Puslapio vaizdai

cellent picture by Champmartin to the St. Etienne Museum, and he took 500' volumes from his own library and gave them to the town's library. He was born in the Place des Ursules. The house in which he was born has been torn down, and Rue de la Bourse occupies a portion of its old site. It was opposite the Ursuline Convent, which

| has likewise been destroyed to make room for a theater. The authorities of St. Etienne are thinking of calling Place des Ursules by the author's name, Place de Jules Janin.

BRIGHT shone the sun; beneath the breeze
The fresh May grass on meadows wide
Tossed like a green and heaving tide,
Rippled and waved like summer seas:
And as in merry round
While Spanish dancers go,
To joyous music's sound
Aloft their arms they throw,


The third funeral took place at Evreux. Many persons went down from Paris to attend it. All Evreux turned out to do him honor. He rests with his wife's family.

All cloudless was the azure sky;
Loud sang the birds; quick to and fro
Darted the bees: and fluttered slow
As falling leaf the butterfly.
With life and joy and grace
All happy nature teemed:
Straying with aimless pace,
To me that day there seemed
On earth no creature dull and sad save I.

When round my shadow tall and lone
Slanting before me on the grass,
Suddenly hovering seemed to pass
A shade, as o'er my head had flown
Summoned by soul depraved-
Like vulture foul and grim
Scenting the dead ungraved-
A demon, huge of limb,

So swung their lithe long limbs the sway- Unseen, and only by his shadow known. ing trees.

As the poor hare, when sailing near
The kite she sees, straight on the ground
Flattens herself, her refuge found;
So, reeling from the path in fear,
Prone on my face I fell,
And in my terror prayed

To whom I knew full well
No trespass past e'er weighed
When a repentant voice had reached His


Imagined wrongs, and woes self-bred,
Loathing contempt of my own powers-
All fancies nursed by idle hours—
Filled with black thoughts my aching head.
As muttering I walked,

All blissful things I cursed,

Omnipotence I mocked,

By passing clouds down-thrown
Gliding o'er pastures green
As past the cloud is blown-

Dared God to do His worst:

Now wished all else-now, wished myself So like a shade swift fled the fiend were dead.


Deep down while in the weeds I lay,
Forgiveness came; and, filled with light,
All the wide earth seemed heaven-bright.
Rising, I came from night to day:
Like fleeting shadow seen

And homeward turning, then, I blessed-
With softened heart-the gracious plan,
The wondrous world, whereby to man
His Maker is made manifest:

Rebellious, obstinate,

Some eyes to Him are blind:

Others, more fortunate,

Knowing themselves, can find

Being God's work-kindred in all the rest.

[ocr errors]


THEY did not institute judicial proceedings in scrutiny of the character and antecedents of every man who came to Kansas in those equivocal days. As a general rule, they cared only to know how the new-comer stood on the slavery question. Nevertheless, it fretted them to feel that they had a man among them whose oddity of conduct piqued curiosity, while forbidding even reasonable conjecture concerning that other existence of his, "back in the States." And Perky gave the people of Seward Center just that feeling. Perky was a perplexity. He was also a printer; and his employer, the editor of the "Clarion of Freedom," had carelessly disclosed the secret that he was the author of certain Procrustean rhymes in the last number of that excellent family journal, bearing the caption, "Sadly We Roam," and having a cut of a hearse at the top of them. These verses had pleased the minister very much, and he thought he detected in their somber monotone "the yearning of a jaded soul for the rest and joy of the New Jerusalem,”—which was a pretty thing to say, Perky remarked, when the editor told him of it. Public opinion was somewhat calmer, but not harmonized or satisfied by the minister's pathognomy. There could be no doubt, they were all agreed, that Perky was not easy in his mind; but the cause was still as deep a mystery as ever. Various were the surmises and suggestions-some kindly, and some otherwise -touching the matter, as poverty, grief, disease, disgrace; but perhaps the average sentiment of the community was best expressed, after all, by Aunt Naomi Seybold, when, in answer to some new hint upon the subject, she said with a solemn earnestness that was intended to be conclusive and convincing: "He's jest a-totin' of a cross, atotin' of a cross."

