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How could he ease up after Christmas? The posters in front of the theatres halted Would there not still be some two hundred him, and he read through the colored print, dollars to save for the one thousand dollars? noting the quoted commendations from She knew that. But maybe now the one The Times, The Sun, The Herald, and all thousand dollars didn't mean anything. the rest, of the shows inside; wondering, After all, she had heart enough to want to too, how it could be that he noticed these keep him from unnecessary work.
things. The suspicion that had skulked on the In a department-store window at Thirtydim outskirts of Johnnie's consciousnes at fourth Street he saw some furs. A twofirst had stalked round and round in ever- piece set marked $49.99 attracted him. "I decreasing circles until now, having attained was going to get her something like that horrid clearness of outline, it occupied the this Christmas,” he thought. “All women centre of his mind, and there was nothing like furs." Touching the pistol in his pockelse there day or night. His routine had et with his hand, he sighed deeply and loosened its hold on him entirely; he hadn't drifted on down Broadway with the crowds. done any real work in the last three days. Noticing a dairy-lunch room, he went inStopping in at the savings bank, he drew side and ate, rejoining then the slow-moving out the seven hundred and ninety dollars throng. It began to snow; the whitness of and drifted on up the Bowery, buying a pis- the flakes annoyed Johnnie, he didn't know tol in a pawnshop, a box of cartridges in a why. He was getting cold. He noted that hardware store further up.
he was lagging more and more in his return A Third Avenue elevated train took him to Brooklyn. Yet he must go on. to Harlem, where he looked up his boarding- Finally, at Fourteenth Street, in a burst house. This morning he did not loathe it. of flaring anger, he bustled down into the As he wandered aimlessly along the dingy Subway station determinedly and rode to street he heard the strident voice of his one- the Brooklyn Bridge, boarding an elevated time landlady in her front hall; it did not train there for South Brooklyn. The snow make an unpleasant impression on him. was an inch thick on the ground when he If he could only be back there, and just as left the train, and the wind from the near-by he was before that office-boy had said, “Old bay was blowing up a cold that soaked into Johnnie!” Of course he was no longer a the bones unless one hurried. youth. Why had that epithet burned into But Johnnie was lagging again. He him and set him on fire with silly old ambi- didn't want to go up his street; he hated tions that were not for him? The wise ad- what he seemed to divine was up there. just themselves to circumstances; he should He dawdled in front of delicatessen-shop have gone on as he was. After all, was windows, tailors' windows, and laundrythat not a smooth and peaceful way? shop windows, looking long at the sausages,
Taking the subway to Times Square, suits, and shirts as if they were thrilling Johnnie drifted on down Broadway. The sights. shop-windows were full of Christmas bril- Now he was opposite the flat. Behind liances. There was an unusual vivacity in the lace-curtains he could see some one the street crowds, due, he thought, to the moving around now and then. It was 4 increased proportion of boys and girls, o'clock, and the winter darkness was creepfreed from schools for the holidays, who ing over the city. With his shoulders were getting ready for the best of all the fes- hunched up, his face ashy pale, his heart tival times.
pounding like the gloomy beats in a funeral Here and there Johnnie touched a win- march, Johnnie marched across the street, dow with his hand wistfully. How he entered the vestibule, did not ring the loved this city! It almost ignored him, to downstairs bell, tipped up the stairs, stopbe sure, but he had fancied of late that it ping in front of his door. had begun to be genial with him. It mat- Alice was saying a word occasionally in tered not whether this was true, he loved a low voice. Johnnie gripped his pistol, it ardently. And then was this not a hunching his shoulders higher and closer tosort of farewell visit? There was a sad gether. He was very cold. The gas-jet in and longing good-by in his every move the dark hallway leaped and danced with a ment.
