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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesKennedy Square - Chapter 29
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Kennedy Square - Chapter 29 Post by :beetee Category :Long Stories Author :Francis Hopkinson Smith Date :May 2012 Read :2424

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Kennedy Square - Chapter 29

CHAPTER XXIX

The sudden halting of two vehicles close to the horse-block of the Temple Mansion--one an aristocratic carryall driven by a man in livery, and the other a dilapidated city hack in charge of a negro in patched overcoat and whitey-brown hat, the discharge of their inmates, one of whom was Colonel Talbot Rutter of Moorlands carrying two pillows, and another a strange young man loaded down with blankets--the slow disembarking of a gentleman in so wretched a state of health that he was practically carried up the front steps by his body-servant, and the subsequent arrival of Dr. Teackle on the double quick--was a sight so unusual in and around peaceful Kennedy Square that it is not surprising that all sorts of reports--most of them alarming--reached the club long before St. George had been comfortably tucked away in bed.

Various versions were afloat: "St. George was back from Wesley with a touch of chills and fever--" "St. George was back from Wesley with a load of buckshot in his right arm--" "St. George had broken his collar-bone riding to hounds--" etc.

Richard Horn was the first to spring to his feet--it was the afternoon hour and the club was full--and cross the Square on the run, followed by Clayton, Bowman, and two or three others. These, with one accord, banged away on the knocker, only to be met by Dr. Teackle, who explained that there was nothing seriously the matter with Mr. Temple, except an attack of foolhardiness in coming up the bay when he should have stayed in bed--but even that should cause his friends no uneasiness, as he was still as tough as a lightwood knot, and bubbling over with good humor; all he needed was rest, and that he must have--so please everybody come to-morrow.

By the next morning the widening of ripples caused by the dropping of a high-grade invalid into the still pool of Kennedy Square, spread with such force and persistency that one wavelet overflowed Kate's dressing-room. Indeed, it came in with Mammy Henny and her coffee.

"Marse George home, honey--Ben done see Todd. Got a mis'ry in his back dat bad it tuk two gemmens to tote him up de steps."

"Uncle George home, and ill!"

That was enough for Kate. She didn't want any coffee--she didn't want any toast or muffins, or hominy--she wanted her shoes and stockings and--Yes everything, and quick!--and would Mammy Henny call Ben and send him right away to Mr. Temple's and find out how her dear Uncle George had passed the night, and give him her dearest love and tell him she would come right over to see him the moment she could get into her clothes; and could she send anything for him to eat; and did the doctor think it was dangerous--? Yes--and Ben must keep on to Dr. Teackle's and find out if it was dangerous--and say to him that Miss Seymour wanted to know IMMEDIATELY, and-- (Here the poor child lost her breath, she was dressing all the time, Mammy Henny's fingers and ears doing their best) "and tell Mr. Temple, too," she rushed on, "that he must send word by Ben for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING he needed" (strong accent on the two words) ... all of which was repeated through the crack of the door to patient Ben when he presented himself, with the additional assurance that he must tell Mr. Temple it wouldn't be five minutes before she would be with him--as she was nearly dressed, all but her hair.

She was right about her good intentions, but she was wrong about the number of minutes necessary to carry them out. There was her morning gown to button, and her gaiters to lace, and her hair to be braided and caught up in her neck (she always wore it that way in the morning) and the dearest of snug bonnets--a "cabriolet" from Paris--a sort of hood, stiffened with wires, out of which peeped pink rosebuds quite as they do from a trellis--had to be put on, and the white strings tied "just so"--the bows flaring out and the long ends smoothed flat; and then the lace cape and scarf and her parasol;--all these and a dozen other little niceties had to be adjusted before she could trip down her father's stairs and out of her father's swinging gate and on through the park to her dear Uncle George.

But when she did--and it took her all of an hour--nothing that the morning sun shone on was quite as lovely, and no waft of air so refreshing or so welcome as our beloved heroine when she burst in upon him.

"Oh!--you dear, DEAR thing!" she cried, tossing her parasol on Pawson's table and stretching out her arms toward him sitting in his chair. "Oh, I am so sorry! Why didn't you let me know you were ill? I would have gone down to Wesley. Oh!--I KNEW something was the matter with you or you would have answered my letters."

