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The old lady re- Madam Fulton was regarding her, not peated it with a fractious emphasis. satirically now, but in an honest wonder.
, “I'm worn out."
“Electra,” she said, “I glory in you." "Is it anything particular, grand- “Grandmother!” mother?”
“I do. I can't help it. You've gone “Billy Stark is going away, is n't he? bad, just as I said you
would. And you Is n't that particular enough? He's the never so human in your life. only human creature left, except Bessie Brava! I'm proud of you." Grant and that pretty girl."
But Electra lifted her head a little and “Rose MacLeod ?”
did not answer. Grandmother, she knew, “Yes, but she's too young. She tires could hardly understand. It made her me. You all tire me, all but Billy and isolation the more sacred. Bessie Grant. No, you can close the “You give me courage," the old lady house, or I will, after you're gone.
I was saying. “Why, you put some life shan't be in it."
into me! I don't know but I've got the There was something inevitably fool- strength to fly with Billy, after all." ish to Electra in the regret of an old
She could not listen. woman at losing the company of an old But at the door, she turned, a new man whom she had not married at the thought burning in her. proper time. She found herself hoping, “Grandmother,” she said irrepresswith some distaste, that grandmother ibly, “if you would make your will — " would forget him as soon as possible, “Bless you, I have n't sixpence,” said and settle down into the decencies of age. the old lady gayly, "except the tainted But Madam Fulton seemed to have money from the book.” gathered herself and summoned energy “That's what I mean.” Electra came for action. She sat upright now, and back and stood beside her. She breathed composed her face into more cheerful an honest fervor. “That money, grandlines. She looked at Electra, and a mother-it is tainted, as you say—if y wicked smile flickered out.
would leave that to the Brotherhood --" "I believe,” said Madam Fulton, Madam Fulton was on her feet, with "if I have the strength, the day he sails, an amazing swiftness. I believe I'll marry Billy Stark and go "My money!" she cried. Then a gleam along with him.”
of humor irradiated her face, and she Electra looked her pain and then her ended affectionately, “My own tainted purpose to ignore it.
money ? Why, I'm devoted to it. And “I have left everything in complete I tell you this, Electra: if there's one order, grandmother," she said. "It will scrap of it left when you inherit, if you be easy to close the house. I have made
give it to your brotherhoods, I'll haunt
you. As I'm a living woman, you shan't “Bless me!”
have a chance. I'll make my will and “I have given you half my property. Billy Stark shall help me, and I'll leave The other half I leave to the Brother- it to that pretty girl, and she shall buy hood.”
ribbons with it. And “For heaven's sake, Electra! What but there's Billy Stark now.' do you want to act like that for ? "
He was coming up the walk, and she Electra was too enamored of that deed flew to meet him in an ingenuous hapto keep it hidden.
piness, half dramatic fervor, to plague “It is for a monument to Markham Electra, who, walking with dignity, MacLeod," she said, from her abiding went out the other way. calm. “But it is to be used by the Madam Fulton was laughing, at Brotherhood. He would wish that.” Electra, at life itself. VOL, 101 - NO. 5
“Billy,” said she, “I'd rather see you Madam Fulton was clapping her unthan all the heavenly hosts.”
wearied hands as if things could go on Billy took off his hat and wiped his forever. Grant her an encore, and she forehead.
would demand another. As for him, he "I found I'd got things pretty well in would fain go home to bed. But Billy order," he explained. "I thought you was a man of his word. His loyal heart would n't mind my coming sooner. could not allow itself to recognize the
“Mind! I'm enchanted. Come along waywardness of his sad mind. The one in and have cold drinks and things. had done with life in all but its outer Bless me, Billy! how it does set me up essences. The other, in human decency, to see you."
must go on swearing the old vows to the She led the way into the dining- last. His face took on a resolution that room, and when no one answered the made him more the man, and sobered bell, on into the kitchen for exploration her. He put out his hand. in the icebox. She tiptoed about, her “Will you come, Florrie ?” he asked. pretty skirt caught under one arm, her “Yes, Billy," she answered. “I'll high heels clicking. The pink came into come.” her cheeks. She had the spirit which “You honor me very much.” He sat is of no age. Then they sat down to- there holding the frail hand and wondergether at the dining table in the shaded ing at himself, wondering at them both. calm, and while Billy drank, she leaned If he had known he was to go back in her elbows on the table and, with the this guise, he might not have had the ice clinking in her glass, drank and made courage to come. But it was well. It was merry. She might have been sixteen and
a good thing, having missed many ventin a French café. Her spirits were seetha
ures, not to let this one pass. Madam ing, and she feared no morrow.
Fulton was having one of her moments “I never can let you go in the world, of a renewed grasp on life, a gay delight Billy,” she said, out of her gay candor. in it which was a matter of nerves and
He was instant with his gallant remedy. quite distinct from memory or hope. She “Come with me, then!”
was discoursing gleefully. “Sometimes” she
paused and "We won't tell Electra." watched him — "sometimes I almost “Not if you'd rather not.” think I will."
