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TheProjectGutenbergeBook,Madcap,byGeorgeGibbs ThiseBookisfortheuseofanyoneanywhereatnocostandwithalmostno restrictionswhatsoever Youmaycopyit,giveitawayorre-useitunderthe termsoftheProjectGutenbergLicenseincludedwiththiseBookoronlineat www.gutenberg.net Title:Madcap Author:GeorgeGibbs ReleaseDate:March15,2004[eBook#11584] Language:English ***STARTOFTHEPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKMADCAP*** ThiseBookwasproducedbyCarolynDerkatch MADCAP byGeorgeGibbs [Illustration:"'Youmustflirt,Mr Markham-andmakeprettyspeeches-'"] CONTENTS ChapterI HermiaII TheGorillaIII TheIneffectualAuntIV MaroonedV BreadandSaltVI The RescueVII "WakeRobin"VIII OlgaTchernyIX OutofHisDepthX TheFugitiveXI TheGates ofChanceXII TheFairyGodmotherXIII VagabondiaXIV TheFabianiFamilyXV DangerXVI ManetCicatrixXVII PÂreGuÂgou'sRosesXVIII APhilosopherinaQuandaryXIX Mountebanks XX TheEmptyHouseXXI NemasisXXII GreatPanisDeadXXIII ALadyintheDarkXXIV The WingsoftheButterflyXXV CirceandtheFossilXXVI Mrs BerkeleyHammondEntertainsXXVII TheSeatsoftheMightyXXVIII TheBrassBellXXIX Duo CHAPTERI HERMIA Titineglancedatthepartedcurtainsandemptybed,thenattheclock,and yawned Itwasnotyeteighto'clock Fromthelookofthings,shewassurethat MissChallonerhadarisenanddepartedforamorningridebeforethebreaking ofthedawn Shepeeredoutofthewindowandcontractedhershoulders expressively Torideinthecoldmorningairuponaviolenthorsewhenshehad beenoutlate!B—r!Butthen,Mademoisellewasawonderfulperson—likeno onesincethebeginningoftheworld ShemadeherownlawsandTitinewas reluctantlyobligedtoconfessthatsheherselfwasdelightedtoobeythem Anotherslightshrugofincomprehension—ofabsolutionfromsuchpractices— andTitinemovedtothelinencabinetandtookoutsomefluffythingsoflaceand ribbon,thentoaclosetfromwhichshebroughtasoftroom-gown,apairofsilk stockingsandsomeverysmallsuedeslippers Shehadhardlycompletedthesepreparationswhentherewasthesoundofadoor hurriedlycloseddownstairs,aseriesofjoyousyelpsfromadog,arushoffeet onthestairsandthedooroftheroomgavewaybeforetheprecipitateentrance ofaslight,almostboyish,femaleperson,withblueeyes,therosiestofcheeks andamassofyellowhair,mostofwhichhadburstfromitsconfinesbeneathher hat TothequietTitinehermistresscreatedanimpressionofbringingnotonly herselfintotheroom,butalsotheviolenthorseandthewholeoftheout-ofdoorsbesides "Down,Domino!Down,Isay!"totheclamorouspuppy "Now—outwithyou!" Andasherefusedtoobeyshewavedhercropthreateninglyandatapropitious momentbangedthedooruponhisimpertinentsnub-nose "Quick,Titine,mybathand—why,whatareyoulookingat?" "Yourhat,Mademoiselle,"inalarm,"Itisbroken,andyourface—" "It'saperfectlygoodface What'sthematterwithit?" BythistimeMissChallonerhadreachedthechevalglass Herhatwassmashed inatonesideandseveraldarkstainsdisfiguredhercheekandtemple "Oh,I'masight Hechuckedmeintosomebushes,Titine—" "Thatterriblehorse—Mademoiselle!" "Thesame—intosomeverystickybushes—buthedidn'tgetaway Igoton withouthelp,too Lordy,butIdidtakeitoutofhim!Oh,didn'tI!" Hereyelightedgailyasthoughinchallengeatnothingatallassheremovedher glovesandtossedherhatandcroponthebedandsprawledintoachairwitha sigh,whileTitineremovedherbootsandmadetremulousandreproachful inquiries "Mademoiselle—will—willkillherself,Iamsure." HermiaChallonerlaughed "Betterdieliving—thanbelivingdead Besides,nooneeverdieswhodoesn't