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The Fortunes of Oliver Horn by F. Hopkinson Smith

Part 9 out of 9

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that anybody was listening, as unaware as he would
have been had only the white-haired mistress been
present, and perhaps Malachi stepping noiselessly in
and out. When he ceased, and the audience had
broken out into exclamations of delight, he looked
about him as if surprised, and then, suddenly remembering
the cause of it all, said, in a low, gentle voice,
and with a pleasant smile: "I don't wonder you're
delighted, gentlemen. It is to me the most divine of
all his creations. There is only one Bach." That his
hand had held the bow and that the merit of its expression
lay with him, never seemed to have entered
his head.

When the applause had died out, and Oliver with
the others had crowded around his father to congratulate
him, the young fellow's eyes fell upon Nathan,
who was still sitting on the long divan, his head resting
against the wall, his trembling legs crossed one
over the other, the thin hands in his lap--Richard's
skill was a never-ending delight to Nathan, and he
had not lost a note that his bow had called out. The
flute-player had kept so quiet since the music had begun,
and had become so much a part of the decorations
--like one of the old chairs with its arms held
out, or a white-faced bust staring from out a dark
corner, or some portrait that looked down from the
tapestries and held its peace--that almost everyone
had forgotten his presence.

The attitude of the old man--always a pathetic
one, brought back to Oliver's mind some memory
from out his boyhood days. Suddenly a forgotten
strain from Nathan's flute floated through his brain,
some strain that had vibrated through the old rooms
in Kennedy Square. Springing to his feet and tip-
toeing to the door, he passed between the two men
in armor--rather tired knights by this time, but still
on duty--ran down the carpeted hall between the
lines of palms and up one flight of stairs. Then came
a series of low knocks. A few minutes later he
bounded in again, his rapier in his hand to give his
legs freer play.

"I rapped up Mitchell, who's sick in his studio
upstairs, and got his flute," he whispered to Waller.
"If you think my father can play you should hear
Uncle Nat Gill," and he walked toward Nathan, the
flute held out toward him.

The old gentleman woke to consciousness at the
sight of the instrument, and a slight flush overspread
his face.

"Oh, Oliver! Really, gentlemen--I--Of course, I
love the instrument, but here among you all--" and
he looked up in a helpless way.

"No, no, Uncle Nat," cried Oliver, pressing the
flute into Nathan's hand. "We won't take any excuse.
There is no one in my town, gentlemen," and
he faced the others, "who can play as he does.
Please, Uncle Nat--just for me; it's so long since I
heard you play," and he caught hold of Nathan's arm
to lift him to his feet.

"You are quite right, my son," cried Richard,
"and I will play his accompaniment."

Oliver's announcement and Richard's endorsement
caused a stir as great as Richard's own performance.
A certain curiosity took possession of
the room, quite distinct from the spirit of merriment
which had characterized it before. Many
of the men now left their seats and began crowding
about the piano--red cardinals, cavaliers, nobles,
and black-coated guests looking over each other's
shoulders. Everybody was getting more and more

"Really, Fred," whispered Waller, who still sat
quietly watching the two visitors--he had not taken
his eyes from them since Richard in his enthusiasm
sprang forward to grasp Simmons's hand--,"this is
the most ridiculous thing I ever saw in my life.
First comes this fossil thoroughbred who outplays
Simmons, and now comes this old nut-cracker with
his white tow-hair sticking out in two straight mops,
who is going to play the flute! What in thunder is
coming next? Pretty soon one of them will be pulling
rabbits out of somebody's ears, or rubbing gold
watches into canary birds."

Nathan took the flute from Oliver's outstretched
hand, bowed in a timid way like a school-boy about
to speak a piece, turned it over carefully, tried the
silver keys to see that they responded easily to the
pressure of his fingers, and raised it to his lips.
Richard picked up the violin and whispered to Munson,
with whom he had been talking--the one member
who could play the piano as well as he could paint or
fence--who nodded his head in assent.

Then, with Richard leading, the four--one of the
guests a 'cellist of distinction took Max Unger's
place--began Max's arrangement of the overture to
"Fidelio"; the one Richard and Nathan had played
so often together in the old parlor in Kennedy
Square, with Miss Clendenning and Unger: an arrangement
which had now become known to most
musical amateurs.

There is not a man yet alive who has forgotten the
tones of Nathan's flute as they soared that night
through the clouds of tobacco-smoke that filled the
great banquet-hall. Every shade and gradation of
tone was a delight. Now soft as the cooing of doves,
now low as the music of a brook rippling over the
shallows and again swelling into song like a chorus
of birds rejoicing in the coming of spring.

Not until the voice in the slender instrument had
become silent and the last note of Richard's bow
had ceased reverberating--not in fact, until both
men had laid down their instruments, and had turned
from the piano--did the room seem to recover from
the spell that had bound it. Even then there was no
applause; no clapping of hands nor stamping of feet.
There followed, from members and guests alike, only
a deep, pent-up sigh and a long breath of relief, as if
from a strain unbearable. Simmons, who had sat
with his head buried in his hands, gave no other sign
of his approval than by rising from his chair, taking
Nathan's thin hand in his own and grasping it tightly,
without a word. Stedman blurted out, in a low voice
to himself: "My God! Who ever heard anything
like that?" and remained fixed to his seat. As for
Richard and Nathan, they resumed their places on
the divan as men who had read a message not their
own to willing ears.

Another, and quite a different mood now took possession
of the room. Somehow the mellow tones of
Nathan's flute had silenced the spirit of the rollicking
buffoonery which had pervaded the evening.

The black-coated guests, with superlative praise of
the good time they had had, and with renewed thanks
for the privilege, began to bid Fred, the Master of
Ceremonies, good-night. Soon only the costumed
members, with Richard and Nathan, were left. So
far from being tired out with the night's diversion,
these two old gentlemen seemed to have just wakened

Those remaining drew their chairs together,
lighted fresh cigars, and sat down to talk over the
events of the evening. Richard related an anecdote
of Macready when playing the part of Hamlet; Stedman
told of the graceful manner, in which Booth, a
few months before, in the same part, had handed the
flageolet to the musicians, and the way the words fell
from his lips, "You would play upon me "; Oliver,
addressing his words rather to his father than to the
room--acting the scene as he talked, and in his tight-
fitting doublet, looking not unlike the tragedian himself,
cut in with a description of the great tragedian's
first night at the Winter Garden after his seclusion--
a night when the whole house rose to greet their
favorite and cheered and roared and pounded
everything within reach of their hands and feet for
twenty minutes, while Booth stood with trembling
knees, the tears rolling down his cheeks. Munson
remarked with some feeling--he was an intimate
friend of the actor--that he remembered the night
perfectly, having sat behind Oliver, and that Booth
was not only the most accomplished actor but the
best swordsman ever seen on the American or any
other stage. Munson was an expert fencer himself,
as was evidenced by the scar on his left cheek, received
when be was a student at Heidelberg, and so
thought himself competent to judge.

