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The Project Gutenberg eBook, August First, by Mary Raymond Shipman AndrewsandRoyIrvingMurray,IllustratedbyA I Keller ThiseBookisfortheuseofanyoneanywhereatnocostandwith almostnorestrictionswhatsoever Youmaycopyit,giveitawayor re-useitunderthetermsoftheProjectGutenbergLicenseincluded withthiseBookoronlineatwww.gutenberg.org Title:AugustFirst Author:MaryRaymondShipmanAndrewsandRoyIrvingMurray ReleaseDate:June7,2006[eBook#18529] Language:English Charactersetencoding:ISO-8859-1 ***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK AUGUST FIRST*** E-textpreparedbyAlHaines "She that'sit that'sthegistofit foolthatIam." [Frontispiece:"She that'sit that'sthegistofit foolthatIam."] AUGUSTFIRST BY MARYRAYMONDSHIPMANANDREWS AND ROYIRVINGMURRAY ILLUSTRATEDBY A I KELLER NEWYORK CHARLESSCRIBNER'SSONS 1915 Copyright,1915,byCharlesScribner'sSons PublishedMarch,1915 AUGUSTFIRST "Whee!" Thelongfingerspulledattheclericalcollarasiftheymighttearitaway The alert figure swung across the room to the one window not wide open and the man pushed up the three inches possible "Whee!" he brought out again, boyishly,andthrustawaythedustyvinesthathungagainsttheopeningfromthe stone walls of the parish house close by He gasped; looked about as if in desperateneedofrelief;struckbackthedamphairfromhisface Theheatwas insufferable Inthewestblack-graycloudsrolleduplikeblankets,shuttingout heavenandair;lowthundergrowled;atfiveo'clockofamidsummerafternoon itwasalmostdark;astormwascomingfast,andcoolnesswouldcomewithit, but in the meantime it was hard for a man who felt heat intensely just to get breath His eyes stared at the open door of the room, down the corridor which ledtotheroom,whichturnedandledbyanotheropendoortothestreet "If they're coming, why don't they come and get it over?" he murmured to himself;hewasstifling—itwasactualsuffering Hewastroubledto-day,beyondthisafflictionofheat Hewasthenewcurate of St Andrew's, Geoffrey McBirney, only two months in the place—only two months,andherewastherectorgoneoffforhissummervacationandMcBirney leftatthehelmofthegreatcityparish Moreover,beforetherectorwasgonea half-hour, here was the worst business of the day upon him, the hour between fourandfivewhentherectorwassupposedtobefoundintheoffice,toreceive anyonewhochosetocome,foradvice,forgodlycounsel,for"anyoldreason," astheman,onlyafewyearsoutofcollege,putittohimself Hedreadedit;he dreaded it more than he did getting up into the pulpit of a Sunday and laying downthelaw—preaching Andheseriouslywishedthatifanyonewascoming theywouldcomenow,andlethimdohisbest,doggedly,ashemeantto,andget themoutoftheway Thenhemightgotoworkatthingsheunderstood There was a funeral at seven; old Mrs Harrow at the Home wanted to see him; and DavidSterlinghadhalfpromisedtohelphimwithSt Agnes'sMissionSchool, and must be encouraged; a man in the worst tenement of the south city had raided his wife with a knife and there was trouble, physical and moral, and he mustseetothat;alsoTommySmithwasdyingattheTuberculosisHospitaland hadclungtohishandsyesterday,andwouldnotlethimgo—hemustmanageto gettolittleTommyto-night Therewasplentyofrealworkdoing,soitdidseem a pity to waste Lime waiting here for people who didn't come and who had, when they did come, only emotional troubles to air And the heat—the unspeakableheat!"Ican'tstanditanothersecond!"heburstout,aloud "I'lldie —I shall die!" He flung himself across the window-sill, with his head far out, tryingtocatchabreathofairthatwasalive Ashestretchedintothedimlight,so,gasping,pullingagainatthestiffcollar, hewasawareofasound;hecamebackintotheroomwithaspring;somebody was rappingattheopen door A youngwoman,in whiteclothes,withrosesin herhat,stoodthere—refreshingasacoolbreeze,hethought;withthat,asifthe thought, as if she, perhaps, had brought