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was thinkin' it all over about y'r Aunt Ruth Parlet
"Now if that ain't curi's!" exclaimed Tobias, bringing his chair down hastily upon all four legs. "I didn't know just how you'd take it, mother, but I see Aunt Ruth to-day to the fair, and she made everything o' me and wanted to know how you was, and she got me off from the rest, an's ays she 'I declare I should like to see your marm again. I wonder if she won't agree to let bygones be bygones.
"My sakes!" said Mercy, who was startled by this news. ""Tis the hand o' Providence! How did she look, son?" "A sight older 'n you do, but kind of natural too. One o' her sons' wives that she's made her home with, has led her a dance, folks say."
But Mother Bascom and Tobias looked at each other and laughed.
"I ain't had such a good time I don't know when, but my feet are all of a fidget and I've got to git to bed now. I've be'n runnin' away since you've be'n gone, Ann!" said the pleased old soul, and then went away, still laughing, to her own room. She was strangely excited and satisfied, as if she had at last paid a long-standing debt. She could trudge across pastures as well as anybody, and the wearing old grudge was done with. Mercy hardly noticed how her fingers trembled as they unhooked the old gray gown. The odor of sweet fern shook out fresh and strong as she smoothed and laid it carefully over a chair. There was a little rent in the skirt, but she would mend it by daylight.
The great harvest moon was shining high in the sky, and she needed no other light in the bedroom. "I've be'n a smart woman to work in my day and I've airnt a little pleasurin," said Mother Bascom sleepily to herself. "Pore Ruthy! so she looks old, does she? I'm goin' to tell her right out, 'twas I that spoke first to Tobias."
THE IMMORTAL WORD.
By Helen Gray Cone.
ONE soiled and shamed and foiled in this world's fight, Deserter from the host of God, that here
Still darkly struggles,-waked from death in fear, And strove to screen his forehead from the white And blinding glory of the awfu! Light,
The revelation and reproach austere.
Then with strong hand outstretched a Shape drew near, Bright-browed, majestic, armored like a knight.
"Great Angel, servant of the Highest, why
Stoop'st thou to me?" although his lips were mute,
Son of thy soul, thy youth's forgotten fruit.
By F. J. Stimson.
KITTY FARNUM TAKES THE PRIZE.
COHN HAVILAND was in town that summer. Many things kept him there; he had his own business, and he had his schools, and he had his workmen's clubs. And just now he had, more than all, the new young men's club he was founding on the Bowery. He would usually dine at his own club; and there the men he most commonly met were Derwent and Lucie Gower. There seemed to be a certain bond of sympathy between these men. Gower also was kept in town by his business; for Gower had his duties in life, and performed them punctiliously, too. Derwent-well, Derwent was kept there by much the same reasons that kept John at home. Furthermore, these men, not being pleasure-seekers, were all three unhappy-for the moment, only, let us hope.
Haviland lived most of the time on his little sloop, which he kept moored at Bay Ridge, and he took little cruises in her when the wind served. Derwent was apt to be with him on these; he was an enthusiast in everything, and just now was much interested in John's work in New York. Then there was politics; the primaries were already beginning, and John was at work over these; a most fascinating subject for Derwent, who was fond of saying that the most noticeable industries in all property-democracies" had been plied by those who made a trade of patriotism; but John was not a trader. It was Derwent who called ours an age of coal; but machine civilization was his favorite term for the nineteenth century, and just now his notion was that property was the pasturage that gave life to the monster that he fought.
Certainly, it had been an evil year for
those who thought and hoped. That showed itself even in the primaries, where now the local leaders found it hard to keep their rank and file content. Still less could John get on, with his abstract talk of pure government and simple laws. Sovereign voters were showing a strange tendency to go in directly for abstract benefits, or what they conceived to be such. Even city workers were discontented; and there was said to be much misery in the mining districts. The coal magnates-Tamms, Duval, and Remington-finding that that ichor of our civilization was growing too plentiful, had laid their heads together and were diminishing the output; that is, they forbade that more than a certain number of tons should be mined per week. Thus did they not only cut off that draught of life from the general social fabric, but about one-third of the cupbearers thereof were thrown out of work. Upon this, many of the rest had struck. Their places in the mines had promptly been filled by other human energy in the shape of so many head of human beings, male and female, shipped from Poland; while the strikers and even some of the Poles, who had escaped and could read and write, were making trouble. But these themes are too heavy for our slight pen; except such outcome of it as even all the world might see and Mrs. Flossie Gower might feel.
And, if politics had thus all gone askew, John was just a shade discouraged with his social work as well. Many a talk did he and Derwent have about it, lying becalmed off the sullen Jersey coast, smoking their midnight cigars beneath the sky. "They will come to the club fast enough," he would say, "and read a newspaper or two, and smoke a pipe-when they have not money enough to pay for drinks at the barroom. They will listen to what we tell them, politely enough. But what I find is the hardest thing to cope with is a sort of scoffing humor: as if we were all
muffs, and they knew it, and only put up with it so long as it suited their convenience."
