From near the village of Harmony, at the foot
of the Green Mountains, came Miss Medora Martin
to New York with her color-box and easel.
Miss Medora resembled the rose which the autum-
nal frosts had spared the longest of all her sister
blossoms. In Harmony, when she started alone to
the wicked city to study art, they said she was a mad,
reckless, headstrong girl. In New York, when she
first took her seat at a West Side boardinghouse
table, the boarders asked: "Who is the nice-looking
Medora took heart, a cheap hall bedroom and two
art lessons a week from Professor Angelini, a retired
barber who had studied his profession in a Harlem
dancing academy. There was no one to set her right,
for here in the big city they do it unto all of us.
How many of us are badly shaved daily and taught
the two-step imperfectly by ex-pupils of Bastien Le
Page and Gerome? The most pathetic sight in New
York -- except the manners of the rush-hour crowds
-- is the dreary march of the hopeless army of Me-
diocrity. Here Art is no benignant goddess, but
a Circe who turns her wooers into mewing Toms and
Tabbies who linger about the doorsteps of her abode,
unmindful of the flying brickbats and boot-jacks of
the critics. Some of us creep back to our native vil-
lages to the skim-milk of "I told you so"; but most
of us prefer to remain in the cold courtyard of our
mistress's temple, snatching the scraps that fall from
her divine table d'hote. But some of us grow weary
at last of the fruitless service. And then there are
two fates open to us. We can get a job driving a
grocer's wagon, or we can get swallowed up in the
Vortex of Bohemia. The latter sounds good; but the
former really pans out better. For, when the grocer
pays us off we can rent a dress suit and -- the cap-
italized system of humor describes it best -- Get Bo-
hemia On the Run.
Miss Medora chose the Vortex and thereby fur-
nishes us with our little story.
Professor Angelini praised her sketches excessively.
Once when she had made a neat study of a horse-
chestnut tree in the park he declared she would be-
come a second Rosa Bonheur. Again -- a great art-
ist has his moods -- he would say cruel and cutting
things. For example, Medora had spent an after-
noon patiently sketching the statue and the archi-
tecture at Columbus Circle. Tossing it aside with
a sneer, the professor informed her that Giotto had
once drawn a perfect circle with one sweep of his
One day it rained, the weekly remittance from Har-
mony was overdue, Medora had a headache, the pro-
fessor had tried to borrow two dollars from her, her
art dealer had sent back all her water-colors unsold,
and -- Mr. Binkley asked her out to dinner.
Mr. Binkley was the gay boy of the boarding-
house. He was forty-nine, and owned a fishstall in
a downtown market. But after six o'clock he wore
an evening suit and whooped things up connected
with the beaux arts. The young men said he was an
"Indian." He was supposed to be an accomplished
habitue of the inner circles of Bohemia. It was no
secret that he had once loaned $10 to a young man
who had had a drawing printed in Puck. Often has
one thus obtained his entree into the charmed circle,
while the other obtained both his entree and roast.
The other boarders enviously regarded Medora as
she left at Mr. Binkley's side at nine o'clock. She
was as sweet as a cluster of dried autumn grasses
in her pale blue -- oh -- er -- that very thin stuff
-- in her pale blue Comstockized silk waist and box-
pleated voile skirt, with a soft pink glow on her thin
cheeks and the tiniest bit of rouge powder on her
face, with her handkerchief and room key in her
brown walrus, pebble-grain band-bag.
And Mr. Binkley looked imposing and dashing with
his red face and gray mustache, and his tight dress
coat, that made the back of his neck roll up just
like a successful novelist's.
They drove in a cab to the Cafe Terence, just off
the most glittering part of Broadway, which, as
every one knows, is one of the most popular and
widely patronized, jealously exclusive Bohemian re-
sorts in the city.
Down between the rows of little tables tripped
Medora, of the Green Mountains, after her escort.
