If a paper was rejected by the Secretary, it did not come before the Committee, but was returned to the author, if he sent for it, which he commonly did. Its natural course was to try for admission into some one of the popular magazines: into “The Sifter,” the most fastidious of them all; if that declined it, into “The Second Best;” and if that returned it, into “The Omnivorous.” If it was refused admittance at the doors of all the magazines, it might at length find shelter in the corner of a newspaper, where a good deal of very readable verse is to be met with nowadays, some of which has been, no doubt, presented to the Pansophian Society, but was not considered up to its standard.
A new arrival.
There was a recent accession to the transient population of the village which gave rise to some speculation. The new-comer was a young fellow, rather careless in his exterior, but apparently as much at home as if he owned Arrowhead Village and everything in it. He commonly had a cigar in his mouth, carried a pocket pistol, of the non-explosive sort, and a stick with a bulldog’s bead for its knob; wore a soft bat, a coarse check suit, a little baggy, and gaiterboots which had been half-soled,—a Bohemian-looking personage, altogether.
This individual began making explorations in every direction. He was very curious about the place and all the people in it. He was especially interested in the Pansophian Society, concerning which he made all sorts of inquiries. This led him to form a summer acquaintance with the Secretary, who was pleased to give him whatever information he asked for; being proud of the Society, as she had a right to be, and knowing more about it than anybody else.
The visitor could not have been long in the village without hearing something of Maurice Kirkwood, and the stories, true and false, connected with his name. He questioned everybody who could tell him anything about Maurice, and set down the answers in a little note-book he always had with him.
All this naturally excited the curiosity of the village about this new visitor. Among the rest, Miss Vincent, not wanting in an attribute thought to belong more especially to her sex, became somewhat interested to know more exactly who this inquiring, note-taking personage, who seemed to be everywhere and to know everybody, might himself be. Meeting him at the Public Library at a fortunate moment, when there was nobody but the old Librarian, who was hard of hearing, to interfere with their conversation, the little Secretary had a chance to try to find out something about him.