Infomotions, Inc.The Fortunes of Oliver Horn / Smith, Francis Hopkinson, 1838-1915



Author: Smith, Francis Hopkinson, 1838-1915
Title: The Fortunes of Oliver Horn
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): oliver; miss clendenning; kennedy square; margaret; richard; horn
Contributor(s): Young, Stanley [Translator]
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Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 129,964 words (average) Grade range: 9-12 (high school) Readability score: 65 (easy)
Identifier: etext3417
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Title: The Fortunes of Oliver Horn

Author: F. Hopkinson Smith

Prepared By:  Duncan Harrod - DuncanHarrod@excite.com

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Prepared By:  Duncan Harrod - DuncanHarrod@excite.com





THE FORTUNES OF
OLIVER HORN

by F. Hopkinson Smith




I DEDICATE THIS BOOK TO THE MEMORY OF


"THE MAN OF ALL OTHERS ABOUT KENNEDY
SQUARE MOST BELOVED, AND THE MAN OF ALL
OTHERS LEAST UNDERSTOOD--RICHARD HORN,
THE DISTINGUISHED INVENTOR."
F.H.S.




THE FORTUNES OF
OLIVER HORN




CHAPTER I

THE OLD HOUSE IN KENNEDY SQUARE



Kennedy Square, in the late fifties, was a place of
birds and trees and flowers; of rude stone benches,
sagging arbors smothered in vines, and cool dirt-paths
bordered by sweet-smelling box. Giant magnolias
filled the air with their fragrance, and climbing roses
played hide and seek among the railings of the rotting
fence. Along the shaded walks laughing boys and
girls romped all day, with hoop and ball, attended
by old black mammies in white aprons and gayly colored 
bandannas; while in the more secluded corners,
sheltered by protecting shrubs, happy lovers sat and
talked, tired wayfarers rested with hats off, and staid
old gentlemen read by the hour, their noses in their
books.

Outside of all this color, perfume, and old-time
charm, outside the grass-line and the rickety wooden
fence that framed them in, ran an uneven pavement
splashed with cool shadows and stained with green
mould. Here, in summer, the watermelon-man
stopped his cart; and here, in winter, upon its broken
bricks, old Moses unhooked his bucket of oysters and
ceased for a moment his droning call.

On the shady side of the square, and half-hidden
in ivy, was a Noah's Ark church, topped by a quaint
belfry holding a bell that had not rung for years, and
faced by a clock-dial all weather-stains and cracks,
around which travelled a single rusty hand. In its
shadow to the right lay the home of the Archdeacon,
a stately mansion with Corinthian columns reaching
to the roof and surrounded by a spacious garden
filled with damask roses and bushes of sweet syringa.
To the left crouched a row of dingy houses built of
brick, their iron balconies hung in flowering vines,
the windows glistening with panes of wavy glass purpled 
by age.

On the sunny side of the square, opposite the
church, were more houses, high and low; one all garden, 
filled with broken-nosed statues hiding behind
still more magnolias, and another all veranda and
honeysuckle, big rocking-chairs and swinging hammocks; 
and still others with porticos curtained by
white jasmine or Virginia creeper.

Half-way down this stretch of sunshine--and what
a lovely stretch it was--there had stood for years
a venerable mansion with high chimneys, sloping roof,
and quaint dormer-windows, shaded by a tall sycamore 
that spread its branches far across the street.
Two white marble steps guarded by old-fashioned iron
railings led up to the front door, which bore on its
face a silver-plated knocker, inscribed in letters of
black with the name Of its owner--"Richard Horn."
All three, the door, the white marble steps, and the
silver-plated knocker--not to forget the round silver
knobs ornamenting the newel posts of the railings--
were kept as bright as the rest of the family plate by
that most loyal of servants, old Malachi, who daily
soused the steps with soap and water, and then brought
to a phenomenal polish the knocker, bell-pull, and
knobs by means of fuller's-earth, turpentine, hard
breathing, and the vigorous use of a buckskin rag.

If this weazened-faced, bald-headed old darky, resplendent 
in white shirt-sleeves, green baize apron, and
never-ceasing smile of welcome, happened to be engaged 
in this cleansing and polishing process--and it
occurred every morning--and saw any friend of his
master approaching, he would begin removing his pail
and brushes and throwing wide the white door before
the visitor reached the house, would there await his
coming, bent double in profound salutation. Indeed,
whenever Malachi had charge of the front steps he
seldom stood upright, so constantly was he occupied--
by reason of his master's large acquaintance--in either
crooking his back in the beginning of a bow, or
straightening it up in the ending of one.

To one and all inquiries for Mr. Horn his answer
during the morning hours was invariably the same:

"Yes, sah, Marse Richard's in his li'l room wrastlin'
wid his machine, I reckon. He's in dar now, sah--"
this with another low bow, and then slowly recovering 
his perpendicular with eyes fixed on the retreating 
figure, so as to be sure there was no further need
of his services, he would resume his work, drenching
the steps again with soap-suds or rubbing away on the
door-plate or door-pull, stopping every other moment
to blow his breath on the polished surface.

When, however, someone asked for young Oliver,
the inventor's only son, the reply was by no means
so definite, although the smile was a trifle broader and
the bow, if anything, a little more profound.

"Marse Oliver, did you say, sah? Dat's a difficult
question, sah. Fo' Gawd I ain't seen him since breakfas'. 
You might look into Jedge Ellicott's office if
you is gwine downtown, whar dey do say he's studyin'
law, an' if he ain't dar--an' I reckon he ain't--den
you might drap in on Mister Crocker, whar Marse
Oliver's paintin' dem pictures; an' if he ain't dar,
den fo-sho he's wid some o' do young ladies, but which
one de Lawd only knows. Marse Oliver's like the
rabbit, sah--he don't leab no tracks," and Malachi
would hold his sides in a chuckle of so suffocating a
nature that it would have developed into apoplexy in
a less wrinkled and emaciated person.

Inside of the front door of this venerable mansion
ran a wide hall bare of everything but a solid mahogany 
hat-rack and table with glass mirror and heavy
haircloth settee, over which, suspended from the ceiling, 
hung a curious eight-sided lantern, its wick replaced 
with a modern gas-burner. Above were the
bedrooms, reached by a curved staircase guarded by
spindling mahogany bannisters with slender hand-rail
--a staircase so pure in style and of so distinguished
an air that only maidens in gowns and slippers should
have tripped down its steps, and only cavaliers in silk
stockings and perukes have waited below for their
hands.

Level with the bare hall, opened two highly polished 
mahogany doors, which led respectively into the
drawing-room and library, their windows draped in
red damask and their walls covered with family portraits. 
All about these rooms stood sofas studded with
brass nails, big easy-chairs upholstered in damask, and
small tables piled high with magazines and papers.
Here and there, between the windows, towered a bookcase 
crammed with well-bound volumes reaching clear
to the ceiling. In the centre of each room was a broad
mantel sheltering an open fireplace, and on cold days
--and there were some pretty cold days about Kennedy 
Square--two roaring wood-fires dispensed comfort, 
the welcoming blaze of each reflected in the shining 
brass fire-irons and fenders.

Adjoining the library was the dining-room with its
well-rubbed mahogany table, straight-backed chairs,
and old sideboard laden with family silver, besides a
much-coveted mahogany cellaret containing some of
that very rare Madeira for which the host was famous.
Here were more easy-chairs and more portraits--one
of Major Horn, who fell at Yorktown, in cocked hat
and epaulets, and two others in mob-caps and ruffles
--both ancient grandmothers of long ago.

The "li'l room ob Marse Richard," to which in the
morning Malachi directed all his master's visitors, was
in an old-fashioned one-story out-house, with a sloping 
roof, that nestled under the shade of a big tulip-
tree in the back yard--a cool, damp, brick-paved old
yard, shut in between high walls mantled with ivy
and Virginia creeper and capped by rows of broken
bottles sunk in mortar. This out-building had once
served as servants' quarters, and it still had the open
fireplace and broad hearth before which many a black
mammy had toasted the toes of her pickaninnies, as
well as the trap-door in the ceiling leading to the loft
where they had slept. Two windows which peered out
from under bushy eyebrows of tangled honeysuckle
gave the only light; a green-painted wooden door,
which swung level with the moist bricks, the only entrance.

It was at this green-painted wooden door that you
would have had to knock to find the man of all others
about Kennedy Square most beloved, and the man
of all others least understood--Richard Horn, the 
distinguished inventor.

Perhaps at the first rap he would have been too
absorbed to hear you. He would have been bending
over his carpenter-bench--his deep, thoughtful eyes
fixed on a drawing spread out before him, the shavings 
pushed back to give him room, a pair of compasses 
held between his fingers. Or he might have
been raking the coals of his forge--set up in the same
fireplace that had warmed the toes of the pickaninnies, 
his long red calico working-gown, which clung
about his spare body, tucked between his knees to
keep it from the blaze. Or he might have been stirring 
a pot of glue--a wooden model in his hand--
or hammering away on some bit of hot iron, the
brown paper cap that hid his sparse gray locks pushed
down over his broad forehead to protect it from the
heat.

When, however, his ear had caught the tap of your
knuckles and he had thrown wide the green door, what
a welcome would have awaited you! How warm the
grasp of his fine old hand; how cordial his greeting.

"Disturb me, my dear sir," he would have said
in answer to your apologies, "that's what I was put
in the world for. I love to be disturbed. Please do
it every day. Come in! Come in! It's delightful to
get hold of your hand."

If you were his friend, and most men who knew
him were, he would have slipped his arm through
your own, and after a brief moment you would have
found yourself poring over a detailed plan, his arm
still in yours, while he showed you the outline of some
pin, or lever, needed to perfect the most marvellous
of all discoveries of modern times--his new galvanic
motor.

If it were your first visit, and he had touched in
you some sympathetic chord, he would have uncovered 
a nondescript combination of glass jars, horse-shoe 
magnets, and copper wires which lay in a curious
shaped box beneath one of the windows, and in a voice
trembling with emotion as he spoke, he would have
explained to you the value of this or that lever, and
its necessary relation to this new invention of his
which was so soon to revolutionize the motive power
of the world. Or he would perhaps have talked to
you as he did to me, of his theories and beliefs
and of what he felt sure the future would bring
forth.

"The days of steam-power are already numbered.
I may not live to see it, but you will. This new force
is almost within my grasp. I know people laugh, but
so they have always done. All inventors who have
benefited mankind have first been received with ridicule. 
I can expect no better treatment. But I have
no fear of the result. The steady destruction of our
forests and the eating up of our coal-fields must throw
us back on chemistry for our working power. There
is only one solution of this problem--it lies in the
employment of a force which this machine will compel 
to our uses. I have not perfected the apparatus
yet, as you see, but it is only a question of time. To-
morrow, perhaps, or next week, or next year--but it
will surely come. See what Charles Bright and this
Mr. Cyrus Field are accomplishing. If it astonishes
you to realize that we will soon talk to each other
across the ocean, why should the supplanting of steam
by a new energy seem so extraordinary? The problems 
which they have worked out along the lines of
electricity, I am trying to work out along the lines
of galvanism. Both will ultimately benefit the
human race.

And while he talked you would have listened with
your eyes and ears wide open, and your heart too, and
believed every word he said, no matter how practical
you might have been or how unwilling at first to be
convinced.

On another day perhaps you might have chanced
to knock at his door when some serious complication
had vexed him--a day when the cogs and pulleys
upon which he had depended for certain demonstration 
had become so tangled up in his busy brain that
he had thoughts for nothing else. Then, had he
pushed pack his green door to receive you, his greeting 
might have been as cordial and his welcome as
hearty, but before long you would have found his
eyes gazing into vacancy, or he would have stopped
half-way in an answer to your question, his thoughts
far away. Had you loved him you would then have
closed the green door behind you and left him alone.
Had you remained you would, perhaps, have seen him
spring from his seat and pick up from his work-bench
some unfinished fragment. This he would have
plunged into the smouldering embers of his forge and,
entirely forgetful of your presence, would have seized
the handle of the bellows, his eyes intent on the
blaze, his lips muttering broken sentences. At these
moments, as he would peer into the curling smoke,
one thin hand upraised, the long calico gown wrinkling 
about his spare body, the paper cap on his head,
he would have looked like some alchemist of old, or
weird necromancer weaving a mystic spell. Sometimes, 
as you watched his face, with the glow of the
coals lighting up his earnest eyes, there would have
flashed across his troubled features, as heat lightning
illumines a cloud, some sudden brightness from within 
followed by a quick smile of triumph. The rebellious 
fragment had been mastered. For the hundredth 
time the great motor was a success!

And yet, had this very pin or crank or cog, on
which he had set such store, refused the next hour
or day or week to do its work, no trace of his 
disappointment would have been found in his face or
speech. His faith was always supreme; his belief
in his ideals unshaken. If the pin or crank would
not answer, the lever or pulley would. It was the
"adjustment" that was at fault, not the principle.
And so the dear old man would work on, week after
week, only to abandon his results again, and with
equal cheerfulness and enthusiasm to begin upon another 
appliance totally unlike any other he had tried
before. "It was only a mile-stone," he would say;
"every one that I pass brings me so much nearer the
end."

If you had been only a stranger--some savant,
for instance, who wanted a problem in mechanics
solved, or a professor, blinded by the dazzling light of
the almost daily discoveries of the time, in search of
mental ammunition to fire back at curious students
daily bombarding you with puzzling questions; or
had you been a thrifty capitalist, holding back a first
payment until an expert like Richard Horn had
passed upon the merits of some new labor-saving device 
of the day; had you been any one of these, and
you might very easily have been, for such persons
came almost daily to see him, the inventor would not
only have listened to your wants, no matter how absorbed 
he might have been in his own work, but he
would not have allowed you to leave him until he
was sure that your mind was at rest.

Had you, however, been neither friend nor client,
but some unbeliever fresh from the gossip of the Club,
where many of the habitues not only laughed at the
inventor's predictions for the future, but often lost
their tempers in discussing his revolutionary ideas; or
had you, in a spirit of temerity, entered his room
armed with arguments for his overthrow, nothing that
your good-breeding or the lack of it would have permitted 
you to have said could have ruffled his gentle
spirit. With the tact of a man of wide experience
among men, he would have turned the talk into another 
channel--music, perhaps, or some topic of the
day--and all with such exquisite grace that you
would have forgotten the subject you came to discuss
until you found yourself outside the yard and half-
way across Kennedy Square before realizing that the
inventor had made no reply to your attacks.

But whoever you might have been, whether the
friend of years, the anxious client, or the trifling 
unbeliever, and whatever the purpose of your visit,
whether to shake his hand again for the very delight
of touching it, to seek advice, or to combat his theories,
you would have carried away the impression of a man
whose like you had never met before--a man who
spoke in a low, gentle voice, and yet, with an authority 
that compelled attention; enthusiastic over the
things he loved, silent over those that pained him;
a scholar of wide learning, yet skilled in the use of
tools that obeyed him as readily as nimble fingers do
a hand; a philosopher eminently sane on most of the
accepted theories of the day and yet equally insistent
in his support of many of the supposed sophistries and
so-called "fanaticisms of the hour"; an old-time aristocrat 
holding fast to the class distinctions of his ancestors 
and yet glorying in the dignity of personal
labor; a patriot loyal to the traditions of his State
and yet so opposed to the bondage of men and women
that he had freed his own slaves the day his father's
will was read; a cavalier reverencing a woman as
sweetheart, wife, and mother, and yet longing for the
time to come when she, too, could make a career, then
denied her, coequal in its dignity with that of the man
beside her.

A composite personality of strange contradictions;
of pronounced accomplishments and yet of equally
pronounced failures. And yet, withal, a man so gracious 
in speech, so courtly in bearing, so helpful in
counsel, so rational, human, and lovable, that agree
with him or not, as you pleased, his vision would have
lingered with you for days.

When night came the inventor would rake the coals
from the forge, and laying aside his paper cap and
calico gown, close the green door of his shop, cross the
brick pavement of the back yard, and ascend the
stairs with the spindling bannisters to his dressing
room. Here Malachi would have laid out the black
swallow-tail coat with the high velvet collar, trousers 
to match, double-breasted waistcoat with gilt buttons, 
and fluffy cravat of white silk.

Then, while his master was dressing, the old servant 
would slip down-stairs and begin arranging the
several rooms for the evening's guests--for there were
always guests at night. The red damask curtains
would be drawn close, the hearth swept clean, and
fresh logs thrown on the andirons. The lamp in the
library would be lighted, and his master's great easy-
chair wheeled close to a low table piled high with
papers and magazines, his big-eyed reading-glasses
within reach of his hand. The paper would be unfolded, 
aired at the snapping blaze, and hung over
the arm of the chair. These duties attended to, the
old servant, with a last satisfied glance about the
room, would betake himself to the foot of the stair-
case, there to await his master's coming, glancing
overhead at every sound, and ready to conduct him to
his chair by the fire.

When Richard, his toilet completed, appeared at
the top of the stairs, Malachi would stand until his
master had reached the bottom step, wheel about,
and, with head up, gravely and noiselessly precede
him into the drawing-room--the only time he ever
dared to walk before him--and with a wave of the
hand and the air of a prince presenting one of his
palaces, would say--"Yo' char's all ready, Marse
Richard; bright fire burnin'." Adding, with a low,
sweeping bow, now that the ceremony was over--
"Hope yo're feelin' fine dis evenin', sah."

He had said it hundreds of times in the course of
the year, but always with a salutation that was a
special tribute, and always with the same low bow,
as he gravely pulled out the chair, puffing up the
back cushion, his wrinkled hands resting on it until
Richard had taken his seat. Then, with equal gravity, 
he would hand his master the evening paper and
the big-bowed spectacles, and would stand gravely
by until Richard had dismissed him with a gentle
"Thank you, Malachi; that will do." And Malachi,
with the serene, uplifted face as of one who had
served in a temple, would tiptoe out to his pantry.

It had gone on for years--this waiting for Richard 
at the foot of the staircase. Malachi had never
missed a night when his master was at home. It was
not his duty--not a part of the established regime
of the old house. No other family servant about Kennedy 
Square performed a like service for master or
mistress. It was not even a custom of the times.

It was only one of "Malachi's ways," Richard
would say, with a gentle smile quivering about his
lips.

"I do dat 'cause it's Marse Richard--dat's all,"
Malachi would answer, drawing himself up with the
dignity of a chamberlain serving a king, when someone 
had the audacity to question him--a liberty he
always resented.

They had been boys together--these two. They
had fished and hunted and robbed birds' nests and
gone swimming with each other. They had fought
for each other, and been whipped for each other many
and many a time in the old plantation-days. Night
after night in the years that followed they had sat
by each other when one or the other was ill.

And now that each was an old man the mutual service 
was still continued.

"How are you getting on now, Malachi--better?
Ah, that's good--" and the master's thin white hand
would be laid on the black wrinkled head with a
soothing touch.

"Allus feels better, Marse Richard, when I kin
git hold ob yo' han', sah--" Malachi would answer.

Not his slave, remember. Not so many pounds of
human flesh and bone and brains condemned to his
service for life; for Malachi was free to come and
go and had been so privileged since the day the old
Horn estate had been settled twenty years before,
when Richard had given him his freedom with the
other slaves that fell to his lot; not that kind of a
servitor at all, but his comrade, his chum, his friend;
the one man, black as he was, in all the world who
in laying down his life for him would but have
counted it as gain.

Just before tea Mrs. Horn, with a thin gossamer
shawl about her shoulders, would come down from
her bedroom above and join her husband. Then
young Oliver himself would come bounding in, always 
a little late, but always with his face aglow and
always bubbling over with laughter, until Malachi,
now that the last member of the family was at home,
would throw open the mahogany doors, and high tea
would be served in the dining-room on the well-
rubbed, unclothed mahogany table, the plates, forks,
and saucers under Malachi's manipulations touching
the polished wood as noiselessly as soap-bubbles.

Tea served and over, Malachi would light the candies 
in the big, cut-glass chandelier in the front parlor
--the especial pride of the hostess, it having hung
in her father's house in Virginia.

After this he would retire once more to his pantry,
this time to make ready for some special function to
follow; for every evening at the Horn mansion had
its separate festivity. On Mondays small whist-tables
that unfolded or let down or evolved from half-moons
into circles, their tops covered with green cloth, were
pulled out or moved around so as to form the centres
of cosey groups. Some extra sticks of hickory would
be brought in and piled on the andirons, and the huge
library-table, always covered with the magazines of
the day--Littell's, Westminster, Blackwood's, and the
Scientific Review, would be pushed back against the
wall to make room.

On Wednesdays there would be a dinner at six
o'clock, served without pretence or culinary assistance
from the pastry-cook outside--even the ices were prepared 
at home. To these dinners any distinguished
strangers who were passing through the city were
sure to be invited. Malachi in his time had served
many famous men--Charles Dickens, Ole Bull,
Macready, and once the great Mr. Thackeray himself
with a second glass of "that pale sherry, if you
please," and at the great man's request, too. An 
appreciation which, in the case of Mr. Thackeray, had
helped to mollify Malachi's righteous wrath over the
immortal novelist's ignorance of Southern dishes:

"Dat fat gemman wid de gold specs dat dey do
say is so mighty great, ain't eat nuffin yet but soup
an' a li'l mite o' 'tater," he said to Aunt Hannah on
one of his trips to the kitchen as dinner went on.
"He let dat tar'pin an' dem ducks go by him same
as dey was pizen. But I lay he knows 'bout dat ole
yaller sherry," and Malachi chuckled. "He keeps a'
retchin' fur dat decanter as if he was 'feared somebody'd 
git it fust."

On Fridays there would invariably be a musicale--
generally a quartette, with a few connoisseurs to
listen and to criticise. Then the piano would be
drawn out from its corner and the lid propped up,
so that Max Unger of the "Harmonie" could find
a place for his 'cello behind it, and there still be room
for the inventor with his violin--a violin with a tradition, 
for Ole Bull had once played on it and in that
same room, too, and had said it had the soul of a Cremona
--which was quite true when Richard Horn
touched its strings.

On all the other nights of the week Mrs. Horn
was at home to all who came. Some gentle old lady
from across the Square, perhaps, in lace caps and ribbons, 
with a work-basket filled with fancy crewels, and
whose big son came at nine o'clock to take her home;
or Oliver's young friends, boys and girls; or old Doctor 
Wallace, full of the day's gossip; or Miss Lavinia
Clendenning, with news of the latest Assembly; or
Nathan Gill with his flute.

But then it was Nathan always, whatever the occasion. 
From the time Malachi unlocked the front
doors in the morning until he bolted them for the
night, Nathan came and went. The brick pavements
were worn smooth, the neighbors said, between the
flute-player's humble lodgings in a side street and
the Horn house, so many trips a day did the old man
make. People smiled at him as he hurried along,
his head bent forward, his long pen-wiper cloak reaching 
to his heels, a wide-brimmed Quaker hat crowning 
his head.

And always, whenever the night or whatever the
function or whoever the guests, a particular side-table
was sure to be moved in from Malachi's pantry and
covered with a snow-white cloth which played an important 
part in the evening's entertainment. This
cloth was never empty. Upon its damask surface
were laid a pile of India-blue plates and a silver basket
of cake, besides a collection of low glass tumblers with
little handles, designed to hold various brews of Malachi's 
own concoctions, which he alone of all the denizens 
of Kennedy Square could compound, and the
secret of which unhappily has perished with him.

And what wondrous aromas, too!

You may not believe it, but I assure you, on the
honor of a Virginian, that for every one of these different 
nights in the old house on Kennedy Square
there were special savory odors emanating from these
brews, which settled at once and beyond question the
precise function of the evening, and all before you
could hand your hat to Malachi. If, for instance, as
the front door was opened the aroma was one of hot
coffee and the dry smell of fresh wafer-biscuit mingled 
with those of a certain brand of sherry, then it
was always to be plain whist in the parlor, with perhaps 
only Colonel Clayton and Miss Clendenning or
some one of the old ladies of the neighborhood, to hold
hands in a rubber. If the fumes of apple-toddy mingled 
with the fragrance of toasted apples were wafted
your way, you might be sure that Max Unger, and
perhaps Bobbinette, second violin, and Nathan--whatever 
the function it was always Nathan, it must be
remembered--and a few kindred spirits who loved
good music were expected; and at the appointed hour
Malachi, his hands encased in white cotton gloves,
would enter with a flourish, and would graciously beg
leave to pass, the huge bowl held high above his
head filled to the brim with smoking apple-toddy, the
little pippins browned to a turn floating on its top.

If the occasion was one of great distinction, one that
fell on Christmas or on New Year's, or which celebrated 
some important family gathering, the pungent
odor of eggnog would have greeted you even before
you could have slipped off your gum-shoes in the hall,
or hung your coat on the mahogany rack. This seductive 
concoction--the most potent of all Malachi's
beverages--was always served from a green and gold
Chinese bowl, and drunk not from the customary low
tumblers, but from special Spode cups, and was, I
must confess, productive of a head--for I myself was
once tempted to drink a bumper of it at this most
delightful of houses with young Oliver, many years
ago, it is true, but I have never forgotten it--productive 
of an ACHING head, I think I said, that felt
as big in the morning as the Canton bowl in which
the mixture had been brewed.

Or, if none of these functions or festivals were
taking place, and only one or two old cronies had
dropped in on their way from the Club, and had
drawn up their chairs close to the dining-room table,
and you had happened to be hanging up your hat
in the hall at that moment, you would have been
conscious of an aroma as delicate in flavor as that
wafted across summer seas from far-off tropic isles;
of pomegranates, if you will, ripening by crumbling
walls; of purple grapes drinking in the sun; of pine
and hemlock; of sweet spices and the scent of roses.
or any other combination of delightful things which
your excited imagination might suggest.

You would have known then just what had taken
place; how, when the gentlemen were seated, Malachi 
in his undress blue coat and brass buttons had
approached his master noiselessly from behind, and
with a gravity that befitted the occasion had bent low
his head, his hands behind his back, his head turned
on one side, and in a hushed voice had asked this most
portentous question:

"Which Madeira, Marse Richard?"

The only answer would have been a lifting of the
eyebrow and an imperceptible nod of his master's head
in the direction of the mahogany cellaret.

Malachi understood.

It was the Tiernan of '29.

And that worthy "Keeper of the Privy Seal and
Key," pausing for an instant with his brown jug of
a head bent before the cellaret, as a Mohammedan
bends his head before a wall facing Mecca, had there-
upon unlocked its secret chambers and had produced
a low, deeply cut decanter topped by a wondrous glass
stopper. This he had placed, with conscious importance, 
on a small table before the two or three devotees 
gathered together in its honor, and the host,
removing the stopper, had filled the slender glasses
with a vintage that had twice rounded the Cape--
a wine of such rare lineage and flavor that those who
had the honor of its acquaintance always spoke of it
as one of the most precious possessions of the town--
a wine, too, of so delicate an aroma that those within
the charmed circle invariably lifted the thin glasses
and dreamily inhaled its perfume before they granted
their palates a drop.

Ah, those marvellous, unforgettable aromas that
come to me out of the long ago with all the reminders
they bring of clink of glass and touch of elbow, of
happy boys and girls and sweet old faces. it is forty
years since they greeted my nostrils in the cool, bare,
uncurtained hall of the old house in Kennedy Square,
but they are still fresh in my memory. Sometimes
it is the fragrance of newly made gingerbread, or the
scent of creamy custard with just a suspicion of
peach-kernels; sometimes it is the scent of fresh
strawberries--strawberries that meant the spring, not
the hot-house or Bermuda--and sometimes it is the
smell of roasted oysters or succulent canvas-backs!
Forty years ago--and yet even to-day the perfume of
a roasted apple never greets me but I stand once more
in the old-fashioned room listening to the sound of
Nathan's flute; I see again the stately, silver-haired,
high-bred mistress of the mansion with her kindly
greeting, as she moves among her guests; I catch the
figure of that old darkey with his brown, bald head
and the little tufts of gray wool fringing its sides, as
he shuffles along in his blue coat and baggy white
waistcoat and much-too-big gloves, and I hear the
very tones of his voice as he pushes his seductive tray
before me and whispers, confidentially:

"Take a li'l ob de apple, sah; dat's whar de real
'spression oh de toddy is."




CHAPTER II

STRAINS FROM NATHAN'S FLUTE



It was one of those Friday evenings, then, when
the smell of roast apples steeping in hot toddy came
wafting out the portals of Malachi's pantry--a smell
of such convincing pungency that even the most infrequent 
of frequenters having once inhaled it, would
have known at the first whiff that some musical function 
was in order. The night was to be one of unusual
interest.

Nathan Gill and Max linger were expected, and
Miss Lavinia Clendenning, completing with Richard
a quartette for 'cello, flute, piano, and violin, for
which Unger had arranged Beethoven's Overture to
"Fidelio."

Nathan, of course, arrived first. On ordinary occasions 
another of those quaint ceremonies for which the
house was famous would always take place when the
old flute-player entered the drawing-room--a ceremony 
which brought a smile to the lips of those who
had watched it for years, and which to this day brings
one to those who recall it. Nathan, with a look of
quizzical anxiety on his pinched face, would tiptoe
cautiously into the room, peering about to make sure
of Richard's presence, his thin, almost transparent
fingers outspread before him to show Richard that
they were empty. Richard would step forward and,
with a tone of assumed solicitude in his voice, would
say:

"Don't tell me, Nathan, that you have forgotten
your flute?" and Nathan, pausing for a moment,
would suddenly break into a smile, and with a queer
little note of surprise in his throat, and a twinkle in
his eye, would make answer by slowly drawing from
his coat-tail pocket the three unjointed pieces, holding 
them up with an air of triumph and slowly putting
them together. Then these two old "Merry-Andrews" 
would lock arms and stroll into the library,
laughing like school-boys.

To-night, however, as Nathan had been specially
invited to play, this little ceremony was omitted. On
entering the hall the musician gave his long, black,
pen-wiper cloak and his hat to Malachi, and supporting 
himself by his delicate fingers laid flat on the
hall-table, extended first one thin leg, and then the
other, while that obsequious darky unbuttoned his
gaiters. His feet free, he straightened himself up,
pulled the precious flute from his coat-tail pocket and
carefully joined the parts. This done, he gave a look
into the hall-mirror, puffed out his scarf, combed
his straight white hair forward over his ears with
his fingers, and at Malachi's announcement glided
through the open doorway to Mrs. Horn's chair, the
flute in his hand held straight out as an orator would
have held his roll.

The hostess, who had been sitting by the fire, her
white gossamer shawl about her spare shoulders, rose
from her high-backed chair and, laying aside her
knitting-needles and wools, greeted the musician with
as much cordiality--and it must be confessed with
as much ceremony--as if she had not seen him a
dozen times that week. One of the charms of the
Horn mansion lay in these delightful blendings of
affection and formality.

"Am I a little early?" he asked with as much
surprise as if he were not as certain to be early
when music was concerned as he was to be late in
everything else. "Yes, my dear madam--I see that
I am early, unless Miss Lavinia is late."

"You never could be too early, Nathan. Lavinia
will be here in a moment," she answered, with a
smile, resuming her seat.

"I'm glad that I'm ahead of her for once," he
replied, laughing. Then, turning to the inventor,
who had come forward from where he had been
studying the new score, he laid his hand affectionately 
on Richard's shoulder, as a boy would have
done, and added: "How do you like Unger's new
arrangement?--I've been thinking of nothing else
all day."

"Capital! Capital!" answered Richard, slipping
his arm into Nathan's, and drawing him closer to the
piano. "See how he has treated this adagio phrase,"
and he followed the line with his finger, humming
the tune to Nathan. "The modulation, you see, is
from E Major to A Major, and the flute sustains the
melody, the effect is so peculiarly soft and the whole
so bright with passages of sunshine all through it
--oh, you will love it."

While these two white-haired enthusiasts with
their heads together were studying the score, beating 
time with their hands, after the manner of experts 
to whom all the curious jumble of dots and
lines that plague so many of us are as plain as print,
Malachi was receiving Miss Clendenning in the hall.
Indeed, he had answered her knock as Nathan was
passing into the drawing-room.

The new arrival bent her neck until Malachi had
relieved her of the long hooded cloak, gave a quick
stamp with her little feet as she shook out her balloon 
skirts, and settled herself on the hall-settee
while Malachi unwound the white worsted "nubia"
from her aristocratic throat. This done, she, too,
held a short consultation with the hall-mirror, carefully 
dusting, with her tiny handkerchief, the little
pats of powder still left on her cheeks, and with her
jewelled fingers smoothing the soft hair parted over
her forehead, and tightening meanwhile the side-
combs that kept in place the clusters of short curls
which framed her face. Then, with head erect and a
gracious recognition of the old servant's ministrations, 
she floated past Malachi, bent double in her
honor.

"Oh, I heard you, Nathan," she laughed, waving
her fan toward him as she entered the room. "I'm
not one minute late. Did you ever hear such impudence, 
Sallie, and all because he reached your door
one minute before me," she added, stooping to kiss
Mrs. Horn. Punctuality was one of the cardinal
virtues of this most distinguished, prim, precise, and
most lovable of old maids. "You are really getting
to be dreadful, Mr. Nathan Gill, and so puffed up
--isn't he, Richard?" As she spoke she turned
abruptly and faced both gentlemen. Then, with one
of her rippling laughs--a laugh that Richard always
said reminded him of the notes of a bird--she caught
her skirts in her fingers, made the most sweeping of
courtesies and held out her hands to the two gentlemen 
who were crossing the room to meet her.

Richard, with the bow of a Cavalier, kissed the
one offered him as gallantly as if she had been a
duchess, telling her he had the rarest treat in store
for her as soon as Unger came, and Nathan with
mock devotion held the other between his two palms,
and said that to be scolded by Miss Clendenning was
infinitely better than being praised by anybody else.
These pleasantries over, the two old gallants returned
to the piano to wait for Max Unger and to study
again the crumpled pages of the score which lay
under the soft light of the candles.

The room relapsed once more into its wonted quiet,
broken only by the whispered talk of well-bred people 
careful not to disturb each other. Mrs. Horn
had begun to knit again. Miss Clendenning stood
facing the fire, one foot resting on the fender.

This wee foot of the little lady was the delight
and admiration of all the girls about Kennedy
Square, and of many others across the seas, too--
men and women for that matter. To-night it was
encased in a black satin slipper and in a white spider-
web stocking, about which were crossed two narrow
black ribbons tied in a bow around the ankle--such
a charming little slipper peeping out from petticoats
all bescalloped and belaced! Everything in fact
about this dainty old maid, with her trim figure filling 
out her soft white fichu, still had that subtlety of
charm which had played havoc with more than one
heart in her day. Only Sallie Horn, who had all the
dear woman's secrets, knew where those little feet
had stepped and what hopes they had crushed. Only
Sallie Horn, too, knew why the delicate finger was
still bare of a plain gold ring. The world never
thought it had made any difference to Miss Lavinia,
but then the world had never peeped under the lower
lid of Miss Clendenning's heart.

Suddenly the hushed quiet of the room was broken
by a loud knock at the front door, or rather by a
series of knocks, so quick and sharp that Malachi
started from his pantry on the run.

"That must be Max," said Richard. "Now, Lavinia, 
we will move the piano, so as to give you more
room."

Mrs. Horn pushed back her chair, rose to her feet,
and stood waiting to receive the noted 'cellist, without 
whom not a note could be sounded, and Miss
Clendenning took her foot from the fender and
dropped her skirts.

But it was not Max!

Not wheezy, perspiring old Max Unger after all,
walking into the room mopping his face with one
hand and with the other lugging his big 'cello, embalmed 
in a green baize bag--he would never let
Malachi touch it--not Max at all, but a fresh, rosy-
cheeked young fellow of twenty-two, who came
bounding in with a laugh, tossing his hat to Malachi
--a well-knit, muscular young fellow, with a mouth
full of white teeth and a broad brow projecting over
two steel-blue eyes that were snapping with fun.

With his coming the quiet of the place departed
and a certain breezy atmosphere permeated the room
as if a gust of cool wind had followed him. With
him, too, came a hearty, whole-souled joyousness--
a joyousness of so sparkling and so radiant a kind
that it seemed as if all the sunshine he had breathed
for twenty years in Kennedy Square had somehow
been stored away in his boyish veins.

"Oh, here you are, you dear Miss Lavinia," he
cried out, his breath half gone from his dash across
the Square. "How did you get here first?"

"On my two feet, you stupid Oliver," cried Miss
Lavinia, shaking her curls at him. "Did you think
somebody carried me?"

"No, I didn't; but that wouldn't be much to
carry, Miss Midget." His pet name for her. "But
which way did you come? I looked up and down
every path and--"

"And went all the way round by Sue Clayton's
to find me, didn't you? Oh, you can't throw dust
in the Midget's eyes, you young rascal!" and she
stretched up her two dainty hands; drew his face
toward her, and kissed him on the lips.

"There--" and she patted his cheek-- "now tell
me all about it, you dear Ollie. What did you
want to see me for?" she added with one of those
quick divinations that made her so helpful a confidante. 
Then, in a lowered voice-- "What has Sue
done?"

"Nothing--not one thing. She isn't bothering
her head about me. I only stopped there to leave a
book, and--"

Mrs. Horn, with laughing, inquiring eyes, looked
up from her chair at Miss Clendenning, and made a
little doubting sound with her lips. Black-eyed Sue
Clayton, with her curls down her back, home from
boarding-school for the Easter holidays, was Oliver's
latest flame. His mother loved to tease him about
his love-affairs; and always liked him to have a new
one. She could see farther into his heart she thought
when the face of some sweet girl lay mirrored in its
depths.

Oliver heard the doubting sound his mother made,
and, reaching over her chair, flung his arms about
her neck and kissed her as if she had been a girl.

"Now, don't you laugh, you dear old motherkins,"
he cried, drawing her nearer to him until her face
touched his. "Sue don't care a thing about me, and
I did promise her the book, and I ran every step of
the way to give it to her--didn't I, Uncle Nat?" he
added, gayly, hoping to divert the topic. "You were
behind the sun-dial when I passed--don't you remember?" 
He shrank a little from the badinage.

The old musician heard the question, but only
waved his flute behind him in answer. He did not
even lift his head from beside Richard's at the score.

Oliver waited an instant, and getting no further
reply, released his hold about his mother's neck, now
that he had kissed her into silence, and turned to Miss
Clendenning again.

"Come, Miss Lavinia--come into the library. I've
something very important to talk to you about.
Really, now; no nonsense about it! You've plenty
of time--old Max won't be here for an hour, he's always 
late, isn't he, mother?"

Miss Clendenning turned quietly, lifted her eyes
in a martyr-like way toward Mrs. Horn, who shook
her head playfully in answer, and with Oliver's arm
about her entered the library. She could never refuse 
any one of the young people when they came
to her with their secrets--most important and never-
to-be-postponed secrets, of course, that could hardly
wait the telling. Her little tea-room across the
Square, with its red damask curtains, its shiny brass
andirons, easy-chairs and lounges, was really more
of a confessional than a boudoir. Many a sorrow had
been drowned in the cups of tea that she had served
with her own hand in egg-shell Spode cups, and many
a young girl and youth who had entered its cosey
interior with heavy hearts had left it with the sunshine 
of a new hope breaking through their tears.
But then everybody knew the bigness of Miss Clendenning's 
sympathies. It was one of the things for
which they loved her.

She, of course, knew what the boy wanted now.
If it were not to talk about Sue Clayton it was sure
to be about some one of the other girls. The young
people thought of nothing else but their love-affairs,
and talked of nothing else, and the old people loved
to live their youth over again in listening. It was
one of the traditional customs of Kennedy Square.

Miss Clendenning settled herself in a corner of the
carved haircloth sofa, touched her side-combs with
her finger to see that they were in place, tucked a
red cushion behind her back, crossed her two little
feet on a low stool, the two toes peeping out like
the heads of two mice, and taking Oliver's hand in
hers said, in her sweet, coaxing voice:

"Now, you dear boy, it is Sue, isn't it?"

"No!"

"Not Sue? Who then?"

"Mr. Crocker."

"What Mr. Crocker?" She arched her eyebrows
and looked at him in surprise. The name came as
a shock. She knew of Mr. Crocker, of course, but she
wanted Oliver to describe him. Surely, she thought,
with a sudden sense of alarm, the boy has not fallen
in love with the daughter of that shabby old man.

"Why, the landscape-painter--the one father
knows. I have been taking drawing lessons of him
and he says I've got a lot of talent and that all I
want is practice. He says that if I begin now and
draw from the cast three or four hours a day that by
the end of the year I can begin in color; and then
I can go to New York and study, and then to Paris."

The little lady scrutinized him from under her
eyelids. The boy's enthusiasm always delighted her;
she would often forget what he was talking about,
so interested was she in following his gestures as
he spoke.

"And what then?"

"Why then I can be a painter, of course. Isn't
that a great deal better than sitting every day in
Judge Ellicott's dingy office reading law-books? I
hate the law!"

"And you love Mr. Crocker?"

"Yes, don't you?"

"I don't know him, Ollie. Tell me what he is
like."

"Well, he isn't young any more. He's about
father's age, but he's a splendid old man, and he's so
poor! Nobody buys his pictures, nor appreciates him,
and, just think, he has to paint portraits and dogs
and anything he can get to do. Don't you think
that's a shame? Nobody goes to see him but father
and Uncle Nat and one or two others. They don't
seem to think him a gentleman." He was putting
the case so as to enlist all her sympathies at once.

"He has a daughter, hasn't he?" She was
probing him quietly and without haste. Time
enough for her sympathies to work when she got at
the facts.

"Yes, but I don't like her very much, for I don't
think she's very good to him." Miss Clendenning
smothered a little sigh of relief; there was no danger;
thank Heaven, in that direction! What, then, could
he want, she thought to herself.

"And he's so different from anybody I ever met,"
Oliver continued. "He doesn't talk about horses
and duck-shooting and politics, or music or cards like
everyone you meet, except Daddy, but he talks about
pictures and artists and great men. Just think, he
was a young student in Dusseldorf for two years, and
then he shouldered a knapsack and tramped all
through Switzerland, painting as he went, and often
paying for his lodgings with his sketches. Then he
was in Paris for ever so long, and now he is here,
where--"

"Where you tell me he is painting dogs for a
living," interrupted Miss Clendenning. "Do you
think, you young scapegrace, that this would be better 
than being a lawyer like Judge Ellicott?" and
she turned upon him with one of her quick outbursts
of mock indignation.

"But I'm not going to paint dogs," he replied,
with some impatience. "I am going to paint women,
like the Sir Peter Lely that Uncle John Tilghman
has. Oh, she's a beauty! I took Mr. Crocker to see
her the other day. It had just been brought in from
the country, you know. You should have heard him
go on. He says there's nobody who can paint a portrait 
like it nowadays. He raved about her. You
know it is Uncle John Tilghman's grandmother when
she was a girl." His voice suddenly dropped to a
more serious tone as he imparted this last bit of
information.

Miss Clendenning knew whose grandmother it was,
and knew and loved every tone in the canvas. It
had hung in the Tilghman Manor-House for years
and was one of its most precious treasures, but she
did not intend to stop and discuss it now.

"Mr. Crocker wants me to copy it just as soon
as I draw a little better. Uncle John will let me,
I know."

Miss Clendenning tapped her foot in a noiseless
tattoo upon the stool, and for a time looked off into
space. She wanted to draw him out, to know from
what depth this particular enthusiasm had sprung.
She was accustomed to his exuberance of spirits, it
was one of the many things she loved him for. If
this new craze were but an idle fancy, and he had
had many of them, it would wear itself out, and the
longer they talked about it the better. If, however,
it sprang from an inborn taste, and was the first 
indication of a hitherto undeveloped talent forcing itself 
to the surface, the situation was one demanding
the greatest caution. Twigs like Oliver bent at the
wrong time might never straighten out again.

"And why did you come to me about this, Ollie;
why don't you talk to your father?"

"I have. He doesn't object. He says that Mr.
Crocker is one of the rare men of the time, and that
only inexperience among the people here prevents
him from being appreciated. That's what he goes
to see him for. It isn't father that worries me, it's
mother. I know just whet she'll say. She's got her
heart set on my studying law, and she won't listen
to anything else. I wouldn't object to the law if I
cared for it, but I don't. That's what makes it come
so hard."

"And you want me to speak to your mother?"

"Yes, of course. That's just what I DO want you
to do. Nobody can help me but you," he cried with
that coaxing manner which would have seemed
effeminate until one looked at his well-built, muscular 
body and the firm lines about his mouth. "You
tell her of all the painters you knew in London when
you lived there, and of what they do and how they
are looked up to, and that some of them are gentlemen 
and not idlers and loafers. Mother will listen
to you, I know, and maybe then when I tell her it
won't be such a shock to her. Do you know it is
incomprehensible to me, all this contempt for people
who don't do just the same things that their grandfathers 
did. And how do I know, too, that they are
right about it all? It seems to me that when a man
is born a gentleman and is a gentleman he can follow
any occupation he pleases. Instead of his trade making 
him respectable he should make IT so." He spoke
with a virility she had never suspected in him before,
this boy whom she had held in her arms as a baby
and who was still only the child to her.

"But, Ollie," she interrupted, in some surprise,
"you must never forget that you are your father's
son. No one is absolutely independent in this world;
everyone has his family to consider." She was becoming 
not only interested now, but anxious. Mr.
Crocker had evidently been teaching the boy something 
besides the way to use his pencil. Such democratic 
ideas were rare in Kennedy Square.

"Yes, I know what you mean." He had sprung
from his seat now and was standing over her, she
looking up into his face. "You mean that it is all
right for me to go into old Mr. Wardell's counting-
house because he sells coffee by the cargo, but that
I can't take a situation in Griggson's grocery here on
the corner because he sells coffee by the pound. You
mean, too, that it is possible for a man to be a professor 
or president of a college and still be a gentleman, 
but if he teaches in the public school he is
done for. You mean, too, that I could saw off a
patient's leg and still be invited to Uncle Tilghman's
house to dinner, but that if I pulled out one of his
teeth I could only eat in his kitchen."

Miss Clendenning threw back her head and laughed
until the combs in her side-curls needed refastening,
but she did not interrupt him.

"I can't get this sort of thing into my head and
I never will. And father doesn't believe in it any
more than I do, and I don't think that mother would
if it wasn't for a lot of old people who live around
this square and who talk of nothing all day but their
relations and think there's nobody worth knowing
but themselves. Now, you've GOT to talk to mother;
I won't take no for an answer," and he threw himself 
down beside her again. "Come, dear Midget,
hold up your right hand and promise me now, before 
I let you go," he pleaded in his wheedling
way that made him so lovable to his intimates,
catching her two hands in his and holding them
tight.

Of course she promised. Had she ever refused
him anything? And Oliver, a boy again, now that
his confessions were made, kissed her joyously on
both cheeks and instantly forgetting his troubles as
his habit was when prospects of relief had opened,
he launched out into an account of a wonderful adventure 
Mr. Crocker once had in an old town in
Italy, where he was locked up over-night in a convent 
by mistake; and how he had slept on his knapsack 
in the chapel, and what the magistrate had said
to him the next day, and how he had to paint a portrait 
of that suspicious officer to prove he was a
painter and a man of the best intentions. In his
enthusiasm he not only acted the scene, but he imitated
the gesture and dialect of the several parties to
the escapade so perfectly that the little lady, in her
delight over the story, quite forgot her anxiety and
even the musicale itself, and only remembered the
quartette when Malachi, bowing obsequiously before
her, said:

"Dey's a-waitin' for you, Miss Lavinia. Mister
Unger done come and Marse Richard say he can't
wait a minute."

When she and Oliver entered the drawing-room
the 'cellist was the centre of the group. He was
stripping off the green baize cover from his instrument 
and at the same time was apologizing, in his
broken English, for being so late. Richard was interrupting 
him with enthusiastic outbursts over the
new score which still lay under the wax candles lighting 
the piano, and which he and Nathan, while waiting 
for the musician, had been silently practising in
sundry bobs of their heads and rhythmic beatings of
their hands.

"My dear Max," Richard continued, with a hand
on the musician's shoulder, patting him in appreciation 
as he spoke, "we will forgive you anything.
You have so exactly suited to the 'cello the opening
theme. And the flute passages!--they are exquisitely
introduced. We will let Miss Clendenning decide
when she hears it--" and he turned Unger's head in
the direction of the advancing lady. "Here she
comes now; you, of course, know the fine quality
of Miss Clendenning's ear."

Herr Unger placed his five fat fingers over his
waist-baud, bowed as low to Miss Lavinia as his great
girth would permit, and said:

"Ah, yes, I know. Miss Clendenning not only
haf de ear she haf de life in de end of de finger. De
piano make de sound like de bird when she touch
it."

The little lady thanked him in her sweetest voice,
made a courtesy, and extended her hand to Max, who
kissed it with much solemnity, and Richard, putting
his arm around the 'cellist's fat shoulders, conducted
him across the room, whereupon Nathan, with the
assumed air of an old beau, offered his crooked elbow
to Miss Clendenning as an apology for having reached
the house before her. Then, seating her at the piano
with a great flourish, he waved his hand to Oliver,
who had drawn up a chair beside his mother, and with
a laugh, cried:

"Here, you young love; come and turn the leaves
for Miss Lavinia. It may keep you from running
over other people in the dark, even if they are accused
of hiding behind sun-dials."

With the beginning of the overture Mrs. Horn laid
down her work, and drawing her white gossamer
shawl about her shoulders gave herself up to the enjoyment 
of the music. The overture was one of her
favorites--one she and Richard had often played
together as a duet in their younger days.

Leaning back in her easy-chair with half-closed
eyes, her clear-cut features in silhouette against the
glow of the fire, her soft gray curls nestling in the
filmy lace that fell about her temples, she expressed,
in every line of her face and figure, that air of graceful 
repose which only comes to those highly favored
women who have all their lives been nurtured in a
home of loving hands, tender voices, and noiseless
servants--lives of never-ending affection without
care or sorrow.

And yet had you, even as she sat there, studied
carefully this central figure of the Horn mansion
--this practical, outspoken, gentle-voiced, tender
wife and mother, tenacious of her opinions, yet big
enough and courageous enough to acknowledge her
mistakes; this woman, wise in counsel, sympathetic
in sorrow, joyous with the young, restful with the
old, you would have discovered certain lines about
her white forehead which advancing years alone
could not have accounted for.

These lines seemed all the deeper to-night. Only
a few hours before, Richard had come to her, while
Malachi was arranging his clothes, with the joyful
news of a new device which he had developed during
the day for his motor. He could hardly wait to
tell her, he had said. The news was anything but
joyful to her. She knew what it meant--she knew
what sums had been wasted on the other devices, involving 
losses which at this time they could so little 
afford. She was glad, therefore, to free her mind
for the moment from these anxieties; glad to sit
alone and drink in the melodies that the quartette
set free.

As she sat listening, beating time noiselessly with
her thin, upraised hand, her head resting quietly, a
clear, silvery note--clear as a bird's--leaped from
Nathan's flute, soared higher and higher, trembled
like a lark poised in air, and died away in tones of
such exquisite sweetness that she turned her head in
delight toward the group about the piano, fixing her
gaze on Nathan. The old man's eyes were riveted on
the score, his figure bent forward in the intensity of
his absorption, his whole face illumined with the
ecstasy that possessed him. Then she looked at
Richard, standing. with his back to her, his violin
tucked under his chin, his body swaying in rhythm
with the music. Unger sat next to him, his instrument 
between his knees, his stolid, shiny face unruffled 
by the glorious harmonies of Beethoven.

Then her glance rested on Oliver. He was hanging 
over the piano whispering in Miss Clendenning's.
ear, his face breaking into smiles at her playful chidings. 
If the pathos of the melody had reached him
he showed no sign of its effects.

Instantly there welled up in her heart a sudden
gush of tenderness--one of those quick outbursts
that often overwhelm a mother when her eyes rest
on a son whose heart is her own--an outburst all the
more intensified by the melody that thrilled her.
Why should her heart have been troubled? Here
was her strong hope! Here was her chief reliance!
Here the hope of the future. How could she doubt
or suffer when this promise of the coming day was
before her in all the beauty and strength of his young
manhood.

With the echoes of Nathan's flute still vibrating
in her, and with her mind filled with the delight of
these fresh hopes, she suddenly recalled the anxious
look on her boy's face as he led Miss Clendenning
into the library--a new look--one she had never
seen before. Still under the quickening spell of the
music she began to exaggerate its cause. What had
troubled him? Why had he told Lavinia, and not
her? Was there anything serious?--something he
had kept from her to save her pain?

From this moment her mind became absorbed in
her boy. With restless, impatient fingers she began
thrumming on the arm of her chair. Oliver would
tell her, she knew, before many hours, but she could
not wait--she wanted to know at once.

With the ending of the first part of the overture,
and before the two gentlemen had laid down their
instruments to grasp Unger's hands, she called to
Miss Clendenning, who sat at the piano alone, Oliver
having slipped away unobserved.

Miss Clendenning raised her eyes in answer.
"Come over and sit by me, dear, while the gentlemen 
rest."

Miss Clendenning picked up her white silk mits
and fan lying beside the candles, and moved toward
the fireplace. Malachi saw her coming--he was always 
in the room during the interludes--and with
an alacrity common to him when the distinguished
little lady was present, drew up a low chair beside
his mistress and stood behind it until she took her
seat. Miss Clendenning smoothed out her skirt and
settled herself with the movement of a pigeon filling
her nest. Then she laid her mits in her lap and
fanned herself softly.

"Well, Sallie, what is it? Did you ever hear
Nathan play so well!" she asked, at last.

"What did Oliver want, my dear?" replied Mrs.
Horn, ignoring her question. "Is there anything
worrying him, or is Sue at the bottom of it!"

The little woman smiled quizzically. "No, Sallie
--not Sue--not this time. That little rattle-brain's
affections will only last the week out. Nothing very
important--that is, nothing urgent. We were talking 
about the Tilghman portraits and the Lely
that Cousin John has brought into town from Claymore 
Manor, and what people should and should not
do to earn their living, and what professions were
respectable. I thought one thing and Ollie thought
another. Now, what profession of all others would
you choose for a young man starting out in life?"

"What has he been telling you, Lavinia? Does
he want to leave Judge Ellicott's office?" Mrs. Horn
asked, quietly, She always went straight to the root
of any matter.

"Just answer my question, Sallie."

"I'd rather he'd be a lawyer, of course; why?"

"Suppose he won't, or can't?"

"Is that what he told you, Lavinia, on the sofa?"
She was leaning forward, her cheek on her hand, her
eyes fixed on the blazing logs.

"He told me a great many things, half of them
boy's talk. Now answer my question; suppose he
couldn't study law because his heart wasn't in it,
what then?"

"I know, Lavinia, what you mean." There was
an anxious tone now in the mother's voice. "And
Oliver talked to you about this?" As she spoke she
settled back in her chair and a slight sigh escaped
her.

"Don't ask me, Sallie, for I'm not going to tell
you. I want to know for myself what you think, so
that I can help the boy."

Mrs. Horn turned her head and looked toward
Richard. She had suspected as much from some hints
that Judge Ellicott had dropped when she had asked
him about Oliver's progress. "He is still holding
down his chair, Madam." She thought at the time
that it was one of the Judge's witticisms, but she saw
now that it had a deeper meaning. After some moments 
she said, fixing her eyes on Miss Clendenning:

"Well, now, Lavinia, tell me what YOU think. I
should like your opinion. What would you wish
to do with him if he were your son?"

Miss Lavinia smiled and her eyes half-closed. For
a brief moment there came to her the picture of
what such a blessing would have been. Her son!
No! It was always somebody else's son or daughter
to whom her sympathy must go.

"Well, Sallie," she answered--she was leaning
over now, her hands in her lap, apparently with lowered 
eyelids, but really watching Mrs. Horn's, face
from the corner of her eye--"I don't think we can
make a clergyman out of him, do you?" Mrs. Horn
frowned, but she did not interrupt. "No, we cannot 
make a parson out of him. I meant, my love,
something in surplices, not in camp-meetings, of
course. Think of those lovely pink cheeks in a high
collar and Bishop's sleeves, wouldn't he be too sweet
for anything?" and she laughed one of her little cooing 
laughs. "Nor a doctor," she continued, with
a slight interrogation in her tone, "nor a shopkeeper, 
nor a painter"--and she shot a quick glance
from under her arching eyebrows at her companion
--but Mrs. Horn's face gave no sign--"nor a musician. 
Why not a musician, Sallie, he sings like an
angel, you know?" She was planting her shafts all
about the target, her eyes following the flight of each
arrow.

Mrs. Horn raised her head and laid her hand
firmly on Miss Clendenning's wrist.

"We won't have him a shopkeeper, Lavinia," she
said with some positiveness, "nor a barber, nor a
painter, nor a cook, nor a dentist. We'll try and
keep him a gentleman, my dear, whatever happens.
As for his being a musician, I think you will agree
with me, that music is only possible as an accomplishment, 
never when it is a profession. Look at that
dear old man over there"--and she pointed to Nathan, 
who was bending forward running over on his
flute some passages from the score, his white hair
covering his coat-collar behind--"so absolutely unfitted 
for this world as he is, so purposeless, so hopelessly 
inert. He breathes his whole soul into that
flute and yet--"

"And a good deal comes out of it sometimes, my
dear--to-night, for instance," laughed Miss Lavinia.
"Did you catch those bird-like notes?"

"Yes, and they thrilled me through and through,
but sweet as they are they haven't helped him make
a career."

At this moment Richard called to Unger, who had
been sitting on the sofa in the library, "cooling off,"
he said, as he mopped his head with a red handkerchief, 
one of Malachi's cups in his hand.

Miss Lavinia caught sight of the 'cellist's advancing 
figure and rose from her seat. "I must go now,"
she said, "they want to play it again." She moved
a step forward, gave a glance at her side-curls in the
oval mirror over the mantel, stopped hesitatingly,
and then bending over Mrs. Horn said, thoughtfully,
her hand on her companion's shoulder, "Sallie, don't
try to make water run uphill. If Ollie belonged to
me I'd let him follow his tastes, whatever they were.
You'll spoil the shape of his instep if you keep him
wearing Chinese shoes," and she floated over to join
the group of musicians.

Mrs. Horn again settled herself in her chair. She
understood now the look on Oliver's face. She was
right then; something was really worrying him. The
talk with Miss Lavinia had greatly disturbed her--.
so much so that she could not listen to the music.
Again her eyes rested on Oliver, who had come in
and joined the group at the piano, all out of breath
with his second run across the Square--this time to
tell Sue of Miss Clendenning's promise. He was
never happy unless he was sharing what was on his
mind with another, and if there was a girl within
reach he was sure to pour it into her willing ears.

Mrs. Horn looked at him with a pang about her
heart. From which side of the house had come this
fickleness, this instability and love of change in
Oliver's character? she asked herself--a new interest 
every day--all the traditions of his forefathers
violated. How could she overcome it in him? how
make him more practical? Years before, when she
had thought him proud, she had sent him to market
and had made him carry home the basket on his arm,
facing the boys who laughed at him. He had never
forgotten the lesson; he was neither proud nor lazy
any more. But what could she do in a situation like
this?

Harassed by these doubts her eyes wandered over
Oliver's slender, well-knit muscular figure as he stood
whispering to Miss Clendenning. She noticed the
fine, glossy hair brushed from the face and worn long
in the neck, curling behind the ears. She noted
every movement of his body: the graceful way in
which he talked with his hands, using his fingers to
accentuate his words, and the way in which he
shrugged his shoulders--the shrug of a Frenchman,
although not a drop of their blood could be found in
his veins--and in the quick lifting of the hand and
the sidelong glance of the eye, all so characteristic
of Richard when some new thought or theory reached
his brain for the first time. Gradually and unconsciously 
she began to compare each feature of Oliver's
face with that of the father who stood beside him:
the alert blue, eyes; overhanging brow and soft silkiness 
of the hair--identically the name, even the way
it lay in the neck. And again she looked at Richard,
drawing the bow as if in a dream.

Instantly a thought entered her mind that drove
the blood from her cheeks. These vacillations of
her husband's! This turning from one thing to another
--first the law, then these inventions that never
lead anywhere, and now Oliver beginning in the
same way, almost in the same steps! Could these
traits be handed down to the children? Would Oliver 
be like Richard in----

Instinctively she stopped short before the disloyal
thought could form itself in her brain, straightened
herself in her chair, and closed her lips tight.

The music ceased; Nathan laid his flute on the
piano; Unger rose. from his seat, and Richard turned
to talk to Miss Clendenning. But she was unmindful
of it all--she still sat in her chair, her eyes searching
the blazing logs, her hands in her lap.

Only Malachi with his silver tray recalled her to
consciousness.




CHAPTER III

THE OPEN-AIR DRAWING-ROOMS OF KENNIDY SQUARE



If in the long summer days Kennedy Square was
haunted by the idle and the weary, in the cool summer 
nights its dimly lighted paths were alive with
the tread of flying feet, and its shadowy benches gay
with the music of laughter and merry greetings.

With the going down of the sun, the sidewalks were
sprinkled, and the whole street about the Square
watered from curb to curb, to cool its sun-baked
cobbles. The doors and windows of all the houses
were thrown wide to welcome the fresh night-air,
laden with the perfume of magnolia, jasmine, and
sweet-smelling box. Easy-chairs and cushions were
brought out and placed on the clean steps of the
porches, and the wide piazzas covered with squares of
china-matting to make ready for the guests of the
evening.

These guests would begin to gather as soon as the
twilight settled; the young girls in their pretty muslin 
frocks and ribbons, the young men in white duck
suits and straw hats. They thronged the cool, well-
swept paths, chattered in bunches under the big
trees, or settled like birds on the stone seats and
benches. Every few minutes some new group, fresh
from their tea-tables, would emerge from one of the
houses, poise like a flock of pigeons on the top step,
listen to the guiding sound of the distant laughter,
and then swoop down in mad frolic, settling in the
midst of the main covey, under the big sycamores
until roused at the signal of some male bird in a
straw hat, or in answer to the call of some bare-headed
songstress from across the Square, the whole covey
would dash out one of the rickety gates, only to alight
again on the stone steps of a neighbor's porch, where
their chatter and pipings would last far into the night.

It was extraordinary how, from year to year, these
young birds and even the old ones remembered the
best perches about the Square. On Colonel Clayton's 
ample portico--big enough to shelter half a
dozen covies behind its honeysuckles--both young
and old would settle side by side; the younger bevy
hovering about the Judge's blue-eyed daughter--a
bird so blithe and of so free a wing, that the flock
always followed wherever she alighted. On Judge
Bowman's wide veranda only a few old cocks from
the club could be found, and not infrequently, some
rare birds from out of town perched about a table
alive with the clink of glass and rattle of crushed ice,
while next the church, on old Mrs. Pancoast's portico, 
with its tall Corinthian columns--Mr. Pancoast
was the archdeacon of the Noah's ark church--one
or two old grandmothers and a grave old owl of a
family doctor were sure to fill the rocking-chairs.
As for Richard Horn's marble steps they were never
free from stray young couples who flew in to rest on
Malachi's chairs and cushions. Sometimes only one
bird and her mate would be tucked away in the
shadow of the doorway; sometimes only an old pair,
like Mrs. Horn and Richard, would occupy its corners.

These porticoes and stone door-steps were really
the open-air drawing-rooms of Kennedy Square in
the soft summer nights. Here ices were served and
cool drinks--sherbets for the young and juleps and
sherry cobblers for the old. At the Horn house, on
great occasions, as when some big melon that had lain
for days on the cool cellar floor was cut (it was worth
a day's journey to see Malachi cut a melon), the
guests would not only crowd the steps, but all the hall
and half up the slender staircase, where they would
sit with plates in their laps, the young men serving
their respective sweethearts.

This open-air night-life had gone on since Kennedy 
Square began; each door-step had its habitues
and each veranda its traditions. There was but one
single porch, in fact, facing its stately trees whereon
no flocks of birds, old or young, ever alighted, and
that belonged to Peter Skimmerton--the meanest
man in town--who in a fit of parsimony over candles,
so the girls said, had bared his porch of every protesting 
vine and had placed opposite his door-step a
glaring street gas-lamp---a monstrous and never-to-
be-forgotten affront.

And yet, free and easy as the life was, no stranger
sat himself down on any one of these porches until
his pedigree had been thoroughly investigated, no
matter how large might be his bank-account nor how
ambitious his soarings. No premeditated discourtesy
ever initialed this exclusiveness and none was ever
intended. Kennedy Square did not know the blood
of the stranger--that was all--and not knowing it
they could not trust him. And it would have been altogether 
useless for him to try to disguise his antecedents
--especially if he came from their own State--
or any State south of it. His record could be as
easily reached and could be as clearly read as a title-
deed. Even the servants knew. Often they acted as
Clerks of the Rolls.

"Dat Mister Jawlins, did you ask 'bout?" Malachi
would say. "Why you know whar he comes f'om.
He's one o' dem Anne Rundle Jawlinses. He do look
mighty peart an' dey do say he's mighty rich, but
he can't fool Malachi. I knowed his gran'pa," and
that wise and politic darky, with the honor of the
house before his eyes, would shake his head knowingly 
and with such an ominous look, that had you
not known the only crime of the poor grandfather to
have been a marriage with his overseer's daughter--
a very worthy woman, by the way--instead of with
some lady of quality, you would have supposed he
had added the sin of murder to the crime of low
birth. On the other hand, had you asked Malachi
about some young aristocrat who had forgotten to
count his toddies the night before, that Defender of
the Faith would have replied:

"Lawd bress ye! Co'se dese young gemmens like
to frolic--an' dey do git dat way sometimes--tain't
nuthin'. Dem Dorseys was allers like dat--" the
very tones of his voice carrying such convictions of
the young man's respectability that you would have
felt safe in keeping a place at your table for the 
delinquent, despite your knowledge of his habits.

This general intimacy between the young people,
and this absolute faith of their elders in the quality
of family blood, was one of the reasons why every
man about Kennedy Square was to be trusted with
every other man's sister, and why every mother gave
the latch-key to every other mother's son, and why
it made no difference whether the young people came
home early or late, so that they all came home when
the others did. If there were love-making--and of
course there was love-making--it was of the old-
fashioned, boy-and-girl kind, with keepsakes and
pledges and long walks in the afternoons and whispered 
secrets at the merry-makings. Never anything
else. Woe betide the swain who forgot himself ever
so slightly--there was no night-key for him after
that, nor would any of the girls on any front steps
in town ever look his way again when he passed--
and to their credit be it said, few of the young
men either. From that day on the offender became 
a pariah. He had committed the unpardonable
sin.

As for these young men, this life with the girls
was all the life they knew. There were fishing parties, 
of course, at the "Falls" when the gudgeons
were biting, and picnics in the woods; and there were
oyster roasts in winter, and watermelon parties in
summer--but the girls must he present, too. For in
those simple days there were no special clubs with
easy-chairs and convenient little tables loaded with
drinkables and smokables--none for the young Olivers, 
and certainly none for the women. There was,
to be sure, in every Southern city an old mausoleum
of a club--sometimes two--each more desolate than
the other--haunted by gouty old parties and bonvivants;
but the young men never passed through
their doors except on some call of urgency. When
a man was old enough to be admitted to the club
there was no young damosel on Malachi's steps, or
any other steps, who would care a rap about him.
HIS day was done.

For these were the days in which the woman ruled
in court and home---championed by loyal retainers
who strove hourly to do her bidding. Even the gray-
haired men would tell you over their wine of some
rare woman whom they had known in their youth,
and who was still their standard of all that was gentle
and gracious, and for whom they would claim a
charm of manner and stately comeliness that--"my
dear sir, not only illumined her drawing-room but
conferred distinction on the commonwealth."

"Mrs. Tilghman's mother, were you talking
about?" Colonel Clayton or Richard Horn, or some
other old resident would ask. "I remember her perfectly. 
We have rarely had a more adorable woman,
sir. She was a vision of beauty, and the pride of
our State for years."

Should some shadow have settled upon any one of
these homes--some shadow of drunkenness, or love of
play, or shattered brain, or worse--the woman bore
the sorrow in gentleness and patience and still loved
on and suffered and loved and suffered again, hoping
against hope. But no dry briefs were ever permitted 
to play a part, dividing heart and hearth.
Kennedy Square would have looked askance had such
things been suggested or even mentioned in its presence, 
and the dames would have lowered their voices
in discussing them. Even the men would have passed
with unlifted hats either party to such shame.

Because of this loyalty to womankind and this
reverence for the home--a reverence which began
with the mother-love and radiated to every sister
they knew--no woman of quality ever earned her
own bread while there was an able-bodied man of
her blood above ground to earn it for her. Nor
could there be any disgrace so lasting, even to the
third and fourth generation, as the stigma an outraged 
community would place upon the renegade who
refused her aid and comfort. An unprogressive,
quixotic life if you will--a life without growth and
dominant personalities and lofty responsibilities and
God-given rights--but oh! the sweet mothers that it
gave us, and the wholesomeness, the cleanliness, the
loyalty of it all.


With the coming of summer, then, each white marble 
step of the Horn mansion, under Malachi's care,
shone like a china plate.

"Can't hab dese yere young ladies spile dere
clean frocks on Malachi's steps--no, sah," he would
say; "Marse Oliver'd r'ar an' pitch tur'ble."

There were especial reasons this year for these
extra touches of rag and brush. Malachi knew "de
signs" too well to be deceived. Pretty Sue Clayton,
with her soft eyes and the mass of ringlets that
framed her face, had now completely taken possession 
of Oliver's heart, and the old servant already
had been appointed chief of the postal service--two
letters a day sometimes with all the verbal messages
in between.

This love-affair, which had begun in the winter,
was not yet of so serious a nature as to cause distress
or unhappiness to either one of their respective
houses, nor had it reached a point where suicide or
an elopement were all that was left. It was, in truth,
but a few months old, and so far the banns had not
been published. Within the last week Miss Sue
had been persuaded "to wait for him--" that was
all. She had not, it is true, burdened her gay young
heart with the number of years of her patience. She
and Oliver were sweethearts--that was enough for
them both. As proof of it, was she not wearing about
her neck at the very moment a chain which he had
fashioned for her out of cherry-stones; and had she
not given him in return one of those same ringlets,
and had she not tied it with a blue ribbon herself?
And above all--and what could be more conclusive--
had she not taken her hair down to do it, and let
him select the very tress that pleased him best?--and
was not this curl, at that very moment, concealed in
a pill-box and safely hidden in his unlocked bureau-
drawer, where his mother saw it with a smile the last
time she put away his linen? This love-affair--as
were the love-affairs of all the other young people--
was common gossip around Kennedy Square. Had
there been any doubts about it, it would only have
been necessary to ask any old Malachi, or Hannah;
or Juno. They could have given every detail of the
affair, descanting upon all its joys and its sorrows.

Sweet girls of the days gone by, what crimes some
of you have to answer for! At least one of you must
remember how my own thumb was cut into slits over
these same cherry-stones, and why the ends of your
ringlets were tucked away in a miniature box in my
drawer, with the pressed flowers and signet-ring, and
the rest of it. And you could--if you would--recall
a waiting promise made to me years and years ago.
And the wedding! Surely you have not forgotten
that. I was there, you remember--but not as the
groom.


On one particular evening in June--an evening
that marked an important stage in the development
of Oliver's fortunes--the front porch, owing to Malachi's
attentions, was in spotless condition--steps,
knocker, and round silver knobs.

Sue and Oliver sat on the top step; they had stolen
across from the Clayton porch on some pretended
errand. Sue's chin was in her hand, and Oliver sat
beside her pouring out his heart as he had never
done before. He had realized long ago that she
could never understand his wanting to be a painter
as Miss Clendenning had done, and so he had never
referred to it since the night of the musicale, when
he had raced across the Square to tell her of his talk
with the little lady. Sue, as he remembered afterward, 
had listened abstractedly. She would have
preferred at the time his running in to talk about
herself rather than about his queer ambitions. She
was no more interested now.

"Ollie, what does your father say about all this?"
she finally asked in a perfunctory way. "Would he
be willing for you to be a painter?" It bored her
to listen to Oliver's enthusiastic talk about light and
shade, and color and perspective, and what Mr.
Crocker had said and what Mr. Crocker was doing,
and what Mr. Crocker's last portrait was like. She
was sure that nobody else around Kennedy Square
talked of such things or had such curious ambitions.
They shocked her as much as Oliver's wearing some
outlandish clothes would have done--making him
conspicuous and, perhaps, an object of ridicule.

"Father's all right, Sue. He's always right," Oliver 
answered. "He believes in Mr. Crocker, just as
he believes in a lot of things that a good many people 
around here don't understand. He believes the
time will come when they will value his pictures,
and be proud to own them. But I don't care who
owns mine; I just want the fun of painting them.
Just think of what a man can do with a few tubes
of color, a brush, and a bit of canvas. So I don't
care if they never buy what I paint. I can get along
somehow, just as Mr. Crocker does. He's poor, but
just see how happy he is. Why, when he does a
good thing he's nothing but a boy, he's so glad about
it. I always know how his work has gone when I
see his face."

"But, Ollie, he's so shabby, and his daughter gives
music-lessons. Nobody THINKS of inviting her anywhere." 
Sue's eyes were shut tight, with an expression 
of assumed contempt, and her little nose was
straight up.

"Yes--but that doesn't hurt his pictures, Sue."
There was a slight trace of impatience in Oliver's
tone.

"Well, perhaps it doesn't--but you don't want to
be like him. I wouldn't like to see you, Ollie, going
about with a picture under your arm that everybody
knew you had painted yourself. And suppose that
they would want to buy your pictures? How would
you feel now to be taking other people's money for
things you had painted?"

The boy caught his breath. It seemed useless to
pursue the talk with Sue. She evidently had no
sympathy with his aspirations.

"No--but I wish I could paint as he does," he
answered, mechanically.

Sue saw the change in his manner. She realized,
too, that she had hurt him in some way. She drew
nearer and put her hand on his arm.

"Why, you can, Ollie. You can do anything you
want to; Miss Lavinia told me so." The little witch
was mistress of one art--that of holding her lover--
but that was an art of which all the girls about Kennedy 
Square approved.

"No, I can't," he replied, forgetting in the caressing 
touch of her hand the tribute to his ability,
and delighted that she was once more in sympathy
with him. "Mother wouldn't think of my being an
artist. She doesn't understand how I feel about it,
and Miss Lavinia, somehow, doesn't seem to be favorable 
to it either. I've talked to her lots of times--
she was more encouraging at first, but she doesn't
seem to like the idea now. I've been hoping she'd
fix it so I could speak to mother about it. Now she
tells me I had better wait. I can't see why Miss
Lavinia knows what an artist's life can be, for she
knew plenty of painters when she was in London with
her father, and she loves pictures, too, and is a good
judge--nobody here any better. She told me only
a week ago how much one of these Englishmen was
paid for a little thing as big as your hand, but I've
forgotten the amount. I don't see why I can't paint
as well as those fellows. Do you know, Sue, I'm beginning 
to think that about half the people in Kennedy 
Square are asleep? They really don't seem
to think there is anything respectable but the law. If
they are right, how about all the men who painted
the great pictures and built all the cathedrals, or the
men who wrote all the poems and histories? Mother,
of course, wants me to be a lawyer. Because I'm
fitted for it?--not a bit of it! Simply because father
was one before me and his father before him, and
Uncle John Tilghman another, and so on back to the
deluge."

Sue drew away a little and turned her head toward
the Square as if in search of someone. Oliver noticed 
the movement and his heart sank again. He
saw but too clearly how little impression the story of
his ambitions had made upon her. Then the thought
flashed into his mind that he might have offended her
in some way, clashing against her traditions and her
prejudices as he had done. He bent toward her and
laid his hand in hers.

"Little girl," he said, in a softened tone, "I can't
make you unhappy, too. Mother is enough for me
to worry about--I haven't talked it all out to you
before, but don't you get a wrong idea of what I'm
going to do--" and he looked up into her face and
tightened his hold upon her fingers, his eyes never
wavering from her own.

The girl allowed his hand to remain an instant, then
quickly withdrew her own and started up. Coyness
is sometimes fear in the timid heart that is stepping
into the charmed circle for the first time.

"There goes Ella Dorsey and Jack--" she cried,
springing down the steps. "Ella! El--la!" and an
answering halloo came back, and the two started from
Malachi's steps and raced up the street to join their
young friends.




