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some surviving vanity in Leaven that woman here had given the key of the the only human relation she should have fields. He was glad they would not know referred to spontaneously was his to her. the moment of her passing—that they The others were lost in that mist of kind- were so utterly barred out from knowlness which was settling each day a little edge of her. Then it came to him, with more impenetrably upon her soul. For a slow insistent rush of conviction, that it was a mist, through which the lamps he himself was still in Cordelia's debt. shone ever fainter and fewer. Morphine Nothing he had done for her in this season took care of that, since a point of light of slow dying could equal the beauty of would now be a point of pain.

her complete

abandoning of herself to his April was a veiled month.

The sun

care. She had not troubled him with rode higher and more kindly, and Leaven, thanks, with questions, with deprecations. as I have said, could see from his windows She had not even-oh, blessed abstenlife returning to the world. But within tion!-stated her case. She had taken the grayness deepened. The sound of him as simply as one takes God. She had that difficult breathing kept on through been beautiful, that is, without intention; the days and nights, incessant, natural because to the very core of her, no matter as a hidden watercourse close at hand. what grotesqueries of creed overlaid her When Leaven went forth into the streets, spirit, as grotesqueries of flesh overlaid he missed it at the heart of the din. He her pure heart, she trusted him. She was was neither impatient nor sad. He would unconscious of charity, whether hers or not have hastened or delayed Cordelia's his, thereby creating a charity that he death by the lifting of a secret finger. could never match. She must not suffer: of that he would Never? The sun turned its wide finger make sure. But the thought of her pass- of light upon her eyes. They opened into ing brought no relief. He was conscious- what must have been to her relaxed vily under no strain. What he had wanted sion, a great golden mist. Some early had been vouchsafed him; and the months irrelevant moment of her life resumed her would not add to the gift. Nothing else, in her weakness. ever in all his life, could happen to him now. “Heaven?" she murmured.

Yet when the doctor told him the next Leaven bent his face close to hers, pasdays would see the end, he bestirred him- sionately careful not to touch her or to self a little from his peace. He must be intercept the sun. there at hand, every moment, lest in “Nirvana,” he murmured back, with some last lucid instant she should wish a lingering clearness. “Nirvana.” It was to speak to him. He knew that the final with no passion of sympathy, no blur of unconsciousness would come before the emotion, that he spoke. Leaven had heart stopped beating, and he drugged never been colder than when he grasped, himself with coffee that he might not ostensibly, the hoarded sum of his consleep at all. The doctor's advice he tempt and flung it down there in the sunbrushed aside as he would have rejected light, to pay his debt. “Nirvana,” he a spurious painting. He sat for hours, repeated, deliberate, insistent as a meslistening to the raucous familiar breath- merist. ing, watching her closed eyelids.

The faintest smile, as if some little, On this day of late April, the sun was some infinitesimal thing had been set driving a level band of light through straight, brushed across Cordelia's mouth. the western windows. He motioned to The sacrifice of his lips' integrity had not the nurse not to draw the curtain. The been made in vain. She had touched and light was not yet upon Miss Wheaton's remitted. ... Then her eyes closed face, and something in his tradition again, and the nurse, at a gesture from craved sunlight for her at the end. As him, drew down the shade. he bent over her, never taking his eyes An hour later, in the twilight, the head from her closed eyelids, his mind went dropped, and the breathing, long since straying a little. He thought of the ben- almost inaudible, turned to silence. The eficiaries—all those people to whom this nurse nodded; and Leaven rose.





By Maxwell Struthers Burt

Author of "John O'May," etc.