Johnnie thought of going up through the of cloth that were to be fitted together, scuttle, over the roof and down to the fire- tumbled out on the floor. escape at his kitchen window, then stealing “You told me not to work,” said Alice, through that way into his flat, that he might leaning wearily against the corner of the watch what he could see. This was repul- closet. “But I just had to, I was so lonesive to him; he would even knock, giving some, and I am a good dressmaker, John;
the two taps that Alice knew was his they all say so. You don't know how that signal. Drawing a profound breath that dummy helps me, John, on these lonesome quivered piteously, Johnnie tapped twice days, and I hated to see you work so hard on the door. He even waited for it to be to save what we wanted. Why, I have opened.
kissed that dummy sometimes, John, it “Oh!” He heard Alice smother an ex- meant so much to me and to you, too, I clamation. There was some shuffling. She thought. I hated to hide it in the flat across opened the door, her hair dishevelled, a the hall at night, it seemed so far away look of guilt on her face. No windows from me.” were opened or had been opened. Striding She waited a moment, going on in a lowto the one large closet in the flat, holding er voice. his hand on the pistol in his pocket, Johnnie “And now I have made three hundred seized the door-knob. Alice leaped to stop and fifty dollars. You see, here it is. I him, sobbing out,“Oh, John, don't, please; kept it in the salt-jar to hide it from burgI'll tell you."
lars. Wasn't that silly, John? I was go“Come out,” called Johnnie. He ing to tell you Christmas. I know I'm not snatched open the door, and a dress- the fine lady you try to make me out, maker's dummy, covered with the sections John; I'm just common, I reckon. Will you forgive me—as a Christmas gift, his face with his hands, and laughing the John?”
laughter that ministers to anguish too deep Johnnie had stood, with his hand on the for tears. door-knob, looking down at the dressmak- And Alice always pretended to believe er's dummy. Now he leaned over, picked that Johnnie's assault on the closet was up the figure, set it gently inside the closet just one of his clever burlesque attacks and closed the door. Taking two falling on a secret he had known for several steps, he collapsed into a chair, covering weeks.
By Richard Burton
I KNOW a girl of presence fresh and fair.
She lies abed year-long, and so has lain
The room is darkened to relieve her pain.
There is no hope held out of healing her,
You could not blame her if she turned her face
From further breathing in her prison place.
Not so: her sick bed is a throne, wherefrom
She doth most royally her favors grant;
She is At Home to every visitant,
They call her Little Sister: for her heart
Goes out to each that takes her by the hand,
To feel, to succor, and to understand.
Unto her dim-lit chamber how they flock,
The seamy folk, the weakling and the base!
No shame that dare not look her in the face.
One never thinks of woe beside her bed,
So blithe she bends beneath the rigorous rod;
Her prayers like songs go bubbling up to God.
Hers is the inner secret of the soul;
Radiant renouncement, love and fellow cheer,-
Making her saintly, while they make her dear.
BY A. E. W. MASON
ROBERT DAVENTRY EXPLAINS
ter of sharp
where the old man lay in a great four-poster bed. The afternoon was closing in, and the room was not yet lit. But there was light
enough for her to appreciate all that Dr. STEPHUS the greater part of three Hill had meant. Robert Daventry had
years passed, but toward the grown so frail, his hands and face were so
that country. It was a win- he said feebly, and his lips tried to smile.
A ter of sharpfrosts and sudden “So listen to me carefully.” thaws. One week the lanes were deep in The nurse went out of the room. Cynsnow and the fields white squares ruled off thia sat down by the bed and took the old by the hedges; the next the whole country- man's hand in hers. She made no pretence side ran water. The epidemic was at its that another opportunity would come. worst in December, and during that month “You will be very well off, my dear, it attacked Joan Daventry. She was now I am thankful to say,” he continued. a woman of seventy, and the activity of her “There's the estancia, about which I will life had worn out her heart. She died within say a word to you later, and a little more the week of her seizure, and from that time than four hundred thousand pounds in Robert Daventry's strength steadily de- the stocks. It's practically all coming to clined. It may have been that the loss of you. Of course, the profit on the estancia Joan loosened his hold on life, or, again, it varies with the season, and may in bad may have been, as Dr. Hill declared, that he years mean nothing; but, on the average, caught a chill at the graveside which he could I reckon you ought to have thirty thousand not shake off. But, whatever the cause, he a year. That leaves out this house and the ailed through January, and in the beginning little farm which goes with it. They are of the following month, while sitting on the yours already. I have made Hill one of bench at Ludsey, he was seized with a my executors-he'll be rather a figuregreat faintness. He was driven back to the head, I expect—and Isaac Benoliel, of white house, and took to his bed; and on the Culver, the other. They are both friends next day the snow fell again.
