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The New Woman

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"Oh, it pufes me out of patience!" said Miss Limibton-Hyatt, with a fretfu! movewent of her shoulders. "I'm sorry, ' ' said I, "bnt yon look very well wben you" - "Oh that is just it, " she broke m angrily, "We are to be put off with a compliment, as if oue cared for looks or" - "Or'dresses," said I, glancing at the pre'.ty gowu which showed beneath tbe opera cloak. She wiuced. "Oue must dress soruehow, " said Miss Larubton-Hyatt coldly. "Oh, yes, somehow, " said 1 cheerfully. Sheregarded me with scorn and a little doubt. "Of course, youthink yon have me in a córner. Bnt Icould'explainitall. " said she. "Yes?" I askecL "If I liked, " s!:e said, and looked indifferently out of the window. "What station issthis?" sheasked. "Oh, it's all right, "I answered, and there was silencp in. the carriage for a space. "I wish you would see it in the proper way, " she began presently, tnrning on me abruptly. ' ' I will endeavor to, v said Ipolitely. '"Pray explain. " Shefrowned. "Well," said she, "you must surely see that the evolution of woman is continuing. She has developed a great deal." "Of whut?" I asked. "Of nothing," she exckumed impatiently. ' "Her positiou has developed, and sho must have more freedom. " "Freedom?" I asked iiiqnirinsrly. "Yes, freedom to come and go, freedom to live her owa life. What is the difference, pray, between man and woman?" "Vhy"_ said I. "There are certain differences, cer tainly," said Miss Lambton-Hyatt, hesitatiug, "bilt not the great distinctions that ai'e vulgarly supposed. A woman has a mind, she has her own thoughts, and she ought to pursue her own career like a man. " " Bnt marriage ' ' - I began. "Pooh! Marriage!" said she contemptuously. "If she likes to marry, let her. So does a man, and it not interfere with him. " "Then a woman," said I, trying to understand,'"should be as much like a mau as inay be?" Miss Lambton-Hyatt considered. "No," she said, "you put words into my mouth. I never said that." "Well?" I asked. "She ought to be as independent as a man," said shetriumphantly. Ske looked her triumph at me, and ' my eyes wnudered over her face, and to her hair and down again to the rich silk of her opera cloak. "Why do you look at me like that?" asked Miss Lambton-Hyatt irritably. "I was thinking" - said. I. "Oh. ves." she interrvipted, "you were thinking that I ara too weak or prefty or fragüe to be independent Tbat's what men are always thinking. It'stheir stock argument. Argument !" èhe laughecl ana turned to rue again. "I put in practice tny theories," she said deliberately and watching ine for the effect of tiie thunderbolt. I started. "What do yon mean?" I asked hastily. She nodded. "I live my own life now," said she. "Whose life did you" - Bnt there I broke off, for Miss Lambton-Hyatt's handsome eyes were glittering. "Oh," I said feobly, "that is infreresting!" "Do you thiuk, " she said, "that I am tied toaman'scoattail likeothergirls?" "No, indeed!" said I, shakingruy head. "Do you think that I come and go at any one's behest?" "No, no, "I said, shaking my head more flrmly. "Do you think that I would obcy - well, yon, for instance?" "Good gracious, no!" Isaid in baste. "Do you think" - "Certainly not, " I bfoke in hurriedly. "See how free I am," she went on warmly, and tbrowing back her cloak in her euthusiasm sbe waved her long, white arms significantly about the carriage. "Yes, indeed," I said, looking at the arms. "Here, I am, at m :30 at nigbt, returning from a solitary expedition to the theater - all alone." "I am here," I put iu bashfnlly. Sbe looked at me and frowued. "Oh, that is an accident," she said, "I met you. " "A fortúnate accident, " I murmured. "What?" said Miss Lambton-Hyátt sharply. "For me, " I added humbly. ' ' Well, ' ' she said, "is it not farbetter tobe quite independent like tbis tban to be forever hanging Spon some one else for wbat you want, like nú encumbrance?" "Ever so xnuch better, ' ' I assented quickly. The train rolled out of the station. Suddenlyl leaped to my f eet and thrust down the window. "Good heavens!" I cried. "What's the matter?" said Miss Lambton-Hyatt anxiously. I pulled in my head, shut the wiudow slowly and sat down opposite to her. "That was our station," Isaid. She looked at me iu distress. "You don't mean" - I nudded. '"Unfortunately, yes. ' ' She jumped upsand pulled at the window f rantically. "Please sitdown,"I eaid, "yon can do no good uow. The train can't possibly be stopped. " She dropped into her seat, breatbing hard. "Wbat will happen?" ghe asked. "Why ' " - .said I. ' ' We shall have to get out at the next station?" she said, with a note of interrogation in her voice and somo embarrassment in her mauncr. "This train does not stop for 20 miles," I ezplained. "Oh!" she cried, blanching. "It is the last train," said I, "and there's no up train before tomorrow morning. " "Oh!" she cried again and stared at me, frightened. " Wbat shall we do?" she asked, in. low toues. I shrugged my shoulders. "It is a nnisance, isn'f