* * * * *
On the veranda of his Waupegan cottage Bassett and Fitch enjoyed the wholesome airs of the country. Late in the afternoon the fussy little steamer that traversed the lake paused at the Bassett dock to deliver a telegram, which Bassett read without emotion. He passed the yellow slip of paper to Fitch, who read it and handed it back.
“Harwood’s a clever fellow; but you oughtn’t to push him into politics. He’s better than that.”
“I suppose he is,” said Bassett; “but I need him.”
INTERVIEWS IN TWO KEYS
Mrs. Bassett remained in bed the day following the convention, less exhausted by the scenes she had witnessed than appalled by their interpretation in the newspapers. The reappearance of Sylvia Garrison had revived the apprehensions which the girl’s visit to Waupegan four years earlier had awakened. She had hoped that Sylvia’s long absences might have operated to diminish Mrs. Owen’s interest and she had managed in one way and another to keep them apart during the college holidays, but the death of Professor Kelton had evidently thrown Sylvia back upon Mrs. Owen. Jealous fears danced blackly in Mrs. Bassett’s tired brain.
At a season when she was always busiest with her farms Mrs. Owen had made a long journey to see Sylvia graduated; and here was the girl established on the most intimate terms in the Delaware Street house, no doubt for the remainder of her life. Mrs. Owen did not lightly or often change her plans; but she had abandoned her project of spending the summer at the lake to accommodate herself to the convenience of her protegee. Mrs. Bassett’s ill-health was by no means a matter of illusion; she was not well and her sojourns in sanatoriums had served to alienate her in a measure from her family. Marian had grown to womanhood without realizing her mother’s ideals. She had hoped to make a very different person of her daughter, and Sylvia’s reappearance intensified her sense of defeat. Even in the retrospect she saw no reason why Marian might not have pursued the course that Sylvia had followed; in her confused annoyances and agitations she was bitter not only against Marian but against Marian’s father. The time had come when she must take a stand against his further dallyings in politics.
Her day at the convention hall had yielded only the most disagreeable impressions. Such incidents as had not eluded her own understanding on the spot had been freely rendered by the newspapers. It was all sordid and gross—not at all in keeping with her first experience of politics, gained in her girlhood, when her father had stood high in the councils of the nation, winning coveted positions without the support of such allies as she had seen cheering her husband’s triumph on the floor of the convention. There had strayed into her hands an envelope of newspaper clippings from an agency