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Hazelton had formed the habit of could depart in peace. For two mad, cursing fate and De Vilmarte, and, to happy days he saw life simply. First revenge himself, of threatening De Vil- Hazelton, then himself. marte's exposure, and he continued to do One day he stopped short, for he these things. And De Vilmarte let his realized he could not go until his mind stray far in contemplating Hazel mother—went. He must stay a whileton's possible vileness, and in doing this until she died. he himself became vile. What he could He had to wait until she died. He not recognize was the definite place watched her, wondering if his endurance where Hazelton's vileness stopped. His would outlast her life. He tried not to life was like a fair fruit rotten within. let her see him watching-for he knew
It was the summer of 1914, and Hazel there was madness in his eyes—and he ton, whose drunkenness before had been would go out to find his dark shadow, occasional, now drank always, and for for often it was less painful to be with ever in the background of De Vilmarte's him than away from him-he knew then mind was this powerful figure with its what Hazelton was up to. red face and black hair and truculent days in retracing the steps which had bearing, drunken and obscene, who car brought him to this desperate impasse. ried in his careless hand the honor of the They had been easy, but he knew that De Vilmartes. At any moment Hazel- weakness was at the bottom of it-perton could rob Raoul of his pride, embit- haps, unless he did it now, he would never ter his mother's last hours, and make doit-perhaps an unworthy desire for life. him the laughing stock of his world. --and love-might hold back his hand. Raoul became like an entrapped animal So De Vilmarte lived his days and running around and around the implac- nights bound on the torturing pendulum able barriers of a cage. It is a terrible of conflict. thing to have one's honor in the hands of another.
Suddenly Europe was aflame. France He thought of everything that might stood still and waited. And as he end this torment, and he found no an waited, with Europe, Raoul for a moswer. Madness grew in him. Wherever ment forgot his torment.
War is a Raoul de la Tour de Vilmarte went, there great destroyer, but among other things followed him unseen a shadow, swart, it destroys the smaller emotions. Its dark, and red-faced. It followed him, licking flame shrivels up personal loves mouthing, “Ra-o-u-1-R-a-o-u-1!" like a and hates. When war was declared, old cat.
“R-a-o-u-1! R-a-o-u-1!” from hates were blotted out, and hopeless morning till night. When De Vilmarte lovers trembling on the brink of suicide was at a table in a café a huge and were cured overnight. Small human mocking shadow sat beside him, and it atoms were drowned in the larger hate said, wagging its head in a horrid fash and the larger love. Men ceased to have ion, "There's death in our little drama, power over their own lives since their hein, mon vieux?"
lives belonged to France. The fate that had made their interests So when war was declared, choice was one, bound them together. They sought taken from Raoul's hands. A high feeleach other out to spend strange and ing of liberation possessed him. He tortured hours in each other's company, walked along the street, and suddenly while in the depths of Raoul's heart a he realized that instead of going toward plan to end the torture was coming to its his home he was seeking his other half, own slow maturity, and grew large and the dark shadow to whom he had been dark during the hot days of July. He so bound. could not continue to live. The burden On Hazelton's door a note was pinned, of his secret weighed him down. Nor addressed to him. could he leave Hazelton behind him, the “My friend," it said, "you have luck! honor of the De Vilmartes in his hands. You will have your regiment, while
The bloody answer to the riddle nothing better than the ambulance, like leaped out at him. Hazelton's death, a sale embusque, for me. If harm comes that was the answer. Then De Vilmarte to you, don't fear for your mother.”
This letter made him feel as though startling black of his shaggy hair framing Hazelton had clasped his hand. He no the pallor of his face. longer felt toward Hazelton as an en With difficulty Raoul raised his head. emy, since France had also claimed They smiled at each other. From the him.
communion of their silence came HazelMadness had brushed him with its ton's deep voice. dark wings. By so slender a thread his “Why the devil,” he said, "did we life and Hazelton's had hung! Yes--and ever hate each other?” his honor!
Raoul shook his head. He didn't “Thank God!” he said, “for an hon know. He, too, had wanted to ask orable death!" It was the last personal Hazelton this. thought that was his for a long time. "It has bothered me," said Hazelton. War engulfed him. Instead of an indi “I wanted to see you
His voice vidual he was a soldier of France, and trailed off.
trailed off. “I've wanted to ask you his life was broken away from the old why we have needed this war-deathlife which now seemed illusion, the days to make us know we don't hate each which streamed past him like pennants other." torn in the wind.
