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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 104 pages of information about The Happy Venture.

Another pebble spun into the pool.

“Are you going to stay, now?”

“Yes, I’m going to stay.”

“I’m glad,” said Kirk.  They sat still for some moments, and then Kirk had a sudden, shy inspiration.

“Do you think,” he ventured, “do you think it would be nice if the fountain could play, now?”

“Eh?” said Martin, waking from brooding thoughts.

“The fountain—­it hasn’t, you know, since you went.  And the garden’s been asleep ever since, just like a fairy-tale.”

“A fairy-tale!  H’m!” said Martin, with a queer laugh.  “Well, let’s wake the fountain, then.”

They found the device that controlled the water, and wrenched it free.  Kirk ran back down the path to listen, breathless, at the edge of the pool.  There came first the rustle of water through long unused channels, then the shallow splash against the empty basin.  Little by little the sound became deeper and more musical, till the still morning vibrated faintly to the mellow leap and ripple of the fountain’s jubilant voice.

“Oh!” Kirk cried suddenly.  “Oh, I’m happy!  Aren’t you, Mr. Martin?”

Martin looked down at the eager, joyous face, so expressive in spite of the blankness behind the eyes.  His own face filled suddenly with a new light, and he put out his hands as if he were about to catch Kirk to him.  But the moment passed; the reserve of long years, which he could not in an instant push from him, settled again in his angular face.  He clasped his hands behind him.

“Yes,” said Martin, briefly, “I’m happy.”

CHAPTER XVI

ANOTHER HOME-COMING

Mrs. Sturgis stepped eagerly off the twelve-five train on to the Bedford Station platform, and stood looking expectantly about her.  A few seconds later Ken came charging through the crowd from the other end of the platform.  They held each other for a moment at arms’ length, in the silent, absorbing welcome when words seem insufficient; then Kenelm picked up his mother’s bag and tucked her hand through his arm.

“Now don’t get a cab, or anything,” Mrs. Sturgis begged.  “I can perfectly well walk to the street-car—­or up to the house, for that matter.  Oh, I’m so much, much better.”

“Well,” Ken said, “I thought we’d have a little something to eat first, and then—­”

“But we’ll have lunch as soon as we get home, dear.  What—­”

“Well, the fact is,” Ken said hastily, “you see we’re not at Westover Street just now.  We’ve been staying in the country for a while, at the jolliest old place, and, er—­they want you to come up there for a while, too.”

Ken had been planning different ways of telling his mother of the passing of the Westover Street house, all the way down from Asquam.  He could not, now, remember a single word of all those carefully thought out methods of approach.

“I don’t think I quite understand,” Mrs. Sturgis said.  “Are you staying with friends?  I didn’t know we knew any one in the country.”

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