While Munson was speaking the great Waller had
risen from his seat for the first time, gathered
his gorgeous raiment closer about him, crossed
the room, and now stood filling a thin glass from a
Venetian flagon that graced the demoralized table.

"Booth's a swordsman, is he?" he said, pushing
back his turban from his forehead, and walking toward
Munson, glass in hand, his baggy trousers and
tunic making him look twice his regular size. "You
know as much about fencing, Munson, as you do
about the lost tribes of Israel. Booth handles his
foil as a policeman does a rattan cane in the pit of the
Bowery. Forrest is the only man in this country who
can handle a blade."

"I do, do I?" cried Munson, springing to his feet
and unhooking a pair of foils decorating the wall.
"Stop where you are, you caricature of Nana Sahib,
or I'll run you through the body and pin you
to the wall like a beetle, where you can kick to your
heart's content. Here, catch this," and he tossed one
of the foils to Waller.

"A ring! A ring!" cried the men, with one of
those sudden inspirations that often swept over
them, jumping from their seats and pushing back the
chairs and music-racks to give the contestants room.

Waller laid down his wine-glass, slipped off his turban
and gold embroidered tunic with great deliberation,
threw them over to Oliver, who caught them in
his arms, tightened his sash, grasped the foil in his
fat hand, and with great gravity made a savage lunge
at the counterfeit presentment of William Shakespeare,
who parried his blow without moving from
where he stood. Thereupon the lithe, well-built
young fellow teetered his foil in the air, and with
great nicety pinked his fat antagonist in the stomach,
selecting a gilt band just above his sash as the point
of contact.

A mock battle now ensued, Munson chasing Waller
about the room, the, members roaring with laughter,
Richard, with Oliver's assistance, having mounted
the divan to see the better, clapping his hands like
any boy and shouting, "Bravo! Bravo! Now the
uppercut, now the thrust! Ah, well done. Capital!

Oliver listened in wonder to the strange expressions
that dropped from his father's lips. Up to that
moment he had never known that the old gentleman
had ever touched a foil in his life.

The next instant Richard was on the floor again,
commiserating with Waller, who was out of Munson's
reach and out of breath with laughter, and congratulating
Munson on his skill as a swordsman.

"I only noticed one flaw, my dear Mr. Munson,
in your handling," he cried, with a graceful wave of
the hand, "and that may be due to your more modern
way of fencing. Pardon me"--and he picked up
Waller's foil where he had dropped it, and the fine
wrist with the nimble fingers, that had served him so
well all his days, closed over the handle of the foil.
"The thrust in the old days was made SO. You,
I think, made it SO"--and two flashes at different
angles gleamed in the candle-light.

Munson, as if to humor the old gentleman, threw
up his foil, made a pass or two, and, to his intense
astonishment, received the button of Richard's foil on
his black velvet jacket and within an inch of his heart.

Everybody on the floor at once circled about the
contestants. The spectacle of an old gentleman in a
snuff-colored coat and high collar, having a bout with
a short gentleman in shorter velvet trunks, silk hose,
and steel buckles, was one too droll and too exhilarating
to lose--anachronistic it was, yet quite in keeping
with the surroundings. More exhilarating still
was the extreme punctiliousness with which the
old gentleman raised the handle of his foil to his chin
after he had made his point, and saluted his antagonist
as if he had been some knight of King Arthur's

Still more fascinating was the way in which the
younger man settled down to work, his brow knit, his
lips tightly closed, the members widening out to give
them room, Oliver and Nathan cheering the loudest
of them all as Richard's foil flashed in the air, parrying,
receiving, now up, now down, his right foot edging
closer, his dear old head bent low, his deep eyes
fixed on his young antagonist, until, with a quick
thrust of his arm and a sudden upward twist of his
hand, he wrenched Munson's foil from his grasp and
sent it flying across the room.

Best of all was the joyful yet apologetic way with
which Richard sprang forward and held out his hand
to Munson, crying out:

"A fluke, my dear Mr. Munson; quite a fluke, I
assure you. Pray forgive me. A mere lucky accident.
My old fencing master, Martini, taught me
that trick. I thought I had quite forgotten it. Just
think! it is forty years since I have had a foil in my
hands," and, laughing like a boy he crossed the room,
picked up the foil, and, bowing low, handed it to the
crestfallen man with the air of a gallant.

Half the club, costumed as they were--it was now
after midnight, and there were but few people in the
streets--escorted the two old men back to their hotel.
Munson walked beside Richard; Waller, his flowing
skirts tucked up inside his overcoat, stepped
on the right of Nathan; Oliver, Fred, and the others
followed behind, the hubbub of their talk filling the
night: even when they reached the side door of the
hotel and rang up the night porter, they must still
stand on the sidewalk listening to Richard's account
of the way the young gallants were brought up in his
day; of the bouts with the foils; and of the duels
which were fought before they were willing to take
their leave.

When the last good-byes had been given, and Oliver
had waved his rapier from the doorstep as a final
farewell to his fellow-members before he saw his
father upstairs to bed, and the delighted escort had
turned on their heels to retrace their steps up Broadway,
Waller slipped his arm into Munson's, and said,
in his most thoughtful tone, one entirely free from
cynicism or badinage:

"What a lovely pair of old duffers. We talk
about Bohemia, Munson, and think we've got it, but
we haven't. Our kind is a cheap veneer glued to
commonplace pine. Their kind is old mahogany, solid all
the way through--fine grain, high polish and no
knots. I only wish they lived here."



Each day Margaret's heart warmed more and more
to Richard. He not only called out in her a tenderness
and veneration for his age and attainments which
her own father had never permitted her to express,
but his personality realized for her an ideal which,
until she knew him, she had despaired of ever finding.
While his courtesy, his old-time manners, his quaintness
of speech and dress captivated her imagination,
his perfect and unfailing sympathy and constant
kindness completely won her heart. There was, too,
now and then, a peculiar tone in his voice which would
bring the tears to her eyes without her knowing why,
until her mind would recall some blunt, outspoken
speech of her dead father's in answer to the very
sentiments she was then expressing to Richard, who
received them as a matter of course--a remembrance
which always caused a tightening about her heart.