Of course these things came to Perky's ears now and then; but if they disturbed him in the least, there was no betrayal of it in his looks, his speech, or his actions. Indeed, he might have passed for a thoroughly contented, if not a really happy, man as he sat upon the little bench under the cotton-wood in front of the "Clarion" office that rare June morning, watching the white and blue clouds fold and unfold, and fold again, like the flags of some splendid parade. Behind him rose the hill of rocks

| and cedars, and dense involvement of vines and shadows, which hid the dreary waste of raw prairie that lay beyond; in front of him, those two foremost symbols of advancing civilization, the little tin signs of the "American Bible Society," and "Wells, Fargo & Co.'s Express," flashed back the sun's brightness from the dull gray of the store door at the upper end of "the avenue," as they called the generous exaggeration of wagonroad which led through the village and on to the river out there in the low belt of elms and sycamores, a mile away. And the sky above it all was very beautiful, he thought, as he turned reluctantly from it at last, and glanced curiously about him, like one in doubt as to the identity of his surroundings. Then he said to himself: "Perky, old fellow, we won't finger any long primer to-day; we'll rest, and have a ramble." A moment later he was gone.


Perky was resting and rambling considerably now. The weekly publication of the "Clarion" was several times delayed by his neglect of his type-setting; and once the editor had to humiliate himself and expose his gaunt subscription-list to great peril by sending out a half-sheet, "owing," he said, "to circumstances over which we have no control." This mishap had the effect of keeping Perky steadily at work for three consecutive days. It also afforded him occasion to speak to the editor, in a delicate and confidential way, of certain grave facts connected with the newspaper business. "For instance," he remarked, a paper should be prompt in its appearance as the sunrise, for if it lags, people soon lose faith in its stability, and cease to pay for it in advance; and the half-sheet contrivance should never be resorted to," he continued, "for the size of a newspaper is a good deal like plenary inspiration, and won't bear trifling with." This bit of philosophy being kindly received, he dropped his confidential tone and manner, and went on, after the habit of your true printer the country over, to give the results of his varied observations in other affairs, including politics, education, religion, and, finally, matrimony. "It is every man's duty," he declared with some warmth, "to get married-and every woman's, too," he quickly added. Then he stopped, blushed a little, and lifting the slug that concealed the next word of the manu


script on the case before him, resumed his work. They smiled one to another in a knowing way, the editor and the office-boy, and urged him to proceed with his discourse; but he only shook his head, and answered, a trifle sadly: "Not now, not now." The next day, and the next, he was unusually reticent, and they noticed that he frequently threw back as much as half a line of types from his composing-stick into the boxes, as if he had unconsciously set up the wrong words. When he did not appear the following morning, they knew he must have returned to his resting and his rambling.

If proof had been immediately required of the fact that Perky had taken another holiday, it would only have been necessary to call Aunt Naomi Seybold as a witness, for she had seen him saunter past her front room window,-the window where she always put the cracked porcelain tea-pot that held her rose geranium,—and he had stopped awhile at the Widow Hainline's gate on his way down the road toward the woods. A halt at the widow's gate had of late become a regular feature of Perky's rambles. He had been known to tarry there on some occasions for fully an hour; and more than once, it had been observed that he did not go on over the bluff, as was his usual custom, but turned and came back. To suppose that these circumstances attracted no attention and provoked no comment would be to fancy Seward Center a community of winged creatures with crowns and harps, which it was not. The matter had gradually assumed an interest in the public mind second only to that of the pending strife for the county seat between the Center and the rival town of Konomo. Hence the religious patience with which Aunt Naomi Seybold watched Perky's movements from behind her window-curtains; hence, also, the significance that had been attached to his casual remarks in the "Clarion" office upon the subject of matrimony. The Center really believed that Perky was in love with the widow.

about her, except that during her nearly three years' residence in the Center she had been a well-behaved, hard-working woman. It seemed strange that, with her bitter experience and her frigid and methodical ways, she should be thinking of marriage; much stranger than that Perky, who was so lonely and so peculiar, should be contemplating such a thing. To be sure, there was no absolute evidence that her thoughts were running in that direction. But, is there ever any but circumstantial testimony in such cases? Perky had been seen going to and coming from her house very often; she spoke of him always, when she spoke of him at all, with noticeable kindness; her face flushed with evident pleasure whenever anybody praised him a little for his known good qualities or made generous excuse for his faults. And, then, had she not bought a dress with a gaudy pink stripe in it, and did she not lately wear an unusual bow of bright ribbon at her throat, and sometimes a big red rose in her hair? Surely these signs, meaning so much with other people, could not be mere accidents or idle freaks. with her. So the verdict of the Center soon came to be unanimous, that if the widow thought she did not love Perky, she was very much mistaken.