"A curious thing this jeering habit in your democracy," muttered Derwent. "They have caught the trick of Voltaire's cynicism and turned it upwards. They are incredulous of excellence and of benevolence in high places-even of yours, old fellow, I am afraid," he added. "I never could see how there could be class-hatred in America; but class-hatred there certainly is."
"I talk to these boys of books and pictures, and the joys of art, and the delights of nature; and I fear, if they do not cry Oh, chestnuts' at me, or some other current slang, it is out of mere good-nature and because they like Their delight in nature is limited to the nearest base-ball field, the newspapers they take up are generally those printed on pink paper, and as for books -I doubt if many of them ever opened one, except he knew it was obscene.'
"All literature has had but two sources-religious hymns and merry stories," said Derwent, gravely. "These boys must naturally begin with that one which is left them."
'But they are such finished positivists! As for fearing the Roman Church, it is but an old wives' tale to them."
"How much did our friends at La Lisière care for this higher side of life?" said Derwent. "It is true they substituted wine for whiskey, and straight limbed horses for bow-legged bull-pups, and steeple-chases for sparring, and French novels for the pink newspaper. I fancy our two sets of friends would understand one another, Tony Duval and Birmingham and your boys, much better than you do after all. As for Mr. Van Kull, he would be a hero with either lot, and Caryl Wemyss a muff."
"There are plenty of rich people who are not like Mrs. Gower's set."
"True, but they do not advertise themselves, they do not make a show, they do not lead society'-suggestive phrase. And probably you are the first rich man of that class whom your Bowery friends have ever seen. No wonder that they set you down for a muff!"
"Of course a poor boy covets his neighbor's goods, if he sees that his
goods are the only thing the neighbor values," sighed John.
Thus did these two hold converse, and often Lucie Gower with them. Indeed Lucie Gower had got quite interested in John's plans, and if he did not feel that his personal assistance would be of much value, he helped John out with money, which was almost as much to the point. The simple fellow was not happy, and he did not quite know why; surely his wife, the admired leader of all their world, was all that he desired? At times he would seem on the point of confiding with John, and would turn his eyes to him with the troubled look of some not healthy animal; a look, alas! which John saw no way to answer.
But if John made little progress with his missionary work, James Starbuck made greatly more with his. The discontent on the line of the Allegheny Central Railroad and in the coal mines was certainly spreading; and Starbuck, in his capacity of travelling inspector, had much opportunity to see this and to work upon it. Now and then he would enter Haviland's club-room; he had had himself inscribed as a member thereof; and each time it was noticeable that he would take many of the young men away to some secret meeting of his own. John at first had welcomed him as an ally; he was much better educated than most of the young men, and his influence was certainly for sobriety, at least. But of late he had begun to doubt.
Meantime Tamms, the man who ruled the Allegheny Central, was continually at the office; for he was not without anxiety about all this. His clever manœuvres of the previous summer had had one result of doubtful benefit; it had left him saddled with all the Starbuck Oil Works stock, and nearly all the Allegheny Central. A time of extreme prosperity had been expected by him that year; he had just made one great monopoly of all the neighboring coal interests; but the one thing even clever Tamms could not see and provide against was a general revolt among the men and women whose lives, as he thought, he had bought and paid for. Mrs. Tamms and the daughters had come back from
Europe, loaded with rich laces and new gowns, and paying a pretty figure therefor at the custom-house; but without any offers of marriage as yet, or at least without sufficiently brilliant ones.
Charlie, too, was at the office frequently, and when he was there, looked into things pretty closely; though Arthur was still revelling in the new delights of Newport. Old Mr. Townley would come in regularly once a month, and cut the coupons off the bonds of his trusts. Thence he would drive up to his clubhe was the oldest member now-and wag his white head sagely among his friends, financiers emeriti like himself, and tell them what a treasure he had in his clever young man Tamms.
Gracie came back to her aunt's house early in October; but she came back alone. Mamie had been quite taken up by Mrs. Gower; why it should be esteemed an honor by young girls to be taken up by Mrs. Gower, I leave unsaid; but such it was. She translated them to that higher sphere which she had so completely made her own. Before such promotion a maiden was simply a pretty girl, nothing more; after it she became "the thing, for married men to flirt with, for young men to pay attention to, and perhaps, finally, for one of them to marry. So Mamie Livingstone was staying with her at La Lisière.
It is needless to say that Charlie Townley was there too. If Flossie was somewhat sceptical of other worlds, she was quick to recognize an eternal fitness of things in this. And what more fit than that fashion should wed wealth, and a young man who had so well proved his taste in spending money should be given a pretty helpmeet and with her the wherewithal to shine? Mrs. Gower had a good-natured custom of pensioning off, in this pleasant manner, her old adorers; for all her loves had been platonic, affairs of fashion and make-believe, like the Bronx hounds' fox-hunting. For Flossie had never been in love in her life; I question if she could be; though hoping always much to be the cause that love should be in others.
Charlie, then, found a strong ally in his old friend, and we may be sure he pushed his advantage to the utmost.
Caryl Wemyss was happy too to have him there; for Charlie's pursuit was obvious, and the pack of tongues will often follow only one such scent at a time. And though ready enough to startle the world when the proper time came, Wemyss did not wish to diminish the effect of his coup by anticipation. Moreover he had not quite made up his mind.