He had struggled to his feet at the first sound of her footsteps in the hall, and had her in his arms long before she had finished her greeting;--indeed her last sentence was addressed to the collar of his coat against which her cheek was cushioned.

"Who said I was ill?" he asked with one of his bubbling laughs when he got his breath.

"Todd told Ben--and you ARE!--and it breaks my heart." She was holding herself off now, scanning his pale face and shrunken frame--"Oh, I am so sorry you did not let me know!"

"Todd is a chatterer, and Ben no better; I've only had a bad cold--and you couldn't have done me a bit of good if you had come--and now I am entirely well, never felt better in my life. Oh--but it's good to get hold of you, Kate,--and you are still the same bunch of roses. Sit down now and tell me all about it. I wish I had a better chair for you, my dear, but the place is quite dismantled, as you see. I expected to stay the winter when I left."

She had not given a thought to the chair or to the changes--had not even noticed them. That the room was stripped of its furniture prior to a long stay was what invariably occurred in her own house every summer: it was her precious uncle's pale, shrunken face and the blue veins that showed in the backs of his dear transparent hands which she held between her own, and the thin, emaciated wrists that absorbed her.

"You poor, dear Uncle George!" she purred--"and nobody to look after you." He had drawn up Pawson's chair and had placed her in it beside the one he sat in, and had then dropped slowly into his own, the better to hide from her his weakness--but it did not deceive her. "I'm going to have you put back to bed this very minute; you are not strong enough to sit up. Let me call Aunt Jemima."

St. George shook his head good-naturedly in denial and smoothed her hands with his fingers.

"Call nobody and do nothing but sit beside me and let me look into your face and listen to your voice. I have been pretty badly shaken up; had two weeks of it that couldn't have been much worse--but since then I have been on the mend and am getting stronger every minute. I haven't had any medicine and I don't want any now--I just want you and--" he hesitated, and seeing nothing in her eyes of any future hope for Harry, finished the sentence, with "and one or two others to sit by me and cheer me up; that's better than all the doctors in the, world. And now, first about your father and then about yourself."

"Oh, he's very well," she rejoined absently. "He's off somewhere, went away two days ago. He'll be back in a week. But you must have something to eat--GOOD things!"--her mind still occupied with his condition. "I'm going to have some chicken broth made the moment I get home and it will be sent fresh every day: and you must eat every bit of it!"

Again St. George's laugh rang out. He had let her run on--it was music to his ears--that he might later on find some clue on which he could frame a question he had been revolving in his mind ever since he heard her voice in the hall. He would not tell her about Harry--better wait until he could read her thoughts the clearer. If he could discover by some roundabout way that she would still refuse to see him it would be best not to embarrass her with any such request; especially on this her first visit.

"Yes--I'll eat anything and everything you send me, you dear Kate--and many thanks to you, provided you'll come with it--you are the best broth for me. But you haven't answered my question--not all of it. What have YOU been doing since I left?"

"Wondering whether you would forgive me for the rude way in which I left you the last time I saw you,--the night of Mr. Horn's reading, for one thing. I went off with Mr. Willits and never said a word to you. I wrote you a letter telling you how sorry I was, but you never answered it, and that made me more anxious than ever."

"What foolishness, Kate! I never got it, of course, or you would have heard from me right away. A number of my letters have gone astray of late. But I don't remember a thing about it, except that you walked off with your--" again he hesitated--"with Mr. Willits, which, of course, was the most natural thing for you to do in the world. How is he, by the way?"

Kate drew back her shoulders with that quick movement common to her when some antagonism in her mind preceded her spoken word.

"I don't know--I haven't seen him for some weeks."

St. George started in his chair: "You haven't! He isn't ill, is he?"

"No, I think not," she rejoined calmly.

"Oh, then he has gone down to his father's. Yes, I remember he goes quite often," he ventured.

"No, I think he is still here." Her gaze was on the window as she spoke, through which could be seen the tops of the trees glistening in the sunlight.