carewhetherhediesornot Ishalldiecomfortablyinbedattheageofeightythree,I'msureofit Now,mybath Vite,Titine!Ihaveahungerlikethatwhich neverwasbefore." MissChallonerundressedandenteredherbathroom,whereshesplashed industriouslyforsomeminutes,emergingatlastradiantandglowingwithhealth andadelightinthemerejoyofexistence WhileTitinebrushedherhair,thegirl satbeforeherdressing-tableputtinglotiononherinjuredcheeksandtemple Her hairarranged,shesentthemaidforherbreakfasttraywhileshefinishedher toiletinleisurelyfashionandwentintohermorningroom Thesuedeslippers contributedtheirthreeinchestoherstature,thelonglinesoftheflowingrobe addedtheirdignity,andthestrandsofherhair,eachwovencarefullyintoits appointedplace,completedthetransformationfromthetouseled,hoydenish boy-girlofhalfanhourbeforeintotheluxuriousandsomewhatboredyoung ladyoffashion Butshesankintothechairbeforeherbreakfasttrayandatewithanappetite whichtooksomethingformthisillusion,whileTitinebroughtherlettersanda longboxofflowerswhichwereunwrappedandplacedinafloor-vaseofsilver andglassinanembrasureofthewindow Theenvelopewhichaccompaniedthe flowersTitinehandedtohermistress,whoopeneditcarelesslybetween mouthfulsandfinallyaddedittotheaccumulatedlitteroffashionablestationery HermiaeyedherDresdenchocolate-potuncheerfully Thisbreakfastgifthad reachedherwithanominousregularityonMondaysandThursdaysforamonth, andthetimehadcomewhensomethingmustbedoneaboutit Butshedidnot permitunpleasantthoughts,ifunpleasanttheyreallywere,todistractherfrom thecasualdelightsofretrospectionandthepleasuresofherrepast,whichshe finishedwithathoroughnessthatspokemoreeloquentlyofthewholesomeness ofherappetiteeventhantherealexcellenceofthecooking UponTitine,who broughtherthecigarettesandabrazier,shecreatedtheimpression—asshe alwaysdidindoors—ofachild,greatlyovergrown,paradingherselfwith mockingostentationinthegarmentsofmaturity Thecigarette,too,wasapartof thisparade,andshesmokeditdaintily,thoughwithoutapparentenjoyment Hermealfinished,shewasreadytoreceivefemininevisitors Sheseldomlacked company,foritisnotthefateofagirlofHermiaChalloner'sconditiontobeleft longtoherowndevices Herfather'sdeath,someyearsbefore,hadfallen heavilyuponher,butyouthandhealthhadborneheraboveeventhatsadevent triumphant,andnowatthreeandtwenty,withafortunewhichloomedlarge eveninadayoflargefortunes,shelivedalonewithalegionofservantsinthe greathouse,withnoearthlytiesbutanineffectualauntandaTrustCompany Butshedidnotsufferforlackofadviceastotheconductofherlifeorofher affairs,andshealwaystookitwiththesaddevotionalairwhichitsgivershad learnedmeantthatintheendshewoulddoexactlyasshechose Andsothe AuntandtheTrustCompany,likethescandalizedTitine,endedinevitablyin silentacquiescence Ofheracquaintancesmuchmightbesaid,bothgoodandbad Theyrepresented almosteveryphaseofsocietyfromtheobjectsofhercharities(whichwere manyandoftenunreasoning)tothedaughtersofherfather'sfriendswho belongedinherownsphereofexistence Andifone'scharactermaybejudged bythatofone'sfriends,Hermiawasofinfinitevariety Perhapsthesportivewere mostofteninhercompany,anditwasagainstthesethatMrs Westfield ineffectuallyrailed,buttherewasawarmthinheraffectionforGertrude Brotherton,wholikedquietpeopleasarule(andmadeHermiatheexceptionto proveit),andanintellectualflavorinherattachmentforAngelaReeves,who wasinterestedinsocialproblems,whichmorethancompensatedforMiss Challoner'sintimacywiththoseofagayersort Hernoteswritten,shedressedforthemorning,thenlaybackinherchairwitha sharplittlesighandpensivelytouchedthescratchesonherface,herexpression fallingsuddenlyintolinesofdiscontent Itwasakindofreactionwhich frequentlyfollowedmomentsofintenseactivityand,realizingitssignificance, sheyieldedtoitsulkily,hergazeonthefaceoftheclockwhichwastickingoff purposelessminuteswithmaddeningprecision Sheglancedoverhershoulderin reliefashermaidappearedinthedoorway "WillMademoiselleseetheCountessTchernyandMeesAshhurst?"Titinewasa greatbelieverinsocialdistinctions "Olga!Yes,Iwasexpectingher Tellthemtocomerightup." Thenewarrivalsenteredtheroomgailywiththebreezyassertivenessofpersons whowereassuredoftheirwelcomeandverymuchathome HildaAshhurstwas tall,blonde,aquilineandnoisy;theCountess,dainty,dark-eyedandsvelte,with theflexiblevoicewhichspokeoffamiliaritywithmanytonguesandrebukedthe nasalgreetingofhermorefloridcompanion Hermiametthemwithasigh Only yesterdayMrs WestfieldhadprotestedagainaboutHermia'sgrowingintimacy withtheCountess,whohadquiteinnocentlytakenuntoherselfallofthe fashionablevicesofpoliteEurope HildaAshhurstwatchedHermia'sexpressionamomentandthenlaughed "Beencatchingit—haven'tyou?PoorHermia!It'sdreadfultobetheonechickin afamilyofuglyducklings—" "Ortheuglyducklinginafamilyofvirtuouschicks—" "Notugly,chÂrie,"laughedtheCountess "Oneisneveruglywithamillion francsayear Suchafortunewouldbeautifyasatyr Itevenmakesyourown prettinessunimportant." "Itisunimportant—" "Partlybecauseyoumakeitso Youdon'tcare Youdon'tthinkaboutit,voil tout." "WhyshouldIthinkaboutit?Ican'tchangeit." "Oh,yes,youcan Evenahomelywomanwhoisclevercanmakeherself beautiful,abeautifulwoman—Dieu!Thereisnothingintheworldthataclever, beautifulwomancannotbe." "I'mnotcleveror—" "Ishallnotflatteryou,caramia Youare—er—quitehandsomeenough Ifyou caredfortheartisticyoucouldgothroughasalonlikethePiperofHamelinwith aqueueofgentlemenreachingbackintothecorridorsofinfinity Insteadof whichyouwearmannishclothes,doyourhairinaBath-bun,andpermitmenthe privilegeofequality Oh,la,la!Amanisnolongerusefulwhenoneceasesto mystifyhim." Shestrolledtothewindow,sniffedatTrevvyMorehouse'sroses,helpedherself toacigaretteandsatdown Hermiawasnotinartisticandsheresentedtheimputation Itwasonlythather artandOlga'sdifferedbythebreadthofanocean "Forme,whenamanbecomesmystifiedheceasestobeuseful,"laughed Hermia "Pouf!mydear,"saidtheCountesswithawaveofhercigarette "Isimplydonot believeyou Amanisneversousefulaswhenhemovesinthedark Women wereborntomystify Someofusdoitoneway—someinanother Ifyouwear mannishclothesandaBath-bun,itisbecausetheybecomeyouextraordinarily wellandbecausetheyformadisguisemorecompleteandmystifyingthan anythingelseyoucouldassume." "Adisguise!" "Exactly Youwishtocreatetheimpressionthatyouareindifferenttomen—that men,bythesametoken,areindifferenttoyou."TheCountessOlgasmiled "Yourdisguiseiscomplete,monenfant—exceptforonething—yourfemininity —whichrefusestobeextinguished Youdonothatemen Ifyoudidyouwould notgotosomuchtroubletolooklikethem Onedayyouwillloveverybadly— verymadly Andthen—"theCountesspausedandraisedhereyebrowsandher handsexpressively "You'relikeme It'ssimpleenough,"shecontinued "You haveeverythingyouwant,includingmenwhoamusebutdonotinspire Obviously,youwillonlybesatisfiedwithsomethingyoucan'tget,mydear." "Horrors!Whatabirdofill-omenyouare AndIshallloveinvain?" TheCountesssnuffedouthercigarettedaintilyupontheashtray "Canoneloveinvain?Perhaps /* _"'AimerpourÂtreaimÂ,c'estdel'homme, Aimerpouraimer,c'estPresquedel'ange.'" */ "I'mafraidI'mnotthatkindofanangel." HildaAshhurstlaughed "Olgais." "Olga!"exclaimedHermiawithaglanceofinquiry "Haven'tyouheard?Shehasthrownheryoungaffectionsawayuponthatowllikenondescriptwhohasbeendoingherportrait." "Ican'tbelieveit." "It'strue,"saidtheCountesscalmly "Iamquitemadabouthim Hehasthemind ofaphilosopher,thesoulofachild,theheartofawoman—" "—themannersofaboorandtheimpudenceofthedevil,"addedHilda spitefully HermialaughedbuttheCountessOlga'snarrowedeyespassedHildascornfully "Anyonecanhavegoodmanners They'rethehallmarkofmediocrity Andas forimpudence—thatistheonesinamanmaycommitwhichawomanforgives." "Ican't,"saidHilda TheCountessOlga'srightshouldermovedtowardherearthefractionofaninch "He'shateful,Hermia,"continuedHildaquickly,"agorillaofaman,witha loweringbrow,untidyhair,andabluechin—" "Heisadorable,"insistedOlga "Howveryinteresting!"laughedHermia "Anadorablephilosopher,withthe impudenceofthedevil,andthebluechinofagorilla!Whendidyoumeetthis logical—thezoologicalparadox?" "Oh,inParis Iknewhimonlyslightly,buthemovedinasetwhoseedges touchedmine—thetalentedpeopleofmine Hehadalreadymadehisway He hasbeenbackinAmericaonlyayear Wemetearlyinthewinterquiteby chance Youknowtherest Hehaspaintedmyportrait—areallygreatportrait Youshallsee." "Oh,itwasthismorningweweregoing,wasn'tit?I'llbereadyinamoment, dear." "ButHildashallbeleftintheshoppingdistrict,finishedOlga "Byallmeans,"saidMissAshhurstscornfully CHAPTERII THEGORILLA OfallherfriendsOlgaTehernywastheonewhoamusedandentertainedHermia themost ShewasolderthanHermia,muchmoreexperiencedandtotellthe truthquiteasmadinherownwayasHermiawas Thereweretimeswheneven Hermiacouldnotentirelyapproveofher,butsheforgavehermuchbecauseshe washerselfandbecause,nomatterwhatdependeduponit,shecouldnotbe differentifshetried OlgaEgertonhadbeenborninRussia,whereherfatherhad beencalledasaconsultingengineeroftherailwaydepartmentoftheRussian Government ThoughAmericanborn,thegirlhadbeeneducatedaccordingto theEuropeanfashionandattwentyhadmarriedandlosttheyoungnobleman whosenameshebore,andhadburiedhiminhisfamilycryptinMoscowwith thesimplefortitudeofonewhoiswelloutofabadbargain Butshehadpaidher tolltodisillusionandtheageofthirtyfoundheralittlemorecareless,alittle moreworldly-wisethanwasnecessary,eveninacosmopolitan Hercomments sparedneitherfriendnorfoeandHildaAshhurst,whosemindgraspedonlythe obviousfactsofexistence,cameinformorethanashareofthelady'sinvective Indeed,Markam,thepainter,seemedthismorningtobetheonlyluminousspot ontheCountessOlga'ssocialhorizonandbythetimethecarhadreachedlower FifthAvenueshehadrelatedmostoftheknownfactsofhischaracterandcareer includinghisstruggleforrecognitioninEurope,hisrevolutionaryattitude towardtheArtoftheAcademiesaswellastowardmodernsociety,andthe consequentandself-soughtisolationwhichdeprivedhimoftheintercourseof hisfellowsandseriouslyretardedhisprogresstowardasuccessthathis professionaltalentsundoubtedlymerited Hermialistenedwithanabstractedair Artistssherememberedwerearaceof beingsquiteapartfromtherestofhumanityandwiththeexceptionofafew money-seekingforeigners,oneofwhomhadpaintedherportrait,andTeddy