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Domenica and Maria would plan the chickens. The soup must be ready.” future, and he, Cecco, would be far Giuseppe threw down his ax, and away, where the fields were never bare went whistling to the house. or white; only his heart would be gray Cecco laid another stump on the and empty.
block and attacked it savagely. The
chips flew, and the wood was piled in Oh, those eyes so black,
the right lengths about the block. And those red lips that
Standing near, Maria watched, and at stab me!
last pleasure in Cecco's strokes moved sang Giuseppe, a few yards away, and her to speech. brought down the ax with a ringing "Thou art very strong, Cecco. It is crash.
a miracle at fifty that," “Ben'; that is enough for to-day. Cecco threw down the ax and turned To-morrow we finish. There is no
on her. danger to be cold, eh, Cecco?"
"Dost think at fifty the muscles run Cecco lifted a gnarled apple-trunk to to water? Look!" He held his right the block and began chopping it into arm toward her. "Feel!" The wostove lengths.
man's work-scarred fingers closed over “No, thou wilt be warm and happy the swelled muscles, and her small, -thou and—”
bright eyes gleamed approval. "In three weeks, Cecco!" Giuseppe "At fifty a man is not dead, Maria. looked across the field to the small I am,” white house where the evening lamp "For the sake of the gentle Gesu!" already beckoned across the cold twin bellowed Giuseppe, from the kitchen light. “Three weeks, and nothing will door, “come and serve the soup. I be the same, Cecco.” Giuseppe's eyes have a hollow inside like a pagan's need were grave. The usual merry twinkle of the holy church." was buried under the wonder of the But for a moment longer Maria future.
lingered. “It is strange, eh, Cecco, this love “Ecco," she whispered, “it is true. that drowns a man's heart? Hast not We do not die because we have forty forgotten, Cecco?"
or fifty years. I know. When the Cecco kicked the pieces of wood mother put him into my arms and said, aside and shook his head.
'Care always for the little one,' I had "Dost look for the heart to die after only twelve years. For him I worked. twenty-five?"
For him I dreamed to come to this “Just we two at first,” Giuseppe went country, where no longer he would be on softly, "and then others—strong a peasant always under the padrone, sons to work the fields with me; for but might have land of his own. there will be many fields to work, Now he has the land. He loves me, Cecco, when Domenica and I are old.” but he thinks I am old-old-like”
"May the good God send it!" “Ma-ri-a!” Giuseppe's voice carried Cecco answered shortly, and went on across the fields and terrified resting with the wood.
cows to lumbering motion. "Come, we have worked enough. "Bene, bene; I come. Patience, famSee, Maria comes to shut in the ished one!" Maria plodded away.
When the soup and polenta were in the head; I have there all the figures eaten to the last scrap, and the kitchen of the business." was spotless, Maria brought the roll of Giuseppe laughed. linen lace she was finishing for Domen- “Bene, Little Mother, then thou and ica, and, drawing the lamp close, began Cecco may keep the money. A new to crochet. At the other end of the petticoat, a little extra tobacco, eh? table Giuseppe grumbled he But not another moment do I stay searched for a mistake in a long col- from the bed because of it.” umn of figures. In a cleared space at one corner Cecco laid the cards in a
4 complicated game of solitaire.
When he was gone, Maria looked The fire breathed a low accompani- helplessly at Cecco. ment to Giuseppe's smothered exclama- “Since the wedding comes near he is tions. Across the fields a dog barked, like that, crazy almost. To throw with the far, lonely sound of a house away two dollars like water! Macché, dog at night in open spaces. Maria's when love burns in the heart, it seems broad shoulders moved in the faintest also that it burns away the sense. He rocking motion, so that from time to is like a baby. He needs me more even time her head came into the direct than when the mother put him in my lamplight, and the tiny gold hoops in arms.” She picked up the lace and beher ears twinkled.
gan working again. "He needs me, Again and again Cecco's eyes moved but he thinks to need nothing but from the cards to the glinting golden Domenica. For a little while it is so, hoops in Maria's ears, to the heavy, and then in truth he needs me no brown hands that held the white lace longer." lightly, to the full throat above the Maria tried to hold the smile and collarless waist. For an hour they sat look bravely at Cecco, but the smile So, then Giuseppe slammed the book died, and the work dropped again to so shut.
her lap. For Cecco was pushing the “May I die sitting in this chair if I cards from him with trembling hands, waste another moment looking for the and nowhere in the big kitchen could mistake! As well look for a mustard her eyes escape his. He came and seed in a barrel of corn.” He got up stood close beside her, his hands moand, crossing to the stove, stood with tionless at his sides, his body bent forhis back to the warmth, smiling at the ward. She could see the strong pulse other two. “Praise to the Holy Moth- throbbing in his throat and feel the er! Domenica has been to school and suppressed passion in him enveloping can make the figures. No more will I her like a cloak. wear a hole in the head at this stupid “Mariaucc'!” business. Let Pietro keep the two She did not move except for the dollars."
quick rising and falling of the deep "Foolish one!" Maria dropped her breast.