"And you haven't seen him? Why?" asked St. George wonderingly--he was not sure he had heard her aright.

"I told him not to come," she replied in a positive tone.

St. George settled back in his chair. Had there been a clock in the room its faintest tick would have rung out like a trip-hammer.

"Then you have had a quarrel: he has broken his promise to you and got drunk again."

"No, he has never broken it; he has kept it as faithfully as Harry kept his."

"You don't mean, Kate, that you have broken off your engagement?"

She reached over and picked up her parasol: "There never was any engagement. I have always felt sorry for Mr. Willits and tried my best to love him and couldn't--that is all. He understands it perfectly; we both do. It was one of the things that couldn't be."

All sorts of possibilities surged one after the other through the old diplomat's mind. A dim light increasing in intensity began to shine about him. What it meant he dared not hope. "What does your father say?" he asked slowly, after a pause in which he had followed every expression that crossed her face.

"Nothing--and it wouldn't alter the case if he did. I am the best judge of what is good for me." There was a certain finality in her cadences that repelled all further discussion. He remembered having heard the same ring before.

"When did all this happen?--this telling him not to come?" he persisted, determined to widen the inquiry. His mind was still unable to fully grasp the situation.

"About five weeks ago. Do you want to know the very night?" She turned her head as she spoke and looked at him with her full, deep eyes.

"Yes, if you wish me to."

"The night Mr. Horn read 'The Cricket on the Hearth,'" she answered in a tone of relief--as if some great crisis had marked the hour, the passing of which had brought her infinite peace. "I told him when I got home, and I have never seen him since."

For some seconds St. George did not move. He had turned from her and sat with his head resting on his hand, his eyes intent on the smouldering fire: he dare not trust himself to speak; wide ranges opened before him; the light had strengthened until it was blinding. Kate sat motionless, her hands in her lap, her eyes searching St. George's face for some indication of the effect of her news. Then finding him still silent and absorbed in his thoughts, she went on:

"There was nothing else to do, Uncle George. I had done all I could to please my father and one or two of my friends. There was nothing against him--he was very kind and very considerate--but somehow I--" She paused and drew a long breath.

"Somehow what?" demanded St. George raising his head quickly and studying her the closer. The situation was becoming vital now--too vital for any further delay.

"Oh, I don't know--I couldn't love him--that's all. He has many excellent qualities--too many maybe," and she smiled faintly. "You know I never liked people who were too good--that is, too willing to do everything you wanted them to do--especially men who ought really to be masters and--" She stopped and played with the top of her parasol, smoothing the knob with her palm as if the better to straighten out the tangle in her mind. "I expect you will think me queer, Uncle George, but I have come to the conclusion that I will never love anybody again--I am through with all that. It's very hard, you know, to mend a thing when it's broken. I used to say to myself that when I grew to be a woman I supposed I would love as any other woman seemed content to love; that no romance of a young girl was ever realized and that they could only be found in love stories. But my theories all went to pieces when I heard Mr. Horn that night. Dot's love for John the Carrier--I have read it so often since that I know the whole story by heart--Dot's love for John was the real thing, but May Fielding's love for Tackleton wasn't. And it seemed so wonderful when her lover came home and--it's foolish, I know--very silly--that I should have been so moved by just the reading of a story--but it's true. It takes only a very little to push you over when you are on the edge, and I had been on the edge for a long time. But don't let us talk about it, dear Uncle George," she added with a forced smile. "I'm going to take care of you now and be a charming old maid with side curls and spectacles and make flannel things for the poor--you just wait and see what a comfort I will be." Her lips were trembling, the tears crowding over the edges of her lids.

St. George stretched out his hand and in his kindest voice said:

"Was it the carrier and his wife, or was it the sailor boy who came back so fine and strong, that affected you, Kate?--and made you give up Mr. Willits?" He would go to the bottom now.

