Once this idea of New York was fixed in his mind as a necessary step in hi_areer, it was no trouble for him to carry it out. He had already put asid_ixty dollars in a savings bank since he had given Angela the ring and h_ecided to treble it as quickly as possible and then start. He fancied tha_ll he needed was just enough to live on for a little while until he could ge_ start. If he could not sell drawings to the magazines he might get a plac_n a newspaper and anyhow he felt confident that he could live. H_ommunicated to Howe and Mathews his intention of going East pretty soon an_roused in their respective bosoms the emotions which were characteristic o_ach. Howe, envious from the start, was glad to have him off the paper, bu_egretful of the stellar career which his determination foreboded. He hal_uspected now that Eugene would do something exceptional—he was so loose i_is moods—so eccentric. Mathews was glad for Eugene and a little sorry fo_imself. He wished he had Eugene's courage, his fire, his talent.
"You'll make good when you get down there," Mathews said to him one afternoo_hen Howe was out of the room, for he realized that the latter was jealous.
"You've got the stuff. Some of the work you have done here will give you _ine introduction. I wish I were going."
"Why don't you?" suggested Eugene.
"Who? me? What good would it do me? I'm not ready yet. I can't do that sort o_tuff. I might go down some time."
"I think you do good work," said Eugene generously. He really did not believ_t was good art, but it was fair newspaper sketching.
"Oh, no, you don't mean that, Witla," replied Mathews. "I know what I can do."
Eugene was silent.
"I wish when you get down there," went on Mathews, "you would write u_ccasionally. I would like to know how you are getting along."
"Sure, I'll write," replied Eugene, flattered by the interest hi_etermination had aroused. "Sure I will." But he never did.
In Ruby and Angela he had two problems to adjust which were not so easy. I_he one case it was sympathy, regret, sorrow for her helplessness, he_opelessness. She was so sweet and lovely in her way, but not quite big enoug_entally or emotionally for him. Could he really live with her if he wante_o? Could he substitute her for a girl like Angela? Could he? And now he ha_nvolved Angela, for since her return to tell him that she accepted him as he_ffianced lover, there had been some scenes between them in which a ne_tandard of emotion had been set for him. This girl who looked so simple an_nnocent was burning at times with a wild fire. It snapped in her eyes whe_ugene undid her wonderful hair and ran his hands through its heavy strands.
"The Rhine Maiden," he would say. "Little Lorelei! You are like the mermai_aiting to catch the young lover in the strands of her hair. You ar_arguerite and I Faust. You are a Dutch Gretchen. I love this wonderful hai_hen it is braided. Oh, sweet, you perfect creature! I will put you in _ainting yet. I will make you famous."
Angela thrilled to this. She burned in a flame which was of his fanning. Sh_ut her lips to his in long hot kisses, sat on his knee and twined her hai_bout his neck; rubbed his face with it as one might bathe a face in strand_f silk. Finding such a response he went wild, kissed her madly, would hav_een still more masterful had she not, at the slightest indication of hi_udacity, leaped from his embrace, not opposition but self protection in he_yes. She pretended to think better of his love, and Eugene, checked by he_deal of him, tried to restrain himself. He did manage to desist because h_as sure that he could not do what he wanted to. Daring such as that would en_er love. So they wrestled in affection.
It was the fall following his betrothal to Angela that he actually took hi_eparture. He had drifted through the summer, pondering. He had stayed awa_rom Ruby more and more, and finally left without saying good-bye to her,
though he thought up to the last that he intended to go out and see her.
As for Angela, when it came to parting from her, he was in a depressed an_owncast mood. He thought now that he did not really want to go to New York,
but was being drawn by fate. There was no money for him in the West; the_ould not live on what he could earn there. Hence he must go and in doing s_ust lose her. It looked very tragic.
Out at her aunt's house, where she came for the Saturday and Sunday precedin_is departure, he walked the floor with her gloomily, counted the lapse of th_ours after which he would be with her no more, pictured the day when he woul_eturn successful to fetch her. Angela had a faint foreboding fear of th_vents which might intervene. She had read stories of artists who had gone t_he city and had never come back. Eugene seemed such a wonderful person, sh_ight not hold him; and yet he had given her his word and he was madly in lov_ith her—no doubt of that. That fixed, passionate, yearning look in hi_yes—what did it mean if not enduring, eternal love? Life had brought her _reat treasure—a great love and an artist for a lover.
"Go, Eugene!" she cried at last tragically, almost melodramatically. His fac_as in her hands. "I will wait for you. You need never have one uneas_hought. When you are ready I will be here, only, come soon—you will, won'_ou?"
"Will I!" he declared, kissing her, "will I? Look at me. Don't you know?"
"Yes! Yes! Yes!" she exclaimed, "of course I know. Oh, yes! yes!"
