Puslapio vaizdai

stump, shooting the sand out behind with kangaroo strokes, tugging at the roots with his teeth, and pausing from time to time to grin at you with a yard of pink tongue completely surrounded by leaf mold. You may admire his zeal as inspector of chipmunks, mice, frogs, grasshoppers, crickets, and such small deer. Anything that lives and tries to get away from him is fair game except chickens. If round the turn of the road he plumps into a hen convention, memories of bitter humiliations surge up within him, and he blushes, and turns his face aside. Other dogs he meets with tentative growling, bristling, and tail-wagging, by way of asserting that he will take them on any terms they like; fight or frolic, it is all one to him.

You cannot win his allegiance by feeding him, though he always has his bit of blarney ready for the cook. He loves all members of the family with nice discrimination for their weaknesses: the pup-boy who cannot resist an invitation to romp; the pup-girl who cannot withstand begging blandishments of nose and paw, but will subvert discipline and share food with him whenever and wherever she has it. He will welcome with leapings and gyrations any one of them after a day's absence or an hour's, but his whole-souled allegiance is to the head of the house; his is the one voice that speaks with authority; his the first welcome always when the family returns in a group. That loyalty, burning bright and true to the last spark of life, that unfailing welcome on which a man can count more surely than on any human love-indeed, there is no secret in a man's love for a dog, however we may wonder at the dog's love for the man. Let Argos and Ulysses stand as the type of it, though to me it lacks something of the ideal, not in the image of the dog, but in the conduct of the man. Were I disguised for peril of my life, and my dog, after the wanderings and dangers of many years, lifted his head and knew me and then died, I think no craft could withhold my feelings from betraying me.

hidden; you may hear it anywhere. It was spoken at my own hearth when the pup-dog, wet with autumn rain, thrust himself between my guest and the andirons and began to steam. My guest checked my remonstrance. "Don't disturb him on my account, you know. I rather like the smell of a wet dog," he added apologetically. The word revealed a background that made the speaker at once and forever my guestfriend. In it I saw boy and dog in rain and snow on wet trails, their camp in narrow shelter, where they snuggle together with all in common that they have of food and warmth. He who shared his boyhood with a pup-dog will always share whatever is his with members of the fraternity. He will value the wagging of a stubby tail above all dog-show points and parlor tricks. He will not be rash to chide affectionate importunity, nor to set for his dog higher standards than he upholds for himself. Do you never nurse a grouch and express it in appropriate language? Do you never take direct action when your feelings get away with you? ings get away with you? When the like befalls the pup-dog, have ready for him such sympathy as he has always ready for you in your moods. Treat him as an equal, and you will get from him human and imperfect results.

"Dogs know their friends," we say, as if there were mystery in the knowledge. The password of the fraternity is not

You will never know exactly what your pup-dog gets from you; he tries wistfully to tell you, but leaves you still wondering. But you may have from him a share of his perennial puphood, and you do well to accept it gratefully whenever he offers it. Take it when it comes, though the moment seem inopportune. You may be roused just as you settle for a nap by a moist nose thrust into your hand, two rough brown paws on the edge of your bunk, a pair of bright eyes peering through a jute fringe. Up he comes, steps over you, and settles down between you and the wall with a sigh. Then, if you shut your eyes, you will find that you are not far from that place up on the hill-the big rock and the two oaks-where the pupboy that used to be you used to snuggle down with that first old pup-dog you ever had.

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OKKER STILL shoved his knotted cherry stick hard against an evidently cement pavement, and the sound rang sharply through a night that had long since settled over the wayside station. Listening to its bald echo flatten on a wall of lindentrees not far away, he cleared his throat and consciously lighted a cigarette.

It was dark and still; around the building behind him the sky hung in gloomy folds, seeming to drip from outstanding eaves and the murky depths of several paned windows. A lantern on the bench beside Bokker, casting rectangular shafts of light in a small circle, revealed him, a casual lay figure in a casual landscape, as a rather heavily built man, twentyeight or thirty years old, with a ruddy complexion. He was dressed in a loose suit of gray cloth, and on his head was settled a little felt hat with a pheasant feather jauntily protruding from its slight band. The end of the feather hung over an exceptionally narrow brim.

As the moon soared into the sky he finished his cigarette and murmured a few profane words, crossing his knees. The truth was, he was tempted suddenly to explain aloud, that he had a little more than a dollar in his pocket, that he did not know exactly where he was,-the station sign read "Learay," and that he had no place to sleep.

This situation, he thought as he found a more comfortable position, with his hands in his pockets, was important only in view of the fact that the air was chilling. Dinner that afternoon had been procured only through a peculiar ingenuity. He had gone into a lunch-room and ordered hash and dropped eggs, coffee and doughnuts; while these were forthcoming



Illustrations by J. Easley

he had addressed the girl waitress opposite him:

"Did you know that there was an accident up the road to-day?"


