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LXVI. -48

so? Had she not made up her mind long ago to decline it-decline it with full knowledge that its author would destroy it once the manuscript should be returned?

These thoughts had whisked through her mind with immeasurable rapidity. The letter still rested half in, half out of the drop. She still held it there.

By now Rosella knew if she let it fall she would do so deliberately, with full knowledge of what she was about. She could not afterward excuse herself by saying that she had been confused, excited, acting upon an unreasoned impulse. No; it would be deliberate, deliberate, deliberate. She would have to live up to that decision, whatever it was, for many months to come, perhaps for years. Perhaps,-who could say?perhaps it might affect her character permanently. In a crisis little forces are important, disproportionately so. And then it was, and thus it was, that Rosella took her resolve. She raised the iron flap once more, and saying aloud and with a ring of defiance in her voice: "Deliberately, deliberately; I don't care," loosed her hold upon the letter. She heard it fall with a soft rustling impact upon the accumulated mailmatter in the bottom of the box.

A week later she received her letter back with a stamped legend across its face in forming her with dreadful terseness that the party to whom the letter was addressed was deceased. She divined a blunder, but for all that, and with Heaven knew what conflicting emotions, sought confirmation in the daily press. There, at the very end of the column, stood the notice:

VICKERS. At New York, on Sunday, November 12, Harold Anderson Vickers, in the twenty-third year of his age. Arizona papers

please copy. Notice of funeral hereafter.

completed "Patroclus," and to-night she was to call for the manuscript and listen to his suggestions and advice.

She had triumphed in the end-triumphed over what, she had not always cared to inquire. But once the pen in her hand, once "Patroclus" begun, and the absorption of her mind, her imagination, her every faculty, in the composition of the story, had not permitted her to think of or to remember anything else.

And she saw that her work was good. She had tested it by every method, held it up to her judgment in all positions and from all sides, and in her mind, so far as she could see, and she was a harsh critic for her own work, it stood the tests. Not the least of her joys was the pleasure that she knew Trevor would take in her success. She could foresee just the expression of his face when he would speak, could forecast just the tones of the voice, the twinkle of the kindly eyes behind the glasses.

When she entered the study, she found Trevor himself, as she had expected, waiting for her in slippers and worn velvet jacket, pipe in hand, and silk skullcap awry upon the silver-white hair. He extended an inky hand, and still holding it and talking, led her to an easy-chair near the hearth.

Even through the perturbation of her mind Rosella could not but wonder-for the hundredth time- at the apparent discrepancy between the great novelist and the nature of his books. These latter were, each and all of them, wonders of artistic composition, compared with the hordes of latter-day pictures. They were the aristocrats of their kind, full of reserved force, unimpeachable in dignity, stately even, at times veritably austere.

And Trevor himself was a short, rotund man, rubicund as to face. bourgeois as to

Three days later she began to write "Pa- clothes and surroundings (he bisque statutroclus."


ROSELLA stood upon the door-step of Trevor's house, closing her umbrella and shaking the water from the folds of her mackintosh. It was between eight and nine in the evening, and since morning a fine rain had fallen steadily. But no stress of weather could have kept Rosella at home that evening. A week previous she had sent to Trevor the type-written copy of the

ette of a fisher-boy obtruded the vulgarity of its gilding and tinting from the mantelpiece), jovial in manner, indulging even in slang. One might easily have set him down as a retired groceryman-wholesale perhaps, but none the less a groceryman. Yet touch him upon the subject of his profession, and the bonhomie lapsed away from him at once. Then he became serious. Literature was not a thing to be trifled with.

Thus it was to-night. For five minutes Trevor filled the room with the roaring of

his own laughter and the echoes of his own vociferous voice. He was telling a story — a funny story, about what Rosella, with her thoughts on" Patroclus," could not for the life of her have said, and she must needs listen in patience and with perfunctory merriment while the narrative was conducted to its close with all the accompaniment of stamped feet and slapped knees.

"Why, becoth, mithtah,' said that nigger. 'Dat dawg ain' good fo' nothin' ailse; so I jes rickon he 'th boun' to be a coon dawg'"; and the author of " Snow in April pounded the arm of his chair and roared till the gas-fixtures vibrated.

Then at last, taking advantage of a lull in the talk, Rosella, unable to contain her patience longer, found breath to remark: "And 'Patroclus' - my — my book?"


is lacking I find very hard to define. But the mood of the story, shall we say?—the mood of the story is-" he stopped, frowning in perplexity, hesitating. The great master of words for once found himself at a loss for expression. "The mood is somehow truculent, when it should be as suave, as quiet, as the very river you describe. Don't you see? Can't you understand what I mean? In this 'Patroclus' the atmosphere, the little, delicate, subtle sentiment, is everything-everything. What was the mere story? Nothing without the proper treatment. And it was just in this fine, intimate relationship between theme and treatment that the success of the book was to be looked for. I thought I could be sure of you there. I thought that you of all people could work out that motif adequately. But-" he waved a hand over the manu

"Ah-hum, yes. 'Patroclus,' your story. script that lay at her elbow—“this—it is I've read it."

