« PreviousContinue »
seeking anxiously for soul sympathy, upon she at once sat down, as it was no nor yet a fortune-hunting young man. part of her scheme to be too prompt in In short, he did not belong to any of the keeping appointments. great varieties under which she had here “I wonder is it pique I feel,” she said tofore been wont to classify all men. to herself, “or is it something else
Fired with the excitement of having come to me at last? I know it is that discovered something out of the range of something else. Oh, why couldn't I her previous experience, she approached have felt that for some one who might the battleground with a confident and have loved me?" And then she cried a joyous heart.
little, bringing herself to a sudden stop "Perhaps he will be original enough at the horrible thought that crying inevnot to fall in love with me at all," she itably brings on a most unbecoming redthought, half pleased at the prospect. ness of eyes and nose. “And perhaps I shall really fall in love
Arthur Allison, as she expected, was with him at last,” she added to herself,
awaiting her in the summer house. To with a smiling incredulity.
her intense annoyance, but to her surHe met her fairly on neutral ground
prise, he was calmly smoking a cigar, in the hotel plaza—and the battle began. seeming ignorance of the flight of time. Sometimes they met on the beach of the
They talked a while of things imperbeautiful silver lake, sometimes they sonal, but finally it drifted around to met in the deserted music room, and she
goodbyes. It was nearly dusk, and played for him some of Chopin's glori neither could read very well the expresous, if dreamy, plaintive songs of love sion on the face of the other. And longing, sometimes they rowed by moon when the talk drifted to goodbyes, a silight on the silver lake.
All this was,
lence fell between them. Then sudshe reflected, quite as it had been with
denly, without preface, Allison began to several other men. But there was one
speak, standing erect: great difference. He never grew in the
“Yes, I may as well confess, Miss very least sentimental.
Thorp. It is a poor game for you to Chopin he could discuss intelligently,
bag, but they say you never despise a and he was not ignorant of the poets,
scalp. I take it for granted that you but these he discussed in the same calm,
know mine is to be added to your colunemotional manner with which he
lection." might have carried on a discussion over the mistakes of Schopenhauer with some
There was a laugh in his voice, but bespectacled German professor.
there was also an underlying bitterness Even a stroll on the beach in the moon
of sincerity, which Alta recognized and light failed--and Alta Thorp had never
welcomed with a glad, quickening of known such a supreme test to leave the
thrilling heartbeats. result for one moment in the balance. “Do you mean—" she said, not daring
Thus it stood on the day Alta was to to put the question. return to the city. They were to ren “Oh, yes, I mean quite that,” said Aldezvous near by, and to take a stroll be lison, with a nervous laugh. “I don't fore dinner! For this Alta was dressing suppose it will be necessary for me to in her most becoming costume. Strange formally ask you to marry me--we will to say, the more she was confirmed in
just suppose the question put and anher original opinion that Arthur Allison swered in the negative. You see, there was very different from all the men she are dozens of your good friends who were had known and was not likely to fall a only too willing to tell me of the collecvictim to her charrs, the less she was tion of hearts you have been making, pleased with the idea.
and the numbers of proposals which you When she had quite finished her dress have led different men on to make, helping, she glanced at her jeweled watch, lessly. I can't claim ignorance as my and noted that it was just the hour she
I knew, and resolved that I had promised to meet Allison. There would never become one of your victims,
THE WOMAN WHO WAS DIFFERENT.
but I have fallen in a fair fight, and can nice little fortune in her own right, and claim no quarter."
not at all averse to his company whenPerfect mistress of herself once more ever he chose to pay her attention. His she said, lightly:
affection never melted into words, and it “But you have not yet given me the was sufficiently adjustible to permit of opportunity to reject you, Mr. Allison. being put quite out of the way when its I certainly cannot count my conquest possessor met so fluffy and alluring a complete until I have had a formal
person as Alta Thorp. proposal from you."
