Puslapio vaizdai


a passing stranger, hearing a few notes of to the things that won the day; but at his voice, had stopped to question him night back to the things that win life. about it. To her this was the long- They were in their drawing-room, then, awaited approach of destiny, the first out- as she had taught him to call it, and she side evidence that her faith in him was not was reading to him. A knock interrupted groundless.

her. She interrogated the fact doubtfully When he had ended his story and sat to herself for a moment. as now revealed to her by a stranger's dis- "Ashby," she finally said, turning her covery, she regarded him across the table eyes toward the door, with permission that with something new in her eyes --some- he open it. thing of awe; but she made no comment. The janitor of the building handed in She had never hinted to him what she be- a card. The name was strange, and she lieved he would some day be. She might knew no reason why a stranger should be wrong, and thus might start him on the call. Then a foolish uneasiness attacked wrong course; or, being right, might her: perhaps this unwelcome incident bore never have the chance to start him on the upon the engagement at the studio. They right one. In either case she might be might not wish her to return; that little bringing to him disappointment, perhaps door to a larger income was to be shut in the failure of his whole life.

her face. Now, after the event, a woNow she, hid the emotion his story man's scruple warned her: she had made caused. But the stranger of the park that herself too plain. If only she had done night kindled within her what she herself herself a little more justice in her appearhad long tended unlit- the alabaster flame ance! of worship which the mother burns be- She addressed the janitor with even fore the altar of a great son.

courtesy : An hour later they were in another “Will you ask him to come up?" small attic-like space next to the supper- With her hand on the half-open door, room. Here was always the best of their she waited. If it should merely be some evening. No matter how poor the spot, tradesman, she would speak with him if there reach it some solitary ray of the there. She waited and she listened. Up higher light of the world, let it be called the steps, from flight to flight, she could your drawing-room. Where civilization hear the feet of a man mounting like a sends its beams through a roof, there be deliberate, good walker. He reached her your drawing-room. This part of the floor. He reached her door, and then she garret was theirs.

stepped out to confront him. A gentleIn one corner stood a small table on man stood before her with an unmistakawhich were some tantalizing books and a ble air of feeling himself happy in his mislamp- the same lamp, and a tantalizing sion. For a moment he forgot to state it, lamp, for a different reason. Another cor- startled by the group of the two. His ner, farthest away, but far from far away, eyes passed back and forth from one to was filled by the littlest, oldest imaginable the other: it was an unlooked for revelaof six-octave pianos, the mythical ances- tion of life's harmony, of nature's sacredtor; on its back was piled some yellowed folios of music, her music once. Thus "Is this Mrs. Truesdale ? he asked two different rays of civilization entered with the utmost deference. their garret and fell upon two points; She stepped back. and, falling there, fell mystically upon al- "I am Mrs. Truesdale," she replied in lied mountain-peaks, the twin mountain- a way to remind him of his intrusion; and peaks of the night-books and music. not discourteously she waited for him to

Toward these she wished regularly to withdraw. But he was not of a mind to lead him as darkness descended over the withdraw; on the contrary, he explained: illimitable city and upon its weary, grimy “As I crossed the park this morning I battle-fields. She liked him to fall asleep happened to hear a few notes of a voice on one or the other of these mountain that interested me. I train the voice. I tops. When he awoke, it would be as teach certain kinds of music. I took the from a mountain that he would see the liberty of asking the owner of the voice dawn. From there let him come down where he lived, and I have taken the fur





ther liberty of coming to see whether I tragedy! She spoke with compasure at may speak with you on that subject - last: about his voice."

“He can come. He is free. He is mine She gave sudden attention. This, then, - wholly mine.” was the stranger of the park whom she The choir-master looked across the believed to have gone his way after leav- small room at his pupil, who, upon the ing words of destiny for her. Instead of discovery of the visitor's identity, had vanishing, he had reappeared, following withdrawn as far as possible from him. up his discovery into her presence. The “And you are willing to come?” he effect was instantaneous: she did not de- asked, wishing to make the first advance sire him to follow up his discovery. She toward acquaintanceship on the new footput out one hand and pressed her son back ing. into the room and was about to close the No reply reached him. The mother door.

smiled at her awe-stricken son, and has“I should first have stated, of course,” tened to his rescue. said the visitor, smiling quietly as after "He is overwhelmed," she said, her an awkward self-recovery, "that I am the faith in him strengthened by this revelachoir-master of the Cathedral of St. John tion of his fright. “He is overwhelmed. the Divine.”

This means so much more to him than Stillness followed, the stillness in which

you can understand just yet." misunderstandings dissolve.

The scene

“But you will come?" the choir-masslowly changed into another scene, ter persisted in asking. For his own reawhen on the stage of a theater which has sons he wished to hear the voice of his hitherto been dark an invisible light is terrified pupil. “I thought you wanted to gradually turned, showing everything in come.