CHAPTER IV

AN OLD-FASHIONED MORTGAGE



Pretty Sue Clayton with her ringlets and rosy
cheeks had not been Oliver's only listener.

His mother had been sitting inside the drawing-
room, just beside the open window. She had spoken
to Sue and Oliver when they first mounted the steps,
and had begged them both to come in, but they had
forgotten her presence. Unintentionally, therefore,
she had heard every word of the conversation. Her
old fears rushed over her again with renewed force.
She had never for a moment supposed that Oliver
wanted to be a painter--like Mr. Crocker! Now
at last she understood his real object in talking to
Lavinia the night of the musical.

"Richard," she called softly to her husband sitting 
in the adjoining room, in the chair that Malachi,
in accordance with the old custom, had with his
sweeping bow made ready for him. The inventor
had been there since tea was over, lying back in his
seat, his head resting on his hand. He had had one
of his thoughtful days, worrying over some detail of
his machine, still incomplete. The new device of
which he had told her with such glee had failed, as
had the others. The motor was still incomplete.

"Richard," she repeated.

"Yes, my dear," he answered, in his gentle voice.
He had not heard her at first.

"Bring your chair over here."

The inventor rose instantly and, crossing the room,
took a seat beside her, his hand finding hers in the
dark.

"What is this you have been saying to Oliver
about artists being great men?" she asked. "He's
got a new idea in his head now--he wants to be a
painter. I've thought for some time that Mr.
Crocker was not a proper person for him to be so
much with. He has evidently worked on the boy's
imagination until he has determined to give up the
law and study art."

"How do you know?"

"I've just heard him tell Sue Clayton so. All
he wants now is my consent--he says he has
yours."

The inventor paused, and gently smoothed his
wife's fingers with his own.

"And you would not give it?" he inquired.

"How could I? It would ruin him--don't you
know it?" There was a slight tinge of annoyance
in her voice--not one of fault-finding, but rather of
anxiety.

"That depends, my dear, on how well he could
succeed," he answered, gently.

"Why, Richard!" She withdrew her hand quickly 
from his caressing touch, and looked at him in undisguised 
astonishment. "What has his SUCCEEDING
to do with it? Surely you cannot be in earnest? I
am willing he should do anything to make his living, 
but not that. No one we know has ever been a
painter. It is neither respectable nor profitable.
You see what a dreadful existence Mr. Crocker leads
--hardly an associate in town, and no acquaintances
for his daughter, and he's been painting ever since
he was a boy. Oliver could not earn a penny at
such work."

"Money is not everything, my dear, nor social
recognition. There are many things I would value
more."

"What are they?" She was facing him now, her
brows knit, a marked antagonism in her voice.

"Good manners and good taste, Sallie, and kindly
consideration for another's feelings," he answered.
He spoke calmly and kindly, as was his custom. He
had lived almost all his life with this high-strung Sallie 
Horn, whose eyes flashed now and then as they
had done in the old days when he won her hand.
He knew every side of her temperament. "Good
manners, and good taste"--he repeated, as if wishing 
to emphasize his thoughts--"Oliver has all of
these, and he has, besides, loyalty to his friends. He
never speaks of Mr. Crocker but with affection, and
I love to hear him. That man is an artist of great
talent, and yet it seems to be the fashion in this town
to ridicule him. If Ollie has any gifts which would
fit him to be a painter, I should be delighted to
see him a painter. It is a profession despised now,
as are many others, but it is the profession of a gentleman, 
for all they say, and a noble one!" Then
he stopped and said, thoughtfully, as if communing
with himself--"I wish he could be a painter. Since
Gilbert Stuart's time we have had so few men of
whom we can boast. This country will one day be
proud to honor her artists."

Mrs. Horn sank back in her chair. She felt the
hopelessness of all further discussion with her husband. 
"He would not have talked this way ten
years ago," she said to herself. "Everything has
gone wrong since he left the law." But to her
husband she said:

"You always measure everything by your hopes,
Richard, and you never look at the practical side of
anything. Ollie is old enough to begin to think how
he will earn his bread. I see now how hopeless it
is for us to try and make a lawyer of him--his heart
is not in it. I have come little by little to the 
conclusion that what he wants most is hard work, and
he wants it right away, just as soon as we can find
something for him to do--something with his hands,
if necessary, not something full of dreams and imaginings," 
and her voice rose in its earnestness. "I am
getting more and more anxious about him every
day," she added, suddenly controlling herself, "and
when you encourage him in foolish vagaries you only
make it harder for me, dear," and her voice softened
and broke with emotion.

"He ought to have gone into the laboratory, Sallie," 
Richard added quickly, in a reflective tone--laying 
his hand on her shoulder as he noticed the change
of voice--" just as I wanted him to do when he left
school. There is a future for scientific men in this
country which you do not see--a future which few
around me seem to see. Great changes are coming,
not only in science, but in the arts and in all useful
knowledge. If Ollie can add to the brilliancy of this
future by becoming a brilliant painter, able to help
educate those about him, there could be no higher
calling for him. Three things are coming, my dear
--perhaps four." The inventor had risen from his
seat and stood beside her, his eyes turned away into
the dark as if he were addressing some unseen person. 
"The superseding of steam, aerial locomotion,
and the education of the common people, black and
white. One other may come--the freeing of the
slaves--but the others are sure. Science, not money,
nor family traditions, nor questions of birth, will
shape the destinies of the country. We may not live
to see it, but Oliver will, and I want him to be where
he can help on the movement. You were opposed to
his becoming a scientist, and I feel assured made a
mistake. Don't stand in his way again, dear."

"Yes, Richard, I was opposed to it, because I did
not want him to waste his time over all sorts of foolish 
experiments, which would certainly--" She did
not finish the sentence. Her anxiety had not yet
gone as far as that. With a quick gesture she rose
from her chair and drawing her white gossamer
shawl about her shoulders--left the room and walked
out onto the front steps, followed by Richard.

If the inventor heard the thrust he did not reply.
He would not argue with his wife over it, nor did it
check the flow of his courtesy. She had never seen
the value of what he was striving for, but she would
in time he knew.

"Yes, I think it is cooler out here," was all he
said, as he placed a cushion to soften her seat on
the threshold. When he had arranged another pillow 
behind her back and hunted round the dark parlor 
for a stool for her feet, he found a chair for
himself and sat down beside her. She thanked him,
but her thoughts were evidently far away. She was
weighing in her mind what must be her next move
if Oliver persisted in this new departure. Richard
broke the silence.

"I haven't told you of the good offer I've had
for the farm, Sallie."

"No, but we're not going to sell it, of course."
She was leaning back against the jamb of the door
as she spoke, the shawl hanging loose, her delicate
white hands in her lap. It was an idle answer to
an idle question, for her mind was still with
Oliver.

"Well, I hadn't thought of doing so until to-day,"
he answered, slowly, "but I had a notice from the
bank that they must call in the mortgage, and so I
thought I might as well sell the whole place, pay
off the debt, and use the balance for--"

"Sell the farm, Richard?" It was her hand now
that sought his, and with a firm grasp as if she would
restrain him then and there in his purpose.

"Yes, I can get several thousand dollars over and
above the mortgage, and I need the money, Sallie.
It will only be a temporary matter--" and he
smoothed her arm tenderly, speaking as a lover of
long standing might do who is less absorbed with the
caress than with the subject under discussion. "The
motor will be ready in a few weeks--as soon as the
new batteries are finished. Then, my dear, you won't
have to curtail your expenses as you have done." His
voice was full of hope now, a smile lighting his face
as he thought of all the pleasure and comfort his
success would bring her.

"But you said that same thing when you were
working on the steam-valve, for which you put that
very mortgage on the farm, and now that's all gone
and--"

"The failure of the steam-valve, as I have always
told you, was due to my own carelessness, Sallie. I
should have patented it sooner. They are making
enormous sums on it, I hear, and are using my cut-
off, and I think dishonestly. But the motor has
been protected at every new step that I have taken.
My first patent of August 13, 1856, supersedes all
others, and cannot be shaken. Now, my dear, don't
worry about it--you have never known me to fail,
and I won't now. Besides, you forget my successes,
Sallie--the turbine water-wheel and the others. It
will all come, right."

"It will never come right." She had risen from
her seat, and was standing over, him, both hands on
his shoulders, her eyes looking down into his, her
voice trembling. "Oh, Richard, Richard! Give up
this life of dreams you are living, and go back to
your law-office. You always succeeded in the law.
This new career of yours is ruining us. I can economize, 
dear, just as I have always done," she added,
with another sudden change of tone, bending over
him and slipping her hand caressingly into his. "I
will do everything to help you. I did not mean to
be cross a moment ago. I was worried about Oliver's
talk. I have been silent so long--I must speak.
Don't be angry, dear, but you must keep the farm.
I will go myself and see about the mortgage at the 
bank--we cannot--we must not; go on this way--
we will have nothing left."

He patted her arm again in his gentle way--not
to calm her fears, he knew so well that she was wrong,
but to quiet the nerves that he thought unstrung.

"But I need this extra money for some improvements 
which I--"

"Yes, I know you THINK so, but you don't, Richard, 
you don't?" For Heaven's sake, throw the motor
out into the street, and be done with it. It will ruin
us all if things go on as they have done."

The inventor raised his eyes quickly. He had
never seen her so disturbed in all their married life.
She had never spoken in this way before.

"Don't excite yourself, Sallie," he said, gravely,
and with a certain air of authority in his manner.
"You'll bring on one of your headaches--it will all
come right. Come, my dear, let us go into the house.
People are passing, and will wonder."

She followed him back into the drawing-room, his
hand still held fast in hers.

"Promise me one thing," she said, stopping at
the door and looking up into his eyes, "and I won't
say another word. Please do nothing more about the
farm unless you let me know. Let me think first
how I can help. It will all come out right, as you
say, but it will be because we will make it come
right, dear." She drew his face down toward her
with one hand and kissed him tenderly on his cheek.
Then she bade him good-night and resumed her seat
by the window, to watch for Oliver's return.

Try as she would, she could not banish her fears.
The news of Richard's intention to pay off the loan by
selling the farm had sent a shudder through her heart
such as she had never before experienced, for that
which she had dreaded had come to pass. Loyal as
she had always been to her husband, and proud as she
was of his genius and accomplishments, and sympathetic 
as they were in all else that their lives touched
upon, her keen, penetrating mind had long since divined 
the principal fault that lay at the bottom of her
husband's genius. She saw that the weak point in his
make-up was not his inventive quality, but his inability 
to realize any practical results from his inventions 
when perfected. She saw, too, with equal
certainty how rapidly their already slender means
were being daily depleted in costly experiments--
many of which were abandoned as soon as tried, and
she knew full well that the end was but a question
of time. Even when he had abandoned the law, and
had exchanged his office near the Court-house for his
shop in the back yard, and had given his library to
his young students, she had not despaired; she still
had faith in his genius.

She had first become uneasy when the new steam
cut-off had failed to reimburse him. When this catastrophe 
was followed by his losing every dollar of his
interest in the improved cotton-gin, because of his
generosity to a brother inventor, her uneasiness had
become the keenest anxiety. And now here was this
new motor, in which he seemed more absorbed than
in any other of his inventions. This was to plunge
them into still greater difficulties and jeopardize even
the farm.

Richard had not been disturbed by it all. Serene
and hopeful always, the money question had counted
for nothing with him. His compensation lay in the
fact that his theories had been proved true. More-
over, there were, he knew, other inventions ahead,
and more important discoveries to be made. If
money were necessary, these new inventions would
supply it. Such indifference to practical questions
was an agony to one of her temperament, burdened
as she was by the thought of their increasing daily
expenses, the magnitude of which Richard never
seemed to appreciate.

And yet until to-night, when Richard had made
his announcement about the mortgage, she had made
no protest, uttered no word of censure. Neither had
any jar or discord ever disturbed the sweet harmony
of their home-life. And she had only behaved as
any other wife in Kennedy Square would have done
in like circumstances. Remonstrances against a husband's 
business methods were never made in the best
families. In his own house Richard was master. So
she had suffered on and held her peace, while Richard 
walked with his head in the clouds, unconscious
of her doubts. The situation must now be met, and
she determined to face it with all her might. "The
farm shall not be sacrificed, if I can help it," she
kept repeating to herself; "any economy is better
than that disaster."

When at last the shock of the news of the threatened 
disaster had passed, and she had regained her
customary composure, she decided to act at once and
at head-quarters, outside of Richard's help or knowledge. 
She would send for Colonel Clayton, one of
the directors of the bank, in the morning, and see
what could be done to postpone for a time the bank's
action. This would give her time to think what next
could best be done to save the property. This settled 
in her mind, she gave herself up to the more
important and pressing need of the moment--the
dissuading of Oliver from this new act of folly.

At the end of an hour she was still sitting by the
drawing-room window, straining her eyes across the
Square, noting every figure that passed into the radiance 
of the moonlight, her mind becoming clearer
as her indomitable will, which had never failed her
in domestic crises, began to assert itself.

When her eye fell at last upon her son, he was
walking with swinging gait up the long path across
the Square, whistling as he came, his straw hat tilted
on one side, his short coat flying free. He had taken
Sue home, and the two had sat on her father's steps
in the moonlight long after the other boys and girls
had scattered to their homes. The Colonel had come
in while they were talking, and had bade them good-
night and gone up to bed.

Girl as she was, Sue already possessed that subtle
power of unconscious coquetry which has distinguished 
all the other Sue Claytons of all the other
Kennedy Squares the South over since the days of
Pocahontas. She had kept Oliver's mind away from
the subject that engrossed him, and on herself; and
when, at last, standing between the big columns of
the portico she had waved her hand, good-night, and
had gained his promise to stop in the morning on his
way to the office, for just another word, she felt
sure that his every thought was of her. Then she
had closed the big front door--she was the last person 
in the house awake--and tripped upstairs, not
lighting her candle until she had peeped through her
shutters, and had found him standing on the other
side of the street looking toward the house. He made
a handsome picture of a lover, as he stood in the
moonlight, and Sue smiled complacently to herself
at the delicate attention paid her, but Oliver's eyes,
the scribe is ashamed to say, were not fixed on the
particular pair of green blinds that concealed this
adorable young lady, certainly not with any desire to
break through their privacy. One of the unforgivable
sins--nay, one of the impossible sins--about Kennedy
Square would have been to have recognized a lady
who looked, even during the daytime, out from a
bedroom window: much less at night. That was why
Sue did not open her blinds.

Nor, indeed, was Oliver occupied with the question 
of Sue's blinds at all. He had for the moment
in fact completely forgotten the existence of his lady-
love. He was, if the truth must be told, studying
the wonderful effect of the white light of the moon
flooding with its radiance the columns and roof of the
Clayton house, the dark magnolias silhouetted against
the flight of steps and the indigo-blue of the sky. He
had already formulated in his mind the palette with
which he would paint it, and had decided that the magnolias 
were blue-black and not green, and the steps
greenish-white. He had, furthermore, determined to
make an outline of it in the daylight, and talk to Mr.
Crocker about it. Sue's eyes, which but a moment before 
had so charmed him, no longer lingered in his
memory--nor even in any one of the far corners of his
head and heart. It was only when her light flashed up
that he awoke to the realization of what he was doing,
and even this breach of good manners was forgotten
by him in his delight over the effect which the
red glow of the candle gave to the whole composition.

With the picture clearly stamped upon his brain,
he turned and stepped quickly across the Square, and
in another moment he had thrown his mother a kiss
through the window, and rushing inside had caught
her in his arms.

"Poor motherkins--and you all alone," he cried.
"Why, I thought you and father had gone to bed
long ago."

"No, son--I was waiting for you." He laid his
fresh young face against hers, insisting that she must
go to bed at once; helping her upstairs awkwardly,
laughing as he went--telling her she was the sweetest 
girl he ever knew and his best sweetheart--kissing 
her pale cheeks as they climbed the steps together
to his room.

She had determined, as she sat by the window,
to talk to him of what she had overheard him say to
Sue, and of her anxiety over Richard's revelations,
but his joyous kiss had robbed her of the power. She
would wait for another time--she said to herself--
not to-night, when he was so happy.

"Anybody at Sue's, Ollie?" she asked, lighting
his candle.

"Only the boys and girls--Tom Pitts, Charley
Bowman, Nellie Talbot, and one or two others. The
Colonel came in just before I left."

"But the Colonel will be home to-morrow, will
he not?" she asked, quickly, as if something forgotten 
had been suddenly remembered.

"Yes--think so--" answered Oliver, taking off
his coat and hanging it over the chair--"because he
was just up from Pongateague. He and Major Pitts
got thirty-seven woodcock in two days. Tom wants
me to go down with him some day next week. "

A shade of anxiety crossed the mother's face.

"What did you tell him, son?" She moved a
chair nearer the bureau and sat down to watch him
undress, as she had always done since the day she
first tucked him into his crib.

"Oh, I said I would ask you." He was loosening
his cravat, his chin thrown up, the light of the candle 
falling over his well-knit shoulders and chest
outlined through his white shirt.

"Better not go, Ollie--you've been away so much
lately."

"Oh, dearie," he protested, in a tone as a child
would have done, "what does a day or two matter?
Be a darling old mother and let me go. Tom has a
gun for me, and Mr. Talbot is going to lend us his
red setter. Tom's sister is going, too, and so are her
cousins. Just think, now, I haven't had a day in the
country for a coon's age." His arms were round her
neck now. He seemed happier over the excuse to
caress her than anxious about her possible refusal.

She loosened one of his hands and laid it on her
cheek. 

"No holidays, son? Why you had two last week,
when you all went out to Stemmer's Run," she said,
looking up into his face, his hand still in hers.

"Yes, but that was fishing!" he laughed as he
waved an imaginary rod in his hands.

"And the week before, when you spent the day
at Uncle Tilghman's?" she continued, smiling sadly
at him, but with the light of an ill-concealed admiration 
on her face.

"Ah, but mother, I went to see the Lely! That's
an education. Oh, that portrait in pink!" He was
serious now, looking straight down into her eyes--
talking with his hands, one thumb in air as if it
were a bit of charcoal and he was outlining the Lely
on an equally real canvas. "Such color, mother--
such an exquisite poise of the head and sweep to the
shoulder--" and the thumb described a curve in the
air as if following every turn of Lely's brush.

Her eyes followed his gestures--she loved his enthusiasm, 
although she wished it had been about
something else.

"And you don't get any education out of the
Judge's law-books?"

"No, I wish I did." The joyous look on his face
was gone now--his hand had fallen to his side. "It
gets to be more of a muddle every day--" and then
he added, with the illogical reasoning of youth--"all
the lawyers that ever lived couldn't paint a picture
like the Lely."

Mrs. Horn closed her eyes. It was on her tongue
to tell him she knew what was in his heart, but she
stopped; no, not to-night, she said firmly to herself,
and shut her lips tight--a way she had of bracing
her nerves in such emergencies.

Oliver in turn saw the expression of anxiety that
crossed his mother's face and the thin drawn line of
the lips. One word from her and he would have
poured out his heart. Then some shadow that crossed
her face silenced him. "No, not to-night--" he said
to himself. "She has been sitting up for me and
is tired--I'll tell her to-morrow."

"Don't go with Tom Pitts, my son," she said, calmly.
"I'd rather you'd stay; I don't want you to go
this time. Perhaps a little later--" and a slight shiver
went through her as she rose from her chair and
moved toward him.

He made no protest. Her final word was always
law to him--not because she dominated him, but because 
his nature was always to be in harmony with
the thing he loved. Because, too, underneath it all
was that quality of tenderness to all women old and
young, which forbade him to cause one of them pain.
Almost unconsciously to himself he had gone through
a process by which from having yielded her the obedience 
of a child, he now surrendered to her the
pleasures of his youth when the old feeling of maternal 
dominance still controlled her in her attitude
to him. She did not recognize the difference, and
he had but half-perceived it, but the difference had
already transformed him from a boy into a man,
though with unrecognized powers of stability as yet.
In obeying his mother, then at twenty-two, or even
in meeting the whims and conceits of his sweethearts,
this quality of tenderness to the woman was always
uppermost in his heart. The surrender of a moment's 
pleasure seemed so little to him compared to
the expression of pain he could see cross their faces.
He had so much to make him happy--what mattered
it if out of a life so full he should give up any one
thing to please his mother.

Patting him on the cheek and kissing him on the
neck, as she had so often done when some sudden
wave of affection overwhelmed her, she bade him
good-night at last.

Once outside in the old-fashioned hall, she stopped
for a moment, her eyes fixed on the floor, the light
from the hall-lamp shining on her silver hair and
the shawl about her shoulders, and said slowly to
herself, as if counting each word:

"What--can I do--to save this boy--from--himself?"




CHAPTER V

A MESSAGE OF IMPORTANCE



Richard, when he waked, made no allusion to the
mortgage nor to his promise the night before, to take
no steps in the matter without her consent, nor could
Mrs. Horn see that the inventor had given the subject 
further thought. He came in to breakfast with
his usual serenity of mien, kissed her gallantly
on the cheek--in all their married life this dear old
gentleman had never forgotten this breakfast kiss--
and taking his seat opposite her, he picked up the
new Scientific Review, just in by the morning mail,
and began cutting the leaves. She tried to draw him
into conversation by asking him when the note on
the mortgage was due, but his mind was doubtless
absorbed by some problem suggested by the Review
before him, for without answering--he, of course,
had not heard her--he rose from his chair, excused
himself for a moment, opened a book in his library,
studied it leisurely, and only resumed his seat when
Malachi gently touched his elbow and said:

"Coffee purty nigh done sp'ilt, Marse Richard."

Breakfast over, Richard picked up his letters,
and with that far-away look in his eyes which his
wife knew so well, walked to the closet, took down
his long red calico gown, slipped it over his coat,
and with a loving pat on his wife's shoulder as he
passed, and with the request that no one but Nathan
should see him that morning, made his way through
the damp brick-paved back yard to the green door of
his "li'l" room.

Mrs. Horn watched his retreating figure from the
window--his head bent, his soft hair stirred by the
morning air, falling about his shoulders. His serenity; 
his air of abstraction; of being wrapped in
the clouds as it were--borne aloft by the power of
a thought altogether beyond her, baffled her as it
always did. She could not follow his flights when
he was in one of these uplifted moods. She could
only watch and wait until he returned again to the
common ground of their daily love and companionship.

Brushing a quick tear from her eyes with an impatient 
sigh, she directed Malachi to go to Oliver's
room and tell him he must get up at once, as she
wanted him to carry a message of importance. She
had herself rapped at her son's door as she passed
on her way downstairs, and Malachi had already paid
two visits to the same portal--one with Oliver's shoes
and one on his own account. He had seen his mistress's 
anxiety, and knowing that his young master
had come in late the night before, had mistaken the
cause, charging Mrs. Horn's perturbation to Oliver's
account. The only response Oliver had made to
either of his warnings had been a smothered yawn
and a protest at being called at daylight. On his third
visit Malachi was more insistent, the hall-clock by
that time having struck nine.

"Ain't you out'en dat bed yit, Marse Oliver? Dis
yere's de third time I been yere. Better git up; yo'
ma's gittin' onres'less."

"Coming, Mally. Tell mother I'll be down right
away," called Oliver, springing out of bed. Malachi 
stepped softly downstairs again, bowed low to his
mistress, and with a perfectly straight face said:

"He's mos' ready, mistis. Jes' a-breshin' ob his
ha'r when I opened de do'. Spec' Marse Oliver overslep' 
hisse'f, or maybe nobody ain't call him--"

He could not bear to hear the boy scolded. He
had begun to shield his young master in the days
when he carried him on his shoulder, and he would
still shade the truth for him whenever he considered
necessity required it.

When Oliver at last came downstairs it was by
means of the hand-rail as a slide, a dash through the
hall and a bound into the breakfast-room, followed
by a joyous good-morning, meeting his mother's
"How could you be so late, my boy," without any
defence of his conduct, putting one hand under her
chin and the other around her neck, and kissing her
where her white hair parted over her forehead.

Malachi waited an instant, breathing freer when
he found that his statement regarding Oliver's toilet
had passed muster, and then shuffled off to the kitchen
for hot waffles and certain other comforting viands
that Aunt Hannah, the cook, had kept hot for her
young master, Malachi's several reports having confirmed 
her suspicions that Oliver, as usual, would
be half an hour late.

"What a morning, motherkins," Oliver cried.
"Such a sky, all china-blue and white. Oh, you just
ought to see how fine the old church looms up behind 
the trees. I'm going to paint that some day,
from my window. Dad had his breakfast?" and he
glanced at the empty seat and plate. "Sausage, eh?
Mally, got any for me?" and he dragged up his
chair beside her, talking all the time as he spread
his napkin and drew the dishes toward him.

He never once noticed her anxious face, he was
so full of his own buoyant happiness. She did not
check his enthusiasm. This breakfast-hour alone
with her boy--he was almost always later than Richard
--was the happiest of the day. But her heart
was too heavy this morning to enjoy it. Instead of
listening with her smile of quiet satisfaction, answering 
him now and then with a gayety of humor which
matched his own, she was conscious only of the waiting 
for an opportunity to break into his talk with
out jarring upon his mood. At last, with a hesitating 
emphasis that would have alarmed anyone less
wrapped in his own content than her son, she
said:

"Ollie, when you finish your breakfast I want you,
on your way to Judge Ellicott's office, to stop at
Colonel Clayton's and ask him to be good enough
to come and see me as soon as he can on a little
matter of business. Tell him I will keep him but a
minute. If you hurry, my son, you'll catch him before 
he leaves the house."

The die was cast now. She had taken her first
step without Richard's hand to guide her--the
first in all her life. It was pain to do it--the
more exquisite because she loved to turn to him
for guidance or relief, to feel the sense of his
protection. Heretofore he had helped her in every
domestic emergency, his soft, gentle hand soothing
and quieting her, when troubles arose. She had
wavered during the night between her duty to her
family in saving the farm, and her duty to her husband 
in preserving unbroken the tie of loyal dependence 
that had always bound them together. Many
emotions had shaken her as she lay awake, her eyes
fixed on the flutings in the canopy of the high-post
bedstead which the night-lamp faintly illumined,
Richard asleep beside her, dreaming doubtless of cogs
and pulleys and for the hundredth time of his finding 
the one connecting link needed to complete the
chain of his success.

But before the day had broken, her keen, penetrating 
mind had cut through the fog of her doubts.
Come what may, the farm should never be given up.
Richard, for all his urgent need of money to perfect 
his new motor, should not be allowed to sacrifice
this the only piece of landed property which they
possessed, except the roof that sheltered them all.
The farm saved, she would give her attention to
Oliver's future career. On one point her mind was
firmly made up--he should never, in spite of what his
father said, become a painter.

Oliver hurried through his breakfast, cut short
Malachi's second relay of waffles to the great 
disappointment of that excellent servitor, and with his
mother's message for the moment firmly fixed in his
mind, tilted his hat on one side of his head and started
across Kennedy Square, whistling as he went.

Mrs. Horn moved her seat to the window and
looked out upon the brick-paved yard. The door of
the shop was shut. Richard was already at work, for
a thin curl of blue smoke was rising from the chimney. 
As she sat looking out upon the tulip-tree and
the ivy-covered wall beyond, a strange, unaccountable
sense of loneliness new in her experience came over
her. The lines about her mouth settled more firmly,
and the anxious look that had filled her eyes changed
to one of determination.

"Nobody can help," she said to herself with a sigh.
"I must do it all myself;" and picking up her basket
of keys she mounted slowly to her room.

Once outside the front door, with the fresh, clear
air stirring to a silver-white the leaves of the maples,
the birds singing in the branches and the sky glistening 
overhead, one of those sudden changes of mood
to which our young hero was subject swept over him.
The picture of the dear mother whom he loved and
whose anxious face had at last filled his thoughts,
by some shifting of the gray matter of this volatile
young gentleman's brain had suddenly become replaced 
by another.

Pretty Sue Clayton, her black eyes snapping with
fun, her hand so soon to be outstretched in welcome,
was now the dominating figure in his mental horizon.
Even Sir Peter Lely's girl in pink and the woodcock
shooting with Tom Pitts, and all the other delights
that had filled his brain had become things of the
past as he thought of Sue's greeting. For the time
being this black-eyed little witch with the ringlets
about her face had complete possession of him.

He had not thought of her, it is true, for five consecutive 
minutes since he had bidden her good-night
ten hours ago; and he would, I am quite sure, have
forgotten even his promise to see her this morning
had not his mother's message made his going to her
house imperative. And yet, now that the prospect
of having a glimpse of her face was assured, he could
hardly wait until he reached her side.

Not that he had some new thing to tell her--
something that had bubbled up fresh from the depths
of his heart over-night. Indeed, had that portion of
this young gentleman's anatomy been searched with
a dark lantern, it can safely be said that not the
slightest suggestion of this fair inamorata's form or
lineaments would have been found lurking in any
one of its recesses. Furthermore, I can state positively
--and I knew this young gentleman quite well
at the time--that it was not Sue at all that he longed
for at this precise moment, even though he hurried
to meet her. It was more the WOMAN IN HER--the
something that satisfied his inner nature when he
was with her--her coy touches of confidence, her artless 
outbursts of admiration, looking up in his face
as she spoke, the dimples playing about the corners
of her mouth. He revelled in all those subtle flatteries 
and cajoleries, and in all the arts to please of
which she was past mistress. He loved to believe
her--she intended that he should--when she told him
how different he was from anybody about Kennedy
Square, and how nobody swam or rode or danced as
he did; nor wore their hair so becomingly, nor their
clothes--especially the gray jacket buttoned up close
under the chin, not carried themselves as they
walked; nor--

Why go on? We all know exactly how she said it,
and how sincere she seemed, and how we believed it
all (and do now, some of us), and how blissful it was
to sit beside her and hear her voice and know that this
most adorable of women really believed that the
very sun itself rose and set in our own adorable
persons.

Because of all this and of many other things with
which we have nothing to do, our young hero saw
only Sue's eyes when that maiden, who had been
watching for him at the library window, laid her
hand on the lapel of his coat in her coaxing way. No
wonder he had forgotten everything which his mother
had asked him to do. I can forgive him under the
circumstances--and so can you. Soft hands are very
beguiling, sometimes--and half-closed lids--Well!
It is a good many years ago, but there are some
things that none of us ever forget.

Blinded by such fascinations it is not at all astonishing 
that long before Oliver regained his senses the
Colonel had left the house for the day. That distinguished 
gentleman would, no doubt, have waited
the young prince's pleasure in his library had he
known of his errand. But since the Colonel had 
unfortunately taken himself off, there was nothing, of
course, for our Oliver to do but to remain where he
was until noon--this was Sue's way out of the difficulty
--and then to catch the Colonel at the bank
where he could always be found between twelve and
one o'clock, or where Mr. Stiger, the cashier, could
lay his hands on him if he was anywhere in the neighborhood, 
a suggestion of Sue's which at once relieved
Oliver from further anxiety, Mr. Stiger being one
of his oldest and dearest friends.

By the time, however, that Oliver had reached the
bank the Colonel had left for the club, where he
would have been too happy, no doubt--being the
most courteous of colonels, etc., etc.--"if his dear
young friend had only sent him word," etc.

All this our breathless young Mercury--Oliver
never walked when he could run--learned some hours
later from old Mr. Stiger, the cashier, who punched
him in the ribs at the end of every sentence in which
he conveyed the disappointing information, calling
him "Creeps," at short intervals, and roaring with
laughter at the boy's account of the causes leading up
to his missing the Colonel.

"Gone to the club, Creeps, don't I tell you
(--punch in the ribs--); gone to get a little sip of
Madeira and a little bit of woodcock (--punch over
the heart--), and a little--oh, I tell you, you young
dog--" (this punch straight on the breast-bone)--
"you ought to be a bank director--you hear!--a big
fat bank director, and own a big house up in the
Square, if you want to enjoy yourself--and have a
pretty daughter--Oh, you young rascal!" This last
punch bent Oliver double, and was followed by an
outburst of uncontrollable laughter from Stiger.

These same punchings and outbursts had gone on
since the days that Oliver was in short trousers and
Stiger was superintendent of the Sunday-school which
the boy had attended in his early years--Stiger was
still superintendent and of the same school: cashiers
had to have certificates of character in those days.
A smooth-shaven, round-headed old fellow was
Stiger, with two little dabs of side-whiskers, a pair
of eyes that twinkled behind a pair of gold spectacles,
and a bald head kept polished by the constant mopping 
of a red silk handkerchief. His costume in the
bank was a black alpaca coat and high black satin
stock, which grabbed him tight around the neck, and
held in place the two points of his white collar struggling 
to be free. Across his waist-line was a square
of cloth. This, in summer, replaced his waistcoat,
and, in winter, protected it from being rubbed into
holes by constant contact with the edge of the counter.

His intimacy with Oliver dated from one hot Sunday 
morning years before, when Oliver had broken
in upon the old gentleman's long prayers by sundry
scrapings of his finger-nails down the whitewashed
wall of the school-room, producing a blood-cooling
and most irreverent sound, much to the discomfort
of the worshippers.

"Who made that noise?" asked Mr. Stiger, when
the amen was reached.

"Me, sir."

"What for?"

"To get cool. It makes creeps go down my back."
From that day the old cashier had never called
Oliver anything but "Creeps."

Oliver, in a spirit of playful revenge, made caricatures 
of his prosecutor in these later years, enlarging 
his nose, puffing out his cheeks, and dressing him
up in impossible clothes. These sketches he would
mail to the cashier as anonymous communications,
always stopping at the bank the next day to see how
Stiger enjoyed them. He generally found them
tacked up over the cashier's desk. Some of them
were still there when Stiger died.

Carried away by the warm greetings of the old
cashier, and the hearty, whole-souled spirit of 
companionship inherent in the man--a spirit always dear
to Oliver--he not only stayed to make another caricature 
of the old fellow, over which the original
laughed until the tears ran down his fat cheeks, but
until all the old sketches were once more taken from
the drawer or examined on the wall and laughed at
over again, Stiger praising him for his cleverness
and predicting all kinds of honors and distinctions
for him when his talents become recognized. It
was just the atmosphere of general approval in which
our young hero loved to bask, and again the hours
slipped away and three o'clock came and went and
his mother's message was still undelivered. Nor had
he been at Judge Ellicott's office. This fact was not
impressed upon him by the moon-faced clock that
hung over the cashier's desk--time made no difference 
to Oliver--but by the cashier himself, who began 
stuffing the big books into a great safe built into
the wall, preparatory to locking it with a key that
could have opened the gate of a walled town, and
which the old gentleman took home with him every
night and hung on a nail by his bed.

Thus it came to pass that another half hour had
struck before Oliver mounted the steps of the Chesapeake 
Club in search of the elusive Colonel.

The fat, mahogany-colored porter, who sat all day
in the doorway of the club, dozing in his lobster-
shell bath-chair, answered his next inquiry. This
ancient relic; who always boasted that no gentleman
member of the club, dead or alive, could pass him
without being recognized, listened to Oliver's request
with a certain lifeless air--a manner always shown to
strangers--and shuffled away to the reading-room to
find the Colonel.

The occupant of this bath-chair was not only one
of the characters of the club but one of the characters
of the town. He was a squat, broken-kneed old
darky, with white eyebrows arching over big brass
spectacles, a flat nose, and two keen, restless monkey
eyes. His hands, like those of many negroes of his
age, were long and shrivelled, the palms wrinkled as
the inside, of a turkey's foot and of the same color
and texture. His two feet, always in evidence, rested
on their heels, and were generally encased in carpet
slippers--shoes being out of the question owing to his
life-long habit of storing inside his own person the
drainings of the decanters, an idiosyncrasy which
produced a form of gout that only carpet slippers
could alleviate. In his earlier life he had carried General 
Washington around in his arms, had waited on
Henry Clay, and had been body-servant to Lafayette,
besides holding the horses of half the generals of the
War of 1812--at, least, he said so, and no man of
his color dared contradict him.

The years of service of this guardian of the front
door dated back to the time when the Chippendale
furniture of Colonel Ralph Coston, together with
many of the portraits covering the walls, and the silver
chafing-dishes lining the sideboard, had come into the
possession of the club through that gentleman's last
will and testament. Coston was the most beloved of
all the epicures of his time, and his famous terrapin-
stew--one of the marvellous, delicacies of the period
--had been cooked in these same chafing-dishes. The
mahogany-colored Cerberus had been Coston's slave
as well as butler, and still belonged to the estate. It
was eminently proper, therefore, that he should still
maintain his position at the club as long as his feet
held out.

While he was gone in search of the Colonel, Oliver
occupied himself for a moment in examining one
of the old English sporting prints that ornamented the
side-walls of the bare, uncarpeted, dismal hall. It was
the second time that he had entered these sacred doors
--few men of his own age had ever done as much.
He had stopped there once before in search of his
father, when his mother had been taken suddenly
ill. He recalled again the curious spiral staircase
at the end of the hall where his father had met him
and which had impressed him so at the time. He
could see, too, the open closet out of which Mr.
Horn had taken his overcoat, and which was now
half-filled with hats and coats.

From the desolate, uninviting hall, Oliver passed
into the large meeting-room of the club fronting the
street, now filled with members, many of whom had
dropped in for half an hour on their way back to
their offices. Of these some of the older and more
sedate men, like Judge Bowman and Mr. Pancoast,
were playing chess; others were seated about the
small tables, reading, sipping toddies, or chatting 
together. A few of the younger bloods, men of forty
or thereabouts, were standing by the uncurtained
windows watching the belles of the town in their
flounced dresses and wide leghorn hats, out for an
afternoon visit or promenade. Among these men
Oliver recognized Howard Thom, son of the Chief-
Justice, poor as a church mouse and fifty years of
age if a day. Oliver was not surprised to find Thom
craning his neck at the window. He remembered
the story they told of this perennial beau--of how
he had been in love with every woman in and around
Kennedy Square, from Miss Clendenning down to
the latest debutante, and of how he would tell you
over his first toddy that he had sown his wild oats
and was about to settle down for life, and over his
last--the sixth, or seventh, or eighth--that the most
adorable woman in town, after a life devoted to her
service, had thrown him over, and that henceforth all
that was left to him was a load of buckshot and six
feet of earth.

Oliver bowed to those of the members he knew,
and wheeling one of the clumsy mahogany chairs
into position, sat down to await the arrival of Colonel
Clayton.

Meanwhile his eyes wandered over the desolate
room with its leather-covered chairs and sofas and
big marble mantel bare of every ornament but another 
moon-faced clock--a duplicate of the one at
the bank--and two bronze candelabra flanking each
end, and then on the portraits of the dead and gone
members which relieved the sombre walls--one in
a plum-colored coat with hair tied in a queue being
no other than his own ancestor. He wondered to
himself where lay the charm and power to attract in
a place so colorless, and he thought, as was his habit
with all interiors, how different he would want it to
be if he ever became a member. His fresh young
nature revolted at the dinginess and bareness of the
surroundings. He couldn't understand why the men
came here and what could be the fascination of sitting 
round these cold tables talking by the hour
when there was so much happiness outside--so much
of light and air and sunshine free to everybody.

He was, moreover, a little constrained and uncomfortable.
There was none of the welcome of Mr.
Crocker's studio about this place, nor any of the
comforting companionship of the jolly old cashier,
who made the minutes fly as if they had wings; and
that, too, in a musty bank far more uninviting
even than the club. He remembered his mother's
message now--and he remembered her face and the
anxious expression--as we always remember duties
when we are uncomfortable. He meant to hurry
home to her as soon as the Colonel dismissed him, and
tell her how it had all happened, and how sorry he
was, and what a stupid he had been, and she would
forgive him as she had a hundred times before.

As he sat absorbed in these thoughts his attention
was attracted by a conversation at the adjoining table
between that dare-devil cross-country rider, Tom
Gunning of Calvert County, old General McTavish
of the Mexican War, and Billy Talbot the exquisite.
Gunning was in his corduroys and hunting-boots.
He always wore them when he came to town,
even when dining with his friends. He had them
on now, the boots being specially in evidence, one
being hooked over the chair on which he sat and within 
a foot of Oliver's elbow. None of these peculiarities, 
however, made the slightest difference in Kennedy 
Square, so far as Gunning's social position was
concerned--Tom's mother having been a Carroll and
his grandfather once Governor of the State.

The distinguished cross-country rider was telling
General McTavish, immaculate in black wig, blue
coat, pepper-and-salt trousers and patent-leather
shoes, and red-faced Billy Talbot, of an adventure
that he, Gunning, had had the night before while driving 
home to his plantation. The exquisite's costume
was in marked contrast to those of the other two--it
was his second change that day. At this precise moment 
he was upholstered in peg-top, checker-board
trousers, bob-tail Piccadilly coat, and a one-inch brim
straw hat, all of the latest English pattern. Everything, 
in fact, that Billy possessed was English, from
a rimless monocle decorating his left eye, down to the
animated door-mat of a skye-terrier that followed at
his heels.

Oliver saw from the way in which McTavish
leaned over the table, protecting the tray with his
two arms, that he was in command of the decanter,
and that the duty of alleviating the thirst of his 
companions had devolved upon the General. Billy Talbot 
sat with his hat tipped back on his head, his chin
resting on his abbreviated cane, his eyes fixed on
Gunning. Both McTavish and Talbot were listening 
intently to the cross-country rider's story.

"And you say you were sober, Gunning?" Oliver
heard the General ask, with a scrutinizing look at
Tom. Not with any humorous intent--more with
the manner of a presiding officer at a court-martial,
determined to establish certain essential facts.

"As a clock, General. The first thing I knew the
mare shied and I came pretty near landin' in the dirt."
(The lower county men always dropped their g's.)
"He was lyin', I tell you, right across the road. If it
hadn't been for Kitty, I would have run him down. I
got out and held onto the reins, and there he was, sir,
stretched out as drunk as a lord, flat on his back and
sound asleep. I saw right away that he was a gentleman, 
and I tied the mare to a tree, picked him up
with the greatest care, laid him on the side of the
road, put his hat under his head, and made him
as comfortable as I could, when, by George, sir! I
hadn't any more than got back to my buggy, when
bang! went a ball within a foot of my head!"

The General, who, as he listened, had been repointing 
the waxed ends of his dyed mustache with
his lemon-colored kid gloves, now leaned back in his
chair.

"Fired at you, sir?" The General had served
both at Chapultepec and Buena Vista, and was an authority 
where gunpowder was concerned.

"That's just what he did. Came near takin' the
top of my head off! Hadn't been so dark he would
have done it."

"Good God! you don't tell me so!" exclaimed the
General, mopping his lips with his perfumed handkerchief. 
"Were you armed, Gunning?"

"No, sir, I was entirely at his mercy and absolutely 
defenceless. Well, I grabbed the reins to quiet
the mare and then I hollered out--'What the devil
do you mean, sir, by tryin' to blow the top of my
head off?' I could see now that he had raised himself 
up on his elbow and was lookin' at me in a way
I did not like.

"'What do you mean by disturbin' my rest, sir,'
he called back.

"'Well, but my dear sir, you were lyin' in the
middle of the road and might have been run
over.'

"'It's none of your business where I lie,' he hollered 
back. 'I go to sleep where I damn please, sir.
I consider it a very great liberty.'

"'I, beg your pardon, sir,' I said. 'I did not intend 
any trespass--' I was walkin' toward him now.
I did not want him to shoot again.

"'That's sufficient, sir,' he said. 'No gentleman
can do more. There's my hand, sir. Allow me, sir,
to offer you a drink. If you will roll me over, you
will find my flask in my coat-tail pocket.'

"Well, I rolled him over, took a drink, and then
I brought the mare alongside, helped him in and
drove him home to my house. He was a most delightful 
gentleman. Didn't leave my place until four
o'clock in the mornin'. He lives about fifteen miles
below me. He told me his name was Toffington. Do
you happen to know him, Talbot?" said Gunning,
turning to Billy.

"Toffington, Toffington," said Billy, dropping his
eye-glasses with a movement of his eyebrows. He
had listened to the story without the slightest comment. 
"No, Tom, unless he is one of those upper
county men. There was a fellow I met in London
last year--" (Billy pronounced it "larst yarh," to
Oliver's infinite amusement) "with some such name
as that. He and I went over to Kew Gardens with
the Duke of--."

Gunning instantly turned around with an impatient 
gesture--nobody ever listened to one of Billy's
London stories, they being the never-ending jokes
around Kennedy Square--faced the General again,
much to Oliver's regret, who would have loved above
all things to hear Billy descant on his English experiences.

"Do you, General, know anybody named Toffington?" 
asked Tom.

"No, Gunning--but here comes Clayton, he knows
everybody in the State that is worth knowing. What
you have told me is most extraordinary--most extraordinary, 
Gunning. It only goes to show how necessary 
it is for every man to be prepared for emergencies 
of this kind. You should never go unarmed,
sir. You had a very narrow escape--a very narrow
escape, Gunning. Here, Clayton--come over here."

Oliver pulled his face into long lines. The picture
of Gunning taking a drink with a man who a moment
before had tried to blow the top of his head off, and
the serious way in which the coterie about the table
regarded the incident, so excited the boy's risibles
that he would have laughed outright had not his eye
rested on the Colonel walking toward him.

The Colonel, evidently, did not hear McTavish's
call. His mind was occupied with something much
more important. He had been finishing a game of
whist upstairs, and the mahogany-colored Cerberus
had not dared to disturb him until the hand was
played out. The fact that young Oliver Horn had
called to see him at such an hour and in such a place
had greatly disturbed him. He felt sure that something 
out of the ordinary had happened.

"My dear boy," he cried, as Oliver rose to meet
him, "I have this instant heard you were here, or
I never should have kept you waiting a moment.
Nothing serious--nothing at home?"

"Oh, no, Colonel. Only a word from mother,
sir. I missed you at the bank and Mr. Stiger thought
that I might better come here," and he delivered his
mother's message in a low voice and resumed his
seat again.

The Colonel, now that his mind was at rest, dropped
into a chair, stroked his goatee with his thumb and
forefinger, and ran over in his mind the sum of his
engagements.

"Tell your dear mother," he said, "that I will
do myself the honor of calling upon her on my way
home late this afternoon. Nothing will give me
greater pleasure. Now stay awhile with me and let
me order something for you, my boy," and he beckoned 
to one of the brown-coated servants who had
entered the room with a fresh tray for the Gunning
table.

"No, thank you, Colonel; I ought not to stop,"
Oliver replied, in an apologetic way, as he rose from
his seat. "I really ought to go back and tell mother,"
and with a grasp of Clayton's hand and a bow to one
or two men in the room who were watching his movements
--the Colonel following him to the outer door
--Oliver took himself off, as was the duty of one so
young and so entirely out of place among a collection 
of men all so knowing and distinguished.




CHAPTER VI

AMOS COBB'S ADVICE



In full justice to the Chesapeake Club the scribe
must admit that such light-weights as Billy Talbot,
Torn Gunning, and Carter Thorn did not fairly represent 
the standing of the organization. Many of
the most cultivated and enlightened men about Kennedy 
Square and the neighboring country enjoyed
its privileges; among them not only such men as
Richard Horn, Nathan Gill, the Chief-Justice of
the State, and those members of the State Legislature 
whose birth was above reproach, but most of
the sporting gentry of the county, as well as many
of the more wealthy planters who lived on the Bay
and whose houses were opened to their fellow-members 
when the ducks were flying.

Each man's lineage, occupation, and opinions on
the leading topics of the time were as well known to
the club as to the man himself. Any new-corner presenting 
himself for membership was always subjected
to the severest scrutiny, and had to be favorably
passed upon by a large majority of the committee before 
a sufficient number of votes could be secured for
his election.

The only outsider elected for years had been
Amos Cobb, of Vermont, the abolitionist, as he was
generally called, who invariably wore black broad-
cloth and whose clean-shaven face--a marked contrast
to the others--with its restless black eyes,
strong nose, and firm mouth, was as sharp and hard
as the rocks of his native State. His election to full
membership of the Chesapeake Club was not due to
his wealth and commercial standing--neither of
these would have availed him--but to the fact that
he had married a daughter of Judge Wharton of
Wharton Hall, and had thus, by reason of his alliance 
with one of the first families of the State, been
admitted to all the social privileges of Kennedy
Square. This exception in his favor, however, had
never crippled Cobb's independence nor stifled his
fearlessness in expressing his views on any one of the
leading topics of the day. The Vermonter had
worked with his hands when a boy on his father's
farm, and believed in the dignity of labor and the
blessings of self-support. He believed, too, in the
freedom of all men, black and white, and looked upon
slavery as a crime. He expressed these sentiments
openly and unreservedly, and declared that no matter
how long he might live South he would never cease
to raise his voice against a system which allowed a
man--as he put it--"to sit down in the shade and fan
himself to sleep while a lot of niggers whose bodies
he owned were sweating in a corn-field to help feed
and clothe him."

These sentiments, it must be said, did not add to
his popularity, although the time had not yet arrived
when he would have been thrown into the street
for uttering them.

Nathan Gill was a daily visitor. He was just
mounting the club steps, his long pen-wiper cloak
about his shoulders, as Oliver, after his interview with
Colonel Clayton, passed down the street on his way
back to his mother. Nathan shook hands with the
Colonel, and the two entered the main room, and
seated themselves at one of the tables.

Billy Talbot, who had moved to the window, and
who had been watching Oliver until he disappeared
around the corner, dropped his eye-glass with that
peculiar twitch of the upper lip which no one could
have imitated, and crossed the room to where Nathan 
and Colonel Clayton had taken their seats.
Waggles, the scrap of a Skye terrier, who was never
three feet from Billy's heels, instantly crossed with
him. After Billy had anchored himself and had assumed 
his customary position, with his feet slightly
apart, Waggles, as was his habit, slid in and sat
down on his haunches between his master's gaiters.
There he lifted his fluffy head and gazed about him.
The skill with which Mr. Talbot managed his dog
was only equalled by the dexterity with which he
managed his eye-glass; he never inadvertently stepped
on the one nor unconsciously let slip the other. This
caused Mr. Talbot considerable mental strain, but as
it was all to which he ever subjected himself he stood
the test bravely.

"Who is that young man, Colonel" Billy began,
as he bent his head to be sure that Waggles was in
position. He had been abroad while Oliver was
growing up, and so did not recognize him.

"That's Richard Horn's son," the Colonel said,
without raising his eyes from the paper. The Colonel 
never took Billy seriously.

"And a fine young fellow he is," broke in Nathan, 
straightening himself proudly.

"Hope he don't take after his father, Gill. By
the way, what's that old wisionary doing now?"
drawled Billy, throwing back the lapels of his coat,
and slapping his checked trousers with his cane.
"Larst time you talked to me about him he had some
machine with w'eels and horse-shoe magnets, didn't
he? He hasn't been in here for some time, so I know
he's at work on some tomfoolery or other. Amazing, 
isn't it, that a man of his blood, with a cellar of
the best Madeiwa in the State, should waste his time
on such things. Egad! I cawn't understand it."
Some of Billy's expressions, as well as his accent,
came in with his clothes. "Now, if I had that Madeiwa, 
do you know what I'd do with it? I'd--"

"Perfectly, Billy," cried a man at the next table,
who was bending over a game of chess. "You'd
drink it up in a week." Talbot had never been
known by any other name than Billy, and never
would be as long as he lived.

When the laugh had subsided, Nathan, whose
cheeks were still burning at the slighting way in
which Billy Talbot had spoken of Richard, and who
had sat hunched up in his chair combing the white
hair farther over his ears with his long, spare fingers,
a habit with him when he was in deep thought, lifted
his head and remarked, quietly, addressing the room
rather than Talbot:

"Richard's mind is not on his cellar; he's got
something to think of besides Madeira and cards and
dogs." And he looked toward Waggles. "You
will all, one day, be proud to say that he lived in our
town. Richard is a genius, one of the most remarkable 
men of the day, and everybody outside of this
place knows it; you will be compelled to admit it yet.
I left him only half an hour ago, and he is just perfecting 
a motor, gentlemen, which will--"

"Does it go yet, Nathan?" interrupted Cobb, who
was filling a glass from a decanter which a brown-
coated darky had brought him. Cobb's wife was
Nathan's cousin, and, therefore, he had a right to be
familiar. "I went to see his machine the other
day, but I couldn't make anything out of it. Horn
is a little touched here, isn't he?" and he tapped his
forehead and smiled knowingly.

"No, Amos, the motor was not running when I
left the shop," answered Nathan, dryly and with some
dignity, "but it will be, he assured me, perhaps by
to-morrow." He could fight Billy Talbot, but he
never crossed swords with Cobb, never in late
years. Cobb was the one man in all the world, he
once told Richard, with whom he had nothing in
common.

"Oh, to-morrow?" And Cobb whistled as he put
down the decanter and picked up the day's paper.
It was one of Cobb's jokes--this "to-morrow" of
his neighbors. "What was a Northern man's to-
day was always a Southern man's to-morrow," he
would say. "I hope this young man of whom you
speak so highly is not walking in the footsteps of
this genius of a father? He looks to me like a
young fellow that had some stuff in him if anybody
would bring it out."

The half-concealed sneer in Cobb's voice grated also
on old Judge Bowman, who threw down his book and
looked up over his bowed spectacles. He was a testy
old fellow, with a Burgundy face and shaggy white
hair, a chin and nose that met together like a parrot's, 
and an eye like a hawk. It was one of his principles 
to permit none of his intimates to speak ill of
his friends in his hearing. Criticisms, therefore, by
an outsider like Cobb were especially obnoxious to
him.

"Richard Horn's head is all right, Mr. Cobb, and
so is his heart," he exclaimed in an indignant tone.
"As for his genius, sir--Gill is within the mark.
He IS one of the remarkable men of our day. You
are quite right, too, about his young son, who has
just left here. He has all the qualities that go to
make a gentleman, and many of those which will
make a jurist. He is now studying law with my associate, 
Judge Ellicott--a profession ennobled by his
ancestors, sir, and one, for which what you call his
'stuff,' but which we, sir, call his 'blood,' especially
fits him. You Northern men, I know, don't believe
in blood. We do down here. This young man comes
of a line of ancestors that have reflected great credit
on our State for more than a hundred years, and
he is bound to make his mark. His grandfather on
his mother's side was our Chief Justice in 1810, and
his great-grandfather was--"

"That's just what's the matter with most of you
Southerners, Judge," interrupted Cobb, his black
eyes snapping. "You think more of blood than you
do of brains. We rate a man on Northern soil by
what he does himself, not what a bundle of bones
in some family burying-ground did for him before
he was born. Don't you agree with me, Clayton?"

"I can't say I do, Cobb," replied the Colonel,
slowly, stirring his toddy. "I never set foot on your
soil but once, and so am unfamiliar with your ways."
He never liked Cobb. "He's so cursedly practical,
and so proud of it, too," he would often say; "and
if you will pardon me, sir--a trifle underbred."

"When was that?" asked Cobb, looking over the
top of his paper.

"That was some years ago, when I chased a
wounded canvas-back across the Susquehanna River,
and had to go ashore to get him; and I want to tell
you, sir, that what you call 'your soil' was damned
disagreeable muck. I had to change my boots when
I got back to my home, and I've never worn them
since." And the Colonel crushed the sugar in his
glass with his spoon as savagely as if each lump were
the head of an enemy, and raised the mixture to his
mouth.

Amos's thin lips curled. The high and lofty airs
of these patricians always exasperated him. The
shout of laughter that followed the Colonel's reply
brought the color to his cheeks.

"Chased him like a runaway nigger, I suppose,
Clayton, didn't you? and wrung his neck when you
got him--" retorted Amos, biting his lips.

"Of course, like I would any other piece of my
property that tried to get away, or as I would wring
the neck of any man who would help him--" And
the Colonel looked meaningly at the Vermonter and
drained his glass with a gulp. Then smothering his
anger, he moved away to the window, where he
watched Mr. Talbot, who had just left the club and
who at the moment was standing on the corner making 
his daily afternoon inspection of the two connecting 
streets; an occupation which Billy varied by
saluting each new-corner with a slap of his cane on
his checker-board trousers and a stentorian "Bah
Jove!" Waggles meanwhile squatting pensively between 
his gaiters.

When an hour later the Colonel presented himself
at the Horn mansion, no trace of this encounter with
Cobb was in his face nor in his manner. Men did
not air their grievances in their own nor anyone's
else home around Kennedy Square.

Mrs. Horn met him with her hand extended. She
had been watching for Oliver's return with a degree
of impatience rarely seen in her. She had hoped that
the Colonel would have called upon her before he
went to his office, and could not understand his delay
until Oliver had given his account of the morning
mishaps. She was too anxious now to chide him. It
was but another indication of his temperament, she
thought--a fault to be corrected with the others that
threatened his success in life.

Holding fast to the Colonel's hand she drew him
to one of the old haircloth sofas and told him the
whole story.

"Do not give the mortgage a thought, my dear
Sallie," the Colonel said, In his kindest manner,
when she had finished speaking, laying his hand on
her wrist. "My only regret is that it should have
caused you a moment's uneasiness. I know that our
bank has lately been in need of a large sum of
money, and this loan, no doubt, was called in by
the board. But it will be all right--if not I will
provide for it myself."

"No--I do not want that, and Richard, if he
knew, would not be willing either. Tell me, please,
how this money is loaned," and she turned and looked
earnestly into his face. "What papers are passed,
and who signs them? I have never had anything to
do with such matters, and you must explain it all
clearly."

"A note signed by Richard and made payable on
a certain date was given to the bank, and the mortgage 
was deposited as security."

"And if the note is not paid?"

"Then the property covered by the mortgage is
sold, and the bank deducts its loan--any balance,
of course, is paid over to Richard."

"And when the sale is put off--what is done
then?"

"A new note is given," and here the Colonel
stopped as if in doubt, "and sometimes a second name
is placed on the note increasing the security. But,
Sallie, dear, do not let this part of it ever again cross
your mind. I will attend to it should it become
necessary. It is not often," and the Colonel waved
his hand gallantly, "that a Clayton can do a Horn
a service."

"Thank you, dear friend, and it is just like you
to wish to do it, but this I cannot agree to. I have
thought of another way since you have been talking
to me. Would it--" and she stopped and looked
down on the floor, "would it be of any use if I signed
a note myself? This house we live in is my own, as
you know, and would be an additional security to
the bank if anything should happen."

The offer was so unusual that the Colonel caught
his breath. He looked at her in astonishment, but her
eyes never wavered. He felt instantly that, however
lightly he might view the subject, the matter was intensely 
serious with her. The Colonel half rose to
his feet, and with a bow that in Kennedy Square had
earned for him the title of "the Chesterfield of his
time, sir," placed his hand on his heart.

"My dear Sallie," he said, "not a member of the
board could refuse. It would at once remove any
obstacle the directors might have."

"Thank you, then we will leave it so, and I will
have the papers prepared at once."

"And is this Richard's advice?" the Colonel ventured 
to ask, slowly regaining his seat. There were
some misgivings still lingering in his Chesterfieldian
mind as to whether the proudest man he knew,
gentle as he was, would not forbid the whole
transaction.

"No. He does not know of my purpose, and you
will please not tell him. He only knows that I am
opposed to allowing the property to be sold, and he
has promised me that he will take no steps in the
matter without my consent. All I want you to do
now is to tell him that the bank has decided to let
the matter stand. This obligation hereafter will be
between me and the board, and I will pledge myself
to carry it out. And now, one thing more before you
go, and I ask this because you have seen him grow
up and I know you love him. What shall I do
with Oliver?"

The Colonel again caught his breath. Gallant gentleman
of the old school, as he was, with a profound
respect for the other sex, the question startled him.
According to his experience and traditions, the fathers 
generally looked after the welfare of the sons
and found them places in life--not the mothers.

"What do you want to do with him?" he asked,
quietly.

"I want him to go to work. I am afraid this
life here will ruin him."

"Why, I thought he was studying law with Ellicott." 
The announcement could not have been very
surprising to the Colonel. He doubtless knew
how much time Oliver spent at Judge Ellicott's
office.

"He no doubt THINKS he's studying, dear friend,
but he really spends half his time in old Mr. Crocker's
studio, who puts the worst possible notions into his
head, and the balance of his time he is with your
Sue," and she smiled faintly.

"For which you can hardly blame him, dear lady,"
and the Colonel bent his head graciously.

"No, for she is as sweet as she can be, and you
know I love her dearly, but they are both children,
and will be for some years. You don't want to support 
them, do you? and you know Richard can't,"
and there flashed out from her eyes one of those
quizzical glances which the Colonel remembered so
well in her girlhood.

The Colonel nodded his head, but he did not commit 
himself. He had never for a moment imagined
that Oliver's love-affair would go as far as that, and,
then again, he knew Sue.

"What do you suggest doing with him? I will
help, of course, in any way I can," he said, after a
pause, during which Mrs. Horn sat watching every
expression that crossed his face.

"I don't know. I have not fully made up my
mind. I have been greatly disturbed over Oliver.
He seems to be passing through one of those dangerous 
crises which often come to a boy. What do you
think of my sending him to New York?"

"THE NORTH, Sallie! Why, you wouldn't send
Oliver up North, would you?"

The announcement this time gave the Colonel so
genuine a shock that it sent the blood tingling to
his cheeks. Really, the idiosyncrasies of the Horn
family were beyond his comprehension! Evidently 
Richard's vagaries had permeated his household.

"I do not like the influence of the North on our
young men, my dear Madam." The Colonel spoke
now with great seriousness and with some formality,
and without any of the Chesterfieldian accompaniments 
of tone or gesture. "If he were my boy,
I should keep him here. He is young and light-
hearted, I know, and loves pleasure, but that will all
come out of him. Let him stay with Ellicott; he will
bring him out all right. There is a brusqueness and
a want of refinement among most Northern men that
have always grated on me. You can see it any day
in Amos Cobb."

As he spoke a slight flush overspread his listener's
face. The positiveness of his tone, she thought, carried 
with it a certain uncomplimentary criticism of
her suggestion. The Colonel saw it, and, as if in
apology and to prove his case, added, in a gentler
tone: "Only this afternoon at the club I heard
Cobb speaking in the most outrageous manner about
our most treasured institutions. It is not his fault
perhaps. It is the fault of his breeding, but it is 
unbearable all the same. Keep Oliver here. He has a
most engaging and lovable nature, is as clean and
sweet as a girl, and I haven't a doubt but what he
will honor both you and his blood. Take my word
for it, and keep him at home. He is young yet, barely
twenty-two--there is plenty of time for him." And
the Colonel rose from the sofa, lifted Mrs. Horn's
fingers to his lips and bowed himself out.

The Colonel only told the truth, as he saw it.
In his day and generation men of twenty-two
were but boys, and only gray-beards ruled the
State and counting-house. The Senators were indeed
grave and reverend seigniors, and the merchants, in
their old-fashioned dress-coats, looked more like 
distinguished diplomats than buyers and sellers of
produce. In those days, too, the young man with a
mustache was thought presuming and dangerous, and
the bank who would have selected a cashier under
forty would have caused a run on its funds in a
week after the youth had been appointed to his position.

After the Colonel's departure Mrs. Horn sat in
deep thought. The critical tones of his voice still
lingered in her memory. But her judgment had not
been shaken nor was her mind satisfied. Oliver still
troubled her. The Colonel's advice might be right,
but she dared not rely upon it.

The next day she sent for Amos Cobb: Malachi
took the message this time, not Oliver. Cobb came
on the minute. He was greatly surprised at Mrs.
Horn's note, for although his wife was an intimate
friend of Mrs. Horn's, and he himself would have
been welcome, he was seldom present at any of the
functions of the house and could not be considered
one of its intimate guests. He did not like music, he
said to his wife, when urged to go, and, as he did
not play chess or drink Madeira, he preferred to stay
at home.

Malachi relieved Amos of his hat, and conducted
him into Mrs. Horn's presence with rather a formal
bow--quite different from the low salaam with which
he had greeted Colonel Clayton. "Dat bobobalish'-
nest, Mister Cobb, jes' gone in de parlor," he said
to Aunt Hannah when he regained the kitchen.
"Looks like he lived on parsimmons, he dat sour."

Mrs. Horn received her visitor cordially, but with
a reserve which she had not maintained toward the
Colonel, for Cobb had never represented to her anything 
but a money standard pure and simple. It was
only when the Colonel had mentioned his name, and
then only because of her urgent need of just such
sound practical advice as she knew he could give
that she had determined to seek his services--quite
as she would have consulted an architect or an
attorney.

The Vermonter took his seat on the extreme edge
of the sofa, squared his shoulders, pulled up the
points of his high collar, touched together the tips of
all his fingers, and looked straight at his hostess.

"I am greatly obliged to you for coming," she began, 
"for I know how busy you are, but I have a
question to ask of you which I feel sure you can
answer better than anyone I know. It is about my
son Oliver. I am going to be perfectly frank with
you, and I want you to be equally frank with me."
And she summed up Oliver's aims, temptations, and
failings with a skill that gained the Vermonter's
closest attention. "With all this," she continued,
"he is affectionate, loves me dearly, and has never
disobeyed me in his life. It is his love of change
that worries me--his instability--one thing one moment,
and another the next. It seems to me the only
way to break this up is to throw him completely on
his own resources so that he may realize for once
what life really means. Now tell me--" and she
looked searchingly into Cobb's face, as if eager to
note the effect of her question--"if he were your
only son, would you, in view of all I have told you,
send him to New York to make his start in life, or
would you keep him here?"

The Vermonter's face had begun to lighten as she
progressed, and had entirely cleared when he learned
why he had been sent for. He had been afraid, when
he received her note, that it had been about the mortgage. 
Cobb was chairman of the Loan Committee at
the bank, had personally called attention to Richard's
note being overdue, and had himself ordered its payment.

"My two boys are at school in Vermont, Madam,"
he answered, slowly.

"But Oliver must earn his own living," she said,
earnestly. "His father will have nothing to give
him."

Cobb made no reply. He was not surprised. Most
all of these aristocratic Southerners were on their last
legs. He was right about the note, he said to himself
--it was just as well to have it paid--and he
made a mental memorandum to inquire about it as
soon as he reached his office, and have it pressed for
settlement at once. Business matters must be kept
intact.

"What do you want him to do, Madam?" he asked,
looking at her keenly from under his bushy eyebrows.

"Anything to earn his bread," she replied, in
a decided tone.

Cobb passed his hand over his face, pinched his
chin with his thumb and forefinger, and looked out
of the window. The answer pleased him. It pleased
him, too, to be consulted by the Horns on a matter
of this kind. It pleased him most of all to realize that
when these aristocrats who differed with him politically 
got into a financial hole they had to send for
him to help pull them out.

For a moment the Vermonter remained in deep
thought. "Here is a Southern woman," he said to
himself, "with some common-sense and with a head
on her shoulders. If her husband had half her brains
I'd let the mortgage stand." Then he turned and
faced her squarely, his eyes boring into hers.

"Send him to New York, by all means, Madam,
or anywhere else out of here," he said, firmly, but
with a kindly tone in his voice. "When you decide,
let me know--I will give him a letter to a business
friend of mine who lives on the Hudson, a short
distance above the city, who may help him. But let
me advise you to send him at once. I saw your son
yesterday at the club, and he exactly fits your measure, 
except in one respect. He's got more grit in him
than you give him credit for. I looked him over
pretty carefully, and if he gets in a tight place you
needn't worry about him. He'll pull out, or my name
isn't Cobb. And now one thing more--" and he rose
stiffly from the sofa and buttoned up his coat--
"don't give him any pocket-money. Chuck him out
neck and heels into the world and let him shift for
himself. That's the way I was treated, and that's the
way I got on. Good-day."




CHAPTER VII

A SEAT IN UNION SQUARE



Within a day's journey of Kennedy Square lay
another wide breathing-space, its winding paths worn
smooth by countless hurrying feet.

Over its flat monotony straggled a line of gnarled
willows, marking the wanderings of some guileless
brook long since swallowed up and lost in the mazes
of the great city like many another young life fresh
from green fields and sunny hill-sides. This desert of
weeds and sun-dried, yellow grass, this kraal for
scraggly trees and broken benches, breasted the rush
of the great city as a stone breasts a stream, dividing
its current--one part swirling around and up Broadway 
to the hills and the other flowing eastward toward
Harlem and the Sound. Around its four sides, fronting 
the four streets that hemmed it in, ran a massive
iron railing, socketed in stone and made man-proof
and dog-proof by four great iron gates. These gates
were opened at dawn to let the restless in, and closed
at night to keep the weary out.

Above these barriers of stone and iron no joyous
magnolias lifted their creamy blossoms; no shy
climbing roses played hide-and-seek, blushing scarlet
when caught. Along its foot-worn paths no drowsy
Moses ceased his droning call; no lovers walked forgetful 
of the world; no staid old gentlemen wandered 
idly, their noses in their books.

All day long on its rude straight-backed benches
and over its thread-bare turf sprawled unkempt women 
with sick babies from the shanties; squalid, noisy
children from the rookeries; beggars in rags, and now
and then some hopeless wayfarer--who for the moment 
had given up his search for work or bread and
who rested or slept until the tap of a constable's club
brought him to consciousness and his feet.

At night, before the gates were closed--ten o'clock
was the hour--there could always be found, under
its dim lamps, some tired girl, sitting in the light for
better protection while she rested, or some weary
laborer on the way home from his long day's work,
and always passing to and fro, swinging his staff,
bullying the street-rats who were playing tag among
the trees, and inspiring a wholesome awe among
those hiding in the shadows, lounged some guardian
of the peace awaiting the hour when he could drive
the inmates to the sidewalk and shut the gates behind 
them with a bang.

Here on one of these same straight-backed wooden
seats one September night--a night when the air was
heavy with a blurred haze, through which the lamps
peered as in a fog, and the dust lay thick upon the
leaves--sat our Oliver.

Outside the square--all about the iron fence, and
surging past the big equestrian statue, could be heard
the roar and din of the great city--that maelstrom
which now seemed ready to engulf him. No sound
of merry laughter reached him, only rumbling of
countless wheels, the slow thud of never-ending,
crowded stages lumbering over the cobbles, the cries
of the hucksters selling hot corn, and the ceaseless
scrapings of a thousand feet.

He had sat here since the sun had gone down
watching the crowds, wondering how they lived and
how they had earned their freedom from such cares
as were now oppressing him. His heart was heavy.
A long-coveted berth, meaning self-support and independence 
and consequent relief to his mother's
heart, had been almost within his grasp. It was not
the place he had expected when he left home. It was
much more menial and unremunerative. But he had
outlived all his bright hopes. He was ready now to
take anything he could get to save him from returning 
to Kennedy Square, or what would be still worse
--from asking his mother for a penny more than she
had given him. Rather than do this he would sweep
the streets.

As he leaned forward on the bench, his face in his
hands, his elbows on his knees, his thoughts went
back to his father's house. He knew what they were
all doing at this hour; he could see the porches
crowded with the boys and girls he loved, their bright
voices filling the night-air, Sue in the midst of
them, her curls about her face. He could see his
father in the big chair reading by the lamp, that dear
old father who had held his hands so tenderly and
spoken with such earnestness the day before he had
left Kennedy Square.

"Your mother is right," Richard had said. "I
am glad you are going, my son; the men at the
North are broader-minded than we are here, and you
will soon find your place among them. Great things
are ahead of us, my boy. I shall not live to see them,
but you will."

He could see his mother, too, sitting by the window, 
looking out upon the trees. He knew where
her thoughts lay. As his mind rested on her pale
face his eyes filled with tears. "Dear old mother,"
he said to himself--"I am not forgetting, dear. I
am holding on. But oh, if I had only got the place
to-day, how happy you would be to-morrow."

A bitter feeling had risen in his heart, when he
had opened the letter which had brought him the
news of the loss of this hoped-for situation. "This
is making one's way in the world, is it?" he had said
to himself with a heavy sigh. Then the calm eyes of
his mother had looked into his again, and he had
felt the pressure of the soft hand and heard the tones
of her voice:

"You may have many discouragements, my son,
and will often be ready to faint by the way, but stick
to it and you will win."

His bitterness had been but momentary, and he
had soon pulled himself together, but his every resource 
seemed exhausted now. He had counted so
on the situation--that of a shipping-clerk in a dry-
goods store--promised him because of a letter that
he carried from Amos Cobb's friend. But at the last
moment the former clerk, who had been laid off because 
of sickness, had been taken back, and so the
weary search for work must begin again.

And yet with everything against him Oliver had
no thought of giving up the struggle. Even Amos
Cobb would have been proud of him could he have
seen the dogged tenacity with which he clung to his
purpose--a tenacity due to his buoyant, happy
temperament, or to his devotion to his mother's
wishes; or (and this is more than probable) to some
drops of blood, perhaps, that had reached his own
through his mother's veins--the blood of that Major
with the blue and buff coat, whose portrait hung in
the dining-room at home, and who in the early days
had braved the flood at Trenton side by side with the
Hero of the Bronze Horse now overlooking the
bench on which Oliver sat; or it may be of that other
ancestor in the queue whose portrait hung over the
mantel of the club and who had served his State with
distinction in his day.

Whatever the causes of these several effects, the
one dominating power which now controlled him
was his veneration for his mother's name and honor.
For on the night succeeding Amos Cobb's visit after
she had dropped upon her knees and poured out her
heart in prayer she had gone into Oliver's bedroom,
and shutting the door had told him of the mortgage;
of his father's embarrassment, and the danger they
suffered of losing the farm--their only hope for
their old age--unless success crowned Richard's
inventions. With his hand fast in hers she
had given him in exact detail all that she had done
to ward off this calamity; recounting, word by word,
what she had said to the Colonel, lowering her voice
almost to a whisper as she spoke of the solemn
promise she had made him--involving her own and
her husband's honor--and the lengths to which she
was prepared to go to keep her obligations to the
bank.

Then, her hand still clasping his, the two sitting
side by side on his bed, his wondering, startled eyes
looking into hers--for this world of anxiety was an
unknown world to him--she had by slow stages made
him realize how necessary it was that he, their only
son, and their sole dependence, should begin at once
to earn his daily bread; not only on his own account
but on hers and his father's. In her tenderness she
had not told him that the real reason was his instability 
of purpose; fearing to wound his pride, she had
put it solely on the ground of his settling down to
some work.

"It is the law of nature, my son," she had added.
"Everything that lives must WORK to live. You have
only to watch the birds out here in the Square to convince 
you of that. Notice them to-morrow, when
you go out. See how busy they are; see how long it
takes for any one of them to get a meal. You are
old enough now to begin to earn your own bread,
and you must begin at once, Ollie. Your father can
no longer help you. I had hoped your profession
would do this for you, but that is not to be thought
of now."

Oliver, at first, had been stunned by it all. He
had never before given the practical side of life a
single thought. Everything had gone along smoothly
from his earliest remembrance. His father's house
had been his home and his protection; his room with
its little bed and pretty hangings and all its comforts
--a room cared for like a girl's--had always been
open to him. He had never once asked himself how
these things came about, nor why they continued.
These revelations of his mother's therefore were like
the sudden opening of a door covering a vault over
which he had walked unconsciously and which now,
for the first time, he saw yawning beneath him.

"Poor daddy," were his first words. "I never
knew a thing about his troubles; he seems always so
happy and so gentle. I am so sorry--dear daddy--
dear dad--" he kept repeating.

And then as she spoke there flashed into his mind
the thought of his own hopes. They were shattered
now. He knew that the art career was dead for him,
and that all his dreams in that direction were over.

He was about to tell her this, but he stopped before 
the words were formed. He would not add his
own burden to her sorrow. No, he would bear it
alone. He would tell Sue, but he would not tell his
mother. Next there welled up in his heart a desire
to help this mother whom he idolized, and this father
who represented to him all that was kind and true.

"What can I do? Where can I go, dearie?" he
cried with sudden resolve. "Even if I am to work
with my hands I am ready to do it, but it must be
away from here. I could not do it here at home
with everybody looking on; no, not here! not
here!"

This victory gained, the mother with infinite tact,
little by little, unfolded to the son the things she had
planned. Finally with her arms about his neck,
smoothing his cheek with her hands she told him
of Amos Cobb's advice and of his offer, adding:
"He will give you a letter to his friend who lives
at Haverstraw near New York, my boy, with
whom you can stay until you get the situation you
want."

