THE Saturday afternoon matinee at
the Auditorium in Chicago was just over
and the usual crowd was struggling to
get to its carriage before any one else.
The Auditorium attendant was shouting
out the numbers of different carriages
and the carriage doors were slamming as
the horses were driven rapidly up to the
curb, held there impatiently by the
drivers who had shivered long in the raw
east wind, and then let go to plunge for
a few minutes into the river of vehicles
that tossed under the elevated railway
and finally went whirling off up the
"Now then, 624," shouted the
Auditorium attendant; "624!" he
repeated, and there dashed up to the
curb a splendid span of black horses
attached to a carriage having the
monogram, "C. R. S." in gilt letters on
the panel of the door.
Two girls stepped out of the crowd
towards the carriage. The older one had
entered and taken her seat and the
attendant was still holding the door
open for the younger, who stood
hesitating on the curb.
"Come, Felicia! What are you
waiting for! I shall freeze to death!"
called the voice from the carriage.
The girl outside of the carriage
hastily unpinned a bunch of English
violets from her dress and handed them
to a small boy who was standing
shivering on the edge of the sidewalk
almost under the horses' feet. He took
them, with a look of astonishment and a
"Thank ye, lady!" and instantly buried a
very grimy face in the bunch of perfume.
The girl stepped into the carriage, the
door shut with the incisive bang
peculiar to well-made carriages of this
sort, and in a few moments the coachman
was speeding the horses rapidly up one
of the boulevards.
"You are always doing some queer
thing or other, Felicia," said the older
girl as the carriage whirled on past the
great residences already brilliantly
"Am I? What have I done that is
queer now, Rose?" asked the other,
looking up suddenly and turning her head
towards her sister.
"Oh, giving those violets to that
boy! He looked as if he needed a good
hot supper more than a bunch of violets.
It's a wonder you didn't invite him home
with us. I shouldn't have been surprised
if you had. You are always doing such
"Would it be queer to invite a boy
like that to come to the house and get a
hot supper?" Felicia asked the question
softly and almost as if she were alone.
"'Queer' isn't just the word, of
course," replied Rose indifferently. "It
would be what Madam Blanc calls 'outre.'
Decidedly. Therefore you will please not
invite him or others like him to hot
suppers because I suggested it. Oh,
dear! I'm awfully tired."
She yawned, and Felicia silently
looked out of the window in the door.
"The concert was stupid and the
violinist was simply a bore. I don't see
how you could sit so still through it
all," Rose exclaimed a little
"I liked the music," answered
"You like anything. I never saw a
girl with so little critical taste."
Felicia colored slightly, but would
not answer. Rose yawned again, and then
hummed a fragment of a popular song.
Then she exclaimed abruptly:
"I'm sick of 'most everything. I
hope the 'Shadows of London' will be
"The 'Shadows of Chicago,'"
murmured Felicia. "The 'Shadows of
Chicago!' The 'Shadows of London,' the
play, the great drama with its wonderful
scenery, the sensation of New York for
two months. You know we have a box with
the Delanos tonight."
Felicia turned her face towards her
sister. Her great brown eyes were very
expressive and not altogether free from
a sparkle of luminous heat.
"And yet we never weep over the
real thing on the actual stage of life.
What are the 'Shadows of London' on the
stage to the shadows of London or
Chicago as they really exist? Why don't
we get excited over the facts as they
"Because the actual people are
dirty and disagreeable and it's too much
bother, I suppose," replied Rose
carelessly. "Felicia, you can never
reform the world. What's the use? We're
not to blame for the poverty and misery.
There have always been rich and poor;
and there always will be. We ought to be
thankful we're rich."
"Suppose Christ had gone on that
principle," replied Felicia, with
unusual persistence. "Do you remember
Dr. Bruce's sermon on that verse a few
Sundays ago: 'For ye know the grace of
our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he
was rich yet for our sakes he became
poor, that ye through his poverty might
"I remember it well enough," said
Rose with some petulance, "and didn't
Dr. Bruce go on to say that there is no
blame attached to people who have wealth
if they are kind and give to the needs
of the poor? And I am sure that he
himself is pretty comfortably settled.
He never gives up his luxuries just
because some people go hungry. What good
would it do if he did? I tell you,
Felicia, there will always be poor and
rich in spite of all we can do. Ever
since Rachel Winslow has written about
those queer doings in Raymond you have
upset the whole family. People can't
live at that concert pitch all the time.
You see if Rachel doesn't give it up
soon. It's a great pity she doesn't come
to Chicago and sing in the Auditorium
concerts. She has received an offer. I'm
going to write and urge her to come. I'm
just dying to hear her sing."
Felicia looked out of the window
and was silent. The carriage rolled on
past two blocks of magnificent private
residences and turned into a wide
driveway under a covered passage, and
the sisters hurried into the house. It
was an elegant mansion of gray stone
furnished like a palace, every corner of
it warm with the luxury of paintings,
sculpture, art and modern refinement.
