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Source File: cat.ss037.xml

The Courier

by Willa Cather

From The Courier,  (September 30, 1899):  3, 8-9.

The West Bound Train

A Thirty Minute's Sketch for Two People

Persons Concerned:
  • Reginald Johnston, a railroad official.
  • Sybil Johnston, his wife.
  • Station Agent.
  • Messenger Boy, Western Union.

Scene—The waiting room of the Union Pacific depot at Cheyenne, with clock, mirror, maps and excursion circulars on the walls. The window communicating with the agent's office is shut.

Mrs. Sybil Johnston enters attired in a traveling dress. She is followed by a messenger boy who carries a large valise and a small dog with a chain attached to its collar.

Sybil: "There boy, put it down. (She pays him.) That's all you can do for me, so run along. (Boy scuffles toward the door.) O boy, where will I find the station agent? In there? (Boy nods and disappears.) There, now he's gone, and how am I to find the agent! How uncivil the employees on these western lines are! Very different from those on my husband's road. (Looks at the station clock.) It is almost twelve and I don't remember at what time my train goes. Well, I'm certainly not equal to reading over those papers of instructions that Reginald sent me again. Why do all men cling to the tradition that women can't travel alone? I must find the agent. (She raps on the window communicating with the agent's office, but gets no response. She sits down again, rises and begins pacing up and down the waiting room, stopping occasionally to examine the maps and excursion posters.) What gloomy places these way stations are. I wish Reginald had gotten me through transportation from Chicago. I'll be a wreck by the time I reach San Francisco. I almost hope he can't get to the station to meet me, so that I will have an opportunity to get to his hotel and recover my composure and complexion before he sees me. Railway travel always utterly destroys my temper and leaves me a fright, and I never can get my hair to curl on a Pullman. (She raps again on the window, gets no response and resumes her aimless promenade up and down the waiting room.) I wonder if he thinks I have gone off much? There are a great many handsome women in San Francisco, and I may look different to him after a four month's separation. (She approaches the mirror on the wall.) I can't afford to go off yet awhile. If I hadn't been more than passably good looking, I should never have dared to marry him, should I Bijou? (She picks up the dog.) It takes courage, sir, to marry a man whom dozens of stunning women have flattered and spoiled and begged pretty to and played dead for before you ever got a chance at him. It is a grave matter to assume the responsibility of a man with a naughty past like that. Yet I can't blame him, I am not sure that I am not a little bit proud of it, in a disgusting sort of way. Yes, I rather like to think he is irresistible. Beside it is human nature, and he had only to look at a woman to make her fetch and carry and do tricks for him. Women are such fools, but I'll know when I see him whether any spidery object has crossed his path. He might lie to me, but he could not deceive me. I know him too well; much, much better than he knows himself. Then he has been so busy. Business is a good thing for men. If it were not for business, women would never dare marry at all. That was why I didn't take Jack Van Dynne; he had nothing to do but get into mischief. But Reginald is a man of affairs, he means something to the world. Let me see, it is still twenty-eight hours to San Francisco, and I have not seen the dear boy for four months. He certainly means a great deal to me, at all events. It's simply disgraceful the way women do get fond of men. And I thought I was in love with him before I married him. What a mercy that I didn't even know what it meant, or I should have been as abject as the other creatures, and then he never would have wanted me. O dear! that agent! (She raps at the window again but gets no response. She takes out a letter from her pocket book, and reads aloud:) "This will land you at Cheyenne. There go to the Union Pacific Station, where the agent will hand you passes over the U.P. to 'Frisco." (She shrugs her shoulders.) O, I know all that by heart. (Turns the page and reads on hurriedly, her voice gradually dying into an unintelligible murmur.) "There is no engine on the road that will get you here fast enough. My very desire for you seems strong enough to draw you over the plains and across the Rockies and the Sierras to me here, without the aid of such a slow contrivance as steam. I am checking off the days and hours until———." (She moves her lips noiselessly, smiles and crushes up the letter in her hand.) O my boy, you can't possibly long for it as I do, you can't! Don't I know what waiting is? Shall I ever forget that night at Calais before we were engaged, when I cabled you that you might come? And I sat out on the upper balcony of that horrid hotel in the storm, a pitiable object, with the rain drenching me, watching the lights of the incoming steamers and crying from loneliness and homesickness for you. Ah! then I knew how much I wanted you, and I felt as though all my life I had just been living in hotels and watching the lights of other people's ships out at sea. But mine came in at last; you came to me in the morning with the sun; such a sun, never rose before. What a meeting that was! And this will be almost another such. (Whistle of a train sounds.) Heavens! that may be my train, yes it must be my train! It is twelve o'clock and Reginald wrote that some train came or went at twelve o'clock. O that agent! (She pounds furiously on the window with her umbrella. The window opens and the station agent appears at the window. The agent is suave, well-dressed and talkative, somewhat patronizing.)