it?" said I calmly. "Nuisance!" she said.' "How eau ymi take it so coolly? Oh, it's awfull It' dreadfull I" - And sbe choked buck a sob and gazed at me with a scared face "We can't eveu letthem know," I said. "It's too late to telegraph. " "Oh, Mr. Eoiuowille," she cried brokenly, "what will the think?" "Perhaps they'llfancy ycii s't; the night in town," I said soothingly. "Of course tliey're tomed to your independent ways?" " How can you ?" she cried. "How.tinkind of yon. vvhD I am so - Tliey'll think I'm killed!" "Oh, no," said I cheerfnlly, "you mustn't thiukthat!" "But it's so horrible," she excjaimed tearfnlly "to be here, right away f rom evory one!" "There's me," I said. "Yes, yes; I'm so glad you're here," she cried, staring restlessly about the carriage, "But - but - what must we do? Oh, do say something - do suggest HOmething!" "Weshall have to put up ata hotel," said I, "Hotel!" she exclahned, looking at her dress and then at me. "But what will people think? What will" - "Well, it's the same for me," said I nonchalantly. "Oh, butit'a different with you!" she broke forth. "How can yon compare the two cases? You're aman, and" - "You're a woman, " I finished for her. She eyed me. ' ' You are very unkind, ' ' she said tearf ully. ' ' You take advantage of me. " "Indeed," I protested, "I will do exactly what you tell me. Only give me your instructions. ' ' She wrung her hands. "But I have none," she exclaimed. "I have no idea what todo. I"- I sat looking at her. "You might have seen what station it %-as and told me," she said presently in a reproachful voice. "I beg your pardon," said I apologetically, "but I was listening to you. You were so interesting in what you were saying about the indepeudence" - "Oh, please don't!" said she. Her humiliation was so complete that I had not the heart to proceed, and I was silent. The train, slackened, settled down to an easier pace and crept decorously into the station. We landed upon a desolate stretch of platform and stood miserably watching the lights go out. "Well, here we are," said I cheerf ully as darkness slowly enveloped us. Mis.s Lainbton-Hyatt burst into tears. I entreated her, I coaxed her, I comforted her. If I remember, I took her hand in mine. She was a pitiful little figure, with her weeping face above the gay beauty of lier gown. "Oh, what shall I do?" she moaned piteously. "Don't leave me," she wailed, and held me tight. "Stay," said I, "we will see what can be done. " I found tlie station master going to bed and conf erred with him. Then I returned, and Miss Lambton-Hyatt clutched me. "Don't leave me again," she implored. "Tbis darkness and loneliness are so horrible." "Oh, it's all right, " I said. "There's a sort of milk train passing up in ten minutes or so. ' ' Her eyes opened and shone even in the darkness. "We will go up in it," I added reassuringly. "Arld we shall get back?" she cried eagerly. "By 1 or thereabouts, " 1 answered. "That's uot so very late," she remarked She sighed with relief and dropped my hand. There was a little pause, and then she turned to me. "Thank yon very much, Mr. Somerville, " said she. We spoke little till the train cara e, but as the engine came pnffing throngh Miss Lambton-Hyatt eyed it with favor, and then, "It's a bother getting to bed so late, ' ' she remarked quite coolly. We made the journey in silence. I think we had both a good deal to reflect upon. "Yon will think, " said Miss Larnbton-Hyatt as I condncted her to her home, "tbat I have betrayed my sex. " I protestéd. "No, "said she peremptorily, "it is idle to deny it. I know wfaat yon are thinking." "In that case, of course, " said I. "But yon are wrong, " said she frankly, turniug upon her doorstep. "I have a latchkey, " she explained. "Of course," I assented. "Ko; you are wrong, " she repeated, lifting her fine eyes and regarding the white stars in philosophic beatitnde. "No doubt," I agreed. ' ' you see, ' ' went on Miss Lambton-Hyatt, takiug uo heed of me, "our cases were quite different. You had no one to be anxious about you. " " Not a soul," Isaid. "And then Iwas inevening dress, which is not suitable, and - and rather embarrassing when" - "Certainly, " I said promptly. "The cases are quite different, and if I had been in eveniug dress, and, still more, if I had had some be anxious about me, I shonld" - "Yes, Mr. Somerville, just as much as I was, ' ' she said firnily. "Well, now," said I, "why not let us put the cases square?" "What do yon mean?" she asked, looking pnzzled. "Why, " said I, "give me some oue to be anxious abont nie. " "You can 't invent people like that," she replied, and turning her back on me put the key in the latch. "Stop!" Icalled. "Don 't turn that !" She faced me indiguantly. "What right" - she exclaimed. I seized her hand - the one with the key. "Answer me, " I said aathoritatively. "Will you square the ciises?" A flood of color surged over her face. "Shouldn't I be increasing my o'.n responsibilities very much?" she asked, with a littlo, low lauríh. "Oh, I will take those!" I answered, piillinpr her


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