“She shall sail, and we'll sail after her. William Stark was a tired man that We'll send her cards from London. My. day. He had been telephoning and be- stars, Billy! do you think we're mad?” sieging men in their offices and talking “You may be," said Billy. “As for business; he felt his age. It was one of me, I'm a great hand at a bargain.” the days when it seemed to him that And while there were flutterings of sacred business even was less than no- wings before sailing, Osmond bent over thing, — vanity, — and when he won- his ground and delved and thought. His dered, without interest, who would spend brows were knitted. He hardly saw the the money he might make.
earth or his fellow workmen, but anplainly fagged, and here was a gay crea- swered mechanically when men came for ture of his own age, beguiled by the old orders, and went on riving up the earth, perennial promises, whom life had noi as if it were his enemy, and then smoothyet convinced of its own insolvency. He ing it in tenderest friendliness. wondered at the youth of women, their appetite for pleasure, their inability to
XXX realize when the game is done. There was the curtain slowly descending be- Rose and grannie had been living in tween age and its entertainment, and an atmosphere of calm. Something was
not determined yet, and they had to wait “Oh, no, Peter,” she said. “No, you for it. Osmond had not come to the can't do that.” house for his early calls on grannie, and “Why can't I ?” Rose, awake in her room to hear his “She does n't love
Peter." step, at least, listened for it with a miser- ‘But she will. I can make her happy. able certainty of disappointment. Every I depend on showing her I can.” morning she gave a quick look of in- “That is n't enough, Peter.” quiry as she and grannie met, and the “What?" old lady would say,
“To make her happy. You might “No, dear, no!
make her miserable, and if she loved you She sickened mentally under the delay, it would be all one to her.” and at last her heart began to ask her “Tom Fulton made her miserable. whether he would ever see her again. On Was that all one to her ? ” the day she told grannie that she was “She is n't the girl Tom Fulton hurt. going to Paris to settle MacLeod's es- She's a woman now.” tate, grannie said,
“Then what is it between her and “That's right. But you'll come back.” Osmond ?"
“I must come back. You must let Grannie looked at him a few moments me.” It was a great cry out of a warring seriously. She seemed to be considering heart. “But I must see him before I go. what he should be told. At last she spoke. May I send for him to come ?”
“Peter, I believe it's love between “You must send for him, my dear, and them.” have your talk," said grannie.
“Love!” So it was grannie who gave the mes- “Yes, dear.
She has a very strong sage to Peter, and afterwards told him feeling for Osmond.” Rose was to see Osmond alone. Peter “Osmond!” walked
and down the room. He did Grannie got up out of her chair. She not altogether understand.
was trembling. Peter could almost be“What is it now, child ?” asked lieve it was with indignation against him, grannie.
her other boy, not so dear as Osmond, “I wondered if Rose needs to see him. but still her boy. Her calm face flushed, This is all so painful for her! Why and when she spoke her voice also tremshould she be bothered ?"
bled. “She must see him," said grannie. "Peter," she said, “whatever we do, “It would n't be possible for her to go let us never doubt the kindness of God.” away without.”
It was a little hard on Peter, he felt, “She demands too much of herself,” for here was he, too, devoted to Osmond said Peter, stopping in his stride. with a full heart; yet nature was nature,
Grannie was smiling at him in a way and life was life. He could not help seethat indicated that she was very old and ing himself in the bridegroom's garment. Peter was young. A wave of knowledge
“Osmond is the greatest thing there swept upon him.
is,” he said. “But, grannie
He "What is it, grannie?” he demanded. stopped. “What is between them ?
"I know, I know," said grannie. She “You must let them find out." was not accustomed to speaking with
“But what is it? I ought to know. authority. The passion of her life had Don't you see what I mean? I'm going all resolved itself into deeds, into a few to marry her, grannie, when all this is simple words like the honey in the flower over.”
and the slowly fructifying cells. Now Grannie looked at him in quick con- she stood leaning on her staff and thinkcern.
ing back over the course she had run.