The very impracticability of this scheme did not
weigh with her. She did not see how almost hopeless
would be the task of finding employment in an unknown 
city. Nor did the length of time her son
might be a burden on a total stranger make any difference 
in her plans. Her own home had always been
open to the friends of her friends, and for any length
of time, and her inborn sense of hospitality made it
impossible for her to understand any other conditions. 
Then again she said to herself: "Mr. Cobb
is a thoroughly practical man, and a very kind one.
His friend will welcome Oliver, or he would not
have allowed my son to go." She had repeated,
however, no word of the Vermonter's advice "to
chuck the boy out neck and heels into the world and
let him shift for himself," although the very Spartan
quality of the suggestion, in spite of its brusqueness,
had greatly pleased her. She could not but recognize
that Amos understood. She would have faced
the situation herself if she had been in her son's
place; she said so to herself. And she hoped, too,
that Oliver would face it as bravely when the time
came.

As for the temptations that might assail her boy
in the great city, she never gave them a thought.
Neither the love of drink nor the love of play ran
in her own or Richard's veins--not for generations.
back. "One test of a gentleman, my son," Richard
always said, "lies in the way in which he controls his
appetites--in the way he regards his meat and drink.
Both are foods for the mind as well as for the body,
and must be used as such. Gluttons and drunkards
should he classed together." No, her boy's heart
might lead him astray, but not his appetites, and
never his passions. She was as sure of that as she
was of his love.

As she talked on, Oliver's mind, yielding to her
stronger will as clay does to a sculptor's hand, began 
to take shape. What at first had looked like a
hardship now began to have an attractive side. Perhaps 
the art career need not be wholly given up. Perhaps, 
too, there was a better field for him in New
York than here--old Mr. Crocker had always told
him this. Then, too, there was something of fascination 
after all, in going out alone like a knight-errant
to conquer the world. And in that great Northern
city, too, with its rush and whirl and all that it held
for him of mystery! How many times had Mr. Crocker 
talked to him by the hour of its delights. And Ellicott's 
chair! Yes, he could get rid of that. And
Sue? Sue would wait--she had promised him she
would; no, there was no doubt about Sue! She
would love him all the better if he fought his battle
alone. Only the day before she had told him of
the wonderful feats of the White Knight, that the
new English poet had just written about and that
everybody in Kennedy Square was now reading.

Above all there was the delight of another sensation
--the sensation of a new move. This really
pleased him best. He was apparently listening to
his mother when these thoughts took possession of
him, for his eyes were still fixed on hers, but he heard
only a word now and then. It was his imagination
that swayed him now, not his will nor his judgment.
He would have his own adventures in the great city
and see the world as Mr. Crocker had done, he said
to himself.

"Yes, dearie, I'll go," he answered quickly.
"Don't talk any more about it. I'll do just as you
want me to, and I'll go anywhere you say. But about
the money for my expenses? Can father give it to
me?" he asked suddenly, a shade of anxiety crossing
his face.

"We won't ask your father, Ollie," she said, drawing 
him closer to her. She knew he would yield to
her wishes, and she loved him the better for it, if
that were possible. "I have a little money saved
which I will give you. You won't be long finding
a good place."

"And how often can I come back to you?" he
cried, starting up. Until now this phase of the situation 
had not entered his mind.

"Not often, my boy--certainly not until you can
afford it. It is costly travelling. Maybe once or
twice a year."

"Oh, then there's no use talking, I can't go. I
can't--can't, be away from you that long. That's
going to be the hardest part." He had started from
his seat and, stood over her, a look of determination
on his face.

"Oh, yes, you can, my son, and you will," she
replied, as she too rose and stood beside him, stopping 
the outburst of his weakness with her calm voice,
and quieting and soothing him with the soft touch
of her hand, caressing his cheek with her fingers as
she had so often done when he, a baby, had lain upon
her breast.

Then with a smile on her face, she had kissed him
good-night, closed the door, and staggering along the
corridor steadying herself as she walked, her hand
on the walls, had thrown herself upon her bed in an
agony of tears, crying out:

"Oh, my boy--my boy! How can I give you up?
And I know it is forever!"

And now here he is foot-sore and heart-sore, sitting 
in Union Square, New York, the roar of the
great city in his ears, and here he must sit until the
cattle-barge which takes him every night to the house
of Amos Cobb's friend is ready to start on her
voyage up the river.

He sat with his head in his hands, his elbows on
his knees, not stirring until a jar on the other end
of the bench roused him. A negro hod-carrier,
splashed with plaster, and wearing a ragged shirt and
a crownless straw hat, had taken a seat beside him.
The familiarity of the act startled Oliver. No negro
wayfarer would have dared so much in his own
Square at home.

The man reached forward and drew closer to his
own end of the bench a bundle of sawed ends and
bits of wood which he had carried across the park
on his shoulder.

Oliver watched him for a moment, with a feeling
amounting almost to indignation. "Were the poverty 
and the struggle of a great city to force such
familiarities upon him," he wondered. Then something 
in the negro's face, as he wiped the perspiration
from his forehead with the back of his hand, produced 
a sudden change of feeling. "Was this man,
too, without work?" Oliver asked himself, as he felt
the negro's weariness, and realized for the first time,
the common heritage of all men.

"Are you tired, Uncle?" he asked.

"Yes, a little mite. I been a-totin' dis kindlin'
from way up yander in Twenty-third Street where
the circus useter be. Dey's buildin' a big hotel dere
now--de Fifth Avenue dey calls it. I'm a-carryin'
mortar for de brick-layers an' somehow dese sticks
is monst'ous heavy after workin' all day."

"Where do you live?" asked Oliver, his eyes on
the kindling-wood.

"Not far from here, sah; little way dis side de
Bow'ry. Whar's yo'r home?" And the old man
rose to his feet and picked up his bundle.

The question staggered Oliver. He had no home,
really none that he could call his own--not now.

"Oh, a long way from here," he answered,
thoughtfully, without raising his head, his voice choking.

The old negro gazed at him for a moment, touched
his hat respectfully, and walked toward the gate.
At the entrance he wheeled about, balanced the bundle 
of wood on his shoulder and looked back at Oliver, 
who had resumed his old position, his eyes on
the ground. Then he walked away, muttering:

"'Pears like he's one o' my own people calling me
uncle. Spec' he ain't been long from his mammy."

Two street-rats now sneaked up toward Oliver,
watched him for a moment, and whispered to each
other. One threw a stone which grazed Oliver's
head, the other put his hand to his mouth and yelled:
"Spad, spad," at the top of his voice. Oliver understood 
the epithet, it meant that he wore clean linen,
polished shoes, and perhaps, now and then, a pair
of gloves. He had heard the same outcry in his own
city, for the slang of the street-rat is Volapuk the
world over. But he did not resent the assault. He
was too tired to chase any boys, and too despondent
to answer their taunts.

A constable, attracted by the cries of the boys, now
passed in front of him swinging his long staff. He
was about to tap Oliver's knees with one end of it,
as a gentle reminder that he had better move on,
when something in the young man's face or appearance 
made him change his mind.

"Hi, sonny," he cried, turning quickly and facing
Olivr, "yer can't bum round here after ten, ye
know. Keep yer eyes peeled for them gates, d'ye
hear?"

If Oliver heard he made no reply. He was in no
mood to dispute the officer's right to order him about.
The gates were not the only openings shut in his
face, he thought to himself; everything seemed
closed against him in this great city. It was not so
at home on Kennedy Square. Its fence, was a
shackly, moss-covered, sagging old fence, intertwined 
with honeysuckles, full of holes and minus
many a paling; where he could have found a dozen
places to crawl through. He had done so only a few
weeks before with Sue in a mad frolic across the
Square. Besides, why should the constable speak to
him at all? He knew all about the hour of closing the
New York gates without the policeman reminding
him of it. Had he not sat here every night waiting
for that cattle-boat? He hated the place cordially,
yet it was the only spot in that great city to which
he could come and not be molested while he waited
for the barges. He always selected this particular
bench because it was nearest the gate that led to the
bronze horse. He loved to look at its noble contour 
silhouetted against the sky or illumined by the
street-lamps, and was seldom too tired to be inspired
by it. He had never seen any work in sculpture to
be compared to it, and for the first few days after
his arrival, he was never content to end the day's
tramping until he stood beneath it, following its outlines, 
his heart swelling with pride at the thought
that one of his own nationality and not a European 
had created it. He wished that his father, who
believed so in the talent of his countrymen, could
see it.

Suddenly, while he was still resenting the familiarity 
of the constable, his ears were assailed by the
cry of a dog in pain; some street-rat had kicked him.

Instantly Oliver was on his feet. A small spaniel
was running toward him, followed by half a dozen
boys who were pelting him with stones.

Oliver sprang forward as the dog crouched at his
feet; caught him up in his arms and started for the
rats, who dodged behind the tree-trunks, calling
"Spad, spad," as they ran. Then came the voice of
the same constable.

"Hi, yer can't bring that dog in here."

"He's not my dog, somebody has hurt him," said
Oliver in an indifferent tone, examining carefully the
dog's legs to see if any bones were broken.

"If that ain't your dog what yer doin' with him?
See here, I been a-watchin' ye. Yer got ter move
on or I'll run ye in. D'ye moind?"

Oliver's eyes flashed. In all his life no man had
ever doubted his word, nor had anyone ever spoken
to him in such terms.

"You can do as you please, but I will take care
of this dog, no matter what happens. You ought to
be ashamed of yourself to see him hurt, and not want
to protect him. You're a pretty kind of an officer."

A crowd began to gather.

Oliver was standing with the dog under one arm,
holding the little fellow close to his breast, the other
bent with fist tight shut as if to defend himself.

"I am, am I? yer moon-faced spad! I'll show
ye," and he sprang toward Oliver.

"Here now, Tim Murphy," came a sharp voice,
"kape yer hands off the young gintleman. He ain't
a-doin' nothin', and he ain't done nothin'. Thim
divils hit the dog, I seen 'em myself."

The officer turned quickly and faced a big, broad-
shouldered Irish woman, bare-headed, her sleeves
rolled up to her elbows, every line in her kindly face
replete with indignation.

"Don't put yer hands on him, or I'll go to the
lock-up an' tell McManus."

"Oh, it's you, is it, Mrs. Mulligan?" said the
officer, in a conciliatory tone.

"Yes, it's me. The young gintleman's right. It's
the b'ys ye oughter club into shape, not be foolin'
yer time over the dog."

"Well, ye know it's agin the rules to let dogs inside 
the gates," he retorted as he continued his stroll
along the walk, swinging his club as he went, puffing
out his chest and cheeks with his old air as he moved
toward the gate.

"Yes, an' so it's agin the rules," she called after
him, "to have them rapscallions yellin' like mad an'
howlin' bloody murder when a body comes up here
to git a breath o' air."

"Is the dog hurt, sir?" and she stepped close to
Oliver and laid her big hand on the dog's head, as
it lay nestling close to Oliver's side.

"No, I don't think so--he would have been if I
had not got him."

The dog, under the caress, raised his head, and a
slight movement of his tail expressed his pleasure.
Then his ears shot forward. A young man about
Oliver's own age was rapidly walking up the path,
with a quick, springy step, whistling as he came. The
dog, with a sudden movement, squirmed himself
from under Oliver's arm and sprang toward him.

"Oh, it's you, Mr. Fred, is it?" broke out the
woman, "and it's Miss Margaret's dog, too. Of
course it's her dog, an' I was that dumb I didn't know
it.	But it's not me ye can thank for savin' its skin
--it's the young gintleman here. Them divils would
have killed it but for him."

"Is the dog yours, sir?" asked Oliver, raising his
hat with that peculiar manner of his which always
won him friends at first sight.

"No, I wish it were. It's Miss Margaret Grant's
dog--one of our students. I am taking care of it
while she is away. The little rascal ran out and got
into the Square before I knew it. I live right across
the street--you can see my house from here. Miss
Grant will be ever so much obliged to you for protecting 
him."

"Oh, don't mention it. I got hold of him just in
time, or these ruffians would have hurt him. I think
the old lady here, however, is most to be thanked.
We might both have been locked up," he added, smiling,
"if she had not interfered. You know her, it
seems."

"Yes, she's Mother Mulligan, as we call her.
She's janitress of the Academy of Design, where I
draw at night. My name's Fred Stone. Come over
to where I live--it's only a step," and he looked
straight into Oliver's face, his big blue eyes never
wavering.

"Well, I will if you don't think it's too late," and
the two young fellows, with a wave of their hands to
the old woman, left the Square, the dog bounding before 
them.

Within the hour--in less time indeed, for the
friendly light in the eyes of his new-found friend
had shone straight into our boy's soul, warming and
cheering him to his finger-tips, opening his heart, and
bringing out all his secrets--Oliver had told Fred the
story of his fruitless tramps for work; of his mother's 
hopes and fears; of his own ambitions and
his aims. And Fred, his own heart wide open,
had told Oliver with equal frankness the story of
his own struggles; of his leaving his father's farm
in the western part of the State, and of his giving
up everything to come to New York to study art.

It was the old, old story of two chance acquaintances 
made friends by reason of the common ground
of struggle and privation on which they stood; comrades 
fighting side by side in the same trenches for
the same end, and both dreaming of the morrow
which would always bring victory and never death.
A story told without reserve, for the disappointments
of life had not yet dulled their enthusiasm, nor had
the caution acquired by its many bitter experiences
yet checked the free flow of their confidences.

To Oliver, in his present despondent mood, the
hand held out to him was more than the hand of a
comrade. It was the hand of a strong swimmer
thrust into the sea to save a drowning man. There
were others then besides himself, he thought, as he
grasped it, who were making this fight for bread and
glory; there was something else in the great city besides 
cruelty and misery, money-getting and money-
spending--something of unselfishness, sympathy and
love.

The two sat on the steps of Fred's boarding-house
--that house where Oliver was to spend so many
happy days of his after-life--until there was only
time enough to catch the barge. Reluctantly he bade
his new-found comrade good-by and, waving his
hand, turned the corner in the direction of the dock.

The edge of Oliver's cloud had at last caught the
light!




CHAPTER VIII

AN OLD SONG



Not only had the sunshine of a new friendship
illumined the edge of Oliver's clouds, but before the
week was out a big breeze laden with success had
swept them so far out to sea, that none but the clearest 
of skies radiant with hope now arched above his
happy face.

A paste-board sign had wrought this miracle.

One day he had been tramping the lower parts of
the city, down among the docks, near Coenties Slip,
looking up the people who on former visits had said:
"Some other time, perhaps," or "If we should have
room for another man we will be glad to remember
you," or "We know Mr. Cobb, and shall be pleased,"
etc., etc., when he chanced to espy a strange sign
tacked outside a warehouse door, a sign which bore
the unheard-of-announcement--unheard of to Oliver, 
especially the last word, "Shipping Clerk
WANTED."

No one, for weeks, had WANTED anything that Oliver 
could furnish. Strangely enough too, as he afterward 
discovered, the bullet-headed Dutch porter had
driven the last tack into the clean, white, welcome
face of the sign only five minutes before Oliver
stopped in front of it. Still more out of the common, 
and still more incomprehensible, was the reply
made to him by the head salesman, whom he found
just inside the door--a wiry, restless little man with
two keen black eyes, and a perfectly bald head.

"Yes, if you can mark boxes decently; can show
any references; don't want too much pay, and can
come NOW. We're short of a boy, and it's our busy
season."

Oh! blessed be Mr. Crocker, thought Oliver, as
he picked up a marking-brush, stirred it round and
round in the tin pot filled with lamp-black and turpentine, 
and to his own and the clerk's delight, painted,
on a clean board, rapidly and clearly, and in new letters 
too--new to the clerk--the full address of the
bald-headed man's employers:

MORTON, SLADE & CO.,
121 PEARL STREET, NEW YORK.

More amazing still were the announcements made
by the same bald-headed man after Oliver had shown
him Amos Cobb's recommendations: Oliver was to
come to work in the morning, the situation to be permanent 
provided Cobb confirmed by letter the good
wishes he had previously expressed, and provided
Mr. Morton, the senior partner, approved of the bald-
head's action; of which the animated billiard-ball
said there was not the slightest doubt as he, the ball,
had charge of the shipping department, and was responsible 
for its efficiency.

All of these astounding, incomprehensible and
amazing occurrences Oliver had written to his
mother, ending his letter by declaring in his enthusiasm 
that it was his art, after all, which had pulled
him through, and that but for his readiness with the
brush, he would still be a tramp, instead of "rolling
in luxury on the huge sum of eight dollars a week,
with every probability of becoming a partner in the
house, and later on a millionnaire." To which the
dear lady had replied, that she was delighted to know
he had pleased his employers, but that what had
pleased her most was his never having lost heart
while trying to win his first fight, adding: "The
second victory will come more easily, my darling boy,
and so will each one hereafter." Poor lady, she
never knew how sore that boy's feet had been, nor
how many times he had gone with half a meal or
none at all, for fear of depleting too much the small
store she had given him when he left home.

With his success still upon him, he had sallied forth
to call upon young Fred Stone who had grasped his
hand so warmly the night he had rescued the dog
from the street-boys, and whose sympathy had gone
out to him so freely. He had written him of his good
fortune, and Fred had replied, begging him to call
upon him, and had appointed this same Friday night
as the night of all others when he could entertain
him best.

But Oliver is not the same boy who said good-by
to Fred that moonlight night the week before. His
eyes are brighter; his face is a-glow with ill-concealed 
pleasure. Even his step shows the old-time
spring and lightness of the days at home--on his toes
part of the time, as if restraining an almost 
uncontrollable impulse to stop and throw one or two hand-
springs just to relieve the pressure on his nerves.

When he reached the bench in the Square where
he had sat so many nights with his head in his hands,
one of those quick outbursts of enthusiasm took possession 
of him, the kind that sets young hearts singing 
with joy when some sudden shift of hope's kaleidoscope 
opens a wide horizon brilliant with the light
of future success. With an exclamation of boyish
glee he plumped himself down upon the hard planks
of the bench, and jumped up again, pirouetting on
his toe and slanting his hat over one eye as if in a
spirit of sheer bravado against fate. Then he sauntered 
out of the iron gate to Fred's house.

Even as he waited on the stone steps of Miss Teeturn's 
boarding-house for the dowdy servant-girl's
return--such dirty, unkempt steps as they were, and
such a dingy door-plate, spotted with rain and dust,
not like Malachi's, he thought--he could hardly restrain 
himself from beating Juba with his foot, a
plantation trick Malachi had taught him, keeping
time the while with the palms of his hands on his
shapely legs.

Meanwhile another young enthusiast is coming
downstairs three steps at a time, this one bare-
headed, all out of breath, and without a coat, who
pours out his heart to the first Juba-beating enthusiast 
as the two climb the stairs together to the second
enthusiast's room on the very top floor. He tells
him of his delight at seeing him again and of the lot
of fellows waiting to welcome him under the skylight; 
and of what a jolly lot the "Skylarkers"
really are; and of Mr. Slade, Oliver's employer,
whom Fred knows and who comes from Fred's own
town; and of how much Mr. Slade likes a certain
new clerk, one Oliver Horn, of Kennedy Square, he
having said so the night before, this same Horn being
the precise individual whose arm at that very moment
was locked in Fred's own and which was now getting
an extra squeeze merely for the purposes of identification.

All of this Fred poured into Oliver's willing ear
without stopping to take breath, as they mounted
the four long flights of stairs that led to the top
floor, where, under the roof, there lived a group of
Bohemians as unique in their personalities as could
be found the great city over.

When the two pairs of feet had at last reached
the last flight of steps under the flat roof of
the house, the "Skylarkers" were singing "Old
Dog Tray" at the top of their voices, to the accompaniment 
of a piano, and of some other instruments,
the character of which our young hero failed to recognize, 
although the strains had grown louder and
louder as the young men mounted the stairs.

As Oliver stood in the open doorway and looked
in through the haze of tobacco-smoke upon the group,
he instantly became conscious that a new world had
opened before him; a world, as he had always pictured 
it, full of mystery and charm, peopled by a race
as fascinating to him as any Mr. Crocker had ever
described, and as new and strange as if its members
had been the denizens of another planet.

The interior was not a room, but a square
low-ceiled hall into which opened some six or
more small bedrooms, slept in, whenever sleep was
possible, by an equal number of Miss Teetum's boarders. 
The construction and appointments of this open
garret, with two exceptions, were similar to those
of all other garrets of its class: it had walls and 
ceiling, once whitewashed, and now discolored by roof-
leaks from a weather-beaten skylight; its floor was
bare of carpet, and its well-worn woodwork was
stained with time and use. Chairs, however, were
scarce, most of the boarders and their guests being
seated on the floor.

The two exceptions, already noted, were some crisp,
telling sketches, big and little, in color and black-and-
white, the work of the artist members of this coterie,
which covered every square inch of the leak-stained
surface of ceiling and wall, and the yellow-keyed,
battered piano which occupied the centre of the open
space and which stood immediately under two flaring
gas-jets. At the moment of Fred's and Oliver's arrival 
the top of this instrument was ornamented by
two musically inclined gentlemen, one seated cross-
legged like a Turk, voicing the misfortunes of Dog
Tray, the other, with his legs resting on a chair, beating 
time to the melody with a cane. This cane, at
short intervals, he brought down upon the shoulders
of any ambitious member who attempted to usurp his
place. The chief object of the gathering, so far as
Oliver's hasty glance could determine, was undoubtedly 
the making of as much noise as possible.

While the young men stood looking into the room
waiting for the song to cease prior to Oliver's entry
and introduction, Fred whispered hurriedly into his
guest's ear some of the names, occupations, and 
characteristics of the group before him.

The cross-legged man with the long neck, drooping 
mustache, and ropy black hair, was none other
than Bowdoin, the artist--the only American who
had taken a medal at Munich for landscape, but who
was now painting portraits and starving slowly in
consequence. He mounted to this eyry every Friday 
night, so as to be reminded of the good old days
at Schwartz's. The short, big-mustached, bald-
headed man swinging the cane, was Bianchi--Julius
Bianchi--known to the Skylarkers as "The Pole,"
and to the world at large as an accomplished lithographer 
and maker of mezzotints. Bianchi was a
piece of the early artistic driftwood cast upon our
shores--an artist every inch of him--drawing from
life, and handling the crayon like a master.

The pale-faced young fellow at the piano, with
bulging watch-crystal eye-glasses and hair tucked behind 
his ears, was the well-known, all-round musician,
Wenby Simmons--otherwise known as "Pussy Me-ow"
--a name associated in some way with the strings
of his violin. This virtuoso played in the orchestra
at the Winter Garden, and occupied the bedroom
next to Fred's.

The clean-shaven, well-groomed young Englishman 
standing behind Simmons and holding a coal-
scuttle half full of coal which he shook with deafening 
jangle to help swell the chorus, was "My Lord
Cockburn" so called--an exchange clerk in a banking-
house. He occupied the room opposite Fred's.

With the ending of the chorus Fred Stone stepped
into the open space with his arm through that of his
guest, and the noise was hushed long enough for the
entire party to welcome the young Southerner--a
welcome which kindled into a glow of enthusiasm
when they caught the look of frank undisguised pleasure 
which lighted his face, and noticed the unaffected
bow with which he entered the room, shaking hands
with each one as Fred introduced him--and all with
that warm, hearty, simple, courteous manner peculiar
to his people.

The slight ceremony over--almost every Friday
night some new guest was welcomed--Fred seated
himself on the floor with his back to the whitewashed
wall, although two chairs were at once offered them,
and made room for Oliver, who settled down beside
him.

As they sat leaning back, Oliver's eyes wandering
over the room drinking in the strange, fascinating
scene before him, as bewildering as it was unexpected,
Fred--now that they were closer to the scene of
action, again whispered or shouted, as the suddenly
revived noise permitted, into Oliver's alert and
delighted ears, such additional facts concerning the
other members present as he thought would interest
his guest.

The fat man behind the piano astride of a chair, a
pipe in his mouth and a black velvet skull-cap on his
head, was Tom Waller, the sheep-painter-Thomas
Brandon Waller, he signed it--known as the Walrus. 
He, too, was a boarder and a delightful fellow,
although an habitual grumbler. His highest ambition 
was to affix an N. A. at the end of his name, but
he had failed of election by thirty votes out of forty
cast. That exasperating event he had duly celebrated 
at Pfaff's in various continued libations covering a
week, and had accordingly, on many proper and improper 
occasions, renewed and recelebrated the event,
breathing out meanwhile, between his pewter mugs,
scathing anathemas against the "idiots" who had
defeated him out of his just rights, and who were
stupid enough to believe in the school of Verboeckhoeven.
Slick and shiny Verboeckhoeven, "the mechanic," 
he would call him, with his fists closed tight,
who painted the hair on every one of his sheep as if it
were curled by a pair of barber's tongs--not dirty
and woolly and full of suggestions as, of course, he
--the great Waller, alone of all living animal-painters
--depicted it. All of which, to Waller's credit,
it must be parenthetically stated, these same "idiots"
learned to recognize in after years as true, when that
distinguished animal-painter took a medal at the
Salon for the same picture which the Jury of N. A.'s
had rejected at their Spring Exhibition.

The irreproachable, immaculate young person,
with eyes half-closed, lying back in the arm-chair--
one which he had brought from his own room--was
"Ruffle-shirt" Tomlins. He was the only member
who dressed every day for dinner, whether he was
going out afterward or not--spike-tailed coat, white
tie and all. Tomlins not only knew intimately a
lady of high degree who owned a box at the Academy
of Music, in Fourteenth Street, and who invited him
to sit in it at least once a season, but he had besides
a large visiting acquaintance among the people of
quality living on Irving Place. A very agreeable
and kindly little man was "Ruffle-shirt" Tomlins--
so Fred said--the sort of a little man whose philosophy 
of life was based on the possibility of catching
more innocent, unwary flies with honey than he could
with vinegar, and who, in consequence, always said
nice things about everybody--sometimes in a loud
tone enough for everybody to hear. This last statement 
of Fred's Tomlins confirmed ten minutes later
by remarking, in a stage whisper to Waller:

"Did you see how that young Mr. Horn entered
the room? Nobody like these high-bred Southerners, 
my boy. Quite the air of a man of the world--
hasn't he?" To all of which the distinguished sheep-
painter made no other reply than a slight nod of the
head, as he blew a cloud of smoke toward the ceiling
--Tomlins's immaculate appearance being a constant
offence to the untidy painter.

The member with the stentorian voice, who was
roaring out his opinions to Cockburn, Fred continued, 
was "Fog-horn" Cranch, the auctioneer. His
room was next to Waller's. His weaknesses were
gay-colored waistcoats and astounding cravats. He
varied these portions of his dress according to wind,
weather, and sales of the day--selecting blue for sunshiny 
mornings, black for rainy ones, green for pictures, 
red for household furniture, white for real
estate, etc. Into these color-schemes he stuck a variety 
of scarf-pins--none very valuable or rare, but
each one distinct--a miniature ivory skull, for instance, 
with little garnets for eyes, or tiny onyx dice
with sixes on all sides.

The one man of all the others most beloved by Fred
and every other boarder, guest, and habitue that
gathered around the piano in this garret-room, and
now conspicuous by his absence, he having gone to
the circus opposite the Academy of Music, and not
likely to return until late--a fact greatly regretted
by Fred who made this announcement with lowered
voice to Oliver--was a young Irishman by the name
of McFudd--Cornelius McFudd, the life of the
house, and whom Waller, in accordance with the general 
custom, had christened "Continuous McFuddie," 
by reason of the nature of the Hibernian's
habits. His room was across the open space opposite
Fred's, with windows overlooking the yard.

This condensation of good-nature, wit, and good-
humor, Fred went on to say, had been shipped to
"The States" by his father, a rich manufacturer of
Irish whiskies in Dublin, that he might learn something 
of the ways of the New World. And there
was not the slightest doubt in the minds of his comrades, 
so Fred assured Oliver, that he had not only
won his diploma, but that the sum of his knowledge
along several other lines far exceeded that of any
one of his contemporaries. His allowances came regularly 
every month, through the hands of Cockburn,
who had known him in London, and whose bank
cashed McFudd's remittances--a fact which enabled
my lord to a greater extent than the others to keep
an eye on the Irishman's movements and expenditures.

Whatever deviltry was inaugurated on this top
floor during the day as well as the night, and it was
pretty constant, could be traced without much difficulty 
to this irrepressible young Irishman. If Tomlins 
found his dress-suit put to bed, with a pillow for
a body and his crush-hat for a head; or Cranch found
Waller's lay-figure (Waller often used his bedroom
as a studio) sitting bolt upright in his easy-chair, with
its back to him reading a newspaper--the servant
having been told to announce to Cranch, the moment
she opened the door, that "a gentleman was waiting
for him in his room"; or Cockburn was sent off on
some wild-goose chase uptown--it was safe to say
that Mac was at the bottom of it all.

If, Fred added impressively, this rollicking, devil-
may-care, perfectly sound and hearty young Hibernian 
had ever been absolutely, entirely, and completely 
sober since his sojourn in the land of the
free, no one of his fellow-boarders had ever discovered 
it.

Of this motley gathering "Ruffle-shirt" Tomlins,
the swell; "Fog-horn" Cranch, the auctioneer;
"Walrus" Waller, the sheep-painter; "My Lord"
Cockburn, the Englishman; Fred Stone and Cornelius 
McFudd, not only occupied the bedrooms, but
had seats at Miss Teetum's table, four flights below.
Bianchi and the others were the guests of the evening.

All this, and more, Fred poured into Oliver's willing 
ear in loud or soft tones, dependent upon the particular 
kind of bedlam that was loose in the room at
the moment, as they sat side by side on the floor, Oliver's 
back supported by a pillow which Tomlins had
brought from his own bed and tucked behind his
shoulders with his own hand.

This courtesy had been followed by another, quite
as comforting and as thoughtful. Cockburn, the moment 
Oliver's back touched the wall, had handed him
a tooth-brush mug without a handle, filled to the brim
with a decoction of Cockburn's own brewing, compounded 
hot according to McFudd's receipt, and
poured from an earthen pitcher kept within reach of
Cockburn's hand, and to which Oliver, in accordance
with his habitual custom, had merely touched his lips,
he being the most temperate of young gentlemen.

While they talked on, stopping now and then
to listen to some outburst of Cranch, whose voice
drowned all others--or to snatches of song from Wenby 
Simmons, the musician, or from Julius Bianchi,
Waller's voice managed to make itself felt above the
din with an earnestness that gained the attention and
calmed all the others.

"You don't know what you're all talking about,"
he was heard to say. He was still astride his chair,
his pipe in his hand. "Inness's picture was the best
thing we had in the Exhibition, except Eastman
Johnson's 'Negro Life at the South.' Kensett's
'Lake George' was--"

"What--that Inness smear?" retorted "My
Lord" Cockburn, who still stood with the coal-scuttle
in his hand ready for another chorus. "Positively,
Waller, you Americans amuse me. Do you really
think that you've got anybody about you who can
paint anything worth having--"

"Oh! oh! Hear the high-cockalorum! Oh! oh!"

The sheep-painter raised his hand to command
silence.

"Do I think we've got anybody about here who
can paint?--you fog-headed noodle from Piccadilly?
We've got a dozen young fellows in this very town
that put more real stuff into their canvases than all
your men put together. They don't tickle their
things to death with detail. They get air and vitality
and out-of-doors into their work, and--"

"Names! Names!" shouted "My Lord" Cockburn, 
rattling the scuttle to drown the answers to
his questions.

"George Inness for one, and young McEntee and
Sanford Gifford, and Eastman Johnson, Page, Casilear
--a lot of them," shouted "The Walrus." "Go
to the Exhibition and see for yourself, and you--"

The rest of the discussion was lost to Oliver's ears
owing to the roar of Cranch's fog-horn, accompanied
by another vigorous shaking of the scuttle, which
the auctioneer caught away from "My Lord" Cockburn's 
grasp, and the pounding of Simmons's fingers
on the yellow keys of the wheezy piano.

The tribute to Inness had not been missed by Oliver, 
despite the deafening noise accompanying its
utterance. He remembered another green smear,
that hung in Mr. Crocker's studio, to which that old
enthusiast always pointed as the work of a man who
would yet be heard from if he lived. He had never
appreciated it himself at the time, but now he saw that
Mr. Crocker must be right.

Someone now started the chorus--

Down among the dead men, down.

Instantly every man was on his feet crowding
about the piano, Oliver catching the inspiration of the
moment and joining in with the others. The quality
of his voice must have caught the ear of some of the
singers, for they gradually lowered their tones; leaving 
Oliver's voice almost alone.

Fred's eye glowed with pleasure. His new-found
friend was making a favorable impression. He at
once urged Oliver to sing one of his own Southern
songs as the darkies sung them at home, and not as
they were caricatured by the end men in the minstrel
shows.

Oliver, at first abashed, and then anxious to contribute 
something of his own in return for all the
pleasure they had given him, hummed the tune for
Simmons, and in the hush that followed began one of
the old plantation songs that Malachi had taught him,
beginning with

De old black dog he bay at de moon,
Away down yan ribber.
Miss Bull-frog say she git dar soon,
Away down yan ribber.

As the melody rang through the room, now full
and strong, now plaintive as the cooing of a dove or
the moan of a whippoorwill, the men stood stock-still,
their wondering eyes fixed on the singer, and it was
not until the timely arrival of the Bull-frog and the
escape of her lover had been fully told that the listening 
crowd allowed themselves to do much more than
breathe. Then there came a shout that nearly raised
the roof. The peculiar sweetness of Oliver's voice,
the quaintness of the melody, the grotesqueness of
his gestures--for it was pantomime as well as music
--and the quiet simplicity and earnestness with which
it had all been done, had captivated every man in the
room. It was Oliver's first triumph--the first in all
his life.

And the second was not far off, for in the midst
of all the uproar that followed, as he resumed his
place on the floor, Cockburn sprang to his feet and
proposed Mr. Oliver Horn as a full member of the
Skylarkers' Club. This was carried unanimously,
and a committee of two, consisting of "Ruffle-shirt"
Tomlins and Waller, were forthwith appointed to
acquaint the said member, who stood three feet away,
of his election, and to escort him to Tomlins's chair--
the largest and most imposing-looking one in the
room. This action was indorsed by the shouts and
cat-calls of all present, accompanied by earthquake
shakings of the coal-scuttle and the rattling of chairlegs 
and canes on the floor.

Oliver rose to his feet and stood blushing like a
girl, thanking those about him in halting sentences
for the honor conferred upon him. Then he stammered 
something about his not deserving their praise,
for he could really sing very few songs--only those
he had sung at home to help out an occasional chorus,
and that he would be delighted to join in another
song if any one of the gentlemen present would start
the tune.

These last suggestions being eminently distasteful
to the group, were immediately drowned in a series of
protests, the noise only ceasing when "Fog-horn"
Cranch mounted a chair and in his best real estate
voice commanded silence.

"Ladies and Gentlemen," thundered the auctioneer, 
"I have the honor to announce that the great
barytone, Mr. Oliver Horn, known to the universe as
the 'Musical Cornucopia,' late of the sunny South,
and now a resident of this metropolis, will delight
this company by singing one of those soul-moving
plantation melodies which have made his name famous 
over two hemispheres. Mr. 'Pussy Me-ow'
Simmons, the distinguished fiddling pianist, late of
the Bowery, very late, I may remark, and now on
the waiting list at Wallack's Theatre--every other
month, I am told--will accompany him."

"Hear! Hear!" "Horn! Horn!" "Don't let
him get away, Fred." "Song! Song!" was heard
all over the room.

Oliver again tried to protest, but he was again
shouted down by cries of--

"None of that!" "Can't fool us." "You know
a barrel of 'em." "Song! Song!"

Cranch broke in again--"Mr. Horn's modesty,
gentlemen, greatly endears him to his fellow-members, 
and we love him the better for it, but all the
same--" and he raised his hand with the same gesture 
he would have used had it held an auctioneer's
hammer-- "All in favor of his singing again say
'Aye!' Going! Going! Gone! The ayes have it."
In the midst of the cheering Cranch jumped from the
chair and taking Oliver by the hand as if he had been
a young prima donna at her first appearance, led him
to the piano with all the airs and graces common to
such an occasion.

Our young hero hesitated a moment, looked about
in a pleased but helpless way, and nerving himself
tried to collect his thoughts sufficiently to recall some
one of the songs that were so familiar to him at
home. Then Sue's black eyes looked into his--there
must always be a woman helping Oliver--and the
strains of the last song he had sung with her the night
before he left home floated through his brain.
(These same eyes were gazing into another's at the
moment, but our young Oliver was unconscious of
that lamentable fact.)

"Did you ever happen to hear 'The Old Kentucky
Home'?" Oliver asked Simmons. "No? Well,
it goes this way," and he struck the chords.

"You play it," said Simmons, rising from the
stool.

"Oh, I can only play the chords, and not all
of them right--" and he took Simmons's seat.
"Perhaps I can get through--I'll try it," he added,
simply, and squared himself before the instrument
and began the melody.

The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home,
'Tis summer, the darkies are gay.
The corn-top's ripe and the meadow is in bloom,
While the birds make music all the day.

Weep no more, my lady--oh, weep no more to-day!
We'll sing one song for the old Kentucky home,
For the old Kentucky home far away.

As the words rolled from his lips Oliver seemed to
forget the scene before him. Somehow he could see
the light in Sue's eyes, as she listened, and hear her
last words. He could hear the voice of his mother,
and feel her hand on his head; and then, as the soft
vowels and cadences of the quaint melody breathed
themselves out, he could catch again the expression
of delight on the face of Malachi--who had taught
him the song--as he listened, his black cheek in
his wrinkled palm. It was a supreme moment with
Oliver. The thrill of happiness that had quivered 
through him for days, intensified by this new
heaven of Bohemia, vibrated in every note he uttered.

The effect was equally startling on those about
him. Cranch craned his head, and for once lowered
his voice to a whisper in speaking to the man next
him. Bowdoin, the painter, and one of the guests,
left his seat and tip-toed to the piano, his eyes riveted
on Oliver's face, his whole being absorbed in the
melody. Bianchi and Waller so far lost themselves
that their pipes went out, while Simmons was so entranced 
that he forgot to applaud when Oliver finished.

The effect produced was not so much due to the
quality in Oliver's voice--sweet and sympathetic as
it was--nor to his manner of singing, nor to the sentiment 
of the song itself, but to the fact of its being,
with its clear, sweet notes, a positive contrast to all of
noise and clamor that had gone before. This fact,
more than any other, made his listeners hold their
breath in wonder and delight. It came like the song
of a bird bursting out after a storm and charming
everyone with the beauty of its melody, while the
thunder of the tempest still reverberated through the
air.

In the hush of the death-like stillness that followed,
the steady tramp of feet was heard on the
staircase, and the next instant the head of a young
man, with a rosy face and side-chop coachman whiskers, 
close-cut black hair and shoe-button eyes,
glistening with fun, was craned around the jamb of
the door.

It was the property of Mr. Cornelius McFudd!

He was in full evening dress, and as immaculate
as if he had stepped out of a bandbox.

Whatever stimulants had permeated his system and
fired his imagination had evidently escaped his legs,
for they were as steady as those of a tripod. His
entrance, in a measure, restored the assemblage to
its normal condition. Mr. McFudd raised his hand
impressively, checking the customary outbreak that
always greeted his appearance on occasions like this,
struck a deprecatory attitude and said, solemnly, in
a rich, North-of-Ireland accent:

"Gentlemen, it is with the greatest surprise that
I find ye contint to waste your time over such riotous
proceedings as I know have taken place here to-night,
when within a block of yez is a perfarmance that
would delight yer souls. Think of a man throwing
a hand-spring over--"

At this instant a wet sponge was fired point blank
from an open bedroom door, missed McFudd's head
by an inch and bounded down the staircase.

"Thank ye, Admiral Lord Cockburn, for yer civility," 
cried McFudd, bowing low to the open bedroom
door, "and for yer good intintions, but ye missed
it as yer did yer mither's blessing--and as ye do most
of the things ye try io hit." This was said without
raising his voice or changing a muscle of his face, his
eyes fixed on the door inside of which stood Cockburn.

McFudd continued, "The perfarmance of this
acrobat is one of the--"

Cries of "Don't you see you disturb the music?"
"Go to bed!" "Somebody sit on McFudd!" etc.,
filled the room.

"Go on, gentlemen. Continue your insults; defame 
the name of an honest man who is attimpting
to convey to yer dull comprehinsions some idea of
the wonders of the acrobatic ring. I'll turn a hand-spring 
for yez meself that will illustrate what I mane,"
and Mr. McFudd carefully removed his coat and began 
sliding up his shirt-cuffs.

At this juncture "My Lord" Cockburn, who had
come from behind the door, winked significantly at
Waller, and creeping on all fours behind McFudd,
just as that gentleman was about lifting his legs aloft,
swept him off his feet by a twist of his arm, and deposited 
him on the small of his back next to Oliver,
his head resting against the wall. There Waller
stood over him with a chair, which he threatened to
turn over him upside down and sit on if the prostrate
Irishman moved an inch.

McFudd waved his hand sadly as if in acquiescence
to the inscrutable laws of fate, begged the gentlemen
present to give no further thought to his existence,
and after a moment of silence continued his remarks
on the acrobatic ring to Oliver in the same monotonous 
tone of voice which he had addressed to the
room before Cockburn's flank movement had made
him bite the dust.

"It may seem to you, Mr.-- Mr.--, I haven't
your name, sir," and he bent his head toward
Oliver.

"Horn, sir," Oliver suggested. "Oliver Horn."

"Thanks, it may seem to you that I'm exaggerating, 
Mr. Oliver Horn, the wonder of this perfarmance, 
but-"

The rest of the sentence, despite the Hibernian's
well-intentioned efforts, was not addressed to Oliver,
but to the room at large, or rather to its furniture,
or to be still more exact, to the legs of the piano, and
such chairs and tables as the Irishman's prostrate
body bumped into on the way to his room. For at
that instant Waller, to save Oliver, as he pretended,
from further annoyance, had caught the distinguished
Hibernian by both feet, and in that position dragged
him along the floor, as if he had been a wheelbarrow,
McFudd's voice never changing its tone as he continued 
his remarks on physical culture, and the benefits 
which would accrue to the human race if they
would practice the acrobat's hand-spring.

When Fred and Oliver had closed their bedroom
door for the night, the guests having departed and
all the regular boarders being supposedly secure in
their beds (Fred without much difficulty had persuaded 
Oliver to share his own bed over night), there
came a knock at Fred's door, and the irrepressible
Irishman stalked in.

He had removed his vest, high collar, and shoes,
and had the air and look of an athlete. The marvellous 
skill of the acrobat still occupied his mind.

"Don't disturb yourself, my dear Stone, but me
deloightful conversation with yer friend, Mr. Horn,
was interrupted by that wild beast of a Waller, and I
wanted to finish it. I am quite sure I can do it--the
trick I was telling ye of. I've been practizing in
me room. It's as easy as rolling off a jaunting
car."

"No, Mac, old man. Go to bed again," pleaded
Fred.

"Not till I show ye, me boy, one of the most beautiful 
feats of agility--"

"Come off, Mac, I say," cried Fred, catching the
Irishman around the waist.

"I'll come nothing! Unhand me, gentlemen, or
by the--" and tearing himself free McFudd threw a
hand-spring with the ease of a professional, toppled,
for a moment, his feet in the air, scraped along the
whitewashed wall with his heels, and sweeping the
basins and pitchers filled with water from the wash-
stand measured his length on the floor. Then came
the crash of broken china, a deluge of water, and
Fred and Oliver began catching up sponges and towels 
to stay the flood.

A minute later a man in a long gray beard and
longer night-robe--one of the regular boarders--
bounded up the stairs two steps at a time and dashed
through Fred's open door.

"By thunder, boys!" he cried, "I don't mind how
much noise you make, rather like it; but what the
devil are you trying to drown us out for? Wife is
soaking--it's puddling down on our bed."

By this time every door had been flung open, and
the room was filled with half-dressed men.

"It's that lunatic, McFudd. He's been to the circus 
and thinks he's Martello," cried Fred, pointing
to the prostrate Irishman with the sponge which he
had been squeezing out in the coal-scuttle.

"Or the clown," remarked Waller, stooping over
McFudd, who was now holding his sides and roaring
with laughter.

Long after Fred had fallen asleep, Oliver lay awake
thinking of the night's pleasure. He had been very,
very happy--happier than he had been for many
months. The shouts of approval on his election to
membership, the rounds of applause that had followed 
his rendering of the simple negro melodies,
resounded in his ears, and the joy of it all still tingled
through his veins. This first triumph of his life had
brought with it a certain confidence in himself--a
new feeling of self-reliance--of being able to hold
his own among men, something he had never experienced 
before. This made it all the more exhilarating.

And the company!

Real live painters who sold their pictures and who
had studied in Munich, and who knew Paris and
Dresden and all the wonderful cities of which Mr.
Crocker had talked. And real musicians, too!--who
played at theatres; and Englishmen from London,
and Irishmen from Dublin, and all so jolly and 
unconventional and companionable. It was just as Mr.
Crocker had described it, and just what he had about
despaired of ever finding. Surely his cup of happiness 
was full to the brim.

We can forgive him; we who still remember those
glimpses behind the scenes--our first and never-to-
be-forgotten! How real everything seemed, even
the grease-paint, the wigs, and the clothes. And
the walking gentleman and the leading old man and
low comedian! What splendid fellows they were
and how we sympathized with them in their enforced 
exiles from a beloved land. How they suffered 
from scheming brothers who had robbed them
of their titles and estates, or flint-hearted fathers
who had turned them out of doors because of
their infatuation for their "art" or because of their
love for some dame of noble birth or simple lass,
whose name--"Me boy, will be forever sacred!"
How proud we were of knowing them, and how delighted 
they were at knowing us--and they so much
older too! And how tired we got of it all--and of
them--and of all their kind when our eyes became
accustomed to the glare and we saw how cheap and
commonplace it all was and how much of its glamour
and charm had come from our own inexperience and
enthusiasm--and youth.

As Oliver lay with wide-open eyes, going over
every incident of the evening, he remembered, with
a certain touch of exultant pride, a story his father
had told him of the great Poe, and he fell to wondering 
whether the sweetness of his own song, falling on
ears stunned by the jangle of the night, had not produced 
a similar effect. Poe, his father had said, on
being pressed for a story in the midst of a night of
revelry in a famous house on Kennedy Square, had
risen from his seat and repeated the Lord's Prayer
with such power and solemnity that the guests, one
and all, stunned and sobered, had pushed their chairs
from the table and had left the house. He remembered 
just where his father sat when he told the story
and the impression it had made upon him at the time.
He wished Kennedy Square had been present to-
night to have heard him and to have seen the impression 
his song had made upon those gathered
about him.

Kennedy Square! What would dear old Richard
Horn, with his violin tucked lovingly under his chin,
and gentle, white-haired Nathan, with his lips caressing 
his flute, have thought of it all, as they listened
to the uproar of Cockburn's coal-scuttle? And, that
latter-day Chesterfield, Colonel John Howard Clayton, 
of Pongateague, whose pipe-stemmed Madeira
glasses were kept submerged in iced finger-bowls until
the moment of their use, and whose rare Burgundies
were drunk out of ruby-colored soap-bubbles warmed
to an exact temperature. What would this old
aristocrat have thought of McFudd's mixture and the
way it was served?

No! It was just as well that Kennedy Square, at
the moment of Oliver's triumph, was fast asleep.




CHAPTER IX

MISS TEETUM'S LONG TABLE



The prying sun peeped through the dingy curtains
of Fred's bedroom on the morning after Oliver's
revels, stencilling a long slant of yellow light down
its grimy walls, and awaking our young hero with a
start. Except for the shattered remnants of the
basins and pitchers that he saw as he looked around
him, and the stringy towels, still wet, hanging over
the backs of the chairs, he would not have recognized 
it as the same room in which he had met such
brilliant company the night before--so kindly a
glamour does the night throw over our follies.

With the vision of the room and its tokens of
their frolic came an uneasy sense of an unpleasant
remembrance. The thrill of his own triumph no
longer filled his heart; only the memory of the uproar 
remained. As he caught sight of the broken
pieces of china still littering the carpet, and recalled
McFudd's sprawling figure, a slight color suffused his
cheek.

The room itself, in the light of day, was not only
cold and uninviting, but so bare of even the commonest 
comforts that Oliver shivered. The bottoms were
half out of the chairs; the painted wash-stand stood
on a square of chilly oil-cloth; the rusty grate and
broken hearth were unswept of their ashes; the carpet 
patched and threadbare. He wondered, as he
studied each detail, how Miss Teetum could expect
her boarders to be contented in such quarters.

He saw at a glance how much more cosey and restful 
the room might be made with the addition of a
few touches here and there; a colored print or two--
a plaster cast--a bit of cheap stuff or some gay-colored 
cushions. It surprised him, above all, to discover 
that Fred, who was studying art and should,
therefore, be sensitive to such influences, was willing
to live amid such desolate surroundings.

When he stepped out into the square hall, the
scene of the night's revelry, and glanced about him,
the crude bareness and reckless disorder that the merciful 
glow of the gas-light and its attendant shadows
had kindly concealed, stood out in bold relief under
the white light of the day now streaming through an
oval skylight immediately above the piano. The
floor was strewn with the various properties of the
night's performance--overturned stools, china mugs,
bits of lemon-peel, stumps of cigars, and stray pipes;
while scattered about under the piano and between
the legs of the chairs, and even upon the steps of the
staircase, were the pieces of coal which Fog-horn
Cranch and Waller, who held the scuttle, had
pounded into bits when they produced that wild jangle 
which had added so much of dignity and power to
the bass notes of the Dead Man's Chorus.

These cold facts aroused in Oliver a sense of repugnance 
which he could not shake off. It was as
if the head of some jolly clown of the night before
had been suddenly thrust through the canvas of the
tent in broad daylight, showing the paint, the
wrinkles beneath, the yellow teeth, and the coarse
mouth.

Oliver was about to turn back to Fred's room, this
feeling of revolt strong upon him, when his attention
was arrested by a collection of drawings that covered
almost every square inch of the ceiling. To his 
astonishment he discovered that what in the smoke of the
night before he had supposed to be only hasty
sketches scrawled over the white plaster, were in
reality, now that he saw them in a clearer atmosphere, 
effective pictures in pastel, oil, and charcoal.
That the basis of these cartoons was but the grimy
stain made by the water which had beaten through
the rickety sash during the drive and thrash of winter
storms, flooding the whitewashed ceiling and trickling 
down the side-walls in smears of brown rust, did
not lessen their value in his eyes.

Closer inspection showed him that these discolorations
--some round or curved, others straight or
angular--had been altered and amended as the signatures 
indicated by the deft pencils of Waller, Fred,
Bowdoin, and the others, into flying Cupids, Dianas,
Neptunes, and mermaids fit to grace the ceiling of
a salon if properly enlarged; while the up-and-down
smears had suggested the opportunity for caricaturing 
half the boarders of the house. Every fresh leak
and its accompanying stains evidently presented a
new problem to the painters, and were made the subject 
of prolonged study and much consultation before
a brush was permitted to touch them, the point apparently 
being to help the discolorations express themselves 
with the fewest possible touches.

In addition to these decorations overhead, Oliver
found, framed in on the cleaner plaster of the side-
walls, between broad bands of black paint, several
taking bits of landscape in color and black and white;
stretches of coast with quaint boats and dots of figures; 
winter wood interiors with white plaster for
snow and scrapings of charcoal for tree-trunks, each
one marked with that sure crispness of touch which
denotes the master-hand. Moreover, the panels of all
the doors, as well as their jambs and frames, were
ornamented with sketches in all mediums, illustrating 
incidents in the lives of the various boarders
who occupied the rooms below, and who--so Fred
told him afterward--stole into this sacred spot on the
sly, to gloat over the night's work whenever a new
picture was reported and the rightful denizens were
known to be absent.

As he stood absorbed before these marvels of
brush and pencil, scrutinizing each one in turn, his
sense of repulsion for the debris on the floor gave
way to a feeling of enthusiasm. Not only were the
sketches far superior to any he had ever seen, but
the way in which they were done and the uses of the
several mediums were a revelation to him. It was
only when Fog-horn Cranch's big voice roused him
to consciousness that he realized where he was. The
auctioneer was coming out of his room, resplendent
in a striped suit, gaiters, and white necktie--this being 
his real-estate day.

"My dear fellow," Cranch shouted, bringing his
hand down on Oliver's shoulder, "do you know
you've got a voice like an angel's?"

Before Oliver could reply, My Lord Cockburn
joined them, his first word one of pleasure at meeting 
him, and his second a hope that he would know
him better; then Fred ran out, flinging on his coat
and laughing as he came. Under these combined
influences of praise and good-cheer Oliver's spirits
rose and his blood began once more to surge through
his veins. With his old-time buoyancy he put his arm
through Fred's, while the two tramped gayly down
the four flights of stairs to be ushered into the long,
narrow, stuffy dining-room on the basement floor,
there to be presented to the two Misses Teetum, who
as the young men entered bent low over their plates
in unison. This perfunctory salute our young gentleman 
acknowledged by bowing grandly in return,
after which he dropped into a seat next to Fred's--
his back to a tin box filled with plates, placed over the
hot-air register--drew out a damp napkin from a
bone ring, and took a bird's-eye view of the table and
its occupants.

The two Misses Teetum sat one at either end--
Miss Ann, thin, severe, precise; Miss Sarah, stout,
coy, and a trifle kittenish, as doubtless became a
young woman of forty-seven, and her sister's junior
by eight years. Miss Ann had evidently passed the
dead-line of middle age, and had given up the fight,
and was fast becoming a very prim and very proper
old lady, but Miss Sarah, being out of range, could
still smile, and nod her head, and shake her curls,
and laugh little, hollow, girlish laughs, and otherwise 
disport herself in a light and kittenish way, after
the manner of her day and age. All of which betrayed 
not only her earnest desire to please, but her
increasing anxiety to get in under matrimonial cover
before one of Father Time's sharpshooters picked
her off, and thus ended her youthful career.

The guests seated on either side of these two presiding 
goddesses, Oliver was convinced, as he studied
the double row of faces, would have stretched the
wondering eyelids of Kennedy Square to their utmost
limits.

Old Mr. Lang, who with his invalid wife occupied
the room immediately below Fred's, and who had
been so nearly drowned out the night before because
of McFudd's acrobatic tendencies, sat on Fred's left.
Properly clothed and in his right mind, he proved to
be a most delightful old gentleman, with gold spectacles 
and snow-white side-whiskers, and a welcoming
smile for everyone who entered. Fred said that the
smile never wavered even when the old gentleman
had been up all night with his wife.

Across the table, with her eye-glasses trained on
Oliver, half concealed by a huge china "compoteer"
(to quote the waitress), and at present filled with last
week's fruit, caulked with almonds, sat Mrs. Southwark 
Boggs--sole surviving relic of S. B., Esq. This
misfortune she celebrated by wearing his daguerreotype, 
set in plain gold, as a brooch with which she
fastened her crocheted collar. She was a thin, faded,
funereal-looking person, her body encased in a black
silk dress, which looked as if it had been pressed and
ironed over night, and her hands in black silk mitts
which reached to her knuckles.

On Mrs. Boggs's right sat Bates--a rising young
lawyer with political tendencies--one of the first men
to cut his hair so "Zou-Zou" that it stood straight
up from his forehead; and next to him Morgan, the
editor, who pored over manuscript while his coffee
got cold; and then Nelson, and Webster, and Cummings 
all graded in Miss Ann's mind as being eight,
or ten, or twelve-dollar-a-week men, depending on
the rooms that they occupied, and farther along, toward 
Miss Sarah, Cranch and Cockburn--five-dollar
boys these (Fred was another), with the privilege of
lighting their own coke fires, and of trimming the
wicks and filling the bulbs of their own burning-fluid
lamps. And away down in the far corner, crumpled 
up in his chair, crouched the cheery little hunchback, 
Mr. Crumbs, who kept a book-stall on Astor
Place, where Bayard Taylor, Irving, Halleck,
Bryant, and many another member of the Century
Club used to spend their late afternoons delving
among the old volumes on his shelves.

All these regular boarders, including Fog-horn
Cranch and Fred, breakfasted at eight o'clock.
Waller, the painter, and Tomlins, the swell, breakfasted 
at nine. As to that descendant of the Irish
kings, Mr. Cornelius McFudd, he rose at ten, or
twelve, or two, just as the spirit (and its dilutions of
the night before) moved or retarded him, and breakfasted 
whenever Miss Ann or Miss Sarah, who had
presided continuously at the coffee-urn from eight
to ten, could spare one of her two servants to carry
a tray to his room.

Last and by no means least, with her eyes devouring 
every expression that flitted across the new arrival's 
face, there beamed out beside Miss Ann, a
tail, willowy young person, whom Fred, in answer to
an inquiring lifting of Oliver's eyebrows, designated
as the belle of the house. This engaging young
woman really lived with her mother, in the next
street, but flitted in and out, dining, or breakfasting, 
or spending a week at a time with her
aunts, the Misses Teetum, whenever an opportunity
offered--the opportunity being a vacant and non-
paying room, one of which she was at the time
enjoying.

This fair damsel, who was known to the boarders
on the top floor as "our Phemy," and to the world at
large as Miss Euphemia Teetum--the real jewel in
her name was Phoebe, but she had reset it--had been
especially beloved, so Fred informed Oliver, by every
member of the club except Waller, who, having
lived in boarding-houses all his life, understood her
thoroughly. Her last flame--the fire was still smouldering
--had been the immaculate Tomlins, who had
won her heart by going into raptures, in one of his
stage whispers, over the classic outlines of her face.
This outburst resulted in Miss Euphemia appearing
the following week in a silk gown, a Greek fillet and
no hoops--a costume which Waller faithfully portrayed 
on the side-wall of the attic the night of her
appearance--the fillet being reproduced by a strip of
brass which the artist had torn from his easel and
nailed to the plaster, and the classic curves of her hair
by a ripple of brown paint.

This caricature nearly provoked a riot before the
night was over, the whole club, including even the
fun-loving McFudd, denouncing. Waller's act as an
outrage. In fact, the Hibernian himself had once
been so completely taken off his feet--it was the first
week of his stay--by the winning ways of the young
lady, that Miss Ann had begun to have high hopes of
Euphemia's being finally installed mistress in one of
those shadowy estates which the distinguished Hibernian 
described with such eloquence. That these
hopes did not materialize was entirely due to Cockburn, 
who took pains to enlighten the good woman
upon the intangible character of the Hibernian's 
possessions, thus saving the innocent maiden from the
clutches of the bold, bad adventurer. At least, that
had been Cockburn's account of it when he came
upstairs.

But it was at dinner that same night--for Oliver
at Fred's pressing invitation had come back to dinner
--that the full galaxy of guests and regulars burst
upon our hero. Then came not only Miss Euphemia
Teetum in a costume especially selected for Oliver's
capture, but a person still more startling and imposing
--so imposing, in fact, that when she entered the
room one-half of the gentlemen present made little
backward movements with the legs of their chairs,
as if intending to rise to their feet in honor of her
presence.

This prominent figure in fashionable life, who had
now settled herself on the right of Miss Ann--the
post of honor at the table--and who was smiling in
so gracious and condescending a manner as her eye
lighted on the several recipients of her favor, was
none other than the distinguished Mrs. Schuyler Van
Tassell, of Tarrytown, another bird of passage, who
had left her country-seat on the Hudson to spend the
winter months in what she called the delights of 
"upper-tandem." She belonged to an ancient family--or,
at least, her husband did--he was under the sod, poor
soul, and therefore at peace--and, having inherited
his estate--a considerable one--was to be treated
with every distinction.

These several personages of low and high degree
interested our young gentleman quite as much as
our young gentleman interested them. He made
friends with them all--especially with the ladies, who
all agreed that he was a most charming and accomplished 
youth. This good opinion became permanent
when Oliver had paid each in turn the compliment
of rising from his seat when any one of them entered
the room, as much a habit with the young fellow as
the taking off of his hat when he came into a house,
but which was so rare a courtesy at Miss Teetum's
that each recipient appropriated the compliment as
personal to herself.

These sentiments of admiration were shared, and
to an alarming degree, by Miss Euphemia herself,
who, on learning later that Oliver had decided to
occupy half of Fred's room through the winter,
had at once determined to remain during the week,
the better to lay siege to his heart. This resolution, 
it is fair to Oliver to say, she abandoned before
dinner was over, when her experienced eye detected
a certain amused if not derisive smile playing around
the corners of Oliver's mouth; a discovery which so
impressed the young woman that she left him severely 
alone ever after.

And so it was that Oliver unpacked his trunk--the
same old hair trunk, studded with brass nails, that
had held his father's wardrobe at college--spread out
and tacked up the various knick-knacks which his
mother and Sue and Miss Clendenning had given him
when he had left the old home, and began to make
himself comfortable on the top floor of Miss Teetum's
boarding-house on Union Square.




CHAPTER X

MCFUDD'S BRASS BAND



Our hero had been installed at Miss Teetum's for
a month or more, when one night at dinner a tiny
envelope about the size of a visiting-card was brought
in by the middle-aged waitress and laid beside Simmons's 
plate. The envelope contained six orchestra
seats at the Winter Garden and was accompanied by
a note which read as follows: "Bring some of the
boys; the piece drags."

The musician studied the note carefully and a
broad smile broke over his face. As one of the first
violins at the Winter Garden, with a wide acquaintance 
among desirable patrons of the theatre, he had
peculiar facilities for obtaining free private boxes
and orchestra chairs not only at his own theatre, but
often at Wallack's in Broome Street and the old Bowery. 
Simmons was almost always sure to have
tickets when the new piece needed booming, or when
an old play failed to amuse and the audiences had
begun to shrink. Indeed, the mystery of Mrs.
Schuyler Van Tassell's frequent appearance in the
left-hand proscenium box at the Winter Garden on
Friday nights--a mystery unexplained among the
immediate friends in Tarrytown, who knew how she
husbanded her resources despite her accredited
wealth--was no mystery at all to the guests at Miss
Teetum's table, who were in the habit of seeing
just such tiny envelopes handed to Simmons during
soup, and duly passed by him to that distinguished
leader of society. Should more than two tickets be
enclosed, Mrs. Van T. would, perhaps, invite. Mr.
Ruffle-shirt Tomlins, or some other properly attired
person, to accompany her--never Miss Ann or the
little hunchback, who dearly loved the play, but who
could seldom afford to go--never anybody, in fact,
who wore plain clothes or looked a compromising
acquaintance.

On this night, however, Pussy Me-ow Simmons,
ignoring Mrs. Van Tassell, turned to Oliver.

"Ollie," he whispered--the formalities had ceased
between the members of the Skylarks--"got anything 
to do to-night?"

"No; why?"

And then, Simmons, with various imaginary
poundings of imaginary canes on the threadbare carpet 
beneath his chair, and with sundry half-smothered 
bursts of real laughter in which Fred and Oliver
joined, unfolded his programme for the evening--a
programme which was agreed to so rapturously that
the trio before dinner was over excused themselves
to their immediate neighbors and bounded upstairs,
three steps at a time. There they pulled the Walrus
out of his bed and woke up McFudd, who had gone to
sleep before dinner, and whom nobody had called.
Then having sent my Lord Cockburn to find Ruffle-
shirt Tomlins, who by this time was paying court to
Miss Euphemia in the front parlor, and having pinned
a ticket to Mr. Fog-horn Cranch's door, with instructions 
to meet them in the lobby the moment he returned, 
they all slipped on their overcoats, picked up
their canes, and started for the theatre.

Six young fellows, all with red blood in their veins,
steel springs under their toes and laughter in their
hearts! Six comrades, pals, good-fellows, skipping
down the avenue as gay as colts and happy as boys--
no thought for to-day and no care for to-morrow!
Each man with a free ticket in his pocket and a show
ahead of him. No wonder the bluecoats looked after
them and smiled; no wonder the old fellow with the
shaky legs, waiting at the corner for one of the
squad to help him over, gave a sigh as he watched
McFudd, with cane in air, drilling his recruits, all five
abreast. No wonder the tired shop-girls glanced at
them enviously as they swung into Broadway chanting 
the "Dead Man's Chorus," with Oliver's voice
sounding clear as a bell above the din of the streets.

The play was a melodrama of the old, old school.
There was a young heroine in white, and a handsome
lover in top-boots and white trousers, and a cruel
uncle who wanted her property. And there was a
particularly brutal villain with leery eyes, ugly
mouth, with one tooth gone, and an iron jaw like a
hull-dog's. He was attired in a fur cap, brown corduroy 
jacket, with a blood-red handkerchief twisted
about his throat, and he carried a bludgeon. When
the double-dyed villain proceeded in the third act to
pound the head of the lovely maiden to a jelly at the
instigation of the base uncle, concealed behind a
painted tree-trunk, and the lover rushed in and tried
to save her, every pair of hands except Oliver's came
together in raptures of applause, assisted by a vigorous 
hammering of canes on the floor.

"Pound away, Ollie," whispered Simmons;
"that's what we came for; you are spoiling all our
fun. The manager is watching us. Pound away, I
tell you. There he is inside that box."

"I won't," said Oliver, in a tone of voice strangely
in contrast with the joyousness of an hour before.

"Then you won't get any more free tickets,"
muttered Simmons in surprise.

"I don't want them. I don't believe in murdering
people on the stage, or anywhere else. That man's
face is horrible; I'm sorry I came."

Simmons laughed, and, shielding his mouth with
his hand, repeated Oliver's outburst to Waller, who,
having first sent news of it down the line, reached
over and shook Oliver's hand gravely, while he wiped
a theatrical tear from his eye; while my Lord Cockburn, 
with feet and hands still busy, returned word
to Oliver by Tomlins, "not to make a colossal ass of
himself." Oliver bore their ridicule good-naturedly,
but without receding from his opinion in any way,
a fact which ultimately raised him in the estimation
of the group. Only when the villain was thrown over
the pasteboard cliff into a canvas sea by the gentleman 
in top-boots, to be devoured by sharks or cut
up by pirates, or otherwise disposed of as befitted
so blood-thirsty and cruel a monster, did Oliver join
in the applause.

The play over, and Simmons having duly reported
to the manager--who was delighted with the activity
of the feet, but who advised that next time the sticks
be left at home--the happy party sailed up Broadway, 
this time by threes and twos, swinging their
canes as before, and threading their way in and out
of the throngs that filled the street.

The first stop was made at the corner of Thirteenth
Street by McFudd, who turned his troop abruptly to
the right and marched them down a flight of steps
into a cellar, where they immediately attacked a huge
wash-tub filled with steamed clams, and covered with
a white cloth to keep them hot. This was the bar's
free lunch. The clams devoured--six each--and the
necessary beers paid for, the whole party started to
retrace their steps, when Simmons stopped to welcome 
a new-corner who had entered the cellar unperceived 
by the barkeeper, and who was bending
over the wash-tub of clams, engaged in picking out
the smallest of the bivalves with the end of all iron
fork. He had such a benevolent, kindly face, and
was so courtly in his bearing, and spoke with so soft
and gentle a voice, that Oliver, who stood next to
Simmons, lingered to listen.

"Oh, my dear Simmons," cried the old gentleman,
"we missed you to-night. When are you coming
back to us? The orchestra is really getting to be 
deplorable. Miss Gannon quite broke down in her
song. We must protest, my boy; we must protest.
I saw you in front, but you should be wielding the
baton. And is this young gentleman one of your
friends?"

"Yes--Mr. Horn. Ollie, let me introduce you to
Mr. Gilbert, the actor"--and he laid his hand on
Oliver's shoulder--"dear John Gilbert, as we always
call him."

Oliver looked up into the kindly, sweet face of the
man, and a curious sensation passed over him. Could
this courtly, perfectly well-bred old gentleman, with
his silver-white hair, beaming smile and gentle voice,
the equal of any of his father's guests, be an actor?
Could he possibly belong to the profession which,
of all others, Oliver had been taught to despise? The
astonishment of our young hero was so great that
for a moment he could not speak.

Simmons thought he read Oliver's mind, and came
to his rescue.

"My friend, Mr. Horn, did not like the play to-
night, Mr. Gilbert," he said. "He thinks the
death-scene was horrible"--and Simmons glanced
smiling at the others who stood at a little distance
watching the interview with great interest.

"Dear me, dear me, you don't say so. What was
it you objected to, may I ask?" There was a trace
of anxiety in his voice.

"Why, the murder-scene, sir. It seemed to me
too dreadful to kill a woman in that way. I haven't
forgotten it yet," and a distressed look passed over
Oliver's face. "But then I have seen but very few
plays," he added--"none like that."

The old actor looked at him with a relieved expression.

"Ah, yes, I see. Yes, you're indeed right. As
you say, it is quite a dreadful scene."

"Oh, then you've seen it yourself, sir," said Oliver,
in a relieved tone.

The old actor's eyes twinkled. He, too, had read
the young man's mind--not a difficult task when one
looked down into Oliver's eyes.

"Oh, many, many times," he answered with a
smile. "I have known it for years. In the old days,
when they would smash the poor lady's head, they
used to have a pan of gravel which they would
crunch with a stick to imitate the breaking of the.
bones. It was quite realistic from the front, but that
was given up long ago. How did YOU like the business 
to-night, Mr. Simmons?" and he turned to the
musician.

"Oh, admirable, sir. We all thought it had never
been better played or better put on," and he glanced
again toward his companions, who stood apart, listening 
breathlessly to every word that fell from the
actor's lips.

"Ah, I am glad of it. Brougham will be so pleased
--and yet it shocked you, Mr. Horn--and you really
think the poor lady minded it? Dear me! How
pleased she will be when I tell her the impression
it all made upon you. She's worked so hard over
the part and has been so nervous about it. I left her
only a moment ago--she and her husband wanted me
to take supper with them at Riley's--the new restaurant 
on University Place, you know, famous for
its devilled crabs. But I always like to come here
for my clams. Allow me a moment--" and he bent
over the steaming tub, and skewering the contents of
a pair of shells with his iron fork held it out toward
Oliver.

"Let me beg of you, Mr. Horn, to taste this clam.
I am quite sure it is a particularly savory one. After
this my dear young friend, I hope you'll have a better 
opinion of me." And his eye twinkled. "I am
really better than I look--indeed I am--and so, my
dear boy, is this clam. Come, come, it is getting
cold."

"What do you mean by 'a better opinion' of you,
Mr. Gilbert?" stammered Oliver. He had been completely 
captivated by the charm of the actor's manner.
"Why shouldn't I think well of you?--I don't
understand."

"Why--because I strangled the poor lady to-
night. You know, of course--that it was I who
played the villain."

"You!" exclaimed Oliver. "No, I did not, sir.
Why, Mr. Gilbert, I can't realize--oh, I hope you'll
forgive me for what I've said. I've only been in New
York a short time, and--"

The old gentleman cut short Oliver's explanation
with a wave of his fork, and looking down into the
boy's face, said in a serious tone:

"My son, you're quite right. Quite right--and I
like you all the better for it. All such plays are dreadful
I feel just as you do about them, but what can
we actors do? The public will have it that way."

Another little prejudice toppled from its pedestal,
another household tradition of Oliver's smashed into
a thousand pieces at his feet! This rubbing and
grinding process of man against man; this seeing with
one's own eyes and not another's was fast rounding
out and perfecting the impressionable clay of our
young gentleman's mind. It was a lesson, too, the
scribe is delighted to say, which our hero never forgot; 
nor did he ever forget the man who taught it.
One of his greatest delights in after-years was to raise
his hat to this incomparable embodiment of the dignity 
and courtliness of the old school. The old gentleman 
had long since forgotten the young fellow,
but that made no difference to Oliver--he would
cross the street any time to lift his hat to dear John
Gilbert.

The introduction of the other members of the club
to the villain being over--they had stood the whole
time, they were listening to the actor, each head 
uncovered--McFudd again marshalled his troop and
proceeded up Broadway, where, at Oliver's request,
they were halted at the pedestal of the big Bronze
Horse and within sight of their own quarters.

Here McFudd insisted that the club should sing
"God Save the Queen" to the Father of his Country,
where he sat astride of his horse, which was accordingly 
done, much to the delight of a couple of night-
watchmen, who watched the entire performance and
who, upon McFudd's subsequent inspection, proved
to be fellow-countrymen of the distinguished Hibernian.

Had the buoyant and irrepressible Irishman been
content with this patriotic outburst as the final winding-
up of the night's outing, and had he then and
there betaken himself and his fellows off to bed, the
calamity which followed, and which so nearly wrecked
the Skylarks, might have been avoided.

It is difficult at any time to account for the workings 
of Fate or to follow the course of its agents. The
track of an earth-worm destroys a dam; the parting
of a wire wrecks a bridge; the breaking of a root
starts an avalanche; the flaw in an axle dooms a
train; the sting of a microbe depopulates a city. But
none of these unseen, mysterious agencies was at
work--nothing so trivial wrecked the Skylarks.

It was a German street-band!

A band whose several members had watched
McFudd and his party from across the street, and
who had begun limbering their instruments before
the sextet had ceased singing; regarding the situation, 
no doubt, as pregnant with tips.

McFudd did not give the cornet time to draw his
instrument from its woollen bag before he had him
by the arm.

"Don't put a mouthful of wind into that horn of
yours until I spake to ye," he cried in vociferous
tones.

The leader stopped and looked at him in a dazed
way.

"I have an idea, gentlemen," added McFudd,
turning to his companion's, and tapping his forehead.
"I am of the opinion that this music would be wasted
on the night air, and so with your parmission I propose 
to transfer this orchestra to the top flure, where
we can listen to their chunes at our leisure. Right
about, face! Forward! March!" and McFudd
advanced upon the band, wheeled the drum around,
and, locking arms with the cornet, started across the
street for the stone steps.

"Not a word out of any o' ye till I get 'em in,"
McFudd continued in a low voice, fumbling in his
pocket for his night-key.

The musicians obeyed mechanically and tiptoed
one by one inside the dimly lighted hall, followed by
Oliver and the others.

"Now take off your shoes; you've four flights of
stairs to crawl up, and if ye make a noise until I'm
ready for ye, off goes a dollar of your pay."

The bass-drum carefully backed his instrument
against the wall, sat down on the floor, and began
pulling off his boots; the cornet and bassoon followed;
the clarionet wore only his gum shoes, and so was 
permitted to keep them on.

"Now, Walley, me boy, do you go ahead and turn
up the gas and open the piano, and Cockburn, old
man, will ye kindly get the blower and tongs out of
Freddie's room and the scuttle out of Tomlins's closet
and the Chinese gong that hangs over me bed? And
all you fellers go ahead treading on whispers, d'ye
moind?" said McFudd under his breath. "I'll bring
up this gang with me. Not a breath out of any o' yez
remimber, till I get there. The drum's unhandy and
we got to go slow wid it," and he slipped the strap
over his head and started upstairs, followed by the
band.

The ascent was made without a sound until old
Mr. Lang's door was reached, when McFudd's foot
slipped, and, but for the bassoonist's head, both the
Irishman and the drum would have rolled down-
stairs. Lang heard the sound, and recognizing the
character of the attendant imprecation, did not get
up. "It's only McFndd," he said quietly to his suddenly 
awakened wife.

Once safe upon the attic floor the band who were
entering with great gusto into the spirit of the occasion, 
arranged themselves in a half-circle about the
piano, replaced their shoes, stripped their instruments
of their coverings--the cornetist breathing noiselessly 
into the mouth-pieces to thaw out the frost--and
stood at attention for McFudd's orders.

By this time Simmons had taken his seat at the
piano; Cockburn held the blower and tongs; Cranch,
who on coming in had ignored the card tacked to his
door, and who was found fast asleep in his chair, was
given the coal-scuttle; and little Tomlins grasped his
own wash-basin in one hand and Fred's poker in the
other. Oliver was to sing the air, and Fred was to beat
a tattoo on Waller's door with the butt end of a cane.
The gas had been turned up and every kerosene lamp
had been lighted and ranged about the hall. McFudd
threw off his coat and vest, cocked a Scotch smoking-
cap over one eye, and seizing the Chinese gong in
one hand and the wooden mallet in the other, climbed
upon the piano and faced his motley orchestra.

"Attintion, gentlemen," whispered McFudd.

