Promptly at the beginning of twilight, came
again to that quiet corner of that quiet, small park
the girl in gray. She sat upon a bench and read a
book, for there was yet to come a half hour in which
print could be accomplished.
To repeat: Her dress was gray, and plain enough
to mask its impeccancy of style and fit. A large-
meshed veil imprisoned her turban hat and a face
that shone through it with a calm and unconscious
beauty. She had come there at the same hour on the
day previous, and on the day before that; and there
was one who knew it.
The young man who knew it hovered near, relying
upon burnt sacrifices to the great joss, Luck. His
piety was rewarded, for, in turning a page, her book
slipped from her fingers and bounded from the bench
a full yard away.
The young man pounced upon it with instant avid-
ity, returning it to its owner with that air that seems
to flourish in parks and public places - a compound
of gallantry and hope, tempered with respect for the
policeman on the beat. In a pleasant voice, be risked
an inconsequent remark upon the weather that in-
troductory topic responsible for so much of the
world's unhappiness-and stood poised for a mo-
ment, awaiting his fate.
The girl looked him over leisurely; at his ordinary,
neat dress and his features distinguished by nothing
particular in the way of expression.
"You may sit down, if you like," she said, in a
full, deliberate contralto. "Really, I would like to
have you do so. The light is too bad for reading.
I would prefer to talk."
The vassal of Luck slid upon the seat by her side
"Do you know," be said, speaking the formula
with which park chairmen open their meetings, "that
you are quite the stunningest girl I have seen in a
long time? I had my eye on you yesterday.
Didn't know somebody was bowled over by those
pretty lamps of yours, did you, honeysuckle?"
"Whoever you are," said the girl, in icy tones,
"you must remember that I am a lady. I will excuse
the remark you have just made because the mistake
was, doubtless, not an unnatural one -- in your circle.
I asked you to sit down; if the invitation must con-
stitute me your honeysuckle, consider it with-
"I earnestly beg your pardon," pleaded the young
ran. His expression of satisfaction had changed to
one of penitence and humility. It was my fault,
you know -I mean, there are girls in parks, you
know - that is, of course, you don't know, but -- "
"Abandon the subject, if you please. Of course
I know. Now, tell me about these people passing
and crowding, each way, along these paths. Where
are they going? Why do they hurry so? Are they
The young man had promptly abandoned his air
of coquetry. His cue was now for a waiting part;
he could not guess the role be would be expected to
"It is interesting to watch them," he replied, pos-
tulating her mood. "It is the wonderful drama of
life. Some are going to supper and some to -- er --
other places. One wonders what their histories are."
"I do not," said the girl; "I am not so inquisi-
tive. I come here to sit because here, only, can I be
tear the great, common, throbbing heart of hu-
manity. My part in life is cast where its beats are
never felt. Can you surmise why I spoke to you,
Mr. -- ?"
"Parkenstacker," supplied the young man. Then
be looked eager and hopeful.
"No," said the girl, holding up a slender finger,
and smiling slightly. "You would recognize it im-
mediately. It is impossible to keep one's name out of
print. Or even one's portrait. This veil and this
hat of my maid furnish me with an incog. You
should have seen the chauffeur stare at it when he
thought I did not see. Candidly, there are five or six
names that belong in the holy of holies, and mine, by
the accident of birth, is one of them. I spoke to you,
Mr. Stackenpot -- "
"Parkenstacker," corrected the young man, mod-
" -- Mr. Parkenstacker, because I wanted to talk,
for once, with a natural man -- one unspoiled by the
despicable gloss of wealth and supposed social su-
periority. Oh! you do not know how weary I am of
it -- money, money, money! And of the men who
surround me, dancing like little marionettes all cut by
the same pattern. I am sick of pleasure, of jewels,
of travel, of society, of luxuries of all kinds."
"I always had an idea," ventured the young man,
hesitatingly, "that money must be a pretty good
"A competence is to be desired. But when you
leave so many millions that -- !" She concluded
the sentence with a gesture of despair. "It is the mo-
otony of it" she continued, "that palls. Drives,
dinners, theatres, balls, suppers, with the gilding of
superfluous wealth over it all. Sometimes the very
tinkle of the ice in my champagne glass nearly drives
Mr. Parkenstacker looked ingenuously interested.
"I have always liked," he said, "to read and hear
about the ways of wealthy and fashionable folks. I
suppose I am a bit of a snob. But I like to have my
information accurate. Now, I had formed the opin-
ion that champagne is cooled in the bottle and not by
placing ice in the glass."
