* * * * *
Harwood called Robbins from the room where Bassett’s men lounged, waiting for the convening of the caucus, and delivered the message. As he hurried toward Thatcher’s headquarters he paused suddenly, and bent over the balcony beneath the dome to observe two figures that were slowly descending one of the broad stairways. Morton Bassett and Sylvia were leaving the building together. A shout rang out, echoing hollowly through the corridors, and was followed by scattering cheers from men who were already hastening toward the senate chamber where the caucus sessions were held.
Somehow Morton Bassett’s sturdy shoulders, his step, quickened to adapt it to the pace of his companion, did not suggest defeat. Dan still watched as the two crossed the rotunda on their way to the street. Bassett was talking; he paused for an instant and looked up at the dome, as though calling his companion’s attention to its height.
Sylvia glanced up, nodded, and smiled as though affirming something Bassett had said; and then the two vanished from Dan’s sight.
WE GO BACK TO THE BEGINNING
“Sylvia was reading in her grandfather’s library when the bell tinkled.”
With these words our chronicle began, and they again slip from the pen as I begin these last pages. When Morton Bassett left her at the door of Elizabeth House she had experienced a sudden call of the truant spirit. Sylvia wanted to be alone, to stand apart for a little while from the clanging world and take counsel of herself. Hastily packing a bag she caught the last train for Montgomery, walked to the Kelton cottage, and roused Mary, who had been its lone tenant since the Professor’s death. She sent Mary to bed, and after kindling a fire in the grate, roamed about the small, comfortable rooms, touching wistfully the books, the pictures, the scant bric-a-brac. She made ready her own bed under the eaves where she had dreamed her girlhood dreams, shaking from the sheets she found in the linen chest the leaves of lavender that Mary had strewn among them. The wind rose in the night and slammed fitfully a blind that, as long as she could remember, had uttered precisely that same protest against the wind’s presumption. It was all quite like old times, and happy memories of the past stole back and laid healing hands upon her.
She slept late, and woke to look out upon a white world. Across the campus floated the harsh clamor of the chapel bell, and she saw the students tramping through the swirling snow just as she had seen them in the old times, the glad and happy times when it had seemed that the world was bounded by the lines of the campus, and that nothing lay beyond it really worth considering but Centre Church and the court-house and the dry-goods shop where her grandfather had bought her first and only doll. She bade Mary sit down