"It was everything, Uncle George--the sweetness of it all--her pride in her husband--his doubts of her--her repentance; and yet she did what she thought was for the best; and then his forgiveness and the way he wanted to take her in his arms at last and she would not until she explained. And there was nothing really to explain--only love, and trust, and truth--all the time believing in him--loving him. Oh, it is cruel to part people--it's so mean and despicable! There are so many Tackletons--and the May Fieldings go to the altar and so on to their graves--and there is often such a very little difference between the two. I never gave my promise to Mr. Willits. I would not!--I could not! He kept hoping and waiting. He was very gentle and patient--he never coaxed nor pleaded, but just--Oh, Uncle George!--let me talk it all out--I have nobody else. I missed you so, and there was no one who could understand, and you wouldn't answer my letters." She was crying softly to herself, her beautiful head resting on her elbow pillowed on the back of his chair.

He leaned forward the closer: he loved this girl next best to Harry. Her sorrows were his own. Was it all coming out as he had hoped and prayed for? He could hardly restrain himself in his eagerness.

"Did you miss anybody else, Kate?" There was a peculiar tenderness in his voice.

She did not raise her head nor did she answer. St. George waited and repeated the question, Slipping his hand over hers, as he spoke.

"It was the loneliness, Uncle George," she replied, evading his inference. "I tried to forget it all, and I threw open our house and gave parties and dances--hardly a week but there has been something going on--but nothing did any good. I have been--yes--wretchedly unhappy and--No, it will only distress you to hear it--don't let's talk any more about it. I won't let you go away again. I'll go away with you if you don't get better soon, anywhere you say. We'll go down to the White Sulphur--Yes--we'll go there. The air is so bracing--it wouldn't be a week before all the color would come back to your cheeks and you be as strong as ever."

He was not listening. His mind was framing a question--one he must ask without committing himself or her. He was running a parallel, really--reading her heart by a flank movement.

"Kate, dear?" He had regained his position although he still kept hold of her hand.

"Yes, Uncle George."

"Did you write to Harry, as I asked you?"

"No, it wouldn't have done any good. I have had troubles enough of my own without adding any to his."

"Were you afraid he would not answer it?"

She lifted her head and tightened her fingers about his own, her wet eyes looking into his.

"I was afraid of myself. I have never known my own mind and I don't know it now. I have played fast and loose with everybody--I can't bind up a broken arm and then break it again."

"Wouldn't it be better to try?" he said softly.

"No, I don't think so."

St. George released her hand and settled back in his chair; his face grew grave. What manner of woman was this, and how could he reach the inner kernel of her heart? Again he raised his head and leaning forward took both her hands between his own.

"I am going to tell you a story, Kate--one you have never heard--not all of it. When I was about your age--a little older perhaps, I gave my heart to a woman who had known me from a boy; with whom I had played when she was a child. I'm not going into the whole story, such things are always sad; nor will I tell you anything of the beginning of the three happy months of our betrothal nor of what caused our separation. I shall only tell you of the cruelty of the end. There was a misunderstanding--a quarrel--I begging her forgiveness on my knees. All the time her heart was breaking. One little word from her would have healed everything. Some years after that she married and her life still goes on. I am what you see."

Kate looked at him with swimming eyes. She dimly remembered that she had heard that her uncle had had a love affair in his youth and that his sweetheart had jilted him for a richer man, but she had never known that he had suffered so bitterly over it. Her heart went out to him all the more.

"Will you tell me who it was?" She had no right to ask; but she might comfort him the better if she knew.

"Harry's mother."

Kate dropped his hands and drew back in her seat.

"You--loved--Mrs.--Rutter--and she--refused you for--Oh!--what a cruel thing to do! And what a fool she was. Now I know why you have been so good to Harry. Oh, you poor, dear Uncle George. Oh, to think that you of all men! Is there any one whose heart is not bruised and broken?" she added in a helpless tone.

"Plenty of them, Kate--especially those who have been willing to stoop a little and so triumph. Harry has waited three years for some word from you; he has not asked for it, for he believes you have forgotten him; and then he was too much of a man to encroach upon another's rights. Does your breaking off with Mr. Willits alter the case in any way?--does it make any difference? Is this sailor boy always to be a wanderer --never to come home to his people and the woman he loves?"

