« AnkstesnisTęsti »
She sat down beside him. She was troubled. She tried to look into his face, but he bent his head away from her.
"I'm sorry-" she began again. What could she say to comfort this boy? He hardly heard her.
"And you knew-you must have known all along that it 's true-every bit of it! I-oh, I do love you!" The last two words were whispered.
Involuntarily, her hands went out to him, but she drew them back again quickly.
"How could any one help loving you!" he cried. "You you are so wonderful! You 're like all the beautiful things I read about and--and dream. You 're like something all shining-I don't know how to say it. You 're like scent and moonlight and poetry! Things seem funny to you, and you laugh when other people don't laugh. And when I look at you, and your eyes shine so, itit hurts me here." He stopped, and put one hand to his throat. "Oh, how can I tell you what I mean! You 're all the lovely things in the world-”
"Dear Ken!" Cynthia's eyes filled with tears.
"I've been so miserable these last days! I-I thought I'd go away. tried, but-but I could n't. I knew it would n't make much difference to you, you--you 're so used to having people love you" He suddenly buried his head in the pillows of the couch.
Cynthia leaned over him yearningly. She longed to comfort him, to put her arms around him. But, no, in that way one comforted a child. He was n't a child any longer.
She waited until he was quieter. "You 're wrong, Ken," she said after a little, when his shoulders had ceased heaving. "Not many people love me, and no one in that way.'
He lifted his head and stared at her. "And I'm very proud, dear, that you care. You make me very happy." She took his hand and put it gently against her cheek. They sat so for a little while in silence.
What could she tell him? That her own heart had again come to life, that the whole world seemed desirable once more to her bruised consciousness? How would that help him? And then
out of the depth of her own experience came a light. If only she could make him see it!
"Love comes so seldom without disappointment," she said presently; "but if one can love and dream, make one's self content with that, almost anything is possible. Do you know what I mean, Ken?"
"I-I don't know exactly."
"I mean that love enriches one's life; I mean that love in itself is enough to make one happy-just to love and dream, to make one do one's work far better-"
"Yes," he said suddenly and eagerly, "I know that is true. Why, just since I've known you I've-I 've begun-" He put one hand in his blazer pocket and searched. "I had it here," he said; "must have lost it."
"You shall show it to me some other time. What I want now is to know that you will go on; that you'll work to carry out all the brave things we 've talked about so many times. Will you, Ken?"
"I will," he answered solemnly.
"Then there's no need to be unhappy about anything," she said triumphantly. He stared at her a little and then he smiled.
"I-I believe you 're right. I am happier, much happier than I 've been in a long time."
"Why, of course," she said, and they smiled together.
He went home after a little, leaving her to wonder at the change within herself. There was a change; she knew it; a resurgence of happiness. It was as though the dead had come to life. That this boy's love had been given her when she had lost faith seemed some strange and wonderful miracle. The very pureness of it made it a gift without price.
And so she mused, sitting there in the twilight.
"MR. DUNLAP, ma'am." Honora came in softly and turned on the lights. Cynthia came to herself with a start. She had been away, a long way off, in a strange country.
"Will you tell him I 'm here, please." He came in almost jauntily, and shook the hand she held out to him.
"How are you?" he said ponderously. "I'm quite well," said Cynthia, and she noticed that he held a thin sheet of paper in his hand.
He waved it at her.
"This belongs to Ken, I think; I found it on the lawn on my way over. It seems to be poetry, although I don't know very much about such stuff." He stopped and laughed. "Seems to be dedicated to you, too. There's something in it about Helen of Troy, an unfavorable comparison I should judge."
Cynthia put out her hand quickly, but he was looking quizzically at the slim sheet, and did not see her gesture. "Well, we all have to go through with it-puppy love." He laughed again.
It was as though he had struck her.
He looked at her, surprised at the sudden passion in her tone.
"I dare say you are annoyed. I'll send that boy away. He ought to be at a camp, anyway; he moons around too much, books of poetry underfoot and all such nonsense."
Hang it all! he wanted this woman. He believed he had always wanted her.
"As I said before, I 've been doing some thinking lately. I don't think it would be a bad idea if you and I married."
She was n't unprepared for it, and yet the exquisite irony of it caught her off her guard.
"Never!" she said violently.
"Hold on a minute; don't answer too soon. Let me finish! We 're both old enough to know what we 're about. Look at it this way-we 're growing older all the time, and we 're both lonesome. And here are the two places next door. And, then, there 's Alix. She's growing up and she needs a mother. Governesses are all right in their way, but what she really needs is a mother. What do you think, Cynthia?"
She longed to tell him what she thought. She wanted to laugh--to laugh until she was utterly exhausted. She longed to tell him that Alix had a mother in him. She wanted to tell him that he might be getting old, and that life held no more romance for him; she was different. Not when she felt as she had a little while ago before he had come and settled himself there to make a mock of love. And then she felt very sorry for him. He had missed so much, after all. she answered him very gently.