NE does forget, doesn't one, keener, the fine shades of the drama I

in this individualistic, ego- witnessed might have been lost upon me. tistical age, the essential City dwellers apprehend things by their fact that the plans of the width; the dweller in lonely places appregods, no matter how up- hends them by their sharpness. Only.re

setting they may seem atcently, too, has it begun to dawn upon first, have continuity

and in the end bring me that possibly, after all, Mansfield Carultimate good? We are so impatient; ston has not lost everything; instead, we have become so little willing to abide that he may have gained much. Already, the final happening. So it was that in in actual production, in the painting of the beginning I resented bitterly the lovely pictures that will not be forgotten, scurvy trick fate had played on Mansfield he had accomplished greatly; whether he Carston; so it was that in the beginning had accomplished patience, whether he I resented with not much less bitterness had accomplished that fine inner sense of that I should first have become cognizant things without which in the end achieveof this trick during my one month of a ment to the person who achieves is but a long-anticipated holiday. Only recently, crippled hawk, brooding dissatisfaction, with increasing perspective, has a sense of I cannot say. I do not think he had. method back of all this occurred to me; a Has he learned by now? And if he has, realization that perhaps if I had not been is his personal gain commensurate with on a holiday, had not come straight from the loss to the world? These are diffia lonely country, where one's senses grow cult questions to answer. I shall go

back again to the beginning. In the be- a Pritchard. For a moment the full sigginning ...

nificance of the information I had just reWhen a man has been driving cattle in ceived failed to come home to me; I was blizzards, or muffling his mouth against merely glad at the prospect of seeing, conthe yellow dust of summer days for an trary to expectation, the Carstons so uninterrupted period of three years, there soon; merely greatly relieved that Manscomes a time, no matter how much he field Carston, with that brain of his so may love his little cow-ponies, and gray sensitive to beauty, those eyes with back expanses of sage-brush, and all the poign- of them so many pictures yet to be paintant moments of the country in which he ed, was out of the hideous uncertainties of lives, when he wants gayety and plenty war. Inspiring as had been his sacrifice of it, gayety unshaken by the sterner in enlisting, it had always seemed to me facts of life. I had reached this point. a sacrifice too great. Then, suddenly, a For certain things I had been thirsting as realization of the oddity of it all touched a man thirsts for dusk in August; streets, me. Although I saw them only at rare for instance, with a veil of fog giving intervals, the Carstons were amongst the mystery to a thousand blinking electric very best friends I had in New York; were signs; crowds, so that you hear the high, amongst the few people whose movements whispering accumulation of voices, feel I followed from my isolation in Wyoming. the insistent elbows, smell the curious, I had loved them both—and I use the sodden, inspiring smell of slightly damp, much-abused word advisedly-ever since, not very good clothes. And then, from ten years before, they had come, half all this, I wanted to come back to the un- without knowing why, to New York. I expected quiet and aloofness of a club; to had watched them develop, from a shy, low-voiced, well-scrubbed servants; to a slim, gracefully awkward young British bed of cool sheets; to a morning of a valet painter of portraits, and a shy, slim, auand a porcelain tub and new and beautiful burn-haired young wife, into the winged clothes. In short, I wanted to touch sort of people they now were: the direct, again for a while the thrilling magic of dexterous-minded man; the delicately rematerial comforts. And, particularly, I silient, mistily beautiful woman.

These didn't want to think. I had been back a attributes of Alice Carston—this quality week; I was just settling down to a full of delicate resilience, this quality of misty enjoyment of the things I have described; beauty-need bearing in mind, for in the life, meanwhile, with its incurable sar- eyes of most of her friends the latter atdonicism, was taking not the least account tribute far outweighed the former. I had of what I wanted or did not want. Out never thought so. She had always given of the warm, tree-scented dusk of a May me the impression of sunset across cornevening the sinister and the unexpected fields-strength, you perceive; brooding strolled in upon me. Its messenger, of thought; and I had always been sure that all people in the world, was Pritchard, it was she who had directed the somewhat Pritchard, blond, bland, bred to the now errant stream of her impatient husband's archaic school that gentlemen should nature into the broad channel of acnever show their feelings.