it, all at once there was a breeze; a heavenly, light touch on his forehead, a glorious, chilled current rushing about him "ThankHeaven!"hebroughtoutinvoluntarily,andthegirl,standing,facing him,lookedsurprisedand,hesitating,staredathim Bythathisdignitywason top "Youwantedtoseeme?"heaskedgravely Thegirlflushed "No," she said, and stopped He waited "I didn't expect—" she began, and thenhesawthatshewasverynervous "Ididn'texpect—you." Heunderstoodnow "Youexpectedtofindtherector I'msorry Hewentoff to-dayforhisvacation I'mleftinhisplace CanIhelpyouinanyway?" The girl stood uncertain, nervous, and said nothing And looked at him, frightened,notknowingwhattodo Then:"Iwantedtoseehim—andnow—it's you!" she stammered, and the man felt contrite that it was indubitably just himself Contrite,thenamused Buthislookwassteadilyserious "I'msorry,"hesaidagain "IfIwouldpossiblydo,Ishouldbeglad." Thegirlburstintotears Thatwasbad Shedroppedintoachairandsobbed uncontrollably,andhestoodbeforeher,andwaited,andwasuncomfortable The sobbingstopped,andhehadhopes,butthehatwithroseswasstillplungedinto thetwobarehands—itwastoohotforgloves Thethunderwasnearer,muttering instantthreatenings;theroomwasblack;theairwasheavyandcoollikeawet cloth;themaninhisblackclothesstoodbeforethewhite,collapsedfigureinthe chairandthegirlbegansobbingsoftly,wearilyagain "Pleasetrytotellme."Theyoungclergymanspokequietly,inthedetached voicewhichhehadlearnedwasbest "Ican'tdoanythingforyouunlessyoutell me." The top of the hat with roses seemed to pay attention; the flowers stopped bobbing; the sobs halted; in a minute a voice came "I—know I beg—your pardon It was—such a shock to see—you." And then, most unexpectedly, she laughed Awaveringlaughthatendedwithagasp—butlaughter "I'mnotvery civil Imeantjustthat—itwasn'tyouIexpected Iwasinchurch—tendaysago Andtherectorsaid—peoplemightcome—here—and—he'dtrytohelpthem It seemed to me I could talk to him He was—fatherly But you're"—the voice trailedintoasob—"young."Alaughwasduehere,hethought,butnonecame "I mean—it'sharder." "I understand," he spoke quietly "You would feel that way And there's no oneliketherector—onecouldtellhimanything Iknowthat ButifIcanhelp you—I'm here for that, you know That's all there is to consider." The impersonal,gentleinteresthadinstanteffect "Thankyou,"shesaid,andwithavisibleeffortpulledherself together,and roseandstoodamoment,swaying,asitaninwardindecisionblewherthisway and that With that a great thunder-clap close by shook heaven and earth and drowned small human voices, and the two in the dark office faced each other waitingNature'sgoodtime Astherollingechoesdiedaway,"IthinkIhadbetter wait to see the rector," she said, and held out her hand "Thank you for your kindness—andpatience Iam—Iam—inagooddealoftrouble—"andhervoice shook, in spite of her effort Suddenly—"I'm going to tell you," she said "I'm goingtoaskyoutohelpme,ifyouwillbesogood Youareherefortherector, aren'tyou?" "Iamherefortherector,"McBirneyansweredgravely "IwishtodoallIcan for—anyone." She drew a long sigh of comfort "That's good—that's what I want," she considered aloud, and sat down once more And the man lifted a chair to the windowwherethebreezereachedhim Rainwasfallingnowinsheetsandthe steelylightplayedonhisdarkfaceandsombredressandthesharpwhitenoteof hiscollar Throughtheconstantrushandpatteroftherainthegirl'svoicewent on—alowvoicewithanoteofpleasureandlaughterinitwhichmutedwiththe tragedyofwhatshesaid "I'mthinkingofkillingmyself,"shebegan,andtheeyesofthemanwidened, buthedidnotspeak "ButI'mafraidofwhatcomesafter Theytellyouthatit's everlastingtorment—butIdon'tbelieveit Parsonsmostlytellyouthat Thefear haskeptmefromdoingit SowhenIheardtherectorinchurchtwoweeksago,I felt as if he'd be honest—and as if he might know—as much as any one can know Heseemedrealtome,andclever—IthoughtitwouldhelpifIcouldtalk