"The first chune will be 'Old Dog Tray,' because it
begins wid a lovely howl. Remimber now, when I
hit this gong that's the signal for yez to begin, and
ye'll all come together wid wan smash. Then the
band will play a bar or two, and then every man
Jack o' ye will go strong on the chorus. Are yez
ready?"

McFudd swung his mallet over his head; poised it
for an instant; ran his eye around the circle with the
air of an impresario; saw that the drum was in position, 
the horns and clarionet ready, the blower, scuttle, 
tongs, and other instruments of torture in place,
and hit the gong with all his might.

The crash that followed woke every boarder in
the house and tumbled half of them out of their beds.
Long before the chorus had been reached all the
doors had been thrown open, and the halls and passageways 
filled with the startled boarders. Then certain 
mysterious-looking figures in bed-gowns, water-
proofs, and bath-robes began bounding up the stairs,
and a collection of dishevelled heads were thrust
through the door of the attic. Some of the suddenly 
awakened boarders tried to stop the din by protest;
others threatened violence; one or two grinned with
delight. Among these last was the little hunchback,
swathed in a blanket like an Indian chief, and barefooted. 
He had rushed upstairs at the first sound
as fast as his little legs could carry him, and was peering 
under the arms of the others, rubbing his sides
with glee and laughing like a boy. Mrs. Schuyler Van
Tassell, whose head and complexion were not ready
for general inspection, had kept her door partly
closed, opening it only wide enough when the other
boarders rushed by to let her voice through--always
an unpleasant organ when that lady had lost her
temper.

As the face of each new arrival appeared in the
doorway, McFudd would bow gracefully in recognition
of the honor of its presence, and redouble his
attack on the gong. The noise he produced was only
equalled by that of the drum, which never ceased for
an instant--McFudd's orders being to keep that instrument 
going irrespective of time or tune.

In the midst of this uproar of brass, strings, sheep-
skin, wash-bowls, broken coal, pokers and tongs, a
lean figure in curl-papers and slippers, bright red
calico wrapper reaching to the floor, and a lighted
candle in one hand, forced its way through the crowd
at the door and stood out in the glare of the gaslights
facing McFudd.

It was Miss Ann Teetum!

Instantly a silence fell upon the room.

"Gentlemen, this is outrageous!" she cried in a
voice that ripped through the air like a saw. "I have
put up with these disgraceful performances as long as
I am going to. Not one of you shall stay in my house
another night. Out you go in the morning, every
one of you, bag and baggage!"

McFudd attempted to make an apology. Oliver
stepped forward, the color mounting to his cheeks,
and Waller began a protest at the unwarrantable
intrusion, but the infuriated little woman waved
them all aside and turning abruptly marched back
through the door and down the staircase, preceded
by the other female boarders. The little hunchback
alone remained. He was doubled up in a knot, wiping 
the tears from his eyes, his breath gone from excessive 
laughter.

The Skylarkers looked at each other in blank astonishment. 
One of the long-cherished traditions
of the house was the inviolability of this attic. Its
rooms were let with an especial privilege guaranteeing 
its privacy, with free license to make all the noise
possible, provided the racket was confined to that one
floor. So careful had been its occupants to observe
this rule, that noisy as they all were when once on
the top floor, every man unlocked the front door at
night with the touch of a burglar and crept upstairs
as noiselessly as a footpad.

"I'm sorry, men," said McFudd, looking into the
astounded faces about him. "I'm the last man, as
ye know, to hurt anybody's feelings. But what the
divil's got into the old lady? Who'd 'a' thought she
would have heard a word of it down where she sleeps
in the basement?"

"'Tis the Van Tassell," grunted the Walrus.
"She's so mesmerized the old woman lately that she
don't know her own mind."

"What makes you think she put her up to it, Waller?"
asked Cranch.

"I don't think--but it's just like her," answered
Waller, with illogical prejudice.

"My eye! wasn't she a beauty!" laughed Fred,
and he picked up a bit of charcoal and began an outline 
of the wrapper and slippers on the side-wall.

Tomlins, Cranch, and the others had no suggestions 
to offer. Their minds were too much occupied
in wondering what was going to become of them in
the morning.

The German band by this time had regained their
usual solidity. The leader seemed immensely relieved. 
He had evidently expected the next apparition 
to be a bluecoat with a pair of handcuffs.

"Put their green jackets on 'em," McFudd said
to the leader quietly, pointing to the instruments.
"We're much obliged to you and your men for
coming up," and he slipped some notes into the
leader's hand. "Now get downstairs, every man
o' ye, as aisy as if ye were walking on eggs. Cranch,
old man, will ye see 'em out, to kape that infernal
drum from butting into the Van Tassell's door, or
we'll have another hornet's nest. Begorra, there's
wan thing very sure--it's little baggage I'LL have to
move out."


The next morning a row of six vacant seats stared
Miss Ann out of countenance. The outcasts had risen
early and had gone to Riley's for their breakfast.
Miss Ann sat at the coffee-urn as stiff and erect as an
avenging judge. Lofty purpose and grim determination 
were written in every line of her face. Mrs.
Van Tassell was not in evidence. Her nerves had
been so shattered by the "night's orgy," she had said
to Miss Ann, that she should breakfast in her room.
She further notified Miss Teetum that she should at
once withdraw her protecting presence from the 
establishment, and leave it without a distinguished
social head, if the dwellers on the top floor remained
another day under the same roof with herself.

An ominous silence and depressing gloom seemed.
to hang over everybody. Several of the older men
pushed back their plates and began drumming oh the
table-cloth with their fingers, a far-away look in their
eyes. One or two talked in whispers, their coffee untasted. 
Old Mr. Lang looked down the line of empty
seats and took his place with a dejected air. He was
the oldest man in the house and the oldest boarder;
this gave him certain privileges, one being to speak
his mind.

"I understand," he said, unfolding his napkin and
facing. Miss Ann, "that you have ordered the boys
out of the house?"

"Yes, I have," snapped out Miss Teetum.

Everybody looked up. No one recognized the
tone of her voice, it was so sharp and bitter.

"Why, may I ask?"

"I will not have my house turned into a bear-
garden, that's why!"

"That's better than a graveyard," retorted Mr.
Lang. "That's what the house would be without
them. I can't understand why you object. You
sleep in the basement and shouldn't hear a sound;
my wife and I sleep under them every night. If
we can stand it, you can. You send the boys away,
Miss Teetum, and we'll move out."

Miss Ann winced under the shot, but she did not
answer.

"Do you mean that you're going to turn the young
gentlemen into the street, Miss Ann?" whined Mrs.
Southwark Boggs in an injured tone, from her end of
the table. "Are we going to have no young life in
the house at all? I won't stay a day after they're
gone."

Miss Teetum changed color, but she looked straight
ahead of her. She evidently did not want her private
affairs discussed at the table.

"I shall want my bill at the end of the week, now
that the boys are to leave," remarked the little
hunchback to Miss Ann as he bent over her chair.
"Life is dreary enough as it is."

And so the boys stayed on.

Only one room became vacant at the end of the
month. That was Mrs. Schuyler Van Tassell's.




CHAPTER XI

A CHANGE OF WIND



The affair of the brass band, with its dramatic and
most unlooked-for ending, left an unpleasant memory
in the minds of the members of the club, especially
in Oliver's. His training had been somewhat different 
from that of the others present, and his oversensitive 
nature had been more shocked than pleased
by it all. While most of the other participants regretted 
the ill-feeling which had been aroused in Miss
Teetum's mind, they felt sure--in fact, they knew--
that this heretofore kind and gentle hostess could
never have fanned her wrath to so white a heat had
not some other hand besides her own worked the
bellows.

Suspicion first fell upon a new boarder unaccustomed 
to the ways of the house, who, it was reported,
had double-locked herself in at the first crash of the
drum, and who had admitted, on being cross-examined 
by McFudd, that she had nearly broken her
back in trying to barricade her bedroom door with a
Saratoga trunk and a wash-stand. This theory was
abandoned when subsequent inquiries brought to
light the fact that Mrs. Van Tassell, when the
echoes of one of McFudd's songs had reached her
ears, had stated a week before that no respectable
boarding-house would tolerate uproars like those
which took place almost nightly on the top floor, and
that she would withdraw her protection from Miss
Euphemia and leave the house at once and forever
if the noise did not cease. This dire threat being duly
reported to the two Misses Teetum had--it was afterward 
learned--so affected them both that Miss Ann
had gone to bed with a chill and Miss Sarah had
warded off another with a bowl of hot camomile tea.

This story, true as it undoubtedly was, did not
entirely clear up the situation. One part of it sorely
puzzled McFudd. Why did Miss Euphemia need
Mrs. Van Tassell's protection, and why should the
loss of it stir Miss Ann to so violent an outburst?
This question no member of the Skylarks could answer.

The solution came that very night, and in the most
unexpected way, Waller bearing the glad tidings.

Miss Euphemia, ignoring them all, was to be married 
at St. Mark's at 6 P.M. on the following Monday,
and Mrs. Van Tassell was to take charge of the wedding 
reception in the front parlor! The groom was
the strange young man who had sat for some days
beside Miss Euphemia, passing as Miss Ann's
nephew, and who really was a well-to-do druggist
with a shop on Astor Place. All of the regular
boarders of the house were to be invited.

The explosion of this matrimonial bomb so cleared
the air of all doubt as to the guilt of Mrs. Van Tassell,
that a secret meeting, attended by every member of
the Skylarks, was at once held in Waller's room with
the result that Miss Ann's invitations to the wedding
were unanimously accepted. Not only would the
resident members go--so the original resolution ran
--but the non-resident and outside members would
also be on hand to do honor to Miss Euphemia and
her distinguished chaperone. This amendment being
accepted, McFudd announced in a sepulchral tone
that, owing to the severity of the calamity and to the
peculiarly painful circumstances which surrounded
their esteemed fellow-skylarker, the Honorable Sylvester 
Ruffle-shirt Tomlins, his fellow-members
would wear crape on their left arms for thirty days.
This also was carried unanimously, every man except
Ruffle-shirt Tomlins breaking out into the "Dead
Man's Chorus"--a song, McFudd explained, admirably 
fitted to the occasion.

When the auspicious night arrived, the several
dress-suits of the members were duly laid out on the
piano and hung over the chairs, and each gentleman
proceeded to array himself in costume befitting the
occasion. Waller, who weighed 200 pounds, squeezed
himself into McFudd's coat and trousers (McFudd
weighed 150), the trousers reaching a little below the
painter's knees. McFudd wrapped Waller's coat
about his thin girth and turned up the bagging legs,
of the unmentionables six inches above his shoes.
The assorted costumes of the other members were
equally grotesque. The habiliments themselves were
of proper cut and make, according to the standards
of the time--spike-tailed coats, white ties, patent-
leather pumps, and the customary trimmings, but
the effects produced were as ludicrous as they were
incongruous, though the studied bearing of the gentlemen 
was meant to prove their unconsciousness of
the fact.

The astonishment that rested on Mrs. Van Tassell's 
face when this motley group filed into the parlor
and with marked and punctilious deference paid their
respects to the bride, and the wrath that flashed in
Miss Euphemia's eyes, became ever after part of the
traditions of the club. Despite Mrs. Van Tassell's
protest against the uproar on the top floor, she had
invariably spoken in high terms to her friends and
intimates of these very boarders--their acquaintance
was really part of her social capital--commenting at
the same time upon their exalted social and artistic
positions. In fact, many of her own special guests
had attended the wedding solely in the hope of being
brought into more intimate relations with this 
distinguished group of painters, editors, and musicians,
some of whom were already being talked about.

When, however, McFudd stood in the corner of
Miss Teetum's parlor like a half-scared boy, pulling
out the fingers of Waller's kid gloves, an inch too
long for him, and Waller, Fred, and my Lord Cockburn 
stumbled over the hearth-rug one after the
other, and Oliver, feeling like a guilty man and a
boor, bowed and scraped like a dancing-master; and
Bowdoin the painter, and Simmons and Fog-horn
Cranch, talked platitudes with faces as grave as 
undertakers, the expectant special guests invited by
Mrs. Van Tassell began to look upon her encomiums 
as part of an advertising scheme to fill Miss
Teetum's rooms.

The impression made upon the Teetum contingent
by the appearance and manners of the several members
--even Oliver's reputation was ruined--was
equally disastrous. It was, perhaps, best voiced by
the druggist groom, when he informed Mrs. Van T.
from behind his lemon-colored glove--that "if that
was the gang he had heard so much of, he didn't
want no more of 'em."

But these and other jollifications were not long to
continue. Causes infinitely more serious were at
work undermining the foundations of the Skylarks.
The Lodge of Poverty, to which they all belonged,
gay as it had often been, was slowly closing its door;
the unexpected, which always hangs over life, was
about to happen; the tie which bound these men together 
was slowly loosening. Its members might
give the grip of fellowship to other members in other
lodges over the globe, but no longer in this one on
the top floor of the house on Union Square.

One morning McFudd broke the seal of an important-
looking letter bearing a Dublin post-mark on
the upper right-hand corner of the envelope, and the
family crest on its flap. For some moments he sat
still, looking straight before him. Then two tears
stole out and glistened on his lashes.

"Boys," he said, slowly, "the governor says I
must come home," and he held up a steamer ticket
and a draft that barely equalled his dues for a month's
board and washing.

That night he pawned his new white overcoat with
the bone buttons and velvet collar--the one his father
had sent him, and which had been the envy of every
man in the club, and invested every penny of the
proceeds in a supper to be given to the Skylarks.
The invitation ran as follows:

Mr. Cornelius McFudd respectively requests the pleasure
of your presence at an informal wake to be held in honor
of a double-breasted overcoat, London cut. The body and
tail will be the ducks, and the two sleeves and velvet 
collar the Burgundy.

Riley's: 8 p.m. Third floor back.

The following week he packed his two tin boxes,
boarded the Scotia, and sailed for home.


The keystone having dropped out, it was not long
before the balance of the structure came down about
the ears of the members. My Lord Cockburn the following 
week was ordered South by the bank to look
after some securities locked up in a vault in a Georgia
trust company, and which required a special messenger 
to recover them--the growing uneasiness in
mercantile circles over the political outlook of the
country having assumed a serious aspect. Cockburn 
had to swim rivers, he wrote Oliver in his first
letter, and cross mountains on horseback, and sleep
in a negro hut, besides having a variety of other 
experiences, to say nothing of several hair-breadth
escapes, none of which availed him, as he returned
home after all, without the bonds.

These financial straws, indicating the direction and
force of the coming political winds, began to accumulate. 
The lull before the hurricane--the stagnation 
in commercial circles--became so ominous that
soon the outside members and guests of the club
ceased coming, being diligently occupied in earning
their bread, and then Simmons sent the piano home
--it had been loaned to him by reason of his profession 
and position--and only Fog-horn Cranch, Waller, 
Fred, Oliver, and Ruffle-shirt Tomlins were left.
Alter a while, Waller gave up his room and slept in
his studio and got his meals at the St. Clair, or went
without them, so light, by reason of the hard times,
was the demand for sheep pictures of Waller's particular 
make. And later on Tomlins went abroad,
and Cranch moved West. And so the ruin of the
club was complete; and so, too, this merry band of
roysterers, with one or two exceptions, passes out
of those pages.

Dear boys of the long ago, what has become of you
all since those old days in that garret-room on Union
Square? Tomlins, I know, turned up in Australia,
where he married a very rich and very lovely woman,
because he distinctly stated both of those facts in an
exuberant letter to Oliver when he invited him to
the wedding. "Not a bad journey--only a step, my
dear Ollie, and we shall be so delighted to see you."
I know this, to be true, for Oliver showed me the letter. 
Bowdoin went to Paris, where, as we all remember, 
he had a swell studio opening on to a garden,
somewhere near the Arc de Triomphe, and had carriages 
stop at his door, and a butler to open it, and
two maids in white caps to help the ladies off with
their wraps. Poor Cranch died in Montana while
hunting for gold, and my Lord Cockburn went back
to London.

But does anybody know what has become of
McFudd--irresistible, irresponsible, altogether delightful 
McFudd? that condensation of all that was
joyous, rollicking, and spontaneous; that devotee of
the tub and pink of neatness, immaculate, clean-
shaven and well-groomed; that soul of good-nature,
which no number of flowing bowls could disturb nor
succeeding headaches dull; that most generous of
souls, whose first impulse was to cut squarely in half
everything he owned and give you your choice of the
pieces, and who never lost his temper until you refused 
them both. If you, my dear boy, are still wandering 
about this earth, and your eye should happen
to fall on these pages, remember, I send you my greeting. 
If you have been sent for, and have gone aloft
to cheer those others who have gone before, and who
could spare you no longer, speak a good word for me,
please, and then, perhaps, I may shake your hand
again.


With the dissolution of the happy coterie there
came to Oliver many a lonely night under the cheap
lamp, the desolate hall outside looking all the more
desolate and uninviting with the piano gone and the
lights extinguished.

Yet these nights were not altogether distasteful
to Oliver. Fred had noticed for months that his
room-mate no longer entered into the frolics of the
club with the zest and vim that characterized the
earlier days of the young Southerner's sojourn
among them. Our hero had said nothing while
the men had held together, and to all outward appearances 
had done his share not only with his singing, 
but in any other way in which he could help
on the merriment. He had covered the space allotted 
to him on the walls with caricatures of the
several boarders below. He had mixed the salad at
Riley's the night of McFudd's farewell supper, with
his sleeves rolled up to the elbows and the cook's cap
on his head. He had lined up with the others at
Brown's on the Bowery; drank his "crystal cocktails"
--the mildest of beverages--and had solemnly
marched out again with his comrades in a lock-step
like a gang of convicts. He had indulged in forty-
cent opera, leaning over the iron railing of the top
row of the Academy of Music, and had finished the
evening at Pfaff's, drinking beer and munching hardtack 
and pickles, and had laughed and sung in a dozen
other equally absurd escapades. And yet it was as
plain as daylight to Fred that Oliver's heart was no
longer centred in the life about him.

The fact is, the scribe is compelled to admit, the
life indulged in by these merry bohemians had begun
to pall upon this most sensitive of young gentlemen.
It really had not satisfied him at all. This was not
the sort of life that Mr. Crocker meant, he had said
to himself after a night at Riley's when Cranch had
sounded his horn so loud that the proprietor had
threatened to turn the whole party into the street.
Mr. Crocker's temperament was too restful to be
interested in such performances. As for himself,
he was tired of it.

Nothing of all this did he keep from his mother.
The record of his likes and dislikes which formed the
subject-matter of his daily letters was an absorbing
study with her, and she let no variation of the
weather-vane of his tastes escape her. Nor did she
keep their contents from her intimate friends. She
had read to Colonel Clayton one of his earlier ones,
in which he had told her of the concerts and of the
way Cockburn had served the brew that McFudd had
concocted, and had shown him an illustration Oliver
had drawn on the margin of the sheet--an outline of
the china mug that held the mixture--to which that
Chesterfield of a Clayton had replied:

"What did I tell you, madame--just what I expected 
of those Yankees--punch from mugs! Bah!"

She had, too, talked their contents over with
Amos Cobb, who, since the confidence reposed in
him by the Horn family, had become a frequent visitor 
at the house.

"There's no harm come to him yet, madame, or
he wouldn't write you of what he does. Boys will
be boys. Let him have his fling," the Vermonter had
replied with a gleam of pleasure in his eye. "If he
has the stuff in him that I think he has, he will swim
out and get to higher ground; if he hasn't, better
let him drown early. It will give everybody less
trouble."

The dear lady had lost no sleep over these escapades. 
She, too, realized that as long as Oliver
poured out his heart unreservedly to her there was
little to fear. In her efforts to cheer him she had
sought, in her almost daily letters sent him in return,
to lead his thoughts into other channels. She knew
how fond he had always been of the society of women, 
and how necessary they were to his happiness,
and she begged him to go out more. "Surely there
must be some young girls in so great a city who can
help to make your life happier," she wrote.

In accordance with her suggestions, he had at last
put on his best clothes and had accompanied Tomlins
and Fred to some very delightful houses away up
in Thirty-third Street, and another on Washington
Square, and still another near St. Mark's Place, where
his personality and his sweet, sympathetic voice had
gained him friends and most pressing invitations to
call again. Some he had accepted, and some he had
not--it depended very largely on his mood and upon
the people whom he met. If they reminded him in
any way, either in manners or appointments, of his
life at home, he went again--if not, he generally
stayed away.

Among these was the house of his employer, Mr.
Slade, who had treated him with marked kindness,
not only inviting him to his own house, but introducing 
him to many of his friends--an unusual civility
Oliver discovered afterward--not many of the clerks
being given a seat at Mr. Slade's table. "I like his
brusque, hearty manner," Oliver wrote to his mother
after the first visit. "His wife is a charming woman,
and so are the two daughters, quite independent and
fearless, and entirely different from the girls at
home, but most interesting and so well bred."

Another incident, too, had greatly pleased not only
Oliver and his mother, but Richard as well. It happened 
that a consignment of goods belonging to Morton, 
Slade & Co. was stored in a warehouse in Charleston, 
and it became necessary to send one of the clerks
South to reship or sell them, the ordinary business
methods being unsafe, owing to the continued rumblings 
of the now rapidly approaching political
storm--a storm that promised to be infinitely more
serious than the financial stringency. The choice had
fallen on Oliver, he being a Southerner, and knowing
the ways of the people. He had advised with his
mother and stood ready to leave at an hour's notice,
when Mr. Slade's heart failed him.

"It's too dangerous, my lad," he said to Oliver.
"I could trust you, I know, and I believe you would
return safely and bring the goods or the money with
you, but I should never forgive myself if anything
should happen to you. I will send an older man."
And he did.

It was at this time that Oliver had received Cockburn's 
letter telling him of his own experiences, and
he, therefore, knew something of the risks a man
would run, and could appreciate Mr. Slade's action
all the more. Richard, as soon as he heard of it, had
put down his tools, left his work-bench, and had gone
into his library, where he had written the firm a
letter of thanks, couched in terms so quaint and
courtly, and so full of generous appreciation of their
interest in Oliver, that Mr. Slade, equally appreciative, 
had worn it into ribbons in showing it to his
friends as a model of style and chirography.

Remembering his mother's wishes, and in appreciation 
of his employer's courtesy, he had kept up this
intimacy with the Slade family until an unfortunate
catastrophe had occurred, which while it did not affect 
his welcome at their house, ruined his pleasure
while there.

Mr. Slade had invited Oliver to dinner one rainy
night, and, being too poor to pay for a cab, Oliver,
in attempting to cross Broadway, had stepped into a
mud-puddle a foot deep. He must either walk back
and change his shoes and be late for dinner--an 
unpardonable offence--or he must keep on and run his
chances of cleaning them in the dressing-room. There
was no dressing-room available, as it turned out, and
the fat English butler had to bring a wet cloth out
into the hall (oh! how he wished for Malachi!) and
get down on his stiff knees and wipe away vigorously 
before Oliver could present himself before his
hostess, the dinner in the meantime getting cold and
the guests being kept waiting. Oliver could never
look at those shoes after that without shivering.

This incident had kept him at home for a time
and had made him chary of exposing himself to similar 
mortifications. His stock of clothes at best was
limited--especially his shoes--and as the weather
continued bad and the streets impassable, he preferred
waiting for clearer skies and safer walking. So he
spent his nights in his room, crooning over the coke
fire with Fred, or all alone if Fred were at the Academy, 
drawing from the cast.

On these nights he would begin to long for Kennedy 
Square. He had said nothing yet about returning, 
even for a day's visit. He knew how his mother
felt about it, and he knew how he had seen her
struggle to keep the interest paid up on the mortgage
and to meet the daily necessities of the house. The
motor was still incomplete, she wrote him, and success 
was as far off as ever. The mortgage had again
been extended and the note renewed--this time for a
longer term, owing to some friend's interest in the
matter whose name she could not learn. She, therefore, 
felt no uneasiness on that score, although there
were still no pennies which could be spared for Olivers 
travelling expenses, even if he could get leave
of absence from his employers.

At these times, as he sat alone in his garret-room,
Malachi's chuckle, without cause or reminder would
suddenly ring in his ears, or some low strain from
his father's violin or a soft note from Nathan's
flute would float through his brain. "Dear Uncle
Nat," he would break out, speaking aloud and springing 
from his chair--"I wish I could hear you tonight."

His only relief while in these moods was to again
seize his pen and pour out his heart to his mother or
to his father, or to Miss Clendenning or old Mr.
Crocker. Occasionally he would write to Sue--not
often--for that volatile young lady had so far forgotten 
Oliver as to leave his letters unanswered for
weeks at a time. She was singing "Dixie," she told
him in her last billet-doux, now a month old, and 
wondering whether Oliver was getting to be a Yankee,
and whether he would be coming home with a high
collar and his hair cut short and parted in the
middle.

His father's letters in return did not lessen his
gloom. "These agitators will destroy the country,
my son, if they keep on," Richard had written in his
last letter. "It is a sin against civilization to hold
your fellow-men in bondage, and that is why years
ago I gave Malachi and Hannah and the others their
freedom, but Virginia has unquestionably the right
to govern her internal affairs without consulting
Massachusetts, and that is what many of these Northern 
leaders do not or will not understand. I am
greatly disturbed over the situation, and I sincerely
hope your own career will not be affected by these
troubles. As to my own affairs, all I can say is that
I work early and late, and am out of debt." Poor
fellow! He thought he was.

Oliver was sitting thus one night, his head in his
hands, elbows on his knees, gazing into the smouldering 
coals of his grate, his favorite attitude when his
mind was troubled, when Fred, his face aglow, his
big blue eyes dancing, threw wide the door and
bounded in, bringing in his clothes the fresh, cool
air of the night. He had been at work in the School
of the Academy of Design, and had a drawing in
chalk under his arm--a head of the young Augustus.

"What's the matter, Ollie, got the blues?"

"No, Freddie, only thinking."

"What's her name? I'll go and see her and make
it up. Out with it--do I know her?"

Oliver smiled faintly, examined the drawing for a
moment, and handing it back to Fred, said, sadly,
"It's not a girl, Freddie, but I don't seem to get 
anywhere."

Fred threw the drawing on the bed and squeezed
himself into the chair beside his chum, his arm around
his neck.

"Where do you want to get, old man? What's
the matter--any trouble at the store?"

"No--none that I know of. But the life is so
monotonous, Fred. You do what you love to do. I
mark boxes all day till lunch-time, then I roll them
out on the sidewalk and make out dray tickets till
I come home. I've been doing that all winter; I
expect to be doing it for years. That don't get me
anywhere, does it? I hate the life more and more
every day."

(Was our hero's old love of change again asserting 
itself, or was it only the pinching of that Chinese
shoe which his mother in her anxiety had slipped on
his unresisting foot, and which he was still wearing to
please her? Or was it the upper pressure of some
inherent talent--some gift of his ancestors that would
not down at his own bidding or that of his mother
or anybody else's?)

"Somebody's got to do it, Ollie, and you are the
last man hired," remarked Fred, quietly. "What
would you like to do?"

Oliver shifted himself in the crowded chair until
he could look into his room-mate's eyes.

"Fred, old man," he answered, his voice choking,
"I haven't said a word to you about it all the time
I've been here, for I don't like to talk about a thing
that hurts me, and so I've kept it to myself. Now
I'll tell you the truth just as it is. I don't want Mr.
Slade's work nor anybody else's work. I don't like
business and never will. I want to paint, and I'll
never be happy until I do. That's it, fair and square."

"Well, quit Slade, then, and come with me."

"I would if it wasn't for mother. I promised
her I would see this through, and I will." As he
spoke the overdue mortgage and his mother's efforts
to keep the interest paid passed in review before him.

Fred caught his breath. It astonished him, independent 
young Northerner as he was, to hear a full-
grown man confess that his mother's' apron-strings
still held him up, but he made no comment.

"Why not try both?" he cried. "There's a place
in the school alongside of me--we'll work together
nights. It won't interfere with what you do downtown. 
You'll get a good start, and when you have
a day off in the summer you can do some out-door
work. Waller has told me a dozen times that you
draw better than he did when he commenced. Come
along with me."

This conversation, with the other incidents of the
day, or rather that part of it which had reference
to the Academy, was duly set forth in his next letter
to his mother--not as an argument to gain her consent 
to his studying with Fred, for he knew it was
the last thing she would agree to--but because it was
his habit to tell her everything. It would show her,
too, how good a fellow Fred was and what an interest
he took in his welfare. Her answer, three days later,
sent him bounding upstairs and into their room like
a whirlwind.

"Read, Fred, read!" he cried. "I can go.
Mother says she thinks it would be the best thing in
the world for me. Here, clap your eyes on that--"
and Oliver held the letter out to Fred, his finger
pointing to this passage: "I wish you would join Fred
at the Academy. Now that you have a regular business 
that occupies your mind, and are earning your
living, I have no objection to your studying drawing
or learning any other accomplishment. You work
hard all day, and this will rest you."

The cramped foot was beginning to spread! The
Chinese shoe had lost its top button.




CHAPTER XII

AROUND THE MILO



Still another new and far more bewildering world
was opened to Oliver the night that he entered the
cast-room of the School of the National Academy of
Design and took his seat among the students.

The title of the institution, high-sounding as it was,
not only truthfully expressed the objects and purposes 
of its founders, but was wofully exact in the
sense of its being national; for outside the bare walls
of these rooms there was hardly a student's easel to
be found the country over.

And such forlorn, desolate rooms; up two flights of
dusty stairs, in a rickety, dingy loft off Broadway,
within a short walk of Union Square--an auction-
room on the ground floor and a bar-room in the rear.
The largest of these rooms was used for the annual
exhibition of the Academicians and their associates,
and the smaller ones were given over to the students; 
one, a better lighted apartment, being filled
with the usual collection of casts--the Milo, the
Fighting Gladiator, Apollo Belvidere, Venus de
Medici, etc., etc.; the other being devoted to the
uses of the life-class and its models. Not the nude.
Whatever may have been clone in the studios, in the
class-room it was always the draped model that posed
--the old woman who washed for a living on the
top floor, or one of her chubby children or buxom
daughters, or perhaps the peddler who strayed in
to sell his wares and left his head behind him on ten
different canvases and in as many different positions.

The casts themselves were backed up against the
walls; some facing the windows for lights and darks,
and others pushed toward the middle of the room,
where the glow of the gas-jets could accentuate their
better points. The Milo, by right of divinity, held
the centre position--she being beautiful from any
point of sight and available from any side. The Theseus 
and the Gladiator stood in the corners, affording
space for the stools of two or three students and their
necessary easels. Scattered about on the coarse,
whitewashed walls were hung the smaller life-casts;
fragments of the body--an arm, leg, or hand, or
sections of a head--and tucked in between could be
found cheap lithographic productions of the work of
the students and professors of the Paris and Dusseldorf 
schools. The gas-lights under which the students 
worked at night were hooded by cheap paper
shades of the students' own fashioning, and the lower
sashes of the windows were smeared with whitewash
or covered with newspapers to concentrate the light.
During working hours the drawing-boards were
propped upon rude easels or slanted on overturned
chairs, the students sitting on three-legged stools.

A gentle-voiced, earnest, whole-souled old man--
the one only instructor--presided over this temple of
art. He had devoted his whole life to the sowing of
figs and the reaping of thistles, and in his old age
was just beginning to see the shoots of a new art forcing 
their way through the quickening clay of American 
civilization. Once in awhile, as assistants in
this almost hopeless task, there would stray into his
class-room some of the painters who, unconsciously,
were founding a national art and in honor of whom
a grateful nation will one day search the world over
for marble white enough on which to perpetuate
their memories: men as distinct in their aims, methods, 
and results as was that other group of unknown
and despised immortals starving together at that
very time in a French village across the sea--and
men, too, equally deserving of the esteem and gratitude 
of their countrymen.

Oliver knew the names of these distinguished visitors 
to the Academy, as did all the other members
of the Skylarks, and he knew their work. The pictures 
of George Inness, Sanford Gifford, Kensett,
McEntee, Hart, Eastman Johnson, Hubbard,
Church, Casilaer, Whittredge, and the others had
been frequently discussed around the piano on the
top floor at Miss Teetum's, and their merits and supposed 
demerits often hotly contested. He had met
Kensett once at the house of Mr. Slade, and McEntee
had been pointed out to him as he left the theatre one
night, but few of the others had ever crossed his path.

Of the group Gifford appealed to him most. One
golden "Venice" of the painter, which hung in a
picture-store, always delighted him--a stretch of the
Lagoon with a cluster of butterfly sails and a far-
away line of palaces, towers, and domes lying like
a string of pearls on the horizon. There was another
of Kensett's, a point of rocks thrust out like a mailed
hand into a blue sea; and a McEntee of October
woods, all brown and gold; but the Gifford he had
never forgotten; nor will anyone else who has seen it.

No wonder then that all his life he remembered
that particular night, when a slender, dark-haired
man in loose gray clothes sauntered into the class-
room and moved around among the easels, giving a
suggestion here and a word of praise there, for that
was the night on which Professor Cummings touched
our young hero's shoulder and said: "Mr. Gifford
likes your drawing very much, Mr. Horn"--a word
of praise which, as he wrote to Crocker, steadied his
uncertain fingers "as nothing else had ever done."

The students in his school were from all stations in
life: young and old; all of them poor, and most of
them struggling along in kindred professions and
occupations--engravers, house-painters, lithographers, 
and wood-carvers. Two or three were sign-
painters. One of these--a big-boned, blue-eyed
young follow, who drew in charcoal from the cast
at night, and who sketched the ships in the harbor
during the day--came from Kennedy Square, or
rather from one of the side streets leading out of
it.	There can still be found over the door of what
was once his shop a weather-beaten example of his
skill in gold letters, the product of his own hand.
Above the signature is, or was some ten years since,
a small decorative panel showing a strip of yellow
sand, a black dot of a boat, and a line of blue sky,
so true in tone and sure in composition that when
Mr. Crocker first passed that way and stood astounded
before it--as did Robinson Crusoe over Friday's
footprint--he was so overjoyed to find another artist
besides himself in the town, that he turned into the
shop, and finding only a young mechanic at work,
said:

"Go to New York, young man, and study, you
have a career before you."

The old landscape-painter was a sure prophet; little 
pen-and-ink sketches bearing the initials of this
same sign-painter now sell for more than their weight
in gold, while his larger canvases on the walls of our
museums and galleries hold their place beside the
work of the marine-painters of our own and other
times and will for many a day to come.

This exile from Kennedy Square had been the first
man to shake Oliver's hand the night he entered the
cast-room. Social distinctions had no place in this
atmosphere; it was the fellow who in his work came
closest to the curve of the shoulder or to the poise
of the head who proved, in the eyes of his fellow-
students, his possession of an ancestry: but the ancestry 
was one that skipped over the Mayflower and
went straight back to the great Michael and Rembrandt.

"I'm Jack Bedford, the sign-painter," he said,
heartily. "You and I come from the same town,"
and as they grasped each other's hands a new friendship 
was added to Oliver's rapidly increasing list.

Oliver's seat was next to Fred, with Jack Bedford
on his right. He had asked to join this group not
only because he wanted to be near his two friends
but because he wanted still more to be near the Milo.
He had himself selected a certain angle of the head
because he had worked from that same point of sight
with Mr. Crocker, and it had delighted him beyond
measure when the professor allowed him to place his
stool so that he could almost duplicate his earlier
drawing. His ambition was to get into the life-class,
and the quickest road, he knew, lay through a good
cast drawing. Every night for a week, therefore,
he had followed the wonderful lines of the Milo's
beautiful body, which seemed to grow with warmth
under the flare of the overhanging gas-jets.

These favored life students occupied the room
next to the casts. Mother Mulligan, in full regalia
of apron and broom, often sat there as a model. Oliver 
had recognized her portrait at once; so can anyone 
else who looks over the earlier studies of half the
painters of the time.

"Oh, it's you, is it--" Mrs. Mulligan herself had
cried when she met Oliver in the hall, "the young
gentleman that saved Miss Margaret's dog? She'll
be here next week herself--she's gone home for
awhile up into the mountains, where her old father
and mother live. I told her many times about ye,
and she'll be that pleased to meet ye, now that you're
WAN of us."

It was delightful to hear her accent the "wan."
Mother Mulligan always thought the institution
rested on her broad shoulders, and that the students
were part of her family.

The old woman could also have told Oliver of Margaret's 
arrival at the school, and of the impression
which she, the first and only girl student, made on
the night she took her place before an easel. But
of the reason of her coming Mrs. Mulligan could
have told nothing, nor why Margaret had been willing 
to exchange the comforts of a home among the
New Hampshire hills for the narrow confines of a
third-story back room, with Mrs. Mulligan as house-
keeper and chaperon.

Fred knew all the details, of course, and how it
had all come about. How a cousin of Margaret's
who lived on a farm near her father's had one day,
years before, left his plough standing in the furrow
and apprenticed himself to a granite-cutter in the
next town. How later on he had graduated in
gravestones, and then in bas-reliefs, and finally had
won a medal in Rome for a figure of "Hope," which
was to mark the grave of a millionnaire at home.
How when the statue was finished, ready to be set up,
this cousin had come to Brookfield, wearing a square-
cut beard, straight-out mustaches with needle-points,
and funny shoes with square toes. How the girl had
been disposed to laugh at him until he had told
her stories of the wonderful cities beyond the sea
and of his life among the painters and sculptors;
then she showed him her own drawings, searching
his face anxiously with her big eyes. How he had
been so astounded and charmed by their delicacy
and truth, that he had pleaded with her father--an
obstinate old Puritan--to send her to New York
to study, which the old man refused point-blank to
do, only giving his consent at the last when her
brother John, who had been graduated from Dartmouth 
and knew something of the outside world, had
joined his voice to that of her mother and her own.
How when she at last entered the class-room of the
Academy the students had looked askance at her;
the usual talk had ceased, and for a time there had
been an uncomfortable restraint everywhere, until
the men found her laughing quietly at their whispered 
jokes about her. After that the "red-headed
girl in blue gingham," as she was called, had become,
by virtue of that spirit of camaraderie which a common 
pursuit develops, "one of us" in spirit as well
as in occupation.

Fred had described it all to Oliver, and every night
when Oliver came in from the hall, his eyes had
wandered over the group of students in the hope of
seeing the strange person. A girl studying art, or
anything else for that matter, seemed to him to be as
incongruous as for a boy to learn dress-making or
for a woman to open a barber-shop. He knew her
type, he said to himself: she would be thin and awkward, 
with an aggressive voice that would jar on the
stillness of the room. And she would believe in the
doctrines of Elizabeth Cady Stanton--a name never
mentioned by his mother except apologetically and
in a low voice--and when she became older she would
address meetings and become conspicuous in church
and have her name printed in the daily papers.

Our hero's mind was intent upon these phases of
character always to be found, of course, in a girl who
would unsex herself to the extent that Miss Grant
had done, when one night a rich, full, well-modulated
voice sounding over his shoulder said:

"Excuse me, but Mother Mulligan tells me that
you are Mr. Horn, Fred Stone's friend. I want to
thank you for taking care of my poor Juno. It was
very good of you. I am Margaret Grant."

She had approached him without his seeing her.
He turned quickly to accost her and immediately lost
so much of his breath that he could only stammer his
thanks, and the hope that Juno still enjoyed the best
of health. But the deep-brown eyes did not waver
after acknowledging his reply, nor did the smile
about the mouth relax.

"And I'm so glad you've come at last," she went
on. "Fred has told me how you wanted to draw
and couldn't. I know something myself of what it
is to hunger after a thing and not get it."

He was on his feet now, the bit of charcoal still
between his fingers, his shirt-cuff rolled back to give
his hand more freedom. His senses were coming
back, too, and there was buoyancy as well as youth
in his face.

"Yes, I do love it," said Oliver, and his eyes
wandered over her wonderful hair that looked like
brown gold illumined by slants of sunshine, and
then rested for an instant on her eyes. "I drew
with old Mr. Crocker at home, but we only had one
cast, just the head of the Milo, and I was the only
pupil. Here everything helps me. What are you
at work on, Miss Grant?"

"I'm doing the Milo, too; my seat is right in
front of yours. Oh! what a good beginning," and
she bent over his drawing-board. "Why, this can't
be your first week," and she scanned it closely.
"One minute--a little too full under the chin, isn't
it?" She picked up a piece of chalk, and pointed
to the shaded lines, looking first with half-closed eyes
at the full-sized cast before them, and then at the
drawing.

"Yes, I think you're right," said Oliver, studying
the cast also with half-closed eyes. "How will that
do?" and he smudged the shadow with his finger-tip.

"Just right," she answered. "How well you have
the character of the face. Isn't she lovely!--I know
of nothing so beautiful. There is such a queenly,
womanly, self-poised simplicity about her."

Oliver thought so too, and said so with his eyes,
only it was of a face framed in brown-gold that he
was thinking and not of one of white plaster. He
was touched too by the delicate way in which she had
commended his drawings. It was the "woman" in
her that pleased him, just as it had been in Sue--that
subtle, dominating influence which our fine gentleman 
could never resist.

He shifted his stool a little to one side so that he
could see her the better unobserved while she was 
arranging her seat and propping up her board. He
noticed that, although her face was tanned by the
weather, her head was set on a neck of singular whiteness. 
Underneath, where the back hair was tucked
up, his eye caught some delicate filmy curls which
softened the line between her throat and head and
shone in the light like threads of gold. The shoulders 
sloped and the whole fulness of her figure tapered 
to a waist firmly held by a leather belt. A
wholesome girl, he thought to himself, and good to
look at, and with a certain rhythmic grace about her
movements.

Her crowning glory, though, was her hair, which
was parted over her forehead and caught in a simple
twist behind. As the light fell upon it he observed
again how full it was of varying tones like those
found in the crinklings of a satin gown--yellow-gold
one minute and dark brown the next. Oliver wondered 
how long this marvellous hair might be, and
whether it would reach to the floor if it should burst
its fastenings and whether Sir Peter Lely would have
loved it too could he have seen this flood of gold bathing 
her brow and shoulders.

He found it delightful to work within a few feet
of her, silent as they had to be, for much talking
was discountenanced by the professor: often hours
passed without any sound being heard in the room
but that of the scraping of the chairs on the bare floor
or the shifting of an easel.

Two or three times during the evening the old professor 
emerged from his room and overlooked his
drawing, patiently pointing out the defects and
as patiently correcting them. He was evidently
impressed with Oliver's progress, for he remarked
to Miss Grant, in a low voice:

"The new student draws well--he is doing first-
rate," and passed on. Oliver caught the expression
of satisfaction on the professor's face and interpreted 
it as in some way applying to his work, although 
he did not catch the words.

The old man rarely had to criticise Margaret's
work. The suggestions made to her came oftener
from the students than from the professor himself
or any one of the visiting critics. In these criticisms,
not only of her own work but of the others, everyone 
took part, each leaving his stool and helping in
the discussion, when the work of the night was over.
Fred's more correct eye, for instance, would be invaluable 
to Jack Bedford, the ex-sign-painter, who
was struggling with the profile of the Gladiator; or
Margaret, who could detect at a glance the faintest
departure from the lines of the original, would
shorten a curve on Oliver's drawing, or he in turn
would advise her about the depth of a shadow or the
spot for a high light.

As the nights went by and Oliver studied her
the closer, the New England girl became all the more
inexplicable to him. She was, he could not but admit, 
like no other woman he had ever met; certainly
not in his present surroundings. She really seemed
to belong to some fabled race--one of the Amazons,
or Rhine maidens, or Norse queens for whom
knights couched their lances. It was useless to compare 
her to any one of the girls about Kennedy
Square, for she had nothing in common with any one
of them. Was it because she was unhappy among
her own people that she had thus exiled herself from
her home, or had some love-affair blighted her life?
Or could it be, as Fred had suggested, that she was
willing to undergo all these discomforts and privations 
simply for love of her art? As this possible
solution of the vexing problem became established
in his mind, with the vision of Margaret herself before 
him, the blood mounted to his cheeks and an uncontrollable 
thrill of enthusiasm swept over him.
He could forgive her anything if this last motive had
really controlled and shaped her life.

Had he seen the more closely and with prophetic
vision, he would have discerned, in this Norse queen
with the golden hair, the mother of a long line of
daughters, who, in the days to follow, would hang
their triumphant shields beside those of their
brothers, winning equal recognition in salon and gallery 
and conferring equal honor on their country.
But Oliver's vision was no keener than that of anyone 
else about him. It was only the turn of Margaret's 
head that caught the young student's eye and
the wealth of her brown-gold hair. With the future
he had no concern.

What attracted him most of all in this woman who
had violated all the known traditions of Kennedy
Square, was a certain fearlessness of manner--an 
independence, a perfect ingenuousness, and a freedom
from any desire to interest the students in herself.
When she looked at any one of them, it was never
from under drooping eyelids, as Sue would have done,
nor with that coquettish, alluring glance to which he
had always been accustomed. She looked straight at
them with unflinching eyes that said, "I can trust
you, and WILL." He had never seen exactly that
look except in the portrait of his uncle's grandmother
by Sir Peter Lely--the picture he had always loved.
Strange to say, too, the eyes of the portrait were
Margaret's eyes, and so was the color of the hair.

No vexed problems entered Margaret's head regarding 
the very engaging young gentleman who sat
behind HER stool. He merely represented to her another 
student--that was all; the little band was
small enough, and she was glad to see the new ones
come. She noticed, it is true, certain unmistakable
differences--a peculiar, soft cadence in his voice as
the words slipped from his lips without their final g's;
a certain deference to herself--standing until she
regained her seat, an attention which she attributed
at first to embarrassment over his new surroundings
and to his desire to please. She noticed, too, a certain 
grace in his movements--a grace that attracted
her, especially in the way with which he used his
hands, and in the way in which he threw his head
up when he laughed; but even these differences
ceased to interest her after the first night of their
meeting.

But it did not occur to her that he came from any
different stock than the others about her, or that his
blood might or might not be a shade bluer than her
own. What had really impressed her more than anything 
else--and this only flashed into her mind while
she was looking in the glass one night at her own--
were his big white teeth, white as grains of corn, and
the cleanliness of his hands and nails. She liked
these things about him. Some of the fingers that
rested on her drawing-board were often more like
clothes-pins than fingers, and shocked her not a little;
some, too, were stained with acids, and one or more
with printer's ink that no soap could remove.

Before the evening was over Oliver became one
of the class-room appointments--a young man who
sat one stool behind her and was doing fairly well
with his first attempt, and who would some day be
able to make a creditable drawing if he had patience
and application.

At the beginning of the second week a new student
appeared--or rather an old one, who had been laid
up at home with a cold. When Oliver arrived he
found him in Margaret's seat, his easel standing
where hers had been. He had a full-length drawing
of the Milo--evidently the work of days--nearly
finished on his board. Oliver was himself a little
ahead of time--ahead of either Margaret or Fred,
and had noticed the new-comer when he entered, the
room being nearly empty. Jack Bedford was already
at work.

"Horn," Jack cried, and beckoned to Oliver--
"see the beggar in Miss Grant's seat. Won't there
be a jolly row when she comes in?"

Margaret entered a moment later, her portfolio
under her arm, and stood taking in the situation.
Then she walked straight to her former seat, and said,
in a firm but kindly tone:

"This is my place, sir. I've been at work here for
a week. You see my drawing is nearly done."

The young man looked up. He toiled all day in
a lithographer's shop, and these precious nights in
the loft were his only glimpses of happiness. He sat
without his coat, his shirt-sleeves liberally smeared
with the color-stains of his trade.

"Well, it's my place, too. I sat here a week before 
I was taken sick," he said, in a slightly indignant 
tone, looking into Margaret's face in astonishment.

"But if you did," continued Margaret, "you see
I am nearly through. I can't take another seat, for
I'll lose the angle. I can finish in an hour if you will
please give me this place to-night. You can work
just as well by sitting a few feet farther along."

The lithographer, without replying, turned from
her impatiently, bent over his easel, picked up a fresh
bit of charcoal and corrected a line on the Milo's
shoulder. So far as he was concerned the argument
was closed.

Margaret stood patiently. She thought at first he
was merely adding a last touch to his drawing before
granting her request.

"Will you let me have the seat?" she asked.

"No," he blurted out. He was still bending over
his drawing, his eyes fixed on the work. He did not
even look up. "I'm going to stay here until I finish.
You know the rules as well as I do. I wouldn't take
your seat--what do you want to take mine for?"
There was no animosity in his voice. He spoke as if
announcing a fact.

The words had hardly left his lips when there
came the sound of a chair being quickly pushed
back, and Oliver stood beside Margaret. His eyes
were flashing; his right shirt-cuff was rolled back,
the bit of charcoal still between his fingers. Every
muscle of his body was tense with anger. Margaret's
quick instinct took in the situation at a glance. She
saw Oliver's wrath and she knew its cause.

"Don't, Mr. Horn, please--please!" she cried,
putting up her hand. "I'll begin another drawing.
I see now that I took his seat when he was away, although 
I didn't know it."

Oliver stepped past her. "Get up, sir," he said,
"and give Miss Grant her seat. What do you mean
by speaking so to a lady?"

The apprentice--his name was Judson--raised
his eyes quickly, took in Oliver's tense, muscular figure 
standing over him, and said, with a contemptuous
wave of the hand:

"Young feller--you go and cool off somewhere,
or I'll tell the professor. It's none of your business.
I know the rules and--"

He never finished the sentence--not that anybody
heard. He was floundering on the floor, an overturned 
easel and drawing-board lying across his
body; Oliver standing over him with his fists tightly
clenched.

"I'll teach you how to behave to a lady." The
words sounded as if they came from between closed
teeth. "Here's your chair, Miss Grant," and with
a slight bow he placed the chair before her and
resumed his seat with as much composure as if he
had been in his mother's drawing-room in Kennedy
Square.

Margaret was so astounded. that for a moment
she could not speak. Then her voice came back to
her. "I don't want it," she cried, in a half-frightened 
way, the tears starting in her eyes. "It was
never mine--I told you so. Oh, what have you
done?"

Never since the founding of the school had there
been such a scene. The students jumped from their
chairs and crowded about the group. The life class,
which were at work in another room, startled by the
uproar, swarmed out eager to know what had happened 
and why--and who--and what for. Old
Mother Mulligan, who had been posing for the class,
with a cloak about her fat shoulders and a red 
handkerchief binding up her head, rushed over to Margaret, 
thinking she had been hurt in some way, until
she saw the student on the floor, still panting and
half-dazed from the effect of Oliver's blow. Then
she fell on her knees beside him.

At this instant Professor Cummings entered, and
a sudden hush fell upon the room. Judson, with the
help of Mother Mulligan's arm, had picked himself
up, and. would have made a rush at Oliver had not big
sack Bedford stopped him.

"Who's to blame for this?" asked the professor,
looking from one to the other.

Oliver rose from his seat.

"This man insulted Miss Grant and I threw him
out of her chair," he answered quietly.

"Insulted you!" cried the professor, in surprise,
and he turned to Margaret. "What did he say?"

"I never said a word to her," whined Judson,
straightening his collar. "I told her the seat was
mine, and so it is. That wasn't insulting her."

"It's all a mistake, professor--Mr. Horn did not
understand," protested Margaret. "It was his seat,
not mine. He began his drawing first. I didn't know
it when I commenced mine. I told Mr. Horn so."

"Why did you strike him?" asked the professor,
and he turned and faced Oliver.

"Because he had no business to speak to her as
he did. She is the only lady we have among us and
every man in the class ought to remember it, and
every man has since I've been here except this one."

There was a slight murmur of applause. Judson's
early training had been neglected as far as his manners 
went, and he was not popular.

The professor looked searchingly into Oliver's eyes
and a flush of pride in the boy's pluck tinged his pale
cheeks. He had once thrown a fellow-student out
of a window in Munich himself for a similar offence,
and old as he was he had never forgotten it.

"You come from the South, Mr. Horn, I hear,"
he said in a gentler voice, "and you are all a hot-
tempered race, and often do foolish things. Judson
meant no harm--he says so, and Miss Grant says so.
Now you two shake hands and make up. We are
trying to learn to draw here, not to batter each
other's heads."

Oliver's eyes roved from one to the other; he was
too astonished to make further reply. He had only
done what he knew every other man around Kennedy
Square would have done under similar circumstances,
and what any other woman would have thanked him
for. Why was everybody here against him--even
the girl herself! What sort of people were these who
would stand by and see a woman insulted and make
no defence or outcry? He could not have looked his
father in the face again, nor Sue, nor anyone else
in Kennedy Square, if he had failed to protect
her.

For a moment he hesitated, his eyes searching each
face. He had hoped that someone who had witnessed
the outrage would come forward and uphold his act.
When no voice broke the stillness he crossed the
room and taking the lithographer's hand, extended
rather sullenly, answered, quietly: "If Miss Grant
is satisfied, I am," and peace was once more restored.

Margaret sharpened her charcoals and bent over
her drawing. She was so agitated she could not trust
herself to touch its surface. "If I am SATISFIED," she
kept repeating to herself. The words, somehow,
seemed to carry a reproach with them. "Why
shouldn't I be satisfied.? I have no more rights in
the room than the other students about me; that is,
I thought I hadn't until I heard what he said. How
foolish for him to cause all this fuss about nothing,
and make me so conspicuous."

But even as she said the words to herself she remembered 
Oliver's tense figure and the look of indignation 
on his face. She had never been accustomed 
to seeing men take up the cudgels for women.
There had been no opportunity, perhaps, nor cause,
but even if there had been, she could think of no one
whom she had ever met who would have done as
much for her just because she was a woman.

A little sob, which she could not have explained
to herself, welled up to her throat. Much as she
gloried in her own self-reliance, she suddenly and
unexpectedly found herself exulting in a quality
heretofore unknown to her--that quality which had
compelled an almost total stranger to take her part.
Then the man himself! How straight and strong
and handsome he was as he stood looking at Judson, 
and then the uplifted arm, the quick spring, and,
best of all, the calm, graceful way in which he had
handed her the chair! She could not get the picture 
out of her mind. Last, she remembered with
a keen sense of pleasure the chivalrous look in his
face when he held out his hand to the man who a
moment before had received its full weight about
his throat.

She had not regained mastery of herself even when
she leaned across her drawing-board, pretending to
be absorbed in her work. The curves of the Milo
seemed in some strange way to have melted into the
semblance of the outlines of other visions sunk deep
in her soul since the days of her childhood--visions
which for years past had been covered over by the
ice of a cold, hard puritanical training, that had 
prevented any bubbles of sentiment from ever rising to
the surface of her heart. As remembrances of these
visions rushed through her mind the half-draped
woman, with the face of the Madonna and the soul
of the Universal Mother shining through every line
of her beautiful body, no longer stood before her.
It was a knight in glittering armor now, with drawn
sword and visor up, beneath which looked out the
face of a beautiful youth aflame with the fire of a
holy zeal. She caught the flash of the sun on his
breastplate of silver, and the sweep of his blade, and
heard his clarion voice sing out. And then again,
as she closed her eyes, this calm, lifeless cast became
a gallant, blue-eyed prince, who knelt beside her and
kissed her finger-tips, his doffed plumes trailing at
her feet.

When the band of students were leaving the rooms
that night, Margaret called Oliver to her side, and 
extending her hand, said, with a direct simplicity that
carried conviction in every tone of her voice and in
which no trace of her former emotions were visible:

"I hope you'll forgive me, Mr. Horn. I'm all
alone here in this city and I have grown so accustomed 
to depending on myself that, perhaps, I failed
to understand how you felt about it. I am very
grateful to you. Good-night."

She had turned away before he could do more than
express his regret over the occurrence. He wanted
to follow her; to render her some assistance; to
comfort her in some way. It hurt him to see her go
out alone into the night. He wished he might offer
his arm, escort her home, make some atonement for
the pain he had caused her. But there was a certain
proud poise of the head and swift glance of the eye
which held him back.

While he stood undecided whether to break
through her reserve and join her, he saw Mrs. Mulligan 
come out of the basement, stop a passing stage,
and, helping Margaret in, take the seat beside her.

"I am glad she does not go out alone," he said to
himself and turned away.




CHAPTER XIII

BELOW MOOSE HILLOCK



It was not long before the bare rooms of the
Academy School--owing to the political situation,
which necessitated the exercise of economies in
every direction--began to suffer.

One night the students found the gas turned out
and a small card tacked on the door of the outer hall.
It read--

SCHOOL CLOSED FOR WANT OF

FUNDS. WILL PERHAPS BE

OPENED IN THE AUTUMN.


Signs of like character were not unusual in the history 
of the school. The wonder was, considering the
vicissitudes through which the Academy had passed,
that it was opened at all. From the institution's earlier 
beginnings in the old house on Bond Street, to
its flight from the loft close to Grace Church and
then to the abandoned building opposite the old hotel
near Washington Square, where Amos Cobb always
stayed when he came to New York, and so on down
to its own home on Broadway, its history had been
one long struggle for recognition and support.

This announcement, bitter enough as it was to
Oliver, was followed by another even more startling,
when he reached the office next day, and Mr. Slade
called him into his private room.

"Mr. Horn," said his employer, motioning Oliver
to a seat and drawing his chair close beside him so
that he could lay his hand upon the young man's
knee, "I am very sorry to tell you that after the first
of June we shall be obliged to lay you off. It is not
because we are dissatisfied with your services, for you
have been a faithful clerk, and we all like you and
wish you could stay, but the fact is if this repudiation 
goes on we will all be ruined. I am not going
to discharge you; I'm only going to give you a holiday 
for a few months. Then, if the war-scare blows
over we want you back again. I appreciate that this
has come as suddenly upon you as it has upon us, and
I hope you will not feel offended when, in addition
to your salary, I hand you the firm's check for an
extra amount. You must not look upon it as a gift,
for you have earned every cent of it."

These two calamities were duly reported in a ten-
page letter to his mother by our young hero, sitting
alone, as he wrote, up in his sky-parlor, crooning over
his dismal coke fire. "Was he, then, to begin over
again the weary tramping of the streets?" he said to
himself. "And the future! What did that hold in
store for him? Would the time ever come when he
could follow the bent of his tastes? He was getting
on so well--even Miss Grant had said so--and it had
not interfered with his work at the store, either. The
check in his pocket proved that."

His mother's answer made his heart bound with
joy.

"Take Mr. Slade at his word. He is your friend
and means what he says. Find a place for the summer
where you can live cheaply and where the little
money which you now have will pay your way. In
the fall you can return to your work. Don't think of
coming home, much as I should like to put my arms
around you. I cannot spare the money to bring you
here now, as I have just paid the interest on the mortgage. 
Moreover, the whole of Kennedy Square is
upset and our house seems to be the centre of disturbance. 
Your father's views on slavery are well
known, and he is already being looked upon with disfavor 
by some of our neighbors. At the club the
other night he and Judge Bowman had some words
which were very distressing to me. Mr. Cobb was
present, and was the only one who took your father's
part. Your father, as you may imagine, is very anxious 
over the political situation, but I cannot think
our people are going to fight and kill each other, as
Colonel Clayton predicts they will before another
year has passed."

Oliver's heart bounded like a loosened balloon as
he laid down his mother's letter and began pacing the
room. Neither the political outlook, nor club discussions, 
nor even his mother's hopes and fears, concerned 
him. It was the sudden loosening of all his
bonds that thrilled him. Four months to do as he
pleased in; the dreadful mortgage out of the way for
six months; his mother willing, and he with money
enough in his pocket to pay his way without calling
upon her for a penny! Was there ever such luck!
All care rolled from his shoulders--even the desire
to see his mother and Sue and those whom he loved
at home was forgotten in the rosy prospect before
him.

The next day he told Mr. Slade of his plans, and
read him part of his mother's letter.

"Very sensible woman, your mother," his employer 
answered, with his bluff heartiness. "Just
the thing for you to do; and I've got the very spot.
Go to Ezra Pollard's. He lives up in the mountains 
at a little place called East Branch, on the
edge of a wilderness. I fish there every spring, and
I'll give you a letter to him."

Long before his day of departure came he had
dusted out his old hair trunk--there were other and
more modern trunks to be had, but Oliver loved this
one because it had been his father's--gathered his
painting materials together -- his easel, brushes,
leather case, and old slouch hat that he wore to fish
in at home--and spent his time counting the days
and hours when he could leave the world behind him
and, as he wrote Fred, "begin to live."

He was not alone in this planning for a summer
exodus. The other students had indeed all cut their
tether-strings and disappeared long before his own
freedom came. Jack Bedford had gone to the coast
to live with a fisherman and paint the surf, and Fred
was with his people away up near the lakes. As for
the lithographers, sign-painters, and beginners, they
were spending their evenings somewhere else than in
the old room under the shaded gas-jets. Even Margaret, 
so Mother Mulligan told him, was up "wid her
folks, somewheres."

"And she was that broken-hearted," she added,
"whin they shut up the school--bad cess to 'em!
Oh, ye would a-nigh kilt yerself wid grief to a-seen
her, poor darlint."

"Where is her home?" asked Oliver, ignoring the
tribute to his sympathetic tendencies. He had no
reason for asking, except that she had been the only
woman among them, and he accordingly felt that a
certain courtesy was due her even in her absence.

"I've bothered me head loose tryin' to remimber,
but for the soul o' me, I can't. It's cold enough up
there, I know, to freeze ye solid, for Miss Margaret
had wan o' her ears nipped last time she was home."


And so one fine morning in June, with Oliver
bursting with happiness, the hair trunk and the
leather case and sketching umbrella were thrown out
at a New England way-station in the gray dawn from
a train in which Oliver had spent the night curled up
on one of the seats.

Just as he had expected, the old coach that was
to carry him was waiting beside the platform. There
was a rush for top seats, and Oliver got the one beside 
the driver, and the trunk and traps were stored
in the boot under the driver's seat--it was a very
small trunk and took up but little room--and Marvin
cracked his whip and away everybody went, the dogs
barking behind and the women waving their aprons
from the porches of the low houses facing the road.

And it was a happy young fellow who filled his
lungs with the fresh air of the morning and held on
to the iron rail of the top seat as they bumped over
the "Thank ye marms," and who asked the driver
innumerable questions which it was part of the noted
whip's duty and always his pleasure to answer. The
squirrels darted across the road as if to get a look at
the enthusiast and then ran for their lives to escape
the wheels; and the crows heard the rumble and rose
in a body from the sparse cornfields for a closer view;
and the big trees arched over his head, cooling the air
and casting big shadows, and even the sun kept peeping 
over the edge of the hills from behind some jutting 
rock or clump of pines or hemlock as if bent on
lighting up his face so that everybody could see how
happy he was.

As the day wore on and the coach rattled over the
big open bridge that spanned the rushing mountain-
stream, Oliver's eye caught, far up the vista, the little
dent in the line of blue that stood low against the sky.
The driver said this was the Notch and that the big
hump to the right was Moose Hillock, and that Ezra's
cabin nestled at its feet and was watered by the rushing 
stream, only it was a tiny little brook away up
there that anybody could step over.

"'Tain't bigger'n yer body where it starts out fresh
up in them mountings," the driver said, touching his
leaders behind their ears with the lash of his whip.
"Runs clean round Ezra's, and's jest as chuckfull
o' trout, be gosh, as a hive is o' bees."

And the swing and the freedom of it all! No office-
hours to keep; no boxes to nail up and roll out--nothing 
but sweetness and cool draughts of fresh mountain-air, 
and big trees that he wanted to get down
and hug; and jolly laughing brooks that ran out to
meet him and called to him as he trotted along, or
as the horses did, which was the same thing, he being
part of the team.

And the day! Had there ever been such another?
And the sky, too, filled with soft white clouds that
sailed away over his head--the little ones far in
advance and already crowding up the Notch, which
was getting nearer every hour.

And Marvin the driver--what a character he was
and how quaint his speech. And the cabins by the
road, with their trim fences and winter's wood piled
up so neatly under the sheds--all so different from
any which he had seen at the South and all so charming 
and exhilarating.

Never had he been so happy!

And why not? Twenty-three and in perfect
health, without a care, and for the first time in all
his life doing what he wanted most to do, with 
opportunities opening every hour for doing what he 
believed he could do best.

Oh, for some planet where such young saplings can
grow without hinderance from the ignorant and the
unsympathetic; where they can reach out for the sun
on all sides and stretch their long arms skyward;
where each vine can grow as it would in all the luxuriance 
of its nature, free from the pruning-knife
of criticism and the straitlaced trellis of 
conventionality--a planet on which the Puritan with his 
creeds, customs, fads, issues, and dogmas, and the 
Cavalier with his traditions and time-honored notions 
never sat foot. Where every round peg fits a round hole,
and men toil with a will and with unclouded brows
because their hearts find work for their hands and
each day's task is a joy.

If the road and the country on each side of it, and
the giant trees, now that they neared the mountains,
and the deep ravines and busy, hurrying brooks had
each inspired some exclamation of joy from Oliver,
the first view of Ezra's cabin filled him so full of 
uncontrollable delight that he could hardly keep his
seat long enough for Marvin to rein in his horses
and get down and swing back the gate that opened
into the pasture surrounding the house.

"Got a boarder for ye, Ezra," Marvin called to
Oliver's prospective host, who had come down to
meet the stage and get his empty butter-pails. Then,
in a lower tone: "Sezs he's a painter chap, and that
Mr. Slade sent him up. He's goin' to bunk in with
ye all summer, he sezs. Seems like a knowin', happy
kind er young feller."

They were pulling the pails from the rear boot,
each one tied up in a wheat-sack, with a card marked
"Ezra Pollard" sewed on the outside to distinguish
it from the property of other East Branch settlers
up and down the road.

Oliver had slipped from his seat and was tugging
at his hair trunk. He did not know that the long,
thin, slab-sided old fellow in a slouch hat, hickory
shirt crossed by one suspender, and heavy cowhide
boots was his prospective landlord. He supposed him
to be the hired man, and that he would find Mr. Pollard 
waiting for him in the little sitting-room with
the windows full of geraniums that looked so inviting 
and picturesque.

"Marve sez you're lookin' fur me. Come along.
Glad ter see ye."

"Are you Mr. Pollard?" His surprise not only
marked the tones of his voice but the expression of
his face.

"No, jes' Ezry Pollard, that's all. Hope Mr.
Slade's up and hearty?"


Mr. Slade was never so "up and hearty" as was
Oliver that next morning.

Up with the sun he was, and hearty as a young
buck out of a bed of mountain-moss.

"Time to be movin', ain't it?" came Ezra Pollard's 
voice, shouting up the unpainted staircase,
"Hank's drawed a bucket out here at the well for ye
to wash in. Needn't worry about no towel. Samanthy's 
got one fur ye, but ye kin bring yer comb."

At the sound of Ezra's voice Oliver sprang from
the coarse straw mattress--it had been as eider-down
to his stage-jolted body--pushed open the wooden
blind and peered out. The sun was peeping over the
edge of the Notch and looking with wide eyes into the
saucer-shaped valley in which the cabin stood. The
fogs which at twilight had stolen down to the meadows 
and had made a night of it, now startled into life
by the warm rays of the sun, were gathering up their
skirts of shredded mist and tiptoeing back up the
hill-side, looking over their shoulders as they fled.
The fresh smell of the new corn watered by the
night dew and the scent of pine and balsam from the
woods about him, filled the morning air. Songs of
birds were all about, a robin on a fence-post and two
larks high in air, singing as they flew.

Below him, bounding from rock to rock, ran the
brook, laughing in the sunlight and tossing the spray
high in the air in a mad frolic. Across this swirling
line of silver lay a sparse meadow strewn with rock,
plotted with squares of last year's crops--potatoes,
string-beans, and cabbages, and now combed into
straight green lines of early buckwheat and turnips.
Beyond this a ragged pasture, fenced with blackened
stumps, from which came the tinkle of cow-bells, and
farther on the grim, silent forest--miles and miles of
forest seamed by a single road leading to Moose Hillock 
and the great Stone Face.

Oliver slipped into his clothes; ran down the stairs
and out into the fresh morning air. As he walked
toward the well his eyes caught sight of Hank's
bucket tilted on one edge of the well-curb, over which
hung the big sweep, its lower end loaded with stone.
On the platform stood a wooden bench sloppy
with the drippings of the water-soaked pail. This
bench held a tin basin and half a bar of rosin soap.
Beside it was a single post sprouting hickory prongs,
on which were hung as many cleanly scoured milk-
pails glittering in the sun. On this post Hank had
nailed a three-cornered piece of looking-glass--Hank
had a sweetheart in the village below--a necessity
and useful luxury, he told Oliver afterward, "in
slickin' yerself up fer meals."

Once out in the sunshine Oliver, with the instinct
of the painter suddenly roused, looked about him.
He found that the cabin which had delighted him so in
the glow of the afternoon, was even more enchanting
in the light of the morning. To the plain, every-day,
practical man it was but a long box with a door in the
middle of each side, front and back--one opening
into a sitting-room, which again opened into a bedroom 
in which Ezra and his wife slept, with the windows 
choked with geraniums, their red cheeks pressed
against the small panes, and the other opening into
a kitchen, connecting with a pantry and a long,
rambling woodshed. To our young Raphael the
simple cabin, from its homely sagging door to its
broken-backed roof, covered with rotting shingles,
was nothing less than an enchanted palace.

He remembered the shingles. He had reached up
in the night and touched them with his hands. He
remembered, too, the fragrance they gave out--a
hot, dry, spicy smell. He remembered also the dried
apples spread out on a board beside his bed, and the
broken spinning-wheel, and the wasp's nest. He was
sure, too, there were many other fascinating relics
stored away in this old attic. But for the sputtering
tallow-candle, which the night before was nearly
burnt out, he would have examined everything else
about him before he went to sleep.

Then his eye fell on the woodshed and the huge
pile of chips that Hank's axe had made in supplying
Samanthy's stove, and the rickety, clay-plastered
buggy and buckboard that had never known water
since the day of their birth. And the two muskrat
skins nailed to the outside planking--spoils of the
mill-dam, a mile below.

Yes; he could paint here!

With a thrill of delight surging through him he
rolled up his sleeves, tilted the bucket, filled the
basin with ice-cold water which Hank had drawn for
him, a courtesy only shown a stranger guest, and
plunging in his hands and face, dashed the water over
his head. Samanthy, meanwhile, in sunbonnet and
straight-up-and-down calico dress, had come out with
the towel--half a salt-sack, washed and rewashed to
phenomenal softness (an ideal towel is a salt-sack to
those who know). Then came the rubbing until his
flesh was aglow, and the parting of the wet hair with
the help of Hank's glass, and with a toss of a stray
lock back from his forehead Oliver went in to breakfast.

It fills me with envy when I think of that first toilet
of Oliver's! I too have had just such morning dips
--one in Como, with the great cypresses standing
black against the glow of an Italian dawn; another
in the Lido at sunrise, my gondolier circling about me
as I swam; still a third in Stamboul, with the long
slants of light piercing the gloom of the stone dome
above me--but oh, the smell of the pines and the
great sweep of openness, with the mountains looking 
down and the sun laughing, and the sparkle and
joyousness of it all! Ah, what a lucky dog was this
Oliver!

And the days that followed! Each one a delight--
each one happier than the one before. The sun
seemed to soak into his blood; the strength of the
great hemlocks with their giant uplifted arms seemed
to have found its way to his muscles. He grew
stronger, more supple. He could follow Hank all
day now, tramping the brook or scaling the sides of
Bald Face, its cheeks scarred with thunderbolts.
And with this joyous life there came a light into his
eyes, a tone in his voice, a spring and buoyancy in
his step that brought him back to the days when he
ran across Kennedy Square and had no care for the
day nor thought for the morrow. Before the week
was out he had covered half a dozen canvases with
pictures of the house as he saw it that first morning,
bathed in the sunshine; of the brook; the sweep of
the Notch, and two or three individual trees that he
had fallen in love with--a ragged birch in particular
--a tramp of a birch with its toes out of its shoes and
its bark coat in tatters.

Before the second week had arrived he had sought
the main stage-road and had begun work on a big
hemlock that stood sentinel over a turn in the highway. 
There was a school-house in the distance and
a log-bridge under which the brook plunged. Here
he settled himself for serious work.

He was so engrossed that he had not noticed the
school-children who had come up noiselessly from
behind and were looking in wonder at his drawings.
Presently a child, who in her eagerness had touched
his shoulder, broke the stillness in apology.

"Say, Mister, there's a lady comes to school every
day. She's a painter too, and drawed Sissy
Mathers."

Oliver glanced at the speaker and the group about
her; wished them all good-morning and squeezed a
fresh tube on his palette. He was too much absorbed
in his work for prolonged talk. The child, emboldened 
by his cheery greeting, began again, the others
crowding closer. "She drawed the bridge too, and
me and Jennie Waters was sitting on the rail--she's
awful nice."

Oliver looked up, smiling.

"What's her name?"

"I don't know. Teacher calls her Miss Margaret, 
but there's more to it. She comes every
year."

Oliver bent over his easel, drew out a line brush
from the sheaf in his hand, caught up a bit of yellow
ochre from his palette and touched up the shadow of
the birch. "All the women painters must be Margarets," 
he said to himself. Then he fell to wondering 
what had become of her since the school closed.
He had always felt uncomfortable over the night
when he had defended "the red-headed girl in
blue gingham," as she was called by the students.
She had placed him in the wrong by misunderstanding 
his reasons for serving her. The students
had always looked upon him after that as a quarrelsome 
person, when he was only trying to protect
a woman from insult. He could not find it in his
heart to blame her, but he wished that it had not happened. 
As these thoughts filled his mind he became
so absorbed that the children's good-by failed to
reach his ear.

That day Hank had brought him his luncheon--
two ears of hot corn in a tin bucket, four doughnuts
and an apple--the corn in the bottom of the bucket
and the doughnuts and apple on top. He could have
walked home for his midday meal, for he was within
sound of Samanthy's dinner-horn, but he liked it better 
this way.

Leaving his easel standing in the road, he had
waved his hand in good-by to Hank, picked up the
bucket and had crept under the shadow of the bridge
to eat his luncheon. He had finished the corn,
thrown the cobs to the fish, and was beginning on the
doughnuts, when a step on the planking above him
caused him to look up. A girl in a tam-o'-shanter
cap was leaning over the rail. The sun was behind
her, throwing her face into shadow--so blinding a
light that Oliver only caught the nimbus of fluffy hair
that framed the dark spot of her head. Then came
a voice that sent a thrill of surprise through him.

"Why, Mr. Horn! Who would have thought of
meeting you here?"

Oliver was on his feet in an instant--a half-eaten
doughnut in one hand, his slouch hat in the other.
With this he was shading his eyes against the glare of
the sun. He was still ignorant of who had spoken to
him.

"I beg your pardon, I--WHY, Miss Grant!" The
words burst from his lips as if they had been fired
from a gun. "You here!"

"Yes, I live only twenty miles away, and I come
here every year. Where are you staying?"

"At Pollard's."

"Why, that's the next clearing from mine. I'm
at old Mrs. Taft's. Oh, please don't leave your
luncheon."

Oliver had bounded up the bank to a place beside
her.

"How good it is to find you here. I am so glad."
He WAS glad; he meant every word of it. "Mrs.
Mulligan said you lived up in the woods, but I had no
idea it was in these mountains. Have you had your
luncheon?"

"No, not yet," and Margaret held up a basket.
"Look!" and she raised the lid. "Elderberry pie,
two pieces of cake--"

"Good! and I have three doughnuts and an apple.
I swallowed every grain of my hot corn like a greedy
Jack Horner, or you should have half of it. Come
down under the bridge, it's so cool there," and he
caught her hand to help her down the bank.

She followed him willingly. She had seen him
greet Fred, and Jack Bedford, and even the gentle
Professor with just such outbursts of affection, and
she knew there was nothing especially personal to
her in it all. It was only his way of saying he was
glad to see her.

Oliver laid the basket and tin can on a flat stone
that the spring freshets had scoured clean; spread
his brown corduroy jacket on the pebbly beach beside
it, and with a laugh and the mock gesture of a courtier, 
conducted her to the head of his improvised table.
Margaret laughed and returned the bow, stepping
backward with the sweep of a great lady, and settled
herself beside him. In a moment she was on her
knees bending over the brook, her hands in the water,
the tam-o'-shanter beside her. She must wash her
hands, she said--"there was a whole lot of chrome
yellow on her fingers"--and she held them up with a
laugh for Oliver's inspection. Oliver watched her
while she dried and bathed her shapely hands,
smoothed the hair from her temples and tightened
the coil at the back of her head which held all this
flood of gold in check, then he threw himself
down beside her, waiting until she should serve the
feast.

