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Of Those Who Seek
by [?]

They talked on, of late books and coming music. He noticed how clear and sweet and intelligent were her eyes. Refinement was in the folds of her dress and in the faint perfume which exhaled from her drapery. The firm flesh of her arms appealed to him like the limbs of a child so beautiful and tender!

He saw in her face something wistful, restless. He tried to ignore it, to seem unconscious of the adoration he saw there, for it pained him. It affected him as a part of the general misdirection of affection and effort in the world.

She asked him about his plans. He told her of them. He grew stern and savage as he outlined the work which he had set himself to do. His hands spread and clutched, and his teeth set together involuntarily. “It is to be a fight,” he said; “but I shall win. Bribery, blackmail, the press, and all other forces are against me, but I shall win.”

He rose at length to a finer mood as he sketched the plan which he hoped to set in action.

She looked at him with expanding eyes and quickened breath. A globed light each soft eye seemed to him.

He spoke more freely of the struggle outside in order to make her feel her own sweet security–here where the grime of trade and the reek of politics never came.

At last he rose to go, smiling a little as if in apology for his dark mood. He looked down at her slender body robed so daintily in gray and white; she made him feel coarse and rough.

Her eyes appealed to him, her glance was like a detaining hand. He felt it, and yet he said abruptly:

“Good night.”

“You’ll come to see me again!”

“Yes,” he answered very simply and gravely.

And she, looking after him as he went down the street with head bent in thought, grew weak with a terrible weakness, a sort of hunger, and deep in her heart she cried out:

“Oh, the brave, splendid life he leads out there in the world! Oh, the big, brave world!”

She clinched her pink hand.

“Oh, this terrible, humdrum woman’s life! It kills me, it smothers me. I must do something. I must be something. I can’t live here in this way–useless. I must get into the world.”

And looking around the cushioned, glowing, beautiful room, she thought bitterly:

“This is being a woman. O God, I want to be free of four walls! I want to struggle like that.”

And then she sat down before the fire and whispered very softly, “I want to fight in the world–with him.”


The train was ambling across the hot, russet plain. The wind, strong and warm and dry, sweeping up from the south, carried with it the subtle odor of September grass and gathered harvests. Out of the unfenced roads the dust arose in long lines like smoke from some hidden burning which the riven earth revealed. The fields were tenanted with thrashing crews, the men diminished by distance to pygmies, the long belt of the engine flapping and shining like a ribbon in the flaming sunlight.

The freight cars on the accommodation train jostled and rocked about and heaved up laterally, till they resembled a long line of awkward, frightened, galloping buffaloes. The one coach was scantily filled with passengers, mainly poorly clothed farmers and their families.

A young man seated well back in the coach was looking dreamily out of the window, and the conductor, a keen-eyed young fellow, after passing him several times, said in a friendly way:

“Going up to Boomtown, I imagine.”

“Yes–if we ever get there.”

“Oh, we’ll get there. We won’t have much more switching. We’ve only got an empty car or two to throw in at the junction.”

“Well, I’m glad of that. I’m a little impatient because I’ve got a case coming up in court, and I’m not exactly fixed for it.”

“Your name is Allen, I believe.”