his boyhood in Wilmington and even hummed a little of a song he'd written in the old days. Eveline was thrilled. Then he began to tell her about Pittsburgh and his ideas about capital and labor. For des- sert they had peaches flambé with rum; Eveline recklessly ordered a bottle of champagne. They were getting along famously.
They began to talk about Eleanor. Eveline told about how she'd met Eleanor in the Art Institute and how Eleanor had meant everything to her in Chicago, the only girl she'd ever met who was really interested in the things she was interested in, and how much talent Eleanor had, and how much business ability. J.W. told about how much she'd meant to him during the trying years with his second wife Gertrude in New York, and how people had mis- understood their beautiful friendship that had been always free from the sensual and the degrading.
"Really," said Eveline, looking J.W. suddenly straight in the eye, "I'd always thought you and Eleanor were lovers." J.W. blushed. For a second Eveline was afraid she'd shocked him. He wrinkled up the skin around his eyes in a comical boyish way. "No, honestly not . . . I've been too busy working all my life ever to develop that side of my nature . . . People think differently about those things than they did." Eveline nodded. The deep
flush on his face seemed to have set her cheeks on fire. "And now," J.W. went on, shaking his head gloomily, "I'm in my forties and it's too late."
"Why too late?"
Eveline sat looking at him with her lips a little apart, her cheeks blazing. "Maybe it's taken the war to teach us how to live," he said. "We've been too much interested in money and material things, it's taken the French to show us how to live. Where back home in the States could you find a beautiful atmosphere like this?" J.W. waved his arm to include in a sweeping gesture the sea, the tables crowded with women dressed in bright colors and men in their best uniforms, the bright glint of blue light on glasses and cutlery. The waiter mistook his gesture and slyly sub- stituted a full bottle for the empty bottle in the cham- pagnepail.
"By golly, Eveline, you've been so charming, you've made me forget the time and going back to Paris and everything. This is the sort of thing I've missed all my life until I met you and Eleanor . . . of course with Eleanor it's been all on the higher plane . . . Let's take a drink to Eleanor . . . beautiful talented Eleanor . . . Eveline, women have been a great inspiration to me all my life, lovely charming delicate women. Many of my best ideas have come from women, not directly, you understand, but through the mental stimulation . . . People don't understand me, Eveline, some of the news- paper boys particularly have written some very hard things about me . . . why, I'm an old newspaper man myself . . . Eveline, permit me to say that you look so charming and understanding . . . this illness of my wife . . . poor Gertrude . . . I'm afraid she'll never be herself again. . . . You see, it's put me in a most disagreeable position, if some member of her family is appointed guardian it might mean that the considerable sum of money invested by the Staple family in my business, would be withdrawn
make the customers dance and then using the place for a shooting gallery. "The shooting gallery, that's what they call congress here," said Mac. Barrow said he was going to a meeting of the Union Nacional de Trabajadores that afternoon and would they mind going with him to inter- pret for him. It was Mac's day off so they said, "All right." He said he'd been instructed to try to make con- tacts with stable labor elements in Mexico with the hope of joining them up with the Pan-American Federation of Labor. Gompers would come down himself if something could be lined up. He said he'd been a shipping clerk and a Pullman conductor and had been in the office of the Railroad Brotherhood, but now he was working for the A. F. of L. He wished American workers had more ideas about the art of life. He'd been at the Second International meetings at Amsterdam and felt the European workers understood the art of life. When Mac asked him why the hell the Second International hadn't done something to stop the World War, he said the time wasn't ripe yet and spoke about German atrocities.
"The German atrocities are a Sundayschool picnic to what goes on every day in Mexico," said Ben. Then Bar- row went to ask whether Mexicans were as immoral as it was made out. The beer they were drinking with their lunch was pretty strong and they all loosened up a little. Barrow wanted to know whether it wasn't pretty risky going out with girls here on account of the high percent- age of syphilis. Mac said yes, but that he and Ben could show him some places that were all right if he wanted to look 'em over. Barrow tittered and looked embarrassed and said he'd just as soon look 'em over. "A man ought to see every side of things when he's investigating condi- tions." Ben Stowell slapped his hand on the edge of the table and said that Mac was just the man to show him the backside of Mexico.
