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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 233 pages of information about Kenny.

And Kenny, climbing into the buggy in hot rebellion, felt that he had come decked out gorgeously in rainbow balloons.  And the doctor, practical and unromantic, had pushed a weary finger through them, one by one, watching them collapse with his bored and kindly smile of understanding.  Life after all, reflected Kenny irritably, was a matter of adjectives and any man was at the mercy of his biographer.  He himself could have told that story of Adam and Cordelia Craig until no man could have called it commonplace and unromantic.

CHAPTER XXVI

AN INSPIRATION

Afterward Kenny thought that Nellie must have ambled into the doctor’s barnyard and turned herself, for he had no memory of guiding her.  A paralyzed conviction of another anti-climax had gripped him.  He remembered turning into the road with a haunting sense of eyes upon him—­Adam’s eyes, piercing and bright with malevolent amusement.  The chart!  The hints!  The will!  The cunning of him!  What would he tell Hughie and Hannah and Hetty?  What would he tell Joan?  What was there to tell save that he had put two and two together and made five, a romantic five lurid with melodrama?

And the brutal practice hour in Adam’s room when he had told the truth!  Kenny went sick and cold and shivered.  How unwittingly he had flung the old man’s poverty in his teeth!  How at times it must have hurt!  The memory made him shrink.  And it hadn’t been truth.  He had battled for Joan with misinterpretation and cruelty; he had practiced the truth with the telling of untruth.  And the proud old man who veiled his poverty with pretense, had listened, listened inscrutably and laughed, ready to thrust from the grave itself.

Ah!  Fate was forever flinging down her gauntlet.

“To Kennicott O’Neill, my friend, my signet ring.”  His friend!  In spite of the practice hour—­his friend.  Kenny’s eyes smarted.

“Oh, Adam, Adam!” he said, sick at heart, “I beg your pardon.”

The snow crunched steadily under Nellie’s feet.  Kenny stared sadly at the road ahead.  Could he tell Joan what now he knew:  that when the few bills were paid and the estate balanced, there would be no money left for the year of study?

Perhaps Joan would marry him now—­at once—­to-morrow!  And they could leave the farm together.  After all there was silver to his cloud.  Kenny brightened.

A preposterous notion of hers, that unfitness.  The memory of the sunset hour in the cabin came again to darken the silver lining of his cloud.  Joan’s arms, Joan’s voice, Joan’s eyes had pleaded; it would make her happier to wait and study and watch his world before she came to it, his wife.

Kenny sighed.

It would make her—­happier.  And the problem still was with him.

Kenny cursed the evil in the world that had forced men to convention. 
If only he could help her!  If only—­

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