Agent: "Well madam?"

Sybil: "Is that the westbound train that just whistled?"

Agent: "The through passenger, you mean?"

Sybil: "Yes, the through passenger for San Francisco, that's what I want, and now I shall certainly miss it! I have been rapping here for half an hour!" (She dashes for her valise.)

Agent: "Don't excite yourself, madam, the westbound passenger doesn't leave until two o'clock."

Sybil: "Then it comes in at twelve?"

Agent: "Not until twelve forty-five."

Sybil: "Then what train is there at twelve?"

Agent: "None here, either way, that I know of."

Sybil: "I am sure my husband wrote me that something happened at twelve."

Agent: "Nothing happens at twelve here but dinner."

Sybil: (Stiffly.) My husband, sir, is vice-president of the C.R. & S., and he instructed me to call for some passes. He doubtless will regret that I have taken so much of your valuable time."

Agent: My time is valuable only when I can serve you, madam, and I would be just as glad to be of service to your husband's wife if he were a brakeman. But there is no train out of Cheyenne over the U.P. at twelve o'clock."

Sybil: "But my husband wrote me most explicit instructions."

Agent: "Do you happen to have them with you?"

Sybil: (She produces the letter from her pocketbook, reads, blushes, and relaxes.) "I beg your pardon, sir, I am very stupid, it is dinner!" "They both laugh.)

Agent: "Excuse me a minute. (He steps back and puts on his coat. Sybil wanders absently to the mirror and after a quick glance back over her shoulder gives a few touches to her hair. Agent reappears at the window.

Sybil: "You see I have never traveled alone before, and my husband felt nervous about it, and he wrote me pages and pages of instructions, so that I would know what to do with every hour. I am afraid I got them mixed."

Agent: "Most natural thing in the world on a long journey with lots of changes. You have come direct from New York, I take it?"

Sybil: Straight through. Mercy! That reminds me, I haven't got my passes yet! Have you the transportation here from Cheyenne to San Francisco for Mrs. S. Johnston?"

(Agent looks grave, goes back and fumbles at the papers on his desk, returns to the window with a slip of paper in his hand.)

Agent: "We had transportation here made out for such a person, but it was called for several hours ago."

Sybil: "Called for? Why I am Mrs. Johnston!"

(Agent looks interested and shakes his head.)

Agent: "Well, so was the other lady, or she claimed to be. Here is her receipt."

Sybil: "I don't care about her receipt. She is an impostor. I am Mrs. Johnston, and you have given my passes to the wrong person."

Agent: "I don't see how that could be, she had a letter from the Central office apologizing for the delay in sending her passes."

Sybil: (Contemptuously) "A forgery, of course. It doesn't take a very long head to see that. Do you mean to tell me that you gave them up to her without further question?"

Agent: "Well, she wasn't exactly a lady one would question. She seemed very much like the real thing, you know. I beg your pardon! But I was glad enough to give them to her. She has been in town waiting for them several days, and she called here after every mail and a few times between mails. That is why you had such trouble in raising me; I thought she had come back from force of habit, or because the passes were written out in violet ink and didn't match her clothes. My wife didn't like it, so I kept my window shut. A man has to protect himself in some way."

Sybil: "Of course, she wanted to get them before I got here. Any one could have seen that. And now what am I to do?"

Agent: "Well, the lady is still in town; she can't get away before the two o'clock train. You might see her. She is just across the street, at the Inter Ocean hotel."

Sybil: "See her? Why should I? No indeed! That is your business, sir. You made the mistake and you must rectify it."

Agent: "But how am I to convince her that I have made any mistake? She has an autograph letter from the Central office and ample identification, while you have shown me none as yet."

Sybil: (Icily) "Here is my card, sir. You must pardon the oversight as I am not accustomed to having my word questioned."