You will come?" its actual relation to everything else. In The lad stirred uneasily on his chair. truth a shaft of light suddenly fell upon “Yes, sir,” he said with an effort. her doorway; a far-sent radiance rested His inquisitive, interesting friend of the on the head of her son; in her ears began park path, then, was himself choir-master to sound old words spoken ages ago to

of St. John's! And he had asked him another mother on account of him she whether he knew anything about the had borne.

cathedral! Whether he liked music! Her first act was to place her hand on Whether he knew how boys got into the the head of the lad and bend it back until school! To him he had betrayed his habit his eyes looked up into hers; his mother of idly hanging about the old building must be the first to congratulate him and where the choir practised and of singing to catch from his eyes their first flash of along with them to show what he could delight as he realized where he stood in do, and would do if he had the chance; the world of little boys.

and because he could not keep from singThen she threw open the door.

ing. As sometimes he had loitered out“Will you come in?”

side circus tents when he had no money, It was a marvelous welcome, a splen- and whistled with the band under the candor of spiritual hospitality.

vas. He had called one of the Apostles The musician took up straightway the Jim! And another one Pete! He had purpose of his visit.

rejoiced that Gabriel had not been strong “Will you, then, send him to-morrow enough to stand up in a high wind one and let me try his voice?"

night! Everybody standing about on the “Yes,” she said as one who now directs outside was nine and a half feet! with firm, responsible hand the helm of Thus with mortification he remembered wayward genius, “I will."

the past, the past which has such a way "And if his voice should prove to be of keeping up breathlessly with the preswhat is wanted,” continued the music- ent, as though determined to see whether master, though with delicate hesitancy, it is going to be forgotten. The past first. "would he be--free? Is there any other Then his thoughts were swept in the opperson whose consent - "

posite direction to w now opened beShe could not reply at once. The ques- fore him: he was to be taken into the tion brought up so much of the past, such choir, he was to sing in the cathedral.

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The high, blinding, stately magnificence he would be when the time came - the of those scenes and processions lay before time for her to be pushed aside, to drop him.

out. These last moments of every night More than this, much more still. The were for affection; nothing else lived in thing which had long been such a torture him. They were for his affection. She of desire to him, the thing that had grown said to herself that he was, in the bud, the and grown within him until it began to born lover. press more and more to burst out, this As he now withdrew his arms, he sat had now on that very day come forth, looking into her eyes with his face close and had come true; his dream was a real- to her. Then leaning over, he began to ity: he was to begin to learn music, he measure his face upon her face, starting was to live where it was taught. And the with the forehead, being very particular person who was to take him by the hand when he got to the long eyelashes, then and lead him into that world of enchant- coming down past the nose. They were ment sat there quietly talking with his very silly and merry about the measuring mother about the matter and looking of the noses. The noses would not fit the across at him, studying him closely. one upon the other, not being flat enough.

But, no, none of this was true yet. Not He returned to his mischievous, teasing yet true. It might never be true. First, mood : he must be put to the test. The man

"Suppose he does n't like my voice!” there was going to draw out of him the She laughed the idea to scorn. meaning of that old dream, of that old "Suppose he would n't take me!" longing, of that old desire. He was going “Ah, but he will take you." to examine and see what it amounted to. “If he would n't have me, you 'd never And if it amounted to nothing, if it want to see me any more, would you?" amounted to nothing, then what?

She strained him to her heart and He sat there shy, silent, afraid, all the rocked to and fro over him. hardy boldness and business preparedness “This is what I could most have wished and fighting capacity of the streets gone in all the world,” she said, holding him at out of him. A little forlorn, he looked arm’s-length with idolatry. across at his mother; not even she could “Not more than a fine house and serhelp him.

vants and a greenhouse and a carriage and In truth there had settled upon him horses and a new piano--not more than that terror of uncertainty about their gift everything you used to have!" and their fate which is known only to the "Vore than anything! More than anychildren of genius. For throughout the thing in this world !" region of art, as in the region of material He returned to the teasing. things, nature brings forth all life from “If he does n't take me, I 'm going to the seat of all sensitiveness, and the young run away.

You won't want ever to see of both worlds appear on the rough earth me any more. . And then nobody will ever unready.

know what becomes of poor little me be"You do wish to come?"

cause I could n't sing." “Yes, sir."

She strained him again to herself, and

murmured over him: The visitor was gone, and they had “My chorister! My minstrel! My talked everything over, and the evening life!" had ended, and it was long past his bed- "Good night and pleasant dreams!” he time, and she waited for him to come and said, with his arms around her neck again. say good night. Presently he ran in, Presently he ran in, “Good night and sweet sleep!”

' climbed into her lap, threw his arms around her neck, and pressed his cheek EVERYTHING was quiet. She had tipped against hers.

to his bedside and stood looking at him “Now on this side,” he said, holding after slumber had carried him her tightly, “and now on the other side, her, a little distance away. and now on both sides and all around.” "My heavenly guest!” she murmured.

She, with jealous pangs at this good- “My heavenly guest !". night hour, often thought of what a lover Though worn out with the strain and

away from

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