« AnkstesnisTęsti »
THE LATE SIR CASPAR PURDON CLARKE, FORMERLY DIRECTOR OF THE
METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, NEW YORK
(EXAMPLES OF AMERICAN PORTRAITURE-XXII)
YOUNG Hearne, a Peri at the gate, with an affectionate anxiety and regret in
looked wistfully up the long path of their laughter which Hearne felt and the West Point hotel to its piazza blos- winced under. It seemed to bring nearer soming with laughing, chattering girls. that dark cloud which hung so perilously Each gray-coated, white-trousered, bell- close to him these days
. buttoned figure that turned in at its for
It rolled away for the time, however, bidden portals stopped short at sight of when he saw Faith Ellery coming toward him to fall in limp incredulity upon the him, and his spirits rose buoyantly to nearest support.
meet the June radiance about them as he " It is n't possible that the mere lack of piloted her tenderly down the rocky path a permit can deter our His’n"- for opening into “Flirtation Walk.” When Hearne's plebe days had early substituted it is summer at West Point, when you this more manly epithet for his own ef- have just reached twenty-one, and are enfeminate surname. “How are the mighty gaged to the loveliest girl in the world, fallen!"
and when you mean to kiss her as soon as Hearne answered them all with the you round that kindly clump of evergreens, pleasant grin which had helped to make it is hard to believe the universe is not all him the most popular man in the corps. it should be. "Only six demerits left between me and Hearne did not carry out that interestgraduation, my friends,” he informed ing intention, however, at the spot he had them. “My proud spirit is broken. first designated. An uncomfortable memThough even if I should go over theory of certain tender passages at Easter limit,” he would add gaily enough, “my with a black-eyed girl from Vassar came studies would save me, of course."
ruthlessly between him and the sweet face They chuckled at this again, but always at his side. He looked down at it remorse
fully, telling himself for the hundredth him the Worm because he wriggles so time the lover's refrain of unworthiness. when there are any 'fems' around-he How many truancies that class ring had has n't any use for them. I was as near played before it had come home to that a stayback at furlough then as I am to small finger! The four careless years of not graduating now, and the whole class light-hearted love-making, when he had was trying to keep me out of scrapes so I helped sustain the reputation of the bell- would n't have to miss the class supper
in buttons for gallantry and had joyously New York. I'd gotten up to the day swelled the chorus of sweet nothings before we left with two demerits left to which had echoed through Flirtation's ro- my credit, when, as luck would have it, mantic paths for a hundred years, rose a 'cit' I knew at home passed through here. relentless witness before the candid inno- I took him into my tent with me without cence of this girl's eyes and the grave a permit- I did n't think I never do,” purity of her young brow. It was before poor Hearne confessed sadly the key to his that that Hearne's heart prostrated itself actions at the Point. “It would have been in deepest adoration-something quite all right if the Worm, who was Officer apart from the length of her lashes and of the Day, had n't been inspecting just at the sun in her hair. She looked up quickly that time. The O.D. is under oath to at his unconscious sigh.
report everything he sees, but of course he “Those examinations ?" she queried hates to tell on his friends and he does his anxiously, and he nodded in gloomy re- best for them by keeping his eyes on the sponse.
ground all the time. The Worm would “I 'm 'boning' like mad for them," he never have seen a thing if just as he passed informed her in the peculiar vernacular of my tent I had n't toppled over my chair the Point, “but what with extra drills with a crash, and of course he looked up and thinking of you every second- I have involuntarily—any one would
have to, so little time. And what I don't know!” you know-saw the 'cit,' reported me, he broke off with an eloquent groan. "I and I loitered on for three days in this bethink I can skin through all right in every- loved spot admiring the scenery after the thing but that vile engineering, but I 'm class left." afraid I 'm going to ‘fess' in that."
“Oh, how horrid of him,” cried Miss "Engineering!" Faithejaculated. “Why, Ellery, with as much violence as her genis n't that what Cousin Edward teaches ?" tleness could muster.
