« ПретходнаНастави »
when you came. I do hope the rest will do you as much good as they thought."
Her voice was perfectly serious and her eyes sincere. Billy suspended his paddle and looked at her. She turned away and looked thoughtfully down the river. There was a silence. Billy let the canoe drift. At length she continued slowly.
"I can't let you go back," she said, "without telling you how much I thank you for helping me as you have-not in golf and shooting," she added with a smile, "but by the shining influence of a bright example in other ways. You've made me realize how serious life is, and that we should make the very most of our opportunities. I guess I've been a perfect leaf on the stream, and have never cared whether I accomplished anything or not. But now-well, I'm going to try."
Billy's eyes were glued upon her. It was gradually dawning upon him that his little joke had been taken in earnest. He felt his face flush. He wanted to speak out and undeceive her, but the words did not come. He only managed to jerk out an embarrassed "Thank you," and they paddled home in silence.
Billy had a soul somewhere, although he kept it so carefully concealed that few people had ever dreamed of its existence, and that day on the river it was aroused and proceeded to make Billy uncomfortable. "I've helped her-I've made her realize," he muttered to himself. "What a cad I am! I supposed of course she caught on, and here she thinks I am a regular tin god." Thus Billy's soul sputtered and fumed. It was his soul even if it used slang, and gradually it led him to a serious consideration of things in general and his own shortcomings in particular, until he reached a state of mind which was decidedly new to him. Billy, with all his faults, was not a man to live long in the glory of an undeserved reputation, so he was ready the next day to tell Miss Dorothy the truth, although he felt it would not be pleasant to see his own idealized image torn forever from its niche before his very eyes. But having nerved himself to the explanation, he plunged in with determination.
"What do you think, Miss Dorothy," he began apropos of nothing, "of a person who makes himself such a public nuisance that his college is glad to kick him out of the way? Don't you think he's a cad?"
Dorothy hesitated a moment. Then, "Er-yes," she said. hurriedly, "of course.'
"That's just what he is," Billy continued firmly. His selfabasement was complete. "He's not worth that," with a snap of his fingers. "Such a person ought to be ostracized,-isn't it so ?"
He looked up at Miss Dorothy for assent, but she was looking the other way.
"Isn't it?" Billy repeated anxiously.
There was a little pause, and then Miss Dorothy broke out, "Oh, don't-don't say any more, please. I-I want to tell you about it."
Billy was too overcome with surprise to say more anyway. Miss Dorothy continued bravely, although her voice sounded a trifle strained.
"I didn't want to tell you because I knew you would simply despise me, but I'm not going to be such a coward any longer. I-I was suspended from the Putnam School three weeks ago. I didn't care very much then, for I can't endure Miss Putnambut, oh dear!" she ended weakly.
A wave of relief began to spread over Billy's countenance. "Honest ?" he asked.
Miss Dorothy nodded without looking at him.
"Well," he said, "then perhaps you'll have some mercy on a fellow sinner. I was sent down here from Yale because my room was considered better than my company."
"O-o-h," said Dorothy, turning about slowly. He could feel himself shrinking in her estimation, but it was not quite so bad as he had anticipated. They sat looking at each other for a minute; then both laughed outright.
"Well," said Miss Dorothy, "it's a relief, anyway."
"Yes, it is," assented Billy, drawing a deep breath. They started to paddle on.
"I was suspended for going to the theater without permission, and one or two things like that," Miss Dorothy volunteered. "What did you do?"
Billy paddled energetically. "I'd rather not tell you," he said. “But I sha'n't do it again. I'm going back to-morrow and work," he continued, with an emphatic stroke of the paddle. "And I shall try again next year," added Miss Dorothy.
The next day Billy packed up his kit for the return to college. He put in clubs and clothes and things with an energy which was very promising. One of his possessions, however, he
hurled out of the open window with great force. It crashed against the stone wall, and Billy paused a moment in his work to notice its fate. He laughed softly to himself. "I've heard of people being reformed by saints," he said, "but my regeneration is due wholly to a sinner."
EDITH DEBLOIS LASKEY
THE SUMMER'S SECRET
Hark, hark, list to the silence;
What do those purple hazes mean?
Why are the very grasses quiet?
