And she said nothing at all, but looked at me inscrutably, with a flicker of scorn in her sea-gray eyes.
Harber smiled lazily and serenely, and leaned back in his chair, and replied in a superior tone: “My dear Sterne, things that are made in heaven—like my marriage—don’t just happen. Can’t you see that your stand simply brands you an unbeliever?”
And, of course, I can see it. And Harber may be right. I don’t know. Does any one, I wonder?
BY O. F. LEWIS
From The Red Book
Professor Horace Irving had taught Latin for nearly forty years at Huntington College. Then he had come back to Stuyvesant Square, in New York. Now he lived in a little hall bedroom, four flights up, overlooking the Square.
Habitually he walked from the Square westward to Fourth Avenue, in the afternoon, when the weather permitted. He had been born only three doors from where he now lived. The house of his birth had gone. It was sixty years since he had been a boy and played in this Square. Now he would pause at the corner of Fourth Avenue in his walks, and remember the Goelet’s cow and the big garden and the high iron fence at Nineteenth Street and Broadway. Great buildings now towered there.
South along Fourth Avenue he would walk, a little man, scarcely five feet four in height, even with the silk hat and the Prince Albert coat. His white hair grew long over his collar, and people would notice that almost more than anything else about him. He may have weighed between ninety and a hundred pounds. The coat was worn and shiny, but immaculate. The tall hat was of a certain type and year, but carefully smoothed and still glossy.
He would pause often, between Nineteenth Street and Eighteenth Street, peopling the skyscrapers with ghosts of a former day, when houses and green gardens lined the streets. The passers-by watched him casually, perhaps as much as any one notices any one else in New York. He was, in the Fourteenth Street district, a rarer specimen than Hindus or Mexican medicine-men. Through the ten years since he had come, pensioned, from Huntington College, he had become a walking landmark in this region.
He always walked down on the east side of the street, crossing at Fourteenth Street. He was carefully piloted, and saluted, by the traffic policeman. It was a bad crossing. Below Fourteenth Street things looked much more as they had looked when he was young.
The bookstores were an unceasing hobby to the old man. The secondhand dealers never made any objection to his reading books upon the shelves. His purchases were perhaps two books a week, at ten or even five cents each. Now and again he would find one of his own “Irving’s Latin Prose Composition” texts in the five-cent pile. Opening the book, he usually would discover strange pencilled pictures drawn scrawlingly over many of the pages. His “Latin Composition” wasn’t published after 1882, the year the firm failed. It might have been different for him, with a different publisher.