"He'll never come back to me, Uncle George," she said with a shudder, dropping her eyes. "I found that out the day we talked together in the park, just before he left. And he's not coming home. Father got a letter from one of his agents who had seen him. He was looking very well and was going up into the mountains--I wrote you about it. I am sorry you didn't get the letter--but of course he has written you too."

"Suppose I should tell you that he would come back if he thought you would be glad to see him--glad in the old way?"

Kate shook her head: "He would never come. He hates me, and I don't blame him. I hate myself when I think of it all."

"But if he should walk in now?"--he was very much afraid he would, and he was not quite ready for him yet. What he was trying to find out was not whether Kate would be glad to see Harry as a relief to her loneliness, but whether she really LOVED him.

Some tone in his voice caught her ear. She turned her head quickly and looked at him with wondering gaze, as if she would read his inmost thoughts.

"You mean that he is coming, Uncle George--that Harry IS coming home!" she exclaimed excitedly, the color ebbing from her cheeks.

"He is already here, Kate. He slept upstairs in his old room last night. I expect him in any minute."

"Here!--in this room!" She was on her feet in an instant, her face deathly pale, her whole frame shaking. Which way should she turn to escape? To meet him face to face would bring only excruciating pain. "Oh, why didn't you tell me, Uncle George!" she burst out. "I won't see him! I can't!--not now--not here! Let me go home--let me think! No-- don't stop me!" and catching up her cape and parasol she was out the door and down the steps before he could call her back or even realize that she had gone.

Once on the pavement she looked nervously up and down the street, gathered her pretty skirts tight in her hand and with the fluttered flight of a scared bird darted across the park, dashed through her swinging gate, and so on up to her bedroom.

There she buried her face in Mammy Henny's lap and burst into an agony of tears.


While all this had been going on upstairs another equally important conference was taking place in Pawson's office below, where Harry at Pawson's request had gone to meet Gadgem and talk over certain plans for his uncle's future welfare. He had missed Kate by one of those trifling accidents which often determine the destiny of nations and of men. Had he, after attending to the business of the morning--(he had been down to Marsh Market with Todd for supplies)--mounted the steps to see his uncle instead of yielding to a sudden impulse to interview Pawson first and his uncle afterward, he would have come upon Kate at the very moment she was pouring out her heart to St. George.

But no such fatality or stroke of good fortune--whatever the gods had in store for him--took place. On the contrary he proceeded calmly to carry out the details of a matter of the utmost importance to all concerned--one in which both Pawson and Gadgem were interested--(indeed he had come at Pawson's suggestion to discuss its details with the collector and himself):--all of which the Scribe promises in all honor to reveal to his readers before the whole of this story is told.

Harry walked straight up to Gadgem:

"I am very glad to see you, Mr. Gadgem," he said in his manly, friendly way. "You have been very good to my uncle, and I want to thank you both for him and for myself," and he shook the little man's hand heartily.

Gadgem blushed. St. George's democracy he could understand; but why this aristocrat--outcast as he had once been, but now again in favor--why this young prince, the heir to Moorlands and the first young blood of his time, should treat him as an equal, puzzled him; and yet, somehow, his heart warmed to him as he read his sincerity in his eyes and voice.

"Thank you, sir--thank you very much, sir," rejoined Gadgem, with a folding-camp-stool-movement, his back bent at right angles with his legs. "I really don't deserve it, sir. Mr. Temple is an EXtraordinary man, sir; the most EXtraordinary man I have ever met, sir. Give you the shirt off his back, sir, and go NAked himself."

"Yes, he gave it to me," laughed Harry, greatly amused at the collector's effusive manner: He had never seen this side of Gadgem. "That, of course, you know all about--you paid the bills, I believe."

"PREcisely so, sir." He had lengthened out now with a spiral-spring, cork-screw twist in his body, his index finger serving as point. "Paid every one of them. He never cared, sir--he GLOried in it--GLOried in being a pauper. UNaccountable, Mr. Rutter--Enormously unaccountable. Never heard of such a case; never WILL hear of such a case. So what was to be done, sir? Just what I may state is being done this minute over our heads UPstairs": and out went the index finger. "Rest and REcuperation, sir--a slow--a very slow use of AVAILable assets until new and FURther AVAILable assets could become visible. And they are here, sir--have arRIVED. You may have heard, of course, of the Patapsco where Mr. Temple kept the largest part of his fortune."