They went to the meeting that was crowded with
slender dark men in blue denim. At first they couldn't get in on account of the crowd packed in the aisles and in the back of the hall, but Mac found an official he knew who gave them seats in a box. The hall was very stuffy and the band played and there was singing and the speeches were very long. Barrow said listening to a for- eign language made him sleepy, and suggested that they walk around town; he'd heard that the red light district was . . . he was interested in conditions.
Outside the hall they ran across Enrique Salvador, a newspaperman that Ben knew. He had a car and a chauf- feur. He shook hands and laughed and said the car be- longed to the chief of police who was a friend of his and wouldn't they like to ride out to San Angel? They, went out the long avenue past Chapultepec, the Champs Elysées of Mexico, Salvador called it. Near Tacubaya Salvador pointed out the spot where Carranza's troops had had a skirmish with the Zapatistas the week before and a corner where a rich clothing merchant had been murdered by bandits, and G. H. Barrow kept asking was it quite safe to go so far out in the country, and Salvador said, "I am a newspaperman. I am everybody's friend."
Out at San Angel they had some drinks and when they got back to the city they drove round the Pajaritos district. G. H. Barrow got very quiet and his eyes got a watery look when he saw the little lighted cribhouses, each one with a bed and some paperflowers and a crucifix that you could see through the open door, past a red or blue cur- tain, and the dark quiet Indian girls in short chemises standing outside their doors or sitting on the sill.
"You see," said Ben Stowell, "it's easy as rolling off a log . . . But I don't advise you to get too careless round here . . . Salvador'll show us a good joint after supper. He ought to know because he's a friend of the chief of police and he runs most of them."
But Barrow wanted to go into one of the cribs so they
got out and talked to one of the girls and Salvador sent the chauffeur to get a couple of bottles of beer. The girl received them very politely and Barrow tried to get Mac to ask her questions, but Mac didn't like asking her ques- tions so he let Salvador do it. When G. H. Barrow put his hand on her bare shoulder and tried to pull her chemise off and asked how much did she want to let him see her all naked, the girl didn't understand and tore herself away from him and yelled and cursed at him and Salvador wouldn't translate what she said. "Let's get this bastard outa here," said Ben in a low voice to Mac, "before we have to get in a fight or somethin'."
They had a tequila each before dinner at a little bar where nothing was sold but tequila out of varnished kegs. Salvador showed G. H. Barrow how to drink it, first putting salt on the hollow between his thumb and fore- finger and then gulping the little glass of tequila, licking up the salt and swallowing some chile sauce to finish up with, but he got it down the wrong way and choked.
At supper they were pretty drunk and G. H. Barrow kept saying that Mexicans understood the art of life and that was meat for Salvador who talked about the Indian genius and the Latin genius and said that Mac and Ben were the only gringos he ever met he could get along with, and insisted on their not paying for their meal. He'd charge it to his friend the chief of police. Next they went to a cantina beside a theater where there were said to be French girls, but the French girls weren't there. There were three old men in the cantina playing a cello, a violin and a piccolo. Salvador made them play La Adelita and everybody sang it and then La Cucaracha. There was an old man in a broadbrimmed hat with a huge shiny pistol- holster on his back, who drank up his drink quickly when they came in and left the bar. Salvador whispered to Mac that he was General Gonzales and had left in order not to be seen drinking with gringos.
Ben and Barrow sat with their heads together at a table in the corner talking about the oil business. Barrow was saying that there was an investigator for certain oil interests coming down; he'd be at the Regis almost any day now and Ben was saying he wanted to meet him and Barrow put his arm around his shoulder and said he was sure Ben was just the man this investigator would want to meet to get an actual working knowledge of conditions. Meanwhile Mac and Salvador were dancing the Cuban danzon with the girls. Then Barrow got to his feet a little unsteadily and said he didn't want to wait for the French girls but why not go to that place where they'd been and try some of the dark meat, but Salvador insisted on taking them to the house of Remedios near the American em- bassy. "Quelquecosa de chic," he'd say in bad French. It was a big house with a marble stairway and crystal chande- liers and salmonbrocaded draperies and lace curtains and mirrors everywhere. "Personne que les henerales vieng aqui," he said when he'd introduced them to the madam, who was a darkeyed grayhaired woman in black with a black shawl who looked rather like a nun. There was only one girl left unoccupied so they fixed up Barrow with her and arranged about the price and left him. "Whew, that's a relief" said Ben when they came out. The air was cold and the sky was all stars.