As he told her of his trip up the valley and the
effect it made upon him, and how he had never
dreamed of anything so beautiful, and how good the
Pollards were; and what he had painted and what
he expected to paint; talking all the time with his
thumb circling about as if it was a bit of charcoal and
the air it swept through but a sheet of Whatman's
best, her critical eye roamed over his figure and costume. 
She had caught in her first swift, comprehensive 
glance from over the bridge-rail, the loose jacket
and broad-brimmed planter's hat, around which, with
his love of color, Oliver had twisted a spray of 
nasturtium blossoms and leaves culled from the garden-
patch that morning; but now that he was closer, she
saw the color in his cheeks and noticed, with a suppressed 
smile, the slight mustache curling at the ends,
a new feature since the school had closed. She followed 
too the curves of the broad chest and the
muscles outlined through his shirt. She had never
thought him so strong and graceful, nor so handsome.
(The smile came to the surface now--an approving,
admiring smile.) It was the mountain-climbing, no
doubt, she said to herself, and the open-air life that
had wrought the change.

With a laugh and toss of her head she unpacked
her own basket and laid her contribution to the feast
on the flat rock--the pie on a green dock-leaf, which
she reached over and pulled from the water's edge,
and the cake on the pink napkin--the only sign of
city luxury in her outlay. Oliver's eye meanwhile
wandered over her figure and costume--a costume
he had never seen before on any living woman, certainly 
not any woman around Kennedy Square.
The cloth skirt came to her ankles, which were covered 
with yarn stockings, and her feet were encased
in shoes that gave him the shivers, the soles being
as thick as his own and the leather as tough. (Sue
Clayton would have died with laughter had she seen
those shoes.) Her blouse was of gray flannel, belted
to the waist by a cotton saddle-girth--white and red
--and as broad as her hand. The tam-o'-shanter was
coarse and rough, evidently home-made, and not at
all like McFudd's, which was as soft as the back of
a kitten and without a seam.

Then his eyes sought her face. He noticed how
brown she was--and how ruddy and healthy. How
red the lips--red as mountain-berries, and back of
them big white teeth--white as peeled almonds. He
caught the line of the shoulders and the round of the
full arm and tapering wrist, and the small, well-
shaped hand. "Queer clothes," he said to himself
--"but the girl inside is all right."

Sitting under the shadow of the old bridge on the
main highway, each weighed and balanced the other,
even as they talked aloud of the Academy School,
and the pupils, and the dear old Professor whom they
both loved. They discussed the prospect of its doors
being opened the next winter. They talked of Mrs.
Mulligan, and the old Italian who sold peanuts,
and whose head Margaret had painted; and of Jack
Bedford and Fred Stone--the dearest fellow in the
world--and last year's pictures--especially Church's
"Niagara," the sensation of the year, and Whittredge's 
"Mountain Brook," and every other subject
their two busy brains could rake and scrape up except
--and this subject, strange to say, was the only one
really engrossing their two minds--the overturning
of Mr. Judson's body on the art-school floor, and the
upsetting of Miss Grant's mind for days thereafter.
Once Oliver had unintentionally neared the danger-
line by mentioning the lithographer's name, but Margaret 
had suddenly become interested in the movements 
of a chipmunk that had crept down for the
crumbs of their luncheon, and with a woman's wit
had raised her finger to her lips to command silence
lest he should be frightened off.

They painted no more that afternoon. When the
shadows began to fall in the valley they started up
the road, picking up Oliver's easel and trap--both
had stood unmolested and would have done so all
summer with perfect safety--and Oliver walked with
Margaret as far as the bars that led into Taft's 
pasture. There they bade each other good-night, 
Margaret promising to be ready in the morning with
her big easel and a fresh canvas, which Oliver was
to carry, when they would both go sketching together
and make a long blessed summer day of it.

That night Oliver's upraised, restless hands felt
the shingles over his head more than once before he
could get to sleep. He had not thought he could be
any happier--but he was. Margaret's unexpected
appearance had restored to him that something which
the old life at home had always yielded. He was
never really happy without the companionship of a
woman, and this he had not had since leaving Kennedy 
Square. Those he had met on rare occasions
in New York were either too conventional or selfconscious, 
or they seemed to be offended at his familiar 
Southern ways. This one was so sensible and
companionable, and so appreciative and sympathetic.
He felt he could say anything to her and she would
know what he meant. Perhaps, too, by and by she
would understand just why he had upset a man who
had been rude to her.

Margaret lay awake, too--not long--not more
than five minutes, perhaps. Long enough, however,
to wish she was not so sunburnt, and that she had
brought her other dress and a pair of gloves and a
hat instead of this rough mountain-suit. Long
enough, too, to recall Oliver's standing beside her on
the bridge with his big hat sweeping the ground, the
color mounting to his cheeks, and that joyous look
in his eyes.

"Was he really glad to see me," she said to herself,
as she dropped off into dreamland, "or is it his way
with all the women he meets? I wonder, too, if he
protects them all?"


And so ended a day that always rang out in Oliver's 
memory with a note of its own.

These dreams under the shingles! What would
life be without them?




CHAPTER XIV

UNDER A BARK SLANT



The weeks that followed were rare ones for 
Margaret and Oliver.

They painted all day and every day.

The little school-children posed for them, and so
did the prim school-mistress, a girl of eighteen in
spectacles with hair cut short in the neck. And old
Jonathan Gordon, the fisherman, posed, too, with
a string of trout in one hand and a long pole cut
from a sapling in the other. And once our two
young comrades painted the mill-dam and the mill--
Oliver doing the first and Margaret the last; and
Baker, the miller, caught them at it, and insisted
in all sincerity that some of the money which the
pictures brought must come to him, if the report were
true that painters did get money for pictures. "It's
my mill, ain't it?--and I ain't give no permission to
take no part of it away. Hev I?"

They climbed the ravines, Margaret carrying the
luncheon and Oliver the sketch-traps; they built fires
of birch-bark and roasted potatoes, or made tea in
the little earthen pot that Mrs. Taft loaned her. Or
they waited for the stage in the early morning, and
went half a dozen miles down the valley to paint some
waterfall Oliver had seen the day he drove up with
Marvin, or a particular glimpse of Moose Hillock
from the covered bridge, or various shady nooks and
sunlit vistas that remained fastened in Oliver's mind,
and the memory of which made him unhappy until
Margaret could enjoy them, too.

The fact that he and a woman whom he had known
but a little while were roaming the woods together,
quite as a brother and sister might have done, never
occurred to him. If it had it would have made no
difference, nor could he have understood why any
barrier should have been put up between them. He
had been taking care of girls in that same way all his
life. Every woman was a sister to him so far as his
reverent protection over her went. The traditions
of Kennedy Square had taught him this.

As the joyous weeks flew by, even the slight reserve 
which had marked their earlier intercourse began 
to wear off. It was "Oliver" and "Margaret"
now, and even "Ollie" and "Madge" when they
forgot themselves and each other in their work.

To Margaret this free and happy life together
seemed natural enough. She had decided on the
day of their first meeting that Oliver's interest in
her was due wholly to his love of companionship, and
not because of any special liking he might feel for
her. Had she not seen him quite as cordial and as
friendly to the men he knew? Satisfied on this point,
Oliver began to take the place of a brother, or cousin,
or some friend of her youth who loved another
woman, perhaps, and was, therefore, safe against all
contingencies, while she gave herself up to the enjoyment 
of that rare luxury--the rarest that comes
to a woman--daily association with a man who could
be big and strong and sympathetic, and yet ask nothing 
in return for what she gave him but her companionship 
and confidence.

In the joy of this new intercourse, and with his
habit of trusting implicitly everyone whom he loved
--man, woman, or child--Oliver, long before the
first month was over, had emptied his heart to Margaret 
as completely as he had ever done to Miss Clendenning. 
He had told her of Sue and of Miss Lavinia's 
boudoir, and of Mr. Crocker and his pictures;
and of his poor father's struggles and his dear
mother's determination to send him from home--not
about the mortgage, that was his mother's secret, not
his own--and of the great receptions given by his
Uncle Tilghman, and of all the other wonderful doings 
in Kennedy Square.

She had listened at first in astonishment, and then
with impatience. Many of the things that seemed
so important to him were valueless in her more practical 
eyes. Instead of a regime which ennobled
those who enjoyed its privileges, she saw only a slavish 
devotion to worn-out traditions, and a clannish
provincialism which proved to her all the more
clearly the narrow-mindedness of the people who 
sustained and defended them. So far as she could
judge, the qualities that she deemed necessary in the
make-up of a robust life, instinct with purpose and
accomplishment, seemed to be entirely lacking in
Kennedy Square formulas. She saw, too, with a certain
undefined pain, that Oliver's mind had been
greatly warped by these influences. Mrs. Horn's
domination over him, strange to say, greatly disturbed 
her; why, she could not tell. "She must be
a proud, aristocratic woman," she had said to herself
after one of Oliver's outbursts of enthusiasm over
his mother; "wedded to patrician customs and with
no consideration for anyone outside of her class."

And yet none of these doubts and criticisms made
the summer days less enjoyable.

One bright, beautiful morning when the sky was
a turquoise, the air a breath of heaven, and the
brooks could be heard laughing clear out on the main
road, Oliver and Margaret, who had been separated
for some days while she paid a visit to her family at
home, started to find a camp that Hank had built
the winter before as a refuge while he was hunting
deer. They had reached a point in the forest where
two paths met, when Margaret's quick ear caught the
sound of a human voice, and she stopped to
listen.

"Quick--" she cried--"get behind these spruces,
or he will see us and stop singing. It's old Mr. Burton. 
He is such a dear! He spends his summers
here. I often meet him and he always bows to me
so politely, although he doesn't know me."

A man of sixty--bare-headed, dressed in a gray
suit, with his collar and coat over his arm and hands
filled with wild-flowers, was passing leisurely along,
singing at the top of his voice. Once he stopped, and,
bending over, picked a bunch of mountain-berries
which he tucked into a buttonhole of his flannel shirt,
just before disappearing in a turn of the path.

Oliver looked after him for a moment. He had
caught the look of sweet serenity on the idler's face,
and the air of joyousness that seemed to linger behind
him like a perfume, and it filled him with delight.

"There, Margaret! that's what I call a happy man.
I'll wager you he has never done anything all his life
but that which he loved to do--just lives out here and
throws his heart wide open for every beautiful thing
that can crowd into it. That's the kind of a man I
want to be. Oh! I'm so glad I saw him."

Margaret was silent. She was walking ahead, her
staff in her hand; the fallen trunks and heavy under-
brush making it difficult for them to walk abreast.

"Do you think that he never had to work, to be
able to enjoy himself as he does?" she asked over
her shoulder, with a toss of her head.

"Perhaps--but he loved what he was doing."

"No, he didn't--he hated it--hated it all his life."
The tone carried a touch of defiance that was new to
Oliver. He stepped quickly after her, with a sudden
desire to look into her face. Ten minutes, at least,
had passed during which he had seen only the back
of her head.

Margaret heard his step behind her and quickened
her own. Something was disturbing the joyousness
of our young Diana this lovely summer morning.

"What did the old fellow do for a living, Margaret?" 
Oliver called, still trying to keep up with
Margaret's springing step.

"Sold lard and provisions, and over the counter,
too," she answered, with a note almost of exultation
in her voice (she was thinking of Mrs. Horn and
Kennedy Square). "Mrs. Taft knows him and
used to send him her bacon. He retired rich
some years ago, and now he can sing all day if
he wants to."

It was Oliver's turn to be silent. The tones of
Margaret's voice had hurt him. For some minutes
he made no reply. Then wheeling suddenly he
sprang over a moss-covered trunk that blocked her
path, stepped in front of her, and laid his hand on her
shoulder.

"Not offended, Margaret, are you?" he asked,
looking earnestly into her eyes.

"No--what nonsense! Of course not. Why do
you ask?"

"Well, somehow you spoke as if you were."

"No, I didn't; I only said how dear Mr. Burton
was, and he IS. How silly you are! Come--we will
be late for the camp."

They both walked on in silence, now, he ahead
this time, brushing aside the thick undergrowth that
blocked the path.

The exultant tones in her voice which had hurt
her companion, and which had escaped her unconsciously, 
still rang in her own ears. She felt ashamed
of the outburst now as she watched him cutting the
branches ahead of her, and thought how gentle and
tender he had always been to her and how watchful
over her comfort. She wondered at the cause of her
frequent discontent. Then, like an evil spirit that
would not down, there arose in her mind, as she
walked on, the picture she had formed of Kennedy
Square. She thought of his mother's imperious nature 
absorbing all the love of his heart and inspiring
and guiding his every action and emotion; of the
unpractical father--a dreamer and an enthusiast, the
worst possible example he could have; of the false
standards and class distinctions which had warped his
early life and which were still dominating him. With
an abrupt gesture of impatience she stood still in the
path and looked down upon the ground. An angry
flush suffused her face.

"What a stupid fool you are, Margaret Grant,"
she burst out impatiently. "What are Kennedy
Square and the whole Horn family to you?"

Oliver's halloo brought her to consciousness.

"Here's that slant, Margaret--oh, such a lovely
spot! Hurry up."

"The slant" had been built between two great
trees and stood on a little mound of earth surrounded
by beds of velvety green moss--huge green winding
sheets, under which lay the bodies of many giant
pines and hemlocks. The shelter was made of bark
and bedded down with boughs of sweet-balsam. Outside, 
on a birch sapling, supported by two forked
sticks, hung a rusty kettle. Beneath the rude spit,
half-hidden by the growth of the summer, lay the
embers of the abandoned camp-fires that had warmed
and comforted Hank and his companions the preceding 
winter.

Oliver raked the charred embers from under the
tangled vines that hid them, while Margaret peeled
the bark from a silver-birch for kindling. Soon a
curl of blue smoke mounted heavenward, hung suspended 
over the tree-tops, and then drifted away in
scarfs of silver haze dimming the forms of the giant
trunks.

Our young enthusiast watched the Diaz of a wood
interior turn slowly into a Corot, and with a cry of
delight was about to unstrap his own and Margaret's
sketching-kits, when the sun was suddenly blotted
out by a heavy cloud, and the quick gloom of a
mountain-storm chilling the sunlit vista to a dull
slate gray settled over the forest. Oliver walked
over to the brook for a better view of the sky, and
came back bounding over the moss-covered logs as
he ran. There was not a moment to lose if they
would escape being drenched to the skin.

The outlook was really serious. Old Bald Face
had not only lost his smile--a marvelously happy
one with the early sun upon his wrinkled countenance
--but he had put on his judgment-cap of gray
clouds and had begun to thunder out his disapproval
of everything about him. Moose Hillock evidently
heard the challenge, for he was answering back in
the murky darkness. Soon a cold, raw wind, which
had been asleep in the hills for weeks, awoke with
a snarl and started down the gorge. Then the little
leaves began to quiver, the big trees to groan, in their
anxiety not knowing what the will of the wind would
be, and the merry little waves that had chased each
other all the morning over the sunny shallows of the
brook, grew ashy pale as they looked up into the angry 
face of the Storm-God, and fled shivering to the
shore.

Oliver whipped out his knife, stripped the heavy
outer bark from a white birch, and before the dashing 
rain could catch up with the wind, had repaired
the slant so as to make it water-tight--Hank had
taught him this--then he started another great fire
in front of the slant and threw fresh balsam boughs
on the bed that had rested Hank's tired limbs, and
he and Margaret crept in and were secure.

The equanimity of Margaret's temper, temporarily
disturbed by her vivid misconception of Kennedy
Square, was restored. The dry shelter, the warm
fire, the sense of escape from the elements, all filled
her heart with gladness. Never since the day she
met him on the bridge had she been so happy.
Again, as when Oliver championed her in the old
Academy school-room, there stole over her a vague
sense of pleasure in being protected.

"Isn't it jolly!" she said as she sat hunched up
beside him. "I'm as dry as a bone, not a drop on
me."

Oliver was even more buoyant. There was something 
irresistibly cosey and comfortable in the shelter
which he had provided for her--something of
warmth and companionship and rest. But more intensely 
enjoyable than all was the thought that he
was taking care of a woman for the first time in his
life, as it seemed to him. And in a house of his own
making, and in a place, too, of his own choosing,
surrounded by the big trees that he loved. He had
even outwitted the elements--the wind and the rain
and the chill--in her defence. Old Moose Hillock
could bellow now and White Face roar, and the wind
and rain vent their wrath, but Margaret, close beside
him, would still be warm and dry and safe.

By this time she had hung her tam-o'-shanter and
jacket on a nail that she had found in the bark over
her head, and was arranging her hair.

"It's just like life, Oliver, isn't it?" she said, as
she tightened the coil in her neck. "All we want,
after all, is a place to get into out of the storm and
wet, not a big place, either."

"What kind of a place?" He was on his knees
digging a little trench with his knife, piling up the
moist earth in miniature embankments, so that the
dripping from the roof would not spatter this Princess 
of his whom he had saved from the tempest
outside.

"Oh, any kind of a place if you have people you're
fond of. I'd love a real studio somewhere, and a few
things hung about--some old Delft and one or two
bits of stuff--and somebody to take care of me."

Oliver shifted his pipe in his mouth and looked
up. Would she, with all her independence, really
like to have someone take care of her? He had
seen no evidence of it.

"Who?" he asked. He had never heard her
mention anybody's name--but then she had not told
him everything;

He had dropped his eyes again, finishing the drain
and flattening the boughs under her, to make the
seat the easier.

"Oh, some old woman, perhaps, like dear old Mrs.
Mulligan." There was no coquetry in her tone.
She was speaking truthfully out of her heart.

"Anything more?" Oliver's voice had lost its
buoyancy now. The pipe was upside down, the
ashes falling on his shirt.

"Yes--lots of portraits to paint."

"And a medal at the Salon?" asked Oliver, brushing 
off the waste of his pipe from his coat-sleeve.

"Yes, I don't mind, if my pictures deserve it," and
she looked at him quizzically, while a sudden flash
of humor lightened up her face. "What would you
want, Mr. Happy-go-lucky, if you had your wish?"

"I, Madge, dear?" he exclaimed, with a sudden
outburst of tenderness, raising his body erect and
looking earnestly into her eyes, which were now
within a hand's breadth of his own. She winced a
little, but it did not offend her, nor did she move an
inch. "Oh, I don't know what I want. What I
want, I suppose, is what I shall never have, little
girl."

She wasn't his little girl, or anybody else's, she
thought to herself--she was firmly convinced of that
fact. It was only one of his terms of endearment.
He had them for everybody--even for Hank and
for Mrs. Taft--whom he called "Taffy," and who
loved to hear him say it, and she old enough to be
his grandmother! She stole a look into his face.
There was a cloud over it, a slight knitting of the
brows, and a pained expression about the mouth
that were new to her.

"I'd like to be a painter," he continued, "but
mother would never consent." As be spoke, he
sank back from her slowly, his knees still bent
under him. Then be added, with a sigh, "She
wouldn't think it respectable. Anything but a
painter, she says."

Margaret looked out through the forest and
watched a woodpecker at work on the dry side of
a hollow trunk, the side protected from the driving
rain.

"And you would give up your career because she
wants it? How do you know she's right about it?
And who's to suffer if she's wrong? Be a painter,
Oliver, if you want to! Your mother can't coddle
you up forever! No mother should. Do what you
can do best, and to please yourself, not somebody
else," and then she laughed lightly as if to break the
force of her words.

Oliver looked at her in indignation that anyone--
even Margaret--should speak so of his mother.
It was the first time in all his life that he had heard
her name mentioned without the profound reverence
it deserved. Then a sense of the injustice of her
words took possession of him, as the solemn compact 
he had made with his mother not to be a burden 
on her while the mortgage was unpaid, rose in
his mind. This thought and Margaret's laugh softened 
any hurt her words had given him, although
the lesson that they were intended to teach lingered
in his memory for many days thereafter.

"You would not talk that way, Madge, if you
knew my dear mother," he said, quietly. "There is
nothing in her life she loves better than me. She
doesn't want me to be a painter because--" He
stopped, fearing she might not understand his
answer.

"Go on--why not?" The laugh had faded out
of her voice now, and a tone almost of defiance had
taken its place.

"She says it is not the profession of a gentleman," 
he answered, sadly. "I do not agree with
her, but she thinks so, and nothing can shake her."

"If those are her opinions, I wonder what she
would think of ME?" There was a slight irritation in
her voice--somehow she always became irritable
when Oliver spoke of his mother. She was ashamed
of it, but it was true.

All his anger was gone now. Whatever opinion
the world might have on any number of things there
could be but one opinion of Madge. "She would
LOVE you, little girl," he burst out as he laid his hand
on her arm--the first time he had ever touched her
with any show of affection. "You'd make her love
you. She never saw anybody like you before, and
she never will. That you are an artist wouldn't
make any difference. It's not the same with you.
You're a woman."

The girl's eyes again sought the woodpecker. It
was stabbing away with all its might, driving its
beak far into the yielding bark. It seemed in some
way to represent her own mood. After a moment's
thought she said thoughtfully as she rested her head
on the edge of the slant:

"Ollie, what is a gentleman?" She knew, she
thought, but she wanted him to define it.

"My father is one," he said, positively, "--and
so is yours," and he looked inquiringly into her face.

"That depends on your standard. I don't know
your father, but I do mine, and from what you have
told me about yours I think they are about as different 
as two men can be. Answer my question--what
is a gentleman?" She was leaning over a little, and
tucking a chip under her toes to keep the water away
from her shoes. Her eyes sought his again.

"A gentleman, Madge--why, you know what a
gentleman is. He is a man well born, well educated, 
and well bred. That's the standard at home
--at least, that's my mother's. Father's standard is
the same, only he puts it in a different way. He
says a gentleman is a man who tolerates other people's 
mistakes and who sympathizes with other people's 
troubles."

"Anything else?" She was searching his face
now. There were some things she wanted to settle
in her own mind.

"I don't think of anything else, Madge, dear--do
you?" He was really dismissing the question. His
thoughts were on something else--the way her hair
curled from under her worsted cap and the way her
pink ears nestled close to her head, especially the 
little indents at each corner of her mouth. He liked
their modelling.

"And so according to your mother's and father's
ideas, and those of all your aristocratic people at
home, Hank here could not be a gentleman if he
tried?"

The idea was new to Oliver. He had become conscious 
now. What had gotten into Margaret to-day!

"Hank?--no, certainly not. How could he?"

"By BEING a gentleman, Mr. Aristocrat. Not in
clothes, mind you--nor money, nor furniture, nor
wines, nor carriages, but in HEART. Think a moment,
Ollie," and her eyes snapped. "Hank finds a robin
that has tumbled out of its nest, and spends half a day
putting it back. Hank follows you up the brook and
sees you try to throw a fly into a pool, and he knows
just how awkwardly you do it, for he's the best fisherman 
in the woods--and yet you never see a smile
cross his face, nor does he ever speak of it behind
your back--not even to me. Hank walks across
Moose Hillock to find old Jonathan Gordon to tell
him he has some big trout in Loon Pond, so that
the old man can have the fun of catching them and
selling them afterward to the new hotel in the Notch.
He has walked twenty-four miles when he gets back.
Do these things make Hank a gentleman, or not?"

"Then you don't believe in Sir Walter Raleigh,
Miss Democrat, simply because he was a lord?"

"Yes--but I always thought he wore his old cloak
that day on purpose, so he could be made an earl."
And a ripple of laughter escaped her lips.

Oliver laughed too, sprang to his feet, and held
out his hands so as to lift her up. None of these
fine-drawn distinctions really interested him--certainly 
not on this day, when he was so happy. Why,
he wondered, should she want to discuss theories and
beliefs and creeds, with the beautiful forest all about
and the sky breaking overhead?

"Well, you've walked over mine many a time, Miss
Queen Elizabeth, and you haven't decorated me yet,
nor made me an earl nor anything else for it, and
I'm not going to forgive you either," and he
rose to his feet. "Look! Madge, look!" he cried,
and sprang out into the path, pointing to the sunshine 
bursting through the trees--the storm had
passed as suddenly as it had come. "Isn't it glorious! 
Come here quick! Don't wait a minute. I
should try to get that with Naples yellow and a little
chrome--what do you think?" he asked when she
stood beside him, half closing his eyes, to get the
effect the better.

Margaret looked at him curiously for a moment.
She did not answer. "I cannot fasten his mind on
anything in which I am interested," she said to herself, 
with a sigh, "nor shall I ever overcome these
prejudices which seem to be part of his very life."

She paused a moment and an expression of pain
passed over her face.

"Pale cadmium would be better," she said, quietly, 
with a touch of indifference in her tone, and led
the way out of the forest to the main road.




CHAPTER XV

MRS. TAFT'S FRONT PORCH



The autumn fires were being kindled on the mountains
--fires of maple, oak, and birch. Along the
leaf-strewn roads the sumach blazed scarlet, and
over the rude stone fences blood-red lines of fire 
followed the trend of leaf and vine. Golden pumpkins 
lay in the furrows of the corn; showers of apples
carpeted the grass of the orchards; the crows
in straight lines, and the busy squirrels worked
from dawn till dark.

Over all settled the requiem haze of the dead
summer, blurring the Notch and softening Moose
Hillock to a film of gray against the pale sky.

It had been a summer of very great sweetness and
charm--the happiest of Oliver's life. He had found
that he could do fairly well the things that he liked
to do best; that the technical difficulties that had 
confronted him when he began to paint were being 
surmounted as the weeks went by, and that the thing
that had always been a pain to him had now become
a pleasure--pain, because, try as he might, the quality 
of the result was always below his hopes; a pleasure, 
because some bit of bark, perhaps, or glint of
light on moss-covered rock, or tender vista had at
last stood out on his canvas with every tone of color
true.

Only a painter can understand what all this meant
to Oliver; only an out-of-door painter, really. The
"studio-man" who reproduces an old study which
years before has inspired him, or who evolves a 
composition from his inner consciousness, has no such
thrills over his work. He may, perhaps, have other
sensations, but they will lack the spontaneous outburst 
of enthusiasm over the old sketch.

And how glorious are the memories!

The victorious painter has been weeks over these
same trees that have baffled him; he has painted them
on gray days and sunny days; in the morning, at
noon, and in the gloaming. He has loved their
texture and the thousand little lights and darks; the
sparkle of the black, green, or gray moss, and the
delicate tones that played up and down their stalwart 
trunks. He has toiled in the heat of the day,
his nerves on edge, and sometimes great drops of
sweat on his troubled forehead. Now and then he
has sprung from his seat for a farther-away look at
his sketch. With a sigh and a heart bowed down
(oh, how desolate are these hours!) he has noted how
wooden and commonplace and mean and despicable
his work was--what an insult he has cast upon the
beautiful yellow birch, this outdoor, motionless, old
model that has stood so patiently before him, posing
all day without moving; its big arms above its head
its leaves and branches stock-still to make it all the
easier for him.

Suddenly in all this depression, an inspiration has
entered his dull brain--he will use burnt umber in
stead of Vandyke brown for the bark! or light
chrome and indigo instead of yellow ochre and black
for the green!

Presto! Ah, that's like it! Another pat, and
another, and still one more!

How quickly now the canvas loses its pasty mediocrity. 
How soon the paint and the brush-marks
and the niggly little touches fade away and the THING
ITSELF comes out and says "How do you do?" and
that it is so glad to see him, and that it has been
lurking behind these colors all day, trying to make
his acquaintance, and he would have none of it.
What good friends he and the sketch have become
now; how proud he is of it, and of possessing it and
of CREATING it! Then little quivery-quavers go creeping 
up and down his spine and away out to his fingertips; 
and he KNOWS that he has something really GOOD.

He carries it home in his hand, oh, so carefully (he
strapped its predecessor on his back yesterday without 
caring), and a dozen times he stops to look at
its dear face, propping it against a stump for a better
light, just to see if he had not been mistaken after
all. He can hardly wait until it is dark enough to
see how it looks by gas-light, or candle-light, or 
kerosene, or whatever else he may have in his quarters.
Years after, the dear old thing is still hanging on his
studio wall. He has never sold it nor given it away.
He could not--it was too valuable, too constantly
giving him good advice and showing him what the
thing WAS. Not what he thought it was, or hoped it
was, or would like it to be, but what it WAS.

Yes, there may be triumphs that come to men
digging away on the dull highway of life--triumphs
in business; in politics; in discovery; in law; medicine, 
and science. To each and every profession and
pursuit there must come, and does come, a time when
a rush of uncontrollable feeling surges through the
victor's soul, crowning long hours of work, but they
are as dry ashes to a thirsty man compared to the
boundless ecstasy a painter feels when, with a becaked 
palette, some half-dried tubes of color, and a
few worn-out, ragged brushes, he compels a six-by-
nine canvas to glow with life and truth.

All this Oliver knew and felt. The work of the
summer, attended at first with a certain sense of 
disappointment, had, during the last few weeks of sojourn, 
as his touch grew surer, not only become a
positive pleasure to him, but had produced an exaltation 
that had kept our young gentleman walking
on clouds most of the time, his head in the blue
ether.

Margaret's nice sense of color and correct eye had
hastened this result. She could grasp at the first
glance the masses of light and shade, giving each its
proper value in the composition. She and Oliver.
really studied out their compositions together before
either one set a palette, a most desirable practice, by
the way, not only for tyros, but for Academicians.

This relying upon Margaret's judgment had become 
a habit with Oliver. He not only consulted
her about his canvases, but about everything else that
concerned him. He had never formulated in his
mind what this kind of companionship meant to him
(we never do when we are in the midst of it), nor
had he ever considered what would become of him
when the summer was over, and the dream would
end, and they each would return to the customary
dulness of life; a life where there would be no blue
ether nor clouds, nor vanishing points, nor values,
nor tones, nor anything else that had made their
heaven of a summer so happy.

They had both lived in this paradise for weeks
without once bringing themselves to believe it could
ever end (why do not such episodes last forever?)
when Oliver awoke one morning to the fact that
the fatal day of their separation would be upon him
in a week's time or less. Margaret, with her more
practical mind, had seen farther ahead than Oliver,
and her laugh, in consequence, had been less spontaneous 
of late, and her interest in her work and in
Oliver's less intense. She was overpowered by another 
sensation; she had been thinking of the day,
now so near, when the old stage would drive up to
Mrs. Taft's pasture-gate, and her small trunk and
trap would be carried down on Hank's back and tumbled 
in, and she would go back alone to duty and the
prosaic life of a New England village.

Neither of them supposed that it was anything else
but the grief of parting that afflicted them, until there
came a memorable autumn night--a night that sometimes 
comes to the blessed!--when the moon swam
in the wide sky, breasting the soft white clouds, and
when Oliver and Margaret sat together on the porch
of Mrs. Taft's cottage--he on the steps at her feet,
she leaning against the railing, the moonlight full
upon her face.

They had been there since sunset. They had
known all day what was in each other's mind, but
they had avoided discussing it. Now they must
face it.

"You go to-morrow, Madge?" Oliver asked. He
knew she did. He spoke as if announcing a fact.

"Yes."

The shrill cry of a loon, like the cry of a child in
pain, sifted down the ravine from the lake above
and died away among the pines soughing in the night-
wind. Oliver paused for a moment to listen, and
went on:

"I don't want you to go. I don't know what I
am going to do without you, Madge," he said with
a long indrawn sigh.

"You are coming to us at Brookfield, you know,
on your way back to New York. That is some
thing." She glanced at him with a slightly anxious
look in her eyes, as if waiting for his answer to 
reassure her.

He rose from his seat and began pacing the gravel.
Now and then he would stop, flick a pebble from its
bed with his foot, and walk on. She heard the sound
of his steps, but she did not look at him, even when
he stopped abruptly in front of her.

"Yes, I know, but--that will only make it worse."
He was leaning over her now, one foot on the steps.
"It tears me all to pieces when I think this is our
last night. We've had such a good time all summer. 
You don't want to go home, do you?"

"No--I'd rather stay." The words came slowly,
as if it gave her pain to utter them.

"Well--stay, then," he answered with some animation. 
"What difference does a few days makes?
Let us have another week. We haven't been over
to Bog Eddy yet; please stay, Madge."

"No, I must go, Ollie."

"But we'll be so happy, little girl."

"Life is not only being happy, Ollie. It's very
real sometimes. It is to me--" and a faint sigh
escaped her.

"Well, but why make it real to-morrow? Let us
make it real next week, not now."

"It would be just as hard for you next week.
Why postpone it?" She was looking at him now,
watching his face closely.

Her answer seemed to hurt him. With an impatient 
gesture he straightened himself, turned as if
to resume his walk, and then, pushing away the end
of her skirt, sat down beside her.

"I don't understand your theories, Madge, and
I'm not going to discuss them. I don't want to talk
of any such things; I'm too unhappy to-night. When
I look ahead and think that if the Academy should
not open, you wouldn't come back at all, and that I
might not see you for months, I'm all broken
up. What am I going to do without you, Madge?"
His voice was quivering, and a note of pain ran
through it.

"Oh, you will have your work--you'll do just
what you did before I came up." She was holding
herself in by main strength; why, she could not tell
--fighting an almost irresistible impulse to hide her
face on his breast and cry.

"What good will that do me when you are gone?"
he burst out, with a quick toss of his head and a 
certain bitterness in his tone.

"Well, but you were very happy before you saw
me."

Again the cry of the loon came down the ravine.
He turned and with one of his quick, impatient 
gestures that she knew so well, put his hand on her
shoulder.

"Stop, Madge, stop! Don't talk that way. I
can't stand it. Look at me!" The pain had become 
unbearable now. "You've got to listen. I
can't keep it back, and I won't. I never met anybody 
that I loved as I do you. I didn't think so at
first. I never thought I could think so, but it's true.
You are not my sweetheart nor my friend, nor my
companion, nor anything else that ever came into
my life. You are my very breath, my soul, my being. 
I never want you to leave me. I should never
have another happy day if I thought this was to end
our life. I laid awake half the night trying to
straighten it out, and I can't, and there's no 
straightening it out and never will be unless you love me.
Oh, Madge! Madge! Don't turn away from me.
Let me be part of you--part of everything you do
--and are--and will be."

He caught her hand in his warm palm and laid his
cheek upon it. Still holding it fast he raised his
head, laid his other hand upon her hair, smoothing
it softly, and looked long and earnestly into her
eyes as if searching for something hidden in their
depths. Then, in a voice of infinite tenderness, he
said:

"Madge, darling! Tell me true--could you ever
love me?"

She sat still, her eyes fixed on his, her hand
nestling in his grasp. Then slowly and carefully,
one at a time, she loosened with her other hand the
fingers that lay upon her hair, held them for an 
instant in her own, bent her head and touched them
with her lips.




CHAPTER XVI

SOME DAYS AT BROOKFIELD FARM



Brookfield village lay in a great wide meadow
through which strayed one of Moose Hillock's lost
brooks--a brook tired out with leaping from bowlder
to bowlder and taking headers into deep pools, and
plunging down between narrow walls of rock. Here
in the meadow it caught its breath and rested,
idling along, stopping to bathe a clump of willows;
whispering to the shallows; laughing gently with
another brook that had locked arms with it, the
two gossiping together under their breath as they
floated on through the tall grasses fringing the
banks, or circled about the lily-pads growing in the
eddies. In the middle of the meadow, just where
two white ribbons of roads crossed, was a clump of
trees pierced by a church-spire. Outside of this bower
of green--a darker green than the velvet meadow-
grass about it--glistened the roofs and windows of
the village houses.

All this Oliver saw, at a distance, from the top of
the stage.

As he drew nearer and entered the main street,
the clump of trees became giant elms, their interlaced
branches making shaded cloisters of the village
streets. The buildings now became more distinct;
first a tavern with a swinging sign, and across the
open common a quaint church with a white tower.

At the end of the avenue of trees, under the biggest 
of the elms, stood an old-fashioned farmhouse,
its garden-gate opening on the highway, and its broad
acres--one hundred or more--reaching to the line
of the vagabond brook.

This was Margaret's home.

The stage stopped; the hair-trunk and sketch-trap
were hauled out of the dust-begrimed boot and deposited 
on the sidewalk at the foot of the giant elm.
Oliver swung back the gate and walked up the path
in the direction of the low-roofed porch, upon which
lay a dog, which raised its head and at the first click
of the latch came bounding toward him, barking with
every leap.

"Needn't be afraid, she won't hurt you!" shouted
a gray-haired man in his shirt-sleeves, who had risen
from his seat on the porch and who was now walking
down the garden-path. "Get out, Juno! I guess
you're the young man that's been painting with our
Margaret up in the Gorge. She's been expecting
you all morning. Little dusty, warn't it?"

Oliver's face brightened up. This must be Margaret's 
father!

"Mr. Grant, I suppose?"

"Yes, that's what they call me--Silas Grant. Let
me take your bag. My son John will be here in a
minute, and will help you in with your trunk.
Needn't worry, it's all right where it is. Folks are
middling honest about here," he added, with a dry
laugh, and his hand closed on his guest's--a cold
limp, dead-fish sort of a hand, Oliver thought.

Oliver said he was sure of it, and that he hoped
Miss Margaret was well, and the old man said she
was, "Thank you," and Oliver surrendered the bag
--it was his sketch-trap--and the two walked toward
the house. During the mutual greetings the dog
sniffed at Oliver's knees and looked up into his face.

"And I suppose this is Juno," our hero said, stopping 
to pat her head. "Good dog--you don't remember 
me?" It seemed easier somehow to converse 
with Juno than with her master. The dog
wagged her tail, but gave no indications of 
uncontrollable joy at meeting her rescuer again.

"Oh, you've seen her? She's Margaret's dog, you
know."

"Yes, I know, but she's forgotten me. I saw her
before I ever knew--your daughter." It was a narrow 
escape, but he saved himself in time. " Blessed
old dog," he said to himself, and patted her again.

By the time he had reached the porch-steps he had
made, unconsciously to himself, a mental inventory
of his host's special features: tall, sparsely built, with
stooping shoulders and long arms, the big hands full
of cold knuckles with rough finger-tips (Oliver found
that out when his own warm fingers closed over
them); thin face, with high cheek-bones showing
above his closely-cropped beard and whiskers; gray
eyes--steady, steel-gray eyes, hooded by white eyebrows 
stuck on like two tufts of cotton-wool; nose
big and strong; square jaw hanging on a hinge that
opened and shut with each sentence, the upper part
of the face remaining motionless as a mask. Oliver
remembered having once seen a toy ogre with a jaw
and face that worked in the same way. He had
caught, too, the bend of his thin legs, the hump of
the high shoulders, and saw the brown skin of the
neck showing through the close-cut white hair. Suddenly 
a feeling of repugnance amounting almost to
a shrinking dislike of the man took possession of him
--it is just such trifles that turn the scales of likes
and dislikes for all of us. "Could this really be
Margaret's father?" he said to himself. Through
whose veins, then, had all her charm and loveliness
come? Certainly not from this cold man without
grace of speech or polish of manner.

This feeling of repugnance had come with a flash,
and in a flash it was gone. On the top step of the
low piazza stood a young girl in white, a rose in her
hair, her arm around a silver-haired old lady in
gray silk, With a broad white handkerchief crossed
over her bosom.

Oliver's hat was off in an instant.

Margaret came down one step to greet him and
held out both her hands. "Oh, we are so glad to
welcome you!" Then turning to her companion
she said: "Mother, this is Mr. Horn, who has been
so good to me all summer."

The old lady--she was very deaf--cupped one
hand behind her ear, and with a gracious smile extended 
the other to Oliver.

"I am so pleased you came, sir, and I want to
thank you for being so kind to our daughter. Her
brother John could not go with her, and husband
and I are most too old to leave home now." The
voice was as sweet and. musical as a child's, not the
high-keyed, strained tone of most deaf people. When
they all stood on the porch level Margaret touched
Oliver's arm.

"Speak slowly and distinctly, Ollie," she whispered, 
"then mother can hear you."

Oliver smiled in assent, took the old lady's thin
fingers, and with a cordiality the more pronounced
because of a certain guilty sense he had for his feeling 
of repugnance to her father, said:

"Oh, but think what a delight it was for me to be
with her. Every day we painted together, and you
can't imagine how much she taught me; you know
there is nobody in the Academy class who draws as
well as your daughter." A light broke in Margaret's
eyes at this, but she let him go on. "She has told
you, of course, of all the good times we have had
while we were at work" (Margaret had, but not all
of them). "It is I who should thank YOU, not only
for letting Miss Margaret stay so long, but for wanting 
me to come to you here in your beautiful home.
It is my first visit to this--but you are standing, I
beg your pardon," and he looked about for a chair.

There was only one chair on the porch--it was
under Silas Grant.

"No, don't disturb yourself, Mr. Horn; I prefer
standing," Mrs. Grant answered, with a deprecatory
gesture as if to detain Oliver. No one in Brookfield
ever intruded on Silas Grant's rights to his chair, not
even his wife.

Silas heard, but he did not move; he had performed
his duty as host; it was the women-folk's turn now
to be pleasant. What he wanted was to be let alone.
All this was in his face, as he sat hunched up between 
the arms of the splint rocker.

Despite the old lady's protest, Oliver made a step
toward the seated man. His impulse was to suggest 
to his host that the lady whom he had honored
by making his wife was at the moment standing on
her two little feet while the lord of the manor was
quietly reposing upon the only chair on the piazza,
a fact doubtless forgotten by his Imperial Highness.

Mr. Grant had read at a glance the workings of
the young man's mind, and knew exactly what Oliver
wanted, but he did not move. Something in the
bend of Oliver's back as he bowed to his wife had
irritated him. He had rarely met Southerners of
Oliver's class--never one so young--and was unfamiliar 
with their ways. This one, he thought, had
evidently copied the airs of a dancing-master; the
wave of Oliver's hand--it was Richard's in reality,
as were all the boy's gestures--and the fine speech
he had just made to his wife, proved it. Instantly
the instinctive doubt of the Puritan questioning the
sincerity of whatever is gracious or spontaneous, was
roused in Silas's mind. From that moment he became 
suspicious of the boy's genuineness.

The old lady, however, was still gazing into the
boy's face, unconscious of what either her husband
or her guest was thinking.

"I am so glad you like our mountains, Mr. Horn,"
she continued. "Mr. Lowell wrote his beautiful
lines, 'What is so Rare as a Day in June,' in our village, 
and Mr. Longfellow never lets a summer pass
without spending a week with us. And you had a
comfortable ride down the mountains, and were the
views enjoyable?"

"Oh, too beautiful for words!" It was Margaret 
this time, not the scenery; he could not take his
eyes from her, as he caught the beauty of her throat
against the soft white of her dress, and the exquisite
tint of the October rose in contrast with the autumnal
browns of her hair. Never had he dreamed she
could be so lovely. He could not believe for one
moment that she was the Margaret he had known;
any one of the Margarets, in fact. Certainly not
that one of the Academy school in blue gingham
with her drawing-board in her lap, alone, self-poised,
and unapproachable, among a group of art-students;
or that other one in a rough mountain-skirt, stout-
shoes, and a tam-o'-shanter, the gay and fearless 
companion, the comrade, the co-worker. This Margaret 
was a vision in white, with arms bare to the elbow
--oh, such beautiful arms! and the grace and poise of
a duchess--a Margaret to be reverenced as well as
loved--a woman to bend low to.

During this episode, in which Silas sat studying
the various expressions that flitted across Oliver's
face, Mr. Grant shifted uneasily in his chair. At
last his jaws closed with a snap, while the two tufts
of cotton-wool, drawn together by a frown, deeper
than any which had yet crossed his face, made a
straight line of white. Oliver's enthusiastic outburst
and the gesture which accompanied it had removed
Silas Grant's last doubt. His mind was now made up.

The young fellow, however, rattled on, oblivious
now of everything about him but the joy of Margaret's 
presence.

"The view from the bend of the road was especially 
fine--" he burst forth again, his eyes still on
hers. "You remember, Miss Margaret, your telling 
me to look out for it?" (he couldn't stand another 
minute of this unless she joined in the talk).
"In my own part of the State we have no great
mountains nor any lovely brooks full of trout. And
the quantity of deer that are killed every winter
about here quite astonishes me. Why, Mr. Pollard's 
son Hank, so he told me, shot fourteen last
winter, and there were over one hundred killed
around Moose Hillock. You see, our coast is flat, and
many of the farms in my section run down to the
water. We have, it is true, a good deal of game, but
nothing like what you have here," and he shrugged
his shoulders, and laughed lightly as if in apology for
referring to such things in view of all the wealth of
the mountains about him.

"What kind of game have you got?" asked Mr.
Grant, twisting his head and looking at Oliver from
under the straight line of cotton-wool.

Oliver turned his head toward the speaker. "Oh,
wild geese, and canvas-back ducks and--"

"And negroes?" There was a harsh note in
Silas's voice which sounded like a saw when it
clogs in a knot, but Oliver did not notice it. He
was too happy to notice anything but the girl beside
him.

"Oh, yes, plenty of them," and he threw back his
head, laughing this time until every tooth flashed
white.

"You hunt them, too, don't you? With dogs,
most of the time, I hear." There was no mistaking
the bitterness in his voice now.

The boy's face sobered in an instant. He felt as
if someone had shot at him from behind a tree.

"Not that I ever saw, sir," he answered, quickly,
straightening himself, a peculiar light in his eyes.
"We love ours."

"Love 'em? Well, you don't treat 'em as if you
loved 'em."

Margaret saw the cloud on Oliver's face and made
a step toward her father.

"Mr. Horn lives in the city, father, and never
sees such things."

"Well, if he does he knows all about it. You
own negroes, don't you?" The voice was louder;
the manner a trifle more insistent. Oliver could
hardly keep his temper. Only Margaret's anxious
face held him in check.

"No; not now, sir--my father freed all of his."
The tones were thin and cold. Margaret had never
heard any such sound before from those laughing
lips.

Silas Grant was leaning forward out of his chair.
The iron jaw was doing the talking now.

"Where are these negroes?" he persisted.

"Two of them are living with us, sir. They are
in my father's house now."

"Rather shiftless kind of help, I guess. You've
got to watch 'em all the time, I hear. Steal everything 
they get their hands on, don't they?" This
was said with a dry, hard laugh that was meant to
be conciliatory--as if he expected Oliver to agree
with him now that he had had his say.

Oliver turned quickly toward his host's chair. For
a moment he was so stunned and hurt that he could
hardly trust himself to speak. He looked up and
saw the expression of pain on Margaret's face, and
instantly remembered where he was and who was
offending him.

"Our house-servants, Mr. Grant, are part of our
home," he said, in a low, determined voice, without
a trace of anger. "Old Malachi, who was my father's 
body-servant, and who is now our butler, is
as much beloved by everyone as if he were one of
the family. For myself, I can never remember the
time when I did not love Malachi."

Before her father could answer, Margaret had her
hand on Oliver's shoulder.

"Don't tell all your good stories to father now,"
she said, with a grateful smile. "Wait until after
dinner, when we can all hear them. Come, Mr.
Horn, I know you want to get the dust out of your
eyes." Then in an aside, "Don't mind him, Ollie.
It's only father's way, and he's the dearest father
in the world when you understand him," and she
pressed his arm meaningly as they walked to the
door.

Before they reached the threshold the gate swung
to with a click, and a young man with a scythe slung
over his shoulder strode up the path. He was in the
garb of a farm-hand; trousers tucked into his boots,
shirt open at the throat, and head covered by a
coarse straw hat. This shaded a good-natured, sun-
burnt face, lighted by two bright blue eyes.

"Oh, here comes my brother John," Margaret
cried. "Hurry up, John--here's Mr. Horn."

The young man quickened his pace, stopped long
enough to hang the scythe on the porch-rail, lifted
his hat from his head, and, running up the short
flight of steps, held out his hand cordially to Oliver,
who advanced to meet him.

"Glad to see you, Mr. Horn. Madge has told us
all about you. Excuse my rig--we are short of men
on the farm, and I took hold. I'm glad of the
chance, for I get precious little exercise since I left
college. You came from East Branch by morning
stage, I suppose? Oh, is that your trunk dumped
out in the road? What a duffer I was not to know.
Wait a minute--I'll bring it in," and he sprang down
the steps.

"No, let me," cried Oliver, running after him.
He had not thought of his trunk since he had helped
stow it in the boot outside Ezra Pollard's gate--but
then he had been on his way to Margaret's!

"No, you won't. Stay where you are--don't let
him come, Madge."

The two young men raced down the path, Juno
scampering after them. John, who could outrun
any man at Dartmouth, vaulted over the fence and
had hold of the brass handle before Oliver could
open the gate.

"Fair-play!" cried Oliver, and they each grasped
a handle--either one could have held it out at arm's
length with one hand--and brought it up the garden-
path, puffing away in pantomime as if it weighed a
ton, and into the house. There they deposited it in
the bedroom that was to be Oliver's during the two
days of his visit at Brookfield Farm, Margaret clapping 
her hands in high glee, and her mother holding
back the door for them to pass in.

Silas Grant watched the young fellows until they
disappeared inside the door, lifted himself slowly
from his seat by his long arms, stretched himself,
with a yawn, to his full height, and said aloud to
himself as he pushed his chair back against the wall:

"His father's got a negro for body-servant, has
he, and a negro for butler--just like 'em. They all
want somebody to wait on 'em."

At dinner Oliver sat on Mrs. Grant's right--her
best ear, she said--Margaret next, and John opposite.
The father was at the foot, in charge of the carving-
knife.

During the pauses in the talk Oliver's eyes wandered 
around the room, falling on the queer paper
lining the walls--hunting-scenes, with red-coated
fox-hunters leaping five-barred gates; on the side-
board covered with silver, but bare of a decanter--
only a pitcher filled with cider which Hopeful Prime,
the servant, a woman of forty in spectacles, and who
took part in the conversation, brought from the cellar; 
and finally on a family portrait that hung above
the fireplace. A portrait was always a loadstone to
Oliver.

Mrs. Grant had been watching his glance.

"That's Mr. Grant's great-uncle--old Governor
Shaw," she said, with a pleased smile; "and the next
one to it is Margaret's great-grandmother This
one--" and she turned partly in her chair and
pointed to a face Oliver thought he had seen before,
where, he couldn't remember--"is John Quincy
Adams. He was my father's most intimate friend,"
and a triumphant expression overspread her face.

Oliver smiled, too, inwardly, to himself. The
talk, to his great surprise, reminded him of Kennedy 
Square. Family portraits were an inexhaustible 
topic of conversation in most of its homes. He
had never thought before that people at the North
had any ancestors--none they were very proud of.

John looked up and winked. "Great scheme
naming me after his Royal Highness," he said, in an
undertone. "Sure road to the White House; they
thought I'd make a good third."

Mrs. Grant went on, not having heard a word of
John's aside: "This table you're eating from, once
belonged to Mr. Adams. He gave it to my father,
who often spent a week at a time with him in the
White House."

"And I wish he was there now," interrupted Silas
from the foot of the table. "He'd straighten out
this snarl we're drifting into. Looks to me as if
there would be some powder burnt before this thing
is over. What do your people say about it?" and
he nodded at Oliver. He had served the turkey, and
was now sharpening the carver for the boiled ham,
trying the edge with his thumb, as Shylock did.

"I haven't been at home for some time, sir," replied 
Oliver, in a courteous tone--he intended to be
polite to the end--"and so I cannot say. My father's 
letters, seem to be very anxious, but mother
doesn't think there'll be any trouble; at least she
said so in her last letter."

Silas looked up from under the tufts of cotton-
wool. Were the mothers running the politics of the
South, he wondered?

"And there's another thing you folks might as
well remember. We're not going to let you break
up the Union, and we're not going to pay you for
your slaves, either," and he plunged the fork into
the ham that the spectacled waitress had laid before
him and rose in his chair, the knife poised in his
hand to carve it the better.

"Mr. Horn hasn't got any slaves to sell, father--
didn't you hear him say so? His father freed his,"
laughed Margaret. Her father's positiveness never
really worried her. She rather liked it at times. It
was only because she had read in Oliver's face the
impression her father was making upon him that she
essayed to soften the force of his remarks.

"I heard him, Margaret, I heard him. Glad of
it--but he's the only man from his parts that I ever
heard who did. The others won't give 'em up so
easy. They hung John Brown for trying to help
the negroes free themselves, don't forget that."
Oliver looked up and knitted his brows. Silas saw
it. "I'm not meaning any offence to you, young
man," he said quickly, waving the knife toward
Oliver. "I'm taking this question on broad grounds.
If I had my way I'd teach those slave-drivers--" and
he buried the knife in the yielding ham, "that--"

"They did just right to hang him," interrupted
John. "Brown was a fanatic, and ought to have
stayed at home. No one is stronger than the law.
That's where old Ossawatomie Brown made a mistake." 
Everybody was entitled to express his or her
opinion in this house except the dear old mother.
Margaret's fearless independence of manner and
thought had been nurtured in fertile soil.

Mrs. Grant had been vainly trying to get the drift
of the conversation, her hand behind her ear.

"Parson Brown, did you say, John? He married 
us, sir," and she turned to Oliver. "He lived
here over forty years. The church that you passed
was where he preached."

John laughed, and so did Silas, at the old lady's
mistake, but Oliver only became the more attentive
to his hostess. He was profoundly grateful to the
reverend gentleman for coming out of his grave at
this opportune moment and diverting the talk into
other channels. Why did they want to bother him
with all this talk about slavery and the South, when
he was so happy he could hardly stay in his skin? It
set his teeth on edge--he wished that the dinner
were over and everybody down at the bottom of the
sea but Margaret; he had come to see his sweetheart
--not to talk slavery.

"Yes, I saw the church," and for the rest of the
dinner, Oliver was entertained with the details in the
life of the Rev. Leonidas Brown, including his manner 
of preaching; the crowds who would go to hear
him; the number converted under the good man's
ministrations; to all of which Oliver listened with a
closeness of attention that would have surprised those
who knew him unless they had discovered that his
elbow had found Margaret's during the recital, and
that the biography of every member of Brown's 
congregation might have been added to that of the 
beloved pastor without wearying him in the slightest
degree.

When the nuts were served--Silas broke his with
his fingers--his host made one more effort to draw
Oliver into a discussion, but Margaret stopped it by
exclaiming, suddenly:

"Where shall Mr. Horn smoke, mother?" She
wanted Oliver to herself--the family had had him
long enough.

"Why, does he want to SMOKE?" she answered,
with some consternation.

"Yes, of course he does. All painters smoke."

"Well, I don't know; let me see." The old lady
hesitated as if seeking the choice between two evils.
"I suppose in the sitting-room. No--the library
would be better."

"Oh, I won't smoke at all if your mother does
not like it," Oliver protested, springing from his
chair.

"Oh, yes, you will," interrupted John. "I never
smoke, and father don't, but I know how good a pipe
tastes. Let's go into the library."

Margaret gave Oliver the big chair and sat beside
him. It was a small room, the walls almost hidden
with books; the windows filled with flowering plants.
There was a long table piled up with magazines and
pamphlets, and an open fireplace, the wall above the
mantel covered with framed pictures of weeping-
willows worked out with hair of dead relatives, and
the mantel itself with faded daguerreotypes propped
apart like half-opened clam-shells.

Mr. Grant on leaving the dining-room walked
slowly to the window without looking to the right
or left, dropped into a chair and gazed out through
the leaves of a geranium. The meal was over.
Now he wanted rest and quiet. When Mrs. Grant
entered the library and saw the wavy lines of tobacco-
smoke that were drifting lazily about the room she
stopped, evidently annoyed and uneasy. No such
sacrilege of her library had taken place for years;
not since her Uncle Reuben had come home from
China. The waves of smoke must have caught the
expression on her face, for she had hardly reached
Oliver's chair before they began stealing along the
ceiling in long, slanting lines until they reached
the doorway, when with a sudden swoop, as if frightened, 
and without once looking back, they escaped
into the hall.

The dear lady laid her hand on Oliver's shoulder,
bent over him in a tender, motherly way, and
said:

"Do you think it does you any good?"

"I don't know that it does."

"Why should you do it, then?"

"But I won't if you'd rather I'd not." Oliver
sprang to his feet, took his pipe from his mouth, and
was about to cross the room to knock the ashes from
it into the fireplace when Margaret laid her hand on
his arm.

"No, don't stop. Mother is very foolish about
some things--smoking is one of them."

"But I can't smoke, darling," he said, in an undertone, 
"if your mother objects." The mother law
was paramount, to say nothing of the courtesy required 
of him. Then he added, with a meaning look
in his eyes--"Can't we get away some place where
we can talk?" Deaf mothers are a blessing sometimes.

Margaret pressed his hand--her fingers were still
closed over the one holding the pipe.

"In a moment, Ollie," and she rose and went into
the adjoining room.

Mrs. Grant went to her husband's side, and in
her gentle mission of peace put her arm around his
neck, patting his shoulder and talking to him in
a low tone, her two yellow-white curls streaming
down over the collar of his coat. Silas slipped his
hand over his wife's and for an instant caressed it
tenderly with his cold, bony fingers. Then seeing
Oliver's eyes turning his way he drew in his shoulders 
with a quick movement and looked askance at
his guest. Any public show of affection was against
Silas's creed and code. If people wanted to hug
each other, better do it upstairs, he would say, not
where everybody was looking on, certainly not this
young man, who was enough of a mollycoddle
already.

John, now that Margaret had gone, moved over
from the lounge and took her seat, and the two
young men launched out into a discussion of flies and
worms and fish-bait, and whether frog's legs were
better than minnows in fishing for pickerel, and what
was the best-sized shot for woodcock and Jack-snipe.
Oliver told of the ducking-blinds, of the Chesapeake,
and of how the men sat in wooden boxes sunk to the
water's edge, with the decoy ducks about them, and
shot the flocks as they flew over. And John told of
a hunting trip he had made with two East Branch
guides, and how they went loaded for deer and came
back with a bear and two cubs. And so congenial
did they find each other's society that before Margaret 
returned to the room--she had gone into her
studio to light the lamp under the tea-kettle--the two
young fellows had discovered that they were both
very good fellows indeed, especially Oliver and 
especially John, and Oliver had half promised to come
up in the winter and go into camp with John, and
John met him more than half-way with a promise
to accept Oliver's invitation for a week's visit in 
Kennedy Square the next time he went home, if that
happy event ever took place, when they would both
go down to Carroll's Island for a crack at a canvas-
back.

This had gone on for ten minutes or more--ten
minutes is an absurdly long period of time under
certain circumstances--when Margaret's voice was
heard in the doorway:

"Come, John, you and Mr. Horn have talked long
enough; I want to show him my studio if you'll spare
him a moment."

John knew when to spare and when not to--oh,
a very intelligent brother was John! He did not
follow and talk for another hour of what a good time
he would have duck-shooting, and of what togs he
ought to carry--spoiling everything; nor did he send
his mother in to help Margaret entertain their guest.
None of these stupid things did John do. He said
he would go down to the post-office if Oliver didn't
mind, and would see him at supper, and Margaret
said that that was a very clever idea, as nobody had
gone for the mail that day, and there were sure to
be letters, and not to forget to ask for hers. Awfully 
sensible brother was John. Why aren't there
more like him?

Entering Margaret's studio was like going back to
Moose Hillock. There were sketches of the interior
of the school-house, and of the children, and of the
teacher who had taught the year before. There was
Mrs. Taft sitting on that very porch, peeling potatoes,
with a tin pan in her lap--would they ever forget
that porch and the moonlight and the song of the
tree-toads, and the cry of the loon? There was Hank
in corduroys, with an axe over his shoulder; and
Hank in a broad straw hat and no shoes, with a
fishing-pole in one hand; and Hank chopping wood;
the chips littering the ground. There was Ezra Pollard 
sitting in his buckboard with a buffalo-robe
tucked about him, and Samanthy by his side. And
best of all, and in the most prominent place, too,
there was the original drawing of the Milo--the one
she was finishing when Oliver upset Judson, and
which, strange to say, was the only Academy drawing 
which Margaret had framed--besides scores and
scores of sketches of people and things and places
that she had made in years gone by.

The room itself was part of an old portico which
had been walled up. It had a fireplace at one end,
holding a Franklin stove, and a skylight overhead,
the light softened by green shades. Here she kept
her own books ranged on shelves over the mantel;
and in the niches and corners and odd spaces a few
rare prints and proofs--two Guido Renis and a Leonardo, 
both by Raphael Morghen. Against the wall
was an old. clothes-press with brass handles, its 
drawers filled with sketches, as well as a lounge covered
with chintz and heaped up with cushions. The door
between the studio and library had been taken off,
and was now replaced by a heavy red curtain. Margaret 
had held it aside for Oliver to enter, and it had
dropped back by its own weight, shutting them both
safely in.

I don't know what happened when that heavy
red curtain swung into place, and mother, father,
sea, sky, sun, moon, stars, and the planets, with
all that in them is, were shut out for a too brief
moment.

And if I did know I would not tell.

We go through life, and we have all sorts of sensations. 
We hunger and are fed. We are thirsty,
and reach an oasis. We are homeless, and find shelter. 
We are ill, and again walk the streets. We
dig and delve and strain every nerve and tissue, and
the triumph comes at last, and with it often riches
and honor. All these things send shivers of delight
through us, and for the moment we spread our wings
and soar heavenward. But when we take in our
arms the girl we love, and hold close her fresh, sweet
face, with its trusting eyes, and feel her warm breath
on our cheeks, and the yielding figure next our heart,
knowing all the time how mean and good-for-nothing
and how entirely unworthy of even tying her shoe-
strings we are, we experience a something compared
with which all our former flights heavenward are but
the flutterings of bats in a cave.

And the blessed John did not come back until
black, dark night!--not until it was so dark that you
couldn't see your hand before you or the girl beside
you, which is nearer the truth; not until the stout
woman in spectacles with the conversational habit,
had brought in a lard-oil lamp with a big globe,
which she set down on Margaret's table among her
books and papers. And when John did come, and
poked his twice-blessed head between the curtains, it
was not to sit down inside and talk until supper-times
but to say that it was getting cold outside and that
they ought to have a fire if they intended to sit in the
studio after supper. (Oh, what a trump of a brother!)
And if they didn't mind he'd send Hopeful right
away with some chips to start it. All of which Miss
Hopeful Prime accomplished, talking all the time to
Margaret as she piled up the logs, and not forgetting 
a final word to Oliver as she left the room, to
the effect that she "guessed it, must be kind o' 
comfortin' to set by a fire"--such luxuries, of course,
to her thinking, being unknown in his tropical land,
where the blacks went naked and the children lay
about in the sun munching watermelons and
bananas.

What an afternoon it had been! They had talked
of the woods and their life under the trees; of the
sketches they made and how they could improve
them, and would; of the coming winter and the
prospect of the school being opened and what it
meant to them if it did, and how much more if it did
not, and she be compelled to remain in Brookfield
with Oliver away all winter in New York, and of a
thousand and one other things that lay nearest their
hearts and with which neither you nor I have anything 
to do.

It was good, Margaret thought, to talk to him in
this way, and see the quick response in his eyes and
feel how true and helpful he was.

She had dreaded his coming--dreaded the contrasts 
which she knew his presence among them
would reveal. She knew how punctiliously polite
he was, and how brusque and positive was her father.
She realized, too, how outspoken and bluff was John,
and how unaccustomed both he and her dear deaf
mother were to the ways of the outside world. What
would Oliver think of them? What effect would
her home life have on their future? she kept saying
to herself.

Not that she was ashamed of her people, certainly
not of her father, who really occupied a higher position 
than any of his neighbors. He was not only
a deacon in the church and chairman of the School
Board, but he had been twice sent to the Legislature,
and at one time had been widely discussed as a fitting
candidate for Governor. Nobody in Brookfield
thought the less of him because of his peculiarities
--many of his neighbors liked him the better for his
brusqueness; they believed in a man who had the
courage of his convictions and who spoke out, no
matter whose toes he trod on.

Nor could she be ashamed of her brother John--
so kind to everybody; so brave and generous, and
such a good brother. Only she wished that he had
some of Oliver's courtesy, and that he would take
off his hat when a lady spoke to him in the road, and
keep it off till she bade him replace it, and observe
a few of the other amenities; but even with all his
defects of manner--all of which she had never before 
noticed--he was still her own dear brother John,
and she loved him dearly.

And as for her mother--that most gentle and gracious 
of women--that one person in the house who
was considerate of everybody's feelings and tolerant
of everybody's impatience! What could Oliver find
in her except what was adorable? As she thought
of her mother, a triumphant smile crossed her face.
"That's the one member of the Grant family," she
said to herself, "whom my fine gentleman must admit 
is the equal of any one of his top-lofty kinsfolk
in Kennedy Square or anywhere else." Which outburst 
the scribe must admit to himself was but another 
proof of the fact that no such thing as true
democracy exists the world over.

None of these thoughts had ever crossed her mind
up to the time she met Oliver on the bridge that first
sunny morning. He had never discussed the subject 
of any difference between their two families, nor
had he ever criticised the personality of anyone she
knew. He had only BEEN HIMSELF. The change in
her views had come gradually and unconsciously to
her as the happy weeks flew by. Before she knew it
she had realized from his talk, from his gestures, even
from the way he sat down or got up, or handled his
knife and fork, or left the room or entered it, that
some of her early teachings had led her astray, and
that there might be something else in life worth having 
outside of the four cardinal virtues--economy,
industry, pluck, and plain-speaking. And if there
were--and she was quite certain of it now--would
Oliver find them at Brookfield Farm? This was
really the basis of her disquietude; the kernel of the
nut which she was trying to crack.

If any of these shortcomings on the part of his
entertainers had been apparent to Oliver, or if he
had ever drawn any such deductions, or noted
any such contrasts, judged by the Kennedy
Square code, no word of disappointment had passed
his lips.

Some things, it is true, during his visit at the farm,
had deeply impressed him, but they were not those
that Margaret feared. He had thought of them that
first night when going over the events of the day as
they passed in review before him. One personality
and one incident had made so profound an impression 
upon him that he could not get to sleep for an
hour thinking about them. It was the stalwart figure 
of John Grant in his broad-brimmed straw hat
and heavy boots striding up the garden-path with his
scythe over his shoulder. This apparition, try as he
might, would not down at his bidding.

"Think of that young fellow," he kept repeating
to himself. "The eldest son and heir to the estate
no doubt, a college-bred man and a most charming
gentleman, working like a common laborer in his
father's field. And proud of it, too--and would do
it again and talk about it. And yet I was so ashamed
of working with my hands that I had to run away
from home for fear the boys would laugh at me.

Margaret heard the whole story from Oliver's lips
the next morning with many adornments, and with
any amount of good resolutions for the future. She
listened quietly and held his hand the closer, her eyes
dancing in triumph, the color mounting to her cheeks,
but she made no reply.

Neither did she return the confidence and tell Oliver 
how she wished her father could see some things
in as clear a light, and be more gentle and less 
opinionated. She was too proud for that.

And so the days, crowded thick with emotions,
sped on.

The evening of their first one came and passed,
with its half-hours when neither spoke a word and
when both trembled all over for the very joy of living; 
and the morning of the second arrived, bringing 
with it a happiness she had never known before,
and then the morning of the third--and the last day.

They had kept their secret even from John. Oliver 
wanted to inform her father at once of his attachment, 
telling her it was not right for him to
accept the hospitality of her parents unless they 
understood the whole situation, but she begged him to
wait, and he had yielded to her wishes.

They had all discussed him at their pleasure.

"Nice chap that young Horn," John had said to
her the night before. "We had three or four of
'em in my class, one from Georgia and two from
Alabama. They'd fight in a minute, but they'd make
up just as quick. This one's the best of the lot."
He spoke as if they had all belonged to another race
--denizens of Borneo or Madagascar or the islands
of the Pacific.

"I have sent my love to his mother, my dear,"
Mrs. Grant had confided to her early that same morning. 
"I am sure he has a good mother. He is so
kind and polite to me, he never lets me remember
that I am deaf when I talk to him," and she looked
about her in her simple, patient way.

"Yes--perhaps so," said Silas, sitting hunched up
in his chair. "Seems sort of skippy-like to me.
Something of a Dandy Jim, I should say. Good
enough to make men painters of, I guess." Artists
in those days had few friends North or South.

None of these criticisms affected Margaret. She
didn't care what they thought of him. She knew
his heart, and so would they in time.

When Oliver had said all his public good-byes to
the rest of the family--the good-byes with which we
have nothing to do had been given and taken in the
studio with the curtains drawn--he joined Margaret
at the gate.

They were standing in the road now, under the
giant elm, waiting for the stage. She stood close
beside him, touching his arm with her own, mournfully 
counting the minutes before the stage would
come, her eyes up the road. All the light and loveliness 
of the summers all the joy and gladness of life,
would go out of her heart when the door of the lumbering 
vehicle closed on Oliver.




CHAPTER XVII

LIVE COALS FROM MISS CLENDENNING'S WOOD-FIRE



His good-byes said, one absorbing thought now
filled Oliver's mind--to reach Kennedy Square on
the wings of the wind and there to pour into the ears
of his mother and Miss Lavinia, and of anyone else
who would listen, the whys and wherefores of his love
for Margaret, with such additional description of her
personal charms, qualities, and talents as would bring
about, in the shortest possible time, the most amicable
of relations between Kennedy Square and Brookfield 
Farm. He was determined that his mother
should know her at once. He knew how strong her
prejudices were and what her traditions would cause
her to think of a woman who led the life that Margaret 
did, but these things did not deter him. A new
love now filled his heart--another and a different
kind of love from the one he bore his mother. One
that belonged to him; one that was his own and affected 
his life and soul and career. He was prepared 
to fight even harder for this desire of his soul
than for his art.

There being no air-ships available for immediate
charter, nor big balloons waiting for passengers, with
sand-bags ready for instant unloading, nor any
underground pneumatic tubes into which he could be
pumped and with a puff landed on his own doorstep
in Kennedy Square, the impatient lover was obliged
to content himself with the back seat of the country
stage and a night ride in the train down the valley.

Then came a delay of a week in New York waiting 
for the return of Mr. Slade to the city--"whom
you must by all means see before coming home," so
his mother's letter ran. This delay was made bearable 
by Waller, Bowdoin, and old Professor Cummings 
who went into spasms of delight over the boys'
sketches. Waller especially predicted a sure future
for him if he would have the grit to throw overboard
every other thing he was doing and "stick it out and
starve it out" until he pulled through and became
famous.

Mr. Slade, while welcoming him with both hands,
was not so cheering. The financial and political 
situations were no better, he said. They had really 
become more alarming every day. The repudiation
of Northern accounts by Southern merchants had
ceased--at least some of Morton, Slade & Co.'s customers 
had redeemed their obligations and had forwarded 
them their overdue remittances, tiding them
over for a time--but no one could say what was in
store for any firm whose business lay largely in the
Southern States. He would, however, make his
word good. Oliver's situation was still open, and he
could again occupy his desk as soon as he returned
from Kennedy Square. The length of his service
depended entirely on whether the country would go
to war or whether its difficulties could be satisfactorily
settled in the next Congress.

But none of these things--none of the more depressing 
ones--dulled for an instant the purpose or
chilled the enthusiasm of our young lover. Wars,
pestilence, financial panics and even social tidal-
waves might overwhelm the land and yet not one
drop of the topmost edge of the flood could wet the
tips of his high-stepping toes: Margaret was his; he
trod an enchanted realm.

An enthusiasm of equal intensity, but of quite a
different kind, had taken possession of the Horn
mansion as the hour of Oliver's arrival approached,
as anyone would have noticed who happened to be
inside its hospitable walls. Something out of the
common was about to happen. There was an unusual
restlessness in Malachi totally at variance with his
grave and dignified demeanor. His perturbation was
so great that he even forgot the time-honored custom 
of wheeling his master's chair into position and
the equally time-honored salutation of "yo' chair's
all ready, Marse Richard." It was noticed, too, that
he could not keep out of the hall. Richard had to
speak to him twice and Mrs. Horn had lifted her
head in astonishment when that hitherto attentive
darky handed her Richard's spectacles instead of her
own. Or he would start to enter the dining-room,
his hands laden with plates, or the library, his arms
filled with logs to replenish the fire, and then stop
suddenly and listen with one foot raised, standing
like an old dog locating a partridge. So nervous did
he become as the twilight deepened, and he began
to set the table for supper, that he dropped a cup,
smashing it into atoms, a thing that had not happened 
to him before in twenty years--one of the
blue and gilt--priceless heirlooms in the family,
and only used when a distinguished guest was expected. 
At another time he would have dropped the
whole tray with everything upon it, had not Aunt
Hannah saved it in time. How she came to be in
the pantry with her two eyes on the front door, when
her place was in the kitchen with both of them on the
pots and kettles, no one could tell. Everything
seemed to be at sixes and sevens in the old house
that night.

And the other members of the household inside
the drawing-room seemed just as restless. Richard,
who had raked the coals of his forge, closed the green
door of his workshop, and had dressed himself an
hour earlier than usual, much to Malachi's delight,
became so restless that he got up from his easy-chair
half a dozen times and roamed aimlessly about the
room, stopping to pick up a book, reading a line and
laying it down again. Mrs. horn dropped so many
stitches that she gave up in despair, and said she 
believed she would not knit.

Malachi heard him first.

"Dat's him--dat's Marse Ollie," he cried. "I
know dat knock. Here he is, Mistis. Here he is!"
He sprang forward, threw wide the door and had him
by the hand before the others could reach him.

"Fo' Gawd, Marse Ollie, ain't ol' Malachi glad ter
git his han's on yer once mo'!"

It was unseemly and absurd how the old man behaved!

And the others were not far behind.

"My boy," exclaimed Mrs. Horn, as she held him
close to her breast. There are few words spoken
in times like this.

Richard waited behind her until that imperceptible
moment of silence had passed--the moment a mother
gets her arms around the son she loves. Then when
the sigh of restful relief that always follows had
spent itself, and she had kissed him with his cheek
held fast to hers, Oliver loosened his hold and threw
his arms about his father's neck, patting him between 
his shoulder-blades as he kissed him.

"Dear old dad! Oh, but it's good to get home!
And Aunt Hannah, you there?" and he extended
his hand while his other arm was still around his
father's neck.

"Yas, Marse Oilie, dat's me; dat's ol' Hannah,"
and she stepped closer and grasped his outstretched
hand, smoothing it as she spoke. "Lord, Marse
Ollie, but ain't you filled out? You is de probable
son, sho', honey, come home to yo' people."

But Oliver was not through with Malachi. He
must take both of his hands this time and look into
his eyes. It was all he could do to keep from hugging 
him. It would not have been the first time.

"Been well, Mallie?"

Of course he had been; he saw it in his face. It
was only to say something to which the old darky
could reply to--to keep in touch with him--to know
that he was speaking to this same old Malachi whom
he had so dearly loved.

"Middlin' po'ly, yas--middlin' po'ly, suh."

Malachi had not the slightest idea what he was
talking about. He had not been sick a minute since
Oliver left. His heart was too near bursting with
pride at his appearance and joy over his return for
his mind to work intelligently.

"Dem Yankees ain't sp'iled ye; no, dey ain't.
Gor-a-mighty, ain't Malachi glad." Tears were
standing in his eyes now. There was no one but
Richard he loved better than Oliver.

No fatted calf was spitted and roasted this night
on Aunt Hannah's swinging crane for this "probable 
son," but there was corn-pone in plenty and a
chafing dish of terrapin--Malachi would not let
Aunt Hannah touch it; he knew just how much Madeira 
to put in; Hannah always "drowned" it, he
would say. And there was sally-lunn and Maryland
biscuit; here, at last, Aunt Hannah was supreme--
her elbows told the story. And last of all there was
a great dish of escalloped oysters cooked in fossil
scallop shells thousands of years old, that Malachi
had himself dug out of the marl-banks at Yorktown
when he was a boy, and which had been used in the
Horn family almost as many times as they were
years old. Oh, for a revival of this extinct conchological 
comfort! But no! It is just as well not to
recall even the memories of this toothsome dish.
There are no more fossils, neither at Yorktown nor
anywhere else, and no substitute in china, tin, or
copper will be of the slightest use in giving their
flavor.