The owner of it all, Mr. Charles R.
Sterling, stood before an open grate
fire smoking a cigar. He had made his
money in grain speculation and railroad
ventures, and was reputed to be worth
something over two millions. His wife
was a sister of Mrs. Winslow of Raymond.
She had been an invalid for several
years. The two girls, Rose and Felicia,
were the only children. Rose was
twenty-one years old, fair, vivacious,
educated in a fashionable college, just
entering society and already somewhat
cynical and indifferent. A very hard
young lady to please, her father said,
sometimes playfully, sometimes sternly.
Felicia was nineteen, with a tropical
beauty somewhat like her cousin, Rachel
Winslow, with warm, generous impulses
just waking into Christian feeling,
capable of all sorts of expression, a
puzzle to her father, a source of
irritation to her mother and with a
great unsurveyed territory of thought
and action in herself, of which she was
more than dimly conscious. There was
that in Felicia that would easily endure
any condition in life if only the
liberty to act fully on her
conscientious convictions were granted
"Here's a letter for you, Felicia,"
said Mr. Sterling, handing it to her.
Felicia sat down and instantly
opened the letter, saying as she did so:
"It's from Rachel."
"Well, what's the latest news from
Raymond?" asked Mr. Sterling, taking his
cigar out of his mouth and looking at
Felicia with half-shut eyes, as if he
were studying her.
"Rachel says Dr. Bruce has been
staying in Raymond for two Sundays and
has seemed very much interested in Mr.
Maxwell's pledge in the First Church."
"What does Rachel say about
herself?" asked Rose, who was lying on a
couch almost buried under elegant
"She is still singing at the
Rectangle. Since the tent meetings
closed she sings in an old hall until
the new buildings which her friend,
Virginia Page, is putting up are
"I must write Rachel to come to
Chicago and visit us. She ought not to
throw away her voice in that railroad
town upon all those people who don't
Mr. Sterling lighted a new cigar
and Rose exclaimed:
"Rachel is so queer. She might set
Chicago wild with her voice if she sang
in the Auditorium. And there she goes on
throwing it away on people who don't
know what they are hearing."
"Rachel won't come here unless she
can do it and keep her pledge at the
same time," said Felicia, after a pause.
"What pledge?" Mr. Sterling asked
the question and then added hastily:
"Oh, I know, yes! A very peculiar thing
that. Alexander Powers used to be a
friend of mine. We learned telegraphy in
the same office. Made a great sensation
when he resigned and handed over that
evidence to the Interstate Commerce
Commission. And he's back at his
telegraph again. There have been queer
doings in Raymond during the past year.
I wonder what Dr. Bruce thinks of it on
the whole. I must have a talk with him
"He is at home and will preach
tomorrow," said Felicia. "Perhaps he
will tell us something about it."
There was silence for a minute.
Then Felicia said abruptly, as if she
had gone on with a spoken thought to
some invisible hearer: "And what if he
should propose the same pledge to the
Nazareth Avenue Church?"
"Who? What are you talking about?"
asked her father a little sharply.
"About Dr. Bruce. I say, what if he
should propose to our church what Mr.
Maxwell proposed to his, and ask for
volunteers who would pledge themselves
to do everything after asking the
question, 'What would Jesus do?'"
"There's no danger of it," said
Rose, rising suddenly from the couch as
the tea-bell rang.
"It's a very impracticable
movement, to my mind," said Mr. Sterling
"I understand from Rachel's letter
that the Raymond church is going to make
an attempt to extend the idea of the
pledge to other churches. If it succeeds
it will certainly make great changes in
the churches and in people's lives,"
"Oh, well, let's have some tea
first!" said Rose, walking into the
dining-room. Her father and Felicia
followed, and the meal proceeded in
silence. Mrs. Sterling had her meals
served in her room. Mr. Sterling was
preoccupied. He ate very little and
excused himself early, and although it
was Saturday night, he remarked as he
went out that he should be down town on
some special business.
"Don't you think father looks very
much disturbed lately?" asked Felicia a
little while after he had gone out.
"Oh, I don't know! I hadn't noticed
anything unusual," replied Rose. After a
silence she said: "Are you going to the
play tonight, Felicia? Mrs. Delano will
be here at half past seven. I think you
ought to go. She will feel hurt if you
"I'll go. I don't care about it. I
can see shadows enough without going to
"That's a doleful remark for a girl
nineteen years old to make," replied
Rose. "But then you're queer in your
ideas anyhow, Felicia. If you are going
up to see mother, tell her I'll run in
after the play if she is still awake."
Felicia went up to see her mother
and remained with her until the Delano
carriage came. Mrs. Sterling was worried
about her husband. She talked
incessantly, and was irritated by every
remark Felicia made. She would not
listen to Felicia's attempts to read
even a part of Rachel's letter, and when
Felicia offered to stay with her for the
evening, she refused the offer with a
good deal of positive sharpness.