Agent: "She said exactly the same thing, and in the same tone. Now don't misunderstand me, Mrs. Johnston. I believe your claim is all right, but my opinion doesn't go with the road. I must have tangible proof to start to looking the matter up on. And I am afraid your card won't do. Have you checks for your baggage?" (She produces them.) "Thank you. Excuse me a moment. (He disappears and Sybil paces the floor distractedly.)

Sybil: "What am I to do? If I telegraph Reginald, he may be in Los Angeles, and besides I couldn't get an answer before the train goes. What a blockhead this agent is! And at first I thought him rather nice. The idea of giving my passes to the first impostor that comes along, and then coolly proposing that I trot after her. What western men lack in manners they make up in assurance. This would never have happened on an eastern road. Reggie must have this fellow called down."

(Agent returns and throws checks on window shelf.)

Agent: "These checks claim three trunks, all marked Sybil Ingrahame."

Sybil: "Certainly, my maiden name. They are my old traveling trunks. O dear, how unfortunate! I suppose you think me the adventuress! Perhaps you contemplate having me arrested!"

Agent: "Madam, I have far more serious matters to contemplate. I have implicit faith in you, but I can't do much for you on faith; and I certainly can't accost that imposing personage at the Inter Ocean House without some sort of evidence. I really want to help you if I can, so let's see what can be done. I will be busy with the eastbound passenger pretty soon. You said you had a letter from your husband, didn't you?"

Sybil: (Eagerly.) "To be sure! Here it is, he is very definite. (She reads.) "This will land you at Cheyenne, there go to the Union Pacific station where the agent will hand you—look there, read for yourself." (Agent examines letter and hands it back, shaking his head.)

Agent: "Yes, I understand, but this letter is addressed to sweetheart and is signed 'Your Boy, Reggie.' I am afraid no road would honor that signature."

Sybil: (Indignantly) I didn't suppose you would feel at liberty to read the whole letter, and your jokes are in very bad taste, sir. My husband will report your conduct to headquarters and have this matter looked into.

Agent: Then I wish he would go about it now, for I don't know how to. I'll wire the Omaha office and see if they had orders to issue passes for two Mrs. Johnstons. In the meantime I would advise you to see the other woman, or you might send a note to her."

Sybil: "Well, if you will kindly call a boy I suppose I can do that." (Agent puts stationary on the window shelf. He goes to the telegraph instrument and begins to send a message.)

Sybil: "Will you let me see that receipt a moment? I want to see whether the creature claims to have a first name." (He hands it to her.) "Why this is signed Mrs. S. Johnson, J-0-H-N-S-0-N, without the T. Well, she is stupid! So long as she is appropriating other people's passes and names she needn't quibble at a single letter. She might just as well have taken the T along with the rest of it, and I shall not hesitate to tell her so." (She writes furiously.)

Messenger boy comes in. Sybil gives him the letter.) There, get that over to the Inter Ocean House, and bring me an answer at once."

Boy: Yes'm." (He goes out.)

(Agent comes to the window again. He speaks:)

Agent: "And while you are waiting, Mrs. Johnston, can't I send out and get some lunch for you?"

Sybil: (Stiffly) "Thank you, I don't care for anything. But my little dog, Bijou, has had nothing since morning. I think I must go out and try and find some milk for him."

Agent: "Oh you never mind that! One of my boys will get Bijou's milk for him. At least let me get you a comfortable chair." (He opens a door and brings out one from his office.)

Sybil: (Seating herself) "Thank you."

Agent: "I am awfully sorry that this trouble has occurred, Mrs. Johnston, and that it puts me in such an ungracious light."

Sybil: "O, I perfectly understand, sir, that you must do your duty." (The agent disappears with a shrug. He returns carrying a soup plate.)

Agent: "Here is Bijou's lunch. He's a husky little dog, and by the way, the other Mrs. Johnson, or rather the lady who got your passes, had a dog as like him as two peas. She is a regular high stepper, and pretty trim-looking. She didn't seem like a fraud."

Sybil: (Freezing harder) "I don't question the lady's charms and I shall have nothing to say about your apparent susceptibility, if it were not responsible for the loss of my passes."

Agent: (Dodging back into his office) "Here's the boy now."

(Boy comes in and hands Sybil a note.)