to him—and I thought maybe I could trust him to tell me honestly—in confidence,youknow—ifhereallyandtrulythoughtitwaswrongforaperson tokillherself Ican'tseewhy."Sheglancedattheattentive,quietfigureatthe window "Doyouthinkso?"sheasked Helookedather,butdidnotspeak She wenton "Whyisitwrong?TheysayGodgiveslifeandonlyGodshouldtakeit away Why?It'sgiven—wedon'taskforit,andnoconditionscomewithit Why shouldone,ifitgetsunendurable,keepanunasked,unwantedgift?Ifsomebody put a ball of bright metal into your hands and it was pretty at first and nice to playwith,andthenturnedred-hot,andhurt,wouldn'titbesillytogoonholding it? I don't know much about God, anyway," she went on a bit forlornly; not irreverently,butasifpainhadburnedofftheshellofconventionsandreservesof everyday,andactualfactslaybare "Idon'tfeelasifHewereespeciallyreal— and the case I'm in is awfully real I don't know if He would mind my killing myself—andifHewould,wouldn'tHeunderstandIjusthaveto?IfHe'sreally good?Butthen,ifHewasangry,mightHepunishmeforever,afterward?"She drewhershoulderstogetherwithafrightened,childishmovement "I'mafraidof forever,"shesaid The rain beat in noisily against the parish house wall; the wet vines flung aboutwildly;afloatingendblewinatthewindowandtheyoungmanliftedit carefullyandputitoutsideagain Then,"Canyoutellmewhyyouwanttokill yourself?"heasked,andhismanner,freefromcriticismordisapproval,seemed toquiether "Yes Iwanttotellyou Icameheretotelltherector."Thegraveeyesofthe man,eyeswhoseclearnessandyouthseemed tobesuchanage-oldyouthand clearness as one sees in the eyes of the sibyls in the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel—eyesemptyofathoughtofself,impersonal,serenewiththeserenityof a large atmosphere—the unflinching eyes of the man gazed at the girl as she talked Shetalkedrapidly,eagerly,asifeachwordliftedpressure "It'sthisway—I'm ill—hopelesslyill Yes—it'sabsolutelyso I'vegottodie Twodoctorssaidso ButI'lllive—maybefiveyears—possiblyten I'mtwenty-threenow—andImay livetenyears ButifIdothat—ifIlivefiveyearseven—mostofitwillbeasa helpless invalid—I'll have to get stiff, you know." There was a rather dreadful levityinthewaysheputit "Stifferandstiffer—tillIhardenintooneposition, sittingorlyingdown,immovable I'llhavetogoonlivingthatway—years,you see I'll have to choose which way Isn't it hideous? And I'll go on living that way,yousee Me Youdon'tknow,ofcourse,butitseemsparticularlyhideous, because I'm not a bit an immovable sort I ride and play tennis and dance, all thosethings,morethanmostpeople Icareaboutthem—alot."Onecouldseeit inthevividposeofthefigure "And,youknow,it'sreallytoomuchtoexpect I won'tstiffengentlyintoalivecorpse No!"Thesliding,clearvoicewaslow,but the"no"meantitself Fromthequietfigurebythewindowcamenoresponse;thegirlcouldseethe man's face only indistinctly in the dim, storm-washed light; receding thunder growlednowandagainandthenoiseoftheraincameinsoft,fiercewaves;at times, lightning flashed a weird clearness over the details of the room and left themvaguer "Whydon'tyousaysomething?"thegirlthrewathim "Whatdoyouthink? Sayit." "Areyougoingtotellmetherest?"themanaskedquietly "The rest? Isn't that enough? What makes you think there's more?" she gasped "I don't know what makes me I Something in your manner, I suppose Youmustn'ttellmeifyouwishnot,butI'dbeabletohelpyoubetterifIknew everything Aslongasyou'vetoldmesomuch." There was a long stillness in the dim room; the dashing rain and the muttering thunder were the only sounds in the world The white dress was motionless in the chair, vague, impersonal—he could see only the blurred suggestionofafaceaboveit;itgottobefantastic,adream,acondensationof the summer lightning and the storm-clouds; unrealities seized the quick imaginationoftheman;intohisfancycamethelow,buoyantvoiceoutofkey withthewords "Yes,there'smore Alovestory,ofcourse—there'salwaysthat Onlythisis moreanun-lovestory,asfarasI'minit."Shestoppedagain "Idon'tknowwhy Ishouldtellyouthispart." "Don't,ifyoudon'twantto,"themanansweredpromptly,abitcoldly Hefelt acleardistasteforthisemotionalbusiness;hewouldmuchpreferto"cutitout," ashewouldhaveexpressedittohimself "Idowantto—now Ididn'tmeanto Butit'sarelief."Anditcametohim sharplythatifhewastobeasurgeonofsouls,whatbusinesshadhetoshrink fromblood? "IamheretorelieveyouifIcan It'swhatImostwishtodo—foranyone," hesaidgentlythen Andthegirlsuddenlylaughedagain "For any one," she repeated "I like it that way." Her eyes, wandering a moment about the dim, bare office, rested on a calendar in huge lettering hangingonthewall,restedonthefiguresofthedateoftheday "Iwanttobe just a number, a date—August first—I'm that, and that's all I'll never see you again,Ihope But youaregoodandI'llbegrateful Here'stheway things are ThreeyearsagoIgotengagedtoaman IsupposeIthoughtIcaredabouthim I'mafool Iget—fads."Ashort,softlaughcutthewords "Igotaboutthatover theman Hefascinatedme Ithoughtitwas—more SoIgotengagedtohim He wasalotofthingsheoughtn'ttobe;mypeopleobjected Then,later,myfather was ill—dying He asked me to break it off, and I did—he'd been father and mother both to me, you see But I still thought I cared I hadn't seen the man much Myfatherdied,andthenIheardabouttheman,thathehadlostmoney andbeenillandthateverybodywasdownonhim;hedrank,youknow,andgot into trouble So I just felt desperate; I felt it was my fault, and that there was nobodytostandbyhim IfeltasifIcouldpullhimupandmakehislifeover— pretty conceited of me, I expect—but I felt that So I wrote him a letter, six monthsago,outofabluesky,andtoldhimthatifhewantedmestillhecould haveme Andhedid AndthenIwentouttolivewithmyuncle,andthisman livesinthattowntoo,andI'veseenhimeversince,allthetime Iknowhimnow And—"Outofthedimnesstheclergymanfelt,ratherthansaw,asmilewiden— child-like,sardonic—acurious,contagioussmile,whichbewilderedhim,almost madehimsmileback "You'llthinkmeapitifulperson,"shewenton,"andIam ButI—almost—hatehim I'vepromisedtomarryhimandIcan'tbeartohavehis fingerstouchme." InGeoffreyMcBirney'sshortexperiencetherehadbeennothingwhichthrew a light on what he should with a situation of this sort He was keenly uncomfortable; he wished the rector had stayed at home At all events, silence wassafe,sohewassilentwithallhismight "Whenthedoctorstoldmeaboutmymaladyamonthago,theonelightinthe blacknesswasthatnowImightbreakmyengagement,andIhurriedtodoit But hewouldn't He—"Asoundcame,halflaugh,halfsob "He'scertainlyfaithful But—I've got a lot of money It's frightful," she burst forth "It's the crowning touch,todoubtevenhissincerity AndImaybewrong—hemaycareforme He says so I think my heart has ossified first, and is finished, for it is quite cold when he says so I can't marry him! So I might as well kill myself," she concluded,inacasualtone,likeasplashofcoldwateronthehotintensityofthe sentences before And the man, listening, realized that now he must say something But what to say? His mind seemed blank, or at best a muddle of protest And the light-hearted voice spoke again "I think I'll it to-night, unlessyoutellmeI'dcertainlygotohellforever." Thentheprotestwasnolongermuddled,butdefined "Youmustn'tdothat," hesaid,withauthority "Supposeamanisridingarunawayhorseandheloses hisnerveandthrowshimselfoffandiskilled—isthatasgoodawayasifhesat tightandfoughtharduntilthehorseranintoawallandkilledhim?Ithinknot Andbesides,anysecond,hispullonthereinsmaytell,andthehorsemayslow down,andhislifemaybesaved It'sbetterridingandit'sbetterlivingnottogive in till you're thrown Your case looks hopeless to you, but doctors have been wrongplentyoftimes;diseasestakeunexpectedturns;youmaygetwell." "ThenI'dhavetomarryhim,"sheinterruptedswiftly "Yououghtnottomarryhimifyoudislikehim"—andtheyoungparsonfelt himselfflushhotly,andwasthankfulforthedarkness;whatafoolafellowfelt, givingadviceaboutalove-affair! "Ihave to You see—he's pathetic He'd go back into the depths if I let go, and—andI'mfondofhim,inaway." "Oh!"