complishment. Women are constantly He-Pritchard-greeted me with the doing this: making little dams along harmless condescension he practises; he leaky banks; pulling out of the way danplaced one beautiful brown, begaitered gerous driftwood; very alert; persistentboot ồn the foot-rail of the bar; in a dis- ly anxious; and men seldom know about interested voice he admitted a desire for it. a cocktail; in the same disinterested voice Filaments of all these associated he informed me that the Carstons were thoughts crossed my mind as I stared back in New York, Mansfield Carston in- at Pritchard and grew into a definite valided from the trenches in Flanders, perplexity. Why hadn't I known that where, for the past two years, he had the Carstons were back? Why hadn't been. Fate seems to prefer for the con- I known that Mansfield Carston was veying of its more tragic messages couriers wounded? Why had there been no menwith about them a touch of the futility of tion of his return in the papers? Through

all the anxiety that was hers, through all “But I don't understand you,” I inthe difficulties that surround war-time sisted. “I don't know what you mean. mails, Alice Carston had, during her two Do you think there's something disgraceyears' stay in England, written me at in- ful?” I faced about on him. "What tervals of a month. Her last letter had are you talking about, anyhow? Do you reached me only a couple of weeks be- mean to imply that Carston isn't really fore.

wounded?" “They're not searching out their There was a little minute of silence befriends,” said Pritchard.

fore Pritchard answered; when he did, I trust I am not given to premature ap- he said an astonishing thing. “Yes," prehension—a middle-aged man in the he said, “that's just it! I don't know cattle business shouldn't be—but at the whether he's wounded or not.” moment a little, unexpected sense of op He allowed me a pause for this anpression, of the untoward, blew upon me nouncement to sink in. "That's just it," like a cold draft from a hidden crack. he continued; "just it! When you see a I do not like oppression, I do not like the man sitting in a chair apparently as well untoward; I am averse to mystery. I as he's ever been, when he talks quite attempted to corner Pritchard. It was frankly about everything else in the world curious to see embarrassment, hesitation, except what's the matter with him, but uncertainty struggle for possession of his when, at the same time, from the moment careful, negative face. He pushed aside you enter a room until you leave it, you his glass; then he turned to me in sudden are clearly aware of an atmosphere of redecision.

serve-reserve about real things, that is— "I can tell you nothing," he said; “not and that on the part of two old friends a thing. I am as perplexed as you. I whom you haven't seen for months, you only know there is something hidden and wonder, that's all. You wonder, and you out of the way, something beyond my ex- don't know.” perience. You see, I only saw the Car He drew himself up. I wouldn't talk stons for a few minutes the other night, this way," he observed, with a return to and”, he interrupted himself and stared his old, muffled manner, "except to you vaguely at the wall opposite—"it hap- and a few other of Mansfield Carston's pened to be fairly dark.” I wondered friends. No, I wouldn't talk this way at what this had to do with what he was all. I don't approve of conjecture, anysaying and why it was so carefully em- how—and particularly about Mansfield phasized, but I had no time to question Carston.” He ate an olive apprehenhim, for he immediately proceeded; he sively. “I've never met a man,” he reproceeded, for Pritchard, with extreme sumed, "so proud and so sensitive; have volubility. I gathered that here were in- you? Never. No, I never met a man jured feelings. After all, he asked, he like him. And, do you know-it's queer, was one of the earliest and best friends the it's queer, but I've always had about him Carstons had, wasn't he? A little con- the feeling that if you were to say behind sideration was due him, wasn't it? Yes, his back things he didn't like he'd know just a little consideration. Hadn't he about it the next time you saw him.” He bought the first picture Mansfield Carston looked at me anxiously. “Did you ever had ever sold in New York? Yes, that feel that way?” he asked. “He's—he's girl with the oranges. And now, here the most pervading man I've ever met.” they were acting in a way he couldn't He wiped his mustache with a handkerunderstand. Not a word to him of their chief of fine linen. “Going to dine here?” being back; not a word. He had come he concluded, with evident relief at the across Alice Carston merely by chance in change of subject. the street, and he had noticed right away I shook my head. "No," I said. an odd aloofness in her manner, an odd “No.” As a matter of fact, it had been lack of cordiality, when he announced, as my intention to do so, but I felt that at of course any one would have announced the moment I could get along very well under the circumstances, his intention of without further conversation with Pritchcalling at once.