of yours, and understanding people. I have Ten days after he had fallen sick, Dr. Hill tied up half the money on you and your came from the bedroom and found Cynthia children. If you haven't any children you waiting as ever for his news. He was an will bequeath it as you like. But I am oldish man, and quite at home in that hoping very much that you will. I once house. He slipped his arm through hers asked a woman what she looked back upon and said in a grave and gentle voice: as the happiest time of her life, and she said
“Your father wants you, my dear. He the evenings when she and her husband has something to say to you.”
used to sit alone together before their first Cynthia looked at him anxiously. child was born. I think that was a wise “Won't it tire him too much to talk ?” saying, Cynthia. It struck me very much
“He will not, I think, be tired for very at the time, and has never since seemed long. You had better go to him at once, to me less true than it did then. And, for his mind is quite clear now. I will you know, everybody can't expect quite come back to-morrow morning, unless you the same luck as Joan and I had in telephone to me. It is now, I am afraid, finding you.” He pressed her hand a matter of waiting.”
with such strength as he had, and lay He drove away from the door. Cynthia for a little while silent, husbanding his walked back along the passages to the room strength. Vol. L.—72
“I was advised by my lawyer," he re- that Robert Daventry noticed her deliberasumed, “to tie my whole fortune up. But tion. I talked it over with Joan and we were “I don't think you can see, Cynthia,” he afraid that it might perhaps occur to you said. “It's getting dark.” afterward that we didn't completely trust “Oh, yes, father, I can see quite clearly," you.”
she replied. “What of Mrs. Royle?” “Oh, father, I should never have thought “You know her,” said Robert. “You that,” Cynthia protested gently.
like her, too, I think, don't you?” Cynthia The old man shook his head.
did not reply, but Daventry had not asked “One can never be quite certain that the question in the tone of one needing a queer, stinging ideas won't come,” he said. reply. “You will want some one to live "And we both were anxious that you with you until you get married, which, by should be sure always that we had no fear the way, you don't seem in a hurry to do, of the way in which you would manage your my dear. The young fellows round here life. So you will be completely mistress of don't seem to have made much impression. half your fortune," and he hesitated for a Oh! I am not bustling you, my dear. moment, “when you come of age. But I Only-only-don't leave it too long, Cynwould like you, when you are in doubt, to thia," he said, and his hand sought hers consult Isaac Benoliel. I have a great faith again. in him."
Cynthia stirred uneasily. It was the “I, too,” said Cynthia. “I will consult way of men, to want to marry every girl off him."
as soon as possible, she knew. But she A look of relief came into Robert Daven- wished to give no promise. try's face.
“You will probably go to London. I “I am glad of that,” he said. “There don't want you to mope down here all the are people, of course, who are prejudiced time. There's no reason that you should. against him. He is a Jew, and he's new, You can have your house in town. But and he has that queer sort of indefinable you will want some one with you, and I position which attracts criticism. But I thought my cousin, Diana Royle, would be think you will find him a good friend.” the most suitable person.”
Daventry's voice had weakened to a Cynthia raised her head as if she was whisper, and he lay back upon his pillows about to speak. But she did not, and with his eyes closed. Cynthia moved, but Daventry said: the pressure of his hand retained her. She “I wrote to her about it." sat and waited, speaking no word and hold- "Oh,” said Cynthia slowly. “You have ing back the tears which smarted in her already written?” eyes. Robert Daventry spoke again. “Yes, and she consented at once. You
“There's some medicine," he said. “Hill see her husband left her not well-off. So it gaveit me to keep megoing. It's in a glass.” will be an advantage to her. And though
Cynthia lifted a glass filled with some she is older than you are, she is not so much grayish liquid, and held it to the old man's older that you won't be in sympathy with lips. He drank, and resumed:
one another." “I have written down during the last Cynthia nodded her head. day or two the heads of what I wanted to "I see,” she said. “Yes, of course, I say on a paper.”
know her very well.” But a note of reCynthia found a slip of paper on the serve was audible, or rather would have table by the bedside.
been audible to an on-looker in tnat room. “Just read.”
But Robert Daventry was altogether ocThere were some words written one be- cupied in the effort to master his overmaslow the other on the paper in a straggling tering weakness. There was more which hand. Cynthia read them out.
he wished to say; there was something “Money."
which he must say. “I have said all I have to say, I think, “Then that's settled," he whispered; about that."
and with his eyes he asked for his cordial. “Diana Royle," Cynthia read next. Cynthia once more supported him, and But she read the name slowly, so slowly held the glass to his lips.