Following the sudden leading that she had learned no better than to call ‘impulse’ she said in a quick low whisper: “Eurie, won’t you?” And she held her breath for the answer, and could distinctly feel the beating of her own heart. Eurie turned great gray astonished eyes on her friend, and said in a firm quiet voice: “I have. I settled that matter on Saturday. Have you?”
And then those two girls, each with the wonderful surprise ringing music in her heart, were willing to have that meeting over.
THE END OF THE BEGINNING.
It was almost over. Dr. Deems sat down amid the hush of hearts, and all the people seemed to feel that no more words were needed. Yet, the next moment, they greeted Frank Beard with joy, and prepared themselves with great satisfaction to listen to what he had to say. Frank Beard was one of Chautauqua’s favorites.
People had not the least idea that they could be beguiled into laughter; hearts were too tender for that; yet you should have heard the bursts of mirth that rang there for the next five minutes! Frank Beard was so quaint, so original, so innocent in his originality, so pure and high-toned, even in his fun, and they liked him so much that every heart there responded to his mirth. The roars of laughter reached as high as the music had done, but a little while before.
Yet, when people’s hearts are tender, and full, it is strange how near laughter is to tears! Just a sentence from the same lips and the hush fell on them again.
Frank Beard had brought his heart with him to Chautauqua, and he was evidently leaving some of it there. The touching little story of his dream about his mother brought out a flutter of handkerchiefs, and made tear-stained faces. And when he, simply as a child, tenderly as a large-souled man, trustfully as only a Christian can, said his farewell, and told of his joyful hope of meeting them all in the eternal morning, absolute stillness settled over them.
So many last words—one and another came—just a word, just “good-bye,” until we meet again; maybe here, next year, maybe there, where good-byes are never heard. Finally came Dr. Vincent, his strong decided voice breaking the spell, and helping them to realize that they ware men and women with work to do:
“Now, my friends,” he said, “we really must go home; it is hard to close; I know that, no one knows it better: we have closed a good many times, and it won’t stay closed. The last word has been said over and over again. I said it myself, some time ago, and here I am again: we must just stop, never mind the closing; we will ring a hymn, and go away, and next year we will begin right here, where we left it.”
But he didn’t “stop,” and no one wanted him to. His voice grew tender, and his words were solemn. The last words that he would ever speak to many a soul within sound of his voice; it could not be otherwise. You can imagine better than I could tell you what Dr. Vincent’s message would be at such a time as that.