At once another man was before her, or rather the writer-the novelist-in the man. Something of the dignity of his literary style immediately seemed to invest him with a new character. He fell quiet, grave, not a little abstracted, and Rosella felt her heart sink. Her little book (never had it seemed so insignificant, so presumptuous as now) had been on trial before a relentless tribunal, had indeed undergone the ordeal of fire. But the verdict, the verdict! Quietly, but with cold hands clasped tight together, she listened while the greatest novelist of America passed judgment upon her effort.

"Yes; I've read it," continued Trevor. "Read it carefully-carefully. You have worked hard upon it. I can see that. You have put your whole soul into it, put all of yourself into it. The narrative is all there, and I have nothing but good words to say to you about the construction, the mere mechanics of it. But-"

Would he never go on? What was this? What did that "But" mean? What else but disaster could it mean? Rosella shut her teeth.

But, to speak very frankly, my dear girl, there is something lacking. Oh, the idea, the motif-that-" he held up a hand. "That is as intact as when you read me the draft. The central theme, the approach, the grouping of the characters, the dialogue-all good-all good. The thing that

not the thing. This is a poor criticism, you will say, merely a marshaling of empty phrases, abstractions. Well, that may be ; I repeat, it is very hard for me to define just what there is of failure in your 'Patroclus.' But it is empty, dry, hard, barren. Am I cruel to speak so frankly? If I were less frank, my dear girl, I would be less just, less kind. You have told merely the story, have narrated episodes in their sequence of time, and where the episodes have stopped there you have ended the book. The whole animus that should have put the life into it is gone, or, if it is not gone, it is so perverted that it is incorrigible. To my mind the book is a failure."

Rosella did not answer when Trevor ceased speaking, and there was a long silence. Trevor looked at her anxiously. He had hated to hurt her. Rosella gazed vaguely at the fire. Then at last the tears filled her eyes.

"I am sorry, very, very sorry," said Trevor, kindly. Trevor, kindly. "But to have told you anything but the truth would have done you a wrong-and, then, no earnest work is altogether wasted. Even though Patroclus is-not what we expected of it, your effort over it will help you in something else. You did work hard at it. I saw that. You must have put your whole soul into it."

"That," said Rosella, speaking half to herself—“that was just the trouble." But Trevor did not understand.

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HOA, pet! Whoa, I say! Whoa! W Steady, girl! Up! There, that's Steady, girl! Up! There, that's it. Just what I thought! Another ten miles and you'd never have been four-footed again."

The owner of the horse sat in his buggy, helplessly holding the ends of the useless reins. The sunbonneted female figure which had suddenly appeared at his horse's head to check his progress and take charge of his affairs seemed to have sprung up out of the dusty road. He roused himself from his amazement and bent forward over the dash-board. What on earth was this most extraordinary person doing with his horse's leg? She had taken the animal's foot up from the ground, and was talking to herself as she felt the tendons and joint with a practised hand. If the horse had an owner whose time or opinion might be of any value, she apparently was not aware of the fact. When she rose fina ly it was to push back her sunbonnet and at once address herself to unharnessing the horse with a swiftness and dexterity which left its owner uncomfortably certain that unless he made some countermove, and that quickly, his means of locomotion would be gone.

What did happen in a few moments was that he found himself left alone in his buggy in the middle of the road, staring after his retreating quadruped and the sunbonnet bobbing by its side.

Roused to action of some kind, he sprang from the buggy, and, taking the horse's place between the shafts, he was soon a part of the short procession, holding his place at an interval behind. At the first gate the head of the procession turned into a neat yard in which stood a low farmhouse with the usual stable and out-build

ings gathered about it. Straight on toward the stable, like homing birds, trotted the horse and the sunbonnet, and on behind the man wheeled the buggy.

As the horse and its guide vanished through the open stable door, the man let the buggy-shafts drop, took off his hat, wiped his damp brow, and looked about him. It was a quaint, attractive old house which he saw, covered with overgrown vines and set in a flowery yard, with shadetrees near the door and fruit-orchards flanking the yard on either side. A cooler, more comfortable retreat on a hot, dusty day could not well be imagined. He was still looking about him when the wearer of the sunbonnet came out of the stable and hurried to the house, from which she as quickly emerged again, carrying a heavy pail of steaming water in one hand and a large bundle of flannel in the other. She was walking straight on toward the stable when the traveler, stepping forward, hat in hand, blocked the way.

"Allow me," he said firmly, taking the bucket from her hand. Then walking on beside her, he added as casually as if continuing an interrupted conversation:

"Will you kindly tell me why your stable is painted one color ten feet up, and quite another shade all the rest of the way?"

The owner of the stable pushed the covering back from her face to look up.

"Of all the exasperating things I ever had happen to me," she said with feeling, "that was the most aggravating. I could have painted the whole stable as easily as not, if I'd begun early enough. I hired a man to paint the upper part because I had to stop to prune the fruit-trees, and I think in my soul he mixed the paint a different color on purpose to make people say I

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