Puslapio vaizdai

the midst of its Windish people, a foreigner, while the congregation sings on and on in strains unfamiliar to my ears, lifted by the pealing organ, falling again and again into strange supplicating minors, pierced by the high voices of the boy choir-on and on, a great sweeping onrush of song in which one feels mankind making utter offering of his soul to the limitless something, somewhere, he dreams of. Or I will sit content when the voices cease, and one voice, speaking out of the candlelit radiance high up over the altar, where the springing arch begins and all the lines of the walls bend and converge to make the church one great

niche to enshrine the embodied doctrine-one voice, rich, full, and beautiful, speaks on and on, a voice whose strange, æolian quality, like only one other I ever heard, holds me enthralled. I do not know what it is about, that voice. It holds one vibrant sound till the next sweeps by it on great wings like strong winds. It sings, speaking; but it is without all artifice. I sit in the flow of sound merely. I am the foreigner; only I understand no word. And when I come out, it is America, after all, and I walk back through the Moravian Cemetery in the quiet sunlight and see the other people going home from church.

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Two women, poles apart, and the man who chose between them as he had to choose. A thoughtful view of the old "triangle" through distinctly modern eyes


HE 's not exactly overdressed, but dressed like a bride. There's a differEverything about


her is patently new, as if her elaborate shoe-buckles had just been taken out of the box and her hair marcelled ten minutes ago. She's very pretty, is n't she?"

"Ye-es, though a shade complacent and of the type that takes on flesh. She has a few pounds too much even now. But nobody need stay fat."

The crocheting brigade on the hotel veranda dropped the bride and a few stitches to take up the pros and cons of dieting. Two or three of the women could not keep their wistful glances from straying to the girl under discussion, she seemed so young and lighthearted as she chatted away to her husband.

The little bride had just learned something which appealed to her as "perfectly delicious."

"Guess who is here, Dicky, at this very hotel? It 's a rich joke on you to bring your wife here to flaunt in Sylvia's face."

"Here she in this hotel-Sylvia?" Richard Dalton repeated rather stupidly.

He experienced a tremendous sensation of emancipation. It did n't matter. He had broken the spell which had held him. He rose to his feet as if swept up at that moment by a wave of exhilaration.

"Let us go into our room," he said, "unless you are willing to run the risk of being kissed before that row of tab

bies who can't keep their eyes off my sweetheart."A

Inside their room he took her in his arms and exulted as he held her close to him.

"You are mine, mine; you are the dearest little wife in the world, darling." Then for the first time he broached the subject which had never been mentioned between them since their marriage two months before. "You don't mind about"-queer how difficult it was to articulate the familiar name!-"about Sylvia?"

"That old maid?" Louise said scornfully. "Why, she 's nearly eight years older than I am. I know it for a posi- . tive fact that she 'll be twenty-six on her next birthday."

"You forget that you 've married a doddering old gentleman of thirtyfour," he chided.

"It 's different with a man. Sylvia would never have kept you dangling all that time if she had n't thought she could get you whenever she wanted you. I suppose the announcement of our engagement was the worst shock she ever had in her life."

"Don't, dear!" He changed the subject abruptly. "Come for a walk with me while the car is being overhauled." "In these shoes and this frock?" she asked.

She had been poor and she had experienced the difficulties of being dainty and presentable on slender means, and now that she had married a rich man the habit of thrift clung to her.

"I'll wait until the car is fixed, as

we 've a long ride this afternoon." He thought of her mother's amiable face and heavy body.

"You'll grow too plump if you never take any exercise."

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"You can't object to more of me, she returned with unruffled equanimity. "Bring me some chocolates, Dicky." She pursed her lips to be kissed, and he kissed the soft pink cheek as well.

The hotel was built at the foot of the mountain, and a short walk brought Dalton to the woods. He disdained the rustic sign which indicated "Laurel Lane" and "Lover's Leap," and turned into a by-path which presently left him to make its own trail up the mountainside. Yet there was some spirit of the forest he failed to find. His mind slipped off to an investment; he began to figure the per cent. He came to himself with a sense of irritation; he had always been able to forget the mechanism of life when in the woods, and to find a sense of communion with the trees, the cool, shady spaces, the tiny flowers, which Sylcia would stoop to caress. Perhaps that was the difference. Before, he had walked with Sylvia. Lifting up his eyes, he saw her.