"In Stephentown."

"No. That 's where I live."

"An auto went into the ditch; no one hurt."

"I lived in a yellow house on the road with the trolley-line. We had a good many bad accidents with cars there."

"A yellow house? I wonder if I noticed it."

"It has orange nasturtiums over the front."

"I am pretty sure I did."

"I was there until I was fourteen."
"Then you came here?"

"I've been here six years now."
"Do you like it?"
"Not much."

"How long do you have to stay behind that counter?"

"From seven until six."

"You 've got bad hours. Don't you get any days off?"

"One a week."

"That 's not much."

"I usually work Sundays, and sometimes I don't take that day off. You traveling?"

"No. Just walking, beating my way; not a tramp," he added, smiling. It was easy to lie to her; she was attractive enough for that. "Do you live at home?" he went on.

"Yes; with my mother."

"That 's nice."

"I only get eleven dollars a week, but if I work the extra day, I get thirteen." This question of wages was discussed until Bokker had finished his meal.


"Will you meet me after you get the most lowly manner and yet possess through to-night?"

"Where 'll you stay?"

the presence, the poise, the dignity which was his heritage. And because Bokker "At the hotel. Meet me by the drug- had seen this, also because he had understore." stood its importance and worth, he had been able to incorporate into himself a certain amount of cultivated taste. Yes, and here he was. It had all been balanced, certainly.

"All right."

"Now, look. Punch my check for a dime, and we 'll spend the rest together." "I can't do that." She did, nevertheless.

The lunch-room was eighteen miles away now, and Rose he had learned that her name was Rose was probably dreaming of him. Her dreams were much pleasanter, he mused, than they would have been if he had kept his promise.

The country-side looked quietly forlorn, the inadequate shrubbery of New England standing in unrelieved light and shade, pale, and plastered with moonlight. But, after all, he thought, he might have foretold a lonely evening, for the day had been providential. It was always like that, balanced; life was inevitably balanced. His own past had proved it. His first enterprise was selling newspapers; then came the cigarand-paper store on the corner, really nothing more than a counter on the street, but none the less money-making. He had lost it finally and taken to painting signs, bringing in forty-four dollars a week for forty-hours' work. Then the war had come, his commission just before sailing for France, friends with money and culture-all landing him on the highroads, dissatisfied with what he had once been, with a romantic nature which even the commonplace drudgery of fighting had not taken from him. The war had, in fact, changed his whole outlook on life. It had made him understand things which he had felt before, but not been able to explain. It had added a glamour to existence, had made him feel that there were more important, more satisfactory things than money, success. And this knowledge, though he could not name it and did not even know whether or not it was ordinary, had influenced him so greatly that his line of thought was from a totally new point of view. He now insisted that his life move, if on a low social and a lower financial basis, on a high romantic plane. A man of breeding, he had found, could live in

The moon was very high at last. His clothes were heavy with dampness and dew, and, worst of all, his tobacco was gone. Nothing would happen until morning; that was obvious.

Again he struck the cherry stick against the cement pavement. It was a nice stick, one which his men had given him, and it touched the side of his foot, reminding him that he needed a new pair of shoes. His clothes were none too bad; they had been found on the road, newly pressed and wrapped in brown paper, having, without doubt, fallen from some wagon or automobile coming from a tailor's shop. His hat had been procured in Quebec, where he had tried to be a carpenter. That, he reflected, had lasted three days, but it had at least given him entrance to a large home with heavy rugs, glittering glass candelabras, and hardwood stairs down which a fairy girl in a blue silken kimono and mules, her hair, tangled, writhing over her back, had clattered.

The night was perceptibly colder. It had suddenly seemed to seep through his clothes into his consciousness; therefore he would walk again, for the station was locked up. Straight ahead went a road, white in the moonlight, leading against a range of the Berkshires. On one side, a few miles away, was a cluster of lights, perhaps Stephentown Center. There were a great many places closely allied by name in this district.

He arose and, straightening himself, felt through his pockets, and found three cigarettes. One of these he lighted before moving on.

IT was scarcely twelve o'clock when he passed through the lighted village, before the houses of wood and the highpillared town-hall. The soothing tranquillity of the buildings pleased him sharply, for Bokker was susceptible to beauty; he took more delight in a lovely

face in a crowd than a twenty-five-cent piece in a gutter. This artistic quality of his, as he half knew, was a result of the war. It was unremunerative financially, of course, and it was remarkably cold in a fight; but its value was in its faithfulness, its reactions after the fight was a detail of lost days. It made the little things of his past impressive, such as an evening he had spent in Boston standing on a street corner singing loose harmony with a disreputable person with a whisky breath and a sweet barytone voice, worth while and even necessary. Above all, it softened life, taking the hardness out of a girl's eyes, the irony out of her words,

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able. He could remember without regret the hardest times he had ever gone through-nights of work at some trivial occupation and days of even worse idleness. But, looking back, he saw that his dreams had saved him. Even then he had not allowed them to disappear in the cold reality of a bright sunlight; and now they were his true life. He did not treat them as impossible impracticalities, but rather as forecasts and omens of a time that would come; and, not unlike that light which swung on the road before him, his ambitions were immaterial, taking a place second to his enthusiasms, which were not, as the former, of the head, but of the heart.