Supper served and over, with Oliver jumping up
half a dozen times to kiss his mother and plumping
himself down again to begin on another relay of pone
or terrapin or oysters, much to Malachi's delight
("He do eat," he reported to Aunt Hannah. "I tell
ye. He's bearin' very heavy on dem scallops. Dat's
de third shell.")--the doors were opened with a
flourish, and the three, preceded by Malachi, entered
the drawing-room in time to welcome the neighbors.

Nathan, who was already inside sitting by the fire,
his long, thin legs stretched out, his bunchy white
hair, parted in the middle, falling to his collar's edge,
sprang up and shook Oliver's hand heartily. He
had charged Malachi, when he admitted him, to keep
his presence secret. He wanted them to have Oliver
all to themselves.

Miss Clendenning entered a moment later with
both hands held out. She would not stop in the hall
to unwind her nubia or take off her little fur boots,
but motioned Oliver to her knees after she had kissed
him joyously on both cheeks, and held out those two
absurd little feet for his ministrations, while Mrs.
Horn removed her nubia and cloak.

The rat-a-tat at the door was now constant. Judge
Bowman and old Dr. Wallace and four or five of the
young men, with the young girls, entered, all with
expressions of delight at Oliver's return home, and
later, with the air of a Lord High Mayor, Colonel
John Clayton, of Pongateague, with Sue on his arm.
Clayton was always a picture when he entered a room.
He stood six feet and an inch, his gray hair brushed
straight back, his goatee curling like a fish-hook at
its end. "Handsome Jack Clayton" was still handsome 
at sixty.

After the Colonel had grasped Oliver's hand in
his warmest manner, Sue laid all of her ten fingers in
his. It was as good as a play to watch the little
witch's face as she stood for a moment and looked
Oliver over. She had not written to him for months.
She had had half a dozen beaus since his departure,
but she claimed him all the same as part of her spoils.
His slight mustache seemed to amuse her immensely.

"Are you glad to see me, Ollie?" she asked, looking 
archly at him from under her lashes.

"Why, Sue!"

Of course he was glad--for a minute--not much
longer. How young she is, he thought, how provincial.
As she rattled on he noticed the mass of
ringlets about her face and the way her head was
set on her shoulders. Her neck, he saw, was much
shorter than Margaret's, and a little out of drawing.
Nor was there anything of that fearless look or toss
of the head like a surprised deer, which made Margaret 
so distinguished. Oliver had arrived at that
stage in his affection when he compared all women
to one.

All this time Sue was reading his mind. Trust a
young girl for that when she is searching a former
lover's eyes for what lies behind them. She was evidently 
nettled at what she found and had begun by
saying "she supposed the Yankee girls had quite
captured his heart," when the Colonel interrupted
her by asking Oliver whether the Northern men
really thought they could coerce the South into giving 
up their most treasured possessions.

He had been nursing his wrath all day over a fresh
attack made on the South by some Northern paper,
and Oliver was just the person to vent it upon--not
that he did not love the lad, but because he was fresh
from the despised district.

"I don't think they want to, sir. They are opposed 
to slavery and so are a good many of us. You
have a wrong idea of the life at the North, Colonel.
You have never been North, I believe?"

"No, my dear Oliver, and I never intend to. If
ever I go it will be with a musket. They have had
it all their own way lately with their Harriet Stowes,
William Lloyd Garrisons, and John Browns; it is
our turn now."

"Who do you want to run through the body,
Clayton?" asked Richard, joining the group and laying 
his hands affectionately on the Colonel's shoulders.

"Anybody and everybody, Richard, who says we
are not free people to do as we please."

"And is anybody really saying so?"

"Yes; you see it every day in every Northern editorial
--another to-day--a most villainous attack
which you must read. These Puritans have been at
it for years. This psalm-singing crew have always
hated us. Now, while they are preaching meekness
and lowliness and the rights of our fellow-men--black
ones they mean--they are getting ready to wad their
guns with their hymn-books. It's all a piece of their
infernal hypocrisy!"

"But why should they hate us, Clayton?" asked
Richard in a half-humorous tone. He had no spirit
of contention in him to-night, not with Oliver beside
him.

"Because we Cavaliers are made of different stuff;
that's why! All this talk about slavery is nonsense.
These Nutmeg fellows approved of slavery as long
as they could make a dollar out of the traffic, and
then, as soon as they found out that they had given
us a commercial club with which to beat out their
brains, and that we were really dominating the nation, 
they raised this hue and cry about the downtrodden 
negro and American freedom and the Stars
and Stripes and a lot of such tomfoolery. Do you
know any gentleman who beats his negroes? Do
you beat Malachi? Do I beat my Sam, whom I have
brought up from a boy and who would lay down his
life any day for me? I tell you, Richard, it is nothing 
but a fight for financial and political mastery.
They're afraid of us; they've been so for years. They
cried 'Wolf' when the fugitive slave law was passed
and they've kept it up ever since."

"No, I don't believe it," exclaimed Richard, with
a positive tone in his voice "and neither do you,
Clayton. It's largely a question of sentiment. They
don't believe one man should hold another in bondage."

"That's where you are wrong. They don't care
a fippenny bit about the negro. If they ever succeed 
in their infernal purpose and abolish slavery,
and set the negro adrift, mark my words, they won't
live with him, and they won't let him come North
and work alongside of their own people. They'll
throw him back on us after they have made a beggar
and a criminal of him. Only a Southerner understands 
the negro, and only a Southerner can care
for him. See what we have done for them! Every
slave that landed on our shores we have changed
from a savage into a man. They forget this."

Judge Bowman joined in the discussion--so did
Dr. Wallace. The Judge, in his usual ponderous
way, laid down the law, both State and National--
the Doctor, who always took the opposite side in any
argument, asking him rather pointed questions as
to the rights of the Government to control the several 
States as a unit.

Richard held his peace. He felt that this was not
the night of all others to discuss politics, and he was
at a loss to understand the Colonel's want of 
selfrestraint. He could not agree with men like Clayton. 
He felt that the utterance of such inflammatory 
speeches only added fuel to the smouldering
flame. If the ugly jets of threatening smoke that
were creeping out everywhere because of the friction 
between the two sections were in danger of
bursting into flame, the first duty of a patriot, 
according to his creed, was to stand by with pails of
water, not with kegs of gunpowder. So, while Clayton's 
outspoken tirade still filled the room, he with
his usual tact did all he could to soften the effect of
his words. Then again, he did not want Oliver's
feelings hurt.

Malachi's entrance with his tray, just as the subject 
was getting beyond control, put a stop to the
discussion. The learned group of disputants with
the other guests quickly separated into little coteries,
the older men taking their seats about an opened
card-table, on which Malachi had previously deposited 
several thin glasses and a pair of decanters, the
ladies sitting together, and the younger people
laughing away in a corner, where Oliver joined
them.

Richard and Nathan, now that the danger was
averted (they were both natural born peace-makers),
stepped across the room to assist in entertaining Miss
Clendenning. The little lady had not moved from
the chair in which she sat when Oliver relieved her
of her fur boots. She rarely did move when once
she had chosen a place for herself in a drawing-room.
She was the kind of woman who could sit in one
place and still be surrounded--by half-moons of
adorers if she sat against the wall, by full moons if
she sat in the open. She had learned the art when
a girl.

"If Clayton would go among these people, my
dear Lavinia," said Richard, in a deprecating tone,
drawing up a chair and seating himself, beside her,
"he would find them very different from what he
thinks. Some of the most delightful men I have
ever met have come from the States north of us.
You know that to be so."

"That depends, Richard, on how far North you
go," Miss Clendenning answered, spreading her fan
as she spoke, looking in between the sticks as if
searching for specimens. "In Philadelphia I find
some very delightful houses, quite like our own. In
New York--well, I rarely go to New York. The
journey is a tiresome one and the hotels abominable.
They are too busy there to be comfortable, and I do
not like noisy, restless people. They give me a
headache."

"Oliver has met some charming people, he tells
me," said Richard. "Mr. Slade took him into his
own home and treated him quite like a son."

"Of course he did; why not?" Miss Clendenning
was erect now, her eyes snapping with roguish 
indignation. "Anybody would be glad to take Oliver
into their home, especially when they have two 
marriageable daughters. Oliver's bow as he enters a
room is a passport to any society in the world, my
dear Richard. My Lord Chesterfield Clayton has
no better manners nor any sweeter smile than our
own Lorenzo. Watch Oliver now as he talks to
those girls."

Richard had been watching him; he had hardly
taken his eyes from him. Every time he looked at
him his heart swelled the more with pride.

"And you think, Lavinia, Mr. Slade invited him
because of his manners?" He was sure of it. He
only wanted her to confirm it.

"Of course. What else?" and she cut her eye
at him knowingly. "How many of the other clerks
did he invite? Not one. I wanted to find out and
I made Ollie write me. They are queer people,
these Northerners. They affect to despise good
blood and good breeding and good manners. That's
all fol-de-rol--they love it. They are eternally
talking of equality--equality; one man as GOOD as
another. When they say that one man is as GOOD
as another, Richard, they mean that THEY are as good,
never the other poor fellow."

"Now, my dear Lavinia, stop a moment," laughed
the inventor in protest. "You do not mean to say
there are really no gentlemen north of us?"

"Plenty of gentlemen, Richard, but few thoroughbreds. 
There is a distinction, you know."

"Which do you value most?"

"Oh, the thoroughbred. A gentleman might
some time offend you by telling you the truth about
yourself or your friends. The thoroughbred, never,"
and she lifted her hands in mock horror.

"And he could be a rogue and yet his manners
would save him?"

"Quite true, dear Richard, quite true. The most
charming man I ever met except your dear self"--
and she smiled graciously and lowered her voice as if
what she was about to tell was in the strictest 
confidence--"was a shrivelled-up old prince who once
called on my father and myself in Vienna. He was
as ugly as a crab, and walked with a limp. There
had been some words over a card-table, he told me,
and the other man fired first. I was a young girl
then, but I have never forgotten him to this day.
Indeed, my dear Nathan," and she turned to the old
musician and laid her wee hand confidingly on his
knee, "but for the fact that the princess was a most
estimable woman and still alive, I might have been
--well, I really forget what I might have been, for
I do not remember his name, but it was something
most fascinating in five or six syllables. Now all
that man ever did to make that unaccountable impression 
upon me was just to pick up my handkerchief. 
Oh, Nathan, it really gives me a little quiver
to this day! I never watch Oliver bow but I think
of my prince. Now I have never found that kind
of quality, grace, bearing, presence--whatever you
may choose to call it--in the Puritan. He has not
time to learn it. He despises such subtle courtesies.
They smack of the cavalier and the court to him.
He is content with a nod of the head and a hurried
handshake. So are his neighbors. They would
grow suspicious of each other's honesty if they did
more. Tut, tut, my dear Richard! My prince's
grooms greeted each other in that way."

Richard and Nathan laughed heartily. "And you
only find the manners of the ante-chamber and the
throne-room South?" asked the inventor.

"Um--not always. It used to be so in my day
and yours, but we are retrograding. It is unpardonable 
in our case because we have known better. But
up there" (and she pointed in the direction of the
North Star) "they never did know better; that's
some excuse for them."

"Ah, you incorrigible woman, you must not talk
so. You have not seen them all. Many of the men
who do me the honor to come to my workroom are
most delightful persons. Only last week there came
one of the most interesting scientists that I have met
for--"

"Of course, of course, I have not a doubt of it, my
dear Richard, but I am talking of men, my friend,
not dried mummies."

Again Richard laughed. One of his greatest
pleasures was to draw Miss Clendenning out on topics 
of this class. He knew she did not believe one-
half that she said. It was the way she parried his
thrusts that delighted him.

"Well, then, take Mr. Winthrop Pierce Lawrence.
No more charming gentleman ever entered my house.
You were in London at the time or you would certainly 
have dined with him here. Mr. Lawrence is
not only distinguished as a statesman and a brilliant
scholar, but his manners are perfect."

Miss Clendenning turned her head and looked at
Richard under her eyelashes. "Where did you say
he was from?"

"Boston."

"Boston?" A rippling, gurgling laugh floated
through the room.

"Yes, Boston. Why do you laugh?"

"Bostonians, my dear Richard, have habits and
customs, never manners. It is impossible that they
should. They are seldom underbred, mind you,
they are always overbred, and, strange to say, without 
the slightest sense of humor, for they are all
brought up on serious isms and solemn fads. The
excitement we have gone through over this outrageous 
book of this Mrs. Stowe's and all this woman
movement is but a part of their training. How is it
possible for people who believe in such dreadful persons 
as this Miss Susan Anthony and that Miss--
something-or-other--I forget her name--to know
what the word 'home' really means and what graces
should adorn it? They could never understand my
ugly prince, and he?--well, he would be too polite to
tell them what he thought of them. No, my dear
Richard, they don't know; they never will know, and
they never will be any better."

Oliver had crossed the room and had reached her
chair.

"Who will never be any better, you dear Midget?" 
he cried.

"You, you dear boy, because you could not.
Come and sit by me where I can get my hand on
you. If I had my way you would never be out of
reach of my five fingers."

Oliver brought up a stool and sat at her feet.

"Your Aunt Lavinia, Ollie," said Richard, rising
to his feet (this relationship was of the same character 
as that of Uncle Nathan Gill), "seems to think
our manners are retrograding."

"Not yours?" protested Oliver, with a laugh, as
he turned quickly toward Miss Clendenning.

"No, you sweetheart, nor yours," answered Miss
Clendenning, with a sudden burst of affection.
"Come, now, you have lived nearly two years among
these dreadful Yankees--what do you think of
them?"

"What could I think of people who have been so
kind to me? Fred Stone has been like a brother,
and so has everybody else."

Mrs. Horn had joined the group and sat listening.

"But their manners, my son," she asked. "Do
you see no difference between them and--and--and
your father's, for instance?" and she motioned
toward Richard who was now moving across the room
to speak to other guests.

"Dad is himself and you are yourself and I am
myself," replied Oliver with some positiveness.
"When people are kind I never stop to think how
they do it."

"Lovely," Miss Clendenning whispered to Nathan. 
"Spoken like a thoroughbred. Yes, he is
BETTER than my ugly prince. He would always have
remembered how they did it."

"And you see no difference either in the ladies?"
continued Mrs. Horn, with increasing interest in her
tones. "Are the young girls as sweet and engaging?" 
She had seen Margaret's name rather often
in his letters and wondered what impression she had
made upon him. Oliver's eyes flashed and the color
mounted to his cheeks. Miss Clendenning saw it
and bent forward a little closer to get his answer.

"Well, you see, mother, I do not know a great
many, I am so shut up. Miss Grant, whom I wrote
you about, is--well, you must see her. She is not
the kind of girl that you can describe very well--
she really is not the kind of girl that you can describe
at all. We have been together all summer, and I
stopped at her father's house for a few days when I
came down from the mountains. They live in the
most beautiful valley you ever saw."

Miss Clendenning was watching him closely. She
caught a look that his mother had missed.

"Is she pretty, Ollie?" asked Miss Lavinia.

"She is better than pretty. You would not say
the Milo was pretty, would you? There is too much
in her for prettiness."

"And are the others like her?" The little lady
was only feeling about, trying to put her finger on
the pulse of his heart.

"No; there is nobody like her. Nobody I have
ever met."

Miss Clendenning was sure now.

Malachi's second entrance--this time with the
great china bowl held above his head--again interrupted 
the general talk.

Since the memory of man no such apple-toddy had
ever been brewed!

Even Colonel Clayton, when he tasted it, looked
over his glass and nodded approvingly at its creator
--a recognition of genius which that happy darky
acknowledged by a slight bend of his back, anything
else being out of the question by reason of the size
of the bowl he was carrying and the presence of his
master and of his master's guests.

This deposited on a side table, another bowl filled
with Olio--a most surprising and never-to-be-forgotten 
salad of chicken and celery and any number of
other toothsome things--was placed beside it, together 
with a plate of moonshines and one of Maryland 
biscuits.

Then came some music, in which Oliver sang and
Miss Clendenning played his accompaniments--the
old plantation melodies, not the new songs--and next
the "wrappings up" in the hall, the host and hostess 
and the whole party moving out of the drawing-
room in a body. Here Nathan, with great gallantry,
insisted on getting down on his stiff marrow-bones
to put on Miss Clendenning's boots, while the young
men and Oliver tied on the girls' hoods, amid "good-
byes" and "so glads" that he could come home if
only for a day, and that he had not forgotten them,
Oliver's last words being whispered in Miss Clendenning's 
ear informing her that he would come over
in the morning and see her about a matter of the
greatest importance. And so the door was shut on
the last guest.

When the hall was empty Oliver kissed his father
good-night, and, slipping his arm around his mother's 
waist, as he had always done when a boy, the
two went slowly upstairs to his little room. He
could not wait a minute longer. He must unburden
his heart about Margaret. This was what he had
come for. If his mother had only seen her it would
be so much easier, be said to himself as he pushed
open his bedroom door.

"You are greatly improved, my son," she said,
with a tone of pride in her voice. "I see the change
already." She had lighted the candle and the two
were seated on the bed, his arm still around her.

"How, mother?"

"Oh, in everything. The boy is gone out of you.
You are more reposeful; more self-reliant. I like
your modesty too." She could tell him of his faults,
she could also tell him of his virtues.

"And the summer has done you good," she continued. 
"I felt sure it would. Mr. Slade has been
a steadfast friend of yours from the beginning. Tell
me now about your new friends. This Miss Grant
--is she not the same girl you wrote me about, some
mouths ago--the one who drew with you at the art
school? Do you like her people?" This thought
was uppermost in her mind--had been in fact ever
since she first saw Margaret's name in his letters.

"Her mother is lovely and she has got a brother
--a Dartmouth man--who is a fine fellow. I liked
him from the first moment I saw him;" Oliver answered 
simply, wondering how he would begin.

"Is her father living?"

"Yes."

"What kind of a man is he?"

"Well--of course, he is not like our people. He
is a--well--he always says just what be thinks, you
know. But he is a man of character and position."
He was speaking for Margaret now. "They have
more family portraits than we have." This was said
in a tone that was meant to carry weight.

"And people of education?"

"Oh, I should certainly say so. It is nothing but
books all over the house. Really, he has more books
than Dad." This statement was to strengthen the
one regarding the family ancestors--both telling 
arguments about Kennedy Square.

"And this girl--is she a lady?"

The question somehow put to flight all his mental
manoeuvres. "She is more than a lady, mother.
She is the dearest--" He stopped, hesitated for an
instant, and slipping his arm around his mother's
neck drew her close to him. Then, in a torrent of
words--his cheeks against hers--the whole story
came out. He was a boy again now; that quality
in him that would last all his life. She listened with
her eyes on the floor, her heart torn with varying.
emotions. She was disturbed, but not alarmed.
One phase of the situation stood out clearly in her
practical mind--his poverty and the impossibility of
any immediate marriage. Before that obstacle could
be removed she felt sure his natural vacillation 
regarding women would save him. He would forget
her as he had Sue.

"And you say her brother works in the fields and
that her father and mother permitted this girl to
leave home and sit night after night with you young
men with no other protection than that of a common
Irishwoman?" There was a tone of censure now
in her voice that roused a slight antagonism in Oliver.

"Why not? What could harm her? There was
no other place for her to go where she could learn
anything."

Mrs. Horn kept still for a moment, looking on the
floor. Oliver sat watching her face.

"And your family, my son," she protested with
a certain patient disapproval in her tones. "Do
they count for nothing? I, of course, would love
anybody you would make your wife, but you have
others about you. No man has a right to marry beneath 
him. Do not be in a hurry over this matter.
Come home for your wife when you are ready to
marry. Give yourself time to compare this girl,
who seems to have fascinated you, with--Sue, for 
instance, or any of the others you have been brought
up with."

Oliver shrugged his shoulders at the mention of
Sue's name. He had compared her.

"You would not talk this way, dearie; if you could
see her," he replied in a hopeless way as if the 
futility of making his mother understand was now 
becoming apparent to him. "She is different from
anyone you ever met--she is so strong, so fine--
such a woman in all that the word means. Not something 
you fondle and make love to, remember, but
a woman more like a Madonna that you worship, or
a Greek goddess that you might fear. As to the
family part of it, I am getting tired of it all, mother.
What good is Grandfather Horn or anybody else to
me? I have got to dig my way out just as they did.
Just as dear old Dad is doing. If he succeeds in his
work who will help him but himself? There have
been times when I used to love to remember him
sitting by his reading-lamp or with his violin tucked
under his chin, and I was proud to think he was my
father. Do you know what sets my blood on fire
now? It is when I think of him standing over his
forge and blowing his bellows, his hands black with
coal. I understand many things, dearie, that I knew
nothing about when I left home. You used to tell
me yourself that everybody had to work, and you
sent me away to do it. I looked upon it then as a
degradation. I see it differently now. I have
worked with all my might all summer, and I have
brought back a whole lot of sketches that the boys
like. Now I am going to work again with Mr. Slade.
I do not like his work, and I do love mine, but I am
going to stick to his all the same. I have got something 
to work for now," and his face brightened.
"I am going to win!"

She did not interrupt him. It was better he
should unburden his heart. She was satisfied with
his record; if he went wrong she only was to blame.
But he was not going wrong; nor was there anything 
to worry about--not even his art--not so long
as he kept his place with Mr. Slade and only took it
up as a relaxation from more weighty cares. It was
only the girl that caused her a moment's thought.

She saw too, through all his outburst, a certain 
independence and a fearlessness and a certain fixedness 
of purpose that sent an exultant thrill through
her even when her heart was burdened with the
thought of this new danger that threatened him.
She had sent him away for the fault of instability,
and he had overcome it. Should she not now hold
fast, as she had before, and save him the second time
from this girl who was beneath him in station and
who would drag him down to her level, and so perhaps 
ruin him?

"We will not talk any more about it to-night, my
son," she said, in tender tones, leaning forward and
kissing him on the cheek--it was through his affections 
that she controlled him. "You should be
tired out with your day's journey and ought to rest.
Take my advice--do not ask her to be your wife yet.
Think about it a little and see some other women
before you make up your mind."

A delicious tremor passed through Oliver. He
HAD asked her, and she HAD promised! He remembered 
just the very day, the hour, the minute. That
was the bliss of it all! But this he did not tell his
mother. He would not hurt her any further now.
Some other day he would tell her; when she could
see Madge and judge for herself. No, not to-night,
and so with the secret untold he kissed her and led
her to her room.

And yet strange to say it was the one only thing
in all his life that he had kept from her.

Ah! these mothers! who make lovers of their only
sons, dominating their lives! How bitter must be
the hours when they realize that another's arms are
opening for them!

And these boys--what misgivings come; what
doubts. How the old walls, impregnable from childhood, 
begin to crumble! How little now the dear
mother knows--she so wise but a few moons since.
How this new love steps in front of the old love and
claims every part of the boy as its very own.


Faithful to her promise, Miss Clendenning waited
the next morning for Oliver in her little boudoir
that opened out of the library. A bright fire blazed
and crackled, sending its beams dancing over the
room and lighting up the red curtains that hung
behind her writing-desk, its top covered with opened
letters--her morning's mail: many bore foreign
postmarks, and not a few were emblazoned with rampant 
crests sunk in little dabs of colored wax. She
wore a morning gown of soft white flannel belted in
at the waist. Covering her head and wound loosely
about her throat was a fluff of transparent silk, half-
concealing the two nests of little gray and brown
knots impaled on hair-pins. These were the chrysalides 
of those gay butterfly side-curls which framed
her sweet face at night and to which she never gave
wing until after luncheon, no matter who called.
The silk scarf that covered them this morning was
in recognition of Oliver's sex.

She had finished her breakfast and was leaning forward 
in her rocking-chair, her elbows on her knees,
her tiny feet resting on the fender. She was watching 
the fire-fairies at work building up their wonderful 
palaces of molten gold studded with opals and
rubies. The little lady must have been in deep
thought, for she did not know Oliver had entered
until she felt his arm on her shoulder.

"Ah, you dear fellow. No, not there; sit right
here on this cricket by my side. Stop, do not say
a word. I have been studying it all out in these
coals. I know all about it--it is about the mountain
girl, this--what do you call her?"

"Miss Grant."

"Nonsense! What do YOU call her?"

"Madge."

"Ah, that's something like it. And you love
her?"

"Yes." (Pianissimo.)

"And she loves you?"

"YES." (Forte.)

"And you have told her so?"

"YES!" (Fortissimo.)

"Whew!" Miss Clendenning caught her breath
and gave a little gasp. "Well, upon my word!
You don't seem to have lost any time, my young
Romeo. What does her father say?"

"He doesn't know anything about it."

"Does anybody except you two babes in the
wood?"

"Yes, her mother."

"And yours? You told her last night. I knew
you would."

"Not everything; but she is all upset."

"Of course she is. So am I. Now tell me--is
she a LADY?"

"She is the dearest, sweetest girl you--"

"Come now, come now, answer me. They are all
the dearest and sweetest things in the world. What
I want to know is, is she a lady?"

"Yes."

"True now, Ollie--honest?"

"Yes, in every sense of the word. A woman you
would love and be proud of the moment you saw
her."

Miss Clendenning took his face in her hands and
looked down into his eyes. "I believe you. Now
what do you want me to do?"

"I want her to come down here so everybody can
see her. If I had a sister she could invite her, and
it would be all right, and maybe then her mother
would let her come."

"And you want me to play the sister and have
her come here?"

Oliver's fingers closed tight over Miss Clendenning's 
hand. "Oh, Midget, if you only would, that
would fix everything. Mother would understand
then why I love her, and Madge could go back and
tell her people about us. Her father is very bitter
against everybody at the South. They would feel
differently if Madge could stay a week with us."

"Why won't her father bring her?"

"He never leaves home. He would not even take
her to the mountains, fifteen miles away. She could
never paint as she does if she had relied upon him.
Mother and Mr. Grant are both alike in their hatred
of art as a fitting profession for anybody, and I tell
you that they are both wrong."

Miss Clendenning looked up in surprise. She had
never seen the boy take a stand of this kind against
one of his mother's opinions. Oliver saw the expression 
on the little lady's face and kept on, his
cheeks flushed and a set look about his eyes.

"Yes, wrong. I have never believed mother could
be wrong in anything before, and when she wanted
me to give up painting I did so because I thought
she knew best. But I know she's not right about
Madge, and if she is wrong about her, how do I
know she was not wrong about my working with Mr.
Crocker?"

Margaret's words that day in the bark slant were
now ringing in his ears. He had never forgotten
them--"Your mother cannot coddle you up forever."

Miss Clendenning held her peace. She was not
astonished at the revolt in the boy's mind. She had
seen for months past in his letters that Oliver's 
individuality was asserting itself. It was the new girl
whom he was defending--the woman he loved. This
had given him strength. She knew something of
what he felt, and she knew what blind obedience had
done for her. With a half-smothered sigh, she
reached over Oliver's head, dipped a quill pen in her
inkstand, and at Oliver's dictation, wrote Margaret's
address.

"I will invite her at once," she said.

Long after Oliver had gone Miss Clendenning sat
looking into the fire. The palaces of rose and amber
that the busy fingers of the fire fairies had built up
in the white heat of their enthusiasm were in ruins.
The light had gone out. Only gray ashes remained,
with here and there a dead cinder.

Miss Clendenning rose from her chair, stood a
moment in deep thought, and said, aloud:

"If she loves him, she shall have him. There shall
be no more desolate firesides if I can help it."


Early the next morning, she mailed by the first post
a letter so dainty in form and so delicate in color
that only a turtle-dove should have carried it to
Brookfleld Farm, and have dropped it into Margaret's 
hand. This billet-doux began by inviting Miss
Margaret Grant of Brookfield Farm to pass a week
with Miss Lavinia Clendenning, of Kennedy Square,
she, Miss Lavinia, desiring to know the better one
who had so charmed and delighted "our dear Oliver," 
and ended with "Please say to your good
mother, that I am twice your age, and will take as
much care of you as if you were my own daughter.
I feel assured she will waive all ceremony when she
thinks of how warm a greeting awaits you."

Margaret looked at the post-mark, and then at the
little oval of violet wax bearing the crest of the 
Clendennings--granted in the time of Queen Elizabeth
for distinguished services to the Throne--and after
she had read it to her mother, and had shown the seal
to her father, who had put on his glasses, scanned it
closely, and tossed it back to her with a dry laugh,
and after she had talked it all over with John, who
said it was certainly very kind of the woman, and
that Oliver's people were evidently "nobs," but, of
course, Madge couldn't go, not knowing any of them,
Margaret took a sheet of plain white paper from her
desk, thanked Miss Clendenning for her kind thought
of her, and declined the honor in a firm, round hand.
This she closed with a red wafer, and then, with a
little bridling of her head and a determined look in
her face, she laid the letter on the gate-post, ready for
the early stage in the morning.

This missive was duly received by Miss Clendenning, 
and read at once to Mrs. Horn, who raised
her eyebrows and pursed her lips in deep thought.
After some moments she looked over her glasses at
Miss Lavinia and said:

"I must say, Lavinia, I am very greatly astonished.
Won't come? She has done perfectly right. I think
all the better of her for it. Really, there may be
something in the girl after all. Let me look at her
handwriting again--writes like a woman of some
force. Won't come? What do you think, Lavinia?"

"Merely a question of grandmothers, my dear;
she seems to have had one, too," answered the little
old maid, with a quizzical smile in her eye, as she
folded the letter and slipped it in her pocket.




CHAPTER XVIII

THE LAST HOURS OF A CIVILIZATION



Margaret's decision saddened Oliver's last days at
home, and he returned to New York with none of
his former buoyancy. Here other troubles began to
multiply. Before the autumn was gone, Morton,
Slade & Co., unable longer to make headway against
the financial difficulties that beset them, went to the
wall, involving many of their fellow-merchants. Oliver 
lost his situation, in consequence, and was forced
to support himself during the long dreary winter by
making lithographic drawings for Bianchi, at prices
that barely paid his board. His loneliness in the garret
room became more intense, Fred being much away
and the occupants of the other rooms being either
strangers to him or so uncongenial that he would not
make their acquaintance.

To his own troubles were added other anxieties.
The political outlook had become even more gloomy
than the financial. The roar of Sumter's guns had 
reverberated throughout the land, and men of all minds
were holding their breath and listening, with ears
to the ground, for the sound of the next shot. Even
Margaret's letters were full of foreboding. "Father
is more bitter against the South than ever," she
wrote. "He says if he had ten sons each should
shoulder a musket. We must wait, Ollie dear. I
can only talk to mother about you. Father won't
listen, and I never mention your name before him.
Not because it is you, Ollie, but because you represent 
a class whom he hates. Dear John would listen,
but he is still in Boston. Even his fellow-classmen
want to fight, he says. I fear all this will hurt my
work, and keep me from painting."

These letters of Margaret's, sad as they were, were
his greatest and sometimes his only comfort. She
knew his ups and downs and they must have no
secrets from each other. From his mother, however,
he kept all records of his privations during these
troublous months. Neither his father nor his dear
mother must deprive themselves for his benefit.

During these dreary days he often longed for Kennedy 
Square and for those whom he loved, but it was
not until one warm spring day, when the grass was
struggling into life, and the twigs on the scraggy trees
in Union Square were growing pink and green with
impatient buds and leaves that he had his wish.
Then a startling telegram summoned him. It read as
follows:

"Father ill. Come at once.

"Mother"

Instinctively Oliver felt in his pockets for his
purse. There was just money enough to take him to
Kennedy Square and back.

His mother met him at the door.

"It was only a fainting turn, my son," were her
first words. "I am sorry I sent for you. Your
father is himself again, so Dr. Wallace says. He has
been working too hard lately--sometimes far into the
night. I could have stopped you from coming; but,
somehow, I wanted you--" and she held him close in
her arms, and laid her cheek against his. "I get so
lonely, my boy, and feel so helpless sometimes."

The weak and strong were changing places. She
felt the man in him now.

Nathan was in the library. He and Malachi had
been taking turns at Richard's bedside. Malachi had
not closed his eyes all night. Nathan came out into
the hall when he heard Oliver's voice, and put his
hand on his shoulder.

"We had a great scare, Ollie," he said, "but he's
all right again, thank God! He's asleep now--better
not wake him." Then he put on his coat and went
home.

Malachi shook his head. "Sumpin's de matter wid
him, an' dis ain't de las' ob it. Drapped jes' like a
shote when he's hit, Marse Oliver," he said, in a low
whisper, as if afraid of disturbing his master on the
floor above. "I was a-layin' out his clo'es an' he
called quick like, 'Malachi! Malachi!' an' when I got
dar, he was lyin' on de flo' wid his head on de mat.
I ain't nebber seen Marse Richard do like dat
befo'--" The old servant trembled as he spoke. He
evidently did not share Nathan's hopeful views.
Neither did Dr. Wallace, although he did not say so
to anyone.

Their fears, however, were not realized. Richard
not only revived, but by the end of the week be was
in the drawing-room again, Malachi, in accordance
with the time-honored custom, wheeling out his chair,
puffing up the cushions, and, with a wave of the hand
and a sweeping bow, saying:

"Yo' ch'ar's all ready, Marse Richard. Hope
you'se feelin' fine dis evenin', sah!"

The following day he was in his "li'l' room," Oliver 
helping him. It was the lifting of the heavy
plate of the motor that had hurt Richard, so Nathan
told him; not the same motor which Oliver remembered; 
another, much larger and built on different
lines. The inventor now used twenty-four cells
instead of ten, and the magnets had been wrapped
with finer wire.

These days in the shop were delightful to Oliver.
His father no longer treated him as an inexperienced
youth, but as his equal. "I hope you will agree with
me, my son," he would say; or, "What do you think
of the idea of using a 'cam' here instead of a lever?"
or, "I wish you would find the last issue of the Review, 
and tell me what you think of that article of Latrobe's. 
He puts the case very clearly, it seems to
me," etc. And Oliver would bend his head in attention 
and try to follow his father's lead, wishing all the
time that he could really be of use to the man he revered 
beyond all others, and so lighten some of the
burdens that were weighing him down.

And none the less joyful were the hours spent with
his mother. All the old-time affection, the devotion
of a lover-son, were lavished upon her. And she was
so supremely happy in it all. Now that Richard had
recovered, there was no other cloud on her horizon,
not even that of the dreaded mortgage which owing
to some payments made Richard by a company using
one of his patents had been extended and its interest
paid for two years in advance in deference to her
urgent request. All anxiety as to the Northern girl
had happily passed out of her mind. If Oliver intended 
marrying Miss Grant he would have told her,
she knew. Then again, he was so much stronger and
wiser now--so much more thoughtful than he had
been--so much more able to keep his head in matters
of this kind.

As his position was different with his father in
the "li'l' room" and with his mother in the stillness
of her chamber--for often they talked there together
until far into the night--so were his relations altered
with his old friends and neighbors in the drawing-
room. While the young men and girls filled the
house as had always been their custom, the older men,
as well, now paid their respects to Richard Horn's
son.

"One of our own kind," Judge Bowman said to
Richard. "Does you credit, Horn--a son to be
proud of."

Even Amos Cobb came to look him over, a courtesy
which pleased Richard who greatly admired the Vermonter, 
and who had not hesitated to express his
good opinion of him on more than one occasion before
his own and Cobb's friends.

"A man of force, gentlemen," Richard had said,
of great kindness of heart and with a wide range
of vision. One who has the clearest ideas of what
makes for the good of his country; a man too, not
ashamed of his opinions and with ample courage to
defend them. He deserves our unqualified respect,
not our criticism."

When Cobb heard of Richard's outspoken defence
of him he at once called on the inventor at his workshop
--a thing he had not done for mouths, and asked
to see the motor, and that same night astonished the
circles about the club tables, by remarking, in a tone
of voice loud enough for everybody to hear: "We
have all been wrong about Horn. He has got hold
of something that will one day knock steam higher
than Gilderoy's kite." A friendship was thus established 
between the two which had become closer
every day--the friendship of a clearer understanding; 
one which was unbroken during the rest of their
lives.

It was quite natural, therefore, that Amos Cobb
should be among Oliver's earliest callers. He must
have been pleased with his inspection, for he took occasion 
at the club to say to Colonel Clayton, in his
quick, crisp way:

"Dropped in at Horn's last night. His boy's over
from New York. Looks like a different man since
he quit fooling round here a couple of years ago.
Clean cut a young fellow as I've seen for many a day.
Got a look out of his eyes like his mother's. Level-
headed woman, his mother--no better anywhere. If
all the young bloods South had Oliver Horn's ideas
we might pull through this crisis."

To which my Lord Chesterfield of Kennedy Square
merely replied only with a nod of the head and a
drawing together of the eyebrows. He found it difficult 
to tolerate the Vermonter in these days with his
continued tirades against "The epidemic of insanity
sweeping over the South," as Cobb would invariably
put it.


The scribe now reaches a night in Oliver's career
fraught with such momentous consequences that he
would be glad to leave its story untold:

An unforgettable night indeed, both for those
who were assembled there, and for him who is the
chronicler. He would fain lay down his pen to recall
again the charm and the sweetness and the old-
time flavor of that drawing-room: the soft lights of
the candles; the perfume of the lilacs coming in
through the half-open windows; the merry laugh
of the joyous girl running through the Square to
be ushered by Malachi a moment later into the
presence of her hostess, there to make her courtesied 
obeisance before she joined a group of young
people around one of the red damask-covered sofas.
And then Richard, dear Richard, with his white hair
and his gracious speech, and Miss Clendenning with
her manners of foreign courts, and the sweet-voiced
hostess of the mansion moving about among her
guests; her guests who were her neighbors and her
friends; whose children were like her own, and
whose joys and sorrows were hers--guests, neighbors, 
friends many of whom after this fatal night
were to be as enemies never to assemble again with
the old-time harmony and love.

Malachi had brewed the punch; the little squat
glasses were set out beside the Canton china bowl,
for it was the night of the weekly musical and an
unusually brilliant company had assembled in honor
of Oliver's arrival and of Richard's recovery.

The inventor was to play his own interpretations
of Handel's Largo, a favorite selection of Ole Bull,
and one which the inventor and the great virtuoso
had played together some years before.

Miss Clendenning had taken her place at the
piano, Nathan standing beside her to turn the
leaves of the accompaniment.

Richard had picked up his violin, tucked it under
his chin, poised the bow, and that peculiar hush which
always precedes the sounding of the first notes on
evenings of this kind had already fallen upon the
room, when there came a loud rap at the front door
that startled everyone and the next instant Colonel
Clayton burst in, his cheeks flaming, his hat still on
his head.

"Ten thousand Yankees will be here in the morning, 
Horn!" be gasped, out of breath with his run
across the Square, holding one hand to his side as he
spoke, and waving an open telegram in the other.
"Stop! This is no time for fiddling. They're not
going round by water; they're coming here by train.
Read that," and he held out the bit of paper.

The Colonel's sudden entrance and the startling
character of the news, had brought every man to his
feet.

Richard laid down his violin, read the telegram
quietly, and handed it back.

"Well, suppose they do come, Clayton?"

His voice was so sustained, and his manner so temperate, 
that a certain calming reassurance was felt.

"Suppose they DO come! They'll burn the town,
I tell you," shouted the infuriated man, suddenly 
remembering his hat and handing it to Malachi. That's
what they're coming for. We want no troops in our
streets, and the Government ought to know it. It's
an outrage to send armed men here at this time!"

"You're all wrong, Clayton," answered Richard,
without raising his voice. "You have always been
wrong about this matter. There are two sides to this
question. Virginia troops occupied Harper's Ferry
yesterday. If the authorities consider that more
troops are needed to protect Washington, that's their
affair, not yours nor mine."

"We'll MAKE it our affair. What right has this
damnable Government to march their troops through
a free and sovereign State without its permission!
Whom do they think this town belongs to, I want to
know, that this Northern scum should foul it. Not
a man shall set foot here if I can help it. I would
rather--"

Richard turned to stay the torrent of invectives
in which such words as "renegades," "traitors,"
"mud-sills," were heard, but the Colonel, completely
unmanned by the rage he was in, and seemingly unconscious 
of the presence of the ladies, waved him
aside with his hand, and faced the row of frightened,
expectant faces.

"Gentlemen, when you are through with this tom-
foolery, I shall be glad if you will come to the club;
any of you who have got guns had better look them
up; they'll be wanted before this is over. We'll meet
these dirty skinflints with cold lead and plenty of
it."

Oliver's face flushed at the Colonel's words, and
he was about to speak, when his mother laid her hand
on his arm. Visions of the kindly face of Professor
Cummings, and the strong well-knit figure of Fred
Stone, John Grant, Hank, Jonathan Gordon, and the
others whom he loved came before his eyes.

Richard raised his hand in protest:

"You are mad, Clayton; you don't know what you
are doing. Stop these troops and our streets will run
blood. I beg and beseech you to keep cool. Because
South Carolina has lost her head, that is no reason
why we should. This is not our fight! If my State
called me to defend her against foreign invasion, old
as I am I would be ready, and so should you. But
the Government is part of ourselves, and should not
be looked upon as an enemy. You are wrong, I tell
you, Clayton."

"Wrong or right, they'll have to walk over my
dead body if they attempt to cross the streets of this
town. That's my right as a citizen, and that I shall
maintain. Gentlemen, I have called a meeting at the
club at ten o'clock to-night. All of you able to carry
a gun will do me the kindness to be present. I'd
rather die right here in my tracks than let a lot of
low-lived mud-sills who never entered a gentleman's
house in their lives come down here at the beck and
call of this rail-splitter they've put in the White
House and walk over us rough-shod! And you,
Horn, a Virginian, defend it! By God, sir, it's
enough to make a man's blood boil!"

The inventor's eyes flashed. They blazed now as
brightly as those of Clayton. Not even a life-long
friend had the right to use such language in his presence, 
or in that of his guests. Richard's figure grew
tense with indignation. Confronting the now reckless 
man, he raised his hand and was about to order
him out of the house when Oliver stepped quickly in
front of his father.

"You are unjust, Colonel Clayton." The words
came slowly between the boy's partly closed teeth.
"You know nothing of these people. I have lived
among them long enough not only to know but to
love them. There are as many gentlemen North as
South. If you would go among them as I have done,
you would be man enough to admit it."

The Colonel turned upon him with a snarl:

"And so you have become a dirty renegade, have
you, and gone back on your blood and your State?
That's what comes of sending boys like you away
from home!"

The guests stood amazed. The spectacle of the
most courteous man of his time acting like a blackguard 
was more astounding than the news be had
brought. Even Malachi, at the open door, trembled
with fear.

As the words fell from his lips Mrs. Horn's firm,
clear voice, crying "Shame! Shame!" rang through
the room. She had risen from her seat and
was walking rapidly to where the Colonel was
standing.

"Shame, I say, John Clayton! How dare you
speak so? What has our young son ever done to you,
that you should insult him in his father's house!
What madness has come over you?"

The horrified guests looked from one to the other.
Every eye was fixed on the Colonel, shaking with
rage.

For a brief instant he faced his hostess, started to
speak, checked himself as if some better judgment
prevailed, and with upraised hands flung himself
from the room, shouting, as he went:

"Ten o'clock, gentlemen! Chesapeake Club!
Every man with a gun!"

Richard, astounded at Clayton's action and now
thoroughly convinced of the danger of the situation
and determined to do what he could to thwart the
efforts of such men as the Colonel and his following,
laid his violin in its case, turned to his frightened
guests and with a few calming words and a promise
to send each one of them word if any immediate
danger existed, called Oliver and Nathan to him,
and taking his cloak and hat from Malachi's outstretched 
trembling hands started for the club.
Once outside it was easy to see that a feeling of
intense and ominous excitement was in the air.
Even on the sidewalk and on the street corners, men
stood silent, huddled together, their eyes on the
ground, the situation being too grave for spoken
words.

On arriving they found its halls already filled
with angry and excited men discussing the threatened 
invasion, many of whom met the young man
with scowling looks, the Colonel having evidently
informed them of Oliver's protest.

A few of the members had brought their sporting
guns. These had been handed to the gouty old porter, 
who, half-frightened out of his wits, had stacked
them in a row against the wall of the outer hall.
Billy Talbot arrived a few moments later carrying
a heavy fowling-piece loaded for swan. He had been
dining out when summoned and had hurriedly left
the table, excusing himself on the ground that he had
been "called to arms." He had taken time, however,
to stop at his own house, slip out of his English dress-
suit and into a brown ducking outfit.

"We'll shoot 'em on the run, damn 'em--like rabbits, 
sir," he said to Cobb as he entered, the Vermonter 
being the only man likely to communicate
with the invaders and so make known the warlike intentions 
of at least one citizen, and the utter hopelessness 
of any prolonged resistance. Waggles, who
had followed close on his master's heels, was too excited 
to sit down, but stood on three legs, his eye
turned toward Talbot, as if wanting to pick up any
game which Billy's trusty fowling-piece might bring
down.

A quiet, repressed smile passed, over Oliver's
face as he watched Waggles and his master; but
he spoke no word to the Nimrod. He could not
help thinking how Hank Pollard would handle the
fashion-plate if he ever closed his great bony hands
upon him.

Judge Bowman now joined the group, bowing to
Richard rather coldly and planting himself squarely
in front of Oliver.

"There's only one side to this question, young
man, for you," he said. "Don't be fooled by those
fellow up in New York. I know them--known them
for years. Look up there"--and he pointed to the
portrait of Oliver's ancestor above the mantel.
"What do you think he would do if he were alive
to-day! Stick to your own, my boy--stick to your
own!"

General Mactavish now hurried in, drawing off
his white gloves as he entered the room, followed by
Tom Gunning, Carter Thorn, and Mowbray, an up-
country man. The four had been dining together
and had also left the table on receipt of the Colonel's
message. They evidently appreciated the gravity of
the situation, for they stood just outside the excited
group that filled the centre of the large room, listening 
eagerly to Richard's clear tones pleading for
moderation--"in a crisis which," he urged, "required 
the greatest public restraint and self-control,"
and which would surely "plunge the State into
the most horrible of wars" if those about him
listened to the counsels of such men as Clayton and
Judge Bowman.

During the whole discussion Amos Cobb stood
silent, leaning against the mantel-piece, his cold gray
eyes fixed on the excited throng, his thin lips curling
now and then. When the Defence Committee, in
spite of Richard's protest, had at last been formed,
and its members formally instructed to meet the
enemy outside the city and protest, first by voice and
then, if necessary, by arms, against the unwarrantable 
invasion of the soil of their State, the Vermonter
buttoned up his coat slowly, one button after another,
fastened each one with a determined gesture, drew on
his gloves, set his lips tight, singled out Oliver and
Richard, shook their hands with the greatest warmth,
and walked straight out of the club-house. Some
time during the night he drove in a hack to Mr.
Stiger's house; roused the old cashier from his sleep;
took him and the big walled-town-key down to the
bank; unlocked the vault and dragged from it two
wooden boxes filled with gold coin, his own property,
and which the month before he had deposited there
for safe-keeping. These, with Stiger's assistance, he
carried to the hack. Within the hour, the two boxes
with their contents were locked up in bureau-drawer
in his own house awaiting their immediate shipment
to New York.


The next morning Malachi's wizened face was
thrust inside Oliver's bedroom door. He was shaking 
with terror, his eyes almost starting from his
head.

"Marse Ollie, Marse Ollie, git up quick as you kin!
De Yankees is come; de town is black wid 'em!"

Oliver sprang from his bed and stood half-dazed
looking into Malachi's eyes.

"How do you know? Who told you?"

"I done seen 'em. Been up since daylight. Dey
got guns wid 'em. Fo' Gawd dis is tur-ble!" The
old man's voice trembled--he could hardly articulate.

Oliver hurried into his clothes; stepped noiselessly
downstairs so as not to wake his father and mother,
and, closing the front door softly behind him, stood
for a moment on the top step. Should he forget the
insults of the night before and go straight to Colonel
Clayton, and try to dissuade him from his purpose, or
should he find the regiment and warn them of their
danger?

A vague sense of personal responsibility for whatever 
the day might bring forth took possession of him
--as though the turning-point in his life had come,
without his altogether realizing it. These men from
the North were coming to his own town, where he
had been born and brought up, and where they should
be hospitably received. If Clayton had his way they
would be met with clenched hands and perhaps with
blows. That these invaders were armed, and that
each man carried forty rounds of ammunition and
was perfectly able to take care of himself, did not
impress him. He only remembered that they were
of the same blood as the men who had befriended
him, and that they were in great personal danger.

The angry shouts of a crowd of men and boys approaching 
the Square from a side street, now attracted 
his attention. They rushed past Oliver without 
noticing him, and, hurrying on through the gate,
crossed the park, in the direction of the railroad
station and the docks. One of the mob, lacking a
club, stopped long enough to wrench a paling from
the rickety fence enclosing the Square, trampling the
pretty crocuses and the yellow tulips under foot.
Each new arrival, seeing the gap, followed the first
man's example, throwing the branches and tendrils
to the ground as they worked, until the whole panel
was wrecked and the vines were torn from their roots.
As they swept by the Clayton house, half a dozen
men, led by the Colonel, ran down the steps, and
joined the throng.

Oliver, seeing now that all his efforts for peace
would be hopeless, ran through the Square close behind 
the shouting mob, dashed down a side street
parallel to that through which the cars carrying the
troops were to pass on their way to Washington,
turned into an alley, and found himself on the waterfront, 
opposite one of the dock slips.

These slips were crowded with vessels, their bowsprits, 
like huge bayonets, thrust out over the, car-
tracks, as if to protect the cellars of the opposite
warehouses, used by the ship-chandlers for the storage 
of coarse merchandise, and always left open
during the day. The narrow strip of dock-front,
between the car-tracks and the water-line--an unpaved 
strip of foot-trodden earth and rotting planks,
on which lay enormous ship-anchors, anchor-chains
in coils, piles of squared timber, and other maritime
properties, stored here for years--was now a seething
mass of people completely hiding the things on
which they stood.

Oliver mounted a pile of barrels in front of one
of these ship-chandler cellars, and, holding to an 
awning-post, looked off over the heads of the surging
crowd and in the direction of the railroad station
at the end of the long street. From his position on
the top barrel he could see the white steam of the
locomotives rising above the buildings and the line
of cars. He could see, too, a yard engine backing
and puffing, as if making up a train.

Suddenly, without apparent cause, there rose
above the murmurs of the street an ominous sound,
like that of a fierce wind soughing through a forest of
pines. All eyes were directed down the long street
upon a line of cars that had been shunted on the
street-track; about these moved a group of men in
blue uniforms, the sun flashing on their bayonets
and the brass shields of their belts.

Oliver, stirred by the sound, climbed to the top of
the awning-post for a better view and clung to the
cross-piece. Every man who could gain an inch of
vantage, roused to an extra effort by the distinct roar,
took equal advantage of his fellows. Sailors sprang
farther into the rigging or crawled out to the end of
the bowsprits; the windows of the warehouses were
thrown up, the clerks and employees standing on the
sills, balancing themselves by the shutters; even the
skylights were burst open, men and boys crawling out
edging their way along the ridge-poles of the roofs
or holding to the chimneys. Every inch of standing-
room was black with spectators.

The distant roar died away in fitful gusts as suddenly 
as it had arisen, and a silence even more terrifying 
fell upon the throng as a body of police
poured out of a side street and marched in a compact
body toward the cars.

Then came long strings of horses, eight or ten in
tandem. These were backed down and hooked to the
cars.

The flash of bayonets was now cut off as the troops
crowded into the cars; the body of police wheeled
and took their places ahead of the horses; the tandems
straightened out and the leaders lunged forward
under the lash. The advance through the town had
begun.

All this time the mob about Oliver stood with
hands clenched, jaws tight shut, great lumps in their
throats. Their eyes were the eyes of hungry beasts
watching an approaching prey.

As the distant rumbling of the cars, drawn by
teams of straining horses, sounded the nearer, a bare-
headed man, with white hair and mustache and black
garments that distinguished him from the mob about
him, and whom Oliver instantly recognized as Colonel 
Clayton, mounted a mass of squared timber lining 
the track, ran the length of the pile, climbed to
the topmost stick, and shouted, in a voice which
reverberated throughout the street:

"Block the tracks!"

A torrent of oaths broke loose as the words left
his lips, and a rush was made for the pile of timber.
Men struggled and fought like demons for the end
of the great sticks, carrying them by main strength,
crossing them over the rails, heaping them one on
the other like a pile of huge jack-straws, a dozen men
to a length, the mobs on the house-tops and in the
windows cheering like mad. The ends of the heavy
chains resting on the strip of dirt were now caught
up and hauled along the cobbles to be intertwined
with the squared timber; anchors weighing tons were
pried up and dragged across the tracks by lines of
men urged on by gray-haired old merchants in
Quaker-cut dress coats, many of them bare-headed,
who had yielded to the sudden unaccountable delirium
that had seized upon everyone. Colonel Clayton, 
Carter Thom, and Mowbray could be seen
working side by side with stevedores from the docks
and the rabble from the shipyards. John Camblin,
a millionnaire and nearly eighty years of age, head of
the largest East India house on the wharves, his hat
and wig gone, his coat split from the collar to the
tails, was tugging at an anchor ten men could not have
moved. Staid citizens, men who had not used an oath
for years, stood on the sidewalks swearing like street-
toughs; others looked out from their office-windows,
the tears streaming down their cheeks. A woman
with a coarse shawl about her shoulders, her hair
hanging loose, a broom in one hand, was haranguing
the mob from the top of a tobacco hogshead, her
curses filling the air.

Oliver held to his seat on the cross-piece of the
awning, his teeth set, his eye fixed on the rapidly
advancing cars, his mind wavering between two
opinions--loyalty to his home, now invaded by troops
whose bayonets might be turned upon his own people,
and loyalty to the friends he loved--and to the
woman who loved him!

The shouting now became a continuous roar. The
front line of policemen, as they neared the obstructions, 
swung their clubs right and left, beating back
the crowd. Then the rumbling cars, drawn by the
horses, came to a halt. The barricades must be
reckoned with.

Again there came the flashing of steel and the 
intermingling of blue and white uniforms. The troops
were leaving the cars and were forming in line to
pass the barricades; the officers marching in front,
the compact mass following elbow to elbow, their eyes
straight before them, their muskets flat against their
shoulders.

The approaching column now deployed sharply,
wheeled to the right of the obstruction, and became
once more a solid mass, leaving the barricades behind
them, the Chief of Police at the head of the line
forcing the mob back to the curbstone, laying about
him with his club, thumping heads and cracking
wrists as he cleared the way.

The colonel of the regiment, his fatigue cap pulled
over his eyes, sword in hand, shoulders erect, cape
thrown back, was now abreast of the awning to which
Oliver clung. Now and then he would glance furtively 
at the house-tops, as if expecting a missile.

The mob looked on sullenly, awed into submission
by the gleaming bayonets. But for the shouts of the
police, beating back the crowd, and the muttered
curses, one would have thought a parade was in
progress.

The first company had now passed--pale, haggard-
looking men, their lips twitching, showing little
flecks of dried saliva caked in the corners of their
mouths, their hands tight about the butts of their
muskets.

Oliver looked on with beating heart. The dull,
monotonous tramp of their feet strangely affected
him.

As the second line of bayonets came abreast of the
awning-post, a blacksmith in a red shirt and leather
apron, his arms bared to the elbow, sprang from the
packed sidewalk into the open space between the
troops and the gutter, lifted a paving stone high
above his head and hurled it, with all his might,
straight against the soldier nearest him. The man
reeled, clutched at the comrade next him, and sank
to the ground. Then, quick as an echo, a puff of
white smoke burst out down the line of troops, and a
sharp, ringing report split the air. The first shot of
defence had been fired.

The whole column swayed as if breasting a gale.

Another and an answering shot now rang through
the street. This came from a window filled with
men gesticulating wildly. Instantly the troop.
wheeled, raised their muskets, and a line of fire and
smoke belched forth.

A terrible fear, that paled men's faces, followed by
a moment of ominous silence, seized upon the mob,
and then a wild roar burst out from thousands of
human throats. The rectangular body of soldiers
and the ragged-edged mob merged into a common
mass. Men wrenched the guns from the soldiers
and beat them down with the butt ends of the muskets. 
Frenzied policemen hurled themselves into the
midst of the disorganized militia, knocking up the
ends of their muskets, begging the men to hold their
fire. The air was thick with missiles; bricks from the
house-tops; sticks of wood and coal from the fireplaces 
of the offices; iron bolts, castings, anything
the crazed mob could find with which to kill their
fellow-men. The roar was deafening, drowning the
orders of the officers.

Oliver clung to his post, not knowing whether to
drop into the seething mass or to run the risk of being
shot where he was. Suddenly his eye singled out a
soldier who stood at bay below him, swinging his musket, 
widening the circle about him with every blow.
The soldier's movements were hampered by his heavy
overcoat and army blanket slung across his shoulder.
His face and neck were covered with blood and dirt,
disfiguring him beyond recognition.

At the same instant Oliver became conscious that
a man in blue overalls was creeping up on the soldier's 
rear to brain him with a cart-rung that he held
in his hand.

A mist swam before the boy's eyes, and a great
lump rose in his throat. The cowardice of the attack
incensed him; some of the hot blood of the old ancestor 
that had crossed the flood at Trenton flamed up
in his face. With the quickness of a cat he dropped
to the sidewalk, darted forward, struck the coward
full in the face with his clenched fist, tumbling him
to the ground, wrenched the rung from his hands,
and, jumping in front of the now almost overpowered
soldier, swung the heavy stick about him like a flail,
clearing the space before him.

The assaulting crowd wavered, fell back, and then,
maddened at Oliver's defence of the invader, with a
wild yell of triumph, swept the two young men off
their feet, throwing them bodily down the steps of
a ship-chandler's shop, the soldier knocked senseless
by a blow from a brick which had struck him full in
the chest.

Oliver lay still for a moment, raised his head cautiously 
and, putting forth all his strength, twisted his
arms around the stricken man and rolled with him
into the cellar. Then, springing to his feet, he
slammed the door behind them and slipped in the
bolt, before the mob could guess his meaning.

Listening at the crack of the door for a moment
and finding they were not pursued, he stood over
the limp body, lifted it in his arms, laid it on a pile of
sails, and ran to the rear of the cellar for a bucket
standing under a grimy window, scarcely visible in
the gloom, now that the door was shut.

Under the touch of the cold water, the soldier
slowly opened his eyes, straining them toward Oliver,
as if in pain.

The two men looked, intently at each other; the
soldier passing his hand across his forehead as if trying 
to clear his brain. Then lifting himself up on his
elbow he gasped:

"Horn! Horn! My God!"

Oliver's heart stopped beating.

"Who are you?"

"John Grant."

Oliver saw only Margaret's face!

As though he were working for the woman he
loved--doing what she would have done--he knelt
beside the wounded man, wiped the blood and grime
from his cheeks with his own handkerchief, loosening
his coat, rubbing his hands, murmuring "Old fellow," 
"Dear John ": there was no time for other
interchange of speech.

When at last Grant was on his feet the two men
barricaded the doors more strongly, rolling heavy
barrels against them, the sounds from the street seeming 
to indicate that an attack might be made upon
them. But the mob had swept on and forgotten
them, as mobs often do, while the fugitives waited,
hardly daring to speak except in detached whispers,
lest some one of the inmates of the warehouse overhead 
might hear them.

Toward noon a low tap was heard at the window,
which was level with an alley in the rear, and a man's
hand was thrust through a broken pane. Oliver
pressed Grant's arm, laid his finger on his lips,
caught up a heavy hammer lying on an oil-barrel,
crept noiselessly along the wall toward the sound,
and stopped to listen. Then he heard his name called
in a hoarse whisper.

"Marse Ollie! Marse Ollie! Is you in here?"

"Who is it?" Oliver called back, crouching beneath 
the window, his fingers tight around the handle 
of the hammer.

"It's me, Marse Ollie."

"You! Malachi!"

"Yassir, I'se been a-followin' ye all de mawnin';
I see 'em tryin' to kill ye an' I tried to git to ye. I
kin git through--yer needn't help me," and he
squeezed himself under the raised sash. "Malachi
like de snake--crawl through anywheres. An' ye
ain't hurted?" he asked when he was inside. "De
bressed Lord, ain't dat good! I been a-waitin' outside; 
I was feared dey'd see me if I tried de door."

"Where are the soldiers?"

"Gone. Ain't nobody outside at all.Mos' to
de railroad by dis time, dey tells me. An' dere ain't
nary soul 'bout dis place--all run away. Come
'long wid me, son--I ain't gwine ter leabe ye
a minute. Marse Richard'll be waitin'. Come 'long
home, son. I been a-followin' ye all de mawnin'."
The tears were in his eyes now. "An' ye ain't
hurted," and he felt him all over with trembling.
hands.

John raised himself above the oil-barrels. He had
heard the strange talk and was anxiously watching
the approaching figures.

"It's all right, Grant--it's our Malachi," Oliver
called out in his natural voice, now that there was no
danger of being overheard.

The old man stopped and lifted both hands above
his head.

"Gor'-a-mighty! an' he ain't dead?" His eyes
had now become accustomed to the gloom.

"No; and just think, Mally, he is my own friend.
Grant, this is our Malachi whom I told you
about."

Grant stepped over the barrel and held out his
hand to the old negro. There are no class distinctions 
where life and death are concerned.

"Glad to see you. Pretty close shave, but I guess
I'm all right. They'd have done for me but for your
master."

A council of war was now held. The uniform
would be fatal if Grant were seen in it on the street.
Malachi must crawl into the alley again, go over to
Oliver's house, and return at dusk with one of Oliver's 
suits of clothes; the uniform and the blood-
stained shirt could then be hidden in the cellar, and
at dark, should the street still be deserted, the three
would put on a bold front and walk out of the front
door of the main warehouse over their heads. Once
safe in the Horn house, they could perfect plans for
Grant's rejoining his regiment.

Their immediate safety provided for, and Malachi
gone, Oliver could wait no longer to ask about Margaret. 
He had been turning over in his mind how
he had best broach the subject, when her brother
solved the difficulty by saying:

"Father was the first man in Brookfleld to indorse
the President's call for troops. He'd have come himself, 
old as he is, if I had not joined the regiment.
He didn't like you, Horn; I always told him he was
wrong. He'll never forgive himself now when he
hears what you have done for me," and he laid his
hand affectionately on Oliver's shoulder as he spoke.
"I liked you as soon as I saw you, and so did mother,
and so does Madge, but father was always wrong
about you. We told him so, again and again, and
Madge said that father would see some day that you
got your politeness from the Cavaliers and we got
our plain speaking from the Puritans. The old gentleman 
was pretty mad about her saying so, I tell
you, but she stuck to it. Madge is a dear girl, Horn.
A fellow always knows just where to find Madge; no
nonsense about her. She's grown handsome, too--
handsomer than ever. There's a new look in her
face, somehow, lately. I tell her she's met somebody
in New York she likes, but she won't acknowledge
it."

Oliver drank in every word, drawing out the
brother with skilful questions and little exclamatory
remarks that filled Grant with enthusiasm and induced 
him to talk on. They were young men again
now--brothers once more, as they had been that first
afternoon in the library at Brookfield. In the joy
of hearing from her he entirely forgot his surroundings, 
and the dangers that still beset them both;
a joy intensified because it was the first and only
time he had heard someone who knew her talk to
him of the woman he loved. This went on until
night fell and Malachi again crawled in through the
same low window and helped John into Oliver's
clothes.

When all was ready the main door of the warehouse 
above was opened carefully and the three men
walked out--Malachi ahead, John and Oliver following. 
The moonlit street was deserted; only the barricades 
of timber and the litter of stones and bricks
marked the events of the morning. Dodging into a
side alley and keeping on its shadow side they made
their way toward Oliver's home.

When the three reached the Square, the white light
of the moon lay full on the bleached columns of the
Clayton house. Outside on the porch, resting against
the wall, stood a row of long-barrelled guns glinting
in the moon's rays. Through the open doorway
could be seen the glow of the hall lantern, the hall
itself crowded with men. The Horn house was dark,
except for a light in Mrs. Horn's bedroom. The old
servant's visit had calmed their fears, and they had
only to wait now until Oliver's return.

Malachi stationed Oliver and John Grant in the
shadow of the big sycamore that overhung the house,
mounted the marble steps and knocked twice. Aunt
Hannah opened the door. She seemed to be expecting 
someone, for the knock was instantly followed by
the turning of the knob.

Malachi spoke a few words in an undertone to Hannah, 
and stepped back to where the two young men
were standing.

"You go in, Marse Oliver. Leabe de gemman here
wid me under de tree. Everybody's got dere eye
wide open now--can't fool Malachi--I knows de
signs.

Oliver walked leisurely to the door, closed it softly
behind him, and ran upstairs into his mother's arms.

Malachi whispered to Grant, and the two disappeared 
in the shadows. At the same moment a bolt
shot back in a gate in the rear of the yard--a gate
rarely unbolted. Old Hannah stood behind it shading 
a candle with her hand. Malachi led the way
across the yard, through the green door of Richard's
shop, mounted the work-bench, felt carefully along
the edge of a trap-door in the ceiling, unhooked a
latch, pushed it up with his two hands, the dust
sifting down in showers on his head, and disclosed a
large, empty loft, once used by the slaves as a 
sleeping-room, and which had not been opened for years.

Assisted by the negro's arms, Grant climbed to the
floor above, where a dim skylight gave him light and
air. A cup of hot coffee was then handed up and the
door of the trap carefully fastened, Malachi rumpling
the shavings on the work-bench to conceal the dust,
No trace of the hiding-place of the fugitive was
visible.

When Malachi again reached the front hall, it was
in response to someone who was hammering at the
door as if to break it down. The old man peered
cautiously out through the small panes of glass. The
sidewalk was crowded with men led by Colonel Clayton, 
most of them carrying guns. They had marched
over from Clayton's house. Among them was a
posse of detectives from the Police Department.

In answer to their summons Richard had thrown
up the window of his bedroom and was talking to
Clayton, whose voice Malachi recognized above the
murmurs and threats of the small mob.

"Come down, Horn. Oliver has proved traitor,
just as I knew he would. He's been hiding one of
these damned Yankees all day. We want that man,
I tell you, dead or alive, and we are going to have
him."

When the door was flung wide Clayton confronted,
not Richard, but Oliver.

"Where's that Yankee?" cried Clayton. He had
not expected to see Oliver. "We are in no mood for
nonsense--where have you hidden him?"

Malachi stepped forward before Oliver could
answer.

"Marse Oliver ain't hid him. If you want him go
hunt him!"

"You speak like that to me, you black scoundrel,"
burst out the Colonel, and he raised his arm as if to
strike him.

"Yes--me! Ain't nobody gwine ter tech Marse
Oliver while I lib. I's as free as you is, Marse Clayton. 
Ain't no man can lay a han' on me!"

The Colonel wheeled angrily and gave an order to
one of the detectives in a low voice. Oliver stood
irresolute. He knew nothing of Grant's whereabouts.

The detective moved from the Colonel's side and
pushed his way closer to where Oliver stood.

"There's no use your denying it, young feller;
we've heard the whole story from one of our men
who saw you jump in front of him. You bring him
out or we'll go through the place from cellar to
garret."

Oliver gazed straight at the speaker and still held
his peace. He was wondering where Grant had hidden 
himself and what John's chances were if the
crowd searched the house. Malachi's outburst had
left him in the dark.

Mrs. Horn and Richard, who had followed Oliver
and were standing half way down the stairs; looked
on in astonishment. Would Clayton dare to break
all the rules of good manners, and search the house,
she whispered to Richard.

Another of the detectives now stepped forward--
a dark, ugly-looking man, with the face of a bulldog.

"Look here! I'll settle this. You and two men
crossed the Square ten minutes ago. This nigger
one of 'em; where's the other?"

Malachi turned and smiled significantly at Oliver
--a smile he knew. It was the smile which the old
man's face always wore whenever some tortuous lie
of the darky's own concoction had helped his young
master out of one of his scrapes.

"I am not here to answer your questions,"
Oliver replied quietly, a feeling of relief in his
heart.

The officer turned quickly and said with an oath
to one of the detectives, "Send one man to the alley
in the rear, and place another at this door. I'll search
the yard and the house. Let no one of the family
leave this hall. If that nigger moves put the irons
on him."

The men outside made a circle about the house,
some of them moving up the alley to watch the rear.
Clayton leaned against the jamb of the door. He
addressed no word to Richard or Mrs. Horn, nor did
be look their way. Oliver stood with folded arms
under the eight-sided hall-lantern which an officer
had lighted. Now and then he spoke in restrained
tones to his mother, who had taken her seat on the
stairs, Richard standing beside her. It was not the
fate of the soldier that interested her--it was the
horror of the search. Richard had not spoken except
to direct Malachi to obey the officer's orders. The
horror of the search did not affect the inventor--that
only violated the sanctity of the home: it was the
brute force behind it which appalled him--that might
annihilate the Republic.

"It is the beginning of the end," he said to himself.

The tread of heavy feet was again heard coming
through the hall. Malachi turned quickly and a subdued 
smile lighted his wrinkled face.

The two detectives were alone!

"He is not there, Colonel Clayton," said the man
with the bull-dog face, slipping his pistol into his
hip pocket. "We went through the yard and the out-
houses like a fine tooth-comb and made a clean sweep
of the cellar. He may have gotten over the wall, but
I don't think it. There's a lot of broken bottles on
top. I'll try the bedrooms now."

As the words fell from his lips Mrs. Horn rose
from her seat on the stairs, straight as a soldier on
guard. The light from the lantern illumined her
gray hair and threw into strong relief her upraised
hand--the first of millions raised in protest against
the invasion of the homes of the South. The detective 
saw the movement and a grim smile came into his
face.

"Unless they'll bring him out," he added, slowly.
"This young feller knows where he is. Make him
tell."

Colonel Clayton turned to Oliver. "Is he upstairs, 
Oliver?"

"No."

"You give me your word of honor. Oliver, that
he is not upstairs?"

"I do."

"Of course he'd say that. Here, I'll know pretty
d-- quick," muttered the detective moving toward
the stairway.

The Colonel stepped forward and barred his way
with his arm.

"Stay where you are! You don't know these people. 
If Oliver says he is not upstairs I believe him.
These Horns don't know how to lie. Your information 
is wrong. The man never entered the house.
You must look for the Yankee somewhere else."
Waiting until the detectives had left the hall, he
raised his hat, and with some show of feeling said:

"I am sorry, Sallie, that we had to upset you so.
When you and Richard see this matter in its true
light you'll think as I do. If these scoundrels are to
be permitted to come here and burn our homes we
want to know which side our friends are on."

"You are the judge of your own conduct, John
Clayton," she answered, calmly. "This night's work
will follow you all your life. Malachi, show Colonel
Clayton to the door and close it behind him."


Three nights later Malachi admitted a man he had
never seen before. He was short and thick-set and
had a grim, firmly set jaw. Under the lapel of his
coat was a gold shield. He asked for Mr. Horn, who
had lately been living in New York. He would not
come inside the drawing-room, but sat in the hall on
the hair-cloth sofa, his knees apart, his cap in his
hand.

"I'm the Chief of Police," he said to Oliver, without 
rising from his seat, "and I come because Mr.
Cobb sent me. That's between ourselves, remember.
You'll have to get out of here at once. They've got
a yarn started that you're a government detective
sent down here to spot rebel sympathizers and they'll
make it warm for you. I've looked into it and I know
it ain't so, but this town's in no shape to listen to
anything. Besides, a while ago one of my men found
your friend's uniform in the cellar where you hid it
behind the barrels and the handkerchief all blood,
with your name on it; and they've got you dead to
rights. That'll all be out in the morning papers and
make it worse for you. You needn't worry about
HIM. He's all right. Mr. Cobb found him at daylight
this morning just where your nigger left him and
drove him over to the junction. He's with his regiment 
by this time. Get your things together quick
as you can. I'll wait for you and see you safe aboard
the owl train."

Within the hour Oliver had turned his back on his
home and all that he loved.




CHAPTER XIX

THE SETTLING OF THE SHADOW



The bruised crocuses never again lifted their
heads in Kennedy Square.

With the settling of the shadow--a shadow black
with hate--men forgot the perfume of flowers, the
rest and cool of shady nooks, the kindling touch of
warm hands, and stood apart with eyes askance;
women shuddered and grew pale, and sad-faced children 
peered out through closed blinds.

Within the Square itself, along paths that had once
echoed to the tread of slippered feet, armed sentries
paced, their sharp challenges breaking the stillness
of the night. Outside its wrecked fences strange men
in stranger uniforms strode in and out of the joyless
houses; tired pickets stacked their arias on the unswept 
piazzas, and panting horses nibbled the bark
from the withered trees; rank weeds choked the gardens; 
dishevelled vines clung to the porches, and
doors that had always swung wide to the gentle tap
of loving fingers were opened timidly to the blow of
the sword-hilt.

Kennedy Square became a tradition.

Some civilizations die slowly. This one was shattered 
in a day by a paving-stone in the hands of a
thug.




CHAPTER XX

THE STONE MUGS



Frederick Stone, N.A., member of the Stone
Mugs, late war correspondent and special artist on
the spot, paused before the cheerful blaze of his studio
fire, shaking the wet snow from his feet. He had
tramped across Washington Square in drifts that
were over his shoe-tops, mounted the three flights of
steps to his cosey rooms, and was at the moment 
expressing his views on the weather, in terms more
forcible than polite, to our very old friend, Jack 
Bedford, the famous marine-painter. Bedford, on hearing 
the sound of Fred's footsteps, had strolled in from
his own studio, in the same building, and had thrown
himself into a big arm-chair, where he was sitting
hunched up, his knees almost touching his chin, his
round head covered by a skull-cap that showed above
the chair-back.

"Nice weather for ducks, Jack, isn't it? Can't see
how anybody can get here to-night," cried Fred,
striking the mantel with his wet cap, and scattering
the rain-drops over the hearth. "Just passed a
Broadway stage stuck in a hole as I came by the New
York Hotel. Been there an hour, they told me."

"Shouldn't wonder. Whose night is it, Fred?"
asked Jack, stretching out one leg in the direction of
the cheery blaze.

"Horn's."

"What's he going to do?"

"Give it up. Ask me an easy one. Said he wanted
a thirty by forty. There it is on the easel," and Fred
moved a chair out of his way, hung his wet coat and
hat on a peg behind the door, and started to clear up
a tangle of artillery harness that littered the floor.

"Thirty by forty, eh," grunted Jack, from the
depths of his chair. "Thunder and Mars! Is the
beggar going to paint a panorama? Thought that
canvas was for a new cavalry charge of yours!" He
had lowered the other leg now, making a double-
barrelled gun of the pair.

"No; it's Horn's. He's going to paint one of the
fellows to-night."

"In costume?" Jack's head was now so low in
the chair that his eyes could draw a bead along his
legs to the fire.

"Yes, as an old Burgomaster, or something with
a ruff," and he kicked an army blanket into a corner
as he spoke. "There's the ruff hanging on that pair
of foils, Waller sent it over." Then his merry eyes
fell on Jack's sprawled-out figure, his feet almost in
the grate--a favorite attitude of his neighbor's when
tired out with the day's work, comfortable perhaps,
but especially objectionable at the moment.

"Here--get up, you old stick-in-the-mud. Don't
sit there, doubled up like a government mule," he
laughed. (The army lingo still showed itself once
in a while in Fred's speech.) "Help me get this room
ready or I'll whale you with this," and he waved one
end of a trace over his head. "If the fellows are
coming they'll be here in half an hour. Shove back
that easel and bring in that beer--it's outside the door
in a box. I'll get out the tobacco and pipes."

Jack stretched both arms above his head, emitted
a yawn that could be heard in his room below, and
sprang to his feet.

Fred, by this time, had taken down from a closet
a tin box of crackers, unwrapped a yellow cheese,
and was trimming its raw edges with a palette knife.
Then they both moved out a big table from the inner
room to the larger one, and, while Jack placed the
eatables on its bare top, Fred mounted a chair, and
began lighting a circle of gas-jets that hung from the
ceiling of the skylight. The war-painter was host to-
night, and the task of arranging the rooms for the
comfort of his fellow-members consequently devolved
upon him.