Osmond had been the child of her spirit When it's done, I'll leave it for exhibibecause he was maimed. She had drawn tion, and then I'll go back to France.” with him every breath of his horror That night he strode away for a walk, of life, his acquiescence, his completed and grannie betook herself to her own calm. What withdrawals there were in room. So Rose was alone when Osmond him, what wrestlings of the will, what iron came. She had dressed for him, and she obediences, only she knew. There was looked the great lady. There was about the sweetness, too, of the little child who, her that air of proud conquest worn by when they were alone, in some sad twi- women when they are willing to let man light, used to come and put his arms see how much he may lose in lacking about her neck and lay his cheek to hers, them, or how rich he is in the winning. with a mute plea to her to understand. It says also, perhaps, “This is the wedAnd now when Osmond had harnessed ding garment. It is worn for you." himself to the earth, God had let a When Osmond entered, these things beautiful flower spring up before him, to were in his mind because it was a part of say, “Behold me.” God did everything, his bitter thought that he had no clothes grannie knew. He had not merely to meet her in. For many years he had created, in a space of magnificent idle- seen no use for the conventional dress of ness, some centuries ago, and then, with gentlemen, and grannie had never failed the commendation that it was “good,” to like him in his clean blue blouse. turned away his head and let his work So he came in, as Rose thought at once, shift for itself. He was about it now, like a peasant of an Old World country. every instant, in the decay of one seed to All but the face. What peasant ever nourish another, in the blast and in the wore a mien like that: the clarified look sunshine. He was ever at hand to hear of conquered grief, the wistfulness of the the half-formed cry of the soul, the whis- dark eyes, the majestic patience of one per it hardly knew it gave. He was the who, finding that the things of the world still, small voice. And He had remem- are not for him, has put them softly by? bered Osmond as He had been remem- There were new lines in the face, Rose bering him all these
years. He had led could well believe; in spite of those aphim by painful steps to the hilltop, and pealing softnesses of the eyes, it was a then had painted for him a great sunrise face cut in bronze. She held out her on the sky. The night might lower and hand, and he took it briefly. obscure it, the rain fall, or the lightning “I had to see you,” she said, rushing strike. But Osmond would have seen upon the subject of her fears. “I am the sunrise. And all grannie could say going away." was,
They were seated now, and Osmond “It may not turn out well, dear, but was looking at her steadily. “But I am it's a great thing for him to have.”
coming back," she smiled. “Please be Peter strode away into the garden. glad to see me.” She followed him, in an hour or so, and "I can't seem to talk to you,” said asked if she should sit for him; and all Osmond abruptly, also smiling a little, that afternoon he painted on her portrait, in his whimsical way. “You are such a with the dash and absorption of one who fine lady." knows his task.
She glanced down at her dress, and “Tired, grannie?” he asked, at hated it. length.
“I don't know why I put this on, “No, Peter.”
except, perhaps, that I did n't want you "You're going to be a sweet thing with to despise me for what I am going to your white cap here against the hollyhocks,” said Peter. “I must hurry. "Despise you!"
She choked a little and dared it. bear to leave this place and grannie
“You have n't been to the playhouse and you. Sometimes I think I shall die lately.”
of homesickness over there, even in the "No."
few weeks I stay, to think what may hap"Why?”
pen to you before I see you again. So I “Have you been there yourself ? ” want to give it to you.' "No."
She was under some stress he did not “Why ?"
understand, yet speaking with a deter“Because I could n't.”
mined quiet. “Well, I could n’t, either.”
“What is it?” he asked gently. “Why?” cried the girl passionately. She had no words left, only the two "Why has everything got to change? she had thought of for days and days until Why should you tell me you would be it had seemed to her he must hear her there always and then never come again ? heart beating them out. She held her Why?"
hands together in her lap, and spoke Osmond regarded her in what seemed clearly, though it frightened her: a sad well-wishing.
“My love, Osmond, my
love." “Youth can't last,” he said. “That He had turned his look away from her, was youth. We are grown up now.” and feeling the aloofness of that, she fell
Tears gathered in her eyes. The final- to trembling. When he began to speak, ity of his tone seemed to be consigning she stopped him. It seemed to her that her to fruitless days without the joy of he was bringing rejection of her gift, and dreams.
she could not bear it. “Well,” he added, “it does n't matter. “No," she said, “don't
it.” You are going away.”
But he did speak, in that grave, moved “You said once I should take the key tone: of the playhouse with me."
“That is dear of you. I shall always He smiled humorously, as at a child keep your present, just as grannie will who must, if it is possible, be allowed keep your love for her.
It's very presome pleasure in the game.
cious.” “Take it, playmate,” he said.
Hope and will went out of her. She The color ran over her face. She put her clasped hands on the chair in sparkled at him.
front of her, and bent her head upon “Oh, now you've said it!” she en- them, trembling treated. “You've called me by my “What is it?” she said at last, “what name. Now we can go back.”
is it that has come between us? Is it what Osmond still smiled at her. He shook you told me once in the playhouse ? that his head.
you were going to give your life away “You are very willful,” he remarked. when you chose ?
“That's right. Abuse me. I like it, He laughed a little, sadly, to himself. playmate."
“How long ago that seems!” he mused. But he could abuse her no
“No, it was a different thing I meant Fancy in him was dead or dumb. He then.” was tired of thinking, tired of his own “What was it? Tell me, Osmond.” life, with its special problems. A deep “I can tell you now, for I shall never gravity came over her own face also. do it. It smells of madness to me, now I When she spoke, it was with a high see what living demands of us. It was dignity and seriousness.
only, — well, my body had n't done me “Osmond,” she said, “I sent for you much service in the ways I should have because I want to give you something be- liked." fore I go away. I can't bear to go. I can't “Tell me, Osmond!