ard. I wanted to think, and, although the

Pritchards of the world may occasionally The glory of the wild green earthstart one thinking, they seldom aid in the and the bravery of man! No, they had furtherance of the task.

not altered-either of them. It was exNot far off was a small and fairly quiet traordinary-all these years; it was very hotel. I sought its down-stairs restaurant heartening as well. It made a queer, and chose a table in a corner. I pro- splendid little shiver run across your ceeded to piece together what I had heard. shoulders; a fine, cold feeling touch your It seemed to have no relation to fact. It jaws. was quite possible to imagine Mansfield Now, as I sat at my table in the resCarston doing a foolish thing, but well- taurant, I recalled the poem and the nigh impossible to imagine him doing a thoughts it had given me. No, whatever shameful one. A man who gives up a ca- it was that Carston was concealing, I felt reer, gives up a life it has taken him ten sure that here was no ordinary secret of years to make, draws back from the very the wreck of war. The decision to see the threshold of fame, submerges an impa- Carstons-or to attempt to see themtient, shining individuality in the great grew in me. I have a theory that assistanonymity of war, because of the adventi-. ance, sincerely offered, no matter how tious gift of being born an Englishman, much resented it may be at first, is in the begins bravely, quixotically. A high de- end invariably welcome. gree of sensitiveness, of imagination, is I paid my bill and went out into the necessary for such an act. And the street. In the main dining-room above highly imaginative man may be afraid- the grill where I had been, the orchestra in fact, always is afraid—but he is more was playing a waltz. The windows, set afraid of fear than of death. And Car- with flowers in long boxes, were open, and ston had gone on bravely. In Wyoming the strains of the music drifted into the word had reached me of his promotion, of soft warmth of the spring night. The ina second promotion, of a mention in des- credible wistfulness of waltzes struck me patches. I remember at the time trying afresh. They are constantly reaching afto visualize him in his new, so strange sur- ter a gayety' their very real beauty preroundings; his thin, freshly colored face, vents them ever from attaining. Life with its shy, brown, humorous eyes-eyes wants so much to be gay; and life has althat had in them that look of perspective ways to be satisfied instead with beauty, instantly grasped the eyes of painters are that antithesis of gayety. Suddenly I so likely to have; his mouth, under its found myself laughing with rather dreary close-cropped black mustache; and par- amusement at the way my holiday, so ticularly I saw his hands, those beautiful, pleasantly begun, was beginning to end. proficient hands. I imagined them hang And yet the human mind is a confused ing, with their slim, strong wrists show- affair. At first, when I arrived at the ing, from the sleeves of a tunic too short Carstons', I experienced distinct disapfor him. He was excessively long-boned. pointment; felt greatly let down; a little Somehow, one thought of him most as bit silly. Everything seemed perfectly peering out at night above barricades, natural, perfectly ordinary, exactly what wondering if here, or perhaps there, or I remembered it to have been three years perhaps over there, beauty was to be before. I don't know what I had been found amidst all the hideous litter of war. expecting; one never does know exactly He would be sure to find beauty some- what one expects when one has a sense of where. And I remembered later on going disaster; but to find apparent outward into the house and finding there a maga- peace is invariably disconcerting. That zine lately come and in it a poem. One it is usual makes no difference. We canstanza seemed peculiarly apt to the news not accustom ourselves, despite experiI had just received.

ence, to the persistent anticlimaxes of

life. We hear of tragedy, but when we “For two things” (said the poem] “have altered hurry to where it is we find, as a rule, ex

istence going on much as usual; perhaps a Since ever the world beganThe glory of the wild green earth

red nose or two, that's all. We expect And the bravery of man.”

pomp and banners; we very seldom get


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