But the bulk of his time this autumn was still going to his work on the Post. With ever fresh wonderment, he faced the fact that this work, first taken up solely to finance the Scriptorium, and next enlarged to satisfy a most irrational instinct, was growing slowly but surely upon his personal interest. Certainly the application of a new science to a new set of practical conditions was stimulating to his intellect; the panorama of problems whipped out daily by the telegraph had a warmth and immediateness wanting to the abstractions of closet philosophy. Queed’s articles lacked the Colonel’s expert fluency, his loose but telling vividness, his faculty for broad satire which occasionally set the whole city laughing. On the other hand, they displayed an exact knowledge of fact, a breadth of study and outlook, and a habit of plumbing bottom on any and all subjects which critical minds found wanting in the Colonel’s delightful discourses. And nowadays the young man’s articles were constantly reaching a higher and higher level of readability. Not infrequently they attracted public comment, not only, indeed not oftenest, inside the State. Queed knew what it was to be quoted in that identical New York newspaper from whose pages, so popular for wrapping around pork chops, he had first picked out his letters.
Of these things the honorable Post directors were not unmindful. They met on October 10, and upon Colonel Cowles’s cordial recommendation, named Mr. Queed assistant editor of the Post at a salary of fifteen hundred dollars per annum. And Mr. Queed accepted the appointment without a moment’s hesitation.
So far, then, the magnificent boast had been made good. The event fell on a Saturday. The Sunday was sunny, windy, and crisp. Free for the day and regardful of the advantages of open-air pedestrianism, the new assistant editor put on his hat from the dinner-table and struck for the open country. He rambled far, over trails strange to him, and came up short, about 4.30 in the afternoon, in a grove of immemorial pines which he instantly remembered to have seen before.
A Remeeting in a Cemetery: the Unglassed Queed who loafed on Rustic Bridges; of the Consequences of failing to tell a Lady that you hope to see her again soon.
Fifi’s grave had long since lost its first terrible look of bare newness. Grass grew upon it in familiar ways. Rose-bushes that might have stood a lifetime nodded over it by night and by day. Already “the minute grey lichens, plate o’er plate,” were “softening down the crisp-cut name and date”; and the winds of winter and of summer blew over a little mound that had made itself at home in the still city of the dead.
Green was the turf above Fifi, sweet the peacefulness of her little churchyard. Her cousin Sharlee, who had loved her well, disposed her flowers tenderly, and stood awhile in reverie of the sort which the surroundings so irresistibly invited. But the schedules of even electric car-lines are inexorable; and presently she saw from a glance at her watch that she must turn her face back to the city of the living.