Sybil: (Reading) "Dear Madam: I think there can be no mistake about my passes. They were sent me by Mr. Reginald Johnston, vice-president of the C.R. & S., my old and tried friend. I have a letter of apology from the forwarding clerk of the Union Pacific office in Omaha, apologizing for his delay in overlooking Mr. Johnston's request, and keeping me for four days in this disagreeable place. Moreover, I this morning received a telegram from Mr. Johnston stating that he would meet me here and travel west with me. Regarding the spelling of my name, I must say that I feel the need of nothing from Mrs. Johnston alphabetically. My name is spelt without the T, and the passes were made out in the correct form. My acquaintance is of such long standing, that I can scarcely believe he has forgotten how to spell my name. Sincerely, Sally Johnson." Good heavens! This volapuk. My husband to meet her and travel west with her? Is the woman insane? Why if he could possibly have left California, he would come east for me. What can she mean and who is she? Sally Johnson, without the T, what a name! Just as common as she is, a cake walk sort of a name. Where pray did Reginald ever know such a person? Certainly I have met all his friends. Why this woman must know him well if she takes the liberty to ask him for passes over the western roads. She must have some claim———" (She pauses a moment in deep thought, as a possible solution dawns upon her. She crushes the letter up in her hands.) O! how horrible! how disgusting! She must have been one of them! Have been? She is, and that is why she is hurrying to him. And he is coming to meet her! He could not even wait until she arrived. And that is why he told me that he might be out of town when I got there. He didn't even know whether he could get away from her to meet me. Her passes were delayed, should have been here four days ago, and she would have reached him four days before I would. O!" (She rushes wildly to the window which is closed again, and raps.)

"Agent, Agent!" (Window opens and the agent appears.)

Agent: "Ah! It is you, Mrs. Johnston?"

Sybil: "I am sorry to trouble you again, but what did you say this person looks like?"

Agent: "The other Mrs. Johnson? O she is a regular fine one. Big, stately woman, good figure and lots of style. Blue eyes, very blue, skin of the sort we never see out here, creamy you know with roses in her cheeks. Blonde hair and lots of it—

Sybil: (Contemptuously) "Alkiline probably, such women always have."

Agent: "I can't say as to that, I am not an expert in such matters."

Sybil: "Did she impress you as a person of breeding, a lady, in short?"

Agent: "A lady, why bless you, yes, a regular high stepper."

Sybil: "Ah, thank you." (She turns away from the window.) How horrible, how horrible and how disgusting. Just the usual sordid, mercenary wrecker of homes; common woman who has to beat her way in the world, and wants to do it easy." (She sinks wearily into the chair.) "Somehow, whenever I have thought of his past life, I have never thought of it as being cheap and common. I thought he had more imagination. I suppose, though, there is only one way to be bad, and that is the common way. Ah! common enough, God knows. But to think of his sending for her now, when I was hurrying to him with a heart so full of love,—Ah, Reggie, you will never know how full! No, you will never know that now. This feature of it is something that no woman could bear without debasing her womanhood. How all those dreadful things the girls used to tell me about him come back to me now. And I used to think it was all envy, because they wanted him and couldn't get him. Why, I used to pity them! They'll be pitying me now. No, I can't endure that. I will not be pitied! Margaret Villers used to tell me about his horrid scrapes at college, and about his keeping an uptown flat with a sky terrier and things for some person, and a coupe with dark blue upholstering to set off the creature's blonde loveliness. Why this creature is a blonde!" (She rises and begins pacing the floor.) She may be the same; of course she is. No man, not even the most rapacious, ever wanted two alkaline blondes in succession. Perhaps he has never dropped her at all; perhaps it was on her account that he cut our wedding trip short and hurried back to New York. O horrible! My life is all going to pieces under me, there is nothing left. She even has a terrier like mine, the agent said so. I suppose he has even given her the same jewels, bought duplicates probably. And that is why he works so hard; the expense of two establishments, and so forth. Perhaps she knows all about me, and they discuss our household affairs together, as people do in Balzac's novels. She may even have read all the letters I wrote him—no, I can't believe that of him, he couldn't be so base. I shall have to get used to thinking of him in this way, I can't do it all at once. Why only yesterday—ah, how happy I was yesterday! I used to tell myself that I was too happy and that I would have to pay for it some day. I even told him so once, and he said, 'Of course you will, by seeing your husband more bewitched with you every minute. That is your everlasting punishment.' What nice manful things he did say! He was never maudlin or patronizing; somehow he always seemed to respect one's intelligence. Ah! I know he did love me, for a little while any way. Why I even used to wish that I could suffer a little for him in some way, and I used to be so selfish before I loved him. Ah Reginald it is not only yourself that you take away from me; you take my conscience and my better self, and the brightness out of the sun, and the blueness out of the sky! O Reggie, Reggie!" (She weeps.)