Sometimes the inventor would sit for her while
she sketched his head in different lights, he watching
her work, interested in every stroke, every bit of
composition. She loved to have him beside her easel
criticising her work. No one, she told Oliver, had
ever been so interested before with the little niceties
of her technique--in the amount of oil used, in the
way the paints were mixed; in the value of a palette
knife as a brush or of an old cotton rag as a blender,
nor had any one of her sitters ever been so enthusiastic
over her results.

There was one half-hour sketch which more than
all the others astonished and delighted him--one in
which Margaret in her finishing touches had eschewed
brushes, palette-knife and rag, and with one dash of
her dainty thumb had brought into instant relief the
subtle curves about his finely modelled nose. This
filled him with wonder and admiration. His own finger
had always obeyed him, and he loved to find the
same skill in another.

To Richard these hours of intercourse with Margaret
were among the happiest of his life. It was
Margaret, indeed, who really helped him bear with
patience the tedious delays attendant upon the completion
of his financial operations. Even when the
final sum was agreed upon--and it was a generous
one, that filled Oliver's heart with joy and set Nathan's
imagination on fire--the best part of two weeks
had been consumed before the firm of lawyers who
were to pass upon Richard's patents were willing to
certify to the purchasers of the stock of the horn
Magnetic Motor Company, as to the priority of Richard's
invention based on the patent granted on
August 13, 1856, and which covered the principle of
the levers working in connection with the magnets.

During these tedious delays, in which his heart had
vibrated between hope and fear, he had found his
way every afternoon to Margaret's studio, Nathan
having gone home to Kennedy Square with his head
in the clouds when the negotiations became a certainty.
In these weeks of waiting the Northern girl
had not only stolen his heart, taking the place of a
daughter he had never known--a void never filled in
any man's soul--but she had satisfied a craving no
less intense, the hunger for the companionship of
one who really understood his aims and purposes.
Nathan had in a measure met this need as far as unselfish
love and unswerving loyalty could go; and so
had his dear wife, especially in these later years,
when her mind had begun to grasp the meaning of
the social and financial changes that the war had
brought, and what place her husband's inventions
might hold in the new regime. But no one of these,
not even Nathan, had ever understood him as clearly
as had this young girl.

When it grew too dark to paint, he would make
her sit on a stool at his feet, while he would talk to her
of his life work and of the future as he saw it--often
of things which he had kept shut away in his heart
even from Nathan. He would tell her of the long
years of anxiety; of the sleepless nights; of his utter
loneliness, without a friend to guide him, while he
was trying to solve the problems that had blocked his
path; of the poverty of these late years, all the more
pitiful because of his inability at times to buy even
the bare materials and instruments needed for his
work; and, again, of his many disappointments in
his search for the hoped-for link that was needed
to make his motor a success.

Once, in lowered tones and with that eager, restless
expression which so often came into his face when
standing over his work-bench in his little shop, baffled
by some unsolved problem, he told her of his many
anxieties lest some other brain groping along the
same paths should reach the goal before him; how
the Scientific Review, the one chronicle of the discoveries
of the time, would often lie on his table for
hours before he had the courage to open it and read
the list of patents granted during the preceding
months, adding, with a voice full of gentleness, "I
was ashamed of it all, afterward, my dear, but Mrs.
Horn became so anxious over our daily expenses,
and so much depended on my success."

This brave pioneer did not realize, nor did she,
that they were both valiant soldiers fighting the good
fight of science and art against tradition and
provincialism--part of that great army of progress which
was steadily conquering the world!

As she listened in the darkening shadows, her hand
in his, her fingers tight about his own, he, reading
the sympathy of her touch, and fearing to have distressed
her by his talk, had started up, and in his
cheery, buoyant voice cried out:

"But it is all over now, my child. All past and
gone. The work of my life is finished. There's
plenty now for all of us. For my dear wife who has
borne up so bravely and has never complained, and
for you and Oliver. Your waiting need not be long,
my dear. This last happiness which has come to me"
--and he smoothed her hair gently with his thin
hand and drew her closer to him--"seems the greatest
of them all."

The two were seated in this way one afternoon,
Margaret resting after a day's work, when Oliver
opened the door. She had made a sketch of Richard's
head that very morning as he lay back in a big
chair, a strong, vigorous piece of work which she
afterward finished.

Richard looked up and his face broke into a joyous

"Bring a chair, my son," he cried, "and sit by
me. I have something to say to you." When, a
few moments later, Margaret had left the room to
give some directions to Mrs. Mulligan, he added: "I
have been telling Margaret that you both do wrong
in putting off your marriage. These delays fret
young people's lives away. She tells me it is your
wish. What are you waiting for?"

"Only for money enough to take care of her,
father. Madge has been accustomed to more comforts
than I can give her. She would, I know, cheerfully
give up half of her income, small as it is, to me
if I would let her, but that is not the way I want to
make her happy. Don't worry, dear old dad, the Fish
portrait will pull us out"--and he leaned down and
put his arms about his father's neck as he used to
do when he was a boy. "I shall get there before

Oliver did not tell his father what a grief it had
been to him to keep Madge waiting, nor how he had
tried to make it up to her in every way while he had
made his fight alone. Nor did he tell Richard of the
principal cause of his waiting--that the mortgage to
which his mother had pledged her name and to which
he had morally pledged his own was still unpaid.

Richard listened to Oliver's outburst without interrupting

"I only wanted to do the best I could for you my
son," he answered, laying his fingers on Oliver's
hand. "I was thinking of nothing but your happiness.
During the last few days, since I have become
assured that this negotiation would go through, I
have decided to carry out a plan which has long been
in my mind and which, now that I know about Margaret,
makes it all the more necessary. I am going
to make provision for you immediately. This, I hope,
will be to-morrow or the next day at farthest. The
contracts are all ready for our signatures, and only
await the return of one of the attorneys who is out of
town. The cash sum they pay for the control of the
patents is, as you know, a considerable one; then I
get nearly half of the capital stock of the new company.
I am going to give you, at once, one-third of
the money and one-third of the stock."

Oliver raised his hand in protest, but Richard kept

"It is but just, my son. There are but three of us
--your mother, yourself, and I. It is only your
share. I won't have you and Margaret waiting until
I am gone"--and he looked up with a smile on his

Oliver stood for a moment dazed at the joyous
news, his father's hand in his, the tears dimming his
eyes. While he was thanking him, telling him how
glad he was that the struggle was over and how proud
he was of his genius, Margaret stole up behind him
and put her hands over his eyes, bidding him guess
who it was--as if there could be another woman in
the whole world who would take the liberty. Oliver
caught her in his arms and kissed her, whispering in
her ears the joyous news with her cheek close to his;
and Margaret looked from one to the other, and then
put her arms around Richard and kissed him without
a word--the first time she had ever dared so much.

