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that his heart went out at the very start to the earns his living; independent when he starves. younger of the twomen. And he was poor. He His whole self is put away, checked at the liked Alfred Strong because Strong reminded door, you might say, when he goes to his edi. him of the army. He was bold, vigorous, im- torial desk. He gets no rest and no considerpetuous, and a little intolerant. He spoke rap- ation, because every one around him lives at idly in an argument, almost nervously, but the same high tension, until he breaks down. he talked well, for in his life as a newspaper Then there is a furry. Every one is shocked. man, from reporter to editor, he had seen a His paper sends him to Europe — can't do good deal of the world—“A good deal,” he enough for him; but his nerves are gone. himself said, “ which a man would be better They are on so fine an edge that inactivity for not seeing and knowing.”
jars them. Look at me— thirty-five, a young Philip Malcolm, Strong's friend, on the other man, and my paper has to exile me to Bar hand, had never earned a penny in his life. Harbor for the summer. I should not have He had been constantly in Miss Hardeser- lasted here a week,” he added with a smile, vice's court for three years. He was rich, he “if you had not come along to cheer me up. was slow, and he was grave. The Colonel had It 's frightfully dull and flat. When I was great respect for his good sense. He decided a reporter I could work thirty-six hours at a that Malcolm was a most desirable son-in-law, stretch without a wink of sleep or a bite to and although he would have preferred Strong, eat save a sandwich wherever I could grab he accepted the conditions, soldier-like,and was it. I would then go home, sleep ten hours, firm in his duty.
eat a good breakfast, and report at the office, The striking difference between the two bright and smiling for another fast. Now — friends, Strong and Malcolm, was something why, it would kill me now," he said with a like this:
laugh. “ You are a lucky dog, Phil, to have your “A soldier, too,” said the Colonel. “ Just disposition,” said Strong once, when Malcolm like us. But you would n't change it.” came up to the editorial rooms after a ram- Strong leaned back in his chair and smiled bling trip abroad. “If I had your money, it into the keen old eyes of the soldier. would kill me. I should be chasing fancies “No, I would n't,” he said; “not for the from the north to the south pole. I could n't world. I live on it. The excitement and stimkeep still, should get out of breath and run ulus of it would keep me alive.” myself to death - die from heart-failure." “ So it does; so it did with me,” cried the
* I work just as hard in my way,” Malcolm Colonel, warmly. He wished that Strong were answered, “ as you do. I am forced to amuse wealthy. “I would give -oh, it 's all over myself. That is the hardest work in the world. with me now," he added gloomily. I 'm not fit for real, honest work. You can After this talk Strong held first place in the make your own living. That ought to be sat- Colonel's estimation. isfaction enough.”
Strong was on the veranda of the Colonel's He turned his dark eyes to look after some- hotel, talking with the veteran and Malcolm, thing that was beyond his reach.
when he first met Miss Hardeservice. She " Paint! paint!” cried Strong. “You paint came walking up slowly from the water, a well. That last bit of yours was good. Every jacket trailing in her hand. There were then one says so. How long did it take you? Two two small spots of color in her cheek, which years!” exclaimed the editor. “I should drive looked brighter than they were above the at a picture night and day, spoil it in no time, white of her yachting-gown. It was after dinand smash the canvas on a chair. You have ner, and the slanting sun sent shining flashes patience; paint and do something."
through her hair. When she sat down with Malcolm smiled at his ardor. “My dear them to rest, her several winters in New York fellow," he said, “ it is easy enough for you to showed in her face, for it became pale; but at say that. That feeling is part of you. But I am times, as she talked, a touch of pink was in her different, and I make the best of it.” Never- cheek again. theless, he looked discontented.
“ That color will refuse to come in two years What made the Colonel attached to Strong more,” said Strong to himself. He looked at was the editor's iconoclastic way of smashing her while he chatted with the little dark-eyed at things.
one, as he called the younger Miss Harde* A newspaper man,” said Strong to him, service. " is a freak of nature. He is shut out from “She is older than she looks,” he thought. those things which most people regard as the “Twenty-eight, or twenty-nine; no, twentybest part of life. He should never get married, eight.” He wronged her by two years. After for instance. It is n't fair to his family. He is a while he drifted into conversation with her an independent slave-a slave so long as he alone. It was perfectly aimless. He became
a trifle impatient with her. “She poses,” he forces were often thrown into utter confusion, said mentally.