" It surely is. And I very much fear “He could n't help it,” Hearne anyour estimable relative is going to 'find swered blankly. “He had to do it-he me' on it-fire me, funk me,” he hunted could n't break his word. He felt worse hopelessly for more classic synonyms to than I did about it-gave up the class explain the cadet dialect.
supper and stayed here with me, like the “But if he knew we were engaged!" brick he is. It was a point of honor, you Faith cried excitedly. “Of course they see, his reporting me." know I like you and they tease me about They had left the narrow windings of you," she confessed with adorable shyness, the sun-flecked path and were seated in
-“but if he knew what it meant to me one of the many poetic nooks for which - he 's very fond of me, he never could Flirtation is justly famous. Behind them spoil our happiness so."
stretched a lover's labyrinth of green "Oh, he's a good soldier," Hearne ad- and gold; below them the river flowed mitted grudgingly. “Of course I can't with a bored calmness; long years of have much respect for any man who would chaperonage had inured it so that the wildteach such stuff, but he'd do his duty, I 'll est ecstasies of love failed to cause its silsay that for him. If he knew we were ver surface a ripple of excitement. Faith engaged, naturally he'd have to mark me leaned against a moss-grown rock watchall the more exactingly." He went on to ing it, while her lover lounged stiffly beelucidate his point more clearly to the be- side her in tender deference to that crease wildered eyes Faith lifted to him. He 'd in his spotless duck trousers which is the be in something of the same fix that the joy and pride of every true West Pointer's Worm was in two years ago, the fellow heart. After some profitable discussion I room with," he interpreted. “They call upon matters purely personal and vastly
important, the effect of Faith's golden army,” Gordon went on, "and as poor as head against the gray-green rock-the ex- Job's turkey, of course. They could n't act moment they had discovered that they help me any. I would n't let them if they cared, young Hearne harked back to the could after I 've failed them this way." gnawing tenor of his thoughts. “About He winced under some pursuing, torturthose examinations, the Worm and I have ing thought. “When I think of my worked out a system, and I 'm staking father," began Gordon huskily and turned everything upon it-I 've wasted my time and stared for a moment up the sun-kissed so I can't possibly get the principles of the river. stuff now-all I can do is to learn some “If I'd only known you a little sooner," stock problems and pray Heaven they'll he told Faith. “When I began to love ask me those. There's one about waste- you- just those few weeks agoI seemed weirs that Granny Ellery-I beg your suddenly to wake up for the first time. pardon, dear, I forgot-is nutty about and I 've gone sliding through each year by always gives. I 'm going to learn that the skin of my teeth here at the Pointbackward and forward. Of course it getting all the fun and doing as little work would be just like the old gazoo," said as I could. I was perfectly content being Hearne with another uncousinly lapse, "to the goat of the class -- I knew the fellows take a perverse streak and not give it this all liked me and that seemed to me the one year, but if he does, I 'll surely make principal thing-and I never dreamed a cold max' on that problem, and that there was danger of my really getting ought to count a lot.
dropped until they told me my passing “In a way it seems hardly fair"-he would depend on these exams, and I began knit his boyish brows anxiously-"because to realize what a mighty slim chance I I don't know enough to pass. But I figure stood of getting through them. I 'm just it out it 's a good deal like the 0.D.'s beginning to see what a selfish beast I 've keeping his eyes on the ground, and it 's all been all along. Why, my army career right for me to take that forlorn hope. means everything to my father! He's I'd make Uncle Sam a good officer if been looking forward all my life to the I don't know much engineering,—my time when I 'd be in his regiment. He father's son could n't help that,” Hearne. and the mater have been saving up for added proudly. “And the odds are all three years now to come on to my graduagainst me. Goodness knows!” He leaned ation-and you don't know what it means his dark head against his clenched fists. to save anything on a captain's pay-and “Good Lord, what a fool I 've been,” he at the last minute they had to send the groaned.
money to help a busted relative out West. Faith stretched out a small, comforting It 's a merciful thing they 're spared the hand. “It can't make any difference to shame of seeing me perhaps kicked out. me, Gordon,” she told him tenderly. “I'll And you, Faith,” he turned to the girl relove you just the same if you don't morsefully, “if I do pass, do you realize pass."
they 're the goat shoulder straps of the “But it will have to make all the dif- class I 'll be laying at your feet, dear?” ference in the world, dearest," answered “I don't care," cried the girl in a fervor the boy, despairingly. "Don't you see, if of loyalty. She looked up into the handI can't graduate, I can't be an officer, and some, troubled face above her with adorit 's me for baling boxes or sweeping an ing eyes. “And you will pass, Gordon," office in the cold world. Heaven knows she added with a solemn faith which transI'd have nerve enough asking your father figured her in her lover's eyes. “I know to let you marry a second lieutenant, but God will help you. I pray Him to every at least we could starve respectably on day.” that pay, and the other way we 'd have to Hearne kept these words of hers, and wait at least two or three years before I'd that last memory of her rapt young face, have anything."
as a beacon light of inspiration in the two They stared at each other mutely, both black days before the examination. He their young faces gone quite white at the prayed himself, too, in the depths of his mere thought of such a tragedy.
despair, with a helpless, half-shamed boy“You know my people are all in the ish pleading to escape the fate his folly had