Oh, but there were joyous times that followed!

Mrs. Mulligan, at a whispered word from her mistress,
ran down-stairs as fast as her old legs could
carry her and came back with her arms full of bundles,
which she dumped upon her small kitchen-table.
And Margaret put on a clean white apron, white as
snow, and rolled up her sleeves, showing her beautiful
arms above her elbows--Oliver always vowed
that she had picked them up where the Milo
had dropped them--and began emptying the contents
of a bowl of oysters, one of Mrs. Mulligan's packages,
into a chafing-dish. And Oliver wheeled out the table
and brought out the cloth, and dear old Richard, his
face full of smiles, placed the napkins with great
precision beside each plate, puckering them up into little
sheaves, "just as Malachi would have done," he said;
and then Margaret whispered to Oliver if he didn't
think "it would be just the very thing," they were
"so anxious to see him"--and Oliver thought it
would--he was cutting bread at the moment, and
getting it ready for Mrs. Mulligan to toast on her
cracker-box of a range; and Margaret, with her arms
and her cheeks scarlet, ran out in the hall and down
the corridor, and came back, out of breath, with
two other girls--one in a calico frock belted in at
her slender waist, and the other in a black bombazine
and a linen collar. And Richard looked into their
faces, and took them both by the hand and told them
how glad he was to be permitted to share in their
merrymakings; and then, when Oliver had drawn out
the chairs--one was a stool, by the way--the whole
party sat down, Oliver at the foot and Richard on
Margaret's right, the old gentleman, remarking, as
he opened his napkin, that but one thing was wanting
to complete his happiness, and that was Oliver's
mother, who of all women in the world would enjoy
the occasion the most.

But the happiest time of all was over the soup, or
rather over the tureen, or rather what was inside of
it--or worse still, what was not. This wonderful soup
had been ordered at the restaurant across the way,
and was to be brought in smoking hot at the appointed
time by a boy. The boy arrived on the minute,
and so did the tureen--a gayly flowered affair
with a cover, the whole safely ensconced in a basket.
When the lid was lifted and Margaret and the two
girls looked in, a merry shout went up. Not a drop
of soup was in the tureen! The boy craned his head
in amazement, and Mrs. Mulligan, who stood by with
the plates, and who had broken out into violent gestures
at the sight was about to upbraid the boy for his
stupidity, when Margaret's quick eye discovered a
trail of grease running down the table-cloth, along
the floor and out of the door. Whereupon everybody
got up, including Richard, and with roars of laughter
followed the devious trail out into the hall and so
on down the staircase as far as they could see. Only
when Mrs. Mulligan on their return to the room held
up the tureen and pointed to a leak in its bottom, was
the mystery explained.

And so the merry dinner went on.

Ah, dear old man, if these happy days could only
have gone on till the end.

On the afternoon of the day following this joyous
night--the day the contracts were to be signed, a
culmination which would make everybody happy--
Margaret hurried up the stairs of her building, and
pushed open the door. She knew she should find the
inventor waiting for her, and she wanted to be the
first to get the glad news from his lips. It was
varnishing day at the Academy, and she had gone down
to put the last touches on her big portrait--the one of
"Madame X." that she had begun in Paris the year

Richard did not move when she entered. He was
leaning back in the chair she had placed for him, his
head on his hand, his attitude one of thoughtful repose,
the light of the fast-fading twilight making a
silhouette of his figure. She thought he was dozing,
and so crept up behind him to make sure.

"Ah, my dear, is that you?" he asked. The voice
did not sound like Richard's.

"Yes--I thought you were asleep."

"No, my child--I'm only greatly troubled. I'm
glad you have come"--and he took her hand and
smoothed it with his own. "Bring your stool; I
have something to say to you."

Without taking off her bonnet and cloak, she took
her place at his feet. The tones of his voice chilled
her. A great fear rose in her heart. Why she could
not tell.

"Has anything happened to Oliver?" she asked,

"No, nothing so terrible as that. It is about the
motor. The bankers have refused the loan, and the
attorneys have withdrawn the papers."

"Withdrawn the papers! Oh, no it can't be!"
She had leaned forward now, her anxious, startled
eyes looking into his.

"Yes, my dear; a Mr. Gorton from Maine has perfected
a machine which not only accomplishes what I
claim for my own, but is much better in every way.
The attorneys have been looking into this new motor
for a week past, so I learn now. Here is their letter"
--and he put his hand in his pocket and took out a
white envelope. "They will, perhaps, take up Mr.
Gorton's machine instead of mine. I made a hasty
examination of this new motor this morning with my
old friend Professor Morse, and we both agree that
the invention is all Mr. Gorton claims for it. It is
only a beginning, of course, along the lines of galvanic
energy, but it is a better beginning than mine,
and I feel sure it is all the inventor claims for it. I
have so informed them, and I have also written a letter
to Mr. Gorton congratulating him on his success."
The calmness and gentleness of his voice
thrilled her.

"I suppose I ought to have telegraphed the news
to Mrs. Horn, as I promised," he continued, slowly,
as if each word gave him pain, "but I really had not
the heart, so I came up here. I've been here all the
afternoon hoping you would come in. The room felt
a little cold, my dear, and your good woman made a
fire for me, as you see. You don't mind, do you?"

Margaret bowed her head on his hands and kissed
the thin fingers that lay in her own. Her heart was
full to bursting. The pathos of the bent figure, the
despairing sound of his voice--so unlike his buoyant
tones; the ghostly light that permeated the room, so
restful always before, so grewsome and forbidding
now, appealed to her in a way she had never known.
She was not thinking of herself, nor of Oliver, nor of
the wife waiting for the news at home; she was only
thinking of this dear old man who sat with bowed
head, his courage gone, all the joyousness out of his
life. What hurt her most was her own utter helplessness.
In most things she could be of service: now
she was powerless. She knew it when she spoke.

"Is it ended?" she asked at last, her practical mind
wanting to know the worst.

"Yes, my child, ended. I wish I could give you
some hope, but there is none. I shall go home to-
morrow and begin again;--on what I do not know--
something--I cannot tell."

Oliver's footsteps sounded in the outer hall. She
rose quickly and met him on the outside, half closing
the door, so that she could tell him the dreadful news
without being overheard.