The Widow Hainline, it is proper to say, was not a widow at all. She was a divorced wife, who had resumed her maiden name, but still retained the title of "Mrs." on account of her son Benny, a glad-eyed little lad of eight years. Her husband had abandoned her when Benny was but two years old; she had obtained a divorce three years later, and the next summer she had come to Kansas, hoping in time to get a farm for the boy. This was substantially all they knew

The Center having made up its mind, there was no more doubt and no more discussion. And yet, as a matter of fact, Perky had never once been known to go into the widow's house, nor had he and the widow ever been seen to so much as chat together at the gate. When Perky stopped there, it was the boy Benny who came out to see him, and talked with him by the hour, and often accompanied him as he went on over the bluff and down into the river bottom, where the large trees were, and the birds and the squirrels, and the queer sound of the running water. For Perky and Benny had come to be close companions and friends. The one was rarely seen without the other. The boy had caught something of the man's besetting spirit of unrest, and the man had borrowed a bit of the boy's gentle cheeriness, so that they blended very happily. They spent much of their time wandering about in the woods, over the hills, and out on the breezy sweep of upland overlooking the river from the other side. Their talk-and they talked a great deal-was of the things they had seen and heard and thought together-of the flowers, the stars, the psalms, the miracles, the printing-office, and the farm Benny was

going to have when he got to be a man. Sometimes the boy's swift questions went far beyond Perky's power of answering, and then there would be a little silence and a change of the subject. Sometimes, too, Benny could not quite understand why his friend stammered and looked ashamed when making inquiry of him about his mother. But there was no distrust between them and no disagreement; and when, as they were speaking one day of the boy's father, and Perky said suddenly, as if he had but just thought of it," How would you like to have me for a father?" Benny replied, without hesitation and feeling, "Oh, that would be splendid!" Then they walked home without saying another word, and when they parted at the gate there were tears in Perky's eyes. Benny lay awake a long time that night wondering what it could mean, and fell asleep at last to dream that his father came to him in the vague white robe of an angel, with a face that shone like the sun. And the face was the face of Perky.

As the summer wore slowly away, Perky's gloominess grew upon him day by day, and he could not shake it off. It seemed to him, also, that it took very little exertion to overcome him with fatigue. He could hardly walk to the river ford, and back as far as the Widow Hainline's, without a singular trembling in his limbs, and a dizzy sensation about the head; and he would often be obliged to stop and steady himself against the catalpa-tree by the widow's gate before he could go on, he was so tired, and there was such a blur just ahead of him. Once, when he was standing there, the widow came out of the house on an errand to a neighbor's, and, as he lifted his hat to her, he sank down exhaustedly at her feet; but he pretended that he had merely stooped to disengage a wanton brier from her dress skirt, and when she bowed him her thanks, he rose and stood again like an athlete. He had a harassing cough, too, and slept fitfully, and in his thin, pale cheeks were ugly spots of scarlet. When they told him. When they told him he was sick and in need of a physician, he smiled wearily, and said: "Only a little bilious, that's all.". And on the days when he felt so weak that he dared not venture outdays that came quite frequently in that lazy, lethargic September weather-he was always ready with some plausible excuse to conceal the real cause of his staying indoors. He consented finally to allow another printer to take his place in the "Clarion" officetemporarily, and as his "sub" only, for the

editor would not like it, he said, if he should give up his cases "merely because he wanted to loaf a few days and get the malaria out of his system." He visited the office from time to time to see how his "sub" got along, and to take a look at the exchanges. They showed him the first number of the new paper at Konomo, which was to be the "Clarion's" contestant for the county printing, and he curled his lip at sight of its double advertisements, and said the grave yawned for a paper that started out by leading its selected matter. Some days he would relieve the "sub" for half an hour, or read two or three galleys of proof for the overworked editor; but usually he remained only a few minutes, and many times he came only to the door, looked in as if seeking for somebody, then turned and went away without speaking.

