“Between gentlemen—so small a matter!”
“To be sure—the merest trifle,” laughed Armitage with entire good humor.
“And where a gentleman has the predatory habits of a burglar and housebreaker—”
“Then lesser affairs, such as picking up trinkets—”
“Come naturally—quite so!” and Chauvenet twisted his mustache with an air of immense satisfaction.
“But the genial art of assassination—there’s a business that requires a calculating hand, my dear Monsieur Chauvenet!”
Chauvenet’s hand went again to his lip.
“To be sure!” he ejaculated with zest.
“But alone—alone one can do little. For larger operations one requires—I should say—courageous associates. Now in my affairs—would you believe me?—I am obliged to manage quite alone.”
“How melancholy!” exclaimed Chauvenet.
“It is indeed very sad!” and Armitage sighed, tossed his cigarette into the smoldering grate and bade Chauvenet a ceremonious good night.
“Ah, we shall meet again, I dare say!”
“The thought does credit to a generous nature!” responded Armitage, and passed out into the house.
“THIS IS AMERICA, ME. ARMITAGE”
Lo! as I came to the crest of the hill, the sun on
the heights had
The dew on the grass was shining, and white was the mist on the vale;
Like a lark on the wing of the dawn I sang; like a guiltless one freed
from his prison,
As backward I gazed through the valley, and saw no one on my trail.
—L. Frank Tooker.
Spring, planting green and gold banners on old Virginia battle-fields, crossed the Potomac and occupied Washington.
Shirley Claiborne called for her horse and rode forth to greet the conqueror. The afternoon was keen and sunny, and she had turned impatiently from a tea, to which she was committed, to seek the open. The call of the outdoor gods sang in her blood. Daffodils and crocuses lifted yellow flames and ruddy torches from every dooryard. She had pinned a spray of arbutus to the lapel of her tan riding-coat; it spoke to her of the blue horizons of the near Virginia hills. The young buds in the maples hovered like a mist in the tree-tops. Towering over all, the incomparable gray obelisk climbed to the blue arch and brought it nearer earth. Washington, the center of man’s hope, is also, in spring, the capital of the land of heart’s desire.
With a groom trailing after her, Shirley rode toward Rock Creek,—that rippling, murmuring, singing trifle of water that laughs day and night at the margin of the beautiful city, as though politics and statesmanship were the hugest joke in the world. The flag on the Austro-Hungarian embassy hung at half-mast and symbols of mourning fluttered from the entire front of the house. Shirley lifted her eyes gravely as she passed. Her thoughts flew at once to the scene at the house of the Secretary of State a week before, when Baron von Marhof had learned of the death of his sovereign; and by association she thought, too, of Armitage, and of his, look and voice as he said: