Puslapio vaizdai

set so that quiet folk could hear the sound of coming steps-steps far off, then nearer, until they tramped beneath the windows. Then, as they listened, the sounds faded. And it seemed to him who chronicled the place that he heard the persons of his drama coming -little steps that would grow to manhood. But there is no plot to thicken around our corner; or, rather, there are a hundred plots. And when I listen in fancy to the echoes, I hear the general tapping of our neighbors-feet that have gone into darkness for a while.

There was an old lady lived near by in almost feudal state. Her steps were the broadest on the street, her fence the highest. Her door was of massive, carved walnut. Her furniture, the year around, was covered with linen cloths, and the great chairs, resembled the horses in full panoply that draw the chariot of the Nubian Queen in a circus parade. With this old lady there lived an old cook, an old second maid, an old laundress, and an old coachman. The secondmaid thrust a platter at you as you sat at table, and nudged you in the ribs if you were a child. "Eat it," she said; "it's good." The coachman nodded on his box, the laundress in her tubs, but the cook was spry despite her years. In the yard was a fountain,-all yards had fountains in those days, and I used to wonder whether this was the font of Ponce de León, and to watch for the miracle. With this old lady there dwelt a niece or daughter or a younger sister, relationship was vague, and this niece owned a little black dog. But the old lady was dull of sight, and in the dark passages she waved her arm and kept saying, "Whisk, Nigger! Whisk, Nigger!" for once she had stepped upon the creature's tail. Every year she gave a children's party, and we looked for magic in a mirror and went to Jerusalem around her solemn chairs.

Then there was an old neighbor, a justice of the peace, who, being devoid of all knowlegde of the law, put his cases to my grandfather. When he had been advised, he stroked his beard and said it was an opinion to which he had already come himself. He went down the steps mumbling the judgment to keep it in his memory.

It was my grandfather's custom in the late afternoon of summer, when the sun had slanted, to pull a chair off the veranda and sit sprinkling the lawn. Toward supper-time Mr. Hodge, a building contractor and our neighbor, went by, his wagon, as usual, rattling with some bit of salvage. Mr. Hodge was of sociable turn, and he cried "Whoa!" to his jogging horse.


Now ensued a half-hour's gossip. was the comedy of the occasion that the horse, after having made several attempts to start and been stopped by the jerking of the reins, took to craftiness. He put forward a hoof, quite carelessly, it seemed. If there was no protest, in time he tried a diagonal hoof behind. It was then but a shifting of the weight to swing forward a step. "Whoa!" yelled Mr. Hodge. "Yes, yes," the old horse seemed to answer, "certainly, of course, yes, yes; but can't a fellow shift his legs?" In this way the sly brute inched toward supper. My grandfather enjoyed this comedy, and once, if I am not mistaken, I caught him exchanging a wink with the horse. Certainly the beast was glancing round to find a partner for the jest. A conversation, begun at the stand-pipe, progressed to the telegraph pole, and at last came opposite the kitchen. As my grandfather did not move his chair, Mr. Hodge lifted his voice until the neighborhood knew the price of brick and the unworthiness of plumbers. To clinch an argument, Mr. Hodge had a usual formula: "It 's neither here nor there, "--and he pounded his fist upon the dashboard,-"it 's right here." He was a Democrat and he spoke against the tariff. But finally the horse prevailed. Mr. Hodge slapped his reins in consent, and they rattled home to supper.

Around this house, also, there are the echoes of children's feet-running feet upon the grass, glad cries of hide-andseek; and when the sewer was dug along the street, we were mountaineers or miners as we pleased.

But chiefly it is the echoes of older steps I hear-steps whose sound is long since stilled, feet that have crossed the horizon and have gone on journey for a while. And when I listen I hear echoes that are fading into silence.



Illustrations by Arthur G. Dove

A Christmas story with many differences from the standard patented variety. A tale centering around a twelve-year-old Scotch boy who constitutes himself British plenipotentiary when he visits his American cousins.

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I have decided to send Angus out to you. England is fermenting, Scotland likewise. If he remains in school here, he will be exposed to contagious ideas.

In addition he must have a year or two of American education. Every future member of Parliament needs to be equipped with personal knowledge of your country.

Naturally, Angus will make a parliamentarian, like his father, whose untimely, though gallant, death robbed England of one of the sanest of the younger members at a time when he could ill be spared. I have never forgiven Malcolm for rushing off to the front, but he was always impulsive.

