The gay cockade

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TheProjectGutenbergEBookofTheGayCockade,byTempleBailey ThiseBookisfortheuseofanyoneanywhereatnocostandwith almostnorestrictionswhatsoever Youmaycopyit,giveitawayor re-useitunderthetermsoftheProjectGutenbergLicenseincluded withthiseBookoronlineatwww.gutenberg.net Title:TheGayCockade Author:TempleBailey Illustrator:C E Chambers ReleaseDate:August4,2005[EBook#16433] Language:English ***STARTOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKTHEGAYCOCKADE*** ProducedbySuzanneShell,LauraWisewellandtheOnline DistributedProofreadingTeamathttp://www.pgdp.net Frontispiece,showingamansatatadesksmokingapipe ANDHERE,DAYAFTERDAY,HESATALONE THE GAYCOCKADE BY TEMPLEBAILEY AUTHOROF THETRUMPETERSWAN, THETINSOLDIER,ETC FRONTISPIECEBY C E CHAMBERS Black-and-whitedecorativemarkshowingaflower GROSSET&DUNLAP PUBLISHERSNEWYORK MadeintheUnitedStatesofAmerica COPYRIGHT 1921BY THEPENN PUBLISHING COMPANY Publisherlogoshowingacrest Manufacturing Plant Camden,N J MadeinU.S.A TheGayCockade Forpermissiontoreprintsomeofthestoriesinthisvolume,theauthoris indebtedtothecourtesyoftheeditorsofHarper'sMagazine,Scribner's Magazine,Collier'sMagazine,Ladies'HomeJournal,SaturdayEvening Post,GoodHousekeeping,andHarper'sBazar Contents THEGAYCOCKADE7 THEHIDDENLAND33 WHITEBIRCHES84 THEEMPEROR'SGHOST118 THEREDCANDLE132 RETURNEDGOODS149 BURNEDTOAST165 PETRONELLA187 THECANOPYBED205 SANDWICHJANE223 LADYCRUSOE272 AREBELLIOUSGRANDMOTHER310 WAIT—FORPRINCECHARMING327 BEGGARSONHORSEBACK351 THEGAYCOCKADE THEGAYCOCKADE From the moment that Jimmie Harding came into the office, he created an atmosphere Wewereatiredlot Mostofushadbeeninthegovernmentservice foryears,andhadbeengroundfineinthemillsofdepartmentalmonotony ButJimmiewasyoung,andheworehisyouthlikeagaycockade Heflaunted itinourfaces,andbecauseweweresotiredofourdullanddesiccatedselves, weborrowedofhim,remorselessly,colorandbrightnessuntil,gradually,inthe lightofhisreflectedglory,weseemedalittleyounger,alittlelesstired,alittle lesspetrified In his gay and gallant youth there was, however, a quality which partook of earlier times He should, we felt, have worn a feather in his cap—and a cloak insteadofhisNorfolkcoat Hewalkedwithalittleswagger,andstoodwithhis hand on his hip, as if his palm pressed the hilt of his sword If he ever fell in love, we told one another, he would, without a doubt, sing serenades and apostrophizethemoon He did fall in love before he had been with us a year His love-affair was a romance for the whole office He came among us every morning glorified; he leftusintheafternoonasaknightentersuponaquest He told us about the girl We pictured her perfectly before we saw her, as a little thing, with a mop of curled brown hair; an oval face, pearl-tinted; wide, blue eyes He dwelt on all her small perfections—the brows that swept across her forehead in a thin black line, the transparency of her slender hands, the straightsetofherheadonhershoulders,theslighthaltinherspeechlikethatof anenchantingchild Yet she was not in the least a child "She holds me up to my best, Miss Standish,"Jimmietoldme;"shesaysIcanwrite." We knew that Jimmie had written a few things, gay little poems that he showed us now and then in the magazines But we had not taken them at all seriously Indeed,Jimmiehadnottakenthemseriouslyhimself Butnowhetookthemseriously "ElisesaysthatIcandogreatthings ThatI mustgetoutoftheDepartment." Totherestofus,gettingoutofthegovernmentservicewouldhaveseemeda mad adventure None of us would have had the courage to consider it But it seemed anaturalthing thatJimmie shouldfareforthonthebroadhighway—a modernD'Artagnan,ayouthfulQuixote,anAlanBreck—! Wehatedtohavehimleave Buthehadconsolation "Ofcourseyou'llcome andseeus We'regoingbacktomyoldhouseinAlbemarle It'sarottenshack, but Elise says it will be a corking place for me to write And you'll all come downforweek-ends." Wefelt,Iamsure,thatitwasgoodofhimtoaskus,butnoneofusexpected that we should ever go We had a premonition that Elise wouldn't want the deadwoodofJimmie'sformerDivision Iknowthatformyself,Iwascontentto thinkofJimmiehappyinhisoldhouse ButIneverreallyexpectedtoseeit I hadreachedthepointofexpectingnothingexcepttheday'swork,mydinnerat theend,anight'ssleep,andthesamethingoveragaininthemorning Yet Jimmie got all of us down, not long after he was