But while Felicia was clattering pans in the kitchen, and Ken went whistling through the orchard twilight to the well, the purchaser of the organ felt his way to it, not quite sure, yet, of its place by the window. He sat down in front of it, and pressed the stiff old pedals. His careful fingers found a chord, and the yellow notes responded with their sweet, thin cadence—the vox humana stop was out. He pulled, by chance, the diapason, and filled the room with deep, shaken notes. Half frightened at the magic possibilities, he slipped from the chair and ran out into the young May night, to whisper to it something of the love and wonder that the Maestro’s music was stirring in him. Here in the twilit dooryard he was found by his brother, who gave him the hand unoccupied by the bucket and led him in to the good, wholesome commonplaces of hearth-fire and supper and the jolliest of jokes and laughter.
FAME COMES COURTING
At first, each day in the old house had been an adventure. That could not last, for even the most exciting surroundings become familiar when they are lived in day after day. Still, there are people who think every dawn the beginning of a new adventure, and Felicia, in spite of pots and pans, was rather of this opinion.
It was, for instance, a real epoch in her life when the great old rose-bush below the living-room windows budded and then bloomed. She had watched it anxiously for weeks, and tended it as it had not been tended for many years. It bloomed suddenly and beautifully,—“out of sheer gratitude,” Ken said,—and massed a great mound of delicate color against the silver shingles of the west wall. It bore the sweet, small, old-fashioned roses that flower a tender pink and fade gracefully to bluish white. Felicia gathered a bunch of them for the Maestro, who had bidden the three to come for tea. Neither Ken nor Felicia had, as yet, met Kirk’s mysterious friend, and were still half inclined to think him a creature of their brother’s imagination.
And, indeed, when they met him, standing beside the laden tea-table on the terrace, they thought him scarcely more of an actuality, so utterly in keeping was he with the dreaming garden and the still house. Felicia, who had not quite realized the depth of friendship which had grown between this old gentleman and her small brother, noted with the familiar strangeness of a dream the proprietary action with which the Maestro drew Kirk to him, and Kirk’s instant and unconscious response. These were old and dear friends; Ken and Felicia had for a moment the curious sensation of being intruders in a forgotten corner of enchanted land, into which the likeness of their own Kirk had somehow strayed. But the feeling passed quickly. The Maestro behind the silver urn was a human being, after all, talking of the Sturgis Water Line—a most delightful human being, full of kindliness and humor. Kirk was really their own, too. He leaned beside Felicia’s chair, stirring his tea and she slipped an arm about him, just to establish her right of possession.