so that he could not direct them all. When he and Malcolm were walking to One of the difficulties was that Strong was their hotel, he broke out suddenly, “She is impartial in his attentions. He was as uncerhandsome.”
tain as the wind. Malcolm's suit made little “Who is handsome ?” said Malcolm. headway. It was impossible to tell whether he
“Why, Miss Hardeservice, of course.” He felt shy or hopeless. knew all about Malcolm's suit, but he was very There was also one phase of the situation frank with his friend.
which the commander-in-chief failed to take in: “I did n't like her mannerisms,” Strong Strong and Malcolm were not so cordial to went on; “ that is, I thought she assumed a each other as they had been. This was scarcely weariness of some things. Perhaps she piqued the fault of Strong. He believed in a fair fight my vanity by appearing to be a little bored. and the laurels to the victor. Malcolm, on the Is n't she just a bit of a coquette ?” he blurted other hand, could not take up arms against a out.
friend. He was never sure of his own position, “N-no, she is n't,” answered Malcolm. and was even in more doubt about Strong. He “I once thought she was.” He stopped for a was a shuttlecock on a battledore held by an minute. “But she is perfectly frank with men. irresponsible hand. If he went canoeing with I do not know of a single case where she has Bess, it was because Miss Hardeservice and not been sincere.”
Strong were on the water together. If he found “Well, I like the little one better,” said himself playing tennis with Miss Hardeservice Strong. “She is full of good sense, and she for a partner, it was because Bess and Strong knows a deal. She rests me. She's calm and had already formed an alliance. Realizing this, placid, like the water down there. Her sister Malcolm felt uncomfortable. But the Colonel is more like those straight trees up on the hill.” was untiring in the use of his tactics, so that in Malcolm gave him no answer.
the end he usually had the supreme satisfaction “But I must say, Phil,” Strong went on, of seeing the battle wage as he wished. Then " that I have never seen a more handsome he would draw aloof and survey the field with woman. She carries herself superbly. She a calm dignity and a soldier's pride. One could seems to be all that a man could picture to almost fancy him sweeping a plain with his himself. If she would only feel! Do you know," field-glass. As he examined the war maps in he said earnestly, “ I can't get it out of my head his brain, his smile grew more eloquent and that she poses. Hang it, Phil!” he jerked out his face more ruddy. in his quick way, forgetting his friend, “I think One night, when he gave Bess a good-night that girl wants to marry money."
kiss, he pinched her cheek affectionately, and “ ì don't believe it,” answered the other, looked down into her dark eyes with such a quietly, looking up over the hill. “No; you meaning glance that his daughter blushed furiwill like her better. She is nuch like her ously and ran away from him, involuntarily father."
trying to hide her treacherous cheeks with her “ Heis a sterling old soldier and a fine gen- hands. tleman,” said Strong. “I like him. I like the “Strong is in love with our Bess, dear," he little one. I think I like them all, but I like said to his wife. the Colonel best."
“I think he is, Frank,” answered his wife, It did not take the Colonel long, with his fine complacently. perceptions, to discover that Strong was falling “This has been known to me for some in love with his younger daughter. This com- time,” said the Colonel, nodding his gray head plicated affairs, but it eased his mind, for he sagely. would have found it against his inclination to “I don't think that Bess is very — fond of oppose the editor had he tried to win Eleanor. him," she answered, hesitating over the word. Now he had only to broaden his field of oper- “Don't you ?” said he, with a mysterious ations and to make use of his military talents in smile. “He is just the husband for Bess, frank, massing his forces or performing flank move- brave, able, and — handsome,” he added, lookments. So the Colonel's ruddy face beamed, ing at himself in a glass. “You are n't opposed and his heart was light; but this campaign was to it, are you ?” he asked anxiously. no easy one.
“ Not in the least. Bess will marry the man “ My troops,” he used to say when holding she loves. She could not be made to do othercouncils of war with himself, “are undisci- wise. She has a great deal of spirit, only she plined. They have a tendency to lose their seldom shows it." heads.” And this was quite true, though per- “But she likes Strong." haps not in the sense which the Colonel meant “Yes, she does; but Bess is very shy. If she it. They rather bewildered him at times. The loved a man, she would be more likely to re
treat from him. I should say that she was more and came straight toward the other canoe. likely to love Mr. a man like — well, a man Strong's paddle was lying across his lap. like Malcolm."