“Arthur Allison's gone with your girl He looked at her in the darkness, his again," Miss Barrington heard an idler lips curling in contempt of such cruelty remark banteringly to another, as she as she displayed, the while his eyes still climbed the steps of the hotel. She told love. But he answered, in some stopped to fumble a handkerchief out of successful badinage:
her bag. “Miss Thorp, will you marry me?” “Who? Alta Thorp?” inquired the She turned, and faced him full, before
youth addressed. “Looks as if I was she answered:
cut out, doesn't it?" “Of course I will, dear heart."
That he was not the only individual
“cut out” Miss Barrington learned alPART SECOND.
most immediately upon the return of
the pair. Fluttering about the piazza, Kathryn Barrington went to White she discerned them at the end, and AlliSulphur Springs, West Virginia, for her son hanging on the words of his comChristmas, and New Year's vacation panion as no amount of mere appreciaalmost entirely because Arthur Allison tion of wisdom ever made man hang on was there, with his uncle, General Van the words of woman. Allison alstyne, who was taking the waters for greatly embarrassed, too, when he saw a touch of the gout. She was the gen Miss Barrington, although she tried to eral's private secretary and stenogra seem uninterested alike in his presence pher in the offices of the great railway and in his attention to the blue-frocked system of West Virginia, and a niece of girl to whom he presented her. the general's wife, highly educated, pro Allison was acting quite within his ficient in French, German and Spanish rights, she said to herself later, obeying languages, and music, To her friends the impulse that bade her justify him, in the offices she said that she felt the even to herself. He had made no pact quiet of the place to be what she needed. with her, at least no verbal pact, and she In point of fact, however, what she most knew that few men recognized the validneeded was the love of this handsome
ity of unspoken contracts. Why should railroad conductor. The ordinary sen a fine, handsome, strong fellow, whose sible woman of twenty-four, which was life was before him, be tied to a neutralthe exact age of Miss Barrington, prob tinted woman who already recognized ably would not have sympathized with that her future was to be only her past, her much concerning this requirement. stripped of its illusions? If Arthur AlliArthur Allison was twenty-eight, and son wanted to marry Alta Thorp, it his gray matter was not gray because of wasn't any of her business. maturity or over-exertion. He was ex Nevertheless, while presenting an imceedingly good-looking, exceedingly tall
perturbable front to that part of the and broad and debonair, and these vir world located at White Sulphur Springs, tues had appealed at once to Kathryn, she suffered keenly the next few days. whose eyes were accustomed to gray Miss Thorp and her wealthy widowed ness of mind and other things.
mother occupied a cottage near Silver Allison liked Miss Barrington, too, in Lake, and between walking, riding and a patronizing sort of fashion, his regard boating she and her new admirer were having been deepened considerably by together almost constantly. Allison the discovery that she was mistress of a glanced at Miss Barrington once
twice, assured himself that she didn't care, and was glad that he had not committed himself. Allison was not a bad sort of a man; he was just a man.
This was the state of affairs when a fire at the Thorp cottage upset White Sulphur Springs and permitted to the stalwart conductor a display of courage which seemed to write “finis" to his romance. The blaze broke out at dead of night and gained such headway in the front of the dwelling that there appeared scant probability that the inmates could be rescued. But the volunteer fire brigade propped its ladders against the veranda before the bedroom windows, but very wisely refused to mount them through the blast furnace of the blazing porch. Arthur Allison went up one of them as nimble as an organ grinder's monkey and carried both Alta and her mother to places of safety.
Miss Barrington, who thought it risky to be among the spectators at a fire, did not witness this deed, but she heard of it through the General and his wife, and her heart swelled with pride. She had known all along that Arthur Allison was capable of just such heroism. Forgetting her previous reserve, she hastened to congratulate him, bringing up speechless and fearful, with tears in her deep, blue eyes, before the couch on which he lay nursing a bandaged burn on his cheek.
