“They thought so in Hungary.”
He stared at her sorrowfully, and was about to empty his soul; but she turned away with a shudder.
“I know, I know,” she whispered; “your hands—they are like the hands of—”
Arpad threw out his chest, and Lora heard with a curiosity that became nervous a rhythmic wagging sound, like velvet bruised by some dull implement. It frightened her.
“Do not be afraid of me,” he begged. “You cannot say anything I do not know already.” He walked to the door, and the girl followed him.
“Don’t go, Arpad,” she said with pretty remorse.
The fire blazed in his eyes and with a single swift grasp he seized her, holding her aloft like a torch. Lora almost lost consciousness. She had not counted upon such barbarous wooing, and, frightened, cried out, “Nielje, Nielje!”
Nielje burst into the room as if she had been very near the keyhole. She was a powerful woman from Holland, who did not fear an army.
“Put her down!” she insisted, in her deepest gutturals. “Put her down, you brute, or I’ll hurt you.”
Lora jumped to the floor as Nielje struck with her broomstick at Arpad’s retreating back. To the surprise of the women he gave a shriek of agony and ran to the door, Nielje following close behind. Lora, her eyes strained with excitement, did not stir; she heard a struggle in the little hall as the man fumbled at the basement entrance. Again he yelled, and then Lora rushed to the window. Nielje, on her knees, was being dragged across the grassy space in front of the house. She held on, seemingly, to the coat-tail of the frantic musician; only by a vigorous shove did he evade her persistent grasp and disappear.
A policeman with official aptness went leisurely by. Nielje flew into the house, locking and bolting the door. Her face was red as she rolled on the floor, her hands at her sides. Lora, alarmed, thought she was seriously hurt or hysterical from fright; but the laughter was too hearty and appealing.
“Oh, Meeslora! Oh, Meeslora!” she gasped. “He must be monkey-man—he has monkey tail!”
Lora could have fainted from chagrin and horror.
Had the great god Pan passed her way?
BOOKS BY JAMES HUNEKER
What Maeterlinck wrote:
Maurice Maeterlinck wrote thus of James Huneker: “Do you know that ‘Iconoclasts’ is the only book of high and universal critical worth that we have had for years—to be precise, since Georg Brandes. It is at once strong and fine, supple and firm, indulgent and sure.”
The Evening Post of June 10, 1915, wrote of Mr. Huneker’s “The New Cosmopolis”: