Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

a

she was.

He thought how splendid it would be gers as they portrayed the farther end wall if they could invite Minnie Bee to Cedar- and the rim of mountain beyond it. cliff for the summer. She 'd forget all "Is n't she a wonder?" asked Roddy. about Seaton at Cedarcliff. He lay smil- Mary recognized his Bina tone, tender, ing in the dark, thinking how fond every proud, brotherly, and, above all, calm. one there would get of her. Susy would She considered Minnie Bee with aroused be sweet to her, he knew. He drowsed keenness of vision. off, head on arm, thinking of Minnie Bee While Minnie Bee's sensitive lips had a and Susy until they merged into one in- tender expression, her eyes, lifted by dark describably lovely girl whom he was re- blue flashes beneath those Auttering lids, garding with the serenest affection when were neither sisterly nor calm. the dark, sweet cloud of sleep descended. What stupids men were, thought Mary,

despite their being so big and importantBut, after all, he did not have to use looking. No wonder such a lot of things any arts on Mary, since he found her

went wrong, with only men running the awaiting him in the porch swing the very world. next evening.

Minnie Bee offered the sketch, though "Murry,” said Roddy, by way of greet- hesitatingly, to Mary as a souvenir of ing, as he dropped to the step beside her, their morning stroll. Mary's action on “are you game for a before-breakfast walk receipt of this gift was one rare with her. in the morning-to the old college ?" She kissed Minnie Bee out of an impulse Mary, thinking nothing of it, said that which was doubtless one of pity had she

A before-breakfast walk to the been able to define it. old college was a town rite which she al- "She writes, too,” said Roddy, boastways observed during her visits to Aunting on; "she 's Heathcliffe in 'The Fixed Sally's. But she had never before halted at a small house on the remote edge of the This did make Mary open her eyes. campus and waited until a musical, and “The Fixed Star” was always taken at evidently prearranged, whistle from Cedarcliff on account of Breck having Roddy brought a pretty girl to its door. once been literary editor.

There was something special about “If you are as clever as all that,” said Minnie Bee, some quality sensed instantly Mary, “I'll be dreadfully afraid of you.' by the yet unprejudiced Mary, who found But Minnie Bee, blushing, and wishing Roddy's little friend charming. Roddy Roddy would keep quiet, did not appear

. , well pleased, left the girls to get ac- alarming. quainted, putting in an oar only when "And play,” Roddy continued to brag. Mary endeavored to discover common "I'm going to take you to hear her play." friends in the town, which was worse than “Is n't he going to bring you to call on talk about caste.

me?” asked Mary of Minnie Bee. Their progress along cobweb-bordered Minnie Bee's smile might have meant paths brought them at length to their ex- anything. Mary gave it the natural sigcuse for a walk. It loomed large through nificance. But Roddy, somewhat in the the morning haze; but the old college was background, where he lingered to gather only an empty shell from which Time had Minnie Bee an early violet, colored with thieved the kernel. They paused beneath annoyance.

How the deuce was he a tall end wall which had wrapped vines take Minnie Bee to call on Mary at his about itself as a dimming beauty wraps Cousin Sally's? They parted at the door veils about her once fair face.

of Minnie Bee's still-fast-asleep little Minnie Bee, not knowing of Roddy's house, making first an engagement. Roddy sister, had brought sketching material. was to bring Mary next day to hear MinMary was delighted. She declared it nie Bee play. magical to sit there watching the deft fin- While walking down Main Street, just

Star.'”

to

roused to its waking yawn, Roddy re- Her tone was extremely severe. Roddy sorted to unwonted subterfuge.

simply could not help feeling like a “I would n't mention Minnie Bee to naughty little boy. He ignored Berta enBerta, Murry," said he, too carelessly. tirely

Mary instantly turned on Roddy a sus- "Are you going to call there with me picious glance.

to-morrow ?” he demanded of Mary. "Berta has a sort of foolish prejudice "Certainly not." against her," said Roddy, loftily.

“Kindly inform me what excuse I am "I see," said Mary. She held her head to give." high, and walked along stiffly by Roddy "Any you like." now.

I think

you

had better, in common deThe idiot actually endeavored to con- cency, go home," said Roddy, furiously. vert her to his point of view. They were "Oh, Roddy, you are too funny!" said passing Minnie Bee's Uncle Joe's harness Mary. Her tone changed to one of inshop when he thus wasted breath. Mary dulgence. "Certainly I have no earthly turned her head, and viewed its swinging intention of going home before I get sign.

ready." She moved off with Berta, glanc“I thought the name seemed familiar," ing over her shoulder to call out, "You said Mary. She had kissed Minnie Bee!

can say to your little friend that I have "The prettiest and cleverest girl in this toothache, if you like." confounded town," exploded Roddy. He Roddy flung off to his room in the rage had got white over it. He knew now who of his life. had invented the caste system.

Women. The vain women who must have slaves He went alone the next afternoon to and underlings to satiate their infernal call on Minnie Bee. He looked so unselfishness. Imagine a world run by them! happy when he lied and said that his sisBedlam, that's what it would be.

ter had unexpectedly been prevented from He lifted his hat sternly to Pagie Pres- accompanying him, and was very sorry ley and Wirt, also returning from a be- indeed about it, that Minnie Bee made fore-breakfast stroll to the old college, herself sweeter than he had ever seen her. taken in the opposite direction, a thing There was nothing petty about Minnie which would occur sometimes with un- Bee. She had not the faintest inclination scrupulous young men in charge of the to take it out on Roddy, but, all the same, expedition. He stood aside sternly during it was a turning-point. Motor-cars were the badinage which ensued. He accom- not rare in town, of course, though some panied Mary home, still sternly. In the horses and persons still shied at them; but hall he offered her the sketch.

such a long, wicked-looking car as Seaton "Perhaps you had better keep it," said brought there was extremely rare. Mary, hatefully.

Minnie Bee's smoke-blue bonnet and At that moment Berta appeared with Seaton's rakish cap used every day to be her 'basket of housekeeping keys, noticed seen bent together while Seaton drove the sketch, and insisted on examining it. Minnie Bee saunteringly along the lovely

“One of Minnie Bee's,” said Roddy, out roads of spring. When Roddy did reof sheer, desperate bravado.

ceive a modicum of her society it seemed “We picked her up on our walk," said to him that she was somehow different, Mary. Her glance promised that Berta that a new expression, almost one of reckshould hear all about that later on.

lessness, pervaded her loveliness. Berta comprehended at once that Mary He said to her once, with a hurt feeling had been the victim of a most shameful

at heart: imposition. She said warmly:

“I don't believe you care for me any “I did n't think you capable of an un

more, Minnie Bee." derhanded trick like that, Roddy."

"Don't you, dear?” asked Minnie Bee.

to be.

She offered her hand, sweetly. Roddy's Seaton, with a whimsical glance at face quivered. He wanted to say to her Roddy, obeyed at once. that he could n't possibly help things turn- "Minnie Bee,” said Roddy, the instant ing out so; but, naturally, it was n't a Seaton was out of hearing, "why did you thing he could say. He stooped his head, do it?" and kissed her hand instead; but Minnie “Oh, I don't know," said Minnie Bee, Bee knew, sadly enough, that it was only lightly. "Out of gratitude, perhaps, a pretty piece of boyish chivalry.

Roddy, for my first proposal.” There were other reasons than the ones Roddy stared at her, astounded. made by Minnie Bee for Roddy's seeing "Why, no end of fellows must have her less frequently. He had a lot of work made love to you!" to make up. He would have felt a good “Made love to me, yes!" cried Minnie deal of diffidence about going home if he Bee. So it flamed into words at last, had failed in exams. Not that his father though she had never meant it to. attached undue importance to the academic "I-I-never-” Roddy halted, stamaspect of a college career; but he did at- mering tach immense importance to Roddy's toe- “No,” said Minnie Bee, her eyes on the ing the mark, wherever it might happen far horizon, "you never did.”

“But if I had," cried Roddy, passionRoddy had to sit up nights and drink ately, "don't you believe I'd have asked outrageously strong coffee; but though he you to-to marry me?” detested cramming and coffee, he felt that Minnie Bee turned the butterfly blue of but for him Minnie Bee might never have her eyes on Roddy for a long, long time. realized the satisfactions of friendship, and "Yes,” she whispered at last. he had no regrets.

Her eyes wandered to Seaton, who On the last day of commencement, re- seemed about to move toward them. Her turning from a solitary stroll, undertaken hand closed on the edge of the car. Roddy in hope of losing on the way the slight laid hold of it entreatingly. headache occasioned by burning so much “Minnie Bee,” he said, “I can't believe midnight electricity for weeks on end, he a wonderful girl like you would marry a sighted Seaton's car crawling up the long man you did n't love. I can't believe you ascent. On reaching him it stopped, and are that sort of girl.” Seaton leaned out.

Minnie Bee looked down. Her fingers "I was just wishing I might chance on struggled slightly with Roddy's. A deep, you, Ivor," said he.

beautiful blush flowed over her face. For the first time within Roddy's ex- "You are in love!" cried Roddy, triperience of him his striking, dark face umphantly. . wore an air of youthful happiness and All at once Minnie Bee ceased to strug. gaiety. In fact, he did not look a brute gle. Her face flowered into blue eyes and

a

whiteness. She looked up at Roddy, her Roddy' glanced, puzzled, from Seaton heart on her sleeve. to Minnie Bee.

Roddy felt extraordinarily happy. She "We've just been married," announced was not that sort of girl. Minnie Bee in a self-possessed manner. It “It 's so splendid of you, Ninnie Bee,” was Seaton who colored. Smiling, Vin- he said, "to make me quite contented nie Bee retied the veil-ends of a new, pink

about you."

He could let go her hand ish gray motoring bonnet.

Roddy continued to look at the two in "Just a word,” said Seaton at his elbow. an odd silence.

He filled Minnie Bee's arms with sprays “Harry,” said Minnie Bee, calmly, to of the most heavenly fragrance as he went Seaton, "please go and get me a bridal on speaking. bouquet from the hawthorn-tree yonder." “You 're an awful ass, Ivor; but you

at all.

now.

are a good chap, and you 've been a good It was a fair old town of shining memfriend to my girl here, and I want to say ories. Life had humanized it. Death had to you that I 'm going to spend the rest of hallowed it. War had touched it with my life making up to her for what this faming sword. One of the greatest gen

. cursed town 's done to her. That 's all, tlemen of all time had lived and taught except"-he wrung Roddy's hand so that and died there. A young man could it hurt-"confound you, and-bless you!" hardly gaze across to its walls and roofs,

Roddy, pardonably bewildered, moved now golden in the rich evening light, away a little. He stood by the flowering without being thrilled by its legend of hawthorn, his hat off, waving it, and heroic youth. Yet Minnie Bee, having smiling affectionately at them both as the been born out of her caste, could not be car began to speed up the long hill. happy there.

He watched it until Minnie Bee's bon- Vaguely, yet vividly, all this passed in net was withdrawn like a whiff of rosy the mind of the boy standing by the hawcloud into the stealing evening. She was thorn-tree. But it was a problem of the gone. Her friendship, not, after all, his ages which time itself might never find to the end, was a thing of yesterday, and the leisure for solving, and Roddy was not her wistful face only a picture on Mem- quite twenty-one. ory's wall. Strange how a person may be He let it go, and mused instead of his your intensest present one moment and friend-of the look which had confessed your irrevocable past the next!

her love for Seaton. Roddy stood motionless for a long time Roddy had been tremendously imby the hawthorn-tree, gazing across a pressed with that look of Minnie Bee's. mile of sunset-colored air to the town Some day, he hoped, a girl would love him where Minnie Bee could not be happy. like that.

a

To One Dead

By DAVID MORTON

I

THINK that if you suddenly returned,

A little bewildered by the light and air,
But smiling secretly at all you learned,

Shaking the grave dust from your shining hair-
I think if I should come with you to tea,

I should not find you changed or grave or sad,
But keen with talk of what there was to see,

Laughing the while in that frank way you had.
There would be stories of the shadowy host,

And sprightly comment on the things they do:

How this one was a most exclusive ghost,
Or that one was adorable in blue.

It would be good to hear the things you said -
Your light and usual gossip-of the dead.

An Episode

By ROGER WRAY

THE

It was

a

he was

use.

His eyes

a

HE male occupied the first-floor suspected nothing; but on going down

room overlooking the sea; the female stairs to his living-room a new odor had had the room on the ground floor imme- momentarily touched his senses. diately beneath his. She had arrived only sweet and exquisitely subtle. Had it been that evening, yet within a couple of hours weaker, he might not have noticed it at she knew all the main facts about him; all; had it been more obvious, he would that is, she knew all that Olwen could tell doubtless have given it a chemical formula her.

and forgotten it. Its very elusiveness His name was Preston, and he had the baffled him. It was to him the unknown, rooms all the year round; he was about and it haunted him all evening. forty years of age;

a science It was curious how persistently his teacher in the local college; he had some mind reverted to that triviality. He ato'them letters, like, after his name”; he tempted to read the treatise on "Dynamihad “books and things” all round the cal Isomerism” which had been sent to room; he had a microscope and a piano him by the author that afternoon. It had and some old china ("as old as Adam"); made him eager, almost excited, when it altogether he was a "queer old stick" and arrived; but it was no he had a club-foot. Nobody ever seemed traveled down the pages with a scythe-like to come to see him. Sometimes he scarcely movement without gathering the meanspoke a word for days on end; sometimes ing. It was strange, he fell to thinking, he was talkative: that was when he had how instinctively one associates perfume "one of his piano-fits.” But when he got with woman. She is essentially animal, as his nose buried in his books he “never animal as a male; yet she contrives to sugnoticed nothing nor nobody.” There was gest, well, not exactly the spiritual, but, a lonely look in his eyes at times, and at any rate, the oral. She eats beefsteak Olwen felt a strange compassion for him. like a man, but she appears, somehow, She was certain he meant no harm. It ethereal. Her colors, her scents-her outwas only his "studying ways" that made line is an efflorescence; her petticoat is a him like that.

corolla. The female listened to Olwen's descrip- He was vaguely surprised that Olwen tion with a show of sympathy. From her had not mentioned that a new visitor was window she scanned him comprehensively expected. Olwen generally reported the as he entered the house. It confirmed affairs of the household to him when she most of what the maid had said. She had brought in the tea. Perhaps he had not him classified, as it were, and from that been in an approachable mood. moment her curiosity, being satisfied, She must have gone up-stairs or come dropped asleep.

down while he was in his bedroom. There

had been no voices, no footsteps, not a She slipped into his consciousness first of trace of her existence. If he had seen her all as a faint perfume. He did not know face to face he would have thought no that she was in the house. He had not more about her, but this perfume was heard or seen anything that might have tantalizing. It was at once a luxury and given him the clue to her coming. That a mystery. perfume was the only hint of her presence. He began to be seriously annoyed with When he went up to his bedroom he had himself. Women had never enticed his

a

« AnkstesnisTęsti »