The refreshments having been made ready, Fred
roamed about the rooms straightening the pictures
on the walls--an old fad of his when guests of any
kind were expected--punching the cushions and
Turkish saddle-bags into plumpness, that he had
picked up in a flying trip abroad the year the war was
over, and stringing them along the divan ready for
the backs and legs of the club-members. Next he
stripped the piano of a collection of camp sketches
that had littered it up for a week, dumped the pile into
a closet, and, with a sudden wrench of his arms,
whirled the instrument itself close against the wall.
Then some fire-arms, saddles, and artillery trappings
were hidden away in dark corners, and a lay figure,
clothed in fatigue cap and blue overcoat, and which
had done duty as "a picket" during the day, was
wheeled around with its face to the wall, where it
stood guard over Fred's famous picture ofb"The Last
Gun at Appomattox." His final touches were bestowed 
on the grate-fire and the coal-scuttle, both of
which were replenished from a big pine box in the
hall.

Jack Bedford, meanwhile, had busied himself rolling 
another table--a long one--under the circle of
gas-jets so that the men could see to work the better,
and loading it with palettes, china tiles, canvases, etc.,
to be used by the members of the club in their
work of the evening. Last of all and not by any
means the least important, Jack, by the aid of a chair,
gathered together, on the top shelf of the closet, the
unique collection of stone beer-mugs from which the
club took its name. These he handed down one by
one to Fred, who arranged them in a row on one end
of the long table. The mugs were to hold the contents 
of sundry bottles of beer, now safely stowed
away in the lidless, pigeon-holed box, standing in the
hall, which Fred unloaded later, placing the bottles
on the window-sill outside to cool.

Before they had ended their preparations, the
stamping of feet on the stair was heard, the door was
thrown back, and the several members of the club
began to arrive.

The great Waller came first, brushing the snow
from his shaggy coat, looking like a great bear, growling 
as he rolled in, as was his wont. Close behind
him, puffing with the run upstairs, and half-hidden
behind Waller's broad shoulders, trotted Simmons,
the musician.

Not the tousled, ill-clad Waller, the "Walrus"
of former days--no one dared to call the painter by
any such names since his picture took the Medaille
d'Honneur at Paris--and not the slender, smooth-
faced Simmons, who in the old days was content to
take his chances of filling a vacancy at Wallack's or
the Winter Garden, when some one of the regular
orchestra was under the weather; but a sleek, prosperous, 
rotund Waller, with a bit of red in his button-
hole, a wide expanse of shirt-front, and a waxed 
mustache; and a thoughtful, slightly bald, and well-
dressed Simmons, with gold eyeglasses, and his hair
worn long in his neck as befitted the leader of an
orchestra whose concerts crowded the Academy to
the doors.

These two arrivals nodded to Jack and Fred, Waller 
cursing the weather as he hung up his coat on a
peg behind the door (unnecessary formalities of every
kind, including the shaking of hands and asking after
each other's health, were dispensed with by men who
saw each other several times a day at their different
haunts), and Simmons, without stopping to take off
his wet coat, flung his hat on the divan, crossed the
room, and seated himself at the piano.

"Went this way, Waller, didn't it?" said Simmons
striking the keys, continuing the conversation the two
had evidently had on the stairs. "Never heard Parepa 
in better voice. She filled every corner of the
house. Crug told me he was up in Africa in the back
row and never missed a note. Do you remember
this?" and the musician's fingers again slipped over
the keys, and one of the great singer's trills rippled
through the room, to which Waller nodded approvingly, 
mopping his wet face with his handkerchief as
he listened.

The opening and shutting of the door, the stamping
of feet, the general imprecations hurled at the climate, 
and the scattering of wet snow and rain-drops
about the entrance became constant. Crug bustled
in--a short, thick-set, rosy-cheeked young fellow in
a black mackintosh and a white silk muffler--a 'cellist
of repute, who had spent two years at the conservatoire, 
and who had once played for Eugenie at one of
her musicales at the Tuileries, a fact he never let you
forget. And close behind him came Watson, the
landscape-painter, who had had two pictures accepted
by the Royal Academy--one of them hung on the
line, a great honor for an American; and after them
blue-eyed, round-faced Munson, a pupil of Kaulbach,
and late from Munich; as well as Harry Stedman,
Post, the art-critic, and one or two others.

Each man as he entered divested himself of his
wet garments, warmed his hands at the blazing grate-
fire, and, reaching over the long table, picked up a
clay or corn-cob pipe, stuffing the bowl full of tobacco
from a cracked Japanese pot that stood on the mantel. 
Then striking a match he settled himself into
the nearest chair, joining in the general talk or smoking 
quietly, listening to what was being said about
him. Now and then one would walk to the window,
raise the sash, uncork a bottle of beer where Fred had
placed it, empty its contents into one of the mugs, and
resume his seat--mug in one hand, pipe in the other.

Up to this time no work had been done, the courtesies
of the club permitting none to begin until the
member whose night it was had arrived.

As the half-hour slipped away the men began to
grow restless.

"If it's Horn's night why the devil doesn't he
come, Fred?" asked Waller, in a querulous tone. Although 
the great sheep-painter had lost his sobriquet
since the old days, he had never parted with his right
to growl.

"He'll be here," cried Simmons from his seat by
the piano. His fingers were still rippling gently over
the keys, although he had stopped once just long
enough to strip off his wet overcoat. "I met him at
Margaret Grant's this afternoon. She had a little
tea."

"There every afternoon, isn't he, Simmons?"
asked Munson, who was smoking quietly:

"Shouldn't wonder," came the response between
the trills.

"How's that affair coming on?" came a voice out
of the tobacco-smoke.

"Same old way," answered someone at the lower
end of the table--"still waiting for the spondulix."

"Seen her last picture?" remarked Watson,
knocking the ashes from his pipe. "The one she
scooped the medal with?"

"Yes. Rouser, isn't it?" called out Waller.
"Best thing she has done yet. She's a great woman.
Hello! there he is! This is a pretty time for him to
put in an appearance!"

The door opened and Oliver walked in, a wet umbrella 
in one hand, his coat-collar turned up, his mustache 
beaded with melted snow-drops.

"What's it doing outside, Ollie, raining cats and
dogs?" Jack called out.

"No, going to clear up. It's stopped snowing and
getting colder. Oh, what a night! I love a storm
like this, it sets my blood tingling. Sorry to keep you
waiting, gentlemen, but I couldn't help it. It won't
make any difference; I can't begin, anyway. Bianchi
won't be here for an hour. Just met him on the street
--he's going to bring a guest, he says."

"Who's he going to bring?" shouted Simmons,
who had risen from his seat at the piano, and was now
sorting out some sheets of music that Fred had just
laid on its top.

"He won't tell; says it's a surprise," answered
Oliver, slipping off his coat.

"A surprise, is it?" grumbled Waller. "I'll bet
it's some greasy foreigner." He had left Simmons's
side and was now standing by the mantel, filling a pipe
from the bowl. "Bianchi has always got a lot of
cranks about him."

Oliver hung his wet coat among the row of garments 
lining the wall--he had come twice as far as
the others--crowded his dripping umbrella into a
broken Chinese jar that did duty as a rack, and, catching 
sight of the canvas, walked toward the easel holding 
the thirty by forty.

"Where did you get it, Freddie?" he said, putting
his arms around the shoulders of his old chum and
dragging him toward the easel for a closer inspection
of the grain of the canvas.

"Snedecor's"

"Just right, old man. Much obliged," and he felt
the grain of the cloth with his thumb. "Got a ruff?"
and he glanced about him. "Oh, yes; I see.
Thanks."

The men, now that Oliver had arrived, drew up
around the long table. Some began setting their
palettes; others picked out, from the common stock
before them, the panels, canvases, china plates, or
sheets of paper, which, under their deft touches, were
so soon to be covered with dainty bits of color.

It was in many ways a remarkable club. Most of
its members had already achieved the highest rank
in their several professions and outside the walls of
this eyrie were known as earnest, thoughtful men,
envied and sought after by those who respected their
aims and successes.

Inside these cosey rooms all restraint was laid
aside and each man's personality and temperament
expressed itself without reserve. Harry Stedman,
who, perhaps, had been teaching a class of students all
the morning in the new building of the National
Academy of Design, each one of whom hung upon his
words as if he had been inspired, could be found here
a few hours later joining in a chorus with a voice
loud enough to rattle every mug on the table.

Waller, who doubtless that same night, had been
the bright particular star at some smart dinner uptown, 
and whose red ribbon had added such eclat
to the occasion, and whose low voice and quiet manners 
and correct, conventional speeches had so
charmed and captivated the lady on his right, would,
when once in this room, sit astride some chair, a pipe
in one hand, a mug of beer in the other. Here he
would discuss with Simmons or Jack or Oliver his
preference of Chopin over Beethoven, or the difference 
between Parepa-Rosa and Jenny Lind, or any
topic which had risen out of the common talk, and all
too with a grotesqueness of speech and manner that
would have frozen his hostess of the dinner-table
dumb with astonishment could she have seen him.

And so with the others. Each man was frankly
himself and in undress uniform when under Fred's
skylight, or when the club was enjoying any one of
its various festivals and functions.

Oliver's election into the organization had, therefore, 
been to him one of the greatest honors he had
received since his skill as a painter had been recognized 
by his fellows--an honor not conferred upon
him because he had been one of the earlier members
of the old Union Square organization, many of whom
had been left out, but entirely because he was not
only the best of fellows, but among the best of painters 
as well. An honor too, which brought with it
the possibility of a certain satisfying of his tastes.
Only once before had he found an atmosphere so congenial 
and that was when the big hemlocks that he
loved stood firm and silent about him--companions
in a wilderness that rested him.

The coming together of such a body of men representing, 
as they did, the choicest the city afforded
in art, literature and music, had been as natural
and unavoidable as the concentration of a mass of
iron filings toward a magnet. That insatiable
hunger of the Bohemian, that craving of the
craftsman for men of his kind, had at last overpowered 
them, and the meetings in Fred's studio were
the inevitable result.

Many of these devotees of the arts had landed on
the barren shores of America--barren of even the
slightest trace of that life they had learned to love
so well in the Quartier Latin in Paris and in the
Rathskellers of Munich and Dusseldorf--and had
wandered about in the uncongenial atmosphere of
the commonplace until this retreat had been opened
to them. Some, like Fred Stone and Jack Bedford,
who had struggled on through the war, too much occupied 
in the whirl of their life to miss at the time
the associations of men of similar tastes, had eagerly
grasped the opportunity when it came, and others,
like Oliver, who had had all they could do to get their
three meals during the day and a shelter for the
night, had hardly been conscious of what they wanted
until the club had extended to them its congenial
surroundings.

On the trio of painters we knew best in the old
days these privations and the uncertainties and 
disappointments of the war had left their indelible mark.
You became aware of this when you saw them among
their fellow-workers. About Fred's temples many
tell-tale gray hairs were mingled with the brown, and
about his mouth and eyes were deeper lines than
those which hard work alone would have cut. He
carried a hole, too, in his right arm--or did until the
army surgeon sewed it up--you could see it as a blue
scar every time he rolled up his sleeve--a slight souvenir 
of the Battle of Five Forks. It was bored out
by a bullet from the hands of a man in gray when
Fred, dropping his sketch-book, had bent to drag a
wounded soldier from under an overturned caisson.
He carried no scar, however, in his heart. That
organ beat with as keen a sympathy and as warm a
spirit of camaraderie as it did when it first opened
itself to Oliver's miseries in Union Square.

Jack Bedford, gaunt and strong of limb, looking
a foot taller, had more than once been compelled to
lay down his painter's palette and take up the sign-
painter's brush, and the tell-tale wrinkles about his
eyes and the set look about his mouth testified but
too plainly to the keenness of his sufferings.

And Oliver--

Ah! what of Oliver, and of the changes in him
since that fatal night in Kennedy Square when he had
been driven away from his home and made an outcast 
because he had been brave enough to defend a
helpless man?

You can see at a glance, as you watch him standing
by the big easel, his coat off, to give his arm freer play,
squeezing the tubes of color on his palette, that he is
not the boy you knew some years ago. He is, you
will admit, as strong and alert-looking as he was that
morning when he cleared the space in front of Margaret's 
brother with a cart-rung. You will concede,
too, that the muscles about his chest and throat are
as firmly packed, the eyes as keen, and the smile as
winning, but you will acknowledge that the boy in
him ends there. As you look the closer you will note
that the line of the jaw is more cleanly cut than in
his younger days; that the ears are set closer to the
finely modelled head; that the nose is more aquiline,
the eyes deeper, and that the overhanging brow is
wrinkled with one or more tight knots that care has
tied, and which only loosen when his face breaks into
one of his old-time smiles. The mustache is still there
--the one which Sue once laughed at; but it has lost
its silky curl and stands straight out now from the
corners of his mouth, its points reaching almost to
the line of his ears. There is, too, beneath it a small
imperial, giving to his face the debonair look of a 
cavalier, and which accentuates more than any other
one thing his Southern birth and training. As you
follow the subtle outlines of his body you find too,
that he is better proportioned than he was in his early
manhood; thinner around the waist, broader across
the shoulders; pressed into a closer mold; more compact, 
more determined-looking. But for the gleam
that now and then flashes out of his laughing eyes
and the winning smile that plays about his mouth,
you would, perhaps, think that the years of hardship
through which he has passed have hardened his nature. 
But you would be wrong about the hardening
process, although you would have been entirely right
about the hardship.

They had, indeed, been years of intense suffering,
full of privations, self-denial, and disappointments,
not only in his New York home but in Kennedy
Square, whenever at long intervals he had gone back
to the old house to cheer its inmates in their loneliness
--a loneliness relieved only by the loyalty of old
Malachi and Hannah and the affection and sympathy
of their immediate relatives and of such close friends
as Amos Cobb, who had never left his post, Miss 
Clendenning, Dr. Wallace, Nathan and some others.
But this sympathy had not always been extended to
Oliver--not, by his old schoolmates and chums at
least. Even Sue had passed him in the street with a
cold stare and not a few of the other girls--girls he
had romped with many a night through the cool paths
of Kennedy Square, had drawn their skirts aside as
he passed lest he should foul them with his touch.

But his courage had not wavered nor had his
strength failed him. The same qualities that had
made Richard stick to the motor were in his own
blood. His delicately modelled slender fingers,
white as ivory, and as sure as a pair of callipers
--so like his father's--and which as we watch
him work so deftly arranging the colors on his
palette, adjusting the oil-cup, trying the points of
the brushes on his thumb-nail, gathering them in a
sheaf in his left hand as they answer his purpose, had
served him in more ways than one since he took that
midnight ride back from his old home in Kennedy
Square. These same hands that look so white and
well-kept as he stands by his easel in the full glare
of the gas-jets, had been his sole reliance during these
days of toil and suffering. They had provided all the
bread that had gone into his mouth, and every stitch
of clothes that had covered his back. And they had
not been over-particular as to how they had accomplished 
it nor at what hours or places. They had
cleaned lithographic stones, the finger-nails stained
for weeks with colored inks; they had packed hardware; 
they had driven a pen far into the night on
space work for the daily papers; they had carried
a dinner-pail to and from his lodgings to the factory
two miles away where he had worked--very little
in this pail some of the time; they had posted ledgers, 
made office-fires, swept out stores--anything
and everything that his will compelled, and his 
necessities made imperative. And they had done it
all forcefully and willingly, with the persistence
and sureness of machines accomplishing a certain
output in so many hours. Joyfully too, sustained
and encouraged by the woman he loved and whose
heart through all his and her vicissitudes was still
his own.

All this had strengthened him; had taught him that
any kind of work, no matter how menial, was worthy
of a gentleman; so long as his object was obtained--
in this case his independence and his livelihood. It
had been a bitter experience at first, especially for a
Southerner brought up as he had been; but he had
mastered it at last. His early training had helped
him, especially that part which he owed to his mother,
who had made him carry the market-basket as a boy,
to humble a foolish and hurtful pride. He was
proud enough of it now.

But never through all these privations had these
same white hands and this tired body and brain been
so occupied that they could not find time during some
one of the hours of the day and night to wield the
brush, no matter how urgent had been the call for
the week's board--wielding it, too, so lovingly and
knowingly, and with such persistency, that to-night
although still poor--he stood recognized as a rising
man by the men in the front rank of the painters of
his time.

And with his mother's consent, too. Not that he
had asked it in so many words and stood hesitating,
fearing to take the divergent path until he could
take her willing blessing with him. He had made his
decision firmly and against her wishes. She had kept
silent at first, and had watched his progress as she had
watched his baby steps, tearfully--prayerfully at
times--standing ready to catch him if he fell. But
that was over now. The bigness of her vision covering 
margins wide enough for new impressions, impressions 
which her broad mind, great enough and
honest enough to confess its mistakes, always welcomed 
and understood, had long since made clear
to her what in her early anxiety she had ignored:
--that if her son had inherited the creative and
imaginative gifts of his father (those gifts which
she so little understood), he had also inherited
from her a certain spirit of determination, together 
with that practical turn of mind which had
given the men of her own family their eminence. In
proof of this she could not but see that the instability
which she had so dreaded in his earlier years had
given way to a certain fixedness of purpose and firm
self-reliance. The thought of this thrilled her as
nothing else in his whole career had ever done. All
these things helped reconcile her to his choice of a
profession.

Oliver, now thoroughly warm and dry, busied himself 
getting his brushes and paints together and
scraping off one of Fred's palettes. Bianchi's bald
head and fat, red, smooth-shaven face with its double
chin--time had not dealt leniently with the distinguished
lithographer--had inspired our hero to attempt 
a "Franz Hals smear," as Waller called it, and
the Pole, when he arrived, was to sit for him in
the costume of an old Dutch burgomaster, the
big white ruff furnishing the high lights in the
canvas.

By the time Oliver had arranged his palette the
club had settled itself for work, the smoke from the
pipes floating in long lines toward the ceiling, befogging 
the big white albatross that hung from a wire in
the skylight. Munson, who had rubbed in a background 
of bitumen over a square tile, sat next to
Fred, who was picking out, with the end of a wooden
match, the outlines of an army-wagon sketched on a
plate smeared with color. Simmons was looking over
a portfolio that Watson, a new member, had brought
with him, filled with a lot of his summer sketches
made on the Normandy coast.

One view of the fish-market at Dieppe caught Oliver's 
eye. The slant of light burnishing the roof
of the church to silver and flooding the pavement of
the open square, crowded with black figures, the
white caps of the fish-women indicated by crisp pats
of the brush, pleased our painter immensely.

"Charming, old man," said Oliver, turning to
Watson. "How long did it take you?"

"About four hours."

"Looks like it," growled Waller, reaching over
Oliver's shoulder and drawing the sketch toward him.
"That's the gospel of 'smear,' Horn," and he tossed
it back. "Not a figure in the group has got any
drawing in it."

Waller had set his face against the new out-door
school, and never lost a chance to ridicule it.

"That's not what Watson is after," exclaimed Oliver. 
"The figures are mere accessories. The dominating 
light is the thing; he's got that"--and he held
the sketch close to the overhead gas-jets so that the
members could see it the better.

"Dominating light be hanged! What's the use of
slobbering puddles of paint over a canvas and calling
it plein air, or impressionism, or out-of-doors, or some
such rot? Get down to business and DRAW. When
you have done that you can talk. It can't be done in
four hours, and if some of you fellows keep on the
way you're going, you'll never do it in four years."

"A four hours' sketch handled as Watson has
this," said Oliver, thoughtfully, "is better than four
years' work on one of your Hudson Rivery things.
The sun doesn't stand still long enough for a man
to get more than an expression of what he sees--that
is if he's after truth. The angle of shadow changes
too quickly, and so do the reflected lights."

"What's the matter with the next day?" burst out
Waller. "Can't you take up your sketch where you
left off? You talk as if every great picture had to be
painted before luncheon."

"But there is no 'next day,'" interrupted Watson. 
"I entirely agree with Horn." He had been
listening to the discussion with silent interest. "No
next day like the one on which you began your canvas. 
The sky is different--gray, blue, or full of
fleecy, sunny clouds. Your shadows are more purple,
or blue or gray, depending on your sky overhead,
and so are your reflections. If you go on and try to
piece out your sketch, you make an almanac of it--
not a portrait of what you saw. I can pick out the
Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays on that kind of
a sketch as soon as I see it. Nature is like a bird--
if you want to surprise her, you must let go both
barrels when she rises; if you miss her at your first
shot you will never have another chance--not at that
particular bird."

"Well, but suppose you DO happen to have two
days alike," insisted Waller. "I have seen thirty
days on a stretch in Venice without a cloud. What
then?" The bird simile had evidently not appealed
to the great critic.

"Then ten chances to one you are not the same
man you were the day before," replied Watson,
calmly, laying down his pipe. "You have had bad
news from home or your liver is out of order, or worse
still, you have seen some new subject which has taken
hold of you and your first enthusiasm has oozed away.
If you persist in going on you will either undo what
you did yesterday or you will trust to your memory
of what you THINK yesterday was, to finish your sketch
by. The first fills it full of lies and the second full
of yourself; neither have anything to do with nature.
Four hours, Waller, not a minute more. You'll come
to it before you die."

"That depends on what you have got to paint
with," snapped out Jack Bedford, who was trying
to clean a dingy-looking palette with a knife.
"Whose dirt-dump is this, anyhow?" and he held it
up to view. "Might as well try to get sunlight out
of powdered brick. Look at that pile of mud," and
he pointed to some dry color near the thumb-hole.

"Which palette?" came a voice.

Jack held it up for the inspection of the room.

"Oh, that's Parker Ridgway's," answered Fred.
"He was here the other day and made a half-hour's
sketch of a model I had."

The announcement of Ridgway's name was greeted
with shouts of laughter. He was a society painter
of the day, pupil of Winterhalter and Meyer von
Bremen, and had carried off more portraits and at
higher prices than all the other men put together.

"Keep on! keep on! Laugh away," grumbled Waller 
squeezing a tube of Prussian blue on his palette.
"When any one of you fellows can get $4,000 for a
season's work you can talk; until you do, you can
keep your mouths shut as tight as Long Island
clams."

"Who got it?"

"The Honorable Parker Ridgway, R.A., P.Q.,
and I don't know but X.Y.Z.," roared Waller.

"I'd like to know how?" asked Watson, reaching
over Fred's arm for the bottle of turpentine.

"That's what he did," snapped out Waller.

"Did what?"

"Knew how."

"But he doesn't know how," cried Munson from
across the table. "I sat alongside of that fellow at the
Ecole for two years. He can't draw, and never could.
His flesh was beastly, his modelling worse, and his
technique--a botch. You can see what color he
uses," and he pointed to the palette Jack was trying
to clean.

"Granted, my boy," said Waller. "I didn't say
he could PAINT; I said he knew how to earn $4,000 in
three months painting portraits."

"He never painted a portrait worth four cents.
Why, I knew--"

"Dry up, Munson!" interrupted Jack. "Go on,
Waller, tell us how he did it."

"By using some horse-sense and a little tact; getting 
in with the procession and bolding his cud up,"
retorted Waller, in a solemn tone.

"Give him room! Give him room!" cried Oliver,
with a laugh, pouring a little dryer into his oil-cup.
He loved to hear Waller talk. "He flings his words
about as if they were chunks of coal," he would always 
say.

The great man wheeled his chair around and faced
the room. Oliver's words had sounded like a challenge.

"Keep it up!--pound away," he cried, his face
reddening. "I've watched Ridgway ever since he
arrived here last spring, and I will give you his
recipe for success. He didn't fall overboard into a
second-rate club as soon as he got here and rub his
brushes on his coat-sleeve to look artistic. Not much!
He had his name put up at the Union; got Croney to
cut his clothes, and Leary to make his hats, played
croquet with the girls he knew, drove tandem--his
brother-in-law's--and dined out every night in the
week. Every day or two he would haul out one of his
six-foot canvases, and give it a coat of bitumen. Always 
did this when some club swell was around who
would tell about it,"

"Did it with a sponge," muttered Munson. "Old
trick of his!"

"Next thing he did," continued Waller, ignoring
Munson's aside, "was to refuse a thousand-dollar
commission offered by a vulgar real-estate man to
paint a two-hundred-pound pink-silk sofa-cushion of a
wife in a tight-fitting waist. This spread like the
measles. It was the talk of the club, of dinner-tables
and piazzas, and before sundown Ridgway's exclusiveness 
in taste and artistic instincts were established.
Then he hunted up a pretty young married woman
occupying the dead-centre of the sanctified social
circle, went into spasms over her beauty--so classic,
such an exquisite outline; grew confidential with the
husband at the club, and begged permission to make
just a sketch only the size of his hand--wanted it for
his head of Sappho, Berlin Exhibition. Next he
rented a suite of rooms, crowded in a lot of borrowed
tapestries, brass, Venetian chests, lamps and hangings; 
gave a tea--servants this time in livery--exhibited 
his Sappho; refused a big price for it from the
husband; got orders instead for two half-lengths,
$1,500 each, finished them in two weeks, declined
more commissions on account of extreme fatigue; 
disappeared with the first frost and the best cottage
people; booked three more full-lengths in New York
--two to be painted in Paris and the other on his return 
in the spring; was followed to the steamer by
a bevy of beauties, half-smothered in flowers, and 
disappeared in a halo of artistic glory just $4,000 in."

Fred broke out into a roar, in which the whole
room joined.

"And you call that art, do you?" cried Munson,
laying down his palette. His face was flushed, his
eyes snapping with indignation.

"I do, my babbling infant," retorted Waller. "I
call it the art of making the most of your opportunities 
and putting your best foot foremost. That's
a thing you fellows never seem to understand. You
want to shuffle around in carpet-slippers, live in a
garret, and wait until some money-bags climbs up
your crazy staircases to discover you. Ridgway puts.
his foot in a patent-leather pump and silk stocking,
and never steps on a carpet that isn't two inches thick.
Merchants, engineers, manufacturers, and even scientists, 
when they have anything to sell, go where there
is somebody to buy; why shouldn't an artist?"

"Just like a fakir peddling cheap jewelry," said
Stedman, in a low voice, sending a cloud of smoke to
the ceiling.

"Or a bunco-man trading watches with a farmer,"
remarked Jack Bedford. "What do you say, My
Lord Tom-Noddy"--and he slapped Oliver on the
back. The sobriquet was one of Jack's pet names for
Oliver--all the Kennedy Square people were more
or less aristocrats to Jack Bedford, the sign-painter--
all except Oliver.

"I think Waller's about half-right, Jack. As far
as Ridgway's work goes, you know and I know that
there isn't one man or woman out of a hundred
among his brother-in-law's friends who knows
whether it's good or bad--that's the pity of it. If
it's bad and they buy it, that's their fault for not
knowing any better, not Ridgway's fault for doing
the best he knows how. By silk stockings and pumps
I suppose Waller means that Ridgway dressed himself 
like a gentleman, had his hair cut, and paid some
attention to his finger-nails. That's why they were
glad to see him. The day has gone by when a painter
must affect a bob-tailed velveteen jacket, long hair,
and a slouch hat to help him paint, just as the day has
gone by when an artist is not an honored guest in
any gentleman's house in town."

"Bravo, Tom-Noddy!" shouted Jack and Fred in
a breath. "Drink, you dear old pressed brick. Put
your nose into this!" and Fred held a mug of beer to
Oliver's lips.

Oliver laid down his sheaf of brushes--buried his
nose in the cool rim of the stone mug, the only beverage 
the club permitted, and was about to continue
his talk, when his eye rested on Bianchi, who was
standing in the open door, his hand upraised so as to
bespeak silence.

"Here--you beautiful, bald-headed old burgomaster!" 
shouted Oliver. "Get into your ruff right
away. Been waiting half an hour for you and--"

Bianchi put his fingers to his lips with a whispered
hush, knit his brow, and pointed significantly behind
him. Every eye turned, and a breathless silence fell
upon the group, followed by a scraping of chairs on
the floor as each man sprang to his feet.

Bianchi's surprise had arrived!




CHAPTER XXI

"THE WOMAN IN BLACK"



In the doorway, immediately behind Bianchi and
looking over the little man's head, stood a woman of
perhaps forty years of age in full evening toilet.
About her head was wound a black lace scarf, and
hanging from her beautiful shoulders, half-concealing
a figure of marvellous symmetry, was a long black
cloak, open at the throat, trimmed with fur, and lined
with watermelon pink silk. Tucked in her hair was
a red japonica. She was courtesying to the room
with all the poise and graciousness of a prima donna
saluting an audience.

Oliver sprang for his coat and was about to cram
his arms into the sleeves, when she cried:

"Oh, please don't! I wish I could wear a coat
myself, so that I could take it off and paint. Oh!
the smell of the lovely pipes! It's heavenly, and it's
so like home. Really," and she looked about her,
"this is the only place I have seen in America that I
can breathe in. I've heard of you all winter and I
so wanted to come. I would not give dear Bianchi
any rest till he brought me. Oh! I'm so glad to be
here."

Oliver and the others were still standing, looking
in amazement at the new-corner. One of the unwritten 
laws of the club was that no woman should ever
enter its doors, a law that until this moment had
never been broken.

While she was speaking Bianchi stepped back, and
took the tips of the woman's fingers within his own.
When she had finished he thrust out one foot and,
with the bow of an impresario introducing a new
songstress, said:

"Gentlemen of the Stone Mugs, I have the honor
of presenting you to the Countess Kovalski."

Again the woman courtesied, sweeping the floor
with her black velvet skirt, broke out into a laugh,
handed her cloak and scarf to Bianchi, who threw
them over the shoulders of the lay figure, and moved
toward the table, Fred, as host, drawing out a chair
for her.

"Oh!--what lovely beginnings--" she continued,
examining the sketches with her lorgnette, after
the members had made their salutations, "Let me
make one. I studied two years with Achenbach.
You did not know that Bianchi, did you? There are
so many things you do not know, you lovely man."
She was as much at home as if she had been there
every evening of her life.

Still, with the same joyous self-contained air she
settled herself in Fred's proffered chair, picked up
one of Jack's brushes, reached over his shoulder, and
with a "please-hold-still, thank you," scooped up a
little yellow ochre from his palette, and unloaded it
on a corner of a tile. Then, stripping off her bracelets,
she piled them in a heap before her, selected a Greek
coin dangling from the end of one of them, propped
it up on the table and began to paint; the men,
all of whom were too astonished to resume their
work, crowding about her, watching the play of
her brush; a brush so masterful in its technique
that before the picture was finished the room broke
out in unrestrained applause.

During all this time she was talking in German to
Crug, or in French to Waller, only stopping to light
a fresh cigarette which she took from a jewelled
case and laid beside her. She could, no doubt, have
as easily lapsed into Russian, Choctaw, or Chinese
had there been any such strange people about.

When the men had resumed their customary seats
and the room had once more settled to work--it had
only been a question of sex that had destroyed the
equilibrium, a question no longer of value now that
the fair intruder could really PAINT--Oliver bent
over her and said in his most gallant manner:

"If the Countess Kovalski will be gracious enough
to excuse Bianchi (he had never left her elbow) I
will try and make a burgomaster of him. Perhaps
you will help me tie this around his neck," and he held
out the white ruff. He had put on his coat despite
her protest.

"What, dear Bianchi in a ruff! Oh! how perfectly
charming! That's really just what he looks like.
I've always told him that Rembrandt ought to have
seen him. Come, you sweet man, hold up your beautiful 
Dutch face."

As she spoke she caught the ruff from Oliver's
hand and stretched out her bare arms toward Blanch.

"No, I'm not going to pose now," protested the
Pole, pushing back her hands. "You can get me
any time. Take the Countess, Horn. She'd make
a stunner."

"Yes! Yes! Please do," she laughed, springing
from her seat and clapping her hands with all the
gayety and joyousness of a child over some expected
pleasure.

Oliver hesitated for an instant, as he looked down
into her eyes, wondering whether his brush could
do justice to their depth. Then he glanced at her
supple figure and white skin in contrast to the black
velvet, its edge softened by the fall of lace, the 
dominant, insistent note of the red japonica in her blue-
black hair, the flesh tones brilliant under the gas-jets.
The color scheme was exactly what he had been looking 
for all winter--black, white, and a touch of red.

"I have never been so honored, Madame. Nothing 
could give me greater pleasure," he answered,
with a dry smile. "May I escort your ladyship to
the platform?" And he held out his hand and conducted 
her to the stand facing the big easel.

Then there followed a scene such as many of the
Stone Mugs had not shared in since they left the
Latin Quarter.

The Countess stood erect on the raised platform,
with head up and slightly turned, the full glare of
the gas-jets falling upon her neck and throat, made
all the more brilliant by reason of the dark green
walls of Fred's studio, which formed the background
behind her. One arm was partly raised, a lighted
cigarette between her fingers; the other was lost in
the folds of the velvet gown. She posed as naturally
and as easily as if she had done nothing else all her
life, and with a certain bravado and swing that 
enchanted everybody in the room.

One talent demanded of the artist members of the
club when they sought admission, and insisted upon
by the Committee, was the ability, possessed in a
marked degree by Oliver, of making a rapid, telling
sketch from life, and at night. So expert had most
of the members become that many of their pictures
made under the gas-light were as correct in their
color-values as those done in the day-time. In this
Oliver was past-master. Most of his own work had
to be done under artificial light during the long
years of his struggle.

The men--they were again on their feet--crowded
closer, forming a circle about the easel. They saw
that the subject appealed to Oliver, and they knew
how much better he could paint when his heart was in
his work. His picture of Margaret Grant in the Tam-
o'-Shanter cap, the best portrait at the last exhibition,
had proved that.

Oliver saw the interest shown in his work and put
himself on his mettle. He felt that not only his own
reputation, but the honor of the Stone Mugs, was at
stake. He felt, too, a certain pride and confidence
in the sureness of his touch--a touch that the woman
he loved believed in--one she had really taught him
herself, He began by blocking in with a bit of charcoal 
the salient points of the composition. Fred stood
on his left hand holding a cigar-box filled with tubes
of color, ready to unscrew their tops and pass them to
Oliver as he needed them.

As the dark background of greenish black, under
the vigorous strokes of his brush, began to relieve the
flesh tones, and the coloring of the lips and the 
japonica in the hair took their places in the color-
scheme, a murmur of applause ran through the room.
No such piece of night-work had ever been painted
since the club had come together, and certainly not
before.

"A Fortuny, by thunder!" burst out Waller. He
had been the first man to recognize Oliver's talent in
the old days and had always felt proud of his foresight.

For two hours Oliver stood before his canvas, the
Countess resting now and then, floating over to the
piano, as Simmons had done, running her fingers over
its keys, or breaking out into Polish, Hungarian, or
French songs at the pleasure of the room. During
these rests Oliver turned the picture to the wall. He
did not wish her to see it until it was finished. He
was trying some brush tricks that Madge loved, some
that she had learned in Couture's atelier, and whose
full effect could only be recognized in the finished
work.

When the last touches of Oliver's brush had been
laid on the canvas, and the modest signature, O. H.,
as was the custom, had been affixed to its lower left-
hand corner, he made a low salaam to the model and
whirled the easel in front of her.

The cry of delight that escaped her lips was not
only an expression of her pleasure, but it convinced
every man in the club that the Countess's technical
knowledge of what constituted a work of art equalled
her many other accomplishments. She sat looking at
it with thoughtful, grave face, and her whole manner
changed. She was no longer the woman who had so
charmed the room. She was the connoisseur, the expert, 
the jury of last resort. Oliver watched her with
absorbing interest as he sat wiping his forehead with
his handkerchief.

"Monsieur Horn," she said, slowly, as if weighing
each word, "if you come to my country they will
cover you all over with medals. I had no idea anyone 
in this new land could paint as you do. You are
a master. Permit me, Monsieur, to make you my
obeisance--" and she dipped back on one foot and
swept the floor with her skirts.

Oliver laughed, returned the bow with a mock
flourish, and began rolling down his shirt-cuffs; a
thrill quivering through him--that thrill only felt by
a painter when he is conscious that some work of his
brush has reached the high-water mark of his abilities. 
For only the artist in him had been at work.
What stirred him was not the personality of the
Countess--not her charm nor beauty but the harmony 
of the colors playing about her figure: the
reflected lights in the blue-black of her hair; the
soft tones of the velvet lost in the shadows of
the floor, and melting into the walls behind her;
the high lights on the bare shoulder and arms divided
by the severe band of black; the subdued grays in
the fall of lace uniting the flesh tones and the bodice;
and, more than all, the ringing note of red sung by
the japonica tucked in her hair and which found its
only echo in the red of her lips--red as a slashed
pomegranate with the white seed-teeth showing
through. The other side of her beautiful self--the
side that lay hidden under her soft lashes and velvet
touch, the side that could blaze and scorch and burn
to cinders--that side Oliver had never once seen nor
thought of.

This may have been because, while his fingers
worked on, his thoughts were somewhere else, and
that he saw another face as he mixed his colors, and
not that of the siren before him. Or it may have been
that, as he looked into the eyes of the Countess, he
saw too deeply into the whirlpool of passion and pain
which made up the undercurrent in this beautiful
woman's strange life.

Not so the others. Many of whom were the most
serious-minded of men where women were concerned.
Crug--who, to quote Waller, had drifted into a state
of mind bordering on lunacy--was so completely
taken off his feet that he again led her ladyship by
her finger-tips to the piano, and, with his hand on
his heart, and his eyes upraised, begged her to sing
for him some of the songs of her native land and in
the tongue of her own people; the Countess complying 
so graciously and singing with such consummate 
taste and skill, throwing her soul into every
line, that the men soon broke out in rounds of
applause, crowding about her with the eagerness of
bees around a hive--all except Waller and Oliver,
who sat apart, quietly watching her out of the corners 
of their eyes.

The portrait was forgotten now; so were the
sketches and tiles, and the work of the evening. So
was everything else but the woman who dominated
the room. She kept her seat on the piano-stool, the
centre of the group, as a queen of the ballet sits on
a painted throne, flashing her eyes from one to the
other, wheeling about to dash off an air from some
unknown opera--unknown to those who listened--
laying her lighted cigarette on the music-rack as she
played, and whirling back again to tell some anecdote
of the composer who wrote it, or some incident connected 
with its production in Vienna or Warsaw or
St. Petersburg--the club echoing her every whim.

It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that the staid
and sober-minded Stone Mugs, under these conditions, 
completely lost their heads, and that when Oliver 
picked up an empty beer-mug, the symbol of the
club used in all ceremonies, and began filling it with
the names of the members which he had written on
slips of paper, preparatory to the drawing of the lottery 
for the picture which he had just finished--every
meeting-night a lottery was drawn, the lucky winner
possessing the picture of the evening--Crug and
Munson should have simultaneously sprung to their
feet, and, waving their hands over their heads, have
proposed, in one and the same breath, that "Our 
distinguished visitor" should have the privilege of 
adding her own name to those in Oliver's mug--the 
picture to be her own individual property should her
patronymic be the first to be drawn from its open
mouth.

Waller started to his feet to object, and the words
of protest were half out of his mouth when Oliver
stopped him. A woman was always a woman to Oliver, 
no matter what her past or present station in life
might be. It was her sex that kept him loyal when
any discourtesy was involved.

"Keep still, old man," he whispered. "They've
gone crazy, but we can't help it. Get on your feet
and vote."

When the sound of the "ayes" adopting Crug and
Munson's motion had died away, Oliver inscribed her
initials upon a small piece of paper, dropped it in the
mug, held it high above the lady's head, and asked
her to reach up her dainty fingers and pick out the
name of the lucky possessor of "The Woman in
Black," as the picture had now been christened. The
white arm went up, the jewelled fingers felt about
nervously among the little ballots, and then the
Countess held up a twisted bit of paper.

A burst of applause filled the room. The scrap of
paper bore the initials of the Countess! "The
Woman in Black" was her property.

But the most extraordinary part by far of the
evening's performance was still to come.

When the hour of midnight had arrived--the hour
of dispersal, a rule rarely broken--the Countess
called to Bianchi and directed him to go out into the
hall and bring in her long black stockings and stout
shoes, which she had taken off outside Fred's door,
and which she had left hanging on a nail.

I can see her now--for I, too, was leaning over the
same table, Oliver beside me, watching this most
extraordinary woman of another world, a woman who
had been the idol of almost every capital in Europe,
and whom I knew (although Oliver did not) had been
quietly conducted out of some of them between dark
and daylight--I can see her now, I say, sitting on the
piano-stool, facing the group, the long, black silk
stockings that Bianchi had brought her in her hands.
I remember just the way in which, after loosening her
dainty, red-heeled slippers, she swept aside her skirts,
unfastened her garters, and, with the same 
unconsciousness and ease with which she would have slipped
a pair of rubbers over a pair of shoes, drew the
long black stockings over her flesh-colored ones,
refastening the garters again, talking all the time,
first to one and then the other; pausing only to 
accentuate some sentence with a wave of her shoe or 
stocking or cigarette, as the action suited the words.

That the group about her was composed solely of
men made not the slightest difference. She was only
trying to save those precious, flesh-colored silk
stockings that concealed her white skin from the slush
and snow of the streets. As to turning her back to
her hosts during this little change of toilet--that was
the last thing that entered her head. She would
as soon have stepped into a closet to put on her
gloves.

And then again, why should she be ashamed of her
ankles and her well-turned instep and dainty toes, as
compact in their silk covering as peas in a pod! She
might have been, perhaps, in some one of the satin-
lined drawing-rooms around Madison Square or Irving 
Place, but not here, breathing the blue smoke of
a dozen pipes and among her own kind--the kind she
had known and loved and charmed all her life.

After all it was but a question of economy. Broadway 
was a slough of mud and slush, and neither she
nor Bianchi had the price of a carriage to spare.

Oliver watched her until the whole comedy was
complete; then, picking up his wet sketch and handing 
it with the greatest care to Bianchi, who was to
conduct her ladyship to her lodgings, he placed the
long black cloak with the fur-trimming and watermelon-
colored silk lining about her beautiful, bare
shoulders, and, with the whole club following and
waving their hands good-night, our young gentleman
bowed her out and downstairs with all the deference
and respect he would have shown the highest lady in
the land.




CHAPTER XXII

"MARGARET GRANT--TOP FLOOR"



One spring morning, some time after the visit of
the Countess to the club and the painting of her portrait 
by Oliver--the incident had become the talk of
the studios before the week was out--Oliver sat in
his own rooms on the top floor, drinking his coffee--
the coffee he had boiled himself. The janitor had
just slipped two letters through a slit in the door.
Both lay on the floor within reach of his hand. One
was from his mother, bearing the postmark of his
native city; the other was from a prominent picture-
dealer on Broadway, with a gallery and big window
looking out on the street.

Oliver broke the seal of his mother's letter, and
moved his chair so that the light from the overhead
skylight would fall on its pages.

It read as follows:

"My Darling Boy: Your father goes to you to-
morrow. Mr. Cobb was here last night with a letter
from some gentleman of means with whom he has
been corresponding. They want to see the motor, so
your father and Nathan leave on the early train.

"This man's continued kindness is a constant surprise 
to me. I have always thought it was he who prevented 
the mortgage from being foreclosed, but I
never knew until yesterday that he had written his
name under my own the second time the note was to
be renewed, and that he has kept it there ever since.
I cannot speak of this to him, nor must you, if you see
him, for poor old Mr. Steiger told me in confidence.
I am the more glad now that we have always paid
the interest on the note. The next payment, which
you have just sent me, due on the first of the month,
is now in my bureau-drawer ready for the bank, but
I will not have to use it now.

"Whether the mortgage can ever be paid off I do
not know, for the farm is ruined, I fear. Mr. Mowbray's 
cousin, who drove over last week to see what
was left of the plantations in that section, writes me
that there is nothing remaining of your grandfather's
place but the bare ground and the house. All the
fences have been burned and many of the beautiful
trees cut down for firewood. The Government still
occupies the house and one of the outbuildings, although 
most of the hospital stores have been moved
away. The last half-year's rent which was held back,
owing to some new ruling from Washington, came, I
am thankful to say, two days ago in a check from the
paymaster here, owing to Mr. Cobb's intercession.
He never loses an opportunity to praise you for what
you did for that poor young soldier, and Mr. Steiger
told me that when those in authority heard from Mr.
Cobb which Mrs. Horn it was, they ordered the rent
paid at once. He is always doing just such kindnesses
for us. But for this rental I don't know how we
would have been able to live and take care of those
dependent upon us. We little knew, my son, when
we both strove so hard to save the farm that it would
really be our only support. This rent, however, will
soon cease and I tremble for the future. I can only
pray my Heavenly Father that something will come
out of this visit to New York. it is our only hope
now.

"Don't lose sight of your father for a moment,
my son. He is not well and gets easily fatigued,
and although he is greatly elated over his promised
success, as we all are--and he certainly deserves to
be--I think you will see a great change in him these
last few months. I would not have consented to his
going had not Nathan gone with him. Nathan insists
upon paying the expenses of the trip; he says it is only
fair that he should, as your father has given him an
interest in the motor. I earnestly hope for some results, 
for I shall have no peace until the whole amount
of the mortgage is paid back to the bank and you and
Mr. Cobb are released from the burden, so heavy on
you, my boy.

"There is no other news to tell you. Sue Clayton
brought her boy in to-day. He is a sweet little fellow
and has Sue's eyes. She has named him John Clayton, 
after her father. They have made another attempt 
to find the Colonel's body on the battle-field,
but without success. I am afraid it will never be
recovered.

"Lavinia sends her love. She has been much better 
lately. Her army hospital work has weighed upon
her, I think. Three years was too long.

"I have the last newspaper notices of your academy 
picture pinned on my cushion, and I show them
to everybody who comes in. They always delight
me. You have had a hard fight, my son, but you are
winning now. No one rejoices more than I do in
your success. As you said in your last letter, the
times have really changed. They certainly have for
me. Sorrow and suffering have made me see many
things in a different light these last few years.

"Malachi and Hannah are well, but the old man
seems quite feeble at times.

"Your loving mother,

"Sallie T. Horn."

Dear lady, with your soft white hair and deep
brown eyes that have so often looked into mine!
How dreary were those long days of hate and misery!
How wise and helpful you were to every living soul
who sought your aid, friend and foe alike. Your
great heart sheltered and comforted them all.

Oliver read the letter through and put his lips to
the signature. In all his life he had never failed to
kiss his mother's name at the bottom of her letters.
The only difference was that now he kissed them
with an added reverence. The fact of his having
proved himself right and her wrong in the choice of
his profession made loyalty with him the more tender.

"Dear, dear mother!" he said to himself. "You
have had so much trouble lately, and you have been
so plucky through it all." He stopped, looked dreamily 
across the room, and added with a sigh: "But she
has not said one word about Madge; not one single
word. She doesn't answer that part of my letter;
she doesn't intend to."

Then he opened the other communication which
read:

"Dear Mr. Horn: Please call here in the morning. 
I have some good news for you.

"John Snedecor."

Oliver turned the picture-dealer's letter over,
peered into the envelope as if he expected to find some
trace of the good news tucked away in its corners,
lifted the tray holding his frugal breakfast, and laid
it on the floor outside his door ready for the janitor's
morning round. Then, picking up his hat, he locked
his door, hung an "out card" on the knob, and,
strolling downstairs, stepped into the fresh morning
air. He knew the dealer well. He had placed two
of old Mr. Crocker's pictures with him--one of which
had been sold.

When he reached Snedecor's gallery he found the
big window surrounded with a crowd gazing intently
at an upright portrait in a glittering gold frame, to
which was affixed an imposing-looking name-plate
bearing the inscription:

"THE WOMAN IN BLACK,
BY OLIVER HORN"

So this was Snedecor's good news!

Oliver made his way through the crowd and into
the open door of the shop--the shop was, in front,
the gallery in the rear--and found the proprietor
leaning over a case filled with artists' supplies.

"Has she had it FRAMED, Snedecor?" asked Oliver,
with a light laugh.

"Not to any alarming extent! I made that frame
for Mr. Peter Fish. She sent it here for sale, and
Fish bought it. He's wild about it. Says it's the best
thing since Sully. He wants you to paint his daughter; 
that's what I wanted to see you about. Great
card for you, Mr. Horn. I congratulate you!"

Oliver gave a low whistle. His own good fortune
was for the moment forgotten in his surprise at the
woman's audacity. Selling a sketch painted by one of
the club! one which had virtually been GIVEN to her.

"Poor Bianchi! He does pick up the queerest people. 
I wonder if she was out of stockings," he said
half-aloud.

"Oh, you needn't worry about the Madame; she
won't suffer for clothes as long as she's got that pair
of eyes in her head. You just ought to have seen
her handle old Fish. It was beautiful. But, see
here now, you don't want to make old Peter a present
of this portrait of his daughter. He's good for a
thousand, I tell you. She got a cracking price for
that one," and he pointed to the picture.

Again Oliver laughed.

"A cracking price? She must have needed the
money bad." The more he thought of it the funnier
it seemed.

Snedecor looked surprised. He was thinking of
Fish's order and the amount of his commission. Most
of Oliver's remarks were unintelligible to him--especially 
his reference to the stockings.

"What shall I say to him?" Snedecor asked at last.

"Oh, nothing in particular. Just send him to my
studio. I'll be in all to-morrow morning."

"Well, but don't you think you'd better go and
see him yourself now? He's too big a bug to run
after people. That kind of thing don't come every
day, you know; you might lose it. Why, he lives
right near you in that swell house across the Square."

"Oh, I know him very well," said Oliver, nodding
his head. "No, let him come to-morrow to me; it
won't hurt him to walk up three flights of stairs. I'm
busy to-day. Now I think of it, there's one thing,
though, you CAN tell him, and please be particular
about it--there will be no advance over my regular
price. I don't care to compete with her ladyship."

Without waiting to hear the dealer's protest he
stepped outside the shop and joined the crowd about
the window, elbowing each other for a better view of
the portrait. No one recognized him. He was too
obscure for that. They might after this, he thought
with an exultant throb, and a flush of pride crossed
his face.

As he walked down Broadway a sense of the
humor of the whole situation came over him. Here
for years he had been working day and night; running 
the gauntlet of successive juries and hanging
committees, with his best things rejected or skied
until his Tam-o'-Shanter girl made a hit; worrying,
hoping against hope, racking his brain as to how and
when and where he would find the path which would
lead him to commercial success--a difficult task for
one too proud to beg for favors and too independent 
to seek another's aid--and here, out of the clear
sky, had come this audacious Bohemienne, the pet of
foyer and studio--a woman who presented the greatest 
number of contrasts to the things he held most
dear in womankind--and with a single stroke had
cleared the way to success for him. And this, too, not
from any love of him, nor his work, nor his future,
but simply to settle a board-bill or pay for a bonnet.

Again Oliver laughed, this time so loudly that the
man in front turned and looked at him.

"A cracking price," he kept repeating to himself,
"a cracking price, eh? and out of old Peter Fish!
Went fishing for minnows and hooked a whale, and
another little fish for me! I wonder what she baited
her hook with. That woman's a genius."

Suddenly he caught sight of the sign of a Long
Island florist set up in an apothecary's window between 
the big green and red glass globes that lined
its sides.

Turning on his heel he entered the door.

"Pick me out a dozen red japonicas," he said to
the boy behind the counter.

Oliver waited until each short-stemmed blossom
was carefully selected, laid on its bed of raw cotton,
blanketed with the same covering, and packed in a
paper box. Then, taking a card from his pocket, he
wrote upon its back: "Most grateful thanks for my
share of the catch," slipped it into an envelope, 
addressed it to "The fair Fisher, The Countess Kovalski," 
and, with a grim smile on his face, kept on down
Broadway toward the dingy hotel, the resort of all
the Southerners of the time, to arrange for rooms
for his father and Nathan Gill.

Having, with his card and his japonicas, dismissed
the Countess from his mind, and to a certain extent
his obligations, the full importance of this new order
of Peter Fish's began to take possession of him. The
color rose in his cheeks and an old-time spring and
lightness came into his steps. He knew that such a
commission, and from such a man, would at once gain
for him a recognition from art patrons and a standing
among the dealers. Lasting success was now assured
him in the line he had chosen for his life's work. It
only remained for him to do the best that was in him.
Better than all, it had come to him unasked and without 
any compromising effort on his own part.

He knew the connoisseur's collection. It filled the
large gallery adjoining his extensive home on Washington 
Square and was not only the best in the city,
containing as it did examples of Sir Thomas Lawrence, 
Sir Joshua Reynolds, Chrome, Sully, and
many of the modern French school--among them
two fine Courbets and a Rousseau--but it had lately
been enriched by one or more important American
landscapes, notably Sanford Gifford's "Catskill
Gorge" and Church's "Tropics"--two canvases
which had attracted more than usual attention at
the Spring Exhibition of the Academy. An order,
therefore, for a family portrait from so distinguished
a patron not only gave weight and dignity to the work
of any painter he might select, but it would 
unquestionably influence his many friends and 
acquaintances to go and do likewise.

As Oliver, his eyes aglow, his whole heart filled
with joy, stepped quickly down the street the beauty
of the day made him throw back his shoulders
and drink in long deep breaths, as if he would fill his
very pores with its vitality. These early spring days
in New York--the most beautiful the world over;
not even in Italy can one find better skies--always
affected him in this way. There was a strength-giving 
quality in the ozone, a brilliancy in the sunshine,
and a tempered coolness in the air to be found nowhere 
else. There was, too, a certain picturesqueness
in the sky-line of the houses--a sky-line fringed with
jets of white steam from the escape-pipes of numerous
fires below, which appealed to his artistic sense.
These curling plumes that waved so triumphantly in
the sparkling morning light, or stirred by the wind,
flapped like milk-white signal flags, breaking at last
into tatters and shreds, blurring the edges of chimney
and cornice, were a constant source of delight to the
young painter. He would often stop to watch their
movements, and as often determine to paint them
at the first opportunity. They seemed to express to
him something of the happy freedom of one released
from pent-up toil; a freedom longed for in his own
heart, and which had rarely been his since those
blessed days under Moose Hillock, when he and Margaret 
roamed the woods together.

Still a third cause of rejoicing--and this sent a
flutter around his heart--was the near prospect of
meeting his dear old father, whom he had not seen for
months; not since his last visit home, and whose long
years of struggle and waiting seemed now to be so
nearly ended.

With these last joyous thoughts filling his mind, he
stepped quickly through the corridor of the hotel,
approached the desk, and had just given the names
of his father and Nathan to the clerk, when a man
behind the counter interrupted him with:

"Just arrived. Got in this morning. There they
are by the window."

Two quaint-looking old gentlemen were gazing out
upon the rush of Broadway--two old gentlemen
so unusual that even the habitues of the place, those
who sat tilted back all day chipping the arms of their
chairs with their pen-knives, or sipping countless
toddies and juleps, were still staring at them in 
undisguised astonishment. One--it was Nathan--wore
a queer hat, bushy, white hair, and long, pen-wiper
cloak: it was the same cloak, or another just like it;
the same, no doubt; few new clothes had been bought
during the war. And the other--and this was his
own dear father--wore a buff waistcoat, high white
silk scarf, and brown frock coat, with velvet collar.
Neither of them were every-day sights around the
corridors of the New York Hotel: even among a
collection of human oddities representing every State
in the South.

"We thought it best to take the night train, my
son," said Richard, starting up at Oliver's caressing
touch--he had put both hands on his father's shoulders. 
"You got your dear mother's letter of course.
Oh, I'm so glad to see you! Sit down here alongside
of us. How well you are looking, my son," and he
patted him lovingly on the arm. "What a whirl it all
is! Nathan and I have been here for hours; we arrived
at six o'clock. Did you ever see anything like
it? The people never seem to stop coming. Ah! this
is the place for you, my boy. Everything is so alive,
so full of purpose, so intense, so delightful and 
inspiring to me. And such a change in the years since
I was here."

He had brought the motor with him. It lay at the
moment in a square box inside the office-railing. Not
the big one which he had just perfected--that one
was at home under the window in the old shop, in the
back yard in Kennedy Square--but a smaller working 
model made of pine wood, with glass-tumblers
for jars and imitation magnets wrapped round with
thread instead of wire--the whole unintelligible to
the layman, but perfectly clear to the scientist. He
had with him, too, packed in a small carpet-bag, which
lay within reach of his hand, all the patents which had
been granted him as the work progressed--besides a
huge bundle of papers, such as legal documents, notices 
from the scientific journals, and other data connected 
with the great Horn Galvanic Motor, which
was soon to revolutionize the motive power of the
world. Tucked away in his inside pocket, ready for
instant use, was Amos Cobb's letter, introducing
"the distinguished inventor, Mr. Richard Horn, of
Kennedy Square," etc., etc., to the group of capitalists 
who were impatiently waiting his arrival, and who
were to furnish the unlimited sums of money necessary 
in its development--unlimited sums being ready
for any scheme, no matter how chimerical, in the
flush times through which the country was then
passing.

"I have succeeded at last, my boy, as I wrote you,"
continued Richard, with glowing eyes. "Even that
small motor at home--the one you know--that one
has a lifting power of a hundred pounds. All that is
necessary now is to increase the size of the batteries
and the final result is assured. Let me show you
this"--and, oblivious of the many eyes fastened on
him, he drew toward him the black carpet-bag and
took out a sheet of paper covered with red and blue
lines. "You see where the differences are. And you
see here"--and he pointed out the details with his
thin white finger--"what I have done since I explained 
to you the new additions. This drawing,
when carried out, will result in a motor with a lifting
capacity of ten tons. Ah, Oliver, I cannot tell you
what a great relief has come to me now that I know
my life's work is crowned with success."

Nathan was quite as happy. Richard was his sun-
god. When the light of hope and success flashed in
the inventor's quiet, thoughtful face, Nathan basked
in its warmth and was radiant in its glow. He needed
all the warmth he could get, poor old man. The cold
chill of the days of fear and pain and sorrow had well-
nigh shrivelled him up; he showed it in every line
of his body. His shoulders were much more bent;
his timid, pipe-stem legs the more shaky; the furrows
about his face deeper; the thin nose more transparent.
All during the war he had literally lived in Richard.
The cry of the "extras" and the dull tramp of marching 
troops, and the rumbling of cars laden with army
supplies had jarred on his sensitive ear as would
discordant notes in a quartette. Days at a time he
would hide himself away in Richard's workshop,
helping him with his bellows or glue-pot, or piling the
coals on the fire of his forge. The war, while it lasted,
paralyzed some men to inaction--Nathan was one of
them.

"At last, Oliver, at last!" Nathan whispered to
Oliver when Richard's head was turned for a moment.
"Nothing now but plain sailing. Ah! it's a great day
for dear Richard! I couldn't sleep last night on the
train for thinking of him."

As Oliver looked down into Nathan's eyes, glistening 
with hope and happiness, he wondered whether,
after all these long years of waiting, his father's
genius was really to be rewarded? Was it the same
old story of success--one so often ending in defeat
and gloom, he thought, or had the problem really been
solved? He knew that the machine had stood its
initial test and had developed a certain lifting power;
his father's word assured him of that; but would it
continue to develop in proportion to its size?

He turned again toward Richard. The dear face
was a-light with a new certainty; the eyes brilliant,
the smiles about the lips coming and going like summer 
clouds across the sun. Such enthusiasm was not
to be resisted. A fresh hope rose in the son's heart.
Could this now almost assured success of his father's
help him with Madge? Would their long waiting
come any nearer to being ended? Would the sum of
money realized be large enough to pay off the dreaded
mortgage, and there still be enough for the dear home
and its inmates?

He knew how large this hoped-for sum must be,
and how closely his own and his mother's honor were
involved in its cancellation. Her letter had indeed
stated the facts--this motor was now their only hope
outside the work of his own brush.

Perhaps, after all, his lucky day had come. The
first gleam of light had been this order of Peter Fish's
to paint his daughter, and now here, sitting beside
him, was his father with a letter in his pocket addressed 
to Amos Cobb from one of the richest men
in New York, who stood ready to pay a small fortune
for the motor. Then he thought of his mother.
What a delight it would be when she could be freed
from the millstone that had hung around her neck
for years.

He must go and tell Margaret and take his father
and Nathan with him. Yes, his lucky day HAD come.

Soon the two delighted and astonished old gentlemen, 
under Oliver's guidance, were making their way
up Broadway ostensibly to see his picture at Snedecor's, 
but really to call upon the distinguished painter,
Margaret Grant, whom everyone was talking about,
both in New York and in Kennedy Square, for one
of her pictures graced Miss Clendenning's boudoir at
that very moment. Our young Romeo had waited
too many months for someone from Kennedy Square
to see the woman he loved, and now that the arms of
his father and Nathan were linked in his own, and
their legs subject to his orders, he did not intend to
let many precious minutes pass before he rang Margaret's 
studio bell.

When Snedecor's window was reached Richard
stopped short in amazement.

"Yours, Oliver! Marvellous! Marvellous!"
Richard exclaimed, when the three had wedged their
way into the crowd to see the better. "A fine strong
picture, and a most superb looking woman. Why, I
had no idea! Really! Really"--and his voice trembled. 
He was deeply touched. The strength of the
coloring, the masterly drawing, the admiring crowd
about the window, greatly surprised him. While he
had been closeted with his invention, thinking only
of its success and bending every energy for its 
completion, this boy of his had become a master.

"I didn't do my full duty to you, my son," he
said, with a tone of sadness in his voice, when they
had resumed their walk up Broadway. "You lost
much time in finding your life's work. I should
have insisted years ago that you follow the trend
of your genius. Your dear mother was not willing 
and I let it go, but it was wrong. From something 
she said to me the other night I feel sure she
sees her mistake now, but I never mention it to her,
and do you never let her know I told you. Yes! You
started too late in life, my boy."

"No, dear old daddy; I started just in the nick of
time and in the right way."

How could he have thought anything else on this
lovely spring morning, with the brightest of skies
overhead, his first important order within his grasp,
his dear old father and Nathan beside him, and the
loveliest girl in the world or on the planets beyond
waiting for him at the top of her studio stairs!

"It's most kind of you to say so," continued Richard, 
dodging the people as he talked, "but couldn't
you have learned to work by following your own
tastes?"

"No dad. I was too confounded lazy and too fond
of fun. And then the dear mother wanted me to go
to work, and that was always enough for me."

"Oh, my son, it does me good to hear you say so"
--and a light shone on the old gentleman's face.
"Yes! you ALWAYS considered your mother. You
can't think how she has suffered during these terrible
years. But for the good offices of Mr. Cobb whose
kindness I shall never forget, I do not see how she
could have gone through them as she has. Isn't it
fine, my son, to think it is all over? She will never
have to worry again--never--never. The motor
will end all her troubles. She did not believe in it
once, but she does now.

They continued on up Broadway, Oliver in the
middle, Richard's arm in his; he hurrying them both
along; steering them across the streets; avoiding the
trucks and dragging them past the windows they
wanted to look into, with promises of plenty of time
for that to-morrow or next week. Only once did he
allow them to catch their breath, and that was when
they passed the big bronze statue overlooking Union
Square, and then only long enough for the two to
take in its outlines, and from its pedestal to fix their
eyes on the little windows of Miss Teetum's boarding-
house, where he' had spent so many happy and unhappy 
days.

Soon the two breathless old gentlemen and equally
breathless young guide--the first condition due to
the state of the two old gentlemen's lungs and the
second due entirely to the state of this particular
young gentleman's heart--stood in a doorway just
off Madison Square, before a small bell-pull bearing
above it a tiny sign reading: "Margaret Grant. Top
Floor."

"Miss Grant has been at home only a few months,"
Oliver burst out as he rang the bell and climbed the
stairs. "Since her father's death she has been in
Paris with her mother, her cousin, Higbee Shaw the
sculptor, and her brother John. A shell injured the
drum of John's ear, and while she painted he was
under the care of a French specialist. He is still
there with his mother. If you think I can paint just
wait until you see Miss Grant's work. Think, dad!
she has taken two medals in Munich, and last year
had honorable mention at the Salon. You remember 
her brother, of course, don't you, Uncle Nat, the
one Malachi hid over father's shop?"

Uncle Nat nodded his head as he toiled up the
steps. He remembered every hour of the hideous
nightmare. He had been the one other man besides
Richard and the Chief of Police to shake Oliver's
hand that fatal night when he was exiled from Kennedy 
Square.

Mrs. Mulligan, in white apron, a French cap on
her head, and looking as fresh and clean as a trained
nurse, opened the door. Margaret had looked her
up the very day she landed, and had placed her in
charge of her apartment as cook, housekeeper, and
lady's maid, with full control of the front door and of
her studio. The old woman was not hard to trace; she
had followed the schools of the academy from their
old quarters to the new marble building on Twenty-
third Street, and was again posing for the draped-life
class and occasionally lending a hand to the new janitor. 
Margaret's life abroad had taught her the
secret of living alone, a problem easily solved when
there are Mrs. Mulligans to be had for the asking.

"Yes, Mr. Oliver, she's insoide. Oh! it's fri'nds
ye hev wid ye!" and she started back.

"Only my father and Mr. Gill," and he brushed
past Mrs. Mulligan, parted the heavy portieres that
divided Madge's working studio from the narrow hall,
thrust in his head and called out, in his cheeriest
voice:

"Madge, who do you think is outside? Guess!
Father and Uncle Nat. Just arrived this morning."

Before Margaret could turn her head the two stood
before her: Richard with his hat in his hand, his
brown overcoat with the velvet collar over his arm--
he had slipped it off outside--and Nathan close behind, 
still in the long, pen-wiper cloak.

"And is it really the distinguished young lady of
whom I have heard so much?" exclaimed Richard
with his most courtly bow, taking the girl's outstretched 
hand in both of his. "I am so glad to see
you, my dear, both on your own account and on
account of your brother, whom we once sheltered.
And how is he now? and your dear mother?"

To all of which Margaret answered in low gentle
tones, her eyes never leaving Richard's, her hand still
fast in his; until he had turned to introduce Nathan
so that he might pay his respects.

Nathan, in his timid halting way, stepped from
behind Richard, and taking her welcoming hand,
told her how much he had wanted to know her,
since he had seen the picture she had painted, then
hanging in Miss Lavinia's home; both because it was
the work of a woman and because too--and he
looked straight into her eyes when he said it and
meant every word--she was the sister of the poor
fellow who had been so shamefully treated in his
own city. And Margaret, her voice breaking, answered 
that, but for the aid of such kind friends as
himself and Oliver, John might never have come
back, adding, how grateful she and her whole family
had been for the kindness shown her brother.

While they were talking, Richard, with a slight
bow as if to ask her permission, began making the
tour of the room, his glasses held to his eyes, examining 
each thing about him with the air of a connoisseur 
suddenly ushered into a new collection of curios.

"Tell me who this sketch is by," he asked, stopping 
before Margaret, and pointing to a small Lambinet, 
glowing like an opal on the dull-green wall of
the studio. "I so seldom see good pictures that a gem
like this is a delight. By a Frenchman! Ah! Yes, I
see the subtlety of coloring. Marvellous people,
these Frenchmen. And this little jewel you have
here? This bit of mezzo in color. With this I am
more familiar, for we have a good many collections
of old prints at home. It is, I think--yes--I thought
I could not be mistaken--it is a Morland," and he
examined it closely, his nose almost touching the
glass.

The next instant he had crossed the room to the
window looking out over the city, the smoke and
steam of a thousand fires floating over its wide
expanse.

"Come here, my son," he called to Oliver. "Look
over that stretch of energy and brains. Is it not 
inspiring? And that band of silver, moving so quietly
and resistlessly out to sea. What a power for good it
all is, and what a story it will tell before the century
is out."

Margaret was by his side as he spoke. She had
hardly taken her eyes from him since he entered the
room--not even when she was listening to Nathan.
All her old-time, prejudices and preconceived estimates 
of Richard were slipping away. Was this the
man whom she used to think of as a dreamer of
dreams, and a shiftless Southerner? This charming
old gentleman with the air of an aristocrat and the
keen discernment of an expert? She could hardly
believe her eyes.

As for Oliver, his very heart was bursting with
pride. It had all happened exactly as he had wanted
it--his father and Margaret had liked each other
from the very first moment. And then she had
been so beautiful, too, even in her long painting-
apron and her hair twisted up in a coil on her head.
And the little blush of surprise and sweetness which
had overspread her face when they entered, and
which his father must have seen, and the inimitable
grace with which she slipped from her high stool,
and with a half courtesy held out her hand to welcome 
her visitors, and all with the savoir faire and
charm of a woman of the world! How it all went
straight to his heart.

If, however, he had ever thought her pretty in this
working-costume, he thought her all the more captivating 
a few minutes later in the little French jacket
--all pockets and buttons--which she had put on as
soon as the greetings were over and the tour of the
room had been made in answer to Richard's delighted
questions.

But it was in serving the luncheon, which Mrs.
Mulligan had brought in, that his sweetheart was
most enchanting. Her full-rounded figure moved so
gracefully when she bent across to hand someone a
cup, and the pose of the head was so delicious, and it
was all so bewitching, and so precisely satisfied his
artistic sense. And he so loved to hear her talk
when she was the centre of a group like this, as much
really to see the movement of her lips and the light
in her eyes and the gracious way in which she moved
her head as to hear what she said.

He was indeed so overflowing with happiness over
it all, and she was so enchanting in his eyes as she
sat there dispensing the comforts of the silver tray,
that he must needs pop out of the room with some
impromptu excuse and disappear into the little den
which held her desk, that he might dash off a note
which he tucked under her writing-pad--one of their
hiding-places--and which bore the lines: "You were
never so much my queen as you are to-day, dearest,"
and which she found later and covered with kisses
before he was half way down the block on his way
back to the hotel with the two old gentlemen.

She was indeed beautiful. The brow was wider
and whiter, perhaps, than it had been in the old days
under the bark slant, and the look out of the eyes a
trifle softer, and with a certain tenderness in them--
not quite so defiant and fearless; but there had been
no other changes. Certainly none in the gold-brown
hair that Oliver so loved. That was still her glory,
and was still heaped up in magnificent masses, and
with the same look about it of being ready to burst
its bonds and flood everything with a river of gold.

"Lots of good news to-day, Madge," Oliver exclaimed, 
after they had all taken their seats, his father 
on Margaret's right, with Nathan next.

"Yes, and I have got lots of good news too; bushels 
of it," laughed Margaret.

"You tell me first," cried Oliver bending toward
her, his face beaming; each day they exchanged the
minutest occurrences of their lives.

"No--Ollie--Let me hear yours. What's it
about? Mine's about a picture."

"So's mine," exclaimed Olive; his eyes brimming
with fun and the joy of the surprise he had in store
for her.

"But it's about one of your OWN pictures, Ollie."

"So's mine," he cried again, his voice rising in
merriment.

"Oh, Ollie, tell me first," pleaded Margaret with a
tone in her voice of such coaxing sweetness that only
Richard's and Nathan's presence restrained him from
catching her up in his arms and kissing her then and
there.

"No, not until you have told me yours," he
answered with mock firmness. "Mine came in a
letter."

"So did mine," cried Margaret clapping her hands.
"I don't believe yours is half as good as mine and
I'm not going to wait to hear it. Now listen--" and
she opened an envelope that lay on the table within
reach of her hand. "This is from my brother
John--" and she turned toward Richard and Nathan.
"He and Couture, in whose atelier I studied, are
great friends. Now please pay attention Mr. Autocrat--" 
and she looked at Oliver over the edge of the
letter and began to read--

"Couture came in to-day on his way home and I showed
him the photograph Ollie sent me of his portrait of you--
his 'Tam-o'-Shanter Girl' he calls it. Couture was so
enthusiastic about it that he wants it sent to Paris at 
once so that he can exhibit it in his own studio to some 
of the painters there. Then he is going to send it to the 
Salon. So you can tell that 'Johnnie Reb' to pass it along 
to me by the first steamer; and you can tell him, too, that 
his last letter is a month old, and I am getting hungry for
another."

"There now! what do you think of that? Mr.
Honorable Mention."

Oliver opened his eyes in astonishment.

"That's just like John, bless his heart!" he answered 
slowly, as his glance sought the floor. This
last drop had filled his cup of happiness to the brim--
Some of it was glistening on his lashes.

"Now tell me your good news--" she continued,
her eyes still dancing. She had seen the look but 
misunderstood the cause.

Oliver raised his eyes--

"Oh, it's not nearly as good as yours, Madge, in
one way and yet in another it's a heap better. What
do you think? Old Peter Fish wants me to paint his
daughter's portrait."

Margaret laid her hand on his.

"Oh, Oliver! Not Peter Fish! That's the best
thing that has happened yet," and her face instantly
assumed a more serious expression. "I know the girl
--she will be an easy subject; she's exactly your
type. How do you know?"

"Just saw John Snedecor in answer to a letter he
wrote me. Fish has bought the 'Woman in Black.'
He's delighted with it."

"Why, I thought it belonged to the Countess."

"So it did. She sold it."

"Sold it!"

"Yes. Does it surprise you?"

"No; I can't say that it does. I am glad, though,
that it will stay in the country. It's by far the best
thing you or anybody else has done this season. I
was afraid she would take it back with her. Poor
woman! she has had a hard life, and it doesn't seem
to get any better, from what I hear."

"You know the original, then, my dear?" asked
Richard, holding out his second cup of tea for another 
lump of sugar, which Margaret in her excitement 
had forgotten. He and Nathan had listened
with the keenest interest to the reading of John
Grant's letter and to the discussion that had followed.

"I know OF her," answered Margaret as she
dropped it in; "and she knows me, but I've never met
her. She's a Pole, and something of a painter, too.
She studied in the same atelier where I was, but that
was before I went to Paris. Her husband became
mixed up in some political conspiracy and was sent
to Siberia, and she was put across the frontier that
same night. She is very popular in Paris; they all
like her, especially the painters. There is nothing
against her except her poverty." There could be nothing 
against any woman in Margaret's eyes. "But
for her jewels she would have had as hard a time to
get on as the rest of us. Now and then she parts with
one of her pearls, and between times she teaches
music. You must see the picture Oliver painted of
her--it will delight you."

"Oh, but I have!"	exclaimed Richard, laying
down his cup. "We looked at it as we came up. It
is really a great picture. He tells me it is the work
of two hours and under gas-light."

"No, not altogether, father. I had a few hours
on it the next day," interrupted Oliver.

"Strong, isn't it?" continued Margaret, without
noticing Oliver's explanation. "It is really better in
many ways than the girl in the Tam-o'-Shanter cap--
the one he painted of me. That had some of Lely's
qualities about it, especially in the flesh tones. He
always tells me the inspiration to paint it came from
an old picture belonging to his uncle. You know that
of course?" and she laid a thin sandwich on Nathan's
plate.

"You mean Tilghman's Lely--the one in his house
in Kennedy Square? Oh," said Richard, lifting his
fingers in appreciation, "I know every line of it. It
is one of the best Lely's I ever saw, and to me the gem
of Tilghman's collection."

"Yes; so Ollie tells me," continued Margaret.
"Now this picture of the Countess is to me very much
more in Velasquez's method than in Lely's. Broader
and stronger and with a surer touch. I have always
told Ollie he was right to give up landscapes. These
two pictures show it. There is really, Mr. Horn, no
one on this side of the water who is doing exactly
what Oliver is." She spoke as if she was discussing
Page, Huntington or Elliott or any other painter of
the day, not as if it was her lover. "Did you notice
how the lace was brushed in and all that work about
the throat--especially the shadow tones?"

She treated Richard precisely as if he was one of
the guild. His criticisms of her own work--for he
had insisted on seeing her latest picture and had even
been more enthusiastic over it than he had been over
Oliver's--and his instant appreciation of the Lambinet, 
convinced her, even before he had finished the
tour of the room, that the quaint old gentleman was
as much at home in her atmosphere as he was in that
of his shop at home discussing scientific problems
with some savant.

"I did, my dear. It is quite as you say," answered
Richard, with great earnestness. "This 'Woman in
Black,' as he calls it, is painted not only with sureness
and with an intimate knowledge of the textures, but
it seems to me he has the faculty of expressing with
each stroke of his brush, as an engraver does with
his burin, the rounds and hollows of his surfaces.
And to think, too, my dear," he continued, "that
most of it was done at night. The color tones, you
know"--and his manner changed, and a more
thoughtful expression came into his face--the scientist 
was speaking now--"are most difficult to manage
at night. The colors of the spectrum undergo some
very curious changes under artificial light, especially
from a gas consuming as much carbon as our common 
carburetted hydrogen. The greens, owing to the
absorption of the yellow rays, become the brighter,
and the orange and red tones, from the same reason,
the more intense, while the paler violets and, in fact,
all the tertiaries, of a bluish cast lose--"

He stopped, as he caught a puzzled expression on
her face. "Oh, what a dreadful person I am," he
exclaimed, rising from his seat. "It is quite inexcusable 
in me. Please forgive me, my dear--I was
really thinking aloud. Such ponderous learned
words should be kept out of this delightful abode of
the Muses, and then, I assure you, I really know so
little about it, and you know so much." And he
laughed softly, and made a little bow as a further
apology.