Thrice in a lifetime may woman walk upon clouds
once when she trippeth to the altar, once when she
first enters Bohemian halls, the last when she marches
back across her first garden with the dead hen of her
neighbor in her band.
There was a table set, with three or four about it.
A waiter buzzed around it like a bee, and silver and
glass shone upon it. And, preliminary to the meal,
as the prehistoric granite strata heralded the pro-
tozoa, the bread of Gaul, compounded after the for-
mula of the recipe for the eternal bills, was there set
forth to the hand and tooth of a long-suffering city,
while the gods lay beside their nectar and home-made
biscuits and smiled, and the dentists leaped for joy
in their gold-leafy dens.
The eye of Binkley fixed a young man at his table
with the Bobemian gleam, which is a compound of
the look of the Basilisk, the shine of a bubble of
Wurzburger, the inspiration of genius and the plead-
ing of a panhandler.
The young man sprang to his feet. "Hello, Bink,
old boy! be shouted. "Don't tell me you were go-
ing to pass our table. Join us -- unless you've an-
other crowd on hand."
"Don't mind, old chap," said Binkley, of the fish-
stall. "You know how I like to butt up against the
fine arts. Mr. Vandyke -- Mr. Madder -- er --
Miss Martin, one of the elect also in art -- er -- "
The introduction went around. There were also
Miss Elise and Miss 'Toinette. Perhaps they were
models, for they chattered of the St. Regis decora-
tions and Henry James -- and they did it not badly.
Medora sat in transport. Music -- wild, intoxi-
eating music made by troubadours direct from a rear
basement room in Elysium -- set her thoughts to
dancing. Here was a world never before penetrated
by her warmest imagination or any of the lines con-
trolled by Harriman. With the Green Mountains'
external calm upon her she sat, her soul flaming in
her with the fire of Andalusia. The tables were filled
with Bohemia. The room was full of the fragrance
of flowers -- both mille and cauli. Questions and
corks popped; laughter and silver rang; champagne
flashed in the pail, wit flashed in the pan.
Vandyke ruffled his long, black locks, disarranged
his careless tie and leaned over to Madder.
"Say, Maddy," he whispered, feelingly, "some-
times I'm tempted to pay this Philistine his ten dol-
lars and get rid of him."
Madder ruffled his long, sandy locks and disar-
ranged his careless tie.
"Don't think of it, Vandy," he replied. "We are
short, and Art is long."
Medora ate strange viands and drank elderberry
wine that they poured in her glass. It was just the
color of that in the Vermont home. The waiter
poured something in another glass that seemed to
be boiling, but when she tasted it it was not hot.
She had never felt so light-hearted before. She
thought lovingly of the Green Mountain farm and its
fauna. She leaned, smiling, to Miss Elise.
"If I were at home," she said, beamingly, "I
could show you the cutest little calf! "
"Nothing for you in the White Lane," said Miss
Elise. "Why don't you pad?
The orchestra played a wailing waltz that Medora
had learned from the hand-organs. She followed
the air with nodding head in a sweet soprano hum.
Madder looked across the table at her, and wondered
in what strange waters Binkley had caught her in
his seine. She smiled at him, and they raised glasses
and drank of the wine that boiled when it was cold.
Binkley had abandoned art and was prating of the
unusual spring catch of shad. Miss Elise arranged
the palette-and-maul-stick tie pin of Mr. Vandyke.
A Philistine at some distant table was maundering
volubly either about Jerome or Gerome. A famous
actress was discoursing excitably about monogrammed
hosiery. A hose clerk from a department store was
loudly proclaiming his opinions of the drama. A
writer was abusing Dickens. A magazine editor and
a photographer were drinking a dry brand at a re-
served table. A 36-25-42 young lady was saying to
an eminent sculptor: "Fudge for your Prax Italys!
Bring one of your Venus Anno Dominis down to
Cohen's and see bow quick she'd be turned down for
a cloak model. Back to the quarries with your
Greeks and Dagos!"
Thus went Bohemia.