—the masculine mind was bewildered "I understood that you— dislikedhim." "Why,Ido ButI'mjustfondofhim."Thenshelaughedagain "Anywoman wouldknowhowImeanit Imean—Iamfondofhim—I'ddoanythingforhim But I don't believe in him, and the thought of—of marrying him makes me desperate." "Thenyoushouldnot." "Ihaveto,ifIlive SoI'mgoingtokillmyselfto-night Youhavenothingto say against it You've said nothing—that counts If you said I'd certainly go to hell,Imightnot—butyoudon'tsaythat Ithinkyoucan'tsayit."Shestoodup "Thankyouforlisteningpatiently Atleastyouhavehelpedmetocometomy decision I'mgoingto To-night." Thiswastooawful Hehadhelpedhertodecidetokillherself Hecouldnot let her go that way He stood before her and talked with all his might "You cannotdothat Youmustnot Youareoverstrainedandexcited,anditisnotime to an irrevocable thing You must wait till you see things calmly, at least Takingyourownlifeisnotathingtodecideonasyoumightdecideongoingto aball Howdoyouknowthatyouwillnotbebitterlysorryto-morrowifyoudo thatto-night?It'sthrowingawaytheonechanceapersonhastomaketheworld betterandhappier That'swhatyou'reherefor—nottoenjoyyourself." Sheputaquietsentence,inthatoddlybuoyantvoice,intothestreamofhis words "Still,youdon'tsayI'dgotohellforever,"shecommented "Is that your only thought?" he demanded indignantly "Can't you think of what's brave and worth while—of what's decent for a big thing like a soul? A soulthat'sgoingonlivingtoeternity—doyouwanttoblackenthatatthestart? Can'tyouforgetyourlittlemoodsandyourdespairofthemoment?" "No,Ican't."Therosesbobbedassheshookherhead Theman,inhisheart, knew how it was, and did not wonder But he must somehow stop this determinationwhichhehad—shesaid—helpedtoform Athoughtcametohim; hehesitatedamoment,andthenbrokeoutimpetuously:"Letmedothis—letme writetoyou;I'mnotsayingthingsstraight It'shard IthinkIcouldwritemore "Whoareyou?"he repeatedsternly And thegirlturnedandfaced himand lookedupintohisgrim,torturedface,halfshy,halflaughing,allglad She spoke softly "Hope," she said "You needed me"—she said, "and I came." With that, with the unreasonable certainty that happens at times in affairs whichgobeyondreason,hewascertain Yethedidnotdaretobecertain "Whoareyou?"hethrewatherforthethirdtime,andhiseyesflameddown intothechangingface,thefacewhichhehadneverknown,whichheseemedto haveknownsincetimebegan Thelaughterleftitthenandshegazedathimwith alookwhichhehadnotseeninawoman'seyesbefore "Ithinkyouknow,"she said "ToddyWinthropisn'ttheonlyone Yousavedme—Oh,you'vesavedme too." Every inflection of the voice brought certainty to him; the buoyant, soft voicewhichheremembered "IamHopeStuart,"shesaid "IamAugustFirst." "Ah!"Hecaughtherhands,butshedrewthemaway "Notyet,"shesaid,and thepromiseinthedenialthrilledhim "You'vegottoknow—things." "Don'tthink,don'tdreamthatI'llletyougo,ifyoustillcare,"hethrewather hotly Andwiththatthethoughtoftwodaysbeforestabbedintohim "Ah!"he cried,andstoodbeforehishappinessmiserably "What?"askedthegirl "I'mnotfittospeaktoyou I'mdisgraced;I'macoward;youdon'tknow,but Ilet—thatchildbekilledasmuchasifhehadnotbeensavedbyamiracle It wasn'tmyfaulthewassaved Ididn'tmeantosavehim Imeanttosavemyself," hewentonwithsavageaccusation "Tellme,"commandedthegirl,andhetoldher "It's what I thought," she answered him then "I told the doctor what Dick said, this morning The doctor said it was the commonest thing in the world, afterablowonthehead,toforgetthelastminutesbefore You'llneverremember them Youdidsavehim Yourpast—yourcharacterdecidedforyou"—herewas hisownbitterthoughtturnedtoheavenlysweetness!