"No, except that it about ruined everybody who had anything to do with it."

"Then you have heard nothing of the REsuscitation!" cried Gadgem, all his fingers opened like a fan, his eyebrows arched to the roots of his hair. "You surPRISE me! And you are really ignorant of the PHOEnix-like way in which it has RISen from its ashes? I said RISen, sir, because it is now but a dim speck in the financial sky. Nor the appointment of Mr. John Gorsuch as manager, ably backed by your DIStinguished father--the setting of the bird upon its legs--I'm speaking of the burnt bird, sir, the PHOEnix. I'm quite sure it was a bird--Nor the payment on the first of the ensuing month of some eighty per cent of the amounts due the ORIGinal depositors and another twenty per cent in one year thereafter--The cancelling of the mortgage which your most BEnevolent and HONorable father bought, and the sly trick of Gorsuch--letting Fogbin, who never turned up, become the sham tenant--and the joy--"

"Hold on Mr. Gadgem--I'm not good at figures. Give me that over again and speak slower. Am I to understand that the bank will pay back to my uncle, within a day or so, three-quarters of the money they stole from him?"

"STOLE, sir!" chided Gadgem, his outstretched forefinger wig-wagging a Fie! Fie! gesture of disapproval--"STOLE is not a pretty word--actionable, sir--DANgerously actionable--a question of the watch-house, and, if I might be permitted to say--a bit of COLD lead-- Perhaps you will allow me to suggest the word 'maNIPulated,' sir--the money the bank maNIPulated from your confiding and inexperienced uncle--that is safer and it is equally EXpressive. He! He!"

"Well, will he get the money?" cried Harry, his face lighting up, his interest in the outcome outweighing his amusement over Gadgem's antics and expressions.

"He WILL, sir," rejoined Gadgem decisively.

"And you are so sure of it that you would be willing to advance one-half the amount if the account was turned over to you this minute?" cried Harry eagerly.

"No sir--not one-half--ALL of it--less a TRIfling commission for my services of say one per cent. When you say 'this minute,' sir, I must reply that the brevity of the area of action becomes a trifle ACUTE, yes, ALARMingly acute. I haven't the money myself, sir--that is, not about my person--but I can get it in an hour, sir--in less time, if Mr. Temple is willing. That was my purpose in coming here, sir--that was why Mr. Pawson sent for me, sir; and it is but fair to say that you can thank your DIStinguished father for it all, sir--he has worked night and day to do it. Colonel Rutter has taken over--so I am inFORMED--I'm not sure, but I am inFORMED--taken over a lot of the securities himself so that he COULD do it. Another EXtraordinary combination, if you will permit me to say so--I refer to your father--a man who will show you his door one minute and open his pocketbook and his best bottle of wine for you the next," and he plunged himself down in his seat with so determined a gesture that it left no question on Harry's mind that he intended sitting it out until daylight should there be the faintest possibility of his financial proposition being accepted.

Harry walked to the window and gazed out on the trees. There was no doubt now that Mr. Temple was once more on his feet. "Uncle George will go now to Moorlands," he said, decisively, in a low tone, speaking to himself, his heart swelling with pride at this fresh evidence of his father's high sense of honor--then he wheeled and addressed the attorney:

"Shall I tell Mr. Temple this news, about the Patapsco Bank, Mr. Pawson?"

"Yes, if you think best, Mr. Rutter. And I have another piece of good news. This please do not tell Mr. Temple, not yet--not until it is definitely settled. That old suit in Chancery has been decided, or will be, so I learned this morning and decided in favor of the heir. You may not have heard of it before, Gadgem," and he turned to the collector, "but it is one of old General Dorsey Temple's left-overs. It has been in the courts now some forty years. When this decision is made binding," here he again faced Harry--"Mr. Temple comes in for a considerable share."

Gadgem jumped to his feet and snapped his fingers rapidly. Had he sat on a tack his rebound could not have been more sudden. This last was news to him.