She stopped and looked at him. Yes, that would be the argument he would use, all he was capable of using. And she had loved him once, although two months ago he had chosen to ignore it, had chosen to ignore her sacrifice.
"Yes, I loved you once; that 's true." "Well-"
"I loved you so that I made the supreme sacrifice for your happiness, or what I believed to be your happiness, and I see that I was right."
"Don't you think if you took time and thought it over you might look at it differently?"
"Love is never a case of expediency." "Oh, I have no patience with your analyzing, Cynthia."
"Sometimes I have no patience with it myself."
"Leave my side out of it.
you intend to do with your life? Have you thought seriously about settling down? It seems to me it's high time you did."
"Yes, you ought to settle down. You don't seem to have done anything during these last ten years except idle around from place to place, and about all it has done is to make you restless and unhappy."
She sat considering it for a moment. "Yes, I believe you 're right; perhaps I have idled, as you say-and-and just waited to make something of my life."
"Well, don't you think this would be a good chance to marry me and settle down-stop all this nonsense?"
"No, I shall never marry you, Kenneth. It's too late; all that is past and done. I can see it very plainly now." "What do you intend to do?" "I? Why" She stopped, and crossed over to the window again and looked out. What did she intend to do? it matter so much what she did? She was happy again; that was enough. Life still seemed desirable. Perhaps it even held for her the things she had once wanted. And suddenly it came to her that there was Egypt. Yes, there was Egypt! She laughed softly.
"What shall I do?" she repeated. "Why, there is a place I must go all my life I've wanted to go to Egypt. I've never been, because I was waiting to take something with me. I thought it was a person, but it is n't."
"What are you talking about? What's Egypt got to do with your settling down, with my asking you to marry me?"
"Everything, Kenneth," she said; "everything in the world."
By ROBERT NATHAN
Ah, love me, love me, for my youth is flying,
Stay with me, beauty, for silence now and sorrow
Ah, love me, love me! I can feel September
Let me believe I hear my lost youth crying,
Scuttling the Philippine Ships
By JOSÉ P. MELENCIO
ILIPINO-AMERICAN relations may be said to have entered a new phase when the Merchant Marine Law of 1920 was passed by Congress, carrying with it a clause providing for the extension of the coastwise laws of the United States to the Philippine Islands. The era of good-will and mutual understanding that has been existing for a decade received a severe jolt. The Filipinos, ever jealous of their national rights, see in the legislation a sinister attempt on the part of commercial interests to incorporate the Philippines with the American territory. They see behind its glittering assurances of prosperity the hand of the imperialist, who desires to see the Philippines perpetually retained for purposes of his own.
The Filipinos will of course be obliged to comply with the law when it goes into effect; that is their obvious duty as worthy colonists. But this does not prevent them from making articulate their feelings about it; much less does it prevent them from protesting against its application. The right of protest and petition is their constitutional right.
Congress may have acted in perfect good faith. It may have been actuated by the honest belief that by favoring the American merchant marine it was also favoring the interests of the Filipino people. This, the Filipino people submit, is an erroneous belief, and they claim that their position is intrenched on solid ground.
Section 21 of the Merchant Marine Law provides that on February 1, 1922, the President of the United States shall declare the extension of the coastwise laws to the Philippine Islands if, after full investigation, he should find that an adequate shipping service has been established, and that reasonable rates exist.
The extension of the law, however, may be postponed "for such a time as may be necessary for the establish
ment of adequate shipping facilities." The Shipping Board is directed prior to the expiration of the year 1922 "to have established adequate steamship service at reasonable rates and to maintain and operate such service until it can be taken over and operated and maintained upon satisfactory terms by private capital and enterprise."
What, then, are the salient phases of the proposed extension? They are these: It is absolutely certain that the coastwise laws will be extended to the islands some day. If not on February 1, 1922, they will be extended some time thereafter. The statute provides the President "shall declare the extension," the time to be determined by him. The ultimate recipients of the benefits alleged to accrue with the extension of the coastwise laws will be a few persons, a few ship-owners, not the bulk of the American people. The extension would create a monopoly in favor of American bottoms. It means that only American ships can ply between American and Philippine ports. For the purpose of American commerce, the Philippines are therefore virtually made an adjunct of the federal territory.
The discrimination extends to Philippine citizens. If a Filipino desires to engage in the business of transporting goods from the Philippines to the United States and vice versa, the law would prevent him from so doing unless he surrenders his citizenship and takes up American citizenship. His own merchant marine, now fast developing, will be a thing of the past. It will lose its distinct nationality. It will no longer be his. It will have to be owned by American citizens and become a mere appendage of the merchant marine of the continental United States.
One of the grievances of the American colonies against Great Britain was based upon her exclusion of American bottoms from the carrying trade with Great