Why in the hot air that quivering sheen?
What is the secret Earth 's trying to whisper?
Hark now, the breezes are telling the story;
List, O my Soul, to her murmurings low.
Naught can I hear but my heart and its throbbing.
We who have hearts can but listen to them.
Last night, a flaming moon that seemed to cast
A myriad stars that glassy depths gave back,
Broad, glistening sands-and thou, sweetheart, with me.
To-night, a sky spread o'er with sullen clouds,
A storm-tossed sea whose waters sob and moan;
KLARA ELISABETH FRANK.
Clang, clang-a-clang, comes the sound of the hurdy-gurdy from the corner. Life and merriment run riot in the hot streets. A group of little girls with outA New Joshua stretched skirts and flyaway hair are dancing gaily to the music, while the small boys, although smiling in derision at the antics of their sisters, beat time with their sturdy boots against the curbstone of the crowded brick walk. Even the tired faces of the older people who walk about in couples or are seated on the doorsteps of the big tenements, have lost their expression of drawn care and worry. All are happy. No, from behind a green shutter of the house next the corner peeps out a face, such a wistful, freckled, rosy, little face. A small boy, watching the children dance, digs a fist into each tear-blurred eye, when the shutter is suddenly closed with a slam.
They have stopped dancing now, for the foreign looking woman with the yellow kerchief has moved the hurdy-gurdy away. A crowd of youngsters run after her; but five, two little girls and three boys, have stayed behind and are putting their small heads together, talking excitedly.
"Yes siree," says one, "he give 'em ter us fer soda,water, sure he did, an' be give one ter Timmy too."
"But, Jack," pipes in a girlish treble, "Timmy ain't a-comin'. He locked the baby in the closet this afternoon, and ma says she ain't goin' ter let 'im out ter-night at all."
As they talk the shutter slowly opens and little Tim, a martyr this hot summer evening, puts out his head to listen to his playmates who have their "soda" to look forward to while heAgain the grimy fists are ground into the blue eyes. Yes, and now they are sitting on the curb to wait for the eight stars, for the doctor who had come to see pa had given them the money, a nickel each, and had said they must wait until eight stars were out; then they might get the "scrumptious," foamy soda water, the kind Tim had had at the Sunday-school picnic last year. Timmy clenches his hot hand and feels lovingly, then savagely, for the nickel in his jacket pocket. Why, it's gone! No, it has only slipped into the lining. But what difference does it make? He can not have the soda.
A laugh and a cry of, "Who's got the button?" comes floating up from the lucky ones on the curb, and Timmy sees their smiles through the gathering twilight. Why had that baby
yelled so? Ma often locked up the puppy when it squealed,why not that horrid little Katie? In his despair the towsled head goes down on the window sill. What is that he hears the boys call down there below? Why, a star! The children have risen from the curb, for the long expected moment is now at hand.
"Two stars!" "Four!" "Five!" amid shrieks of joy. "Oh glory, boys,-seven!" shouts Bob, the eldest. Tim stands up. Something is beating hard in his throat. "Oh, they mustn't go without me! That star jes' can't come out. I'll ask God, they told me about, not to send it." Down on his knees goes Timmy. "Dear God, don't send the star, please. Make it wait till ter-morrow. I'll never lock up the baby again. I'll-I'll-please, God!"
It has not come yet. The others below stand with eager eyes. Tim is leaning out of the window, hoping, confident. But hear that yell! "Hurrah, it's come!"
The children scamper down the street, and in a moment Tim sees another bright star right above the window. A look of wonder, then the little face is drawn and puckered as he sobs, "Oh, God, I asked yer to-I asked yer to."
The tears have come now, and Timmy rocks to and fro with pangs of disappointment and broken faith.
But after a little time all grows quiet, and Tim, his face resting on his threadbare sleeve, the nickel in his moist little hand, is dreaming calmly of a happy land where "soda" flows from back-yard pumps and stars never dim the clear blue skies.
SELMA EISENSTADT ALTHEIMER
MY QUEEN OF HEARTS
When evening draws the shades of day,
Sets all the tiny, twinkling stars
To usher in the night,
We gather round the chimney-place,
I catch a glimmer of her face,-