This burn, the result of a falling brand while he was carrying Miss Thorp out of danger, kept her hero conductor wrapped in darkness and oil silk for a fortnight. His right eye had been endangered and had to be treated very carefully. Miss Barrington forfeited a considerable amount of her time and remained at the Springs. She really was needed after Miss Thorp, to whom the fire soon became only an impersonal oc
which made good material for story telling, found a rowboat shared with her earlier admirer rather preferable to a stuffy room shared with her later suitor and the odor of iodofoam. The injured man missed her greatly and inquired of Miss Barrington concerning her. Miss Barrington, with bravery in the feminine gender of that which he
exhibited at the fire, replied that she supposed Miss Thorp much occupied with getting furniture for her new cottage. “Her new cottage!” exclaimed Alli
“I may be interested in that myself some day."
Miss Barrington tried to change the subject. 'She's a brick!" the convalescent went
“Pretty as a picture, too. Don't you think so, Miss Barrington?"
Miss Barrington did.
She concluded that Miss Thorp was something better than pretty when she witnessed her first meeting with Allison after the bandages had been taken off from his face. The fire brand had penciled a mark of seared scarlet from his forehead to his throat. Miss Thorp gave vent to an abbreviated scream when she saw it, and then, mastering herself, grasped the victim's hand firmly. “I didn't realize," she said, “how much you had done for me.
Manifestly Miss Barrington had been unjust in considering her a mere doll.
One evening soon after, however, when she was sitting at her window looking into the mist of her life, she was given reason to resurrect her first opinion. Allison and Mist Thorp were seated below, and Allison was proposing their early marriage on Christmas day. The woman up above knew that she ought not to listen, but her breath was quivering in her throat and she could not move away to save her life.
“Don't!” Miss Thorp was urging when her voice first became audible.
“Don't, Arthur! Please don't!"
“But why?” he persisted. “I love you.
Until this moment I was sure that you loved me.”
“I did!” cried the girl. “Oh, I did until - You mustn't ever again ask me to marry you!”
Why?”repeated Allison. tition was determined. “I think I have earned the right to have a reason given.”
"That is the reason!"
spoken sharply, like a military command.
Miss Thorp quailed.
“What-what happened when you earned the right? Oh, I know I'm hor
store consciousness. Allison
was still holding her in his arms. She gently disengaged herself, looking with wonder into his eyes.
What she saw there caused a rosy blush that actually made her look pretty.
'What caused you to faint, dear?” asked her aunt.
“Oh, I can't tell you; I was so surprised and—but you must forgive me, Mr. Allison. You see, I was sitting in my window and overheard you talking below to Miss Thorp. The sudden shock paralyzed me; I couldn't move to save
rid! I know I'll be ashamed all the rest of my life. But-your cheek! I couldn't bear to look at that scar."
“Oh," said Allison.
"If it hadn't been for me you wouldn't have been burned,” Miss Thorp went on, sobbing almost hysterically. “I realize that. I'm sorry; indeed I'm sorry! Won't you say you forgive me?
Please do!” “Yes," said Allison.
“It's not your fault. I've just been a fool, I see it
I'm going away tomorrow." “And you won't think too harshly of me?"
Allison rose, and Miss Barrington heard him push back his chair. “I'll try not to think of you at all," he answered. “I'll try to remember a little woman who has never forgotten me. Her love was too fine for me to comprehend at first, but now, somehow, I seem to understand it."
Then two sounds broke the stillness of the night.
Arthur Allison had gone into the hotel, slamming the door after him, and Miss Barrington, fainting for the first time in her life, had fallen to the floor.
Arthur heard the noise made by her fall, and not knowing what else to do, hastened to the room of his aunt and then to the room of Miss Barrington. He quickly raised her in his arms while Mrs. Van Alstyne applied restoratives, which soon had the desired effect to re
“Were you so very angry, Kathrynwas that it?'
“Oh, no, no! I was not angry at all; on the contrary, it made me very happy to know you were disenchanted of the alluring and fascinating charms of a vain, silly woman."