. work. "For a little trouble will lose “Mariaucc',"—it ran softly into the two dollars! Dost think money grows breathing of the fire,—"he no longer
— on a bush? I will find the mistake. needs thee; but I need thee much-SO Not in the book, for I am stupid, but much, cara.”
Still she did not move. Cecco little piece of earth for ourselves, cara. dropped clumsily to his knees.
Not a fine farm, like this, and for the "Mariaucc',” he whispered hoarsely, present we rent, but soon it will be "I love thee. Is it too much to ask
ours. We are strong, Mariaucc'. A that thou love also a little?” The little farm of our own!" pleading snapped in Cecco's voice; he “A little farm-of-our own, Cecco, gripped her shoulders. “It is not too for you and me?" much to ask? Look! I am not old. "Most surely. For whom else?" The fire is not out. For many years it The smile in Cecco's eyes spread to is there, hidden under the ashes of lone Maria's. He chuckled. In the deep liness. Now it rages. When I see thee bosom under the blue calico the chuckle moving in the house, outside, Dio! it is echoed. He laughed aloud. like a rat with the teeth in the heart. “'S-sh!” she cautioned. “We wake Mariaucc'-cara!"
Giuseppe." Maria leaned to him.
"Bene, is it a crime that our joy “Thou hast lit the fire in my heart wakes another, so happy himself? also, Cecco, for neither at forty is the Come, we will tell him." heart of ice." She spoke softly, taking But Maria's hand detained him. his grizzled face in her hands.
“Not to-night, eh, caro? To-night Cecco leaned back, trembling. They --it is only for thee and me. So many smiled at each other.
years! So many! Always the others "No longer always the home of another, cara, not even of a brother or a Cecco's hands trembled as he laid son-our own home.”
them gently on her shoulders. “Thou She nodded.
art right, carissima; so long, so long, “It is possible that Giuseppe will the others!" give us the top floor of the barn; it is The woman's lips quivered. like a house."
"Us two alone! To grow young "A fine barn, truly, little swallow," again-on our own land. It is too admitted Cecco, "but not for us. much, Cecco."
. Look! Here in the pocket, sewed tight "It is not!” he cried harshly. Sudin the coat, I have it, every cent--the denly his eyes twinkled, and points of passage to Diamante. But no longer light danced all over his bronzed face. I wish the passage to Diamante, where "Ecco, Mariaucc', for a little while one sits in the sun and talks of the past thou and me alone; but afterward, and grows old. No, to-morrow I go to perhaps—if the good God wills—who the city, to Avvocato Soracco; he under knows? We are no longer old, carisstands all things and will arrange. A sima; we are no longer old!"
HE movies need no defense, al- mother. All movies have these ele
T in and so
damning them; but they do need to be one who wants to be a hero or a herounderstood. Millions of persons can ine, or even a dragon, can put himself still take them or leave them alone, but into the part and get almost as much there are a few hundred thousand who enjoyment as if he were really having are bent on building them up into a all these adventures. great national problem. The protes- As a piece of machinery, modern tants are divided into three classes. life works only fairly well, but as an One group is fascinated by the possibili- amusement, it does n't come within ties of motion photography, and would hailing distance of success. The crealike to see the movies use to the utmost tive energies, the imaginations, of these their potential artistic power. Another standardized human beings who make group is not stimulated any more by it go, are constantly trying to find an the platitudes on which most popular outlet. Some get it in prize-fightmovie stories are built. It wants the ing, base-ball, the theater, lodges, movies to become more complex, more politics, newspapers; but they find it subtle, less commonplace. The third most of all in the movies. During the group sees youth corrupted, morality day George and Nellie may be as faithdestroyed, beauty flouted, and taste ful and standardized as the rules deruined by the movies. Each has a mand, but at the movies in the evening good case, but excitement, moral ex- they can break all the rules pertaining hortation, legal prohibition, will not to vamping, dragon-killing, treasurehelp the movies. Only understanding hunting, and leave the theater absowill give all these different persons lutely spotless so far as the law and what they want.
the city ordinances are concerned. The movies are not a fine art. They a
To meet this constant demand for are a popular art. They tell fairy- adventure arising out of the sameness stories for thirty million persons in the of modern life, the movies have beUnited States. The psychologists say come established as a great industrial fairy-stories are the day dreams of a and business enterprise. people. The distinguishing character- Actually, the movie-maker is not so istics of a fairy-story are a hero and a unidealistic as his works would tend to heroine. As a rule, there are dragons, show him. He has a normal pride in magic swords, castles, good and bad the character of his accomplishment. fairies, and once in a while that extraor- He cannot forget, however, that the dinarily potent figure, the fairy god- best guaranty of a profit is to follow