Pete did not consider that he
had ruined Maggie. If he had
thought that her soul could never
smile again, he would have believed
the mother and brother, who were
pyrotechnic over the affair,
to be responsible for it.
his world, souls did not insist
upon being able
to smile. "What deh hell?"
He felt a trifle entangled.
It distressed him. Revelations
and scenes might bring upon him
the wrath of the owner of the
saloon, who insisted upon respectability
of an advanced type.
"What deh hell do dey wanna
raise such a smoke about it fer?" demanded
he of himself, disgusted with
the attitude of the family. He
saw no necessity for anyone's
losing their equilibrium merely
because their sister or their
daughter had stayed away from
Searching about in his mind
for possible reasons for their
conduct, he came upon the conclusion
that Maggie's motives were correct,
but that the two others wished
to snare him. He felt pursued.
The woman of brilliance and
audacity whom he had met in the
hilarious hall showed a disposition
to ridicule him.
"A little pale thing with no
spirit," she said. "Did you note
the expression of her eyes? There
was something in them about pumpkin
pie and virtue. That is a peculiar
way the left corner of her mouth
has of twitching, isn't it? Dear,
dear, my cloud- compelling Pete,
what are you coming to?"
Pete asserted at once that
he never was very much interested
in the girl. The woman interrupted
"Oh, it's not
of the slightest consequence
to me, my dear young
man. You needn't draw maps for
my benefit. Why should I be concerned
But Pete continued with his
explanations. If he was laughed
at for his tastes in women, he
felt obliged to say that they
were only temporary or indifferent
The morning after Maggie had
departed from home, Pete stood
behind the bar. He was immaculate
in white jacket and apron and
his hair was plastered over his
brow with infinite correctness.
No customers were in the place.
Pete was twisting his napkined
fist slowly in a beer glass,
softly whistling to himself and
occasionally holding the object
of his attention between his
eyes and a few weak beams of
sunlight that had found their
way over the thick screens and
into the shaded room.
With lingering thoughts of
the woman of brilliance and audacity,
the bartender raised his head
and stared through the varying
cracks between the swaying bamboo
doors. Suddenly the whistling
pucker faded from his lips. He
saw Maggie walking slowly past.
He gave a great start, fearing
for the previously- mentioned
eminent respectability of the
He threw a swift, nervous glance
about him, all at once feeling
guilty. No one was in the room.
He went hastily over to the
side door. Opening it and looking
out, he perceived Maggie standing,
as if undecided, on the corner.
She was searching the place with
As she turned her face toward
him Pete beckoned to her hurriedly,
intent upon returning with speed
to a position behind the bar
and to the atmosphere of respectability
upon which the proprietor insisted.
Maggie came to him, the anxious
look disappearing from her face
and a smile wreathing her lips.
"Oh, Pete--," she
The bartender made a violent
gesture of impatience.
"Oh, my Gawd," cried he, vehemently. "What
deh hell do yeh wanna hang aroun'
here fer? Do yeh wanna git me
inteh trouble?" he demanded with
an air of injury.
swept over the girl's features. "Why,
Pete! yehs tol' me--"
Pete glanced profound irritation.
His countenance reddened with
the anger of a man whose respectability
is being threatened.
makes me tired. See? What deh
hell deh yeh wanna
tag aroun' atter me fer? Yeh'll
git me inteh trouble wid deh
ol' man an' dey'll be hell teh
pay! If he sees a woman roun'
here he'll go crazy an' I'll
lose me job! See? Yer brudder
come in here an' raised hell
an' deh ol' man hada put up fer
it! An' now I'm done! See? I'm
eyes stared into his face. "Pete,
don't yeh remem--"
"Oh, hell," interrupted
The girl seemed
to have a struggle with herself.
She was apparently
bewildered and could not find
speech. Finally she asked in
a low voice: "But where kin I
The question exasperated Pete
beyond the powers of endurance.
It was a direct attempt to give
him some responsibility in a
matter that did not concern him.
In his indignation he volunteered
"Oh, go teh hell," cried
he. He slammed the door furiously
and returned, with an air of
relief, to his respectability.
Maggie went away.
aimlessly for several blocks.
She stopped once
and asked aloud a question of
A man who was passing near
her shoulder, humorously took
the questioning word as intended
"Eh? What? Who? Nobody! I didn't
say anything," he laughingly
said, and continued his way.
Soon the girl discovered that
if she walked with such apparent
aimlessness, some men looked
at her with calculating eyes.
She quickened her step, frightened.
As a protection, she adopted
a demeanor of intentness as if
After a time she left rattling
avenues and passed between rows
of houses with sternness and
stolidity stamped upon their
features. She hung her head for
she felt their eyes grimly upon
Suddenly she came upon a stout
gentleman in a silk hat and a
chaste black coat, whose decorous
row of buttons reached from his
chin to his knees. The girl had
heard of the Grace of God and
she decided to approach this
His beaming, chubby face was
a picture of benevolence and
kind-heartedness. His eyes shone
But as the girl timidly accosted
him, he gave a convulsive movement
and saved his respectability
by a vigorous side-step. He did
not risk it to save a soul. For
how was he to know that there
was a soul before him that needed