—"Youdidthebravething whetheryouwouldornot You'vegottotakemyword—allofourwords—that youwereahero Justthat YoujumpedstraightdownandthrewToddyintothe bushesandthenfell,andthechauffeurcouldn'tturnfastenoughandhehityou —andyourheadwashurt." Shespoke,andlookedintohiseyes "Is that the truth?" he shot at her It was vital to know where he stood, whetherwithdecentmenorwithcowards "SohelpmeGod,"thegirlsaidquietly Aswhenagateisopenedintoalockthewaterbeginstopourinwithasteady rush and covers the slimy walls and ugly fissures, so peace poured into the discolored emptiness of his mind Suddenly the gate was shut again What differencedidanythingmake—anything? "You are married," he stated miserably, and stood before her The moments hadrusheduponhisstrainedconsciousnesssooverladen,thejoyofseeingher had been so intense, that there had been no place for another thought He had forgotten Thethoughtwhichmeantthefailureofhappinesshadbeencrowded out "You are married," he repeated, and the old grayness shadowed again a universewithouthope AndthenthegirlwhosenamewasHopesmiledupathimthrougharainbow, for there were tears in her eyes "No," she answered, "no." And with that he caught her in his arms: her smile, her slim shoulders, her head, they were all there, close, crushed against him The bees hummed over the roses in the sunshinygarden;thelocustsanghisstaccatosongandstoppedsuddenly;petals of a rose floated against the black dress; but the two figures did not appear to breathe Timeandspace,asthegirlhadsaidonce,werefused Thenshestirred, pushedawayhisarms,andstooderectandlookedathimwithaflushed,radiant face "Do you think I'd let you—marry—a cripple, a lump of stone?" she demanded,andsomethinginthebuoyanttonemadehimlaughunreasonably "Ithink—you'vegotto,"heanswered,hisheadswimmingabit "Ah, but that's where you're wrong," and she shook her finger at him triumphantly "I'm—going—to—get—well." "Iknewitallalong,"themansaid,smiling "That'salie!"sheannounced,soprettily,inthesoft,buoyantvoice,thathe laughedwithsheerpleasure "Youneverknew DoyouknowwhereI'vebeen?" "InGermany." "Ihaven'tbeeninGermanyaminute."Thebrightfacegrewgraveandagain thequick,rainbowtearsflashed "Youneverheard,"shesaid "UncleTeddied, thedaybeforeweweretosail."Shestoppedamoment "Itleftmealoneand— andprettydesperate I—Ialmosttelegraphedyou." "Whydidn'tyou?"hegroaned "Because—whatIsaid Iwouldn'tsacrificeyou."Shepaidnoattentiontothe lookinhiseyes "RobinwasgoingtomyplaceinGeorgia—ItoldyouIhada place?Myfather'soldshooting-box I'darrangedforhimtodothat Withsome peoplewhoneededit So—Iwenttoo Itooktwotrainednursesandsomeold souls—oldsickpeople Yes,Idid Wasn'titqueerofme?I'malwayssorrierfor oldpeoplethanforchildren Theyrealize,theoldpeople SoIscrapedupafew astonishedoldparties,andtheygroanedandwheezedandfoundfault,buthada wonderful winter The first time I was ever any good to anybody in my life I thoughtImightaswelldoonejobbeforeIpetrified AndallwinterRobinwas talking about that bone-ologist from France who had been in Forest Gate, and whomIwouldn'tsee Tillatlasthegotmeinspired,andIsaidI'dgotoFrance andseehim AndI'vejustbeen Andhesays—"suddenlythebright,changing facewasburiedinherhandsandshewassobbingasifherheartwouldbreak McBirney's pulse stopped; he was terrified "What?" he demanded "Never mind what he said, dear I'll take care of you Don't trouble, my own—" And then again the sunshine flashed through the storm and she looked up, all tears andlaughter "HesaidI'dgetwell,"shethrewathim "Intime Withcare Andifyoudon't understand that I've got to cry when I'm glad, then we can never be happy together." "I'll get to understand," he promised, with a thrill as he thought how the lessonwouldbelearned Andwenton:"There'sanotherconundrum Ofcourse —thatman—he'snotonearth—buthowdidyou—killhim?" Thegirllookedbewilderedamoment "Who?Oh!Alec Mydear—"andshe