Salvador had made the three old men with their instru- ments get into the back of the car and said he felt romantic and wanted to serenade his novia and they went out to- wards Guadalupe speeding like mad along the broad cause- way. Mac and the chauffeur and Ben and Salvador and the three old men singing La Adelita and the instruments chirping all off key. In Guadalupe they stopped under some buttonball trees against the wall of a house with big grated windows and sang Cielito lindo and La Adelita and Cuatro mil pas, and Ben and Mac sang Just to keep her from the foggy foggy dew and were just starting Oh, -bury me not on the lone prairie
bury me not on the lone prairie when a girl came to the window and talked a long time in low Spanish to Sal- vador.
Salvador said, "Ella dit que nous make escandalo and must go away. Très chic."
By that time a patrol of soldiers had come up and were about to arrest them all when the officer arrived and rec- ognized the car and Salvador and took them to have a drink with him at his billet. When they all got home to Mac's place they were very drunk. Concha, whose face was drawn from waiting up, made up a mattress for Ben in the diningroom and as they were all going to turn in Ben said, "By heavens, Concha, you're a swell girl. When I make my pile I'll buy you the handsomest pair of dia- mond earrings in the Federal District." The last they saw of Salvador he was standing up in the front seat of the car as it went round the corner on two wheels conducting the three old men in La Adelita with big gestures like an orchestra leader.
Before Christmas Ben Stowell came back from a trip to Tamaulipas feeling fine. Things were looking up for him. He'd made an arrangement with a local general near Tampico to run an oil well on a fifty-fifty basis. Through Salvador he'd made friends with some members of Car- ranza's cabinet and was hoping to be able to turn over a deal with some of the big claimholders up in the States. He had plenty of cash and took a room at the Regis. One day he went round to the printing plant and asked Mac to step out in the alley with him for a minute.
"Look here, Mac," he said, "I've got an offer for you . . . You know old Worthington's bookstore? Well, I got drunk last night and bought him out for two thousand pesos . . . He's pulling up stakes and going home to blighty, he says."
"The hell you did!"
"Well, I'm just as glad to have him out of the way."
"Why, you old whoremaster, you're after Lisa."
"Well, maybe she's just as glad to have him out of the way too."
"She's certainly a goodlooker."
"I got a lot a news I'll tell you later . . . Ain't goin' to be so healthy round The Mexican Herald maybe . . . I've got a proposition for you, Mac . . . Christ knows I owe you a hellova lot . . . You know that load of office furniture you have out back Concha made you buy that time?" Mac nodded. "Well, I'll take it off your hands and give you a half interest in that bookstore. I'm opening an office. You know the book business . . . you told me yourself you did . . . the profits for the first year are yours and after that we split two ways, see? You certainly ought to make it pay. That old fool Worthington did, and kept Lisa into the bargain . . . Are you on?"
"Jez, lemme think it over, Ben . . . but I got to go back to the daily bunksheet."
So Mac found himself running a bookstore on the Calle Independencia with a line of stationery and a few type- writers. It felt good to be his own boss for the first time in his life. Concha, who was a storekeeper's daughter, was delighted. She kept the books and talked to the customers so that Mac didn't have much to do but sit in the back and read and talk to his friends. That Christmas Ben and Lisa, who was a tall Spanish girl said to have been a dancer in Malaga, with a white skin like a camellia and ebony hair, gave all sorts of parties in an apartment with American- style bath and kitchen that Ben rented out in the new quarter towards Chapultepec. The day the Asociacion de Publicistas had its annual banquet, Ben stopped into the bookstore feeling fine and told Mac he wanted him and Concha to come up after supper and wouldn't Concha bring a couple of friends, nice wellbehaved girls not too choosy, like she knew. He was giving a party for G. H. Barrow who was back from Vera Cruz and a big contact
man from New York who was wangling something, Ben didn't know just what. He'd seen Carranza yesterday and at the banquet everybody'd kowtowed to him.
"Jez, Mac, you oughta been at that banquet; they took one of the streetcars and had a table the whole length of it and an orchestra and rode us out to San Angel and back and then all round town."
"I saw 'em starting out," said Mac, "looked too much like a funeral to me."