“Look out, Phil!” he shouted, as he seized “You don't mean to say,” cried the Colonel, it, and thrust it into the water ; “ you will cut jumping up in alarm, “that—"
us down!” His paddle gleamed behind him, “Oh, dear, no,” cried little Mrs. Hardeser- and the canoe sprang ahead. Malcolm had vice, frightened by her husband's voice. not seen them. Before he could lift his hand,
“What do you mean, then ?” he asked in a his boat shot along the stern of Strong's, grazrelieved tone.
ing it and sending a shiver over the lighter “ I think that Mr. Strong is in love with Bess, craft. that Mr. Malcolm has always been in love with “Sit still, sit still,” said Strong in a low voice Nell, but that such an idea never entered Bess's to the younger Miss Hardeservice, as the canoe little head, while Nell does n't care for either tipped and rocked. Her face was pale. He of them. Nell seems to be tired of every one brought his boat around until he was close up but us. She says that she is going to spend the to Malcolm. He looked at his friend, and then winter at home. She has written to her aunt, at Miss Hardeservice. Malcolm was dazed, but and Helen is greatly vexed about it.” she hadafine light on her beautiful face. Strong's
“My dear,” said the Colonel, smoothing his eyes flashed, and when he spoke his voice was ruffled dignity,“ you should see with my eyes. trembling. Nell will be engaged to Malcolm before we “You just missed drowning us all, Phil,” he leave this place."
said curtly, and turned his canoe toward the “Never mind, Frank," answered his wife, shore. His glance fell on his companion as his gently; "it will all come out right.”
paddle flashed back and forth. “ How blind women are !" reflected the son “I hope you were not frightened," he said, of Mars; and he smiled serenely.
trying to smile.
Oh, no,” she answered; "you were so PERHAPS Strong and Malcolm first confessed quick that I had no time to know that there to themselves that their relations were a little was any danger.” But her lip quivered. strained on the evening when they just escaped Strong did not seem to hear her. His lips a serious accident. They were out canoeing were pressed together, and where his straight with the two sisters. Strong managed a canoe brows approached each other there was a litwith fine skill. His boat was a mere shell, and tle knot. his quick arms drove it through the still water Malcolm apologized to him that evening. like a knife-blade. It was as delicately poised “ I nearly made a fatal blunder,” he said, as a spinning bicycle-wheel, and Strong, with “and I am ashamed enough of myself. You another person in the craft, could keep it at all saved us all, Fred. Thank you very much," times on a perfect balance. He and the younger and he tried to wring the other's hand. “I Miss Hardeservice were shooting about on the was thrown out of my senses,” he went on, hesiwater before the island, while Malcolm and tating. “1- I was greatly surprised by someMiss Hardeservice,in a much heavier boat, were thing. Don't be so stiff about it, Fred," he following in their wake. Strong wheeled his added, with a rising color. “Miss Hardeservice frail craft around in a pretty half-circle, a streak that is, I made a terrible blunder.” of white behind them showing their course. “ All 's well that ends well,” answered the Then with a long sweep of his arm, showing other, with a little laugh that was slightly brown and sinewy where his sleeves were up- harsh. rolled, he sent the canoe skimming over the Not until the season was nearing its end did water, and drew in his paddle. This circular Colonel Hardeservice lose faith in his strategy, course brought them nearer Malcolm and Miss and not even then would he believe that he Hardeservice. Strong and the younger sister had been entirely mistaken in his plan of conwatched the water drip from the shining pad- ducting his campaign. But he was harassed dle as they drifted.
by misgivings. Apparently he had won the day. Malcolm was propelling his heavy canoe Strong was nearly always with Bess, and Miss vigorously, and his boat promised to cross Hardeservice was more kind to Malcolm than Strong's bows. He seemed a little excited. She had ever been before; but there was now Miss Hardeservice's back was toward them, an open restraint between every one. Strong and she held her glove up where the sun and Malcolm had no more to do with each touched her cheek.
other than courtesy and civility demanded. The They were not twenty yards away, and would Colonel himself did not find the editor so encross very near the light canoe, when suddenly tertaining or frank as he had been. Eleanor Malcolm's paddle stopped as he leaned forward was the most natural of them all. She was as saying something earnestly; his boat swerved, dignified as always, and if she were more bored
than usual, she did not allow herself to show it. Malcolm pulled out his watch. Mrs. Hardeservice thought Bess was growing “We have n't time," he said. “It takes four pale, and hinted at malaria. The Colonel pooh- hours when you have good luck. It will be poohed at her alarm, but went off for a drive dark before we strike the road." with his favorite child.
