Puslapio vaizdai

"Oh,' said Kathy, quaintly, I reckon I could stand it, Rod'rick'"

Ivor pulled out his watch. "Four," he called as Roddy went out with the ax. He heard Roddy pulling a log in on the earthen floor of the shed, heard the blows of the ax begin, cease, begin again irregularly. After a moment of hesitation Ivor opened the door and crossed to the boy. "I'll do that," he said.

If Roddy had the impulse again to ask why, he repressed it. He gave up the ax in silence.

"You can be rustling up some dinner," said Ivor, not meeting his eyes.

Roddy nodded, and went within. He explored the loft and discovered a few apples and butternuts to add to their menu. He also discovered a flask of whisky left there, he conjectured, by Croy during the autumn. Roddy considered over this find for some time. He did not want it for himself, and he liked his father best without it; but he knew very well that Ivor was uncomfortable without his accustomed drink, and that one pint of whisky more or less could make small difference in the case of a steady drinker. Apparently it resolved itself into a question of Roddy's preferences. . He carried. the flask down with the apples and nuts and placed it on a shelf in the cupboard.

When Ivor brought in the logs, which it had taken him a good while to chop, dinner was on the table, and Roddy was down on the floor by the hearth cracking nuts. He glanced up to say:

"By the way, Father, I found a bottle of moonshine in the loft. It 's on the shelf there."


Ivor threw down the logs, and stood looking at Roddy, whose eyes had returned to his task. Across the shoulder of Roddy's old silk shirt a slow stain crept as he bent. Ivor's face contracted. still felt that next to the last straw had not been too extreme a payment to exact from Roddy's penitence; yet he conceived a sudden and illogical grudge against the whisky which had enabled him to harden his heart and play the brute. But even while he felt this resentment he craved the stuff, and his eye sought the open cupboard. Instead of going to it, however,

he drew up his chair to the table. Roddy joined him with the nuts, and Ivor was relieved when he ate his dinner with some show of hunger. After the meal Ivor again glanced longingly at the cupboard, and again took it out in looking.

Roddy, after an inquiry, replaced the chessmen on the board. It had grown dark, and he brought out candles from the cupboard. He had a good store of these, and lighted four, placing two on each side. They played again, and about nine Ivor said:

"The last time I looked out it seemed to be clearing up. Play you three more games, and then we'd better turn in. We'll want to be off early in the morning."

"Play you for the championship," said Roddy. "We're even now."

"Very well," agreed Ivor, rather absently. Roddy intercepted his glance as it wandered toward the cupboard.

"I'll have a night-cap presently," said Ivor, meeting his eye.

Roddy nodded, moving his pawn.

Roddy sat over this game with an apparently disproportionate earnestness. determination born of the strange fact that Ivor still held off from the whisky possessed Roddy. His dark brows knitted themselves. He was thinking:

"If I win two out of the three, I'll say it to him."

Roddy vowed this to himself, and he was so afraid he would play his best that out of sheer self-disgust he did play his best. He won the first game, and Ivor said again:

"You 've got me outclassed with all this solitary practice of yours."

But Roddy said again seriously: "No; I think we play an even game, Father."

Ivor won now, and Roddy's brows knit more pronouncedly. His eyes pondered brilliantly beneath them. His lips became a firm, scarlet bow. The tiny upward curves at the corners grew straight and unsmiling. He wished so much to be beaten that he played a little better than his previous best.

"Your game," said Ivor at last. He whistled away his chagrin, an eye on the cupboard door.

"Father," said Roddy. His voice was beseeching.

Ivor's glance deserted the cupboard door to fix itself on Roddy's face.

"Yes," he said in a puzzled tone. "You said this morning that you'd like to have a decent boy," said Roddy.

Ivor smiled. He thought he knew what was coming.

"Well," said Roddy, and his heart pounded so that Ivor heard it, "I 'd like. to have a different sort of father."

Ivor sat erect. He was as angry, as wounded, as outraged, as if Roddy had drawn back and struck him a blow in the face.

"Damn you!" he cried, "what do you mean by that?"

Roddy turned white, but he was game to finish what he had started.

"When I was five years old, Father, I took my first drink from the whisky left in the bottom of your glass-and you gave it to me."

Ivor took refuge in silence, in a bitter, steady stare. Roddy still did not look at him.

"I guess it's mainly on account of the drinking that our family stands for such a lot of unpleasant things, Father. We get away with them because you have land, money, political influence; but if you did n't have these, we'd be thought no more of than the Worths are. What are we but the product of the damned stuff they sell us?" He looked at Ivor now, his eyes lighted in his quivering face. "What is our name but a synonym for dissipation of all sorts, for petty lawbreaking when it suits our convenience, for a back-number effort to lord it over our neighbors, as if we were feudal barons, you know? Why, I 've heard Croy curse old Sonneborne for asking him to settle for a saddle Croy had been using for a year. Croy asked Sonneborne how the hell he dared dun an Ivor?"

Still Ivor did not speak, and again Roddy went on:

"That's pretty raw stuff, Father, and we get away with it because you have land, money, political influence, and we know we can get away with it. What does that turn us into? Just bullies," said Roddy, answering himself—“just common neighborhood bullies. Knock a fellow down if we 're drunk enough and don't like the style of his hat," continued Roddy, referring to a past exploit of Croydon's; "run up bills and pay when we get ready-don't they know we are good for a few paltry dollars, damn 'em?" Roddy quoted another stepbrother, Breck.

A dull red had crept into Ivor's cheek. He wished now that he had taken his drink. Lacking the whisky's prompting, no adequate rebuttal of Roddy's statements occurred to him. He resorted to an obvious personality.

