Bassett’s smile showed his strong sound teeth. He rarely laughed, but he yielded now to the contagion of the humor he had aroused in Harwood.
“It’s a big chance you’re giving me to get into things,” replied Harwood. “I’ll do my best.” Then he added, in the glow of his complete surrender: “You’ve never asked me to do a dishonorable thing in the four years I’ve been with you. There’s nothing I oughtn’t to be glad to do from any standpoint, and I’m grateful for this new mark of your confidence.”
“That’s all right, Dan. There are things in store for young men in politics in this state—Republicans and Democrats,” said Bassett, without elation or any show of feeling whatever. “Once the limelight hits you, you can go far—very far. I must go over to the ‘Courier’ office now and see Atwill.”
THE THUNDER OF THE CAPTAINS
Marian had suggested to her mother that they visit Mrs. Owen in town before settling at Waupegan for the summer, and it was Marian’s planning that made this excursion synchronize with the state convention. Mr. Bassett was not consulted in the matter; in fact, since his wife’s return from Connecticut he had been unusually occupied, and almost constantly away from Fraserville. Mrs. Bassett and her daughter arrived at the capital the day after Mrs. Owen reached home from Wellesley with Sylvia, and the Bassetts listened perforce to their kinswoman’s enthusiastic account of the commencement exercises. Mrs. Owen had, it appeared, looked upon Smith and Mount Holyoke also on this eastward flight, and these inspections, mentioned in the most casual manner, did not contribute to Mrs. Bassett’s happiness.
Finding that her father was inaccessible by telephone, Marian summoned Harwood and demanded tickets for the convention; she would make an occasion of it, and Mrs. Owen and Sylvia should go with them. Mrs. Bassett and her family had always enjoyed the freedom of Mrs. Owen’s house; it was disheartening to find Sylvia established in Delaware Street on like terms of intimacy. The old heartache over Marian’s indifference to the call of higher education for women returned with a new poignancy as Mrs. Bassett inspected Sylvia’s diploma, as proudly displayed by Mrs. Owen as though it marked the achievement of some near and dear member of the family. Sylvia’s undeniable good looks, her agreeable manner, her ready talk, and the attention she received from her elders, were well calculated to arm criticism in a prejudiced heart. On the evening of their arrival Admiral and Mrs. Martin and the Reverend John Ware had called, and while Mrs. Bassett assured herself that these were, in a sense, visits of condolence upon Andrew Kelton’s granddaughter, the trio, who were persons of distinction, had seemed sincerely interested in Mrs. Owen’s protegee. Mrs. Bassett was obliged to hear a lively dialogue between the minister and