Agent: (From the window) "I've got an answer to my inquiry, Mrs. Johnston. The Central Office wires that they had instructions from Mr. Reginald Johnston to issue but one pass to San Francisco, and they know nothing about any transportation for a second Mrs. Johnston."

Sybil: (Absently) "Thank you, but it doesn't matter now. How soon does the eastbound passenger leave?"

Agent: "In fifteen minutes. And now I want to go out and get some lunch. If you want anything just call the boy."

Sybil: "Thank you. You have been very kind."

(Agent closes the window.) "Now I must begin to think. What am I to do? Going west is out of the question now. He is coming for her and he can have her. I will not be one of a menage a trois. There is nothing left for me but to go home, back to that big, dark, gloomy house on Fifth Avenue, where his ghost will walk forever to keep me company." (Opens her pocketbook) "I have money enough with me to get to Chicago, and there I will telegraph father. I'll never touch Reginald's money again. Possibly he thinks I married him because he owns a railroad. Men who buy love never believe in any other kind. Yes, I will go home. And then what? That's the question. I shall not even have the consolation of telling my woes to my friends, and receiving calls of condolence, as Alberta Frick did, since I am not that kind of a person. She made a regular vocation of it. And I shall never marry again. Dear me, how long life is, after all. How many days and nights there are to be lived through somehow. And yesterday it seemed so short. How does that song go: When the land was white with winter And dead love was laid away, I was so glad life could not last Forever and a day.

It all simmers down to that in the end. There, I might sing Cicely Fanshawe went on the stage and made a name for herself, and sang her husband back to her feet and left him to grovel there until he literally went to the bad for the love of a woman he had neglected shamefully when he had her. And why cannot I, Sybil Ingrahame Johnston, have my voice trained by Marchesi and do the same. I used to think of the stage in the old empty days before I met Reggie. Well, the days to come will be emptier. At school they always said that my voice had great dramatic possibilities. Yes, I will go to Marchesi. That is what they all do. There was a time when disappointed, heartbroken women crept into convents and had their hair cut off; now they blondine it and go to Marchesi. O I can be that sort of a blonde, since he prefers them!" (She looks at clock.) "That train will soon be here. Why I have not been in this place an hour, and it seems years. I am sure the wrinkles are beginning to come, I can feel them. Well, an hour has been long enough to bring my life down about my ears." (She hears train whistle and an engine bell ringing.) That must be my train now. Boy, boy! O where is that boy!" (Picks up the dog and heavy satchel and staggers to the door, rushing into the arms of Mr. Reginald Johnston, who has just arrived on the eastbound train.) "Reginald!"

Reginald: "O my sweetheart, but this is good! I couldn't wait, you see what a mollycoddle you have made of me! Couldn't let you cross the Sierras for the first time without me to save my life! Come, put down all that lumber and kiss me, there is nobody here. Why, I'll even kiss Bijou, I am so happy." (She struggles from his embrace and attempts to get out of the door) "Where are you going? That's the eastbound train that I came in on, ours goes an hour later and we'll have plenty of time. What's the matter, aren't you glad to see me?"

Sybil: (Hysterically) "O I have no doubt that the other will be gladder! I'm surprised that you didn't go to her first—or perhaps you didn't know that she was here. Well, she is, the other Mrs. Johnson, without the T; she is waiting across the street for you, and you can take her back with you. I am going home to New York." (She weeps.)

Reginald: "Other Mrs. Johnston? Waiting for me with tea, across the street? What in the name of the state lunatic asylum are you talking about? Here, put down that grip, and tell me what's the matter?'

Sybil: "O, you might have got her passes on time, since you must have her. You need not have brought us together and given her a chance to insult me. She is here, I tell you, in this very town, and has written me a most shameful letter, the other woman without the T."

Reginald: Where? What do you mean? Who wants tea? Sybil, dear, do calm yourself, and tell me what you mean. I don't understand one word you are saying. It is all tuttihash."

Sybil: "I tell you that other woman has my passes."

Reginald: "Well, let her have 'em, who ever she is. I can take care of you. I pass, so do you, until hearts are trumps again, see?" (He embraces her. Sybil drawing away from him.)

Sybil: "Don't touch me until you have explained to whom you gave my passes, and why I found none here."