Vincent,aNewYorkersociallyprominent(whowasunspeakable),her acquaintancewiththeculthadbeenlimitedandunfavorable When,therefore, hercardrewalongsidethecurboftheold-fashionedbuildingtowhichOlga directedthechauffeur,HermiawasalreadypreparedtodislikeMr Markham cordially ShehadnotalwayscaredforOlga'sfriends Therewasnoelevatorinthebuildingbeforewhichtheystopped,andthetwo womenmountedthestairs,avoidingboththewallandthedustybaluster,contact witheitherofwhichpromisedtodefiletheirwhitegloves,reaching,somewhat outofbreath,adoorwithaFlorentineknockerbearingthename"Markham." Olgaknocked Therewasnoresponse SheknockedagainwhileHermiawaited, aquestiononherlips Therewasasoundofheavyfootstepsandthedoorwas flungopenwideandabigmanwithrumpledhair,awell-smearedpaintingsmockandwearingahugepairoftortoise-shellgogglespeeredoutintothedark hall-way,blurtingoutimpatiently, Hemeditatedamomentandthensaidwithasmile: "ToTrevelyanM—" Butsheputherfingersoverhislipsbeforehecouldfinish "Don'tPhilidor WhereverIwent,IshouldnotgotoTrevvy."Shelaughed "He castmeoff,youknow." "Castyouoff?" Shenodded "HeheardthatstoryatRood'sKnollafterIhadgone Thenextday hecametomyhouseintown Isawhim Heworeawoe-begoneexpressionand silentlypresentedaclippingfromapaper."Shelaughedagain "Helookedlikea virtuousundertakerpresentingabill,longoverdue,fortheintermentofsome lightlymournedrelative Heaskedmeifthestoryweretrue Isaiditwas—and hewentoutofthehouse—castingnotevenonelonging,lingeringlookbehind!" "Butitwasn'ttrue." "That'sjustthepoint—buthethoughtso Wouldyouhavebelievedmethatkind ofagirl?Youcouldhave,youknow,anddidn't."Shesighedhappily,andsank backintohisarms "IthinkIdon'twantpeopletobetooexcellent,Philidor Just human—" "Wereyou"—hehesitatedamoment—"wereyouengagedtohim,Hermia?" Shegazedathimwide-eyed "Never,"sheasserted,andthenrepeated,"Never,never,never!" "Butthenewspapers—" "OPhilidor!HowcouldIhavebeenengagedtoTrevvywhenI—Iwasalready engagedtoyou?" "Engaged." "Yes,promised AftertheforestatSÂesIknewitthen Icouldneverhaveloved anyoneelse Why,Philidor,youheldmelikethis,andkissedme—" "Youlovedmethen—andbefore—?" Shehesitateddemurely "Yes—before." "Before,AlenÂon?" "Y—yes." "BeforeVerneuil?" Shesmiledandnodded "Here—atVallÂcy?" "Beforethat." "Youadorablechild!Passy?" "Yes?" Hewasnowreallyastounded Whatsheaddedastoundedhimstillmore "Ithinkitbeganbefore'WakeRobin'?" "ThimbleIsland?" Shestammered "I—Ithinkitreallybeganinyourstudio." "InNewYork?" "Youinterestedme—andyousnubbedmesocompletely Youweresoimpolite, JohnMarkham Iwascuriousaboutyou YouwerelikenomanIhadevermet Youtoldmethetruth Ididn'tlikeit,butIrespectedyoufortellingit WhenI wentawayIrememberwantingtoseeyouagain ATThimbleIsland—" "Yes?" Shehidherfaceinhisbreastandthewordscameslowly "Myvisitto—toThimbleIsland—I—Iknewyouwerethere Mym—motor didn'tmissfire,Philidor?" Heraisedherheadandmadeherlookathim Eveninthewanlightherfacewas rosywithherconfession Butshelaughedjoyously "Iwantedtosnubyouforbeingsorudetome Alas!Iendedby—byscrubbing yourfloor." "DianaoftheTubs!Howyouscrubbed!" "Ilikedit YouwereveryniceatThimbleIsland,Philidor."Shepauseda moment "ThenOlgacame—andtheothers Shequiteownedyou,then,didn't she?" "No,"herepliedslowly "Idon'tthinkIreallylikedOlga'sface-powderonyourcoat,dear." Hewassilent "Iknewyoudidn'tloveher Youcouldn't Shewasn'tyoursort." Moresilence "Youdidn'tcareforher,didyou?"jerkily