"SHORN lamb, sir!" he cried gleefully, rubbing his palms together, his body tied into a double bow-knot. "Gentle breezes; bread upon the waters! By jiminy, Mr. Rutter, if Mr. Temple could be born again--figuratively, sir--and I could walk in upon him as I once did, and find him at breakfast surrounded by all his comforts with Todd waiting upon him--a very good nigger is Todd, sir--an exCEPtionally good nigger--I'd--I'd--damn me, Mr. Rutter, I'd--well, sir, there's no word--but John Gadgem, sir--well, I'll be damned if he wouldn't--" and he began skipping about the room, both feet in the air, as if he was a boy of twenty instead of a thin, shambling, badly put together bill collector in an ill-fitting brown coat, a hat much the worse for wear, and a red cotton handkerchief addicted to weekly ablutions.

As for Harry the glad news had cleared out wide spaces before him, such as he had not looked through in years; leafy vistas, with glimpses of sunlit meadows; shadow-flecked paths leading to manor-houses with summer skies beyond. He, too, was on his feet, walking restlessly up and down.

Pawson and Gadgem again put their heads together, Harry stopping to listen. Such expressions as "Certainly," "I think I can": "Yes, of course it was there when I was last in his place," "Better see him first," caught his ear.

At last he could stand it no longer. Dr. Teackle or no Dr. Teackle, he would go upstairs, open the door softly, and if his uncle was awake whisper the good news in his ear. If anybody had whispered any such similar good news in his ear on any one of the weary nights he had lain awake waiting for the dawn, or at any time of the day when he sat his horse, his rifle across the pommel, it would have made another man of him.

If his uncle was awake!

He was not only awake, but he was very much alive.

"I've got a great piece of news for you, Uncle George!" Harry shouted in a rollicking tone, his joy increasing as he noted his uncle's renewed strength.

"So have I got a great piece of news for you!" was shouted back. "Come in, you young rascal, and shut that door behind you. She isn't going to marry Willits. Thrown him over--don't want him--don't love him--can't love him--never did love him! She's just told me so. Whoop--hurrah! I Dance, you dog, before I throw this chair at you!!"

There are some moments in a man's life when all language fails;--pantomime moments, when one stares and tries to speak and stares again. They were both at it--St. George waiting until Harry should explode, and Harry trying to get his breath, the earth opening under him, the skies falling all about his head.

"She told you so! When!" he gasped.

"Two minutes ago--you've just missed her! Where the devil have you been? Why didn't you come in before?"

"Kate here--two minutes ago--what will I do?" Had he found himself at sea in an open boat with both oars adrift he could not have been more helpless.

"DO! Catch her before she gets home! Quick!--just as you are--sailor clothes and all!"

"But how will I know if--?"

"You don't have to know! Away with you, I tell you!"

And away he went--and if you will believe it, dear reader--without even a whisper in his uncle's ears of the good news he had come to tell.

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Kennedy Square - Chapter 30 Kennedy Square - Chapter 30

Kennedy Square - Chapter 30
CHAPTER XXXBen let him in. He came as an apparition, the old butler balancing the door in his hand, as if undecided what to do, trying to account for the change in the young man's appearance--the width of shoulders, the rough clothes, and the determined glance of his eye. "Fo' Gawd, it's Marse Harry!" was all he said when he could get his mouth open. "Yes, Ben--go and tell your mistress I am here," and he brushed past him and pushed back the drawing-room door. Once inside he crossed to the mantel and stood with his back to the hearth, his
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Kennedy Square - Chapter 28 Kennedy Square - Chapter 28

Kennedy Square - Chapter 28
CHAPTER XXVIIIIntruders of all kinds had thrust their heads between the dripping, slightly moist, and wholly dry installments of Aunt Jemima's Monday wash, and each and every one had been assailed by a vocabulary hurled at them through the creaky gate, and as far out as the street--peddlers; beggars; tramps; loose darkies with no visible means of support, who had smelt the cooking in the air--even goats with an acquired taste for stocking legs and window curtains--all of whom had either been invited out, whirled out, or thrown out, dependent upon the damage inflicted, the size of the favors asked, or
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