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- We Can't Have Everything - 1/116 -


WE CAN'T HAVE EVERYTHING

BOOKS BY RUPERT HUGHES

We Can't Have Everything

In A Little Town

The Thirteenth Commandment

Clipped Wings

What Will People Say?

The Last Rose Of Summer

Empty Pockets

[Illustration: WAR, THE SUNDERER, HAD REACHED THEM WITH HIS GREAT DIVORCE]

WE CAN'T HAVE EVERYTHING

A NOVEL BY RUPERT HUGHES

AUTHOR OF _What Will People Say?_

ILLUSTRATED BY JAMES MONTGOMERY FLAGG

CONTENTS

THE FIRST BOOK MISS KEDZIE THROPP COMES TO TOWN

THE SECOND BOOK MRS. TOMMIE GILFOYLE HAS HER PICTURE TAKEN

THE THIRD BOOK MRS. JIM DYCKMAN IS NOT SATISFIED

THE FOURTH BOOK THE MARCHIONESS HAS QUALMS

THE FIRST BOOK

MISS KEDZIE THROPP COMES TO TOWN

CHAPTER I

Kedzie Thropp had never seen Fifth Avenue or a yacht or a butler or a glass of champagne or an ocean or a person of social prominence. She wanted to see them.

For each five minutes of the day and night, one girl comes to New York to make her life; or so the compilers of statistics claim.

This was Kedzie Thropp's five minutes.

She did not know it, and the two highly important, because extremely wealthy, beings in the same Pullman car never suspected her--never imagined that the tangle they were already in would be further knotted, then snipped, then snarled up again, by this little mediocrity.

We never can know these things, but go blindly groping through the crowd of fellow-gropers, guessing at our presents and getting our pasts all wrong. What could we know of our futures?

Jim Dyckman, infamously rich (through no fault of his own), could not see far enough past Charity Coe Cheever that day to make out Kedzie Thropp, a few seats removed. Charity Coe--most of Mrs. Cheever's friends still called her by her maiden name--sat with her back turned to Kedzie; and latterly Charity Coe was not looking over her shoulder much. She did not see Kedzie at all.

And Kedzie herself, shabby and commonplace, was so ignorant that if she looked at either Jim or Charity Coe she gave them no heed, for she had never even heard of them or seen their pictures, so frequent in the papers.

They were among the whom-not-to-know-argues-one-self-unknowns. But there were countless other facts that argued Kedzie Thropp unknown and unknowing. As she was forever saying, she had never had anything or been anywhere or seen anybody worth having, being, or seeing.

But Jim Dyckman, everybody said, had always had everything, been everywhere, known everybody who was anybody. As for Charity Coe, she had given away more than most people ever have. And she, too, had traveled and met.

Yet Kedzie Thropp was destined (if there is such a thing as being destined--at any rate, it fell to her lot) to turn the lives of those two bigwigs topsy-turvy, and to get her picture into more papers than both of them put together. A large part of latter-day existence has consisted of the fear or the favor of getting pictures in the papers.

It was Kedzie's unusual distinction to win into the headlines at her first entrance into New York, and for the quaintest of reasons. She had somebody's else picture published for her that time; but later she had her very own published by the thousand until the little commoner, born in the most neglected corner of oblivion, grew impudent enough to weary of her fame and prate of the comforts of obscurity!

Kedzie Thropp was as plebeian as a ripe peach swung in the sun across an old fence, almost and not quite within the grasp of any passer-by. She also inspired appetite, but always somehow escaped plucking and possession. It is doubtful whether anybody ever really tasted her soul--if she had one. Her flavor was that very inaccessibility. She was always just a little beyond. Her heart was forever fixed on the next thing, just quitting the last thing. Eternal, delicious, harrowing discontent was Kedzie's whole spirit.

Charity Coe's habit was self-denial; Kedzie's self-fostering, all-demanding. She was what Napoleon would have been if the Little Corporal had been a pretty girl with a passion for delicacies instead of powers.

Thanks to Kedzie, two of the best people that could be were plunged into miseries that their wealth only aggravated.

Thanks to Kedzie, Jim Dyckman, one of the richest men going and one of the decentest fellows alive, learned what it means to lie in shabby domicile and to salt dirty bread with tears; to be afraid to face the public that had fawned on him, and to understand the portion of the criminal and the pariah.

And sweet Charity Coe, who had no selfishness in any motive, who ought to have been canonized as a saint in her smart Parisian robes of martyrdom, found the clergy slamming their doors in her face and bawling her name from their pulpits; she was, as it were, lynched by the Church, thanks again to Kedzie.

But one ought not to hate Kedzie. It was not her fault (was it?) that she was cooked up out of sugar and spice and everything nice into a little candy allegory of selfishness with one pink hand over her little heartless heart-place and one pink hand always outstretched for more.

Kedzie of the sugar lip and the honey eye! She was going to be carried through New York from the sub-sub-cellar of its poverty to its highest tower of wealth. She would sleep one night alone under a public bench in a park, and another night, with all sorts of nights between, she would sleep in a bed where a duchess had lain, and in arms Americanly royal.

So much can the grand jumble of causes and effects that we call fate do with a wanderer through life.

During the same five minutes which were Kedzie's other girls were making for New York; some of them to succeed apparently, some of them to fail undeniably, some of them to become fine, clean wives; some of them to flare, then blacken against the sky because of famous scandals and fascinating crimes in which they were to be involved.

Their motives were as various as their fates, and only one thing is safe to say--that their motives and their fates had little to do with one another. Few of the girls, if any, got what they came for and strove for; and if they got it, it was not just what they thought it was going to be.

This is Kedzie's history, and the history of the problem confronting Jim Dyckman and Charity Coe Cheever: the problem that Kedzie was going to seem to solve--as one solves any problem humanly, which is by substituting one or more new problems in place of the old.

This girl Kedzie who had never had anything had one thing--a fetching pout. Perhaps she had the pout because she had never had anything. An Elizabethan poet would have said of her upper lip that a bee in search of honey had stung it in anger at finding it not the rose it seemed, but something fairer.

She had eyes full of appeal--appeal for something--what? Who knows? She didn't. Her eyes said, "Have mercy on me; be kind to me." The shoddy beaux in her home town said that Kedzie's eyes said, "Kiss me quick!" They had obeyed her eyes, and yet the look of appeal was not quenched. She came to New York with no plan to stay. But she


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