He had abandoned his customary rambles nearly a month before; and this fact, though no longer new enough to be in itself remarkable, served to give unusual interest to the report that Perky had been seen going leisurely down the road again toward the woods the morning of that important Saturday when "the grim chieftain," General Jim Lane, was to deliver his first speech in Seward Center. Aunt Naomi Seybold had called to him three times from her open window, but he paid no attention to it except to quicken his pace a little, and she watched him "as stiddy as if she had a' bin a-settin' for to have her picter took," she said, until he passed the Widow Hainline's and disappeared over the hill. Then, she hastened up to the store and the printing-office to tell what she had seen, and an hour later the surprising event was the talk of the town. With the afternoon, however, came "the grim chieftain" with his speech, and after an early supper they had a bonfire and another speech, and in the novelty and agitation of it all, the incident of the morning was forgotten, and nobody noticed that Perky did not return. It must have been quite four o'clock of Sunday evening when his absence was first observed. That some harm had befallen him seemed the only reasonable solution of the matter; and there was no time to lose in delay or in speculation. The editor, accompanied by such of the townsfolk as he could readily get together, promptly started in search of him. They called to make inquiry of Aunt Naomi Seybold, and she went on with them to the Widow Hainline's, repeating to them as she walked along her story of the day before. The widow

could give them no additional information; indeed, the whole of it was an astonishment and a shock to her, she said, and she questioned them very eagerly about it, while Benny listened with an indefinite dread and wished they would go on and look for him before night came. They started directly, down the road to the river. Benny went with them, upon his own suggestion, to point out the places where he had been with Perky; and as he glanced back from the familiar old leaning beech half way down the hill, he saw that his mother and Aunt Naomi were following closely after them.

They found him just where Benny had fancied they would find him. It was hardly a stone's throw from the road and the ford, but such a quiet, soothing, winsome little nook that it might have been a fragment of some other world. He was lying upon the grass, with his arms under his head, and his feet hidden from sight by the fallen leaves. He could almost have reached the river with his hand, but the murmuring of it there in the bend among the bewildering roots and stones was so soft and so uncertain that it seemed only an echo. A cluster of hawbushes, bending beneath an overplus of fading and shriveling woodbine, shut off the vision on the south, as the river-bank did on the west and the north; but on the east, up the steep bluff, beyond the massive decaying tree-trunk that lay in the edge of the thicket of hazels like some great brokenhearted giant, was the little arbor in the rear of the Widow Hainline's house, where the honeysuckles grew, and where the widow often sat in the cool of the late afternoon with her sewing. When they roused him, Perky turned his eyes in that direction a moment, then closed them again, and said as if in reverie, "I must have been dreaming." They stood waiting around for some

minutes in an undecided way, and then the editor gently raised him to a sitting posture, and he tried to smile as he looked from one to another of them and said, "Go on with your picnic; don't mind me." No one spoke when he sunk down again upon the grass and leaves; but Aunt Naomi Seybold took off her shawl and made a pillow of it for him, and buttoned his open coat over his breast, for it was nearly sundown, and there was a chill in the air from off the river. He appeared to be sleeping, the Widow Hainline thought, as she leaned forward and gazed intently upon him out of the shadow of the maple just back of where his head lay; and Benny knew she must be very, very pale, she trembled so as he felt her put an arm around him and press him to her side.

The setting sun flooded the crisped and stained foliage with a transient ecstasy of October gold and crimson as Perky started a little and sat upright again and said he wished Benny would hurry back, for it was growing dark. The widow walked rapidly around in front of him where the rest were, and knelt close to him, and took his hand in hers. "Julia, darling," he muttered, with a harsh laugh that was half a moan, and fell back as if all his strength had suddenly failed him. How she stooped and kissed him-on the lips, on the eyes, on the forehead-and rising to her feet, met the questioning stares of those about her with a look that would have been terrible but for the abounding tenderness there was in it, as she exclaimed:

"I was once his wife, God help him!" "Then he's my father, isn't he mamma?" cried Benny, "and we'll take him home."

"Oh, child," they heard Aunt Naomi sobbing, "he's he's done gone home."

When they turned to see what she meant, she was covering his cold, still face with her handkerchief.


THE faithful helm commands the keel, From port to port fair breezes blow; But the ship must sail the convex sea, Nor may she straighter go.

So, man to man: in fair accord,

On thought and will, the winds may wait; But the world will bend the passing word, Though its shortest course be straight.

From soul to soul the shortest line

At best will bended be:

The ship that holds the straightest course Still sails the convex sea.

« AnkstesnisTęsti »