"You say we are synonyms for many sorry things," he remarked in an ironic tone, "but I think you forgot the sorri

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"Not through, are you?" jeered Ivor.

Roddy, that dark flush still overspreading him, began to push the queer little chessmen about. When he spoke again it was hesitatingly and very slowly:

"I know you can drink more than most, Father, and show it less; but you are bound to show it some, and I 've hardly ever had the chance before to-day to find out what you really were like-without the whisky."

Ivor looked at him, waiting.

Visibly Roddy would have let it go at that.

"Say it," ordered Ivor with a savage · change of manner.

"And it's been a red-letter day for me," said Roddy, a hard little quiver in his voice. "I've been a dishonorable cur, and I 've had as much as I could take of what I deserved, yet I 've been happy all day as-as a kid having a Christmastree."

The last words came almost inaudibly.

Roddy, breathless, bareheaded, still chuckling, ran for Ivor's hat. Ivor stood digging the snow out of his collar and grinning, pure joy of fatherhood in his heart as he watched Roddy swinging back up the slope. Roddy, snapped back to normal, laughter lingering in his face, moonlight and mischief in his eyes, head set on his shoulders as if he owned the earth, was a sight to make a sonless man go hang himself with envy.

"You darn-beautiful-kid, you," muttered Ivor.

"Eh?" asked Roddy, catching a word. as he came up.

"Why, I said," Ivor assured him, "that if ever I caught you drinking again, Roddy Ivor, I would wear my arm out on you.'

Roddy's lips parted as if to speak, but no sound came from them. He compromised on a smile. His subdued look returned. He tramped silently by Ivor's side until they reached Nelson's. Now that the pressing account between his father and himself had been settled, another matter arose to harry him. As he helped harness he looked across the horses at Ivor.

"Who knows?" he blurted.

Ivor's eyes twinkled. He busied himself for some moments before he replied:

"No one but Sheppard, and I told him-" He paused as if it were a game and Roddy's turn.

"That you 'd-" Roddy stopped, coloring.

"Why, yes," said Ivor, humorously grave, "I did something like that.”

Neither spoke again for some time. Roddy drove, looking straight ahead. Ivor smoked cigar after cigar, musingly. As they came within sight of the house Ivor turned in his seat.

"One time when bullying was excusable, eh?" he asked. He glanced at Roddy, his warm, brown eyes whimsical and interrogative in the red morning light.

For the first time Roddy's face begged off.

"Oh, well," said Ivor.

When Roddy returned from taking the

cutter to the stebles he found his father waiting for him back porch, and they went in together.

"Guess mama 's not down yet," said Ivor. He led the way up-stairs and peeped into a room.

"Well, Kathy," he called, flinging the door open, "I 've brought back your boy alive, you see."

Roddy's mother, seated in a low chair by the hearth combing her hair, looked quickly around. Her eyes ran past Ivor. That look of hers drew Roddy to his knees by her side, drew his arms around her, drew his head to the hollow of her shoulder. After a brief period of relaxation such as even a seventeen-year-old boy might with honor take in his own mother's arms, Roddy straightened, and faced her with eyes that were Truth's own home.

"Mama," he said, "I 'm going to be a decent fellow from now on. I sha'n't ever give you and father any more trouble."

He got to his feet and marched out, valiant, attended almost visibly by the shining resolves, minding his own business so exclusively that he would not even glance out of the corner of his eye at Ivor standing over by a window.

As the door shut behind Roddy, Ivor turned and regarded Kathy. With youth out of the room, she looked astoundingly young. Kathy, her long, black hair spread web-like and fan-wise from the top of her small head to her knees, where her white fingers pulled it taut, studied Ivor's look with big, inscrutable, dark eyes. He had a funny subdued expression for which she was trying to account. She smiled suddenly.

"What you looking at me like that for?" demanded Ivor.

"Why," said Kathy, "you look exactly as if you'd been having-one-too, Rod'rick." She opened her arms to him.

"Honey," asked Ivor, coming to them shamefacedly, "how 'd you like to have two good boys?"

"Oh," said Kathy, quaintly, "I reckon I could stand it, Rod'rick."



The tapestried eland forest

The Plains of Panda

Paradise of Big Game and the Big Game Hunter

By GEORGE AGNEW CHAMBERLAIN Author of "Home," "John Bogardus," etc.

Photographs by the author

Plains of Panda are scarcely over a hundred miles from Lorenzo Marques as the crow flies, but the easiest way to reach them is to take ship to the port of Inhambane and strike inland due


It was so that I and a kindred spirit, the doctor, came upon them only two days' ride from the sea, and found awaiting us our outfit and a hundred "boys," from among whom we were to pick our carriers. In Africa every negro, whatever his age, is a boy to the whites.

We were traveling in comfort and looking forward to bringing in many trophies; as a consequence, when we actually turned our backs on civilization our belongings were strung along on the heads of sixty porters, not including trackers, gun-bear

ers, horse-boys, personal servants, and the guides picked up and dropped at each shooting locality.

shooting locality. For this native army we carried food for two days. The administrator of the district, who accompanied us, and aided us most generously in handling the blacks and in a dozen other ways, had with him his own staff.

I believe that to every intelligent biggame shot occasionally come moments when he has disturbing qualms as to the ethics of killing. How can a man love game and still kill it? That is a question that plunges down to elementals, and, like all the fundamental queries that are eternally argued and never settled, it is nicely balanced. In one scale lie all the refinements of civilization: the qualities of

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