“Thank God, there’s some happiness in this world,” said Farr. “She is a good girl.”
There was almost joy on Kate Kilgour’s face when she looked up at Farr.
Her god had been restored to his pedestal.
“Farewell,” he said at the little gate through which she had stepped into the street.
“No,” she cried as she turned and hurried away; “I’ll not say it—not now!” And he wondered because there was joy in her tones.
THE MASK OF CYNICISM
Old Etienne came to the gate with his lantern; the big turbines were stilling their rumble and growl in the deep pits and his day’s work was ended.
“P’r’aps you may walk to Mother Maillet’s with me and say the good word to Jean from Tadousac and to Zelie Dionne, who is now so very glad,” suggested the old man, humbly. “The good priest he marry them very soon and they will go home.”
“Yes, I will go, Etienne. I can say good-by there to you and to Miss Dionne.”
“So you go visit some place, eh, after your hard work? That will be very good for you, M’sieu’ Farr. You shall come back much rest up and then you will show the poor folks how you will help them some more.”
“I shall not come back—I am going away to stay.”
“But you promise under the big light at the hotel de ville—I hear you promise that you will stay,” protested the old man.
“My work is finished.”
“That is not so, M’sieu’ Farr. For many men come to talk to me over the fence since I stand up in the big hall. They are wiser than such a fool as I am. They say that you have just begin to do great things for the poor folks. You shall take the water-pipes away from the men who have poison them. Ah, that is what they say. I do not understand, but they say it shall be so.”
“Other men can do it,” said Farr, curtly.
“And yet you will come back—when?” The old man was struggling with his bewilderment and doubt.
He understood how he was hurting that old man, but bitterness and hopelessness were crowding all tender feelings out of Farr at that moment. Once more he put on the mask of cynicism. He feared to show anybody the depths of his soul.
In the good woman’s little sitting-room they found Zelie Dionne.
“I have stopped in to say good-by, Miss Zelie. I am going away. I’m sorry that the grand young man from Tadousac is not here.”
“He comes to sit with me in the evening. You shall wait and see him.”
“No, I must hurry on.”
“I have been reading about you.” She tapped the newspaper in her hand. “The boy just passed, crying the news. It is very wonderful what you have done. Now you will be the great man. But I knew all the time that you were much more than you seemed to be.”
“However, you don’t seem to understand me just now,” he declared. “I am going away from this city—from this state. I am going to stay away.”