"No. I don't know one thing about it, nor does
any other painter I know," she laughed, blowing out
the alcohol lamp, "not quite in the same way. And
if I did I should want you to come every day and
bring Mr. Gill with you to tell me about it." Where-
upon Nathan, replying that nothing would give him
more pleasure (he had been silent most of the time--
somehow no one expected him to talk much when
Richard was present), struggled to his feet at an
almost imperceptible sign from the inventor, who
suddenly remembered that his capitalists were waiting 
for him, pulled his old cloak about his shoulders
and, with Richard leading the way, they all four
moved out into the hall and stood in the open
doorway.

When they reached the top stair outside the studio
dear Richard stopped, took both of Margaret's hands
in his, and said, in his kindest voice and in his gravest
and most thoughtful manner, as he looked down into
her face:

"My dear Miss Grant, may I tell you that I have
to-day found in you the realization of one of my day-
dreams? And will you forgive an old man when he
says how proud it makes him to know a woman who
is brave enough to live the life you do? You are the
forerunner of a great movement, my dear--the
mother of a new guild. It is a grand and noble thing
for a woman to sustain herself with work that she
loves"--and the dear old gentleman, lifting his hat
with the air of a courtier, betook himself down-stairs,
followed by Nathan, bowing as he went.

No wonder he rejoiced! Most of the dreams of his
younger days were coining true. And now this woman
--the beginning of a new era--the opening out
of a new civilization. And ahead of it a National
Art that the world would one day recognize!

He tried to express his delight to Oliver, and
turned to find him, but Oliver was not beside him
nor did he join his father for five minutes at least.
That young gentleman--just as Richard and Nathan
had reached the BOTTOM of the second flight of stairs--
had suddenly remembered something of the utmost
importance which he had left in the INNER room, and
which he could not possibly find until Madge, waiting
by the banister, had gone back to help him look for
it, and not then, until Mrs. Mulligan had left them
both and shut the kitchen-door behind her. Yes, it
was quite five minutes, or more, before Oliver clattered 
down-stairs after his guests, stopping but once
to look up through the banisters into Margaret's
eyes--she was leaning over for the purpose--his open
hand held up toward her as a sign that it was always
at her command.




CHAPTER XXIII

MR. MUNSON'S LOST FOIL



For a quiet, orderly, well behaved and most dignified 
street, Tenth Street, at seven o'clock one April
night was disgracing itself in a way that must have
shocked its inhabitants. Cabs driving like mad were
rattling over the cobbles, making their way toward
the old Studio Building. Policemen were shouting
to the drivers to keep in line. Small boys were darting 
in and out, peering into the cab windows and
calling out to their fellows: "Ki Jimmy! see de Ingin
wid de fedder-duster on his head"--or, "Look at
de pill in de yaller shirt! My eye, ain't he a honey-
cooler!"

At the entrance of the building, just inside the door
where the crowd was thickest, stood two men in armor
with visors down--stood so still, that the boys and
bystanders thought they had been borrowed from
some bric-a-brac shop until, in an unguarded moment,
one plumed knight rested his tired leg with a rattling
noise that sounded like a tin-peddler shifting his pack
or the adjustment of a length of stovepipe. Behind
the speechless sentinels, leading into the narrow corridor, 
stretched a red carpet bordered by rows of
palms and evergreens and hung about with Chinese
lanterns.

At the end of this carpet opened a door that
looked into a banquet hall as rich in color and as
sumptuous in its interior fittings as an audience-
chamber of the Doges at a time when Venice ruled
the world. The walls were draped with Venetian silks
and Spanish velvets, against which were placed
Moorish plaques, Dutch brass sconces holding clusters 
of candles, barbaric spears, bits of armor, pairs
of fencing foils, old cabinets, and low, luxurious divans. 
Thrust up into the skylight, its gaff festooned
with trawl-nets, drooped a huge sloop's sail, its graceful 
folds breaking the square lines of the ceiling; and
all about, suspended on long filigree chains, swung
old church-lamps of brass or silver, burning ruby
tapers.

In the centre of this glow of color stood a round
table, its top covered with a white cloth, and laid with
covers for fifty guests. On this were placed, in orderly 
confusion, great masses of flowers heard up
in rare porcelain vases; silver candelabra bearing
lighted candles; old Antwerp brass holding bon-bons
and sweets; Venetian flagons filled with rare wines;
Chinese and Japanese curios doing service as ash-
receivers and match-safes; Delft platters for choice
dishes; besides Flemish mugs, Bavarian glasses,
George III. silver, and the like.

At the head of this sumptuous board was placed a
chair of state, upholstered in red velvet, studded with
brass rosettes, the corners of its high back surmounted 
by two upright gilt ornaments. This was
to hold the Master of the Feast, the presiding officer
who was to govern the merry spirits during the hours
of the revel. In front of this royal chair was a huge
stone mug crowned with laurel. This was guarded
by two ebony figures, armed with drawn scimitars,
which stood at each side of the throne-seat. From
these guards of honor radiated two half-circles of
lesser chairs, one for each guest--of all patterns and
periods: old Spanish altar-seats in velvet, Dutch
chairs in leather, Italian chairs in mother-of-pearl and
ivory--all armless and quite low, so low that the costumed 
slaves, who were to wait on the royal assembly,
could serve the courses without having to reach over
the backs of the guests.

Moving about the room, rearranging the curios
on the cabinets, adding a bit of porcelain to the 
collection on the table, shifting the lights for better
effect, lounging on the wide divans, or massed about
the doorway welcoming the new arrivals as they
entered, were Italian nobles of the sixteenth and 
seventeenth centuries, costumed with every detail correct, 
even to the jewelled daggers that hung at their
sides, all genuine and of the period; cardinals in red
hats and wonderful church robes, the candle-grease
of the altar still clinging to their skirts; Spanish
grandees in velvet and brocade; Indian rajahs in baggy 
silk trousers and embroidered waistcoats, with
Kohinoors flashing from their turbans--not genuine
this time but brilliant all the same; Shakespeares,
Dantes (one of each), besides courtiers, nobles, gallants, 
and gentry of various climes and periods.

All this splendor of appointment, all these shaded
candles, hanging-lamps, Venetian glass, antique furniture, 
rich costumes, Japanese curios, and assorted
bric-a-brac, were gathered together and arranged thus
sumptuously to add charm and lustre to a banquet
given by the Stone Mugs to those of their friends
most distinguished in their several professions of art,
literature, and music.

Indeed any banquet the Club gave was sure to be
as unique as it was artistic.

Sometimes it would be held in the hold of an abandoned 
vessel left high and dry on a lonely beach,
which, under the deft touches of the artists of the
Club, would be transformed in a night to the cabin
of a buccaneer filled with the loot of a treasure ship.
Sometimes a canal boat, which the week before had
been loaded with lime or potatoes, would be scoured
out with a fire-hose, its deck roofed with awnings
and hung with lanterns, its hatches lined with palms,
and in the hold below a table spread of such surprising 
beauty, and in an interior so gorgeous in its appointments 
that each guest, as he descended the carpeted 
staircase leading from the deck above to the
carpeted keelson below, would rub his eyes wondering
whether he had not been asleep, and had suddenly
awakened aboard Cleopatra's barge.

Again the club would hold a Roman feast in one
of Solari's upstairs rooms--the successor to Riley's
of the old days--each man speaking ancient Latin
with Tenth Street terminals, the servants dressed in
tunics and sandals, and the members in togas. Or
they would make a descent at midnight on Fulton
Market and have their tomcods scooped from the fish-
boxes alive and broiled to their liking while they
waited; or they would take possession of Brown's or
Farrish's for mugs of ale and English chops. But it
was always one so different from any other function
of its class that it formed the topic of the studios for
weeks thereafter.

To-night it was the humor of the club to reproduce
as closely as possible, with the limited means at their
disposal--for none of the Stone Mugs were rolling
in wealth, nor did these functions require it--some
one of the great banquets of former times, not to be
historically or chronologically correct, but to express
the artistic atmosphere of such an occasion.

That there were certain unavoidable and easily
detected shams under all this glamour of color and
form did not lessen the charm of the present function.

Everybody, of course, knew before the evening was
over, or could have found out had he tried, that the
two knights in armor who guarded the side-walk entrance 
to this royal chamber, and who had been the
target of the street-rats until they took their places
at the inside door, were respectively Mr. Patrick
McGinnis, who tended the furnace in the basement
of the Tenth Street Studio Building, stripped for the
occasion down to his red flannels, and Signore Luigi
Bennelli, his Italian assistant.

A closer inspection of the two ebony blackamoors,
with drawn scimitars, who guarded the royal chair
at the head of the table, would have revealed the fact
that they were not made of ebony at all, but of veritable 
flesh and blood--the blackamoor on the right
being none other than Black Sam, the bootblack who
shined shoes on the corner of the avenue, and his
bloodthirsty pal on the left the kinky-haired porter
who served the grocer next door; the only "HONEST"
thing about either of them, to quote Waller, being
the artistic clothes that they stood in.

Further investigation would have shown that every
one of the wonderful things that made glad and glorious 
the big square room on the ground floor of the
building, from the brass sconces on the walls to the
hanging church lamps, with everything that their
lights fell upon, had been gathered up that same
morning from the several homes and studios of the
members by old black Jerry, the official carman of
the Academy, and had been dumped in an indiscriminate 
heap on the floor of the banquet hall, where
they had been disentangled and arranged by half a
dozen painters of the club; that the table and table
cloth had been borrowed from Solari's; that the very
rare and fragrant old Chianti, the club's private
stock, was from Solari's own cellars via Duncan's,
the grocer; and that the dinner itself was cooked and
served by that distinguished boniface himself, assisted
by half a dozen of his own waiters, each one wearing
an original Malay costume selected from Stedman's
collection and used by him in his great picture of the
Sepoy mutiny.

Moreover there was not the slightest doubt that
the "Ingin," who was now bowing so gravely to the
master of ceremonies, was no other than the distinguished 
Mr. Thomas Brandon Waller, himself;
"N.A., Knight of the Legion of Honor, Pupil of
Piloty, etc., etc.;" that the high-class mandarin in
the sacred yellow robe and peacock feather who accompanied 
him, was Crug the 'cellist; that the bald-
headed gentleman with the pointed beard, who looked
the exact presentment of the divine William, was
Munson; and that the gay young gallant in the Spanish 
costume was none other than our Oliver. The
other nobles, cavaliers, and hidalgos were the less
known members of the club, who, in their desire to
make the occasion a success, had fitted themselves to
their costumes instead of attempting to fit the costumes 
to themselves, with the difference that each
man not only looked the character he assumed but assumed 
the character he looked.

But no one, even the most knowing; no student
of costumes, no reader of faces, no discerner of character, 
no acute observer of manners and times--in
glancing over the motley company would have
thought for one instant that, in all this atmosphere
of real unrealism, the two old gentlemen who had just
entered leaning on Oliver's arm--one in a brown coat
with high velvet collar and fluffy silk scarf, and the
other in a long pen-wiper cloak which, at the moment
was slipping from his shoulders--were genuine specimens 
of the period of to-day without a touch of makeup 
about them; that their old-time manners, even to
the quaint bows they both gave the master of ceremonies, 
as they entered the royal chamber, were
their very own, part of their daily equipment, and
that nothing in the gorgeous banquet hall, from
the jewelled rapier belted to Oliver's side, and which
had once graced the collection of a prince, down to
the priceless bit of satsuma set out on the table and
now stuffed full of cigarettes (the bit could be traced
back to the Ming dynasty), were any more veritable
or genuine, or any more representative of the best
their periods afforded than these two quaint old gentlemen 
from Kennedy Square.

Had there been any doubt in the minds of any
such wiseacre, either regarding their authenticity
or their quality, he had only to listen to Oliver's 
presentation of his father and friend and to hear Richard
say, in his most courteous manner and in his most
winning voice:

"I have never been more honored, sir. It was
more than kind of you to wish me to come. My only
regret is that I am not your age, or I would certainly
have appeared in a costume more befitting the occasion. 
I have never dreamed of so beautiful a place."

Or to see him lift his hand in astonishment as he
swept his eye over the room, his arm still resting on
the velvet sleeve of Oliver's doublet, and hear him
add, in a half whisper:

"Wonderful! Wonderful! Such harmony of color;
such an exquisite light. I am amazed at the splendor
of it all. What Aladdin among you, my son, held the
lamp that evoked all this beauty?"

Or still more convincing would it have been had
he watched him moving about the room, shaking
every man's hand in turn, Oliver mentioning their
real names and their several qualifications, and after
ward the characters they assumed, and Richard commenting 
on each profession in a way quite his own.

"A musician, sir," he would have heard him exclaim 
as he grasped Simmons's hand, over which hung
a fall of antique lace; "I have loved music all my
days. It is an additional bond between us, sir. And
the costume is quite in keeping with your art. How
delightful it would be, my dear sir, if we could discard 
forever the sombre clothes of our day and go
back to the velvets and silks Of the past."

"Mr. Stedman, did you say, my son?" and he
turned to Oliver. "You have certainly mentioned
this gentleman's name to me before. If I do not mistake, 
he is one of your very old friends. There is
no need of your telling me that you are Lorenzo. I
can quite understand now why Jessica lost her heart."

Or to see him turn to Jack Bedford with: "You
don't tell me so! Mr. John Bedford, did you say,
Oliver? Ah, but we should not be strangers, sir. If
I am right, you are a fellow-townsman of ours, and
have already distinguished yourself in your profession. 
Your costume is especially becoming to you,
sir. What discernment you have shown. Permit me
to say, that with you the old adage must be reversed
--this time the man makes the clothes."

The same adage could really have been applied to
this old gentleman's own dress, had he but only
known it. He had not altered it in twenty years,
even after it had become a matter of comment among
his neighbors in Kennedy Square.

"I always associate one's clothes with one's manners," 
he would say, with a smile. "If they are good,
and suited to the occasion, best not change them."
Nathan was of the same mind. The wide hat, long,
evenly parted hair, and pen-wiper cloak could be
traced to these same old-fashioned ideas. These
idiosyncrasies excited no comment so far as Nathan
was concerned. He was always looked upon as belonging 
to some antediluvian period, but with a progressive 
man like Richard the case, his neighbors
thought, might have been different.

As Richard moved about the room, saluting each
one in turn, the men in and out of costume--the
guests were in evening dress--looked at each other
and smiled at the old gentleman's quaint ways, but
the old gentleman, with the same ease of manner and
speech, continued on quite around the table, followed
closely by Nathan, who limited his salutations to a
timid shake of the fingers and the leaving of some
word of praise or quaint greeting, which many of
them remember even to this day.

These introductions over--Oliver had arrived on
the minute--the ceremony of seating the guests was
at once begun. This ceremony was one of great dignity, 
the two men-at-arms escorting the Master of the
Feast, the Most High Pan-Jam, Frederico Stono,
N.A., to his Royal Chair, guarded by the immovable
blackamoors, the members and guests standing until
His Royal Highness had taken his seat, and then
dropping into their own. When everyone was in his
place Richard found himself, to his delight, on the
right of Fred and next to Nathan and Oliver--an
honor accorded to him because of his age and relationship 
to one of the most popular members of the
club, and not because of his genius and attainments
--these latter attributes being as yet unknown quantities 
in that atmosphere. The two thus seated together 
under the especial care of Oliver--a fact
which relieved the master of ceremonies of any further 
anxiety on their account--were to a certain
extent left to themselves, the table being too large
for general conversation except with one's neighbors.

The seat in which he had been placed exactly suited
Richard's frame of mind. With an occasional word
to Fred, he sat quite still, talking now and then in low
tones to Nathan, his eyes taking in every detail of
the strange scene.

While Nathan saw only the color and beauty of it
all, Richard's keener mind was analyzing the causes
that had led up to such a gathering, and the skill and
taste with which the banquet had been carried out.
He felt assured that the men who could idle so luxuriously, 
and whose technical knowledge had perfected 
the artistic effects about him, could also work
at their several professions with equal results. He
was glad that Oliver had been found worthy enough
to be admitted to such a circle. He loved, too, to hear
his son's voice and watch the impression his words
made on the room. As the evening wore on, and he
listened to his banter, or caught the point of the
jests that Oliver parried and heard his merry laugh,
he would slip his hand under the table and pat his
boy's knee with loving taps of admiration, prouder of
him than ever. His own pleasures so absorbed him
that he continued to sit almost silent, except for a
word now and then to Nathan or a monosyllable to
Fred.

The guests who were near enough to observe the
visitors closely soon began to look upon Richard and
Nathan as a couple of quaint, harmless, exceedingly
well-bred old gentlemen, rather provincial in appearance 
and a little stilted in their manners, who, before
the evening was over, would, perhaps, become tired
of the gayety, ask to be excused, and betake themselves 
to bed. All of which would be an eminently
proper proceeding in view of their extreme age and
general infirmities, old gentlemen of three score
years and over appearing more or less decrepit to
athletes of twenty and five.

Waller was the only man who really seemed to
take either of them seriously. After a critical examination 
of Richard's head in clear relief under
the soft light of the candles, he leaned over to Stedman 
and said, in a half whisper, nodding toward
Richard:

"Stedman, old man, take that in for a minute.
Strong, isn't it? Wouldn't you like to paint him as
a blessed old Cardinal in a red gown? See how fine
the nose is, and the forehead. Best head I've seen
anywhere. Something in that old fellow."

The dinner went on. The Malays in scarlet and
yellow served the dishes and poured the wine with
noiseless regularity. The men at arms at each side
of the door rested their legs. The two blackamoors,
guarding the High Pan-Jam's chair, and who had
been promised double pay if they kept still during
the entire evening, had not so far winked an eyelid.
Now and then a burst of laughter would start from
one end of the table, leap from chair to chair, and
end in a deafening roar in which the whole room
joined. Each man was at his best. Fred, with entire 
gravity, and with his sternest and most High
Pan-Jam expression, told, just after the fish was
served, a story of a negro cook at a camp so true to
life and in so perfect a dialect that the right-hand
blackamoor doubled himself up like a jack-knife,
much to the astonishment of those on the far side of
the big round table, who up to that moment had
firmly believed them to be studio properties with
ebony heads screwed on bodies of iron wire, the
whole stuffed with curled hair. Bianchi, Who had
come in late, clothed in a Burgomaster's costume
and the identical ruff that Oliver had expected to
paint him in the night when the Countess took his
place, was called to account for piecing out his dress
with a pair of breeches a century behind his coat
and hat, and had his voice drowned in a roar of protests 
before he could explain.

Batterson, the big baritone of the club, Batterson
with the resonant voice, surpassed all his former
efforts by singing, when the cheese and salads were
served, a Bedouin love-song, with such power and
pathos and to the accompaniment of a native instrument 
so skilfully handled that the room rose to
its feet, waving napkins, and the great Carvalho, the
famous tenor--a guest of Crug's, each member could
invite one guest--who was singing that week at the
Academy of Music, left his seat and, circling the
table, threw his arms about the singer in undisguised
admiration.

When the cigars and liqueurs had been passed
around--these last were poured from bubble-blown
decanters and drunk from the little cups flecked with
gold that Munson had found in an old shop in Ravenna
--the chairs were wheeled about or pushed
back, and the members and guests rose from the table
and drifted to the divans lining the walls, or threw
themselves into the easy-chairs that were being
brought from the corners by the waiters. The
piano, with the assistance of the two now crest-
fallen and disappointed blackamoors, who, Eurydice 
like, had listened and lost, was pushed from
its place against the wall; Crug's 'cello was stripped
of its green baize bag and Simmons's violin-case
opened and his Stradivarius placed beside it. The big
table, bearing the wreck of the feast, more captivating 
even in its delightful disorder than it had been in
its orderly confusion, was then, with the combined
help of all the Malays, moved gently back against
the wall, so as to widen the space around the piano,
its debris left undisturbed by special orders from the
Royal Chair, the rattling of dishes while their fun
was in progress being one of the things which the
club would not tolerate.

While all this rearranging of the banquet-hall was
going on, Simmons was busying himself putting a
new bridge under the strings of his violin, tightening 
its bow, and testing the condition of his instrument 
by that see-saw, harum-scarum flourish so common 
to all virtuosos;--no function of the club was
ever complete without music--the men meanwhile
settled themselves comfortably in their seats; some
occupying their old chairs, others taking possession
of the divans, the gay costumes of the members, and
the black coats and white shirt-fronts of the guests in
high relief against the wrecked dinner-table presenting 
a picture as rich in color as it was strong in
contrast.

What is so significant, by the way, or so picturesque, 
as a dinner-table wrecked by good cheer and
hospitality? The stranded, crumpled napkins, the
bunching together of half and wholly emptied glasses,
each one marking a period of content--the low
candles, with half dried tears still streaming down
their cheeks (tears of laughter, of course); the charming 
disorder of cups on plates and the piling up of
dishes one on the other--all such a protest against
the formality of the beginning! and all so suggestive
of the lavish kindness of the host. A wonderful
object-lesson is a wrecked dinner-table, if one cares
to study it.

Silence now fell upon the room, the slightest noise
when Simmons played being an unpardonable sin.
The waiters were ordered either to become part of
the wall decoration or to betake themselves to the
outside hall, or the infernal regions, a suggestion of
Waller's when one of them rattled some glasses he
was carrying on a tray.

Simmons tucked a handkerchief in the band of his
collar, balanced his bow for an instant, looked around
the room, and asked, in a modest, obliging way:

"What shall it be, fellows?"

"Better give us Bach. The aria on the G strings,"
answered Waller.

"No, Chopin," cried Fred.

"No, you wooden-head, Bach's aria," whispered
Waller. "Don't you know that is the best thing he
does?"

"Bach it is then," answered Simmons, tucking his
instrument under his chin.

As the music filled the room, Richard settled himself 
on one of the large divans between Nathan and
Oliver, his head lying back on the cushions, his eyes
half closed. If the table with its circle of thoughtful
and merry faces, had set his brain to work, the tones
of Simmons's violin had now stirred his very soul.
Music was the one thing in the world he could not
resist.

He had never heard the aria better played. He
had no idea that anyone since Ole Bull's time could
play it so well. Really, the surprises of this wonderful 
city were becoming greater to him every hour.
Nathan, too, had caught the infection as he sat with
his body bent forward, his head on one side listening
intently.

When the last note of Simmons's violin had ceased
vibrating, Richard sprang to his feet with all the
buoyancy of a boy and grasped the musician by the
hand.

"My dear sir, you really astound me! Your tone
is most exquisite, and I must also thank you for the
rendering. It is one quite new to me. Ole Bull
played it, you remember--excuse me," and he picked
up Simmons's violin where he had laid it on the piano,
tucked it under his chin, and there vibrated through
the room, half a dozen quivering notes, so clear and
sweet that all eyes were instantly directed toward the
quaint old gentleman, who still stood with uplifted
bow, the violin in his hand.

"Where the devil did he learn to play like that?"
said one member to another. "Why I thought he
was an inventor."

"Keep your toes in your pumps, gentlemen," said
Waller under his breath to some men beside him, as
he sat hunched up in the depths of an old Spanish
armchair. He had not taken his eyes from Richard
while the music went on. "We're not half through
with this old fellow. One thing I've found out, any
how--that's where this beggar Horn got his voice."

Simmons was not so astounded; if he were he did
not show it. He had recognized the touch of a musician 
in the very first note that came from the strings,
just as the painters of the club had recognized the
artist in the first line of the Countess's brush.

"Yes, you're right, Mr. Horn," said Simmons, as
Richard returned him the instrument. "Now I
come to think of it, I do remember having heard Ole
Bull phrase it in that way you have. Stop a moment;
take my violin again and play the air. There's another 
instrument here which I can use. I brought it
for one of my orchestra, but he has not turned up
yet," and he opened a cabinet behind him and took
out a violin and bow.

Richard laughed as he again picked up Simmons's
instrument from the piano where he had laid it.

"What an. extraordinary place this is," he said as
he adjusted the maestro's violin to his chin. "It fills
me with wonder. Everything you want seems to be
within reach of your hand. You take a bare room
and transform it into a dream of beauty; you touch
a spring in a sixteenth century cabinet, and out comes
a violin. Marvellous! Marvellous!" and he sounded
the strings with his bow. "And a wonderful instrument 
too," he continued, as he tightened one of its
strings, his acute ear having detected a slight inaccuracy 
of pitch.

"I'm all ready, Mr. Simmons; now, if you please."

If the club and its guests had forgotten the old
gentleman an hour before, the old gentleman had now
quite forgotten them.

He played simply and easily, Simmons joining in,
picking out the accompaniment, entirely unaware
that anybody was listening, as unaware as he would
have been had only the white-haired mistress been
present, and perhaps Malachi stepping noiselessly in
and out. When he ceased, and the audience had
broken out into exclamations of delight, he looked
about him as if surprised, and then, suddenly remembering 
the cause of it all, said, in a low, gentle voice,
and with a pleasant smile: "I don't wonder you're
delighted, gentlemen. It is to me the most divine of
all his creations. There is only one Bach." That his
hand had held the bow and that the merit of its expression 
lay with him, never seemed to have entered
his head.

When the applause had died out, and Oliver with
the others had crowded around his father to congratulate 
him, the young fellow's eyes fell upon Nathan,
who was still sitting on the long divan, his head resting 
against the wall, his trembling legs crossed one
over the other, the thin hands in his lap--Richard's
skill was a never-ending delight to Nathan, and he
had not lost a note that his bow had called out. The
flute-player had kept so quiet since the music had begun, 
and had become so much a part of the decorations
--like one of the old chairs with its arms held
out, or a white-faced bust staring from out a dark
corner, or some portrait that looked down from the
tapestries and held its peace--that almost everyone
had forgotten his presence.

The attitude of the old man--always a pathetic
one, brought back to Oliver's mind some memory
from out his boyhood days. Suddenly a forgotten
strain from Nathan's flute floated through his brain,
some strain that had vibrated through the old rooms
in Kennedy Square. Springing to his feet and tip-
toeing to the door, he passed between the two men
in armor--rather tired knights by this time, but still
on duty--ran down the carpeted hall between the
lines of palms and up one flight of stairs. Then came
a series of low knocks. A few minutes later he
bounded in again, his rapier in his hand to give his
legs freer play.

"I rapped up Mitchell, who's sick in his studio
upstairs, and got his flute," he whispered to Waller.
"If you think my father can play you should hear
Uncle Nat Gill," and he walked toward Nathan, the
flute held out toward him.

The old gentleman woke to consciousness at the
sight of the instrument, and a slight flush overspread
his face.

"Oh, Oliver! Really, gentlemen--I--Of course, I
love the instrument, but here among you all--" and
he looked up in a helpless way.

"No, no, Uncle Nat," cried Oliver, pressing the
flute into Nathan's hand. "We won't take any excuse. 
There is no one in my town, gentlemen," and
he faced the others, "who can play as he does.
Please, Uncle Nat--just for me; it's so long since I
heard you play," and he caught hold of Nathan's arm
to lift him to his feet.

"You are quite right, my son," cried Richard,
"and I will play his accompaniment."

Oliver's announcement and Richard's endorsement 
caused a stir as great as Richard's own performance. 
A certain curiosity took possession of
the room, quite distinct from the spirit of merriment 
which had characterized it before. Many
of the men now left their seats and began crowding
about the piano--red cardinals, cavaliers, nobles,
and black-coated guests looking over each other's
shoulders. Everybody was getting more and more
mystified.

"Really, Fred," whispered Waller, who still sat
quietly watching the two visitors--he had not taken
his eyes from them since Richard in his enthusiasm
sprang forward to grasp Simmons's hand--,"this is
the most ridiculous thing I ever saw in my life.
First comes this fossil thoroughbred who outplays
Simmons, and now comes this old nut-cracker with
his white tow-hair sticking out in two straight mops,
who is going to play the flute! What in thunder is
coming next? Pretty soon one of them will be pulling 
rabbits out of somebody's ears, or rubbing gold
watches into canary birds."

Nathan took the flute from Oliver's outstretched
hand, bowed in a timid way like a school-boy about
to speak a piece, turned it over carefully, tried the
silver keys to see that they responded easily to the
pressure of his fingers, and raised it to his lips. 
Richard picked up the violin and whispered to Munson,
with whom he had been talking--the one member
who could play the piano as well as he could paint or
fence--who nodded his head in assent.

Then, with Richard leading, the four--one of the
guests a 'cellist of distinction took Max Unger's
place--began Max's arrangement of the overture to
"Fidelio"; the one Richard and Nathan had played
so often together in the old parlor in Kennedy
Square, with Miss Clendenning and Unger: an arrangement 
which had now become known to most
musical amateurs.

There is not a man yet alive who has forgotten the
tones of Nathan's flute as they soared that night
through the clouds of tobacco-smoke that filled the
great banquet-hall. Every shade and gradation of
tone was a delight. Now soft as the cooing of doves,
now low as the music of a brook rippling over the
shallows and again swelling into song like a chorus
of birds rejoicing in the coming of spring.

Not until the voice in the slender instrument had
become silent and the last note of Richard's bow
had ceased reverberating--not in fact, until both
men had laid down their instruments, and had turned
from the piano--did the room seem to recover from
the spell that had bound it. Even then there was no
applause; no clapping of hands nor stamping of feet.
There followed, from members and guests alike, only
a deep, pent-up sigh and a long breath of relief, as if
from a strain unbearable. Simmons, who had sat
with his head buried in his hands, gave no other sign
of his approval than by rising from his chair, taking
Nathan's thin hand in his own and grasping it tightly,
without a word. Stedman blurted out, in a low voice
to himself: "My God! Who ever heard anything
like that?" and remained fixed to his seat. As for
Richard and Nathan, they resumed their places on
the divan as men who had read a message not their
own to willing ears.

Another, and quite a different mood now took possession 
of the room. Somehow the mellow tones of
Nathan's flute had silenced the spirit of the rollicking
buffoonery which had pervaded the evening.

The black-coated guests, with superlative praise of
the good time they had had, and with renewed thanks
for the privilege, began to bid Fred, the Master of
Ceremonies, good-night. Soon only the costumed
members, with Richard and Nathan, were left. So
far from being tired out with the night's diversion,
these two old gentlemen seemed to have just wakened
up.

Those remaining drew their chairs together,
lighted fresh cigars, and sat down to talk over the
events of the evening. Richard related an anecdote
of Macready when playing the part of Hamlet; Stedman 
told of the graceful manner, in which Booth, a
few months before, in the same part, had handed the
flageolet to the musicians, and the way the words fell
from his lips, "You would play upon me "; Oliver,
addressing his words rather to his father than to the
room--acting the scene as he talked, and in his tight-
fitting doublet, looking not unlike the tragedian himself, 
cut in with a description of the great tragedian's
first night at the Winter Garden after his seclusion--
a night when the whole house rose to greet their
favorite and cheered and roared and pounded
everything within reach of their hands and feet for
twenty minutes, while Booth stood with trembling
knees, the tears rolling down his cheeks. Munson
remarked with some feeling--he was an intimate
friend of the actor--that he remembered the night
perfectly, having sat behind Oliver, and that Booth
was not only the most accomplished actor but the
best swordsman ever seen on the American or any
other stage. Munson was an expert fencer himself,
as was evidenced by the scar on his left cheek, received 
when be was a student at Heidelberg, and so
thought himself competent to judge.

While Munson was speaking the great Waller had
risen from his seat for the first time, gathered
his gorgeous raiment closer about him, crossed
the room, and now stood filling a thin glass from a
Venetian flagon that graced the demoralized table.

"Booth's a swordsman, is he?" he said, pushing
back his turban from his forehead, and walking toward 
Munson, glass in hand, his baggy trousers and
tunic making him look twice his regular size. "You
know as much about fencing, Munson, as you do
about the lost tribes of Israel. Booth handles his
foil as a policeman does a rattan cane in the pit of the
Bowery. Forrest is the only man in this country who
can handle a blade."

"I do, do I?" cried Munson, springing to his feet
and unhooking a pair of foils decorating the wall.
"Stop where you are, you caricature of Nana Sahib, 
or I'll run you through the body and pin you
to the wall like a beetle, where you can kick to your
heart's content. Here, catch this," and he tossed one
of the foils to Waller.

"A ring! A ring!" cried the men, with one of
those sudden inspirations that often swept over
them, jumping from their seats and pushing back the
chairs and music-racks to give the contestants room.

Waller laid down his wine-glass, slipped off his turban 
and gold embroidered tunic with great deliberation, 
threw them over to Oliver, who caught them in
his arms, tightened his sash, grasped the foil in his
fat hand, and with great gravity made a savage lunge
at the counterfeit presentment of William Shakespeare, 
who parried his blow without moving from
where he stood. Thereupon the lithe, well-built
young fellow teetered his foil in the air, and with
great nicety pinked his fat antagonist in the stomach,
selecting a gilt band just above his sash as the point
of contact.

A mock battle now ensued, Munson chasing Waller 
about the room, the, members roaring with laughter, 
Richard, with Oliver's assistance, having mounted 
the divan to see the better, clapping his hands like
any boy and shouting, "Bravo! Bravo! Now the
uppercut, now the thrust! Ah, well done. Capital!
Capital!"

Oliver listened in wonder to the strange expressions 
that dropped from his father's lips. Up to that
moment he had never known that the old gentleman
had ever touched a foil in his life.

The next instant Richard was on the floor again,
commiserating with Waller, who was out of Munson's
reach and out of breath with laughter, and congratulating 
Munson on his skill as a swordsman.

"I only noticed one flaw, my dear Mr. Munson,
in your handling," he cried, with a graceful wave of
the hand, "and that may be due to your more modern
way of fencing. Pardon me"--and he picked up
Waller's foil where he had dropped it, and the fine
wrist with the nimble fingers, that had served him so
well all his days, closed over the handle of the foil.
"The thrust in the old days was made SO. You,
I think, made it SO"--and two flashes at different
angles gleamed in the candle-light.

Munson, as if to humor the old gentleman, threw
up his foil, made a pass or two, and, to his intense 
astonishment, received the button of Richard's foil on
his black velvet jacket and within an inch of his heart.

Everybody on the floor at once circled about the
contestants. The spectacle of an old gentleman in a
snuff-colored coat and high collar, having a bout with
a short gentleman in shorter velvet trunks, silk hose,
and steel buckles, was one too droll and too exhilarating 
to lose--anachronistic it was, yet quite in keeping
with the surroundings. More exhilarating still
was the extreme punctiliousness with which the
old gentleman raised the handle of his foil to his chin
after he had made his point, and saluted his antagonist 
as if he had been some knight of King Arthur's
table.

Still more fascinating was the way in which the
younger man settled down to work, his brow knit, his
lips tightly closed, the members widening out to give
them room, Oliver and Nathan cheering the loudest
of them all as Richard's foil flashed in the air, parrying, 
receiving, now up, now down, his right foot edging 
closer, his dear old head bent low, his deep eyes
fixed on his young antagonist, until, with a quick
thrust of his arm and a sudden upward twist of his
hand, he wrenched Munson's foil from his grasp and
sent it flying across the room.

Best of all was the joyful yet apologetic way with
which Richard sprang forward and held out his hand
to Munson, crying out:

"A fluke, my dear Mr. Munson; quite a fluke, I
assure you. Pray forgive me. A mere lucky accident. 
My old fencing master, Martini, taught me
that trick. I thought I had quite forgotten it. Just
think! it is forty years since I have had a foil in my
hands," and, laughing like a boy he crossed the room,
picked up the foil, and, bowing low, handed it to the
crestfallen man with the air of a gallant.


Half the club, costumed as they were--it was now
after midnight, and there were but few people in the
streets--escorted the two old men back to their hotel.
Munson walked beside Richard; Waller, his flowing 
skirts tucked up inside his overcoat, stepped
on the right of Nathan; Oliver, Fred, and the others
followed behind, the hubbub of their talk filling the
night: even when they reached the side door of the
hotel and rang up the night porter, they must still
stand on the sidewalk listening to Richard's account
of the way the young gallants were brought up in his
day; of the bouts with the foils; and of the duels
which were fought before they were willing to take
their leave.

When the last good-byes had been given, and Oliver 
had waved his rapier from the doorstep as a final
farewell to his fellow-members before he saw his
father upstairs to bed, and the delighted escort had
turned on their heels to retrace their steps up Broadway, 
Waller slipped his arm into Munson's, and said,
in his most thoughtful tone, one entirely free from
cynicism or badinage:

"What a lovely pair of old duffers. We talk
about Bohemia, Munson, and think we've got it, but
we haven't. Our kind is a cheap veneer glued to 
commonplace pine. Their kind is old mahogany, solid all
the way through--fine grain, high polish and no
knots. I only wish they lived here."




CHAPTER XXIV

IN THE TWILIGHT



Each day Margaret's heart warmed more and more
to Richard. He not only called out in her a tenderness 
and veneration for his age and attainments which
her own father had never permitted her to express,
but his personality realized for her an ideal which,
until she knew him, she had despaired of ever finding.
While his courtesy, his old-time manners, his quaintness 
of speech and dress captivated her imagination,
his perfect and unfailing sympathy and constant
kindness completely won her heart. There was, too,
now and then, a peculiar tone in his voice which would
bring the tears to her eyes without her knowing why,
until her mind would recall some blunt, outspoken
speech of her dead father's in answer to the very 
sentiments she was then expressing to Richard, who 
received them as a matter of course--a remembrance
which always caused a tightening about her heart.

Sometimes the inventor would sit for her while
she sketched his head in different lights, he watching
her work, interested in every stroke, every bit of
composition. She loved to have him beside her easel
criticising her work. No one, she told Oliver, had
ever been so interested before with the little niceties
of her technique--in the amount of oil used, in the
way the paints were mixed; in the value of a palette
knife as a brush or of an old cotton rag as a blender,
nor had any one of her sitters ever been so enthusiastic 
over her results.

There was one half-hour sketch which more than
all the others astonished and delighted him--one in
which Margaret in her finishing touches had eschewed
brushes, palette-knife and rag, and with one dash of
her dainty thumb had brought into instant relief the
subtle curves about his finely modelled nose. This
filled him with wonder and admiration. His own finger
had always obeyed him, and he loved to find the
same skill in another.

To Richard these hours of intercourse with Margaret 
were among the happiest of his life. It was
Margaret, indeed, who really helped him bear with
patience the tedious delays attendant upon the completion 
of his financial operations. Even when the
final sum was agreed upon--and it was a generous
one, that filled Oliver's heart with joy and set Nathan's 
imagination on fire--the best part of two weeks
had been consumed before the firm of lawyers who
were to pass upon Richard's patents were willing to
certify to the purchasers of the stock of the horn
Magnetic Motor Company, as to the priority of Richard's 
invention based on the patent granted on
August 13, 1856, and which covered the principle of
the levers working in connection with the magnets.

During these tedious delays, in which his heart had
vibrated between hope and fear, he had found his
way every afternoon to Margaret's studio, Nathan
having gone home to Kennedy Square with his head
in the clouds when the negotiations became a certainty. 
In these weeks of waiting the Northern girl
had not only stolen his heart, taking the place of a
daughter he had never known--a void never filled in
any man's soul--but she had satisfied a craving no
less intense, the hunger for the companionship of
one who really understood his aims and purposes.
Nathan had in a measure met this need as far as unselfish 
love and unswerving loyalty could go; and so
had his dear wife, especially in these later years,
when her mind had begun to grasp the meaning of
the social and financial changes that the war had
brought, and what place her husband's inventions
might hold in the new regime. But no one of these,
not even Nathan, had ever understood him as clearly
as had this young girl.

When it grew too dark to paint, he would make
her sit on a stool at his feet, while he would talk to her
of his life work and of the future as he saw it--often
of things which he had kept shut away in his heart
even from Nathan. He would tell her of the long
years of anxiety; of the sleepless nights; of his utter
loneliness, without a friend to guide him, while he
was trying to solve the problems that had blocked his
path; of the poverty of these late years, all the more
pitiful because of his inability at times to buy even
the bare materials and instruments needed for his
work; and, again, of his many disappointments in
his search for the hoped-for link that was needed
to make his motor a success.

Once, in lowered tones and with that eager, restless 
expression which so often came into his face when
standing over his work-bench in his little shop, baffled
by some unsolved problem, he told her of his many
anxieties lest some other brain groping along the
same paths should reach the goal before him; how
the Scientific Review, the one chronicle of the discoveries 
of the time, would often lie on his table for
hours before he had the courage to open it and read
the list of patents granted during the preceding
months, adding, with a voice full of gentleness, "I
was ashamed of it all, afterward, my dear, but Mrs.
Horn became so anxious over our daily expenses,
and so much depended on my success."

This brave pioneer did not realize, nor did she,
that they were both valiant soldiers fighting the good
fight of science and art against tradition and 
provincialism--part of that great army of progress which
was steadily conquering the world!

As she listened in the darkening shadows, her hand
in his, her fingers tight about his own, he, reading
the sympathy of her touch, and fearing to have distressed 
her by his talk, had started up, and in his
cheery, buoyant voice cried out:

"But it is all over now, my child. All past and
gone. The work of my life is finished. There's
plenty now for all of us. For my dear wife who has
borne up so bravely and has never complained, and
for you and Oliver. Your waiting need not be long,
my dear. This last happiness which has come to me"
--and he smoothed her hair gently with his thin
hand and drew her closer to him--"seems the greatest 
of them all."


The two were seated in this way one afternoon,
Margaret resting after a day's work, when Oliver
opened the door. She had made a sketch of Richard's 
head that very morning as he lay back in a big
chair, a strong, vigorous piece of work which she
afterward finished.

Richard looked up and his face broke into a joyous
smile.

"Bring a chair, my son," he cried, "and sit by
me. I have something to say to you." When, a
few moments later, Margaret had left the room to
give some directions to Mrs. Mulligan, he added: "I
have been telling Margaret that you both do wrong
in putting off your marriage. These delays fret
young people's lives away. She tells me it is your
wish. What are you waiting for?"

"Only for money enough to take care of her,
father. Madge has been accustomed to more comforts 
than I can give her. She would, I know, cheerfully 
give up half of her income, small as it is, to me
if I would let her, but that is not the way I want to
make her happy. Don't worry, dear old dad, the Fish
portrait will pull us out"--and he leaned down and
put his arms about his father's neck as he used to
do when he was a boy. "I shall get there before
long."

Oliver did not tell his father what a grief it had
been to him to keep Madge waiting, nor how he had
tried to make it up to her in every way while he had
made his fight alone. Nor did he tell Richard of the
principal cause of his waiting--that the mortgage to
which his mother had pledged her name and to which
he had morally pledged his own was still unpaid.

Richard listened to Oliver's outburst without interrupting 
him.

"I only wanted to do the best I could for you my
son," he answered, laying his fingers on Oliver's
hand. "I was thinking of nothing but your happiness. 
During the last few days, since I have become
assured that this negotiation would go through, I
have decided to carry out a plan which has long been
in my mind and which, now that I know about Margaret, 
makes it all the more necessary. I am going
to make provision for you immediately. This, I hope,
will be to-morrow or the next day at farthest. The
contracts are all ready for our signatures, and only
await the return of one of the attorneys who is out of
town. The cash sum they pay for the control of the
patents is, as you know, a considerable one; then I
get nearly half of the capital stock of the new company. 
I am going to give you, at once, one-third of
the money and one-third of the stock."

Oliver raised his hand in protest, but Richard kept
on.

"It is but just, my son. There are but three of us
--your mother, yourself, and I. It is only your
share. I won't have you and Margaret waiting until
I am gone"--and he looked up with a smile on his
face.

Oliver stood for a moment dazed at the joyous
news, his father's hand in his, the tears dimming his
eyes. While he was thanking him, telling him how
glad he was that the struggle was over and how proud
he was of his genius, Margaret stole up behind him
and put her hands over his eyes, bidding him guess
who it was--as if there could be another woman in
the whole world who would take the liberty. Oliver
caught her in his arms and kissed her, whispering in
her ears the joyous news with her cheek close to his;
and Margaret looked from one to the other, and then
put her arms around Richard and kissed him without
a word--the first time she had ever dared so much.

Oh, but there were joyous times that followed!

Mrs. Mulligan, at a whispered word from her mistress, 
ran down-stairs as fast as her old legs could
carry her and came back with her arms full of bundles, 
which she dumped upon her small kitchen-table.
And Margaret put on a clean white apron, white as
snow, and rolled up her sleeves, showing her beautiful 
arms above her elbows--Oliver always vowed
that she had picked them up where the Milo
had dropped them--and began emptying the contents
of a bowl of oysters, one of Mrs. Mulligan's packages,
into a chafing-dish. And Oliver wheeled out the table
and brought out the cloth, and dear old Richard, his
face full of smiles, placed the napkins with great 
precision beside each plate, puckering them up into little
sheaves, "just as Malachi would have done," he said;
and then Margaret whispered to Oliver if he didn't
think "it would be just the very thing," they were
"so anxious to see him"--and Oliver thought it
would--he was cutting bread at the moment, and
getting it ready for Mrs. Mulligan to toast on her
cracker-box of a range; and Margaret, with her arms
and her cheeks scarlet, ran out in the hall and down
the corridor, and came back, out of breath, with
two other girls--one in a calico frock belted in at
her slender waist, and the other in a black bombazine
and a linen collar. And Richard looked into their
faces, and took them both by the hand and told them
how glad he was to be permitted to share in their
merrymakings; and then, when Oliver had drawn out
the chairs--one was a stool, by the way--the whole
party sat down, Oliver at the foot and Richard on
Margaret's right, the old gentleman, remarking, as
he opened his napkin, that but one thing was wanting
to complete his happiness, and that was Oliver's
mother, who of all women in the world would enjoy
the occasion the most.

But the happiest time of all was over the soup, or
rather over the tureen, or rather what was inside of
it--or worse still, what was not. This wonderful soup
had been ordered at the restaurant across the way,
and was to be brought in smoking hot at the appointed 
time by a boy. The boy arrived on the minute, 
and so did the tureen--a gayly flowered affair
with a cover, the whole safely ensconced in a basket.
When the lid was lifted and Margaret and the two
girls looked in, a merry shout went up. Not a drop
of soup was in the tureen! The boy craned his head
in amazement, and Mrs. Mulligan, who stood by with
the plates, and who had broken out into violent gestures 
at the sight was about to upbraid the boy for his
stupidity, when Margaret's quick eye discovered a
trail of grease running down the table-cloth, along
the floor and out of the door. Whereupon everybody
got up, including Richard, and with roars of laughter
followed the devious trail out into the hall and so
on down the staircase as far as they could see. Only
when Mrs. Mulligan on their return to the room held
up the tureen and pointed to a leak in its bottom, was
the mystery explained.

And so the merry dinner went on.

Ah, dear old man, if these happy days could only
have gone on till the end.

On the afternoon of the day following this joyous
night--the day the contracts were to be signed, a 
culmination which would make everybody happy--
Margaret hurried up the stairs of her building, and
pushed open the door. She knew she should find the
inventor waiting for her, and she wanted to be the
first to get the glad news from his lips. It was 
varnishing day at the Academy, and she had gone down
to put the last touches on her big portrait--the one of
"Madame X." that she had begun in Paris the year
before.

Richard did not move when she entered. He was
leaning back in the chair she had placed for him, his
head on his hand, his attitude one of thoughtful repose, 
the light of the fast-fading twilight making a
silhouette of his figure. She thought he was dozing,
and so crept up behind him to make sure.

"Ah, my dear, is that you?" he asked. The voice
did not sound like Richard's.

"Yes--I thought you were asleep."

"No, my child--I'm only greatly troubled. I'm
glad you have come"--and he took her hand and
smoothed it with his own. "Bring your stool; I
have something to say to you."

Without taking off her bonnet and cloak, she took
her place at his feet. The tones of his voice chilled
her. A great fear rose in her heart. Why she could
not tell.

"Has anything happened to Oliver?" she asked,
eagerly.

"No, nothing so terrible as that. It is about the
motor. The bankers have refused the loan, and the
attorneys have withdrawn the papers."

"Withdrawn the papers! Oh, no it can't be!"
She had leaned forward now, her anxious, startled
eyes looking into his.

"Yes, my dear; a Mr. Gorton from Maine has perfected 
a machine which not only accomplishes what I
claim for my own, but is much better in every way.
The attorneys have been looking into this new motor
for a week past, so I learn now. Here is their letter"
--and he put his hand in his pocket and took out a
white envelope. "They will, perhaps, take up Mr.
Gorton's machine instead of mine. I made a hasty
examination of this new motor this morning with my
old friend Professor Morse, and we both agree that
the invention is all Mr. Gorton claims for it. It is
only a beginning, of course, along the lines of galvanic 
energy, but it is a better beginning than mine,
and I feel sure it is all the inventor claims for it. I
have so informed them, and I have also written a letter 
to Mr. Gorton congratulating him on his success." 
The calmness and gentleness of his voice
thrilled her.

"I suppose I ought to have telegraphed the news
to Mrs. Horn, as I promised," he continued, slowly,
as if each word gave him pain, "but I really had not
the heart, so I came up here. I've been here all the
afternoon hoping you would come in. The room felt
a little cold, my dear, and your good woman made a
fire for me, as you see. You don't mind, do you?"

Margaret bowed her head on his hands and kissed
the thin fingers that lay in her own. Her heart was
full to bursting. The pathos of the bent figure, the
despairing sound of his voice--so unlike his buoyant
tones; the ghostly light that permeated the room, so
restful always before, so grewsome and forbidding
now, appealed to her in a way she had never known.
She was not thinking of herself, nor of Oliver, nor of
the wife waiting for the news at home; she was only
thinking of this dear old man who sat with bowed
head, his courage gone, all the joyousness out of his
life. What hurt her most was her own utter helplessness. 
In most things she could be of service: now
she was powerless. She knew it when she spoke.

"Is it ended?" she asked at last, her practical mind
wanting to know the worst.

"Yes, my child, ended. I wish I could give you
some hope, but there is none. I shall go home to-
morrow and begin again;--on what I do not know--
something--I cannot tell."

Oliver's footsteps sounded in the outer hall. She
rose quickly and met him on the outside, half closing
the door, so that she could tell him the dreadful news
without being overheard.

"Broken their promises to father? Impossible!
Why? What for? Another invention? Oh, it cannot 
be!"

He walked quickly toward him. "But father,
what about your patents? They can't rob you of
them. Suppose this man's motor is better."

Richard did not move. He seemed unwilling to
look his son in the face.

"Let me take hold of this thing." Oliver was
bending over him now, his arms about his neck. "I'll
see Mr. Slade at once. I met him this morning and
told him you were here, and he is coming to call on
you. He has always stood by me and will now.
These people who have disappointed you are not the
only ones who have got money. Mr. Slade, you
know, is now a banker himself. I will begin to-morrow 
to fight this new man who--"

"No, no, my son, you must do nothing of the
kind," said Richard leaning his cheek wearily against
Oliver's hand, as if for warmth and protection, but
still looking into the fire. "It would not be right to
take from him what he has honestly earned. The lifting 
power of his machine is four times my own, and
the adjustment of the levers much simpler. He has
only accomplished what I failed to do. I am not quite
sure but I think he uses the same arrangement of
levers that I do, but everything else is his. Such a
man is to be helped, not worried with lawsuits. No,
my son, I must bear it as best I may. Your poor
mother!" He stopped suddenly and passed his hand
over his eyes, and in a broken, halting voice, added:
"I've tried so hard to make her old age happier. I
fear for the result when the news reaches her. And
you and this poor girl!"--and he reached out his
hand to Margaret--"this is the part that is hardest
to bear."

Oliver disengaged his arm from his father's neck
and walked up and down the room, Madge watching
him. His mind was searching about for some way
to stem the tide of disaster. Every movement of
his body expressing his determination. He was not
thinking of himself. He saw only Madge and his
mother. Then he turned again and faced his
father.

"Will you let me try?" he urged in a firm voice.

"No, Oliver! Positively no."

As he spoke he straightened himself in his chair
and turned toward Oliver. His voice had regained
something of its old-time ring and force. "To rob
a man of the work of his brain is worse than to take
his purse. You will agree with me, I know, when you
think it over. Mr. Gorton had never heard of my invention 
when he perfected his, nor had I ever heard
of his when I perfected mine. He is taking nothing
from me; how can I take anything from him! Give
me your hand my son; I am not feeling very well."
His voice fell again as if the effort had been too
much for him. "I think I will go back to the hotel.
A night's rest will do me good."

He rose slowly from his chair, steadied himself
by holding to Oliver's strong arm, stood for an instant 
looking into Margaret's eyes, and said, with
infinite tenderness:

"Come close; my daughter, and kiss me."

She put her arms about him, cuddling her head
against his soft cheek, smoothing his gray hair with
her palm.

"My child," he said, "you have been a delight
and joy to me. A woman like you is beyond price.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for loving
my son."

With something of his old manner he again
straightened himself up, threw his shoulders back
as if strengthened by some new determination,
walked firmly across the room, and picked up his
cloak. As he stood waiting for Oliver to place it
about his shoulders, he put his hand to his side, with
a quick movement, as if smitten by some sudden
pain, staggered backward, his head upon his breast,
and would have sunk to the floor but for Oliver's
hand. Margaret sprang forward and caught his
other arm.

"It's nothing, my son," he said, between his
gasps for breath, holding on to Oliver. "A sudden
giddiness. I'm often subject to it. I, perhaps, got
up too quickly. It will pass over. Let me sit down
for a moment."

Half supporting him, Oliver put his arm about
his father and laid him on the lounge.

As Richard's head touched the cushion that Margaret 
had made ready, he gave a quick gasp, half
rose as if to breathe the better, and fell back 
unconscious.


When the doctor arrived Richard was lying on
Margaret's bed, where Oliver had carried him, he
had rallied a little, and had then sunk into a deep
sleep. Margaret sat beside him, watching every
breath he drew, the scalding tears streaming down
her face.

The physician bent closer and pressed his ear to
the sleeping man's breast

"Has he been subject to these attacks?" he said,
in a grave tone.

"I know of only one some years ago, the year
the war broke out, but he recovered then very
quickly," answered Oliver.

"Is your mother living!"

"Yes."

"Better send her word at once."




CHAPTER XXV

SMOULDERING COALS



The night wind sighed through the old sycamores
of Kennedy Square. A soft haze, the harbinger of
the coming spring, filled the air. The cold moon,
hanging low, bleached the deserted steps of the
silent houses to a ghostly white.

In the Horn mansion a dim light burned in Richard's 
room and another in the lower hall. Everywhere 
else the house was dark.

Across the Square, in Miss Clendenning's boudoir, 
a small wood fire, tempering the chill of the
April night, slumbered in its bed of ashes, or awakened 
with fitful starts, its restless blaze illumining
the troubled face of Margaret Grant. The girl's
eyes were fixed on the dying coals, her chin in her
hand, the brown-gold of her wonderful hair gold-red
in the firelight. Now and then she would lift her
head as if listening for some approaching footstep.
Miss Clendenning sat beside her, leaning over the
hearth in her favorite attitude, her tiny feet resting
on the fender.

The years had touched the little lady but lightly
since that night when she sat in this same spot
and Oliver had poured out his heart to her. She
was the same dainty, precise, lovable old maid that
she had been in the old days of Kennedy Square,
when the crocuses bloomed in the flower-beds and its
drawing-rooms were filled with the wit and fashion
of the day. Since that fatal night when Richard
had laid away his violin and brother had been divided
against brother, and Kennedy Square had become
the stamping ground of armed men, she had watched
by the bedsides of a thousand wounded soldiers, regardless 
of which flag they had battled under. The
service had not withered her. Time had simply
stood still, forgetting the sum of its years, while it
marked her with perennial sweetness.

"I'm afraid he's worse," Margaret said, breaking
the silence of the room, as she turned to Miss Clendenning, 
"or Ollie would have been here before
this. Dr. Wallace was to go to the house at eleven,
and now it is nearly twelve."

"The doctor may have been detained," Miss Clendenning 
answered. "There is much sickness in
town."

For a time neither spoke. Only the low muttering 
of the fire could be heard, or the turning of some
restless coal.

"Margaret," Miss Clendenning said at last--it
had always been "Margaret" with the little lady
ever since the day she had promised Oliver to love
the woman whom he loved; and it was still "Margaret" 
when the women met for the first time in
the gray dawn at the station and Miss Clendenning
herself helped lead Richard out of the train--
"There is a bright side to every trouble. But for
this illness you would never have known Oliver's
mother as she really is. All her prejudices melted
away as soon as she looked into your face. She loves
you better every day, and she is learning to depend
on you just as Richard and Oliver have done."

"I hope she will," the young woman answered,
without moving. "It breaks my heart to see her
suffer as she does. I see my own mother in her so
often. She is different in many ways, but she is
the same underneath--so gentle and so kind, and
she is so big and broad-minded too. I am ashamed
to think of all the bitter feelings I used to have in
my heart toward her."

She stopped abruptly, her hands tightly folded in
her lap, her shoulders straightened. Margaret's 
confessions were always made in this determined way,
head thrown back like a soldier's, as though a new
resolve had been born even while an old sin was
being confessed.

"Go on," said Miss Clendenning. "I understand. 
You mean that you did not know her."

"No; but I thought her narrow and proud, and
that she disliked me for influencing Oliver in his
art, and that she wanted to keep him from me and
from my ideals. Oh, I've been very, very wicked!"

"Not wicked, my dear--only human. You are
not the first woman who did not want to divide a
love with a mother."

"But it wasn't exactly that, dear Cousin Lavinia.
I had never met anyone who obeyed his mother as
Ollie did, and--and--I almost hated her for being
his guide and counsel when--oh, not because she did
not love him too, just as I did--but because I
thought that I could really help him most--because
I believed in his talent and she did not, and because
I knew all the time that she was ruining him, keeping 
him back, spoiling his career, and--"

Again she stopped and straightened herself, her
beautiful head held higher. Those who knew Margaret 
well would have known that the worst part
of her confession was yet to come.

"I suppose I was hurt too," she said, slowly accentuating 
each pause with a slight movement of the
head. "That I was LITTLE enough and MEAN enough
and HORRID enough for that. But he was always talking 
of his mother as though she never did anything
but sit still in that white shawl of hers, listening to
music, while everybody waited on her and came to
her for advice. And I always thought that she
couldn't understand me nor any other woman who
wanted to work. When Ollie talked of you all, and
of what you did at home, I couldn't help feeling she
must think that I and all my people belonged to
some different race and that when she saw me she
would judge me by some petty thing that displeased
her, the cut of my skirt, or the way I carried my
hands, or something else equally trivial, and that she
would use that kind of thing against me and, perhaps,
tell Ollie, too. Father judged Oliver in that way. He
thought that Ollie's joyousness and his courtesy,
even his way of taking off his hat, and holding it
in his two hands for a moment--you've seen him do
it a hundred times--was only a proof of his Southern 
shiftlessness--caring more for manners than for
work. Mother didn't; she understood Ollie better,
and so did John, but father never could. That's
why I wouldn't come when you asked me. You
wouldn't have judged me, I know, but I thought
that she would. And now--oh, I'm so sorry I could
cry."

"It was only another of the mistakes and misunderstandings 
that divided us all at that time, my
dear," Miss Clendenning answered. "This dreadful
war could have been averted, if people had only come
together and understood each other. I did not think
so then, but I do now."

"And you don't think me wicked, Cousin Lavinia?" 
Margaret asked with a sudden relaxation of
her figure and something infinitely childlike and 
appealing in her tone. "You really don't think me
wicked, do you?"

"Not wicked, dear; only human, as I said a moment 
ago. Yet you have been stronger than I. You
have held on and won; I let go and lost."

Margaret bent forward and laid her finger on Miss
Clendenning's knee.

"Lost what, Cousin Lavinia?" she asked, in surprise.

"My lover."

"When?"

"When I was just your age."

"Did he die?" asked Margaret in awed tones,
overcome all at once with the solemnity of the hour
and a strange new note in Miss Lavinia's voice.

"No, he married someone else."

"He never--never loved you, then." There was
a positiveness now in her intonations.

"Yes, he did, with all his heart. His mother
came between us."

Again silence fell on the room. Margaret would
not look at Miss Clendenning. The little old maid
had suddenly opened the windows of her heart, but
whether to let a long-caged sorrow out or some
friendly sympathy in, she could not tell.

"May I know about it!" There was a softer
cadence now in the girl's voice.

"It would only make you unhappy, dear. It was
all over forty years or more ago. Sallie, when she
saw you, put her arms about you. You had only to
come together. The oftener she sees you, the more
she will love you. My lover's mother shut the door
in my face."

"In your face? Why?"

Margaret moved closer to Miss Clendenning,
stirred by a sudden impulse, as if she could even now
protect her from one who had hurt her.

Miss Lavinia bent forward and picked up the
brass tongs that lay on the fender at her feet. She
saw Margaret's gesture, but she did not turn her
head. Her eyes were still watching the smouldering
embers.

"For no reason, dear, that you or any other
Northern woman could understand. An old family
quarrel that began before I was born."

Margaret's cheeks flushed and a determined look
came into her face.

"The coward! I would not have cared what his
mother or anybody else did, or how they quarrelled.
If I loved you I would have married you in spite of
everything."

"And so would he." She was balancing the tongs
in her hand now, her eyes still on the fire. She had
not looked at Margaret once.

"What happened then?"

Miss Clendenning leaned forward, spread the
tongs in her little hands, lifted an ember and tucked
it closer to its neighbor. The charred mass crumbled 
at the touch and fell into a heap of broken coals.

"I am a Clendenning, my dear; that is all," she
answered, slowly.

Margaret stared at her with wide-open eyes. That
a life should be wrecked for a mere question of
family pride was something her mind could not
fathom.

"Have you regretted it since, Cousin Lavinia?"
she asked, calmly. She wanted to follow it out now
to the end.

Miss Clendenning heaped the broken coals closer
together, laid the tongs back in their place on the
fender, and, turning to Margaret, said, with a sigh:

"Don't ask me, my dear. I never dare ask myself, 
but do you keep your hand close in Oliver's.
Remember, dear, close--close! Then you will never
know the bitterness of a lonely life."

She rose from her seat, bent down, and, taking
Margaret's cheeks between her palms, kissed her on
the forehead.

Margaret put her arms about the little lady, and
was about to draw her nearer, when the front door
opened and a step was heard in the hall. Miss Lavinia 
raised herself erect, listening to the sound.

"Hark!" she cried, "there's the dear fellow,
now"--and she advanced to meet him, her gentle
countenance once more serene.

Oliver's face as he entered the room told the story.

"Not worse?" Margaret exclaimed, starting from
her chair.

"Yes--much worse. I have just sent word to
Uncle Nat"--and he kissed them both. "Put on
your things at once. The doctor is anxious.

Miss Lavinia caught up her cloak, handed Margaret 
her shawl, and the three hurried out the front-
door and along the Square, passing the Pancoast
house, now turned into offices, its doors and windows 
covered with signs, and the Clayton Mansion,
surmounted by a flag-pole and still used by the Government. 
Entering the park, they crossed the site
of the once lovely flower-beds, now trampled flat--
as was everything else in the grounds--and so on
to the marble steps of the Horn Mansion.

Mrs. Horn met them at the top of the stairs. She
put her arms silently about Margaret, kissed her
tenderly, and led her into Richard's room. Oliver
and Miss Clendenning stood at the door.

The master lay under the canopy of the four-post
bedstead, his eyes closed, the soft white hair lost in
the pillows, the pale face tinged with the glow of
the night lamp. Dr. Wallace was standing by the
bed watching the labored breathing of the prostrate
man. Old Hannah sat on the floor at Richard's feet.
She was rocking to and fro, making no sign, crooning 
inaudibly to herself listening to every sound.

Margaret sank to her knees and laid her cheek
on the coverlet. She wanted to touch something
that was close to him.

The head of the sick man turned uneasily. The
doctor bent noiselessly down, put his ears close to
the patient's breast, touched his pulse with his
fingers, and laid his hand on his forehead.

"Better send for some hot water," he whispered
to Mrs. Horn when he had regained her side. Margaret 
overheard, and started to rise from her knees,
but Mrs. Horn waved her back. "Hannah will get
it," she said, and stooped close to the old woman
to give the order. There was a restrained calmness
in her manner that sent a shiver through Margaret.
She remembered just such an expression on her
mother's face when her own father lay dying.

The old servant lifted herself slowly, and with
bent head and crouching body crept out of the room
without turning her face toward her master. The
superstition of the negroes about the eyes of a dying
man kept hers close to the floor--she did not want
Richard to look at her.

Dr. Wallace detected the movement--he knew
its cause--and passed out of the sick chamber to
where Oliver stood with Miss Clendenning.

"Better go down, Oliver, and see that the hot
water is sent up right away," he said. "Poor old
Hannah seems to have lost her head."

"Has there been any further change, Doctor!"
Oliver asked, as he started for the stairs.

"No, not since you went. He is holding his own.
His hands feel cold, that is all." To Miss Lavinia
he said: "It is only a question of hours," and went
back into the room.

Oliver hurried after Hannah. He intended to
send Malachi up with the hot water and then persuade 
the old woman to go to bed. When he reached
the lower hall it was empty; so were the parlors and
the dining-room. At the kitchen-door he met Hannah. 
She had filled the pitcher and had turned to
carry it upstairs. Oliver stopped her.

"Where is Malachi, aunty?"

Hannah pointed through the open door to Richard's 
little shop in the back yard and hurried on.
Oliver walked quickly through the damp, brick-
paved yard, now filled with the sombre shadows of
the night, and pushed open the green door. The
place was dark except for a slant of moonlight which
had struggled through the window-pane and was
illumining the motor where it rested in its customary
place under the sash.

"Malachi, are you here?"

A sob was the only answer.

Oliver stepped inside. The old man was on his
knees, his head and arms lying flat on Richard's
work-bench. Oliver bent down and laid his hand on
the old servant's head.

"Mally!"

"I hear ye, Marse Ollie, an' I hearn Hannah. I
tell you same as I tol' her--ain't no use fetchin' no
water; ain't no use no mo' for no doctor, ain't no
use, ain't no use. I ain't never goin' to say no mo'
to him, 'Chairs all ready, Marse Richard.' I ain't
never goin' to wait on him no mo', Come close to
me, Marse Ollie; get down an' let me tell ye, son."

He had lifted his head now, and was looking up
into Oliver's eyes, the tears streaming down his
face.

"He freed me; he gimme a home. He ain't
neber done nothin' but love me an' take care o' me.
When I bin sick he come in an' he set by me. 'You
got a fever, I think, Malachi,' he say. 'Go to bed
dis minute. Cold, is you? Git dat blanket out'n my
room an' put it on yo' bed. Don't let me hab to tell
ye dat agin, Malachi.' 'Marse Richard,' I'd say to
him, 'I ain't got no coat fit to wear.' Dat was in
de ol' days, when you warn't nuffin but a chile, Marse
Ollie. 'Who says so, Malachi,' he say. 'I say so,
Marse Richard.' 'Lemme see,' he'd say. 'Dat's so,
dat ain't fit fer nobody to wear. Go upstairs to my
closet, Malachi, an' git dat coat I was a-wearin' 
yisterday. I reckon I kin git on widout it."

Malachi had his head in his hands now, his body
swaying from side to side. Oliver stood silent.

"When he come home de udder day an' I lif' him
in de bed, he say, 'Don't you strain yo'se'f, Malachi.
'Member, you ain't spry as you was.' Oh, Gawd!
Oh, Gawd! What's Malachi gwine to do?"

Oliver sat down beside him. There was nothing
to say. The old servant's grief was only his own.

"Ebery night, Marse Ollie, sence he bin sick, I
git so lonesome dat I wait till de house git still an'
den I git out'n de bed and crope down-stairs an' listen 
at de bedroom door. Den I hear de mistis say:
'In pain, dear?' and he say, 'No, Sallie.' An' den
I crope up agin an' go to bed kind o' comforted. I
was down agin las' night--mos' mawnin'--a-listenin', 
an' de mistis say: 'Kin I do sumpin' to
ease de pain, dear?' an' he don't answer, only groan,
and den I hear de bed creak, an' dat SHORT BREF COME.
Pat's the sign! I knows it. In de mawnin' he'll be
gone. Can't fool Malachi; I knows de signs."

A gentle tap at the front door on the street
sounded through the stillness. Oliver had left all
the intervening doors between the dining-room and
the shop open in his search for Malachi.

The old servant, with the lifelong habit upon him,
started up to answer the summons.

"No, Mally, stay here," said Oliver. "I'll go.
Some neighbor, perhaps, wanting to know how
father is."

Oliver walked rapidly through the yard, tiptoed
through the hall, and carefully turned the knob.

Amos Cobb stepped in.

"I saw the light, Oliver," he said, in a low tone,
"and I knew you were up. I have an important
telegram from New York in answer to one I sent
this morning from my office here. Would it be possible 
for me to see your father? I know it is very
late, but the matter is most urgent."

"I'm afraid not, Mr. Cobb. He is very low."

"Not serious?" Amos exclaimed, in alarm.

"Doctor Wallace thinks it is."

"You don't tell me so! I had no idea he was so
ill!"

"Nor did we, sir; a change for the worse set in
this evening."

Amos leaned back against the wall, his hat in his
hand. The light from the eight-sided hall lamp fell
on his thick-set shoulders and square, determined,
honest face. The keen-eyed, blunt Vermonter's
distress at the news was sincere, and heartfelt.

"Could I attend to it, Mr. Cobb?" asked Oliver.

"Perhaps so. I've got those fellows now where
the hair is short, and I'm going to make 'em pay
for it."

"What is it about?"

Amos Cobb took a double telegram from his
pocket. It was closely written and contained a long
message.

"It's about your father's patents. This telegram
is from the attorneys of the Gorton--"

Oliver laid his fingers on the open telegram in
Cobb's hand, and said, in a positive tone:

"He will not rob this man of his rights, Mr.
Cobb."

"It's not that! It is the other way. The attorneys 
of the Gorton Company refuse to rob your
father of HIS rights. Further, the bankers will not
endorse the Gorton stock until your father's patent
--I think it is No. 18,131"--and he examined the
telegram closely--"yes, August 13, 1856, 18,131--
is out of the way. They are prepared to pay a large
price for it at once, and have asked me to see your
father and arrange it on the best terms I can. The
offer is most liberal. I don't feel like risking an
hour's delay; that's why I'm here so late. What
had I better do?"

Oliver caught Mr. Cobb's hand in his and a flash
of exultant joy passed over his face as he thought of
his father's triumph and all it meant to him. Then
Margaret's eyes looked into his and next his mother's; 
he knew what it meant to them all. Then the
wasted figure of his father rose in his mind, and his
tears blinded him.

Amos stood watching him, trying to read his
thoughts. He saw the tears glistening on Oliver's
lashes, but he misunderstood the cause. Only the
practical side of the situation appealed to the Vermonter 
at the moment. These New York men had
cast discredit on his endorsement of Richard's priority 
in the invention and had tried to ignore them
both. Now he held them tight in his grasp. Horn
was a rich man.

"I'll be very quiet, Oliver," he continued, in a
half-pleading tone, "and will make it as short as I
can. Just let me go up. It can't hurt him"--and
he laid his hand on Oliver's shoulder with a tenderness 
that surprised him. "I would never forgive
myself if he should pass away without learning of
his success. He's worked so hard."

Before Oliver could reply another low tap was
heard at the door. Cobb turned the knob gently
and Nathan stepped inside the hall. The old man
had gone home and to bed, tired out with his ceaseless 
watching by Richard's bedside, and was only
half dressed.

"Still with us?" he asked in trembling tones, his
eyes searching Oliver's face. "Oh, thank God!
Thank God! I'll go up at once"--and he passed on
toward the stairway. Amos and Oliver followed.

As Nathan's foot touched the first step Doctor
Wallace's voice sounded over the bannisters.

"Oliver! Malachi! Both of you--quick!"
The three bounded noiselessly up-stairs and entered 
the room. Richard lay high up on the pillows,
the face in shadow, his eyes closed. Margaret was
still on her knees, her head on the coverlet. Mrs.
Horn stood on the other side of the bed, the same
calm, fixed expression on her face, as if she was
trying to read the unknowable. Dr. Wallace sat
on a chair beside his patient, his fingers on Richard's
pulse.

"Is he gone?" asked Oliver, stepping quickly to
his father's side, his voice choking.

Dr. Wallace shook his head.

Amos Cobb drew near, and whispered in the doctor's 
ear. The old physician listened quietly, and
nodded in assent. Then he leaned over his patient.

"Mr. Cobb has some good news for you, Richard," 
he said, calmly. "The bankers have recognized 
your patents, and are ready to pay the
money--"

The dying man's eyes opened slowly.

Amos stepped in front of the doctor, and bent
down close to the bed.

"It's all right, Horn--all right! They can't get
along without your first patent. Here's the telegram." 
He spoke with an encouraging cheeriness
in his voice, as one would in helping a child across
a dangerous place.

The brow of the dying man suddenly cleared;
the eyes burned with their old steadiness, then the
lips parted.

"Read it," he muttered. The words were barely
audible.

Cobb held the paper so the dim light should fall
upon it and read the contents slowly, emphasizing
each word.

"Raise me up."

The voice seemed to come from his throat, as if
his lungs were closed. Oliver started forward, but
Cobb, being nearer, slipped his arm under the wasted
figure, and with the tenderness of a woman, lifted
him carefully, tucking the pillows in behind the thin
shoulders for better support. Oliver sank softly to
his knees beside Margaret.

Again the thin lips parted.

"Read it once more." The voice came stronger
now.

Amos held the paper to the light, and the words
of the telegram, like the low tick of a clock, again
sounded through the hushed room.

For a brief instant the inventor's eyes sought each
face in turn. As his gaze rested on Margaret and
Oliver, he moved his thin white hand slowly along
the coverlet, and laid it first on Oliver's and next on
Margaret's head. Then, with a triumphant look
lighting his face, he lifted his arms toward his wife.

"Sallie!" he called, and fell back on his pillow,
lifeless.




CHAPTER XXVI

THE LIGHT OF A NEW DAY



The crocuses are a-bloom once more. The lilac
buds are bursting with the joy of the new spring. A
veil of silver-gray floats over Moose Hillock. The
idle brook, like a truant boy, dances in the sunshine,
singing to itself as it leaps from ledge to pool.

All the doors and windows of the big studio on
the side looking down the valley are open to the
morning air. Through one of these Margaret has
just entered, her arms full of apple blossoms. One
spray she places in a slender blue jar, the delicate
blush of the buds and the pale green of the leaves
harmonizing with the gold-brown of her marvellous
hair as she buries her face among them. All about
the spacious room are big easels, half-finished portraits, 
rich draperies, wide divans, old brass, and rare porcelain.

In an easy chair, close to the window, with the
fragrance of the blossoms around her, sits a white-
haired old lady with a gossamer shawl about her
shoulders. She is watching Margaret as she moves
about the room, her eyes brimming with tenderness
and pride. Now and then she looks toward a door
leading into the bedroom beyond, as if expecting someone.

Oliver stands before his easel, his palette and
brushes in his hand. He is studying the effect of a
pat of color he has just laid on the portrait of a
young girl in a rich gown--the fourth full-length
he has painted this year--the most important being
the one of his father ordered by the Historical Society 
of Kennedy Square, and painted from Margaret's sketches.

Malachi--the old man is very feeble--moves
slowly around a square table covered with a snow-
white cloth, with seats set for four--one a high chair
with little arms. In his hands are a heap of cups
and saucers--the same Spode cups and saucers he
looked after so carefully in the old house at home.
These he places near the smoking coffee-urn.

Suddenly a merry, roguish laugh is heard, and a
little fellow with gold-brown hair and big blue eyes
peers in through the slowly opening door.

The old servant stops, and his withered face
breaks into a smile.

"Is dat you, honey?" he cries, with a laugh.
"Come along, son. Yo' cha'r's all ready, Marse Richard."





End of Project Gutenberg's Fortunes of Oliver Horn, by F. Hopkinson Smith


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