At eleven Mr. Binkley took Medora to the board-
ing-bouse and left her, with a society bow, at the foot
of the hall stairs. She went up to her room and lit
And then, as suddenly as the dreadful genie arose
in vapor from the copper vase of the fisherman,
arose in that room the formidable shape of the New
England Conscience. The terrible thing that
Medora had done was revealed to her in its full
enormity. She had sat in the presence of the un-
godly and looked upon the wine both when it was red
At midnight she wrote this letter:
"Mr. BERLAH HOSKINS, Harmony, Vermont.
"Dear Sir: Henceforth, consider me as dead to
you forever. I have loved you too well to blight your
career by bringing into it my guilty and sin-stained
life. I have succumbed to the insidious wiles of this
wicked world and have been drawn into the vortex of
Bohemia. There is scarcely any depth of glittering
iniquity that I have not sounded. It is hopeless to
combat my decision. There is no rising from the
depths to which I have sunk. Endeavor to forget
me. I am lost forever in the fair but brutal maze of
awful Bohemia. Farewell.
"ONCE YOUR MEDORA."
On the next day Medora formed her resolutions.
Beelzebub, flung from heaven, was no more cast down.
Between her and the apple blossoms of Harmony
there was a fixed gulf. Flaming cherubim warded
her from the gates of her lost paradise. In one
evening, by the aid of Binkley and Mumm, Bohemia
had gathered her into its awful midst.
There remained to her but one thing -- a life of
brilliant, but irremediable error. Vermont was a
shrine that she never would dare to approach again.
But she would not sink -- there were great and com-
pelling ones in history upon whom she would model
her meteoric career -- Camille, Lola Montez, Royal
Mary, Zaza -- such a name as one of these would that
of Medora Martin be to future generations
For two days Medora kept her room. On the
third she opened a magazine at the portrait of the
King of Belgium, and laughed sardonically. If that
far-famed breaker of women's hearts should cross her
path, he would have to bow before her cold and im-
perious beauty. She would not spare the old or
the young. All America -- all Europe should do
homage to her sinister, but compelling charm.
As yet she could not bear to think of the life she
had once desired -- a peaceful one in the shadow of
the Green Mountains with Beriah at her side, and
orders for expensive oil paintings coming in by each
mail from New York. Her one fatal misstep had
shattered that dream.
On the fourth day Medora powdered her face and
rouged her lips. Once she had seen Carter in
"Zaza." She stood before the mirror in a reckless
attitude and cried: "Zut! zut!" She rhymed it
with "nut," but with the lawless word Harmony
seemed to pass away forever. The Vortex had her.
She belonged to Bohemia for evermore. And never
would Beriah --
The door opened and Beriah walked in.
"'Dory," said he, "what's all that chalk and pink
stuff on your face, honey?
Medora extended an arm.
"Too late," she said, solemnly. The die is cast.
I belong in another world. Curse me if you will --
it is your right. Go, and leave me in the path I
have chosen. Bid them all at home never to men-
tion my name again. And sometimes, Beriah, pray
for me when I am revelling in the gaudy, but hol-
low, pleasures of Bohemia."
"Get a towel, 'Dory," said Beriah, "and wipe
that paint off your face. I came as soon as I got
your letter. Them pictures of yours ain't amount-
ing to anything. I've got tickets for both of us
back on the evening train. Hurry and get your
things in your trunk."
"Fate was too strong for me, Beriah. Go while
I am strong to bear it."
"How do you fold this easel, 'Dory? -- now begin
to pack, so we have time to eat before train time.
The maples is all out in full-grown leaves, 'Dory --
you just ought to see 'em!
"Not this early, Beriah?
"You ought to see 'em, 'Dory; they're like an
ocean of green in the morning sunlight."
On the train she said to him suddenly:
"I wonder why you came when you got my let-
"Oh, shucks! " said Beriah. "Did you think you
could fool me? How could you be run away to that
Bohemia country like you said when your letter was
postmarked New York as plain as day?"