As for old Mr. and Mrs. Livingstone, they only knew that Mamie was off enjoying herself; which our parents now have learned to be also part of pre-established harmony. Gracie was their comfort now; they were fonder of her than of their own daughter, I think. But Gracie was more troubled. She had taken pretty little Mamie to her heart. Down-stairs, with the old people, she was a sweet presence, like still sunlight after rain; she read to them, and talked, and smiled, and helped. But up-stairs, I wonder, in the temple of her maiden's chamber? What shall we do for Gracie, I beseech you, reader? I beseech you, reader? We can find all their happinesses, in this world, for Charlie, for Flossie Gower and Mr. Tamms, and even, through his vanity, for Wemyss-but how for her? And Gracie was-she was very lovely and contented, and she had the sunniest of smiles; she was one for some of us to love perhaps but she was not exactly happy, you see. But what can we do? We cannot go with her to her own room, when she is alone; we may not dare to console her; we may not venture in, but stand awestruck, hand upon the door. I wonder what happens there, when the light figure is bent down, and the face forgets to smile, and the dark eyes look out, unrestrained by other's presence, on the four mute walls?
Why did Haviland-yes, and Derwent too go to the house so often? When Mamie came home, Charlie Townley came often, too; and Gracie, beginning her winter work, would have left them all to her, but that they rather sought herself. And, as if by some strange chemistry, she began to feel that these two had some understanding with her, of things both human and divine.
See, there she is, standing in the shadow; John is talking to her. At a
distance sits Derwent, pulling his tawny long moustache, his blue eyes fixed simply on her, like a young child's. Here is Mamie Livingstone, prettier, some would say, than Gracie, with her nameless touch of style, and girlish distinction; she ripples and flashes like a summer brook, as Charlie bends over her, so that the rosebud in his coat is just beneath her eyes, and he says something to her about it.
But Mamie was not the only girl who gave trouble to her friends that autumn. In another street-the Fifty-Somethingeth-sits the Beauty, Kitty Farnum, lounging back lazily in her chair, her perfect arms clasped behind her head, a sort of democratic Cleopatra, looking, with her silent idle scorn, at her mother, who is chiding her. Her mother is carefully dressed, well-educated, worldly enough in all conscience sake; and yet there is something about her, about her or about her voice, that makes the haughty beauty sicken with a consciousness of difference between them. Kitty has the pride of a coronet, if not the taste for one.
"I heard you positively discouraged him at Lenox." The mother is speaking of Lord Birmingham; and the daughter is thinking that, when a girl, her mother must have been admired of “gentlemen friends" and have worn gold ornaments about her neck. For Kitty has that intense appreciation of small differences of social habit that a clever child inherits when parents are acutely conscious of their lack of social position. If the factory and railroads and exchanges be the all-in-all of life, these things are trifles; but our economists who ignore them forget how much of life is left besides mere work, how great a part in life is played by self-esteem. Your baron of the middle ages scorned them, for he had his horse and battle-axe and coatof-mail; and perhaps had you given these to his hind, the churl might have made as good a baron, and the baron would have been like any other soldier, in his eating and his thinking and his lying down. But to-day you put these two together, and they speak two words, and each knows-and much more their wives and daughters, that they "move in different spheres." But why then, in
this democracy, does the one sphere, in successive stages as you ascend, hate, envy, imitate, and seek to enter the other? Mrs. Gower's set are false and foolish; but they are quite modest enough to recognize that they are no models for a people's imitation. Greatness is thrust upon them. Jem Starbuck may hate them, and Jenny his sister envy; but how long, think you, the Duvals, and now this Mrs. Farnum, have striven to be like them? Alas! if they were better men, even, as our mediæval baron was the better man than his churl, the folly of the imitation would be gone. But amour-propre still rules humanity, although democracy apportion out its goods, and when amourpropre shall turn from show of affluence to proof of excellence, we shall see great things. And love it may be yet that makes the world go round; but, alas! in so many marriages, one side loves the other and the other loves-itself.
"It was reported even in the Herald, that it was to be a match," said Mrs. Farnum, plaintively. "And now, he has gone off on his yacht, and they will say that he has jilted you."
'Mother, I will marry whom I like— and when I like," said Kitty.
"But tell me, my darling-you do not like anyone else?" said Mrs. Farnum, coaxingly.
"My dear mother
"I do wish you would say 'mamma,' and not insist on calling me mother." And she thought hastily over the men she knew her child had seen that summer. "I hope it is not Van Kull-or that young Holyoke," she added, in increasing terror.
Kitty turned her back and intimated so plainly a dismissal that the obedient mother felt constrained to go.
"It is young Holyoke," she thought, with a sigh that was meant to soften her obdurate daughter's heart.
She poured her troubles in her tired husband's ear that night: "Kate shall marry whom she likes," said that unimaginative person. "I guess her half million will be worth any beggarly marquis of them all. You weren't a countess, when I married you." And Mrs. Farnum had to cry in silence.
Poor humanity! How much trouble