“Paris! Yes, that’s it. To Paris, where he can see at last how the great ones have painted,— where the others can show him! To Paris, where we can study together, where he can learn how to put the pictures he sees upon canvas, and where I—”
“Go on,” Joe encouraged her. “I want to hear you say it. You don’t mean that you’re going to study painting; you mean that you’re going to learn how to make such fellows as Eugene ask you to dance. Go ahead and say it!”
“Yes—to learn how to dress!” she said.
Joe was silent for a moment. Then he rose and took the ragged overcoat from the back of his chair. “Where’s that muffler?” he asked.
She brought it from where she had placed it to dry, behind the stove.
“Joe,” she said, huskily, “can’t you wait till—”
“Till the estate is settled and you can coax your grandfather to—”
“No, no! But you could go with us.”
“He would take you as his secretary.”
“Aha!” Joe’s voice rang out gayly as he rose, refreshed by the coffee, toast, and warmth she had given him. “You’ve been story-reading, Ariel, like Eugene! `Secretary’!”
“Where’s my tin dinner-pail?” He found it himself upon the table where he had set it down. “I’m going to earn a dishonest living,” he went on. “I have an engagement to take a freight at a water-tank that’s a friend of mine, half a mile south of the yards. Thank God, I’m going to get away from Canaan!”
“Wait, Joe!” She caught at his sleeve. “I want you to—”
He had swung out of the room and was already at the front-door. She followed him closely.
“No, no! Wait, Joe!”
He took her right hand in his own, and gave it a manly shake. “It’s all right,” he said.
He threw open the door and stepped out, but she sought to detain him. “Oh, have you got to go?” she cried.
“Don’t you ever worry about me.” He bent his head to the storm as he sprang down the steps, and snow-wreaths swirled between them.
He disappeared in a white whirlwind.
She stood for several minutes shivering in the doorway. Then it came to her that she would not know where to write to him. She ran down to the gate and through it. Already the blizzard had covered his footprints.
GIVE A DOG A BAD NAME
The passing of Joseph from Canaan was complete. It was an evanishment for which there was neither sackcloth nor surprise; and though there came no news of him it cannot be said that Canaan did not hear of him, for surely it could hear itself talk. The death of Jonas Tabor and young Louden’s crime and flight incited high doings in the “National House” windows; many days the sages lingered with the broken meats of morals left over from the banquet of gossip. But, after all, it is with the ladies of a community that reputations finally rest, and the matrons of Canaan had long ago made Joe’s exceedingly uncertain. Now they made it certain.