"Broken their promises to father? Impossible!
Why? What for? Another invention? Oh, it cannot

He walked quickly toward him. "But father,
what about your patents? They can't rob you of
them. Suppose this man's motor is better."

Richard did not move. He seemed unwilling to
look his son in the face.

"Let me take hold of this thing." Oliver was
bending over him now, his arms about his neck. "I'll
see Mr. Slade at once. I met him this morning and
told him you were here, and he is coming to call on
you. He has always stood by me and will now.
These people who have disappointed you are not the
only ones who have got money. Mr. Slade, you
know, is now a banker himself. I will begin to-morrow
to fight this new man who--"

"No, no, my son, you must do nothing of the
kind," said Richard leaning his cheek wearily against
Oliver's hand, as if for warmth and protection, but
still looking into the fire. "It would not be right to
take from him what he has honestly earned. The lifting
power of his machine is four times my own, and
the adjustment of the levers much simpler. He has
only accomplished what I failed to do. I am not quite
sure but I think he uses the same arrangement of
levers that I do, but everything else is his. Such a
man is to be helped, not worried with lawsuits. No,
my son, I must bear it as best I may. Your poor
mother!" He stopped suddenly and passed his hand
over his eyes, and in a broken, halting voice, added:
"I've tried so hard to make her old age happier. I
fear for the result when the news reaches her. And
you and this poor girl!"--and he reached out his
hand to Margaret--"this is the part that is hardest
to bear."

Oliver disengaged his arm from his father's neck
and walked up and down the room, Madge watching
him. His mind was searching about for some way
to stem the tide of disaster. Every movement of
his body expressing his determination. He was not
thinking of himself. He saw only Madge and his
mother. Then he turned again and faced his

"Will you let me try?" he urged in a firm voice.

"No, Oliver! Positively no."

As he spoke he straightened himself in his chair
and turned toward Oliver. His voice had regained
something of its old-time ring and force. "To rob
a man of the work of his brain is worse than to take
his purse. You will agree with me, I know, when you
think it over. Mr. Gorton had never heard of my invention
when he perfected his, nor had I ever heard
of his when I perfected mine. He is taking nothing
from me; how can I take anything from him! Give
me your hand my son; I am not feeling very well."
His voice fell again as if the effort had been too
much for him. "I think I will go back to the hotel.
A night's rest will do me good."

He rose slowly from his chair, steadied himself
by holding to Oliver's strong arm, stood for an instant
looking into Margaret's eyes, and said, with
infinite tenderness:

"Come close; my daughter, and kiss me."

She put her arms about him, cuddling her head
against his soft cheek, smoothing his gray hair with
her palm.

"My child," he said, "you have been a delight
and joy to me. A woman like you is beyond price.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for loving
my son."

With something of his old manner he again
straightened himself up, threw his shoulders back
as if strengthened by some new determination,
walked firmly across the room, and picked up his
cloak. As he stood waiting for Oliver to place it
about his shoulders, he put his hand to his side, with
a quick movement, as if smitten by some sudden
pain, staggered backward, his head upon his breast,
and would have sunk to the floor but for Oliver's
hand. Margaret sprang forward and caught his
other arm.

"It's nothing, my son," he said, between his
gasps for breath, holding on to Oliver. "A sudden
giddiness. I'm often subject to it. I, perhaps, got
up too quickly. It will pass over. Let me sit down
for a moment."

Half supporting him, Oliver put his arm about
his father and laid him on the lounge.

As Richard's head touched the cushion that Margaret
had made ready, he gave a quick gasp, half
rose as if to breathe the better, and fell back

When the doctor arrived Richard was lying on
Margaret's bed, where Oliver had carried him, he
had rallied a little, and had then sunk into a deep
sleep. Margaret sat beside him, watching every
breath he drew, the scalding tears streaming down
her face.

The physician bent closer and pressed his ear to
the sleeping man's breast

"Has he been subject to these attacks?" he said,
in a grave tone.

"I know of only one some years ago, the year
the war broke out, but he recovered then very
quickly," answered Oliver.

"Is your mother living!"


"Better send her word at once."



The night wind sighed through the old sycamores
of Kennedy Square. A soft haze, the harbinger of
the coming spring, filled the air. The cold moon,
hanging low, bleached the deserted steps of the
silent houses to a ghostly white.

In the Horn mansion a dim light burned in Richard's
room and another in the lower hall. Everywhere
else the house was dark.

Across the Square, in Miss Clendenning's boudoir,
a small wood fire, tempering the chill of the
April night, slumbered in its bed of ashes, or awakened
with fitful starts, its restless blaze illumining
the troubled face of Margaret Grant. The girl's
eyes were fixed on the dying coals, her chin in her
hand, the brown-gold of her wonderful hair gold-red
in the firelight. Now and then she would lift her
head as if listening for some approaching footstep.
Miss Clendenning sat beside her, leaning over the
hearth in her favorite attitude, her tiny feet resting
on the fender.

The years had touched the little lady but lightly
since that night when she sat in this same spot
and Oliver had poured out his heart to her. She
was the same dainty, precise, lovable old maid that
she had been in the old days of Kennedy Square,
when the crocuses bloomed in the flower-beds and its
drawing-rooms were filled with the wit and fashion
of the day. Since that fatal night when Richard
had laid away his violin and brother had been divided
against brother, and Kennedy Square had become
the stamping ground of armed men, she had watched
by the bedsides of a thousand wounded soldiers, regardless
of which flag they had battled under. The
service had not withered her. Time had simply
stood still, forgetting the sum of its years, while it
marked her with perennial sweetness.

"I'm afraid he's worse," Margaret said, breaking
the silence of the room, as she turned to Miss Clendenning,
"or Ollie would have been here before
this. Dr. Wallace was to go to the house at eleven,
and now it is nearly twelve."

"The doctor may have been detained," Miss Clendenning
answered. "There is much sickness in

For a time neither spoke. Only the low muttering
of the fire could be heard, or the turning of some
restless coal.

"Margaret," Miss Clendenning said at last--it
had always been "Margaret" with the little lady
ever since the day she had promised Oliver to love
the woman whom he loved; and it was still "Margaret"
when the women met for the first time in
the gray dawn at the station and Miss Clendenning
herself helped lead Richard out of the train--
"There is a bright side to every trouble. But for
this illness you would never have known Oliver's
mother as she really is. All her prejudices melted
away as soon as she looked into your face. She loves
you better every day, and she is learning to depend
on you just as Richard and Oliver have done."