The girl gave a musical laugh of genuine amuse-
"You should know," she explained, in an indul-
gent tone, "that we of the non-useful class depend
for our amusement upon departure from precedent.
Just now it is a fad to put ice in champagne. The
idea was originated by a visiting Prince of Tartary
while dining at the Waldorf. It will soon give way
to some other whim. Just as at a dinner party this
week on Madison Avenue a green kid glove was laid
by the plate of each guest to be put on and used while
"I see," admitted the young man, humbly.
"These special diversions of the inner circle do not
become familiar to the common public."
"Sometimes," continued the girl, acknowledging
his confession of error by a slight bow, "I have
thought that if I ever should love a man it would be
one of lowly station. One who is a worker and not a
drone. But, doubtless, the claims of caste and wealth
will prove stronger than my inclination. Just now
I am besieged by two. One is a Grand Duke of a
German principality. I think he has, or has bad, a
wife, somewhere, driven mad by his intemperance and
cruelty. The other is an English Marquis, so cold
and mercenary that I even prefer the diabolism of the
Duke. What is it that impels me to tell you these
things, Mr. Packenstacker?
"Parkenstacker," breathed the young man. "In-
deed, you cannot know how much I appreciate your
The girl contemplated him with the calm, imper-
sonal regard that befitted the difference in their sta-
"What is your line of business, Mr. Parken-
stacker?" she asked.
"A very humble one. But I hope to rise in the
world. Were you really in earnest when you said
that you could love a man of lowly position?"
"Indeed I was. But I said 'might.' There is the
Grand Duke and the Marquis, you know. Yes; no
calling could be too humble were the man what I
would wish him to be."
"I work," declared Mr. Parkenstacker, "in a res-
The girl shrank slightly.
"Not as a waiter?" she said, a little imploringly.
"Labor is noble, but personal attendance, you
know -- valets and -- "
"I am not a waiter. I am cashier in" -- on the
street they faced that bounded the opposite side of
the park was the brilliant electric sign "RESTAU-
RANT" -- "I am cashier in that restaurant you am
The girl consulted a tiny watch set in a bracelet of
rich design upon her left wrist, and rose, hurriedly.
She thrust her book into a glittering reticule sus-
pended from her waist, for which, however, the book
was too large.
"Why are you not at work?" she asked.
"I am on the night turn," said the young man;
it is yet an hour before my period begins. May I
not hope to see you again?"
"I do not know. Perhaps - but the whim may
not seize me again. I must go quickly now. There
is a dinner, and a box at the play -- and, oh! the
same old round. Perhaps you noticed an automobile
at the upper corner of the park as you came. One
with a white body
"And red running gear?" asked the young man,
knitting his brows reflectively.
"Yes. I always come in that. Pierre waits for
me there. He supposes me to be shopping in the de-
partment store across the square. Conceive of the
bondage of the life wherein we must deceive even our
"But it is dark now," said Mr. Parkenstacker,
"and the park is full of rude men. May I not
walk -- "
"If you have the slightest regard for my wishes,"
said the girl, firmly, "you will remain at this bench
for ten minutes after I have left. I do not mean to
accuse you, but you are probably aware that autos
generally bear the monogram of their owner. Again,
Swift and stately she moved away through the
dusk. The young man watched her graceful form
as she reached the pavement at the park's edge, and
turned up along it toward the corner where stood the
automobile. Then he treacherously and unhesitat-
ingly began to dodge and skim among the park trees
and shrubbery in a course parallel to her route, keep-
ing her well in sight
When she reached the corner she turned her head
to glance at the motor car, and then passed it, con
tinuing on across the street. Sheltered behind a con-
venient standing cab, the young man followed her
movements closely with his eyes. Passing down the
sidewalk of the street opposite the park, she entered
the restaurant with the blazing sign. The place was
one of those frankly glaring establishments, all white,
paint and glass, where one may dine cheaply and
conspicuously. The girl penetrated the restaurant to
some retreat at its rear, whence she quickly emerged
without her bat and veil.
The cashier's desk was well to the front. A red-
head girl an the stool climbed down, glancing
pointedly at the clock as she did so. The girl in
gray mounted in her place.
The young man thrust his hands into his pockets
and walked slowly back along the sidewalk. At the
corner his foot struck a small, paper-covered volume
lying there, sending it sliding to the edge of the
turf. By its picturesque cover he recognized it as
the book the girl had been reading. He picked it up
carelessly, and saw that its title was "New Arabian
Nights," the author being of the name of Stevenson.
He dropped it again upon the grass, and lounged,
irresolute, for a minute. Then he stepped into the
automobile, reclined upon the cushions, and said two
words to the chauffeur: