Imagine you are walking down Broadway after dinner. You have ten minutes to smoke your cigar while deciding whether to see a tragedy or a comedy. Suddenly a hand is laid on your arm. You turn to look into the thrilling eyes of a beautiful woman wearing diamonds and a fur coat. She quickly puts an extremely hot donut in your hand, pulls out a tiny pair of scissors and cuts off the seconds button of your overcoat. The she yells one word, “Parallelogram!” and runs away down a side street.

 That would be pure adventure. Would you accept it and run after her? Not you. Your face would turn red with embarrassment. You would drop the donut and continue down Broadway, feeling for your missing button. This is what you would do, unless you are one of the lucky few who still have the spirit of adventure.

 True adventurers have always been rare. The ones we read about have been mostly businessmen. They have gone looking for things they wanted – golden fleeces, holy grails, lady loves, treasure, crowns and fame. But the true adventurer goes out without any aim or goal. just to see what happens.

 Half-adventurers – brave and impressive people – have been many. They have changed history. But each one of them had a prize to win, a goal to achieve – so they were no true adventurers.

 In the big city there are twin spirits called Romance and Adventure. They are always out looking for worthy people. As we walk the streets Romance and Adventure secretly watch us, and they challenge us in many different ways. Without knowing why, we might look up suddenly and see a face in a window – a face that we seem to have known forever. In a sleepy street we hear a cry of agony and fear coming from a dark and empty house. A cabdriver drops us at the wrong door, which is opened with a smile. A piece of paper with writing on it falls down to our feet from a high window. We exchange glances of instant hate, affection, and fear with passing strangers in a crowd. A sudden shower of rain – and our umbrella may be protecting a beautiful woman. At every corner fingers beckon and eyes plead, but all the joyful, mysterious and dangerous clues of adventure pass by us. We grow stiff from routine. Some day we come to the end of a very dull life, and we will then realize that our adventure was a boring one – a marriage or two, an expensive house, and a lifelong battle with a vacuum cleaner.

 Rudolph Steiner was a true adventurer. Most evenings he went out in search of the unexpected. To him the most interesting things in life seemed to be around the next corner. He sometimes ended up in strange situations. He had spent two nights in a police station, and he had been robbed several times. But he didn’t care, he kept looking for adventure.

 One evening Rudolph was walking down a street in the old part of the city. There were two streams of people. Some were going home, the others were going out.

 Rudolph moved easily and watched things closely. He worked as a salesman in a piano store. Well, that was what he did in the daylight. At night he was a young adventurer.

 He heard a sudden noise, and saw a pair of false teeth in a glass case. The teeth were opening and closing very quickly. He saw that there was an electric sign above the teeth advertising a dentist. A giant negro, strangely dressed in a red coat, yellow trousers and military cap handed out cards to the passing crowd.

 Rudolph had often seen dentist’s cards given out like this. He usually didn’t take one. But the African very skilfully slipped one card into his hand.

 When he had travelled a few meters down the street  he glanced at the card. One side of the card was blank. On the other was three words written in ink: “The Green Door.” And then Rudolph saw, three steps in front of him, a man throw away the card the negro had given him as he passed. Rudolph picked it up. It was printed with the dentist’s name ad address, and the usual stuff about “fillings” and “braces” and “painless operations.”

 The adventurous piano salesman stopped at the street corner. Then he crossed the street, walked back down a block, recrossed the street and joined the stream of people again. He pretended not to notice the negro as he carelessly took a card passed to him. Ten steps later he looked at it. It was the same handwriting that was on the first card. It said, “The Green Door.” Three or four cards were dropped onto the ground by people walking near him. Rudolph picked them up. They were all dental advertisements.

 The spirit of acventure had beckoned to Rudolf Steiner twice. He slowly walked back to the place where the negro stood by the case of rattling teeth. This time he was not offered a card. He saw that the African only offered the cards to some people. He did not offer Rudolph another card. In fact, he seemed to give Rudolph a look of cold disapproval.

 The look hurt the young adventurer. It felf like a silent accusation that he was not good enough. So he stood back from the people hurrying past, and looked at the building where he thought his adventure must wait.