married, to what he called a housewarming He had inherited a few pleasant acres in Virginia, and thehousewastwohundredyearsold Hehadneverlivedinituntilhecamewith Elise It was in rather shocking condition, but Elise had managed to make it habitable by getting it scrubbed very clean, and by taking out everything that was not in keeping with the oldness and quaintness The resulting effect was barebutbeautiful Therewereagreatmanybooks,afewoil-portraits,mahogany sideboardsandtablesandfour-posterbeds,candlesinsconcesandinbranched candlesticks They were married in April, and when we went down in June poppieswereblowinginthewidegrassspaces,andhoneysuckleriotingoverthe lowstonewalls Ithinkweallfeltasifwehadpassedthroughpurgatoryandhad enteredheaven IknowIdid,becausethiswasthekindofthingofwhichIhad dreamed,andtherehadbeenatimewhenI,too,hadwantedtowrite The room in which Jimmie wrote was in a little detached house, which had oncebeentheofficeofhisdoctorgrandfather Hehadhistypewriteroutthere, andabigdesk,andfromthewindowinfrontofhisdeskhecouldlookouton greenslopesandthedistantblueofmountainridges Weenviedhimandtoldhimso "Well,Idon'tknow,"Jimmiesaid "OfcourseI'llgetalotofworkdone But I'llmissyourdarlingoldheadsbendingovertheotherdesks." "You couldn't work, Jimmie," Elise reminded him, "with other people in the room." "Perhapsnot DidItellyouolddearsthatIamgoingtowriteaplay?" Thatwas,itseems,whatElisehadhadinmindforhimfromthebeginning—a greatplay! "Shewouldn'teven,haveahoneymoon"—Jimmie'sarmwasaroundher;"she broughtmehere,andgotthisroomreadythefirstthing." "Well, he mustn't be wasting time," said Elise, "must he? Jimmie's rather wonderful,isn'the?" They seemed a pair of babies as they stood there together Elise had on a childish one-piece pink frock, with sleeves above the elbow, and an organdie sash Yet,intuitively,thetruthcametome—shewasagesolderthanJimmiein spiteofhertwentyyearstohistwenty-four HerewasnoJuliet,flamingtothe moon—nomistresswhosesteedwouldgallopbywind-sweptroadstomidnight trysts Herewas,rather,thecoolbloodthathadsacrificedahoneymoon—and, oh,tohoneymoonwithJimmieHarding!—forthesakeofanambitiousfuture Shewastellingusaboutit"Wecanalwayshaveahoneymoon,JimmieandI Someday,whenheisfamous,we'llhaveit Butnowwemustnot." "Ipickedouttheplace"—Jimmiewaseager—"adipinthehills,andbigpines —AndthenElisewouldn't." We went in to lunch after that The table was lovely and the food delicious Therewasbatter-bread,Iremember,andanomelette,andpeasfromthegarden DuncanStreetandItalkedallthewayhomeofJimmieandhiswife Hedidn't agreewithmeintheleastaboutElise "She'llbethemakingofhim Suchwives alwaysare." But I held that he would lose something,—that he would not be the same Jimmie Jimmie wrote plays and plays In between he wrote pot-boiling books The pot-boilers were needed, because none of his plays were accepted He used to stopinourofficeandjokeaboutit "Ifitwasn'tforElise'sfaithinme,MissStandish,Ishouldthinkmyselfapoor stick Of course, I can make money enough with my books and short stuff to keepthingsgoing,butitisn'tjustmoneythateitherofusisafter." Except when Jimmie came into the office we saw very little of him Elise gatheredaboutherthemenandwomenwhowouldcountinJimmie'sfuture The week-ends in the still old house drew not a few famous folk who loathed the commonplacenessofconvivialatmospheres Elisehadold-fashionedflowersin hergarden,delectablefood,alibraryofoldbooks Itwasaheavenlychangefor those who were tired of cocktail parties, bridge-madness, illicit love-making I couldneverbequitesurewhetherElisereallyloveddignifiedlivingforitsown sake,orwhethershewassufficientlydiscriminatingtorecognizethekindofbait whichwouldlurethefinesoulswhosepresencegavetoherhospitalitythestamp ofexclusiveness Theyhadasmallcar,anditwaswhenJimmiemotoreduptoWashingtonthat wesawhim Hehadafashionoftakingusouttolunch,twoatatime Whenhe askedme,heusuallyaskedDuncanStreet DuncanandIhaveworkedsideby side for twenty-five years There is nothing in the least romantic about our friendship,butIshouldmisshimifheweretodieortoresignfromoffice Ihave littlefearofthelattercontingency Onlydeath,Ifeel,willpartus InourmomentsofreunionJimmiealwaystalkedagreatdealabouthimself Thebigplaywas,hesaid,inthebackofhismind "ElisesaysthatIcandoit," hetoldusonedayoverouroysters, "andIambeginningtothinkthatIcan I
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