slidherhandintohisasiftheyhadlivedtogetherforyears—"themostglorious thing—he jilted me He eloped with Natalie Minturn—the California girl—the heiress She had"—the girl laughed again—"more money than I And unimpeachable bones She's a nice thing," she went on regretfully "I'm afraid she'stoogoodforAlec Butshelikedhim;Ihopeshe'llgoonlikinghim Itwas agreatthingformetogetjilted AnymorequestionsintheCatechism?Willthe High-Mightinesstakemenow?OrhaveIgottobegandexplainalittlemore?" "You're a very untruthful character," said "the High-Mightiness" unsteadily "It wasn't I who hid away, and turned last winter into hell for a well-meaning parson Will—Itakeyou?Come." Again eternal things brooded over the bright, quiet garden and the larkspur spiresswayedunnoticedandthebeesdronedcasuallyaboutthemanddivedinto deepcupsofthelilies,andpeaceandsunshineandlovelythingsgrowingwere everywhere Butthetwodidnotnotice Afteratime:"WhataboutHalarkenden?"askedtheman,holdingaslimhand tightasifheheldtoalife-preserver "That's the last question in the Catechism," said Hope Stuart "And the answeristhelongest Oneofyourlettersdidit." "Oneofmyletters?" "Just the other day I went to Forest Gate, as soon as I came home from France—totellRobinthatIwasgoingtogetwell Iwasinthegarden With—I hatetotellyou—butwith—allyourletters."Themanflushed "And—andRobin came and—and I talked a little to him about you, and then, to show him what youwerelike,Ireadhim—some." "Youdid?"McBirneylookedtroubled "Oh,Iselected Ireadabouttheboy,Theodore—'theGift.'" Thenshewentontotellhow,asshesatinadeepchairattheendofalong pergolawheresmall,juicyleavesofDorothyPerkinsrose-vinesandofcrimson ramblersmadeagreenMaymistoverthelineofarches,Halarkendenhadcome downunderthemtoher "I believe I shall never be in a garden without expecting to see him stalk down a path," she said She told him how she had read to him about the boy Theodore with his charmandhis naughtiness and hisScotchname How there had been no word from Robert Halarkenden when she finished, and how, suddenly,shehadbeenawareofaqualityinthesilencewhichstartledher,and she had looked up sharply How, as she looked, the high-featured, lean, grave face was transformed with a color which she had never seen there before, a painful, slow-coming color; how the muscles about his mouth were twisting Howshehadcriedout,frightened,andRobertHalarkenden,whohadnotfought with the beasts for nothing, had controlled himself once again and, after a moment,hadspokensteadily "Itwastheboy'sname,lassie,"hehadsaid "He comesoffolkwhomIknew—backhome."Howatthat,withhisbigclippersin hishand,hehadturnedquietlyandgoneworkingagainamonghisflowers "But is that all?" demanded McBirney, interested "Didn't he tell you any more? Could Theodore be any kin to him, you suppose? It would be wonderfultohaveamanlikethatwhotookaninterest I'llwritetheyoungdevil He'sbeenawayallwinter,butheshouldbebackbynow Iwonderjustwherehe is." Andwiththat,ascuesaretakenonthestage,therewasascurryingdownthe gravelandoutofthesunshineabare-headed,tallladwasleapingtowardthem "Byallthat'suncanny!"gaspedMcBirney "Yes, me," agreed the apparition "I trailed you Why"—he interrupted himself—"didn't you get my telephones? Why, somebody took the message— twice Cost three dollars—had to pawn stuff to pay it Then I trailed you The rectorhadyouraddress We'regoingtoScotlandbangoffandIhadtoseeyou We'resailingfromBoston To-morrow." "Who's'we'?"demandedMcBirney "My family and—oh gosh, you don't know!" He threw back his handsome head and broke into a great shout of young laughter With that he whirled and flungoutanarm "Therehecomes Myfamily."Theprideandjoyintheboy's voiceweresochargedwithyearsoflonelinesspastthatthetwowholistenedfelt anansweringthrill Theylooked Downthegravel,throughthesunshine,strayed,betweenflower borders,agauntandgrizzledmanwhobent,hereandthere,overablossom,and