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“It seems odd,” remarked Mr. Magee, “to hear you speak of the time you walked on pavements.” “You come here,” said the hermit with annoyance, “and you bring with you the sentiments of the outside world—the world I have foresworn. Don’t do it. I ask you.” He sat down on an uncertain chair and regarded them sorrowfully. His long well-shaped fingers clutched the cord of the purple gown. “I beg pardon, miss,” interrupted Mr. Peters, “but it ain’t any use. I’ve thought it all out—in the night watches, as the poet says. I came up here to be alone. I can’t be a hermit and a cook, too. I can’t and be true to myself. No, you’ll have to accept my resignation, to take effect at once.” She smiled up at Magee, and he was in that state where he thought that in the blue depths of her eyes he saw the sunny slopes of the islands of the blest.

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Safe for the moment behind a locked door, Mr. Magee paused to get his breath. It was not until long afterward that he realized the battle had been a mere scuffle in the dark. He felt his cheeks burn with excitement like a sweet girl graduate’s—the cheeks of a man who had always prided himself he was the unmoved cynic in any situation. The justly celebrated moon that in summer months shed so much glamour on the romances of Baldpate Inn was no where in evidence as Mr. Magee crept along the ground close to the veranda.


Perhaps, in the cold gray dawn, he would see more clearly his way through this preposterous tangle. Anyhow, it would be dangerous to give into any woman’s keeping just then a package so earnestly sought by desperate men. The girl drew the fur coat closer about her shoulders. She suggested to Magee a sheltered luxurious life—he could see her regaling young men with tea before a fireplace in a beautiful room—insipid tea in thimble-like cups.

  • In a window of the annex had appeared for a moment a flickering yellow light.
  • “There’s nothing the matter. Let me—by—please.” He crossed the swaying platform and disappeared into the other car.
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  • The very money offered as a bribe was now in the hands of the Star editor, and would be turned over to Prosecutor Drayton at his request.
  • Over that big patrolman he towered; his eyes were cold and hard again; his lips curved in the smile of the master.

On the landing Mr. Magee heard the voice of Mrs. Norton, somewhere in the darkness ahead. “That all depends,” replied the mayor. “I’ve enjoyed knowing you, one and all. Good night.” He saw the girl nod her head slightly, and move toward the stairs.

“These are not friends I’ve brought along,” explained Magee. “They’re simply some more amateur hermits who have strolled in from time to time. All have their individual latch-keys to the hermitage. And all, I believe, have credentials for you to examine.” “I am to disappear completely for a time,” she went on.


“A funny place for a guy to bury himself. I should think he’d get to longing for the white lights and the table d’hôtes with red wine.” Bright morning on the mountain, a girl in an angry mood at his side, a seedy chaperon on his trail, an erring cook ahead. He recalled that a fellow novelist, whose love scenes were regarded as models by young people suffering the tender passion, had once confessed that he proposed to his wife on a street-car, and was accepted just as the conductor handed him his transfers. By a tremendous effort he avoided repeating his childish refrain.

Of what avail a scuffle there in that chill room? The package was no doubt safely hidden in a corner he could not quickly find. “He told me I wasn’t to mention it to anybody,” replied the hermit, “but as I say, I sort of look on it that we were here first, and if our guests get to chasing untold wealth up and down the place, we ought to let each other in on it.” Undecided, Mr. Magee looked toward the kitchen door, from behind which came the sound of men’s voices.

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“I promised him,” he told her, “you’d ask no questions regarding his broken heart. It seems he hasn’t any.” Mr. Quimby looked out at the sunlit stretch of snow. “Yes,” he was saying, “I lived three years in Reuton and five years in New York. It took me eight years—eight years to realize the truth.” “Once,” she said, “when I was sixteen, I appeared in an amateur play at school. It was my first and last appearance on the stage.”

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A portion of the handkerchief was removed, and an eye which, Mr. Magee noted, was of an admirable blue, peeped out at him. To the gaze of even a solitary eye, Mr. Magee’s aspect was decidedly pleasing. Young Williams, who posed at the club as a wit, had once said that Billy Magee came as near to being a magazine artist’s idea of the proper hero of a story as any man could, and at the same time retain the respect and affection of his fellows. Mr. Magee thought he read approval in the lone eye of blue. When the lady spoke, however, he hastily revised his opinion.

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He jumped from his chair and disappeared, for the voice of Cargan had hailed him from below. Mr. Magee and the professor with one accord followed. Hiding in the friendly shadows of the landing once again, they heard the loud tones of the mayor’s booming voice, and the softer tones of Bland’s. As he talked, Mr. Magee studied that portion of his delicate scholarly face that the beard left exposed to the world. What part had Thaddeus Bolton, holder of the Crandall Chair of Comparative Literature, in this network of odd alarms?

  • Mr. Magee rose from the table, and went forward with outstretched hand.
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  • Mr. Magee entered into no dispute on this point, and for half an hour he was the pleased recipient of advice, philosophy, and food.

He ran up the stairs and passed through number seven out upon the balcony. Trudging through the snow, he soon sighted the room of Professor Bolton. And as he did so, a little shiver that was not due to atmospheric conditions ran down his spine. For one of the professor’s windows stood wide open, bidding a welcome to the mountain storm. Once more that tight little, right little package was within Mr. Magee’s ken. On the stairs appeared the slim figure of the other girl.

“And a delightful one,” agreed the girl, in a matter-of-fact tone. “So am I.” The crowd surged about them; many in it smiled and spoke admiringly to the girl. “It’s great to be acquainted with the heroine of the hour,” Mr. Magee continued. “I congratulate you. You have overthrown an empire of graft, it seems.” “They were black lonesome gods,” she replied, “and they kept whispering fearful things in my ear I couldn’t understand. I’m glad they didn’t keep me.” “Bless the gods of the mountain,” said Magee; “they have given me back my accomplice, safe and sound.”