The rest was a passionate embrace. And then they parted. He went out broodin_ver the subtlety and the tragedy of life. The sharp October stars saddene_im more. It was a wonderful world but bitter to endure at times. Still i_ould be endured and there was happiness and peace in store for him probably.
He and Angela would find it together living in each other's company, living i_ach other's embrace and by each other's kisses. It must be so. The whol_orld believed it—even he, after Stella and Margaret and Ruby and Angela. Eve_e.
The train which bore him to New York bore a very meditative young man. As i_ulled out through the great railroad yards of the city, past the shabby bac_ards of the houses, the street crossings at grade, the great factories an_levators, he thought of that other time when he had first ventured in th_ity. How different! Then he was so green, so raw. Since then he had become _ewspaper artist, he could write, he could find his tongue with women, he kne_ little something about the organization of the world. He had not saved an_oney, true, but he had gone through the art school, had given Angela _iamond ring, had this two hundred dollars with which he was venturing t_econnoitre the great social metropolis of the country. He was passing Fifty-
seventh Street; he recognized the neighborhood he traversed so often i_isiting Ruby. He had not said good-bye to her and there in the distance wer_he rows of commonplace, two family frame dwellings, one of which she occupie_ith her foster parents. Poor little Ruby! and she liked him. It was a shame,
but what was he to do about it? He didn't care for her. It really hurt him t_hink and then he tried not to remember. These tragedies of the world coul_ot be healed by thinking.
The train passed out into the flat fields of northern Indiana and as littl_ountry towns flashed past he thought of Alexandria and how he had pulled u_is stakes and left it. What was Jonas Lyle doing and John Summers? Myrtl_rote that she was going to be married in the spring. She had delayed solel_ecause she wanted to delay. He thought sometimes that Myrtle was a littl_ike himself, fickle in her moods. He was sure he would never want to go bac_o Alexandria except for a short visit, and yet the thought of his father an_is mother and his old home were sweet to him. His father! How little he kne_f the real world!
As they passed out of Pittsburgh he saw for the first time the grea_ountains, raising their heads in solemn majesty in the dark, and great line_f coke ovens, flaming red tongues of fire. He saw men working, and sleepin_owns succeeding one another. What a great country America was! What a grea_hing to be an artist here! Millions of people and no vast artistic voice t_ortray these things—these simple dramatic things like the coke ovens in th_ight. If he could only do it! If he could only stir the whole country, s_hat his name would be like that of Doré in France or Verestchagin in Russia.
If he could but get fire into his work, the fire he felt!
He got into his berth after a time and looked out on the dark night and th_tars, longing, and then he dozed. When he awoke again the train had alread_assed Philadelphia. It was morning and the cars were speeding across the fla_eadows toward Trenton. He arose and dressed, watching the array of towns th_hile, Trenton, New Brunswick, Metuchen, Elizabeth. Somehow this country wa_ike Illinois, flat. After Newark they rushed out upon a great meadow and h_aught the sense of the sea. It was beyond this. These were tide-wate_treams, the Passaic and the Hackensack, with small ships and coal and bric_arges tied at the water side. The thrill of something big overtook him as th_rakeman began to call "Jersey City," and as he stepped out into the vas_rain shed his heart misgave him a little. He was all alone in New York. I_as wealthy, cold and critical. How should he prosper here? He walked ou_hrough the gates to where low arches concealed ferry boats, and in anothe_oment it was before him, sky line, bay, the Hudson, the Statue of Liberty,
ferry boats, steamers, liners, all in a grey mist of fierce rain and the tug_nd liners blowing mournfully upon great whistles. It was something he coul_ever have imagined without seeing it, and this swish of real salt water,
rolling in heavy waves, spoke to him as music might, exalting his soul. What _onderful thing this was, this sea—where ships were and whales and grea_ysteries. What a wonderful thing New York was, set down by it, surrounded b_t, this metropolis of the country. Here was the sea; yonder were the grea_ocks that held the vessels that sailed to the ports of all the world. He sa_hem—great grey and black hulls, tied to long piers jutting out into th_ater. He listened to the whistles, the swish of the water, saw the circlin_ulls, realized emotionally the mass of people. Here were Jay Gould an_ussell Sage and the Vanderbilts and Morgan—all alive and all here. Wal_treet, Fifth Avenue, Madison Square, Broadway—he knew of these by reputation.
How would he do here—how fare? Would the city ever acclaim him as it did some?
He looked wide eyed, with an open heart, with intense and immens_ppreciation. Well, he was going to enter, going to try. He could d_hat—perhaps, perhaps. But he felt lonely. He wished he were back with Angel_here her soft arms could shut him safe. He wished he might feel her hands o_is cheeks, his hair. He would not need to fight alone then. But now he wa_lone, and the city was roaring about him, a great noise like the sea. He mus_nter and do battle.