"I hope she will," the young woman answered,
without moving. "It breaks my heart to see her
suffer as she does. I see my own mother in her so
often. She is different in many ways, but she is
the same underneath--so gentle and so kind, and
she is so big and broad-minded too. I am ashamed
to think of all the bitter feelings I used to have in
my heart toward her."

She stopped abruptly, her hands tightly folded in
her lap, her shoulders straightened. Margaret's
confessions were always made in this determined way,
head thrown back like a soldier's, as though a new
resolve had been born even while an old sin was
being confessed.

"Go on," said Miss Clendenning. "I understand.
You mean that you did not know her."

"No; but I thought her narrow and proud, and
that she disliked me for influencing Oliver in his
art, and that she wanted to keep him from me and
from my ideals. Oh, I've been very, very wicked!"

"Not wicked, my dear--only human. You are
not the first woman who did not want to divide a
love with a mother."

"But it wasn't exactly that, dear Cousin Lavinia.
I had never met anyone who obeyed his mother as
Ollie did, and--and--I almost hated her for being
his guide and counsel when--oh, not because she did
not love him too, just as I did--but because I
thought that I could really help him most--because
I believed in his talent and she did not, and because
I knew all the time that she was ruining him, keeping
him back, spoiling his career, and--"

Again she stopped and straightened herself, her
beautiful head held higher. Those who knew Margaret
well would have known that the worst part
of her confession was yet to come.

"I suppose I was hurt too," she said, slowly accentuating
each pause with a slight movement of the
head. "That I was LITTLE enough and MEAN enough
and HORRID enough for that. But he was always talking
of his mother as though she never did anything
but sit still in that white shawl of hers, listening to
music, while everybody waited on her and came to
her for advice. And I always thought that she
couldn't understand me nor any other woman who
wanted to work. When Ollie talked of you all, and
of what you did at home, I couldn't help feeling she
must think that I and all my people belonged to
some different race and that when she saw me she
would judge me by some petty thing that displeased
her, the cut of my skirt, or the way I carried my
hands, or something else equally trivial, and that she
would use that kind of thing against me and, perhaps,
tell Ollie, too. Father judged Oliver in that way. He
thought that Ollie's joyousness and his courtesy,
even his way of taking off his hat, and holding it
in his two hands for a moment--you've seen him do
it a hundred times--was only a proof of his Southern
shiftlessness--caring more for manners than for
work. Mother didn't; she understood Ollie better,
and so did John, but father never could. That's
why I wouldn't come when you asked me. You
wouldn't have judged me, I know, but I thought
that she would. And now--oh, I'm so sorry I could

"It was only another of the mistakes and misunderstandings
that divided us all at that time, my
dear," Miss Clendenning answered. "This dreadful
war could have been averted, if people had only come
together and understood each other. I did not think
so then, but I do now."

"And you don't think me wicked, Cousin Lavinia?"
Margaret asked with a sudden relaxation of
her figure and something infinitely childlike and
appealing in her tone. "You really don't think me
wicked, do you?"

"Not wicked, dear; only human, as I said a moment
ago. Yet you have been stronger than I. You
have held on and won; I let go and lost."

Margaret bent forward and laid her finger on Miss
Clendenning's knee.

"Lost what, Cousin Lavinia?" she asked, in surprise.

"My lover."


"When I was just your age."

"Did he die?" asked Margaret in awed tones,
overcome all at once with the solemnity of the hour
and a strange new note in Miss Lavinia's voice.

"No, he married someone else."

"He never--never loved you, then." There was
a positiveness now in her intonations.

"Yes, he did, with all his heart. His mother
came between us."

Again silence fell on the room. Margaret would
not look at Miss Clendenning. The little old maid
had suddenly opened the windows of her heart, but
whether to let a long-caged sorrow out or some
friendly sympathy in, she could not tell.

"May I know about it!" There was a softer
cadence now in the girl's voice.

"It would only make you unhappy, dear. It was
all over forty years or more ago. Sallie, when she
saw you, put her arms about you. You had only to
come together. The oftener she sees you, the more
she will love you. My lover's mother shut the door
in my face."

"In your face? Why?"

Margaret moved closer to Miss Clendenning,
stirred by a sudden impulse, as if she could even now
protect her from one who had hurt her.

Miss Lavinia bent forward and picked up the
brass tongs that lay on the fender at her feet. She
saw Margaret's gesture, but she did not turn her
head. Her eyes were still watching the smouldering

"For no reason, dear, that you or any other
Northern woman could understand. An old family
quarrel that began before I was born."

Margaret's cheeks flushed and a determined look
came into her face.

"The coward! I would not have cared what his
mother or anybody else did, or how they quarrelled.
If I loved you I would have married you in spite of

"And so would he." She was balancing the tongs
in her hand now, her eyes still on the fire. She had
not looked at Margaret once.

"What happened then?"

Miss Clendenning leaned forward, spread the
tongs in her little hands, lifted an ember and tucked
it closer to its neighbor. The charred mass crumbled
at the touch and fell into a heap of broken coals.

"I am a Clendenning, my dear; that is all," she
answered, slowly.

Margaret stared at her with wide-open eyes. That
a life should be wrecked for a mere question of
family pride was something her mind could not

"Have you regretted it since, Cousin Lavinia?"
she asked, calmly. She wanted to follow it out now
to the end.

Miss Clendenning heaped the broken coals closer
together, laid the tongs back in their place on the
fender, and, turning to Margaret, said, with a sigh:

"Don't ask me, my dear. I never dare ask myself,
but do you keep your hand close in Oliver's.
Remember, dear, close--close! Then you will never
know the bitterness of a lonely life."

She rose from her seat, bent down, and, taking
Margaret's cheeks between her palms, kissed her on
the forehead.

Margaret put her arms about the little lady, and
was about to draw her nearer, when the front door
opened and a step was heard in the hall. Miss Lavinia
raised herself erect, listening to the sound.

"Hark!" she cried, "there's the dear fellow,
now"--and she advanced to meet him, her gentle
countenance once more serene.

Oliver's face as he entered the room told the story.

"Not worse?" Margaret exclaimed, starting from
her chair.

"Yes--much worse. I have just sent word to
Uncle Nat"--and he kissed them both. "Put on
your things at once. The doctor is anxious.

Miss Lavinia caught up her cloak, handed Margaret
her shawl, and the three hurried out the front-
door and along the Square, passing the Pancoast
house, now turned into offices, its doors and windows
covered with signs, and the Clayton Mansion,
surmounted by a flag-pole and still used by the Government.
Entering the park, they crossed the site
of the once lovely flower-beds, now trampled flat--
as was everything else in the grounds--and so on
to the marble steps of the Horn Mansion.