"Jez, it was swell though. Salvador an' everybody was there and this guy Moorehouse, the big hombre from New York, jez, he looked like he didn't know if he was comin' or goin'. Looked like he expected a bomb to go off under the seat any minute . . . hellova good thing for Mexico if one had, when you come to think of it. All the worst crooks in town were there."
The party at Ben's didn't come off so well. J. Ward Moorehouse didn't make up to the girls as Ben had hoped. He brought his secretary, a tired blond girl, and they both looked scared to death. They had a dinner Mexican style and champagne and a great deal of cognac and a victrola played records by Victor Herbert and Irving Berlin and a little itinerant band attracted by the crowd played Mexican airs on the street outside. After dinner things were getting a little noisy inside so Ben and Moore- house took chairs out on the balcony and had a long talk about the oil situation over their cigars. J. Ward Moore- house explained that he had come down in a purely un- official capacity you understand to make contacts, to find out what the situation was and just what there was behind Carranza's stubborn opposition to American investors and that the big businessmen he was in touch with in the States desired only fair play and that he felt that if their point of view could be thoroughly understood through some information bureau or the friendly coöperation of Mexi- can newspapermen.
Ben went back in the diningroom and brought out Enrique Salvador and Mac. They all talked over the situation and J. Ward Moorehouse said that speaking as an old newspaperman himself he thoroughly understood the situation of the press, probably not so different in Mexico City from that in Chicago or Pittsburgh and that all the newspaperman wanted was to give each fresh angle of the situation its proper significance in a spirit of fair play and friendly coöperation, but that he felt that the Mexican papers had been misinformed about the aims of American business in Mexico just as the American press was misinformed about the aims of Mexican politics. If Mr. Enrique would call by the Regis he'd be delighted to talk to him more fully, or to any one of you gentlemen and if he wasn't in, due to the great press of appointments and the very few days he had to spend in the Mexican capital, his secretary, Miss Williams, would be only too willing to give them any information they wanted and a few specially prepared strictly confidential notes on the attitude of the big American corporations with which he was purely informally in touch.
After that he said he was sorry but he had telegrams waiting for him at the Regis and Salvador took him, and Miss Williams, his secretary, home in the chief of police's automobile.
"Jez, Ben, that's a smooth bastard," said Mac to Ben after J. Ward Moorehouse had gone.
" Mac," said Ben, "that baby's got a slick cream of mil- lions all over him. By gum, I'd like to make some of these contacts he talks about . . . By gorry, I may do it yet . . . You just watch your Uncle Dudley, Mac. I'm goin' to associate with the big hombres after this."
After that the party was not so refined. Ben brought out a lot more cognac and the men started taking the girls into the bedrooms and hallways and even into the pantry and kitchen. Barrow cottoned onto a blonde named Nadia
who was half English and talked to her all evening about the art of life. After everybody had gone Ben found them locked up in his bedroom.
Mac got to like the life of a storekeeper. He got up when he wanted to and walked up the sunny streets past the cathedral and the façade of the national palace and up Independencia where the sidewalks had been freshly sprinkled with water and a morning wind was blowing through, sweet with the smell of flowers and roasting coffee. Concha's little brother Antonio would have the shutters down and be sweeping out the store by the time he got there. Mac would sit in the back reading or would roam about the store chatting with people in Eng- lish and Spanish. He didn't sell many books, but he kept all the American and European papers and magazines and they sold well, especially The Police Gazette and La Vie Parisienne. He started a bank account and was planning to take on some typewriter agencies. Salvador kept telling him he'd get him a contract to supply stationery to some government department and make him a rich man.
One morning he noticed a big crowd in the square in front of the National Palace. He went into one of the cantinas under the arcade and ordered a glass of beer. The waiter told him that Carranza's troops had lost Torreón- and that Villa and Zapata were closing in on the Federal District. When he got to the bookstore news was going down the street that Carranza's government had fled and that the revolutionists would be in the city before night. The storekeepers began to put up their shutters. Concha and her mother came in crying saying that it would be worse than the terrible week when Madero fell and that the revolutionists had sworn to burn and loot the city. An- tonio ran in saying that the Zapatistas were bombarding Tacuba. Mac got a cab and went over to the Chamber of Deputies to see if he could find anybody he knew. All the doors were open to the street and there were papers lit-
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