“Can you not come?
I won’t ask it if your father needs you.
he does not, I think you had better come very soon.
“When may I restore
the red cross to the top of my letters to you?
suppose I had better place it on the next letter, because if I do
not you might think that another battle had gone against me.
“Don’t reproach me. I couldn’t stand it just now. Because I am a very tired girl, Duane, and what has happened is heavy in my heart—heavy on my head and shoulders like that monster Sindbad bore.
“Can you come and free me?
One word—your arms around me—and
As he finished, a maid came bearing a telegram on a salver.
“Tell him to wait,” said Duane, tearing open the white night-message:
“Your father is ill at San
Antonio and wishes you to come at once.
Notify your mother but do not alarm her. Your father’s condition is
favorable, but the outcome is uncertain.
Duane took three telegram blanks from the note-paper rack and wrote:
“My father is ill at
San Antonio. They have just wired me, and I
shall take the first train. Stand by me now. Win out for my sake. I
put you on your honour until I can reach you.”
And to his father:
“I leave on first train
for San Antonio. It’s going to be all right,
And to his mother:
“Am leaving for San
Antonio because I don’t think father is well
enough to I’ll write you and wire you. Love to you and Naida.”
He gave the maid the money, turned, and unhooking the receiver of the telephone, called up the Grand Central Station.
THROUGH THE WOODS
The autumn quiet at Roya-Neh was intensely agreeable to Scott Seagrave. No social demands interfered with a calm and dignified contemplation of the Rose-beetle, Melolontha subspinosa, and his scandalous “Life History”; there was no chatter of girls from hall and stairway to distract the loftier inspirations that possessed him, no intermittent soprano noises emitted by fluttering feminine fashion, no calflike barytones from masculine adolescence to drive him to the woods, where it was always rather difficult for him to focus his attention on printed pages. The balm of heavenly silence pervaded the house, and in its beneficent atmosphere he worked in his undershirt, inhaling inspiration and the aroma of whale-oil, soap, and carbolic solutions.