“Will you go and risk it ? " asked Strong. “ Your old father is unhappy, Bess,” he said, “ Yes," said the other, with a glance at the as they followed the winding road down by the sinking sun.
• What is the matter with us, anyway?”. They began the descent rapidly. They were He cut his horses sharply.
both in the mood for hard work. As they She looked at him with startled eyes. slipped down shelving rocks or made down
“I think we are all homesick, papa," she ward leaps, catching at roots and bushes to stop answered softly. She was looking away from their too hurried course, their spirits lightened. his eyes. “It is too gay for us here,” she con- They warmed to each other as in their coltinued, laughing. “Look at that.” A merry lege vacation days, when they had tramped party in a large buckboard passed them on the through the White Mountains. Strong caught road, sending up a cloud of white dust. Bright his foot once, and went stumbling headlong ribbons fluttered and colored caps danced as for fully twenty feet. His neck was in danger, the party greeted the popular Colonel and his but when Malcolm came up to him, making daughter." You are an old soldier, and I am long jumps, the editor was laughing and pantnothing but a soldier's daughter, and I think ing. His cheeks were tinged, and his eyes were we are — we are out of our element.”
filled with flashing light. The Colonel scented danger afar, but he “This is fine!” he said, between his heavy could not locate it. He looked down at his breathing. daughter. Her dark eyelashes were low, but “You'll break your precious neck if you do he thought he saw something bright there. He that again,” said Malcolm, and laughed. put out his big hand over her little one, trying The descent became more difficult. They to stroke it in a clumsy way.
reached the cliff part, and it took them over “Would you like to go home ?” he asked. an hour to make thirty yards. They were low
She turned her soft eyes to his. They were ering themselves by inches now on jutting wet.
rocks, exposed roots, and outhanging limbs of “ Yes—thank you, papa,” she said. Her stunted trees. Strong was leading. He deftly words were only breathed. She hid her face slipped down to a shelf formed by the edge oi on his sleeve for a moment, and the grizzled a huge rock jutting out from the mountainwarrior slashed his horses furiously as if with side. Malcolm was heavier, and could not get a saber.
down. Strong jammed himself close to the
rocky formation and leaned over, throwing his The Hardeservices were going to leave Bar arins around the sharp protuberances of the Harbor. Every one was sorry. The last sea- rock. son's débutantes begged the Colonel to stay “ Put your foot on my back, and don't kick until they went. He smiled at them all, and, me over the side of the cliff, or we shall both shaking his gray head, reminded them that he be in the papers—in the obituary column," he was a soldier. Strong did not come near them said, laughing. for two days. Malcolm was unchanged. They Malcolm let himself down upon Strong's were to start on Saturday. On Friday, Strong, back. reaching the top of Newport after a rapid climb, “ Where is Atlas ?” said Strong between found Malcolm sitting on a rock. He was his teeth, for Malcolm was heavy. “God, smoking a cigar,and did not notice the approach Phil!” he cried an instant later, throwing out of his friend until Strong stood before him. one arm and catching Malcolm around the Then he flushed.
waist as he suddenly slipped off. “Steady, “Hallo, Phil,” said Strong in a friendly voice old man.” Malcolm was suspended in air. which strained after a natural tone,“ commun- Strong's muscles were like steel. He gripped ing with nature ?"
the sharp rock with his left arm until the edges • No," said Malcolm; “I came up here be- cut into his flesh. Bending his knees slowly, cause I was disgusted with myself. Les my and with his teeth set, he strained down and buckboard on the road down there. Did you back, dragging Malcolm up to the narrow shelf. pass it?"
He trembled when his arm released its hold. “I did n't notice it," answered Strong, scan- Malcolm was white. He looked down and ning the other's face. “Look here, Phil," he shivered. went on, “I came up here to work off steam.” " It 's getting late," said Strong, not waiting He looked down the mountain's steep side. for the other to speak. “We can't go down “You don't dare go down Newport with me?” that way,” he went on hurriedly. “I have
been down Newport a dozen times, and I never decision before you met me. I made up my before got into such a box.”
mind to ask her to-night, and if I go down I He looked around him. A rough line, a shall go straight to her and ask her. So I resort of crease, like a wrinkle in a stone face, fuse to go, for I know that you — besides," he ran along the side of the rocks.
broke out, "you have just saved my life.” “Stay where you are, and I will see where Strong leaned against the mountain-side. this leads to,” said Strong.
