“You wouldn’t,” he retorted quickly.
“No, I wouldn’t. But—but—” Her glance, wandering away from him, fell on the joyous line of Beranger bold above the door.
“‘How good is life in an attic at twenty,’” she murmured. Then, turning to him, she held out her hands.
“I could find it good,” she said with a soft little falter in her voice, “even at twenty-two.”
Everything passes in review before my bench, sooner or later. The two, going by with transfigured faces, stopped.
“Let’s tell Dominie,” said Julien.
I waved a jaunty hand. “I know already,” said I, “even if it hadn’t been announced to a waiting world.”
“Wh-wh-why,” stammered Bobbie with a blush worth a man’s waiting a lifetime to see, “it—it only just happened.”
“Bless your dear, innocent hearts, both of you! It’s been happening for weeks. Come with me.”
I lead them to the sidewalk fronting Thornsen’s Elite Restaurant. There stood Peter Quick Banta, admiring his latest masterpiece of imaginative symbolism. It represented a love-bird of eagle size holding in its powerful beak a scroll with a wreath of forget-me-nots on one end and of orange-blossoms on the other, encircling respectively the initials. “J.T.” and “R.H.” Below, in no less than four colors, ran the legend, “Cupid’s Token.”
“O Lord! Dad!” cried the horrified Julien, scuffing it out with frantic feet. “How long has this been there?”
“What’re you doing? Leave it be!” cried the anguished artist. “It’s been there since noon.”
“Never mind,” put in Bobbie softly; “it’s very pretty and tasteful even though it is a little precipitate. But how”—she turned the lovely and puzzled inquiry of her eyes upon the symbolist—“how did you know?”
“Artistic intuition,” said Peter Quick Banta with profound complacency. “I’m an artist.”
Wayfarers on the far side of Our Square used to stop before Number 37 and wonder. The little house, it seemed, was making music at them. “Kleam, kleam, kleam, kleam,” it would pipe pleasantly.
“BHONG! BHONG! BHONG!” solemn and churchly, in rebuke of its own levity.
“Kung-glang! Kung-glang! Kung-glang! Kung-glang! Kung-glang!” That was a duet in the middle register.
Then from some far-off aerie would ring the tocsin of an elfin silversmith, fast, furious, and tiny:
We surmised that a retired Swiss bell-ringer had secluded himself in our remote backwater of the great city to mature fresh combinations of his art.