I AM WRITING THIS M
YSELF A ROBIN IS SINGI
NG NEARME BECAUSE HE H
AS THREE EGGS WHICH FI
L FOUND YESTERDAY. I H
OPE YOU AREBETTER DEAR
AND CAN COME BACK SOON
YOUR KIRK XXXXXXXXXXXX
Mrs. Sturgis’s feelings, on reading this production, may be imagined. She wept a little, being still not herself, and found heart, for the first time, to notice that a robin was singing outside her own window. There is no question but that Kirk’s days were really the busiest of the Sturgis family’s. For no sooner did the Three R’s loose their hold on him at noon, than the Maestro claimed him for music after lunch, three times a week. Rather tantalizing music, for he wasn’t to go near the piano yet. No, it was solfeggio, horrid dry scales to sing, and rhythm, and notation. But all was repaid when the Maestro dropped to the piano-stool and filled a half-hour with music that made Kirk more than ever long to master the scales. And there was tea, always, and slow, sun-bathed wanderings in the garden, hand in hand with the Maestro.
He must hear, now, all about the Sturgis Water Line, and Ken’s yachting cap with the shiny visor, and how Kirk had taken the afternoon trip three times, and how—if the Maestro didn’t know it already—the sound of water at the bow of a boat was one of the nicest noises there was.
“There are those who think so,” said the old gentleman. “Kirk, tell Ken not to let the sea gain a hold on him. He loves it, does he not?”
“Yes,” said Kirk, aghast at the sudden bitter sorrow in the gentle voice. “Why?”
“The sea is a tyrant. Those she claims, she never releases. I know.”
He stood among the gently falling blossoms of the big quince-tree by the terrace. Then he suddenly drew Kirk to him, and said:
“I spoke of the garden being filled, to me, with the memory of children; did I not?”
Kirk remembered that he had—on May-day.
“A little boy and a little girl played here once,” said the Maestro, “when the pools were filled, and the garden paths were trim. The little girl died when she was a girl no longer. The boy loved the sea too well. He left the garden, to sail the seas in a ship—and I have never seen him since.”
“Was he your little boy?” Kirk hardly dared ask it.
“He was my little boy,” said the Maestro. “He left the garden in the moonlight, and ran away to the ships. He was sixteen. Tell Kenelm not to love the sea too much.”
“But Ken wouldn’t go away from Phil and me,” said Kirk; “I know he wouldn’t.”
Kirk knew nothing of the call that the looming gray sails of the Celestine had once made.
“I thought,” said the Maestro, “that the other boy would not leave his sister and his father.” He roused himself suddenly. “Perhaps I do Ken injustice. I want to meet the gallant commander of the Flying Dutchman. It seems absurd that such close neighbors have not yet met. Bring him—and Felicia, when you come again. We’ll drink to the success of the Sturgis Water Line. And don’t dare to tell me, next time, that you never heard of the scale of A flat major, my little scamp!”