"I don't know," said De Vilmarte. Later, in the monotony of trench war It was an effort for him to speak; his fare, he had time to think of Hazelton. voice sounded frail and broken. He desired two things-to serve France, “Raoul,” Hazelton asked, tenderly, and to see Hazelton. Raoul wanted a “where are you wounded? Is it bad?" word of friendship to pass between them, “I don't know," Raoul answered and especially he wanted to tell Hazelton again. that he need not worry about his wife. “It's his head,” the sister answered He wrote to him, but got no answer. for him, “and his right hand.” Life went on; war had become the nor Hazelton raised his great head; a red mal thing. The complexities of his for mounted to his face; his old sardonic mer life receded further and further from laughter boomed out through the ward. him, and became more phantasmal, With a sharply indrawn breath of pain: but the desire to see Hazelton before “Oh, la-la!" he shouted. “'Cré nom. either of them should die remained with Cré nom! What luck-imperishable! Raoul.
I'm dying--your right hand-your right When he was wounded it was his last hand!" He sank back, his ironic laughconscious thought before oblivion en ter drowned in a swift crimson tide. gulfed him. There followed a half The nurse beckoned to an orderly to waking - pain penumbral land bring a screen. through which shapes moved vaguely; Tears of grief and weakness streamed the smell of an anesthetic, an awaken down Raoul's face. To the last his ill ing, and again sleep. When he wakened luck had held. He hadn't been able to fully he was in a white hospital ward make his friend understand, or to make with a sister bending over him.
amends. His right hand was wounded, "In the next bed," she said, "there and he could no longer serve France. is a grand blessé." She looked at him The sister looked at him with pity. significantly. “He wishes to speak to She tried to console him. you-he is a friend of yours."
"Death is not always so mercifully In the next bed lay Hazelton, the quick with these strong men,” she said.
HERE are times when to doubt his own pestilency. He is one wearies of litera wrong. In a way, society knows of our ture; when one reads existence, but does not worry; it shows over one's first book, this in a curiously large number of ways, reflects how good it more than can be enumerated here. It was, and how greatly sees the novelist as a man apart—as a
one was misunderstood; creature fraught with venom, and, parawhen one considers the perils and mis- doxically, a creature of singularly lambadventures of so accidental a life and like and unpractical temperament. likens one's self to those dogs described Consider, indeed, the painful position by Pliny, who run fast as they drink from of a respectable family: its sons make the Nile for fear they should be seized by for Wall Street every day; its daughters the crocodiles; when one tires of follow- for Fifth Avenue and fashion, or for the ing Mr. Ford Madox Hueffer's advice, East Side, good works, and social ad"to sit down in the back garden with vancement. Imagine that family, which pen, ink, and paper, to put vine leaves derives a steady income, shall we say in in one's hair and to write”; when one the neighborhood of fifty thousand dolremembers that in Flaubert's view the lars a year, enough to keep it in modest literary man's was a dog's life (meta- comfort, confronted with the sudden inphors about authors lead you back to fatuation of one of its daughters for an the dog), but that none other was worth unnamed person, met presumably on the living. In those moods, one does not East Side where he was collecting copy. agree with Flaubert; rather, one agrees You can imagine the conversation after with Butler:
Sadie: “What does he do, Papa?
Oh, well, he's a novelist.”
Papa: “What! A novelisti
of those long-haired, sloppy-collared
ragamuffins without any soles to their One sees life like Mr. Polly, as “a rot boots? Do you think that because I've ten, beastly thing.” One sighs for ad- given you an automobile I'm going to venture, to be a tramp or a trust mag treat you to a husband? A saloon nate. One knows that one will never be loafer!” (We are always intemperate.) so popular as Brown's Meat Extract; "A man whom your mother and thence is but a step to picture oneself sisters (Our morals are atrocious.) as less worthy.
"I should not wonder if the poWe novelists are the showmen of life. lice . (We are all dishonest, and yet We hold up its mirror, and, if it look at we never have any money.) us at all, it mostly makes faces at us. talking to the minister
(We pracIndeed, a writer might have with im- tise no religion, except that occasionpunity sliced Medusa's head; she would ally we are Mormons.) never have noticed him. The truth is And so on, and so on. Papa won't that the novelist is a despised creature. have it, and if in the end Papa does At moments when, say, a learned pro have it (which he generally does when fessor devotes five columns to showing Sadie has made up her mind), he finds that a particular novelist is one of the that Sadie's eyes are not blacked, but pests of society, the writer feels exalted. that Sadie's husband's boots are blacked; But as society shows no signs of wanting that the wretched fellow keeps a balance to be rid of the pest, the novelist begins at the bank, can ride a horse, push a