Helookeddownintohereyestenderlybutmadenoreply Shesighedbutasked nomorequestions And,whenheknewthatsheunderstoodthemeaningofhis silence,hetookherheadbetweenhishandsandmadeherlookathim "Isn'titenoughformetosaytoyouthatIloveyoubetterthanalltheworld, dear,thatIamyours—whollyandindivisibly—mypast,myfuture—" "Oh,Iamcontent,"shewhisperedquickly "Yourpast—shallbewhatyouhave madeit I'mnotafraid Butyourfuture—" Shecaughtoneofhishandsinbothofherownandheldittoherheart "Thatis mine." Therewasasilencerichwithmeaning Thestream,thewhisperingboughs,the risingbreezeinthetree-topsjoinedinthesoftchorusoftheirnuptial-song The nightfell,shroudedinmystery Behindthemovertheirshouldersanewmoon rose,aharbingerofgoodfortune,buttheydidnotturntolookatit Itcouldnot foretellthemafortunethatwasalreadytheirs Itslightflowedthroughthe shadows,palingthesilhouetteoftheleavesagainsttheafterglow,bathingthem bothinliquidsilver Hetoldhermanyofthethingsthatshealreadyknew,but eachreiterationhadanewmeaningandanewdelight Thesameimmortal questionsandanswers,evernew,evermystifying Thetouchofhands,ofeyes, thephysicalcontact,outwardtokensofthespiritualpactmadealready,the weldingofthebondswhichweretomakethemone!Themomentsoftheirmore intimateconfessionspast,hetoldherofthefriendshipofMrs Hammondand whatshehaddonetosetthestoryright,butshedidnotseemtohearhim Her gazewasuponthepalerimoflightalongthehill-topbeyond,agazewhich lookedandsawnothingbeyondtherosyauraofherthoughts "Whatdoesitmatternow?"shemurmured "Whatdoesanythingmatter—after this?" "Youwillmarryme—soon?"heurgedher Shesighedsoftlyandlaidherhandinhis "Wheneveryouwantmeto,"shesaid,witheloquentsimplicity "To-morrow?" Shesmiledmischievously "Imust,Ithink,Philidor Wouldyouhavemecompromised?" Helaughedhappily "Yes Compromisedbyreverence,pilloriedbytenderness—" "Notreverence,Philidor I'monlyalittledevil,afterall." "ThendevilsareangelsinVagabondia Yourwingsarewhite,Hermia." "They'retrailingnow—" "Bravewings—fluttering—wearyofflight Theyshallflynomore—" "Notalone—broaderonesshallbearthemcompany." Apause "Afterto-morrow—shallwego?" "Afoot,Philidor—asbefore." Andthen "PoorClarissa!" Helaughed "Youshallhaveher." Shestartedupindelight "Youmeanthatyou—?" "ClarissaislanguishinginastableinParis>" ShespokeofCleofonteandtheSignora "Wemustfindthem,too,Philidor AndStella—Ipromisedher Wemustdo somethingforStella." Itwasgrowinglate Therewasasoundinthethicketbehindthem Theystarted upandwereconfrontedbytheancien,whohobbledtowardthem,withhisstick andlantern,likeDiogenessearchingforanhonestman "Godbepraised!"hecroaked "Youarehere Wefearedyoumighthavefallen amongtherocks." 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ShehadnotalwayscaredforOlga'sfriends Therewasnoelevatorin the buildingbeforewhichtheystopped,and the two womenmounted the stairs,avoidingboth the walland the dustybaluster,contact witheitherofwhichpromisedtodefiletheirwhitegloves,reaching,somewhat... touched the leathershoulder, the aviatormovedandthensatupright,facinghim At the samemoment the sun,whichhadbeenhesitatingforsomemomentson the brinkof the horizon,cameupwitharushandbathed the faceof the small... "It'strue,"said the Countesscalmly "Iamquitemadabouthim Hehas the mind ofaphilosopher, the soulofachild, the heartofawoman—" " the mannersofaboorand the impudenceof the devil,"addedHilda
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