Mrs. Horn met them at the top of the stairs. She
put her arms silently about Margaret, kissed her
tenderly, and led her into Richard's room. Oliver
and Miss Clendenning stood at the door.

The master lay under the canopy of the four-post
bedstead, his eyes closed, the soft white hair lost in
the pillows, the pale face tinged with the glow of
the night lamp. Dr. Wallace was standing by the
bed watching the labored breathing of the prostrate
man. Old Hannah sat on the floor at Richard's feet.
She was rocking to and fro, making no sign, crooning
inaudibly to herself listening to every sound.

Margaret sank to her knees and laid her cheek
on the coverlet. She wanted to touch something
that was close to him.

The head of the sick man turned uneasily. The
doctor bent noiselessly down, put his ears close to
the patient's breast, touched his pulse with his
fingers, and laid his hand on his forehead.

"Better send for some hot water," he whispered
to Mrs. Horn when he had regained her side. Margaret
overheard, and started to rise from her knees,
but Mrs. Horn waved her back. "Hannah will get
it," she said, and stooped close to the old woman
to give the order. There was a restrained calmness
in her manner that sent a shiver through Margaret.
She remembered just such an expression on her
mother's face when her own father lay dying.

The old servant lifted herself slowly, and with
bent head and crouching body crept out of the room
without turning her face toward her master. The
superstition of the negroes about the eyes of a dying
man kept hers close to the floor--she did not want
Richard to look at her.

Dr. Wallace detected the movement--he knew
its cause--and passed out of the sick chamber to
where Oliver stood with Miss Clendenning.

"Better go down, Oliver, and see that the hot
water is sent up right away," he said. "Poor old
Hannah seems to have lost her head."

"Has there been any further change, Doctor!"
Oliver asked, as he started for the stairs.

"No, not since you went. He is holding his own.
His hands feel cold, that is all." To Miss Lavinia
he said: "It is only a question of hours," and went
back into the room.

Oliver hurried after Hannah. He intended to
send Malachi up with the hot water and then persuade
the old woman to go to bed. When he reached
the lower hall it was empty; so were the parlors and
the dining-room. At the kitchen-door he met Hannah.
She had filled the pitcher and had turned to
carry it upstairs. Oliver stopped her.

"Where is Malachi, aunty?"

Hannah pointed through the open door to Richard's
little shop in the back yard and hurried on.
Oliver walked quickly through the damp, brick-
paved yard, now filled with the sombre shadows of
the night, and pushed open the green door. The
place was dark except for a slant of moonlight which
had struggled through the window-pane and was
illumining the motor where it rested in its customary
place under the sash.

"Malachi, are you here?"

A sob was the only answer.

Oliver stepped inside. The old man was on his
knees, his head and arms lying flat on Richard's
work-bench. Oliver bent down and laid his hand on
the old servant's head.


"I hear ye, Marse Ollie, an' I hearn Hannah. I
tell you same as I tol' her--ain't no use fetchin' no
water; ain't no use no mo' for no doctor, ain't no
use, ain't no use. I ain't never goin' to say no mo'
to him, 'Chairs all ready, Marse Richard.' I ain't
never goin' to wait on him no mo', Come close to
me, Marse Ollie; get down an' let me tell ye, son."

He had lifted his head now, and was looking up
into Oliver's eyes, the tears streaming down his

"He freed me; he gimme a home. He ain't
neber done nothin' but love me an' take care o' me.
When I bin sick he come in an' he set by me. 'You
got a fever, I think, Malachi,' he say. 'Go to bed
dis minute. Cold, is you? Git dat blanket out'n my
room an' put it on yo' bed. Don't let me hab to tell
ye dat agin, Malachi.' 'Marse Richard,' I'd say to
him, 'I ain't got no coat fit to wear.' Dat was in
de ol' days, when you warn't nuffin but a chile, Marse
Ollie. 'Who says so, Malachi,' he say. 'I say so,
Marse Richard.' 'Lemme see,' he'd say. 'Dat's so,
dat ain't fit fer nobody to wear. Go upstairs to my
closet, Malachi, an' git dat coat I was a-wearin'
yisterday. I reckon I kin git on widout it."

Malachi had his head in his hands now, his body
swaying from side to side. Oliver stood silent.

"When he come home de udder day an' I lif' him
in de bed, he say, 'Don't you strain yo'se'f, Malachi.
'Member, you ain't spry as you was.' Oh, Gawd!
Oh, Gawd! What's Malachi gwine to do?"

Oliver sat down beside him. There was nothing
to say. The old servant's grief was only his own.

"Ebery night, Marse Ollie, sence he bin sick, I
git so lonesome dat I wait till de house git still an'
den I git out'n de bed and crope down-stairs an' listen
at de bedroom door. Den I hear de mistis say:
'In pain, dear?' and he say, 'No, Sallie.' An' den
I crope up agin an' go to bed kind o' comforted. I
was down agin las' night--mos' mawnin'--a-listenin',
an' de mistis say: 'Kin I do sumpin' to
ease de pain, dear?' an' he don't answer, only groan,
and den I hear de bed creak, an' dat SHORT BREF COME.
Pat's the sign! I knows it. In de mawnin' he'll be
gone. Can't fool Malachi; I knows de signs."

A gentle tap at the front door on the street
sounded through the stillness. Oliver had left all
the intervening doors between the dining-room and
the shop open in his search for Malachi.

The old servant, with the lifelong habit upon him,
started up to answer the summons.

"No, Mally, stay here," said Oliver. "I'll go.
Some neighbor, perhaps, wanting to know how
father is."

Oliver walked rapidly through the yard, tiptoed
through the hall, and carefully turned the knob.

Amos Cobb stepped in.

"I saw the light, Oliver," he said, in a low tone,
"and I knew you were up. I have an important
telegram from New York in answer to one I sent
this morning from my office here. Would it be possible
for me to see your father? I know it is very
late, but the matter is most urgent."

"I'm afraid not, Mr. Cobb. He is very low."

"Not serious?" Amos exclaimed, in alarm.

"Doctor Wallace thinks it is."

"You don't tell me so! I had no idea he was so

"Nor did we, sir; a change for the worse set in
this evening."

Amos leaned back against the wall, his hat in his
hand. The light from the eight-sided hall lamp fell
on his thick-set shoulders and square, determined,
honest face. The keen-eyed, blunt Vermonter's
distress at the news was sincere, and heartfelt.