Yes, he decided as the lights fell behind him and he found himself again in the country, there was something in him that made his whole life entirely accept

His attention turned more practically to the light as soon as he discovered that it was a lantern obviously carried by a person of no very great stature, for it hung close to the ground. Interested and curious, he hurried his steps and drew close enough to be dismayed by the revelation of a lightcolored skirt. The girl who was wearing this stopped startlingly as he came beside her, and, not waiting for him to pass on or speak, asked:

"Is that you, Father?" "No," Bokker answered, trying to modulate his voice so as to escape the appearance of brutality, "it is not your father." He was pleased with this sentence and smiled, wishing that she would raise the lantern so that he could see her features.


"Do you know where Dr. Rice lives?" she asked in a practical tone which conveyed only a touch of surprise. "If you do, please run ahead and tell him that Danny Winter is very sick and he must come immediately."

"Which house is it?"

"The second on the right. I have been hurrying, but I can't run." She was evidently under a strain, for her words were spoken in an intense undertone. She seemed, however, unaware of any uniqueness in speaking to a stranger.

"I'll tell him," Bokker volunteered. "He knows where, does n't he?"

"Yes." She faltered, her voice quivering for the first time. And in order to leave no ground for fear, he moved ahead, breaking into a fast run until he had gone beyond a curve in the road, and then dropping into a quick step.

He had not been able to collect poise enough to think coherently before the second house on the right, a building with a fantastic roof that struck him as being most unreasonable and not even decorative, came into view. He ascended the few wooden steps to this, and, after fumbling for a door-bell and finding it, pushed the small rubber button. It resounded very loudly in the night, and the noise frightened him, making him suddenly try to account for his presence. It was as though he had just awakened. The day of walking had deadened his mind, and the reality of this ring was disconcerting. He had not quite calmed before a white-clad figure descended the stairs inside with an oil-lamp and opened the door.

"Is this Doctor Rice?"


"Danny Winter 's very sick. You're wanted."

"Bad? I expected something of the sort. Is he very bad? Exactly how?"

"I don't know. I was sent. You're wanted now."

"I'll be right down, then. There's a car in back of the house, in the stable. Can you get it out?"


"Bring it here, and I'll be right with you." The doctor turned away and prepared to mount the stairs.

"Can I borrow the lamp?" Bokker suggested.

"I need it. Have n't you matches? There's a candle on the bench back there."

"All right. I'll find it. In a hurry," he added, regaining a little of his composure and feeling humorously dignified; "he 's bad."

The difficulties encountered in making his way behind the house to a lowgabled stable prevented his mind from reaching any practical conception of the situation. The atmosphere, as silent and unresponsive as was the hour, did

not lend itself to a very sentient reality, and the mere fact that five minutes ago he had been walking thoughtless and alone on the moon-lighted road was enough to displace the fact of the long wet grass through which he had to go and make him speculate as to his being asleep and dreaming. Neither could he reconcile himself to the dignity of the adventure.

The door of the stable slid back easily and revealed the empty head-lights of a small two-passenger car. With a rare amount of discipline, he considered, for he was now aware that this was no ordinary affair, and that he was an actual figure in a fanciful episode, he put on the switch and cranked the motor. It was cold, however, and the operation of starting the engine occupied several feverish minutes. Finally it did run, and he climbed in and, turning on the lights, proceeded by way of the stoned road to the side of the house, where he waited, racing the motor in order to warm it. During the brief interval before Dr. Rice reappeared in a black suit, he was not able to make any decision as to just how far he would trust himself to this romance; for he had, like all ready lovers, associated himself intimately with the girl of the road. Any strange woman, in truth, was possibly the woman to him. But this delicate vision, of whom he had seen only the skirt, and a crisp linen skirt, he thought, was somehow appealing. She was not a part of his past, and he had never known any one who, in the crisis where he had found her, would have acted so clearly. Most girls would have screamed or otherwise have paid no attention to him, and an older woman or a masculine modern girl would have acted in so sophisticated a fashion that she would not have lingered in his mind. This person, on the other hand, acting so naturally that he had felt as if he belonged to her request, that in carrying out her suggestion he was neither conferring a favor nor putting her under an obligation, remained unreal and yet stimulating.

During the ride in the automobile Dr. Rice made but two statements: "Here to the left" and "It 's getting colder now." Aside from these they were both wrapped in the night as if in a heavy

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