touched it with tender, wise fingers and gazed this way and that, scrutinizing, absorbed,acrossthemassesoflivingcolor "Itoldyou,"thegirlsaid,asifoutofadream,andherarm,too,wasstretched andherhandpointedoutthefiguretoherlover "Itoldyouthereneverwouldbe agardenbuthewouldbeinit It'sRobin." SATURDAYNIGHTLATE WARCHESTER, St Andrew'sParishHouse There wasn't time to leave you a note even I barely caught the train Dick wastotellyou Iwonderifhegotitstraight Hemotoredmetothestation,early thismorning—athousandyearsago Youseetherectorsuddenlywiredformeto comebackforoverSunday It'sSundaymorningnow—atleastbytheclock There'sstillsuchalottotellyou Therealwayswillbe Onereallycan'tsay muchinonlyeightorninehours,andIdon'tbelievewetalkedaminutelonger That'swhyIdidn'twanttocatchtrains Well,therewereotherreasonstoo,nowI gointoit Doyouknow,IkeepthinkingofDickMarston'sfacewhenhepokeditinat thedoorofthatsummer-houseyesterdayonyouand"Robin"andTheodoreand me IthinklikelyDick'sbrainissprained Curious,isn'tit—thisbeingknockedbackintothenecessityofwritingletters —andsosoon ButIcansayanythingnow,can'tI?Itdoesn'tseemtrue,butitis —itis!WhenIthinkofthatotherletter,thatlastone,andallthemonthsthatI didn'tknowevenwhereyouwere!Andnowhere'stheworldtransfigured Itis true, isn't it? I won't wake up into that awful emptiness again? So many times I'vedonethat I'dmadeupmymindnothingwasanyuse ItoldDick,justbefore westartedonthemotortrip Thestellarsystemhadgonetopieces Butto-nightI toreuptheletterI'dgotreadytosendtotherector Allthosepreparations,and thentowalkdownagravelpathintoheaven Itisn'ttheslightesttroubleforyou torebuildpeople'sworlds,isit?Asforinstance,Theodore's Imusttellyouthat someincoherenceshavecomeinfromthatGiftofGod,bywayofthepilot,after they'd sailed Mostly regarding Cousin Robin Even that has worked out And there's Halarkenden—mustn't I say McGregor, though?—going back home to wanderatlargeinparadise Threenewworldsyousetupinhalfanhour Ithink yousaidoncethatyou'dneverdoneanythingforanybody?Well,you'vebegun your job; didn't I tell you it might be just around the corner? Besides "Cousin Robin," two things stuck out in Theodore's epistle; he's going to turn himself looseforthebenefitofthoseworkingpeopleinhisfactories,andhe'sgoingto have "The Cairns" swept and garnished for you and me when—when we get there Thisisalltrue Iamsittinghere,writingtoher Sheisgoingtobetherewhen Igetback Iamtohaveherformyown,tolookatandtolistentoandtolove Shehassaidthatshewanteditlikethat—Iheardhersayit Ohmydeardarling, therearen'tanywordstotellyou—youarelikelisteningtomusic—youarethe spirit of all the exquisite wonders that have ever been—you are the fragrant silence of shut gardens sleeping in the moonlight What if I had missed you? WhatifI'dneverfoundyou?You willbetherewhenIcome back—you won't vanish—youarereal?Thinkofthelifeopeningoutforyouandme;thisworld now;afterwardsthenext Ohmyverydear,supposeyouhadn'twaited—suppose you'dcutintoGod'sbigpatternbecausesomedarkthreadshadtobewoveninto it!Weshalllookatthewholeofitsomeday—allthatmighty,livingtapestryof His weaving, and we shall understand, then, and smile as we remember and knowthat noonecanhaveasenseoflight withouttheshadows Supposeyou hadn'twaited?Butyoudidwait—youdid—toletmeloveyou SEA-ACRES, MONDAY,June24th YOURREVERENCE Ican'tsaybutthreewords DonEmoryiswaitingtopostthisintown Ido justwanttotellyouthatifyouwriteanymoreletterslikethatIamnotgoingto break the engagement You'll get the rest of this to-morrow I thought I'd warn you Iam,forsure,yours, AUGUSTFIRST ***ENDOFTHEPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKAUGUSTFIRST*** *******Thisfileshouldbenamed18529-h.txtor18529-h.zip******* Thisandallassociatedfilesofvariousformatswillbefoundin: http://www.gutenberg.org/1/8/5/2/18529 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