"Could I attend to it, Mr. Cobb?" asked Oliver.

"Perhaps so. I've got those fellows now where
the hair is short, and I'm going to make 'em pay
for it."

"What is it about?"

Amos Cobb took a double telegram from his
pocket. It was closely written and contained a long

"It's about your father's patents. This telegram
is from the attorneys of the Gorton--"

Oliver laid his fingers on the open telegram in
Cobb's hand, and said, in a positive tone:

"He will not rob this man of his rights, Mr.

"It's not that! It is the other way. The attorneys
of the Gorton Company refuse to rob your
father of HIS rights. Further, the bankers will not
endorse the Gorton stock until your father's patent
--I think it is No. 18,131"--and he examined the
telegram closely--"yes, August 13, 1856, 18,131--
is out of the way. They are prepared to pay a large
price for it at once, and have asked me to see your
father and arrange it on the best terms I can. The
offer is most liberal. I don't feel like risking an
hour's delay; that's why I'm here so late. What
had I better do?"

Oliver caught Mr. Cobb's hand in his and a flash
of exultant joy passed over his face as he thought of
his father's triumph and all it meant to him. Then
Margaret's eyes looked into his and next his mother's;
he knew what it meant to them all. Then the
wasted figure of his father rose in his mind, and his
tears blinded him.

Amos stood watching him, trying to read his
thoughts. He saw the tears glistening on Oliver's
lashes, but he misunderstood the cause. Only the
practical side of the situation appealed to the Vermonter
at the moment. These New York men had
cast discredit on his endorsement of Richard's priority
in the invention and had tried to ignore them
both. Now he held them tight in his grasp. Horn
was a rich man.

"I'll be very quiet, Oliver," he continued, in a
half-pleading tone, "and will make it as short as I
can. Just let me go up. It can't hurt him"--and
he laid his hand on Oliver's shoulder with a tenderness
that surprised him. "I would never forgive
myself if he should pass away without learning of
his success. He's worked so hard."

Before Oliver could reply another low tap was
heard at the door. Cobb turned the knob gently
and Nathan stepped inside the hall. The old man
had gone home and to bed, tired out with his ceaseless
watching by Richard's bedside, and was only
half dressed.

"Still with us?" he asked in trembling tones, his
eyes searching Oliver's face. "Oh, thank God!
Thank God! I'll go up at once"--and he passed on
toward the stairway. Amos and Oliver followed.

As Nathan's foot touched the first step Doctor
Wallace's voice sounded over the bannisters.

"Oliver! Malachi! Both of you--quick!"
The three bounded noiselessly up-stairs and entered
the room. Richard lay high up on the pillows,
the face in shadow, his eyes closed. Margaret was
still on her knees, her head on the coverlet. Mrs.
Horn stood on the other side of the bed, the same
calm, fixed expression on her face, as if she was
trying to read the unknowable. Dr. Wallace sat
on a chair beside his patient, his fingers on Richard's

"Is he gone?" asked Oliver, stepping quickly to
his father's side, his voice choking.

Dr. Wallace shook his head.

Amos Cobb drew near, and whispered in the doctor's
ear. The old physician listened quietly, and
nodded in assent. Then he leaned over his patient.

"Mr. Cobb has some good news for you, Richard,"
he said, calmly. "The bankers have recognized
your patents, and are ready to pay the

The dying man's eyes opened slowly.

Amos stepped in front of the doctor, and bent
down close to the bed.

"It's all right, Horn--all right! They can't get
along without your first patent. Here's the telegram."
He spoke with an encouraging cheeriness
in his voice, as one would in helping a child across
a dangerous place.

The brow of the dying man suddenly cleared;
the eyes burned with their old steadiness, then the
lips parted.

"Read it," he muttered. The words were barely

Cobb held the paper so the dim light should fall
upon it and read the contents slowly, emphasizing
each word.

"Raise me up."

The voice seemed to come from his throat, as if
his lungs were closed. Oliver started forward, but
Cobb, being nearer, slipped his arm under the wasted
figure, and with the tenderness of a woman, lifted
him carefully, tucking the pillows in behind the thin
shoulders for better support. Oliver sank softly to
his knees beside Margaret.

Again the thin lips parted.

"Read it once more." The voice came stronger

Amos held the paper to the light, and the words
of the telegram, like the low tick of a clock, again
sounded through the hushed room.

For a brief instant the inventor's eyes sought each
face in turn. As his gaze rested on Margaret and
Oliver, he moved his thin white hand slowly along
the coverlet, and laid it first on Oliver's and next on
Margaret's head. Then, with a triumphant look
lighting his face, he lifted his arms toward his wife.

"Sallie!" he called, and fell back on his pillow,



The crocuses are a-bloom once more. The lilac
buds are bursting with the joy of the new spring. A
veil of silver-gray floats over Moose Hillock. The
idle brook, like a truant boy, dances in the sunshine,
singing to itself as it leaps from ledge to pool.

All the doors and windows of the big studio on
the side looking down the valley are open to the
morning air. Through one of these Margaret has
just entered, her arms full of apple blossoms. One
spray she places in a slender blue jar, the delicate
blush of the buds and the pale green of the leaves
harmonizing with the gold-brown of her marvellous
hair as she buries her face among them. All about
the spacious room are big easels, half-finished portraits,
rich draperies, wide divans, old brass, and rare porcelain.

In an easy chair, close to the window, with the
fragrance of the blossoms around her, sits a white-
haired old lady with a gossamer shawl about her
shoulders. She is watching Margaret as she moves
about the room, her eyes brimming with tenderness
and pride. Now and then she looks toward a door
leading into the bedroom beyond, as if expecting someone.

Oliver stands before his easel, his palette and
brushes in his hand. He is studying the effect of a
pat of color he has just laid on the portrait of a
young girl in a rich gown--the fourth full-length
he has painted this year--the most important being
the one of his father ordered by the Historical Society
of Kennedy Square, and painted from Margaret's sketches.

Malachi--the old man is very feeble--moves
slowly around a square table covered with a snow-
white cloth, with seats set for four--one a high chair
with little arms. In his hands are a heap of cups
and saucers--the same Spode cups and saucers he
looked after so carefully in the old house at home.
These he places near the smoking coffee-urn.

Suddenly a merry, roguish laugh is heard, and a
little fellow with gold-brown hair and big blue eyes
peers in through the slowly opening door.

The old servant stops, and his withered face
breaks into a smile.

"Is dat you, honey?" he cries, with a laugh.
"Come along, son. Yo' cha'r's all ready, Marse Richard."

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