Angus is twelve years old to-day. He is a merry little fellow, yet not downright mischievous. I mean to say that his mischief is not malicious. I fear his temperament is rather frivolous, for at times he will play cricket and golf, to the detriment of his studies. Also, I regret to state, he has a deplorable tendency to acquire picturesque vulgarisms. I do hope you Americans will

not encourage him in that. Like other only children, he is probably badly spoiled. If he annoys you too much, pack him off to a school somewhere.

In a month or two, as soon as I finish settling up his father's estate, I shall come over and take him off your generous hands. The Rookery. MOLLIE MACLEOD. Edinburgh, Scotland.

Now, I ask you, from that letter would n't you have expected a little devil? We saw in him a young scapegrace who detested books as heartily as our own Bob, and to whom strange, new, muddy language of the street stuck as frequently as it did to our own Betty. Her latest retort when admonished was, "Aw, run up an alley and yell 'Fish'!"

We knew that his family was wealthy enough to educate him by means of private tutors, but that was all we did know about him. When his mother's dour letter was read to the family, an appalled silence fell over the dinnertable. Betty's lips moved uneasily for several moments before she ventured to speak.

"Daddy, what 's a vulgarism?" she asked in a hushed voice.

"Pretty much anything you happen to say, sweetheart," her father replied. She digested this outrage.

"Then I won't be able to say nothing to Cousin Angus," said she, indignantly.

"He sounds like a good guy to me," Bob admitted in his most self-assured manner; "but what 's cricket?"

Bob is only eleven, though he claims that his voice is beginning to break.

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Mrs. Ferguson had been thoughtfully him. Several favorable replies had silent until now.

"I do hope he won't get Bob into bad habits," she said, "or break things around the house.'

Her husband grinned maliciously. "I'll bet the young devil smokes," he averred.

Poor Martha cried out in alarm:
"O Will!"

"He either smokes or chews," said William Ferguson, solemnly. "All those Scotch kids begin to use tobacco when they first put on kilts."

Bob's eyes were very bright.

"I'll bet he smokes," he asserted hopefully. "He 's a good egg."

"Please, Robert," his mother begged, "never use that expression again! Boys and girls are not eggs."

somewhat comforted her, but she was as filled with wild anticipations as the rest of us when we waited on the pier for the twelve-year-old tornado whom our imaginations had created with the aid of his mother's letter.

I wonder now why we were so stupid. But, as I said before, how could we know that-but wait; let me tell you about it.

He came off the boat with an Aberdeenshire terrier under one arm and a book under the other, in complete Highland costume, bare knees, kilts, and everything, followed by three stewards, who were simply staggering under his luggage.

"Good Lord!" mumbled William Ferguson under his breath. "He has

Betty had been sniffling the delicately enough baggage for the Shah of Perperfumed stationery.

"I'll bet he 's some sa-weet bebby," said she. Betty always pronounced "baby" as if it were spelled "bebby." "Dearest," her mother wailed," "bebby' is Yiddish! Where do you get these horrid words?"

"Aw, run up an alley-" Betty began, but her father cut in hastily.

"I'll have to lay in a stock of Scotch and soda," he said, thoughtfully stroking his chin.

"Will, you promised me- ." his wife protested.

"I know, dear, I know; but Angus will have to have his Scotch and soda morning and evening. We must think of our guest, you know."

"O Will," poor Martha Ferguson lamerted, "do you suppose the child takes liquor?"

"All future members of Parliament," Mr. Ferguson burlesqued, "should make the acquaintance of the demon rum early in life."

She smiled then, for she realized that he had been joking.

sia. Let's grab him and rush him out to the car, where we can hide his bagpiper's get-up."

We might as well have tried to rush the Metropolitan Tower off its base. He submitted so graciously to our boisterous greeting that we were quite chilled. When big-hearted, bluff William Ferguson told him to "run along out to the car, sonny, with the rest, while I shove your carload of freight through the customs," William was waved aside with a smile and a gesture that struck him dumb.

"I could n't think of troubling you. Please wait for me in your motor," said Angus MacLeod, cheerily, in his exquisitely enunciated English, smiling at us all and adjusting the bonnet, which our greeting had disarranged, upon his amazingly red hair. "I'll be with you presently. Now, where's the customs. fellow?"

He turned his back upon us and began marshaling his collection of traps, Gladstone bags, suitcases, and golfclubs. We were awed by the ease with


"He came off the boat with an Aberdeenshire terrier under one arm and a book under the other"

which he captured an inspector from three irate old gentlemen by a slight gesture. Remembering our own experiences with these same customs officials, we were simply overcome by the respectful alacrity shown by this one under Angus's direction. Lingering in the background, we watched him tip the panting stewards and swiftly dispose of one piece of baggage after another; there were fifteen of them all told. William stuck at the little chap's elbow and dodged clumsily out of his way, and I could tell by the expression of his face that William was cursing heavily. Finally he threw up his hands and came over to join us, and I heard him say to his wife, "I'm glad to report that the young prime minister has some civilized clothes in his kit."