 It was five stories high. A small restaurant was in the basement. The first floor, now closed, was a hat shop. The second floor, by the electric sigh, was the dentist’s. Above this were many signs – of furtunetellers, dressmakers, musicians, and doctors. Still higher there were flats.

 Rudolf walked quickly into the building and walked up three flights of carpeted steps. Then he stopped. The hallway was a little dark. He saw a green door. For a moment he hesitated, then he walked straight to the green door and knocked on it.

 The moment he spent waiting for the door to open was pure adventrue. What might be waiting for him behind that green door! Danger, death, love or ridiculre?

 He heard a soft sound, and the door was slowly opened. A girl of about eighteen or nineteen stood there white-faced and weak. She swayed, then fainted. Rudolph caught her and laid her on an old couch inside. He closed the door and looked around the room. It was neat, but she clearly had little money.

 The girl lay still. He began to fan her with his hat. That was successful because he accidentally hit her nose, and she opened her eyes. And then the young man saw that her face was the one he had always been looking for The honest gray eyes, the little nose turned cutley up, and the rich brown hair. It seemed the perfect reward for all his wonderful adventures. But her face was very thin and pale.

 The girl looked at him calmly, and then smiled.

 “I fainted, didn’t I?” she asked weakly. “Well, I’m not surprised. I haven’t eaten anything for three days.”

 “Heavens!” cried Rudolph, jumping up. “Wait till I come back.”

 He ran out the green door and down the stairs. In twenty minutes he was back again. He knocked on the door with his toe because both his arms were full of bags of food. He laid the food on the table – bread and butter, cold meat, cakes, pies, pickles, oysters, a roasted chicken, and a bottle of milk.

 “It’s ridiculous,” said Rudolph, “to go without eating. Dinner is ready.” He helped her to a chair at the table. “And now, if you’ll allow me to be your guest, we’ll have supper.”

 Her eyes shone eagerly and she began to eat. She ate like a cute, starving animal. She seemed to think that it was natural that Rudolph was there with all his food. Gradually, the brightness returned to her eyes, and the color to her face. She began to tell him her little story. It was a very common story in the big city. She had worked in a shop for low wages, became sick and lost her job, then lost her hope. Then came the knock of the adventurer upon the green door.

 “You have suffered so much,” exclaimed Rudolph.

 “It was terrible,” said the girl, sadly.

 “Do you have any friends or relatives in the city?”

 “No, not one.”

 “I am all alone in the world, too,” said Rudolph.

 “I am glad of that,” said the girl quickly. And that pleased Rudolph.

 Suddenly her eyelids dropped and she sighed deeply.

 “I’m very sleey,” she said, “and I feel so good.”

 Rudolph rose and took his hat.

 “Then I’ll say good-night,” he said. “A long night’s sleep will be good for you.”

 He held out his hand and she took it, and said, “good night.” But her eyes silently asked a direct and hopeful question.

 “Oh, I’m coming back tomorrow to see how you are.”

 Then she asked, “How did you know to knock at my door?”

 He looked at her for a moment, remembering the cards. She must have written on them, because she was desperate for help. He decided he would never tell her the truth, so that she would not be embarrassed.

 “One of our piano tuners lives in this building,” he said. “I knocked at your door by mistake.”

 The last thing he saw in the room before the green door closed was her smile.

 At the top of the stairs he stopped and looked around. He walked to the end of the hallway and back. He went up to the floor above and came dack down. Every door in the building was painted green.

 He went outside. The African was still there. Rudolph walked up to him and showd him the two cards in his hand.

 “Will you tell me why you gave me these cards and what they mean?” he asked.

 The African gave a huge smile. His teeth were like a dental advertisement.

 “There it is, boss,” he said, pointing down the street. “But I think you are too late for the first act.”

 Rudolph saw a little theater. The electric sign advertised its new play, “The Green Door.”

 “I’ve been told it’s an excellent play, sir,” said the African. “The producer gave me a dollar to give out a few of his cards along with the dentist’s. May I offer you one of the dentist’s cards, sir?”

 Rudolph went to a bar for a glass of beer and a cigar. When he came out, he stopped in front of a lamppost and said to it:

 “All the same, I believe it was Fate that led me to her.”

 This conclusion proves that Rudolph Steiner was one of the true followers of Romance and Adventure.


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