It was characteristic of her that she forgot to speak. She lost sight of the fact that it was an occasion on which she should speak with undiminished cordiality when for the first time since his marriage she saw the man who had wooed her for many years; but she merely put up a warning hand with an imperative little gesture he knew. He drew nearer, treading noiselessly. She had taught his forest-craft. Her body was swaying forward as she listened to the note of the shy wood-thrush. She was hatless, and the sunshine which filtered through the trees touched the brown of her hair-the soft brown of pine-needles. Her eyes were hazel. Her brown tramping-suit was faded to mellow neutral tints; everything about her seemed a part of the warm October earth. If the shy bird had flown toward her and nestled against her it would not have seemed strange.

He remembered that once they had stood together by a clear pool in which autumn leaves had fallen.

"Your eyes are like that," he had told


"Like sunshine on brown leaves under clear water."

It was inarticulate, but she always seemed tenderer when he was inchoate and inarticulate than when he accomplished a well-turned phrase.

"It's the same difference one feels between a bed of cannas, carefully arranged as to size and color, and a clematis tossing a white spray of bloom by the wayside," Sylvia had said.

With a sudden flash of wings the bird had gone, and they were free to speak.

"It is good to see you, Richard."

Sylvia and her mother had always called him Richard. He had been aware of a secret relief when Louise's choice fell upon "Dicky."

"How well you look!" She scanned his face with earnest frankness. "Are you and Louise at the hotel?"

"Only until this afternoon. We are motoring on to Highlands. What have you been doing since your return from California?"

A certain constraint came into his voice. For how many summers had he begun the day with his letter to her, and now he had not known her whereabouts for months!

She laughed, the elusive, elfin laughter which is the gift of Peter Pan.

"Richard, it's too absurd to tell, but I 've been frivolous, I 've been gay; I'm not quite sure if I have n't been indiscreet. I suppose it was the reaction from war work. I 've been with Jim and Mary Adderson at their wonderful place, and there have been house parties galore and nice men and pleasant women, and I 've been riding, dancing, golfing, and even flirting a little. Last week I came here to escape from quite so many diversions into the woods again."

There were phases of her he knew by heart, with much he had never understood. He retorted in a bantering voice:

"In other words, you were so enormously relieved when you heard that I was to be married that you had a fling'? You had grown to think of me as a responsibility, as a dead weight tied around your life, and you were free when you were loosed from it."

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a gentian-and leaving it there!" he teased.

"Of course. Have you ever seen

They were wonderfully gentle as they exiled gentians stuck into vases?" she met his squarely now.

"Not you, Richard, but your happiness. The responsibility for that was a weight." She pondered a little over his words. "Perhaps you are right. I did have a queer sense of emancipation. I have n't played for years as I 've played this summer."

"Have you fallen in love with some one?" He tried to ask it casually and was startled by the peremptoriness of his tone.

"No," she answered. "Just now I am possessed with the new freedom."

"Shall we walk on and talk a little?" Dalton asked. "You were n't going anywhere in particular?"

"Only hunting for gentians."

"Scrambling up and down hills and ruining shoes," that was a touch he had learned from Louise,-"and finding

demanded. "The closed-up hearts! In the quiet mountain spaces they seem to part with their secret. But at the hotel to-day you will see them in a pompous cut-glass vase, and people all around them eating dinner. them eating dinner. The little shy, blue things don't belong there-in the midst of creamed vegetables."

He took it up with warmth.

"Why don't they belong? How many of those old tabbies who sit around and gossip on hotel porches could discover a gentian even if they puffed around in the woods in search of them? How many tourists and business men passing through a resort like this know there 's such a flower in the world? But at this hotel they pay fancy rates for the mountains, and a flower that is typical of the mountains belongs to them. them. They've bought and paid for it.

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