'Yes, I was very rudely disenchanted, but it took a fire brand causing a bad burn, leaving an ugly scar to do it. The scar will gradually disappear, but my love for you, Kathryn, will endure for all time. We'll have our wedding on Christmas and spend our honeymoon in Parkersburg, where I am to remain as division superintendent.
The General grumbles about losing his secretary and stenographer, and a fairly good conductor, because he, and she, were different, and are happy and proud of it.
A Sermon for Today, Prepared for the St. Louis Republic by Henry F. Cope,
Editor of “Ram's Horn".
Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out unto thy houseIsaiah lviii., 6-7.
A working creed is a creed that works. The demand for a practical religion is
not a modern discovery. It would be hard for the most sensational denunciators of mere sentimentalism in religion to use stronger language than did those old prophets of Israel. Religion always has been either practice or pretense. It has its deep tides of feeling, but it never ends in these; the deeper the emotion, the more definite will be its expression. The danger is not that religion shall be
Church work may be as far from Christ's work as the east from the west. It is easy to mistake fuss and feathers for faith. The Master never worried over congregations, or choirs, or canonicals. He left those things to the people who oppose him and brought him to death. He simply did the good he could, never counting the cost to himself; he simply spoke the truth he knew, never calculating the consequences. The working creed wastes no energies on definitions while
are doing; it walks in the Teacher's way; it does his work.
The need of religion is not some comprehensive scheme of saving the world by machinery; it is not some automatic social propagandum which will wipe out the slum, clean up crime, and make this world a highly desirable place of residence for respectable people. The preparation of such plans may be left to the unfortunates who lack the heart or the energy to engage in definite work.
Neither does it need alone a mighty wave of indignation against modern pharasaism and hypocrisy, nor fasting
own faults, nor feeding the hungry with the tears of our sympathy, copiously, generously poured out in the comfort of our reading chairs.
The need is simple; practical religion is the easiest of all. It is to do the good that lies nearest you; neither to lecture on it, nor to weep over it, nor even to pray over it until you have done it. Deeds of love, not dreams of beneficence, are recorded in heaven. It is a nobler thing by far to have put a clean, smooth pillow under a sick man's head than to be the author of the most elaborate Utopia, the defender of the most intricate doctrine, or the most rigid observer of exact ritual.
Success is the bride of Endeavor,
And luck-but a meteor's gleam. The time to succeed is when others,
Discouraged, show traces of tire; The battle is fought in the home-stretch And won-'twixt the flag and the wire!
come emotional, as that the emotions shall not be so intense and deep striking as to issue in action.
Even the demand for a practical religion may be purely theoretical. It is not always the man who is denouncing a doctrinaire church who is doing most for the down-trodden. The preaching of ethics is often a refuge from their practice, and the writing of books and the delivery of lectures on sociology becomes often an
excuse from service of one's neighbors.
Most men think that heaven is given us as a warehouse of unrealized ideals; the truth is, earth is given us as a workshop for their actualization. The vital creed is the one that, with its force of conviction and its sway of heaven-born aspiration, compels one to attempt to make real now all the good we hope heaven may hold.
The real services of a church are outside its walls. The inspiration and direction may be given within, but the work must be done without, where the need is greatest. When a man's religion never gets beyond singing and sighing, he is stifling himself with unexpressed emotions. It is not strange that churches die when they are content to discuss definitions of the infinite, while those who are made in His likeness are stunted, dwarfed, and snuffed out by greed and shame.
Some Chri ians know more ut the anatomy of an angel than they do about the pathology of the poor.
Yet no living being ever saw an angel, while the poor we have always with us.
The noblest divinity is simple humanity. The most glorious religious service is simply doing the things for one another that we believe the all-loving God would do if he were one of us.
'Tis the coward who quits to misfortune,
'Tis the kna ve who changes each day, 'Tis the fool who wins half the battle
Then throws all his chances away.
There is little in life but labor,
Tomorrow may find that a dream;