Reginald: "Why, because I never ordered any. After I wrote you, I decided to come on here and meet you, and give you an all round surprise, and it wasn't until this morning that I discovered that the Burlington passenger had changed time Sunday and that your train would get into Cheyenne before mine did. Then I wired at once, didn't you get my telegram?"

Sybil: "No, I did not. I think you are getting mixed and would better stop right there. Your telegram went to the other Mrs. Johnson, without the T."

Reginald: (Exasperated) "Am I never to be done hearing about this woman and her tea? Who in heaven's name is she, and what has she got to do with me?"

Sybil: (Pointedly) "That's just exactly what I wish to know. I arrived here to find this person had taken my passes and expected you to travel west with her."

Reginald: "Travel west with this tea toper, or is she a tea agent? Not if I know myself! Have you encountered a lunatic? Sybil, dear, you have been ill; what doctor did you have? Where's the agent? O somebody's been drinking!"

Sybil: "He has gone off to dinner, and I will thank you not to make me any more ridiculous in his eyes than you have done already. He came very near arresting me for an impostor."

Reginald: "Arresting you?" (Sinks into a chair.) "O my God, this is a mix-up! Will somebody explain!"

Sybil: "It is from you that explanations are due, if you can think of any you are not ashamed of. Who is this other woman?"

Reginald: (Dejectedly) "I wish to God I knew. Can't you be a little plainer, Sybil? What are the facts?

Sybil: "The facts are plain enough to me. I arrived here this morning and asked whether passes had been sent the agent for Mrs. S. Johnston. I was told that such passes had been sent, but that they had been claimed a few hours previous by a blonde creature who had credentials from the Central office and who wrote me a most insulting letter, saying that you were to meet her and accompany her west, and that you were her old and tried friend, and signed Sally Johnson, J-0-H-N-S-0-N, without the T. Now who and what is Sally Johnson?'

Reginald: O Sally Johnson, Sally Johnson! That explains the matter.

Sybil: "I fail to see it. I am still waiting."

Reginald: "Come now, Sybil, you must recall her. She was sister Mollie's bridesmaid, used to be Sally Toppinger. Her husband was killed in an excursion boat disaster, and she has been a bit touched ever since, not quite right, shy a few marbles, you know. I was glad to help the poor old girl out, but her passes should have been here a week ago. Why I had quite forgotten that she married a T-less Johnson. And how did she ever get the idea that I was going to travel with her? She must be in a really pitiable condition, shy most of her marbles. Hold on, I've got it! You say you didn't get my telegram, then it got here before you did and was sent over to her regardless of the T. O I'll fix that agent's face for him! Now it's all perfectly clear isn't it? And now will you tell me why you and Bijou were making for that eastbound train and talking about New York and all sorts of crazy things?

Sybil: (Slowly) "Yes, I think I understand, I want to believe it anyhow. O Reginald, I've been thinking all sorts of bad things about you!" (Reginald taking her hands and looking very gravely into her eyes.)

Reginald: "Now look here, sweetheart, you must never do that. It's because you always think good things that I can't do very bad ones. Why, if I had known you all my life I should have grown up in the condition of Adam before the fall, and they would have blackballed me at the clubs. I should have gone about exhaling sanctity——as you do violets——!" (Kisses her.)

Sybil: "O Reggie, I've been such an idiot, and I made myself so miserable, and now that you have come I am so happy——" (She weeps on his shoulder.)

Reginald: "Of course you are and always shall be. That is what the C.R. & S. is operated for, just to make you happy, and every engine wiper on the line is working for just that. But before I leave this town I intend to fresco these walls with bleeding fragments of that agent's anatomy. Now I'm hungry as a Rocky Mountain lion, so come, let's go and get this poor, daffy, tealess widow and wine and dine with her and make it all up. It will be like a wedding breakfast. And then we'll all get on the westbound train and we'll westward ho! together. She's had a tough time, and it'll do her good just to see a little happiness. You must remember her, you met her at Mollie's wedding; rather handsome but her eyes are a trifle crossed." (He gathers up the baggage and puts Bijou in his ulster pocket, throwing the chain about his neck.)

Sybil: (Delightedly) "O are they? I had forgotten. Come on, dear, and let's be gay, furiously happy, life is so awfully short. I was just thinking about that today. And I am so glad her eyes are just a trifle, trifle crossed."

Willa Cather.