Lawrence launched himself and hurled the
runner backward (p. 194) Frontispiece
The canoes swung about and made for Each Other 52
As to who had won, Irving had not the Slightest Idea 140
A Shadow crossed Westby’s Face 220
From drawings by B. L. Bates
IRVING SETS FORTH ON HIS ADVENTURE
In the post-office of Beasley’s general store Irving Upton was eagerly sorting the mail. His eagerness at that task had not been abated by the repeated, the daily disappointments which it had caused him. During the whole summer month for which he had now been in attendance as Mr. Beasley’s clerk, the arrival of the mail had constituted his chief interest. And because that for which he had been hoping had failed to come, his thin face had grown more worried, and the brooding look was more constantly in his eyes.
This afternoon his hand paused; he looked at the superscription on an envelope unbelievingly. The letter came from St. Timothy’s School and was addressed to him. He finished distributing the other letters among the boxes, for people were waiting outside the partition; then he opened the envelope and read the type-written enclosure. A flush crept up over his cheeks, over his forehead; when he raised his eyes, the brooding look was no longer in them, but a quiet happiness instead, and his lips, which had so long been troubled, were smoothed out in a faint, contented smile. He read the letter a second time, then put it in his pocket, and stepped round behind the counter to sell five cents’ worth of pink gumdrops to little Abby Lawson.
When she had gone and the callers after mail had been satisfied, Irving sat down at the table in the back of the store. He read the letter again and mused over it for a few moments contentedly; then, with it lying open before him, he proceeded to write an answer.
After finishing that, he drew from his pocket some papers—French exercises, done in a scrawling, unformed hand.
It was the noon hour, when the people of the village were all eating their dinners; Mr. Beasley had gone home, and Irving was undisturbed. He helped himself to the crackers and dried beef which were his luncheon perquisites, and with these at his elbow and nibbling them from time to time he set about correcting his brother’s French.
He sighed in spite of the happiness which was pervading him; would Lawrence always go on confusing some of the forms of etre and avoir? Would he never learn to know the difference between ils ont and ils sont?