The sun had gone, and his shirt-sleeves shone He worked his way carefully until he dis- white in the dusk. He started and picked up appeared around a knob of granite. Then his coat. One arm was thrust into a sleeve, when Malcolm saw him crawling back.
he stopped and dropped the garment again. “Come on,” said Strong when he reached Getting down once more, he circled the young the shelf. “I guess we can make it this way.” tree with his left arm.
The two felt their way, holding to the wall “Come,” he said; “I will let you down." at their side. Malcolm was in advance.
“Very well,” said Malcolm, slowly. He sat “Here it is,” said Strong, after they had on the edge of the rocky platform. He felt turned the corner. “Now," he said, “I don't Strong's arm clench him just under his two want you to be foolish, Phil. Don't object to arms. He could feel the nervous strength of what I am going to say. This is probably the it as it pinned him. Then Strong pushed him only place on this side of the mountain which gently off. As Malcolm went over the side his is practically impassable. We have had the eye caught sight of a crimson stain on the white bad luck to get into it. Now we can't both get of Strong's sleeve where the knife-like rock had out of it.” He flashed a look straight into the gashed him when he saved Malcolm's life. other's eyes. Malcolm's jaw was set.
“What 's that?” cried Malcolm. “Blood ? ” “Don't look that way,” Strong said. “I “Good-by, Phil, and good luck to you," said know you want to stay, but that is out of the Strong, swinging the other out, and dropping question. You could not get me down, and I him to the firm earth below. can drop you as lightly as a feather. And now “ This is an outrage,” cried Malcolm from I am going to show you how. You see it is n't below. “I shall stay here. You are cut, Fred.” fifteen feet to the next place of footing. All you “Run along and get that rope. It 's getting have to do is to land there. Now, if I lie down cold up here,” answered Strong. here," and he started to take off his coat, “and He could barely see Malcolm in the dusk hold on to that sapling”—he kicked it with his as he reached the head of the ravine and turned foot—"I can swing you out far enough to drop to wave his hat. He heard an occasional crash you there. Now for it."
as Malcolm beat his way through the brush; “I won't go," said Malcolm, doggedly. “I'll then there was silence, broken now and then stick it out with you."
by a rumble on the road far below him where “ No, you will not,” answered the other. some vehicle rolled along toward the town. “ Don't you see that it is our only hope of He shivered with the chill of the approaching getting out of this? I let you down. You get autumn, and buttoned hiscoat around his throat. shaken up, but not hurt. There, not forty He tried to follow in a mental calculation Malyards from us, is a little ravine. That means colm's progress toward the town. He counted that it is easy going there until you reach the the steps he must have made, and as he thought brush. Get into the bed of the ravine, crawl of him getting nearer and nearer to the hotel under the briers, and you strike the road. where the Hardeservices were staying, his You will probably meet a buckboard in the breath came quicker. He paced up and down road. You can be back in two hours — three, on the little ledge. The cold stars were mockanyway. Mark the place where you come out, ing him. His restless eye caught the sapling get a rope and lantern, and return for me. near him. He seized it and tugged at it. His You can throw up the rope to me, and then hand stretched up as high as it could reach, I am out of it."
and, with the vein in the center of his forehead Strong got down on his knees to carry out swelling, he bent the young tree down until he his program. Malcolm put his hand on his held it fast in both arms. It was over the drop. friend's shoulder to stop him.
He reached out, and, shutting his eyes even in “Wait a minute,” he said. “The Colonel is the darkness, swung clear on the swaying tree. to go away to-morrow morning.” Strong got It sank and sank until he released his hold. off his knees, but he did not answer. Malcolm He heard its hissing as it cut the air, springing also paused.
erect again, and he was on the ground, shocked · Well ? " said Strong, finally.
and stunned. He sprang to his feet and ran, "Well," answered Malcolm, echoing the half feeling his way to the spot where he knew word," it 's just this, Fred. I did come up the ravine began. He leaped, he ran, he stumthe mountain to-day to think, and I made my bled over its uneven bed. His head was whirl