A moment later Angus also,oined us.

"I've asked them to express everything to your place in Scarsdale except that one bag. You don't think it will crowd the motor too much, do you?"

William Ferguson beckoned over his shoulder to our big surly Irish chauffeur, and jerked a thumb.

"Kelly," said William, "get the bag, will you?"

But Kelly already had the bag. "Is that your man?" Angus asked. "What's your name, old chap?"

"Timothy Kelly, sir," said our surly Irish chauffeir in a tone that none of us had ever heard him use before, a tone of breathless respect. Imagine our feelings! We had constant cause to complain of Kelly's rudeness and impertinence, and the more impudent

Kelly was, the louder William would laugh. William positively enjoyed the ugly temper of the man, and ridiculed us. You see, William detests the traffic regulations, and he demands that his chauffeur defy them. A traffic officer's uplifted hand meant nothing to Kelly, and from his driver's seat he would "sass" the biggest mounted policeman that ever headed a parade. William called him "beautifully blind" to speedsigns, and had grown very much attached to him, never omitting an opportunity to encourage his disrespect for law and good manners.

But here was our hulking, irascible Kelly eating out of Angus's hand. It was too humiliating. I could see that William Ferguson was enraged. And Angus was asking Kelly, sternly:

"You 're not a Sinn Feiner, are you, Kelly?"

"Not I, sir!" said Kelly, amazed. "My home was Ballyclare, sir. Sure, I'm a Carsonite."

"I'm very glad to hear that," said Angus, gravely.

"Thank you, sir," said Kelly with great heartiness, and stalked off with the bag as proudly as if it had been the Holy Grail he held in his dirty fist instead of a fat, brown portmanteau.

Angus favored us with a smile that showed all his even teeth.

"It was really ripping of you," he said enthusiastically, "to meet me coming off that boat. I did n't expect it, you know."

"Young man," said William, fiercely, "what the devil would your ducal highness have done if we had n't met you?"

"I should have gone to an hotel," said Angus, somewhat taken aback, "and tubbed and changed before ringing you up on the telephone. I travel in these things, and they 're top-hole for a voyage; but they 're not exactly presentable, now are they?"

""Top-hole,' "" murmured Betty, relishing the word.

I tried to make conversation by airing my infinitesimal knowledge of Scottish terminology.

"It n't that a very large sporran for a little boy to wear?" I asked brightly. "My father," he said quietly, "was wearing this sporran when he was shot.

It was the only part of his uniform they could save for me. You see, the pater had led his men over the top, and when the Hun drove them back, the pater hung on the wire between the lines all day and was shot to shreds. Colonel Grahame fetched his body in for burial when it grew dark enough, and sent this sporran to mother."

Naturally, I could have bitten my tongue off. I walked down the pier mentally kicking myself. We pro

ceeded through the gates in dead sillence, but when Angus saw the new car, he brightened up at once.

"Well, now," he exclaimed, "this is rather swish!"

"'Swish'!" Betty fell upon the word. "Whaddeyuh mean, 'swish'?" Bob glowered.

"Now I've done it!" said Angus. "Mother told me to be careful about that word. It's very inelegant, as mother says. What I mean is, I'm most awfully glad you have a car like that, because that 's what we have at home in Edinburgh. May n't I drive, Cousin William?"

"You don't know the traffic regulations, old son," said William, meaning, I suppose, that he would n't know enough to break all of them as Kelly always did. "Wait until we get out into the country," he added. William was rather subdued since the sporran incident. He sat beside Kelly, and the rest of us were piled into the rear, Angus still clinging to his little Aberdeenshire terrier and his book.

"What's the name of your dog?" Mrs. Ferguson asked timidly.

"His name is Joshua," said Angus, and held him out to Martha, whose hesitating reception allowed Betty to seize the terrier. Joshua's tail had been wagging steadily ever since they came down the gang-plank; now his whole body wagged while Bob and Betty bent their heads over him.

"Why on earth did you call him Joshua?" I asked as we sped up lower Broadway.

Angus withdrew his wondering eyes from the skyscrapers.

"I don't know," he said, and grinned. "I dare say you'll think it silly of me, but I'm certain that if Joshua had

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