“We don’t do anything whatever in especial, Rudolph. That would be precisely the theme of my story of the real Lichfield if I were ever bold enough to write it. There seems to be a sort of blight upon Lichfield. Oh, yes! it would be unfair, perhaps, to contrast it with the bigger Southern cities, like Richmond and Atlanta and New Orleans; but even the inhabitants of smaller Southern towns are beginning to buy excursion tickets, and thereby ascertain that the twentieth century has really begun. Yes, it is only in Lichfield I can detect the raw stuff of a genuine tragedy; for, depend upon it, Rudolph, the most pathetic tragedy in life is to get nothing in particular out of it.”
“But, for my part, I don’t see what you are driving at,” the colonel stoutly said.
And Charteris only laughed. “And I hardly expected you to do so, Rudolph—or not yet, at least.”
PART FIVE — SOUVENIR
“I am contented by remembrances—
Dreams of dead passions, wraiths of vanished times,
Fragments of vows, and by-ends of old rhymes—
Flotsam and jetsam tumbling in the seas
Whereon, long since, put forth our argosies
Which, bent on traffic in the Isles of Love,
Lie foundered somewhere in some firth thereof,
Encradled by eternal silences.”
“Thus, having come to naked bankruptcy,
Let us part friends, as thrifty tradesmen do
When common ventures fail, for it may be
These battered oaths and rhymes may yet ring true
To some fair woman’s hearing, so that she
Will listen and think of love, and I of you.”
F. Ashcroft Wheeler. Revisions.
When the Reliance, the Constitution and the Columbia were holding trial races off Newport to decide which one of these yachts should defend the America’s cup; when the tone of the Japanese press as to Russia’s actions in Manchuria was beginning to grow ominous; when the Jews of America were drafting a petition to the Czar; and when it was rumored that the health of Pope Leo XIII was commencing to fail:—at this remote time, the Musgraves gave their first house-party.
And at this period Colonel Musgrave noted and admired the apparent unconcern with which John Charteris and Clarice Pendomer encountered at Matocton. And at this period Colonel Musgrave noted with approval the intimacy which was, obviously, flourishing between the little novelist and Patricia.
Also Colonel Musgrave had presently good reason to lament a contretemps, over which he was sulking when Mrs. Pendomer rustled to her seat at the breakfast-table, with a shortness of breath that was partly due to the stairs, and in part attributable to her youthful dress, which fitted a trifle too perfectly.
“Waffles?” said Mrs. Pendomer. “At my age and weight the first is an experiment and the fifth an amiable indiscretion of which I am invariably guilty. Sugar, please.” She yawned, and reached a generously-proportioned arm toward the sugar-bowl. “Yes, that will do, Pilkins.”